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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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11/12/2004

Browser Wars/Search Wars

the new FireFox debuted yesterday. Built in RSS reader and all sorts of other bells and whistles. It's default page is Google. Microsoft debuted its new search engine - fast but irrelevant says The Register.

Which did not stop Google from quietly announding that it had doubled the number of pages it indexs to 8 billion. Which is not, of course, in any way linked to the Microsoft announcement.

Of First Birthdays and History

Max, my little one, turned one yesterday. I am inclined to think one is a rather lovely birthday. Max was walking, blew out the candle so fast I had to restage it to get the picture, finished the last two sips of a wine glass I carelessly put within reach and generally had a great time being the center of attention. I like one because it is not about presents. But really big red balloons are pretty cool.

Max and his brother Sam are growing up in a world that is wired, at war, and, to a frightening degree, increasingly unaware of history. Max was born on Rememberance Day but I wonder how much will be remembered by the time he hits school. In a sense, the nature of political correctness, the culture wars and our own tendency to want to forget the blood and toil which created Canada and the West, conspire to make learning history a subversive activity. An activity for cranks who cannot get with the "ever better, ever more inclusive" bandwagon.

So, I fear, Max and Sam will be a bit cranky. Kids like stories and history is full of stories. Which we will tell. By Max's sixth birthday he will, at least, have some idea of why we remember. Which is a start.

11/11/2004

Remembrance Day







Two posts:

Grandfathers

The Blue Jack


11/10/2004

An Unlikely Martyr in an Unlikely Country

The resonance of this hideous crime, not only in the Netherlands, but across the whole of continental Europe, is difficult for the British to comprehend. We have no conception of the status accorded to the artist in countries that have known totalitarian dictatorship within living memory. The Nazis and the Communists liquidated or exiled the intelligentsia wherever they could. Persecution cast a shadow across the Continent from which it has still not wholly recovered.

Hence the reverence in which the artist is held. Hence the cult of dissent at any price, however absurd, pretentious or childish. Hence the aversion to censorship of any kind, including self-censorship. For a post-traumatic culture, the artist is a high priest. The murder of an artist for the sake of his art shocks secular Europe rather as martyrdom once shocked Christendom. Theo van Gogh is a secular martyr.
the telegraph
Van Gogh was cremated yesterday.

Troll of RamallahTM Dead

Good. Let's hope he stays dead.

Explaination

The truth in America, and in Britain, is that the Left-liberal axis has lost its way: it has failed to notice that its "liberalism" has become an off-putting orthodoxy with which most people do not identify.
janet daley, telegraph
I like the word, "orthodoxy". At a certain point the whole edifice of political correctness, group rights, identity politics and victimology became etched in political stone. The Left-lberal axis became deeply reactionary as it defended kumbaya culture against all comers. If you were not sipping the kool aid you were ignorant, a bigot.

This was not calculated to win friends in the electorate which, realistically, didn't matter to the axis but did matter to their leaders who were trying to win elections. While the Left-lib base found ever more reasons to blame themselves for the ills of the world their orthodoxy became ever more ornate. Kerry's crushing defeat suggests the beginning of the collapse of that orthodoxy under the wieght of its own contradictions.

For the Want of Attribution

I have a lot of time for ex-Post columnist Elizabeth Nickson. She just lost her once a week gig at the increasingly bewildering National Post for "plagiarism" which the Globe an Mail reports on in mocking detail. No question, she lifted the words. She should have attributed them. A simple, "as Jonah Goldberg wrote in the National Review" would have done the trick.

But, I wonder, was this a real beef or was it a way of removing Nickson who was becoming increasingly out of place in the Asperized Post. On a scale of 1 to 10 with, say the Rather Memos or Jason Blair as a 10, failure to attribute in a single column would be around a 3. One which would be easily corrected by printing a short appology.

Hanging for a venial sin says rather more about the judge than the sinner.

Fallujah

Anger over the assault grew among Iraq's Sunni minority, and international groups and the Russian government warned that military action could undermine elections in January. The U.N. refugee agency expressed fears over civilians' safety.

The Sunni clerics' Association of Muslim Scholars called for a boycott of the elections. The association's director, Harith al-Dhari, said the Sunnis could not take part in an election held "over the corpses of those killed in Fallujah."
washington post
With 70% of Fallujah in Coalition/Iraqi hands Sunni seething has begun.

The Sunni Muslims in Iraq have a problem: they are, at best, 20% of the population. So long as Uncle Cuddles was in charge they were fine as he owed his position to their loyalty and their ruthlessness in suppressing the Shi'ites and the Kurds. Now he's gone and the prospect of an election which they cannot win bites.

The reduction of Fallujah - and what a wonderfully medieval term for what is essentially a battle between the 21st and 13th centuries - proceeds apace. You cannot get a better over view than Wrechard's over at Belmont Club. However, the political implications of the battle in the Sunni triangle - and it involves more than Fallujah - are going to take a while to puzzle out.

To a degree those implications will depend on how many "insurgents" are killed and how many of those turn out not to be insurgents at all but rather foreign fighters. My sense is that if the bulk of the casualties are foreign fighters it will not matter a great deal to the intensely tribal Sunni how many are killed or captured.

As well, the politics of the battle will depend on how effective the taking of Fallujah is in reducing car bombings and the assorted slaughters and kidnappings in Iraq. If this is, in fact, the vipers nest there is the chance that a level of security will be restored to the rest of the country with it's elimination. But that is a big if.

Pining for the Fjords - Medically Explained

Giving new meaning to "Officially Dead", the Troll of Ramallahtm isn't going to be dead until the Palestinian Authority says he's dead which may, given the likliehood of agreement between that gang of thugs, amount to a new form of life extension.

David Frum blogged that he thought the Troll's repose might be due to AIDS and has a gleeful time speculating about how the militantly anti-gay Palestinians would like them apples. The Monger - fettered with an MD - has a rather grimmer speculation as to what may have finished the bastard. It is worth reading both because it is so well written and because it so aptly illutrates what a doctor is thinking when confronted with a set of symptoms. Our bodies betray us in so many ways.

Update: The Blue Troll of Ramallah as Monty Python sketch meme takes off....

Doctor: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable fellow, the Ramalah Blue Troll, idn'it, ay? Beautiful beard!

Mujahedeen: The beard doesn't enter into it. He's stone dead.

D: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!

M: All right then, if he's restin', I'll wake him up!

(shouting at the supine figure on Hospital bed)

'Ello, Mister Arafat! I've got a lovely fresh plate of cous cous for you if you wake up now...(Mujahedeen whacks Arafat about the head with a goat leg)

D: There, he moved!

M: No, he didn't, that was you hitting the bed!
read the whole thing at canada's 5th column


Update 2: "Bring out your dead"...Monty Python at Polspy...

11/09/2004

The Parrot of RamallahTM

Oy, he's not dead - he's sleeping. Very sound sleepers your terrorist parrots."

Update: Apparently they will bury the Troll of Ramallahtmat the Muqata. That is, of course, if he is not just sleeping.

Reality bites

"I think we have come to an ending point in a long transition that began in 1968," said Donald L. Fowler, a former national chairman of the party. "During that time, the old Roosevelt Democratic majority coalition has creaked and cracked away under various kinds of racial, religious, social and international forces, and this election was the end point in that transition. I think we live in a country that is majority Republican now."
new york times
I am not at all sure that Fowler is right. However, what America isn't is a nation prepared to support a Liberal Democrat in a time of war. Nor is it a nation preparred to accept the particularist demands of the special interests and minorities who have taken over much of the machinery of the Democratic Party.

Interesting to note that Howard Dean is looking at a run for the Cahirmanship of the Dems. This would be the trigger for the internal civil war which probably needs to happen. Dean would assemble the eager, the minorities and the leftists who were so completely renounced in the election just past. If he wins it is quite possible that the realist wing of the Dems would be excluded completely for an election cycle or two.That wing with its centerist bias will either figure out a way to defeat Dean or to emasculate the position of party Chairman so as to limit the damage.

Fallujah Falling

It will take a while, but as Belmont Club notes, the american forces, with Iraqi support, have penetrated to the center of Fallujah. The opposition are meeting tanks with rifles, mortars and RPGs. Nightfall brings no respite as it is the preferred time for the night vision equiped Americans to go hunting.

Fallujah is a foregone conclusion in one sense - the Americans will win. But the open question is how well they will be able to minimize their casualties. Encouragingly, the American casualties appear relatively lights at this point. My sense is that no one is sparing the ammunition. Apparently the orders of the day are to level any building where there is any sign of enemy fire.

The sad thing is that this attack could have been carried out in April. Seven months of digging in will mean more US troops will be killed than there would have been in April. Politics is never the friend of the soldier on the ground.

Pathetic

Over at The Blogging of the President, denial digs in. they have set themselves up as "Republican Election Theft Clearinghouse".

this is pathetic because people like Ian Welsh should be applying their very good analytic minds to how best to overcome the emerging Republican majority. That means facing up to having lost, and lost badly, with a really lame candidate and then figuring out how to a) make sure a better candidate is nominated next time, b) crafting a platform which will reach beyond what will almost certainly be a shrinking Democratic base.

This last election was the high water mark for left Democrats and folks who base their ideology on the distortions and flat out lies of Michael Moore. Most Democrats have now realized that the Fat Bastard cost them more votes than he mobilized - the kids who didn't show up at the polls were Mikey's contribution.

for Democratic activist, it is a pointless waste of time to chase down every vote fraud trope as if it will actually make a difference. Three and a half million more Americans voted for Bush than voted for Kerry. That is a defeat. Move on.

Arrrrgh!

Of course it serves me right for going to CBS for "news". CBS no longer is in the "news" business,
U.S. troops backed by thunderous air and artillery barrages launched a ground offensive Monday to seize key insurgent strongholds inside Fallujah, the city that became Iraq's major sanctuary for Islamic extremists who fought Marines to a standstill last April.
CBS
Surely it is not beyond the resources of Rather and Co. to do the few minuted research, or even to remember, that the Marines were called off prior to taking Fallujah last April. For domestic Iraqui political reasons a negotiated truce with tribal leaders marked an end to the fighting. Which, frankly, was a mistake.

But the happy idea that lightly armed terrorists fought the Marines to a standstill makes about as much sense as memos compoased in Word in the 1970's - but, hey, that worked didn't it.

11/08/2004

So it Begins

Late.very late, the Marines have crossed the river and taken the hospital and the bridges to Fallujah. The Black Watch is blocking. Hammer and anvil.
And, worse, they have had time to prepare -- many months in which to anticipate where and how they will meet the "crusaders" and their "apostate" Iraqi allies. They have planted explosive booby traps and rigged car bombs. They have keyed their defense to those sites which they know Americans will be reluctant to engage -- school buildings, hospitals, and of course the city's many mosques and holy sites.
ralph kenny bennett, tech central station
I suspect Bennett is setting up for a long seige. I doubt it will be anything of the sort. The combined arms of the United States are a fearsome sight to behold. The battlefield is prepared. The politics are out of the way. Now it is a techinical battle. On one side a gang of lightly armed insurgents, on the other an army whose ability to expend ammunition is unlimited, whose tactics have been honed in a couple of dozen prior encounters.

the siege of fallujah is going to be quick, bloody and successful. It should have happened in April; it is happening now.

Semper Fi.

11/07/2004

Drawing some lines in Holland

What we should have debated is the fact that somebody started murdering because Mr. Van Gogh used a constitutional right. That is the matter at hand, and we had better realize it soon.
Mr. Van Gogh did, and he was murdered for holding immigrants accountable, thereby giving them a chance to be more independent than they could ever be under the traditional degrading Dutch spoon feeding approach.
It's no wonder so many immigrants don't respect us.
And it's no wonder a member of a fascist religious group killed the one person who wanted to emancipate the same minorities he and his cult want to oppress - and do, in countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.
A demagogue could argue that Dutch PBS by its attitude is in a sense complicit in Mr. Van Gogh's death, as PBS and Van Gogh's murderer Mohamed B. in a way both try to control minorities and silence Mr. Van Gogh, one apres la lettre, the other in a more literal sense. Then again, I don't want to give Dutch PBS the satisfaction of the self-blame they could extract from such a rebuking.
Besides, perhaps Dutch PBS will eventually want to debate the virtues of treating new Dutch citizens as adults. At least, after another few murders or so.
The Dutch are getting fairly fed up with their elite's attitude towards Muslim immigration and assimilation. This is not a view confined to Holland.