Friday, February 27, 2004
Something That Slipped My Notice [UPDATED]

Look at the 'Posted By' tags at the end of each of the posts on this page. See anything odd? Yeah, that's right, it says 'Supernova.'

See, when I was signing up here at Blogger - heck, when I sign up for ANYTHING nowadays - I instinctively filled every blank given to me. Call it a remnant of high school scantron sheets, but I feel uneasy about leaving slots blank. So when I set this blog up, I used Supernova (my online alias) in the Nickname slot.

Now, I've been reading recently (though the 'furor' has died down a bit) about the pros and cons of anonymous blogging, and I have to admit that I'm more likely to side with those who blog under their own name - or who at least don't prevent people from rather easily locating their identity - than I am with someone who uses a pseudonym. Chalk it up to my 'obsession' with Truth, but there it is.

So I realized, this morning, that Blogger was tagging all my posts with my online alias, rather than my name (Austin) or my login. This struck me as hypocritical - even though you guys didn't know my stance on anonymity, I knew - and so I've taken steps to change it. So, from now on, I'm blogging as me.

Well, there you go, blogosphere - I'm metaphorically naked! (And the movement into exhibitionism is complete [shudder]).

Ooooh, the change in nickname has automatically changed every tag on the site - nifty!
Ah, The Poison Begins To Seep...

I woke this morning to The Edge 102.1 FM's morning programming - The Dean Blundell Show - and was put into a foul mood. I hope it doesn't last the rest of the day.

Why was my mood so pre-empted, you ask? Well, first, Blundell is a wannabe Howard Stern, so the content of his morning show is less than good clean fun (I enjoy listening to the Edge, and thus, my radio stays dialed in), but as he still has to play actual music, he can't go into the full-time shock jock gig. So on a normal day, it's usually a toss-up as to whether or not I'll be starting off well. Today the coin fell on it's head.

On the news portion of the show, given at the top of every hour, Blundell's correspondent (he has a number of them) gave the headlines, as per usual, and recounted the tale of Rosie O'Donnell's 'marriage' to her partner yesterday. Recounting her reasons for marriage, Rosie said, "We were both inspired to come here after the sitting president made the vile and hateful comments he made." But that quote wasn't used in the show. (And nevermind the fact that 'anger' isn't really all that high on the list of good reasons to get married).

What was used in the show was the correspondent's summary of Bush's comments. Now, I believe what the newsreader was attempting to do was summarize Rosie O'Donnell's viewpoint on Bush's statement, but he didn't attribute it to her, and he didn't quote her verbatim. He didn't even say "Rosie said she was getting married in response to Bush's cruel comments." No, he just referred to the comments as evil things.

Let's go take a look at what the President said.

Eight years ago, Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage for purposes of federal law as the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.

The act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 342-67 and the Senate by a vote of 85-14.

Those congressional votes, and the passage of similar defense of marriage laws in 38 states, express an overwhelming consensus in our country for protecting the institution of marriage.

In recent months, however, some activist judges and local officials have made an aggressive attempt to redefine marriage. In Massachusetts, four judges on the highest court have indicated they will order the issuance of marriage licenses to applicants of the same gender in May of this year.


On a matter of such importance, the voice of the people must be heard. Activist courts have left the people with one recourse. If we're to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America. Decisive and democratic action is needed because attempts to redefine marriage in a single state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country.

The Constitution says that "full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts and records and judicial proceedings of every other state."


An amendment to the Constitution is never to be undertaken lightly. The amendment process has addressed many serious matters of national concern, and the preservation of marriage rises to this level of national importance.

The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith. Ages of experience have taught humanity that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society. Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society.

Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all.


America's a free society which limits the role of government in the lives of our citizens. This commitment of freedom, however, does not require the redefinition of one of our most basic social institutions.

Our government should respect every person and protect the institution of marriage. There is no contradiction between these responsibilities.

We should also conduct this difficult debate in a matter worthy of our country, without bitterness or anger.

In all that lies ahead, let us match strong convictions with kindness and good will and decency.
I'm willing to wager large amounts of money (though I won't) that Rosie O'Donnell didn't read the President's comments. But that does not in any way excuse those who deliver the news to the listeners from not knowing what the President said, and reporting it accurately.

Over at Peeve Farm, Brian Tiemann has some incredibly insightful comments. [Language Alert/emphasis in original]
I'm now caught between like 90% of my friends, who are now convinced more than ever that Bush is a gay-bashing, hateful, bigoted asshole in the thrall of the Religious Right-- and the rational rest of the world, who is trying with complete sincerity to keep the concept of "marriage" from being redefined by state judiciaries who almost without exception seem to keep coming to the opposite conclusions about gay marriage that the state legislatures do when they get around to voting on the issue. (What does it tell you when state judiciary after state judiciary legalizes gay marriage, followed immediately by each state legislature in question ratifying a constitutional amendment or other state law banning it? I don't know about you, but it tells me that the judiciaries aren't enacting the will of the people.)

I have to choose sides if I'm going to be able to weather this storm. And you know... the aforementioned friends aren't impressing me with their rationality or their tolerance or their willingness to compromise. Or, especially, with their desire to actually research the matter and consider it from an opposing viewpoint, one that might be founded on something other than hatred.


[R]eading Bush's actual statement reveals a position so reluctant, so sad, so compromising, so full of genuine desire for kindness and understanding for all Americans and a hope that they can all come to an amicable solution without the need for playing out a tired Civil Rights-era script that can't even be cast properly today, that the people who continue even after reading it to insist that Bush is a bigot do so by implying that he's reading a prepared statement through gritted teeth, his chain jerked by an offstage puppet-handler under a floating cross.

Brian provides quite a unique perspective on this issue, as he is gay himself. He's really starting to feel the pressure, too - from both sides.
I've written post after post, starting as calmly and evenly as I knew how, and ending up with this bristly piece of lunatic ravery that I know full well looks like I've come totally unhinged. And maybe that's sort of intentional-- maybe I wanted to just stick a stake in the ground that shows how far I'm willing to go if I'm pushed really hard, but where I'm really not comfortable being. I imagine people from all the aforementioned walks of life will read the post above, and each will have his or her own strong reaction.

And I know who I'll really be catching it from, if and when they stumble across this post: my dearest and closest friends.
Indeed. Brian needs the support and encouragement of those of us who are in the middle ground with him. I publicly offer him mine.

To get back to the original focus of this entry, it is unacceptable for 'journalists,' even those as lowly as the headline readers on morning music radio shows that play to the GenX crowd, to repeat, without attribution or disclaimer, the bias and opinions of a person (celebrity or not) as fact.

You want to know why Canada at large is anti-American? In part, because of a rather large inferiority complex. But also because of lots of little tidbits like this. If you repeat a lie often enough, and with enough conviction, people will believe it. Well, people up here started to believe it a long time ago, and now it's just piling on.
Thursday, February 26, 2004
The Best Analysis

Dennis Prager has written the best analysis of the conflict over The Passion Of The Christ that I've seen so far:

The increasing tension over this film has reinforced impressions I offered Mel Gibson that day. When watching 'The Passion,' Jews and Christians are watching two entirely different films.

For two hours, Christians watch their Savior tortured and killed. For the same two hours, Jews watch Jews arrange the killing and torture of the Christians' Savior.

In order to avoid further tension between two wonderful communities that had been well on their way to historic amity, it is crucial for each to try to understand what film the other is watching and reacting to.
Truly insightful, this needs to be read by those on both sides of the issue.
I've Just Been Instalanched!

