January 31, 2005

All Vietnam, All the Time

The Guardian just can't get over it:

On September 4 1967 the New York Times published an upbeat story on presidential elections held by the South Vietnamese puppet regime at the height of the Vietnam war. Under the heading "US encouraged by Vietnam vote: Officials cite 83% turnout despite Vietcong terror", the paper reported that the Americans had been "surprised and heartened" by the size of the turnout "despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting". A successful election, it went on, "has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam". The echoes of this weekend's propaganda about Iraq's elections are so close as to be uncanny.

With the past few days' avalanche of spin, you could be forgiven for thinking that on January 30 2005 the US-led occupation of Iraq ended and the people won their freedom and democratic rights. This has been a multi-layered campaign, reminiscent of the pre-war WMD frenzy and fantasies about the flowers Iraqis were collecting to throw at the invasion forces. How you could square the words democracy, free and fair with the brutal reality of occupation, martial law, a US-appointed election commission and secret candidates has rarely been allowed to get in the way of the hype.

In related news, voting was down approximately 27% from the last Iraqi election which gave Saddam Hussein a resounding 99% majority. Clearly, this demonstrates that Iraq's short experiment with democracy is a miserable failure. Or is it a quagmire?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

Time to Reupholster the State Democratic Chairs

Dean wins backing of state Democratic chairs...

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:58 PM | Comments (1)

Hey, I'm Just Asking

Any chance this could be Saddam's hand?


Posted by Charles Austin at 11:20 AM | Comments (1)

January 30, 2005

One Last Thought For Tonight

I don't want to hear any more about the US needing an exit strategy in Iraq. The only strategy I want to hear anything about is a strategy for victory. Oh, and carrying forward Ted Kennedy's quagmire language and everything's Vietnam lietmotif, I'm really enjoying the fact that the "insurgents'" "Tet" offensive has failed in Iraq now that the Democrat Party and Big Media no longer control the ability to broadcast news and opinion.

That is all.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

I'm Warning You Now

If Illinois should finish the year 37-0, this blog will become insufferable for a while.


Posted by Charles Austin at 11:02 PM | Comments (3)

Watch Out for the DU Pigeons

There is certainly plenty of brass around for recasting:

The man replacing the mayor of Baghdad — who was assassinated for his pro-American loyalties — says he is not worried about his ties to Washington. In fact, he'd like to erect a monument to honor President Bush in the middle of the city.

"We will build a statue for Bush," said Ali Fadel, the former provincial council chairman. "He is the symbol of freedom."

I'll bet there's a statue of George W. Bush in Baghdad before there's one in Boston, New York or San Francisco. Any takers?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

Taking Out the Eurotrash

As Stan Marsh once asked, "Dude, what the f*** is wrong with German people?"

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.

Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners – who must pay tax and employee health insurance – were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.

The waitress, an unemployed information technology professional, had said that she was willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in a cafe.

She received a letter from the job centre telling her that an employer was interested in her "profile'' and that she should ring them. Only on doing so did the woman, who has not been identified for legal reasons, realise that she was calling a brothel.

Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex industry – or lose her unemployment benefit. Last month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunification in 1990.

The government had considered making brothels an exception on moral grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them from bars. As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for a prostitute in the same way as those looking for a dental nurse.

Part of me keeps thinking this can't be real, but it certainly seems to be. Maybe it is all part of a plot to reduce the unemployment levels by getting women out of the job market and back to the three K's (Kirche, Kueche, Kinder). Or is it meant to encourage the Islamists currently in Germany to leave immediately? Or both? I mean, no one can propose something this preposterous without some colossally stupid reasons driving them.

How did Germany's society find itself suddenly in the ditch instead of cruising comfortably down the Autobahn?

Miss Garweg believes that pressure on job centres to meet employment targets will soon result in them using their powers to cut the benefits of women who refuse jobs providing sexual services.

"They are already prepared to push women into jobs related to sexual services, but which don't count as prostitution,'' she said.

"Now that prostitution is no longer considered by the law to be immoral, there is really nothing but the goodwill of the job centres to stop them from pushing women into jobs they don't want to do."


Posted by Charles Austin at 10:47 PM | Comments (5)


He's so much smarter than I:

Billionaire investor George Soros, the biggest financial contributor to the failed effort to defeat President George W. Bush in November's election, said Democratic challenger John Kerry was a flawed candidate.

