Saturday, October 12, 2002

I've got some problems with Columbus Day, the biggest one being that nobody seems to be willing to give us that treasured three day weekend on account of it anymore. Apparently, it's a big deal for Italian-Americans, but a lot of the politically correct crowd don't like it because Christopher Columbus was mean to brown people, or something like that. Well, I'm part American-Indian - only a small part, but I like to remind people of this in case I'm ever in need of a reason to incur guilt when I'm feeling oppressed - and I think celebrating the guy that found a place kind of near here is important. Am I going to tell you the reasons? Probably not, or at the most, not very coherently, but let's start with a little op-ed in the Sacramento Bee, shall we?

Ethnic pride and political correctness clash when the nation observes Columbus Day. Italian-Americans, who count Columbus as one of their own, view it as an opportunity to celebrate their heritage.

I'm always kind of weary when it comes to "ethnic pride". It's not that I think anyone should be ashamed of their heritage, I just think that "ethnic pride" has encouraged the worst sorts of behavior, and in some cases even tragic atrocities, that human ugliness can wield. Ethnic pride spawned the Holocaust; ethnic pride killed somewhere around 3,500 in Northern Ireland over 30 years; ethnic pride can make the Muslim guy at the corner store give me dirty looks when I ask him for a bottle of whiskey ("Oh yeah, get this buddy...I can also VOTE!"). But ethnic pride can do good things, too. It can inspire family loyalty, it can keep a community safe and clean, and it can send the curious on the most fantastic of adventures chasing down their lineage. Ethnic pride is like a gun - it can be used for good and/or for bad. Or sometimes it could be used for silly. Example, you could take a gun and smear it with strawberry-kiwi jelly, and photograph it next to a stuffed animal whose head has been removed. I'm only mentioning this because an art major roommate of mine did this once in college and thought she was making some sort of extraordinary statement. I've forgotten exactly what that statement was, but I think it was somewhere in the field of "I am totally off my rocker. Please give me a pill". And because sometimes I think that ethnic pride is silly.

In communities where ethnicity cannot be easily delineated, holidays honoring cultural self-worth have been invented. And all Americans, no matter what their origins, invoke their national devotion on the Fourth of July.

Indeed they have. I've been trying to orchestrate a sizeable parade in the greater Los Angeles area for a decade that celebrates the experiences of the Welsh-English-Irish-Scottish-Austrian-German-Choctaw-American experience in the U.S., but I've had little support. However, I've always found a great party on the Fourth of July. Maybe that's because I don't feel like I have to own a lovespoon, speak like Henry Higgins, eat corned beef on Saint Patricks day, wear a kilt, wear lederhosen,enjoy sauerkraut and David Hasselhof, or have a little raindance in turquoise jewelry to feel like I'm a bonafide person of substance. I'm just an American. We're a little bit of all of this, plus a whole lot more, and I think that's what makes us so great.

The problem in the case of Columbus Day is that Christopher Columbus is no longer held in the esteem he once was. In fact, many hold him to be a villain of monstrous proportions.

This must be because throwing punches at history is so incredibly effective. By modern terms, poor Columbus is just the guy who made the black kids sit on the back of the bus. In context, he's an adventurer of the greatest porportions; a fellow willing to brave the unknown for the hope of discovery, and yes, even conquest.

Macalaster College anthropologist Jack Weatherford, writing in The Baltimore Sun, said Columbus Day honors the man "who opened the Atlantic slave trade and launched one of the greatest waves of genocide known in history."

That's a stretch, but I can't possibly defend the slave trade or great waves of genocide, so...

Ambrose Lane, author of "For Whites Only? How and Why America Became a Racist Nation," says that rather than being a bold adventurer, Catholic missionary or hero, "All Columbus was doing was trying to find some wealth for his patrons."

Yes, he was trying to find wealth for his patrons. Don't we all? My boss expects me to do a job, kiss the client's ass, keep the money coming in. What business doesn't, besides the failing one, that is? And America is a racist nation because it is comprised of human beings, who are a racist people. It's a sad truth, but a truth no less.

So Monday, while tens of thousands of Americans of Italian extraction are celebrating him, thousands of other Americans - in between their rush to grab towels and microwaves at 30 percent off - will likely curse Columbus under their breath if they think about him at all.