Welcome to readers of Instapundit. The entry you're looking for can be found here. Feel free to have a look around, but remember - you break, you buy. [wink]

The Fire Is Passing Around

James Lileks takes the torch away from Steyn (for the moment), and thus I can declare him 'on fire' today. He deconstructs Howard Stern, critics of Mel Gibson's Passion, and gives Jasper the Dog a glare or two. Go read. [Graphic Language Alert]

They Want Us To Submit To This?

Instapundit brings us up to date on the on-going 'trial' of Slobodan Milosevic at The Hague:

THE HAGUE -- The prosecution in Slobodan Milosevic's war crimes trial moved yesterday to rest its case two days early as the chief prosecutor conceded her team had not produced "the smoking gun" to convict the former Yugoslav president of genocide, the most serious charge against him.

"I know that I don't have the smoking gun on the count of genocide, and we will see what the trial chamber decides," chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte said in an interview only minutes after she signed a motion to end the prosecution's two-year case.
Wait, wait, wait...the only reason we went in to Yugoslavia and Kosovo was because they were committing genocide. We knew that was happening, so we stepped in to stop it. Now they're saying at The Hague that it can't be 'proven'? I agree with Glenn's assessment of hypocrisy, but just think - the UN, and France, and Germany, etc. want us to give Saddam Hussein over to The Hague for trial.

Why, so they can find him not guilty?
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Ah, Nothing Like A Reminder... [UPDATED]

...that even in America, anti-Semitism still rears its ugly head. It's stuff like this that really gets me worked up.

Here I was, just about to hit the sack for the night (long day tomorrow), when I come across this pointer to Adbusters' latest discussion of 'neoconservative conspiracies.' (Yes, those are scare quotes - Reuters doesn't have a monopoly on editorial bias, thank-you-very-much!) What I discovered...well, read for yourself:

Drawing attention to the Jewishness of the neocons is a tricky game. Anyone who does so can count on automatically being smeared as an anti-Semite. But the point is not that Jews (who make up less than 2 percent of the American population) have a monolithic perspective. Indeed, American Jews overwhelmingly vote Democrat and many of them disagree strongly with Ariel Sharon's policies and Bush's aggression in Iraq. The point is simply that the neocons seem to have a special affinity for Israel that influences their political thinking and consequently American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Here at Adbusters, we decided to tackle the issue head on and came up with a carefully researched list of who appear to be the 50 most influential neocons in the US...Deciding exactly who is a neocon is difficult since some neocons reject the term while others embrace it. Some shape policy from within the White House, while others are more peripheral, exacting influence indirectly as journalists, academics and think tank policy wonks. What they all share is the view that the US is a benevolent hyper power that must protect itself by reshaping the rest of the world into its morally superior image. And half of the them are Jewish.
I'm filled with a rather large portion of anger here (but I haven't completed my 'Angry South Park' .gif yet, so you'll just have to imagine him upset), and I want to write, screed, and blow this guy and his magazine out of the water - but I have to get to bed in five minutes (yeah, like I'm going to be able to sleep now). So, instead, I'll link you to a much calmer, more reasonable response from Michael Totten who, among other things, explains in detail exactly why Mr. Lasn's piece is a very dangerous kind of anti-Semitism.

Oh, and just to steal another link from a fellow blogger, I'll go ahead and point you to the 'official' definition of a "NeoConservative," in case all those buzzwords Lasn throws around start to confuse you. As Mr. Totten points out, "The word 'Jew' does not appear in [Irving Kristol's] essay."

Now I've just gotta figure out a way to blow off this anger...

Well, whaddya know? I got some sleep after all. Just before I go into take my next mid-term, let me point you to George Will's latest observations on the re-rise of anti-Semitism.
Like traditional anti-Semitism, but with secular sources and motives, the political version, which condemns Jews as a social element, is becoming mainstream, and chic among political and cultural elites, mostly in Europe. Consider:

- A cartoon in a mainstream Italian newspaper depicts the infant Jesus in a manger, menaced by an Israeli tank and saying, "Don't tell me they want to kill me again." This expresses animus against Israel rather than twisted Christian zeal.

- The European Union has suppressed a study it commissioned, because the study blamed the upsurge in anti-Jewish acts on European Muslims -- and the European left.

- Nineteen percent of Germans believe what a best-selling German book asserts: The CIA and Israel's Mossad organized the Sept. 11 attacks.

- On French television, a comedian wearing a Jewish skullcap gives a Nazi salute while yelling, "Isra-Heil!"

- If Israel is not the Great Satan, it is allied with him -- America. European anti-American demonstrations often include Israel's blue and white flag with a swastika replacing the star of David, and signs perpetuating the myth, concocted by Palestinians and cooperative Western journalists, of an Israeli massacre in Jenin: "1943: Warsaw / 2002: Jenin."

- Omer Bartov, a historian at Brown University, writes in the New Republic that much of what Hitler said "can be found today in innumerable places: on Internet sites, propaganda brochures, political speeches, protest placards, academic publications, religious sermons, you name it."
There's more, and it's worth reading.
Success!! (Sort Of)

I've done it! I've successfully incorporated an RSS feed of my iTunes history into my blog - now you can see what I've been listening to recently (included above the current track is a link to my AudioScrobbler profile, so you can get a more indepth look at my listening habits). Also, thanks to Jason's link, I've been able to put together several editions of the new 'South Park' version of me - which will serve to let you know how I'm feeling on a given day. All of this is now available in the sidebar for your perusing pleasure.

Oh, all right - I'll explain the post's title: the 'Sort Of' means that I didn't get exactly what I wanted. The track listed in the JavaScript table isn't actually what's going to my ears at this moment. AudioScrobbler (at the moment) only lets you access the past 10 songs that you have added to their database. Which means that everything you get from them and their feed is on a significant delay. I've put in a request for a feed version of 'Now Playing' - which would be EXACTLY what I'm trying to show you - but who knows if it will materialize.

It's really a minor thing, though - real time music? Who cares? - so I'm content with things the way they are. When I get my own server and domain, then I'll be able to host the code myself, and I can do my own realtime automatic updates, rather than mooch off of benevolent bestowers of bandwidth.

So now I've got my music, my mood, and my mind all on display. Yeah - exhibitionism, here I come.

Now This Is What It's Supposed To Be About!

Andrew Coyne has placed his entire archive of columns online - everything he's written since 1985.

The entire million-word archive of Coyne columns going back to 1985 is now at your disposal, at the bottom left of the screen. Type in "Stephen Harper," for example to see what I've said about him (hello, Stephen), and you'll find 21 columns. Thanks to the miracle of Google technology, you have your choice: you can view the columns in pristine Rich Text Format, or in HTML, with the keywords highlighted. In time I'll be adding my magazine pieces, speeches, the works: a monument to the ego on a truly Ozymandian scale.
All that and more coming. This is what the internet is all about, folks - tons of information, right at your fingertips. Fantastic!
A Defense [UPDATED]

Jeff Jarvis has undertaken the task of defending America's two party system:

[I]n Germany, for example, you can vote for the Greens with some confidence and good conscience that, if they're big enough, they can join with the liberals and in the end, you're still supporting a left-leaning government and your party leaders are at least part of the government's cabinet. A vote for the Greens is a vote for the left, not a vote discarded.

That's not the way it works here, of course. We elect one person for President and that has nothing to do with which parties win elsewhere.

This means that our system forces voters to make a choice -- but at least it's our choice.

