The Dreaded Hiatus

As may be apparent, blogging is on hold. I don't know how long...I don't have guarantees or estimates. I will say this, though: life sucks. Really.

For those who care to stick around, thanks, and I'll see you when I see you.


Attack of the Op-Eds

WSJ, unsurprisingly, has a great piece focusing on the affirmative action cases and diversity concerns at law schools. A Northwestern law professor and a student at Columbia Law argue that ideological diversity is far more endangered than racial diversity.

WaPost also has a reality check on the war from retired Army Col. Jim McDonough; a good solid military (not armchair general) analysis of the position Coalition forces are really in. The other Op-Eds are also well worth a look.

For those with some time in the very immediate future, the oral arguments for Gratz v. Bollinger are still ongoing and can be heard here.

Very interesting stuff, but I don't like the way that it's going. From what I can tell, Ted Olson was skirting too thin of a line; the position that he got stuck in with the government's wimp-out brief is really bad. He wasn't free to just say "all race considerations are invalid" and had to tailor an argument that didn't really exist. On the other hand, Michigan's lawyer is getting his ass kicked; he's clearly trying to skirt around the issue of quotas/percentages even though the argument he started to give hinged on the idea of appropriate numbers. "Critical mass", my ass.

More, and better commentary, to be found here.

UPDATE: For those who missed the fun, the Court has decided to air the audio tapes at 7 pm on NPR.


Five things to be afraid of in the Navy

1. A Seaman saying, "I learned this at boot..."
2. A petty officer saying, "Trust me, sir..."
3. A DivO saying, "Based on my experience..."
4. A j.g. saying, "I was just thinking..."
5. And a Master Chief chuckling, "Watch this shit..."

Thanks to That Girl Ain't Right for the Army version.


Bill Whittle's Latest

It's up. Go read it. Now.


"We're Anti-War, We're Not Anti-American!!"

The "We Support Our Troops When They Shoot Their Officers Sign" could be chalked up to offensive stupidity. This.... I have no words for this.

(Original source)


Now That's Journalism...

I like this report from Sean-Paul Kelley:

The Ba'ath Party headquarters in Basra has just 'been wiped off the map' by a 2000 pound missile fired by an F18. BBC Reports.

That's what I like to hear. I was also a big fan of an earlier story from CNN or NYT (can't remember which), which noted that one of the Russian GPS jammers was taken out using a GPS-guided weapon. Heh heh. Nice try, guys.
Great Idea

National Review has a great new feature up: a gallery of pictures and small blurbs about troops stationed/operating in the Gulf right now. Families and friends can post images and small biographical notes; there are already two touching memorials to Captain Christopher Seifert from ex-ROTC classmates. Definitely worth a look.
Tax Cuts

Would someone explain to me how this is a "stinging setback" for the President?

Here's a few reasons why I'm thinking no one, especially Republicans, should be getting blown out of shape about this:
1. A majority of the Senate just voted for a tax cut. Think about that. So it's smaller...who cares? I was personally never too wild about this cut in the first place; on the other hand, I'm one of those conservatives who thinks that there's no such thing aa a bad opportunity to give people their money back. That's what just happened, and it's a credit to the nature of current debates that the debate was about the size of the cut rather than whether it should've happened at all.
2. This is a complete non-issue. There's a war on. Yeah, partisan whining is funny as hell, but there's no way it's even close to being as important as the war. Let the Senate work on the President's appropriations supplement; which brings me to my next point...
3. The war/reconstruction effort needs money anyway, and that's the real priority. They want to yank $100 billion from the tax cut to fund it? Go ahead. Give 'em 2! When it comes down to world stability vs. better dividends, my choice isn't that hard.

Bottom line? I see no reason why everyone shouldn't be happy with this call. Everyone involved seems to have better things to do anyway, especially the Commander-in-Chief.

UPDATE: Surprise, surprise, the media loves the overplayed lines. BBC is reporting that "Senate reverses Bush tax cut"...*sigh*...a) courts reverse, not legislatures and b) they didn't; the bill was altered, not killed.
Everyone. Calm. Down.


