December 22, 2001

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SCIENTISTS STUDY STRANGE SQUID: This has nothing to do with the war or Village Idiot Ted Rall, but it's kinda cool.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 21, 2001

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REASON'S GREETINGS: How does The Nation's Katha Pollitt suggest you and I spend our Christmas dollars? By sending reading materials to criminals, funding anti-church organizations, sending checks to abortion lobby groups, and generally being a pain in the a** to anyone who actually celebrates Christmas' original message. Oh, and she suggests you also sell your brain to some lefty group who'll do the thinking and mouth-breathing activist letter-writing for you. How very nice. Merry CHRIST-mas, Katha. Remember the Reason for the Season, dear.

POLLITT, IN SLATE: Katha apparently isn't content with deconstructing Christmas, but Christ. Her most recent dispatch in Slate, in which she and Debra Dickerson of US News discuss Jack Miles' Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God, is full of anti-Christian vitriol. She calls Jesus an "earth tourist," comparing Him with John Howard Griffin's experiment with dying himself black to experience racism. Thirty-three years is a long time to spend as a tourist. I'm 31, am I still a "tourist" too? How many years constitute residency in Katha's world? Then she compares Jesus' death to a "long nap," but in accepting the 3-day length inadvertently accepts the Resurrection. Might want to copy-edit, Katha, since that's surely not at all what you intended.

There's a wealth of other nastiness in there, but at least one blatant error in fact that could have been prevented with a quick web search. She ends her fourth paragraph with a reference to a left-wing group that has been "analyzing" (read: debunking) the New Testament as the "Jesus Group." It's the Jesus Seminar, Katha, and even most liberal NT scholars now recognize them as a fringe group far out of the mainstream. That is to say, far to the left of the mainstream.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 19, 2001

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THIS IS NOT A JOKE: Lest we begin to think all the wackos live in other countries, check out these guys. They call themselves the Earth Liberation Front, and on their site they claim credit for torching buildings related to, well, things they don't like, in Long Island, New York, the Seattle area and, ironically, Moscow, Idaho. Their Recommended Reading section is a gem, offering a downloadable PDF file (won't Adobe love how Acrobat is being used) that promises to teach the would-be eco-terrorist
The politics and practicalities of arson. Down-to-earth advice and comprehensive how-to's about devices, fuel requirements, timers, security and more.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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HEY USAMMY, THE INTERNET IS, LIKE, SO COOL: Remember that story a few weeks back that Al Qaeda had instructions for making a nuke? Shortly after the Northern Alliance swept the Taliban aside, a BBC reporter in Kabul stumbled across a stack of papers in a recently abandoned AQ safehouse, and within that stack were the bomb-making instructions. Turns out that, according to the UPI, the nuke instructions were a parodyof how to make a bomb:

The folks at the Statistical Assessment Service report the following: "When the first Western reporters made it into Kabul after its desertion by the Taliban, BBC senior foreign correspondent John Simpson broke a story that sent shockwaves around the world. In a house formerly used by al Qaida terrorists, Simpson discovered papers that showed how they had downloaded instructions from the Internet on how to make nuclear weapons.

"But it was an Internet news humor site ... that revealed the true provenance of these instructions ... (that) had actually been downloaded from the Web site of the Annals of Improbable Research. In 1979, this publication, then called the Journal of Irreproducible Results, published a series of 'how to' parody instructions. The one al Qaida had found was entitled, 'Let's Build an Atomic Bomb!'"

The instructions are worthless. STATS suggests, as the original Web site did, that Simpson should have read further down the papers and he would have seen these words: "Previous Months' Columns ... 'Let's Make an Anti-Gravity Machine!'"

Usama bin had.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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SAUDI SURPRISE: A Saudi princess smacks her maid around in Florida, gets a small taste of American justice. We don't have princes and princesses here honey (well, other than the indufferable Kennedys), and we don't let people abuse other people. It's called equality before the law. Get used to it--it may be headed your way before long, along with capitalism, democracy and freedom for your people.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 18, 2001

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GUARDIAN GARBAGE: I used to think the NY Times was biased, and that their op-ed writers were egostical and amoral. Well, okay, I still do, but the UK's Guardian just keeps on topping itself with wacky, irrelevant, pessimistic, self-absorbed crap. Day in, day out, someone over there seems bent on finding a way to annoy us over here, and the Guardian gives them column inches and web space to do it. Today's example of total and complete bs is by the hack Madeleine Bunting, titled "A Fairy Tale at Christmas."

The title kind of says it all. It's too late, and likely useless, to get into a full take-down tonight, so I'll only pick on a couple of representative bits:

The coverage of this war raises more questions than any other war I can remember (and I'm not even talking about the video tape). Of much more concern has been the way the coverage has been heavily skewed towards the military conflict: it's been a boys' war.

What kind of sexist garbage is that, a "boys' war." Miss Bunting, dear, you haven't been following the Bellicose Women story, have you? Those benefiting most from this "boys' war," incidentally, are women who have been freed from the most repressing state in modern times. But that's a detail that would get in the way of your clever writing, so we must ignore it. Then there's that sentence about the tape. Very slick, how she casts doubt on the authenticity of the smoking gun tape without actually offering any detailed analysis of it. That's something those reporter minions do, and Miss Bunting just doesn't have the time for it. And then, a few lines later, there's this lovely thought:

What has been strikingly absent is the humanisation of this war. Unlike in Bosnia and Kosovo, our screens and newspapers have not been filled with the terrible trauma of recognisable individuals and their families. The cameras haven't hovered on the faces of shocked tearful children, and the impotent anguish of their parents and grandparents.

Well, Miss Bunting, perhaps you haven't seen the humanisation of this war because you have forgotten the images of Sept 11. Maybe you've forgotten the images of people jumping from 100 stories above the earth, and the images of smoke and fire billowing from the towers. Maybe you've forgotten about the thousands of children, wives, husbands, parents, brothers, sisters and friends who lost their loved ones that day, and the images of their sad, desparate search for the missing against all odds of recovery. Maybe you've forgotten the scores of police and firefighters who paid with their lives that day by simply showing up for work. Maybe you weren't watching the live images when the second plane struck that tower, and maybe you didn't instantly recognize that the world had changed. Maybe you didn't get a call from your loved one at home, as I did from my wife that morning, and maybe you weren't talking to them as the towers collapsed. Maybe you didn't have planes, now deadly missiles, crashing to your north, south and northwest that day, as I did. Maybe. Or maybe you've just chosen to forget all that so you can bash those damn Yankees one more time.

Miss Bunting, if you truly want to see a "huminasation" of this war, you need to start with your soul.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 17, 2001

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VILLAGE VOICE, MEET THE VILLAGE IDIOT: What happens when you send a cartoonist to do a reporter's job? Ted Rall, that's what. Remind me again why he has a job that actually pays him money to write, and blogsters like me do it all for free.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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INTIMIDATION UPDATE: With the Afghan Arab colonialist terrorists on the ropes, those being captured are displaying the proper attitude. I love this paragraph:
TORA BORA, Afghanistan (AP) - Tribal fighters and U.S. special forces chased al-Qaida guerrillas through the mountains Monday after conquering their complex of caves and tunnels. Some tearful al-Qaida fighters surrendered, pleading with their captors not to turn them over to the Americans.

And this:
Captured al-Qaida members were led down the mountainside on mules amid intermittent snow. Many were crying.

One faction paraded 18 men - nine Arabs and nine Afghans - through the streets of a village. Several appeared to be slightly injured, and one man's head was bandaged. Some had their hands tied behind their backs with red nylon ropes. They were not allowed to speak to reporters.

About 200 residents watched silently, standing outside a village mosque. Manoghul, 23, cradled a Kalashnikov rifle. "When they were fighting us they were very proud men," he said. "Now they are weak. They cannot even look at us." (italics mine)

Let's hope Al-Jazeera broadcasts video of these defeated, crying terrorists throughout the Arab world. Saddam Hussein, be afraid. Be very afraid.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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TAMIM ANSARY APOLOGIZES: Okay, I made that up. Remember Mr. Ansary, the "noted Afghan" writer whose Sept 12th email predicting doom and disaster if the US attacked the Taliban? I got that email so many times, and it made me so mad, that I almost got rid of email altogether. The only one that made me madder was the tripe from the Dalia Lama about not escalating the cycle of violence. THAT, from a guy who hasn't done much more than talk to repel the ChiComs in his native Tibet. If we listened to the Dalia Lama (which being a Christian, I don't), we'd have invited Hirohito over for tea after Pearl Harbor. Anyway, blogger Tim Blair gives Ansary the chance to apologize, takes him down, then in the spirit of our times, apologizes for him. Bloggers have long memories and mean streaks. Fear mongers, beware.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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POLITCAL COMPASS: Yeah, I took it too. Here's my score:

Economic Left/Right: 3.38
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -1.59

Which means that I'm a right-leaning libertarian. No surprise. The only surprise, for me, is that I'm more middle-of-the-road than I thought I was. Maybe I'll retake it after watching The Simpsons and a good war movie or two.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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INTIMIDATION: Indonesia, Somalia, Sudan and a few others are coming around to our way of thinking. Everyone loves a winner, or at least wants to get on board with one. We should be wary, though, and I imagine the administration is. Some of these countries, maybe all of them, will want something in return. Financial aid, military hardware,'ll be a bonanza for them. They get to look good in our eyes, get rid of nasty internal elements, and get trinkets from our stores.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack