Saturday, February 15, 2003

Condemned to relive it
(Via Andrew Stuttaford at The Corner) Two photos of "peace protestors" from Reuters.
The aesthetes in Hyde Park

Peace in our time

and members of the Ba'ath party in Baghdad

Sieg Heil!
Predictable news alert
I see that the worldwide membership of the Dictator Bootlick Club is hitting the streets today for fun and frolic. Although I liked the spelling on this sign, the best photo so far is:
Raelians waiting for their saucer

South Korean members of the Raelian Movement clad in alien costumes join an anti-war demonstration in Seoul. A crowd of 1,500 demonstrators gathered in a downtown park to protest a possible U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Wooeee! I'm convinced! I hope they didn't miss their saucer to give us the word! But I also wonder if most Koreans make English protest signs.

In related news, the AFP gets off message and reports:
NATO chief George Robertson has accused three European countries blocking an accord on defending Turkey of "vandalizing" the alliance, according to a leaked memo seen by AFP.

The memo also cited NATO intelligence indicating that Iraq has moved missiles close to the Kuwaiti border and could use them pre-emptively, as justification for the need rapidly to boost Turkey's defenses.

"Today's (NATO) intelligence reporting ... shows that Saddam has moved CBW-capable ballistic missiles close to the Kuwait border," says Robertson in the memo, originally reported by Belgian state television.

The NATO chief asks himself why the missiles would be moved to such a vulnerable position. "There can be only one reason: that Saddam is planning to use these weapons pre-emptively," he says.
Paging Hans Blix! There's a call for you on the clue phone!
Mail bag alert!
Not mine, Tim Blair's. An excerpt from a critical reader:
i cut wood for a living tim but after reading your site for an hour even i could see you were a troubled young help tim buy a travel book or even take some heroin and watch a documentry on dolphins then you can come join us.
"I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK"? Tim delivers an appropriate riposte.
Shuffling the chairs at the United Nations
William M. Reilly at UPI reports Iraq relinquishes disarm panel chair:
UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- A U.N. spokesman Friday night said, without explanation, that Iraq has relinquished its four-week turn as president of the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament, making way for Ireland to take up the slack.

"The Iraqi Mission to the United Nations informed the Secretary-General today that the Iraqi government had sent a letter to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva saying that they would not be assuming the rotating presidency of the Conference, which they were scheduled to assume on March 17," said the spokesman, Fred Eckhard.

Iraq had been scheduled to take over from Iran, which also suddenly bowed out as head of the world's sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations, represented by 66 states.
Gad, the bureaucrats are probably all atwitter!

Aside from the humor value of Iraq chairing a Disarmament Conference, there wasn't much practical importance - we're talking the United Nations here!
The conference opened this year's session at the U.N.'s Palais des Nations in Geneva Jan. 21 under the presidency of Ambassador Rakesh Sood, of India.
At least the Conference finally agreed on an agenda.

According to its rules of procedure, the Conference "shall adopt its agenda for the year at the beginning of the session. In doing so, the Conference shall take into account the recommendations made to it by the U.N. General Assembly, the proposals by its members, and decisions of the conference."

Last year the Conference was not able to reach agreement on a program of work -- the fourth consecutive year during which it was unable to do so -- and so was unable to start work on substantive issues.
Zzzzzzz. But an expense paid vacation in Geneva sounds nice.
Well, golly!
Lisa Adams at the AP astounds with Mexican Political Party Backs Executions:
TOLUCA, Mexico - Just weeks after Mexico asked the World Court to stay the executions of Mexicans on death row in the United States, politicians here are suggesting the death penalty may be the best way to stop skyrocketing crime rates at home.

The proposal has provoked an outcry among human rights groups, rival political parties and business groups ? and struck a raw nerve in a country where opposition to the death penalty has more than once strained relations with its neighbor to the north.

The former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and the allied Green Party are sponsoring a nonbinding referendum on the death penalty Sunday in Mexico state a few weeks before local municipal elections.
Looks like the Mexican Green Party really believes in cleaning up the environment!

Friday, February 14, 2003

It's the Frenchies again!
The BBC reveals that the EU cancels Africa summit:
The European Union has postponed indefinitely a summit with African leaders planned for Portugal in April as a result of EU sanctions over Zimbabwe.

Most European countries had said they would boycott the summit if Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was invited.

African nations indicated they would stay away unless Zimbabwe was included.
Probably because they are dismal dictatorships too.
However France and Portugal had said that the summit should go ahead, arguing that it would be an opportunity to press the Zimbabwean leader on human rights matters.
That sounds real effective!
On Wednesday, EU nations agreed in principle that their sanctions against Zimbabwe should be renewed for another year.

The EU had imposed travel restrictions on the country's leaders and an arms sale ban on Zimbabwe and frozen Zimbabwean assets in Europe after failing to ensure Mr Mugabe improved human rights and reversed controversial agricultural food policies.

But this will not take effect before Mr Mugabe has attended a separate Franco-African summit in Paris next week.

The French threatened to veto the renewal of sanctions without this special exemption.
Another clambake for the Frenchies' Dictatorial Bootlick Club. I wonder if Belgium gets sloppy seconds on this one too?
Last one out, turn off the lights!
James Taranto in today's Best of the Web:
In effect, President Bush posed two questions to the world last year: Can the U.N. be saved? Is it worth saving? It appears now that, thanks to the French, both questions have been answered in the negative. It is a clarifying moment.

Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!
Ruh Oh!
The Washington Buzz column at the online Washingtonian stuns with DC Journalists Have Escape Plans If Nation’s Capital Is Attacked:
The Washington Post is moving its data center to Tysons Corner in Virginia.

