Pseudoblog: Below are some entries from a listserve that I'm on. They are in reverse order, the most recent posting first. I included every entry that might have a good phrase or point, either mine or someone else's.
NOTICE!!! NOTICE!!! NOTICE!!!
!NOTICIA! !NOTICIA! !NOTICIA!
Needed: a few good lawyers who are conversant with priestly sexual abuse law. I am expecting a landslide of work after my new commercial airs on television.
I already have the script for it. I'm just trying to decide whether to wear a white powdered wig or not. Here's how my commercial goes. You see me in my book lined study. The camera closes in on my face and I say, "Has a priest taken advantage of you sexually? Groped, grabbed, or abused? We have the solution: Allen's array of priestly abuse lawyers. Call 1-800-GET-EVEN."
Punished unfairly by a nun? Embarrassed by a commandment? Call 1-800-GET-EVEN. Maybe you think that you had a happy childhood. We have psychologists for that. Recover those repressed memories and call 1-800-GET-EVEN.
Not a Catholic? Not a problem! Molested by a Methodist? Berated by a Baptist? Call 1-800-GET-EVEN. Be sure to call quick. You never know when tort reform will go into effect.
Mon, 21 Feb 2005
I know that there is a lot of health talk on this listserve, and I seem to be quite fit. I do have one ailment, though. I call it Allen's Syndrome (AS). I don't have enough energy to do anything that I don't want to do. I believe that drugs would cure it, maybe cocaine or alcohol or something; but I have a compliance problem too.
Susan came up with a concept that explains a lot about the general ignorance of people: "shrouded in history." A person with a good American education knows a number of things that probably aren't true. The real truth of the past is shrouded in history.
My older daughter Poppy came up with a piece of wisdom that I thought I should pass on this President's Day: She resolved to do only one stupid thing at a time. For instance, if she decides to go on a vandalism spree, she won't videotape it. If she transports drugs, she will not blast the radio and drive to endanger. You get the idea.
My younger daughter Dinah is doing quite well at Ohio State. She's been there so long that the faculty decided to grant her tenure.
Mon, 14 Feb 2005 19:18:57 -0500
Robert Dieter wrote:
> Boulder is a nuclear free and a free speech zone......We like free
If only Churchill's speech were free, Coloradans probably wouldn't care. The problem is that it's costing them about $100,000/year.
Mon, 14 Feb 2005 13:55:20 -0500
Elkins, Randy wrote:
> Reagan was made into a cartoon figure by the mainstream media, just as W
> has been.
As the internet grows and more sources of news come into being, I am constantly amazed at the lies we have taken for granted. In the past year I've learned that the Vinland map is a fake, that the Piltown man fraud was perpeptrated at a much higher level than that of a few wacky grad students, that spinach has only the a tenth the iron it was reported to have (someone misplaced a decimal point).
What I find particularly interesting is how news is nothing more than pro- or anti-administration (according to the party in power). Any time I hear anything repeated endlessly, I doubt it.The most recent case in point is Volker, that honest investigator. It now turns out that he had an interest in a company involved in the oil-for-food scandal. That's probably unimportant. What is important is that he did not disclose that he was on the board of an organization whose only purpose was to promote the UN. Because neither Bush nor his opponents want to discredit the UN to the degree it should be discredited, it will be very difficult for this information to receive wide circulation. Also there's the question of WMDs. We know why the Democrats want preserve the myth that they don't exist. More important is the reason why the administration goes along with this lie. It would be embarrassing to admit that the WMDs have still not been destroyed and are probably in the hands people more inclined to use them than Sadam was.
The whole controversy brought up a very serious question in my mind. I can think of only two famous Americans who appeared in full Indian war bonnet: Cher and Calvin Coolidge. Can anyone think of any others?
Wed, 12 Jan 2005 14:12:20 -0500
Does anyone know why the flu vaccine was destroyed? I'm inclined to believe that a rodent hair was found somewhere near the lab or something. I'd think there would be a way to check the vaccine for contamination. Apparently the stuff costs about $80 a bottle. What if it cost an additional $80 to check it so that the price of a shot doubled? That wouldn't be too bad. What if antiviral drugs were made more readily available to the public, e.g., without a doctor's appointment?
Maybe I'm wrong, but it looks as though the health care system has lost all it resiliency and has calcified.
The average number of flu deaths lately is 36,000/year. The average number of AIDS death for 2001 (the last year I could find statistics for) was 15,000. I wonder whether more could have been done if flu victims were a politically organized group. I also wonder whether the efforts to guarantee a safe vaccine supply will increase the death rate from flu.
Mon, 10 Jan 2005 16:23:23 -0500
Eric Chase wrote:
> Has our generation become so cynical that we prejudge everyone as
> tainted? If Volcker hasn't earned an expectation of an honest investigation,
> then no one has.
I don't mean to question Volcker's character in regard to money. I'm always astounded when someone who makes more than $30,000 a year is financially dishonest; I'm frequently astounded.
I am asking whether he has some political, personal, or idealogical agenda. What sort of investigator takes on his role without the power to subpoena the investigatees? What sort of investigator implies that all other investigations are somehow illegitimate? Most Democrats and Republicans want to rehabilitate the UN's reputation. It seems to me that Volcker was chosen to perform that service.
Does anyone think that Volcker can conduct a fair investigation without the power to compel testimony?
It seems to me that either Volcker is very naïve (and Volcker is a brilliant man) or everyone knew that he could be counted on to carry out his investigation within "civilized" limits. Of course, neither Democrats nor most Republicans want a real investigation, and so the problems with his investigation are not raised in the major media.
Could Volcker have made millions in the private sector? Did he? If he did make millions, I suppose he could have made more millions. If he didn't, then I say there is no reason to suppose he could have. I often hear the claim that someone in the public sector could have made more in the private sector.
So far, I have heard no reason to believe that Volcker is any more honest than Sandy Berger was before he was caught stuffing classified documents into his pants. The constant repetition of the claim should be enough to make anyone suspicious.
Allen Mon, 10 Jan 2005 11:46:13 -0500
Eric Chase wrote:
> Over many years, I've only heard good things about this man. Brilliant, honest,
> decent, hard-working.
This is exactly the sort of description I hear in every news story on the oil for food investigation, but what's the evidence? Recently, P. Volker said he saw no "red flag" in the fact that the UN didn't even check on the people they hired to watch over the oil for food contractors, let alone the contractors themselves. I guess you have to follow the story to understand my problem with Volker.
Edward Harris wrote:
>Normally, I get a chuckle out of Allan's cynicism, just as I do
>Randall's, and others, but we should be careful how we randomly smear
>with a broad brush.
I don't think I'm being a bit cynical. Apparently, the world is about to turn over more billions to the UN in another humanitarian effort. That's crazy on the face of it. It appears to me that Volker is acting as an agent of the UN, for instance, when he implies that the congressional investigations are illegitimate.
When I hear it endlessly repeated that Volker is an honorable man, I begin to wonder. Does anyone have a shred of evidence? Is it cynical to ask that question?
Mon, 10 Jan 2005 08:56:07 -0500
Every time I hear a report on the oil for food scandal, someone says that Paul Volker is an honest man. Is he? It looks as though he has been hired to conduct a whitewash.
Did Paul Volker ever sacrifice personal gain or glory in the interests of honesty? Why does anyone think Volker is more honest than, say Kofi Annon? Wed, 05 Jan 2005 16:17:17 -0500
Elkins, Randy wrote:
> would also like to see the cancelled checks for tsunami donations from
> the Bob Herberts and others who were criticizing W and the country for
> not being generous enough.
I'm not a big conspiracy theorist, really, but I can't help it anymore. I'm suspicious of the estimates of tsunami damage and deaths. It sounds like a way to get $$$ from US taxpayers (a class of people that I will be in for 2004).
Thu, 18 Nov 2004 09:26:06 -0500
On 18 Nov 2004 at 9:07, Nathaniel Semple wrote:
> Those of us who support GWB should actually be thankful for the left
> wing bomb throwers. They are our allies. We should encourage them as
> much as we can.
I've thought a lot about the Bush-bashing and the TV and NYT distortions and I now believe that they were effective. I don't think that Kerry could have gotten 45% of the vote without the all-out anti-Bush campaign.
I'd like to believe that the dishonesty and distortion were counterproductive and I'm willing to be persuaded. As of now, though, I believe they swayed 4% or 5% of the electorate to vote for Kerry. It is possible that they deepened the commitment of the Republicans. I don't know.
Wed, 17 Nov 2004 19:10:01 -0500
On 17 Nov 2004 at 15:14, WARREN EVERETT wrote:
> Pershing understood that
> cultural war required ruthless methods that considered cultural
I'm not exactly sure what the right tone should be, but I'm pretty sure that worrying about what "the Arab street" will think is wrong. I hear from a number of pundits that pursuing the battle is only creating more terrorists. That logic seems to lead to isolationism. I'm for it, but the pundits aren't.
Wed, 10 Nov 2004 19:26:32 -0500
I inadvertently deleted Randy Elkins e-mail, but I want to agree with him about kiiiiiiiidlie diiiiiiiidlie porn. I'm not going to carry any "Free Schirra" placards because he was trying to act out his fantasy. I have heard of a number of cases where men were prosecuted for having kiddie porn on their computers. No one accused them of doing anything except looking.
Psychiatrists have given us a strange concept, "repression." Repression is the denial (to oneself) of a desire. Repression is considered mentally unhealthy. Repression may or may not exist. However, "suppression" certainly does exist. I suppress desires on a regular basis as do all normal people. Suppression is choice.
Many modern intellectuals seem incapable of making the distinction between these two concepts. They are also incapable of making the distinction between a willful act and a compulsive act. Szasz has some interesting quotes by Mark Twain on the subject so the confusion has been around for a a while. A lot of mischief results. Putting people in jail for having sexual fantasies is an example. Letting murderers go free is another.
Mon, 25 Oct 2004 19:27:34 -0400
I've been thinking about a Kerry presidency a lot (hence the strange look on my face). A lot of Democrats consider lying in the service of the party cute, which is about the only reason I want to see Bush win. Let's say Kerry wins (I go on record predicting a near landslide for Bush). He won't be able to pass any legislation. He probably will be blocked in his judicial nominees (payback). That will leave him only one road to self- aggrandizement: foreign policy, which means war. If Kerry wins, I predict that he will tell the rest of the world to go to hell and invade countries in a way that Bush could only dream of. After all, everyone knew that he was lying.
Sat, 23 Oct 2004 09:59:59 -0400
1. Did PA have a student council with a president and all that?
2. When is flu contagious (or most contagious)? Before? During? At the end?
3. Are those antiviral drugs very expensive? Maybe they could be made more available. Nurses could be allowed to prescribe them to people starting to get the flu. I hear that they're most effective in the earliest stages of flu and who can wait for a doctor?
