Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, July 31, 2004
Just Like an Old Friend, Kick Him When He's Down

Mark Steyn writes in the Chicago Sun-Times:
    "I've seen it in the people I've met and their desire to take our country back for the American people. I saw it in a college student in Pennsylvania who sold her bicycle and sent us a check for $100 with a note that said, 'I sold my bicycle for democracy.' "

    Really? John F. Kerry's bicycle cost $8,000. Why doesn't he sell his for democracy? If you throw in the designer French T-shirt and buttock-hugging lemon-hued lycra shorts, you'd probably be up around an even ten grand. When Howard Dean and John Kerry and John Edwards talk about "change," what they mean is you send these bazillionaire grandees the hundred-dollar bill and they'll keep the change.

    What did that co-ed cutie get for her hundred bucks? Presumably she sent it to Governor Dean because he was anti-war. He lost to Senator Kerry, who at that time was for-and-against the war, in the same way that he's for-and-against abortion and for-and-against gay marriage. But he seems to have come down, Iraq-wise, on the "for" side of the ledger. He'll be spending a little more time ineffectually chit-chatting with Kofi and Jacques and Gerhard, but other than that his Iraq policy is sounding more like Bush's every day. That college kid ponied up her $100 and isn't getting a lot of "change." I wonder if she's missing her bicycle this summer.

How Did She Get So Lucky?

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch humps the leg of a local entrepreneur:
    An entrepreneur from Edwardsville is weaving a network of basket makers from some of the world's poorest countries to create a business that combines spirituality and fair trade.

    The Blessing Basket Project grew out of a need that former television news producer Theresa Wilson had to lift women around the world out of poverty. Wilson, 36, originally wanted to work with poor women in the United States. But when she put her idea on an Internet bulletin board, she was deluged with e-mail from around the world from aid workers.
She's a do-gooder, doing good things for the world around her. She's having people in third world countries weave baskets which she sells:
    At the Festival of Nations last month in Tower Grove Park, the Blessing Basket Project sold 92 baskets from Bangladesh and Uganda at $25 to $35 each. Wilson and her husband, Bryan, a construction worker who helps the company as a volunteer, said they are surprised at the response they get from buyers.
Got that? They sold the baskets for $25 to $35 each? How much did they pay the poor people in the third world to create them?
    The 150 weavers that the Blessing Basket Project is working with around Kampala, Uganda, were paid $12 for a set of three baskets - three times more than typically offered. The weavers - mostly female subsistence farmers - are able to buy milk and meat for their children as well as books and uniforms for school.
So, they're paying $4 each for these baskets and selling them at $25 to $35 each. I am sorry, that looks like a 500% to 700% capitalist imperialist dog mark-up to me.

Of course, I'm not against capitalist imperialist dogism, but I do think that the Post-Dispatch likes to assail corporations who would do this, particularly those that use third world labor to do things formerly done by unionized US workers.

I guess the difference is that software and automobiles aren't sold at Whole Foods Market.

Friday, July 30, 2004
Oven Baked Just Tastes Better

First, Subway eliminated its frequent customer reward program.

Now, according to Michelle at A Small Victory, its European outlets are promoting the "documentary" Super Size Me.

Crass. Very crass, Subway.

Sorry, Pejman

Over at Pejman's blog, he comments on a post by Virginia Postrel that describes the qualities of a successful presidential candidate.

Pejman Yousefzadeh overlooks the fact that most Presidents have had easily-pronounced last names. Odd, when you think about how we come from a number of European and non-European backgrounds, that we've never had a -ski president or anything really beyond three syllables except for that one popular former general.

Here's how the names stack up:

1 Syllable
2 Syllables
3 Syllables
4 Syllables
Van Buren

If you look to the last names of the last challengers, they fall to the two syllables or less category (even including the Libertarians and United We Stand guys). Okay, Badnarik is an exception, but he's so a footnote that he won't even be a trivia question.

My point? I guess that I could write a paper on this, or that we don't elect Presidents whose names cannot be pronounced easily in most parts of the country.

