"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours." -Sir Charles Napier
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Michael, God bless that cotton pickin' fertile ding dang noodle of yours! I now know that there is a thinking man among us who dares to speak up. xoxox Pam
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BigEarth of New Mexico sez, The warmest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great national moment, reserve their neutrality.
Bill Whittle's mom sez, If you can’t say anything of deep and meaningful scientific or political import that is not supported by fact, reason, historical precedent and in-depth step-by-step logical analysis then don’t say anything at all!

:: Friday, February 28 ::


I sat right in the middle of it.
"Did you hear that it's legal to blow up abortion clinics now?" she said.
"Hold on, " I spoke up, "You know that bombing is still illegal. That was just the court saying that RICO was written for the gangstas and not to curb free speech, argument and persuasion."
Thinking of something one of the bloggers wrote, I added, "The dissenting opinion was concerned with the disruption of business. What if they started using RICO against the environmentalists who disrupt legal logging?"
"Oh my God I hope they do disrupt that business, are you telling me the environment is less important than a woman's control?"
"Oh my God that is so important. I've been reading a lot of Noam Chomsky lately, trying to get an alternative view."
The other woman spoke up, "And I truly feel that Bush is evil."
"Ah," I added, "from the seed of Shay-tahn, a Rastafarian told me all about it."
"Oh my God, did you know the Bush family did business with the Nazis? and gave all that money to Saddam Hussein? and we are the reason that Iraq has the highest cancer rate among children because of the stuff we dropped on them ten years ago?"
I added, trying to get my drink finished so I could move on, "Are you sure that isn't related to him gassing his own people and the Iranians?"
"And we destroyed Nicaragua. Believe me, I know this, this is the research I am doing for my senior thesis."
On hearing that, I told her I was sure she was destined for an A.
The other woman spoke "And Saddam Hussein is just a puppet."
I added, "Yes, I heard about this, the Jews control him. Why else would those 39 scuds launched at Israel in 1991, twelve years ago, not really hit anything too significant, hmmm?"
"And you have to listen to the news and then believe the opposite of what they tell you," she said.
I felt relieved at that point, and noticed my drink was empty.

:: michael Friday, February 28, 2003 [+] ::
:: Thursday, February 27 ::

..whose blog has come to at least a temporary halt. Happy Saint Gabriel's Day!

Known for protecting a woman from attack and driving out the bad guys from the village with a gun, Gabriel is the patron saint of students, but also is being promoted as the Patron Saint of handgunners.


The Pioneer 10 spacecraft, expected to last for less than two years, has finally shut down at thirty. Isn't it amazing what we do here in the free world?


I'll bet you didn't know this about the WTC attack in 1993. Yesterday was the tenth anniversary, and Taranto points out that a cyanide attack was also part of the plan. He goes on to remind us of that plan's link to the plot to destroy eleven 747's in flight on a single day. (That plot was named Project Bojinka.) You are irresponsible if you don't read it.

:: michael Thursday, February 27, 2003 [+] ::
:: Wednesday, February 26 ::

Aage Bjerre has done one better than boycott French goods, he has banned French customers, and the Germans, from his pizza place.
Aage said: "Hadn't the United States helped Europe in defeating Germany, there would have been photos of Adolf Hitler hanging on the walls around here." The ban has yet to effect his business because the tourist season only starts after Easter and peaks during the summer. "I do what my conscience tells me to do," he said. He added: "Frenchmen have a lifetime ban here. Their attitude toward the United States will never change."


Dear, oh dear, the delegates at the UN are going to have to demonstrate what it means to assume a position of world leadership.
"Delegates face hardest vote of careers"
This week's formal introduction of a draft resolution on Iraq is threatening the UN Security Council's elected members with a decision they hoped would never arrive: a stark choice between friends, with diplomatic and economic repercussions for years to come.
The fundamental differences between Monday's competing proposals from the US, UK and Spain on the one hand and France, Russia and Germany on the other offered little hope for compromise. The former effectively said a decision on military action was imminent, the latter that Iraq could be contained for several more months at least.
Are gone the days of lavish retreats to discuss poverty or conferences on racism to denounce Israel? The next World Summit on Sustainable Development is whole nine years away, enough time to pay the caterers for the last one.

