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Showing posts from July 31, 2005

Blair's imam-catchers

Blair is a nasty piece of work. Even so, we have to stand in a bit of awe at the audacity of his latest pronouncements. They take us back to a distant era in which he would surely have flourished, when the threatened bombing of the Parliament, or the poisoning of the queen, produced a fair share of martyrs – this time not Islamic ones, but Catholic. That supercilious righteousness would have served him well then – and since, apparently, the police are to stage raids on mosques, Blair might really want to read up on the techniques of his spiritual ancestors. He needs what Queen Elizabeth had: a Richard Topcliffe. Talk about a torturer for all seasons – Topcliffe’s techniques have often been imitated – most recently by the American military in Iraq – but never really topped. Topcliffe had a licence to operate a rack in his own house – an ingenious idea that Blair might consider reviving. I’m sure Blunkett would be just the man to operate a stretching machine. Here’s a description of Topc

it's too gashly...

LI is going to be gone for a month. We might drop by the site and leave a few bits of wisdom, or whatever it is we produce here. But mostly we are going to try to forget the art of writing, the art of reading, the war, the Bush, etc., etc. We have been thinking of partings ... and especially the parting of Peregrinus, the cynic. He built a pyre in Elia, mounted it, and lit it, thus ascending to the heights of Mount Olympia on wings of fire. Lucian of Samothrace, a satirist, left a lively account of the scene, and of Peregrinus’ life as a philosophical scoundrel. The English translation omits certain nice, dirty bits you can find (bien sur) in the French translation , like the Cynics habit of masturbating in public. That’s nicely omitted here . Lucien’s account is cast into the form of a letter to a friend: “ I imagine you’ll laugh yourself to death imaging that old senile piker – I can just hear you saying “what a farce! and really, what misplaced vanity!” and a thousand other similar

A block party!

We considered making this yet another Iraq post. But we like to think of ourselves as America’s blog. We like to think that we love kids, dogs, and yes, sometimes we like to watch American Idol, like you all do. And we Americans don’t want to have bloody bits of soldiers rubbed in our faces. We are too busy and too caring. The message is: we care. We are a great nation, shopping for great deals at world class malls. In the world, America is famous for our freedom, which is why they hate us. So instead, we are linking to this article about our world class legislators in D.C. God bless em. Some of the hardest working Christians you would ever want to see. But even Christians can let their hair down, occasionally. The article details the way lobbyists are able to show their appreciation for the service to the country shown by these fine men and women. They are in the line of fire every day. Many of them are making financial sacrifice by serving in Congress, and will only be able to make i
The War is Over, and We Won (Headline, AEI magazine, April, 2005): Contrary to the impression given by most newspaper headlines, the United States has won the day in Iraq. In 2004, our military fought fierce battles in Najaf, Fallujah, and Sadr City. Many thousands of terrorists were killed, with comparatively little collateral damage. As examples of the very hardest sorts of urban combat, these will go down in history as smashing U.S. victories. And our successes at urban combat (which, scandalously, are mostly untold stories in the U.S.) made it crystal clear to both the terrorists and the millions of moderate Iraqis that the insurgents simply cannot win against today’s U.S. Army and Marines. That’s why everyday citizens have surged into politics instead.” August 3, 2005 14 U.S. Marines Killed in Iraq When Vehicle Hits a Huge Bomb -- Headline, NYT. American Journalist Is Shot to Death in Iraq - BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 3 - An American journalist writing about the rise of fundamentalist I

expected headlines

The headlines in the Washington Post were expected: "President Bush sidestepped the U.S. Senate on Monday and installed controversial nominee Scott Peterson as ambassador to the United Nations, saying the post was "too important to leave vacant any longer." Speaking at the White House, Bush said he was sending Peterson to the United Nations with his "complete confidence." “Peterson has his marching orders. I expect him to deal with the U.N. as he has dealt with the women in his life.” "The White House move comes over the vociferous protests of Senate Democrats, who had complained that the blunt, combative Peterson lacked credibility, being in prison under sentence of death. The Senate had twice voted to sustain a filibuster against Peterson. But Bush refused to give up on his nominee. "A majority of U.S. senators agree that he is the right man for the job," Bush said at the White House. "but because of partisan delaying tactics by a handfu

I have seen the future, and it is United

Anyone interested in what Bush’s reformed Social Security would look like should look at the NYT article about United Airline’s pension fund today . It is a fun article. Here's how the movie goes: Wall Street persuades a viable pension fund to redo its safe strategy of investing for a much more groovy strategy of growth growth growth in equities. Big money is made by everybody on the Street as the pension fund shrinks, disappears, goes into a black hole. Everybody is very sorry that the beneficiaries of the fund have nothing left, but everybody also points out – the beneficiaries are scum. Mere workers. Pilots, for god’s sakes. Imagine, some stewardess somewhere is bawling cause her measely 200 thou went to some really nice Manhattan bistros. As if she deserved it. The best and the brightest, in the new Hobbesian Randian world, feast upon such little lambs. Bush’s plan has those advantages too. By targeting middle America’s vast wealth and accelerating the burgling of it, in a rec