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Monday, August 30, 2004

'Neocon' Does Not Equal 'Jew'!

A good comment by Juan Cole on this topic:

Note that over 80% of American Jews vote Democrat, that the majority of American Jews opposed the Iraq war (more were against it than in the general population), and that American Jews have been enormously important in securing civil liberties for all Americans. Moreover, Israel has been a faithful ally of the US and deserves our support in ensuring its security. The Likudniks like to pretend that they represent American Jewry, but they do not. And they like to suggest that objecting to their policies is tantamount to anti-Semitism, which is sort of like suggesting that if you don't like Chile's former dictator Pinochet, you are bigotted against Latinos.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Potheads against the war

While the looney-left (and various other groups) gather to protest the Shrub in New York City, my 19 year old daughter sits on her sofa in Manhattan with friends, smoking pot (which is probably cheaper than cigarettes in NYC), and eating potato chips (in the case, no one really CAN eat just one). She opines that if everyone would just get stoned, the world would be a better place. Might I add, a lot fatter, too?

History does repeat itself, doesn't it? There was a song once, wasn't there?

All together now...."Everybody must get stoned!"

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Lotto Day

Jeez, the last time you want to arrive at a New York deli, in a hurry, to try to grab a pack of smokes is the day when the lotto drawings are to be held. Standing in line yesterday, I recalled people I have worked with buying $500,000 worth of stock in less time than customers in front of me took to place their picks. It's as though they believed that which particular numbers they picked made some difference in their odds of winning... Oh, wait, that is what they believe, isn't it?

Neocon Is a Code Word for...

those darned Japanese-Americans.

Francis Fukuyama explained his recent criticism of neocon Charles Krauthammer as stemming from his desire to maintain the credibility of neoconservatives, of which he still considers himself one. Now, a number of commentators have attempted to write off critics of the neoconservative world view as simple anti-semites, contending that "neoconservative" is merely a code word for "Jewish conservative." Well, perhaps I'm guilty of stereotyping here, but I'm pretty sure that Fukuyama is not Jewish.

Nor are Rich Lowry, Ramesh Ponnuru, or Michael Novak. So look, all you people who attempt this ploy, cut the crap, OK? It's the policies that are being criticized, not the ethnicity of the people forwarding them.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Dumb Jock?

"Marginal Revolution" Blogger James Surowiecki is quite amused that Former Nebraska star running back Lawrence Phillips recently pawned one of his Big Eight championship rings for $20. (Phillips reportedly told shop owner Steve Gibson that he was “stuck in Las Vegas” and “needed to get out of town.” Gibson went on to sell the ring on ebay for $1700.) Surowiecki commented:

Perhaps that's the definition of desperate: accepting a price that represents a 99% discount to market value. The inevitable next question is: Has Phillips learned from experience and put his other rings up for auction? (As of now, no.)

As one who always defends victims of elitist criticism, let me question Surowiecki’s analysis. Exactly what was Phillips supposed to have learned? That you should always hawk your Big Eight rings on ebay? Presumably, Phillips needed to get out of town quickly. That’s the reason people go to pawn shops, after all: they give you money fast.

And, now that he’s safely removed from the pickle into which he got himself in Vegas, why in the world would Phillips sell his other rings? Phillips found himself to be very illiquid, not broke.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

give me your mired, your bored, your unstickered masses

Depending on your social milieu, it may seem like there's a lot of interest in the November election but forwarded emails and drunken rants at BBQs aren't a good measure of general interest: I usually rely on yard signs and bumper stickers to gauge public opinion. The technique isn't very "scientific" but it gives me a window on the desires of people I normally don't interact with. It also takes more effort to get a bumper sticker, clean the bumper, remove the backing and apply the sticker than to forward a half read email so I know they mean it.
With that said I now have to wonder if anybody at all is interested in the November elections. I've seen a total of four Kerry and two Bush stickers in my Miami Beach neighborhood and two of Kerry's might've been the same car. I've also only seen one Kerry placard (none for Bush) hidden away--perhaps presciently--in someone's window. Maybe all the gays and liberals have been replaced by nonvoting immigrants or maybe nobody gives a damn anymore (which might explain Bush's relative nonchalance in the matter) or maybe everyone including my neighbors and the president expect Bush to win anyway. Interestingly enough, the Venezuelan recall election has generated LESS commentary than the original petition did a few months ago. With growing suspicion that the new electronic machines were easily tampered with it might just be that nobody believes their votes count anymore and aren't making the emotional investment in the election either. I expect less people at the polls this time around but I'm hoping the post-election analyses and complaints will be more entertaining.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Olympic Fanny Shaking

OK, is there a sillier sport than competitive walking? I mean, walking is what you do when you're too tired to run. Who in the world thought of the idea of walking races? It's like a race to see who can drive their car the fastest with the parking brake is on.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Your Call Is Important to Us

Have you noticed that, when you hear this from a voice mail system, you could pretty much always add, "so important to us that we're not going to answer it for the next 15 minutes or so"?

If You Don't Vote...

The mail has been really mixed in response to my LRC article mentioned below, recommending that readers don't vote. But the silliest response is the cliche I've received half-a-dozen times, claiming, as one reader put it, "if a citizen doen't vote he has no right to bitch about illegal wars or tax n'spend."

That has it exactly backwards: If you do vote you have no right to bitch -- by voting, you've agreed to go along with the outcome of the election.

Monday, August 16, 2004

I Feel McGreevey's Pain

Well, as I mentioned a while back, my political career is in ruins. Here's a record of that one night of reckless abandon that doomed me:


Media Bias

The charge that the media is biased against the US in Iraq is absurd. Look at the language they use: the members of the puppet government are called "Iraqi leaders," and the peoplee fighting the occupation are called "terrorists."

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

So, Now Who's the Fool?

Just ran across this, from a "G. Cooper" posting at Samizdata during the invasion of Iraq:


"Stop Press: Even as I write, a BBC reporter in Baghdad is 'sounding a note of caution' as he opens the next phase of the war, predicting a tide of anti-US feeling from Iraqis, weeks more fighting, more civilian casualties. This relentless spew continues, even as Uday's palace burns and the reporter's voice-over is broadcast to pictures of Iraqis rejoicing, celebrating and proving him a fool."


Something Rotten in Her...

The kind of virulent Anti-gallicism that gullibly believes any old crap, just so long as it makes France look bad, is not the same thing as being a "libertarian" nitwit who supports wars of aggression. But I suspect the Venn diagram of the two sets would be mostly overlap.

(I was going to say "pants" in the title, but that seems so childish, doesn't it?)

The Critics Rave About PUCK

In other good news, the good reviews are starting to pour in about my soon-to-be-released novel, PUCK:

There are many things I could say about this book, but this isn't one of them.
-- Sir Jeffrey Lionel-Hodgkins, The London Daily Wanker

Outrageous. Really outrageous. Really, really, outrageous. Really, really, really outrageous.
-- John Ashcroft

The era of big novels is over.
-- President Bill Clinton

That which does not kill me makes me stronger.
-- Friedrich Nietzsche



Ekonomia dla normalnych ludzi

The Polish translation of my first book has just been released:

http://www.fijor.com/index.php?bid=45

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

I love the position of the warmongers when it comes to the meaning of the prevalence of terrorist attacks on Americans. That there have been none since 9/11, in the US, is only because the War or Terror is working so well! (Of course, it had been eight years since the previous al Qaeda attack on American soil, but never mind.) On the other hand, when we have a big terror alert, they say that means we have to fight the war even harder. (See John Podhoretz in this week's NY Post.) And if there is an attack next week? Will that channge their minds, leading them to believe the war isn't succeeding? No way! That will also be evidence we need to fight it harder.

What pathetic people!

Monday, August 02, 2004

More Adventures in DSL Land

OK, so here's the latest: After waiting weeks for Verizon to connect me, I ordered DSL service from Earthlink. In three days, it was working -- if I connected one computer directly to the DSL modem. But I have a home network, and I wanted to connect my router to the DSL modem, so that all of my boxes can reach each other and the Internet. That arrangement, I couldn't get to work. I called Earthlink, where a tech support person simply said, "We don't support routers."

So, since my Verizon order was still pending, I called them to see where I stood. The person I reached there told me, "We've found that you can't have DSL at your new location." I pointed out that the previous residents had a DSL connection, annd that I currently had one through Earthlink, working over the exact wires that Verizon would use. That befuddled him, but after some research, he determined that it was my current connection through Earthlink that was preventing Verizon from turning on their DSL service for me. He told me that, if I cancelled Earthlink, Verizon could have me hooked up by "next Monday."

So, here's my conumdrum: Do I spend more time trying to figure out how to make Earthlink work through my router, or do I cancel the working connection I now have, in the hope that Verizon won't take another 20 or 30 days to get my service working?

Aargh, I'm never moving again!

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Heading East, from Asia Minor

The NY Times reports today that Doctors Without Borders is pulling out of Afghanistan. The group worked in the country through the Soviet invasion, the rebellion against it, and the rule of the Taliban. But now it says the country is too dangerous!

So, all you nitwits who keeep pointing to Afghanistan as an accomplishment of the War of Error -- oops, I mean on Terror -- cut the BS.

Is the Internet Still Out There, Somewhere?

Well, 27 days and I'm still waiting for Verizon to get my DSL connection up. Apparently, the phone department and the DSL department are structured as if they were separate companies, the phone branch entered our order data wrong, the order was rejected, they didn't notice that for two weeks, and the DSL branch never found out we were waiting for service.

And why are they structured that way? Because, if Verizon's departments could work together on this stuff, they'd have an unfair advantage over other DSL providers, and it would "hurt consumers." I'm so glad some Naderite out there is "protecting" me!

Public

I was watching the CUNY network -- yep, there is one here in NYC -- and this woman kept talking about "public" regulation of the media. That's right, all 260 million of us get together and devise rules for newspaper mergers.

Lady, it's government regulation.