Even if it did take Mr. Soros at least 12 months longer and an election to figure this out. Makes me wonder sometimes what I might accomplish if I applied myself.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

Mauve Finger

With apologies to Shirley Bassey:


Mauve finger,
Stopped the man, the man who hid in a hutch --
A spider's hutch.
Such a bold finger beckons you, it clearly would be a sin
To not join in!

Democracy has come to Iraq
To vote and be free, scorning attacks
A girl today faced down threats of terror,
Z-man’s kiss of death has missed her

Mauve finger,
Boys and girls, vibrant, joyous brave souls,
These hearts are gold!

Democracy has come to Iraq
To vote and be free, scorning attacks
A girl today faced down threats of terror,
Z-man’s kiss of death has missed her

Mauve finger,
Boys and girls, vibrant, joyous brave souls,
Their hearts are gold!
Be free and bold!
Freedom’s gold!
Their hearts are gold!
Baathist’s been told,
Hit the road!
Freedom’s gold!!!!!!

(Photo via Citizen Smash -- Az Zubayr, 2005 - AP Photo/Andrew Parsons)

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:32 PM | Comments (0)

The Year Thus Far

Happy New Year!

I got sick. I got better for about two days, which happily coincided with a business trip to Denver where I met up with Jeff and family, Andy, Sean, Scott, Steve Green, Matt and Robin two weeks ago. Fine folks, one and all. Thanks for the great time!

Then the blog went down due to the evil machinations of spambots. Blog got better, but I got sick again. Slowly improving now, but I will be glad to see this month in the proverbial rear-view mirror. Soon, I can get back to the rhetorical horse-whipping of the likes of noted military commentator Sid Blumenthal, the perennially self-loathing John Kerry, and our favorite whipping boy -- Richard Cohen.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

-- William Shakespeare

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:45 PM | Comments (1)

January 19, 2005

Promotion Night in Class A Ball

Does anyone else wonder what it says about Europe that all their leaders get together and celebrate as a major achievement the display of a new plane (whose development has cost $13B thus far) that still hasn't left the ground? Read this and marvel at the technological prowess that culminates in Europe's ability to turn on a floodlight!

Heads of state from the four traditional Airbus partner countries came together to help celebrate the unveiling of the first A380, paying tribute to the vision and dedication of Airbus and the spirit of co-operation that had made this day possible.

For French President Jacques Chirac, the unveiling of the A380 was a moment of pride and emotion.

He hailed the A380 as a great European success story and said the huge technological feat was matched by the environmental challenge, with the A380 being one of the cleanest aircraft in the world. President Chirac also thanked more than 200,000 workers in Europe and around the world whose efforts made the aircraft possible and the airlines for enabling the A380 to ‘spread its wings and fly’.

"Today is the culmination of a huge effort by all those involved in the programme," he said. "The A380 demonstrates the success of European industrial policy and embodies the vision of European integration. I hope this is the first in a long line of successes."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "The A380 is the most exciting aircraft in the world and is a symbol of economic strength, technological innovation and a dedicated workforce."

He took the opportunity to pay tribute to the dedication and skills of workers in the UK and across Europe. "They deserve great praise for their contribution to this aircraft," he said.

"The A380 is the result of unprecedented co-operation between the four countries and today was the culmination of many years of hard work. This is a day of which we can all be truly proud."

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said the occasion was "a great day for Europe and the aviation industry and a triumph of engineering in the best traditions of our four countries".

"I still remember coming to Toulouse many years ago to discuss the A380 and how the project could be supported. And to those people who then said, ‘Lord knows when this project might happen’, we present this aircraft today," he said.

"You have written a piece of European history and I wish you all the best for the future."

Spanish Prime Minister José-Luis Rodriguez Zapatero described the A380 as a ‘monument of intelligence’ and a milestone in the capacity of human progress. Seeing the aircraft, he said people would reach the conclusion that ‘Europe can’t be stopped’.

He said the dream was made possible only because four countries came together under the single blue flag of the European Union, adding: "It’s the best example of civilised co-existence devised by man."

The four heads of state then joined Airbus President and CEO Noël Forgeard and the heads of airlines and Airbus shareholders in pressing the button which floodlit the A380 to a rapturous round of applause from the assembled guests and media.

