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Monthly Archives: September 2007

Booze Blogging in Response

September 22nd, 2007 - 4:42 pm

Clark Stooksbury writes:

Perhaps Stephen Green should stop killing brain cells with booze…

Ignore for a moment, that he confuses the motivations of a terrorist organization with those of a government. Can one really argue that the “9/11 attacks haven’t worked out so well for al Qaeda?” What would be the basis for that? Sure, they lost their caves in Afghanistan, but bin Laden managed to find refuge in Pakistan. On the plus side for bin Laden, the attacks killed thousands of infidels and induced the United States into two wars. I assume that bin Laden thanks Allah every day for the invasion of Iraq, which has drawn the U.S. military into a quagmire and discredited America around the world.

Does Stooksbury really believe that the government of Iran isn’t a terrorist organization? And does he not understand that, with its goal of reestablishing the Caliphate, al Qaeda at least pretends at government?

And, yes, 9/11 was a disaster for al Qaeda. They have yet to strike us again here at home. Their current crop of Iraqi suicide bombers come not from the educated middle and upper classes of the Middle East, but from gullible psychopaths. Al Qaeda’s constant terror in Iraq has turned even Sunni Arab populations against them. The US is so discredited that even the French have come around — although maybe that’s a point in Stooksbury’s favor. And, oh yeah, we’ve killed thousands of the terrorist bastards on the battlefields of those two wars.

Is bin Laden, hiding in his upgraded Pakistani cave, really happy about all that? Then why was his latest video sermon directed at the likes of Stooksbury, instead of at the Muslim masses as before?

Drunk, it seems I understand more than Stooksbury does sober. He’s welcome to join me at the bar.

Lessons (Un)learned

September 20th, 2007 - 12:55 pm

It’s somehow with a straight face that the AP reports that Jimmy Carter is as gullible as ever:

ATLANTA (AP) – Former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday that it was almost inconceivable that Iran would “commit suicide” by launching missiles at Israel.

Speaking at Emory University, Carter, who brokered the 1979 Camp David peace accord between Israel and Egypt, said Israel’s superior military power and distance from Iran likely are enough to discourage an actual attack.

“Iran is quite distant from Israel,” said Carter, 83. “I think it would be almost inconceivable that Iran would commit suicide by launching one or two missiles of any kind against the nation of Israel.”

I’ll give Carter a break, and not remind him that just last week Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened to launch 600 missiles at Israel. But let’s do remind him that it was just six years ago when al Qaeda launched four missiles, of the passenger jet variety, straight into the financial and military hearts of the United States. It might be helpful if Carter would remember that Afghanistan, from whence the 9/11 attackers came, is even further from New York than Israel is from Iran. And let’s also remind Mr. Carter that that mission was specifically suicidal in nature. Maybe also Jimmy needs a refresher that the 9/11 attacks haven’t worked out so well for al Qaeda. Finally, give the ex-President a moment to ask himself if he really thinks Ahmadinejad is any more sane than Osama bin Laden.

Now that we’ve wasted a minute or two trying to knock some sense into Carter, let’s go on to more productive tasks, like teaching kitties synchronized swimming.

Terror Is As Terror Does

September 20th, 2007 - 11:43 am

The big-L Libertarians will sneer at you for agreeing, but bin Laden really does attack us because of our freedoms.

Amend That

September 20th, 2007 - 10:23 am

Somebody emailed to ask how the iPhone works as an iPod – something I forgot to mention in my review yesterday. Oops. It’s just fine as an iPod.

The sound is decent enough, although I haven’t tried it with headphones — I’m the kind who has iPod dock speakers everywhere. The interface is a big step up from my standard iPod, although I think Cover Flow is an overblown feature. If I don’t sound too excited, though, it’s because I’m not. I need my 60GB iPod with me at all times. I need 6,300 songs in my pocket. I need to have dozens of intricately-programmed Smart Playlists to choose from, for every possible mood or gathering.

