Thursday, October 28, 2004

The blogosphere is getting awfully chilly

Babble on.

Between legal threats, and actual firings, the blogosphere has become a little less fun of late:

A US airline attendant is fighting for her job after she was suspended over postings on her blog, or online diary.

Queen of the Sky, otherwise known as Ellen Simonetti, evolved into an anonymous semi-fictional account of life in the sky.

But after she posted pictures of herself in uniform, Delta Airlines suspended her indefinitely without pay.

Ms Simonetti was told her suspension was a result of "inappropriate" images. Delta Airlines declined to comment. (thanks to SondraK)

Of course, this isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened.

And Blogger's tips don't seem all that reassuring.

You know, if I had wanted a dangerous hobby, I would have picked base-jumping for heck's sake.

Babble off.

Update: You just knew someone would have an irreverent take on the whole issue.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Some big boxes are more equal than others

Babble on.

So, The Harpy doesn't like Wal-Mart:

"Another thing that drives me crazy, and I hope I don't offend anyone here, is WAL-MART," Mrs. Kerry told a group of Democratic women activists at a luncheon in St. Paul last Tuesday. "They destroy communities." (via North Western Winds)

Costco, on the other hand, is all about "communities."

Babble off.

Canadian Conservatism

Babble on.

Kate at small dead animals has received a most interesting e-mail:

I work for a fairly prominent Conservative politician and am quite interested in hearing how you think blogs could be used to change the dynamic in Canada.
Having seen first hand how the media could twisted and spun the Conservatives in the last election I am highly eager to see the blogosphere develop into a actual force that can counteract the Globe/CBC/Toronto Star near stranglehold on the Canadian media. So far I don't think it's happened and if you have suggestions as to what politicians can to do encourage it I would interested in hearing about it.

As tz says in her opening comment to that post: such a kettle of fish you've opened.

There are two separate questions in that e-mail that form part of a bigger question. First, how can we increase the general influence of conservative bloggers? Second, how can the conservative political establishment help in this process? The answers to these questions lead inexorably to this: the intent of creating a conservative voice to counter the media chorus from the left isn’t for it to become a comfortable but impotent echo chamber. It is for the conservative voice to win currently liberal minds and hearts over to our side, and thus eventually see our great country governed in a way that befits a great country.

A kettle of fish, indeed.

The comments section of Kate’s post is filling up with insights, and is well worth reading: Dr. tz and Jay Currie offer up some fantastic ideas. But I’d like to focus on The Flea for a moment:

But this should be our primary main objective: bring Fox News to Canadian basic cable. Without the support of CBS rivals on television and radio it is doubtful even Matt Drudge could have called enough attention to the yeoman work of LGF, Powerline and INDC Journal [regarding the Rathergate fiasco].

Beyond the question of whether Fox would be the best choice for Canadian conservatism (Kevin has good things to say, and it can't be worse than this, for gawdsake), I think Nick makes a critical underlying point here: that the blogosphere at its most effective has a symbiotic relationship with the MSM, not simply an adversarial one. Small blogs need larger ones to get their stories out (hence the importance of an Instalanche). And like it or not, even the largest blogs still need the mainstream media to push the largest stories into – stay with me here – the mainstream where they can have a real effect on life outside the pixelated online world.

The Voldemort affair is a prime example. My hundred readers (and Patrick’s) would have been the only ones privy to the tactics used had not some of the bigger blogs picked up the story. And even now, nobody outside the blog community knows what happened, because he MSM didn’t care enough about it (rightly so in this case). It was a small echo-chamber victory.

How do we move beyond the echo-chamber? Political blogging is not a standalone activity. We rely on a support network of information sources. And here in Canada, that network isn't strong enough.

Adam Daifallah has run with this idea, and opined in a column a few months back about the creation of a conservative infrastructure in this country:

Wealthy, conservative-minded benefactors must come forward with the dedication and resources necessary to fund alternative media. New foundations and think-tanks must be endowed. Political campaign schools must be started to find and train Canada's Reagan. Without a stable of intelligent, articulate and ideological writers, thinkers and political activists, conservative ideas are bound to continue to fall on deaf ears.

The seeds of this movement exist -- in organizations such as the National Citizens' Coalition and the Fraser Institute, and in media like these comment pages and the feisty new Western Standard magazine. But these efforts have their hands full competing with a billion-dollar-a-year behemoth like the CBC or the litany of government-funded groups and organizations promoting leftist causes with our own tax dollars.

He’s right. I haven’t yet bought the Western Standard article he’s written that expands upon the column quoted above, but you can bet I will. And I'll be supporting important initiatives like Billy as they come online. You can’t change an overwhelmingly liberal political culture overnight, no matter what we in pajamastan might want to believe.

Which, in an extremely roundabout way, brings me back to the two questions posed by Kate’s correspondent.

Bloggers can counteract the leftist MSM bias in Canada by continuing to do what we’re already doing: blog like pitbulls with a sore tooth. Fisk like Tarantino. Inspire like Flea. Dissect and ridicule like Kate. Analyze like The Tiger, or Chris Taylor. Rant like Dr. Monger or Occam's Carbuncle. And continue to grow like by supporting some of the best of the newer blogs: Shenanigans, Jerry Aldini, and others I haven’t even discovered yet.

The conservative political establishment, such as it is, can support this tectonic shift by acknowledging bloggers. Grant an exclusive interview to someone like Damian Penny or Kevin Jaeger or Sean McCormick. Let the political guerrillas of the blogosphere have the information we need to be effective. We have jobs and families and we do this mostly for free. We rely on the MSM for information because we haven't the time or the resources to dig this stuff up by ourselves. Keep us in the loop – but as Dr. tz says, “don't try to control blogdom” because it will blow up in your face. With the notable exception of Liberal lawyers, we play by our own rules down here, and we resent any attempt to manipulate, so don’t even bother.

The glacier is moving in the right direction. It will take some time, but it won’t be stopped.

Babble off.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Perpetuating cynicism

Babble on.

As someone who bought into the idea of military leadership when I was but a wee OCdt at RMC, and then fell pretty hard when I realized it existed only in small pockets - mostly quite far down the chain of command - I can second Marcel's advice to Canadian CDS Gen Ray Henault.

Now, I know nothing about the reasons for this particular purchase, but I cannot believe that the Navy would not have prefered brand new subs, if the budget was there for it. I challenge anyone involved in the project to look me in the eye and say "We would rather have the used subs than new ones".

And Ray, you do nothing for your credibility in the eyes of your subordinates by claiming otherwise. Instead of always saying what the government wants you to say, how about saying what is true and strengthening the faith of the lower ranks in their senior leadership? (italics by Babbler)

Hear, hear. Enough of the man in the green flannel suit already.

Babble off.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

A Few Good Bloggers

Babble on.

When he starts talking hip-hop, he loses me. But when he says stuff like this, I can only say 'well done.'

You weep for adscam and you curse the liberals. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: That respectability's death, while tragic, probably saved the country.

I wonder how close this parody will be to the real testimony? Tick tock.

Babble off.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Keeping the blogroll rolling

Babble on.

I quite purposely detached myself from any electronic tether during my recent trip. It was time for a break, and for more than just the most obvious reason. After almost ten years of marriage - and a few of dating before that - Litlbit and I had never been anywhere warm together. A business trip with spouses invited was too juicy an opportunity to pass up, and I was told in no uncertain terms that I wouldn't be stealing a single moment of sunshine to connect to some silly computer. I kind of like it when my wife gets all fierce about something ('nuff said), so I capitulated without any real argument.

Upon my return, however, I was catching up on the news I'd missed and found myself engrossed by some insightful discussions at both the E-Group and All Things Canadian. I know, I know: I'm late to the party - you've all known about these fantastic sites for awhile now.

I can only plead ignorance and move to correct this oversight. Both sites can now be accessed on my blogroll.

Babble off.

The ink, our memories

Babble on.

I'm glad the Royal Canadian Mint decided to honour our veterans with a commemorative poppy coin. But am I the only one concerned that the ink on the coin seems as transient as the average Canadian's memory of our veterans' sacrifices?

I know this is a petty point; colourfastness on a coin isn't really a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But it will come as no surprise to regular readers (missed you all - we have to get together to watch "The Making of Battleship Galactica" again soon) that our collective national disregard for all things military consistently rankles me. This seems like just another straw for the camel's bent, arthritic back.

The Mint simply should have done better on this.

Babble off.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Dark and Stormy

Babble on.

Bermuda's unofficial national drink is called a Dark and Stormy. If you've never tried one, you're missing out. Of course, I can't really verify what you're missing, 'cause I can't remember much that you would have missed. I can verify the first few sips taste awfully good. Apropos of absolutely nothing, I can also confirm how sweet a cold tile floor feels against your cheek in the wee hours of the morning.


Babble off.

I'll take my cue from Forrest Gump

Babble on.

Bermuda was absolutely spectacular, although quite pricey. Business seemed to go well - but having said that, I will knock on wood until the ink dries on a signature. Now I'm back to Toronto commuter traffic, drizzly-cold autumn days, and blogging. Which brings me to the little tempest that raged across the Canadian blogosphere in my absence.

To those of you who expressed your support regarding Lord Voldemort, I thank you. To those who said I should have held my ground and fought the good fight, I can only say this: I appreciate your point, and encourage you to fight whatever fights you think are worth fighting. Maybe if I was a fifty-something semi-retired lawyer, financially secure with grown-up kids, I'd be more willing to spend my time and money to make a point.

But I'm not. I have other things I'd prefer to spend my time on right now. Like watching Mini-Boo stand up in the kitchen and walk unassisted into the living room of our house as her mother and I stand there clapping and cheering her on. Like reading "The Tale of Tales" to Boo as we snuggle into a comfy couch before bedtime. Like spending some hard-earned private time with the best wife a man could ever ask for - certainly much more than I deserve. Spending my time and money defending lawsuits isn't on that agenda.

So to echo Patrick: I'm done with Voldemort. And that's all I have to say about that.

Babble off.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Eat your hearts out

Babble on.

Penny has business in Halifax. Bruce's non-vacation trips are to Iqaluit. Keith gets sent to Timmins. Lovely places, all.

Me, I'm off on a business trip here:

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And he likes me better than he likes you. ;)

For reasons that should now be obvious, I won't be posting until my return late next week. In the meantime, check out the blogroll. Given that I'll be working in a country that still flies a Red Ensign, I would especially recommend reading my fellow bloggers of the Red Ensign Brigade.

Babble off.

Consider me bullied, Warren - for now

Babble on.

Upon threat of legal action from the wise, courageous, and apparently unchallengeable Warren Kinsella, I have pulled my previous post.

I'm not a lawyer, like Warren Kinsella, LL.B. I don't know if what I wrote meets the legal definition of defamation, and I can't afford to find out, so I've deleted the post.

But you know what? My hundred readers or so don't need my incoherent babblings to tell them what sort of a person Kinsella is. His actions speak far louder than my words.

Consider me bullied, Warren. For now.

Babble off.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

I guess I need to get out more

Babble on.

I was just Colby Cosh's 675,000th visitor! There's no way for me to prove it, but I am not kidding you.

This isn't an isolated one-off type of thrill for me, either. At age thirty-four, I still watch for the big round numbers on my odometer. In fact, I remember driving from Victoria, British Columbia to Aurora, Ontario in 1997, I stopped at the side of the Trans-Canada Highway in the middle of nowhere (Saskabush - just me & Litlbit, the pronghorns, and wheatfields as far as the eye could see) as the odometer on the 1980 Tercel we were driving rolled over to 000000.0.

I actually took a picture of the zeroed-out dashboard.

What? OK, you're right. I need to get out more.

Babble off.

Monday, October 11, 2004

I can't tell you why...

Babble on.

Christopher Reeve has died at age 52.

I don't know why this saddens me so. I thought the Superman movies were fun, but kind of hokey. Other than his interesting remake of Rear Window in 1998, I can't name another of his movies. His autobiography Still Me was interesting - but in sort of an inside-the-celebrity-lifestyle and then but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I way. Nothing spectacular. No world-changing decisions, no inspiring acts of selfless heroism or eye-opening expressions great truths.

Reeve was undoubtedly courageous, but probably no more so than so many others who dealt with the same type of trauma outside the media spotlight.

Yet I'm still saddened by news of this premature passing.

Babble off.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

How would Kerry have known?

Babble on.

