June 21, 2005 - June 14, 2005
Monday, June 20, 2005
OUR FRIENDLY UNCLES
this year for the
first time. In many ways it's a silly show, but all its sound and fury
does reinforce an elementary imperative that too many people forget:
REMEMBER THE MISSION. That's what distinguishes the Jack Bauer
character from all his supposed allies in the government and the
counter-terrorism organization he works for. The bad guys don't forget
their mission, but the good guys keep getting distracted by their
romantic relationships, their egos, and most alarmingly, by their
inability to imagine that prospective mass tragedy far outweighs the
ugliness of what must be done right now, right here, to prevent it. In 24
, only Jack Bauer has the vision
and the discipline to remain focused on the reality of the situation.
He's the one who's willing to torture his lover's husband to find the
perpetrator of a nuclear terror plot, the one who will sacrifice the
life of someone who saved his own to keep a bad guy with important
information alive, the one who will defy a timid President to extract
information from a suspect through extra-constitutional means, the one
who will repeatedly risk his own life to keep the bad thing from
happening. The others remember the mission sometimes, or partially, or
up to a point, but at critical junctures they get tricked by their own
emotions or the cynical maneuverings of the enemy into disastrous cul
de sacs where their prideful, civilized virtues make them accomplices
of evil. Somehow, they just can't seem to remember that the right thing
to do under ordinary circumstances can be the completely wrong thing to
do when 10 million lives are at stake. The horror of the current moment
blinds them to the unutterably greater horror of the likely death of 10
The TV show makes this point so often and in so many ways that it
becomes almost tiresome. But when I think they're overdoing it, I need
only look at the headlines to see that there's no such thing as
overdoing it. So-called civlized societies absolutely insist on
forgetting the mission.
The most recent example is the Durbin affair. The blogosphere has been
saturated with anti-Durbin
, but the most important part of the
story has been forgotten in the rush to pillory one idiot senator.
There will always be idiots in the Senate. That's not news, and it's
not very important. It doesn't really matter whether he apologizes or
not or whether he can be made to recognize his own reckless
irresponsibility or not. What does matter is that the mainstream media
and the American people can't seem to REMEMBER THE MISSION, which is to
win a war against ruthless barbarians who are absolutely set on killing
us. The real plotline of the Durbin remarks is that only a handful of
conservatives are outraged by what he said. The majority of average
Americans are indifferent, the media elites are embarrassed but intent
on covering for him, and the spotlight remains fixed on the irrelevant
idiot senator rather than the suicidal apathy of the nation he has
betrayed at a level which amounts to treason.
So I'm having a Jack Bauer moment. Here's my call to action for the
bloggers: forget Durbin. Apply your wit and eloquence to the far more
difficult objective of waking up the American people. We are at war,
and the mainstream media are the accomplices of our enemies. That's the
plotline of our story. You want to be a hero? Expose and defeat the
villains who are doing the most harm, not the pitiful dupes and foils
they use to distract us from their poisonous ongoing machinations.
UPDATE: Thanks to Michelle Malkin -- welcome to
MichelleMalkin.com visitors. Feel free to take a look around.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
There was once a Father who had Two Children -- Part II
Drudge confirms what we reported here
April 7th. FYI.
Queen goes nuts
H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II
ROCKING ROLL MUSIC
very disturbing report from the United Kingdom:
Queen Elizabeth II has dipped into the
royal purse to snap up an iPod.
The Sun said the 79-year-old sovereign had bought a six-gigabyte silver
model for 169 pounds.
The pocket-sized digital music players can hold up to 10,000 downloaded
"The Queen loves music and was impressed by how small and handy the
iPod is," a royal insider told the tabloid on Friday...
The newspaper suggested Abba's "Dancing Queen" and "Everybody Wants to
Rule the World" by Tears for Fears might be on the royal iPod.
? Is this a new
royal amusement, or is it something more than that, something
considerably darker? I was reminded of another Brit, Andrew Sullivan,
who delineated the gathering iPod storm back in February
He wrote, in part:
(A)s I looked across the throngs on the
pavements, I began to see why. There were little white wires hanging
down from their ears, tucked into pockets or purses or jackets. The
eyes were a little vacant. Each was in his or her own little musical
world, walking to their own soundtrack, stars in their own music video,
almost oblivious to the world around them. These are the iPod people...
(L)ike all addictive cults, it's spreading. There are now 22 million
iPod owners in the United States and Apple is now becoming a mass
market company for the first time. Walk through any U.S. airport these
days, and you will see person after person gliding through the social
ether as if on auto-pilot. Get on a subway, and you're surrounded by a
bunch of Stepford commuters, all sealed off from each other, staring
into mid-space as if anaesthetized by technology. Don't ask, don't
tell, don't over-hear, don't observe. Just tune in and tune out.
Has it all finally become too much for Her Royal Highness? The Princess
Di scandals, the continuous misadventures of Harry
business, the final mediocre season of AbFab
Is she now about to withdraw into her "own little musical world," where
she can "star in her own music video" while "staring into mid-space"?
That would be sad indeed.
I prefer, though, to think of hers as a madness more along the lines
of King Lear, in which she is actually reconnecting with her subjects
by entering the state of spreading "atomist" isolation decried by Mr.
Sullivan. While she listens to "Dancing Queen," tapping her royal foot,
isn't it possible that in the depths of her anaesthetized mind, a voice
Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just. (Act III, Scene IV,Lines 28-36)
No, I don't think so, either.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Liberty -- the bell is cracked
Deciding where to move? Most Americans move every five to seven years, at least that's what we're told.
And, we found a helpful way to know where to go -- put together by Al
Doyle. More accurately, where not to move, if you have a choice.
Al's analysis is not complicated. It doesn't involve complicated computer models that combine the
studied values of real estate, education spending, test scores, employment, economic output, or other factors
that might be considered by a better funded analysis. No, Al's got to work fast and under budget, so
he only looked at one thing -- gun laws.
The logic seems simple enough -- if the citizens of a State don't care enough about their right to
keep and bear arms, they probably don't care enough to stop intrusive governmental regulations in
every other area of life. Since a low value on protecting life in the most deadly of circumstances
leaves the barn door wide open in other less grave circumstances. Makes sense to us.
You're not given a list of places to go, rather a list of States to avoid.
Without further adieu:
The Seven Worst Places to Live -- by gun law reckoning:
2. Washington D.C.
6. New Jersey
7. New York
NJ -- Only holders of a Firearms Purchasers Identification Card (FID) may legally
own a weapon and according to Packing.org:
"As of 12-30-03 there are a little over 3000 permits issued in a state of 8 million people. Most are
held by retired law enforcement officers." This, of course, refers to concealed carry permits and
not to the FID -- we couldn't figure out how many of these exist.
MA -- Residents must register with the state and obtain permission from Massachusetts to
purchase even a simple single-shot long gun. Class A licenses are required for
handgun ownership, and random restrictions may be placed on the license.
IL -- There is a handgun ban in the City of Chicago. So, no one is shot by a handgun? In 2002,
511 (almost two per day) homicides were committed
with a firearm. H-m-m-m didn't they know that
it was illegal to own a handgun in Chicago? It is probably illegal to kill people in the City
of Chicago too. Outside Chicago -- all Illinois gun owners are required to obtain a Firearm Owners
Identification Card (FOID) from the state, and the card must be presented to purchase even a single
round of ammo. All gun purchases are supposed to be registered with the state.
DC -- All handgun ownership is banned, and those who own rifles or shotguns must register with the city.
CA -- You must register all handguns with the Department of Justice. There is also a 10-day
waiting period for every gun purchase.
You can read all the details in Al's analysis.
What to do? Well, as we like to say, "That'd be up to you." You can live in these places and break the
law. You can live in these places and attempt to abide by the laws. You could work feverishly to
change the laws. Or, you could just look around at the forty-three other states that value your liberty
a bit higher than these frightful seven. Good luck.
Is it killing baseball?
When the United States Congress
decided to hold hearings about the unaddressed problems in baseball, I
was exhilarated. I thought that the greatest game in the world might be
salvaged in spite of itself. I looked forward to an in-depth
investigation of the rummy doings with the S-Word. But I was bitterly
disappointed. All the beltway crowd wanted to talk about was steroids.
No mention of the real S-Word: socks.
I began to wonder if I'm the only one who's noticed. Anybody else? Take
the picture up top. It's a college team. Most of the players are
wearing their pants to just below the knee, where the baseball socks
begin. But just as in the major leagues, there's something else going
on in the picture too. Something sinister. Starting in the middle of
the picture, you can see a player with his pants extending all the way
to the ankles. To the right of him there's another and another doing
the same. And the player who's out in front of the rest of the team is
wearing his pants all the way to his shoe tops.
This isn't an isolated phenomenon. It's like a cancer on the game, a
creeping malignancy that will destroy baseball as surely as
the ludicrous spinnaker costumes worn by basketball players have
transformed the NBA into a clown show.
Ruth vs. Derek Jeter
"So what," I can hear some of you saying. "Big deal." Well, it is. For
three reasons. First, why do you think they call them uniforms? Members
of a team are supposed to dress alike. Yet it's clear that players are
doing whatever they want with their trouser lengths. It's
unprofessional. Second, the result is jarring to the eye. Especially
for those of us who grew up with baseball -- all those generations of
baseball socks embedded in our brains -- the pants-to-the-shoe-tops
look is akin to the hip-hop fad of displaying four inches of boxer shorts
above the low-riding waistband. It gives the impression that something
has fallen down that shouldn't. Baseball pants are supposed to show
plenty of sock, a fact borne out by the third reason this is such an
outrage: it undermines a mysterious but not insubstantial element of
the history of baseball.
Sandy Koufax vs. Randy Johnson
For whatever reason, major league baseball has always been obsessed
with socks, even to the point of naming teams after them. You don't
find any NFL teams called The Purple Helmets or The Black Shoulderpads.
But baseball has the Chicago White Sox, the Boston Red Sox, and the
Cincinnati Redlegs (as far as I know it's still their official name).
So it's kind of important even if none of us understands where this
peculiar fixation came from. And it's damned annoying when
disrespectful players tarnish the legacy of their own teams with
displays such as this:
The Boston Red Jax?
Scarcely a red sock in sight. And why exactly is it better to look like
a housepainter than a major league baseball player?
Still think I'm over-reacting? Then explain this:
Detail from Red Sox photo
It's the next step in the process, pants that follow the mall fashion
mode of wrapping under the heel of the shoe. In this direction lies the
end of baseball as a sport -- players tripping and falling and losing games
because of their own
feckless sartorial affectations. It has to be stopped forthwith.
The worst thing is that it's happening everywhere. Even little league
teams are looking motlier than usual because some of the kids wear
their pants right, and others wear them wherever. Can't we get back to
some standards of decency in at least this one small category of
Which do you prefer?
Some things -- especially small things
-- really should be held sacred.
Well, I'm glad I got it off my chest, anyway. It's been bothering me.
Now, hopefully, it will bother you too.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Dick Durbin, all happy and everything after his Guantanamo speech.
A few Republicans were really amazed when Senator Dick Durbin of
Illinois commented on an FBI report about prisoner humiliations and
hardships at Guantanamo in these terms:
"If I read this to you and did not tell
you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to
prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must
have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime--
Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings."
We just figured he hadn't done any homework about the Soviets
etc, but shrewder heads than ours suspected darker problems than that,
especially when this little item
came to light:
Durbin did not plan to apologize for the
comments, spokesman Joe Shoemaker said.
"This administration should
apologize to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions
and authorizing torture techniques that put our troops at risk and make
Americans less secure," Durbin said in a statement Wednesday evening.
Again, we thought he just didn't know that terrorists are not
covered by the Geneva Conventions, but we were wrong. Not long
afterwards, a friend called with the very sad news that:
(The) brain was severely shriveled and
weighed about half that of a normal adult's. The damage to it "was
irrecoverable, and no amount of treatment or rehabilitation would have
reversed" it, said pathologist Jon Thogmartin.
At least he and his young friend are
still smiling. That's nice.
Our sincere condolences go out to the
Senator and his family, along
with our immense relief that we didn't say any of the nasty things that
have been popping up all over the internet.
For those of you seeking more depth in coverage of Durbin's remarks, Michelle Malkin
has become the unofficial clearinghouse for blog entries reeducating
the Illinois senator. And if it's depth you want, here
is InstaPunk's lengthy (and quite serious) essay on torture in Nazi
Germany and Soviet Russia as they relate to the Abu Ghraib infractions.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
A new look for the King of Pop.
Back to Archive Index AN XOFF NEWS
Reliable unnamed sources have informed InstaPunk's XOFF
News Team that one week from today, Matt
will be breaking the most shocking story yet about the final
days of the Jackson trial:
Drudge Report has just learned that in the frantic final days of jury
deliberation, the Jackson camp was so alarmed about the prospect of
a guilty verdict that the decision was taken to prepare the troubled
singer for a term in prison. The strategy? Another round of plastic
surgery, the most extensive yet undertaken by the former King of Pop.
much publicized trips to the hospital in the week prior to the
verdict were an elaborate deception, during which Michael Jackson
was actually admitted to the hospital for surgery to give him the
likeness of the late
Charles "Sonny" Liston. A Jackson spokesman said privately that the
intention was to enable the singer to survive the physical
confrontations of life in a penitentiary.
spokesman said, "Let's face it. A face that could scare the then
Cassius Clay could probably still scare the most dangerous brutes in
the joint. At least, that was the hope."
person who returned from the hospital to Neverland and subsequently
attended the reading of the verdict was an impostor, reportedly a young
Greek woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Jackson despite being
25 pounds thinner. Her silence before and after the reading of the
verdict was necessary to conceal the fact that her voice is
considerably lower than Jackson's.
an ironic turn, the surgery was completed just prior to the delivery
of the verdict, and the Jackson spokesman cited above says that the
full head and body makeover will now be spun as a measure to prevent
small boys from being
so overwhelmingly attracted to the singer in future.
seen him since they took the bandages off," said the
spokesperson, "and believe me, he'll scare the pants off little kids
from now on. Well, maybe I didn't word that exactly right, but you know
what I mean..."
word yet on how Michael Jackson feels about the result of what in
retrospect was unnecessary surgery, but in the days since the end of
the trial he has already begun work on a new album, tentatively titled
"Git Down with the Godfather of Pop," from which we've been able to
acquire the following brief clip:
The XOFF News Team will continue to beg, borrow, and steal whatever we
can from the Drudge Report, in accordance with the highest standards of
journalism, as always, to keep our audience up to date on the vilest
gossip we can pass off as news. Stay tuned.