November 30, 2004

A Thousand Points of Cheap PCs

Via Dean, someone is finally building a $100 computer. The company is SolarPC, and the product being developed is the SolarLite, a laptop-style machine that will do the basics: e-mail, word-processing, balancing your checkbook.

The main market is clearly going to be developing countries, but since this is a non-upgradeable, "disposable" machine, it would also be terrific as a kid's first computer, or as one to present your mother-in-law with, having established that she only needs to get her e-mail and write an occasional letter.

And it's green! It uses very little energy for what it accomplishes. Don't tell the other Republicans, but I have a soft spot in my heart for things like that: I also own hemp clothing, and fantasize about Light Rail actually being a viable approach to public transportatation. Sick, sick, sick.

Posted by Attila at 12:39 AM | Comments (3)

November 29, 2004

On Getting the Truth

Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities runs a fascinating digest about Michael Koubi, an Israeli interrogator, in which he discusses the mind games used for questioning Islamofascists. Interesting little datum: Koubi needed to know the Koran backward and forward. Makes sense. The whole thing is pretty compelling: what a job that would be.

Posted by Attila at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)

Remember Ukraine

In your thoughts and prayers. I still think there's a chance bloodshed can be averted, and that the country will stay intact. But I'm worried.

Pray for freedom, democracy—and the safety of the protesters on both sides.


(Orange image via Dean Esmay, who got it from Secular Blasphemy. Please also see Le Sabot Post-Moderne, Tulip Girl, Daniel W. Drezner, and Chrenkoff, all of whom are updating regularly on the situation.)

Posted by Attila at 12:26 AM | Comments (2)

November 28, 2004

Teach Your Children Badly

Via Photon Courier (one of the most under-appreciated blogs out there) comes this rather shocking news from the UK about the transformation of science from a classroom subject into a vehicle for political propaganda.

Blogger Melanie Phillips compares this to other subjects that have declined in Britain, including the study of languages. (Of course, I'm from the U.S., where we don't study other languages because we so often don't have to: other than Spanish in the South and French in the North/South, there's just nothing but English as far as the eye can see. [Look at a map: living in Europe would be like if I needed to learn another language to visit Nevada or Colorado. We're just spoiled here, for better and worse.])

Professor Purkinje, let me know just how things look from Cambridge: is it as bad as the News.Telegraph suggests? Will the Ghosts of Science's Past fight the trend? Phone home.

Posted by Attila at 03:06 PM | Comments (1)

November 27, 2004

Someone Really Needs To Be Spanked.

Unfortunately, it's The Commissar.

Posted by Attila at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

Scott Ott Reports

. . . that CBS might follow the lead of Ukranian journalists:

(2004-11-27) -- Inspired by a public pledge from Ukrainian TV journalists to provide unbiased reporting from now on, CBS News has launched an internal investigation to assess the potential impact of such a move.

"If it tests well in our focus groups, you can bet that Dan Rather will break the story," said an unnamed spokesman for CBS.

Posted by Attila at 04:15 PM | Comments (1)

Beyond "Oil For Food"

The Belmont Club is providing terrific coverage of the latest scandals coming out of the U.N., which at best needs new leadership and at worst is rotten to the core.

"It is," my husband point out, " an organization responsible to itself."

Posted by Attila at 09:01 AM | Comments (3)

November 26, 2004

I Used To Be Disgusted

. . . but now I try to be amused.

Posted by Attila at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

Like I Know Sports

If you're at all sentimental, you'll want to vote for Pat Tillman for Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year; Sondra K is leading the charge.

Via Beautiful Atrocities.

Posted by Attila at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)

The Events in Ukraine

. . . make me shiver with fear and hope.

Posted by Attila at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)

Hooray for Hollywood

Andrea Harris at Twisted Spinster:

Bridget Johnson wonders why there has been no outcry from the Hollywood crowd against the murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by Islamic terrorists. Just off the top of my head I’d say that unlike disgruntled Christians, Republicans, and law-abiding gun owners, Islamic terrorists will actually kill you if you piss them off, and for all their spouting about “free speech” and the “chilling effect” on Tinseltown of four more years of Bushitler, actors and screenwriters and so on are simply afraid of dying. Of course since their mere existence has already pegged them in fanatical Muslim eyes for the Big Sleep they are in a sense living on borrowed time, so the only solution to Hollywood’s buttheaded insular assurance that Appeasement Is the Only Way is to sit back and wait for the killings to begin. After a few big name celebrities are sent to kingdom come by exploding limosines and the like maybe we’ll see some changes in perspective.

Nah. They’ll just screech that it’s all Hitler McChimpy’s fault for not protecting them better. They’re hopeless.

So there's two depressing thoughts in a row.

Posted by Attila at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2004

God, Guns and Guts? Maybe.

In Hindrocket's "Happy Thanksgiving" post he gives us the following thoughts, which I'm linking because at the second-or-so mention of God I think my eyes glazed over, due to a perception that it was going to be one of those passages from my political allies who are somewhat to my right in the culture wars. It was much more insightful than I expected:

There have been a number of stories in the news this year about schools that have banned any reference to God in connection with Thanksgiving. Which raises, obviously, the question: to whom are we giving thanks, if not to God? I think the real answer, although always unspoken, is that instead of being thankful to God for our blessings, some would have us be thankful to the government.

In the end--and the end may be quite far off, for, as Adam Smith said, there is a lot of ruin in a country--there are only two alternatives for any nation: religious faith and tyranny. Because if each individual is not, as the Declaration says, endowed by his Creator with certain inalienable rights, then those rights are only the creation of governments. And what governments give, they can, and surely will, take away.

In the end, it is only the religious belief that each person, by virtue of being created in the image of God, is of transcendant value that stands between all of us and the boot heel of tyranny. Absent such belief, people are but cattle and, sooner or later, will be treated as such.

That dramatic broad statement—that it's religious faith or tyranny for a country or a society—is actually worth pondering. I know that some of my favorite bloggers who are slightly right-of-center are athiests, and if anything that strengthens those of us who do have a belief in God; it certainly keeps us honest in any number of debates. But our nation's founding documents posit that rights come from God, not man. And for that reason no one is in a position to take them away. It gives us moral authority to defend rights that already exist, rather than demanding ones that are the state's to withhold or dispense at its whim.

Not a preachy bit of fluff, after all. Some of my favorite thinkers are still athiests, but it's nice to be reminded that they don't always win the intellectual arm-wrestling. Not by a long shot.

Posted by Attila at 10:49 PM | Comments (2)

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for the Western world, for developing ideas and systems that lift people out of the wretched existence that has been mankind's lot in too many times and places—and for most of human history.

I'm thankful to inventors, who gave me air travel, my reliable car, electric lights (essential for insomniacs), and my beloved internet, "contained" at present in my 12" PowerBook.

I'm grateful beyond words to the men and women who are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, putting themselves at risk to so that it will be less likely that a bomb will go off at Sears Tower or LAX. I'm grateful to the Marines in Fallujah.

I'm grateful to my parents, for instilling curiosity in me, along with a rudimentary notion of fairness, and for all the books and sketchpads that flowed like water when I was a kid.

I'm grateful to live in a peaceful part of the world, in a tree-filled lot that provides glimpses of the San Gabriels (soon to be covered in snow).

I'm grateful to Los Angeles, that petri dish for ideas and imagery; I'm grateful to live in such a concentration of creativity and intellect.

And I'm grateful to my husband, who keeps the rats out of the attic, makes me laugh daily, almost never loses his temper, cherises me, protects me and always sees the good in me—even when I'm in danger of losing track of it myself. He's an amazing guy, and I'm lucky, lucky, lucky.

Let's do this more than once a year, okay?

Have a terrific Thanksgiving; enjoy your family/friends. Eat a nice meal and reflect, this evening, on how good you have it.

Posted by Attila at 01:05 PM | Comments (1)

November 23, 2004

The Commissar

Has a new Show Trial up; this one is dedicated to the memory of Joey Stalin, that misunderstood, charming bad boy of the old Soviet Union. Check it out: very kewl links.

Posted by Attila at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

Quiz Time

Now this was flattering.

What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by

I'd like to think my strategies would be slightly less self-defeating. If I die in the line of duty, do I get 72 young bucks with nice shoulders and chiseled biceps? Will they peel grapes for me when I need to take a break for a few minutes? Will they share like good boys?

I must admit that I'm very excited by the Muslim innovation of envisioning heaven as a place to experience the pleasures of the flesh. I'm assuming there's a large-screen TV there, and that they play the classics (e.g., The Devil in Miss Jones). And that there's lots of lube. And Kleenex. And bottled water on every bedside table (I know I'm always thirsty afterward).

Posted by Attila at 02:23 AM | Comments (8)

November 21, 2004

What Goes Around . . .

Dear Jeff:





How many of them are there? I'm crushed. And Juliette and I are friends; I just can't believe . . . you bounder.


