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Monthly Archives: August 2008

Laura Wolf

August 18th, 2008 - 5:51 pm

Nine years ago, almost exactly, I lost my best friend David to cancer. His big sister Laura quickly became as dear a friend. Our “replacement Dave,” not least in her ability to drink. Family, really.

Melissa and I just heard a few minutes ago that Laura died today after a long battle with… pretty much everything, it seemed. We both hurt for our own reasons, but right now we’re most concerned for her son, Jay — my brother — and his wife, Kat — my other me.

If you pray, throw in a little something for the three of them tonight. If like me, you don’t, then do that thing we wish were prayers but isn’t.

Volunteer for Obama — Or Else!

August 14th, 2008 - 6:36 am

A leaked campaign memo from Obama media strategist David Axelrod mysteriously made its way into my hands…

Programming Note

August 13th, 2008 - 4:58 pm

If it’s Wednesday, it must be time to listen to PJM Political. Our lovely producer, Ed Driscoll, has put together a great show this week. I’m your host of course, plus Lileks, Town Hall’s Amanda Carpenter, Austin Bay, and Oscar nominee Roger L Simon.

Required Reading

August 13th, 2008 - 9:49 am

Kathleen Parker sums up why I won’t miss Bush, can’t trust Obama, and will probably hold my nose and vote of McCain — and all in three short emails!

I Hope No One Puts Das Kapital in the Toilet!

August 13th, 2008 - 8:26 am

While protesters of the far left are not known for their intelligence, it does appear they have a knack for hyperbole.

DENVER (CBS4) ― CBS4 News has learned if mass arrests happen at the Democratic Convention, those taken into custody will be jailed in a warehouse owned by the City of Denver…

Inside are dozens [of] metal cages. They are made out of chain link fence material and topped by rolls of barbed wire…

The protesters have already given this place a name: “Gitmo on the Platte.”

At least they didn’t bring down the wrath of Godwin by calling it the Auschwitz of the Rockies.

CBS4 showed its video to leaders of groups that plan to demonstrate during the convention.

“Very bare bones and very reminiscent of a political prisoner camp or a concentration camp,” said Zoe Williams of Code Pink.

Or reminiscent of, you know, a jail, as opposed to – say – a Holiday Inn. A place where large numbers of law-breakers can be quickly and securely held until they can be properly processed…into Soylent Green!

“That’s how you treat cattle,” said Adam Jung of the group Tent State University. “You showed the sign where it said stun gun in use and you just change the word gun for bolt and it’s a meat processing plant.”

Change the word “gun” into “-ning dress” and you have Project Runway.

Do these people actually stop to wonder why most people don’t take their causes seriously?

A Solemn Promise

August 13th, 2008 - 6:02 am

This is probably — I hope — just a scare tactic:

There’s a huge concern among conservative talk radio hosts that reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine would all-but destroy the industry due to equal time constraints. But speech limits might not stop at radio. They could even be extended to include the Internet and “government dictating content policy.”

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell raised that as a possibility after talking with bloggers at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. McDowell spoke about a recent FCC vote to bar Comcast from engaging in certain Internet practices – expanding the federal agency’s oversight of Internet networks.

Not that any sane person needs a scare tactic to despise the “fairness” doctrine. And, let’s be honest, a web-controlling FD would hurt the Netroots far more than the libertarian-right where I make my home.

That said: If Congress reinstates the “fairness” doctrine, I’ll make VodkaPundit a test case.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to start asking for donations to cover legal fees I haven’t yet accrued. But if the FCC pushes, I’ll shove — and hard. And loud. And I’ll expect others, right and left, to do the same.

And together we’ll bury this damnable thing.

Notice/Sorry About That

August 12th, 2008 - 9:23 pm

[Bumped] The comment spam is getting out of control, and my spam-catcher, Akismet, sucks.

So I’m forced to do something I’ve resisted for years. Sorry, but if you want to comment, you’ll have to register. Fake email addresses will work just fine — I won’t make you jump through any hoops of fire just to leave comments.

Again, my apologies, but the spambots are more than I can manage even with Akismet’s lousy help, and I know I’m killing legit comments along with the bad stuff.

The More Things Change

August 12th, 2008 - 7:02 pm

The dismemberment of Georgia — and our feeble non-response — reminded me of this classic bit from Yes, Prime Minister.

Moscow Rules

August 12th, 2008 - 8:25 am

With all respect due to Jerry Pournelle, it is never in America’s interests to let a pro-Western, pro-liberty, pro-capitalism democratic republic fall prey to a bigger bully. This, after all, is the main reason we’ve always stood by Israel, and always will.

No, we won’t be sending American soldiers, or even warplanes, to fight the Russians in the Caucasus. As others have noted, you don’t — can’t — fight continental powers with small numbers of aircraft and air-transportable troops. But there are things we can do, and should.

Forget the UN. Russia has a veto, making that institution useless for a major crisis like this one. Or any major crisis, for that matter. Diplomatically, there isn’t much, or maybe anything, we can do. We could kick Russia out of the G-8 (about time!), but that kind of action makes tokens look valuable. Even hawkish French President Nicolas Sarkozy has caved in record time — no mean feat for a Frenchman. Europe will be of no help, what with Moscow controlling their access to oil and natural gas. The lights are going out all over Europe, indeed.

So what’s left? C’mon, you know the answer. We’ve played this game before, after all. The last time we played was nearly thirty years ago, in the mountains of Afghanistan. We supplied the missiles, and the locals supplied the dead Russians. In the end, a Russian government — an entire empire — dissolved into nothing.

And unless Russia wants to widen the war to Armenia, we’ll always have a route to get supplies in to Georgian freedom fighters.

And if we don’t help? The message is clear: Armenia will fall next, followed by Kazakhstan. And eventually, Ukraine. Meanwhile, Western Europe will learn first hand what “Finlandization” means.

Georgia stood by us in Iraq. Now it’s our turn.

UPDATE: My weekend analysis was totally off. I honestly didn’t expect Putin to be so nakedly aggressive. Why? It seemed that cowing Georgia would be enough. Instead, Vlad the Bad seems intent on restoring Russia to its imperial borders.

Top 100 Random Songs of All Time: #55-58

August 11th, 2008 - 7:55 pm

Hey, look, it’s me again.

Continuing from our last installment, here are numbers 55-58 in the Top 100 Random Songs of All Time.

#55: “Rainfall” – Bentley Tock

#56: “Somewhat Off the Way” – Dogs Die in Hot Cars

#57: “Sex in the Way” – ALL

#58: “Horseshoes” – Moxy Fruvous

The rest of the list is, once again, below the fold.

Oh, and if anyone wants a random long-distance dedication, you just let me know who you are and who the recipient is, and I will then let iTunes pick a song out with tender loving care.

Awwww yeah.


Gleefully Gratuitous Grouchiness

August 11th, 2008 - 6:46 am

If this story’s a-rockin’ don’t come a-knockin’ — my latest PJ Media column is up.

The Pipeline War/Rainy Night in Georgia

August 10th, 2008 - 10:40 am


US aircraft have started to fly some of Georgia’s 2,000 troops in Iraq back home to join the fight in the breakaway province of South Ossetia, General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq said today.

“The flights are ongoing to redeploy the elements of the Georgian contingent so that they can deal with the security issues in their country,” General Petraeus told The Times in an interview at his office inside Baghdad’s Green Zone.

Here we have American forces helping a beleaguered tiny nation reinforce against an invasion by a major power. You don’t have to stretch that very far to find a Vietnam analogy, only in reverse. Or maybe it’s closer to Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion.

But that doesn’t mean the Russians risk launching WWIII over Georgia. The stakes are too small — well, not to Georgia — and Russia, honestly, can’t be stopped if they choose to go in with overwhelming force.

The diplomatic cost to Russia, however, would be astronomical — especially over a country as small as Georgia. Now that Moscow’s books are finally getting balanced, it’s not the time for them to go tipping over apple carts. And please excuse the horribly mixed metaphor.

Good Question

August 9th, 2008 - 12:09 pm

Score another one for Islamist threats:

Publisher Random House has pulled a novel about the Prophet Mohammed’s child bride, fearing it could “incite acts of violence.”

“The Jewel of Medina,” a debut novel by journalist Sherry Jones, 46, was due to be published on August 12 by Random House, a unit of Bertelsmann AG, and an eight-city publicity tour had been scheduled, Jones told Reuters on Thursday.

