Charles Oliver - Econ/Media-Boy
Click here to email.


Charles C. Watson - Science/Tech-Boy
Click here to email.


Ron Campbell - sushi-bait.
Click here to email.



Even a blogger needs to eat. This blog is primarily Charles' hobby. But if he is intent on continuing to woo the Hooter's waitresses in Chatanooga he needs something that pays.... wings don't come free you know. Here's a link to his day job where he works the education beat and, assuming he can't annoy enough people that way, is sometimes allowed to write opinion pieces.


Need perspective? Watson offers readers all they could possibly eat. For a unique view on current events, namely how they look from orbit, here's Chuck's Real-Time(ish) Satellite Imagery of Areas of Interest. Whenever it strikes his fancy, and there's good telemetry, Chuck will process and post near real-time images of locations in the news. Eminently engrossing.


Wanna get into the head of a Japanese salaryman? Why, for Chis'sakes?! Well, assumin' you do, feel welcome to check out the on-line journal of Campbell's English class. Everyday, a group of disaffected salarymen are required to spill out their inner-most thoughts about life, the universe and everything in broken English. Amazingly prosaic.




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Happy Fun Pundit
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Shoutin' Across the Atlantic (or Across Asia):
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Oceanians:
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Live from Israel:
Tal G.

Poet Laureate:
Will Warren

News Sources:
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Canadian Press
Associated Press
Reuters
United Press International
BBC News
The Daily Citizen






Shoutin' across the Pacific
Chiizu taberu koufuku shiteiru saru ga kangei-saremasen.
 
Tuesday, April 30, 2002
 

And one more thing...


The... ohh the pain, the pain... thing was not about Kitt. Hell I remember her from Batman (wow).

It was the other guy causing the anguish.


posted by Ron at 9:36 PM
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And you *thought* they were oppossed to GM foods...


Just wait until you can offer people replacement body tissues or organs genetically modified from say... butt grafts.

I don't discount the scientific value of these advances at all but have you considered how they're going to play with the Science for the Public Interest groups? (e.g. "Olestra kills!")

"You're gonna take some skin cells and grow a heart out of it??!! That's just icky!" And here, folks, we have the main Leon Kass argument against cloning, or frankly any sort of medical treatment: it's just icky. I remember a while back when the Kass commission formed you told me he instructed all the members to read "The Birthmark" as part of their first-day's homework assignment.

As Nick Gillespie also notes, the main thrust of this work is that science is... bad... and icky. But more importantly the story, and seemingly the intellectual ludites' contention is the continued devotion of resources to the betterment of man is, at best, a luxury and endemic to the moral and ethical decadance of pampered, western society, or at worst, hubris.

I'll be interested to see what Virginia has to say on this.

Just FYI, It's currently 10:30AM on Wednesday here, since you asked. Japan is 13 hours ahead of the east coast. The easy way to do it is add one hour to your time and change the AM to PM or PM to AM. [e.g. 9:30PM in Georgia is (+1 PM -->AM) 10:30AM in Japan... {and then remember it's ahead of you...} on Wednesday.]


posted by Ron at 9:19 PM
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Good News, Bad News


I've long thought that eventually science may have no need for stem cells. We could figure out how to program ordinary cells from any part of the body to grow into any organ we want. That day may be closer than I thought.

Or maybe not. We don't know where this research will lead. I'd hate to see opponents of therapeutic cloning use this announcemnt to bolster their arguments. They could say there's no need for cloning when science will come up with other ways to grow new organs.

But what if we don't come up with other alternatives? We shouldn't outlaw promising research because other research paths might also work.


posted by Charles at 8:27 PM
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Somebody Report This To CAIR


It's a clear case of ethnic discrimination.


posted by Charles at 7:49 PM
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No, It Just Confirmed What I Thought About Him


He's been a blight on the sport. And Eartha was a babe back in the 1950s when she and Orson were an item. BTW, what the hell time is it there?


posted by Charles at 7:43 PM
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Thanks for the mental scarring.


Just looking through some of the previous posts and saw...

"Eartha Kitt-Orson Welles"

......

...arrgggghhh.

Thank you very much. That hurt. I feel the need now to pour bleach in my eyes or maybe just scoop them out with chopsticks.

Knowing your love of wrestling and always feeling that one good trauma deserves another I offer you this. Go ahead, click it. I dare you. But you will never think of the man or the sport again in the same way.


posted by Ron at 7:38 PM
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Finally, A Middle East Peace Plan That Would Work


It's a reversal of his previously announced policy. But I think this might be the solution.


posted by Charles at 7:34 PM
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Why Happy, Fun Pundit is God.



Charles, we've gotta check into this humor thing. Have the boys in editorial and marketing do a feasiblity study...

Steve at HFP has posted another (he tends to do this with alarming frequency) great post on the recent round of Saudi US media buys. Yes, just go RTWT (Read the Whole Thing) (fyi - pronounced "rit - wit"... I wanna coin some blogosphere currency). But here's a fun game you can play at home; taking the end of his post:
The tagline for the ads is "The People of Saudi Arabia -- Allies Against Terrorism". Uh huh. Kids, there's "spin" and there's "twisting the peoples' heads off". I suggest you start with something a little less ambitious:


"The Rulers of Saudi Arabia -- We're not the biggest assholes."


"Saudi Arabia -- Now with 40% less treachery!"


"The House of Saud -- We suck, but we have a lot of money."


"Saudi Arabia -- Come for the oil, stay for the beheadings."


"Saudi Arabia -- At least we don't have women drivers, and you know how they are."


"Saudi Arabia -- America's 130th most staunch ally in the war against terror. The Sudanese, now those guys are shitheads."


"Saudi Arabia -- Not just for ululating fanatics anymore."


let's see how many more tags we can make over the next day or so. Incorporate 'em into your e-mail sigs; share them with your friends; spit on the bastards and their ilk. C'mon, it's fun!

How'z about:

"Saudi Arabia -- With friends like us, who needs enemies?"

"The House of Saud -- Islamofascist Supermarket to the World."

"Batshit crazy death cult cleric's annual salary: $45,000
One exploding ammo belt with bag of nails: $63
Watching the revival of European anti-Semitism and wholesale
Western condemnation of Israel: Priceless

For everything else, there's Saudi."

or

"Saudi Arabia -- We don't make the terrorists, we just make them better funded and more leathal."

wait, wait, one more

"Saudi Arabia -- At least we aren't trying to pretend that real planes didn't crash on Sept. 11th."
(or more to the point)
"Saudi Arabia -- We're not France!"


Like you, Charles, I feel there's plenty of blame to go around in the middle east. And although Israel is by no means innocent of provoking some of the seething anger of its neighbors, I know who I'll cast my lot with when the shooting starts. In this latest round, Israel has done nothing more than taken necessary and measured military action against people who are killing its citizens.

They are the democracy in the region. They are the ones on the end of deliberate acts of terrorism. They are our allies and have done more to keep the more insane Islamofanatics in check than we ever have. (Try to imagine how many terrorist rings have been broken up or at least had specific anti-American plans foiled by the Moussad in the last 20 years...)

And they are 6 million people surrounded by 300 million who want nothing less than their complete extermination. For the time being, Sharon is the good guy. Look, David Duke and the EU are joining together in kindred spirit to seek somekind of punishment of Israel... dogs and cats sleeping together! What other proof do you need?


posted by Ron at 7:21 PM
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Friggin' Morons


Remember those New Jersey nurisng home workers who cclaimed to have a winning ticket in the Big Game lottery. The group was threatening one member because they said he was trying to keep them from getting their rightful cut. That man, Angelito Martinzes, said he didn't have the winning ticket.

Turns out he was telling the truth. The real winner, Jorge Lopes, stepped forth today.

Why did the nursing home group think they had the winning ticket?

Marquez's lawyer, Donald DiGioia, said the co-workers suspected Marquez had the winning ticket because he called in sick for three days with the flu after the April 16 drawing.

"They just put two and two together and got five," the lawyer said.




posted by Charles at 5:36 PM
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I Said There Were Others


I dashed off an e-mail to Instapundit last night responding to another letter writer who said he couldn't think of any interracial couples consisting of a white man and a black woman. Those were just the names that I thought of in the two or three minutes it took me to write the letter. If you read it again, you'll see that it has an even larger number of typos than is usual from me. I wrote it in haste. But a a few of you have written to me to point out some other examples.

Here are some you mentioned:

Otto Preminger-Dorothy Dandridge, Tom Jones-Mary Wilson, Josephine Baker-Willi Barker, Eartha Kitt,-Orson Welles, John Duigan-Thandie Newton, Boris Becker-Barbara Feltus, Tom Clancy-Alexandra Llewellyn, Roger Ebert and his wife, Pearl Bailey-Isador Bellson, Minnie Riperton-Richard Rudolph (their daughter is Saturday Night Live regular Maya Rudolph; Minnie Riperton died in 1979 and Rudolph married an Asian woman)


Again, that isn't everyone. There were quite a few actresses and models mentioned as having white husbands or boyfriends, but I'm not going to cite those cases where I'm not sure about the facts. Get your own blog if you want to talk about this more.


posted by Charles at 2:10 PM
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Hitting a Little Close to Home


Having come from (and hopefully soon to return to) a journalism background and having worked in newsrooms that may have been somewhat 'understaffed' at times, I thought you might appreciate this story.
The Crestline Gazette's lone staff writer and among the most important of its nine fulltime employees, Jerry Schoepke's name can be found throughout the paper.

"Pretty much, as you page through and look at the bylines, you'll see Jerry Schoepke, Jerry Schoepke, Jerry Schoepke, Ralph Dilger, Jerry Schoepke," managing editor Wendell Greggs said. "Until you get to the Outdoors section, that is. Then it's Ty Yeager, Jerry Schoepke, Ty Yeager."

