The latest poll is going the other way, after intensive campaiging from leaders from across France's political spectrum, from socialists to McDonald's-bulldozing farmers to anti-soap Greens. I should have known the French would never reject such a stupid idea. The driving force behind the opposition was a racist opposition to Turkey joining the E.U., but if French voters have to choose between socialism and racism, they'll take socialism.
The E.U. has been referred to as a "United States of Europe," surprisingly, as the U.S. doesn't sell well in many of the more backward and insular countries such as France. A more appropriate name, though, would be the "Union of European Socialist Republics," or UESR.
Fortunately, the sensible British will probably vote down the EU constitution. They don't want to take orders from Frenchmen and Germans in Brussels.
Why don't wild animals smell as bad as hippies?
You know what I'm talking about. That rank body smell of the unwashed. But many wild animals don't wash, so why don't they smell as bad as hippies?
One proposal was that wild animals washed themselves, as cats lick themselves clean. This doesn't explain coyotes and wolves, though, which don't lick themselves clean.
A possible explanation for the canine family smelling better than hippies is that canines sweat through their tongue and nose, so don't build up the stench that hippies create sweating through armpits and other pores. This seems quite plausible.
Other explanations for why wild animals don't smell as bad as hippies are quite welcome. Please post them in the comments section.
Verizon had negotiated an arguably reasonable purchase price for MCI (formerly WorldCom), which it wanted for its lucrative long-distance business. MCI has strong competitive positioning in the business, largely due to the fact that its balance sheet was wiped clean by the bankruptcy fairy (memo to other companies: an easy way to gain competitive advantage is to perpetrate massive fraud, wipe out the shareholders, send a few bozos to prison, then file bankruptcy and emerge debt-free while your competitors still labor under mountains of debt).
Then Qwest, an under-financed former near-bankruptcy candidate itself, started a bidding war. Qwest is paying a huge premium, and expecting the synergy fairy to deliver unimaginable mountains of treasure. Not going to happen. Qwest will have to add more debt to its already smelly balance sheet, and the size of this purchase will be an anchor around Qwest's neck for years. It's a truism in business that synergies rarely amount to what the acquirer expects, and huge acquisitions rarely work out well.
Verizon should walk away, and take the $250 million break-up fee as a lovely parting gift. Qwest's stock will sink, burdened by massive debt and the failure of expected synergies to emerge. Verizon will be able to buy parts or all of MCI when Qwest is forced to sell to service debt -- or maybe Verizon will just buy all of Qwest at lower prices.
Noonan is great on Bolton. The whole piece is worth reading. An amusing quip at the end, though not representative of Noonan's main argument, is "But the U.N. is a china shop in need of a bull, isn't it?"
I remember Ted Hayes from fifteen or twenty years ago, when he was "Ted Hayes, homeless advocate," not "Ted Hayes, Rasta Republican." I seem to recall that he made some headlines with some ludicrous claims about the number (millions, maybe?) of homeless Americans.
It's still fun to see the left go nuts when members of racial or ethnic minorities go off the reservation. I hope Hayes riles them up -- and I can't wait to see the Janice Rogers Brown confirmation battle!
UPDATE: Hayes is featured in this Arianna Huffington book promo -- I wonder if she'll remove it now that he's been outed as a Republican.
UPDATE2: Shocking new first-person revelations that Ted Kennedy, like John Bolton, has yelled at someone!
Sen. Ken Salazar said Wednesday he regrets referring to Focus on the Family and its founder James Dobson as "the Antichrist" - a term among the worst slurs in Christianity.I can't wait to see what the immoderate Senators do!
Bush is making a good case for Social Security reform. Appropriately, he's using words like "option," "choice," and "voluntary." You'd have to be an idiot or a partisan to oppose even a limited, voluntary, optional, personal savings account.
"The rule of law depends, in turn, upon the respect each generation of Americans has for the integrity with which our laws are written, interpreted and enforced."Well, moveon and the Democrats sure do a lot to foster respect for the integrity of our laws when they claim every election they lose is stolen! Florida? Democrats told to vote on Wednesday. Ohio? Evil Republican voting machine company rigged the election! Bush 2000? Partisan Supreme Court.
By the way, does moveon rhyme with Foveon, the camera chip company? And if they were founded in 1998 to get Congress and the American public to "move on" from little things like perjury and obstruction of justice so that the President could get on with his important agenda, what is the meaning of "move on" now?
Are they referring to the fact that North Korea got mad when Bolton described the nightmarishly hellish life there as a "hellish nightmare," and when he described their tyrannical dictator as a "tyrannical dictator?"
If that's the beef against Bolton, I have no problem with him. Clinton and Albright showed what happens when you try to be nice and bribe North Korea not to develop weapons. North Korea will take your money and then develop the weapons anyway. Begging/bribing/appeasing doesn't work with North Korea. Bolton just called a spade a spade. North Korea was a debacle long before Bolton got involved, and likely will remain a debacle long after he's gone.
I couldn't have said it better.
Ace, however, thinks Right Reason makes the case even better. It's good too!
I certainly hope so. I really like Bolton – he’s a rare diplomat who’s willing to go on record about the faults of the U.N., and to hold the U.N. responsible for its corruption and incompetence. And I don't care if he spoke sternly with his hands on his hips to some analyst years ago.
I hope Rove’s prediction doesn’t go down in history with Terry McAuliffe’s “Jeb is gone.” Is this tactical posturing or does he really know what he’s talking about?
I wonder how Senators Mondale and Carnahan will vote on the Bolton nomination.
UPDATE: Maybe this is why Rove is confident. Melody Townsel, the woman who accused Bolton of angrily chasing her around a Russian hotel, is both a rabid anti-Bush partisan and a plagiarist. She could have been a Dan Rather source!
Buy a T-shirt. You'll help save Toby and get a cool T-shirt out of it, too.
While you're at it, save a seal. Club a seal hunter.
Of course, when you're "the arse-end of the earth," as former Prime Minister Paul Keating fondly called Australia, you have to celebrate the little things!
Perhaps you remember Henry Cisneros. He's the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development who pleaded guilty in 1999 to lying to FBI investigators during his pre-appointment background check about hush payments to a former mistress, on which it also happens he hadn't paid the requisite taxes.
Well, the special counsel report investigating all this still hasn't been made public, thanks largely to procedural roadblocks by Mr. Cisneros's attorneys. And now, all of a sudden, a rash of news stories and editorials are urging Independent Counsel David Barrett to wrap up his investigation forthwith, without releasing his findings.
Then there's the amendment that North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan and co-sponsors John Kerry and Richard Durbin are trying to attach to the latest supplemental war appropriations bill that would de-fund Mr. Barrett immediately. This would have the practical effect of making sure that Mr. Barrett's report never sees the light of day. After 10 long years and $21 million, don't they think taxpayers deserve to see what the special counsel has learned?
Apparently Barrett has discovered things about abuses of power in the Clinton administration, including using the IRS and the Justice Department to help political friends and punish enemies. This would be embarrassing, at a minimum, to Hillary Clinton as she campaigns for 2008. But Kerry, judging from his recent delusional speeches, still believes he has a chance to be the nominee. What's he doing taking the lead on Clinton's cover-up?
"I wish I could visit personally with you to convey the deep concern I have about events unfolding in Washington..."
I wish he could, too. "Welcome, Senator Kerry, how nice to see you. Why, yes, you can ‘git you one a them thar hunting licenses’ here. Can I get you something to drink? Perhaps a vinegar and water?”
Happily, I've found Democratic Freedom, a web site devoted to a sort of Democratic Liberty Caucus. I still don't think they are a significant power in the dishonest and hate-ridden party of John Kerry and Michael Moore. Seeing the Republicans move so rapidly and decisively away from libertarian principles, however, makes me want to give these guys a chance.
HT: Just Some Poor Schmuck
What are these idiots trying to do, make everyone want to vote Democrat? It's working!!!
HT: Balloon Juice.
