March 2004 Archives

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March 31, 2004
Paging Admiral Ackbar...

Bill Whittle posts the second of a series: Chapter Two: It's a Trap!

These ‘intellectuals’ are cowards. Action, and the consequences of action, completely paralyze them – it literally strikes them loquacious. They become so afraid of doing something that they are reduced to a non-stop, really quite pathetic jabbering. The French, in particular, have made this into an art form that has religious overtones for them. They seem to really believe that as long as you are talking nothing bad can happen to you. Their historical vision stretches back less than fifty years. And they say we are the unsophisticated ones, the adolescents.

Ah, oui monsieur, I can see from your very fierce expression that you intend to rape my young daughter. Well, she is quite charming, one must admit, but I could not help but notice, monsieur, the very fine quality of that trench coat you are wearing…is that a Belgian tweed? No, of course, c’est bon, but you will admit monsieur that it does appear unseasonably wet for this time of year…please, Martinique, do not struggle; Papa is trying to have a conversation with this charming gentleman… mon dieu! What a remarkable physique you have, monsieur! You must frequent the gymnasium quite regularly, do you not, mon ami..?

This is not nuance; it is not sophistication; it is not noble or refined or admirable. It is cowardice. It is fear of taking action when action needs to be taken, and the main goal of modern intellectualism is to convince people that taking action when action is called for is the mark of an idiot, a philistine or a child.

Posted by Russ at 08:08 PM
Delusional Europe

The rest of the world doesn't "get" us -- they do not and cannot understand America, and they likely never will.

Why do the EUnuchs (in particular) have such a hard time understanding us? Stephen Den Beste explains:

It's because too many of Europe's opinion makers are living in a delusional world anyway. They believe that raising taxes and increasing social spending doesn't stifle economic growth, and that labor laws which prevent layoffs increase employment. They think they can catch up to the US economically by 2010. They think all disagreements can be settled through negotiations and that no one needs or should have a military any longer. They think all citizens should rely on the state to protect them from criminals, and any who try to protect themselves should be punished.

They think they're still important, and they think that the world views them that way. Amidst that great sea of delusion, it's hardly surprising that they also think America is becoming more and more European as it finally grows up, and that deep down we admire them and want to be more like them.

So it won't be any surprise when they continue to find our behavior bewildering and infuriating as they continue to botch their dealings with us.

That sums it up nicely. But go read the whole thing.

Posted by Russ at 07:44 PM
March 29, 2004
Quote of the Day
Has anyone noticed the propensity of the French to convert an unhappy necessity into a virtue? Their foodstuffs were inedible, so they invented sauces; their plumbing was medieval, so they invented perfume; and their military was humiliated wherever it set foot, so they invented "diplomacy," by which they meant, first, collaboration and, second, appeasement.
OpinionJournal reader Jean-Pierre Schachter, quoted by James Taranto
Posted by Russ at 12:42 PM
March 27, 2004
Yes, I've Got Wood

I've been doing rather a lot of woodworking lately. The time of year is right (not too cold or too hot out in the garage) and the other ways I might fritter away my copious free time seem less satisfying than ever (except for going to the range, of course.)

I figure I might even post pictures of my pitiful projects from time to time.

Today's woodworking tip:

When cutting a tenon on the end of an asymetrical part, be sure to cut it on the correct end.
Just doing my bit to make the world a better place. Dang. Good thing I have spare lumber on hand.

Posted by Russ at 08:45 PM
March 26, 2004
Crushing of Dissent Attempted

My buddy Matt, the founder of Blogs for Bush (for which I provide technical service) and who (of course) runs his own blog, is a frequent counter-protestor when the moonbats come out to play rant, rave and froth at the mouth.

Yesterday in Boston he carried on his fine work, supporting the President and countering the idiots protesting outside the President's fundraiser venue. This time, though, he had a bit of a run-in with a gang of leftist union thugs.

Read all about it.
Read more about it.
Read even more about it.

Naturally, there were no arrests. There never are when leftists commit these sorts of assaults.

Posted by Russ at 10:38 PM
Quote of the Day

The always indispensible Victor Davis Hanson:

We should remember that this war of barbarism against civilization is global and connected. Poor Mr. Villepin [who is, we have been told, a man - Russ] may ignore that his country's appeasement and profit-making in Iraq were helpful to Saddam Hussein's state-sponsored terrorism and he may believe that things are worse in Baghdad now. But he will learn that past French double-dealing, flamboyant anti-Americanism, and obsequiousness to Iranian theocrats will win him no reprieve from these purveyors of a new Dark Age. The extremists will be just as likely to murder French children over banning headscarves as they would have had three Gallic divisions fought in Iraq.
At (where else?) National Review Online

Posted by Russ at 10:11 PM
March 24, 2004
Happy Birthday, Dad

Dad was born into the Great Depression, lost his father when he was only three years old, and grew up in poverty, in what passed for slums in the San Francisco of the '40s and '50s. What kind of chance could he have to succeed in life?

He went to college due to athletics - basketball and football. Even in the '50s, college athletes weren't presented many academic challenges. He loved to tell us about a class he actually took -- "Square Dance Calling." But he was a bit more studious than that.

He was educated to be an English teacher, and retained a love of literature all his life. I have a lot of books, but Dad had a lot of good books. But when he graduated from college, there was a glut of English teachers; his career path veered away from academia.

He took a job for a small finance company, starting at the bottom as a collector and repo man. Back then, finance companies often sent their collectors door-to-door with a ledger book and a cashbox to collect peoples' monthly loan payments. Dad got the "hard cases" -- he used to tell us of the butcher who always answered the door wearing a blood-spattered apron, meat-cleaver in hand. He wouldn't ever pay the other collectors, but Dad collected where others had failed.

He quickly worked his way up in the business. At age 37, he became president of a finance company at the edge of disaster, turned it around, and took it to the peak of success. He stayed at the helm for over 20 years.

He was a respected leader in the business community and in the church.

He (and Mom, of course) raised three of us kids, none of whom are in jail, on drugs, or otherwise screwed up. (OK, we may be a bit screwy, but not screwed up.)

He and Mom did it all on their own. No handouts, no Welfare, no wealthy great-great-uncles.

At age 60, he retired from the bank and began working on a startup. Then, just six months later, he died.

Today would have been his 68th birthday.

I think about him every single day.

Dad and Bounce

I still miss him terribly.

Posted by Russ at 10:22 PM | Comments (7)
Quote of the Day

Derb nails it:

What I do see is a trend towards a European-style society dominated by an arrogant overclass of credentialed intellectuals, who are deeply contemptuous of those less articulate than themselves, and profoundly in-tolerant of traditional customs and morals, of Christianity, of normal sexuality, of manual work, of motherhood, of the military virtues, of any expression of ethnic pride or loyalty by anyone not a certified member of a Designated Victim Group. They don't actually like America much, don't believe there is much good to be said about this country, and would like to change us into something quite different.
The whole article is worth reading.

Posted by Russ at 09:13 PM
March 23, 2004
Post on Monday, follow up on Tuesday

Bret Stephens, writing at, follows through on what I wrote yesterday. OK, OK, he was making a different point than I was, but it's still an excellent read.

Among other points, Mr. Stephens makes the case that deterrence might actually be a more valuable rationale than I noted yesterday.

To date, there has not been a single instance in which a Hamas leader sent one of his own sons or daughters on a suicide mission. I once interviewed a Hamas leader, since deceased, as he bounced his one-year-old girl on his knee. Contrary to myth, this was not a man who was afraid of nothing. Unsparing as he was with the lives of others, he was circumspect when it came to the lives of his own.

Indeed, when one looks closely at just who the suicide bombers are (or were), often they turn out to be society's outcasts. Take Reem Salah al-Rahashi, a mother of two, who in January murdered four Israeli soldiers at the Erez checkpoint on the Gaza-Israel border. In a prerecorded video, Rahashi said becoming a shaheed was her lifelong dream. Later it emerged she'd been caught in an extramarital affair, and that her husband and lover had arranged her "martyrdom operation" as an honorable way to settle the matter. It is with such people, not with themselves, that Palestinian leaders attempt to demonstrate their own fearlessness.

In the early months of the intifada, this macho pretense was sustained by the Israeli government's tacit decision not to target terrorist ringleaders, for fear such attacks would inspire massive retaliation. Yassin and his closest associates considered themselves immune from Israeli reprisals and operated in the open. What followed was the bloodiest terrorist onslaught in Israeli history, climaxing in a massacre at Netanya in March 2002. After that, Israel invaded the West Bank and began to target terrorist leaders more aggressively.

The results, in terms of lives saved, were dramatic. In 2003, the number of Israeli terrorist fatalities declined by more than 50% from the previous year, to 213 from 451. The overall number of attacks also declined, to 3,823 in 2003 from 5,301 in 2002, a drop of 30%. In the spring of 2003, Israel stepped up its campaign of targeted assassinations, including a failed attempt on Yassin's deputy, Abdel Aziz Rantisi. Wise heads said Israel had done nothing except incite the Palestinians to greater violence. Instead, Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups agreed unilaterally to a cease-fire.

[Emphasis mine.] OK. I'll gladly concede that point. If deterrence actually works, as it appears, so much the better that vermin like Yassin are made to stop breathing.

Posted by Russ at 09:45 AM
March 22, 2004
Just Desserts

About Israel's removal of the terrorist leader Ahmed Yassin, Andrew Stuttaford in NRO's The Corner asks,

Yassin was, undeniably, a bad man and there's no need to shed many, or any, tears over him, but can anyone explain what, exactly, was achieved by his killing?
I would think the answers would be obvious: deterrence and justice.

The deterrence angle is probably the weaker of the two. People who seek "martyrdom" are not too likely to be afraid of death, unless it comes without the usual innocent civilian victims. On the other hand, we don't often see the leaders of terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda or Hamas strapping the explosives to themselves. They'd rather send gullible fanatics out to do their dirty work. You'd think they were eager to get their 72 raisins, but apparently not. So perhaps those who have "terrorist leader" as their career goal will re-think their aspirations.

Punishment seems to be a more likely reason for Israel to have whacked that evil SOB. Justice doesn't need to be done in a courtroom, after all. But justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done... and I'd wager there's not a single Israeli who doesn't know that Yassin is now terminated. The elimination of Yassin is, for Israel, as big as or bigger than the US exterminating Usama bin Laden in a spectacularly public fashion (which I hope we do soon... assuming he's not already a puddle of decomposing slime in a cave somewhere.)

Rot in hell, Yassin.

Posted by Russ at 05:20 PM | Comments (2)
March 20, 2004
No big surprise

You're The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

by Douglas Adams

Considered by many to be one of the funniest people around, you are quite an entertainer. You've also traveled to the far reaches of what you deem possible, often confused and unsure of yourself. Life continues to jostle you around like a marble, but it's shown you so much of the world that you don't care. Wacky adventures continue to lie ahead. Your favorite number is 42.

Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

Posted by Russ at 03:13 AM
March 18, 2004
Quote of the Day

When a majority of the electorate in Spain voted to capitulate to terrorists, something nagged at the back of my brain, but I couldn't for the life of me bring it to the fore.

Good thing James Taranto didn't have that problem. From Rudyard Kipling:

(A.D. 980-1016)

IT IS always a temptation to an armed and agile nation,
To call upon a neighbour and to say:—
“We invaded you last night—we are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away.”

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation to a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say:—
“Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray,
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to says:—

“We never pay any one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost,
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!”

Posted by Russ at 11:03 PM | Comments (2)
March 16, 2004
Quote of the Day

Katherine J. Lopez:

Well, CNN's reporters won't get kicked out of Tehran. (Hopefully, someday when the Iranians are liberated, we'll have an Eason Jordan fill us in on what really happened.)
In National Review Online's Corner

Posted by Russ at 09:04 PM
March 15, 2004
The Wisdom of The Ancients

As the Romans used to say,

Gens Gallorum inerudita servilis agrestis est, in turguriis foetidis habitans.

In English:

"The French are an ignorant bunch of servile peasants living in smelly huts."

(Courtesy of Henry Beard's new book, X-Treme Latin: Unleash Your Inner Gladiator.)

Posted by Russ at 10:00 PM
Power Supply

I didn't know that France was experiencing some sort of electricity shortage.

They seem, however, to have hit upon a solution:

China and France will hold rare joint naval exercises off the mainland's eastern coast on Tuesday, just four days before Beijing's rival, Taiwan, holds presidential elections.

China's official Xinhua news agency made no link between the exercises off Qingdao -- about 780 miles from Taiwan's northernmost point -- and the election.

But the show of military strength and solidarity signaled China's desire to isolate the self-governing island before the vote and its first-ever referendum, which Beijing views as a provocative step toward independence.

All they'll need to do is attach a generator to the spinning corpse of the late Charles de Gaulle.

Even for France, this is reprehensible.

(via the Puppy Blender)

Posted by Russ at 09:40 PM | Comments (1)
"And then a miracle occurs"

At last - the new Bill Whittle piece.

Miracles, are, by definition, freakish occurrences. No society can long survive if it is predicated on the routine and reliable apparition of the miraculous. And neither can any honest worldview, either – not to a person with enough integrity to see the world around them as it is, and not as they wish it to be. Some people will never reach this point. To hell with them. They do not deserve to be correct. They are cowards, bound up in ego, boxed in narcissism and wrapped in bitterness and failure.

We are better than that. We will, together, try our best to see the world with open eyes, and where we find our maps in error we will tear them up, scatter them upon the waves and redraw them. We Americans must discover the courage to do this – now. Today.

I seethe with jealousy at the man's ability to write so well.

Posted by Russ at 06:12 PM
Quote of the Day

James Taranto, on John Kerry's, uh, "political flexibility":

No wonder he's so popular with the ladies. John Edwards may have been cute, but Kerry has more positions than the Kama Sutra.
In today's "Best of the Web" at

Posted by Russ at 05:09 PM | Comments (3)
March 13, 2004
You know...

