"...Burmese wanted to know why George Bush hasn’t invaded their country yet.”

Yeah, well that isn't going to happen any time soon. And again we see a demonstration of what happens to an unarmed populace with a government not afraid to use deadly force.

Catching this item over a memeorandum, I clicked through the various blogs commenting on this, and none of them really seem to get it. There is cursing at an impotent UN, there are snide remarks about big oil companies, a few comments about China, a remark about Condolezza Rice "doing something", as if words are going to fix this. They just don't get it.
Ace is angry.

From his post:
As far as I'm concerned, the left owns this guy lock stock and barrel. They programmed him with their bullshit and wound him up like some killbot and set him loose on the world. Words matter. When you use hyperbolic bullshit as a political tool and insist its not hyperbole, there are going to be some percentage of weak minded idiots like this who really take that bullshit seriously and act on it. Its very Newtonian and predictable. Action, reaction. Its the exact same thing as the abortion clinic bombers which the left always loves to point out.

And, Ace has a point. The upcoming election here in the US is going to be fascinating to watch, if you can detach yourself some, just to see how it plays out.
Heh. Looks like they just figured it out, after all.

HANOVER, N.H. - The leading Democratic White House hopefuls conceded Wednesday night they cannot guarantee to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013.

This makes me giggle, for some reason.

Again, it's about conservatives

Once Again, it's all About the Conservatives:

You'd not have thought so, given that the story is really about Columbia; I thought we were more or less agreed that the Ivy Leagues were the last bastion of liberals. But no, those blasted conservatives are screwing up the world again.

UPDATE: Of course, as Dr. Helen reminds us, psychologists agree that conservatism is a kind of disease. That would be more convincing if psychology was an actual science, rather than a form of sympathetic magic with seminars and papers; but for what it's worth, there it is.

What's with this?

It's like that old Steve Martin routine about Las Vegas. "Wow, Look at the tits!"

That said, it looks like Andrew Sullivan is irritated that some people are assuming that Hillary Clinton will be the next President, and that she might, just might, not pull out of Iraq after all.

I'm afraid I'm going to remember that picture though, long after I forget about the article.

I have to go find some eye-bleach now.


Against Snipers:

Doubtless you saw the most recent attack on American tactics by the US press.

The Army on Monday declined to confirm such a program exists.

"To prevent the enemy from learning about our tactics, techniques and training procedures, we don't discuss specific methods targeting enemy combatants," said Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman.

Boyce also said there are no classified programs that authorize the murder of Iraqi civilians or the use of "drop weapons" to make killings appeared to be legally justified, which is what Vela and the two other snipers are accused of doing.

The transcript of a court hearing for two of the three accused snipers makes several references to the existence of a classified "baiting" program but provides few details of how it works.... The Post said that although it doesn't appear that the three alleged shootings were specifically part of the classified program, defense attorneys argue that the program may have encouraged them by blurring the legal lines in a complex war zone.
So, to recap: the Army "declined to confirm" the existence of a program that doesn't appear to be connected to the matter at hand, but since the unconnected program that might exist is classified, we thought it was news. (Our editor notices that the Army actually denied that it had a program anything like the one we're reporting exists -- "there are no classified programs that authorize the murder of Iraqi civilians or the use of "drop weapons" to make killings appeared to be legally justified." However, we'll just fold that into "declined to confirm," rather than lead with the denial. That way, we're being objective!)

Meanwhile, Marine father Herschel Smith argues that we should just close sniper schools. "The rules of engagement prevent targeting the enemy in Iraq or Afghanistan if they do not fall within the precise stipulations (e.g., self defense, engaged in hostile acts, etc.). Within the current framework, we may as well end the sniper schools and rely on standard service rifle training of infantry. The number of sniping kills due to defensive operations doesn’t justify the expense of the schools."
The Truth, can you handle it?


And more.

I thought this was going to turn out worse than it did. As many, I didn't think that the President of Columbia University would say the things that he did. Curious indeed.

(via American Digest)


This is a shame. I was in Phoenix that weekend and I'm glad (sort of glad- miss the family) to be back to see how this plays out.

Sgt. Thomas Lovejoy, a Chandler police K-9 handler, has an arraignment hearing in justice court in Chandler at 9 a.m.

Lovejoy was arrested Sept. 5 by Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputies after he left Bandit, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois dog, in his patrol car on Aug. 11 for more than 12 hours, deputies said.

STEK Toothpick

Buffalo Toothpick:

STEK knives, which I've mentioned from time to time, have a particularly nice piece up for sale right now. If any of you are in the market, and it seems right for your arm, you might want to consider it.

Laughter is...

Laughter is...

...the best medicine:

Asked about executions of homosexuals in Iran, Ahmadinejad said the judiciary system executed violent criminals and high-level drug dealers, comparing them to microbes eliminated through medical treatment. Pressed specifically about punishment of homosexuals, he said: "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country."

