oldschool CxC

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

I wasn't surprised to learn that the for-entertainment-purposes-only political compass determimed that I was a moderate with libertarian leanings. I was, however, very surprised to learn that the irrefutably-true-and-accurate damnation calculator predicted that I will be damned to the 8th level of hell. I mean, jeez, who's dick do you gotta suck to get bumped up to a cozy room on the first or second level?

[GH: I got "Purgatory," but I think that fellating someone puts you on a lower level. Whether or not the gentle audience chooses to make a correlation with RM's placement in hell is entirely up to the individual reading. Anyhow, I guess I wasn't as evil as I thought I was. {Oh, doctors always get away with a slap on the wrist. Still, your real suffering comes when your malpractice insurance gets wind that you were sentenced to Purgatory. -jv}]

[jv sez: I was a little disturbed to realize I am on Rick's (8th) level; all those years of feeling morally superior were evidentally unfounded (or at least relative, as I was judged so harshly for believing). However, I'm guessing I only got that far down because I answered yes to being overweight. It's well-documented that God finds fat people distasteful: (**God: I command ye to removeth that foul link. **) my theory is that is was He who called in helluv times to American Idol and almost got Ruben kicked off. Bad form, God; it's a singing competition, not a beauty pageant. Try accepting people just how they are, eh.
This is a demographically biased test anyway: any self-respecting Oakland resident is going to answer yes to, "A pimp is a good thing to be." [E quotes Miles Davis: "What's wrong with pimping?"]
Upon looking through the travel brochure of the levels, I found that the ninth seemed far more pleasant than the eighth (or even the seventh for that matter); so I'm planning on doing some more shit to afford me entry. I guess it means I'll have to stop reading all that scripture and start "living large".]

[E: i noticed that NAAFA (linked by jv above) is supporting a boycott of Southwest, and I wholeheartedly support them in their effort to stay off my flights. As for Ruben, don't get me started, I was going to go APE SHIT if Ruben got voted off last night. Better work those phones next week, we almost let him down.]

[RM: Well I don't know about all of you, but went when I got sent to Christian Evangelist summer camp, the camp counselor made us all accept Jesus into our hearts and told us that doing so meant that we were all going to heaven no matter what else we did in life. So I got that going for me.]

{SH wonders- What does it mean if it won't calculate your answers and crashes repeatedly? Immortality? And Javan, you have been in a fight in the past 12 months, don't forget the drunken rolling scrum down Sawtelle onto Blanco. That probably gets you to the 9th}

[E: We're all doomed. Sodomoizers, divorcees, muslims, catholics, masons, the whole lot of us. Except Rick.]

Mitch Rickell Sez:
Strap on your pistols and bandoleers and join Maria and me for cinco de mayo festivities on Sunday, May 4th starting at 2 pm. We'll jointly celebrate Maria's birthday and General Zaragosa's defeat of the French at Puebla by stuffing ourselves with tamales and beer, bludgeoning pinatas, and drunkenly singing Cielito Lindo over and over again until the police come by to shut the party down. Word is bond. See you Sunday.

[jv sez: Any excuse to celebrate defeat of the French is a good one. Sorry the fam and I won't be able to make it up, but have a Liberty tamale and a Freedom brew for us!]

More U.N. bashing by a funnier guy then me or Flye13. Of course, simple facts do a good job too; the new guardians of Human Rights: Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mauritania, Bhutan, Indonesia, Nepal, Qatar, Hungary, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Italy and Netherlands, Britain, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, India, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

[E: and if you think you know where all those places are, try this.]

SH All glory to CCHS, I nailed 100% on my fiirst try, while my wife, graduate of the finest HS in all of America, and G-Dub's own Alma Mater, got exactly 10 right.

I may have misplaced my emotional compass, but I found this here political compass mildly entertaining. Me?

Economic Left/Right: -1.25
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -3.38

And you?

SH I stopped at: "If globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations." That's like asking: do you still beat your wife? [Easy there big guy. It's for entertainment purposes only. Nobody's out to get you.] {SH- Listen you, whoever you are, that was clearly a loaded trap and I'm not going there. If I want entertainment, I will look at nasty porn.}

Economic Left/Right: -5.38
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -6.46
Which makes me a little less Authoritarian and more Leftist then Gahndi.]

[E be:
Economic Left/Right: 2.12
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -3.44

[SH be:
Economic Left/Right: 1.25
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -2.67
{those are good CANDIDATE numbers, my friend. You can win, Sony, fuck Harold Washington. - jv}
I have to wonder which way belief in astrology leans you...]{Probably toward libertarian, cause those Libertarian party folks believe some crazy shit. - RM}

[GH be:
Economic Left/Right: -0.88
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -2.15

All I gotta say is that this'll probably change once I finish residency and make some real money.] [E: -0.88 is already close -- why don't you jump on the team and come in for the big win?]

[jv be:
Economic Left/Right: -4.1
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -6.05
OK right of Gandhi I buy, but more libertarian than FlyE? Guess I should be looking to start a political party with Ian.]

