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  • Archive for October, 2005

    Desecration

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 22nd October 2005 (All posts by )

    TIME dutifully reports that:

    … as one Kabul cleric Mohammed Omar told newsmen, “The burning of these bodies is an offense against Muslims everywhere. Bodies are burned only in Hell.”

    I know just what he has in mind.

    Posted in Terrorism | 5 Comments »

    Crime Rates

    Posted by Jonathan on 21st October 2005 (All posts by )

    It’s interesting to browse this page.

    Based on a very casual and unsystematic perusal of the data, and even allowing for variabilities in reporting, I note some striking differences between cities. For example, in 2003:

    -There were no murders in Fargo, ND;

    -The murder rate in Gary, IN was almost 9 times the national average;

    -NYC looks very good, though it’s not broken down into sub-regions — I suspect that there are big differences in crime rates between different parts of NYC;

    -The murder rate in Buffalo, NY is almost 3 times the national average;

    -Many cities with high murder rates, like Gary, do not have exceptionally high rates of other violent crimes or property crimes;

    -In general, the South, and big cities with big ex-southern populations, have much higher rates of violent crime than do cities in the Midwest;

    -I think they are cooking the books in some of these places, e.g., Gary, IN — I’ll bet that the murder rate is generally the most accurate statistic, since it’s probably the most difficult statistic to misreport;

    -In general it appears that demography predicts crime rates, except that good or bad local government (e.g., NYC vs. Chicago) make a big difference.

    There is nothing new in any of this but it’s nice to refresh one’s memory.

    (Thanks to commenter Tex for the link to CityRating.com.)

    Posted in Crime and Punishment | 9 Comments »

    Miers Update

    Posted by Jonathan on 21st October 2005 (All posts by )

    Something seems amiss.

    Posted in Humor | 5 Comments »

    Trafalgar: 200

    Posted by Jonathan on 21st October 2005 (All posts by )

    David Foster posts a reminder of a significant anniversary.

    UPDATE: Lex has a great post on this topic on the Anglosphere blog.

    Posted in History | 1 Comment »

    Miers’s Confirmation Odds: The Bottom Drops Out

    Posted by Jonathan on 21st October 2005 (All posts by )

    Intrade’s odds percentages for the Miers confirmation were hanging in the 60s for several days. Last night they dropped to around 50%. A few minutes ago they dropped to around 30%. I assume there is news but haven’t checked yet. Orin Kerr notices the same thing.

    Maybe it wasn’t specific news that changed the odds, but rather a buildup of negative information and sentiment that became substantial enough to affect the nomination severely, perhaps fatally. Either way it now appears unlikely that Miers will be confirmed.

    UPDATE: A few minutes after my initial post, the size market is around 30/40 and there is some trading at 40. Time-and-sales data (a new Intrade feature) show that about 200 contracts, maybe more, traded at 25, so the downdraft could have been based on nothing more than a running of stops or entry of a large sell order in a thin market. If that’s all it was, the price should rebound to the 50 range before very long.

    Posted in Politics | Comments Off on Miers’s Confirmation Odds: The Bottom Drops Out

    Saddam Trial – Jurisdiction

    Posted by demimasque on 21st October 2005 (All posts by )

    The friend who asked, rhetorically, if the Saddam Trial was nothing but a dog-and-pony show before a kangaroo court later (but before I responded to him) asked this question:

    If the invasion is illegal, the Court has no jurisdiction.

    The smart money is that this is what Saddam’s lawyers will try to argue. Professor Willis, my Civil Procedure instructor, concurs, but adds much more nuance. She suggests that Saddam’s lawyers will specifically try to argue that the court has no jurisdiction over him because the Coalition Provisional Authority headed by Paul Bremer, under whose auspices the statute creating the Iraqi Special Tribunal was drafted, had no authority due to the illegality of the war. According to the Human Rights First page, “Iraqi Special Tribunal: Questions & Answers“, the statute was actually enacted by the Iraqi Governing Council, to which the CPA temporarily ceded legislative authority for that purpose. Moreover, arguing the illegality of the war may be futile.

