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Monthly Archives: February 2006

“Iraq Without a Gun”

February 13th, 2006 - 10:01 am

Michael Totten is back from Iraq, and blogging up a storm. The first post is here, but he promises many, many more.

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Notice/Party Notice

February 12th, 2006 - 10:05 pm

Lack of sleep? No problem. The slightest touch of whatever bug is popular around here? No big deal. Combine them, though, and what little brain function I have on a good day is…


…I can’t think of how to finish that sentence, so I think I’ll take the night off. See you Monday morning.

Before I forget to remind you, don’t forget to remember this Saturday’s Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash Vista. Meet at the Breckenridge Brewery around 6ish.

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What He Said

February 12th, 2006 - 2:36 pm

Jonah Goldberg on Ann Coulter:

My “reluctance” to discuss Ann has very little to do with any double standard and more to do with a more general unwillingness to talk about her routine at all. But, even though I think Media Matters is something of a joke, that doesn’t mean the point isn’t valid. I don’t think Ann does anybody but herself any good when she jokes about killing presidents, Supreme Court justices or uses terms like raghead. I don’t think she should do it and I don’t think conservatives should applaud it. I’m all for shattering the stereotype that conservatives can’t tell a joke, but that doesn’t mean any joke is worth making just because it gets a laugh (indeed, some jokes shouldn’t be made for fear that they will generate a laugh). Regardless, if anyone thinks Ann is going to stop her act simply because she gets heat from the likes of me, they’re crazy.

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The Weather Outside Is Frightful

February 12th, 2006 - 8:14 am

Okay, it’s not exactly frightful here in Atlanta, where big, puffy flakes just started falling. It’s pretty lousy in Philadelphia, though, where my in-laws have been stuck in the airport since three this morning. They’re hearing now that they might get on their way (to Mexico, where hopefully snow is not a factor) by seven tonight.

Just in case you were thinking you were having a crummy day…

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Even More Cartoon Violence

February 10th, 2006 - 9:49 pm

Judith Weiss says, “It’s like the hamster dance, only more blasphemous.”

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Miami Blues

February 10th, 2006 - 2:13 pm

This is just wrong:

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP) — Airport baggage screeners found a human head with teeth, hair and skin in the luggage of a woman who said she intended to ward off evil spirits with it, authorities said Friday.

Myrlene Severe, 30, a Haitian-born permanent U.S. resident, was charged Friday with smuggling a human head into the U.S. without proper documentation.

I don’t mean to say there’s something wrong with this woman carrying a human head around to ward off spirits. If there’s any difference between that and wafting incense or wearing garlic, then it’s just a matter of taste.

What’s wrong with this story is, it seems to imply that there’s such a thing as proper documentation for this kind of thing.

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Detroit Blues

February 10th, 2006 - 12:41 pm

From The Truth About Cars:

Again, Wall Street was suitably unimpressed with GM’s black February. More importantly, so was United Auto Workers (UAW) President Big Ron Gettelfinger. Lest we forget, convincing the UAW to take one for the team was the whole point of the exercise, as Rabid Rick quickly pointed out: “I think it’s clear, now more than ever, that we very much have a shared fate.

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Cartoon Violence

February 10th, 2006 - 10:33 am

Mike Kinsley:

By contrast, in a spectacular exercise of self-censorship, almost every major newspaper in this country is refraining from publishing the controversial Danish cartoons, even though they are at the center of a major news story that these papers cover at length every day. An editorial in the Times on Wednesday said that not publishing the cartoons was “a reasonable choice” because they would offend many people and “are so easy to describe in words.” As I write I am looking at a front-page photo in today’s Times of Mariah Carey singing into a microphone. Words do it justice, I think.

Charles Krauthammer:

The mob has turned this into a test case for freedom of speech in the West. The German, French and Italian newspapers that republished these cartoons did so not to inform but to defy — to declare that they will not be intimidated by the mob.

What is at issue is fear. The unspoken reason many newspapers do not want to republish is not sensitivity but simple fear. They know what happened to Theo van Gogh, who made a film about the Islamic treatment of women and got a knife through the chest with an Islamist manifesto attached.

You should probably read both columns. You can even find them in the same place – the Washington Post’s Friday op-ed page. It’s interesting that the Post is one of those many, many American papers who won’t publish the cartoons. It’s even more interesting that Kinsley is the paper’s most reliable liberal columnist, and Krauthammer is the fiercest neocon. Yet here they are today in perfect harmony.

Now if only the editors of the Washington Post were half as brave as two of their diametrically opposed columnists.

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February 10th, 2006 - 10:06 am

In response to my question, “Where have the Democrats been,” someone calling himself “True Progressive” comments:

Oh know [sic], we don’t get a whiny neocon on our side. Big loss. Listen up, do think there is an “in-between” on social justice? Well there isn’t. So you take your Randian-fascist views and keep them to yourself. We progressives don’t need you, and we don’t need your militia-KKK buddies either. Keep pumping the corporate and Rovian messages over and over…we are watching you. You nazis won’t infiltrate us. You will be stopped.

Way to win the middle!

It used to be, Democrats prayed for high turnout on election day. The thinking was that a majority of voters held Democratic beleifs – and judging by the results, the thinking was correct. But if “True Progressive” is any indication, the vast majority is no longer welcome in his party, as evidenced by both his arguments and his attitude.

So if the Democrats aren’t about winning the majority, maybe they’re dedicated to disgusting us all so much, that they can win in low-turnout elections.

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Silly Internet Quiz

February 9th, 2006 - 11:17 pm

Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in?

You scored as Serenity (Firefly)

Well, duh.

(Hat tip, Sailorette.)

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Required Reading

February 9th, 2006 - 10:30 pm

Some people think the armed forces are for people of lesser intelligence. Oh, really:

I majored in international relations, and minored in Arabic at the Virginia Military Institute. I studied abroad at the American Language Institute in Fez, Morocco, where I lived in an old medina with an Arab family. I took Arabic at VMI until they ran out of classes, and then had to press the higher-ups to invent more classes so I could continue my studies. I attended multiple

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Bend Over and Take It Like a Neocon

February 9th, 2006 - 10:17 pm

I am sick and tired of being taken advantage of by both political parties. But you know what? Before screwing me over, the Republicans have the decency to at least buy me dinner, and they always use plenty of lube. If only the Democrats were so thoughtful.

That crude imagery came to mind when I read the latest from Ann Althouse. Generally speaking, Ann writes that

In the year that I’ve been blogging I’ve taken a lot of different positions, some left and some right. What I’ve noticed, over and over, is that the bloggers on the right link to you when they agree and ignore the disagreements, and the bloggers on the left link only for the things they disagree with, to denounce you with short posts saying you’re evil/stupid/crazy, and don’t even seem to notice all the times you’ve written posts that take their side.


Ann and I arrived at the same conclusion, even though we chew on different slices of the political pie. She describes herself as “a political moderate.” My beliefs are a bit more radical

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February 9th, 2006 - 9:19 pm

I’m working on something, and I think it’s going to annoy some people. The right people, I hope.

Meantime, sit back and break the threatened boycott by buying some Danish products.

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Fair Question/Asking for Trouble

February 9th, 2006 - 3:48 pm

Am I the last guy in America or maybe the world who just doesn’t care for U2? I mean, they’ve put out a few singles I didn’t hate, but if I hear anything off “The Joshua Tree” one more time, I’m going to step on hungry Third World children until Bono signs an affidavit admitting that “With Or Without You” is legally-smarmy dreck.

PS Same goes for REM, only more so.

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Freedom to Fold II

February 9th, 2006 - 3:05 pm

OK, so maybe the MSM isn’t really a bunch of cowards. Perhaps they’re only cowards selectively:

CNN’s excuse is — and excuse the expression — complete bullshit. Did that consideration — “not unnecessarily adding fuel to the controversy” — stop CNN or any of the rest of the Western media from displaying those inflammatory photos from the Abu Graib prison scandal, globally, for weeks, and 24/7? No?

Ah, but you see, that case was different! Then they were only inflaming Muslims by trashing and insulting the fascistic American military. But here they would be inflaming Muslims by trashing and insulting anti-American terrorists. You do see the difference, don’t you? Unrestricted free speech is contextual: it all depends on whether you’re trashing the reputation of America, or that of its enemies.

We have seen the enemy, and he is us. Except he isn’t really us. The MSM have all-but-declared themselves the useful idiots of the other side. If only they were also dumb – as in, “mute.”

Related stuff here from Pieter Dorsman, who wonders why it’s “taking so long to get the west to formulate a proper response.”

UPDATE: At Cumulative Model, Aaron writes, “But the cartoons suck.”


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Freedom to Fold

February 9th, 2006 - 1:50 pm

Thomas Lifson accuses the press of cowardice:


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Early Handicapping, Thursday Edition

February 9th, 2006 - 1:13 pm

If against all historical records, the Republicans really do gain seats in this mid-term election, it will be in large part because of Howard Dean:

This morning on ABC’s GOOD MORNING AMERICA, Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean attacked President Bush for turning the United States into Iran.

Dean: “All we ask is that we not turn into a country like Iran where the President can do anything he wants.”

Leaving aside Dean’s overheated anti-Bush rhetoric, does he really think that Iran is a one-man dictatorship? It seems Dean knows as much about Iranian politics as he does about… well, anything else, really.

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Pardon the Language

February 9th, 2006 - 12:55 pm

I can’t understand why anyone would want to protest the Olympics. Yet here they go:

Hundreds of street protesters, denouncing the Winter Games, forced Olympic torch bearers to change route through the host city on Thursday on the eve of the opening ceremony.

Games organizers diverted the flame from the protest site after the demonstrators gathered on the planned route and police warned of possible harm to torch bearers or spectators.

“We’ve succeeded today in making our voices heard,” a protest organizer called Marco shouted through a loud speaker. “They’ve diverted the flame.”

If Marco’s message to the world is that he’s a brat, then: We hear you loud and clear, buddy! Most annoying was this:

But a protester called Federico said: “Turin is using this as a showcase to the world. Why shouldn’t we use the same showcase to protest?”

Because the Olympics are about the athletes, and not any spoiled little shits who can do nothing better than get in the way.

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Dig Dug

February 9th, 2006 - 12:06 pm

Near the Gobi Desert, archaeologists have found a 160-million year-old ancestor of Tyrannosaurus Rex:

The primitive ancestor that lived 160 million years ago was a mere 10 feet long when it was alive, compared to the monster T. rex, who measured more than 40 feet from head to tail and dominated all the dinosaurs on Earth more than 90 million years later. Unlike T. rex, the smaller creature bore a striking but fragile crest atop its head, three fingers on the hands of its surprisingly long forearms and a long, slender snout.

To scientists, the find provides new clues to the evolution of the meat-eating dinosaur tribes known as therapods whose ancestral lineage relates them all to the world’s birds of today.

The crested dinosaur has been named Guanlong wucaii, meaning “crowned dragon of the five-colored rocks” — a reference both to the crest that runs from its nose to the back of its head and the colorful layers of sediment where two of the beasts, one atop the other, were discovered three years ago.

Cool. Also, I doubt I’m the only one who feels like an eight-year-old boy again every time I read about dinosaurs.

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Don’t Dis the White Boys

February 9th, 2006 - 11:05 am

You might want to read Ryan Lizza’s just-published piece in The New Republic. Lizza looks at “Hillaryland,” otherwise known as the staff and advisors of Clinton’s senate office and presidential election campaign. (There does seem to be some small difference between the two.) It’s obvious from Lizza’s story that Hillary has put together an impressive machine – maybe the largest and most dedicated in Senate history.

That said, something in the second graf really got under my skin. Detailing Hillayland’s start-up days in the White House way back when, Lizza writes that

Bill Clinton staffers regarded the dwellers in Hillaryland as Kool-Aid drinkers with awful political judgment. Hillarylanders saw Bill’s people as showboats and referred to them dismissively as the “white boys.”

As a white boy myself, I don’t really want to get dismissed just because of my color and sex. I wonder how Lizza would have played that, if it were President Bush’s people dismissing Laura’s staff as “barefoot baby makers.”

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Euro-Weenie Alert

February 9th, 2006 - 11:03 am

Good. Grief.

In an interview with Britain’s Daily Telegraph, EU Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini said the charter would encourage the media to show “prudence” when covering religion.

“The press will give the Muslim world the message: We are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression,” he told the newspaper. “We can and we are ready to self-regulate that right.”

In other words, the EU’s official policy on free speech, when challenged by violent, immature, brainless barbarism is, “RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!”

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Local News/How Not to Celebrate the Superbowl

February 9th, 2006 - 10:14 am

Ed Lambert sent me this item without a link, but it’s worth posting anyway:

A man from Sheridan (Denver-Colorado) is facing explosives charges after he accidentally blew up his own car with a gas-filled balloon he was taking to a Super Bowl party.

The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office found a suspicious-looking car Sunday afternoon behind the old Duggan’s gas station in the 4500 block of South Santa Fe Drive frontage road. Passersby had called in to report some type of explosion or car accident.

When a deputy arrived to check it out, he found a white car that showed obvious signs of an explosion. All the windows were blown out, the vehicle doors were bent towards the outside and the roof was pushed about a foot higher than normal.

The deputy traced the license plate to a home in the 3600 block of South Grove Street in Sheridan. Sheridan officers talked to the people inside and a man and a woman admitted that they were in the car.

They explained that they were taking a balloon to a Super Bowl party — a balloon filled with acetylene, a very explosive gas used in welding — so they could blow up the balloon while celebrating.

However, on the drive, the balloon rolled across the back seat, possibly causing static electricity, and igniting the gas, causing it to explode.

At least nobody has tried that with condoms.

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Thank You

February 9th, 2006 - 10:14 am

Muslim groups apologize for violence

(Hat tip, Jon Baliles.)

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Confessions of a Repentant Windows User

February 8th, 2006 - 10:35 pm

Blame It On the iPod

I always wanted to be a Macintosh guy, and not just because all the cool kids were using Macs. To be honest, I just never much cared for PCs. I bought a Commodore 64 back when they first came out, and spent months convincing everyone I knew they were better machines that PCs. Hell, I spent years doing that, even after IBM had moved on to Intel’s 286 chip, while Commodore was saddled with the slow 6510 processor. But for what I wanted to do (play “Red Storm Rising” and “Raid Over Moscow”), the C-64 really was the better machine.

When the time came twelve years ago to step up to a real computer, I really wanted to get a Mac. There was just one problem: You could fly an X-Wing only on a PC. What I longed to do, more than process words or spread sheets, was to fly as Luke Skywalker down the Death Star trench. And back in ’94, you couldn’t do that on a Mac. So I got myself one of Compaq’s DX 486/50 machines. Six months later, when I tried to upgrade, I regretted the decision.

I didn’t regret getting a PC, because “Tie Fighter” had just been released, and you couldn’t fly for the evil Galactic Empire on a Mac, either. But I sure as hell regretted buying a Compaq, because upgrades cost twice as much as they did for other PC-”clones.” By that time, I’d forgotten all about my old Mac desires.

A few years later, the Internet got big. Really big. So big, that viruses became a big problem. A really big problem. A few years after that, PC users had to worry about spyware. We still do. (In fact, I just read in PC Magazine that the two best anti-spyware programs could only detect and block two-thirds of the bad stuff that’s out there.) But you know what, I still wasn’t thinking about getting a Mac.

Then last March I got myself an iPod.

The iPod was great, but iTunes was a revelation. Either you use iTunes and you’re already nodding in agreement with me, or you haven’t and you don’t understand. If you’re in the first camp, then I don’t need to detail the revelation. If you’re in the second camp, then there’s no point in trying. Just try the PC version of iTunes for a few weeks. It’s free, and so is the revelation.

What I want to do today with my computer is analogous to what I used to do with my old Commodore. I have three big tasks, none requiring major horsepower. I need a solid word processor, a smart spreadsheet, and absolutely top-notch digital photo software. Also, I’d like to play some games. In other words, a Mac and I would get along great.

Problem is, I’ve got umpteen jillion dollars sunk into Windows software. I’m locked in. I’m stuck. And I’m not just stuck with all my old stuff, I’m also stuck with viruses and malware and system reinstalls and crappy networking and all the rest of Bill G’s baggage. Or am I?

Later this year, Apple will introduce a line of Intel-based Macintosh desktop machines. Now I’m no computer whiz, but a Windows-on-Mac emulator should work acceptably well on a “Mactel” computer. An emulator might not work well enough for games

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Required Reading

February 8th, 2006 - 10:22 pm

Who’s dumber: Senate Democrats or Senate Republicans?

You make the call!

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Baked Sale

February 8th, 2006 - 9:31 pm

Turns out, you really can buy anything on eBay.

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New Blogs

February 8th, 2006 - 9:03 pm

Just because a good blog has been around for a year, doesn’t mean I’ve heard of it. You might not have, either. So check out “In From the Cold,” authored by a former US intelligence officer.

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Oh Boy

February 8th, 2006 - 12:54 pm

Avian flu has come to Africa, the continent least able to cope with it.

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Still Not Getting It Dep’t

February 8th, 2006 - 12:37 pm

There she goes again:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday accused Republicans of “playing the fear card” of terrorism to win elections and said Democrats cannot keep quiet if they want to win in November.

The New York Democrat, facing re-election this year and considered a potential White House candidate in 2008, said Republicans won the past two elections on the issue of national security and “they’re doing it to us again.”

Golly. I wonder why.

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Early Handicapping II

February 8th, 2006 - 12:20 pm

Joe Gandelman also read Adam Nagourney’s piece in today’s New York Times, and observes:

To be blunt: you get the sense that in terms of big picture strategy and implementation of short and long range goals the Democrats are simply outclassed.

Joe goes on to give the Democrats some advice – and they’d be smart to pay attention. Especially to the bit about needing a “happy warrior.”

UPDATE: Joe’s advice is well-meant, but I have to disagree with this bit:

Offer the country more highly SPECIFIC alternative positions. The Democrats need a carefully thought out, precise, highly touted Democrat version of Contract With America

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