[E: i wondered the same thing... more libertarian than me?!? Whose consenting adult dick to I have to suck in the privacy of my own home to... oh, never mind.]

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Notes from Exile:
In the San Diego Union Tribune (actually I think it was a reprint of a LA Daily News article--that is what a crap-ass rag the Trib is; even the articles they reprint are from second rate services), an article detailing Rick Fox's injury referred to him as the "emotional compass" of the Lakers. Is that true? Why wouldn't Horry fill that roll? What exactly is an emotional compass, and do I need one? Without one am I merely mercurial flotsam, ceaselessly adrift upon a muddy, moody sea?

(Anyway, I guess they are ok without a compass for this series, as evidenced by the 30 POINT ROUT I see they laid upon KG and crew.)

Happy Birthday Saddam.

Hugs and Kisses,


Monday, April 28, 2003

I love a good fight video, especially a man hilariously getting his ass kicked by a woman.

[jv sez: God damn, that is a great video. The truly amazing thing is not that she overwhelms him with brute force, she fucking OUTBOXES him, then throws his ass to the floor time again. As with any great asswhupping, you see the asswhuppee decrease in ability and "hit points" (to take it back to the day when I was a teenager...) and hopelessley continue to take on with diminished capacity the force that was whupping his or her ass when he or she was at full health. What I found really beautiful was when the neighbor came and took the man/asswhuppee away, he wasn't ridiculing him or laughing at him, he was almost touchingly shaking his head as if to say, " Come on man, it's time to quit. You got your ass kicked." O the humanity. Sniff.]

here's a stupid question. when did the lakers adopt a white uniform? i don't recall seeing them before.

EK: Last year I think it was, the Lakers adopted the white alternate uniform. Quite a few NBA teams have 3 or 4 uniforms now (a home uniform, an away one, a throw-back/old school uniform, and an alternate uniform) to choose from and they need to wear each uniform a certain number of times per season in order to adopt it as official.
In related news, I just read that Rick Fox is out for the rest of the Playoffs with a torn tendon in his left foot...bleh...they are having enough trouble this season without that bad news...

Friday, April 25, 2003

Why Front-Wheel Drive Cars Suck. Can I get a hell yeah?
A: hell yeah. lol @ "the Semi-Orgasmic Lock-In Effect" Makes me wanna play GT2. eh Glenn.. what about 4wd? or mid engine rear drive:
GP got one.. or maybe in a 12.

GTH: I'm still waiting for my rally car to come to market (2004 model year) I'm all over that 4WD action.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

dude, I got compelling video. Click on the "Russian MI-24 helicopter shot down" 4th one on the right column and get your hosannas ready. I mean your Allah u Akbars.

[You have to admit, that's a good shot. That helicopter has gotta be well over a quarter mile away. RM]
[E: Yeah, that was a dunk from the free throw line. Say, that's a great idea... next time someone throws down a huge dunk they should start screaming "allah akbar! allah akbar!" Rasheed Wallace maybe? Taqiq Abdul-Wahad?]

[GH: I'm not up on my modern ordinance, but I suspect that there is some sort of guidance system associated with that missle. The more interesting question is where did it come from?]

An amazing, compelling story of a newsday journalist's eight days in a Baghdad prison. [Ian: So the article started off compelling and I can understand it from a "holy shit that was close" sort of perspective but considering this guys tone I expected, you know, some torture. Regarding Abu Zeinab, the man most responsible for him in prison;

"I have some questions for him. There is a promise I made to myself that first day in prison and I never want to break that promise. "No matter what they do to me, I will never bear these men any ill will,” I told myself. But when I write about Abu Zeinab now, I have to fight hard to keep that oath. All I want from them are answers, I tell myself. I must not wish to beat their faces with my fists into unrecognizable messes, or wish them anything but calm happiness for the rest of their lives."

So really quick these foreign nationals (journalist) were detained for seven days and questioned for some, though not all of those days in an Iraqi prison during the war. They was no physical abuse (the author requested and received blankets and cigarettes), no coercion and really no torture other than his on mentally induced torture over the possibilities that the day might come when he would be tortured. Sounds like he was given better treatment and more deference than most Iraqi Prisoners (given that that really ain't saying much) and the Iraqi authorities made a point to log and track every item of personal gear he had on his person to protect it from theft, (including two illegal satellite phones with, additionally illegal, GPSs). Then they he and his fellow journalist, none of whom was injured or according to him threatened with injury, were escorted to the border. Basically big fucking woop, what is this guys deal? Jail sucks, being scared sucks, but these Iraqi didn't harm you. When you stay in a country illegally with illegal equipment during warm time, you sort of have to suck it up when you get busted.]
[E: true dat. I thought it was a good story, but in the movie version there should be some testicle electrocution, or force-feeding of oil ala Three Kings.]

Shee-it, me & Rick had it tougher when we did hard time. Only one Sherm, a crazy PCP withdrawal guy, the guy in on warrant for fishing w/out a license and I had to play chess.

"I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about 'man on dog' with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out."