    This is how I answered my friend:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Political Philosophy | 23 Comments »

    Saddam Trial – Kangaroo Court?

    Posted by demimasque on 21st October 2005 (All posts by )

    A friend of mine posted on Wednseday, at a forum we both contribute to, about the opening of the Saddam Trial. He has consistently been one of the members of the forum who have opposed the Iraq War. Over the course of our correspondence I have gotten the impression that his opposition is due more to his partisan opposition to President Bush than to a consistent ideology; and from that impression, I read a question which he posted with some skepticism. Here’s what he wrote:

    My question is: What’s the point of even having a trial?

    Everyone here knows there is absolutely no chance he will be released alive. His objections to the legitimacy of the trial will be overruled, and he will be found guilty and sentenced to death. There is no other outcome. Moreover, he will use the trial as a stage to embarass the United States.

    So what’s the point of even having a trial? Why do we need to perpetuate the illusion of fairness when the conclusion is already predetermined?

    We should skip the dog-and-pony trial and go straight to sentencing. Maybe Bush should have Saddam’s head cut off and stick it on the gate around the Whitehouse.

    I think it would be fair to say that, as his post went on, his visceral opposition to President Bush took over, and the post assumed a more emotional overtone. Here was my response (which I’ve edited for easier understanding outside of the forum):

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Political Philosophy | 6 Comments »

    Wooly Thinking

    Posted by Ginny on 20th October 2005 (All posts by )

    Butterflies & Wheels helps us advance our arguments with its “The Woolly-Thinker’s Guide to Rhetoric.” One useful ploy is Pave With Good Intentions: “Make it clear that you mean very well, that all the benevolence and right feeling and compassion and tolerance are on your side, and all [suspect motivations] on your opponent’s.” Bad Moves also is useful; for instance, Julian Baggin sums up Percipi est esse:

    Some important truths are so simple that rock songs can not only express them, but do so with greater [clarity] than more sophisticated prose. Radiohead’s song ‘There There’, contains the line, ‘Just ‘cause you feel it, doesn’t mean it’s there.’ Since I can’t improve on this summary of the fallacy I want to describe, I’ve fallen back on an old trick: if you want to make your idea look cleverer than it is, use Latin. But, of course, just because if looks cleverer, it doesn’t mean it is.

    (B&W can be interesting but the blog’s writing skills could be stronger.)

    Posted in Arts & Letters | 1 Comment »

    The Polish Plumber has Arrived…

    Posted by Mitch Townsend on 20th October 2005 (All posts by )

    … and he knows that sweating a joint is not just something you do when the police think there is marijuana in your pocket. Britain is one of the Western countries in the EU welcoming Eastern Europeans. To the surprise of no one on this side of the Atlantic, they are finding that the immigrants are eager to work and to blend into their new home. More on the Polish Plumber.

    Posted in Europe | 1 Comment »

    ‘The politics of fear’

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 20th October 2005 (All posts by )

    Frank Furedi in Spiked Online:

    Being a right-wing hawk banging on the war drums myself I kind of resent the first sentence in this paragraph, but I’ll let it slide for now.

    Either way, Furedi ends the article on a hopeful note, despite all the anxiety he has created so far:

    In contemporary times, fear migrates freely from one problem to the next without there being a necessity for causal or logical connection….

    The precondition for effectively countering the politics of fear is to challenge the association of personhood with the state of vulnerability. Anxieties about uncertainty become magnified and overwhelm us when we regard ourselves as essentially vulnerable. Yet the human imagination possesses a formidable capacity to engage and learn from the risks it faces. Throughout history humanity has learned from its setbacks and losses and has developed ways of systematically identifying, evaluating, selecting and implementing options for reducing risks.

    There is always an alternative. Whether or not we are aware of the choices confronting us depends upon whether we regard ourselves as defined by our vulnerability or by our capacity to be resilient.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

    Saddam’s Trial Begins

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 19th October 2005 (All posts by )

    Mohammed of Iraq the Model says: “We were watching an example of justice in the new Iraq, a place where no one should be denied his rights, not even Saddam.” RTWT.

    (Via neo-neocon.)

