April 30, 2004

See If You Can Spot the Difference

Iraq Prisoner Images Anger Arabs, Bush

'Horrific' Iraq deaths shock US

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:22 PM | Comments (1)

100 Years Ago Today

The World's Fair opened in St. Louis. Here is another good site. It is difficult to imagine the scale of the World Fairs today.

I wonder how much the City of St. Louis spent on the pathetic official website?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2004

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. CIII

(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.)

I don’t think Richard Cohen should have drank all that Kool-Aid this morning…

Psycho: The name's John F(rancis) Kerry, but everybody calls me Psycho. Any of you guys call me F(rancis), and I'll kill you.
Bush: Ooooooh.
Psycho: You just made the list, buddy. Also, I don't like no one touching my stuff, or medals, ribbons, whatever. So just keep your meathooks off. If I catch any of you guys in my stuff, medals, ribbons, whatever, I'll kill you. And I don't like nobody touching me. Any of you neocons touch me, and I'll kill you.
Richard Cohen: Lighten up, F(rancis).

John Kerry has a "batman."

To go along with stately Wayne Manor and Teresa’s five other mansions. I wonder if Teresa also has a Robin in tight tights?

This is a British military term for what amounts to a servant, someone to take care of an officer's personal needs.

I wonder how many batmen Bill Clinton has?

In Kerry's case it's Marvin Nicholson Jr., …

“I’m Batman.”

… who keeps the Massachusetts senator in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bottled water.

Adam Ward, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christopher Bale, and now Marvin Nicholson, Jr. Batman sure ain’t what he used to be. But it does explain F(rancis)’s hair.

This, though, is the wrong man for the wrong task. What Kerry really needs is someone to slip him gags.

F(rancis) doing standup. Yea, that’ll work.

He may be the presumptive nominee, but he is an objective pill.

How exactly are presumptive nominee and objective pill in opposition to justify Dick’s big but?

Take the apparently endless flap about Kerry's Vietnam War record and his antiwar activism afterward.

That’s ok, you can keep it, Dick.

Did he really deserve all three Purple Hearts?

Don’t know. Don’t care. Just wish F(rancis)’d shut up about it.

Did he really throw back his medals, or was it ribbons?

Tu quoque? It doesn’t really matter whether F(rancis) threw his medals, ribbons, whatever. It does matter that he can’t seem to tell the same story from week to week about it, and that trying to get to the bottom of his inconsistency amounts to questioning his patriotism. It also matters that the patriotism of many F(rancis) ran with then can be questioned and that F(rancis) can't quite seem to come to terms with it either.

The questions themselves border on the ridiculous, ...

And a fellow in F(rancis)’ position cannot be made to look ridiculous. Just ask Mr. Wolper.

... especially when they are posed -- in a six-degrees-of-separation sort of way -- by a presidential ticket of George Bush and Dick Cheney, ...

Well, technically, that would be by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Say it a few times to yourself, Dick.

... the former a no-show during some of his National Guard tour, ...

I think the pyschological term your looking for here Dick is projection.

... the latter an anticommunist hawk ...

He says this like it's a bad thing.

who, wisely, delegated the fighting to others -- the mark of a budding CEO.

Damn capitalists.

The situation was ready-made for humor, for an arid dismissal.

To anyone with half a brain, but were talkin’ ‘bout F(rancis).

Kerry was the hero -- Silver Star, Bronze Star, three Purple Hearts -- and the president had nothing to show for the Vietnam years except some nights he would like to forget.

And learning to pilot a fighter. Oh, and don’t forget learning how to put on a flight suit. You just never know when that might come in handy!

His formulation about those days was always, "When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible," which is not exactly the citation that comes with a medal.

True, no medals are generally awarded for common sense and a clear perspective on one's past.

The senator has the better of the argument. He should get a fourth Purple Heart for being fragged by the GOP.

Hmm, where to start?

1. What argument? F(rancis) served his time in Vietnam admirably by almost all accounts and received several medals. Good. F(rancis) should be proud of his service, and I don’t particularly care whether any of his purple hearts came from a hangnail or not. But F(rancis) should also be humble about his service, at least out of respect for those who didn’t come back. Many men endured much, much worse and proved themselves as leaders in substantially more difficult situations than F(rancis) faced. Geroge W. Bush has readily acknowledged the mistakes of his youth. F(rancis) is too proud or too stupid (or both) to acknowledge his.

2. Fragging is done by your own troops, not by your opponents.

3. Who exactly is supposed to award F(rancis) his fourth purple heart? If F(rancis) can’t stand the heat he needs to get out of the kitchen. If F(rancis) can be so easily intimidated by what so many his friends regard derisively as an uneducated baboon, tell me again why I might want to vote for him to stand up to America's enemies?

4. Charlie Gibson, card carrying member of the GOP since …, um …, never mind.

But instead of dismissing Bush and Cheney with a lighthearted putdown of the sort that would prompt Bush to seek therapy, Kerry got angry.

“Bush=Hitler” didn’t send George over the edge, but a witty bon mot just might!

He waxed indignant.

F(rancis): Whacks on. Whacks off.

He said, in the manner of Rumpelstiltskin stomping the ground, "I'm not going to stand for it!"


In doing so, he mimicked Bob Dole, who lost it entirely during the 1988 New Hampshire primary when he scowled at George H.W. Bush and snarled, "Stop lying about my record." For Dole, this was not good television.

Must sleep TV.

As any angry person can tell you, expressing rage shows a loss of control.

Well, they can tell you after they’ve calmed, of course.

It both seems and feels juvenile.

Sort of like Michael Jackson.

It borders on the tantrum, which is not presidential, and it is pretty close to downright un-American, since we in this country do not express our emotions, except on daytime television.

Or when stomping on the ground like Rumpelstiltskin.

Much more important, anger makes a television viewer uncomfortable, and I don't think this is how a presidential candidate wants us to feel. This is why politicians have aides: to express -- anonymously, of course -- their anger.

F(rancis)’ aides, apparently.

This is what the aforementioned Mr. Nicholson should be doing.

Beats keeping F(rancis) in peanut butter and jelly and bottled water.

Stop! Do not e-mail me, dear reader, on how I should not be constructively criticizing Kerry ("bashing," it is called nowadays) but instead should be saving the nation and the world from another four years of Bush and Cheney.

Rest easy, Dick.

That latter, though, is truly my intention.

We’re doomed! Doomed! DOOMED! Bush wins with 52.5% of the popular vote this November. And it is only the popular vote that matters, right?

I am told that this is the presidential preseason, a period when only the cognoscenti and the mentally unhinged are paying attention to presidential politics, with everyone else waiting until after the World Series.

Richard Cohen is therefore cognoscenti or mentally unhinged. Hmmm…

It is now, therefore, while no one much is looking, that I can critique Kerry in an effort to make him a totally unbeatable candidate.

Like, totally.

He needs to lighten up.

Yes, F(rancis) is not nearly white enough.

I say that with a total lack of levity.


My candidate is a dour man.

Man, is he a dour candidate.

At least that's the way he seems on TV. Sometimes he seems angry, which is not good, but most of the time he just seems gloomy. It does not help that he has a face that hardly needs to be enlarged for Mount Rushmore, but what really matters is that he seems as if he is no fun.

And did Dick mention that he is dour?

No one would call Kerry, as FDR did Al Smith, "the happy warrior" or discern some impishness in him.

(W)impishness, perhaps.

Bush has that quality and so, of course, did Bill Clinton. About the only recent presidents who were decidedly un-impish were Jimmy Carter, who came to Washington to take the fun out of politics, …

I knew Jimmy Carter came to Washington for something other than leading America. Thanks for clearing that up, Dick

… and the first George Bush, whose joke is only now becoming apparent.

A parent? Nah, Dick’s not that clever.

Both got the gate after just one term.

One was accused of having the worst economy in the last 50 years, the other one actually did.

The attacks on Kerry's war record are contemptible, and the criticism for his own criticism of the war itself shows that the Bush-Cheneys of this world have, as was said of the Bourbons, learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

Yea, but Bush is trying to start another Children’s Crusade, or something.

But the way to handle such attacks is with ridicule, with nonchalance, with a confidence that the American people know a low blow when they see one.

In other words, a Richard Cohen column.

Smile, John -- you're always on candid camera.

How “F(rancis)” and “candid” made it into the same sentence is something the Washington Post’s ombudsman needs to look into post haste. If this happens again, F(rancis) might lose his reputation for nuance. And then where would his attempts at humor be?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:37 PM | Comments (2)

April 28, 2004

All I Want For Christmas...

... is my own Castle Argghhh! Cluebat™!

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

Semper Fi

Read this and tell me you didn't shed a tear.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

Win Every Battle, Lose the War

Vietnam? Or John Kerry and Vietnam? Poor John thinks Big Media are missing the forest for the trees, accentuating the negative, and not doing what is in the country's best interests. Hmm, I wonder if someone's out there right now thinking to themselves, "We have to destroy this campaign in order to save it."?

There's some serious irony here.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2004

Back By Popular Demand

Here's another 70's quiz, song title and artist please. (Songs identified in the comments have been italicized. All Done!) Thanks to Russ, mikeski, Man United, MJ, Kerry, RC and Jeff for playing. I've interspersed a few more comments below.

If you want to see more of these quizzes, let me know. The quizzes can definitely get tougher the further I drift from Billboard, by the way.

I was a dreamer with only words to trade (Neil Diamond, "Longfellow Serenade") There's something suggestive about this song, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Funny what passes for rock & roll!

Fly me away to the bright side of the moon and meet me on the other side (Gary Wright, "Dream Weaver") There were large quantities of drugs being consumed in the '70s, and it was the root cause of a lot of bad poetry and even worse popular music.

Before her love I was cruel and mean, I had a hole in the place where my heart should have been (The Raspberries (featuring Eric Freakin' Carmen), "Go All The Way") The third element of the holy trinity makes it's appearance.

Won't you lay me down in tall grass and let me do my stuff (Fleetwood Mac, "Second Hand News") And again.

And the unsung Western hero killed an Indian or three and made his name in Hollywood to set the white man free (Jethro Tull, "Hymn 43") In the great book of numerology, this entry comes right after the answer to life, the universe, and everything. The original heavy metal band, or at least that's what Ian Anderson said.

Least I don't need to beg or borrow, yes I'm livin' at a pace that kills (Van Halen, "Runnin' With The Devil") Some of you have to be kickin' yourself for not getting this one.

Why are you in such a hurry to be lonely one more night? (Doobie Brothers or Carly Simon, "It Keeps You Runnin'") Michael McDonald and Carly Simon wrote this and "You Belong to Me" and so their respective versions appeared on their respective albums almost concurrently.

"Hey momma, hey let me check your oil all right?" (Little Feat, "Fat Man In The Bathtub") Let no one say the 70's lacked great music again.

But I'm still an embryo with a long, long way to go (Helen Reddy, "I Am Woman") Fortunately, I was able to exercise my choice and change stations whenever this song came on. More deep irony here.

Can't you see that it's late; no you can't have a drink. Oh! All right then, but wait just a bit. (Gilbert O'Sullivan, "Claire") Now here's a song I can't imagine ever being broadcast today -- not even by Michael Jackson.

Sometimes I wish that I could stop you from talking when I hear the silly things that you say. (Elvis Costello, "Alison") Has Elvis figured out who he is yet?

Doesn't mean that much to me to mean that much to you. (Neil Young, "Old Man") Survivor.

Hands on the plow and my feets in the ghetto (Aerosmith, "Last Child") I'm surprised this one lasted as long as it did unanswered.

Love can be a sweet thing, I just don't understand. I made a game of loving and now I hold the losing hand. (J. Geils Band, "I Musta Got Lost") Rock & Roll, and Magic Dick.

Never seen a day break leaning on my pillow in the morning light. (Pilot, "Magic) Ho ho ho, it's Time-Life Music and ex-MTV DJs bringing you the swingin' seventies!

And though my lack of education hasn't hurt me none, I can read the writing on the wall (Paul Simon, "Kodachrome") Can you believe Kodak sued Rhymin' Simon over the use of their trademark, until someone suggested it was the best, and cheapest, advertising they'd ever get?

Ouga chaka ouga ouga ouga chaka ouga ouga ouga chaka ouga ouga (Blue Suede, "Hoooked on a Feeling") This always reminds me of dentists' offices. Don't ask.

The radio's playing some forgotten song, Brenda Lee's “Coming on Strong” (Golden Earring, "Radar Love") Sung phonetically by non-English speakers if I remember correctly.

Jimmy Dean (David Essex, "Rock On") James Dean.

You’re dirty sweet and you’re my girl (T-Rex, "Bang A Gong") Who needs TV...? Say, that's another quiz question, isn't it?

He ain't sophisticated, nor well-educated, after all the hours he wasted, still he needs time. (Supertramp, "Rudy") Yea, I grew up listening to Supertramp and my kids are growing up listening to Moby. I win.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:50 PM | Comments (12)

April 25, 2004

And the New York Times Said Bush Is Dead, and the War's Begun

One more 70's hit: Kerry wears his war wounds like a crown...

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:13 PM | Comments (1)

Juan F'n Wiliams

When they mentioned Pat Tillman this morning on Fox News' roundtable, Juan Williams threw out a line asking if Pat Tillman's beliefs or sacrifice was more like John Kerry than George Bush. I'm paraphrasing and we'll have to wait for the transcript for the exact wording, but this was the sense.

