INCITE
Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Saturday, July 30, 2005

 
I can't seem to recall a "2003 UB313" from Greek mythology...
Written by: Beck

Astronomers have discovered a new planet (or not--they can't agree on whether it's a planet or not). It's 1.5 times larger than Pluto, orbits 3 times further out from the sun than Pluto, and is at a 45 degree tilt from the orbit of the sun's 9 primary planets (which is why no one ever spotted it before now).

The important thing here is neither the discovery, nor the controversy in astronomical circles regarding whether 2003 UB313 (and Pluto for that matter) is really a planet at all. What's important is the write-up at Ace of Spades where I first found this story.

It's content like this:
Plutonian Politics: Is there any way we can use the Planet (?) Pluto controversy as a wedge issue against the Democrats?

Can we bait Howard Dean into saying something derogatory about Pluto?

Because, if we could, it would really annoy a lot of nerdy liberal-leaning voters.

There must be some way to use this. We conservatives can argue on behalf of "tradition," and bait liberals into taking an anti-Pluto position by using over-the-top anti-intellectual arguments in favor of Pluto, perhaps attacking the "pusillanimous puling pencil-necked pointy-heads" with all their silly "facts" and "theories" and "arrayed radio telescopes."

The "reality-based community" will then, predictably and inevitably, be forced to mock the Plutophiles, perhaps denigrating Pluto as a "sub-planetoid Jeebus spacerock."
That keeps me coming back to read Ace on a daily basis. You just can't find that sort of mentally-unbalanced politics-cum-nerdery anywhere else on the web. Seriously. I challenge you to name just one person who even comes close.


 
I have found the coolest animal in the world
Written by: Beck

And he is a 5 year old Macaw named Barney. He lives in a zoo in England, where he passes the time by inviting the patrons to fuck off.
"He's told a lady mayoress to f..(expletive) off and he told a lady vicar: 'And you can f... off as well'," sanctuary worker Stacey Clark said.

Nor did the forces of law and order escape, she added.

"Two policemen came to have a look at the centre. He told them: 'And you can f... off you two wankers'."
Even money says it's just a bitter zoo keeper with a mic and some wireless speakers.

(Hat tip: The Corner)


 
Step 1 of 339
Written by: Dave

While certainly welcome news, let's hope the Brits don't read too much significance into the capture of the bombers.

I am sure there are many who will now claim that this is proof that the war can be effectively fought as a police action. In reality, capturing the bombers doesn't end Britain's terrorist threat any more than capturing a couple local loan sharks would have brought down Capone. These bombers were given orders by other men, who were in turn given orders by other men, who recieved orders from other men outside of Britain, who received funds from backers in numerous other places.

The unfortunate fact remains that whatever leads develop from this capture, a large part of the terrorist organization will remain untouched. There are thousands of other disaffected Muslims living in Britain who, thanks to Britain's generous welfare system, have plenty of time on their hands to take up terrorism.

It may take a while for the terrorist organization within Britain to recover from the vigorous police attention it is now receiving, but unless advances in the wider war on terrorism are won, it is only a matter of time before Britain faces more and more of these attacks.


 
More evidence, in case you still needed it, that the Japanese are weird
Written by: Beck

Four words: silicon skinned female androids.

(Hat tip: PW)


 
Links, whatnot
Written by: Beck

First, something that makes me laugh.

California has banned smoking in prisons. Seriously. Both indoors and out. How long until California has outlawed everything but eating granola?

Next, because I haven't done any UN bashing in far too long, Captain Ed has some new developments in the Oil For Food program. Instapundit has more.

Tall buildings are cool.

More scary Chinese military developments. Yes, sentence fragments.

Timeless advice.

Finally, for those at all interested in my poker blogging activities, here are three recent posts of mine over at Steal the Blinds:

Casino Review - Showboat, Atlantic City
A tale of three calls
And finally, My greatest play to date

Enjoy!


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

 
The happy birthday to me post
Written by: Beck

Happy birthday to me.
Happy birhtday to me.
Happy birthday to me.
Happy birhtday to me.


Monday, July 25, 2005

 
Because I can
Written by: Beck

Here's something you don't hear every day.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

 
Worth reading
Written by: Beck

Why write creative and original material, when I can just point you to others' creative and original material. And, maybe, you know, summarize it a bit.

First, an interesting take on Dr. Zhivago, written by someone who lived life behind the Iron Curtain. Excerpt:
Doctor Yuri Zhivago was a member of the Russian intelligentsia and believed that there was a need for reform of the country. At the start, he saw the Communist Party as performing a deep operation cutting out a cancerous tumour. Today he probably would be reading the Guardian or the New York Times calling himself a progressive. A bleeding heart liberal, perhaps. But Pasternak puts the Zhivago character through the reality of a dystopia coming true.
From Captain's Quarters, a discussion of the overarching goals of terrorists, and how the blame-the-West-first crowd and the anti-war media are serving those very overarching goals:
AQ antagonism towards Egypt has nothing to do with Iraq, Palestine, and Chechnya and everything to do with assuming control of the ummah in its entirety. It attacks the US and Britain because we oppose the radical takeover of Southwest Asia by the lunatic Islamofascists. Does that involve Iraq? Certainly; right now it's the hot front in the war on terror, along with Afghanistan. But to claim that these attacks spring from our presence in Iraq exclusively, or even our presence in Arab lands, flies in the face of all evidence. Where are the American troops in Egypt?

The media, especially the British media who keep haranguing Tony Blair about causing the London bombings as a price for liberating Iraq, need to start adding two plus two and quit getting three for an answer. AQ operations point to a long-term strategy of isolating and crippling Middle East governments that (a) oppose radical Wahhabism and (b) operate in a secular manner that maintains ties to the West, especially Israel. That is the scope of the war Islamists have fought for twenty years under different banners -- Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and now al-Qaeda. They want to seize power by force, cast a Taliban-style tyranny over the entirety of Southwest Asia and North Africa (to start), and bring the infidel world to its knees through the control of petroleum.

Why, four years after 9/11, does the media and the Left still fail to grasp this? Could it be because acknowledging this fact requires a stark choice to either fight or surrender, and they would prefer to create a fantasy through sophistry to allow them to simply go AWOL instead?
In a similar vein, don't miss Goldstein's excellent piece, Why Rhetoric Matters.

Finally, I will never understand pro-tax activists.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

 
Kelo repercussions
Written by: Beck

The Texas state legislature (naturally this happens in Texas--where else?) is very close to passing a law which will prevent local governments from using eminent domain powers to cease property for use in private development. In other words, they're creating legislation to specifically combat the erosion of property rights created by the Supreme Court's Kelo decision.

I love it.
Private property owners would be protected from state and local governments seizing their land for economic development purposes under a bill overwhelmingly approved by the Texas House Sunday night.

The bill, drafted in response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing eminent domain seizures for economic development projects, gained final passage 136-0.

[...] The House version of the eminent domain bill was amended to stop the city of Freeport from seizing waterfront land from a family-owned shrimping company to make way for a private marina project.

The Senate has passed similar legislation, but differences must be worked out in a conference committee before midnight Wednesday when the special session ends.
When's the last time you saw any legislature anywhere pass any bill unanimously? That, my friends, is what I call a good sign.

(Hat tip: Mr. Minority)


 
Signs of the pending apocalypse
Written by: Beck

I just saw an add on TV for a product called "Urine Gone." It's for cleaning up odors and stains. From urine, of course. For just $19.99, you can buy enough Urine Gone to clean your whole house.

No, it wasn't a Saturday Night Live spoof commercial (this was on the Discovery Channel). I have now officially seen it all. What an absurd world I live in.


 
This is the song that never ends
Written by: Beck

Bombs went off in an Egyptian Red Sea resort frequented by European tourists. At least 45 people are dead.

Meanwhile, a bomb in Beirut, set off in a predominantly Christian area, wounded three. It went off mere hours after a surprise visit from Condi Rice.

In London, however, the policy is shoot-to-kill. I can understand why.
Heavily armed officers patrolled the British capital with clear instructions to stop suicide bombers -if necessary, with a shot to the head. "If you are dealing with someone who might be a suicide bomber, if they remain conscious, they could trigger plastic explosives or whatever device is on them," said Mayor Ken Livingstone. "Therefore, overwhelmingly in these circumstances, it is going to be a shoot-to-kill policy."
Meanwhile, the UN is confronting the destruction of 700,000 peoples' homes via the proven and time honored technique of... asking politely.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on Zimbabwe yesterday to halt the "catastrophic injustice" of a government campaign to demolish slum housing and street stalls, after a U.N. report found that 700,000 people had been left homeless or jobless and that an additional 2.4 million had been affected since the program began in May.

The report says the evictions and demolitions violate international law and were undertaken in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, and that it will take several years for Zimbabwe to recover from the policy, which government officials say is designed to eliminate chaotic and illegal housing and trade.
They've also issued a report, so you know that this time, they mean business.


Friday, July 22, 2005

 
Would-be suicide bomber gunned down in London?
Written by: Beck

Developing.
Police in London have shot a man dead at a subway station, a day after bombers apparently failed to repeat the carnage of the July 7 blasts.

Unconfirmed media reports said the man shot at Stockwell station -- close to the Oval, one of four sites targeted on Thursday -- was a suicide bomber although witnesses said he did not appear to be carrying anything.

A Scotland Yard spokesperson said: "We can confirm that just after 10 a.m. armed officers entered Stockwell Tube station.

"A man was challenged by officers and subsequently shot. London Ambulance Service attended the scene. He was pronounced dead at the scene."
English police officers using guns... what will they think of next?


Thursday, July 07, 2005

 
Aid to Africa: Please Stop
Written by: Beck

You absolutely, positively, MUST read this interview with an African economist conducted by the German Spiegel.
SPIEGEL: Mr. Shikwati, the G8 summit at Gleneagles is about to beef up the development aid for Africa...

Shikwati: ... for God's sake, please just stop.

SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty.

Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.

SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation for this paradox?

Shikwati: Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.

SPIEGEL: Even in a country like Kenya, people are starving to death each year. Someone has got to help them.

Shikwati: But it has to be the Kenyans themselves who help these people. When there's a drought in a region of Kenya, our corrupt politicians reflexively cry out for more help. This call then reaches the United Nations World Food Program -- which is a massive agency of apparatchiks who are in the absurd situation of, on the one hand, being dedicated to the fight against hunger while, on the other hand, being faced with unemployment were hunger actually eliminated. It's only natural that they willingly accept the plea for more help. And it's not uncommon that they demand a little more money than the respective African government originally requested. They then forward that request to their headquarters, and before long, several thousands tons of corn are shipped to Africa ...

SPIEGEL: ... corn that predominantly comes from highly-subsidized European and American farmers ...

Shikwati: ... and at some point, this corn ends up in the harbor of Mombasa. A portion of the corn often goes directly into the hands of unsrupulous politicians who then pass it on to their own tribe to boost their next election campaign. Another portion of the shipment ends up on the black market where the corn is dumped at extremely low prices. Local farmers may as well put down their hoes right away; no one can compete with the UN's World Food Program. And because the farmers go under in the face of this pressure, Kenya would have no reserves to draw on if there actually were a famine next year. It's a simple but fatal cycle.
There's ever so much more, but the long story made short is that foreign aid constitutes a form of inflicted market failure. Free food and clothes, for example, make it impossible for indigenous farmers and clothiers to compete, so they go out of business, creating a vicious dependency cycle. What's more, it creates a victim mentality which has come to dominate all of sub-Saharan Africa. This brief interview is an absolute must read.

