August 31, 2003

Jacque's Buddy


Posted by Charles Austin at 06:05 PM | Comments (1)

And the Republicans Are Called the Stoopid Party

Interesting polling of Democrats:

Two-thirds of voters — including two-thirds of Democrats — were unable to name any of the Democratic candidates for president, said the CBS News poll out Sunday.

Now I realize that most of the populace isn't as aware of what's going on in the world as most of us bloggers are, but come on! Presumably, most of these Democrats voted for one of these guys for VP just under three years ago.

Four in 10 Democratic voters said they were satisfied with the current field of nine candidates, while half said they would like more choices.

Isn't it strange that 67% of Democrats can't name any of The Nine, and yet, somehow, since 40% of them are satisfied with their choices, then at least 7% of Democrats somehow know that there are nine candidates even if they don't know who they are. But stranger still, at least 50% of Democrats want more choices, meaning that at least 17% of Democrats want someone else to run even though they don't know who is running.

I know this isn't terribly meaningful, but do the folks at CBS conducting this poll have any idea how silly this is?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:58 PM | Comments (2)

Tim Russert's Contribution to the Nation

I watched Senator John Kerry's interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press this morning. Senator Kerry convinced me that, without a doubt, he is not qualified to be president of this great country. It's not worth going over the details of Senator Kerry's waffling, weakness, wavering, and outright mendacity.

But I will note one thing in response to Senator Kerry's claim that September 11th was our December 7th. Even though Senator Kerry was born in 1943 and I was born in 1959, I still think that September 11th (2001) was our September 11th, not our December 7th (1941). After all, December 7th already was our December 7th. And as long as Senator Kerry wants to conflate the two, considering how the US responded to December 7th from 1941 - 1945, I think the US has been remarkably restrained in its response to September 11th the last two years, don't you?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:31 PM | Comments (2)

Semper Fi

Click through all the links of Cpl Brian Taylor's photos over at Tim Blair's and let me know if your eyes don't get a little misty.

It makes listening to the angry left without getting violent that much harder.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

Why I Doubt Environmental Scare-Mongering

Here's a wonderful story about how Yellowstone is not living down to all the dire predictions made after the fires there in 1988. Nature is remarkable and much, much stronger than enivornmentalists give it credit for being. We took a family cvacation to Yellowstone three years ago and, while there was clear damage from the fires, it was just as clear that the recovery of the natural landscape was moving briskly.

Of course, when the giant magma bubble beneath Yellowstone lake breaks through the surface, we are going to lose Yellowstone forever, for all practical purposes, as well as a whole lot more. But it won't be the fault of mankind or capitalism or global warming or any of the other bugaboos that are the nemesis of the angry left.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:32 AM | Comments (1)

wOO hOO!

Well, I didn't win, but partially because I was called in to be the judge at the last minute for this last week's Daily Caption Contest over at Ipse Dixit. The winning captions were pretty good, so go give 'em a look.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2003

Friday's Blast From the Past

I missed last week (mmm..., football) so this week you get two offerings!

When I was in high school (go ahead and click through, they have a cool cursor effect) I worked at a Dairy Queen about 10 blocks away. When I was a sophomore, there was a race riot at EAHS. The only kid who was seriously hurt accidentally shot himself outside this Dairy Queen while reinserting his gun into his trousers. But I digress. Every day, working in the back I'd listen to WXRT hoping that I'd catch them playing Jethro Tull's Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young To Die, which they only did once a day. Many years later, my wife and I saw Jethro Tull in Huntsville, AL, with about 800 of thier greatest fans in a arena that seated 8,000. They joked about it at the beginning but promised to give us all a great show anyway, which they did. Oh, and daughter #1 plays the flute in her 8th grade orchestra. We're waiting for her to get good enough to play Bouree, though she might be good enough now since she's already performed solos. So, we (my wife and I) got that going for us.

I first heard the second offering today on a tape my friend Howard made for me from WXRT. For several years I picked up a box of tapes from him at Christmas, because it was the best way to listen to the music I liked then. Sometime I'll pull those tapes out and copy the playlists for you. They are like gold to me now and Howard had a way with naming the tapes as well. I noticed that WXRT has about half the DJs still there that were there twenty years ago, though, with the music biz the way it is, I'm not sure they'd be able to maintain that old FM album rock format I used to love so well interjected with an occasional classic, some blues, and occassionally some very, very off-the-wall stuff. Anyway, I've never understood why Joe Jackson (looking sharp with shoes, unlike this guy)wasn't more popular. Smart, witty, intelligent songs and first-rate musicianship. Wild West isn't exactly typical of Joe, except for being smart, witty, intelligent and an example of his first-rate musicianship, but it came to mind recently as I drove to work. Joe's one of my favorite artists, so I'm sure he'll pop up again sometime.

Too Old To Rock and Roll, Too Young To Die (Jethro Tull)

The old Rocker wore his hair too long
Wore his trouser cuffs too tight
Unfashionable to the end - drank his ale too light
Death's head belts buckle - yesterday dreams
The transport "Caf" prophet of doom
Ringing no change in his double-sews seams
in his post-war-babe gloom

Now he's too old to rock'n'roll, but he's too young to die

He once owned a Harley Davidson and A Triumph Borneville
Counted his friends in burned out spark plugs
And prays that he always will
But he's the last of the blue blood greaser boys

All his mates are doing time
Married with three kids up by the ring road
Sold their souls straight down the line
And some of them own little sports cars
And meet at the tennis club do's
For drinks on a Sunday - work on Monday
They've thrown away their blue suede shoes

Now they're too old to rock'n'roll, but they're too young to die

So the old Rocker gets out his bike to make a ton
Before he takes his leave
Upon the Al by Scotch Corner just like it used to be
And as he flies - tears in his eyes - his mind -
whipped words echo the final take
As he hits the trunk road doing around 120
with no room left to brake
And he was too old to rock'n'roll, but he was too young to die

Wild West (Joe Jackson)

Out to the west there's a trail that leads somewhere
And a call of the wild that takes some people there
Through Monument Valley to California sun
From New Amsterdam to the way the West was won

Well years will go by when you won't get nowhere
You're cold and you're tired and you're free and you don't care

You keep pushin' on when your friends keep turning back
You keep building towns and laying railroad track
And things get crazy and you have to use that sun
And you wonder if this is the way the West is won

But keep thinkin' that way and you won't get nowhere
'Cause you got a right just to get where you're goin' to
Gotta keep runnin' gotta be the best
Gotta walk tall in the Wild West

You keep on the move or you try to settle down
And there's strangers from further and further away in town
And you give them some tools and they know what must be done
And you know the West was won

And they say . . .
Where I come from, you can't get nowhere
I'm breaking my back for some opportunity
Making my fortune and I'll take it all home
Tell my kids about the Wild West

And there's still beauty as the flowers bloom on desert sands
And there's still hope as the sun rises over the Rio Grande
But it's so crowded now and nothing's simple anymore
And they're still knocking at your door

You hear guns in the night and you hope they're not for you
'Cause a dog eats a dog then he eats his master too
In the land of the free and the not so often brave
There's both love or money now choose which you will save

But . . . keep thinkin' that way and you won't get nowhere
'Cause you got a right just to get where you're goin' to
Gotta keep runnin' gotta be the best
Gotta walk tall in the Wild West

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:24 PM | Comments (4)

It Must Be True...

Because Hillary Said So!

Sen. Clinton Dismisses 2004 Speculation

Hillary's not stupid, so, unless President George W. Bush shows a real political weakness soon, the adults in her Party who can see beyond the dream world most Democrat activists live in will continue to advise her to stay out now to maintain her viability and plot for 2008.

Hillary will be 65 in 2012, so many assume she has to run no later than 2008 if she is to have a chance. Sadly, in one sense, I think they are right. I don't think the public will elect an "old-looking" woman even though we'll have little trouble electing an "old-looking" man. This isn't right, and it's got nothing to do with whether I deplore Hillary's politics or not.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:44 PM | Comments (2)

All's Fair In Love and War

I'm surprised it has taken this long, but I think this is a good thing:

In the 20 weeks since the fall of Baghdad, two U.S. soldiers and two Iraqi women won each other's hearts.

The American men and Iraqi women courted, fell in love and decided to marry, but they had to battle disapproving senior American officers and fears of retribution by militant Iraqis.

When they finally held their double wedding ceremony Aug. 17, the nuptials were carried out with the secrecy and synchronization of a commando operation.

The two brides -- one in a print dress, the other in slacks -- and a few family members came to a city street corner at mid-morning. From there, an Iraqi intermediary led them to the route of their fiancés' foot patrol.

The grooms, carrying M-16 rifles, marched up in their Army uniforms, complete with bulletproof vests. A nervous Iraqi judge arrived, and the group ducked into the grassy courtyard of a dilapidated restaurant, where the vows were exchanged.

I wish them the best! IMHO, I think this is part of what the remainder of the dead-enders are most worried about.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:34 PM | Comments (0)

Unintended Consequences

The vegetable rights crowd's latest success backfired:

Days after 10,000 mink were released from a farm in southern Snohomish County, hundreds of the animals not yet captured have converged on local farms in search of food. The animals had killed at least 25 exotic birds and attacked other livestock in the area. "Over half our livestock was shredded. Murdered. Eaten alive," said Jeff Weaver, who discovered the dead birds on his farm Thursday. "These are not like regular farm animals. They're our pets."

Yea, well, the vegetable rights crowd probably doesn't think you should "own" pets anyway.

"One of the mink had part of a chicken in its mouth and was headed for the creek," he said. "They're starving. They'll kill anything in their path." The mink also killed Weaver's geese, chicken and ducks, as well as wounded a dog and ate a 50-pound bag of bird feed. With an estimated loss of $2,000, he said he plans to improve fences, set traps and, if necessary, use a shotgun to fend off future assaults.