U.S. News has plans to send reporters and editors to hotels in Frederick, Maryland.

The BBC would evacuate its staff to waiting boats on the Potomac River to avoid land-based escape routes that are likely to be jammed.

The New York Times Washington bureau says it hasn’t a clue about what to do.
The Times has a perfect record of late.
Colin Powell takes 'em to the woodshed
"What we need is NOT more inspections."

"What we need is for Iraq to disarm."

"Resolution 1441 was NOT about inspections!"

"Let me say that again, resolution 1441 was NOT about inspections!"

"Resolution 1441 was about disarmament."
And kudos to Jack Straw and the representative of Spain for helping out.
Ignorance is Blix

It's a naughty little wine!

"Another matter, and one of great significance, is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded."
Bzzzt. Game over. Thanks for playing.
a few Good ahX0rs
The Feds say "no thanks" as the AP relates in U.S. government warns 'patriot hackers' against cyber attacks on Iraqi interests:
The FBI (news - web sites)'s National Infrastructure Protection Center warned that growing tensions between the United States and Iraq could lead to an increase in global computer hacking activities on both sides.

"Regardless of the motivation, the NIPC reiterates such activity is illegal and punishable as a felony," the agency warned Wednesday on its Web site. "The U.S. government does not condone so-called 'patriot hacking' on its behalf.
These guys are just no fun at all!

Hey, how about a few nice emails featuring breast enlargers? Nope, Wired says the Feds have been there and done that:
A campaign to reach out and touch the Iraqi people through e-mail apparently hasn't been as successful as the United States had hoped, because the Iraqi government censors all e-mail coming into the country.

Over the past month, the U.S. military has periodically sent e-mail to Iraqi military and government officials urging them to protect their families by helping U.N. inspectors and turning away from Saddam Hussein.

U.S. government officials won't comment on the campaign, but according to sources in Iraq and Iraqis living in the United States, each time the e-mails are sent, Internet access all over Iraq soon suffers a "service outage." Service resumes after the U.S. military missives have been purged from inboxes.
"This is the first acknowledged use of e-mail as part of an offensive information operation," said William Knowles, senior analyst with, a security and intelligence site. "I suspect it's been used in the past in countries whose infrastructure included the Internet.

"While it's a neat tool, there's only so many times it can be used before the Iraqi leadership considers it as much of a nuisance as the Nigerian 419 scam mail," Knowles added.
There's more in the article about how the average Iraqi citizen gets Internet access including:
Officially, e-mail and Net connectivity in Iraq is only available through the government-owned, heavily censored service.

Iraqi scholars, scientists and government officials pay $50 a year for e-mail subscriptions with uruklink, which in theory allows them private access to the Net and e-mail communications through their home or work computers.

The rest of the population gets online at one of about three dozen Internet centers across the country.

But according to sources who have lived in or who have family living in Iraq, obtaining Internet access in Iraq isn't difficult. All you need is a phone line, a government ID card and cash.

"It's the cash that gets in the way of people getting e-mail service. And the fact that Iraq is not a very computer literate land," wrote Salam, a blogger who claims to live in Baghdad.

Web-based e-mail accounts from U.S. providers are officially prohibited by U.N. sanctions, but Iraqis seem to have no problem signing up for Yahoo and Hotmail accounts.

However one connects, e-mail is neither private nor reliable in Iraq. Users expect the service to go down frequently, and assume that Iraqi officials are reading at least some of their e-mail.

According to Salam and other sources, within 15 minutes of the e-mails from the U.S. military arriving in inboxes, uruklink "went down while the contents of mailboxes were deleted."

"Everyone wants to see what was that e-mail like," Salam wrote in a recent blog entry. "Me thinks the entire Internet service will be axed soon."
Well dang! I guess I'll have to skip my plan to let 'em know about the wet burqua contests!
Says it all

From American RealPolitik:
Absolutely nobody in the cabinet, including Powell, gives a rat's ass what the UN security council will say today. The UNSC decision has more to do with the future of the UN than it does the upcoming war on Iraq. The game is afoot.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

I hope you all have your tape!

Picture purloined from a thread on Free Republic devoted to an eBay duct tape auction:
This is the LAST available roll of duct tape available in the Washington DC metro area!! Resistant against all forms of smallpox, gas, nuclear explosions, pesky dust mites, and scare mongering Washington DC broadcast journalists. Hurry! Don't delay!.....for the children.
What I want to know is who doesn't already have duct tape?
Call it like it is
Bill Quick at the Daily Pundit has come up with the ultimate tax cut meme:
Libby and lefty alike are in love with the phrase, "Bush's tax cuts for the rich."

I've got a better notion, and I think those of us who like tax cuts should start spreading the word.

Not "tax cuts for the rich."

Tax cuts for taxpayers.

Fisking with style alert!
Tim Blair takes the minimalist approach.
Nice kitty kitty!
John Von Radowitz in The Evening Standard amuses with Man-eating lions dine on ecotourists:
Ecotourists are helping nature in an unexpected way - by becoming "fast food of the bush" for man-eating lions, it was claimed today.

Reports of lions eating humans are increasing in Africa, and one reason may be more tourists camping on the big cats' doorstep.

Craig Packer, of Minnesota University, told New Scientist magazine: "There have been a fair number of attacks on humans in the last couple of years, including some in South African camps.

"The problem is, there is a growing number of camps putting people in the bush right next to lions."
Yet another proof for evolution.
Naked force alert!
At Samizdata, David Carr keeps a straight face:
British soldiers currently stationed in Kuwait have broken with military tradition in order to deliver what they believe is a powerful message to the world.

