The Idiom

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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"German Callousness"

I stand corrected. . .sort of. Mr. Surly's most recent rant critisized the apparent lack of offers of assistance from other nations in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. One eagle eyed commenter pointed out Germany had pledged assistance to the U.S. In the interest of full disclosure, Mr. Surly checked this out at Spiegel Online. According to this article, private donations are not forthcoming because the there haven't been any requests yet, though apparently September 11 was the only time the German people expressed interest in making donations for a disaster in the U.S.

But it is true that Germany has offered help to the U.S. Check out this article from Spiegel Online. However, it turns out things might actually be worse in some ways than I thought:

For the record: German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder offered his condolences to US President George W. Bush for the Hurricane Katrina disaster that has hit the Gulf Coast. Both he and his fellow Germans, Schröder wrote, feel "great sympathy for the fate of those people affected by the hurricane."Nice words to be sure, but that was it. No pledges of aid money, no announcements of immediate help -- although finally, two days later, the German interior minister did manage to come out with a hesitant offer of assistance. And let's be honest, the crisis region this time around isn't in the Third World, but is in the United States of America. There really isn't much of a need for German helpers -- experienced as they may be from aid missions from Kosovo to Afghanistan -- because the American authorities are already doing as much as can be done.Nevertheless, German aid money delivered to American aid agencies would surely be welcome on the other side of the Atlantic.

It's good to know the Germans have actually done the right thing, but there's probably some folks sitting on their roof tops right about now who would disagree that there isn't a need for German helpers -- some German helicopters could probably be put to some good use.

But apparently, people over here believe that the Americans over there don't really need help. Strange. The same people who normally spend their time pointing their holier-than-thou fingers at the ghettos and slums in the US, the same ones who describe America as an out-of-control capitalist monster, are now, when the Americans could really use a bit of help, oddly quiet.

Apparently the Americans had it coming: "The American president has closed his eyes to the economic and human damage that natural catastrophes such as Katrina -- in other words, disasters caused by a lack of climate protection measures -- can visit on his country." Who wrote this? None other than Jürgen Trittin, Germany's minister of the environment.

At a moment when the dead on the Gulf Coast are still being counted, the German minister of the environment could think of nothing better to do than -- in an essay published Tuesday in the center-left daily Frankfurter Rundschau -- to blame the US itself for the catastrophe. The piece is 493 words long, and not a single one of them is wasted to express any sort of sympathy for the victims of the storm. The worst of it is that Trittin isn't alone with his cold, malicious tenor. The coverage from much of the German media tends in the same direction: If Bush had only listened to Uncle Trittin and signed the Kyoto Protocol, then this never would have happened.

This only underlines my basic premise: that the U.S., unlike other nations, is generous to a fault. The U.S. does not punish people in need because of political differences. A point the author of the Spiegel Online article hammers home in a cheap but effective shot:

The Germans, on the other hand, could have done a lot to prevent World War II. And yet, care packages still rained down from US troops.

Kid Various' Secret Shame

He likes the 1986 version of the Police's "Don't Stand So Close To Me" better than the original.

Hey, AP *Does* Need Spellchecking.

Check this out:

A New Orleans police officer holds a shoot (sic) gun as he tries to keep people away from a drug store in a flooded area of downtown New Orleans, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Numerous other nearby stores were previously looted. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
One would hope that all the guns owned by the New Orleans Police Department were "shoot guns."

Maybe they meant to write "NOPD officer holds a shooty stick..."

The accompanying article, however, doesn't put Nawlin's in a good light.
"It's downtown Baghdad," said tourist Denise Bollinger, who snapped pictures of looting in the French Quarter. "It's insane."
Actually, Kid Various would not be surprised if downtown Baghdad was better off. Despite the odd car-bombing and military sweep, it seems as if life continues as normal. Good to know we have a new yardstick for measuring civilized behaviour (or lack of it.) It's all part of the media narrative.
At a drug store in the French Quarter, people were running out with grocery baskets and coolers full of soft drinks, chips and diapers. One looter shot and wounded a fellow looter, who was taken to a hospital and survived.
Larry Looter: Give me those Ho-Ho's!

Barry Looter: You can have these Ho-Ho's when you pry them from my cold dead fingers!

Larry Looter: Suit yourself! BANG!

Man, we truly are one step away from the savannah aren't we? What about when New York was blacked out a few years ago? Everyone kept calm and remained civil. There was no mayhem, no casual looting...

Sean Jeffries of New Orleans had already been evacuated from one French Quarter hotel when he was ordered out of a second hotel Tuesday because of rising water.

The 37-year-old banker — who admitted to looting some food from a nearby supermarket — said the hotel guests were told they were being taken to a convention center, but from there, they didn't know.

"We're in the middle of a national tragedy," he said as he popped purloined grapes in his mouth. "But I know this city. We will be back. It may take awhile. But we will be back."

37 year old BANKER???

A hurricane blows through and all of a sudden a normal, responsible everyday banker finds moral lease to go on a shopping spree?

Kid Various theorizes that if he had no food, no prospects of getting food, and the automatic slide doors were open, he might walk off with some food (hell it was all going to rot anyway.) But he'd be sure as hell to leave some money in the cash register!

We're trying to live in a society here!

Hey, AP! How About Some Spell Checking?

