The planets are in an unusual alignment. Not only are you getting two consecutive posts from me, but Mars is the closest its been to Earth in 50,000 years. If you get a chance, you should really go take a look while you can -- it's a beautiful sight.
I want to buy a telescope so I can see the polar caps and canals, but it's still very impressive to the naked eye. # Posted 1:30 AM
Thursday, August 28
As you probably already know, there was a blackout in parts of England today, including London. This comes exactly two weeks after the blackout that hit North America. Just as in the case here, British officials were quick to deny any traces of terrorism in today's power failure.
But is it too quick to dismiss both blackouts as a case of unfortunate coincidence? I've always been a little bit wary about official explanations for things; and as we learned in Iraq, both American and British officials have no qualms in "lying" to their citizenry.
It's a known fact before they took their plane ride to hell, the September 11 hijackers took dry run flights to survey airline security, flight crews, etc. It's highly possible they could cut power lines or hack into a power plant's computer system to overload its circuits, and then just sit back to see what happens. Perhaps the jihadis are in the final stages of planning their next attack and the blackouts of this month were just a test.
P.S You have been checking out the guest blog, right? # Posted 12:23 PM
I'm back from part one of my vacation and will begin part two tomorrow. I figured I'd give you all a little update on my adventures thus far.
Peter and I were looking for a beach vacation where we could lay on a beach, swim and that's pretty much it. We weren't looking for anything crazy, just a short, inexpensive getaway to relax. As it sometimes works out with trip planning, the best deal happened to be at a five-star hotel in swanky Palm Beach, Florida.
How swank is Palm Beach? The town's main drag has free valet parking. I ducked into a bar to use the restroom and there were flatscreen tvs installed in every stall. It's where the billionaires have their summer mansions. It was definitely something else.
We had a really great time and accomplished our main goal of doing little. The people in Florida, especially along the coast as they tend to be transplanted New Yorkers, were terrific. There were people in our hotel who had come from as far away as Britain and Hong Kong. At first, I wondered why anybody would make such a long journey just to lay on the beach. I don't think we would've chosen Florida if it wasn't a two hour flight away, but I can definitely see the appeal now of getting away from it all in such a mellow, pretty place.
Tomorrow we leave for our yearly Montreal trip. We're going with the drummer in Peter's band and his girlfriend. It should be a good time and I'll tell you all about it when I return. # Posted 11:29 AM
Friday, August 22
Well kids, I'm off on vacation. As I've mentioned, there is a Spot On Guest Blog for your viewing pleasure. See you in September (unless I have the mad urge to post something from paradise-not unlikely) # Posted 2:12 PM
I've been getting a lot of hits from people looking for a Manhattan liquor store open on Sundays (I covered this topic with dismay about a month ago). Since writing the rant about the stupid 6 day law, I've discovered one liquor store in Manhattan that is indeed open on Sunday. It is on Second Avenue between 75th and 76th Streets. It's called Woody's. Enjoy. # Posted 1:45 PM
"Bush good, Saddam bad!" many Iraqis tell us emphatically--and repeatedly. I'm not sure how George W. Bush is faring with the American public, but he's got a lock on Al Hillah.
Iraqis routinely ask me to "thank Mr. Bush for freeing us of Saddam" and tell me, "We are very grateful, because you have freed us of our worst nightmare, Saddam Hussein." (A lot of Iraqis speak surprisingly good English because most studied it in primary and secondary school.)
It all reminds me of my experience a decade ago in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Most ordinary Russians, Poles and Czechs hailed Ronald Reagan as a hero for bringing down the "evil empire" when few people had the courage even to call it that.
In much the same way, ordinary Iraqis have a tremendous reservoir of goodwill for the president who coined the term "axis of evil"--and who then acted to eradicate a primary source of that evil. -Report from John R. Guardiano, a marine in Iraq. # Posted 12:51 PM
My best friend is a teacher. Recently, she told me a story about a friend of hers who is a teacher as well. Her friend had given out candy to the class and then left the bag with the remaining candy in her desk. She was dismayed and upset to find out that the kids were stealing the candy when she wasn't in the room. She has a drawer that has a lock but doesn't use it because she wants the kids to not want to steal the candy. My friend, ever the realistic, strong woman that she is, commented that of course they're going to steal the candy if she doesn't lock it up. In fact, she added, it's the only thing that she uses the locked drawer to store. They're kids. They're going to take candy if it is in plain sight. Duh.
