Thursday, July 31, 2003

Tom Daschle's First Blog Post

Here's Tom Daschle's first blog post. Pretty bland. No comments. No trackback. I want to see Donald Rumsfeld's blog.

Via: Kim du Toit

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

A Refreshing Lack Of Historical Revisionism

Due to being fooled by her hiatus message, I almost missed this gem by Mrs. du Toit. She explains why it is a mistake to include 'token' women on a list of the twenty most influential persons in American History. Here's a sample:
To simplify the accomplishments of Mark Twain that he "wrote some yarns" shows a degree of ignorance to his accomplishments and to American History that defies reason--it would be like saying that Shakespeare wrote a few poems. Mark Twain not only wrote a few stories, but he single handedly changed the way that people felt about race--TWICE. He didn't do it with an army or a soapbox, he did it with WORDS--something the blogosphere cannot be reminded of often enough.

There are no women on the list because no women hold a candle to the men. Rosa Parks didn't liberate a race. She made a gesture that sparked a liberation. She was no different from the first victim of the Shot Heard Round The World. She did a brave thing, but there had been others before her and many more after her.
In World History Florence Nightengale might conceivably make such a list, but I think even that is a stretch. Modern nursing is very important, but top twenty is a high hurdle.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Bedside Guns

Kim du Toit answers a couple of questions I've always wanted to know, but haven't managed to ask. Which gun do I buy for bedside use? And how do I keep my kids safe when I do? I just wish he'd said so before I bought my Bulgarian Makarov. Kim, in the extremely unlikely case that you are reading this, you can count me as another happy gun owner, due to your encouragement. Thanks.

So Government Sanctioned Professionals Can Screw Up Our Kids Sooner

Universal government run preschools is a horrible idea. From the article:
OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) - Rep. Dennis Kucinich called for a $60 billion effort to provide universal preschool and proposed paying for the plan with a 15 percent cut in Pentagon spending.
"I intend to put forward a plan for universal pre-kindergarten, a day care program that would provide quality day care five days a week, year-round," he said.
Taking a cue from Pat Robertson, I am now praying that Rep. Kucinich will undergo a dramatic religious experience and decide to take up missionary work in Botswana. It's a nice country, he'll be happy there.

Update: Interested-Participant points out that this plan (scroll UP to see his post) would effectively nationalize the day care and preschool education industries.

What A Bargain!

An entire divison of Polish peacekeepers for only $200 million plus $30 to 40 million shipping and handling! What a bargain! We could never get US troops at that price!

Hat Tip: PrometheusSpeaks

Clemency Unreviewed?

Did Alberto R. Gonzales, and therefore his boss, Governor George W. Bush fall down on the job? If this report is correct I am disappointed in both Gonzales and Bush. The last court of review needs to actually review. Reminds me of all those last minute pardons Clinton did. Urgh. Money quote:
"A close examination of the Gonzales memoranda suggests that Governor Bush frequently approved executions based on only the most cursory briefings on the issues in dispute," Berlow writes. "In fact, in these documents Gonzales repeatedly failed to apprise the governor of crucial issues in the cases at hand: ineffective counsel, conflict of interest, mitigating evidence, even actual evidence of innocence."
Hat Tip: PrometheusSpeaks

Monday, July 28, 2003

Sunday, July 27, 2003

The War On Islamic Terrorism - What Den Beste Left Out

Steven Den Beste has wrtten a fantastic overview of our stragegy in the war on Islamic terrorism. All arguments about the war, whether pro, con, strategy, tactics or other should begin with this overview as a primary reference document. It is that good, IMHO. What Steven left out:

1. This war, like the Cold War, is being fought economically as well. A worldwide depression (caused by a major disruption to the world's oil supply, for example) could cause the war to escalate, and lots of people would get killed. (Most of them would not be Americans, unless it went nuclear.) I am surprised Steven left this out, since he covers it extensively. This may require deficit spending (shudder).

2. We were already killing people and spending a lot of money in our twelve year low-level war against Saddam. Now the money and the deaths will not just be maintaining a horrible status-quo, but we might actually be able to do some good.

3. This war would have been fought anyway, whether or not America brought the fight back to the Middle East.

Update 4. PrometheusSpeaks points out that Saddam may be more likely to give terrorists WMD if he thinks he will be deposed or killed.

A Running Back Who Can Write

Joe Posnanski tips us off on a Pro-Bowl running back's blog. Actually it is Priest Holmes's training camp diary. And Priest can write! Here's Joe's article. Joe thinks Priest can write too:
Only, with Priest Holmes it's different. His diaries (available at his charity Web site, are little stories. He tells about the daily race he has with Marvin "Snoop" Minnis to get to the hot tub. He writes about the agony of the 5 a.m. wakeup call for drug testing. He explains how he feels when his mood goes dark, and he just needs to be left alone.

He writes about the awful feeling of waking up at training camp.

"It is then that I feel pain lingering in my body. I lift my legs out of the bed, and my hamstrings feel so tight they could snap. As my feet touch the cold floor, my ankles feel brittle, and my legs are heavy. My forehead throbs from squeezing it into my helmet for the first time in months.

"My body hurts, and I try to keep focused on the next time I will be able to lay down again and not on the fact that I have to practice for five hours. All of this is going on, yet I can't stop.... There is no turning back."

What did I tell you? The man can write. You know what? This is easy. I should just let him write the column. Then, Priest's writing shouldn't surprise anyone. There isn't much Priest Holmes can't do.

Discipline Is Hard

Glenn writes about My Failure As An Athlete, or, Why I'm Doing Data Entry Instead of Playing Minor League Baseball. Money quote:
As an athlete I was pretty much a failure. I was never one of those guys who over-hyped and failed to live up to expectations. I was a guy who had a tremendous amount of talent but never bothered to develop it. And thus, surely you have never heard of me.
Like many other things in my life I took my athletic talent for granted. If you ask any professional athlete they will tell you that talent only gets you so far. To reach the professional level of competition talent and hard work are necessary. Strangely I never learned that lesson.
I can sure relate. I was never athletic, I was just smart, but I have the same problem. Lucky for me you don't have the time limit on smart that you do on athletic skills. It took me years to get out of low-paying jobs into something that used my talents. Discipline is hard.

