December 29, 2004
— Ace Hosted by PunditGuy.
He's asking for donations to help pay for the extra bandwidth that hosting these videos will cost him, but he vows he'll donate 50% of every donation to the American Red Cross' tsunami relief fund.
— Ace So as not to distress the tourist industry?
Right now I'm filing this under too-bad-to-be-true. I hope the this sort of stunning malfeasance isn't possible outside of a Jaws movie.
A Contrary View: Remy Logan (X-Man fan much?) offers the following:
Tsunami prediction is only a little more accurate than earthquake prediction. Hawaii has received 3 alerts since 1960, 2 were false alarms. I was in Hawaii for the last big tsunami prediction, which turned out to be a false alarm (fortunately). The news media tracked the surge across the Pacific. The entire island of Oahu was brought to a standstill and tens of thousands were still on the road in harm's way at the predicted time. The "wave" was only a few inches and could only be "seen" by reviewing wave sensor data after the fact.
I was also in Hawaii when Hurricanes Ewa and Iniki were supposed to devestate Oahu. The island of Kauai took the brunt of both hurricanes, and Oahu was left relatively unscathed. I've experienced more damage from freak windstorms and heavy rains that weren't projected to cause much damage (but did).
The bottom line, hindsight is always 20/20. The Thai officials didn't haven't accurate information, and based on historical precedence decided there wasn't a danger. It's easy to say they should have been cautious and sounded the alarm. I'm sure that if there is a similar threat in the next 50 years they will. But, historically speaking, no one alive today will be around the next time something like this happens.
In Hawaii, the one tsunami that was devestating was so unique, that no one then knew what it was. Just like happened on Sunday, people then were awed by the site of the suddenly emptied beach and instead of running for the hills, ran out to see the flopping fish.
— Ace Enough already. There are genuine terrorists out there, and, I'm sorry to say, most of them happen to be Muslim.
Being a tolerant, multicultural sort of guy (really! but not to extremes), I do wish in fact that terrorist evil were more of an equal-opportunity endeavor, with terrorist cells made up precisely how TV shows usually depict violent street gangs (one black, one Hispanic, one Asian, and one white guy who always wears a mohawk). Because, you know, uneducated, violent street thugs are renown the world over for being among the most tolerant and multiculturally-attuned people on the face of the earth.
That's how gangs look, you know. Multi-ethnic.
I wish that the problem of global megaterrorism did not implicate one particular discreet ethnic group.
But it largely -- almost exclusively, actually -- does. That's reality.
And Hollywood, which apologizes for its occasionally nasty fare with the excuse that "we're just showing the world as it is," seems pretty damn uncomfortable with "just showing the world as it is" with respect to this one problem, the central problem of our age.
And, as Dave points out, even when Muslim terrorists are involved, they're almost always just patsies being used by Evil White Guys, anyway.
Serbians and Slavs seem to be the favorite Evil White Guys of the moment. I don't think that's really fair, either, but I don't hear them complaining. At least not too loudly.
One disagreement with Dave-- how did the masterful film True Lies depict Muslims in a stereotypical fashion? Bear in mind, it wasn't depicting Muslims so much as Muslim terrorists, and the film included the obligatory (but necessary) good Muslim on Arnold's team.
— Ace ...comes via Michelle Malkin.
The Washington Times notes, correctly, that Sontag blamed America for 9-11 and called the white race a "cancer" on the world. Look, she believed that-- she was proud of those thoughts. Why should liberal obituary-writers "chill" her right to free speech, even in death, in order pretty up her beliefs for public consumption?
Don't expect a similar whitewash should, say, Pat Buchanan die. His 1992 RNC speech will be mentioned within the first three paragraphs.
— Ace CORRECTION: This item originally ran with a photo taken from Free Republic. Several posters have written to tell me the photo is from China several years back, and furthermore is an artifact of some trick (or tricky) phtography.
The photo runs after the jump. [End correction; thanks for your input.]
Yeahp, seems as good a time as any to link the disaster to America's tax policy and to global warming.
