A Menagerie of Outspoken Opinions on Science, World Politics, and Geek Culture

Friday, July 30, 2004

More Moqtada

Well, this week's vile enemy made the news today in an Al Jazeera article. It seems the good cleric al-Sadr does not want Arab or Muslim soldiers serving as peacekeepers in Iraq. The article quotes him as saying "We don't want (Arab and Muslim) forces to shield the occupier because we don't want to see Muslims killed."


Moqtada al-Sadr (and henchman) Posted by Hello

Yes, Moqtada, we all believe you are enourmously concerned with the lives of your fellow Muslims. That is why you sent hundreds and hundreds of them to die fighting coalition forces while you hid in a mosque. Do you really think their families wanted them getting killed to "shield" the fat Imam from much-deserved arrest?

I think al-Sadr doesn't want Arab and Muslim soldiers in Iraq because it would force him to make a choice: Disband his simmering insurgency and face obscurity, or eventually fight other Muslims and be revealed as an equal-opportunity killer. He prefers to have infidels around to fight (or rather, send others to fight) because he can lie about us and kill us with impunity. In fact, there are many who will worship him for it. But the second he starts shooting (excuse me again ... the second he has other people start shooting) at Saudis or Pakistanis the aura of heroic resistance is stripped away, revealing him as just another power-hungry cleric with Muslim blood all over his hands.


S

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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Noggin Surgery and Fishing for Con Men

My blog time today (and perhaps tomorrow as well) will be spent working on the next BPCP update. Those looking for some blog-reading to do can go check in with rockynoggin over at Cornpone; his eldest had surgery yesterday so stop by and send him your well-wishes. Rocky also has some observations on the speeches given at the DNC this week.

And Michael of Fuki Blog really has one of those African con artists on the hook. Good entertainment, that. Go visit.


S

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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I'm Proud To Call You My Enemy

I: Foreign Press Gives Moore a Softball, but O'Reilly Comes Out Swinging

The foreign press just loves Michael Moore. Or, more correctly, they hate President Bush (and the ~150 million Americans who support him) so they lap up the anti-Americanism Moore vomits forth with great relish. Here is an interview with two of the foreign reporters who were not so impressed with the bloated buffoon and his fawning media jackals; it turns out that they wanted to ask some tough, pertinent questions (gasp! how dare they!) instead of just jamming their noses up his fat ass along with everyone else. Sheesh ... journalists acting like journalists. I'm surprised the WaPo editorial staff hasn't called for their heads on a platter.

Not everyone was softballing Moore, though. Bill O'Reilly finally got him and all six of his chins to agree to an interview; the transcript is here. Apparently, Moore has trouble with the difference between mistaken and lied. This is unsurprising; he also has trouble with the difference between documentary and propaganda. And his mealy-mouthed jabbering about "sending children" to die in war reveals that either a) he has a remarkably poor grasp of the situation, or b) he's manipulating his audience even now.

US Soldiers and Marines and not children, Mr. Moore, nor are they sent. They are all adults and they volunteer for duty knowing full well that the job is dangerous and difficult. Lamenting their loss is all well and good, but should be left to those who knew them, loved them, and appreciated their sacrifice. Your tears, O Corpulent Master of Deceit, have a distinct reptilian quality to them. The fact that you politicize the death of our brave troops is as disgusting as that immense wad of gut you carry around.

II: Misha On Aussie Threats and Kerry Appologetics

When Frank J. of IMAO isn't posting much for one reason or another I usually substitute The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler in my daily blog-reading lineup. They're similar yet opposite: Frank is angrily humorous while Misha is humorously angry.

In any case, Misha has posted about a threat hung from an Australian boat and the discussion it sparked over at the Kerry camp (when someone says "Improve world order, kill an American today" even Waffles will sit up and take notice). Misha concentrates largely on the difficulties those particular mariners might have in following through with that task and Kerry's fumbling attempts to appease such idiocy. He only lightly touches on something I find equally interesting, however: Are Americans really so reviled the world over? Even among our staunchest allies? And if so, by who exactly?

The answers are sort of, not really, and our enemies.

There are, without question, some countries where the majority of the population dislikes Americans. In those "nations" under the boot of radical Islam's 14th Century-style oppression I'd be surprised to find one person in ten who doesn't hate us. That might rise to two-in-ten in the communist world and three or four in Europe's pussified social democracies. But in our first-world allies - Britain, Japan, South Korea, Israel, and yes, Australia - America haters are actually a small minority.

Those first-world countries, however, are like America. They're free. So even seething leftist jackasses have the right to express their opinion, and sometimes that opinion is going to be witless poison like "Improve world order, kill an American today". That crap doesn't really bother me because I know the world has it's share of fools, and wisdom is not a prerequisite for free speech. We're never going to be able to make everyone happy and shouldn't try; screw the socialists and the tyrants and the pants-wetting pacifists. I'm glad such people don't like us.

Which brings me to my final point: It is right that many of those we're talking about here - from Michael Moore to Osama bin Laden to leftist Australian boaters - do not like us. The Arab dictators, bloody-handed Mullahs, Marxist dumbasses, and transnationalist peacenicks are not our friends. They are, by their very existence, anathema to everything for which America stands. When they carry vitriolic signs and rant anti-American bile it's because they hate and fear our power, prosperity, and freedom. They're horrified by our radical success in the face of their abject failure. When I see them get frustrated enough to screech nonsense about killing Americans for world order I know we're doing something right. I do not want to be well-liked by thugs and liars and criminals and cowards; I am their enemy and I'm glad they know it.