I'll be thinking about him. I'll be thinking "Why couldn't you just be nice to the Indians, so that we could all have an extra day off, guilt free?"

However, an opportunity exists to transform the holiday in a way that will redeem it - or at least remove the contentiousness from the celebrations.

Tell me, tell me, for October is otherwise void of three day weekends!

Beginning in 2003, the 511th anniversary of Columbus' first voyage to the West, U.S. President George W. Bush should use the official holiday message to proclaim Columbus Day as the day on which to honor the many contributions immigrants have made to America.

Okay, by this point, nobody is reading anymore because this post is too long, but let's all take the time to note that the "immigrant" part is exactly the issue that a lot of people have with Columbus Day. It is he who opened the floodgates, mind you.

In his honor, Columbus Day can be set aside to reflect on all those who followed him and their many accomplishments. America would not be the nation it is today without them.

No, it would be an anti-collective of embattled Indian tribes.

Irving Berlin, who - under another name - immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1893, wrote many of the songs now considered American popular standards, not the least of which is "America the Beautiful."

While the poor people who suffered under Prohibition would have been sans the juice of life were it not for the stylings and efforts of the great Wilsons, my forebearers, who made the enormous sacrifice of running the sauce when the Feds decided we couldn't handle the stuff.

Other immigrants who have so enriched American culture through their work in arts include comedians Bob Hope, Danny Thomas and Dan Ackroyd, dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, actor Cary Grant, musician Eddie Van Halen and director Frank Capra, whose films of the '30s and '40s put all that was good and virtuous about America on display for the world to see.

Okay, well, now I'm too drunk to look up Really Important Stuff that immigrants have done to embelish our culture outside of entertaining distractions, but I'm sure there's more than a handfull of them. Im certain, though, it's important to point out that immigrants have probably done a lot more than make us laugh at the cinema or encourage us to wear ripped jeans in public at heavy metal concerts. Please add them to the comments section.

How different would the country and the world be if Alexander Graham Bell had not come to these shores from Scotland or if Intel founder Andy Grove had stayed in Hungary?

Quite possibly the phone might have been invented in Scotland and Intel might have been founded in Hungary. Maybe not. Probably not. Who knows?

Illegal immigration, and the problems that follow it, have thrown the whole idea of the "golden door" into disrepute. Rather than welcome those who seek a better life with open arms, politicians are once again trying to find a way to keep people out in response to the public pressure to do something.

That might be because a lot of them aren't potential inventors and exceptional innovators, they're just unskilled laborers. Hell, I welcome them all anyway. After all, I need someone to make my Big Macs for me.

Before any of you go thinking that's ugly, ask yourselves this: how many times have you thought of taking a job that you considered demeaning and below your status? I worked at a fast food restaurant for years, at the side of the biggest batch of hard-working immigrants, most of them illegal, who never called in sick, worked their tushies off, and were grateful just to be here in the U.S. instead of Cuba, Guatemala, or El Salvador (never got half as much from Americans). I never once for a second considered myself better than them; most of them were mestizos. I bet they'd salute Christopher Columbus in a second. And I would welcome them even faster; and not just because they were cheap labor serving up McNuggets, but because a lot of them are friends and good, ambitious people who want a little more than a poverty-stricken destiny in a third world shithole.

Happy Columbus Day, America. Let's all celebrate the fact that, were it not for him, almost all of us would not have been born.

Christian Coalition: Vote and vote conservative

"Get the few liberals out. If you don't do it, it ain't gonna be done," Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, told the crowd at the Washington Convention Center. "You will be doing the Lord's work, and he will richly bless you for it."

Is the implication from that statement supposed to mean that everyone who doesn't take Inhofe's point of view is going to Hell? "Vote Republican or suffer the fiery judgement of eternal damnation"? Or does he think that Christian conservatives are reserved a special place in Heaven - they get to dine with God himself, while liberals and Democrats are confined to the kiddie table near the kitchen entrance? Who knows; this is one for the theologians.

The notion of separating church and state with such policies as disallowing prayer in public schools "is a deception from Satan," said Joyce Meyer, a convention sponsor.

No it's not. It's a gift from the Founding Fathers. Really, your kids aren't going to be kicked down the escalator to the Bad Place by Saint Peter if they have a seven hour lapse between prayers.

"If God is in fact separated from the government, then we can never possibly have a godly government," Meyer said to a standing ovation. "There's no way for America to be good if she's not godly."

There's lots of ways we could be good. For instance, we could let people worship all kinds of gods, or no gods at all. We could let them worship the "magically delicious" guy from the Lucky Charms commercials, if that's their choice. We could let them decide if they want to reproduce or not as their own conscience dictates. We could let people be gay without foisting all that "fire and brimstone" crap on them about how God hates fags (clue: God doesn't hate fags. He hates people who hate fags).

Meyer, head of Joyce Meyer Ministries of Fenton, Missouri, said activists probably will find more spiritual awareness in the aftermath of the "wake-up call" of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. God did not cause the attacks, she said, but they should teach the country a lesson.

"If we don't obey God, God's protection is lifted," Meyer said.

This "Stick Your Foot In Your Mouth, Falwell" moment brought to you by The Center for Self-Righteous Indignation. Narrowing minds since 1975!

The last time I heard someone invoke a diety so many times in a single speech, I was watching one of those Osama bin Laden tapes on Al-Jazeera. These are not the views of sensible, even-handed persons. The September 11 attacks were not brought on by the perceived moral depravity of a handful of Americans. They were brought on by zealous religious nuts who believe that everyone who does not share their opinion and their god is a minion of Satan. Sound like anybody you know, Joyce Meyer?

California will vote for a new governor on November 5. Voter turn-out is expected to be low, as apathy rides high on the reality that the two major candidates are as about as appealing as a bug sandwich. You know who's to blame? That's right! George Bush!

Convincing young soon-to-be-voters that civic involvement is important was tough during the Vietnam era, and it's still a problem. In the 2000 election, some votes didn't count and the new president failed to receive a popular majority, which encouraged apathy and cynicism.

You can't "encourage" someone to be apathetic or cynical. These sorts of attitudes are expressed by choice, not by force. People who don't vote are a public hindrance, not a reasonably detached citizenry whose analysts were never quite able to help them overcome their issues with the electoral college. It's hardly rational to hold contemporary politics and government in contempt while simultaneously refusing to exercise your democratic right vote. That's not apathy, it's hypocrisy.

Ah, this brings back memories...

Simmering tensions at Thurgood Marshall High School in San Francisco's Bayview district erupted into disturbances Friday as scores of baton-wielding police officers were brought in to break up clashes among students in the hallway.

We had a few of these at my high school back in the day, even had a few full-blown riots. At the time, all I remember thinking is how great it was to get a half day from school. What a dummy.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Now that Jimmy Carter's got a Nobel Peace Prize, I was thinking we've all but left to rename the award the Nobel Prize For Seriously Sucking Ass before it becomes a completely useless gesture. Half the people who have won it are absolute terds. Maybe we should just take it on a case by case basis. Let's have a look:

2002 - Jimmy Carter
The Nobel Prize for Excellence in Peanut Farming and Being a Complete Toss-Up as President of the United States

2001 - Kofi Anan
The Nobel Prize for Lording Over the Most Useless Organization in the World

1998 - John Hume and David Trimble
The Nobel Prize for Cooperating With Each Other at Long Last to at Least Try to Get Your Constituents to Stop Killing Each Other for No Reason

1979 - Mother Theresa
The Nobel Prize for Being Nice to Poor People

1970 - Norman E. Borlaug
The Nobel Prize for Doing Stuff With Wheat

1977 - Amnesty International
The Nobel Prize for Selectively Only Caring About the Human Rights of Left-wing Dissidents While Turning a Blind Eye to the Rest

1952 - Albert Schweitzer
The Nobel Prize for Having a Really Interesting Mustache

In "Reuters":

Carter Wins Nobel Peace Prize in Swipe at Bush

Nice reporting, guys. Fair, balanced, and ethical.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

This little thingie has been making the rounds over the last week. I can’t remember where I saw it first – I think it might have been at Tim Blair’s. At any rate, I decided to put in a few names from Northern Ireland politics and see what the results were. Here you are:

David Trimble:
David Trimble is a sticking plaster that comes with a variety of coloured fascias, hasn't gone on any murderous rampages yet and fetches your hat.

