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Archive for August, 2005


[ 0 ] August 31, 2005 |

I’m certainly no huge fan of Rudy Guliani, but the contrast between Guliani on 9/11 and Bush this week is pretty striking.

…As Thad points out, Echidne pulls a classic quote. Yes, who could possibly ever imagine that eroding levees that the city of New Orleans had been asking for money to repair for many years could be breached after a Category 4 Hurricane? Jeebus.


Jonah Goldberg: Smarter Than Jessica Simpson, Funnier Than Leukemia

[ 0 ] August 31, 2005 |

As appalling as Jonah Goldberg’s comments about “playing the class card” are, make sure to scroll down for his earlier comments:

I think it’s time to face facts. That place is going to be a Mad Max/thunderdome Waterworld/Lord of the Flies horror show within the next few hours. My advice is to prepare yourself now. Hoard weapons, grow gills and learn to communicate with serpents. While you’re working on that, find the biggest guy you can and when he’s not expecting it beat him senseless. Gather young fighters around you and tell the womenfolk you will feed and protect any female who agrees to participate without question in your plans to repopulate the earth with a race of gilled-supermen. It’s never too soon to be prepared.

Yep, putting tens of thousands of poor people, many of them about to become homeless, many of them with severe health problems in a extremely humid building with rapidly failing plumbing and dwindling food supplies–pure comedy gold! But there I go playing the class card again–hell, Jonah had to wait three minutes for a cab yesterday, and who’s to say that wasn’t a million times worse? Then there’s his non-apology apology:

Perhaps Professor Bainbridge — of whom I am a fan — thinks something really awful will befall the denizens of the Superdome and therefore making a joke at their expense is wrong. My guess is that it will simply be a really unpleasent time for the remainder of the day, but hardly so unpleasent as to sanctify them with refugee or some other victim status.

He’s as prescient as he is funny! But what’s most disturbing is his assertion that being a “refugee” is just a “victim status” with which one is “sanctified,” as if being homeless is no big deal. This isn’t conservatism in any meaningful sense; this is just reprehensible.

However, I can’t really agree with Ethan’s title for Goldberg, for the reasons stated by Lindsay. Similarly, I don’t think it’s appropriate to call him a “wanker”; wanking, after all, is a source of pleasure, and pleasure is something that is not associated in any way with Goldberg’s writings. Asshole? Same thing; you might take them for granted, but I’m sure you’d miss it if you didn’t have one, which you can’t say for Goldberg’s attempts at humor. Maybe Jonah “Tits on a Bull” Goldberg? Hmmm. For that matter, I should probably revise my title; I think I’m libeling Simpson…

…in fairness, Cornerites are willing to show some compassion: on behalf of the lost home of Jefferson Davis. Yeah, the lost home of somebody who led a movement to commit treason on behalf of slavery is the real tragedy here.

I Will Disappear to Join the Link Parade

[ 0 ] August 31, 2005 |

I don’t think I’ve done one of these things, er, ever, so why not?

  • Belle Waring replies, devastatingly, to her critics. Would be worth about six “ouches” and four “heh-indeeds” if I did that sort of thing.
  • Like CT, I strongly recommend John McGowan on Nussbaum/Butler (1,2).
  • Roy on the poor, poor, pitiful Hollywood conservative.
  • erobin compiles useful links about Haiti.
  • Ampersand on disclosure and the ad hominem fallacy w/r to the fetal pain study.
  • Pseudo-Adrienne with another example of how anti-feminism denies women moral agency.


[ 0 ] August 30, 2005 |

Huh. And I thought that all terrorists were enemies. Silly me. . .

Families of Israeli Arabs shot dead on a bus in Galilee are not considered terrorism victims because their killer was Jewish, the defence ministry says.

Under Israeli law, only attacks by “enemies of Israel” are considered terrorism, the ministry said.

The ruling means families of the four victims will not be entitled to the lifelong monthly payments given to Israeli victims of Palestinian attacks.

Via Mischa.