With the audience laughing derisively, he continued: "In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have this."
The spectacle of autocrats held up to public laughter is just what America is all about. I know we've all had reason to question Columbia's judgment here, but let's give them their due.

2 from AL D

A Couple from Arts & Letters Daily:

While I've been gone, Arts & Letters Daily has been carrying on as usual with collecting fine and interesting articles. Here is one against legalizing drugs, at least always and in general. I cite it for two reasons: because it runs down one of our favorite writers, Theodore Dalrymple, and because it does so in part through citation of Aristotle:

To accept the addict’s account at face value does not require a bleeding heart. The problem of moral weakness was frankly recognized and brilliantly analyzed by the tough-minded Aristotle who put great emphasis in both his ethical and political theories on a psychological phenomenon he called akrasia. This Greek term literally means “without power,” and it refers to a lack of mastery over the self—a state of helplessness in respect to one’s appetites, passions, and impulses. It is defined in contrast to the concept of enkrateia, which represents the exact opposite kind of character—the person who has obtained mastery over himself, and who can control and regulate his passions and impulses. The dieter, for example, who follows his self-imposed regimen strictly and faithfully, is displaying enkrateia, while the dieter who goes off his diet because he cannot resist the lure of a strawberry milkshake is an example of akrasia....

Aristotle’s analysis is helpful in seeing where Dalrymple’s treatment of the addict falls short, since the concept of akrasia allows us to recognize that there will inevitably be large groups of human beings who will be unable to control their own lives—a group that will naturally exhibit all the signs of the impetuous personality.... In Aristotle’s political theory, such human beings are classified as “natural slaves” who must be governed by others because they are completely unable to govern themselves. Today we find Aristotle’s theory objectionable, despite the fact that in even the most advanced societies many people are “enslaved” to drugs, to alcohol, to gambling, and to sex. Indeed, Aristotle could rightly point out that no society has ever existed that achieved the complete elimination of the weak-willed and the impetuous, if only because each rising generation will consist of children who, by nature, lack the self-mastery that can only be achieved by the right upbringing—if even then.
In modern America, due to our own cultural baggage, Aristotle's concept of "natural slaves" is one that is normally not well explained or thoughtfully considered. This is one occasion when it is well done. The writer has a good point, as well: it is America's business to set men free. That is what America is for.

There are occasions when men are almost free, but for one addiction that drives them -- we have all known men like this. They are not "natural slaves" but to alcohol, say. Insofar as the state helps them achieve the discipline they require, it is making free men out of slaves; that is to say, it is doing the one thing that is the highest purpose of the state.

Yet to avoid trampling the freedom of others, or even that one man's freedom, it must be done carefully and thoughtfully. If you are to free him, you must help him to achieve self-mastery, not throw him in prison. If that cannot be done, and there are many addicts who are not ready to move out of their addiction -- here is where Dalrymple is right to say that their chief problem is that they do not want to do so -- then the state is not helping him achieve a greater freedom. It is just locking him up.

The reasons to do that are not legitimately "to help him." The notion that imprisonment is or can be rehabilitative is one of the worst errors of our society; it is a historic error of thought that has been disproven by experience. Our whole prison system is built around the error, which leads to massive failures and needless expense, and worse, to having a huge subset of "free" Americans who are employed in guarding other Americans. We have not found a workable alternative to our prison system, but I remain convinced that we need one. I would rather return to the days of hanging people for everything from grand theft up, than continue as we are; or to consider another form of dealing with crime that we have not yet tried.

On a much lighter note, a report from a lecture series on Mencken. Well, sort of:
Hamilton’s lecture was just the first of three in the Mencken celebration. Saturday afternoon, Anthony Lewis gave the keynote address. Lewis was for a columnist for the New York Times for more than 30 years, and is unabashedly liberal. He began his lecture, “Beyond Scorn,” by acknowledging that he was very fond of scornful Mencken, but knew less about the man than most in the room. Lewis instead railed against the Bush Administration, against CIA “black sites” in Europe, against alleged torture of war prisoners, against the denial of habeas corpus to Guantanamo Bay detainees. “Scorn is not adequate for the profundity of today’s disasters,” he said.

Lewis did bring the lecture around to Mencken. He doubted that the tools of the writer who skewered William Jennings Bryan and Warren G. Harding, describing the latter as “of the intellectual grade of an aging cockroach,” would suffice in this moment in history. “Mencken’s work is unequal to the scale of today’s disasters,” he said.
At least things were better in the Q&A session.
A man in the back of the room raised his hand, and Lewis called on him. He was not the typical Mencken fan. Typical Mencken fans are old; this guy was young. Typical Mencken fans dress in suits on Saturdays; this guy wore a neon pink hat, sunglasses, and a fanny pack. Typical Mencken fans ask silly questions meant to be jabs at Bush; this guy asked, “Can you give some examples of the sexual torture that you talked about?”
It is true what they say. There is nothing like the pursuit of knowledge.