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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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7/09/2005

A connection

Mark Steyn is answering reader mail and one reader sent this:

Isn't it interesting that, in addition to the G8 summit, the bombings in London coincide with the week of the 10-year anniversary of the massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica?

mark steyn
Mark agrees and so do I. the complete failure of the UN to protect the Bosnian Muslims - thank you Kofi - was a travesty. Of course, my lefty friends (and my isolationist ones) would prefer to forget that it was Bill Clinton's coalition of the willing which finally bombed the Serbs into ending their genocide. Because, you know, bombing never works and violence beget violence.

The Enemy Within

Since Thursday's attacks, there have been calls for a crackdown on radical Muslims, including some from Britain's Muslim leaders.

"As far as I am concerned these people are not British," said Lord Nizar Ahmed, one of the few Muslims in the House of Lords. "They are foreign ideological preachers of hate who have been threatening our national security and encouraging young people into militancy. They should be put away and sent back to their countries."

He added, "They created a whole new breeding ground for recruitment to radicalism."
nyt
In case anyone thinks my positions vis a vis the Islamofascist jihadis is extreme.

The Times article is well worth reading. It details how the British - in ways the left will not much like - have brought some of this terror on themselves. How? By allowing radical, anti Western, pro-jihad Muslims to remain in Britian even as they call for England's destruction. And even when they are wanted for crimes committed in other jurisdictions.

Yeeech!

London began the difficult journey toward healing on Friday after in deadly bombings struck its transport system.
eyewitness news
Quick, call Oprah. When I read grafs like this I am inclined to think the bombers might well have a point. On purely aesthetic grounds this sort of sentimental gibberish really does demand an RPG where it hurts.

7/08/2005

A dialogue

Josephus: Enough! You know who is behind the murders. You know the world they have created. You know the centers of the hatred. Act!

ben Levi: We are acting. Carefully, precisely. Without more collateral damage than we can avoid.

Josephus: Are you insane? Collateral damage is the key. Precision be damned. These people will never love you which means you have one alternative: fear. Fear for their children, fear for themselves. Fear for their Holy places. Begin with the rock.

ben Levi: The rock?

Josephus: Yes, the rock. This one.

ben Levi: And what?

Josephus: Point a cruise missle at it and fire.

ben Levi [shocked]: During the pilgrimage?

Josephus: Absolutely...

ben Levi: No. That would be, if not genocide then strategically idiotic. What we need to do is ensure that the men who cirlce the rock no longer can hurt us.

Josephus: What, build a wall around them??

ben Levi: It works in Gaza.

Josephus: Until it doesn't. Take out the Haj and you have beaten the Muslims before they've started.

ben Levi: Destroy the Grand Mosque and you have made a billion enemies for a thousand years.

Josephus: Destroy the founding myth and the Muslims will crumple like a Kleenex.

ben Levi: Have you ever heard of proportionate response?

Josephus: Not in Rome...never. Touch a Roman and we sent a Legion to make sure that you never, ever, ever, even thought about doing it again. Men, women, children. Dead. And it worked. Well.

ben Levi: Until it didn't. You couldn't quite manage killing every Goth and Visagoth could you?

Josephus: No. But, by then the Empire had decayed. We relied on our auxiliaries. Our generals cared more for public esteem than for the honour of Rome. Our people did not join the legions; instead they wanted the bread they did not earn.

ben Levi: You see, Israel, even if she wanted to, cannot take Cairo. Even with her arms she must restrain herself. So what can we do?

Josephus: For Rome the answer would be simple: reduce a few cities and take hostages for the rest. Honourable hostages but hostages none the less.

ben Levi: Against good conduct.

Josephus: For good conduct. For ensuring that none of their subjects attack Rome.

ben Levi: And if they do?

Josephus: You kill the hostages of course...painfully.

ben Levi: We cannot do that Josephus. At best we can imprison them.

