September 30, 2006
Thank goodness we have scientists to study this kind of stuff.
Actually, the story I'm referring to, by John Stossel and Gail Deutsch of ABC News, is mildly interesting. For instance:
'So when they look at babies in the first 72 hours of life, they find that males and females are not identical in the way they behave,' [a researcher] said. 'Males startle more than females. If you give a little puff of air on their abdomen, they startle much bigger and much more likely to startle than females, and females rhythmically mouth. They suck on their tongues. They move their lips and so forth more than males do.'Uhh... am I the only one who reads anything sexual into those results?
'The male brain actually has a harder time processing the female voice versus the male voice, which is a possible explanation to why we don't listen when our wives call us,' Dr. Billy Goldberg said on '20/20.'
. . .
They said it was true that men listened less because of biology.
'Male babies make less eye contact, for instance, with their mothers than female babies,' Leyner said. 'So what we're talking about are different ways of relating to people that start at the earliest possible age.'
So can men say, 'Honey, it's not my fault. It's my brain'?
'I like to use that excuse,' Goldberg said.
September 29, 2006
Here it is, verbatim:
hi lindsay lohanI should write him back:
i'am your biggest fan and because i love all your movies you stared in and one more i want you to go out with me sometime if you want to and please write back biggest sweetheart
dear freako,that is 2 funny.
you are a sick stalker, and probably very dangerous and meen. do not come near my house.
instead, i'll mete you behind Jerry's Deli 2nite at midnite. Bring some rubers and weed
luv, Lindsay Logan
1. One book that changed your life?
Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton
2. One book that you have read more than once?
The Trial by Franz Kafka
3. One book you would want on a desert island?
4. One book that made you cry?
A Lotus Grows In The Mud by Goldie Hawn
5. One book that made you laugh?
Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth
6. One book you wish had been written?
Kirlian Justice, by me
7. One book you wish had never been written?
Any Chomsky book
8. One book you are reading currently?
The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks
9. One book you have been meaning to read?
An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson
10. Pass it on
September 28, 2006
In a nutshell, the video was taken by a Halliburton contractor named Preston Wheeler last September with his digital camera. He was driving truck five in a convoy that got lost near Balad in the Sunni Triangle.
The video shows teenagers throwing rocks at the convoy as the trucks headed down a dead end road. When the convoy had to turn back, the enemy was waiting for them. A bullet hole suddenly appears in Wheeler's windshield. A roadside bomb explodes, a truck driver is killed and his truck overturns. Wheeler's truck is disabled, and his Humvee escort continues driving.
Small arms fire is heard. Wheeler, now alone, is eventually hit by a couple of rounds as he hides under the dashboard. Inexplicably, he is unarmed. He also witnesses another truck driver taken out of his truck and shot dead by the enemy.
The Nightline report also shows predator footage of another Halliburton driver's body being desecrated by the enemy.
After 45 minutes, helicopters arrive and the cowardly insurgents scurry off, no doubt reverting to innocent civilian status.
I don't understand why the civilian drivers were not armed. I don't understand why that village was not carpet bombed immediately afterwards. It's maddening.
September 27, 2006
He may have played nerdy eighth-grader Samuel (Screech) Powers in the sitcom "Saved by the Bell." But former TV geek Dustin Diamond can now take his place with Colin Farrell, Tommy Lee and Kid Rock as the star of his very own sex tape.I looked up "Dirty Sanchez" in the Rolodex of Love [nsfw]. Then I wished I hadn't.
Everyone who remembers Diamond as a lovable putz is in for a shock once they see a 40-minute video in which he engages in a kinky three-way with two women, sources tell us.
We can't get too graphic here, but word is that the action includes some bodily functions and an act known as a "Dirty Sanchez."
Dirty Sanchez: A time honored event in which while laying the bone doggie style, you insert your finger into her asshole. You then pull it out and wipe it across her upper lip leaving a thin shit mustache. This makes her look like someone whose name is Dirty Sanchez.Ugh.
Anyways, there's nothing that might induce me to want to watch Screech and two chicks fucking on video. In fact, John McCain might want to add that to his list of prohibited torture methods, just in case anybody at the CIA gets creative.
So I got to thinking. Who else might make the list of Celebrity Sex Videos Nobody Wants To See?
Anyway. Poetry Day. Today's pick is inspired by my upcoming trip (like, in 30 minutes) to RFK to catch the Nats play the Phillies in some night action from the cheap seats, one section behind the right-field foul pole. Only one ball has come that way during a game: a monster home run by Daryle Ward (before he was traded to Atlanta) that hit the small wall right in front of my seat (sec 552 row 1 seat 3, on my 20-game plan), the day before I was supposed to go to a game. You can still see the smudge, if you know where to look.
Hard to think night baseball is still kinda recent. One hundred years ago...well, I wouldn't be seeing a game in late September. And it wouldn't be an NL game, and it would be between the Nationals and the Phillies.
And it for damn sure wouldn't have a 7:05PM start. Purists always say the original is best, and sometimes they're right (NO DL!), but...night baseball is cool. If you're ever in Washington, take a trip to the Phillips Collection and check out Night Baseball by Marjorie Phillips. It's kinda hidden away, but well worth the search.
(BTW, that's the Senators playing the Yankees, with DiMaggio at the plate.)
Funny sport, baseball. Start talking about one thing and you're suddenly drifting off as memories pile one on top of the other, at least until you hear that utterly distinct crack! and the crowd stands up and you're really focused on the ball's path and that sonovabitch is gone!
crack! Poetry Day. I found this poem one day and it struck me as how night baseball used to be, 100 years ago, only without the chlorine. Jonathan Holden published it in 1972.
How To Play Night Baseball
A pasture is best, freshly
mown so that by the time a grounder's
plowed through all that chewed, spit-out
grass to reach you, the ball
will be bruised with green kisses. Start
in the evening. Come
with a bad sunburn and smelling of chlorine,
water still crackling in your ears.
Play until the ball is khaki-
a movable piece of the twilight-
the girls' bare arms in the bleachers are pale,
and heat lightning jumps in the west. Play
until you can only see pop-ups,
and routine grounders get lost in
the sweet grass for extra bases.
Happy eighth birthday Google! Thanks to you, the internet has made a great leap forward. Congratulations, comrades!
September 26, 2006
In what universe does a non-celebrity like Kylie Minogue beat Angus Young (who rules the known universe)?
That's b.s., but whatever.
Anyways, here's Kylie's banned lingerie commercial for whoever stuffed the ballot box. Enjoy.
September 25, 2006
A commenter to The Jawa Report broke this story, so check out Howie's post for more details. The dude "sitting on air" is the clincher.
Atlanta vs. New Orleans. The first game in the Superdome since Katrina. Falcons favored by 4. I'm going with the sentimental favorites, though. New Orleans plus the points.
September 23, 2006
So now a tiny French newspaper called, get this, l'Est RÃ©publicain is reporting that Osama bin Laden is dead.
I knew Karl Rove was good, but damn.
Update: Check Jawa for some really good news.
September 22, 2006
Two years ago, President Bush was criticized for saying that we can't win the Global War On Terror:
I dont think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world.In response to my post from yesterday, my friend Matt wrote:
This isn't the kind of war that either side can "win" in any conventional sense. Our enemies can't destroy us militarily, because we're far too strong. We can't destroy them militarily, because they're too disbursed and decentralized. So we'll be taking potshots at one another for a long time to come. What's the end game? I don't know. How will a permanent state of war affect American politics, our collective psyche and our liberty? I don't know. It's a frustrating and frightening thing.Great minds may think alike, but I'm afraid I must respectfully disagree with both of these learned men. We can win this war.
Matt, of all people, should know as a boxing fan that a lot of times the winner of a bout is decided by who makes the first mistake. He's right in saying that al Qaeda can't destroy us because "we're far too strong." Therefore, no mistake on our part can end the conflict.*
But if al Qaeda, and the radical Islamist movement it has spawned makes a mistake, we can and will crush them in such a way as to end the war. What is the particular mistake that will cause our enemies to lose? I'm getting to that.
As the situation stands now, al Qaeda et al. have the initiative and the upper hand in the GWOT. As it stands now, we cannot deal them a death blow. That's because in the most basic sense, all warfare is about control of geographic areas.â The great strength of the terrorist is that there is no geographic area which we can push him off of. That's what Matt meant when he wrote that the enemy is "too disbursed and decentralized."
President Bush's big contribution to the theory of warfare is the "Bush Doctrine," which in part addresses the terrorist's strength: their lack of geographical origin. On September 11, 2001, he said that the United States, when hunting down the terrorists, "will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them." Nine days later, in his greatest speech, the President restated that doctrine in more detail:
This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.The administration's war planners realized very quickly that you can't win a war against an ephemeral enemy unless you can tie them down to a piece of land and then destroy them on that land. That's why we got this oft criticized "you're either with us or against us" part of the Bush Doctrine. The idea was to nullify the terrorists' advantage of not being attached to any state, by attaching them to a state.
Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.
It was a brilliant and necessary idea, but unfortunately it has not been entirely successful in practice. Geopolitical considerations have blunted the doctine's effect, as I think the war planners probably anticipated. We've seen the doctrine work beautifully in Libya, but in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for instance, there have been mixed results. We had to make a difficult compromise with those countries because an imperfect alliance with their governments is still of great value to our interests. As a result, we have to accept that, for the time being, there will be some laxity in their efforts to control the extremism within their own borders. We can't fight everyone all at once, and especially not if Pakistan and the Saudis assure us that they are on our side.
The Bush Doctrine alone cannot win this war. So what is the mistake that the Islamists dare not make? What is the mistake that will enable us to win? It is the very thing that the enemy hopes to gain: a pan-Islamic caliphate.
Think back to the 1930's. That was a time when the democratic world looked at the growing threat of fascism and was unable to do anything to stop it. I would argue that appeasement and half-hearted reaction was inevitable then, just as it seems inevitable now. The world simply wasn't in a place where strong and united action was possible. Democracies have many strengths, but swift action is not one of them. In the 1930's there was still a system of alliances that finally mandated a response to Hitler, but the response came almost too late.
The Allies responded to Hitler only after he started taking territory by force. Now fast forward a few years. We responded to the Japanese after they started advancing across the Pacific. We responded to the North Koreans when they invaded the South. Same thing in Vietnam. Same thing when Saddam invaded Kuwait. When territory is invaded by an expansionist enemy, we never seem to have any trouble responding appropriately.
What would happen if Osama bin Laden got what he wanted the restoration of Islamic territories to a fundamentalist theocracy under Sharia law? My thesis is this: If the Islamic fundamentalist movement were to become attached to a state, and that state were to adopt expansionist ambitions, the Western World would and could oppose them successfully.
We know that one goal of Islamic fundamentalism is to recapture territory lost to the infidel, or lost to secularist governments such as Egypt and Turkey. That is their end game. Their fatal mistake would be to actually start achieving those goals. Once the terrorists start to add nations to their idealized pan-Islamic caliphate, they will become a concrete threat that the world can unite against. Instead of being an ephemeral enemy, unconnected with any state and therefore immune from retaliation, they would suddenly become constrained by the same realities of warfare that have prevailed for centuries and at which we excel.
The bad news is that my thesis presupposes a long period of very bad setbacks for our side. But I don't see any other way around it. The West has proven that it does not yet have the will to unite against its enemy, and even if it did, fighting insurgents and terrorists is like fighting ghosts. You can bomb a nation into submission, but I think we all know by now, it's pretty hard to bomb suicide bombers into submission. Just ask the Israelis. They've always been able to beat any nation-state with one hand tied behind their back. But they just lost their very first war, against a bunch of terrorists who were disavowed by any government.
The really bad news is that, in my view, the timeline for this caliphate solution to come about is on the order of ten to twenty years. By that time, Iran will have nuclear weapons. I think we all know that it's inevitable. So when Iranian troops spearhead the invasion of Greece, or Spain, or wherever, and the West finally gets up the gumption to oppose them, we will be firing missiles at each other.
I know this post sounds like I've been reading too many Harry Turtledove books, but if you think about it, you'll see I'm right. Countries win wars by finding a way around the enemy's defenses. Islamic terrorists hide within "neutral" states and behind innocent civilians, that is their main defense. But they lose that defense once they attach themselves to a piece of land and call themselves a nation. Therefore the seeds of their own destruction lay inside their own express goals.
I told you this would be a more optimistic post.
* I can hear the nay-sayers now. "But we're already making mistakes that will cost us the war, by being too soft on the enemy, on homeland security, on our borders, etc." I don't disagree that we're being too soft. But what is the probable result of our softness? A major attack? And the result of a major attack will be that our softness is replaced by a hardness in proportion to how bad the attack is. Bottom line is that no terrorist attack, however horrendous, will cause the United States to become part of the pan-Islamic caliphate. That is a danger that exists solely in Europe, due to their lack of moral character, their lax immigration policies, their societal decision not to reproduce, and their sixty year reliance on the United States' security umbrella, which caused them to forget how to defend themselves. But I do not see that fate happening to us. As a people we are too stiff necked and independent. And we love our Constitution too much to replace it with the Koran. (Sure we got some nutty ideas in this country. But when the Swedes are considering a tax on all men to pay for domestic violence treatment and the idea is taken seriously all I can say is we have a long way to go in the U.S. before we reach the European level of self-destructive insanity.)
â I know von Clausewitz said, "War is merely the continuation of policy by other means," but I'm talking in the micro sense. There's a guy standing on a piece of land that I want to stand on. He's got a gun and I've got a gun. War is how I use my gun to get him to let me stand on that piece of land. He either dies, runs away, or steps aside.
This is great. If anybody else wants to make some Mohammadonna shit, send it to me or give me a link. I'll post it.
September 21, 2006
It's pretty scary stuff. Dawood is supposedly some sort of al Qaeda bigwig, and he says American moslems should leave the country immediately. He also says that al Qaeda has already smuggled "deadly materials" across the Mexican border and that they can attack anytime.
I'm not convinced of this transcript's authenticity. It's supposed to have been done in person, but it reads like a written interview with short questions and long prepared answers.
Assuming arguendo that the transcript is legitimate, a couple of things come to mind. If the "deadly materials" were smuggled across the Mexican border, that suggests to me that a likely target is the West Coast, probably Los Angeles. That scares me a lot because my family lives there. I don't see the terrorists attacking anything except on the coasts. They can blend in easier in populated blue state areas than they can in say, Texas. Transporting the "material" from Tijuana to L.A. is a lot less risky than going from Nuevo Laredo to D.C. And if they want to top 9/11, they'll need to attack a major city that holds some symbolic value.
Secondly, if a big attack occurs, the Democrats won't look quite so dumb for having insisted that Iraq was a distraction and we should have been concentrating on finding Bin Laden. Just being honest here.
Thirdly, I have heard more than once from people I know, that if a major attack occurs, it will be open season on anyone with linen on their head. I think we're in for some serious backlash if there's another attack, as the interviewer acknowledes in the transcript.
I don't know about you, but I've noticed a vague sense of anger and dread rising in this country since about mid summer. I don't see it in my personal day-to-day life, but I do hear it on the radio, on tv and in blogs. I think left and right have been banging away at each other for five years and nobody's winning the debate. We're all sick of arguing and we're just waiting for some event to happen that will prove one side or the other right.
The string of foiled attacks this summer added to the feeling I'm talking about. So did the Lebanon crisis. And the Iran stalemate. And Chavez yesterday. The impending election is also a factor, though I don't think the results will change the national mood, no matter who wins. If there is a big attack on our soil before the year is out, I really think things will get ugly much uglier than I can even imagine.
Sure, I know that there are lots of dedicated folks out there trying to detect and stop anything bad from happening. And they've been successful so far. But I also worry because it seems like it would be so easy for the terrorists to do something if they really tried. Anytime we catch somebody it seems like we got lucky. But just using my own imagination, I can think of dozens of ways they could carry out an attack without us ever catching them.
So I guess the message is pray, have an emergency kit ready, and don't fly during Ramadan (which starts two days from now).
Update: Peggy Noonan senses the dire mood too.
But the temperature of the world is very high, and maybe we're not stuck in a continuum but barreling down a dark corridor. The problem with heated words now is that it's not the old world anymore. In the old world, incompetent governments dragged cannons through the mud to set up a ragged front. Now every nut and nation wants, has or is trying to develop nukes.
September 20, 2006
If Madonna actually had a pair she would risk a fatwa by insulting people who would kill her in a heatbeat instead of ridiculing Roman Catholics who are so used to it by now that we don't even bat an eyelash.
Whenever a concession is made to Islam, another waits in the wings, ready to be rolled out onto the stage to take its place. Its like the Sudetenland in 1938, over and over again. Lop off one piece and give it Hitler, and then another, and another, but somehow its never quite enough.
And, if you watch carefully, the Muslim negotiating partner never manages to carry through with his half of any compromise.
. . .
Every time we perform another act of abasement, every time we fall all over ourselves apologizing for insulting Muslims, every time we publicly pretend that Islam is the Religion of Peace, we are doing damage to our collective psyche. All these efforts fly in the face of the obvious truth: historically speaking, right up to the present moment, Islam has been the Religion of War.
The Demonic Convergence is drawing the Left and radical Islam into bed with each other, so that there are very strong forces in our public life which strive to convince us otherwise, that we are bad, bad people, racists and Islamophobes, for thinking such things. It produces a cognitive dissonance in the collective psyche of the West, because the average person, deep down, knows the truth.
#1. I think she calls it "Fill Me," but I'm going to rename it "Tadpoles."
#2. Here's how to ruin a classic poem, by being a complete dork.
#3. Here's another way to ruin a classic poem, add an 'ukulele.
...that was actually really funny.
#4. This chick demonstrates why enunciation is so important.
#5. Hangin' out with Cindy Sheehan for inspiration is a no-no.
Haha, I think I just found Strawman!
Update: On a similar theme, Beth picks the "worst song ever."
Lord Carey, who as Archbishop of Canterbury became a pioneer in Christian-Muslim dialogue, himself quoted a contemporary political scientist, Samuel Huntington, who has said the world is witnessing a clash of civilisations.In other words, Nice Religion, Assholes!
Arguing that Huntingtons thesis has some validity, Lord Carey quoted him as saying: Islams borders are bloody and so are its innards. The fundamental problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power.
Lord Carey went on to argue that a deep-seated Westophobia has developed in recent years in the Muslim world.
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