Which leads me to the story of the bombing of the UN headquarters in Iraq. Turns out, the US warned the UN that they were an easy target. The UN felt that too much security would create a barrier between this very effective organization and those whom it hopes to help. That, and they didn't want those American types hanging around. Now, aside from the fact that terrorists bombing the UN is, as my friend Bobby would say, 'pissing in their chips', I can't understand why the UN wouldn't listen to the Americans on this. How deep does their hatred of us have to be to let that hatred cost lives? Were we lying to them about there being a potential threat on them? What could their reasoning be? Unless, they felt that there couldn't possibly be an attack on them. After all, hadn't they supported Saddam staying in power? Hadn't they tried to stop those dastardly Americans? They had. Will they now wake up to the fact that the terrorists don't just hate Israel, they don't just despise Americans, they hate everything, all of us, anyone living in freedom. And if there is an opportunity to kill us, they will. They will take full advantage of the unlocked drawer, and they don't care where you stood on the war in Iraq or what you think of the fence in the West Bank. # Posted 12:48 PM
Wednesday, August 20
Peter and I are going on vacation on Sunday. We'll be back around September 2nd. My idea for this blog while I'm away is to have a 'guest house' blog. It was supposed to begin when we leave on Sunday but some of the guest bloggers have already began said blogging. The site is Suitably Alarmed. More information can be had by, uh, visiting it. # Posted 10:44 PM
"Let the criminal Bush and his gang know that the punishment is the result of the action, the soldiers of God cut the power on these cities, they darkened the lives of the Americans as these criminals blackened the lives of the Muslim people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. The Americans lived a black day they will never forget. They lived a day of terror and fear... a state of chaos and confusion where looting and pillaging rampaged the cities, just like the capital of the caliphate Baghdad and Afghanistan and Palestine were. Let the American people take a sip from the same glass," Al Hayat quotes the statement as saying.
"One of the benefits of this strike is that the US will not live in peace until our conditions are met, such as releasing all the detainees, including Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman, and getting out of the land of the Muslims, including Jerusalem and Kashmir," the statement continued.
While not specifying how the sabotage was carried out, the paper quotes the statement as contending that the blackout cost the US treasury no less than $10 billion, and to "break the hearts of US officials, just know that the cost paid by the mujahideen to sabotage the power plants was a mere $7,000. Die of sorrow!"
[Insert your own joke here]
If this is the new face of al-Qaeda, as those wacky jihadis warn, then keep it coming!
Except for the lack of running water, I found the blackout to be incredibly fun. As New York grew dark, I sat on our balcony and tried to eat as many ice cream sandwiches as humanly possible before they melted (I ate 10), had flashlight wars with neighbors I've never seen before or since, and joined in the merriment as our neighborhood was reduced to a mass of people behaving like little kids staying up past their bedtime at a slumber party. Then in the morning, before anyone else in our apartment was awake, I sat out on the balcony again and played solitary card games. The whole city was quiet except for one neighbor's battery-powered radio tuned to a classic rock station. Ah, I thought, summer doesn't get any better than this.
As soon as power was restored, the air conditioners and televisions roared back to life and the city was filled with noise again. But for more than 25 hours, I experienced a peace and quiet normally alien to New York City. # Posted 2:11 AM
Tuesday, August 19
Urg. You're witnessing what happens when I read the New York Times at 1:30am.
So, in addition to the 'this doesn't happen that often but hey let's make it a big story anyway' piece below, the NY Times has two other articles that have caught my interest this morning.
The first is this one with the headline: For Ugandan Girls, Delaying Sex Has Economic Cost. Now, I think you all know that I'm not much of a social conservative. My big political issues are realistic foreign policies, toughness on crime on the local level and strong defense on the national one, privatization of schools, low taxes, smaller government, and free markets. Socially, I'm a libertarian. It's mostly because I don't care what people do as long as I'm not paying for it. From what I understand of AIDS prevention in Uganda, their teaching of abstinence has been an incredible success. AIDS rates are way down there. Other countries are beginning to use the Ugandan model of teaching 'abstinence first and condoms second' for their own AIDS education programs. Hysterical liberals, of course, hate this. Abstinence should never be taught lest conservatives are pushing their 'agenda' on somebody's sex life. Even if that agenda is saving lives. This headline is classic. The article reads as if the abstinent girls who don't get to be prostitutes suffer financially and we should feel sorry for that. Well, I am sorry. I'm sorry that the Times can't disguise its own agenda, even when lives are being saved, and even when it has to bring itself to endorse prositution to push it.
The other piece is an editorial by Paul Newman about the Fox News v. Al Franken lawsuit. For the record, I think Fox News suing Franken is absolutely ridiculous. For one thing, they've boosted this hack's book sales by 1000% for no good reason. But this Times editorial is just ghastly. The writing is so bad it hurts my head. Sample line: 'In claiming trademark violation, Fox sets a noble example for standing firm against whatever.' Am I reading Mad magazine here? It's supposed to be something resembling satire. It's written in third person, something I find incredibly annoying. It reads like the jokes some loser guy who thinks calling George W. Bush 'shrub', as if its the epitome of wit, would tell you. It's embarrassing. # Posted 1:27 AM
Somewhere toward the end of the article, the Times deems it important to mention that 'the argument about whether Jewish vigilantism is justified can quickly become contentious. ' Gee, ya think? And why would that be? The Times explains 'one of the few points of agreement is that attacks by Israeli civilians against Palestinians are rare.' Really? How rare is it? Well, the Times goes on 'according to B'Tselem, 32 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli civilians in the last three years. At the same time, 328 Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinians inside Israel, and 190 more in the West Bank and Gaza.' And yet, there is a front page (with a photo) article about this rare occurence in one of the most influential newspapers in the world. Odd that. # Posted 1:03 AM
Monday, August 18
So, I've had an eventful week:
1. Peter and I marked two phenomenal years together. It has been amazing and happy and I have to touch wood every time I think about it to keep from jinxing it.
2. To celebrate, we've booked a much needed vacation, two actually, the first of which is to Palm Beach, FL and will commence on Sunday. The second is to Montreal for Labor Day weekend. I've got some interesting blog plans that are shaping up for my time away. I'll keep y'all posted.
3. I'm going to graduate school in September. It was a last minute decision. I found a politics program that I fell in love with at NYU. The head of the department let me apply despite the deadline having passed. He also let me submit my LSAT scores (I was sure I was going to be a lawyer, but no) instead of the GRE scores that are normally required. I got two amazing letters of recommendations from two incredible people that I've worked with on campaigns. And I got in. I really didn't think I would. I've been hysterically happy since finding out. I'm going back to school. Woooohooooo. I was so surprised when I got the call about getting accepted. I just kept saying 'thank you, thank you' over and over. And while on the phone, my computer lost power. I thought that it was probably a blown fuse in my apartment. Yeah. That wasn't it.
4. The blackout. I'm happy that I wrote about it immediately after going through it. I've already started to forget that it happened. Things returned back to normal with amazing speed. I'm grateful it wasn't terrorism. Even without mass death, the knowledge that the terrorists could do something like this to us would've been unbearable.
But aren’t you angry that there wasn’t a Plan B for getting the electricity up sooner?” the reporter prodded. “Who do you blame?”
They didn’t really blame anyone. The reporter cut them loose. A while later I saw a reporter stop a man on a bike. He had a plastic sack with some food. He was going home; he had some friends crashing on the floor. "So you're pulling together, extending a hand to your fellow man," said the reporter, who was no doubt thinking: Pulitizer, or whatever the equivalent is for TV.
"Sure," said the guy. "I mean, someone turns on an air conditioner in Canada, it all goes down, whattaya gonna do."
The reporter cut him loose. I almost wondered if the reporters wanted this to be 9/11 lite, all the mass inconvenience with only half the panic. As far as I can tell, the big story was the outage, but the other story was "so, they dealt with it." You can't wonder if a TV producer was looking at the feeds, seeing the people just walking along, the cars waiting thier turns, and the producer's thinking: God help me for this, but would someone please throw a brick? We're dyin' here.
"People's reactions are just unbelievable," a Toronto waitress told a newspaper. "No-one's panicking. Everyone's cool. We're all helping each other. I love this."
"New York just can't get a break"
-Spot On reader Dawn Summers in hour 8, or so, of the blackout.
The lights just came back on and the Upper East Side erupted into a huge cheer. You could tell the power was back even though it was daylight-the whir of the energy gave it away immediately. It was really, really bad, I'm not going to say that it wasn't. But, it was really interesting and one of the few times in a person's life that can be marked clearly 'experience'. New York was amazing. It was alive for the first time in a long time. This summer had been so sluggish and the 2 years since 9/11 have been so melancholy and sedate. This jolted everyone back to life. Bars were packed. People were hanging out on stoops. Most people walking the streets were laughing, drinking, smoking (the smoking and 'open container' police were stationed elsewhere). It was the feeling of 'we're all in this together' but it wasn't as horrifying as the last time we had felt that. It was such a relief when it wasn't terrorism. It let people relax and almost enjoy it. I spent it with Peter and my friend "Dawn Summers". At around 1am, we drove to Brooklyn in Dawn's car to check on her mom, whom Dawn hadn't heard from since about 4pm (she was fine and at home). Driving around Manhattan and into Brooklyn without a single traffic light-wow. When am I ever going to do that again? Anyway, it was something else. It sucked, yes, and I'm glad to have come out of it, but I'm also partly glad for it having happened at all. # Posted 6:28 PM
In June 2002, the liberal American Prospect magazine was hailing California as a "laboratory" for Democratic policies. With "its Democratic governor, U.S. senators, state legislature and congressional delegation," author Harold Meyerson gushed, "California is the only one of the nation's 10 largest states that is uniformly under Democratic control." In the Golden State, Meyerson said, "the next New Deal is in tryouts." -Ann Coulter. # Posted 12:19 PM
Arresting them is nice. Arresting them is civilized. Part of me, however, wonders whether it might not be better to dispatch some of the grim men who can kill you with a shoelace and a thumbtack from sixty paces, and have them hasten to hell a half-dozen black-market arms dealers, just to get the point across: Don’t. Or else. Go trade camcorders that fell off a truck; go back to dealing Marlboros with forged tax stamps. Oh, allright, you can sell machine guns. We’re feeling generous. But if you even think the words “surface to air missile” you will meet up with a fellow who not only had his nose sharpened to a lethal point, but can remove the nose and throw it at your jugular if need be.
As always, the whole thing is worth a read. # Posted 1:58 AM
"There comes a point when the people must demand more of our elected officials than just showing up."
The response from one Texan (suffering through the spectacle of his elected representatives holed up in New Mexico and Oklahoma).
“Oh, dare to dream.”
For those of you unaware, the Democrats in the Texan legislature have decided that since they can't win the votes they need to block a Republican redistricting plan, they're go to, uh, leave. And run. And hide. For the second time. Yes, really. # Posted 1:47 AM
There is a Bush2004 Meetup today at locations all across the US and a few tiny ones in places like Madrid and Mexico City. If you go to the Meetup site you get the added bonus of seeing a really bad picture of me (my friend says I look like the Blair witch although I don't believe the actual witch ever made an appearance in that film). # Posted 12:47 PM
I went to a small high school in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. My graduating class had 32 people in it. The size, along with the unusual chemistry between the oddest mix of people, leads me to still be in touch with most of my class. Nationality-wise, most of the big immigrant groups in Brooklyn were represented. The biggest groups were the Italians, Greeks and Russian-Jews. There were also a couple of third or fourth generation Americans, two Israelis, one Puerto Rican, one Irish, and one Palestinian. We were all good friends. We can call each other now, 9 years after we graduated, and it won't be strange at all.
So the Palestinian guy dropped me an email a few days ago after finding my name on Classmates.com. We emailed a few times and then spoke on the phone yesterday. I hadn't spoken to him since about 1995, sometime during my second year of college. Back then, I was moving to Scotland for the first time and he was getting married. Today, he's got two kids and twins on the way. He's a dad. This guy who used to shoot spitballs at people in class is a father. Weird.
