August 30, 2005

MDA Labor Day Telethon

MDA 08122005.PNG

Thanks to all who helped raise $726 dollars for the MDA Labor Day Telethon.

More later.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

New Orleans

Love the city. Love the music. Love the food. Love Bourbon Street.

But I wonder if it is all gone forever.

Some random, mostly depressing thoughts...

I fear New Orleans will be down for a long, long time. So long, it may be difficult to ever make it back, especially if another hurricane rolls through anytime in the ne 24 months. I really do fear that the butcher's bill may exceed what we experienced on 9/11 before all is said and done. This is catastrophic in biblical terms and I don't think that's hyperbole.

New Orleans major industry is tourism. Now that the tourists have no hotels to stay in, no casinos to visit, no restaurants to dine in, no French Quarter to ooze through, no Garden District to walk through, no Superdome or Convention Center to convene in, well, what's left?

The fact that there are no death totals coming out of New Orleans is downright disturbing. I'm not a fan of the rollling body count in any context, but it seems to me that there's something really dreadful waiting there if no one can even hazard a guess like the did for Biloxi. Imagine how incredibly bad it has to be there for no reporters to be reporting from there. Given the Governor's pronouncement that the city must be evacuated a day after the hurricane rolled through, when will things ever get back to normal there?

The Saints certinaly won't be playing any home games this year, so if you are in a fantasy football league, downgrade all the Saints. Will Tom Benson use this as an excuse to move to L.A.? If the Saints leave New Orleans, is tere a point to spending $100,000,000+ to repair the Suuperdome?

Why is anyone surprised that New Orleas and Louisiana, a city and state world famous for corruption, would be unprepared to deal with a real disaster -- both before and after the fact?

Will those blaming Bush, the US, the liberation of Iraq, global warming, etc. please knock it the hell off. The inability to see everything, no matter how horrid, as nothing other than another reason to spout your favorite political talking point is reprehensible. Especially when your point is stupid.


Just damn.

Oh well, off to a school meeting. Life goes on ... for most of us. Pray for those who perished and those still in great peril.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:46 PM | Comments (7)

August 29, 2005

Woo Hoo!

I won again! You can decide which is the alien and which is the predator.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:49 PM | Comments (1)

Open Topic

Since so few people are interested in reading what I have to say, here's your chance to leave your mark, even if it hurts. Of course, this blog may only be around for two more days, so make it good.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:06 PM | Comments (2)

August 28, 2005

My Better Half

My wife has an op-ed piece today in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. It ties in closely with the release of her mother's memoirs, Cherry Blossoms in Twilight. This is her first book and it is self-published. Isn't technology wonderful?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:51 PM | Comments (1)

August 27, 2005

70's Or Bust

Desperation time has set in, or maybe I'm just following through on Andrea's threat. It's time for another 70's music quiz. And when I say the 70's, I mean the 70's and the first few years of the 80's since my college days extended with grad school until 1983. To me, as a child of the 70's these years count as well. If you don't agree, well, do your own quiz.

I need the name of the song and the artist. I'll note the correct answers below the fold as they are discovered. And now, without further ado...

22 out of 29 as of Tuesday afternoon at 1415 CDT. Since everyone seems to have given up I've provided the answers for the remaining seven entries. Check it out and see what you missed.

Here are the answers, with commentary:

See the winter boys drinking heavy water from a stone. Bye-bye empire, empire bye-bye. Shallow water - channel and tide... -- "One of Our Submarines", Thomas Dolby (CWA). This is supposed to be one of the techno classics. I guess this means Professor Reynolds didn't stop by.

Just get me to the airport and put me on a plane. Hurry, hurry, hurry before I go insane... -- "I Wanna Be Sedated", The Ramones (James). This one was so easy, even Marc got it.

No hesitation, no tears and no hearts breakin’, no remorse. -- "Haitian Divorce", Steely Dan (Francis W. Poretto) Any music quiz I do is going to have at least one Steely Dan tune in it. Now tell me again how the 70's was nothing but crap.

Talkin' about savin' souls and all the time leechin', dealin' in dirt and stealin' in the name of the Lord. -- "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone", The Temptations (Steve Malynn). I'm surprised this one took as long as it did.

Sometimes the blues just get a hold of you just when you though you had made it. All around the block people will talk, but I want to give it all that I've got... -- "Sweet Seasons", Carole King (CWA). Wasn't Tapestry the biggest selling album ever at one point? How quickly they forget.

Creatures from the sea with the looks to me like she'd like to fool around. -- "Beautiful Girls", Van Halen (James). Ah, college. All I need is a beautiful girl...

Select the control and then insert the token. You wanna throw me away but I'm not broken. -- "Lipstick Vogue", Elvis Costello (Kerry). Remember what I said about Steely Dan? Same thing, except with Elvis. The King died the year I gradated from H.S., long live the King.

Did you know that life has given love a guarantee to last through forever and another day? Just as time knew to move on since the beginning and the seasons know exactly when to change... -- "As", Stevie Wonder (CWA). Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream...

And the women all were beautiful and the men stood straight and strong. -- "Cortez the Killer", Neil Young (Fred). Cheif Illiniwek salutes you and gives the finger to the NCAA. I saw Neil Young perform a solo acoustic concert at the Assembly Hall in the pre-MTV unplugged days.

I want to honky tonk, honky tonk, honky tonk with you all night long. -- "Black Water", Doobie Brothers (Kerry). This song was playing the first time I the older girls were changing clothes in the same room I was in (district drama competition, Jean Anoiulhs' L'alouette). The girl playing Joan was a cheerleader who had to tape her breasts down because the final scene was too distracting otherwise. It made quite an impression.

You might not be looking for the promised land, but you might find it anyway under one of those old familiar names. -- "Living In America", James Brown (Sean Murphy). Ha!

I lost my mind and fell apart, I had to find myself in time. Now I can start all over again. Hangin' around, takin' it slow... -- "Easy Come, Easy Go", Bobby Sherman (CWA). Hey, I never said it was all good.

Your whisper tells a secret, your laughter brings me joy and a wonder of feeling I'm Nature's own little boy. -- Even in the Quietest Moments, Supertramp (Kevin Murphy). Probably my third most listened to album whilst in H.S. Even then, Winston Churchill was impressive.

Stretched out on a blanket in the sand, kids of all ages diggin' Disneyland. Rappin' on the C.B. radio in your van, we'll give a big "ten four" to the truckin' man. -- "Summer", War (CWA). Jeez, didn't anybody listen to the radio back then?

They got grubby little fingers and dirty little minds, they're gonna get you every time. -- "Short People", Randy Newman (Kerry). Mr. Newman remains far too unappreciated, IMHO.

And for one desperate moment there he crept back in her memory... -- "American Girl", Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Sean Murphy). Not quite Southern Accents, but still damn good.

I wish there was something I could do to make you smile again. I said I appreciate that and would you please explain about ... -- "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover", Paul Simon (CWA). I find it a little depressing that no one recognized this.

It's a new grown chaperon standing in the corner watching the young girls dance. -- "Blinded By The Light", Bruce Springsteen/Manfred Mann (James). Talk about your misheard lyrics...

I had my dreams like everybody else. But they’re out of reach, I said right out of reach. -- "Mystery Achievment", The Pretenders (Sean Murphy). A great debt album, a lot more here than Brass in Pocket.

... sing me a love song. I just want you to know, that I'm loving you more and more and more... -- "Lady Blue", Leon Russell (CWA). Too obscure?

No law does this man observe and bloody his rise and fall shall be. -- "Nostradamus", Al Stewart (Francis W. Poretto). Spooky. And then you grow up.

With a silver star between his eyes that open up at hidden lies. -- "Freedom Rider", Traffic (Francis W. Poretto). This song freaked me out when I first heard it. Of course, a dripping faucet might have had the same effect at the time. My memory is a little hazy here.

They are making plans that have far reaching effects. -- "The Girls Want to Be With the Girls", Talking Heads (Kevin Murphy). David Byrne is one of the strangest people I've ever encountered.

Make me an offer that I can't refuse, make me respectable, man. -- "Blue Collar Man", Styx (Kerry). A lot of people pooh pooh Styx, but they had some nice songs.

Well suddenly we heard the sirens and everybody started to run. -- "Long Cool Woman", Hollies (Kerry). Get it on.

Everywhere I go people need some reason to believe. -- "Runnin' on Empty", Jackson Browne (Francis W. Poretto). Nothing like Jacksone Browne to get you through the latter stages of teen angst.

I'm gonna take you on a trip so far from here. -- "Two Tickets to Paradise", Eddie Money (Greg). One hit wonder, with wanderlust.

Life's just a cocktail party on the street. -- "Shattered", Rolling Stones (Kerry). Shadoobee. I worked with a guy that summer who was a drummer in a band and couldn't sing, so they gave him this song to do since he didn't have to actually sing it. He got fired when the foreman found him asleep back in the stacks.

"Hey," Herbie said, "Tony, can you fly?" -- (But Tony couldn't fly . . . Tony died.)
"People Who Died", Jim Carroll (Sean Murphy). I think I've mentioned the now defunct Amdo's before, with the world's best CD jukebox, where I'd play this song on every visit. Anyway, where else could you get Tibetan Bigfoot in Rosslyn at 2 AM?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:58 PM | Comments (14)

August 23, 2005

Gee, I Hope They Don't Acquire a "Laser"

Who knew?

THE al-Qaeda master plan to take over the world and turn it into an Islamic state has been revealed for the first time.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

Offered Without Comment

Canada flexes its muscles in dispute over Arctic wastes

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:36 PM | Comments (0)

Cherry Picking In the Antarctic

Headline: Antarctic ozone hole 'larger'

Lede: THE winter hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica appears to have grown from last year but is still smaller than in 2003, when it was at its largest, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said today.

See! It's larger, except when it was smaller.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

Because They Can't?

