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Monthly Archives: July 2002

Not Much Of Interest

July 31st, 2002 - 11:02 pm

My father-in-law-to-be arrived home from Saudi on Friday, and this is only the third time he’s been here since I fell head-over-heels-goofy-in-love with his only daughter.

Needless to say, I’ve been spending a lot of time over at the Davis Homestead, playing Get To Know You with Pop. It’s only fair, after all.

Anyway, there is a small political point to make along with all the pre-marital bliss. It’s just going to take me a little setting up to get to the politics, so keep reading.

Dick (Colonel Davis (Ret.) to you) spent the last nine years running a major Saudi Air Force base. I won’t go into much more detail, but it’s the only base in the southwest where they fly the F-15S. People in the know now know where and who I’m talking about.

While Dick was there, he made good friends and a fine scuba dive buddy with a certain Prince Khalid of the House of Saud. Technically, “Colin” was Dick’s boss (I think), but they had a lot of fun together.

But friendship only goes so far — Dick won’t be going back. He told us over dinner and drinks this weekend that he’s finished working for the Saudis. He didn’t go into any particulars, other than that he’d like to spend more time with his family, and maybe get a chance to learn what all his children look like now.

Dick and I had a conversation this evening, and the important bit went like this:

Me: I never mentioned this to Melissa or Paula (that’s Mrs. Colonel (Ret.) Davis), but I’m glad you’re not going back to Saudi. The more I read, the more convinced I am that the whole country could fall apart. And maybe soon.

Him: Yeah, I know. Even Colin says things are that bad.

There you have it. A Saudi prince, a semi-bigwig in their own Air Force, is not-so-metaphorically keeping his private jet fueled and ready for takeoff to Switzerland.

You read it here first, kids.

NOTE: Remember, it’s only journalism when committed by a journalist.

ANOTHER NOTE: You don’t pay me enough for to keep me from burying the lede, so deal with it.

THIRD AND FINAL NOTE: In less than 72 hours, I’ll be married to the woman beyond my dreams.

AW HELL JUST ONE MORE NOTE: James Lileks is not only a fine writer, he’s also one helluva guy. Thanks, Lileks.

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Bloggers and Journalists

July 29th, 2002 - 10:39 am

Not Bloggers or/vs Journalists.

From Salon‘s

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Attention, Colorado owners of Volvos, minivans, and domestic family sedans.

Read this from Mike Hendrix:

If you’ve been cruising blithely along in the left (or center, on a three-lane highway) lane for a half-hour or so, please consider moving the fuck over, you selfish ass-pirate. “I pay taxes and I’ll drive wherever I want.” Well, fuck you, Einstein. This is illegal in most states, although many states don’t really enforce it much. Trucks usually can’t use the left lane on three-laners, which makes the center lane our passing lane, and the truck-lane restrictions ARE usually enforced – probably due to the fact that the fine for any ticket for a big rig is automatically double what it is for cars in most states. You’ll often see a truck jump over to the left lane in frustration after being trapped behind some semi-conscious droolcase doing the speed limit or below up and down hill after hill after hill. He’s risking a hefty fine, but he’s fed up enough to take the chance. Those “slower traffic keep right” signs were put there for more than just your reading enjoyment.

The man in the rig might accidentally kill you, but the man in the silver Sebring ragtop might follow you home and hurt you with sandpaper for many, many days on end.

You people are like hall monitors from high school — self-righteously gunking up the works while stooling for the guards. You are making a bad traffic situation much, much worse. You are the cause of road rage and accidents, not, as you seem to think, serenity and safety.

The passing lane is for passing, you ignorant schmuck. If you aren’t passing, then pull the hell over. You say you call it the fast lane, instead? Fine — if you see someone on your rear bumper, you’re not going fast enough for the fast lane. So pull the hell over.

Drive as if you care about actually getting where you’re going. And if you don’t care, or you can’t find the accelerator (that’s the “gas pedal,” idiot) with both feet, then pull the hell over.

Get it?

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Quick Stuff

July 24th, 2002 - 11:44 am

I’m here. Really. Just prepping the condo for houseguests.