When it comes to the presidency, only one person can win. When it comes to Congress, for that matter, only two parties can efficiently win, given our system of majorities and supermajorities needed to get the work of the people done and given the fact that governments won't fall because of any legislature's failures or whims and given the size of the country and the cost of running for office and marketing a message here. The same system operates down to the state and local levels.

And that system works. It is more stable and effective than any other you can name.
There's more there, and its worth reading, but I don't think I agree with the entirety of his piece. I don't believe the two party system is the 'demon-spawn' my university friends in Toronto seem to think it is, but I don't think Jarvis' defense is the one I'd choose.

My primary issues are more gut feeling than anything else. Saying that Nader (for whom I really don't care politically or personally) is "nothing but an egotistical, petulant, selfish, short-sighted, destructive, pathetic, hanging-on has-been and hypocrite" may be true, but it's not true because he's deciding to run as a third party. If it is true, it's for reasons of character and behavior.

So no, for me, Nader represents neither the heroic struggle against a 'tyrannical' two party system nor the 'evil, self-induging iconoclast' that is going to introduce anarchy into our stable government. He's just a guy who has too much of himself in mind, and has decided to exercise his right to use his money to get himself more publicity. [Where he gets his money is another issue altogether -- Ed.].

I'm still looking for that perfect philosophical defense of the American system. I know it's out there, I know I've seen it before - I just can't seem to track it down. If you think you know, gimme a shout.

I've proposed an answer here.
Saturday, February 21, 2004
Conan The Conquerer

Colby Cosh has eloquently and insightfully dissected the Conan O'Brien/Triumph debacle:

[W]hile I wouldn't dream of defending the phony indignation of a handful of socialists, kleptocrats, and race-baiters, there is a genuine cultural issue here. The people who are stamping their feet over the antics of a hand puppet are, I think, genuinely confused as well as politically opportunistic.
Colby puts the real blame for this 'scandal' squarely on the shoulders of those who enticed Mr. O'Brien up here in the first place:
Canadian authorities promoted Conan's show without performing one minute of due diligence. Triumph has been a centerpiece of Late Night for years, and everyone but the politicians knows that his act consists of insults -- insults of the precise sort that is gradually being socially proscribed, and criminalized, up here.

They confused entertainment for advertising, too. Show business is business, to be sure, but without the show, there's no business. Was Conan expected to spend a week lulling American audiences to sleep with some kind of stale Soviet travelogue expounding gustily on Canada's glories?
I haven't yet invested a lot of time into reading Mr. Cosh's pieces; but after investigating his blog and perusing his recent work, I think I have to make it a higher priority.
Friday, February 20, 2004
A Revelation In Chinese

Evan had a run in during his impromptu Chinese word-game, and he learned something.

I asked her to explain the two characters in "holy crap." The first symbol is the symbol for the word "God." She showed me that the symbol for "people" is just two lines away from being "God." Take the symbol for people, add one line in the middle, and the word "strong" is made. Add another line over the whole symbol, and the word is "God." The way she explained it is perfect.
It's a great little story - go read.
Steyn On Conan

Mark Steyn is on fire yet again:

[I]f the situation is so 'delicate,' why hasn't Quebec separated? Every Tomovia, Dickania and Harristan is independent these days: Slovenia, Slovakia...Slavonia wasn't independent the last time I was there, but it's surely only a matter of time. Quebec 'separatism' is either the world's most inept nationalist movement or it's one almighty bluff.
It seems, in the Canadian political process, everything revolves around Quebec. Having lived here for nigh on four years, I must say - I'm sick of it. I'm sick of hearing about it. I'm sick of living with the reality of it.

I'm with Will Ferguson: if Quebec is going to leave, let them. Call the bluff (I thought we did that already?), and be done with it. If they leave - well, they ain't going very far. If they decide not to go, then tell them, in no uncertain terms, to drop it.
Friends Just Keep On Popping Up

A big welcome to Brian over at Pops 'n' Buzzes. Brian's a good friend of mine from up here in the Great White North. He's going into my BlogRoll, so go give him a read!

Europe Takes A Stand?

More news on the status of European society from Lorenzo Vidino & Erick Stakelbeck today. It seems that the 'left' may be waking up:

As its ever-growing Muslim population continues to alter the Old Continent's social fabric, the European Left seems to be coming to the realization that the 'enemy of my enemy is my friend' adage to which it has traditionally ascribed its support of mass Muslim immigration no longer applies. For many of Europe's Muslims, the most pressing 'enemy' is not the U.S., Israel or capitalism, but the liberal, secularized way of life practiced by their 'infidel' hosts.
This is certainly a welcome sign, and I hope it leads to further changes in attitudes so that Europe is able to address the other social issues they face (fat chance, huh?), but this doesn't ease my concerns just yet. Powerline comments:
This crisis [of conscience] has nothing to do with anti-semitism or with the general terror that Muslim youths inflict on the population of the low income areas where they reside. Rather, say Vidino and Stakelbeck, "leftists have begun to notice that many of the Muslim immigrants arriving in Europe have little respect for values sacrosanct to the Left, like women's rights and separation of Church and State." Indeed, except for resenting the U.S. and hating Israel, European Muslims oppose virtually everything that the European left holds dear, including gay rights, abortion rights, multiculturalism, and opposition to the death penalty. In short, while it may be too late for European Jews, there is a chance that Europe will step back from the abyss and act to protect its liberal, secularist tradition.
Very well - and it's a step in a good direction - but they're stepping back from this abyss and responding like a child does when it doesn't get its way with other children: it takes away their 'toys.'

The issue here, as far as I'm concerned, is not that Europe won't act; but that they will act incorrectly. Like I've said before, as representatives of the Western world, they are sorely inadequate. It is as if they have been so gung-ho for multi-culturalism for so long that once (now) they turn from it a little bit, they don't even realize that they lack the experience necessary to successfully implement peaceful assimilation. So what happens? They have to go through the same trial-and-error period that everyone does when learning something new, except that in this situation, things are so volatile that they don't have much, if any, room for error.

So no, my fears are not eased, they have simply shifted. The 'root' of this problem in Europe is not in their actions, but their attitudes. These same attitudes have led to widespread anti-Semitism (if only by providing a fertile ground in which to grow), and the reliance upon the state as nanny; both of which are disastrous for a society and its freedom. If Europe is going to be 'saved,' it's going to have to change these attitudes post haste. As Powerline noted:
This crisis [of conscience] has nothing to do with anti-semitism or with the general terror that Muslim youths inflict on the population of the low income areas where they reside.
But there won't be any real hope until it does. You'll pardon me if I don't hold my breath.
Thursday, February 19, 2004
The Music, The Music, The Music [UPDATED]

You have to read that title aloud, in a certain tone of voice, and with a differing declension every time the phrase is repeated, to get how I'm trying to say that. Kinda like 'Location, location, location' - but without the emphatic stress.

(I could write an entire entry on the inadequacy of the written word, but that'll have to take a pass for the moment.)

I'm trying to figure out a way to display on my site the current music tracks that are cycling through iTunes (now available for Windows). LiveJournal has a nifty feature that allows you to tag each post with a different song, but that's not really what I'm looking for. Or maybe it is. Truth be told, I'm not sure.

I've been thinking for a while about including what I'm reading on this site, and the inclusion of what I'm listening to seems to go hand in hand with that. I guess I figure it'll help you folks figure out more exactly where I'm coming from at a given moment. Or maybe I'm just a 'closet' exhibitionist? Freaky thought.

But isn't that what blogging is really all about? Seriously - even the sharing of ideas is a 'look at me' action. People like Jeff Jarvis, Glenn Reynolds, Donald Sensing, etc. are putting their minds and ears before us with very little filtration, and only the 'veil' of the Internet between our minds and theirs. Heck, James Lileks does way more than that - he practically invites us to join him in his hobbies.

And I love it. I love every second of it. I find sometimes that I cannot write to an empty reader. That is, if no one is going to read what I'm writing, then I can't write. I get stuck staring at the blank Word file for minutes, sometimes even hours, before I give up, or force something out, because I know (or believe) that no one is going to read what I write there. But on this blog? People are reading, so I can write. And it's usually about rather foolish subject matter, too. If I can't do something unless other people are 'watching,' does that make me exhibitionistic? If I enjoy writing more because people are going to read it, am I bordering on a mental disfunction?

People say 'Do what you love.' Well, I love being read more than I love writing - which is saying something, because I love to write. But I can't exactly 'do' being read, can I?

So I guess wanting you to know what I'm listening to and what I'm reading is all a part of that 'psychosis,' huh? Ah well - it makes me happy anyway. So, who knows of a good javascript that'll grab the track listing off of iTunes?

I'm having an incredible urge to listen to Dashboard's Swiss Army Romance. Ahhh...that hits the spot.

I have discovered a way to accomplish the task of displaying my current music on this site. It's a marriage of this nifty RSS viewer and a site called AudioScrobbler. Trouble is that the AudioScrobbler site seems to be having difficulties taking new submissions at the moment - so until they're up and running again, the task is delayed.
Days Of Plenty

There's an awful lot of stuff going on today, but nothing seems to strike my 'must-write' chord. I'm not really sure what all the components of a 'must-write' topic are, but I do recognize them when they are presented to me. I know that I must feel passionately about the subject - sometimes this means that it makes me angry, or that it offends my sensibilities, and other times it means that I'm moved to exult. But sometimes, like today, even that isn't enough to get me to write.

There are certainly enough things that I've come across today to anger me into writing (news on North Korea, for example, or the resurgence of widespread European Anti-Semitism [warning: Emperor Misha has extreme opinions and voices them with extreme language]) - but nothing has really tripped my trigger. Sometimes (as happened earlier this morning) I'll come across new tidbits of information on stories I'm already invested in, and so I'll throw up a short post alerting readers to the new info - but that's not 'real' writing (apologies to Instapundit).

I do have rather extensive pieces of commentary waiting in the wings (including one on dishonesty theory that I've been mentioning for months), but, again, I only seem able to write on those 'treatises' at certain times. I suppose I could blame my muse - but does one really need a muse for non-fiction and opinion? I don't think so.

So I'm left to pretty much blather on about I'm doing now. Heh. Okay, I'll stop.

A Brief Glimpse

Atlantic Monthly gives us a look into the mind of North Korea's 'Dear Leader' through the eyes of his personal chef:

I thought maybe it hadn't been such a good idea to win, and I regretted it a bit. But he had said it was a serious race, so I decided I wasn't wrong in winning. Until then nobody else had ever won a contest against Kim Jong Il.

A month later he once again challenged me to a race. However, this time at the starting line I was surprised to see that he had traded his old Jet Ski for a much larger one. With a different engine capacity there was no way I could win.

At this time several areas in North Korea were suffering from floods and food shortages. Whether he was aware of this or not, Kim Jong Il certainly seemed to be enjoying his Jet Ski races.
Certainly seems like your 'typical' egomaniacal dictator - and we all know how those turn out, don't we?
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
The New Banner

As I mentioned earlier, Jason sent me a prototype for a new lead banner for the site. I thought it was great, but I wasn't crazy about the typeface. Anyway, long story short, I opened it up and modified it a bit. The original design is still there (the Texas/Canada symbol, the little cowboy, the font for Texan, etc.) but I've done some modifications. Also, I've had to change some of the colors on the blog to fit the image - but I think it works well.

A big thank you to Jason for giving me a 'real' graphic!

Going On Right Under Our Noses

Haiti is embroiled in a civil war. Did you know about this? I certainly didn't. Haiti Pundit and Mader Blog have a lot of indepth linking and reporting. Secretary of State Colin Powell has ruled out US troop deployment, but at the same time has tried to keep other nations from moving in on America's 'sphere of influence.' From Mader Blog:

Had the Washington line been that current American obligations overseas precluded the investment of resources necessary to make intervention worthwhile, I'd have given them credit. Instead they've simply ruled it out without explanation, and - as noted above - may in fact be preventing other nations from intervening.

The outrageous absurdity of Washington claiming a sphere of influence in which it refuses to act should be self evident.

I understand the political realities, and I understand that there's no political will for intervention and neo-colonization (or what you will). That's precisely why I'm not going to stop talking about it. At present Americans - and Canaidans and many others in the developed world - would rather allow their governments to waste billions of dollars on a pantheon of worthless domestic programs than contribute a fraction of that money to the active reconstruction of democracy and good government in the developing world. I think that has to change, and I'm going to keep talking about it until it does.
The list of areas requiring intervention keeps climbing.
Canadiana & Updates

Well, I've added a new section to my Link List (over there on the right hand side): Canadiana. All kinds of stuff over there, and all of it is worth your while. Obviously, it all has to do with either Canada or Canadians. Now, there are other Canadian links that are not in that section, but the fact that those are my 'Real Life' friends trumps their designation as 'Canadiana.'

In Other News...I'm feeling a bit like a drowning man - I've got too much information coming at me all at once, and I'm struggling to deal with it all. Look for a new banner soon (thanks Jason!), and some other updates - maybe even [gasp] a piece of commentary or two!

A Life Of Mirrors...

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my mirror-image: One Day at a Time. Mike is an Ontarian university student living in Waco, Texas (my place of origin), and doing basically the same thing I'm doing here - commenting on what goes on around him.

I feel like I just about fell into a rabbit-hole! 'Curiouser and curiouser...'

New Feature

Now that HaloScan has added TrackBack to their repertoire of tools, this site is lacking only its own server and domain name. Three cheers for progress!

The True Story

I can't stop laughing at this (second entry on the page):

My name is Paul and I was the Minister of Finance in a corrupt one party state. Jean and I have $100 million dollars trapped in our joint account at a Caisse Populaire in Shawinigan. I urgently need your assistance in freeing these trapped funds.
Fantastic recipe for tasty comedic brew: add one part Nigerian Scam and two parts Canadian Prime Minister to a broth of Quebec Separatism, mix well, serve hot. Serves 250 million.

Oh, and just so you know, Trudeaupia is another of these great Canadian Blogs to which I've recently been introduced. I'm going to have to do some more juggling of my BlogRoll!

[HatTip to Andrew Coyne.]
Saturday, February 14, 2004
Dogs, Canadians, And Quebec

For those of you who don't know, Conan O'Brien was in Toronto this week, taping Late Night for Sweeps. In the course of the show, Triumph the Insult Comic was unleashed on Quebec. This has caused quite a stir.

American talk-show host Conan O'Brien turned out to be Conan the Barbarian on his road show into Canada this week. His NBC program threw oil and matches down our national fault line Thursday night with crude jokes about French Canadians.

But that's not all:
The program featured a nasty segment taped in Quebec city in which the show's obnoxious canine hand puppet stopped unsuspecting residents in the street and crudely insulted them for being francophone.

