Sunday, July 31, 2005

Snickers . . .

Have you seen the current Snickers commercial on television? There's a bunch of pitiful-looking outdoorsmen lurking in the woods. When a deer wanders into a clearing, they all throw Snickers bars at it. It walks off and the candy guys look constipated. Then a green weenie type walks into the scene and picks up a candy bar to eat it. Snickers are only good for eating.

Here's the problem.

Of all the people working for the advertising agency to develop the ad, and of all the people in the production department making the ad, and of all the sales people working for the ad agency, and of all the people working for the Snickers company who will approve and pay for all the television time in which to run the ad, there apparently was not one damn one of them who said, "No. No Way. This idea is stupid."

Not one.

It's probably statistically impossible for each and every one of them to be dumb. The ones who aren't either have M.B.A.s or are they have been ordered to avoid negative thinking and plan to quit as soon as they find a new job.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Bombing, and other civil rights . . . .

When Varifrank heard that one of the "blessed bombers" expressed concern for his rights, Varifrank found this upsetting. One should avoid upsetting Varifrank wherever possible, for his words are horrible and his fingers on a keyboard are righteous.

Can't we negotiate?

As Tim Blair reports, there are no excuses, and no backing off. It's just the way things have to be whether you approve of it or not.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Empty Jars . . .

How is it going in Iraq? Check out Michael Yon's blog. He's there and he's independent and knows how to write. The "Empty Jars" piece is particularly good, I think.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Copyright pigs. . .

Did you ever turn on the radio on the way to work and wonder, "Why are they still playing this music? I got sick of this track two weeks ago and I can't believe there is any listener out here who wasn't saturated long ago, like me."

Sony just dumped a lot of money to settle a payola charge. Apparently, the company e-mail records showed that the top executives of the company knew that money was being paid to bribe broadcasters to feature Sony music. Taking the case to judgment probably would have cost a lot more.

This is commercial bribery. It makes Sony artists look more popular than they are. But more importantly, the broadcaster principal ends up paying more money in copyright royalties. And the extra broadcasts probably result in additional purchases of the CDs, so additional copyright royalties were earned. And if the extra broadcasts make it look as if the music is more popular than it is, other broadcasters, looking at the spin numbers, might conclude they need to play the music more frequently, thus generating even more copyright royalties.

It's all about copyright royalties. Oink.

And don't you dare download any of their music for free from the web, or they will call down the Horny Bats from Copyright Hell to smite you so as to inflict justice upon your unworthy self, for having heartlessly deprived worthy, hardworking creative artists from their little copyright pittances.

But, hey. If they cheat on bribing broadcasters, what's the chances that maybe they might not pay every penny earned in royalties to the recording artists? For that matter, what's the chances that they might cheat in testimony to Congress and in courts about the extent of copyright theft and piracy.

I'm just asking, of course.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Comfort only a politician can bring . . .

In those difficult moments we all will have where we must gather to mourn the loss of a loved one and to remember them, one never thinks that maybe, gee, if only a state politician would stop by to help in the healing process.

If this happened as reported, it's truly repulsive and needs to be remembered when re-election time comes around.

Anniversary Card . . .

Happy Anniversary to me and my bride of 40 years!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Protecting CIA, people, but not the way you think. . .

Why are we all supposed to be excited about the Valerie Plame affair? She wasn't covert at the time and her actual name apparently was not mentioned. But the press is all in high dudgeon and CIA types are crawling up into the sunlight of press attention to condemn the "outing" of a CIA agent.

I think the opinion here probably explains a lot. It's worth a read.

Maybe Rove needs to be fired; maybe not. But certainly the CIA needs to be pruned of careerists who don't produce anything except entries on their personnel files. And clowns.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

No News Here. Nothing to See. Go Back to Your Homes, Now . . .

This isn't news. Condi Rice's entourage was roughed up while meeting with the president of Sudan, by Sudanese security forces at the presidential compound. (thanks, Austin Bay) But you don't see much press indignation, despite the fact some reporters of note were roughed up as well. You might recognize the Sudan as a place where there is considerable unrest including human rights violations. Also involved is radical Islamists. But let's just ignore this sort of thing because making a fuss would be so, oh, I don't know, declasse'. It's just how they do things in that culture. You wouldn't want to judge by our cultural norms, for that would be arrogant and bigoted.

