Live from CPAC: Part I

Wow. I am duly shell-shocked after listening to Ollie North unload of the French in grand style about five minutes ago. Now, as much as I love a good session of ripping on the charter members of the Axis of Weasel, this was pretty rough. Ollie took about ten minutes to tear into the "brie-eating, foie gras-sucking French," a "pathetic, third-rate power," that "makes cheap wine and sells it for too much." Add the obligatory "We saved your collective ass twice, you ingrates," comments and that's basically the entire speech. Yipes. I know know the truth hurts, but is it supposed to be that bad?

Hell, why not?

Make this better by picturing CPAC as the world's biggest conservative spectator sport. All of the speeches take place in one big hall, and the crowds are fond of booing, hissing, cheering wildly at any mention of Dubya, etc. Entertaining, and refreshing. Any time you walk into a place where the Constitution Party can openly have a booth with being ridiculed or spit on, you know you've entered an entirely new universe.


Not Quite Going It Alone

My prof for Presidential Electoral Politics is pretty clearly liberal, but I'll admit that he keeps it pretty much out of the classroom, refreshingly. Sometimes, however, the stripes show.

Today was Poor Amatuer Analysis of the State of the Union Day, at least for the part of the class where we keep in touch with the goings on of the '04. I heard the term "unilateral action" more times in the span of sixty seconds than I had to bear over the past month..and this went on for 45 minutes. And sadly, for someone who's supposed to be well-informed and had pretty good things to say about Bush's performance, there wasn't one mention of the countries that are supporting us.

Never mind. Those nice people in the new Europe are taking care of that for us. Today's Times of London features an Op-Ed from a range of European leaders backing the U.S. against Iraq and the Axis of Weasel, and it's a good one. If this is unilateralism, I'll take it.

(Thanks to Right-Thinking for the link.)
Idiot Lawyers...what a shock....

I've done far more than my share of ranting about affirmative action, so I'll keep my own mouth shut on this one. I think it's worth noting, however, what idiocy my bretheren Hoyas are up to over at the Law Center. JCA at Sua Sponte has the text of a plea to sign a massive law students' amicus brief organized, somehow unsurprisingly, by the resident idiots at GULC; it supports the defendants in Grutter v. Bollinger, the law school case at U of M. Grrrrrrr.... In the words of Homer Simpson: Urge to kill...rising...rising....

She's also got a little story to go along with it. Though I do wish she wasn't so shy about speaking up against this lunacy, I understand, and we agree that The Angry Clam does in fact have cojones.

Help Wanted

I really do hate to beg like this, but the situation with the pictures is getting ridiculous (note: slapping images on a Geocities account doesn't cut it for hosting). Anyone who would be willing to put the pictures I'm trying to show up on their server for a few days would be my new life's hero. Please give me an email if you can, there's a link over on the sidebar.

On the other hand, thanks Emperor Misha, traffic is at an alltime high. Not quite an Instalanche, but greatly appreciated and substantial nontheless.


Tales of Idiocy, Better Late Than Never

ARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!! Bear with me while I try and get the pictures worked out...if any kind soul would like to help out a poor college student and give me a reliable host for these puppies, I'd be forever indebted.

I've been meaning to post this for ages, but the situation with the pictures turned into a nightmare. I'm going to pray they work as they are. Anyway, like Lee at Right-Thinking, I took on my first assignment as an independent journalist (of sorts) this weekend and trucked over to Dupont Circle for yet another protest. The theme was ostensibly different - the protest was billed as "Palestinian Street Theater," anti-Israel instead of anti-war - but the crowd seemed more or less to be the same.

I can't deny that the whole thing was rather amusing, but it was ridiculously galling at the same time. The theme of the day was a re-enactment of the "Jenin massacre," which of course, was long ago proven to be a radical crock of shit. If it's screed you desire, I wrote what I think was a fairly decent Commentary in The Georgetown Independent; that covers the angles on why this collective terrorist's wet dream was a disgrace to logical humans everywhere. The protest itself went generally like this:

You know, just so no one's confused as to where we are. This was the first sight that greeted anyone walking up to the "stage" area.

I got there just as they were kicking off the first of three (!) runs of the re-enactment. Starting the action was narration setting the scene (i.e. "The Jenin refugee camp, October 2002..." yada, yada, yada). First, a line of fake Israeli soldiers would advance on a fairly large group of people with "Palestinian child" and "Palestinian mother" signs taped to them. People hiding in cardboard buildings were a nice touch. The loudspeaker spouted some crap, and then the Palestinians would commence a lot of rock throwing (foil balls) and melodramatic screaming and falling over as the evil Israelis pounded them into Cream of Wheat. And then...

The loudspeaker turned on chopper noises in the background, and the tanks and helicopters rolled in. All of those, of course, were expressively sent to kill Arabs by the U.S. government. More screaming, falling over, melodrama, etc. Once most of the Palestinians were dead, then we had more American-funded evil: bulldozing the town into mass graves (hey, the loudspeaker said it, it must be true!) with Caterpiller tractors.

Now we're really getting bad. The Red Cross workers trying to get into the camp, naturally, get blocked by those nasty IDF boys. During one of the runs, one of the soldiers (played by a Georgetown professor), says to an aid worker, "Nope, no one's dying here but criminals!" in his approximate guess of what your average Israeli soldier thinks on a routine basis. Asshole. Of course, he precedes to mow down some aid workers.

Here's our aforementioned buddy, stalking through the remains of Jenin while the loudspeaker claims that the IDF sniped at aid workers and journalists trying to get into the camp.

I think this speaks for itself. After the real action was over, most people just milled around in character or waved BS signs like this guy.

This scared the living hell out of me. Our little lady here spent the entire night gleefully chucking foil rocks at any targets of opportunity, especially ones with "Israeli Army" signs. At one point, I heard her grandmother (who I briefly talked to) tell her: "Go get the soldiers!" She scampered off to comply with a grin. Imagine this girl with C4 strapped around her waist and understand why I'm frightened; scarily, it doesn't seem to be that big of a step.

Slogans were a big deal, as usual. Some good ones: "Occupation is a crime! Israel out of Palestine!" (No problem...as soon as you stop creating the need to occupy.) "1, 2, 3, 4, We Don't Want Your Racist War!" (Oh wow...) "5, 6, 7, 8, Israel is a Terrorist State!" (I'm thinking they got it mixed up on that one.) There was also one calling Bush and Sharon "the same" (i.e. mass murderers) that I can't remember for the life of me.

I really want to know how blaming the U.S. for covering up a disproved slaughter is going to help dialogue.

So that was generally that. There are a million comments I could make. Of course, it's ironic and hypocritical that the Palestinians scream bloody murder about alleged violations of UN resolutions, but refuse to accept the UN's version of Jenin because it kills their propaganda aims. A friend of mine who also attended made a great point as well: "You can't get people who don't like their own country to like Israel, it's not going to happen." This is true.

But again, I'm just really concerned that this was a big waste of energy and talent. A friend did some interviewing with a camcorder (which I hope to be able to view soon) and I heard some of what the people said; on the whole, these were much smarter and well-informed people than the general ignorant dreck at the ANSWER protests. Most said they had hope for Labor's plan, that they supported the two-state solution, that they recognized Israel's right to exist, etc. These aren't the views of hopeless fanatics. Given, most also said that while targeted killings in Israel were wrong, suicide bombers had full rights to all settlers (including women and children, presumably), but still.... It boggles me why anyone trying to speak for a middle ground would do something as utterly stupid as to participate in a mass public continuation of a hate-inducing lie. This only divides; it does nothing for peace.

On the other hand, I had fun. Aside from the stupidity and offensiveness of the act itself, which is a pretty big aside, I'll admit that the whole thing was spontaneous and ridiculous enough to be fun. Think of a geopolitical Rocky Horror Picture Show: Wrong? Yes. Amusing? Yeah, why not? But beyond that, there were serious implications that should not be taken lightly by outsiders or the people who want to play a role in the peace process down the road.

Everybody thought we were going to beat Seton Hall this time. Did I tell them they were wrong? Yep. Was I right? Oh, yeah.

Raise your glasses, folks, to the most poorly coached team in Division I basketball. I can't even conjure up the right words of contempt. Just fire Esherick already, for God's sake.
Take Cover!

Holy Jesus (well, figuratively speaking in my case), I just got linked to The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler. All hail Emperor Misha I, ruler of the Anti-Idiotarian Empire...but damn, that means I might have to start writing something of substance and import. Crap.
Word from Osama

Well, while the Brits continue to kick our asses in serious journalism (with the glaring exception of our good buddy Robert Fisk), the Australians are busy mopping up our satire writers like a squad of German paratroopers taking on 50,000 Frenchmen. Tim Blair's Osama bin Laden State of the Union Address is a masterpiece.

We have faced the mildest, most measured attack our enemies could throw at us, and we have been rapidly defeated at almost every turn. The Muslim people have not risen as one to join my lunatic quest, the West has not been intimidated (well, except for the French) and every prediction about a Vietnam-style quagmire in Afghanistan proved false. Why, only this week US and Afghan troops easily put down a small al-Qa'ida uprising.

From this we can draw strength. For is it not written in the Koran that he who is pulped by US Army ordnance and buried beneath tonnes of Tora Bora dirt shall not later rise up and do more cool stuff with jets and buildings? You know, I bet it is.

Saddam Hussein might want to pay attention to that last part, it's going to seem very germane in about a week.

Jews In Space

Despite the fact that I make a career of Jewish jokes, I think I've been pretty good about keeping them off of here. Until now, anyway. This interview with Col. Ilan Ramon of the Israeli Air Force, currently the first Israeli in space, is hilarious. Like Kesher Talk (my new favorite source for kvetching, making a bit tsimmis of things, and other Yiddishry), I think this is the best part:

. . . Any other problems?

Well, I am having withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal? From what?

Smoking and talking on my cell phone … Wait a minute … hold on …

[Long pause]

Ilan, are you there?

[Long pause]

OK, I’m back.

What happened?

It was just Shabbat. But now it’s over. The next one doesn’t start for 16 minutes. Go ahead.

Priceless. I couldn't resist. A note to Gentiles, though: don't try. You're not going to get it.

UPDATE: I stand corrected: apparently, this little bit is comprehensible even to non-Members of the Tribe. We'll just call this the Jewish humor primer for goyim. Check out the full article for a real challenge!


More Random SOTU Crap

Kudos to The Angry Clam for the best observation of the night!

Finally, I should note that John Ashcroft was the "missing man." I wonder how many lefties went nuts when they heard that, facing as they were the prospect of President John Ashcroft.

I'm also glad to see that the Clam gives us Chosen People a shout-out:

Bush needs to stop listening to the pinkos, but he should take a page from the Jews (and Muslims): NO MORE PORK!

Miscellaneous Thoughts on SOTU

1. I'd love to see the figures on how much money the President proposed for different projects in the span of twenty minutes.... Didn't fiscal respsonsibility used to be a Republican issue? I'm very skeptical about shelling out money for the USA Freedom Corps, counselling, etc. etc. in general, but especially when we're going to have weapons stocks to replenish and a war to fund.

2. The case for tax cuts was well done. Effectively worded, strong logic (i.e. if tax cuts are ok in five years, why not now?), hard line on the marriage penalty, etc. Bush's plan will never satisfy most Dems, but he made a great case to those whose minds aren't fully made up.

3. Oh wow. "Put it this way....they're no longer a problem to the United States." This is officially Tony Soprano's America. Laughed my ass off at that one.

4. A great job on making a strong case about Iraq, but it wasn't a slam dunk. And I don't like the sound of waiting yet another week to try and pander once again for UN support that either won't come or is going to cost us substantially in terms of time and concessions. Bush talked the talk on not hanging our fate on the decisions of other nations, but I would have preferred more substantive action. Say, for instance: "My fellow Americans, this video monitor shows Saddam Hussein's palace in Baghdad through the infrared camera of a JDAM bomb...." Maybe not quite that direct, but still.

5. As always, way too much mentioning of God, God-given blah blah blah, granted by God, etc. etc. Then again, I'm permanently squirrely about stuff like that, so whatever. I am very grateful, however, that the mention of faith-based initiatives was kept to an implication in that anecdote about the church in Louisiana.

6. I was really surprised and heartened to see a handful of Dems stand when the President asked for the partial-birth abortion ban. It's nice to see that some sense remains on the issue.

7. Yes, I'm adding as thoughts come to mind. Completely forgot about human cloning. A solid F for the Fearless Leader on this one. It was a solid, bold stroke, but if he gets what he wants, we're essentially cutting off any form of finding the greatest hope for therapeutic medicine in human history. Booooooo.

Those were the big thoughts of the night. I wasn't terribly impressed, but it was a decent showing overall. I'll be looking forward, rhetorically, though not in principle, to Powell's speech to the Security Council far more.

UPDATE: I just read Tacitus' comments and we agree on most of the issues, but as always, his are far better written. Definitely worth a look. Also, Kos' commentary is amusing, and good representation of thoughts on the other side of the aisle.

UPDATE, THE SEQUEL: Here's the first half of the live updates from Kos. And, holy shit...check out the comments section for the world's biggest Bush hate-in. There's some good entertainment there.
Fisking and Other Odds and Ends

I am in awe of Isntapundit's thorough and hilariously profane fisking of Mark Shields. I especially love this one because I specifically remember reading this article on CNN and hating it with a passion. Shields, it should be noted, is up there with Bill Press in the journalists' section of the People That Need to be Shot at the Earliest Possible Convenience list (hey, it must exist somewhere).

Tacitus is posting live commentary to the State of the Union address tonight, which everyone should check out. I'd love to be able to do that, but chances are slim due both to talent and internet access. Live updates on the State of the Union Drinking Game tally, however, are a distinct possibility
The Casus Belli

By now this is a very old link in the blogosphere, but I can't help but post it. Bill Whittle is simply an unbelievable writer, and everyone should take ten minutes out of their day to read what is an extremely powerful piece.

These are the kinds of ideas that I so desperately want to be able to write, but am simply unable to.
These are the kinds of ideas that make me deeply thankful that there are other, far more skilled people on earth than me.
These are the kinds of ideas that suddenly make it acceptable to tear up from pride and awe.
These are the kinds of ideas that steel my faith that the way I view the world offers a bright and hopeful future.
These are the kinds of ideas that silence that little voice that tells me the Navy isn't the way to go, and make me think that life will be complete with a little gold bar, a set of wings, and the honor of defending a free country.

Thank you, Bill Whittle.


My New Hero

Whoever this guy is, he's my new hero for the greatest idea since the "Terry Tate: Office Linebacker" commercial. And kudos to Glenn Reynolds for the link.

Well, we know what College Republicans across the country will be doing tomorrow evening. Hmmm...ROTC should be an interesting proposition on Wednesday morning.

Was it just me or did the Super Bowl commercials kinda suck this year? There were a few highlights...the "Terry Tate: Office Linebacker" commercial was hilarious, that Zebra one at the begining wasn't bad. But otherwise, not too impressive. On the other hand, I won the AEPi block pool thanks to that last touchdown. 50 bucks!!

I'm getting back on track this week, and the Matthews interview and the protest stuff are forthcoming.


No Comment

Holy shit. Apparently, I'm now running the NASDAQ instead of a website from the looks of it.

NOTE: Don't bother anymore. Since the hits graph changed, this joke now makes no sense whatsoever. Get your cheap plummeting-stock-market humor elsewhere...or just watch the ticker on any given day.



No, there wasn't much blogging today. It was a busy day. There was a Kerry speech that I should've skipped (I'm too tired to go find a link to his speech, but Glenn Reynolds is right...unimpressive about does it); there was a very...very...very long session of Liberal Arts Seminar; there was an outdoors running of a Navy PT test in the thinnest sweats ever made by man, in the dark, on a day where the wind chill was at 2 degrees. There was other stuff, too. On the other hand, I am offering online entries into the Official War on Terror Commencement of Hostilities Pool. 5 bucks. Let me know.

I'm also trying to figure out why my blog sucks. I'm not that dumb. I'm decently knowledgeable. But, man, it'll be a cold day in hell before I can post a good, long, intelligent spiel/rant (a la Den Beste, Tacitus, etc...I won't even dare say Andrew Sullivan or Lileks or any of the professional types) of any wit or worth. So, yeah, continued slowdown is likely until my blog's general state of suckhood is solved. If anyone has comments on this - observations of aforementioned suckhood or ways to remove myself from it are equally welcome - they'd be appreciated.


Playing Hardball: Part I

Woohoo!! One interview with Chris Matthews in the bag! Now look for me tonight on stage as the Hardball College Tour goes live from Gaston. I'm going to transcribe the whole spiel, but here's a sneak preview (this is right off the tape):

ME: So who's your favorite? Ben Affleck or Matt Damon? Who's it better to be?
CM: Great question. I like...uh...Matt Damon.
ME: Acting or looks?
CM: I like the movies he's been in. I think The Talented Mr. Ripley was a really, incredibly good movie.
ME: Didn't see it.

Yup, that's right. I ask the cutting questions.

For some inexplicable reason, liberal editorial pages seem to be suffering from an attack of common sense today. Michael Kelly's Marching with Stalinists from the Washington Post has the belated mass-media reaction to International ANSWER.

This is whom the left now marches with. The left marches with the Stalinists. The left marches with those who would maintain in power the leading oppressors of humanity in the world. It marches with, stands with and cheers on people like the speaker at the Washington rally who declared that "the real terrorists have always been the United Snakes of America." It marches with people like the former Black Panther Charles Baron, who said in Washington, "if you're looking for an axis of evil then look in the belly of this beast."

Then, the New York Times' Thomas Friedman (of whom I will shamefully admit I am a fan) writes Thinking About Iraq (I), which rips on anti-war liberals.

