The Weigh In

May 31, 2002


THE NETS ARE IN THE NBA FINALS: Yes, it's hard to believe, but it's true. GO NEW JERSEY!

Let me just say that the NBC announcers called a terrible, Celtics-biased game. This was a nationally televised game. It is deplorable and completely unprofessional how biased they were (I didn't get their names) in favor of Bostin winning. They just assumed that Boston should win/ was the better team/ blah blah blah. Total bullshit. I've never seen anything so blatant before. Shame on them. (I think that the liberal bias in the media operates in a similar, underhanded manner.)


ANOTHER POTENTIAL YANKEE GREAT: Joe Morgan profiles rising star Alfonso Soriano today at ESPN.com.

While I've always had a beef with Morgan due to his bias against the Yankees, he's a genuine student of baseball. Here's another informative column from him, on watching baseball games.


PREVENTING ANOTHER TERRORIST ATTACK: Is apparently beyond the capabilities of the FBI, Mark Steyn writes in his latest column, a true gem. Here's an excerpt-

'"There will be another terrorist attack," FBI Director Mueller told the National Association of District Attorneys the other day. "We will not be able to stop it." Presumably, the Administration wouldn't scare the American people if they hadn't done all they believe they can do. So, naturally, the mind turns to all the things they haven't done. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were young Saudi males, Osama himself is (was) a youngish Saudi male, and some 80% of all those folks captured in Afghanistan and carted off to Guantanamo turn out to be young Saudi males. Yet, as I write, young Saudi males are still arriving at U.S. airports on routinely issued student visas. If it lessened the "inevitability" just ever so slightly of that second attack, wouldn't it be worth declaring a temporary moratorium on Saudi visitors, or at least making their sojourns in the U.S. extremely rare and highly discretionary? Oh, no. Can't be done.'
When is the United States going to start taking some domestic proactive measures? Racial profiling, much more stringent immigration policies? Anything? I guess if the slaughtering of 3,000 Americans can't wake up these politically correct bureaucrats, nothing will.


MORE POSTING TONIGHT: I'll be watching sports all night (Nets-Celtics, Red Sox-Yanks, Lakers-Kings) and blogging away... Stop by!


CHICKEN SHITS 'R US: What happens to the survivors of suicide bombings? Well, the germs who build the bombs often pack them with nails and other metal objects, to create as much carnage as possible. Read this WorldNetDaily article on the subject, and look at the included photographs. These Islamic militants may think they're special, but soon, very soon, the Western world is finally going to tire of their bullshit. Attacking unarmed women and children. Pushing their psycho religion on everyone. And hopefully we will be able to shed our over-civilized candy shell and thoroughly dismantle radical Islam.


FUMBLING, BUREAUCRATIC AND INEPT: Yep, that's our FBI. Peggy Noonan has some harsh words for the organization, as evidence of their mishandling of pre- 9/11 information continues to build. She also wonders if there may be moles inside the FBI, whose interference may have contributed to the attacks on New York and Washington-

'But it is also true--and here I display what is perhaps naivetè--that a lot of us think the FBI is supposed to be full of people with the sense and toughness to work around irresponsible demands and limitations, and not just fold in the face of potential heat. They're not supposed to be complete weenies in the FBI. They're supposed to have some guts and common sense.'


FOR YOU HBO FANS: Read what some of the critics are saying about the new HBO series "The Wire," which I believe premieres this Sunday after "Six Feet Under." It'll be worth seeing, just because HBO is involved.

From Howard Rosenberg in the L.A. Times.

Tim Goodman from the San Francisco Chronicle.

And another review from Diane Werts in New York Newsday.


HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY: New episodes of "Ren and Stimpy" in 2003!


FULL OF S*%T POLITICIANS: Thomas Sowell discusses in his latest column how politicians routinely ignore basic economic principles (and basic common sense)-

'Senator Barbara Boxer of California provides a classic example. She is proposing federal legislation that would make more than two million additional acres of land in California off-limits to development. This is the same Senator Boxer who has repeatedly lamented California's lack of "affordable housing."

What keeps housing from being affordable? High land prices! And what makes California land so expensive? Laws reducing the amount of land on which it is legal to build housing -- that is, laws such as the one that Barbara Boxer is now pushing.'


"FIGHTING EVIL": Bill O'Reilly advocates using unconventional forces and tactics to fight Islamic terrorists. We will have to set aside or circumvent hopelessly dated and irrelevant "rules of war" such as those found in the Geneva Convention and in the minds of anti-American thinkers. I am willing to give up a small percentage of my civil liberties (although how to determine which ones, I'm at a loss to explain) to ensure that I live a longer, safer life. And to see those mutton who are so brave that they have to blow up women and children because they can't fight like genuine soldiers ferociously killed off.


STILL PC AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: Jonathan V. Last reviews "The Sum of All Fears" in the Weekly Standard today, and comments on Hollywood's incessant political correctness. He also gets to expand his list of "Least Plausible Actors in the Role of a Ph.D"-

'To make the list, you can't just be implausible, you have to be laughable. Kevin Bacon in "Hollow Man." Nicole Kidman in "The Peacemaker." Jennifer Jason Leigh in "eXistenZ." Nicholas Cage in "The Rock." For many years, the leader board was topped by Elisabeth Shue for her work in "The Saint," where she played not some garden-variety Ph.D., but a nuclear physicist who was on the brink of creating cold fusion. She has withstood many challenges during her five-year reign--most memorably from Denise Richards's bubble-bod nuclear arms inspector in "The World Is Not Enough"--but Shue has finally been topped. There's a new sheriff in town and his name is Ben Affleck.'


TOWNHALL.COM'S GOT A BLOG: Yep, Townhall.com, that great bastion of conservative commentary, now has a blog, called C-Log. Very nice. Check it out when you have a moment.


CREATIVE ANTI-TERRORISM: Thanks to Right Wing News for this news story-

'Palestinian militants are distributing leaflets with step-by-step recipes for homemade explosives — but some flyers may be Israeli fakes meant to trick would-be terrorists into blowing themselves up.'
John Hawkins has it exactly right when he says that the CIA needs to be proactive like this. We cannot continue to leave U.S. national security in the hands of career-oriented, risk-averse bureaucrats.

Aside: If you don't already, I highly recommend visiting Right Wing News every day.


PROFILE OF A MONSTER: Read this grim New Yorker piece on Robert Mugabe, the dictator who is running Zimbabwe into the ground. Just look at what this scumbag has done for the greater good of his country-

'The annual inflation is close to a hundred and fifteen per cent. The national treasury is bankrupt. The Army is engaged in a futile intervention in Congo's civil war, at a cost of dozens of lives and an estimated million dollars a day. The health-care system is essentially defunct, and, with a quarter of the population infected with AIDS, the funeral business is among the country's last remaining growth industries. When Mugabe said of Zimbabwe last year, "This is my territory and that which is mine I cling [to] unto death," his subjects might well have wondered whether he was speaking of their death: the life expectancy of Zimbabweans has fallen by some fifteen years during his tenure, and now hovers around forty. Sixty per cent of Zimbabweans are unemployed, and those who have jobs earn, on average, less than they did at independence.'
Africa is quite a mess. Simply astonishing how disconnected it is from the rest of the planet. It makes the Middle East nations seem like technological giants. I understand that the living conditions and climate are horrible. But there are just so many things that the United States (or the West) can do, before one fact reveals itself: These people must change on their own. No amount of monetary or nutritional aid will convince people to start taking responsibility for their actions, or leaders to begin respecting their citizens and building infrastructures that will raise the overall standard of living.


A BAD SIGN: The State Department is urging Americans to voluntarily leave India in light of recent military actions. I guess I've been ignoring this story lately, with the mindset that both of these countries will come to their senses and realize that using nuclear weapons crosses a line that can never really be redrawn. But I'm starting to worry. I don't have much faith in the leadership of either country. Is Kashmir really worth starting a war over?


PEARL VIDEO BACK ONLINE: Found this from Wired.com-

'An Internet hosting company in Virginia, which the FBI threatened last week with federal obscenity charges, said on Monday afternoon that it would resume distribution of the horrific 4-minute video.'


VISIT NEOFLUX: Now you can visit one site for your daily fix of "zero tolerance" school horror stories. (Link via GeekPress)


DEMOCRACY LEADS TO PEACE: Victor Davis Hanson writes today that the U.S. should start consistently backing elected governments (while abandoning the policy of keeping thugs in power as the least worst option). He also points out a difference between consensual and autocratic governments (italics are mine)-

'There is a pattern here — one illustrating that democratic and free states are less incendiary than their polar opposites, which in turn are far more likely to attack their neighbors and indeed threaten the general peace. It is not that the gene pool in consensual societies is inherently superior to the DNA of unfree peoples, only that the system of listening to thousands of free voices — in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government — has a greater likelihood to check unwise action, audit the abuse of power, and reflect most people's desire for tranquility rather than killing.'


BREAKING NEWS- THE WINNER: "Stuttering" John Melendez has defeated Crazy Cabbie by unanimous decision in today's "Brawl at the Taj Mahal."

Check out E! tonight at 11 PM for the TV broadcast.


WORRIED ABOUT INDIA AND PAKISTAN: Jonah Goldberg has this to say-

'Nuclear deterrence only works when nations define their self-interest rationally. And, it's not entirely clear that either country is doing that.'
Now is the time to see how effective U.S. diplomacy truly is. Rumsfeld's visiting the region next week. Just have to hope that these countries recognize the ramifications of what a nuclear attack would entail. Their very existence as nations could be at stake (not from self-destruction, but from international pressure, sanctions, etc.).

The Sacramento Bee and the Washington Times are not optimistic.


A SELF-IMPORTANT MUSICIAN? NO WAY...: Gerald Marzoati writes in Slate.com today that Eminem holds this fantasy that he's still relevant to pop culture today. Oh, and his latest album isn't that good, either.

'Now it's largely about Eminem, the pop star, who seems to have confused celebrity with political and social potency. He would have you believe—he himself wants to believe—that he has such terrifying authority among the young and restless that mainstream America has got to bring him down. Eminem's developed a martyr complex.'


END OF A DYNASTY?: Mike Wise writes in the NY Times (registration required) that the Los Angeles Lakers have lost their swagger. We'll see how they face their first playoff elimination game in over two years tonight.


HONORABLE MENTION: Yours truly has earned "Honorable Mention" from John Hawkins, as he ranks the best political bloggers on the internet. Thanks John!


May 30, 2002


SAY YES TO "NO!": One of the coolest, quirkiest, most intelligent musical artists of the past twenty years, They Might Be Giants, are releasing a new album, a collection of children's songs called "No!," on June 11. Early reviews, such as this one from Culturedose, are very positive. Be sure to give it a listen. You can even go to their web site for free mp3's.


ROGER EBERT REVIEWS "RASHOMON": The great Akira Kurosawa film is given the royal treatment in Ebert's latest "The Great Movies" entry.


NEW ADDITIONS TO MY BLOGROLL: Some excellent blogs I've been reading of late- Dr. Weevil, War Now!, Oliver Willis, and more. I've added their blogs to my ever-growing list of recommended sites. Check out my permalinks along the left-hand side of the page...


LIFE ISN'T EASY: It is also quite rare, with good reason. Science writer Robert Roy Britt describes just how difficult it is for life to develop in our universe, nevermind intelligent life. Lots of luck involved, to no surprise-

'Guillermo Gonzalez, an Iowa State University expert in stellar evolution, says there are relatively small bands and patches of the Milky Way Galaxy that he considers to be habitable regions. There are places where conditions are just right for the formation of planets and where things stay calm enough, long enough, to allow the evolution of anything but the lowest forms of life.

Our Sun happens to be in one of these Goldilocks zones. For now, at least.'


A LOOK BACK: Amy Amatangelo, known as the "TV Gal," has some final thoughts on the 2001-2002 television season. Don't miss her top 10 moments!

For more "TV Gal" analysis, visit her columns archive.


JIHAD DREAMING: Jonah Goldberg writes on the shortage of brain power required to think that the United States would lose an all-out war with the Islamo-idiots. Here's a chunk-

'It would be one thing if this relatively small band of fanatics were murdering people in pursuit of something achievable. You know, if their goal were simply to get McDonald's out of Cairo or our airbases out of the Gulf. But, if you take them at their word, their ultimate goal is to bring about the total destruction of democracy, America, and the Christian and Jewish faiths. As a practical matter, to believe that this can be achieved through an all-out battle between our team and theirs is like believing war will make squares into circles and ducks will crap plutonium.

This doesn't mean these daft murderers aren't dangerous. They are. But they are tactically dangerous. Strategically, they're cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. They can blow up things and kill people. But their ultimate goal, victorious jihad against the "infidels," is no more likely to happen than the Hale-Boppers were likely to get picked up by an intergalactic shuttle bus.'
Joking aside, it's worth the read.


MADNESS EQUALS CREATIVITIY?: Interesting news item from Reuters (thanks to Just One Thing for another great find)-

'A new study shows that creative people tend to share more personality traits with the mentally ill than they do with the middle-of-the-road masses.

This finding suggests that both creativity and manic depression, also called bipolar disorder, may share some of the same genetic underpinnings, Connie M. Strong of Stanford University in California told Reuters Health.'
I've always had an interest in this subject matter. I used to write a great deal in my early 20's; I also spent much of that time suffering on and off from depression. Over the past few years, my health and mood have dramatically improved, but my creative output has declined significantly (almost totally). I sometimes wonder how much of that is attributable to not being sick anymore (keep in mind that laziness has now become my main obstacle)...


WHICH MUSIC-SHARING SERVICE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?: Bill Barnes from Slate.com takes a tour of the Napster-less options.


GOOD FOR HIM, I GUESS: Howard Stern mentioned this morning that entertainment announcer Michael Buffer is worth over $165 million. I know, come again? But if you check out his web site, you might get a sense of how this has happened. The guy is entirely commodity. Anything to do with him costs money. I guess that's good for him, an American success story, having such a specific talent and taking full advantage of it. But I feel all irritated when I think about it too much...


FALLOUT FROM JENIN: Thanks to Little Green Footballs for this link - to an op-ed by David Tell of the Weekly Standard, commenting on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). It seems this increasingly dishonest organization wrote a letter to Tell defending their recent actions concerning the "Jenin massacre" and other purported Israeli atrocities. He prints that letter, and then replies. Here is the opening-

'Should The Weekly Standard remain a going concern for another hundred years, it is almost inconceivable that we will ever again have occasion to publish anything nearly so dishonest as the letter above.'
Definitely check out the entire article.


UP YOURS INTERVIEWS MATT MOORE: Check out Dawn Olsen's cheeky, entertaining interview with The Blog of the Century of the Week... you may also know him as Matt Moore.

Wonder what I gotta do to get interviewed by somebody... (sigh)


ANN COULTER WANTS TO ARM PILOTS: And she's quite pissed off at the people who are preventing it.


SHOWING WEAKNESS IS BAD: Says John Hawkins today at Right Wing News. Being indecisive can only harm the United States and its goals, he continues-

'All of this apparent uncertainty on our part is going to encourage terrorist groups to hit us again in order to take advantage of our perceived “weakness”. It´s also going to make groups in Iraq and Iran that want to overthrow their governments unsure if they can count on our support. Cynical Middle Eastern regimes and timid European nations are going to be unwilling to move forward if they think we may change our minds.'


LISTEN FOR "THE FLUNKY VS. THE JUNKIE" TOMORROW MORNING: Howard Stern will be hosting a boxing match live on the radio tomorrow morning between "Stuttering" John Melendez and Crazy Cabbie, two regulars on his show. It will be broadcast live from the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Check out this article for more background, as well as a schedule of events. I believe it's the first time one of Stern's specials will be broadcast on the air. I've been listening to the war of words surrounding this fight (they've basically devoted several minutes of time to it every morning for the past 6 weeks), it's hysterical. These guys are total hams. Should be a good fight, they seem to dislike each other intensely.


ON OUR FEARFUL SOCIETY: Claudia Rosett writes in today's Wall Street Journal on our nation's mixed-up priorities-

'Maybe we've spent so much time these past few decades striving to be politically correct, regardless of the realities, that by now we're accustomed to fear truth itself. We strove for "gender" equality, attempting a sort of weird indifference to some of the obvious differences. We tried to insist that all people be seen as exactly alike (which is different from being equal before the law), and then tried to offset that by insisting on equally unrealistic, officially prescribed attempts at achieving perfect diversity. We've worried about so many forms of sensitivity at this point that it is something of an effort to stand back and insist on taking a realistic view of such basic matters as survival.'


OLDIE BUT GOODIE: The late Richard Feynman delivered a memorable speech to Caltech in 1974 describing what he calls "cargo cult science." Thanks to USS Clueless for bringing it to my attention. Here's his definition of the term-

'In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they've arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head to headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas--he's the controller--and they wait for the airplanes to land. They're doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn't work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they're missing something essential, because the planes don't land.'
This is a great dissection of how science suffers due to the fact that human beings are incapable of being totally objective.

May 29, 2002


LEMME SLEEP ON IT, BABY, BABY, LEMME SLEEP ON IT: Perhaps you are lonely, confused, adrift in this life. You are looking for answers. Well, Antwon may have them. His guiding philosophy is called Handinism. Maybe it's for you-

'Handinism has but one central belief: that the sole, objective measure of an object's worth is whether or not your hand can be placed inside of it. If your hand can fit inside of something, that thing is Good; if your hand cannot fit inside of something, that thing is Not Good.'
Imagine the possibilities...


REQUIRED LATE NIGHT READING: Check out John Hawkins' informative interview with Walter Olson, founder of Overlawyered.com. Lots of excellent points are made.


FINAL RESULTS OF THE WEIGH IN POLL: The question asked was "Who's been trying way too hard lately?"

The winner? "The West Wing," with 12 votes. Here are the final tallies, with 37 total votes cast-

ESPN- 3 votes, or 8%
Geraldo Rivera- 7 votes, or 18%
"The West Wing"- 12 votes, or 32%
Mariah Carey- 9 votes, or 24%
Avis Rent-a-Car- 6 votes, or 16%

Don't forget to vote in the latest poll! As always, thanks for participating...


BELOVED BASEBALL: Kostya Kennedy writes a wonderful piece today in Sports Illustrated that perfectly captures the joys of growing up a baseball fan (in this case, a New York Mets fan). While it sounds foolish, reading this almost brought tears to my eyes...

'You grow up at Shea. You learn to avoid ushers and to find seats behind home plate. You eat soft serve in upside-down mini helmets and can't believe your luck. You keep score at every game. Fernando Valenzuela comes to town. Pete Rose is on a long hitting streak. The Mets lose and lose and lose.

After the bad comes the good: Hernandez and Strawberry and Gooden and Carter. You are there in '86 of course. You're a bigger boy now. You go to games on dates. You'd never date a Yankees fan.'
Read the entire thing. More posting tonight...


THE NEW POLL IS UP: The latest Weigh In poll is now up and running! See the left hand side of the page (below my email address) to cast your vote!

I will post a final tally of the results from the first poll later tonight...


MICHAEL SHERMER ON JOHN EDWARD: John Edward, the hack psychic who for some reason continues to achieve unbelievable amounts of wealth and attention, is debunked by Michael Shermer of Skeptic Magazine-

'The reason John Edward, James Van Praagh, and the other so-called mediums are unethical and dangerous is that they are not helping anyone in what they are doing. They are simply preying on the emotions of grieving people.'
It's a thorough article, I highly recommend it. Skeptic.com's web site has an odd linking system, so you will need to visit their main page to find the article, titled "Deconstructing The Dead: Cross Over One Last Time To Expose Medium John Edward."


ON ARMING AIRLINE PILOTS:

"You could give the pilots an MP5 machine gun with armor piercing bullets and he couldn't depressurize the plane with an entire 30 rd magazine."
Rich Lowry posts an astute reader's email in today's "The Corner" on the science of firing a gun on an airplane (see the second half of Lowry's post).


BEFORE PHISH: Trey Anastasio was a supremely talented student at Goddard College in Vermont. For his senior thesis, he authored a musical project called "The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday." Phish fans commonly know it as "Gamehendge." It has only been played in its entirety 5 times. I tracked down this link to the entire opus, narration and lyrics (sorry, no music files- couldn't find those). Here's to hopes that Phish will someday end its hiatus...


IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE SOMEWHERE:

'According to sources, midway through a 10 a.m. meeting to discuss a possible pullout of Israeli troops from several West Bank settlements, Sharon accused Arafat of secretly channeling PLO funds into Hamas and other terrorist organizations. The accusation prompted Arafat to rise from his chair and stand toe-to-toe with his Israeli counterpart. The ensuing heated exchange quickly escalated into a shouting match, which reached an unexpected crescendo when the two leaders embraced in a deep, passionate kiss.'


BEST TV COMMERCIAL EVER: Volkswagen's "Milky Way" commercial for the Cabrio, set to Nick Drake's "Pink Moon." A perfect encapsulation of youth and yearning. Watch it here (scroll down to near the page's end), along with several more of VW's always-clever advertisements.


ARE YOU DEPRESSED?: Thanks to Matt Moore for the link to the Zung Depression Self-Assessment Test. I've had some serious battles with depression, it's nothing to take lightly (those stories can be expounded upon at a future time). You might want to take their free assessment just to see where you stand.


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN AIRCRAFT BREAKS THE SOUND BARRIER?: Scientific American has an explanation, along with an astounding photograph. Take a look.


HOW TO SPOT A TERRORIST: Thanks to Instapundit for finding this, an article on how Israeli security specialists identify terrorists. U.S. security seems to focus on weapons, while Israeli security focuses on people.


GET YOUR VOTES IN: The Weigh In poll question will be changing later this afternoon. Now's your last chance to vote! I will post the final tallies of "Who's been trying way too hard lately?" tonight!


YOUR THOUGHTS ON LIFE SINCE 9/11: A reader sent in a great suggestion to me, regarding the Jeff Jacoby piece on life after September 11 (read the article).

'You should do a post asking your readers how they have or haven't changed their lifestyles since September 11. It would be interesting to see what, if anything, people are doing differently.'
So, readers out there, please use the comment box or email me your thoughts --

How has your life changed since 9/11, if at all? What are you doing differently, if anything?


ATTACKING IRAQ: While it's becoming clear to me that we are talking about this way too much, the chattering about what to do about Iraq continues.

Fred Barnes (Weekly Standard) thinks removing Hussein will make the world safer.

Laurie Mylroie writes in NRO thinks that Iraq was somehow involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Michael O'Hanlon WSJ- registration required) says that our military is up to the challenge.


"THE SUICIDE WAR": Is Thomas Friedman's name for the last few months' worth of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He discusses the potential aftermath of this war in his latest column.


EHUD BARAK INTERVIEW: Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for this link, to a NY Review of Books interview with Ehud Barak. Here is the quote which Sullivan mentions on his site today, it seems an awfully accurate insight into Palestinian culture-

'They are products of a culture in which to tell a lie...creates no dissonance. They don't suffer from the problem of telling lies that exists in Judeo-Christian culture. Truth is seen as an irrelevant category. There is only that which serves your purpose and that which doesn't. They see themselves as emissaries of a national movement for whom everything is permissible. There is no such thing as "the truth."'

May 28, 2002


MORE ON "IN MEMORIAM" AND DANIEL PEARL: I think there have been some great posts and reviews of HBO's documentary- from Lileks, the New York Post, and many others. I'm not sure what more to add. The more I think about it, and how it must have felt to be in New York City that day, the more terrified I feel. I don't feel safe. But even if our government was doing more, lots more, I still wouldn't feel safe. Our society is too open to prevent any and all kinds of evil people from manipulating it or harming its citizens. Terrorists look at our country like a wolf eyeing a pork chop. There's just too much ground to cover, too many contingencies that you can never anticipate.

With age I'm realizing how lucky I am to be alive. To actually exist. I'm just a doughy sack of water and bones (and getting slightly more doughy with the passing years). Yet there's so much more to me than the sum of my parts. Those fleas in the desert have no idea, no comprehension of what they're trying to destroy - life itself. The United States must, on its own if necessary, remove all threats to its existence.

I was thinking about this and the Daniel Pearl video. That shocking video of his execution is proof to me that evil exists. That it has zeroed in on Americans, Israelis, anyone who is free and happy and tolerant of others. People need to see this video, to see how horrific death and death-lovers truly are. I feel so sorry for the Pearl family, having to know that this video is circulating around the world.

But I have to look at it from my perspective. If something like that happened to me, I would want people to see my demise. I would want everyone to know how senseless my death was, and I hope seeing such a video would embolden them, force them to face a horrible enemy with a greater resolve. I want to do the right thing. I want to show respect for Pearl. I feel strongly against linking to the video from my site, so I will not. But I also feel that people should have a choice whether or not to actually see it for themselves. Therefore, I will email the video to individuals upon request. And that's it. It does me no good to talk about it anymore.


WHAT IF A NUCLEAR DEVICE WAS EXPLODED IN NEW YORK CITY?: Bill Keller has a truly frightening piece in the NY Times magazine (registration required) on the possibility (probability?) of such a thing happening.

'I asked Matthew McKinzie, a staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, to run a computer model of a one-kiloton nuclear explosion in Times Square, half a block from my office, on a nice spring workday. By the standards of serious nuclear weaponry, one kiloton is a junk bomb, hardly worthy of respect, a fifteenth the power of the bomb over Hiroshima.

A couple of days later he e-mailed me the results, which I combined with estimates of office workers and tourist traffic in the area. The blast and searing heat would gut buildings for a block in every direction, incinerating pedestrians and crushing people at their desks. Let's say 20,000 dead in a matter of seconds. Beyond this, to a distance of more than a quarter mile, anyone directly exposed to the fireball would die a gruesome death from radiation sickness within a day -- anyone, that is, who survived the third-degree burns. This larger circle would be populated by about a quarter million people on a workday. Half a mile from the explosion, up at Rockefeller Center and down at Macy's, unshielded onlookers would expect a slower death from radiation. A mushroom cloud of irradiated debris would blossom more than two miles into the air, and then, 40 minutes later, highly lethal fallout would begin drifting back to earth, showering injured survivors and dooming rescue workers. The poison would ride for 5 or 10 miles on the prevailing winds, deep into the Bronx or Queens or New Jersey.'
I'll be posting more tonight...


A CATASTROPHE: Is what Rich Lowry considers recent talk of postponing the long-overdue ass-kicking of Iraq. He doesn't mince words-

'This episode should serve to prove to conservatives what defense analyst and NR contributing editor John Hillen has been saying for a long time: America's military leadership is an unimaginative backwards-looking bureaucracy that has been allowed to run free of vigorous civilian leadership for too long.'


THEY COME IN HORSESHIT FLAVOR, TOO: Cheese-flavored Yassir Arafat potato chips are now being sold in Egypt.


KILLING ME SOFTLY: Thanks to Dan Pink of Just One Thing for this news story-

'People who spend more of their working lives in jobs where they have few opportunities to decide what work to do and how to go about doing it tend to die earlier than employees given more decision-making opportunities, new research suggests.'
Dan also located the link to the actual study.


TOO FUNNY TO PASS UP: WHICH 80s HAIR BAND ARE YOU? I can't believe what my answers turned up...





which 80s hair band are you?

this quiz was made by colleen


STATE DEPARTMENT IN DENIAL: Daniel Pipes has some issues with the State Department's "Patterns of Global Terrorism" report. And he's got numbers to back up his claims!


AN ECONOMICS LESSON FROM TOM SOWELL: Thomas Sowell has some thoughts on price controls and supply/ demand. It's amazing, he's been writing about these issues for years, but nothing changes.

'So long as politicians can create the illusion of something for nothing, that gets them votes, which is what it is all about, as far as they are concerned. Hawaiian politicians have the best of all worlds with immediate credit for price controls and a postponement of the consequences till after they are re-elected.'


ON THE BLOGOSPHERE: John Hiler (Microcontent News) has written what Instapundit calls "the definitive article on the blogosphere." Take a look at it here.


TIRED OF WAITING: Charles Murtaugh is tired of waiting for the Bush administration to be proactive against terrorist nations. Here's a piece of his excellent rant-

'Let me put it simply: I don't want to read another article like this in 2005. I don't want The New York Times to win any more Pulitzers for photographs of exploding buildings, or daily obituaries of terror victims, or eloquent op-ed columns on the long reach of super-empowered angry men. And this isn't because I have something against the Times, either: if Gretchen Morgenstern wins another Pulitzer next year, and every year after that as well, more power to her.

In the first few months after Sept. 11, I took the Bush administration at its word that it would try its best to eradicate Islamic terrorism (although I should have been more disturbed, then, that it never put it so bluntly), that it would "end regimes" that harbored and supported such terrorism, and I counted myself among those Democrats who was not-so-secretly relieved that we had a tough-talking Republican in the White House. Post-Afghanistan, though, my confidence in the Bushies has been at an ever-lower ebb, as they have bent over backwards to placate our European and Arab "allies," and backed further and further away from any sort of military actions against the "axis of evil."

Now they're trying to convince us that all we can do is wait: wait for the next Sept. 11, which is "inevitable," "unavoidable," and a matter of "not if but when." Meanwhile Bush and his advisors are sticking their heads under their desks and hoping to wait out the terrorists themselves, at least until after November, 2004.'


TODAY WILL BE LIGHT ON ANALYSIS: And heavy on links. There's just a ton of great reads out there today, and I don't want to stand in their way.

Note: Sometimes, there are several other sources (bloggers and journalists) which have covered most of the good angles regarding a news story. I feel I don't have anything original to add. This explains why I haven't written too much on certain major news items, such as the India-Pakistan conflict, or the cloning debate.

I will have a detailed post or two later tonight.


"BILLIONS LOST BY FEDS": This opening paragraph says it all-

'Washington complains about deceptive corporate accounting. But the government last year misplaced an incredible $17.3 billion because of shoddy bookkeeping, or worse.'


I LIKED THIS: Dave Shiflett writes today in NRO about how to function in the age of terror- Appreciate life, however difficult that might be, and live it to the fullest.


COMING LATER THIS WEEK: The next Weigh In Poll question. Along with the final results of the current poll (on the left side of this page). Yes, I know you can view the results on your own, but I'm still posting the final tallies for everyone to see!


CLONING CAN'T BE STOPPED: Says Daniel Kevles in MIT Technology Review.


ON THE DANIEL PEARL VIDEO: Yes, my thoughts on it are still forthcoming, but in the meantime, visit Damien Penny's blog for his thoughts on the subject. His finish is the kicker.


HOW OUR GOVERNMENT MISSED 9/11: Seymour Hersh has a New Yorker piece on the subject. It is a depressing look at how power struggles and bureaucracy are threatening our safety. But a must-read. Take a look here.

Mickey Kaus has some thoughts on the piece, including some questions that Hersh overlooked.

If you want to read FBI agent Coleen Rowley's memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller, Time magazine has it here. Another frustrating document to absorb. It seems that our national security system had a major breakdown after all. Lack of intelligence, in more ways than one.


THE "TRICKY PSYCHOLOGY OF WARFARE AGAINST TERROR": Stated by Andrew Sullivan today-

'Success means a significant decline in terrorism. Such a decline leads people into complacency. Complacency obviously empowers more terrorism.'


WHY WE ARE IN DENIAL, PART 2: Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe has a valid explanation for why most U.S. citizens haven't greatly altered their lifestyles-

'Advance warnings rarely produce the same effect as bitter experience. People tend to react to threats only when they correlate with their own experience of reality. The horror of Sept. 11 is for all of us vivid and unsettling, which is why we are now willing to arrive at airports two hours before our flight and have our bags picked over by security agents - while we can still get to a movie theater five minutes before the screening and barely draw a glance from the ticket-taker.

But what if on Sept. 11 Al Qaeda had destroyed four crowded movie theaters, not four airliners? In that case, we would now be reserving movie tickets in advance and getting to the cineplex two hours early - while at the airport there would be no National Guardsmen and a few box cutters in your carry-on wouldn't raise any eyebrows.'


WHY WE ARE IN DENIAL: Marc Reuel Gerecht, the former CIA officer who has written many incisive pieces regarding radical Islam and the U.S., has this to say in today's New York Times (registration required)-

'Obviously air marshals on planes and secure cockpit doors should have been routine in American craft before Sept. 11. Such precautions have been in place in Israeli aircraft for decades, and yet even these relatively easy steps were not taken. Why? Because the American political leaders and the public have not been comfortable with acknowledging our vulnerability and the need to take defensive action that would change civilian life.'
He goes on in more detail. Read the entire piece.


LAST WORDS BEFORE THE WTC TOWERS FELL: Thanks to my boy Mark B. for sending me this NY Times article, which is a collection of phone conversations, e-mail and voice messages from individuals who were at the World Trade Center when the terrorist attack occurred. Pretty remarkable, and a reminder of what the Times is capable of when they get around to it. (registration required)


FANS TAKE IT DIFFERENTLY: Mike Wise has this observation on why athletes deal with crushing losses differently than fans do (registration required)-

'Players live in a different existence. Even after crushing losses, they go home to good lives. They are bothered by defeat, but the heartbreak does not last. They play too many games, have guaranteed contracts and often have to suit up in another 48 hours. That keeps them from being overly affected by anything having to do with basketball.'


MICHAEL WILBON ON PHIL JACKSON: Los Angeles Lakers' coach Phil Jackson has calmly figured out how to coach modern superstars.


May 27, 2002


"A DEEP EMPTINESS": Moving op-ed from the editors of the Baltimore Sun today on how this Memorial Day is different.

Hope you all had a great holiday. Bless our soldiers.


NETS HANG ON: Wow, another outstanding NBA playoff game. Two days after blowing the biggest 4th quarter lead in NBA playoff history, the New Jersey Nets defeated the Boston Celtics 94-92 tonight to tie the Eastern Conference Finals at 2 games each. Great game.


ON "IN MEMORIAM": Those extended thoughts I promised for tonight need to be put off until tomorrow. Got lots of housework to do tonight. I will include some reviews from other sources when I get a minute to write my piece. Thanks for your patience.


THEY'VE GOT SOME NERVE: Michael Barone of U.S. News and World Report thinks that Saudi Arabia needs a serious beating by U.S. hands.

'Far from aiding our efforts against terrorism, the Saudis have worked against them–to protect the terrorists in their own ranks. Also, the Saudis have praised suicide bombings and raised money for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Government-controlled Saudi media have frequently spread the vilest kinds of anti-U.S. and anti-Jewish propaganda.'
I'm inclined to agree.

May 26, 2002


WATCHING "IN MEMORIAM" RIGHT NOW: I will post some extended thoughts on it tomorrow night, but for now I feel very uncomfortable. This documentary is impressive, more so than the CBS one. HBO doing its usual outstanding work. There is footage I've never seen before. The clouds of ash overrunning the terrified bystanders. People plummeting from the towers, looking like tiny pebbles.

Feel like it's happening all over again. I remember the news coverage that day, continually replaying video of the airplanes slamming into the towers. I remember rushing to take the subway home that day (drawing the ire of my girlfriend, who had fled the city by foot), trying to make some kind of connection with the other riders, who were all in shock or simply refused to raise their heads to make eye contact. I was so goddamned angry. And helpless. Which is how I feel once more.


MORE TRAVELING TODAY: I think I'll be watching the HBO 9/11 special on tape this week, so I'll weigh in on it then... you all should watch it tonight!!

More posting possibly later tonight. In the meantime, please scroll down and visit all the news items I have linked to during this past week...


DANIEL PEARL VIDEO UPDATE: Matt Moore has decided to take the video off his site (see my earlier post). Due to recent statements by the FBI, I am unsure if I can (and even more unsure if I want to) link directly to the video. More to come...


FRIEDMAN ON 9/11 AND TECHNOLOGY: Thomas Friedman interviewed some tech industry people regarding the potential criminal uses of the technologies they're creating. Excellent op-ed.

'"The question 'How can this technology be used against me?' is now a real R-and-D issue for companies, where in the past it wasn't really even being asked," said Jim Hornthal, a former vice chairman of Travelocity.com. "People here always thought the enemy was Microsoft, not Mohamed Atta."'

May 25, 2002


ON A LIGHTER NOTE: Are you tired of casually referring to artists such as John Cougar Mellencamp, Journey and Foreigner with the all-too-respectable term "arena rock'? Well, I've got a new moniker for ya, and it'll irritate the fans of that genre just enough for you to use it over and over again.

Arena rock, I hereby christen thee "Meat and Potatoes rock." Pass it on to your friends.

Note: Don't get me wrong, I listen to all that stuff, for many years now. Let's have some fun with it.


POLITICS WILL KILL US ALL, PART 2: This news story, from the Washington Times, could upset you-

'Despite information that suspected al Qaeda terrorists were involved in flight training in two states, the warrant request — coming a month before the September 11 attacks on America — was rejected by FBI officials in Washington for a lack of probable cause.'
Doesn't it make you feel grand to know that continual government incompetence and frighteningly-common pissing contests will most likely result in someone you hold dear getting hurt or killed by a terrorist attack?


FEDERAL BUREAU OF INCOMPETENCE: I like that, as seen in the New York Post today. Read the entire editorial. On the FBI-

'It seems to have no sense of mission, no vision as to what it should be doing - precisely the mindset that leads to failures like 9/11.'
And yet, no one has been fired or publicly flogged. No accountability for their actions (or inaction). How can we expect our government to protect us when it can't even keep itself in order?


WHAT ARE RADIOHEAD AND BJORK LISTENING TO?: Slate does the dirty work on two of my favorite music artists.


POLITICS WILL KILL US ALL: The editors of the Weekly Standard weigh in with some common sense suggestions which, of course, will be ignored in the name of political correctness and bureaucracy.


BILL CLINTON, SCUMBAG: Even the Chinese are getting tired of his act (from the Guardian, of all places!)-

'A rambling and expensive speech by the former US president Bill Clinton in southern China has gone down spectacularly badly, according to the Chinese press.'

May 24, 2002


"BUFFY" REVIEWS: From Entertainment Weekly's resident "BTVS" aficionado, Jeff Jensen. I love all the attention the season finale has been getting. It really was remarkable, especially given the mediocre quality of most of this 6th season.

Here's a review of "Entropy."

And here's his take on "Villains."

Finally, the review for the 2-hour season finale ("Two to Go"/ "Grave").


THIS IS TERRIFYING: Eric Olsen wrote this today. I will not be sleeping much tonight.

'A few blocks from the pizza place, I peripherally noted a figure ahead on the sidewalk out of the corner of my left eye. I glanced toward the figure. The sky was cloudless, but the light was washed-out like the sun wasn't trying very hard. The woman was short, boxy, and middle-aged, of featureless commonality.'
Read the whole thing.


MATT MOORE ON ANDREW SULLIVAN: Regarding Sullivan's spat with Tres Producers. This is really getting brutal. I wish Andrew Sullivan and Eric Olsen would make up soon. We all need this to end happily.


DOUBLE-FISTING JONAH GOLDBERG: Whoa, that didn't sound right.

Well, Mr. Goldberg has not one, but two columns posted today. One is on, of all things, blogging. The other discusses Daniel Pearl. Agree or disagree, you should read his stuff.


JAMES LILEKS SAYS FAREWELL TO "THE X-FILES": I liked this bleat-

'We learned everything and nothing except that the world will possibly end in ten years, because the aliens preferred to wait until the Earth was populated by a technologically advanced civilization instead of taking over when Earth was full of people who worshipped goats and ornately feathered birds. Bah. Enough. Goodbye.'


HOPEFUL YET PESSIMISTIC: John Derbyshire of NRO is also quite worried.

'I wrote a piece a few days ago arguing that the U.S. will not go to war against Iraq. A lot of people e-mailed in with variants of: "You're right. It's going to take another 9/11 before we get serious." That is a horrible thought, and a horrible thing to say, but an awful lot of people are thinking and saying it. Perhaps it's true. Perhaps it even falls short of the truth: perhaps it will take a whole string of these horrors to wake us from our poisonous fantasies of infinite tolerance and cultural relativism. Or perhaps nothing will.'


BAD NEWS ON IRAQ: I think this speaks for itself-

'The uniformed leaders of the U.S. military believe they have persuaded the Pentagon's civilian leadership to put off an invasion of Iraq until next year at the earliest and perhaps not to do it at all, according to senior Pentagon officials.'
This is utter nonsense. I don't know how to respond.

Mark Steyn is also pretty pissed off about this turn of events.

Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan of the Weekly Standard think Bush is going wobbly.

I personally hope this is all another huge disinformation campaign to give Hussein some false sense of security, more rope-a-dope. I actually pray that it is.


WHAT MAKES "THE SHIELD" SO ENTERTAINING?: Great storytelling and memorable characters, says Robert David Sullivan in the Boston Phoenix.


FROM THE GREAT MALCOLM GLADWELL: Link here for the latest article from Malcolm Gladwell, one of the finest writers out there currently. It's about Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of the television. Awesome, as usual.

Also check out his archive of New Yorker articles.


HELLO FROM MARYLAND: It's pretty hot down here today (mid-80's), but all is well. Just picked up my marriage certificate! Went smoother than expected.


May 23, 2002


MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND UPDATE:

I will be traveling along the East Coast this weekend, need to take care of wedding business. I will be posting during the evenings from Friday through Monday, so there will be new material to peruse. Please stop by. And have a safe vacation.


THIS CAN'T BE A GOOD SIGN: Thanks to Rich Lowry (at The Corner) for this troubling article in the USA Today-

'As President Bush tries to rally European support for military action against Iraq, U.S. armed services leaders are questioning whether their forces are ready for another war.'
Jesus. I guess this is what happens after 10 years of peacetime and prosperity.

Writer Mark Helprin voiced similar thoughts back in April.


GLENN REYNOLDS ON THE LOONY LEFT: He makes a point today that I often overlook-

The interesting thing is that the true PC loonies -- often perceived to be running campuses -- are a minority almost everywhere. But they're loud, and they know how to pressure the Administration, and they stick together, and they're not afraid to call anyone who disagrees with them names. Oh, and most of them aren't much as scholars, so they have plenty of time to serve on the committees that do a lot of the behind-the-scenes direction setting in academia.'


A VOTE FOR HOMESCHOOLING: A 10-year-old home-schooled boy won this year's National Geographic Bee. Four home-schoolers were among the top 10 finishers.


IT IS BEAUTIFUL OUTSIDE!: At least here in Boston. People are actually being kind to each other! Get out and enjoy it, before the summer (and the humidity) arrive.


DANIEL PEARL EXECUTION VIDEO: I found it, and I watched it. I'm not sure what to say; I consider myself a fairly unflappable person. But this thing is out of control. I feel that every U.S. citizen should have the opportunity to see what our enemies are truly like. If you want to see it, go to Matt Moore's site. It was originally posted on a site called Ogrish, but it seems that it's been taken off. Please be warned, it is very disturbing.

I also have the file and would be willing to send it by email if requested. I am not doing this to draw attention. This video is very upsetting, and I almost feel it is a call to arms to stop these animals before anything like this can happen again.

I believe in individual freedom and decision-making. Do the powers that be have a right to withhold information from those citizens who can use proper judgment in deciding how/ whether to use said information? I trust all of you.

UPDATE: Matt Moore has taken down the video. Due to recent statements by the FBI, I am unsure if I can or should link to the video. More to come...