Anyway, people start coming into town Friday, and this place is still a wreck from:

A) Moving Melissa’s furniture, clothes, all worldly possessions, etc., here.

B) Not having done a thorough housecleaning for a couple of months.

So, I’m getting reacquainted with my vacuum cleaner, Pledge, and Inner Martha.

Also, I finally had to get the cat declawed, and that upset the hell out of me for some reason. Bad enough I had to take his balls, but his claws, too? Insult and injury to insult and injury.

Here’s some quick analysis before I go grab some lunch.

The stock market is up after the Adelphia Assholes (my cable company) were arrested on fraud and other charges. Two reasons. First, investors see the Feds are serious about corporate abuse, so they’ll trust future accounting more than they now trust recent accounting. Second, this coincides with some fairly major sell-offs by individual mutal fund investors — an event which usually immediately precedes a rebound.

That little girl who escaped her kidnappers in Philly? I’d be proud to call her my own.

You’ll miss James Traficant. Yeah, he was corrupt — but he was old-fashioned corrupt. He kept some for himself, but was mostly after patronage and ego-gratification. He was far more harmless than a politician with real ambition and a taste for power. That’s why the fact of a Clinton presidency bothered me far less than the idea of a Gore presidency.

Clinton was in it for the babes. Gore was in it because he knows what’s best for you. Like Clinton, Traficant always put on a good show. You’ll miss him, you really will.

Congress is close to passing a corporate accountability bill. I told you so more than two weeks ago:

The big story today, of course, is Bush’s Wall Street speech on corporate accountability — but even that is a non-story. Look, we know exactly what’s going to happen.

Bush makes the proper political noises. Democrats say it isn’t quite enough. The Leahy Bill (I think that’s the right one!) will pass the Senate in pretty much its current form, then get watered down a bit in conference with the House.

Most shockingly, the President will then sign it in a dignified Rose Garden ceremony, flanked by the appropriate House and Senate leaders, and perhaps a few well-chosen wise-yet-chastened business leaders.

Like a Kabuki dance, but with less improvisation, all this will happen over the next two-three weeks, just in time for August recess and some serious midterm campaigning.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a Trivelli’s Philly Cheese Steak Hogie calling my name.

UPDATE: For those of you who asked, the wedding is Saturday, August 3.

And, no, I’m not nervous.

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July 22nd, 2002 - 8:26 am

We just went through Moving Weekend. Other than some clothes and some personal items, Melissa’s stuff is all here now. Some of my old stuff went to the dump or was given away.

It was a lot of work. We’re very tired. On the other hand, I now have a guest room worthy of, well, guests.

Next project? Organizing, cleaning, and re-organizing. I’ll be back just as soon as I’m able.

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A Lot Hasn’t Changed Since ’79

July 18th, 2002 - 9:08 am

What a day. First Ken Layne gets back in front of the keyboard, now David Warren has a new column. Warren reports on the situation in Iran, and finds lots of facts our usual sources won’t tell us:

In a further sign that the regime was losing its grip, it then confined its police to barracks in Isfahan, as it had done the previous day in Tehran — doubting their loyalty. Instead they sent foreign thugs with paramilitary training, chiefly Palestinian and Iraqi Arabs, and Uzbeks and Tadzhiks from Afghanistan, to beat the demonstrators down. It was a desperate measure — an implicit acknowledgement that the whole Persian people have now sided with the opposition.

To understand how this could have happened, it is important to realize that almost two-thirds of the Iranian population was not yet born in 1979, when the Shah fell and Ayatollah Khomeini brought the world’s first Islamist, terrorist regime to power. And most of his cronies, still in power, are now quite old. Iran’s formerly very high birthrate (it has since plummeted) created the mother of all generation gaps. To the students in universities, and other young people coming of age in a time of Internet and satellite TV, the ayatollahs have nothing to say. Their parents, too, are sick to death of living under the Shia version of Islamist tyranny; but while their parents were cowed into submission, the kids refuse to sit still.

I can’t say this enough, kids: Do not interfere in Iran. A generation under the mullahs has been plenty for the Middle East’s most civilized civilization. If we stick our noses in now, we can only hurt matters. If need be, we can help during the revolution — and certainly after. And the New Iran will help us, too.

Persians hate Arabs. The Arabs hate us. The enemy of their enemy would love to be their friend.

NOTE: The only people who will be surprised by the next Iranian Revolution will be the editors of the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc., and those who rely on them for their “news.” And why do I feel it was no different in 1979?

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One Week Only at the Mirage

July 18th, 2002 - 8:56 am

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present the one and only — Ken Layne!

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Ready. . . Set. . .

July 18th, 2002 - 8:52 am

When he isn’t in Presidential Worship Mode, Newsweek‘s Howard Fineman produces first-rate White House reporting. Read:

That’s the way he way prefers to operate even now. Karl Rove, the president

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Facts & Figures

July 18th, 2002 - 8:39 am

Adam Geibel reports the latest JDAM production figures on StrategyPage:

The St. Charles, MO Boeing Corporation factory added a second shift of workers earlier this year to increase production from about 1,000 kits per month to 1,500. The company plans to boost further production, to 2,000 per month by the end of 2002 and 2,800 per month by the middle of 2003. That would add another 20,000 plus JDAMs to the U.S. arsenal within a year and about 37,000 by the end of 2003. At it’s highest rate, Boeing could make enough JDAMs to satisfy the 40,000 stockpile in about 14 months.

Frankly, I’m disappointed. From what we’d read last spring, I thought monthly production was already supposed to be up aroun 2,000. Surely, a nation that can produce Pentium 4s in the millions can make some electronic bomb-tail doo-dads faster than this. There is, after all, a war on.

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Thank You

July 17th, 2002 - 11:00 pm

Edward Christie is a perfect example of a gentleman.

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Frankie Says. . .

July 17th, 2002 - 10:48 pm

. . . Relax.

So that’s what I’m doing. Well, that and about a million and six frenetic wedding-related activities.

I think maybe I have all my groomsmen gifts picked out, but what to get my best man still stumps me. Tick tick tick. Der Tag approaches.

Oh, about last night? Dessert was Bananas Foster. I’m getting good at that one. I got a humidor, a very cool cutter, a kick-ass torch (“lighter” would be an insult), and a selection of yummy cigars. She got pearls.

We’re both very, very happy.

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Fun Personal Stuff

July 16th, 2002 - 3:07 pm

A trip to the dentist (ouch), an unsuccessful run downtown to pick up the sunglasses Melissa ordered, and the grocery store. Twice.

Busy day.

Worth it, though. As the pace picks up before the wedding, tonight, we figure, is about our last chance for a date. So we’re goning to cook some food, drink some wine, and exchange our bride & groom gifts.

Tonight’s menu:

Bib lettuce with Dijon vinaigrette and fresh cracked pepper.

Rack of Lamb Provencal.

Baby white potatoes & baby carrots with butter and fresh parsely.

What looks to be a very nice bottle (or two) of C

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New Old Link

July 15th, 2002 - 4:25 pm

Perry has new digs for Libertarian Samizdata. Redirect your bookmarks to http://www.samizdata.net/blog/.

I should also mention that none other than Stacy Tabb did the new design and, as always, it looks sharp as a diamond tack.

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Cure for What Ails Ya

July 15th, 2002 - 10:13 am

Blogger is in, what, it’s fourth or fifth day of buggered archives?

Go see Stacy. She’ll fix you right up — off Blogger and with a great new look, too.

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July 15th, 2002 - 9:58 am

TOP fans need to click here and give a little.

If you don’t know, Tower Of Power is that old San Francisco band with the big Philly sound. Urban soul that’s accessable to suburban whitebread type, funky but. . . oh, I don’t know. But they’re one of my faves, and their bassist is in need of a new liver.

Saddest news I’ve read all morning.

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Morning Finds

July 15th, 2002 - 9:52 am

Joe Katzman is, once again, doing his best to make me feel slow-witted and uninformed. The only other two people who can do that regularly are Steven Den Beste (Best. Blog. Ever.) and Eric Raymond.