:: michael Wednesday, February 26, 2003 [+] ::
:: Tuesday, February 25 ::

Saddam Hussein chose to let Dan Rather interview him. Will Rather, known for complaining of "patriotism run amok" on the BBC after pledging to support the President on the David Letterman Show, get to the hard questions: Saddam's mosque with the Kalishnikov minarets or how the dictator managed to count eleven million ballots overnight to determine his unanimous re-election? (That's always easy with just one name on the ballot, even south Florida could handle it.) Does a 100% victory in a dictator's re-election constitute patriotism run amok?


I didn't want to get into criticizing the family who will not donate the organs of Jesica Santillan, but the Bitter Bitch from rural New England already handled it. I would have been gentler, but no less indignant.


So where did Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, George Washington Carver, and perhaps the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., get their strength, anyway?

:: michael Tuesday, February 25, 2003 [+] ::
:: Monday, February 24 ::

John Leo writes about what typical and what's not about peace protestors, and, quoting bloggers, offer a funny look at the numbers.
"One newspaper headline said "Anti-War Protesters Fail to Sway Bush on Plans for Iraq." Gosh, how stubborn can he be? Offhand comments by anchormen and letters to the editor expressed surprise that Bush failed to alter course when he learned that maybe one-half of 1 percent of Americans had taken to the streets for a couple of hours."
The numbers I want to see are how many are in the "Peace" bracelet worn by Sheryl Crow. The word was, in her words, spelled out in diamonds. With her interview and thoughts about poverty alleviation available at the UNESCO site, I wonder if she realizes that those diamonds, which likely came from a poor area that constantly wages war over the mines, could have paid for another mosque glorifying Saddam Hussein.

:: michael Monday, February 24, 2003 [+] ::
:: Sunday, February 23 ::
"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value."

-Marshal Ferdinand Foch, French military strategist and future World War I commander, 1911

:: michael Sunday, February 23, 2003 [+] ::
:: Saturday, February 22 ::

Via the BBB:
Every US citizen needs to read this.

:: michael Saturday, February 22, 2003 [+] ::

About twenty years ago HBO did a series of specials on catastrophes. One was about the 1942 Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston that killed almost five hundred people. It taught that laws were changed afterward requiring that certain numbers of emergency exit doors exist, remained unlocked, and open outward. I have since consistently made a note of where the exits are in nightclubs, but I wonder if I would have still escaped the fire in Rhode Island. The speed of that fire is unnerving.

The New York Times just reported the newest number at 95 dead, but also made it clear there are people in the hospitals without faces. It's always the survivors that seem to get shorted their due attention, whether they are alive and suffering their burns, or are learning to live with shrapnel in their bodies.

Now deleted due to the latest report was, interestingly, yesterday's NYT reference to the fire in Waco, which compared to yesterday's numbers was still higher on the record of fire death counts. I wonder if Janet Reno feels any relief at her drop on the chart.

:: michael Saturday, February 22, 2003 [+] ::
:: Friday, February 21 ::

I just got the David Horowitz invitation from Front Page Magazine to sign a pledge/petition to boycott the goods of France, Germany, and Belgium. Yet I just sent my monthly wine column to press, balking at the idea of boycotting French wine, asking, "What has the winemaker got to do with all this? He's a farmer, worried about late frost and late rains."

I also wonder how many people who want to sign this are still buying Chinese-made products at Wal-Mart. If I had a chance to stock up on Duvel and Chimay (not allowed for sale in NC), I would do it. Yet I will admit I didn't like seeing a French Translation on the bag of dog food I bought last night.

So Donald Rumsfeld remarked that France and Germany are "Old Europe", but not meaning it in the way we have always meant it when referring to lovely buildings and beer halls, but that sixty years is long enough for them to forget their liberation. The New Europe, the former Soviet States (including lone Kyoto-signing Romania), know damn well who they want for a big buddy.

Today, A Charles Krauthammer column analyzes France's bid for some kind of world leadership postion, rightly reminding us that we were watching Russia and China for this kind of behavior all along, and pointing out that France's behavior really isn't about Iraq or pending business deals.

:: michael Friday, February 21, 2003 [+] ::
:: Thursday, February 20 ::
Wow. I can actually get into my blog this morning.

I spent the last half of yesterday thinking about the fifteen year sentence given to the September 11 accomplice in Germany. Mounir El Motassadeq (French translation not available), has been made an example of by the German justice system. The Germans were likely trying to one-up the Canadians, who last week sentenced the Sikh terrorist who confessed to the bombing of an Air India 747 to five years in prison. Texas take note.

