Saturday, November 09, 2002

Shooting Fisk in a barrel
Eric Raymond does the honors to Bobby himself in My first fisking.
We note for the record that should Mr. Fisk be captured by terrorists, he would prefer to be rescued by non-elite forces; perhaps a troop of Girl Scouts waving copies of The Guardian would satisfy him. I would defer to Mr. Fisk's evident belief that "non-elite" rescuers would increase his chances of surviving the experience, were it not that I dislike the sight of dying Girl Scouts.
I love it when a fisk comes together.
What would Jesus drive?
John Hudock points out the inanity of the Rev. Jim Ball and his "What would Jesus drive?" campaign.

Hey. if the Rev. Jim had asked me, I would have guessed the pickup truck. And watch where you park!
San Francisco Democrats Redux
Roger Burbach of the reliably leftist Pacific News Service has a suggestion for the Democrats, Dazed Democrats Could Look to 'Lula':
Thunderstruck Democrats should look south of the border, to Brazil, for an example of how to win the hearts and minds of voters.

Nine days prior to the U.S. elections, Luis Inacio "Lula" da Silva overwhelmingly won the Brazilian presidency with 61 percent of the vote and turned the Workers Party into Brazil's leading political organization. In the campaign, the Workers Party, like the Democrats in recent years, moved to the center.

But the Workers Party did not abandon its core, progressive principles.

Well, Al Gore is shuffling hard in the lookalike race, and Nancy Pelosi undoubtedly has a great affinity for the party symbol,

but the San Francisco Dems should just quit fooling around and follow their hearts:

They're back!
The Sydney Morning Herald tells the tale of Stately Squatters:
A group of squatters has taken over a historic house in central London worth millions because they say the British capital is too expensive a place in which to live.
Located on King Street, opposite Covent Garden, the house is in one of London's prime locations. It is estimated to be worth up to £20 million ($56million).
Mattresses, empty beer cans and piles of rubbish are strewn across the five-storey house which in its time played host to the cream of British society.

One squatter was quoted in The Times saying: "I like to travel and it's very hard to stay in London and save money. Squatting allows me to save my money so I can go off around the world."
I remember that about 20 years ago squatting was a problem in London because trespassing was a civil matter, not a criminal offense. According to the original Times (UK) article, things have only slightly improved.

Hmm, weren't squatters what shotguns were invented for?
Good luck, Rudy!
WCBS has some details on Rudy's new gig, Zero tolerance meets total tolerance: Giuliani and Mexico City:
When Rudy Giuliani comes to Mexico City this month, he'll find a law enforcement system with an Alice in Wonderland quality where cops sometimes are not cops, and it's often better to avoid them than ask for protection.

The former New York mayor, who championed a ``zero-tolerance'' policy credited with drastically reducing crime, was hired in October as an anti-crime consultant for North America's largest city. His first visit, set for Nov. 18, will probably include a tour of some of Mexico City's rougher areas.

But in this megalopolis of 18 million, Giuliani's idea of zero tolerance may clash with a practice of total tolerance, in which the current mayor once ordered police to overlook violations like parking on crosswalks in an effort to reduce corruption.

``Rudy is entering the Twilight Zone of crime,'' wrote newspaper columnist Carlos Toledo.

Police officers have been arrested for holding up other cops, using their patrol cars to kidnap people and taking bribes to let offenders walk. They have fled from armed suspects, yet killed unarmed detainees.

In Mexico City's system of antiquated laws and spotty enforcement, it's all ``by the book'' literally. Cops carry bound versions of traffic laws because the small books are a good place to stash bribes.

Sometimes, what looks like a police officer actually is not: Cops occasionally make extra money by renting out their uniforms, badges and patrol cars to shakedown artists known as ``madrinas'' or ``godmothers.'' City residents have learned to spot the telltale signs of a ``godmother,'' such as ill-fitting uniforms and badge numbers hidden by vests or electrical tape.
If he can pull a rabbit out of this hat, he is a magician.
Well shucks!
Nearly overlooked in the election results was the demise of "Cooter":
Even his own advisers were surprised at Rep. Eric I. Cantor's margin of victory in the 7th District congressional race Tuesday.

The Henrico County Republican won 70 percent of the vote in defeating Democrat Ben L. Jones, an experienced campaigner well-known as the actor who played garage mechanic "Cooter" Davenport on the "Dukes of Hazzard" television show.
You can't make this stuff up!
From the AP, Al Gore reprises role on 'Futurama' cartoon:
The Republicans may have control of Congress, but Al Gore has control of the future.

The former Democratic vice president has a guest role on Sunday's season premiere of Fox's animated sci-fi comedy "Futurama," supplying the voice of his own disembodied, scientifically preserved head.

"I think I may have a future as a disembodied head," Gore joked in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday. "I'm not sure that any political calculation would have steered me toward this part, but it was great fun doing it."

"Futurama" chronicles the 30th-century life of a hapless time-traveler named Fry, his raunchy robot pal, Bender, and their cyclopean space pilot Leela. It is the brainchild of "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening.

In Sunday's episode (7 p.m. EST), Gore's head is introduced at a global-warming convention as "the inventor of the environment and first emperor of the moon." He's also known as the author of "Earth in the Balance," and the "much more popular `Harry Potter and the Balance of Earth."'
All right!
The WaPo reports that U.S. Citizen Killed by CIA Linked to N.Y. Terror Case:
The U.S. citizen killed by a missile launched from a pilotless drone aircraft over Yemen was the ringleader of an alleged terrorist sleeper cell in Lackawanna, N.Y., administration officials said yesterday.

Kamal Derwish, one of two unindicted co-conspirators in the Lackawanna case, died along with the intended target of the attack, senior al Qaeda leader Abu Ali al-Harithi, who is accused of masterminding the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in which 17 sailors died.

These two men and four others were traveling in a car outside the Yemeni capital of Sanaa when they were hit by a Hellfire missile operated at an undisclosed location by the CIA. Derwish had been identified by sources Thursday as Ahmed Hijazi, an alias.

The CIA knew Derwish had returned to Yemen and was, as one administration official described him, "a fellow traveler" in a tight circle of terrorists atop the United States' unofficial most-wanted list. But the CIA officers who targeted the car, following it via live video from the drone and ultimately firing the missile, did not know Derwish was a passenger, the official said.

But, as the administration official -- who asked not to be identified -- noted dryly, "it would not have made a difference. If you're a terrorist, you're a terrorist."
And soon to be a grease spot.
Camp F*** Iraq
Tim Tipley reports in the Scotsman that US tanks ready to roll on Baghdad:
President Bush continues to tell the world that he has not made up his mind about attacking Iraq. But in the Kuwaiti desert, the US Army is busy preparing for war.

At their huge military base on the outskirts of Kuwait City, hundreds of American army tanks are being prepared to roll northwards towards Baghdad. As US military hardware piles up at Camp Doha, the locals have given it a suitably gung-ho nickname - "Camp F*** Iraq".

As the US army's Abrams tanks and Apache gunships venture out into the desert, ostensibly for "training exercises", they look ready to roll northwards at very short notice.

Posted all along the road north, from Kuwait City to the Iraqi border, are small detachments of GIs, hidden under camouflage netting and cautiously watching the desultory traffic passing them by. Kuwaiti construction teams are hard at work improving the road, fitting lighting and laying new tarmac, despite the fact that the border has been closed since the Gulf War 11 years ago. "Either the Kuwaitis are very optimistic about a speedy and peaceful resolution to the crisis, or the US military want to have their main supply route into Iraq in tip-top condition," was the wry comment of one western diplomat.

"They have not come here for fun", was the conclusion of a British engineer, watching the display of military might from an oil field only 20 miles from the Iraqi border. "The Yanks tell us they will be ready to go after Ramadan in early December."
If Saddam hasn't jetted off somewhere after depositing the national treasury in offshore banks.