But conservatives should be castigated, of course. The left uses this almost-incomprehensible tragedy to score political points, and the right dares to say 1, you're just being idiotic and 2, you're being almost inhuman in your rush to use the dead to advance your political agenda, even as the corpses are still being counted.
But "both sides" need to cool it with the politics, right?
— Ace I've been wondering when some dolt would blame seismic activity on too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
This idiot doesn't quite do that, alas, but he does endeavor to link the two nonetheless.
And of course the New York Times is more than happy to publish his idiotic letter.
You Make the Call:
A liberal commentor/insulter named Ryan says the following:
You seem to have a lot of misdirected anger.
You are not a welcome opponent in an argument as it always seems to come down to the mythical liberal media and all the crybaby liberals doing this or doing that. Start using logic, start being rational. That goes for you and your psychotic rightwing followers who sit there and scream all day long about how stupid, evil, uncaring, weak, do-nothing liberals are. You clearly have no world view. Its your view, for better or worse. You have a square peg view and will cram it into the round hole world. There is no bend, there is no compromise.
Don't tell me that the liberals use every event for political gain. That is wrong and just sad. And so are you Mr. Of Spades. Go stick that in your little blogerator you closed minded nerd humper.
Logic. Crybabyism. Psychotic. Etc. Well, as long as you're being so very rational and civil, Ryan, I guess it would be churlish of me to respond in an insulting fashion.
So I would just suggest that everyone compare Ryan's thesis to the letter just published by the New York Times:
It's easy for George W. Bush to express sorrow and to send condolences and even some aid for the Indian Ocean tsunami devastation, since he appears to bear no culpability, as he does in other situations in other parts of the world.
But the next time there is a severe offshore earthquake and resulting tsunami, the sea level will be just a little bit higher, and the water and destruction will go a bit further inland and kill even more people. And for that, he will bear some culpability for not even wanting to consider global warming, much less do anything about it as the leader of the country most responsible for man-made warming and ice-cap melting.
Doesn't make sense to me. Six inches extra of sea level won't make much of a difference when you're talking about a twenty-foot swell. Further, the whole idea is that the rising sea-levels will flood currently-populated areas, forcing humanity, at some great expense, to move back away from the advancing seas, to resettle further inland. In other words, even granting the premise of the "rising sea level" scaremongering, should another tsunami hit, it won't be intensified by the supposedly-risen sea level, as we'll have all moved back from the shores and effectively be in the same position we are now, at least as regards the threat of a land-invading tsunami.
But any tragedy can be used to attack the Bush administration.
Add that to the "stingy" attack -- and the call for the US to raise taxes in response to the tsunami! -- and the fretting that Bush remains on a scheduled vacation while they're still counting the dead from a tsunami.
Has anyone on the right sought to blame this calamity on the left? I haven't. To the extent the right has commented on this politics of this disaster, it has only been to rebut the inappropriately-political and utterly cynical opportunism of the left.
But, once again, you be the judge.
— Ace Two problems: No Margaret Cho? No Michael Moore?
What kind of slapdash outfit are they running over there, anyway?
— Ace More attention is being paid to some talentless legacy media goldbricker's attack on Powerline (and bloggers generally) than is probably warranted.
It reminds me of the general pettiness and defensiveness of "professional" monopolies in general. There are big disputes, both legislatively and in the courts, over such matters as whether mere opticians should be permitted by law to evaluate someone's eyesight before making them glasses, or whether only an MD-holding optometrist should be allowed to perform such relatively simple (and, of course, perfectly safe) tests.
It's a fact that your local optician can probably test your eyesight and prescribe the right lens for your eyes just as well as any doctor. But of course the doctors don't want to allow them to do so; they don't want the competition, especially from their professional and educational inferiors. And so there are always these idiotic claims that it's necessary that we desperately need legislation to prevent these dangerous opticians from performing these simple tests, in order to safeguard the public from their reckless, less-educated uncouthness.
And of course it's all bullshit. The optometrists just want to keep as much business flowing to them as possible.