It is not unreasonable to believe that if the U.S. removed Saddam and helped Iraqis build not an overnight democracy but a more accountable, progressive and democratizing regime, it would have a positive, transforming effect on the entire Arab world — a region desperately in need of a progressive model that works.

Let's hope this is the start of a trend.
The Conservative's Obligatory Roe Comments

I'll make it quick.

I don't get too worked up over Roe because, frankly, I don't care all that much (gasp!). It may be because I'm not very religious, or because I'm naturally interested in other topics, or something else, but for whatever reason, abortion does not send me into those apoplectic fits that many on the right tend to have. Now, would I like to see it overturned? Yes. I'm personally against abortion as a matter of common sense; it seems to me that in a potential lose-lose situation, the solution that doesn't end up taking a life is the right way to go. More realistically, however, I mainly want to see abortion-on-demand ended and decisions in that regard returned to doctors.

Views like that tend to make me unpopular among my more conservative friends, despite the fact that I'm to the right of them on most other issues. And that, for me, is the real issue behind the Roe debate. There are a lot of Republicans who talk a great game about being the Party of Lincoln, and then turn and scream "RINO!" and "You're not really a Republican/conservative!" to anyone who dares voice an alternative stance on abortion. This is something far removed from inclusion.

A big-tent party can only help conservatives. I'm not pro-choice or pro-environment or entirely pro-gay rights myself, but those who are need to be assured that one isolated belief among many is not going to cost them a home in the Republican party. Today, there are self-described conservatives manning the protest barricades on both sides of the issue; the lesson of Roe should be that we can fight for whatever ideals we see fit without turning them into a litmus test for conservative purity.
The Peacenik Next Door

One of those unfortunate by-products of college life is having to deal with people who write things like this in announcement emails:

this past Saturday, penthouse and georgetown students were among the 200,000-250,000 people (a good estimate) who rallied/marched for peace. it was the largest U.S. demonstration yet against war with Iraq. there were also other huge protests in san fran, other parts of the us, and around the world. the Post had GREAT coverage, and the NYT had a great editorial. go peace! : )

I don't even know where to begin, and since those who have followed the protests will recognize the spate of idiotic statements, I won't bother. Yeesh....
America's "Allies"

Germany has decided to follow the lead of France and declare its total opposition to any UN resolution backing war with Iraq.

My theory on the Franco-German stonewalling has been pretty simple: aside from massive anti-Americanism, the two nations are hoping to force the US into a long UN approval process, one that would stall until the window of opportunity for launching an attack in 2003 has closed. Once February had passed, they'd then have a long year to keep gathering steam in anti-war circles and boost opposition to America in the Security Council. Steven Den Beste at USS Clueless, however, has a far more developed and sinister theory.

One more and the most important: suppose that the records also show that during the 1990's companies in France or Germany (or both) actively and deliberately broke the sanctions and sold equipment and supplies to Iraq which helped it to create these things, and that the governments of Germany and France knew and approved of this and actively helped. That's the biggest and most speculative suppose.

On that I can't place a probability; there's no way of knowing right now whether this happened, or whether such records will be found. But I don't consider the possibility of this to be vanishingly small. I think the chance is decent that some such illegal sales to Iraq took place, but I can't say how likely it is that the governments there actively approved of it, or at least deliberately ignored it (which is bad enough). That's the wild card.

I haven't given it quite the in-depth reading it deserves (it's a hefty article), but this scenario seems scarily plausible from the looks of it.
Swan Song?

This item is posted a bit belatedly, but yipes.... Andrew Sullivan launched a full broadside against the UN yesterday, saying in effect that it's time is up as an effective body if it's not willing to support war in Iraq. Instead, he claims (rightly) that the UN is more interested in tripping up the United States for the gain of others.

Paris and Berlin know full well that the chances of the inspectors actually finding what Saddam has spent so much effort concealing is next to zero. And they also know that by delaying the potential war until the autumn, they will help keep the U.S. economy depressed (investment being crippled by uncertainty) and help the growing appeasement movement gain more strength. By then, war will become an even greater political risk for London and Washington, which is, of course, part of the Europeans' plan.

The Charles Krauthammer Op-Ed I quoted yesterday made much this same point in October, and both are right. If the Security Council is willing to be railroaded by anti-Americanism rather than doing its own job, its legitimacy will come to a screeching halt when the war to liberate Iraq is successful.


We're Target Practice, Eh?

Why anyone would want to follow the lead of Canadians is beyond me, but it appears that some people can't be reasoned with. The Angry Clam reveals that yet more "human shields" (read: JDAM calibration dummies) are on their way to Iraq to stand in front of buildings and get killed. As the Clam notes, however, this premise doesn't quite work when people are making jokes about your imminent death instead of getting worried.
Beating the Dead Horse IV: The Saga Continues

Yup, back to affirmative action. There's a whole spate of little tidbits floating around the blogosphere right now that are worthy of mention and end in some form of a coherent point (at least I hope).

Firstly, there's video of Howard Dean's recent speech in Iowa, courtesy of the Dean2004 blog. Howard is in usual form here, meaning he's engaging, funny, and left of Marx. The speech starts off with some jokes, then proceeds right into the affirmative action issue. But Howard, in the middle of a lengthy and ludicrous attack, raises a good point: President Bush, in a pathetic attempt at appearing not entirely against affirmative action, attacked the U of M program as a quota system, which it is not.

A Boston Globe columnist blurted out the truth today:
The editor of a sizable newspaper told me recently that he decided the racial makeup of four new hires - two minorities, a white woman, and a white male - before reviewing a single applicant.
Isn't that illegal? And if a leading editor is enforcing illegal racist hiring policies, shouldn't a journalist tell us who he or she is? Or are liberal editors above the law?

THAT, from Andrew Sullivan, is a quota system. But the bottom line is this: even if it's not a quota system, it's still no better! The Angry Clam gives us a little perspective on the fairness of the University of Michigan's non-quota policy.

"They may receive 20 points for one of the following: membership in an underrepresented minority group, socioeconomic disadvantage, attendance at a predominantly minority high school, athletics, or at the Provost's discretion. Reflecting the University's commitment both to state residents and to broader geographic diversity, counselors assign ten points for Michigan residency, six additional points for residency in underrepresented Michigan counties, and two points for residency in underrepresented states. Applicants receive one or four points for alumni relationships. The personal essay can earn up to three points. Based on an applicant's activities, work experience, and awards, counselors may assign up to five points for leadership and service, and five more points for personal achievement."
Let me put that into perspective for you: if every single member of your family since the founding of Michigan went there, AND you were the leader in everything in high school, AND you wrote a personal statement up for the Nobel Prize in literature, you'd get twelve points, eight behind what you'd get just for being black.

Oh, yeah, that's a lot better. Clearly, the Michigan policy is, at the very least, tilting the scale enormously against qualified applicants in favor of race.

Dean wants to talk about "making classrooms look like America", but the real question seems to be what good a classroom that looks like America is if the laws that created it are fundamentally against the spirit of America. Classrooms should be diverse, but diversity should be a natural product of all students naturally focusing on work ethic and qualifications; programs like U of M's, aside from being blatantly unconstitutional, send the message that skin color trumps personal achievement (which, ironically, was precisely what the old civil rights movement was fighting against). Dean's assault isn't really about justice or civil rights; it's just an attempt to plant those racially divisive hints he claims to deplore. Let's not be fooled.
White Guys Willing to Die

Right-Thinking has picked up the story concerning facts and figures on racial distribution in the armed forces. InstaPundit was covering the piece this morning, but Lee has added some additional analysis that makes the item truly noteworthy; it's a thorough debunking of attempts to play the race card and accuse Bush of a "racist war" and a good read.
Send In the Clown

If you believe those old saws that "Raindrops are God's tears" and "It'll be a cold day in hell when...", then how appropriate is it that it was snowing in New York when Al Sharpton formally announced his candidacy?

NOTE: Yes, this post is a repeat. Somehow I miscoded the last one into a situation that is totally unfixable in Blogger, and I can't delete it, either. Great. Ignore the next post down and bear with me here.
Send In the Clown

If you believe those old saws that "Raindrops are God's tears" and "It'll be a cold day in hell when...", then how appropriate is it that it was snowing in New York when Al Sharpton # posted by Max : 1:50 PM
Idiotarian Watch

According to flyers now popping up on campus, John Kerry's Thursday speech at Gaston is to be "A Major Foreign Policy and National Security Address." The French Embassy, it should be noted, is about fifty feet down the road from campus, making this a very dangerous combination.
The Road Home Goes Through Baghdad and Paris

It looks as if President Bush is following the advice of Josh Chafetz and will be sticking it to the French in grand style.

The White House released a 29-page ``Apparatus of Lies'' that purports to document Iraq's ``brutal record of deceit.''

It accuses Saddam of placing civilians close to military equipment, causing the suffering of his own people, exploiting Islam and distorting the public record with forgeries, fake interviews and placing false news accounts.