SH- that is one of the best lines from a reporter I've ever heard. But the topic is very interesting. Our system is set up so a majority does not rule, but has a lot to say about the rules. Everyone acknowledes that the Bill of Rights confers inalienable rights that are not subject to the majority's discretion(notwithstanding Ashcroft's statement that we have to pull back some of our civil rights (its not up to him)), but what are those rights? As Santorum points out, a right to pirvacy is not explicitly set forth and is a recent Supreme's invention and absent that invention/discovery/uncovering, the majority gets its say and can start a War on Homosexuality, to go along with the Wars on Poverty, War on Drugs, and War on Brown Guys. Innaresting Con Law issue . [True indeed. Apropos of that, I bring you Griswold v. Connecticut. - RM] [E: We don't need no stinking privacy right enumerated. How about the 9th amendment?] {I don't get it. Are you saying that specific rights under the 9th amendment shouldn't be named but that the 9th amendment sould apply situationally? Or that you don't like the "penumbra" argument and would rather have a right to privacy derived solely from the 9th amendment? Or something else? - RM} [E: I'm saying the whole point of the 9th amendment was to appease the founders who opposed the Bill of Rights on the grounds that if they enumerated some rights then the government would gradually take away all others. Pretty good foresight if you ask me. So the question should be whether there exists a federal right to invade our privacy for this purpose, not the other way around.] {Technically, the issue would be whether the state, to the federal goverment, has the right to enforce anti-sodomy or anti-abortion legislation. If it were a federal law, you could argue that the legislation is outside of the fed's constitutionally enumerated powers under Art. 1, Sec. 8.. But the constitution doesn't enumerate the powers of states. Perhaps you could come to the same conclusion, but I think it at least changes the analysis. I suspect it would be difficult to uphold federal anti-sodomy legislation even under the very liberally construed commerce clause. Also if you start enumerating states' rights (as opposed individual's rights) then the door is opened to the judiciary to essentially make up a whole area of law from scratch, since there's no consitutional language (save, perhaps the 10th amendment) that enumerates states' rights. - RM}

[E: "Santorum: I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts." This sounds suspiciously like the "hate the sin, love the sinner" fundy doublespeak. It's also common with those groups to remove the word "adults" from the phrase "consenting adults" and instead refer to them as consensual acts, thus opening the door for all sorts of ludicrous priest-boy/man-dog examples. And sodomy - how is a man supposed to be with one woman for an extended time without exploring some of her, uh, non-traditional orifices? Talk about your slippery-slope (ba-dum-dum *crash*).] {If by "extended time" you mean, "long enough to bust a nut," then I'm right there with you, brother. - RM}

RM - This guy's web site is pretty entertaining, too. I especially like the "Weekly Column." Without commenting on the issue at hand, I am amused by his rhetorical style. Choice quotes? ". . . more universal even than baseball or apple pie . . . ." Or, supporting proposed legislation because it wil be "inordinately beneficial to faith-based organizations . . . ." I guess it's OK if you want legislation that benefits religious organizations, but I think somebody should have briefed him on the definition of "inordinate.". [E - that's funny. You think he writes his own stuff? His column on Mr. Rogers cites "his tireless effort to make our world and our children better understand each other." Guh? ]

[E: On The Daily Show last night, they played the "...problem with homosexual acts" quote, then cut to Jon Stewart who adds, "to which a homo says 'what?' Seriously, a homo says what. It's the first time that's actually happened."]

Happy belated Earth Day:

Ned Flanders: So recycling is our way of giving Mother Earth a great big hug!
Mr. Burns: Yes, well, it does sound like fun. I can't wait to start pawing through my trash like some starving raccoon!

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Video of the Port of Oakland protest-dispersing shoot-em-up here. Pretty disappointing, since it looks like the camera guy was running away during the good stuff.

This heavyweight nigga that's tippin' the scales
For the visually impaired, I spit it in braille
For the hearing impaired, I spit rhymes in sign language
So you all can die in anguish
The invincible, lyrically indispensable
Off a fifth of gin or two I be showin' my genitals

Comment- That's why I gave up the Boodles and Juice, too many surprise appearances by the genitals.
[E - that one clip is of Eminem "cutting loose"? Some pretty lame rhymes.]

Monday, April 21, 2003

It sure would be nice to "meet Jesus man to man."

Sunday, April 20, 2003

This is from the satirical Private Eye magazine, but in their submissions column so I guess this is a real quote. Makes sense to me.
“Our sniffer dogs are very good at finding drugs,” a police spokesman told reporters at the airport in New Delhi, “but they’re no good at identifying exactly what it is that they’ve found. Drugs sold on the streets, like hash and heroin, are often mixed with anything from boot polish to cat litter, and although we can usually detect opium by the smell, we often have no idea what we’re dealing with. Laboratory tests take several days, and portable testing kits are unreliable, so when we need to know immediately what the substance is, that’s when we call in the tasters. It may seem unconventional, but addicts are experts in their field, so why not take advantage of their skills? We go to particular slums, depending on what we think the drug is, let the local junkies sample our find, and pay them a fee for their opinion. For official purposes, we then send it off to the laboratory for analysis, but there’s no need, because the tasters are never wrong. They always know if we’re dealing with the real thing, and can always tell what it’s been cut with."

Thursday, April 17, 2003

NBA Playoff Preditions, 1st Round:
East: [Detroit(1) vs. Orlando(8)], [Philly(4) vs. New Orleans(5)], [Indiana(3) vs. Boston(6)], [New Jersey(2) vs. Milwaukee(7)]
E sez: Orlando in 7, Philly in 5, Indiana in 5, New Jersey in 6

West: [San Antonio(1) vs. Phoenix(8)], [Minnesota(4) vs. Lakers(5)], [Dallas(3) vs. Portland(6)], [Sacramento(2) vs. Utah(7)]
E sez: San Antonio in 5, Lakers in 4, Dallas in 6, Sacramento in 6

SL predicts: Orlando > Detroit in 6 ::: Philly > NO in 4 ::: Indy > Boston in 5 ::: NJ > Milw in 5 ::: SA > Phnx in 5 ::: Lakes > Minn in 5 ::: Dallas > Port in 6 ::: Sac > Utah in 5

For those who wish to opt out of any discussion of ethical grey areas, I bring you this pleasantly humorous commercial. (Gotta click through, sorry. Page NSFW.)

So there's this conspiracy theory that the Saddam reached a deal with the U.S. to secretly bug out of Iraq thus allowing the U.S. to pretty much walk into Baghdad. I think we can all agree that the "evidence" presented is not particularly compelling, but I'm more interested in the ethical question than the factual issue. So my question for you all is - Assuming the claim were true, would this be less ethical than going to war without said deal in place? I don't know the answer, but it seems somehow worse on it's face. The White House would basically making a deal with the outcome known and agreed to by both parties, and part of the deal is going through a "war" that will result in a fairly predictable number of casualties, plus cash. Isn't that bartering lives? Or is it essentially the same or better than spending cash on a greater war effort, with greater volatility in terms of casualties, costs, and geopolitical risks?

[E: I think this is just a lot of "twaddle and claptrap" from people who were so very wrong in their pre-war predicitons that they need some sort of face-saving conspiracy theory to explain what would otherwise be seen an historic, overwhelming miltary victory. That being said, if this were true then it would be unethical, immoral, and disturbingly French.] -- Right, but the part I don't get is why is it so unethical? It seems so wrong, but if full-on war, with all it's costs, deaths, and uncertainties, is morally OK, then why isn't this? I mean, if we assume that the next best alternative is war without such an agreement, then isn't this, in fact, the less destructive way to go? [E: I think the purpose of a war gives it its moral weight. If the choice was between giving Saddam $10B to voluntarily step down or going to war to obligate him, I'd say there's an argument either way. Bribing him to allow us to put on a show war (to scare our enemies? to sell arms?) while he slips away to exile is a whole nother thing.] -- Agreed that the latter is wrong, but its the former that interests me. You know, if Saddam says, "I want cash, but I also want to save face so there has to be a war in which I'm 'killed'." SH The rumor I heard is that his cousin sold him out, he ordered the RG around Bagdad to stand down. The other RG divsions had been stupidly based to far away and could not retreat back into the city b/c teh US forces flanked em and cut them off. The LA times Embed was in one of the flanking battalions. I think the easy fall is attributable to really stupid Iraqi planning (supplied by the Russians, allegedly) exploited by bad-ass US strategy and implementation and a couple of turncoats in Bagdolicious, Mosul, etc. Ultimately,the story will come out. I have no opinion on the hypothetical situation offered above. [All that text for a "no opinion"? - RM]{SH- Right, I'll stick to a simple explanation of what happened instead of hypothesizing a backhanded deal in one sentence, a minimum concession in the next, and then on to disguising accusatory opinions as questions, including smearing the whitehouse with accusations of bartering lies. So, yeah, I'll devote all my text to the simplest explanation which is also the the best explanation, and forgo the knee jerk anti-administration opinions.} ["Blah, blah, blah, accusatory opinions, blah, blah, blah": 1, Intellectual curiosity: 0]

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

"Because East Bay is Pig Latin for Beast." Don't know if the blog is all that interesting, but I liked the quote.

[E: I've been told by a number of people that I should check out Tokyo Fish Market down on San Pablo at Gilman. Mmmm, monkfish liver.]

[R: Actually I just checked it out today. Essentially same selection as Berkeley Bowl only smaller. Not particularly exciting, but perhaps if you press them they can get you stuff not on display.]

"Bryant needs to score 43 points at Golden State to raise his season average to 30." Any bets? Meaningless game for the Lakers, but I say he gives it the old college try and yanks up a couple dozen shots in the first quarter.

I'm thinking he goes for 50+. . . . can't believe its playoff time. Let's go to Dallas and send Don Nelson home early - SL

[E: well, 44 did the trick. Sure looked like he knew what he was doing. I still wish the Lakers would've lost so that we could face Dallas. I like KG and the Wolves, and I'll feel pretty bad for them after they get swept. 1st round predictions anyone?]

