Archives for October, 2006

“Join the Legions of the Lifeless”

Also from last Sunday’s Post, yet also seemingly not online, comes news that the first annual Zombie Walk just took place in Pittsburgh.

What is a Zombie Walk?

A zombie walk is an organized public gathering of two or more people who dress up in zombie costumes and make up. Usually taking place in an urban centre, the participants make their way around the city streets and through shopping malls in a somewhat orderly fashion and often limping and gnawing their way towards a local cemetery (or movie theater).

During the event participants are encouraged to remain in character as zombies and to communicate only in a manner consistent with zombies (such as grunts, groans and slurred moans calling for “brains”.)

We have nothing comparable in DC, though Santarchy is coming up (link not really work-safe).

Posted on Oct 31, 2006 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Fantastic Voyage

Sunday’s Washington Post ran a story about an AARP convention that featured a big walk-through inflatable colon complete with little wall-polyps. I went looking for the photo, but the Post didn’t put it online. Luckily the Las Vegas Review Journal comes through:


Should an organization that prides itself on supporting “retirement with dignity” really encourage this sort of thing? I’m just asking.

Posted on Oct 31, 2006 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

“Much More Elite”

I like this from State of Denial: Woodward recounts an interview he had with Bush in December 2003, where he tries to get him to agree with the statement “we have not found any weapons of mass destruction.” They go back and forth, with Woodward saying that the people he talks to think it’s odd that the president keeps spouting things like “WMD related program activities,” and refuses to acknowledge the obvious. Bush says:

From my perspective, I don’t want people to say “aha, we told you so.” I want people to know that there is a process that’s ongoing in a very dangerous part of the world. And so, frankly, I haven’t heard one person say that to me, but you run in different circles than I. Much more elite.

Much more elite?? Woodward’s certainly no ink-stained wretch–he’s as elite as it gets in Washington journalism, and there isn’t a high-powered Georgetown cocktail party where he wouldn’t be welcome. But who does Bush think he is? He’s from a family WASPier than Diane Keaton’s in Annie Hall. Grandson of a senator, son of a president, Andover, Yale, Harvard B School, governor, president. Who does he hang out with? Regular Joes like Prince Bandar, apparently. And yet conservatives seem to buy Bush’s reverse snobbery act, and accept the idea that he’s ‘jes folks. It’s an amazingly democratic perspective in a way. If you’re inarticulate enough, and completely incurious about the world, it doesn’t matter where you come from. You too can be a working class dog.

Posted on Oct 28, 2006 in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Faster, Neocon! Kill! Kill!

You know the part in Alice’s Restaurant where Arlo Guthrie tries to scream his way out of the draft?

They got a building down New York City, it’s called Whitehall Street,
where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected,
neglected and selected. I went down to get my physical examination one
day, and I walked in, I sat down, got good and drunk the night before, so
I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning. `Cause I wanted to
look like the all-American kid from New York City, man I wanted, I wanted
to feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from New York,
and I walked in, sat down, I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all
kinds o’ mean nasty ugly things. And I waked in and sat down and they gave
me a piece of paper, said, “Kid, see the psychiatrist, room 604.”

And I went up there, I said, “Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL.” And I started jumpin up and down yelling, “KILL, KILL,” and he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down yelling, “KILL, KILL.”

And the sargent come over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said, “You’re our boy.”

Ralph Peters is like that, but less coherent.

Posted on Oct 26, 2006 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Chuck Norris Fact

I’m sure this will be linked by every blog in the universe, but here you go: Chuck Norris makes his debut as a WorldNetDaily columnist. Tremble, idiotarians, Islamonazis, and secularists.

I bet you always wanted to know what Chuck thought about Darwin: “Here’s what I really think about the theory of evolution: It’s not real. It is not the way we got here. In fact, the life you see on this planet is really just a list of creatures God has allowed to live.” I confess I’d never thought much about what the nature and attributes of God would look like in Chuck’s theology, but if I had, that, I think, is exactly what I would have come up with: God as the Real Ultimate Badass.