Sometimes we try to make sports more important than they are, but you can learn real lessons from them.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Kansas City's Other Big Sports Columnist

Jason Whitlock is the other big (some people would say fat, but that would be catty) sports columnist at the KC Star. He used to be my favorite because he writes well and he is controversial (and therefore interesting), but Joe slowly won me over by being so heart-warming. Here is a pretty good example of Jason's style. Money quote:
One season after being selected the NBA's top coach, less than a week after leading the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals, Detroit president Joe Dumars fired Carlisle and began an all-out pursuit of Larry Brown.

Dumars is black. Carlisle is white. And Larry Brown is Larry Brown, one of the best basketball coaches of all time.

You know where I'm going, don't you?

If the skin colors were reversed, Jackson would be on his way to Detroit as you read this, holding prayer vigils and protests. As America's leading coaching expert, Jackson would be a guest on every think-tank, lawyer talk show and ESPN's "Outside the Lines" complaining about how the institutional racism within sports had claimed yet another coaching victim.
Hmmm. It seems I've picked two racial posts in a day. Well I said Jason was controversial. And here I thought I'd only blog about guns...

Horses Have Heart

Joe Posnsnski has a column out about horse racing. Money quote:
"My favorite line in the movie," William Reed says. "is when the trainer says `It's not about a horse's legs. It's about his heart.' That's so true. Some have great talent. But they don't have the heart to run. That's what makes Drift so special, I think. He loves to compete."
Uplifting, as usual.

Maybe We Aren't All Racists

Sofia Sideshow has this cool anecdote. Money quote:
So...the director, a white guy, began talking about the show, how excited he was to do it, and talked about the playwright, and spoke of the show's relevance in applying to them, black kids, in these times, in America.
A hand nervously raised in the crowd, and the girl spoke up after the director excitedly encouraged her.
"Well, the show was great, and the actors were great, but I don't...I think the show is a little dated."
The director explained that this wasn't true, but admitted that the role of Clay [the self-repressed black man] was the POV of the Baraka at that time.
Another girl spoke up.
"Actually, I thought the POV of Baraka was the white woman."
I fell off the chair laughing. Not because what the girl said was preposterous, but because it was suddenly so clear. She was dead on right.
The white crazy woman who antagonizes the black man in the subway, both despising him and loving him while hating and debasing herself, mocking him for his 'white-boy' suit and tie and haircut, telling him to break out and be 'black' through a sputtering array of trivially stereotypical slurs...Baraka tried to hide his views behind her, as if it were the POV of whites--and they were not pretty--and this high school girl caught him.
To his credit, the director was truly impressed at her insight, and missed the point entirely.
"That's why it's so relevant!" he said, "Lula [the white girl in the play] shows the racism behind every white person. Lula is a racist. White people are racists. It's how we are brought up, even if we don't realize it it's how it is." He was on a roll...
..."I'm a racist," he said, to the crowd of black high school kids...
...who laughed.
Flummoxed; that's the best word to describe the director's reaction.
At this point, the actor who played Clay spoke up, and said that the director was going overboard, and said something (I can't recall exactly now) far more moderate, and positive about society in general.
But the director insisted.
"No, I know I am. It was simply how I was brought up. I remember my neighborhood and we all were, even if we had black friends..." he went on and on. And on. It didn't help.
A guy got up, which took some time because he was so tall. There was something about him that was so extroverted, and I would lay odds he was a class clown, and well-liked. He had that look.
"You know, I know where you're going, but you're not a racist. [more giggling from the black kids, the way he said it was so...theraputic] And I have white friends. They're not racists..."
Giggles of agreement from the students, who apparently also had white friends, or maybe white boyfriends or girlfriends, or possibly even other friends of various diverse races. Makes your head swim just thinking of how normal and un-unhappy these black kids could all be.
"...I think that this show had a lot to say about the past, but a lot of things have changed since then."
The director countered, "But to say that you have never experienced racism in your lives, or won't ever..."
"I've experienced racism," the guy said, "but not much. I'm sure that there are problems, but they are nothing like the playwright's problems." He didn't mean it the way it came out, but it was funny nonetheless. More laughter.
Finally, "well, if that's your feelings, but I think that you'll learn the hard way later in life, when you get older."
Ah, yes, the perpetual escape route. Perhaps he meant, "wait until Freshman orientation..."
Now if only I can get over all this free-floating guilt...

Friday, July 25, 2003

Good News From A Curmudgeon

Francis Porretto reminds us that we are (nearly) all of good will.
It continues to be true that nearly all Americans are well intentioned toward their fellow man. (We'll come back to the malevolent minority.) They wish no one harm; they simply don't want to be harmed themselves, whether by private action or through the agency of the law. But some can be persuaded that shadowed forces with ominous labels -- "liberals," "conservatives," "radicals," "reactionaries," "the religious right," or what have you -- are working to harm them. That will get them out of their recliners, at least far enough to read the op-ed page of the regional paper.
And he is smart enough not to label that malevolent minority. Well said. Read the whole thing.

More McCarthy Madness

Hesoid and I had more to say at Hesoid's site. Here is what Hesoid said (he starts by quoting me):
"When I read your original post (without the later updates) I must conclude that you aren't happy that the Hussein brothers are dead and that your only reaction is that this must be a plot by the administration. Funny, that is exactly the reaction Steven had. Only your later updates make it clear that you are glad those monsters are dead. (Good for you.) I challenge anyone to read your original post and come to a different conclusion."

The reason you came to that conclusion, reading my original post, was because of the pre-spin put on it by Den Beste.

Anyone reading my post, who did not have a pre-disposition to attack me, or be cynical in whatever I write, would NOT havecome to the same conclusion.

They would have, correctly, concluded that I was CYNICAL about the TIMING of the operation.

I invite ANYONE to parse my words carefully, and in detail to come up with ANYTHING that can be construed as unhappiness that the Hussein twins were killed.

What Steven [and others subsequently] did was imply that by focusing my cynicism on the timing, I was iunsufficiently patriotic or human in my reaction to the deaths of those two scumbags.

Hence my "McCarthyite" charge.

It doesn't mattere if Steven is Spocklike in his McCarthyism, or bombastic. It's not a matter of STYLE, but of substance.
My reply:

Just as you said, a closer reading of your original post shows neither happiness nor sadness about the Hussein brothers demise. Only the cynicism shines through. Given that level of cynicism about an administration which both Den Beste and I think is doing a good job might reasonably rate a sarcastic comment, hmmm? I notice no lack of sarcasm on this site, either from the right or the left, about each other's cynical appraisals.

I do not know about others, but the only thing Den Beste did was sarcastically lump you in with 'the loyal opposition', and he did so by quoting your own words. Not proof of everything you were thinking, but at least proof of something you were thinking. This is not McCartyism.

Den Beste did not say you had passed secrets to the Iraqis. Den Beste did not say you were a card-carrying member or loyal to the Baathist party. Read McCarthy's speech. McCarthy said these things, named names and gave no proof. If making sarcastic comments is McCarthyism, Den Beste is nothing compared to what I've read here from both the right and the left.

Hesoid, you have not made the case that Den Beste is a McCartyite. He has neither the style nor the substance.

More Hesoid comment goodness here.

Max B. Sawicky also thinks Den Beste is channeling Tailgunner Joe. I still don't buy it, although my idea that Hesoid's original post implied unhappiness was clearly wrong as several people kindly (well, mostly kindly) pointed out. My words from his comment thread (in reply to several posts)follow. You will detect a certain amount (alright, a large amount) of cut and paste:
Just as Hesoid (in his comments), kevin, and Lordwhorfin said, a closer reading of his original post shows neither happiness nor sadness about the Hussein brothers demise. Only the cynicism shines through. I apologise for assuming that if Hesoid's written reaction to the demise of Hussein brothers was a cynical stab towards the Bush administration that he was unhappy that they died. It is clearly possible both to fervently hope that America will do well and to think that the current administration is not helping. I disagree with them on many matters myself. Do not get me started on Homeland Security, for instance.

I will say that given that level of cynicism about an administration which both Den Beste and I think is doing a good job might reasonably rate a sarcastic comment, hmmm? I notice no lack of sarcasm either from the right or the left, about each other's cynical appraisals.

I do not know about others, but the only thing Den Beste did was sarcastically lump Hesoid in with 'the loyal opposition', and he did so by quoting Hesoid's own words. Not proof of everything he was thinking, but at least proof of something he was thinking. This is not McCarthyism.

Den Beste did not say Hesoid had passed secrets to the Iraqis. Den Beste did not say he was a card-carrying member or loyal to the Baathist party. Read McCarthy's speech. McCarthy said these things, named names and gave no proof. If making sarcastic comments is McCarthyism, Den Beste is nothing compared to what I've read from both the right and the left.

Max, you have not made the case that Den Beste is a McCarthyite. I don't buy the miasma of McCarthyism charge. All human beings believe the 'other' is bad and the 'us' is good. If you don't, change sides. As for the charge that I am a McCarthyite because I maintained that there were many Communists with high government rank, I am afraid that I failed to mention that my source was recently declassified Soviet documents. This information has been in the news lately. I know I should provide links, but I am too darn tired. Maybe tomorrow. Max, I also long for more civil discourse, but I would stop short of chilling the speech you label McCarthyite. I would also stop short of chilling the uncivil (to me) descriptions of the right wing I read so often. If we require everyone to avoid sarcasm, labeling, accusations, and all other uncivil forms of discourse, we won't have any discourse. I try to be civil in my discourse. What distressed me so much about pointing the McCarthy label at Den Beste it that he appears to be trying to be civil as well. I have observed him bending over backwards to be respectful to those who disagree with him. The contrast to Hesoid himself could hardly be greater.

As regards engineering, everything said was correct. There are engineers who provide specious reasoning to back up ridicuous ideas. Engineers do have training which can (if they use it) assist them in making better arguments with better facts. I am flattered that Lordwhorfin thinks I sound like an engineer, even if it wasn't a compliment. I still maintain that engineers are motivated to be more rigorous at work, and I try to bring such rigor to my politics. If I fail more often than at work, it is because rigor is easier to apply to engineering tasks than politics, and because it is harder to maintain my own emotional detachment and police my own ulterior motives.

Here's to the glory of civil discourse, and of ranting and raving too.

Neo-MaCarthyite (Hesiod's Spelling) My Ass

Hesoid calls Steven Den Beste a neo-MaCarthyite in response to this post, which was critical of this Hesiod offering. Steven Den Beste is calm, thoughtful, reasonable and frequently right. He is the Spock of blogdom, an engineer by trade, who deals in facts as successful engineers must. I have never seen anything to suggest Steven would engage in a "witchhunt". Senator Joe McCarthy was bombastic, outspoken, hectoring and frequently right. (There really were lots of Communist spys with high rank in the US government.) He was a lawyer, a judge and a successful politician. He dealt in rhetoric, as successful lawyers and politicians must. He also had a truly tyrannical habit of abusing his position, particularly in the matter of subpeonas.

Come on, Hesoid, you are saying white is black. Nothing about Den Beste resembles McCarthy, and nothing about his treatment of you is like McCarthy. Your style of rhetoric is much more like McCarthy's than Steven's. Actually you are much more vitrolic than McCarthy if this famous speech is representative of his style. But I have no reason to believe that you would abuse a position of power as McCarthy did, and you have no reason to believe Steven Den Beste would either.