New Orleans

[ 0 ] August 30, 2005 |

What to say?

Via Majikthise.


[ 0 ] August 30, 2005 |

As envisioned by Kat, by way of South Park Create-a-Character.

Well, She Tried

[ 0 ] August 30, 2005 |

One of the biggest reasons that the arguments of American “pro-lifers” are such a self-contradictory shambles is the belief of many of them that women should not be subject to any legal sanctions, although if you believe the underlying premises of those who would criminalize abortion this woman is guilty of taking a human life. Obviously, this doesn’t make a shred of sense, and provides clear evidence they really don’t take their own arguments seriously. Dawn Eden–who is willing, horribly but at least consistently, to apply pro-life logic to cases of rape–tries to defend the indefensible in comments:

A woman who has an abortion may not be aware of what she is doing. But the abortionists are, and they’re the ones who should be prosecuted.

This is, of course, an exceptionally bad (and pernicious) argument. The question of whether the fetus is a human life with legal status is a moral and ethical question, not an empirical question. A doctor performing an abortion, of course, has no more access to this moral question than a woman seeking an abortion. Eden’s argument–like the original late 19th century laws that originally banned abortion–is premised on the idea that women are not really moral agents. Eden wants to take us back to a time in which women were not full citizens (or, in some cases, even legal persons) but rather where wards of the state and/or their husbands. It’s framed in the language of compassion, but this is a debased, patriarchal form of “compassion,” premised on the idea that women are not full members of society who share the rights and responsibilities of adult citizens. Given how widespread Eden’s argument is among pro-lifers–up to and including the Republican platform–I think it’s pretty instructive about how the pro-life movement views women.

(Via Jesse.)

Shorter John Tierney

[ 0 ] August 30, 2005 |

I haven’t got a fucking clue what the tragedy of the commons means.

When is that subscription only wall going up? It can’t happen soon enough.

Oil Spots and Strategic Hamlets

[ 0 ] August 30, 2005 |

There is some confusion in the blogosphere and in the general media about what precisely an oil spot strategy consists of. In particular, some people are arguing that the “oil spot” strategy argued for by Andrew Krepinevich is essentially the same as the “strategic hamlet” strategy tried by the United States and South Vietnam in the early 1960s. This is not the case.

The strategic hamlet program came well before the height of US involvement in South Vietnam. The idea was to protect South Vietnamese farmers from Viet Cong insurgents by collecting them in specific areas and fortifying those villages. The program was extremely disruptive to rural life in South Vietnam, as it uprooted families from their ancestral lands and forced them to live in new areas, often where land was scarce. Also, many of the “strategic” hamlets never received the funds and weapons that they were supposed to get. In any case, the South Vietnamese Army lacked the capacity to defend the hamlets from insurgents. The program was a disastrous failure.

The oil spot strategy is different, and was tried for a short while by the Marines in the mid-1960s. The motivation of an oil spot strategy is similar to that of a strategic hamlet; locals who believe they can be protected from insurgents will be less likely to support those insurgents. Instead of uprooting families and packing them into villages, however, the Marines took over the defense of an area and patrolled it regularly. The focus was not on hunting insurgents in the jungle, but rather on preventing insurgents from attacking villages and collecting taxes, weapons, and food. As people grew to fear insurgent attacks less, they would grow more cooperative with the Marines. Villagers would begin to plan for the future, the economy would improve, and the insurgents would suffer.

On a small scale these tactics worked in Vietnam, before Westmoreland shut the operation down. They probably couldn’t have won the war even if tried on a large scale, and I doubt very much that they can defeat the insurgency in Iraq. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep our terms clear.

Can Snake Oil Cure Cancer? Opinions Differ.

[ 0 ] August 30, 2005 |

I suppose it’s not as consequential as the horribly botched coverage of Intelligent(sic) Design, but this Times article about snake-oil salesman Kevin Trudeau suffers from similar pathologies. As with the ID articles, if you read far enough into the article you’ll find out that he’s a felonious con man selling crackpot “cures” for cancer and other illnesses, and also pitching a subscription-fee website. But the article suggests that there’s some legitimate disagreement about whether there are many flat-out cures for cancer being suppressed by the Medical Establishment. Really, if you can’t do it right it would be better to just ignore him.