The novel traces the life of A’isha from her engagement to Mohammed, when she was six, until the prophet’s death. Jones said that she was shocked to learn in May, that publication would be postponed indefinitely.

“I have deliberately and consciously written respectfully about Islam and Mohammed … I envisioned that my book would be a bridge-builder,” said Jones.

What’s a free press worth when the press owners are cowards?

Austin named hardest-drinking city in U.S.

August 9th, 2008 - 9:52 am

It was a long, hard slog (ok not really) but we made it!

A View to a Kill

August 8th, 2008 - 7:41 pm

First, there was auto-erotic asphyxiation*.

Now we’ve got auto psychotic decapitation.

In a grim attempt at revenge against his estranged wife, a British businessman committed suicide by decapitation in his Aston Martin sports car, the U.K.’s Daily Mail reported Friday.

According to the Mail, Gerald Mellin, 54, had been consumed with dark thoughts surrounding his 34-year-old wife’s decision to leave him…

The businessman then reportedly tied one end of a rope he kept in his Aston Martin convertible to a tree and wrapped the other end of it around his neck as he sat in the driver’s seat. He then drove the car at a high speed onto a busy road, forcing other drivers to witness his violent suicide, the Mail said.

Hey, don’t look at me like that. I generally feel sadness and sympathy for suicide victims, until they decide to off themselves in a way that easily and knowingly endangers numerous others (which, judging by the article, would be the case here).

Rough life for the dude. Had an Aston Martin convertible. Too bad he let it go to his head.

* Remember, kids, wankin’ away with a rope around the neck is not something you want to do in excess. Or, if your last name is – say – Hutchence, INXS.

Yes, folks, it’s A-OK to hate me.

However, I do think Michael Hutchence was a loss for the world of music. It was also a curse for television since it resulted in Rockstar: INXS.

Important Public Service Announcement

August 8th, 2008 - 5:57 pm

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is still batshit insane.

An animal rights group attempted to purchase an ad in a Sun Media-owned newspaper which compares the beheading of Tim McLean Jr. to the slaughter of animals.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals officials hoped to run an ad this week in the Portage Daily Graphic that uses lines such as, “An innocent young victim’s throat is cut” and “The man with the knife shows no emotion.”

The description leads the reader to believe it’s describing McLean’s death aboard a Greyhound bus last week about 20 km west of Portage la Prairie. Only later is it revealed the ad is referring to the slaughterhouse treatment of animals.

Hey, Steve, can I say “batshit” on your blog?

Bonus Link: Speaking of Canada (which I do often, given my love of moose and toques and the final resting place of the Edmund Fitzgerald), 58% of Canucks happen to be rational.

Update: And speaking of Canada one last time, tell me that this is satire. Please?

Eyes to see

August 8th, 2008 - 10:35 am

In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.

He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.

They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.

Psalm 72: 7-9

Boy, I’ll say! Just take a look at president lord Gore’s latest bit of dominion:

Oooowwheee!! That’s some slice of dominion! That lovely craft is named Air Force Bio-Solar One, you know. Yep. Well, alrighty then. Enjoy your newest dominion, lord Gore.

Oh. Apropos the moon. Some dusty humans left behind a few unattended memories up there. Any plans to go and clean it up? Maybe you could just turn your big head and blow?

Top 100 Random Songs of All Time: #59-63

August 6th, 2008 - 9:45 pm

Hey you!

I know you!

Back in the glory days of yonder, when I blogged at my own site and when gasoline cost pennies for a barrel and you could walk to school downhill both ways, I started a series of periodic posts on music.

The specific topic?

The top 100 random songs of all time, each one carefully chosen with extra-special care and especially-careful extraness by the Smart Playlist function of iTunes. I spent seconds – seconds I tell you! – making this a reality.

What I found most shocking was that Google actually sent a fair number of people my way, people who actually searched for “top random songs.” Apparently my creative genius knows some bounds. Oh well, I’ll get over it (which, not being terribly tall, requires that I struggle a bit, kick me legs like a wee mad fishy, and then throw myself over whatever obstacle comes my way).

Anyway, long story Gary Coleman (I’ve used that one before on my own site, apologies), I feel the need to complete the series, taking you all the way to the number one random song in the land.

