Previous month:
March 2005
Next month:
May 2005

Logic Bolts

Mark Steyn on the adorable Bolty:

He was ''standing up'' with ''hands on hips''! Who's he think he is -- Carmen Miranda? Fortunately, before Bolton could let rip with a ''pursed lip'' or escalate to the lethal ''tsk-ing'' maneuver, Fingar was able to back cautiously out of the room and call the FBI anger management team, who surrounded the building and told the deranged diplomat to come out slowly with his hands above his hips.

What next? Bolton causes a sad environment by using his pouting technique!


Super

Brian Greene came to my university as a guest lecturer and started off with a memorable story: he once got a letter from a young fan. The kid said that he grabbed one of Brian's books from the library and started reading. Strangely, his nose started bleeding as soon as he started the book. No matter what he did, he couldn't stop the bleeding. So, he just continued on reading. When he finished, the bleeding stopped. Wow, this stuff is really mind blowing!

And the audience laughed. Unlike the superstring theory, the supersize theory is indeed bizarre and moronic (praise all be to politicians). No one will bother reading it.

KipEsquire's pyramid? Now, that rocks!


See No Evil

Theodore Dalrymple writes a very disturbing article titled 'The Frivolity of Evil'. An excerpt:

Just as the IMF is the bank of last resort, encouraging commercial banks to make unwise loans to countries that they know the IMF will bail out, so the state is the parent of last resort—or, more often than not, of first resort. The state, guided by the apparently generous and humane philosophy that no child, whatever its origins, should suffer deprivation, gives assistance to any child, or rather the mother of any child, once it has come into being. In matters of public housing, it is actually advantageous for a mother to put herself at a disadvantage, to be a single mother, without support from the fathers of the children and dependent on the state for income. She is then a priority; she won't pay local taxes, rent, or utility bills.

Why would people behave morally when there is no incentive to OR why shouldn't people behave immorally when the disincentives are removed by the state? More:

There has been a long march not only through the institutions but through the minds of the young. When young people want to praise themselves, they describe themselves as "nonjudgmental." For them, the highest form of morality is amorality.

Yes, the real crime is being judgmental. Read the entire essay.


Terrorists Failing

Athena provides a comprehensive, depressing, and, likely for many, an eye-opening update on terrorism trials. An excerpt:

A second pilot said that, on one of his recent flights, an air marshal forced his way into the lavatory at the front of his plane after a man of Middle Eastern descent locked himself in for a long period. The marshal found the mirror had been removed and the man was attempting to break through the wall. The cockpit was on the other side.

The terrorist scum are trying everyday to harm the US but, thanks to the security, they've failed for the past 3 and a half years. The absence of futher attacks on US soil after 9/11 doesn't imply that the terrorists are not attempting to wreak havoc. For some, it's convenient - and incredibly short-sighted - to blame the Republicans for fear mongering than to actually give them credit.


Welcome to the University World

Paul Greenberg:

Welcome to the politically correct American university. The first thing I noticed here was that none of the clocks in the various towers on campus work. Stanford's clocks appear forever stopped in admiring contemplation of their own, arbitrary idea of the time. It gives the place a nice, surreal touch. And adds to its distance from the real world.

Like OMG, my Canadian university also has clocks that don't work. How cool is that! ...Oh, wait.


This Says it All

Larry Elder:

I have a friend who lives in mid-town Los Angeles. Years ago, he invited me to visit a small library at the corner of Olympic and Vermont, an area between the high-rises of downtown and Koreatown. It is about 70 percent Hispanic and 20 percent Asian. At around four-o'clock in the afternoon, outside the library, several Hispanic kids performed incredible tricks on their skateboards. They were jumping, spinning, twirling and showing off their considerable skills. My friend then said, "C'mon, Larry, let's go inside." Inside the library — standing room only — were Korean-American kids and their mothers. Not one Latino kid inside the library. Not one.

Read the entire article for the simple, elegant, and correct conclusion.


The Real America

Tamara Quinn:

The Generosity of the American people knows no bounds! It warms the heart and brings a big smile to those touched by kindness. It was a bright day for SoA when we were contacted by Darrin Husmann to learn that several computers will be donated to schools in Iraq.

[Emphasis mine]

Bet you wouldn't hear this from the MSM.