Maybe it's the mink farmers who need a shotgun to fend off future assaults.

Diane and Joe Sallee are sealing their chickens in at night after they found the mink had killed six hens and injured several other that had to be euthanized. "This has just devastated our chicken population. We are just so upset by this," Diane Sallee said. "The people who do these things don't think it through."

Well, that's an understatement. But thinking it through would require them to be able to think, period.

Animal activists argue that while the farm animals' deaths are unfortunate, it proves minks raised in captivity can survive in the wild.

As long as "the wild" includes stocks of grain-fed chickens, geese and ducks raised in pens by humans. Oh, and so long as the vegeatble rights crowd hasn't yet arrived to liberate the fowl as well.

"The amount of suffering that has been prevented by releasing them from cramped cages and freeing them from an extremely cruel death more than justifies a temporary disruption to the ecosystem," said veterinarian Andrew Knight, director of research at the Seattle-based Northwest Animal Rights Network.

I guess Andrew's concern for the suffering of animals is limited to the furry ones that make him feel warm and fuzzy, as opposed to the ones that form the basis of the livelihood for folks like the Sallees.

Owners of the mink farm from which the animals were released estimate about 80 percent of the animals have been captured, leaving more than 1,000 unaccounted for, said Teresa Platt, executive director of Fur Commission USA. The commission is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrests and convictions of those responsible.

Hey Fur Commission USA, how about starting with, uh..., ANDREW KNIGHT! Can I collect my reward now?

The FBI, which is leading the investigation, suspects an out-of-state group is responsible for the mink release at the Roesler Brothers Fur Farm off U.S. Highway 2. The Animal Liberation Front, considered a domestic terrorist group by the FBI, has claimed responsibility.

That should make the trial a formality when the bastards are caught.

Weaver argues that the group that released the animals didn't think of the repercussions.

Well, duh. But, Mr. Weaver is wrongly assuming the vegetable rights crowd would care even if they understood what would happen.

"I'm not into anyone running around with fur coats on," he said. "But you cannot let 10,000 semicarnivorous animals out without having serious consequences."

That's the great thing about freedom Mr. Weaver. It doesn't matter that you're not into what someone else is so long as you're willing to live and let live. But these domestic terrorists, like their foreign brothers in arms, don't much give a damn about you or me our our freedoms anyway. Maybe next time, ALF will have the misfortune of encountering a rancher prepared to defend himself and his property as they try and execute one of their self-esteem building plans.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:26 PM | Comments (0)

It's Gotta Be Because Football Is Near

Here it is Friday, and I haven't even thought of Richard Cohen this week until just now. Don't worry, I will get back to Scourging. But it is good to know that he was completely out of my system, if only for a week.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:47 PM | Comments (1)

Everything Old Is New Again

The Professor wonders why the Democrat Party is going along with Cruz Bustamante's cynical racism to win votes, and asks if winning is more important to them than racism. But if Democrats care more about winning than racism, ostensibly to obtain the power to eliminate racism, isn't that analogous to the oft criticized Vietnam era aphorism of having to having to destroy a village in order to save it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:24 PM | Comments (6)

How Do You Push the Boundary Once the Boundaries Are Gone?

Drudge says:

Tongues wag over Schwarzenegger's '77 raunch mag interview...

Silly me, I thought that MTV had a monopoly on tongue wagging:

Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera gave a writhing tribute to Madonna on Thursday night as MTV presented its 20th annual Video Music Awards by reaching into its past.

Dressed in the same kind of white bustier wedding dress that Madonna wore while performing "Like a Virgin" during 1984's inaugural show, Spears and Aguilera gyrated on stage while singing a cover of the not-so-innocent tune. Then, while Madonna sang her new song "Hollywood" in an all-black outfit, she shared an open-mouthed kiss with both Aguilera and Spears - proving the former teen stars have come a long way since their Mouseketeer days.

I find this pretty darned funny. MTV goes to great length to censor any mention or image of drugs, obscene gestures, or specific words, yet they have no problem promoting sluttiness to adolescents. This also means that within five years, MTV and the MTV Video Music Awards are either going to have live sex acts on stage or they are going to fade into a well deserved obscurity. Actually, it may only be three years with projected images or shadows now that I think about it. Let's face it, there isn't a whole lot further they can go to keep it fresh, real and on cutting edge. Oh yeah, baby. As the kids say, "that's sick."

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:08 PM | Comments (3)

Like Giving Whiskey and Car Keys to Teenage Boys

Considering how roundly the Israeli destruction of the reactor at Osirak was condemned in 1981, even though everyone this side of Al Qaeda is quite happy about it now, should we expect the same sort of hand-wringing from the usual suspects if this happens?

Israel has ready a plan to bomb Iran's Bushehr nuclear-power plant should the Persian Gulf coast facility, now under construction, begin producing weapons-grade material, an insider tells us. This source says Israel has mapped out a route its jet fighters would take to destroy what is designed to be a two-reactor plant. A successful strike would ensure that the radical Tehran regime does not develop nuclear weapons. Iran has tested 600-mile-range ballistic missiles that can reach Israel and carry nuclear, biological or chemical warheads.

I know Israel has the will and the means to take care of this. But will Bush err on Bushehr? We can only hope that the US has plans for Bushehr and Yongbyon as well.

OK, I stole the title from P.J. O,Rourke, but as we all know, plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery -- not imitation. And if James Lileks can advocate nuking North Korea, then I don't think this is too far out of the mainstream. As an aside, in a post yesterday, I had a line eerily similar to Mr. Lileks', "I was tryin’ to reach a live man", but deleted it and replaced it with a revision to a classic Dirty Harry line because I thought it was a little too far out on the edge. My judgment and timing remain impeccable, ensuring my eternal placement in the pantheon of second-rate bloggers.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:27 AM | Comments (2)

Of Course, This Is the US' Fault

Is this the beginning of a civil war in the the midst of an occupation?

Up to 20 people, including a top Shi'ite leader, were killed in a car bomb attack outside the main mosque in the Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim holy city of Najaf just after prayers on Friday, officials in a top Shi'ite group said.

On NPR this morning (I can't resist listening, it's like rubbernecking at a traffic accident), a reporter there said Americans, Jews, and even Wahabbis were already being blamed for the blast. Yea, yea, yea. In the absence of any evidence yet, I think it is most likely a Sunni attack, though if I may speculate in a conspiratorial manner, perhaps it wasn't meant to go off there at all. Perhaps the soon-to-be-martyr was getting his last set of prayers in and something terribly, terribly wrong (at least from his perspective) went wrong.

And before anybody complains about my use of language above, we are occupying Iraq. We did liberate Iraq, but we now must occupy, secure and pacify them until a government can be established. This is a good thing.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)

August 28, 2003

Na Na Na Na Na Na Nineteen

What is it about Al Qaeda and groups of 19 young men?

Suspected members of a Canadian al-Qaeda sleeper cell who may have tested explosives and plotted attacks were told yesterday they will have to remain in custody for at least another month.

Immigration judges ruled there were sufficient grounds to hold the Pakistani men while counter-terrorism investigators examine 25 boxes of documents and 30 computers seized during recent raids.

"Obviously, it will be necessary for the authorities to sift through that material," Dennis Paxton, a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board, said at the hearing of Aqeel Ahmed. "That obviously will take a long time, but so be it."

Seven of the 19 men arrested on Aug. 14 by a terrorism task force appeared before the immigration board. Four were ordered back to Maplehurst Correctional Centre, but another could be released today if he posts bail. Two other hearings were held behind closed doors. More of the men were to appear today at hearings to determine whether they can be released.

Are they nuts? Or just fans of Paul Hardcastle? Or both?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

How's This?

U.S. wants Israel to make gestures to Palestinian Authority


Read between the lines.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

Don't Tell Frank!

Ms. Condoleezza Rice says:

The Bush administration has parted company with America's allies on many issues, most notably with the U.S. decision early this year to lead the war in Iraq without firm backing from the United Nations. Other disagreements have involved the environment, a nuclear test ban treaty and the international criminal court, among other issues. Rice said differences of opinion are bound to happen, and that too much should not be read into them when they occur. "Occasionally, we'll have differences," she said in the interview. "But that does not mean that the United States does not value its allies, does not value the opinions of its allies. And it, most especially, does not mean that we don't need allies." Rice also rejected the interviewer's comparison of the United States to the Roman Empire, which sought to acquire foreign countries.

"The United States has no imperial ambitions," she said.

Wait until the Rumsfeld Strangler hears this!

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

Arnold Can Drop Out Now

After all, Cruz has to be a closet Republican. I mean, only Republicans are racists. Right?

California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (search), the grandson of Mexican immigrants who counts improving race relations among his biggest pursuits, refused Thursday to renounce his past ties to a little-known Hispanic organization considered by critics to be as racist as the Ku Klux Klan.

Is Cruz the MEChA-Davis?

(Sorry, I don't own Photoshop. Send me an appropriate Photoshop-ed image and I'll insert it here.)

Has he been endorsed by the Mecha-Streisand?


Or Jambi?


Mecha-lecha-hi mecha-hiney-ho indeed!

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

Is It Perfect Yet?

Every time I read something like this:

Top Bush administration officials grudgingly acknowledge that their post-Saddam Hussein plan for rebuilding Iraq has been substantially flawed on the security front.

Some defense officials said privately in interviews that the plan in place for security after Baghdad's fall has been an utter failure. They said it failed to predict any significant resistance from Saddam loyalists, much less the deadly combination of Ba'athist holdouts and foreign terrorists preying daily on American troops.