FRENCH historians are protesting against a new law that obliges schools to present the country’s colonial exploits in a favourable light, especially in Algeria, where hundreds of thousands were killed in the fight for independence.
Eminent historians said this week that the law “imposes an official lie about past crimes and massacres that sometimes went as far as genocide”.
Ah, France. Truth is more satirical than satire!
Ten years from now, they'll be teaching the students how France single-handedly deposed Saddam Hussein and liberated Iraq over the objections of the callous and self-interested United States whose politicians and influential business leaders were taking bribes in the oil-for-food scandal.
HT: Peace, order, and good government, eh?
I have no idea if what I'm saying is anywhere close to correct.
Anyone know French? German here or here? Portuguese here or here? I think my Spanish is more or less OK.
Maybe it doesn't work so well. I translated "I wonder if players get bonus points for taking bribes and raping the villagers" into French, and got "Je me demande si les joueurs obtiennent des points de bonification pour prendre des dessous de table et violer les villageois." Translating this back into English, I get, "I wonder whether the players obtain points of allowance to take backhanders and to rape the villagers." I guess the point kind of still comes across.
HOW has it happened that the Left of politics across the world has ended up opposing a foreign policy philosophy of spreading democracy in favour of supporting the traditional conservative agenda of stability, sovereignty and the status quo? Because that is what the Left is doing in its hostile reaction to George W. Bush's second inaugural address.
The commentary, by Michael Costello, is by no means pro-Bush:
It is entirely understandable that the Left is viscerally anti-Bush. His political strategy is not based on the democratic approach of seeking the middle ground, but on sharpening differences and divisions, of defaming and intimidating those who do not support him as appeasers, immoral and weak. His and his cabinet officers' contemptuous treatment of allies and the international institutional framework could not be better demonstrated than by his nomination of John Bolton as US ambassador to the UN. I have had direct experience of how Bolton works. He believes that when the US says "jump", others should ask "how high?" He tolerates nothing else.
The conclusion, however, makes a lot of sense:
The key thing for those on the Left to understand is that intense dislike of Bush and echoes of Vietnam do not make a foreign policy. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Bolton - they too will pass. What will go on is the great human desire to be free, which should be at the core of our foreign policy. The great danger for the Left is that its Vietnam and Bush obsessions may mean that it will end up on the wrong side of history.This echoes Norm's views and mine.
A video game featuring emergency aid workers negotiating with armed rebels and a plane launching airdrops of food to starving people was launched by a United Nations food agency yesterday to raise awareness among the young over world hunger.
The Rome-based World Food Program presented the educational video game, called Food Force, at an international children's book fair in the northern Italian town of Bologna.
I wonder if you get bonus points for taking bribes and raping the locals.
UPDATE: I tried to ask them about scoring, but the e-mail address on their web site isn't working.
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 16:24:34 -0700 (PDT)
From: "W.C. Varones"
Subject: Food Force scoring
Do we get extra points for taking bribes or raping the locals like real U.N. workers do?
Some of these proposals may be great ideas, but it's pretty transparent the way these losers are trying to buy military votes. Watch for Hillary to propose something similar soon.
Following is an e-mail from Clark to (people he thinks are) supporters:
The American people have a strong tradition of honoring our war veterans. And Democrats have always led the fight to give our veterans what they deserve for their brave service to our country. The time has come for us to do it again.
We all may not agree with the causes of this current war in Iraq, but we all agree that the brave men and women fighting it, and their families, deserve more than we can ever give them.
Now we must focus attention on our veterans and military retirees who have seen the government cut medical benefits, close VA hospitals, double tax disability
payments, and more than double prescription drug co-payments, while requiring veterans to pay an annual enrollment fee of $250 to use government health services in the 2006 budget.
All of these costs add up to a "GI Tax" on our soldiers and veterans. And it's time to end that "GI Tax" -- once and for all. I need your help!
I was proud to join House Leaders Nancy Pelosi, Ike Skelton, Lane Evans, and Jon Salazar on Capitol Hill yesterday to unveil the new GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century. From the original GI Bill, signed by Franklin Roosevelt, it's always been up to a grateful nation to stand up for veterans and their families. Now it's our turn -- so please help.
Tell your Members of Congress to end the "GI Tax" and support the new GI Bill!
The new GI Bill of Rights will improve benefits for our men and women in uniform today, while providing long overdue benefits for our veterans and military retirees. It will bolster support for our troops in harm's way, as well as their families at home. It will provide better educational, health care, and job training benefits for those who have answered the call. And it will honor the sacrifice of the National Guard and Reserve who have gone far beyond the call of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Among many other benefits, the new GI Bill of Rights will:
* Increase funding for VA health care, including an additional $3.2 billion over President Bush's budget for FY 2006 and an additional $10 billion over the next 10 years
* Improve mental health services, including expanding post-traumatic stress disorder services to all VA medical facilities
* Block increases in prescription drug co-payments and enrollment fees that would raise the health care costs for 2.2 million veterans
* Fully repeal the Disabled Veterans Tax, which currently forces disabled military retirees to give up one dollar of their pension for every dollar of disability pay they receive
* End the Military Families' Tax which penalizes survivors, including widows and children of those killed in combat
* Ensure an adequate number of troops and make sure they have adequate equipment, so that our troops are well protected and not stretched too thin
* Provide a $1,000 bonus to the nearly 1 million brave men and women who have served in imminent danger in Iraq and Afghanistan as a thanks for a job well done
* Modernize and enhance the GI Bill and Job Training Programs
* Assist homeless veterans with employment, and protect bonuses and special pay for those who are permanently and severely injured or wounded or killed in service
* Protect the income of our National Guard and Reservists to help the more than 40 percent of those called up who have suffered a pay cut to serve our country
* Expand military health care to provide full access to TRICARE -- the military health program -- to all members of the Guard and Reserve and their families
Urge your Members of Congress to support the new GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century!
The new GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century is a wide-ranging package that honors the service and sacrifice of our armed forces.
I urge the Congress to pass this critically important legislation, and I urge President Bush to sign it. We must put an end to the "GI Tax" -- now.
It's the least we can do -- and it's high time that we do it. Sign my GI Bill petition today!
With great appreciation,
I was debating the lyrics via Yahoo Messenger with Ignatius in Berkeley. He was fixated on the chronology of the song, which is, to say the least, confusing. I thought the chronology of the song was irrelevant and that it was a series of vignettes from the narrator's life that came together to make an incredibly interesting and moving whole. Ignatius disagreed, saying that the out-of-order chronology was central to the song, akin to Quentin Tarantino's use of the technique in Pulp Fiction.
Doing a bit of searching on the web, I found a great analysis of the lyrics by Robert Bell of Williams College. Bell agrees with Ignatius, but I don't like the possibility he raises that the woman in each verse is not the same woman throughout the song. The whole thing is worth reading, but the lyrical analysis starts about halfway down, at the paragraph beginning with "One line."
I share Instapundit's, Anklebitingpundits', Polipundit's, Vodkapundits', Ace's, It Comes in Pints', and others' contempt for Kerry's cynical manipulation of personal hardships.
Kerry has sunk so low with this latest ploy that my first thought this morning was "What an unbelievable douchebag!" This spurred me to some serious scientific research. I had to find out: is John Kerry the biggest douchebag in the world?
Google finds 13,000,000 hits for a search on John Kerry. This gives us our baseline Kerry identification level. Then, by searching John Kerry douchebag, we find how many mentions associate John Kerry with a douchebag. The result is 17,500. By dividing this number by the 13 million baseline Kerry identification level and multiplying by 1000, we arrive at the Douchebag Identification Per Thousand(TM) quotient (DBIPT). Kerry's DBIPT score is 1.35, a truly phenomenal rating.
For comparison, George W. Bush's DBIPT score is just 0.56. No other politician has been found with a douchebag identification score anywhere near Kerry's. Seeking other douchebags outside of the world of politics, I tried to find scores as high as Kerry's. I thought Howard Stern might have a high rating, not just because some people think he is a douchebag, but because Stern and his fans use the term "douchebag" so often in describing others. Stern's DBIPT score is, however, a surprisingly low 0.36. We have yet to find anyone in any field with a douchebag identification quotient as high as John Kerry's. We can therefore declare, until we find contradicting evidence, that John Kerry is the biggest douchebag in the world.
UPDATE: Nobrainer, in the third comment below, finds another shocking statistic: John Kerry is associated with an astonishing 15.5% of all douchebag references out there!
"Leaflets are handed out saying Democrats vote on Wednesday, Republicans vote on Tuesday. People are told in telephone calls that if you've ever had a parking ticket, you're not allowed to vote," he [Kerry] said.
From the Onion, October 27, 2004:
MIAMI, FL—With the knowledge that the minority vote will be crucial in theupcoming presidential election, Republican Party officials are urging blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities to make their presence felt at the polls on Wednesday, Nov. 3.
These are scary times when not only average dimwit Oprah fans fall for obvious satire, but someone who could have become President of the United States is that clueless. We are truly lucky this lying, spineless moron was not elected.
The bottom line is that anyone can work from anywhere. We have seen that cheap Indian engineers may be a better deal for companies than overpaid whiny American engineers, hence outsourcing. Entrepreneurialism and invention, too, are likely to follow manufacturing overseas, as an educated and creative Indian with a good computer and high-speed Internet access is on a level playing field with his American contemporaries -- and there are a lot more young Chinese and Indians than Americans, and American youths seem to be getting fat and lazy while Asians are still ambitious and hungry.
Friedman's solution is rather obvious, but his call is urgent: we need better science education and a more flexible pension and health care system. Hmmm... sounds like the old lefty wants to abolish the teachers' unions, privatize social security, and expand medical savings accounts! I told you Friedman was right sometimes!
Note for American readers: Bangalore is not a James Bond character, the sister of Pussy Galore. It's actually a city in India.
HT: Todd W. and David P., who usually wouldn't stoop to read filth like the NYT, but did this time.
This exchange between hedge fund managers across the Atlantic is hilarious! Read the whole thing.
I hope when I get back I'll hear Kofi Annan has resigned and Condoleezza Rice has established an exploratory committee.
I disagree. Hynes' conclusion depends on the premise that the Democrats will always be led by left-wing spineless losers like John Kerry. If the Democrats nominated a fiscal moderate who was strong in the war on terror, I would split today. So would many of my fellow libertarians. Liberty is important to us, and if the Democrats offer a viable alternative to the hard right, we'll take it!
Next to these tributes is another installation - a reproduction of the infamous fax by the UN Force Commander, General Romeo Dallaire, imploring the then head of UN peacekeeping, Kofi Annan, for authority to defend Rwandan civilians - many of whom had taken refuge in UN compounds under implicit and sometimes explicit
promises of protection.
Here, too, is Annan's faxed response - ordering Dallaire to defend only the UN's image of impartiality, forbidding him to protect desperate civilians waiting to die.
[...] His own legions have raped and pillaged. In two present scandals, over the oil-for-food programme in Iraq, and sex-for-food in Congo, Annan was personally aware of malfeasance among his staff, but again responded with passivity.
Read the whole thing. How anyone can continue to defend Kofi Annan is beyond me.
Want more visually graphic imagery of the U.N. at work? Watch the excellent movie "Hotel Rwanda."
I think there's a much simpler solution:
The answer, from my perspective, is to separate the legal benefits of marriage from the cultural/religious institution.
Anti-gay marriage types say that gay marriage destroys the meaning of marriage. This may be true in some people's views, but gay couples certainly deserve equal rights with respect to taxes, next of kin issues, inheritance, etc. Civil unions accomplish this, if you give them all of the legal rights of marriage. How an anyone but the most right-wing bigot oppose that? You solve the whole problem by just not calling it "marriage."
If the Republicans nominate a Religious Right kook like Brownback, I'm going to begin voting Demo for a very long time.