Saturday, March 29, 2003

Strange associations

Michael Moore's next project about associations between the Bushes and the Bin Ladens is being financed by a company owned by Mel Gibson. Read about it here, from the Corner.

History or Hysteria the title of an NRO post by Victor Davis Hanson. It's all worth a look, but here are two of the better paragraphs:
We should recall that in the first Gulf War we bombed for over 44 days. Critics in 1991 by day 10 were complaining because after the first few nights’ pyrotechnics, Saddam’s army had not crumbled. In turn, earlier swaggering air-advocates had promised victory in three weeks — only to be unjustly slandered that they had failed to end the war in six. Gulf War I is considered a great victory; it required 48 days of air and ground attacks by an enormous coalition to expel the Iraqi army from Kuwait. Our present attempt, with half the force, seeks to end Saddam Hussein altogether — and on day 7 already had him cut off, trapped, and besieged.

In the campaign against Belgrade, the ebullience was gone by day 10 when Milosevic remained defiant. By the fifth week, criticism was fierce and calls for an end to the bombing widespread. On day 77, Milosevic capitulated — and no critics stepped forward to confess that their gloom and doom had been misplaced. Does anyone recall the term “quagmire,” used of Afghanistan after the third week — and how prophets of doom promised enervating stasis, only days later to see a chain of Afghan cities fall? Yet no armchair doom-and-gloom generals were to be found when the Taliban ran and utterly confounded their pessimism. Our talking heads remind me of the volatility of the Athenian assembly, ready to laud or execute at a moment’s notice.
But don't stop there - read it all.

Microchip evolution

An interesting post on Andrew Zolli's blog about a new way to design computer chips. I didn't see any way to link to it directly, so look for the post titled "Moore's Law, Darwin's Method".

Rock chalk Jayhawk!

KU 78, Arizona 75. See ya in Nawlins!

Your abortion dollars at work

I guess anybody can have a bad day:
A consultant gynaecologist who inadvertently removed parts of a woman's kidneys, ovaries, and fallopian tubes during an abortion has been found guilty of serious professional misconduct by the General Medical Council but is allowed to continue working, under conditions.

Dr Andrew Gbinigie, 47, was working his first day at the private Calthorpe Clinic in Birmingham in November 2000 when the abortion took place.
From MedPundit.

How to educate peaceniks

According to Denny Wilson.

Remind me not to tick off Rachel Lucas

Here she has a word for that particularly dysgenic breed known as the antiwar protester. There's plenty more elsewhere on the page.


Glenn Reynolds links us to this about an Assyrian who returned to Iraq to oppose the war but changed his mind.

How did that happen? He did something outrageous - he actually asked Iraqis what they really wanted.

Oh no, not that!

CNN says we're threatening to prosecute Iraqis for war crimes.

And then if they still don't stop, presumably we'll use even stronger language. Just who do they think they're going to impress?

And it's legible...

Now Pejman lives here.

Great line

Down at the bottom of this page, someone notes that there was a low turnout for a Bill Clinton speech at the University of Iowa on Wednesday night. As The Prowler put it, "for once the terms Clinton and sellout weren't synonymous".


I'm way ahead of you, Vicki, being perhaps the sole source in blogdom for Chinese palindromes, pelvises, librarians, DanceSport and True Love.

And what happened to your picture?

Iraqi suicide murderers kill 5 Marines at checkpoint

I try to keep the language under control on this site, but even profanity pales before the task of describing Iraqi operations in this war. See The Command Post here.

Chinese palindromes

Back in the 1980's some people thought Japan was going to take over the world economically. Not so. No matter what they did, we'd always have them beat with palindromes. Can you even have a Japanese/Mandarin/Cantonese/Korean palindrome?

Enter Google. A googlewhack, perhaps? No, I found 3 sites, and this one says that there are Chinese palindromes. So now we know.

