This Man Tried to Assassinate President Bush

11:17 AM Jul 30, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Why haven't we heard more about this? Power Line asks.

4:39 PM Jul 29, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

The other night, Mrs. Agnostic and I watched the new FX series Over There, a show about soldiers fighting in Iraq. We generally enjoyed it, though it's pretty brutal.

Apparently, according to this Instapundit post, the show is getting panned by actual soldiers who've been to Iraq, siting its lack of verisimilitude and honesty.

Glenn Reynolds writes:

PERHAPS IF HOLLYWOOD HAD MORE PEOPLE who had been in the military, it would be able to make military stuff that doesn't suck. But judging from various and sundry negative reviews for the new FX show Over There, they're not pulling that off at the moment.

Maybe they should try just reading more blogs from Iraq. Might produce some better story ideas.

Maybe so, but this just underscores what I always say: Hollywood doesn't ever get anything right.

I've never seen an accurate depiction of computer usage or tabletop gaming (to name two things with which I am intimate); nor do they, ironically, depict actual TV and movie-industry things correctly: at least, that's what Mrs. Agnostic claims, and she's in a position to know.

Update: Here's another detailed review: Not Really 'Over There'

12:04 PM Jul 29, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Over at Captain's Quarter, Dafydd has an interesting piece on President Bush's Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.

Dafydd concentrates on the deficiencies of the Kyoto treaty, and explains how this new agreement might actually work in a way that results in both cleaner air and an improved economy, something he makes clear Kyoto will never produce.

Give it a read.

Update: John Hinderaker over at Power Line writes: "What distinguishes this plan from the Kyoto protocol is that it will actually lead to a major reduction in carbon emissions! This substitution of practical impact for well-crafted verbiage stunned and infuriated European observers."



7:03 PM Jul 28, 2005by Rob Ritchie

As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual.

More here

6:43 PM Jul 28, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

My computer geek score is greater than 72% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!

I found this quiz over at Kathy the Cake Eater's place.

She has unadvisedly left her blog in the hands of the nefarious Llamas, and much hilarity has ensued.

6:04 PM Jul 28, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Thanks to Gary Gross I found this column by the Great One:

Let's Review What the Left Has on Judge Roberts

It's been a few weeks, and we still don't know exactly what John Roberts — if that is his real name — was doing when Roe v. Wade was decided. Working quietly in a college classroom? Playing pinball at the student union? Sitting in a darkened dorm mapping out escape routes for abortion clinic bombers? We just ... don't ... know.

Oh, sure: We've heard from the people who say they know him; we've heard about his charm and intelligence. (Like that means anything! Hitler was intelligent!) We've heard from both sides of the aisles about his temperament, rigorous sense of fairness and devotion to the Constitution. But other than that, and his previous extensive confirmation hearings, what do we know? NOTHING.

The man can write. Follow the link and prove you can read.

5:09 PM Jul 28, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Zombie reports from the Breasts Not Bombs rally in Berkley California.

Unfortunately, aside from a few people coming over to snap pictures, no one seemed too "freaked out" at our arrival. Berkeley's social scene is an ever-escalating arms race between narcissistic showoffs trying to seize attention through outrageous behavior and smug cosmopolitan sophisticates who take pride in their blasé insouciance about everything. Who will win this battle?

He has R-rated pictures that are NSFW, but as Charles points out, they aren't the good kind.

One of the comments at lfg reads:

Good lord. I'll protest the war if they just put their shirts and underwear back on. ACK! PUKE!

You have been warned.

4:52 PM Jul 28, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Japanese develop 'female' android

Hey, baby, are you AC/DC?

She has flexible silicone for skin rather than hard plastic, and a number of sensors and motors to allow her to turn and react in a human-like manner.

She can flutter her eyelids and move her hands like a human. She even appears to breathe.

Next stop: Cherry 2000

Pious gratitude to: Mitch

11:01 AM Jul 28, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

11:52 AM Jul 27, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Look, I'm no fashion plate; and I could lose a few (dozen) pounds.

But I still think that Tammy Bruce's defense of health and grooming is funny and on-target:

The Increasingly Ugly Left

During my time with the National Organization for Women, one of the (many) things that disturbed me during national board meetings was the fact that many of the women seemed to be allergic to bathing, and especially frightened of the concept of ‘grooming.'

The simplest things reveal that you are in a room full of unhappy people — many were significantly overweight, and by grooming I mean engaging in the simple act of running a brush though your hair, brushing one's teeth, visiting a dentist if need be (at least on occasion), and simply caring enough about yourself to at least attempt to appear healthy.

When I would dare to bring up the issue of appearance (as gently as one could imagine), that notion, of course, was rejected as "surrendering to the male-dominated view of female beauty." Hey, how about surrendering to not being repulsive?


Of course, there's more to it than attacking smelly people, so go read it all.

Pious gratitude to: lgf

Return to Space!

1:50 PM Jul 26, 2005by Rob Ritchie

The view from my office just a few minutes ago.

(Link pops to huge picture)

10:35 AM Jul 26, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Harry Potter and the Half-Wit Prigs

Tim Worstall writes about Greenpeace International's campaign to encourage US Harry Potter fans to buy Canadian, since that edition is printed on recycled paper, and the US edition is not:

We can leave aside all those inconvenient little facts about the paper industry, like people go out and plant the trees that they later turn into books, that paper recycling itself produces waste (including, it is said, dioxins) and that the collection of paper to be recycled is highly energy intensive. Indeed, if we try and pick [our] way through the claims and counterclaims of which is best for the environment or the economy, virgin or reused, we will no doubt end up as deranged as a Greenpeace member.

Fortunately we don't have to. We already have a simple and convenient system for measuring whether one process or another uses more or less resources. It's called the price. This is exactly what markets do, they aggregate all the costs of production into one single set of digits. A lower number means less resources used, a higher one more.

Give the whole thing a look; it has many little tidbits about the costs of recycling that I hadn't thought about.

btw, I saw this at: Instapundit

A Citizen Identified

11:05 AM Jul 25, 2005by Rob Ritchie

According to the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, Judge Roberts is part of the PT Nation. In a discussion about the lack of fireworks expected during his confirmation hearings, they write:

Roberts is bound to face thorough questioning when he appears before the Judiciary Committee. But the process is likely to be more or less pro forma. No one really expects him to divulge anything terribly interesting. Most Democrats, moreover, seem to understand that Roberts is about as good as they could have hoped for.

The nominee himself makes a poor target, not just because he has rarely expounded his own views, but also because of his genial, unassuming style (he drives a Chrysler PT Cruiser, which is not exactly a status symbol). Asked by a client why he had lost one Supreme Court decision by a 9-0 vote, he replied ruefully, "Because there are only nine justices on the court."

Not only does Judge Roberts show a commendable self-depreciating wit, he also shows a sensible taste in automobiles. I can now root for him with a full heart.

And the Chicago Tribune, despite looking down its nose at his choice of affordable yet stylish transportation, shows good sense in the rest of the editorial. Give it a read.

Pious gratitude to: Mike

9:01 PM Jul 21, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

I think I have a non-sexual man-crush on John Howard.

Roberts' looks considered too 'normal' for SCOTUS

11:07 AM Jul 20, 2005by Rob Ritchie

I was on the phone last night with my favorite Left-Coast friend when Judge Roberts was named as President Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court. She took one look at him and decided that he was too "normal looking," too clean cut, too white, to manly. "They'll find out something about him, probably involving strippers," she said.

"I was willing to consider that woman [Edith Clement] because of her record and the way she decided some cases, but this guy? He's too inexperienced."

This conversation took place at about 9:15 PM EDT. She'd had about an hour to form this opinion.

So, this is how Hollywood liberals decide these things: if he looks too normal, he's probably a deviant.

Accomplished Hot Girl Syndrome

4:43 PM Jul 19, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Last night, I watched the movie National Treasure. The less said about this movie, the better, but I bring it up because it presented me with yet another example of something I call the Accomplished Hot Girl Syndrome (AHGS), which I've been meaning to write about for a little while now.

I define AHGS as the absolute certainty that in any Hollywood movie, the female lead's character will always be absurdly accomplished within her profession in direct proportion to her hotness, regardless of her age.

Examples? I thought you'd never ask!

In the aforementioned National Treasure Diane Kruger plays Abigale Chase, a conservator with the National Archives. She's apparently a big wheel there, because she has her own private office and also a nice salary, if I can judge from her wardrobe. Pretty hot, pretty accomplished, though really she's 29 years old so it's not entirely out-of-the question.

Here is future Mrs. Tom Cruise Katie Holmes from Batman Begins, where she plays Assistant District Attorney Rachel Dawes. Not bad for a girl in her mid-20's. But I'm sure we can do better....