Religion of Peace Alert!
Art Moore reports that 'Anti-Islam' books spark fatwa:
To say that Kola Boof is the target of a fatwa sentencing her to death for blaspheming Islam only begins to tell the story of this controversial Sudanese-born author.

Boof, who is now under the protection of U.S. government agents, told WorldNetDaily that her first book about women who live under Islam prompted a phone call from Osama bin Laden, with whom she had become acquainted in Marrakesh, Morocco.

"If I had the time, I would come there and slit your throat myself," she recalls bin Laden saying in February 1998.
Boof insists that she did not want to make public her acquaintance with bin Laden, but was forced to reply to recent claims in the Spanish press by a former roommate, Lourdes Harris, that she had an affair with bin Laden in Marrakesh. That claim was picked up by a "diary" column in the London Guardian on Oct. 24.

The Sudanese writer denies the story, but admits that bin Laden tried to pick up on her at a restaurant and later came to her hotel room.

"I can't deny he was in the room," she said. "He was only there because I was trying to get out of being around him without getting hurt."
Smart move - hanging out with Osama leads to desert dirt naps.

Friday, November 08, 2002

The Lonely Republican
Let me recount my first experience with Janice and the ladies. It was in the early '90s - the California gubernatorial primary. I walked into the polling station at about 8:30 in the morning, its busiest time. Janice was at the desk. I gave her my name and address and her face lit up.

"Oh! You're Rob!" She called over to the other ladies. "Hey, everyone! It's Rob!"

They all crowded around, smiling happily. "Did I win something?" I asked.

"No, no," said Janice. "It's just that, well, we were hoping you'd come. When we set out the ballots this morning we noticed how... how special you are."

She waved to the stacks of unpunched ballots. On one side, a tall sloping pile - almost two feet tall - of ballots marked democrat. And on the other, a single, lonely ballot marked republican. Mine. For me. Santa Monica's special voter. "Wow," I said.

"Lemon bar?" asked Janice, helpfully.

It's a strange feeling, knowing your vote doesn't make a difference, that there's no way your conservative-kinda guy can ever make the cut. Here in Santa Monica (sometimes referred to as the People's Republic of Santa Monica) Trotsky is remembered as a capitalist tool.
"Aren't you humiliated," a friendly neighbor once asked me, "to be the only Republican around? I mean, doesn't that make you think that maybe your beliefs are, like, crazy?"
High tech solution
From Channel 3000 in Janesville, Wisconsin - Angry Janesville Man Barbecues Slow Modem.
Paulie goes delusional
Krugman emits an extended whine which includes:
...some of the major broadcast media are simply biased in favor of the Republicans, while the rest tend to blur differences between the parties.

But that's the way it is. Democrats should complain as loudly about the real conservative bias of the media as the Republicans complain about its entirely mythical liberal bias; that will help them get their substantive message across.
That's rich - coming from a NY Times droid. And I wonder if Paulie listened to the reporters' questions at the President's press conference yesterday?

Of course, maybe they do seem conservative when you are a Bolshevik.
Hard Left Alert!
Frost Drops Out of House Minority Leader Race
That's gotta hurt alert!
From The Herald Online (Zimbabwe), Woman (50) kills would-be rapist:
A 22-year-old Chiweshe man died instantly after a 50-year-old woman he attempted to rape overpowered him when she tugged at his genitals.
Isn't it time for Bubba to take another trip to Africa?
From Lisa Bowman at CNET, Feeling lethargic? Blame the PC:
Researchers in Japan have scientifically documented what dwellers of Dilbertville have known for years: Prolonged daily computer use can make you sore and sap your strength, energy and motivation.
Time for a snooze!
Pond Scum
"It's a fact, it's my opinion. Am I entitled to my opinion?"

Neil Rogers is a contemptible whore who will do anything for ratings.

It's my opinion.

San Francisco Democrats
John J. Miller in NRO weighs in on The Party of Pelosi:
Conservatives hope to win another key election next week ? when House Democrats meet on Thursday to pick a replacement for retiring minority leader Dick Gephardt.

That's because Nancy Pelosi of California is putting her name forward as Gephardt's successor. She's currently the Democratic whip, which is her party's second-ranking post in the House. She's also an anti-New Democrat leftist who is about as deeply out of touch with ordinary Americans as any member of her party. Best of all, it looks like she's going to win.
Pelosi is the embodiment of what Kirkpatrick chastised at the 1984 Republican convention, which was held just a few weeks after the Democrats met in San Francisco. "When the San Francisco Democrats treat foreign affairs as an afterthought, as they did, they behaved less like a dove or a hawk than like an ostrich - convinced it would shut out the world by hiding its head in the sand," said the U.N. ambassador. "When the Soviet Union walked out of arms-control negotiations, and refused even to discuss the issues, the San Francisco Democrats didn't blame Soviet intransigence. They blamed the United States. But then, they always blame America first."
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
But wait, there's more!
From, Ford will challenge two veterans for House Democrat leadership:
Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) said he would announce today he is challenging two veteran congressmen next week for House Democratic leadership.

"My candidacy and leadership would offer a new era of energy and vision for the party," Ford, 32, said in a telephone interview late Thursday.

Ford said he planned to call the radio show of Don Imus, also simulcast on MSNBC, this morning to announce he will challenge Reps. Nancy Pelosi, 62, a California liberal, and Martin Frost, 60, a Texas moderate whom Ford initially had planned to support.

It was on the same show Wednesday that Ford became the first House Democrat to publicly say the current minority leader, Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), would draw opposition if he sought the post again after Tuesday's disappointing election results for Democrats.
Perhaps the Rev. Billy Sol Hargis will endorse him!

Obligatory reference to Imus' speech at the Radio/TV Correspondents Association Dinner in 1996.
Civil War Update
The Washington Times reports Frost calls Pelosi too liberal to lead Democrats:
Rep. Martin Frost yesterday attacked Rep. Nancy Pelosi, his opponent in the battle for House Democratic leader, as too liberal to win Congress back for the Democrats in 2004.

"I think that her politics are to the left, and I think that the party, to be successful, must speak to the broad center of the country," the Texas Democrat told reporters in formally announcing his bid for the top House Democrat job.
Given that Frost is exceedingly leftist himself, it's like a cat fight between Trotsky and Stalin.
Welcome to Virginia, punk
The NY Post reports Laptop Log: Kid Killed FBI Gal at Home Depot:
A morbid digital diary of death - with special symbols denoting hits and misses - was found on a laptop computer kept by the Beltway sniper suspects, a law-enforcement source told The Post yesterday.

Evidence on the stolen computer - found in the car driven by suspects John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo - helped prompt their transfer yesterday to Virginia, where they're likelier to face the death penalty, said the source.

The laptop was stolen in a Sept. 5 robbery-shooting at a Clinton, Md., pizzeria, the source said. Besides the diary, it also held some of the pizzeria's business records.

The pizzeria owner survived the shooting and is back at work.

The computer log detailing the shooting might doom Malvo, 17, since it shows he shot FBI analyst Linda Franklin, the source said. Franklin died in an Oct. 14 shooting at a Home Depot parking lot in Virginia.
Stay tuned for the usual UN/Euroweenie whines about executing "juveniles".
There's no wingnut like an old wingnut!
Yep, it's time for the Twilight Zone with Helen Caldicott, who's made a long and tedious career out of "anti-nuclear" and other related strains of wingnuttery.

From Tim Blair:
Take pity on Wolf Blitzer. The CNN veteran has just interviewed anti-nuke mystic Dr. Helen Caldicott, who is to rational thought what jazz ballet is to full-contact Thai kickboxing.

From Bill Herbert:
I'm no fan of Roger Ailes' cavalcade of idiots, but at least they have better judgement than to allow a rabid quack like Helen "Every time you turn on an electric light, you are making another brainless baby" Caldicott parade without challenge the same tired lies about depleted uranium (not to mention the even more egregious bullshit about dead Iraqi children), accusing the U.S. of war crimes.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Another hoot!
Adam Smith in the St. Petersburg Times has this quote in Democrats grapple with disaster:
"This is a classic example of when the leadership becomes aloof from the feelings of the people and then goes off on its own direction," said Broward County Commissioner Ben Graber. "We put on a so-called Lawton Chiles look-alike who turned out to be Gomer Pyle with a tie. And we took a star like Reno and we destroyed her."
Ben has apparently spent too much time in the sun.
Barbra Streisand had Paul Wellstone offed. Pass it on.
The Sun (UK) titillates with Viagra order raises laugh:
A court usher caused a stir at a judgment on the anti-impotence drug Viagra yesterday by ordering: "All rise."

Her words were greeted with smiles and muffled laughter from lawyers and observers.

But Viagra's manufacturers Pfizer were left deflated when the Appeal Court rejected their bid to make the drug freely available on the NHS.
Well. one guy who isn't waiting for his Rx's at the National Health Service is the Bent One, according to Michael Sneed:
A top Sneed snoop claims Bill Clinton was campaigning in Florida last week for failed gubernatorial hopeful Bill McBride when the duo--accompanied by two others--stopped at Bice eatery in Palm Beach and caused a patron to lose his temper.

Why? McBride reportedly hied to the fella's table and invited his pretty, 24-year-old date to join them at their table for a drink because "there was someone who wanted to meet her."

Please. Give it a rest, Bill.
Should have been "Put some ice on it". What a classy guy!
How sweet it is!
"And Charles Pickering will be one of the first, if not the first, judge confirmed next year," Lott said Wednesday.
Hoot of the day!
Page Six sniggers over Wonderhag getting a comeuppance:
The stunning election-night success left White House spokesman Ari Fleischer feeling a little bolder in his usual testy briefing with reporters yesterday. When Helen Thomas, the dean of the press corps - who is more outspokenly liberal than her peers - asked Fleischer if George Bush believed the election results gave him a "mandate" for "going to war with Iraq, privatizing Social Security, weakening the Civil Service Commission and so forth?" Fleischer told the ancient reporter: "Helen, you sound like a commercial that didn't work."
Comrades, we must purge the deviationists!
Harold Meyerson in the American Prospect:
The first order of business for Democrats is clear: They must dump the utterly discredited masterminds of their disaster. Dick Gephardt, Tom Daschle, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, a let's-make-a-deal businessman and fundraiser of no discernible strategic savvy, went up against a popular president by crafting an indistinct message for undefined candidates. Labor leaders from AFL-CIO President John Sweeney on down should throw their considerable weight behind the efforts to drive these money changers from the party's inner sanctum.
Hey, you forgot Bubba and the Witch Queen! John Podhoretz also comments on Meyerson.

Actually, it's not clear to me why Gephardt is on the list. Daschle and Eddie Haskell McAuliffe were responsible for the most egregious stupidity and the biggest losses. But the wingnut branch of the Democrat party wants Baghdad Nancy Pelosi to lead a putsch. Stand by for the Democrat Civil War.
A great idea
The InstaPundit suggests that Republicans will have to be careful to avoid overreaching and
in particular I think that the Bush Administration needs to do something dramatic that will position it on the side of consumers against Evil Big Business. And I have just the thing: The Bush Administration should take on the crooks and thugs of the recording and movie industries. And it should do so on the side of artists and consumers.
By taking on this big business that everyone has come to hate, the Bush Administration can position itself as a tribune of the people against greedy corporate interests. (And make media assaults on the Administration easy to discount as a self-interested response to its efforts to enforce the law). That they happen to be greedy corporate interests that give generously to Democrats will only make it more appealing.
Sounds like a plan to me!