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Had to share this site dedicated to the most entertaining Iraqi official Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf (M.S.S.)

Would be cool if someone made one of these things with his lines.{SH- There is one and another, maybe, kind of}

[E: Heard he might have hanged himself? Can't find a link, but here he is as a Yankees announcer.]

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Sex tips from Donald Rumsfeld:
Secretary Rumsfeld: I'm just going to say this once. There is no such thing as premature ejaculation. There is ejaculation, and there is non-ejaculation. If your husband is ejaculating, then count your blessings. Congratulations, you just had sex. That's what men do -- they ejaculate. All this business about, "Oh, henny penny, my husband is a premature ejaculator!" is just a lot of twaddle and claptrap. You say it enough and pretty soon, believe me, he won't be ejaculating at all.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

In case you missed it, the GTA spoof from the Dave Chappelle show is here.

Jesus, are we this freaking dorky? Sorry, you probably all figured it out by now, but it just struck me.

[E: love the Uncle Sam poster in his post at (4/9/2003 04:47:25 PM -- link doesn't work). I'd image-jack it but I'm not that smart.]
{A copied the address from text of View Source}

[E: Thanks... I love that poster. I wish it was for sale.]

and this ones for Glenn

all your base flash video that has a little photo slideshow at the end. Sound (crappy techno) warning.

[E: that was nice... I like the Wheel (with Vanna) image the best. And I would be pretty freaked if I got that message in a fortune cookie.]

{M, Did I miss something? Is that like Where's the Beef? IS "All your base..." sweeping the nation and I'm just a hairball stuck under the couch? My favorite is the soccer player getting kicked in the nuts. Getting kicked in the nuts is a sure laugh in my book}

[A:It's some old shit but really suits that picture]

Friday, April 11, 2003

MH Popping in univited to Rick and Erik's discussionIf you start with the premise that fascists are bad, then the U.N. is fatally and structurally flawed. Too many members are fascist so why would they knock one of their own? On the security counsel, China holds a veto as does Russia (although I'll concede that Russia has moved away from utter totaliatarianism). Since I prefer democracy to fascism, I rather act through a coalition of the willing like Estonia, Phillipines, Lichenstein then wring your hands over the blessings of China, Morroco, etc. If the U.N. membership required some modicum of compliance with human rights, if it showed uniform obeisance to the idea that democracy good, brutal repression bad and intolerable then it'd have legitimacy. As it is now, the U.N. is only useful when it can be used to our ends.

and we all know that "What about X country? Why Iraq?" is a lame argument (not saying that it was made here), because reality requires a measured approach. Country X will have its day.

last, in an effort to educate Erik's sodden mind:
The Tarquins, meanwhile, had taken refuge at the court of Lars Porsena, the King of Clusium. By every means in their power they tried to win his support, now begging him not to allow fellow Etruscans, men of the same blood as himself, to continue living in penniless exile, now warning him of the dangerous consequences of letting republicanism go unavenged. The expulsion of kings they urged, once it had begun, might well become common practice; liberty was an attractive idea, and unless reigning monarchs defended their thrones as vigorously as states now seemed to be trying to destroy them, all order and subordination would collapse; nothing would be left in any country but flat equality; greatness and eminence would be gone for ever. Monarchy, the noblest thing in heaven or on earth, was nearing its end.

Livy, The History of Rome from its Foundation, Book II.

[Well, once Livy comes into the discussion, the whole thing is just over my wee head. Perhaps I should stick to discussions of things I know about, such as pornography. - RM][MH- How about porn AND tattoos or extremely, extremely disturbing (except to GH[GH yep. seen it. but the ones i usually get are freshly killed]) pictures of Chris Farley's bloated carcass. In case you missed the point about disrurbing, "The shit coming out of his mouth is called Purging which was either caused by the O.D. or the heart attack. It's when the body builds up pressure and the stomach fluids need OUT"

[E: re: "If the U.N. membership required some modicum of compliance with human rights, if it showed uniform obeisance to the idea that democracy good, brutal repression bad and intolerable then it'd have legitimacy." I couldn't have said it better myself, sodden or no. (Sony has been threatening me with a Livy lecture for some time now. Do I smell a baby name?) And to me this gets to Rick's question below, which is why I say I *am* in favor of the US participating in a "rules-based international community" as long as this community does not include dictators and tyrants, and is dedicated to bringing basic human rights to the world instead of, say, admonishing the US for not participating in the Kyoto treaty.]

{A non-existent but laudable ideal. I'll take the imperfect-but-better-than-nothing reality. And if there are going to be brutal despots and such, I'd rather they signed up for the basic rules of international conduct than not. But the Kyoto thing - couldn't agree more. I mean, better to do nothing about greenhouse gasses than to put the bulk of the burden on wealthier countries. That way we're all better off. - RM}

[E: I guess that's where we disagree. I wouldn't even compliment the UN by calling them imperfect, and there's no reason why we can't help create a new international body that does adhere to some of those ideals mentioned before. The UN has only been around for fifty or sixty years, it wasn't handed down by God. It should be allowed to go the way of the League of Nations and a new more ethical body put in its place. As for brutal despots, if the rules are such that they wouldn't mind signing up for them, then I would suggest the rules are not ones we should be endorsing. I agree with those who say that debt incurred by regimes like Saddam's should not be transferred to the new government, and the countries and companies foolish enough and immoral enough to extend him credit deserve to eat every last dinar.]