What, pray tell, might it be? I’ve nary a clue good people. I’m as much at the mercy of Senor Steve Jobs on this matter as anyone else.

So, here we go, picking up where I left off, with numbers 59 to 63 in the top 100 random songs of all time.

Don’t like my taste in music? Somehow, I think – with just a wee hint of desperate hopefulness – that I will survive.

#59: “Thinkin’ Bout ‘Chu” – Bambi Slam

#60: “Kisskiss” – Parov Stelar

#61: “I See the Light” – Cracker

#62: “Better Place to Be” – Harry Chapin

#63: “Madeline’s Theme” – Giorgio Moroder

The rest of the list is below the fold. Rock on, superstar cowboy (and cowgirls).


Just when you thought the Clintons couldn’t get any more cunning, we have this seemingly innocent item:

Sen. Hillary Clinton told a gathering of supporters last week that she’s looking for a “strategy” for her delegates to have their voices heard and “respected” at the Democratic National Convention — and did not rule out the possibility of having her name placed into nomination at the convention alongside Sen. Barack Obama’s.

“I happen to believe that we will come out stronger if people feel that their voices were heard and their views were respected. I think that is a very big part of how we actually come out unified,” Clinton, D-N.Y., said at a California fundraiser last Thursday, in a video clip captured by an attendee and posted on YouTube.

Let’s think about what’s going on here, for just half a sec. If Clinton gets her name put in the ring, and everybody votes the way they’re supposed to, then she gets her little moment in the sun and everybody is happy. But there’s a hidden upside.

What if Clinton were to get more votes than anyone had tallied?

Then Obama would have shown that he can’t even keep his people in line up against a dead candidate smiling. That kind of loss of face could prove fatal to him in November — leaving Clinton to pick up the pieces of her party, without even so much as an I-told-you-so, in 2012.

An unlikely scenario? Of course. But not an impossible one.

And don’t think Clinton hasn’t already thought it out.

Programming Note

August 6th, 2008 - 1:49 pm

You can listen to Austin Bay’s unabridged General Petraeus interview here, and you can now hear this week’s PJM Political — with your vodka-swilling host, Lileks, Jennifer Rubin, author Daniel J. Flynn, and, of course, our ineffable producer Ed Driscoll.

Did I mention Austin Bay scored an interview with David Petraeus? How cool is that?

Bill Clinton goes in for monogamy

August 6th, 2008 - 12:12 pm

Bill Clinton made a plea yesterday for a new emphasis on monogamy as a key element in the battle against Aids.

The former US president, not noted for his ability to keep his own marriage vows, said it was very important to change people’s attitudes to sex.

Hang on, hang on. That must be a misprint. Let me go double-check that, BRB…

Yep. That’s what it says alright.

Bill Clinton made a plea yesterday for a new emphasis on monogamy as a key element in the battle against Aids.

The former US president, not noted for his ability to keep his own marriage vows, said it was very important to change people’s attitudes to sex.

I’m feeling disoriented, dizzy; everything is going blurry, and the room is spinning.

Maybe after a time I will recover and feel better – happy, even – that he has renounced his open zipper policy. And maybe, after I have recovered, I will even change my opinion about his long-suffering wife and her amazing powers of persuasion. And maybe some of the delegates at the upcoming Democratic Party convention – just a few of them – will change their minds about his wife, too. Hmm..

Beat Their Swords Into iPods

August 6th, 2008 - 8:55 am

Apple goes to war — no, really.

Help Me Help You

August 6th, 2008 - 6:38 am

Who loves Obama? The big money guys.

I guess “change you can believe in” is more than just the change you find under the sofa cushions. It’s more like the soft, crinkly, folding kind of change. With dead white presidents with small ears printed on it. Otherwise known as: Business as usual.

Also of interest is that the New York Times broke this story, not the way-right-leaning Washington Times, or Booger, Indiana’s All Small Words Red State Reader.

“Rheostat Warfare”

August 6th, 2008 - 5:04 am

Austin Bay comments on his recent interview with General David Petraeus. You can listen to the radio version on XM Radio at 10AM Eastern today, or wait for the webcast tonight at PJ Media. You’ll find a full transcript there, too.