In unusually blunt language, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer responded to suggestions that allies would wage a major diplomatic fight to prevent the U.N. Security Council from passing a war resolution.

This is a very good idea. As Charles Krauthammer pointed out an October Op-Ed: "Now, when Louis XIV declared that something was unacceptable, it carried weight. Napoleon, too. And Clemenceau. What exactly does French non-acceptance mean today? A cheese embargo?"

In effect: screw 'em! The French have two options: hop on board before the bombs start falling, or hold out, perhaps permanently, and risk looking very stupid and very, very alone (except for the Germans, but we know how it goes with those two by now) when hostilities wrap up and the evidence from Iraq starts flowing in.
Somebody Get Rod Dreher Some Medication

I'm not usually critical of much that the National Review has to offer, with Jonah Goldberg's idiotic flap with my friend Dan Spector last semester an exception. That being said, however, some things just cannot pass.

I personally think that Rod Dreher's suggestion for the WTC site is today's nominee for Worst Policy Proposal in Human History. The general idea is that a very old plan by Antonio Gaudi for the world's largest hotel should be placed at Ground Zero. Just go look at the conceptual shots of this thing. The Times article that Dreher links to claims that it would "dominate the New York skyline": well, yes, it would. Gargantuan phallic symbols have a certain way of attracting attention like that.

It should be said that I'm not a huge fan of any of the proposed WTC designs, though I think Lord Foster's plan has a wonderfully reminiscent touch to it. Still, I'd prefer anything that couldn't be scaled down and sold in magazines you wouldn't want your kids to see. Let's keep this idea on the drawing board.
Too Little, Too Late

It looks like we're in for yet another last-ditch effort by Iraq to do just enough to make it look they're being good for UN inspectors. This time, they've agreed to give in to the American demand to have unfettered, unsupervised access to Iraqi scientists.

The commitment Iraq made today says scientists who are asked for interviews in private and without government "minders" will be "encouraged to accept this."

HA! But, unsurprisingly, a touch more deception seems to have done it for France and the usual suspects, who have declared their opposition to any UN resolution of war against Iraq in the near future. Colin Powell stopped laughing long enough to issue a warning:

"Departing from his prepared remarks Mr. Powell said the Council would have to "make a judgment" on Iraq's cooperation after the chief United Nations weapons inspectors give a report here next week on their work in Iraq. He summoned the Council not to "shrink from the responsibilities" or be "shocked into impotence," although he stopped short of confirming that Washington would seek a resolution to authorize war."

I don't have class until 10:15. I should go sleep. I should do some reading. I should shower. Nope; I'm blogging. This is getting entirely out of hand.
Random Pseudo-Deep Observation of the Day

I just turned my head and, underneath the blinds, caught the coolest view of northern Virginia. It's still dark enough so that everything across the river looks more or less like one big blob, and right in the middle is this unbroken ribbon of headlights moving into the city. Looks very surreal; no taillights, very little passing...just a pack of little white dots all trudging along at the same speed.

When people gave me that funny look when I said I was going to school in DC and told me they'd never go because of terrorists, the answer was always "Eh, if it happens, it happens." But sometimes, you wonder. That's a lot of people driving into one city, and it makes you realize what a functional target this place really is.


Same to You, Buddy!

Reciprocating a much-appreciated link, Russel Henderson at The Vermont Reactionary has been added to the blogs of note. Sounds like a very lonely place for a conservative, but it doesn't seem to affect quality.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In my boyish enthusiasm and blog envy, I sent out an email to Glenn Reynolds asking him, in part, how I could remove my blog from obscurity and the general state of sucking (Was I fishing for a link? Oh yeah. Did I get it? No way in hell.). "First-hand reporting (especially if you can get pics with a digital camera) is in the shortest supply in the blogosphere," he reports. Oh, this can be done....

On Tap on the Hilltop:
The Good (Wednesday at 9): Hardball! Live! Here! Yessssssss.... I've been waiting to get on the Hardball Hotseat ever since I saw some moron from Penn completely blow it during the Rudy Giuliani episode. According to an email we got: "Joining [Chris Matthews] on the show are military analyst Bill Arkin, veteran war correspondent Peter Arnett, and Desert Storm commanders and veterans Gen. Barry McCaffrey and Gen. Wayne Downing. They'll talk about international affairs, Operation Desert Storm, and the potential war in Iraq." Heh heh heh.
The Bad (Thursday at Noon): Speaking of "Heh heh heh," presidential candidate and leading Idiotarian John Kerry is coming to campus to speak on...well, God knows what, but it's sure to be wrong and nasty to Bush.
The Ugly (Saturday): Certain unnamed pro-Palestinian fanatics (*cough*MSA*cough*cough*YALA*cough*) are apparently going to be staging a re-enactment of the "Jenin massacre" in Dupont Circle. Should be a small cast, no doubt, especially on the victims' side. My question: who's playing the UN officials who come in to tell everyone that the massacre actually didn't happen?

Just Say No

Today's Washington Post is carrying news of a deal that I'm sure is about to become very popular in many circles.

"Three top Bush administration officials said today they would welcome exile for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and one, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, signaled the United States might allow Hussein to escape war crimes prosecution if he voluntarily steps down."

"'To avoid a war, I would personally recommend that some provision be made so that the senior leadership in that country and their families could be provided haven in some other country,' Rumsfeld said on ABC's 'This Week.' 'I think that that would be a fair trade to avoid a war.'"

Watch for the phrase "I think that that would be a fair trade to avoid a war" in the coming weeks; I'm almost positive it's going become a recurring theme. And, at least on the surface, it seems that good old Don is right on target, if slightly shortsighted.

The tactical problems with this arrangement should be obvious. Exile would mean a thriving pro-Hussein culture transplanted to another city, likely a Muslim one (or Paris - but I'm not certain which would be a less anti-American option). Fanatics in Iraq would have ample motivation to wage a guerrilla war against whatever brand of peacekeepers were dispatched. Fundamentalist propaganda would screech about the "Western imperialist invasion" that hadn't really won anything. But, even then, I'd take the deal. These risks, in many ways, are essentially the ones we face already; a slightly increased prospect of threats seems a small price for saving the lives a war would lose.

It's when we throw in the issue of avoiding war crimes charges that my stomach turns. This is unacceptable. Think about the arguments that we on the right have been making for the war to liberate Iraq: toppling Saddam would be a humanitarian act, the Kurds and other ethnic minorities need to be freed from opression, a free Iraq will mean open flow of goods and food that Iraqis need, we'll help democracy movements in other Arab countries. Especially over the past two days, as we've railed about the atrocities that International ANSWER and the WWP support, think about how much we've staked on the moral necessity of removing Saddam Hussein from power.

Allowing Hussein to scamper off into exile with a friendly "Good-bye!" negates all of that. Refusing to prosecute him would essentially admit, or at least appear to admit, that our howling about persecution and human rights violations was nothing but a front for strategic considerations and oil interests rather than a compelling argument. Anyone with half of a functioning conscience should stand foursquare against it.

When the dust settles in Iraq, there are going to be decades' worth of mass graves, torture sessions, and other atrocities to deal with; in short, Iraq in late 2003 will look and feel remarkably like Yugoslavia in late 1999. Then, the criticism of NATO action essentially melted before the evidence, and Slobodan Milosevic rightly ended up in The Hague. All of the human decency and moral righteousness that we have rightly been pitching as a case for the war will dissapear in a like manner if Saddam Hussein doesn't become Slobo's next door neighbor. If we can broker a deal that will save lives and achieve this, then let's do it; otherwise, the weight of our own case demands that we reject anything else.
Super Bowl Commercial?

One of the best posts to arise out of the whole mess surrounding the ANSWER protests came from Neal Pollack, who proposed a commercial idea to play on the infamous "Daisy Girl."

ANNOUNCER: Don't let the Fifth Column fool you. This is America. We won't win unless we're all in this together.






The primacy of that new Bud Light commercial with the catfighting is, sadly, at an end.

Movie Night

I've been meaning to post a link to this video clip for a while. Just around five minutes of feel-good footage from Operation Enduring Freedom; well done and heartening to watch.


Simply Unbelievable

InstaPundit points the way to an article from Tacitus, who cuts right to the bone on what International ANSWER and the Worker's World Party are truly all about. This is a stunning piece, and a must-read.

The various responses, commentaries, and comments to Tacitus' article are slowly piling up. Glenn Reynolds' continuing thread has them all, and it's hilarious. Check it out.
Poetic Justice

Last game in Veteran's Stadium. Eagles lose. Tiki Barber's brother scores the clinching touchdown. Giants fan are happy. All is right with the world.
"Time is Running Out."

On the heels of yesterday's demands for proof from the nation's leading delusionaries, CNN carries the rather unsurprising story that the finds keep piling up in Iraq.