{M- I like that. The WTO, IMF, WB, etc should serve that role, just like our own MFN used to, before Clinton let China in. Access to our markets can make or break a country and we should save it for countries like us. China doesn't provide anything we couldn't get just as cheaply from India}

[E: also, re: your Kyoto comment, is that sarcasm or just poorly worded? I honestly can't tell.] -

{Sarcasm. Sorry, I've been practicing my technique but still can't get it right. Of course I shouldn't be like that, since I really do admire your ideals even though I apparently disagree with you on just about everything else in the foreign policy realm. Take Iraqi debt relief for example. Say I represent company X, which implemented a major irrigation project on credit so that Iraqis could produce enough food for their populace. The loan was lawful under domestic and international law. My company should be penalized because the U.S. decided after the fact that my loan is lawful but "immoral?" Is it fair that other foreign borrowers, good and bad alike, going forward will face higher interest rates to insure against potential moral condemnation by a greater military power? Even if the effect is to punish particularly morally bad countries with particularly high interest rates (and rewarding more "moral" countries with relatively lower interest rates, which to be fair, it the best argument contra, imho), isn't this essentially the same as economic sanctions insofar as the brutal despot can push the costs down to the oppressed masses? - RM}

[E: were talking ideals here... the moral condemnation should come from a moral international group ideally. And you could separate the good debt from the bad using the criteria of whether it was against the interests of the people. The point is these regimes could not exist in a vacuum, and part of the risk in extending them credit is that you may not ever get your money back. If you want to propose that slightly higher interest rates would result and that this is a greater evil, then we disagree. But we "good" consumers all pay higher interest rates and insurance rates to cover lenders' bad debt, and this is an incentive for those companies to be choosy about who they lend to. You say the loan was lawful... who was the loan to? Iraq as a country? Or the immoral regime? Using your logic I could argue that the arab soldiers who were promised a house by Saddam if they came to fight Americans should still expect to be compensated by the new government.]

[E goes on to say: as for Kyoto, I'm against it because it is a heavy-handed solution to a non-existent problem. The idea that we can somehow control "climate change" by mucking around with one part (human caused) of one small variable (greenhouse gasses) is silly and beside the fact that a degree and a half of warming every century has not been proven to be a bad thing even if true. It was several degrees warmer on average a thousand years ago, and by all accounts the global cooling that followed was way more problematic for civilization. None of this means I am pro-pollution, and in fact my belief that protection of the environment should be a federal concern would get me kicked out of the Libertarian party.]

Vlade Divac: `When you play like that... you don't expect to win,'' -- and of course by "play like that" he means "show up to play against the Lakers."

Thursday, April 10, 2003

awwww, poor Arab fighters, my heart bleeds for you: “The country is under no state security and we are afraid that people who hated the regime might attack us. We have already been robbed on the way from the south,” said another volunteer who did not wish to be identified. “Is this the way the Iraqis want to thank us? We left wives and kids to fight here, and nobody wants to give us shelter or even water,” he said.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Just one point as far as Turkey and the Kurds, the war ain't over. The Turks have said in no uncertain terms that if Kurds seize control of the Mosul and Kirkuk (strategic because of large oil reserves which can be used to finance a Kurdish state) that they will send Turkish troops across the border. The Kurds, for the record, have stated they do not want to form a Kurdish state (at least the ones on our side of the Turkish border) though they haven't said anything about taking or not taking the cities. That issue hasn't been resolved. I am curious to see what does happen in the coming weeks.

[E: very good point. For now it seems that the Kurds are happy enough with our presence that they have agreed not to seek an independent state, and some of our state dept. folks have been making noise about a federalist system in iraq that would give Kurdistan a measure of self-government without full blown independence, and that seems to me to be a wise middle path. All in all, the tribal and ethnic animosities within Iraq pale in comparison to the extreme hatreds seen still in Afghanistan. Those folks are not asking for a quick US exit - quite the opposite.]

On a different note, anyone know if women can serve as combat troops in the UK. I saw this picture (click on the 6th thumbnail) and was surprised. Also if you have her number that would help too. [Man, that is one ugly chick. She looks like a bronze version of Saddam Hussein.]{with a hole in his head. Poor statue being beat with sandals like that.} [BWHAHAHAHA, damn that's good fun, I meant sixth images under the reaction tab. IH]

I'm watching live video of Iraqi men dragging the head of a Saddam statue around the streets of Baghdad -- riding it like a horse even -- and generally celebrating like it's 1999. Meanwhile: more anti-war protests scheduled for this weekend. Better hurry... this could be your last chance! Until we regroup and pimp-slap Syria of course, but that'll wait until '04.

