Quote Of The Day.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Half Right is Still Half Right

When Barnes and Noble first came to Knoxville a friend of mine and I walked through it making fun of it. Six years later you can find me on most Saturday nights at the cafe in Borders. Knoxville has a lot of independent coffee shops, but none of them have what Borders has - plugs for your laptop and an entire store full of books and magazines. The staff know me; most of the regulars recognize me. I've been sketched by an artist, and inspired to blog. I've heard a lot of really crappy local bands, and I could even learn how to hack into your hard drive. I don't see anything wrong with any of this, and in any event, it's my writing/ coffee time. People who have a problem with it can just bug off.

There are good and bad things about the store, however. It is true that the staff at places like Borders and Barnes and Noble is courteous and friendly. It is also true, however, that the staff frequently changes, and comprises a large number of people. This is a problem because it means that it is hard to build a relationship with the people who work there. A few weeks ago for instance I wanted to return a book for which I didn't have a receipt. I remembered though that I had paid ten dollars for it. The manager however said the book was only worth five; I could take it or leave it. This wouldn't have happened at the independent stores I visit; for the simple reason that I know the people who work there and they know me. They would have given me the benefit of the doubt.

Where you really run into problems with a chain store is in matters of policy. A locally owned store is dependent upon the community, and is responsible to an owner who lives in that community. If you get really pissed off about something at an independent store, you are much more likely to be listened to. I once tried to buy a German book at Borders. The list price of the book was 14 Marks, and the store was selling it for 14 dollars. 14 Marks, however, is the equivalent of a little less than seven dollars. I told the clerk and then the manager that the price was unfair, and they told me that there was nothing they could
do. It was the policy of the company. Whether it actually was the policy of the company, the staff still had the option of fobbing the situation off to a higher power, leaving me with the choice of not getting the book, or of being ripped off. And they honestly didn't care that I was angry or that I was going to tell all of my friends what a rip-off Borders was. It wasn't their responsibility and there were a hundred more like me already filing through the door. Friendliness is oftentimes the luxury of those who have nothing to lose.

posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 | link

This Makes Me So Angry

I can't even be articulate about it. It doesn't surprise me. I majored in Russian for God's sake. I know what happens when the government is allowed to violate the liberties and rights of the people. I will say this, however. Ashcroft and Bush are a stain upon the conscience of this country. They will be condemned by history, and if they are not, it will be a sign of the utter decadence and moral bankruptcy of the future. If the people of this country genuinely cared about it, genuinely cared about the substance behind the slogans of "freedom" and "justice" they would hound Bush and Ashcroft into the streets and from the land. They would never submit to their leadership; for people who spit upon the values of the United States, who have such contempt for the principles upon which it was founded and the documents which guide it are degenerate as people and unfit as leaders. They are unworthy even of hatred, but only of the most disdainful contempt. Don't let them get away with it; don't let them stain your honor, and steal your nation's soul.

posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 | link

Win One For the Supreme Court

Lose one for Ashcan, I mean Ashcroft. The Court struck down the Child Pornography Prevention Act as being overly broad. The Washington Post writes:

"At issue was a 1996 law aimed at cracking down on computer generated child pornography by prescribing prison terms for those who distribute or possess images that "appear to be" of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, or who sell images by "convey[ing] the impression" that they contain child sex.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said that with such penalties "few legitimate movie producers or book publishers, or few other speakers in any capacity, would risk distributing images in or near the uncertain reach of this law. The Constitution gives significant protection from over-broad laws that chill speech within the First Amendment's vast and privileged sphere."

Yesterday's decision showed that the court is willing to forge ahead with an expansive First Amendment doctrine even in a technologically novel context where public sympathy for the rights of those seeking free expression is probably low."

posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 | link

America Rules!!!

America is the greatest, best, freest nation that ever existed in the history of the world. “Duh!” you say? Well, it’s not so obvious to the stupid, the elitist, or to our self-proclaimed moral and intellectual superiors. Well, Derb reviews a book that defends America from all her hypocritical detractors. He writes of his own love of America and, by doing so, shows why you should too. As for the book he reviews, Dinesh D’Souza’s What’s So Great About America, a good summary is as follows:

“D'Souza does anti-Americans the courtesy of taking their arguments seriously, and methodically refutes every one of them. Was this country founded in racism? No, he argues: The founders did not see themselves as establishing a finished thing, perfect and immutable, with the institutions of colonial racism cemented in, but a kind of country that could improve and rectify itself — as, of course it did, and continues to do. . . . And what nation has ever been so firm in the belief that the best way to advance its interests is not to oppress other peoples, but to help lift them up?”

Take that, Euroweenies!

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 | link

Random Thought.

I have been reading more of my fashion magazines and have noted, much to my dismay, that the strappy evening sandal is still going strong. Now I like strappy evening sandals, but they are not appropriate for every dress. They go great with more streamlined, modern looks, but are discordant with more elaborate, traditional gowns. Sometimes they just look wrong. They are also worn without hose, and some celebrities really, really need hose. The worst thing about those shoes is how almost nobody who wears them wears a pair that fits. On every page of the magazine, all you see are big old toes hanging off the ends of shoes. If you are going to wear shoes, wear ones your feet fit in. There is nothing tackier than toes hanging off the end of your shoes and dragging on the ground. Is it really a coincidence that, ever since those shoes made their appearance, I’ve been seeing more and more of those anti-toenail-fungus medications advertised? People are getting nasty infections from their nasty old toes sticking off their shoes and dragging on the ground. Yuck.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 | link

Sowell Patrol.

Pacifism causes war. Appeasing tyrants only stokes their appetites. Thomas Sowell explains these facts, using many more words than I did.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 | link

Half Right is Still Half Wrong.

Yes, Spinsterians, I’ve used the word “wrong” about somebody other than Gena. Yes, I’m feeling all right. The person who is wrong, or half wrong at least, is Norah Vincent. She writes about Oprah’s now defunct Book Club and how said Club was a sign of mediocrity and amateurism in literary culture. Quite frankly she’s right on this front. The books Oprah chose to highlight strove for mediocrity and didn’t always achieve their goal. I read a couple and that’s enough for anybody. They are like Danielle Steel books, you can read one and then you know how all the rest go. I have nothing against second rate books. They are fun and very relaxing. I like my brain candy as much as any bookworm. The problem is when you read nothing but brain candy. You get a light frothy pleasure, but not the substantial, expanding pleasure of great literature. All frosting, no cake. That’s what Oprah’s Book Club was. She chose very few books that fell outside of a narrow range of genre fiction. She chose no histories or serious nonfiction. She only chose her few examples of good literature because she had the movie rights (Beloved) or she got caught up in the hype (The Corrections). Her books had no depth and no imagination. All sugar, no spice.

Vincent is dead wrong when she starts slamming Barnes and Nobles along with the Big O. In Vincent’s words, “Winfrey and B&N represent the same pernicious homogenization of American life that makes existential despair all but unavoidable.” Maybe I’m just not the existential despair type, but when I enter a B&N I get as hyper and giddy as a three year-old in Chuck E. Cheese. So many books; so many kinds of books, and they could all be mine! Then Vincent trots out the old “driving out the indie bookstores and drowning obscure works of brilliance in a flood of crap” routine. Well cry me a river and go drown yourself in it! The indie bookstores are overrated dinosaurs and B&N has more variety than almost any other book source you can name. Every independent bookstore I’ve been in had no selection, high prices, and a snootier than thou sales staff that would do Needless Markup proud. Don’t expect any customer service if you don’t appear to be the “right” sort of customer. I’ve been to a lot of indie bookstores yet I haven’t found one that carried more than one or two token conservative titles, if they carried any. They are outright hostile if you ask for anything to the right of Mother Jones. Don’t even ask about theology if you want to leave the place alive.

Barnes and Nobles, on the other hand, has almost every book in print, very nice prices, and a sales staff that doesn’t inspire homicidal rage. No indie-bookshop-attitude here. The selection is incredible. I can find works from the University of Chicago on the Hittites, pick up the new Remini, cruise over to mysteries for a Kinky Friedman, stop by the philosophy section to browse around, and then head over to the magazines to if the new issues are out. I can pick out a random volume of poetry from somebody I’ve never heard of, then go over to the coffee shop to drink some tea and leaf through the book to see if I actually want to buy the stupid thing. Try that in an indie. They carry not only the National Review, but a dozen other conservative rags too. They get all the leftist indie store favorites too, including the ones that look mimeographed. If they don’t carry it, they’ll order it. They even get those pretentious New York hipster mags. As for the obscure work of genius in the remainder bin, that’s the only place it would be at a price where I’d take a chance on buying it. Oh yeah, price. I can actually afford to buy the books at B&N. Somehow all this megastore “oppression” doesn’t make me want to wear a black turtleneck, slap on a beret, and set lame unrhymed poetry to bongo drums.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 | link


Monday, April 15, 2002

Ever Wonder What Happened

To those wonderful Bush malapropisms? Surprise, surprise someone in the White House has been reading 1984.

posted by Gena on Monday, April 15, 2002 | link

I'm Slacking Tonight, I'll Admit It

I spent the morning job hunting, the afternoon working in the garden, and the evening riding. All of this sounds quaint and relaxing, but the totality of it has made me sore, tired, and irritable. Plus, it's
80 degrees here. 80 Degrees!! In Knoxville. In April. In other words here are the results of my Philosophical Health Check, which claims that seven percent of my beliefs are contradictory:

Questions 26 and 6: Can I make choices for my own body?

