Saturday, July 06, 2002

Dear Editor. Bill Quick over at the Daily Pundit likes to feature letters to the editor from his local newspapers that are written by leftists who achieve a higher order of whine. Since he hails from the San Francisco area, there's no shortage of quality material. Around here, we only have a weekly newspaper and while it's filled with down home goodness and an occasional local controversy, it doesn't offer much blogfodder (TM) unless you are interested in what happened when the visiting bank robbers thought it would be slick to try robbing a bank next door to the town police station. But I digress.

I like the idea, but being thus deprived, I have decided to occasionally feature some letters from papers around the country. Today's comes from the Raleigh (NC) News and Observer:
Planning a war crime?

The writer of the July 4 People's Forum letter headlined "A danger to travel" stated that his human rights are endangered by the recently empowered International Criminal Court, a body which the Bush administration deplorably rejects.

The writer should know that he has nothing to fear from the international tribunal unless in his travel to the European Union, for example, he engages in programs of genocide, the overthrow of governments or other equally egregious transgressions.

On the other hand, perhaps the writer ought to stay put right here in Raleigh so that he will not contribute to the already well established opinion in Europe of the Stupid American.

Maria G. Rouphail, Ph.D.

A little research shows that Maria G. Rouphail, Ph.D is employed by the state at NC State University in Raleigh where she is
Visiting Lecturer in English (Ph.D. Ohio State University), teaches courses in the Western literary canon from antiquity to the early Renaissance and the modern period. Her interests include nineteenth-century American literature, Latin American literature, the poetry of Dante, and the literature of Western mysticism. She is Executive Director of the Summer Institute in World Literature, and she maintains the World Literature web site.
She is apparently a "twofer" with her husband, Nagui, who is a native of Egypt and holds a real job as an NCSU Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the Institute for Transportation Research and Education.

You'd think with all that book learning in the family, Maria would recognize that the problem with the ICC is that bogus accusations of "war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide" are a dime a dozen, particularly from people with "refined sensibilities" like the knuckle dragging left, the Euroweenies, and the Islamofascist brigade. Engaging "in programs of genocide, the overthrow of governments or other equally egregious transgressions" is what these folks immediately claim if you do anything to defend yourself or your country. Somehow I suspect Maria knew all that and her naivete is a pretense. Whatever the reason, Maria should consider renting a clue so that she will not contribute to the already well established opinion in the USA of an effete, America-hating, left wing academic elite.

And so she won't continue to look as stupid as a bag of hammers.

Thursday, July 04, 2002

A Glorious Independence Day to All from the Country Store!

Avast, me hearties! John Borland reports on CNET that Pirate Radio is coming to the Internet. While the Librarian of Congress has reduced the royalty rates for Web broadcasters considerably below what the recording industry wanted, it is still too much for small webcasters. As a result some stations are giving up and there are developers creating software for running up a pirate flag.

While the technology discussed in this article would make it harder to track down the broadcasters, the Internet isn't like radio: they will get caught if the recording industry cares enough to catch them. Why not try talk radio?

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Just Desserts: The Arizona Republic reports that
An accused child molester who fled Chandler three years ago was found beaten into a coma and impaled on cactus in Mexico.

Mark Adam Younglove, 35, disappeared on July 4, 1999, after neighbors confronted him with allegations of molesting their children. On Sept. 23, 1999, a Maricopa County grand jury indicted Younglove on 11 counts of sex crimes with children, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Sonora police found Younglove on June 23, unconscious and lying in cactus in Empalme, Mexico. He remains hospitalized in Hermosillo with severe head injuries and might not survive, according to Chandler police.

The U.S. Consulate in Hermosillo found Younglove listed on the America's Most Wanted Web site and contacted Chandler police.
In a massive understatement:
Officer Emma Bribiescas, a Chandler police spokeswoman, said there is no evidence that Younglove molested children while in Mexico, or that angry parents are responsible for the beating.

"People can obviously assume that could be a possibility," Bribiescas said.
You think?
ICC again: Zev Chafets gives the International Criminal Court (sic) both barrels of 00 buck in the New York Daily News.

On the other hand, the hand wringers on the Boston Globe editorial board are sobbing that "When President Bush decided in May to unsign the Treaty of Rome creating an International Criminal Court in The Hague to try individuals for war crimes, he chose to point the world's sole superpower right at a craggy protuberance marked Isolation Reef. " They apparently haven't noticed that China, India, Russia, and Japan have the same misgivings about the kangaroo court. Perhaps the Globites should worry about their own protuberances.

And pride of place goes to Kenneth Nichols for the first Press Release providing notice of intention to charge the USA with "War Crimes" before the court. Mr. Nichols also apparently intends to burn his passport and give up his US citizenship to become a stateless person. Ken, don't let the door slap you on the ass on your way out.

And Ken, since you're planning to be stateless, why don't you move in with the court itself? They're building a 300,000 sq. foot palace in the Hague and I am sure they can allocate a closet to you while you work on your briefs.
Euroweenie Alert! In the Guardian (natch) something called Will Hutton is peddling its new book by retailing the the thesis that "behind the crisis in corporate America is a combination of pernicious Southern conservatism and unadulterated greed." Will hopes fervently that Europe will not be contaminated and that America will come to its senses. America hopes Will will pick up the clue phone when it rings.

Durn! I knew all along it was the climate of excess inspired by the Southern Sinkmeister, Bubba Clinton. Those Southerners, they're everywhere!
Gotta a light? Having once long ago lived in New York and observed the curious way that people would visit my barber to buy cartons of cigarettes, I am well aware that high cigarette taxes lead to "alternate channels of distribution". So I wasn't surprised to read the NY Post article on the effects of the latest NYC taxes that have raised the price to $7 per pack. Beyond the usual interstate smuggling, it seems that the Internet has swung into action with a host of web sites selling smokes. There is even a meta-site, Cigarette Yellow Pages, that compares prices among all the online sources.