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Boo effing hoo
Lots of handwringing by James Ridgeway over at the Village Voice in Voters Set Republicans Loose on the World.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Someone grumpier than I am!
Margery Eagan in the Boston Herald says Look at votes the candidates are really going after:
Here's two things we could do without on Election Day: hypocritical whining about our disgust with negative ads and patriotic appeals to go out and vote.

Lots of us should just stay home.

What do you know about Shannon O'Brien and Mitt Romney?

"I don't know anything about her. Nothing about him either.'' So said Marjorie Geddis of South Boston yesterday at the Dorchester Star. But she's voting anyway. For whom? "What's his name? Romney? Yes, Romney. A man needs to run. A man has the strength.''

OK, we'll cut Mrs. Geddis slack here. She seems lovely, kind, pleasant. Plus, she's 86 years old. But her friend, Betty, is a decade younger. ``I like Shannon. He's pro-choice. She isn't.'' Well, actually, O'Brien is pro-choice too. "She is?''

Lenny Solomon of Boston is only 30. What's his excuse? "I like the lady. She's trying to do good things,'' said Lenny of O'Brien. What things? "I was watching her on the news last night. She was saying something . . . something . . .'' Then he laughed. "I forget.''

"Romney's a Mormon,'' said 42-year-old Harry of Hanover, who claimed to be a state worker but declined to give his last name. What else do you know? Then Harry laughed, too, and made excuses. "I'm pretty busy. Two little kids . . . I know he's rich . . . I saw his wife on TV. Couldn't believe she's in her 50s . . .''

So. Eagle-eyed Harry, handsome Lenny, spry Marjorie Geddis and girlfriend Betty - they're great people, every one. But should anyone beg them to vote?
But the secret to Teddy's success is revealed:
"Like an alien,'' said Sam Duggan, 46, Boston, of Romney. "He doesn't drink. Smoke. Swear. I mean, creepy.''
What a hoot!
Lileks in the Star-Tribune:
Man: Did you hear that Congresswoman Flinders voted in favor of giant space asteroids hitting Minnesota?

Woman: No! She's in favor of asteroids?

Man: Yes. The Star Tribune said she opposed a bill that would have built a giant catcher's mitt between the Earth and the moon. If a six-mile-wide asteroid hit Minnesota, the dust cloud would choke off all sunlight.

Woman: Imagine if it hit a school!

Voiceover: Call Congresswoman Flinders. Ask her why she wants to end all life on Earth.
Metabolically Challenged Alert!
"Don't worry about me and terrorism," he declared in the Minnesota Senate debate Monday morning. "I'm opposed to it."
Modern consumer life
I want one of these, but Mrs. Philosopher says to forget if I don't want to end up in one of these. Hey, one of the luxury models wouldn't be so bad, but I definitely don't want the one Bubba Clinton used.
For election junkies
John Fund provides an hour by hour guide to tonight's results.
Welcome the new neighbors alert! (UK version)
The BBC stuns the senses with Call for Arabic lessons in schools:
Children should be taught Arabic in schools to prevent Muslim children from feeling isolated, says a report.

Teaching the language alongside French or German, would help Muslim children to feel less cut off from their classroom colleagues, says a report from the Open Society Institute.
More handwringing by following the link.
Payback's a bitch
One day you're a hot dog Islamic terrorist, the next day you're a grease spot in the desert. I hope Abu is enjoying his dirt nap.

Also interesting is:
The Predator was being controlled by CIA operators based at a French military facility in Djibouti, a tiny nation about 160 miles west of Yemen across the Red Sea on the Horn of Africa, said a senior U.S. official who asked not to be identified. The robotic planes are based there. France has been cooperating in the U.S.-led anti-terrorism campaign in the former French colony, U.S. officials said.
To bolster that search in Yemen and nearby countries, including Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan, the Pentagon is creating a special U.S. military command in Djibouti. It will be run by a headquarters element of the 2nd Marine Division, numbering about 400 troops. There are already about 800 U.S. Army Special Forces members in Djibouti, and French and German forces are helping to patrol the waters in the area.
Tim Blair is back!
And in fine form.