Jan 222003

If we had finished the Gulf War Saddam Hussein would be dead. If we had finished the Korean War no one would have ever heard of Kim Jong-il. There may be a lesson in this somewhere.

Jan 222003

Ian Hamet writes:

Dear Mr. Haspel,

I’ve just launched my own blog, and included you on my blogroll. Since I’m not up on blog etiquette, letting you know seemed the decent thing to do. I’m not asking for reciprocal links or a mention or anything, just letting you know that I’m here.

My blog roll is broken up by lines from classic movies. There’s no real rhyme or reason to your being listed under “I have two ex-wives, a mother and several bartenders depending on me,” from North by Northwest (1959), so if you want something else, just drop me a line.

Thank you for your time.

Now wouldn’t you give a link to someone who asked so politely? I would. His blog is called Banana Oil, and it’s about movies mostly. He explains the title here.

Jan 202003

ANSWER, of the pro-Milosevic, pro-Kim-Jong-il, pro-socialist, pro-mass-murder agenda, organizes a rally against war on Iraq. If you march, how much ancillary support do you give to ANSWER?

Oliver Willis and others who say “none” are surely wrong. The point of a rally is the crowd. When you join a crowd you become of the crowd; you put away individual things. Careful intellectual discriminations are not included with the package. Bigger crowds mean more publicity for ANSWER, and all publicity, as bloggers know better than anyone, is good publicity.

Tacitus says “complete” and Megan McArdle almost agrees. They’re wrong too. More accurately, you support the views for which the organizers are widely known. You can hardly be held responsible for their secret (or at least obscure) views. This is why the analogy Megan gives, of a KKK-sponsored rally for abandoned puppies, is tendentious. The Klan is properly associated in the minds of most of us with white supremacism, not animal welfare.

If you attend a rally, you don’t support, in any significant way, the views the organizers hold. What you do support, besides the views for which they’re already known, is the views that they express that day. And if you marched at the anti-war rally you supported various nasty strains of loopy anti-Americanism. Jim Henley can wave his “PEACE NOW SOCIALISM NEVER” sign as vigorously as he likes, but this weekend he, and all the others of similar convictions who marched, gave aid and comfort to the people that they profess to despise, just the same.

Jan 112003

It’s a glorious day for Death Row inmates in Illinois, as Governor Ryan commuted every death sentence today.

“The death penalty in Illinois is not imposed fairly or uniformly,” said Ryan, but is often based on geography, race, nationality or economic status.

“The legislature couldn’t reform it,” the 69-year-old governor said. “Lawmakers won’t repeal it. And I won’t stand for it.”

“So there,” continued the governor, adding, in reply to criticisms that he had arrogantly substituted his own judgment for those of juries and courts, “I’m rubber and you’re glue and everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” Seriously, I oppose the death penalty, but everyone should object to this circumvention of the law regardless of his views on the matter.

Jan 102003

Dr. Weevil had a post a few days ago about ambiguous warning signs, like

Slow Down
Get Ticket

In the lobby of the building where I work there’s a sign that reads

No Soliciting
Violators Will
Be Prosecuted

Which not only lets the beggars off the hook, but encourages non-begging violators to start begging if caught in the act.

(Update: Dr. Weevil comes up with the best sign yet.)

Jan 102003

An early finalist is Lileks:

The fact that [Gangs of New York] was Martys dream project, sixty-seven years in the making, was never good news. Dream projects long deferred usually bite the wax tadpole. Ill call it the Saucy Jack syndrome, and leave the obscure reference at that.

Points off for calling attention to its obscurity, but still.