Drooling on the Pillow

Saturday, February 05, 2005

A Threee Ho-ur Tour 

I had to schedule myself and a couple of co-workers in for a diversity seminar coming up in a few weeks. When I think about it, I guess I've been pretty lucky having worked for this company for going on fifteen years and never having to go to one of these until now. Unless you count the cluster-hugs we had after 9/11. Stress meetings or PSD seminars or I Get Paid to Care About You festivals or whatever they called them. I joke, but the fact is, we were right across the street from WTC5, our building was shut down for five months and I got the idea most people enjoyed the opportunity to vent.

But this is a three hour event, and I can't say I'm looking forward to it. Any survival tips are appreciated.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Misunderestimating the Zeitgeist 

The notion that George Bush (and his administration) is some combination of stupid, evil and greedy (the proportions change from person to person, but the pie always comes out about the same) is so ingrained in so many people in this country that when I remark as to how I admire him for one thing or another, I can see people, people I have known for decades, reevaluating me.

So be it. I remember hearing somewhere Bill Clinton being described as a person of high ideals and no principles. Indeed, principles are a liability, in a way, for a politician. If you espouse them, no matter who you are, someone will be able to find something in your life that violates them. And they will. Principles are punished every single time.

With that in mind, if you, like me, are feeling a little giddy this week after the Iraqi elections and the State of the Union speech, and are standing there on the dock waiving gaily as ship of state sails off for his second term, you may, like me, nevertheless be feeling a little nervous about just where the hell the ship is sailing to.

It's unavoidable. The zeitgeist is so unforgiving of Bush's success and so confident of the doom awaiting his policies, that anyone who spends any time in the slipstream of the MSM will imbibe his share of caution.

Bush makes people nervous. And once people started internalizing the notion that he actually intends to do the things he says he's going to do, he terrifies them. The fact that he seemed blithely willing to put his administration (and the rest of us as well) on the line for policies which so many smart people were so sure would be disastrous was all the evidence that was needed to support the notion that he was crazy.

Understand that there is not one small particle of smugness in what I'm saying. I understand the risk inherent in the Bush Doctrine and it's potential for calamity. I support it because it seems plain to me that the policies of the Clinton administration, the approach favored by the State Department and CIA, are far more dangerous.

Okay. What I'm getting to is that if you need a little injection of confidence you need to read Norman Podhoretz' article in the February issue of Commentary, The War Against World War IV. This is a follow-up to his article last September, World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win.

It's a tonic.

They Don't Make Governors Like Kinky Any More 

Well, now I have to seriously consider quitting my job and moving to Nacogdoches just so I can vote for the Kinkster for Governor.

Who would you rather be governored by, Jon Corzine or Kinky Friedman?

Via Tim Blair.

Next Time Get A, You Know, Actual Blogger 

I got jazzed on the ride into town this morning reading the New York Sun and finding Fausta of Bad Hair Blog quoted in an article about the choice of Andrew Sullivan and Wonkette (both of whom are shortly to give up their blogs) to represent the blogging community in commenting on the State of the Union speech for CNN. Fausta: "Wonkette is the Paris Hilton of blogging."


One problem. The Sun (which I think gets blogging more than any publication I can think of) got her blog's name wrong. Bad Hair Day Blog. Ouch.

Well, I Googled Bad Hair Day Blog and Fausta was still number one on the search, so no harm done.


Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Cat That Didn't Meow 

Let's see, historic election in Iraq that went far better than anyone expected, prompting some on the sinister side of the middle to contemplate rethinking their assumptions. State of the Union speech with challanges to Iran and Egypt and and setting forth a plan to grasp the third rail of American politics with both hands.

Mo-D'oh thinks "What should I write about today? I know! Male nipples!"

Today's column is a lame shot at creationists and reads like it's been sitting in her bottom drawer for a few months waiting for the day when she'd really rather not say anything at all. She does get around to Social Security, but only as part of W's plan to excise the 20th Century. She doesn't exactly engage the issue. On the elections, silence.

I imagine her last night in front of the TV with DVDs of "Sex and the City" scattered around her, a very tall Cosmopolitan in her hands and a pouty, but brave look on her face.

Don't worry, Mo. Something will come to you.

The Armanious Murders 

Fausta at Bad Hair Blog rounds up some recent developments in the Armanious case, some of which contradict the conventional wisdom that the police have allowed to coagulate around the case. Specifically, that all the valuables were stolen and that the bodies were not mutilated. She links to several recent posts from Mary at Exit Zero.