Unbelievable. Can't we honor Pat Tillman and his sacrifice without trying to score partisan political points?

I no longer have any respect for Juan F'n Williams.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:58 AM | Comments (3)

April 24, 2004

Give 'Til It Helps

Spirit of America.

If you are so inclined, you can join the blogosphere contest:

Castle Argghhh! Fighting Fusileers for Freedom!

Liberty Alliance!

The Victory Coalition!

It's for a great cause. Pat Tillman's Arizona Cardinal number was 40 if you find it necessary to divine some metaphysical numerological meaning or coincidence behind it all to decide what to contribute.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. CII

(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.)

It is time once again to don the whites and lamé and assume the position and phrase, parrying the dull, rusty spoon-like thrust of Richard Cohen’s bland retorts, responding rapidly with a riposte worthy of the great sport of fisking. You, my four dear readers, may act as the jury and score this bout. Watch Dick lunge for Bush but miss badly, pulling strawmen from his ass with America's Ayatollah:

En Garde!

The term of the moment in Washington is "the wall."

All in all, he’s just another prick in “the wall.” Would it be unfair to point out that “the wall” was constructed by Clinton appointee Jamie Gorelick, since Dick the Gore-lick won’t mention it?

This is the legal barrier that once separated the CIA and its investigators from the FBI and its investigators, and which may have contributed to the confusion that enabled the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Enabled? So, now President George W. Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General John Ashcroft (and, of course, his jack-booted dissension crushing brigades), Paul Wolfowitz, etc., are co-dependents with Al Qaeda, enabling their erratic, destructive behavior? Will the insidious meme that “the government” could have prevented the attacks of 9/11 ever die? Not that death can keep a bad meme, or Richard’s communist grandfather – who’s due for another appearance any week now (maybe he’s been waiting for me to return?), down for long. Hell, I’d settle for the death of the meme that anybody other than Osama bin Laden and his merry band of murderers were responsible for 9/11.

A more interesting wall, however, was on view Tuesday evening in President Bush's prime-time news conference. It's the one between him and reality.

Bush is dumb. A brilliant press! Though one that is easily parried as it has been used far too often and to such little effect.

Never mind that even for Bush, this was a poor performance -- answers that resembled a frantic scavenger hunt for the right (or any) word or, too often, a thought.

A redoublement. Try again.

Never mind that he really had very little to say -- no exit plan for Iraq, …

Why does running away always come to mind first for illiberals?

… no second thoughts about Sept. 11, …

None, aside from the regret for not pushing harder to profile suspicious Arab or Islamic terrorists in airports, allowing CIA agents and FBI agents to share information, starting fresh by firing all of Bill Clinton’s straphangers who had failed for eight years to address the growing threat, and not liberating Iraq sooner perhaps.

… no wonderment, even, at the apparent disappearance of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and how that might have happened.

The key word here is “apparent.” I guess Richard must have missed the 60th annual dinner of the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association.

Like a kid who has been told otherwise, Bush persists in believing in his own version of Santa Claus. The weapons are there, somewhere -- in a North Pole of his mind.

Or as Blondie sang, “One way or another I’m gonna find you. I’m gonna gitcha, gitcha, gitcha, gitcha. One day, maybe next week.”

Why is it that illiberal utopians who demand the US go hat in hand to the UN over Iraq never mention the utter uselessness of the eighteen UN Security Council resolutions that Saddam Hussein was in perpetual violation of, or the UNSCAM scandal which only came to an end because of the liberation of Iraq. But while Richard is repeating his missing WMD mantra, let’s not forget the gassing of Kurds at Halabja, the destruction of the marsh Arab culture, the mass graves, the children’s prisons (right Scott?), the funding of homicide bombers in Gaza, the legacy of the invasion of Kuwait and its aftermath, providing a home for Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas and who knows what other terrorists, and all Saddam's other war crimes? Hard to believe that Richard Cohen used to advocate the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, isn’t it? That merits a yellow card.

What matters more is the phrase Bush used five times in one way or another: "We're changing the world."

Why this statement would bother an illiberal utopian is somewhat beyond me. They spend their entire lives trying to do this.

He used it always in reference to the war in Iraq and he used it in ways that would make even Woodrow Wilson, that presidential personification of naive morality, shake his head in bemusement.

Dick’s passé is so passé. No, I think Jimmy Carter is the presidential personification of naïve morality, and he’s got the Nobel Peace Prize to prove it! It’s true that Woody has one of those too, but he got his when it still meant something rather than being used as an opportunity to stick it to a Republican President – and Woody actually had to win a war to get his. I’d say George is a lot closer to Woody than Dick thinks.

In Bush's rhetoric, a war to rid Hussein of his weapons of mass destruction, a war to ensure that Condoleezza Rice's "mushroom cloud" did not appear over an American city, has mutated into an effort to reorder the world.

It’s a strategery thang. Once again, you have misunderestimated what’s going on, Dick.

"I also know that there's an historic opportunity here to change the world," Bush said of the effort in Iraq. But the next sentence was even more disquieting. "And it's very important for the loved ones of our troops to understand that the mission is an important, vital mission for the security of America and for the ability to change the world for the better." It is one thing to die to defend your country. It is quite another to do that for a single man's impossible dream. What Bush wants is admirable. It is not, however, attainable.

Obviously the illiberal part of Dick’s character is stronger than the utopian part. The urge to run away in the face of a dangerous challenge is strong!

Shortly after Sept. 11, Bush used the word "crusade" to characterize his response to the attacks. The Islamic world, remembering countless crusades on behalf of Christianity, protested, and Bush quickly interred the word in the National Archives or someplace.

Yes, crusade was one of many words used and then quickly retired out of sensitivity for those that lack the ability to differentiate between the 21st and the 12th centuries. Of course, it is so easily remembered by the Islamic world since so many of them are stuck in a time warp where the twelfth century crusades are more relevant than anything that has happened in the western world since the renaissance. Well, that and the constant prodding by the postmodern political proponents of victimization as a way of life. Would Dick be happier if the President resurrected the use of the word “crusade” and used it five times in a press conference?

Nonetheless, that is pretty much what Bush described in his news conference -- not a crusade for Christ and not one to oust the Muslims from Jerusalem but an American one that would eradicate terrorism and, in short, "change the world."

Works for me.

The United States, the president said, had been "called" for that task.

Uh oh. Now he’s “done” it. That “know-nothing” President has broken down “the wall” between “church” and “state.” Are they running a special on “irony” this week at Barnes and Noble?

Some people might consider this religious drivel and others might find it stirring, but whatever it is, it cannot be the basis for foreign policy, not to mention a war.