Stripping off their desert khakis the men of the 7th Armoured Brigade laid down in a sand dune and spelled out the phrase, 'SADDAM IS TOAST' by arranging their own naked bodies to form the letters.
Well, maybe not, but how about a group moon?
OK by me!
U.S. Lawmakers Weigh Actions to Punish France, Germany:
Hastert has instructed Republican colleagues to determine whether Congress should pass legislation that would impose new health standards on imported bottles of Evian and other popular French waters.

No Vichy!

"And they eat our children's ponies!"
Boris Johnson in the Telegraph - Would you share your currency with this lot?
If I were Blair, I would be feeling really rather grateful to the French. Until this week, he has faced a British press that has been exceedingly liverish about the war in Iraq.
Just as everyone was laying into the Number 10 spin machine, the French did something so disgusting, so selfish, and so French, that the British media have had no choice. The press has dropped Alastair Campbell's dodgy dossier, in favour of that time-honoured staple of the British journalist - the orgy of frog-bashing.

Confronted by French treachery, previously fence-sitting newspapers such as the Daily Mail have suddenly seen the merit of the war, and the downmarket tabloids have gone gallistic. You know the kind of articles: they involve references to Vichy, tanks with reverse gears, garlic-guzzling peasants, women of loose morals cosying up to the Boche, and they traditionally end with the cry: "And they eat our children's ponies!"

For the first time in the build-up to action against Iraq, the newspapers of the Anglosphere are united in a blizzard of abuse against the French. In Paris, Le Monde has finally been obliged to translate Bart Simpson's phrase that is now on everyone's lips.

The French, say the mass-circulation papers in Britain and America, are nothing but "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" (les primates capitulards toujours en quete de fromage), and, you know what, I couldn't agree more.
Pony-eating surrender monkeys! Who knew?
Hit the road, Husham
In a followup to yesterday's post about the Iraqi "diplomat" who got a call from the bombers after a terror attack in the Phillipines, the AP is actually reporting (in the Washington Times at least) that Iraqi diplomat is told to go home:
The Philippine government yesterday told an Iraqi diplomat purportedly linked to the Muslim extremist Abu Sayyaf group to leave the country within 48 hours.

The decision to expel Iraqi Second Secretary Husham Hussein came after the government announced Monday it had an intelligence report indicating he received a call from an Abu Sayyaf member shortly after a bombing that killed three persons. Victims of the bombing last year in the southern city of Zamboanga included an American Green Beret.
Don't tell anyone about the radio locator beacon in his luggage!
Is that a missile in your pocket? Or are you just glad to see us?
In the Times (UK), James Bone reports Iraq inspectors find banned missile system:
The chief United Nations weapons inspector will report tomorrow that Iraq has been developing a ballistic missile that is in clear violation of UN restrictions.
And the usual suspects will keep prevaricating.

Which reminds me of Registered's take on Saddam and the new UN gameshow - Kofi and Blix's Trixs.
It's the Rev!
Today's Robert D. Novak column - Democrats recognizing Sharpton as their worst nightmare:
Ever since Democrats gathered in Washington Jan. 21 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of legalized abortion, the party’s deep thinkers have been brooding. The Rev. Al Sharpton, who preached before he could read or write, made five white opponents for the Presidential nomination look prosaic. In the three weeks since, more prominent Democrats have come to regard the 48-year-old Pentecostal minister from Harlem as their worst nightmare.

How could the world’s oldest political party be threatened by a professional troublemaker accused of not paying his taxes and found guilty of defaming innocent public officials? The answer is found in two independent polls. Zogby shows Sharpton with 20 percent of the African-American vote for President, and InsiderAdvantage gives him 28 percent. These startling numbers come in advance of Sharpton’s campaign to extend his presence beyond the boundaries of New York City.

This is a problem waiting to happen for the Democratic Party thanks to reliance on black voters, particularly in the South. Democrats dodged the bullet when the Rev. Jesse Jackson ran for President (and succeeded in ruining young Al Gore’s 1988 bid aimed at sweeping Southern primaries). This reliance is much stronger 15 years later, and a black candidate promises to distort an already confused contest for the nomination.
While big-gun Democrats stay silent, the party’s advocates mount a barrage against Sharpton. The February cover story of the left-wing American Prospect magazine, "Al ‘The Rev.’ Sharpton vs. The Democrats," excoriates his public record. The same accusations were made to Sharpton’s face on CNN’s "Crossfire" by former Clinton Presidential aide Paul Begala. Normally, the American Prospect and Begala reserve their attacks for George W. Bush and members of his administration.

However, Sharpton is tougher than usual Republican targets. Whenever Begala interrupted him, Sharpton interrupted back. When Begala demanded a "yes or no" answer to whether he would support any Democratic Presidential nominee, Sharpton responded: "I’m going to answer it my way. You know, you all have to get used to (it). You all can’t give orders no more, Paul. There are grown up folk in this party now, and we’re going to answer the questions the way we believe."
As ye sow, so shall ye reap. The Rev was just a local thug until they promoted him.
You can't be Hispanic, if you don't vote Democratic - the saga continues
(Via Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner) Ruben Navarrette Jr. in the Boston Globe - Hispanic nominee terrifies Democrats:
The truth is that Democrats want to make an example of Miguel Estrada, whose appointment to the bench could make Hispanic voters look more favorably on the Bush administration. They also want to send a message to the White House that when it comes to confirming federal judges, there are some things they simply will not tolerate. Apparently at the top of the list: Independent-minded Hispanic hotshots who don't go around thanking liberals for everything that the nominees have accomplished on their own.
Of course, Democrats insist their opposition to Estrada has nothing to do with the fact that he is Hispanic. But that claim has nothing to do with reality. While it may not be fair to suggest Democrats are opposing Estrada just because he is Hispanic, it would be naive to think that they would oppose him as aggressively as they have if he were not Hispanic.

Democrats would not be fighting this hard, holding out this long, and spending this much capital trying to defeat a nominee who didn't pack the emotional punch that Miguel Estrada does -- and a lot of the muscle behind the punch comes from the fact that this nominee is Hispanic.
And yet, the Honduran immigrant still packs a wallop. If Estrada makes it onto the appellate court -- despite the best efforts of Senate Democrats to prevent it -- Hispanics might ask what the party of Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy has done for them lately.
Hey Ruben, no fair! The only answer is supposed to be "more government programs"!
The game is afoot
Thomas Ricks in the Washington Post says Special Operations Units Already in Iraq:
U.S. Special Operations troops are already operating in various parts of Iraq, hunting for weapons sites, establishing a communications network and seeking potential defectors from Iraqi military units in what amounts to the initial ground phase of a war, U.S. defense officials and experts familiar with Pentagon planning said.

The troops, comprising two Special Operations Task Forces with an undetermined number of personnel, have been in and out of Iraq for well over a month, said two military officials with direct knowledge of their activities. They are laying the groundwork for conventional U.S. forces that could quickly seize large portions of Iraq if President Bush gives a formal order to go to war, the officials said.

The ground operation points to a Pentagon war plan that is shaping up to be dramatically different than the one carried out by the United States and its allies in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Instead of beginning with a massive aerial bombardment, the plan envisions a series of preliminary ground actions to seize Iraqi territory and effectively encircle Baghdad before a large-scale air campaign hits the capital, defense officials and analysts said.
Gee, and a couple of weeks ago it was "shock and awe". Keep 'em guessing.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

He's Back
Tim Blair is now at the Bulletin and is firing on all cylinders in Beating the Crumbs of War:
Nudity for peace. More than 750 women disrobed last Saturday to spell out NO WAR on a Byron Bay hillside. And the protest has since gained strength, with many venues in Sydney's Kings Cross and Melbourne's King Street also featuring naked women. Presumably they are Pole Dancing for Peace.
Pole Dancing for Peace? Now there's a concept!
Scot-tee has a new gig!
No! It's not what you're thinking

Coffee, tea, or me?

Last night he got paid $6,000 for an hour of platitudes delivered to an audience of Kool-Aid drinkers at the University of South Florida. University events are usually paid for by student "activity fees" or direct university grants to "student organizations". I guess they have money to burn at USF.

Apparently there was some unpleasantness when a member of the audience asked:
How can you expect the weapon's inspectors to find weapons of mass destruction, when the United States can not even lock-up a child molestor like you? After they took his mike away he screamed, "I want an answer Mr. Ritter!"
Tsk, he obviously didn't know that Scot-tee has a new document that explains it all as this picture shows. What a clean desk!

In other Ritter news:
NY State Assembly considering bill to make Rittering a felony

Ritter hauled in more loot from the Arab League

Scot-tee has a soiree scheduled for tomorrow on leftist "public" radio.
Looks like whipping up that special sauce pays well!
Yet Another Sequel Alert!
First, al-Jazeera had an audio tape that was supposedly from our old pal Osama. Now Reuters is reporting Bin Laden Predicts 'Martyrdom' in New Tape:
LONDON (Reuters) - A British-based Islamic news agency said Wednesday it had a new tape recording of Osama bin Laden in which the Saudi militant allegedly predicts his own death this year in an unspecified act of "martyrdom."

The Ansaar news agency said it bought the recording, which it likened to bin Laden's last will and testament and said was freshly recorded, from an unidentified man through the Internet.

"Indeed surely this year will I lead my steed and hurl it, and my soul, at one of the targets ... and I become a martyr," Imran Khan, who runs Ansaar in the Midlands city of Birmingham, translated the tape as saying.

His claim could not be independently verified.
I wonder if the person he bought it from was in Nigeria?
Khan said the new Ansaar tape also claims a war on Iraq is a precursor to an invasion of Saudi Arabia.

Ansaar, which would not divulge more details of the recording, is offering the tape for sale.

"I'm open to offers... I had one of 20,000 ($32,310)," Khan said.
Dang! Ole Imran's from Nigeria!

Hmm, I wonder if I could cobble up a tape to sell on eBay? I already know where to go for the cover art:

How about a dirt nap?

I'm still voting that Osama is having a nice Afghan dirt nap.
More Dog Bites Man News
Marc Lerner in the Washington Times - Terrorists contacted Iraq envoy after blast:
CEBU, Philippines - A senior Iraqi diplomat was in contact with Muslim terrorists in the southern Philippines hours after they killed a U.S. soldier and injured another in a bombing in October, according to Philippine officials and intelligence sources.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ople said Iraqi diplomat Husham Hussein took a phone call from a member of the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf, the terrorist group blamed for the bombing Oct. 2 outside a military base in the southern city of Zamboanga.

"It appeared that immediately after the bombing, there was a call to the embassy" by an Abu Sayyaf guerrilla, Mr. Ople told reporters in Manila, citing a "highly detailed" report from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

"The call was to Hussein," Mr. Ople said. "So I have put the Iraqi Embassy on notice that these activities are monitored by the intelligence community."

Samir Bolus, second in command at the Iraqi Embassy in Manila, denied the assertion. But after a meeting with Mr. Ople on Monday, he agreed to instruct Mr. Hussein to "cease and desist from actions inconsistent with his diplomatic status."
The U.S. Embassy in Manila called Mr. Ople's announcement "very disturbing but hardly surprising."
OK, so when does the shooting start?

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Strange Hobby Alert!
Per request at Ipse Dixit, here's the link (don't bother following it, it's a "Google bomb"):
Dodd for President
Actually Dodd isn't really running, he just wants another waitress sandwich.
What a surprise!
From John Perazzo at Frontpage Magazine - The Next "Peace" Protest Will Be Brought to You By a Castro Groupie:
On February 15, many thousands of protesters will assemble within sight of the United Nations building in New York to express their opposition to a war in Iraq. Their efforts will be duplicated in some 300 additional cities throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. This will be the first such protest not organized by the Workers World Party (WWP), an energetic Marxist-Leninist organization that openly supports Kim Jong Il’s brutal dictatorship in North Korea. Instead, it will be run by a group called United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ), whose co-chair Leslie Cagan is an enthusiastic, longtime supporter of yet another Communist despot, Fidel Castro.
And I'm sure we'll hear all about it in the Big Media.
Today's Hoot!
Murray Soupcoff at the Iconoclast, regales us with Poets Against War Are Such A Bore... :
February 11, 2003: In case you didn't know it, tomorrow is 'Poets Against War' Day. We can't tell you how excited we are around here about the prospect of poets all around America gathering to read their works "as a powerful statement of public and collective resistance to the Bush administration's drive toward war in Iraq." Those nasty warmongers, George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, must be quaking in their boots -- especially at the thought of tomorrow's special reading from the Poets Against the War Anthology in Lafayette Park, across from the White House. Serves Dubyah and Rummy right for trying to disarm a rogue dictatorship like Iraq through war.

Indeed, never has the Bush administration been under such a concerted threat than by tomorrow's poetic assault on the politics of war. If the poetry on the Poets Against the War web site is any example, some of the most pretentious, cliche-filled claptrap will be hurled against the purveyors of war in the White House on Wednesday . Forget Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. We're talking about a weapon that's even more terrible, painful and loathsome -- bad modern verse. The equivalent of one long, endless loud whine that seems to never stop. Now that's what we call a real weapon of destruction.
I'm stunned! And reminded of the poetic character brought to life by the late, lamented Ernie Kovacs. Yep it's Percy Dovetonsils:

Percy Dovetonsils

Don't anybody suggest that they could also take their clothes off!
Hey, no cheating!
Over at The Corner, Andrew Stuttaford is continuing his campaign to translate "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" into every language known to man. But there's always a joker in the deck:
The reader who suggested that the German for "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" was "Der French" gets no marks at all for effort, achievement or tact.
Hmm, too bad. I kinda like it.
It makes me feel so much better!
WNBC in New York reports on phony ID fun in License For Terror?:
If you think identification checks at airports are helping to protect against another 9/11, think again.

In a matter of days, NewsChannel 4 ordered a phony New York driver's license from a Web site. A NewsChannel 4 producer purchased the fake, submitting a picture of a man she called "John Walker," adding: "He doesn't have a driver's license number (please make one up), and also make up an address." However, the picture the producer sent is no ordinary man looking for a license. He's Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, from the FBI's "22 Most Wanted Terrorists List." Right now, there's a $25 million reward for his whereabouts.

David Murray's company, SSE Technologies, makes software designed to check licenses for bartenders. His software said the phony license NewsChannel 4 bought was valid. We also showed the fake to James Kallstrom, who used to run the New York office of the FBI and is now a senior security advisor to New York Governor Pataki. He said that with that license, the person could probably fly on a commercial airline, rent a car, and get across the border into the United States.
Several Internet sites advertise quality fakes. We're not going to say which sites NewsChannel 4 visited, but some offer a choice of Social Security cards, local community identification, and forged licenses from several states including California, Texas and New York. When NewsChannel 4 ordered the fake, we first thought the people running the operation might have recognized him as the man indicted in a plot to blow up airliners. That's because our producer got an e-mail saying "I don't do terrorists, and this guy looks like he's from a Middle Eastern descent ... your (sic) going to have to give a detailed explanation of why he wants this ID."

The NewsChannel 4 producer messages back to him: "I think that's a little discriminatory." The forger's answer: "Look at it from my point of view. If a terrorist buys an ID from me, uses it to travel, blows up a city, and/or gets caught, it would have great personal ramifications." Still, less than an hour later, the company's operatives send another e-mail. They say they'll send the ID, but threaten if the face on the license is ever connected to terrorism, they'll anonymously notify authorities about who bought it. The forger writes: "I don't care if he's cashing bad checks, traveling, anything -- just so long as people aren't being killed."

Days later, a package arrives and is picked up by our producer at a private box rented by NewsChannel 4. Inside, a replica driver's license with a picture of one of the most wanted men in the world.

The Department of Motor Vehicles' chief investigator William Devoe says not only does the cost seem low, but he's never seen security strips on the back so well duplicated at any price -- much less for $150. "It's the first one we've seen that the bar code read and matched the information on the front of the document," Devoe said. The availability of good fakes is more alarming, Devoe says, because it comes at a time when hundreds of people are being stopped every month from using false passports to get real licenses. On the driver's license we got, the made up address on Maple Road in Amityville, N.Y., turns out to not be so made up. And remember the name we used, John Walker? Whoever made the fake used an address where there's -- you guessed it -- a real John Walker. "You only pay $150, and you can be someone else -- it's amazing!" said Walker of Amityville.

Monday, February 10, 2003

I couldn't take it anymore. I turned off the YACCS commenting system since it was destroying page load times. My thanks to my long suffering commenters, but hold on while I try some of the alternatives.