The legacy media hasn't quite called for legislation banning bloggers yet, although CBSNews (who else?) has fretted about that "blogs are providing a new and unregulated medium for politically motivated attacks" -- the implication being, of course, that perhaps this whole First Amendment thing is a bit overrated, at least as applies to non-credentialed reporters, and perhaps these upstart opticians really ought not be permitted to check for astigmatism without being licesed by the state, and subject to its regulatory power.
There's a good reason for the mainstream media to be defensive. Unlike most professions, which actually require a good deal of serious academic training, journalism is in fact something anyone can do right out of high school (and of course IN high school, as many have done). And of course twenty years ago the idea of getting a "degree" to teach you how to ask questions and then write a concise report about the answers was a little laughable.
They've concocted a faux-profession for themselves in an effort to exclude competitors.
And worse yet-- most of them aren't particularly good at their jobs, and they know it. They could be easily replaced by better writers and analysts who'd work for, get this, less money (hell-- most bloggers work for FREE as it is), and that's got to weigh heavily in their minds. Their cushy lifestyles are being threatened by unaccredited barbarians, and their basic incompetence is being exposed by the same unwashed hooligans.
And so they attack, attack, attack. Making spurious claims about how the public must be spared from their "Wild West" and "unregulated" musings. Or else, you know, we'll have anarchy.
Food riots. Atonal music. All of the rest of it.
But it's not quite working. As has been pointed out, the preferred stance is of course to say "I will not dignify these lowly creatures with a response." But more and more, they find that that position will not obtain, and they're being forced to respond.
And they're not responding particularly convincingly.
So, Nick Coleman wants to make small-dick-jokes about Powerline Blog. I can't really scold him too badly on that score; I make dick jokes myself.
Except mine are funnier.
So if it's dick jokes you want, why go to the legacy media?
Bob Dole's cock demands the contrived monopoly on information-gathering and dissemination be overthrown.
And you should listen to Bob Dole's cock. It was almost President.
— Ace I find it hard to post about disasters like this, claiming more than 60,000, perhaps even 100,000,, more than half of them children. I find my words too small and poor for the magnitude of the tragedy.
Michele at a Small Victory tries to wrap her mind around the dimensions of the catastrophe.
She also posts an exhaustive list of agencies which are trying to provide relief to the survivors, and to which you can donate.
I just donated myself, using some of that crazy blog-money you've been nice enough to send to me. Not a lot, but together it all ads up.
December 28, 2004
— Ace Yeahp. Almost one year.
But before I start the festivities, let me say thank you once again to all of you who check in here. It's really very flattering, and I appreicate all of my readers. And of course my commenters and tipsters, without whom this site would have pretty much shut down entirely after Rathergate.
And of course the other bloggers who link me.
(And the donors, too! Let's not forget them!)
It's been a fun year. Man, it really did go quickly. One year ago, I decided that I really couldn't stomach Oliver Willis getting attention while I got none, and that I really had to get me a piece of that crazy blog-money. One year later, I'm at least tied with Willis in terms of traffic and links -- ummm, not really something to brag about, I know -- but I still really haven't seen much of that crazy blog-money.
Still-- it's been a blast. From time to time I've pretty much gotten sick of this blog -- "That can't be true," you're all saying, "because every day there's just such a torrent of brilliance streaming out of your keyboard!" -- but most of the time it's been a lot of fun.
It was especially fun climbing up that Ecosystem thing. As I've said before, every time I moved up into a new category it was like levelling up in Dungeons & Dragons, and time to pick out my new +3 flaming longsword of truth. I'm in now what you might call a stall -- sort of stuck at 10th to 12th level, you know, when it gets harder to earn expeirience points -- but still it was wonderful that so many of you voted for me for Wizbang's Best Blog poll. I didn't level-up with that, but it was like drawing the King of Diamonds from The Deck of Many Things and getting a kick-ass warhorse who responds to my psychic commands.
Right now I'm sort of looking over some of my past stuff, to see if I can find some forgotten material that was kind of funny but that no one really saw or remembers.
Like this piece, for example. It's a long and not particularly inspired rant against Whoopie Goldberg -- more funny than true -- but it contained this put-down, which made me chuckle:
I would say that watching Whoopie on Comic Relief was much akin to suffering through the Yoko Ono songs on a John Lennon album, except that I wouldn't want to malign the dead by comparing Lennon to Billy Crystal and Robin "I'm 'improvising' all this shit I've been doing for 30 years" Williams.
So the analogy doesn't really hold. Let's hypothesize that Yoko Ono put a lot of her screechingly painful songs on Foghat albums. Okay, then: Watching Whoopie Goldberg on Comic Relief was much like having to listen to Yoko Ono songs as the price for hearing all that amazing Foghat.
Anyway, once again thanks for making this site possible. When I'm at my keyboard, I feel like a little internet Evita Perone, especially because I'm generally wearing a dress and holding the hand of a distinguished Hispanic man wearing sunglasses.
And Still Kinda Funny: Inspired by AoS reader contributions, Ace's Dreadful Debate Drinking Game.
— Ace Ohio's recount shows Kerry gaining substantial ground on the President.
Depending on how you define "substantial."
Less than a 1% pick-up? That's how I define it.
— Ace Morris, who's correctly forecast zero of his last twenty predictions, says Hillary will win in 2008.
I honestly don't know if he's perfectly candid here or just a scribe with a deadline needing something provocative to write about:
Longtime presidential strategist Dick Morris had words of caution yesterday for those who say Hillary Clinton can't generate the kind of national support she needs to put herself back in White House in 2008.
Not only will Sen. Clinton win her party's nomination in a walk, the former Clinton adviser contends, her chances of beating the GOP four years from now are "superb."
"The problem is," added the top consultant, "she has an awfully good chance of winning the election."
"She generates black turnout that's about 10 points higher than [John] Kerry got. So that's one extra point for the Democratic Party.
"She probably is going to restore the Hispanic margin to 30 points, as opposed to the 10-point margin Kerry had. That's two points extra for the Democrats.
"And she'll probably carry single women by 4-to-1. Kerry carried them by 2-to-1. So that's another two points [for the Dems]."
That's five points' worth of support the Democrats didn't get in this year's vote - enough to trump President Bush's 51 percent to 49 percent margin of victory.
Are there no Republican candidates on the horizon who can stop the former first lady?
Morris named three possibilities: Rudy Giuliani, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.
"Condoleezza Rice takes the black base and she takes the female base that's absolutely essential for Hillary's victory."
Said Morris: "Rice is the only person who can stop Hillary Clinton from being president."
I keep saying this about Rice, but no one seems to listen. Yes, everyone's thrilled at the prospect of the Republicans running a female black candidate with impeccable foreign policy credentials (of the tough-guy sort, too, unlike Madeline Somewhatbright), but the woman has never once stood for public election before.
People treat this as if it's some minor thing. It's not. Politics is a strange business, and not many people have the skill-set to be successful at it.
Toss in the fact that she's almost certainly too pro-choice and pro-Affirmative Action for the Republican base and you've got additional problems. Problems that a very skilled politician like Bill Clinton might be able to finesse, but we have no evidence that Condi Rice has any real political skill at all, much less Clinton-level skill.
I like Condi Rice a great deal. I'd love to see her be President. But I think some in the blog world, and some in the somewhat mainstream media like Morris, are thinking with their hearts and not with their heads.
And as for Hillary?
I don't buy her carrying women 4 to 1 for a second. A lot of women love Hillary, but a nearly equal number despise her.
— Ace Kinda funny, kinda sad story about Green Day really wanting to burn an American flag, but deciding not to, as it's "illegal" and they don't want to face jail time.
Except, you know, it's not.
How have these people formed such an erroneous impression of this country? Perhaps if they spouted off a little less and read a little more they'd be more appreciative of the freeest country in the history of the world.
Then again, probably not.
Except that she's still posting a lot. From Honduras and the like. She is committed.
— Ace Good news:
Employers are expected to create as many as 225,000 new jobs each month in 2005 to more than absorb the 125,000 who enter the job market every month, economists predicted.