"Every briefing on postwar Iraq I attended never mentioned any of this," said a civilian policy adviser.

I am reminded of the moment in The Killing Fields when Sydney Schanberg (Sam Waterston) is challenged about his reporting concerning American actions in Southeast Asia, especially in comparison to the atrocities committed in Cambodia, and he replies (paraphrasing), "Well, maybe I just underestimated how crazy dropping 30 million pounds of bombs could make a country."

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

Soon We Can Play Two-Deck Blackjack

Exactly how naive does one have to be to be engaged in major league diplomacy?

North Korea startled a six-nation conference in China on East Asian security by announcing its intentions to formally declare its possession of nuclear weapons and to carry out a nuclear test, an administration official said Thursday.

Let's hope they plan to test them in North Korea.

North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Yong Il also told the gathering that his country has the means to deliver nuclear weapons, an apparent reference to the North's highly developed missile program.

Like, I said, let's hope they plan to test them in North Korea.

The comments cast a pall over Thursday's plenary session, which included representatives of the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia, in addition to North Korea.

Especially for those expecting North Korea to suddenly start acting rationally and in good faith.

James Kelly, the chief U.S. delegate, demanded that North Korea engage in the verifiable and permanent dismantling of its nuclear weapons programs, in return for which the United States would provide security guarantees and economic benefits.

Whew, for a while I thought all that talk about the US getting tough meant we were no longer going to submit to extortion. I'm sure Howard Dean and his brain dead minions are relieved.

The administration official, asking not to be identified, said that when Russia and Japan attempted to point out some positive elements of the U.S. presentation, the North Korean delegate attacked them by name and said they were lying at the instruction of the United States.

How about Mr. Kelly looking across the table at his North Korean counterparts and saying, "In all this confusion I've forgotten whether we've committed five carrier battle groups or six carrier battle groups to the War on Terror. So you're just going to have to ask yourself, 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do you punk?"

According to the administration official, China's delegate appeared visibly angry over Kim's statement but responded in a moderate tone.

Ooo, that showed 'em!

Kim said his country was maintaining this position because the United States clearly had no intention of abandoning its hostile policy toward North Korea, the U.S. official said.

I think it's time for the Department of Defense to print up and start distributing a whole new deck of playing cards. Don't you?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:05 PM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2003

Power Bawl

It's one thing to make a mistake in an ad hoc address, even a very dumb mistake. Everybody does this from time to time. If you talk (or blog) enough, it's going to happen. When I do it, I acknowledge the mistake, correct it, and move on.

But it is entirely another thing to make a first class idiot of yourself in a prepared speech given as the Democrat's weekly radio response to the President's address like Senator Chuck Schumer:

The massive blackout in Northern states and Canada is an indictment of the Bush administration's failed deregulatory energy policies, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Saturday.

When Chuck Schumer can explain to me what a step-down transformer does, how it does it, and why they are used, I'll start to listen to him on energy policy. Until then, this is just more silly partisanship of the kind that must attribute every puppy falling down a well to the wickedness of the Bush junta's agenda.

Schumer, a member of the Senate Energy Committee, blamed "failed economic theory from the Depression era," and insisted "we Democrats are not going to let Republicans play Russian roulette with our nation's power supply."

Sure they aren't, because damnitalltohell, that's their job!

I'll ask again, where are the grownups in the Democrat party?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:46 PM | Comments (3)

The Road Map To Hell Is Paved With Bad Intentions

Again, and again:

Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinian militants inside a West Bank hospital on Friday, extending a new spiral of violence that has smashed a cease-fire vital to a U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan.

So the cycle of violence has become the spiral of violence. Perhaps by next week, Reuters will begin calling it the double helix of violence.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:02 PM | Comments (2)

Bring It On, Redux

Abdel Aziz Rantisi, you are the weakest link:

Hamas Calls Bush 'Islam's Biggest Enemy'


Posted by Charles Austin at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2003

For the Children

I'm not even going to give you the context for what this is about, but here's how the story ends:

"If we just rest all responsibility on parents, nothing is going to change," Weintraub added. "We think the best way to make sure parents act responsibly is to pass a federal law."

It doesn't really matter, now does it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:43 PM | Comments (4)

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

It seems wrong that a story like this shows up on the taskbar as "Yahoo! News - Hamas Abandons Truce After Israeli Strike"

And I was afraid that in the esclating cycle of violence Hamas might abandon the truce without an Israeli strike. Oh, never mind.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:21 PM | Comments (1)

President's Job Approval Numbers Remain Remarkably Consistent

But that's not what a headline on CNSNews today says: Poll Tracks President Bush's 'Worsening Numbers'

A new Zogby International poll, dated Aug. 21, says President Bush's job approval rating continues to slip. It's now 52 percent positive, 48 percent negative, according to a poll of 1,011 likely U.S. voters, compared with a peak of 82 percent positive following the Sept. 11 attacks.

But I checked data from another poll from two years ago which states:

Bush registered a 52% job-approval rating

This would seem to indicate that if we ignore the events of 9/11 and their aftermath on the economy and the world -- as so many who wish to demonize the President and his policies are wont to do -- then the public's perception of President Bush's job performance remains remarkably consistent over time. As usual, it all depends on how you want to pick your data to provide the desired storyline.

But at least I'm honest about it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

If You Start With A False Premise...

You, or Bob Herbert, can reach any conclusion you want, no matter how ludicrous:

How long is it going to take for us to recognize that the war we so foolishly started in Iraq is a fiasco — tragic, deeply dehumanizing and ultimately unwinnable?

I had a lot of trouble getting past the first sentence. But catch these quotes from an anonymous UN official:

"This is a dream for the jihad," said one high-ranking U.N. official. "The resistance will only grow. The American occupation is now the focal point, drawing people from all over Islam into an eye-to-eye confrontation with the hated Americans.

"It is very propitious for the terrorists," he said. "The U.S. is now on the soil of an Arab country, a Muslim country, where the terrorists have all the advantages. They are fighting in a terrain which they know and the U.S. does not know, with cultural images the U.S. does not understand, and with a language the American soldiers do not speak. The troops can't even read the street signs."

Where things can only get worse -- Typical tranzi talk, but what if what you fear is actually part of the overall strategy?

Where the terrorists have all the advantages -- Which advantanges would those be? Men? Materiel? Technology? Intel? Next I suppose you'll say, "Their chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Their two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Their three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to Allah.... Their Amongst their weapons.... Amongst their weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again."

Where we don't know the terrain, and cannot read the street signs -- Trust me Bob, our maps and digital products have the terrain down real well. And I know this might be hard for Bob Herbert to accept, but our troops do actually show a remarkable capacity to learn -- as well as to adopt, adapt, improvise and overcome.

Hmm..., the flypaper seems to be pulling in the occasional annoying mosquito as well as the stinging insects and biting flies. I wonder who the bigger fool is, this anonymous UN official or Bob Herbert for repeating this foolishness as gospel?

The American people still do not have a clear understanding of why we are in Iraq. And the troops don't have a clear understanding of their mission. We're fighting a guerrilla war, which the bright lights at the Pentagon never saw coming, with conventional forces.

Well, that settles that question. It looks like Bob's anonymous UN official still has a way to go to catch up to bamboozled Bob. (I was going to make a Dianne Fosse reference here about Iraqi irregulars and JDAMs, but I thought better of it.)

One of the many reasons Vietnam spiraled out of control was the fact that America's top political leaders never clearly defined the mission there, and were never straight with the public about what they were doing.

God, I can't wait until the entire generation of journalists that reached puberty about 1962 is retired so I won't have to hear PVQS (Post-Vietnam Quagmire Syndrome) ever again.

Senator John McCain and others are saying the answer is more troops, an escalation. If you want more American blood shed, that's the way to go. We sent troops to Vietnam by the hundreds of thousands. There were never enough.

Send more shovels, Bob's broken his on bedrock but he wants to keep digging.

Beefing up the American occupation is not the answer to the problem. The American occupation is the problem. The occupation is perceived by ordinary Iraqis as a confrontation and a humiliation, and by terrorists and other bad actors as an opportunity to be gleefully exploited.

Oh sure, try to slander Schwarzenegger with guilt by association while you're at it Bob.

The U.S. cannot bully its way to victory in Iraq. It needs allies, and it needs a plan. As quickly as possible, we should turn the country over to a genuine international coalition, headed by the U.N. and supported in good faith by the U.S.

The idea would be to mount a massive international effort to secure Iraq, develop a legitimate sovereign government and work cooperatively with the Iraqi people to rebuild the nation.

Everybody sing, "We are the world, we are the children...!" And I'm the mean babysitter who's going to have to tell you to put away your toys and eat your vegetables.

A U.N. aide told me: "The United States is the No. 1 enemy of the Muslim world, and right now it's sitting on the terrorists' doorstep. It needs help. It needs friends."

No, I think terrorists are the #1 enemy of the Muslim world, and the non-Muslim world for that matter. But with friends like this UN aide -- or Bob Herbert, for that matter -- does the US need enemies?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:50 PM | Comments (2)

Why We Must Continue To Fight

From the poisoned pen of one Juanita Rodriguez:

Cuba a thriving, happy haven, 50 years on

Next week: North Korea a thriving, happy haven, 50 years on.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

As Long As He Stays Out of Alabama

Desperate times call for desperate measures:

Angry Davis gets personal with voters
Town hall group told: 'I have faith in God'

And all this time I thought it was angry voters getting personal with Davis.

"I have faith in God," Davis told a town hall audience here, showing a rare personal side. "I carry a little card around with me that says, 'Nothing will happen to me today that the Lord and I can't handle together.' I trust you will make a good judgment and I believe in the end, people will want me to continue my job. There are no guarantees in life."