UPDATE: Now kicking the tires on backBlog.
I'm from the EU. I'm here to help!
William Holzer over at proposes an interesting series of experiments:
Too many bubbles in the beer you ordered? Are your bananas not adequately curved? Does your chocolate contain vegetable oil? Is your toothpaste too effective? Did jackhammer vibrations leave your back sore? If so, you better call the police, if you live in Europe.

Who can imagine the limits of European Union regulations? Typing "EU," "regulation," and a randomly chosen noun into Google can lead to hours of fun.
Hey, try it for yourself! Here's just a few nouns to get you started:




I bet the United Nations is envious!
From the Wall St. Journal - The End of NATO:
An alliance that refuses to defend a member nation is useless.

France and Germany continued this weekend to gamble with the institutions that have kept something called the Western alliance united for half a century. The question to contemplate now is whether that alliance, formally known as NATO, continues to serve the interests of the United States.

This may seem a radical thought, but it is certainly warranted by the astonishing recent behavior of nations thought to be U.S. allies. Three countries--France, Germany and their mini-me minion, Belgium--have moved from opposition to U.S. policy toward Iraq into formal, and consequential, obstructionism. If this is what the U.S. gets from NATO, maybe it's time America considered leaving this Cold War institution and re-forming an alliance of nations that understand the new threats to world order.

You can't be Hispanic if you don't vote Democratic
I've previously mentioned the amazing display of buffoonery from Senate Democrats over the Miguel Estrada nomination, but Rudy Guiliani delivers the coup de grâce. Maybe they just don't like him because he wasn't an illegal alien?
Escapees from the Worker's Paradise
Madeline Baró Diaz reports in the Sun-Sentinel - Four Cuban defectors land patrol craft at Key West hotel:
Four Cuban coast guardsmen dressed in military uniforms came ashore in their patrol boat at a Key West resort Friday and turned themselves in to police.

The men, who were apparently fed up with living in Cuba, decided to seek political asylum in the United States, Key West police said. They were questioned by the FBI before being placed in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol on Friday afternoon.

The Border Patrol was establishing that the men were in fact Cuban, determining how they came to the United States, and figuring out if immigration authorities had any record of them, said Keith Roberts, a spokesman for the agency.

"We treat all of the cases the same way, even though on the surface it does seem to be a little bit different than [with] most Cuban arrivals," Roberts said.

The four men approached Key West Officer Matt Dorgan at about 4 a.m. and told him they wanted to surrender, Key West police spokeswoman Cynthia Edwards said. One man had a Chinese handgun holstered to his side, which he allowed Dorgan to take. Police officers searched the boat the men docked at the Hyatt Marina Resort and found two loaded AK-47 machine guns with ammunition.

The men told Officer Tara Koenig that they were on patrol at about 1 a.m. when they decided to defect.

"My impression is that it was a last-minute decision," Koenig said. "They were patrolling, talking about living at the poverty line when they said, `You know what, the United States is only 90 miles that way.' So they set the heading on their boat, cut off communication with Cuba and headed straight here."
There are more details in an article in the Key-West Citizen:
Gamboa, a tall, lanky man with cropped black hair and crystal-clear brown eyes, said he didn't tell any family members or friends before departing from his homeland. He proudly showed everyone the business card of a man he said was his cousin, who lives near Miami. He used a borrowed cell phone while standing on the curb to try to reach his family, but to no avail. He, too, said impoverished conditions propelled his decision.

"The top men, the big men, they have all the money, all the cars, five houses," he said. "And we have nothing. The rest of us have nothing."
Dictatorship of the proletariat fer sure!

From the same article though, the obvious question:
The incident drew questions as to how the men, in what appeared to be an unmarked boat, arrived undetected in Key West waters. The event occurred the same day that President George Bush elevated the national terror alert from yellow to orange -- the second-highest level -- prompting Americans to turn their thoughts to homeland security issues.
Oh yeah, the worker's paradise wants them back. Sorry wingnuts, but Bubba and Janet are long gone.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

You've got to be kidding!
From Silent Running:
Bloody Hell! If this report is anything close to being accurate, then God Save The Queen! Her son is a friggin barking moonbat! Its one thing for him to jaunt about criticising English architecture for lacking flair and style, but this reads almost like he's taken it upon himself to ensure that Mum is the last legitimate and respected Monarch of Great Britain.
I never thought Prince Charles was the sharpest knife in the drawer - it's not a prerequisite for his job anyway. But the linked News of the World report indeed makes him out to be a "friggin barking moobat".

UPDATE: Lots of blogosphere commentary on this. At Gweilo Diaries, Conrad wonders:
As for Charles: if you're going to wear Arab dress, how about doing the rest of us a favor and putting a burqa on Camilla?
And at The Ankle Biter, Tiffany wonders about whether a Muslim can be the head of the Church of England. I liked the comment from Jeffersonian:
Jesus, where's Andrew when you need him? I work with an ex-SAS guy who tells tales of Andy flying his vermillion chopper into the teeth of Argentinian ack-ack nests in the Falklands and being generally a Henry V with his men; a noble and valiant rogue.

Charles is such a vacuum-skulled wanker, I doubt he could get a job as a push-cart vendor if he wasn't the goddamned heir apparent. I know I wouldn't trust him with anything more consequential. maybe he got all the German blood...
Not worth the paper it's printed on
(Via Scott Chaffin at The Fat Guy) Reuters reports Texas Snubs World Court on Execution Stays:
An unrepentant Texas said on Thursday it would ignore a World Court order demanding it stay the executions of two Mexicans, a decision likely to create more friction between the United States and its allies over capital punishment.

The International Court of Justice at The Hague on Wednesday ordered the U.S. to stay the executions of three Mexicans and reserved the right to intervene in dozens of other cases.
With their order and 50 cents, I can buy a cup of bad coffee out of a vending machine.
A U.S. refusal to heed the World Court could worsen already-tense relations with Mexico on the issue.
A country whose avowed policy is to send its citizens illegally to the United States shouldn't kick when some of the thugs that come in the flow get caught and punished for crimes they commit while here.
Jacques, we hardly knew ya!
(Via Andrew Stuttaford at The Corner) The Telegraph delivers more than we want to know about Jacques Chirac in All for one:
It's nothing new for politicians to be facing in several directions at once but Chirac has done so many turns he has to screw his socks on. Once a Eurosceptic, he now embraces the idea of a powerful, seamlessly-integrated EU - run by France and Germany. Once in favour of concentrating power in Paris, he now thinks it should all be handed out to the regions. Having once begged the far-Right National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen to help him out of an electoral fix, he now says: "Confronted with hatred and intolerance, no deals, no debates are possible."

Typically French, we might say - but there is nothing typical and only so much that is French about Chirac. "All his life," says Eric Zemmour, a Figaro journalist and author of a new presidential biography, "he has dreamed of being someone else."
Jacques landed a weekend job as a "soda jerk" at a Howard Johnson's restaurant off-campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There he met and fell in love with a blonde 18-year-old from South Carolina called Florence Herlihy. She called him "honey child", and he called her "ma chérie", and they rode around in an old convertible with fins and white-wall tyres. "
For all his vanity, and the over-larded pomp with which he tends to surround himself, he is a bistro man at heart. Give him a stuffed cabbage and a pichet of plonk, and his petit bourgeois, one-generation-from-the-peasantry provenance will rush to the surface and his eyes glaze over with gratitude.
In it, Laumond portrays his boss as an insatiable bedroom athlete who specialised in high-speed conquests of secretaries and party workers. On one occasion he allegedly tried to seduce the Syrian President's wife during a state visit. Chirac was particularly tormented, claims Laumond, by any mention of the sexual successes of his rival and presidential predecessor, Mitterrand. "On hearing that Mitterrand had seduced a particular woman, Chirac would rage: 'What! He's had her as well!' Then the boss would set off in pursuit of the same lady, to even the score as it were."

Such matters, if discussed at all in public, tend to count for little in terms of French votes. Far more damaging is the whiff of corruption that has trailed Chirac since his earliest days in politics. His three terms as Mayor of Paris were notable for the remarkably high standard of living and many extended holidays that the Chiracs enjoyed. Jacques managed 45 solo trips to Japan alone. His claims to have become a sushi aficionado and sumo wrestling fan sounded reasonable enough. But where did the money come from? Chirac's personal finances at this time are the subject of a long-running, but currently stalled, investigation.
What a guy! Much more by following the link, but the net is I wouldn't hire this guy to walk my dog.
Uh Oh!
An excerpt from Andy Borowitz:

Chirac Demands More Time for U.N. Face Inspectors
Finally, Mr. Powell played a tape of the ABC program "20/20" in which Mr. Jackson admitted he had plastic surgery, after which a visibly frustrated Mr. Powell turned to the ambassador from France and said, "How much more freaking proof do you clowns need?"

While the French ambassador did not respond, impassively sipping on a glass of red wine while reading a book by Camus, later in the day French President Jacques Chirac had harsh words for Mr. Powell, saying that the Secretary of State "had proved nothing."
Zut alors!
Today's Hoot!
Emily over at Give War a Chance apparently dislikes celebrity morality commercials:
Am I the only person who gets really annoyed by those "The More You Know" spots on NBC? Does anybody really take the advice of Starlet X from "This Show is Crap"? Do people really found their morality based on 30-second spots where a cast member of "ER" tells them that racism is bad?

Martin Sheen believes you should spend more time with your kids. Some chick I've never heard of says you should read to them. The guy who plays Ross on "Friends" thinks you should monitor their internet surfing. I don't have children, but when I do, I was planning on ignoring them, encouraging their illiteracy, and making sure my account with "Horny and Hosed-down Housewife Sluts" stays current so that I can teach them how meaningful porn can be. Jeebus, if you need a TV star to coach you on your parenting skills, it's probably best you not be allowed to breed in the first place.
Follow the link for more.
Beam Him Up Alert!
The AP astounds with Turkey denies entry to leader of "human shields" headed for Iraq:
ISTANBUL, Turkey - Border police on Friday denied entry into Turkey to a former U.S. Marine who is leading a group of "human shields" headed for Iraq ahead of a possible U.S.-led attack, an official said.

Ken O'Keefe, the founder of the "Human Shield Mission" protest group who flew into Istanbul from Italy, was not let into the country when he presented a passport issued by the World Service Authority.

A spokesman of Istanbul airport, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Turkey does not recognize this passport.

The spokesman said O'Keefe protested, shouting that he had traveled across the world with that passport and was a "citizen of the world."
The U.S.-based World Service Authority issues passports on the basis of an article of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights that guarantees the right to travel freely. The authority says the passport is recognized by more than 150 countries.
Enquiring minds want to know! Click on the snazzy picture for the poopscoop on the World Services Authority "passport":

Wingnuts won't leave home without it!
The World Passport represents the inalienable human right of freedom of travel on planet Earth. Therefore it is premised on the fundamental oneness or unity of the human community.
Remind me not to visit the 5 countries that supposedly have de jure recognition of this piece of hapless wingnuttery. But then I never wanted to visit Mauritania anyway.