Crews Pass Dead to Reach Storm Survivors

Jeez! Don't they know it's spelled krewe?*

Members of the "Krewe de Vieux" ride a "float" down Bourbon Street.

*Yes, we are going to hell, thank you...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Reason No. 744 Why America is Great

New Orleans is underwater and Hurricane Katrina is shaping up to be one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. However, despite all the damage that has been inflicted on Louisiana and neighboring states, the United States will soon recover thanks in no small part to the outpouring of international relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. . .

STOP RIGHT THERE. That's a story you will NEVER see. When is the last time you heard about other nations' efforts to help ordinary Americans in need? Saudi Arabia's offer to ship a few more barrels of crude when gas prices go through the roof doesn't count in my book. However it's easy to find examples where America has come to the aid of other countries. The United States has donated three quarters of a billion -- that's billion people -- dollars to the Indian Ocean tsunami relief effort, helped save the lives of Russian seamen trapped in a submarine on the bottom of the ocean, heck we even sent emergency relief as well as privately donated aid to Iran when Bam, former site of the worlds largest adobe structure in the world, was decimated by an earthquake in 2003. And those examples are just off the top of my head.

I would be happy to see some reports of foreign government offering assistance. I doubt very much I'll see those stories though and that's just fine. It's a reminder of why America is a great country. As a nation, we are probably the most generous nation on earth, generous to a fault (I repeat -- we sent humaniatrian aid to Iran whose reactivated nuclear program is solely directed at intimidating the West). America will take care of its own and still provide relief to people around the world. New Orleans will recover, life will go on, no thanks to anyone else. Maybe one day other nations will come to fully appreciate how much they depend on the U.S. for their security and well being. I wonder how long it will take other countries to feel the pinch when the Port of New Orleans is shut down for an extended period of time and trade is disrupted?

God does USA Favor. Wipes Last Vestige Of French Culture Off Map

With 80% of New Orleans under water and the death toll rising, people have begun to ask, as they did during the Asian Tsunami, "Why God, have you caused this tragedy to happen?"

Now it can be revealed. As Kid Various has long had God's digits (how else has he been able to have access to such wisdom?) he called the Big Man himself to ask about his reasons for adding the Big Easy to the list behind Sodom and Gomorrah.

Was it because the Big Easy was too "easy?"

God: What? You mean the Mardi Gras thing?

Kid: Well some people have been have just been saying. You know how crazy it gets down there; open containers on the street, girls gone wild flashing their tits, gay penguins...

God: Nah, that ain't it at all. I mean, yeah, I generally frown on the hedonism thing but, it's not fire and brimstone stuff. Geez, even the catholics have got to cut loose once in a while.

Kid: So what then?

God: It's the French.

Kid: The French?

God: Yeah, basically I've had it up to here with their whiny attitudes. Someone's got to bitch slap them. This is the first in an expected string of misfortunes to be delivered on French culture.

Kid: So why New Orleans?

God: Well you need to warm up first. Don't expect sulphur to rain down and consume Paris anytime soon. Besides, "Nawlin's" is basically the last vestige of French culture left in the United States. Ultimately I'm doing you guys a favor. It's like lancing a boil. Now you guys can rebuild the French Quarter bigger and better as the "Freedom Quarter."

Kid: But what about all those people in Mississippi?

God: Well, you can't make an omlette without breakin' a few eggs, know what I mean?

Kid: So basically, you're willing to go on record as sort of the ultimate francophobe.

God: Well I would, except that the word "francophobe" technically means "fear of France." And given the French level of ferocity the past few hundred years, I'd say that's about as close to the definition of an oxymoron as you're going to get.

Kid: Can you let us in on the next frankish target of the Almighty's wrath?

God: Of course I can't, but I wouldn't book a vacation to French Polynesia anytime within the next 2 months if you know what I mean. No wait, three months. No, no... two months.

So there it is folks. Just to recap...

Mardi Gras...not responsible

French...definitely responsible.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Too Much of a Good Thing

Sure coffee is good and so good for you. Caffeine is the chemical fulcrum of our advanced Western Civilization. As always, we must stand vigilant and protect this precious bean from the nefarious forces behind the Caffeine Awareness Month conspiracy.

But I'll admit it, too much of a good thing may not be so good. Like Paracelsus said "the dose maketh the poison." So don't end up like Balzac, click on the link below to make sure you know your limits and find out how much of your favorite caffeinated beverage it would take to kill you:

Woo hoo! I can drink like 60-something more cups before I hit the danger zone.

Hat Tip via Yahoo UK Office Attachments

This Is A Good War

Kid Various is, unfortunately, not going to be able to make it to the Galloway/Hitch rumble in Manhattan on September 14 because he's going to be out of town. (Like WAY out of town.)

And Mr. Scriblerus isn't going because, like, his kid is going to be born the next day, or something lame like that.

That leaves Mr. Surly, who should get himself pumped up by reading this outstanding piece by Hitch published in the current edition of the Weekly Standard.

Hitch argues that Iraq is a war Americans should be proud of, that its detractors use pithy but false arguments, and, on top of it all it contains a WH Auden reference. You're not going to get that at Democratic Underground!

Hitch also reminds us that the choice in early 2003 was not between war and the status quo, but rather between war and a drastically deteriorating situation.

For a good overview of this one must read Kevin Pollack's The Threatening Storm. (Or just look up a lot of old newspaper articles.) Critics like to say that Iraq was never a threat to us. Saddam was safely contained in his box. Of course, that is only true if the box was a soaked, cardboard box held together with tape.

People fail to rember that in 2001 and 2002, the sanctions regime was collapsing. Weapons inspectors had been kicked out in 1998. The oil embargo was a joke. France and Russia were openly lobbying to allow for trade with that shattered nation. The UN was helpless (and now we find, on the take...) Commercial flights to Baghdad had started up again, against the international travel ban, just because people decided to longer honor the ban.

These choices are not made in a vacuum.

Kid Various encourages you to read the whole thing. More ammunition about why this is a good war. And why we have to keep pounding away at that because the Administration has yet to wake up make a decent argument. For too long we've been riding on this:

The second bit of luck is a certain fiber displayed by a huge number of anonymous Americans. Faced with a constant drizzle of bad news and purposely demoralizing commentary (emphasis KV), millions of people stick out their jaws and hang tight. I am no fan of populism, but I surmise that these citizens are clear on the main point: It is out of the question--plainly and absolutely out of the question--that we should surrender the keystone state of the Middle East to a rotten, murderous alliance between Baathists and bin Ladenists. When they hear the fatuous insinuation that this alliance has only been created by the resistance to it, voters know in their intestines that those who say so are soft on crime and soft on fascism.
In any case, Hitch has given Kid Various a new quote to hang up over his desk so that he may read it every day.
If the great effort to remake Iraq as a demilitarized federal and secular democracy should fail or be defeated, I shall lose sleep for the rest of my life in reproaching myself for doing too little. But at least I shall have the comfort of not having offered, so far as I can recall, any word or deed that contributed to a defeat.

Chavez to Hold Bush Liable if He's Harmed

Great headline:

"Chavez to Hold Bush Liable if He's Harmed"

Yeah, George W.! Take that! If Hugo trips and falls off the curb, he's gonna sue your ass!

Next up, "Tony Blair to ink 'hold harmless' contract with American President."

Just as an aside, for the next time someone tries to prove some sort of moral equivalency between America and the Islamic World by pointing out the barkings of fundamentalist idiots like Pat Robertson - remember to bring up the comparison:

Western World - Fundamentalist idiot cleric suggests that South American dictator be assasinated. Result: National uproar. Fundamentalist idiot cleric forced to backtrack and apologize.

Islamic World - Fundamentalist idiot cleric suggests that English muslim writer be assasinated. Result: 16 years later said English writer must still live in hiding to avoid legions of intellectually stunted men anxious to carry out suggestion of fundamentalist idiot cleric.

There simply is no comparison.

We Knew There Was A Reason Kid Various Was Still Alive

Ha! No wonder Kid Various is still (occasionally) mistaken for someone in his mid-20' will make him immortal!!! Hat Tip Instapundit

(Well, at least long-lived enough to download his brain into the computer.)

Helping to rid the body of free radicals, destructive molecules that damage cells and DNA, antioxidants have been linked to a number of benefits, including protection against heart disease and cancer.

The research is the latest in a number of studies to suggest coffee could be beneficial, with consumption linked to a reduced risk of liver and colon cancer, type two diabetes, and Parkinson's disease.

"Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source - nothing else comes close," said Joe Vinson from Scranton University in Pennsylvania, who led the research.

This is one press clipping Ra's Al Various will hold onto for a long time (for when the next study comes out 5 years from now that says coffee is the worst thing for you.) Now, off to be immersed in the Kona Pit!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Great Photos of the 20th Century, Cont'd

Another in a series of great photographs of the modern era. Well, not photograph per se. Let's use the term "image."

A perfect blending of our sensibilities at The Idiom; Warner Brothers cartoons and comics (and, if you think of it - a subtle commentray on the War.*)

Plus it allows us to make our monthly quota on Green Lantern references and link to the greatest headline of all time.

*Think of that other body pledged to defend civilization against barbaric evil...

In brightest day,
In blackest night.
Let no evil escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil's might
Beware my power,
Liberty's light!

Stupidity - The Policeman's Friend

A great asset in the War are our sensitive shnozzed four legged buddies. The problem is that we don't have enough trained dogs to cover our needs either in Iraq or at home.

But in this article on the subject in the Washington Post, an exchange between a passenger and a dog handler on the DC Metro outlines exactly why criminals get caught. They're outrageously stupid.

One man walked by and asked Shieder whether his dog would bite. "No, he sniffs," Shieder said.

"Can he sniff drugs?" the man asked, smiling nervously.

"No, just explosives," Shieder replied.

"Whew, that's good," said the man, who declined to give his name and walked away quickly, clutching his pocket.

That's it. Play it smooth, Jack...

Nope, no bombs. But I think there's some Thai Stick in there...

P.S. - What kind of great country do we live in where some idiot can go up to a cop and act like that and NOT get his ass thrown against a wall and searched?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Overheard: Priorities


Kid Various: You should totally go with Mr. Surly to that Galloway/Hitch thing. It'll be awesome. Very bloggable.

Mr. Scriblerus: Ummm, my son will be born the next morning. Somehow, I don't think that Mrs. Scriblerus will be to hip to my going out the night before.

Kid Various: Dude... priorities.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Go Rodents!

