Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Memes: An Excellent Substitute for Content

Via the Llamabutchers.

1. Beatles, Stones or Beach Boys? Probably Beach Boys. They were the first concert I ever saw, so that counts for something.
2. Kant, Hegel, Marx? Unless we're talking about which I would most like to beat over the head (Marx), I'll pass.
3. Cluedo, Monopoly, Scrabble? Scrabble. It requires more, you know, actual thought than Monopoly, and I've never heard of Cluedo.
4. Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford? Probably Newman. I loved Redford in Sneakers. Jack Nicholson is too hit-and-miss.
5. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart? Beethoven. Mozart is too foofy, and I don't know Bach well enough for him to compete.
6. Australia, Canada, New Zealand? Australia and New Zealand are tied.
7. Groucho, Chico, Harpo? Yeah, like I'm old enough to know the Marx Brothers? I'll go with Groucho, because he's the only one I can identify.
8. Morning, afternoon, evening? Evening.
9. Bridge, Canasta, Poker? None of the above. I suck at cards.
10. Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou? Fargo. Never seen Big Lebowski.
11. Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau? Locke.
12. Cricket, football (soccer), rugby? None of the above.
13. Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte? Jane Austen's the only one I've read, so I'll go with her.
14. Parker, Gillespie, Monk? As cool as it would be to be a jazz afficionado, I don't know. But I hear Monk was freakin' nuts, and that's a plus, so I'll go with Monk.
15. Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham? I care about English soccer as much as I care about English cuisine.
16. Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld? Seinfeld. Never cared about Friends, and Cheers isn't fresh enough in my memory. But I did like that show.
17. Henry Fonda, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart? Stewart. Pure Americana.
18. France, Germany, Italy? Italy. No contest.
19. Apple, orange, banana? Depends on the day. My one food preference is to always try something new, so I couldn't stand having to pick just one.
20. Statham, Tyson, Trueman? Huh? Is this about boxing?
21. Rio Bravo, El Dorado, Rio Lobo? Never seen any of them.
22. Katharine Hepburn, Meryl Streep, Ingrid Bergman? Bergman. 'Cept she's a tramp.
23. Chinese, Indian, Thai? Indian by far.
24. Handel, Scarlatti, Vivaldi? Vivaldi. I don't know Scarlatti, and Handel is way too heavy on the trumpets. Exception: the Messiah.
25. Oasis, Radiohead, Blur? They're all kind of "eh" for me. I like Blur's Song 2 and nothing else by them, I like maybe three or four Radiohead songs, and I liked most of Oasis' What's the Story Morning Glory album until I learned what a punk the singer dude is. Still, given the choices, I guess I'll go with Oasis.
26. Fawlty Towers, The Young Ones, Yes Minister? Never seen any of them.
27. Chekhov, Ibsen, Shaw? Chekhov.
28. American football, baseball, basketball? None of the above.
29. FDR, JFK, Bill Clinton? FDR. And to quote Robbo, "This is a serious choice?"
30. Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky? Again, unless this means "to beat over the head with one of their victims," I'll have to pass.
31. Paris, Rome, New York? Roma. No contest.
32. Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Steinbeck? Steinbeck. I've never read Fitzgerald. Hemmingway is hit-and-miss for me. I've liked everything Steinbeck has done.
33. Blue, green, red? Green. But dark green, not pansy lime green.
34. Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, West Side Story? West Side Story. Never seen Guys and Dolls (other than on the Simpsons), and WSS edges out MFL because there's more violence.
35. J.S. Mill, John Rawls, Robert Nozick? I've never read any of 'em.
36. Armstrong, Ellington, Goodman? Pass.
37. Ireland, Scotland, Wales (at rugby)? Pass.
38. The Sopranos, 24, Six Feet Under? Never seen any of them. I've heard Six Feet Under is about a bunch of whiny, screechy existentialists who need to be put down. I made a parody of 24 that people really liked, so I'll go with that.
39. Friday, Saturday, Sunday? Friday. Time enough to work and be productive, and time enough to stay up late and goof off, with all of Saturday ahead.
40. Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear? Hamlet. Never read King Lear.
41. Fried, boiled, scrambled (eggs)? Scrambled, with salsa mixed in while the eggs are still raw (huevos rancheros). Ooh, baby.
42. Paths of Glory, Cross of Iron, Saving Private Ryan? Never seen any of 'em.
43. England, Australia, West Indies (at cricket)? Pass.
44. Chabrol, Godard, Truffaut? Who?
45. Bringing It All Back Home, Blonde on Blonde, Blood on the Tracks? I saw in Robbo's comments that these are names of Bob Dylan albums, so I could have faked my way through this in order not to offend Jack M., but I have to confess I haven't heard any of them.
46. Trains, planes, automobiles? Planes, unless I have fun people with whom I can road trip.
47. North By Northwest, Psycho, Vertigo? Never seen Psycho. I'll go with Vertigo.
48. Third, Fourth, Fifth (Beethoven Piano Concerto)? Fifth. I don't know the other two.
49. Coffee, tea, chocolate? Chocolate.
50. Cardiff, Edinburgh, Dublin? Pass.

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Anti-Graz Alliance

Jack M's blog is the official headquarters for the boycott of Graz, Austria (where?). I'm just glad I was able to do my part.

More from Faulkner

Finally finished The Reivers (man, it takes me forever to finish a book these days), and I found one final bit of wisdom to share, especially in light of the argument I'm having with Supernatural Rabbit Scribe a few posts back.


"A gentleman can live through anything. He faces anything. A gentleman accepts the responsibility of his actions and bears the burden of their consequences, even when he did not himself instigate them but only acquiesced to them, didn't say No though he knew he should."


I'm acquiring books at a rate of approximately two for every one I read, so in all the time I've been collecting books, I've never been able to reduce the percentage of them I've read from cover to cover. That is all kinds of irritating to me.


Some airplane passenger gets drunk and starts mouthing off at the crew ... so they maroon him on a freakin' desert island. Happy New Years, chump.

Interestingly, the passenger was originally scheduled to go to Tenerife, in the Canary Islands. But the story is suspiciously silent about the obvious connection.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


I'm going to have to echo Jennifer, who has declared that "this has to have been the most boring week on the net in the last year. There is NOTHING happening."

So, a few odds and ends:

1. I've made it up to level 20 in this. I suspect it's the last level, but holy crap is it hard. Yes, I have been working on this game ever since I first linked it in September. You got a problem with that?

2. I'm declaring the first Official SobekPundit Photoshop Contest. The theme is "Monkeys throughout history." Now given that I've never hosted a photoshop contest before, and given that my traffic has gone the way of Democrat credibility, I don't expect anyone to participate or to care, other than me. So it will probably just be me photoshopping monkeys into famous pics and stuff, but hey, it's my blog, I'll do whatever I want.

3. Ace has a nemesis, and it's making me jealous. What do I have to do to get a nemesis around here? Even Jack M. has Iceland. I mean, it's not much, but at least he has something.

4. This Reuters article, "CIA Couple Outed by 5-Year-Old Son," (echoed by Drudge and totally misses the point of what "outed" means. Once your face has been plastered all over every media outlet in the world, I don't know that you can be "outed" anymore. It's like Elton John being "outed" as gay, or the Llamabutchers being "outed" as the guys from Foghat. (Seriously Steve and Robbo, we all know. You can end the charade).

5. For all his vaunted clout in the Senate, Harry Reid has left Nevada as the state that receives the least amount of federal funding? Geez, Senator, you really suck at this. Granted, I don't particularly care if the feds send money our way or not (I'm certainly not about to start clamoring for more pork, but when a guy like Reid actually takes pride in his liberal politics, and then can't even manage to deliver what his liberal constituents want -- well, that takes a certain kind of suckitude, you know?). Also, that link to Harry Reid's picture may explain why he's too busy to, you know, legislate.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Brief Conversation Between a Pro-Choice Activist and a Fetus

Activist: I mean, what's the deal with South Dakota, anyway?

Fetus: I totally hear you.

Activist: Some people have to travel over 700 miles just to get the health care they need?

Fetus: Talk about inconvenient.

Activist: And, you know, some of these women don't even have a babysitter arranged, so I mean, that's just another headache entirely.

Fetus: Exactly.

Activist: I mean, maybe in Afghanistan or something, but this is the United States of America!

Fetus: You're preachin' to the choir, lady.

Activist: And that one lady said she already has a kid, and is working to become a hospital administrator. What's she supposed to do with another kid?

Fetus: I see exactly where she's coming from.

Activist: Now I'm so upset, I'll probably end up eating an entire tub of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food. And you just know that'll go straight to my ass.

Fetus: You have my deepest sympathies.

Activist: Stupid patriarchal hegemony.

Planned Parenthood: Tugging at my Heartstrings

SFGate has a story today on how South Dakota (and Mississippi and North Dakota) has only one abortion clinic in the state. As it is an SFGate article, the author's pro-choice bias is manifestly transparent, attempting to portray the hardships faced by women who, for example, have to travel over 700 miles just to get an abortion.

"'Women in the western side of the state don't think about abortion until they need to,' said Kate Looby, Planned Parenthood's state director, 'and then they're completely shocked that there's no way to receive that care unless they go to Sioux Falls.'"

Which is nothing, she failed to add, in comparison to how completely shocked the fetus is to have scissors stabbed into its brain. For all the author's attempts to arouse my sympathies, I finished reading the article with an immense feeling of satisfaction. So, why is it so hard to get an abortion in South Dakota?

"The last doctor in South Dakota to perform abortions stopped about eight years ago..."

Wow, that's a state that's doing something right. They fly in abortion doctors from Minnesota once a week. But given that the state can't outright ban abortions, what is the cause of the extreme difficulty there?

"...the consensus in the medical community is that offering the procedure is not worth the stigma of being branded a baby killer."

