"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, December 31 ::


Except for its failings with the preventable genocide in Rwanda, the stoppable genocide in the Balkans, the stoppable genocide in Darfur, the enforceable 17 Security Council resolutions against Iraq, the changeable theocratic terror that was Afghanistan's Taliban, the removable Ba'athist regime, the damnable Chinese infanticide policy, the proclivity to license reporters via the corrupt UNESCO, the moral responsibility to open its books to audit, the moral responsibility to allow investigators to probe the oil-for-food scandals right up to the Secretary Generals's son, the UN is the only body with the moral authority:
I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up, she said.

Only really the UN can do that job, she told BBC Radio Fours PM programme. It is the only body that has the moral authority. But it can only do it well if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers.
We need a President to call this spade a spade. We need a speech that outright condemns the UN as worthless and asked to leave. Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Chuck Lichenstein, and Jesse Helms had the stones to condemn it - who will be next?

:: michael Friday, December 31, 2004 [+] ::
:: Wednesday, December 29 ::

I am surprised the Washington Post didn't link to his Christianity and his belief of the prophecies in the Revelation:
The Bush administration more than doubled its financial commitment yesterday to provide relief to nations suffering from the Indian Ocean tsunami, amid complaints that the vacationing President Bush has been insensitive to a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions.
Again, this is where the press fails to inform the public. Presidents are still Presidents even when out of Washington. There is more than the PDB, the Public Daily Briefing; the job is on, the job which includes leading the global war against terrorists. And what exactly do they think Bush is supposed to do while they continue to fail to report on the massive foreign aid America gives regularly?

What they want is what they praised Kerry for: words. Imagine a President Kerry right now, in his wet suit in the Indian Ocean, quoting someone in the UN and blabbering about global warming, while First Lady Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira Heinz Kerry advises them to run naked and think about food first.

:: michael Wednesday, December 29, 2004 [+] ::

I have been waiting for this very headline:
Sri Lanka rejects Israel rescuers
Israel has cancelled plans to send a 150-person rescue mission to Sri Lanka after the devastated island objected to the military composition of the team.
This is actually not an outright rejection for a judenrein relief effort, but the Sri Lankans object to the Israeli military presence accompanying the mission (as if Israel would take their filthy, devasted island). This Sri Lankan rejection recalls the UN rejection of Israeli blood donated for the Palestinians after they started the second Intifada. The UN delayed blood delivery until they could get non-Jew blood from Jordan. It also recalls the pan-Arab rejection of the Israelis' offer to share their knowledge for growing crops in the desert.

Yesterday the UN official calls us "stingy" and sanctimoniously brings up the giving spirit of the Christmas season. Israelis, in the spirit of living, offer to share their survival skills. Necessity, of course, is the mother of Israel's superior survival and disaster relief skills as well as their security, existing here ironically because of the likes of the Sri Lankan mentality.

Remember - The Iranians refused Israeli charity exactly a year ago when they lost the city of Bam to an earthquake.

Remember also- just over a year ago at the Islamic Conference, the then-Malaysian PM got a standing ovation from the representatives of the 57 Islamic nations when he called for arming against the Jews.

Of course you are reading that headline.

:: michael Wednesday, December 29, 2004 [+] ::
:: Tuesday, December 28 ::


I never knew there were such things... the Milky Way has satellites!

:: michael Tuesday, December 28, 2004 [+] ::

U.N. official slams U.S. as 'stingy' over aid

To clarify, that is the same U.S. which led the liberation of Afghanistan, where people, including previously burkha'd women, just voted for the first time in history. That is the same U.S. that just did the worthless UN Security Council's job for it in Iraq while UN officials corrupted the Oil-for-Food program. That is also the same U.S. whose government-provided foreign aid is charted in part here.

The official, a European, of course, is Jan Egeland, who, in fairness, is on record criticizing the Security Council here. But this actually boils down to his belief that we are undertaxed:
But U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being "stingy" with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised.
Is this a deliberate ignorance of the bounty from our private charities? A hostility to the genuinely spiritual motivation for our freely religious nation to give? Oddly, Jan (hey - that's a girl's name!) seems to know of the genuinely spiritual motivation for our freely religious nation to give, and seems to unintentionally disqualify the religions of poor nnations in the process:
"Christmastime should remind many Western countries at least, [of] how rich we have become."
Whatever the answers, Jan Egeland is another example of why the UN is worthless.

Oh, lookit - the Norwegian looked up "stingy" in the dictionary:
U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland rowed back from statements he made on Monday after an annoyed Secretary of State Colin Powell said Washington was "the greatest contributor to international relief efforts in the world.
Now if only we can get best ex-President Jimmy Carter to look up "unilateral".

:: michael Tuesday, December 28, 2004 [+] ::

Are there any leftists in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, the Andamans, Bangladesh, Myanmar, or Indonesia who say their countries deserved the tsunami disaster?