Somehow, we have achieved Adorable Little Rodent status in The Truth Laid Bear ecosystem. Abandon all hope.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Comment Bot?

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Turkmenbashi Bans Lip Synching. All Screams From Torture Now To Be "Live"

Saparmurat Niyazov, the President of Turkmenistan, humbly known as "Turkmenbashi" (The Father of All Turks), seeking to divert Turkmen youth from the cycle of tragedy that claimed the life of Rob Pilatus, this week banned lip synching in his country.
Niyazov has ordered a ban on lip synching performances across the tightly controlled Central Asian nation, citing "a negative effect on the development of singing and musical art," the president's office said Tuesday.

...Under Niyazov's order, lip synching is now prohibited at all cultural events, concerts, on television — and at private celebrations such as weddings.
Additionally, the Central Asian tyrant and noted music critic banned an upcoming appearance by Kelly Clarkson on "Turkmeni Idol."

Niyazov is a passionate devotee of the arts and a prolific author. In fact, his book Ruhnama, The Book of the Soul, is pretty much the only literature studied in Turkmen schools. It is also required reading for the driver's license exam.

His patronage has allowed thousands of Turkmen painters and sculptors to flourish, creating grandiose imagery of Turkmenbashi in all spaces public and private. The most famous being the solid gold statue of Niyazov atop the "neutrality arch" which rotates hourly to face the sun.

How fortunate for the Turkmen that they get to live under the thumb of a despot whom the West merely finds bufoonishly amusing, rather than an icky dangerous tyrant that the West will actually do something about, like those poor Iraqis!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Steel Cage Death Match

It's the greatest match up since Frazier-Ali! Unctous British MP, hater of the West and Saddam flunky, George Galloway is going up in an intellectual knife fight against former Trotskyite, war supporter and rakish wit, Hitch.

LIVE!Hat Tip New Criterion

Wednesday, September 14 at 7:00pm!

Mason Hall at the Baruch College Performing Arts Center
17 Lexington Ave., enter on 23rd St.

In the greatest city in the world, NEW YORK!

Watch Hitch put the smackdown on the morally bankrupt apologist for the "Butcher of Baghdad!"

Admission pays for the whole seat, but you'll only need THE EDGE!!!

Monday, August 22, 2005

DYFS Insanity in New Jersey

The Appellate Court in an unreported decision recently upheld a judgment that terminated a defendant mother’s parental rights to three of her children and that granted guardianship of the three children to the plaintiff Division of Youth and Family Services affirmed. The three children never lived with their mother. The Appellate Cound held that the trial court in making its judgment was justified in considering the mother’s “long-term history” with DYFS, which included the loss of her parental rights to nine other children (!) and properly concluded that the mother’s capacity to parent had not improved materially, that DYFS had provided “significant” services to her to no avail, and that the best interests of the three children required the entry of the judgment.


How does one begin to dissect this case?

Well the good news is we have now established the nine strikes and you're out rule in New Jersey when it comes to terminating parental rights. As you might imagine its pretty hard to take away someone's kids. You pretty much have light them on fire before a court will take them away permanently. If you just get caught standing over your gasoline soaked kids with a lighted match, then your OK. Parent of the year material. However, now we know that if you somehow manage to lose nine kids -- nine! -- you're pretty much going to lose any others you have. This appeal looks like a huge waste of time and judicial resources.

The bad news is there are now 12 kids that my taxes are paying to support and their fates are now in the hands of DYFS which seems like it manages to kill a kid every other month. It's also a good bet that the mother's appeal was funded by Legal Services or a similar program which is funded by, who else, taxpayers. How can this woman be allowed to reproduce? Since the decision is unreported and I didn't read the full text of the decision, I am going to go out on a limb and guess the mother is probably a drug addict. Substance abuse is a factor in the majority of DYFS cases, as high as 80-90% of the cases. You would think that after losing nine kids due to drug addication there would be some justification to say "no more" without violating the Constitution. Once again I can't recommend my favorite charity Project Prevention enough. There's chapters in Newark and Atlantic City. Give'em some scratch. Maybe in the long run it might lower your taxes if the State ins't warehousing as many crack babies, badly, and the state legislature doesn't figure out some new way to waste money. Oh, wait never mind. New Jersey not waste as much money as possible -- like that will ever happen.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Drinks at Desmonds

Mr. Surly had the pleasure of attending an impromptu blogmeet this weekend in New York City. I accompanied Jim of Parkway Rest Stop, a major nexus of the Jersey Blogosphere, into Manhattan. Fellow attendees were Zonker, Kate of Katespot, Mary of Bookblog and one of her friends. Kate and Mary I had met before at the Jersey Blogmeet, and it was fun to spend time with them at a smaller gathering. I got to hear some fairly funny stories and blog gossip, all theirs to tell, that I didn't get the chance to hear the last time we hung out. Zonker, a Georgia blogger originally from Jersey, I met for the first time. He was a truly nice fella and good company. He has definitely been away from Jersey too long because his niceness is actually a notable feature that screams "I ain't from around these parts".

The evening was a decidedly low key affair with most of the time spent talking and drinking. Zonker stayed with bloody marys since he was nursing a hangover earned at a bachelor party. I had a Brooklyn Lager for the first time, which was good, although I had to quit after one because it made me want to nap. Hey, that's just how it goes with Mr. Surly and good beer.

The real highlight of the evening for me though was the venue of our meeting, Desmond's Tavern, an eastside dive in the very best sense of the word. Its a nice little Irish bar where Irish expats can come and watch European football matches. Tending bar was a great fella who could have been Elvis Costello's cousin with a voice like an Irish Tom Waits. He was an affable guy, but he sold me on this bar when when he started playing tunes by the great Irish band the Pogues on the jukebox. I may have been the only person in our party to notice the music, but for me who listened to the Pogues in college, it was a real treat, though a little surreal, to hear Fairytale of New York in an Irish pub in New York populated with actual honest to god Irishmen standing around. Here's a sample verse:

"You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot!
Happy Christmas your arse, I pray God it's our last".

Trust me it's good. That song in particular features the immensely talented Kirsty MacColl, whose records I like considerably more than the Pogues' and who died tragically young. I mean really tragically, run over by a boat.

In any event, the music was the one little detail that made the night for me. And Desmonds actually has live music on the weekend. We left Desmonds at 8 p.m. just before you would expect a band to start setting up, but I wouldn't mind going back at 1:00 a.m. some weekend to see if it gets rockin there. I think it would be a good time. We Irish are god's chosen people after all.

Rad Right Crypto-fascist Morons

Thanks to Kid Various for single-handedly blogging The Idiom back to life.

Of course most of our new traffic flow is for the now famous Why Casey Sheehan Died post. Which leads me to my new favorite comment where Anonymous refers to your humble hosts as "a bunch of rad right crypto-fascist morons." I can't speak for my co-editors, but if we ever get tired of "calling this blog "The Idiom," my vote is for "Rad right crypto-fascist morons."

If Anonymous is a recurrent reader and/or blogger, please be a sport and give us a holler with a link so the Sheehan debate can continue.

Meanwhile, as we wait by the blog, in true rad right crypto-fascist moron manner the Kid, Surly and I will be goose-stepping around the house condemning Charles Darwin while we swill near beer and watch the Dukes of Hazzard.

File Under "I" For "Irony"

Wow. Who didn't see this coming?

A newly opened restaurant called Car Crash has had to close down - after a car crashed into the building.

The car lost control in wet weather and smashed into the entrace of the restaurant in Santiago.

Owner Nancy Araya says she named the restaurant Car Crash because the area was an accident blackspot.

The American Crisis

Last week, moral coward New York Times columnist Frank Rich wrote the first op/ed piece by a major media figure that stated outright that the United States can't win the war in Iraq. (link to wacky leftists page because the NY Times version will disappear.)

When Kid Various despairs, reading defeatist tripe like this, there's only one cure. Break out the Tom Paine.

We've been here before.

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Enemy, Mrs. Sheehan. The ENEMY!

The Why Casey Sheehan Died post seemed to be very popular and thanks to everyone who wrote in complimenting us on it.

In the comments section Kid Various argued that Mrs. Sheehan's question that she wanted to ask the President, "Why did you kill my son?" was not only emotionally loaded but factually inaccurate.

The President did not kill Mrs. Sheehan's son, the enemy did.

And people had better get down with the fact that there is an enemy and understand what he wants.

Which makes this statement by Mrs. Sheehan, quoted in a article (see, the Kid also reads along with listening to AA,) even more breath-taking.
Sheehan also fingered the U.S. presence as the source of all violence there. Asked about whom she blames for the death of her son, she said it was George W. Bush alone. Of the insurgent groups who were more directly responsible, she said, "The person who killed my son, I have no animosity for that person at all."
What can one even say to that? The difficulty is not in confronting Mrs. Sheehan's "absolute moral authority" (thank you Maureen Dowd) but in Mrs. Sheehan's apparent lack of any manner of human logic.

The President is to blame for her son's death. Yet the man who drew her son into his crosshairs, the man who pulled the trigger, the man who pulled that trigger, not for any grand political program but simply to keep others in a state of servitude, THAT man -- he's ok.

It is beyond Kid Various' understanding.

You Know...For Kids!

So you're a kid. You got your Playstation, your computer, your cell phone, your sneakers with the blinking light in them and your giant f*cking pants! What is it that today's modern kid needs?

We know...BEER!
SAGA (Kyodo) Kidsbeer, a nonalcoholic brew aimed at children, is catching on with young drinkers and is posting monthly shipments of 75,000 bottles, according to maker Tomomasu Co.

...The Kidsbeer label captures a nostalgic mood as it was modeled after classic beer labels.

"Even kids cannot stand life unless they have a drink," reads the product's advertising slogan.

Actually, that slogan could resonate. Especially if they had a childhood like Kid Various'. God knows he needed a few stiff ones after having to deal with the maniacs (parents.)

All we need now is to bring back candy cigarettes and we can start our youngsters early on the two things that will get them through their miserable futures as cogs in the corporate machine!

Mmmm! That smooth Victory flavor!


The internet has bequeathed to us a whole new vocabulary and set of acronyms, critical to us over-users of IM who are looking for ways to cut down on the typing. Consider lol, btw, and iirc.

Enter a new one from Iraq, sos.

Not “Save Our Ship” but rather “Standing Over Shoulder.”

The liberation of Iraq has given young people there access to communication with each other by means not allowed to them previously; cell phones and the internet.

Despite the fact that Iraq is a relatively more cosmopolitan society than most others in the Arab world, it is still one where traditional tribal values still hold the populace in a deadly grip.

As a result of these traditional values, it is difficult for young people to subvert authority figures and engage in activity thought to be “improper” by their elders. This is especially true for young women, and their contact with young men is severely limited by their extended family.

But with the widespread adoption of IM, young people have a means of communication with each other outside the eyes and ears of their elders. They can talk about all manner of improper things!

But when a parent or other authority figure wanders by, the participant quickly changes the subject to homework or school or something innocuous, adding the cryptic tag “sos.”

Instantly understood by their partner on the other end, it slips unnoticed by the old fogeys checking up on the youngsters, until they go away and the all clear “nsos – No Standing Over Shoulder” signals a return to the conversation.

Freedom is not always about an epic, newsworthy event like the adoption of a constitution. Often times, freedom comes in little nugget-like chunks. Just a little innocuous thing that expands Liberty just that much more. And it is in this fashion, one little chunk at a time, that we will wear down the enemy and defeat him.

Kid Various has always believed in an informal law that a country’s level of freedom is proportional to its adoption of rock and roll.*

The reason that Rock has survived in the West is because it is the original expression of rebellion for most youngsters. Every generation latches on to rock and roll and puts its own spin on it. Because we, in the West, need to be able to say “No Dad, screw you! I have to do it my way!”

Rock is about you, and your girl, your car and traveling down that open road to the destiny of your making. Rock is about being dissatisfied with your present circumstances. It’s about yelling “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!

Therefore, Great Britain is a free society because Johnny Rotten can snarl:

God save the queen
She aint no human being
There is no future
In England's dreaming

Don't be told what you want
Don't be told what you need
There's no future no future
No future for you

Azerbaijan? Where all the youth listen to is bland euro or arab-pop? Not free.

Which is why it heartens the Kid to see things like this starting to spring up in the Arab world:


*We used to listen to Rock and Roll. Now we listen to Rock. Whatever happened to Roll, man? It's the same feeling I get walking through Sears wondering what they did with Roebuck... -- George Carlin

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Carnival of the Vanities #152

Hey everyone! Check out the 152nd Carnival of the Vanities.

Our post Why Casey Sheehan Died got rated a 9 out 10. Wow. Thanks Will!

Check out all the other blogalicious links.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It's Called Natural Selection

What the hell ever happened to Playstation?

LAWRENCE, Kan. - A teenager found hanging from a dresser drawer with a coated bicycle chain lock around her neck apparently died while playing the "pass-out game," the girl's parents said.

...Usually, the game involves one person causing another to pass out and, seconds later, reviving the unconscious peer.

"It's like anything else that creates a high or a buzz; it can lead to addictive behavior," said Dr. Paul Loney, an emergency room physician at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

When addiction reaches the point of passing out alone, Loney said, "they're in deep trouble."

Oh yeah, they're in trouble alright. They're in trouble because they are so monumentally stupid that they don't realise that if they're alone, when the pass out, there's not going to be anyone there to revive them!

Is our society so amazingly diverse and affluent that the only thing left to entertain our youth is for them the choke each other to unconsciousness?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Glad To Find That Buffalo Bill Finally Got A Respectable Day Job

"You have lovely skin. It would look wonderful on the robot I'm making..."

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A flexible, electronic skin could provide robots, car seats and even carpets the ability to sense pressure and heat, Japanese researchers reported on Monday.

They described a new "skin" that not only senses both heat and pressure, but that is flexible, cheap and easy to make

Yes, very easy.

"It will put the lotion on, or it will get the hose again!!!"

Monday, August 15, 2005

Thank God! Ted Nugent Can Fly Again!

In this article in the WaPo, it's claimed that the TSA is reviewing its policies on what is and what is not allowed into the flight cabin.

The new head of the Transportation Security Administration has called for a broad review of the nation's air security system to update the agency's approach to threats and reduce checkpoint hassles for passengers.

...The staff's first set of recommendations, detailed in an Aug. 5 document, includes proposals to lift the ban on various carry-on items such as scissors, razor blades and knives less than five inches long. It also proposes that passengers no longer routinely be required to remove their shoes at security checkpoints.

Whew! Finally some sanity is returning to the airline flight process. Perhaps this will cut down on ridiculous experiences like on a recent flight, where Kid Various had his $.79 bic lighter confiscated from him, yet when the food was rolled out (at least he thinks it was food) was given a metal fork and knife!!!

And of course we all know the dangers posed to the travelling public by terrorists with nail files and knitting needles.

Of course, in reading further down the article, Kid Various saw some things that started to make him think the pendulum was perhaps swinging too far in the other direction.

The proposal also would allow ice picks, throwing stars and bows and arrows on flights. Allowing those items was suggested after a risk evaluation was conducted about which items posed the most danger.

Throwing stars??? Has anyone really had a problem not being able to stow their throwing stars in luggage except for travellers on Air Ninja?

In case of sudden decompression, wazikashi will drop from the overhead cabin for you to commit seppuku. Thank you for flying Air Ninja!

And who besides Ted Nugent has been hampered by not being able to bring their bow and arrow onboard? Ted, you rock, but it's just not that much challenge to hunt a buck on an Airbus 380 - even if they do close that curtain behind business class.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

How Can AP Report This With A Straight Face?

Because he has his finger on the pulse of the enemy.

KINGS BAY, Georgia (Reuters) - The 2003 invasion of
Iraq was a mistake that has boosted the ranks and morale of extremist Islamic groups and made them a greater threat to U.S. interests, former President Jimmy Carter said on Friday.

This coming from the man whose failure to deal decisively with the Iranian Revolution did more to boost the ranks and morale of Islamofascists than any other (western) individual.

Thanks for the advice. Go back to building houses.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Let Your Freak Flag Fly

Interesting story about flagmakers in Gaza working overtime to produce flags for Hamas to raise over Israeli settlements that are to be evacuated later this month. hat tip: LGF

Flagmaker Haitham Abu Khaled said he and others would make at least 10,000 green Hamas banners for the settlement takeover. In July, another flagmaker said Abbas's Palestinian Authority had ordered up 60,000 national red-black-and-green banners.

So flag making is an actual occupation (no pun intended) in Gaza. Kid Various was always curious about the state of flagmakers in the Arab world, and the fact that American and Israeli flags must be, like, the number one selling item in the catalog. After all, where do they get all those American and Israeli flags to burn in the street? One would think they're not ordering them from Pennsylvania...

Friday, August 12, 2005

Hot For Teacher, Cont'd

Different blogs specialize in different subjects. If you want incisive commmentary on the War (or a post about gay penguins) you come to The Idiom.

If you want a post about adult women shtupping underage boys, you go to Interested Participant.

Check out this eye opening round up of cases where women have sexually abused male minors.

Interested Participant helpfully describes each woman's profession (excerpted from the news reports.) Surprise of surprises, 54 of the 74 women on this list are teachers or participate in some sort of school related profession; teacher's aide, bus driver, guidance counselor (ew...Kid Various wouldn't have touched his guidance counselor with a 10 foot pole. He was too hairy.)

(CO) Nicole Andrea Barnhart, 35,
teacher, married, 2 children - Sex assault of boy, 16,

(KY) Pamela Charles, 35,
teacher's aide - Rape/sodomy of male student, 14,

(MI) Laura L. Findlay, 30,
band teacher - 1st degree criminal sex with boys under 16,

(CA) Elisa Kawasaki, 25,
biology teacher - Statutory rape of male student, 16,
Biology teacher indeed!

(CA) Catherine Rose, 47,
teacher's aide - Unlawful sex with male student, 17,

(CA) Margaret De Barraicua, 30,
teacher, married, one child - Rape of male student, 16,

(AR) Michelle Sikes, 34,
school interpreter, married, two kids - 1st degree sex assault (pleaded guilty) of boy, 15,
What the hell is a school interpreter? They try to make sense out trigonometery?

(NY) Joann Hernandez, 27,
teacher, married, three kids - Sex abuse of male student, 15,
And so on, and so on...

Kid Various' favorite blurb:
(PA) Lisa Marie Cope, 40,
pimp - Prostituted two girls, 14 and 15, for drugs,
Lisa Marie Cope... Pimp. The Kid wonders what category that profession falls under in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And then there's
(ME) Deborah Lepkowski, 44,
girls' athletics coach - Unlawful sexual contact with female student,
Uh, you know, sometimes the joke is just so easy it's not worth making.

Interested Participant's beef is that women get off lightly for abusing young boys while when the gender roles are reversed, the man is regarded as a monster. Kid various has commented on this before.

But the reality is, women are never going to get equal time for equal crime because society just looks on the situations differently. I mean look at this:

(McMinnville, Tennessee) Last February, Centertown Elementary School teacher Pamela Rogers Turner, 27, was arrested and charged with 15 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and 13 counts of statutory rape of one of her students, a 13-year-old boy.

Pamela Rogers Turner

If Kid Various had hit that at 13 he'd be a hero!

DISCLAIMER: Kid Various is not saying it's alright for women to sleep with under age boys. He's just saying that laws protecting young girls from horny old men are a comfort. Laws protecting young boys from predatory women are, for 14 year old boys everywhere, a real bummer dude.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Could We Just Lay Off Judge Roberts Already

There's been so much angst expressed over the fact that the Hon. John Roberts is Catholic. Folks are all worried that -gasp- this might influence his decisions on issues like abortion. Abortion is a bullet issue -- you shoot yourself in the foot with a good percentage of the population no matter what your stance on the matter is. Since abortion is such a divisive issue, everyone, i.e. Naral and Senator Barbara Boxer, has their panties in a bunch over this appointment. So when the Senate interviews Roberts next month you can be sure Roberts is going to be probed HARD on abortion. AND ITS ALL JUST A BIG DISTRACTION. Mr. Surly never gets worked up over abortion because the abortion debate is a big sham and has been for years. You heard it here first. The hoopla is all for the benefit of the sheep-like uninformed electorate. It's a big opportunity for the abortion special interest groups -- pro and con -- and the Senate to look like they are protecting the right to ___ life ___ choose. Check one.