Bingo. I wrote a post a while back arguing against the Maoist dictum that all power comes from the barrel of a gun. South Dakota presents an excellent illustration of that premise. The government cannot constitutionally ban its doctors from performing abortions, and yet we see that they refuse to perform them anyway. This flies in the face of Mao's statement because it is not the threat of force -- i.e. jail or monetary penalties -- that has produced the desired result, but social pressure, directly from the people.

Indeed, there would be no pro-life/pro-choice debate in this country if no doctor would perform an abortion. The same would be true if no woman sought an abortion, choosing instead to accept the consequences of her choices. And, it seems to me, social pressure is far more effective than government regulation or criminalization, both because there are no enforcement costs for government, and because it relies on individual choice to avoid social stigma.

"Looby, whose father is an obstetrician-gynecologist, said she has talked to many doctors in South Dakota who say they have no personal objection to performing abortions but cannot risk their careers and community standing by offering the procedure."

Obviously, not all power comes from the barrel of a gun.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Official SobekPundit Blogger Interview: Jennifer from Demure Thoughts

Sean: Welcome to this week's Official SobekPundit Blogger Interview, where Sobek has invited me, Sean Hannity, to sit in for him while he deals with computer problems. I don't even know who this Sobek fellow is, but he offered me a gift certificate to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, and anyone who has listened to my radio show more than twice knows I'm more obsessed with Ruth's Chris than Dick Cheney is with pure, malevolent evil. That said, let not your heart be troubled.

Anyway, Sobek told me that this week's guest is Jennifer from Demure Thoughts. I've never heard of her, either, so I had to go visit her blog to get caught up. Frankly, I don't know where Sobek gets his idea of funny, but that Jennifer's got a bit of a foul mouth. In fact, I nearly cried myself to sleep after reading it, I was so scandalized. Jennifer, I know you're basically conservative, so how do you justify flagrantly tossing around such shocking words?

Jennifer: Cluck cluck cluck ...

Sean: Now you know that's not what I'm talking about, and so does the audience. I want a straight answer from you, yes or no. Is your language not absolutely beyond the pale of civil discourse in America?

Jennifer: Buck buck bu-CAW!

Sean: That's just what I thought. You people can't even answer a simple, straight-forward question. Let not your heart be troubled.

Jennifer: Cluck.

Sean: All you can do is evade the facts when they're presented to you. Take this post, for instance, in which you flagrantly use the "S" word right in the title. Have you no shame?

Jennifer: Cluck cluck cluck cluck ...

Sean: Just answer the question!

Jennifer: ... cluck cluck cluck ...

Sean: I think this just proves my point. And then you go making up words, like "twatlike." It's bad enough when you people change the meaning of words, but then you go making new stuff up completely? I bet you voted for John Kerry.

Jennifer: ...

Sean: Your glasses look like they're slipping a little. Let me help you out with that ...

Jennifer: ...

Sean: ...

Jennifer: ...

Sean: Wait a minute, you're just a giant chicken.

Jennifer: ...

Sean: Well, I gotta run. It looks like some prankster tried to trick me into interviewing a chicken. I guess Jennifer's interview will have to wait for when Sobek gets his computer back. In the mean time, let not your heart be troubled.

Other SobekPundit Blogger Interviews:
John from WuzzaDem
Ace of Spades
Dave from Garfield Ridge
Oliver Willis
The Therapist
Protein Wisdom
Jack M.
Bohemian Conservative
Michelle Malkin

Next Week:

Decisions, Decisions...

Well let's see here. I can either spend my evening blogging, or I can spend it playing my brand new Atari. I'll get back to y'all in a week and let you know what I've decided.

Actually, I have to ship my computer back to the factory tomorrow for repairs (thank goodness for warranties), which will take 8-10 business days. So that only leaves me with my work computer, and I'm not going to blog from there. So I'll be radio silent for a little bit.

The nice thing about Dell is that they have great tech support for hardware issues. The downside is that it's probably because they get so much practice.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Slow Night

Sorry no posting. I tried to write about ten different drafts of various posts, and none of them turned into anything coherent. Got no inspiration.

I mean, it's not like I can just go pick a fight with an entire foreign country, and get them to capitulate within 48 hours.

A blogger's got to know his limitations.

Why My Kids Are the Best Grandkids, Part 1

Hey, it's not like Michael or Timothy is secretly half-human, half-elephant, now is it? And that's more than I can say for Claire.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Intelligent Design: Unconstitutional

Well, not the theory, only the teaching of it in schools.

The Commissar has a lengthy post on the topic, one of a long series of posts on evolution versus intelligent design, which he begins with a chuckle-worthy "This agnostic says 'Thank God!'"

This is, I believe, the first I've had occasion to mention the subject. Not because the creation doesn't interest me -- it does -- but because the place of its teaching doesn't interest me. I'm too old to have public school teachers teach me anything, and my kids are too young.

That said, even when the kids are in school, I still don't think I'll get very worked up over the topic. I say this as a person who believes that God created the Earth in seven "days" (whatever Moses meant when he used the word yown). As a person who lacks the tremendous faith it requires to believe that life as we know it is no more than coincidence.

This is for two reasons. First, I haven't read the judge's decision, but I assume as a matter of course that a judge can intelligently and reasonably write 139 pages (!) explaining why Intelligent Design is too much like Creationism to survive a First Amendment attack. Therefore it doesn't strike me as a particularly ground-breaking piece of jurisprudence.

Second, I also assume as a matter of course that my kids will be taught all kinds of bullcrap when they go to school. The proper solution, in my opinion, is not to force the school to teach exclusively to my personal preferencs (an impossible task), but to make all necessary corrections when the kids get home from school. When I was in junior high, for some reason, we had an assignment to rank certain public policy issues according to importance. The way the thing was set up, it indicated that I should vote Dukakis rather than Bush I. Well, what the heck did I know about politics at the time? As far as I knew, that was a perfectly reasonable result.

When I went home, I told my parents that, according to the quiz thing I had done, I was a Dukakis supporter. Now my parents never, ever talked politics when I was growing up, with this one exception. They both looked absolutely horrified, and then we discussed the quiz, the results, and the candidates. By the end of the discussion, it was pretty clear that Dukakis was a dimwit, and that I really supported Bush.

That's just one example of a bad case of misinformation fed to me in public schools. And because my parents took the time to work through things with me when I got home, it was quickly corrected. How hard is it, when my kid comes home and tells me how the world started with a big bang and a bunch of monkeys, to explain that some people believe that, but we don't, and here's why.

Anyway, congratulations to the Commissar, who gets far more worked up about this than I do, because I'm sure he'll sleep more soundly tonight knowing us Jesus-freaks were dealt a blow in our attempt to force some righteousness into him.


Go eavesdrop on this conversation between two westernized Algerians discussing Islam and Islamism. It's a fascinating read. Nouri's blog is great because he's a lot more in touch with North Africa than I ever will be.

Update: Nouri's statement, "It May Take a War," is summed up in this statement: "What I think he's really getting at is that if Egypt wants democracy, it's going to take a war or some sort of theocratic regime to discredit Islamism and fundamentalism so that liberalism and moderation can take hold."

He's certainly got a fair amount of history on his side. Islamism is, fundamentally, totalitarianism -- the philosophy that the government should totally dominate in every aspect of daily life. It is that intrusiveness, to a greater or lesser degree, that has sparked countless wars throughout history. A great example is the American Revolution. The screws got turned too tight, over too long a period, and some Americans decided enough was enough.

Totalitarianism, in that sense, tends to make an excellent schoolmaster. Post-war Vietnam experimented with the socialist ideal, and when it failed year after year to achieve any of the goals set by Marx et al, they piece by piece started to adopt capitalistic principles. They worked -- suddenly, farmers who were given cash incentives to, you know, actually farm and stuff produced bumper crops and the nation had enough to start exporting crops again. Then there was a communist backlash: the hard-liners on the politburo insisted on reforming the government to closer conform to ideological purity, and immediately the economy went back in the tank.

The upshot is that Vietnam learned, and is learning, from the mistake that is socialism, and over the years has taken increasing steps to modernize and westernize the government and economy. Piece by piece, experience taught the Vietnamese to prefer the system that works over the system that Marx described.

Algeria, if Nouri's description is accurate, has undergone the same transformation. Consider this: "'Listen to me,' I began again, 'Algeria is not like Iraq anymore and it isn't like Afghanistan. Things are better there now. The girls aren't looking like ghosts all the time and there are music groups singing without fear. Algeria was not defeated Tahar. It's not an Islamic Republic. It doesn't have to be that way.'"

But there was no war, no violent and sudden revolution that brought about this state. And even when a change is sudden, recent history shows that it need not be violent. Lebanon's Cedar Revolution firmly establishes this.

In other words, it may take a war, and it may take a theocracy -- it may take the blackest of nights before people again want to see the light of day. But it doesn't have to be that way. And more and more, people have living examples of nations which have abandoned extremism, totalitarianism, through peaceful steps rather than violent. There is hope yet, it would seem.

The Best Way to Get Into the Christmas Spirit

Other than watching Brokeback Mountain with Dave, of course, is right here.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Wisdom of William Faulkner

I'm a third of the way through William Faulkner's The Reivers, and I've come across the following quote:

"A Republican is a man who made his money; a Liberal is a man who inherited his; a Democrat is a barefooted Liberal in a cross-country race; a Conservative is a Republican who has learned to read and write."


Now This Guy Knows How to Use Christmas Lights

This is even better than the time my older brother used Christmas lights to spell the words "You Suck" on the front of our house.

Dave at Garfield Ridge Lets us All Down

Dave is usually my go-to guy for this sort of thing. He's asleep at the wheel again.

Hat tip Dave Barry for taking up the slack.

Update: While Dave is busy making excuses in my comments section, check out this and this, courtesy of Lisa the Bohemian Conservative.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christ, Christianity and Christmas

A column by John Brummett in Sunday's Review-Journal bears the provocative title "Taking Christ out of Christmas -- a sound idea."

It's an odd title for an odd argument. Most of what I read on the subject make a few basic points: "happy holidays" is more inclusive, it's more sensitive to the views of non-Christians, it encompasses other proximate holidays such as New Years and (snicker) Boxing Bay.

Brummet makes basically the same argument: "I hearken back to that childhood lesson each December as the Religious Right's modern-day bullies berate more strongly than the year before those who dare to extend best wishes for 'happy holidays' instead of 'merry Christmas,' either for accuracy or convenience or from sensitivity to persons of non-Christian beliefs."

If that were all he had to say, his column would be basically unproblematic. Unoriginal, but unproblematic. That's because these arguments aren't per se unreasonable -- it really doesn't make much sense to wish a Jewish person a Merry Christmas. But that's not his only argument, or even the primary argument.

"I was taught in my childhood church that Jesus' birthday really didn't matter all that much."

This, from a self-professed former member of the Religious Right. As noted above, it makes some sense to avoid wishing Jews and Hindus a Merry Christmas, but the logic underlying this conclusion collapses when applied to Christians, and that's exactly what Brummett is arguing: that Christians, in their private worship and celebration, should take Christ out of Christmas. The foundational premise for this jack-assery? That the really important part about Christ is his life, death and resurrection, not his birth.

Brummett's problem is that he implies that celebrating the birth of my Lord and Savior is somehow inconsisent with also celebrating his life, death and resurrection. As though it were impossible to do both.

The author never says what sect he was raised in, but whichever one it was, a sect that "taught that ... I should avoid any overtly religious connotation for Christmas..." is a bizarre one, indeed. This is a Christian minister telling his congregation to ignore Christ during the one season that most people are more inclined to reflect on His life and ministry? Uh, okay.

Again, the most important part of Christ's mortal mission was not at the beginning, but at the end. But if I find myself inclined to celebrate -- in an overtly religious fashion -- the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, I find myself in good company. [NOTE: Those of you who are offended by religious sentiment, you're welcome to ignore the rest of this post].

Isaiah 7:14 - "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

Isaiah 9:6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

Micah 5:2 - "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."

Matt. 1:20-21 - "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."

Matt. 2:1-2 - "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born the King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him."

Matt. 2:11 - "And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincence, and myrrh."

And, of course, from the second chapter of Luke:

"And there were in the same country sheperds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I give unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men."

If I am joined in celebrating the birth of my Lord and my God by ancient prophets, by wise men, by the humble sheperds, and by the very angels of the Lord, who descended to earth to shout praises of exultation, I don't mind that company at all.

So to my Christian friends, Merry Christmas. To my non-Christian friends, Happy Holidays, and may the spirit of this season give you joy and rejoicing.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

CNN Poll: New York Times Was Justified in Leaking Classified Information

Today's poll (I don't know how to link them) asks "Was the New York Times right to publish details of a secret program that allows spies to eavesdrop on Americans without a warrant?" The two choices are "Yes, we need to know," and "No, security needs secrecy."

As of this writing, to no one's surprise, 69% (28,668) said yes, and 31% (12,888) said no.

Friday, December 16, 2005

When Poor Timing Gets Deliciously Ironic

From yesterday's Las Vegas Review-Journal comes the following letter to the editor:

"It was George Santayana, years ago, who warned that those who ignore the lessons of history will be required to relive them."

That's a really funny way to lead into this letter, given that Democrats have never seemed to learn from history that defeatism in the War on Terror leads to devastating electoral ineptitude.

"Robert J. Caldwell ("The Democrats' quandary on Iraq," Tuesday commentary) would be well-advised to consider Mr. Santayana's words."

And this follow-up makes it even more funny, given that -- again -- Democrats really do face a quandary in Iraq. From today's Washington Post, Nancy Pelosi expressly stated that her party has no official position on Iraq. Yeah, I'm sure that'll pack your consituency into the voting lines.

"Mr. Caldwell's argument against 'precipitous withdrawal' from Iraq, together with President Bush's justification of the sacrifice of perhaps 30,000 Iraqis killed -- by insurgents -- are compelling reminders of what took place in Vietnam more than 30 years ago..."

Speaking of voting lines, remember that this letter is from yesterday's Review-Journal. As in, the same day that an estimated 70% of Iraqis voted for a their first post-war parliament. Personally, I question the timing. Another funny aspect of this part of the letter is that if you'll recall, it started out with an admonition to remember the lessons of history. Apparently our letter-writer has forgotten that U.S. defeatism led to precipitous withdrawal, and the subsequent massacre of countless South Vietnamese.

"...Vietnamization and Iraqification of host-country armed forces, failed and failing, respectively..."

Yeah, speaking of that whole "questioning the timing" thing, the letter comes only a few days after reports that Iraqi military are increasingly taking the lead in combat operations. So again, all those pesky facts seem to come out at the precise moment to undermine this clownskull's point.

"...the imposition of a U.S. model of democracy in lands historically and socially ill-suited to the practice..."

Did I mention that 70% of registered voters showed up at the polls yesterday, the same day this letter was published? And of course, Afghans seem to like voting, too. In spite of liberal dogma to the effect that brown people don't like freedom.