When I read your original post (without the later updates) I must conclude that you aren't happy that the Hussein brothers are dead and that your only reaction is that this must be a plot by the administration. Funny, that is exactly the reaction Steven had. Only your later updates make it clear that you are glad those monsters are dead. (Good for you.) I challenge anyone to read your original post and come to a different conclusion.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

A Ball-Player As Good As A Mechanic

Raul Ibanez quietly, competently bats cleanup for the Kansas City Royals. He is true team player. Only Joe Posnanski could compare him to an auto-mechanic and make us all feel good. Actually Joe reminds me of Raul and the auto-mechanic. I think he is the heart of the KC Star sports staff. Uplifting. Go read.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Merciless Mocking Mandatory

Yesterday in one of the many meetings crucial to the performance of our duties, one of my co-workers (lets call him Peter) made comments of a disparaging nature about another co-worker (lets call him Bill). Since Bill is a retired Air Force Master Sergeant and a disabled veteran to boot (although you wouldn't know to see him move when angered), I am shocked, yes shocked that Peter would do such a foully ill-mannered deed.

Therefore if you observe anyone disparaging a disabled veteran I request that you mercilessly mock the disparaging person. I am doubtful that this will help in Peter's case, since he seems to enjoy being mercilessly mocked.

This blog entry is complete as per request number 36 by Master Sergeant Bill.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

It Is Good To Dance

Rachel Lucas is "dancing around the house to salsa music in a fit of glee and disbelief". Go read and be uplifted.

Firearm Fun, No Y Chromosome Required

Sid also notes that Girls Just Wanna Have... Firearms Fun.

Good Guns

From Sid at hear the pipers: Learn a little about the Good Gun Foundation. I'll watch for more about this organization.

Mind Over Body

Mike at Interested-Participant notes that (click on the link and scroll up) inmate Mark Brooks wants the state to pay for his sex-change operation. I don't know if Mark Brooks's gender identity disorder is real. I do know that the treatment for such a disorder should be to treat the mental condition. Convince him he is male, he has been male and he will always be male. Give him extra male hormones if it will make him feel male. Do not turn him into a woman. There is nothing wrong with his male body requiring surgery to alter healthy tissue. The problem is in his mind, so fix his mind.

There are other mental disorders where the patient wants a healthy limb lopped off. I've heard of one case where a surgeon removed a leg. This didn't help, so the patient asked for the second leg to be removed. Luckily the surgeon refused. As a class I think these disorders are called dysmorphobia. Again, skip the surgery, fix the mind.

As regards the end of his post, prison rape is an intolerable horror which needs immediate effective attention. Mark Brooks should not get special treatment. He also should not get raped.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Saturday Night Special Saves Senior Citizen

Kevin Baker at The Smallest Minority deconstructs a sixty-five year old defending herself with a small handgun. It is a single incident, so those who would take away our guns may reasonably argue that we should not base policy on it, but Kevin and I find it quite instructive. Self-defense is the most basic human right. Without it, all your other rights can end. In a heartbeat.

Self-Defense Savaged In Britain

Rachel Lucas points out how the Tony Martin case typifies the immorality of denying human beings their most basic right, the one from which all others flow, self defense.

Bet With Talk Jock Has No Possible Winner

This is a humiliating bet, worthy of "reality" TV. Yuck.

I Could've Been A Useful Idiot

Tacitus has a great post with interesting comments which degenerate into a "You're anti-American!", "No, you're anti-American" exchange.

Ain't America great! We allow loonies on the left who think Bush is lying about oppression of womem in Saudi Arabia. We allow loonies on the right who think the UN is coming in black helicopters paid for by the Trilateral Commission. We've got people on the right calling all liberals anti-American traitors. We've got people on the left calling all conservatives imperialistic anti-American goons.

It's all free speech, folks! Consider that the dope holding the "I support the troops when they shoot their officers" sign may think that he is a great American, following in the footsteps of Henry Thoreau and those wonderful Sixties kids who foiled those evil Presidents Johnson and Nixon. I think he and those wonderful Sixties kids are/were useful idiots and anti-American dopes, but who am I to tell you what he feels in his heart? Maybe he's thinking that it is great to live in America where he can fight the powers that be. Either way, pointing out to him that he is a dope won't change his mind, it'll just make him mad. I just missed being one of those wonderful Sixties kids by a few years, and I'm sad to say I probably would have been one of those useful idiots. I wouldn't have reacted well to being called anti-American either. I'm awful tired of these "Clinton/Bush is a lying creep" exchanges. Do they really improve US policy? Or are they just partisan politics and venting?

Look Out! He's Holding A Mystical Spray Can!

Sofia Sideshow waxes humorous on Psychic Vampirism.

A Comprehensive Gulf War II Primer

Steven Den Beste lays out all the reasons why we went to war in Iraq. WMD's, although important, was not the issue, they were the legal pretext for the UN. (Tax evasion was the legal pretext for jailing Al Capone. The issue was that he was a murderous gangster.) Oil, although important, was not the issue either. Addressing the root causes of radical Islamic terrorism was the issue. Den Beste is always worth while if you like in depth analysis. Go read.

More Comment Difficulties

Update: Mike's problems have been resolved.

It looks like Mike at Interested Participant is also having comment problems. Too bad, since I commented on about half his posts. Good luck, Mike. HaloScan is working for me. Here were the posts I commented on, if memory serves:

New Weblog Showcase
Inmate Wants Sex Change & Transfer to Women's Prison
Rating Charitable Organizations
The Angry, Angry Left
French Government Bans "Email"
Hey! You Stink!

Clearly an interresting site, so I'm blogrolling it. Too bad the comments are missing. I thought I wrote some great stuff about the sex-change. It looks like his perma-links aren't working perfectly either. They put me below the entry I wanted. I would blame Blogger, but the last time I did that it was my fault.

Dueling Jackboots

Which do you like better, this Meryl Yourish quote:
Wherever there is a jackboot stepping on a human face, there will be a well-heeled Western conservative there to assure us that the best way to encourage a totalitarian government to take its jackboot off that face and engage in democratic practices is to maintain trade relations and let the free market system work.
or the John Derbyshire quote from which it was rephrased:
Wherever there is a jackboot stepping on a human face, there will be a well-heeled Western liberal there to assure us that the face enjoys free health care and a high degree of literacy.
Note: The Derbyshire quote is from (Warning: obscene language) this Dean Esmay rant. Hmmm. I saw Hillary Clinton on Bob Costas the other night. I disagree with her almost all the time, I hope she loses to a Republican the next time she runs, etc. etc. Even so, I was unable to detect her horns, pointed tail, goat feet or pitchfork. Her complexion was white, not red, and Bob Costas did not act as though he were smelling brimstone. I got the odd impression that she had some principles and wanted to live by them. Hmmm.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Jew-Hater Just Replaced Anti-Semite In My Vocabulary

First a plea:

Will everyone please stop using the word "anti-semite". Use "jew-hater" instead. "Anti-semite" is too flattering to jew-haters, and confusing to boot.

In the comments for this Dean Esmay post dowingba said:
I'm glad you're so mad at me for denouncing the idea that Jew-haters should have a more flattering term for themselves. I hope you're not one of the same people who were angered beyond belief by the flattering term "Brights" gave themselves. An anti-Semite is someone who is anti...Semite. A Jew-hater is someone who hates...Jews.
My reply (reformated to put the plea at the top) was this:

I see your point, but I am mystified by your claim that you denounced "the idea that Jew-haters should have a more flattering term for themselves." I scanned your posts before that one twice and could not garner this meaning from them. Unfortunely we cannot assign the meanings to words that we want. Anti-semite means Jew-Hater.

Since you have denounced the idea now I denounce it myself. From now on I will cease to use the term anti-semite, and I will exhort others as above.

The Blindness Of The Far Left Frog

The misery and government oppression in Sub-Saharan Africa does not fit the far left worldview, in which all oppression flows from the imperialism of the United States. Therefore, like the frog which cannot see a fly unless it moves, they cannot see it. Via a wonderful (Warning: contains obscene language) post by Dean Esmay.

Anti-Semite Means Jew-Hater

In spite of the confusion it often causes, the noun anti-semite does not mean "one who hates Semites", it means "one who hates Jews". Those Arabs who hate Jews often take advantage of the confusion to claim that they are not anti-semites because they don't hate Jews. To claim that anti-semites hate Arabs is a complete red herring. If you feel compelled to bring it up as a means of solidarity with Arabs, please don't. If you feel compelled to bring it up to show that you are smart, please don't. It only shows you didn't do your homework. There is a much broader definition of anti-semite, it is an adjective which means "Discriminatory especially on the basis of race or religion."

Wilhelm Marr coined the word. The Simon Wiesenthal Center points out that this was an attempt to discrimate on Jews as a race, rather than on Judaism as a religion. I think it is safe to assume he knew what he meant, especially since he founded the League of Anti-Semites. Moshe Zimmerman calls Wilhelm Marr "The Patriarch of Anti-Semitism", and notes that he turned his back on the movement at the end of his life. The Peace Encyclopedia has a FAQ. Here are Dean Esmay's thoughts on the subject.

I recently encountered this red-herring in the comments to this Dean Esmay post, as well as this one. When I commented on the posts I only checked dictionaries, and one of them let me down. Check out the Merriam Webster definition, which only mentions Jews. is cites three dictionaries. The American Heritage and Wordnet only mention Jews, but the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary says, "Opposition to, or hatred of, Semites, esp. Jews." Here are more dictionary entries, all of which only mention Jews:

The Dictionary of Difficult Words Dictionary
Hyper Dictionary

So the dictionary vote is seven to one in favor of the Jew-Hater definition, plus five other sites which agree. I rest my case.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

A Business Is Murdered By The State

Read this article and try not to get mad. Via Jerry Pournelle.

Blogrolling, Enetation Down, Haloscan Up

Lost my comments from Enetation. Sorry to my commenters, I'll try to recover your comments when they come back up. Added comments from HaloScan. Temporarily lost my blog roll from Blogrolling, but it is back now. Whew. Remember to back up your blogroll!

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

The Tiger's Claws

Eat your heart out, Frank. Tiger has a real competition just to stay on his blogroll.

The Bonfire Of The Vanities - Week 2

I sent what I thought was my worst post of the week to the Bonfire. Read some of my other posts and see if you agree before you go check all the Bonfire entries out.

We Are Not Natural Killers

Here is something that we need to confirm. Go check it out and see if you can spot any flaws, because if not this is crucial. Armed and Dangerous has a fantastic post explaining that only about four percent of men and one percent of women are natural killers, but we are all naturally obedient. Put a natural born killer in power...

As it happens, according to what I read there, I have the natural born killer personality type (ESTP), but I am a first born son and didn't play football, so I don't match the most common criteria. Thanks to Kevin for the tip.

Update: I realized, and my wife confirmed that I am an ENTP. So you can just worry about my driving.

The Joys Of Being Booed

Joe Posnanski has a new column out.

My Votes, And Another Shameless Plea

Here are my votes for the Microbes on Parade, The New Weblog Showcase. I reserve the right to change my votes if there are any stunning late entries:

Passenger Pachyderms: The News on Tape
The Poison Kitchen: Now It Can Be Told: Saddam's Secret Weapons
American Digest: The Sunday New York Times Lite
The Usurer: For want of a fly-swat
Howard Lovy's NanoBot: The Hulk, Prince Charles and other scary things
One Little Victory: The Killing Urge

If you haven't voted, and want to vote for my post, make sure your blog is entered in The TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem. If not, click here and fill out the form. Next add a link in your blog to my post, using this URL:

Comments Working Spottily At Best

For all of you trying to comment (and failing, as I have) it seems that my free commenting service wants me to upgrade. Since I am not yet prepared (although I may be soon) to add a expensive blogging hobby to my expensive shooting hobby, I am open to suggestions. Email is working.