Josephus: Oh, you can't. Well, more accurately, you can't yet. One bomb, one filthy bit of nuclear waste killing a hundred thousand people and leaving a city unihabitable...You'd be surprised what you can do.

ben Levi: I suspect you'd be astonished with what we cannot do. Abu Garib, Gitmo - our own people will not countance even the most basic of interrogation methods.

Josephus: For the moment. Five snipers circling five cities will put an end to that. Leave aside a shopping mall bombing or, more likely, biologicals in an out of the way place.

ben Levi: Should it?

Josephus: It must. To win, short of turning the Islamic world into glass, you have to have intelligence and that intelligence is won by the wide boys; men who do not take no for an answer.

ben Levi: But a wall, a lock down on immigration, a law against incitement, the ability to deport the jihadis.

Josephus: Grand. Do it. But when the first big bomb goes off be reay to have people almost as angry at their goverment as they are at the men who set the bomb.

ben Levi: but that is just not who we are.

Josephus: No, but that is who the jihadis demand you become.



To avoid Rome: More counter terror options

Scanning the blogs and the news sites I've run across a couple of more options for the West to counter terrorism short of turning much of the Middle East into a sea of glowing glass.

Over at Bob Tarantino's Let it Bleed a commentor named Ferrethouse suggested that immigration from any country which allowed terrorism or terrorist incitement to occur within its borders should be cut off. I like this option a lot. It has two consequences: first it punishes the entire country and therefore the culture which produces terror. Second, it acts as a barrier, albeit pathetically low, to the export of terror. The trick would be to have a broad enough definition of incitement. However, right off the top, Iran, Syria, Saudi, Egypt, Jordan, Most of North Africa, Pakistan, Malaysia would all be immigration excluded.

A second suggestion comes from comments at Belmont Club: the commentor suggested that untraceable explosions at Wahabbi mosques might dent the taste for terror. I would include madrassas - the theological schools often financed by the Wahabbists - on that list. Here the objective would not be to kill people but rather to destroy buildings and infrastructure. A long way short of war but very much within the capacity of the West.

Now, Bob, in his post, writes:

I genuinely wonder some times whether our society is capable of the sort of unified response which is envisioned. Can a polity as pluralist and fractious as are most modern liberal democracies genuinely count on the rage of its citizens? There may be significant swathes of the population who aren't terribly put off by theofascist terror attacks (I mean, did you listen to some of the callers on talk radio today? They were practically cheering).
let it bleed
It is an entirely legitimate question. It is not clear what it will take for the population of the West to move onto a war footing about Islamic terror. The governments, police, military and security services are treating this as war; but the general population seems quite willing to look for any excuse to avoid the harsh realities of war.

What will it take? I hope we never find out. Because to shake the surpline left out of its mantra of "It's our fault" is going to take something bigger than London, likely bigger than Madrid and, sadly, bigger than 9/11.

At the moment, the West can operate on an Israeli basis - taking out terrorists one group at a time, periodically draining particular swamps, building security in depth in cities and towns and, tragically, recognizing that there will be outrages like London or Madrid or New York or Bali. But the problem is that, unlike the Israeli situation where there is a political authority (no matter how illegitimate) to negotiate with and to call on to end the terror, in the case of the jihadis there is neither a political authority or recognizably political goals.

The polar alternative to the Israeli strategy is to go Roman with all the bloodshed and innocent death that implies. It is an awful alternative.

The neocon vision of a Middle East evolving away from the terrorist incubator years of Western sanctioned oppression by corrupt and vicious regimes such as Saddam's created is the last best hope for the Muslim world. The willingness of the Americans and the British and the other members of the Coalition of the Willing to shed blood to bring change in the Middle East is what really terrifies the terrorists. Because that change makes a return to the theocracy of the 14th century, the resurection of the caliphate, impossible.

Changing the Middle East, creating the conditions for the reform and Enlightenment of Islam, is a narrow road between endless low intensity war and the cataclysm of revenge which would be unleashed if the jihadis somehow commit an act of mega terror. Because with that act the resolve of the West would remind us of our debt to Rome.




Good News!