Anyway, back in high school, he and I had a running joke. Whenever Israel would get mentioned in class, one of us would lean over to the other and say 'that's my land, you know.' The other one would then say 'no, no, you must be mistaken, it's my land.' It would invariably turn into a 'mine', 'mine', 'mine', 'mine'. We would be laughing the whole time. I was thinking, while talking to him, that we probably couldn't joke about something like this anymore. I wanted to ask him questions, I wanted to know how he felt about 9/11. Was he sickened? Did he feel any solidarity with the people in the Palestinian territories dancing in the streets? Did he feel more like an American these days or an Arab? On the flip side of that, I wanted to ask him if he had been mistreated at all since the attacks. What was that September like for him? How has it been since?
I couldn't ask anything like this. Some stupid inner voice was telling me that it would be (say it with me) 'racist' to even ask him questions like this. The truth is that we were good friends and still are. I have previously given the definition of good friendship to be that your good friends will never misunderstand you. They will always look at what you are saying in the best possible light. They will trust you not to be cruel to them on purpose and if offense is made they will understand that it is never intentional. I chickened out. I knew that he wouldn't take offense to my questions and yet I still could not ask them.
We're going to hang out sometime after his kids are born. He and his wife will come over for dinner. We'll sit on my balcony and I'll see if we can still be those silly kids in class, giggling and saying 'mine'. # Posted 12:14 PM
Whether or not he'll win, nobody can say for certain: the rules of the recall election are as whimsical as a sudden-death gameshow round. The standard line is that it's a "circus", but pre-Arnie it was more of a freak show, filled by various unsatisfying midgets: the pornographer Larry Flynt; the diminutive ex-sitcom-player Gary Coleman; a bounty hunter from Sacramento; the extravagantly-endowed self-proclaimed "Love Goddess" Angelyne (she's a one-woman circus, if only in the sense that she has a big top); and the wannabe celebrity, obscure populist and rumoured fourth Gabor sister Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington, best remembered in Britain (if at all) as Bernard Levin's ex-squeeze. But no matter how many little clowns pour out of the miniature car, it is the entry of the muscleman that has made this a circus worth seeing.
Arnold made his first business investment at 19, using savings from his bodybuilding contests to buy a failed Munich gym. He turned it around. The first really big money he made in America in the early 1970s came when he and a fellow bodybuilder started a bricklaying business. He's one of a very few actors who was a millionaire before he ever acted. And, if you think it's no big deal being the world's highest-paid movie star, you try it - with a guttural German accent so thick you can barely do dialogue and a body frame so large you're too goofy for playing love scenes. From his gym to his mail-order company to his masonry business to his shopping malls, Schwarzenegger has shown a consistent knack for exploiting the fullest financial value from even his most modest successes. Who would you say best embodies the spirit of California? The guy who has made all his own money? Or the fellows who've squandered everybody else's?
I have a feeling that my non-American readers are going to grow tired of the Arnold story pretty quickly. They have to understand, it's been a quiet summer in America, news-wise, and the story of Arnold is definitely the most interesting one around right now. The story isn't that he is running, of course, it is that he has a very good shot of winning. Whatever I may think of the recall (and, again, what I think is that Californians should have been stuck with Gray Davis for his entire term after having voted him in under a year ago), this is turning into the most entertaining political story in some time. # Posted 11:51 AM
'how to spot a jew in a crowd' # Posted 11:27 AM
Sunday, August 10
For the Brits:
Apparently a couple of people are collecting stories about crap towns in Britiain to put into a book. No, Buckie is not on the list. Amazingly, Edinburgh is. Are these people drunk? I've been all over the place and I've never been to a more beautiful city.