Well, I guarantee that Gray Davis' days as Governor of California are numbered. Like Gray said himself, "I believe in the end..." But I am looking forward to the conflation of the separation of church and state with the separation of Gray and state by the ACLU.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)

Time To Call In the Clavinator

Powell Seeks Arafat Aid on Terror, Warns of 'Cliff'

Powell appealed for all countries, including Arab nations, "to step up now and insist that the terror perpetrated by organizations such as Hamas must come to an end" and he denied that the road map has come to an end.

"The alternative is what? Just more death and destruction, let the terrorists win, let those who have no interest in a Palestinian state win, let those who have no interest but killing innocent people win? No. That is not an acceptable outcome," he said. "Both parties realize it and I think both sides should recommit themselves to finding a way forward."

If anybody can find a way forward, it's gotta be Cliff Clavin.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:58 PM | Comments (1)

August 20, 2003

He's Right, As Usual

I happen to think the Secretary Rumsfeld and his commanders in Iraq are, in fact, conservative in their estimates:

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Wednesday that American military commanders in Iraq believed that the size of the force there was adequate, even in the aftermath of Tuesday's deadly bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad.

All we need to do is change the rules of engagement and focus on protecting our forces first. I have no doubt this may result in more casualties to "innocent" Iraqis and an increased mortality rate for Reuters cameramen. That is all regrettable, but I happen to fall completely in favor of protecting our troops who are doing an honorable task first. We will not leave. We have paid the price so we set the ground rules or the rules on the ground if you prefer.

I am sick to death of listening to Kofi Annan claim that US forces should have done more to secure Iraq for humanitarian missions by now, or hearing Robert Siegel on NPR's All Things Considered today ask a former ambassador if the UN bombing meant that US strategy had failed in Iraq. Kofi Annan is a bald-faced liar. He stated that UN personnel had never been attacked even though they have been in Iraq for 12 years. Perhaps he missed this and this and this and this and this. I guess there's no need for NPR to check facts so long as the party line is being maintained.


I do not believe as Ralph Peters and many others have written that the bombing of the UN is in any way a good sign or a good thing. It is a tragedy for all concerned, though it was imminently predictable and preventable, had the UN acted as though they are in a hostile war zone -- which they are. The people who died may have disagreed with US policy, but that doesn't mean they deserved to die or be wounded. The UN was bombed primarily because it was an easy target that was guaranteed to get massive media attention and to help sow discord between the US and its ostensible allies.

Anyway, anybody ..., please let me know if NPR ever gets a grip on a reality that includes fair and equitable treatment of our armed forces and our current political leadership. I can no longer listen to the interminable intellectual tripe they offer up now.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:30 PM | Comments (4)

August 18, 2003

Like Flypaper to Terrorists

As bad as it is for our troops to have to face the danger every day, President Bush sure seemed to be prescient when he said, "Bring 'em on." Every one taken out there on our terms is one less we'll have to deal with later on their terms:

Increasing numbers of Saudi Arabian Islamists are crossing the border into Iraq in preparation for a jihad, or holy war, against US and UK forces, security and Islamist sources have warned.

A senior western counter-terrorism official on Monday said the presence of foreign fighters in Iraq was "extremely worrying".

A statement purportedly from al-Qaeda was broadcast on Monday by the Arab satellite television channel al-Arabiya. It claimed the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the leader of the Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime Mullah Mohammed Omar were still alive. But it also asserted that recent attacks on US forces in Iraq were the work of jihadis.

The focus of concern for US counter-terrorist officials was at first on a reconstituted Ansar al-Islam, the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group based in northern Iraq before the war. But US officials have recently acknowledged the presence of other foreign fighters in Iraq.

Paul Bremer, the US administrator in Iraq, said recent raids, including one near al-Qaim last month, uncovered fighters "carrying travel documents from a variety of countries".

I cannot remember which blogger claims that all the worlds idiots seem to be coalescing into a single ball of lunacy where they can all be dealt with at once -- but I heartily endorse the proposition.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)

What's For Dinner?

Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, nationalized health care, spam, spam, spam, and spam.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:58 PM | Comments (1)

Reality is So Inconvenient

US notches world's highest incarceration rate

They say that like it's a bad thing.

More than 5.6 million Americans are in prison or have served time there, according to a new report by the Justice Department released Sunday.

Disregarding some of the unfairness for the non-violent drug offenders, on the whole, I'd have to say that I'm kind of glad most of these people have been, or are, in jail.

The numbers come after many years of get-tough policies - and years when violent-crime rates have generally fallen.

What an amazing coincidence. So ...

But to some observers, they point to broader failures in US society, particularly in regard to racial minorities and others who are economically disadvantaged.

I concur that this is because of braoder failures in society, though I doubt that I'd agree with the author of this article as to what tose failures are. Let's start with the nanny state elimination of personal responsibility, shall we? But if poverty causes crime, would that mean the third world is completely overrun with nothing but criminals?

"These new numbers are shocking enough, but what we don't see are the ripple effects of what they mean: For the generation of black children today, there's almost an inevitable aspect of going to prison," says Marc Mauer, assistant director of The Sentencing Project, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington.

What an incredibly racist thing to say -- however you want to read it. Using their own worst case statistics the odds of a black male spending some time in jail are about 1 in 3 in his lifetime. This is pretty damn bad, but it's a long, long way from inevitable. And I sure don't look at all the black kids I see in school and assume they are going to end up in jail -- unlike Mr. Mauer.

"We have the wealthiest society in human history, and we maintain the highest level of imprisonment. It's striking what that says about our approach to social problems and inequality."

Perhaps that we take crime and punishment seriously? Striking, isn't it?

Nor does the impact of incarceration end with the sentence. Former inmates can be excluded from receiving public assistance, living in public housing, or receiving financial aid for college. Ex-felons are prohibited from voting in many states. And with the increased use of background checks - especially since 9/11 - they may be permanently locked out of jobs in many professions, including education, child care, driving a bus, or working in a nursing home.

Again, they say this like it's a bad thing.

The new report also informs -

Oh, it also informs, as opposed to merely offering propoganda. How original.

... but does not settle - one of the toughest debates in American politics: whether high rates of imprisonment are related to a drop in crime rates over the past decade.

If this is one of the toughest debates in American politics, what are the easy ones? Perhaps, should the people of California recall Gray Davis?

The prison population has quadrupled since 1980. Much of that surge is the result of public policy, ...

Hmmm, I'd think that virtually all of the prison population is there because of public policy. You know, policies like thou shalt not steal, rob, beat, rape, murder...

... such as the war on drugs and mandatory minimum sentencing. Nearly 1 in 4 of the inmates in federal and state prisons are there because of drug-related offenses, most of them nonviolent.

So if we free all drug related felons, we'd still probably have one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. But since the authors of this article have such a hard time seing the causal link between increased incarceration rates and lower crime rates, it should be no surprise that they also cannot see the causal link between increased criminality in our society and the destruction of families and the breakdown of the culture caused in large part by the nanny-statism of the last 40 years.

"A lot of people think that the reason crime rates have been dropping over the past several years is, in part, because we're incarcerating the people most likely to commit crimes," says Stephan Thernstrom, a historian at Harvard University.

You gotta go to Harvard to figure this out? Or worse yet, who doesn't think this is true? But unless we've devolved into some sort of Minority Report scenario, I think we are incarcerating the people who have committed crimes, as opposed to those merely likely to commit crimes.

Others say the drop has more to do with factors such as a generally healthy economy in the 1990s, more opportunity for urban youth, or better community policing.

Oh. Illiberal utopian statists. I should've known.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

Al Qaeda Jumps the Shark

Al Qaeda claims responsibility for blackout

"A communiqué attributed to Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the power blackout that happened in the U.S. last Thursday, saying that the brigades of Abu Fahes Al Masri had hit two main power plants supplying the East of the U.S., as well as major industrial cities in the U.S. and Canada, 'its ally in the war against Islam (New York and Toronto) and their neighbors.'

No doubt, Bush and Cheney and all the conservative media are hiding the information about the two lost power plants from us to benefit, uh ..., um ..., Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yea, that's it!

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:22 PM | Comments (1)

August 17, 2003

The Smartest Woman in the World

Do you know why Hillary Clinton is regarded by some as the smartest woman in the world? Because mere hours after the blackout earlier this week, before anyone even knew what the root cause of blackout was, she knew that it was President George W. Bush's fault.

The woman is amazing.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:11 PM | Comments (6)

California Needs To Get It Right

Bottom line, there will be no recovery for the US economy that does not include California. If President Bush is pinning his re-election hopes on an economic rebound to cut the legs completely out from under his Democratic rivals, he probably needs to take an active interest in California -- now. Sure it's fun in a schadenfreude sort of way to laugh at the looniness of California, but the more they screw up, the more it affects you and me here in flyover country and even on the other coast.

California is more than 1/10 of the entire country no matter how you want to slice it. That's too big a hole for the rest of the country to compensate for if California continues to decline. I have little faith that Cruz will fix it -- mostly because he probably can't whether he wants to or not. In fact, I think Cruz will be a sort of Gray-lite -- less filling!, more waste!, less filling! more waste! I'm doubtful that Arnold Schwarzenegger can "fix" all of California's problems either, but at least he can shake things up enough to break the complacency of the populace and lay the groundwork to foster some serious reform by the next governor. At the very least, the perception of California as a case study for the long-term deleterious effects of loony leftism and good intentions could be cast aside as the people of California make an effort to reintroduce reality to their political decision making.

Or not.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

I Blame Al Gore

But seriously, this is the sort of thing that could get me to terminate my blog entirely, and maybe even yank the cable modem out of the wall entirely. I suppose if I was pushed far enough we might have to start discussing what the extreme limits of "all legal recourse" might be. You can say whatever you want about me -- heaven knows I probably deserve it -- but if you do anything beyond acknowledging the goodness of my children via the Internet you may learn what the word nemesis means in real life.

Link courtesy of Andrea.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2003

If Only I Were Born Yesterday...

I might accept the following trade: Peyton Manning and Jerome Bettis for Jamal Lewis and Randy Moss.

Either my opponent thinks I'm a rube or he's living in bizzaro fantasy football land where an above average QB and an almost washed up RB are worth a top 10 RB and a top 3 WR. But hey, it could be both.

The roster for my team in this league (I have seven teams in seven leagues this year -- enough to frustrate the domestic bliss of seven brides married to seven brothers, but I digress):

QB Jeff Garcia
QB Tom Brady
QB Kordell Stewart
RB LaDanian Tomlinson
RB Jamal Lewis
RB James Stewart
RB Stacey Mack
WR Randy Moss
WR Torry Holt
WR Donald Driver
WR Rod Gardner
WR Marty Booker
TE Marcus Pollard
TE Shannon Sharpe
K Mike Vanderjagt
D Atlanta Falcons

This is only an 8-team league, so it looks a little more stacked than it otherwise might. Before the season starts, I'll bore you with the rosters of all my teams. I was in 5 leagues last year and made the playoffs in all of them, winning one championship. The jewel in the crown is the 12-team dynasty league that is entering its 13th year (though only 4th as a dynasty league), which this year is based in the little town of Wright, AL, and is known as the Wright Brothers. Unfortunately, I cannot discuss this team and my plans yet, since it would reveal crucial state secrets prior to the annual draft. But the Brothers did keep the following players heading into this year's draft:

QB Michael Vick
QB Tom Brady
RB Priest Holmes
RB Jamal Lewis
RB Amos Zereoue
WR Torry Holt
WR Rod Gardner
WR Marty Booker
WR Ashley Lelie
TE Tony Gonzalez

Are you ready for some (fantasy) football (commentary)?

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:36 PM | Comments (5)

Friday's Blast From the Past

Norman sure wrote a catchy little tune that caught my ear when I was 12. Later, I learned he was the engineer for many of the Beatles' and a couple of Pink Floyd albums. You might know him better as Hurricane Smith. Or not.

You can hear a cheap, canned, synthesized, instrumental version of O Babe, What Would You Say? here.

Have I a hope for half a chance,
To even ask if I could dance with you? You hoo!
Would you greet me or politely turn away?
Would there suddenly be sunshine on a cold and rainy day?
Oh, Babe! What would you say?

For there are you, sweet lollipop,
Here am I with such a lot to say, hey, hey!
Just to walk with you along the Milky Way.
To caress you through the night time, bring you flowers every day.....
Oh, Babe! What would you say?

Guess, though, Baby, I know,
I know I could be so in love with you!
And I know that I could make you love me too.
And if I could only hear you say you do, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh!
But anyway, what would you say?

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

I Guess I Shouldn't Be Surprised, But ...

Politicians and Big Media are saying a lot of really dumb things about the blackout.

Here's two for one:

Everyone who recalls September 11 immediately thought of terrorism, and we can all be thankful it wasn't the cause. But it's somehow not reassuring to hear government officials refer to the event the way New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg did as a "natural occurrence." Natural is what happens in nature, like a tornado, but a national power grid is a man-made operation.

It is definitely not a "natural" occurrence, but neither is it utterly preventable just because it is man-made as the WSJ suggests in it's article. I'm not used to seeing the WSJ preach utopianism so blatantly.

But if we really want to go out there, we have to turn to Congress:

Democrats argue more federal oversight is needed to prevent energy failures or spikes in prices.

But, of course, isn't more federal oversight the standard Democrat answer to every problem? And speaking of a standard response to every crisis:

“Speculation is running rampant here and most of it is not even informed speculation”

I heard someone from the North American Electric Reliability Council on NPR this morning claim that legislation proposed years ago could have stopped this. Well, maybe, but extending the prevention of this particular power failure to preventing all possible power failures is just silly.


Posted by Charles Austin at 02:37 PM | Comments (1)

August 14, 2003

Language and Other Oddities

Shouldn't we call a hot water heater a heat water hotter?

Whose wont was what we won't want?

If you could travel at the speed of light and look back at the path you are taking, would everything be dark?

Wasn't The Grateful Dead's biggest single, "A Touch of Gray"? Maybe it will be Gov. Davis' anti-recall theme song, "... I will get by, I will survive."

Arnold Schwarzenegger has only played one bad guy in the movies. And he has rectified that twice.

Words I have said on several occasions that I dread hearing from my daughter, "I'm going to see a guy I met on the Internet."

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:16 PM | Comments (2)

Le Bastards

France is threatening to block the Pan Am 103 settlement in which Libya will accept responsibility for the bombing:

France has threatened in private to veto any U.N. Security Council resolution to lift U.N. sanctions against Libya imposed after the 1988 Lockerbie bombing unless Tripoli boosts compensation for a French UTA airliner blown up in 1989, a U.S. official said on Thursday.

Notice the word "boosts" in there? France already settled this with the unfortunate victims of the 1989 UTA attack sometime back, and now they want more.

"In the interest of fairness, we would like a complementary settlement to be made very rapidly between Libya and eligible parties among the families of the victims of the UTA flight," the French foreign ministry statement said.

Only in the interest of fairness, of course. After all, who can deny that the French are fair in all their dealings with others?

"If there is a vote in the Security Council to lift the sanctions, we ask that France use its veto as long as we have not obtained full satisfaction," Francoise Rudetzki, president of the SOS-Attentats association, which represents families of the UTA bombing victims, told Reuters in Paris. Rudetzki said that of around 1,000 parties eligible for compensation for the UTA bombing, 313 people received payments of between 3,000 euros ($3,378) and 30,000 euros ($33,780).

Granted, this was a tragedy for all affected and they should not have settled for so little, but the French have such long record of, well, surrendering for less. Perhaps this was part of their long-term strategy for siding with our enemies to counterbalance the power of the US.

"I don't think anybody has any sympathy at the U.N. for the French attitude," said a U.S. official. "This is outrageous."

It's a common complaint about France these days.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)

We Win!

About a year or so ago, Dennis Miller switched sides to join the right and Arianna Huffington switched sides to join the left.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:16 PM | Comments (1)

And Now a Water Shortage Too!

Millions Flood Streets During Blackout

Oh, the humanity.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:11 PM | Comments (0)

This Never Happened When Rudy Was In Charge

Ok, so the electricity is out on the East Coast. Does that mean I won't have to hear any more stories about how we can't keep the electricity on around the clock in Baghdad?

On CBS a reporter and Dan Rather are blabbering on about how "...people don't know what to do..." as though everyone in New York (New York!) are helpless children who cannot be trusted to take care of themselves. (Ed. Well, Bloomberg is the mayor after all.) But my favorite part of the CBS we-interrupt-this-broadcast-to-bring-you-faux-news emergency -- let's face it, if you don't have power you're not watching the news, and if you do have power there ain't a whole lot you're going to learn from watching Dan Rather -- has to be the little line scrolling across the bottom of the screen letting us know that the pre-empted The Young and the Restless can be seen in its entirety later this evening. Except on the East Coast, of course.

So if you are somehow reading this on the East Coast, stop in your local deli or store, pick up a light dinner, some snacks, and a bottle of your favorite adult beverage and kick back in a secure place until tomorrow. You're not going to be getting out of town this evening anyway and after dark -- ooo ooo ooo, law of the jungle. It might be safer to be in Iraq tonight.


Posted by Charles Austin at 06:01 PM | Comments (1)

August 13, 2003

Great Googly-Moogly!

James Lileks left a comment on my blog! I haven't felt this good since I got blogrolled on Instapundit.

I think I'll raise the rent by a third.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:02 PM | Comments (2)

August 12, 2003

Arnold, Etc.

California Bumper Sticker: My Governor can beat up your Governor.

California Bumper Sticker: Every Gray cloud has a T1000 lining.

If there is a debate, how about Arnold walks out from the wings naked, looks at Cruz and deadpans, "I need your clothes"? And heaven help Cruz if he doesn't begin stripping immediately.

And, of course, everyone knows that Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay to Conan the Barbarian, don't they? I wonder how long it will take the flashbacks to set in for looney Ollie?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:29 PM | Comments (3)


In BOTW yesterday, James Taranto highlighted this item:

Is There Rubber Underneath It or Something?
"Freedom Is Facing Tough Road to Hoe"--headline, Washington Post, Aug. 9

Maybe I'm the one that's missing the point, but isn't the problem here that the old saying is, "tough row to hoe?" Either that or I wasted a lot of summers as a kid hoeing rows of vegetables instead of the pavement near the vegetable garden on my grandparents' farm.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:18 PM | Comments (1)

Hey, Mulholland

You don't tug on Superman's cape.
You don't spit into the wind.
You don't pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger,
And you don't threaten Arnold Schwarzenegger.

With apologies to the shade of Jim Croce.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:12 PM | Comments (0)


Ya know, I thought that I had been seeing a lot more Schwarzenegger movies than usual over the last month or so. Now that the FCC is calling the airing of Arnold's movies "political speech" requiring equal time (for up to 240 people!!!), you aren't going to see any more Schwarzenegger movies broadcast for a while. Show one 2-hour Schwarzenegger movie and the next 12 days of your broadcast time must be given over to equal time for every Tom, Dick and Gary Coleman who has qualified to run for the governor of California.

Honestly, this is ..., well ..., dumb.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:09 PM | Comments (3)

August 11, 2003


That's what the check for $800 that arrived today says near the bottom.