And now for Something Completely Different

Bracket update time: both of my teams for the championship game are still in...but that's about all that can be said for my bracket. Things have been very ugly for my predictions of late.

So, now that my dreams of pool glory are shattered, I'm left to find amazing ideas like this one from Ernie Chambers. The permalink is messed up, so scrolling down is required, but the search is worth it. Best. Basketball Idea. Ever.
War News Continued

I'm also now reccomending Sgt. Stryker to anyone who would like up-to-the-minute war coverage. In my mind, he and Sean-Paul Kelley are offering the best coverage so far; the Command Post is prolific, but they have a pretty clear bias and often post conflicting or confusing reports.

I also noticed today that I'm starting to be able to recognize individual people by their server log entries, especially from academic domains; american.edu means "Oh, there's Josh Heit" or swarthmore.edu now translates to "Cool, Carla visited again". In case you can't tell, I'm very excited about my own imagined importance. Anyway, I post this because I'd appreciate any regulars just popping in with a short email and saying hi, it's nice to know who's out there. This especially goes for the recurring usmc.mil hit from the Central time zone and the people at Universit├Ąt Passau that seem to be checking in.


On the 101st Airborne Attacker

So Rod Dreher just posted this news at the Corner:

Fox News, quoting the military, says the Camp Pennsylvania suspect apparently was upset because he wasn't being sent to the front. End of story. Nothing to see here, folks, move on along.

Which would seem to refute the idea that, since the soldier was apparently a Muslim convert, he carried out his attack in solidarity with Iraqi Muslims against U.S. "crusaders".

Hmmmm. So who's right? I'm wondering if the Fox News/military story isn't an attempt to play down the religious aspect of the incident; it is very easy to imagine distrust of or physical backlash against other Muslim servicemen starting to spring up. And if that's right, I find myself in reluctant agreement with these conclusions (warning: you have to read both to understand the whole issue) from Dixie Flatline. I really, really don't want to have to think this way, but reality is reality. Here's hoping we're wrong.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg has the word:

MSNBC reporting that two high-ranking military sources say Akbar was opposed to the war. He was not "disgruntled" about not being deployed, as first reported. He was opposed to the killing of Muslims.


Keeping Tabs

As should be obvious, my attention as of late is focused on other places, namely Iraq. I don't have a TV, but I'm spending my free time shuttling back and forth between the New York Times, CNN.com, and a collection of other blogs looking for updates. Here's a list of some of the better resources.

The Agonist - Sean-Paul Kelley has near-constant updates
Command Post - another site with near constant-updates; I'm thinking of taking up temporary residence here for the next couple of weeks, but the company is above my level
The Corner - K-Lo has been throwing in some good links lately
Instapundit - Of course...
Nick Denton's Invasion Map - not as useful as I would've liked, but it's the only way I've been able to get a good "force vectors" kind of picture...there's also one at the Agonist
BBC Reporter's Log - Beeb correspondents warblogging from various places...very interesting takes

I'll post more as I find them.

UPDATE: My suggestion for any newbies is to find yourself a good RSS reader/news aggregator and plug the above blogs into it. I like Feedreader at the moment; it's no-frills, but easy to manage and bloghopping is easy because opened links aren't scattered to new windows. And on that note, if anyone knows of a good aggregator that will put recent headlines from ALL feeds into one window instead of keeping them seperate, let me know.

UPDATE II: If you want to be as big of a news whore as I am right now, BBC, Reuters, and CNN all have desktop tickers. Running all three at the moment.



From the New York Times.

Nope, haven't blogged in a while; most of my efforts are focused on the Victory Playlist (scroll down for details). But, since it seems we're kicking ass and taking names as expected, no real need for any punditry or screed as I can see it. I'm just kicking back and watching events unfold, as I think most everyone is.


Operation No More Stupid Code Names

I'd been meaning to bitch about really dumb operation names ("Operation Iraqi Freedom"?) for some time, but Tacitus finally beat me to it. The comments section on this post is not to be missed. Joshua Scholar has the best idea of all time:

I think we should sell naming rights to our Military campaigns.

It's a great chance for branding, for corporation with appropriate names a and products.

"Operation KMEL - Get your Groove on"
"Operation Max pad with wing tips - for those heavy flow days"
Or maybe they can combine naming with movie rights.
"Operation The Return of the King"
"Operation Beverly Hills Cop 4"
"Operation Broken Arrow III"

Or perhaps it could be combined with a health campaign:
"Operation Kurds and Ways: Yogurt, what we're eating now"

Hey, that would help pay off the costs of the war, wouldn't it? Personally, though, I'm very partial to "the Baghdad Urban Renewal Project".


Well, Rory Miller is unequivocal tonight.

And speaking of which, Emperor Misha weighs in. Scroll down from the flag post and watch the verbal carnage.



The New York Times is sedate. CNN, on the other hand....

Dear God. I pulled up their site and nearly had a heart attack; the headline is...prominent to say the least, and the display makes it look like the Iraqis sank one of our ships.
Victory Playlist

Pirated music is patriotic tonight! For next few hours, I'm blasting exclusively these Anglo-American ass whooping-conducive tunes:

Bombs Over Baghdad - Outkast
Takin' Care of Business - Bachman Turner Overdrive
We Will Rock You - Queen
Highway to Hell - AC/DC (for Saddam)
Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue - Toby Keith
Seek and Destroy - Metallica <--- suggested by Chris Young
Shut 'Em Down - LL Cool J <--- suggested by Doug McCloud
Another One Bites the Dust - Queen <--- suggested by Kirk
We're Not Gonna Take It Anymore - Twisted Sister <--- ditto
Surrender - Cheap Trick <--- suggested by El Borak in honor of the Republican Guard, who learned from the best (the French)
Nowhere to Run - Martha and the Vandellas <--- suggested by BJ Barron
Don't Tread on Me - Metallica <--- several suggestions
Smart Bomb - BT <--- suggested by Glenn Reynolds (!)
Rock the Casbah - The Clash <--- by massive popular request...anyone else think they would NOT have approved?

Go download 'em, play 'em, and pray for the safety of our troops and a swift conclusion to this war.

The list obviously needs bulking up, too. Got suggestions? Post them in the comments!

EDIT: Thanks to Misha for the link and everyone who's posted your suggestions; the idea is starting to catch on here and I've heard "Bombs Over Baghdad" around campus (and meanwhile, the hippies camping out in the middle of campus are getting rained out)! I'm reviewing suggestions and will add as appropriate. Keep checking back!
Waiting for the Fireworks

The deadline has come and gone. I flipped on a TV, but saw only Dan Rather saying that there's no word yet.

This whole business is getting to be a wierd mix of surreal and anticlimactic. Today, on the first day of my internship, I was handed a list of contact numbers, shown the emergency pager on my desk that announces to the office if there's an attack, and told that I have responsibility for the staff's gas masks. From my dorm window, you can see a pair of searchlights over the hospital; also lots of helicopter traffic up and down the Potomac today. It's nice to know there are security measures, but on another level, it's not so great, either.

Waiting, waiting, waiting....



If anyone caught "Showdown: Iraq" on MSNBC tonight, Max: Student on "America's Voices" was none other than yours truly. Had a blast doing it; George Allen got plenty of speaking time over Loretta Sanchez (who is a horrible, horrible person and all-around dirty liar...find the transcript and puke away), and the forces of reason on the panel got ample opportunity to rip the hell out of tried anti-war arguments. Tons of fun.
Trouble Afoot

International ANSWER apparently didn't like the ultimatum. Signs littering campus are blaring for "No Business as Usual" tomorrow, and an "emergency" protest at noon at the Capitol. The extensive official plans can be found here.

If it can be swung, and I'm trying my damnedest, pictures of tomorrow's fiasco (and hopefully some Evan Coyne Maloney-style quotations) will be here.
More Google Madness

Here's another charming search string from Google: "blog guish fuck max"

Call 'Em Back

Nevermind. I can't support this horrible war any more. Atrocities like this (and this here, as well), just go to prove that the war is going to do nothing but ruin lives!

In all seriousness, those are two really dumb ideas; overreaction at best, downright stupid at worst. It's beyond me why every major event on the face of the earth thinks it's a target, no matter how relatively few people on earth care. I can guarantee Myles Brand that the East region opening round games are not high on terrorist target lists, and neither is a baseball game, no matter where it's played. Guys, lighten up a bit. If anything, we need the pleasant distraction of the NCAAs and the blessed return of baseball to keep the national pysche from veering into the suicidal. Now's not the time to go running into a corner, especially without a serious indication of any threat. Just them them play, and let us watch.


Pretty Good

The beginning was a little sketchy, but mostly because of sound problems (at least on FOXNews...worthless FOXNews). Overall, it was solid on the rhetoric, and Bush did very well on delivery. If anything, it was a sight stronger than anything he's pitched in recent weeks, and that's unfortunate; it means he was holding back. The mentioning of the past resolutions authorizing force was a well-played point, but I haven't heard it before. Greater mention of things in that vein might've made things easier over the past couple of weeks.

Of course, I hated the ultimatum, but I've always been uncomfortable with the prospect of exile. It seems a tad hypocritical to me for the President to say that the terror will only come to a halt when Saddam is overthrown, yet make the centerpiece of the speech an offer to let him scamper away. Not that I think Hussein will take the offer, but the idea of it still makes my moralistic parts queasy.

Again, though, it was a good showing despite the faults. The bottom line is that we needed Bush to kick some rhetorical ass and sound presidential, and he delivered on all counts.

I don't think that was too bad for my first stab at this running commentary business, either.

NOTE: Stephen Green, via Instapundit, did some live blogging on the speech. Unsurprisingly, it's better than mine, so go check it out.
Casus Belli

"We are now acting, because the risks of inaction are far greater."

"A policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth."

Losing Focus

Homeland security updates are pointless. Get back on message.

"Your fate will depend on your actions." It's a nice thought, but in the end I don't think this is the kind of call that is going to matter. I'm not optimistic on prospects for the oil wells. Nevertheless, he was solid on the liberation comments.


48 hours. Booooooo. This is nothing more than a risk to our troops. I'll never find the den Beste point I'm referring to, but he made the point that the only real threat to our troops comes while they're in staging areas and camps in Kuwait. Waiting now only heightens the chances that they'll be attacked by a desperatation Scud launch; at the very least, it gives Iraq 48 more hours to refine defense plans.


"This is not a question of authority, but a question of will."

Great subtle shot at the French. And, he made an excellent point about the past U.N. resolutions; he should have been making it more forcefully a long time ago.
Coming Threat

"Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this threat will be removed" (edit: quote corrected)

That's the succinct case. He could stop there and this would be a legitimate speech.

OK, so far nothing but the basic case. 12 years, full disarmament, etc. etc.
Comic Relief

Everybody needs to pay close attention, because this is the one and only (only!) time I am ever going to link to Indymedia in a good light. But, their usual radical leftism, anti-Semitism, hatred of America, and other idiocy aside, this is priceless. A poster with a great sense of humor collected the very best of Rachel Corrie-related snide comments and posted them on the Indymedia boards. Rachel Corrie, for the uninitiated, is the flag-burning twit who decided to run around the Gaza Strip standing in front of bulldozers, and then was very surprised when one ran her over.
Just a Thought

I'm tossing around the idea of running commentary on tonight's speech. Nothing definite, but we'll see. Stand by for details.
Dumb People Who Deserve to be Shot Pt. I

Time for a little incoherent rant (this promises to be a series):

I'm fresh from the barbershop, where I just had a nasty little encounter with incompetence. My haircut is of the military "high and tight" variety, which is the fade on steroids. It's a simple affair; as little hair as possible on the sides, a bit more on the top, fade the two together, and you're done. Ten minutes of unsophisticated clipper work later and everyone's happy. But there's always that one person who ruins the fun: the one Fucking Idiot Who Doesn't Have a A Clue What He's Doing.

Somehow, every barbershop on earth seems to have one. You can spot him right off the bat: usually it's the one guy that you've never seen despite the fact that you're a regular customer. Of course, eager to do something, he jumps up and whisks his little useless hair cape while turning his seat towards you. At this point, you're pretty much trapped unless you've got an appointment, and it only gets worse from here. Instead of using the clipper to dig in and cut hair, he holds them delicately (maybe with two hands) and make little swipes at your head that take off maybe three strands apiece. Your simple, in-and-out trim turns into a careful thirty-five minute ordeal. And of course, the dumb bastard is trying to make uncomfortable small talk while he mutilates your head. I've never been comfortable with the idea of chatting with your barber; I'd prefer he concentrate on not gouging my skull with tools specifically designed to chop. All the while, he's also got the chair turned parallel to the mirror so that you can't see what's going on without making it blatantly obvious that you're checking to see what's going wrong.

Needless to say, that's what happened to me. I finally escaped after three aborted attempts to correct the stark sine wave that was supposed to be a clean fade, but the damage is done. For poor wretches like me, the only hope lies in a comfortable baseball hat and the chance that he won't be in tomorrow, allowing for a guilty duck-in and quick fix. Until then, here's hoping that moron meets a well-placed Mack truck grill.
No Second Thoughts Here

Well, this certainly seems like it.

There's been a lot of noise made recently as warbloggers have begun to lose faith in the effort. Admittedly, most have been converts from the left, but regardless, no one can doubt that there are valid concerns that "defectors" have raised as they went through their final analyses. As the title should suggest, I'm not suffering any pangs of remorse over this decision.

This isn't to say that I don't have my little private worries. At the President's press conference, one reporter got up and asked something along the lines, "Late at night, do you ever have doubts?" That struck home.

I must admit that I have harbored doubts. I've wondered if the doomsday reports of massive blowback are going to come true; at the very least, I've conceded that they're legitmate, if inflated. I've sweated thinking that there may be one very determined terrorist out there with a nuclear bomb, just waiting for the day this all comes to a head. And to me, these seem like pressing concerns. I shuttle around between basically the two most lucrative targets on the face of the earth. If that phantom terrorist decided to attack Washington, I'd die. If he decided to attack New York, my father would almost certainly die; at the very least, my hometown would be right in the path of a massive plume of fallout. So, yeah, late at night, I've had my private worries.

In the end, however, such doomsday scenarios are independent of what we do in Iraq. There will always be determined terrorists; I won't deny that this war has the potential to change timeframes, but it doesn't create the source itself.

So, essentially, the only thing left for us to do in situations like this is to hope that we're doing the right thing. If the threat is there, we have to accept it, and do what good we can while we can. And I am convinced that we are doing good. Despite the shouts of "No Blood for Oil" and the numerous claims to the contrary, the outcome of this war will be a positive step in countless millions of lives around the world. And that's about all the comfort we can hope for.


Early Thoughts

I'll put in my $0.02 before I have to go listen to Dickie V scream and rant on ESPN (plus cheesy team-color highlights):

There is justice in the world: Pitt didn't get a No. 1
Higher seed than I thought for UConn, but they're in a bad spot. Huskies take a second-round exit to Stanford.
Midwest is weeeeaaaak! This only confirms my suspicions that Kentucky is taking it all (they certainly think so).
God, I hate them, but 'Cuse will take Wake. Definite Elite Eight, possibly Final Four.
This year's killer bracket is East...some will say West, but I don't buy it: East's teams are coming off stronger conference showings and more consistently solid.
Big First-Round Upset: I want to say Colorado State over Duke, but I can't....Dayton, Notre Dame, and Illinois are on the bubble.
Google Games

A recent visitor stopped by on this Google search: "guish blog max the asshole"

Well, I'm not going to say that's inaccurate, but wow....
It's Coming...

The cards come down tomorrow, when the U.S. and our allies will be making the last-ditch diplomatic rounds. In the President's words, I'm thinking a Security Council vote is coming no matter what the whip count says.

Kathryn Jean Lopez's headline at The Corner says it all: "24 Hours to Irrelevance."

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