The Weigh In

April 30, 2002

HUBBLE HUBBLE!: I'm sure you're aware, but four images recently taken using the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the Hubble telescope were released today. Wow. I know that the photographs are artificially enhanced (in reality outer space is near-colorless), but they really are breathtaking.

Check out this slide show from the Washington Post. And more details from

THE DAY VICTOR DAVIS HANSON WRITES SOMETHING AWFUL: Well, I'll probably still post it. Here are his latest musings on the Middle East, where he once again elegantly explains how the Palestinians need a serious boot in their collective ass.

'Force, then, has a way of making people change. Even the most militant citizenries can be disabused of their rather dangerous ideas — but only after they understand that the logical consequences of their extremism are impoverishment, ruin, and humiliation.'

SPITELESS IN SEATTLE:'s Jim Caple comments on the overdone politeness of Seattle Mariners fans. I'd like to see them try this in a place like Boston, where "Yankees Suck" tee shirts outnumber all and any pro-Red Sox clothing.

BURGER KING OR MCDONALD'S?: This was one of the fiercer debates of my youth. One thing that always tipped me over to McD's was that they offered you free barbecue sauce and unlimited napkins (not to mention superior french fries).

While Burger King eventually came around with much-improved burgers and chicken, vaulting them into the # 1 spot since 1999, could the unlimited napkins thing be a fad?

GOOD TIMES, BAD TIMES: "The Simpsons" nearing the end? "Six Feet Under" coming back for another season? The horror! The joy!

I watch too much television.

MALCOLM GLADWELL WANTS YOUR ATTENTION: He's already got mine. What a great writer. Check out his latest information-packed essay, contemplating how we need paper more than ever. Here's a piece-

'Paper enables a certain kind of thinking. Picture, for instance, the top of your desk. Chances are that you have a keyboard and a computer screen off to one side, and a clear space roughly eighteen inches square in front of your chair. What covers the rest of the desktop is probably pilespiles of papers, journals, magazines, binders, postcards, videotapes, and all the other artifacts of the knowledge economy. The piles look like a mess, but they aren't.

When a group at Apple Computer studied piling behavior several years ago, they found that even the most disorderly piles usually make perfect sense to the piler, and that office workers could hold forth in great detail about the precise history and meaning of their piles. The pile closest to the cleared, eighteen-inch-square working area, for example, generally represents the most urgent business, and within that pile the most important document of all is likely to be at the top. Piles are living, breathing archives. Over time, they get broken down and resorted, sometimes chronologically and sometimes thematically and sometimes chronologically and thematically; clues about certain documents may be physically embedded in the file by, say, stacking a certain piece of paper at an angle or inserting dividers into the stack.'


Members of a Wake Forest University fraternity were charged with animal cruelty and abandonment after a drunk, dehydrated and sunburned pig was found unconscious in a park.'

CORRECTION: A reader took me to task last night for referring to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fans as "Slayer" fans, which would then confuse them with the heavy metal band of the same name. I am stating now that forever more, "Buffy fans" will be the correct reference, to avoid any further mixups.

HIGH PRAISE INDEED: The Last Page wrote some very nice words about yours truly today. Read them here.

WHAT BLOGGING ARCHETYPE ARE YOU?: Give it a whirl if you like, here are my results -

You are an Andrew Sullivan.

You are not afraid to share your political views with everyone in candid and clear ways.

You may also be making some money... one day.

Take the What Blogging Archetype Are You test at

FILM REVIEWER EXTRAORDINARE: Take the time to visit James Berardinelli's wonderful archive of film reviews. He writes passionate and informed reviews of at least 4-5 movies per week, and he also holds down a full-time job! His best writing is on par with Roger Ebert or any other established film critic.

He's currently working on a "All-Time Top 100" films list, which he updates each week. Read the latest entry, his review of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" - did you know that this was the first American motion picture to feature a toilet being flushed?

INSTAWITHDRAWAL: Eric Olsen of Tres Producers writes about something all us bloggers must deal with on occasion- Instapundit withdrawal. We all want to post something good enough to catch Glenn Reynolds' eye. It will mean a spike in site traffic, but more importantly, an approving nod from the master. Check out his rant here.

THE U.N.'s ISRAEL OBSESSION: This Weekly Standard piece got me very agitated upon initial reading. Here are a few notable sections-

'There has been a genocide in Rwanda, an ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, periodic and horrifying communal "strife" in Indonesia's East Timor, the "disappearance" of a few hundred thousand refugees in the Congo, a decades-long and culturally devastating occupation of Tibet by the People's Republic of China . . . but none of those U.N. member states has ever been subjected to the rebuke of a General Assembly "emergency special session." Israel has, though, repeatedly, simply for refusing to surrender in the face of terrorist attacks that have killed hundreds and injured thousands of its citizens--murders that no U.N. resolution has ever so much as mentioned.

Maybe the U.N. picks on Israel simply because it can. Or maybe, just maybe, there is a darker impulse at play. Which would explain why the U.N. has spent decades, in the guise of refugee assistance, providing active, organized, and enthusiastic auxiliary services to the most delusional and violent strains of Jew-hating Palestinian irredentism. It bears mentioning, though one rarely hears it mentioned, that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency camp at Jenin has been for years what the Palestinians call a'simat al-istashidin, the "suiciders' capital," from which dozens of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, Al Aksa, and Tanzim terrorist attacks have been launched, killing hundreds of Israelis.

UNRWA funds and staffs the schools of Jenin, where, from fall through spring each year, children are taught that all of "Palestine," from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, belongs to them. During summer vacation, those very same schools host training camps in which those very same students are instructed in the arts of kidnapping and rock-throwing and bomb-manufacturing and martyrdom. UNRWA rents the buses that regularly take residents of Jenin on tours of the Israeli countryside--where "their" property, "stolen" by the Jews, is carefully pointed out. UNRWA allows its food warehouses in Jenin to do double duty as munitions dumps. UNRWA pretends not to know that explosives and counterfeit currency factories are housed in the public shelters it has constructed in Jenin. UNRWA cannot understand how it might be that its own administrative offices in Jenin are festooned with graffiti celebrating some of the world's most notorious terrorist organizations. Or how some of the world's most notorious terrorists might have found their way onto the agency's payroll--to the point where the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, extreme even in the context of Palestinian extremism, now openly controls the UNRWA workers' union.'
A second look at this piece made me consider that the United States should do all in its power to either (a) engage completely in the United Nations' affairs and business, effectively taking it over, or (b) distance itself completely from the organization and actively attempt to damage its credibility with all civilized nations and hamper its ability to function and exist. The United Nations has lost all ability to settle disputes; it only inflames them. Who needs it?

CAN'T HAVE IT ALL: George Will ruminates on ANWR drilling arguments, and discusses how even "green" products like Ben and Jerry's ice cream have an unintended effect on the environment.

FOR TRIVIA PURPOSES ONLY: today (I know, two posts from Salon in one day! What next?) has an interesting piece on the history of the Holiday Inn sign.

OSAMA'S CAMEL: Thanks to Right Wing News for this Osama Bin Laden joke -

Osama bin Laden and one of his followers were riding on a camel when they stopped at a small town. Bin Laden got off the camel and lifted up its tail and looked at the camel's butt. Just then a guy came over and said, "What are you doing?" Osama replied, "About 2 miles back I heard someone say, 'Hey, look at the two a--holes on that camel.'" Arts & Entertainment | The Holiday Inn sign a red pylon atop which a yellow star exploded its energy into the night. Meanwhile a winking Vegas-style arrow pointed tired travelers to the office

THE JOURNAL HAS IT RIGHT ON JENIN: Jerome Marcus in the Wall Street Journal today opines on the lazy, ignorant stance taken by human rights groups regarding the Jenin incident. Registration is required, but here is a piece-

'Mr. Kosirnik and friends are right about one thing: International law was violated in Jenin, and the violations should be investigated. But the law was not broken by Israel, which has responded carefully and proportionately to the daily murder of its citizens. Under international law, the people violating the human rights of Palestinian noncombatants are Palestinian terrorists, who have hidden themselves and their weapons -- without uniforms or other identifying insignia required by the laws of war -- among the civilian population of the West Bank.'
Here's another telling excerpt -
'The Palestinians used the civilian population like this, we know, because that is part of their strategy: make victims and then cry about victims. Plus, knowing they cannot face the IDF in the field, the Palestinians tried to cripple the Israeli army by hiding among civilians, thereby forcing the real soldiers to hold back. The Palestinians knew that the Israelis -- a disciplined army of husbands and fathers -- would restrain themselves to avoid killing noncombatants.

