…is, sadly, the CIA. It is a shame that George Tenet, its most inept leader, was paid to write a sniveling apologia. Fortunately we have Christopher Hitchens to provide a useful remedy. He concludes:
A highly irritating expression in Washington has it that “hindsight is always 20-20.” Would that it were so. History is not a matter of hindsight and is not, in fact, always written by the victors. In this case, a bogus history is being offered by a real loser whose hindsight is cockeyed and who had no foresight at all.
A painful but accurate statement that could have gone unsaid if Tenet had just kept his yap shut. Our intelligence services left us blind at a crucial moment, and we must never forget how completely they failed us. As a matter of safety, we should always presume that they are wrong.
Apollo posted this at 4:53 PM CDT on Monday, April 30th, 2007 as Global War on Terror
No Comments »
Thanks to Matt Drudge, two amusing stories about prostitutes. The first is a DC based one:
Instead, after 18 months in state prison, Palfrey started Pamela Martin. The firm recruited escorts through the University of Maryland student newspaper and Washington City Paper. It advertised in the Yellow Pages and on Web sites, touting itself as “undoubtedly the best adult agency around.”
Her career path apparently was lucrative, but not spectacularly so. Prosecutors say she made about $2 million running Pamela Martin over 13 years — on average, less than $160,000 a year. Her Escondido, Calif., home was valued at about $480,000 last year, and her Vallejo, Calif., house at about $495,000, according to court papers related to their seizure by the federal government.
That’s about a million dollars worth more homes than I own; it’s also almost $2 million more than I made in the past 13 years. Perhaps I’m in the wrong business.
Our second exhibit is the man Boy George (yes, that one) kidnapped:
A MALE escort told of his terror last night after claiming he was kidnapped by Boy George.
Auden Carlsen, 28, said: “It’s ironic that his biggest hit was Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? — because I’m sure he did want to hurt me.
“I was convinced I was going to die.”
The Norwegian spoke out as George, 45, was bailed by detectives probing assault and false imprisonment allegations.
Carlsen said he was grabbed by the singer and another man and chained to a wall after the star invited him to his pad in Shoreditch, East London, to pose for photos.
The escort fled in his pants after wrenching the hook from the wall.
I think I’d have a hard time admitting to being kidnapped by Boy George. It’s almost like getting schooled by Richard Simmons. In both cases, one might have to forfeit membership in subphylum Vertebrata.
Hubbard posted this at 10:40 AM CDT on Monday, April 30th, 2007 as Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
1 Comment »
It’s hard to pick out one quote from this terrible picture of modern China. Here’s one that got to me:
To ensure the proper implementation of China’s single-child policy (in some provinces, the limit is two children, if the first is a girl), the agents keep close watch on childbearing women, often subjecting them to horrific violence. In 2005, a family-planning squad targeted the city of Linyi and its surrounding rural area, in the Shandong Province, because the population had far exceeded the Party’s child quota. The agents kidnapped 17,000 women, forcing abortions on those who were pregnant—in some cases, immersing seven- to eight-month-old fetuses in boiling water—and sterilizing those who weren’t. The agents tortured the Linyi men until they revealed the hiding places of their daughters and wives.
This nightmarish episode, admitted to by the Beijing government, would have gone unnoticed if not for yet another text message sent to a Hong Kong journalist, which ultimately led to the American press’s picking up the story.
Given that some want to divest from Israel based on its human rights record, I wonder what those
antisemites people think about China.
Hubbard posted this at 9:58 AM CDT on Monday, April 30th, 2007 as Commie Recrudescence
2 Comments »
Tonight’s fortune cookie: “Genius is more work than genius.”