"...misleading reports of progress in the field..."

Ah, here we find our unfortunate author's escape hatch. If there is any information suggesting that Iraq is anything other than the quagmire the Dems need it to be, it must be misleading.

"...extremist insurgencies willing to die to repel an occupying force..."

To paraphrase general Patton, I'd rather have those dumb bastards dying for their country than have our boys die for it. Except that, of course, the people who blow themselves up are foreigners themselves, meaning they aren't exactly repelling an "occupying force" so much as acting like occupiers themselves. Try to keep that point in mind. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is not an Iraqi, his is a Jordanian. Actual Iraqis -- Sunnis, even -- don't like him.

Ah, but is this just another case of misrepresentation? Here's a simple test you can try. If the news favors Bush, and comes from Reuters, you can bet your last dollar it's true.

"...and, finally, no exit strategy, which, in Vietnam, led to the hasty retreat of U.S. personnel from Saigon in 1975."

We have a very simple exit strategy: we'll leave when we win, or when a legitimate Iraqi government asks us to (which is the same thing as a win). And given that Iraqis have now successfully voted in huge numbers in three national elections, with less violence than New Orleans experienced in the three years I lived there, I'd say we're well on the way to that "when we win" goal. As for Vietnam, I just finished reading an interesting book, Southeast Asia: Past and Present, which had a section on the Vietnam War. I don't pretend expertise on the Vietnam war, by any means, but from what I've read it looks like a combination of defeatists at home (such as our author, here) and a military strategy that primarily aimed to blow up North Vietnamese bridges instead of making South Vietnam a viable alternative.

Is Iraqi peace a viable alternative to surrounding nations? I'd have to say yes, not only because it inspired a popular uprising in Lebanon and cratered Assad's Syria, but also because average Iraqi incomes have soared by over 60%, and 70% of Iraqis rate their economic situation positively.

Think about that. Sixty percent. Do you know what I would do with a 60% raise? Buy $42,000.00 worth of Pez, baby! And I'm sure the Iraqis can think of something to spend their extra money on, as well.

But the bad timing of this poor sap's letter to the editor coalesces in one grand finale at the end:

"Mr. Caldwell is right about one thing, however: Democrats are indeed divided on the issue of Iraq. The question is how high the body count will rise before there is consensus."

As I mentioned above, Dhimmi Pelosi expressly stated that the Democrats have no position on Iraq.


Order your bumper sticker today.

Bush, Eavesdropping, and Leaks

I'm linking this story about the New York Times report that Bush authorized warrantless surveillanc of Americans for one reason.

If you believe have ever attacked the Bush administration for leaking under-cover soccer mom Valerie Plame's identity, even though said leak in no way compromised national security or efforts in the War on Terror, and yet you don't see any problem with the massive leaking that was obviously involved in the Times report, can you explain how you reconcile those two positions?

Thanks in advance.

Tom Morello is a Douchebag; or, How to Get a Lot of Traffic You Don't Want

For some reason I get a lot of traffic from people looking for pictures of Tom Morello, former guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, and current guitarist for Audioslave. I get these hits because of this post, in which I stated:

"As Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello (formerly of Rage Against the Machine) insisted in playing one final song while fans tried to kill each other, I wonder if he reflected on the irony of that his music was inspiring such violence at a rally for peace. I suspect he reflected on no such thing."

Let me first say, if you've come here looking for Tom Morello pictures, I hope you find what you're looking for, and Tom Morello is a giant douchebag.


Now as I was discovering the reason for all my Tom Morello-related traffic, I found this comment on my post, linked above:

"Ummm who says he isn't well informed? He graduated from Harvard with a degree in Social Sciences. And he openly admits he is a socialist. And RATM was all about the politics before the music."

Well, first of all, I didn't say he was uninformed, I just noted the irony that someone is ostensibly playing a concert for peace while inciting a riot. But now that you mention it, the guy is, in addition to being a douchebag, also uninformed. The fact that he openly admits he is a socialist is conclusive evidence either that a) he is profoundly uninformed, or b) he is an evil piece of crap who rejoices in the torture and deaths of millions and millions of people. Being a naturally charitable person, I'm going to assume it's the former.

Here's the problem. Audioslave likes to point at the Bush administration and cry "police state!!!" But the douchebag in question is standing -- proudly -- in front of pictures of two notorious killers and, yes, heads of police states. They released either an album or a DVD (maybe both -- it's not like I care) called "Live from Cuba," another infamous police state. So when people like Tom Morello ignorantly whine that America is becoming a police state, what exactly is the nature of the complaint? That it has taken so long?

Or does he think only brown- or yellow-skinned people deserved to be slaughtered wholesale by police states? Well, it can't be that, because the Soviets killed millions -- maybe he just really hates Jews? Or perhaps I should consider the most obvious common denominator -- they're all foreigners who get sent to the mass graves or marched to death at gun point or made the subject of cruel scientific experiments. In other words, Tom Morello is a jingoistic moron who wraps himself in the flag to justify his antipathy for North Koreans, Cubans, Soviets, Chinese, Vietnamese, Venezuelans, etc. who displease their murderous overlords.