So add a fourth qualification, and Pejman doesn't qualify. Heck, I don't qualify (it's NAH-gul, not NO-gull. I am from up north, for crying out loud--is some nasalation of the oh sound too much to ask?)

Lessons from The Last Samurai

Heather and I just watched The Last Samurai, which many have taken at its face value as an anti-Western message. Well, if you want to look at it that way, take whatever lesson you want from it. I, on the other hand, prefer to take these messages away from it:
  • An all-volunteer army is better than a conscript army. Ergo, it's against the mock draft proposal being floated around by those who want us to fear the militarization of the Republican police state.

  • Apparently, Sun Tzu was not translated into Nihongo until sometime after 1877. I mean, when you've got 500 men with swords and bows against two regiments with cannons and machine guns, Sun Tzu would have pointed out that narrow mountain passes that completely block in winter might present better terrain to your strengths than open fields.
I could write a paper on either of them. The benefit of an English degree, donchaknow.

The Heart and Soul of America Not Found in Fox Transcription Department

From the Fox News Transcript of Bush's remarks at SMS in Springfield, Missouri:
    I can't help but notice my friend Johnny Morris is here. Gosh, I wish we were fishing. I was in the bass tracker (ph), I want you to know, over the weekend in Crawford. It didn't sink.
The transcriptionist doesn't intuitively know a bass tracker boat and can only guess at the spelling. Probably more Hollywood than Springfield.

Because someone from Springfield (or someone married to a smoking-hottie from Springfield) knows Tracker Boats is based in Springfield.

I'm Offended, I Want a Fine

Hey, FCC, I am offended this got broadcast:
    'Go balloons, go balloons! Go balloons! I don't see anything happening. Go balloons! Go balloons! Go balloons! Standby confetti. Keep coming, balloons. More balloons. Bring it- balloons, balloons, balloons! We want balloons, tons of them. Bring them down. Let them all come. No confetti. No confetti yet.

    'No confetti. All right, go balloons, go balloons. We need more balloons. All balloons! All balloons! Keep going! Come on, guys, lets move it. Jesus! We need more balloons. I want all balloons to go, goddammit. Go confetti. Go confetti. More confetti. I want more balloons. What's happening to the balloons? We need more balloons.

    'We need all of them coming down. Go balloons- balloons? What's happening balloons? There's not enough coming down! All balloons, what the hell! There's nothing falling! What the fuck are you guys doing up there? We want more balloons coming down, more balloons. More balloons. More balloons'...
I demand that DNC convention director Don Mischer be fined several hundred thousand dollars for offending my tender sensibilities.

Book Review: Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man by David T. Hardy and Jason Clarke (2004)

I bought two copies of this book: one for a friend who needs intervention because he believes that Michael Moore has some good points, and one for me. Now that I have read the one for me, I'm almost sorry I bought one for him.

Because it's not going to change his mind any more than reading blogs will. I'd hoped for a reasoned listing of the inaccuracies in the equivalent of a handy table, but although this book offers a couple of chapters with that sort of thing, for the most part, it's a blog in binding. Andrew Sullivan and Tim Blair have essays in the book, and the other chapters contain a high snark content that one finds in political tract books and on blogs. For example, the authors spend a chapter psychoanalyzing Michael Moore and examining how he meets the traditional definition of narcissist. As much ad homenim as enumeration of fallacies and inaccuracies, this book disappointed me; I'd hoped for more of the latter and less of the former. At least they successfully avoided the word "asshat."

Perhaps I was hoping for too much from a book entitled Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man.

The Meatriarchy Guy Meets His Match

The Meatriarchy Guy, the anti-vegetarian icon, has ponders his match: a six pound burger.

