"Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense."
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"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.
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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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Separatism On Campus
Boy, does 15-year-old Lisa McClelland of Oakley, Calif. have people fired up. She wants to start a Caucasian Club at her high school. She tells the BBC:

I'm trying to break racial barriers. Without a Caucasian club things at school are kind of segregated and I think if we have a Caucasian club it will go along with the rest of the race clubs so the school might be a little bit more diverse.

This is exactly the same argument used to start black student groups or Hispanic student groups or Asian student groups, etc. In fact, Lisa's high school has a Hispanic Club, an Asian Club, and a Black Student Union. If these groups "promote diversity", then why not promote it even further by encouraging white kids to have their own student group? Says Lisa:

I came home from school one day, the day we were signing up for clubs, and I didn't see any that really interested me.

We were talking about how there are all these other racial clubs but there isn't a Caucasian club and me and my mom talked about it and how there would be nothing wrong with trying to get it started.

Naturally, the left is all in a tizzy about this. But McLelland has a great point when she says of her club, "It will be where kids can go and learn about their heritage and break down their culture more than the school does. Any race can join."

The amount of misinformation about caucasian heritage is illustrated by this quote from one of McLelland's black fellow students: "It's dumb, real dumb. The girl says 'we want to talk about our background,' well their background is about putting black people as slaves."

If that's what is being taught as caucasian heritage, then there certainly is a need to dig more deeply.

But more to the point, white people already make up less than 50 percent of the population in California -- 46.7%, to be exact. Eventually, whites probably will be a minority in that state. Will white high school students be allowed to create Caucasian Clubs, without protest, then? If so, why not now? If the fear is that such clubs will engender racism, why does that fear not translate to other race-based clubs? If black student unions, for example, foster diversity and unity, then surely their supporters can offer some evidence of this.

As it stands, the evidence is all on the other side. Rarely does a student of one race venture into a meeting of students of another race. And when that does happen, the interloper often is not welcomed. When I went to the black student union at my college to donate a photograph I'd taken of a famous black author, all activity halted and everyone stared at me, as if we all were frozen in time, until I left, at which points conversations resumed, as I saw through the glass walls.

These little race-based clubs are divisive, and everyone knows it. They foster about as much diversity as a D.W. Griffith film festival. In addition to fearing that a Caucasian Club will foster racism, its opponents know that it will expose their little sham for what it is: separatism.

  posted by AVS @ 27.9.03


David Brooks explores the difficult world faced by conservative graduate students.

  posted by AVS @ 27.9.03

Robert Palmer, R.I.P.
I was sad to see today that Robert Palmer had died. He was more than just a two-hit wonder who had one of the best rock and roll videos ever, which is how he will be remembered. He actually was an excellent vocalist and songwriter whose best work never charted very high and has been largely forgotten. A few months ago I heard "Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley" on the radio and was pleasantly surprised. It was such a rare treat. To see how drastically rock music has changed in the past two decades, pick any Palmer song at random and listen carefully to his singing. Then turn on the radio and listen carefully to the singer of the first rock song that comes on. Chances are, the alleged singer can barely carry the tune. Palmer could really sing. And he just looked so darn cool, too. He was also reputed to have had a great sense of humor, as related by this anecdote:

I remember going with him to this secret karaoke club in Soho once - and he actually got up on stage and did karaoke to his own songs, to Addicted to Love, just for a laugh.

That's pretty cool.

  posted by AVS @ 26.9.03


The United Nations, which wants America out of Iraq as quickly as possible, is "downsizing" its presence in Iraq over security concerns. If the U.N. is scared of the Baathists and other terrorist thugs now, when the world's most powerful military is running the show, just how do the Eurocrats think security will improve when the country is taken over by more defenseless bureaucrats and a sizeable portion, if not all, of the American military presence vacates the premises?

Nothing better showcases the difference -- in courage, resolve, and determination -- between the United States and the U.N. than this. The Americans, shot or bombed almost on a daily basis, react to this peril by escalating their efforts to root out and eradicate the enemy. The U.N., after two attacks, pulls out almost all of its staff, leaving the hard work to the Iraqis and the Americans.

In the absence of international staff, the UN will rely on more than 4,000 Iraqis to continue mainly humanitarian work, the BBC reported.

That says it all. When the road gets dangerous, the U.N. tosses the keys to the natives and flees.

  posted by AVS @ 25.9.03


The Brotherhood Of Crap
Well, because I live in New Hampshire, I considered it my civic duty to watch the new CBS series called "The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire". Having seen it, I have concluded that CBS should rename this series, "The Brotherhood of Crap". How bad is this show? Think "Ally McBeal" with ugly people, set in New Hampshire.

Some criticisms, in order of annoyance:

1. Leave it to Hollywood to film a show in New Hampshire in which NO ONE has a New Hampshire -- or even a Yankee -- accent. At least one character in Boston Public speaks with a Boston accent. In Brotherhood, they all talk like they live, oh, on a set in Hollywood. And producer David Kelly grew up in New England, too.

2. The one place in all of New Hampshire that doesn't look like anyplace else in New Hampshire is Portsmouth, home of most of the state's granolas, hippies, art-school dropouts, and other crunchy types. This, of course, was the one town in the state that the film crew chose to use as its backdrop.

3. If you're going to have a dead deer tied to the hood of a truck, at least have the deer actively bleeding instead of looking like part of an aged Christmas display that was blown off the roof in the last big storm. It's also probably a bad idea to make the drops of blood on the hood look like BIG PAINTED DROPS OF BLOOD. Oh, and if you have a pickup truck, you're most likely going to strap the dead deer IN THE BED OF YOUR TRUCK, not on the hood.

4. What are the chances that in a state in which nearly everything is financed by the property tax, and housing prices are higher than the national average, everyone in town, including the out-of-work loser, is going to have a nice, big house filled with new and fashionable furniture?

5. Enough with the sex jokes, OK?

6. This is New Hampshire. We don't have a lot of extortionists, mayors who have sexual affairs with large, unattractive women, teenagers with blue hair and multiple eyebrow rings, and people who shake their heads when they talk, like Aunt Esther on Sanford & Son. David Kelly said he came up with the idea for this show when he returned to New England for high school reunions. I'd hate to have gone to that high school.

7. Not everyone past middle age in New Hampshire is overweight. Many are, but plenty are not. And by the way, could Randy Quaid look any worse?

8. This show's only saving grace is Larry Miller. Unfortunately, he has a very small role. I give the show 1/2 a season. Full season, tops.

  posted by AVS @ 24.9.03


OH NO! Gandalf has gone over to the Dark Side!

  posted by AVS @ 24.9.03

Say What?
Check out these remarks by Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar at a joint press conference with President Bush.

  posted by AVS @ 24.9.03

U.N. Reacts To Bush
Here's a decent summary of the various reactions to President Bush's speech at the United Nations. I like Jean Chrétien's remarks: "Reason will prevail." At the U.N.? Right!

  posted by AVS @ 24.9.03

Clark, Kodos, & Kang
Slate's Chris Sullentrop lets Wesley Clark have it in a well written piece posted today. I love his lead, because it is exactly what I thought of when I heard clips from Clark's announcement speech.

CHARLESTON, S.C.—There's a Simpsons episode in which two aliens run for president and effortlessly ape the bromides used by American political candidates, to the delight of assembled crowds. Proclaims one: "We must move forward, not backward. Upward, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling toward freedom!"

That's what retired Gen. Wesley Clark sounded like on the stump Monday at the first event in South Carolina for his incipient presidential campaign. Clark's campaign hasn't coalesced yet into a bona fide organization, structure, and message. It's more like a clever mimicry of what a generic Democratic presidential campaign would look like. At Manny's Restaurant in downtown Charleston, Clark mouths the standard litany of bedrock Democratic issues with a Schwarzeneggerian level of specificity.

As good as this piece begins, it ends even better:

No other Democratic candidate, not even John Kerry, could stand in front of two 75 mm howitzers on the quad of a nearly all-male military college and defend the antiwar left without looking faintly ridiculous. Wesley Clark is Howard Dean with flags.

  posted by AVS @ 22.9.03


Khalid's Confession
The big news of the day is Khalid Sheik Mohammed's confession that the 9-11 attacks were plotted back in 1996 and originally called for attacks on both coasts. Most important was what the reporters tacked on to the end of the story, seemingly as filler:

He told interrogators about other terror plots that were in various stages of planning or had been temporarily disrupted when he was captured, including one planned for Singapore.

The sources who allowed AP to review the reports insisted that specific details not be divulged about those operations because U.S. intelligence continues to investigate some of the methods and search for some of the operatives.

The interrogation reports make clear that Mohammed and al Qaeda were still actively looking to strike U.S., Western and Israeli targets across the world as of this year.

I'd say that's pretty significant news, especially paired with the knowledge that no attack has been carried out and it's already nearly October. Either the war on terror is going quite well, or al-Qaida is still biding its time. I think it's the former.

Also very interesting was this bit:

In fact, Mohammed says he did not arrange for anyone on U.S. soil to assist hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi when they arrived in California. Mohammed said there "were no al-Qaida operatives or facilitators in the United States to help al-Mihdhar or al-Hazmi settle in the United States," one of the reports states.

Almihdhar and Alhazmi were on the plane that was flown into the Pentagon.

Mohammed portrays those two hijackers as central to the plot and even more important than Mohamed Atta, initially identified by Americans as the likely hijacking ringleader.

Mohammed said he communicated with Alhazmi and Almihdhar while they were in the United States by using Internet chat software, the reports states.

Mohammed said Alhazmi and Almihdhar were among the four original operatives bin Laden assigned to him for the plot, a significant revelation because they were the only two hijackers whom U.S. authorities were frantically seeking for terrorist ties in the final days before Sept. 11, 2001.

I guess it should come as no surprise that our intelligence agencies didn't pick up that Atta wasn't the ring leader. I wonder if anyone at the FBI or CIA is checking AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ registrations in an effort to catch terrorists. If not, now would be a good time to start.

  posted by AVS @ 22.9.03

Taliban Is Back
So says a spokesman for Mohammad Omar.

  posted by AVS @ 22.9.03

Showcase: I vote for Freedom In Iran.

  posted by AVS @ 22.9.03

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