One of the more ludicrous examples of AHGS was the laugh-producing Dr. Christmas Jones, an "expert in nuclear weapons," played by Denise Richards in 1999's The World Is Not Enough.

My final example comes from the recent film adaptation of the comic book Fantastic Four. Twenty-four-year-old Jessica Alba plays the "DNA specialist" / Invisible Super Hero Sue Storm. Accomplished and hot! Go get 'em, Sue!

These are just a few examples of AHGS, and I know there are many more. Feel free to leave a comment with your own suggestions.

Just a reminder: AHGS is marked by accomplishment that far excedes what is to be expected from a hot woman of the specified age. For example, Britney Spears as Supreme Court Judge, that sort of thing.

Have fun. I know I did.

1:39 PM Jul 17, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Internet worthies agree that an excellent source for all your Plame/Wilson/Rove needs can be found on this "Fat" Steve St. Onge post:

Linkfest: Plame/Wilson Spins Out of Control

It tells the story and give the chronology. It's worth reading, especially the comments, where Steve's post is challenged and defended well.

11:18 AM Jul 17, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Victor Davis Hanson has a column in the Washington Times that discusses the "Elegant nonsense" spouted by actors and other Hollywood know-nothings:

Nearly 24 centuries ago, Plato warned not to confuse innate artistic skill with either education or intelligence. The philosopher worried the emotional bond we can forge with good actors might also allow these manipulative mimics too much influence in matters on which they are often ignorant.

Mr. Hanson identifies four reasons why the likes of Sean Penn, Barbara Streisand, et al feel compelled to inject their ill-informed insights into the public debate.

Give it a read; as is always the case with VDH, you won't be sorry.

Then, go read Powerline for their own take on this column.

12:53 AM Jul 16, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

WARNING! Some of the images on this site are NOT Safe For Work.

11:51 PM Jul 16, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Dafydd's draws a line in the sand (but not on the page):

[P]lease notice that I am boycotting apostrophes as parts of names. I refuse to jump through that hoop any longer. This is a transliteration anyway. I don't know if there are apostrophes in Arabic, but if they want them, they can keep them. In English, it's UnAmerican. No, it's worse than that... it must be French. In any event, out they go! I'll keep them for contractions and possessives, as God intended; but until the president becomes Ge'orge B'ush and we all go down to the Ga'alleri'ya, I eschew them for all other purposes.

Hear, hear.

11:27 PM Jul 16, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Mohammad Sidique Khan
Germaine Lindsay
Hasib Hussain
Shehzad Tanweer

Rot in hell, you bastards.

Fat thief foiled by hunny pies

8:22 PM Jul 16, 2005by Rob Ritchie

A 22-stone thief was caught after getting stuck in a window after stuffing his face with pies during a shop raid.

The Romanian man stole £250 after breaking into the shop, near Fagaras the eastern European country, but could not resist helping himself to the pies.

The 29-year-old criminal got wedged in the window as he tried to get back out, and was still stuck there in the morning when shop owner Vasile Mandache arrived for work. Mandache said: "I saw all the pie wrappers on the floor, and then I looked up and saw a pair of stubby fat legs hanging out the window. I went outside and saw the other half of the thief poking at the front. I just had to burst out laughing and called all my friends to come and have a look before we called the police, it was so funny."

Thanks Fark!

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

11:03 AM Jul 16, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?
Possessing a rare combination of wisdom and humility, while serenely dominating your environment you selflessly use your powers to care for others.

Eh, it could be worse.

Take the test yourself!

Update:  Actually, Galadriel was a real ball-buster in her youth, who came to Middle Earth basically because she wanted to be an empress. Thoughout her life, she made various attempts to rule with more or less success. She was basically driven out of her last gig in Eregion by the Jewelsmiths of Ost-in-Edhel (who made the Rings) and went to live with her husband's folk in Lothlorien, where we encounter her in Lord of the Rings. She comes from a long line of ambitious Noldor, but distinguished herself from her kin by being wiser than any of them. When Frodo offers her the One Ring, it was truly a test for her, for in that one trinket lay all her hopes and dreams of domination and glory. When she declined, she realized that she really was not the same person she'd been when she'd taken the Terrible Oath and followed the Sons of Feanor in search of the Silmarils; and thus, perhaps, realized that the lifting of the Ban applied to her as well.

This geekiness brought to you by years of reading the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

It's a start

10:57 AM Jul 16, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Call Them What They Are: Those who murder Iraqi civilians are terrorists

Two words not uncommon to editorial pages are "resolve" and "sacrifice," especially as they relate to war.