“Yet”. Hmmm....

Ian Paisley:
Ian Paisley is a beermat that plays the theme from Steptoe and Son! It may cause drowsiness and comes in seven different colours.

Presumably none of them green.

Jeffrey Donaldson:
Jeffrey Donaldson is an ironing board that can be used in zero-gravity! It never needs repairing.

I wouldn’t say that.

Martin Ferris:
Martin Ferris is a newly-discovered breed of fish that's inflammable and smells a bit funny.

Ha ha!

Gerry Adams:
Gerry Adams is a bicycle that provides an RSS feed and records everything you say.

Indeed he does. Isn’t that what all the current fuss is about?

Bairbre de Bruin:
Bairbre de Bruin is a lightbulb that plugs into your rocket launcher, weighs less than a packet of cigarettes and traps small animals.

You can see how “Plugs into your rocket laucher” might be mistaken for some sort of filthy innuendo...

John Reid:
John Reid is a fishpond that gets +2 to kill undead and keeps your breath fresh for up to twenty-four hours.

Is he the same fishpond where they found Martin Ferris?

Martin McGuinnes:
Martin McGuinness is a microwave that has adverts on the side, communicates via Instant Messenger and runs on compressed air.

Mark Durkan:
Mark Durkan is a shopping bag that records everything you say!

Not you too, Mark!

Nigel Dodds:
Nigel Dodds is an airbag that's unbreakable, emits dangerous radiation and can play the trumpet.

Okay, this isn’t fun anymore.

Joint rule may follow Stormont collapse

The Irish and British governments are preparing for a form of joint administration if they are forced to suspend the power-sharing Executive.

It would involve an Anglo-Irish ministerial council with ministers and officials from Dublin and London taking over the work of the devolved administration at Stormont.

If memory serves, the last time the words "joint" and "authority" were used within two sentences of each other, Unionists went apeshit. If it turns out that Gerry Adams isn't on crack and this really is some elaborate plot on the part of the police service to cover David Trimble's flailing ass, then it seems it will have backfired painfully.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Asa Hutchinson on why drug legalization doesn't work:

Scotland Yard aggressively targets international drug traffickers, and I applaud its strong overall anti-drug policy. But last year, a local police commander initiated a pilot program in which people caught possessing marijuana are warned rather than arrested. Often, they're just ignored. In news reports and my interviews, residents criticize the program for bringing more drug dealers, more petty criminals and more drug use.

Except for the ones who are stoned. They're too busy eating Twinkies and shouting "Fuck yeah!"

The one-year Lambeth pilot ended Aug. 1, but Britain has announced it will relax the country's marijuana laws. That move has given fuel to those in the United States who believe we should follow suit. Some have called for the outright legalization of marijuana. People could buy dope over the counter, as they do in the red-light district of Amsterdam.

Say it with me...Fuck yeah!

What these legalization advocates do not talk about are the disturbing problems that people in Lambeth lived with every day. They ignore the sad misery of young people addicted to drugs. They ignore the serious problems that countries such as the Netherlands are experiencing -- problems that are leading them to reconsider their own liberal drug laws.

And what Mr. Hutchinson does not talk about is the remarkable difference between marijuana and drugs like heroin and cocaine. I lived for years in the marijuana-drenched culture of Arcata, California - there were moments I practically forgot it was against the law - and at its worst, you'd find a room full of 20 year olds zoinked out on tattered couches marvelling at the miracle that is the black light, where the most they could muster was "dude, like someone needs to get up and flip over the Pink Floyd record, man". Hardly a national crisis.

Maybe it's time Europeans looked to America's drug policy as their model.

Or maybe Europeans should just make whatever drug laws they damn well please in their own countries. They've got enough to worry about with Brussels and Vienna wanting to get their sticky paws all over their soveriegnty. They don't need the director of the DEA telling them what to do, too.

Our approach -- tough drug laws coupled with effective education programs and compassionate treatment -- is having success. It's a great myth that there's been no progress in our anti-drug effort. To the contrary, there's been remarkable success. Overall drug use in the United States is down by more than a third since the late 1970s.

That's only because Studio 54 closed and Keith Moon died.