(Hat tip: Vodkapundit)


 
Well fuck
Written by: Beck

As of latest reports, at least 7 separate explosions in the London transportation system have been reported. Classic Al Qaeda style--multiple distributed coordinated attacks during rush hour in crowded civilian areas. Here's to hoping the bastards who did this die painfully.

Update: Wizbang has an excellent, up-to-date round up of informatoin coming out of London.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

 
Just because
Written by: Beck

Yeah, they all look the same to me too.


 
Poker blogging?
Written by: Beck

For those of you who enjoyed my series of poker blogging posts, I have several new(ish) installments up at Steal the Blinds:

Playing Poker in Vegas
A Tale of Three Tournaments
Casino Reviews -- Caesars Atlantic City

Enjoy.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

 
A new sort of link fest
Written by: Beck

The first ever Carnival of Liberty is up at the Life, Liberty, and Property Group Blog. Checkitout.


Friday, July 01, 2005

 
Bad English
Written by: Beck

Martin Peretz, writing for The New Republic, has written an article in which he argues that the Anglican Church's pro-Palestinian stance is motivated, at least in part, by anti-Semitism. The article is fairly interesting--tracing a history of Anglican/Episcopal church history of backing various distasteful political movements (such as Stalin & the Soviet Union during the 50s). I found the final paragraph particularly revealing, because in discussing the Anglican church in particular, it inadvertently paints a larger picture of the international left in general, and why they routinely back such despicable characters as Yasser Arafat and his ilk.
Which takes us back to the church deleriants for Palestine. What kindles the fire in their hearts for Palestine? There is little or nothing in Palestinian society that would fill a progressive with enthusiasm. And these churches do not generally exult in the promise of yet one more nation-state. In fact, these churches are against the nation-state, especially the U.S. nation-state. (In Nottingham last week, the Anglicans demanded the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.) And, even if you take to the harshest reading of Israeli behavior in their ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, dozens and dozens of other peoples in the world, some of whom have a much sounder claim to be a real nation than those for whom the official Anglicans and Presbyterians shed so many tears, suffer infinitely more deprivation and indignity than they do. But tears are not shed for those people at Canterbury Cathedral in England or, for that matter, at Christ Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, whose rectors have for years been virtual street agitators against Israel. So I come to an unavoidable conclusion. The obsession here is not positive, for one side, but rather negative, against the other side. The clerics and the lay leaders on this indefensible crusade are so fixated on Palestine because their obsession, which can be buttressed by various Christian sources and traditions, is really with the Jews. A close look at this morbid passion makes one realize that its roots include an ancient hostility for the House of Israel, an ugly survival of a hoary intolerance into some of the allegedly enlightened precincts of modern Christendom.


 
And now, links
Written by: Beck

First, from Samizdata, the Smokers Liberation Front. I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry--how bizarre (and sad) it is that persecution of smokers has reached a point where such an organization could even be contemplated.

From Q&O, a link to the Institute for Justice listing new property seizures being launched since the Kelo decision came down. The list is long and, frankly, rather frightening. It would appear that a decision like Kelo was all that a whole host of politicians were waiting for prior to descending upon their citizens' property like a horde of locusts.

Concern over potential FEC regulation of internet speech, some blogs are declaring themselves to be online magazines. I can't say that I blame them. Meanwhile, other blogs defiantly continue to call themselves blogs. And most blogs haven't the faintest idea what's going on out there and couldn't give a rat's ass regardless. As for INCITE? Still a blog, baby.

Finally, Vice Squad--a great blog and long time favorite of mine--has switched into "semi-dormant mode." That's bad news. The good news, though, is that they're able to report in their penultimate post that victory has been achieved in the War on Drugs.


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