It would be nice if politicians and bureaucrats were forced to take some sort of practical economics course (like a job in the productive economy) before ascending to their thrones. We might have less foolishness of all sorts. And certainly less toilet smuggling.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

What'll they think of next? The Pennsylvania House (barely) passed a bill that would require voters to show their voter registration card or some sort of photo ID (driver's license, non driver's ID card, passport, or identification cards from schools, the military or a workplace). The whiners were out in force decrying this threat to democracy including one knuckle dragger who compared it to Jim Crow laws.

Hot dang! The next thing you know they will require voters to be citizens!
Tin Foil Beanie Time! Reuters reveals the musings of Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) who claims the waves from cell phones give her headaches.
Brundtland, the WHO director-general, does not own a mobile phone and forbids anyone to use one in her Geneva office, saying this is to protect herself from the electromagnetic waves. "If you enter my office, you are invited by me. No one who is invited would like to give me headaches," Brundtland said at a news conference in Oslo, Norway, where she attended an international conference on cancer.
Perhaps Dr. Brundtland should surf over to the AFDB web site.

Cell phone users often give me headaches too, Gro. But it isn't the electromagnetic waves.
Dubya! Cleanup on aisle 7! William Safire hits the Voice of America which has been infiltrated by the worst of Clinton-era relativists. They love to provide free air time for terrorists but seem more than a little hesitant in their support for America. Prime example:
Andre de Nesnera was given an award by the American Foreign Service Association for "constructive dissent" in refusing to follow the suggestion from State last September to deny terrorists U.S. airtime. Champagne corks popped, Secretary Powell's presence was taken to be an official apology, and de Nesnera was hailed by foreign service officers for "the courage to challenge the system from within."
How about letting Andre challenge the system from without?

Bobby Mugabe Alert. The Economist weighs in with a detailed summary of the unfolding disaster in Zimbabwe: "From breadbasket to basket case: Faced with famine, Robert Mugabe orders farmers to stop growing food ." No crops and 2 million farm workers and their families face destitution, but Bobby's pals now own country "estates". Too bad they don't know how to farm.

Monday, July 01, 2002

Tsk, Tsk. Christopher Byron observes in the NY Post that what Worldcom is getting pilloried for, AOL did in the 90's by capitalizing the money they spent recruiting new customers. When the complaints got to be too much, AOL moved the expenses to the part of the balance sheet where they belonged, took a big charge, and the stock kept shooting upwards. And they were all treated like geniuses.
His 15 minutes are nearly up. Androgynous minor pop star George Michael has created a modest stir with the video for the title song from his new CD. His newly discovered political thought (singular) leads him to make fun of George Bush and Tony Blair; and depicts him dressed in a leopard-print thong, apparently trying to seduce Cherie Blair. For someone who was arrested a few years back trying to pick up guys in a park washroom, that truly is shocking. Well, if you can't do music, try shock value.

Somehow I have the feeling that George is destined to shortly be playing the Flying Fishstick Lounge circuit in 3rd rate hotels.

Sunday, June 30, 2002

What a Hoot: In the the NY Post, Jared Paul Stern shares "Just Call Them Lousy Writers":
Rick Moody, Toni Morrison, Don DeLillo, Annie Proulx, Cormac McCarthy and most of the other sacred cows of contemporary American letters are boring hacks who use complicated writing to conceal the fact that they have nothing to say, a controversial new book charges.

In "A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose" (Melville House), one-time Atlantic Monthly writer B.R. Myers claims that a vast conspiracy between corporate publishing houses, mediocre writers and mindless reviewers has robbed the nation of good, meaningful books.

Morrison's Nobel Prize in literature, for instance, doesn't impress Myers, who relates an incident in which Oprah Winfrey called Morrison "to say she had had to puzzle repeatedly over many of the latter's sentences. According to Oprah, Morrison's reply was, ‘That, my dear, is called reading.' Sorry, my dear Toni," Myers declares, "but it's actually called bad writing."
More hilarity in the article. Is there any current author more overrated than Toni Morrison? (Not counting the upcoming fiction from Bubba and Bubbette.)
Bobby Mugabe Alert: "National Foods, a company partially owned (34%) by Anglo Zimbabwe, a subsidiary of London-based Anglo American" has been hoarding salt according to Mugabe's latest spin effort. "'They want people on the streets against our government. What kind of mischief is this?' he said, according to the state-owned Sunday Mail. 'We will take over their enterprises.' ... More than 6 million Zimbabweans, about half the population, are in danger of starvation after a drought and government seizures of white-owned commercial farms nearly destroyed this year's grain harvest, according to the United Nations "

No mention of what other condiments the starving residents of Zimbabwe might like on their tree bark.
More government employees with matches! The Arizona Republic is reporting that a Bureau of Indian Affairs firefighter has been arresting for starting one of the forest fires there.
Welfare pimp alert! The Sacramento Bee reports that all the usual suspects have turned out to oppose the secession of the San Fernando Valley from the City of Los Angeles. While usually phrased in some sort of ethereal verbiage about the greater community, one of the players did not study the script and blurted out:
"The drainage of people is the drainage of funds, and the chief victims of drainage are the impoverished."
I guess the paradigm is a "greater community" to tax, local control to spend the loot.
How are you going to keep them down on the farm, once they've seen Beijing? Calum MacLeod has an interesting piece in the SF Chronicle on Communist China's "rural resident" restrictions. If you come from a rural area you are not legally permitted to move to a city. Although restrictions are supposedly being weakened, a two tier class system remains.