    I hope the trial goes well, in an orderly fashion, that witnesses have the courage to testify, that a good record is made, and that Saddam is put to death following a judgment on the merits.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

    Why we’re stranded here

    Posted by ken on 19th October 2005 (All posts by )

    Via James Nicoll, the number that causes the cost of orbital flight to, well, skyrocket.

    For a SSTO boosteer using LH2 fuel and LO2 oxidizer, 92% of the take-off weight will be fuel. That leaves 8% for the rocket and everything else in it.

    That’s a steep climb. Every single pound of anything brought on board means the ship needs to also accomodate almost 12 more pounds of fuel. And of course it does that by having a bigger, and therefore heavier, fuel tank, and thus needing to accomodate even more fuel.

    You can save some fuel (and thus needed fuel capacity) by ditching parts of your ship as soon as they’re no longer needed to get you the rest of the way to orbit rather than bring them the whole way up, but those bits need to be replaced if you want to make another trip.

    Add to that the fact that the structural strength needed to stand up to several g’s at takeoff and thousands of degrees of frictional heat at reentry, and complete self-contained ecosystems and/or consumable oxygen, water and food all tend to be kind of heavy, and what you’ve got is an assurance that anything you ride to orbit is going to be massive and expensive.

    And it’s never going to get much better. We’re never going to get a better fuel for leaving Earth, not in our present society.

    Don’t we already have something better than chemical fuel?

    Of course not, and we never will. Our fearless leaders, and their licensed friends in the nuclear industry, have much better fuel to work with, but you can be sure that we will never get our hands on it without major political changes. The problem is that anything that’s good for making a rocket go is also good for blasting stuff on Earth. Getting propellant to shoot out of the back of the rocket involves lots of heat applied to that propellant, causing pressure to get really high and forcing lots of propellant out of the rocket nozzle at high speed. Getting buildings to fall down involves lots of heat applied to a bomb casing, causing pressure to get really high and forcing lots of hot air and hot bomb casing parts and hot bomb explosive parts to go flying at high speeds to knock down, melt, shred, and otherwise ruin whatever they encounter before their energy dissipates.

    Lots of heat is also a good way to ruin water treatment plants, bridges, railroads, and other things that people for miles around depend on to keep them supplied with the necessities of life.

    This leads democratic governments and tyrants alike to enact laws requiring the unwashed masses to keep their mitts off of anything that can release significantly more energy per pound or more energy per liter than gasoline. So we’re stuck with the chemical fuels, and it’s only the government and their heavily restricted set of license holders that get to play with the good stuff. And we all know how efficiently they bring down costs over time.

    So what can be done?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments »

    The True Dangers of Alcohol

    Posted by Captain Mojo on 19th October 2005 (All posts by )

    Related to our earlier discussion of drug legalization:

    Australian study finds alcohol linked to croc attacks (via Drudge)

    I can attest that all my interactions with dangerous reptiles can be blamed solely on sweet, delicious booze…

    Posted in Humor | 1 Comment »

    She can’t get enough of it

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 19th October 2005 (All posts by )

    Update: I was referring to the belly-rub, of course. It seems that this isn’t obvious to people who have never owned a dog.

    Update II: Thanks to Steven den Beste for pointing out that the Internet Explorer won’t display the image if I leave the ‘width’ and ‘height’ tags empty. I use Mozilla and didn’t notice myself.

    It was the same with this post.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

    Dana and Automakers Update

    Posted by In-Cog-Nito on 18th October 2005 (All posts by )

    This is what I’ve been waiting for with Dana (DCN). Too bad I had to take a hit with the pop on Monday.

    Dana Says Restatements to Reduce Profit by Up to $45 Million; Company Cuts Dividend

    TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Dana Corp. said Tuesday that its planned financial restatements will reduce profit by as much as $45 million going back through 2004 and the auto parts maker slashed its quarterly dividend to one penny.

    Dana shares fell 89 cents, or 12.8 percent, in after-hours trading. They fell 22 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $6.97 in the regular session on the New York Stock Exchange.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Investment Journal | Comments Off on Dana and Automakers Update

    VodkaPundit Reviews Bennett’s “The Anglosphere Challenge”

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 18th October 2005 (All posts by )

    Stephen “VodkaPundit” Green has a post with several short reviews, including this interesting take:

    Jim Bennett’s The Anglosphere Challenge is the most thought-provoking book since The Sovereign Individual was published six years ago. In fact, the two books share a similar view of the future of the nation-state as we know it. Somewhere, Bennett, TSI authors James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg, Ralph Peters, and Robert D Kaplan, all meet – and in that place lies a very dark future for some people, and an almost unimaginably bright one for others.

    I’m not familiar with Davidson, and I only really know Rees-Mogg’s name, but I do know the work of Peters and Kaplan well. Green’s is an interesting juxtaposition. Bennett does not offer all that much speculation along the dystopian axis which is very pronounced in Kaplan and less so in Peters. I would like to see further thoughts from Mr. Green about the book, but I suppose this is all we are likely to see from him.

    (Cross-posted on Albion’s Seedling.)

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    No “Apartheid” in Israel

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 18th October 2005 (All posts by )

    We are frequently instructed about the purported awfulness of Israel by the news media and those who dwell in the groves of academe. One allegation is that Israel is akin to the ancien regime in South Africa, with the Jews of Israel as the evil white men, and the Palestinians cast in the role of their virtue-filled, dusky-hued victims. In a letter to the editor in the 23 June 2005 issue of the London Review of Books, Edward Luttwak responds bracingly to one of these commonly encountered allegations. Luttwak notes that an earlier article had referred to “white” Israelis and to Palestinians as “dark” or “black”, as he writes, “implicitly to suggest a comparison with apartheid South Africa, as Palestinian propagandists frequently do these days by referring to the ‘Apartheid Wall’ and so on.” He goes on:

    As it happens, the Israeli of median coloration has a darker skin than the median Palestinian. Of substantive importance – unlike pigmentation silliness – is the continuing exercise of democratic representation on the part of Israeli Palestinians whose votes elect the many Israeli-Palestinian mayors, town and regional councilors, and members of parliament. If that had been true of apartheid South Africa, with one-man-one-vote representation at the local, regional and national level, the word ‘apartheid’ would signify the accomplishment of political equality instead of its opposite. Moreover, a few brave and very imperfect experiments aside, Israeli Palestinians remain the only Arabs anywhere who do have civil rights and democratic representation.


    Luttwak’s only mistake is that the Arabs who live in Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a few other places also have “rights and democratic representation”. It is only in countries which have Arab majorities and are run by Arabs that Arabs are universally denied basic freedoms, including being routinely murdered by their own governments.

    The fact that Israel has “gerrymandered” Gaza and the West Bank out of their domain of civil liberty is not so much apartheid as the desire to avoid being suicide-bombed. The Israelis are now in the process of establishing a defensible perimeter, and are removing their “settlers”, who ended up serving as hostages. With that indefensible “salient” removed, the Israelis are free to wash their hands of the Palestinians, other than actively patrolling their defensive line. (See Martin van Creveld’s excellent book Defending Israel. The Israelis seem to be following a program similar to the one he outlines in that book. Israeli experts can correct me if that is wrong. The book is good either way.)

    Let’s see how the Palestinians do with their wonderful new opportunity to found their own state on their two choice pieces of real estate. Odds are they will end up with a typical Arab country – a poverty-stricken tyranny. There is no evidence that anything better is coming down the pike.

    The whole post-Ottoman period has been a pitiful performance by the entire Arab world. Blaming the Jews and the Americans for their incapacity to organize even one truly decent government is an increasingly pathetic excuse. Other parts of the world were exploited far worse by colonialism and they are nonetheless performing much, much better than any Arab country.

    Yet more reason to hope that the Iraqis can get a viable, non-despotic country going. That is setting the bar pretty low, but in the race for political development the Arab countries have shown themselves to only be qualified for the Special Olympics. Maybe the Iraqis can toddle across the finish line in that easy league without falling on their faces. They’ll be the first. It is still up in the air. Here’s hoping. Another eighty or ninety years like the last ones in the Arab Middle East is too rotten a prospect to contemplate.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

    Legalize Drugs

    Posted by Jonathan on 18th October 2005 (All posts by )

    A breath of fresh air from the former chief of police of Seattle.