I’m reminded of the fact that both the leading English-language newspaper and leading English language television station used to give column space and free time to JoJo Savard, a Quebecois Miss Cleo. Now, perhaps because of public opinion it’s too much to ask newspapers to print stories pointing out that astrology is a massive fraud. But it’s certainly not too much to ask for them not to promote it. This isn’t just a harmless waste of time; we’re talking about a lot of people, many of them desperate, suffering from serious emotional problems and with little money, running up huge credit card bills to get worthless advice from a con artist who allegedly trustworthy media sources are actually treating seriously. (And, of course, in some cases it’s more about marketing; I doubt that many women would cancel subscriptions if newspapers had noted during the Dove controversy that butt cream doesn’t actually work, but cosmetic advertisers might be upset.) To the extent that various media organs are covering the Kevin Trudeaus and JoJo Savards (and Discovery Institutes) of the world, they should actually tell their readers the facts, and they should certainly not treat them a serious figures.

Dismal Moments in LaRussian Platoon Wankery

[ 0 ] August 29, 2005 |

It doesn’t get much worse than Mike Hargrove bringing in the occasionally-pitching-like-stylings of Matt Thornton to face Jason Giambi, who in one of the most foreseeable acts in baseball history immediately crushed a 3-run homer.

Even worse, after that Hargrove stormed out of the dugout and started screaming at Thornton. The thing is, Grover, Matt Thornton can’t fucking pitch. Screaming at him for giving up a homerun is like screaming at the Mojave Desert for being dry. It’s your fault for bringing him into a game situation just because he throws with his left hand.

…but, come hell or high water you know the Seattle media will keep holding the team accountable–by writing Peggy Noonanesque peans to Hustling White Guy (TM) Wee Wllie Bloomquist. Sure, he can’t field much or hit at all, but he has the heart of a lion! The guts of Orson Welles! The makeup of Randy Myers! The mascara of Jeff Reardon!

Oh Yeah? Back in My Day the Music Was So Bad Even Al Gonzales Thought That Playing It Violated the Geneva Convention

[ 0 ] August 29, 2005 |

Roxanne thinks that the top 100 songs of her graduation year were less than impressive. Perhaps, but it could be a lot worse. Take my grad year, the Nirvana-1 1990, which sucked so much ass you’d be begging your captor for a small dose of 1981 to break the pain. Starting with #1, the unlistenable songs are legion, without a lot of good points, and is even worse than I feared (Glen Medeiros was still releasing songs in 1990?). “Thieves in the Temple” is great, and Sinead doing Prince is soild enough. The second iteration of the B-52s is lesser, but in this context they’re a godsend; “Roam” is an excellent Song About Fucking (ditto “The Humpty Dance”) and “Love Shack” has saved more than one wedding reception dance for me. But still, what a gruesome year–it brings back bad memories of the guy in my dorm who would turn up the radio full blast whenever “Unskinny Bop” would come on, and even that is preferable to the 70 Phil Collins song on my list. And Jive Bunny cancels out at least three good songs. And it would be even worse if I recognized everyone–who the hell was Linear or Mellow Man Ace? Anyway, I’ll use the same denotations as Roxanne except I’ll italicize the truly appalling songs:

