Just blowing off the dust.

8 april 2008, 01:16 pm | link

on hiatus

See here.

20 december 2005, 02:07 am | link

The Lidless Eye


New observations of a star suspected of harboring a planet provide the most convincing evidence yet of the young world’s existence.

Rather than spotting the planet, however, astronomers have photographed an odd-shaped ring of dust that surrounds the star. They assume that the unseen planet sculpted the arrangement.

The star, Fomalhaut, is the 17th brightest in our night sky and is easily found with the unaided eye and a sky chart. It is a relatively young star, still shrouded in the dust of its birth.

23 june 2005, 01:22 am | link

"The Willing"

God bless Arthur Chrenkoff.

In addition to the United States and the Iraqi forces, military personnel from 26 other countries are currently on the ground in Iraq, helping to bring peace and security, working on reconstruction projects, and engaging in humanitarian missions throughout the country. This is a tribute to those thousands of military men and women from around the world, some of them well-known, others less so, but all doing good work for the future of Iraq.

23 june 2005, 01:17 am | link

brotherly love

My brother, Peter, is, like all bearers of the family name, highly—nay, mysteriously—intelligent and a writer of unusual verve and range. Here, all resemblance ends. He is a staunch Christian and an abstainer from alcohol and tobacco. He lacks also, I sometimes think, my strange, hypnotic power over women. Moreover, he is a man for whom the word “reactionary” might have been invented. In his many columns for the British and American press (he is a contributing editor for Pat Buchanan's rancid American Conservative), he defends capital punishment, denounces the liberations of Iraq and Afghanistan, upholds religion, and manages to be both anti-European and anti-American.

We once or twice, during his time as a Washington correspondent, made joint appearances on television. This made the life of the talk-show booker too easy: just flip the Rolodex to “Hitchens” and you had your Crossfire right there.

Christopher Hitchens

23 june 2005, 01:11 am | link

reap the whirlwind

[Palestinian Authority] officials have been fleeing or plan to leave the West Bank for Jordan and other Arab states. The most popular Palestinian daily, Al Quds, has been jammed with ads by travel agencies, a remarkable development considering the poverty of most Palestinians, their lack of passports and other restrictions. The ads are for the Palestinian elite, who are looking to escape the dangers of living in Palestinian cities. Indeed, the assessment by many is that the PA could collapse by late 2005 as the split within the ruling Fatah movement widens. PA security services have been unable to stem the increasing violence in the streets of Palestinian cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Fatah factions have been engaged in gun battles in Ramallah, the center of Palestinian government, while police have largely stood by or even joined in.

(via Melanie Phillips)

23 june 2005, 12:37 am | link

blowback (III)

A Rasmussen Reports survey found that 20% of Americans believe prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have been treated unfairly. Seven-out-of-ten adults believe the prisoners are being treated “better than they deserve” (36%) or “about right” (34%).

The survey also found that just 14% agree with people who say that prisoner treatment at Guantanamo Bay is similar to Nazi tactics. Sixty-nine percent disagree with that comparison. This helps explain why Illinois Senator Dick Durbin apologized for making such a comparison.

It seems likely that this is not the result that Amnesty “Gulag” International had intended.

23 june 2005, 12:32 am | link

blowback (II)

Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats are now claiming (rather too adamantly for my tastes) that they support the troops serving in Guantanamo Bay—which, it follows, then, that they are not prepared to blame actual camp guards for the what they insist is the egregious and systematic torture of Islamic freedom fighters being detained there, but rather wish instead to hold accountable only those higher-ups in the military and Defense Department (with Donald Rumsfeld the chief villain) responsible for the prescribing camp policy.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong—but didn’t guards at the Nazi death camps trot out the same “just following orders” defense that Democratic leaders like Pelosi are now, ipso facto, bequeathing to US soldiers serving in Cuba…?

Jeff Goldstein

23 june 2005, 12:24 am | link

blowback (I)

Sen. Richard “Dick” Durbin writes letters.

Mr. Hector Gutierrez
Gutierrez Bros. Landscaping
Arlington, VA

Dear Mr. Gutierrez:

Nothing could have prepared me for the shock that awaited as I exited the front door of my home early Wednesday morning, where I discovered that your lawn crew had cut a swath of environmental destruction across my yard so horrifying that it only can be compared to the Rape of Nanking. I can scarcely bring myself to describe the killing fields that are my North azalea beds and the brutal degradation and torture suffered by the bluegrass around the locust tree by the rear patio. I am writing to inform you that I have contacted the US Department of Interior to conduct a full independent investigation into Gutierrez Brothers' actions in this matter. Please be advised that you may be subpoenaed for records pertaining to mower height, pruning shear maintenance, and leaf blower emissions. I would also advise your crewmen to heed the lessons of the Judgement At Nurenburg: although they may be spared the justice due their superiors, “I was only following orders” is not an excuse.


Senator Richard J. Durbin
Washington, DC

23 june 2005, 12:22 am | link

what he said (II)

For many on the right, the faux warnings about a Rodhamite restoration in the White House were a way of prolonging the turbulent passions of the Clinton years in a relatively harmless way – like playing Civil War re-enactments on a Saturday afternoon, it offered the frisson of the great primal conflict with none of the pain. After all, the idea of Hillary becoming President is patently absurd, isn’t it?

Yes, it is - as absurd as a woman who’s never run for elected office and with stunningly high negatives becoming Senator of a state she’s never lived in…

A Rodham Administration would lend an obvious symmetry to the last two decades of Presidential history: Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton. But just as it rapidly became clear that Bush Jr was a far more consequential figure than Bush Sr, so the pants-suited Clinton would set out to be a more consequential figure than the pantsless Clinton. She could hardly fail to be, given that he’s been left beached by history as the novelty vaudeville intermission between the two great geopolitical conflicts of our time.

Mark Steyn (again)

19 june 2005, 07:01 pm | link

what he said

Nobody got killed in Gitmo, so instead America is being flayed as the planet’s number one torturer for being insufficiently respectful to the holy book of its prisoners, even though the Americans themselves supplied their prisoners with the holy book, even though the preferred holy book of most Americans is banned in the home country of many of the prisoners, even though Americans who fall into the hands of the other side get their heads hacked off, even though the prisoners’ co-religionists themselves blow up more mosques and Korans than Americans ever do, and even though the alleged insufficient respect to the prisoners’ holy book occurred at a rate of one verified incident of possibly intentional disrespect per year. But sure, go ahead, close Gitmo and wait for the torrent of rave reviews — right after the complaints that it is culturally insensitive to rebuild the World Trade Center when it’s the burial site of ten devout Muslim flying enthusiasts.

Mark Steyn: Piss and Wind

(via Publius Pundit)

10 june 2005, 01:53 am | link

the dog ate my homework, too

A highly classified intelligence report produced for the new director of national intelligence concludes that U.S. spy agencies failed to recognize several key military developments in China in the past decade, The Washington Times has learned.

The report was created by several current and former intelligence officials and concludes that U.S. agencies missed more than a dozen Chinese military developments, according to officials familiar with the report.

The report blames excessive secrecy on China's part for the failures…

What the hell?

9 june 2005, 10:22 pm | link

quote du jour

Really, Bush's ability to drive his opponents stark, raving bonkers is almost supernatural.

Glenn Reynolds

9 june 2005, 03:42 am | link


Thus Kierkegaard came surprisingly early to the realization that the press lives by creating its own stories—“it acts as if it were reporting on an actual situation, and it intends to produce that situation”—with the result that reality itself becomes pale and imaginary. […]

Kierkegaard saw more and more clearly that the media’s transformation of the population into “the public” was accompanied by increasing infantilization, by the deprivation of the individual’s rightful authority, a condition that was all the more catastrophic because it was said to be identical to the public’s self-determination and its supposed possession of influence.

9 june 2005, 03:33 am | link

reeducation at Ground Zero

The World Trade Center Memorial will break ground this year. When those Marines return in 2010, the year it is scheduled to open, no doubt they will expect to see the artifacts that bring those memories to life. They'll want a vantage point that allows them to take in the sheer scope of the destruction, to see the footage and the photographs and hear the personal stories of unbearable heartbreak and unimaginable courage. They will want the memorial to take them back to who they were on that brutal September morning.

Instead, they will get a memorial that stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the yearning to return to that day. Rather than a respectful tribute to our individual and collective loss, they will get a slanted history lesson, a didactic lecture on the meaning of liberty in a post-9/11 world. They will be served up a heaping foreign policy discussion over the greater meaning of Abu Ghraib and what it portends for the country and the rest of the world.

9 june 2005, 03:17 am | link

selective outrage

Where are the marchers in the west? Where are the protesters calling for justice in Zimbabwe? Where is the outrage from those tireless tribunes of the Third World, the UN? Why can I not hear the snarls of fury from the alphabet soup of NGOs? … Amnesty International is getting a lot of (bad) publicity from having called Guantanamo Bay 'a gulag' whilst now admitting they do not actually know what is happening there, yet why are they not straining every fibre of their being in opposition to this African horror?

[T]he South African ANC government, far from being a possible solution to the rapidly deteriorating situation across the border, is aiding and abetting in the Cambodia-ization of Zimbabwe. I look forward to Saint Nelson Mandela taking a loud, public and sustained stand against Mugabe's madness. Yeah, right.

Perry de Havilland: Rushing towards Year Zero

9 june 2005, 03:04 am | link

Percifield's law

In the future, everyone will be Hitler for fifteen minutes.

Notable: The Gallery of “Bush = Hitler” Allusions

4 june 2005, 09:39 am | link

paging Ozymandias

The political crisis that has engulfed the European Union since France and the Netherlands rejected its proposed constitution yesterday threatened to spill over and damage the euro.

Embattled EU financial leaders spent the day defending the currency, dismissing talk of its break-up as “absurd”. One senior EU official said: “Euro notes and coins are for ever, like the euro.”

4 june 2005, 09:35 am | link



Via WHEDONesque: Publicity stills from this fall's Serenity.

That Zoë Warren could kick Lara Croft's ass.

3 june 2005, 02:25 am | link


In 1994, I attended the annual confab of television critics in Los Angeles. One evening, [Ted] Turner hosted and sponsored an event to promote a documentary series called The Native Americans. This was the most politically correct program imaginable, and the event featured a Sioux dance-and-drum troupe putting on an endless performance in a hotel ballroom. We all watched in respectful silence. Then Turner got up and said, “I want to thank you all for coming. But I better thank the entertainment first. After all, I don't want them to scalp me.

And then Turner laughed at his own joke. And kept laughing. Like a hyena.

3 june 2005, 02:13 am | link