S

Update: I just discovered that Michelle Malkin has rounded up some other blogger's thoughts on the Michael Moore / Bill O'Reilly face off. The John Derbyshire quote is spot-on.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Vile Enemy of the Week: Moqtada al-Sadr

Yeah, I know you haven’t heard the name in a while. Back in April, Moqtada al-Sadr was on the news so much that millions of westerners were forced to learn how to pronounce a word with a “Q” in the middle of it for the very first time. Then he launched his uprising, got hundreds of his militiamen killed, and eventually annoyed the other Iraqi Shiites so much that even they demanded he send his fighters away.


Moqtada al-Sadr Posted by Hello

But just who is Moqtada al-Sadr, and why is he so hostile to US troops?

First and Foremost, al-Sadr is a youthful Shiite cleric from a prominent family of Shiite clerics. His father was murdered by Saddam – who feared the powerful Shiites that might one day rise up against his Sunni minority – and his uncle and brothers were killed in a drive-by shooting just before the Coalition invaded Iraq in 2003. Extensive background information can be found here and here; the CFR profile has more depth to it but the BBC article is more recent.

Al-Sadr has been aggressively anti-coalition since the end of major combat operations last spring. The coalition removed the man who murdered his father (and probably his other relatives as well) and who had been oppressing the Shiite people for three decades. With Saddam gone Iraq erupted with newfound freedoms, including the practice of Shiite religious rituals that had been banned for almost thirty years. Lots of newspapers sprung up too, and one of those belonged to al-Sadr. So here you have a guy who owes the coalition for avenging his dead relatives, freeing his people, reinstating their long-banned traditions, and giving him a voice in the press.

And what does al-Sadr do with that voice? He loudly condemns the very people without whom he’d be nothing but another name on Saddam’s “People to Kill” list. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m an American and I know as well as the rest of you that to expect appreciation from Islamist zealots is a fool’s game – but why such rabid anti-coalition sentiment? His newspaper printed blatant, inflammatory lies about the coalition: That they were there to steal oil, rape women, and grind all Arabs beneath the boot of “western oppression”. Was it because we support Israel? Because we’re not Muslim? Because he’s a little crazy and actually believes we’re there to do all of the horrible stuff he printed in his newspaper?

In my opinion, yes and no.

I think that al-Sadr, like all Islamists, is angered by the success of western secular cultures and the stark contrast into which it throws the failure of Arab traditionalism and Islamic theocracy. He’s angry at Israel for much the same reason, and again at us for protecting her. And yes, he’s genuinely suspicious of westerners because of our light skin, odd traditions, and secular, pluralistic ways. But more than anything else, I think al-Sadr simply needs someone to rail against. He is, after all, a firebrand, and what is a firebrand to do without someone to burn? If al-Sadr doesn’t have an enemy to seethe against at Friday prayers he’s just another young cleric who has to wait 40 more years for any real respect or power to come his way. But with a conveniently placed and worrisomely foreign army nearby he doesn’t have to languish in obscurity; he can become the heroic young Imam – virtuous, brave, and wise beyond his years. Any enemy would have done for al-Sadr in a pinch – Islamists are only slightly less willing to murder fellow Muslims than us Kaffir – but the combination of envy and suspicion evoked by western soldiers coupled with their position so close at hand made US troops the perfect target.

So, in what was primarily a conscious effort to increase his own personal power and influence, al-Sadr filled his newspaper with lies to incite fear of and hatred towards the coalition. The coalition, upon reading his fabricated stories of rape, theft, and murder, shut down his little rag and realized that he might be the guy responsible for killing a rival cleric just after Saddam was deposed (I know little of those charges so will stay away from speculating about them for the time being). An Iraqi judge – not the US military, mind you, but an Iraqi judge – issued an arrest warrant for al-Sadr in connection with that murder and the coalition moved to arrest him. In response, al-Sadr whipped his followers into a blood frenzy and they took over a bunch of police stations; by the next day we had a genuine uprising in Najaf and several surrounding cities, sparking the biggest upsurge in violence since the war’s end. All because a young hothead was angry, suspicious, and – most of all – hungry for power.

In the end it cost the lives of a couple dozen American soldiers, hundreds of al-Sadr militiamen, and scores of innocent Iraqi civilians. Properly admonished by his fellow clerics and largely abandoned by the Shiite majority, al-Sadr has now faded into the background and is just one more blustering Imam with the blood of Iraqis and Americans on his worthless hands. Like Mullahs across the Muslim world, al-Sadr did not ride out to fight “the enemy” himself. There was no grand gesture of sacrifice and courage, no final act of defiance in defense of his people. Only orders given for others to die, and then a retreat into obscurity as defeat was handed to the Islamists once again.

For his seething envy and hatred of the west, his selfish ambition disguised as piety, and his willingness to see others die in service to such ambition, Moqtada al-Sadr is The Zoo’s vile enemy of the week. May a bullet – or at least a jail cell – find its way to him soon.


S

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Monday, July 26, 2004

The Zoo Schedule / Monday Linkfest

I like the idea of having certain days set aside for certain kinds of posting, so I'm going to try to stick to a generalized schedule from now on. I've been doing "Saturday Fun Stuff" since The Zoo's inception, and I've tried to use Mondays for linking to other blogs. The "Vile enemy of the Week" needs to be revived as well, so here's the tentative look of The Zoo's weekly lineup:

Monday: Monday Linkfest.
Tuesday: Vile Enemy of the Week.
Wednesday: No plan.
Thursday: No plan, but I'll probably follow up on the week's Vile Enemy.
Friday: No plan, but Friday will often be an Alliance Filthy Lie assignment.
Saturday: Saturday Fun Stuff.
Sunday: No blogging, unless something just excites me so much I have to post about it.


