Saturday, February 22, 2003

I found a good website for French jokes. Sent them some of my own:
How is a U.N. security council resolution like a holy relic? Neither one means a damned thing.

Why do we want to have the French behind us? Because, if we have to retreat, we don't want anybody getting in the way.

What does "No blood for oil!" mean. If we shed any blood, there won't be any more Iraqi oil for France.

How is George Bush like Adolf Hitler? Neither one of them was held up for long by the French.

Heard about the virtual march on Washington? It will be a march on Washington in the same way the Maginot Line was a defense against Germany.

Why is a French fighter called a Mirage? Because it only appears to be there.

How did the Iraqis modify their Mirage fighters for the coming war? They made them fly forward.

How much proof will convince the U.N. to act against Saddam? Nobody knows. Ask again after the U.S. Marine "Inspectors" have done their work.

Explain how the French and Germans see the Americans' role in a war with Iraq. Like the Americans see the chickens on their HumVees. If they die, we'll know Saddam hasn't disarmed.

Irwin Stelzer makes a good argument for a little trade pressure on our friends the French and Germans:
Boycotts, of course, have their limits, and might be difficult to sustain after the shooting is over in Iraq. Which brings us to what have come to be called "non-tariff barriers to trade." This is an art form perfected by the French and Germans. To coddle their inefficient farmers, these countries and their European Union allies have banned the importation of genetically modified foods. Never mind that their own scientists have found these foods to be perfectly safe, and that E.U. trade representatives privately admit that they could not sustain the ban were we to challenge it at the World Trade Organization. Many American agricultural products are verboten in Europe--no tariffs necessary to accomplish the protectionist objectives of the E.U.

Now we certainly don't want to do anything to harm farmers in E.U. countries that are standing with us. But would it be unreasonable to insist on more detailed labeling of Evian and other French waters that we consume by the millions of gallons, including the sort of health warnings that are more and more in demand by discerning consumers? Think of the effect of requiring large red labels, truthfully stating, "This water contains magnesium, silica, and sulfates." Scary stuff to the average consumer.

Then there are all those German cars. Here we could learn a lesson from the French, who once required that all electronic products coming into the country pass through a single port of entry, manned by a single inspector, who quite understandably fell far behind in the paperwork required of importers. Or from the Japanese, who at one time required that each vehicle imported into the country be given a safety test--blanket approval of each brand was not allowed.

Lest all of this sound harsh, keep in mind how the E.U., led by France, treats our most important non-agricultural exports, airplanes and audio-visual products. They subsidize Boeing's major competitor; limit American programs to 50 percent of TV air time; and impose taxes on movie tickets to subsidize French cinema and protect la culture from Hollywood

I think that 50% American programming is too much, even for Americans, but, as they say, turnabout's fair play, or more modernly, payback's a bitch.

From the letter to the editor of the Deseret News in Salt Lake City:
It is time that someone stood up and stopped the bashing of the French. I am French and have spent my whole life in France with the exception of the last three years in Utah.

I would like to comment on the letter of the man who spent four years there. We may disagree, but we do not hate you. Because the French have such a vast heritage, they have developed an articulate, complex and tolerant way of thinking that does not include such basic feelings as hatred. It would take two cents of euro of intelligence to understand that all the nations who do not want the war have defendable reasons. But then, it would also take tolerance and the ability to understand other languages that only complex minds seem to possess.

So keep your delicious specialties of McDonald's and Coca-Cola. Do boycott France, and let only those smart and open-minded American people visit. Fortunately, there are a few out there.

Marie-Helene Glon

Salt Lake City

I wrote the following reply to her, but I decided not to send it. No sense in returning insults for insults. It's just so-o-o-o inviting.
Marie-Helene Glon's letter is a hilarious self-parody. We may disagree, but we do not hate you. Sure, you don't.

