Monday, January 31, 2005

Here's a great piece on how and why men are funnier than women. There are a few exceptions of course, but as a rule this can't be denied:

Okay, show of hands: How many girls memorized all the dialogue from Monty Python and the Holy Grail when they were 14? No one? Not a surprise. But I did, and a ton of other guys did, followed by Steve Martin routines, Coneheads sketches, and the big John Belushi "Who's with me?" speech at the end of Animal House. What in the world led us to do that? Why is being funny important to young men? Does the Y chromosome carry something the X doesn't?

Well, here's an argument against anything genetic. I know for a fact that I wasn't born funny. I learned it in my teens as a way of getting attention. I wasn't a good athlete or particularly easy on the eyes, so getting a laugh was my best shot at getting girls to notice me. A good sense of humor is never going to compete with a 90-mph fastball in terms of babe appeal, but it's a better path to alpha-male status than, oh, say, learning to program a Radio Shack TRS-80 home computer. (I did that! So lonely!)

Most funny people I know tell more or less the same story: They learned to be funny in order to be noticed, sometimes by parents, frequently by the opposite sex. (One writer I know contemplated calling his company "Look at Me! Productions.") Young girls who want attention have other weapons — they can scream, they can cry, they can grow breasts. They can be heartbreakingly beautiful and call me a nerd for imitating the Coneheads all the time. Learning to be funny would seem, for girls, to be more of a last resort.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

A fascinating piece here from the London Times about how North Korea is on the verge of finally falling apart. The secret police are starting to sneak across the border and look the other way when others do. And as much as I frequently find Christians annoying you have to give them credit when you read things like this:

“Everybody knows there is a way out,” said a woman, who for obvious reasons cannot be identified but who spoke in front of several witnesses.

“They know there is a Christian network to put them in contact with the underground, to break into embassies in Beijing or to get into Vietnam. They know, but you have to pay a lot of money to middlemen who have the Christian contacts.”

Her knowledge was remarkable. North Korean newspapers are stifled by state control. Televisions receive only one channel which is devoted to the Dear Leader’s deeds. Radios are fixed to a single frequency. For most citizens the internet is just a word.

Yet North Koreans confirmed that they knew that escapers to China should look for buildings displaying a Christian cross and should ask among Korean speakers for people who knew the word of Jesus.

“The information blockade is like a dam and when it bursts there will be a great wave,” said Shin, the crusading pastor.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

iowahawk: It Is Finally Time To Exit The Oldsmobile Here's Iowahawk going after Teddy Kennedy for his defeatist remarks about Iraq. This guy is too funny.

Like all Americans, I had high hopes for the future of the Oldsmobile and its passengers, as we struggle against the onrushing water and its poorly-designed shoulder belts. But as claustrophobia sets in we must begin to sober up and face the truth: hope is no longer an option.

It is time for us to recognize that our continued presence in this volatile region is a hinderance to the Oldsmobile and its people. Rather than helping the situation we are further weighing down the Oldsmobile, causing it to sink faster and faster into the quagmire of Chappaquidick Bay, creating a dangerous situation for both ourselves as well as its passengers who are desperately seeking an air pocket in which to start a better life.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Italy to act on Somalia graves I wonder what we'll do when France becomes an Islamic country and they start digging up Coleville sur Mer and the other WWI and WWII cemetaries.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Harvard Hysterics A great piece here from George Will. It's about Larry Summers' comments on why there aren't many woman in the sciences, and how it could be due to innate differences between men and women. The hysterical overreaction to that simple observation of reality was priceless.

Someone like MIT biology professor Nancy Hopkins, the hysteric who, hearing Summers, "felt I was going to be sick. My heart was pounding and my breath was shallow." And, "I just couldn't breathe because this kind of bias makes me physically ill." She said that if she had not bolted from the room, "I would've either blacked out or thrown up."

Is this the fruit of feminism? A woman at the peak of the academic pyramid becomes theatrically flurried by an unwelcome idea and, like a Victorian maiden exposed to male coarseness, suffers the vapors and collapses on the drawing room carpet in a heap of crinolines until revived by smelling salts and the offending brute's contrition?

Monday, January 24, 2005

Taking jihad seriously I hold out no hope for this happening unfortunately. The MSM and entire State Department would collectively shit themselves if we approached Islamists and the countries that support them they way they approach us.

To be a friend of the United States, each must renounce entirely any intention to make good on the Islamic goals and responsibilities enunciated by the Pakistani Islamic leader Syed Abul Ala Maududi, who declared that non-Muslims have "absolutely no right to seize the reins of power in any part of God's earth nor to direct the collective affairs of human beings according to their own misconceived doctrines." If they do, "the believers would be under an obligation to do their utmost to dislodge them from political power and to make them live in subservience to the Islamic way of life."

His comments were in full accord with Islamic theology and history, as well as with the Koran as it has been read and understood by Muslims for centuries. This is the goal of the jihadists today; it should be the fundamental defining point of U.S. alliances with Muslim states.
The United States should also immediately initiate a full-scale Manhattan Project to find new energy sources, so that the needed reconfiguration of our alliances can be more than just words.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Espionage by any other name This was the first thing that I thought of as well. In any other era ol' Seymour would be in prison (at least) for the fine work he does. With Americans like him, who needs terrorists. Talk about a useful idiot.

I was shocked when I read Mr. Hersh's article. Note the tenses he uses to describe American military action: "The American commando task force ... is now working," "has been conducting secret reconnaissance." In other words, Mr. Hersh is revealing to all the world, including the Iranian government, that our commandos are currently behind enemy lines in Iran on a dangerous and vital military assignment.

Moreover, he helps the enemy by writing that our commandos have been "penetrating eastern Iran from Afghanistan." That considerably reduces the areas the Iranian military and counterintelligence forces have to search and monitor to try to catch our brave commandos.

Furthermore, Mr. Hersh informs the world that our commandos are working with certain Pakistani scientists who had previously worked with Iranian scientists. Such information might further assist the Iranian security forces in their investigations. After all, there can't be that many Iranian nuclear scientists who worked with the few Pakistani nuclear scientists in the past. Mr. Hersh has virtually given Iranian intelligence the names (if not the addresses) of the Pakistani scientists who are working with our forces from their jumping-off places in Pakistan.

Finally Mr. Hersh helpfully writes that our commandos have been working with local Iranian agents to plant detection devices around known or suspected nuclear plants. This gives the enemy insights into our commandos' specific method of operation and alerts Iranian intelligence to be looking for local Iranians as well as Americans.

Not a bad day's work for yet another patriotic American journalist.

When I recall how outraged the Left was about the supposed outing of Valerie Plame, which may or may not have been deliberate and had no effect in any case, and contrast it with the reaction to Hersh's article I can't help but notice a slight difference.

Monday, January 17, 2005

The Frivolity of Evil by Theodore Dalrymple There is so much here I don't know what to highlight. Start with the title, "The Frivolity of Evil." A perfect description of the underclass and how little thought it gives to the actions it takes.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Here's an article about a school in Massachusetts that seems to be having some trouble in maintaining math scores despite increased funding over the years. This is classic.

So then, after eliminating any potential mitigating factors, what could possibly account for the steady decline in the sixth-grade math MCAS scores?

The only logical and remaining explanation is change that occurred in the Newton math curriculum itself - the subject matter of what is taught and how, what is emphasized and what is not, what has been omitted and what is new. In short, what has changed in the elementary and middle school math curriculum to have affected such a dramatic decline in the MCAS scores?

Answer: the new math curriculum, otherwise known as anti-racist multicultural math.

Between 1999 and 2001, under the direction of Superintendent Young and Assistant Superintendent Wyatt, the math curriculum was redesigned to emphasize "Newton's commitment to active anti-racist education" for the elementary and middle schools. This meant that no longer were division, multiplication, fractions and decimals the first priority for teaching math. For that matter, the teaching of math was no longer the first priority for math teachers, as indicated by the new curriculum guidelines, called benchmarks, which function as the primary instructional guide for teaching math in the Newton Public Schools.

Hmmm. I wonder what the problem could be? What's the black answer to 2x2?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Terrorists' Leftist PR Machine The notion of "loyal opposition" no longer applies. The left doesn't just have a different view of the war and the US, they are actively on the other side.

Their superficial differences notwithstanding, the commentaries that stem from the margins of the Left are marked by one common purpose: Whether they are convicting American troops for crimes they have not committed, rehabilitating Islamist bitter-enders as blameless “civilians,” heaping reflexive scorn on American “empire,” plotting their escape from U.S. “totalitarianism,” or celebrating American “defeat,” leftists are working to ensure a victory for the forces of Islamic radicalism. Leftist historian Howard Zinn, in the course of despairing at the U.S. victory in Fallujah, gave expression to the warped worldview that informs these efforts in a recent column. “The war in Fallujah cannot be won,” Zinn wrote. “It should not be won.” With slogans like that, the antiwar Left should brace itself for many more cruel months ahead.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

German toilets I noticed the same thing in Amsterdam. The toilet in our hotel room had a display table. It was one of the more disgusting things I've ever seen, other than the bars that just had a hole in the floor. This guy describes it more a bit more gory detail.

Mark Steyn: Coalition of the giving Why is it that the US and Australia have given more money to help Muslims in the tsunami areas than all the Arab countries combined? Funny thing, isn't it?

The path of the tsunamis tracked the arc of the Muslim world, from Sumatra to Somalia; the most devastated country is the world's most populous Muslim nation, and the most devastated part of that country is the one province living under the strictures of sharia.

But, as usual, when disaster strikes it's the Great Satan and his various Little Satans who leap to respond. In the decade before September 11, the US military functioned, more or less exclusively, as a Muslim rapid reaction force – coming to the aid of Kuwaiti Muslims, Bosnian Muslims, Somali Muslims and Albanian Muslims. Since then, with the help of its Anglo-Australian allies, it's liberated 50 million Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq.

That's not how the West's anti-war movements see it. I found myself behind a car the other day bearing the bumper sticker, "War Is Costly. Peace Is Priceless" – which is standard progressive generic autopilot boilerplate, that somehow waging war and doing good are mutually exclusive. But you can't help noticing that when disaster strikes, it's the warmongers who are also the compassion-mongers. Of the top six donor nations to tsunami relief, four are members of George W. Bush's reviled "coalition of the willing".

Friday, January 07, 2005

VDH's Private Papers::The Disenchanted American I could not care less what the rest of the world thinks of the US. No matter what we do it's guaranteed to be the "wrong thing." At least according to the Left, the New York Times, and most Europeans, if that's not redundant. They no longer have the moral authority to pass judgement on anyone.

Imagine a world in which there was no United States during the last 15 years. Iraq, Iran, and Libya would now have nukes. Afghanistan would remain a seventh-century Islamic terrorist haven sending out the minions of Zarqawi and Bin Laden worldwide. The lieutenants of Noriega, Milosevic, Mullah Omar, Saddam, and Moammar Khaddafi would no doubt be adjudicating human rights at the United Nations. The Ortega Brothers and Fidel Castro, not democracy, would be the exemplars of Latin America. Bosnia and Kosovo would be national graveyards like Pol Pot's Cambodia. Add in Kurdistan as well — the periodic laboratory for Saddam's latest varieties of gas. Saddam himself, of course, would have statues throughout the Gulf attesting to his control of half the world's oil reservoirs. Europeans would be in two-day mourning that their arms sales to Arab monstrocracies ensured a second holocaust. North Korea would be shooting missiles over Tokyo from its new bases around Seoul and Pusan. For their own survival, Germany, Taiwan, and Japan would all now be nuclear. Americans know all that — and yet they grasp that their own vigilance and military sacrifices have earned them spite rather than gratitude. And they are ever so slowly learning not much to care anymore.

Mudville Gazette is a military blog written by a soldier in Iraq. Here he proposes a test on Abu Ghraib that should be given to the Senators grilling Alberto Gonzales.

Let's dispense with the right/left aspect of this outright. Not everything can be pigeonholed into those political categories, and certainly no one on either end of the political spectrum feels torture is one of the defining points of their position. As much as some may take delight in setting up a "torture aficionado straw man" who supported that other guy in the last election" it's certainly not a legitimate starting point for any reasonable discussion on the matter. Unfortunately there are those who would have it that way in the US Senate, and whatever the outcome the nation will be the worse for it.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Macomb County Prosecutor Announces Charges Authorized in Fetus Death Nice. What is the penalty for practicing medicine without a license? After all, all she did was exercise her right to choose. He on the other hand was stepping on some medical toes.

According to Michigan State Police detectives, the youths intentionally caused the death of the fetus by striking the mother's abdomen with the twenty-two inch bat over the course of two weeks. The parents of the youths were apparently unaware of the pregnancy and the decision to abort it.

The actions of the youths first came to light when the female spoke about the series of incidents after the fact at a high school leadership conference in the upper peninsula.

She was at a high school leadership conference! "Our leaders of tomorrow" and all that. That's comedy you can't find in Hollywood.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

I wish I had kicked Susan Sontag A Brit takedown of Susan Sontag, the so called intellectual that nobody ever really read, just read about. The first time I really recall thinking about her was when she wrote that the US may not have deserved 9/11 but sure had it coming.

But wretched, credulous, self-hating American academia wanted to fawn on an intellectual whom popular culture could celebrate, and it chose Sontag and her vapid aphorisms. "The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality, and eventually in one's own;" or: "What pornography is really about, ultimately, isn't sex but death;" or: "Sanity is a cosy lie;" or: "Good health is the passing delusion of the doomed."

Well, actually, the last one is mine. We can all do this kind of poser-cleverness, but we'll never find our way into any dictionaries of quotation because one has to have a certain academic status before one's pseudo-sage declarations come to be exalted as "sayings". Yet Susan Sontag, the ridiculous heroine of US campus culture, couldn't even count to three: "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony."