Friday, April 29, 2005


It was a Hobson's choice to vote for Our Noble Lame Duck to keep The Ketchup Consort out of the White House. That doesn't mean I can't denounce the winner for wimping out now that the election is over. Time and again his administration fails to reach far enough, and thus winds up in pitched battles over muddled minor movements in the right direction instead of sweeping changes. If this is such a "practical" strategy, why hasn't it worked? Not only are we not debating junking the whole Socialist Security Scam, but we are arguing fine points about symbolic "reforms" that will likely wind up including tax increases. How frustrating, and all due to a failure of nerve. This is not how a labor boss would negotiate. We should ask not just for more than we expect, but for more than we even want, then let the other side compromise on that.

Here's another example of a glorious missed opportunity. Restrictions on the right of consumer bankruptcies were passed, to the joy of bankers and hospitals who dream of foreclosures, and the wails of liberals complaining about the high cost of un-socialized medicine driving people over the brink. We could have gotten much more. Instead of just seeking minor limitations on individuals filing for debt relief, we should have taken a page from history and called for the Mongol plan for such cheaters:
Genghis Khan (1162-1227) ... rose to become the most successful conqueror in history. ... His laws prescribed the death penalty for merchants who allowed themselves to go bankrupt for a third time.
Again, the administration should have asked for even more than this. Perhaps a death penalty for mere second bankruptcies, with loss of a hand for the first one? Naturally, this should apply not to noble merchants, but just to those carelessly over-charging consumers out there. If they had asked for this, how much more could they have pried from those cowardly appeasing Democrats in Congress than the trivial bill that passed? At the very least, we should have been able to put bad debtors in the stocks and throw organic fruit at them. I can see this as a new participatory reality show....


Never mind the hyped invitation to travel with Our Noble Lame Duck; that's just him covering his flank with the theocrats. The plain fact is, as Hastert's chickening out over the Ethics Committee shows, we've decided to cut "Bugsy" loose and let him fall. He's just been so obvious in his arrogance that he's left too big a paper trail. Frankly, he could cost us the House next year, so it's bye-bye Tommy. In accordance with that double plus secret memo, I'm tossing some gravel his way myself. You can read it at "The Malathion Man".

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Noting that no oil refineries had been built in the United States since 1976, the president also said that he would encourage the building of new refining facilities on closed military bases, though he did not detail where or how many.
--N. Y. Times, April 27, 2005
Hand of the Market, still unseen --
Whose wisdom is our party line.
Thy blessings manifest in green
For those who do not prices bind.
One thing might make our power pass:
The price of gas -- the price of gas!

If, profit-drunk and option-fed,
The GOP forgets Thy might --
The states that we still count as red
Will kick us out into the night.
One thing might make our power pass:
The price of gas -- the price of gas!

For cheap-run cars our bases shut;
Runways will sit 'neath storage tanks:
And cracking towers will be put
Among them to earn drivers' thanks.
One thing might make our power pass:
The price of gas -- the price of gas!

For oil the forts will close their gates;
Our votes with wallets are entwined.
The people will decide our fate
By how much fuel is refined.
One thing might make our power pass:
The price of gas -- the price of gas!

We'll beat our swords to pipelines and
Ain't gonna study war no more.
Election day will still be grand:
We know what drivers hunger for.
We'll prime the pump to spare this land
From those who would encuff Thy Hand!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Grover said to Bill The Cat, "Drown me a child."
Bill said "Grove, now you're just talkin' too wild."
Grove said "Now!" Bill said "Why?"
Grove said "When you run for the White House, I
Will make sure the big money boys give you no more."
Bill said "Where'd you like me to do this chore?"
Grove said "Do it on the Senate floor."

Judge Jan Brown lived in perilous times
Fighting the godless and their willful crimes
Denouncing the culture she openly yearned
For the early days when all witches were burned
Humanists might not like that any more
But they'd learn just what those stakes were for
If she could win on the Senate floor.

Now Karl Rove the guru was quite amused
By amateurs wond'ring how to light the fuse
He said "Kids, here's the tool that we'll use.
Put TVs in churches and spread this ruse.
We'll stir up the preachers and make them sure
That the final battle of holy war
Will be fought out on the Senate floor."

Nevada Harry was a fetus fan
Who dissembled 'til he devised a plan
For a "compromise" to let some judges in
Who agreed that abortion was still a sin.
For this his name later would live in lore
Of his misleading those who allowed his score
Done in plain sight on the Senate floor.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Oh, the weather forecast is costly
But our souls will not be lost. The
Senator from Penn will pray
Let each and ev-ry dog keep away
It may usually begin with Adam Smith, but this is about a Higher Law. The Keystone Solon is celebrating the election of a new Pope by proposing his own free market version of the "Preferential Option For The Poor". He is trying to spare, if not all of us, then at least those who could no longer pay to hear it, from an Occasion Of Sin. This instance would be the evil thoughts that might occur in some minds when they hear the words "It's raining cats and dogs."
The bill, introduced last week by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., would prohibit federal meteorologists from competing with companies such as AccuWeather and The Weather Channel, which offer their own forecasts through paid services and free ad-supported Web sites. ...

Santorum ... said expanded federal services threaten the livelihoods of private weather companies. "It is not an easy prospect for a business to attract advertisers, subscribers or investors when the government is providing similar products and services for free," Santorum said.
"Yeah, grandchildren, that's what I got this Hero medal for. Back in the old days I spent years in the Free Weather Underground. We'd do drive-by door-hangings with forecasts in ghetto neighborhoods. We had vans with transmitters hidden inside to make quick low-power transmissions from our pirate weather radio station. A quick report, then we'd dash across town before the FCC snoopers could triangulate us. Those Homeland Security thugs were offering rewards, but we became counter-culture heroes and were protected by the people. Finally the oppressed masses began jury nullification, finding us not guilty because the first Amendment protected our telling them about looming blizzards. It was one of the first steps in the Great Revolution that brought us to the Worker's Paradise we have today."
Unter die Menschen kam ich zu der Zeit des Aufruhrs
Und ich empörte mich mit ihnen. ...

Mein Essen aß ich zwischen den Schlachten ...

Gingen wir doch, öfter als die Schuhe die Länder wechselnd
Durch die Kriege der Klassen, verzweifelt
Wenn da nur Unrecht war und keine Empörung.
--Brecht, An die Nachgeborenen

Saturday, April 16, 2005


The usual suspects are all denouncing DeLay, Cornyn, and others for remarks supposedly threatening, urging, or at least excusing retaliation, even violence, against judges that don't knuckle under to their agenda. This would be much more convincing if they would first search their own house for similar vigilantism. They might begin by considering the April 17 New York Times, where the ever anti-capitalist Barbara Ehrenreich cleverly uses a book review to sneak in a calculatedly fingerprintless condoning of righteously wrathful action against her own favored targets. Watch how she sets up her serpentine argument:
This may not be the most auspicious time for a sympathetic biography of a religious fanatic who repeatedly sought to advance his cause through violence.
And exactly what time would be proper to praise faith-based murder?
So it takes courage, if not a touch of Brownian madness, to argue, as David S. Reynolds does in his absorbing new biography, ''John Brown, Abolitionist,'' that Brown was not the Unabomber of his time, but a reasonable man, well connected to his era's intellectual currents and a salutary force for change.
It takes not courage, but ivory tower chutzpah, to call an axe murderer "salutary". The Unabomber himself was all too well connected to his own era's anti-industrial ideologies, and his infamous declaration has been defended by radical eco-fools; that does not justify his crimes. The abolitionists were fiercely hated in both North and South by all but a tiny fringe. If they had been the majority in the country and had all supported Brown's cold-blooded killings, that would no more justify those murders than a similar moral obtuseness by the majority would have excused the Unabomber. In fact, Brown was denounced as impractical or worse even by some others in the abolitionist movement.
To those who argue that Brown's commendable goals were sullied by his bloody methods, Reynolds retorts that violence was in fact central to his message and his legacy.
Yes, it was, and that is why he has been condemned for almost a century and a half as a dangerous criminal.
It was Brown's killing of five Pottawatomie, Kan., pro-slavery men -- dragged from their beds and hacked to death -- that has made commentators queasy ever since, Reynolds included to some extent.
As well it should. Nothing else needs to be said about him. He was a premeditated murderer who should have been dealt with like any other killer. His motivations might be relevant to an insanity defense (if one believes those should be allowed at all), but have nothing to do with his moral status. That should be condemned by everyone, and was, except for those with a hidden agenda of their own.
He offers the rather feeble judgment that it would be ''misleading'' to compare the Pottawatomie attack to modern terrorism. Yet if terrorism is defined as the random killing of civilians to make a political point, then it is not just misleading to call Brown a terrorist, it is flat-out wrong.
Here she departs from the book's evaluation to smuggle in her own subtle redefinition of "terrorism". Check out the media and observe that the bombers of coalition troops or provisional government police and officials in Iraq are still referred to as terrorists. The hijackers of the 9-11 plane which hit the Pentagon were not excused as non-terrorists because they struck a military target. It is not the victims, but the method, of bombings or mass shootings or poisonings -- or hackings, which makes a crime an act of terrorism. Ehrenreich wants to be able to imply later that you are not a terrorist if you only kill people she considers guilty. She pushes the point further here.
Brown selected his victims carefully; all had reportedly threatened abolitionists and the Brown family in particular.
That would certainly seem to justify Bush taking out Saddam, or Osama, who had both definitely threatened Americans and the Bush family in particular. But that is not the application she has in mind for this tolerance for preemptive strikes against potential threats.
How do we judge a man of such different times -- and temperament -- from our own?
By the same moral standards we would use to judge anyone else today. What is eternally right and wrong does not change, whatever verbal gobbledygook about "cultural relativism" which any particular society, or author, may spew forth. If it is denounced as wrong for Bush, then it must also have been wrong for Brown.
If the rule is that there must be some proportion between a violent act and its provocation, surely there could be no more monstrous provocation than slavery.
This means Brown was justified to slaughter those men, because slavery was so awful, and those men supported it. Totalitarian communism is even more awful; would we be justified to slaughter college professors or book writers that support it? Logically, her answer would have to be yes, but, not being a "small mind", that hobgoblin does not deter her, and they are not the targets she is thinking of.
In our own time, some may discern equivalent evils in continuing racial oppression, economic exploitation, environmental predation or widespread torture.
Don't be fooled by that "some may discern". This is an old rhetorical device perfected by Nixon, with his "Some might say that's voting the communist line ...." style of slimy non-accusations. Here, in the discernment of "some", she finally reveals her intended sacrificial lamb: those awful big businesses that don't hire enough people of the shades of skin that she wants, don't pay wages she considers high enough, don't provide all the health care she thinks they should, or don't leave standing all the trees she likes. Those rhetorical "some" think this is just as evil as slavery, which she has just said is evil enough to justify brutal slaughter. But that's just high-flown rhetoric telling her leftist readers it is okay for them to feel that way. Does she actually want them to do anything about it?
To them, ''John Brown, Abolitionist,'' for all its wealth of detail and scrupulous attempts at balance, has a shockingly simple message: Far better to have future generations complain about your methods than condemn you for doing nothing.
There it is: the end justifies the means, preemptive violence is justifiable, and you are a cowardly wimp if you sit quietly by while the big corporations do all those awful things. What's the address of that evil CEO....

Friday, April 15, 2005


I have been remiss in not advising my thundering herd of avid readers that I am still continuing my clever infiltration of the delusional lefties at the American Street, who naively consider me a humorist. We'll see who is laughing from which side of the van when someone gets hauled away by the Homeland hussars. My most recent regular Friday posts there were Breaking Cover, about Papal politics, and Word Is NOT Given, about applying to the middle east some words Patrick Henry uttered about the world's only good revolution, just before his most famous quote.


The always ideologically suspect polymath Mad Kane, grilled before a U.S. Web Committee asking if she had ever been a library card carrying reader, has cowered before their power and named names, pointing the finger of suspicion at me and several others by citing us for The Book Meme. I'm no martyr, so I'll confess as well.

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?

Perhaps you have not been paying attention to what I write. In that novel, I would have probably been one of the firepersons, gleefully burning the work of other unworthy authors to spare the world from their liberal lies. However, if I were instead a security agent, borrowing some of Emma's old leather jumpsuits and sent to infiltrate those insidious memorizers, I would still need to learn some work by heart to fool them. My first thought was to tweak their tales by choosing a notorious satire, but that might not go over everybody's head, so more overt fiction could be safer. It would be easiest to do one I've already read, and shorter is better for this, so how about a small meditation on art and terrorism, with its lovely I-know-a-secret-that-you-don't conclusion?

If I were trying to be an agent provocateur, I'd probably try to cover myself by doing some more radical feminist tomes (which I've only read to research America's enemies), like a surreal parody (in that doubly suspicious "freedom" language), or a bit of wild and wooly gender bending. [Someone wrote of another of her novels the heart-warmingly appropriate note "I hated this book so much that, with a friend, we burnt our copies inside a grill at a local park." No one would accuse me of being an agent of the authorities if I committed one of her nightmares to heart.] Or I might just decide to rub their noses in it and demoralize them by reciting the inspiration for another noir film of Trauffaut's, authored by perhaps our greatest semi-repressed gay thriller writer, which in print ends with a suitably despairing doomed wait for death.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

No, not a full-blown romantic fixation of the kind that made prep-schoolmates write things like "Mrs. Rhett Butler" on notebooks (though that convention-defying smuggler was very tempting). Heroic heart-throbs were more likely to show up in melodramatic popular fiction read in my youth. I always found brainy characters appealing, like Salvor Hardin, scheming to spread preemptive democracy through the galaxy, or Kronsteen, leaving the chess board to plot destruction of those decadent monarchists. If he hadn't been on the wrong political side, I could have easily gotten all aflutter over the devastating methods of Freddy Van Ackerman, from an author Mad Kane unaccountably would seek to reread. I've always thought that the world seriously underestimated the attractiveness of the endlessly determined Inspector Javert, pursuing that vicious philanthropist across the country. (Did you weep like me when he suicided? It was as traumatic and incongruous as Scrooge's sellout "conversion".)

Much as I thrilled to the larger-than-life take-no-prisoners attitudes of Cyrano (except when he let silly "honor" get in the way of pushing aside that tongue-tied pretty-boy wimp), and the champion commie-killer Mike Hammer, when it came to real makes-you-shiver ruthless and smart heroism, there was never anyone better than Matt Helm (only in the books, never the movies). Finally, maybe it's because this is income tax day, but right now I think it would be a real turn-on to welcome Ragnar Danneskjold, bearing his usual shining gifts.

The last book you bought is?

That was a pseudo-intellectual historical novel. Naturally, I got this only for research, to see if it merited a satire, as an "anti-memorial" to the recently departed author. The bad news is that mocking the style would be harder than it was worth just to parody content so pretentious. Before that came several volumes of that 19th Century capitalism-basher Dickens, for the same pondered use as updatable soup stock for drowning lefties in their own silliness.

What are you currently reading?

I usually grab a stack of library books at once, and shift between several as my moods swing. Right now I've got bookmarks in our penultimate Prez's list of everyone he ever met (taking notes on several silly things possibly worth quoting at the proper times, such as during Mrs. The Clenis's future campaigns), a "sociobiologist's" abuse of Chaucer (which might merit a full review about its evil secular humanist asides bashing Our Noble Lame Duck), Volume 2 of Shelby Foote's sympathetic-to-Southerners and beautifully written paean to generals, and in the guilty pleasure department, my noir of the month (largely from curiosity to see his take on the JFK killing program related activities in an imaginary simpler time for Neanderthals of open racism, sexism, corruption, and violence; frankly the bloom is fading from this unrelentingly grim tome).