Or because having at least two rival, heavily armed, paramilitary groups bent on the destruction of Jews might prove handy some day:

Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced on Monday that they have reached an agreement with the Palestinian Authority according to which the two groups would not be disarmed.

The agreement was reportedly achieved during talks in Damascus between PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)

Pat Robertson Is a Good Christian

He believes in all nine commandments.

Venezuela's vice president accused religious broadcaster Pat Robertson on Tuesday of making "terrorist statements" by suggesting that American agents assassinate President Hugo Chavez.

On Monday, Robertson said on the Christian Broadcast Network's "The 700 Club": "We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability."

I have to admit that I find the thought that Hugo Chavez might be sleeping a little less easy tonight because of Pat Robertson somewhat amusing though.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

You Forgot the Qualifier Governor

Unless it embarrasses a Republican: N.Y. Gov.: Illegal to Publish Phone Tapes

Just ask Newt Gingrich.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:14 PM | Comments (1)

All Eight of Them?

The world of cycling was divided Tuesday...

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

"I'm Going To Focus On This Problem Like a Laser Beam"

Fed's vow to get tough on illegal immigrants:

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, acknowledging public frustration over illegal immigration, said Tuesday that the federal government's detention and deportation system must be fundamentally restructured.

"We have decided to stand back and take a look at how we address the problem and solve it once and for all," Chertoff said during a breakfast meeting with reporters.


They were a bit fuzzy on the details though.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2005

Smells Like Katrina's Spirit

So, apparently Alessandra Stanley and the NY Times are under the illusion that MTV still plays music:

It was impossible not to snicker a little at the notion of Al Gore creating a hip, youth-oriented cable network, and sure enough, Current TV is at first glance a punch line: MTV without the music.

Jeez, if you want to suck up to Al Gore, be my guest. After all, look what you've done for Air America. But before you embarrass yourself any further you might want to listen to this. Just click on 1985. (Special bonus if you notice the link is actually from MTV!)

DOWNDATE: Oh, this stuff is like, great. Their journalism professors must so proud -- 8 minutes!

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2005

No Oil for Blood!

Hey, this is cool. An opinion piece in the Guardian that blames America for destoring Iraq. Not because of the more recent liberation of Iraq mind you, but because of the sanctions since 1990 and especially their maintenance after the liberation of Kuwait. But what's really cool is that Alain Gresh (of Le Monde diplomatique, don't you know) manages to completely avoid mentioing why the sanctions were never lifted, especially sionce we all now know that Saddam never had WMDs. Right?

But to top it all off, the whole point of the piece is couched around a complaint that we are spending too much time focusing on the oil for blood scandal. Yes, I know that most people call it the oil for foodscandal, but the way I see it, the money allowed Saddam to keep killing for 10 years, so it is really oil for blood. No oil for blood!

I strongly suggest that our leading physicists need to begin investigating the alternate parallel unverse that seems to have sprung up beside us. The black holes of this alternate, more, ahem, progressive universe seem to be spewing nonsense into ours at an alarming rate. Fortunately, the physicists should be able to get to the bottom of this new phenomenon quickly, since the evidence of this parallel universe where up is down, freedom is fascism, red light is shifted to blue wavelengths and vice versa, is all around us. Another intersting attribute seems to be that whereas in our universe space and time are relative, in this parallel universe it is facts which are relative -- apparently relative to the "moral standing" of whomever says them, in fact.


Posted by Charles Austin at 11:25 PM | Comments (3)

The World's Greatest Deliberately Obnoxious Body

Nice to know that Democrat's are taking the high ground -- again:

Democrats struggle to find chinks in Roberts's armor

Say, isn't chink a little less than politically correct here? Would they have used it in this headline if the nominee was named Wu?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

Can You Hear Me Now?

Here's some pretentious claptrap: Global warming: Will you listen now, America?

Two of the leading contenders to contest the next US presidential election have delivered an urgent warning to the United States on global warming, saying the evidence of climate change has become too stark to ignore and human activity is a major cause.

We're doomed! Doomed! No, not because of global warming, but because the pronouncements of celebrities and publicity-seeking politians now pass for science.

On a high-profile and bi-partisan fact-finding tour in Alaska and Canada's Yukon territory, Senators John McCain, a Republican, and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic senator for New York, were confronted by melting permafrost and shrinking glaciers and heard from native Inuit that rising sea levels were altering their lives.

"The question is how much damage will be done before we start taking concrete action," Mr McCain said at a press conference in Anchorage. "Go up to places like we just came from. It's a little scary." Mrs Clinton added: "I don't think there's any doubt left for anybody who actually looks at the science. There are still some holdouts, but they're fighting a losing battle. The science is overwhelming."

Frankly, I doubt Senators McCain and Clinton could get an acceptable score on any hard science GRE, so please spare me the nonsense that they have analyzed the science and found it overwhelming. Or do high-profile fact-finding tours qualify as hard science now. Bloody hell.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:05 PM | Comments (7)

Can Subjectivity Be Analyzed Objectively?

What passes for science these days is enough to make me weep.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

The Sweet Smell of Nostalgia

This next item reminds me of my high school chemistry class student teacher back in 1975 who assured us with the certainty of that little girl on The Kids in the Hall who always said, "It's a fact!", that we were going to run out of oil within 20 years:

The world could run out of time to develop cleaner alternatives to oil and other fossil fuels before depletion drives prices through the roof, a leading Dutch energy researcher said on Thursday.

Ton Hoff, manager of the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands, said it could take decades to make alternatives affordable to the point where they can be used widely, although high oil prices were already stimulating such research.

"If we run out of fossil fuels -- by the time the oil price hits 100 dollars or plus, people will be screaming for alternatives, but whether they will be available at that moment of time -- that's my biggest worry," Hoff said.

Just for fun, note the substantial confusion here. Mr. Hoff starts with a pretty big assumption that viable alternative energy sources are out there waiting to be developed in the next couple of decades, if only we will purify our hearts and pursue them. I read elsewhere in this article that oil prices remain "stubbornly high." Please. Oil prices have been "high" for a couple of months now, but why should that stop anyone from embarking on world-changing, multi-decade, taxpayer gouging plan based upon only a couple month's data? Trust me Tom, when we start to run out of oil, the price will be much, much higher than $100 a barrel. Of course, I assume he's talking about a barrel here rather than a gallon, but who knows? Then again, when you are convinced the sky is falling, why worry about such fine distinctions?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)

I Expect the DNC to Release the Dogs on the Mehlman Anytime Now

Sadly, Mehlman's right:

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman told Republicans in Wheeling Wednesday that today's Democratic Party "isn't your grandfather's Democratic Party" of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the 1940s.

Democrats "used to tell people you have nothing to fear but fear itself," Mehlman said. "Now they have nothing to offer but fear itself."

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

Even Reuters Is Right Twice a Day

Not the lead story on tonight's news:

A key measure of future U.S. economic performance edged up 0.1 percent in July, a private research group said Thursday. The New York-based Conference Board said its index of leading indicators climbed to 138.3 last month after an upwardly revised rise of 1.2 percent in June.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:07 PM | Comments (0)

The Torch Flames Out

Sometimes the courts are a little slower on the uptake:

Former U.S. Sen. Robert G. Torricelli lost his bid in a state appeals court Tuesday to undo his conviction for leaving the scene of a minor car mishap, in which the once-powerful lawmaker was viewed by the courts as a liar.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

Hope Springs Eternal

Deep Throat envy is rampant:

Somebody is lying. So wrote Terry Neal, a Washington Post reporter, on July 25 2005. He was writing about one of the strangest stories to engulf the White House since the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001. It is the story of an official investigation into who leaked the name of a CIA operative to the media. According to a 1982 law, that kind of leak would be illegal. Two prominent names have emerged in the investigation of the leak – Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s deputy chief of staff, and Lewis Libby, vice-president Dick Cheney’s chief of staff.

The investigation appears now to be heading towards rapid conclusion. If the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, finds that either Mr Rove or Mr Libby or both violated the law, they would face criminal charges, and the Bush administration would find itself enmeshed in a scandal of dimensions that are already being compared to the Nixon-era Watergate scandal.

Poor Marvin, stuck in the echo chamber so long he's beginning to lose it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)

I Don't Think Even Marlin Perkins Would Go For This One

Here in suburbia, homeowners are overrun with raccoons, possums, coyotes and other creatures that used to be shot as vermin. But now, Mutual of Omaha brings you the latest development in anti-development:

Lions in your back yard? Elephants in the driveway? Cheetahs on the terrace? Well, maybe, if a group of prominent ecologists gets to establish a "Pleistocene Park" on the Great Plains.

Authors of the plan -- which appears in today's issue of the journal Nature -- say their idea to transplant African wildlife to North America could save many of the animals from extinction.

Isn't it amazing how often huge progressive ideas are predicated on something that could happen?

Josh Donlan, a graduate student at Cornell University and one of the plan's co-authors, concedes that skeptics may worry more about the people on the Great Plains who could become extinct at the mercy of the lions.

Hey Josh, I have a better idea. Let's set the animals free around Ithaca, New York, instead and see how many folks there like the idea of huge, federally protected predators roaming their neighborhoods. Jeez, has a more obvious "the Midwest is just fly-over country" mentality ever been so bleeding obvious?

"Obviously, gaining public acceptance is going to be a huge issue, especially when you talk about reintroducing predators. There are going to have to be some major attitude shifts. That includes realizing predation is a natural role, and that people are going to have to take precautions."

Gee, ya think? Shifting gears for a moment, isn't it funny how some folks are unable to see that predation is just as natural within the human species? But back on topic, may I suggest that our first precaution is feeding people who propose harebrained schemes like this to the lions?

Nevertheless, the scientists say the relocated animals could restore biodiversity on this continent to a condition closer to what nature was like before humans overran the landscape.