On a different note, I was surprised to discover that the word 'orcs' is a commonly used one. I thought it was specific to one town in the northeast of Scotland. # Posted 6:21 PM
"I come from Austria, a socialistic country. There you can hear 18-year-olds talking about their pension. But me, I wanted more. I wanted to be the best. Individualism like that is incompatible with socialism. I felt I had to come to America, where the government wasn't always breathing down your neck or standing on your shoes." -Arnold Schwarzenegger
'Listened to much radio commentary today on the Arnie candidacy, and as usual there was much lamenting and rending of garments on the ironclad right; he’s not this, he’s not that, he said this, he sleeps with a Shriver, etc. I am always mystified by people who would rather die pure than live with imperfections. Every candidate will always disappoint, somehow. Any candidate with whom you agree 100% is probably unelectable. If your bumpersticker says DON’T BLAME ME, I VOTED FOR AYN RAND I'm not particularly impressed. ‘Cause she’s dead and none of that stuff is going to happen. Doesn’t mean we can’t keep the ideas in play, but if you don’t vote because no candidate vows to privatize the sewage systems and disband the Food and Drug Administration, don’t come crying to me when your marginal tax rate hits 71 percent.'
-Lileks with a point that can just as well apply to the ironclad left (Hi Deanocrats!) # Posted 11:38 AM
Thursday, August 7
Lileks is baaaack (as his subject for today, Arnie, would say). He writes about the California situation and also about the newly appointed, first openly gay Bishop. Ken Wheaton calls himself a South Park Republican. I think I've concluded that I'm a Lileks Republican. I've yet to disagree with Lileks on anything. On the issue of the gay bishop, what stood out for me (and for Lileks) is that the man left his wife and kids to go be with someone else. The fact that the someone else is a man is really irrelevant to me. Would this man be so accepted and elevated to the position of bishop had he left his wife for another woman? Why does being gay give him a moral pass? Anyway, go read Lileks, he writes a helluva lot better than I do, and he's got the bishop's number. Figuratively speaking. # Posted 11:49 AM
Wednesday, August 6
It was 58 years ago this week when the United States used nuclear weapons against Japan. Today was the anniversary of Hiroshima and Saturday will mark the Nagasaki bombing.
Although the US had its reasons for the bombings -- American troops faced massive casualties should an invasion of Japan had taken place, and the Japanese wouldn't have surrendered unless they were utterly destroyed -- I'm still bothered by the indiscriminate killing of both innocent civilians and enemy combatants alike. Nuclear weapons are the most terrible thing imaginable, and the people of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not deserve their awful fate.
Earlier today I said a prayer for the victims of both bombings as well as a prayer that no one else will ever have to witness the same sort of horror experienced in Japan almost six decades ago.
Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way. Iran is really close to building their first nuclear bomb, thanks in part to the generous help and support from Russia, China, Pakistan, and North Korea.
If that wasn't bad enough, North Korea is going to export missiles to Iran. Besides having the capability to strike Israel, the proposed missiles should be able to reach Europe as well. Given Iran's bed hopping with every terrorist under the crescent moon, there's no doubt such a bomb could be used to attack the United States as well.
I'd long been opposed to US military intervention in Iran, as I believe the Iranian people will take care of the mullahs by themselves. But an American-induced regime change is not the same as a surgical strike to take out their nuclear reactors and disrupt their weapons program. We already wasted our chance with North Korea. We can't repeat the same mistake with Iran. # Posted 11:48 PM
I am completely against this recall election. California had an election last November, Gray Davis won. The fact that he is the worst manager of state finances in history is, to me, neither here nor there. Californians should have to live with their poor decision making. I want a do-over in the last NY Senate race but it doesn't look like I'm getting one, no matter how many signatures I get. # Posted 10:51 PM
Al Sharpton says that 'the news media are dismissive of his presidential campaign because newsrooms are overwhelmingly white.'
Can someone run down some reasons for me, preferably based on logic, how it is to the benefit of 'peace' for Israel to release Palestinian prisoners?Especially in light of the fact that the move is being greeted with hostility and ungratefulness by the Palestinians? Ken Wheaton doesn't get it either. # Posted 12:45 PM
Tuesday, August 5
Urg. I wrote a long post this morning about who knows what and just when I went to publish it, my internet provider failed to provide. They tell me there is an outage in my area. Now it's 10pm and after jonesing to be online all day, I'm signed on to Peter's computer from like, 1981, and connected to my beloved internet via, could you believe it, the phone line. Too annoyed at the snail's pace with which the pictures and words finally appear on the screen, I give up for today.
