31 March 2005

Rice & frogleg casserole

A friend of mine, an Asian student studying in Paris, recently wrote me about the Condoleeza Rice visit. She said that the seating was all arranged ahead of time and the questions and answers were completely scripted. In the current political climate, I suppose this is hardly blogworthy anymore. These days, the U.S. papers are filled with stories of citizens being dragged out of town meetings due to suspicions that they might not fully support the president's policies. This being the case, the media would be doing us all a great favor if they would stop showing us these so-called "town-meetings" and "discussions with students." It's a waste of our precious time. If we want to know how the meeting turned out, we can read the script. Ahead of time.

29 March 2005

Owning a car on every corner

Today's Washington Post had, on page one, an excellent article on the recent popularity of car-sharing in D.C. Car-sharing, one of those hip ideas stolen from the Left Coast, is a way to rent cars that have been left at strategic areas of the city for short increments of time. The two companies currently operating out of D.C. are Zipcar and Flexcar.

Personally, I don't know why people don't apply this concept to even more daily items. Do I really need to own a lawn-mower that I use 4 or 5 times a year? (I admit, I'm a bit on the lazy side, but still.) Or do I need a snow shovel that I use once a year? Couldn't my neighborhood install a nice little co-op garage for all of this stuff?

Of course, the right-wingers would get in a tizzy if they heard this--they're sure to start squealing that I'm trying to drag them down the road to socialism and wyfe-swapping. And we'd all hate to see the CEO of Walmart have to give up selling large plastic gizmos and actually go out and get a job. But still, in the privy of my house, far away from the watchful eyes of heimland security, I do enjoy my visions of a society that hoards a little less and shares a little more. I dream of the day that the public library lends virtually everything--not just books.

24 March 2005

Defections from the World of Chess

Chess has been in the press as of late. Fischer has finally been released by Japan and is now headed to Iceland where he's been granted citizenship. Of course, the Shrub administration (those great lovers of the U.N.) can still arrest Fischer for violation of U.N. sanctions.



In other news, Gary Kasparov has announced his retirement from chess.

Kyrgyz

The Kyrgyz presidential compound has been stormed. Is Uzbekistan next?

Links: Argus, KG Election Blog, QandO, and Riting on the Wall

23 March 2005

Lurking Around the Blogosphere

I've tried to steer clear of the Schiavos case. I can't deny that the story contains much philosophical meat for the grinder. I guess I'm just tired of watching the "compassionate conservatives" crying crocodile tears over this woman while throwing beer parties each time an apartment block across the world is bombed. If you chose to be savages, at least be consistent, damn it.



Direland has begun an insightful new collumn called "theocracy watch." Elsewhere in blogotopia, Terrette opines on the personhood of corporate persons. Denny Henke has an excellent podcast on the world's energy matrix.

The Vicious Vietcong

Roachblog (found via At Ease) had the following interesting post:

This is something my Great Aunt Minnie would say when she really meant Holy Shit. I've posted occasionally about what I fear we have become; both as a military force and as a nation. I'm happy when I don't see news reports that stoke my fears.

I'm not happy now.

Suddenly, the count of prisoners dead in captivity is up to 108. Boy, that happened fast, didn't it? When I did my seven year hitch in the Navy, the gold standard for horrible, communist, totalitarian, non-Geneva convention deadly bastards who you never wanted to get captured by was the North Vietnamese.

They were happy if you died in your cell. They tortured. They hated. They abused just for perverse commie, Stalinist fun. They were the worst. Worse than Nazis, even, because the Nazis at least sometimes pretended to be civilized about POW treatment. The North Vietnamese didn't even pretend.

So how many American POWS died while captured by the insane and lawless North Vietnamese during the entire Vietnam war? One hundred and fourteen. From all causes. What killed the 108 (so far) reported in our custody?

Mostly "violent causes".

Maybe someone would like to explain WTF that means. I don't even want to try.

The Twilight Years

I recently read Ariyoshi's book The Twilight Years. I would recommend the book to anyone who wants to read an extremely realistic and frank account of ageing, or more precisely, the issues surrounding taking care of the elderly.

7 March 2005

Yamani iku!

I'm headed to the mountains. Please cease all blogging until I get back. I wouldn't want to miss anything.

4 March 2005

Which left are you?

For all my fellow moonbats out there, I suppose it's time we look deep inside our leftist souls and decided our true leftist identity. I was always under the impression that leftist were those people born with an active version of the altruistic gene--that one that provokes concern over our fellow human beings. In other words, I figured we were more evolved versions of the monkey who brought back the large bundle of bananas so that the monkey troop could have a nice banana party (while those with the defective version of the gene bashed each other's heads).

I was therefore taken back to discover that the altruistic, egalitarian leftist doesn't exist! This revelation comes from no less an authority that Moonbat Central, who informs us that "it is impossible to understand politics in the world today without grasping the fundamental fact that there exist two different Lefts. I propose that the two be referred to by everyone as the Stupid Left and the Satanic Left."

Of course, this analysis is somewhat flawed. Moonbat Central fails to mention that third possibility of stupid, evil leftists, but we'll leave this point aside for the moment so that we can present his erudite analysis in full:

The two are very different, although they work together. People who are part of the first are simply stupid people. People who are part of the second may in fact be quite shrewd, but are evil and nefarious. There is no third type of leftist.

I'm glad he used the word "nefarious." Although I've never wanted to do evil, there have been times I've wanted to be "nefarious." The word conjours up daredevil ninjas slinking around a top-secret base, dispatching the fat conservative security guard with a knowing grin.

Over time, the Stupid Left has been losing its numbers, as many Stupid Leftists either become smarter or morph into Satanic Leftists, and so desist from being mere Stupid Leftists.

I'm glad that he conceded we are getting smarter. Evidently, there's hope for us yet.

So a process of selection is occurring whereby the strength of the Satanic Left within the overall Left grows.

Selection? This sounds very, uhm, evolutionist. Are post-Shrub conservatives allowed to believe in evolution? I'll have to ask the Department of Homeland Security about this...

The anti-American demonstrations we have been witnessing in Europe and the United States are attended by both kinds of Leftists, although they were organized by Satanic Leftists.

Well of course, We don't allow our stupid leftist brethren to organize things. We all may be equal but some of us are more equal than others after all.

The Stupid Left is anti-American because it thinks people in America are oppressed, poor, mistreated and that America is an evil country.

No. Actually the "Stupid Left" knows that people in America are often oppressed, poor, or mistreated. They are evidently "stupid" because they give a damn.

The Satanic Left is anti-American precisely because it knows the opposite is the case.

Wow. This is getting deep. I can see some Aquinas somewhere in here (amidst the emtpy beer cans). Profound philosophical questions. Can man knowingly commit wrong?

The Stupid Left hates America because it thinks America promotes evil, oppressive regimes around the world. The Satanic Left hates America because America gets in the way of the evil, oppressive regimes that the Satanic Left promotes.

I see. I guess this excludes the possibility of there being a stupid, evil leftist. Damn. And I thought I'd poked a whole in this tight line of reasoning.

The Stupid Left denounces capitalism and globalization and supports communism because it really believes that people are poor and oppressed under capitalism but free and happy under socialism. The Satanic Left denounces capitalism and supports communism precisely because it knows that the opposite is the case.

Yes. It's all for that glory of watching people suffer under oppressive systems. There's nothing like sitting out on your porch, on a hot summer day, with a vodka in one hand and Das Kapital in the other, watching the people suffer.

The Stupid Left does not know that communism produces gulags. The Satanic Left supports communism precisely because it produces gulags and also because the Satanic Leftists presume they will be placed in charge of the gulags.

Yes. We're waiting for the government to wake up and start sending us Satanic Leftists to go run the gulags in Cuba and Diego Garcia. For some reason, we can't get the Shrub administration to see the light.

The Stupid Left wants a Palestinian state because it thinks that such a state will pursue peace alongside Israel. The Satanic Left wants a Palestinian state precisely because it knows such a state will launch a war of destruction against Israel and endless atrocities against the Jews.

Uh oh. They're on to us. We've been helping the Palestinians collect rocks for decades now, waiting for that day when the Israel's have their guard down. After all, didn't David whoop Goliath using a rock?

The Stupid Left thinks Israel mistreats Arabs. It does not know that Arab regimes mistreat Arabs. The Satanic Left knows Israel does not mistreat Arabs and Arab regimes do. It wants Israel destroyed not because it thinks Israel is unjust, but rather because it hates Jews.

Left? Nazis? Anti-semitism? Chomsky? I'm getting confused.

The Stupid Left is convinced that most Arabs seek peace, are moderate and decent people, and have a legitimate grievance against the West. The Satanic Left supports Arab aggression and terror precisely because it knows this is not true.

Wow. I'm glad that's cleared up. And all this time I was under the illusion that there were decent Arabs.

The Stupid Left thinks that Palestinian leaders and Arab nationalists are progressive and liberal. The Satanic Left supports the same people precisely because it knows they are fascists.

Fascist leftist . . . I've got to get a new history book. All mine keep talking about Hitler's war against the communists.

The Stupid Left thinks the West should not place its Arab residents under surveillance because they are decent people and loyal to their adopted countries. The Satanic Left opposes such surveillance because it wants more Bin Ladens.

Yeah. That Bin Laden was sure a wonderful leftist. Constantly talking about creating an egalitarian materialist society in which class consciousness would be wiped out and nations wouldn't exist.
. . .
The Stupid Left thinks the Middle East conflict is about land and borders. The Satanic Left knows it is about Israel`s existence.

Yes. We know that the 2nd or 3rd most powerful military in the world (Israel's) backed by the most powerful military in the world (that of the U.S.) is going to be over-run any moment by kids carrying bandanas filled with rocks.

. . .
The Stupid Left chooses its political positions on the basis of the desire by leftists to make their mommies and daddies mad. So does the Satanic Left, but they REALLY DESPISE their parents.

What about people with leftist parents? Do they end up writing long anti-leftist screeds on obscure websites?

The Stupid Left thinks animals should be treated like humans. The Satanic Left thinks humans should be treated like animals.

Ooh. I like this one. Someone's taken a writing class.

The Stupid Left wants socialism because it thinks that people will not have to work under socialism and because it thinks that leftists will have a lot of friends under socialism. The Satanic Left wants socialism because Satanic Leftists will not have to work under socialism while they turn everyone else into slaves, and because they`ll get to shoot their friends.

Yep. Slaves and shooting friends. That about sums it up.

So which kind of leftist are you?

3 March 2005

Mission accomplished?

Troops deaths in Iraq have now passed the 1500 mark. As mentioned on one blog, "1,362 of those servicemen and women have been killed since President Bush declared victory on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1st, 2003."

2 March 2005

Ich bin ein Vermonter!

Praise to the sane citizens of Vermont, who have overwhelmingly stood up in opposition to Shrub's War throughout their fine state. I wonder what the conservative reaction will be. For one thing, much of the resolution stresses the constitutional role of state militias as forces that should be independent of direct Federal control--a point so frequently cited by gun-control advocates.

I've included the text in its entirety below (bold highlights are mine):

Iraq resolution

This is a copy of the basic resolution that was, in part or in whole, discussed at town meeting in at least 54 communities February 26 and 28 and March 1.


Resolution Concerning the Vermont National Guard and the War in Iraq


Whereas, the Town and its citizens strongly support the men and women serving in the United States Armed Forces in Iraq and recognize the sacrifices that each of them is making. The Town and its citizens stand ready to help these Vermonters in any way they can.

Whereas, in October 2002 the United States Congress adopted a Joint Resolution to Authorize the use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, relying on statements that were untrue, when in fact the United States:

* was not threatened with attack by Iraq,

* Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction,

* Saddam Hussein had no role in the 9/11 attacks.

Whereas, in going to war, the President did not meet the conditions imposed by Congress, failing to show Congress why he:

* decided that diplomatic or peaceful means alone would not protect the national security of the United States or lead to enforcement of Security Council resolutions on Iraq,

* why he decided that going to war was a necessary action against Iraq on the theory - never proven - that Iraq authorized, committed, or aided in the 9/11 attacks.

Whereas, the war has resulted in serious and potentially long-lasting consequences for the United States and for the chances for a just and durable peace in Iraq and the Mideast;

Whereas, the United States Constitution provides that Congress shall have the power to "provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, to suppress insurrections and repel Invasions," and the Vermont Constitution provides for the General Assembly to direct the training and arming of members of the Vermont National Guard for defense of the State;

Whereas, at least since 1986 the President and the Congress have had nearly total control over state militias, including the Vermont National Guard;

Whereas, the costs of the call-up of Vermont National Guard members for deployment in Iraq has been significant, as reckoned in lost lives, combat injuries, psychic trauma, disruption of family life, financial hardship for individuals, families, and businesses, interruption of careers, and damage to the fabric of civic life in many Vermont communities;

Whereas, these are costs which would be suffered willingly were there a threat to our nation, but which are not tolerable where there is none;

Whereas, Vermonters have joined the Guard thinking that they would be serving their neighbors by helping with Vermont-based emergencies, unless there was a danger to America requiring transfer to active duty;

Whereas, stop-loss orders violate the mutual understanding between Vermonters in the Guard and the state and nation they agreed to serve; and

Whereas, there is reason to believe that the federalization and deployment of Vermont National Guard members has rendered the remaining Guard force unable to carry out its state activities

effectively;

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY:

Resolved, that the Town requests the members of Vermont's Congressional Delegation to urge Congress to restore the balance between the federal government and the states, limiting the nearly complete federal control over State National Guard units to cases:

where there is reasonable evidence that war powers are requested in order to protect against a

threat to the territory of the United States,

where there is an insurrection or a plausible threat of insurrection; or

where there is a declaration of war under the United States Constitution;

Resolved, that the Town requests the General Assembly of the State of Vermont, exercising its powers under Ch. II, Sec. 59 of the Vermont Constitution, to:

investigate and discuss whether members of the Vermont National Guard have been called to active service and assigned to duties relating to the war in Iraq in conformity with the U.S. Constitution and federal laws, including the 2002 Congressional Resolution on Iraq; and create a commission or other body to collect statutory, historical, and statistical information about the role of the National Guard in serving the State of Vermont and to study the impact of the federalization
and deployment of its members on the ability of the Guard to perform its mission in Vermont;

Resolved, that the President and the Congress take steps to withdraw American troops from Iraq,consistently with the mandate of international humanitarian law; and

Resolved, that the Town Clerk send a copy of this Resolution to each member of the VermontCongressional Delegation, the Vermont Governor, the Speaker of the Vermont House, the President Pro Tempore of the Vermont Senate, the Adjutant General of Vermont.

Saving the world from eevul preachers

A recent FBI memo has been released showing that Senator Strom Thurmond and his staff tried to use the FBI to attack civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The new memo shows the link between red-scare tactics and racism in the U.S.--a marriage behind the Republican Party's successful "southern strategy" that has guided Republican winning tickets from Nixon to Shrub.

Around the Blogosphere

No Religion Now has a great post titled Have You Been Duped? The 12th Harmonic posts on the Uruguay elections and last but not least, there's Obsidian Wings on the Byrd speech.

1 March 2005

Moonbats are mammals too

Many detractors have launched aspersions and ad hominem attacks on Karlo and this blog's recondite ideas, referring to the mellifluous memes found herein as mere moonbat mumbo-jumbo. Yet what could be more glorious than being compared to the high-flying moonbat, that rarely-glimpsed beast who lives off the moon's morning dew. And just remember, when you are in that ugly rightwing mood, wanting to snuff out all life and replace it with a cement factory, at these times please remember that moonbats are mammal too, part of that great circle of life . . .