It wasn't just poking fun, it wasn't clever - it was hateful and, yes, racist.
Just as racist as Don Cherry, pointing out a statistical anomaly?

To me, this is all melodramatics. See, there's a show up here, put on by the State-Run media, called 'This Hour Has 22 Minutes.' It's a blast. The entire premise is: "Let's recap the week's news, and interject humorous, scalding comment." Now, it's true that 22 Minutes isn't anywhere near as vulgar as Triumph can be, but the humor is just as sharp, and, yes, even uses the French/Rest-Of-Canada divide as fair game.

So what's the deal? All of a sudden, comedic insults are too much? Heck, Canada even has a show, the specific purpose of which is to insult American intelligence. Canadians laugh uproariously.

Lest you think that all Northerners are of an anti-Conan persuasion, let me point you to Vinay Menon in the Toronto Star:
Conan O'Brien is probably glad to be leaving Canada.

And, really, who can blame him?

After bringing his late-night show to Toronto this week - something no American television host had previously done - the gangly host with a sense of the absurd was treated to the ultimate absurdity: A nation deeply enraged by a hand puppet.

Oh, Canada.


Was it worth it? Or did a rubber dog destroy all of this in seven minutes? Personally, I'm outraged, disappointed and embarrassed. But at the reaction.

Unlike the NDP's Alexa McDonough - who called Thursday's satirical sketch "vile and vicious" - I can't believe this country was successfully baited by a damn hand puppet.
Jeff Jarvis has more on the issue, as does Debbye at Being American In T.O. The basic gist is "Get A Life, Canada." Or at least a sense of humor - which is ironic, because I thought one of Canada's biggest exports was comedians.
Thursday, February 12, 2004
Whoops! [UPDATED]

Andrew Coyne seems to have misgauged his popularity:

Given his wide readership, I'm thinking he's going to need something a bit larger than his RogersCable webspace and bandwidth. Time to go server-shopping!

Here's hoping he gets back up and running again soon.

He's back! -- Thanks to Being American In T.O. for the heads up.
The Folly Of Doonesbury

Peeve Farm takes apart Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury (vulgar language alert):

I hadn't thought it was possible for Garry Trudeau to find a way to cram this many pieces of misleading and morally and logically sprained dogma into a single daily strip... but I was wrong.


Talking about Saddam's "tyranny" is changing the subject. Yeah, they're demanding The Truth on the streets of Baghdad, aren't they?

"No WMD means no rationale for war". Uh, no, no WMD means now there's at least one fewer insane dictator in the Middle East with the history and capability of making them. God, I'm sick of explaining this-- but I'm even sicker of the fact that it needs to be explained.

"What do you say after you invade another country by mistake? ...It's like a blooper invasion!" Boy, Garry sure came up with a heap of one-liners late last night, huh?

"Oops, my bad. Sorry about all the dead people." Yeah, sorry about those mass graves being opened. Sure is a shame the world had to see that. It would have been so much easier to just leave them lie, huh?

Normally I tell myself that Trudeau is just a humorist making his way in the world, and he has a right to his opinion just as I have a right to mine.

But dammit, I am really starting to loathe the man.
He goes further, with stronger language, but it's worth reading.
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Steyn on Don Cherry

Mark Steyn is on fire today, discussing the latest CBC/Canadian Media (is that redundant?) boondoggle [NOTE: For those of you reading who are not Canadians, Don Cherry is a Canadian Hockey Icon, not because of his play, but because of his broadcasting - and his wild suits]:

If "hurtfulness" is the issue, what about, say, the Americans? Rick Mercer has his own CBC show dedicated to the mockery of Americans. Hath not an American unvisored eyes? If you prick him, does he not bleed? Apparently not. A year ago, the robust pro-US "rant" that got Don Cherry into his last round of trouble was provoked by a Montreal crowd booing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the start of the game. Many Americans were "hurt" by that, but they don't count. Nor would it be "hurtful" if one were to make generalizations about the English. Yanks and Brits are expected to grin and bear it. It's the more sensitive 'identity groups' than are in need of the metaphorical protective visors of government regulation and media disapproval. Which sort of proves Cherry's point, if not for hockey then for the wider world.


A society that loses its sense of proportion is a society in trouble. A society that loses its sense of proportion only with selected biases is seriously unbalanced. Don Cherry is a performer and like all performers he has an act. It is hugely successful. It depends in part on his cheerful openness about the fact that he sees the world as "us" and "them" - us is English Canada, them is the "French guys". That's "hurtful" and "racist" and unacceptable. But, if you live in Quebec, you take it for granted that the assumption underlying almost all francophone media commentary on anything is that it's us and them - there's Quebec, and then there's the ROC. That's perfectably acceptable: it's just a reflection of Quebec's unique cultural identity. Being an anglophone of insufficiently exotic ethnicity, Don Cherry is not supposed to have a cultural identity.
For the non-Canadian contingent, Don Cherry's offense was to utter the following on a live CBC broadcast:
Most of the guys that wear [visors] are Europeans and French guys.
Hmmm...what to cover? Don Cherry's 12 verbal units, or Paul Martin's 250 million monetary units? Which do you think is more important to the future of Canada?
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
Money Troubles

The Liberal Party of Canada. They've run the country for 75 out of the last 100 years. Though less than 40% of the nation voted for them in the last election, they carry a majority in the Parliament (I'm not Canadian, and I don't understand...but perhaps many Canadians don't either - explanation below). And now the fruits of corruption are discovered.

The federal government's controversial sponsorship program reached into the RCMP, Via Rail and Canada Post to funnel millions of dollars to friends of the Liberal party, Auditor General Sheila Fraser says in a bombshell report released Tuesday.


The "deeply disturbing" practices continued virtually unchecked for four years, often using Crown corporations to make payments the government could not make itself, Fraser reported.

Liberal-friendly communications firms collected millions of dollars in commissions -- at times for simply transferring cheques from one body to another without providing any other service.
A lot more will be said about this, probably by me, definitely by others. But it's late, and I need to get some sleep before class tomorrow. Therefore, for comment, I will point you to Andrew Coyne and Paul Wells, both of whom are infinitely more familiar with the workings of the Canadian Government than I.

I took my education from Will and Ian Ferguson's incredibly insightful book How To Be A Canadian (Even If You Already Are One):
CHAPTER 14: How The Canadian Government Works

It doesn't.

Good night, all!
Marxist Traffic Fines

Now this is interesting.

One of Finland's richest men has been fined a record 170,000 euros ($217,000) for speeding through the center of the capital, police said on Tuesday.


Finnish traffic fines vary according to the offender's income and, according to tax office data, Salonoja's 2002 earnings were close to seven million euros.

The final penalty could still change when the case is eventually heard by a Helsinki court, as was the case with Nokia executive Anssi Vanjoki, whose 116,000-euro speeding fine was slashed by 95 percent in 2002 due to a drop in income.
This, to me, reeks of Marxist ideology. You know: "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need." Now don't get me wrong. The guy did 25 mph over the limit in an urban area - the man needs a punishment; but goodness gracious! Whatever happened to 'the punishment must fit the crime'? Oh, that's right - this happened in Finland. No US Constitution over there.

Nevertheless, this is smacks my sense of fairness around quite a bit. The Finnish government is going to break the record for speeding fines just because this guy is a successful businessman? That's just not right. Punishments for crimes, by neccessity, must be the same for everyone - rich and poor, black and white, man and woman - in order to have any reasonable facsimile of Justice.