Day By Day Meets Achewood 

Get over to Coffeegrounds to see a very funny toon.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Killing the Message 

Joel Mowbray has a post over at Townhall on the murdered Armanious family and Islamist activity in Hudson County.

His take is that much of the MSM coverage of the story is focused on the blowback to the Muslim community rather than the suffering of the family and the trials of the Coptic community.

Mowbray doesn't get into Omar Abdul Rahman, the Blind Sheik, in up to his eyeball in the 1993 World Trade bombing. His mosque was on Kennedy Boulevard right off Journal Square and the house where they assembled the bomb was directly behind where I was living at the time. That's right, they put it together on the next street over in a building just over the fence from ours, fifty feet away.

I still have no opinion about who committed the heinous murder of the Armanious family. I don't have too much sympathy with the 'nasty looks' that Muslims are supposedly getting, though. They're not getting them from me or anyone I know, I'm very confident of that. And I feel confident that in the end it will amount to about as much as did the dire predictions of armies of thuggish crypto-fascist born-agains putting the beat down on innocent, peaceful Muslims after 9/11. That is, it will amount to nothing.


Help Is On The Way 

I think Roberto at DynamoBuzz had the prescription for the doom and gloom pervading the Garden Blogstate (Coffeegrounds, Parkway Rest Stop, Yours Truly, and others) regarding the apparent inevitability of Governor ATM, er, Corzine).

Let's not forget that Bob "Kiss of Death" Shrum is on board running his campaign.
Bob Shrum's fingerprints have been found at the scene
of an uninterrupted string of Democratic presidential
catastrophes over the past 30 years. Ed Muskie and
George McGovern in 1972. Kennedy in 1980. Richard
Gephardt and Michael Dukakis in 1988. Bob Kerrey in
1992. The only successful Democratic candidacies of the
era – Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992 – were
Shrum-free affairs. (Shrum worked for 10 days for
Carter, but quit in a huff.)

(Jon Keller, Boston Magazine, Posted on Alternet)

As Roberto points out, Shrum's signature style is populism. That's going to be a hard sell with Corzine. First of all because he's rich, but more importantly because he is such a bad speaker. Not going to be any 'Cross of Gold' speeches. At least none that will keep anyone awake.

Let's hope he works some of that magic he used to turn Al Gore from a sure winner into a figure of fun.

The NYT Needs More Like John Burns 

John Burns is what a New York times reporter should be. Intelligent, resourceful, fearless and indefatigable. His dispatches from the Gulf War were comprehensive, exciting, insightful and fair.

Which is why I was so disappointed that his pre-election stories were so negative and gloomy. I respect him so much that they gave me pause and feelings of doubt.

Here he is after the election, being interviewed by PBS:

I must say, I’m sure in the chow halls across the
country today American troops were feeling a
tremendous sense of satisfaction after all that
they have gone through here. And I have also
no doubt that in the command centers, stories
written by people like myself that had been posted,
commanders would have taken a good deal of

I think that we… those of us who took a rather
dire view of the possibilities of this election—not
the election itself, but what might happen—have
to say quite honestly that they got quite a lot about
this right, and we got quite a lot about it wrong.
They always said that we can do this. They were
fearful, of course, that there could be major
insurgent actions. And there were. They were
eight or nine suicide bombings in Baghdad alone.
But they also said we can get this done, and
you’ll see, there will be a very substantial
turnout. Well, they were right.

What more could you ask?

Via Tim Blair

It Doesn't Mean He's a Bad Action Figure 

Blogland is having loads of fun with the story of terrorists demanding a ransom for GI Joe. Which is great, because ridicule is a powerful weapon against these people.

As is often the case, Chris Muir at Day By Day says it best.

(After today hit Feb. 2 on the calendar as I can't find a permalink)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Early Bird May Get a Worm, But Not Much Else 

Andrew Chamberlain at The Idea Shop posts an economic model demonstrating why people are late. I suspect his thesis that punctuality is inefficient is correct which explains why I'm not rich. I'm always early.

Faced for Freedom 

This story (Via Instapundit) is just priceless, if a little too good to be true. Trainloads of ethic Russian miners from Eastern Ukraine were being sent to Kiev to bust heads and break up the democratic protesters. On the train they found case after case of vodka and when they arrived in Kiev there was more. Eventually they were too hammered to even show up at the demos. The source of the mystery libations? The CIA and MI6. Don't you hope this is true?

Monday, January 31, 2005

It's Whack-A-Mole Time 

Get ready for another trip to the funhouse as Jack of TigerHawk takes us to The Carnival of the Commies.

The Vote 

Yesterday I posted a picture of one of those ubiquitous purple fingers with the title 'It's The New Orange." I was referring, of course, to the recent democratization of the Ukraine, in solidarity with which blog heads were changed to orange, orange ties were worn, a whole theme-meme sprung up.

The very last thing I want to do on this earth is to denigrate the courage and accomplishment of the Ukrainians, but I do want to draw this distinction. In the Ukraine there was risk to what the democrats did. It took courage and nerve to stand up against the thugs in power and their success is a great story.

In Iraq yesterday everyone knew, every single adult knew with absolute certainty, that people would die for voting. The conventional wisdom was that many people would die. You saw the pictures. Not only did they come out, they brought their children and their grandparents, they stood for hours in lines, they smiled for the cameras and they held up their purple fingers.

It's a long way from voting to a functioning democracy. They are far from out of the woods. But yesterday should have answered a lot of questions for everybody.

It's just my opinion, but if anyone would like to now assert that democratic institutions are inimical to Arab or Muslim societies, I think they are declaring themselves against those institutions and people should understand them as such.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Not This Year 

Been watching the Iraq election story all day. Jim, at Parkway Rest Stop harshed my mellow with the news that Codey has decided not to run up against Corzine for New Jersey Governor.

I'm not sure why I'm disappointed. Partly because that fight struck me as potentially high in entertainment value. Partly because I'd entertained a mist of fantasy that Schundler or someone else might make a run at it from the Republican side. Now, with the 40 or 50 million Corzine would have spent to fight off Codey safely in his pockets and a completely united Democratic party almost 11 months before the election, the full weight of the state Democratic machine is geared up to pick off any foreheads that poke up over the horizon.

And the cherry on top is Senator Mendendez.

"These are stories that will be written on the brightest pages of history" 

Read Mohammed and Omar at Iraq The Model

Scenes From the Polls 

Posted by Hello
Atef Hassan/Reuters

This is from a wonderful series of pictures on the New York Times web site. I love the look on the security man's face. He knows his picture is being taken, he knows this looks ridiculous, but it's 2005 in Iraq and it has to be done.

Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye 

Colby Cosh respectfully declined to provide commentary upon Johnny Carson's death, simply because, while he understood and repected JC's importance and contributions, he just wasn't that much of a fan.
“When people get outrageous, you have to capitalize on their
outrageousness and go along with it. The only absolute rule is:
Never lose control of the show.”

Bad rule. The reason a certain age cohort of North Americans
stopped caring about the Tonight Show was precisely that its
host was never at any risk of losing control. All the best-
remembered moments from Letterman's shows--Crispin
Glover's karate kick, Harvey Pekar's Mexican standoff, Andy
Kaufman vs. Jerry Lawler, drug-addled Farrah--have been
segments in which things went completely pear-shaped and
unprofessional. Letterman, who has always worked to channel
Carson, was never comfortable on any of these occasions, but
his ill-confined anger just made things that much more
That's true for me, as well. As a teenager interested primarily in crapping on the toes of anything revered by my parent's generation I couldn't stand him. Not to the extent of Lawrence Welk or John Wayne, but he was not my idea of comedy. Later, when I was not quite the fool I was when younger I did appreciate his remarkable professionalism and he did make me laugh. But I'm a Letterman guy. And pretty much for the reasons Mr. Cosh states.

It's The New Orange 

Posted by Hello By Alaasmary via Instapundit

Flipping Zarqawi the Bird 

The Purple Finger of Democracy Posted by Hello

One of the many blogging from Baghdad is Ryan of Cigars in the Sand. He's a lawyer working for the Iraqi government on boarder security issues. He's got stories and pictures (including the one above).

Via Instapundit.

Two Insurgents Walk Into A Bar . . . 

I don't usually head straight for the computer in the morning. You may have noticed I don't usually post until the afternoon. I did today, though, and the news from Iraq looks pretty good. This joke of an election seems to have tickled the funnybone of a lot of Iraqis. To me that is just thrilling.

I also liked this post from Scrappleface describing the voters as "insurgents."
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