Ann Coulter, on yet-another newsmaking surge of liberal leaders' desire to have a radio station:
The crowd attending a "Carol Moseley-Braun for president" rally last week compared favorably to the radio audiences for these guys. To be sure, conservative radio talk show hosts have a built-in audience unavailable to liberals: People driving cars to some sort of job. So liberals keep serving up their own dreary radio hosts, and the public keeps turning the dial back to Rush Limbaugh.

And then there's that Chirac outburst. I was thankful for it. There is nothing quite like a little temper to let the truth escape, if only there were enough to let us know how much he's getting paid by Saddam Hussein.
:: michael Thursday, February 20, 2003 [+] ::
:: Monday, February 17 ::

As announced, anti-war protesters hit downtown Asheville, hooting and sporting signs on sticks. They numbered 2000, needing something to do since marching for a re-vote for the disenfranchised of south Florida.

A Saturday night Valentine's party featured drawing for special prizes, I won a serenade by local singer Stephanie Morgan, who sang an extended version of "Fever" to me in front of the crowd. It was one of my prouder moments.

Last night a modern dance group called Momix performed here. It was one of the two most most visually exciting things I have seen on stage. In their final act, we also got to see what looked like a Motherwell painting come alive. I marveled at the physical beauty and creative talent there, and thought about what people can do when they are free.

As David wrote in a Psalm to God, "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and my soul knows that very well."

And then there were those protesters, in whom the likes of Saddam Hussein and Mullah Omar find consolation, who declare they are content to see the ongoing oppression of people who could otherwise be free to vote, to speak, to create, and to dance, as long as it is not George W. Bush who leads the effort to free them. In the meantime, the mass murderers and torturers of Palestine and Iraq are overlooked and the enforcers of Shariah Islamic law are tolerated for their intolerance.

:: michael Monday, February 17, 2003 [+] ::
:: Saturday, February 15 ::

In yesterday's Opinion Journal, Daniel Henninger makes the following brilliant suggestion :
Polish-Americans probably thought they wouldn't live long enough to hear the end of Polish jokes, but France has liberated Poland from the grip of mockery.
If I was taught correctly, Polish jokes came from an awful decision made by Polish leadership during a long-ago battle. Somehow, that lead to visions of one Pole holding the bulb and two turning the ladder.

While I haven't heard actual French jokes since I left Maine, I have always been aware, through my Dad's or numerous others' comments, that the French have been long worthy of such mockery (from their "Nazi walk-ins welcome" policy to their refusal to let us fly over when Reagan hit Libya in 1986). Most people have been aware, actually, without thinking of many good jokes. Henninger gives us a few, quoting blogger Silflay Hraka:
-"Wars of Religion--France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots."
-"French Revolution--Won, primarily due the fact that the opponent was also French."
-"Algerian rebellion--Lost. First time an Arab army has beaten a Western army since the Crusades."
-"War on Terrorism--Lost. Jacques Chirac surrenders to five million illegal immigrants from Algeria."
And now that Poland has declared a stand with us as one of the "gang of eight," perhaps only small children will go on telling those little one-liners, if the inner-city bitch-and-ho mentality hasn't already completely pre-empted that.
:: michael Saturday, February 15, 2003 [+] ::
:: Friday, February 14 ::

News that Japan is considering a pre-emptive strike will test all those war-haters who decried Israel's pre-emptive strike against Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 and who protest our imminent war with Iraq. Will they possibly consider there is just cause in protecting 127 million Japanese from missile attack?

Knowing that North Korea has already fired a Daepodong missile over Japan, and probably is still using history books that are forty years old, why shouldn't Japan be more afraid of North Korea than the duct-tape wielding Americans are of the missing crop dusters? While it is widely known that Japanese society generally looks down its nose at the Koreans, today's Japan is not the Japan that raped Nanking.

Can the peaceniks get Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela to accuse the Japanese of racism to stop them from knocking out this deadly threat? C'mon, Nelson, they're neither white nor Jewish, so it's OK.

:: michael Friday, February 14, 2003 [+] ::
:: Wednesday, February 12 ::

News on my local public radio station this morning announced a peace rally in a downtown park at noon on Saturday. I thought about that, along with the kids I have seen so far, braving the cold cold wind to hold a peace sign at the busiest intersection, to protest fur in front of the men's clothing store, or to spray paint someone's building with "poverty is not a crime."

Even if this stupid, still, how do they think they are really going to change anything? On the other hand, the grown-ups here on the city council sent chills up Al-Qaeda spines when they denounced the September 11 terrorist attacks as "cowardly" amid a short philosophical debate about whether piloting a stolen passenger plane into a large building might actually not be cowardly.

