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Monthly Archives: August 2003

Notice

August 31st, 2003 - 10:16 pm

Enjoy Labor Day, kids. I’ll be back on Tuesday, with exciting new tales of home improvement terror.

Either that, or more of the usual snarky political stuff. Or both.

Cheers.

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The Law

August 29th, 2003 - 11:08 am

Murphy must’ve worn a uniform.

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Required Reading

August 29th, 2003 - 9:48 am

VDH.

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50 Things al Qaeda Hates about America

August 29th, 2003 - 1:01 am

Freedom of speech
Unhindered scientific inquiry
Recent advances in airline security
Your lewd women
Illegal detentions of Muslims by John Ashcroft’s Justice Department
Worshipping false idols not punishable by death
Most citizens uninformed about Allah’s mercy and justice
The 82nd Airborne Division
McRibs actually contain small amount of real pork
Cities full of clean-shaven pretty boys
The seduction of youth by Demi Moore
Louis Farrakhan’s geeky little bowties make us look bad
Trampy “Sex in the City” girls won’t stick around for a seventh season
On pilot school admission essay question, spelling counts
Can no one make Al Franken shut up?
Snooty Holiday Inn clerks can always tell when you ordered porn
The Arabic dub of “Jakob the Liar” just didn’t do it justice
No international shipping for “Coed Naked Volleyball” t-shirts
That “camel jockey” thing turns out to be an insult
A lap dance is still 20 bucks, even when the song is short
Unable to find decent falafel anywhere in Oklahoma
“The Matrix Reloaded” just leaves you hanging
Lambskin condoms not actually for lambs
All those Wilfred Brimley ads on Fox News Channel
Infidels who say “irregardless” when it’s just “regardless,” damnit
There will be no forgiveness for the “Bobby dreamed it all” season of Dallas
Reliable and affordable breast reduction surgery
Still can’t get the original Star Wars on DVD
Miami chicks don’t dig unibrows
American convenience stores don’t carry anything for burqa rash
Your Brad Pitt makes us feel all funny inside
You ever seen how many dials and doodads there are in a 737 cockpit?
So-called “Sea Monkeys” really just brine shrimp
Widely-held belief that Siegfried & Roy are gay
Having to constantly explain to people that “Sha Na Na” isn’t an Arab band
Sneers for not always following the U-after-Q rule
Loud rock’n'roll music intrudes on peaceful ululating
Racism towards Arabs becomes obvious when caught giggling at the Holocaust Museum
We thought a “B-52 strike” meant no more awful singing from Fred Schneider
Not one Arab on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”
Suspicious looks when loading a van full of manure and diesel oil
American harlots never buy that “big beard” myth
You people been real touchy the last couple years
Have you seen the price of gas in New York?
Brother Achmed found Florida ballot most confusing
Couldn’t get “The Producers” tickets in time to see Broderick & Lane
That Ten Commandments judge in Alabama is some kind of religious nut
Smartass web pundits with their useless lists
Denise Richards hasn’t returned any of our calls
You bastards fight back

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Here’s the promised link to the Hillary for President story, and here’s the money graf:

For the record, our new senator has said she was not interested in the presidency. So has former Vice President Al Gore, who might be rethinking his own future. Not for the record, though, Hillary and her advisers, including her husband the ex-president, her money men and pollsters, will meet shortly after Labor Day — Sept. 6, I hear — to discuss whether or not she should go for it. It is a decision that has to be made earlier rather than later because of November and December filing deadlines for the early primary elections that will almost certainly (and very quickly) identify the 2004 Democratic nominee.

That’s what Richard Reeves reports, and you already know what I think.

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Left Coast Brain Drain

August 29th, 2003 - 12:36 am

An interesting, and under-reported, statistic from Daniel Henninger:

The most significant voting bloc in California’s famous recall election isn’t Hispanics or angry male Democrats but the people who were so eager to weigh in that they’ve already voted–with their feet. According to a report out this month from the U.S. Census Bureau, an astounding 2,204,500 Californians threw in the towel from 1995 to 2000 and highballed it out of the “Golden State.” The state’s net migration figure for the period is –755,536, and would be worse if Latin American immigrants didn’t still drop in for a look. This is the first time the net migration number for California has ever gone negative.

There’s more:

If you look down the Census Bureau’s coming-and-going column nearby, the consistent breakdown of Democratic blue-state population losers and Republican red-state gainers is striking (there are exceptions; Oregon and Washington state gained, while Louisiana lost). This may leave the blue states bluer than ever, but not very pleasant places to live if their most industrious, motivated citizens are loading up one-way U-Hauls.

Is California the new Europe?

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Feel Free to Skip This Post III

August 29th, 2003 - 12:30 am

It’s one of those crazy nights you have when you’re 22 or 23.

You and your best friend RJ are drinking straight from a gallon jug of Carlo Rossi Hearty Burgundy, and watching the Tom Waits video, “Big Time.” The two of you are dating roommates, two college girls without much sense, except for fun. By the time you get to the part where Waits is playing a strip club barker and snarls, “We got seven X’s

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Food for Thought

August 28th, 2003 - 9:23 pm

Suleyman Green is people!

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Notice

August 28th, 2003 - 8:53 pm

Later tonight: 50 Things That Make al Qaeda Hate the US.

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Better Never Than Late

August 28th, 2003 - 3:08 pm

Here’s the above-the-mast teaser from Drudge:

There is said to be some fire to the smoke this Labor Day weekend over a report that Hillary Clinton has set a date to discuss a run for the presidency… Hillary and her advisers, including her husband the ex-president, her money-men and pollsters, will meet shortly after Labor Day — September 6,- to discuss whether or not she should go for it!

No story yet, so no link. Um, “Developing. . .”

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Late II

August 28th, 2003 - 3:03 pm

The American Mind points to some good economic sense (for a change) coming out of the Bush Administration:

Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, Commerce Secretary Don Evans and other economic advisors want President Bush to roll back tariffs he imposed on $3 billion in steel imports, people familiar with the matter said.

Bush’s economic team will argue that the tariffs ended up hurting U.S. manufacturers such as Caterpillar Inc. more than they helped steelmakers such as U.S. Steel Corp., said administration officials and outside advisors who requested anonymity.

“They understand they’ve done more political and economic harm than good,” said Stephen Moore, president of the Washington-based Club for Growth, the second-biggest funding source for Republicans after the party itself. “It’s really damaged the administration’s free-trade credentials.”

I had my say on this in March of last year.

And check out The American Mind this afternoon while you’re surfing. It’s a new-to-me blog, and a good one at that.

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He’s Kidding, Right?

August 28th, 2003 - 12:39 pm

Frank J discusses where to keep your guns and dispose of your children.

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Late

August 28th, 2003 - 12:24 pm

Just because something sat in my Inbox for a week before I saw it, doesn’t necessarily make it any less timely.

You know what to do.

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We Ain’t Talkin’ Cecil B. DeMille

August 28th, 2003 - 12:17 pm

He claimed that Mother Teresa was a poseur. Then he argued that Henry Kissinger should be tried as a war criminal.

And now, Christopher Hitchens takes on The Ten Commandments:

The first four of the commandments have little to do with either law or morality, and the first three suggest a terrific insecurity on the part of the person supposedly issuing them. I am the lord thy god and thou shalt have no other … no graven images … no taking of my name in vain: surely these could have been compressed into a more general injunction to show respect. The ensuing order to set aside a holy day is scarcely a moral or ethical one, unless you assume that other days are somehow profane. (The Rev. Ian Paisley, I remember, used to refuse interviewers for Sunday newspapers even after it was pointed out to him that it’s the Monday edition that is prepared on Sunday.) Whereas a day of rest, as prefigured in the opening passages of Genesis, is no more than organized labor might have demanded, perhaps during the arduous days of unpaid pyramid erection.

There’s more, much more, and it’s all blasphemously funny.

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Carry On

August 28th, 2003 - 11:42 am

Read this post from Andrew Olmstead, and you’ll learn that you don’t have to go to war to be a good soldier.

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Tick

August 28th, 2003 - 11:36 am

Here’s the entire text of an AP wire story:

North Korea startled a six-nation conference in China on East Asian security by announcing its intentions to formally declare its possession of nuclear weapons and to carry out a nuclear test, an administration official said Thursday.

North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Yong Il also told the gathering that his country has the means to deliver nuclear weapons, an apparent reference to the North’s highly developed missile program.

The comments cast a pall over Thursday’s plenary session, which included representatives of the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia, in addition to North Korea.

Last week I wrote:

Kim has all kinds of cards to play, which means these talks will be a six-ring circus featuring nuclear weapons on the flying trapeze.

Yep. Crazy bluff and bluster is North Korea’s preferred negotiating stance. The question is: Does it help them?

We’re trying to negotiate away Kim’s nukes. Kim is trying to keep his program, while getting dollars, fuel oil, and food from us. If he scares us enough, he might just get what he wants, so, yes, the Raving Loon Strategem is probably his best option.

The good news is, the Bush Administration has yet to flinch when dealing the the DPRK — so Kim’s best option is still a slim one.

But what about our goal of getting (or if you’re a dreamer, “maintaining”) a nuke-free North Korea? Frankly, our chances are about the same as a drunk cheerleader keeping her panties on at a frat party.

So why do we bother? Simple: Time. We have it, and Kim doesn’t. If he’s being a maniac at the negotiating table, then he’s not being maniacal on the south side of the DMZ. Meanwhile, the clock on his doomed regime keeps ticking.

(Steven Den Beste covered all this a while back much better than I ever could, but his site won’t load up today — so no link just yet.)

UPDATE: Here’s the link to the Den Beste essay.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Den Beste has more, and argues we accomplished more than just keeping Kim busy for a couple of days.

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Or in Inches

August 28th, 2003 - 10:18 am

More from the North Korean talks:

All sides attending the Beijing six-party talks Thursday “frankly” exchanged views on principled stands and proposals they raised Wednesday. This was disclosed by sources from the Chinese delegation attending the talks which entered its second day Thursday.

“A frank exchange of views” doesn’t mean there was lots of shouting. Diplomats don’t generally shout — they leave that to “lesser beings,” like Army officers.

What it does mean is that everybody repeated the same, boring statements all day long, and that all the positions were diametrically opposed. It’s the trench warfare of diplomacy, and victories will be measured in yards.

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“‘Pravda‘ Means ‘Truth’”

August 28th, 2003 - 10:06 am

From Pravda:

Alexander Losyukov, the chief Russian delegate and deputy foreign minister, has told journalists North Korean nuclear program “was not specifically discussed” during the hexapartite negotiations in Beijing.

According to Losyukov, at the talks North Korean representatives said Pyongyang stood for the non-nuclear status of the Korean peninsula and was not interested in nuclear weapons possession.

“Our experts think N. Korea has no nuclear weapons and technology possession does not necessarily imply the presence of physical nuclear weapons,” said Losyukov.

That’s diplo-speak for “Just because we Russians agreed to join these talks, doesn’t mean we’re going to make things easy for the Americans. Far from it.”

And now I get to say, “I told you so.”

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Long-Term Problem

August 28th, 2003 - 9:57 am

Still worried about China? Read this from Geoffrey Cain at StrategyPage and worry a little more.

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40 Years

August 28th, 2003 - 2:01 am

For legal reasons, it’s difficult and expensive to see and hear the entirety of Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Thanks to the internet, you can read it free of charge. Just click the “more” button below.

And that’s today’s Required Reading.

(more…)

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The Eighth Pillar

August 28th, 2003 - 1:22 am

It’s official — now everybody has a blog.

UPDATE: If Allah is all-knowing and all-merciful, then why can’t He spell my name right?

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Goldstar Rising

August 28th, 2003 - 1:13 am

Want to know why China is getting as close to selling out their North Korean allies as they possibly dare? Why, of course you do. So check this out from Channel NewsAsia:

Trade between China and South Korea now stands at US$42 billion, and is set to grow further.

South Korea has also emerged as the sixth largest foreign investor, and a leading source of technology transfers in China.

That is a far cry from trade with Pyongyang, which stands at a low US$1.2 million, mostly from buying North Korean zinc, aluminium, and scrap metal.

So it comes as little surprise that many are counting on China to defuse the nuclear crisis, so as to protect its economic self-interest and ensure its stability.

Before you go and email me with all the other reasons for China’s actions, let me list them here first:

Yes, China fears that if North Korea gets (more) nukes, then so will South Korea, and possibly Japan and Taiwan, too.

True, Beijing desires a deal where the US or some combination of states gives the North enough money to keep refugees out of China.

Of course, China simply can’t afford a war just yet.

And I already know, thank you, that China desires to be seen as a responsible member of the community of nations, that their real concern lies across the Taiwan Straits, and that they really need to keep open their trade links with the US.

But never underestimate the importance of this little fact: South Korea makes cheap televisions.

I’m exaggerating here, but not by much. China’s middle class is growing quickly, and if they aren’t kept happy then there’s a-gonna be trouble. South Korea makes all kinds of decent-but-cheap consumer electronics that China can’t yet make herself

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Le Grinch

August 28th, 2003 - 12:47 am

It can’t happen here:

France, a country where leisure time is sacrosanct, is mulling a radical plan for financing health care after a heat wave estimated to have killed thousands: Make people work on a national holiday.

The idea, which the government floated Wednesday, immediately split opinion and provoked one main question – which of France’s 11 national holidays should go? Labor Day, perhaps, or a religious festival?

No, really — it can’t happen here. Imagine the uproar if some politician suggested crimping the kids’ biggest day, to pay for grandma’s dentures.

On the other hand, Christmas here is pretty much a glorious day of untrammeled consumerism, and we seem to save most of our holiest feelings for Easter.

That’s opposed to France, which performs all its mystical worship on Labor Day.

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And Now Something Nice About California

August 28th, 2003 - 12:41 am

Really, I think this old news ought to help Arnold. And my jaded self means that as a compliment.

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Man the Virtual Barricades. . .

August 28th, 2003 - 12:39 am

. . . And don’t blog the revolution without me.

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Only in California

August 28th, 2003 - 12:37 am

The Berkeley professors who published that silly attack on conservatives a few weeks ago, now claim that conservatives are too stupid to understand what they really meant. Read:

Apparently without reading our original articles or attempting to contact any of us, many commentators and syndicated columnists, including Ann Coulter and Cal Thomas — George Will [op-ed, Aug. 10] apparently read but misunderstood our work) — assumed that such a psychological analysis of ideology entails a judgment that conservatism must be abnormal, pathological or even the result of mental illness. The British media seem to have settled on the highly stigmatized and equally inaccurate term “neuroses.” All of this reflects a crude and outdated perception of psychological research.

Whomever knows, I’m no fan of Coulter or Thomas. But if Kruglanski and Jost weren’t making the point everyone thinks they were trying to make, then why did they preface their paper with a George Will line taken out of context? Read from Will on August 10:

The professors’ paper is adorned with this epigraph:

“Conservatism is a demanding mistress and is giving me a migraine.”

– George F. Will

A “mistress” who is “demanding”? Freud, call your office. The epigraph is from “Bunts,” a book of baseball essays, from an essay concerning what conservatives should think about the designated hitter.

Only in Berkeley, I suppose, is it considered proper to get defensive when you’re properly understood.

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It’s Theraputic

August 27th, 2003 - 2:40 pm

It’s OK to be angry — and Sheila O’Malley most certainly is.

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Required Reading

August 27th, 2003 - 1:17 pm

Austin Bay. ‘Nuff said.

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Let the Good Times Roll (Downhill)

August 27th, 2003 - 9:47 am

What keeps the US economy afloat in these troubled waters? Robert Samuelson says it’s easy credit and aging Boomers:

To some extent the life cycle defeated the economic cycle, Sterne says. Families wanted bigger homes. Their children, flooding high schools and colleges, demanded computers, CDs and cars. From March 2001 to March 2003, says Sterne, several dozen product categories experienced “remarkable” double-digit increases, including cell phones, motorcycles, toys, jewelry and hardware.

One reason Americans could spend freely is that they went deeper into debt. Indeed, the democratization of debt is a great story of the late 20th century. In 1946, just after World War II, consumer debt amounted to 22 percent of household after-tax income, reports the Federal Reserve. (That is, for every $10,000 of income, there was $2,200 of debt.) Now debt is almost 110 percent of income. More families borrow, and debtors have more debt in relation to income.

But like any debt binge, it has to end someday:

The bad news is that all the good news won’t last forever. Spending demographics will deteriorate slightly in the next decade, says Sterne. Younger households — relatively poorer — will grow rapidly. An aging baby boom will slowly lose purchasing power. The larger and iffier issue involves the inevitable, though undetermined, end of America’s 60-year credit binge. Interest rates have risen from recent lows, and greater threats loom.

Household debt can’t permanently grow faster than household income, though it has for decades. Sooner or later families will decide they’ve borrowed enough, or too much. Sooner or later baby boomers will pay down lifetime debts. Sooner or later lenders will exhaust good credit risks. Indeed, whether the aggressive lending of recent years has gone too far remains unsettled. Higher delinquency and personal bankruptcy rates are causes for concern.

Then there’s another factor Samuelson leaves out, one that might be a cause for even greater concern.

The Baby Boomers will start to retire in 2011. And what do retirees do? They begin to sell their equities to pay for their retirements. My generation, the so-called Gen X, has too few people to keep stock prices up at the levels where boomer investments kept them. And Gen Y will still be too young (and therefore poor) to make up the rest of the difference.

The economic boom of the ’90s (and the economy’s resilience during the Current Mess) was more due to a happy confluence of events than it was to any policy from Washington. That’s not to say that our balanced budgets didn’t help, but they were less a cause than they were an effect.

Depressed equities markets, increased Social Security and Medicare payouts, higher interest rates, and tougher credit are all in store for us just a little down the road.

Hope you didn’t get too used to the good times.

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By a Nose — Karl Malden’s Nose

August 27th, 2003 - 1:58 am

Zogby claims Howard Dean leads John Kerry 2-1 in New Hampshire. Dave Cullen has the full story.

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