Thursday, July 29, 2004
Brian Takes the Retrosexual Code Quiz

Back at Jen Martinez's Collection of Thoughts, Jen describes The Retrosexual Code, a retaliation against metrosexualism and girliemanism. She's got quite the list, and I know my gentle readers want to know how I stack up. Well, here you go:

The Code Says:
Brian Says/Does:
A Retrosexual does not let neighbors screw up rooms in his house on national TV. A Retrosexual, no matter what the women insists, PAYS FOR THE DATE.
  1. Brian reserves the right to screw up the rooms, plumbing, and so on, in his house for himself and his able and smoking hot assistant/spouse.
  2. Real men, who are not married, can let a woman pay half for a date if they want. They're rational beings, too, mostly.
  3. Real men can sleep on any surface with only clothing as a pillow, which comes in handy when he is married and claims a woman can be only "mostly" rational at times.
A Retrosexual opens doors for a lady. Even for the ones that fit that term only because they are female. A real man opens a door for a lady when appropriate, but the five second rule applies. If I see a female several dozen yards away from the door, I won't hold the door for her. I'll go in and hope the next guy has the class to hold it. Also, this does not apply to all females; the grocery store would get mad were I to let a real bitch in to snuffle among the meat and run out with a steak in her jaws to feed her pups, or just her thin beagle self.
A Retrosexual DEALS with IT, be it a flat tire, break-in into your home, or a natural disaster, you DEAL WITH IT. I concur. Although my sainted mother gave me a super AAA membership, I would feel silly calling them for anything but a tow (real man or not, I can't lift my vehicle nor drag it for miles). Now, if only I could figure out where there's some sort of spare on my pickup truck....
A Retrosexual not only eats red meat, he often kills it himself. My beautiful wife won't let me eat cats, so I rely on the grocery store for red meat. Although I come from a long line of hunters and have gone hunting, I've not ever had license to kill, so I've never even shot a duck for dinner....but my father ensured we would not starve with plenty of ducks, geese, and "fuzzy chickens."
A Retrosexual doesn't worry about living to be 90. It's not how long you live, but how well. If you're 90 years old and still smoking cigars and drinking, I salute you. I don't smoke, but I appreciate the hedonism and materialism involved in this section of the code. I hope I have not been too girlie by opening IRAs recently, though.
A Retrosexual does not use more hair or skin products than a woman. Women have several supermarket aisles of stuff. Retrosexuals need an endcap (possibly 2 endcaps if you include shaving goods.) I prefer White Rain brand shampoo, but because it's a dollar a bottle. Of course, since I keep my hair (well, okay, my beautiful wife does the cutting because I don't want to spend a half hour waiting to pay someone $10 for 5 minutes of hair cutting) under an inch (mostly), I could use the soap in the shower. Uh oh, that sounds like metrosexuality. I almost want to hump a fire hydrant.
A Retrosexual does not dress in clothes from Hot Topic when he's 30 years old. What is Hot Topic? I feel girlie sometimes for going to Kohl's for Levis instead of Wal-Mart for $10 jeans.
A Retrosexual should know how to properly kill stuff (or people) if need be. This falls under the "Dealing with IT" portion of The Code. By any means necessary, using whatever is at hand, with a determination that the stuff (or people) or I survive, but not both.
A Retrosexual watches no TV show with "Queer" in the title. I recognize the multiple meanings of queer and dismisses this silly tenet of the code. Of course, I really only watch hockey and football on television, so I am only in danger of violating this if some city names its team the Queers and that team plays the Packers or the Blues.
A Retrosexual should not give up excessive amounts of manliness for women. Some is inevitable, but major re- invention of yourself will only lead to you becoming a froo-froo little puss, and in the long run, she ain't worth it. Especially women who would dictate a man's behavior by saying real men or retrosexuals would do or not do something. I agree one hundred percent.
A Retrosexual is allowed to seek professional help for major mental stress such as drug/alcohol addiction, death of your entire family in a freak treechipper accident, favorite sports team being moved to a different city, or favorite bird dog expiring, etc. You are NOT allowed to see a shrink because Daddy didn't pay enough attention to you. Daddy was busy DEALING WITH IT. When you screwed up, he DEALT with you. Professional help? You mean pay someone to know yourself? Give me a break. I already paid Marquette University $50,000, mostly out of pocket, to teach me how to do that myself.
A Retrosexual will have at least one outfit in his wardrobe designed to conceal himself from prey. None of my clothing make me stand out, ever. Prey? As long as no one messes with me, I have no prey, but my gear doesn't make me look particularly tasty to predators, either.
A Retrosexual knows how to tie a Windsor knot when wearing a tie - and ONLY a Windsor knot. I only know one knot, and I don't know if it's a Windsor. I don't even know if it's a knot or just a way to make it look like a knot. Of course, when I wear ties, a predator could grab me by the tie and have me, since I do tie something into full ties; perhaps a real smart man wears a clip-on.
A Retrosexual should have at least one good wound he can brag about getting. Well, I've never been shot or knifed, but I did once break my nose, several bones in my face (including my eye socket), and crack my cheekbone--and the blow didn't knock me down.
A Retrosexual knows how to use a basic set of tools. If you can't hammer a nail, or drill a straight hole, practice in secret until you can - or be rightfully ridiculed for the wuss you be. A hand drill or a power drill? Power tools are not basic tools.
A Retrosexual knows that owning a gun is not a sign that your are riddled with fear, guns are TOOLS and are often essential to DEAL WITH IT. Plus it's just plain fun to shoot. This tenet of the code bores me. Guns are guns, shooting guns as fun is an aesthetic judgment call. I don't judge a man based on his possession of a mystical artifact, even one guaranteed to Americans by their constitution.
Crying. There are very few reason that a Retrosexaul may cry, and none of them have to do with TV commercials or soap operas. Sports teams are sometimes a reason to cry, but the preferred method of release is swearing or throwing the remote control. Some reasons a Retrosexual can cry include (but are not limited to) death of a loved one, death of a pet (fish do NOT count as pets), loss of a major body part. Retrosexuals do not cry for movies. They can get a teary lump in their throat under a few notable exceptions, such as when "the guy" heads out to die and save the day or the flag goes up on Suribachi. It's none of your business when or where I might be moved to tears. You won't see them, and it's my business.
A Retrosexual man's favorite movie isn't Maid in Manhattan (unless that refers to some foxy French maid sitting in a huge tub of brandy or whiskey), or Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Acceptable ones may include any of the Dirty Harry or Nameless Drifter movies (Clint in his better days), Rambo I or II, The Dirty Dozen, The Godfather trilogy, Scarface, The Road Warrior, The Die Hard series, Caddyshack, Rocky I, II, or III, Full Metal Jacket, any James Bond Movie [sic], Raging Bull, Bullitt, any Bruce Lee movie, Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, Reservior Dogs, Fight Club, etc. Spare me the presumptiousness of knowing what a man should enjoy. Any man's favorite movie speaks to the individual's experience, and I trust his judgment. Also, please note, some refer to the Clint Eastwood series as The Man With No Name trilogy; the first Rambo movie was First Blood, the second was Rambo: First Blood Part II, and the third was Rambo III; The Road Warrior was the second movie in the Mad Max series (between Mad Max and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome); and Apocalypse Now was a piece of peacenik cavaltrava. Thank you, that is all.
When a Retrosexual is on a crowded bus and or a commuter train, and a pregnant woman, hell, any woman gets on, that retrosexual stands up and offers his seat to that woman, then looks around at the other so-called men still in their seats with a disgusted "you punks" look on his face. Okay, I've not been particularly adamant about this one. I've felt bad about it, but I've often let them stand, and sometimes when I have offered, the woman has refused.
A Retrosexual knows how to say the Pledge properly, and with the correct emphasis and pronunciation. He also knows the words to the Star Spangled Banner. There are three verses to the "Star-Spangled Banner". Sorry, I lose. But I know a lot of "America the Beautiful".
A Retrosexual will have hobbies and habits his wife and mother do not understand, but that are essential to his manliness, in that they offset the acceptable manliness decline he suffers when married/engaged in a serious healthy relationship - i. e., hunting, boxing, shot putting, shooting, cigars, car maintenance. Sorry, but I have an understanding (and smoking-hot) wife, and my mother doesn't object to much that I do.
A Retrosexual knows how to sharpen his own knives and kitchen utensils. Understand the theory? Check. Do? Not so much.
A Retrosexual man can drive in snow (hell, a blizzard) without sliding all over or driving under 20 mph, without anxiety, and without high-centering his ride on a plow berm. I am from Wisconsin, for crying out loud. I only fear other drivers who are not, and retrosexuals who feel the need for driving over 20 mph to prove their manliness when 20 mph or less is the safest speed.
A Retrosexual man can chop down a tree and make it land where he wants. Wherever it lands is where he damn well wanted it to land. Yeah, so? With the right number of ropes, pulleys, and friends, I can put a tree on Venus. What's your point?
A Retrosexual will give up his seat on a bus to not only any women but any elderly person or person in military dress (except officers above 2nd Lt) NOTE: The person in military dress may turn down the offer but the Retrosexual man will ALWAYS make the offer to them and thank them for serving their country. I thank them, but I don't ride buses or trains.
A Retrosexual man doesn't need a contract -- a handshake is good enough. He will always stand by his word even if circumstances change or the other person deceived him. Screw that. I know what contracts are for, and they're about covering you legally against the unscrupulous who might take advantage of your respect and your honor. I always argue until I get the contract I want, and then I adhere to it as written.
A Retrosexual man doesn't immediately look to sue someone when he does something stupid and hurts himself. We understand that sometimes in the process of doing things we get hurt and we just DEAL WITH IT!!!! I've not yet sued anyone, nor would I unless greatly wronged. But I don't rule it out.

The whole quiz reminds me of my grandmother's wedding. Some years after my grandfather died, she married the her second husband and honored me by selecting me to participate as an usher. Wedding colors were black and pink, but I preferred to wear a white shirt instead. I was a college student paying my way through college by working a job that required white shirts; ergo, I had white shirts in abundance, but nary a pink shirt nor money to buy a nice pink shirt I wouldn't wear again, and let's be honest, I don't like pink. My step mother, God rest her soul and hurry about it, said, "Real men aren't afraid to wear pink."

"Real men don't fall prey to manipulation about what 'real men' do," I replied, and I wore a white shirt. Probably with a thin black tie that I had which was a couple years out of fashion even in 1991.

That's my response to anyone who would try to create an artificial code for what a real man would do. Real men know it without being guided by those who would manipulate them artificially.

(Link seen on Michelle Malkin.)

Good Night, Boy-John

Okay, J. Eddie, we know what you mean you say:
    And we, John and I, we will have one clear unmistakable message for al Qaeda and these terrorists: You cannot run. You cannot hide. We will destroy you.
John2 is tougher than Ronald Reagan, who said to terrorists, "You can run, but you can't hide."

This is why children should be seen and not heard. Now you go wash behind your ears, and make sure to dry them. You look a little damp there.

This Land Is Our Land, This Land Is Our Land

It has come to this: in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, Aurora Health Care wants to build a hospital, but some residents oppose it because a hospital won't generate as much taxes as a business park in the same spot:
    Others, however, argued that the prime parcel of town land should be utilized as intended in the master plan for a business park that would bring in more tax revenue than the non-profit hospital despite a pledge by Aurora officials to make payments in lieu of taxes to be negotiated with the town.

    "I want every possible dollar that land could give for our town; I don't think that it should be negotiated," said Mark Lathers, adding that he cannot negotiate his tax bill.
Worse, it will:
    Others who testified agreed with arguments made by officials of Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital that the planned 88-bed Aurora hospital would only duplicate services already offered by Oconomowoc Memorial and that would drive up costs for all area consumers of health care.
Unlike the business park, which will provide a whole new set of cubicle farms engaged in business activities and service offerings that will be unique to the area.

Meanwhile, some critics (and the parrots who report uncritically their assertions) explain how supply and demand works: More hospitals means higher costs!
    Neil Coakley said health insurance costs are already skyrocketing and many in the health care industry blame Aurora for driving up prices - an assertion that Aurora officials have strongly denied.
Of course, Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital has the best interests of the community at heart:
    Oconomowoc Memorial officials and representatives of a community coalition called Not Another Hospital said the Aurora hospital is not needed, that there already is a surplus of hospital beds in the area and that consumers would pick up the cost for additional surplus hospital capacity.
Competition is bad for the community.

In an age where cataclysmic attacks can yield thousands of casualties, I have nothing to offer to anti-competitive health care providers and those who love them, including residents who would rather have tax dollars for amenities like water parks or whatever the hell tchotchkes municipalities in Wisconsin waste taxdollars on than hospitals. Nothing but a hearty unwritten mandate and appropriate hand gestures.

More to the Story?

The Smoking Gun has the police report about the police pepperspray incident about which I wrote yesterday.

As always, remember to be snarky with an open mind.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Easy Distinction to Remember

As Den Beste says:
    So for the Democrats, when you vote, "Do it... for the Europeans."

    For the Republicans, when you vote, "Do it... to the Europeans."

More Fun With Nonlethal Force

Meanwhile, back in Florida, an officer pepper sprays a college student and her boyfriend for taking a call in a movie theater. A witness recounts:
    "The man turned and asked the officer why he was making them leave and the cop just maced him in the face," Gray said. "They weren't yelling or touching him. The man bent over and the girl asked why he maced her boyfriend. Then the cop maced her, and she dropped her soda."
Would the officer have shot them down for the offense? No, but since pepper spray is nonlethal, you see, he can do it with aplomb.

Lileks Embraces Noggle Apocalypse Investment Strategy

James Lileks, in a Back Fence column, embraces the Noggle Apocalypse Investment Strategy when describing what's in his bug-out box:
    Half a dozen liquor miniatures. Only for bartering purposes, mind you. The dollar may be worthless, and we may be reduced to swapping as we fight our way to Fargo.

    "Halt! To pass you must pay the toll. What have you to offer, stranger?"

    "Well, I have, uh, a pelt -"

    "Where? I see no pelt."

    "Well, the dog's wearing it right now, but - hey, I have these little bottles of hooch. And I'll toss in some waterproof matches, only used once."
Remember, the Noggle Apocalypse Investment Strategy promotes three investments:
  • Arable land somewhere isolated.
    So you can grow enough food for you, your concubines with which you're going to repopulate the human race, and the optional cult of followers.

  • Guns.
    So you can defend your land from interlopers and your concubines from other alpha males in your cult of followers.

  • Liquor.
    So you can trade something besides other alpha male pelts with the neighboring cults. Hopefully, they'll have something other than pelts or liquor to trade.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Summing Up

Wretchard at Belmont Club sums up the choice in worldviews offered this November:
    Although the exigencies of politics and the need to attract away the conservative fringe (by playing Amazing Grace for example) may keep John Kerry from being forthright it cannot obscure the fact that two opposing, and therefore contradictory visions, are contending for the electorate this November. The first argues that despite the shortcomings of multilateralism, diplomacy and concession, it is still the best way to settle accounts with radical Islam. It will concede that more might have been done to prevent September 11 but it will maintain steadfastly that the alternative, which was to strike at enemies the way they have struck at us is fundamentally wrong and dangerous. And by exclusion it will maintain that whatever the dangers of Clintonian policy the world was safer then than it is today. Ths second point of view will argue that eight years of wilfull blindness; supporting Bosnian Muslims; ignorning the A. Q. Khan network of nuclear proliferation, buying North Korea its own reactors and receiving Yasser Araft at the White House; the whole policy of concession, bought not a whit of safety. It will argue that our enemies are even now on the point of obtaining nuclear weapons to turn against us, and will if we return to the policies of the past. It will concede that there have been disappointments in Iraq, but that by any historical yardstick our progress to victory -- and here is the unique word -- has been steady, irresistable and therefore inevitable.
Friends, I spent September 11, 2001, in a conference room, watching a grainy Peter Jennings demean the president while the World Trade Center crumbled like talc, while the Pentagon burned, and while the country wondered, "What next?" Every moment was a cliffhanger as we awaited word of how much further into the rabbithole we had fallen. In the days and weeks that followed, planes were grounded as a safety precaution and we wondered how much like Israel America would have to become to survive. I am damned, for I remember clearly.

Is Bush the perfect choice? No, of course not. But he's the better choice.

Because I don't think that a return to Clinton-era is what we need, and that's the best for which we could hope with a Kerry presidency. The worst doesn't seem all that bad, either; a Congress which hogties the lame president, opposing his crazy domestic policies and "overseeing" feckless foreign policy.

We would all enjoy a period of merry fiddling while Dark Ages II continues to cloud over, and most of us, or at least the important Baby Boomers, would be dead and lost to history before the Western books were burned and the Chinese ended Islam. The United States of America, the West? A footnote that might someday describe a failed experiment in human potential.

Maybe They Can't Afford the FCC Fines

Networks Pull Plug on Teresa [Heinz-Kerry]'s Speech.

(Link seen on Roger L. Simon's and Little Green Footballs, in that order because that's the way the blogroll's ordered.)

Maybe They Can't Afford the FCC Fines

Networks Pull Plug on Teresa [Heinz-Kerry]'s Speech.

(Link seen on Roger L. Simon's and Little Green Footballs, in that order because that's the way the blogroll's ordered.)

So-Called Watch

Author Roger L. Simon commits the sin:
    In fact, bloggers have one advantage over so-called professional journalists.
What's the advantage? Obviously not a better vocabulary or instinctive sense to avoid annoying clitches.

Note to readers: In an attempt to sound less French, we're officially pronouncing it clitches. Not only does it sound more manly, but I don't have to look up the character code for the e with the accent on it. Thank you.

Steinberg Gets It, Except When He Doesn't

So Neil Steinberg, of the Chicago Sun-Times, is probably going to vote for John Kerry, but he sometimes indicates that he understands foreign policy:
    So much emphasis has been put on the 9/11 Commission's recommendation to overhaul U.S. intelligence that not much attention has been given its notions about winning the "struggle of ideas'' between the West and Islamic radicalism.

    We need to reach out to the Arab world, its argument goes, and make them understand what really good guys we are at heart.

    This is a spin on the old "What did we do wrong?/Maybe if we were nicer to them" view that surfaced immediately after Sept. 11, and is complete nonsense. Islamic radicals hate America because: a) we aren't Muslim; b) we support the country in their midst that isn't Muslim, Israel; c) we are purveyors of a non-Muslim, flashy, sexualized culture where women aren't dressed head to toe in black; and d) their governments encourage it.

    They hate us because of who we are, and nothing short of an embrace of Wahhabism would make them happy (and even then it might be the wrong kind. Iran and Iraq, remember, lost a million soldiers fighting each other).

    Digging wells and sending fruitcakes labeled "GIFT OF USA" is not going to do it. The United States gives more foreign aid to Egypt than any other country except Israel. And a recent poll found that 98 percent of Egyptians disapprove of the United States. The other 2 percent, presumably, haven't heard of us.

    No goodwill gesture, no slick Voice of America broadcast is going to change that. Rather than worry about radical Islam understanding our ideas, we need to master their central concept, which is this: Kill your enemies. Radical Islam understands killing and being killed. That's why, at the end of the day, taking out Saddam Hussein was a good thing, even with no weapons of mass destruction found, even if the place is in turmoil for a decade. It was worth it as a cautionary tale to future enemies, and on the odd chance the United States makes it past the November election without suffering a big Madrid-style terrorist attack, it won't be because we've charmed those who might feel inclined to do it. It'll be because we've either eliminated them or because we've so scared their state sponsors that they've stopped supporting them.
Sometimes I wonder if two halves of Neil Steinberg war on each other, making him crazy, or if he's got an attractive college intern who really writes his stuff and occasionally slips these bits into the columns when The Name is too hung over to notice.