The other day, it was 12 empty warheads for chemical weapons. Today, several more warheads and all sorts of incriminating documents were tacked on to that total. Hans Blix asks, "When we find material for chemical ammunition, we have to ask ourselves, 'is this just one find or are there more?'" I'll bet I can give him the answer to that...but it shouldn't matter. There have already been material breaches. The evidence gathered to date suggests that waiting around to find more is only likely to give Iraq a greater window of opportunity to advance whatever programs they've already undertaken. At this point, the more time we wait, the more time we give Saddam to prepare his weapons and arm his fanatics and make things more deadly for U.S. troops.

Let's Roll.
Somehow, we knew all along...

An article in this week's New York Times Magazine by Tucker Carlson starts off well enough: there are some comments about how generally pathetic the Democratic Party is these days, about how much they deserved their November loss, and some other good stuff. Now, I understand that the article was written to show how the Democrats can and should (I beg to differ) bounce back, but I think offering a complete rehab plan was a bit much.

Still, Carlson nails the essential playbook that the Democrats need to use for victory, and it's a scary one. For a comparison:
For Democrats to win back Congress and the White House in 2004, they must: a) arrange for the current president to mess up horribly, preferably by losing a war or driving the economy into stagflation, and b) pick a national political leader with the stature, political skill and clarity of vision to take advantage of the opportunity. None of this will be easy. - Tucker Carlson

The worse things are, the better they are. - V.I. Lenin


White Kids in Southeast

So that's where the counter-protest went....

I've seen a common theme throughout several blogs of the old line where a protester would say "If you want war, why don't you go fight?" Now, while I thought Dave's "Well, hey, you didn't fight in 'Nam, either" line was fairly amusing, I can say a unilateral tie for best moment of the day was every time I was able to say "Sir/Ma'am, don't worry, I'm in ROTC and I'll be fighting soon." (Disclaimer for Navy readers: I WASN'T in uniform or claiming myself as a representative of the military!!!...watch me get in trouble anyway)


Dead Ends In the Search for Intelligent Life

This morning's counter-protest expedition was, as far as it could be, a rousing success. At the very least, I had a lot of fun. We eschewed the counter-protest at the end of the Mall (though, admittedly, because we didn't know about it--frankly, it would've been less fun) and went straight for the anti-war crowd near the Capitol.


Anyway.... Actually, the day truly started when we met up at Healy Gates. A girl walks up to us: "Is this meeting for going to the protest?" Glenn: "Ummm well we're counter-protesting...." Girl: "Oh." She looks at the sign in Glenn's hands that reads "Give War A Chance" in appropriately hippie-like script, flashes us some sort of confused/dirty look, and walks off.

Things went generally this way down at the protest itself. We got out of the Metro at Smithsonian, broke out the American flags and signs, and started for the Capitol. I can safely say we were the only people there with an unmutilated American flag. Reactions were mixed: some laughed at the wittier of our posters, most gave dirty looks, and apparently some though we were lending sarcastic support the anti-war effort and gave us a thumbs-up. Eventually we hit the crowd and started to wriggle through.

In the pack, things got fun. We managed to maneuver in, occasionally shouting "Yay, Terrorism!" or "Go Saddam!", and finally got to a close spot where we could hold our signs. For a minute, it was a bit too unconfrontational. Then, the speaker let loose with a chant of "No! War! In! Iraq!" Waving our signs, we yelled "No! Terror! In the U.S.!" against the crowd. From then on, it was something more like what I'd envisioned.

The details of being in the crowd are pointless. There was a lot of yelling and vitriol, a good deal of sarcasm, and the occasional decent word. But the general gist of the atmosphere was really shocking to me. Given, this was my first protest, but I was shocked at how scarily uneducated 99.9% of the protestors were. The typical exchange went something like this:
WOMAN: You're @^#$ing scum, you racist bastard! YOUR President's a dumbass who just wants kill people!
ME: Ma'am, let me ask you something: do you believe in human rights?
WOMAN: Yeah, I do! You just want to kill people, you @#$!er!
ME: [Some sort of list of ways that Saddam Hussein has generally tortured and oppressed the Iraqis]. Why are you supporting him?
WOMAN: You're just an idiot! You're just @#$%ing naive!

Almost every person I talked to was interested in doing nothing other than drowning us out; not one would even attempt to mount a defense to any challenge we offered them, preferring instead to insult or scream at us; not one of the people we met who were demanding "their own voice be heard" was interested in allowing us to even talk amongst ourselves without interruption. Also, amazingly few people were on topic. Like all liberal protests, the crowd was essentially a mix of anyone attempting to hopelessly square pro-reparations, Green, extreme worker's rights, or anti-"racist" views with support for Iraq.

Now, I can honestly say that most of the people I went with were having fun and were honestly there to, if not to debate, at least to spark a friendly discussion or two. Later in the day, standing in a less crowded area trying to decide what to do, we figured we liked the fringes because more people were coming by and speaking to us, or at least coming up with some sort of polite-souding line that they hoped would stump us into silence.

Nor, before today, was I truly convinced about leftist anti-Americanism. I stand corrected. The evil, resentful glances shot at our flags were proof enough. But during one talk, a speaker shouted something to the effect of "What right do we have to go and attack Iraq?" "Three thousand dead people in New York City!", I shouted. I was born in Manhattan. I consider the city a very close second home. I don't take September 11th lightly. But naturally, the responses came back: "F#$ you!" "We deserved it!" "Your oil companies and Bush caused September 11th!" Etc. etc.

We eventually moved out of the crowd and farther down the mall; this was where we encountered my hero of the day. I don't recall his name, but he was sitting alone on a bike, holding a sign that read "Free Iraq - Let's Roll." When we first saw him, he was talking to someone in a dirty jacket and turban with a clearly pissed-off look on his face. We walked up with a "Let's Roll!" greeting. Needless to say, he was fairly excited to see us. After a minute, he goes "So, do you want to join in my dialogue with my friend here?" He gestures into thin air - the guy who was talking to him just took off. This mattered little. "Where are you from?" "Georgetown," we replied. He laughed and said, "Oh, conservatives at Georgetown! I'll bet you're in the minority!" and then settled down to talking with us in a very loud voice about being proud to be out there, about the counter-protest he'd been to, about his views on the war, about his office pool on when the bombings would start.

At one point, a worker came up to us with a little red bucket:
WOMAN: Excuse me, we're taking donations to cover organization fees, would you like to contribute?
OUR GUY: Miss, is International ANSWER [the group that organized the protest] affiliated with the Worker's World Party?
WOMAN: I don't know.... I'm just a volunteer.
OUR GUY: Do you know anything about the organization that you're working for?
WOMAN: (long, uncomfortable silence)...No.
An explanation of how International ANSWER is funded by ultraleft parties like WWP (information to be found on their website) followed.

Needless to say, we were drawing something of a small crowd. We talked, took a picture, and eventually, our friend said something about the decisiveness of the Afghan war and how few people had lost their lives. A small, academic-looking man popped his head in and asked, "Sir, do you realize that more people were killed in Afghanistan than on September 11th?" Clearly, he did; just as clearly, the questioner was expecting nothing more than a blank look. "Well," he fired back, "let's put these events in their context. September 11th was a terrorist attack, and...." Moving on, we didn't hear much else, but we could discern him debating for well after our exit. Of all the people I met this morning, this man was literally the only one interested in a serious exchange of ideas; the man he'd been talking to when we walked up was pissed because he'd expected to fire off a nasty one-liner and walk away, not become involved in a serious conversation.

After this, things slowed down. We moved off to the right side (physically, not politically) of the crowd in vain search for yet another "counter-protest". There was a rousing yell from the stage asking "Who Wants To Impeach Bush?"; "Six More Years! Six More Years!", we chanted. There was a man who refused to hand over a copy of Worker's World without a dollar's payment (slight ideological disjoint, anyone?). There was a conversation that Chuck had with an old woman in which she expressed her hope that he'd go to fight in Iraq because "every Republican that dies helps the country." There was an attempted conversation with two college-age girls who were hauled off by a large black woman after we responded to her sarcastic questions and then asked our own. Finally, on a fruitless hunt for one last alleged counter-protest at the Marine Barracks, there was a heartening encounter with the Capitol Police; while asking directions, one of them spotted our "Bomb There or They'll Bomb Here" sign and pointed at it while he grabbed his partner. "Look at that," he said. He turned to us smiling. "That's right. Thanks for coming, guys."


Was That Really Necessary?

Taking "All politics is local" a bit a bit too seriously, the Chicago City Council decided today to vote against the war to liberate Iraq by a 46-1 vote. "That's lovely, kids. Now go back to the sandbox while Uncle George is trying to work, OK?"

As OpinionJournal points out, even given the epic irrelevance of the vote, the text of the resolution sounds like it was written by some sort of hawk-dove schizophreniac...or at least Joe Lieberman. They call Saddam Hussein "a tyrant who should be removed from power," and yet somehow come out in unilateral opposition to the war. Hmmmm. A note, ladies and gentleman: this is not Europe. In the real world, ensuring security requires more than wishful thinking and a military that's only potent enough to remind you of the days when you could kick the hell out of those damned Saxons.
Beating the Dead Horse III: The Carcass Strikes Back

I have no doubt that affirmative action are going to jump on the news that minority enrollment is down at the University of Texas. From a political standpoint, this is admittedly troubling, given what President Bush is staking on the idea that merit programs can increase diversity.

But, honestly, I'm wondering why anyone should care. If Texas is operating under the President's "top ten percent" plan, it naturally follows that its the best students that are getting into college. And that's the way it should be. I hardly think it's unreasonable to suggest that not only does this make college admissions more of the meritocracy it's supposed to be, but it sends a message to all students, minority or otherwise, that it's your work ethic that matters. So, really, the most troubling news in this article is this small anecdote:

"Kim Ross, a 23-year-old senior from Houston who is black, said years of debate over affirmative action have frightened some minorities away from UT-Austin. But, Ross, who sits on a faculty council that works to draw minority students, said social factors may be just as important.

"If you're the only minority in your classroom, you might not want to stay," she said. "There aren't enough places for minorities to hang out. We don't have a lot of African-American professors."

Boy, it's great to see what racial progress affirmative action's brought us to. THAT'S what happens when you stress "diversity" as a primary goal: exacerbated racial divides, self-segretation, etc. etc. If black students can't feel comfortable with white professors or white students as a blanket statement, how are they going to enter the workforce or have normal social relations? Killing affirmative action, hopefully, will help put down the ridiculous notion that you need your own uniracial sphere in which to live.
The Closest Thing to Proof That There May Be a God

Woohoo!: Fox renews 'Simpsons' through 2005. Ohhhhhhhh yeah.

The first line says it all: "Mmmm...renewal."
Let Me Sleep

It's snowing!!! www.gwu.edu/~weather is the place to be tonight, as hopeful midshipmen check in to pray that GW cancels classes tomorrow, therefore a) relieving us Georgetown types from schlepping down to Foggy Bottom at 6 am in the snow and b) giving me a four-day weekend. Sleeeeep. Beeeeeer. Caaaaaatchup reading. Well, maybe not the last one, but I've got at least try and fool myself.

The single most beautiful sight on earth may be Healy clock tower at night in a snow storm. Unbelievable.


Beating the Dead Horse: The Sequel

Read the second item. This is my entire argument. Only a lot better. It should be said that OpinionJournal is the greatest publication in the history of mankind.
Beating the Dead Horse

OK, I'm trying to stop...I'm trying. But just one last thing, from BAMN's (aka: The Enemy) press release on the President's statement:

"'The Bush administration, following the lead of Trent Lott, is now making its own segregationist mistake.' said Agnes Aleobua student leader and student defendant in Grutter v. Bollinger."

Welcome to the Democrat agenda for the next Congress. Starting today, The Specter of Trent Lott (D-Fantasyland) is to be the number one liberal spokesman in the nation. And, "segregationist"? Now who's using racial code words?

Also, BAMN is running a tagline to the effect of "Defend Affirmative Action! Save Brown v. Board of Ed!" Umm.... Err.... No.
My suggestion: "Save Brown v. Board of Ed! Overturn Bakke!"

"He's at the 20!...15!...Te--and he fumbles!"

"Shortly after the president spoke, a senior White House official involved in drafting the brief told reporters it would be "very narrowly tailored" to address only the Michigan programs."

From the looks of a New York Times article, the adminstration is ready to cave big-time on providing a real solution to affirmative action in education. Again, I can't say it enough: full opposition to affirmative action is NOT something to be ashamed of. In his speech, Bush talked a good game about the Constitution and preserving true civil rights and equality under the law, but apparently his statement is going to do about as much for those causes as a Band-Aid does for contracting HIV.

And, from the nation's leading Idiot With a Dangerous Amount of Power:

"Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, the minority leader, was one of several Democrats who said the president's approach to the University of Michigan should be viewed as a litmus test of the administration's commitment to civil rights."

I'm going to refrain from ranting on this yet again (I'm modest like that, huh?). The bottom line is this: if you are suckered by this argument from "civil rights" advocates, shame on you. You are contributing to the destruction of what were formerly noble principles by a pack of race-baiting opportunists. Plain and simple.

As may be apparent, I'm slightly pissed.

In re-reading, I caught this notable quote from John Kerry: "This administration continues a disturbing pattern of using the rhetoric of diversity as a substitute for real progress on a civil rights agenda." I think John is a bit confused. There has never been a more apt phrase to describe the DEMOCRATIC plan for civil rights.
Cue "Jaws" Theme

You know Iraq's really in trouble when even Hans Blix is admitting that the inspection team is starting to find violations. Somehow, though, I find this development somewhat less than surprising...hmmm...wonder why?

Also, there's a heartening observation that the latest inspections are being carried out on undeclared sites, meaning that U.N. inspectors may be getting hints and information on where to conduct searches.


George's Big Break

Same old from The New York Times, which has a story about the President's plan to officially oppose affirmative action in the upcoming Supreme Court cases. The title of the story is all good news, but the text itself leaves something to be desired.

Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle called it ``a watershed moment for the administration. They have to decide whether they're for civil rights and diversity or not.''

This is a question he might want to ask of himself. Those who are for programs that eliminate the colorblindness of the law, by definition, cannot be for civil rights; ergo sum, Tom, you're not. Diversity shall be ranted upon later.

A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday the president seemed headed toward a middle ground by acknowledging that race is always a consideration as institutions seek more diversity, but that goal can be achieved by expanding opportunities to all people -- not just one race.

This is a case of the wrong news from the right side. The President has the right sentiment, but he's trying to pander to the limited minority vote he's gained by proposing alternate plans with similar names ("affirmative access"). Bullshit. I support his proposal, but it's not the way to argue this case. Opposition to affirmative action is a legitimate concern about the legal framework of the nation, not a vestige of racism or an attack on civil rights; if some can't accept that , that's their problem. No conservative should be ashamed to hold a principled stance on this issue. And speaking of which...

Some administration lawyers have argued that any policy based on race or ethnic status is unconstitutional and that the goal of a diverse student body is not enough to justify using race to guide admissions.

THANK YOU! I understand the sentiment towards "diversity," but even with legal questions aside, the entire principle of college admissions is about finding the most qualified applicants (and even if it's not entirely, it is in the professional world, so why shield us college kids now?). And for that matter, screw legacy admits and their ilk, too! I can't speak for everyone, but I chose my college because of its academic strengths. Studying with other intelligent and motivated people is a must; studying with intelligent and motivated [Latinos, blacks, Filipinos, Pacific Islanders, etc.] is not. That, plus, it's unconstitutional...but no big deal there.

The president must balance the desires of his conservative backers, who tend to staunchly oppose affirmative action, against potential fallout from the broader electorate if he is viewed as being racially insensitive.

Give me a break. I'm willing to bet that quite the opposite is true, i.e. BAMN and irate liberals are the disgruntled minority, while much of the electorate would support doing away with affirmative action. At the very least, anyone with basic knowledge of the Consitution and, ironically, the intent and letter of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, should oppose it.

Either way, admittedly, this seems like a moot point. There is almost no doubt in my mind that the Supreme Court is going to place this policy in the circular file where it belong. The real chance here is for the administration to come out fully in support of maintaining the equality and colorblindness of the Constitution that took so long to win.

Why I Really Joined the Navy

Excerpts from today's car ride back from GW, where the conversation involved midshipman summer cruises (sources to remain nameless):
"I can honestly say that I've gotten trashed with the President of Mexico."
"So we all rented cars and drove down the resort strip, and you could get a suite for 79 bucks a night - you know, one of those places with the jacuzzi in your room, and a swim-up bar, and the pool has a water slide - so there were six guys from the Academy and six from ROTC, and we got two rooms and slept on the floor. Then we went to the 7-11 across the road and bought all of the alcohol in the store and put it in our bathtub on ice. So we basically spent four days in a drunken stupor on the beach in Guam."
"He was so drunk that when they asked a question in the movie, he'd yell out the answer. You know how they have those two guys and they're trying to smuggle the nuclear bomb into the U.S.? They'd ask "How many people will we kill?" and he yells "12 million!"...in the middle of a theater. Luckily, Patrick passes out halfway through the movie."
"I ran over the dummy with a ten-thousand ton destroyer. That sucked."


Don't Shut Off the Power Just Yet

Today's WSJ OpinionJournal has a great article on keeping capital punishment alive.

Most interesting is this quote: "Despite ample claims to the contrary, researchers are now finding that the death penalty is a deterrent. Researchers at Emory University looked at nearly 6,000 death sentences and compared them to the murder rates and likelihood of being sentenced to death in 3,000 counties. They found every execution saved as many as 18 would-be-murder victims. Other studies done at the University of Colorado and the University of Houston also found that executions saved lives."

This is interesting news. Since most Americans have always seemed be nervous of supporting retributive theory of justice (i.e. the bastards deserve the punishments they get, to put it simply), deterrence has been the fashionable yet patently false justification for the death penalty. If that argument turns out to be true, capital punishment is definitely not going anywhere.
Oh. Dear. God.