SAYING GOODBYE TO "FELICITY": Turns out I used to be a "Felicity" junkie, back before that awful new theme song. (I'm a sucker for whiny, introspective theme songs- see "Once and Again" for more details). While I haven't watched the past 2 seasons, I will remember it as a far-above-average look at college life.

Kevin Thompson of the Palm Beach Post has his thoughts on the show, as does Mark Allan of the Indianapolis Star.


YANKEES - RED SOX THIS WEEKEND: Get set, the teams with the 2 best records in baseball meet up for a huge 4-game series in Boston this weekend. Go Yanks!

Here's a site you Red Sox fans may like, go ahead, dive deeper into your frustration!


TOM RIDGE JUST GOT THE NEW EMINEM CD!!!:


CHARLES BARKLEY ON PETA: Now normally I don't think much of Charles Barkley's non-basketball opinions (even the basketball analysis I often disagree with), but I am happy to see we agree on one thing - PETA is a joke. Here are some recent comments of his which, while abrasive, are sometimes necessary to help deflate an organization's sense of importance (see second item)-

'The former hoops star stunned animal lovers when he protested the NBA’s decision to switch from leather balls to synthetic ones by saying, “Animals are only good to be eaten and tested.” He ate a hamburger, in protest, he said, and went on to attack People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals by saying, “I hope those PETA people are outside by my car . . . I will run over them like dogs.”'


TEACHER DISPLAYS PORN DURING EXAM: Thanks to PejmanPundit for this hilarious story-

'Sixth formers at a leading independent school were exposed to pornographic images of women during a mock exam.'


SETTING REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Eugene Volokh agrees with FBI Director Mueller's statements this week about inevitable terrorist attacks in the U.S.-

'Mueller's point, which is a good one, is that the public should not expect a war with no more casualties, or even a war with no more casualties on U.S. soil. Such zero-damage expectations themselves risk creating a feeling of defeatism when the expectations understandably fail to come true. Rather, people should realize that more civilians will indeed die (just as they're dying in Israel, despite the efforts of the Israeli government), and that while of course we should try to prevent such deaths, we shouldn't let these inevitable losses dispirit us.'


NEW YORK CITY, TODAY: Visit Cut on the Bias and check out her freaky photo of New York City.

'It was beautiful, and inspiring, and reminded me all over again that the WTC is gone, and we're at war. The Lincoln Tunnel closed a while today, and they were searching all cars endeavoring to cross into Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge. The Statue of Liberty stood with its gold flame against the blue sky, and more ships eased slowly into the bay. What a wonderful country. What a terrifying situation.'


WATCH HBO'S 9/11 DOCUMENTARY THIS SUNDAY: "In Memoriam: New York City, 9/11/01" will air at 8:00 PM on Sunday. Here is a review from Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Sun-Times.

And here is another look from Zap2it.com. Rudy Giuliani will be featured prominently in the documentary.


QUOTE OF THE DAY: Thanks to Natalie Solent for this-

"Real progress requires that we address root causes, which means putting bullets through the right foreheads."


ANN COULTER TAKES ON DEMOCRATS: In her latest column, which you can link to here. She makes an excellent opening point-

'Suppose Bush had known 19 Muslim immigrants planned to hijack four planes on Sept. 11. What could he have done? Throw Arabs out of the country? Put them in preventive detention? Order airport security to take an extra little peek at swarthy men boarding planes?

Liberals won't let us do that now!'
Did any of you catch her on "The O'Reilly Factor" this week? She was talking about her upcoming book "Slander." Very smart, very angry, very self-controlled. If we could all be so skilled.


THE ERIC OLSEN-ANDREW SULLIVAN GRUDGE MATCH IS GETTING UGLY: Here is the latest salvo, from Olsen. I still feel he has a valid point, and Sullivan's somewhat childish email response shouldn't win him any fans. Andrew is a big-time writer, and any efforts he can offer to help out lesser-known bloggers are very important. I understand he wants to keep his priorities straight (paying job comes before non-paying job), but he really can do so much good for blogging, if he chooses to. (I'd link to his post, but his web site is not set up properly to allow that)


I SERIOUSLY HOPE THIS WAS AN ACCIDENT: Fire Destroys Israeli Embassy in Paris.


SALON.COM WEIGHS IN ON "BUFFY": Stephanie Zacharek reviews the smashing season finale of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Update: Check out Zentertainment's review here.

One additional note: I think Willow looked great with the black hair. I hope the hard-core red look is gone by next season...


FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE: Brink Lindsey is unnerved by all the recent terrorist warnings.

Jason Rubenstein has some thoughts on viewing the Daniel Pearl execution video. So does Asparagirl.

Stephen Green has several great posts today on current events. Read them all.

All excellent reads, and I think they articulate why I feel I need to see that video.


May 22, 2002


AOL, I FRIGGIN' HATE YOU WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING: I know I keep telling all of you (as well as myself) that broadband cable access is coming. With every time AOL freezes up my computer or inexplicably kicks me offline, the day inches closer.


STEVEN DEN BESTE ON INDIA-PAKISTAN: And his worst-case scenario, well, it ain't pretty.


IT WAS CHANDRA LEVY:

'The skeletal remains found this morning in Rock Creek Park have been identified as those of missing intern Chandra Levy, D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey announced this evening.'
If that scumbag Condit had anything to do with it, someone should bake a cake with his intestines.


MORE POSTING TONIGHT: See you then.


IN OVER THEIR HEADS: Scott Ganz writes on how the U.S. government's repeated terrorist warnings of late can bring us closer to Israel.

'I wonder if the sudden realization that these attacks are "inevitable" here are actually a way for the government to illustrate to Americans just how terrible Israel's situation really is. The government can show us that even though the number of Israelis killed in the Intifada is low relative to 9/11, the deeply violating sense of danger brought on by regular bombing of day-to-day activities is a powerful force, and that we would be vastly hypocritical to fail in our support for Israel.'
I for one believe that most Americans support Israel and would pay money to watch the Israeli army continue to steamroll through Palestinian territory and give those slugs what they richly deserve.


ANDREW SULLIVAN ON GLENN REYNOLDS: "He blogs as often as most people blink." Sullivan also takes the time to respond to Eric Olsen's recent criticisms of his interactions with bloggers. (See his post "THE FRIGHTENING REYNOLDS" - his individual posts don't have links set up properly yet)


EVERYONE'S ABOVE AVERAGE AT HARVARD: Despite the inherent silliness in giving almost all its students A's and B's, Harvard's grade inflation is well-established (seemingly in the hopes of sending evermore self-important snobs out into the world).

Well blow me down- today I read that Harvard University is planning on an overhaul of its grading system. (registration required)

'At a closed meeting, the faculty voted in favor of two sweeping changes. First, Harvard will switch from an idiosyncratic 15-point grading scale to the more conventional scale in which a 4.0 is an A and a zero is an F. The change will narrow the difference between an A-minus and a B-plus, which the faculty hopes will make a B more palatable. Second, Harvard will limit the number of students allowed to graduate with honors to 60 percent of a class. Nearly 90 percent of the students in Harvard's class of 2001 graduated with some form of honors.'


HOME IMPROVEMENT TIPS: Courtesy of The Onion.


CHANDRA LEVY'S BODY DISCOVERED?: A breaking story.

'A human skull and other skeletal remains of what appears to be a woman's body were found this morning in Rock Creek Park and police are trying to determine if it is missing intern Chandra Levy, according to police sources.'


ON COMMENTING: I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to add comments when visiting my site. I apologize for not responding to all of them, but I assure you I have read each one. It takes a good deal of time for me to locate news and op-eds to post, and I'm having some difficulties making sufficient time to address all the emails and comments that I receive. I will try my best to keep up and respond timely. Thanks again.


WORST LYRICS OF ALL TIME: I have been thinking lately of some of the absolute worst song lyrics I've ever heard. I'll list a couple here -

The Rolling Stones, "Play with Fire"

'Now you've got some diamonds,
and you will have some others
But you'd better watch your step, girl
Or start living with your mother'


Def Leppard, "Pour Some Sugar on Me"

'Do you take sugar, one lump or two?'


Asia, "Days Like These"

'And I was thinking
About the Indians
And how they say
True wisdom only comes from pain'


Do YOU know of any simply horrible lyrics that have kept you up at night in laughter/ anger/ confusion? If so, email them to me or send in a comment!


INDIANS NOT BETTER ENVIRONMENTALISTS THAN US: More and more evidence is surfacing that Native Americans exploited their environment just as all other human beings do. Jonah Goldberg writes about this today, as well as the latest foray into execrable cliche-ridden animation, Dreamworks' "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron." (That title alone makes me queasy)

'I've always thought there was a certain amount of racism inherent to the propagandistic glorification of the American Indian. Environmentalists are enraptured with the idea that Native Americans lived in complete "balance" with the natural world. To make this argument you need to believe Native Americans are somehow different from people in every other human civilization.'


THOUGHTS ON "SIX FEET UNDER": This show has been on quite a run over the last 3-4 episodes. The Christmas episode ("It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year") was the finest in the show's existence. Only one more episode left this season. It's a blessing and a curse that HBO has smaller episode runs of its original shows. ("Six Feet Under" and "The Sopranos" get 13 episodes, and "Oz" only gets 8) Nancy Miller of Entertainment Weekly has some thoughts on how the show might wrap up.

To all you non-HBO subscribers out there, SIGN UP! It'll cost you $10 per month, that's simply 2 less beers each month. You television aficionados owe it to yourselves.


ON BUSH AND 9/11: William Saletan writes in Slate why Bush and his advisors couldn't have anticipated the 9/11 attacks-

'In retrospect, it seems obvious to many people that the FBI, the CIA, and the White House should have "connected the dots" and anticipated al-Qaida's use of hijacked planes to hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But everything seems more obvious in retrospect, because you know which things are true and which aren't. What makes hindsight so easy is that you know not just what you needed to worry about, but what you didn't need to worry about. Identifying threats and mobilizing to prevent them isn't as easy as finding a single pattern. Intelligence is full of patterns involving numerous groups, targets, and methods. If you're the president of the United States or one of his intelligence advisers, you have to decide which threats are most worth investigating, mobilizing for, or disrupting people's everyday lives for.'


WOW, DID YOU SEE "BUFFY" LAST NIGHT?: Two very entertaining hours. I haven't really been that engaged in the show this season, but these two episodes pulled me right back in. And the surprise at the end of the first hour, damn, that was my highlight of the entire season. Incredibly well done.

Entertainment Geekly managed to procure an interview with "the Troika" - Warren, Jonathan and Andrew (Buffy's foils all season long). Read it here.

And visit this link for Sarah Michelle Gellar's thoughts on next season.


WE SHOULD BE MUCH MORE FURIOUS: Read Damien Penny's moving thoughts on viewing the Daniel Pearl execution video. If anyone out there has a link to the video, please send it to me. I feel this really unexplainable need to see it.

To contrast, Steven Den Beste says we shouldn't need to see Pearl's execution to know how evil an act it truly was.


ON THE DETAILS OF SPACE TRAVEL: Fascinating article in Space.com regarding the logistics of long-term space travel with human beings.

'Humans will begin a voyage to the nearest star this century, a NASA researcher says. And the crew might more resemble a tribal society than the chain of command of traditional space missions. Procreation would be required: The crew that arrived would be descendents of those that left.'
Also check out this interesting article on what other forms of life in the universe might be like.


WHY I HATE LIVING IN MASSACHUSETTS: The voters have no say after all. This is what happens when you have too many liberals in one place-

'The package passed by the House would freeze the voter-approved income tax rollback, raise taxes on cigarettes and capital gains, eliminate deductions for charitable contributions, and reduce the amount of personal income that is exempt from taxation.'
The state's residents approved an income tax rollback, but the state government can conveniently overturn it if they choose. What f--king nonsense. Spend, spend, spend.


BILL O'REILLY ON HILLARY CLINTON: Bill O'Reilly had some harsh words (which I consider quite accurate) for Hillary Clinton on Monday night's "The Tonight Show." It got me to thinking.

Why do people dislike Bill and Hillary Clinton so much? This writer feels they are just so brazen, so untrustworthy. The Clintons have a hyper-developed talent honed by all rich and powerful people – the ability to take advantage of other people and still feel good about themselves. To constantly try to get away with anything and always have a rationalization. To never admit to being wrong.

I’m not even referring specifically to economically unfeasible plans of universal health care. Or adulterous situations. Or illegal fundraising. Or questionable financial dealings. Or not paying your legal counsel. Or pardoning criminals.

It’s their inherent inability simply to behave as responsible human beings that freaks me out, to be honest. Is there anything the Clintons won’t do for more attention? For more money or power? It’s just so frustrating that our society rewards that kind of amoral behavior. I constantly feel this groan rising up from within me, saying, “damn…of all the worthy people in the world, why the hell are these people succeeding…”


ROBERT SCHEER MUST HAVE BROWN EYES: Because he is totally full of shit. Read his latest column as evidence that you can completely abandon intelligent thought and fact-seeking behavior and be rewarded with a syndicated column.

'Unfortunately, all clues so far point to a depressingly likely conclusion: Until Sept. 11, the Bush administration was simply too distracted and/or incompetent to maintain the American pressure on Osama bin Laden begun in 1998 under President Clinton with the missile attacks on reported Al Qaeda sites in Afghanistan.'
Pressure? We've been here before, sir idiot, and we shall not waste more thought on Clinton inaction today.


DON'T REALLY AGREE WITH THIS: Thomas Friedman of the NY Times asks President Bush and his team to tone down on vague terrorist warnings-

'Let's make a deal: We won't criticize the administration for not anticipating 9/11 if it won't terrorize the country by now predicting every possible nightmare scenario, but no specific ones, post-9/11.'
This of course will allow him (and others) to mercilessly criticize Bush when the next attack occurs. Is it really that awful to be reminded how unsafe we might truly be? I actually find it empowering; I want to know that our intelligence system is working to locate and thwart possible terrorist attacks.


DAVID BLAINE'S ABC SPECIAL TONIGHT: Check it out at 10 PM. Should be very cool. Howard Stern's talking with him via telephone as I type.


"FIVE-CARD STUDS": Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated has an amusing take on the characters which populate the World Series of Poker.


May 21, 2002


THE NEW GOLDEN RULE: Never let work interfere with your personal web surfing.


WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY JR. SUPPORTS RACIAL PROFILING: In his NRO column today (italics are mine) -

'The single practical recommendation would be racial profiling. The one genetic contribution to counterintelligence in this theater is that Mid-easterners are visually identifiable. Since it is they who have engaged in every identified act of Islam-related terrorism, checking their movements at airports is a progressive step toward a level of security not manageable by any intensification of body and luggage examinations. If we knew that anyone disposed to terrorist activity would be red-haired, we'd find it reasonable to keep our eyes open for red-haired men at airports.'


THE CHUNKY SOUP CURSE STRIKES AGAIN: Its latest victim is Denver Broncos' running back Terrell Davis, former All-Pro and Chunky soup pitchman, now a shadow of his former self.


ERIC OLSEN INTERVIEWS MIKE WATT: Today Eric Olsen of Tres Producers posts his 1992 interview with fellow San Pedro, CA native Mike Watt, the indie rock legend. Nice.


TOP 10 TV SERIES FINALES: With all the shows leaving the air for good this season ("The X-Files," "Felicity," "Ally McBeal"), the Chicago Tribune has put together a list of their Top 10 television series finales (as well as the Worst 5).


NO GUNS FOR AIRLINE PILOTS: While I don't agree with this decision (If I'm trusting the pilot to fly the actual airplane for me, I think I can trust them to carry a handgun on the flight), I do believe that potential terrorists have already moved on to another way to harm Americans. We should as well.


RUMSFELD SAYS TERRORISTS WILL GET NUKES EVENTUALLY: This is why we have to strike first, and ask questions (or respond to whiny Euro-questions) later. How about creating some computer viruses and using them to disable Al Qaeda operations? Or announcing to the world that if there is another terrorist attack on the U.S., we will immediately attack and invade Saudi Arabia, or Syria? Let's apply some pressure on these germs. I hope someone in a position of influence is working on proactive, aggressive measures like this.


WESTERN ENVY: Though they hate us so passionately, Palestinian murderers are trying to appropriate our history. Victor Davis Hanson writes an impressive column today debunking the idea that the Palestinian terrorists are similar to American revolutionaries from the 18th century. He also takes on other false analogies that the Arab world and Europe are spreading-

'We hear frequently of the "Holocaust" and "genocide" in association with the Israeli incursion into Jenin — especially in the European presses. The very mention of those charged words in reference to fewer than 70 dead in a war zone is blasphemous to the memory of 6 million butchered in a methodical state program of death.'
We need more people like VDH to speak sternly and eloquently about the lies and treachery that comprise Arab thought (His arguments seem so straightforward and obvious when you read them; you can easily overlook how difficult it is to actually craft them). The Arab world has developed into a full-blown parasitic culture, incapable of exporting any useful ideas or commerce.


ANOTHER ATTACK OF THE CLONES?: Who do you see here?




It looks like Ex-President Bill Clinton and his Vice President Al Gore... but it's actually Clinton's face twice, with two different haircuts.

Wait, you didn't know that Al Gore was a robot? :)

Visit Optillusions for more visual tomfoolery.


THE 15 FINEST MOMENTS FROM "THE X-FILES": According to E! Online.


9/11 ON THE TWENTY-DOLLAR BILL: Can this actually be real? Seems a stretch to me, but I'll leave it to you readers to decide...


CAN'T WAIT TO TRY THIS OUT:

'Technology buffs have cracked music publishing giant Sony Music's elaborate disc copy-protection technology with a decidedly low-tech method: scribbling around the rim of a disk with a felt-tip marker.'
Thank heaven for techies. I'm quite serious. They're on the consumers' side. This copy-protection thing can only end badly for the music companies. It almost repulses me to buy a CD at full-price anymore...


HAS INSTAPUNDIT JUMPED THE SHARK?: The Invisible Hand thinks so, based on the Professor's new page layout. I have to disagree with Philip's analysis. We should all aspire to more eye-friendly graphics- have you seen some of the blogger templates!?!. Any blogger's rise to prominence requires upgrades in quality - of writing and of appearance. For Instapundit, the quality has always been there, and now it's time for the facelift.


"BUFFY" 2-HOUR SEASON FINALE TONIGHT!: Unreal, how fast the television season winds down once the May sweeps start. "BTVS" has been up and down this season, but tonight's season finale should be entertaining. (And there's a new episode of "The Shield" on right afterwards. Rapture!)

Here is an article reviewing the 6th season to this point. And another review here.


SUICIDE BOMBINGS IN THE U.S.: Yes, there seems to be this sense of inevitability to the idea of suicide bombing making its way to the United States. But these alerts in the news lately, I feel they are geared toward a specific group of people - those who are allowing 9/11 to fade from their memories. Countless people want to forget, fall back into old habits, disregard the very real threat we are all facing. These people are the ones who need reminding.

But not others. Not me. Many others know what’s happening, and what can (or will) happen. We are alert. We keep our eyes open in public places, ready to react to the slightest suspicious behavior. We have planned our escape routes out of our offices, our homes if necessary. We don’t ask “what will I do if,” we ask “what will I do when.” We don’t need color coding systems. We are preparing mentally and physically for an eventual attack on the U.S.

Keep alert. Keep your friends and family alert. Please.


WELCOME MATT WELCH READERS: Matt Welch was SO KIND to give me a great write-up on his site yesterday. I welcome all of you to the Weigh In. Please make yourself comfortable.


MORE ON STEPHEN JAY GOULD: Read this nice tribute in today's WaPo.

Also, check out this piece he wrote when he was first diagnosed with cancer, back in 1982.

'In July 1982, I learned that I was suffering from abdominal mesothelioma, a rare and serious cancer usually associated with exposure to asbestos. When I revived after surgery, I asked my first question of my doctor and chemotherapist: "What is the best technical literature about mesothelioma?" She replied, with a touch of diplomacy (the only departure she has ever made from direct frankness), that the medical literature contained nothing really worth reading.

Of course, trying to keep an intellectual away from literature works about as well as recommending chastity to Homo sapiens, the sexiest primate of all. As soon as I could walk, I made a beeline for Harvard's Countway medical library and punched mesothelioma into the computer's bibliographic search program. An hour later, surrounded by the latest literature on abdominal mesothelioma, I realized with a gulp why my doctor had offered that humane advice. The literature couldn't have been more brutally clear: mesothelioma is incurable, with a median mortality of only eight months after discovery. I sat stunned for about fifteen minutes, then smiled and said to myself: so that's why they didn't give me anything to read. Then my mind started to work again, thank goodness.'
I've read several of his books and seen him interviewed a few times. His essays are instructive, but never overwhelming. He was so unique, the scientist who could make sense to us plebeians.


BLOG*SPOT TROUBLES: Posting to come...


May 20, 2002


TAKE MY LINK, PLEASE: Eric Olsen is angry with Andrew Sullivan for not engaging the blogosphere more. He sort of has a point.


SUICIDE BOMBINGS IN THE U.S.: Would only embolden U.S. citizens to fully support intense military action against terrorist-breeding nations, says Professor Reynolds. I agree completely.


BREAKING NEWS: World-famous scientist Stephen Jay Gould has died of cancer at age 60. The father of the "punctuated equilibrium" theory of evolution was also a lifelong NY Yankees fan.

Update: Read the NY Times obituary (registration required).


THE OVERCLASS: Andrew Sullivan wonders what to do about the "overclass," the super rich. Here is an excerpt-

'Over the last two decades, we've heard a great deal about the "underclass" - a socially excluded (to use the Blairite term), drug-addled, family-free, work-shy, unreachable population, whose social position has only been rendered even more hopeless by the techno-boom of the 1990s and early 21st Century. What we haven't heard as much about is what should rightly be called the "overclass" - a socially excluded (to use the Blairite term), drug-addled, family-free, work-shy, unreachable population, whose social position has only been rendered even more hopeless by the techno-boom of the 1990s and early 21st Century. In some ways, these two groups form a kind of bookend to the new globalized social polity in Anglo-America. They are the unbourgeois, united in their dysfunction against the aspiring and intermittently anxious middle. The creative destruction of capitalism's turn of the century exuberance has given us a very nineteenth century scenario: a far more prosperous but also far more unequal society, with both the very rich and the very poor having increasingly little contact with anything in between.'


WHEN IT'S SWEEPS: How did you handle the television logjam last night? Did you watch the "Survivor" 3-hour season finale? "The X-Files" 2-hour series finale? The latest episode of "Six Feet Under"?

I went with Survivor. Check out this review of the show's 4th season. And another review here.


DELAYING THE WAR WITH IRAQ: John Derbyshire doesn't think we are ever going to war with Iraq. He makes some strong points, which I've made reference to in previous posts. Here's an excerpt-

'This is no way to make war. The most elementary fact about war, that you learn in your first week of lectures at staff college, or can pick up for yourself by reading half a dozen decent books of military history, or just by talking to veterans, is that battles are won by speed, audacity and surprise. Gentle reader, in the administration's movement towards engagement with Iraq, do you see speed? Do you see audacity? Do you see surprise? Do you even see any sign that our government is capable of those things? I sure don't.

It is true that one, or even two, though probably not all three, of those key elements can be dispensed with if you possess overwhelming force. That's why unimaginative, plodding generals sometimes win wars; that's why Dwight Eisenhower carried off the D-Day landings (he still had surprise). And we probably do possess overwhelming force, even allowing for the couple of years we have given Saddam Hussein to further disperse his biowar facilities, plant saboteurs in the U.S., acquire a few North Korean missiles and add another 20 feet of reinforced concrete to his underground command bunkers. Which brings me to the next issue: Do we actually have the will to use that force? Or, more to the point, shall we have that will in spring of 2003?'


LUNCHTIME READING: Magician David Blaine is insane-

'On Tuesday, May 21, he will climb 90 feet up a steel pillar like Batman up a wall, and he will stand on a circular platform 20 inches in diameter for 35 hours without a harness. At approximately 10:50 p.m. on May 22 -- 50 minutes into an ABC special, live on television -- he will jump off the pillar into a pile of corrugated cardboard cartons.'
Read this profile of him in the New York Times Magazine (registration required).


THE FUNNIEST MOVIE TITLE OF ALL TIME: My vote is for "In the Land of the Owl Turds." Roger Ebert and his readers discuss this and other candidates.


LURED OVER TO THE DARK SIDE:

'Bakersfield police arrested a couple early Thursday morning on child endangerment charges after finding that a 2-year-old boy had been left alone in their apartment while they attended the midnight showing of the new "Star Wars" movie.'
(Link via Jim Romenesko)


ON "ATTACK OF THE CLONES": PejmanPundit has a fun review, including several positives and negatives. I had to skirt around certain sections, which I will revisit when I see the film (this week or next).


THANKS TO MANUFACTURING DISSENT: For the Weigh In link on Friday! Check it out here.

Note to readers: In my political dreams, I envision myself as more of a Reagan staffer...


WSJ'S TAKE ON PREVENTING 9/11: The Wall Street Journal has a pair of critical pieces today on the U.S. government's failure to anticipate terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Brendan Miniter thinks that we disregarded national security and foreign policy during the 1990s, led by military-hating Bill Clinton.

'Mr. Clinton, of course, is no more responsible for Sept. 11 than Mr. Bush is. But Mr. Clinton did fail America with his nonchalant attitude towards the military and military operations. As a college student in 1969 Mr. Clinton famously wrote a letter in which he described himself as "loathing the military." He may have overcome his loathing by the time he entered the White House a quarter century later, but it's clear he hadn't learned to respect or understand the military.'
While the paper's editors opine that the breakdowns that led to 9/11 still aren't being addressed or corrected (registration required)-
'What worries us much more than what was missed on September 11 is that a similar mindset may be causing missed signals now. The FBI seems devoted to its "lone nut" theory of the anthrax terror, to the point of dismissing credible reports that one of the September 11 hijackers had anthrax himself. FBI Director Robert Mueller is a competent man but he's not known for challenging his superiors.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta refuses to racially profile even suspicious types trying to board airlines. And the CIA and State Department have both been reluctant to trust reports from democratic opponents of Saddam Hussein. This is the kind of thinking that could produce the next intelligence failure.'

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