We need a renewed dedication by all Americans to help our kids stay away from the misery and addiction of drugs. In fighting drugs, we do have new ideas: from drug courts to community coalitions; from more investment in education to more effective treatment; from drug testing in the workplace to drug counselors in schools. These are ideas that work.

He said "drug testing in the workplace". I hate him.

What doesn't work is legalization. It's a well-kept secret that we have tried it before in this country. In 1975, Alaska's Supreme Court held that under that state's constitution, an adult could possess marijuana for personal consumption at home.

It's not that big of a secret. And it wasn't perfectly legal - you couldn't buy it or sell it. You were just allowed to grow up to four ounces in your own home for personal use. Big deal. So a bunch of cold people got stoned without having to worry that some Fed was going to throw them in jail for 15 years. You guys at the top fixed that though, didn't you, Asa?

The court's ruling became a green light for marijuana use.

Once again...Fuck yeah!

Legalizing drugs is simply a surrender. It's giving up on the hope of a drug-free future for our next generation. It's writing off those still in the grip of addiction and despair. Isn't every life worth fighting for?

This from the man who a few paragraphs prior declared "As long as we have despair, poverty and frustration, as long as we have teenage rebellion, we're going to have problems with drugs." So this drug-free future will aparently only come when desperation and teenagers don't exist anymore. "Those still in the grip of addiction and despair" are getting their drugs anyway. And no, every life is not worth fighting for.

Roy Greenslade in The Daily Wanker:

Will there ever be justice in the north of Ireland?

You mean, like in Dundalk? I don't know. Ask Bertie Ahern.

The Stormont raid on Sinn Fein's office and the simultaneous arrests of four people are like a macabre joke, proving that the new police service is no different from the old one, making a laughing stock of the concept of fairness and equality.

Of course, you see, this double standard of totally unfair anti-republicanism explains the constant raids and surveillance that have haunted the SDLP for years.

A year ago, a journalist, Marty O'Hagan, was shot dead by loyalist gunmen. No one has been arrested. In 1999, solicitor Rosemary Nelson was murdered by a car bomb. No one has been arrested. It took years before anyone was arrested for the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane in 1989, and when someone was charged, he too was murdered by loyalists. Again, no arrests.

And Danny Morrison is a free man, as are countless other IRA butchers. Bobby Sands and Francis Hughes are celebrated martyrs. Tit for tat. Isn't anyone tired of that game yet?

These are just the high-profile cases people in Britain know about. Very little media coverage has been given to scores of unpunished loyalist murders and attacks during years in which they have made a mockery of previous ceasefire claims.

That's because, for the most part, they're just killing each other. Doing us all a favor, so to speak.

All manner of provocative acts against the nationalist population, particularly in Belfast, have failed to achieve the obvious aim of luring the IRA to retaliate and so breach its ceasefire.

Seriously, what possible motivation would anyone have for doing that?

Yet the loyalist mayhem continues under the noses of police, because the IRA remains the bogeyman for the security forces - police special branch, army and MI5 - known in republican terminology as the securocrats.

Gee, you think this might have something to do with the fact that these security forces were, for decades, considered by the IRA to be legitimate military targets?

The securocrats have been sceptical about the IRA giving up the gun.

Why shouldn't they be? Because they signed a piece of paper promising to be good? Yeah, now the guerilla warriors are our friends.

They have therefore devoted a great deal more time to intelligence-gathering on the IRA's now peaceful members than to investigating loyalists who continue to murder with impunity.

As John Reid once said in an interview, "The vast majority of the murderous, sectarian violence is coming from the loyalists, and that has to be tackled. But the loyalists aren’t in government." See the diff, Mr. Greenslade?

But even if we accept that all the leaks about what the police are supposed to have discovered are correct, we must stand back from the government hype to consider its implications. Does it really matter a damn if the IRA knows what the prime minister said to John Reid, the Northern Ireland secretary of state? Does it matter if it knows the name of every serving prison officer, every policeman's address, every ministerial security briefing?

Not really. What matters is what they intend to do with that information. I'm guessing they're not making a note of policemen's addresses so that they can send them a card at Christmas.

The sad truth, since partition, is that the British will do almost anything to frustrate the republican agenda and bolster the unionists.