I swear, when it comes to geoploitics and economics in the 21st century it's as though we are playing an altogether different game.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

Deja Vu

Tin soldiers and Terry's coming...

Dean Gaining Early Momentum in DNC Race

Or as CSN and sometimes Y once sang:

one two three four
If I had ever been here before
I would probably know just what to do.
Don't you?
If I had ever been here before on another time around the wheel
I would probably know just how to deal
With all of you.
And I feel like I've been here before,
Feel like I've been here before.
And you know it makes me wonder
What's going on under the ground, hmmm.
Do you know? Don't you wonder?
What's going on down under you
We have all been here before, we have all been here before
We have all been here before, we have all been here before
We have all been here before, we have all been here before


Posted by Charles Austin at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

Breaking News from CBS

Dateline: January 19, 2005

Exit polls for the 2004 election were "not as accurate" as polls produced in the past, according to a study by the firms that conducted the polls.

The exit poll estimates "overstated John Kerry's share of the vote nationally and in many states," says the report released Wednesday by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International, which conducted polls for major news organizations, including CBS News.

Their really up to date in New York City,
They've gone about as far as they can go...

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

If This Is Global Warming, Faster Please

It was 7 degrees yesterday morning in St. Louis. Today I'm in Denver and it is in the 60s.

Not fair.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:20 PM | Comments (1)


Why is Boston pronounced as though it was spelled Bosston?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Badder

John Kerry is going to show Al Gore how crazy, bitter loser is really done:

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted Wednesday to confirm Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state after two days of hearings in which she faced strenuous Democratic assaults on the Bush administration's handling of Iraq.

Pending approval by the full Senate, Rice would be the first black woman to hold the job. She was confirmed by a 16-2 vote with Democrats John Kerry of Massachusetts and Barbara Boxer of California voting no.

Nice company you've chosen to keep there Mr. Kerry. Remember how after 9/11 a lot of people that voted for Al Gore were really glad George W. Bush was president? John Kerry has shattered Al Gore's timeline for descent into moonbattery, not even waiting for the inauguration to make folks shake their head and contemplate the disaster that was once again narrowly averted,

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:17 PM | Comments (2)

January 09, 2005

Light Posting

I've been down with a sinus infection this week so posting has been light. I am a wimp when I get sick, crawling into bed and drinking lots of fluids until I get better. I've also got an important conference coming up in ten days that will consume me in the days leading up to it, so posting will probably be light for the next two weeks.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:39 AM | Comments (2)

A Few Random Thoughts the Next Day

In rainy Seattle... Torry Holt caught the low pass in the end zone and Bobby Engram didn't. That was fundamentally the difference in the Rams-Seahawks game.

Why wasn't there a roughing penalty when Shaun McDonald was thrown to the ground after he was out of bounds? It wouldn't have changed the outcome of the game, but thank goodness it didn't go to OT because the officials gave up control of the game on that play.

Joe Theisman keeps saying the most inane things. One example will suffice -- He'll lament the Seahawk's receivers dropping lots of passes and then two minutes later admire Matt Hasselback's form and wonder why his completion percentage isn't higher. And I've grown really tired of the juvenile banter between Joe and Paul Maguire. Incidentally, why does Paul Maguire look like he shaves his eyebrows? The sooner this whole broadcasting crew is retired the better.

The Rams are better than most people seem to expect. They have first rate talent on offense. It seems as though a lot of people forgot that Marc Bulger missed a few games and that's when the Rams looked horrible losing to the Cardinals and Panthers. The Rams real Achilles' heel is their offensive line. They were so desperate after pre-season injuries they called Tom Nutten back out of retirement. They only have 5 healthy lineman on their roster right now. The Rams defense isn't good and the special teams have been atrocious, but they have been playing better the last month or so. I don't expect the Rams to make it to the Super Bowl, but I'll be a lot less surprised if they make it than if Green Bay or Minnesota makes it.

Mike Martz must address his game management problems. Some of the grief Martz takes is way overblown, but not when it comes to managing the clock. The use and abuse of timeouts and challenges hasn't even been at a High School level. It has hurt them in the past and it will continue to hurt them in the future and there is no reason for it other than sheer incompetence.

On another Mike Martz manufactured brouhaha, maybe Marc Bulger is better now than Kurt Warner ever was. Kurt achieved more (so far), but when he did so the Rams had a healthy Marshall Faulk in his prime, Isaac Bruce in his prime, a scary third receiver in Hakim, a decent defense, and a first rate O-line. All Marc Bulger has now over Kurt's glory years is an improved Torry Holt. On every other front, including expectations, the Rams are worse off to much worse off now. I'm one of the people that thought the Rams made a mistake in letting Warner go, but I have to admit now that I was probably wrong.

Seattle should resign Shaun Alexander because they aren't going to find anyone better. On the other hand, they need to start over when it comes to the WR corp. It doesn't look to me like Mike Holmgren has the respect of his team.

Meanwhile in sunny San Diego... can't both teams lose, just on principle? They both deserved to lose. An exciting game, but let's face it, that's Marty Schottenheimer on the sideline and we all know Marty can do a fantastic George McClellan imitation and get a team ready, but he can't actually make them perform when crunch time comes, although I doubt Marty is angling for Paul Tagliabue's job. Nice game plan Marty, using Tomlinson as a decoy until the last drive.

Is it to much to ask that the "premier" announcers for ABC have at least a passing familiarity with the rules? The penalty on the punt downed at the 2 late in the game was obvious as was what would happen if San Diego decided to accept the penalty or not. There is no way a touchback could come into play. Yes it's true that it would have been a touchback if the player who went out of bounds hadn't downed the ball at the 2. But that's not a decision the referees get to make. If the officials were allowed to make a decision like this why wouldn't they then be allowed to award touchdowns on plays a player would have scored on except for some penalty? Jeez.

The Jets should have used their timeouts with about a minute left. If the Chargers score then they have time to try and win. If the Chargers don't score then they can run still run the clock out when they get the ball back. Then again, maybe Herm knew his team would do something stupid that would give the Chargers four more downs.

So many penalties.

I guess yesterdays results mean that the Rams and Jets are going to meet in the Super Bowl.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:36 AM | Comments (1)

January 05, 2005

The Ugly Stepsister Speaks

Really, you just can't please some people:

[T]he European Union's humanitarian commissioner says the escalating aid offers may become a "beauty contest," where nations compete for the title of biggest donor.

Alternative post endings:

1. Alas, "Let them eat cake," had already been used.

2. It's a bitch knowing that you are going to a gunfight and you've voluntarily made it illegal to carry even a pocket knife.

3. "European Union humanitarian commissioner" would seem to be an oxymoron.

4. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Anyone think the victims care about who might look prettiest?

5. Perhaps he should speak to the EU's defense minister about sending one of their carrier battlegroups to help out.

6. Damn, the UN Idol show idea just isn't going to pan out.

7. How soon do you think someone is going to call for the US to give money to other countries so they can turn around and give it to the victims. We've got to be respectful for other countries' self esteem, don't you know?

8. Maybe the EU and the UN will propose some sort of BCS system for taking credit for disaster response.

9. Same as it ever was...

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:15 PM | Comments (1)

From the Department of Redundancy Department (Or Is It the Bureau of the Bleeding Obvious?)

Matt Drudge breathlessly gives us this:

VANISH: Marine Charged With Desertion Goes Missing... Developing...

But Matt, what's with the use of lower case?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)

Today in Sports

Congratulations to Ryne Sandberg for being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today. Ryne was one of my favorite players before I gave up on Major League Baseball -- about the same time he did. His attempt at a comeback mirrored mine as well. I wonder if I can still care if the Cubs ever make it back to the World Series? Oh and congratulations to Wade Boggs as well. But Peter Gammons hyping of Jim Rice for the HoF is a little too much East Coast bias for me. You Yankee fans will enjoy this though. In other baseball news, some lucky team is going to win the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes, thereby allowing him and his agent Scott Boras to destroy their team over the next three or four years.

Congratulations to USC! Good thing we've had the BCS or we wouldn't have had Oklahoma blown out in the national championship game in consecutive years. Can we finally admit that the BCS is a miserable failure and go back to the old bowl series now?

How 'bout those Illini! Meanwhile the unstoppable hype for the ACC continues. Nice game you had in Champaign there Mr. Paul.

The NHL is still dead. The NBA is not, though you couldn't prove it by my viewing habits.

Which Mike is going to lose more sleep this week, Martz or Holmgren?

The Tillman Rangers won the IF(F)FL Fantasy League Bowl last weekend. This is my second consecutive league championship in the keeper league that I've been in now for thirteen years. Every year I select a new location and "mascot" for my team. This year I chose to honor Pat Tillman and his sacrifice with the Rangers from Tillman, SC. I hope I can go back to more mundane team names next year. In my twelve other leagues I won two more championships and finished second in six others. I learned this year that thirteen is way too many fantasy leagues to try and keep up with.

But if you really want to be up to date on sports commentary, start here.

And in case it slipped by you above, even non-Yankee fans will enjoy this.

DOWNDATE: I received this in an e-mail from ESPN:

Dear Fantasy Football League Champion,

Congratulations on winning your league. Don't be a gracious winner. The great thing about Fantasy Football is you get to rub it in. No friendly cliches to the media and no respecting your opponent. Now reward yourself with a visible title.

You can purchase a trophy that is yours forever or go for the league trophy, which can be back up for grabs next year. Make sure to brand it first with your team name. How big of a sore winner are you?

Nice people there running the ABC/Disney empire.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:24 PM | Comments (3)

Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes

Good on ya, mates:

Prime Minister John Howard pledged $1 billion to help Indonesia get back on its feet from the ravages of the Boxing Day tsunami, stealing the lead on other world leaders who will gather in Jakarta on Thursday to discuss the aid program.

But "stealing the lead" seems a bit churlish and editorial in nature, doesn't it? But in another of the good news/bad news depending on your perspective:

North Korea has ordered its citizens to be ready for a protracted war against the United States, issuing guidelines on evacuating to underground bunkers with weapons, food and portraits of leader Kim Jong Il.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, I included this below in the No, No, No, No post, but maybe this is a sign that the end is near for the world's most foolishly wicked man and that the salvation of the long-suffering North Korean people is nigh. Well, I can hope. Just like I can hope that this more equal than others hypocrite is nailed for..., wait for it ..., fake turkey giving:

The director of a Detroit food bank wants to know what happened to 60 turkeys -- 720 pounds of frozen birds -- that his charity gave to members of U.S. Rep. John Conyers' local staff two days before Thanksgiving to give to needy people.

Conyers' Detroit office promised an accounting of any turkey distribution by Dec. 27, but the Gleaners Community Food Bank had received no paperwork as of Tuesday, said the charity's director, Agostinho Fernandes.

Fernandes said he became suspicious that the turkeys didn't get to poor people after hearing from a friend that a federal court worker had said he was offered free turkeys from a member of Conyers' staff.

Isn't it all rather typical that Congressman Conyer's office has promised an "accounting of any turkey distribution," but no actual turkeys for the poor? Maybe they can use some of the leftover sauce for this gander in Washington:

State House and Senate leaders who gather here next week will announce that, hearing no objection, the Legislature hereby ratifies the 2004 election.

But with the prospect that Republicans may contest the race that Gov.-elect Christine Gregoire won by 129 votes over Dino Rossi in a controversial hand recount, that tradition might become the first casualty of the Legislative session.

House Minority Leader Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, said yesterday that unless questions are answered about the election process -- specifically about how several counties counted thousands more votes than there were voters recorded -- Republicans plan to object.

Chandler said House Republicans plan to "work with whoever wins the race," but he added that with all the unanswered questions, "we don't know who won the election, and we never will."

Of course, now that they've "won" some people just want to, to borrow a phrase, move on:

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, said it's time to put the election behind and move forward to address the pressing issues of the state. She said election officials followed the rules. Brown said Republicans are upset because their candidate lost.

Takes one to know one, eh Lisa?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:46 PM | Comments (1)

No, No, No, No

American Giggle-o:

Actor Richard Gere has recorded a TV commercial urging Palestinians to vote in their election Sunday. In a transcript obtained by The Associated Press, he said: "Hi, I'm Richard Gere, and I'm speaking for the entire world. We're with you during this election time. It's really important: Get out and vote."

Palestinian people: By all means vote, but please understand that I am not with you. And I certainly don't remember sigining any proxy for Richard Gere to speak for me. But perhaps I should be pleased that your culture hasn't yet been infected with the cult of celebrity as mine has:

The spot is apparently an attempt to use both glamour and religion to get Palestinians to the polls. It will air soon. It's unclear what kind of sway Gere may have with Palestinians. One man who appeared with him in the spot said he'd never heard of Gere.