Some people might consider Richard Cohen’s anti-religious commentary drivel and others might find it stirring, but whatever it is, it cannot be the basis for intelligent criticism of foreign policy, not to mention intelligent criticism of a war.

Yet it explains, as nothing else can, just why Bush is so adamantly steadfast about Iraq and why he simply asserts what is not proved or just plain untrue -- the purported connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, for instance, or why Hussein was such a threat, when we have it on the word of David Kay and countless weapons inspectors that he manifestly was not.

Put the sword of Damocles back over our heads right now! Illiberal utopians demand imminent danger before acting, damn it! This yellow journalism predicated on yellow straw men merits another yellow card.

Bush talks as if only an atheist would demand proof when faith alone more than suffices.

Isn’t that something like the definition of an atheist?

He is America's own ayatollah.

Jeez, what’s Richard going to write about for the next seven months? There cannot be any worse insult to the President for the “in” crowd. This fleche merits a red card as Dick continues to talk past his opponent rather than to his opponent.

Several investigative commissions are now meeting in Washington, looking into intelligence failures -- everything from the failure to detect and intercept the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 to the assertion that Iraq was armed to the teeth with all sorts of awful stuff.

I guess somebody must have sprinkled some of that IBM pixie dust around Fallujah to create all those weapons and explosives in Iraq sometime after the end of major hostilities.

But what really has to be examined is how a single man, the president, took the nation and part of the world to war because, as he essentially put it Tuesday night, he was "called" to do it.

Dick. Dick. Dick. Dick. The vote in the Senate was 77-23 and in the House it was 296-133. And last time I checked Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Palau, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Tonga, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan were all sovereign countries not commanded by President George W. Bush. And, of course, the UN Security Council threatened serious consequences. Little did we (or Secretary of State Colin Powell) realize that “serious consequences” is French for “screw you.” All President Bush did was realize that we were already in a war and that we had to start fighting back. Bomb me nine times (the Lebanon Marine barracks bombing, the Khobar Towers attack, the attack on the USS Cole, the first attempt to bring down the WTC in 1993, the Kenya embassy bombing, the Tanzania embassy bombing, and then, of course, 9/11 -- WTC II, the Pentagon, and flight 93 for a target unknown) shame on you, bomb me ten times, shame on me.

If that is the case, and it sure seems so at the moment, then this commission has to ask us all -- and I don't exclude myself -- how much of Congress and the press went to war with an air of juvenile glee.

Glee? I understand juvenile as an adjective with respect to the press, but glee?

The Commission on Credulous Stupidity may call me as its first witness, …

Too easy. A self hit.

… but after that it has to examine how, despite our vaunted separation of powers, a barely elected president …

There he goes again. The 2000 (s)election – the gift that keeps on giving. Can’t we just get rid of this pesky constitution thing?

… opted for a war that need not have been fought.

There’s always surrender. It’s the most simplisme option.

This is Bush's cause, a noble but irrational effort much like the one that set off for Jerusalem in the year 1212. It was known as the Children's Crusade.

The original bad idea done For the Children™. That merits a black card.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:29 AM | Comments (2)

April 23, 2004

I Love the 70's

Clearly a lot of my blogging friends are far too young to pass any quiz on the music of the 70's. From the bottom up:

Steely Dan performed Rikki Don't Lose that Number, but it was off of Pretzel Logic, not Can't Buy a Thrill. (0.5 points to Kevin.) I guess Wazmo was just a Chicago thing.

Rock the Boat was by the Hues Corporation.

More, More, More Part 1 was by Andrea True. (1.0 points for Chris.) Perhaps Billy Idol shouted "more, more, more" but it certainly wasn't Part 1.

Fire On High was by the Electric Light Orchestra, led by Jeff Lynne. Like I said, Jeff and Andrea started it. (1.0 points for Andrea, though I was tempted to subtract 0.1 for not mentioning Jeff.)

I'd Really Love To See You Tonight by England Dan and John Ford Coley. No contest on this one. Ewwwww.

Grand Funk Railroad sang Closer To Home. (I screwed this one up, crucially confusing it with Ride, Captain Ride by Blues Image, hence all the reference to blue, so Andrea gets 2.0 points.)

Paul Revere and Mark Lindsay (not Paul Revere and the Raiders) sang Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian). Just so you know, most of the search engine hits have both the title and the artist wrong on this one, so cheating would have been painfully obvious. (0.5 points for Roxanne for at least trying).

Al Wilson sang Show and Tell.

Eric Freakin' Carmen sang All By Myself. I think the music is Chopin. (2.0 points for RC for adding "freakin'".) Oh, and Tanya, Stephen Foster's music would have been most popular in the 1870's, though The Ghost of Stephen Foster is rumored to have been seen by the Squirrel Nut Zippers somewhat more recently.

Brewer and Shipley sang One Toke Over The Line. (1.0 points for RC.)

Melanie sang Brand New Key. What a strange song. (1.0 points for RC.)

The Amazing Rythym Aces sang Third Rate Romance. (0.5 points for RC.)

Talking Heads sang The Girls Want to Be With the Girls which was produced by Brian Eno. The Big Suit is in reference to David Byrne's clothing for the tour and movie Stop Making Sense. (1.0 points to Kevin, even though it's food rather than fruit.)

The Roches sang We and were produced by Robert Fripp, who was often seen with Brian Eno in those days. Great eponymous album, by the way, and the Roches also have a fantastic Christmas CD.

The Pretenders sang Mystery Achievement. Nobody even attempted a guess. So unreal.

Lene Lovich sang Lucky Number. Jeez, didn't anybody listen to FM back then? (0.5 points to RC.) I think Thomas Dolby was playing keyboards for her then.

Graham Parker and the Rumour sang Passion Is No Ordinary Word, You Can't Take Love For Granted, Temporary Beauty, Wake Up Next To You. (1.0 points for RC.)

Pink Floyd sang Have a Cigar from Wish You Were Here and St. Tropez from Meddle which also featured One of These Days. (1.0 points to Chris.)

Dave Mason sang We Just Disagree. (1.0 points to RC.)

Jackson Browne sang Redneck Friend. (1.0 points to RC and Roxanne.)

Gordon Lightfoot sang The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. (1.0 points to Chris.) Tanya, you misunderstood, I'm trying to point out that there was in fact good music in the 70's.

Reunion sang Life Is a Rock, But the Radio Rolled Me. Nobody even tried.

Well, that was fun. Nobody came close to getting them all right, but RC came closest. Now, he'll have to let me know how to get a PayPal hit to an e-mail address. Thanks to all who played. Unfortunately, I've had these and about 40 more 70's songs floating around in my head all day.