Because the French have such a vast heritage, while Americans just crawled from the primoridal ooze last week and brought no culture with them, they have developed an articulate, complex and tolerant way of thinking that does not include such basic feelings as hatred. Really? Which French diplomat recently described Israel as "that sh**ty little country"? And how many times have we heard French references to our ignorant "cowboy" president? I guess disdain and superciliousness are considered "articulate, complex and tolerant" when you have a vast heritage. Hatred is as hatred does, to paraphrase that typical American, Forrest Gump.

It would take two cents of euro of intelligence to understand that all the nations who do not want the war have defendable reasons. All of them? We'd we happy to consider these defendable reasons, if anybody had articulated any. It's precisely the failure to offer anything other than irrelevant platitudesd and perverse non-arguments like "Inspections are working." and "Iraq is not a threat to its neighbors" that makes Americans so impatient with the footdragging in the U.N. Security Council. Is protecting the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, because he owes you debts that won't be paid if he is overthrown, really defendable? It's not the U.S. who is trading blood for oil. It's the French, Germans and Russians who trade Saddam's oil franchises and cash for the blood of oppressed Iraqis and of Iranians, Kuwaitis, Americans and others killed in the wars he has instigated.

But then, it would also take tolerance and the ability to understand other languages that only complex minds seem to possess. Ah, we provincial Utahns, with such a large percentage of people who speak foreign languages and volunteered to help foreigners who came for the Olympics! It must be torture to live among such intolerant savages.

Do boycott France--No, don't, because the people who produce French products aren't all as ignorant and arrogant as their government. I'm sure they wouldn't describe the new members of NATO as a bunch of children with improper upbringing because they refused to shut up and obey their "elders." They haven't all forgotten the graves at Normandy or the joy of seeing those American and Britsh tanks entering Paris. They have art and excellent architects and nuclear engineers. And they do make excellent cheese.

Glenn Reynolds says he's getting a lot of vicarious hate mail for Mark Steyn's remark, "How far are the "peace" crowd prepared to go? Well, they've stopped talking about their little pet cause of the Nineties, East Timor, ever since the guys who blew up that Bali nightclub and whoever's putting together those "Osama" audio tapes started listing support for East Timor's independence as one of the Islamist grievances against the West." They don't like being called useful idiots, either, but what else can you say about the people in these marchs who compare George Bush to Hitler and seriousl believe that Saddam is not a threat to anybody or that we would really steal Iraq's oil when we have been refusing to buy it?

Friday, February 21, 2003

From Best of the Web:

The New York Post's Page Six says the animal-rights folks are complaining about the characterization of French and German leaders as "weasels":

"First off, it's a bad stereotype because weasels are distinctly a North American animal--they are very hard to find in France," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' Ingrid Newkirk informs us. "They are also fierce warriors, Rambo types." Newkirk advises that "the poodle" is a better representation of the French. "Poodles are pretty, chic, pensive," she notes. "They like to make love, not war." Another thing: weasels eat rodents and insects, not snails and sauerkraut. And their bellies are white--not yellow.

So I did some research.

If weasels are only in America, what was Yeats writing about? Apparently stoats are called weasels in Ireland.

Here is a photo. "A stoat is larger than a weasel and its tail is proportionately longer ( 9-14cm for a stoat; 3-5cm for a weasel). The stoat's tail always has a black tip. Also, the dividing line between upper and lower body colour is straight on a stoat but irregular on a weasel. British weasels do not turn white in winter."

They only walk like weasels, look like weasels, make noises like weasels, but they're really stoats, i.e. big weasels.

Here is a photo of a weasel. Say, doesn't that belly fur look yellow to you?

Some similar species are mink and ermine (probably what the French would identify with), polecats (what Americans think they are), fishers, martens, ferrets, tayra, grison, otters, sables, badgers and wolverines. Perhaps we should just call them mustelids.

The voice of the people in Utah. The useful idiots seem to dominate the letters to the editor on war with Iraq, especially in the Salt Lake Tribune, but most people here feel like this. Utah is not what a lot of people expect. Mormons aren't Amish and we look pretty much like everybody else. And most of the people I know reflect the legacy of settling in the West more than any stereotype about Mormons.