And you always have the distraction of taking joy in the misfortune of others if the above is too topical. (Yes, I know the German word but it's sorta outlived it's meme... hell, Dennis Miller was using it in comedy bits back in the early 90s.) Remember how we used to guffaw at the stories on f**kedcompany.com, at least while it was was just silly and not plaintively pathetic? Well, go here. Click each of the pictures. In order. I swear I busted out laughing for a good 10 minutes. (Wish I could remember where I found this link... probably some blogger's page somewhere.) The Internet is dead; long live the Internet!

[Housekeeping note: got your e-mail. Blogger is weird again today. And slow. The changes, except for the wrestling link, I made before you wrote back. But blogger will not 'publish' for me today. So I'll get that up soon along with some other favorites as soon as I can. Also found through the ranking service another blog linked to the page, The Bill (of Rants). Interesting page and some good posts. I was enjoying reading through his site until I realized how much he sounded like me. And that where it took me 35 years to get here, he did it in 21. Bastard. ;>]

Oh, and I'll be on staff at the WorldPunditBlogger's Fest '02... And we can laugh all weekend about Walter's lateral seem at the back of his scalp and his, frankly creepy, nervous eye twiches... but I swear if Robert Englund corners me on the balcony in the con suite again and prepares to launch into another 3 hours of Hollywood shop talk.... I'm going over the rail. (Do these guys have a blog yet? I know Al Roker does. His big story today is meeting Steve's replacement, Joe, on Blue's Clues. Kinda sad, isn't it?)


posted by Ron at 1:15 PM
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Training Terrorists


Theodore Dalrymple has an interesting article looking at how the British education system has failed Muslim immigrants and their children. The schools have failed to failed to bring those children into British society. Instead, the official doctine of multiculturalism has fostered a sense of otherness and alienation.

Of course, the forces that deny a British education to the Muslims of Bradford have also denied it to the whites, who—on the grounds of the new need for a multiculturalist outlook—receive schooling that leaves them virtually as ignorant of British history and traditions as their Muslim counterparts, without giving them any useful knowledge of any other history or traditions. They are thus left to float free in the sea of popular culture, without cultural or moral bearings and prey to the inchoate but deep resentments that this popular culture so successfully inculcates.




posted by Charles at 1:03 PM
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Frontier House


Last night, PBS aired the first episode of Frontier House. The premise is simple. Three families agree to live as settlers in 1883 Wyoming did for five months.

Of course, the obvious lesson is that life was tough on the prairie, tough than those back-to-nature greens who’s idea of roughing it is a weekend camping trip imagine.

But what I found interesting is that some of the “smallest” problems seem like the biggest. The first crying breakdown came about 40 minutes in the show. One of the women just lost it. Was it because of the long hours she spent over her wood-burning stove? Was it because the livestock was sick? Was it the lack of toilet paper? No, she started bawling because the producers would not allow her to wear make up.

"I'm sorry. I did not enjoy it. I tried all day not to cry," she said. At one point she even smuggles lipstick and mascara under her skirt. She finally hands over the contraband when the producers catch her. But he had a final request: "Can I just put lipstick on one last time?"

I think we forget sometimes just how much looking god can make us feel good. I remember as a young boy watching my father get ready to go to work in the cotton mill. He worked third shift, so he’d be getting ready just as I was preparing to go to bed. He always combed his hair carefully, shaved, put on cologne and made sure his clothes looked sharp. I never understood why because by the time he came home he’d be covered with cotton dust.

In a similar vein, I’ve seen very old photos of farmers plowing fields behind a team of mules, and the farmers are wearing nice hats and ties.

But I guess that looking nice helps you maintain a little dignity in what can be some pretty undignified situations.


posted by Charles at 10:53 AM
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Letters, We Get Letters



Ron. I knew we are getting some traffic because I’m getting a lot of letters, and, unlike at the very beginning, these letters aren’t coming just from people I know. I worked for almost nine years at Investor’s Business Daily, a newspaper with a circulation of more than 300,000. I had a story appear in IBD an average of about 1.6 times a week. And a substantial portion of my stories appeared on the front page above the fold.

But I’ve gotten more letters in three months or so of blogging than I did in nine years at IBD. Clearly, we don’t have the readership that IBD does. Or maybe we do, and that’s why I’m unemployed.

Blog readers seem to be more involved than newspaper readers, more likely to criticize, more likely to point out additional information and, yes, more likely to praise.

Or maybe it isn’t the readers that are different. I got one e-mail from an IBD reader who somehow stumbled on out site. It read like this: “I enjoyed your work at Investor’s Business Daily. The reporting and analysis were first rate. But I never realized you could write so well.”

I think that was a compliment.

And don't give anyone any ideas. You know darn well that if there are any conventions, you and I would show up. Actually, you'd be working the convention. Actually, you'd just pretend to work to get the free pass. You and I would spend all of our time following Walter Koenig around, making fun of his hairpiece.


posted by Charles at 10:28 AM
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Suckup Watch


Congrats on getting a brief mention over on Glenn's site. Your ability to come up with names and references off the top of your head has always been impressive. When first linking to your (and it is 'your'; I'm just the wacky next-door neighbor) blog Virginia noted that your extensive pop-culture and wrestling knowledge would be what would make the page stand out.

I do hope you mentioned the site address in your e-mail. And yes I am whoring for hits here. And speaking of whoring or at least 'jumping the shark', what the hell is the deal with that InstaPundit.Com crap Glenn's trying to sell on his site? All due respect to Glenn and his intellect but that crap is ... crap. Glenn doesn't have an identifiable logo on his site (he's still using the Blogger standard template) and the "design" of the merchandise reflects that lack of identity. Looks like he just typed up his site's name in Word, selected a rarely used font from his computer (certainly one never seen on his site) and slapped it on.. cups and t-shirts.

Hey, Glenn. First you have to have some brand loyality 'fore you can start branding stuff. First have a couple of InstaBashes, maybe an area convention or two, make up a real logo in Photoshop and slap it on your site as a jpeg. Then you can start selling the Jar-Jar Binks / Instapundit KFC chicken meals.

OK, it's all envy. I'm sorry.


posted by Ron at 9:42 AM
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How do we rank? With the emphasis on 'rank.'


Well, Charles, you've asked me before if we're getting any hits with this thing. I can now tell you, thanks to the Alexa Web Search system that we are the 14,287,926th most popular site on the internet. (Look out, Alabama!)

According to the same page, other people (who I suspect are you and your mom) who visit our site also spend their time cruising blog portal sites and on-line diary web pages. Perhaps a change in name from Shoutin' Across the Pacific to Spittin' in the Wind (or my choice, Teachin' the Pig to Sing... ya'll Southerners will understand that one) is in order.

If you have some time maybe you could write a review for our site. I know I plan to just as soon as I finish a couple bottles of sake tonight.


posted by Ron at 5:19 AM
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Japanese Politics Post..


An Alternative Soporific


As many of you no doubt don't care, the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan is in deep trouble. The LDP has ruled local and national politics in Japan roughly since the end of the war. And its primary method of keeping political power has been operating under the assumption that 'the voter which votes least, votes best.'

Japanese politics is an unweildy behemoth of convuluted bureaucratic ministries, bland politicians, a seemingly endless array of minor political parties that are in no important respect different from one another and thousands of special-interest groups whose unified interest is in keeping the status-quo (and thereby their subsidies). This has the salutary effect, for politicians, of keeping politics out of the interest of the mainstream and only in the active domain of those who receive the government's largess.

In other words, Japanese politics are boring and we'd like to keep it that way, thank you very much.

But something happened last year. A 'populist' candidate assumed the role of prime minister. A not-unattractive (as opposed to the actively-ugly PMs who'd gone before) man, Koizumi became grist for Japan's gossip-tabloids and week-day housewife-targeted talk shows. "Who do you think Koizumi is dating now?" "What about his estranged ex-wife, will Koizumi inivite her to public functions?" "Do you know he has a son he hasn't spoken to in ten years?" "Who does his hair?"

Suddenly "politics" became somewhat fashionable to talk about. I use the irony quotes here cause just a year ago the mention of a politican's name was enough to stop conversation for normal people. Politics was a dirty business run by old men in cheap blue suits who stunk of cigarettes. They were no better than, and probably an extension of, the yakuza. But now what happened in the Diet was of, at least, passing interest.

But it wasn't just Koizumi or his hair that was attracting the interest of housewives, young women and others. Koizumi had selected his former political boss, Makiko Tanaka, to be his Foreign minister. Makiko is a character you cannot help but like. She is a middle-aged, gruff-voiced (by Japanese standards), strong-minded matron. She had a long history of upsetting entrenced power-elites in other settings through political maneuvering and skillful use of the media. She is stubborn, pugulistic, arrogant and completely spot-on about knowing what ails the LDP and Japan in general.

Many women could identify with her. She was a stronged-voiced outsider about to bust into the (acknowledged) corrupt den of the Foreign Ministry and she was gonna clean house.

But, much like Clinton, Koizumi was not really beholden to any ideology except maintaining his position. Therefore he was an easy mark for the LDP rank and file who wanted Tanaka marginalized and eventually ousted before she caused too much trouble. The details of how the staff at the Foreign Ministry started to take her down are well-known here. But they couldn't do it without Koizumi also jettisoning his support for her. And, in defiance of her strong poll numbers, and at the behest of LDP operatives, he unceremoniously kicked her out on her ass after nine months. As a result Koizumi also blew off about half of his support.

The PM is now desperately trying to hold on to whatever remains of his base. His obvious pandering to the LDP faithful culminated last week in *another* trip to Yasukuni Shrine. Last week the Mainichi Daily noted that LDP candidates lost 2 out of every 3 posts they ran for in city and prefectural elections.