You know it's a bad sign for the TV industry when the best thing the SciFi Channel can offer to fill the 9-11:00pm timeslot is a B-movie called "Snakehead Terror."


Posted by Russ at 11:04 PM
March 12, 2004
Forgetful Me

I occasionally have a tough time remembering birthdays, appointments, anniversaries, and the like. Without a PDA, I'd be toast.

Advance notice to any hypothetical future wife: I will forget an anniversary or two. I don't mean to -- it just happens. Apologies in advance.

Tuesday was my 1st blogiversary, and I never even thought about it.

Not that I've made any impact worth celebrating or anything... though this post still ranks #1 on Google for the expression "Thomas Friedman idiot."

Still... if I were my own wife, I'd hit me over the head with a frying pan.

3/13 UPDATE: No need for the frying pan. The gout bit me last night.

Posted by Russ at 01:47 PM | Comments (6)
Quote of the Day II

Mark Steyn, on Islamofascists:

And now Spaniards. "We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you." And by "you", they mean not just arrogant Texan cowboys, but any pluralist society - whether a relaxed tourist resort like Bali or a modern Muslim nation like Turkey or - come to that, one day down the road - a cynical swamp of appeasement like France.
Link via Ian S.

Posted by Russ at 01:31 PM
Quote of the Day

James Lileks:

To some, the act of "resistance" has such a romantic pull they cannot possibly renounce the use of flamboyant violence - until they find themselves in a train station on an average weekday morning, ears ringing, eyes clouded, looking down at their shirt, wondering why it's so red all of a sudden.
And not even then, sometimes.

Posted by Russ at 10:05 AM
March 10, 2004

SGT Hook is signing off from US-based blogging as he deploys overseas with his unit.

Best of luck to you and your troops, Hook, and stay safe. You honor us all by your service.

Posted by Russ at 11:33 PM
March 09, 2004
One [more] down, ??? to go

Pity it wasn't done by firing squad or at the end of a rope, but still -- good riddance to bad rubbish.

Posted by Russ at 04:59 PM
March 05, 2004
Much Better

As noted earlier, Serenity had a spot of trouble with some broken bones.

Things are apparently looking up, but I bet she'd still appreciate a hit to her tip jar.

Posted by Russ at 08:01 PM
March 04, 2004
Quote of the Day

Ann Coulter:

According to liberals, the message of Jesus, which somehow Gibson missed, is something along the lines of "be nice to people" (which to them means "raise taxes on the productive").

You don't need a religion like Christianity, which is a rather large and complex endeavor, in order to flag that message. All you need is a moron driving around in a Volvo with a bumper sticker that says "be nice to people." Being nice to people is, in fact, one of the incidental tenets of Christianity (as opposed to other religions whose tenets are more along the lines of "kill everyone who doesn't smell bad and doesn't answer to the name Mohammed"). But to call it the "message" of Jesus requires ... well, the brain of Maureen Dowd.

In fact, Jesus' distinctive message was: People are sinful and need to be redeemed, and this is your lucky day because I'm here to redeem you even though you don't deserve it, and I have to get the crap kicked out of me to do it. That is the reason He is called "Christ the Redeemer" rather than "Christ the Moron Driving Around in a Volvo With a 'Be Nice to People' Bumper Sticker on It."

In "The Passion of the Liberal"

Posted by Russ at 09:15 AM | Comments (2)
March 02, 2004
Good Deeds Needed

My friend Serenity has had an ill-timed accident, resulting in a badly broken ankle.

Not that any accident could be particularly well-timed, but this comes at as bad a moment as could be imagined -- mere weeks before the insurance coverage from her new job was to be activated. And now, being immobile, she won't be able to work.


So, take this as a command from Sergeant Russ: go to her site now, click the Paypal button, and donate as generously as you can.

Posted by Russ at 05:52 PM
March 01, 2004
Speaking of special occasions...

There is justice in the world. LOTR:ROTK swept the Oscars... I think that calls for a celebratory tot.

I'll have to break out the good stuff. Good thing I stocked up on the single-malts last year - I have options.

UPDATE, 12:40am: Oh, my.

Among the acquisitions I've made is a nice 12 year old, The Macallan. This one is special, though, because it came with a 50ml (about 1.6 ounce) miniature of the cask strength (i.e., undiluted) elixir. Normal scotch is usually around 80-90 proof. Out of the cask, this was 115 proof.

And, because it was undiluted, the flavor was splendid. Utterly delicious. I'll open the full-sized bottle some other day.

Posted by Russ at 12:20 AM | Comments (1)