Anyway, this morning Joe has new material on how to help Iran without getting caught, further thoughts on Gulf War II (any week now, says Steyn), and more on fixing what ails the Army. Read it.

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Money Money Money

July 15th, 2002 - 9:41 am

Yes, the market is still in the crapper. And it’s going to stay there a bit. We won’t see a real recovery in stocks until the Dow dips to 8,200 — at a minimum.

And you can take the prediction to the bank.

NOTE: It’s OK — banks aren’t in crisis. They’re still better than stuffing money under the mattress. Although for the next 6-18 months, your best investment will be buying a house or improving the house you already own.

ANOTHER NOTE: Yeah, the dollar is now worth about the same as the euro. No big whoop, really. Greenbacks are still worth more against the euro than they were when the new currency debuted. For a fuller explaination, click here.

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No Duh Department

July 15th, 2002 - 9:35 am

John Walker Lindh will plead guilty to aiding the Taliban.

Lindh’s lawyer said his client would plead guilty to one charge of supplying services to the Taliban and another charge, not originally in the indictment, alleging he carried explosives in the commission of a felony.

Under terms of his deal with prosecutors, Lindh, 21, would serve two 10-year prison sentences and would cooperate fully with U.S. authorities in the investigation of the al Qaeda and terrorism.

Barring an explosion somewhere, that’s my best for Biggest Story of the Day.

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Major Blogrollage

July 15th, 2002 - 9:31 am

The blogosphere lost it’s go-to guy for links and What’s Hot when Glenn went back on vacation. Then Lileks got busy on his new book, which I, for one, will be buying; it sounds like marvelous fun. And while I’m not up there with those guys, I hate to report to my delightfully addicted readership that I’ll be blogging half as much most of the time from now until the wedding.

But fear not! There are lots of excellent blogs out there you should be reading more often. Mike Hendrix is The Man when you want a six pack of truth. Read Juan Gato for an honest belly laugh. And, of course, Dawn Olsen can make you comfortably squirmy — now that she’s back from Hawaii, bitch.

See all those links on the left? I try to visit each one of them every single day. They’re all good — that’s why they’re linked.

So quit complaining and check’em all out already.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention a couple things. First, unless there’s a war on, summer is just a slow news time. August will be worse, what with Congress in recess and the President (I imagine) back in Crawford. And in case you’re wondering, his Crawford ranch is certainly wired well enough to run a shooting war in Iraq, so don’t let a “vacation” fool you.

Secondly, even if he weren’t working on his new book, Lileks would have earned a two-week reprieve from blogging just for using the phrase “Bergen-Belsen whistles” last week. That turn of phrase was so viciously beautiful that I damn near wet myself. I’d link to it in case you missed that particular Bleat, but Lileks left us without a way to access his archives.

Cruel, man, just cruel.

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Road Trip

July 11th, 2002 - 4:57 pm

Need further proof that VodkaPundit is an idiot? Here it is.

Tomorrow, I report to the dive shop no later than 5:30AM. We’ll drive five hours to Santa Rosa, NM for our PADI Open Water Diver certification.

Normally, that’s four dives over two and a half days, followed by the five hour drive back home. That’s just too damn sensible for my tastes.

So in the same short time bookended by the same long drives, I’ll be getting my basic cert and my Advanced Open Water cert.

Why the Advanced cert? Well, Melissa is a pretty serious diver, and I’d like to be, so I figure our someday our kids will, too. So it makes some sense to have one of us trained as a Rescue Diver — and you have to complete Advanced before you can take Rescue.

But none of that chages the fact that I’ll be trying to do a total of nine dives and 650 miles of road in about 65 hours. Did I mention the water at Blue Hole is a chilly 61

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The Great Mosquito Hawk Crisis

July 11th, 2002 - 7:51 am

[Ed. Note: This piece was originally written in 1991. It has been updated through the years with the names of various girlfriends and significant others, but remains otherwise unchanged. Good for a much-needed laugh while you watch your retirement savings melt away. Enjoy. P.S. Yes, I was trying much harder back then to be Dave Barry.]


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Chew On This While I’m Running Errands

July 10th, 2002 - 11:13 am
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Right After These Important Messages

July 10th, 2002 - 9:30 am

Scuba, wedding preparations, getting Melissa’s stuff moved into the VodkaCondo — we’ve been busy here, and we’re going to get busier.

Bear with the sporadic posting for just a bit longer, please.

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And That Goes Both Ways

July 9th, 2002 - 1:56 pm

Slate’s Steven Waldman agrees with VP that vouchers might be bad for Christians.

Definately worth checking out, even if some of his arguments strike me as specious. But that’s usually the case when lefties with less than pure motives try to “defend” right wing interests.

It’s a bit like Republicans telling Democrats to support defense spending because it’s good for The Workers

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Unfriendly Advice

July 9th, 2002 - 1:25 pm

Hawk Girl Emily Jones is back from vacation, so go say hi.

Also, she’s thinking of moving to Colorado. Told you she was smart. Hope you do, Em — just don’t tell anyone here you’re from California. Could get you shot.

Which reminds me of something I should have done years ago. A list needs to be compiled telling Californians what to do when moving to Colorado.

Here we go.

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Very Very Cool Department

July 9th, 2002 - 1:13 pm

Found at Lionel Mandrake‘s.

Want to know why Hitler didn’t invade Switzerland?

Hint: It wasn’t because he needed their cooperation or because of his little-known pathological fear of emmenthaler cheese.

Another hint: The revisionist historians are wrong.

Answer: Kick-ass forts like this one.

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Making News

July 9th, 2002 - 12:55 pm

RG Fulton forwarded me this Jordan Times story.

The United States will launch a military strike on Iraq

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Violence Never Solved Anything

July 9th, 2002 - 12:17 pm

StrategyPage on Israel’s partial “re-occupation” of the West Bank:

The Israeli military operation in Palestinian territory has prevented suicide attacks for 18 days. Some 1800 Palestinians are under arrest, including 300 suspected militants (half of whom were already known to Israeli police. Ten dozen suicide bombing attacks have been intercepted. Attacks on individual terrorist leaders continue, showing that the Israelis continue to maintain their network of informers and collaborators inside Palestinian territory. A recent attack involved a car bomb that killed several Palestinian terrorist leaders.

The Palestinian media is running more stories about concern that the suicide bombing campaign is not working and that negotiations might be more likely to achieve results.

What’s that? Punishing barbarians might force them to try a more civilized method to get what they want? There will be much shock in newsrooms and on college campuses around the nation, but not many other places.

But even negotiation is doomed to fail if the Palestinians think they’ll get as much today as they were offered two years ago. Murderous gambits should be punished, not encouraged. And face it: Arafat’s terror campaign has been little more than a negotiating ploy with a body count.

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. . .It’s a slow news day. While I was getting out of the shower, FoxNews did a puff piece on what you can get buying an RV. Maybe once I get the new car paid off — and the kids we haven’t had through college.

The big story today, of course, is Bush’s Wall Street speech on corporate accountability — but even that is a non-story. Look, we know exactly what’s going to happen.

Bush makes the proper political noises. Democrats say it isn’t quite enough. The Leahy Bill (I think that’s the right one!) will pass the Senate in pretty much its current form, then get watered down a bit in conference with the House.

Most shockingly, the President will then sign it in a dignified Rose Garden ceremony, flanked by the appropriate House and Senate leaders, and perhaps a few well-chosen wise-yet-chastened business leaders.

Like a Kabuki dance, but with less improvisation, all this will happen over the next two-three weeks, just in time for August recess and some serious midterm campaigning.

Anything else going on?

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Run From the Truth, Jesse, Run

July 9th, 2002 - 10:48 am

Found this one at DC Thornton‘s.

So far as I’m aware, the Koran is the only holy book to explicitly forbid racism. Tell that to our Saudi friends:

The bomb I am speaking of, for those who want to know, is the large number of Africans in the city; they are there illegally and as they encroach on the city and its facilities, they have become a public menace. They show no respect for the law whatsoever. They make it plain that all they care about is making money

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