LDP is gonna get hammered this time around in the national elections. Tanaka may run for the Diet again from a rival party. If you are interested to see how it all started before it comes crashing down I'd recommend you'd read this. This is the first of a series detailing rift between these two politicians through personal anecdotes and second-hand accounts. It makes for interesting reading.

It was reported that Mr. Koizumi and Ms. Tanaka were listening to Mr. Nakaya, however, Mr. Koizumi did not seem to be getting involved in the presentation.

Mr. Nakaya said to Mr. Koizumi, "Legislation to deal with military emergencies has not been passed by past administrations. I would like to do it under the Koizumi Administration. Prime Minister Koizumi, what plan do you have?"

Mr. Koizumi did not expect this question and hesitated. After a little confusion, he replied, "I have no idea."

Mr. Nakaya and Ms. Tanaka were upset by his answer and gazed at Mr. Koizumi. An awkward silence came over the meeting and they adjourned. Ms. Tanaka and Mr. Nakaya were disenchanted.

At 11:40 a.m., both cabinet ministers left the office. It was reported when Ms. Tanaka looked at Mr. Nakaya. Her eyes were full of outrage.

"We are serving such a man (of dishonor)," Mr. Nakaya groaned to Ms. Tanaka with anger, according to the recollection of Ms. Tanaka. His lips were trembling.

"That man (Mr. Koizumi) is not thinking seriously. His visit to the Yasukuni Shrine was simply a performance for political purposes. I was wondering what kind of man Mr. Koizumi was," Ms. Tanaka reportedly said to her aides.


The Shukan Post is one of the best news weeklies published here (and the print version has some of the best cheesecake too... 30-something Japanese actresses who pose nude to try and restart their careers .... ohhh 34 year old Japanese cheesecake..... mmmmmm). The take on the week's news is very much libertarian in tone and far to the right of the mainstream press.

Sorry, the cheesecake is unavailable on-line.


posted by Ron at 12:04 AM
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Monday, April 29, 2002
 

The Irish Again


Remember Colombia's charges that narco-terrorists were allowing the IRA and Islamic fundamentalists to train togteher in that part of the country they control. The exchange of ideas seems to be working

Paul Collinson, a former Royal Engineers bomb disposal officer working for the Red Cross, said the devices he had found in the camp were identical in every detail to those he had encountered in Northern Ireland.


Experts say that the bombs must have been made by the IRA or under their supervision.

The pipe bombs found in Jenin were exact replicas of those in Northern Ireland, Collinson said. The size of bomb, the way the nail is placed, the way of igniting it with a light-bulb filament, the use of a command wire and the means of initiating the bomb — all have the hallmarks of originating from Ireland, he said.


The bombs are identical, right down to the way the pipe was cut. U.S. officials say that if links between the Palestinians and the IRA can be proven, the IRA could be placed on the administration's list of terrorist organizations. The questions Why isn't the IRA on there already?





posted by Charles at 6:05 PM
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Chicklets


Brink has more Jack Chick tracts up. I can't believe I left out The Death Cookie. Here's some more info on Chick. A friend e-mailed to remind me that when she was in college, she worked as a waitress for a time. She remembers a few days when customers left her a Chicklet for a tip.


posted by Charles at 3:23 PM
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What Racial Profiling?


Remember the charges of racial profiling raised against New Jersey state troopers? Maybe the charges were bogus.

Well, we now know that the troopers were neither dumb nor racist; they were merely doing their jobs. According to the study commissioned by the New Jersey attorney general and leaked first to the New York Times and then to the Web, blacks make up 16 percent of the drivers on the turnpike, and 25 percent of the speeders in the 65-mile-per-hour zones, where profiling complaints are most common. (The study counted only those going more than 15 miles per hour over the speed limit as speeders.) Black drivers speed twice as much as white drivers, and speed at reckless levels even more. Blacks are actually stopped less than their speeding behavior would predict—they are 23 percent of those stopped.




posted by Charles at 12:27 PM
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Islam Refuted


Any site that lists Jack Chick as a useful resource can't be too discriminating. Still, there are some useful and informative sites on this list. Some of the best are ISIS, Freethought Mecca, and Islam Exposed


posted by Charles at 12:17 PM
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More Thesz Obits


From his hometown newspaper. And from a city he lived in for many years.

``Wrestling is a one-on-one sport, and it teaches self-reliance,'' Thesz wrote. ``I have almost worn out this saying: If it is to be, it is up to me. . . . Challenge is what wrestling is all about -- there is always someone bigger and possibly better. The challenge is to stay focused, stay consistent, stay fit and stay ready. Just like in life.''


posted by Charles at 9:44 AM
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Blame The Victim


Cardinal Law says negligence on the part of a six-year-old boy contributed to that child being molested by a priest. See also this story.


posted by Charles at 9:37 AM
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Sunday, April 28, 2002
 

We've Been Warned


The Arabs must be very scared.


posted by Charles at 11:43 PM
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More On Lincoln


And Tom DiLorenzo's, umm, Bellesiles-like scholarship. Richard Ferrier, president of the Declaration Foundation, pounds Tom's book "The Real Lincoln."

Here's one exchange from this interview:

Q: DiLorenzo includes the Lincoln letter to Horace Greeley in 1862. Is that accurate?

A: Yes, but he cuts it off at the end.

Q: Hold on, here's the quote: "My paramount objective in this struggle is to save the Union; it is not to either save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it." What's the rest of it?

A: He continues, "I say nothing about my well-known desire that all men everywhere should be free." In other words, he's speaking as a public man with respect to his constitutional duty, which is to preserve the Union. Now it should be said that Lincoln thought the Union wasn't just a legal entity or a practical entity but an entity like a human being – a body and a soul. And the soul of that entity was the truths that are expressed in the Declaration, including the truth that all men are created equal.




Special bonus: here's my review of "When in the Course of Human Events" by Charles Adams.


posted by Charles at 4:45 PM
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Fatwa Watch


At Islam Online, the latest question for the scholars is Are we allowed to buy items from Israeli sources, even though this money may be used to help the Jewish war machine?

The answer is, of course, no. But here's the interesting part:

American goods, exactly like “Israeli” goods, are forbidden. It is also forbidden to advertise these goods. America today is a second Israel. It totally supports the Zionist entity. The usurper could not do this without the support of America. “Israel’s” unjustified destruction and vandalism of everything has been using American money, American weapons, and the American veto. America has done this for decades without suffering the consequences of any punishment or protests about their oppressive and prejudiced position from the Islamic world.


According to Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, Muslims are to consider America as just another Israel. And whatever actions jihad sanctions against Israel it also sanctions against the U.S. Again, this is a relatively "mainstream" Islamic site.


posted by Charles at 3:56 PM
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It Ain’t The Stars and Bars


The flag that arouses so much emotion these days is the Southern Cross. (For an explanation of the difference look here. I’ve got mixed emotions about the flag. Most of the people who fly it aren’t racists. Well, they aren’t going to lynch anyone or burn crosses on anyone’s yard. And to them, it really isn’t a symbol of racism.

''It signifies rebel,'' says Kid Rock, who, despite being from Detroit, has a firm grasp of cracker culture. (Trust me, marrying Pam Anderson is the redneck version of heaven.)

Most of the men, and it is usually men, who fly the flag from their house or put it on their truck bumpers are signifying something about themselves, and it isn’t their position on race relations. They are declaring themselves rebels, men who won’t knuckle under to the man, nonconformists.

The truth is that most of these men are, or will soon become, the sort of man who works 40 hours or more a week, goes to church on Sunday and obeys most laws most of the time. In short, there is little of the outlaw about them.

The Southern Cross, for most of its adherents, carries about the same message as the pierced tongues, tattoos or dyed hair that some other “nonconformists” sport. (Actually, in the modern South, it’s often the same people. Just as hippie culture and redneck culture merged in the 1970s, redneck culture is definitely merging with hip hop and probably all the other “alternative” cultures. I’ve seen trucks with Southern Cross bumper stickers or tags blasting out Snoop Dogg.)

The problem is that they truly can’t see that to others it symbolizes something terrible. The fact is that the Southern Cross represented a would-be nation that was based on the ideal of slavery. And its resurrection in this century was done originally to signify support for Jim Crow. Those historical facts have led me to believe that Gov. Roy Barnes was right in his efforts to remove the Southern Cross from the Georgia state flag.

And I support other efforts to remove the flag from official use across the South. Supporters of the flag should admit that, to others, it carries a different emotional message. And they should accept that the flag has no business flying over government buildings.

But I bristle when I hear of school administrators banning the flag, or companies that bar cars bearing the flag from employee parking lots. Opponents of the flag should realize that it truly has an innocent meaning for most who fly it. And they should accept that good people can love the flag.


posted by Charles at 2:27 PM
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Oh Crap


Just heard that Lou Thesz died. Thesz was one of the top draws in pro wrestling from the 1930s to the 1960s, holding the world title some six times. He was regarded by his peers as one of, if not the, best "shooters" of his era. (That's someone who could really wresstle.) He was 86 and had just had open-heart surgery, but the news is still a surprise because he was such a tough old guy. For anyone who is a fan of either pro or amateur wrestling or a just a sports fan I recommend his autobiography.
Update: Here's a brief obit for Lou.


posted by Charles at 1:34 PM
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I Feel So Much Safer


Sorry I haven't updated the blog until now. I've been feeling under the weather today. But here's a story that caught my eye. If you look at the photo, you'll see why officials insisted on doing things by the book. this woman looks really suspicious. (For those new to this blog, I'm being really sarcastic.)


posted by Charles at 1:11 PM
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Saturday, April 27, 2002
 

George Bush Is Our First Hispanic President


Well, if Bill Clinton could be our first black president, why not? Richard Rodriguez has a lot of other interesting observations in this interview.


posted by Charles at 11:19 PM
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Blogger is broken and I don't feel so good myself.



Aftrer eating my last post the system is now chewing on my five sentence post-mortem / apology as an postprandial snack. The "generating pages" icon is just sitting there cycling over and over.

I had posted about 150 words (on line and not first in a text-editor) when I hit the POSTS key instead of the POST key. One saves and posts your text, the other disregards whatever is on the screen and brings up a new page, subsequently erasing your efforts without so much as a "Are you sure? Y/N".

I have no idea if this will make it past Blogger-beast or not. I just want to say that you"re doing a great job with the page, Charles. I'm really impressed at the frequency and quality of your links and comments. Now when I can tear my self away from my soul-sucking, lifeless, dead-end, overly deamnding job and it's never-ending extra-curricular requirements I'll try to post a story or two.

Speaking of which I HAVE TO go on a company part (joy) this weekend with staff and members. Old girlfriend will meet new girlfriend for the first time. Everyone will be commenting in Japanese (so I can't understand) about how much weight and age I've seemed to have acquired in the last few months. Hey! Dumbasses! I've been in the country for six years! Even a dog knows it's name when it hears it!

hate my life.

sorry.

Read this. It's sick in a sort of "Do we need a seven-day waiting period for crappy Japanese game shows?" sort of way. I at least owe you one post for reading this tripe.


posted by Ron at 10:52 PM
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Go*damn it!



I just typed about half a page of text, included 3 links and then watched it all disappear when I hit "Posts" instead of "Post."

I hate Blogger and it's f**ked up layout! And I hate my life.

Currently primal screaming!!!!


posted by Ron at 10:24 PM
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No Evidence of a Massacre


Human Rights Watch says the death toll at Jenin may not exceed 80. "There is simply no evidence of a massacre. But we are worried that Israel will use this fact to whitewash the enormous amount of damage done to the civilian sector," said Peter Bouckaert, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch who has been working closely with medical teams at the site. They've found just one man crushed to death by a bulldozer.

The U.N. Relief and Workers Agency says work is going slowly in the area because of all the explosives.Some of it is unexploded Israeli ordinance. But much of it, UNWRA says, consists of booby traps left behind by Palestinians.


posted by Charles at 9:52 PM
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A Great Question


RiShawn Biddle asks "Why are we talking about creating separate ethnic nations in the Palestine region in the first place?"

A good question. As I've noted before, I tend to sympathize with the Israelis. But I have to admit that I also have more than a few qualms about my feelings. I earlier called Israel a socialist theocracy. That was a deliberate bit of hyperbole. (Well, maybe not the socialist part.) But the state is intertwined with religion in a way that would be unacceptable in any other "Western" nation. And it's clear that the founders of Israel did their own bit of ethnic cleansing to guarantee their "Jewish state." (But to be fair, Arab nations did their part to rid themselves of Jews.) It's hard for me to accept the Israelis as completely innocent victims in this mess.

The libertarian in me wants to slap everyone involved and tell them their problems would be solved if that stopped seeking Palestinian states or Jewish states or Muslim states and learned to live in ethincally diverse nations that are tolerant of all religions.

But that ain't gonna happen. So the part of me that's fed up thinks that maybe the Ayn Rand Institute types are on the right track. They just don't go far enough. Instead of nuking only Iran, we should nuke everything from Morocco to Pakistan. The world would be much more peaceful then.

Yet if we did that we'd destroy oil fields, airports and other things that we really could use.

Can anyone tell me if we have any of those neutron bombs in the warehouse?


posted by Charles at 9:27 PM
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Japanese Gun Control


Here's a long, dense, but rewarding article by Dave Kopel that argues that Japanese gun laws "work" only because they exist in a larger system of government and social control over individuals. There's no reason to believe such laws would work in a nation where such controls are absent, such as the U.S.


posted by Charles at 8:46 PM
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Sharon's Plan?


I hope this article is really, really wrong. If Sharon does attempt to force all the Palestinians across the Jordan, he could ignite a region-wide war.


posted by Charles at 8:41 PM
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Bad Anna Kournikova News


By now you've heard that she says the Penthouse pictures aren't of her and is suing Guccione for misrepresentation. I was going to post a link so that you could make up your own mind. But it has already been taken down because of legal action. My opinion: She has a case.


posted by Charles at 6:10 PM
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Jack Chick


I've been meaning to post something on these evangelical cartoons for some time. But Brink beat me to it. Still, here are a few of my favorites on Catholicism, evolution, Masonry, Judaism, and Mormonism. Enjoy.


posted by Charles at 3:47 PM
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Maybe I Won't Change Careers


Georgia schools start looking for teachers in May, so I'm going to have to make up my mind about that path soon. But this story by another reporter who turned to teaching is giving me second thoughts about the switch. Suddenly, being an out-of-work journalist doesn't sound too bad.


posted by Charles at 2:50 PM
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Better Stock Up


We've talked before about when the Japanese will really discover just how screwed up their economy is. I think it might be in June.


posted by Charles at 2:31 PM
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No-Hit Wonders


Sorry I haven’t updated the blog in several hours. I spent much of the morning watching my cousin’s kids play T-ball. You know, the baseball game were the players don’t hit a pitched ball. They hit it off a stand set up on home plate.

This is how I’ve filled most of my Saturdays and many of my weekdays since getting back to Georgia. Don’t laugh; there are some attractive single moms that bring their kids to practice. After dumping their tobacco-chewing, beer-drinking redneck husbands, a well-traveled, college-educated man like me must seem mighty attractive. Well, I would if I weren’t 15 years older than they are and unemployed.

But back to the game. The kids are all five or six years old. That’s about the age of the kids you teach, right?

Well, my respect, and sympathy, for you has grown immensely. I’ve heard things described as being “as hard as herding cats.” Well, herding cats can’t be more difficult that getting kindergarten-aged and first-grade boys and girls to play an organized sport.

Organized is the key word.

My cousin’s oldest kid wants to be the pitcher. I know, there is no pitching. They place someone on the pitcher’s mound for defense. That’s where he wants to be. But the coaches want to rotate the players through all the different positions. So they try to get him to play third, or outfield, or first. But wherever they place him, he starts inching towards the pitcher’s mound. The concept of every cog in its place just doesn’t weigh too heavily on the six-year-old mind.

But he isn’t the only one with that trouble. Whenever the ball is hit, every kid on the field chases after it. This, of course, means that when one of them does catch it, there’s no one to throw it to. I wonder if T-ball is this disorganized in the Dominican Republic.
Fortunately, the ball isn’t hit that often. Look, I know that they are all no more than six. But it’s not like they have to hit a Nolan Ryan fastball. The ball is sitting there at chest height right in front of them. But they still whiff more times than they hit.
And when they do hit, it barely clears the runner’s path.

Well, that’s true of most of them. There’s one kid on the team. Let’s call him Danny Almonte. He’s a bit bigger than the rest of the kids. And when you’re that age, a bit bigger matters a lot. He can actually throw the ball pretty hard, and he can hit the darn thing, too. With some power. When it’s his turn to bat, the coaches have to pull the players in the field back. Otherwise, one would likely get killed by one of Danny’s line drives. They really haven’t mastered the art of putting their gloves over their faces.

Now that I think about it, there’s one other boy on the team about Danny’s size. But he isn’t any more coordinated than the other kids. He’s just bigger.

I may be making it sound like there’s a lot more going on at these practices than there really is. If you’ve played baseball, you know that much of the time when you are in the field there’s nothing going on. But you have to be alert for when it is time for you to field the ball.

Yet six-year-old kids don’t have a long attention span. If something isn’t happening, they quickly lose focus. Well, they lose focus on the game. But the boys get completely engrossed in the infield dirt. They can sit they are play for hours if one of the coaches doesn’t stop them. They’ll kick the dirt. Draw lines and shapes in it. Pile it up. Now that I think about, they do have long attention spans, just not for what adults want them to focus on.

And while they boys are playing in the dirt, the girls are all talking to each other. (Things probaly won't change much when they are adults.) No matter what positions they are supposed to be playing, the girls pretty quickly abandon them and bunch up in one spot. I don’t know what they are talking about. But they are as engrossed in it as the boys are in their dirt.

Riding herd on a dozen or so kids is not only difficult, it’s dangerous. As I said, kids tend to swing wildly when they have baseball bats in their hands. They often miss the baseball, but they have a radar-guided aim for other sorts of balls.



posted by Charles at 2:07 PM
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The Underrated Gerald Ford


The former president has sent a letter to President Bush opposing efforts to ban therapeutic cloning.


posted by Charles at 11:00 AM
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The Dinosaur Awards


Interesting article on Japan's version of knighthood or the Legion of Honor. Seems 90% of the awards go to government bureaucrats. Women are ineligible for the highest awards. In most categories, applicants must be 70 or older and have held a top position for several years.

Those in favor of reform also complain that the conservative selection system places far more weight on prestige and large organizations than merit, entrepreneurship or any innovation that might threaten the status quo--and help lead Japan out of its political and economic morass.


Prime Minister Koizumi has promised to reform the awards system. But, as with his promises of economic reform, his words have been more ambitious than his actions.


posted by Charles at 10:57 AM
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Amateurs Study Strategy; Professionals Study Logistics


That's an old military maxim I first heard in a speech by former Marine Commandant Charles Krulak. The Marines have been studying logistics for a long time. They've had to learn to move men and materials over large bodies of water and do so quickly. The Army, by contrast, is still preparing to fight the Soviets from fixed bases in Europe. Maybe that's why Donald Rumsfeld named a Marine general to a post that has traditionally been held by a Army general: SACEUR - the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.

Rumsfeld wants the armed forces of the future to be both light and lethal. The Army packs plenty of lethality. But its critics say the Army also packs so much weight that the lethality gives way to lethargy. In the Kosovo campaign, the Army took forever to move two dozen helicopters from Germany to the Balkans.

Thus, the suspicion that by putting a Marine general in Europe, Rumsfeld is sending the Army a message: Shape up.


Let's see if the Army gets the message.


posted by Charles at 10:52 AM
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Friday, April 26, 2002
 

Christian Schools Sure Have Changed Since I Was In College


What are they teaching at Texas Christian University? Maybe Tom DeLay should add it to his list of sinful colleges.


posted by Charles at 5:16 PM
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Parenting With Dignity


Mac Bledsoe conducts seminars and sells videotapes on how to rear an intelligent, ethical child. Judging by his son, he may know a thing or two about the subject.


posted by Charles at 3:31 PM
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Bellesiles Sinks Lower



Now he's accusing his critics of forging e-mails in his name. Next, he'll accuse Lindgren of being the person who "hacked" his web site. How long can Emory let this clown operate under its imprimatur?


posted by Charles at 12:10 PM
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Linda Lovelace


Joe Bob Briggs has a fair and accurate account of her life at NRO. But he leaves out a final sad episode in her life. In 2000, Linda returned to the world of pornography she had long attacked, posing for Leg Show magazine. The lay out was very soft core. She showed little other than her legs and feet. But the pictures appeared in an otherwise pretty hardcore fetish magazine. In an interview that went along with the photos, she retracted none of her attacks on her ex-husband or the porn industry. But she did add the feminists who had befriended her in the 1980s to the lengthy list of people she said had victimized her. Those women had used her to further their own political ends, she claimed, then failed to deliver on the financial support they had promised. Apparently, Linda’s problems were never her own fault.


posted by Charles at 11:38 AM
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Fox Fabricates News


If NBC had done something like this, conservatives would be all over them. But Neal Boortz is the only libertarian/conservative to pick up on this story.

Last week, Fox News did a story about nuclear plant safety. They hired a plane to circle the Indian Point Nuclear Plant for 20 minutes. No Air Force planes came by to check it out. Nothing. The point? It would be real easy for terrorists to use a private plane to smash into the plant.

But there's one problem. I'll let Neal fill you in:

Fox News went to the flight school and said that they wanted to rent an airplane and a pilot to do a news story. The story was going to be about escape routes from nuclear power plants. They wanted to show how people in the vicinity of nuclear power plants would get away in the event of some emergency.

Before the flight the pilot did what a responsible pilot would do. He contacted the FAA and told them about the flight. The New York (traffic control) Center gave the pilot permission to fly in the vicinity of the power plant. There was a special transponder code assigned to the airplane. The pilot was in touch with New York Center at all times during the flight.

What we have here is a deliberate attempt on the part of Fox News to fabricate and sensationalize a story about the dangers presented by general aviation. Pure, unadulterated fraud.


So will AIM and Brent Bozell and all the other conservative critics of the media pick up on this? Let's see just how interested they are in accurate news.

Here's a copy of the letter that the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association sent to Roger Ailes.


posted by Charles at 11:06 AM
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A Little Bit of Sense from Europe


Just a little. Romano Prodi says Arafat brought his problems on himself by rejecting Barak's peace offer. "Arafat was wrong not to accept it - clearly wrong - and he has paid so heavily for his mistake," Prodi said. But then he had to qualify his remarks by saying Israel still shouldn't try to dismantle the Palestinian Authority."You cannot choose, either in sport or in (politics) who is your opponent. Arafat is the head of the Palestinian Authority," Prodi said.


posted by Charles at 10:46 AM
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Guess What


Just as you prepare to leave Japan, the economy shows signs of turning around. Actually, I'm not at all as optimistic as Larry Kudlow is. Things may have really bottomed out. But this may just be another false start.


posted by Charles at 9:50 AM
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The Banality of Evil


From today's NY Post Page Six acount of a PEN dinner:
Dan Rather regaled his table - which included Salman Rushdie, Ron Howard and Ron Silver - with how the TV in his Baghdad hotel room would mystifyingly switch from a movie to a rerun of, say, "Perry Mason." Rather did some digging and learned that Saddam himself would simply order up his favorite shows on national TV, with no regard for citizens who wanted to see the end of the movie.



posted by Charles at 12:58 AM
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Asking the Right Questions


My friend Jacob Sullum gets to the heart of the matter. Those of us who tend to sympathize with Israel shouldn't let that stop us from asking tough questions about its actions. Palestinian claims of a large-scale massacre at Jenin seem to have little evidence backing them up. But that doesn't mean that IDF actions there were completely ethical. Let's hope that the U.N. inspectors can ask the sort of balanced reasoned questions Jacob does. But I'm not holding my breath.


posted by Charles at 12:55 AM
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Reverting to Bad Habits


Could U.S. attempts to woo "moderate" Muslim embolden the extremists? Bernard Lewis says it could.

The submission to being scolded and slighted, as Secretary of State Colin Powell did in his recent meeting with the king of Morocco, and his failure to meet with the president of Egypt, make the U.S. seem it is reverting to bad habits. That only further contributes to a perceived posture of irresolution and uncertainty on the part of the U.S. administration.


Let's hope President Bush showed greater backbone in his meetings with Crown Prince Abdullah.


posted by Charles at 12:26 AM
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Thursday, April 25, 2002
 

Poke Salad


Just got back from my aunt’s where she had cooked up a delicious supper of poke salad scrambled with bacon and eggs. I don’t know if you had poke salad in Savannah. I’m sure you don’t have it in Sendai. It’s the leaves of the pokeberry plant, which is a fairly common weed here. And it’s poisonous if not cooked properly. I'd describe the taste as like collard greens, only “gamier.” I guess you have to be a poor redneck to even try it.
Tony Joe White probably summed it up best in the song “Poke Salad Annie:”

Down there we have a plant that grows out in the woods,
And in the field ... looks somethin like a turnip green,
And everybody calls it poke salad ... poke salad;
Used to know a girl lived down there and she'd go out
In the evenings and pick her a mess of it, carry it
Home and cook it for supper, cause that's about all they
Had to eat, but they did all right.



posted by Charles at 7:22 PM
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The Pain of a Recession


The recession may be technically over now. But businesses keep cutting payrolls. And I know for a fact that newspapers are still slashing costs. So it's nice to see one industry that isn't downsizing. State governments continue to grow.

State budgets enacted for the 2002 fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2002 for most states, include spending growth of 2.8 percent, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). This is a far cry from the growth rates of the 1990’s, but still, it is growth.


State government spending grew 63% from 1990 to 2000, far outpacing population growth and inflation.

Though spending growth has slowed, tax revenues have actually fallen. So how are state governments covering the gap? Some built up rainy day funds during the boom. But many are relying on money from the settlement of their lawsuits against the tobacco industry.

But this all begs the question, if government can't tighten its belt during a recession, when can it cut back?



posted by Charles at 4:29 PM
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Ask Kelly


I'm not convinced that Ozzy Osbourne's daughter really writes the advice column that bears her name. But if she does, then Michelle Malkin owes Ozzy an apology. That "pathetic" father seems to have raised a pretty level-headed kid. There's nothing in the column that a conservative should object to. And this exchange should positively warm their hearts:
My older siblings and younger sister have all kissed other people, and I recently found out that my best friend has even had sex! I think it's not fair that I haven't even kissed anyone. What should I do? Should I be doing something that everyone else does? Should I wait? I don't even have a boyfriend. When I do, they dump me because I won't have sex. I don't know what I should do. — Erin
Well, I haven't kissed anyone in a year. Things just happen naturally; you shouldn't rush into it, because you always end up with the wrong person. And remember, everyone's not doing it. A lot of people are, but not everyone. One of my friends came up to me, and she was like, "I think I'm ready." And I was like, "Ready for what?" And she was like, "Sex." And I was like, "Oh. You have to find someone first. And you don't need to be doing that." Too many people don't understand the seriousness of what they do, and mistake the act of sex for an act of love, and most of the time it's not. It's just some smelly boy wanting to have sex. For a girl, it's a really personal thing. And it's not something that has to be done today, or has to be done in 10 years — it just happens when it happens.



posted by Charles at 3:45 PM
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Anti-American Libertarians


Look who the Rothbardians are cozying up to now. Le Pen is a racist. He has declared on many occasions that he believes in the "inequality of the races." History has demonstrated, he said, that the races "do not have the same evolutionary capacity." During the 1996 summer Olympics he said that “there was an obvious inequality between the black and the white race.” But then, the Rothbardians defend the Confederacy, so they clearly don’t mind snuggling up to racists.

His economic policies are hardly free market. He defends protectionism. He calls for some small tax cuts, but on the whole, he defends the bloated French welfare state. (He does want to limit it to white, native-born French persons.) His platform goes even further, calling for a guaranteed job for all Frenchmen.

He may not exactly be a Holocaust denier. But he is a Holocaust trivializer, calling it “a mere detail, a footnote in the history of the Second World War.” He once accused Jacques Chirac of being "in the pay of Jewish organizations.”

But that’s okay in the Rothbardian playbook because Le Pen is anti-American. Pardon me, he opposes American foreign policy. Whatever.


posted by Charles at 12:41 PM
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Wednesday, April 24, 2002
 

Another Poll


As of 8:46, a plurality believes the Palestinian account of what happened at Jenin, not the Israeli.

UPDATE: It's now noon, and a slight plurality believes Israel.


posted by Charles at 8:46 AM
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The Irish


The next Afghanistan may well be Colombia. Narco-terrorists there control a sizable chunk of that nation. And they've apparently formed alliances with Islamic terrorists, Basque separatists and The IRA. Those groups have been allowed to train in that portion of the country the drug dealers control.
Now, I could raise the libertarian point that the best way to cut the legs out from under narco-terroism is to cut their profits by legalizing drugs.
But that point has been raised before. What I'd really like to know is if we'll see Irish-American politicians and community leaders denounce the IRA for its links to these other groups. We demanded, rightly, that Islamic Americans denounce terrorism. Shouldn't we expect the same of the Irish?


posted by Charles at 12:11 AM
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Tuesday, April 23, 2002
 

The Real Real Lincoln


Tom DiLorenzo was one of my professors in graduates school. I had and have a great deal of respect for him as an economist and a teacher. That's why it's disconcerting to see him among the ranks of Southern apologists. But David Quackenbush effectively demolishes Tom's new book The Real Lincoln.
Suppressed evidence, misquotation, misconstruction of context, incompetent citations, inaccurate implication – it's all here. I have chosen these four examples from a much longer and ever-growing list. But these examples are utterly characteristic of the entire book. Dr. DiLorenzo wonders why the scholarly world has not responded with argument to his revelation of evidence that Lincoln was a tyrant. It may be because his "evidence" is such a cooked up mess.

I haven't read the book, but I have read enough apologetics for the Confederacy to know that a constricted and biased reading of primary sources is common to those works. But I have to say that attributing the words of a Southern defender of racial inequality and slavery to Lincoln, as Tom apparently does, low even for that genre.


posted by Charles at 5:23 PM
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More On the Killing Of Civilians


Stuart Taylor has a great piece on just this subject.

Most people accept that some civilian casualties are inevitable in war, and the fact that civilians might die isn’t necessarily a good reason to forego any particular military action. Does this mean that we can, as the Ayn Rand Institute folks urge, deliberately target civilians?
Absolutely not, contends professor Philip Bobbitt of the University of Texas Law School, the author of a new book (The Shield of Achilles) that explores deeply the history of war and law: “The terrorist does not reluctantly accept the accidental killings that accompany warfare; his whole point is to kill ordinary people in order to make them fearful. If we make targeting civilians lawful, we turn our armed forces into terrorists.”


I’m glad to see that Taylor accepts my take on the merits of the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (defensible) and that on Dresden (not defensible). Unfortunately, most orthodox Objectivists aren’t capable of such distinctions.

The problem is that they really don’t believe that there is such a thing as an innocent civilian in an enemy nation. Leonard Peikoff has explicitly argued that the fact that these people haven’t overthrown a tyrannical regime makes them culpable in its actions Never mind Ayn Rand’s own advice that no man has a duty to make a martyr of himself, and overthrowing tyrants is a dangerous business. It isn’t made any safer if one’s potential allies bomb you on the advice blood-n-guts philosophers.


posted by Charles at 4:36 PM
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Why Not the Zulus?


Richard Poe takes on those self-styled Indian activists who want to do away with sports teams named after Indians. My favorite part is a quote from one Indian activist who disagreed with Russell Means on the subject. He told Means that the names were actual honoring the warrior spirit of Indians. That just pissed Means off. "Indians were not war-like until the white man made them so, [Means] lectured. Rather, they were matriarchal, humanitarian, tolerant and multiculturalist. I could hardly believe my ears. Was Russell Means denying the warrior tradition of his own people?"

Means has also been running around the country trying to get Columbus Day parades banned. And he's a member of the Libertarian Party, showing that group will take anyone who signs their little non-aggression pledge. I doubt F.A. Hayek would meet their purity standards, however.


posted by Charles at 4:19 PM
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The Church of the Nativity


I noted earlier that Roman Catholic monks had welcomed Palestinian gunmen into the Church of the Nativity. But the Armenian monks there had been much less hospitable to the terrorists. Now, some of those Armenian monks have escaped from the Church. They say that Palestinian gunmen had begun beating some of the monks Monday night and had stolen a number of gold artifacts from the church. You take a snake to your bosom, you shouldn't be surprised when it bites you.


posted by Charles at 8:04 AM
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Monday, April 22, 2002
 

Wahoo


Here's a good tribute to the late Wahoo McDaniel.


posted by Charles at 9:44 PM
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The Real Hostages


It turns out there are some hostages at the Church of the Nativity. But it isn't the clerics. Rather, some of the Palestinians want to surrender, but they are being held at gunpoint by the more ruthless among them. Those few who have managed to escape are being called collaborators by the militants.


posted by Charles at 6:50 PM
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I'm Not Trolling For Hits


My pal Virginia Postrel has some nice things to say about this blog. She even notes my entry about Anna Kournikova and writes, "If I didn't know him so well, I'd swear he was just trolling for hits." I wasn't, really. Though now that she mentions it, the idea of people looking for nude photos of Anna and finding my discussion of the foreign policy ideas of the Ayn Rand Institute amuses me.

The original idea for this blog was that Ron and I would talk about whatever interests us, not just politics. And Anna definitely interests me. (Those who know just how old I am are now disturbed.) It was to be a discussion between the two of us. Unfortunately, Ron, unlike me, has a job and a girlfriend. (Funny how when you lose the first, the second seems to follow.) He doesn't have the time to post as much as he'd planned. So the blog has turned out to be me updating him on things. And by the way AYN RAND NUDE. Let's see what sort of hits that generates.


posted by Charles at 5:26 PM
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Anna Kournikova Nude


The Sun reports that Penthouse has obtained paparazzi photos of Anna and will publish them in the June issue.


posted by Charles at 1:22 PM
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Waiting for Arafat To Give The Okay


IslamOnline.Net has a regular fatwa column in which a respected scholar of Islamic law is asked to give a ruling on some matter. The latest question is whether it is legitimate to attack "Jewish interests" outside Israel. This is the response of Sheikh Faysal Mawlawi, Deputy Chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research:
If the leadership of the Islamic resistance in Palestine sees it more befitting for Muslims to confine their struggle to Palestine, then the battle should be restricted to Palestine only. However, in case the leaders of the Islamic resistance in Palestine see that the benefit of Palestinians dictates attacking the interests of the States and Israel outside the Palestinian territories, then we can see to what extent is this legitimate according to international conventions.

In other words, if Hamas and Arafat and others say Muslims should attack "Jewish interests" outside Israel, then Islam may well demand that. I'm not sure what to make of the word States unless it is a typo, and the author means the United States. But if that's the case, then he argues that Muslims would also have a duty to attack the U.S. That's something the original question didn't even ask about. And this is from a fairly mainstream web site. How long can we ignore the fact that the U.S. isn't merely engaged in a military action against a relative few persons, but in an ideological struggle against a significant share of the world's population?

On a different note, I'm sorry I haven't updated the page before now. I've been working on an article. As far as updates go, if I update throughout the day, as I often do, the latest bits are towards the bottom of the page. In other words, within a day, you scroll down to get the latest messages. The older ones are at the top.


posted by Charles at 1:18 PM
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Sunday, April 21, 2002
 

The Real Axis of Evil


Saudi intellectuals say it's the U.S. and Israel. Of course, they trot out the usual Nazi analogies, as if defending yourself against fanatics is the same as rounding up innocent women and children and herding them into gas chambers or invading other nations.


posted by Charles at 2:15 PM
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The Paul Kammerer, Er, Michael Bellesiles Saga Continues


Here's a withering attack on Bellesiles thatI haven't seen before. Historian Jerome Sternstein wonders why even critics are so reluctant to call Bellesiles a fraud. After all, one critic notes that it would have taken Bellesiles well over a year to have sifted through and researched the probate records of Philadelphia alone, just one of the forty counties whose probate records he claimed to have mined for evidence of guns." So how could Bellesiles have singlehandedly done all the research he claims to have done in 10 years?

And how does Bellesiles respond? By attacking Charlton Heston.


posted by Charles at 9:48 AM
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Saturday, April 20, 2002
 

Pius XII Would Be Proud


If you've been worried about the clergy in the Church of the Nativity, save your breath. They aren't exactly being held hostage by the Palestinian terrorists holed up in there.
"It was planned this way," said the Rev. Majdi Siryani, a Roman Catholic priest in Bethlehem who speaks daily with the monks and priests inside the Church of the Nativity and counts several of the armed Palestinian as his parishioners. "Everybody knew that if there was trouble, they would go to the church. They knew the Israelis would not storm the holy site. They'd be insane to do it."

Planned, that is, by the monks as well as the terrorists. The Church is jointly controlled by the Roman Catholic Church, the Greek Orthodox Church and the Armenian Church. But the Catholic Church has, by far, the largest presence. And its representatives seem the most sympathetic to the terrorists.
The Rev. Michael McGarry, director of the Tantur Ecumenical Institute for Christian Studies, located between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, said the religious orders that oversee the Church of the Nativity have a long tradition of sheltering people who are fleeing danger, regardless of their guilt or innocence.

In fact, Christians throughout the area actually sympathize with the terrorists. The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, who is the head of the Roman Catholic Church in the region, is a longtime ally of Yasser Arafat. He has specifically ordered churches in the West Bank to shelter Palestinians.
For now, the Israelis seem to be trying to wait out the terrorists, but if things go on much longer, they might pull a Janet Reno. Let's see what the reaction from Rome will be to that.


posted by Charles at 11:03 PM
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What About Thomas?


Not everyone is happy about the Supreme Court decision slapping down the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996. What I find interesting is that this article targets Justices Anthony Kennedy, J. P Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Funny, it ignores the concurring opinion written by conservative darling Clarence Thomas. Mentioning him might bring up memories of Long Dong Silver. Or it might give lie to the claim that the decision was simply "liberal orthodoxy." Freedom of speech is a conservative value. Clarence Thomas understands that, even if Terry Jeffrey does not.


posted by Charles at 12:23 PM
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Tackle By Who?