Apollo posted this at 1:20 AM CDT on Sunday, April 29th, 2007 as Philosophy
2 Comments »
New York magazine interviews an art teacher:
Q. What’s that?
A. It’s an owl I made out of a sweater and a T-shirt.
Q. What will you do with it?
A. I’m gonna give it to my husband. But I have a feeling my daughter’s gonna try to take it; she’s two and a half.
Q. Do you make other animals?
A. Once I made a quintipus out of socks. It’s an octopus with five legs.
Q. What’s its name?
Dorothy posted this at 12:43 AM CDT on Saturday, April 28th, 2007 as Amer-I-Can!, Random Bloggish Things
No Comments »
Tonight’s receipt from the dollar movie rental place says that we rented “Pursuit of Harryness.”
Apollo posted this at 12:40 AM CDT on Saturday, April 28th, 2007 as Humor
No Comments »
While Victor Davis Hanson may be too optimistic for me about the Middle East, his thoughts on immigration are still worth reading. A highlight:
Since Mexifornia appeared, the debate also no longer splits along liberal/conservative, Republican/Democrat, or even white/brown fault lines. Instead, class considerations more often divide Americans on the issue. The majority of middle-class and poor whites, Asians, African-Americans, and Hispanics wish to close the borders. They see few advantages to cheap service labor, since they are not so likely to need it to mow their lawns, watch their kids, or clean their houses. Because the less well-off eat out less often, use hotels infrequently, and don’t periodically remodel their homes, the advantages to the economy of inexpensive, off-the-books illegal-alien labor again are not so apparent.
But the downside surely is apparent. Truck drivers, carpenters, janitors, and gardeners— unlike lawyers, doctors, actors, writers, and professors—correctly feel that their jobs are threatened, or at least their wages lowered, by cheaper rival workers from Oaxaca or Jalisco. And Americans who live in communities where thousands of illegal aliens have arrived en masse more likely lack the money to move when Spanish-speaking students flood the schools and gangs proliferate. Poorer Americans of all ethnic backgrounds take for granted that poverty provides no exemption from mastering English, so they wonder why the same is not true for incoming Mexican nationals. Less than a mile from my home is a former farmhouse whose new owner moved in several stationary Winnebagos, propane tanks, and outdoor cooking facilities—and apparently four or five entire families rent such facilities right outside his back door. Dozens live where a single family used to—a common sight in rural California that reifies illegal immigration in a way that books and essays do not.
The problem with all this is that our now-spurned laws were originally intended to ensure an (admittedly thin) veneer of civilization over innate chaos—roads full of drivers who have passed a minimum test to ensure that they are not a threat to others; single-family residence zoning to ensure that there are adequate sewer, garbage, and water services for all; periodic county inspections to ensure that untethered dogs are licensed and free of disease and that housing is wired and plumbed properly to prevent mayhem; and a consensus on school taxes to ensure that there are enough teachers and classrooms for such sudden spikes in student populations.
All these now-neglected or forgotten rules proved costly to the taxpayer. In my own experience, the slow progress made in rural California since the 1950s of my youth—in which the county inspected our farm’s rural dwellings, eliminated the once-ubiquitous rural outhouse, shut down substandard housing, and fined violators in hopes of providing a uniform humane standard of residence for all rural residents—has been abandoned in just a few years of laissez-faire policy toward illegal aliens. My own neighborhood is reverting to conditions common about 1950, but with the insult of far higher tax rates added to the injury of nonexistent enforcement of once-comprehensive statutes. The government’s attitude at all levels is to punish the dutiful citizen’s misdemeanors while ignoring the alien’s felony, on the logic that the former will at least comply while the latter either cannot or will not.
Fairness about who is allowed into the United States is another issue that reflects class divides—especially when almost 70 percent of all immigrants, legal and illegal, arrive from Mexico alone. Asians, for example, are puzzled as to why their relatives wait years for official approval to enter the United States, while Mexican nationals come across the border illegally, counting on serial amnesties to obtain citizenship.
Conor, any thoughts?
Hubbard posted this at 1:41 PM CDT on Friday, April 27th, 2007 as The Melting Pot Boils Over
5 Comments »
I saw this post, and it reminded me of the best quick thinking I ever did.