On a totally different note, I'd also like to direct your attention to one of my favorite blogs that has been on the blogroll for some time but that I haven't written much about. It and Lileks's site are the first things I read every day. It's View From The Wing. Gary, the site's host, is incredibly knowledgeable about all things travel. From what planes give you the most leg room, to what frequent flyer program is the best, to how to score upgrades and deals, he knows everything. I don't make a travel move without consulting with Gary these days (I owe him big as I'm sure I am very annoying). Anyway, go visit his site, you'll definitely learn something. # Posted 10:15 PM
"The Congressional Black Caucus blames all this on the legacy of colonialism, but it would be more accurate to call it the legacy of post-colonialism or prematurely terminated colonialism. The first generation of the continent’s leaders were those LSE-educated Afro-Marxists who did such a great job at destroying their imperial inheritance. By the time that crowd faded from the scene, the Cold War was over and nobody needed African puppets. So today West Africans find themselves in a land beyond politics. You can’t seriously talk of these factions as being Marxist or Maoist or Blairite. None represents any coherent political platform. The video of Samuel Doe’s sudden loss of hearing predates the equivalent scene in Reservoir Dogs by a couple of years, but that’s the valid comparison: these are criminal operations, not political ones. The only difference is that the ear-slicing of Sam Doe wasn’t accompanied on the soundtrack by ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’. That’ll be left for the US Marines to sing."
Lileks is the first person I read every morning. If you visit his site right now, there is a cartoon of a guy with a gun to his head and the words '08.04.03: the server crashed and took the whole #$*%# site down. Backups in progress. Thanks for your patience.' Even if he's not around, he still kills me. # Posted 12:49 PM
Friday, August 1
If you're a rightwinger, living in NYC, and would like info on right-leaning activities going on around town, please visit the brand new blog of the New York Young Republican Club. I am, for now, its editor. If you know of any happenings that I should list, please drop me an email. The blog is also looking for people to, well, blog, so if you've got something to say posts are being accepted. # Posted 11:37 AM
A joke, making the Internet rounds (I edit a little): Three Americans and an Israeli soldier are caught by cannibals and are about to be cooked. The chief says, "I am familiar with your Western custom of granting a last wish. Before we kill and eat you, do you have any last requests?"
Dan Rather says, "Well, I'm a Texan, so I'd like one last bowlful of hot, spicy chili." The chief nods to an underling, who leaves and returns with the chili. Rather eats it all and says, "Now I can die content."
Al Sharpton says, "I'd like to have my picture taken, as nothing has given me greater joy in life." Done.
Judith Woodruff says, "I'm a journalist to the end. I want to take out my tape recorder and describe the scene here, and what's about to happen. Maybe someday someone will hear it and know that I was on the job to the last." The chief directs an aide to hand over the tape recorder, and Woodruff dictates some comments. "There," she says. "I can now die fulfilled."
The chief says, "And you, Mr. Israeli Soldier? What is your final wish?"
The solider says, "Kick me in the behind."
"What?" says the chief. "Will you mock us in your last hour?"
"No, I'm not kidding. I want you to kick me in the behind."
So the chief unties the soldier, shoves him into the open, and kicks him in the behind. The Israeli goes sprawling, but rolls to his knees, pulls a 9mm pistol from his waistband, and shoots the chief dead. In the resulting confusion, he leaps to his knapsack, pulls out his Uzi, and sprays the cannibals with gunfire. In a flash, the cannibals are all dead or fleeing for their lives.
As the Israeli unties the others, they ask him, "Why didn't you just shoot them? Why did you ask the chief to kick you in the behind?"
"What?" answers the soldier. "And have you SOBs call me the aggressor?"
THE BBC VERSUS BLAIR: Here's how they spin quotes. What Tony Blair said at his press conference yesterday was: "There is a big job of work to do - my appetite for doing it is undiminished." Here's how the BBC described it: "Tony Blair has fended off questions over the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly - but acknowledged that trust in his government was an issue which he had to confront. Mr Blair, who said his appetite for power remained 'undiminished' despite his recent troubles, said he understood the 'very legitimate questions' to be asked over Dr Kelly's death." The war continues. (Via Oxblog.) # Posted 10:48 AM