Now I can get back to politics, warblogging, mourning Pat Tillman and all the other men and women who have sacrificed so much for us (Juliette says it best), and maybe even, grrrrrrrr, Richard Cohen.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:53 PM | Comments (7)

April 22, 2004

Life Is a Rock, But WLS Rolled Me

You may have to hit the April Archive for the full effect.

DOWNDATE: Ten PayPal dollars to the first person to correctly identify all the stream of consciousness allusions below. Yea, I'm desperate, but if there's a winner, I won't be the worst. No cheating. Judge's decisions are final. You must be 18 to enter, though being over 40 is probably an chronological necessity. Void were prohibited by law.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:28 PM | Comments (0)

The Legend Lives On from the Chippewa On Down

I said I was Cherokee, damnitalltohell.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:23 PM | Comments (2)

Now Your Daddy’s in the Den Shootin’ Up the Evening News

Either that or bloggin'.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:19 PM | Comments (2)

We Just Disagree

There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy, there's only you and me and...

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:17 PM | Comments (1)

Oh by the Way, Which One's Pink?

As I reach for a peach, ... one of my favorite memories of jolly olde England was hearing Pink Floyd do "One of These Days" with the huge inflatable pigs with headlamp eyes and enormous flashpots at Earl's Court in 1994.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:15 PM | Comments (3)

Passion Is No Ordinary Word

You can't take blogs for granted, underneath another skin.

Alternate: And you need temporary beauty, and hope to God that it doesn't rain.

Second alternate: I've been dreamin for too long. I guess something's always wrong unless I wake up next to you.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:09 PM | Comments (1)

This Rearrangement Suits Me Now I Must Confess

Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:01 PM | Comments (1)

And Every Day, Every Night Time I Feel

So unreal.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:58 PM | Comments (0)


...are Maggie and Terre and Suzzy... Look, you can't have Eno without Fripp.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:53 PM | Comments (1)

The Girls Want to Be With the Girls

The Big Suit had not yet been sewn.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:51 PM | Comments (2)

I've Never Really Done This Kind of Thing Before, Have You?

Well yes I have, but only a time or two...

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:45 PM | Comments (1)

I Got a Brand New Crypto PKI

You got a brand new key...

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:43 PM | Comments (1)

One Toke Over the Line

Yeah, it's about Jesus. Uh huh, uh huh.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:42 PM | Comments (4)

Wasn't that Chopin?

All by myself...

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:40 PM | Comments (2)

Show and Tell

Well Mr. Wilson, it is a Missouri blog.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:39 PM | Comments (0)

I Am 1/32 Cherokee

So I got a thing for Paul Revere & Mark Lindsay, OK?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:38 PM | Comments (1)

I'm Getting Closer to My Home

Who's cruise? Blues cruise.

Alternate: Why you wanna give me a run around? Oh sorry, that's Blues Traveler.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:36 PM | Comments (1)

I'd Really Love to See You Tonight

England Dan and John Ford Coley.

You may clean your monitor and keyboard now.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

Fire On High

I'm afraid if I titled it "Evil Woman" everyone might draw the wrong inference.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:32 PM | Comments (1)

More, More, More Part 1

The 70's encompassed most of my collegiate career. The music of those days gave me the barely adequate psychic defenses I have today. Especially "Maneater" by Hall and Oates.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:30 PM | Comments (3)

Rock The Boat

Jeff and Andrea have started a bad thing.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:27 PM | Comments (1)

Rikki, Don't Lose That Number

My blogmistress lists some icky 70's songs. I've responded appropriately in her comments.

But I'm curious, anybody else remember Wazmo Nariz? Or was that just a Chicago thing?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:23 PM | Comments (2)

I'm Back

Shot an 85 at Talamore Sunday and I'm damn pleased about it. Yea, it's a llama.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2004

See Ya Sometime Next Week

I'm off to Pinehurst for my annual golf vacation with the finest group of guys you'll probably never meet. One of our group just became a judge, so I get to use that Brian Doyle-Murray line from Caddyshack, "Your honor, your Honor."

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:07 PM | Comments (1)

Uh Oh

President George W. Bush just called Kim Jong-Il a threat in a similar manner to the way he referred to Saddam Hussein earlier.


Posted by Charles Austin at 09:15 PM | Comments (0)

Und Now Is the Time on Sprockets When We Paint

I could do this all day, but I must get back to painting now. Otherwise, I'd be tempted to tell you next what I was thinking as I watched an episode of The Golden Girls last night on TV.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

Rhymes With Turd

Rhyming slang borrowed from Ian Hislop (Have I Got News For You):

London - Former British foreign secretary Douglas Hurd on Saturday blasted Washington's policy in Iraq saying the United States was mistaken in believing it could impose democracy in the war-shattered country through the use of force.

"You really don't win hearts and minds by filling hospitals and mortuaries," said Hurd, who was foreign secretary between 1979 and 1983 in the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher.

Then again, as someone once said, "when you've got 'em by the short and curlies, their hearts and minds will follow."

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

"Was I Talking to You?"

(Selective) Human Rights Watch has it's proverbial panties in a bunch:

A U.S. military offensive in Falluja last week in which 600 Iraqis may have died has raised concerns about excessive use of force and needs immediate investigation, a leading human rights group said Tuesday.

Civilians who fled the fighting described the streets of Falluja as being littered with bodies, including women and children, and Iraqi politicians have accused U.S. forces of meting out collective punishment on the city's residents.

Heaven help the the people and city of Fallujah if the United States Marines ever actually do use excessive force. But who am I to doubt the word of insurgents, their families, and Al Jazeera?

"The questions being asked are very legitimate. When you cordon off a town and hear many stories that are very worrisome about civilians being killed it needs to be examined," said Hania Mufti, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, a New York-based rights group.

Hang out at Free Republic for a while. I'm sure you'll encounter many more questions being asked that are very legitimate, though I doubt you want to hear them.

"There is enough from the footage we've seen and from what has been said about what went on in Falluja to warrant a very serious investigation. We are deeply concerned about the consistent reports we are getting about women, children and unarmed civilians being killed," Mufti told Reuters.

As Penn and Teller say, "Bullshit!".

She stressed that most of the information received so far was anecdotal and said no conclusions could be drawn until a full investigation could be conducted.

But it's the seriousness of the accusations that are important. Hmmm, where have we heard this before?

"I can't say whether any crimes have been committed ... but we'll certainly be looking into whether there was excessive use of force and whether the methods used by the military were acceptable," she said.

Why say it with facts when innuendo does the trick? Covers your ass better when the fact checking starts, I guess.

"We would call on the U.S. military to be as cooperative as possible with our investigation."

Will you at least give them the courtesy of a reach around? Come to think of it, I don't recommend that you try.

Oh yeah, the title was a line by Jeff Goldblum that cracked me up.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)


Drudge is reporting that the bodies of four missing American contractors have been found.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

"You Want Fries With Your Legacy?"

Supersize it!:

As Bill Clinton seeks to finish his memoirs, leading Democrats are voicing concern that the book could overshadow Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign, diverting attention to Mr. Clinton's outsize legacy of scandal and achievement.

Poor John Kerry just can't catch a break. But like Indiana Jones asking about the location of the Ark of the Covenant, I wonder, which Democrats? Big Media nips my question in the bud and assures us that "leading Democrats" are on it. But not everyone is worried:

Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who is close to Mr. Clinton, said his fellow Democrats should relax. "We should stop being so morose about Clinton," he said. "He's a plus."

Of course he is. Just ask Al Gore!

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:13 PM | Comments (1)

Get a Grip Andrew -- No, Not That One

Andrew Sullivan says:

It's worth saying here what we now know the president got wrong - badly wrong. There were never enough troops to occupy Iraq. The war-plan might have been brilliant, but the post-war plan has obviously been a failure. We needed more force and we needed more money sooner. The president has no excuses for not adjusting more quickly to this fact: he was told beforehand; he was told afterward; but he and the Defense Secretary were too pig-headed to change course. I still favor the war; but I cannot excuse the lapses and failures of the administration in the post-war. Yes, this was always going to be very very hard. And yes, Iraq was slowly imploding under Saddam and some version of what we are now witnessing was inevitable - and, without the war, it would have happened without our stabilizing presence. Yes, balancing keeping order and winning hearts and minds is not an easy operation to pull off. But with the troop levels we maintained - especially given the limited international support - we made things far harder than they might have been, and our beleaguered troops are dealing with the aftermath. We can still win this. We must still win this. But the president is in part responsible for making it even harder than it might have been.

Well, gosh Andrew, has it occurred to you that perhaps there are other things the military has to be worried about right now above and beyond Iraq? We have to rotate troops, slack off on the use of the National Guard and still deal with all the other threats in the world. Personally, I'm not convinced that more troops are absolutely necessary instead of perhaps a change in the rules of engagement, but I'll yield to the judgment of General Abizaid and ask if they are, how about laying the blame where it really lies -- with the "limited international support" you cite. Once again, most of Europe gets a free ride paid for with American money and American blood. I guess Andrew now agrees with John F. Kerry about President George W. Bush squandering all that international goodwill we had after 9/11 and, of course, f***ing it up so badly.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:07 PM | Comments (0)

There Was a UFO Attack in My Hometown

FBI Probes About 40 Abductions in Iraq

There's something about probes and abductions in the same sentence that doesn't sound quite right to me.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)

You're Mired!

Looks ....

A fast-food loving beauty queen from Missouri who has two master's degrees and once wrestled a greased pig in a mud pit was crowned Miss USA 2004. (Ed. Gee, you think the St. Louis Post-Dispatch doesn't much care for beauty contests?) Shandi Finnessey, 25, won the title Monday night over 50 other contestants and will represent the United States at the Miss Universe pageant in Quito, Ecuador, on June 1.

... and brains.

A Republican, she told Reuters she would use her position to help explain America's involvement in Iraq. "What needed to be done had to be done," she said.

Oh yeah, the reason for the title:

The pageant is co-owned by NBC and Donald Trump, who opened the telecast by telling Castillo, "You're fired," his ubiquitous phrase from the network's hit show "The Apprentice."

Well, that and pig-wrestling.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:42 PM | Comments (0)

It's tough to make up stuff this funny:

Presidential candidate Ralph Nader this weekend warned his constituents that a military draft is pending, and asked younger voters to prepare.

Sure thing Uncle Scar, I mean Ralph. But, of course, he doesn't really mean it beyond getting the headline.

"I don't think that Ralph feels that the draft is imminent, but we are looking at the shortage of troops in Iraq and the calls from [Senator John] Kerry for 40,000 more troops. What Ralph is saying is that if students don't start to organize right now, it will be too late," Mr. Zeese said.

But, wouldn't it be wrong to act preemptively before the draft is actually imminent? Anyway, it's not like the draft can be brought back by executive fiat.

It would take legislative action by Congress to reinstate the draft, which was ended in 1973, about two months before the last U.S. troops were withdrawn from Vietnam. Registration with the Selective Service was halted from 1975 to 1980, but was reinstated under President Carter after Russia invaded Afghanistan.

Jimmy Carter, Nobel Peace Prize winner, preparing for war. Let's see, the last Democratic president that didn't actually have American soldiers dying in a foreign country was ..., um ..., gosh ..., Grover Cleveland! Fortunately, presidents, not even Democratic ones, are dictators. But there's always the millions for tribute, not one cent for defense Congressional Democrats to save us from these rapacious, war-mongering Democratic presidents.

A bill was drafted by South Carolina Sen. Ernest F. Hollings in January 2003, putting in place the parameters for a draft. Its House companion legislation was introduced simultaneously by New York Rep. Charles B. Rangel. Both lawmakers are Democrats.

Then again, maybe not. I wonder how Ralph intends to address this problem?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:33 PM | Comments (1)

Richard Clarke, Incompetent Bureaucrat

Richard Clarke is always trumpeted as THE expert on counter terrorism, especially by his supporters in Big Media. (I suppose the first clue that he should be extremely knowledgeable about counter-terrorism was probably the fact that his title included the word "counter-terrorism.") I've also read that Richard Clarke was the consummate bureaucratic player, or as the Washington Post liked to put it, an alpha-bureaucrat, and if anyone can recognize a top-notch bureaucratic player in Washington, D.C., it would be the Washington Post. So, if there was anyone who could turn good information into effective policy it would be Richard Clarke, right?

Au contraire.

As someone who has served in middle management for several years, what I have found is that it is up to me to make a concise, compelling and convincing case to my management for whatever I want to do. The time of those above me in the food chain is limited and precious. The higher up you go the more this truism holds, and you don't get any higher than the President of the United States. Given Richard Clarke's inability, by his own admission, to convince anyone above him (in either the Clinton or Bush administrations) of the need to take truly extraordinary actions to prevent terrorism within the US by Al Qaeda, I can only conclude that he either didn't believe in what he had to sell or he did a piss-poor job of selling it. Either way, Richard Clarke does not merit the trust or respect he has been accorded as a big time player through the release of his book and his testimony before the 9/11 Commission.

I'll give Dick Clarke and Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror
a 4. I don't like his tune and I can't dance to it. Talk about a one hit wonder...

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)

Be Careful What You Ask For

Remember when foreign countries were bitching loudly about not getting a fair shot at the contracts within Iraq?

President Bush rebuffed growing criticism Thursday, most recently from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, on the U.S. policy banning opponents of the war in Iraq from receiving billions of dollars in reconstruction contracts. "It's very simple," he told reporters at the White House after a Cabinet meeting. "Our people risked their lives, friendly coalition folks risked their lives, and therefore the contracting is going to reflect that."

Think they are all still interested? After all, whom could French companies ask to dispossess the Iraqi Marsh Arabs this time?

The French "were refusing to send their oil engineers into an area where they might be kidnapped by rebel forces," Timmerman wrote. "So they suggested that the Iraqi’s ‘clean up’ the area ahead of tine." As a result "thousands of ‘marsh Arabs’ paid the ultimate price for this particular instance of French cupidity.

Acting on orders from Chiraq’s pal Saddam, Iraqi armament engineers diverted the marsh’s water sources thus drying up thousands of square miles of marshland and ending a way of life and destroying one of the world’s most beautiful areas both of which have enchanted Westerners for eons.

"Some three hundred thousand marsh Arabs were sent into forced exile in Iran, their way of life gone forever," Timmerman wrote.

IMHO, any country or company that abandons Iraq now shouldn't be let back in for at least fifty years.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2004

Woo Hoo!

I won again!

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:13 PM | Comments (1)

April 09, 2004


Come on, you can figure it out.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:30 AM | Comments (1)

Business As Usual

Perhaps Bill Clinton and Al Gore should be asked to return and testify under oath before the 9/11 Commission? Then Bob Kerrey could ask them why there was no response to the bombing of the USS Cole:

The USS Cole bombing was a terrorist attack against the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) that occurred on October 12, 2000.

Enquiring minds want to know, right Bob? After all, it's not as though the last-minute pardons had yet distracted them in October. Of course, what Dr. Rice tried to explain to Mr. Kerrey was that the Bush administration was not interested in a tit-for-tat response. Can you imagine the response from some of the esteemed members of Mr. Kerrey's party if President George W. Bush had actually launched cruise missiles at Al Qaeda targets within a week of taking office in response to a Sandy Berger briefing? Or what if, instead, in February or March the US issued an ultimatum to the Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden? Somehow, it's difficult for me to imagine Mr. Kerrey, Mr. Roemer or the NY Times applauding these hypothetical moves.

So what else is news.

DOWNDATE: As Kevin noted in the comments, Bill Clinton testified yesterday in private -- not under oath, and today Al Gore testified in private -- also not under oath. I guess they need to make sure they get their stories straight after some of the truth has leaked out. Say, this wouldn't all be part of the "rapid response" to the testimony arranged by a Kerry campaign operative would it? Why, wouldn't that be a, gasp, conspiracy to obstruct the 9/11 Commission's holy work?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:22 AM | Comments (2)

April 08, 2004

Fair and Balanced, Not

I'm watching Dan Rather for the first time in years right now, not by my choice. They are featuring Richard Ben-Veniste (with applause) and Bob Kerrey. The only quote by Condi Rice was her saying "I don't remember..." Oh good, my mother-in-law just changed the channel. Conservation of momentum continues in the liberal media.

Channel flipped to Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert is now focusing on the families' response. And Tim is oh so serious about demanding the release of the memo.

What a farce.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:39 PM | Comments (1)

Our Loss

What the 9/11 Commission desperately needs is someone who was not and is not a politician, someone like Richard Feynman to cut through the posturing and bullshit like he did for the Rogers Commission.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:19 PM | Comments (3)

Wouldn't a Non-Partisan Commission Be Preferable?

I believe that the 9/11 Commission is, by and large, taking its responsibility seriously. That, of course, doesn't preclude a little partisan political theater taking place at the same time, and this aspect of their work is very troubling. What the hell is with the applause from the peanut gallery, i.e., the nuts, when Richard Ben-Veniste treats Dr. Condoleeza Rice in a hostile manner, asking a series of leading, somewhat disjointed questions and then demanding a one-word response when that would be clearly insufficient to address his long list of assumptions and "known" facts? This seems more like a game of "gotcha" than an attempt to discern the fine differences between the interpretation of events. What exactly does this have to do with an objective inquiry?

Why is it that whenever the 9/11 Commission is described in political terms it is called bi-partisan? Wouldn't it be preferable that the 9/11 Commission be non-partisan? To a real, independent commision interested in process improvement with respect to national security, the softballs lobbed to Dr. Rice by those who are trying to make it easy for her are just as offensive as the hostility generated by those explicitly trying to point fingers. When the transcript comes out, you can easily determine who the Democrats are and who the Republicans are on the 9/11 Commission just from the text. It is a farce that this is the best we can do when it comes to trying to defend ourselves. I realize objectivity is a pipe dream, but it's still worth asking and trying to push towards an ideal even if we can't completely achieve it.

Oh well, here's a few more semi-random thoughts inspired while watching Dr. Rice's testimony this morning.

One of the contributing factors to the US's ability to prepare and respond to 9/11 was the delay in the transition from one administration to the other. The loss of at least a month in transfering responsibilities and personnel rippled for a long time. No, I don't believe that had Al Gore stuck with his concession that 9/11 would have been prevented. As I said, this was an additional aggravation rather than a causative event. But in a time of war, can we afford an impact of this nature in the future? I worry about this since I have read that John Kerry is already plotting to have lawyers ready to challenge ballots at polling places all over the US. Regardless of who wins, does John Kerry believe that these partisan legal challenges in close elections serve the people or not?

The War on Terrorism is going to go on for a long, long time. Most of us have already figured this out, but apparently not all have yet. Why would we bother to set up a Department of Homeland Security if we can dismantle it in two, four, or even eight years? It would seem to be a cliche that everything has changed, but we still hear an awful lot of business as usual from the Democratic Party this year.

The tertiary, if not secondary, purpose of having Dr. Rice testify is to try and damage her standing in the eyes of America. Oh yeah, Hillary is worried.

If I understood Dr. Rice's testimony correctly, it seemed to me that the PDD that RB-V kept referring to was in response to a request from President Bush to report what was known about Osama bin Laden and potential attacks on the US, whereas RB-V is treating it as a warning generated by troopers and staffers that the President and his NSC staff ignored. If I'm right about this PBD, then RB-V's willful attempt to mischaracterize this document and impugn the motives of the President's NSC staff should have him thrown off the 9/11 Commission.

Bob Kerrey is a decent man with a principled position different than mine. I welcome his tough questions, though I think he was grandstanding a little with his mini-rant on Iraq. Everything he said could have been said to Dr. Rice in private, but it seems more important to have it said to the television audience, his protestation that the message was for the President's National Security Advisor notwithstanding. After Bob Kerrey's session I have little faith that the 9/11 Commission's report will be of much value, other than to partisan pundits on both sides.

Now I'm ranting... it bugs the hell out of me every time I hear someone suggest that we (disregarding who "we" are for the moment) could have, nay, should have, prevented 9/11. Aside from some minor INS violations, what exactly could we have done to stop 9/11 from happening? The box cutters the terrorists had were not illegal at the time. Imagine the hue and cry had we arrested 19 Muslims that morning before they boarded their respective flights. What would we have arrested them for prior to them standing up and actually taking the planes over that morning, flying while Muslim? Conspiracies are damn hard to uncover and prevent beforehand. Even if the Clinton administration had taken much stronger direct action against terrorism beginning in 1993, the idea that we could always prevent terrorist acts is just nonsense. Can you imagine the hue and cry if the US had taken out the Taliban in August 2001? Aside from the usual suspects wielding their puppets for peace and screaming "No Blood for Oil!", the terrorist acts of 9/11 would have been called blowback and President BVush would have been accused of causing them by attacking the Muslim world. Don't think so? Have you forgotten Madrid already?

Our government and our society was not ready to deal with terrorism before 9/11. That's a fact. Another fact is that a significant portion of our society is still not ready to deal with terrorism, and so the rest of us will have to continue to carry the burden and take the heat on their behalf as well as ours.

I have a good background with process improvement. One of the key aspects of implementing any process improvement plan is to avoid blaming individuals and preventing the use of information gathered as a hammer to beat people with. Process improvement cannot work if people are afraid of it and spend more time engaging in CYA activities to shift blame and prevent their being blamed for problems instead of working towards a common goal of getting better. Another key aspect of process improvement is that it is about getting better, not about getting perfect. Unfortunately, everything I've heard this morning violates both of these principles of process improvement, primarily because there seems to be more interest in scoring political points than actually improving the process. I'm fairly disgusted by this.

I wish Dr. Rice had more time available, but only if the time could be used constructively. I don't think these kinds of televised hearings are terribly useful, but it's hard to imagine it being any other way. And now we get to hear and read everyone spin the last two and one-half hours in entirely predictable ways, looking for inconsistent minutae or lauding key catch-phrases. Oh, joy.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:36 AM | Comments (2)

April 04, 2004

Bad Cop, Worse Cop

I support the police and give them wide latitude because they have a dangerous, underpaid, and frequently thankless job to do. But we have to be honest and note that sometimes, this privilege can be abused. Instapundit highlights an egregious case of the fact that speeding tickets seem to have less to do with enforcing norms of public safety than raising money or providing perks to policemen and their families. Right on cue, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted on the front page today that in Bel-Ridge (a small St. Louis suburb), the cops are chastised for attacking crime and not writing enough tickets:

Police departments often commend officers who have a knack for seizing drugs and arresting drunken drivers.

But in Bel-Ridge, such officers risk a stern warning.

Supervisors have warned some of them that busting bad guys or making time-consuming arrests distracts them from their true mission - generating money for the village.

"When it comes down to it, money is what counts," says a department memo dated March 17. "State cases do not generate money for the department. Municipal tickets do."

I don't know if it is worse that this is going on or knowing that these police supervisors are stupid enough to document it. Amazing. Read it and weep. Oh yeah, and never, ever trust the government with any more power than is absolutely necessary.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:12 PM | Comments (6)


No confusion today between the US and the UK over whether the month or the day comes first when writing the date.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:26 PM | Comments (1)

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

John Hawkins is runnning a "Right-Of-Center Bloggers Select Their Favorite Contemporary Dinner Guests." Here's my off the cuff entry in alphabetical order:

General John Abizaid
Tony Blair
William F. Buckley
George Carlin
Umberto Eco
Donald Fagen
Milton Friedman
Andrew Grove
Christopher Hitchens
Ian McKellen
Zell Miller
Jack Nicklaus
Richard Posner
Condoleeza Rice
Antonin Scalia
Arnold Schwarzenegger
General Norman Schwarzkopf (ret.)
Mark Steyn
Jack Welch
Tiger Woods

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:32 PM | Comments (2)

April 03, 2004

Freudian Slip

AP has a doozy (text only in Yahoo blurb, not the same as the link):

Firefighters in a crane, examine the damage after three suspected terrorists who were sought in connection with March 11 Madrid bombings, blew themselves up in a building that was surrounded by police in Legenes, near Madrid, Spain, Saturday, April 3, 2004. One special forces agent was killed and 11 police officers were injured in the operation. The fete of the suspects is unknown at this time.

Would it involve 72 virgins?

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:04 PM | Comments (1)

April 02, 2004

Brave New World

Today was my last day in the comfortable corporate cocoon I've spent my entire professional life (twenty-one years) in, working for large corporations supporting several government agencies. Now I'm off to be the COO for a small company in a different industry that I believe has great potential. I'm looking forward to the challenge and relish the way this move has got my entrepreneurial juices flowing again. I have the chance yet again to live up to the free market rhetoric I frequently espouse and fervently believe. There is some risk, but then there is a potential reward commensurate to that risk.

I've changed jobs a couple of times before, but the transitions were to similar positions in other companies, usually with some contact with my former co-workers -- it's the nature of the business. But this departure was especially poignant for me, since I had opened the office here in St. Louis almost six years ago and seen it grow and flourish. I've left a lot of friends this time and it will take some effort to keep in contact with them as we are now headed in orthogonal directions, but I'll make the effort because they are good people.

This event has been some time coming and partially explains the hiatus for those that wonder about such things. I will be back in a couple of weeks with some changes if all goes well.

Oh, and in related news, one of my friends lost his job today.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:12 PM | Comments (1)

One Man's Graphic Realism Is Another Man's Celebratory Image

Big Media is all conflicted about whether to show graphic pictures of the recent terrorism, sorry, rebellious militancy in Iraq. Whether it comes from any remaining sensibilities about further coarsening the public discourse or concern about blowback for yet another cheap shot at the president is unclear.

Show them. Go ahead, let's see what the murdering bastards intend for all of us. Oh, and while Big Media is at it, they can pull up all the pictures from 9/11 (or Bali or Madrid or Israel) that their oh-so-sensitive paternalism prevented us from seeing when it happened, because, well, they didn't want to inflame the passions of the moment. And anyway, that wouldn't have riled up sentiment against President George W. Bush, would it? In fact, it might have helped him, and they certainly can't have that.

I propose the following to eliminate the faux moral conundrum our editorial betters find themselves in: run graphic pictures from 9/11 (or Bali or Madrid or Israel) side by side with any pictures from the atrocities they are showing us now, just for some context. It's war folks. It sure ain't pretty and that's why we want to win it and end it as quickly as possible.

No more partial measures.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2004

Protein Wisdom or Air America?

Too easy, way too easy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)