I know it's fashionable to loathe those who have more than us, but come on! Surely the Finns can find something better to do than enfranchising that irrational hatred in their law?
History In The Making?

Mader Blog has a fascinating lesson in American history:

Who was the last two-term president to succeed a two-term president?


'two term' is defined in the most traditional, common-sense manner possible." It seems to me that the most traditional, common-sense definition of 'two-term' requires that a president be elected twice and serve two full terms. Any exception to that pattern - wherein a president served (nearly) two terms but was only elected once, or served less than two terms but was elected twice - would require an asterisk, and would therefore denote a 'qualified' two-term president.


The last two-term president to succeed a two-term president was...

James Monroe, elected 1816 and 1820, who succeeded James Madison, elected 1808 and 1812.
Intriguing...but there's more:
[N]o president who has succeeded a two-term president of the other major party has ever gone on to serve two full terms. If President Bush wins this fall, he'll be the first man in American history - presuming he goes on to serve out his term - to accomplish that feat.
Here's hoping!

[HatTip to Andrew Coyne]
Does The Phrase 'Never Again' Mean ANYTHING?

The story of North Korea's gas chambers is starting to spread. The 'civilized world's response is atrociously inadequate.

TWO WORDS -- "never again" -- sum up the most important lesson that civilized men and women were supposed to have learned from the 20th century. It is forbidden to keep silent, forbidden to look the other way, when tyrants embark on genocide and slaughter -- if Auschwitz and Kolyma and the Cambodian killing fields taught us nothing else, they taught us that.

Or so, at any rate, we like to tell ourselves. As Samantha Power discovered upon returning to the United States after two years as a war correspondent in Bosnia, the lesson of "never again" is invoked far more often than it is applied.
So tell me, friends: what exactly does Never Again mean?
"Did `never again' simply mean `never again will Germans kill Jews in Europe between 1939 and 1945?"
Hmmm, I don't think so. Somehow I got the impression that it was meant as a broad, overriding moral philosophy. 'Never Again Will We Stand By While Those Around Us Are Slaughtered' - that sort of thing. Well, it's happening again, people, and wishful thinking won't make it go away.
"I witnessed a whole family being tested on suffocating gas and dying in the gas chamber. The parents, a son, and a daughter." The speaker is Kwon Hyuk, a former North Korean intelligence agent and a one-time administrator at Camp 22, the country's largest concentration camp. His testimony was heard on a television documentary that aired last week on the BBC. "The parents were vomiting and dying, but till the very last moment they tried to save the kids by doing mouth-to-mouth breathing."
Jeff Jacoby:
Gas chambers. Poisoned food. Torture. The murder of whole families. Massive death tolls. How much more do we need to know about North Korea's crimes before we act to stop them? How many more victims will be fed into the gas chambers before we cry out "never again!" -- and mean it?
Sorry Jeff - the world's moral conscience is taking the decade off. Just like it has for the last five.
Clinton == Bush

Lileks does some investigation (you'll have to scroll down the page) [emphasis added]:

[I] went back to the microfilm today to February 1998, when the Clinton adminstration was making the case for attacking Iraq. How things change. Clinton was arguing that Saddam not only had WMD, but that one day he might want to make more WMD, and this wasn't acceptable. Interesting to read between the lines - the Clinton administration seemed to be arguing that the potential for future production was itself a valid reason to strike. Military force is never 'the first answer,' Clinton said, "but sometimes itis the only answer." "[If] Saddam isn't stopped now," the AP story said, quoting Clinton, "'He will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And someday, someway, I guarantee you, he'll use that arsenal.'" Thus spake Clinton in 1998. He went on to note that the strikes planned could not possibly destroy Saddam's arsenal, because A) they didn't know where everything was, and B) they didn't want to kill Iraqis by unleashing clouds of toxins. And it gets better: a sidebar noted that this war plan - Desert Thunder - had been prepared weeks before, in case Saddam stiffed in the inspectors.

Bill Clinton had a plan to go to war before the crisis flared! What does that tell you? Obviously, he was looking for any excuse! Halliburton! We all know about the ties between Clinton and Halliburton - he gave them a sweet no-bid contract after his Balkans war, you know.
Interesting. And to follow up, yesterday on Michael Medved's radio program he talked with a caller who was rather incensed at the Bush administration for taking us into Iraq 'under lying pretenses for WMD that were never there.' Medved reversed the question, as the primary concern was the lack of WMD, and asked him (and I paraphrase):
"If WMD were found tomorrow in Iraq, would your opinion of the war change?"

Silence. A bit of stuttering. A repeat of the question.

"Well, I don't think that WMD are going to..."

"No, that's not the question - the question is: if WMD were found tomorrow, would that change your opinion of the war?"

"Well you can't ask that because..."

"Yes or no, sir."

"Yes or no?"

"Yes or no."

"But you can't -"

"See? It's not about the WMD for you. It's about Bush and his administration. Even if they were right, and WMD were found, you'd still oppose this war, because you hate Bush."
Medved went on to explain (before, during, and after the caller) that this war wasn't 'all about' WMD, that it was about what the Clinton administration and the Bush administration both called a 'gathering threat,' and that even if fully constructed WMD weren't discovered (though the production facilities were there) it would still be a worthy effort, as Saddam and his Baathist regime were no longer in power - and that makes for a safer America.
A Site Makeover?

Jason has done some serious work remaking his website and let me tell you - it's sweet-looking. Streamlined, aesthetically pleasing, and just all-around good (especially that indigo)! Bravo, man. Makes me look forward to having my own domain...

Monday, February 09, 2004
Step Away From The MP3 Player! Sir! Do Not Push Play!

Wonderful. Now we can have MP3 players in our AK-47s.

A BRITISH-based company is selling MP3 players which can be attached to an assault rifle.

The "AK-MP3" player is built into the ammunition clip of a Kalashnikov and can be swapped with the real magazine.


Former Russian rock star Andrey Koltakov, a partner in the dotcom company offering the AK-MP3 for sale, said: "This is our bit for world peace - hopefully, from now on many militants and terrorists will use their AK-47s to listen to music and audio books."
Right. Yeah. Actually, this will bring about world peace - just not the way the creators expect. Watch, this will wind up in some Private's weapon as he's on guard duty, thinking no one will know when - oops! - he's confronted with the enemy. Up comes the weapon, click goes the trigger, and Milli Vanilli start crooning in his ears as the terrorists - who, by the way, would never listen to that infidel, satanic music - easily blow him away. And one by one, the Armies of the West shall fall.

The replacement 'magazines' cost from $480 to $965. Do you really think terror organizations will shell out for this? No. The targeted demographic are the Western Armies' soldiers. I can just see it: "iPods, now with terrorist-killing action!"
So It Turns Out... [UPDATED]

...that I've been spending too much time ignoring what's going on right under my nose. Perhaps a little explanation: being an American recently relocated to Canada, it's easy for me to focus on the political and social struggles of the U.S. and the world at large (mostly as it revolves around the U.S. - hey, at least I'm honest about it), rather than looking around where I am to find talent and insight. Well, I've found some. Quite a bit, actually. And the discoveries so far have been very enjoyable. 'Course, I've always had the old standby, but given that Mark Steyn isn't carried in a single Canadian paper anymore (and that he lives in New Hampshire), perhaps he doesn't count.

Anyway - I'm now in full Canadian Content mode (never thought I'd say that), seek and link. I've got some BlogRoll rearranging to do.