1. Hold On, Wilson Phillips
2. It Must Have Been Love, Roxette
3. Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O’Connor
4. Poison, Bell Biv Devoe
5. Vogue, Madonna
6. Vision Of Love, Mariah Carey
7. Another Day In Paradise, Phil Collins
8. Hold On, En Vogue
9. Cradle Of Love, Billy Idol
10. Blaze Of Glory, Jon Bon Jovi
11. Do Me!, Bell Biv Devoe
12. How Am I Supposed To Live Without You, Michael Bolton
13. Pump Up The Jam, Technotronic
14. Opposites Attract, Paula Abdul
15. Escapade, Janet Jackson
16. All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You, Heart
17. Close To You, Maxi Priest
18. Black Velvet, Alannah Myles
19. Release Me, Wilson Phillips
20. Don’t Know Much, Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville
21. All Around The World, Lisa Stansfield
22. l Wanna Be Rich, Calloway
23. I Remember You, Skid Row
24. Rub You The Right Way, Johnny Gill
25. She Ain’t Worth It, Glenn Medeiros Featuring Bobby Brown
26. If Wishes Came True, Sweet Sensation
27. The Power, Snap
28. (Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection, Nelson
29. Love Will Lead You Back, Taylor Dayne
30. Don’t Wanna Fall In Love, Jane Child
31. Two To Make It Right, Seduction
32. Sending All My Love, Linear
33. Unskinny Bop, Poison
34. Step By Step, New Kids On The Block
35. Dangerous, Roxette
36. We Didn’t Start The Fire, Billy Joel
37. I Don’t Have The Heart, James Ingram
38. Downtown Train, Rod Stewart
39. Rhythm Nation, Janet Jackson
40. I’ll Be Your Everything, Tommy Page
41. Roam, B-52’s
42. Everything, Jody Watley
43. Back To Life, Soul II Soul
44. Here and Now, Luther Vandross
45. Alright, Janet Jackson
46. Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice
47. Blame It On The Rain, Milli Vanilli
48. Have You Seen Her, M.C. Hammer
49. With Every Beat Of My Heart, Taylor Dayne
50. Come Back To Me, Janet Jackson
51. No More Lies, Michel’le
52. Praying For Time, George Michael
53. How Can We Be Lovers, Michael Bolton
54. Do You Remember, Phil Collins
55. Ready Or Not, After 7
56. U Can’t Touch This, M.C. Hammer
57. I Wish It Would Rain Down, Phil Collins
58. Just Between You and Me, Lou Gramm
59. Something Happened On The Way To Heaven, Phil Collins
60. Black Cat, Janet Jackson
61. Can’t Stop, After 7
62. Janie’s Got A Gun, Aerosmith
63. The Humpty Dance, Digital Underground
64. I’ll Be Your Shelter, Taylor Dayne
65. Free Fallin’, Tom Petty
66. Giving You The Benefit, Pebbles
67. Enjoy The Silence, Depeche Mode
68. Love Song, Tesla
69. Price Of Love, Bad English
70. Girls Nite Out, Tyler Collins
71. King Of Wishful Thinking, Go West
72. What Kind Of Man Would I Be?, Chicago
73. Get Up! (Before The Night Is Over), Technotroic
74. Here We Are, Gloria Estefan
75. Epic, Faith No More
76. Love Takes Time, Mariah Carey
77. Just Like Jesse James, Cher
78. Love Shack, B-52’s
79. All Or Nothing, Milli Vanilli
80. Romeo, Dino
81. Everybody Everybody, Black Box
82. I Go To Extremes, Billy Joel
83. Whip Appeal, Babyface
84. Oh Girl, Paul Young
85. C’mon and Get My Love, D-Mob With Cathy Dennis
85. (It’s Just) The Way That You Love Me, Paula Abdul
87. We Can’t Go Wrong, Cover Girls
88. When I’m Back On My Feet Again, Michael Bolton
89. Make You Sweat, Keith Sweat
90. This One’s For The Children, New Kids On The Block
91. What It Takes, Aerosmith
92. Forever, Kiss
93. Jerk Out, Time
94. Just A Friend, Biz Markie
95. Whole Wide World, A’me Lorain
96. Without You, Motley Crue
97. Swing The Mood, Jive Bunny and The Mastermixers
98. Thieves In The Temple, Prince
99. Mentirosa, Mellow Man Ace
100. Tic-Tac-Toe, Kyper

Yep, that is one ugly bit of business.

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