Will Islamists rise to power with this kind of nonsense argument? The Maldives may be in that very danger.

I can't find a Pinch Sulzberger at the New Delhi Times, but stay tuned for blame on western indulgence - I found this at Reuters:
Global Warming, Pollution Add to Coastal Threats
A creeping rise in sea levels tied to global warming, pollution and damage to coral reefs may make coastlines even more vulnerable to disasters like tsunamis or storms in future, experts said Monday.
It's another article referring to experts who are not named. Space is limited, so cram in the crap and leave out the names.

:: michael Tuesday, December 28, 2004 [+] ::
:: Monday, December 27 ::

Here's what Rumsfeld said Friday: "I think all of us have a sense if we imagine the kind of world we would face if the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon, the people who cut off peoples' heads on television to intimidate, to frighten – indeed the word 'terrorized' is just that. Its purpose is to terrorize, to alter behavior, to make people be something other than that which they want to be."
This isn't even a complete sentence, but looking at simple subject-verb who-did, he is not saying the US shot the plane down. His sentence was way, way, too long for anyone to understand what he meant to say. Sure, I am open to the shot-down theory of Flight 93 and I do not think that lessens the heroism of Todd Beamer and company. In his example, whether the plane was shot down or not, civilian passengers have since taken action on planes, and that, I believe, has prevented copycat hijack-suicide missions.


Pentagon: Rumsfeld misspoke on Flight 93 crash
A Pentagon spokesman insisted that Rumsfeld simply misspoke, but Internet conspiracy theorists seized on the reference to the plane having been shot down.
Well, the theorists need to re-read his (mis)statement. That very obviously is not what he said when the subject of his remark is terrorists.

:: michael Monday, December 27, 2004 [+] ::


Via Joanne Jacobs: A school in Tampa bans rubber bands. She blogs the article without a direct comment of her own, but offers a funny twist.

You may recall ten years ago or more when the Super Soaker water gun was being abused by some to shoot bleach. The liberal solution: ban the water gun rather than ensure severe punishment to deter the crime. The comment /feedback section at the Jacobs blog, however, gets to the ultimate root of the problem. The poster, using the name Allen, offers a solution I think the Chinese would love:

Cripes, all these half-measures. Why not go to the root of the problem?
It's all those damned kids. They need somewhere to sit. They need a place get out of the rain. They complain. They've got parents who complain. They need to be taught something. Need, need, need. It just never ends.
The solution's obvious: get rid of the kids.
Imagine how quiet and peaceful the schools would be without all those kids. No lessons to plan. No reports to turn in. No parent-teacher conferences. No fighting. No throwing up. No endless stream of rules to try to keep up with every new outrage, problem, concern, danger and worry. What could be better?
The Middle East Media Research Institute reports on an Iranian TV show depicting Israelis as eye thieves:
In Episode 1, Yitzhak Cohen lectures at a medical conference on the advances being made by Israeli medicine regarding organ transplants. Later in the episode, Israelis disguised as UN workers visit a Palestinian school, ostensibly to examine the children's eyes for diseases, but in reality to select which children's eyes to steal to be used for transplants.

:: michael Monday, December 27, 2004 [+] ::
:: Saturday, December 25 ::


And I didn't even work this week. Where does the time go?

I returned from NYC, where people were stepping around the street people to go protest the removal of a huge, filthy hawk's nest from private property overlooking Central Park, but where Steak Tartare was also being served at Casimir in the East Village with a raw egg on top - under the micromanaging nose of Mayor Bloomberg!

My long-time friend Francis, who I visited part of the time in Manhattan, works at the Apple Computer store on Prince Street in SOHO, where Ann Coulter was just there for him specifically, with a Christmas kiss and a present.

The week began with a warning from the Pope about materialism and Christmas - followed by a great big "RIGHT-ON!" from me:
"The message of the Christmas tree is that life is always green if you give, not many material things, but of yourself through friendship and sincere affection, through help and forgiveness, by spending time together and listening to each other," he said.
Then along comes Dennis Prager, the Jewish conservative who defended evangelical Christianity, this time defending Christmas shopping:
Spending one's money on presents for people is one of the nicest traditions in society and ought to be cultivated, not discouraged. People who don't buy Christmas or Chanukah gifts aren't particularly noble; they are usually particularly cheap.
Various religious commentators warn that children will lose the real meaning of Christmas or Chanukah if they associate it with getting gifts. This is another corker. What child who waited all year and then all Christmas Eve to see what he or she would get for Christmas thought primarily about the theological implications of Christmas? Isn't it enough that some of the happiest memories of a Christian child are associated with one of the two holiest days of the Christian calendar? Would it really religiously benefit a child to receive no gifts on the day celebrating the birth of Jesus?
Insensitive Defense Secretary Rumsfeld arguably risks his life to visit the troops in Iraq, in Fallujah, Tikrit, and Mosul. He got there by C-17. I love C-17's!