While I think Saturday's kids are idiots, I have one good feeling about them. They, unlike the protesters on the Washington DC Mall, will actually pick up their trash and leave the landscape intact. Click here to see the protesters' effect.

I thought of joining them with a little reverse psychology: "Save Saddam" signs, and posters decrying elections and free speech. However, in Terence Jeffrey's column, "Celebrate Washington's Birthday", he argues the importance of knowing history and celebrating what Washington's work gave us. (The column also details Washington's slave owning, and how that evolved.) These kids are the same people who would protest George Washington for being a slave owner, but reading this column is a good lesson in why they are wrong.

:: michael Wednesday, February 12, 2003 [+] ::
:: Tuesday, February 11 ::

A headline fit for James Taranto's "You Don't Say" category: "Official: Missile attack threat will hurt airlines".

In a Canadian justice system that makes France look like Texas, a Sikh man received a five-year sentence after pleading guilty to bombing an Air India jet in 1985. This is the plane that blew apart off the Atlantic coast of Ireland, after leaving Montreal, killing 329 people. (That was also the same time a bomb exploded in a Tokyo airport, obviously late, as it was after the flight had arrived from Vancouver. 390 people would have been additionally murdered.) It was recognized that while two other men await trial in the bombing, this one had a relatively minor role.

-Five Years.
-Montreal and Vancouver.
-What exactly is a "minor role" in murdering 329 people?
-WWGND - What would Guru Nanak do?

Remember the old USA Today front-page headline, "Ted Kazinsky, a hero to some", the same Kazinsky who planned to bomb a plane?

And also recall Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela's plea on behalf of the Lockerbie bomber, serving a life sentence for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, murdering 259 in the air and 11 more on the ground. Mandela wants him moved to a Muslim prison where he would be more comfortable. It was just a minor role, after all.

-Comfortable. - -what? Is he always last pick for hoops in the prison play yard? You mean Scotland's worst haven't blown up planes full of people as well?

It's those people with "minor roles" getting out of prison that have me worried.

:: michael Tuesday, February 11, 2003 [+] ::
:: Saturday, February 8 ::

The former personal injury lawyer from North Carolina, Senator John Edwards, will be touting his Presidential fantasy at the home of a slaveowner in Charleston, SC. News in January reported Edwards' endorsement and support of the NAACP boycott of South Carolina because of the Confederate battle flag.

Now how will he defend the decision to rally in the home of a long-dead slaveowner? Will it be the "heritage, not hate" defense that the flag's supporters use? Get this:
The North Carolina senator said he not only supported the boycott launched by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in January 2000, but was honoring it by staying in people's homes instead of hotels.

One thing is certain. Edwards has learned from Clinton the importance of pandering to blacks, even if it means the continued abuse of their sensitivities using the institutionalized misinformation that keeps self-appointed civil rights leaders employed. However, the flag flip-flop of John McCain in his 2000 campaign should have been instructive to Edwards. You cannot have it both ways on this flag/race issue, John... slavery is just around the corner if that house is still standing.

Further, my recent stay at a hotel in Charleston reminded me of an important thing: blacks have jobs in South Carolina.
::Do you think the former personal injury lawyer from North Carolina, Senator John Edwards, could have stayed at a black-owned hotel?
::Do you think the NAACP truly cares about blacks when it deliberately threatens their income with this boycott?
::Has anyone ever seen a white person weaving expensive, highly-demanded sweetgrass baskets on Market Street or in front of Saint Michael's?
::Do you think if the NAACP and its ilk really cared about slavery they would be effectively organizing against the currently ongoing slavery in Africa, of Africans, instead of fighting a symbol that flew over brave, poor, non-slave-owning cannon fodder a hundred fifty years ago?

This just in from my source in Raleigh. The lady who does NC Senator Elizabeth Dole's hair has also done hair and makeup (MAKEUP!) for the former personal injury lawyer from North Carolina, Senator John Edwards.


:: michael Saturday, February 08, 2003 [+] ::
:: Wednesday, February 5 ::

The news that two finalists have been chosen to replace the WTC is simply not believable. Am I looking at a see-through building? Do designs get to the finalist stage if the submitted design looks like the building is still under construction?

NEWS FLASH to you so-called architects at THINK, we need to replace 220 floors of office space so 50,000 people can work there.

The more I look at the designs, the more I crave the Kubrickian monoliths of the old WTC. They were described as "lifeless" by a writer for the September 2001 Gourmet just before they were destroyed, but they were commanding. I thought rebuilding them taller and as cylinders was the best idea.

Ann Coulter had a great idea: build them back, taller, on the old footprints, for there would be no more fitting memorial for Mohammed Atta's grave.

The other of the two finalists, by Libeskind, would be a good jab at the Islamists in that the architect is Jewish. The design is a hell of a lot more compatible with the skyline, but when I think tallest building, I think about usable space, not just a tower. Plus we need to replace 220 floors of office space so 50,000 people can work there.

Oh, and another NEWS FLASH to the Atlanta Journal, the Petronas towers are the tallest like Richard Jewell was the Olympic bomber. Needles do not the tallest buildings make.

:: michael Wednesday, February 05, 2003 [+] ::
:: Tuesday, February 4 ::

Christopher Hitchins handles the fall of Mandela and the stupid race thing better than anybody:
In the very week that Iraq declines contemptuously to do the same, Mandela speaks as if the U.N. were being insulted only by those who sponsored the disarmament resolution. And to this he adds the accusation that those who disagree with him are guilty of racism! There were those who said that South Africa disarmed itself only so that nukes would not fall into the hands of blacks. Does Mandela now think that they were right?
but adds:
this latest garbage is a very timely caution against our common tendency to make supermen and stars and heroes out of fellow humans. Iraq is not Saddam any more than Zimbabwe is Mugabe, and being on the right side of history once is no guarantee that the subsequent fall will not be from a very great height.

:: michael Tuesday, February 04, 2003 [+] ::
:: Monday, February 3 ::

The Iraqis totally wasted a chance to make nice with us when they chose instead to praise Allah for his vengeance in successfully knocking out the shuttle. Is this the best they think Allah can do after our war with Iraq ten years ago, our sanctions, the war in six weeks? Do they think that Saddam Hussein has pleased Allah with a 7.5 million dollar mosque housing a monument to Saddam and a copy of the Qu'ran written in Saddam's blood?

This threw me back to the stupid questions asked by TV news in the early hours of Columbia's breakup, asking if the shutle tragedy was terrorism, when no one should think that something from the terrorists' arsenal could hit a target moving 12,000 mph at 39 miles in the sky and qualify for a job in reporting. Iraq is going to be very surprised when they realize that Allah is more likely helping the Great Satan in deploying its missile defense.

Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela should have made it completely clear to those who did not already know that nothing else he has to say has worth. In response to his dishonest (I don't really think senile) claim that the US will bring on the next Holocaust, I pulled out my thick WWII history book and spent some quiet time with the Holocaust section. I recommend you do the same.

Those of you who pass around those e-mails full-o-wise quotes are invited to delete Mandela before forwarding any to me.

The Conservative Political Action Conference features a booth that sells bumper stickers. The press noticed one mocking Islam by replacing the S in Islam with a nazi swastika, and went on to describe such a thing as a product of "fringe elements". See the Disgusted Liberal for a photo and an enormous online symposium.

However I really don't see how that sticker is fringe or what all the fuss is. From American-ally Egypt's government daily Al-Akhbar on 29 April, 2002:
But I, personally and in light of this imaginary tale, complain to Hitler, even saying to him from the bottom of my heart, 'If only you had done it, brother, if only it had really happened, so that the world could sigh in relief [without] their evil and sin.'

:: michael Monday, February 03, 2003 [+] ::
:: Saturday, February 1 ::
::Via Midwest Conservative Journal, here is a link to a radar image of the spread of debris.

::And here is the best blog I can find on the Shuttle disaster. A significant work of art was lost today. The story will surprise you. Keep in mind that the Israeli on board was the son of Holocaust survivors.

:: michael Saturday, February 01, 2003 [+] ::

I heard of the shuttle disaster on NPR a half-hour after it happened. Naturally, I turned on the TV and watched six pieces burning on re-entry. Case closed. One question at that time: where have the pieces hit the earth?

If you weren't really thinking while watching TV news, you would have had the impression that the pieces were still in the air. There was not a single report of impact, yet at that time it had been more than an hour.

Demonstrating the abandonment of common sense in reporting, one reporter asked an official if this was terrorism. Another asked about survivors.

Does Al-Qaeda have a space-based weapons program? Do shoulder-launched rockets reach 200,700 feet and hit targets moving faster than six times the speed of a bullet? When do passengers survive a 39-mile freefall at more than 12,000 miles an hour?

Finally, one guy used the word "realistically" and said no.

:: michael Saturday, February 01, 2003 [+] ::