It's a shame that this all came at such a terrible price... tens of thousands of american casualties, millions of Iraqis dead, a huge backlash of terrorist attacks around the world, scuds fired into Israel, Turkish forces clashing with the Kurds in the north, hundreds of oil wells ablaze, thousands of regular Iraqis rising up to resist the imperialist invaders. When will we ever learn that war never solves anything, and that arms are for hugging?

[I see we have a neocon in our midst. I think that if you really want to set the anti-war crowd to rights, the argument you have to make is that there was moral justification for the war and that we got more out of it than we put into it. Any thoughtful anti-war person (who are as rare as thoughtful people in general) would have to acknowledge that (1) Saddam is a generally bad guy who is unpopular within Iraq and (2) that the U.S. can clearly kick Iraq's ass. The real issues are, or should be, whether either of these factors provide per se moral justification for military action and whether what we get out of the military action is worth what we put into it (with apologies for the redundancy) both in terms of absolute costs and in terms of returns vis-a-vis other investment choices. If the answers to both are "yes", then by all means commence military action. I'll even posit that military action may be justified if only one of the two conditions is satisfied. Although I disagree with your conclusions, I think that we're all friends here and can engage in debate on the real issues rather than engaging in a rhetorical argument between war-mongering imperialists and tree-hugging panty-waists. Or at least, I'll acknowledge that you're not a war-mongering imperialist if you'll agree that I'm not a tree-hugging panty-waist. Ideally, such debate would involve copious amount of alcohol and ultimately be settled by a drinking contest in true Raiders Of The Lost Ark style. In any event, such discussion is probably best taken off-blog, since our beloved blog is best reserved for links to bestiality videos and discussions of the ettiquitte for masturbating at work. Or perhaps, as dog owners, we can simply engage in a shit-throwning contest. -- RM]

[E: I will agree, if you refrain from calling me a neocon simply because I support our current military action. There isn't a whole lot of debate going on here, so I'm not sure why we should take this "off blog" -- although I would not in any way seek to overshadow the fine links below, especially the photos from the bikini company. Yowza.]

[R: OK, "neocon" is name calling, I thought it was accurate name calling, but if you disagree then fair enough, I respect that. The whole off-blog thing is just because I know myself and I know I'll get caught up in it and next thing I know it'll be the end of the day and I won't have gotten anything done other than blogging.]

MH Things are so simple to me. We are the cop-o' the-world. Some crack-house in the middle east housed a bad ass dude beating up on his wife and kids and interfering with legitimate commerce, so we sent in the SWAT team and cleaned out that infestation. Good job, O'Grady! sez me.
[E: first the UN cops said "Stop! Or I'll say stop again!"]

MH OK, that is REALLY funny. Tied into teh O'Grady reference and capped th' U.N. You are Genius.

RM: Which brings me back to the whole "neocon" thing. My neocon checklist looks something like, (1) Supports unilateral aggression against Iraq? (2) Supports subsequent agression against Iran or Syria? (3) Contempt for U.N.? (4) Thinks Israel's treatment of the Palestinians is AOK? If the answers to all four are "yes," then we've got ourselves a neocon. I didn't mean it as a pejorative, anymore than I would use "Reagan-Republican" or "Supply-Sider" as pejoratives (i.e., I don't support it, but the term itself is neither positive nor negative). I really meant it as purely descriptive. So I guess my question for you is, since you bristle so at the label, how do you differentiate yourself from the neocons?

MH well, I think you only described the democratizing vision of neocons, as opposed to a situational acceptence of brutal repression and murder, which is the U.N. way. I'll side with that. But other definitions, no they don't apply.

RM: OK, I skimmed your linked article. Sure I'm a bit slow, but I didn't see anything in there other than the "democratizing vision" of the neocons. So I guess I'll have to rely on you to tell me how your vision differs. I'm not trying to be sarcastic, I just really don't see it. I also don't completely understand your criticism of the U.N. I mean, the U.N. does have a limited mandate to enforce human rights internationally. Perhaps they could be more forceful in their approach, and I for one would have like to see the U.S. lead the U.N. in that direction, but does that make "situational acceptance " etc. etc. definitive of the U.N.? Or at least no more so than it defines the U.S.? Sure it would be great if the U.N. or the U.S. could summarily deal with brutal repression and murder in China, Zimbabwe, Zaire, Turkey (vis-a-vis the Kurds), Iran, North Korea and various and sundry other locales, but as a practical matter neither the U.N. nor the U.S. can cash that check. I'm not saying that the U.S. is guilty of "situational acceptance," just that political realities dictate a conservative approach.

[E: To start with, the word "unilateral" is not a synonym for "without explicit UN approval," no matter how many times it is used that way. The idea that only the UN can confer legitmacy on international action is a fairly new one and mainly supported by groups who seek to use the UN as a check on US might. I support the idea of a world body dedicated to the promotion and protection of basic human rights, but as currently formed the UN may be too corrupted with anti-American and anti-capitalist members to ever be able to fulfill this simple function. Not to pick on the dumber anti-war protestors (too easy), but when I hear people claim that the evils of capitalism and globalization are worse than Saddam, I am unfortunately reminded that these sentiments are shared by more than a few UN ambassadors.]

