Saturday, September 07, 2002

Scott Ritter is going to Iraq. Not that I'm surprised, but I think it is time we let him know about "aid and comfort to the enemy".
Madamoiselle from Salman Pak, parlez vous? I read this article by Martin Sieff which I got from some anti-war leftist who thought that it confirmed some point he was making. Of course, it doesn't. All the writer does is make an incredibly specious analogy between an autocracy, a totalitarian state, and the most stable and longest lived republic on the planet. Anyway, the fiskomatic is out of the holster and on single fire:
The great upheavals of history, once thoughtlessly launched, usually produce the opposite of what their initiators intended. The policymakers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire believed they needed to crush tiny Serbia in July 1914 in order to save their empire. Instead, they doomed it. Currently, Bush administration policymakers are energetically arguing that only a preemptive war against Iraq will remove its danger to mighty America. They promise a short, swift war with minimum casualties that will presumably be all over by the next State of the Union message, if not by Christmas. The millions who enthusiastically marched to their deaths in the armies of warring Europe in 1914 all thought the same thing, whatever side of the conflict they were on.
If Martin is going to draw some analogy from history, WWI isn't exactly the best one. Serbia had Russia and France as allies. Iraq has, er, nobody. And as far as battle casualties go, the last time troops went "over the top" and charged machine guns was, (wait for it) 1914. So, while I'm certain Martin would like to have us believe that we will refight the Somme on the Euphrates river, I don't think that will happen.
Major wars, it seems, almost always rebound disastrously on the heads of those who start them -- and on the hundreds of millions of innocent people who have the bad luck to be caught up in their petty ambitions and unachievable dreams.
Someone should have told Saddam and Osama that when they conspired to bring down the WTC.
Bill O'Reilly tries to pretend that he didn't act as an apologist for the Saudi Regime. Too late, Bill. You put your own quest for ratings ahead of Pat Roush and other American citizens, and nothing you say now will change that fact. "Your humble correspondent" horribly damaged the chances of Pat Roush and dozens of other Americans from ever seeing their children again, and have prevented dozens of other American citizens a chance at freedom. I hope you are proud of yourself, Bill.

Friday, September 06, 2002

I'm watching the Stuyvesant High School Chamber Choir sing God Bless America. A year later, it still brings a tear to my eye, and I still, a year later, have absolutely no human feelings to the likes of Saddam, Osama, the Ayatollahs in Iran, the Saudis, and the rest of that murderous bunch of scum. We must hunt them down and kill them, and rid the world of another bunch of thugs.
Bill O'Reilly tried to defend his behavior regarding Pat Roush with a Wall Street Journal editor(I don't remember the name) last night. From the way he treated Pat Roush, and the way he allowed his show to be used as a mouthpiece by the Saudis, the best that can be said about O'Reilly is he allowed himself to be used as the "useful idiot". He acted as an apologist for the Saudis, and submarined attempts by Pat Roush and other Americans who have lost children to that odious regime to get their children back. Nice job, Bill.
You can pick your Presidents. You can pick your nose. But you can't pick your President's nose.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

I just want to say that Dick Morris agrees with me. Now if they'll only pay me half a mil a year for spouting off my mouth.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Chris Matthews is no longer writing a syndicated column. I'm really bummed about this. Not for any real fondness for his writing, but mainly I figured I could get one free Fisking a week out of him. Now I have to go hunting on my own. Damn.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Next time you hear some baseball player complain about how cheap the owners are, read this.
Remember when I mentioned that Bush was going to use the anniversary of the atrocity to begin to make the case to the public about attacking Iraq? It looks like I might be right. We'll see. I think he will use the primetime address to make the case to the public, and the UN address the next day to make it to the world. The UN address may be during prime time in Europe, so that may be a real chance for public diplomacy on his part.
Andrea Harris has dug up a story on how the geniuses at Johannesburg have started a movement that the flush toilet be banned. When I heard this, I immediately marched up to the bathroom, and started my own movement.
Jerry Nachman, executive at MSNBC and the ugliest man on cable television had a lovefest with Phil Donahue yesterday. I just channel-surfed by it, but it is fairly obvious that Nachman brought Donahue on the show so that he could somehow rescue the ratings dog that he picked up. However, every weekday at 8:00 one can hear en masse the sound of remotes landing on MSNBC by accident, the collective "ugh" sound as Donahue brings on yet another tired leftist, and the remote clicking to someplace else, either to O'Reilly or to Connie Chung. The Associated Press is reporting that Donahue is getting ratings that only Gay Porno would envy(Sam Kinison may be dead, but his characterisation of ratings hell lives on). Also, this article is another step in the evolution of the Donahue Show Deathwatch. First comes the realization that the show is a turkey. This usually occurs in the first three weeks. The next step occurs when rumors start flying around that the show is getting lousy ratings(The Drudge Report is an acceptable confirmation of this). The third step is when the media starts to catch on that the show is a dog, and TV execs start denying that there is anything wrong, which is where we are today. The next step will be when these same TV execs start making suggestions on how to "improve" the show giving the turkey new pretty feathers, then, finally, another exec will finally say "enough" and give the turkey its just demise.

