Archive for March, 2006
29 Mar 2006

He Springs From Behind

, , ,


The man-eater of Fairfield

New record levels of suburban ninnyism have been achieved by residents of Fairfield, Connecticut who sought official protection from the depredations of Lewis, a local pussycat. Story and video. Didn’t anybody have a squirtgun or a rolled-up newspaper?

28 Mar 2006

Lyn Nofziger and Cap Weinberger

, ,

Ossian Welcoming Napoleon's Marshalls into Valhalla
Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy-Trioson (1767-1824), L’apothéose des héros français morts pour la patrie pendant la guerre de la Liberté. [Apotheosis of the French Heroes Who Died for their Fatherland During the War for Liberty]
1802. Oil on canvas, 192 x 184 cm
Musée National du Château de Malmaison, Rueil

Franklin Curran Nofziger (born 1924 at Bakersfield, California), US Army WWII, spokesman and advisor to Ronald Reagan, in Falls Church, Virginia of cancer, age 81.

Peter Robinson writes: Tonight, I’d like to believe, they’re together once again.

——————————-
Caspar Weinberger (born 1917 in San Francisco, Harvard ’38, Harvard Law ’41, US Army WWII, served as budget director and Secretary of HEW for Richard Nixon, and as Secretary of Defense for Ronald Reagan at Bangor, Maine of pneumonia, age 88.

Investor’s Business Daily writes: The hundreds of millions freed from Soviet tyranny owe their liberty to Ronald Reagan — and by extension to Cap and Lyn. R.I.P.

28 Mar 2006

Computerworks

,

A mildly amusing little animation. Caution! Loud. Be sure to turn your volume down, before clicking on the link.

link

28 Mar 2006

Speed Test

,

Your connection speed tested for downloading and uploading. Useful to know and amusing.

link

28 Mar 2006

Fukuyama’s Retreat

, , , , ,

In the cultural echo-chamber of the liberal establishment, the justification for the US invasion of Iraq has been thoroughly exploded, its results labeled and inventoried in the lumber room of disaster, and a suitable location for the headmount of George W. Bush’s presidency selected on the wall above the foreign policy pundits’ bar.

The president’s poll numbers are decidedy unattractive, and Republican candidates are approaching the 2006 elections with the forlorn air of Emperor Valens’ legions advancing to meet the Gothic cavalry at Adrianople.

One of the highlights of last Sunday’s Times was Paul Berman‘s oleaginous review of Francis Fukuyama’s America at the Crossroads, a coat-reversal-cum-grovel appearing in public with a dust jacket.

It looks so much better to place one’s moment of conversion at a period in the past when the fortunes of the side one is rejoining did not appear quite so propitious as they do at present, and Fukuyama takes care to supply a story of his gasping aloud at the deluded optimism of the Neoconservative company he found himself in at a speech delivered by Charles Krauthammer in 2004.

Unfortunately for Fukuyama, Krauthammer reads the Sunday Times Book Review, and is only too eager to decline the role of strawman and debunk Fukuyama’s convenient account of feckless and provocative Neocon bragging.

It was, as the hero tells it, his Road to Damascus moment. There he is, in a hall of 1,500 people he has long considered to be his allies, hearing the speaker treat the Iraq war, nearing the end of its first year, as “a virtually unqualified success.” He gasps as the audience enthusiastically applauds. Aghast to discover himself in a sea of comrades so deluded by ideology as to have lost touch with reality, he decides he can no longer be one of them.

And thus did Francis Fukuyama become the world’s most celebrated ex-neoconservative, a well-timed metamorphosis that has brought him a piece of the fame that he once enjoyed 15 years ago as the man who declared, a mite prematurely, that history had ended.

One can only advise members of the liberal foreign policy establishment to listen very carefully at all their upcoming speeches over the next few years. You never know, the tide may turn in favor of the Bush Administration, and the United States, and you might hear Francis Fukuyama gasping again.

28 Mar 2006

For Michael Pollan

,

The complex human eye harvests light. It perceives seven to ten million colors through a synaptic flash: one tenth of a second from retina to brain. Homo sapiens gangs up 70 percent of its sense perceptors solely for vision, to anticipate danger and recognize reward, but also — more so — for beauty. We use a predator’s eyes to marvel at the work of Titian or the Grand Canyon bathed in the copper light of a summer sunset.

Ellen Meloy, The Anthropology of Turquoise (2002).

27 Mar 2006

Prig Meets Pig

, , ,

Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan

An only-too-common journalistic meme today features the metrosexual hero dipping a sensitive toe into the dangerous (and profoundly alien) waters of manliness. Our sissified hero goes hunting or visits a shooting range. He actually handles (and fires) a gun. He finds that he is enjoying himself, and begins to understand why people hunt or shoot.

But, then, before it is too late (and he has to join the NRA and start voting Republican), in a final moment of clarity, lovingly depicted in purplest prose, the author regains politically correct control of himself. Unlike such insensitive clods as Samson and David, Odysseus and Achilles, Xenophon and Arrian, Balzac and Shakespeare, Ivan Turgenev and Ernest Hemingway, George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt, our modern urbanist is too morally sensitive, too sophisticated and intelligent, too ironic to condone guns or hunting.

The latest account from the field, in yesterday’s (26/March/2006) New York Times Magazine, is provided by Berkeley journalism professor Michael Pollan.

Walking with a loaded rifle in an unfamiliar forest bristling with the signs of your prey is thrilling. It embarrasses me to write that, but it is true. I am not by nature much of a noticer, yet here, now, my attention to everything around me, and deafness to everything else, is complete. Nothing in my experience has prepared me for the quality of this attention. I notice how the day’s first breezes comb the needles in the pines, producing a sotto voce whistle and an undulation in the pattern of light and shadow tattooing the tree trunks and the ground. I notice the specific density of the air. But this is not a passive or aesthetic attention; it is a hungry attention, reaching out into its surroundings like fingers, or nerves. My eyes venture deep into thickets my body could never penetrate, picking their way among the tangled branches, sliding over rocks and around stumps to bring back the slenderest hint of movement. In the places too deeply shadowed to admit my eyes, my ears roam at will, returning with the report of a branch cracking at the bottom of a ravine, or the snuffling of a. . .wait: what was that? Just a bird. Everything is amplified. Even my skin is alert, so that when the shadow launched by the sudden ascent of a turkey vulture passes overhead I swear I can feel the temperature momentarily fall. I am the alert man…

Since there’s nothing he can do to make the encounter happen, the hunter’s energy goes into readying himself for it, and trying, by the sheer force of his attention, to summon the animal into his presence. Searching for his prey, the hunter instinctively becomes more like the animal, straining to make himself less visible, less audible, more exquisitely alert. Predator and prey alike move according to their own maps of this ground, their own forms of attention and their own systems of instinct, systems that evolved expressly to hasten or avert precisely this encounter.. . .

wait a minute. Did I really write that last paragraph? Without irony? That’s embarrassing. Am I actually writing about the hunter’s “instinct,” suggesting that the hunt represents some sort of primordial encounter between two kinds of animals, one of which is me? This seems a bit much. I recognize this kind of prose: hunter porn. And whenever I’ve read it in the past, in Hemingway and Ortega y Gasset and all those hard-bitten, big-bearded American wilderness writers who still pine for the Pleistocene, it never failed to roll my eyes. I never could stomach the straight-faced reveling in primitivism, the barely concealed bloodlust, the whole macho conceit that the most authentic encounter with nature is the one that comes through the sight of a gun and ends with a large mammal dead on the ground — a killing that we are given to believe constitutes a gesture of respect. So it is for Ortega y Gasset, the Spanish philosopher, who writes in his “Meditations on Hunting” that “the greatest and most moral homage we can pay to certain animals on certain occasions is to kill them.. . .” Please

And yet here I find myself slipping into the hunter’s ecstatic purple, channeling Ortega y Gasset. It may be that we have no better language in which to describe the experience of hunting, so that all of us who would try sooner or later slide into this overheated prose ignorant of irony.

Jose Ortega y Gasset
José Ortega y Gasset

Irony — the outside perspective — easily withers everything about hunting, shrinks it to the proportions of boy’s play or atavism. And yet at the same time I found that there is something about the experience of hunting that puts irony itself to rout. In general, experiences that banish irony are much better for living than for writing. But there it is: I enjoyed shooting a pig a whole lot more than I ever thought I should have…

In this, I decided, was one of the signal virtues of hunting: it puts large questions about who we and the animals are, and the nature of our respective deaths, squarely before the hunter, and while I’m sure there are many hunters who manage to avoid their gaze, that must take some doing…

..we are left standing there in the woods with our uneasiness and our disgust, and disgust’s boon companion, shame. I did not register any such emotion in the moments after shooting my pig, but eventually it dawned, or fell on me, like a great and unexpected weight. It happened late that evening, when, back at home, I opened my e-mail and saw that Angelo had sent me some digital pictures, under the subject heading “Look the great hunter!” I was eager to open them, excited to show my family my pig, since it hadn’t come home with me but was hanging in Angelo’s walk-in cooler.

The image that appeared on my computer screen hit me like an unexpected blow to the body. A hunter in an orange sweater was kneeling on the ground behind a pig the side of whose head has erupted in blood that is spreading like a river delta toward the bottom of the frame. The hunter’s rifle is angled just so across his chest; clearly he is observing some hoary convention of the hunter’s trophy portrait. One proprietary hand rests on the dead animal’s broad flank. The man is looking into the camera with an expression of unbounded pride, wearing an ear-to-ear grin that might have been winning, if perhaps incomprehensible, had the bloodied carcass sprawled beneath him been cropped out of the frame. But the bloodied carcass was right there, front and center, and it rendered that grin — there’s no other word for it — obscene. I felt as if I had stumbled on some stranger’s pornography. I hurried my mouse to the corner of the image and clicked, closing it as quickly as I could. No one should ever see this.

What could I possibly have been thinking? What was the man in that picture feeling? I can’t for the life of me explain what could have inspired such a mad grin, it seemed so distant and alien from me now. If I didn’t know better, I would have said that the man in the picture was drunk. And perhaps he was, seized in the throes of some sort of Dionysian intoxication, the bloodlust that Ortega says will sometimes overtake the successful hunter. And what was I so damned proud of, anyway? I’d killed a pig with a gun, big deal.

Like the image of the two filthy hunters I’d caught in the convenience-store mirror earlier that afternoon, Angelo’s digital photo had shown me the hunt, and the hunter, from the outside, subjecting it to a merciless gaze that hunting can’t withstand, at least not in the 21st century.

The pig got shot, and the prig went home to Berkeley to scribble and emote. Personally, I would say that Mr. Pullan’s merciless gaze of Modernity is as fatal to the truth as a properly aimed 130 grain .270 round is to California feral pig. Pullan thinks he speaks for the enlightened spirit of human progress. In reality, his irony is a only a fashionable pose, and his voice only the voice of conformity echoing the infernal spirit which denies:

Ich bin der Geist, der stets verneint!

(Faust I, Vers 1338ff. / Mephistopheles.)


Shooting victim

27 Mar 2006

Fitzgerald’s Record and Libby’s Motion to Dismiss

, , , ,

Clarice Feldman has a new article on American Thinker, in which she demonstrates a pattern of protecting the reputation of Patrick Fitzgerald by such representatives of the establishment media as the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.

Ms. Feldman also reviews the arguments in Lewis Libby’s Motion to Dismiss identifying the core argument:

The decision whether to continue the Special Counsel’s investigation long after the acts regarding the disclosure of Ms. Plame’s occupation were established required a careful balancing of the interests. On the one hand, there is a law enforcement interest in investigating potential false-statement and perjury offenses. On the other hand, there is a public interest in avoiding confrontations that Mr. Fitzgerald’s investigation and prosecution continue to entail. There is also a public interest in avoiding continued distraction of our nation’s highest officials well after it has become apparent that the alleged crime that was the intended focus of the investigation did not in fact occur. Those competing interests should have been weighed by properly appointed principal officers of the United States. Because the Special Counsel was given the power to operate without any supervision of direction in contravention of the Appointments Clause, that did not happen in this case.

On which basis, she concludes:

I think that Libby has made a persuasive hard-to-answer argument that the Prosecutor was improperly appointed and granted powers in a way that violates the Statute and the Constitution, and that the indictment should be dismissed.

26 Mar 2006

Use CNN for Lies

, , ,

There is a regular Intel source who publishes on Free Republic as “Fedora.” Fedora’s latest offering is a partial translation of one of the captured Iraqi documents, which amusingly testifies to the Baathist regime’s recognition of CNN as a sympathetic venue for the distribution of false information injurious to the US-led Coalition cause. Fedora writes:

In this Iraqi document ISGQ 2004-00224003 dated February 7 2001, there was a discussion in upper echelon of the Iraqi intelligence about mass graves in Southern Iraq and how to shift the blame to the Coalition forces and make it look like these mass graves as the results massacres committed by the Coalition forces back in 1991 during Desert Storm Operation. What is also interesting about this document is that it mentions how to give the priority of covering the story to CNN so it will have an effect on the international arena as the documents says.

I did a partial translation of the document highlight the statement related to CNN in bold letters in the body of the translation. The rest of this 3 pages document that I did not translate will go into further deception on how to make big military funerals for the people in the mass graves though out all the Iraq provinces and how high level state officials will participate in these funerals.

Beginning of the Partial Translation

The Republic of Iraq

The Intelligence Apparatus

Date: 7/2/2001

No 1687

In the Name of God the Merciful the Most Compassionate

Secret

To the respectful Mr. Director of the Fourth Directory

Your letter secret and immediate numbered B 264 on 2/4/2001

1. No information is available to us about the Mass Graves in the Southern Region.

2.We see to achieve the observation the following matters:

A. Inspect the graves to confirm the existence of Nuclear Radiations.

B. Were they buried alive or their death was by suffocation.

C. Are they military personnel or civilians.

D. Are there tombstones that carry the names of the martyrs

E. Identify accurate marks and proofs of the graves and the possibility to reach it quickly and identify it.

3. We do not agree that the declaration about it through a direct Iraqi media in the first stage at least and not to cause public and party reaction so that the subject will take as a priority an international interest, and we should work on the following direction during this stage:

A. Leak the news through reliable sources.. News agencies or Satellite stations.. and that there is confusion, and indications from the members of the Coalition forces about the existence of mass graves civilians and military personnel in the South of Iraq.

B. The attempt to search for soldiers from the Coalition forces in a serious way to mention these truth through the agencies.

(1-3)

C. Ask some of the friendly countries with good technology to find these graves and for sure it will be asked from some news agencies in these countries to humanly participate in this effort and in case it is discovered there will be media reactions internationally and foreign and this media must be given a big space to repeat it and leak it to take its natural form of influence on the countries that made this bad deed and give it to the international general opinion.

D. Not to dig these grave by the Iraqi side… and it is possible to make a dialogue with the CNN channel to give them a priority on this subject to have an influence over the international arena and it will be accepted more than the Iraqi media.

End of Partial Translation

26 Mar 2006

Solidarity Candles Burning in Minsk


Hundreds of people have placed lighted candles on Nyamiha Street in Minsk as a gesture of solidarity with those beaten and arrested yeserday.

Video of Interior Ministry Special Forces attacking peaceful demonstrators in Minsk yesterday, beating women and the elderly.

26 Mar 2006

MSM Contemplates the Possibility of Journalistic Bias

, , ,

Alex Nunez details a sudden outbreak of MSM introspection:

Three years’ worth of negative stories from Iraq, filed without even a cursory attempt to show balance, have finally come back to haunt the MSM. The media people see this, and that’s why they’re trying to address the matter now by talking about the “perception” of bias on their part. That they’re talking about it at all shows just how worried they are.

The narcissists in the elite media are coming to realize, finally, that the average American no longer sees them as credible providers of information, and they can’t handle it. After all, what good are their monolithic soapboxes if people simply tune out what they’re saying from them?

——————————————
Hat tip to PJM.

26 Mar 2006

How an Italian Dies

, , ,

Fabrizio Quattrocchi

Captured along with three other Italians working in Iraq as private security guards, then murdered by terrorists in April of 2004, Fabrizio Quattrocchi ruined the video his executioners were recording. Instead of allowing himself to be put to death cowering like a sheep, Quattrocchi pulled the hood from his face, faced the video camera, and said defiantly: Adesso (or ora) vi faccio vedere come muore un italiano! [Now I will show you how an Italian dies!].

He was shot in the back of the neck, but Al Jazeera never broadcast the video, claiming hypocritically that it was “too gruesome.” His fellow hostages were liberated by US forces.

Fabrizio Quattrocchi behaved in reality the way we only expect to see human beings today behave on stage, in plays like Lion in Winter:

Richard: He’ll get no satisfaction out of me. He isn’t going to see me beg.

Geoffrey: Why, you chivalric fool, as if the way one fell down mattered.

Richard: When the fall is all there is, it matters.

On March 20, 2006, Fabrizio Quattrochi was awarded posthumously the Medaglia d’Oro al Valor Civile [Gold Medal for Valor by a Civilian] by the Italian Govenment.
——————————–
Hat tip to Winds of Change via Pajamas Media.

25 Mar 2006

Crackdown in Belarus


Wearing the red beret is SOBR (Special Forces of the Ministry of the Interior) commander, Colonel Dmitry Vasilyevich Pavlichenko, arrested and accused November 2000 of “being the organiser and head of a criminal body engaged in the abduction and physical elimination of people.”

Over ten thousand demonstrators answered opposition candidate Alexander Milinkevich’s call to participate in a Saturday protest rally against the Lukashenko regime’s March 19th electoral fraud. The rally was timed also to commemorate the Independence Day of the first Belarussian Republic of 1918. Faced with police blocking access to the main square in Minsk, the demonstrators moved their rally to a nearby park.

Over the last few days, hundreds of arrests were made, including not only the protesters camped in tents in October Square, but also journalists, Pavel Mazejka (the press spokesman for opposition candidate Alexander Milinkevich), and today rival opposition leader Alexander Kozulin.

Kozulin had called for demonstrators to march on Okrestino prison to demand the release of political prisoners. The march had begun, when Colonel Pavlichenko’s Interior Ministry Special Forces units confronted the marchers, fired tear gas and stun grenades, and then proceeded to charge the protesters, swinging truncheons. photos

Casualties are not yet known. A number of people were hospitalized. At least one, Siarhey Atroshchanka, sustained a serious head injury.

25 Mar 2006

Lukashenko Regime Declares War

Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted for March 2006.

















Feeds
Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark