Archives for March, 2002


WAS ELVIS JEWISH? …asks a new documentary: “I’m leaving town tomorrow / I’m leaving town for sure / Going to yeshiva / Won’t be coming here no more / Well that’s all right Yiddishe-mamma…”

Posted on Mar 31, 2002 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


THE ONLY GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: Senior British government officials are urging a less bellicose line on Iraq policy. At an upcoming meeting at Bush’s Crawford, Texas ranch:

“Blair will privately argue for a more cautious tone on Iraq and say that any military action is ‘a long way off’. He will also say that all diplomatic avenues should be explored.”

Why is this good news? Because the only war Congress authorized–and the only war we should be in–is the war against Al-Qaeda. Hussein’s secular socialist dictatorship has less connection to Bin Laden’s death cult than just about any country in the region. The push for a preemptive strike on Iraq is a distraction pushed by Bush One retreads with scores to settle, and neoconservative warhawks hitching their preexisting policy goals to the 9/11 bandwagon.

Not only is war with Iraq unnecessary, it could be a major foreign policy disaster. Yesterday, Arab League leaders announced that they’d consider an attack on Iraq an attack on the entire Middle East. With our Western allies opposed, and the Arabs supporting Hussein, it would be the U.S. and Israel against the Muslim world. A strike on Iraq would play as an unprovoked attack against a Muslim country, making this look less like a war against terror and more like a war against Islam. A better recruiting poster for Bin Laden could hardly be imagined.

Posted on Mar 31, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off


ARAFAT GROUNDED: I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know what the hell I’d do if I were in Sharon’s position, but it strikes me that what he is doing is intellectually incoherent and embarassing. He announces yesterday that “Arafat is our enemy.” Then he has him surrounded, cuts off his electricity, and then confines him to his office. What’s next, cutting off his Penthouse subscription? I don’t get it. If he’s your enemy, shouldn’t you, like, kill him?

I don’t believe there is a military solution–at least not along the lines that Sharon seems to envision–to the intifada. And I don’t join warbloggers Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan in their increasingly bloodthirsty approach to Middle East peace. But this send-Arafat-to-bed-without-dinner won’t solve anything or satisfy anyone.

Posted on Mar 30, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off


SISTERHOOD IS FANCIFUL: H.L. Mencken said that when women kiss hello it’s like two prizefighters shaking hands. A new book, “Women’s Inhumanity to Women,” says he was on to something.

Posted on Mar 30, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off


ISN’T THIS WHAT KRISPY KREMES ARE FOR? The latest in cosmetic surgery, according to Fox News: “sub-muscle silicone implants for the backside, [which] are quickly becoming the breast implants of the new millennium.” I have a friend from Brooklyn who’s going to be very excited by this development…

Posted on Mar 29, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off


A TIP FOR YOU WEDDING PLANNERS: Krispy Kremes are all the rage, according to this report.

Posted on Mar 29, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off


THE PROBLEM WITH WASHINGTON D.C.: Michelle Malkin’s latest column declares that no one with a life or a soul would want to live here in D.C. She gets a few things right–the way this place is a sort of half-assed Hollywood for the ugly, for one thing–star-struck twentysomethings chasing after political hacks with all the charm of soviet apparatchiks. In a recent Vanity Fair piece on Hill Culture, the young trollope that’s the focus of the story sleeps with a guy just because he was an aide to Tom Delay.

In Michelle’s indictment of D.C., she misses a few easy points as well. Nobody here has any taste. There doesn’t seem to be any demand for cool pubs or restaurants. Every Irish bar in this city looks like an Epcot-center simulacrum of the real thing.

But you know what? I love living here. Even if it’s true, like Michelle says, that a lot of D.C.’s residents are power-hungry little dweebs–at least they read the newspaper. It’s not hard to meet interesting people. And the city’s got all the amenities of a big city without much of the hassle. Instead of living in a glorified walk-in closet with a stainless-steel prison toilet, like most of my friends in New York, I’ve got a front porch and a garage. If you’ve been here long enough, you’ve found the seven or eight cool places to go, and those are enough to keep you going.

This is a great place to live, and I’m not moving till they nuke me out.