4. As a theoretical question, does anyone think that a lady would be offended if a gentleman were to don a hazmat suit before engaging in sex?
I'm certainly going to miss the Kerry campaign. I have a hard time believing that he could be as amusing in the White House as he is on the campaign trail. I particularly like his recent appearance in Youngstown. We had a glimpse of the real John Kerry, sitting in an easy chair, watching the Red Sox, and swilling beer from a bottle. Call me overly suspicious, but I had an intrusive thought. Could that brown bottle with the Bud label have concealed some other beverage, say, Perrier?
My question was answered the next day when Kerry shot a goose: of course it was beer; no "real man" would conceal Perrier in a beer bottle. The thing about the Canadian geese around here is that you can grab one if you move fairly quickly. I've often wondered if they're good to eat.
Here's another idea for a Kerry campaign slogan: "A Dead Goose in Every Pot," or how about "For a Good Goose Go for Kerry." You'd think that his performance would offend gun controllers and animal rights people, but there's a real genius in the Kerry campaign: all his supporters take it for granted that he's lying. As Caspar Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet) said to Bogart in "The Maltese Falcon" when Bogart explained that he took it for granted that Miss O'Shaugnessy was lying, "Not an injudicious thing to do."
Thu, 14 Oct 2004 11:53:08 -0400
On 14 Oct 2004 at 10:14, Richard Kalin wrote:
> By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
> don't know whether to laugh or cry when I hear the president
> and vice president slamming John Kerry for saying that he hopes
> America can eventually get back to a place where "terrorists are not
> the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance."
The problem with what Kerry said lies in the phrase "get back to a place." The implication is that terrorists were only a nuisance in the 80s and 90s. In the effort to attack Kerry, the Bush people seem to have overlooked the implication of "get back to," i.e., terrorists rise above nuisance level only if you let them occupy your mind, confronting terrorism is the actual problem. This "get back to" makes it sound like he's still dreaming of the old plantation; he's looking backward, not forward.
Tue, 12 Oct 2004 22:12:31 -0400
On 12 Oct 2004 at 19:22, Elkins, Randy wrote:
> The federal judiciary is viewed as
> the bulwark of individual liberty in our country. Without it, you
> really do have fascism.
Maybe I'm too sleepy, but I don't get whether this e-mail is ironic or not. If it is ironic, which I suspect, you'll have to forgive me; everyone I know would agree with it.
On 12 Oct 2004 at 10:00, Elkins, Randy wrote:
> Let's not get too carried away here. The issue is that we want
> newsworthy items to be made available to the public, and if sources
> know they can be "outed", they're not going to talk.
John Dunne-Brady, Bryce Muir, and I have web sites. I suppose others do, too. Mine is political. If I were called to testify and I refused, the judge would have to answer two questions: Was the person I got information from a source? Am I part of the press?
Giving a judge to power to decide these matters amounts to a government official determining who can be part of the press and what news is.
If reporters can refuse to reveal sources, then I suggest that every criminal start a blog and claim press privilege.
On 11 Oct 2004 at 10:08, Elkins, Randy wrote:
> I don't know enough about the law in this area to have an informed
> opinion. R. Elkins refers to protecting news sources.
I am absolutely against granting (accredited) reporters any special rights. News readers and news repeaters fancy themselves a branch of government with special privileges. These same people would relish seeing Drudge and others in court. Freedom of the press does not protect only Halperin's and Rather's rights. It protects mine. If I can be compelled to testify, so should a "reporter." I'm as much of a news source as these morons. These guys are pulling a fast one on America and are abetted by the networks in their fictional drama. They've even convinced certain states to grant them special rights, I think.
Sat, 09 Oct 2004 10:58:00 -0400
I pretty much ignored the substance of the debate in order to concentrate on style, and I thought Bush was very much improved. Kerry, strangely enough, seemed to falter. He lost his tan. At times he reminded me of Lurch on the Addams Family. He's seems to have dropped his "reporting for duty" line. Maybe he should change it to "You rang?"
Fri, 08 Oct 2004 19:20:04 -0400
On 8 Oct 2004 at 11:37, Robert Dieter wrote:
> Drudge Report
> TERESA: 'I think men are supposed to be boys always'
> Thu Oct 07 2004 22:22:44 ET
Feminists seem intent on saying that all men are idiots. Whose interests does that serve? It seems to serve the interests of the very men that they are criticizing. It seems to tell women to lower their sights and accept wife beaters, cheaters, and rapists (see WJ Clinton) as the norm. Unless feminists are trying to recruit sex objects for themselves, they are doing females a great disservice and actually making a lot of men act worse than they are.
If I had daughters (oh, I have two of them), I would encourage them to believe that men are noble and giving and respectful of women, that men who are not like that are an aberration. I do have to admit to one exception. I did tell my daughters that men have the tendency to regard sex as women regard chocolate. I told them that if someone that they didn't particularly care for offered them chocolate, they would probably take it and that teenage boys were pretty much the same way about sex. They weren't bad. They just looked at the matter differently.
Mon, 04 Oct 2004 19:13:15 -0400
I was going through the channels Saturday afternoon and saw Bush on ONN (the Ohio News Network). He was speaking in Mansfield. I'd never seen anything quite like it. It was exactly like an infommercial for some kind of cookware. Bush called up various people who had benefited by his tax and medical insurance policies and, with their help, delivered a little educational talk (aimed at the ignorant) on why his policies were helpful. It was on a 6th grade level. I was very surprised to see this form of advertising adapted to a political campaign.
There is also a group of movies designed to sway the electorate. I think that may be new this election. I don't think that the Internet is very effective as a tool for the official campaigns, but it might be useful for special interest groups.
Bush's infommercial has made me think. What other genre could be converted to political discourse? Slasher movies? Square dancing? Opera? Quoits? Will nothing be sacred?
On 2 Oct 2004 at 16:41, Nathaniel Semple wrote:
> A Gallup poll taken immediately after the debate found Mr. Bush
> leading Mr. Kerry 54 percent to 43 percent on who would better handle
> Iraq and by 54 percent to 44 percent on who to trust more as commander in
> chief of the military.
I've heard that it takes time for the undecideds to decide after the debate, and I expect Bush to drop a bit next week. I heard a pundit refer to it as the "echo chamber effect." Once all the pundits have repeated how poorly Bush did, many undecideds will go along with that prevailing wisdom.
I still think Kerry lost because he had to pin himself down to one (and only one) position. He can no longer be all things to all Democrats. His stated, on the record position will take more time to sink in, but now he's stuck with it. I will mention that Susan disagrees. She thinks that he can squirm his way out of his words in the debate. She refers to him as the Duke of Eel.
Several months ago, I said that Kerry should have taken the position that he "substantially agreed with Bush on Iraq." I think I was right. Dave Mason notwithstanding, wherever America projects force in the Muslim world IS the center of the war on terrorism. The US doesn't have to look for terrorists; it just has to have citizens in the Muslim world.
The US could probably democratize large parts of the Muslim world with an effort comparable to WWII or the cold war. I don't believe that the citizens of the US are willing to make that effort. For instance, what if 1000 Americans were killed in Iraq tomorrow? Support for the war would drop. What if an additional 1000 Americans were killed next week? Then you would have the citizenry screaming to get the hell out. And yet, these numbers are fairly small when compared to WWII or the cold war. I just don't think that the US is committed.
Doc Everett compares this war to the Indian wars. The comparison is interesting and I've thought about it a lot. I think that in the Indian wars, the Americans had the will to prevail and in the war against terrorism, the terrorists have the will the prevail.
Wed, 22 Sep 2004 19:11:22 -0400
I had abandoned my theory that the memos were a dirty trick by Clintonites against Kerry because Burkett's paranoia seemed to account for all the facts.
But wait. Let's review the bidding. 1. CBS works for 4 years on a story and comes to certain anti-Bush conclusions (mostly by refusing to believe that anyone would be so crude as to lie about GW Bush). 2. A series of memos comes into their possessions. 3. These memos fit in so well with their conclusions that Dan Rather claims that they are essentially unnecessary to prove his case.
In order for us to believe that Burkett created the documents, we would have to believe 1. The documents were real, or 2. Burkett was in collusion with CBS. But the documents were fakes and Burkett wasn't privy to CBS insider information.
All this leads me to believe that Burkett did not create the text of the documents.
And so my previous theory recrudesces.
Sat, 18 Sep 2004 13:27:57 -0400
These attacks on Bush have become completely counterproductive for Kerry. I used to think Bush was sort of a screw off in the National Guard, but the longer this goes on the more "honorable" his service appears to be. Plus, his opponents are looking rabid. He's been innoculated to these kinds of attacks. His situation reminds me of Mithradites' in the A.E. Houseman poem:
Mithradites by A. E. Houseman
There was a King reigned in the East: there, when Kings will sit to feast, they get their fill before they think with poisoned meat and poisoned drink. He gathered all that springs to birth from the many-venomed Earth; first a little, thence to more, he sampled all her killing store; and easy, smiling, seasoned sound, sate the King when healths went round. They put arcenic in his meat and stared aghast to watch him eat; they poured strychnine in his cup and shook to watch him drink it up: they shook, they stared as white's their shirt: them it was their poison hurt. I tell the tale that I heard told; Mithradites, he died old.
Don't try this at home: arsenic is cumulative.
Fri, 17 Sep 2004 19:19:51 -0400
I saw Susan Estrich talking about Kerry's problems today. I like her, voice and all, but her main qualification as a pundit is that she ran Dukakis's campaign. It is interesting that great failure is as good a qualification as great success in the world of fame (see Ollie North). Anyway, she was saying how Kerry had to "bring down Bush," thereby echoing the Democratic strategy of the last 2 years. I think that she is an honest Democrat who honestly wants to see Kerry elected, but she's absolutely wrong. Bush has been brought down as low as he can be. If everything in those memos of Rather's were true, everyone would have yawned. What Kerry needs to do is elevate himself. He can do this by taking clear positions on the various issues and sticking with them. Apparently, such a course of action is not in his nature. Today, he attacked Cheney for receiving some millions (?) in "deferred payments" from Halliburton while he was vice president. What the hell does that mean???? Did he put off receiving his full compensation (for tax purposes?) and is now receiving it? In any case, 95% of the people who might vote for Kerry think that Cheney is on the Halliburton payroll. His attack (???) might actually clarify Cheney's relation to Halliburton in the minds of many undecided voters. ??? ??? ???
??? Tue, 14 Sep 2004 19:24:57 -0400
First I have a good line from Susan that can be tailored to suit your witticism needs. I was channel surfing and hit CMT. They had a show on about the 20 best men in country music or some such thing. When I turned to the show, it was featuring Charlie Daniels, and I commented that the guy had had only 2 or 3 hits. Susan took a look at Charlie and opined that he "had more bypass surgeries than hits." Feel free to modify ". . . more bypass surgeries than . . ." for your own remark.