Even Arab fighters have admitted the Israelis did exactly that. Captured Jenin-based terrorist Thabet Mardawi told CNN last week that he "and other Palestinian fighters had expected Israel to attack with planes and tanks." "I couldn't believe it when I saw the soldiers," he said. "The Israelis knew that any soldier who went into the camp like that was going to get killed." Shooting at these men as they walked cautiously down the street "was like hunting . . . like being given a prize. . . I've been waiting for a moment like that for years."

Can it be any clearer? The 13 Israeli soldiers killed in that Jenin deathtrap died precisely because they were trying to discriminate between military and nonmilitary "objectives" the way a Daisy Cutter can't. In other words, they were trying to undo the effect of the human-rights violations inflicted on the population of Jenin by the terrorist army that made its home there.'
Just more evidence that we are fighting with an amoral, cowardly assemblage of animals, who must be utterly whipped and soundly defeated before we can rest.

THERE'S ONLY ONE ELVIS: With Elvis Costello in the news lately to promote his latest album "When I Was Cruel," I tracked down this biography of him from 1999.

April 29, 2002

SUPER BUSY WORK DAY = LESS POSTS: Sorry. I will try to get some more stuff out later today or tonight...

NOW THIS IS A MARKETABLE SKILL: Even though the Pentagon renamed them “human intelligence collectors” last year (hold the snickering), becoming an interrogator is hard work.

THE KID WAS ASKING FOR IT: So says Cardinal Bernard Law in his six-page defense document in response to the lawsuit filed against him by Gregory Ford and his parents, Rodney and Paula Ford of Newton, MA. This is just disgusting.

IT'S LIKE DAY AND NIGHT: The always-intelligent Heather Mac Donald with thoughts on the always-idiotic Amnesty International. Here's an excerpt -

Nothing so outrages the civil libertarians and rights advocates as the fact that most of the detainees are Muslims from the Middle East or South Asia. Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch admits that “yes, the government is lawfully allowed to do what it is doing,” but the question, he says, is: “Why is it discriminating in this manner?”
I'm of the opinion that my wrist hair has more intelligence and common sense than Mr. Roth.

FROM THE ASHES: Read Bob Klapisch’s excellent column on the classic 1995 wild card playoff series between the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners, widely credited as "saving baseball" after the chaos of the 1994 strike.

I remember crying for a long time when that game ended. I hated Seattle, and always will. Seeing that dumb grin on Griffey Jr.’s face, after he slid home with the winning run in the final game. I wished to all heaven and hell that he never get the chance to be on a playoff team again… wow, I may be getting my wish after all... (being that Cincinnati made the playoffs just before he arrived, and Seattle became a league powerhouse just after he left. Sweet!)

I also remember that game as the final one for Don Mattingly, one of the classiest players ever. He was my hero growing up, playing on loaded Yankees teams in the mid-1980s and horrible Yankees teams during the late 80s and early 90s. I will never be as much a baseball fan as I was during the peak Mattingly years, when the Yankees would get THISCLOSE to the playoffs, but fall short.

1995 was his first trip to the postseason (they would have been prohibitive World Series favorites in 1994, were it not for the strike which cancelled the playoffs that year), and he had a great series against Seattle. But the Yankees lost, and he retired afterwards. And then the Yanks began the great run of championships that continues today…

NOTE TO READERS: To help my page load faster, for a while I will experiment with only showing the last FIVE days' worth of posts, as opposed to the last seven days. Please visit my archives for tons more links and comments.

Please let me know if this helps or if no change.

SCHMUCK, SCHMUCK, SCHMUCK: Has anyone seen any recent Burger King commercials for the new Chicken Whopper? I may have misheard, but I think the announcer claims that if you "cluck when you order," you get 50 cents off the price of the sandwich. Is this true? Does anyone have a story regarding this promotion? (NOTE: Please disregard my headline if you have already participated.)

Please email me any details you have, and I'll post them for the rest of cyberspace if you approve...

READY FOR THE HUGHES PLAN?: I know I am- read more here, the latest column from Peggy Noonan.

Ms. Noonan, I am not worthy to be sharing the same Internet space as you.

ARE WE SAFER?: I think Daniel Pipes echoes my feelings precisely -

'The trauma of September changed some things but not enough. The government won't name militant Islam as the enemy but hides behind the euphemism of "terrorism." The CIA and FBI remain largely unchanged. Airline security is a sham. Israel is constrained from rooting out the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure.

As the sense of vulnerability and resolve of seven months ago dissipates, Americans are returning to business-as-usual. September 11 increasingly feels like a remote nightmare without much relevance to the present circumstances.

To which I predict: If things proceed in this direction, there can only be one certain result - further assaults perpetrated by militant Islam.'

WHICH "BUFFY" CHARACTER IS GONNA GET IT?: The Portland Mercury has some odds. Check it out, Slayer fans!

THE WEST WILL RISE AGAIN: Thanks to Instapundit for turning me on to this, written by Brendan Miniter in today's OpinionJournal.

"The problem with America," a college professor told me recently, "is that it can't get over the idea that it is somehow special among nations." His name is Robert Jensen and he teaches journalism at the University of Texas, Austin. He's flat wrong. The problem with America and Western civilization in general is that it lost confidence in itself and started accepting relativist arguments.

Today, we launch a new Monday column on OpinionJournal, "The Western Front." Many readers will recognize the reference to the Erich Maria Remarque novel about the Western world tearing itself to pieces in World War I. It was that war that accelerated Western civilization down into a dangerous pit from which it may now be emerging. The main purpose of this column will be to argue for rebuilding confidence in the West's ideal of human freedom--spiritual, political and economic liberty.
Just one more reason to check out OpinionJournal every week.

"SHE WAS A VERY CLASSY LADY": I attended Gail Higgs' funeral this weekend. She was loved dearly by many people, and for many different reasons. She had been diagnosed with melanoma back in 1997, so I never got to know her when she was healthy. It was amazing to hear what kind of person she was like before the illness. She was vital and happy; she didn't put up with other people's bullshit. I think we would have been quite fond of each other.

She had (and maintained right up to the end) a very tongue in cheek brand of humor, best exemplified by one of the songs she requested for her cremation service - Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust." The service and funeral were classy and unconventional, just like her.

A family friend put together a small pamphlet as a memorial to Gail, forgoing the traditional mass cards. I am hoping to post a couple of pictures of her, as well as her husband's moving eulogy, later this week. I think you all would benefit from taking a look.

BACK: Hello all, I'm back in town. Plan on seeing a lot of posts today, as I attempt to catch up on the weekend's news. I'll also have some more thoughts on my weekend in Maryland... Justin

April 26, 2002

My fiancé Lindsey’s mother died yesterday, after battling for several years with a very aggressive form of cancer.

I didn’t know her that well, having only shared her company on a few occasions. But she was very intelligent, and always seemed aware of much more than she would let on.

I’m so sorry we didn’t get the chance to know each other better. I want to thank her again and again for bringing Lindsey into the world.

I will be traveling today for the funeral, expect one, maybe two posts tops.

Update (5:24 PM): I have included here one of my very favorite poems, from W.S. Merwin, which I revisit occasionally when the mood fits-

For the Anniversary of My Death
Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveler
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what

See you all next week,

April 25, 2002

MAN WANTS TO CHANGE NAME TO 'GOD': You have to read this one for yourselves. Thanks to for the story!

A WALL'S FINE, BUT WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT ALL THE HATE?: Jeff Jarvis isn't so sure that building an actual wall between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip would create peace. Check out the whole thing here.

IT'S THE COMMERCIALS, STUPID: David Aldridge of bemoans the growing length of time between NBA playoff games. Always expect an entertaining read from him.

ON A MUCH NEEDED, MUCH LIGHTER NOTE: Do you doodie? Well, you might want to consider. Go on, help spread the doodie.

WHAT IS A TERRORIST?: Jonah Goldberg writes today on the inexplicable double-standard being applied to Osama Bin Laden and Yassir Arafat. An excerpt -

'But, to the extent conservatives are disappointed with Bush's zig-zagging on Israel there's another motivation worth noting: The war on terrorism doesn't make sense if Yasser Arafat isn't a terrorist. There's vastly more evidence that Yasser Arafat is a terrorist than there is against Osama bin Laden. Don't get me wrong, I think there's more than enough evidence against bin Laden, but Arafat has been killing innocent people around the globe for decades, from the Munich Olympics to the most recent suicide bombing.'
I feel SO sorry for Israelis. I thank heaven that my home is not situated on the edge of a desert crammed with ignorant, childish thugs with no desire for peace, no desire to create and build. And to see all the imbeciles in this country trying to rationalize the Palestinian aggressions toward Israel over the past 50+ years. It breaks my heart. I expect as much from the effete boobs in Europe (Britain excluded), afraid of their own shadows lately, always unwilling to do the right thing (excuse me, do anything) unless forced.

But when there are intelligent, thoughtful individuals in the United States trying to reason with me that Yassir Arafat and Saudi Arabia and the rest of the mook brigade aren't terrorists, aren't trying to eradicate all Jews from the region, aren't the blatant aggressors in this conflict, well it's like trying to convince me that I'll live forever. These people are so brainwashed by their emotions. Brainwashed by moral equivalence, the ridiculous premise that one dead Palestinian soldier is no worse than one dead 7-year-old Israeli girl killed by a suicide bomber. Brainwashed that peace can always be attained through negotiation and compromise. There are facts which support the hypothesis that Arafat and his PLO have relentlessly sought to intimidate and kill Israelis. There are facts which support the hypothesis that Israelis have not acted militarily or aggressively against Palestinian refugees and neighboring Arab nations unless in response to direct threats or actions.

If there is one person in power in the Middle East with a functioning brain, I call on you to use it, please, rise above your emotional instincts to hate and destroy.

Because if that part of the world continues to push and push up against Western civilization without compromise and respect, the United States will have to REALLY push back someday. Honestly, we're still sleepwalking about all this madness.

WILL YOUR SHOW GO?: Phil Rosenthal, television critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, weighs in on which TV shows may or may not survive until next year...

ON JON STEWART: The San Francisco Chronicle has an article praising "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart.

Damn, I love the Daily Show! Despite my worries when Craig Kilborn bolted, it has become a television version of The Onion.

But what's with Stewart having little bitch whiny loser errand-boy David Brock on the show a few weeks ago???

WHAT I'M READING: I am typically reading 3-4 books at any given time, and I wanted to pass on the title of an excellent book I just started this week. It's called "The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense," by Michael Shermer. Shermer is the publisher of Skeptic magazine, which serves as an educational tool for people curious about controversial ideas, extraordinary claims, and the promotion of science.

The book is fairly dense, but very informative. Shermer believes in the scientific method and rational inquiry above all else, and spends considerable energy demonstrating the differences between what he calls real science (big bang theory, for example), borderland science (hypnosis), and nonsense (alien abductions). He also wrote 1998's Why People Believe Weird Things, another treatise on pointing out the flaws of creationism and Holocaust denial. Please take a look if you are interested in this type of reading.

For more on this subject, check out Carl Sagan's famous "Baloney Detection Kit," a list of tools for testing arguments and detecting fallacious or fraudulent arguments.

OUTLASTING A FATWA: Claudia Rosett of the WSJ writes today on Salman Rushdie, who is still alive and prospering 14 years after being marked for death by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. An excerpt -

'As a citizen of a country that has come under a death decree from Islamic zealots, I wanted a look at someone who had outlived a killer fatwa. I was pleased to think that maybe such fevered preoccupations can, after all, just fade away. Maybe, with a little time, the terrorists who want to destroy America will figure it is more interesting to take up dentistry, or car repair, and leave us alone. I mused on how Germany and Japan, after World War II, had flipped from mortal fascist enemies to democratic, good pals. Though it also occurred to me that before these conversions took place we had to beat them in a war and occupy them for a while.'

BUFFY FANS BITE BACK: Last week, Scott Pierce, television editor of Deseret News, posted this article praising the recent storylines of "Angel" while simulaneously trashing the current season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

While I agree with his thoughts, many Buffy fans did not. Please visit here for an amusing look at how rabid spurned BTVS fans can be!

IT'S A START ANYWAY: American Catholic leaders meeting at the Vatican Wednesday formulated a special process to defrock any priest who has become "notorious and is guilty of serial, predatory sexual abuse of minors."

I consider this progress, but Andrew Sullivan doesn't like what he sees.

April 24, 2002

ARIEL SHARON AS WILLIAM SHERMAN?: Victor Davis Hanson thinks of Sharon as one in a line of tragic heroes who just aren't cut out for peacetime ...

JAY CHIAT, DEAD AT 70: Jay Chiat, pioneering advertising executive and co-founder of the Chiat/ Day advertising agency that created the legendary "1984" ad for Macintosh computers, died today. Also check out the L.A. Times' obituary.

BONUS: Watch the famous commercial, which aired only once, here (Apple QuickTime Player needed). Thanks to Uriah Carpenter for the video.

ON TV THEME SONGS: Just to show you that there ARE people out there with even less to do than myself, read this article from the New Jersey Star Ledger on television theme songs. And kudos to them for the They Might Be Giants plug!

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER ON THE CLONING DEBATE: I know several bloggers have posted these articles already, but for you my faithful readers, here are Charles Krauthammer's thoughts in opposition to research cloning.

And here is NRO's Ramesh Ponnuru assessing the piece.

THANKS ORCHID!: Thanks so much to Orchid for the Weigh In props today on her great site, The Daily Dose. She's a big Buffy fan too! Check it out, you won't be disappointed.

YEAH, WHAT HE SAID: I'm not a huge fan of comedian Larry Miller, but I am becoming a huge fan of Weekly Standard contributing humorist Larry Miller. Just check out his recent piece on the Middle East and see what I mean. Here is an excerpt -

'The Palestinians want their own country. There's just one thing about that: There are no Palestinians. It's a made up word. Israel was called Palestine for two thousand years. Like "Wiccan," "Palestinian" sounds ancient but is really a modern invention. Before the Israelis won the land in war, Gaza was owned by Egypt, and there were no "Palestinians" then, and the West Bank was owned by Jordan, and there were no "Palestinians" then. As soon as the Jews took over and started growing oranges as big as basketballs, what do you know, say hello to the "Palestinians," weeping for their deep bond with their lost "land" and "nation." So for the sake of honesty, let's not use the word "Palestinian" any more to describe these delightful folks, who dance for joy at our deaths until someone points out they're being taped. Instead, let's call them what they are: "Other Arabs From The Same General Area Who Are In Deep Denial About Never Being Able To Accomplish Anything In Life And Would Rather Wrap Themselves In The Seductive Melodrama Of Eternal Struggle And Death." I know that's a bit unwieldy to expect to see on CNN. How about this, then: "Adjacent Jew-Haters."

Okay, so the Adjacent Jew-Haters want their own country. Oops, just one more thing. No, they don't. They could've had their own country any time in the last thirty years, especially two years ago at Camp David. But if you have your own country, you have to have traffic lights and garbage trucks and Chambers of Commerce, and, worse, you actually have to figure out some way to make a living. That's no fun. No, they want what all the other Jew-Haters in the region want: Israel. They also want a big pile of dead Jews, of course--that's where the real fun is--but mostly they want Israel. Why? For one thing, trying to destroy Israel--or "The Zionist Entity" as their textbooks call it--for the last fifty years has allowed the rulers of Arab countries to divert the attention of their own people away from the fact that they're the blue-ribbon most illiterate, poorest, and tribally backward on God's Earth, and if you've ever been around God's Earth, you know that's really saying something. It makes me roll my eyes every time one of our pundits waxes poetic about the great history and culture of the Muslim Mideast. Unless I'm missing something, the Arabs haven't given anything to the world since Algebra, and, by the way, thanks a hell of a lot for that one.'
Read the whole thing...

GUESS I PICKED THE WRONG WEEK TO QUIT SMOKING: I'll let you all read this one for yourself - Cancer Risk Found in French Fries, Bread.

IS NOTHING SACRED?: J&M Tropical Fish, the Kensington pet shop where a dreamer named Rocky met a mousy sales clerk named Adrian and bought food for his turtles Cuff and Link in the 1976 film Rocky, was held up yesterday morning, police said.

NOW I KNOW WHAT DEAN KAMEN WANTED: To invent a device that makes police officers look more foolish. I suddenly miss "CHiPs."

MORE ON THE U.N. COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS: This article by Steven Edwards of the National Post is telling -

'Human rights monitoring groups yesterday warned of a crisis at the UN Commission on Human Rights, which counts a large number of accused human rights violators among its 53 member states.

...In recent years, Ms. Weschler said, many "highly abusive governments" have sought election, and that "cynical strategy" is now reaping rewards.'
Are you aware that the United States does not even hold a seat on this commission? This is the rarest kind of nonsense; it astounds me almost to silence. The United States' full withdrawal from the U.N. will occur before my kids are born. And it will be a good day for its citizens.

Most of the people with power on this planet are so petty, so corrupt, so self-absorbed, so completely semi-human. Like animals scavenging for food. Instead of looking to the civilized Western world as an example of what good can be created of this world, these leaders brutally oppress their peoples and blame prosperous nations for their problems. I don't know how safe we can ever be when all these infants are allowed to run around and make decisions.

JUST LEAVE, OLD WHITE MAN PERVERT: William Bennett is now calling for molester-protector Cardinal Law to resign. I don't know how the rules of the Church play out in this situation, but if that sick man can't be excommunicated for harboring and aiding known criminals, what will it take?

SHAMNESTY: John Podhoretz is rightly aggravated by recent actions and statements of Amnesty International. More here on this story. If I was as full of shit as that organization, I would need to carry a toilet around with me all day.

OPEN ARMS: Thanks to Instapundit for finding this, a letter to the editor of the New York Times from several faculty members of Princeton University regarding their new colleague Cornel West and his idiotic remarks of late.

CONGRATULATIONS TODD!: Congratulations to my brother Todd, who has been accepted to the S.I. Newhouse School of Communication at Syracuse University. He will be entering the Television-Radio-Film program. Giddy up!

COMEDIAN CALL TELEMARKETERS AT DAWN: Thanks to James Taranto for finding this gem. "Best of the Web" has a bunch of great posts this morning- check it out here.

WHILE I DON'T WANT ANY MORE HARVARDS PER SE...: I like what Tom Friedman has to say today regarding the future of the Middle East (registration required). Here's a sampling -

'Think about two recent stories. The Times Education Life supplement just reported that the best-selling book in China for the past 16 months is a book, in Chinese, about how to get your teenager into Harvard, titled "Harvard Girl Yiting Liu." In this book a Chinese mother shares her "scientifically proven methods" for getting her daughter into Harvard. It has sold more than 1.1 million copies and triggered 15 copycats for how to get into Columbia, Oxford or Cambridge. In the same week it was reported that the normally intelligent Saudi ambassador in London, Ghazi Algosaibi, had published a poem in Al-Hayat in praise of the 18-year-old Palestinian girl who blew herself up in an Israeli supermarket, saying to her, "You died to honor God's word."

A society that makes a best seller about how to get its teenagers into Harvard will eventually build Harvards of its own. But leaders who glorify a teenager who committed suicide in a supermarket full of civilians will never build a country that can live on anything other than oil; their priorities will be too messed up. Israel did not "honor" God in Jenin, and neither do suicide bombers.'

CHECK OUT WILCO: This group makes great music. Their record label (Reprise) dropped them recently when it appeared that their latest album "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" wasn't going to generate enough sales. So what did Wilco do?

They bought back the masters of their album, offered the songs for free over the Internet, and are now about to release the album through the Nonesuch label which, like Reprise, is part of AOL Time Warner. (Yes, both labels have the same parent company. Unreal.)

Check out this piece from Martin Edlund vof the New Republic on the group. And here's a link to Jon Pareles' piece in the New York Times (registration required). Wilco is also being featured in the Times' "Album Showcase." Check that out here (you'll need to scroll down the page a little). Enjoy.

SEPARATED AT BIRTH?: Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil and Michael Berryman (of "Weird Science" and "The Hills Have Eyes" fame)?

Don't get me wrong, I love Midnight Oil. "Blue Sky Mine" is an incredible song, I was just listening to it this morning. And that was the only image I could find for Mr. Berryman...

April 23, 2002

JONAH GOLDBERG ON THE MIDDLE EAST, PART 2: Read here for Part 2 of Jonah Goldberg's "Baghdad Delenda Est" column, posted today. Here are some of the finer points -

'The most compelling substantive reason, from my point of view, is that Iraq should be a democratic, republican country, with individual rights secured by a liberal constitution. A democratic Iraq with free-market institutions and the rule of law sounds pretty far-fetched, but it sounded pretty far-fetched for Japan and Germany too. The United States, with the help of its allies, pulled that off.

Indeed, the comparison with Japan is the most apt. Can anyone doubt that Japanese militarism would have been a long-term problem for the United States and the world if we had taken anything less than total victory as an option? And those who decry a war on Iraq as American imperialism should take note: The United States did not try to colonize or acquire Japan or Germany. The United States doesn't fight wars of conquest, at least not any longer.'
But wait - there's more -
'International relations is much more like a prison yard than like a college seminar at Brown. Yes, relations between democracies may be cordial — but that is an argument for turning Iraq into one, not for leaving it alone. It's ironic: All of these people who think it imperative that the United States broker peace in the Middle East seem to think it's a coincidence that the United States is the dominant military power in the world. If military might means nothing, why aren't the Arabs and Israelis bending to the will and rhetoric of the Belgians or the Swiss?

It is impossible to read about the Middle East for any length of time and not conclude that that the Arab world respects power and the willingness to use it more than anything else.
I believe (hope?) that our military is currently mobilizing in order to remove Saddam Hussein from power sometime this year. I still think it was idiotic to announce such intentions to the world, but now our leaders will have to follow through on said statements, and impressively.

WHAT MAKES US LOVE CERTAIN TV SHOWS?: Bill Goodykoontz of the Arizona Republic has some thoughts. Here is a piece of it -

"Should it surprise us that some of the most successful programs have taken place in living rooms just like the ones we're watching in?" asks Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University's Center for the Study of Popular Television. "If you're going to take that shortcut, if you're going to make things instantly familiar, it's got to be grounded in something we already know. . . . Unless you're able to get to know and immediately translate the nature of the characters right off the bat - unless they're so self-evident - it requires a degree of concentration."
I know that in my vast television-viewing history, across twenty years and a few dozen favorite shows (including ER, The Sopranos, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Practice, Oz, The Cosby Show, The Simpsons, Party of Five, Star Trek: The Next Generation, to name just a few), the shows with an ensemble / family of characters left me with the most memories. Such shows created a fully-realized universe that I could slightly relate to and fervently aspire to, but could never participate in myself (or else, why would I be home watching TV? Who ever watches TV on television?)...

AN OUNCE OF INSIGHT: From the inestimable James Lileks -

'TV relies on pictures; radio on emotive voices. Blogs are about words, period, and you stand or fall on how well you use them.'

FROM IMPROMPTUS: Jay Nordlinger of the National Review draws an insightful parallel between chronic media-whore Jesse Jackson and his hard-charging compatriots, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Here's an excerpt -

'Jimmy Carter and now Bill Clinton are a little like Jesse Jackson — always wanting their face in the picture. Speaking of the Reverend, I saw him on the street the other day — standing outside CBS offices on 57th Street, with Charles Osgood, the TV-and-radio guy (the one with those rhymes — not Charles Kuralt, the double-marriage guy, who’s dead; I always sort of lumped the two together). Jackson looked almost angelic as he smiled at well-wishers, simply enjoying his celebrity.

I had seen him once before, outside NR’s own building in New York. At the time, the Peruvian consulate was housed here, and Jackson was holding some sort of media event in support of Lori Berenson, the Shining Path babe who was caught. Jackson was wearing an African-dictator-style shirt — you know the kind I mean — and was sweating and gesticulating and fulminating, as he has made his career doing.

The question arises, Is he the worst man in public life? Jackson has a lot going for him. There’s the gross hypocrisy, of course. But there’s also the fact that he has done his best to keep the racial-grievance pot boiling, and racial grievance is maybe the worst ailment that this country has.'
Don't these guys have any dignity?

YER SO BAD: Diane Holloway of the Austin American-Statesman writes on famous villains of recent television history and why they're so appealing.

GREAT CONCEPT... BUT IT'S NOT A SPORT: TV-Turnoff Week began yesterday and will continue through April 28. It's being sponsored by, well, the TV-Turnoff Network. It's a great idea, but it's got no stickiness. This promotion shouldn't be held in late April, when all the major networks resume broadcasting new episodes leading into the May season finales!

Here are a couple of opinion columns about TV-Turnoff Week, from Tom Walter at GoMemphis and Mark McGuire of the St. Louis Cardinals... sorry, from the Albany Times Union.

HOW DOES GOOGLE DO IT?: With the help of pigeons, of course. Don't worry animal lovers, Google uses only low-cost, off-the-street pigeons for its clusters.

A CASE FOR VIGILANTISM: Jonathan Turley writes convincingly in the L.A. Times that the prosecutors and defense attorneys in the Zacarias Moussaoui trial are heading for disaster. This piece helps to clarify to me why idiots like Moussaoui should be shot in the back of the head immediately. The United States is just too civilized, I will say once again.

THANK YOU READERS: The Weigh In was hit over 250 times yesterday!!! And it wasn't me continually hitting the refresh button either...

Thank you and keep coming! Email me with suggestions and feedback. I hope to have the commenting system up later this week...


WHAT DO LIBERALS REALLY WANT?: To brainwash taxpayers into thinking that it's GOOD to have higher taxes and more government programs and more redistribution of income? Read Stephen Moore of the National Review's thoughts on "The Myth of Ownership," a new book written by Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel. And here's the NY Times' blow-job review of the same book.

And a question to consider - which side do you fall on? Do you think tax rates in this country are too low? Too high? You know, you CAN be liberal and want lower taxes, smaller government. It's not against the law, I promise you. It's YOUR money, first and foremost.

FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Today the Journal is (prematurely?) celebrating the end of the old European left. Registration is required for the link, but here's an excerpt -

'The real catastrophe here is for the European left, which has now been torn asunder in its home field. Sunday's results show that even the French are fed up with continuing decline under governments run by a gaggle of Socialists, Communists and Greens. They didn't so much vote for Mr. Le Pen as they voted against Lionel Jospin. An apocalyptic socialist defeat is what's really driving a smug establishment crazy.

Mr. Jospin's failure shows one reason the left is in such disarray in Europe. He tried to do the impossible by running as an orthodox Socialist who would not scare the middle class. His high-wire act consisted of throwing a few bones in the direction of reform, while trying to get the rest of Europe to adopt the same social policy that asphyxiates French business.'

WHO HAS HIS HEAD FARTHER UP HIS ASS?: This gentleman? Or Paul Krugman of the NY Times? (registration required) Krugman could take a piece of Trident spearmint gum and conclude that there's a right-wing conspiracy out to ruin him encoded in its ingredient listing.

TO PONDER: It seems that all of Europe is just beside itself regarding the French run-off election results from this weekend. The French leftists are crying that "democracy itself is in peril" - could it be because their expected outcome wasn't achieved?

But I have a question regarding the French people, which I ask you to consider in all seriousness - What on earth has France achieved as a nation that has allowed each and every one of its citizens to believe they are superior to everyone else? That fascinates me more than anything. For example, I can understand when a nuclear physicist or a professional athlete develops a massive ego. Look at how much they have accomplished, how hard they have worked. But doesn't it seem ridiculous when your six-year-old cousin starts giving an attitude because he can beat you at Sega Playstation NFL Gameday 2001?

France is the Butters of our world.

April 22, 2002

ROD DREHER ON HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: From the most recent issue of National Review. I just found this story online, and couldn't help but notice that one of the people he interviewed for his piece referred to part of the Church as a "lavender Mafia."

This seems in line with some of my thoughts on this whole matter; see my post from earlier today.

A "SURVIVOR" TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS?: Don't look now, but it's not too far away. Also check out CBS's "Survivor 4" home page.

GLENN UNPLUGGED: Check out John Hawkins' (Right Wing News) interview with the godfather of conservative blogging, Glenn Reynolds.

IF ONLY I COULD BE SO PRODUCTIVE: Kalid Khannouchi finished dead last in the London Marathon last week. Know why? Because he ran the entire race encased in a 130-pound 1940s deep-sea diving suit. To date, he has raised more than $1.5 million for various charities.

INSTAPUNDIT WISDOM: I found this today on Glenn Reynolds' site -

'STILL WAITING: I still haven't seen Noam Chomsky or anyone else call Saddam Hussein a baby-killer for completely stopping the export of Iraqi oil, even though the United States has repeatedly been accused of murdering Iraqi children merely for limiting the amount of oil Iraq can export.

Have I missed it?'

WHICH DAVID BOWIE ARE YOU?: Take the test (link below), I did.

Which David Bowie are you?

(LACK OF) RACE RELATIONS IN CINCINNATI: Did anyone hear about the mini-riot in Cincinnati last week? For more thoughts, check out Heather Mac Donald's Weekly Standard piece on how things haven't changed much there since last year's race riots.

THE EVOLUTION OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION: It's the United States, so says a reader who wrote in to Jay Nordlinger (National Review). Check out the quote below, or read the full-length Impromptus column here.

“As far as I’m concerned, American civilization should take no heed, suffer no lectures, or entertain any advice whatsoever from Europe on any matter, large or small, regarding Jews and Israel. Indeed, I don’t think they have anything instructive to offer on the subject of tolerance and mixed populations living in harmony. Theirs is an unrelenting record of pogroms, persecution, and genocide against the Jews and others since there began what we could call a ‘Europe.’ Indeed, theirs is an unrelenting record of conquest, warfare, and purges against one another right up to the present. Absent an altruistic American intervention, they were perfectly content to allow the Yugoslavs to slaughter one another. They long ago disqualified themselves as moral judges.

None of this is Europe bashing. I thank God for Europe as a developmental phase of Western Civilization. But the above is all true and is precisely why there is a United States. Our forebears fled all that and purposely built a country to be a haven from it. . . . We are the evolution of Western Civilization: not just the keeper of the flame, but the torchbearer carrying it forward. We have the society where peoples from all over the world live in what is probably as much harmony as is achievable on earth. We are the last, best hope of man — so long as we remember that, and how we got that way."

INTO THE POT A COIN RINGS, INTO HEAVEN A SOUL SPRINGS: Have you ever heard this phrase before? It was used by the Catholic Church in the past to promote indulgences. In essence, the Church would allow its members to be absolved of all sins, provided they made a specific payment to the church. Money for forgiveness. A moral organization, indeed. I won’t even get into the Church’s thoughts on women and homosexuals here. Or how churches can collect money or own property without paying certain taxes on it.

It is difficult to determine how deep-seated the sense of entitlement is among priests today. Their inability to see right from wrong, I think, is tied directly to the lack of discipline or punishment that the Church enforces. There’s no incentive to do the right (or moral) thing when there’s no secular punishment associated with an illegal action. Look how long the media have been talking about the Boston priest abuse scandal, yet how many priests have stepped down voluntarily? How many have condemned or spoken out against the alleged (and the convicted!) molesters?

It’s all nonsense. Just covering their fat white asses. The Church must be forced into action. I believe in God (or something similar), I believe in the examples that a church can offer an individual. I’m not calling for millions of people to walk away from Catholicism or Christianity. I’m asking that people who have been caught screwing little boys and the people who helped them do so be punished, and severely. In the media and through the legal system. I long for the days of the lynch mob. They would know what to do with chronic pederasts.

The Catholic Church has shown throughout its history that the only time it will ever change or evolve is when it loses market share.

MATT WELCH ON RALPH NADER: Blogger stud Matt Welch reviews Ralph Nader's latest book on today. Not surprising to anyone who has been exposed to Nader's communist agenda and "I'm Better than You" smugness, there is plenty of hypocrisy and lies that need to be accounted for. Seems Nader is quite ready to hold a public office after all.

An excerpt-

'Most Americans, it seems safe to wager, are not in favor of abolishing the death penalty, doubling the minimum wage, taxing every stock transaction, beefing up the Internal Revenue Service, reorienting the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to "fight global infectious diseases," charging broadcast companies "billions" in spectrum "rent," rewriting the Constitution to create European-style proportional representation, and erecting a Museum of Tort Law in Winsted, Connecticut. Yet Nader seems to believe that if we just remove the corporate blinders from our eyes, Americans will naturally embrace this political program and the Greens will become a "majoritarian" party.'

HOWARD KURTZ ON BLOGGERS: Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post with a nice write-up of the blogging phenomenon. Check it out here.

ONLY IN FRANCE: Extreme Rightist Eclipses Socialist to Qualify for Runoff in France. Jean-Marie Le Pen, who once called the Nazi gas chambers "a detail in history," qualified today to face President Jacques Chirac, a conservative, in the runoff for the French presidency next month.

A SMALL, GOOD THING: In a rare move against one of their own, a group of senior American cardinals will urge Vatican leaders to ask Cardinal Bernard Law to resign today as archbishop of Boston, according to the Los Angeles Times.

How about ex-communication? Why should Law have any choice regarding his punishment? Is the church even going to punish him?

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS CORRUPT: Now Cardinal Law is ready to talk. Calling the clergy sexual abuse crisis ''a wake-up call for the church,'' Cardinal Bernard F. Law departed yesterday for Rome, vowing to tell Pope John Paul II how seriously the issue is roiling Catholicism.

Someone contact the MacArthur Foundation, I think there's a genius in our midst.

Imagine it was discovered that Jeffrey Skilling (former Enron president) had implicitly allowed Enron employees to molest young children repeatedly and without punishment? There would be a furious public outcry for firings, charges, imprisonment.

I think we have these troublesome concepts called LAWS that prohibit such behavior. Why don't these laws apply to the sick old white men in the church? You can't even get those criminals to admit to their sickening behavior, it must be painstakingly extracted from them in courts and lawsuits.

The Catholic Church has throughout its history been a corrupt, money-grubbing, immoral bastion of organized crime. I'm not talking about the parishioners here, and there are many good and decent members of the clergy. I'm talking about the people in charge, the people with the power.

More to come on this...

LAYNE STALEY DEAD AT 34: Staley, lead singer and guitarist for the grunge band Alice in Chains, was found dead in his apartment last Friday (NY Times link- registration required). Police suspect it was natural causes or a heroin overdose. His battles with the drug were expressed quite lucidly in the band's music time and again. It's so sad, but I was not surprised at all to read the headline on Saturday morning...

Here are some thoughts on his life from Seattle Times.

FROM OVER THE WEEKEND: Hello everyone, Monday again. The weather here in Boston is a balmy 42 degrees, with snow flurries in the forecast. This comes on the heels of last week's heat wave, with 2 days over 90 degrees. Unreal.

Anyway, here are two excellent pieces from this past weekend- Mark Steyn writing in the National Post on Arab fantasy land, and David Brooks in The Atlantic on "The Merits of Meritocracy." Two great reads for your morning coffee. Enjoy.

COMING UP: Thoughts on the Catholic Church scandal...

April 19, 2002

DANG!: The Corner discusses the finer points of the word "Dang," which some of you may know is one of my favorite cuss substitutes.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON ON THE NANCIES IN EUROPE: Victor Davis Hanson hits a home run today with his latest column, on the blatant cowardice and hypocrisy that basically defines Europe and the Middle East. Here's one passage -

'Palestinians cry massacre, but, in fact, they now at last have the fighting their leadership asked for. While the world rightly asks Israel to follow the accepted rules of fighting, it is slowly coming to the realization that men in jeans and sneakers who shoot guns from apartment terraces and blow up children are bona fide combatants of the worst sort — and in the past, combatants who were far more humane folk than these have died in wars. I gave a lecture the other evening at a local civic organization, and a questioner summed up the mood of the audience with, "Well, those Palestinians wanted a war, and now they pretty much got their wish. So let's see how well they do when the Israelis shoot back."'
And here's one more stunner-
'Americans for the first time in my memory seem not to care a whit what Europeans think — to the great consternation of our elites on the East Coast. Heartland Americans think the French are ridiculous, and seem almost to welcome Gallic disdain. Most of us out here, far from being deprived yokels, have a clearer appreciation of the quite profound amorality in Europe than anyone in the Ivy League: we detect a cynical, self-loathing paralysis of cheap talk and aristocratic banter on the continent that never leads to any real good physical deed: prancing and preening in Brussels and Paris, but paralyzing fear when the real innocents are being butchered in Serbia a few miles away. Tough talk to a democratic and humane America, not so tough talk to nightmarish killers in Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.'
Did he miss anything?

UM, WOW: In light of tomorrow's NFL Draft, Len Pasquarelli of profiles Dennis Johnson, former Kentucky defensive end and NFL prospect. The thing is this: he played on his hometown's varsity football team in the SECOND GRADE.

GREAT BALLS OF FIRE: No, seriously. Look here.

CONGRATULATIONS TO JOHN DERBYSHIRE!: Today the National Review columnist officially becomes a United States citizen!

His column today expresses the idea that the Arab world needs a serious ass-beating before it will ever change. Here is an excerpt-

'In re the Middle East, hardly anybody is better credentialed than Walter Laqueur. A bibliography published on Laqueur's 65th birthday in 1986 ran to 66 pages — and that only covered English-language publications, and omitted a full decade's worth of daily journalism. Laqueur has written a shelf full of books on European history, the Middle East, Zionism, terrorism, Soviet affairs, U.S. foreign policy, and so on. This man is, in short, a heavy hitter. (He is currently cochairman of the International Research Council of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.) So what does this seriously well-credentialed person have to say about the current Mideast situation? Well, in the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal on March 27th (registration required), Walter Laqueur unburdened himself. Key passage:

However inhuman it sounds, the conflict will have to run its course, until both sides have suffered up to and past their breaking point. Only then will there be a willingness to compromise. At the moment, any outside attempt to stop the fighting will not succeed, or will do so only for a very short time.

I think there is some weakness of logic there. Surely it is not necessary for both sides to suffer "up to and past their breaking point"? So long as just one of them reaches that point, the conflict is over. And whether a "willingness to compromise" will follow, depends (it seems to me) on which side that is. If the Israelis reach that breaking point first, then Israel will be destroyed, and her people killed or scattered, for the third time in history. If the Arabs reach it first, then they will undergo attitude adjustment. That is, they will awaken from their delusions of grandeur to perceive the dismal failure of their societies in this modern age. Then they will embrace the Cross... Well (and with all respect to Ann Coulter), that is surely too much to hope for; but they will at least embrace constitutional politics and rational economics.'

THE UNITED NATIONS IS TOTALLY USELESS: Yep, sorry to say. With each passing day, with each new head-up-your-ass resolution, with each step it takes farther away from the goals of the United States, the U.N. cements its irrelevancy.

Here is Jonah Goldberg commenting on the recent decision by the U.N. commission on Human Rights to condone Palestinian violence against Israel. Two excerpts-

'It's funny, the French won't extradite criminals to the United States for a lengthy trial at the government's expense if there's even the vaguest possibility that a conviction might result in the death penalty. But they implicitly support Palestinian terrorists wandering into Israeli pizza parlors and administering an instant death sentence to teen-agers.'

And another-
'Right now the United States doesn't even sit on the U.N.'s human rights panel, while Syria does. Syria does not believe in human rights. Syria is famous for killing its own citizens on a whim. The very best that can be said of Syria in this regard is that it enjoys talking about human rights if such talk will make life unpleasant for the United States or, better still, Israel.'

HOMESCHOOLING ANYONE?: You might re-consider sending your child to one of these public schools, says columnist Michelle Malkin.

HARVARD GROWING UP?: I know it may be hard to believe, but with Cornel West's lazy race-baiting ass now on the train to Princeton, and news of a possible overhaul of Harvard's stark-naked obvious grade inflation, maybe the most spoiled liberal university this side of Berkeley is shifting back into the real world??? Time will tell...

April 18, 2002

SOME SERIOUS SLAYAGE: For those of you who may scoff at "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and its legion of obsessed fans (of which I'm a card-carrying member), here's some legitimacy-adding academic folk who also find it enlightening...

Visit the Slayage web site, for an archive of critical and scholarly essays about the show. There are also 2 recently published books on BTVS- read the New York Observer reviews here.

Lastly, for those of you who are truly adventurous, here's a link to the F/X TV schedule of Buffy reruns in syndication. Watch the show, you won't be disappointed. The characters are as realistic as any on television.

ODDS and STATISTICS: I don't know where the authors of this web site are getting their numbers, but I found this link to be a worthwhile read.

Did you know that the average number of times you fall in love during your life is SIX ?!? I'm up to four and done, I can't imagine how hard it must be to recover from 5 + broken hearts...

YEAH, SO, I'VE SEEN EVERY EPISODE OF 'ER' AT LEAST TWICE: Forbes ASAP spent two months combing the nation for the next generation of high tech superstars and found an army of prodigies poised to make their mark on the world. Read about their accomplishments here.

BILL O'REILLY ON THE CATHOLIC CHURCH SCANDALS: This excerpt is my favorite part -

'My experience has taught me that many priests are extremely interested in themselves and their power – a lot like most other human beings. The reason Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston will not resign in the face of overwhelming evidence that he aided and abetted gross crimes against children is that the man wants to keep his red hat. He likes the power and justifies his refusal to do penance by saying the best way to serve his church is to keep his power.'

FROM THE G-FILE: Latest column from Jonah Goldberg (National Review), on the arbitrariness of nation-states in the Arab world. He touches upon a thought that I discussed earlier today -

It seems to me wishful thinking, of a very gloomy sort to be sure, to say that societies with such hair-trigger low self-esteem will suddenly become normal and rational once they choke the Mediterranean with the corpses of Jews and appropriate Israeli cars, homes, and businesses. But hey, I could be wrong.

But it seems absurd for the United States to expect Israel to take that chance. Israelis can be infuriatingly arrogant, but that comes with the territory when you decide not to let other people gas you to death by the millions anymore. So the distinction between Osama bin Laden's terrorism, that seeks to attack America first, and Hamas's terrorism, that wants to start with Israel, is fairly academic from their perspective. They have a very real fight against very real terrorists. And, let us not forget, it isn't a war on terrorism, but on those willing to use it. And I don't want to racial profile but we know which countries we're talking about.

CLAUDIA ROSETT: Opines today in the Wall Street Journal on an idea ("It may take another attack for Bush to get serious about terror") that seems to be gaining more and more validity. At least with me.

THERE IS A GOD: And he or she is cancelling 'Ally McBeal' at the end of this TV season. Rapture!

HOME-BUYING UP AMONG LAME-O'S: Check out the photo in this article. Remind you of any young preppie couples who recently bought a house?

MAYBE THIS IS WHY OUR NEIGHBORS WERE SO FRIENDLY: News item from Foxboro, MA. Check it out- Police make 1.85-ton marijuana bust.


'It was noted in the New York Post that he has begun having himself introduced, on his radio show, as “The Honorable Reverend Doctor Al Sharpton.” That’s quite a mouthful. How’d this happen?

Well, we got the explanation from Sharpton’s spokeswoman, Rachel Noerdlinger (yes, you heard that right, Rachel Noerdlinger, and that makes for a fascinating story, which I may explore and relate sometime). Sharpton picked up the “Doctor” when he received an honorary degree from the A. P. Clay Bible College in Baton Rouge. He calls himself “the Honorable” because he is boss of the “National Action Network,” which, according to Miss Noerdlinger, is “a position of honor to people in the community.” (What community would that be?) And “the Reverend”? Who the hell knows?

Anyway, I feel I can’t do better than Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live, who said, “No matter how many titles he piles up before his name, if the last two words you hear are ‘Al Sharpton,’ he’s not fooling anybody.”'

THANKS TO RIGHT WING NEWS: For the link to this photo of two unlucky Japanese tourists in Bethlehem. This is funny but sad.

THE BEAUTY OF CONTROLLED FURY: Who am I talking about? None other than Ann Coulter. Today she writes on ANWR drilling.

HUMAN RIGHTS? PLEASE...: Michelle Malkin weighs in today on the hypocrisy of human rights' groups. An excerpt -

'Human rights' groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, famous for their clamorous advocacy of children's rights, stand by silently as Palestine and its sympathizers indoctrinate their youth in the glories of self-destruction. We hear about the evils of child labor in Indian sweatshops and the cruelty of conscripting child soldiers in Sierra Leone. But nothing of the Palestinian barbarians who revel in turning their toddlers and teens into nitroglycerine-wrapped killing machines.'
Isn't it amazing how selective these groups are?

NOTE TO READERS: Please note that my comments below are abrasive. They are intended to be. Future such comments will periodically follow. People like myself are very angry. We all should be. There are people threatening our lives every day. But we are told that we cannot do anything about it. Everyday citizens are tied by our polite society.

We are too civilized, I say. We should be politically incorrect, when necessary or appropriate. Why is it okay for a simpleton in Saudi Arabia to call me or my country "the great Satan," and wish death on me, while I must maintain silence? Nonsense. I do not consider myself "sinking down to their level" when I speak roughly of the Arab nations and their people. A fully-realized human being is capable of feeling all emotions, of flashing anger and exuding happiness, of acting stupidly or with supreme intelligence, each day, every day. Living in the United States has given us that opportunity.

I do understand that profanity can obscure an effective message. Kurt Vonnegut wrote in "Hocus Pocus" -
"Profanity and obscenity entitle people who don't want unpleasant information to close their eyes and ears to you."

This is entirely sound advice, which I intend to follow (not an easy task - all you close to me know of my propensity for colorful language!). But sometimes it is therapeutic, fog-cutting, necessary, to speak crudely. A message or point cannot be lost due to one spasm of angry thoughts. If so, there wasn't much of a message to begin with.

Bloggers have the flexibility to speak their minds in an unedited format. I intend to take full advantage of that freedom. Responsibly. Please keep reading the Weigh In. We'll figure all this out.


THINGS ARE GETTING WORSE: The United Nations is a complete joke. Need I convince you of its uselessness? Read here - "Six European Union countries yesterday endorsed a United Nations document that condones violence as a way to achieve Palestinian statehood." What bullshit.

Israel was defending its borders in 1967 when it moved in and occupied the terrorities that the Palestinians are currently crying over! Can you imagine the headaches that would ensue if every group of people who lost land through a violent conflict suddenly began demanding it back?

Some info on the Israeli-Arab conflicts here. It is frightening that the civilized world is so willing to put up with dogs and animals trying to pass for human beings in the Middle East, appeasing them repeatedly.

Does anyone think that Palestine could actually exist as a functioning state after all this? If Israel gives back territory, or even if Israel were destroyed, do you think all the animals in the Arab world would wake up tomorrow and begin teaching science? Or history? Or begin embracing free markets? Or even accepting United States' right to exist? I think you all know the answers to those questions.

I will not refer to or think of anyone in the Arab world as a human being, until he or she has earned such a distinction.

Do enough people see that if Israel capitulates, or is overrun someday, that the United States will be next on these scumbags' minds?

April 17, 2002

FIGHTING BACK: An article on an anti-terrorism class being held in Hollywood Beach, FL. If anyone hears about any such a thing in the Boston area, please let me know...

DAVE BARRY ON 9/11: Dave Barry, of course, is one of the funniest writers around (see his most recent columns here), but here are his thoughts on 9/11.

'They were able to do it in part because our airport security is pathetic. But mainly they were able to do it because we are an open and trusting society that simply is not set up to cope with evil men, right here among us, who want to kill as many Americans as they can. That's what's so hard to comprehend: They want us to die just for being Americans.'

NOTE: Please disregard the Michael Moore book being advertised by on the left-hand side of my page. I would rather you didn't support that fat sloppy obnoxious America-hating liberal through this site.

His ability to lie and distort information to suit his views is, sadly, effective. But not many people buy in. Look here. And here.

And now he's dealing with plagiarism charges regarding his new book as well (scroll down from this link to the article titled "Moore Problems").

ONE MORE PLUG FOR RIGHT WING NEWS: John Hawkins on "What One Conservative Believes..." I believe this was written during the election year of 2000. Take a look. Here's my favorite part of the piece -

'It's my belief that we should have elections in mid-May instead of November so people's taxes will be fresh in their minds when they vote.'

JOHN HAWKINS ROCKS: I spent my lunch hour today reading John Hawkins' wonderful Right Wing News. I beg you to take a look at some of his writings, they're outstanding. I have linked to a few of them here-

The Moral Superiority Of Israel
Bad American
Forgetting About the Nuclear 'Or'
The Left's Compassion Fascism
An Open Letter to Europe

CAIR-LESS: This news item has been making noise lately. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) had a poll on its web site, which was removed when the answers weren't to the council's liking. Jonathan Last of the Weekly Standard discusses.

Is it me, or is this entire religion grossly hypocritical and completely unhinged?

April 16, 2002

UPDATE: Some new features for you to check out - an storefront and search engine (to your left). If you use my site to search and then make a purchase, a small portion of that dollar amount will be sent to my war chest for web site improvements (I'm planning a jump to Blogger Pro soon, which is a fee-based service.)

Also, I have signed up with's Honor System and with Paypal, two organizations that will allow you, my esteemed visitors, to contribute funds to the Weigh In to help it grow and flourish. Check out the link here.

MUST-READ FROM JONAH GOLDBERG: Jonah Goldberg expertly slices through the (usually liberal) gauze of apologia and hypocrisy surrounding scum-snake Yassir Arafat, his suicide bombers and how insane all these animals really are. PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE PIECE HERE. An excerpt -

'There's no legitimate argument. The people who love this innovative way to murder are not rational. And, by extension, those who defend it are in denial. Look at this girl. She's, what? Eight years old? In the United States it is increasingly believed that if you smoke or, even worse, use racial epithets in the proximity of your children, you are a bad parent. This guy thinks it's noble to strap make-believe dynamite to his daughter, as if it's some sort of dream that she might one day vaporize herself in the proximity of Jewish children.

This is insanity and it is evil. And if you think future generations won't see it that way, you are fooling yourself or you are a fool or you are deeply, deeply pessimistic about the future of humanity. This death cult is so blatantly obvious for any who are not too enamored with such romantic notions as "wars of national liberation" or "anti-imperialism" that it honestly baffles me when people cannot see it.

Jews, Ismail Haniya — a senior Hamas official — told the Washington Post, "love life more than any other people, and they prefer not to die." Normally, in America, "loving life" is considered a strength. According to these barbarians it is not only a weakness, but a gloriously fatal one.

Meanwhile, reporters in the West see what they want to see. "The fourth young woman to take her life in protest of Israeli treatment of the Palestinian people threw Jerusalem's central commercial strip along Jafa Road into pandemonium," reported NPR's Julie McCarthy last Friday. Typically, the lead of a report is supposed to give the relevant facts. In this case they didn't include the fact that this woman killed a half-dozen people and maimed countless more. No, what was most relevant was the "protest" and the "protester"'s gender. Time magazine, and of course NPR, call the recruiters of suicidal bombers, "activists." Etc., etc., etc.

Look: You can spare me the rebuttal that I am being reflexively pro-Israel — as if being reflexively inclined to favor democracies and allies over crowds who burn American flags, who blow up innocent children, and who have enthusiastically supported the Nazis, the Soviets, and Saddam Hussein in their respective struggles against the United States is something to be ashamed of. Regardless, I do agree that the Palestinians must eventually have their state. I agree: They are in a struggle for national liberation.

But so what? Does that mean this death cult should be allowed to flourish? India was once caught up in a movement for national liberation, but the British were still right to destroy the Thuggee cult that extolled murder and robbery — and gave us the word "thug." If the Thuggees rather than Gandhi had risen to power, would we be incapable of drawing distinctions between thugs and pacifists? I'd bet the store that today's media would struggle with that challenge more than they could ever admit.'

A MOMENT OF CLARITY: From Instapundit reader Arnold Kling, writing in to say why he attended yesterday's pro-Israel rally in Washington D.C. -

'The moral state of things is this:

1. If the Palestinians unilaterally lay down their arms and renounce violence, they will be given peace, dignity, and their own state.

2. If the Israelis unilaterally lay down their arms and renounce violence, they will be slaughtered.

3. As far as most of the world is concerned, either outcome would be satisfactory.'

GET 'EM WHILE THEY'RE HOT: MSNBC reports today on the growing use of weblogs by business professionals.

CAST YOUR DUM DUM VOTE: Ken Goldstein, the Illuminated Donkey, gets all the credit for finding this great link. Who said that M&M's lovers should have all the fun?

BUSY DAY: Slow news day, busy work day - but I'll post some material early this afternoon!

April 15, 2002

WE ARE THE WORLD: John Hawkins on the world's love-hate relationship with the United States -

'You know the United States is the most loved and hated country in the world. That shows up in so many ways. Earlier today, I was reading a post in a forum complaining about American movies because they were "propaganda" and because they showed too much reverence for the flag. The irony here is thicker than London fog. Here's a non-American watching an American movie and then getting on the internet which was invented in America and then probably using an American operating system to complain about how rotten America is.

THE TIM BLAIR INTERVIEW: Australian journalist and blogger extraordinare Tim Blair was recently interviewed by John Hawkins of Right Wing News. A charming interview, with lots of links to other bloggers. Read it here.
One exchange floored me:

'John Hawkins: Australia doesn't seem to have the same level of anti-Americanism that many nations in Europe do. Is that the case in your opinion? If so, why do you think that is?

Tim Blair: We’ve got our anti-US forces. Lots of them. We’ve taken the precaution of rounding them up and keeping them penned in newspaper offices.'

BLOGGING on 9/11: Matt Welch has linked to several of the most moving 9/11-related blogs. You should really take a look.

I have linked to a couple of them here -
This Just In: The Pentagon Attack Didn't Happen

A MOVIE TO SEE: I watched John Sayles' "Men with Guns" yesterday on IFC - quite a movie. Don't be afraid of the subtitles (Spanish), it's a great story. Here's Roger Ebert's 1998 review.

REMEMBER WHEN TIGER SCHULMANN WAS MORE POPULAR THAN TIGER WOODS?: Not anymore. Check out this excellent article on Tiger Woods' life, as written by Jay Nordlinger from the National Review after Tiger's 2001 Masters victory. He won the Masters again yesterday.

MARTHA STEWART A CONTROL FREAK? REALLY?: Yes, a new biography seems to indicate so.

THE BURDENS OF BEING AFRAID: Kathleen Durkan writes in the Seattle Times on suicide bombers and the havoc they can create. Powerful opening -

'Imagine setting your alarm for 5 a.m. so you can get up and go to Safeway before it gets crowded, because crowds are what attract the suicide bombers.

But first you have to calculate the odds: Would Larry's be safer than Safeway? What about QFC? Which one would "they" be more likely to choose?'

JONAH GOLDBERG ON CYNTHIA MCKINNEY: Can you believe this woman is a member of Congress? Read on.

'I don't mean to be such a pain in the ass to Cynthia McKinney (D., Ga.), but it appears this is the fastest route to her brain.'
Rock on, Jonah.

PRAY FOR PEACE, POLISH THE WEAPONS: Sound advice from Bill O'Reilly.

April 12, 2002

ABOVE THE LAW: I've said it before, and I will say it again- this man has no class, no respect for his clergy, and deserves no better than to be locked away in prison where he can be claimed as someone else's bitch. I'm sorry, but his behavior and inaction merit a frenzied response. Any CEO, parent, or caregiver who allowed such abuse to occur on his or her watch would surely end up convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison. But not Cardinal Law. Why not? It would take more dignity than this imbecile has to resign and allow genuine leadership to steer the church forward.

JONAH GOLDBERG ON GROUND ZERO AND THE MEDIA: Jonah Goldberg writes on the visitors to Ground Zero .. here's a piece (I added the bold type) -

'I think there are many reasons why people want to see the rubble and destruction of Ground Zero, even though there's not much to see anymore. Curiosity about the most dramatic and historic image ever captured on video is a natural human response. But, among all of the motives, one stands out to me as the most important. People feel compelled to come to this field of nightmares, as it were, because they want to be reminded why they are angry.

American news networks have done something very strange. They've decided America should not see why it is at war. By the evening of Sept. 11, the news networks unanimously decided that Americans should not see any footage of people leaping to their deaths from the top of the World Trade Center. Most American networks have never shown these pictures even once.'

IT'S A MAD, MAD WORLD: Or so thinks Victor Davis Hanson. Here's an excerpt from his latest musings -

'Why are we in such a mad, mad world? Simple. What people now say has nothing to do with reality. And why is that? Because the reality is now far too frightening to admit: A tired world simply finds a small, democratic Jewish state — opposed by 500 million Arabs, anti-Semitic, autocratic, with oil and terrorists — too much of a liability, and so desperately invents inconsistent moralities, false principles, and situational ethics each day to mask a consistent amorality that won't go away.'

DIVINE SECRETS OF THE WAH WAH VICTIMHOOD: Click here for John McWhorter's insightful City Journal essay on the recent Cornel West - Harvard University spat. The article's byline says it all: "The fracas between Harvard’s new president and its top Afro-American studies profs highlights black academia’s fixation on victimhood and double standards."

THE NEW YORK TIMES SUCKS: Well, prove me wrong. The newspaper is slowly falling out of touch with the rest of the world. I can't fathom how their writers and columnists can sustain their self-love and self-importance day after day, year after year. Paul Krugman? Maureen Dowd? When has either one of them written something memorable or beneficial? The paper's attempts to brainwash readers with emotionally-based sadsack personal stories is overwhelming. While bloggers do need to rely on newspapers such as the Times for content (for now), it seems to find more balanced reporting and news, and actual informed opinion, you have to search the Web. The most recent Israeli-Palestinian fighting has made the Times' growing uselessness as a news source very clear to me.

David Brooks has his own thoughts on this idea in today's Weekly Standard (Media Blackout).

ALL THE WHINING THAT'S FIT TO PRINT: I found the blog below on James Taranto's Best of the Web - it's very funny, yet sad, as it shows how soft and capitulating liberals can be when faced with conflict.

'The Idler has a hilarious compilation of New York Times editorials
demanding that Arafat shape up or... face another editorial demanding that he shape up. We'd quote from it, but you really have to read the whole thing to get the effect.'

BEWARE RED SOX FANS: The Yankees are coming to town. Here's Bob Ryan (Boston Globe) on the upcoming 4-game series.

MIKE NELSON SIGHTING: Mike Nelson, former head writer and host of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (the greatest show of all time), has a new book of essays Mike Nelson's Mind Over Matters. Here's a profile of him in today's Detroit News.

April 11, 2002

THE GODFATHER SPEAKS: Well, not exactly, but check out Internet Magazine's interview with Blogger co-founder and CEO Evan Williams.

A VERY COOL SITE: Visit The Internet Archive when you have a moment, you won't be disappointed. They have what they call "the Wayback Machine," which makes it possible to surf pages stored in the Internet Archive's web archive. This means you can browse old screen shots (and in some cases read content) of popular web sites from previous years.

They have also compiled a September 11 archive, worth a look.

VICTIMS 'R US: Don't know if you've been paying attention to the reparations lawsuits that are being put together against the U.S. government and private corporations. An unbelievable scam.

Here is a piece from Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe, echoing a view that I dearly hold-

'If black Americans deserve reparations from anyone, it is from the wretched black leaders who feed them this diet of self-pity and helplessness. It may be true that slavery and its aftermath continue in some way to exercise a sinister influence on American society. But that influence cannot come close to the massive damage done to black Americans by the constant insistence that success is impossible until every vestige of racism is eradicated and the ''debt'' for slavery paid in full.'
Are you listening Jesse Jackson?

For more thoughts on this matter, there is the indispensable David Horowitz at the Center for the Study of Popular Culture.