Dirty, filthy, nasty humans. Mostly though, I cannot help thinking of all the unintended consequences that have occurred every time men have introduced exotic animals to a new locale, ussualy for all the best reasons imaginable. But why does it always go unchallenged that things were necessarily better before humans arrived? oh never mind, who needs all that wheat and corn anyway.

The idea of "rewilding" the Great Plains grew from a retreat at Ladder Ranch near Truth or Consequences, N.M., a 155,550-acre spread owned by media mogul and conservationist Ted Turner.

"Conservationist Ted Turner," now that's funny.

The ecologists suggest starting with zoo animals. The perimeters of newly created reserves would be fenced. "We aren't backing a truck up to some dump site in the dark and turning lose a bunch of elephants," says Cornell University ecologist Harry W. Greene, another of the plan's authors.

Don't you love the false dichotomies.

While most modern African species never lived on the American prairie, the scientists believe that today's animals could duplicate the natural roles played by their departed, even larger cousins -- mastodons, camels and saber-toothed cats -- that roamed for more than 1 million years alongside antelope and bison. Relocating large animals to vast ecological parks and private reserves over the next century would begin to restore the balance and offer new ecotourism opportunities.

Strange I thought these already existed in zoos and places like Busch Gardens, not to mention literally dozens of fenced in drive through parks around the country. Of course, progressive ideas know no boundaries, and respect for the lives and property of others can be swept away by fiat as the next omelette is prepared.

Some ecologists said it is important to try such a bold plan. Otherwise, they said, hundreds more species are likely to go extinct in coming decades and entire ecosystems -- such as grasslands -- will fundamentally change.

Yeah, and some bloggers say you're freakin' nuts.

"We're beginning to get backed into a corner," said Terry Chapin of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. "It's something worth trying."

And if it fails? Who pays?

Some scientists and conservationists, however, hoot. "It is not restoration to introduce animals that were never here," says University of Washington anthropologist Donald K. Grayson. "Why introduce Old World camels and lions when there are North American species that could benefit from the same kind of effort?" Other conservationists say the plan would further damage the prospects of African species on their native turf, as well as that continent's hopes for sustainable economic development.

At least there are a few people with some common sense, though there objections must be tempered with the observation that if we could clone saber-tooth tigers and wooly mastadons, they'd probably think it was a good idea too.

Ecologists at Mr. Turner's Ladder Ranch intend to reintroduce the Bolson tortoise right away. These 100-pound burrowers were found across the Southwest, but now survive in a corner of northern Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert.

Key change! Let's go from turning the Midwest into a free range park for predators into placing a few tortoises loose. Such bld first steps.

The extent of Mr. Turner's interest in the larger rewilding plan is not clear.

Oh? Seems clear enough to me.

Mike Phillips, who directs the Turner Endangered Species Fund, was unavailable for comment.

Did someone check to see if he had perhaps been eaten by a lion?

The renewed presence of many large mammals might turn back the ecological clock in a variety of subtle ways.

Might? And these would all be good ways?

For example, elephants eat woody plants that have overtaken grasslands. Could they act as Rototillers to restore the prairie?

Or maybe they could act like avenging demons destroying tractors and irrigation equipment, driving farmers away, causing the cost of grains to rise rapidly, which could lead to the death of more humans, which could make it easier to expand the preserve. Brilliant!

Lions would be a harder sell, particularly to the elk herds that already live there.

How do you sell to an elk herd?

"Lions eat people," Mr. Donlan, the Cornell graduate student, says. "There has to be a pretty serious attitude shift on how you view predators."

And, pray tell, what attitude shift is going to change the nature of lions or people? Oh, and don't forget to confiscate everyone's guns unless you want your experiment to end rather quickly.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:53 PM | Comments (3)

When Ya Comin' Back, Slim Shady?

See, there is still good news in the world:

EMINEM has bowed out of public life completely — after suddenly cancelling a string of UK dates. He is giving up his solo career to concentrate on being a dad to daughter Hailie, eight.

And he even seems to be doing it for the right reasons.

DOWNDATE: Whoops. I guess his reasons weren't quite so pure after all.

Eminem is undergoing treatment for dependency to sleep medication, his publicist said Thursday, two days after the Grammy-winning rapper canceled his European tour citing exhaustion.

Get well soon.

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

August 17, 2005

Tired Eyes (Two Weeks Left)

Well he shot his blog over a charity appeal,
And he left it lying in an open field.
Full of old posts on sites that can't be mirrored.
He tried to do his best but he could not.

Please take my advice,
Please take my advice,
Please take my advice.
Open up the tired eyes,
Open up the tired eyes.

Well, it wasn't supposed to go down that way.
But his entreaties failed, you know,
And they left him lying in the pokey.
They let him down with nothin'.
He tried to do his best but he could not.

(With apologies to Neil Young.)

DOWNDATE: Alright, thirty-five hits by noon! Looks like I'm going out with a whimper (on several levels).

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2005


I finished the last of the extant Harry Potter books over the weekend while we had periods of no power and the lightning prevented me from working outside. I have thoroughly enjoyed all six books and have a few thoughts, commments, questions, and projections below the fold.

Note: Serious spoilers ahead!

After five years of Snape wanting the Defense of the Dark Arts job, he finally got it. And what happens? Nothing, so far as I can tell. Either something will be revealed in the next and final installment or I missed it while reading early into the morning.

The "Half-Blood Prince" almost seemed like a throwaway line. Was it as irrelevant to the rest of the story as it seemed to be?

I'm very impressed with how everything continues to hold together so well. Ms. Rowling seems to have understood the outline of how the story would unfold long before she finished the first book. Incidentally, this is one of the reasons Star Wars 1, 2, and 3 seemed to suck so much -- George Lucas really hadn't given it much thought until his hands were tied by what had already been shown to transpire. Books 4, 5, and 6 are much more complex than books 1, 2, and 3. I hope the liberties taken in the movies for 1, 2, and 3 don't hamstring them too much later.

I'm somewhat surprised Harry isn't going to end up with the greatest witch of his age -- Hermione. It has been clear since book 3 that Hermione was going to end up with Ron, but it wasn't obvious to me that Harry was destined to start snogging with Ginny until book 5. Too many Cho Chang hints, I guess.

Hogwarts will open next year and Harry will be back. Why?
1. The title will be Harry Potter and the Something Something Something: Year 7 at Hogwarts.
2. Harry will still be able to talk with Dumbledore, but only through his portrait in the Headmistress' office at Hogwarts.
3. All the coupling still has to be resolved, and since everyone else will be at Hogwarts...
4. Harry's attempt to do a Peter Parker with Ginny isn't going to stand up. Love has been put forward as an ancient powerful magic that Voldemort cannot seem to grasp. Somehow, I don't think Ms. Rowling has finished with this theme.
5. Neville Longbottom still has a significant role to play, IMHO, and where else besides there and St. Mungo's will Harry run into him? Haven't you ever wondered why Neville ended up in Gryffindor rather than Hufflepuff? Oh, and I hope Neville's happy with Luna.
6. Hagrid and Gwarp still have a role to play, and they'll both be at, or at least near, Hogwarts.
7. In a recurring lietmotif, there has to be a new Defense of the Dark Arts Professor, one for each year. Hmm..., will the new professor's initials be R.A.B.?
8. How is Harry going to become an Auror without his N.E.W.T.s?

I have no idea what J.K. Rowlings' politics are, and I know she remains attached to Amnesty International, but her values seem to be somewhat conservative. Evil exists and must be fought constantly -- frequently at great cost, bad things happen to good people, you have to take care of yourself, and don't trust the government. The last one really surprises me. While the people leading the Ministry of Magic want to do the right thing, they just cannot put aside the political battles long enough to do so. Gee, any parallels with real life here you can think of?

We never did find out what happened to Dumbledore's hand, though he promised Harry to tell him later when there was time to do the tale justice, so that's got to be in book 7.

I thought the centaurs should have taken Firenze back as a gift to Dumbledore when they came to show their respects. Perhaps they have and Ms. Rowling forgot to mention it, or they still may.

I sure hope Aragog's children don't make another appearance.

I also hope that Kingsley Shacklebolt isn't played by Samuel L. Jackson. And why is it that the wizarding community struggles to understand muggles so much, and yet K.S. can be the Prime Minister's secretary and outperform everyone else who has had the job?

Harry Potter has been a virtual who's who of British actors and actresses. There are only a few left to pick from: Dame Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Hugh Grant, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson, Pierce Brosnan (yes, I know he's Irish), Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Billy Connally, Patrick Stewart, John Rhys-Davies, Jason Stratham, and Vinny Jones.

The other schools seem to have fallen off the face of the earth once again, although we did get to see Fleur take a more visible role. Will we see Viktor Krum again in book 7, if for no other reason than to tweak Ron with Hermione and Viktor once again? While Harry and Voldemort are both tied to Hogwarts, the Death Eaters are not, as we saw with Karkaroff.

I expect that Percy Weasley is going to get a chance to redeem himself but he'll probably die doing so.

Obviously, Malfoy will be back in a key role as well, though it is difficult to divine what it might be.

There's still one Weasley we don't know much about yet -- Charlie. Any bets he makes a notable appearance in the next book?

Professor Trelawny, despite being a fraud when it comes to teaching divination, does appear to actually be a seer, although she cannot control it and in fact seems to be completely unaware of the fact that she really is a seer.

The big questions is where does Professor Snape actually stand -- and is it proper to still call him professor? Has Snape always been Voldemort's man, is he still Dumbledore's man, or has he been truly vacillating back and forth. This one's tough. If Snape has remianed Dumbledore's man then he deserves almost as much credit as Harry for what he has had to go through thus far. I have some other thoughts here that push me towards believing that Snape is still Dumbledore's man, but they are tied up in a private discussion whose details I shan't reveal here. But here's a hint... why did Dumbledore call ask for Professor Snape as soon as he returned instead of Madame Pomfrey or Professor Slughorn?

My last and potentially most important conjectiure is that the last Horcrux is going to be a person. Ah, but who? Since that person has to die before Voldemart can be killed, opening the doors of paradox here, what if it Harry himself? Yes, of course Voldemort wants to kill Harry, but if he fails, he knows he cannot fully die while Harry remains alive. And if it is Harry, will there be some way that Harry can break the horcrux without dying, though he will be forever adversely affected by it?

Then again, if it isn't Harry, what if the last Horcrux is somehow bound up with the fate of Hogwarts itself? What if the last Horcrux is something of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw instead of Gryffindor or Ravenclaw? Maybe it's just the sorting hat. Either way, can Harry bring himself to destroy it? And one last, desperate grasp -- what if the final Horcrux is Cho Chang? Again, will Harry be able to destroy it?

DOWNDATE: A friend sent me a link to a site which argues that Dumbledore isn't dead. I'm not going to go into a point by point refutation, but after rereading the end of book 6, I am quite certain Dumbledore is dead. I am just as certain now that Snape is still Dumbledore's man. If anyone cares I can expound farther.

DOUBLE DOWNDATE: Was Lily Evans in Ravenclaw? If she was, then Harry is something of Gryffindor (James) and Ravenclaw (Lily). I can't seem to remember a definitive reference that places Lily in Gryffindor. Jeez, I hope someone proves me wrong on this one.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:13 PM | Comments (2)

August 12, 2005

May Be Armed and Dangerous

The ex-offender community grew by one today, and yet he doesn't need any special dispensation to vote, since his record has been wiped clean:

Dressed in camouflage fatigues, the two boys waited in the woods behind the school until the lunch hour, when one of them ran into the hallway and triggered a fire alarm. As classmates and teachers filed out of the buildings Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, opened fire with high-powered rifles stolen from Golden's grandfather. By the time the last shot was fired four girls and an English teacher, who had attempted to shield the children from the barrage, were dead.

What happened in Jonesboro that day in 1998 awakened America to the terror of school shootings and left an indelible mark on the northeast Arkansas town that was yesterday trying to come to terms with the fact that one of the convicted murderers, Johnson, is due to walk free from prison. Golden is scheduled to be freed in 2007.

A now-closed legal loophole means the killers can only be held until their 21st birthdays, and with Johnson's birthday falling yesterday his expected release from a federal penitentiary in Memphis has re-opened old wounds in the town, with many residents questioning whether justice has been served in the case.

It has also drawn a sharp reaction from gun control campaigners, who criticised the fact that because Johnson was convicted as a minor his criminal record will be wiped clean and he will be allowed to buy a gun.

Not all injustices are caused by wrongful imprisonment. If the sonofabitch ever touches a gun he ought to be considered to be a clear and present danger to those around him. But I see that not everyone requires that much provocation:

Jonesboro's sheriff, Jack McCann, told CNN yesterday that if Johnson returned to the town "we cannot guarantee his safety".

I'm ok with that. You will not be able to convince me that anybody who does what this young man did will ever be a normal human being who can be trusted out on his own in society.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)

We Need More Cowbell

A lot more cowbell.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:51 PM | Comments (1)

Life Is More Than Fair

To some, but not others. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

I'm Impressed

And a little frightened...

Link via Scott Chaffin.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

And While I'm In a Bitchy Mood

Did you happen to see Terrell Owens and agent, Drew "Knucklehead" Rosenhaus, on ESPN last night. Even the pro-athelete-access-hype-anything talking heads of ESPN seemed a little embarrassed about the whinging of these two. It's one thing to act the petulant little child whining about how $48,000,000 isn't enough. It's entirely another to have your little buddy who's putting you up to this nonsense sitting next to you going, "yeah, yeah, you tell 'em."

Do these two poltroons have a clue how much money they are costing themselves? Terrell is assertively digging his hole and whenever he hits rock, Drew happily hands him a jackhammer and says keep digging! Football is frequently called the ultimate team sport. No one is talented enough to be so callous and disrespectful towards his teammates and coaches and still be a net positive for the team.

Terrell Owens has shown himself to be a malignant cancer on whatever team he plays for. Of course, someone will take him -- the Dolphins even took Ricky Williams back -- but he is now severely damaged goods from here on out, and I'm not talking about his ankle. Have fun on the bench or the waiver wire Terrell.

And Drew, you've overplayed your hand badly. Let's see how successful you are next year in landing new clients as teams basically stop answering your phone calls. What a maroon.

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:11 PM | Comments (1)

Some People Just Need Killin'

Wouldn't the world be a better place if the headline read:

Man Shot and Killed After Spraying Nurses With HIV-Infected Blood

Instead of:

Man Sprays Nurses With HIV-Infected Blood

My tolerance for such wicked, anti-social behavior has evaporated.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

Color Me Surprised

Did I say surprised? I meant appalled. Skipping gleefully by the false dichotomies and the apples to oranges comparisons of her linked article -- pre-historic savannah vice 20th century totalitarianism, please -- I gather that Megan McArdle is one of those folks who would willingly trade her freedom for security, or at least give it some serious consideration. She concludes with:

That's the magic of the market, actually; we don't have to choose.

Uh, well, actually we have to choose all the time, unless she means that we don't have to choose between the false dichotomies presented. Or did I miss the unanimity of agreement regarding the GWOT, presenting us with what might be characterized as a rather stark choice between living the free life of, ahem, Bush-men, or accepting the 21st century totalitarianism of Islamofascism.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:55 PM | Comments (1)

How Can You People Sleep At Night?

Judith Miller is still in jail! I keep waiting for that Spartacus moment when everyone else in Big Media stands up and says, "I'm Judith Miller," and voluntarily share her fate.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

"I'm Just a Soul Whose Intentions Are Good..."

Oh Lord, please don't let me be all misconstrued:

After protests by conservatives, NARAL Pro-Choice America said Thursday night it would pull the ad that began running this week.

We regret that many people have misconstrued our recent advertisement about Mr. Roberts' record," NARAL President Nancy Keenan said.

"Unfortunately, the debate over that advertisement has become a distraction from the serious discussion we hoped to have with the American public," she said in a letter Thursday to Sen. Arlen Specter...

Yes, of course. NARAL wants to have serious discussion with the American people. Why would anyone have thought otherwise?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

Cindy Sheehan's Fair Wail Tour

Morning Edition found time morning to report on the growing Big Media Productions, Inc. Circus that is engulfing Cindy Sheehan, with a gratuitous tip of the hat to the locals who toot their horns while driving --see, not everyone in Texas is stupid. Yet l didn't hear anything about the letter the rest of the Sheehan family sent calling this whole thing something of an abomination. But don't you dare claim there is media bias!

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

August 11, 2005

Fascist, Sneezing, Dipped in Chocolate -- It's All the Same Thing

But, but, I thought we already were:

"Thank God for the Internet, or we wouldn't know anything, and we would already be a fascist state."

Oh yes, the title. Well, words here mean whatever I want them to mean, whenever I want them to mean whichever meaning I choose, however I choose to interpret their meaning, which is no mean feat. Know what I mean, Vern?

But I do find her tacit admission that the Left didn't know anything before the Internet rather touching, or should I say touched? In all seriousness, the woman needs help and the vultures feeding on her need to start taking her welfare into account instead of devouring her soul to further their own goals. Jumping Jeebus, they really are acting like dementors.

DOWNDATE: And speaking of Gutfeld (see the comments)...

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:58 PM | Comments (4)

But Of Course

That's why they got the Super Bowl:

Detroit found to be most liberal U.S. city

Although I doubt the usual suspects will be quite so anxious to confuse causation with correlation in this case:

... Detroit, which is impoverished, black and the most liberal."

But which came first, the liberalism or the impoverishment?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

Iran, Iran So Far Away

I wonder if Europe's greatest fear now is that Israel will act or that they won't.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

Whither Zinfandel

Do people really pay attention to this loon? I may have to give up my most favored wine to avoid lunacy by association.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

Expecto Patronum!

Have you ever noticed how the Loony Left has come to resemble more and more the dementors of Harry Potter's world -- the foul, loathsome creatures with the chilling aura which feed off all your happy thoughts, leaving you with nothing but your worst memories and feeling, as Ron Weasely once said, "like you'll never be cheerful again," until they finally steal your soul.

Yeah, I finally got around to reading all the Harry Potter books. I started a couple of weeks ago and I'm about a third of the way into The Order of the Phoenix right now. I have found them quite enjoyable. Certainly not great literature, but entertaining, engaging, and quite remarkable when you consider the attention span of the target audience.

I was considering reading them aloud to daughter #2, who has already seen the movies, but after finishing The Goblet of Fire, I'm rethinking that decision. Part of the charm of the series is the warts and all view of the protagonists and the total lack of sugar-coating when it comes to evil, but damn, J. K. Rowling sure took a harsh turn at the end of year four. I am greatly looking forward to the movie this November and hoping against experience that it is at least three hours long, otherwise they are just going to have to cut out too much material. Daughter #1 is already unhappy about how much has been cut out in the first three movies.

FWIW, my patronus takes the form of Milton Friedman.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:31 PM | Comments (1)

I Guess Oil Would Be $150 a Barrel If We Hadn't Invaded Iraq And Stole All Their Oil

Anybody want to guess how soon we see Paul Krugman write a column on the oil bubble?

Oil surges to $66 a barrel

Snicker..., and how Bush failed to protect those whose life savings were tied up in oil futures? Of course, like all economic data points, this is good news for some and bad news for others. The people of liberated Iraq will mostly benefit from these high prices, but what are the chances you will ever here this story reported from that perspective?

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

Totally Unwarranted Projection of Bias

Listening to Linda Wertheimer on Morning Edition at the top of the hour while driving into work this morning, I heard her say something along the lines of, (paraphrasing) "What can we do when the President of Niger will not admit that his people are starving?", as the teaser to this story.

And all I could think of was, "Blame Bush?"

DOWNDATE: Gee, think this will get any time on NPR?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:53 PM | Comments (1)

Woo Hoo!

I won again, this time at a new site!

Come on folks, that's gotta be worth something.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

More Hot Air

Oh dear:

Summer temperatures have risen sharply in most west European capital cities over the past 30 years, adding to evidence of the accelerating impact of climate change, the environmental group WWF said.

WWF International blamed most of the warming on pollution from power stations rather than road traffic and urged the European Union to set tougher targets for emissions of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide.

Over the past 30 years huh?

Between 2000 and 2004, average temperatures in 13 of the 16 cities surveyed were at least one degree Celsius higher than during the first five years of the 1970s, the environmental organisation said.

Isn't AFP even marginally suspicious of such blatant data manipulation. Aside for cherry picking the years under review, there's the well known problem of cities being heat sinks that causes problems for the existing climate models that predict we should already be dead now when fed data from the past.

And then, of course, there's the obligatory call for a return to a more primitive pastoral time:

Environmentalists said the significant difference between the overall data and the WWF's more limited study on urban summers backed up evidence of an acceleration in warming in recent decades caused by pollution.

"The cities are reflecting this trend," said Imogen Zethoven of WWF. "There is a trend of increasing summer temperatures and that is due to global warming."

"There is a primary source and that is the power sector," she added.

"Scotty, we need less power." But they have a solution!

The data was released as part of a WWF campaign to get governments to replace "dirty antiquated" power stations with cleaner alternatives to generate electricity, such as hydrolectric stations, wind farms or natural gas plants.

What? Dam up the rivers even more? Have you ever been near a wind farm? The people who live near them in California seem to be growing quite weary of them, and how you'll ever get enough energy from the wind baffles even the unskeptical of environmentalists. As for the their last proposal, well, I guess natural gas must be a limitless resource that magically regenerates without the need to drill anywhere else.

I have a better, more practical solution for these impractical people who excuse their lies because their hearts are pure: nuclear reactors. But then, WWF International isn't really all that interested in supplying clean power to the people, are they?

Oh dear!

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

Cosmic Justice

Somebody needs a T.O.:

All-Pro wide receiver Terrell Owens left Philadelphia Eagles training camp Wednesday after being suspended until next Wednesday by coach Andy Reid.

Trade the ungrateful wretch to ... wait for it ... the San Francisco 49ers.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:15 AM | Comments (2)

Close the Barn Door, All the Isotopes Are Getting Away!!

EU, allies demand Iran resume nuclear freeze

Better late than never I suppose, though the story sounds a little less forceful than the headline:

The European Union and its allies will ask the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Thursday to urge Iran to halt sensitive atomic work it resumed this week but Tehran rejected the demand as unacceptable and illegal.

Ask, urge, demand, whatever. I'm sure a harshly worded communique is being drafted right now! In fact, here it is:

A draft resolution submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran must resume a full suspension of all nuclear fuel related activities and asks the agency to verify Tehran's compliance.

The draft, drawn up by Britain, Germany and France, requests IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei "to provide a comprehensive report on the implementation of Iran's NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) Safeguards Agreement and this resolution by 3 September 2005."

Submit or we will urge the UN to demand another report! The will to power displayed here is breathtaking. The EU keeps trying the carrot and carrot approach and stunningly finds it to be somewhat remarkably unsuccessful. I'd make another snide remark about strong horses and weak horses, but they all seemed to have left the barn.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:30 AM | Comments (1)

August 10, 2005

Convicted? Um...

I have been accused of having a lead foot and a big heart. The folks from the Muscular Dystrophy Association are coming to arrest me on August 31 and lock me up. My bail has been set at $2005, which will fund 30 minutes of MDA research.

Please help bail me out by making a donation here. You can also donate via the MDA-PayPal button on the far left. All funds donated will be presented to MDA in conjunction with the 2005 Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon.

I've never asked anyone for a dime on this blog before. I only ask now on behalf of others who need your help. And to help motivate you further, help me get to $2005 by August 31 or I will kill this blog.

Thanks. Oh, and you do know what that is a picture of, don't you? I mean, don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

DOWNDATE: Hey cool, I've got a graphic now to let you know how we're doing.

DOUBLE DOWNDATE: Alright, blogospherians. I'm posting up a storm and yet the donations seem to have shrivelled up faster than a slug carrying a 30 pound salt lick trying to cross Bonneville Flats at high noon. Will you donate more if I stop posting?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:59 PM | Comments (8)

Busy Workday

Back tomorrow. Let's see if absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2005

Tom Petty Was Wrong

Apparently, in Switzerland at least, you do have to live like a refugee:

The Swiss Refugee Council says the tightening of Switzerland’s asylum laws last year has had an adverse effect on human rights. The non-governmental organisation criticised the government’s move to stop welfare payments to rejected asylum seekers and its decision to drastically reduce the appeal period.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:37 PM | Comments (0)

High Times

Here's an intersting article about how pot growers are decimating Sequoia National Park, razing 180 acres at a time to grow perhaps five acres of weed. It's tragic, and yet, the reporter says without any irony:

Oddly enough, public outcry has been remarkably muted.

Now, why would that be?

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

Aren't These Funds Usually Called Taxes?

Or have the NEA and CPB dried up and blown away?

Scores of the US's richest people have pledged $1m (£560,000) or more towards a new attempt to reinvigorate the American left and counter the powerful Republican political machine.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:27 PM | Comments (0)

Life Is Not Fair

Good luck Mrs. Reeve.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:25 PM | Comments (0)

States 51-54? 55? 56? 57?

Why bother to create a new country, join ours and get lower taxes:

More than one-third of western Canadians surveyed this summer thought it was time to consider separation from Canada, a poll suggests. In the survey, 35.6 per cent of respondents from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia agreed with the statement: Western Canadians should begin to explore the idea of forming their own country.

Hmm..., New Brunswick, Nefoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia wouldn't be far behind if it came to pass, would they? Sorry, but the Yukon Territory, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories are just going to have to be absorbed into Alaska. With a combined population of under 100,000, they will not each get two senators and one congressman, and the problems they face with sparse poulations in harsh climates are probably most similar in more respects to those Alaska faces on a regular basis than anyone else. Remember what James L. Petigru said in our secession crisis about his home state, “South Carolina is too small to be a republic, but too large to be an insane asylum." And they had a total population of about 700,000 souls at that time.

Given the decrepit state of Canada's military, what exactly are Ontario and Quebec going to do to stop them if they decide to go? Or would the Quebecois then think that now all they have to do is get rid of Ontario? And with all this discontent, when does the ... gulp ... insurgency begin? I mean, that's what poor oppressed people do, isn't it?

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:08 PM | Comments (0)

Thank You, God

Blackadder V is coming soon to a small screeen near you:

Curtis always works with people he likes. There's Working Title producers Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan; Dawn French, the Vicar of Dibley and Comic Relief compatriot; and Rowan Atkinson, whose collaborations with Curtis include television and cinema's Mr Bean and TV's Blackadder, which is to enjoy a fifth series next year.

That's the best news I've heard for quite some time.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:17 PM | Comments (3)

Findin An Empty Bottle Shouldn't Present Any Problems

Howard Dean says:

"We need a message."

And the message is, "Beware!" After all, "I care," has already been taken.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

People Are Cats Too

Laurence Simon raised $2,875 for cats in one day last week. Congratulations!

Any chance we can raise something approaching that in one month for people?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

We've Got the Bleat

Or rather, we would have if it was readable in IE. Can someone please notify Mr. Lileks about the problems with his new and, ahem, improved format?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

At Play in the Fields of the Bored

I'm sorry Cindy Sheehan lost her son in Iraq, but it seems to me that her grief has hobbled her ability to think clearly. President George W. Bush isn't the person exploiting her sons death for political reasons. No, the person acting reprehensibly here stares Cindy Sheehan in the face every morning when she brushes her teeth. Of course, I can sympathize with her grief and the challenges that presents, especially when there are so many enablers, like the good folks at Good Morning America, NPR, Air America, and seemingly every other Big Media outlet who will pick at the corpse of a fallen American so long as they think it makes Bush look bad.

I find it profoundly disturbing that so many otherwise responsible people are encouraging Cindy Sheehan to believe that the President should debase himself at her feet instead of helping her find ways to readjust to life without her son. But then, it has always been easy to destroy than to build -- especially when one's heart is pure.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)


So, K-Lo, have John Podheretz, Rammesh Ponnuru and Robert P. George come to a conclusion as to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin yet?

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

August 08, 2005

A Man For All Seasons

What would Thomas Cranmer and Thomas Cromwell have thought about this sentence:

The Church of England's crisis over homosexuality deepened yesterday after gay clergy said that they would defy their bishops over civil partnerships.

I'm fairly certain Sir Thomas More would have found this to be yet another reason not to recant his Catholicism.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:26 PM | Comments (1)

Originality Is Overrated

Beth Quinn writes that Bush is, ...wait for it ..., stupid.

Somebody tell me again why I shouldn't be paid to be a columnist.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:59 PM | Comments (2)


Perhaps the NY Times could have got a Pulitzer for breaking this story a couple of years ago if Howell Raines hadn't been so concerned with the membership policies of Augusta National:

The former director of the UN's oil-for-food programme in Iraq has been accused of taking kickbacks by a panel investigating corruption allegations. n its third report the UN-appointed Volcker panel said Benon Sevan took nearly $150,000 in cash bribes.

Or maybe resources that were devoted more recently to trying to get into Judge Roberts' sealed adoption records could have been more usefully employed here, but that's just me.

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

The Road to Hell

Megan McArdle fulfills her duty as part of the triumvirate acting in Glenn Reynold's stead by noting:

Kevin Drum sums up the problem of hate speech laws: "I'm not convinced that content-based speech restrictions can be defined in a broad enough way to make them workable but a narrow enough way to keep them from being dangerous."

And here I thought the problem with hate speech laws were that they criminalized thought.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

Note to James Lileks

Dude, fix the formatting on today's Bleat. Please.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:59 AM | Comments (3)

August 07, 2005

Uh, No Actually

Editor And Publisher thinks they have a scoop:

It was bound to happen sooner or later, and in what newspapers in Kentucky are calling a first, one American has killed another in a dispute over the Iraq war.

As it happens, the first incident I remember where one American killed another in a dispute over the liberation of Iraq was when Sgt. Asan Akbar threw grenades into the tents of his fellow soldiers back in March 2003.

DOWNDATE: And, of course, there's also the tragic case of Pat Tillman and doubtless other friendly fire casualties, though admittedly, that's not quite the same thing.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:55 PM | Comments (1)

Pity Poor Benan

He's a victim:

BENON Sevan, the former head of the UN oil-for-food programme in Iraq, has resigned from the world body and criticised UN chief Kofi Annan for "sacrificing" him as he faced an inquiry into his role in the scandal-plagued aid scheme, his lawyer said Sunday.

But I don't feel too sorry for him. What come to mind instead is the old aphorism that there is no honor among thieves.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

Ticking Away the Moments That Make Up a Dull Day

Dear Time, check your assumptions:

After six months as Secretary of State, she has seized control over U.S. foreign policy. Now comes her toughest test--finding a way out of Iraq.

It's not about how to get out, it's about winning. Until you grasp that, the actions of the administration are never going to make sense to you.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:44 PM | Comments (1)

Masters of the Universe

Just imagine if Judge Roberts were so, ahem, outspoken:

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens issued an unusually stinging criticism of capital punishment Saturday evening, telling lawyers that he was disturbed by "serious flaws."

Nothing new there, or here:

Stevens' audience included his wife and Cecilia Marshall, widow of Justice Thurgood Marshall. Marshall, the Supreme Court's first black member before retiring in 1991, was a critic of the death penalty and argued that it was unconstitutional under any circumstances.

Because, presumably, we must entertain the notion that even a captured and convicted Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden might really be innocent, or perhaps they can still be rehabilitated with the proper professional attention and support to become contributors to society. I mean, who are we to judge?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

I Beg to Differ

Saudi says ties with U.S. 'couldn't be better'

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

Meanwhile, Back in the Gutter

Bill Clinton comments on Cherie Blair:

“When he’s done and she wants a go, it would please me greatly. She is an enormously able person. I love her... I’d be happy to do it. I think she’s great,” says Clinton in an interview in today’s Sunday Times News Review. The former president — who describes himself as “healthy as a horse” and fully recovered from his heart surgery last year — calls Britain’s equivalent of the first lady “young and vigorous”.

I guess I should feel guilty about taking these words seriously out of context. But unlike, say, some Big Media outlets, I didn't put these words in Mr. Clinton's mouth.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

So That's How Rove Is Doing It

Is there a kinder, gentler Pat Leahy that has been kept in hiding until now?

Mr. Leahy is front and center as the top Democrat on the committee preparing to consider the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court. Senate Democrats remain divided about how hard to challenge the nomination, but some of them clearly worry that the gentlemanly Mr. Leahy, the leader of any nominal opposition, might prove too accommodating.

If I were Howard Dean I'd start searching Karl Rove's basement for these:


Posted by Charles Austin at 10:15 AM | Comments (2)

Thank You For Your Service Nanny, But We've Decided to Go a Different Way

Reading David Brook's column, The Virtues of Virtue, I wonder which caused more latte to be spilt this morning in New York, the fact that things are getting measurably and demonstrably better in George W. Bush's Amerikkka:

Violent crime over all is down by 55 percent since 1993 and violence by teenagers has dropped an astonishing 71 percent, according to the Department of Justice.

The number of drunken driving fatalities has declined by 38 percent since 1982, according to the Department of Transportation, even though the number of vehicle miles traveled is up 81 percent. The total consumption of hard liquor by Americans over that time has declined by over 30 percent.

Teenage pregnancy has declined by 28 percent since its peak in 1990. Teenage births are down significantly and, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the number of abortions performed in the country has also been declining since the early 1990's.

Fewer children are living in poverty, even allowing for an uptick during the last recession. There's even evidence that divorce rates are declining, albeit at a much more gradual pace. People with college degrees are seeing a sharp decline in divorce, especially if they were born after 1955...

Teenage suicide is down. Elementary school test scores are rising (a sign than more kids are living in homes conducive to learning). Teenagers are losing their virginity later in life and having fewer sex partners.

Or the reasons why they are getting better:

We're in the middle of a moral revival now, and there has been very little of that. This revival has been a bottom-up, prosaic, un-self-conscious one, led by normal parents, normal neighbors and normal community activists.

The first thing that has happened is that people have stopped believing in stupid ideas: that the traditional family is obsolete, that drugs are liberating, that it is every adolescent's social duty to be a rebel.

The second thing that has happened is that many Americans have become better parents. Time diary studies reveal that parents now spend more time actively engaged with kids, even though both parents are more likely to work outside the home.

Third, many people in the younger generation, under age 30 or so, are reacting against the culture of divorce. They are trying to lead lives that are more stable than the ones their parents led. Post-boomers behave better than the baby boomers did.

Fourth, over the past few decades, neighborhood and charitable groups have emerged to help people lead more organized lives, even in the absence of cohesive families.

Did you happen to notice what's missing from all this causation?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:05 AM | Comments (2)

We Can Only Hope

Isn't that what you mean Mr. Savage?

Judge John G. Roberts Jr.'s opposition to affirmative action, outlined in internal memos he wrote 24 years ago as an aide in the Reagan administration, could provide a decisive vote to end racial preference programs across the United States if he is confirmed to the Supreme Court, observers vetting his record say.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

How Do We Know Hizb-ut-Tahrir Is Non-Violent?

Because they say so, sort of:

Sir Iqbal Sacranie of the Muslim council of Britain said Blair’s plan to ban the group Hizb-ut-Tahrir was not the correct solution. He claimed the ban would drive the group underground and would prove counterproductive.

Imran Waheed of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir insisted the group was non-violent and warned the government that if the ban went ahead there would be “serious repercussions”.

Etymologically, "repercussion" would seem to be an extremely unfortunate word choice, given the UK's recent "serious" experiences. I wonder which country Mr. Waheed would prefer to be deported to? And Sir Iqbal is apparently still reading from the old playbook which claims passive submission is the best response to a threat. I think his friend Tony Blair no longer agrees.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

Note to K-Lo

Speaking only for myself, my eyes glaze over whenever I see a post where Ramesh Ponnuru and John Podheretz are "debating" each other. If it really seems that interesting to you, may I suggest you get out a bit more often.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:14 AM | Comments (1)

August 06, 2005


I tend to avoid talking about me, my family, or my life on this blog, mostly because my life isn't interesting enough to command anyone's attention for long. With perhaps one exception.

Ten years ago my youngest cousin became very ill and his kidneys failed. At the time, it was believed that he had become severely dehydrated due to food poisoning and that was what caused his kidneys to fail. He had been on dialysis since but several years ago got serious about seeking a kidney donor, though he was adamant about not having a family member or any of his friends offer one of their kidneys. Given my history of gout, it was unlikely that I was going to be a good candidate, but it is something that has been preying on my mind for a long time.

As it happened, the daughter of someone he works with happened to start talking with him one day and asked him about the thing in his arm, a device which was surgically implanted to aid with his dialysis. He told her about it and why it was there and she immediately wanted to donate one of her kidneys to him. After tests were run, it was found that she was a perfect match to be a donor. Freakin' unbelievable on so many levels.

As it happens, she was a senior in college and the timing was such that there was a narrow window when the surgery could take place without interfering with her plans to graduate. Unfortunately, the hospital could not accomodate her schedule. That was, until a couple of phone calls were made by someone close to her who just happened to have worked for a famous surgeon from Tennessee, who now has a somewhat more high profile position in Washington these days. Before long, schedules were adjusted and she donated a kidney to my cousin two weeks ago.

At first, all went well. My cousin was up and around in a couple of days and the donor was up and about a few days after with nothing more than the usual post-operative pain. About one week later, my cousin started to develop problems with the donated kidney. After a battery of tests it was discovered that my cousin has a rare blood disease which was destroying his new kidney, as well as, in retrospect, probably being responsible for the failure of his kidneys ten years ago.

In the last week my cousin has undergone massive transfusions and is now on a radical drug regimen to try and counteract the problems he is experiencing with the new kidney in an effort to save it. If you are so inclined, pray for my cousin. He and his kidney donor have gone through too much to have it all go for naught now.

Like I said, perspective.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:20 PM | Comments (3)

Hiroshima, Anti-Historical Reviisionism III

(I must caveat this with the acknowledgement that I have just finished a bottle of Zinfandel, so my judgment and keyboard skill is necessarily somewhat suspect.)

I've just finished watching 2 shows that ran 2.5 hours on the History Channel concerning Hiroshima with my wife, who is, for those paying attention, half Japanese. I frequently caught myself muttering expletives under my breath. Of course, my opinions concerning the appropriateness of dropping the bomb haven't changed one jot. But it is painful to experience the true horror of having done so, even when it was the right thing to do.

Which brings me to where we find ourselves today. Iran. North Korea. Al Qaeda. These bastards have to be presented with the same option Japan was offered at Potsdam. Surrender or perish. Surrender. Or. Perish. Negotiated settlements, cheat and retreat, and MAD are no longer on the table. I don't claim that we -- America, Western Civilization -- are the be all and end all to the human condition, but I am quite comfortable in believing that we are the best humanity has offered up to date and I will be damned if I will lie down and allow them to conquer us just for no better reason than they have a louder megaphone, I have more useful idiots in my midst, or we are unable to muster the will to do the hard things that must be done for our survival.

For the second time today I will quote William Tecumsah Sherman, "War is all hell." And yet, like any Jacksonian, while I do not seek a fight I will not shy away from it.

The bomb dropped on Hiroshima had the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT. Most nuclear weapons today are measured in megatons of TNT. With the awesome power of these weapons today, we cannot wait and respond to an attack as John Kerry proposed last year. We must proactively seek out those who wish to harm us and take the fight to them. God help the Marines in western Iraq tonight.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:49 PM | Comments (1)

A Moment in Time

Thomas Dolby wrote this some some 24 years ago:

One of our submarines is missing tonight
Seems she ran aground on manoeuvres
One of our submarines
A hungry heart
To regulate their breathing
One more night
the Winter Boys are freezing in their spam time
The Baltic moon
Along the northern seaboard
And down below
The Winter Boys are waiting for the storm
Bye-bye empire, empire bye-bye
Shallow water - channel and tide
And I can trace my history
Down one generation to my home
In one of our submarines
One of our submarines
The red light flicker, sonar weak
Air valves hissing open
Half her pressure blown away
Flounder in the ocean
See the Winter Boys
Drinking heavy water from a stone
Bye-bye empire, empire bye-bye
Shallow water - channel and tide
Bye-bye empire, empire bye-bye
Tired illusion drown in the night
And I can trace my history
Down one generation to my home
In one of our submarines
One of our submarines
One of our submarines
One of our submarines is missing tonight
Seems she ran aground on manoeuveres
One of our submarines

Good luck and godspeed to those men on the Russia AS-28.

DOWNDATE: Success!

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

Perception Is Not Reality

The Gray Lady asks: Where Are the War Heroes?

The answer, of course, is that they are right were they've always been. They are serving in the front lines, behind enemy lines, in the rear, in supply chains, and even on the home front. Just because Big Media and some of the brass doesn't want to feature and popularize them the way they used to doesn't mean they've ceased to exist. So the real question isn't where are the war heroes, but why aren't we hearing more about them?

Could it be that Big Media regards the cause as so ignoble that it cannot possibly generate war heroes? Or it it that they want to go out of their way to diminish individualism as much as possible, which seems to be the problem with the brass. Or has the nature of warfare changed so drastically that Big Media can no longer recognize heroes even when they find themselves embedded with them? Personally, I am appalled and disgusted that Big Media spends so much time trying to denigrate the war effort, focusing almost exclusively on our losses while ignoring the heroic accomplishments of our troop. There is a point to their bravery and sacrifice, though you'd be hard-pressed to find it in the New York Times. Has Bush Derangement Syndrome caused this or were the seeds of their discontent sown long before 2000?

Imagine Ted Koppel reciting a list of new schools opened in Afghanistan, political prisoners released in Iraq, or significant medals awarded for valor in the place of a context free list of the slain. Imagine NPR making as big a deal about the delivery of supplies to the children of Iraq by Spirit of America as they did about our 1,000th casualty. Imagine being told one time by Brian Williams of the men who received prosthetics for the hands that Saddam Hussein had chopped off instead of being lectured eight times a day for six months about a handful of bad soldiers at Abu Ghraib. Imagine Ted Kennedy showing as much concern for the victims of the Taliban as he does for the war criminals and terrorists held at Guantanamo. Imagine Dick Durbin had some idea of the horrors of the Khmer Rouge. I can dream, can't I?

I read of heroes every week here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. I'll bet these seven bloggers post more positive news about the war each week than the New York Times manages to print with their entire cadre of professional journalists. And Big Media continues to wonder why their credibility is sinking faster than the prospects for the Baathists in Syria.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

Watching the Watchers

Beats trying to actually do something that threatens ... !gasp! ... the civil rights of actual citizens, I guess:

The American Civil Liberties Union will train volunteers to monitor the Minuteman project along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas and New Mexico, and document any abuses of human rights or violence, said Claudia Guevara, a coordinator for the ACLU's Legal Observers program in El Paso.

Having to choose between those who are unquestionably breaking the law and those who they fear might break the law presents no dilemma for the ACLU. Don't you wish you had such a strong sense of moral superiority. Just imagine how much easier life would be.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

And Who, Pray Tell, Is the Palestinian Nelson Mandela? Or Desmond Tutu?

A long time ago, I said that Israel was turning into the new South Africa, at least for some:

A Presbyterian committee accused five companies Friday of contributing to "ongoing violence that plagues Israel and Palestine" and pledged to use the church's multimillion-dollar stock holdings in the businesses to pressure them to stop.

The move follows a vote last year by leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to put economic pressure on companies that profit from Israeli policy in the West Bank and Gaza.

The vote had outraged Jewish groups, who said the strategy was biased and failed to recognize Israel's right to defend itself, and the tensions worsened after other Protestant bodies adopted similar tactics.

Jewish leaders are deeply disturbed that the campaigns threatening divestment essentially borrow from the 1980s movement against South African apartheid.

Is it myopia or blindness (self-inflicted) that is leading to such monumental stupidity?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:28 PM | Comments (1)

Every Silver Cloud

Has a Gray Lady whining:

With yesterday's announcement that 207,000 new jobs were created in July - nearly 30,000 more than had been forecast - Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao took to the airwaves to repeat the administration's mantra about the economy being "strong and getting stronger." But if you look behind the headline number, the jobs picture - and what it says about the economy - is considerably more nuanced.

Yawn. Every piece of economic news is good for someone and bad for someone else, but it's not difficult to see who's glass is perpetually half empty -- at least while there is a Republican president and a Republican Congress.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

Over Hair, Over Hair

Ah, Europe!

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has undergone a new hair transplant, one year after a successful first operation, Italian newspapers said.

Remember how Gerhard Schroeder sued someone for reporting about him dying his hair?

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

A Quixotic Request

Sorry, but the genie is out of the bottle, probably forever:

Citing "simple decency," Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison demanded Friday that journalists quit poking around for details on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' adopted children.

I was born in 1959. If the actuarial tables can be trusted and I avoid any serious accidents or illnesses, I'll probably live for another 30 years, or until 2035. It is profoundly unsettling, in good and bad ways, to contemplate just how much the world has and will change in our own lifetimes. For so many, many reasons, if you could give the people of the United States in 1959 a glimpse of the United States as it will exist in 2035, I believe they would be amazed and shocked at the technological advances, but deeply fearful of the behemoth that the government had become and utterly dismayed about the almost total loss of public civility. Alas, nostalgia is pointless.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)

Just Between Me and You...

Connie Chung's a piker compared to Dr. Ralph Greenson and John Miner:

"You are the only person who will ever know the most private, the most secret thoughts of Marilyn Monroe," she tells Greenson, according to Miner's transcript. "I have absolute confidence and trust you will never reveal to a living soul what I say to you."

This post brought to you as a public service for those in the public eye who still might believe that they can trust anyone to keep a secret.

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

Free Leopard Gecko To Good Home

Daughter #1 has built up something of a menagerie over time, though now that she's changed her mind about wanting to be a veterinarian she's not nearly as interested in taking care of her mini-zoo as she used to be. To wit, we are trying to help some of them find new homes.

If you are local (St. Louis area) and would like a free leopard gecko with cage and supplies, please leave me a note here. He (?) is healthy, happy and an effective devourer of small crickets. Here's an image of one of his species:


Hmm..., did I say free? I meant to say that with a small contribution to the MDA he can be yours.

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

Hiroshima, Anti-Historical Revision Post II

For those whose anti-Americanism, anti-Western Civilization bias, know-nothing Leftism, or sheer historical ignorance leads them to condemn the use of atomic bombs to end WW II, I have two simple, yet related questions. The first is multiple choice, while the latter requires a definite answer.

1. Which is preferable?

These two images:

Hiroshima.jpg nagasaki.gif

Or 30,000 images like this:


2. How many orders of magnitude higher would the death toll have to have been in your mind before stopping the war at all costs became more important than a belated politically correct projection of postmodern sensibilities onto events that are scarcely imaginable today?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2005


I'm the only person who found Anchorman remarkably unfunny, turning it off after only twenty minutes.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:49 PM | Comments (1)

A Geek Moment

Instapundit notes that the blogosphere itself has fallen into the scope of Moore's law.

Ah, but the interesting question now is does the blogosphere more closely resemble a Mealy machine or a Moore machine? Come on, I know some of you had to study logic circuits in college.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

Non Sequitur Alert!

Logic is merely another of ElBaradei's weak points:

The carnage wrought by the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 60 years ago demonstrates the need to eliminate nuclear weapons for the sake of human survival, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Friday.

Whereas literally more lethal saturation and fire-bombing of cities would still be ok, I guess. Not to mention the genocides carried out in Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe with little more than machetes and small arms fire. Of course, the dangers of nuclear proliferation have grown more acute of late, though not because of any inherent, human survival threatening attribute of nuclear weapons themselves, but because of a mindset and ideology that is willing to use them against the infidels to achieve a medieval pipe-dream of a restored caliphate.

But even so, I suppose I could stomach this comment a bit better if it came from someone who wasn't being led around the nuclear proliferation dance floor in a cheat and retreat tango by Iran.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:34 PM | Comments (1)

Because Nothing Gives You Street Cred Like...

Chillin' at the club with Lee Iacocca.


Fo shizzle.

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

Spot the Oxymoron

Can you find it?

A man filmed himself jumping to his death on his mobile video phone and beamed the live images to his horrified girlfriend, an inquest heard.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:51 PM | Comments (1)

So Will This Help Or Hurt Tourism?

Well, it would explain their driving:

The rivers of Italy are flowing with cocaine, say scientists who have adopted a new approach to measuring the extent of drug misuse.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:49 PM | Comments (0)

I Am Offended By the NCAA

The Fighting Illini have played in their last NCAA Tournament:

The NCAA banned the use of American Indian mascots by sports teams during its postseason tournaments, but will not prohibit them otherwise.

