"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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Blair Almost Resigned Over Iraq
The BBC has reported that Tony Blair seriously considered resigning if the Iraq vote in the House of Commons hadn't gone his way. It's a sobering thought. What might have happened had Saddam's buddies in the anti-liberation camp brought down the government of America's greatest friend in the world? There are many possibilities, none appealing. Would Bush have authorized a truly unilateral invasion? Would the Australians have increased their commitment? Would the war effort have ground to a halt, releasing a new wave of repression within Iraq and renewed boldness among Arabic and Islamic America-haters? I hadn't thought of that House of Commons vote as one of tremendous historical import before now. Historians may well see it as a more important event than we realize.

The BBC story is entertaining as much for the glimpse it gives of Blair's personality as for the glance it allows of British politics. Speaking to Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar about the lowly 4% of Spaniards who supported the war, Blair supposedly quipped, "That's even less than the number who think Elvis Presley is still alive."

  posted by AVS @ 19.4.03


A New Michael Kelly Essay
The Atlantic Monthly has posted Michael Kelly's last dispatch to the magazine. Reading it two weeks after Kelly's death compounds the disappointment of having lost this gifted writer and clear-sighted observer, killed in a Humvee accident while reporting in Iraq. In this piece, written while in Kuwait waiting for the war to begin, Kelly holds a mirror of contempt up to the pretentious windbags who high-nosedly proclaimed themselves human shields but promptly fled for safer ground before the tomahawks fell, and he uncovers some savory bits of 20th century history useful for contemplating the Iraq crisis, as it was called repeatedly just five weeks ago. History has already proven Michael Kelly right, as he knew it would.

  posted by AVS @ 17.4.03


The Most Naive Reporter In The World
Bart Simpson, meet your new Moe. Poor James Scott, reporter for the Charleston Post & Courier, seems to have fallen for a prank name. In his Sunday story on feminist wacko Martha Burke's protest of Augusta National Golf Club for not allowing female members, Scott credulously reports on a male counterprotester who was escorted away by police. Writes Scott, "At no point did the protest turn violent, though officers escorted Heywood Jablome away after he held up a sign directly in front of Burk that read 'Make me dinner' before shouting 'Oprah rules.'" Now, it's possible that there really is a man whose name sounds like "Hey, would you blow me." Somewhere in the world there may be a woman named Ivanna Tinkle, too. But I doubt it. I don't know what's funnier, the protester with a sense of humor, or the reporter falling for the prank call name. By the way, Kathleen Parker has a good column this week on the Augusta protest.

  posted by AVS @ 17.4.03

Kid Stomps Puddle, Goes To Jail!
This is truly outrageous. A 12-year-old boy named Kyle Fredrickson mischievously stepped out of line, literally, and stomped in a mud puddle, splashing some students and school employees, presumably teachers, after he had been told to behave. For this the school staff calls the cops and has the kid arrested for "disruption of an educational institution". You'd think the teachers would have taken into consideration that Kyle has a hyperactivity disorder and is in a class with similar dysfunctional kids, so it's not as if anyone expected him to behave himself. I hope the school board comes down hard on whoever made the decision to call the cops on an overexuberant sixth-grader. But they'll probably say the decision was justified. Another good link from Tiger, who is worth checking out.

  posted by AVS @ 16.4.03


Not So Magic Bus
Some people believe in the Tooth Fairy, here's a woman who believes in the Education Fairy. How else can you explain this parent's response to the Massachusetts Legislature's proposal to allow school districts to charge for school bus rides? Says the parent, one Judy Wilson, who happens to be a teacher, "The state needs to look at its own responsibility for funding public education. That's what our country is supposed to do -- is provide a public education without a cost to students."

Honey, where do you think the money to provide that "public education without a cost to students" comes from? That a teacher could say something so ignorant about her own field tells you all you need to know about the state of public education in this country.

States and localities are making tough budget decisions this year, and surprisingly, Massachusetts is doing more than probably any other state to cut its budget so taxes won't have to be raised. Gov. Mitt Romney is doing a heroic job imposing fiscal sanity in Bean Town. The story on the proposed school bus fees is on

  posted by AVS @ 16.4.03

Michael Moore, Fraud
This guy has put forth a petition asking for the Academy to revoke Michael Moore's Oscar for Bowling for Columbine. His Web site has the scoop on Moore's fraudulent "documentary." Of course, the revocation will never happen. But where else other than Hollywood can one dream the impossible dream?

  posted by AVS @ 16.4.03

Smoking Gun Found
It's more a Derringer than a Smith & Wesson, but it's still a smoking gun. The BBC reported today that wanted -- and convicted -- terrorist Abu Abbas has been found in Baghdad by U.S. forces. Abbas was the leader of the Palestinian Liberation Front, which hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985 and ruthlessly shot American tourist Leon Klinghoffer. Klinghoffer was 69 years old and confined to a wheelchair. Abbas' thugs shot him in cold blood and dumped him overboard, while he was still in his wheelchair. Saddam was believed for years to have been hiding Abbas in Iraq. Now we know he did just that. Better still, we can finally bring Abbas, who was convicted and sentenced to five life sentences for the hijacking, to justice.

  posted by AVS @ 15.4.03


Excuse Me While I Whip This Out
A former Boston prosecutor has finally been acquitted of sexual assault for unzipping his fly -- in the men's room. has the story of former Assistant Attorney General Michael Atleson, who went to relieve himself only to find a female janitor in the restroom. She sued him, as did several other women who completely fabricated stories of sexual harassment in an attempt to copycat a high-profile lawsuit at the time. Even though he has been cleared, Atleson carries the taint of the charges with him everywhere he goes. I was going to comment on this, but it's late, and I think the story speaks for itself. Thanks to Tiger for the link.

  posted by AVS @ 15.4.03

Weasels Fight Amongst Themselves
The Axis of Evil Weasels may be falling apart because of internal domestic pressures. The International Herald Tribune reports today that the summit between Russia, France, and Germany didn't go very well. The three couldn't agree to a unified message. Germany can't even get its own message straight. While Schroeder hints at a reluctant acceptance of NATO involvement in post-war Iraq, his defense minister says he's for NATO involvement. And Schroeder's party is doing poorly in the polls, the latest of which shows the opposition Christian Democrats would win were the election held this week. As usual, the French aren't being exactly truthful. "We have a common vision of the world of tomorrow," Jacques Chirac said of the French, Russians, and Germans. He said they had a common "conception of the world that naturally excludes unilateralism." Translation: "Each of us longs for his nation's past glory and will do everything possible to thwart American influence in world affairs because we're really, really jealous that we are no longer great powers."

  posted by AVS @ 14.4.03


The Axis of Evil Weasels
And so it unfolds that France and Germany supplied tremendous amounts of weaponry to Saddam in apparent violation of U.N. sanctions, as The New York Times and MSNBC have just reported, and that Russia spied on Tony Blair for Saddam and gave Iraq the names of assassins available for hire in the West, as The Telegraph of London reported on Sunday. Meanwhile, Newsweek reports that the Chinagate story from the Clinton administration is still unsolved and new evidence has recently surfaced involving a possible triple agent who seems to have stolen FBI files and passed them to the Chinese.

It sure looks like three members of the U.N. Security Council are out to get the other two. I wonder if it has dawned on any of the United Nations fetishists that an organization such as the U.N., or Congress, for that matter, is only as moral as are the majority of its members. Demanding United Nations approval for any country to defend itself or to pursue its own interests in the world could concievably be acceptable if and only if every representative to the U.N. tossed aside all considerations of his own nation's sefl-interest and agreed to vote for only what was morally right, in an abstract sense, at all times. Assuming this doesn't happen (assuming that we live in the real world, in other words), then all the United Nations becomes is a political body in which each nation tries to maximize its own self interest while appearing to do what is in the best interest of everyone else -- just like Congress. Funny how some of the same people who claim Congress is hopelessly corrupt can turn around and put all their faith in the U.N. to act selflessly.

I know U.S. forces have had their hands full in Iraq, but I really hope they took the time to secure all the paperwork they could find. My guess is that there is a lot more Western perfidy yet to be uncovered, and that there are records of it all over Baghdad.

  posted by AVS @ 13.4.03


I'm Appalled At How Rich I Am
Brad Hall, Hollywood writer and husband of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, had this to say about his and Julia's second home, which they've tried to make as environmentally friendly as possible, "Let's face it," Mr. Hall said. "Having a second home is itself an appalling excess, so we figured if we're going to do it, we better be as environmentally responsible as we can." I'm not rich, far from it, but personally I think having two homes is great; I hope that some day I'm financially secure enough to afford my own vacation retreat, or at least a time share. Heck, I know blue-collar joes who've worked hard, saved, and have managed to buy second homes and even boats for themselves. I don't think owning a second home is appalling at all. What I find appalling are hypocritical Hollywood leftists who assuage their wealth-guilt by making their second homes eco-friendly instead of giving their money away and living the modest, non-excessive lives they always claim to want but never manage to find it within themselves to actually ratchet down to.

  posted by AVS @ 13.4.03

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