A Little Something to Fight the Poison

Saturday, January 11, 2003
THE REST OF THE COUNTRY WOULD LIKE TO KNOW: Do the people of British Columbia have any ability to elect a Premier who's not a criminal? Not for the past 20 years, apparently. You'd think that they'd learn eventually--I mean, nothing says provincial pride like having your leader's mug shot splashed over the front page of your national newspaper.

So here's the deal: the rest of Canada will give you folks in BC one more election to prove that you shouldn't be placed under political tutelage. But after that, if there's another indictment or major RCMP investigation or whatever of your next Premier, that's it--you're becoming the "British Columbian Territories" and we're moving the Canucks to Winnipeg.
Friday, January 10, 2003
FILE UNDER 'CONSERVATIVES FOR BAREBACKING': Nic Kristof on the Bush Admin's scary and senseless Secret War on Condoms. Yeah, because what we need really right now is for fewer people in the U.S. and around the world to get into the habit of using condoms.

One of the column's many, er, money shots is a jab at the Bush-friendly Christian groups who want to discourage sex by disparaging the effectiveness of condom use:
"The only absolutely guaranteed, permanent contraception is castration," one Catholic site suggests helpfully. Hmmmm. You first.
Uh, indeed.
QUAE QUOD SIGNIFICATO VERBI "EST" EST? Bill Clinton's name has been floated for the Chancellorship at Oxford, according to The Financial Times, which accompanies this tidbit with a preview of the traditional Latin citation that would mark the Prince of Little Rock's appointment. I never learned Latin, so I'm can't vouch for the citation's linguistic authenticity, but I'm pretty sure I know what "'Non coitus est cum hac femina,' dixit" is supposed to mean.

[That would be the sound of the latest blast that the Ontario judiciary has inflicted on Canada's marijuana laws. Keep it up, you sexy mofos in black robes...]
HIS PARENTS KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING WHEN THEY GAVE HIM THE INITIALS 'BS': Does this kid ever stop demonstrating that he has no idea what he's talking about? The latest gem:
Awful New York Times columnist Frank Rich has stopped writing op-ed columns for the Times. Instead, he is now associate editor, and will write essays for the Arts and Leisure section.
Good riddance. Only the New York Times would have hired an foreign and domestic policy op-ed columnist based on his experience as a theater critic.
Words fail the sublimity I felt when I saw that the above nugget was almost immediately preceded by this exclamation by BS:
I'm very excited about my recent addition to Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler's Mark Steyn Fiskers' Brigade -- it's a real honor!
Would anyone like to guess what Mr. Steyn main qualifications were before the Hollinger papers allowed him to become a political columnist? I think the word "juxtaposition" was invented for times like this.

So I guess that when Ben says "only The New York Times," he presumably means to include The National Post, The Daily Telegraph, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Free Republic, FrontPage, and any other pub that's lame enough to regularly leave space for Steyn's syndicated drivel.
Came across an old post from A Small Victory, about the Viking Kittens that I linked to several months ago. Some amusing observations on the pretensiousness of Led Zep lyrics.

I maintain that LZ was at their best when doing the corny-rocker exemplified by:

"Squeeze my lemon till the juice runs down my legs", or

"Shake for me girl/ I wanna be your back door man."

Thursday, January 09, 2003
Ben Shapiro seems to be taking such a beating lately that I feel bad about piling on (for the second time this week). But, what the hell -- he thought he knew better than the Israeli Supreme Court. Perhaps he now thinks that its august members are "evil Islamofascists". What a prodigy!

For the record, I think that the "Virgin Ben" insults are a little offside -- whether you like his views or not, his religious beliefs are off-limits as far as I see it. But claiming that Jim Capozzola "are [sic] oversexed whores who enjoy the bedtime company of pigs" is a little much -- I didn't think that Capozzola was from the Ozarks.
MILDLY DESPERATE REQUEST: I went out to dinner last Sunday night--a.k.a. my Jennifer-Garner-kicks-ass-night--and we sadly messed up the taping, so if anyone knows if there's a corner of the Internet where someone might have put up a video or mpeg or something of that ep of Alias, I would be plenty grateful.
DORKY POLI SCI FUN: If you haven't been following the Israeli elections, you should be--they're fascinating from both a this-may-change-the-face-of-world-politics perspective as well as a political drama perspective. Ha'aretz's English-language site has a great election campaign page (from a leftish POV).

Some highlights, if you've just tuned in:

-Likud has been rocked by a string of corruption scandals, first involving investigations and then official indictments for vote buying during its list primaries (since Israel uses a PR parliamentary system), then by a devastating leak from the Attorney-General's Office that Sharon and his sons have been under investigation for taking an improper $1.5 million loan to pay back illegal contributions collected during a previous primary campaign.

-The Central Elections Committee voted along party lines (but against the recommendation of their chair, a justice of the Supreme Court) to ban 2 Arab parliamentarians and one of their parties, while voting against banning a candidate who was formerly leader of the banned far-right party Kach. The Bush Administration hinted that it was not impressed by these happenings in The Middle East's Only Real Democracy™. The Supreme Court will decide tomorrow whether these rulings will stand.
UPDATE: In a "yay for democracy!" type of decision, the Court rules that both the Arabs and the far-right guy can run. Yay for an independent judiciary, too.

-The Bank of Israel and other financially in-the-know people have pissed off Sharon by announcing that the state's economy really sucks.

-Mostly because of the corruption scandels, the election has turned from a 20-seat majority cakewalk into one of those Too Close to Call events, as (according to Ha'aretz polling) Likud has plummeted from a projected 41 seats at the beginning of the election to 27 seats; Labor has popped up to 24 seats.

Sorry to get even more poli sci geeky than usual on everyone. And I'm not even supposed to like comparative politics.

Oh yeah, I'm of course cheering for the center-leftists. For what it's worth from a guy who is neither Jewish nor Arab, go Mitzna.

ADDENDUM: Just thought I'd add that it's interesting that the Ha'aretz English site states many of its monetary figures in US$, rather than Shekels. When you combine this with the site's pretty basic overview of the electoral system, it seems pretty clear that it thinks it knows where its core audience lives...
Tuesday, January 07, 2003 gives sanctuary to such luminaries as Ann Coulter and Ben Shapiro, as well as a fellow named Paul Craig Roberts. Sounds as if Eugene Volokh has heard just about enough from him:

"[Roberts] makes three of the classic mistakes of a certain form of conservative commentary: (1) exaggerating the degree to which the Left (of various forms) is suppressing speech, (2) exaggerating the harm caused by race preferences, and (3) blithely ignoring the problems of the past, even when suggesting that the present is somehow much worse than the past."

TRIP THOUGHT: Just finished recovering from my 15-hour train/taxi/train/taxi trip yesterday. Don't usually do New Year's resolutions, but I think I may resolve to organize my life adequately in 2003 so that I'll be able to book reasonable airplane tickets for my trips to Toronto.

P.S.: It was great seeing Manu, Azim, Andrew L., and Dave G.--have a great semester, guys...
THE EMERGING AEROBIC MAJORITY: Is living a healthy lifestyle a leftish or rightish issue? The Globe's Margaret Wente (think Maureen Dowd, but Canadian, rightish, and even likelier to misfire), claims in a fluffy column that "healthism" is yet another evil prog/PC trend:
Once it was a mark of status to show how much you could consume. Now it's a mark of status to show how much you can refrain from consuming. People who have cut out salt, sugar, fat, caffeine and alcohol are regarded as more virtuous and more moral than those who haven't. Sloth, smoking, obesity and an addiction to Quarter-Pounders are secretly regarded as lower-class. Liberal egalitarians (who, of course, pretend that class does not exist) are certain that society would be far better off if only the lower orders gave up their sinful ways and learned to control their appetites.
As you can see, reading Wente can be thought-provoking in the same way that seeing car crashes on the highway can be thought-provoking when they prompt you to reconsider important existential issues.

Liberal egalitarians "pretend that class doesn't exist"? Huh? The same group of people that the right regularly tars as a cabal of class warriors and crypto/quasi-Marxists?

Anyway, you can count me as one of those liberal egalitarians who recognizes the reality of class differences but isn't a complete elitist, and can therefore easily affirm both that bad health habits disproportionately afflict the poor and that society would be better if everyone had better health habits. Part of the blame for all of this of course belongs to a big fast food industry that spends zillions of dollars marketing cheap garbage and poison at low prices and sells it to the lower classes who, because of existing educational and informational disparities, tend to be more vulnerable to these marketing ploys. If I were an elitist Marxist, I'd say something about "false consciousness" now, but I won't, since I'm probably too much of a liberal to think that.

Sadly, I may be much closer to Wente in the self-guilt resulting from inadequate exercise department--Manu is (currently) definitely the running marathons/half-marathons half of Antidotal.
JUST IN TIME: Gary Carter finally gets into Cooperstown, allowing Nos Amours a year to recognize him as a Hall of Famer before they get shipped off or folded. It's still an open question whether he'll go in as an Expo; if he does, it will the team's first, and probably last, chance to recognize a Hall of Famer as an active organization.

Oh, and have some coverage en français from Montréal's La Presse, charmingly headlined "Un Kid parmi les grands."
Enjoyed HawkGirl's compare-and contrast of the policies of the NRA with the lyrics of...NWA. Go and read it. I especially liked,

"Unfortunately, I could not find any materials in the NRA website relating to “pussies” or “dirty-ass hos”. Apparently, the two organizations diverge on this issue."

Sunday, January 05, 2003
A month or so ago, Andrew Edwards tore a strip out of the execrable John "Deep Thoughts" Derbyshire. Now, from the other side of the aisle, Conrad at the Gweilo Diaries smacks around the NRO's buffoon-in-chief. Looks like Derbyshire has some radical views on how to deal with North Korea:

"given that the South Korean people keep electing leaders who sound like Walter Mondale, and register positively Parisian levels of anti-Americanism when polled, it's hard to see why we Americans should mind if their nice prosperous little country gets knocked about a bit on the way to the inevitable defeat of Kim Jong-Il's troops. Japan likewise. Let's give Kim the finger, good and clear, starting with a thorough Osirak-style job on his nuclear installations. There isn't anything Kimchi can do that won't lead to his own swift annihilation. If the downtown Seoul branch of Starbucks gets its windows blown out in the process — well, personally, I can live with it."

You could be forgiven for thinking that J.D. had been hitting the, ummm, J.D., before he wrote that. As Conrad says,

"Derbyshire says he could live with the consequences of a North Korean attack. No doubt he could, since his silly ass is sitting in the continental US. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Asians, however, could, literally, not live with it. To compare the resulting slaughter to "broken windows" is vile."

A suggestion: perhaps the term "idiotarian" should more accurately describe any one who is, well, an idiot.