So? Even if that were true (and it isn't), republicans will do almost anything to forward their agenda. They blew up downtown London, for Christ's sake, in the name of their agenda. They've killed a few thousand people in the name of their agenda. Good for them that they've agreed to stop, since it suits the political ambitions of Sinn Fein, but that doesn't give them a tabla rasa. You're the one who brought up the goose and the gander question, Roy. Why don't you ask yourself the same thing.

It is frightening to realise that the only people smiling now are the dissident IRA members who refused to follow Sinn Fein down the political road.

That just isn't so. I'm smiling.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Here’s yesterday’s transcript from the Northern Ireland assembly that covers the discussion of the raids. It doesn’t identify speakers by their party, but you can pretty much follow who’s who by the sort of language they employ.

And Sinn Fein members never say “thank you”. They say “go raibh maith agat”.

As of Friday at noon, DUP ministers will pull out of the Executive in Northern Ireland.

So what. They suck anyway.

For an alternative perspective on the SF raids, see Terry McMenamin.

David Trimble met with Tony “Naive Idiot” Blair today where the UUP leader “call[ed] for Sinn Fein to be excluded from government.” “Reuters” is reporting that “political experts say Blair is unlikely to remove Sinn Fein, fearing a collapse of the entire peace process. More likely is a pre-emptive suspension of the whole executive.” Meanwhile, Gerry “Killer” Kelly is claiming it’s all just a “competition to pull down the institutions that gave people hope," as Sinn Fein (Warning: the SF website actually contains the words "redistribution of wealth") begins “legal action to recover stolen property.”

Wake up, Sinn Fein. Nobody has done a better job of destroying hope than you and your comrades in the IRA. Britain opened dialogue with you in an effort to placate you and get you to stop murdering people and blowing up London and Belfast. Unionists accepted your presence in the executive in spite of the fact that you essentially bombed your way to the negotiating table. Three of your members were caught training communist guerilla revolutionaries in Colombia and you suffered nothing for this, even denied that they were your own. You stole sensitive intelligence documents from Castlereagh and, in spite of forensic evidence linking you to the break-in, you still refute all the charges, instead claiming “collusion” and tossing out dozens of ridiculous conspiracy theories, blaming everyone from the whole of the British army to the UUP.

This is nothing new. Martin and the Gerrys could be caught red-handed, smoking gun and all, in broad daylight with one hundred witnesses standing on, and they’d still protest their innocence and claim it’s all a plot by David Trimble to exclude their participation in politics.

You keep reiterating the same tired excuse that this is the work of all the evil, anti-Agreement Unionists out to get you. For your information, it happens to be the point of view of most of the civilized world that spying, training terrorists, and murder are bad things. You stake your claim for the right to participate in democracy – a right I’ve defended – and then contemptuously and continously defy everything that it stands for.

And now this. I still think it’s a little too early to pass strict judgment, but let’s just say things don’t look good for Sinn Fein right now. Guess what fellas? If you can’t play nice with the other children, the teacher is going to take your toys away. Only in this case, you aren’t the only one who will be punished. The whole class is probably going to be held in from recess while the swing sets and teeter-totters are dismantled.

Nice going, Gerry. Congratulations on destroying yourself.

For all of you who’ve come here from Slugger looking for up to the minute news on the current crisis in the Peace Process™, please go visit Newshound. All you’ll find here on the matter is badly worded bloviating.

And for those of you who’ve come here looking for “dwarf tossing events in the U.K.”, I’m telling the UN on you...

Matthew Engel is Hitler! No, he's Stalin! Or is it Mao? Either way, insert your synonym of choice for "stupid bastard" in the description blank and fire away!

Let's be clear about this. Saddam Hussein is not Hitler, as hysterical Americans keep claiming. The charges of external violence are 12 years old. There is no coherent evidence that he had any plans (at least before the US began goading him) for more adventures, merely that he is obsessed with stockpiling weaponry, a charge that applies equally to the Pentagon.

The difference here being that Saddam stockpiles weapons for the purpose of intimidation and conquest, whereas the Pentagon stockpiles weapons for national defence. Just like Hunter S. Thompson stockpiles weapons to shoot peacocks (okay, I'm pretty sure he doesn't shoot them) or pictures of Jann Wenner on his own land, while the Manson family collected them to chop other people up.

I had thought that the second world war addiction was a peculiarly British phenomenon, a drug we reached for because we have achieved damn all as a nation ever since. If anything, it seems worse in the US, a country where an education in world history consists of little more than learning the lines:

In fourteen hundred and ninety-two

Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

That's right, Engel. In America, memorizing those lines qualifies you for a PhD.

So, without delving any further into the idiocy that is called "Engel", let's review the main points of his comments:

Saddam Hussein is not Hitler.
George Bush is not Hitler.
Hitler is not Stalin.
Hitler liked dogs.
Stalin is not Mao.
John Pilger is not Mao, either.
Hitler was not Nasser.
Ho Chi Minh was not the Suez Canal.

Why bother with the rest? At least he only made one blatantly anti-American remark.

Bush-Blair transcript 'seized by IRA spies'

Secret documents obtained by an IRA spy network included transcripts of telephone conversations between Tony Blair and President Bush, security sources confirmed yesterday.

As Northern Ireland enters its biggest crisis since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the province is bracing itself today for a final meeting of the power-sharing Assembly. Direct rule from Westminster is likely to be imposed within days.

Monday, October 07, 2002

Good riddance.

UPDATE: Not quite yet.

More from enlightened man of theology and compassionate disciple of God, Osama bin Whatshisface:

Here is the United States. It was filled with terror from its north to its south and from its east to its west.

Uh-huh. Whatever, dude. You're the one hiding in a cave.

He concludes:
May God's peace, mercy, and blessings be upon you.

And may Earth's suffering, pestilence, and misfortune be upon you.

As nice as it is imagining letting ol’ Rudy pull the plug on this freak, I don’t want to give Osama the satisfaction. All I can think of is that skinny bastard dying with some beatific grin on his face, knowing that, in his life, he has carried out Allah’s bidding against the infidels, and a blissful paradise filled of opulence will be waiting for him when it’s all over. Regardless of what any religion might offer as their interpretation of the afterlife, it’s not good enough. Even if that means in the next life he comes back as a calf in a veal processing plant, spends eternity writhing in the fires of hell, or merely winds up a corpse chewed up by worms. I want retribution in this life, and I want the worst kind.

But I don’t want to find Osama bin Laden. I would prefer, instead, that he spend the remainder of his wretched life bouncing from one cave to another, constantly in fear of being caught in nothing more and nothing less than total paranoia and discomfort. I like the idea of him endlessly looking over his shoulder, and never having another second of ease, as he is forced to spend every waking hour trying to stay one step ahead of our boys. It’s fantastic to imagine how little he must sleep at night. I'd like that we wipe out al-Qaeda cells one by one, eventually leaving a toothless, withered old man deprived of or abandoned by his friends and associates. I can’t wait for the flaring hemorrhoids, fading eyesight, aching back, deafness, loss of bladder control, and loneliness to take their toll as he rots to death in a dark, wet hole in the ground. I only hope he’ll have one last fellow at his side to document it all for the rest of us.

Monday Pop Quiz

Who said the following:

"By God, the youths of God are preparing for you things that would fill your hearts with terror and target your economic lifeline until you stop your oppression and aggression"

a) Ian Paisley
b) Barbara Streisand
c) Jerry Falwell
d) maybe Osama bin Laden
e) nobody of consequence

(by checking “e”, you are essentially answering “all of the above”)

Correct response here

I’m not saying anything about the Sinn Fein raids until there’s more on what was found. The most I’ve heard so far is that the apparent IRA code name for Tony Blair is “Naive Idiot”. Now I find myself confused and appalled that, for the first time in my life, I actually agree with the IRA on something.

Meanwhile, Martin McGuinness is confuting his usual Selective Outrage™ over the whole business:

Mr. McGuinness said that Mr. Donaldson was innocent of the charge and that the police had not discovered any evidence in the Sinn Fein offices. He also said he found it hypocritical of the Northern Ireland Office to be complaining about I.R.A. spying. The Northern Ireland Office had "been bugging our houses for the last 30 years," he told RTE, the Irish state radio. "They've been bugging our gardens and bugging our cars. There's an awful lot of double standards and an awful lot of hypocrisy."

”In all of that time,” Mr. McGuinness continued, “we have not once been left to murder and plot bomb attacks in peace by the imperialist British Government.”*

*I made that up.