Having a gigabyte or three of music on my phone is a nice addition, but it can’t possibly replace my 5th generation iPod.

Internal Contradictions

September 20th, 2007 - 9:01 am

Has al Qaeda declared war on itself?

The China Syndrome/Bernanke’s Blues

September 19th, 2007 - 10:24 pm

I like a good stock market rally as much as the next investor, but here’s another sign that the Fed cut rates too much, too soon.

Inflation in China — recently at 6.5% per month — could, and very likely will, spill over onto our shores.

UPDATE: I forgot to say, Whenever a government freezes prices to contain inflation, it only delays the inevitable. And also makes it worse. Today’s 6.5% inflation could easily top 10% or more tomorrow. Watch China closely. Watch China’s labor market even more closely. It wouldn’t take much more than a minor murmur in job creation to cause some sleepless nights in Beijing.

Shorthand

September 19th, 2007 - 9:32 pm

Happy birthday :-) .

Dan Rather and Cousin Eddie

September 19th, 2007 - 2:38 pm

Just to add my $0.02 to Steve’s take on dotty old Dan’s lawsuit: For bloggers, Rather is like a subscription to the Jelly Of The Month Club.

He’s the gift that keeps on givin’.

We’ve Got Trouble…

September 19th, 2007 - 2:21 pm

…with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Persia.

The CIA has problems in Iraq all of a sudden. From here, it looks to me like Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki is now counting on Tehran for job security.

There’s an unexpected and serious development. But not an unsolvable one.

The Boy’s Got Balls Like Churchbells

September 19th, 2007 - 2:00 pm

You have got to be kidding me:

NEW YORK (AP) – Former CBS news anchor Dan Rather filed a $70 million lawsuit Wednesday against the network, former corporate parent Viacom Inc., and three of his former bosses.
Rather’s complaint stems from “CBS’ intentional mishandling” of the aftermath of a discredited story about President George W. Bush’s time in the Texas Air National Guard.

The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, also names CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, and Andrew Heyward, former president of CBS News.

Rather is seeking $20 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.

I mean, you have got to be freakin’ kidding me.

UPDATE: Rather got suckered in by some fake documents, basically because he wanted to, and got fired for it. And now he‘s the one with the lawsuit? You must be friggin’ joking.

UPDATE #2: You’re kidding, right?

UPDATE #3: Right???

iReview iPhone

September 19th, 2007 - 1:40 pm

I might not be the best person to review a cell phone, because I hate the things. The only reason I owned a cell before the iPhone is, my wife made me. As in, buying cell phones was our first chore after coming back from our honeymoon. We also joined Sam

It Does What?

September 19th, 2007 - 9:02 am

How to get a head in Iraq.

Dr. Butt, Your 9:30 Extraction Is Ready

September 18th, 2007 - 3:03 pm

From the UK Daily Mail:

A muslim dentist made a woman wear Islamic dress as the price of accepting her as an NHS patient, it is alleged.

Omer Butt is said to have told the patient that unless she wore a headscarf she would have to find another practice.

Later this month, Mr Butt will appear before a General Dental Council professional misconduct hearing, which has the power to strike him off.

Now, let’s give this guy the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he’s not really a stuck-in-the-seventh-century Islamic nutbag. It could be that he’s just awfully irked about being named “Mr. Butt.” Go ahead, read all those references to “Mr. Butt” in the article without snickering–I dare you.

Alternately, perhaps he’s just peeved that the Daily Mail didn’t refer to him as “Dr. Butt”: “I didn’t spend three years in Islamic Fanatic Dental School to be called ‘mister,’ thank you very much.”

Ah, well. At least he’s not a proctologist.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

September 17th, 2007 - 3:04 pm

If I show up at a Barry Manilow concert, would he refuse to come out on stage? Because I can travel, you know. A lot.

It Just “Works”

September 17th, 2007 - 1:54 pm

Are Macs moving out of the home and into the office?

Rearranging the Deck Chairs?

September 17th, 2007 - 11:57 am

Political progress in Iraq remains… tangled.

Does It Come in Brown?

September 17th, 2007 - 11:20 am

Here’s the latest challenger in the legal/illegal music wars:

SpiralFrog.com, an ad-supported Web site that allows visitors to download music and videos free of charge, was scheduled to launch Monday in the U.S. and Canada after months of “beta” testing…

To deter users from posting copies of songs and videos they get from SpiralFrog, the service requires that users register and log on to the site at least once a month. Otherwise, the content locks up and can’t be played.

The Web site’s registration screen queries users on demographic filters such as their age, gender and ZIP code. The information is used to determine what kind of ads the users see when they are on the site…

Downloads cannot be burned to a CD, but they can be transferred to dozens of digital music players. The content, however, is not compatible with Apple’s Macintosh computers or its market-leading iPod.

Let me get this straight. SpiralFrog is going to make me sit through ads, track my usage, and force me to log on to their site every month? No CD-burning, no even for backup? Oh, and I can’t play their music on even one of the 120 million iPods out there? No thanks. Apple’s DRM might not be the greatest thing in the world, but at least it’s optional, in the sense that I don’t have to buy anything from iTunes.

But I saved the best part for last:

“We believe it will be a very powerful alternative to the pirate sites,” said Joe Mohen, chairman and founder of New York-based SpiralFrog Inc.

Just like the heavily-discounted (and heavily-restrictive) Zune has proven to be a powerful alternative to… well, nothing, really.

Unintended Consequences

September 17th, 2007 - 10:08 am

StrategyPage claims that suicide bombing isn’t proving very effective in Iraq, and is bound to get less so:

In theory, the suicide bomber should be the ultimate “smart bomb.” But in practice, the guy carrying, or driving, the bomb is rarely calm and clear headed while moving towards the target. Many of the bombers are mentally unstable to begin with, and as the moment of death approaches, some lose it entirely. The suicide bomb tactic only works because of the support staff, and the ones in Iraq are excellent largely because so many of them are unemployed secret policemen, who used to work for Saddam. They know how to train and motivate people for dirty deeds. But the U.S. has been going after the support staff personnel for over three years now, and has thinned the ranks considerably. The current surge offensive has been particularly hard on the suicide bomber support people. Many of them have been killed or captured, and others escaped in such a hurry that they left their tools and records behind.

If it’s difficult to recruit a madman to wear a bomb vest, imagine how difficult it must be to replace his well-trained and experienced handlers. Unless, of course, we give them access to lawyers, courts, etc.

But the news isn’t all good:

Bombings are down, and many of the brains behind these bombings are getting out of the country. These fellows had lots of blood on their hands before 2003, and have simply moved up on the “most wanted” lists since then. So they will be out there for years to come, offering their skills to whoever can pay. They, and their brethren in the roadside bomb business, have reshaped the murder business for at least a generation.

It’s probably usually better to kill a terrorist than to capture one. I wonder what the ACLU thinks about that?

Body Count

September 17th, 2007 - 10:05 am

It looks like Germany is suffering from hyperinflation again.

EU: “Success Not Wanted Here”

September 17th, 2007 - 7:46 am

Underwhelming as it is, Windows Vista might be the last decent version of Windows — available in Europe, that is. Read:

Microsoft lost its appeal of a European antitrust order Monday that obliges the technology giant to share communications code with rivals, sell a copy of Windows without Media Player and pay a $613 million fine – the largest ever by EU regulators.

The EU Court of First Instance ruled against Microsoft on both parts of the case, saying the European Commission was correct in concluding that Microsoft was guilty of monopoly abuse in trying to use its power over desktop computers to muscle into server software.

It also said regulators had clearly demonstrated that selling media software with Windows had damaged rivals.

I’m hardly the world’s biggest Microsoft fan. Their constant delays in shipping Vista, and the fact that they kept stripping it of valuable features, finally pushed me into the Macintosh camp. But what the EU has done is just plain stupid. If innovation is going to cost MS serious money, then why offer any new features to EU customers? And if Microsoft has to give away code to rivals, then why develop any new code?

Welcome to the new Europe, where they’ll forever be computing like it’s 1984 2007.

UPDATE: The Times agrees.

Don’t Get Cocky

September 16th, 2007 - 11:34 am

Yet another sign The Surge

Ready… Aim… Whatever

September 16th, 2007 - 11:10 am

Fred Thompson still doesn’t seem quite ready to pull the trigger on his campaign:

In his second week as an officially declared candidate for the Republican nomination, Mr. Thompson has made a languid three-day swing through Florida ending Saturday with the candidate watching a football game in Gainesville. The pace has kept him on a jumbo air-conditioned bus far more often than he is actually campaigning.

Since Thursday morning, when the tour began, Mr. Thompson has made no more than three campaign stops a day, with long stretches in between. In recent spins through Iowa, he kept a similarly relaxed schedule. Mitt Romney, by comparison, often does six town-hall-style forums a day when in Iowa.

A spokesman for Mr. Thompson said the driving distances in Florida were a factor, and that he would add more impromptu stops later in the campaign.

Next week, his schedule has no public events at all, limiting his appearances to fund-raisers in Florida, Tennessee and Texas.

When, at long last, Thompson announced his candidacy, I didn’t think that was all he’d do.

Inexplicitly Amusing Item of the Day

September 14th, 2007 - 6:14 pm

Today’s best spam sender name: Incompletely V. Covetous.

Cheers

September 13th, 2007 - 5:22 pm

Spent the day up in Denver, shopping. Bought his’n'her iPhones. Also had a three-hour lunch at Opus. More on both later.

Never Have So Few…

September 12th, 2007 - 7:51 pm

The incredible shrinking RAF.

UPDATE: Oops, wrong link. All fixed now.

Hsu-Fly

September 12th, 2007 - 4:28 pm

So where did Norman Hsu get all that money? Would it surprise you if it turned out to be the same guy who brought you Woodstock almost 40 years ago?

And speaking of 40, the Wall Street Journal reports that Joel Rosenman gave Hsu 40 million bucks – supposedly to make cut-rate designer items in China. Where’d the money go? It’s “missing.” Well, except for nearly a million of it that showed up in Hillary’s campaign coffers. Rosenman runs a Wall Street investment fund, and ought to know a thing or two about keeping track of something with that many zeroes.

Hot Rodski

September 12th, 2007 - 4:12 pm

Is it possible to take a butt ugly BMW M6 and turn it into something beautiful? Yes, but only if you have a bunch of 30-year-old Soviet car parts to stick on it.

(Hat tip, Kaus.)

Undeclared War

September 12th, 2007 - 3:36 pm

More evidence that Iran is fighting a proxy war against us:

Afghan police recently found a ten ton weapons cache near the Iranian border. The material included land mines, RPG rockets, mortar shells, rifles and artillery shells. What was most striking was that most of the Chinese, Russian and Iranian made munitions appeared new…

While it’s widely known that China, Russia and Iran have corrupt officials willing to sell weapons to gunrunners, Iran doesn’t want to see any investigation of how arms smugglers seem to get across the Iranian border so easily. Bribing Iraqi border guards is one thing, but the munitions are apparently coming from Iran in bulk. At first, the Iranians will blame Afghan smuggling gangs, who move major amounts of opium and heroin into Iran. Harder to dismiss are the boasts of captured Taliban, citing the support they are getting from Iran.

Why isn’t this front page news?

It’s Never Too Soon to Pull Out

September 12th, 2007 - 3:00 pm

Yet another sign that The Surge

Kaputt

September 12th, 2007 - 1:36 pm

German state media: Proud sponsor of “Truther” nonsense.