Paul Wells makes three and a half ex-National Post writers with online presences, along with Steyn, David Frum, and Coyne - Andrew being the odd man out, as he still drops in on the Post every so often. Of Course, Colby Cosh is in the blogosphere, too, but he's now a regular.
Andrew Coyne Beats Me To The Punch! [UPDATED]

I was going to say this, dadgum it!

Unbelievable. If the letter had shown that Osama was picking up converts by the wagonload, the same sentence would undoubtedly have concluded "raising questions about the Bush administration's contention that they have the support of the Iraqi people." Or "validating administration critics who warned the war on Iraq would only raise a new generation of bin Ladens."

But when the predicted wave of new recruits fails to materialize, that, too, proves the Bush administration was wrong.
Oh, yeah - forgot to mention. Andrew Coyne has a blog! This one's going on the BlogRoll...

Corrected the links to point to Andrew's new site.
Al Gore Continues His Swift Descent

It would seem that he's done it again [emphasis added]:

Al Gore, who lost the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000, assailed the commander in chief Sunday, accusing him of betraying the nation by invading Iraq.

"He took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure, dangerous to our troops, that was preordained and planned before 9-11," Gore told Tennessee Democrats at a party event.

The former vice president said that he, like millions of others, had put partisanship aside after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and wanted Bush to lead the nation. Instead, Gore shouted to the crowd, Bush "betrayed us."
Okay...let's see - Bush pre-planned the invasion of Iraq before September 11th (he must've used the Clinton administration's plan, then, right?), and therefore he's 'betrayed' America. Well that sounds a lot like an accusation of treason to me.

Make note of this, please - a prominent Democrat has questioned the patriotism of George W. Bush. (I know it's happened before, but I'm choosing this one because...well, just because). I wonder if one could find an example of Republicans questioning a Democrat's patriotism? (Not according to James Taranto).

Sadly, this type of declining rhetoric is but the latest step on the Gore pathway into insignificance. I think (after doing a minimal amount of research, so I could be wrong) we can trace the beginnings of this fall to Gore's withdrawal of his initial concession to Bush in 2000. More recently, Gore lamented the onset of global warming on the coldest day in January. It's really kind of sad - I never much cared for the man's politics, but I was hoping that he might fade away with some dignity.
Saturday, February 07, 2004

From the Munich Conference On Security Policy:

"The advance of freedom does not come without cost or sacrifice. Last November, I was in South Korea during their debate on whether or not they should send South Korean forces to Iraq. A woman journalist came up to me and put a microphone in front of my face -- she was clearly too young to have experienced the Korean war -- and she said to me in a challenging voice: 'Why should young South Koreans go halfway around the world to Iraq to get killed or wounded?'

Now that's a fair question. And I said it was a fair question. I also told her that I had just come from the Korean War memorial in Seoul and there's a wall that has every state of the 50 states in the United States with [the names of] all the people who were killed in the Korean War. I was there to put a wreath on the memorial and before I walked down there I looked up at the wall and started studying the names and there, of course, was a very dear friend from high school who was on a football team with me, and he was killed the last day of the war -- the very last day.

And I said to this woman, you know, that would have been a fair question for an American journalist to ask 50 years ago -- why in the world should an American go halfway around the world to South Korea and get wounded or killed?

We were in a building that looked out on the city of Seoul and I said, I'll tell you why. Look out the window. And out that window you could see lights and cars and energy and a vibrant economy and a robust democracy. And of course I said to her if you look above the demilitarized zone from satellite pictures of the Korean Peninsula, above the DMZ is darkness, nothing but darkness and a little portion (Inaudible.) of light where Pyongyang is. The same people had the same population, the same resources. And look at the difference. There are concentration camps. They're starving. They've lowered the height for the people who go in the Army down to 4 feet 10 inches because people aren't tall enough. They take people in the military below a hundred pounds. They're 17, 18, 19 years old and frequently they look like they're 13, 14, and 15 years old.

Korea was won at a terrible cost of life -- thousands and thousands and thousands of people from the countries in this room. And was it worth it? You bet.

The world is a safer place today because the Coalition liberated 50 million people - 25 million in Afghanistan and 25 million in Iraq."

-- Donald Rumsfeld

I'm Slightly Disappointed...

...that this story, which I had laughingly treated and repeated as true, doesn't hold water. [Thanks to The Volokh Conspiracy and Snopes]:

Claim: The Chevrolet Nova sold poorly in Spanish-speaking countries because its name translates as 'doesn't go' in Spanish.

Status: False.
The exploration of the topic and its explanation are immensely eye-opening, especially for someone who had accepted the story for truth. Guess it just goes to show - 'Fact Check Everything.'
Friday, February 06, 2004
Goldberg On Divisions

Jonah Goldberg has some interesting observations on what liberals are saying, and what they actually mean:

Ask yourself: 'If liberals believe that it's such a wonderful thing to live in a united nation, why aren't they more nostalgic for the 1950s or 1920s?' Well, we know the answer. If the American consensus isn't a liberal consensus, then, well, to hell with consensus. So, even today liberal and feminist historians mock and deride the 1950s as if the American soul were locked in a steamer trunk for the entire decade. And liberal politicians, like Dean, talk about the 1960s as a time of great unity, because in their book 'unity' means liberal ascendance and nothing more.
The primary issue for Goldberg is that of whether or not America is as divided as the Democratic candidates say it is. He doesn't think so:
[U]ntil you've got more than 600,000 American bodies stacked up like cordwood, spare me the "more divided than ever before" talk. We have this phrase in political discourse which is very useful. It goes like this: "...since the end of the Civil War..." You can put it at the end or the beginning of almost any sentence to indicate that you are discussing trends that began after the War Between the States concluded...We were really divided then, what with all the shooting each other and stuff. Even in places where there was no shooting, we were very divided. The New York Draft Riots, for example, featured mobs of 50,000 ticked-off New Yorkers and Irish immigrants who burned big chunks of the city over three days and hanged a lot of black people from street lights. I know the Florida recount was a big deal and all, but let's get a little perspective.
There's a lot there, and its all worth reading, but he wraps things up especially well:
[I]f you think unity is the highest political value, you need to ask yourself: Would you rather have national agreement on positions you fundamentally oppose, or would you rather have divisiveness with a chance for victory another day? If you answered honestly, stop complaining about America being divided.
Another Possible Addition... the ever-growing pile of evidence.

This one still needs to be verified, but...well read for yourself.

New footage has been released purporting to show Saddam Hussein paying large sums of money to a terrorist group.

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Nicholson says the footage is "incontrovertible proof" of the former Iraqi dictator's links to international terrorism.

It appears to show the former Iraqi President plotting crimes and paying money to members of an international terrorist group.
As always, more info as it develops.
'The Power Of The Blogosphere'

Read and be amazed.

In only four days - the power of the blogosphere! - a toy drive was set up for the Chief and his comrades to give away to Iraqi kids. By the first week of October, Operation Give's web site was set up with's support. By Oct. 9, the response - entirely blogosphere driven - had become so great that the military postal system shut down sending packages to Chief Holton. And nine days after that it was back in business with a warehouse and FedEx shipping arranged.
Further comment from none other than the President Of The United States:
Our people in uniform understand the high calling they have answered because they see the nation and the lives they are changing. A guardsman from Utah named Paul Holton has described seeing an Iraqi girl crying and decided then and there to help that child and others like her. By enlisting aid through the Internet, Chief Warrant Officer Holton had arranged the shipment of more than 1,600 aid packages from overseas. Here's how this man defines his own mission: "It is part of our heritage that the benefits of being free, enjoyed by all Americans, were set up by God, intended for all people. Bondage is not of God, and it is not right that any man should be in bondage at any time, in any way." Everyone in this room can say amen to that.
As Dean Esmay said:
Please no one ever try to tell me that weblogs are irrelevant and unimportant. This entire thing happened ENTIRELY because of weblogs.
[HatTip to One Hand Clapping.]
Thursday, February 05, 2004
In Other News...