And a still condemned-as-unintelligent President Bush re-nominates the judges so we can see again the Democrats for who they are.

In outer space, a probe named Huygens was released from the Cassini spacecraft into the Saturnian moon Titan, which was noted by the media about as much as whatever Arlen Specter said this week about Bush's judicial agenda.

This has been a week of damn-cold temperatures as well. It's this time of year I return to childish science and... put my ice-cube trays just outside my sliding kitchen door instead of in the freezer - and they say conservatives don't care about wasting energy! I chill my wine and Champagne this way, too. Back to the ice cubes, though - the wierdest thing - these upside-down icicles rise up out of the cubes, looking like stalactites, but the things rise up out of a surface that gravity made flat at the start. Are there any geeks out there who can explain this to us?

UPDATE - OMG! - I found the answer!

Each year I take an item from my mother's vast collections of things and wrap it up for Christmas to see if she recognizes it. This year, a tin of Russian tea like she had at the long-gone Russian Tea Room five years ago. She has owned it for five years and never opened it. She just unwrapped it and again, I win.

Mr. Prager, please take note.

:: michael Saturday, December 25, 2004 [+] ::
:: Saturday, December 18 ::

But Jackson to the rescue:
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - President Thabo Mbeki's ruling party published a stinging attack Friday on top U.S. health officials, accusing them of treating Africans like "guinea pigs" and lying to promote a key AIDS drug.
The article, published in the online journal ANC Today, was responding to Associated Press reports this week that U.S. health officials withheld criticism of a nevirapine study before President Bush (news - web sites) launched a 2002 plan to distribute the drug in Africa.
In the United States, the Rev. Jesse Jackson (news - web sites) called for a U.S. congressional investigation and demanded nevirapine no longer be distributed in Africa.

Hey, remember that about the Bush administration? -his address to the nation declaring that we had a "moral" duty to help Africa with its AIDS crisis? To clarify, this is the same Africa where Africans are still enslaved in Muslim areas. In the meantime, they must not be helped if the Bush Administration gets any credit, and while we wait for Bill Clinton's apology for long-gone U.S. slavery to still have some influence.

:: michael Saturday, December 18, 2004 [+] ::
:: Thursday, December 16 ::

There was this 25-30 woman in front of the very groovy Coffee Shop Bar at Union Square calling out to people, "Would you like to help save our National Forests today? Sixty percent of our forests are gone!" Ah, the irony of saving the forests from the concrete jungle.

And I love the sight of full-length fur coats. It threw me back to the last inauguration in DC... there was clearly a new party in town!
:: michael Thursday, December 16, 2004 [+] ::
Annan Pledges to Aid in Oil-For-Food Probe

WASHINGTON - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites) pledged full cooperation Thursday with investigations into alleged abuses in a U.N. oil and aid program that have led Republicans in Congress to demand his resignation. He said U.N. employees can be fired if they do not comply.
...and then we will have to take charge.
:: michael Thursday, December 16, 2004 [+] ::

it took me three days to get to a computer...

It was a super early Christmas present to finally meet:

Karol of Alarming News

Peter of Executive Slacks

Paul of Experimental Insanity

Ari of Ari Goes Down


Kevin, formerly of Blogs for Bush

Yaron of Daily Lunch

Zelda (funny, I don't remember her name being Zelda) of The Urban Grind

My short-term memory will not recall any more names than that. Or was it Stella Artois?
:: michael Thursday, December 16, 2004 [+] ::
:: Friday, December 10 ::
All week this week.
And just in time for Karol's party!

I realize this is short notice but there will be a blogger party (Monday, December 13) at Rififi/Cinema Classics on East 11th between First and Second Avenues in Manhattan.

:: michael Friday, December 10, 2004 [+] ::
Pizza courier 'targeted' Amsterdam sex zone

AMSTERDAM — Justice authorities arrested a Moroccan man last month after receiving a tip-off that Islamic extremists were allegedly planning an attack on the Red Light District in Amsterdam, it was reported on Friday
Remember when Al Qaeda gassed that dog on video? Finally they were outraged. What do you think would happen if the Islamists hit an abortion clinic?

:: michael Friday, December 10, 2004 [+] ::

Saddam lawyers 'not ready' for trial
By Andrew Gilligan, Evening Standard

Iraqi judges and prosecutors chosen to try Saddam Hussein are "nowhere near ready", according to western officials who saw them at a secret training session in London.

Amid growing recriminations, the advisers have claimed that the United Nations and Europe are refusing to provide the tribunal with desperately needed help.

Memo from Europe:
All mass graves are equal, but some are less equal than others.

