Archive for January, 2007
31 Jan 2007

Herouxville, Quebec Issues Standards of Behavior, Offending Muslims

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The town council of Herouxville, Quebec in response to Islamic immigration passed for public information a declaration of local social norms, which among other things declares:

French version

English translation

nous considérons comme hors norme.., tels le fait de tuer les femmes par lapidation sur la place publique ou en les faisant brûler vives, les brûler avec de l’acide, les exciser etc.

Their English translation was slightly bowdlerized (doubtless to spare the tender sensibilities of liberal Anglophone Canadians) thusly:

we consider that killing women in public beatings, or burning them alive are not part of our standards of life.

But what it really says is:

we regard as contrary to conventional behavior, such activities as killing women by public stonings or by burning them alive, or burning them with acid, circumsizing them, and so on.

The BBC reports that Canadian Muslims are insulted. Of course they are. How do you suppose residents of Quebec can possibly imagine that anyone would do such atrocious things?

31 Jan 2007

Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran

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Personally, I think the George W. Bush in this commie peacenik protest video has exactly the right idea. Go, George.

video

31 Jan 2007

Gutless Wonders Warn Against War With Iran

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AP:

Republican and Democratic senators warned Tuesday against a drift toward war with an emboldened Iran and suggested the Bush administration was missing a chance to engage its longtime adversary in potentially helpful talks over next-door Iraq.

“What I think many of us are concerned about is that we stumble into active hostilities with Iran without having aggressively pursued diplomatic approaches, without the American people understanding exactly what’s taking place,” Sen. Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record), D-Ill., told John Negroponte, who is in line to become the nation’s No. 2 diplomat as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s deputy.

In reality, we’ve been at war with Iran since 1979. Or, more properly,one should say: Iran has been at war with us since 1979. We have not bothered to notice.

31 Jan 2007

World’s Most Expensive House

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$155 million. Ouch! And I thought we paid too much for our new house.

Appropriately named “The Pinnacle,” it’s yours for $155 million…

So what justifies the “most expensive” asking price?

To begin with, the 10-bedroom, 53,000-square-foot, yes — 53,000-square-foot — home will sit on the most coveted piece of property in the resort. The 160 acres ought to provide ample elbow room for someone who has it all.

The home, which includes four guest cottages, will be built in the center of the ski resort and commands dramatic views in all directions…

Jerry Locati, the Bozeman, Mont., architect who heads up Locati Architects, spent the last year designing the home and gave ABCNEWS.com an exclusive interview about what he calls “an incredibly unique, one-of-a-kind house.”

“It’s an adult, well, actually family-oriented home, a sort of Disneyland scale home for someone who is not afraid to spend money,” he begins as he searches for superlatives. “It will have the usual home theater but will also include a bowling alley, an indoor-outdoor pool and an amazing wine cellar.”

The house, which has a rustic exterior crafted out of stone, hand-hewn beams and ample floor-to-ceiling glass, includes a huge underground garage.

“You’ll be able to park 30 or 40 cars,” Locati says. “Perfect for someone with a car collection and of course the ideal service entrance for caterers.”

Locati says he was encouraged to “think outside the box” by timber and real estate billionaire Tim Blixseth, who is developing the property.

Blixseth is also the developer of the Yellowstone Club resort.

One of those “outside-the-box” ideas is three elevators.

“You enter as you would a lodge. There will be lockers for ski equipment and clothing,” says Locati.

“Every aspect has been incredibly well thought out,” he says. “We’ll have hand-carved fireplace mantles, and we have succeeded in bringing the outdoors indoors while still maintaining a warm feeling.”

Perhaps one of the more unusual features is a private-covered gondola that will whisk skiers from a ski run to the home.

31 Jan 2007

Very Bad Elk

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31 Jan 2007

Mustn’t Offend Iran

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Fox News:

A plan by the Bush administration to release detailed and possibly damning specific evidence linking the Iranian government to efforts to destabilize Iraq have been put on hold, U.S. officials told FOX News.

Officials had said a “dossier” against Iran compiled by the U.S. likely would be made public at a press conference this week in Baghdad, and that the evidence would contain specifics including shipping documents, serial numbers, maps and other evidence which officials say would irrefutably link Iran to weapons shipments to Iraq.

Now, U.S. military officials say the decision to go public with the findings has been put on hold for several reasons, including concerns over the reaction from Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — as well as inevitable follow-up questions that would be raised over what the U.S. should do about it.

31 Jan 2007

The Vaulting Ambition of Lady Macbeth

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Gerard Baker, in the London Times, contemplates the dreadful horror that is Hillary.

As you consider her career this past 15 years or so in the public spotlight, it is impossible not to be struck, and even impressed, by the sheer ruthless, unapologetic, unshameable way in which she has pursued this ambition, and confirmed that there is literally nothing she will not do, say, think or feel to achieve it. Here, finally, is someone who has taken the black arts of the politician’s trade, the dissembling, the trimming, the pandering, all the way to their logical conclusion.

Fifteen years ago there was once a principled, if somewhat rebarbative and unelectable politician called Hillary Rodham Clinton. A woman who aggressively preached abortion on demand and the right of children to sue their own parents, a committed believer in the power of government who tried to create a healthcare system of such bureaucratic complexity it would have made the Soviets blush; a militant feminist who scorned mothers who take time out from work to rear their children as “women who stay home and bake cookies”.

Today we have a different Hillary Rodham Clinton, all soft focus and expensively coiffed, exuding moderation and tolerance.

To grasp the scale of the transfiguration, it is necessary only to consider the very moment it began. The turning point in her political fortunes was the day her husband soiled his office and a certain blue dress. In that Monica Lewinsky moment, all the public outrage and contempt for the sheer tawdriness of it all was brilliantly rerouted and channelled to the direct benefit of Mrs Clinton, who immediately began a campaign for the Senate.

And so you had this irony, a woman who had carved out for herself a role as an icon of the feminist movement, launching her own political career, riding a wave of public sympathy over the fact that she had been treated horridly by her husband.

After that unsurpassed exercise in cynicism, nothing could be too expedient. Her first Senate campaign was one long exercise in political reconstructive surgery. It went from the cosmetic — the sudden discovery of her Jewish ancestry, useful in New York, especially when you’ve established a reputation as a friend of Palestinians— to the radical: her sudden message of tolerance for people who opposed abortion, gay marriage, gun control and everything else she had stood for.

Once in the Senate she published an absurd autobiography in which every single paragraph had been scrubbed clean of honest reflection to fit the campaign template. As a lawmaker she is remembered mostly, when confronted with a President who enjoyed 75 per cent approval ratings, for her infamous decision to support the Iraq war in October 2002. This one-time anti-war protester recast herself as a latter-day Boadicea, even castigating President Bush for not taking a tough enough line with the Iranians over their nuclear programme.

Now, you might say, hold on. Aren’t all politicians veined with an opportunistic streak? Why is she any different? The difference is that Mrs Clinton has raised that opportunism to an animating philosophy, a P. T. Barnum approach to the political marketplace.

All politicians, sadly, lie. We can often forgive the lies as the necessary price paid to win popularity for a noble cause. But the Clinton candidacy is a Grand Deceit, an entirely artificial construct built around a person who, stripped bare of the cynicism, manipulation and calculation, is nothing more than an enormous, overpowering and rather terrifying ego.

30 Jan 2007

Which Sci Fi Author Are You?

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QUIZ

I got:

Jerry Pournelle

This old-fashioned writer may be the most unapologetic capitalist in the field. He has also been influential in many other fields, from space policy to the computer industry

??? Not Heinlein??? (Well, I’m not the perv that he was, but, still…)

Can you get Roger Zelazny as a result?

Hat tip to Seneca the Younger.

30 Jan 2007

Vista and Office 2007 Available Today

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Microsoft announces the release of new versions of its flagship products.

Preston Galla of PC Word has 15 reasons to switch to Vista.

But Mike Elgan of Computerworld has some compelling arguments as to why you should wait to get Vista already installed on your next PC, or just switch to a MAC.

30 Jan 2007

Latest Casualty of Iraq

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Kerry wipes an eye while speaking at Davos

Howie Carr, at the Boston Herald, pens a eulogy to a great American political career.

Do you suppose (John Kerry)’ll put in now for one final Purple Heart? He was wounded by Iraq, after all. It’s gotta hurt, knowing that he and Al Gore are in one of the world’s tiniest clubs: guys who blew an election to George W. Bush.

But here’s the difference. Al Gore has actually been nominated this year. For a couple of Academy Awards. And he may win. John Kerry, though, well, he’s about to find out whether or not the old saying is true: “Living well is the best revenge.”..

..for Kerry, this is a tragedy. He always knew he’d be president. He’s still only 63 – older than Bush, or Clinton, or even Al Gore – and it’s over.

He’ll never be president. America dodged another bullet.

And here’s the greatest irony of all: John Kerry was the absolute last person in the world to know it was all over…

A line comes to mind from F. Scott Fitzgerald, as John and Mama T leave the national scene like Tom and Daisy Buchanan at the end of “The Great Gatsby,” retreating “back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together . . . drift(ing) here and there unrestfully, wherever people played polo and were rich together.”

Good riddance.

Hat tip to Frank Dobbs.

29 Jan 2007

It Takes a Militia

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Glenn Reynolds makes the communitarian case for compulsory arms bearing. Whatever will the editors of Tikkun say?

29 Jan 2007

Overloaded Eagle

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AP:

JUNEAU, Alaska: About 10,000 Juneau residents briefly lost power after a bald eagle lugging a deer head crashed into transmission lines.

“You have to live in Alaska to have this kind of outage scenario,” said Gayle Wood, an Alaska Electric Light & Power spokeswoman. “This is the story of the overly ambitious eagle who evidently found a deer head in the landfill.”

The bird, weighed down by the deer head, apparently failed to clear the transmission lines, she said. A repair crew found the eagle dead, the deer head nearby.

The power was out for less than 45 minutes Sunday.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

29 Jan 2007

New Evidence Against Iran To Be Released

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New York Sun:

New evidence of Iran’s role in Iraq will be made in Baghdad by the chief spokesman for the multinational forces in Iraq, Major General William Caldwell. The Directorate of National Intelligence worked over the weekend to clear new intelligence and information that sources inside the intelligence community said would implicate Iran in deliberately sending particularly lethal improvised explosives to terrorists to kill coalition soldiers.

The intelligence community is currently debating whether to make the new evidence, which it plans to declassify, available on the Internet.

The plan to present the evidence will coincide with a presentation this week by Ambassador Khalilzad to the press detailing the charges against Iranian operatives affiliated with the country’s Quds Force arrested in the last six weeks in three raids.

29 Jan 2007

Dressage

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Andreas Helgstrand of Denmark riding the Danish Warmblood mare Blue Hors Matiné turned in a spectacular performance in Freestyle Dressage at the 2006 World Equestrian Games (WEG) at Aachen.

6:30 video

Marvellous as it was, this performance received a score of 81.5, good for only the Silver Medal.

The Gold was won by Anky van Grunsven of the Netherlands riding the Hanoverian gelding Keltec Salinero with a total score of 86.1.

Nancy Jaffer reports.

6:38 video

Hat tip to Marcye Britt.

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