There is a Union Now Between the Two Towers

Macromedia's Dreamweaver is the best software I've used for creating web sites. I once used Microsoft's FrontPage for a few minutes and well it was, you know, atrocious. I haven't used many graphics since those sites were for my high school and university. Hence, I don't really know the workings of Photoshop and Fireworks (used it a few times). But from what I've heard, both these software packages are monsters. It's quite intimidating to learn them initially.

Eric linked to the news that Adobe is acquiring Macromedia. I do hope that Macromedia's Dreamweaver is not killed off for Adobe's own GoLive. I am sure that some geeks out there are salivating at the integration of Dreamweaver and Photoshop. With Flash kept alive as well, think of the many horribly designed and pain in the ass to navigate pretty possibilities.


The Meddling Moolahs

Iraq the Model:

The role of Tehran in creating the sectarian conflict in Iraq has became more than obvious after the failure of all the attempts to provoke a conflict between the Sunni and the She'at.

The astounding successes of Iraq in democracy and writing the constitution and building a free community is causing a panic [in] the neighborhood.

The Moolahs don't want this disease, this democracy, to spread in their country. They're scared because many Persians might be stupid enough to not elect an Islamist leader. /sarcasm.


Supporting Liberty

Jeremy Brown:

It's not easy to apprehend the precise dynamics that make a [pro-democracy] movement like this [in Lebanon] possible, but I'm mindful of a comment by one of the democracy activists in Lebanon that was reported recently by Michael:

Later, inside a different tent, a young woman took me aside. And she said: "I must tell you something. If we didn't think we had American support we would never have done this. They would kill us. We need you. It is just a fact."

I hope that President Bush stays strong and supports the Lebanese and the Persians, both rhetorically and materially, when the time comes.


Math is Brutal

Tim Worstall:

While GM is a public company rather than a State, we’re all facing exactly the same problems with pensions and health care spending. As the ratio of active to retired workers changes something has to alter in lock step with that.

GM has this trouble on a relatively small scale. However, nation-states in Europe are experiencing this problem on a massive scale. The populations of these countries is declining even after accounting for the positive influx of immigrants. It's ironic that the present high-tax environment, and thus the welfare state, is in large part responsible for the lowering of birth rates across Europe. Having a kid is now a major financial burden.

Many governments respond by raising taxes (or racking up national debt or both) and providing financial credits to couples for having children. Sigh.

Why do most Europeans learn the hard way?


The MSM Doesn't Care

Michael Totten:

The single biggest media disaster in the world right now is the Western reporting from Lebanon.

[Emphasis mine]

Callimachus:

... what about the pro-democracy, pro-free-election voices among the Lebanese people? How many photos did AP devote to them, to balance the 37 pictures of pro-Syrian, anti-American demonstrators?

One.

Wow, the MSM exceeded my expectations. Seriously, I think that both Michael and Callimachus had an overly optimistic view of the MSM. What the MSM craves more than anything in the Middle East is access. If that comes at the expense of ignoring thuggery, state-sanctioned brutality, and pro-democracy views, then so be it. Not to mention that actually showing the world the anti-regime elements in the Middle East might be hazardous to one's health.

It requires a brave soul like Michael Totten to unveil the suppressed hopes of millions. May he succeed handsomely.


Intimate with Terror

Daniel Pipes:

... an organization called the Conflicts Forum was founded in December 2004. It has the immodest goal of not just changing policy toward radical Islamic terrorist groups, but to change how Westerners see radical Islam itself. Conflicts Forum wants to challenge "the prevailing western orthodoxy that perceives Islamism as an ideology that is hostile to the agenda for global democracy and good governance."

Conflicts Forum has several advantages, starting with the fact that what it terms the "prevailing Western orthodoxy" is - as noted above - quite soft. The group's founder and leader, Alastair Crooke, 55, was a ranking figure in both British intelligence and European Union diplomacy, someone who hobnobs with insiders, gives upbeat speeches at premier venues ("It is Essential to Negotiate with Terrorists" at the London School of Economics," "Can Hamas Be A Political Partner?" at the Council on Foreign Relations), and enjoys a fawning press.

