Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Which war wants winning?

By many measures, Afghanistan is falling apart. The Afghan opium crop has flourished in the past two years and now represents 93 percent of the world’s supply, with an estimated street value of $38 billion in 2006. That money helps bankroll an insurgency that is now operating virtually within sight of the capital, Kabul.

Meanwhile… To satisfy Western demands that [the opium] supply chain is broken, Afghan farmers have had their entire crops destroyed. Other farmers who voluntarily gave up growing poppies on the promise of financial help to grow other crops say the help never materialised. Reports have emerged of farmers made destitute by the West’s anti-poppy campaign, who have resorted to selling their children in order to stay financially afloat. The targeting of the poppy fields is widely believed to be a major factor in the popularity of the Taliban insurgency in the south and east. British troops facing some of the most intense fighting are in Helmand, a major centre of poppy cultivation. […] Western anti-narcotics agencies have rejected the suggestion of cultivating Afghan opium for medicinal use … Doctors propose using Afghan opium as NHS pain-killer

Evidently, the War on Drugs trumps the War on Terror as the fruits of the former undermine the prosecution of the latter, with the Afghan economy in the crossfire.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Just Damn

Officers said they tried to conduct a field sobriety test, but Ingram was nearly too intoxicated to stand.
...and solar powered flashlights work splendidly in the sunshine.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dan Rather's Lament

An article in the New Yorker reports:
[Dan] Rather was anguished. “For two years he’s agonized about his reputation and finally said the hell with it,” says his close friend David Buksbaum, a former CBS News producer who accompanied Rather on several of his Central Park walks. “He couldn’t believe the company he bled for for 40 years would do it to him. It’s not about money, it’s not even about ego. It’s about vindication.”

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Outfoxing Tivo

The bulge in the demographic snake's stomach known as Baby Boomer should force some changes in the patina of advertising, but it may be a tad early to see it, and it may be too late for it to work.

I noticed an almost brutal cutoff of TV programming of interest when I turned fifty. The advertisers, hence the producers, are uninterested in over-50 eyeballs and it shows. You don't have to be cynical to describe popular entertainment as written by and for juveniles, and advertising as the mendacity of omissive, commissive manipulation.

Thank God for PVRs. But back to the Bulge. Will agencies be forced by ennui-soaked retirees intent on spending the kids' inheritance to abandon the mystery and "get real?" If they do, will it be received as were the efforts of a company during the 1950's, who went so far as to satirize what is now being TIVOed out of existence?

I refer to Petrofina, who advertised that filling one's tires with pink air was coming soon, while simultaneously sloganizing, "work hard, sell a good product, and don't try to kid anybody."

The coming culture may be too old and wise to take advertising seriously.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Why I read James Taranto, and you should, too

Taranto produces Opinion Journal -- Best of the Web Today. Regarding the New York Times decision to stop charging for access to opinion columnists, Taranto had this to say.
Why buy Dowd when you can get her ilk for free?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Kathleen Willey Redux

Now that Ms Willey is back in the news, this becomes timely again.

Burning Desire

It was hot in the Oval. Summertime DC. You know, like when the crawdads clumb onto the mangrove roots just to keep from being gumboed alive.

Or was that mandrake? No, that was Lasater's deal.

I was thinking about Gore and wishing he would give me a key to the thermostat covers when she walked in. "Mr. President, do you remember me? Mrs. Edward Willey?"

Remember her? Legs going up like a Roman candle; a rack to shame the 24-pointer I wasted at Camp David, even if the SS had to tether it first. Yeah, I remembered the dame, like Bennett remembers San Francisco, Sacco remembers Vanzetti, like Hillary remembers...every gall-danged thing. Like how nervous Vince wa...

"Mr. President?"

"Huh? Yes. Yes, Mrs.Willey. Sit down. Sit down."

Her dress was sultry and clingy, like a hot intern. Her knees stayed tight until she was seated. Then she crossed her legs in one practiced motion, her hose making a slithery sound.

Out of all the broke down, multi-colored rug, sweaty hot Oval Offices in the world, she had to pick mine.

I thumbed the intercom and told Betty to hold all calls. Then I asked Willey why she came.

"My husband has embezzled a lot of money that we have to pay back, Mr. President. And I need something more than the volunteer job I have. I mean, Easter Egg rolls...."

I wanted to feel her pain, but she was across the desk. How could I get into her...pantry. That was it. The pantry.

"Mrs. Willey, would you like a cup of coffee?"

She couldn't turn it down. I stood and gestured toward the galley just off the Oval and motioned for her to go in ahead of me. It was like little animals when she walked.

I asked her how many lumps she wanted, but I was thinking about how many lumps I was in the throat and one down at the Y.

As much as I hate carpet burns, I suggested that we adjourn into the study. Groans I make in the galley ricochet like singing in the shower, and I felt an aria coming on.

The difference between the flourescent lights in the galley and the warm tungsten lamps n the study was startling. Her hair went from copper to a warm auburn and I went for a hug. As I held her tense frame up close, her warmth began to spread to me, rapidly getting hotter and wetter. I backed up and took her squashed coffee cup from between us and sat it on the end table.

"Mr. President, aren't you afraid someone will walk in here?"

"No, no," I told her how sorry I was for her troubles and pulled her against me again, my lips finding hers before she turned her head sharply, leaving my tongue to dart into her earring.

That was when I realized I was being set up. Women could not resist me. Brother Graham told me so himself.I slid a finger into her breast pocket looking for an West Wing pass in case Hillary had sent her. There was none. I would have to threaten her to buy her silence. I took her hand and made sure she felt the hard barrel of my thigh-holstered snub nose. It's a repeater.

"It's not that I'm glad to see you. It's just something I've wanted to do for a long time," I hissed.

That did it. She paled and backed away, "I have to be going. It would kill my husbandif I did this."

More than you ever knew, Sister. More than you ever knew.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Have you seen this man?

This is Sergei Eugenov Potblek. Former high level KGB operative, he is known to be in the USA, advocating for a US pullout from Iraq. As we know, the US needs a pullout like Russia needs a Putin. If you see this man, do not attempt to apprehend him yourself. He is most likely armed and delirious. Contact a TSA agent at your local airport.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pig O' My Heart

Anyway, so, the guy's like, "Yeah, but what's the deal with the pig having a wooden leg?"
"Are you kidding?" goes the owner, "No way we'd eat a valuable animal like that all at once!"
Say, are you here with anybody?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How to tell if you're an illegal alien

If you can go from being, in the eyes of many, a hated interloper to fellow Islam-fighter simply by getting the right piece of paper, you just might be an illegal alien.

If you are paying part of your wages into someone else’s social security retirement, you might be a wetback.

If you think the Statue of Liberty is holding a roach motel in one hand and a can of Raid aloft, you’re probably an undocumented American.

If you think Obama is black, you’re half right. If you think he’s white, you’re half right. If you can’t understand why he thinks he should be president, you are an illegal immigrant.

If you think feet-dry Latino Cubans are entitled to US citizenry while feet-dry Latino Mexicans are not, you might be a confused, but nonetheless illegal, alien.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

On being able to use a basic brain

This comment from a Dr Ellen is appended to an article that decries the inability of many to use common hand tools.
It could be worse. It IS worse. I have a doctorate in experimental nuclear physics. Can't do that without knowing your way around tools and wires. But I ran away to join the museum and became a curator. The museum director often condescended to me because I knew how to use my hands.
Imagine the wasted human and societal cost of educating a doctor of nuclear physics only to have them run away and join the museum. So you can use a hand tool, hoorah. Pity about that brain.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Pushing back, pushing back, waaaay back!

An article today about conservatives on a college board said, "some alumni who appreciated the old Dartmouth are pushing back.”

The meme “pushing back” seems to have a toehold in discourse. It hasn’t reached triteness yet, but the trend is there. I like it because the meme it correlates with is one I got sick of years ago.

First, in the 1980s, came ‘sharing.’ In the business world, meetings and conferences weren’t feely enough if they didn’t begin with, “I have something I want share with you.” This got real old real fast but stayed around for fifteen years.

“Sharing” was replaced by “reaching out.” I cursed ATT’s commercials emploring us to “reach out and touch someone,” oh, and while you’re at it, pay us for it.

Unfortunately, we’re still “reaching out.” Whenever I run into “X reached out to Y,” I stop reading whatever it is I’m reading and go to the next article. Reaching out is so gay.

And that’s what I like about the new meme. Enough reaching out. It’s time to push back. Don’t you know there’s a war going on?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Will the Ice Age Return?

The world is cooling -- helped by man

Some scientists are convinced that the world's climate is getting colder every year, threatening a return to the conditions of the last ice age, which reached its peak about 18,000 years ago.


From 1890 to 1940 worldwide temperatures rose about 0.18F every 10 years. Some animals extended their ranges northward, the sea was less frozen than before, and icebergs from Greenland did not penetrate as far south.

Since 1940 temperature has been dropping. According to a survey by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average ground readings for the northern hemisphere have, in the years from 1945 to 1968, fallen by one-half degree F. In the United States, east of the Continenal Divide, temperatures in the last decade averaged one to four degrees cooler than in the past 30 years.

---page 69. Strange Stories, Amazing Facts
Published 1976, The Readers Digest Association
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 76-2966

[The notion that cooling is being helped by man appears only in the subtitle of the article. Nothing in the article suggests how man might be accomplishing planetary cooling.]

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Please don't export your primitivism

Under colonialism, advanced cultures export their governance to relatively primitive societies, gradually bringing them into the modern world. This was found to be exploitative and disrespecful of primitive values.

So we stopped.

Primitive societies generally have proved unable on their own to produce modern culture without colonial masters, but feel they have a right to that culture. Their solution to the problem is to export the people to the governance, illegally if necessary, bringing primitivism's degradation to advanced societies.

It seems better for all concerned if the primitives stayed at home while upgrading to modernity under control of advanced culture. Call it neocolonialism.

Come to think of it, Bush's New Wilsonian dreams of exporting democracy at gunpoint were a step in that direction.

Something has to give. There isn't room in the northern hemisphere for everyone in the southern.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Prosecution or persecution? Corey Maye update

Hayne testified at trial that the bullet wounds in Fulgham's body were consistent with the prosecution's theory that there were two hands on the gun that fired those bullets.
Read that again. The same Hayne testified in the Corey Maye trial on bullet trajectory. Radley Balko has a must read Corey Maye update.