I haven't watched any of the U.S. presidential debates because, quite frankly, I can't stand listening to either of these men speak in public. I support many of his administration's foreign policies, but listening to George W. Bush stumble from point to point makes me cringe. John Kerry's a better public speaker by far, but he's such a 'nuanced' weasel that I can't watch him either.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I will refer you to the debate transcript for one specific point:

KERRY: The goal of the sanctions was not to remove Saddam Hussein, it was to remove the weapons of mass destruction. And, Mr. President, just yesterday the Duelfer report told you and the whole world they worked. He didn't have weapons of mass destruction, Mr. President. That was the objective.

And if we'd used smart diplomacy, we could have saved $200 billion and an invasion of Iraq. And right now, Osama bin Laden might be in jail or dead. That's the war against terror.

Now Doug at Loose Coins has done a stand-up job correcting Kerry on the true goals of U.N.-sponsored sanctions against Iraq. I'd like to bring your attention to something a little different.

Kerry says the Duelfer report told us all that sanctions worked. Assuming we concede his limited definition of 'worked' - that is to say sanctions eliminated the Baathists' weapons of mass destruction - it took a war to confirm it.

Think through the implications: if Kerry had been president would Hans Blix have ever even gotten into Iraq, let alone been able to assure the world of Saddam Hussein's compliance?

Whether you agree with Bush's methods or not, he has verifiably eliminated the risk of WMD in the hands of a sociopathic tyrant in Iraq. How exactly would Kerry have achieved that goal?

Babble off.

Note to Chicken Little: wrong again

Babble on.

To paraphrase (OK, completely brutalize) the words of Mark Twain: predictions of catastrophic violence preventing the Afghani presidential election have been grossly exaggerated. Which is not to say there has been no violence at all:

Gun battles, mine blasts and US air strikes on the day of Afghanistan’s first post-Taliban election left 38 people dead today...

Some of those killed were members of the Afghani security forces. I, for one, would like to recognize the selfless sacrifice of men who laid down their lives in defence of nascent democracy and freedom in an extraordinarily tumultuous area of the world. And it is important to note that their sacrifice was not in vain:

Rebels opened fire on four pick-up trucks carrying ballot boxes from Chura to Tirin Kot, the capital of central Uruzgan province, as it passed through a mountainous area at about 5pm, an hour after polls closed, police chief Rozi Khan said.

“They fought for just a few minutes, then withdrew to the mountains,” Khan said.

Three policemen were killed and four others wounded, but the convoy was able to continue to Tirin Kot, where the US military or the United Nations are expected to collect the votes by helicopter for counting in the southern city of Kandahar.

Of course, some candidates have complained that the elections were unfair, as we knew they would (nod to Pogge). This is not to say that the process was perfect, but that it was perfect enough to start Afghanistan down the road to democracy.

Fifteen of 18 presidential candidates demanded at midday that the election be called off, alleging widespread fraud.

They complained that many people voted more than once after their thumbs were marked with ink that could be easily removed instead of an indelible type meant to limit them to one ballot.

The joint United Nations-Afghan committee running the election promised to investigate but refused to stop the voting.

Ray Kennedy, a committee chairman, acknowledged that mistakes were made but said they weren't severe enough to deny Afghans their first chance to elect a president.

"There have been some technical problems but overall it has been safe and orderly."

Small victories for freedom will lead cumulatively to bigger victories for freedom. I continue to be inspired by a significant majority of the Afghani population which has discarded the decades-long experience of violence and intolerance in that country to strive for peace, prosperity, and freedom.

Even that statement is too weak: they are willing to lay down their lives in the hope that their sacrifice will allow their children will live the free and happy lives they were denied. For that, they have my respect and admiration.

Now the challenge is to make democracy, freedom, peace and prosperity thrive. But that's a post for another day...

Babble off.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Waving the flag

Babble on.

Chris Taylor has most admirably hosted the latest Red Ensign Standard:

Freedom has no colours or heraldry, of course. But the country whose flag is in the ensign's canton fought for freedom longer and more vigorously than anyone else, and we're a poorer country for turning our back on it.

Hear, hear.

Chris has also pointed the way to a number of excellent posts I'd missed - and I visit most of these sites daily.

Go enrich yourself. There's very good reading out there, under a Red Ensign crackling in a stiff northern wind.

Babble off.

In retrospect...

Babble on.

When he's not cattily calling Wretchard a "partisan Republican, spinning the facts for political purposes," Andrew Sullivan has the odd valuable thing to say.

One of [Paul Bremer's] early complaints was insufficient troop numbers to stop looting, restore order and protect unguarded weapon sites. Leave everything aside and focus on the latter. The war was launched because we feared Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. The main fear was that these weapons might be transferred to terrorists who could use them against us. And yet in the invasion, there was little or no effort to secure these sites! And there was no effort to seal the borders to prevent their being exported, or purloined by terrorists ... Why would you launch a war that failed in its very planning to avoid the disaster that you went to war to prevent? ... We were lucky in retrospect that Saddam didn't have any WMDs. The way this war has been run, it would have actually increased the chances of such weapons getting to America via terrorists rather than reduced them.

There is a strong case to be made that the objective of any war is not simply to destroy the enemy, absent any further consequences, but to achieve a specific strategic result by destroying the enemy. Presumably one of the strategic objectives in Iraq should have been destruction of the Hussein regime in order to reduce the chances of an Iraqi WMD being used against America. In fact, GWB implied that objective when he outlined one of the main threats posed by the Iraqi regime in an October 2002 speech:

Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.
Failure to act would embolden other tyrants, allow terrorists access to new weapons and new resources, and make blackmail a permanent feature of world events.

By all conventional measures, the Dash to Baghdad was a stunning military success. But if the Baathists had actually possessed WMD stockpiles as the intelligence suggested, and if terrorists were allowed to make off with some of those stockpiles because of lax security during and immediately after the invasion, could the operation have been reasonably termed a success?

Wretchard makes the valid point that the overall military invasion plan was changed dramatically on the fly, as the 4th Infantry Division was diverted from Turkey to the Gulf. He uses this fact to justify the absence of sufficient military presence to prevent looting in Baghdad shortly after the city fell. Did it also affect the coalition's ability to secure suspected WMD stockpiling sites? Was there a plan to protect these sites, and if so, what exactly derailed this plan?

The success of any operation depends at least partly upon luck. The success of the Iraqi invasion may have depended upon luck a little more than most.

Babble off.

Fishnet stockings and 3D blogging

Babble on.

Doug at Loose Coins turned me on to a site with fishnet stockings and stiletto heels in the header. No, I'm not talking about prøn (and I apologize for the bad pun although I can't bring myself to delete it). The blog is called E-nough:

What happens when two hot-blooded women, one American and one French, both living in a socialist paradise called France, meet in the middle of a transatlantic diplomatic crisis?
Remember that they have been living in Old Europe for years, so the odds are they have a lot to say. And that they may be a little angry sometimes. But never opposed to an honest debate.

What Old Europe inanity is in their crosshairs today? Jacques "Never Mind The Beam In My Eye" Chirac gets roasted for whining about anglophone cultural splinters in the eyes of the world:

French President Jacques Chirac warned on Thursday of a "catastrophe" for global diversity if the United States' cultural hegemony goes unchallenged.
Speaking at a French cultural centre in Hanoi...Chirac said France was right to stand up for cultural and linguistic diversity.

You go to Vietnam and warn against cultural hegemony. If that's not hypocritical, I don't know what is.

Thank you ladies.

And if you need another reason to visit, they have a regular contributor named Damian who - surprise, surprise - is worth reading. That makes three of us.

Babble off.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Spitting across the Atlantic

Babble on.

Jose Bono, the Spanish Defence Minister, seems to be even more of an ass than our own Bill Graham. Hard to believe, I know, but true:

SPAIN has snubbed President Bush by announcing that US Marines, who have marched in the national day parade since the September 11 terror attacks, will no longer take part.

French soldiers will take their place in the military parade in Madrid next week. The decision was announced by José Bono, the Defence Minister, who this year was caught on camera telling colleagues that Tony Blair was “a complete dickhead”.

Señor Bono told Cadena Cope Radio that no slight was intended by the withdrawn invitation, first extended in 2001 in homage to the victims of al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington. But he could not resist adding that, with the change of government in Madrid, Spain “no longer had to bend the knee” to the Americans. (emphasis by Babbler)

Maybe this preening, offensive, Socialist prick (...but I repeat myself) would prefer the return of Andalusia to friendship with America. It wouldn't mean much of a change in attitude, but at least the pretence of alliance could be dropped.

This line from an article in the Telegraph is just the cherry on the sundae:

"With Bush, peace and liberty have not exactly triumphed," [Bono] said.

Right. This from peaceful Spain - a beacon of freedom and democracy for all of twenty-six years (not counting the coup).

Babble off.

A four-foot-four mini-Jaws

Babble on.

One of the new sites on the sidebar, Target Centermass (I have to consciously keep myself from typing 'Centremass') put me on to the story of a young Great White Shark that has just set a record for survival in captivity at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. (Armor and sharks turn out to be a natural fit. It's like peanut butter and chocolate: you don't realize they go together until you try it.)

This year, we received a 4-foot-4-inch white shark on August 20 after she was caught inadvertently in a commercial fishing net. She was tagged and held in the ocean pen until September 14. Because the shark remained in good health, she was transported to Monterey and placed in the Outer Bay exhibit to determine if she would thrive in the million-gallon exhibit.

She will remain in the exhibit as long as she shows signs that she is doing well. If staff aquarists and our veterinarian determine that she will not survive in the multi-species exhibit, she will be released if there is a strong likelihood that she would survive a return to the wild.

I'm not one of these people who need to see every animal on the planet put on exhibit for the masses - especially an animal that normally dies in the first two weeks away from the ocean. There's a tangible melancholy to an apex predator in a cage, no matter how big that cage may be. There's also an undeniable thrill in seeing one first-hand and up close. And that thrill has proven to benefit wildlife conservation and research, which is one of the reasons why my family has memberships at the Toronto Zoo and why we make sure to visit fairly often. (Boo loves the Lake Malawi Cichlid tank, and you should have seen him...OK now I'm officially off topic).

But once you get past the emotions, it makes sense to study animals and to know how to preserve them in captivity if necessary. And so we have a Great White in a tank, being observed, measured, catalogued, and analysed for our enlightenment. I trust this newfound understanding will also be used to the benefit of the world's Great White population at some point.

One way or another, though, I'm pulling for this particular shark. She's a fighter.

Babble off.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

When life hands you a lemon, give it to the Navy

Babble on.

I was as excited as any other military-watcher when the Canadian government finally announced a plan to replace the ancient Oberon-class submarines with barely-used Upholder-class boats mothballed by the Brits.

But since then, there have been valve problems, hull dents, and 2000-litre leaks. I've known some submariners over the years - God bless them all, but especially Allan - and only the smallest fraction of any problems escapes the confines of that sealed community. In other words, whatever problems we know about, the submariners are undoubtedly dealing quietly with a host of others.

Of course, a distress call is kind of tough to keep out of the press:

A rescue effort is underway off the west coast of Ireland after a Canadian military submarine with 57 people on board issued a distress call Tuesday.

Military officials in Halifax said a fire broke out on HMCS Chicoutimi about 425 kilometres west of Ireland, but has since been extinguished.
A spokesman described the Chicoutimi as "dead in the water," or unable to move under its own power.

Now I don't want to be too harsh here - after all, we're not the only country with a submarine procurement problem.

But to all you folks who do the buying at NDHQ: do all of us a favour, and read this before you make your next purchase.

Babble off.

Atomic belly-laughs, and spent fuel for the bedroom

Babble on.

Kate should have put the NSFW tag on this post. No, there's nothing lewd about it. But when you laugh your tail off while reading super-serious-important-business-all-business-certainly-not-personal-stuff on your computer at work, it's pretty obvious to your co-workers you're not working. At least it was to mine.

But oh, was it worth it. Laughter is nuclear fuel for the soul. Thanks Kate.

(oh, and don't bother asking for the spent stuff back - I'm using it for my own clandestine 'weapons program' - "Honey, I'm HOOOOOOME!")

Babble off.

Monday, October 04, 2004

I'll cut off my nose! That'll teach you, Mr. Facey-face!

Babble on.

American and Iraqi troops have re-taken the city of Samarra. The fact that they have had to "re-take" any territory since the collapse of the Baathist government still makes me shake my head. But that's another day's rant.

For today, I'll confine my incredulity to comments from Muhammad Bashar al-Faidhi, a member of the Association of Muslim Scholars in Baghdad, responding to the victory in Samarra:

"These policies will increase the anger of the Iraqi people," he said, "and if the government insists on resolving the crisis in this horrible American way, then we expect that the Iraqi people will not cooperate in any forthcoming election or any other political program." (bold by Babbler)

I've reread this quote a few times now, and I still can't see where al-Faidhi-for-brains is going with this. If Iraqis follow his advice and don't show up to elect their own government, then what happens next? How exactly will this facilitate the departure of 'horrible' American troops? If refusing to govern yourself takes you any closer to freedom, I confess, I don't see how.

If ever the phrase 'cutting off one's nose to spite one's face' could be applied, it's here. I hope to God Iraq has better leaders to offer its long-suffering citizens than this.

Babble off.

As long as they're not terrorizing anyone while they're at work

Babble on.

Peter Hansen heads up the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). This is what he had to say to CBC TV recently:

"Oh I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll and I don't see that as a crime. Hamas as a political organization does not mean that every member is a militant and we do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another," Hansen told CBC TV.

"We demand of our staff, whatever their political persuasion is, that they behave in accordance with UN standards and norms for neutrality," he said.

(Take a deep breath, find my happy place, count to sixteen thousand four hundred and thirty two slowly - very slowly. Nope, not gonna work this time).

Hamas is just a "political persuasion?" So if Osama Bin Psycho decides to open AssaSinn Fein as the political arm of Al-Qaeda, his legion of goons can all get UN jobs paid with my frickin' tax money too? What? You didn't know we're paying for this? That's right: this Hansen, this goddamned baby-blue terrorist-blowing multilateral accessory to MURDER gets $10 million Canadian dollars for his budget every year. Remember that the next time you look at the aneurysm-inducing amount of federal tax deducted from your paycheck.

Here's hoping Hansen starts hanging out with his Hamas buddies - at least once.

Babble off.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging...

Babble on.

Unless you're my youngest brother, please disregard this post.

She's a skank, and you're better off without her. Keep your chin up. I love you.

Babble off.

Friday, October 01, 2004

I am not worthy

Babble on.

You know how Occam's Carbuncle feels about Mark Steyn? Well, I feel that way about James Lileks. From today's Bleat:

But mostly I hate the debates because I simply cannot abide hearing certain statements I’ve been hearing over, and over, and over again. I can’t take any more talk about bringing allies to the table. Which ones? Brazil? Mynmar? Microfrickin’nesia? Are there some incredibly important and powerful nations out there whose existence has hitherto escaped me? Fermany? Gerance? The Galactic Order of the Belgian Dominion? Did we piss off the Vulcans? Who? If we mean “France and Germany,” then please explain to me why the reluctant participation of these two countries somehow bestows the magic kiss of legitimacy.

If all I did every day on this blog was link to the Bleat, you'd be getting your money's worth. (I know it's free, you maroon - it's just a freakin' saying fer cryin' out loud!)

Babble off.

Shooting The Star

Babble on.

Every time I get the urge to tear into Queen Z or any of the other frothing lunatics who write for Pravda Canada, I ask myself one simple question: how will my critique stand up in comparison to Bob's work?

I then sigh and move on to another topic. 'Cause nobody fisks all things Starrish like Tarantino.

Hmmmm. Something seems not quite right about that: Vietnam was the United States' "last" (meaning most recent, prior to the present, not meaning "final") "illegal, pre-emptive" war? Hmmmm. What is it about that which seems so... incorrect? Oh, that's right: it ignores that whole "bombing the holy bejeezus out of Serbia" thing from a couple of years back. Remember that one? That was when the soft left fell head over heels in love with the notion of non-UN authorized pre-emptive war; other people who, like me, have no real life, will recall that the Toronto Star and most of its columnists went into full braying-for-blood mode, cheering on the war, evidently (as subsequent events have proven) just because it was a Democrat US president prosecuting the war and a Liberal Canadian PM who tagged along.

Read all of it, and enjoy. While I look for something else to blog about. Again.

Babble off. least he's still blogging...

Babble on.

Would someone please explain to me WTF the Post is thinking?

Then explain to me why I continue to subscribe? Oh, that's right, because all the other rags in this ridiculous town are even worse. Ugh.

Colby will land on his feet, no doubt. With his unquestioned ability, it's just a matter of time. But I'm worried about Shannon.

Babble off.

Update: The Monger and I seem to have had the same thought at the same time. Which is quite encouraging for me, and probably quite frightening for our good doctor.