    (Via The Corner)

    Posted in Crime and Punishment | 31 Comments »

    Congress to Vote Tomorrow on Bill (S. 397) to Protect Firearms Manufacturers

    Posted by Jonathan on 18th October 2005 (All posts by )

    In the best spirit of the big media I am copying the title of my post from an activist group’s press release! (And why not, since I agree with the activists in this case. My biases are open for inspection.)

    The US House of Representatives votes tomorrow on S. 397, the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” which would shield the firearms industry from liability for the actions of violent criminals. Makes sense to me. If Congress wants to restrict availability of weapons, let it pass laws doing so. It’s wrong for Congress to dodge the issue while allowing unpopular interest groups to impose their anti-gun agenda via lawsuits.

    You can phone your Congressional representative at (202) 225-3121. Or visit the NRA’s site to get precise contact info. I phoned my Congresswoman’s office. The conversation went like this:

    Q: Hi. What is Congresswoman X’s position on S.397?

    A: She is very concerned.

    Q: Me too. And I would urge her to support this bill as passed by the Senate. . .

    Worth a try, no? These calls are always fun, because if the issue is at all controversial or your Congressman is wavering, you can really make the receptionist squirm if you politely ask what the boss’s position is before you state your own.

    (Via the NRA and Illinois State Rifle Association)

    UPDATE: The bill passes.

    Posted in RKBA | Comments Off on Congress to Vote Tomorrow on Bill (S. 397) to Protect Firearms Manufacturers

    A postmortem of the 2005 German general elections

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 18th October 2005 (All posts by )

    n 2002 the proposed war on Iraq was the one issue that had made it possible for Gerhard Schröder to win after trailing in the polls. In this years’ election campaign the central issue was the flat tax proposed by Paul Kirchhof, the Christian Democrats’ candidate for the Finance Ministry and former Judge at the Constitutional Court. While his personal plan was not identical with the Christian Democratic plans for tax reform, the Christian Democrats’ proposed policies for the next two election cycles would have come pretty close to a flat tax. Unfortunately their communication skills were sorely lacking, and they sent mixed messages to the public. This made it possible for Schröder to make the voters believe that a cold turkey implementation of the flat tax was imminent. He really sunk his teeth into this issue, time after time alluding disdainfully to Kirchhof as ‘that professor from Heidelberg whose plans have nothing to do with reality’, to the applause of his audiences. This hardball way of campaigning mobilized his party base once again, won most interest groups over to his side, and demoralized many of the Christian Democrats’ supporters. In Bavaria alone, 800,000 voters who had cast their ballots for the Christian Democrats in 2002 staid home this year.

    Besides his aggressive, and much more effective campaigning style than that of his opposition, the circumstances also worked to Schröder’s advantage. The German tax system is arguably the most complicated in the world, and while this is a very good argument for tax reform, it also makes it very risky to talk about radical reform during an election campaign. The present system grants a myriad of tax exemptions and privileges to all kinds of groups, and for defenders of the status quo it is very easy to put a scare into people belonging to these groups, once somebody proposes reform. One of the excemptions which Schröder used to hammer Kirchhof most often about was the one for extra pay earned while working night shifts and weekends. Kirchhof wanted to abolish it, among many others, for the additional tax revenue for that measure would have made it possible to lower tax rates overall. Schröder, in fine demagogical form, claimed that nurses would be hit with higher taxes, so that doctors could benefit from lower tax rates, and that factory workers would subsidize their employers’ higher after-tax profits etc, etc, ad nauseam.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

    Schröder leaves ugly, stays true to form

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 18th October 2005 (All posts by )

    Gerhard Schröder is finally gone for good, and stayed true to form in his farewell:

    Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who has led Germany since 1998, said for the first time on Wednesday he would not play a role in the next government, in an emotional farewell including broadsides at the United States and Britain.

    I will not be a part of the next government — definitely not be part of it,” a tearful looking Schroeder told a rapt audience of union members in his home city of Hanover.

    He quickly composed himself, hitting his stride in a passionate defense of a strong German state and lashing out at “Anglo-Saxon” economic policies favoured in Britain and the United States, which he said had “no chance” in Europe.

    In an apparent reference to Hurricane Katrina, Schroeder castigated Washington for liberal, hands-off policies that left it exposed in times of crisis…

    “I do not want to name any catastrophes where you can see what happens if organised state action is absent. I could name countries, but the position I still hold forbids it, but everyone knows I mean America,” he said to loud applause.

    It took him some weeks, but he finally has realized that getting fewer votes than another party means that you have effectively lost the elections. I already had posted about his strange behavior on election night here. It is worth to look at in more detail, for it is, according to people who have know him intimately, not quite so strange for him after all, and indeed symptomatic for his whole personality:
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments »

    Continuities and Divergences in US and English Constitutional History

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 17th October 2005 (All posts by )

    Constitutional history in the Anglosphere is a unity, and an ancient unity:

    … there is an absolute continuity between medieval and modern constitutionalism. When President Nixon got into his helicopter and left the White House lawn and his office, he did so because he was afraid he would be impeached. Impeachment in the American constitution does not bear an accidental or trivial relationship to that which brought down Michael de la Pole, earl of Suffolk, chancellor of England in 1386. It was the same procedure and the descent can be traced without any shadow of doubt.

    James Campbell, The Anglo-Saxon State.

    F.W. Maitland noted as long ago as 1888 that impeachment in England had effectively died out. He noted that there had been only one impeachment in the 19th Century, and that back in 1805. The English procedure was akin to that provided in the U.S. Constitution. The House of Commons initiated an action against one of the king’s officers, who was then tried by the full House of Lords, sitting as a court. Unlike impeachment under the U.S. Constitution, which expressly restricts the penalty to removal from office, the English impeachment allowed any penalty the Lords saw fit to impose, including death. As we saw in the Clinton impeachment, the U.S. Senate acted in the unusual capacity of a court, as provided for by the Constitution, a vestige of its origins as an analog of the House of Lords, as the Founders intended.

    Maitland noted that:

    It seems highly improbable that recourse will again be had to this ancient weapon unless we had a time of revolution before us. If a statesman has really committed a crime then he can be tried like any other criminal: if he has been guilty of some misdoing not a crime, it seems far better that it should go unpunished than that new law should be invented for the occasion, and that by a tribunal of politicians and partisans; for such misdoings disgrace and loss of office are now-a-days sufficient punishments. Lastly a modern House of Commons will hardly be brought to admit that in order to control the king’s advisers it needs the aid of the House of Peers. However, there the old weapon is – an accusation by the commons of England at the bar of the House of Lords.

    (Maitland, The Constitutional History of England.) I do not believe there has been any other impeachment in Britain since. So, this “old weapon” has most likely fallen into permanent desuetude. I suppose there is the remote prospect that an appointed House of Lords might be considered a more appropriate venue for an impeachment than a hereditary one, making a reappearance of this practice theoretically possible. Of course, if Britain were to go to an elective House of Lords, any power of impeachment would probably be expressly provided for by the enabling statute or written Constitution, whichever was employed. Retention of the right to summarily impose the death penalty on erring officers of the Crown is unlikely to be provided for, if the current soft-hearted attitudes continue to prevail. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

    Our written American Constitution has allowed us to retain more of these ancient vestiges than the English one, curiously enough. The Second Amendment is a good example. The provision in the Bill of Rights of 1689 which it was based on holds that those “…subjects which are protestants, may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions, and as allowed by law” — is now a dead letter. There is no way for a provision to “drop out” of the U.S. Constitution, short of amendment. A court may say that a provision is obsolete, but a later court may find a use for anything which is still there. “Young” America has a more “Ancient” Constitution than “Old” England, and has retained more of its freedom as a result.

    (Cross-posted on Albion’s Seedling.)

    Posted in Anglosphere | 5 Comments »

    Spike Lee making film on Katrina

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 17th October 2005 (All posts by )

    This is part of what I was getting at here:

    Filmmaker Spike Lee on Tuesday announced he is making a film for HBO about the post-Hurricane Katrina flooding in New Orleans, and said he wouldn’t be shocked if conspiracy theories of intentional government involvement in the flooding proved true.