I stare at the screen. My heart is pounding. My sweat glands churn into overtime. I can't move.

The closing seconds of a session with some less-than-G-rated video clips? Nope. Just the unthinkable coming to pass. In defiance of all common sense and the laws of nature, Bob Herbert and I actually agree on something.

Herbert's Op-Ed in the Times yesterday/today (the 13th), which deals with the likely coming layoffs in the NYPD, is quite literally the only intelligent thing I've known him to write. He and I are in fundamental agreement about two things: 1) New York prospered over the past decade because it was safe, and 2) reducing the police force even further beyond its already low levels is the surest way to pitch the city back into the Dinkins Dark Ages. No amount of taxes, new laws, or business incentives is going to help Bloomberg get the economy back on its feet unless the NYPD is there to keep the windows unbroken and the crime rates falling. We ignore Rudy's lesson at our own considerable peril, as evidenced by the examples Herbert writes of.

I'll give Bob some credit on this one. Well done, indeed.


I Give Him A Week

The long-awaited Dave Waldman Academic Challenge is official! Rather than try to explain this, I think the email does it nicely.

Bros and others,

Due to my first semester grades....many of you have doubted my academic perseverance and that I will attend ALL of my classes this spring semester....well Im here to prove you all wrong. I am in the process of taking bets on my attendance in ALL of my spring semester classes. The minimum bet is $20 and there is no maximum. Depending on betting participants there will be a cap on total bedollars.

Here are the stipulations:
I must attend ALL classes UNLESS, I will be excused from the stipulation if I am legitimately sick....raff will verify sickness or I am away for personal reasons...family trip, family function, frat trip

I will not be excused for:
alcohol induced sickness
concert attendance
girls (but lets be honest this wont happen)
AND THEREFORE I WILL LOSE THE CHALLENGE....and the Betters will get their dough

If there is a discrepancy in my class attendance it will be brought up in a independent tribunal of those not participating in the challenge...and they will be cleared by myself and the betting participants

IF you decide to bet here is what you get:
a schedule of all of my classes....also people that you know that are in my classes to verify my attendance


If you are interested please email me back with questions and perspective bet amount..YOU MUST GET BACK TO ME BY SUNDAYS MEETING IN EMAIL...I WANT TO FINALIZE EVERYTHING BY Wednesday of next week

Raff, javi, rosen, block, dutko, hal...[NOTE: this list has now expanded to, among others, Dave's mom and several family members]

To me this is not about the money....its about my education....and if i don't win at least I'll get smart

BTW YOU CAN'T TRY TO SABOTAGE ME...ie. unplugging my alarm clock, slipping me a roofie...this will be brought up in the caucus if I miss a class

I now have to go to sleep...because I have class tomorrow

Thank you and may David Waldman win

# posted by Max : 11:42 PM
The Morning After

A little not-quite-hungover, not-quite-coherent thought process, courtesy of the Jews.

Conversation takes place immediately following Hal and I staring at the same girl as she walks by. Note that conversation is also taking place in a dining hall filled with people eating breakfast at 1:00 pm.
HAL: I know that girl.
MAX: She's really hot.
HAL: Yeah, too bad she's a big bitch.
MAX: Really? That sucks.
HAL: Yeah, but she's not really naturally bitchy, she's just really rich - she's a JAP without the "juh." So she's an AP.
MAX: How about CAP? Christan American Princess...?
Reaction: crickets.
MAX: No, wait! She could still be a JAP! You'd just take out the J and replace it with a G, and it would be GAP (pronounced like JAP) for Gentile American Princess.
HAL: [while laughing] That would be a GAP (pronounced like yuppie store)!
Hilarity ensues. Even JASON laughs.

And, a bit later...

HAL: You know the London subway?
MAX: I've never been to London.
HAL: Well, they have these signs that say "Mind the Gap"! You know, like the little space in between the train and the platform?? [gestures excitedly]
JASON: How do you know this stuff?
HAL: Well, it's on t-shirts and stuff...[laughs]...Mind the GAP!

# posted by Max : 1:59 PM


Amusement for all

I really, really couldn't help but put up a link to this: The Life Cycle of a Ninja. Simply Hilarious. Read. Laugh. Laugh some more. Enjoy.
# posted by Max : 7:09 PM
Latent High School Bitterness: Part I

News from the old alma mater is not good. Out of curiousity, I was hacking around the Culver website and happened to find this year's college acceptances to date. Wow. When did Culver stop claiming to be a prep school? If I could be allowed a bit of pride of ownership, last year's list at this point would've included Georgetown (ahem), Duke two times over, the Naval Academy (ahem again), and should've included Harvard if the smartest person in our class hadn't been screwed and left sweating until a Regular Decision acceptance came. Contrasted to this year's list, the highest of which is arguably IU and the lowest of which doesn't even bear thinking about, the evidence means either the Class of 2003 is full of morons, which isn't any more true than normal, or something very bad is going on at Culver.

NOTE: Air Force isn't mentioned out of personal preference, since I seriousily question the judgement and mental stability, though not the academic prowess, of anyone who would voluntarily choose the Air Force over another service.

Now, am I an East Coast chauvinist? Yes. And I am I an academic prestige snob? By all means. But, so what? No one can honestly tell me that any prep school worth its salt should be happy replacing "This past year we send this many kids to the [Ivy League, top liberal arts colleges, top-25 schools]" with "We couldn't be prouder of our successful placement of students in the very best second-tier Master's Universities in the Midwest!" And even if I'm harsh to a lot of schools (which I know I am), I'm sorry, but if kids are in a position where they should be seriously considering attending the University of Findlay or Albion College as their first choice, clearly all is not well, and shouldn't be considered so.

I'm not going to turn this into a widespread attack on Culver. I did enough of that for four years. And, really, I'm not bitter, it just makes for a funny title. But, I am worried about my friends that are still there, not to mention their siblings that keep showing up in their footsteps. The good news is that RD time is still months away, and good things will hopefully happen...meanwhile, I'm just having fun ripping on high school.
# posted by Max : 6:51 PM


Jimmy Hoffa Would Roll In His...err...you get the point

It's not really surprising that unions are engaging in illegal activity, I suppose, but when we're sacrificing national security for squabbling, I thought common sense might prevail for the first time in the history of organized labor. Guess not. Instead, AFGE, the union that represents federal employees, has decided that it's going to organize airport baggage screeners, existing legal agreements and common sense be damned (somewhere, Kim Jong Il is getting a warm, fuzzy feeling). An article from Yahoo! sums up the situation nicely.

Some of the arguments being made in support of the unions are really frightening. Unsurprisingly, Ted Kennedy shows up in the article with a mind-bogglingly illogical way to state why unions are justified in breaking the law and organizing baggage screeners: "Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said the administration already has the authority to suspend collective bargaining rights during a true national emergency. " Since I'm taking a philosophy course this semester, let's try a little Socratic dialogue on this gem.

SOCRATES: Tell me, Chappaquiddes, can we not define what a national emergency is?
CHAPPAQUIDDES: Why, a national emergency occurs when the citizens of the nation are brought into great danger and require extraordinary measures to maintain their safety.
SOCRATES: And what causes these national emergencies?
CHAPPAQUIDDES: An attack on the nation by wicked men, or perhaps a widespread disease.
SOCRATES: Then the cause is external?
SOCRATES: Is there nothing that the nation may do to prevent the cause?
CHAPPAQUIDDES: I do not understand. If the cause is external, then certainly not. The nation cannot know when the attack will come.
SOCRATES: Tell me, does an epidemic simply lie in wait among the people?
SOCRATES: And are the wicked men who attack the nation magically conjured into existence when the attack comes?
CHAPPAQUIDDES: Of course not.
SOCRATES: The two need somehow to be introduced into the nation?
SOCRATES: And if the means of introduction are safeguarded by low-grade morons with no motivation and limited English skills in an unresponsive labor situation that endangers lives, does this help create national emergency?
CHAPPAQUIDDES: I cannot argue otherwise.
SOCRATES: Then the cause of national emergency is internal. The nation that guards the means of introduction will prevent national emergency.
CHAPPAQUIDDES: It is most assuredly so!

For anyone who missed the point in my first attempt at this Socractic business: Unionizing WILL threaten national security in a ridiculously preventable way! If Jimmy the (barely a) high school graduate and spacy recreational drug user or Carmen the just-English literate soap fan who sees more of People's pages than the X-ray screen gets to keep his or her job for any meaninglful period of time, bad things are going to happen. The ability to hire and fire employees based on competency and without the fear of lawsuits, for a variety of reasons (increased skill level, motivation, etc.), is going to vastly help airport security. Ted Kennedy's statement that "It's not homeland security, it's union busting," is just plain crap (and even if it was true, what exactly is the problem with union busting, again?).