It is uncanny, this appeasement from certain Westerners. Hamas is an openly Islamist terror group which aims to completely destroy Israel. Yet Crooke has no quarrel welcoming this evil into the political arena. Hamas members must be elated at the sight of such useful infidels. Brutal and eye-opening will be the day when these Westerners are no longer useful to the terrorists. Some unfortunately learn the hard way.


The Next Battle

From the Gates of Vienna:

This is Michael Totten's view, up close. Having gone to Lebanon to see for himself and to report back to Spirit of America, he finds himself unable to leave. There is a countdown now, an immediate goal on which the factions in Lebanon can agree: the government must announce elections to be held in May. In order to be in compliance with this demand, the announcement would have to happen at least thirty days prior -- in this case, April 29th. The tent city leaders have erected a large electric sign with the number of days remaining. It is an electrifying sign, one which galvanizes those who see it. Amazing that government doesn't dare take it down.

The Baathist regime in Syria will soon be buried in the dense and rotting graveyard of tyranny. Finally, the Lebanese and the Syrians will join the Afghanis and Iraqis in enjoying freedoms.


The Word is Spreaded

From Haider Ajina at Chrenkoff:

"These are the people Iraq elected, asking us to stay and thanking us. The poll shows only 12% want us to leave at once. This makes a complete mockery of the mainstream media coverage of the demonstrations. As my wife told me when she heard the coverage on CNN: 'Haider you are going to get mad when you hear this', and I am still mad. Forgive me for rehashing this point. I feel it really needs pointing out. Iraqis are grateful for what we did and continue to be grateful for us being there."

[Emphasis mine]

MSM: The insurgents are winning and the US is in a quagmire.

Some quagmire! Some insurgency!


Thin Deterrence

A very disturbing and illuminating post at Chicago Boyz by Lexington Green:

They say we would have made it to Paris in a week.

Easy. We had a sea of tanks in the Western Group of Forces. Three tank armies! And what did the Germans have? The workweek ends on Friday and then you wouldn't find anyone, not a minister or a soldier. Just guards. By the time they realized what was happening, we would have burned up their tanks and looted their armories. There was no question about it.

Thank Heavens for Ronald Reagan.

The major problem in the present war is that, by definition, the terrorists are irrational. They're willing to die for those young, pure and lustful 72 virgins. The short-term strategery is to pre-empt them and provide nation-states the tools to fight them. Unfortunately, a few dictatorships have no desire to help in killing or capturing the terrorists. The top priority now is to destroy such dictatorships. The long-term strategery for these failed nation-states requires democracy, free speech, independent judiciaries, rights for women and religious minorities, and, of course, WHISKEY, and SEXY.

No doubt this will be tough but I am sure that the West will triumph. It's only a matter of when not if.


ThinkPad Tablet PC?

Many folks don't know much about tablet PCs mainly for two reasons: they're expensive and use different software. However, over the past two years the Tablet PCs have become quite decent machines. Intel's Centrino technology has provided tremendous power for the Tablets. The price gap between vanilla laptops and Tablet PCs has been decreasing, making the Tablets a worthy option. It would be another step towards critical mass if IBM releases a Tablet PC soon.


VDH on Fire

Victor Davis Hanson ruthlessly rips apart the experts for their litany of failed policies. Here's a brief taste:

Madeleine Albright, while abroad, summed up the present American foreign policy: “It's difficult to be in France and criticize my government. But I'm doing so because Bush and the people working for him have a foreign policy that is not good for America, not good for the world.” Elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, troops out of Saudi Arabia, democratic demonstrations in Lebanon, West Bank voting, promises of change in Egypt — all that and more is “not good for the world”?

Go read it all for the shock and awe.


This Sugar Ain't Sweet

Stephen Moore:

In 2004, government price controls through trade-quota restrictions and loan guarantees priced U.S. sugar at more than 20 cents a pound, which is about two-and-a-half times the world price. This means that Americans spend about $2.5 billion more a year in higher prices for sugar and food items that contain sugar than if this country enjoyed a free market in sugar. The gains from this sweet deal are conferred upon the sugar plantation owners, most of whom own large conglomerates and are financially healthy.

Read the column and view the offensive graphic. Isn't there a free market party in Washington?


France Sinking and Taking Europe with Her

Wretchard says it like no other:

Europe if not now then soon must accept that enlargement by itself can never fully compensate for the fundamental weakness of its demographics and economy. Even a ship as large as the Titanic eventually fills with water. French EU Foreign Minister Michel Barnier could not have spoken more eloquently of the dead-end French policy had become when he said the EU had no contingency plan in the event of a rejection. "We have no plan B. You cannot have a plan B. It is 'Yes' and that's the only way to discuss this item, so we go 100 percent for that outcome". If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.

Bookmark him if you haven't already.


Complex Update

Joseph Britt offers his insightful thoughts on the Chinese protests:

Hamet is convinced that Chinese leaders are playing a deep, brilliant game by attempting to fan and harness popular passions and resentments at the same time. I'm not sure I agree. It wasn't just the failure of central planning or the bloody stalemate in Afghanistan that undermined the legitimacy of Soviet Communism, but the slowly spreading knowledge among educated Russians of what had been done in the Party's name. Horror can be a corrosive force. Knowledge of the past can be limited, and controlled, but not forever. What will happen when the Chinese now being urged to demonstrate against part of the past start asking about the part the Party has striven to hide from them all these years?

This, again, applies to the Muslim world. The vast majority of Muslims rhetorically lynch the West for it's imagined crimes against Islam but very rarely do they show the same contempt for the Muslim tyrants and thugs that rule over them. That is why the erroneous figure of 100,000 killed in Iraq because of the US-led war gets far more airing than the thousands of gassed Kurds and the nameless 300,000 in mass graves.

See my earlier post here.


Ind vs. Pak, 6th ODI

11:48 EST :: No respite for India; the carnage continues. Afridi really carved up Ashish Nehra. Nehra's 1st over went for 22 runs. Here's how Afridi played his first six balls: . 4 4 4 6 4

01:15 EST :: Pakistan moving along smoothly. Butt went for an uneventful 3 and Afridi provided an explosive 23-ball 44. Malik and Youhana have now put up a partnership of 66 runs. It's time to accumulate. Pakistan is on track for an assault in the last overs. They're following a simple and effective strategy. India will likely have to chase a score in excess of 300.

02:15 EST :: Pakistan made 200 runs in 37 overs. They should make it to around 315 runs if they score at their full potential. They still have 6 wickets in hand.

Final Update :: Pakistan scored 303 runs. It was more than enough as India was vanquished for less than half that:

For Pakistan, it was an outstanding comeback in the series, and one which should go down as one of the best comebacks in an ODI series. The Indians had plenty riding on this match – it was their last chance to level the series, and it was the last match with John Wright doing coaching duties. The result, though, wasn't quite as they would have wanted it.

Of the last 10 ODIs India have played against Pakistan, they've won 2. Their last 4 defeats have been increasingly comprehensive. India's lack of bowling firepower and out of form batsmen, Dravid excepted, are the reasons for their limp losses. This is a sad decline for the team that faced Australia in the last World Cup final.

Pakistan, however, have gained strength since the World Cup in 2003. Inzi performed miserably in that tournament but, after a brief absence, he has led the young team to greater prominence. He's also the best Pakistani batsman of his generation. The return of Afridi and Malik have given the Pakistanis a lot of batting and bowling options. Hameed and Butt have both showed their skill at the top order. Hasan and Sami are improving as strike bowlers. Akmal is now the wicket keeper. And, the street-smart Younis Khan is being groomed for the captaincy. By next year, Pakistan should have an ODI team as strong as the one in 1998-99.


Why Islamists Kill

Iraq the Model:

I really don't blame people who live outside Iraq for believing the "experts"; they didn't live here and they depend on the news to build their opinions.

But I live in Iraq and seen almost every city in it, so I know how thinks work and I know what the people think.

This time, the pathetic terrorists are trying to make it look like a sectarian conflict; it is NOT.

They would simply kill anyone who dares to oppose them in their territories and they don't care whether the "collaborator or infidel" was Sunni, She'at, Christian or Kurdish.

I know people from every single component of the population in Iraq and they all realize that Salafi extremists groups and their Ba'athist and foreign allies are the ones behind terrorism in Iraq.

[Emphasis mine]

The bold text is the naked truth. Strangely, the "experts" have a hard time understanding that.