I'm sorry but reasonable and well-informed people cannot simultaneously decry American security efforts while approving of Mao and Lenin. Or, if they do, it means they must really be happy about a few million dead Chinese political undesireables, or North Korean babies being exterminated because Kim Jong Il believes political dissent is genetic.

So yeah, rage against the machine, kiddies, unless that machine is literally responsible for millions of deaths of its own citizens, in which case hey, maybe the machine isn't so bad, after all.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Iraqi Elections: Roundup of Liberal "Reactions"

Jeff at Protein Wisdom has 'em.

In their defense, it's not like we can really draw inferences from their failure to take note of important world events. I chalk it all up to coincidence.

You know, like how they ignored women voting in municipal elections in Saudi Arabia.
And a bloodless coup in Mauritania.
And a mostly peaceful revolution in Lebanon.
And two previous elections in Iraq.
And constitutional reforms in Egypt.
And Morocco reaching a deal on political prisoners with Algeria and Western Sahara.
And an orange revolution in Ukraine.
And an electoral victory for conservatives in Germany.
And the re-election of Australia's John Howard.
And Lybia voluntarily disarming.

To name a few.

As my buddy Jack M. would say, the times they are a changin'. And liberals are too busy sniping at conservatives to notice.

Christmas Shopping Update

If you're still trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas, I might be able to come up with a few suggestions.

5 Rue Sesame

The French have had Sesame Street for years, but it seems that now they want to produce their own shows, rather than just dub over American shows.

"But certain American puppets are gone, including one that you might expect could rattle French sensibilities: 'Sesame Street's' floppy-armed front man, Kermit the Frog."

Hi-larious. And don't miss the comments on Ace's post.

Of course, SobekPundit readers already know how to give the show that certain "edge" it's been lacking.

More: I've found a picture of the new cast. For comparison purposes, here's the American version:

Hey kids, let's learn about the letter Q!

And the French version:

Life is pain!


It's not really topical, because everyone knows there aren't any Mormons in France, but Supernatural Rabbit Scribe thought it might be appropriate to re-post my picture of this Very Special Sesame Street Episode:

Featuring new songs entitled "Throw a Tantrum Until Mommy and Daddy Get Baptized," and "If You Drink Pepsi, You'll Go to Outer Darkness." Um, also that looks like an Argentina flag on the wall in the background, so again, it's not really topical. But hey, what Supernatural Rabbit Scribe wants, Supernatural Rabbit Scribe gets.

Iraqis Vote in Historic Elections

Lots of link round-ups out there, but I think I'll just point you to Omar and Ali at Iraq the Model for some first-person reportage. Or just go to their main page and keep scrolling. Lots of great pics, reports from Iraqis all over the country, and, of course, purple fingers.

As of this writing, doesn't have a single headline on the Iraq vote.


Ace has a couple of posts, here and here, about utterly breath-taking defeatism by Juan Cole. Never heard of the guy, and apparently I haven't been missing much. The upshot of that second link is that Cole not only wants the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq, but doesn't want us to do so after being asked to by the Iraqi government. He insists that we must withdraw in defeat.

Heh. Well, Cole should be able to tell us all about how defeat feels right about now.

Finally, and observation. Remember how utterly elated conservatives were back in January, when the Iraqis voted on an interim government? Try as I might, I just can't seem to muster the same enthusiasm for today's historic election. It's the simple problem of repetition. The first election was nothing short of miraculous. The second was really neat. The third -- and every successive vote -- will be decreasingly interesting, as they get more and more typical. That people already seem to feel this tends to indicate that victory in Iraq has already been established on some subconscious level. That, combined with recent polls showing that a solid majority of Iraqis think their future looks good, makes for some satisfying news, indeed.

Unless, of course, you were rooting for failure all along.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Iraqi Voters Express Their Opinion of American Leftists Who Say Arabs Don't Want Democracy

Terse. I like that.

One explosion so far, but apparently it didn't hit anything.

More: Speaking of American Leftists, is reporting that as many as 10 million Iraqis are expected to vote today. The front page of today's ash-Sharq al-Awsat says 15 million. Funny how the Arab-language source is more optimistic than the Communist News Network.

Pardon the Dust

Just did some site construction around here, thanks to the inestimable Jennifer, from Demure Thoughts.

Incidentally, she's also earned herself the dubious honor of next week's Official SobekPundit Blogger Interview victim feature.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

How to Shower Like a Woman and How to Shower Like a Man

This one had my wife on the verge of tears of laughter, so I'm hoping it will make up for the Michelle Malkin interview.

How To Shower Like a Woman & How To Shower Like a Man

How ToShower Like a Woman:

* Walk to bathroom wearing long dressing gown.
* Take off clothing and place it in sectioned laundry hamper according to lights and darks
* If you see husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas.
* Look at your womanly physique in the mirror, make mental note to do more sit-ups/leg-lifts, etc.
* Get in the shower.
* Use face cloth, arm cloth, leg cloth, long loofah, wide loofah and pumice stone.
* Wash your hair once with cucumber and sage shampoo with 43 added vitamins.
* Wash your hair again to make sure it's clean.
* Condition your hair with enhanced grapefruit mint conditioner.
* Wash your face with crushed apricot facial scrub for 10 minutes until red.
* Wash entire rest of body with ginger nut and jaffacake body wash.
* Rinse conditioner off hair.
* Shave armpits and legs.
* Turn off shower.
* Squeegee off all wet surfaces in shower.
* Spray mold spots with Tilex.
* Get out of shower.
* Dry with towel the size of a small country.
* Wrap hair in super absorbent towel.
* Return to bedroom wearing long dressing gown and towel on head.
* If you see husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas.

How ToShower Like a Man:

* Take off clothes while sitting on the edge of the bed and leave them in a pile.
* Walk naked to the bathroom.
* Ifyou see wife along the way, shake wiener at her making the 'woo-woo' sound.
* Admire your manly physique in the mirror.
* Admire the size of your wiener and scratch your butt.
* Get in the shower.
* Wash your face.
* Wash your armpits.
* Blow your nose in your hands and let the water rinse them off.
* Pass gas and laugh at how loud it sounds in the shower.
* Spend majority of time washing privates and surrounding area.
* Wash your butt, leaving hairs stuck on the soap.
* Wash your hair.
* Make a Shampoo Mohawk.
* Pee.
* Rinse off and get out of shower.
* Partially dry off.
* Fail to notice water on floor because curtain was hanging out of tub the whole time.
* Admire wiener size in mirror again.
* Leave shower curtain open, wet mat on floor, light and fan turned on.
* Return to bedroom with towel around waist.
* If you pass wife, pull off towel, shake wiener at her and make the woo-woo sound again.
* Throw wet towel on bed.

Via e-mail from my brother, so I don't know who to credit.


That really is a pleasant surprise.

The Official SobekPundit Blogger Interview: Michelle Malkin

Kos: Hello, my name is Markos Moulitsas Zunigos, from the popular liberal blog, Daily Kos. I got an e-mail from some guy (?) named Sobek, asking me to do a blogger interview for him while he gets loaded up on cheap crank and races the cops to the Mexican border. I've never even heard of this Sobek fellow, but as I have a history of only supporting losers, I figured this was right up my alley.

He said I could interview any blogger I wanted, so I thought I'd break out the big guns and invite Michelle Malkin over, and she has graciously accepted. And by "graciously," I mean she was acting like less of a Saigon hooker than usual.

So with that introduction, welcome, Ms. Malkin.

Michelle: You need to change this picture. Right now.

Kos: Why?

Michelle: Because it's extremely insulting. I only agreed to do this because I think Sobek is one of the brightest stars on the internet today. I didn't realize I was coming here to get attacked by "Screw 'Em" Kos.

Kos: Well, the picture represents a larger truth, so I'm sticking with it. And speaking of larger truths, lets start with today's story of the KKKarl Rove propaganda machine pressuring the San Francisco Chronicle to distort a story about Iraqi casualties...

Michelle: Can you even read? The Chronicle writer acknowledged that the original headline was a blatant misrepresentation of...

Kos: Stop letting the actual facts get in the way of the larger picture.

Michelle: Speaking of pictures, you need to change this "picture" of me.

Kos: I guess the truth hurts. But let's get a second opinion. Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, do you think the banana picture is a good one for Michelle?

Steele: You're lucky I can't reach through a blog and wrap my hands around your pathetic little neck.

Kos: You conservatives are so violent. Maybe we should see what Condi Rice thinks.

Condi: You're dog meat, pal.

Kos: Yeah, yeah. That's all I get out of you people: empty threats. How about you, TSL?

TSL: Huh? Do you even know who I am?

Michelle: That last one didn't make any sense at all. Markos, I have a feeling something pretty bad is going to happen to you, if you don't knock it off with the race-baiting.

Kos: I think not, you slant-eyed whore. I'm untouchable. I can be an obnoxious, racist little prick, and my hordes of syncophantic admirers will still donate money and shrieking hysteria to whatever doomed candidate I tell them to. And there's nothing you can do to stop me, race traitor.

Lisa: You're forgetting who you're dealing with, Kos.

Kos: Oh yeah?

Lisa: Yeah. Our Sith Master Rove taught us pyrokinesis, remember?

Kos: I have no idea what you're talking about. All I know is...


Michelle: Thank you. What a waste of time that was.

Lisa: My pleasure. I'm going shopping. Wanna come?

Michelle: Sure, why not? I'm going to get some faux-alligator boots.

Lisa: I prefer crocodile.









Sobek: Hey everyone, I'm back.

Sobek: ...

Sobek: Um, what are these charred remains doing in my living room?

Other SobekPundit Blogger Interviews:
John from WuzzaDem
Ace of Spades
Dave from Garfield Ridge
Oliver Willis
The Therapist
Protein Wisdom
Jack M.
Bohemian Conservative

Next Week:
I dunno. Whatever.

Picture of Kos courtesy of Bill from INDC.