Or it could be that he's got a depth and breadth of convictions too simple to describe in a single snarky paragraph. But hey, snark is what the chicks dig, and one never chortles when one writes a well-reasoned argument, but snark? Oh, yeah, chortlechortlechortle.

Trust Me, I Know What I'm Doing Tonight

The Sledge Hammer! DVD
Click for full size

Monday, July 26, 2004
And Many Wept

Natalie Portman in a John Kerry t-shirt.

(Link courtesy of Michelle Malkin.)

Sunday, July 25, 2004
Scaping the Goat

Here's a neat bit in the Washington Post: Taxes Cut, Not Saved: Assessments, Gas, Lost Profits Leave Some Gasping:
    Jerry Bailey is precisely the kind of taxpayer President Bush had hoped to bestow his tax cuts on: an entrepreneur brew-pub owner, a job provider, not overly rich by Washington area standards but well off enough to pay a hefty sum to the federal government each year.

    But after three tax cuts in three years, the part-owner of Loudoun County's Old Dominion Brewing Co. is not exactly celebrating his gains. Sure, his federal tax bill was trimmed, by a healthy $5,600, according to a rough calculation by Clint Stretch, director of tax policy at the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP.

    But other factors having nothing to do with federal taxes have clouded Bailey's situation. This year, the property tax bill on his Bethesda home will reach $6,725, a $950 increase over his payment four years ago. The annual cost of his 56-mile-a-day commute has jumped more than $300 since 2001, and the long, slow decline of business profits these past four years has left Bailey far behind, no matter what his federal tax payment may be.

    "I'm not paying any taxes at all because we're not making any money," Bailey said with a sigh. "I loved paying taxes. It meant we were doing all right."

    As the Democrats converge on Boston this week to nominate their presidential candidate, the rhetoric around the economic policies of the past 42 months will doubtless be shrill. At first blush, the Democrats' case may seem like a hard sell. Economic growth has returned. Job growth, while slow, has perked up over the past 12 months. Most of all, Republicans may expect some gratitude for cutting taxes by more than $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years.

    But many Americans feel they have lost ground since 2001, and a solid 71 percent are convinced they have received no tax cuts at all. A poll by CBS News and the New York Times in March found that only 22 percent believe the policies of the Bush administration made their taxes go down; 25 percent said their taxes actually went up.
So let me get this straight: the Washington Post has found a real-life entrepreneur who has had his Federal taxes lowered, but his state and local taxes have continued to increase, as have his other costs of business while his profits have fallen in the last four years, which I would assume run from 2000 (when Clinton was in office) through 2003. For the journalist on the case, it's Bush's fault?

Please, blow more money on Public Schooling which fails to edumicate the children on the three branches of government and the role of this little bicameral legislature thing, particularly the House of Representatives, on taxes so that the newspapers may continue to blame whomever they feel appropriate, or whomever they want to see lose an election.

Book Review: Non Campus Mentis by Anders Henriksson (2001)

This book represents another piece of Internet reading published in book form. The author, a professor, has collected and condensed numerous blue book blatherings from students into a one hundred plus summary of history. As a two page e-mail forward, these incidents are funny. A book-sized collection, though, goes on too long.

The joke's going to be on us someday, though. The mirth comes from we, the reader, recognizing the students' errata, but the in twenty years, only the home schooled will be in on the humor. Of course, they'll be running the world, so books like this might still get published.

News Flash! Hold the Front Page

Below the fold, at least, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offers this portrait of John Kerry: Vietnam etched Kerry's outlook: War record points to leadership and strength; critics question his recollections, motives and decision making.

Let's sum up Kerry's Vietnam experience. In country for a couple of months, wounded three times and leaves. The dude is a walking, and unfortunately talking, shrapnel cushion, where Charlie put sharp edges to keep them safe. I mean, sometime in every episode, one of his crewmen would shout, "Oh my god, they've wounded Kerry!" Leadership? You're stepping in it.

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."