The council that admits people into the Order of Canada has begun the process of revoking the membership of former aboriginal leader David Ahenakew, who awaits a judge's ruling on a hate crime charge.

Lucie Brosseau said Ahenakew was sent a letter on June 30 informing him that the Order of Canada advisory council is considering his removal.

"The letter offered Mr. Ahenakew the option of resigning voluntarily from the order or of responding to the council," she said.
cbc
While I am not a fan of hate crimes legislation, I do think that removing an honour is perfectly appropriate when a person behaves dispicably.

7/07/2005

England...

The blogosphere really came of age covering the outrage in London today. The Wall Street Journal covered the blogs and the Times of London covered English bloggers. Media has shifted. When Susan woke me up this morning with news of the explosions I hit Instapundit and then worked from there. Why watch old news on the television?

At the moment the best guess is the bombings were the work of some variety of jihadi. This will have to be confirmed and the simple claiming of the atrocity by one bunch of Muslim nutters or another is not confirmation.

What happened is going to take days to become clear and months to completely investigate unless the police and security services get lucky. But what caused the bombings is almost certainly very clear - they were caused by the ongoing calls to jihad from clerics and Islamofascists both in England and abroad.

Whether this was an al Qaeda operation directed by Osama bin Laden or one of his gunsels, or a freelance operation loosely in support of al Qaeda or the Iraqi terrorists or the establishment of a caliphate, the underlying motivation is Islamic fundamentalism.

Over at Belmont Club, Wretchard, in his comments, writes:

I believe we are watching the slow collapse of all the nice little barriers of political correctness which have grown around the medieval ideology called Wahabism. The Left is dying from the dagger of Islam plunged repeatedly into its back. As they are glad to recieve the wounds, well let them.

I think people like Fouad Ajami understand quite clearly that unless Islam reforms it will quite literally blow itself up, one way or the other. It's a race against time really. That we are in a war is indisputable. The only question remaining is whether the casualties will be numbered in the thousands or the billions. The Left, if left alone, will guarantee it is in the billions. But they are dying from their own stupidity, so there's hope yet.
belmont club


The casualty count in London has been, in the circumstances, amazingly low. However, that may have had more to do with the quality of the explosives than anything else. Because this attack, or rather attacks, required planning and support. That they could occur at all indicates how vunerable the West is. And it indicates just how seriously the threat of Islamofascism needs to be taken in the West and, more importantly, in the Muslim world.

Russil Wong at Blogs Canada points to a Reuters dispatch in which assorted Middle Eastern leaders, including spokemen for the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Lebanon's Shi'ite Muslim Hizbollah guerrillas condemend the attacks. I find this encouraging. As I find the condemnation by Assad in Syria. But now comes the test - will these groups renounce terror?

The war on terror is just beginning. It is not, as the bombings in London and Madrid and 9/11 demonstrate, a war the West can afford to lose. Nor, frankly, is it a war the Muslim world can afford to have escalate.

At the moment, the calls for nuking Mecca or the forcible deportation of Muslims from England are confined to a fringe. At the moment, Crusader is a term used by al-Qaeda not Her Majesty's government.

That can change. And it can change instantly.

Which brings me back to the opening graf of this post. One thing which has changed forever is that the mainstream media have lost the monopoly on reporting and on the analysis of events. Which means governments have lost the capacity to spin. Instapundit's site meter shows 180,000 visits as of 3:45pm PST. Glenn Reynolds is, relatively speaking, a moderate. The blogs he points to are, generally, moderate. However, there is no reason to believe that if the jihad against the West continues, there will not be rather more extreme positions taken.

Today's vicious attacks will, in time, be absorbed into the long history of London. The jihadis are not the Luftwaffe and binLaden does not even make it to Goering status. But the great fear must be that the jihadis today were doing a dry run for a more technically sophisticated attack with weapons of much greater lethality. I hope I am wrong about this; but I fear I am not.

It is time to stop the jihadis before they commit a crime which will remove all restraint from the anger of the West. That means, at minimum, three things.

First, if the director of the CIA knows where OBL is - likely the tribal lands in Pakistan - it is time to go and get him. It would be unfortunate if Pakistan's none too friendly government collapsed as a result; but that would give a Coalition of the Sensible the opportunity to grab the Pakistani nukes as well.

Second, it is well past time to arrest and deport any individuals advocating jihad from any Western country. Now, if those individuals, by some unlucky chance, have been born in that country, it may well be time to find issolated places for them to spend the next couple of dozen years. Greenland looks vacant and, perhaps, Dithers would like to offer one of Canada's many northern islands for an internment facility.

Third, it is time for the Muslim world to actively enforce a zero tolerance rule with respect to terror, terrorist support and organization, and, most importantly, terrorist incitement. If a cleric wishes to announce it is the will of Allah that the West be destroyed he needs to know that he will be arrested and jailed within the hour.

The last point is the most important. As I write the survival of the Muslim world is increasingly tenuous. If London was a dry run for a larger attack, with more deadly weapons, the ability of Western governments to restrain their population's fury is in serious doubt. And, now that there is at least some media free of governmental control - either directly or indirectly - the ability of Western elites to damp the anger of their populations is reduced.

Today our anger at the murders in London is tempered with the sadness and the sympathy those murders elicit. However, at some point, the grief will be replaced with the steely determination to destroy the roots of the terror. Which should make the Muslim world afraid, very, very afraid.

Outrage!


7/06/2005

It's hard to get good help these days

Suicide bombers have largely been foreigners. As Iraqis are quick to point out, Iraqis are not into this sort of thing. Neither are the foreigners any more, many of them refusing to undertake missions that just kill Iraqi civilians. So more and more suicide bombers are not volunteers, but men kidnapped and told to carry out the mission, or see family members killed. The bodies of car bombers have been found handcuffed to the steering wheel. Many suicide car bombers have dual detonation systems, one under the control of the driver, another under the control of a distant "supervisor," ready to set the bomb off if the suicide bomber is seen to get confused, or tries to get away from his fate.
strategy page
My sense is that the Iraqi terrorists are fast running out of steam.

Kidnapping and killing Arab diplomats is simply suicidal. It alienates the Arab world and the Iraqi Sunni minority.

Add to that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's announcement that al-Qaeda is also going to begin attacking Shi'ite militias (and it really couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of thugs) and you are seeing the end of the so called "insurgency".

No doubt there will still be attacks and bombs; but the net effect will be to infuriate the Kurds and the Shi'ites and leave the Sunnis to bear the brunt of that anger. Which they will do for only so long. Eventually, and it seems to be happening now, increasing numbers of Sunnis will cease to support the terrorists and move towards co-operating with the Iraqi government. As they do, the ability of the jihadis to operate will be diminished.

With serious efforts at cutting off the flow of feorgn jihadis, the situation will continue to improve and, at some point, the terrorists will have lost simply because they have not won.

Marsden Redux

The Ambler points to Kevin Steel's disection of Rachel Marsden in the current issue of The Western Standard and the objection it has provoked from Marsden's writing equal, Judi McLeod at Canada Free PressMs. McLeod's objection is that the conservative press in Canada should be supporting the convicted stalker as one of our own.

Dear God, the point of mocking the National Post for its latest celebrity hire is simply that Marsden's awful writing and utter lack of political or philosophical insight might be taken as the acme of conservative thought in Canada. Then again, anyone who can write a sentence like this one:

Marsden’s boyfriend blues are right up there on the same scale as Conservative Party Deputy Leader Peter MacKay’s Belinda betrayal.
is not likely to be much of a judge of writing talent. (Quick test, try figuring out what that sentence actually, er, means...if anything.)
Marsden’s twice-a-week columns, in a daily newspaper that some suspect the Aspers of Winnipeg are slowly inching over to the lib-left, are attracting more enemies from the right than the left.
I would suggest that Marsden's hiring is yet another bit of evidence of the National Posts left-Lib inclination: hiring a convicted criminal and touting her as the voice of Conservatism in Canada is positively Rovian in its brilliance.