Meanwhile, Dan Rather continues to defend the memos. Fox revealed that two of CBS's experts were a typewriter repair man and a handwriting analyst. That handwriting analyst might sound good, but wait. The guy had no training or credentials anyplace. He was the kind of handwriting analyst who tells you your personality by looking at your handwriting. You know, "You have strong libido and are very creative."
CBS implies that it thinks that its viewers are smart, sophisticated, etc., etc. and that Drudge et al. are idiots writing for more credulous idiots. Will CBS and Rather "pay a price"? Maybe 1/2 a percent, all part of the long term erosion. It is pretty clear that CBS and Rather are the credulous idiots broadcasting to (probably less credulous) idiots. They are such self-referential morons, though, that they don't get it.
No wonder Clinton thinks that he and Hillary are the smartest people in the country. They probably are the smartest people that they are acquainted with. Kerry, for instance, is actually paying Clinton partisans money to get him elected. How stupid can you get?
Casca had the right attitude. In order to watch the news in America, you have to get Casca's attitude.
On 13 Sep 2004 at 10:26, Elkins, Randy wrote:
> Dan Rather is so infuriating, he reminds me of my wife.
They can get the original memos if they'll just look in Sandy Berger's pants.
On 11 Sep 2004 at 12:46, Eric Chase wrote:
> if the fraud is
> exposed, the election will turn into a landslide.
Terry Mcauliffe is saying that either the memos are legit or they are a Republican plot. Dan Rather is saying that "too much emphasis" is being placed on the memos themselves. I tend to disagree with you on that landslide bit, at least insofar as the memos are concerned (I think Bush could easily win in a landslide anyway). The major news outlets have contributed what credibility they have left to the Kerry campaign.
Sat, 11 Sep 2004 08:50:35 -0400
1. Those who don't know that GW Bush was in the Texas National Guard. 2. Those who think the recent memos are a smoking gun showing GW Bush to be a slacker. 3. Those who think that the memos are a dirty trick by the Kerry campaign against Bush. 4. Those who know that the memos are a dirty trick by the Clintons against Kerry.
How stupid is Kerry? The week he hires Clinton people to help he finds himself involved in forging documents against Bush.
Does Clinton actually want Hillary to be president? He has to act as though he wants Kerry to be president in front of the world. He has to act as though he wants Kerry to lose in front of Hillary. What does he really think? Those who have been following this story from sources other than CBS know that the memos are clumsy fakes and that everyone who was close to their putative author says they weren't written by him.
Maybe I'm being too conspiracy-minded, but I guess that Clinton really doesn't want Hillary to run for president and, hence, wants Kerry to win. Accordingly, he satisfied Hillary by having clumsy fakes planted. However, he made sure that the information was so bad that no reputable news agency would touch it with a ten-foot pole. Unfortunately for him, he didn't count on CBS.
Tue, 07 Sep 2004 19:32:21 -0400
Our neighbor in Columbus was complaining about a visit from her father-in- law. She said, "He was demeaning women while I served him breakfast." There's a protean concept. Russia has had terrorism problems for years and years, but when the US asked for its cooperation in Iraq, it came up with a big nyet. All of a sudden terrorism was an American problem, a problem for Republican Americans. In order to shuffle off their own responsibility for fighting terror, they had to criticize American foreign policy: in other words, demean America while it was fighting a Russian battle.
The terrorists have finally gotten around to killing children. I suggested this tactic 5 years ago
Somehow, vast numbers of Muslims see nothing particularly wrong with these tactics. Personally, I think that these Muslims may be a little over the edge. I can't think of more than 2 or 3 people I know who, when they are opposed in their political aims, say to themselves, "I think I'll cut off someone's head on TV" or "I'll just shoot thirty 2nd graders; that's the logical thing to do."
Meanwhile, Bush continues to fight a very sensitive war on terror, being very careful not to confuse the terrorists with the people who agree with the terrorists but don't want to go to their 72 virgins just now. I don't recall that FDR made a similar distinction in regard to Germans and Japanese.
Remember when they killed those innocent protesters at Kent State. Here's how I see it. A mob is not a mob because of the half dozen people who break the law. A mob depends on the hundreds behind the law breakers. They check their individuality and sense of responsibility at 8PM in some sort of mob anteroom and then they think they can pick them up again at 11. It usually works out that way, but sometimes members of the mob are killed or injured. They then become offended: "It wasn't me. I checked my individuality at the cloakroom." Still, each member of a mob is 1/1793 of the mob. If 1 in every 1793 times he is killed, why should he complain? The other 1792 members didn't get killed. They picked up their individuality at the cloakroom and went home.
All this verbiage leads to two points: 1. Collateral damage is not necessarily an evil. 2. The next time Susan gets me a beer, I think I'll explain to her why women can't understand computers.
On 3 Sep 2004 at 6:46, Nathaniel Semple wrote:
> It strikes me that no matter what GWB accomplished, you will find some way
> to explain it away.
I have to take back what I said about the administration's not being serious on the war on terror. I was probably expressing a frustration about the administration's response to what I regard as bizzare criticism: Bush knew, Iraq is Vietnam reincarnated, etc. etc. I guess I would like to hear your answer: "Is 41/2 feet of Omaha Beach worth an American life?"
Particularly irritating is the emphasis on the WMDs. Their existence in Iraq was actually irrelevant to Bush's argument, but he was so certain that they would be found that he made a big deal of them. Of course, some of them have been found, but the adminstration would rather admit to a mistake than face the consequences of their continued existence.
In case anyone missed it Bush is fighting a very sensitive war.
All that said, the argument over the terror war forms a perfect dialectic. See "What the Hell Is a Dialectic?"
Somehow, it has become obvious that there are two positions on the war on terror: Bush's and Kerry's. Dean and Nader have been properly marginalized. But, as usual, the more bellicose position has been coopted, just as Johnson coopted any more bellicose position in Vietnam. Any position more warlike than Bush's does not exist, at least it doesn't exist in the political debate.
What is the Bush position? As I see it, his position is to remake the Muslim world. This involves removing regimes that support terrorism and replacing them with regimes that do not, and spreading some kind of democracy as the tool.
The administration envisions another 50 years of alternating cold and hot war for America.
It is said that the military is always fighting the previous war. Is the administration using the anti-Soviet foreign policy to oppose Islamic terrorism? What is the difference between fighting the Soviets and fighting Islamic terrorism? One difference jumps to mind: the Islamic terrorists don't have a stock of a-bombs (yet). Is there not a certain sense in replacing the regimes of Iran, Syria, etc. now just as we might have replaced the Soviet regime in, say, 1948?
That is not my position. However, if America insists on being a military presence in the Muslim world, I would advise them to tell those governments that don't oppose terrorism to start opposing it or be replaced. My policy (after Afghanistan) would be to withdraw from the Muslim world and make it clear that any terrorist attack would result in the replacement of the regime (without the attendant nation-building) that the US SUSPECTED of allowing it to happen.
Wed, 01 Sep 2004 19:15:12 -0400
On 15 Jan 2004 at 23:46, Alan Wofsey wrote:
> We doctors don't vote for negligence lawyers. That would be like a
> phoenix chasing after arsonists.
My head is a whirl. Let's see, doctors are to negligence lawyers as phoenixes are to arsonists, or doctors are to phoenixes as negligence lawyers are to arsonists. I'll get it eventually. Maybe I'll understand it after I get my wife's analogy. I commented on Kerry's problem with a split Democratic Party and said he would have a hard time satisfying everyone: pro- and anti-war, etc. Susan told me that he had great practice in satisfying Tereza, which was a more intensive process. She likened it to agriculture (large scale) vs. horticulture (small scale and labor- intensive). In other words, from Kerry's point of view, the electorate is to agriculture what Tereza is to horticulture.
By the way, she forwarded an e-mail to John D-B about some military family in the Dry Tortugas because of his experiences at Guantanamo. I informed her that John D-B may not have been interested, and that she didn't know her Greater Antilles from her Dry Tortugas, to which she replied "well, I never."
On 30 Aug 2004 at 14:03, Eric Chase wrote:
> Even if Kerry somehow didn't observe the truth in
> 1971, he surely knows it now, but he continues to defend the substance of
> the lies--"Ghengis Khan," indeed, or Jengis as the phony pronounced it for
> the entertainment of the Fulbright committee.
After watching the 1971 Senate love fest, it's difficult for me to give Kerry points for political bravery. I still haven't heard the more damning quotes in which he claims to have committed war crimes personally. I'm not positive that such quotes exist. They might be misinterpretations of Kerry's sometimes opaque grammar.
I already forgot who said it, but I plan to steal the concept that the major difference between the candidates is which special interest groups they pander to.
Fri, 27 Aug 2004 13:49:04 -0400
On 27 Aug 2004 at 10:30, Elkins, Randy wrote:
> His ability to
> talk on and on is also superhuman
I watched and was often confused about what he meant. (He did get off a few real good dramatic uttereances). Sometimes I wasn't sure about his '71 references. More often, I wasn't up on his communist shorthand. Occasionally, though, he seemed incoherent. I think it would be hard to diagram some of Kerry's sentences. I've noticed that pundits often disagree about what his utterances actually denote, especially because his past statements provide no context clues.
In any case, God bless people who can talk on and on and on and never tire of their own voices. What would talk radio be without them?
Thu, 26 Aug 2004 13:37:10 -0400
On 26 Aug 2004 at 12:14, LDarby.com wrote:
> In most cases, threatening legal action as part of a political
> campaign is all part of the give and take, but here we are talking
> about someone who would have the highest level of responsibility to
> protect the Constitution and constitutional values.
Bush and McCain are apparently in agreement that such 527 ads should be banned. If a little freelance censorship is bad, it's much worse to write it into the law.
I think I've become too philosophical. I regard everyone as a child, and a young one at that. When I see pictures of Kerry in Viet Nam, I can't help but think of Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island. Then he returns to the US and decides that he'll do something really smart, align himself with the antiwar movement and make exaggerated claims against American military personnel. That kind of brainstorm reminds me of Jethro Bodine.
The funny thing is that he could have made a pro forma denial of the Swiftvets' charges and a friendly press (including Fox) would have (substantially) ignored the story. Randy E's survey showed that few people even knew what branch of the service he was in. If he had played his cards right, about 20% of the population would ever have heard of his Cambodia remark or his Senate and Cavett slanders.
I haven't heard the Democrats in such a sweat since '98 when they were calling Monica a lying slut. I wonder how many people notice the similarity.
Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony will be played on C-Span tonight at 8.
Wed, 25 Aug 2004 15:22:49 -0400
We've been copy editing a manuscript on the philosophy of math lately. Incredible garbage. The one good thing about it is that we'll probably make more money on it than anyone else involved. I just pity the poor students who will have to buy a copy of this nonsense. Sample chapter: "Logicism, Impredicativity, Formalism." They make it up as they go along.
Anyway, I was channel surfing through the Olympics last night and happened to see some synchronized swimming. Apparently the two young ladies were national treasures in Japan. They did have nice feet. After turning to the news I heard that 2 Russian planes had crashed within minutes of each other. Of course I thought of Al Qaeda. Why? Synchronized terrorism. I hope these people don't realize that they can be a lot more destructive if they give up their synchronicitism.
On 23 Aug 2004 at 15:05, Randall Roden wrote:
> Allen, you already explained that it was caused by the "fog of
> peace." That is a great line
I admit to stealing it from my wife. But I'm not worried; she isn't as crazy as Tereza Kerry.
Mon, 23 Aug 2004 13:27:54 -0400
On 23 Aug 2004 at 10:16, Elkins, Randy wrote:
> This next set of ads will truly show what a horrible scumbag Kerry is. The
> democrats have completely suspended disbelief about this guy.
I think I knew about his Senate testimony during the primaries. I'm sure that all the interested parties knew about it. It's pretty heavy baggage to carry. The only way I can explain his nomination is to credit it to the Clintons. Hillary wants to run in 08 and Bill has to act as though he wants Hillary to run in 08.
The pundits I've seen have not mentioned the Senate testimony. They concentrate on the foggier issue of what happened in Viet Nam. As far as I can tell, the only person who has been caught in an absolute lie is Kerry; others might have confused recollections.
The other issue I hear debated is how to put a stake through the heart of freedom of speech in America. Both sides seem to agree that we need to do away with it. Apparently McCain-Feingold included a loophole that allowed people to say what they wanted to.
The more I see of Kerry, the clearer it becomes that he's a big goofball. Maybe he'd do a better job for America (I don't know), but this guy would fit in nicely in one of those movies about stupid teenage boys.
On 21 Aug 2004 at 13:51, craigbonda.net wrote:
> The big
> dicovery: some of the donors and others involved in the group are
It's interesting that the campaigns have spent hundreds of millions on ads and Swiftvets spent $200,000 (I think). I believe that the 2nd ad will be more effective because no one can say that Kerry didn't recklessly accuse people of all sorts of war crimes and atrocities. Susan says that she thinks he can. He'll just chalk it up to the "fog of peace."
Tue, 17 Aug 2004 09:06:06 -0400
My daughter Dinah did know that Kerry was in the navy. She was not aware of the attacks on his record. She may be forgiven for this. According to Fox News, no other TV news outlet has reported the actual charges made by swiftvets. Fox also reported that the New York Times has not published the story of Kerry's retracting his Christmas in Cambodia claim. Meanwhile Drudge reported today that Kerry flew his New York hair stylist to Oregon.
Tereza funds all these environmental causes and rides around on a private jet rather than a public bus. The Kerrys probably pollute more than Youngstown. There is no hypocrisy here once you realize that they are the ruling class and you are rulees. It just the same as when that environmentalist William the Conqueror outlawed hunting in the forest of England to the peasantry. It is interesting that leftists and greens speak of greed. The leftists want to control all the money in America. The greens want to control all the real estate. Nothing greedy about that.
On 16 Aug 2004 at 10:01, Elkins, Randy wrote:
> My daughter . . . couldn't tell me which branch of the
> service Kerry was in. I was appalled, but she maintained that no one
> she knows would know that either. . . . I was now batting 0 for 5. That is
> not a statistically significant sampling, but it speaks volumes.
My daughter Dinah is visiting today. She's a senior in college (I think), but biologically a post graduate student. I'll check out her knowledge and report back.
On one hand that means that no one is paying attention to the swift boat vets; on the other hand, it means that no one is paying much attention to Kerry either. That must be why he's doing so well in the polls.
On the subject of the truth, which is irrelevant for us nuanced thinkers: We have testimony from various people. The only one I know who has lied is Kerry, i.e., about war crimes and being in Cambodia Christmas Eve. When a guy is caught in a lie in court about a material fact, isn't there some sort of instruction the judge gives?
I find it funny that Kerry hauls around his "band of brothers." I wonder if they are being paid. As Susan explained to me, "The only way I'll do volunteer work is if someone pays me."
Thu, 12 Aug 2004 09:25:37 -0400
Let's say that a pope is a stupid, hypocritical, lying sinner, and some big shot Muslim leader is an intelligent, godly saint. If you are a Catholic, the pope is your leader. If you have strong political beliefs, personality and character are secondary. Of course, American elections are decided by the "undecided," i.e., those without strong political beliefs.
My problem with Kerry goes back to the Clinton years. Clinton "lied when the truth was funnier." No big deal. When this rather stupid man and his rather stupid wife got themselves into serious trouble, the Democratic party made an intellectual breakthrough. Democrats discovered that they could misrepresent and lie with impunity. Network television would cover for them. This meant that the undecided voters would give equal weight to the truth and to the lie. They'd just say, "it's all politics."
Why should Kerry feel constrained by the truth? He's not a Republican, is he?
Still, Democrats should remember that they lost the House under Clinton. Clinton and his way of doing things cost them the Presidency in 2000 and the Senate in 2002. This next election should be interesting.
Tue, 10 Aug 2004 19:28:21 -0400
I can be silent no longer. I don't find Kerry to be a bit loathsome. If he has done a few things that are less than honorable, they can not compare to Clintons' habit of ruining people's lives for the tiniest of advantage. I violently dissent from your slanderous characterization of Kerry as loathsome. This time you have gone too far.
On 10 Aug 2004 at 8:43, Peter Pfeifle wrote:
> What?? He's even MORE loathesome.
I disagree. But our views may be colored.
1. Perhaps you are putting partisanship ahead of analysis.
2. Perhaps I find Clinton more loathsome than he really is because the major media outlets insist on painting him as a "lovable rogue."
Well, this should give us a reason to look forward to the final judgement.
On 9 Aug 2004 at 11:53, Peter Pfeifle wrote:
> For some enlightening info please visit www.swiftvets.com I would
> welcome your comments.
Give the poor guy a break. I just heard how he was shot at by Cambodians, Cong, and drunken Vietnamese when he was running his boat into Cambodia and Nixon didn't even acknowledge his heroism. He said it was "seared-- seared" into his memory. Vote for Kerry. He's just like Clinton without being as loathsome.
Sat, 07 Aug 2004 15:57:01 -0400
On 7 Aug 2004 at 15:17, Elkins, Randy wrote:
> I have
> decided that our government is hopelessly fucked up, and it doesn't
> matter one fucking bit whether we have a Republican or a Democrat in
> the White House.
I thought it sort of made a difference in the sense that Republicans were going down the wrong road slower, but GW Bush has changed my mind on that. As long there are enough Republicans in the House to thwart new entitlement programs by Democrats, it's probably better to have a Democrat in the White House. Kerry also has a couple of other good points. His election would put a stake through Hillary's heart, which is one reason he won't be elected. Also he's very amusing.
I'd like to see a finish to the spin, the soundbites, the talking points, and the the endless repitition of lies, but I think that's a vain hope.
Fri, 06 Aug 2004 19:18:05 -0400
Last night Susan alluded to "a more sensitive war on terror," and I chuckled moderately at her witticism. It turns out that Kerry really said that. Well, I still don't know if I believe it. Someone on Fox referred to it and Susan swears that she heard Kerry say it. Is she having her little joke on me? I try not to be so credulous. By the way, I take credit for inventing "politically correct." The trouble is that my use of the phrase in Laws of the Jungle in 1986 meant "politically correct but factually wrong." So it's not the same thing.
In other news, Bush is courting the Amish vote. His people are making an effort to register more Amish voters. It turns out that the Amish tend to be Republicans. Apparently they haven't changed their political views since Ludwig of Bavaria was running the show.
In Ohio news, several Ohio colleges are making it mandatory for incoming freshmen to take a "course" in alcohol. I heard something about 15 minute sessions and 2 hours total. I'm not confident that it will have the desired effect of causing students to abstain or be moderate. However, it is interesting. High Street near the OSU campus is notorious for rioting and public drunkenness. It's more reminiscent of Hogarth's Gin Alley than his Beer Lane. I'll report the results of this effort in education next year.
Fri, 06 Aug 2004 08:30:27 -0400
On 5 Aug 2004 at 19:30, WARREN EVERETT wrote:
> Now that the electorate have discovered that they own the
> public purse, they vote for robbing Peter to pay Paul.
I only wish that's what happened. Actually, the US robs Peter to hire Gertrude and Sam to administer a program that pays Phillip and George an outlandish an amount of money to provide a service (thereby increasing the cost of the service to everyone) for Paul that he wouldn't have bought if he could have. And other such stuff. You will notice that we still have the poor with us, along with an army of tax paid functionaries to service them. That's why Friedman came up with the negative income tax; but that wouldn't work either.
I wasn't aware that Ghengis himself was interested in administering his empire, but that's probably because the author of the book I read wasn't interested in policy. I remember one quote. Someone said that when the Mongols were running the show, a virgin carrying a bag of gold could walk from the Mediterrean (Turkey? Iraq?) to the Pacific unmolested.
Thu, 05 Aug 2004 19:19:24 -0400
On 5 Aug 2004 at 13:41, Elkins, Randy wrote:
> There was no real economic cost to 9/11 other than natural resources
> that were destroyed and are not available to be recycled.
I'm not exactly clear what you mean about natural resouces. Are you looking at the planes as so much iron ore, etc.? Do you have some theory here?
I haven't given much thought to the question of the economic cost of 9/11. I just threw in a figure I heard. I suppose you can say that the money the airlines didn't make went somewhere else. I suppose you can make that case for anything; spending was just changed. I don't know. Does anyone think 9/11 cost more than just the initial damage? Of course, 9/11 gave government more power and money. Waiting in line may seem like a small thing, but I have the concept of life hours. If enough people wait in line long enough, the time adds up to one lifetime (which, we are told, is beyond value). You can anti-socialize the discussion somewhat with the concept.
Thu, 05 Aug 2004 13:30:11 -0400
On 5 Aug 2004 at 11:32, Randall Roden wrote:
> Why is spending AUTOMATICALLY good for the Defense Dept. and
> automatically bad for education?
Waste, fraud, and abuse aside, what is the most cost effective way to protect the life and property of Americans? The trouble is that reality doesn't repeat itself and so we can't conduct experiments. Some quantum philosophers believe in alternative worlds. Too bad we can't get a look at them.
I heard that 9/11 may have cost the US economy a trillion dollars. Suppose that Bush had attacked Afghanistan in 2001 and thwarted 9/11. Suppose that the attack cost 2 hundred billion dollars and 800 US lives. Suppose further that Al Qaeda, in its death throes, managed to shoot down a plane and kill an additional 200 people. From our perspective, we know that he would been a huge success. However, he would have been the most hated and reviled president in American history.
Mon, 02 Aug 2004 19:18:09 -0400
On 2 Aug 2004 at 18:54, craigbonda.net wrote:
> Surely you get the
> idea that some things have more value than other things?
I'm still a little unclear. Did you use the wrong word? In most discourse, the statement "All values are relative" can be translated into "You're wrong."
Mon, 02 Aug 2004 19:14:41 -0400
First of all, I report with sadness that I had to retire my wood handled church key that Susan gave me before Poppy (aged 25) was born. I've fixed it with with shives (sp?) and superglue a number of times, but there just wasn't enough left to fix it again. I brew and bottle my own beer. Much of it is around 2% alcohol so that I get a huge water to intoxication ration. Therefore, my previous church key has seen a lot of action. RIP good friend.
It's time to get rid of Bush and bring in Kerry. I say this as a person who is interested in the safety of my fellow countrymen. If we do not elect a Democrat as president, the Democrats are going to nitpick, second guess, and libel everything the Republican does. I know that M. Moore compares the Iraqi head choppers to the American Minute Men, but the only way to get the Democrats to repudiate such talk is to elect Kerry. I don't have any spare change for Kerry's campaign. I don't vote. However, I will give him something much more valuable: a campaign slogan. Kerry has a couple of problems: a crazy wife and a reputation as a gigolo. I will now turn two negatives into a positive (is this linear thinking?) with my campaign slogan:
If I can keep Theresa happy, I can sure keep America happy.
No need to thank me.
Mon, 02 Aug 2004 07:10:56 -0400
On 1 Aug 2004 at 21:22, Dunne-Brady wrote:
> If everybody would just listen to both
> sides of the aisle,
And when the leaders of the Christians, the Muslims, and the Jews all agree on something, we can be sure that it's true.
Wed, 28 Jul 2004 09:25:31 -0400
I watched a lot of the Convention last night. I was sucked in by O'Reilly's advertised debate with M. Moore and Ben Affleck. Obama's speech was quite good and he even suggested that Black parents might bear some responsibility for their own children. I've always thought that it was too bad that it was impossible to give African-Americans a few states of their own. I'm not advocating segregation or reparations. If there were an African-American state, the citizens wouldn't have white racism to contend with or use as an excuse. Take away the problems and opportunities of white racism, and Black people could address problems that are particular to them (if any).
Obama was good, but Ben Affleck was better. As I watched him talk to O'Reilly, my jaw dropped. They should have made him the candidate. O'Reilly then went on to show what a lightweight he was with M. Moore. Moore kept asking him if he would sacrifice his own child to secure Fallujah and this device had O'Reilly flustered.
We have addressed this question on the listserve and I assumed that anyone who is serious about politics would have heard it. It's amazing how people can insulate themselves from debate. When Bryant Gumble was on Today, he had a guest who stated that Social Security was immoral. Gumble was honestly taken aback. He had never heard that opinion.
There are, of course, many ways to answer M. Moore's question. I would have said, "1. I wouldn't sacrifice my child to save 6,000,000 Jews. 2. My child would not allow me to sacrifice him. I cannot make him clean up his room. 3. My child, as the soldiers in Iraq, makes his own decisions. 4. You ask an emotionally charged (but ultimately meaningless) question because you can't defend your position.
O'Reilly, as mentioned, said none of this. What a fathead.
Mon, 26 Jul 2004 19:07:02 -0400
Susan pointed out to me that the undecided vote will, of course, go to Kerry, thereby guaranteeing his victory. Makes sense. How about this for a campaign slogan for the undecided:
I disliked Kerry before I liked him.
It's strange that there must be hundreds of millions of dollars spent on convincing the undecided and yet I have never heard of a course in Undecided Studies in any university. I'm going to start work on my new book: Sexual Preferences of the Wishy Washy. I bet I can get it to be required reading in Politics of the Clueless 101.
Tue, 20 Jul 2004 19:09:52 -0400
On 20 Jul 2004 at 9:54, Elkins, Randy wrote:
> he propounded:
> anti-communism, anti-big government, and I forget the third but it had
> something to do with traditional values I think.
But is his version of conservatism consistent? If you're anti-big government, you shouldn't be creating a huge military-industrial complex to fight (foreign) communism. The best defense of linking social conservatism with free enterprise I heard was by Alan Keyes. His idea is that the people have to be moral in order to avoid the temptation to use the government to steal (social justice) from their neighbors. I haven't done his argument justice because I heard it a while ago. I was impressed at the time by his effort to link social conservatism to economic conservatism.
Tue, 20 Jul 2004 19:02:23 -0400
If you saw a movie in which the former National Security Advisor removed classified document from the National Archives, you'd think there was some sort of vast and dark conspiracy. Bring up the name Clinton, and you have some poor slob falling on his sword to uphold Clinton's version of history.
On 20 Jul 2004 at 8:25, Eric Chase wrote:
> Sandy Berger departed from the National Archives, "inadvertently"
> taking with him a pile of highly classified documents. I can't wait
> to see how that can happen.
Apparently he "inadvertently" stuffed them down his pants, either that or he was just happy to be Clinton appointee.
Does anyone still think the 911 commission was a good idea? Does anyone still think that the people in government are taking terrorism seriously?
Sat, 17 Jul 2004 15:30:39 -0400
On 17 Jul 2004 at 11:03, Eric Chase wrote:
> You mean another W-hating lunatic.
Bush may be a bit of a snake, but I have a hard time believing that all this Bush-hating is real. I heard a gossip columnist claim that Ozzy Osborne's Bush bashing concert was a complete fake, that he's a Republican and that Sharon Osborne came up with the idea to hype his perennially flagging ticket sales.
I figure someone at the DNC decided that Clinton-hating produced so many contributions that the Democrats needed a villain. The problem is that all the vitriol directed against Clinton (some by me) did not produce the desired response in the the great undecided. I would not be surprised to see Bush win 45 states in November. I also wouldn't be surprised to see him lose a very close election. That would be amusing. All the hatred is generating $$$ for the Democratic coffers, so that much of the strategy is working.
Some of the charges against Bush are outrageous. Some are incomprehensible. For instance, Moore apparently makes a big deal about how Bush continued reading about someone's pet goat or something for 7 or 11 minutes after he learned of 9/11. I'm sure that if Clinton did the same thing, it would be haled as the perfect thing to do. Many of the attacks on Bush have that 2-sided character: if Clinton had done precisely the same thing, he would have been praised for it. Kerry's position seems to be nearly identical to Bush's on the war on terror, but, somehow (don't ask me how) Kerry is correct and Bush is a moron.
> On balance, the black civil rights
> leaders would prefer that blacks be killed than give up their hatred
> of whites.
That would be true, but only if we assume that these leaders are presenting their honest views to the public. I wouldn't mind honest hatred, but I'm getting to the point where I don't believe anything political leaders say. It's funny. I used to argue against the "they're all crooks" attitude. It's not that I'm getting more cynical. I don't think I am cynical. I just don't believe that more than a handful of political leaders actually believe in what they're saying. Michael Moore, for instance, may hate Bush, but I actually doubt it. Maybe I'm attributing more subtlety to these people than they deserve. Allen
Tue, 29 Jun 2004 07:27:51 -0400 A couple of weeks ago I was thinking how horrible it would be to take Michael Moore seriously. We are living in a country that rewards his efforts with millions of dollars and fawning praise. If you don't think there's something radically wrong, grab grab Prozac and keep on chugging. It's like living in the Middle Ages. You know that 90% of what 90% of the people around you believe is garbage, but there you are, stuck in the Middle Ages, so you just have to make the best of things. Allen
Tue, 22 Jun 2004 09:36:23 -0400 I'll try to explain to you why I am not outraged by or even interested in the prison abuse stories. 1. I don't know what is true. I know that you don't want to hear about Clinton, but the DNC and the press are very relevant. In '93 I kept hearing the repetition of "the demand for health care is inelastic" every time I heard health care legislation discussed. I knew that the statement was untrue, but somehow it was becoming common knowledge. Today I hear that impeachment was about Monica. This was cooked up by Dick Morris the weekend the Monica story hit the press. He told Clinton that if he could make Monica the focus of the press he might be able to keep the presidency. The point is that Bush's enemies do not feel restrained by the facts. They simply keep repeating what they want people to believe. If you had sent me a Washington Post article in 1992, I would have accepted the factual content; I no longer take such sources seriously. 2. Even if I accept the factual truth of previous articles you sent, I still don't know the context. I consider myself kindly to a fault. But I would consider it my duty to extract information from the people who are going to cut that Korean guy's head off. Unless I know which prisoners were mistreated and why and where the orders came from, I know nothing. 3. Let us assume that Iraq prisoners were mistreated frequently and killed occasionally without good reason. Should I be outraged? What emotion should I feel toward Saddam's regime, whose crimes are at least 100,000 times greater? You would have left Saddam in place. Fine. Now you want me to be shocked and angry over the mistreatment of some Iraqis? You don't make sense. How could I be outraged? If I had natural outrage it would have been spent on Saddam and Co. I'd be suffering from outrage fatigue. I'm finding it hard to take you seriously. Are you having a little fun with me? Allen
Fri, 18 Jun 2004 19:23:45 -0400 Maybe it's just me, but I found the news particularly striking today. Yesterday, Putin, going further than the administration, said that Iraq was planning terrorist attacks on the US. Maybe someone can explain why he made this statement now when he could have made it any time over the last year or so. I really don't understand how much power Putin has, real power. I know that the previous leaders of the Soviet Union and Tsarist Russia had a lot less power than they seemed to, but I don't really understand what the limits were. Maybe Putin became afraid that the US (that is, the Republican party) would no longer assume the defense of the Sane World (my coinage, what we have now is the the Sane World vs. the Insane World) and decided he'd better throw Bush a bone. Meanwhile, we have another beheading. I find this very important. If the Crown Prince doesn't start purging the Saudi government, I think we will see the Islamic Republic of Arabia in a year. I get the feeling that Al Qaeda is on the verge of driving westerners out of Saudi Arabia; the next step is a coup replacing the Crown Prince with an Al Qaeda sympathizer. In a related matter, the Iraqis seem to feel that they didn't have any terrorism before the war. Let's see. What do we have? Three terrorists murders a day? That would be a thousand a year or so. I assume that Saddam murdered 10,000 people in the last ten years. I assume that because estimates rise to a million. Why are they so distressed now? Free Press. Let us consider. You can kill a 100,000 people and if you keep that knowledge from the population, it will think it lives in peace. Is it better to have terrorists killing people at random or running the state? Consider Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc., etc. Is peace better than war? Depends. Allen
Wed, 09 Jun 2004 19:11:18 -0400 From: "Cathcart, Mike"
> Jerry Brown was always gracious, even at his flakiest.
He also makes an excellent talking head. There is a huge difference between an ideologue and a partisan. Partisans tend to argue points that they know are wrong; ideologues merely try to shut out contrary facts by sticking their fingers in ears and going "wada wada wada wada wada." I'm an ideologue. Allen
Mon, 31 May 2004 09:24:39 -0400 My daughter Dinah visited yesterday so that I could help her boyfriend, George, with some math. I may have helped a little, but it was a graduate course in accounting and matrix math. I knew more than he did, but that's not saying much. Dinah was decrying an abortion clinic protester, mainly because he was too "personal." The subject turned to religious zealots. By the way, I read that the pope is afraid that America will lose its soul because of its materialistic attitudes. Such concerns show a proper anti- American, antimaterialistic prejudice and are completely out of touch with reality. I would guess that the average American is more spiritual than the average cardinal. The pope should show a tenth as much concern that the church has already lost its soul because of its pederastric attitudes. Anyway, George, who waits tables sometimes, was saying how some customers give him a religious tract as a tip. The tract invariably tells him how he will spend eternity in hell if he doesn't come to Jesus. I had to inquire whether his service was up to snuff. What does it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his soul? Sometimes he gets a 5% tip wrapped in a religious tract. I guess that's a compromise of some sort. What does it profit a man if he gets a 15% tip and loses 67% of his soul? All this proseletyzing displays something like the pope's foolishness because George is overly religious himself. Later, we watched "War Stories with Ollie North" (a man from whom I would not buy a used car) about the battle at Leyte Gulf in the Philippines in 1944. I noted that 200 plus sailors lost their lives on one small ship in a battle that most Americans have not heard of. I'm all for fortress America and military isolationism, but I have to admit that the Iraqi War is the most spectacular success in history. Iraq probably had the world's 4th largest military and was armed with chemical and biological weapons (no question), but the US will have replaced the Iraqi regime at a cost of fewer than 1000 American deaths. Just as the US is in the middle of a spectactular success even the hawks are beginning to question the Iraq War. It should be apparent to the hawks among you that American democracy is not suited to world leadership. Allen
Wed, 26 May 2004 19:06:09 -0400 Apparently Kerry has decided that he will accept the nomination of his party at the convention. Those who have followed this byzantine story will understand just how far the America government has gone in ignoring the first amendment. Why not? Huge parts of the Constitution have been rendered null and void; what's so special about Congress's making laws regarding the freedom of speech? Ten years ago I would have said that freedom of speech was completely safe because TV, radio, and the newspapers would fight any infringement. It appears now that they played a big part in ending freedom of speech. Allen
Sat, 15 May 2004 19:14:52 -0400 On 15 May 2004 at 18:03, Matthew McClure wrote:
> If we were seriously engaged in a war
> on terror, we would have dedicated ourselves to eradicating Al Quaida
> rather than initiating a war in Iraq.
I've heard this criticism before from Democrats and it makes me wonder. I'm not sure how vigorously the administration is pursuing Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, but what else should it do? Do you advocate violating the sovereignty of Pakistan, Iran, and/or Syria? Ignoring national sovereignty seems to be the way to track down these people. Can a liberal democracy win a war against terrorism? I don't know. These terrorists seem a little different from past terrorists. They don't have a wide base of support, only a vague anti-Americanism among a lot of Muslims. If we need to bring democracy to the Muslim world in order to win the war on terrorism, we're in trouble. Bush's aim is to win the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people. How can he possibly do that? He will be very lucky if he wins the "hearts and minds" of the of 50% of the voters of Ohio. Allen
Sat, 15 May 2004 09:05:04 -0400 I don't think that a wide receiver should celebrate when he catches a pass. After all, someone is paying him millions to catch passes. Worse yet is the guard who celebrates after sacking the quarterback when it's 2nd down and 3 yards to the goal. "Wait two more downs. Better yet, wait until the game is won." Susan's policy (and advice to our children) is "Never show surprise when you hit a good tennis shot." This also applies to life in general. If you do something right, don't act surprised; don't celebrate. (Also, don't show fear.) Bush obviously had a problem with premature celebration. He also showed surprise. He said that he was going to Iraq to fight terrorists and when he found terrorists there, he acted surprised. At least that's the impression I get.
I've been watching "Jeopardy" this week because it features "power" players, political types. I admit that I didn't watch Thursday. Al Franken was on. I would have watched but it became apparent that he wasn't going to make a fool of himself at the game. That's the only reason I would have put up with him. Of course, he did make a fool of himself personally: He's one of those comedians who are always trying to be spontaneously funny. The questions were either related to politics or on a high school level. Christie Todd Whitman (who dropped the Todd for the occasion) easily more than doubled Tim Russert and Travis Smiley. Nevertheless, she showed fear of the Nuclear Physics category. I thought that the head of the EPA shouldn't show fear of nuclear physics; after all, it isn't rocket science. The answers I remember were "He created the theory of relativity in his home in Switzerland" and "Fission releases energy when the nucleus is split; this releases energy when nuclei are bound together." Gov. Whitman answered correctly, but she showed surprise. The final Jeopardy category was The Senate. Alex made a speech about how he needed a real expert to give the question. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) then strolled out to read it. Remember how Bob Hope always came out as a "surprise" guest and everyone was thrilled to see him? If you don't remember the exquisite corniness of his appearance, just think back to Bush's appearance in Baghdad. McCain was greeted with the appropriate response. The final Jeopardy answer was "The number of senators in 1958." Russert gave the plausible but wrong answer, 98. Smiley showed real ignorance by writing down, "What is 100?" He couldn't top C. D. Whitman, though. She was abashed and admitted to Alex, "I was thinking of states." On her card was written, "What is 46?" Allen
Tue, 11 May 2004 19:26:10 -0400 On 11 May 2004 at 15:37, Elkins, Randy wrote:
> I still think that Kerry is one
> very sick, very fucked-up, nasty little turd.
Someone on this list from Mass. said that Kerry was stupid. I took it as a partisan remark, but I'm beginning to think it's true. He seems to be running for President of Massachusetts. In other news, just when Al Qaeda was beginning to drive a wedge in American opinion, some of their best and brightest cut off the head of an American and videotaped it for worldwide distribution. It makes the prison abuse pictures look silly and will probably sway that 10% of Americans who don't know what they think (and thereby decide elections) harden their hearts against criticism of US military efforts. Of course, these are the people who ran a country, had a bright idea, and now run a cave. Kenneth Copeland, the evangelist, said back in '91 or so that he wasn't afraid of Saddam. He was afraid of Khomeni, because the Ayatollah prayed 4 hours a day (to a demon, from Copeland's point of view). Why do all Bush's enemies do exactly what he would have them do? He doesn't pray any 4 hours a day. Allen
Tue, 11 May 2004 08:01:01 -0400 On 11 May 2004 at 5:37, hhobson wrote:
> I would seriously suggest that Bill Gates look at the world market and
> decide if he hasn't made enough money for now and quietly withdraw the
> software licenses from, say, those countries or states (in the case of the
> U.S.) who have joined in the prosecution.
I think Gates may have done a few things that were on the edge of honesty, nothing that warrants the kind of attention he's getting from the law. There may have been a time when successful companies could have stood up to persecution by simply refusing to sell, but those days are gone. If Gates chose to leave a country to Linux, it would simply steal his property. If the drug companies refused to sell their products in Canada at government mandated prices, Canada would simply violate their patents. I think that drug patents run only a few years. If you write a book, your copyright can last past your lifetime. It's funny that drugs don't get more protection. Allen
Tue, 04 May 2004 19:21:06 -0400 On 4 May 2004 at 10:21, Elkins, Randy wrote:
> There is no public outrage about
> this because the people who are supposed to be protecting us don't
> give a shit.
You have the temperment of a radical. A lot of anti-government folks write the way you do. Personally, I'm more nuanced. Of course, I keep meaning to write an essay about government's killing people, but I need to check out the facts a little more carefully. I've heard it asserted that the leading cause of death in the 20th century was being killed by your own government (directly or indirectly). The second leading cause was being killed by some other guy's government. From everything I've been able to dig up, these statistics seem true, but no one (no one reputable, that is) really cares to look into this question: death and taxes, you know. Personally, I think the FDA is too picky, but in econonic anarchy, you could choose your own protector. Allen
Mon, 03 May 2004 19:14:37 -0400 I saw a couple of stories this weekend. 1. A specialty (mostly tongues as far as I could tell) beef farmer lost most of his Japanese business after the mad cow scare. He set up his own lab for $500,000 to test every cow he sold. The FDA prohibited him from doing so. I didn't understand where it got this power or its logic. The idea was that he would force bigger beef sellers to set up their own unnecessary testing. Actually it makes sense. If free markets provide better protection than the FDA, who needs the FDA? Therefore the FDA needs to prohibit private competition. 2. Kerry charges that Bush is weak on terror. Kerry would have required sensitive industries to provide better security for themselves. In case anyone forgot, the putative purpose of government is to protect life, liberty, and property (and/or the pursuit of happiness). Kerry implicitly admits that the US is incapable of performing the purposes for which government is formed. He goes a step further and wants to require private industries to perform these tasks. On these two points the US has come full circle, and I ask why not just eliminate the middle man, i.e., the government itself. Allen
Fri, 30 Apr 2004 19:09:21 -0400 On 30 Apr 2004 at 11:46, Elkins, Randy wrote:
> I might
> note that we might be at the darkest point now
I always thought that Saddam would put a pro forma defense, retreat to friendly cities, and fight the sort of action that they're fighting in Fallujah now. The US military is very fortunate that he did not do so. He probably believed that his military force could put up a credible resistance to the US. Perhaps the resistance is fiercer now BECAUSE Saddam is gone. I don't know. The ultimate aim of the US in Iraq is very difficult to achieve (maybe impossible) and the tactics used to bring about that end must be very subtle. However, I think the biggest mistake the US made was permitting a free press in Iraq. Allen
Mon, 26 Apr 2004 19:18:30 -0400 It's hard for me to get excited about the possibility of a Kerry presidency. He seems similar to Clinton (without the personal odiousness). Given a Republican House (ablative absolute or misplaced modifier, [I've had enough beer not to care]), he is destined to increase government less than Bush. How's that for a nuanced comment? I've been thinking of adding a new dichotomy to my repertoire. I've gotten a lot of milage out of "brier patch vs. tar baby." After watching the 9/11 commission, I'm thinking of adding "smoking gun vs. silver bullet." Allen
Sun, 25 Apr 2004 09:42:50 -0400 The polls show that people think the war is going badly and they show that Bush is gaining some support. Pundits keep trying to explain this paradox by saying the Bush ads are defining Kerry negatively. I think the explanation is different. "In government, nothing succeeds like failure." The various acts of terror and the setbacks in Iraq make people believe that the war on terror is serious. Bush keeps making ill-advised attempts to prove to people that everything in every way is getting better and better. When things are going badly, though, people believe that we are facing real adversaries and instinctively turn to the (perceived) hawk. The press and the anti-war people are desperate to equate Iraq to Vietnam. There was a minor flap over the US miscalculation of the aftermath of the war this week. No one mentioned the miscalculation of how easy the actual war would be. A poll taken before the war asked how many US deaths would make the war a failure. The average answer was about 20,000 in the general American population and 7,000 in the military. There is a very real parallel between Iraq and Vietnam: The political powers are starting to believe that winning the war is more dangerous than losing it. US nonaction against the Fallujah rebels and the Sadr folks is proving that America is (in Osama's phrase) "the weak horse." I've heard that Muslims wouldn't like it if we cleaned up Fallujah. I'm sure that the US delays there have given heart to a lot of resistance fighters and have not won it any additional friends. Immediate and decisive action may have lost America some love but would have gained it respect. I think you have to win the war before you can win the "hearts and minds." The case of Sadr is a little different. Here's how I'd handle it. I'd go to al-Sistani (sp?) and say, "Al, it seems as though we've been negotiating with the wrong shiite here. If you can't take care of this Sadr fellow, we're just going to have to declare him the leader of the Shiites. All we care about is that Iraq doesn't sponser terrorism and we think we can deal with the ambitious little creep. If you can't take him out yourself, you have to ask us to attack him as some kind of heretic who's defiling a holy place." Allen
Thu, 22 Apr 2004 16:02:02 -0400 On 22 Apr 2004 at 12:19, Elkins, Randy wrote:
> I don't
> question that Kerry was in harms way--but his motives for volunteering in
> the first place and the calculus that went into that.