So, without further ado, here's Monday's links:

First up is something gleaned from this post at Cold Fury and this one from Andrew Sullivan. They both draw the same conclusion, which I agree with: When you've really lived in a police state - not an imaginary one like Michael Moore's distorted version of America - you have little patience for deceit and political opportunism. The Poles remember what real oppression is like, and are therefore far less likely to swallow Moore's foul bait.

Next, I see rockynogin has been having similar ideas about planning out his blogging. He's being far more specific than I am though; don't expect such TV Guide-style precision here. I'll be lucky if I can stick to the general schedule.

Best of luck to rockynogin's son, who is apparently going in for his surgery this week. Check in over there on Wednesday and Friday for news of how that's going.

Meanwhile, the most unfortunately-named libertarian blogger in the world is busily stringing along one of those African "bank account / wire transfer" con artists. I really hope the guy on the other end stays on the hook for a while; this could be fun. Michael's new design looks great, too.

And finally we discover that war protestors know as little about concentration camps as they do about police states. Michelle Malkin links to the article as well as some others, and while you're at her site you might also want to check out her Sunday Best post. Good news for Cox & Forkum, who were recently blogged about right here at The Zoo!

Happy Monday all. Have an extra cup of coffee and plunge ahead; it'll be Friday before ya know it.


S

Update: MSN Encarta has listed the top ten liberal campuses in America (presumably in honor of the Democratic Convention, which starts today). So that's where you send your kids if you want them to grow into young Stalins. Gamers should notice that the number one liberal campus is Bard College, making that institution just as burdensome and useless as the D & D 3.5E character class!

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Saturday, July 24, 2004

Saturday Fun Stuff

Happy weekend! I decided to follow rockynogin's example and completely re-image my system to be sure all spyware was gone. Then I installed my usual battery of spyware defenses (updated, of course) and I've decided to use Opera for web surfing. IE will be for blogging only; Blogger doesn't like Opera but other than that it's a great browser. Way more secure than IE.

Anyhoo, here's some fun stuff for Saturday. Are the spots between the squares black or white? Don't look at it too long ... you'll get a headache:


Black Squares Posted by Hello

And three riddles for you; as always, looking them up on the 'net is possible but not much fun. Try to figure them out on your own (only the last is really hard):

This is as light as a feather but no man can hold it for long. What is it?

The beginning of eternity, the end of time and space, the beginning to every end, the end to every place. What is it?

Long neck and no hands, hundreds of legs yet I can not stand. Born of forest nest, and against a wall I rest. What am I?


Leave your answers in the comments. Per the usual routine, I'll post the answers on Tuesday.


S

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Friday, July 23, 2004

Cox & Forkum

For those of you who've never seen Cox & Forkum editorial cartoons (I imagine there aren't too many of you), consider this post a public service announcement.


Moore Smoke Posted by Hello

Unlike Ted Rall's seething, nigh-unreadable scribblings, Cox & Forkum's work is smart and really well-drawn. To go along with the cartoon (and riffing off a comment made by one of my roommates last night) here is a link to Fifty-Nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11. Interesting that the original title was "Fifty-Six Deceits ...", but journalists kept discovering more so the list had to be expanded. Hat tip to C&F for the cartoon and the link.

Anyway, sorry for the lite post today. The truth is that I've been writing and writing and writing this week - for the blog, for work, and for other stuff - and I'm just not in the mood for an angry rant or insightful analysis today. Tomorrow I promise I'll have a good "Saturday Fun Stuff". Till then, I'm out.


S

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Thursday, July 22, 2004

Call Off the Dogs!

So it turns out that Secure Computing is run by decent folk after all; rockynogin reports that they have changed ProtestWarrior.com's status from "Hate Speech" to "Politics / Opinion".  I myself recieved an e-mail from David Burt, who assures me it was a mistake caused by filtering software.  That Secure Computing went through the effort to correct this so quickly (and politely) speaks volumes about their integrity.

On a side note:  Judging from the text of the e-mail from David, he must think I speak for ProtestWarrior in some official capacity, which I do not; I'm merely a rank-and-file member (which I'll let him know in my thank-you e-mail).  Anyway, he's obviously a decent and honest guy and thusly gets The Zoo's offical stamp of good human being-ness.  Yay David! 

And rockynogin is our man of the hour for discovering and investigating the unfair classification of ProtestWarrior.  Every last iota of credit for fixing this mistake goes to him.

S

 

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Censorship Computing

Rockynogin over at Cornpone - one of The Zoo's bestest blog-buddies - has uncovered some odd shenanigans going on with a company called Secure Computing.  It seems that Secure Computing has blocked access to ProtestWarrior.com - a pro-Israel, pro-Bush organization that counter-demonstrates at anti-war rallies - while allowing free access to such venomous leftist web sites as answercoalition.org, ruckus.org, and earthliberationfront.com.

In the interest of fair play - and exposing the hypocrisy of the far left - I've sent an e-mail to Secure Computing's Public Relations Manager.  There is a chance that the whole thing is nothing but a problem with their filtering software; there is also a chance that it's more blatant illiberalism from the "liberals".  We'll find out which when and if Mr. Burt sends me a reply.


Dear Mr. Burt,
 
An employee of a Secure Computing customer recently wrote an article on his web log about your company's decision to classify ProtestWarrior.com (www.protestwarrior.com) as a "Hate Speech" web site.  As a member of ProtestWarrior I find such a classification deeply disturbing and highly unfair.  I have plenty of black, Jewish, Asian, homosexual, and bisexual friends (and family) that would likewise be shocked to find an organization like ProtestWarrior so categorized.
 