A fact at the end of the article is telling: "The screeners earn between $23,600 to $35,400 a year, with health care, life insurance, paid vacation and sick leave. Before Sept. 11, the private-sector screeners generally earned minimum wage, or around $10,000 a year, and often received no benefits." Wow, sounds like a real hardship post to me.

So what exactly are the unions doing in this case? What they do best: gunning for more bodies, which equal money, power, and increased leverage to make outrageous demands of employers, which is apparently all the more fun in a weak economy and tenuous geopolitical scenes. If the employer happen to be Microsoft or Nike, this is just annoying. But, for God's sake, this time we're talking about the agency functionally responsible for the lives of every air traveler in the nation. I know it's far from their usual practice, but the unions need to respect both the law and the welfare of the public and go far, far away from bag screeners.
# posted by Max : 8:13 PM
Anatomically Correct?

GU Student Affairs spices up the old Inbox (no pun intended) with this interesting email:
Open casting calls for Eve Ensler's VAGINA MONOLOGUES to be preformed
on February 13th, 14th and 15th in Bulldog Alley (Leavey Center).
AUDITIONS will be held in the Women's Center (Leavey, 3rd floor)
on Monday, January 13th from 8-12 and Tuesday, January 14th from 5:30-

All vaginas will be heard.

Well, that's a relief. Supression of Georgetown's vaginas will not be stood for.
# posted by Max : 3:54 PM


Lately I've been catching a decent amount of crap for my generally undying support of Bill Frist. A lot of people have been talking about how Frist is no better than Lott, how the GOP was wrongly disloyal, etc. etc. To this, I think this description from The Economist (yes, those Brits again) is all that needs to be offered: "Mr Frist is the part's new star: a telegenic marathon-running overachiever, who spends his holidays doing field surgery in the Sudan." In the back of my mind, I seem to remember reading almost the exact same phrase recently in The New York Times, of all places.

You're telling me this isn't the kind of press we want?
# posted by Max : 8:50 PM
Classes officially started yesterday. Functionally, my first day was today.

Herr German Professor speaks really quickly, but see below for a class description, minus the stuff about Glick. Seems like it'll be good.
Presidential Electoral Politics looks more or less like a walk. Professor Lengle seems to be big on slow speech, numbered lists, and small assignments; adding to my general relief is the presence of the political machine (and social black hole) that is Mike Glick in the seat next door. Should be a good time
I can sum up this semester of Liberal Arts Seminar with a quote: "It may look like an optical illusion, but our assignments will be about three times as much as a normal class." Given, there's some background to that statement, but it's inconsequential. Somehow, when I was buying the books and realized there were three by Kierkegaard, I realized this was going to be trouble.

Accckkk. I'm out of it politically. I'm trying. I really am. I'm even getting a TV so I can keep up with CNN. But, damn, if it isn't a lot easier to bitch and write and moan about politics when I'm not at school.

# posted by Max : 8:25 PM


WSJ's Opinion Journal is always a winner, but today's edition is especially good. After reading an article from the Times of London they highlighted (see the quote by Michael Gove that's in the rotation above) and then sitting down to this week's edition of The Economist, I really have to wonder: why are all of the best defenders of American policy living in Britain? This isn't to disparage George Will, William Safire, or any of the other usual conservative Op-Ed types, but this is getting out of hand. In the past month or so, I've read at least two very pointed and intellectual shots at anti-Americanism, the most intelligent analysis to date of the Trent Lott issue, the succinct case for the Supreme Court overturning affirmative action(!), etc. etc. etc., all of which came from English commentators. Though I'm heartened to see we're really not alone out there, if the American conservatives with media attention can't defend our own work like that, we're in trouble. Time to pick up to the pace on this side of the Atlantic.
# posted by Max : 5:54 PM


The last night of freedom. Tomorrow: book buying, reading, laundry, yada yada yada.

Heh. I've found the gentile answer to the seventh grade Barmitzvah circuit: the Sweet 16 Party season. Christian girls of suburban Connecticut, rejoice! At long last, after patiently suffering the neverending Barmitzvah season (trust me, neverending is very, very accurate...come springtime they're usually two a week, too), you finally get your moment in the light!
# posted by Max : 9:18 PM


For a little more media bias, CNN.com now has a story up titled "Third victim dies after accident where Sen. Frist assisted."

From the title, you might think Frist was purposefully slipping cyanide into IVs. Some further reading shows that his work "saved lives" according to the paramedics. Good to see the mudslinging for the 2008 presidential campaign is off to a running start.
# posted by Max : 9:51 PM
Unbelievable....absolutely unfuckingbelievable....

I hope that Matt Bryant and that guy who's the Giants' long snapper commit ritual suicide in their hotel rooms tonight. Shockey is spared from his end zone drop only because they actually need him.
# posted by Max : 8:12 PM
On the home front, we've got what rightfully should be the latest addition to the Pentagon's list of terror organizations, the Earth Liberation Front wreaking its own psychotically green havoc on mankind. Apparently, the group torched a dealer's lot full of SUVs in Pittsburgh yesterday.

Then again, it was already fairly obvious what the ELF is; i.e. we already knew they were a pack of dangerous crackpots. I really think the problem is that the story shows what other list is needed in this case: Lake Superior State's annual Banished Words List, where the term "eco-terrorist" belongs. It seems like this is basically a dodge. There's no real need to give the name for what ELF does a trendy prefix except to make a misguided attempt at moral distance from "real" terrorism. This is just that much more ultraliberal BS. Eco-terrorism is terrorism, plain and simple.

Since that's bound to be an unpopular idea ("That's an unfair comparison!" comes the apologist whining), just compare ELF and al Qaeda. Both are extremist militant organizations. Both object to U.S. government policies and some sort of supposed moral absence that proves how evil American society is . Both conduct dangerous attacks on civilian populations because they object to the manner in which those people live; for those who want to complain about comparative scale, don't forget ELF torched an Aspen ski resort last year. Keep in mind that the same people that want to claim that that act was really alright to commit because it had absolutely no chance (Really! It's just as safe as some harmless fooling around with chainsaws!) of harming anyone are the ones that want to lecture about how inhumane military action is because it involves even the slightest risk of civilian casualties. Please. ELF isn't just satisfied with moral bankruptcy, they need a good dose of hypocricy to really do the trick.

But, hey, it's all good! The FBI should be ecstatic: having something like ELF around is like having a Triple A farm team. Now, before they send anyone after the big bad Arab-type terrorists, agents can practice on the whiny white, upper middle class, small liberal arts college-type terrorists first.
# posted by Max : 1:02 AM


I managed to write the date 1/3/03 instead of 1/3/02 today, so it's officially 2003.

This year, I will have a normal sleep cycle (as long as I'm not at home).
I will wake my ass up at a respectable hour in the AM and keep it awake throughout the whole day with careful infusions of hot chocolate and CNN.
I will do my best not to be shitty with my roommate, who is a really good kid despite his laziness and my suspicions that he has a funky odor about him.
I will do my laundry on a more regular basis.
I will be a good little boy about doing my reading; said reading will occur at normal hours and will not be commenced at eleven o'clock or later.
I will not "just wake up early take care of the rest of this [insert assignment and/or expletive of choice] in the morning" knowing I'll be playing Snooze Button Marathon come 7:00 am.
I will finally find a good study spot.
I will turn in my papers on time, without fail.
I will not fill boring minutes in the room by downloading music, but doing assignments.
I will accept the concept that some work on Saturday is a good thing.
I will get a 4.0.
I will be the very model of the modern Midshipman 4th Class, U.S. Naval Reserve.
I will not "just have one or two beers and then head back" when I have assignments due and know I'll inevitably be ignoring my best intentions.
I will make efforts to be less depressive. If this proves impossible, I will at the very least work on my congeniality.
I will remember that the next time Sarah quotes that one line from that vile Garth Brooks song, she's trying to make a good point; I will listen rather than making snide comments about the evils of country music (though all such comments are accurate and beneficial).

Perhaps most importantly: if I get into Yale, I will be ecstatic. I will not harbor doubts. I will love every minute there. If I don't, I will deal with it and not be bitter. I will not harbor regrets. I will love every minute here.

I think that covers the basics. We'll see how this goes.

# posted by Max : 5:08 AM
Has football as a whole lost the need for standards in officiating? Anyone who saw the Giants game last week knows what I mean, but at least they were lucky enough to get out of it with a win. No such luck for Miami.

Let's review: 4th and goal in the first overtime. Krenzel passes to Gamble. Gamble jumps and the ball goes completely through Gamble's hands while the defender is still on the ground and out of the passing lane. The closest ref calls incomplete. Game over.

At least, that's what should have happened. I don't know how the far judge reversed that call, especially after you watch the replay, but that's an aside. With the incomplete call, the game actually ended. Honest to God. Those are not my numbers. I'll give total props to Ohio State for playing a great game, but the last drive, where they did maybe their best work of the game, should not have happened.

So congrats, 'Canes. 35-0 and repeat National Champs! But don't worry: I won't tell anyone if you won't.
# posted by Max : 12:28 AM

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