I’ll always remember Chuck for the best ever movie tough-guy catchphrase, in Invasion USA. Feeling the heat from all the great Arnold one-liners, like “Let off some STEAM, Bennett!”, the producers of this Red Dawn knockoff answer the call. Chuck’s character, “Matt Hunter,” repeatedly informs the bad guys that “It’s time to die.” It’s still the line I use of a summer, when flies get into the house and I hunt them with a rolled-up newspaper.

Posted on Oct 25, 2006 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

It’s So Hard to Keep Track

Remember, there are two evil Kagans, and two evil Kaplans, but one good Kaplan.

Posted on Oct 25, 2006 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Dinner Party

In this New York Magazine piece, the author does two months on “CR”–the highly restrictive dietary regimen designed to prolong your life like a bad marriage. What are the folks who do this sort of thing like? Suffice it to say, they weigh their food on postage scales and say things like this:

“Kurzweil thinks we will reach actuarial escape velocity pretty soon,” says Don. “What do you think, Michael?”

The bulk of the article focuses on a “dinner party” with half a dozen hard-core CR types who put me in mind of Mark Renton: “In a thousand years, there will be no men and women, just wankers.” The main course at this affair involves “Quorn,” an allegedly meatlike substance “grown in fermentation tanks from a cultured strain of the soil mold Fusarium venenatum.”

I don’t want to spoil it for you, but by far the best part of the piece is this, when the author breaks it off the morning after the party:

I awaken hungry, go downstairs, walk into the first McDonald’s I encounter, and consume, for breakfast, an entire Quarter Pounder with cheese and a 12-ounce chocolate triple-thick shake. Later, at the cocktail hour, I drink several Cuba Libres and eat cheese-laden canapÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?©s to my heart’s content. For dinner, I stop in at Katz’s Delicatessen on Houston Street and ingest one half of a two-inch-thick pastrami on rye, half a corned-beef sandwich just as massive, several pickled tomatoes, and a cream soda, and only after eating a slab of chocolate-coated HÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?¤agen-Dazs ice cream on a stick at bedtime do I begin to feel the first, light pangs of queasiness. For the first time in 63 days, I end the day without the slightest idea how many calories I ate or the least desire to know.

(Hat tip: Mefi)

Posted on Oct 24, 2006 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Flavor of the Month

For some reason Barack Obama goes to my gym, which is nothing fancy, just a standard downtown Washington Sports Club. (Or at least he did until recently–I haven’t seen him in a month or so). I don’t know why he doesn’t work out on the Hill. Maybe he wants to break out of that environment and mix with the DC lunchpail crowd, the sort of workaday dudes with ordinary jobs that frequent my WSC: litigators, FBI agents, defense contractors, and, uh, me.

Anyway, Obama can’t leg press nearly as much as Madeline Albright or Pat Robertson. Also, frankly, his workout seems a little too safe and focus-group tested. Your standard, inoffensive mix of lat pulldowns, tricep pushdowns, and the like with a little free weight work. Nothing too effeminate, like Swiss ball sit-ups, and nothing too weird and aggressive, like power cleans accompanied by a banshee scream. Nothing out of the ordinary, everything just so.

I too wonder whether he has the political courage we want in a president.

Posted on Oct 23, 2006 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Shorter Jonah Goldberg

So we carried out a countrywide Waco. At least we don’t stink of patchouli.

Posted on Oct 20, 2006 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

It’s Even Funnier with a Squeaky Voice

“My power is discombobulatingly devastating. I could feel his muscle tissues collapse under my force. It’s ludicrous these mortals even attempt to enter my realm.”

Mike Tyson Quotes, courtesy Mefi.

Posted on Oct 20, 2006 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Mind over Matter

Here’s the case against withdrawal, as offered by AEI’s Reuel Marc Gehrecht:

And for those who are concerned about the geostrategic stability of the Middle East or the growth of Sunni jihadism and terrorism against the United States, staying in Iraq ought to be a compelling choice…. We–not the Iraqis–need to lead a major effort to break the Sunni insurgency. We–not the Iraqis–must police the Shiite-dominated security services to ensure they don’t slaughter the Sunnis, especially as we and a Shiite-dominated army with an important Kurdish contingent make a more serious effort to control Baghdad, Ramadi, and the centers of Sunni resistance. We need to keep building up a Shiite-dominated Iraqi army and slowly deploying it in ways that it can handle–with integral American involvement, as at Tal Afar. We should expect a few Iraqi governments to collapse before we start seeing real progress. Yet our presence in Iraq is the key to ensuring that Shiite-led governments don’t collapse into a radical hard core.

This may be too much for the United States now. It certainly appears to be too much for the Democrats. We would have all been better off if President Bush and his team had done what Senator John McCain advised back in 2004, when the insurgency started to rip: Tell everyone that the war would be long and hard, and pour in more troops. If we no longer have the stomach for this fight–and it’s going to be ugly, with few sterling VIP Iraqis who will make us proud–then we should at least be honest with ourselves. Leaving Iraq will not make our world better. We will be a defeated nation. Our holy-warrior and our more mundane enemies will know it. And we can rest assured that they will make us pay. Over and over and over again.

We’re no longer fighting to establish an inspiring “beachhead of democracy” in the Arab world, but to put down the Sunnis while at the same time stopping the Shiites from doing it in their overly zealous and gory fashion. In the best-case scenario, what rickety government we keep standing will not be one to make us proud, as Gehrect puts it. This is the case for staying. Not something I’d want my kid or yours to die for.

But if we leave, we reap the whirlwind. We wreck American credibility, embolden our enemies, and make Al Qaeda the “strong horse,” and as everybody knows, the horse metaphor is the key to Arab psychology. Thus, leaving the country we occupied will be seen as an enormous provocation to Muslim holy warriors. Which for all I know might be true, though it seems to suggest that the Soviet Union should have stuck it out in Afghanistan, lest the Afghan Arabs follow them home and blow up Moscow.

Gehrecht trots out the neocon litany of foreign policy mistakes: leaving Lebanon, leaving Somalia, etc. Being unschooled in the geostrategic arts, you may find yourself asking, if that’s the case, then are “wars of choice” really such a bright idea? Which just means you’re not smart enough to be a neocon. Once we’re there, it doesn’t matter why we went. It doesn’t matter what we can achieve by staying. As in Vietnam, our credibility’s at stake. We need to take losses just to demonstrate our willpower and tolerance for pain. It’s the foreign policy equivalent of G. Gordon Liddy’s old trick: showing what a hardass you are by holding your hand over an open flame. Remember, as Liddy said, “the trick is not minding.”

Posted on Oct 17, 2006 in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Not a Betting Man

Once, and only once in my life, I bet money on a sporting event (if you can call it that). Here’s why I haven’t bet again. I had the guy on the left. Though he ended up staring at the ceiling of the Mandalay Bay Events Center with his leg twitching spastically, he had an oddly beatific look on his face. So I didn’t feel so bad. In my defense, I just didn’t think Rich Franklin was all that and a can of Xyience, and the payoff on $100 would have been $350. I guess you can see why.

As a result of that bet, has my email, and I just received the following from them:

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I am a little irritated by management’s apparent inability to master the “affect”/”effect” distinction, but nonetheless: Fight the Power,

Which brings me to today’s award. The award for Libertarian Democrat of the day goes to: Barney Frank, who said the following on the floor of the House in a debate over the legislation:

[Frank]: “If an adult in this country, with his or her own money, wants to engage in an activity that harms no one, how dare we prohibit it because it doesn’t add to the GDP or it has no macroeconomic benefit. Are we all to take home calculators and, until we have satisfied the gentleman from Iowa that we are being socially useful, we abstain from recreational activities that we choose?… People have said, What is the value of gambling ? Here is the value. Some human beings enjoy doing it. Shouldn’t that be our principle? If individuals like doing something and they harm no one, we will allow them to do it, even if other people disapprove of what they do.”

Oh, hell yes. That’s good stuff.

Yes, I know Barney Frank’s not a libertarian. Don’t be tiresome.

Posted on Oct 12, 2006 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Views You Can Use

Man, I thought it was good news that North Korea’s bomb was sort of a dud. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the very names of some of their missiles put the fear of God into me, but surely yesterday’s low-yield blast could have been worse news, right?

But then I guess I forgot that the key to this war on terror thing is to maintain a constant minimum background level of fear, lest we grow complacent in the face of the Islamojuchefascist threat:

THE BELMONT CLUB ASKS: “Was North Korea testing a suitcase nuke?”

posted at 08:06 PM by Glenn Reynolds

Just thinkin’ out loud here… like:

Much of the problem in Iraq comes from Iran, and we seem curiously unwilling to do much about it. I wonder — does Iran already have nuclear weapons, and are we being successfully blackmailed?

posted at 06:23 PM by Glenn Reynolds

Curious indeed. What other explanation could there be?

It all takes me back to the DC Sniper attacks of four years ago. I’ve always felt that they were never convincingly explained. Maybe this, from October 2002, is the answer:

ANOTHER UPDATE: Several readers have sent me emails along these lines, but this one is the most concise:

Looked at schematically, tactically, the sniper attacks in the areas surrounding Washington, D.C., seem to be intended to draw the attention of law-enforcement away from D.C. itself.

Five will get you ten these guys are Iraqis.

I hope he’s wrong. I fear he may be right.

Of course, some people find that even Professor Reynolds is too complacent for the scary, scary world we live in. People like Stephen Green, who fears that in the mullah-patrolled road warrior post-apocalyptic wasteland to come, he might be left to defend Bobo civilization all by his lonesome with his Henckels Pro S 8-Inch High Carbon Stainless Steel Bread Knife–seriously, the “perfect bread knife, especially for someone slicing through tough-crusted baguettes almost daily.” Wolverines!!

Posted on Oct 10, 2006 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Might Go Better with Schopenhauer

But still pretty good:

The Nietzsche Family Circus pairs a randomized Family Circus cartoon with a randomized Friedrich Nietzsche quote.

Posted on Oct 6, 2006 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

He Cannot Be Denied

I was at Costco and I just had to buy State of Denial. New books are so cheap there. But I still felt like a sucker. Woodward is the walking embodiment of whatever’s the current Washington consensus. First two War-on-Terror books: Bush is a genius, a bold leader in command of global destiny. In this one, apparently, Bush is an incurious, overconfident prat with the power to wreck the world. It’s nice that Woodward and the world have come around, but Bush is the same guy he was in 2002.

When the Marc Felt coverage came out, and the Post told the story of how Woodward got to know him, it was just so repulsively Washington. As a young Navy guy, Woodward buttered up the high-ranking G-Man, in a naked attempt to acquire another patron for his career, whatever it might end up being.

He showed no interest in striking up a long conversation, but I was intent on it. I finally extracted from him the information that he was an assistant director of the FBI in charge of the inspection division, an important post under Director J. Edgar Hoover….

Here was someone at the center of the secret world I was only glimpsing in my Navy assignment, so I peppered him with questions about his job and his world. As I think back on this accidental but crucial encounter — one of the most important in my life — I see that my patter probably verged on the adolescent. Since he wasn’t saying much about himself, I turned it into a career-counseling session.

Part of me was jealous–I just can’t do that sort of thing, it makes me feel creepy, just like I can’t bring myself to sound off with authority about things I don’t know anything about (except here). I won’t go far in this town. Maybe there’s some kind of Pundit’s Paxil I could gobble to kill those inhibitions.

I’m not all that surprised that Scowcroft says Woodward made up some quotes. I haven’t fully trusted the guy since the Iran-Contra book where he claimed he wrangled a deathbed confession out of superspook William Casey. Not likely. Though maybe he was telling the truth. Maybe he is such an ingratiating little operator that he can get you to spill stuff you wouldn’t even tell your wife. The hell with waterboarding. They should just give Woodward access to all the high-level detainees and they’ll all sing like canaries.

Posted on Oct 5, 2006 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment