The Mundane Details of a Routine Triumph
The parliamentary elections in Afghanistan have wrapped up now ---and with not much violence, either.
President Karzai was one of the early voters in the capital, saying it was a good day for Afghanistan whatever the result.
"We are making history," he said as he cast his ballot.
Reports from Kandahar in the south say women voted in large numbers. BBC reporters in Jalalabad say more women than men voted there.
Correspondents say the sporadic violence did not appear to have deterred voters.
I am always surprised at how eager for political participation the women living under Islam appear to be. I think their liberation, in whatever ways great or small, is the key to changing Islam forever.
A Fine Sunday Afternoon Mood:
Okay, so I'm sick and full of phlegm and achiness, but it's still good to be alive. A whole day of football-watching, frozen pizza-eating, and stone cold chilling lies ahead.
So stay away, please. Thank you.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 12:01 PM CDT
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Updated: Sunday, 18 September 2005 12:02 PM CDT
Saturday, 17 September 2005
Green No More? Mood:
A reader writes to say that the background color of this blog is hard on the eyes. Is that true? I always thought that sort of minty color was pleasing to the eye. Oh, well. Let's try this color for a while. Let me know what you think.
New Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on CNN earlier today, wanting to know from Christiane Amanpour on what authority do we in the West say that his country can't have nuclear weapons.
Well, that's a great question, Mahmoud, and you deserve a clear answer.
It is the prerogative of the most powerful nation on Earth ---the United States of America--- to make sure you remember your place. We and most of our allies see a nuclearized Iran as a threat against the peace of the Middle East, most especially to the security of the millions of Jews who live in Israel.
Nobody trusts your culture to keep nuclear technology on a peaceful path ---and that includes such societies as the effete and degenerate Old Europe. They, too, know that if you are left unchecked, you will move to destroy Israel and choke off the world's supply of petroleum. The whole world knows that you are one of the worst incubators of Islamofascist terrorism ---and it is the moral imperative of Western Civilization to hold you down until the influence of our superior culture of human and civil rights has had sufficient time to secularize your people into good consumer-citizens.
Right now, Mahmoud, your natural allies here in America are the anti-Bush Left. They do not believe in the essential goodness of the human and civil rights their own ancestors made possible in this land and across the world. They are embittered partisans whose only motivation is to hate and undermine the present Administration. So overwhelming is this hatred that they are not even able to understand that the victory of Islamist doctrine would mean their own deaths, too.
So, if I were a disinterested observer, I would say the most immediate step in your strategy would be to continue your appeals to those on the anti-war and anti-Bush Left. Your interview today with Ms. Amanpour is just the thing. After all, the Leftist influence on Big Media makes such monsters as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong-Il seem like misunderstood celebrities, at worst. With a little spit and polish, I'm sure you'll catch their eye and make it in the bigs as well.
UPDATE: [Silently] corrected two typos in final graf.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 4:16 PM CDT
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Updated: Friday, 30 September 2005 9:38 PM CDT
Paul Krugman Disserves His Readership Mood:
Courtesy of Patterico, check out this comment by the New York Times' public editor Byron Calame with regard to Times columnist (and Democratic Party hack) Paul Krugman's refusal to set the record straight on the recent errors contained in his columns. This is pretty remarkable and I reproduce these comments here in their entirety as a public service:
Columnist Correction Policy Isn't Being Applied to Krugman
An Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times who makes an error "is expected to promptly correct it in the column." That's the established policy of Gail Collins, editor of the editorial page. Her written policy encourages "a uniform approach, with the correction made at the bottom of the piece."
Two weeks have passed since my previous post spelled out the errors made by columnist Paul Krugman in writing about news media recounts of the 2000 Florida vote for president. Mr. Krugman still hasn't been required to comply with the policy by publishing a formal correction. Ms. Collins hasn't offered any explanation.
As a result, readers of nytimes.com who simply search for "Krugman" won't find any indication that there are uncorrected errors in the columns the query turns up. Nor will those who access Mr. Krugman's columns in an electronic database such as Nexis or Factiva. Corrections would have been appended in all those places if Mr. Krugman had complied with Ms. Collins' policy and corrected the errors in his column in the print version of The Times. (Essentially, to become part of the official archive of The Times, material has to have been published in the print paper.)
All Mr. Krugman has offered so far is a faux correction. Each Op-Ed columnist has a page in nytimes.com that includes his or her past columns and biographical information. Mr. Krugman has been allowed to post a note on his page that acknowledges his initial error, but doesn't explain that his initial correction of that error was also wrong. Since it hasn't been officially published, that posting doesn't cause the correction to be appended to any of the relevant columns.
If the problem is that Mr. Krugman doesn't want to give up precious space in his column for a correction, there are alternatives. Perhaps some space could be found elsewhere on the Op-Ed page so that readers—especially those using electronic versions of his pieces -- could get the accurate information they deserve.
A bottom-line question: Does a corrections policy not enforced damage The Times's credibility more than having no policy at all?
Anyone who reads the commentary among the anti-Bush Left quickly learns that Krugman is the go-to guy on liberal economics and cultural viciousness within the Big Media community. He has a very large and prominent soapbox, but he also has a commensurate obligation to not lie to his readership.
We do not yet fully recognize what a decisive factor the Internet news and opinion culture has become in mastering the information on which the judgement of History will rely. The vague anti-Americanism and self-loathing of the Left will now have to compete for the verdict on our times with other views. That is a very big deal.
So, when the New York Times is made a vehicle for the lie that Al Gore really won the Presidency in 2000, it is encouraging to see that the most influential paper in America still employs people of some principle who are willing to refute such nonsense.
But Aren't There Still Some Unreleased Nudie Pix from Abu Ghraib? Now Playing: "Empty Pages" by Traffic
Andrew McCarthy talks about US Army Col. H.R. McMaster, the man who is leading our efforts to take the Iraqi town of Tal Afar. In a story by Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times (sorry, no link), McMaster actually passes judgement on evil men (my emphases added):
Col. McMaster told of beheadings, gunshot killings, a booby-trapped dead child and kidnappings. "This is the worst of the worst in terms of people in the world," he said. "To protect themselves here, what the enemy did is they waged the most brutal and murderous campaign against the people of Tal Afar. ... The enemy here did just the most horrible things you can imagine, in one case murdering a child, placing a booby trap within the child's body and waiting for the parent to come recover the body of their child and exploding it to kill the parents."
Col. McMaster said his men killed scores of the enemy in a series of firefights up and down the tight streets of the crossroads between Syria, where insurgents train, and the critical northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
Col. McMaster said soldiers captured some associates of lead terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi. "They are some of the worst human beings on the face of the Earth," he said. "There is no really greater pleasure for us than to kill or capture these particular individuals."
You are doing the Lord's work, sir. Your righteousness and bravery are the lifeblood of the Republic.
It's Official: I Can't Take It Anymore Mood:
suave Now Playing: "In the Cold, Cold Night" by the White Stripes
Okay, could KXAN evening newsanchor Michelle Valles be more delicious? Nope. It's mathematically impossible. From the beautifully pulled-back hair to her flawless brown skin and the most sensational bosom in the history of bosomosity, she is pretty much the final word on feminine pulchritude.
Cindy Sheehan: A Really Stupid Woman
With a big hat tip to Jeff and Charles, have a look at this smouldering loaf left by Mother Sheehan over at the traitor Michael Moore's blog (emphases added):
If George Bush truly listened to God and read the words of the Christ, Iraq and the devastation in New Orleans would have never happened.
I don't care if a human being is black, brown, white, yellow or pink. I don't care if a human being is Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or pagan. I don't care what flag a person salutes: if a human being is hungry, then it is up to another human being to feed him/her. George Bush needs to stop talking, admit the mistakes of his all around failed administration, pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq, and excuse his [sic] self from power. The only way America will become more secure is if we have a new administration that cares about Americans even if they don't fall into the top two percent of the wealthiest.
Jesus Christ! This woman is a complete joke. Our military is "occupying" New Orleans because about a third of the New Orleans Police Department went AWOL. And because, I am assured, it is our military's job to do so.
What an inexcusably stupid woman. No wonder Michael Moore, who is a traitor, invited her to take a load off on his site.
If Nothing Else
If nothing else, Katrina makes the argument for biometric identification for all American citizens to be a compelling national interest. A lot of fraud is going on right now with these refugees, but far more is yet to come. The government ought to make fingerprints and photo ID cards a standard issue for all people seeking help in rebuilding in New Orleans and all across the Gulf Coast.
And, needless to say, with so many dead and possibly unidentifiable, a national standard for identifying our citizens is a must.
Pin the Tail on the Donkey
I was somewhat surprised at the reaction last night from some refugees being interviewed by ABC News reporter Dean Reynolds in the parking lot of the Astrodome in Houston. They had just watched the President's speech from New Orleans and Reynolds, at the bidding of Ted Koppel, was asking them what they thought.
Basically, they didn't have a problem with Bush, but with Mayor Ray Nagin and Governor Kathleen Blanco.
Which makes sense. After all, it wasn't Bush who blocked the Red Cross and the Salvation Army from supplying water and food to people trapped at the Superdome, but the Democratic governor of Louisiana.
One of the women blamed Nagin for letting all of those buses just sit there getting waterlogged.
I'm pleased to hear that the people who were most affected by this disaster are equal opportunity assessers of blame. Because, if it were left solely to the Big Media Bush-bashing Machine, the American people might even forget who the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana are.
As for the President's speech from New Orleans, what's with this inane, movie review-quality bullshit they're indulging themselves in on MSNBC and elsewhere? They're griping about the "irony" of Bush speaking from Jackson Square ---an area that was largely undamaged by Katrina? So what?! Would they think it more authentic if the man were doing his spiel in the middle of Dupre Street, wearing waders and pushing away garbage floating towards him with a stick? Grow up, you goddamned ninnies!
Oh, but they do like this "new language of contrition" and pain-feeling, once again proving the point that Oprah Winfrey is the most influential person in America.
If I am not for myself, Who will be for me? If I am only for myself, What am I? And If not now, When?
I'm pretty exhausted tonight, but wanted to tell you a little bit about what's going on here in Austin with regard to the refugees from New Orleans.
For the past several days, I have trained and served as a volunteer caseworker with a very old and well-respected NGO. I leave work every day at about noon and go down to the Austin Convention Center where I help people obtain the financial and medical help they need to get back on their feet.
I have helped good and grateful people who were raised properly and I have helped weak and ungrateful people who can't look me in the eye as they lie about their situations for the sake of scoring some easy money. I have helped people of many different colors and accents and states of mind. I am interested in their stories and I show them the respect that their dignity requires. It has been a good deed.
I'm telling you all of this because I am usually a very selfish and abstract-minded man who doesn't make the effort he should to help others ---and without passing judgement in the instant where it matters. And I'm saying that Katrina is an unimaginable enormity that has brought out the very best and the very worst in people from all walks of life. This is an historic event that demands that everyone contribute in some way.
I don't know of any other society on Earth that acts for the benefit of common people like ours does. Our Federal government is a mammoth caretaker ---and we take that for granted. But there is another principle at work here, too, and it's called the civil society. That's what exists beyond the reach of government and what inhabits the moral lives of those who choose to demonstrate the Golden Rule and Enlightened Self-Interest. Americans possess a moral certainty that is independent of religious dogma and ideology, even if it is often derived from them. The whole world may be grateful for that.
I have chosen to contribute to the efforts to help the survivors of Katrina because I would want the same help given to me in my own hour of need. I am also working for the civil society because I extol its virtues and want to associate myself with it, ultimately.
The karmic wheel rolls on ---and even over those who do not occupy themselves in contemplating it.
The Long Shadow of Huey Long's Paternalism Now Playing: "Every Man a King" by the Kingfish
Have a look at this review in The Daily Howler of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu's ridiculous performance in her interview with FOX News' Chris Wallace yesterday. The problem, it appears, is that Landrieu is toeing the party line:
I am not going to level criticism at local and state officials. Mayor Nagin and most mayors in this country have a hard time getting their people to work on a sunny day, let alone getting them out of the city in front of a hurricane. And it's because this administration and administrations before them do not understand the difficulties that mayors, whether they are in Orlando, Miami, or New Orleans, face.
One of the most important ---if undiscussed--- developments in this whole story is the reversal of polarity between Republicans and Democrats on the issue of Federalism, now in the 21st Century. Today's Democrats can't seem to decide when states' rights are in effect and when they are not. If Bush had gone into Louisiana and Federalized that state's Guard over the governor's objections, all we would have now are stories of Bush the Dictator. But Bush simply pleaded with the governor to order a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans because that is a reasonable step in a system like ours where the local and state governments are expected to exercise authority. There were the usual systems in place to act to help, but bureaucratic blunders that began at the local level stopped those processes dead in their tracks. And that includes not moving hundreds of city buses into immediate service as detailed in the plans that the City of New Orleans has had on hand for years! If you can't admit that, well, then, you must be Mary Landrieu (emphases mine):
WALLACE: But Senator, there were hundreds of buses sitting in that parking lot. Can I just ask the question?
LANDRIEU: You can, but let me finish, if I could, please.
WALLACE: Well, look in the picture here. There were hundreds of buses in parking lots. The city and the state—
LANDRIEU: That is underwater. Those—
WALLACE: It wasn't underwater before the—
LANDRIEU: Those buses were underwater. Those buses—
WALLACE: They weren't underwater on Saturday. They weren't underwater on Sunday.
LANDRIEU: We had two catastrophes. We had a hurricane and then we had a levee break. When the levee broke, not only did New Orleans go underwater, but St. Bernard when underwater and St. Tammany Parish went underwater.
WALLACE: But they weren't underwater on Sunday.
LANDRIEU: And Plaquemines went underwater. And because the mayor evacuated the city, we had the best evacuation between Haley Barbour and Kathleen Blanco of any evacuation I've seen. I'm 50 years old; I've never seen one any better.
WALLACE: But there were a hundred thousand people left in the city.
LANDRIEU: They did a hundred thousand people left in the city because this federal government won't support cities to evacuate people, whether it's from earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes. And that's the truth. And that will come out in the hearing.
What? That's not just grammatical gibberish, either. The Federal government has to tell the mayor of New Orleans to gas up his own fleet of fucking buses and put them on the streets to transport as many people as possible out of the flood-prone areas of the city? That's silly. Ray Nagin should have done that on his own.
I don't know what happened, but Landrieu is full of crap. And I don't even care that she's very cute. She's just wrong about this.
My Favorite News Story Today Mood:
You have to like this:
SARAJEVO (Reuters) - The ethnically divided Bosnian city of Mostar has agreed to erect a new symbol of unity -- a statue of kung fu legend Bruce Lee, worshipped by Muslims, Serbs and Croats.
A group of enthusiasts came up with the idea of honouring the childhood hero of the city's ethnic groups in 2003, on the 30th anniversary of his death. They launched the project, found donors and waited a year for the city's approval.
"We plan to erect the statue in November in the centre of the city," Veselin Gatalo, a member of the Urban Movement organisation, told Reuters by telephone on Monday.
"This will be a monument to universal justice that Mostar needs more than any other city I know."
When I first heard about the proposed memorial to the heroes of Flight 93 at Shanksville, Pennsylvania yesterday, I thought it was a joke. But it isn't. Somehow, the stupid bastards organizing this thing want to make the memorial a sick homage to the crescent symbol of Islam.
"Crescent of Embrace" will feature a Tower of Voices, containing 40 wind chimes -- one for each passenger and crew member who died -- and two stands of red maple trees that will line a walkway caressing the natural bowl shape of the land. Forty separate groves of red and sugar maples will be planted behind the crescent, and a black slate wall will mark the edge of the crash site, where the remains of those who died now rest.
This reminds me of Bill Hicks' observation that, if John F. Kennedy returned to Earth in the manner of Jesus of Nazareth returning to a world of Christians wearing and worshipping crucifixes, how little he would wish to see people wearing miniature Mannlicher-Carcano rifles around their necks.
I certainly hope there is enough outrage expressed to scuttle this disgusting and ill-conceived memorial to people who were victims of the barbarity of Islam.
Think I'm overstating things? Read what one of the artiste-architects has to say about it:
"A crescent is part of architectural vocabulary. It's a generic form used in design," said Paul Murdoch, one of the winning architects. "We don't see any one group having ownership of it."
"Crescent of Embrace" features an arc of maple trees that will turn red each fall.
Murdoch believes it's unfortunate that the design is being interpreted that way.
"You can call it all kinds of things. We can call it an arc. We can call it a circle. We can call it the edge of the bowl. The label doesn't matter to us in terms of intent.
"We have no objection to calling it something else."
Murdoch did say they have no intentions of changing the design.
The design is offensive. Fuck it. It isn't going to happen.