    Lee’s appearance on CNN, to promote his new co-authored memoir/biography, Spike Lee: That’s My Story and I’m Sticking To It, followed a report on the rumors circulating among evacuees that the government somehow engineered the flooding of the largely black and poor Ninth Ward section of New Orleans.

    Asked about the possibility that the rumors of government involvement had any truth, Lee said it wouldn’t surprise him.

    “It’s not too far-fetched … I don’t put anything past the United States government,” Lee said. “I don’t find it too far-fetched that they tried to displace all the black people out of New Orleans.”

    Also don’t miss this ridiculous article by Jesse Jackson.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments »

    World War II as an online Real Time Strategy Game

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 17th October 2005 (All posts by )

    I have seen this at several wargaming forums:

    If World War Two had been an online Real Time Strategy game, the chat room traffic would have gone something like this:

    *Hitler[AoE] has joined the game.*
    *Eisenhower has joined the game.*
    *paTTon has joined the game.*
    *Churchill has joined the game.*
    *benny-tow has joined the game.*
    *T0J0 has joined the game.*
    *Roosevelt has joined the game.*
    *Stalin has joined the game.*
    *deGaulle has joined the game.*
    Roosevelt: hey sup
    T0J0: y0
    Stalin: hi
    Churchill: hi
    Hitler[AoE]: cool, i start with panzer tanks!
    paTTon: lol more like panzy tanks
    T0JO: lol
    Roosevelt: o this fockin sucks i got a depression!
    benny-tow: haha america sux
    Stalin: hey hitler you dont fight me i dont fight u, cool?
    Hitler[AoE]; sure whatever
    Stalin: cool
    deGaulle: **** Hitler rushed some1 help
    Hitler[AoE]: lol byebye frenchy
    Roosevelt: i dont got **** to help, sry
    Churchill: wtf the luftwaffle is attacking me
    Roosevelt: get antiair guns
    Churchill: i cant afford them
    benny-tow: u n00bs know what team talk is?
    paTTon: stfu
    Roosevelt: o yah hit the navajo button guys
    deGaulle: eisenhower ur worthless come help me quick
    Eisenhower: i cant do **** til rosevelt gives me an army
    paTTon: yah hurry the fock up
    Churchill: d00d im gettin pounded
    deGaulle: this is fockin weak u guys suck
    *deGaulle has left the game.*
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

    Does the Daily Telegraph know British history?

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 17th October 2005 (All posts by )

    Link via Daily Pundit:

    Iraq’s Sunnis must recognise new realities

    The truth is that a number of Sunni Arabs – notably those who were active Ba’athists – have yet to make the mental adjustment that their new status demands. Deep down, they still feel entitled to run the whole country. In much the same way, a number of Indian Muslims argued, in the 1930s, that, since the British had taken India from the Moguls, the entire subcontinent ought to be handed back to them. In time, of course, they realised that they would be better served by an autonomous Muslim polity. By the same token, Sunni Arabs will one day bless the federalism that their leaders currently decry. For, though they have yet to accept it, they are the minority now.

    I don’t think that this really is the comparison the Daily Telegraph wants to make:

    India had traditionally been regarded as the most valuable component of the British Empire, and its possession as proof of British world power. Yet the war had strained Britain’s capacity to direct a global empire and this helps explain Britain’s agreement to Indian self-government after the war.

    However the transition to independence was not smooth and Britain failed to achieve a constitutional settlement which both the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League could accept. As a result, Imperial India was divided into the modern states of India and Pakistan. Communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims erupted into violence which the British could not quell and in which many thousands died.

    There is no good reason to think that the Iraqi Sunnis will follow the example of the majority of India’s Muslims and try to form a state of their own, leave alone at this cost. But you really have to wonder why the Telegraph chose this particular bit of history, and on top of that seems to think they are citing an encouraging precedent. They really ought to know better, considering that it is an important part of British history. Maybe they chose to remember that Britain gave up on its colonies in a relatively graceful manner, and to forget the more unpleasant side effects.

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