First and foremost, ProtestWarrior.com is not "Hate Speech" by any sane definition of that term.  ProtestWarrior, as an organization, simply espouses a pro-Israel, pro-Bush, anti-terrorist political stance.  Our purpose is to provide moderates and conservatives with a voice that counters the virulent anti-Americanism so often displayed by leftists and Islamists at various demonstrations across the US.  When counter-demonstrating at such gatherings, our protestors have been subject to public ridicule, threats of violence, and nearly constant attempts to censor their message.  Put plainly, Mr. Burt, ProtestWarrior members are far more likely to be the victims of hate speech than to be those engaging in it.
 
Secondly, Secure Computing places many highly partisan liberal groups safely in the "Politics & Opinion" category.  MoveOn.org and answercoalition.org are no less adamant and opinionated in their message than ProtestWarrior.com; why do they not share the same classification?  Furthermore, earthliberationfront.com and ruckus.org - web sites that plainly advocate violence and vandalism - are freely accessed by Secure Computing customers.  How is their voice acceptable where ProtestWarrior's is not?
 
One of two things is going on here, Mr. Burt:  Either Secure Computing uses an automatic filter of some sort that has miscategorized ProtestWarrior.com, or Secure Computing employees are engaged in a campaign to promote leftist web sites while censoring those holding an opposing viewpoint.  As a public company with obligations to its customers and shareholders, Secure Computing has an overriding responsibility to figure out what is happening and resolve the issue.  All of us have our political opinions, some of which others are bound to find irritating or even offensive.  But it is unconscionable for one group of citizens to control another group's access to information - whether mistakenly or intentionally - based upon the popularity of a given political stance.  There is a fine line between security and censorship, Mr. Burt; I suggest you look carefully at which is being engaged in here.
 
Thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
 
 
Sincerely, 

XXXX XXXXX XXXXXX


Stay tuned on this one, kids.  Hopefully there will be lots more to come.

 
S

 

Update: It turns out that David Burt and Secure Computing are with the good guys after all. Bravo to them for their swift attention to this matter.


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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Overrun With Liberals

My buddy Chris has a great web site called BookTalk (it's permalinked on my sidebar, too).  Every other month he and his members pick a book, usually about science or politics, and use it as a basis for sparking interesting debate.  Some past BookTalk selections have been Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot and Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.  Right now we're reading Civilization and It's Enemies by Lee Harris, an indispensable work for anyone following the War on Terror.

Chris, however, has a problem:  BookTalk is largely overrun with liberals.  We've discussed the possible reasons for this and have come to believe it's because BookTalk members tend to be rationalists of one sort or another (humanists, agnostics, atheists, etc...).  It is typically liberals who stick up for separation of church and state issues, so scientific-minded folks tend to gravitate their way politically.  Chris himself is like me, hovering somewhere out in the foggy and ill-defined area between neoconservatism and libertarianism.

What Chris needs are some intelligent, well-spoken conservatives, neocons, and libertarians to join in the discussions over at BookTalk.  Please, please, please don't go over there with "Liberals are stupid!  Nyah, nyah, nyah!" nonsense; most of Chris' members are actually pretty smart and you'll only perpetuate the "dumb redneck" conservative stereotype if you show up calling people names.  Chris wants folks who will read the books and civilly argue points from a right-leaning perspective.  He wants people who can refute Chomsky and support O'Rourke because they're familiar with the work of both.  To be frank, he wants new members that are bright and civil but who don't suffer from terminal liberalism.

As an example of exactly what goes on at Chris' site, here are a couple BookTalk threads in which I participated.  Notice the lopsided nature of the argument (notice, too, the skill and aplomb with which sandor handles the screeching muckadoos!):

Saddam Hussein is Caught

Is Capitalism the Best Economic System?

So there you have it.  If you like reading about politics and science - and like discussing politics and science - then stop by BookTalk and join the fray.  It's a great way to hone your debating skills, and some counterbalancing viewpoints in the BookTalk forums will benefit everyone who reads and posts there.   And slapping down leftist nonsense can be pretty damn entertaining to boot!

 
S

 

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Appeasement, Cowardice, and Payoffs

Michelle Malkin has been following the story of the Filipino pull-out from the coalition and has a few choice words about Arroyo's latest wretched, mealy-mouthed excuses.  Personally, I couldn't care less what that turncoat coward says at this point.  I've made my feelings clear here at The Zoo and in a number of comments over at Cold Fury as well.  Time for our troops and our dollars to come home.  Let's see you "work to create a more peaceful world" all alone while the Abu Sayyif crawl from island to island and encircle Manila.  What a damned fool she is.
 
But what I really find amazing is how Arroyo's government insists they're protecting The Philippines' millions of expat workers by caving in to terrorism.  As if this particular Iraqi insurgent group is going to convince all the other Islamofascist thugs and lawless brigands that Filipinos are off limits now that a single payoff has been made and one set of demands met.  Far more likely - almost certain, in fact - is that they're going to tell their philosophical brethren across the Asia-Pacific that Filipinos are an easy mark.  Truth is they won't have to tell them; extremists and bandits of all sorts have no doubt been watching this with great interest and are now hatching plans to capture their very own valuable Filipino hostages.
 
What is so goddamned hard about this concept:  Giving in to a bully brings on more bullying, not less.  And not just for the one who gives in, either; the entire playground can expect to be terrorized once such tactics have been shown to work.  Just how poor do your reasoning skills have to be not to see the obvious truth in this?
 
It's like we're dealing with people who've completely lost their survival instincts.  They think they can pull a Ghandi on tribal dictators and fascist thugs, and when they end up in a mass grave 10 or 20 years down the road it will take them completely by surprise.
 
"Why are you doing this - we gave you everything you wanted!"
 
"Not everything, Mrs. Arroyo.  You're still non-Muslim and breathing."
 
BLAM!
 
 
S
 


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Monday, July 19, 2004

Opera Man

Appologies for the lack of posting, but I've been experimenting with the Opera browswer this weekend; I'm looking for something to replace IE and it's rampant lack of security. Right now it looks as if Opera doesn't work very well with Blogger - I have no controls on my "Create" tab except for "Change Time & Date" - so I might have to try Mozilla (Blogger actually recommends Mozilla).

Anyway, I'll get all this sorted out soon and be back to blogging. In fact, I'll be blogging about my search for and use of alternate browswers ... it's information that I think people will find useful.

Oh, and I see that The Alliance blogroll is back. Yay! Thanks to whoever got that one worked out.


S

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Friday, July 16, 2004

Let the Abu Sayyaf Feast On Their Bones

When the Spanish pulled out of Iraq it was different; they're Old Europeans, so cowardice is expected.  But the Philippines?  We've been helping them fight radical Islam in their own country for the past decade!

Here's the aid package The Philippines received from us in 2003:

  • Counterterrorism Equipment and Training: $30 million in new grant aid for equipment and training of Armed Forces of the Philippines targeted at capabilities for countering terrorist groups within Philippines.
  • Development Assistance to Conflict Areas: $30 million in new bilateral development assistance for Mindanao and support for the peace process with the MILF, as appropriate.
  • Establishment of Combat Engineering Unit: $25 million in new grant assistance to train and equip a combat engineering unit and provide other military needs in the war on terror. The engineering unit will be able to do civic action and humanitarian projects in conflict zones.
  • U.S. Military Support to Philippine Counterterrorism Operations: Agreement to provide U.S. military support to Armed Forces of the Philippines-led operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group.
  • Support to Philippine Military Mobility: 20 UH-1H helicopters, as they become available and funding for refurbishment and transport is secured; an additional 10 UH-1H helicopters to be provided to ensure sufficient spare parts.
  • Comprehensive Security Review: Launching of a comprehensive review of Philippine security needs and how the United States can best support Philippine military modernization and reform.
  • U.S. Defense Goods and Services: Up to $10 million in Presidential Drawdown Authority for equipment, spare parts and maintenance.
  • Major Non-NATO Ally Status: Commitment to designate the Philippines a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) to allow U.S. and Philippines to work together on military research and development and give Philippines greater access to American defense equipment and supplies.
  • Reciprocal Presidential Visit: Acceptance by President Bush of President Arroyo's invitation to visit Manila in October 2003.
  • Remittance Facilitation Initiative: Launching of an initiative to facilitate and reduce transaction fees on remittances from overseas Filipinos, which could save Filipino workers as much as an estimated $300 million annually.
  • Generalized System of Preferences Benefits: Agreement for tariff-free, GSP benefits to 8 specific products requested by the Philippines.

The US Anti-Terrorism Aid to The Philippines fact sheet can be found here in its entirety for those who'd like to see it.

As far as I'm concerned the pullout of Philippino troops from Iraq is a breach of our status as allies.  I don't care that they were due to depart in a month anyway, and I don't care that they did it to save the life of an innocent man; more innocent men are going to die now due to President Arroyo's appeasement of terrorism.

All US aid to The Philippines should cease immediately.  All US troops stationed there should be called home and no Philippino port or base should be used for refueling, maintenance, or leave; when we go, we take our dollars with us.  Lastly, their trade status should be reduced to the one they actually deserve:  "Piddly-shit Pacific Island nation good only for prostitution and surfing."

Screw The Philippines.  Let the Abu Sayyaf cut their throats for Allah and feast on their cowardly bones.

 

S

 


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Thursday, July 15, 2004

The Painkillers

Mike of Cold Fury has a new band.  Their web site is here and I'm assuming from the context that each member still plays in another band, too.  Busy guys.   Here's some artwork from one of their set lists:
 

Yowza, I say! Posted by Hello
 
Anyway, I've always wanted to hear Mike play but didn't feel like driving up to North Carolina.  Well, they have a few MP3s posted on The Painkillers site and the music is just outstanding.  It looks like they're going to have merchandise available at some point in the future and you can bet I'll be buying a CD.
 
Great job Mike.  Best of luck in your new endeavor. 
 
 
S
 
 

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The BPCP Has Been Updated

The Blogosphere Political Compass Project has been updated:


BPCP Graph 15July04 Posted by Hello

Go to the BPCP permalink page for the listing and linking of all participants. I've spent most of my evenings and lunch hours this week working on the new graph, so I'm probably going to take a break from blogging tomorrow. But I'll still check in a couple times, so if anyone has a question or some input about the BPCP (or anything else, for that matter) I will be paying attention to comments.

Also: Need help, send graphing software. Excel simply isn't going to cut it if the BPCP gets much bigger (which I certainly want it to) so I need advice from anyone who knows anything about charts and graphs. If anyone actually has some good software of that variety that they'd be willing to "go out and purchase another copy of" (wink wink, nudge nudge) and send to me, let me know!


S

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McCain-Rice 2008

I'm finishing up the new BPCP graph and should have it posted sometime this evening, but doing so is going to eat up most of today's blogging time. I did want to drop a quick post in, though, about my candidate.

In the six or so years that I've been watching John McCain he has come out - as far as I'm concerned - on the correct side of every issue. Last night he did so again. McCain is my candidate; he's spot-on on every issue that's important to me. He's a real war hero, too, and isn't afraid to take a stand against his enemies ... or his friends.