Shortly after I was hired, I was on my first month-long business trip with (among others) an associate who wanted to be the next Wilt Chamberlain—not for basketball, but for the ladies. The only way he could fit in all his work and women was by consuming oceans of Starbucks coffee. He once claimed that after a 7 cup day, the only way he could sleep at night was after hooking up. I didn’t approve, but since X was going to write my annual reviews, I said nothing. I noticed that one night he brought a girl to a barbecue that our local office had. I thought it was odd that he was bringing one of his random chicks to a function, but it’s not my job to critique my supervisors’ morals, so I smiled and nodded.
Some weeks later, on a Sunday morning, we were starting to get ready for another hectic week. I dropped off some documents at X’s hotel room. Unsurprisingly, he had company: one of the hotel’s cocktail waitresses was lounging in the bed.
Our fabulous secretary called me just after I left the room. “Hubbard, where’s X?”
“His hotel room. Why?”
“Is he alone?”
“Of course not. Did you have to ask?”
“His fiancée is here and is heading to his room.”
“Yeah, he brought Y to the barbecue.” I remembered her name at least, thank God.
“Listen,” I told our secretary. “You tell X to clean up, and I’ll head off Y.”
I saw Y, and was still on the phone, so I then said loudly, “Yeah, I got it. Talk to you in a few when the project’s done.” I’d had my brilliant idea.
Then I said, “Hey Y, I just got a call from Z [X's boss]. He wants some things from the work room. I just ran into X, and he’s tired from being up all night [true] so he asked me to pick him up some coffee [not true]. Could you get him a grande latte at Starbucks and I’ll take care of the boss?”
She agreed, and the crisis was averted. As soon as Y was out of earshot, I told our secretary what happened so she could tell X, whose phone number I didn’t have, what his cover story was. X wasn’t the kind of guy who answered phone calls from junior people like me or secretaries, but our ever-fabulous secretary simply borrowed Z’s cell phone and called him on that. Understanding a snob might be the best way to help him.
A few weeks after that incident, I ran into X and Y on the street. X had clearly been drinking, so when I said hi to them, he asked me, “Who are you?”
Y reminded him; she had only seen me twice; women and elephants never forget.
As for X and Y? Reader, she married him—alas.
Sometimes I wonder if that quick thinking was a mistake.
Hubbard posted this at 7:51 PM CDT on Thursday, April 26th, 2007 as Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, Vignettes
2 Comments »
Jack Balkin fires off a nearly convincing defense of the Iraq retreat bill. Reading his careful analysis of the trees, it’s very easy to not notice that you’re in a forest. He makes this bill sound so reasonable that one might forget:
- This bill attaches puppet strings to the executive for Congress to pull for its own amusement
- Any American retreat before we can plausibly declare victory will be understood in every corner of the world as a total American defeat
It’s a example of why one should not argue with lawyers. They’re far better at arguing than at truth-finding; the sort of rhetoricians that Plato warned us about.
Apollo posted this at 3:39 PM CDT on Thursday, April 26th, 2007 as The Democratic Congress
No Comments »
Crusty Marxist Harold Meyerson is today hawking international unions as the wave of the future and a sign that old school unions are catching up with globalization. Everything old is new again, it seems. Though perhaps they might not want to mention previous attempts at international unions and worker solidarity.
For years, globalization’s champions have attacked unions generally and the Steelworkers in particular for what they claimed were the union’s protectionist, parochial and generally retrograde stances. But the union, it turns out, is every bit as internationalist as they.
That’s not true at all. The union is just trying to be protectionist, parochial, and generally retrograde on a much larger scale.
Apollo posted this at 12:59 PM CDT on Thursday, April 26th, 2007 as Commie Recrudescence
No Comments »
LA Times sportswriter Mike Penner is getting a sex change. He’ll be back as Christine Penner. Coming out like that is tough—I’m not sure I could’ve make such a bold statement in a major newspaper. I hope she doesn’t have trouble when she’s back on the sports beat, but I’d imagine that there will be some. So good luck, Christine, and God bless.
[A note on grammar: transgender people really make pronouns difficult. Since Penner is now male, and will be until the surgery, some of my pronouns reflect that. But in a few weeks, Penner will be female, so my future tense reflects that. Being gay may sometimes be a hassle---which one of you is the wife?---but I'll take it over being transgendered.]
Hubbard posted this at 11:58 AM CDT on Thursday, April 26th, 2007 as Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, Grace
1 Comment »
I can’t decide whether to laugh at the stupidity of Japanese people or cheer the people behind this scam:
Japanese fooled in poodle scam
Thursday Apr 26 20:55 AEST
Thousands of Japanese have been swindled in a scam in which they were sold Australian and British sheep and told they were poodles.
Flocks of sheep were imported to Japan and then sold by a company called Poodles as Pets, marketed as fashionable accessories, available at $1,600 each.
That is a snip compared to a real poodle which retails for twice that much in Japan.
The scam was uncovered when Japanese moviestar Maiko Kawamaki went on a talk-show and wondered why her new pet would not bark or eat dog food.
She was crestfallen when told it was a sheep.
Then hundreds of other women got in touch with police to say they feared their new “poodle” was also a sheep.
It takes a villain of rare genius to come up with a plot like this – I suspect that we are dealing with Lex Luthor or perhaps The Joker.
Update from Hubbard: It appears that this was a hoax.
Jamie posted this at 10:23 AM CDT on Thursday, April 26th, 2007 as Those Wacky Foreigners
3 Comments »
Who wrote this?
Given the way the Constitution divides warmaking power between the president, as commander in chief, and Congress, as sole source of funds to support the armed services, it is essential that at some point Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi be able to negotiate with the White House to determine the course America will follow until a new president takes office.
To say that Reid has sent conflicting signals about his readiness for such discussions is an understatement. It has been impossible for his own members, let alone the White House, to sort out for more than 24 hours at a time what ground Reid is prepared to defend.
Instead of reinforcing the important proposition — defined by the Iraq Study Group — that a military strategy for Iraq is necessary but not sufficient to solve the myriad political problems of that country, Reid has mistakenly argued that the military effort is lost but a diplomatic-political strategy can still succeed.
The Democrats deserve better, and the country needs more, than Harry Reid has offered as Senate majority leader.
If you guessed one of our favorite commentators, Charles Krauthammer, you’d be wrong. The correct answer is David Broder, whose columns normally put me to sleep. It takes a lot to rouse that somnabulist, but Reid has managed.
Hubbard posted this at 9:24 AM CDT on Thursday, April 26th, 2007 as The Democratic Congress
No Comments »
… but we totally will anyway. And if you disagree, you deserve to have your children murdered.
I’m afraid that if I add any commentary, I will render Snarkybastards decidedly un-family-friendly. I am literally incapable of expressing my repugnance for this man using decent language. CA’s 46th congressional district is a race that I will be watching with close interest in 2008.
Geoff posted this at 10:44 PM CDT on Wednesday, April 25th, 2007 as Global War on Terror, Liberty and/or Security
3 Comments »
That’s how many shots the Virginia Tech killer got off.
It’s worthwhile to go back to the 1966 UT tower sniper. While some of these documents are interesting, the statement of Allen Crumm (Caution: .pdf file) is particularly worthwhile. When the shooting breaks out, Crum is the assistant manager of the university co-op bookstore about a block from the tower. He starts off by redirecting a major street’s traffic away from the field of fire. In the course of trying to find a phone to call his wife and advise that he is okay, he proceeds to help out a policeman, get himself deputized, borrow a policeman’s gun, and be part of a small group that made its way to the top of the tower and killed the sniper.
Another time, another place. It’s hard for me to imagine today’s near-paranoid police handing a gun to a civilian.
Apollo posted this at 2:49 PM CDT on Wednesday, April 25th, 2007 as Amer-I-Can!
No Comments »