Posted on Mar 28, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off


RUSSELL YATES REDUX: According to this report, Russell Yates was in the Green Room for the Today show at the same time as Ozzy Osbourne, who was there to promote his new MTV reality show:

“While shadowing Osbourne for an upcoming story in Blender magazine, writer Adrian Deevoy accompanied him to a “Today” show taping, where Deevoy met Yates in the green room. Yates yammered about what a big Osbourne fan he was, sang several Black Sabbath songs, and talked excitedly about getting a picture with the rocker. But when Osbourne and wife Sharon were told that Yates wanted a photo, they were repulsed. ‘I will burn his eyes out with a hot poker,” Ozzy bellowed. ‘He is profiting directly from the demise of his own children. And that, to me, is wrong.’ ”

Posted on Mar 28, 2002 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


COMPLETE YOUR APOCALYPSE CARE PACKAGE with Rad Block Potassium Iodide. This commercially available pill will, if taken after a “dirty nuke” attack, load up your thyroid gland to prevent radioactive iodine poisoning. Combined with your Cipro, your Israeli gas mask, and your sawed-off shotgun, Rad Block will keep you happily wandering the 21st century post-apocalyptic wasteland, battling skinhead mutants and searching for gasoline. Thanks to Paul Benjamin for the link.

Posted on Mar 28, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off


BIG-TENT LIBERTARIANISM: The Libertarian Party is poised to run an “existentialist libertarian Druid” for Governor of California. No wonder people confuse the LP with the Larouchites…

Posted on Mar 28, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off


OUR CONFESSIONAL CULTURE: The Wall Street Journal ran a piece last week by Daniel Henninger on the Andrea Yates trial. Henninger says he was prepared to write a straightforward op-ed about the legal and cultural issues raised by the trial–insanity defense, feminist support for Yates, and the like. But he got sidetracked by the spectacle of Rusty Yates hungrily seizing his 15 minutes with interviews on the Today Show and Larry King on the day his wife was being sentenced. At the very moment his wife was being led away in shackles, Rusty was yammering away with perky Katie Couric (who, having treated America to a real-time view of her colonoscopy, knows a thing or two about our confessional culture herself). Writes Henninger:

“Mainstream television, blowing on us like ocean winds against the beach, has by now worn away any norm of what is appropriately private. If the persons closest to you have been slaughtered and your wife sent to a cell for 40 years, it is now, truly, the most normal thing in the world to take this opportunity to ‘share’ with Larry King and 10 million total strangers–and then answer call-ins.”

Henninger is right: there is something surpassingly weird about modern American culture and the crass, self-revelatory behavior it seems to encourage. Rusty Yates is just one example. For another, try Dana Reeve, Christopher Reeve’s wife, who, a couple of years ago blabbed to the media about her and her husband’s awkward sex life. I wish I could link to it, but it doesn’t seem to be available online. Luckily, I saved a copy. From the New York Post, Monday, October 11, 1999, here’s Dana Reeve on what goes on in the Reeves’ bedroom:

“What we do is physically intimate, but it is not as fulfilling in many ways for either of us,” Mrs. Reeve says. “Chris is paralyzed from the shoulders down,” she continues, “so the sex is kind of one-sided.”

Read enough stuff like this, and you’ll find yourself saying, with Henninger: “There are moments… when one wants to go out to the street, stare up at the stars in the dark sky and admit, I don’t get it anymore.”

Then again, you might find yourself turning away from the stars up in the dark sky, and running back into the house to watch TV–because what could be more fun than watching these people eagerly humiliate themselves? Speaking of which, I’m not sure if this is an urban myth, but I read somewhere that someone had turned the Katie colonoscopy footage into a screen-saver program. If anyone knows where I can get this, please email me.

Posted on Mar 28, 2002 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


THOUGHTS ON BUZKASHI: I’ve been thinking a bit lately about Buzkashi, the Afghan national sport. If you’re a good American, and you’ve seen Rambo: First Blood Part III, you’ll know that it’s a form of violent, full contact polo using a headless goat as the ball. One student of the game reports that:

“Before each game a great ceremony of killing the animal takes place. The head and all four hoofs are then removed, only the tail remains on the carcass. Naturally, the flowing blood makes the ball a bit sticky, slick and hard to handle.”