353 of the 3058 people who have completed this activity have this tension in their beliefs.
You agreed that:
Individuals have sole rights over their own bodies
And also that:
Voluntary euthanasia should remain illegal

Why, if individuals have sole rights over their own bodies, should voluntary euthanasia be illegal? This appears to be a straight contradiction. Ways around this might include adding a condition to the first principle, to the effect that 'except when it comes to decisions of life and death'. But what could justify this added condition? You might also think that euthanasia is different because it requires third-party assistance. Yet normally we do not think that the right a person has over their body is forfeited if a third party is involved. If I want a tattoo, I need third party assistance. But this doesn't mean I don't have sole right to decide whether or not I am tattooed.

This is why I never post internet quizzes; the programs that run them aren't sophisticated enough to make distinctions. In this case, the issue is one of perception. If you see euthanasia as an issue of control over one's body, then my beliefs are contradictory. If on the other hand you see euthanasia as killing, then my beliefs are entirely consistent, because I said it is always wrong to take another person's life. From the perspective of the third party euthanasia is wrong and should remain illegal, because it involves taking another person's life. That doesn't mean, however, that a person isn't free to take his or her own life. Mercy killing yourself without involving anyone else isn't a problem, individuals having "sole rights over their own bodies." That however wasn't the question.

posted by Gena on Monday, April 15, 2002 | link

The Return of Osama

Sort of. I saw a clip of the tape when I was down at Sam and Andy's - a place to avoid at all costs - trying to choke down a detergent drenched salad. Osama didn't say anything, but just sat there looking like a great big green puppet - something sure to strike fear into the hearts of millions.

posted by Gena on Monday, April 15, 2002 | link

See, I’m Normal.

I told you so. I’m perfectly normal. This here woman says that collectors are perfectly normal, even beneficial people. We’re not the maladjusted freaks we have been taken to be. We’re merely, uh, archiving popular culture for posterity, yeah, that’s it. All those cheap mysteries stacked up in the corner? The stacks of European histories? Those hundreds of other books in the basement? I’m preserving them for future literary study. Those years’ worth of fashion magazines under the bed? Don’t you care about the history of textiles!?! See, I’m just fine. I’m performing a valuable service to future historians. Pardon me while I rearrange my book mounds.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 15, 2002 | link

Liberals Against Reparations.

Here’s Juan Williams' take on reparations. He’s against them. Paying reparations will end that oh so lucrative white guilt and endanger many social programs near and dear to the liberal heart. Hey, wait a minute! What’s a liberal like Juan Williams doing in that bastion of bias, the Opinionjournal? Maybe the FBI can investigate after they deal with the international ants.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 15, 2002 | link


They’re attacking! Call the FBI! Call James Arness! There’s a giant supercolony of ants that stretches from Spain to the Italian Riviera. Apparently all those French nuclear tests did have side affects. Scientists are studying the creatures, but I say get the FBI in there as soon as possible. Sure, multinational supercolonies of ants seem friendly, but the G-men should be there just in case things turn ugly. For the record, I’ve seen Them! at least 10 times, so I can assure you that radioactive insects fall under FBI jurisdiction. It’s gonna take a lot of G-men with a lot of Amdro to take out this little problem.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 15, 2002 | link

Reparations Still an Injustice.

The United States was founded on the idea of liberty, and the understanding of that liberty has grown ever since. Some of the Founding Fathers wanted to abolish slavery at the outset, but realized that there would be no new nation if they tried. Thomas Jefferson actually wanted to do away with slavery, but the political intricacies of nation building meant that that question would have to be put on the back burner for a few years. Russia and other nations were able to abolish slavery before America for the sole reason that they were autocracies and did not have to deal with the opinions of the people who would be financially ruined by their actions. The U.S. was not the only slave-holding nation in the late 1800s. I notice you kept your objection limited to Western Europe. Western Europe is not the world. The Native Americans, South America, Africa, China, and almost all of Asia had slavery. Just because Western Europe was ahead of the curve doesn’t mean the U.S. is specially liable for retroactive sins. Europe may have formally abolished slavery, but their justice systems weren’t that much of an improvement. There is always the Western European history of colonialism, or Communism for that matter. Gulags, anyone? The trouble with ending American slavery is that a huge portion of the national economy rested upon it, and virtually the entire Southern economy did. Many people wanted to end slavery, but nobody wanted to put up the money needed to prevent the economic collapse of the entire South.

As for abolitionists, your mention of Osama bin Laden is very apt. Many abolitionists had the same mentality that he has. I dare say you would be shocked to read the blood-thirsty rhetoric of parts of the abolitionist movement. It was the rise of the violent Northern Abolitionists that was instrumental in killing the Southern Emacipationist movement. Even Frederick Douglass, in some of his speeches, went around advocating that slaves poison their masters and kill the children in their beds. A great movement with some lousy followers. Any feasible plan to free the slaves peacefully would have required some kind of Marshall Plan type funding to prevent the economic collapse of the South. Abolitionists rejected that reality, because they in their self-proclaimed moral purity didn’t care who went homeless, so long as it wasn’t them. This does not affect the immorality of slavery, but it does show a little of why this was such a complicated issue.

As for the descendants of slaves getting a payday off their alleged ancestors’ suffering, I say no way. My argument boils down to this. Slaves are owed reparations. Slave-owners are obliged to pay them. All slaves and all slave owners are dead. Thus the entire issue is moot.

Why should I pay somebody who has never suffered one iota from slavery because somebody else’s ancestors’ enslaved their ancestors? Not one member of my family was in America before 1900. Not a single one. Why should I pay a dime to the non-sufferers? Why should my hard earned money, taken from me in taxes, be used to pay for an offense neither I, my family, or my state had anything to do with. Recall that the present state of Alabama is not a continuously existing entity. The current Alabama was ratified in 1866. Ancien Alabama lasted from 1822 to 1865 and is long defunct. I don’t owe anybody anything. I never owned a slave. I never profited from slavery. Why do I owe anything? White skin privilege? I know plenty of people who have lost jobs, promotions, or scholarships due to their white skin. If you went to UNC, so do you. Sorry, but unless you personally owned a slave, you don’t owe anybody.

Who gets the money? Not all blacks had slave ancestors. Some have African immigrants as ancestors. Some have black slave owners as ancestors. Some are descended from African slave traders. It seems more appropriate that a lot of them pay as oppose to get paid. No living American blacks have suffered from slavery. They enjoy full civil rights, preferential treatment in schools and jobs, and have been the primary recipients in billions in Welfare payments. Welfare itself was pushed as a means of “paying the debt” to blacks. If we count welfare, the reparations blackmail is already paid and they owe the government a refund. American blacks never suffered from slavery and are owed no reparations.

Does the government pay? The U.S. Government does not have assets of its own, it has MY assets. Again, why should I have to be punished for something I didn’t do? Something I never profited from? The Holocaust lawsuit seeks to recover assets that specific victims lost. They seek payments on insurance policies and the return of bank accounts that were bought and paid for. Others have sued for their own personal pain and suffering. They are people who personally suffered and want what is rightfully theirs. Actual victims suing those who wronged them. As for slavery, all the victims and victimizers are dead. There is nobody to sue or be sued.

Are we to open up all old wounds for redress? Can I sue England for their oppression of my Irish ancestors? Can I sue Germany, Austria, and Russia for their abuse of my Polish ancestors? Can I sue the U.S. government for those “No Irish Need Apply” signs? Can I sue the Muslims for oppressing my Italian ancestors? The Turks for oppressing my Polish ancestors? The Protestants for abusing my Catholic ancestors? France abused my Italian ancestors under Napoleon, can I sue the Frogs? Exactly where does this end? A reparations suit might have been justified in 1865, but not now.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 15, 2002 | link


Sunday, April 14, 2002

On Reparations

I'll start with what I think is your best point, namely that suing for damages in the case of slavery constitutes an ex post facto law. This is interesting, but not quite accurate, since the suit wouldn't be brought in criminal court but civil, and wouldn't involve a law, but a tort. I'm no expert in this - ask me next year and I probably will be - but I believe that you can sue a chemical company over a product which proved harmful to you even if the product were perfectly legal at the time you came into contact with it. That's suing in the present for something which was legal in the past, but I don't such suits have been ruled unconstitutional.

It is absurd, however, to say that:

"Punishing a nation because it had not, in the 17th and 18th centuries, achieved the moral status of the 20th and 21st centuries is an abuse of moral and political power."

The United States was founded upon the principles of the Enlightenment, principles which through the Constitution and the Bill of Rights continue to shape its present - legally and politically. Freedom, liberty, and equality weren't Enlightenment ideas per se, in the sense that no one had thought of them before that. They were, however, current in the 18th century, just in time for the founding of our state. Think no one thought to apply them to the slaves? No one? C'mon, Lee Ann, you majored in history for God's sake. You know better than this. Play fair. And don't say patently absurd things like:

"Slavery was not an American aberration that defied the moral standards of the world. It was the normal state of being for most of the world. The War Between the States was one of the opening salvoes in the war to abolish slavery."

Slavery was not the normal state of affairs in most of the world. It defied  A) moral standards period, and B) the moral standards of most of the world. Russia freed its serfs before the US freed its slaves, and there were protests against serfdom in Russia long before that. You spent all that time encoding slave narratives. Weren't there a bunch of people running around up North - and even down South, if I'm not mistaken - who wanted to abolish slavery. Abolitionists or something. Pardon my historical memory lapses. Now real fast name all the Western European slave holding nations of 1850. One, two three, Go! Zero.

Even if no one in the entire world had come up with the startling proposition that slavery was wrong, all it would mean was that the world was ignorant of justice and blind to the suffering of others. This hardly constitutes a good excuse. Do we say that the Holocaust was just fine, because up until that point much of the world saw no problem with slaughtering large numbers of Jews? Do we say that the Germans bear no responsibility for what happened, because they weren't as morally evolved as they and we are now? What about
Osama bin Laden? Couldn't you argue that it's unfair to hold him accountable for his crime, since he comes from a corrupt, dictatorial state where the government robs from the people to give to itself, and plays into the hands of religious fanatics to keep itself in power? Poor Hitler. Poor Osama. Poor slave holders. So unjustly accused. The fact is that Hitler, Osama, and the slave holders all have something in common. They knew better, and if they didn't know better, they should have, and they are in either case responsible for their actions.

As for whom to sue, sue the United States government, and divide the money between all the living descendants of the slaves. The past isn't exonerated by the fact it's the past, and it is an immoral present which forgets that. Tadeusz Borowski wrote: "It is we who built the pyramids, hewed the marble for the temples and the rocks for the imperial roads...We were filthy and died real deaths. They were 'aesthetic' and carried on subtle debates...And we shall be forgotten, drowned out by the voices of the poets, the jurists, the philosophers, the priests." Borowski wrote that about the Holocaust, but I think it says something about slavery as well and our present. We are so much more moral now; we build museums in remembrance of other people's murders, and forget our own.

posted by Gena on Sunday, April 14, 2002 | link

Were Those Magic Grits?

Remember My Cousin Vinney? Was this magic evidence? The kind that only appears to Republican Congressmen and writers at the National Review? Where did they find it? At the same place Jack bought his bean? The American Spectator went bust trying to pin something on Clinton;  right-wing partisans hounded the man for eight straight years. The results of all these investigations, the smoking gun, the big pay off? Monica Lewinsky. That's it. Millions of dollars down the drain yields one White House intern. Yes, Clinton lied under oath. Yes, that's awful, but it isn't evidence that:

"Clinton and his wife participated in a sweetheart deal with a political ally in hopes of making big bucks."

If there had been any evidence for that, it would have been found. The only thing all those investigations proved was that Clinton had nothing to do with either Vince Foster or White Water. So when it comes to evidence, I may be on crack, but, dude, lay off the 'shrooms, acid, and LSD.

posted by Gena on Sunday, April 14, 2002 | link


Tragedy tonight (snicker) as a noble tree-sitter (giggle) fell to her death after protecting our wooden friends (snort) from a timber sale. Guffaw! I know I shouldn’t laugh. I tried not to. I really did. I can’t help it. Not even remembering the fact that this knocks me out of the Uncompassionate Conservative Office Pool for Tree-Sitter Splatting can’t stifle the schadenfreude. After doing a year-round rotation, 150 feet up, protecting the trees, those ungrateful towers of pre-lumber shucked the hippie as soon as her usefulness was over. In order to keep the inter-biological kingdom peace process on track, I will refrain from any “suicide mulching” of saplings.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, April 14, 2002 | link


Saturday, April 13, 2002

Great Forum.

Great job on the Forum. Congratulations to Gena's arch nemesis Gorgeous George, who wrote the first ever Forum post. Fittingly, he mocked Gena. Stop by the forum and mock Gena, er, I mean, have your say. I guess this means that the web-critters get to play Spank-A-Spinster now too.

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, April 13, 2002 | link

Lay Off The Crack Gena.

Gena has officially lost her mind. That is the only explanation I can come up with for why a rational person has suddenly let partisan prejudice turn her into a blithering idiot. Put some tin foil on your walls and pay attention.

1. Whitewater and Vince Foster – Whitewater is a case involving an alleged land swindle, not mass murder. There happens to be a great deal of evidence that Clinton and his wife participated in a sweetheart deal with a political ally in hopes of making big bucks. This is a case of definite misuse of political connections and possible fraud, but small potatoes compared to anything some other, more powerful, but less repulsive politicians have done. Again, there is evidence and a long paper trail to support Whitewater. As for Vince Foster, the problems the pod people have with this case is that the police force with jurisdiction was forced off the case and the less experienced park police were brought in instead and that blood spatter or some other such evidence was absent from the alleged death scene. I don’t put much credence in that, but that is what the conspiracy buffs say. There is significant evidence that Hillary and her cronies removed documents and files from Foster’s office after his death. Many of these files were under subpoena and were supposed to have been turned over to the courts. After denying that they had taken said documents, the papers were found in Hillary’s office with her fingerprints all over them. There is evidence of real wrongdoing on Hillary’s part (file removal). Again, there is EVIDENCE.

1a. If Democrats didn’t like Special Prosecutors, why’d they create the law authorizing their use?

2. McKinney has no point, she just makes unsubstantiated (and unsubstantiatable) claims of murder. Give me one shred of evidence to support Crazy Cindy’s slander? Why would very rich Bush 43 murder 3000 people to enable very rich Bush 41 to make a piddling amount of money? All Bush’s “secret courts” and other nefarious deeds were announced to the media, open for debate, and enacted using well established legal procedures. As for the elder Bush’s CIA tenure, if you think the CIA can find its own butt with 2 hands, you have been watching the X-Files too much.

The “conspiracies” regarding Clinton were supported by mounds of legal evidence, a fact that was conveniently ignored by the major news outlets. The ones that weren’t were put forward by political commentators and radio talk show hosts. McKinney made her accusations of mass murder and terrorism while speaking in her official function as a Congresswoman. Her statements not only carry the weight of her position, but will be used as propaganda in the Arab press. I had been describing you as a thinking liberal, but now it seems I’ll have to stop.

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, April 13, 2002 | link

The Forum Pioneer Award

Goes to the intrepid George Larson who braves the perils of new technology
to bring you this response to my Bush conspiracy theory. George makes a good point:

I do not think motive is enough to damn anyone. Aren’t there other types of data needed to prove a conspiracy or crime besides motive?

He's absolutely right. To prove a crime, you should have at least some solid evidence, inconvenient as that sometimes is. Launching the Special Prosecutor bot, however, only requires suspicion.

posted by Gena on Saturday, April 13, 2002 | link

Thanks to Lee Ann I've Learned That

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is suing a news agency for reporting that he dyes his hair. Apparently, he went so far as to extract sworn statements from his stylists saying that his hair was absolutely, by no means colored. The whole thing has wound up in court, where it could stay - for quite a while. To me that's taking vanity a bit far; not to mention that it shows a woeful disregard for free speech. Plus, the fact you would think he would have better things to do than sue somebody for the slanderous statement that he uses Just For Men.

posted by Gena on Saturday, April 13, 2002 | link


Friday, April 12, 2002

Spinsters Forum

Spank a Spinster, Use a Forum. The Spinsters Forum is now operational. Post your comments, rants, ravings, polemics and praise. Visit often, have fun, and in the grand Spinsters tradition, spank on!

posted by Gena on Friday, April 12, 2002 | link

Bastards, Get Your F**(^%CKING Pop Up Ads

Off my screen. Some "clever" nerd over at the Washington Post has obviously figured out that if you right center pop up ads, people can't click on the x box and get rid of them. This really makes me angry. Want to flash ads for cheap tickets at me -  fine, but if you don't let me get rid of them, you're trying to invade my computer, and I consequently have the right to defend myself. Someone should invent a firewall with a built in attack virus. People who disrespect their users get their sites crashed. As Lee Ann would say it's a bat for a brick.

posted by Gena on Friday, April 12, 2002 | link

Bore for 2004

Looks like Gore may run again. This is a wonderful idea. The great Tennessee stick returns.

posted by Gena on Friday, April 12, 2002 | link

Turn About's Fair Play

I hated Bill Clinton so much I joined the Green Party. That said after Whitewater and Vince Foster I find it somewhat ironic that the Republicans and conservatives are suddenly seizing the moral high ground of sanity and reason. After eight years of right wing conspiracy theories, all I have to say to the GOP and NRO is: what goes around comes around; suck it up. Plus I think McKinney has a point. George Bush has been the biggest beneficiary of 9/11, and his administration has certainly acted suspiciously. Closed courts, detention centers, and shipping people off to foreign countries where they can be safely tortured may protect national security, but they also protect the security of people with something to hide. Even the great Osama bin Laden confession tape was a bit suspicious, since it magically appeared right when people were starting to question whether there was any evidence linking Al Quaeda to the attacks. I'm not saying that it isn't possible that the military randomly stumbled upon the tape in a random house in Afghanistan, just that it was awfully convenient that theydid. And Osama bin Laden himself is sipping coconut juice on a tropical island in the Bahamas somewhere. Bush pere was head of the CIA, perhaps he called in a favor, "Hey, Osama blow something up." Far out? Sure, but not any more so than Vince Foster and Whitewater. Bush may be lucky; he may beparanoid, or he may have something to hide. Republicans introduced political hardball by special prosecutor. I say it's time for the Democrats to get off their fat asses and pick up the bat.

posted by Gena on Friday, April 12, 2002 | link

More on Crazy Cindy.

I addressed this malignant shrew earlier today, but I thought I’d add Jonah Goldberg’s take on Ms. McKinney’s lunatic ramblings. Here’s just the first sentence: “I don't mean to be such a pain in the ass to Cynthia McKinney (D., Ga.), but it appears this is the fastest route to her brain.”

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 12, 2002 | link

The Eternal Conundrum.

The Childofthe80s has asked the philosophical question of the age, if the Israelis invaded France would the French surrender? The answer is as follows:

The invading Israelis would slyly (they're devilish cunning) send in a Yiddish speaking cook as their vanguard. The French, mistaking Yiddish for German, would reflexively surrender. By the time they knew what had really happened, the Nouveau Vichy would be up and running.

Gena, I know we are in a moratorium (for the safety of ourselves and others) but I couldn’t resist. I am invoking Conservative Mandate No. 14372-B-42, which states that all agreements are null and void if an opportunity for Frog Stomping would thereby be missed. The moratorium may now continue. I knew you’d understand.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 12, 2002 | link

Como Usted Dice “Coup D’Etat?”

Hugo Chavez was forced out of office in a popular uprising after Chavez's gunmen opened fire on an opposition rally, killing 15. Soon after his election Chavez abolished the Venezuelan Congress and installed a puppet National Assembly which granted him ever more power. He nearly destroyed Venezuela’s oil industry (one of the country’s primary sources of income) and pushed the country towards a Castro style of dictatorship. The article mentions “his populist pro-Cuba policies” which must mean his strong-arm Communism. The article does not mention that Venezuela under Chavez has gone from being a South American economic powerhouse to being a regional basket-case. Goodbye and good riddance.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 12, 2002 | link

Great Jewish Pick-Up Lines.

“You’re safe, baby, I’m circumcised.”

Scientists have announced that uncircumcised penises are more likely to spread human papilloma virus than circumcised penises. Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the sexually transmitted virus that causes almost all cervical cancers. It seems that “taking a little off the top” could save your partner's life.

Sure it’s bad news for us Goyim, but the single’s bars in Israel must be hoppin’.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 12, 2002 | link

Paging Oliver Stone!

Cynthia McKinney, a Democrat from Georgia, has revealed what is either the end stages of paranoid schizophrenia or the results of a serious crack addiction by accusing President Bush of being an accomplice to 9/11. Crazy Cindy claims that W. knew of the attack in advance and let terrorists murder 3,000 people in order to make money for his pals. Yup, W. killed all them people so the consulting firm that employs George H. W. Bush could make a tidy profit off the destruction. Bear in mind this is the Georgia Congresswoman famous for having derided Rudy Giuliani for refusing to accept the 9/11 Fund donation of a Saudi sheik who said America had it coming. I could point to the total lack of any shred of evidence to support this theory, but then, what good conspiracy leaves such evidence behind. I can’t put it any better than Chris Ullman of Bush the Elder’s consulting group: "Did she say these things while standing on a grassy knoll in Roswell, New Mexico?"

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 12, 2002 | link

Well That Settles That!

You can stop biting your nails and tearing your hair out from stress, because Cornel West has decided to vamoose to Princeton. It seems he never got over Harvard’s President Summers’ impudent request that he, West, start doing some, well, how can I bring myself to repeat such an abomination, some . . . academic work! The nerve. Dr. West has better things to do than teach classes or do serious research. I mean, do you think those rap albums just write themselves?

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 12, 2002 | link

Reparations Are a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Thing.

The article you cite is interesting, as is the whole reparations discussion. Unfortunately, the whole exercise is foolish and destructive. The ex-slaves have an excellent, if not iron-clad, case for reparations against their former owners. Unfortunately, both the ex-slaves and ex-slave owners are all dead. There is no one alive today who can claim to be a slave or to have suffered from the institution. There is no one alive today who has directly, or perhaps even indirectly, profited from slavery.

I will address your second point first, and then get to the pay-off numbers. You allege that reparations would be a proper punishment for past misdeeds. I am second to nobody in denouncing the evil of slavery, but retroactively decreeing a common practice to be a cause for civil prosecution opens the same can of worms that the ICC does. We, as a nation, culture, and species, constantly grow in our moral astuteness and ethical sophistication. Punishing a nation because it had not, in the 17th and 18th centuries, achieved the moral status of the 20th and 21st centuries is an abuse of moral and political power. This is an excellent example of an ex post facto law. You allege that America stole labor from slaves. The problem with this is that to “steal” implies that a law pertaining to property rights has been violated. Slavery violated no such law because it, and the profits derived from it, was legal. Slavery was not an American aberration that defied the moral standards of the world. It was the normal state of being for most of the world. The War Between the States was one of the opening salvoes in the war to abolish slavery, a war that continues to this day in Africa and the Middle East.

“Nations often do bad things, and the question then becomes whether it is just that such nations escape punishment for their wrongful actions. If you hold that it is unjust, then the question becomes how do you punish a country.” The problem is that you are not punishing the “nation” you are punishing its innocent citizens. The money that was generated from (legal) slavery is long gone. The money the reparations lawyers would get would be money without the slightest taint of slavery attached to it. The same with the companies involved. They made money in a legal, socially acceptable way. Why should people who never perpetrated or condoned slavery be forced to pay for the sins of unrelated people. Most white Americans of the Antebellum era owned no slaves; the vast majority of modern white Americans are descended from post-1880s immigration. Are they exempted from reparations payments? What about descendants of Union soldiers? Haven’t they already paid in blood?

“The goal of justice in this case is not to: ‘make a victim “whole” —that is, to restore a person or a company to financial health, as if the wrongdoing had never occurred.’ ” Good, because there are no victims of slavery involved in this. All the slaves are dead. So are the only people who can be held accountable for their suffering. There is nobody to be made whole.

“ . . . as the author of the article contends, but rather the holding of states accountable for their actions, and of ensuring that a contemplated bad act in the present is heralded by the chill of the future.” It is impossible to hold the states legally accountable for slavery. At least, you cannot make a case against the states of the Confederacy. The state of Alabama, for example, is not a continuously existing entity from 1822 to now. The state ratified in 1822 was dissolved and was re-ratified and readmitted to the Union in 1866. The state that held slaves no longer exists and was replaced by a state where slavery has never existed. Sue New England or Kentucky if you want, but you have no case against the South. Again, states are not financially independent entities. Any moneys brought in by slavery are long gone and were only brought in when slavery was legal. I repeat: you are arguing for ex post facto lawsuits. How can you expect a nation or state to function if its every action is open to retroactive civil suits?

At some point the past has to be past.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 12, 2002 | link

Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect 1.6 Trillion Dollars.

Now we get to the pay-off. The figure of $97 trillion is based on estimates of the value of slave labor, which was never stolen because they never owned it in the first place. They never had legal right to their labor. They cannot sue for the accumulated value of what belonged (by law) to others. Again, I am an abolitionist, but we are discussing the law not morality. The figure of $1.6 trillion is a very large amount to be paid to people who never suffered any fiscal or physical injury. As for taking into account pain and suffering, the people suing were never in pain and have not suffered. They were not, are not, and (unless they move to Islamic North Africa) will never be slaves. I was never burned by McDonald’s coffee, can I sue them?

A different idea of how to address slavery reparations is put forth by the Spinster’s own stealth warrior, Andy: “One of the interesting things about tort law is that once the plaintiff is paid off, they don't get to come back and ask for more if they piss away the winnings, even if they're still in the sorry shape that they blamed on the plaintiff.”

“Also, the plaintiff typically gets to count any pre-payments against the total judgement. The "reparations bill" is between a couple of trillion and a hundred trillion depending on what rate of interest we use. . . . The US has already spent a few trillion that arguably should count as pre-payment. Maybe it can also get some credit for the Union soldiers as well (and their "value" should be subject to the same rate of interest as the damages).”

“At some price, that's a better deal than what we've got now. Of course, the ‘it's a tort’ folks may well argue that this is a special tort, that it shouldn't be subject to the normal rules. Encouraging them to make that argument explicitly would help the debate, satisfying yet another of their goals.”

I assume that the “pre-payments” Andy mentions are in the form of Welfare and Affirmative Action. If we go Andy’s route, I say find for the plaintiffs and give them the symbolic award of $1.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 12, 2002 | link


Thursday, April 11, 2002

On the ICC

I think it's a wonderful idea. I have severe reservations, however, whether the reality deserves such an adjective, but I'm still reading through all the documents. From what I've read the Court is an improvement over justice by George, but not much of one. I'll let you know what my final verdict is, however.

posted by Gena on Thursday, April 11, 2002 | link

Here's an Article From the Economist

On slavery reparations. The article itself is a whole lot of sound and fury signifying close to nothing - it's hard to calculate the damages ex slaves would be due? Thanks for the information. On the other hand, it does contain this interesting figure. University of Chicago economist Robert Fogel estimates that the cost of slavery is:

"a cumulative bill for slaves' expropriated wages of $24 billion in 1860.

Compound interest on this sum for 142 years has a massive effect. A risk-free interest rate of 6% a year, which iswhat Mr Fogel estimates is the long-term rate, brings the cost to $97 trillion, more than nine times the size ofAmerica's economy today. Awarding interest of just 3% a year would cut the total bill to $1.6 trillion, not far fromdamages cited in the current lawsuit. These figures are merely for lost wages. They do not take into account otherpain and suffering caused by slavery, which is harder to calculate."

This is the beauty of court. Nations often do bad things, and the question then becomes whether it is just that such nations escape punishment for their wrongful actions. If you hold that it is unjust, then the question becomes how do you punish a country. You can hardly throw it in jail. You can, however, make it pay. The goal of justice in this case is not to:

"make a victim “whole”—that is, to restore a person or a company to financial health, as if the wrongdoing had never occurred"

as the author of the article contends, but rather the holding of states accountable for their actions, and of ensuring that a contemplated bad act in the present is heralded by the chill of the future.

posted by Gena on Thursday, April 11, 2002 | link

Identity Crisis

Several years ago when I was a first year grad student at UNC, I took a course on the literature of the concentration camps - Soviet and Nazi. I would take the bus from my apartment, and before class I would buy a scone at one of the cafes on Franklin Street. Never having any cash, I would have to stop off at the ATM, and being somewhat, ah, absent minded I would invariably leave my card. The machine would beep, my card would still be in it, and all my money would be but a button click away. It was early in the morning. There weren't many people around. No one would have noticed had someone quietly steppedup and punched those buttons. My card, however, was always waiting for me at the bank when aroundlunch time; I discovered I had spent my cash, and needed funds. If you study concentration camp literature - memoirs, novels, plays, histories, court records, testimonies, etc - what you find is that atrocities are quite often carried out by quite ordinary people. The question came to haunt me. Was I simply lucky with my card? Lucky that everyone who walked down that sidewalk was honest? Were the victims of the concentration camps simply unlucky? Unlucky that the people loading the cars were murderers? Were the people walking down Franklin Street simply better? I didn't think so; and the question as to why has dominated my thinking for the past three years. Ian Baruma has also done some thinking about identity. Baruma says some really stupid things, but then he gets to Tom Hayden and things start to roll.

posted by Gena on Thursday, April 11, 2002 | link

Beware the Delta Entente!

Those Fearless Mississippians, led by the Ole Miss Conservative, have formed the Delta Entente. The purpose of said Entente is to defend and advance the power of the mighty state of Mississippi. They promise to be a worthy ally of the Axis of Weevil. So, if you are a proud ‘Sippian or now someone who is, go to Entente Headquarters and report for duty.

This could spread throughout the South! Imagine it: the Peach State Partisans, the Palmetto Resistance. With a strong Magnolia Bloc, the South could take over the world!

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, April 11, 2002 | link

Throw Down Your Rights and Come Out with Your Hands Up!

The dreaded International Criminal Court is now a reality. The necessary 60 nations will soon ratify it, so we have to deal with it. We haven’t ratified it, but that doesn’t matter. Even nonratifying nations are subject to the ICC. It effectively negates our national sovereignty. Americans will lose almost all of our Constitutional rights under the rules of the ICC. We are just about the only nation that is expected to give up most of our legal rights and protections!

The ICC has no built in mechanism for preventing the politicization of the tribunal process. Look at the supporting examples given by pro-ICCers. They talk about how people like Pinochet would be tried, but not a word about the blood-drenched monsters of the Iron Curtain. Then again, the Communists committed “crimes against humanity” that the Europeans approve of. What’s to keep the ICC from becoming a political weapon of unelected EU ideologues? This is not a group of people who are known for their rousing defense of individual liberty. The EU bureaucrats have likened criticism of the EU to blasphemy. Recently, a man who put up a couple of anti-EU posters got banned from 16 nations. Banned from 16 countries for criticizing the EU!

The biggest danger from the ICC is “mission creep.” Mission creep is where something intended to have a certain limited function gets gradually expanded to other, unintended uses. Take Social Security numbers. They were originally meant for use only in connection with Social Security functions. Now they are a de facto I.D. number. Tried to cash a check lately? Imagine this kind of mission creep writ large. There simply aren’t enough real “war crimes” or “crimes against humanity” to sustain a permanent tribunal. That giant appointed (did you really think anybody would get to vote on this?) bureaucracy will have to find some way to fill its docket and justify its expensive existence. The ICC will no doubt be dominated by the same unelected bureaucratic aristocracy that runs the EU. Their visceral hatred of America is well known. Will they really hesitate to display their “superiority” by targetting Americans for tribunals? Maybe military actions that have become unfashionable with the European elite will come under scrutiny. Maybe unpopular superpowers will get “taken down a notch.”

What the ICC does not provide are some petty little details that we ornery Americans have gotten too used to. Things the European justice systems don’t have. Things like the assumption of innocence, the right to confront your accuser, and the right to compel witnesses to testify in your favor. Remember that protection against Double Jeopardy? That’s gone too. The ICC has final say over all criminal cases, so if they don’t like the verdict reached by American courts, they can just steal you away to the Hague and keep trying you until the get the verdict they want. Americans will lose almost all our Constitutional rights under the rules of the ICC. The ICC does not seem to have any independent appeals process. In fact, there don’t seem to be any checks on ICC power.

OK, so unelected knee-jerk anti-American bureaucrats get to decide (in retrospect) if America did anything they (after the fact) dislike while saving their butts from danger? Sounds like justice to me. Exactly how much control over our justice system will they end up getting? Capital Punishment will be the first thing they d away with. The fact that it has been democratically enacted by the will of the American people won’t matter a bit. They don’t pay attention to the voters of their own nations, why should they respect ours? Heck, they don't respect the rights of their own peoples, so why think they would respect ours?

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, April 11, 2002 | link


I am also getting quite bored with the I/P conflict. I’m all for a moratorium, but I don’t advise going into Arabs in Europe. The Spanish Inquisition, while interesting, is also lost in a maze of anti-Spanish and anti-Catholic propaganda. A wretched thing it was, but it wasn’t all what we have often been led to believe. I say just leave it alone, there are far too many new books on the subject coming out and anything we say would be out of date by morning. As a history person, I hate being inaccurate, almost as much as I hate being wrong. Then again, inaccurate is wrong. Let’s not and say we did. Besides, it would get too religious a discussion. What about the ICC? We could have a ball with that!

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, April 11, 2002 | link

One Thing . . .

Great post on Sci-Fi and overinterpretation. I do think “genre” fiction has value, but as second tier literature. I’m not one of those “Literature-with-a-capital-L” people, but I do think that there is a difference between great literature and a mere great read. Great reads can be great literature and great literature is often a great read. Appreciate a book for what it is, not what it fails to be. Just so long as you read. Again, great post.

My one critique is thus: it’s Danielle Steel, not Daniel. I don’t like her writing, but I do have a certain respect for her. I read in Vogue that she has written 72 books and raised 9 children. Anybody who can find the time or energy to write 72 books, of any quality, while raising 9 kids is one heck of a person. Color me impressed.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, April 11, 2002 | link


Wednesday, April 10, 2002

It's the Wild West of Literary Taste

Thanks to postmodernism and the assault on the literary cannon, you may now like anything so long as you are articulate enough to defend it. Want to defend Daniel Steele against all comers - don't you dare think that's a pun - you have only to set up the right theoretical frame work. Of course, if you can prove that Daniel serves a valuable social function, you can save yourself the trouble.

I will admit to something. I like science fiction. I like it the same way I like Girl Scout cookies. I know there are better things I could be doing with my appetite, but somehow I just can't stop myself - just one cookie, just one book. I don't however delude myself into thinking that Samoas are more nutritious than a salad, and I certainly would not write something like this:

"At its best, the genre *(science fiction) fulfills many functions: to entertain, certainly -- otherwise it will not be read -- but also to instruct, to stimulate, and to warn. No other branch of fiction satisfies so well those multiple objectives."

Greg Bear a more stimulating writer than Kafka? Mr. Sheffield must be on crack - or have eaten too many cookies.

posted by Gena on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 | link

Two Day Moratorium on the Palestinians/ Israelis

Fun as this has been, I've had enough. I agree with Lee Ann on one thing. It's getting monotonous, at least it is for me. There are several things I would like to address, Arabs in Europe and the Spanish Inquisition being two, but well if you want to know more about them you can bloody well read your high school history book. I'm not going to write anything about the Israelis, Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, or Muslims until Friday. Yes, that's deserting the field, but darn it I'm taking a furlough to the oasis of other things. You may find me there with an imaginary martini and a coconut.

posted by Gena on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 | link

The Search for Common Ground

I'm always up for a joke. Perhaps, you can explain what exactly is so hilarious about this.

The Middle East Media Working Group initiates activities with regional media professionals to improve communication across borders, increase regional understanding, and encourage journalists to challenge their own biases and stereotypes while using the media as a tool for peace rather than for exacerbating conflicts. The meetings we have held with editors and journalists from the Middle East have yielded such projects as ongoing roundtable forums, joint publications, exchanges of editors, training of journalists, and more.

In July 1994, Search for Common Ground in the Middle East initiated the Media Working Group with a preliminary meeting of Arab, Iranian, Israeli and Turkish media representatives in co-sponsorship with the Turkish Umut Foundation, the Israeli Tami Steinmetz Center, the Egyptian Ibn Khaldoun Center, and the European organizations World Media and Med Media. The results
were encouraging: transnational working relationships developed; exchanges of articles were established; understanding of different points of view was deepened; and the seeds of further cooperation were planted.

Based on the advice received, we convened a Meeting of Middle Eastern Editors and Media Professionals in June 1996 in The Hague and a follow-on meeting in February 1997 in Paris. The Hague meeting was hosted by the Dutch Foreign Ministry, and the Paris meeting by UNESCO with additional support from the Dutch and USIA. These meetings involved the heads of newspapers and journals as well as television and radio executives from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia,
Turkey, Yemen, London, France and the United States.
For all of those present, these meetings represented the first time that a group of such caliber from across the region had come together.

If your goal is to:

"encourage journalists to challenge their own biases and stereotypes while using the media as a tool for peace rather than for exacerbating conflicts"

Then it seems perfectly reasonable that you would invite journalists from around the region to your meetings. I fail to see how this is so laughable. Just as a side note, I didn't cite the Nation (notice there's no link). The Nation was mentioned by Prof. Brown in his letter, and it seemed to me dishonest to quote the letter and leave out that part of it. If Brown does have a bias, then Spinsters readers should know about it, and they can decide that for themselves by reading his site.

The Center for Common Ground, however, seems legit to me, as does the study of PA textbooks mentioned on its web site.

The funding for the study came from:

The Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The United States Institute of Peace



In other words, from a jewish university, an American NGO and the UN, the entity without which Israel would not exist. The authors of the study were a Palestinian and an Israeli, as opposed to the author of the CMIP study who was not only an Israeli, but one it would seem with some pretty strong nationalist beliefs. In fact all of the leaders of the CMIP are Israelis, something which doesn't inspire confidence in
the CMIP's assertion that it's "studying" peace. From what I've seen and what I've read, it seems to me that the CMIP is an organization whose primary agenda is the undermining of the peace process, or what in any event was the peace process. Between the two the CFCG seems a lot more credible.

posted by Gena on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 | link

While I’m At It . . .

I thought I’d do what I’d been meaning to do, which is to do a round-up of the blogs I have permalinked along with the reasons I did so. I think I’ve violated some blogger protocol by not doing so, but good ol’ Alabama manners inspire me to do so now.

Sgt. Stryker – Did you have to ask? He’s become as essential as the Blogfather. Great insights from a military point of view. Besides, I love John Wayne.

Amy Welborn – A great Catholic blog. For matters of faith and other important stuff, she rocks. Her reporting of The Scandal is the best.

EveTushnet and Holy Weblog – also good Catholic blogs. Well worth regular visits.

Louder Fenn – yet another Catholic blog. More philosophical than most. Deals a lot with faith and literature. Much fun to be had.

Tal G. in Jerusalem – if you haven’t gone, go now. Find out what it’s like to not know if you are going to get blown up while running mundane errands. Life amongst the suicide bombers is surreal.

Sursum Corda – one of the best Catholic sites out there. A “blog of obligation,” for those of you who understand what that means.

Onealism – the blog of a (mostly) humble parish priest. He’s from North Carolina too. I go every few days. You should too.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 | link

‘Sippians Rule!

Not as much as Bama-babies do, but they rock nonetheless. Let the Ole Miss Conservative enlighten you on the greatness of Mississippi and on everything else as well. Perhaps there is a “Delta Entente” in the works? One can only hope.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 | link


David Brooks, of Bobos in Paradise fame, has written on the bourgeoisophobia of Europe and the Middle East. What is “bourgeoisophobia” you ask? It is the “hatred held by people who feel they are spiritually superior but who find themselves economically, politically, and socially outranked.” In other words, the lament of the Islamofascist and the Euroweenie. Hating the success they cannot emulate and retreating into a self-perpetuating fantasy of spiritual superiority, the bourgeoisophobes nurture a nihilistic rage that destroys but cannot create.

The especial objects of their hatred are America and the Jews, the two most successful peoples in world history. These two peoples must be destroyed to expiate the sin of success. Brooks places the bourgeoisophobe rationale for such hatred as thus: “They [the bourgeoisophobes] have only their nihilistic rage, their envy mixed with snobbery, their snide remarks, their newspaper distortions, their conspiracy theories, their suicide bombs and terror attacks--and above all, a burning sense that the rising, vibrant, and powerful peoples of America and Israel must be humiliated and brought low.” Their overarching sense of self-superiority demands the blood sacrifice for those who represent all that they themselves cannot be. “In the bourgeoisophobe's mind, the people and nations that do succeed are not just slightly vulgar, not just over-compensated, not just undeservedly lucky. They are monsters, non-human beasts who, in extreme cases, can be blamelessly killed.” Their fragile egos demand nothing less.

The bourgeoisophobes waver between extremes of brutality and aestheticism. There is primal rage and otherworldly contemplativeness and nothing in between. Thus “the bourgeoisophobes split into two schools. One, which might be called the brutalist school, seeks to reclaim the raw, masculine vitality that still lies buried at the virile heart of human nature. The other, which might be called the ethereal school, holds that a creative minority can rise above prosaic bourgeois life into a realm of contemplation, feeling, art, sensibility, and spiritual grace.” Anyone who is not a brute or an angel is a reactionary thing to be eliminated. Brooks’ identification and analysis of this mind-set is an example of why he has gained such respect as a social commentator.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 | link

A Thing of Beauty Is a Joy on the Gridiron.

Click here for Tom Brady, QB of the amazing Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, with his shirt off. Prepare to drool.

Oh no! It’s Sports Illustrated’s cover! Not the dreaded SI cover jinx! Anything but that! Those foul demons, trying to sabotage New England’s new season. Die, Sports Illustrated, die! Die!

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 | link


Tuesday, April 09, 2002

As to His Holiness.

What contradiction? Maybe you ought not to post on matters of religion because you are starting to embarrass yourself. Both the Pope and Mark Steyn are entitled to their opinions. The Pope’s statements regarding the Israeli situation are wrong. I’m not on any hot coals for saying that. I am not contradicting myself by asserting this. My statement about the Pope weeding out loonies was an explanation of the theological attitudes of Muslims and Catholics. The statement occurred during a discussion of theology. The statement you quote above refers to politics, which to Catholics are different things.

You obviously misunderstand the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. The Pope is not infallible in all his statements. His Holiness only speaks with infallibility when speaking ex cathedra on matters of theology and dogma. That means he is infallible when speaking in his official capacity as the head of Christ’s Body on Earth, the Catholic Church, and as Christ’s Representative. His opinions on politics, movies, Hegel, or his favorite Iron Chef are all matters of opinion and can be disagreed with with impunity. I can disagree with the Pope’s geopolitical theories, but not with the Humanae Vitae. When the Pope enunciates a point of church doctrine, ex cathedra, it is binding on all Catholics. If he says that Haruki Murakami’s latest literary effort is sub-par, that is a personal opinion and is binding to nobody, not even the Vatican librarian.

For the record, the Pope’s history of resistance to the Nazis, Fascists, Communists, and other madmen of the 20th century has left him with a valuation of human life which is absolutist to the extreme. I don’t think even you are as far out morally absolutist on non-killing as His Holiness is. Life is sacred at its beginnings (no abortion) to its end (no euthanasia, capital punishment), no exceptions. His moral view is consistent and actually much stricter on capital punishment than is the Church Herself. He has dipped into moral relativism before, when that gunman murdered a couple of the Swiss Guards. He has long held the relatively pro-Palestinian ideas you cite, but is also one of Israel’s (and Judaism’s) strongest supporters. There are also the issues of the Church of the Nativity and the 50 hostages inside it to deal with. His Holiness would like to see both survive this present conflict.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 | link

Yup, The Internet is Great.

Your vaunted CMIP says (in 2001) that the Palestinians have not altered their attitudes towards Israel and that there is no sign of these Israel neutral textbooks. In fact, they say “After reviewing 58 textbooks being used in the Palestinian Authority school system for the years 2000-2002, the CMIP found no mention of Israel - which is perceived as a usurper or occupier - or its right to exist. Neither is there any mention of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, nor any reference to the land of Israel, its cities or villages, on maps, said CMIP vice chairman Yohanan Manor.” Seems your information is based on Arafat’s double talk, not on fact.

As for Search for Common Ground, those people are hilarious. Did you read how they are working with the “most influential journalists” from “Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen, London, France and the United States.” As if the government controlled mouthpieces of dictatorships like Iraq, Iran, Egypt, or Palestine were just as free and independent as the media in America or England. Journalists in the first three countries on that list can be killed for publishing anything considered to be even remotely critical of their respective dictators. The organization also appears to make no differentiation between free democracies and violently repressive “strongman” regimes.

Their funding seems to come from a lot of U.N. organizations. The U.N. is pretty famous for being strongly anti-Israel. Remember the Durban conference? Remember how the elected Syria to the Human Rights Commission? Many of their Foundation backers (i.e. the MacArthur, Rockefeller, Pew, Hewlett, etc.) are known for being quite leftist. The SFCG doesn’t seem to be all that disinterested a party.

You say Opinionjournal is biased and then cite the Nation!?! Yup, the Nation is known for its unbiased, Israel-neutral commentary. Your liberal position is correct because it was cited in a limousine liberal vanity rag. Trust-funder Katrina Vanden Heuvel’s Nation that is. That reminds me. I’ve been seeing a lot of Nation ads which feature Sam Waterston. That brings to mind an old Vanity Fair column on “culture vultures.” Culture vultures are those people who use “culture” the way the Victorians used olive forks, as a way to differentiate the worthy “us” from the uncouth “them." One of the culture vulture requirements was a love for anything that features Sam Waterston in a stove-pipe hat. That’s a reference to “Lincoln,” a deservedly forgotten snooze-fest starring ol’ Sam. Came to mind.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 | link

From the Infallible Mark Steyn

"Meanwhile, the Pope 'rejects unjust conditions and humiliations imposed on the Palestinian people as well as the reprisals and revenge attacks which do nothing but feed the sense of frustration.'"

Didn't someone I know say recently:

One of the benefits that Catholics enjoy, and most other religions (i.e. Islam, Protestantism, etc.) don’t, is a Pope and College of Cardinals. They weed out the loonies.

So either someone is wrong about the above statement, or someone needs to refer the Pope to Mr. Steyn with the phrase "Your Holiness, if you read one thing I post, read this." Oh, how to extricate oneself from the hot coals of contradiction.

posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 | link

French People Piss Me Off!

Hi, my name is Lee Ann and I hate France. These guys hate France too. My kinda guys. For all your Frog hating needs, see Francesucks.net. The site is hilarious, but be warned, these guys are in college and it shows. Especially check out the Urgent page. All the Froggie travel info you could ever need. Not that any sane person would want to visit a country where the natives eat snails or, worse, speak French.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 | link

This is Why the Internet Rocks

Prof. Nathan Brown wrote me back in regard to my query about the location of his study of Palestinian textbooks. Here's what he says:

You can look at my website ... for the material (including a link to CMIP's response to me and my counter-response to them).

You might also want to check out the Search for Common Ground News Service. They ran a recent column by Ruth Firer and Sami Adwan that had similar
conclusions to mine.  And Fouad Mughrabi had a piece in the Nation a year or so ago.

posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 | link

Phil of It.

This tears up ol’ Donahue good. It’s hilarious. Read it. You will not regret it. Trust me. Read it.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 | link

Textbook Deception.

1994, huh? After 8 years, you’d think those textbook would have materialized. If they ever existed that is. Arafat and his cronies have a tendency to tell the West what it wants to hear, while telling the Muslims (in Arabic) what they really mean. Where are these textbooks? How come nobody has seen them? How come no recognized Middle East experts have seen them?

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 | link


Monday, April 08, 2002

Trouble in Textbook Land

Remember our discussion about Palestinian textbooks? I said the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace looked about as credible as a kangaroo in court, well lo and behold golly gee wow, it turns out sometimes a bit of suspicion pays. George Washington University Political Science professor Nathan Brown also looked at the Palestinian Authority textbooks. Here's some of what he had to say.

"Upon assuming responsibility over Palestinian education in 1994, the Palestinian Authority (PA) restored the Jordanian and Egyptian curriculum in their entirety as an interim measure.This included the use of books that contained sharply anti-Israeli and even anti-Semitic material. It is based on these books that the strongest charges have been levied. Criticisms of that decision are fair, but must be viewed in conjunction with the following facts:

* The PA determined from the beginning to replace these books and formed a curriculum development center to draft a new set of books. This decision came not as a response to international pressure but instead was a Palestinian initiative (though some international funding was available). The plan developed by that center has proceeded according to schedule.

* The PA issued a series of National Education books for grades 1-6 to supplement the Egyptian and Jordanian books while the new books were being written. Those books were devoid of any anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli material.

* Oddly, Israel allowed the offensive Jordanian books to be used in the East Jerusalem schools but barred the innocuous PA-authored books, probably fearful that use of the PA books would be an implicit recognition of sovereignty.

* The new curriculum is now going into effect. The first and sixth grade textbooks were introduced in 2000. The second and seventh grade books were introduced in 2001. Books for the remaining grades will be introduced two at a time until the entire school system has switched over.

In short, the PA should be credited with removing racist and anti-Semitic material from the curriculum, not for maintaining it. And international assistance has supported replacement of the offensive material, not its composition.

I haven't been able to find the full text of Brown's study, though I know it's somewhere out in cyber land and will link it when I find it. You can, however, read the CMIP's response to Brown, and Brown's response to the CMIP.

posted by Gena on Monday, April 08, 2002 | link

Red Light Scameras Revisited.

Fear not, devoted Spinsterians, I haven’t forgotten to complete my rant on the infamous red light Scameras. Stealing your privacy and your money, they could be coming to your town. Are you ready to feel safer? Read on.

Using statistics compiled by less than disinterested scientists, the red light Big Brother wannabes are teaming with insurance companies to ensure that both profit from your loss. The police make money off automated tickets, the camera companies make money off the police, and the insurance companies make money off the higher premiums you have to pay because of the points assessed to your license. Everybody wins. Except you, of course. What did you expect, serf?

The best part is that the cameras’ biggest booster, Richard Retting, has done little but prove how flawed his own premise is. “Retting has asserted that too little yellow time causes people to run red lights inadvertently, that nearly four-fifths of red-light runners do so less than a second after the light changes, that over one-third of red-light running incidents are alcohol related, and that one-fourth of the people cited by the cameras aren't driving during the infraction.” The only long-term study of camera effectiveness found that there was no decrease in accidents. In fact, just the opposite is true, as people braked to avoid getting ticketed and got rear-ended. Read the article to find out all the scientific chicanery Retting engages in to force reality to match his desired outcome. Of course, he’s not the only one. The cops ignore the evidence of dramatically increased rear-end collisions in their own studies in order to justify their new ATMs, oops, I mean, safety devices.

But none of that matters because we, the tax (and ticket) payers love the cameras. That must be why we keep voting for politicians who promise to remove them. Well, we should love them. We should also love a swift kick in the head, but for some reason we don’t. The cops love the cameras though. Not the cops who get ticketed while responding to emergency calls, but who needs quick a response to crime when we can have so much ever-lovin’ safety. Speaking of why we subjects, I mean, citizens ought to love the cameras, read this: “High Point contracts with Electronic Data Systems, which subcontracts with PEEK Traffic. A big, happy family, the three entities have formed SafeLight. If a High Point citizen wants to appeal a photo ticket, he first has to pay a $50 'bond' (presumption of innocence be damned). But when a motorist heads into traffic adjudication, he meets not a judge or even a lawyer, but rather a college professor, hired to appear disinterested in the outcome. The professors are paid from the funds generated by red-light camera tickets, and the hearings are held not in court, but at SafeLight's offices, a fact that even a disinterested professor might find interesting.”

Gosh, I feel so safe now. Just knowing how our police and politicians are protecting my rights and my person is just inspiring. I’d show my gratitude, but those cameras are in bullet-proof cases.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 08, 2002 | link

I Wish I Could Write Like This.

Here is Mark Steyn laying down the law on pro-Palestinian idiocy. He points out the hypocrisy and bigotry, the pretentiousness and the shallowness. As I can’t improve on a word he says, I’ll just give some choice out-takes.

“All civilized people can agree that killing Jews is wrong. Well, killing six million of them 60 years ago is wrong. Killing a couple of dozen every 48 hours or so, that's a different matter.”

“There won't be a Second Holocaust in Europe, if only because they did such a thorough job last time round.”

"The problem now for the Arabs is that they cannot rid themselves of the Jews by conventional military means: They have tanks, missiles, aircraft, but every time they use them against Israel, they lose. So their chosen weapon is the Palestinians: Effectively, they've designated the West Bank as one big suicide bomb to take out the Jews. Either it'll wear them down by attrition -- there are already signs that young Israelis are drifting into a 'post-Zionist' fatalism -- or it will hold them until the finishing touches are put to that eagerly awaited Muslim nuke: Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of those famous Iranian moderates, has already said that on that fast approaching day when the Muslim world gets nuclear weapons the Jewish question will be settled forever."

“The interesting thing about ‘Palestinians’ is that so few of the West Bank Arabs thought of themselves as such before 1967. It post-dates the founding of the PLO: Palestine had a national liberation movement before it had a nationality.”

“To those who always complain that I weep for Jewish children but not Muslim ones, let me say I weep for Ayat Mohammed al-Akhras, the straight-A high-school student who blew herself up in a supermarket last week. She spent eight years in a toxic education system run by Yasser Arafat, she grew up in a culture that glorifies human sacrifice promoted by Yasser Arafat, she was recruited by subordinates of Yasser Arafat, supplied with explosives paid for by Yasser Arafat, and dispatched as a human bomb with the blessing of Yasser Arafat. I weep for every Arab child so perverted by a contemptible cowardly old man.”

"There are two sides in this struggle: One is prepared to offer land, the other is prepared to offer 'the right to exist.' That argument should have been settled six decades ago. As it says on the wall at Dachau, 'Never Again.' "

Gena, if you read one thing I post, read this.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 08, 2002 | link

Sowell Patrol.

Thomas Sowell, intellectual god, is here defending those poor, unpopular economists. Seems economists are always reminding people of things they don’t want to hear. Things like: Everything that politicians and voters say we “ought” to have carries a price – a price which has to be paid whether you like it or not, and possibly in ways you never intended. Sowell provides the economic rain that needs to fall on every politician’s parade.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 08, 2002 | link

Saddam Screws Up.

Saddam Hussein has cut off oil exports to show solidarity with the Palestinians. Oh no, we’re doomed! Gas lines like in the 70’s! Suffering! Poverty! Wait, what’s that I hear? Is that you Vladimir? You say that Russia can increase production to meet any demand? Ask about great deals on bulk purchases you say? I guess Saddam forgot that America gets most of its imported oil from elsewhere. We can buy from Russia, the Caucasus, or South America. We could even drill out those silted up wells in Texas. Heck, there’s always ANWR. Even if the entire Middle East cuts production, we can get plenty of oil. They need the oil revenues far more than we need their oil. What this does do, however, is give Bush yet another reason to topple this madman. Bad move, Sad-dumb.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 08, 2002 | link

Arafat Round-Up.

Oh look! Yasser Arafat has been counterfeiting money. I thought only criminal organizations or nations at war did that. Counterfeit money undermines the economy of the nation whose money is faked. Is Yasser a gangster or a man at war? If he’s a gangster, send him to prison. If he’s a leader of a nation at war, the Israelis have every right to launch a military campaign against him.

Actually, the raid on Ramallah has done exactly what the Israelis hoped it would do, i.e. unearth incontrovertible evidence of Arafat’s continued terrorism. The Israelis have uncovered documents in Arafat’s handwriting ordering the funds for bombers. There are invoices for weapons banned at Oslo. There are even publicity materials to celebrate the “martyred” suicide bombers.

Arafat has also forbidden the gunmen holed up in the Church of the Nativity to negotiate or surrender. About 240 terrorists are holding 40-50 priests and nuns hostage along with the place of Christ’s birth. The gunmen continue to fire on Israeli troops and have killed the church’s bell-ringer. The Israelis are offering to let anyone to leave the church unharmed, but the terrorists keep shooting. What do the Israelis do in response? Here’s what they do: “ ‘We in the IDF understand the symbolism of Bethlehem to the people of the world,’ said Col. Miri Eisen, a senior IDF intelligence officer. ‘That is why the chief of General Staff has given a direct order to the forces fighting in Bethlehem to hold fire on religious structures.’ " Arafat has no such scruples. Do you seriously expect this terrorist chieftan to make peace?

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 08, 2002 | link

This is Getting Monotonous.

How many times can you be wrong in the same way on the same issues? Let’s examine the case of “Gena.” Just when I think you have attained a modicum of sanity, you flip out again.

“Just because a religion says something does not mean that you have to accept or act upon it, in order to be a believer in that religion.” Yes it does. That’s the point of having a religion, believing something definite, not making it up as you go along. If it’s in the Scriptures, it tends to be a non-negotiable point. Scripture can be misinterpreted, which is why we have theologians and other experts who can help differentiate between the godly and the psycho. One of the benefits that Catholics enjoy, and most other religions (i.e. Islam, Protestantism, etc.) don’t, is a Pope and College of Cardinals. They weed out the loonies. Don’t look Gena, your atheism is showing.

“But what if the Muslims controlled Italy, and there were a ‘distinct minority’ of them who wanted to tear down the Vatican?” There are. They also want to destroy frescoes depicting L’Inferno because it shows Mohammed in one of the lower circles of hell. The carabiniere keeps them under control. Muslims in Italy have found it to rather unwise to mess with the carabiniere. Bad analogy all around. You can’t rebuild what was never there, and when Catholics are under Muslim control, they don’t live long enough to have refugee camps. Destroying places of worship and replacing them with your own has been far more characteristic of Islam than of any other religion. You might want to look into Muslim activity in Europe, it’s chillingly Medieval.

I don’t agree with the Mitchell Report version, but let’s assume it’s accurate. If Arafat can use holy sites for political purposes, why can’t Sharon? If you think its OK for Arafat to do it, why are you condemning Sharon? Sharon made the political statement that Jews should be able to visit the Temple Mount whenever they want. He reasserted the Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. What is wrong with that? No previous Arab rulers or people denied that reality. Even when the Muslims had their periodic pogroms, they never denied the history of the Temple Mount. By the way, have you ever heard of Hebron? It’s the town where the Tomb of the Patriarchs is. The site is holy to both Jews and Muslims, but Jews never seem to go there any more. That’s because they are forbidden from entering their own sacred sites. The Palestinians won’t allow it. The Palestinians are reported to be destroying the parts of the Tomb of the Patriarchs that are “too Jewish.” Maybe Sharon was right to call attention to the Palestinians abuse of the holiest sites in the Holy Land.

By the way, the West Bank has been under Palestinian control for ten years! Israel hasn’t occupied the West Bank in a decade. The suffering of the West Bank Palestinians is 100% Arafat’s fault. If the Palestinians are in a lousy spot, maybe that is the fault of the guy who has been in charge of their lands. By the way, Arafat’s term in office ran out a couple of years ago. He decided to “extend” his term in office. Never bothered with those pesky elections either.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 08, 2002 | link


Sunday, April 07, 2002

The Blairing Bush

Tony Blair has indicated he'll join Bush in an attack on Iraq. Sadam for his part said that he would fight back by any means possible - including airplanes.

posted by Gena on Sunday, April 07, 2002 | link

The Great Big Israeli/ Palestinian Grab Bag

Just so we can keep on givin' all you folks who drifted in here lookin' for a fight what you want, welcome to round 68. As always it's the Israelis on the right, the Palestinians on the left, and the civilians in the middle.

As for Hitler, he was a PAGAN.

You're right; that was sloppy of me. So Hitler ist das Heidentum, und das Heidentum ist Hitler? The point I was trying to make  is still valid. Just because a religion says something does not mean that you have to accept or act upon it, in order to be a believer in that religion. So even if the Koran does say that about Jews, Muslims could still take it with, well, a grainof salt.

The Israelis who want to tear down the Al Aqsa mosque are in a distinct minority in Israel.

True. But what if the Muslims controlled Italy, and there were a "distinct minority" of them who wanted to tear down the Vatican? I'd wager most Catholics would be worried, especially if most Catholics lived in refugee camps under Muslim control., and especially if the Catholics knew that rebuilding
a mosque on the site of the Vatican was one of the central dreams of Muslims - whether most of them would act on it or not. Maybe I'm way off here, but I have a nasty feeling that under those circumstances the Vatican would quickly become a bone of contention.

Why shouldn’t Sharon visit the Temple Mount?

Well, he didn't exactly go up there with a camera and a Torah. Sharon visited the Temple Mount in order to make a political statement, and that's how both the Israelis and the Palestinians took it. From the Mitchell Report:

"In late September 2000, Israeli, Palestinian, and other officials received reports that Member of the Knesset (now Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon was planning a visit to the Haram al-Sharif/TempleMount in Jerusalem. Palestinian and U.S. officials urged then Prime Minister Ehud Barak to prohibit the visit. Mr. Barak told us that he believed the visit was intended to be an internal political act directed against himby a political opponent, and he declined to prohibit it.

Mr. Sharon made the visit on September 28 accompanied by over 1,000 Israeli police officers. Although Israelis viewed the visit in an internal political context, Palestinians saw it as highly provocative to them. On the following day, in the same place, a large number of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators and a large Israeli police contingent confronted each other."

So why shouldn't Sharon visit the Temple Mount? Because he should have recognized the effect his "political act" would have. I don't dispute that Jews should be able to visit the Temple Mount. On the other hand, you don't light the Fourth of July sparklers while standing on TNT - lovely as they are. If you do, even after everyone has told you what the consequences of that action will be, well you're a moron. Sharon the incendiary? Sharon the idiot? Sharon the responsible. Blame Arafat? Fine. Put Arafat on trial? Why not? Just try Sharon along with him. And dude. Let Israel build the Palestinian state? Well, asmy grandpappy used to say: All nuts don't grow on trees.

posted by Gena on Sunday, April 07, 2002 | link

Our Fearless Leader

George W. Bush is coming to Knoxville. You see. Knoxville is important. Knoxville is special. We're being visited by Elmer Fudd.

posted by Gena on Sunday, April 07, 2002 | link

Gena Gets It.

Finally! Yes, we are going to have to do a full bore nation building plan if we are going to drag the Palestinians kicking and screaming into reality. After ten years of Arafat, it won’t be easy. Arafat and his henchmen will have to be put on trial and likely executed. The current Palestinian political and social structures will have to be gutted and rebuilt the way we want them. Imperialist? Yes. Nasty? Yes. Necessary? Hell yes. We did it to Germany and Japan. Either Israel or the U.S. is going to have to do it now. Put Arafat on the road to hell, and the Palestinian people on the long, hard, sometimes humiliating road to civilization.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, April 07, 2002 | link

Proof that There Is Intelligent Life

In the UNC universe after all, UNC Poly Sci major Kyle Still has a great blog, and proves, Lee Ann, that we have in fact been assimilated.

posted by Gena on Sunday, April 07, 2002 | link

Jeepers Whitaker, Communist Shrubbery!

Run for your lives, the red kudzu is attacking! Flee! Flee! The communist vines will destroy us all!

Click here to see some seriously stupid public art. Got any public art that needs insulting, let me know.

NOTE: The link has been disabled. The Seattle Times took down the story and picture. The picture was of a giant vine. It was red. Seriously, that's it. That's what the people of Seattle coughed up good money for. A big, red vine. Commie Kudzu. I swear to God, that's what it looked like.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, April 07, 2002 | link

Post-Modernism Redux.

Spinster reader Walt P. sent in a correction on my understanding of the Uncertainty Principle. Apparently, Bohr may be more at fault than Heisenberg for the rise of the post-mods. Let Walt explain:

“The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is not under any serious attack in the physics world. The person Dave Kopel refers to in his column, Carver Mead, is not a theoretical physicist. While he is certainly welcome to try to reformulate quantum mechanics, but doing some searching on the web his viewpoint doesn't seem like it has a lot of adherents within the theoretical physics community . . . Anyway, if anything in physics deserves credit/blame for influencing postmodernism, it would be Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle says that there are physical quantities, such as position and momentum, that cannot be simultaneously assigned a definite numeric value. When a particle has a definite position, it momemtum can be thought of taking on a continuous range of values. Weird, but not of any obvious political significance. It's Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation that emphasizes the subjectivity of the act of observing.”

Thus saith Walt. Apparently we should all be cursing the memory of Niels Bohr, not Heisenberg. However, my main theory still stands. In the end it doesn’t matter if Heisenberg is right or not or even understood or not, what matters is that the post-mods can’t be proven wrong. Either way, thank you Walt P. for the correction.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, April 07, 2002 | link


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Two Babes and a Bob! Opinion, insight, commentary, sarcasm, scathing polemic, and wit by Lee Ann, Carol, and Robert. Featuring the spectral presence of Gena.
Contact the Spinsters at: brodskii@yahoo.com (Gena) calhounista@hotmail.com (Lee Ann)

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