I'd think that this questioning of Kerry's service record was was pretty low if he hadn't started it with Bush. The picture I'm beginning to form of Kerry is one of a very calculating person. It seems as though he's always trying to position himself to be on the right side of history. Too bad history keeps changing. Allen
Wed, 21 Apr 2004 08:19:38 -0400 I heard on the news that some Thai leader said that he would pull his forces out of Iraq if they were attacked. Why didn't he just order his troops to wear "kick me" signs? Does anybody want anything from Spain? I'm going to make some threats so you better get your orders in now. Allen
Sat, 17 Apr 2004 19:12:25 -0400 If the Clinton or Bush administration had 1. paid enough attention to terrorism, 2. devoted enough money to terrorism, 3. kept a close enough eye on potential terrorists, to thwart 9/11, then it would have 1. been derelict in its other duties, 2. spent an undue amount money on one particular problem, and 3. violated too many civil rights. Allen
Wed, 14 Apr 2004 19:12:34 -0400 On 14 Apr 2004 at 8:40, Eric Chase wrote:
> She's even worse than Benveniste for that reason.
Suppose that the commission were interested in keeping America safe from terrorism. It would create an atmosphere in which the witnesses would be eager to find any way they might have failed. That way, something could be accomplished and America could be make safer. When the commissioners assume a partisan and accusatory tone, the witnesses are at pains to point fingers elsewhere, thereby guaranteeing that nothing useful will be accomplished. Speaking of admitting to mistakes, I watched Bush's press conference last night. Everyone asked him what he did wrong: a real brier patch question. "I made the mistake of waiting until we were attacked on 9/11 before I used the full force of the US against terrorism. I will not make that mistake again. That's why I invaded Iraq." Once more, the press is only able to conceive of criticism from the left. How about: 1. What will you do if you have strong suspicions that Saddam's weapons (or any other) are in Syria or Iran? 2. Did your efforts to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people contribute to the problem in Fallujah? 3. Sadr has been pushing people around in Iraq for months. Why didn't our forces stop him? 4. Which is more important: a mosque or an American life? Allen
Fri, 02 Apr 2004 09:35:03 -0500 On 1 Apr 2004 at 19:39, everett5573wrote:
> This article on coal and our energy needs is interesting as perhaps
> previous environmental concerns may be overcome with new technology.
It's amazing how Kerry and even Nader have promised lower gasoline prices if elected. Their claims must be very disheartening to those who want to see higher gas prices to encourage conservation. I don't think Nader gave up on his gas tax; he just claimed that gas would be cheaper in his utopia. That reminds me. "Keen Eddie" is a pretty good TV show. It added the word "wanker" to my vocabulary. I don't know about "environmental concerns," or whose "concerns" are to be given preference. If I were flipping burgers (and you never know when I will be), I would be concerned that the environment was too pure for the good of the economy. There's one thing I don't worry about, though: running out of energy in economic anarchy. (Of course, governmental action can screw up anything.) I think Adam Smith said something like the following: if hawks develop a taste for chickens, the world could run out of chickens, but if humans develop a taste for chickens, we'll be up to our asses in chickens. Allen
Wed, 31 Mar 2004 19:11:14 -0500 On 31 Mar 2004 at 15:56, Eric Chase wrote:
> Those who commit such acts of barbarity aren't human.
In a situation like this, would it be very difficult to pick up a few people from the crowd and arrest them? Their pictures are all over TV. I have a feeling that if members of the crowd were interrogated it could provide some helpful leads. Also it would be a good idea to show who was in control (that is, if the US is in control). I think it might be a good idea to have Kurdish forces take care of these matters. How is Saddam like little Miss Muffet? His Kurds got in the way. Allen
Mon, 29 Mar 2004 09:02:09 -0500 You guys can protect Bush as much as you want to, but I've had it. The truth must be told and I'm telling it all in my tell-all exposé. The first quarter of my book lays bare the fact that GW Bush was sloppy at times. The next quarter reveals how he smoked in the history library bathroom. The last half is devoted to exposing how he was tardy for class one day. I'm calling it "The Late Great President Bush." It's due out in October. Seven figure advance. I'm tired of being a loyal chump. Here's a poem. It has no rhyme or reason, but it's short. I discovered minimalist poetry about 15 years ago. I like it. I don't believe much but I'm sure of what I believe. I don't have much to say, either, and this is a good was to say it. Before the Golden Age There was a truly Golden Age. Before the Garden of Eden There was a better Eden. And I'm beginning to remember them now.
Wed, 24 Mar 2004 19:13:54 -0500 I listened to the 9/11 commission from time to time today. I would suggest that anyone who thinks that the government takes the "war on terror" seriously listen, too. Bush was quite right to oppose the creation of this bi- (not non-) partisan group. I take a simple lesson from it: if all these people think it's safe to play politics with 9/11, I don't have much to worry about. Allen
Tue, 16 Mar 2004 09:10:32 -0500 On 16 Mar 2004 at 7:38, Harris, Ned wrote: "Terrorists get their support from Iraq (used to, anyway), Iran and Syria. Dudes like bin Laden couldn't exist w/o state support. Iran and Syria should be next. Saudi Arabia needs to clean up its act, too. At least all of this is my take on it." I would draw another parallel with Vietnam. Johnson positioned himself as a "hawk" and blunted criticism from those who favored defeating North VN. Bush (with the help of his enemies) is taking on the role of "unilateral cowboy." This is a perfect cover for a timid, multilateral policy. Saddam had a relation to terrorism, true. Liberating Iraq, though, was not a straightforward battle in the war on terrorism. It was more like a three- rail billiard shot. This is related: Kofi Annan's son has been implicated in the scandal over the "oil for food" program. They are starting to get proof. Presumably Kofi himself was taking food out of the mouths of Iraqi children. (It's really not that easy to take candy from a baby.) I predict that this story will go nowhere. It doesn't serve the Democrats' or the Republicans' vision of the world. The idea that Bush is some sort of unilateralist closes off any real debate about how much American foreign policy should be at the mercy of non-Americans. (Some English guy wrote an editorial saying that everyone in the world should be allowed to vote for the American president.) I heard someone make an interesting point on isolationism: Leftist isolationists think that American interventionism corrupts the world; rightist isolationists think that American interventionism corrupts America. I agree with the rightists on this point. Allen
Sun, 14 Mar 2004 08:47:13 -0500 On 13 Mar 2004 at 3:21, Nathaniel Semple wrote: ". . . Perhaps one should have hit the Capitol Bldg, since no one seems to thing terrorism is something to be taken seriously any more. What naïve fools!" If terrorism were serious, Rockefeller wouldn't be playing politics with the intelligence committee. Actually, if terrorism were serious, the Republicans wouldn't put up with Rockefeller. We have a important experiment for terrorism and democracy today. Polls before the Madrid bombing showed that the Spanish election would have been fairly close. The results of the election can provide a psychological defeat or victory for the terrorists. The Socialists blame the Popular Party's coziness with the US for the bombings. If they achieve a large victory, we can expect pre-election terrorism in all nations that oppose al-quaeda. Of course, the terrorists won't go away if the Popular Party wins big; but they might rethink their tactics. Allen
Wed, 10 Mar 2004 19:08:42 -0500 On 10 Mar 2004 at 14:09, Tory Peterson wrote:
> isn't the establishment of most
> of these entities a blatant circumvention of the new
> campaign finance law?comments?
Beats me. I saw an hour or two of debate on CSPAN about the Patriot Act and was not a bit better informed than before I watched it. The government ought to put out a series of books and they can start with "The Patriot Act for Dummies." They can follow that up with "Campaign Finance Reform for Dummies." Allen
For those who follow such stuff, the Kerry letter is the reason that I'm a Clinton hater, oh, and the fact that Clinton is personally odious. Clinton made the discovery that a Democrat could lie to your face, tell you that he was lying, and the major media outlets would report his words without any criticism or eyerolling. Don't get me wrong. Clinton is not smart. He's simply a criminal. However, he realized that the networks and the major newspapers would "give him the benefit of the doubt." I'd love to have a Democratic candidate who didn't count on Brokaw, the NYT, etc., etc. to remain silent. I might even root for him if he were in favor of drug legalization. However, it appears the the Democrats are hopelessly mired in Clintonesque lies. Allen
Tue, 17 Feb 2004 09:15:28 -0500 For those who wonder how charges of adultry against a Republican candidate would be handled, check out Drudge on the 1992 GHW Bush adultery rumor. Most amusing is Conason's reason 1 (of 1000) not to vote for Bush, "He cheats on his wife." Barring any major changes in the political landscape, I believe Kerry will lose because he's all over the place on every issue. The great middle of the electorate votes on feelings and all the Democratic raving about how Bush is dishonest just doesn't ring true, particularly when half of his detracters claim that he's too stupid to lie successfully. Allen
Mon, 09 Feb 2004 19:28:11 -0500 I got a flu shot this year as I have for the past 10 years or so, nevertheless, I contracted the flu. I guess it was a very special year. Fortunately the shot seems to have given me some immunity and the flu was relatively mild. I am no longer in the stage that Susan refers to as the Texas Phlegm Depository. [For you medical fans, why does phlegm, one of the four necessary humors, have such a negative reputation?] I have finally emerged from the wasteland symptom where I can't taste anything and so don't bother to eat or drink much or smoke at all. In gratitude for my recovery I have decided to do something for my fellow man. I have created the cure for mad cow disease. All it needs is a few volunteers to prove that it works. I have extracted the serum from an eccentric cow, and now I need to inject it into subjects who will then eat the raw brains of infected cows. This should be simple enough. Any volunteers? It's strange. Take kuru. What could be more innocent than eating the brains of your ancestors; actually it's a religious obligation. But look at the results. I don't know what God was thinking. "It's the economy, stupid." That's a good one. I can tell any politician how to stimulate the ecomomy. Stop protecting workers from becoming owners. However, let's assume that there can be no other government than the one that we have and that said government is ordained to bathe in the cesspool of social pathology known as the Muslim world. Given these premises, the economy seems to be dependent on limiting terrorists to killing other Muslims or, at most, non-American foreigners. "It's the economy, stupid," then, seems to be a rather flippant, condescending prescription, and a wrong one at that. Allen
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> Any lie to an investigating officer would be obstruction of
> justice, even if there were no underlying violation. We
> must speak the truth when a government official is
Yes, I've heard this. As a matter of self-protection, I will never speak to a government official. I'm surprised that anyone would. I'm not a bomb-thrower or anything, but it just doesn't make sense to say anything to, say, the FBI when your words could be construed to be a crime. Allen
Mon, 02 Feb 2004 09:24:28 -0500 It was over 20 today, so I had no trepidation about going for a bike ride. However, I saw a groundhog, became frightened, and returned to my house. I like the idea in the movie Groundhog Day, that you could live a perfect day, if you just knew how. And then there's the line from it, "What if every day were like every other day and nothing you did made any difference." Wed, 28 Jan 2004 10:06:57 -0500 Just as we all pretend that government is real and so make it real, everyone is pretending that NH matters and so it does. Kerry received 83,000 votes yesterday. NH has moved closer and closer to Massachusetts politically and the most of the voters there are very familiar with Kerry. I think Kerry has received about 120,000 votes so far. To put this in perspective, Columbus, Ohio has about 1,000,000 people in it. Nevertheless, the major media are asking if Kerry can be beat. This is akin to the (push) poll question that Dean objected to: Do you think Dean has the temperment to be president. I also have a problem with computers. The word processor inspired a lot of worthless writing. [Cartoon: Two guys working in a photo lab. One guy turns to the other and says, "Just develop the pictures; don't comment on the dreary lives they depict.] Computer data bases have made everyone into a "technical analyst," For instance, "No team from south of the Mason Dixon line has won back-to-back playoff games when the temperature was under 40." Last night I heard that no one who came in first in Iowa and NH had ever gone on to win the presidency. I heard a number of other factoids of a similar nature, but that was the one that stuck in my mind. Clinton is going to Washington to help the Democracts win in November. If he really wanted to help, he go to Paris and stay there. Apparently he's given up on Clark in his effort to be a king-maker. He could serve a useful function for the party: he teach them how to pretend that they actually cared about the war on terror, but I don't think he's thought it through that far. Here's the delegate count before NH: Sat, 24 Jan 2004 08:28:15 -0500 On 23 Jan 2004 at 13:45, Eric Chase wrote:
> How can you be "ambivalent" about an "egomaniacal snake"?
Have you ever considered a career in comedy? What a great straight line! OK, how can I be ambivalent about an egomaniacal snake? Let's consider the alternatives: 1. A mendacious black huckster. 2. A Pollyannish ambulance chaser. 3. A man who's only orthodoxy is ambition. 4. A choleric chiropractor. 5. An acromegalic gigolo. 6. A Mendelian anomaly. 7. An overprivileged frat boy with Oedipal issues. Allen
Fri, 23 Jan 2004 12:21:49 -0500 On 23 Jan 2004 at 9:52, Peter Pfeifle wrote:
> Clark has no chance. Did you see him at the debate last
> night? Clueless and phony as a 3 dollar bill.
I'm ambivalent about Clark. He is, after all, more of a Republican than GB, and I doubt that he would advocate more spending than the present president. On the other hand, he is the Clintons' candidate for '04. This might not be all bad. He's such an egomaniacal snake that he will probably stab them in the back if he gets the chance. Allen
Wed, 21 Jan 2004 19:17:43 -0500 On 21 Jan 2004 at 16:38, Nathaniel Semple wrote:
> But the most eff3ective moment came when Bush stated that we
> do not need a permission slip from the UN (meaning France
> and Germany) to defend the nation from foreign threats. A
> large majority of Americans agree. This is the Dems most
> vulnerable issue in the upcoming election.
I think you're absolutely right on this; maybe I'm absolutely wrong. I'd guess that the anti-war sentiment is lot more shallow than we've been led to believe. I suspect that many people declare themselves anti-war because they are Democrats rather than from any deep conviction. Dean, who rightly claims to be the only viable anti-war candidate with an antiwar record, received fewer than 1 of 5 votes of caucus goers, even with his money and organization. Such a poor showing could indicate how little voters care about the war or how minor their disagreements with Bush are in foreign policy. I heard that Kucinich advocates bribing the UN to take over the defense of Iraq with the Iraqi oil fields. This proposal doesn't sound very socialistic to me. It sounds like neo-colonialism: turning the wealth of the people over to an inefficient and corrupt organization. Here's something I could approve of: printing up a hundred billion shares of the oil wealth of Iraq and giving 4,000 to each Iraqi. I think I'm a lot closer to socialism than Kucinich. Allen
Wed, 21 Jan 2004 17:06:54 -0500 On 21 Jan 2004 at 20:34, Matthew McClure wrote:
>For me, it
> got old pretty quickly, but it appears to have played well
> in Peoria. The San Francisco Chronicle headline was,
> "Fired-up Bush Takes Offensive."
I carefully avoided watching. GWB has become the most effective liberal since LBJ. While channel surfing, I caught the proposal (or something) about getting drugs out of the the NFL, NBA, whatever. I heard that he had a list of minor proposals ala Clinton. I couldn't agree with you more about the deficit. Such profligate spending must annoy the Democrats who thought they had a monopoly on it. Now all they can do is complain about fiscal irresponsibilty. I also heard that GWB referred to some personal story and the subject of the story stood up. Who invented that device? Unless you have a victim to show off, your speech lacks power. I'm waiting for that particular technique to become laughable. The theory, I guess, is to give to "airy nothing [a policy] a local habitation and a name." It makes me want to throw spit balls. I was struck by how Dean's recitation of the states was handled by television news. They're treating this guy like a Republican. I'm sure he had the same speech (with a few changes) prepared for his victory; and if he had won, it would have been called "passionate" and "full of fire." That gives me an idea. I'm going to download the picture of Dean from Drudge and put it on my desktop. That should keep everyone in line. Allen
Fri, 16 Jan 2004 19:22:46 -0500 On 16 Jan 2004 at 18:10, Eric Chase wrote:
> Don't reward criminals; pursue OUR policy, not what's
> foisted on us by lawbreakers.
It's rather strange that as number of laws increases the enforcement of the law becomes more political. In other words, we seem to be in a country of "men not laws." If Mexico and illegal workers disappeared, we'd have to pay a few more cents for certain vegetables and fruits; but the average wage would increase. It would probably have no net effect. What bothers me about Vicente Fox and his predecessers (I give up on the spelling) is that they are running a country that is equal to East Germany in the desire of the citizens to leave, and yet, they blame the US. If you extend the city limits of San Diego 50 miles South people would be breaking the law to get into Tijuana. Why not just extend the border of the whole US 50 miles South and create the state of Mexacas (like DC, no representation). Instead, the Mexicans want to extend the border of Mexico northward. Don't they see that US economic laws (such as they are) are infinitely better than their own? Could that be the real problem? Allen
On 12 Jan 2004 at 3:45, Matthew McClure wrote:
> And I am a pacifist, though perhaps not an absolute
I have no problem with pacifism, even absolute pacifism. The problem is that I wouldn't advocate it for my children. When I consider that fact, I realize that I'm no more competent than they are, so I can't really advocate it for myself. [Omitted intellectual step: pacifism is only for the incredibly strong.] Here's my problem with people who claim to eschew violence: They would use guns and put me in jail if I 1. Withheld money from welfare programs. 2. Denied Blacks service in my restaurant. 3. Sold a toilet that used more than 1.6 gallons per flush. 4-4,000,000,000,000. The rest of American civil law. Allen
On 9 Jan 2004 at 14:15, Robert Cheek wrote:
> I would asume scientific consensus is more often right than
Of course, you're right. The scientific consensus is usually correct because scientists use certain methods for arriving at their conclusions. Crichton is warning against abandoning these methods, perhaps a bit too colorfully. In a politically neutral frame of mind, I am appalled by the concept of "risk factor," which I see a lot. Because of the success of linking cigarette smoking to lung cancer, researchers have looked for risk factors the way post- Watergate reporters looked for scandals. Some risk factors, no doubt, have a role in causing disease. Most solemnly declared risk factors are probably related to disease in noncausitive ways (I'm sure that I could prove that smoking $4 cigars is positively related to longevity, eating caviar probably has a stronger relation.) A few are statistical anamolies. If people saw the actual numbers that led something's (e.g., coffee drinking) being defined as a "risk factor," they would laugh. But major news outlets don't have the 6 seconds that it would require to report these numbers; besides, the numbers would ruin a good story. Allen
Wed, 07 Jan 2004 19:11:46 -0500 On 7 Jan 2004 at 16:22, Dunne-Brady wrote:
> "The violence of religions and churches is more debatable
> because there is no hell."
> What do you mean there is no hell?
Libertarians are very touchy on the subject of violence. If you don't actually use or threaten force, I don't call it violence. We are treated to concepts like "economic violence" in order to justify the use of real violence. A threat of very real violence in behind every act of every government. These acts are often justified by some sort of intellectual metaphor. If you don't use actual violence against me or threaten to, I have no complaints with you. If you do, I put you in another category. Allen
Tue, 06 Jan 2004 19:15:24 -0500 On 6 Jan 2004 at 16:43, MCCULLOUGH, JOHN A wrote:
> One of
> the troubling aspects of this is that we are going to be
> going down toward the mean while many other peoples/nations
> will be rising to the mean.
You might consider that virtually everyone in America in 2000 was materially better off than the richest person in 1900, say Queen Victoria or someone like that. What is everyone afraid of? Oh, I forgot: nuclear winter, space alien abduction, second hand smoke, global warming, terrorism. This is a neat trick by the government. They screw up the economy and take half your money and make you feel you need them to survive. Allen
Fri, 26 Dec 2003 11:08:55 -0500 I thought it was my duty to explain homosexuality to everyone. Susan and my brother once had a conversation on the subject and Roger said that he didn't believe in homosexuality. Susan responded that she felt that women became lesbians because they couldn't get boyfriends. All this seemed rather shallow to me. Finally my daughter Dinah came up with the final word on the subject. She says that girls become lesbians to be ironic. Of course, I'm not sure she has the clearest understanding of irony, but she likes the concept. Allen