Archive for March, 2006
31 Mar 2006

Borders Boss Tells Off Bloggers

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His CEO/Chairman of the Board/President/Director-ship

Borders has come in for just a little criticism in the Blogosphere.

And today Mr. Gregory P. Josefowicz, CEO/Chairman of the Board/President/Director, Borders Books responded:

to Charles Johnson, Director, Pajamas Media, CEO Little Green Foosballs, Rock ‘N’ Roller in the Free World, Stealth Cyclist.”

Dear Mr. Johnson (or may I call you “Charles”?),

How witty! how populist! actually kidding around, while artfully pointing out that Charles Johnson (and those other critical bloggers) are, after all, harumph! not “CEO/Chairman of the Board/President/Director” of anything in particular. Who are they to tell me? and so on, and so forth, etc…. Did any of them make $1,205,897 in 2005 (with a tidy $7,300,188 in options)?

It clearly takes the big brains to sell those books and lattes, and set those corporate policies. But, personally, I wouldn’t be particularly surprised to find big chain book outlets getting completely replaced by on-line shopping and mail delivery over the next few years, in exactly the same way that movie theatres are having their lunch eaten more and more already by satellite and cable delivery and DVD rental. I also wouldn’t be particularly surprised, a few years down the road, to find Charles Johnson, Director of Pajamas Media making more than you ever did, Herr CEO/Chairman of the Board/President/Director, old boy.

Some might consider CCPD Josefowicz’s rejoinder alarmist:

The last time I read the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States it seemed pretty clear that the government of these states is ordained and established to “Provide for the common defense,” not Borders Books…

I run a bookstore. A book store. I run a big bookstore. I’ve got 34,000 people, real people, working for me every day in lots of places around the US and in other countries too. Those people owe Borders, every day, one good day’s work. Borders owes the people who work for it a safe day’s work. I’ve got stockholders too, but let’s leave them aside for now, because as much as you may think so, this is not about money. (And yes I caught that business about the fact that we’re trying to open stores in Arab and Muslim countries, but as you may have noticed every country these days contains an Arab and Muslim country.)..

Now you and the other bloggers who are sitting around safe in your undisclosed locations may feel that I have a duty to carry the 46 copies of Free Inquiry magazine with those drawings of the Prophet (Peace be upon his raggedy ass.) in the name of being the last, best bastion of Free Speech in America. I feel your pain, but after due consideration I must respectfully instruct you all to just pound sand.

Who do you think we are up here in Ann Arbor, the 82nd Airborne?..

Having read this self-congratulatory poltroonery, I’d normally be commenting that Mohammed-in-Hell (hit the Danish cartoon link button in my right column) will be shovelling snow the next time I buy a book in Borders, but I might get swatted the way a fellow blogger did:

Bidinotto‘s not buying anymore. Door. Ass. Bang.

Yeah, Borders under Josefowicz is a class act.

31 Mar 2006

No Free Inquiry at Borders or Waldenbooks

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Free Inquiry

Yesterday, Borders and Waldenbooks surrendered to the savages, and announced that would not carry the April/May issue of Free Inquiry, containing a mere four of the cartoons featuring Mohammed published in Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten. (You can find all twelve right over in my right-hand column, all day, every day. And try clicking on them!)

In the true spirit of capitalists always willing to sell rope to those intending to hang them, the bookstore chain’s management attempted to justify capitulating to Islamic censorship of expression thusly:

“For us, the safety and security of our customers and employees is a top priority, and we believe that carrying this issue could challenge that priority,” Borders Group Inc. spokeswoman Beth Bingham said Wednesday…

..Bingham said the decision was made before the magazine arrived at the company’s stores. Borders Group, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., operates more than 475 Borders and 650 Waldenbooks stores in the United States, though not all regularly carry the magazine

Or, “Threaten us, and we’ll do essentially anything you want.”

31 Mar 2006

Understanding Where We Are

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Wretchard also puts the situation right now into its true perspective.