Such ignorance is bliss. Meanwhile in fantasyland:

North Korea has ordered its citizens to be ready for a protracted war against the United States, issuing guidelines on evacuating to underground bunkers with weapons, food and portraits of leader Kim Jong Il.

Protracted? I don't think so. I sincerely hope this is just more silly bravado from North Korea. If not, the fourth largest army in the world is going to have a short, exciting life. But their fifteen minutes of fame will have significantly more existential meaning than Amber Frey's:

Amber Frey, the buck-toothed, baby-voiced massage therapist from Fresno who briefly loved Scott Peterson before she tried nailing him to the wall, will not be ignored.

The woman talented enough to have acquired faith in God, the services of a murderous lover, and a high-powered publisher has added her name to a memoir nearly as slim and shallow as she is.

As a public service, here's a cheat sheet to "Witness For the Prosecution of Scott Peterson." I'll skip over Amber's tedious whining about her life as a single mom and cut to the naughty bits, because this is an important book...

Amber's Dating Tip No. 1: A Mom has Needs, So Plan Ahead...

Dating Tip 2: You can't be too thin or too easy...

Dating Tip 3: After the Binge, Don't Forget the Purge...

Dating Tip 4: When Short on Ideas, Shed Clothes.

To be fair, we already knew Scott Peterson wasn't all that bright, but jeez. Meanwhile, something that reminds me of the saying that minor surgery is what happens to other people:

The International Space Station's main oxygen generator has failed, forcing astronauts to use an emergency back-up air supply, according to Local 6 News. NASA officials said Russian Cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov and crewmate Leroy Chiao are not in any immediate danger and engineers are confident that some backup procedures and in-flight repairs can keep the two astronauts breathing easy, Local 6 News reported Wednesday morning. It is believed that there are enough reserves onboard the space station to last its crew at least another 60 days if there are no other mechanical failures.

Well, let's hope that NASA officials and engineers confidence is warranted and that there are no more mechanical failures then, shall we? But where the heck is Local 6 News located to report on this story?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2005


Check out what these leading British liberal lights think about the world's reaction to the tsunami tragedy and whether ... 2005 might see a new determination to tackle global poverty:

THE RIGHT REV TIM STEVENS, Bishop of Leicester

I am hopeful, but we must see a real commitment to changing the economic relationships between the West and the poorer countries. As well as charitable giving, we need to tackle these fundamental issues.

I'd like to think he's advocating free trade, but sadly, I doubt it.


On an individual level, it is not just about what we are prepared to give, but what we are prepared to give up. Having left Afghanistan and Iraq in their wake, can our leaders be trusted to fight a war on poverty?

What we are prepared to give up? So one's commitment to progressivism is now measured by how regressive we need to be? Bloody freedom, overrated in Afghanistan and Iraq, in't it guvner? To paraphrase California's governor in Commando, "You're a funny man Rory, that's why I'm going to kill you last."

KANYA KING, Founder, Mobo awards

No longer can we exist in isolation when we see lives and livelihoods being destroyed. All of us need to be pro-active to change things, but we have shown that public opinion and the media can influence government.

No longer must tens of thousands of people die for this vise-like grasp on the short and curly hairs of the obvious to take hold in Kanya King's brain.

STEPHEN TINDALE, Executive director, Greenpeace

It seems churlish to say it, but while it's relatively easy for most of us to give £50, it would be much harder for us to make the changes in our modern lifestyles that are needed if we are to move to a fairer world.

Seems? No, I think you've got churlish spot on old boy.

DR GHAYASUDDIN SIDDIQUI, Leader of Muslim Parliament

Compassion, care and concern for mankind joins each of us - whatever our faith or ethnicity. The tragedy has shown there is a formula on which all mankind can be united to help each other. Mankind has moved forward.

Bloody hell, how'd that bit of common sense creep in here? But let's hope it doesn't always take a world class tragedy to get us to work together.


It was the same after 11 September. Everyone said it was a great opportunity to try to understand the world but it was used by the US as a reason to go on a rampaging adventure in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Note: Why the Independent keeps turning to "comedians" for serious geopolitical commentary is something I haven't figured out yet, though apparently liberating Afghanistan and Iraq seems to have taken the piss out of a number of them. Have they been deprived of a source of material or something?

MO MOWLAM, Former cabinet minister

I think most people will simply forget. Some charities say people will even forget how much they pledged to give. I wish it would change our attitudes to other people in other countries, but I'm afraid that it won't.

That's the spirit, bloody proles can't be bothered to remember how miserable their existences are. No Mo-mentum here, though Mo's got that whole Right Said Ed "other" thing down pat. What's the matter, did the Independent lose Clare Short's number?

SIR JONATHON PORRITT, Environmentalist

The response reveals a deep sense of empathy that could be of lasting value. If it is just a philanthropic flash, then we have seen those before, but if people gain a sense of their interdependence, we will be better off.

"We are the world, we are the children..." Uh huh.


Western capitalism demands that people must be impoverished. I cannot think that anything will change this year, because we are the ones who have made the world the way it is. I don't believe in altruism.

No, no, western capitalism only demands that small-minded, self-centered artists be impoverished. But Dinos' last comment indicates he's somewhat confused about this whole philosophy thing.

LORD HURD OF WESTWELL, Former foreign secretary

The danger is that resources which might have gone to Africa will go to this instead. While huge publicity continues to be given to the tsunami, human beings are killing each other in Iraq, and places like Darfur.

One of which is in fact in Africa! I am reminded of something Ian Hislop once said in reference to his Lordship on Have I Got News For You, "Rhyming slang, rhymes with turd." Of course, being a politician and having to prioritize your actions given limited resources is such a bitch.

SIR MAX HASTINGS, Journalist and historian

We have to bear in mind that we have been here before. There have been tragedies before, and many fine things have been said, a lot of them by the US. We just have to hope that in this case they will follow through.

We've been here before? And Sir Max is a historian? Sure, journalist I can understand, but an historian? I can think of three things in the last sixty years that killed more than one-hundred thousand people in as short a time, and the first two involved the use of atomic weapons and were not immediately followed by an outpouring of sympathy from the American people. One thing you should remember about the US though Sir Max -- when we decide to follow through, we can follow through.

J G BALLARD, Novelist

It would be one of the biggest breakthroughs mankind has ever experienced if we pooled our wealth in order to look after the poorer people of the world. Sadly, I don't think it will happen.

No, it won't. But sadly, I don't think J G has a clue as to why.

SUE MACGREGOR, Broadcaster

I hope politicians will take note of the public reaction. But it is difficult to tell whether it will do anything to change the way politicians see things, when our own Prime Minister chose not to break his holiday.

Nose to the grindstone Tony, never let up. Isn't it funny how poorly understood democracy seems to be, even amongst those who claim to be its protectors? Gosh I bet Sue's just the life of the party down at the pub.

TONY BENN, Former cabinet minister

It may make people realise that the UN needs to be well-equipped and funded. If people diverted money from weapons and war, we have the technology and money to be able to help - if we decide to do that.

Thank goodness his title starts with the word "former." How about we start with the IRA and Al Qaeda, eh Tony?


I think that politicians must realise that people do care about these issues and want them to do more. If 2005 could become the year when people make a real effort, then it could make a real difference.

Paraphrasing Homer Simpson: "Stupid fake efforts of the past." Suddenly, picking Sir Richard for the 2005 Dead Pool doesn't seem in quite such bad taste.

Listen, all of you. Get up off your collective asses and do something about the problems in the world around you instead of wringing your hands and expecting your government to do it all on your behalf. When you grasp this subtle nuance of how Americans approach problems, perhaps we'll all be able to work a little more closely together in the future. Until then, sod off.

Oh, and Rory, "I lied."

P.S. Note to Rory and Sir Richard, its a bloody joke. Ok? Feel the irony. Embrace the irony. Be the irony.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:28 PM | Comments (7)

January 01, 2005

Happy New Year!

And here are my best wishes for my little corner of the blogosphere:

Matt “Blackfive” - The Paratrooper of Love: A steak and Johnny Walker Black followed by a fine cigar.

Tim Blair: All the readers Margo Kingston has but doesn’t deserve.

Jim Bowen: Approval from the NRC for the construction of a bunch of nuclear reactors.

Mark Byron: A correct hyperlink at Instapundit.

Michele Catalano: Larger victories.

Scott Chaffin: A seat at the final table with four of a kind when someone else is holding a full boat on the flop.

Richard Cohen: A freaking clue.

John Cole: More readers.

Will Collier: Something better than the BCS.

Conrad: Another Girl Friday, or a working hyperlink.

Susanna Cornett: The opportunities to use her education in a professionally and financially rewarding manner.

Steven Den Beste: Life, health and happiness.

Martin Devon: More opportunities to enjoy the sunset from his patio.

Maureen Dowd: A return to inventive invective in place of her rapidly deteriorating prose which has declined to the level of a 7th grade playground.

Dean Esmay: The strength to persevere through difficult challenges and prosper.

fad (name hidden to protect the innocent): Resolution to his issues with the state bureaucracy.

Frank Fleming: Enough wall space to hang his monkey pelts.

Rich Galen: Frank Rich’s spot on the NY Times’ Op-Ed page.

Jeff Goldstein: The hardest nipples in the universe, or the correct medication to control his intermittent multiple personality disorder -- not the pills behind the sofa cushions.

Stephen Green: A working DSL connection.

Jim Hake: More donations.

Andrea Harris: A better job, better apartment, and all the filthy lucre my webmistress deserves.

Dodd Harris: A complete Republican takeover of the Bluegrass state.

Heather Havrilesky: Cialis.

John Hawkins: A lasting GOP hegemony.

Lawrence Haws: A return of the NHL.

Greg Hlatky: Best in Show.

Bill Hobbs: Mad props from the pajama-haters.

Joanne Jacobs: “School Work: How Two Grumpy Optimists Built a Successful Charter School” becomes #1 on Amazon.com.

Jeff Jarvis: More electronic toys.

John (Barcelona): The energy to keep up the good fight in Espana.

Charles Johnson: A letter from CAIR saying he’s been right all along.

Christopher Johnson: An Episcopal Church return to first principles.

James Joyner: Escape velocity from the Beltway.

Chris Kanis: A healthy back.

Kathy Kinsley: More notice for the Bellicose Women’s Brigade.

Scott Koenig: The media attention his efforts merit.

Ken Layne: Peaceful, respectful coexistence with the denizens of Jesusland, and commercial success for him and the Corvids.

James Lileks: More caffeine for his muse.

Kieran Lyons: More time to blog.

Dr. Manhattan: A return to the World Series by the Yankees (where they lose to the Cubs).

Jay Manifold: A repaired Hubble Space Telescope.

Eric McErlain: A return of the NHL and D.C. baseball.

Kevin McGehee: Many more readers.

H.D. Miller: Comfortable shoes.

Emperor Misha: Less strife on all fronts.

Chris Muir: Syndication and more syndication.

Robert Musil: A much wider readership.

Chuck Myguts: A worldwide appreciation of redneck culture.

Juliette Ochieng: A truly great job.

Terry Oglesby: Fear the possum.

Suman Palit: Happy hunting.

Damian Penny: A growing, successful practice and great weather.

Lynxx Pherrett: Happy hunting.

Frank Portman: Have MTX show up on a lot more playlists.

Bill Quick: The comfortable and comforting realization that he has a lot more friends and colleagues in the blogosphere than he knows.

Glenn Reynolds: Time, he seems to already have everything else.

Rich: More readers.

Fritz Schrank: Fear the blue hen.

Donald Sensing: A safe return of his son when his mission is complete.

Stefan Sharkansky: A fair election for Governor.

Laurence Simon: A self-cleaning litterbox.

Roger L. Simon: An Oscar.

Rob Smith: Revenge.

Elizabeth Spiers: Formal certification as a professional dilettante.

Mark Steyn: An extra dimension to share more of his writing with us.

Andrew Sullivan: Health and consistency.

Mac Thomason: Patience with those of us less enlightened.

Kim du Toit: A warm gun.

Tanya (I know she doesn't want me to use her last name): Grass and fewer encounters with hoosiers.

Michael Totten: Have his old friends come around to his way of thinking.

Jim Treacher: To be funnier than Margaret Cho -- no wait, he's already got that.

Marc Velazquez: More taters.

Dr. Weevil (I know his name, but I'm not sure I have permission to use it): Tenure.

Matt Welch: A great gig.

Bill Whittle: "Silent America" reeaches #1 on the NY Times Nonfiction Bestseller list.

I'll add to this intermittently as I discover that I've inadvertently left someone out.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:24 PM | Comments (9)