And while you're checking out the passport, don't forget the World Service Authority store where you can pick up their flag, stamps, and paper currency.

Why didn't I think of something like this? Send me your money now and I'll send you a passport as soon as I get some printed! I think I'll call mine the "Country Store Intergalactic Passport and Fishing License". Might as well cover UFO's and fishing too. Remember
The Country Store Intergalactic Passport and Fishing License represents the inalienable human right of freedom of travel throughout the Universe. And to fish. Therefore it is premised on the fundamental oneness or unity of the intergalactic community and the universality of the desire to catch big lunkers and drink potent liquors.
Frankish Empire Alert!

Don't let the curry wurst cool off!How about a leisurely lunch?
Our "pals" are at it again:
Germany and France are working on a broad disarmament plan for Iraq designed to avoid war, including the deployment of U.N. soldiers throughout the country, reconnaissance flights and a tripling of the number of weapons inspectors, a magazine reported Saturday.

The plan could be presented to the U.N. Security Council as a resolution, the weekly Der Spiegel said, though it was unclear how the two countries or the United Nations would win Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's approval for carrying it out.
No fooling? How naive do you have to be, to think this would work any better than the current inspections? These bozos must have been born with bureaucracy in the blood. William Grim at the Iconoclast:
And Herr Fischer, a million more weapons inspectors will not change the course of Saddam's regime. Remember Theresienstadt, the "model" concentration camp that your country built to deceive the Red Cross inspectors during WWII? All the happy Jews dancing and playing in orchestras for the benefit of a public relations offensive? After the inspectors left, the Jews were exterminated.
Meanwhile, the Euroweenies are also driving the last nails in the coffin of NATO:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Saturday branded as "inexcusable" moves by France, Germany and Belgium to stall NATO planning for the protection of Turkey in the event of a war in Iraq.

Rumsfeld said if a three-week deadlock at NATO is not ended, Washington and other allies will provide defense for Turkey anyway, and NATO's credibility would suffer a severe blow.
I'm reminded of Christopher Hitchen's rant, The Rat That Roared:
However, the conduct of Jacques Chirac can hardly be analyzed in these terms. Here is a man who had to run for re-election last year in order to preserve his immunity from prosecution, on charges of corruption that were grave. Here is a man who helped Saddam Hussein build a nuclear reactor and who knew very well what he wanted it for. Here is a man at the head of France who is, in effect, openly for sale. He puts me in mind of the banker in Flaubert's "L'Education Sentimentale": a man so habituated to corruption that he would happily pay for the pleasure of selling himself.
As if that wasn't enough hilarity, back at the United Nations, "Sophie Cannon" let off a squib:
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has warned the United States against launching a unilateral attack on Iraq.

He argued that action under a UN umbrella would have greater legitimacy and better odds of success.
Doing anything under the auspices of the bloated talk shop has no legitimacy except in the minds of the Kool Aid drinkers. As for success, we're still cleaning up the UN sponsored mess from the 1st Gulf War.

On this fishing trip, it is clear what the usual suspects are doing. They shouldn't be surprised that the USA finds it amusing.
California Schemin' Alert!
As I have mentioned before, California faces a large deficit because Gov. Gray Davis has been spending like a drunken sailor ever since he got into office - the per capita spending is up 31% in the last 3 years. But in the People's Republic, spending is never cut or even restrained. As Gray says, "The problem is not spending. The problem is lack of revenue."

So it's with little surprise that I see Andres Martiniez in the NY Times weigh in with The Disintegration of the Golden Era in the Golden State:
John Deasy, the superintendent of one of the state's most affluent school districts, clearly knew the figures, but he couldn't help but look for them on the sheet before him, as if to make sure this hadn't all been an unpleasant dream. The numbers are that dire. California's budget crisis will soon force Mr. Deasy to terminate more than 200 of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District's 900 employees, including 102 teachers. There will be no more school nurses and no more elementary school music programs. High school classrooms will be crammed with up to 40 students.
Ah, the old Washington Monument ploy! If we don't get more loot, we'll have to shut down the Washington Monument!
"It's disastrous. This district is going to know times it hasn't known before," Mr. Deasy said last Thursday, as he steeled himself to review the budget cuts at a public school board meeting. "This whole state is going to know times it hasn't known before."
OK, I'll bite. How can we keep the tykes from suffering a dreadful fate?
In California, Mr. Goldberg says, "the voters will ultimately have to help us break the present stalemate."

That would be fitting, since Californians helped to get their state into this fix. Since the 1978 triumph of Proposition 13, which signaled the rise of a grass-roots antitax movement that helped send Ronald Reagan to the White House, populist initiatives have been an impediment to sound, long-term policy making in the state. By freezing local property taxes and imposing an onerous requirement that any other new tax be approved by a two-thirds' majority of lawmakers, Proposition 13 has starved California of needed investment capital.
Yep, "it's all the ignorant citizens' fault" and there's not even the faintest echo of a clue phone ringing in the newsroom. But we did learn that Andres doesn't have a hint about the meaning of "investment capital".
Revenge of the geeks!
Over at (the old) Little Tiny Lies, Steve has a new hobby - he's setting up Moveable Type on his new web host. This is resulting in posts like:
MT is the Tool of Satan
All Nerds Must Hang
I checked out the nerd board over at MT, but it consists largely of defensive posts saying, "If our installation 'manual' seems confusing to you, it's because you're stupid, not because we write like chimpanzees on nitrous oxide."
More Confused Than Ever

Well F___ ME RUNNIN'! I Think I Got it to Work!
Steve is a lawyer. But he's funny.