Works for me.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:18 PM | Comments (1)

August 09, 2003

Caption Contest

I failed miserably at following Dodd's instructions, but nonetheless this week's Caption Contest has been posted. Dodd's e-mail filter ate my post accusing me of being infected or diseased or something, so here it is for posterity:

There’s nothing like judging a caption contest to make you realize how difficult it is to select just one from the quality and quantity offered. My hat’s off to Dodd and all of his guest judges for their valiant efforts and making my task especially difficult as I try to keep up with their work. This week, 14 entrants submitted 95 entries. I was tempted to just list them all under Will Vehrs, but felt that wouldn’t be fair to everyone else, though Will had more entries this week than there were entries and participants last week. I was also tempted to have co-winners, but it was impossible to narrow it down below about 8 co-winners, so I buckled down, pulled on my boots, wedged into my Speedos, put on my special hat -- and pricked one out.

I'd like to thank Dodd for giving me the opportunity and all the entrants for their bon mots, cruel jibes, truly off-the-wall ideas, and witty repartee. I would especially like to thank Will for causing me to expend at least one additional hour to complete the effort this week, but that was an impressive list. I look forward to doing it again.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:10 AM | Comments (1)

August 08, 2003

Friday's Blast From the Past

In honor of the impending demise of Saddam Hussein, I give you Motorhead and the Ace of Spades.

If you like to gamble, I tell you I'm your man
You win some, lose some, it's all the same to me
The pleasure is to play, it makes no difference what you say
I don't share your greed, the only card I need is
The Ace of Spades
The Ace of Spades
Playin' for the high one, dancin' with the devil
Going with the flow, it's all a game to me
7 or 11, snake eyes watching you
Double up or quit, double stake or split
The Ace of Spades
The Ace of Spades
You know I'm born to lose
And gamblin's made for fools
But that's the way I like it baby
I don't want to live forever
And don't forget the joker
Pushing up the ante, I know you got to see me
read 'em and weep, the dead man's hand again
I see it in your eyes, take one look and die
The only thing you see, you know it's gonna be
The Ace of Spades
The Ace of Spades

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:46 PM | Comments (2)

Judgment Day

While reading Mr. Lileks' commentary (doesn't everyone?) on Reverend Gene Robinson's problem with taking his own commitments seriously, it occured to me that this represents the limits of postmodern moral relativity. Mr. Lileks does an excellent (natch!) job of expressing the problems that Rev. Robinson has in downgrading solemn vows to mere intentions and noting that those of us who are uncomfortable with this will generally be challenged with a "who are you to judge" question, as though we cannot, in fact, have any basis for determining what is good. Never mind that the question of what is good is at the heart of what it is that Rev. Robinson professes to be trying to teach others. But Rev. Robinson's moral sickness goes even deeper than that. By internalizing the postmodern moral relativity necessary to transmogrify the sacred commitments he made before God, family and friends into nothing more than his "intention" to do the right thing, Rev. Robinson has lowered the bar of anti-judgmentalism so far that not even the Mighty Sparrow in his prime could limbo through the metaphysical contortions necessary to ask, "who am I to judge myself?", in all earnestness without failing.

I almost feel sorry for him.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:22 PM | Comments (4)

Time For a Googlebomb

Dear readers, my old site is still getting about 100 hits a day despite my moving off it a couple of weeks ago. There are two fundamental causes for this sorry state of events -- one that only one person can fix and another for which I need everyone's help. Inadvertant clicks to the old site will never fully go away until the biggest blogger in the land updates his links. Strangely, he actually blogged the move.

But do not despair, because you can still help improve the efficiency of the blogosphere. I need your help in stopping the search engines from returning the old site instead of the new one everytime someone queries "sine qua non" or Scourge of Richard Cohen" or "multispectral eggplants." To fix this egregious error and colossal waste of time I solicit your support in planting a Googlebomb.

The phrase of the day is "candomble cracker jacks".

Your support is appreciated.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:38 PM | Comments (4)


Has Bill Clinton declared his candidacy for California Governor in the recall election yet?

I'm serious.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:00 PM | Comments (1)

August 07, 2003

Voter Apathy, Et Cetera

I wonder if many of the people who are now so exercised about the California recall election are the same ones who so frequently lament voter apathy? Isn't it funny that the correlation coefficient between opposing the recall and being a Democrat is so high? The converse is true for Republicans, by the way. And for those outraged by Arnold Schwarzenegger running, where was the outrage for Larry Flynt? Maybe having people who aren't professional politicians in charge could be a good thing, though it might well be offset by the further cementing of celebrity in our culture as prima facie evidence of value.

Personally, I don't think the recall is a terribly good idea in this instance since the Democrats can turn around and get 1.2 million signatures to recall any Republican if they try. I'm certainly not going to defend Gray Davis, but as far as I can tell all he has done wrong is to try and implement really bad policies. Going nuclear in this case just lowers the standard of political incivility and makes it that much more difficult to govern effectively in the future. On the other hand, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy than Gray Davis, and it might well convince President George W. Bush to ake a real shot a California (and Barbara Boxer) in 2004 if Arnold wins and does well enough to consider running for a full term.

The apologists for Gray Davis are remarkable in their distrust of the populace though. My favorite argument has to be that this means any future governors will not be able to make unpopular decisions for the benefit of the people of the state without having to worry about being recalled. Please name one unpopular thing Gray Davis has done that actually benefitted the populace of California. Gray Davis is a poor governor and not a very nice man by all accounts. Watching him squirm does produce a bit of schadenfreude. The only thing more entertaining to me about the whole process is watching the Democrats put up a facade of solidarity that crumbled when the first ill wind hit.

If Arnold wins, I can see the commercials for the next election -- "I'll be back."

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:58 PM | Comments (4)

August 03, 2003

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. XCI

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

Richard Cohen was a little late with his last column, so it took me a day or two to catch up to it. I still find it strange that in a column whose statements and conclusions I generally agree with, I can find so much to take issue with. Come with me as I consider Richard Cohen Considering the Kobe Bryant Case:

On the matter of Kobe Bryant, I am agnostic. It could be that he raped the woman who came to his hotel room or it could be that he did not. I state these possibilities with certainty because I, as opposed to so many other commentators, have no idea what happened that night behind a closed hotel-room door.

I am pretty much in complete agreement with Richard thus far, though it should be noted that not knowing the facts is not usually much of an impediment for Richard when the motives of his political opponents are to be questioned.

I do know this, however: Bryant has terrific timing.

But isn’t there an implicit assumption of guilt here? I cannot imagine any time being thought of as terrific if Kobe is innocent.

The zeitgeist -- not a basketball term, I know -- has changed. Just a few years ago, Bryant would have been dead meat.

A few decades ago in some locales, this might have been even truer than Richard realizes.

A sexual assault charge would have presumed him guilty, not innocent.

Actually, I think Kobe is pretty much assumed to be guilty even now. It’s just that he seems to be getting a pass because of his celebrity. This is a very, very bad thing.

Instead, it is his accuser who's been presumed guilty -- of fabricating the charge or being unbalanced, or both.

I don’t follow all the pre-trial publicity because Big Media’s obsession with it doesn’t merit my attention, but I’ll accept that Kobe’s accuser/alleged victim has probably been treated roughly by the uninformed. But Kobe has been slandered as well if he is innocent. The real problem is the propensity of so many to pontificate in the absence of any real information.

On the Internet, on talk radio and in the press, Bryant's accuser has taken her lumps.

I find it interesting that Richard considers the press somehow different than the Internet and talk radio, don’t you?

We know her name -- or, with minimal effort and access to Google, you can find it out. A search will come up not only with her name but pictures of her as well -- hundreds of listings. You can learn quite a bit about her, none of it necessarily true, but what the hell, in an Internet-cable news era, literal truth, like fair play and balanced coverage, is considered oh-so 20th century.

Oh, please. But then again, I know that Richard prefers his lies with the patina of truth conferred by the imprimatur of officialdom.

Remarkably, there's been little backlash. In the old days, television talk shows and op-ed pages would have bristled with reminders that no matter what a woman's mental state or her past, she could still be a rape victim.

No, for somebody who’s pushing 60, Richard has an odd idea of “the old days.” In the old days, she wouldn’t have had a chance. It is only in recent years that the pendulum swing of “all sex is rape” feminism went too far. Perhaps we are entering a time where the pendulum is swinging too far the other way. I don’t know.

"No" means no, remember?

No. This is at the core of the many problems with the interpretation of sexual relations the last few years. No has never always meant no any more than yes has always meant yes. It’s funny to me that people so hung up on nuance in, say, international affairs, suddenly lose the ability for chromatic discrimination when it comes to human affairs.

Every man knows that the difference between persuasion and coercion can be a thin and moving line.

Unfortunately, not every man knows this. But don’t women know this as well?

"No" always means no -- except when it doesn't. Men and women alike also know that a kind of extreme feminism -- really a parody of the movement -- has resulted in ridiculous sexual harassment suits that embarrass women in general and convince men that having a young female colleague accompany them on a business trip approaches embezzlement as a career ender.

So Andrea Dworkin and Catherine McKinnon are parodies? Won’t Camille Paglia be surprised.

This, of course, has hurt women.

I concur. This is another of those unintended consequences that utopians are blind to. But it should be noted that it has also hurt men.

In a way, the old Victorian notion of women as hysterics has its contemporary equivalent in the examples of women as humorless prigs who have substituted lawsuits for smelling salts. Mention sexual harassment and women, as well as men, roll their eyes.

Well, Richard ought to know.

If the charges against Bryant prove unfounded, then I feel awfully sorry for him. He's gone through hell and may be guilty only of violating the writer Nelson Algren's rules for life: "Never play cards with any man named 'Doc,' never eat at anyplace called "Mom's' and never, never, no matter what else you do in your whole life, sleep with anyone whose troubles are worse than your own."