I also just finished a horrible task: reading for the sake of a contemplated forthcoming parody not only a Papist tract attacking it, but the actual original The Da Vinci Code. *Shudder* Spare yourself such an agonizing experience. I had to force myself to wade through writing so bad I would have rejected it for the junior high school paper I edited. And they're making a movie of this verbose propaganda? It may turn out like the legendary proposed 15-minute silent version of Rand's longest novel, featuring a cherry bomb exploding under a model railroad tunnel for the train disaster, and someone quickly holding up an extremely fine-print poster of Galt's entire speech.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

Rationally, the answers have to be things like "Survival On A Deserted Island" and "Building A Radio Transmitter Out Of Coconuts". Years ago Pournelle wrote an article on much the same topic in Analog, mentioning sensible works like The Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. But, it seems the real goal of this question is to identify something to be read for fun, not use. This could go several ways, depending on how long I can expect to stay there. Short term might be quick easy thrillers, mysteries, or parodies to read (perhaps grabbed on the way at the airport). Medium term might be some long overly-praised classics I've never gotten around to finishing (you know which ones; the same titles that you never got through either, but keep feeling you really ought to). If I'm going to stay there forever, then you get into answers several have already mentioned, like anthologies of Shakespeare or other authors, the Bible, and so on. There's another logical divide here. Are these the only works of liberature to be left on earth for future inhabitants to find? Obviously then those kind of anthology answers are most appropriate, whatever specific works are saved.

Or are these just the only ones I'll ever get to read for the rest of my life? In that case it should be books that I've loved reading over and over again, finding something enjoyable each time. Yes, Richard the Third is just such a wonderful depiction of great leadership, so I'll keep my one-volume Shakespeare (as a bonus, he has a few other interesting characters, and the poems in the back are passable). Another book with a great political role model was magnificently styled by a prize-winning poet. For a touch of philosophy, how about a brilliant satire of canonical texts? For humor, there's one of the finest parodies ever penned. I'm also tempted by Mad Kane's imaginary one-volume complete works of Dostoevsky, which would include that wonderful fable where the Spanish cardinal explains mundane reality to his prisoner, but I finally come down to the best single book of advice on business and politics ever written, which unfortunately is only the author's second-best novel.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

Well, I would wish this exercise on my worst enemies, but I haven't left any alive and kicking, so I'll toss it to the winds like a dandelion's seeds.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Spotted by 100 Monkeys Typing was this obvious take on the recent hyped discovery.
According to an article published in last month's Science magazine, in 2003 scientists found a Tyrannosaurus Rex thigh bone during an archaeological dig. The research team had to break the bone in pieces in order to fit it into a helicopter, and when they did so, they discovered the fossil contained well-preserved soft tissues, including blood vessels.

Ken Ham, president of the creationist group Answers in Genesis (AiG), says this important find supports the biblical view of the Earth's timeline. "The reason this is such startling news is because you just wouldn't expect soft tissue and cells like this in a bone supposedly 70 million years old," he says.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Is my blog, ever supportive of the morality of private profits, susceptible to financial inducements? Of course. Therefore, I am happy to endorse Joe Vecchio of Cup O'Joe to fill the new vacancy in the Papacy, having read his notice:
If and when I am elected Pope by the Catholic Church, I will take the name "George-Ringo I" and promise the following:

- To give a Papal gift of ten thousand dollars US to the owner of every website who openly endorses my nomination between now and the election
I frankly make this choice because of his renewal of the fine tradition of simony. His blogging competitor in this election notably failed to grease my palm with silver, though I do like CT Blue's free enterprise proposals for Church revenues:
Well the Church has holy water, and right now it's just giving it away. How crazy is that? My idea is to bottle it and sell it as drinking water. ...

I propose bringing back indulgences. ... I wouldn't be so tacky as to let you buy forgiveness before you sin, but afterwards, you could buy forgiveness on a subscription basis.
Unfortunately, both of these people do seem infected with the virus of American Catholic liberalism, even if they do have good ideas for improved business methods. They both say they would allow priests to marry, and even to marry each other. [“Thou art Bruce, and upon this hunk I will build my church….”]

If the Cardinals (that is, the original Electoral College) decide to limit contenders to those already wearing the red hat, I believe I have found a surprise candidate who really will support the most important and vital conservative values position of them all. That would be Marc Ouellet, the archbishop of Quebec, who
has advocated a return to Eucharistic adoration and Gregorian chant….
Never mind women in the priesthood or any of those other trivial issues; bring back that medieval music!!

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