You've heard of carrot and stick diplomacy, I'm sure.

Well, if a person has no intention in the first place of using the stick, and the opposition knows that person won't use the stick because they've tested and seen that one won't strike out even when it is justified -- well, at least take the damn carrot back! And do it in a noisy fashion so as to be instructive to the many other jerks and jackasses our foreign policy must confront..

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Karl Rove, evil genius . . .

Let's examine the alternatives.

Karl Rove, evil genius in the White House advising George Bush.


Karl Rove, evil genius out of the White House, advising George Bush by telephone.

Seems like a whole bunch of press ink is being invested to achieve a press gotcha moment.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Show me the money, revisited. . . .

I watched a little bit of the British Open on television -- not that much as I was obliged by the weather to play some golf of my own.

The tournament is being played at St. Andrews, mostly to recognize Jack Nicklaus and to note the fact that he is playing in his last British Open. Moreover, it was reported that Scotland has issued new five pound notes bearing a picture of Jack Nicklaus, where there is normally a picture of a king or a queen, or some public building. That must be nice, to have your picture on the money, and just hope for the time when somebody asks, "Do you have any pictue identification?"

This means, of course, that Tiger Woods will revise his personal goals to include having his picture, fist pumping in triumph, on the ten pound note.

I don't know if this will be a trend, but I live in trepidation over the thought that some day I might reach for my money clip and find a $17.50 bill with a picture of Posh Spice and Beckham on it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

"Where is the Gandhi of Islam?"

Now this is interesting. Somebody is willing to observe that we get pitiful little out of the moderate Islam that everyone says is most of Islam.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

If you don't mess with the nasty terrorist, Part III

Wonder what makes a terrorist? Here's the answer. (thanks to Two things come to mind.:

First, terrorists are made to be that way, by purposeful training from an early age. The terrorists are unlikely to be rehabilitated at this point.

Second, the training doesn't completely "take" in most cases. Even those who have been trained in institutionalized Islamic rage, do not become terrorists. But the ones for whom the training didn't take, no matter how moderate they may be, know and to some degree understand and sympathize with the thinking of the terrorists.

Friday, July 08, 2005

All I Could Think to Do . . .

If you leave the nasty terrorist alone, Part II

I think Victor Hanson has it pretty much right.

Blood feuds and beards.

This little essay (pointed out by Instapundit) adds some meaning to what we've been calling terrorism -- it's a blood feud.

If this is so, then, calling it terrorism, as I've been doing, might be a problem. With terrorism in it's normal sense, it sounds as if the horrific acts are perpetrated to obtain some strategic or political advantage, oh, like maybe the imposition of Wahabbi Islam worldwide. If it's a blood feud, on the other hand, the horrific act is its own justification.

From my own point of view, that of an infidel target, an effective response in either case has everything to do with elimination of the threat or the persons who present the threat. If it's a blood feud, then appeasement or acceptance, the desired approach of many, is just not going to increase our own safety.

Of course, if you aren't interested in increasing our own safety, you aren't one of us. And it might come down to the "one of us, one of them" kinds of distinctions.

As most members of either side of this conflict do not wear uniforms, I have a suggestion. My suggestion is that we should make identification easy. Good guys don't have beards. Even if the guy with a beard is a full college professor. Okay?

Now, let's shave and then let's get down to some serious feudin'.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

If you don't bother the nasty terrorist, then the . . .

. . . nasty terrorist won't bother you. Yeah, right.

Think of our friends, relatives, and allies in Britain today, and our men and women who have volunteered to risk harm to themselves overseas in a daily effort to end the threat of terrorism.

I sure get tired of the silly notion that we should somehow negotiate with the terrorists to find some way of getting along. If we will only stop attacking, then they would surely be willing to sit down and talk it over, tra-la, tra-la.

We aren't being attacked by criminals to be dealt within the airy, intellectual confines of trial, rights of the accused, and punishment. We aren't faced with an organized, uniformed army pursuing some national political objective and fighting under the Geneva convention and historic notions of warfare. And we aren't being opposed by competitors negotiating for a piece of the action, where each side concedes that the other must receive at least a sufficient share so as to assure mutual survival of the negotiators.