That’s a pretty low bar for “moral” behavior. Hmm, I’m beginning to get a sense of déjà vu here.

But while Bryant may have been targeted for his celebrity, he also has benefited from it. He's known and liked.

His enablers are legion. My sense of déjà vu is getting stronger and stronger.

His accuser is unknown and increasingly disliked.

Wow, this is getting spooky. Imagine how weird this might be if were about something other than sex.

For a long time -- since the William Kennedy Smith case, actually -- I've thought that the press is wrong in not revealing the names of purported rape victims.

Well Dick, you’re wrong. I think it is much better to protect victims of rape – purported or otherwise -- and those accused as well until they are convicted. The fact that not everyone acts honorably is not an excuse for all of us to jump on the media bandwagon to pump this story for everything its worth.

Why should this crime be the sole exception -- different, say, from a mugging that reveals the male victim to be a closeted homosexual?

The only exception? So Richard has the name of all the people held incommunicado at Guantanamo?

The Bryant case has not changed my mind -- especially since with the Internet and talk radio, the old gentlemen's agreement about not naming victims in sex cases has broken down.

The gentlemen’s agreement. Careful Dick, your sexism’s showing.

But naming someone and vilifying her is a different matter. If the woman is a phony, then that will come out in court.

Maybe. But then again, I still think O.J. is a murderer, so what do I know?

If, however, she is truly a crime victim, then she has been assaulted twice -- once by Bryant and again in the way she's been treated.

I think it’s wrong to equate any amount of verbal abuse with the physical abuse of rape. But, then again, I’m not a professional journalist who believes words given under oath don’t matter when it’s only about sex -- as long as you’re famous.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:29 PM | Comments (2)

Fading Fast

Dick Gephardt gave up everything for a final run at the White House. But the bad news just keeps coming fast and furious.

No crocodile tears here.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:04 PM | Comments (1)


It took two years, but Christopher Johnson's fabulous Midwest Conservative Journal is no longer dependent on Blog*Spot.

Chris also just celebrated his second anniversary as a blogger with MCJ. Congratulations to one of the old-timers.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

So Close, and Yet So Far

Tom Friedman's off the wagon again drinking the Kool-aid with The War Over the War:

History may one day record that maybe the most honest speech about why we invaded Iraq was given by Prime Minister Tony Blair, addressing the filing cabinets in an empty hallway just outside his office at No. 10 Downing Street.

History may also one day record the foolishness and duplicity of so many learned people who really should have known better concerning the liberation of Iraq.

On March 13, six days before the British Parliament would be asked to vote for war, Mr. Blair was stewing in his office, worrying about whether he would win the vote.

Kind of scary isn't it, to realize how close we really are to losing Western Civilization since so few are now willing to stand up for it and defend it.

Mr. Blair knew the real and good reasons for ousting Saddam Hussein: First, he was a genocidal dictator, who aspired to acquire weapons of mass destruction — even if he did not have them yet. And second, removing Saddam and building a more decent Iraq would help tilt the Middle East onto a more progressive political track and send a message to all the neighboring regimes that Western governments were not going to just sit back and let them incubate suicide bombers and religious totalitarians, whose fanaticism threatened all open societies. These were the good reasons for the war, and Mr. Blair voiced some of them aloud that day.

This is what really bugs most people about Tom Friedman. You see, he really does understand the issues.

As Mr. Stothard recalled the scene outside Mr. Blair's office: "the prime minister takes a walk out into the hall and stands, shaking out his limbs, between [his political adviser] Sally Morgan's door and a dark oil painting of Pitt the Younger. . . . Morgan is away from her desk. [Mr. Blair] looks into the empty interior as if the answer to the latest state of the vote count will emerge from her filing cabinets nonetheless. He comes back out, disappointed, and looks around him. `What amazes me,' [Mr. Blair says,] `is how many people are happy for Saddam to stay. They ask why we don't get rid of [the Zimbabwean leader Robert] Mugabe, why not the Burmese lot. Yes, let's get rid of them all. I don't because I can't, but when you can you should.' "

I've been reading Herodotus lately, and one of the key themes to The Histories are the calamities that befell great empires when their leaders refused to recognize their limitations. It just isn't possible to succeed if we set out to cure all the world's ills at once and to demand that we do so is a reliable indicator of simple-minded utopian thinking at best, and knee-jerk anti-Westernism at worst. So why doesn't Mr. Friedman label this foolishness for what it is?

Alas, Mr. Blair never really made this case to his public. Why not? Because the British public never would have gone to war for the good reasons alone. Why not? Because the British public had not gone through 9/11 and did not really feel threatened, because it demanded a U.N. legal cover for any war and because it didn't like or trust George Bush.

Cause and effect Mr. Friedman. The reasons offered here are only rationalizations of a deeper disease infecting Europe and most of the left, with the last reason offered being closest to the mark. But one could easily substitute anyone on the right for President George W. Bush, and not much would have been different.

Yes, what takes me aback here is the degree of European-style anti-Americanism and anti-Bushism in Britain — which Mr. Blair's personal and overt pro-Americanism has disguised. "Blair had a real George Bush problem," says John Chipman, director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. "George Bush is disliked by a large segment of the British public. He offends the European sense of nuance. The favorite European color is gray and the only colors President Bush recognizes are black and white. So in supporting the war, Blair was not just going against European public opinion, he was going against his own."

Like I said, Mr. Friedman can see clearly. If only he would shed his deep-set prejudces that influence his reasoning and conclusions.

Unless real W.M.D.'s are found in Iraq, Gulf War II will for now and for years to come be known as "the controversial Gulf War II" — and the hyped reasons for the war will obscure the still good ones. Only future historians will be able to sort out this war's ultimate validity. It is too late or too early for the rest of us.

Oh please. The war was valid Tom -- you said so yourself above. As has been so often noted by others, an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But, of course, considering how blithely the mass graves, torture videos, continuous violation of UN resolutions, and past use of chemical weapons by Iraq have been ignored while the word "quagmire" has become ubiquitous in Big Media, I don't think this war would have been considered anything but "controversial" by the NY Times or Europe since it was led by President George W. Bush. After all, we can't have him doing anything right with an election on the horizon, now can we?

It's too late, because no one will ever know what Saddam would've done had Messrs Blair and Bush not acted.

Oh? And yet, the handwringing over why 9/11 wasn't prevented continues unabated. Well, which is it Mr. Friedman? Do we become purely reactionary and adopt some variant of Mutual Assured Destruction as our policy for dealing with state sponsored terrorism or do we plan and act to prevent acts of great terror before they occur? You can't have it both ways. Well, you can't have it both ways if you want to be taken seriously.

And it's too early, because the good reasons for this war — to unleash a process of reform in the Arab-Muslim region that will help it embrace modernity and make it less angry and more at ease with the world — will take years to play out.

A nice utopian finish there Mr. Friedman. Despite the clear intention to reshape the Mideast as one of the goals of the liberation of Iraq, this wasn't the primary goal. The primary goal was to protect the United States, and by extension the rest of the world, from state sponsored terrorism. Saddam Hussein and Iraq were guilty as charged and their demise was a very good thing. Whether the people of Iraq can seize this opportunity to improve their lot is primarily their task -- not ours! We will help, but if they fail, we still did the right thing. The war over the war in Big Media is merely a partisan sideshow that wouldn't be happening had Al Gore managed to steal the last election -- even assuming that he would have acted as clearly and forcefully to protect and defend the future security of the United States as has President George W. Bush. And please, I'm not attacking Al Gore's patriotism or love of the United States, but noting that his propensity to further the goals of transnational progressivism would have made the liberation of Iraq well nigh impossible.

I look forward to the day when Mr. Friedman can dispense with his knee-jerk anti-"rightism" and offer his insights and analysis without having to toe the party line or cater to the elite left's prejudices. Leave that to Paul Krugman, et al.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:49 PM | Comments (1)

The Giardian

There's the NY Slimes, the Atlanta Urinal-Constipation, Louisville's Curious-Urinal, and now I offer one more. Henceforth the most popular far-left paper in the UK will be known as The Giardian. Those of you familiar with giardia will understand why.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:07 PM | Comments (2)

3rd ID

I wonder how many of the people who use the length of the current United States 3rd Infantry Division deployment to argue that Iraq is a quagmire even knew there was a United States 3rd Infantry Division six months ago. To me, this seems to be the latest example of a DNC talking points fax -- remember how often "gravitas" started appearing suddenly out of nowhere?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:52 PM | Comments (1)

August 01, 2003

Crazy Like a Rabid Fox

Hillary passes out the red Kool-aid at the first convention of the American Constitution Society:

"These favorable decisions in recent months should not obscure the torrent of aggressively activist and legally dubious decisions of times past," Clinton, D-N.Y., told the American Constitution Society.

So strict constructionism becomes constitutional activism and real constitutional activism becomes (gasp!) "conservativism." That sound you hear is caused by the rapid turning and re-turning of a small patch of earth in Sutton Courtney. On my next trip to England, I am going to make a pilgrimage there to lay a rose on that grave. But I digress.

She said this is "the same court that gave us Bush v. Gore, which made a mockery of one of our most cherished constitutional rights, the right to vote," a reference to the 2000 ruling that ended Democrat Al Gore's chances of winning the White House.

This is, of course, sheer bloody lunacy and reveals Hillary as just another in a long pantheon of Democrats for whom the ends justify the means. No doubt several of the illiberal utopian statists in the audience left with fresh red Kool-aid stains on their fancy frocks as they enthusiastically cheered Hillary on. I also have no doubt that many in this adoring crowd cotton to this kind of hyperbole in a manner best expressed by John Travolta when he was accused of being out of his mind in the really bad movie Broken Arrow, "Yeah. Ain't it cool?"

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:16 PM | Comments (3)

The Return of Comical Ali

Uh huh:

A new audiotape purportedly from Saddam Hussein, broadcast on Friday, forecast that U.S. and British forces would soon be defeated by Iraqi resistance.

"Our belief is strong that God will grant us victory and we are confident that the moment for the foreign army to collapse is possible at any moment," said the tape aired by Al Jazeera satellite television. The voice sounded like Saddam's.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:04 PM | Comments (0)

Supporting Israel

Last week while having a fine cigar on a patio with my friend Martin, the topic of why I support Israel came up. I gave him two quick reasons before we moved on to the next topic: democracy and great big brass balls. Israel is the sole democratic state in a sea of totalitarianism in the Middle East. That's a good enough reason to support them, but I also admire their courage and steadfastness in the face of what would seem to be an overwhelming set of foes.

Since we moved on quickly, there were a few more reasons I wanted to get out as well. Here are three more reasons I support Israel and a two reasons I've heard offered that do not apply -- at least to me.

More pros:

Their enemies are my enemies! This is merely a variant of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

What the Israelis have done with the land, compared to the state of the land after hundreds of years of Crusader and Bedouin stewardship, is amazing. This may be unfair to the Palestinians of today, but I don't think so. To my thinking, their success in transforming the desert is analogous to what the immigrant Europeans have done exploiting the land in the US compared to the Native Americans' predominantly passive use of the land as hunter-gatherers. Yes, I know agriculture was practiced before Columbus arrived, but that's not really my point. A land that supported perhaps 2 million people in 1492 now supports 280 million people, and could probably support twice that number despite what Paul Erlich might think. Also, the word "exploitation" does not deserve the negative connotation it carries today. Neither does the word "discrimination" unless used in certain contexts. Believers in equality of outcome regard any form of discrimination as anathema, especially discrimination in favor of "the good". But I digress.

Americans always root for the underdog. And despite Israel's success in battle against its Arab neighbors, they are still quite the underdog. This is similar to the brass balls reason offered earlier, but it's not quite the same thing.

And a couple more reasons I've heard offered for supporting Israel to which I do not subscribe:

While Jews would seem to have one of the best, if not the best, historical claims for the land that makes up Israel today, this is probably the worst rationale that can be offered, IMHO. It is true that considered in these terms, the umma came along more than a millenium after Moses' well documented "deed" for the land, so the "right of return" seems a hell of a lot more appropriate to the Jews of the diaspora than for the Palestinians today. But since I am neither a Jew nor a Christian I do not believe that Israel was offered to the Jews in captivity by God as the "promised land", though, no doubt, many others do. But even if we accepted this rationale, we would still have to keep an open mind that this claim could one day be supplanted by an earlier one not yet discovered, so it must remain tenuous at best. An even better reason why I don't accept this argument is that every arable acre of land on earth, and quite a few non-arable ones as well, has changed hands so many times in the past 2,000 years (much less the past 100,000 years), that it is folly to think of anyone owning a historical deed to any land based on anything other than realpolitik and through property rights protected by a government currently in place for that land. After all, possession is nine-tenths of the law or something like that. Just for fun, to whom exactly would the county of Kent in Southeast England belong if we were to try and give it back today to it's "rightful" owners based upon some ancient racially motivated idea of "they" had it first? This really requires a much longer discussion, but I lack the time to go into it now.

Finally, conscious or unconscious guilt for the holocaust? Nah. I wasn't alive then, so I don't feel any more responsible for the holocaust than I do for slavery before 1863, or any of the other great crimes visited upon some men by other men throughout history. Of course, I remember and I would willingly fight and give up public treasures to prevent it from happening again, but that's not the same thing as being responsible for something that it was literally impossible for me to have been engaged in, for better or worse.

This is a bit of a quick thought piece, and I'm sure I may have gotten something incorrect due to a lack of information, but there is certainly no intent to offend anyone through my ignorance of Judaism, Islam, or perhaps an incomplete understanding of the region's history. Your comments and thoughts are especially welcome to this post.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:01 PM | Comments (4)

Caption Of The Week

I am guest judge this week over at Dodd Harris' Caption of the Day contest. Hop on over and give it your best shot -- even if it is only a weekly event. Somebody's gotta beat Will Vehrs this week. You have until next Thursday.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:57 PM | Comments (2)

Shooting Blanks

Desperation has set in over at Team Gephardt since he's already having to use his big guns just to stay alive:

Democrat Dick Gephardt secured an expected Teamsters endorsement Friday with the union's leadership voting unanimously to back his 2004 presidential bid.

After his backtracking on supporting the President in the liberation of Iraq, I wonder what else Dick has up his sleeve.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:54 PM | Comments (0)

Friday's Blast From the Past

I like the housemartins, especially Happy Hour.

It's happy hour again
I think I might be happy if I wasn't out with them
And they're happy it's a lovely place to be
Happy that the fire is real the barman is a she
Where the haircuts smile
And the meaning of style
Is a night out with the boss
Where you win or you lose
And its them who choose
And if you don't win then you've lost

What a good place to be
Don't believe her
'Cause they speak a different language
And it's never really happened to me
{It's happy hour again}
Don't believe her oh no
'Cause its never really happened to me
{It's happy hour again}

oh woah woah

It's another night out with the boss
Following in footsteps overgrown with moss
And he tells me that women grow on trees
And if you catch them right they will land upon their knees

Where they open all their wallets
And they close all their minds
And they love to buy you all a drink
And then we ask all the questions
And you take all your clothes off
And go back to the kitchen sink

What a good place to be
Don't believe her
'Cause they speak a different language
And it's never really happened to me
{It's happy hour again}
Don't believe her oh no
'Cause its never really happened to me
{It's happy hour again}

woah woah woah woah ho

What a good place to be
Don't believe her
'Cause they speak a different language
And it's never really happened to me
{It's happy hour again}
Don't believe her oh no
'Cause its never really happened to me
{It's happy hour again}
Don't believe her
Don't believe her
Doooooooon't believe her

Its happy hour again, and again, and again
Its happy hour again, and again, and again
Its happy hour again, and again, and again

Its happy hour again

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:50 PM | Comments (2)

Gilligan's Isle

Is an anagram for Gilligan's Lies.

Come here little buddy...

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

Your Moment of Szell

I have this recurring image of an old woman spotting this guy on the street...

Incidentally, this post introduces a new acronym: WWTT? That's not "What Would Tim-may! Tim-may!", but "What Were They Thinking?"

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

Looks Like I Picked A Bad Month To Stop Sniffing Glue

With apologies to Lloyd Bridges for that title, I'm back. I take most of a month off and Richard Cohen gets re-listed on Drudge. Obviously, your humble Scourge has work to do! But that will have to wait a bit until the torrent of backlogged items gets washed away.

I stepped away for a while to address a crisis of whether to quit blogging or not. As you can see dear reader, I have decided to continue -- though posting may be a little more sporadic and bursty at times than in the past. To rebuild my barely adequate psychic defenses I spent two weeks in Southern California with the family where I logged on only once, though the capability was always available. So I think I blog like I drink, heavily but sporadically. Anyway, I proved to myself that I could step away if I wanted to, and that's important --at least to me. I didn't really miss blogging, which kind of surprised me, but I definitely fell out of the news cycle. I didn't even know Uday and Qusay had assumed room temperature for several days. Huzzah!!!

Before recounting the adventures in La-La land, I first must thank Andrea Harris who has graciously provided a forum for me away from Blogspot. Thank you webmistress!!! I'll also put in a kind word for Dodd Harris, Dean Esmay and several others who have offered to help me move in the past. Moving has been extremely easy, thanks to all of you. Archives and some other special features, including a blogroll, will follow soon.

And now for the vacation...

We stayed with some friends in San Diego who graciously put us up for most of two weeks. Highlights included visiting Old Town, Coronado Island, the Cabrillo National Monument (in a bizarre coincidence, the planning calendar I bought my wife last Christmas features lighthouses, and the lighthouse pictured this week is the one at Point Loma), La Jolla, the Miramar MCAS golf course (I shot an 84!), Torrey Pines (alas, I planned to play the North course one day and the South course the next, but a recurrence of gout in my left knee -- no doubt two weeks of heavy drinking and eating had something to do with this -- destroyed my opportunity to do so, so I had to settle for a shirt and a ball marker until my next visit), Sea World, a visit to Anza-Borrego where it was 115 degrees, many days at the beach; and a side trip to Anaheim where we went to Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure, and I had an evening out with Martin Devon.

My wife asked my what I enjoyed the most about the vacation and I told her it was not getting up for work in the morning. She assumed it was my night out with Martin, which was damned fine, but had it come after a day of work, I don't think I would have enjoyed it quite as much. I know I wouldn't have enjoyed going to work the next day! If you care, the first posted picture of me that I know of can be found in Martin's gracious writeup of our night out. I cannot improve upon his summary of our fine soiree.

Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure were nice, but they pale in comparison to Disneyworld and Epcot. The place is really showing it's age and it would have been nice if the rides hadn't broken down at least six times while we were on them over three days. Well, the kids loved it and all the little problems aside, I still admire what Disney has done. And while I understand the synergy of a media empire that has gone from being a Sunday night feature on NBC to one that includes ABC and ESPN, the incessant pushing of the X-Games and ABC sitcoms seems more than a little vulgar to me. I don't think Walt would have approved. But I digress.

Anyway, here I am. Tanned, rested and ready -- your recherché raconteur.

Blog On!

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:52 PM | Comments (3)