Wahoo McDaniel has passed away. He was a solid football player, a very good pro wrestler, and, by all accounts, one of the toughest men who ever lived. Wahoo was as well known for his private antics as his atheltic endeavors. He reportedly could not resist a dare. This led him to, among other things, eat a gallon jar of jalapeno peppers and drink a quart of motor oil. (Not at the same time.) A multi-sport star in high school, McDaniel grew up in Midland, Texas. His high school baseball coach there was a Texas oilman named George Herbert Walker Bush. Wahoo often drove around in a pickup truck with a bumper sticker that read "Trust the government? Talk to an Indian."


posted by Charles at 11:34 AM
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The Glories of Islam?


Great review of Bernard Lewis's "What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response." Lewis tries to find out why Islamic nations, which were once so vibrant, are now so stagnant. Roger Donway asks whether what went wrong with Islam is that it simply used up the cultural inheritance of the lands it conquered and had nothing to offer of its own.
In other words, we must start by asking: What went right? What did Islam do that brought it to a flourishing height—and why? Was its intellectual wealth largely a matter of having a rich inheritance fall into its lap? Or was it largely a matter of internally generated curiosity? And of course we must ask the same for the medieval West. Only then will we be in a position to ask: What went wrong in Islamic civilization? And: What did not go wrong in the West? If Islam's surge to the fore was simply the result of a great inheritance, then its fall requires no explanation. Once the inheritance was absorbed, Islam went no further. But if Islam's surge was indeed internally generated, to a great extent, then it does look as if some civilizational switch was turned off at the end of the medieval period, and that requires an explanation.

posted by Charles at 11:04 AM
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A Religion of Peace


In Islam's holiest shrine, one of Saudi Arabia's top clerics called for Allah to "terminate" the Jews. At what point can the Bush administration no longer ignore the fact that Saudi Arabia is the finanicial and spiritual base for Islamism?


posted by Charles at 9:14 AM
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Friday, April 19, 2002
 

I Think This Guy Was In My Dorm


One man's account of his, er, interesting neighbor.


posted by Charles at 11:41 PM
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Libertarian Warmongers


Brink and Virginia have done a good job of exposing the anti-American tendencies and head-in-the-sand attitudes of some self-styled libertarian isolationists. But what about their opposites, those libertarians who want to bomb most of the rest of the world back to the Stone Age.

I’m talking, of course, about the folks at the Ayn Rand Institute. Those who saw them will never forget Leonard Peikoff’s appearances on The O’Reilly Factor last fall. Bug-eyed and almost frothing at the mouth, Peikoff said the war in Afghanistan was going poorly and we needed to be more savage. Somehow, he thought that nuking Tehran would solve our problems. Of course, just a few days later, the Taliban fell, showing that whatever his strengths as a philosopher, Peikoff makes a poor military strategist.

Learning nothing from this experience, the Randians have formed the In Moral Defense of Israel web page. “Israel is a free, Westernized country, which recognizes the individual rights of its citizens (such as their right to liberty and freedom of speech). It uses military force only in self-defense, in order to protect itself,” the site declares. Now, the lord knows I’ve rather live in Israel than any other Middle Eastern nation. But I’d rather not live there at all. Yes, Israel is more in the right that the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, etc. But it’s a bit odd to see the atheist capitalists at ARI defending so stridently a nation that is basically a socialist theocracy.

More troublesome is ARI’s continuing bloodthirstiness. (I'm tempted to describe their attitude as "Bomb them all, and let God sort it out," but the ARI folks don't believe in God.)

In an article published earlier this year, ARI fellow Onkar Ghate declared that “victory with a minimum of one's own casualties may even require a free nation to deliberately target the civilians of an aggressor nation in order to cripple its economic production and/or break its will. This is what the United States did in WWII when it dropped fire bombs on Dresden and Hamburg and atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These bombings were moral acts.”

I agree with ARI that a government’s first duty is to its own citizens. And it should craft its war-making policy in a way that first minimizes the pain to its own citizens and second to minimize the casualties among its own troops. The lives of others, even innocent civilians can never be given equal weight to the lives of our own citizens and soliders.

But I part company with ARI on the question of civilian casualties among enemy nations. The right to self-defense does not give one the right to aggress against others.

Now, clearly we cannot have a complete prohibition against the killing of innocents. Our enemies would just hide amongst them and thwart our defense. Such a policy would be tantamount to suicide.

I have no problems with attacks on military targets that also result in the deaths of civilians. But to target civilians simply to "break the will" of our enemies is wrong. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had military targets within them, and attacking those cities, even though many civilians died, seems defensible. But the attack on Dresden, which had no military targets and was singled out simply to demoralize the Germans, seems fairly evil.


posted by Charles at 4:30 PM
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Let Little Brother Fight his Own Fights


It has become great sport in the U.S. to mock Europeans, especially the French, for their lack of spine. From those who protested Ronald Reagan’s strong stand against the Soviet Union to those who condemn Israel for standing up to Palestinian terrorism, Europe has long seemed filled with those who would rather accommodate evil than condemn it. But why? Some authors have focused on the dominant cultural philosophy in Europe. David Brooks has aptly pointed out that bourgeoisophobia is an important part of this philosophy. "It is a hatred held by people who feel they are spiritually superior but who find themselves economically, politically, and socially outranked. They conclude that the world is diseased, that it rewards the wrong values, the wrong people, and the wrong abilities. They become cynical if they are soft inside, violent if they are hard. In the bourgeoisophobe's mind, the people and nations that do succeed are not just slightly vulgar, not just over-compensated, not just undeservedly lucky. They are monsters, non-human beasts who, in extreme cases, can be blamelessly killed,” he wrote. Bourgeoisphobia is rooted in a primitive Romanticism that upholds tradition and stasis. You see strains of it in the U.S. in those people who march against globalism, in the neo-conservative critics of market economies and among self-styled paleolibertarians. At its, heart is a sort of envy, a hatred by intellectuals for those who they see as their social inferiors who enjoy more of life’s material rewards. It is, as Ayn Rand might say, a hatred of the good for being good, a hatred of success. And no groups have, as wholes, been more successful than the Jews and the Americans. “And so just as the French intellectuals of the 1830s rose up to despise the traders and bankers, certain people today rise up to shock, humiliate, and dream of destroying America and Israel,” Brooks writes. But how did this philosophy come to dominate in Europe? How did they come to see their own weakness as virtue? Clearly, it has deep roots. Both Nazism and Marxism were girded by an anti-bourgeois Romanticism. But one factor that played an important role is NATO. Put simply, modern Europeans have wallowed in their weakness because they have never had to be strong. Shielded by the U.S. nuclear umbrella and our willingness to make our own cities targets if Europe was ever invaded, Europeans could afford to ignore the true threat that the Soviet Union posed to them. And instead of spending their money on the military they needed to defend themselves, European nations squandered it on a vast welfare state that has further enervated their spirit and subsidized the Islamic terrorists in their midst. Today, they still know that if an international threat grows large enough, the U.S. will defend them against it, even as they condemn it for doing so. Maybe be the best way to give Europeans some backbone is to finally force them to stand on their own feet.


posted by Charles at 12:46 PM
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Los Angeles Had Nothing Like It


According the The Summerville News, a local mortuary owner has applied for permits to open both a crematory and a barbeque restaurant on his property. For some reason, the city council seems opposed to his plans.


posted by Charles at 9:54 AM
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Send the National Guard Back In


Check out this column from a Kent State history professor.


posted by Charles at 9:34 AM
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Thursday, April 18, 2002
 

Before Bin Laden


Interesting article on the father of the modern jihad movement.
Azzam had redefined the conflict: For many, Palestinians were no longer engaged in a nationalist struggle to establish a state. They were conducting an uncompromising battle to reclaim lost Muslim lands.


posted by Charles at 3:44 PM
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Coup You


With the notable exception of Colombia, most Latin American leaders have welcomed the return of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to power. Those same leaders earlier expressed outrage over the coup the temporarily ousted Chavez. "We are very concerned about the events in Venezuela because it is evidently an attack on democratic values ... obviously we will profoundly analyze the situation today in the Rio Group," said Honduran Foreign Minister Guillermo Perez shortly after the coup. And there’s the problem. Some see anything Chavez does as legitimate because he was elected. And any coup is by definition illegitimate because it overturns the results of an election. So Chavez can intimidate opponents, stifle the media and confiscate property with impunity. But anyone who dares resist his force with force is to be condemned. And that points to one of the worst trends of the 20th century: the deification of democracy. The divine right of kings to rule is no longer accepted by anyone. But the divine right of “the people” is. And what has this given us? Democratic governments have produced levels of taxation that no monarch could ever have dreamed of. They have set up rules, regulations and mandates that are without end. Until Chavez’s brief ouster, Venezuela had the longest-running democracy in Latin America. But 44 years of democratic government has not brought that land freedom or prosperity. Democracy clearly has a place as a means of decision making within a framework of limited government. But it should never be scene as an end in itself. “The people,” and their representatives have no right to rule unfettered. What gives a government legitimacy is its respect for the rights to life, liberty and property, not the fact that a majority of voters chose its members over other persons. As Thomas Jefferson noted in the Declaration of Independence, “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends,” it should be abolished. Now, Jefferson also cautioned that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes. Perhaps prudence would have dictated that the coup leaders try to find a means within the existing political process to oust Chavez. But Chavez has been consolidating his hold on power from the day he entered office. He clearly aims at being not just the country’s president, but its dictator. The short-lived government that overthrew Chavez should have been judged by its allegiance to basic freedoms and rights, not to its origin. Maybe it would have been no better than the government of Chavez. We’ll never know now. Why should a “democratically elected” dictator be preferable to a government set in place by the military? The answer is that it shouldn’t. If the military-backed government respects basic rights more than a democratic government, it is the better form of government. Ask yourself: would you rather live in a land with sky-high taxes, strong-arm police and democratic elections? Or would you rather live in a monarchy where the king pretty much lets his subjects live free? For now, Chavez still has an amazing degree of popularity in Venezuela. But if things continue as they have more and more people will question “democratic values” and what it brought them.


posted by Charles at 11:08 AM
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Wednesday, April 17, 2002
 

The Link Worked, Dammit


The link to the CAIR poll worked when I posted it. I checked. But now it seems to lead to nowhere. I wonder why.


posted by Charles at 11:24 PM
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It's Back


Thanks to Instapundit for alerting that the CAIR poll is back up. As of 9:41 p.m., there are 8894 votes, and it's 78% against trying Sharon for war crimes. I'm betting that somewhere in the night, there's surge of votes in favor of trying him.


posted by Charles at 9:42 PM
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Arrgh!


Damn my technological illiteracy. While trying out this Internet radio stuff for the first time, I stumbled by accident on a station that played Wilco, classic Rolling Stones, Lucinda Williams and the Jayhawks. But I had to use the phone, so I turned off the computer, and now I can't find that station.


posted by Charles at 8:48 PM
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Before It's Too Late


I thought I'd link to this petition against banning cloning.


posted by Charles at 6:59 PM
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Limited Selection


On the drive from Summerville to Dalton, I heard an ad for Gordon Lightfoot's new Complete Greatest Hits album. That's what, Early Morning Rain and If You Could Read My Mind on one side and Rainy Day People and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald on the other?


posted by Charles at 6:08 PM
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Awful Stereotypes


By now you've seen this photo. Now can you imagine two people from any other country in this predicament?


posted by Charles at 6:05 PM
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I Like Zell More Each Day



Thanks to Virginia Postrel for pointing out this tally of how senators are lining up on the cloning ban. Georgia's Zell Miller, now my senator, is expected to oppose the ban. Max Cleland is listed as a fence sitter. Virginia also listed some useful information on how to contact your senators to let them know how you feel about this and other issues.


posted by Charles at 4:32 PM
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It Is My Only Steady Source Of Income Now


Sorry I haven't posted much today. I've been writing more Brickbats for Reason.


posted by Charles at 1:01 PM
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Well, At Least Franco Is Still Dead


Is Osama alive? Maybe. Does it matter? To a degree. Clearly his death would be a big blow. But keeping him on the run, unable to plot long-range plans will be almost as effective. As for the military carping about using Afghans on the ground, I'm not sure how much weight to put on their claims. Yes, the Afghans aren't as professional as U.S. troops. Yes, they are also poltically unreliable. But putting large numbers of ground troops into that nation may have been the one way to unite all the disparate factions against us. (Remember Somalia?) Maybe in retrospect U.S. ground troops could have done more. But I get the feeling this is just the carping of a much of officers pissed that they don't have a bunch of battle ribbons on their chests.


posted by Charles at 12:32 PM
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Would you believe...? Missed him by *that* much.


Drudge is linking to this story claiming a clicque of intelligence officials believe we have let BinLaden live.

The crux of the story seems to work like this. No one's heard from the guy in over three months; his operatives don't seem to be operating from a central locus (i.e. comm traffic doesn't have any discernable heirarchy to it), the guy has either Marfan syndrome, diabetes, kidney problems or all three and would need constant medical attention if he were still in the wild, and a nation would have to be batshit crazy to offer him sanctuary under any conditions. But because we cannot prove that he's not alive we must assume that he is in fact not dead.

Schrodinger would love this.

The other part to the story is "unnamed military sources" are blamming the apparent non-death on entrusting locals to guard the escape routes. I'd think, however, that if a clan warrior had a chance to nab Bin Laden they would have certainly put him in protective custody and then bargained for power / cash with the Americans. The man is of no use to anyone except as a hostage at this point... Bush said it, the man's been completely marginalized.

But you gotta love this quote:

One official spokesman, declining to be named, described questions about the battle as "navel-gazing" and said the national security team is "too busy for that." He added, "We leave that to you guys in the press."

But some policymakers and operational officers spoke in frustrated and even profane terms of what they called an opportunity missed.

"We [messed] up by not getting into Tora Bora sooner and letting the Afghans do all the work," said a senior official with direct responsibilities in counterterrorism. "Clearly a decision point came when we started bombing Tora Bora and we decided just to bomb, because that's when he escaped. . . . We didn't put U.S. forces on the ground, despite all the brave talk, and that is what we have had to change since then."


Hey, didn't Bill Mahr almost lose a TV show for saying pretty much the same thing?



posted by Ron at 11:11 AM
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Meet the Old Disease


Rickets has emerged once again as a major problem in parts of Great Britain. Most of the children suffering from it are either Asian or Caribbean (Pakistani or black.) Darker skinned people need more sunlight to get the Vitamin D they need, and England just doesn't have enough. Of course, Vitamin D supplements could offset that, but not enough mothers and children take them.


posted by Charles at 8:31 AM
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Exporting the Revolution


I expressed some fear Sunday that Hugo Chavez's return to power could be bad, not just for Venezuela, but for the region. Chavez has already cozied up to the narco-terrorists destabilizing Colombia. It seems he may have further reason to help undermine that country.


posted by Charles at 8:21 AM
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Tuesday, April 16, 2002
 

The Anna Kournikova of Chess?


That may be an insult to Alexandra Kosteniuk. She may not be quite as attractive as Anna. But she seems to be living up to her potential in her sport, unlike Ms. Kournikova.


posted by Charles at 11:21 PM
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Poll? What Poll?


Okay, after CAIR took down its poll on Sharon, it left this message on its web site
CAIR is investigating several nefarious attempts by users trying to manipulate the votes. Thank you for your patience while we isolate and correct the problem. Please be advised that such systems that help in weighing public opinion should not be misused.


Well, Best of the Web bitched slapped them, pointing out that those "nefarious attempts" were simply many people voting in a way CAIR didn't like.

So guess what? Now, even that message is gone. Anyone visiting the site would have no way of knowing there ever was a poll. In fact, I couldn't find any hint that CAIR even conducts weekly polls. And all mentions of previous polls seemed to be gone as well.





posted by Charles at 3:11 PM
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President Orwell?


It seems CAIR isn't the only place where incovenient facts get overlooked. The White House has been removing Bush's gaffes from official transcripts of his speeches and interviews.

BTW, thanks for the praise about my exploration of html. I've gotten some e-mail asking what the big deal was. These people thought that my new achievements are no big deal. But since all the writers were long-time friends, they should no just how computer illiterate I am. For me, it's a big step. After all, I'm the man who spent 10 minutes asking a tech support person about a "strap on" that I'd heard about before he realized I meant "plug in."


posted by Charles at 1:18 PM
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Who's Da Man?



"Who's da bloggin' man who'll soon have his own .plan? ... ChuckO!"

Congrats on learning (or "l3arn N" as the more tech-stupid would say) and posting your first bit of HTML... You've just taken your first step into a much larger universe.

Over on Drudge's site as of 10 minutes ago he had two headlines in different columns; "Archard: Urich near death." and "Urich is dead." I propose that we try to preserve the dual quantum state of Bob and not allow the waveforms of probablity to coalesce by refusing to observe any further updates. Ahh, damn.. someone peeked.. I hope they can live with this on their conscience.

Over at Lileks' Bleat yesterday he had a "too close to home" story about a visit to the optometrist:
"The prescreening was interesting. You put your face up to a device that peers at your eyes, and then blows compressed air directly into your eyeball. You're not expecting it. They don't tell you it's coming. Were it not for the large machine between you and the technician you'd slap her out of instinct.

Or yelp like a frightened little girl while your Japanese masters snigger at your unsophistication and cowardice. Or maybe that's just me.

By the by, as my second grade reader used to say, I buggered the Foreign Service Exam last weekend. Mind you it was easy... The job knowledge questions which are suppossed to ensure an applicant has at least a college graduate-level understanding of world history, foreign policy, constitutional history, American government, etc. were almost an insult. "This man provoked controversy following the attempted assassination of Ronald Regan by declaring, due to Vice President Bush's absence from Washington, that he was "in charge here..."
Who is Alexander Haig, Alex?
Yes... Choose again.
"I'll take Painfully Obvious American Cultural History for $500.
"The answer is: "Tom Joad sat in the driver's seat, next to him sat Ma and next to her, Rose of Sharon. The truck crept along as the pavement shimmered in front of them.' This quote is from A) As I Lay Dying B) The Grapes of Wrath C)Ringworld D)Heather has two Mommies."

Where I screwed up was on the essay. I thought there was a seperate planning phase and then a writing phase... so I wasted 30 of my 50 minutes waiting to hear, "You can now begin writing." Doh! A trip to Sapporo to the American consulate... (Which by the way was in the middle of nowhere! Seriously It was out on the edge of the city tucked away on some small suburban street surrounded by single family homes... weird.) which cleaned out my resources and I've got bumpkus to show for it. It just makes me madder still because I should have blown that test out of the water.

I'll take it again but... damn!


posted by Ron at 11:24 AM
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The Quran On Lying


"God guides not one who is a prodigal, a liar" (40:28). "God guides not him who is a liar, an ingrate" (39:3). "God's curse will rest on him if he is a liar" (24:7).

Apparently the folks at CAIR choose to overlook those verses.

When I got up this morning, their weekly poll had closed after one day. The vote was 94-6 against trying Ariel Sharon for war crimes. Less than an hour later, well, I'll let Instapundit explain:

Reader Rick Bradley reports that the folks at CAIR seem to have altered their online poll to produce the desired result, in a rather obvious and heavy-handed fashion -- a heavy majority now favors trying Ariel Sharon for war crimes, but around 10,000 votes have suddenly disappeared:

You should take a look at the Cair Poll again. It somehow went from "94-6 w/11,951 votes" to "7-93 w/ 2083 votes". Who needs "technical problems" when you've got good old fashioned bias?


So when these folks tell you that Islam is a peaceful religion remember their track record.


posted by Charles at 10:50 AM
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