The NCAA's executive committee decided this week the organization did not have the authority to bar Indian mascots by individual schools, committee chairman Walter Harrison said Friday.

Nicknames or mascots deemed "hostile or abusive" would not be allowed by teams on their uniforms or other clothing beginning with any NCAA tournament after Feb. 1, said Harrison, the University of Hartford's president.

"What each institution decides to do is really its own business" outside NCAA championship events, he said.

At least 18 schools have mascots the NCAA would deem "hostile or abusive," including Florida State's Seminole and Illinois' Illini.

Of course, the NCAA in it's infinite stupidity once again misses the point. Chief Illiniwek is a respectful symbol, not a mascot. Perhaps they never noticed but Chief Illiniwek only makes one appearance at any event, leading the crowd in the singing of the Alma Mater and then doing a short traditional dance. The Chief does not prowl the sidelines, interact with opponents in any way, or perform any silly antics. I can only assume that anyone who thinks Chief Illiniwek is disrespectful has never actually witnessed him. Either that, or they are so mind-numbingly blinded with their own peculiar hatred that they are unable to distinguish between acts that honor our shared heritage and acts that demean it.

I certainly will not deny that there are some abusive sports nicknames out there, e.g., the Washington Redskins, but jeez, what does the NCAA have against the Irish, since Notre Dame can apparently keep using and hence reinforcing a vicious, mean-spirited stereotype of Hibernians?

This whole things beggars an analogy to the overreach of our federal judiciary today. Asshole activists can't convince the community to do what they want, so instead they manage to convince a small group of oligarchs to impose their will over the idiot proles. As for a replacement name for my beloved Fighting Illini, may I suggest the Illinois Screwed Yet Again by NCAA Prudes as the team name? My, oh my, I look forward to the halftime shows now.

And for old times sake, here's a few pictures of the Chief in action doing the traditional dance at football and basketball games. Here's a place where you can learn more about the positive attributes of Chief Illiniwek from a source with a firmer grip on reality.

chief1.jpg chief2.jpg chief3.jpg chief4.jpg chief5.jpg

Oh, and not that it matters one bit, but I am part Cherokee.

DOWNDATE: If Illinois and Florida State should both qualify for next year's NCAA Tournament, perhaps they could adopt team names of Thing 1 and Thing 2 for the duration. Let's face it, it could only improve Billy Packer's color commentary.

DOUBLE DOWNDATE: And while they are at it, is the NCAA also going to prohibit the use of state names that might just as well be deemed offensive like Illinois, Iowa, and ... gasp ... Indiana from being used? Anyway, we all know Hoosier is a term of endearment here in the Midwest, don't we?

TRIPLE DOWNDATE: And since the NCAA seems so interested in promoting the self esteem of the hypersensitive, may I also suggest that they stop keeping score? I remember the pain and depression that set in after Illinois lost the National Championship game to North Carolina in April vividly. No one should ever have to experience that. I call upon the NCAA to make us all winners, just like their commercials say.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:26 PM | Comments (3)

Hiroshima, It's Personal

Tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of the destruction of Hiroshima by an atomic weapon dropped by the Enola Gay. I suppose it should go without saying that I despise the historical revisionism that goes on these days, especially concerning the actions surrounding the use of the atomic bomb to end the conflict with Japan and bring WW II to a close. President Truman then believed it was the right thing to do and I've seen nothing that is even marginally convincing that he acted in anything other than the best interests of the American people and the Japanese people.

Yes, I said the Japanese people. Victor Davis Hanson touches on this today in response to those who feel President Truman acted rashly, or in a racist, militaristic, and vindictive manner in an excellent essay that helps provide some context that is sorely lacking in most revisionist histories:

For 60 years the United States has agonized over its unleashing of the world’s first nuclear weapon on Hiroshima on August 6, 2005. President Harry Truman’s decision to explode an atomic bomb over an ostensible military target — the headquarters of the crack Japanese 2nd Army — led to well over 100,000 fatalities, the vast majority of them civilians.

Critics immediately argued that we should have first targeted the bomb on an uninhabited area as a warning for the Japanese militarists to capitulate. Did a democratic America really wish to live with the burden of being the only state that had used nuclear weapons against another?

Later generals Hap Arnold, Dwight Eisenhower, Curtis LeMay, Douglas Macarthur, and Admirals William Leahy and William Halsey all reportedly felt the bomb was unnecessary, being either militarily redundant or unnecessarily punitive to an essentially defeated populace.

Yet such opponents of the decision shied away from providing a rough estimate of how many more would have died in the aggregate — Americans, British, Australians, Asians, Japanese, and Russians — through conventional bombing, continuous fighting in the Pacific, amphibious invasion of the mainland, or the ongoing onslaught of the Red Army had the conflict not come to an abrupt halt nine days later and only after a second nuclear drop on Nagasaki.

Truman’s supporters countered that, in fact, a blockade and negotiations had not forced the Japanese generals to surrender unconditionally. In their view, a million American casualties and countless Japanese dead were adverted by not storming the Japanese mainland over the next year in the planned two-pronged assault on the mainland, dubbed Operation Coronet and Olympic.

The key word in that excerpt is "countless." My mother-in-law was a teenager living in Tokyo in 1945. Who knows what would have happened to her and perhaps tens of millions of Japanese had we been forced to actually invade Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and Hokkaido? Suffice it to say that the rules of engagement for our troops would have been noticeably harsher and less forgiving for the Japanese in 1945 than they are for the various nationalities they encounter in Iraq and Afghanistan today. The brutality experienced by both sides on Okinawa would only have intensified with an invasion of the main islands.

My mother-in-law lived through the fire-bombing of Tokyo in March of that year that killed 150,000 people, and she has some truly horrible, disturbing stories to tell about the war and its aftermath. As Sherman said, war is all hell. But would she have survived an American invasion? Who knows, buteven if she had, is it likely that she would have ended up marrying an American serviceman nine years later? As it was, she was castigated by her family for doing so. I can only imagine how much more unlikely all this might have been had the war not ended after the second atomic bomb fell on Nagasaki.

Is it too much of a stretch to imagine that my wife, her sister, our children, and her niece and nephew owe their lives to President Truman's decision to drop the bomb?

DOWNDATE: I see that others share my sentiments:

Sixty years later, Tomiko Morimoto West still remembers the low drone of the B-29 that flew over Hiroshima and changed her life forever. She was just 13. The horrific atomic blast on Aug. 6, 1945, all but wiped out her hometown in an instant. Her widowed mother was killed, and her grandparents would die later in agony.

"They left me all by myself," she said.

All alone, she suffered the effects of radiation sickness, which may have contributed to her inability to have children. But she is not bitter.

West, now 73 and a retired Vassar College lecturer, believes the atomic bomb that robbed her of her family and her innocence saved countless lives - Japanese and American.

"If it was not for the atomic bomb, we [Japanese] were in such a mental state, we would have fought until the last person," said West, who was taught as a little girl how to fight with a sharpened bamboo stick in the event of an invasion.

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

August 04, 2005

Rummy Jones and the Last Crusade?

I'd rather he said, "They choose poorly":

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday criticized Syria's leaders for "not behaving in a wise manner" by aiding Iraqi insurgents and warned that such conduct could come back to haunt them.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

Paying Off Dr. Evil?

At least he didn't use it to buy a "laser":

Saddam Hussein ordered Iraq's central bank to withdraw $1 billion for his youngest son the day before the invasion to stop it falling into foreign hands, according to a leaked letter apparently written by the former dictator.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

Woo Hoo!

It has been quite some time since I've won a caption contest after Dodd retired his weekly caption contests, before retiring altogether. Anyway, I won this one over at Outside the Beltway.

Hey, how about leaving a few dollars for Jerry's kids while you're here?

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

Well, That Takes Care of Step One

Only eleven more to go Senator Bayh:

Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, a possible presidential candidate in 2008, said Thursday that his party lacks credibility on national security and needs to convince Americans that Democrats are willing to use force when necessary.

Until the party can persuade voters, it will be unable to move the debate to issues that work for Democrats, Bayh said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"Unless the American people know that we will be good stewards of the nation's security, they're unlikely to trust us with anything else," said the two-term Indiana senator. "That's a very important threshold we have to get over."

Maybe the Democrats will stop trying to limbo under that threshold if Senator Bayh is their candidate in 2008. Nah.

Bayh said his electoral success in heavily Republican Indiana and moderate views are a model for Democrats to end their recent electoral failures. Summing up those failures are polls that show voters overwhelmingly trusting Republicans on national security, he said.

"We've got a few voices out there who would be a little bit more on the fringe," Bayh said. "Unfortunately, too often they define the entire party."

Perhaps that's because the fringe (Dean, Reid, Pelosi, Kennedy) actually does lead your party. You've got your work cut out for you Senator. And the public does remember the last centrist thrust upon us by the DLC -- fool us once and all that.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:17 PM | Comments (0)

Hmm..., Maybe I'd Better Resurrect Phaedrus

D.C. Airspace May Be Restricted for Good

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:16 AM | Comments (1)

August 03, 2005

The Democrats Are Toast

Why? Because they've started celebrating moral victories:

Democrats on Wednesday celebrated a closer-than-expected loss in a special House of Representatives race in Ohio and called it a warning sign for Republicans entering the 2006 congressional elections.

Because nothing says you're ready for the next step like being happy you weren't blown out by the big boys. I learned that from many, many years watching Illinois football.

DOWNDATE: But the most silly and egregious logic error behind this kind of thinking by Democrats is taking a single data point and extrapolating from it, in any direction. Even if Hackett had won, projecting a Democratic landslide from this in the next general election, as I believe Rahm Emmanuel has, is just stupid. There's another saying from my engineering youth that is applicable here as well -- all thrust and no vector.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:34 PM | Comments (3)