Even more justification for the liberation of North Korea. C'mon people - get into gear!

Lileks Goes 'Screedy'

Lileks is on a roll today. He starts with a fisking of Patrick Stewart (who now, strangely enough, seems to abhor space)...

Great job, Pat! Nice of you to wad up all the goodwill you've accumulated and flush it down the toilet. Let's review: you're most prominently identified with which character? No, not Ahab. Perhaps Professor Xavier? After 2 more movies and 280 TV episodes, perhaps. No, you're Jean-Luc Picard. That's how millions know you; that's the character that millions enjoyed, because you did a good job of portraying a civilized, intelligent explorer who projected the values of Western Civ into the inky void while confronting the baffling nuances of worlds we have yet to imagine. Many of us aging dweebs enjoyed ST: TNG because you invested the silly thing with gravity and brains, and our wives loved it as well: that shiny skull worked for them big time. In a few years NASA will have a crop of engineers whose desire to put robots on other planets was first sparked by the opening fly-by sequence of TNG. They thought you were on their side. Silly people?
...and he moves on from there:
I'm waiting for a Kerry speech in which he seems angrier about 9/11 than he does about tax cuts.

I'm waiting for an ad that simply puts the matter plainly: who do you think Al Qaeda wants to win the election? Who do you think will make Syria relax? Who do you think Hezbollah worries about more? Who would Iran want to deal with when it comes to its nuclear program - Cowboy Bush or "Send in the bribed French inspectors" Kerry? Which candidate would our enemies prefer?

O the shrieking that would result should such an ad run. You can;t even ask those questions, even though they're the most relevant questions of the election.
I wanted to quote more, but I figure I'm pushing the line on Fair Use as it is - go read the whole thing.
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
This One's A Double Whammy!

Reports coming out of Iraq yesterday provide more evidence for the allegations of both Saddam-al Qaeda links and possession of WMD-material:

A 7-pound block of cyanide salt was discovered by U.S. troops in Baghdad at the end of January, officials confirmed to Fox News.

The potentially lethal compound was located in what was believed to be the safe house of Abu Musab Zarqawi, a poisons specialist described by some U.S. intelligence officials as having been a key link between deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the Al Qaeda terror network.
In other news, even more justification for North Korea's liberation.
Tuesday, February 03, 2004
Steyn On WMD

Mark Steyn discusses Saddam Hussein's disappearing WMD, and makes a stunning observation:

The Left is remarkably nonchalant about these new terrors. When nuclear weapons were an elite club of five relatively sane world powers, the Left was convinced the planet was about to go ka-boom any minute, and the handful of us who survived would be walking in a nuclear winter wonderland. Now anyone with a few thousand bucks and an unlisted number in Islamabad in his Rolodex can get a nuke, and the Left couldn't care less.
The entire piece is worthy of your notice, but Steyn ends with characteristic bite [emphasis added]:
Conservatives shouldn't assist the Western world's self-loathing fringe in imposing a burden of proof that can never be met. The alternative to pre-emption is defeat. If you want a real "underlying issue", that's it.
Are you beginning to see why he's important?
Corruption Runs Rampant

Well, it appears (surprise, surprise) that corruption is not confined to the French elite. ABC News (among others) reports that documentation has been found linking "some 270 prominent individuals, political parties or corporations in 47 countries" to an incredible ring of bribery and deception.

ABCNEWS has obtained an extraordinary list that contains the names of prominent people around the world who supported Saddam Hussein's regime and were given oil contracts as a result.

All of the contracts were awarded from late 1997 until the U.S.-led war in March 2003. They were conducted under the aegis of the United Nations' oil-for-food program, which was designed to allow Iraq to sell oil in exchange for humanitarian goods.


Today, the U.S.Treasury Department said that any American citizens found to be illegally involved could face prosecution.

"You are looking at a political slush fund that was buying political support for the regime of Saddam Hussein for the last six or seven years," said financial investigator John Fawcett.
Saddam bought supporters (quite a few of them politicians) in Russia, France, Syria, Turkey, Indonesia, Spain, Yugoslavia, Canada, Italy, the UK, South Africa, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Qatar, Lybia, Chad, Brazil, the Ukraine, and the United States, among others.

Well, I suppose the anti-war folks had it right. This was about oil.
First Blair, Now Bush

Last weekend, Tony Blair's government was exonerated of malfeasance, and accusations by the BBC of 'sexing-up' intelligence were dismissed as fiction (followed by the resignations of several top BBC officials, and Andrew Gilligan, who forwarded the charge). Yesterday, "Congressional and CIA investigations" similarly cleared George W. Bush and his administration of pressuring or meddling with intelligence:

Richard J. Kerr, a former deputy CIA director who is leading the CIA's review of its prewar Iraq assessment, said an examination of the secret analytical work done by CIA analysts showed that it remained consistent over many years.

"There was pressure and a lot of debate, and people should have a lot of debate, that's quite legitimate," Kerr said. "But the bottom line is, over a period of several years," the analysts' assessments "were very consistent. They didn't change their views."

Kerr's findings mirror those of two probes being conducted separately by the House and Senate intelligence committees, which have interviewed, under oath, every analyst involved in assessing Iraq's weapons programs and terrorist ties.
This has not apparently deterred what James Taranto refers to as the "BUSH/BLAIR LIED!!!!" crowd, as accusations of conspiracy between government officials and investigators have begun to spread. On the British side of things, no one seems to have complained during the investigation that 'Lord Hutton was in Tony Blair's pocket' (he wasn't) - only after his decision was announced do these allegations see the light of day. In other words, once opponents of Blair saw that the report was not going to condemn him, they began looking for ways to do so themselves: namely, a politically-motivated Conspiracy Theory. Of course, I've written before on how I feel about Conspiracy Theories, but there's a further point (made by the forementioned Mr. Taranto) that deserves attention:
[T]here's something highly perverse about people who assume our government is lying and a genocidal dictator was in the right.
Indeed there is. And there's also something perverse in the willingness of free people to deny that same freedom to others. Let there be no doubt: had Bush and Blair not done what they did, Saddam would still be in power, and the Iraqi people would still be horribly oppressed.

In other news, a justification for the liberation of North Korea.
Monday, February 02, 2004
Big News

USS Clueless has yesterday's biggest news story (taking the Super Bowl into account)...and I, for one, agree with the assessment.

Observations On Blogging

Terry Teachout, "the drama critic of the Wall Street Journal and the music critic of Commentary," has made fifteen observations about blogs and blogging. Among the interesting points:

6. Blogging puts professionals and amateurs on an even footing. That's why so many professional writers dislike and distrust it.


9. Within a decade, blogs will replace op-ed pages.

10. Blogs will be to the 21st century what little magazines were to the 20th century. Their influence will be disproportionate to their circulation.

11. Blogs are what online magazines were supposed to be.


15. An impersonal blog is a contradiction in terms.
They seem fairly accurate to me.

A webjournal of ideas, comments, and various other miscellany from a Texan university student (with occasional input from his family) living in Toronto, Ontario. Can you say "culture shock?"

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