Since 9 - 11, and before, the enemy's position has been something we cannot negotiate. They want us to be dead, Islamic, or dhimmi and living under sharia. And they appear to want nothing else from us, except perhaps the tools with which to make us dead, Islamic, and living under sharia. The only matter that can be negotiated is the tools to obtain the ends, sword, bullet, flame, or our willing capitulation, whatever will lead to one system of belief, theirs, dominant over the entire world. They will attack when they have a good opportunity, in New York, or in London, or in Madrid. They will attack over Lockerbie, or in Indonesia. They will attack cripples in wheel chairs on luxury liners, or athletes at the Olympic games. They will blow up antique monuments, or schools filled with children. They will attack however, or wherever they can in an effort to convince us that they cannot be stopped and that opposition is wasted effort.

This isn't, as I said, crime or war or competition for resources. This is jihad. This is black and white. We are in a fight that we did not choose, where our objective is nothing less than our physicial and cultural survival. The fact that you may not have seen it quite come to that in your own neighborhood, does not make it any the less true. The fact that one has not yet been forced to choose between black and white, doesn't mean that there are any shades of grey in between. It just means that one is enjoying a temporary parochial circumstance. It just means that right now, the enemy seems to think that terrorism will work.

And there is some history to support the belief that we will not act decisively. We have among us professors and media stars and politicians, self-ordained philosophers and perpetual adolescents who oppose use of our military in efforts to increase our security, all from positions of relative safety, for their own personal aggrandisement.

The enemy depends on us to be restrained. The enemy depends on us to sabotage our own efforts at defense, all out of some supposedly high-minded notions.

The enemy has seen that a well-organized crowd of us will seize the opportunity to demonstrate our moral superiority over the hoi polloi by arguing the value non-aggression over the security demanded by our social inferiors. The enemy knows that men such as these will do and say anything that comes to mind to distinguish themselves from the society they despise, up to and including crippling our own military with budget cuts and the self-satisfaction that comes to those who purposefully undemine the morale of our military.

There is one legitimate reason to hold back -- we would hope we can avoid harm to those innocent and long-suffering people among whom the terrorists hide. We probably could, of course, turn the entire region that births the terrorists into in unhabitable glass shield, but for concern over the innocent citizens of the region.

But beyond that consideration, anything any of our disloyal opposition does to prevent even one step towards stopping the jihad, places the jihad that one step closer to its objective. And the objective is that moment when you, or I, or somebody we know or care about, perishes in a red cloud of exploding flesh and body parts.

The message from London is the same as it has been - the terrorists will not stop themselves. We must stop them.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Eminent domain, once again.

What do you get when you pile up a whole bunch of coincidences?

You get a pattern, and here' a mighty interesting pattern involving eminent domain and the reactions of certain politician types to the recent Supreme Court Kelo ruling concerning government condemnation of land to make it available to a private developer.

Plame Journalist Sentenced, movie contract to follow . . .

One of the reporters holding out on the Plame matter has been sentenced to go to jail, today, for refusing to give up the source of leaked government information, as she was ordered to do. Her posture, of course, is that she is protecting the rights of journalists such as herself. She'll be the subject of a movie deal before the week is out. A regular 21st century Joan of Arc, at least in the confines of her own mind.

Notice that her lawyer points out that she didn't actually publish anything, so she didn't do anything wrong.

Hey, pal. That's a clue that this case isn't about the information; it's about disobeying a judge's lawful order. Or are you cynically playing the "It's-not-adultery-if-it's-oral; it's-not-lying-if-it's-about-sex" card?

I do, however, have one small, unlawyerly concern about the poor little journalist going to jail. Tell me again why it is that she has to go to jail, and Michael Jackson doesn't? The woman is a tool.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

We might be winning . . .

I encountered an idea I wish I could credit -- winning a war isn't a matter of how many dead bodies there are. A war is lost by the side that decides it can't continue fighting. That's why Viet Nam was a loss. For good or ill, we bugged out and left those of our allies who couldn't run away, to stay and take the punishment.

It's like there are three wars to win: the war of bodies and bullets, the war against the psyche of the enemy, and the war against the psyche of our permanent left -- who feel just grand about their role in the Viet Nam war, as they cared far more about being paid attention to than they ever did about peace, love and rock and roll.

I think it is pretty obvious we've been winning in the area of bodies and bullets. As to the psyche side of the war, well, Sunnis are starting to move towards participating in the Iraqi democracy. This is a big deal, I think. If Sunnis actually participate and if Shiites make room for them to do so, the Iraqi democracy stands a much better chance of succeeding.

That ought to get the Iranian mullahs and the American permanent leftists gibbering and chewing on their own beards and preaching extravagant but unimaginative threats.


Monday, July 04, 2005

Patriotism, another perspective . . .

Iowahawk has a special guest message on patriotism from Al-Zarqawi. I know it makes me resolved to be not quite so quick to judge a person just on the basis that he blows people up from time to time, or that he seeks a nasty death for all infidels. I mean, you never can tell. Maybe he just straps his turban on too tight sometime.

A Free and Irresponsible Press, . . .

The press apologists like to argue that without being able to hide the identify of their source, people woulnd't talk to them out of fear, and that without the protection of a shield of privilege, the press wouldn't be able to be free. (Quote.) Reporters must be able to protect confidential sources that otherwise would not come forward for fear of retribution. It is this basic trust that protects the public's right to know and allows journalists to do their jobs.

Maybe so. But maybe not. I don't recall what law gave the public a right to know anything the press thinks the public should know. And what law gave the press the right to find it out and report it? They have freedom of speech, sure, but the rest of it? When was the last time you heard of a reporter officially charged with violation of a so-called basic trust? They get Pulitzers for that.

Most of the people who want to speak on condition of secrecy really, really, REALLY, want to tell a story to the press. They just don't want to get caught. They have no problem with betrayal in general; they just have a problem with their own identity being betrayed. In other words, these are weasels, who insist on rules of conduct for others but not for themselves.

I say, let's test the proposition. Let's make it illegal in a couple of states for reporters to report anything at all without having attribution available. If reporters lose jobs in those states for lack of anything to report, well, maybe they were right.

But I, for one, bet the sky won't fall in if but for a reportorial shield allowing reporters to report without being required to give up their sources. If there wasn't any news, reporters could always make stuff up. It's not as if they've haven't done it before.

Doone-something or other. . . .

Now this is real kiss good-bye, and it is particularly poignant because the kissee didn't know he actually was going anywhere until just now.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Deeply Disappointed . . .

Much of the press , including the New York Times, is "deeply disappointed" that Time, Inc. decided that it would obey the law after all. Time, Inc. gave up some of the information wanted in the investigation about whether any laws were broken by government officials in "outing" a CIA operative. Journalists think that breaking the law is okay, provided you are doing so while committing journalism. (They probably got that goofy notion from Hollywood movies.)

Of course, if it turns out that someone in the administration did, indeed, break the law, it will just make their day and we won't hear so much about the sanctity of the press for a while.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Journalistic privilege, once more with feeling . . .

The reporters who disobeyed a court order to divulge their sources, now that all of their appeals are gone and they've impressed all the simple minded with their bravery and dedication to noble journalistic ambitions (*cough*stupid!*cough*) still haven't figured it out. It's over and the law -- which was clear to all but those afflicted with blinding journalistic hubris -- has been affirmed. They have to give the information up if a judge tells them to.

Now their employer, which was itself facing an increasingly large fine for not giving up the information, finally gave up the information when the case reached the end of the road. So, our plucky journalists say, why, there's no need to send them to jail after all, as the court now has all the information. Or, if the judge just has to do something (dramatic sigh with eyes turned heavenward) home incarceration where the jounalist would not go out in public much should be good enough to satisfy all but the most unreasonable of judges.

Dolts. It has never been entirely about the information. The jail sentence for contempt is not only about getting information. This case is about willful defiance of the law. And yet, this pair still thinks they are above the law, having been annointed or at least self-appointed, as investigative journalists.

You know what it's like? It's like, "Daddy, how could you? All the cool kids are getting tattoos so why do I have to be grounded just because I got a little 'Che Lives!' tattoo that hardly anyone will ever see, on my left breast? I know you told me don't do it over and over, but this is so unfair! I'll miss my friends at the mall."

Going with what you got . . .

You hear, now and then, that the military is having difficulty recruiting enough people, with the implication that Americans of service age don't support the military. You hear, now and then, that our guys don't have enough needed equipment to do the job. And you especially hear now and then that we are relying too much on the Reserves and are extending enlistment terms, with the implication that the military has not planned well for its current needs.

In that connection, this is an interesting insight into how our military has been deployed in the last ten or fifteen years.

Fourth of July . . .

Happy 4th of July to all of us, and to all the people we have helped, and will help, to win their own independence.