That same site contained this:
Arnold Toynbee once predicted that by around 2050 Chinese characters would become the international standard for visual code used in communications, just as Arabic numerals have become the international standard for written numbers.
I'm thinking he's gonna miss with that one.

I'm dinking around with Chinese at the moment, in part because I'm working with a few native Mandarin speakers nowadays. The differences between it and English are so profound it's amazing. For one, from my sorely limited current vantage point, it appears that everything is monosyllabic and there are no strange genders, declensions and conjugations. But part of the price you pay is the tones - in Mandarin each syllable can be inflected 4 ways, and in Cantonese (less widely spoken, mainly in southern China) there are 7, and each inflection can convey an entirely unrelated concept. What with the script, palindromes might not be so easy, but it's not hard to see that the spoken language would permit some diabolical puns that are at least as difficult to translate.

Another thing I didn't expect was that Mandarin and Cantonese speakers have the same written language. So they can read the same newspapers, but can't talk about them, but they can still communicate by passing notes.

And the text! If you have a Palm or similar device you know that most Latin characters can be rendered intelligibly with one continuous stroke. I don't know what the most complex Chinese characters are, but some that I've seen must take a calligrapher about 20 strokes to do right. It's little wonder that "Chinese" is often used as a modifier indicating complexity or confusion, such as in "Chinese algebra" or "Chinese fire drill".

Given these fundamental differences between English and Chinese, I have to wonder if they don't actually influence the way we use our brains. I suppose the usual suspects would consider it "racist" even to investigate, but I wonder if an EEG or other device could pick up differences in brain usage between a native English speaker using English and a native Mandarin speaker using Mandarin.

Alright, I've exposed enough ignorance for one day. But what else is a blog for?


I don't know what I'd do without Google. ZDNet has some leads on better ways to use it here.

One of the best thing about it is that it's work safe by default, so you can innocently look up things like "water sports" without getting a bunch of, um, special interest material. But you can turn that off, like I had to to find some of the pelvis stuff a few posts down.

If you're dyslexic, try Elgoog. Some people have way too much time on their hands.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Whose side are the French on?

Many have linked to articles about Dominique de Villepin's unwillingness to state what side the French were rooting for in Iraq. Here's one. It appears that that is a bit unfair, but by now nobody should be giving the French the benefit of the doubt IMO.

Here's an interesting quote:
M de Villepin's central message was that a world dominated by a supremely powerful America was dangerously unstable. Instead, there should be "a number of regional poles" that co-operate with each other.
I don't get it. Is there some respected political theory about this, or is this just more BS to justify knee-jerk anti-American behavior?

Next stop - Syria?

If you want to get rid of Saddam, maybe. This says he is making preparations to go there and has already sent relatives.

The same article says Saddam offered to leave as long as Qusay was left in power. Yeah right.

Link stolen from the Corner on NRO, which should be a regular stop.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Interesting war commentary

From Jed Babbin on NRO.

Don't read this

Glenn Reynolds says he's pro-sodomy, but he won't tell us his position.

You were warned.

Michelle Malkin on Muslims in our military

Right here.

Stolen from Powerline.

AntiAmericans International

Amnesty International fears war crimes have been committed by "both sides" in Iraq. The US has bombed Iraqi TV, and the Iraqis have fired mortars on their own citizens. Is it possible that there's a certain lack of proportionality there?

Perhaps this accounts for the concerns of Hollywood types. Killing people is no big deal, but bombing TV stations affects their ratings.

Who's smarter?

I got this in a forwarded email, allegedly written by Cindy Osborne. Beyond that I don't know who to credit. Here it goes:
The Hollywood group is at it again. Holding anti-war rallies, screaming about the Bush Administration, running ads in major newspapers, defaming the President and his Cabinet every chance they get, to anyone and everyone who will listen. They publicly defile them and call them names like "stupid", "morons", and "idiots". Jessica Lange went so far as to tell a crowd in Spain that she hates President Bush and is embarrassed to be an American.

So, just how ignorant are these people who are running the country? Let's look at the biographies of these "stupid", "ignorant" , "moronic" leaders, and then at the celebrities who are castigating them:

President George W. Bush: Received a Bachelors Degree from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He served as an F-102 pilot for the Texas Air National Guard. He began his career in the oil and gas business in Midland in 1975 and worked in the energy industry until 1986. He was elected Governor on November 8, 1994, with 53.5 percent of the vote. In a historic re-election victory, he became the first Texas Governor to be elected to consecutive four-year terms on November 3, 1998 winning 68.6 percent of the vote. In 1998 Governor Bush won 49 percent of the Hispanic vote, 27 percent of the African-American vote, 27 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of women. He won more Texas counties, 240 of 254, than any modern Republican other that Richard Nixon in 1972 and is the first Republican gubernatorial candidate to win the heavily Hispanic and Democratic border counties of El Paso, Cameron and Hidalgo. (Someone began circulating a false story about his I.Q. being lower than any other President. If you believed it, you might want to go to URBANLEGENDS.COM and see the truth.)

Vice President Dick Cheney earned a B.A. in 1965 and a M.A. in 1966, both in political science. Two years later, he won an American Political Science Association congressional fellowship. One of Vice President Cheney's primary duties is to share with individuals, members of Congress and foreign leaders, President Bush's vision to strengthen our economy, secure our homeland and win the War on Terrorism. In his official role as President of the Senate, Vice President Cheney regularly goes to Capital Hill to meet with Senators and members of the House of Representatives to work on the Administration's legislative goals. In his travels as Vice President, he has seen first hand the great demands the war on terrorism is placing on the men and women of our military, and he is proud of the tremendous job they are doing for the United States of America.

Secretary of State Colin Powell was educated in the New York City public schools, graduating from the City College of New York (CCNY), where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in geology. He also participated in ROTC at CCNY and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation in June 1958. His further academic achievements include a Master of Business Administration Degree from George Washington University. Secretary Powell is the recipient of numerous U.S. and foreign military awards and decorations. Secretary Powell's civilian awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President's Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. Several schools and other institutions have been named in his honor and he holds honorary degrees from universities and colleges across the country.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: attended Princeton University on Scholarship (AB, 1954) and served in the U.S. Navy (1954-57) as a Naval aviator ; Congressional Assistant to Rep. Robert Griffin (R-MI), 1957-59; U.S. Representative, Illinois, 1962-69; Assistant to the President, Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, Director of the Cost of Living Council, 1969-74; U.S. Ambassador to NATO, 1973-74; head of Presidential Transition Team, 1974; Assistant to the President, Director of White House Office of Operations, White House Chief of Staff, 1974-77; Secretary of Defense, 1975-77

Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge was raised in a working class family in veterans' public housing in Erie. He earned a scholarship to Harvard, graduating with honors in 1967. After his first year at The Dickinson School of Law, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served as an infantry staff sergeant in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star for Valor. After returning to Pennsylvania, he earned his Law Degree and was in private practice before becoming Assistant District Attorney in Erie County. He was elected to Congress in 1982. He was the first enlisted Vietnam combat veteran elected to the U.S. House, and was overwhelmingly re-elected six times.

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice earned her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Denver in 1974; her Master's from the University of Notre Dame in 1975; and her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1981. (Note: Rice enrolled at the University of Denver at the age of 15, graduating at 19 with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science (Cum Laude). She earned a Master's Degree at the University of Notre Dame and a Doctorate from the University of Denver's Graduate School of International Studies. Both of her advanced degrees are also in Political Science.) She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from Morehouse College in 1991, the University of Alabama in 1994, and the University of Notre Dame in 1995. At Stanford, she has been a member of the Center for International Security and Arms Control, a Senior Fellow of the Institute for International Studies, and a Fellow (by courtesy) of the Hoover Institution. Her books include Germany Unified and Europe Transformed (1995) with Philip Zelikow, The Gorbachev Era (1986) with Alexander Dallin, and Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army (1984). She also has written numerous articles on Soviet and East European foreign and defense policy, and has addressed audiences in settings ranging from the U.S. Ambassador's Residence in Moscow to the Commonwealth Club to the 1992 and 2000 Republican National Conventions. From 1989 through March 1991, the period of German reunification and the final days of the Soviet Union, she served in the Bush Administration as Director, and then Senior Director, of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council, and a Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. In 1986, while an international affairs fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, she served as Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 1997, she served on the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender -- Integrated Training in the Military. She was a member of the boards of directors for the Chevron Corporation, the Charles Schwab Corporation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the University of Notre Dame, the International Advisory Council of J.P. Morgan and the San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors. She was a Founding Board member of the Center for a New Generation, an educational support fund for schools in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park, California and was Vice President of the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula. In addition, her past board service has encompassed such organizations as Transamerica Corporation, Hewlett Packard, the Carnegie Corporation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Rand Corporation, the National Council for Soviet and East European Studies, the Mid-Peninsula Urban Coalition and KQED, public broadcasting for San Francisco. Born November 14, 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama, she earned her bachelor's degree in political science, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Denver in 1974; her Master's from the University of Notre Dame in 1975; and her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Studie s at the University of Denver in 1981. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from Morehouse College in 1991, the University of Alabama in 1994, and the University of Notre Dame in 1995. She resides in Washington, D.C.

So who are these celebrities? What is their education? What is their experience in affairs of State or in National Security? While I will defend to the death their right to express their opinions, I think that if they are going to call into question the intelligence of our leaders, we should also have all the facts on their educations and background:

Barbra Streisand : Completed high school
Career: Singing and acting

Cher: Dropped out of school in 9th grade.
Career: Singing and acting

Martin Sheen Flunked exam to enter University of Dayton.
Career: Acting

Jessica Lange Dropped out college mid-freshman year.
Career: Acting

Alec Baldwin Dropped out of George Washington U. after scandal
Career: Acting

Julia Roberts Completed high school
Career: Acting

Sean Penn Completed High school
Career: Acting

Susan Sarandon Degree in Drama from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Career: Acting

Ed Asner Completed High school
Career: Acting

George Clooney Dropped out of University of Kentucky
Career: Acting

Michael Moore Dropped out first year University of Michigan.
Career: Movie Director

Sarah Jessica Parker: Completed High School
Career: Acting

Jennifer Anniston: Completed High School
Career: Acting

Mike Farrell Completed High school
Career: Acting

Janeane Garofelo Dropped out of College.
Career: Stand up comedienne

Larry Hagman Attended Bard College for one year.
Career: Acting

While comparing the education and experience of these two groups, we should also remember that President Bush and his cabinet are briefed daily, even hourly, on the War on Terror and threats to our security. They are privy to information gathered around the world concerning the Middle East, the threats to America, the intentions of terrorists and terrorist-supporting governments. They are in constant communication with the CIA, the FBI, Interpol, NATO, The United Nations, our own military, and that of our allies around the world. We cannot simply believe that we have full knowledge of the threats because we watch CNN!! We cannot believe that we are in any way as informed as our leaders.

These celebrities have no intelligence-gathering agents, no fact-finding groups, no insight into the minds of those who would destroy our country. They only have a deep seated hatred for all things Republican. By nature, and no one knows quite why, the Hollywood elitists detest Conservative views and anything that supports or uplifts the United States of America. The silence was deafening from the Left when Bill Clinton bombed a pharmaceutical factory outside of Khartoum, or when he attacked the Bosnian Serbs in 1995 and 1999. He bombed Serbia itself to get Slobodan Milosevic out of Kosovo, and not a single peace rally was held. When our Rangers were ambushed in Somalia and 18 young American lives were lost, not a peep was heard from Hollywood. Yet now, after our nation has been attacked on its own soil, after 3,000 Americans were killed by freedom-hating terrorists while going about their routine lives, they want to hold rallies against the war.

Why the change? Because an honest, God-fearing Republican sits in the White House.

Another irony is that in 1987, when Ronald Reagan was in office, the Hollywood group aligned themselves with disarmament groups like SANE, FREEZE and PEACE ACTION, urging our own government to disarm and freeze the manufacturing of any further nuclear weapons, in order to promote world peace. It is curious that now, even after we have heard all the evidence that Saddam Hussein has chemical, biological and is very close to obtaining nuclear weapons, their is no cry from this group for HIM to disarm. They believe we should leave him alone in his quest for these weapons of mass destruction, even though it is certain that these deadly weapons will eventually be used against us in our own cities.

So why the hype out of Hollywood? Could these celebrities believe that since they draw such astronomical salaries, they are entitled to also determine the course of our Nation? That they can make viable decisions concerning war and peace? Did Michael Moore have the backing of the Nation when he recently thanked France, on our behalf, for being a "good enough friend to tell us we were wrong"? I know for certain he was not speaking for me. Does Sean Penn fancy himself a Diplomat, in going to Iraq when we are just weeks away from war? Does he believe that his High School Diploma gives him the knowledge (and the right) to go to a country that is controlled by a maniacal dictator, and speak on behalf of the American people? Or is it the fact that he pulls in more money per year than the average American worker will see in a lifetime? Does his bank account give him clout?

The ultimate irony is that many of these celebrities have made a shambles of their own lives, with drug abuse, alcoholism, numerous marriages and divorces, scrapes with the law, publicized temper tantrums, etc. How dare they pretend to know what is best for an entire nation! What is even more bizarre is how many people in this country will listen and accept their views, simply because they liked them in a certain movie, or have fond memories of an old television sitcom!

It is time for us, as citizens of the United States, to educate ourselves about the world around us. If future generations are going to enjoy the freedoms that our forefathers bequeathed us, if they are ever to know peace in their own country and their world, to live without fear of terrorism striking in their own cities, we must assure that this nation remains strong. We must make certain that those who would destroy us are made aware of the severe consequences that will befall them.

Yes, it is a wonderful dream to sit down with dictators and terrorists and join hands, singing Cumbaya and talking of world peace. But it is not real. We did not stop Adolf Hitler from taking over the entire continent of Europe by simply talking to him. We sent our best and brightest, with the strength and determination that this Country is known for, and defeated the Nazi regime. President John F. Kennedy did not stop the Soviet ships from unloading their nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962 with mere words. He stopped them with action, and threat of immediate war if the ships did not turn around. We did not end the Cold War with conferences. It ended with the strong belief of President Ronald Reagan... PEACE through STRENGTH.

Who's Smarter?
Of course advanced education is less important to an entertainer than looks or other talents. But IMO with Hollywood we're dealing with a bunch of needy showoffs who want to be taken seriously for their intelligence, and if they're stroked right they'll parrot someone else's lines just as they do in their careers.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Curtain call

After the previous post, I'll have to note that of course there are Kegel exercises for men as noted here and here. Do them enough and next thing you know ol' Willard will be able to start your lawnmower for you.

I'm not a physician, but I have figured out a few things by now. For instance, I believe this quote from the first link above is wrong:
As well, although this method may not sound enthralling, if you stick a finger in your rectum and try contracting your PC muscle, you will know that you're doing so because your finger will feel your anus contracting (pressure). Always try to keep your other muscles (thigh, back and abdominal) relaxed.
It might well be that potty training tends to make us associate two distinct muscle groups. Kegel exercises are intended for the pubococcygeus (PC) muscles. Near as I can tell from this (pictures here), the anus is operated by the coccygei muscles and the puborectalis. You can figure out the ramifications as an exercise.

I suppose it's possible that the ability to manipulate these distinct groups separately is one of those things like curling your tongue, wiggling your ears, etc, that some people can do and others can't. No doubt the govt is waiting with millions of dollars in grants to fund this research. In the meantime, what you do on your own time is your business.

Now back to the women, doggone it. Here's a Kegel exerciser, which looks like something like a shoe tree or a hand brake. I've heard of others too, which I understand are weighted cones. Apparently they go in big end first, and the stronger the PC muscles are the higher you can hold them in.

Is that enough already?

UPDATE: Not to worry, GH - no empirical research was done wrt the theory in the blockquote above.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Pelvic potpourri postscript

After I did my women's pelvises post earlier, Susanna commented that I had neglected men's pelvises. That's OK with me - although I may be resisting cultural trends, I'll unabashedly note my prejudice in favor of the distaff variety. I could compromise and write of my own, but that would be even duller than it sounds. But since then I've encountered a few items on the general topic that I'll share here.

I already published the Moron's Guide to a Larger Penis here. I've always been amused by the ones who offered enlargement "prosthetically". No, I've never tried it (nor needed to, dammit). I'd think keeping it attached would be a challenge. Surely you couldn't fool anyone with it. And then there's that tiny little problem with the lack of nerve endings - if they ever figure out how to make that little interface work the implications are staggering, and not just for the terminally horny.

The blood supply to the penis is complex - both erections and flaccidity are necessary to keep blood flowing as needed. Everybody has heard of impotence, in which erections are rare if not impossible. The flip side of this is priapism, and believe it or not it is worse.

Anybody for spotted dick?

Medpundit offers us this about men who train doctors in prostate exams by submitting to them time after time. I'm happy to hear that there are no visual skills involved. One major concern is to avoid startling the patient, and to avoid anything that even remotely could be construed as erotic (this link also from MedPundit).

One might hope that such a process would escape exploitation in the entertainment business. One would be wrong, for as H. L. Mencken once allegedly wrote, no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American people. One choice scene was from Tom Hanks' movie "Bachelor Party", in which Hanks' sister is a proctologist. If I remember right, he wanders into the examining room while she is in mid exam with an old man in all fours - she introduces the two and tries to hug him as he tries to keep her at bay.

Oh yeah, I think Mad TV did it once too. This time the victim was a fat guy laying on his side as a bunch of viewers watched his colonoscopy. He was subjected to untold indignities. Then they decided to take a group picture, so they just gave the probe a yank and used it to take the shot. Yow.

The spring 2003 American Heritage of Invention and Technology magazine has an item on America's best collegiate inventors. One of the candidates, Carlo Traverso, invested a non-invasive colon-cancer test that has potential of eliminating many colonoscopies. He gets innumerable comments of course, but the worst part is that he gets unsolicited offers of stool samples from strangers.

I'm gonna quit while I'm behind. We'll try to return to my usual standards (?!) later...

It had to happen

You've been keeping an eye on the Command Post, right?

But it runs 24 hours and scrolls fast, so you might have missed this. You've probably already heard that some of the Iraqi military are getting out of their uniforms to fight - now we have some Iraqi civilians getting into uniforms so they can surrender.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

How Nobel of them

If we ever lose free speech in this country, it will be because people are sick of listening to dirtbags like Michael Moore.

Cutting pollution

Kevin McGehee shows us how.

101 Dumbest Moments in Business

Via Jane Galt, right here.

My favorite is #8. "You, get back to work! Oh, never mind..."

Maybe if Jane Galt would have thought of that, Asymmetrical Information would have been on that list of best economics blogs...

Embedded Bloggers

You've heard of the "embedded" journalists? Some of them are blogging. Here's a list.

From Glenn Frazier.

Unilateral war

Jim Miller reminds us of past unilateral operations by other nations.

Via Instapundit.

Proof we're descended from apes

Some of us, anyway. Via Jeff Jarvis we find that, according to Richard Dawkins, George W. Bush is Osama Bin Laden's ally.

Let's hope that Dawkins' beliefs are evolving.

Moron human shields

In the Telegraph, via Command Post.

Or this via UPI, which you may also have seen on Instapundit. I'm sure I saw it on Friday but can't remember where.