The Figurehead

August 5th, 2008 - 9:17 pm

[Also Bumped] Sometimes, in spite of myself, I can’t resist liking Barack Obama. Because when the occasion calls for it, the man usually shows real class.

Imagine this. You’re a candidate for President, and a black one at that. At a campaign stop, some unidentified potential nutjob carrying a massive telephoto lens — at least you hope that’s a camera he’s shooting — starts screaming that you didn’t lead off with the Pledge of Allegiance. What’d Obama do? This:

Obama invited the heckler to lead the audience in the pledge, and he did.

Attendees at the gathering in the gymnasium at Baldwin Wallace College in this Cleveland suburb rose to their feet and recited the pledge. “Thank you, sir, appreciate it,” Obama told the man…

Campaign officials said they did not know who the man was, and no effort was made to remove him. He continued taking photographs throughout Obama’s appearance.

If the US had a European-style system, with a Chancellor to run things and a figurehead President to take care of ceremonial duties, I’d vote for Obama for the latter position. In a heartbeat. And since he’s from Chicago, I might even vote for him twice.

UPDATE: This guy thinks that the Pledge of Allegiance Guy was an Obama Campaign plant. If that’s the case, then when I typed “class” up top, what I meant to say was “déclassé.”

Drink For Is the Cure!

August 5th, 2008 - 8:00 pm

[Bumped] Immediately following the Democratic National Convention in Denver, it’s Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash 5000.

Yes, 5000. That’s how many shots Zombyboy will have to buy us to get the stench of protesting hippies scrubbed from our memories.

It’s being held at Trios Enoteca, which certainly doesn’t suck. We even have a sponsor, and not the kind who hangs around reminding you not to drink.


Everyone is invited — bloggers, blog readers, dancing girls — so don’t forget to RSVP.

Probably Not/You Never Know

August 5th, 2008 - 6:15 pm

Just a thought: Is Obama’s burn and McCain’s bounce just a clever MSM ruse to keep conservatives excited (and reading and watching) for the next three months?

Jealous Much?/How Cool Is That?

August 5th, 2008 - 4:18 pm

I have got to get my hands on Ed Driscoll’s videoblogging software.

Programming Note

August 5th, 2008 - 3:32 pm

Finished up recording tomorrow’s PJM Political broadcast a little while ago, and I’m very excited about the show. Why? Austin Bay interviews General David Petraeus via phone from Baghdad.

That’s right, we scored Petraeus.

You can listen live on XM Satellite Radio at 1PM Eastern/10AM Pacific on Wednesday, or click here tomorrow night for the tape-delay webcast.

I forgot to link last week’s show, but it’s still available at the link above.

And did I mention General Petraeus is on tomorrow?

Good News/Good Question

August 5th, 2008 - 8:13 am

Stories like this one answer the question…

One of the more elusive and mysterious figures linked to Al Qaeda — a Pakistani mother of three who studied biology at MIT and who authorities say spent years in the United States as a sleeper agent — was flown to New York on Monday night to face charges of attempting to kill U.S. military and FBI personnel in Afghanistan.

The Justice Department, FBI and U.S. military in Afghanistan said that Aafia Siddiqui, 36, was arrested in Ghazni province three weeks ago. She is accused of firing an automatic rifle at FBI agents and soldiers and is scheduled to appear before a federal judge in Manhattan today.

Authorities believe Siddiqui used the technical skills she acquired at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to do what virtually no other woman has accomplished — work her way into the clubby inner circles of Al Qaeda’s command and control operation, including its chemical and biological weapons program.

But questions swirled around her Monday evening, including whether she has been in Pakistani custody for at least part of the last five years and whether there is hard evidence that she was a trained, committed and hardened Al Qaeda operative, as former Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft and other U.S. officials have contended.

…is the Terror War a matter for the military and intel services or for the police and courts?

As my bride taught me years ago, the answer to most either/or questions is: Yes.

If this woman is guilty, our courts will put her away (I hope) for a very, very long time. But we’d never have gotten her here without cooperation from the Pakistanis, and that cooperation would never have come about without an adequate military threat to Islamabad on 9/12/2001, and without an adequate military and intelligence presence in Afghanistan.

Fighting Islamist terrorists requires a combination of stick and… a bigger stick. I wonder if a former “community organizer” and one-term Senator of no distinction would understand how to wield either one.