Little Miss Attila

Posted by Attila at 08:27 PM | Comments (3)

Or Rudy. I'd Take Rudy, too.

Via Michael J. Totten comes this picture of Rudy G in drag:


Micheal would love to see him as the GOP nominee in '08—enough to register GOP and vote in the primaries.

I still like Condi, because I think she'd energize the Republican base a little bit better. OTOH, Giuliani comes with automatic crossover (and crossdressing) appeal.

That would be a tough choice for me, really, if they both ran in the primary. Very tough. Michael:

James Dobson, Pat Buchanan, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Fallwell would finally, at long last, get the political nightmare they've deserved for a long time - a cosmopolitan socially liberal Republican president. I’d love to see them form their own party where they can talk to themselves about how godless, decadent, and depraved everyone else is.

Yes. Ditto.

Giuliani is neither red nor blue. He’s purple, like most of America. I can’t think of anyone (except perhaps for Barack Obama or John McCain) who would be better able to rally the country. Unlike George W. Bush he really is a uniter.

I'm not sure whether Bush's failure to "unite" the country has everything to do with his policies or actions; some of it is just the fact that he's continually demonized.

And John McCain? He never met a civil liberty he didn't want to abridge. If he were running I'd break my arm to make sure I didn't vote for him by accident. Between his temperament and his troubled relationship with the Bill of Rights, he's got to be the worst possible choice. I'd rather vote for a roast beef sandwich.

Posted by Attila at 10:28 AM | Comments (5)

Ready for the Weblog Awards?

Wizbang! is taking nominations for the Weblog Awards.

They don't have a separate category for "gun chicks." Or "GOP femmes." Nor "warmongering from the distaff side."

So someone will have to just nominate me for either best conservative or best essayist.

Or, you know: not. That's fine, too.

Posted by Attila at 03:07 AM | Comments (0)

This . . .

is the kind of thing that makes us like George W. Bush:


The President intervening in an altercation between his own security detail and that of the Chileans. He pulled his primary agent away from the fracas and into the dinner being held for world leaders.

Normally, the President must have two Secret Service agents near him at all times, but in this instance the second agent had been whisked away and was being manhandled (to which he did not, apparently, react). But the primary agent, whom the President likes a great deal, was fished out of the crowd and pulled along.

(Trying hard to imagine a President Kerry rescuing one of his Secret Service agents.)

Posted by Attila at 02:38 AM | Comments (1)

November 20, 2004

Bogged Down in Foggy Bottom

Over at Outside the Beltway James comments on the defeat of the intelligence reform bill:

It's unclear from the reporting whether this is a case of the perfect being the enemy of the good or rather it was a wise avoidance of a hastily-considered bill. Clearly, the idea of merging all intelligence functions, including tactical level military intelligence, under a single civilian head was a bad recommendation. The 9-11 Commission had numerous big names on it, but few of them had any expertise in intelligence matters.

I second that emotion; however, I kind of get the impression that there were two threads of opposition, and one was reasonably principled/appropriate. The other . . . hm.


The sidetracked bill would have created a director of national intelligence and a counterterrorism center, along with scores of other changes to the nation's approach to gathering intelligence and battling terrorism. The measure would have given the new intelligence chief authority to set priorities for the Central Intelligence Agency and 14 other agencies that gather intelligence, including several at the Defense Department. Hastert refused to call the proposal dead, saying Congress may reconvene Dec. 6 to try again, although lawmakers had planned to close out the 108th Congress this weekend.

Even some key Republicans, however, said prospects appear slim for producing a compromise that the House and Senate can pass. "I don't now see a process for which we can get this done in the next few weeks," said Rep. Pete Hoekstra (Mich.), chairman of the House intelligence committee and the House's top GOP negotiator.

Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), the committee's top Democrat, said, "I think those who are vehemently opposed are not going to come around." She said it is up to Bush, Hastert and other GOP leaders to overcome the House conservatives' resistance. If a bill is not enacted by year's end, efforts would have to start anew in the 109th Congress that convenes in January.

I hope the legislators who blocked this bill—which, keep in mind, might have passed had it simply been voted on—feel really good about themselves if we have a terrorist attack in February of 2005.

Hastert said the two chief opponents to the compromise were House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.). They persuaded scores of GOP colleagues to join their opposition in a sometimes emotional closed-door meeting of House Republicans. There, in a Capitol basement room, Hastert tried in vain to find enough votes to pass the bill without relying mainly on Democrats, a scenario too embarrassing for Republicans to endure. His failure seemed to stun many lawmakers, and some Democrats denounced the GOP for being unable to deliver a high-profile measure backed by a Republican president.

Is it starting to sound like "laws and sausages" yet? Keep going:

Hunter said he opposed the bill because Senate conferees had removed a White House-drafted section ensuring that tactical or battlefield intelligence agencies would still be primarily directed by the secretary of defense, even as they reported to the new national intelligence director. The compromise called for the president to issue "guidelines" on the respective authorities of the director of national intelligence and defense secretary, which Hunter said, "was elevating for the DNI but detrimental to the defense secretary . . . a change that would make war fighters not sure to whom they report and translate into confusion on the battlefield."

Collins called Hunter's argument "utterly without merit," saying the measure actually would improve the real-time satellite intelligence that troops receive in combat. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), another key negotiator, said: "The commander in chief, in the middle of a war, said he needed this bill" to keep the American people and military safe.

Hunter's opposition—in a point James hinted at at OTB—at least appears reasoned in the sense that there must be some instances wherein information should be confined to the Pentagon initially, before being shared with civilian analysts (without even getting started on the fact that the current incarnation of the CIA is leaking like a damned colandar).

And then there are those who appear to be 100% obstructionist, linking intelligence issues to immigration, which should be a whole 'nother debate. Wisconsin voters, please write letters to this guy, and never mind whether you're in his district or not (matter of fact, I may write one myself):

The past two days of negotiations were spent almost entirely on the immigration issues raised by Sensenbrenner, with the Judiciary Committee chairman often accepting proposals, then returning after consulting with colleagues with demands for new changes, sources said. At one point, the Senate staff by mistake offered language for one section that had been submitted by Sensenbrenner, and he returned it, saying it was not good enough, according to one participant.

What an idiot. A dangerous idiot. Please, please—someone spank this man.

Meanwhile, some Democrats have forgotten that the point of all we've been through since 9/11 has to do with our country being under attack:

Democrats ripped into House Republicans for blocking the bill. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that "their inability to overhaul our intelligence system is a staggering failure." Harman called it "a tragedy for America." Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said that "the Republican leadership had a choice between protecting the security of the American people and placating its extreme right wingers. The American people lost, and the extreme right won."

Harmon's remark seems reasonable enough, but Pelosi and Van Hollen appear to think any day is a beautiful day for scoring points off of national security.

I'd love to see military intel stay under the control of the military. But marrying intelligence concerns to immigration is foolish and destructive.

And now the possibility exists that President Bush will have to limp along, doing what he can via Executive Orders, and that getting the situation fixed will have to wait till next year.

Would someone remind these people that, had Flight 93 not been delayed by 45 minutes on the morning of September 11, 2001, they would most likely not have a Capitol building at all to meet in and play their political games?

If these people break for Christmas without resolving this I'm going to be pretty pissed off.

Lean on them.

Posted by Attila at 07:10 PM | Comments (0)

Give Till It Hurts . . . And It Always Does

Via Pirate's Cove comes this chart, which purports to show how the inhabitants of various states rank when it comes time to give to charity. I didn't get a chance to study the methodology behind it, but I found the idea fascinating, since instead of simply adding up all the money spent and adjusting for population (which would presumably make New York and California look good) it adjusts for the actual incomes of the populations involved, creating a "generosity index" (and placing New York and California squarely in the lackluster middle of the pack).

The site provides ammo for those who maintain that "all stereotypes are true, up to a point." The list begins with two Southern states, Mississippi and Arkansas, and stays Southern and rural for a good 15 entries. The first Western state is Utah, at #8, then Idaho (# 10), Wyoming (11) and Texas (12). The first state from the upper midwest is Indiana, at #25, and the first state from New England is Maine, at #32. The bottom of the barrel (um, chart) is Rhode Island (47), New Jersey (48), and then two more New England states: blue-blooded Massachusetts (49) and New Hampshire (50).

Posted by Attila at 05:18 PM | Comments (2)

Somewhere in Alaska, a Fact-Checker is Starting to Sweat

I ran a quote a few days ago from Greg Hill of the Fairbanks News-Miner in which he maintains blogs can be highly inaccurate. The same writer ranted, as well, about the open sourcing of Wikipedia, and—oddly—referred to blogs that allow comments as "wikis," because of their supposed collaborative nature. (Speaking of which, why aren't you guys writing the entries for me?)

Mr. Hill: "garbage in, garbage out."

Problem is, as reader Chadster noticed, the writer mentions "Dave Berry's" blog by name. That is, Dave B-a-r-r-y. And, as a copy editor and fact-checker myself, I reminded myself that I try to turn that part of my brain off when I'm online, lest I go nuts. (Or . . . more nuts.) But Chad didn't, which is the point. He noticed that someone hyping the superior accuracy of printed/mainstream news sources didn't get the name right for a writer who's been well known and in the public eye since the 80s.

And so, Chadster wrote a note to Dave Barry, who blogged the Fairbanks News-Miner article. And thus I've helped to entertain thousands of people by writing one little old blog entry. You never know what might happen, huh?

Wiki, wiki, wiki.

Posted by Attila at 02:08 PM | Comments (8)

Protein Wisdom

has the goods on Democratic racism. You follow the links, and are just shocked that anyone would dare portray Dr. Rice in these awful ways—based on the color of her skin.

Of course, I've never been much of an Aunt Jemima woman myself. Plain old Bisquick does it—with lashings of Mrs. Butterworth syrup, the libertarian choice.

So perhaps that's one less thing to worry about. I guess.

Posted by Attila at 04:02 AM | Comments (0)

From Team Esmay

Dean sparked a great discussion on how those of us who lean libertarian ought to look at corporations, and at unionization.

It's a long comments thread, and we mostly kept it civil. The ideas in it are intriguing, so check it out.

Posted by Attila at 03:47 AM | Comments (2)

November 19, 2004

Grab Those Cameras!

Michele is having a contest: She's requesting that you document the ugliest, most over-the-top, excessive and inappropriate Christmas decorations on your local buildings and humans and send them on in. And she links some lovely and grotesque examples, so RTWT.

Posted by Attila at 12:51 PM | Comments (1)

November 18, 2004

The Spy Who Flirted with Me

Jeff Goldstein, on reforming the CIA:

So let me get this straight: Goss’ plan is to replace people like Valerie Plame with actual deep-cover operatives whose mission it will be to infiltrate terror groups? And this is supposed to make us more popular on the UN cocktail party circuit how, exactly?

No. This won’t do. I beg you, Mr. Goss, think of the shrimp puffs!

Full story and links over at Protein Wisdom.

It continues to amaze me that so much of our "intelligence" capability appears to have been devoted strictly to getting information that was easy to get. And yet we know of at least two Americans who "infiltrated" terrorist organizations. Unfortunately, they were sincere.

Posted by Attila at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

More on the Pajama Brigade

Greg Hill, a reporter for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner is more of a "Cathedral" guy than a "bazaar" fan:

Blogs focus on whatever subjects their creators care to expound upon. While some are academically rigorous, most are merely personal rants. When bloggers feel passionately enough about a subject, often themselves, they create and regularly update blogs expressing their views, usually including hyperlinks to other Web pages that confirm their opinions. All it takes is some inexpensive and user-friendly blogging software, strong opinions and time. Actual knowledge is purely optional.

There are many credible blogs dealing with serious subjects, but most bloggers aren't experts. As the old computer maxim GIGO states, "garbage in, garbage out," and the person believing everything he reads--especially on blogs--is living dangerously indeed.

Some blogs are intentionally unserious, like humorist Dave Berry's blog that features funny inanities of American life sent in by his readers. A recent Berry blog posting, for instance, had a hyperlink to the "Frozen Critters Inventory Price List," where consumers can purchase frozen whole skunks for only $75 apiece, a "Real Rattlesnake Egg with Real Head, Open Mouth, Peeking Out of Egg" for only $18, and, just in time for Thanksgiving, frozen unpainted turkey heads for only $40, with the painted ones running $15 extra.

Blog owners usually don't allow their readers to add their own comments, preferring their monologues to others' dialogues. On the other hand, a "Wiki," which gets its name from the Hawaiian word for "fast," is a type of Web site that encourages active participation. It's the approach taken by Wikipedia, the most pervasive quasi-encyclopedia on the Web. Wikipedia is free and contains millions of articles in scores of languages that pop up early in many Google searches, but the articles' authors are anonymous and can be anyone, so their credibility is dubious.

We must keep the dirty, unwashed masses out of the information business. Otherwise . . . it's chaos!

Posted by Attila at 01:31 AM | Comments (10)

Megan McArdle

(writing as Jane Galt, of course) recommends a book on welfare reform, and then tells us:

My own thoughts on welfare reform: it's clear to me from the research I've done to write about poverty, and from reading books like DeParle's, that the poor suffer from three main problems: their own poor impulse control or decision making; a culture that encourages poor decision making; and limited means, which give them no buffer against the results of their poor decision making.

Liberals want to change the third variable, but this is somewhat recursive. As long as our society offers housing to everyone who needs it, the poor will be stuck living with people whose bad behaviour makes them impossible neighbours . . . so that even if the housing stock is physically perfect, crime and various other sorts of antisocial behavior that flourish in a world without evictions make the housing for the poor actually unbearable. Also, if people have very bad problems, such as mental illness or drug addiction, no reasonable amount of cash will improve their lot without adding things like forced institutionalisation. The people with those problems, unsurprisingly, are the overwhelming majority of the truly immiserated poor, who have rotting housing, insufficient caloric intake, and so forth.

Conservatives, by and large, want to change the first two variables, and there's a lot to this. There's simply no question that welfare enables women to make short term choices that are all right in the short term (dropping out of school, having a baby out of wedlock), but disastrous in the long term. Enabling women to make awful short term choices means enabling some proportion of them to ruin their lives.

But it's not enough to say to these women "Get married" or "Ignore your friends and pay attention to school". Some extraordinary people do, of course, but we all tend to overestimate how easy it is to be that extraordinary. Most of us reading this blog, after all, went to college and/or got nice steady jobs because we had enormous social and familial pressure on us to do so. How many of us were strong enough to overcome our environment, drop out of high school, and sell drugs?

I jest, of course, but not totally. The fact that every inner-city kid isn't a Horatio Alger story doesn't mean that inner city kids couldn't be, if their environment were more like the one I grew up in. After all, the girls in my high school didn't fail to have babies at 16 because they were more virtuous than the ones down the road at JFK High; they failed to have babies because they had a very clear idea that something better awaited them. How do we give those kids a more hopeful vision of their futures?

Part of the answer, I hope, is that by ceasing to enable those bad short-term decisions, the culture changes to focus more on the long term. Girls stop having babies at fifteen, and start demanding committment at 25--and they demand, too, that the boys stop selling drugs, because a husband in prison is one who can't provide for his family, and the government won't replace him any more. I doubt that's the whole answer, but I hope it's a big part of it.

There's a lot I agree with in there—and a little I do not.

But she's certainly a smart cookie.

Posted by Attila at 01:26 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2004

Terror in the Skies

Annie Jacobsen's series on airline security concerns has been renamed "Safety in the Skies" in an apparent attempt to make it more palatable to the readers of Women's Wall Street. The tenth installment focuses on what a joke the "no fly list" used by the airlines is: you can read it here, and discuss it amongst yourselves. Scary stuff. (There is a sidebar next to the story that contains links to all the "Terror/Safety in the Skies" stories.)

We need to place more pressure on Congress and the President to get the Department of Homeland Security to do its job. Bureaucracy can be such an intractable evil . . .

Posted by Attila at 08:38 PM | Comments (0)

Light Blogging Tonight

. . . as I'm trying to get my "pages" ready for writers' group tomorrow night, and as usual Ye Olde Fiction Project is giving me trouble.

My husband has his group in the morning, and mine is in the evening. So his pages are done.

Somehow I'd like it to be his fault that I'm still working on mine this close to the deadline, but that taxes my creativity almost as badly as the pages themselves do.

Posted by Attila at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

It's Hurtful, If You Want To Know the Truth

Glenn is boycotting me. It makes me sad that he would throw out our friendship this way. All those long nights, talking almost until dawn till he went upstairs to the Instawife and I walked down the long hall to where Attila the Hub waited, asleep.

And now this utter silence. This refusal to recognize my blog.

Next thing you know he'll be saying he never went to Idyllwild, California for a vacation in a cabin covered with snow. He'll say I never made Moroccan Stew for him, the Instawife and 15 other people.

He's trying to disown me. He's acting like the history we share is somehow embarrassing to him.

Fine. Two can play at that game: I will stop linking him. Beat him at his own game, until he cries "mercy" and acknowledges our true, deep—yet Platonic—connection.

Posted by Attila at 01:22 AM | Comments (10)

November 16, 2004

The Other Attila,

Pillage Idiot, discusses the evolution of the Jewish vote, the problems with polling data, and the phenomenon of "closeted Jewish Bush voters" (a phenomenon that presumably moves in concert with that of "closeted liberal Bush voters").

Remember: outside our respective blogs, he comments as "Attila," and I'm "Attila Girl" (or sometimes "Miss Attila"). And he's in Maryland, so we're on opposite sides of the continent (not to mention the gender divide).

Attila writes to Attila Girl, whose head is filled with visions of MoxiePop and MoxieNu, and bad feelings, bad blood, lost jobs, And he suggests:

What's funny is that before I set up my blog, I did a lot of searching for the blog name to make sure I wasn't taking anyone else's name.  I didn't dream of having to search for Attila, too.

Please let me know what you think.  We should stay amicable about it.  We're almost relatives.

My cousin Attila should get along with me just fine.

Posted by Attila at 11:58 PM | Comments (3)

Thank You, John Hawkins!

You know, for a sexist pig,* you certainly link me a lot.

In return, and on its own merits, I'd like everyone who hasn't to check out "10 Quick Warnings For The GOP." I'm not the same brand of conservative as John—we differ on a couple of social issues—but I agree with every single point he makes here.

* This is what we call, in the trade, an inside joke. No nasty e-mails—either to Right Wing News, or to me.

Posted by Attila at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

Kill Them All; Let God Sort Them Out

Apparently, it's all over the news today that bad things happen in wars.

Jeff at Protein Wisdom runs a righteous linkfest, and points out that:

First, the filth US Marines have been killing in Fallujah are terrorists, not insurgents; and second, these terrorists routinely hide behind children, fire from inside mosques, feign injury and/or surrender with ambush in mind, and booby-trap dead bodies in hopes of slaughtering American soldiers. They’re not interested in the “rules of war.”

Unless it helps them kill more of us, of course. Americans have died because we've been so assiduous in avoiding any unnecessary civilian casualties; my eyes are dry today. Has everyone forgotten the use of Red Crescent vehicles to carry armed Iraqis in the first phase of the war?

Jeff again:

Kidnapped international aid worker Margaret Hassan has been murdered. On video. No word yet on whether or not she was armed at the time.

Lest anyone misunderstand, I'm glad that we've taken such care to fight a clean war. I'm glad that we go to great efforts to keep civilian casualties to an absolute minimum. But I do not want to see this war drag on and on because our boys and girls have to fight in handcuffs, while the opposition finds ever-more-outrageous ways to flout international law.

The mainstream media is, once again, guilty of an egregious double standard.

Posted by Attila at 10:11 PM | Comments (4)

Head on Over

To Michael's blog, The Common Virtue, to wish him a happy first blogversary, and to support his being the very first guy with the guts to advertise on Little Miss Attila. (More will follow, I suspect, but he's blazing the trail.)

His blog is interesting reading in particular because he really does represent the leadership of the future. It's especially illuminating for those of us who have no military background. (And, of course, I am such an ignoramous: all I know about military life I owe to my former Marine husband and to Tom Hanks. If the Attila Hub weren't writing a book about Vietnam, I'd know even less.)

The Common Virtue provides a peephole through which we can see today's military passing on its body of knowledge to the next generation. We infer, from reading Michael's posts, what the Army's priorities are in the here and now. It gives us insight as to what the "brass" is thinking. (One of the things I loved about seeing Band of Brothers for the second/third time is that when you see the guys from the 101st go to take the Germans' machine gun nests on the very day they land, you know you're seeing the actions that became the model for lessons being taught at West Point to this very day: that assault became the way to approach a fixed target.

Naturally, it's just one step beyond to want to know not just the physical rigors Michael and his friends are going through, but to see the reasoning behind the exercises they perform. The war games, especially, fascinate me. (Another Band of Brothers moment: we begin to see that Captain Sobel, though a brilliant—and slightly sadistic—trainer of men is worthless in the field, and it shows up in the war games the guys engage in as "warmups" before they go into battle for real.)

As for Michael, he's not above providing "added value" by running the Carnival of the Recipes. He knows what we like—at 22, at 42, and at every age in between. Forget music: Food is the universal language.

Posted by Attila at 12:37 AM | Comments (3)

November 15, 2004

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you

. . . the next President of the United States.

(What? You don't want Condi to be CiC? Then don't nominate another Northeastern liberal—male or female. Give yourselves a fighting chance.)

It would be interesting to have two women jockeying for the White House. And Condi is simply an astonishing woman: switchblade-smart, and (the straightened hair notwithstanding) amazingly beautiful. She turned 50 the other day, and it just doesn't show.

Posted by Attila at 06:56 PM | Comments (9)


has a lovely story about an anti-war protest in San Diego, inspired by our Fallujah offensive.

Initially, he, da Goddess, and others were counter-protesting as usual with the other Protest Warriors.

Then a few Marines from Camp Pendleton wandered by. Seeing the point-counterpoint on the sidewalks of San Diego, they called their friends. Soon they had a righteous counter-demonstration of their own going on.

Go read the whole thing; Smash has pictures!

Posted by Attila at 06:23 PM | Comments (2)

The Protocols Cookbook

is being excerpted at Beautiful Atrocities, which certainly lives up to its name this week.

Trust me: this one is sick.

Posted by Attila at 05:58 PM | Comments (0)

If You Haven't Read This

. . . you should. It's Iowahawk's take on how the Blue Staters are coping with the "Dollywood" values that ooze into their lives.

"It was one day last spring," says Ellen McCormack. "My life partner Carol and I were in the garage, working on a giant Donald Rumsfeld papier mache head for the Bay Area March Against the War, when Rain walked by. I thought he looked kind of strange, so I stopped him and looked closely into his eyes. Then I realized the truth -- he was wearing a mullet. I was shocked, but he swore to me that it was only ironic."

"After a few months, it was clear Rain had lied to us -- that hideous Kentucky waterfall was completely earnest," she adds, choking back sobs.

Her 18-year old son would soon exhibit other signs of disturbing changes.

"I was driving past a McDonalds one day last summer, and I thought I saw Rain's bike outside. He had told me earlier that he was going to a friend's house to stuff envelopes for the Dennis Kucinich campaign. I pulled a U-turn and headed back," she recalls. "When I confronted him in the parking lot, he started giving me a lame story about how he was only there to protest globalization, but I could smell the french fries on his breath."

McCormack says that Rain's erratic behavior would also come to include excessive politeness and deference.

"Everytime I tried to talk to him it was 'yes Momma,' and 'no Momma,' when he knows damn well my name is Ellen," she says, anger rising in her voice. "It was like I didn't even know him anymore."

Via Mikal, the selective, eclectic bookseller. And several other fine blogs.

Posted by Attila at 12:03 AM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2004

Jeff/BA . . .

does it again, with some Good News from America (cf. Good News from Iraq):

• Grace Leung, 73, woke with a clear conscience, knowing that she'd survived 52 years of open warfare without killing her husband. She looked forward to another day of battle.

• Tamara Huerta, 22, a waitress pulling a double shift, suddenly realized she could do just about anything with her life. Dazed, she sat down.

So go read 'em all—in context.

Posted by Attila at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

A Time for Healing


And here's her blog.

Via the King of Felines, Desert Cat.

(Oh, come on, my liberal friends. Even you like to see pictures of pretty young women with large guns. You must—deep down.)

Posted by Attila at 10:56 PM | Comments (6)

About Me

I've been asked to write something about myself. Oddly, I'm not sure I want to do this in any kind of disciplined way. And I'm also uncertain about whether, as advertising, this will be "accurate." I write on many subjects, and what you see here may not be what you get in the posts.

But here it is: the post that will serve as (or at least be the acorn for) the future bio page.

I'm a 42-year old white woman (mostly Anglo-Saxon, probably slightly Slavic, with a little Creek Indian thrown in and God knows what else). Ancestors on the Mayflower, Methodist family roots. I'm very short, and I'm told I look 5-10 years younger than I really am. This has been difficult in the work world, but I suspect it will become more and more gratifying over the next decade or two. (Photos of me exist online; you can look for them if you like.)

My husband and I can't produce children biologically, but want a family. We're in the process of adopting. I want twins, reasoning that that would be a "ready-made family," but the odds are against me.

We live in the hills east of Los Angeles, near Pasadena.

I'm interested in guns, architecture, crime fiction, movies, art, and music. But with respect to music, I'm a pig. I like 70s rock, with a good beat and lots of bass. Some of what I like is good, but that's an accident: quality is not a prerequisite. In many areas I can be refined in my tastes. Music isn't one of them.

I like to cook, but rarely make the time. I like to grow plants, but have no talent for it at all.

I support the war in Iraq, and the War on Terrorism in general. (What do you mean you can't wage war on a noun? Japan is a noun. The Axis is a noun. Fascism is a noun. Go home.)

I'm pro-gay rights, and in favor of legalizing marijuana. I think the War on Drugs is an abomination, and has thrashed the Bill of Rights more thoroughly than anything John Ashcroft ever did.

I'm a big fan of the Bill of Rights in general. Fond, in particular, of the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments.

I work in publishing; I've been involved with magazines for over 20 years. My husband works in television. We're both writers; he's a successful one.

Mostly, I'm a blogger. Blogging is an addiction for me—a necessary outlet. Fiction projects come and go, but blogging is something I expect to do for the rest of my life. Not because there's any virtue in it, but because I've caught the disease.

I tend to forget that a handful of people from my "real," flesh-and-blood life read these pages, and concentrate instead on writing for those whom I haven't met—or, in the case of the Bear Flag Leaguers, those I met only through blogging. Mostly, I write for the people who leave comments and send me e-mail.

If you're a regular here, I'm writing for you.

Posted by Attila at 02:22 PM | Comments (10)

Bush in Charge?

According to Scott Ott, it happened today while Cheney was in the hospital.

Posted by Attila at 12:08 AM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2004

Suha Arafat

As Jeff/BA puts it: "Widow/Fag Hag."

Nickname in Palestinian press: Miss Moneybags. Who she admires: Hillary Clinton. Friends: Shapari Khashoggi, Queen Rania of Jordan. Wears: Louis Féraud, Christian Louboutin. (When Arafat sat next to Catherine Deneuve at dinner, Suha had to explain who she was. )

Arafat fortune estimated $300 million (Forbes), $1.3 billion (Mossad), $4.2 billion (IMF). According to PA, Suha received monthly stipend of $100,000, which means Israeli figure of $1 million per month more likely. Owns villa on gold standard Rue Fauborg St Honore, also maintains lavish suite at 5-star Hotel Le Bristol.

Investigated for money laundering this year when $11.4 million showed up in French account, about the time IMF discovered $778 million 'hole' in PA funds. Suha's response:"Ariel Sharon is responsible for this vicious leak. What's strange about the rais [president] sending money to his wife overseas, especially when I handle Palestinian matters and interests?"

Good point, be-atch.

Read the whole thing, if you've got the stomach.

Posted by Attila at 09:59 PM | Comments (1)

Get It Together

Phillip Carter of Intel Dump wrote a tribute on Thursday to the living veterans of our last few wars. It's a beautiful piece, and it ends with this tart little reminder of what we need to be doing:

On this Veterans Day, unfortunately, there is more that we can do to support our nation's warriors. The Veterans Administration, always the victim of chronic underfunding, faces significant shortfalls today. It must ration health care in order to deliver even the most basic services, and it may not be ready for the bow wave of combat veterans who will leave active duty over the next several years. We owe our veterans more than this. Similarly, while the overwhelming majority of mobilized reservists have been supported well by their civilian employers, thousands of reservists have come home from combat duty to find their jobs gone, or to find themselves the victims of some adverse employment action, in contravention of federal law. According to the Washington Post, roughly 40 percent of the reservists now mobilized face a "pay gap", where they make (in many cases, significantly) less money on active duty than in their civilian jobs. These troops have a tough time supporting their families while they serve.

Read the original, which contains clickable links to set us on the right path.

Posted by Attila at 01:20 AM | Comments (2)

Ya Gotta Check This Out

Photon Courier tells the story of a courageous woman who, at tremendous physical danger to herself, refused to back down in Iraq (scroll to "A Genuine Heroine")

Humalia Akrawy is a 22-year-old Iraqi Kurdish woman. Her father was tortured by Saddam's regime, and lost the full use of his hands. Her brother was killed: one of his legs and part of an arm were sent back to the family. She tells of what happened in Iraq following the 9/11 attacks on the United States: "When 9/11 happened, Saddam ordered a 3 day celebration with feasts and parades. Some people did not want to celebrate those attacks. He had those who did not participate brutally executed in public."

Following the invasion by Coalition forces, she volunteered to become a translator for the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. In revenge, the enemy ambushed what they thought was her car, killing her sister instead. She then received a letter: "We know we missed killing you, but we will be back," and her home was blown up.

Humalia Akrawy helped her remaining family members move to a relatively safe area, in the far north of the country and then returned to her job. In fact, she accepted a new position as the translator for Lieutenant General Petraeus himself--a position carrying even more risk because of its high profile.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

These are individuals who would face a gruesome death in the event of a precipitous American withdrawal from Iraq.

Read the whole thing, and definitely browse around while you're there: it's an eclectic blog, and he does a lot of think pieces on a broad number of subjects. Often these essays have to do with how various segments of the economy function, or the way management can best go about developing a business. All discussed in "lay language," and made quite readable/entertaining.

It's sometimes like a private-sector buffet, but he certainly doesn't shy away from politics.

Scoot. I mean it.

Posted by Attila at 12:06 AM | Comments (2)

November 12, 2004

Jeff Jacoby,

writing in the Boston Globe, reminds us that Arafat's big contribution to civilization was to deliberately promote children as targets of terrorist violence.

On the other hand, those children were mini-Jooos, so never mind.

Hat tip: everyone, including several bloggers. But I first got this from my friend, RS, whom I rely on for arcana on the foundering of the Titanic and the latest theories on Saucy Jack's identity.

UPDATE: Wouldn't it be cool to see some of those who are eulogizing Arafat blown into tiny bits? I'd love to see Jimmy Carter's brains splattered all over the sidewalk one day. Or, better: Amy Carter's brains on the sidewalk, and a picture of Jimmy's face when he sees what he's promoting when he speaks so kindly of this violent, disgusting excuse for a dead human being.

DISCLAIMER: I don't promote violence. Please don't commit violence. I'm making a statement about hypocrisy, and I'm really fucking pissed. Use your head.

Posted by Attila at 01:15 PM | Comments (3)

The Brilliant James Joyner

Has a small, public exchange with one of my favorite writers, Jonathan Rauch, right here. Subjects: the degree to which the U.S. has turned to the right, and the level of danger that the conservatives within the GOP will overreach (I'll take the middle ground on that one: moderate to high).

Posted by Attila at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

Yasser That's My Baby

Cap'n Teach has a nice little summary of why we must not lionize Arafat, and he doesn't lapse into the obscenites I employ when I think about that murderous fuck (oops; there it is again).

(And in case you didn't know, I stole the title of this post from Rush Limbaugh.)

Posted by Attila at 11:20 AM | Comments (3)

New Map at the Politburo Diktat

I never get tired of poring over these things and seeing what The Commissar's done to various blog names to make them into place names.

And this is the first time I've been on the first draft of a map. Look, Ma! No nagging required!

Furthermore, the Divine Marxist links to a post of mine as an example of how to accomplish the nagging in a polite way.

I couldn't be happier; nice to be there with Rusty, the Llamas, and all the other cool kids. It's also good to see SondraK on the first draft; she's often underappreciated.

Posted by Attila at 10:59 AM | Comments (5)

November 10, 2004

The Witch is Dead.

Rot in hell, motherfucker.

Some have suggested, as an alternative to burying him in pig entrails, that his body be blown to bits in a public square, like those of the young Muslims he's egregiously misled.

That's fine, too. But I'm counting on the courageous Jewish nurse: I suspect she implanted a little bit of bacon somewhere on his aging, decrepit, murderous body.

And I hope his money corrupts his cronies; may his wife and his henchmen fight over the cash until they eat each other and there's nothing left with which to fuck over the young.

Posted by Attila at 10:55 PM | Comments (3)

More on the Renewal of Baby Fever

What a relief. We were a little short on our paperwork (which we knew about), but our social worker approved our home and its orderliness/safety. Apparently, she was already three quarters of the way through the report she needs to submit about us. Yet it's truly lovely that she won't have to come back, except to do an annual verification while we wait, and four visits within the first six months the child is with us.

But I'll bet we aren't the first to get nervous about this process. The house was not as spic-and-span as I would have liked, but I did manage to shovel most of the clutter off of many horizontal surfaces. (I've often thought that clutterbugs should sleep in hammocks, since they don't provide level places for papers and whatnot to accumulate.)

I'm a happy girl, but I need sleep. And lots of it.

I'm now officially allowing myself to hope again: the spouse and I went out to an early dinner afterward, and on the way back I told Attila the Hub some thoughts I had on arranging the [gulp] nursery.

And he wants to have a baby shower once our approval is final. It looks like we may only be a few weeks away from that, though we'll see.

Meanwhile, I'm working on our "profile," the photo album they show to prospective birthmothers so they can select parents for their babies. (There's even a "leave behind," a resume with a photo on one page, with the "dear birthmother" letter on the flip side.)

We're continuing to discuss what our limitations might be on race, on learning disabilities, and on drug exposure. We continue to think about what degree of contact with the birthmother we would be open to.

Professor Purkinje, thanks for the photos. If my child is half as cute as yours are, I'll be very happy indeed.

Posted by Attila at 07:24 PM | Comments (6)

Canadian Wildlife Appreciation

. . . just shines through in this commerical. I wonder if they have similar contests for judging mooses meese meeses really large animals vaguely related to deer.

Via Diana, commenting on this post at Protein Wisdom, which discusses Janeane Garofalo's relocation plans in the wake of the election.

Posted by Attila at 03:43 AM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2004

Baby Crazy

We now have four little baby gates, and three "configure gates," which are essentially little baby fences. Two of these happen to be around the fireplaces—the theory being that the child is to be kept away from the fireplace. But when there's no fire, it could be used as a kiddle jail. (Hey, I didn't say I was going to be a good parent, did I?)

They actually sell little "open-air playrooms" that are essentially baby cages. Sounds ghastly on the surface, but I'll bet my attitude could change in a heartbeat on that one.

And every drawer with a lock on it has a different "sweet spot," a different place where one has to put the pressure. I'm getting the hang of it. I hope.

Two more days to blast-off. The place is half-transformed, but it needs some solid work tomorrow, and a lot of refinements on Wednesday morning.

Posted by Attila at 03:02 AM | Comments (2)

Oh, Right.

Forgot to link this sweet sentiment from Lair.

Speaking of that old, pathetic murderer, has he died yet? Stil lingering? Perhaps in excruciating pain? Being tended by a Jewish nurse? About to be buried in pig entrails? Can I help?

I'm bracing myself for the obituaries. I really am.

Posted by Attila at 02:32 AM | Comments (0)

Young, Hip Arabs . . . and UBL

I don't go to Terrorism Unveiled enough. This piece by Athena in Jordan makes me quiver with a lot of fear . . . and a little hope.

Get these people an independent media. Now.

Posted by Attila at 02:11 AM | Comments (0)

Hell in a Bucket, and the Power of Dreams

Dean wrote an open letter to John Perry Barlow, which explains clearly and passionately why some of us Classical Liberal and Libertarian types are so annoyed by many of our former brothers in arms—and why we feel they are often responsible for the frequent breakdowns in communication between those who support the war and those who do not.

And I dreamt about him two nights ago. (Dean, that is—not John Perry Barlow, though "Cassidy" is one of my favorite Dead songs.) It was interesting, because it's the first time one of my online friends has made an appearance in my dreams, as more than a disembodied, abstract "weblog author." It was a sort of emotional/electronic watershed.

(Oh, for crying out loud. Get your minds out of the gutters. In my dream, we were in Alaska with a bunch of other people and we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. I had insomnia, just like in real life. Nothing there to upset Attila the Hub or the Queen.)

Posted by Attila at 01:34 AM | Comments (0)

Reader Participation Time

What's your favorite source for news about Fallujah? The Iraqi conflict? The War on Terror in general?

I'm primarily looking for hard news sites, but military analysts would also be good, since they often have more complete information.


Posted by Attila at 12:12 AM | Comments (8)

November 07, 2004

Reading European Reactions

. . . to the Bush re-election, Misha becomes a mite irritated and shares a few of his concerns in his usual mild-mannered fashion.

Via Rusty.

Posted by Attila at 12:05 PM | Comments (8)


Is there anybody out there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone home?

Posted by Attila at 12:21 AM | Comments (7)

November 06, 2004

The Interview with Lair

. . . is up here, in honor of his millionth hit.

I should do something equally spelendiferous for my 45,000th hit. Though I'll concede that's a more anti-climactic number.

Posted by Attila at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

Theo Van Gogh

Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities has a spirited discussion of the Theo Van Gogh murder, and the frightening possibility that Europe is slouching toward a new Kristallnacht against non-Muslims. (Jeff doesn't mention Kristallnacht, but his post scared me, and it should scare you, too.)

Posted by Attila at 12:45 PM | Comments (3)

Or, Have It Your Way—You Were Robbed

Rusty Shackleford has a reasonably plausible explanation for the wildly inaccurate polling data that was leaked to the media on Tuesday morning.

Posted by Attila at 12:29 PM | Comments (2)

More on Those Rascally Homophobes

James Joyner rejects the notion that gay marriage (or other religous issues) decided the election, and runs a small roundup of articles/entries that have disputed the idea—including pieces by David Brooks, Paul Freedman, Kevin Drum and Sully.

Freedman has the statistical goods:

The evidence that having a gay-marriage ban on the ballot increased voter turnout is spotty. Marriage-ban states did see higher turnout than states without such measures. They also saw higher increases in turnout compared with four years ago. But these differences are relatively small. Based on preliminary turnout estimates, 59.5 percent of the eligible voting population turned out in marriage-ban states, whereas 59.1 percent turned out elsewhere. This is a microscopic gap when compared to other factors. For example, turnout in battleground states was more than 7.5 points higher than it was in less-competitive states, and it increased much more over 2000 as well.

Brooks sums it up:

Every election year, we in the commentariat come up with a story line to explain the result, and the story line has to have two features. First, it has to be completely wrong. Second, it has to reassure liberals that they are morally superior to the people who just defeated them. In past years, the story line has involved Angry White Males, or Willie Horton-bashing racists. This year, the official story is that throngs of homophobic, Red America values-voters surged to the polls to put George Bush over the top. This theory certainly flatters liberals, and it is certainly wrong.

The only thing I have to add is that the story line is also being pushed within the religious and evangelical right, because it flatters them as well. "See what happens when you push us too hard in the culture wars? Behold our power." But in reality, it was Bush's gains among women, black people, Jews and Catholics that pushed him over the top, and the biggest "moral value" in this campaign was the idea that people who kidnap others and decapitate them should be put out of business.

(Head over to Outside the Beltway [link at the top of this article] to access the links to the original pieces; I'm way too busy to sling the code in here myself. Besides, Dr. Joyner has written on this topic before, and it's worth scrolling around to find his other thoughts on the subject. There's a nice entry yesterday, IIRC.)

Posted by Attila at 12:15 PM | Comments (1)

The Homophobes Are Coming!

It appears that all is forgiven, and The Wall Street Journal is taking Peggy Noonan back agian [/joke]. This ran, as I recall, circa Thursday:

Let us get our heads around the size and scope of what happened Tuesday. George W. Bush, 43rd president of the United States, became the first incumbent president to increase his majority in both the Senate and the House and to increase his own vote (by over 3.5 million) since Franklin D. Roosevelt, political genius of the 20th century, in 1936. This is huge.

George W. Bush is the first president to win more than 50% of the popular vote since 1988. (Bill Clinton failed to twice; Mr. Bush failed to last time and fell short of a plurality by half a million.) The president received more than 59 million votes, breaking Ronald Reagan's old record of 54.5 million. Mr. Bush increased his personal percentages in almost every state in the union. He carried the Catholic vote and won 42% of the Hispanic vote and 24% of the Jewish vote (up from 19% in 2000.)

She is just so good. The leitmotif on this essay is the word "savor," which somehow annoyed me, either despite or because I knew it wasn't a synonym for "gloat." But in between the "choruses," the verses are still so damned good: vintage Peggy. Read the whole thing, if you haven't already.

There is a tendancy to try to find one cause for Bush's victory, to place this all on evengelical voters without seeing that Bush could not have won without increasing the percentages of Jews, Black people, and Catholics who voted for him. Or to link this election more strongly to the issue of gay marriage than to that of Kerry's own personal integrity, simply because "moral values" were mentioned in some exit polls. (Not lying in front of Congress could be perceived to be a moral value, no? Or not exacerbating the suffering of American POWs during the Vietnam war . . . ?)

Michele of ASV recommends that the left chill the hell out:

If you don't mind, I'd like to address the throngs of Chicken Littles who seem to be out in full force on the net today. I just want to clear up a few things, as you all seem to be pretty misguided in more than one area today.

I voted for George Bush.
I am not a redneck.
I do not spend my days watching cars race around a track, drinking cheap beer and slapping my woman on the ass.
I am not a bible thumper. In fact, I am an atheist.
I am not a homophobe.
I am educated beyond the fifth grade. In fact, I am college educated.
I am not stupid. Not by any stretch of facts.
I do not bomb abortion clinics.

You will not be thrown in jail for the sole reason of being a liberal.
Your child's public school will not suddenly turn into a center for Christian brainwashing.
Your favorite bookstore will not turn into puritan central.

This is not Nazi Germany in any way.
You will not be forced into concentration camps.
You will not be burned in human-sized ovens because of your religion.
We will not be forced to wear uniforms and march in line every day.
You will not live in fear.
If you think this is a country in which you have to live in fear, I have some friends in Iran who would like to have a little talk with you.

Finally, Micheal J. Totten has been discussing this a lot lately—the myth of the Christian Takeover. In one entry, "An Exodus of Women," he points out that females abandoned the Democratic Party in droves this last election. Lively discussion ensues on his comments board: one commenter points out that the 2004 results simply reflected a liberal-conservative coalition against the left. I think that's about right.

I’m not buying the now-popular theory that says Bush won because he whipped up an evangelical frenzy against gay marriage. John Kerry also opposes gay marriage. Both Bush and Kerry are in favor of civil unions. Kerry bragged that his position on gay marriage is exactly the same as the president’s. (I think they’re both wrong, for whatever that’s worth. I’m to the left of both of them on this question.) Besides, my state of Oregon voted to ban gay marriage and also chose Kerry in a landslide. The gay marriage debate was barely whispered here. It didn't help Bush at all. Lots of people around here saw no contradiction voting against gay marriage and also for Kerry.

And in a follow-up piece, "Zombie Hordes of Theo-Cons," he links to an Andrew Coyne essay and shares his own thoughts:

The Republican Party has a nut-job wing. Pat Robertson is real. James Dobson is real. Michael Savage is real. These guys have fans, and they voted. There’s no denying it. But there’s also no denying that if John Kerry faced Pat Robertson in an election the Republican Party would have to dig itself out of a smouldering crater.

45 percent of the people who voted for Bush are self-described liberals or moderates. (Earth to Democrats: That’s why he beat you.) Only 55 percent of the people who voted for Bush are conservatives. (See Andrew’s piece for the details.) And, as most of us know, there are many different kinds of conservatives. There are neocons and paleocons, Wall Street conservatives and religious conservatives. Not to mention plain old run-of-the-mill conservatives. It’s a fractious group of people who have little in common but, oddly enough, happen to wear the same useless label.

Zeroing in on only one of those factions and blowing it all out proportion will get the Democrats nowhere. It makes as much sense as Ann Coulter accusing every leftie in the land of being pro-terrorist. It’s not only dumb but exceptionally counterproductive.

(My emphasis.)

So enough with the stereotypes, okay? And enough with picking one strand out of the tapestry and suggesting it represents the whole thing.

The Democratic Party has to dig itself out of the "victim mindset" it uses to foster dependency within its various client groups, and do a little soul-searching.

Posted by Attila at 05:36 AM | Comments (1)


. . . has been a little light, and will continue to be through this coming Wednesday. Attila the Hub and I are working on getting the house ready for what the social worker calls the "home vist," and we are calling "the inspection." Interesting little facts about this phase in the adoption process:

1) We have to pull credit reports on both of us, and I'll have to explain that I've used my own checking account (and credit cards) as a sort of wading pool, playing around because I know that whatever I do won't affect the family finances (until it finally did, drastically increasing the challenges when we refinanced the house—and I therefore had to stop acting liike a 14-year-old; this is always such a painful moment for the middle-aged:

Discussion about twenty years ago with my dad—

Attila Girl: Your parents were full of caveats when you borrowed their car.

Attila Dad: They treat me like I'm 16 years old.

AG: Why?

AD: Because I acted that way till I was in my mid-forties.

AG: When did you stop?

AD: A couple of weeks ago.)

2) I have clutter all over my house, which simply won't do because it makes the home less inviting, and creates all kinds of tripping hazards. Therefore I'm getting rid of what I can, and boxing up the rest to hide in storage. This process would be less tramautic if it didn't involve all kinds of self-flagellation: "how did I let these stacks of books pile up this high? And why do I even have these? I haven't even read half of them!" And so on: "Bad Attila Girl. Bad. Bad!" These questions, naturally, answer themselves: I let the piles get high because I knew someone was going to mentally abuse me when I started tackling them. And I need to stop doing this, because I certainly have no intention of treating my child the way I treat myself. Or the way I have treated myself historically, let's say.

I've been told that clutter stems from a mild form of ADD, or ADHD. I tend to think that in my case it's learned behavior, or possibly a genetic quirk: my mother doesn't acquire things so much as marry them—and her father was the same way.

But I must stop accumulating junk and dodging my bill deadlines. Maybe I'll start overeating, like the rest of my countrymen. Or I'll become a moonbat, and construct elaborate arguments as to why all my problems stem from Chimpy McHalliburton. But compulsively, substituting the new behavior for the old. I'll start a blog, and obsessively write entries when I should be sleeping. Oh, wait . . .

3) The standards for "baby-proofing" these days are so high that my husband is once again joking about how he shouldn't have survived his childhood, what with all those exposed electical outlets without little plastic plugs in them. We now have a "configure gate" (which is a little baby fence) around the upstairs fireplace, gates on our balconies, a gate at the top of the stair, and a baby fence that blocks off access from the bottom of the stair. And netting around the railing that surrounds the stairwell, as well as netting on the outside railings.

It does strike me as rather insane. But in our particular case, it's mandated. So there's no philosophical discussion to be had on whether all the baby-proofing in our culture is somehow an abdication of parental responsibility, a way to avoid supervising the child's play, and teaching him/her to stay away from dangerous things. In our case we have to do it to the nines, so our social worker will stay happy. (When the social worker is happy, everyone is happy.)

And now I'm off to sleep. Have a great day, and don't trip over any electrical cords—or strangle yourself on them. Don't try to swallow any buttons or coins. Okay?

Posted by Attila at 04:22 AM | Comments (0)

November 05, 2004


Spoons has some funny election "predictions" that I suspect were made circa Wednesday evening.

And a few of the comments that follow are actually from their "authors."

Via Patterico.

Posted by Attila at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2004

Attention, Would-Be Emigres!

Kate McMillan has a red/blue map of Canada, so that when you move up there to escape Bushitler you don't settle in a "red" area by mistake.

Although that would be amusing to the rest of us.

Via James.

Posted by Attila at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

Lileks After the Election

“Who is the father of George W. Bush?” Gnat asked on the way to school today. Oh boy.

“You’re not going to believe this, but his name is George Bush, too.”

“Oh, daddee.”

“True.” Pause. Should I? Might as well. “And he was the president once, too.”

“George Bush’s daddy was president too? You’re joking me. That’s silly.”

And so it begins. But if all goes as it usually does, in 14 years she’ll vote for someone I don’t like; he’ll win, and she’ll and remind me: you taught me to respect the President.

If I can give her that much, I’ve done my job.

Read the whole thing; and check out his new book, now being promoted on his site. Looks like good stuff.

Posted by Attila at 06:17 AM | Comments (0)

No, Not a Landslide,

particularly in terms of the Electoral College, which we've all been focused on (for obvious reasons). But the President got 51% of the popular vote (first time since 1988 that anyone has pulled that off [it was his father]). And he got an unprecedented raw number of votes.

Turnout helped both guys, but Bush more than Kerry.

And, furthermore, Bush had coattails: Republicans down the ticket benefited from the association with him.

Not a landslide. But a mandate.

He also benefitted from all the pro-gay-marriage initatives, which energized the "devout Christian" vote—to the point that I think advocates of gay marriage (and I am one, though I don't breathe fire on this issue) should regroup and start pushing for civil unions, and finding a way to assure full federal benefits for these types of partnerships. If there's a way to get the legal and financial protections that gays and lesbians need without forcing people to place the label "marriage" on it, it would get us through the next 10-20 years while we work this thing out. (Ultimately, I believe the state should only grant civil unions to any couple, and then the specific church/religious group would be responsible for pronouncing it a marriage.

The average person doesn't feel ready yet to go up to a man and discuss his husband. They can say "boyfriend," or "partner," but they're hung up on "husband," and need a few years to get used to that idea. Provided we can get all the necessary legal and financial protections in place, why does it hurt us to wait on that semantic issue?

Also, ixnay on the hate rhetoric. That Michael Moore stuff did you guys no good whatsoever, unless your goal was to make money for terrorists in the Middle East through distribution rights—or to savage the morale of American troops. Cut Moore loose, and thank me later.

And grab yourselves an electable candidate next time.

End of advice-giving.

Posted by Attila at 05:57 AM | Comments (7)

November 03, 2004

What America Looks Like

Sean Hannity is running a map created by USA Today on his web site: it shows which counties voted for Bush, nationwide.

It's time for Manhattan, Hollywood and SF to wake up and realize that they and their chosen party will have to cooperate with the rest of the country if they aspire ever to be in power again.


Posted by Attila at 07:03 PM | Comments (2)

How Not to Rebuild the Democratic Party

Sondra K offers us one good reason not to be "good sports": a portrait of George W. Bush composed of pictures of dead American soldiers. According to one Freeper, it's tucked away on an obscure part of the Michael Moore web site, so presumably it's "yet to be released" as an official part of Lord Pork Pork's electronic presence.

It's disgusting, and inexcusable. If I had lost a family member in the War on Terror, I'd be livid. As it is, I'm pretty furious.

Posted by Attila at 06:52 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2004


Edwards just came to the podium to tell the country that the concept of democracy is shit.

Posted by Attila at 11:30 PM | Comments (4)

Brother, Have You Heard the Good News?

I’m at Interocitor’s house with the LA Bear Flag Leaguers. I’m not live-blogging, because the WiFi system is close to overloaded, with ten computers hooked up at the same time. So I’m composing this in Word, and I’ll post it afterward. (Every once in a while, someone will have trouble loading a page and ask our host, “hey, would you kick the router for me?”)

I’m here with Baldilocks, Master of None, the Angry Clam, Xrlq, Patterico, the Armed Liberal, The Pirate, and Presto Pundit.

We’re basically a bunch of blognerds: there are five laptops open in this room, and we’re channel-surfing the election returns on the large screen as we dig out information from the web and call it out to each other.

Bush is at 269 Electoral Votes, so the contest could be a theoretical tie— except that the GOP controls the Senate, so a tie would go our way. The Presidential race is theoretically over except for any legal challenges, because all Bush needs is one more state to break the tie.

Drudge has called the election for Bush.

Of course, a lot of the networks have Bush at numbers much lower than 269, and people have been tracking the points at which each channel calls Ohio for Bush. We flipped CBS on for a while so we could see Dan Rather's sad clown face, and have been following Brit Hume's persistently glum face. ("Why is he so legubrious?" people keep asking.
"It's his image," comes the answer.)

Mostly I’m sticking very close to the Angry Clam, because he’s one of the brightest people in a room full of very smart cookies. As an added bonus, he can do arithmetic in his head very quickly, which is nice when we’re trying to figure out how various possible scenarios might work out in the Electoral College.

Okay. It looks like New Mexico is red for sure. This is probably it.

The consensus here seems to be that Kerry won’t concede until tomorrow. Wait!—Carl Cameron has just broken in on Fox to tell us that Kerry is consulting with Senator Kennedy, so the speculation is that they may be discussing the timing of the concession speech.

Okay, kids. It looks like we’ll continue to fight this war on terror, after all.

Over and out.

Posted by Attila at 11:27 PM | Comments (2)

Happy Election Day

Heading out to vote in a few minutes. I'm really sleep-deprived, but I promise to concentrate, so I don't vote for JFK by mistake. Then I'm off to my local Bush-Cheney party headquarters, so I can make some "get out the vote" phone calls. Not that it matters at the Presidential Level in the Golden State, but there are some important local issues here. I also want the statewide gap between Kerry and the President to be as narrow as possible, in order to embarass the Democrats and to give W. the strongest possible popular vote numbers.

One piece of advice, less for my blogger friends than for their mothers and brothers and aunts: don't watch (or listen to) any mainstream media sources until after you vote. Remember what happened in 2000: there would have been no dispute about the results in Florida if the panhandle had shown up at the polls. And the panhandle voters didn't bother, because the MSM had already called the state for Gore. There will be attempts by our friends in the MSM to manipulate the data so that things appear as hopeless for W. as possible. Vote, and then turn on the TV—if you must. (By the way, the advice works for Democratic voters as well: voting is a civic duty, and we can all be swayed by last-minute data or a hard day at work: vote as early as you can—before work, if possible—and don't tune in until you've done it.)

Apparently, the fraud has already begun: Vodkapundit has a few examples (hop over there and scroll around). I anticipate there will be many today, and I just hope the poll-watchers stay on their toes.

Posted by Attila at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

First Predictions

I went back to the old Blogspot site, to see when I first predicted a strong showing for Bush in this election. Turns out the first ones predated Kerry's nomination.

Here's what appears to be the very first:


Welcome to 2004, the year that:

1. George W. Bush will be re-elected in a landslide election;

2. There will be another successful terrorist attack on the U.S., though not on the scale of 9/11;

3. The economy will take off, and employment will go through the roof;

4. My freelance copyediting income will, likewise, increase dramatically;

5. My husband will get another union job, thereby preserving our health care benefits--or he'll sell his screenplay, and we'll be able to afford to buy insurance through his company;

6. We'll be approved to adopt a baby;

7. I'll finally finish a draft on one of my backburnered writing projects.

I pray I'm right about everything but the second prediction.

And then there was this one, a bit later in January:


But I'll say one thing about the Democratic primaries: the dems are acting less like lemmings lately, and more like folks who want to win. They appear to be leaning toward guys who have a chance, like Kerry and Edwards, and away from Angry Young Men Without a Prayer, like Dean and Clark.

But it'll all be for naught, and I'll give you two reasons why: 1) the war on terror/national security, and 2) the economy. The only thing that could really un-seat W. is a large-scale, successful terrorist attack on U.S. soil. And even that might backfire, since a lot of people feel he's being very aggressive in pursuing terrorists. As far as the economy is concerned, he's sitting in the catbird seat.

Bush by a landslide. And you know it, deep down.

Those were written 10-11 months ago. And now we'll see how I do. As at least one friend has pointed out, I've been "waaaay out on a limb" for many months—and not always when things looked good for the President.

If Kerry is elected, the Republic will survive, but hundreds or thousands will die here that wouldn't otherwise have to, and thousands of Iraqis will as well. In fact, the future of the Iraqi experiment will be in doubt if Kerry wins. And we need a democracy in that region other than Israel; we really do.

I'm no longer hoping for a landslide; I'd just like a lawyer-proof victory.

Goodnight, now. I'm voting first thing in the morning so I can go to Bush-Cheney headquarters around noon, have a couple of friendly arguments with the social cons there, and do a little get-out-the-vote phone calling.

Then it's out to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Interocitor for a little gathering with the Angeleno Chapter of the Bear-Flag Leaguers. It'll be the first time they'll be meeting Attila the Hub. I'll bring the laptop, but I'm not committing to live-blogging, particularly since this will partially be a social event. After all, I'm a nerd, but I do try not to let that show.

Posted by Attila at 12:56 AM | Comments (3)

November 01, 2004

Conventional Wisdom

Most bloggers, pundits and poll-collectors give it to Bush 286-252. That assumes Hawaii doesn't flip, New Hampshire goes to Kerry, and Kerry takes the West Coast, New England, and Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois. Pennsylvania to Kerry, Florida to Bush, New Mexico to Bush and Ohio to Bush.

I'm going to say that we get at least four more EVs than that, for a minimum of 290 Bush votes: Hawaii will come over, and maybe New Hampshire as well (which would bring us to 294). And I think it's likely we'll get one more of the Great Lakes states, in light of the bin Ladin threats. Americans do not like to be threatened.

But what do I know?—I'm a middle-aged gal with a computer.

Posted by Attila at 12:54 PM | Comments (6)

Bin Laden Threatens Individual States

Yigal Carmon, President of The Middle East Media Research Institute, wrote an article on the MEMRI web site that corrects an early mis-translation from Osama bin Ladin's recent video:

The tape of Osama bin Laden that was aired on Al-Jazeera on Friday, October 29th included a specific threat to "each U.S. state," designed to influence the outcome of the upcoming election against George W. Bush. The U.S. media in general mistranslated the words "ay wilaya" (which means "each U.S. state") to mean a "country" or "nation" other than the U.S., while in fact the threat was directed specifically at each individual U.S. state. This suggests some knowledge by bin Laden of the U.S. electoral college system. In a section of his speech in which he harshly criticized George W. Bush, bin Laden stated: "Any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."

The Islamist website Al-Qal'a explained what this sentence meant: "This message was a warning to every U.S. state separately. When he [Osama Bin Laden] said, 'Every state will be determining its own security, and will be responsible for its choice,' it means that any U.S. state that will choose to vote for the white thug Bush as president has chosen to fight us, and we will consider it our enemy, and any state that will vote against Bush has chosen to make peace with us, and we will not characterize it as an enemy. By this characterization, Sheikh Osama wants to drive a wedge in the American body, to weaken it, and he wants to divide the American people itself between enemies of Islam and the Muslims, and those who fight for us, so that he doesn't treat all American people as if they're the same. This letter will have great implications inside the American society, part of which are connected to the American elections, and part of which are connected to what will come after the elections."

Another interesting aspect of the speech is the fact that while bin Laden made his specific threat to each U.S. state, he also offered an election deal to the American voters, attempting to influence the election by these means rather than influencing it through terrorist attacks.

The short version?—Binny says, vote Kerry if you know what's good for you.

Adds Jeff of Protein Wisdom:

Reached for comment, California pulled two enormous bong hits, opened a bag of Doritos, and fired up the Playstation 2.

Protein Wisdom also has a pretty good roundup of blogger reactions, so follow the link right above this if you want to read more.

Posted by Attila at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

Words of Cheer

Hawaii is in play (Bush slightly ahead), and so is Michigan (Kerry still ahead there). If Kerry loses either of those states it's going to be embarrassing. As it is, he lost Nevada and New Mexico. But I guess he'll be hanging on to New Jersey by his fingernails. Maybe even Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

Hell--California's looking like Kerry is only ahead of Bush in the single digits. Is there any state that's still rock-solid for JFK?--Oh, right. New York. And Illinois.

This could be a bloodbath—or at least, a strong enough result to save us from the lawsuits.

I suspect we'll all be pretty cheerful Tuesday night: expect lots of toasts.

Posted by Attila at 02:40 AM | Comments (3)

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