Quotes In Defense Of Self-Defense

Kim du Toit has excellent taste when it comes to quotes. Go read.

Teacher Defends Stunningly Bad Judgement

I am a not defender of yours, you, the Professor who cried kill. As noted below, I think you would benefit from a couple of days in the county lockup. Not as a punishment, but so you could learn a real civics lesson. Some people think they really benefited from their encounters with the criminal justice system. Did you know that if you throw cheese at your spouse in the state of Kansas and someone calls 911, you will be locked up? Discharging a firearm within the city limits (except at a shooting range) is also a good one. If you then contemplate what it is like to lose your spouse, your kids, your family, even for just a short time, you will decide that if you are going to go to jail it won't be because you lost control again. There you go, Professor. Did we enjoy this mental exercise? I am glad you brought this up. I think I learned something. It might be to not cheat on my taxes. They lock you up for that too. Or maybe it was to not threaten the president. Isn't fear useful? It makes us recognize when something carries risk, especially unexceptable risk. Why didn't you listen to your fear? Why didn't you teach your students to listen to their fear? Why did you teach them that they shouldn't have to be afraid, since fear is so useful?

Thanks to the Web.Kafe for pointing me to the Daily Pundit. Read the comments there.

Was my opening paragraph needlessly mean? I tried not to make my opening paragraph needlessly mean. Did I fail? Were the comments needlessly mean? It depends on our purpose. If we want to vent our spleens, then the comments were just right. If we want to have a discussion with Professor Ballou where both sides learn something then they were needlessly mean. Rants and insults do not promote the safety required for productive discussion.

Think you can't learn anything from Professor Ballou? Maybe you can learn to convincingly debate a liberal. Most people only know how to preach to the choir. At the least you can know your (political) enemy. Sun Tzu thought that was a good thing.

The Web.Kafe also pointed me to Emily at Give War a Chance. Same subject. Thanks, Mark.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Another Shameless Way To Get Votes

In my bid to win this weeks Microbes on Parade, The New Weblog Showcase after entering this post, I have placed a Liberal A**clown link to Instapundit on my main page as directed by Frank on IMAO. This is the first step to possibly getting a coveted permanent link from IMAO, but only possibly, since I am competing with thirty-seven other blogs. Hopefully, considering Frank's traffic, this will bring people to my site and garner votes. The shameless part is that I do not normally use words like A**clown. Grumble, grumble, politics.

If you want to vote for my post, make sure your blog is entered in The TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem. If not, click here and fill out the form. Next add a link in your blog to my post, using this URL:

Are You Running A Porn Site?

The Web.Kafe posted a post titled The Russian Mafia in your Home PC referencing this article. Urg. When my wife sees this she will not be happy.

Why I Read Joe Posnanski

I read Joe Posnanski for at least these six reasons.

1) His stories are uplifting.
2) He writes well.
3) He writes about Kansas City sports. Rick O'Reilly does #1 and #2 but almost never #3.
4) I can tell my wife that she will like one of his columns and she does, even though she doesn't care about the sport or team it is about.
5) He is prolific.
6) He has a daughter, and she is the apple of his eye.

Here is a good one about all the great baseball players who played for Kansas City teams. Since it includes minor league clubs, quite a few became famous playing in New York. And the reason we have the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City is that the Monarchs were world class. They were the Yankees of the Negro Leagues.

Here is an even better one, about a copy editor Joe used to work with

I've blog rolled Joe, even if he doesn't really have a blog. But he sure can write.

Monday, July 14, 2003

I Shamelessly Beg For Votes

I entered this post in the Truth Laid Bear's Microbes on Parade, The New Weblog Showcase. If you want to vote for it, make sure your blog is entered in The TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem by clicking here and filling out the form. Next add a link in your blog to my post, using this URL:

I don't know if I can vote for myself (I think not) or if you can vote more than once (I think maybe), so please, please vote for me. I'll kiss babies, I'll shake hands, I'll even accept contributions from Tobacco Industry PAC's to get elected.

Folks On Technorati Were Linking This Stuff

Kevin at Wizbang developed a wonderful way to see your Inbound links from sites tracked by Technorati. I added it as noted below.

The reason I showed no links was that the code didn't work with Blogger. (I bet I was the first tester using Blogger.) Kevin Aylward had an update on his site, (I was missing the blog URL), but then it found too many links! It kept giving the links to my archive file instead of the links to the specific post. I discovered that Technorati needed the '#' to be URL encoded as '%23', but everything I tried in my template kept changing the '%23' back to '#' before it got to Technorati. Finally I tried using JavaScript to split the '%23' in two pieces. Next I did some generalizing (by adding <$BlogURL$> instead of, so it will work with any Blogger blog), then Kevin added further refinements till we had this:

I also added one for my whole blog in the sidebar like this:

Try it. It is pretty cool to see who is linking to each post this way.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

PEBCAK: Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard

Someting I did to customize my site caused it to load improperly. I've reverted to the original template and will make changes one by one until it is corrected. Thanks to Kevin Baker for confirming that I was not the only one seeing the problem. It doesn't show up at work on Windows 2000, only at home on XP.

Update: The problem was with the SiteMeter code. It wanted to be in the main body, not the sidebar. Here is my original post about this problem. Note the date. I've been living with this since 22 June. Urg.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

It's Good When A Civilized Man Has A Steel Backbone

Hell In A Handbasket on why he shoots. Recommended. Via Kevin Baker.

The Real Lesson Of Somalia

Read this fabulous analysis by Feces Flinging Monkey. I mean it. Via Kevin Baker.

Eight ferrets later I found out I was pregnant...

I am now wistful (again) for my brood, out of town with their mother thanks to Denita TwoDragons, Associate Fire Tender. Go read. Via the Truth Laid Bear's Microbes on Parade, The New Weblog Showcase.

Are You A Dung Beetle, Too?

Elephants (and other large herbivores) are notoriously inefficient at digesting their food. But what goes in must come out, so there are entire ecosystems devoted to elephant dung. Dung beetles gather elephant dung, roll it into little balls and bury it with their eggs. When the eggs hatch the larva feed on the dung. As adults, dung beetles also eat dung, as well as other rotten material.

I work supporting a small part of a large production IT system for a Fortune 500 company. The system was created (although a better word is grown) by a smaller, but still large, software company. It works like this. My employer has millions of customers, from which it makes a little money every day. Up in the head office, the executives decided to buy a service to perform an IT function, because they needed to move quickly to gain market share. Then they decided to bring at least some of it in house to save money. So far, good decisions all.

In addition they decided to develop several releases in parallel. Because different people work on each release, the fixes in one don't always make it into the others. Other problems result from the compressed schedules and dramatic amounts of overtime by key developers. As production support, I clean these problems up. Thus, a decision is made far away from the tail, many resources are consumed, a long and complex digestive process ensues, and a result is deposited. Think of an elephant eating the leaves of the occasional small willow tree, followed by the occasional large pile of dung. Still a fine decision, but much dung is produced.

Since the two systems were designed completely differently no one knows exactly how to convert the existing data in the service house's database to the in house database. The developers do the best they can, but the service house is understandably not letting them look at how their system is built (the source code), so the developers are working off documentation. But the service house is not required to provide complete documents, documents are almost never accurate in all their details, the new system was developed in a hurry so there is very little documentation for it (and documentation really does cost extra), even if there is source code, and both systems are absolutely freaking huge anyway. So it is almost impossible for the developers to know everything they need to know to convert the data correctly and keep the millions of customers happy. All the incorrect conversions result in production support tickets, which I clean up. Again, a decision is made far away from the tail, even more resources are consumed, a long and complex digestive process ensues, and is repeated, and many results are deposited over a long period. Think of a small herd of elephants eating acres of alfalfa for months, followed by many large piles of dung. Still a fine decision, but truly incredible amounts of dung are produced.

After this I take my check and bury it, err, put it in the bank. My wife and I buy groceries, and we eat with the kids. Am I a dung beetle?

Judge Links Saddam To Bin Laden, Scepticism Warranted

Barney Gumbel, of MediaWhoresOnline Watch Watch Watch Watch points out some holes in this story. Look especially at the related story. Hope Instapundit and Clayton Cramer spot this, so they can update their posts. Here is mine. I think Barney exhibited critical thinking so the sort noted by Mrs. du Toit, and expanded on here. Thanks Barney! Sometimes we want so much to believe that even the distinguished Judge Gilbert S. Merritt of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, or the considerably less distingushed Wince of this blog can be fooled.

Is Swearing The Verbal Equivalent Of A Slap In The Face?

Mrs. Du Toit discusses the appropriate use of swear words, after Steven Den Beste discusses their origin. When I started thinking of swearing as the verbal equivalent of a punch in the mouth it really helped me to swear less. Now my co-workers can tell when I'm upset, and I've never had a problem swearing at my kids. Upon reflection I think swearing is more like a slap in the face. Does this ring true with you?

Now I Can See Who (On Technorati) Is Linking This Stuff

This new feature, developed by Kevin Aylward at Wizbang is so cool, I'm adding his site to my blog roll. Soon I will know the hundreds of blogs linking to my posts as I rocket past Scappleface. Bwahahaha .... Phew. It is weird to channel Frank at IMAO.... Via Electric Venom. Thanks, Venomous Kate!

Update: Kevin Baker pointed out that he is reading this stuff. I modified this post by channeling Frank. It may be weird, but it has its uses. No facts were harmed in the making of this update.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Maybe We Can't Get Along, But The Benefit Of The Doubt Would Be Nice For a Change

Dr. Laura defends herself to a gay man and makes a friend.

In Time Of War All Our Liberties Are At Risk, Even From Our Side

I am concerned (although apparently the Court was not) that due process is not being followed when a citizen is designated an enemy combatant. The New York Times article requires registration, so I will read it when I get home. Via Eric Poole.

Update: Eric Poole's post on the subject.

Judge Links Saddam To Bin Laden

Important Update: Scepticism Warranted, see above.

Judge Gilbert S. Merritt of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, a lifelong Democrat, has linked Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden. Via Instapundit.

Update: CLayton Cramer noticed the same thing.

How Can A Store Called Target Not Sell Firearms?

As noted in her Post-Fourth Wrap Up, Big Arm Woman loves Target. So do I. Kmart is slightly seedy, disorganized, and vagely run-down, but they sell long guns, long gun ammo, etc. Walmart is visually busy, and overstuffed so you can't see the signs or find anything, but they sell long guns, long and hand gun ammo, etc. Would that Target sold firearms, etc., so I would never have to set foot in the other two again...

Canine Behavior

Is blogging also a good method to control canine behavior? I need to know, because we will be dog shopping in the fall.

Teacher Exhibits Stunningly Bad Judgement

The best thing for the teacher who gave this assignment may be a Clue Bat Involving Jail Time. There must be a law against judgement this bad. An Emotionally Significant Event, such as a weekend in the county lock up, would probably do more good than harm.

Update: Clayton Cramer weighs in with additional information.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Homes Are Bustin' Out All Over

First the du Toit's get a new house. Then the Mrs. starts putting up Gratuitous Domestic Pics. Now Rachel Lucas is worried that her new house will bore us. Don't worry Rachel. James Lileks can write about wood chips and make me think about life. Connie du Toit can write about the AGA Cooker and make me think, "What a cool piece of technology!". Steven Den Beste could write about paint drying and his explanation of plasticizers would make me think, "So that's how it works!" (I'd suggest it to him, but he has enough to write about.) So write about your new house, Rachel. At the very least I'll think, "Good for you Rachel! Congratulations!" (But I bet I'll really enjoy the writing too.) Congratulations to the du Toit's as well!

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Blog Review: IMAO

Since today is Frank's blogiversary at IMAO, this review allows me to avoid the wrath of Frank as well as recommend a superbly funny blog. Frank's style reminds me of Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett. Being a blog, of course, his stuff is much shorter. (Bill Whittle, as Frank is fond of pointing out, is attempting to overcome this law of blogdom.) If you have never visited Frank's blog I particularly recommend the In My World series, featuring a wicked Laura Bush, a fine Donald Rumsfeld, Buck the Marine and Chomps, the World's Angriest Dog. Click on the link, pause to enjoy the excellent tag line at the top, then read from the bottom up. (Hey Frank, could you provide a button to reverse the order for new readers?) I'm not sure why Frank doesn't like monkeys, but I won't hold it against him. Frank also spends a lot of time flogging his Nuke the Moon t-shirt. Myself, I am waiting for Photoshopped photographic evidence that it is bulletproof before I purchase one. I am also hoping to eventually be well-known enough for him to tell filthy lies about me. See Rachel Lucas's comments also.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Eleanor Roosevelt Packed Heat!

Eleanor Roosevelt carried a revolver to protect herself as she worked to promote civil rights. Firearms were the best way for civil rights activists to protect themselves from the Klan. Glenn Reynolds has heard similar tales as noted at InstaPundit. Eventually this led to the new Concealed Carry law in Minnesota, written by an original black activist from the sixties.

All our rights are important. The Second Amendment is designed as a defense against the tyrannical actions of our own government. You may scoff, saying that there is no way a bunch of rednecks with rifles are going to take on the U.S. military. You are probably right. But in my lifetime, armed civil rights activists were able to restore their rights against their own hostile government. Hostile governments also include the local sheriff and his best buds dressing up in bed sheets and terrorizing the local populace. The original gun control laws were defacto racist, since they were only enforced against blacks. I submit to you that gun-banning laws, such as those in Washington, DC, New York and Chicago are also abusive to human rights. I believe in the freedom of the press I am exercising in the virtual world and the right to bear arms that I exercise in the physical one. If you don't believe in an individual's right to bear arms, I hope you will consider the history noted above and reconsider.

I recommend Kevin Baker, Kim du Toit, Mrs. du Toit and Rachel Lucas for more information. Don Kates is also recommended by Matt Rustler.

Why Do You Want Me To Wear The Mask Honey?

I have seen other bloggers criticized for blogging anonymously. I respect that criticism. The only reason I blog anonymously is security. I actually created blogs for my daughters before I created my own. (They love putting their stories on the web!) The first thing my lovely wife asked me was, "Is it safe?" Since they were also anonymous blogs I felt I could say yes. When I created my own blog I followed this pattern. In this age of identity theft, anonymity on the web is useful. What do you do to blog safely? Am I doing something to decrease my safety here?

Monday, July 07, 2003

Feeling of Utter Helplessness Caused by Well-Meaning Judicial Tyranny

Charles Krauthammar points out that segregation was unique, and judicial activism should be avoided. Avoided like AIDS or SARS.

Everyone hates the idea that the Constitution means whatever the Supreme Court says it means, right? You say you don't hate it when the Supreme Court discovers something new in the Constitution? How about the Dred Scott case, where the Court discovered the right for a Southerner to take his slaves anywhere? Did you like the way that extended slavery into the Free States? How about when the Court discovered that corporations were really persons?

Every time the Court does this it keeps us from pursuing the legislative process, from finding our own compromises. Judicial activism politicizes the judicial process without giving the people the opportunity to influence the process. I cannot lobby judges, or give money to lobby judges. I cannot contribute to or work for their campaigns. Those lifetime appointments mean it is hard to change the court. It is even harder to amend the constitution. That's why we have that helpless feeling. Perhaps we should begin letter writing campaigns, telephone campaigns, protests, etc. If we treat judges like legislators maybe they will be motivated to stop behaving like legislators.

Hat Tip from Mrs. du Toit.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

US Flags Sell Out in France, Tourists, Not Burning, To Blame

Rachel Lucas proves that she is willing to admit she is wrong in service of the truth. Rachel, thanks for the information (so I don't have to be so mad), the correction (since corrections are always good) and the attitude (which produced the correction).

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Neither Donkeys Nor Elephants Wear Pants

I found the first comment by Francis W. Porretto to be stunningly inciteful. Money quote:
Over time, an institution will tend to specialize pragmatically toward its core mission. Political parties are institutions whose mission is to seek political power --"vote-maximizing machines," in David Friedman's pungent phrase. If it doesn't, it will be surpassed in efficiencey by its competitors that do specialize, and eventually will cease to be relevant.

The Democratic Party has specialized much more dramatically and rapidly than the Republican Party. At this point, to the Democrats, only electoral results matter. In consequence, their standard-bearers are unable to talk non-ridiculously about rights, honor, patriotism, or a host of other things.
This explains why my old party, the Democrat Party, seems so devoid of honor, and well as why my current party, the Republican Party, is almost as bad. It also explains why third parties seem so honest, even if a bit eccentric. The post is by Kevin Baker.

Update: If your current party is the Democrats you may feel these positions are reversed. I'm cool with that. The reason I am cool is that it really does depend on your point of view. I'll revisit an old issue to put this in perspective. An abolitionist, when considering someone who defends slavery, would have had a hard time considering them honorable, since the defender is championing a gross violation of human rights by greedy, arrogant and power-mad folks. A defender of slavery, on the other hand, would have had a hard time considering an abolitionist honorable, since the abolitionist wants to deprive folks of their hard-earned property, and is a rabble-rouser who wants to disturb the way of things since time immemorable. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to apply this principle to the right to life, gun rights, etc.

John Gotti: Bulgarian Public Servant

Jkrank at Sofia Sideshow tells how the Bulgarian Mafia performs a useful public service. The Patrician would certainly approve. Find out more here.