RM is unsure where this is coming from, but suspects that it's a resonse to my implicit position that the U.N. is a good institution that should be nutured rather than abandoned. OK, I'll bite. As far as I can tell, legitimacy only exists within a rules-based community. Outside of such a situation, there is only power. One could wield power in good or desirable ways in that context but the concept of legitimacy doesn't apply. I'll ignore for now whether "legitimacy" matters and stick to the more pedestrian definitional issue. On the next issue - U.N. as a curb on American might - I would definitely agree and go one step further and say that almost all U.N. member countries view the U.N. as imposing a check on U.S. might. Isn't it pretty much always the case that when small fish enter into a coalition or agreement with bigger fish, one of the primary things the small fish get out of it is some check on the behavior of the bigger fish? And what the bigger fish get out of it is some ability to control the actions of the smaller fish without having to rely on force to do it? It seems that following your logic to its necessary conclusion, the U.S. should opt out of international organizations and treaties altogether except insofar the U.S. maintains carte blanche to dictate and act at will, because any other situation curbs U.S. might. On your final issue - anti-americanism and anti-capitalism among U.N. member states - I suppose reasonable minds could differ but I come out at a different place. The decline and fall of the U.S. isn't really in the interest of the international community both in terms of the world economy and international security and I think that most governments appreciate that to the extent that they are at least self-interested. And I don't see the anti-capitalist thing either, but in any event I don't see how anti-capitalist sentiment impacts the U.N. since the promotion of international capitalism isn't part of the U.N. mission. That's a criticism that one might have of the WTO rather than the U.N. But ultimately it may be that these are all just meta-issues and the core disagreement remains unaddressed, namely, "Does the U.S. obtain a net benefit by cedeing some of it's power to act at will in exchange for the opportunity to form and participate in a rules-based international community?" But perhaps I'm not understanding your position.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Rubber bullets? She looks like a damn squirrel. And what is with Oakland? Riots 2 blocks away from my place after the super bowl, and now cops testing crowd control weapons on my way to work? Silly Oakland.

[RM says: It's racism. The black man can riot and loot with impunity, but as soon as whitey gets uppity the Man smacks him down]

[E wishes he was there to watch: As my medico coworkers said, the face is full of capillaries and if you don't ice your wounds quickly they end up looking like that -- badges of protest honor proudly worn no doubt. My question is: what ever happened to the good ol' firehose? Apparently in the Raider Riots a fire truck trying to get to a scene used their main hose quite effectively to clear a path.]

[E also requests: video, which I hear exists but I can't find anywhere.]

[GH: the interesting thing is that there have been cases where bean bag/rubber bullets have actually penetrated into the otherwise soft and pliable bodies of the intended targets, for example, the chest and the skull. who says you need a kalashnikov for good ol' fun?
PS what's up with the link ad. I'm not looking unless they give me some freebies.]

Monday, April 07, 2003

Merry WarMas!

RM: Luka and Bart look truely Warmas-like.

E: Bart represents Eternal Hope, and Luka represents Utter Anxiety

SL: what does this poor soul represent? [RM: I've seen that before (along with corresponding humorous anecdote) and concluded that it's more likely than not a photoshop job, yes?] SL: not photoshopeed. poor cat has an OtherCut (tm supercuts) [E: I saw an email about this that claimed the southern-accented owner was asking for a "line cut" and got a lion cut instead.]{Me too, and I saw it on several web sites, which makes it a bona fide urban legend. Not necessarily false, but doubtable. - RM}

Rubber bullets? Oakland's going soft on us.

[E: my goddamn councilwoman was down there protesting with them... can't wait to give her a call later]

Scroll down and read about "civilian uprising is usa!"

Saturday, April 05, 2003

I'm baaack. I've got a laptop going at home (my desktop is still, uh, pining for the fjords), and looking to go wifi if anyone has any hardware suggestions or warnings. Thanks to everyone who "took care" of Bart while I was gone... he was in really good spirits when I got home.

The talk of drinking games reminds me of the Simpsons this week -- one of the funniest in quite a while. After they wheel someone out of Moe's bar on a stretcher, Moe says, "Ha ha ha! No one has ever won Moe's Drink a Gallon of Gin Challenge, and no one ever will. Ah, life is good."

SL: got some great photos of el barto and Luca. bart straight wore us out with his mad walking, digging, climbing styles. im sure you'll get a chance to see the photos soon.

Friday, April 04, 2003

you know what I'm saying?

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

When the day gets long, when teh news is bad, what could be better then looking at a bunch of naked asses?

[RM: Right back at ya. NSFW.]

God I love that Brazilian womens soccer team. Brother, I can trade porno with you all day (let me introduce you to the lovely Sophia Arden), and even get downright bestial.

Howsabout if you were this asshole here and you had to spend all day picking contest winners and models.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Some call Bush a cowboy. I think he's more a gangsta rapper.
Bush is a gangsta

Twas the night before Warmas. A weak poem, but it shows that the movement is catching on. (With apologies to those who didn't participate in Warmas 2003.)