Today, this editorial board resolves to sacrifice another word – "insurgent" – on the altar of precise language. No longer will we refer to suicide bombers or anyone else in Iraq who targets and kills children and other innocent civilians as "insurgents."

The notion that these murderers in any way are nobly rising up against a sitting government in a principled fight for freedom has become, on its face, absurd. If they ever held a moral high ground, they sacrificed it weeks ago, when they turned their focus from U.S. troops to Iraqi men, women and now children going about their daily lives.

They drove that point home with chilling clarity Wednesday in a poor Shiite neighborhood. As children crowded around U.S. soldiers handing out candy and toys in a gesture of good will, a bomb-laden SUV rolled up and exploded.

These children were not collateral damage. They were targets.

The SUV driver was no insurgent. He was a terrorist.

People who set off bombs on London trains are not insurgents. We would never think of calling them anything other than what they are – terrorists.

Train bombers in Madrid? Terrorists.

Chechen rebels who take over a Russian school and execute children? Terrorists.

Teenagers who strap bombs to their chests and detonate them in an Israeli cafe? Terrorists.

IRA killers? Basque separatist killers? Hotel bombers in Bali? Terrorists all.

Words have meanings. Whether too timid, sensitive or "open-minded," we've resisted drawing a direct line between homicidal bombers everywhere else in the world and the ones who blow up Iraqi civilians or behead aid workers.

No more. To call them "insurgents" insults every legitimate insurgency in modern history. They are terrorists.

Pious gratitude to: Charles Johnson, who writes "Bravo to the Dallas Morning News for having the courage to stand up against mainstream media’s moral equivalence"

It's Friday, so VDH

4:03 PM Jul 15, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Our Wars Over the War

Go ye and read.

Always wear clean underwear

10:58 PM Jul 14, 2005by Rob Ritchie

10:03 PM Jul 14, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Over at Tim Blair's place can be found one of the most immature (and by that, I mean hysterically funny) comment threads ever:


If it wasn't for that Austrailan, I wouldn't know about anything that was going on in my own country!

Where I work...

4:27 PM Jul 14, 2005by Rob Ritchie

It's been a while since I took a picture of my work place. Since my last workplace photoshoot I've changed offices.

Update:  Despite this I really don't know how to color-correct images; though the walls may look pink, they actually are tan.

Honesty and Patriotism

12:32 PM Jul 13, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Dennis Prager makes a good case that The Left doesn't support the troops and should admit it. I urge you to read it. He concludes:

An honest leftist would say: "Because I view this war as immoral, I cannot support our troops." What is not honest is their saying, "Support the troops -- bring them home." Supporting people who wish to fight entails supporting their fight; and if that fight is opposed, those waging it are also opposed.

Many on the Left angrily accuse the Right of disparaging their patriotism. That charge, too, is false. I have never heard a mainstream conservative impugn the patriotism of liberals. But as regards their attitude toward our troops, the patriotism of those on the Left is not the issue. The issue is their honesty.

I'll go further; many on the left are not patriotic, and I'll tell you why I think so.

Someone who is patriotic loves his country.

Let's imagine a father with an adult son. The father claims to love the son, but never expresses approval for him; constantly brings up past misdeeds of the son as proof of the son's sinfullness; constantly criticises him and never praises him; denegrates the son's achievements and magnifies the son's failings; consistently sides with his son's enemies in any dispute; and loudly expresses approval of other men he wishes he'd fathered.

Does this father love his son? The father may claim that he does, because he wants his son to be a better man than he is.

But the fact is, that the father only loves an image of his son, not the actual flesh-and-blood man; the man, he has no use for because he doesn't live up to his ideal.

The same is true for Leftists who claim to love their country: they love a sanatized, idealistic America, not the actual wonderful, messy and fallible place it actually is.

A father who treated his son the way Leftists treat America would have his child taken away.

5:02 PM Jul 12, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Boy, what a difference six months make.

At the beginning of the year, Miss O'Hara was hating life, and I commented on it here and here.

Now, she has reason to rejoice.

Congratulations, Missy! And a wink and a smile to your good Cincinnati man.

1:26 PM Jul 12, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Tim Blair makes an interesting challenge to anti-war lefties:

You are the President of the United States on September 11, 2001. How do you respond to the attacks of that day, and to the wider issues of North Korea, Iran, and Iraq?

He invites comment and email. Go read his comments, they are interesting and detailed.

12:34 PM Jul 12, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Mitch directs us to a terrific piece that should be required reading, but which will unfortunately do no good at all to those who most need it:

Debunking 8 Anti-War Myths About The Conflict In Iraq

12:46 PM Jul 11, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Katie More Zombie-Like Than Ever

Katie Holmes' interview in W magazine has set off a firestorm.

Reading it can only be even be more worrisome for her parents as they see the steady hold Tom Cruise and Scientology have taken of their beloved daughter.

There is no way to minimize the frightening aspect of the interview.

Holmes, who previously was a sweet, thoughtful, articulate young woman, now comes across like a zombie.

Donate to Free Katie today.

Pious gratitude to: duckydan

12:58 AM Jul 9, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Over on the right, I've added a new link to my blogroll:

Confirmation Whoppers

Here, Gary Gross collects quotes, lies, trial balloons, rumors, etc. about the upcoming Supreme Court nominations.

He's especially dedicated to keeping idiocy from disappearing down the "memory hole."

He's currently just a Flippery Fish, and I want to promote him. (From one lower life form to another, as it were.)

Update Next Morning 9:43 AM:  All-right! He's a Crawly Amphibian now! My plan is working!

Update II:  Look at 'im go! He's crawling on his belly like a reptile!

6:15 PM Jul 9, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

I'm very satisfied with my iPod Shuffle, but maybe I should look into this.

1:32 PM Jul 9, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

According to Michelle Malkin, "tons of blogs" are linking to this blog where people tell the turd-ball terrorists what they think of them:

Lots of pictures, many with naughty words, but worth looking at.

This one's pretty funny:

Kos Kids Love Me!

12:43 PM Jul 9, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Imagine my surprise...this morning I was checking my traffic logs for June (something I do very infrequently, as you can see).

The number one referrer to my poor little blog was...Daily Kos.

What, I wondered, could that be about.

It appears that they were trashing Susan Estrich for some thing or another (probably not expressing enough hate for Bush, I imagine), and one of them linked to this picture from my voluminous archives.

Now, I like the picture as much as the next guy, but the preferred method is to right-click on the image and move it to your own source.

Dirty bandwidth stealers!

Residents Hunkered Down

12:18 PM Jul 9, 2005by Rob Ritchie

If you're curious about the latest Hurricane, a good link is here.

In Orlando, we're expecting some wind and rain, but if it stays out in the Gulf like it seems it will, it'll be fairly minor.

6:24 PM Jul 8, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

The Great One writes After the Attack.

11:13 AM Jul 8, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

In an update (#19!) to this post, Jeff Goldstein writes:

Atrios, Pandagon, Kos, and—more disturbingly, if it proves predictive of how the Democratic leadership will respond—at least one Democratic congresswoman I’m aware of, are all suggesting that today’s London bombings prove that the “flypaper theory” is demonstrably false, this despite the documented fact of thousands upon thousands of jihadis pouring into Iraq each month, where many of them will be killed.

Which, for a group of people who claim to be so nuanced, things really are quite black and white in the reality-based community: if we can’t take down every dictator simultaneously, we shouldn’t take down even one; if a terror attack happens outside of Iraq, the thousands of terrorists we’re killing inside Iraq are no longer part of the equation.

It is infantile to expect every terror attack outside of Iraq can be stopped; and it is ridiculous to extrapolate from a single terror attack the lesson that somehow our entire longterm strategy for defeating Islamic terrorism is faulty. Doing so just serves the terrorist’s interests by showing them that such tactics could well weaken our commitment to an overall war strategy of spreading the seeds of democracy throughout the mideast.

10:48 PM Jul 7, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Okay, one last thought.

It seems to me that a lot of people on the left came out awfully quick with statements that basically blamed today's terrorist attacks in London on the Bush/Blair Iraq policy.

Do you get the feeling that these statements were sitting there on their laptops, just waiting to plug in the name of the country attacked?

George Galloway comes to mind, but for that matter, so do most of the noxious crap I'm reading all over the blogosphere.

I'll bet if you looked at the creation date of their remarks, they date from somewhere in mid-2004.

Terror attack in Britain

10:18 PM Jul 7, 2005by Rob Ritchie

I have nothing to say about the terrorist attacks in Britain this morning, except that I pray for those injured and killed and for their families.

I have prayers for the terrorists as well, but they aren't that benign.

Update:  Captain Ed says it well.

Update II:  Not too surprisingly, Instapundit has links

Update III:  Tim Blair reports 45 Dead

Update IV:  "While the bodies are still warm" alert: George Galloway:

1513 Respect MP George Galloway says: "We argued, as did the security services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the Government ignoring such warnings."

Update V:  At the speed of the Internet, Christopher Hitchens answers Galloway: The Anticipated Attack / Don't blame Iraq for the bombings.

Update VI:  For the reaction of the American Left, see Michelle Malken

Update VII:  Doyle directs us to the BBC Updates page.

10:00 PM Jul 7, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

This is very interesting and funny: 10 Ways to Destroy the Earth

Pious gratitude to: Absinthe & Cookies

9:47 PM Jul 7, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Sheila likes this quote by Tim Worstall:

You know, I’m not sure that these people have quite understood us. We’ve just spent 30 years being bombed by a bunch of terrorist nutters. Whatever your views on Irish nationalism, Eire, the rights of the IRA and so on, it is an inescapable truth that there were a series of bombings "on the mainland" and no, it didn’t spread "fear and panic from the north to the south." No, not even when 21 people were killed in bombs in pubs, not even when thousands of bombs were dropped on London, death falling from the skies on a regular basis.

You’ve just not quite understood us, have you? Any politician who even so much as hinted at the idea that this would be a reason to leave Afghanistan or Iraq would be immediately howled down.

Start howling, Tim.

9:20 PM Jul 7, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

At Instapundit I find a link to these comments:

I have talked to a few people who have pointed out that Edgware, Aldgate (and Moorgate) and King's Cross all are in or adjacent to Muslim communities. King's Cross is the locale of The School of Oriental and African Studies, a highly respected institution teaching and researching Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It is possible that the attacks were as much directed at the Muslim population as the city at large.

(Emphasis added)

This interpretation is no doubt correct; but I also think that it is indicative that elements within the Muslim neighborhoods themselves probably carried out the attacks.

Sneak out, plant the bombs, sneak back. Easy-peasy.

4:16 PM Jul 7, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Blogcritics posts a list of the "Top 13 Most Overrated Songs".

I don't go along with all their choices, but I have to agree with their top three.

Especially this part:

There are some words that do not belong in a rock song. “Pyre” is one of these words. “Mire,” and “wallow” also fall into the category. All three of these words are featured prominently in the Doors “Light My Fire.” For some inexplicable reason, the Doors are viewed as some sort of spiritual counterpoint to the more hedonistic examples of rock decadence in the 60s. But “Light My Fire” illustrates an almost paralyzing lack of any redeeming qualities, a fact that seems to have been overlooked by critics and fans alike for more than three decades.

Update:  Here's my own take on Number Thirteen

12:24 PM Jul 7, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Over at Captains Quarters, Dafydd discusses the future of warfare. He brings up four future technologies that are being developed:

  • Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation
  • Brain Machine Interface
  • Smart Bullets
  • Heat Rays

Fascinating. Read all about it.

6:52 PM Jul 6, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

In a turn-around worthy of a Shadowrun game or a Cyberpunk novel, the good guys detected an illegal hack to their servers and set a trap. The results: Hacker Caught.

Now, hax0r-boy is squirming. Boo-freakin'-hoo!

Pious gratitude to: MM

4:53 PM Jul 6, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Wow! Brian Tiemann expresses amazement and sadness as he describes The Hatred Gap:

Occam's Razor means nothing to these people. There's no such thing as assuming benign, humane, or even human principles in explaining the doings of someone on the other side. It's all just part of the greater tapestry of regimented hatred.

I honestly don't know what to do or think when confronted with these earnest pledges, by people who claim to be the vanguard of compassion and understanding and peace, to beat the life out of me for the opinions I hold.

I've encountered the situation he describes myself; it's a scary thing.

Read the rest; with any luck, it'll change a mind or two, but I doubt it.

10:07 AM Jul 6, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Glenn Reynolds recommends this NYT column by Stephen Carter about the role of the Judiciary:

This path, so predictable, so frequently trod in recent decades, is carrying the Supreme Court, and the ideal of judicial review, toward disaster. There has been much talk lately of how the cruel posturing of politicians and commentators critical of various decisions hurts the reputation of the courts. And there is something to this notion. But the overwrought attacks by some critics do less harm to the notion of an independent judiciary than does the way activists gird themselves for battle each time a vacancy occurs, as if it is the obligation of the political branches to guarantee outcomes their supporters prefer.

We all claim to believe in judicial independence, but our definition of independence too often turns out to mean deciding cases according to our druthers. A court that rules in our favor displays integrity and independence. A court that rules against us shows its ideology and partisanship. Need evidence? Listen to anyone on the right discuss classroom prayer or abortion. Listen to anyone on the left discuss Bush v. Gore.

When we talk about decisions in this way - as if the only plausible results are the ones we like, a propensity that grows worse at election time and worst of all when a vacancy occurs - we obscure the proper relationship of the judiciary to the other branches of government, and of the Supreme Court justices to the larger society. When the news media survey the public for its view on decisions few people have ever read, interpreting constitutional provisions few people would recognize, the mischief intensifies, for the very act of surveying popular opinion on, say, the correctness of Roe v. Wade implies that the Supreme Court's highest duty is to do as it is told.

Sensible. Read the rest.

Another thought about 'War of the Worlds'

5:55 PM Jul 5, 2005by Rob Ritchie

My review of War of the Worlds is here, but I thought of something since then.

Because of the chaos caused by the alien attack, the characters never really get near a television that works, but if they had no doubt they would have seen someone like this wonderying what the people of Earth had done to make the aliens hate us so much, and deploring the rush to war.

4:50 PM Jul 5, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Be sure to visit Jeff Goldstein's blog and read these:

9 OTHER analogies NBC'S Brian Williams would like us to consider in the name of showy, PC intellectualism

Very funny.

I particularly like # 4:

Jihadists may drop stone walls on homosexuals, but rhetorically speaking, their anti-gay social conservative brethren here in the US continue to “stonewall” the civil rights of gays by irrationally fighting same-sex marriage.

h/t: Michelle Malken

1:34 PM Jul 5, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

1:32 PM Jul 3, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Yesterday I went to see the new Speilburg movie War of the Worlds. I went having my doubts, since Tom Cruise is in it and he hasn't exactly been inspiring mash-notes recently around the blogosphere, but I always had a soft spot for the old 1953 Byron Haskin version, and hoped the new one would live up. Certainly, the trailers I've seen promised a suspenseful film with good special effects.

You have no idea.

The movie is terrific. Speilburg keeps the camera at the level of his protagonists; while often they see (and react) to horrors we aren't shown, we rarely see anything the characters do not. As a result, a level of suspense and terror is maintained throughout the film that is thrilling.

Tom Cruise plays his most unattractive character yet: the uninvolved divorced father who still lives like an adolescent, half-heartedly fulfilling the minimum requirements of his child visitation responsibilities. From the very first scene, he's a jerk. He's late when his ex-wife drops off his kids, who obviously do not want to spend much time with him.

Unfortunately for the Earth, the Martians pick this particular weekend to launch their attack.

Special effects are used both lavishly and sparingly; when the monsterous martian machines (inspired more by H.G. Well's original vision than by the 1953 movie) are on screen, they are terrifyingly believable. But Speilburg, by skillfully keeping his camera only with his characters, hides much of the war behind buildings and, in one memorable scene, over a hill, where flashes and explosions spur the imagination to greater exertions than if he'd been more explicit.

I was especially pleased by the way Speilburg showed the US Military in this film. Unfortunately, their weapons had no effect upon the Martian war machines, but they are always shown as the professional soldiers that they are, directing civilians to what safety there is (there isn't much!) and doing their best to maintain order. When their chance comes, they go on the offensive with skill and accuracy. Given the opportunity to preach, Speilburg declines, much to his credit.

The little girl who play's Cruise's daughter is named Dakota Fanning; her performance is stunning. She's given a role that is very rare in a Hollywood movie: she plays a scared little girl. Your heart aches for her. I walked out of the theater a little in awe of her: I hope she navigates her adolescence better than other Speilburg alumni.

The script is a particularly good combination of original contemporary elements, classic H.G. Wells themes and scary stuff from the 50's thriller, taking the best from what came before and creating something exciting, suspenseful and terrifying. When it comes out of DVD, it's definitely going on my shelf.

Pious Agnostic says: check it out!

12:17 PM Jul 3, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Over at LGF, I found a link to particularly corrosive example of anti-American Leftist "thought:"

"F**k The American Dream"

Here we are in the Twentieth Century helplessly watching yet another Human Culture be "Oppressed" by a "White Suppremest Imperialistic Power". Who's country is the opposite of independant and who's Rich illustirous lifestile is nothing more than the "Spoils of War" A Nation that FORCES its POLITICAL GOALS upon another society through MILITARY POWER is called an Empire. And when its POLITICAL GOALS are RACIALY and FINANCIALLY motivated its called a "HATE CRIME" or WAR CRIME/CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY And don't be mistaken an EMPIRE is exactly what the United States intends to build. Expressing no COMPASHION FOR HUMANITY, CONCIENCE nor sense of WRONG or RIGHT the FACIST WHITE SUPPREMEST IMPERIALISTIC POWER known as the United States Government has yet again SLANDERED and OPPRESSED another HUMAN SOCIETY. Justifying 3000 American lives lost in a plane accident the United States Launched a 4 day bombardment of a heavily populated CIVILIAN area killing upwards of 100,000 inoccent people.....

And on and on for another ten column inches, unbroken by paragraph, logic or intellect.

This prompted one LGF commenter, Gagdad Bob, to write:

Freedom begins with transcendence of the repressive and arbitrary rules of spelling, liberation from tyrannical regime of grammar, defiance of the cruel master of syntax, and overthrowing the harsh and unforgiving dictates of logic.


1:14 AM Jul 2, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Whatever else folks in Northern Ireland are up to, we know they won't be doing any more brainstorming.

The buzzword ‘brainstorming’ is off the list of phrases deemed acceptable to for civil servants in Northern Ireland to use because it is said to be demeaning to people with brain disorders, according to the Observer.

Staff at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Belfast will from now on be using the term 'thought-showers' when they get together to think creatively.

Sources inside the department tell the paper that there was concern that the term brainstorming would offend people with epilepsy as well those with brain tumors or brain injuries.

This is a joke, right?

Bull-headed cow gets noggin stuck in tree

12:42 AM Jul 2, 2005by Rob Ritchie

Lascassas veterinarian John Brunner had to use lubricant and
tractor power to pull this cow's head free from a tree....

Now if only he could get Nancy Pelosi's head out of her ass.

Pious gratitude to: fark

2:48 PM Jul 2, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Michelle Malken has a post discussing responses to Molly Ivan's recent foolishness. Ivans uses Karl Rove's recent comments about the nature of the liberal response to 9/11 as a springboard to declare her independance from "those liberals"...and then cements her identification with them by spouting a litany of tired "liberal" talking points about the war in Iraq.

Way to prove Mr. Roves' point, Ms. Ivans.

I was particularly amused by her conclusion:

It is one thing for a political knife-fighter like Karl Rove to impugn the patriotism of people who disagree with him: We have seen this tactic before, but how many times are the media going to let them get away with it?

Get away with it? Ms. Ivans, are you proposing that the media should punish Mr. Rove in some way? Impose some sort of prior restraint upon his First Amendment rights? Write scathing editorials denouncing him?

Or are you simply proposing that the media should stop sitting on stories like this one, and let the public know what's going on.

Yeah, the silence is deafening.

Maybe you'd prefer that the "media" hire a hit man.

12:24 PM Jul 2, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Dafydd explains why he doesn't use the word "Islamofascist:"

The word "Islamofascist" is just an example of using Nazi or fascist as an all-purpose intensifier to mean anything bad. It cheapens the historicity of the real fascists. What's next, discussing the Communofascism of North Korea?

But the more important point is that the word "fascism" has a magical power: it overwhelms every other word you connect it to. In the real world, "Islamofascism" transsubstantiates into (islamo)-FASCISM! Kaboom!

The danger we face is Islamism and the willingness to murder hundreds of thousands in the name of jihad. What matters is the religion itself and the militancy by which it's spread -- not some putative connection to Mussolini or Hitler. To understand the jihadi, we need to confront the true source of the danger: the death cult that animates the slayer-of-thousands.

This is a good point with which I agree; but unfortunately, for many, many people on the Left, you simply must identify our foe as a "fascist" or they won't consider him a foe at all. As we have seen, the Left only responds to (mostly imaginary) fascism.

It's the Fascism that gets them going, not the Islamism.

Because, as we all know, Islam is a Religion of Peace®.

And many perceive the term Militant Islamism (the term that Dafydd prefers) to be a value judgement not on a murderous death cult, but upon their peaceful co-religionists.

6:00 PM Jul 1, 2005

by Rob Ritchie

Nancy Pelosi is a complete embarassment.

Captain Ed elaborates.