LGF reminds us that yesterday was the anniversary of Danny Pearl's murder, and recalls the "blood-dimmed tide" of hatred and racism. A recent article in the Atlantic Monthly says that everyone alive today is descended from everybody who lived a thousand years ago. So this is sibling rivalry gone insane. A lecture broadcast on the UCTV channel recently explained that one cannot determine race from DNA. Certain markers can be traced back to certain areas, but they seem to be present today in similar percentages in all populations. So, if the Jews are "sons of monkeys and pigs" then so are we all, but radical Islamists seem to more in touch with that part of their ancestry.

I read this piece last evening from The Weekly Standard about Reda Hassaine who tried to help the Brits nail Abu Hamza, and their bungling and stupid laws. Hamza gets special protections because he's a naturalized British citizen, but Hassaine who has served undercover for both French and British antiterror agencies, helping them build cases against Hamza and Abu Qatada, is denied promised citizenship in France or promised asylum status in Britain. He's a different face of Islam, an Algerian who saw many of his friends murdered by radical Islamists. The author of the story, Jake Tapper, observes that far more Muslims have been killed by these groups than non-Muslims. ""My best friend--" he starts to say, then stops. He grows quiet and looks off in the distance. Tears well in his eyes. "These people want to destroy, not to build. They have nothing to offer. They offer 'paradise.' The Wahhabis--they killed Islam."

Hassaine has risked his life for years assisting police and intelligence agencies infiltrate terrorist groups, but has been used and discarded by western governments. His story is horrifying, but it fills me with admiration for him and contempt for the British and French bureaucrats.

Meanwhile, airports delay passengers and confiscate fingernail clippers and say they are protecting us. My son just flew from Boston to Omaha carrying a pocket knife he forgot to leave home without it being discovered. We are being harmed by political correctness and CYA practices (cover your ass), as well as the useful fools demonstrating constantly to comfort and aid Saddam Hussein

There should be a new national or international medal or other award honoring heroes like Hassaine and others who demonstrate courage in the war against terror.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Professor Volokh has a post on the indictments against Sami Al-Arian, and its implications for academic freedom and free speech. I'm not sure that I agree. Calling for death to Israel and fundraising for terrorists seems to go beyond mere advocacy or argument for unpopular ideas. Guys like this also have a tendency to be pretty intolerant of opinions they disagree with. There are pretty well documented cases of professors around the country who make it clear that arguing with their political views will be grounds for lowering grades. Do they deserve protection? Do they deserve to live off the taxes of others? I think we make a mistake if we claim that speech is never action. Inciting to riot has been regularly practiced by professors for years with impunity, but they should remember the civil in civil disobedience, and that free will doesn't always keep one out of jail. Somehow, I don't think most Americans would be moved by Al-Arian's claims of persecution or pause for long if he starved himself in emulation of Ghandi. That only works in cases where the injustice of one's imprisonment is manifest.

Here's a letter regarding the reintroduction of wolves into western states. It seems that this is one of the most cherished goals of environmentalists, to be able to thrill to the sound of wolves howling in the night. They obviously don't rely on raising livestock for a living.

This last week, as I do each week, I had the privilege to co-host the
Richard Dechambeau Outdoor Show on KWRO Radio in Coquille, Oregon. We had
the good fortune to interview Mr. Tim Sundles of Idaho, about the attack he
and his wife suffered by wolves while camping in the forest in Idaho.
Because of this attack, and the aftermath of harassment by Animal Rights
Whackcos, Tim put up a web site on wolves in an attempt to bring out the
truth about them. That web site is Everyone should
read what Tim has turned up about these animals. This site is graphic and
not for the weak at heart.

Tim was forced to shoot a wolf after the pack attacked his horses, then him
and his wife. The Alfa Male he shot died at her feet. His story is scary
enough, but what happened after he reported it is a tragedy in our land. Not
only did the United States Fish and Wildlife want to arrest him, they
continually lied to the people over and over about wolves in their head long
agenda to cover the west with wolves once more. What the USF&W has done is a
crime and they should be tried and sentenced for this. The real sad thing is
that the animal "whacko's" have even gone so far as to hire private
investigators to harass him into not telling the truth.

Had Tim not been exercising his right to bear arms on his packing trip
vacation into the wilderness, he and his wife would most likely have been a
forgotten statistic and the story covered up. Tim's story doesn't stop at
his door. He told about his neighbor, a cattle rancher, who has lost more
the 35 head a year to the wolves. This is going on all over Idaho and the
wolves have strayed into Washington and Oregon. How long do we put up with
this stupidity before it is again put to a stop as our fathers did to
protect people and other animals.

A special note to people in Oregon, our law allows anyone to shoot any K-9
that is attacking or harassing livestock. Wolves look like dogs and some
have been cross bred with dogs. The endangered species act also allows you
to protect yourself and others from wolves. You are within the law to
protect humans and livestock from wolves. Wolves have not been and should
never be planted in Oregon.

The USF&W, along with their friends the animal rights whackos, tell everyone
that wolves are not dangerous to people and that they will pay for any
damage that the wolves do to livestock. These are both big lies that border
on criminal deception. The USF&W, along with help from local state wildlife
agencies, lied about the numbers of elk and deer also to get permission to
plant these wolves. In short, they will stop at nothing to get their way.
They have even lied about how many wolves there are in Idaho. They (USF&W)
say 200-300 when the ranchers have killed far more than that attempting to
protect their livestock.

My solution to this problem is very easy. We round up all the animals "" and
USF&W people, along with the Enviro-Whackos who support them, and send them
into the wilderness of Idaho with the wolves for an extended stay without
the benefit of any implement of self protection. They will welcome the
opportunity to go and study the wolves. After all, they will not need
weapons because they already know that wolves will not harm humans, so they
should be safe - correct?

Now after the wolves, grizzlies, and cougars have killed and eaten all these
people, we will have cleansed our gene pool of all the stupid people so that
we can once again start responsible use of our natural resources. We can
allow the growth of food so that our economy will be good and we can produce
a surplus of food to feed others in the world once more. We will then be
allowed to control the predators and this will once more allow elk and deer
to become plentiful so that people who enjoy hunting as a way of life can do
so once more and pass on this tradition to their children. I think this
would be a great step in the right direction of returning America once more
to the greatest nation in the world. It would be so nice to see the economy
back up and this nation of ours once more self sustaining.

God Bless America.

Michael E. Cook, Coos County Sheriff, Retired.

This was sent in response to my post on a non-public list devoted to promoting access to public lands, pointing out that wolves have the same DNA as domestic dogs, and that when dogs go feral and roam in packs, we destroy them. So why do we need wolves? Remember, wolves are a bigger than Dobermans.

Hey! Where's the hydrogen? Why, don't you know it comes out of the blue sky, Glenn?

Another tiny Utah burg adopts its own foreign policy. They must not have enough to do at their city council meetings down there. I guess the U.N. personnel kicked out by LaVerkin can just go roost in Springdale. It's a little resort type town at the entrance/exit to Zion National Park, lots of expensive vacation homes and elected morons.

I'm thinking about going to Orangeville's city council and asking them to declare war on North Korea.

Update: You know, Saddam is looking for somewhere to head into exile if he really gets attacked. Hmmm . . .

Frankophobia strikes in Utah. I'm beginning to agree with Den Beste. Resentment is one thing, but destroying property is a crime.

Does this guy look kind of shady? Me, too.

Via InstaPundit: So this is what Pat Leahy considers "Judical Temperament."

I really dislike this game-playing with judicial nominees, both Republican and Democrat. I think it's due mostly to judicial folly in the past, like Roe v. Wade. When justices are too willing to charge into political issues that are so highly emotional. they make themselves political figures and we're now seeing the results in senatorial confirmation hearings. There should be such a thing as judicial restraint and a recognition that some matters of public policy are better handled by legislatures than by unelected, unaccountable justices who are supposed to deal with individual cases. I would really prefer that advice and consent matters be removed from the Judicial Committee and just go directly to the floor, with a limited time for debate, and no filibusters by rule. Holding the judiciary and other administration posts hostage doesn't accomplish anything but nastier politics.

University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian is charged with 7 others of 50 counts of federal crimes for conspiracy to commit terrorist acts. Fox News is crowing about it, because Bill O'Reilly broke the story and kept it in the public eye. I guess you have to do that when you're in business.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

From Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story:
Her family, her parents - what incredible people they were. They were such loving, supporting, stimulating and amazing people. They put all of that into Condi so she would have every opportunity to be what she wanted to be. Starting in one of the most segregated cities in America in the 1960s, they turned it around. They made her believe she was invincible.

As I said before, family is a major factor in success. Parents go unhonored far too often. Maybe we should create a national award for excellence in parenting. I'm sure that Colin Powell's parent would qualify, as well. The reason the University of Michigan doesn't give points for being Asian is parental influence. I'm sure that prejudice is still a problem for everybody in this nation, but the only way to overcome it is by disproving it.

This is one of the reasons for supporting commitment and marriage. We can't afford for the government to replace the family, but even if we could, if would fail abjectly.

Human rights watch:

Mounir El Motassadeq is convicted of 3,066 counts of accessory to murder for helping plot the 9/11 attacks. He was sentenced to 15 years, which works out to nearly 43 hours per murder. I wonder if they'll extradite.

I don't speak French. Is Chretien their word for "cretin" or "weasel"?

I found the following stanzas from W. B. Yeats' poem Nineteen Hundred Ninetee particularly applicable to our time. Maybe it should be read aloud with a French or German accent:
Now days are dragon-ridden, the nightmare

Rides upon sleep: a drunken soldiery

Can leave the mother, murdered at her door,

To crawl in her own blood, and go scot-free;

The night can sweat with terror as before

We pieced our thoughts into philosophy,

And planned to bring the world under a rule,

Who are but weasels fighting in a hole.

. . .

O but we dreamed to mend

Whatever mischief seemed

To afflict mankind, but now

That winds of winter blow

Learn that we were crack-pated when we dreamed.

We, who seven [twelve?] years ago

Talked of honour and of truth,

Shriek with pleasure if we show

The weasel's twist, the weasel's tooth.


This is what I consider affirmative action. If you want to help black students don't condescend by lowering your standards, be affirmative. Give money to the UNCF, volunteer to help in poor schools, look for kids to mentor, especially kids who haven't been given opportunities commensurate with their talents.

I find the Michigan solution insulting, and the reasons for it, little more sensitive than slavery. Diversity has come to mean a kind of reparations when people say that to give white kids a good liberal arts education, we have to have more black and hispanic students, as though they were campus amenities.

What blacks need is genuine respect and well-founded self-respect, but they won't get that from lowering the standards for achievement. We should be working harder to improve schools in poor communities, and I don't mean buying them more computers. I mean that they should be made safe from gangs and violence, have rigorous testing to identify what needs they have and better teaching. Research and common sense suggest that families have more to do with a child's success than any other factor. Maybe we should be sponsoring training for poor parents to help them understand the importance of education for their kids. We should be encouraging marriage and family formation for single parents. We should be more concerned as individuals with others. Our society seems bent on alienating us from one another when what we need is more reaching out and caring.

I'd like to see something like the PEF for kids across the country, and more programs to lay the foundation for greater achievement among poor, minority children and families. Anything else is a meaningless gesture.

Barbara Amiel, via InstaPundit, writes:
If this were a genuine anti-war demonstration, why, along with demands on the British and Americans, would there be no demands of the other party to the conflict - Iraq? Commentators on the march were taken by the good order of it. I was taken by the sheer wickedness or naivete.
I've thought the same thing most of my life about most demonstrations. "Progressives" all seem to hate America and anyone who doesn't turn to them for wisdom. The problem is that their "wisdom" seems to consist of ideas that make no sense, like socialism, anti-global-trade and the big one, peace comes merely by refusing to oppose aggressors. It may be trite, but it's still the case, that "the worst are full of passionate intensity." Fortunately, right now, the best do not lack all conviction. They are resolute, although the U.N. doesn't seem to understand the connection between that word and the term, "resolution."

I think that Chirac is losing ground, but the world press seems to have public opinion in Europe well in hand. George Bush will not base public policy on peace demonstrations which he equates with focus groups.

In other news, Cuba is for lovers! Another Commie lie.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Peter Briffa (via Tim Blair) proves there's some clear thinking left in Britain besides Tony Blair.

Here's my letter:
Mr. President:

I want to let you know that I support you, but not the U.N. The U.N. has shown itself feckless for far too long to be entrusted with any hope that it can secure peace or prevent corruption. You and Secretary Powell have shown it for what it is.

I also want to go on record as being frustrated with the wait before we take military action in Iraq, but I realize that these things take time. Nevertheless, I hope that you will not wait one second beyond what is militarily required.

Third, I believe it would be ill-advised to accept a settlement under which Saddam is allowed to live in exile. He is a war criminal and a criminal against human rights. I realize that he may be as difficult to track down as Osama bin Laden has been, but I fear that if you were to assent to granting him a life of comfortable security, your Presidency would be doomed, just as your father's was by his failure to finish the Gulf War in a manner seen by the American People to be resolutely opposed to evil.

This issue has grown from one about tactics or strategy in dealing with terrorism to one about what America stands for and believes. You have made the case brilliantly for ridding the world of Saddam Hussein, but now your actions must conform to your rhetoric. I have sons of military age, and I know how concerned about their lives I would be if they were in Qatar or Kuwait today. But if they were to die, I would rather it be in a noble cause, a fight for freedom, than in a "holding action" or a "police action." No greater love hath any man than to lay down his life for his friend.

I know that we are marching into grief. How much is unknown, but I would rather accept the proud grief I felt over flight 93, than the humiliated and senseless grief I felt after Viet Nam.

Let's roll!

Here's to Tony Blair! Let's give him a knighthood and a Presidential Medal of Freedom, said to be the highest civilian honor the United States can grant.

Hey, I was mentioned on InstaPundit.Com! Too bad I didn't give him my URL. I seem to be in conflict between wanting my barbaric yawp to be heard and being afraid someone will read what I say and see how unintellectual it is.

Well, I yam what I yam.

It sounds like the dominoes are starting to fall. U. S. unilateriaism beats European whinging!

This is why Americans loved Crocodile Dundee:
The President was asked whether Australia is part of the coalition of the willing. My oath we are. We're as willing as buggery. As billio. We're as willing as all get-out.

That said, we are not yet dead-set for a stoush, and still believe that an honest yarn can sort out this barney � but only if Saddam is true blue about it.

We see little point, however, in adopting the shirt-lifting position taken by some of the continentals.

France and Germany are an absolute cotcase, a hopeless bloody rabble. This is hardly surprising, as both nations have well and truly got the runs on the board in the showpony stakes.

Many of you will be familiar with my colleague Alexander Downer and his doctrine of the busted-arse countries.

Today I expand that doctrine to include another category � the up-themselves purse-swinging states of Western Europe.

The Frogs, with their history of having a bob each way, only to bludge their way out of strife, and the Krauts, who brought us the maddest bastard and biggest dust-up of the 20th century, but come the raw prawn in the face of a comparable global shemozzle.

To the Europeans I say � fair suck of the sav. Unless you lift your game � and quick smart � you will be found standing, dacked, before world opinion.

In the coming donnybrook, I would also stress that we have absolutely no worries with the Muslim peoples of the world.
I don't rightly know what that all means, but I wish I'd said it.

Read the whole post, then go to here for a slightly more intelligible version for USians. Tim Blair's got a nice series of "bonzer ripper grouse[s]" for the U.N., and Noam Chomsky, as well. I'm sure Chomsky's refusal to join the other cannon fodder human shields is purely from a desire not to accelerate the onset of war. His presence would both repel the inspectors and attract Hellfire missiles.