Equally violent are the implements used to play the game:

“…a short raw hide whip which is usually held between their teeth when not in use to slash out at other players and their horses. It is a vicious weapon that will slice the skin open as easily as a scalpel.”

In the good old days, before the Afghans got all New-Age and Alan-Alda-like:

“the whips were made up of a handle attached to thongs tied to balls of lead. The [riders] of old also carried a knife and sometimes stabbed an opponent’s horse or even its rider when attempting to steal the [ball].”

Outstanding: It’s like an 11th-century version of Rollerball.

Now, on reading the above, you might get all ethnocentric, and think: what a hideous bunch of gore-streaked savages! But that would be wrong. In the new spirit of Afghan-U.S. comity, we need to learn to appreciate others’ weird and repugnant traditions.

Besides, there’s a commercial opportunity here. I read the linked articles and thought: I’d definitely watch this. Particularly if they added a horsecam. It beats celebrity boxing all to hell. So why not put it on Fox? Better yet, why not put it on MTV? This would be perfect for a Road Rules Challenge. Eight pampered Generation Y twits with perfect teeth meet on the Afghan plains for a battle to the death with eight grim, leathery warriors with bloodlust in their eyes…

Posted on Mar 27, 2002 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


ALAN KEYES IS MAKING SENSE: You’ve got to love Alan Keyes, quixotic GOP presidential candidate-turned talk show host. Who else has had the guts to call Dick Morris a toe-sucker on national TV and point out to candidate Dubya that Jesus, in point of fact, was not actually a political philosopher? But given that most people already think Keyes is nuts, he could have found a better title than “Alan Keyes Is Making Sense” for his new MSNBC show. As a friend of mine points out, it’s just a little bit defensive. Sounds like: Alan Keyes Is Not Crazy! Alan Keyes Is Totally Sane! Are You Looking At Alan Keyes? You Must Be Looking At Alan Keyes–There’s No One Else Here!

Posted on Mar 27, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

PC PET PEEVE: I understand

PC PET PEEVE: I understand the convention among reporters that, when you’re writing up a story about a crime, you don’t mention ethnicity. As a general rule, it makes sense: if you’re reporting a workaday murder or mugging, why be needlessly inflammatory by identifying the perp’s race? If it’s not a racially motivated crime, it’s not relevant. But, dammit, when you’re talking about stories related to domestic terrorism, ethnicity is highly relevant. Take this story from the Washington Post today:

“Twenty-five workers who held high security clearance at two Bay Area airports have been arrested as part of a nationwide security sweep, immigration officials said Tuesday. The workers face charges ranging from obtaining airport security badges with falsified Social Security numbers to lying on applications about felony convictions.”

Is this just a little due diligence on the part of the INS, or is it evidence of an Al-Qaeda conspiracy to take down a couple more planes? From the article, it seems that all of the 25 are foreign nationals. Yeah, but from where? Mexico? Ireland? Zimbabwe? Saudi Arabia? The Post won’t say. All they’ll tell us is:

“None were suspected of having ties to terrorist groups, said Sharon Rummery, a spokeswoman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service spokeswoman.”

Coming from the agency that issued a posthumous visa to Mohammed Atta, that really puts my mind at ease.

Now maybe it’s the INS that won’t reveal the home countries of the arrestees, but I’m guessing it’s liberal politesse at the Post. It’s part of a pattern. Last fall, in the midst of the anthrax scare, and during a period when the fear in DC was palpable, the cops shut down one of the Metro lines after a confrontation with a man who dropped a container of an unknown chemical substance. Aaaugh!! Sleeper agent?? No. The substance turned out to be cleaning fluid, and the guy a punk American teenager, but you wouldn’t have found that out from the Post’s coverage, which was scrupulously silent about ethnicity and national origin. The reporter and his editors got to feel morally superior, but the rest of us had to worry all day about whether the city was under attack.

Posted on Mar 27, 2002 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

THE AGITATOR: Check out Radley

THE AGITATOR: Check out Radley Balko’s blogsite today, where he makes hash of Eugene Volokh and Jonah Goldberg’s arguments that we needn’t worry about the coming surveillance state. Radley’s a good dude, and the guy who showed me the blogging ropes, so you have him to thank or blame.

Posted on Mar 27, 2002 in Uncategorized | Comments Off