11:21 PM Dec 31, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Here are some interesting thoughts about the recent earthquakes:

Two Earthquakes And Their Results Under Two Different Social Systems

Within a week of each other, two earthquakes struck on opposite sides of the world -- an earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale in California and a 6.6 earthquake in Iran. But, however similar the earthquakes, the human costs were enormously different.

The deaths in Iran have been counted in the tens of thousands. In California, the deaths did not reach double digits. Why the difference? In one word, wealth.

6:27 PM Dec 30, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Hmmm...well, I shouldn't be too surprised by this:

Iran Says U.S. Aid Won't Help Relations

This article also details much of the aid that the US has sent so fsr out of the goodness of its heart.


Iran Quake Toll May Hit 50,000; Calls for More Aid

Just not from Israel!

6:21 PM Dec 30, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Whew! I was afraid my plastic porn addiction was in jeopardy, but I guess I'm safe now that a federal appeals court has ruled that Nude Barbie Photos Are Free Speech

The artist had argued that the photo series, which also included a photo of Barbie dolls wrapped in tortillas and covered in salsa in a casserole dish in a lit oven, was meant to critique the "objectification of women" and "beauty myth" associated with the popular doll.
What-ever, dude, just keep the nekkid dolls a-coming!

5:24 PM Dec 30, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Here's a terrific piece in the Gardian:

Why did so many have to die in Bam?

The answer ... is that, after a quarter of a century, Iran is still being ruled by a useless, incompetent semi-theocracy, which is fatalistic, complacent, unresponsive and often brutal. And such a system does not deliver to its citizens one fraction of what the Great Satan, for all its manifest faults, manages to guarantee to ordinary Americans.

Thumbs up to Instapundit

The Western Disease

4:33 PM Dec 30, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Victor Davis Hanson's latest in NRO:

Our Western intellectuals are sheltered orchids who are naïve about the world beyond their upscale hothouses. The Western disease of deductive fury at everything the West does provides a sort of psychological relief (without costs) for apparent guilt over privileged circumstances. It is such a strange mixture of faux-populism and aristocratic snobbery. They believe only a blessed few such as themselves have the requisite education or breeding to understand the “real” world of Western pathologies and its victims.

2:26 PM Dec 30, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

I found this pretty funny:

Cold is a Relative Term

8:41 PM Dec 29, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Go read this right now.

3:04 PM Dec 29, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

If US aid to Iran comes as a surprise to anyone, then they don’t understand the US.
I'm so glad he's back

The US delivered about 120,000 pounds of aid to earthquake-stricken Iran Sunday

10:37 PM Dec 28, 2003by Rob Ritchie

I'll bet none of it was pork rinds.

Mad Cow

4:11 PM Dec 28, 2003by Rob Ritchie

You'd be mad too if all you had to look forward to was a sledge hammer between the horns.

6:21 PM Dec 27, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

First off, I want to express my sorrow at the horrible loss of life in Iran. This is truly a tragedy of huge proportions, the magnitude of which far outweighs any political or religious differences that exist between nations and individuals.

It will be interesting, though, to see how various people in the world react to this event.

In the United States, we will temporarily put aside our differences with the government of Iran in order to offer aid and assistance in the recovery and reconstruction. That is because the people of this nation care about people elsewhere, even when they live in a country that has goals diametrically opposed to our own.

Fundamentalists of all stripes (Christian and Muslim) will, of course, assume that this earthquake was God’s will, and will act accordingly. Sunni’s will point to the death of their Shiites neighbors as proof that Allah hates them; Christian Fundamentalists of a certain type will put this forward as evidence that God hates Muslims. That’s what’s so infuriating about fundamentalist, in my view: they always seem to know what God’s thinking.

Even non-fundamentalist people of faith will vaguely speak of the earthquake as “God’s Will” but not jump to the conclusion that God wanted the people of Iran to die. The question “Why does God let people die in earthquakes?” has been asked and answered many times over the years, to no satisfying result.

Complete secularists will point to the earthquake as being an event totally unrelated to any spiritual realm, the result of tectonic shifts outside the control of god or man.

Fringe elements on the web have speculated that the earthquake was caused by the United States in sort of super-weapon test. Expect to hear this repeated again and again for many years to come.

I think it’s interesting that just last week, an earthquake on California’s coast killed only two people. If I were of a fundamentalist mind, I would think long and hard about what it means that God only kills two Americans one day, and 20,000 times that number another day.

Guess what I got for Christmas?

9:27 PM Dec 25, 2003by Rob Ritchie

This is a picture of my sister-in-law's fireplace, taken with my brand new Canon PowerShot A70 Digital Camera! Woo Hoo!

Merry Christmas To All!

Update: More DCam fun here and here! Full Disclosure: These images weren't taken with my new camera, but with my brother-in-law's camera. They were twinked in this amusing fashion by me, though.

5:45 PM Dec 23, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

I have been carrying on a lively and spirited debate in the comments section of this post over at Disaffected Muslim.

What started as a debate concerning religious differences has devolved into Catholic-bashing and America-bashing (not necessarily by the same people).

I take on all comers. If I trusted these guys more, I'd give them my real URL and email.

4:31 PM Dec 23, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

This is just weird:

3 Yemenis sue NASA for trespassing on Mars

"We inherited the planet from our ancestors 3,000 years ago," they told the weekly Arabic-language newspaper Al-Thawri

What's next? The moon?

Update: I just noticed that this story is from July 1997. I assume this court battle has finished.

We'd like to be loved, but we'll settle for feared

1:58 PM Dec 23, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Gaddafi quoted in this news story:

"I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid."

Hugh Hewitt

4:58 PM Dec 22, 2003by Rob Ritchie

If America is struck again today, this week, this month or anytime in 2004, it will be because the cancer of radical Islam grew too large during the presidency of Bill Clinton to be excised in the space of a few years. President Bush has been reluctant to make this point because he is a gentleman, but there is a cost to that courtesy, which is the encouragement on the left of awful thinking about the nature of the enemy.
Read the rest.

11:05 AM Dec 22, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

A little tough talk concerning Time Magazine's decision to name the American Soldier Time's "Person of the Year."

Dear Time Warner

Why I don't trust cats

7:13 PM Dec 19, 2003by Rob Ritchie

I'll bet this happens more than we think.

A group of hungry cats began to eat their 86-year-old owner after she suffered an apparent stroke and couldn't get up for nearly a week, officials said Thursday.

Once you have outlived your usefullness, a cat will eat you sure as looking at you.

Buy Me This For Christmas!

4:39 PM Dec 16, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Former United States Air Force Titan 1 facility
Consisting of 16 Large-to-Huge Underground Buildings
located in Central Washington State
10 minutes off I-90

Underground Buildings:

Power Dome - 125' diameter, 70' ceiling
Control Dome - 100' diameter, 50' ceiling
3 - 155' Deep Missile Silos
3 - Equipment Terminal Builings - 4 Stories
3 - Misc. Buildings adjacent to Silos
Ex-Air Intake Building (Empty Useable Space)
Ex-Air Exhaust Building (Empty Useable Space)
2 - Antenna Silos - 6 stories deep
1 - Entry Portal Building- 6 stories deep

Saddam's First Words!

2:24 PM Dec 15, 2003by Rob Ritchie

5:26 PM Dec 14, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

What a perfect way to begin the day! Now I have an additional reason to pop the bubbly when my family arrives this afternoon!

Iraqi Anti-Terrorism Demonstration

7:21 PM Dec 10, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Glenn Reynolds has a good roundup of the Baghdad demostrations over at Instapundit

That's all today. I'm very busy.

Happy Birthday Nancy!

9:04 PM Dec 8, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Here's an idea that I've been noodling about for a while now: the League of Democracies

Mark Steyn does it again

11:55 AM Dec 8, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Bush critics live in their own worlds

Here we go again!

7:49 PM Dec 6, 2003by Rob Ritchie

In 1991, I worked at Martin Marietta. As you may recall, we had undergone a small economic dip over that previous 12 months or so, following the completion of Gulf War I.

The Democrat candidates gunning for Bush Sr.'s job were hard at work, spinning the economy into the campaign issue of the season, despite the fact that the economy, by 1991, was in recovery and that it wasn't an actualy issue that would effect Americans greatly in the coming years.

(We now know that many Leftist and Democrat-supporting media outlets downplayed and otherwise buried optimistic reports of economic recovery in order to increase "traction" for Clinton's "It's the economy, stupid!" Presidantial campaign strategy.)

I worked with a young woman who told me that she was putting off buying a CAR because she was concerned about the economy. What exactly was her concern? I asked. Her job was secure (she still works for the same employer), her rents and expenses were constant, her income was increasing. She couldn't actually identify anything specific that bothered her, but she'd heard a lot in the news about how bad the economy was, so she decided not to make that $20,000 purchase.

Self fulfilling prophecy, as we all know. She didn't buy the car, the car dealership didn't make the sale, the bank didn't make the loan, the salesman didn't make his commission. Multiply that one decision by a hundred or a thousand or ten thousand, and, hey, presto, instant economic problem.

It was at that exact moment, that I realized that I could never vote for a Democrat again. These people were willing to RUIN THE ECONOMY, and frighten millions of citizens in order to get their guy into the White House. And the media were their willing accomplaces.

Well, here we go again

The New York Times reaches deeper into the bottom of the barrel than ever thought possible to deny the economic recovery. Floyd Norris writes today about the strong job gains in the Department of Labor's "Household Survey," from which is derived the unemployment rate, which fell last month from 6.0% to 5.9%. He managed to find a Wall Street economist -- a "senior strategist of Mizuho Securities USA," that highly respected institutional of economic analysis -- who would tell him that the strong growth in self-employment comes from "spammers, the people who fill e-mail in boxes with unwanted mail. It is not clear how many of them there are, but there is no doubt most Americans would be quite happy if there were fewer."

Well, that about sums up the New York Times' positions on jobs in general, doesn't it? "Quite happy if there were fewer."

Where Bush Hate is Heading

5:27 PM Dec 6, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Bush Hate, at the rate of festering intensity currently observable, is headed towards only one singular event: An attempt on the life of George W. Bush by an American citizen.

A Night Out With Socialists: Tariq Ali and the ISO

5:21 PM Dec 6, 2003by Rob Ritchie

What is the nature of the guerilla resistance? Are these fighters neo-Baathists yearning to re-establish a grotesque Islamo-fascist republic, or do they represent a broad and genuine anti-occupation force? This question was skirted entirely, perhaps because the answer would fail to pass the dominant doctrinal filters at the meeting. It is perfectly acceptable for a pastor or priest to sermonize on topics of morality without first proving the existence of God, but quite another thing when a movement masquerading as a logical opposition to occupation finds it too must rely on faith to justify its premises.

This snippet doesn't do justice to this wonderful post.

Chomsky on Anti-Semitism

5:05 PM Dec 6, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Or, more accurately, Pejmanesque on Chomsky on Anti-Semitism:


I mean, good God, the lying and the idiocy contained in Chomsky's remarks is enough to leave you slack-jawed for a week. Remind me again: How can such a charlatan foment such devotion to him, and to his principles?

And another...

4:52 PM Dec 6, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Nancy directs my attention to this great Christopher Hitchens essay over at Slate:

The Literal Left

The truly annoying thing that I find when I am arguing with opponents of the regime-change policy in Iraq is their dogged literal-mindedness. "Your side said that coalition troops would be greeted with 'sweets and flowers!' " Well, I have seen them with my own eyes being ecstatically welcomed in several places. "But were there actual sweets and flowers?"
Of course, if you're on Nancy's mailing list, you've already received this....

Shake, shake, shake!

4:40 PM Dec 6, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Tom sent this to me, and it's pretty funny. Enjoy!

Snow Globe

But he was good to his mother:

10:14 AM Dec 4, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Murdering for militant Islam

Such high regard for terrorists has several important implications. First, it points to the adherents of militant Islam being indeed "normal, good-natured young" people, and not misfits. In common with other totalitarian movements, militant Islam finds support among many accomplished, talented, and attractive individuals – which renders it all the more dangerous a threat.

Second, the fact that those who murder on behalf of militant Islam often enjoy psychological soundness, educational attainment, sporting success, economic achievement, or social esteem suggests that Islamist violence cannot be reduced by adopting the "root causes" approach of addressing personal poverty and despair. The phenomenon needs to be fought head-on.

Third, that terrorists are (unsurprisingly) skilled at hiding their intentions has the unfortunate consequence of making them harder to discern and therefore spreads suspicion to the larger Muslim community. This in turn points to that community's heightened responsibility and incentive to ferret out potential terrorists in its midst.

9:24 AM Dec 4, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Here's a typical example of pResident Bush's penchant of playing fast-and-loose with the truth for political gain! Caught red-handed in a lie, he back-peddles and blames his neo-con handlers (who, we all know, really run the show)

Terrance interrupted the president in mid-speech under the glaring television lights to point out he was not 6.

"How old are you?" Bush asked.

"Seven," said Terrance.

"OK, seven," said Bush, as the crowd chuckled. "I'll take it up with the fact-checker."

Bush Lied! Kid Replied!

While this is obviously trivial, look for this to be added to the list of similar "lies" that the context-deficient depend upon to shore up their world view.

I Reject Marxism, and All Its Works, and All Its Empty Promises

7:13 PM Dec 3, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Having said that, Ben Illin, Lucia Thorn and P.S. Burton, avowed British Marxists, have presented a surprisingly pithy diatribe against the so-called "peace-loving" Left's attitude towards the Iraqi war:

Nine Red Herrings: How the Western 'Left' has Misread Iraq

But how is it possible for us to call ourselves Marxists and support a war waged by a coalition of rich western liberal democracies against the government of a poor “Third World” country? We would turn the question round: how it is possible that Marxism has been so corrupted and distorted that “Marxists” prefer to see thousands more Iraqis die in the torture chambers of the Ba’ath, and millions more suffer under the iniquities excused (not caused) by the UN sanctions, rather than admit that socialists not only can but must support even the worst bourgeois democracy against even the least bad tyranny? For the beginnings of an answer, let us consider just some of the transparent and disgusting lies generated and spread by the western “left” before and during the war.
Can Marxism be "corrupted and distorted?" Cheap shots aside, how is it that folks with such clear understanding of right and wrong, can still call themselves, without irony and with a straight face, "Marxists".

Krugman Hacks the Truth

6:51 PM Dec 3, 2003by Rob Ritchie

I've read a little bit about the electronic ("touch screen") voting machines that are being used in several locations in the country.

If you remember, there was quite a push for these types of voting machines to replace the unreasonably-difficult-to-use-for-Democrats-and-minorities punch-card type machines following the 2000 Elections.

Since then, there's been some controversy within the computer industry as to the security of these systems, but I believe that most of these concerns have been addressed.

Not, apparently, to the satisfaction to Paul Krugman, who in a recent New York Times column spins some yarns about them.

The truth, as is usually the case with Krugman, is something else. Donald Luskin has him thoroughly fact-checked here:


When someone says "this isn't about money," you can be sure it's all about money. And when Paul Krugman says " there's nothing paranoid about suggesting" something, you can be sure that what he's suggesting is a crackpot conspiracy theory, built on lies and innuendo, that only a true paranoid could believe.

10:11 AM Dec 3, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

The Science Fiction author Orson Scott Card has written an essay that is terrific:

The Campaign of Hate and Fear

We are being lied to and "spun," and not in a trivial way. The kind of dishonest vitriolic hate campaign that in 2000 was conducted only before African-American audiences is now being played on the national stage; and the national media, instead of holding the liars' and haters' feet to the fire (as they do when the liars and haters are Republicans or conservatives), are cooperating in building up a false image of a failing economy and a lost war, when the truth is more nearly the exact opposite.
This is a paragraph chosen basically at random. Read the rest.

via Andrew Sullivan

Strange Headline

10:52 AM Dec 2, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Two thoughts:

  1. It's impolite to use the term
  2. "Will and Grace" does not an addiction make...

Yikes! This is scary.

6:01 PM Dec 1, 2003by Rob Ritchie


To al Qaeda, Islam is about death: Just days before the bombings in Turkey, Moussaoui chillingly declared, "Jihad Strike - Ramadan is the Jihad month where all the Mujahids increase their operations (especially suicide ones) . . . no drink, no food, no woman, only blood."
Just in case you needed a reminder.

2:50 PM Dec 1, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Via Vodkapundit, I find this editorial by T.R. Feherenbach:

Democrats should learn from conservatives

[T]his points up a difference between conservatives and Democrats beyond the issues. Conservatives don't care who runs government so long as it carries out their visions. They worry about the direction of the country, not who's holding which office. Many have no interest in office or power, preferring influence.

Conversely, Democrats long for office; government is their business. This makes every election a crisis. They must put together winning coalitions, not a generation from now, but today. This cuts long-range thinking off at the pass.

Public education not working? Can't touch that, teachers' unions. Legal system a drag? Don't go there, trial lawyers, the party's fattest funders, love the status quo. Create an energy policy? Forget it, if this means creating more energy to fuel Toyotas in Texas. Win white hearts and minds in the South? Wash out your mouth and abase yourself three times.

Not that I really want to help those guys out...

The Ultimate d20

1:46 PM Dec 1, 2003by Rob Ritchie

I'm sure that gamer-bloggers all over the internet are posting this exact same thing, but this has got to be the Ultimate Gaming Accessory!

Just in case you wanted to know what to get me for Christmas.

Several polyhedra in various materials with similar symbols are known from the Roman period. Modern scholarship has not yet established the game for which these dice were used.

The explanation is here.