An informal survey of economists indicates that unemployment could fall from its current 5.4 percent to as low as 5 percent, a nearly 10 percentage point decline.
"It may be the best year since 2000 in terms of the general job market," predicts Mark Zandi of Economy.com. "There will rising labor force participation and fewer underemployed."
Play that funky music, white boy.
December 27, 2004
— Ace This is just that Drudge-linked piece about our contribution to Asian disaster relief being "stingy," but I liked this bit:
But U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being "stingy" with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised.
"It is beyond me why are we so stingy, really," the Norwegian-born U.N. official told reporters. "Christmastime should remind many Western countries at least, [of] how rich we have become."
"There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy," he said, adding that politicians in the United States and Europe "believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It's not true. They want to give more."
And here's what he looks like:
Bear in mind, he's whining about the "stinginess" of the US aid package and the need for us to pay more in taxes while the UN is covering up the greatest theft/embezzlement in human history.
Europe, the UN, and especially the fucking Scandavian socialist tax-weinies have to pour themselves and nice big tall cold glass of shut-the-fuck-up juice and just chill out for four years.
I don't give a damn about European internal politics. Why are Europeans so goddamned interested in ours?
I think it's for the same reason that I, as a conservative, used to hate Sweden.
Sweden was always offered as a utopia where socialism worked. As such, it was always a potent, or at least useful, point to raise against conservatives preaching lower taxes and such.
The US now occupies that same position among European leftists-- as a place of (moderately) free-market capitalism that seems to work a hell of a lot better than their systems. As such, it's a frequent embarassment to them, and they collectively wish the US would just get with the tax-'em-'till-they-bleed program so they wouldn't have our economy shoved in their faces everytime they want to do something economically retarded.
— Ace The generally-useless Tim Noah at the amateur leftist webzine Slate has a piece that's almost worth reading. Except a, it's fluff, and b, it's well-covered ground.
What the hell are we supposed to call this decade? Noah's topical hook for re-writing this piece for the six-thousandth time is that we are days away from the decade's midpoint, and yet no one's figured out what to call these years. And I guess he has a point there-- you'd have figured that, by now, we'd have all collectively settled for a shorthand nickname for these years begining with a zero.
The eighties, the nineties, and then the... what?
The "oh's" has been suggested, and the antique "aughts."
Look, if no one else is going to step up to the plate, please, allow me. We are currently living in the nils. It's short and it doesn't roll too badly off the tongue and it even sounds a little bit cool.
We're in the nils, and then we'll be in the teens.
Until someone comes up with something better, I say we just all agree on "the nils" and be done with it already.
— Ace One of the raps conservatives got a lot of during the nineties was that we were inordinately fixated on scandal. Why, we were spending all of our time fussing about Whitewater and Loral and, yeahp, perjury and obstruction of justice regarding a "purely private sexual matter."
We weren't engaging on questions of policy; we didn't enter the public dialogue with Bill Clinton and offer solutions which would build bridges to the twenty-first century.
Perhaps some of that rap was well-deserved. I don't know. Clinton did (and still does) seem to me to have been a fairly corrupt guy, economical with the truth, as they say, but perhaps there was a point at which mere scandal-mongering became a proxy for substantive political discussion.
For me, at least, and people like me. Maybe for some people like you, too.
What a difference a change of the President's party makes though, huh?
Let's start with left-wing bloggers. Josh Marshall is supposed to be the cream of the lefty crop. But browse through his past year of blogging. Is there anything but scandal-mongering on his site? How frequently, exactly, does Josh Marshall weigh in on policy question?
Now, I don't trust any politicians, including Republican ones, and I think that it can't hurt to have sharp-eyed critics, ever-eager to pounce, on the left. I confess my enthusiasm for pursuing Republican scandals isn't as high as it probably ought to be, and so, to some extent, people like Marshall are doing some necessary work that I am constitutionally incapable of.
I do seem to remember a time during which a fixation on scandal -- both real and wholly imagined -- was denigrated by those on the left as whining and griping and refusing to simply come to terms with the fact that a popular President was in office, and that policy fights ought to be on actual policy, rather than proxy fights over the scandal-of-the-week.
Josh has weighed in on the emerging Social Security debate in a predictable fashion. His take? The President's coming initiative to convince the American people that Social Security must be changed is rank dishonesty of a scandalous nature.
Where are the Belmont Clubs of the left, I wonder? Where are the considered policy arguments? Not among the best-known lefty blogs, apparently. I'm sure there are a few policy-oriented lefty blogs out there, but they don't seem to get an awful lot of attention.
The Democratic Party seems nearly as fixated on scandal as a proxy for policy disputes. True enough, there will occasionally be a policy position offered, but let's face it, the Democratic Party is primarily interested in attacking Bush. When a leader like Hillary Clinton treads down the same path as certified-moonbat Cynthia McKinney and brandishes an infamous NY Post bearing the slammer "BUSH KNEW," one knows immediately the mindset one is dealing with.
And the media? Well, they seem to follow the Democratic Party's lead, strangely enough. They're currently attempting to bring down Donald Rumsfeld, and, while policy questions do weigh into the mix, they're currently all in a fuss about an "insensitive" truism he uttered and the scandal that condolence letters to soldiers are signed by an Auto-Pen.
Is this serious debate?
A case can be made that this is what out-parties do with their time-- not having much actual political power, they are forced to resort to often-petty sniping from the sidelines.
Trouble is, I don't remember the Republicans getting much of a pass on that basis when Bill Clinton was cleaning our clocks. (And man, did he ever!)
And I'm not quite sure why the media-- previously rather reluctant to follow up on important stories like Clinton's claim he'd never been previously informed about Chinese espionage at Los Alamos, when in fact he proveably had been (and Tim Russert embarassed former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson badly on this point) -- now spends most of its time cracking important stories about "plastic turkeys" and letters signed by Auto-Pen.
— Ace Now's your chance. Yes, for a low price, you can "register" yourself as owner of a plot of Michael Moore's ample dumper.
I've got my sights on a nice piece of property somewhere west of his gooch.
Worth reading, if you're in that kind of mood.
Thanks to Rachel Lucas, who isn't even Rachel Lucas anymore, but is instead Blue-Eyed Infidel.
She says she'll be cussing and stuff more now. I don't know, BEI. You'll never get invited on Paula Zahn working blue. Trust me on this.
— Ace He wanted to die with his family:
A Fort Valley man walked nearly 2 miles with a bullet hole in his head after being shot in a robbery, determined to die in the presence of loved ones if that was his fate.
On the plus side, he survived:
``If I was going to die, I wanted to make it home to Mama's and die there,'' said Taylor, who was recuperating at his sister's house.
On the negative side, after walking for miles with a bullet in his brain, he discovered that his mother had moved:
Larry Taylor, 37, finally made it to his mother's house, but didn't realize she had moved away to a nursing home. Still, Taylor managed to eventually reunite with his family and spent Christmas recovering from his trauma.
I guess things like that slip your memory when you're...
Bleeding severely from the bullet wound over his left eye and the exit wound over his left ear
It's good he made it home. It's good he survived.
They arrested the bastard who shot him-- over his refusal to allow him to use his cell-phone.
Thanks to Dalek's Weblog, who's also got a piece about something I've never heard of-- privately-run offshore jails to which parents send "troubled teens."
It's a little creepy.
— Ace Vengeance? Killing a witness to the government's crimes? Suicide? No one knows yet.
But the Ukraine may be cursed to now be living in interesting times:
A UKRANIAN minister accused of being behind the plan to move tens of thousands of government supporters around the country to engage in illegal multiple voting in Novembers annulled presidential election, was found shot dead last night.
The body of Heorhiy Kirpa, the minister of transport, was found in his country house just outside the Ukrainian capital Kiev, said Eduard Zanyuk, a spokesman for the countrys railways.
Speculation in Kiev last night among demonstrators and diplomats was that he may have been assassinated by those fearing he would give investigators details of the extent of Novembers vote- rigging operation.
However, local press also said he may have taken his own life.
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