In 2008 I want to see McCain-Rice on the Republican ticket. Unless the Democrats run God-Jesus, John and Condi should win in a landslide.


S



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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Frist's Frustration

Republican Senators - the really far-right ones - failed to get enough votes to keep their anti-gay marriage amendment alive. From my point of view this one is a win on two fronts: Keeping needless amendments out of the constitution and slapping down the start of a new "separate but equal" catastrophe. Congratulations to the folks on both sides of the aisle who handed this one a quick death.

Not everyone seems as happy as I am, though:


Gays and Tailors, Thou Art Damned! Posted by Hello

Some clever free-thinker should have shown up and confronted these two with a sign that said "So is most of your clothing! Lev. 19:19"


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Murdochatron vs. Sorosaurus! Tokyo in Flames!

In a mighty clash of the billionaires, George Soros has directed his MoveOn.org troops to attack Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel. "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" attempts to document patterns of partisanship (they don't come right out and say "bias" - at least not yet) in FNC programming and will premiere this weekend in town halls and private residence house parties. There is not a release planned for movie theaters a la' "Fahrenheit 9/11".

Fox, of course, has a response. Here is their statement regarding the film itself, and here is what they have to say about their "former employees" who were interviewed for the film (it turns out only a few actually worked for FNC). The most telling part of Fox's entire response is this:


Any news organization that believes this story is big and FOX News Channel is a problem will be challenged by FOX News Channel in the following manner:

If they will put out 100 percent of their editorial directions and internal memos, FOX News Channel will publish 100 percent of our editorial directions and internal memos, and let the public decide who is fair. This includes any legitimate cable news network, broadcast network, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post.


That's quite a gauntlet for a news organization to throw down; they're either very confident in the impartiality of their own editors or very confident in the bias of those to whom they've issued the challenge. I actually find myself hoping the whole lot of them takes Fox up on it, because I'd love to read editorial directives from the WaPo, CNN, and FNC.

For my part, I agree that there is conservative bias at Fox - but very little of it is in their news reporting. Sure, O'Rielly and Cavuto are unabashed conservatives and they take positions appropriate to their views ... but O'Rielly and Cavuto (and other FNC personalities) are editorialists, not news anchors. They're supposed to be giving opinion. If you actually watch Fox's news reporting, it is, to borrow their phrase, fair and balanced. Much more so than CNN or NBC, who air less partisan editorializing but have a severe leftward slant to their hard news coverage.

And of course no news outlet is 100% fair, which is why it's so important to get your news from multiple sources.


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Monday, July 12, 2004

Vote Nationally, Postpone Locally

Well, someone had to say it eventually. No one wants to be the first to ask what we should do if terrorists attack on or just before Election Day, but the responsibility falls to those in power. So a mid-level Bush Administration Official named DeForest Soaries has spoken up, asking the Attorney General’s office for advice on postponing the election should something big happen. The concern here – quite understandable – is that after Al Qaeda’s success in cowing the Spanish voters last spring they’ll try something similar here in the US come November. This is by no means an unrealistic expectation; when one kid gives in to a bully the inevitable result - all across the playground - is more bullying.

However, this needs to be approached with calm and reason. First of all, you’re going to have the loony left screaming crap like this. I’ve never even heard of Capitol Hill Blue before and it looks to be filled with the same shrill nonsense as other leftist rags (like the New York Press and The Nation). But no matter how unpopular their forum, the far left is going to have a field day with plastering “Bush Planning to Steal Election Again!” headlines on every pulp flyer – both real and virtual – that they can find. The Bush Administration needs to be so utterly transparent in their preparations for election postponement that they’re beyond reproach. Anything less will lend credence to the tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories of people like the staff of Capitol Hill Blue.

I also have my doubts that postponing the entire election is a good idea if something does happen. The expense would be huge, and completely needless in the 99.999% of the country unaffected by the attack. And what would it look like if a nation of 300 million people put off their most solemn right and responsibility because of the actions of terrorists? Even if they didn’t influence the outcome of the election, such terrorists would still certainly revel in the fact that all of America was “too afraid to vote” because of what they’d done.

It’d be better, I think, to come up with contingency plans for the major metro areas – the nations 50 biggest, say – that would allow any of them directly affected by the attack to postpone their vote for 24 or 48 hours. The rest of the country could still go out and cast their ballots like normal. Done this way we’d still get the vast majority of the vote done on time and also send a message to the hypothetical terrorists: America will not be intimidated, and our democracy will move forward in utter contempt of their cowardly, murderous, and ultimately useless attempts to derail it.


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Sunday, July 11, 2004

Saturday Fun Stuff, on Sunday

I'm currently reading the sixth book of Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Earlier in the story - in the third and fourth books - riddling had become very important to some of the characters, so every time I get re-involved in the tale I'm reminded of riddles. Today's fun thing (just one today, sorry) is three riddles ... remember that you can look these up online, but that's cheating (and not very much fun).


No sooner spoken than broken. What is it?

I am weightless, but you can see me. Put me in a bucket, and I'll make it lighter. What am I?

What is it that, after you take away the whole, some still remains?


Leave your answers in the comments section; any that go unsloved I'll post the answers to in a couple days.


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Friday, July 09, 2004

Happy Blogiversary to Frank

IMAO is two years old today, and it looks like Frank has a new layout to celebrate the start of his third year as the blogosphere's chief funnyman and unappologetic Instarebel. Since today is officially "International Link to IMAO Day" The Zoo is proud to present an overview and brief retrospective on some of our favorite Frank J. humor:

Nuke the Moon is Frank's most popular work. Here, finally, is a realistic plan for world peace ... though I'm still disappointed it doesn't somehow involve the destruction of France.


Then the foreign nations would be like, "Sacre bleu! These Americans are nuking themselves! Surely they will think nothing of bombing us! Let’s adapt their vapid culture as our own so they might consider us one of them!"


In My World shows us what the political universe would look like if we lived in Frank's head. There's enough room in there for all of us, too - all of us except for Big Fat Teddy K and his giant melon of a cranium!


"We're going to go trash Boston to get back at Kerry for all his lies," Bush explained, "You two can be in charge of America and thus the world while we're gone."

"Fine," Condi answered, "Have fun."


I Hate Frank is a collection of hate mail to and from Frank. This is where you'll find the famous "The Limey" saga (with an honorable mention of me included!) and the most hatefully hatingest hate mail Micheal Moore ever recieved.


To be clear, I wouldn't beat him as much as a regular size hippy, because that would be like a huge beating to him because of his small size, which isn't his fault. But I assure you it would be a sound beating, and, when he went back to his leprechaun home, he'd tell the other leprechauns, "Aye, what a sound beating I received; quite proportionate to my size."

I might have strayed off topic.


Frank Answers presents IMAO's knowledge-hungry readers with the wisdom of Frank. Frank isn't too shy to visit the local scienceatorium when he needs help with a question, either (even if it means angering the mighty scientificators with his heresy).


"Why is the number order on a calculator different than that of a telephone?"

Their faces all went pale. "Begone!" shouted one, "You asks question of which the answers are best left unknown!"


Lastly but not leastly is Filthy Lies. This is where the whole thing about puppy blending started, and the filthy lie banner is now carried largely by other members of The Alliance.


And he said, "It's my special energy drink to keep me fit and my intellect sharp."

"Wow," I responded, "How do you make it?"

"I put a puppy in a blender!" Glenn Reynolds laughed and then took an extra long sip.


So there you have some of Frank's best. As good as those are they only scratch the surface of his comedic genius; all readers are urged to visit IMAO every day for many laughs involving guns, hippie beatings, and a President who's favorite negotiating tool is a sturdy length of lead pipe.


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Thursday, July 08, 2004

And a Couple More

I did a little blog surfing during my break and found a couple more worthwhile links.

Let It Bleed looks like a cool site, and Bob writes very well. He has some choice words for lefty knuckelheads Naomi Klien and Michael Moore here.

And for you Alliance folk, what the hell is up with this? Apparently the HTML in someone's title is mucking up our blogroll; it's been offline for the better part of a month. If anyone knows who it might be or how we might fix it, leave a comment. I'll pass the information along to Alliance HQ.


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Links!

I'm still spending most of the time I set aside for blogging - about an hour or so a day - working on the next BPCP update. I did go out today and collect some links I thought you guys might enjoy, though:

First of all, it looks like The Sicilian has quit blogging (there's been nothing on the other end of her link for almost a week). So, Ezra's Page of Reason will be replacing her on my blogroll. Ezra is very bright and he concentrates heavily on philosophy and religion, so when you get tired of politics and science here at The Zoo go give him a visit.

I'm way late on this one but it annoyed me enough to want to post about it (leftists are such classy, fair-minded folks ... ). Make sure you read the update.

And finally, Blackfive gleaned this tidbit - about France's latest bout of "nuanced" and "wise" concern for humanity - from the puppy blender himself. In the interest of being fair to Pierre I urge you to read the article first and then Blackfive's (spot-on) opinion of it.

That is all.


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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Busy

Due to a huge response to the BPCP I simply have to spend some of my blogging time this week getting started on the next update. So posts will be thin (but they will be here) this week; expect lots of links to what others are doing.

Today I refer you first to a Defense of Democracies article by Cristiana Brafman and Johnathan Snow called The Crisis in Darfur. It's up-to-date background information on exactly what's up with the Sudanese government's proxy war on Animists and Christians in that troubled region. Good thing Sudan sits on the UN Human Rights Commission ... otherwise there might be cause for worry.

(My original intention was to have a new "Vile Enemy of the Week: _____" each week, but I think Bashir and his cronies in Khartoum are vile enough to get two)

Next, rockynogin has a really good analysis of a comment Bill O'Rielly made last night about the left's new political hatchet man. I saw that story as well but I dismissed it as so much election year kerfluffle; local politics out Louisiana way have led rocky to think this kind of thing could be fairly important. After reading his post and thinking about it a bit I'm ready to agree with him.


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Monday, July 05, 2004

Holiday Fun Stuff

Yes, I know that today isn't actually a holiday. But most of us blue- and white-collar shulbs have today off, so it feels like a holiday. In any case I missed Saturday Fun Stuff because I was busy with my Fourth of July festivities (or recovering from them) so I present you with it today instead.

First up is a collection of Shockwave games from Miniclip. All of these are fun but I think you guys will really like the "Bush Shoot Out" ... you get to help Dubya defend the Oval Office from terrorists. With an M-16.

Just click on the one you want to play and it'll open a new page for the game.

Game Removed, the flash player was causing display problems. Those who'd like to see it can follow the Miniclip link above.

Second item is my review of (and some links for) Atari's Temple of Elemental Evil fantasy RPG. Those of you who played Dungeons & Dragons years ago might remember that title; it was one of D & D's most famous adventure modules. Well, Atari has created a PC FRPG (akin to Neverwinter Nights or Final Fantasy) that is an excellent reproduction of that old gamer's favorite. Furthermore, ToEE uses the new 3.5 Edition Dungeons & Dragons rules (modified a bit for the PC but completely recognizable).

ToEE is over a year old now, but the reason I'm just reviewing it is because they finally got most of the bugs worked out with this patch. Some modders also have an additional patch here that fixes even more and adds some nice content. With the patches, ToEE is an excellent FRPG for the PC; the graphics are stunning and the content is extensive ... a casual player (someone who plays about 8 hours a week) will probably take about 6 weeks to finish it. There is good replayability too, because you can make your group any of nine varieties of good, neutral, or evil and each has different quests and goals.

At this point I'd recommend that anyone who wants to buy the game find it on eBay. You're still going to pay $40 or $50 in the store, which would be a waste for a year-old game ... I'm fairly sure you can find a used copy for half that.

So, happy belated Fourth. It looks like we all got through it without any terrorism (always a good thing) and now have a nice long day off to enjoy some games. Have at it, kids.


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Friday, July 02, 2004

Steel Saves Lives

Blackfive has a post about HR 4323 and it's importance to our troops. HR 4323 - here is a breakdown of what the bill does - essentially allows the DoD to acquire and ship certain materials overseas (stuff like steel, concrete, nails, and tools) that can save many lives; our Soldiers and Marines use these items to make their vehicles and bases safer. It has passed the House (285-97 in favor) and is now before the Senate.

The good news is that HR 4323 does not appropriate any new funds (though if it did I certainly think it's a wise enough way to spend money), but only allows for the use of existing funds in a more speedy and efficient manner. I'm all for speed and efficiency in government, particularly where our soldier's lives are concerned. The bad news is that HR 4323 is still in the worst of all possible places: Congress.

What Blackfive wants us all to do is get in touch with our Senators and let them know that they need to act on this. One Senator in particular has the power to get things moving for HR 4323: Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, Chair of the Armed Services Committee. Here is his contact information:


Senator John Warner
225 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2023


Blackfive has updated his original post with some talking points for those who'd like to call Senator Warner's office in reference to HR 4323. I'll be calling this afternoon when I get home from work ... I urge all of you to do the same (not only will you be helping out our troops, you'll be flexing the muscles of democracy as well).

I'm also going to write letters to my Senators, who's e-mail addresses I just happen to have right here. In fact, here's the full contact information for Senators Graham and Nelson:


Senator Bob graham
524 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3041
bob_graham@graham.senate.gov

Senator Bill Nelson
716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5274
bill@billnelson.senate.gov


Those of you who also reside in Florida should drop them a line about HR 4323. Folks from other states can find contact information for their Senators here. This one is important, good readers, and worth an hour or two of your time. I think we owe it to those men and women who put themselves in harms way so that we might remain safe and free.


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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Let's See What Danforth Does

I spent a couple hours yesterday evening - and most of my lunch hour today - doing research that was intended to lead to a letter to Senators Bob Graham (D) and Bill Nelson (D) of Florida (ed. note - I had originally written "Senator Connie Mack (R)" instead of Bill Nelson ... a little wishful thinking there! Appologies.). The thrust of the letter was to be aimed at the blatant pro-Arab / anti-Israel stance of the UN, the questionable wisdom of spending US tax dollars to support such bigotry, and the UN's general ineffectiveness at dealing with genuine human rights abuses (such as the one taking place currently in Sudan). I certainly wasn't expecting the good Senators to rush to the floor and loudly condemn the UN and Sudan at my behest ... but I was looking forward to getting a response that might outline what, if anything, is being done about all this.

Well, I ended up answering my own question. At least in part. The man that President Bush recently appointed as the US Ambassador to the UN is John Claggett Danforth. Danforth was a Senator himself for almost 20 years, and in 2001 was sent to Sudan as a Special Envoy for Peace. The man is also a firm supporter of Israel. So the ambassador that is replacing Negroponte has extensive experience with domestic policy, an understanding of Sudan, and a record of standing behind Israel.

In spite of my deep skepticism of all things UNish, Danforth looks to me like someone who might actually do some good over there. Shit, if he can stem the tide of ridiculous anti-Semitic general assembly resolutions just a bit and get the Thugocracy of Sudan off the UN Human Rights Commission I'll fly to New York and buy the guy a beer myself. The letter is on indefinite hold; let's see what Danforth does.

Meanwhile, Powell had some words for Bashir concerning the Darfur crisis. More of the same regardless? I'm betting so, but let's stay tuned.


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Frankalanche of `04 Unearths Blogosphereic Gems

One link from IMAO and you're getting e-mail from Michelle Malkin. One link from IMAO and you are, in fact, getting so much e-mail that you don't at first notice one is from Michelle Malkin. Add in links from Bad Example, The Alliance, Brain Shavings, and Cornpone and it's enough to send your traffic level from "Woohoo!" to "I'm scared now!".

Thanks so much for everyone's support of the BPCP, and also to everyone who has sent in responses. I'll get you all added to the graph by the 15th of July ... and if anyone knows of some really powerful (and really cheap) graphing software, I'm in the market.

Anyway, I've been researching some of the respondent's blogs and one has struck me as particularly interesting. Al Barger's Cullpepper Log is bright, heartfelt, and forthright libertarianism. His post about the late Eugene Kemple is simply excellent and I reccommend reading all of it when you have a few minutes - it is especially valuable for all of my fellow Agnostics and Atheists. It turns out that Al is also running for one of Indiana's Senate seats on the Libertarian ticket; if you live in the Hoosier state and want to send a staunch and tough-but-compassionate individualist to Congress, I think Al is your guy. He's got a spot on my blogroll now in any case, so stop by and visit the Cullpepper Log often for a dose of smart, solid libertarian thought.

Later today I'll wrap up my posting about the Sudan debacle with a letter I'm writing to some folks in positions of power. Let's see if any of them have the courage to muster up a response.


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