Science?

Wrting at TechCentralStation Hans Labohm reveals just how far the folks supporting the doubtful science surrounding Kyoto are willing to go:

No wonder that economists, like me, become very suspicious if scientific bodies publicly espouse one line of thinking while denouncing alternative views. That was the case when London's Royal Society issued a statement last month announcing that the national science academies of the G8 nations and Brazil, China and India, three of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the developing world, had signed a statement on the global response to climate change. The statement stressed that the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action and called on world leaders, including those meeting at the G8 summit this week at Gleneagles, to take a number of specific measures.

However, it turns out this statement was not supported by the American and Russian Academies of Science. Fred Singer, president of the Science & Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), reported that Bruce Albert, president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences -- whose signature was printed at the bottom of the statement -- confirmed that the Academy "definitely did not approve the Royal Society press release". Albert added that he had sent a letter to Lord Robert May (the drafter of the press release) expressing his dismay at the misleading and political statements made in it.
tech central station
When science becomes political it largely ceases to be science. These sorts of stunts simply mean that even less credibility will be given to "scientific" statements about climate change.

7/04/2005

The Conservative Dilemma - More from England

KMG points me in the direction of an article by Peter Hitchens in the Spectator:

The only argument is, ultimately, about tactics. There is a total lack of original thought, principle or even instinct. Every debate is a pathetic variation on one parasitical theme — shall the Tory party regain its position by becoming more like New Labour, or less like New Labour?...And here is the core of it. The Tory party does not know what it is supposed to be opposing. In fact, in general, it has either supported or failed to oppose all the most important actions of New Labour. These are constitutional, moral and cultural, and they are the real issue.
quoted at uk independence forum
Change New Labour to Liberal and you pretty much sum up the current Canadian situation.

The Long Emergency - Not

I am in the middle of writing a short review of James Kunstler's new book, The Long Emergency. Basically Kustler, who last had his knickers in a knot over Y2K and publishes the wonderfully annoyed blog, clusterfucknation has strung together the more dire predictions of the peak oil folks, tossed in a bit of panic on the resource war classh of cultures front, seasoned with a dash of pandemic and concluded we're going to be dead or Amish in the foreseeably near future.

There is a good discussion of Kunstler over at Worldchanging which, if you are not reading already you should be. My own reaction, which is going to be severely truncated in the 400 words that I have for the review, oscillates between being delighted that someone is willing to write with a deft pen about the possible ramifications of peak oil, and annoyed that Kunster seems to feel he had to be quite so either economically illiterate or deliberately dishonest.

Here's the problem: I have no doubt at all that the world is at or has passsed the peak of its total oil production. From which it follows that cheap oil is over and that expensive oil is beginning. A fact re-inforced by the $60.00 a barrel oil touched last week. I would be utterly unsurprised to see oil hit $100.00 a barrel this year and $200.00 next year or the year after.

Along with making Alberta Canada's own little Kuwait, this is going to have some profound effects on our society and the West in general.

But where Kunstler goes off the rails is that he seems to believe that the long tail of the oil age is going to last for all of a few years and that the market will not serve to allocate the remaining oil very efficiently indeed. There is no evidence for either of these propositions and Kunstler seems too lazy to go and find any.

Which is too bad as the subject of the looming oil transition is worth book length treatment. It is going to change every bit of the world we live in, spur the development of serious alternative and nuclear engergy, change the way we build our cities, drop the value of suburban real estate like the proverbial rock in a sock and meet the carbon emmission targets without Rick Mercer having to do another commercial for the pretend solutions of Kyoto. It will alter the terms of trade in the world and, though it may be a bit scary for Canadians to consider this, make Canada one of the richest nations on earth assuming Alberta sticks around.

And those are just the obvious changes.

But we are not all going to have to become Amish.

7/03/2005

For Thinking Conservatives Only

Continuing through the Telegraph I came across this piece from a Tory MP on the Tory leadership race in England:

Cameron's speech operates at three levels. At one level, it is about the way we do politics: it is a call for civilised debate in which we acknowledge the force of our opponents' arguments, avoid opportunism, and say things we think are true even if we think they will not at first be popular. At a second level, it is about acknowledging that the effort to bring together free markets and the strengthening of society has to be a joint effort in which government, institutions and individuals all play their part. And, at a third level, it is about the ultimate goal - the fostering of a more civilised Britain - which lies behind both our preference for free markets and our preference for a stronger society.
oliver letwin, telegraph
The idea of honouring one's opponent's ideas and being fearless in the advocacy of one's own is likely to lead to a more civilized politics if not society.

Why I am Still an Anglican

Rather a good piece in the Sunday Telegraph by Quentin Letts:

It is time someone published a collection of essays entitled Why I Am Still an Anglican, because it is time we realised how lucky we are in our official Church. It is time our vicars were thanked for their good works, their stoicism and their general lack of hysterics. It is time we stopped assailing the Church of England and, as they say at Glastonbury, bigged it up.

I go along every week primarily because I love singing hymns. There's little to beat a good blast of Praise My Soul or the Cathedral Psalter setting of the Te Deum before lunch. I suppose I also go because I love the Book of Common Prayer, which the churches in our part of Herefordshire still use, and because I want Cranmer's cadences to drip into my children's minds. This is partly a cultural thing, partly aesthetic. Religion is there, too, in the background, but I would not dare claim to understand or believe fully in every part of the liturgy.
sunday telegraph
He goes on to describe, in rather different terms, my own sense of why I find religious enthuiasts difficult:
Critics often accuse the Church, particularly the Archbishop of Canterbury, of failing to show moral leadership. They say that today's Anglican clergy are weak. Archbishop Rowan is mocked not only for his beard but also for failing to froth like some fundamentalist mullah.

I prefer it this way. Maybe this is a very English and Protestant thing, but I want my relationship with God, if it exists, to be a private thing. I don't so much want to be told what to believe as to be shown how. Rowan Williams seems rather gently brilliant at that.
telegraph
It is not a very popular position with the fundamentalists of all creeds making the running; but the idea of religion as a cultural yet private matter seems right to me and right to the Church I am a presently absent member of.

Meme...Meme Alert

James Bow, who says all sorts of absurdly flattering things about me at his blog, is promoting a meme:

Name three political individuals (they don’t have to be politicians; they can be bloggers) with whom you frequently disagree. Be careful who you choose, because you’ll have to use them in your next answer.

My fickle finger points to Ian Welsh, Kevin Grace and Antonia Zerbisas...


For each individual, identify one characteristic of theirs that you admire, or one policy of theirs that you strongly agree with and write a paragraph or two on why.
james bow
Now I really should be fixing this blog...but.

Begin with Welsh. Ian is one of the few people I have read who managed to make a compelling case against the Iraqi war on the basis that the Americans were not as tough and nasty as the British and that to win you had to be that tough. He has been known to defend Michael Moore and take me to task for referring to Moore as "the fat bastard". He writes at The Blogging of the President where they really are sure that the Bush regime stole the last election and that John Kerry would have been an excellent President. But, for all this Huffingtonian moonbattery, Ian consistently drives down to bedrock on economics.

There is not much doubt that money drives politics and that economic policy makes and breaks politicians in the United States and Canada. Ian, writing about everything from exchange rates though oil prices and on to the real world of car manufacturing (and that was just in the last month) can and does recognize the real world implications of policy. And, for the most part, he does not like what he sees simply because it fails his own pretty stringent tests.

Tax cut and increased federal spending....don't think so. Shoddy workmanship and engineering hidden behind a wall of junk bonds and financial engineering...not likely. Ian has a nose for economic nonesense and, while I often disagree with his prescriptions, his diagnosis is dead on.

Best of all, like Grace and Zerbisias, Welsh can write. Clear, concise, fact filled prose; objective and all the more damning for it. The difference is that unlike Grace and Zerbisias, so far as I know, Welsh is not and never has been a professional journalist. In this he harkens back to a wonderful, and now sadly almost extinct, tradition of the gentleman amateur able to give the players a run for their money.

In a just world Kevin Grace - with whom, full disclosure, I am lucky enough to have the occassional several beers - would be able to practice his ultramontane blogging and journalism supported by a stippend from a grateful, if incredulous, nation.

I cannot think of a single thing, from religion to baseball on which Kevin and I do not disagree profoundly. It would worry me if, by some fluke, we found ourselves in alignment. Fortunately, even when it appears that our positions amount to the same thing, a quick examination of how we got to those positions restores my calm.

To suggest that Kevin is right wing is to entirely miss the vacuity to which such a definition is usually victim. Not something which Kevin could ever do as witness:
The secret to becoming a successful right-wing columnist is to echo the mob while complimenting yourself on your daring. That's all there is to Ann Coulter's craft, the rest is exploitation of the sexual masochism of the American male—he just can't get enough of the kitten with claws. Rachel Marsden's success will depend on the extent to which Canadian men now share the American compulsion to embrace a whiplash girlchild in the dark.
the ambler
Martin Amis once told me - no really, he did - that as he reviewed more and more fiction he increasingly found all he could really do is string together quotations from a novel and let it speak for itself: so with Grace,
I don't think it's any secret I've made the Calgary Sun house style my model. All too often I fall short, but Ms Corbella is surely partly to blame! She's set the bar too darn high!! Consider the lead paragraph of J L Jackson's 1 June column:
The 61st anniversary of D-Day will take place this coming Monday—marking a day that will forever be seen as a tremendous step forward in defeating Hitler's reign of terror.

Ars longa, vita brevis—that's all you can say.
the ambler
If Grace had a book or two in him, and, in fact, he does, he would have every chance of becoming Canada's answer to Waugh, likely Auberon rather than Evelyn. It is, in fact, rather more fun to disagree with Grace and simply admire the brick by brick demolition of assorted American, Canadian and secular golden calves with nothing more dangerous than a keen mind and an acid filled ink pot.

Ms. Zerbisias, aka the Zerb, first came to my attention through the good offices of Bob Tarantino who took a demonic pleasure in entirely and often hilariously demolishing her astonishing gulibility and professional anti-Americanism. A legal education is never wasted and Bob kept whacking the Zerb's sillier remarks out of the blogging park. He hit them so far that I never really felt any need to read the woman.

But then the Zerb showed up at a gathering of bloggers in TO. While a few righty bloggers were a bit sniffy about this, generally the Zerb proved to be a) human, b) good fun. Tarantino still banged her Bush dementia to the bleachers but, simply by having a couple of beers, the Zerb took a lot of the sting out of the whacks.

Apparently the form impressed her and, before you knew it, there she was with her own blog. As I wrote below, the Zerb was made for blogging and while she is still irritatingly naive when it comes to politics, she is simply brilliant writing about the intersection of politics and the higher media.

The Zerb can smell a conflict of interest at a thousand yards and the ongoing manipulation of the news at a mile. And yes, she does have a bias, and yes she does manage to miss the rather too obvious bias of Reuters and AP; the point being that there are very few writers covering the corosive effects of the political manipulation of the press.

I do wish she would turn her attention to the Liberal Toronto media nexus on the presentation of Harper and the CPC. Not to mention the sheer incompetence of the CPC communications folks - though she has covered Bucket's of Grewel and the idiocy of the CPC in some detail.

What I enjoy most about Zerbisias is that she brings to blogging the skill of a well experienced reporter with all the mystique of sources, hard facts, research and a capacity to connect the dots.

The key to understanding the Zerb and enjoying her lies in a respect for the craft which she brings figuring "it" out. Like most reporters, the further away from the action she is the more likely she is to get her reporting wrong - and the Zerb is a long way from Iraq. But close to home - she's tough to beat.

The further five tags...Grace and Welsh and the Zerb. And two tomorrow.