Curveball
  Curveball  

"Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense."
- Mark Twain

"Anyone who combines politics and baseball is an idiot, because everyone knows that ping-pong is the greatest sport. Oh, and I'm really a Communist who hates NASCAR and listens to Joan Baez in the dark.
-- Glenn Reynolds

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Andre Vladimir Sebastian is a figment of your imagination. Honestly, you really could have done better than him, now couldn't you? Next time, put a little effort into it.

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United Nations Opposes War Against Satan
Presses for Continued Inspections of Hell


UNITED NATIONS -- The United Nations Security Council today voted down an American-British-Spanish proposal seeking Security Council authorization for war against The Devil, saying there was insufficient evidence that Satan posed an imminent threat to world peace.

"Satan's power is well-contained," said French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin. "There is no need to rush to war."

In pressing for the resolution, the Americans, British, and Spanish argued that Satan had been given two millenia to comply with international demand that he disarm and destroy his weapons of mass destruction, including his most devastating weapon, Temptation. But the arguments failed to persuade most members of the council.

The vote was 10-4, with only the United States, Great Britain, Spain, and Angola voting for the resolution. Opposition was led by France, Russia, and China. Pakistan abstained.

"We have seen no smoking gun, no proof that Satan is involved in any overt acts of evil," said de Villepin. "All we see are allegations. The United States is pushing for an unjustified war. We need to give the inspectors more time to do their job. Satan is cooperating. Just this week he put six of his Hounds of Hell to sleep."

Satan has been confined in his realm of Hell for the past 2,000 years. His is considered the most brutal regime in all of human history, responsible for all of the pain and suffering in the world. From the very beginning of his confinement he has been suspected of sending agents to every nation on earth to start wars, plagues, pestilence, disease, crime, social strife, and all-around misery. Since the U.N.'s founding, Hell has been subject to periodic examination by U.N. weapons inspectors. In 51 years of inspections, the U.N. has found no solid evidence linking Satan to any wrongdoing.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, the United States and Britain have grown impatient with the inspections process. They insist that Satan is linked to Sept. 11 as well as both World Wars and numerous renegade regimes, including Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, the former Soviet Union, and Nazi Germany. But other world leaders say there is insufficient evidence linking any of those events or regimes to the so-called Prince of Darkness. They counter that many of the problems the United States seeks to solve by confronting Satan with military force can be solved in other ways.

"The United States needs immediately to halt its imperialist aggression against Satan, who has done nothing but cooperate with U.N. inspectors, and focus on sending more money to developing nations, like mine for example," said King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan.

American President George W. Bush has accused Satan of financing and supporting what Bush calls the "Axis of Evil" -- Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. These countries have steadfastly denied any link to The Devil.

"I have not had international relations with that man, Satan," said Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

North Korean President Kim Jong Il said, "Satan is a punk; he ain't got nothin' on me. Does Satan have nuclear missiles? No! I have nuclear missiles! Me, Kim Jong Il. I have really, really nasty missiles, I tell you! Lots of missiles. I'll blow up Alaska, I swear. I'm crazy! Hey, where are you going? Hey! Pay attention to me! Hey!"

British Prime Minister Tony Blair predicted a fiery end to the human race after the resolution's defeat.

"This is a threat that cannot be ignored," Blair said. "Bloody Hell, it's Satan, for Christ's sake! He's going to gather every human he can deceive and lead them all into a final, calamitous battle against God, which they will promptly lose in a smoldering river of fire, leaving only a handful of devout humans alive. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go home and pray."

  posted by AVS @ 15.3.03


15.3.03  

 
Doves That Can Fly
One thing that's always puzzled me about doves: How do they fly with only a left wing? As so many thoughtful observers throughout history have noted, military preparedness is necessary for the achievement and preservation of peace. When dealing with rational people who also desire peace, diplomacy is not only warranted, it is demanded. When dealing with irrational people who care nothing for peace, at the very minimum a show of force, and the willingness to use it, is needed to secure and maintain peace.

One of the most common mistakes so many doves make is thinking that peace equals the absence of full-fledegd war. The people of Iraq, like the people of the Soviet Union before them, live in what no thinking person would call a state of peace. They live in constant terror of their own government, which systematically rapes, tortures, imprisons, and murders them. It may not technically be war, but neither is it peace. What the current anti-war protesters are agitating for is not peace, but the status quo. That the status quo includes the suffering of millions of innocents under the thumb of a maniacal tyrant who pays people to blow up Israeli civilians, whose agents have trained al-Qaida members, and who has tried to assassinate an American president is just fine with them. And that acceptance of the status quo is what has some of the left's intellectual leaders splitting with the anti-war movement.

In a long overdue piece, The New York Times on Friday reported this division within the left. We all know which Hollywood celebrities are against the war (almost all of them, it seems), but how many Americans know that the dean of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and the dean of Berkeley's graduate school of public policy are for the war? Elie Weisel, Nobel Peace Prize winner? For Saddam's removal. Christopher Hitchens, God bless him, may be the leftist most outspoken in his support of this war, but he is not the only one.

"It's something of a scandal in my eyes that hundreds of thousands of people are not marching in support of the oppressed Iraqis," leftist writer Paul Berman told The Times. This is exactly the point the right has been making for months. Since when has the left been opposed to liberating the oppressed?

"Being antiwar and antiuse of force was a kind of defining signature of being a liberal, but that was 30 years ago," Michael Ignatieff, director of the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard, told The Times. "In the 90's, being a liberal meant being in favor of military intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo. Human rights has come into this and complicated the picture considerably."

Ignatieff points to why the left's reflexive opposition to this war is untenable. Disarming Saddam is about international security and human rights, not imperialism or oil or other Marxist nonsense.

As another leftist told The Times, his support for the war is "because Saddam is really a fascist regime. I think there are a lot of people in my position who want to do something about that. And they wish the marchers were marching for that, as well."

Actually, Saddam's regime is more Stalinist than Hitlerian. But let's not split hairs. Fascism and Stalinism are both socialism, which is, to use a familiar leftist phrase, "dangerous to humans and other living things."

  posted by AVS @ 15.3.03



 
Ducked and Ran
Guess who didn't show up for the Senate vote on Senate Bill 3, the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which was passed 64-33 on Thursday? Democratic Presidential candidates John Kerry and John Edwards, where is your political courage? Lieberman showed up, and he even voted. Guess we know who's got the guts in this race.

  posted by AVS @ 15.3.03



 
Mmmmmm...Chocolate
I don't care if the Krauts out-pansy the French, I'm not giving up German Chocolate.

What's a patriotic American to do about French and Belgian chocolates, though? (Belgian weasels are almost as bad as French ones.) If you like gourmet chocolate, the continent is the place to go. But you can't keep buying Godivas on the condition that you call them Liberty Chocolates. A truffle by any other name, you know. The only solution is to buy American. Fortunately, American entrepreneurship (doh! a French word!) comes to the rescue, as usual....

Mmmmmmmmmm.....American Chocolate...

Mmmmmmmm....Ghiradelli...

Mmmmm...more American chocolate...

Mmmmmmm...more American chocolate...

Mmmmm...still more American chocolate...

  posted by AVS @ 13.3.03


13.3.03  

 
A Pilot's Place Is In The Cockpit
The Washington Post reported today that Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos was injured in a helicopter crash (next to last item). Other people too inconsequential to name were also injured. Quoth The Post, "Three other people, including the pilot, were also aboard and most were treated for minor injuries." Well, where else would the pilot be?

  posted by AVS @ 13.3.03



 
Alleged Perp Allegedly Confesses, News Service Allegedly Reports
The rules of journalism sometimes make for awkward sentences. Take this dispatch from Ananova. Human rights protester Peter Tatchell ran in front of Tony Blair's motorcade today, stopped the Prime Minister's car, and clung to it until security hauled him away. From jail, the rable-rouser said, "I ran in front of the Prime Minister's car, forcing it to a halt." After relaying the man's confession, Ananova adds some color with this sentence: "When he allegedly confronted the motorcade Tatchell was carrying a placard reading 'Arm the Kurds, Topple Saddam'." Isn't a confession to the press enough to justify removing the "allegedly" from that sentence? If not, then shouldn't the sentence have read, "When he allegedly confronted the motorcade Tatchell allegedly was carrying a placard that allegedly read 'Arm the Kurds, Topple Saddam'"? By the way, this is the same Peter Tatchell who stormed Canturbury Cathedral's pulpit in 1998 and twice tried to perform a citizen's arrest on Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. Allegedly.

  posted by AVS @ 12.3.03


12.3.03  

 
Tax Me More!!
Like most conservative governors, New Hampshire's Craig Benson is tired of hearing activists wail and gnash their teeth over his proposed budget cuts. So he's made them an offer. Want to reach a balanced budget through higher taxes instead of spending cuts? Fine, then put your money where your mouth is and pay up! The governor has issued a form to be filled out and mailed in, presumably along with payment, by anyone who thinks his or her taxes are not high enough.

PoliticsNH.com has reported that Benson's challenge was "tongue in cheek." Not quite. There really is a Tax Me More Account, and it has already received some donations.

What a cool move. Why not make the left choose between fully funding Health and Human Services programs or NPR? The far left, the kind of people who show up at legislative budget hearings to protest any reduction in government spending, is convinced that "we" -- whenever they say this they actually mean the rich, or "they" -- have enough money to fund everything under the sun: computers for every schoolkid, lavish public assistance programs, the entire BBC4 schedule for rebroadcast on PBS, etc. How fun to finally call their bluff by giving them the choice: symphony tickets or Meals on Wheels? The World Wildlife Fund or new middle school textbooks? What do you want to bet the vast majority of them will choose "Antiques Roadshow" over elder care?

  posted by AVS @ 12.3.03



 
The Mysterious Silence From Hollywood
You know, it seems like everyone in Hollywood has spouted off against the looming war in Iraq. Daily we receive lectures from directors, producers, writers, actors, comics, and musicians about why war is bad, and this war in particular is really, really bad. But there's one segment of Tinsel Town that has remained suspiciously silent about the whole mess. And what I want to know is, where IS the porn industry on this? Are they going to sit this one out and deprive us of their trenchant commentary? I certainly hope not.

  posted by AVS @ 11.3.03


11.3.03  

 
K is for Evil
I've long thought Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski was second only to Bobby Knight in despicable coaching practices. Sure, he is whip-smart, articulate, his players graduate, and he has no history of recruiting violations. He has managed to escape NCAA scrutiny because his off-the-court record is clean as a whistle.

In the NCAA, coaches can get away with virtually anything on the court as long as they don't break the recruitment rules. It seems like all the coaches who get in trouble with the NCAA do so for off-the-court behavior, which allows Coach K's penchant for on-the-court ruthlessness and cheating to grow unchecked. If it weren't for Knight, Coach K may well have been unparalleled in sowing an unsportsmanlike, win-at-all-costs mentality into the psyche of his players.

The evidence of this is plentiful. The latest bit came in this week's Duke/UNC game in Chapel Hill. As is far too common, a Duke player drew blood from a Carolina player. Even worse, Duke's Andre Buckner shoved UNC coach Matt Doherty. For the shoving incident, officials awarded both teams with a technical foul. Buckner got neither a T nor an ejection from the game. Am I the only one who is amazed that there are no consequences for a collegiate player who physically assaults an opposing team's coach?

That this kind of behavior was exhibited by a Duke player is not at all surprising. Thuggishness on the court has been a Duke tradition as long as Coach K's been around. Remember Christian Laettner in East Regional championship game vs. Kentucky in 1992? The sports broadcasters can fawn over Coach K and call him "a class act" all they want, and they surely will come tournament time. Don't buy it. The man talks clean, but he plays dirty.

  posted by AVS @ 11.3.03



 
Frivolous Lawsuit Alert/Orwell Language Abuse Alert
In Britain, someone who dresses well is said to dress "smart." If the metaphor applies to the converse, then a "dumb" dresser has filed and won a dumb lawsuit over a dumb employment policy. Matthew Thompson, a 32-year-old Brit with no fashion sense, has sued his employer for sex discrimination -- and won -- because the employer, Jobcentre Plus, required men to wear collared shirts and neckties but allowed women to wear more casual clothes while on the job. The BBC reports the un-dapper disgruntled saying, "The ruling vindicates what we have been arguing for some time, that the draconian application of the dress code in Jobcentre Plus is discriminatory."

First, filing a lawsuit because you don't want to wear a tie to work at an employment agency? C'mon! How unambitious can you be? Second, lots of workplace policies are discriminatory. Having separate-sex bathrooms is discriminatory, for example. That doesn't necessarily make the policy morally wrong or a violation of one's rights. In what way did this policy possibly harm Mr. Thompson, other than by making him shell out the dough for a few hideous neckties (see link)? The fact is, lots of employers require men to wear ties while maintaining a less strict code for women. It's a social norm that women can look more professional in more casual clothes than can men. Perhaps the Jobcentre Plus policy was too lenient on the women (how professional can you look in a soccer jersey?) but it hardly seems worth filing a lawsuit over. Mr. Thompson called the policy "draconian." He needs a history lesson.

Encyclopedia.org has a nice little summary of Draco and his laws. Plutarch said of Draco's legal code, which Draco apparently did not create himself, but only codified, "For nearly all crimes there was the same penalty of death. The man who was convicted of idleness, or who stole a cabbage or an apple, was liable to death no less than the robber of temples or the murderer." The law assigning men to wear neckties as punishment for their masculinity must be one of the majority of Draconian codes lost to history.


  posted by AVS @ 11.3.03



 
Welcome to Curveball, the blog that is unlike any other blog on the Net, except in those ways in which it is exactly the same as every other blog on the Net. Here you will find my random musings on all things of interest to the two other people on the planet whose brains work like mine, assuming they have Internet access. But for now I'm off to bed, for it took me longer to find a name for this site that was not already chosen than it would take the United Nations Security Council to authorize force against Satan.

  posted by AVS @ 10.3.03


10.3.03  
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