Monday, September 02, 2002

Watching Donahue, so you don't have to. Donahue had a bunch of "student activists" on his show. You can guess how many were conservative, or even not tinfoil hat liberal.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

Bill Quick I think has created a word to describe the European position on the war perfectly. Not unilateralism, not multilateralism, but loonylateralism.
I am watching Lawrence Eagleburger on Meet the Press right now. I am now utterly convinced that the foreign policy team of the Bush41 administration, with the exception of Cheney, were composed entirely of incompetents. He is bringing up imperialism blah blah occupation blah blah not proven blah blah blah. I might think their arguments have some plausibility if they would at least admit they screwed up by not killing him in '91 when they had the chance.
I just saw that Animal Planet has announced that Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom is going back on the air. I wonder now if Jim will get to wait in the truck while some other poor schmuck has to perform dentistry on a wolverine without anesthetic.
The London Telegraph is reporting that the Kuwait foreign minister has stated that they consider that the state of war with Iraq has never ended. If they believe this then we have casus belli. Not that we didn't already have one, but this should help shut up the EUroweenies.
Well, that was weird. Putting up a new post fixed it(I expected it to). However, now all my August archives now have the Blogger banner on them, and the September archive doesn't.
Something has gone kerblooey with Blogger. I took a look at my archives, and they are gone. However, the pages that hold the archives aren't. I have a hunch if I make this post, it might bring 'em back. We'll see.
The New York Times has an eco-screed by Brent Staples about how we all need to ride in economy cars. This is a real big beef of mine, because the eco-fascists through the Corporate Average Fuel Economy(CAFE) standards have destroyed the market for affordable full size cars, and drove the American public into larger, less fuel efficient, and less capable SUVs. Anyway, time to load up the fiskomatic and fire away.
Though rare today, cars like this littered the streets when I was a high schooler in the mid-1960's. In fact, they defined what baby-boom men would come to expect from an automobile. In the atmosphere of the time, a car was not quite a car unless punching the accelerator resulted in screaming tires and the landscape blurring around you as the needle on the gas gauge dropped like a stone.
I hate to burst your bubble, but they were rare back then too. Not every family drove a GTO, a Hemi Charger or a 396 Chevelle. The Beetle was one of the biggest selling cars in the US at the time. Most people driving a family economy car drove a Dodge Dart, Chevy Nova, or a Ford Falcon, all with inline 6s. Family cars were chevy Impalas or Biscaynes with either a straight 6 or 283 or 327 small block v-8. If you had the performance bug, or needed to tow a boat or camper, you might get a big block motor on your station wagon. And most of the cars that had v-8s more than needed them. The speed limit on highways then, like today, was 70 mph and up, and as anyone who drove on those highways in a VW could tell you, that was a terror-inducing experience in a small car.
The death of the California car song is not what you would call a civic tragedy. Those songs deified the largest, heaviest, dirtiest, least fuel-efficient engines in American history. In addition, the songs were primarily about drag racing, which burned off gasoline as though you'd lit a match to it and sometimes ended with the car and its driver wrapped around a tree. Romanticizing this period will not encourage speed-addicted Americans toward the fuel-efficient cars we so desperately need.
Whether we "need" a market for a fuel efficient car or not is a matter for the people, through the market, to decide. Since the price for gasoline today adjusted for inflation is less than it was before the '73 oil embargo, I would say that there isn't much "need" there. Mercury Marauders and Caddy Escalades aren't exactly collecting dust on the dealer lots now, are they?
The quest for saner cars dates back to the early 1960's, a decade before the oil crisis forced the government to lean on Detroit to produce them. The expansion of the Interstate System fed suburban development, increasing dramatically the number of households that needed at least two cars. Dad drove to work in the two-ton living room on wheels, leaving mom with a smaller, less expensive car for the run to the supermarket.
Again, Brent gets his history wrong here. Dad drove the sedan to work. Mom, having to pick up the kids, buy groceries and stuff, drove the wagon. If anything, Dad drove the smaller car.
These mid-sized cars typically got fewer miles per gallon than light trucks do today. The impulse to make them more economical ran afoul of the quest for an "exciting" car aimed at people in their teens and early 20's who would soon make up the majority of the car-buying public.
Because cars back then used carburetors and distributors. Today cars use electronic fuel injection and electronic ignition, and all functions are managed by computer, even on "cheap" cars. This creates an engine with more HP *and* more more fuel economy. Compare the fact that a 2003 mustang makes more net HP, more net torque, and gets better fuel economy with less engine displacement than its 1966 cousin. As far as the teens and twenties who wanted GTO's in the 60s, they are the same ones who wanted a '57 chevy small block in the '50s a Ford Flathead v-8 in the 30s, and Subaru WRX's today. Putting a hot engine in a small car isn't exactly something confined to 1968.
The battle between environmentalists and the car industry over fuel efficiency and pollution standards has its roots in this same statistic. Car manufacturers over the last 20 years have manipulated the law at every turn to increase car size and engine size, and to maintain the fast start. As a result of all this evasion, mileage improvements have been far short of what is possible and emissions reductions have been disappointing.
This is a lovely bit of revisionist history. Because of CAFE, people no longer drive large passenger cars anymore. Americans want to drive an affordable large car, with good highway performance and good acceleration. Because of CAFE, there are only two sedans that fit that mold, the Ford Crown Victoria and the Mercury Grand Marquis. And these cars get far better mileage than their cousins in the 60's and 70's did. Instead, people now buy Ford Explorers, Chevy Suburbans, and Jeep Grand Cherokees. All of these vehicles are larger than just about any passenger car made, with perhaps the exception of a 1970 Caddy fleetwood limo. They get worse mileage than the 60's cars. Americans want, a large, powerful automobile. They need the performance on the highway, and they need the flexibility a large car provides. But, because of CAFE, only the very wealthy can afford a large car, but an even larger SUV is affordable by all. Building an affordable large car is impossible because CAFE makes such a car not viable to the general public. As far as emissions are concerned, just about every car today is a Low or Ultra Low emission vehicle, emitting little more than CO2 and water. The idea that cars today contribute to smog is pure fantasy. The exhaust coming out of a car may actually be cleaner than the air going in. But, of course, Brent didn't bother to do any fact checking before writing this, otherwise he wouldn't have made such a preposterous statement.
American cars are still by and large faster and more muscular than they need to be, especially given that they spend much of their time sitting still in traffic. The challenge that faces us at the moment is how to wean people away from the brute-force hot-rod ethos that Detroit taught us to love in the 60's and coax them toward calmer cars that do not seem as though they are powered by rockets. This will require a change in what Detroit builds, as well as a change in the way it markets what it builds.
Here we get to the crux of the matter. For all the whining of the enviro-fascists, Americans don't want to ride on the interstate on 10 speed bicycles powered by lawnmower engines. Now, because of the moronic CAFE law, that vehicle is a 5000+ lb 4wd truck powered by a 300 horsepower engine. There was a time when people would have bought a sedan that was 1000+ lbs lighter, handled better, and was safer both for themselves(rollovers) and the car they might hit, but the government in its nanny-state perfection shut that market down with CAFE. If Brent put any effort into thinking about it, he would realize that the market will provide the cars that the market wants, and no government or ad campaign will change that.
Don't let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya Time says Colin Powell is planning to leave at the end of Bush's first term in office. I think perhaps he might want to move that date up a bit. Condi Rice needs a bigger office.