..look at the picture that is usually trumpeted in the popular press twenty four hours a day, which normally consists of the same stories — ‘today two American soldiers died, bring the number of deaths to’ or ‘newly discovered memos show that in the days leading up to the war’ or ‘defects in body armor have shown that’ — with variations for dates. It is almost intentionally repetitive, designed to convey a narrative that has no sense; no beginning; no end…

..Zarqawi understood that he would get nowhere trying to fight the USA, especially when the new Iraqi Army came on line. He knew that if he was to win he had to play a game where the odds were more in his favor. But Jill Carroll and the MSM pretend not to understand that the Sunni insurgency has lost the campaign. They think Zarqawi is still playing the same old game. The game he gave up. So they continue to say things like: “I think it makes it very clear, it makes very clear that the Mujahedeen are the ones who will win in the end in this war, I think it makes very clear that even with thousands of troops and airplanes and tanks and guns that that doesn’t mean anything here on the ground in Iraq as it shows over time, maybe how many months over time or however (sic) months are left in the occupation that it’s pretty clear that the Mujahedeen are the ones that will have the victory left at the end of the day.”

Does anyone actually think that the Mujahedeen (Sunni insurgency) is going to be able to expel the US Armed Forces and reimpose their former dominion over the Kurds and the Shi’as? No? but people say it all the time though they don’t stop to think what it means. Jill Carroll apparently believes it….

..A realistic assessment should include what has already been gained and what is left to gain. Some people think the Belmont Club is guilty of unwonted optimism simply because it is willing to accept what Zarqawi has practically admitted: that the Sunni insurgency is militarily beaten — and that the struggle for the political outcome is now underway. And some readers may believe that I’ve gone all “gloomy” because I think the political outcome still hangs in the balance. But that is nothing more than stating a fact. Yet the essential difference is this: it’s in context. Those who have done some rock climbing know that while it is important to grope for the next handhold along the line of climb it is equally important to remember the footholds you have already won. Forget where you are standing and you are lost. Unfortunately, much of the regular media coverage is almost designed to conceal where where we are standing and where we have to go. There is no context, as Bill Roggio once put it on a television interview. For most casual listeners of the news the US is trapped in a featureless and starchy soup, with no beginning or end. The War on Terror becomes portrayed as a shapeless shroud from which it is imperative to escape at all costs.

And that’s sad because as Baron von Richthofen said, “Those who are afraid to take the next step will have wasted their entire previous journey.”

31 Mar 2006

Critiquing the Left’s War Critique

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Victor Davis Hansen casually refutes everything passing for received wisdom about the Iraq war in the cultural echo-chamber of the liberal elite.

Opponents of the war in Iraq, both original critics and the mea culpa recent converts, have made eight assumptions. The first six are wrong, the last two still unsettled.

1. Saddam was never connected to al Qaeda, the perpetrators of 9/11.

2. There was no real threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

3. The United Nations and our allies were justifiably opposed on principle to the invasion.

4. A small cabal of neoconservative (and mostly Jewish) intellectuals bullied the administration into a war that served Israel’s interest more than our own.

5. Saddam could not be easily deposed, or at least he could not be successfully replaced with a democratic government.

6. The architects of this war and the subsequent occupation are mostly inept (“dangerously incompetent”) — and are exposed daily as clueless by a professional cadre of disinterested journalists.

7. In realist terms, the benefits to be gained from the war will never justify the costs incurred.

8. We cannot win.

31 Mar 2006

Nesting Bald Eagle

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Streaming live video of nest, located Hornby Island, British Columbia. First egg laid, March 21st; second egg laid, March 24. Eggs due to hatch: April 26 and April 30.

link.

30 Mar 2006

First They Came For…

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First they came for the child pornographers and sexual predators
and I did not speak out
because I was not a child pornographer or sexual predator.

Then they came for the terrorists (you knew it was out there!)
and I did not speak out
because I was not a terrorist.

Then they came for the dictators
and I did not speak out
because I was not a dictator.

Then they came for traitors and seditionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a traitor or seditionist

Then they came for rogues in the intelligence community
and I did not speak out
because I was not a rogue in the intelligence community.

Then they came for me (Ok, so they’re not here yet but you know its just a matter of time)
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

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Another required quotation from YARGB.

30 Mar 2006

American Flag Burning

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The Amherst Times offers:

American flag: $25

Gasoline: $2

Cigarette Lighter: $2.50

Catching yourself on fire because you are a terrorist a__ hole: PRICELESS!

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Hat tip to YARGB.

30 Mar 2006

Chick Humor

Link.

From Ratty.

30 Mar 2006

Belarus Update

Opposition presidential candidate Alexander Kazulin is being charged (Soviet-style) with “hooliganism,” organizing group actions, and violating public order. He faces a possible six year prison term.

Poland’s Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz signed in Warsaw, along with Belarussian opposition leader Alexander Milinkiewicz, a Declaration creating a foundation to be named in honor of Konstanty Kalinowski, Belarussian commander of the January Insurrection of 1863-1864 in Lithuania, which will fund at least 300 places at Polish universities for Belarussian students currently jailed and facing university expulsion, starting in July.

Lukashenka has not been seen in public since election day, giving rise to variety of rumors, attributing his absence to: a serious illness, a drunken celebratory binge, or being tied up in negotiations with his Muscovite allies over the signing over Belarus’ major economic asset (the pipeline company Beltranzgas) in return for electoral support.

29 Mar 2006

Grups

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We’ve noticed, and remarked with displeasure on, the fact that out here in California everyone these days seems to want to go out in public dressed like an 8 year old. Apparently, this is a national trend. It’s those Gen Y-ers, who are even whinier and more messed up than the Gen X-ers.

Adam Sternbergh in New York Magazine (he’s probably one of them) has noticed, too.

It’s more interesting as evidence of the slow erosion of the long-held idea that in some fundamental way, you cross through a portal when you become an adult, a portal inscribed with the biblical imperative “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: But when I became a man, I put away childish things.” This cohort is not interested in putting away childish things. They are a generation or two of affluent, urban adults who are now happily sailing through their thirties and forties, and even fifties, clad in beat-up sneakers and cashmere hoodies, content that they can enjoy all the good parts of being a grown-up (a real paycheck, a family, the warm touch of cashmere) with none of the bad parts (Dockers, management seminars, indentured servitude at the local Gymboree). It’s about a brave new world whose citizens are radically rethinking what it means to be a grown-up and whether being a grown-up still requires, you know, actually growing up.

And it’s been a long time coming. It showed up in the early eighties as “the Peter Pan Syndrome,” then mutated to the yuppie, which, let’s face it, has had a pretty good run. Later, it took the form that David Brooks called “bourgeois bohemians,” or bobos (as in Bobos in Paradise). Over in England, they’re now calling them yindies (that’s yuppie plus indie), and here, the term yupster (you can figure that out) has been gaining some traction of late. And as this movement evolves, something pivotal is happening. This cascade of pioneering immaturity is no longer a case of a generation’s being stuck in its own youth. This generation is now, if you happen to be under 25, more interested in being stuck in your youth.

This article being what it is, I wanted to come up with my own term to describe them. But what? Dadsters? Sceniors? Dorian Graybeards? Over the course of my investigation, I started calling them Grups. It’s not the most elegant term, but it passes the field test of real-world utility. (Here a Grup, there a Grup, everywhere a Grup-Grup.) “Grups” is a nerdy reference to an old Star Trek episode in which Kirk and crew land on a planet run entirely by kids, who call grown-ups “grups.” All the adults have been killed off by a terrible virus, which also slows the natural aging process, so the kids are trapped in a state of extended prepubescence. They will never grow up. And they are running the show.

(Yes, sure they are! -JDZ)

Oh, and there’s one more thing I learned, in answer to my opening questions: If being a Grup means being 35, and having a job, and using a messenger bag instead of a briefcase, and staying out too late too often, and owning more pairs of sneakers (eleven) than suits (one), and downloading a Hot Hot Heat song from iTunes because it was on a playlist titled “Saturday Errands,” and generally being uneasy and slightly confused about just what it means to be an adult in these modern times—in short, if it means living your life in fundamentally the same way that you did when you were, say, 22—then, let’s face it, I’m a Grup. The people in the pictures accompanying this story? Grups. In fact, take a minute and look up from the magazine—if you’re in public, you’ll see them everywhere. If you’re in front of a mirror, you might see one there too.

29 Mar 2006

New Hampshire

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The struggle of real New England Yankees against the cultural influence of lily-livered flatlanders continues. Put that motto on those signs!

link

29 Mar 2006

Yale: Terrorist’s Application

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Flagg Youngblood Y’97, and non-Yalies Jason Mattera and Jedediah Jones, have cooked up a satirical Application for Admission to Yale for the likes of Rahmatullah Hashemi.

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Hat tip to Scott Drum Y’70.

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