:: michael Friday, December 10, 2004 [+] ::

It will be the immediate reaction of many serious believers to rejoice here, but just because:
Atheist now believes in God, more or less
doesn't mean this renowned philosopher is all that smart:
"I'm thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins."
-Antony Flew, British philosophy professor

I expected a professor in the PC hell of a British University to know that rugs are Oriental, that he should use the word "Asian".

:: michael Friday, December 10, 2004 [+] ::
:: Thursday, December 9 ::

Ban on Night Alcohol Sales Sought in Paris

:: michael Thursday, December 09, 2004 [+] ::
:: Tuesday, December 7 ::

In a news story about last night's Chicago high-rise fire, a recall of a similar fire just over a year ago:
The fire comes 14 months after a 35-story county-owned building in downtown Chicago caught fire, killing six people. A state-funded investigation of the October 2003 blaze concluded in September that the deaths could have been prevented if there had been sprinklers and unlocked stairwells, and if firefighters had searched for victims sooner and kept out smoke and heat.
That's the downside of fire, really. Smoke and heat. Where's there's fire, there's smoke... and heat!
Oh, and it has to start before the fighters can be called in.

Look also at this goverment report about a fire in a government building - no sprinklers and locked stairwells! Gee, if only the victims could have gotten out before the fire fighters had to break the doors down for them.

I'm surprised there wasn't an environmental impact statement, but on that subject:
A dozen empty houses in a new Maryland subdivision that is the focus of a long-running environmental dispute were destroyed and numerous others were damaged yesterday in what officials said were more than 20 coordinated, methodically planned arsons.
A mighty blow for environmentalism! These homes were huge, too. Think of the plastic and pressure-treated wood that went up in toxic smoke and the fire-fighting water that carried the chemicals into the soil. Gee, if only the firefighters had prevented the smoke from...

:: michael Tuesday, December 07, 2004 [+] ::
:: Sunday, December 5 ::
Explosives lost in airport gaffe
Plastic explosives were mistakenly loaded onto a plane at a Paris airport after security officials lost track of it during an exercise, police say.
No. Nobody will. Because blaming such things on the head of state has always been a bunch of Al-Qaqaa.

:: michael Sunday, December 05, 2004 [+] ::

England called it "Gun Amnesty" because it's not the criminals doing the crime, unless it's self-defense:
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM.- British artist Lucy Wood unveils her latest artwork "Map 272183" at the Metropolitan Police Gun Crime Conference in London 02 December, 2004. The artwork measures 8 by 6.26 metres and is made up of a sizeable portion of the three thousand and eighty five weapons that were handed in under the Gun Amnesty of 2003 and destroyed.

The sculpture is made entirely of pieces of firearms handed in during a gun amnesty. It was due to be shown at the Metropolitan Police’s training centre at Hendon, north London, where a conference was being staged today to help reduce gun crime in the city. The title od the sculptureis in reference to the Ordnance Survey map of the 32 boroughs of London.

The artist stated: "Once broken up into small pieces the guns no longer serve any purpose."
No purpose, indeed. Now they need a day of "art amnesty."

:: michael Sunday, December 05, 2004 [+] ::
:: Friday, December 3 ::

First we get the flu, now this.

:: michael Friday, December 03, 2004 [+] ::

Jeff Jacoby marked the death of Yasser Arafat with a bold certainty that God, against the apparant good will of George Bush, would not bless Arafat's soul, but damn it to hell.

Pat Buchanan, unsurprisingly indignant, followed up:
"God bless his soul? What a grotesque idea! ... God, I am quite sure, will damn him for eternity."

So writes Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe. And we are surely fortunate to have columnists who know the mind of God.

In defense of President Bush, if that was his first reaction to Arafat's death, it bespeaks a Christian heart. As a boy in World War II, I was taught by Catholic nuns that while permissible to pray for the death of Hitler or Tojo, it was impermissible to pray for their damnation. That was hatred, and hatred is a sin.
I do not think Jeff Jacoby presumed to know the mind of God, but the nuns' lesson, repeated by Buchanan, is extremely valuable.

Still, Dennis Prager takes that baton and goes at it like a Vulcan:
First, is there a hell? Can rational people believe in such a thing?

Second, if there is a hell, does Arafat merit going there? And can any of us mortals judge a person worthy of hell?

Third, if there is a hell, is it acceptable to hope someone who we believe merits it goes there?
Click Prager's blue text above and read the whole thing.

:: michael Friday, December 03, 2004 [+] ::

Oh, no - we should never impose our point of view or democratic ways on people who aren't ready or culturally different. Who the hell are we to say we are better?
200 Iranians volunteer for "martyrdom" against Americans, Israelis
Besides, aren't they exercising free speech?

:: michael Friday, December 03, 2004 [+] ::
:: Thursday, December 2 ::

:: michael Thursday, December 02, 2004 [+] ::