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Monthly Archives: June 2003

Juxtiposition

June 30th, 2003 - 3:52 pm

Mean Mr. Mustard catches a sad trend.

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LileksWatch Day Two

June 30th, 2003 - 12:55 am

Still no new Bleat, but it’s early yet.

UPDATE: He’s ba-ack.

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And Don’t Call Me Shirley

June 30th, 2003 - 12:50 am

I’ve been outed.

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Now She Really Is a Goddess

June 30th, 2003 - 12:47 am

My childhood sweetheart died yesterday. Sadly, the news came as no surprise to me, or to anyone else.

Katharine Hepburn was 96.

In the Age Before Cable, we had five TV stations to choose from

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Directive 10-289

June 27th, 2003 - 1:42 am

Racism doesn’t just plague America, it plagues the world.

I’m most concerned about it (the plague, that is, not race) here at home, because home is where I live. My own feelings are best summed up by comedian David Feldman, who said, “Racism is stupid when there are so many legitimate reasons to hate other people.”

And, yeah, that line is from the same guy who asked why it’s OK to have Dutch Boy™ brand latex paint but not a Jew Boy brand.

Anyway – I have a plan to end, once and for all, racism in the United States. It won’t work overnight, but the VodkaPundit Plan is certain to work over the course of a few generations.

The beauty of the VodkaPundit Plan is that it doesn’t require much new government spending, it doesn’t open businesses up to a new host of lawsuits, there are no new college admission standards, no expensive and pointless diversity sensitivity training classes, and no meddlesome Supreme Court to muck up the works.

The VodkaPundit Plan can be summarized in two words: Mandatory miscegenation.

After the passage of the VodkaPundit plan, marriage will no longer be left up to the whims of love struck fools, with all their sickening gooey talk and self-written wedding vows and eventual pain, recrimination, and expensive divorces. We’re going back to the old, tried-and-true way of arranged marriages – so the conservatives will be just as happy as the liberals are sure to be with the VodkaPundit Plan.

Marriage will be run like the military draft used to be. At the age of consent, you’ll be given a Federal lottery number. If, for instance, you’re white, your number will be drawn on your 18th birthday (13 in Arkansas) and you’ll be told whether you can marry another white person, or a person of color-other-than-pink. Color will be chosen by percentage. So you’ll have a 13 percent chance of having to marry a black or Latino, a 1 percent chance of having to marry a Jew, etc.

And the best part? You’ll be allowed to marry the person of you choice — that’s right: freedom will still ring. Just so long, of course, as they’re from the Federally-mandated part of the color wheel. And don’t panic, racist fiends: For now, your chances of getting to marry a white person are still slightly over 50 percent!

With each census every ten years, the proportions will be changed to reflect the new national figures for each race. Assuming normal fertility rates, the VodkaPundit Plan should result in the entire nation being the same tasty bronze color within a century or three.

Sure, there are problems such as dusky illegal immigrants who won’t draw lottery numbers, and we’re going to lose a lot of really funny jokes — but think of the progress we’ll make. For example, if white men still won’t be able to dance to syncopated rhythms, it’s because we won’t be around any more. Black guys will lose their stranglehold on the NBA, and — at long last — people other than Hispanics will finally be able to get decent Mexican food. A guy named Yamamoto stuck doing janitorial work? Under the VodkaPundit plan, it could happen!

The VodkaPundit Plan is also proven to work. American Jews have been marrying Goyim under a similar, self-imposed system for over fifty years, and already you can’t hardly tell them from regular white people anymore. There are probably even some on a TV show you already enjoy — it’s true.

Best of all, eventually we’ll have one less ridiculous reason to distrust, hate, and kill each other. And we won’t have to worry about some nasty lawsuit messing up my Plan. Just this week, the Supreme Court upheld a similar diversity requirement at the University of Michigan as a worthy “social good.”

To top things off, I present the VodkaPundit Plan to end sexual discrimination: From this day forward, everyone will be required to be gay at work. (Gym teachers, interior decorators, and wedding consultants exempted.)

Fashion classes start on Monday.

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Hey

June 27th, 2003 - 1:38 am

If you’re a Colorado blogger, leave a comment (and a link) in the “Drinks” under this post.

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Ecstasy-Laced Valium

June 27th, 2003 - 12:53 am

This David Ignatius column is the most depressingly upbeat thing I’ve read in ages:

…this week I wanted to shake my Arab writer friends and say: Come on, gang. Stop whining and get moving. If you don’t want America to shape your future, then take control of it yourselves.

That’s the kicker, but go on and read the whole thing.

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Slow on the Uptake?

June 27th, 2003 - 12:37 am

In a long-winded column about nothing I posted yesterday, there was this little aside:

Years ago, my Grandfather Green and I were making fun of how “pneumonia” is spelled. He said, “The P is silent, as in ‘bath.’”

Hardly anyone asked how my puppy is, or if Adam and I got all the work done on the yard. But you can bet there was a bunch of email asking to explain the damn pun. Let’s sound it out.

“The pee is silent, as in bath.”

Get it now?

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(Rim Shot)

June 27th, 2003 - 12:23 am

Strom Thurmond is dead at 100, according to this South Carolina The State obit, which was mostly collated during the Ford Administration.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to duck a bunch of nasty emails, telling again me how nasty I’ve been.

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Number One With a Budget

June 27th, 2003 - 12:17 am

Colorado is the finest state in the Union.

You know all the touristy reasons already. Purple mountains majesty, every imaginable outdoor activity shy of having an ocean, truly fine dining (at last!) to show off the results of our world-class ranching, really cool military installations, some of the most impressive highway engineering in the world (I-70 between the Eisenhower Tunnel and Grand Junction makes me wish I’d been a civil engineer), fine public and private universities, low crime rates. . .it’s an almost-endless list. Really, unless you simply can’t live without an ocean, there’s no place better than Colorado.

That’s not to say we don’t have our problems. City planning around here, especially in my town of Colorado Springs, might just be the world’s most unfunny joke. Our traffic works on Chaos Theory, only without the structure. Too many transplanted Left Coasties and Flatlanders (I’m guilty of being a bit of both) have caused all sorts of problems. We’ve been in a drought now for four years, and our booming population makes the long-term water situation look even worse.

But at least we’re adept at governing ourselves.

I should modify that a wee bit. We’re as good at self-governance as any democratic republic, and better than most. Democracy is a messy, uneven process that’s bound to take too long, please no one, and leave lots of stuff undone. In that way, we here in Colorado are no better or worse than anyone else. Sure, a Mussolini here might make the Denver Metro run on time, and a Hitler might be able to unsnarl our highways

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Not Even a Phone Call?

June 27th, 2003 - 12:07 am

OK, it’s now past midnight here in the Rockies. That means it’s an hour later where Lileks lives — and we still don’t have a piping hot pile of fresh Bleat.

Wednesday I wondered. Thursday I was saddened. But this has me worried.

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Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

June 27th, 2003 - 12:01 am

Here’s a bit of willful stupidity from The Wall Street Journal:

The Supreme Court ended its term yesterday by issuing two controversial opinions that suggest an odd understanding of its judicial obligations.

The Court was perfectly happy to instruct Texans on what they ought to think about homosexuality, a subject not addressed in the Constitution and historically left to state legislatures.

No, that’s not what the high court said. On a legal basis, the Supremes ruled that Texas can’t have one set of rules for gays (sodomy BAD), and another set of rules for straights (Sodomy? Cool!)

On a moral basis, no one told anybody what to think. Or what to say, or even how to feel. Not one Texan will change what he thinks or says or feels about gays because the Supreme Court struck down an unjust law — nor does the ruling require them to.

All that changed is that two men or two women in Texas can no longer get arrested for doing what straight couples have forever been doing there without fear of prosecution.

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Wish I’d Said That

June 26th, 2003 - 12:57 am

The last word on gay marriage.

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There’s a Point Here Down Near the Bottom

June 26th, 2003 - 12:43 am

Some days you wake up certain you’re not going to get anything done. Or at least not anything you want to get done.

Ye Olde Insomnia returned last night. Oh, not the PM (Pre-Melissa) version I’ve had since childhood, the kind where you stare at the ceiling, counting the minutes you could still sleep if you’d just pass out right now. Then panicking at how little sleep that would be, then panicking at the panic because it’s just keeping you awake longer. Next thing, you’re looking at the sky brightening in the skylights, and pulling yesterday’s t-shirt off the floor and over your face.

Nope, nothing like that. Just an unplanned-for late night, followed by an early morning which came shockingly, well, early.

First problem: Sick puppy. Really, that’s not a cause for concern. Baby dogs get upset tummies all the time, especially Goldens — there’s nothing they won’t try to eat. But this morning, things were coming out of him I won’t describe, not after inflicting you with tales of walking pneumonia a while back.

(Quick timeout for one of the best puns ever. Years ago, my Grandfather Green and I were making fun of how “pneumonia” is spelled. He said, “The P is silent, as in ‘bath.’”)

Xander’s tail still wagged, but his little fuzzy butt didn’t swing along with it. He also wasn’t taking his food, so I gave the vet a ring. “My pup is lethargic and listless and has a very upset tummy.” “No worries,” the nice lady told me. “Puppies get sick, but bring him in tomorrow morning if he still isn’t well.” Fine, fine

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Required Reading

June 25th, 2003 - 12:26 am

This one will make you think. It’s William Gibson on George Orwell, electronic surveillance, the Terror War, and the future of freedom.

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Notice

June 25th, 2003 - 12:22 am

Light blogging today. Many errands to run, plus a quick drive up to Denver and back to pick up some cheap labor — namely, my “little brother” Adam to help with the yard work.

Now if only we could get him to work as cheap as I did twenty-mumble years ago.

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You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

June 25th, 2003 - 12:19 am

There was a joke going around a year or three back about how the New York Times would announce the coming of the Trump and the Shout:

World to End Tomorrow
Women and Minorities Affected Most

Funny and satirical, right? No longer. Read the blurb from yesterday’s Nick Kristof:

With the fall of Saddam Hussein, an iron curtain of fundamentalism risks falling over Iraq, with grievous implications for girls and women.

Am I saying that women and proto-women don’t have it rough under Islamist regimes? Hardly. But what about gays, Jews, Christians, atheists, agnostics, free-thinkers, and that vast majority of decent Muslim men who don’t belong to the Islamist power structure?

Yeah, they all got it easy, Nicky — you suck-up.

Howell Raines is gone from the NYT, but that doesn’t mean the Op-Ed page hasn’t sunk to a level below parody.

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Tune in Tomorrow?

June 25th, 2003 - 12:11 am

We’re all hoping all is well at Jasperwood.

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Quickie

June 24th, 2003 - 3:52 pm

Interesting polling data from CalPundit Kevin Drum:

44% think American casualties have been unacceptable, up from 28% a couple of months ago.

72% are concerned that we will get “bogged down in a long and costly peacekeeping mission.”

Kevin adds:

Taken together, these two things don’t bode well for our willingness to stick it out in Iraq. We seem willing to support war in the abstract, but rather less willing to support the necessary followup. That’s a bad combination.

In, as they say, deed.

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Good Read

June 24th, 2003 - 3:13 pm

Tiger reviews the top blogs. (Found on Outside the Beltway.)

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Two Evils

June 24th, 2003 - 2:53 pm

Interesting article by Noam Scheiber on The New Republic Online.
Unlike some folks at the Fed (and here at VodkaPundit), Scheiber is pretty sanguine about the threat deflation poses:

And yet, when you look closer at the analogies to Japan and the Depression, as well as the other deflationary episodes throughout history, all of a sudden the risks don’t seem so great after all. Depression-style deflationary spirals should indeed be avoided. But the mere fact that average prices are falling does not a deflationary spiral make. In fact, throughout much of history, falling prices have happily co-existed with economic growth.

The problem that Scheiber sees is that the Fed’s deflation-battling policies could bring us a return of stagflation.

On the other hand, the mirror image of deflation–a period of persistent inflation, which the Fed would be forced to combat with higher interest rates–can be very damaging to the economy itself. Rising interest rates inevitably slow down everything from housing and auto sales–major drivers of short-term economic growth–to investment by business, which determines the rate at which the economy can grow in the long term. The result could be that the rising unemployment and weak economic growth of the last few years remain with us for a frighteningly long time to come. By demonizing the risks of deflation while downplaying those of inflation, our policymakers may be setting us up for just the economic stagnation they so desperately hope to avoid.

If you’re too young to remember, stagflation is a recession with high inflation — a combination the Keynesian economists assured us couldn’t exist.

The problem I see with Scheiber’s article is twofold. We know, from hard experience, how to combat stagflation. Under Reagan’s first two years in office, then-Fed Chief Paul Volker jacked up interest rates and shrank the money supply. Once inflation’s power was sapped in the resulting crash, credit and the rates were both eased, leading to the big boom we experienced from 1983-2000, with only one brief interruption in 1991.

We also know, from even harder experience, that we have no goddamn clue how to get out of a deflationary spiral. Only the forced rigors of World War II got us out of the Great Depression, and Japan has been battling unsuccessfully for a decade to get out of its deflation trap.

Scheiber has me convinced that a little deflation can be a good thing. Remember that this country industrialized itself after the Civil War during a very long period of gradually declining prices.

But I still have to wonder if a deflationary tailspin still isn’t more dangerous than another bout of Carter-era malaise. Carter, after all, brought us Reagan, our first decent president in 20 years. FDR gave us the ever-expanding nanny state.

We’ve recovered from Carter, but the worst bits of the FDR legacy still live on.

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Something New

June 24th, 2003 - 11:10 am

Comics fans, rejoice.

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How Can We Miss You If You Won’t Go Away?

June 24th, 2003 - 10:43 am

Juan Gato has not left the building.

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Tourist Season — Free Tags

June 24th, 2003 - 10:41 am

The War Resisters League is coming to my town for their annual conference. Here’s my favorite bit:

Colorado Springs is beautiful, located at the foot of Pike

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Still Confused?

June 24th, 2003 - 1:20 am

Steve Dunn has the layman’s version of yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on Michigan’s affirmative action programs.

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Too Funny

June 24th, 2003 - 1:10 am

Not even I stooped quite this low.

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Pleasant Valley Monday

June 24th, 2003 - 12:46 am

Monday’s late start turned into a no-start for blogging. Oops. Got busy, forgot about the news. So what did I spend my day doing? People who know me in Real Life will laugh out loud, but I mostly spent the day in the yard.

People know me know that I hate yard work even more than I hate

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Notice

June 23rd, 2003 - 9:24 am

Late start today — back in just a bit.

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So Lifelike

June 20th, 2003 - 3:01 am

Frankly, I don’t see what the big deal is. I saw Gore TV 25 years ago.

Of course, back then, Disney called the talking robots “audioanimatronic attractions.”

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Krauthammer Hits His Own Thumb

June 20th, 2003 - 1:42 am

Krauthammer wants the US to do the smart thing and reduce our reliance on Saudi oil. He’s not just chasing the chimera of energy independence, he also wants to deprive our enemies of one of the best sources of walking-around-blowing-stuff-up money.

Here’s the sensible part of the K-Plan:

Liberals also need to get over their allergy to the cleanest form of energy, nuclear power. The administration has proposed support for a new generation of safer nuclear reactors. You’d think environmentalists would be enthusiastic. Nuclear energy is remarkably benign: no greenhouse gases or other pollutants strewn in the air, the water and your lungs. Of course, like all energy, nuclear has its pollutant — there is no free lunch — but in this case you can find it, concentrate it, put it in box cars and ship it off to some Godforsaken mountain in the desert.

Then Krauthammer skips uncharacteristically off into la-la land:

We must reduce oil consumption. The easiest way to do it is simply to artificially raise the price of oil — i.e., tax it.

Oil is currently selling at about $30 a barrel. Slap, say, a $5 (or $10 — the bazaar is open) tax on every imported barrel. And most important, keep the new price — let’s say $35 — as a floor. The world market price is likely to fall as Iraqi oil comes online, as Venezuela stabilizes and as Russian and Caspian producers ramp up production.

This presents a wonderful opportunity to capture the fall in oil prices in the form of taxes. Say oil drops to $20 a barrel. Raise the import fee to $15 a barrel, so the consumer keeps paying $35 a barrel net. The windfall goes to the U.S. Treasury.

Uh-oh.

Kids, of all the stupid-ass ways I can think of to reduce oil consumption, this has to be the stupidest-assedist. Sending five or ten of 15 bucks to Washington for every barrel of oil we import is like, in the wise words of P.J. O’Rourke, “giving whisky and car keys to teenage boys.”

If you give that money to Congress, you know what those bastards will do? That’s right: They’ll spend it.

And they won’t spend it to shore up the imaginary Social Security Trust Fund. They won’t put it away for a day when it’s raining airliners on Manhattan again. And they certainly won’t pay down the debt or reduce taxes (much).

Oh, no.

We’ll get more protection for snail-darters. (I first typed “snail-daters,” then fixed it, but realized that under Krauthammer’s plan, they’ll probably get subsidized, too.) There will be cash giveaways to cash-strapped oil importers economically harmed by the new oil tax. Ford and GM will stick their hands out, too, so they can (they’ll claim) patriotically research more alternate-fuel vehicles. We’ll even get Free SARS for Seniors or SARS-Free Seniors or something.

If Krauthammer’s wish comes true, they’ll be toasting and drinking in Washington like the patrons of a drag show when the singer launches into the big finale of “It’s Raining Men.”

If things get so bad that we really, honestly, have to make a big dent in our oil imports (and, let’s be honest, drilling in Alaska won’t cover the difference), then do something sincerely stupid, like applying CAFE standards to SUVs. Or maybe go half-cynically stupid, and give government-rebate checks to people who buy hybrid-powered cars.

But please, please, people — don’t start sending free money to our elected representatives. They’ll just use it to buy more votes.

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