Pre-Robert Bork, the judicial apointment confirmation process used to be about making sure appointees were qualified. Now, its a time to spout rhetoric and make sure the apointee holds the right views. How American. In the end, however, it's a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

In an ideal world, jurists are supposed screen out their prejudices, which we all have, from their decision making process. Rulings are to be made based on the facts and the law. So in an ideal world, Roberts' views on abortion are irrelevant. This clearly not being an ideal world though, there is a much better reason why Roberts views on abortion is of minimal importance. Roe is well established law. The anti-abortion side of the high court had a shot at overturning Roe in the early 1990's in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Instead the Court affirmed Roe. There hasn't been a serious challenge to Roe since. Why? Two words. Stare decisis. Judges don't overturn an established precedent lightly. Jonathan Rauch explains in the July 30 issue of the National Journal:

To end the right to abortion, says Ernest Young, a law professor at the University of Texas (Austin), "you need three appointments in a row to do exactly what you expect them to do on Roe." That is a tall order. Young notes that President Reagan and the first President Bush got five Supreme Court appointments between them. Only two, Scalia and Thomas, have lived up to abortion opponents' hopes -- a track record of only 40 percent.

Even on Roe and other mainstays of the Warren and Burger courts' liberalism, conservatism speaks to both sides of the issue. Few are the conservative jurists who have a kind word for the likes of Roe, and fewer still are any such jurists who Bush might appoint to the high court. But a deep current of conservatism, perhaps the deepest of all, regards precedent as the touchstone of legal and thus social stabilty, and is reluctant to sweepaway settled law, even if that law is flawed.

How strong is the doctrine of stare decisis? As Rauch points out, Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote the majority opinion in the 2000 case Dickerson v. U.S. affirming the Miranda decision. Rehnquist! No one has less love for criminal defendants than him! So Roe is here to stay indefinitely. Nothing short of amending the constitutiuon is gonna change that any tme soon. And even if Roe was overturned tomorrow, I still wouldn't lose sleep. In 1970 -- Nixon was President then remember -- 16 states had legalized abortion. Something tells me just as many if not more would turn around and legalize abortion today. Democracy is good.

So now that you don't have to worry about the right to choose, what are you going to do with your contributtion to NARAL? I suggest giving it to Project Prevention, the greatest cause ever. What is Project Prevention? I'm glad you asked. Here's the group's mission statement:

Project Prevention offers cash incentives to women that are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol to use long-term or permanent birth control. Temporary or permanent, the choice to use birth control while taking drugs can prevent the suffering and potential death of an innocent child. Avoiding unwanted pregnancies. Preventing abortions. Lowering the caseloads of social workers. All this while saving taxpayers millions of dollars. A common sense approach to a very serious problem!

A lot of people are critical of Project Prevention because they basically pay crack addicts $200 not to have kids. Critics have questioned the ethics of offering money to crack addicts to get sterilized. Drug addicts don't have the best impulse control after all. Having kids is a fundamental right, but frankly I am all in favor of crack addicts not reproducing. Call me carzy. And unless Project Prevention is actually sterilizing people while they are smoking the pipe, no one has any reason to complain. The law protects you from fraud, not from being stupid. So send'em some cash.

Why Casey Sheehan Died

Kid Various has been listening to the raving lunatics over at Air America for some time now. Lately, harebrained AA host Randi Rhodes has been pushing the case of Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son in Iraq and started an anti-war organization called Gold Star Families for Peace. Currently Sheehan is trying to attract media attention by sitting at the border of President Bush’s ranch in Texas where he is spending his August vacation (for which the President is being mercilessly pilloried on AA, for reasons beyond Kid Various’ understanding. Does he not have a beeper or something?)

Sheehan is there with a specific agenda. In her own words:

"I want to ask the president, `Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?" she said, her voice cracking with emotion. "Last week, you said my son died for a noble cause' and I want to ask him what that noble cause is?"

But also, though not quoted in the AP article, but played on The Randi Rhodes Show, Mrs. Sheehan stated that the President had told her that her son had died helping to protect American freedom by fighting those who would seek to harm us in Iraq so that we would not have to fight them in America. However, Mrs. Sheehan considers this a lie because it’s been “proven” that Iraq was not a threat to the United States so she’s demanding to know the real reason from the President.

Kid Various does not relish criticizing someone who has to endure such unimaginable grief. However, Mrs. Sheehan’s motivations strike The Kid as disingenuous in the extreme.

The President already told her why her son was called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of his nation. She does not like that answer, however, and thus is seeking to use the emotionally loaded (and factually inaccurate) question “Why did you kill my son?” as a stick to whip the President with.

It is rather unseemly.

Just in case she isn’t aware, Mrs. Sheehan’s son gave his life to prevent this

This is a rough representation of the effects of a nuclear strike (10 kilotons) on downtown Manhattan. Everything within the first circle is destroyed. Within the second circle there is “heavy” damage to reinforced buildings and complete destruction of all others.

What is not shown on this map, however, is the strike’s most damaging effects. That being the destruction of the American Republic, at least as we know it.

Historically speaking, there have been only two restraints on the use of nuclear weapons.

The first restraint is the feasibility of separating out enough fissile material and other technical requirements needed to actually construct a working weapon.

The second is the fact that, even taking into account the beneficial effects of deterrence throughout the Cold War, nuclear weapon states have never actually used them because of a deeply held moral restraint. Neither the U.S. (in Vietnam or Korea) or the Soviet Union (in Afghanistan) used nuclear weapons, even when such use would cause little fear of a retaliatory strike. Similarly, Israel has not used nuclear weapons against her Arab adversaries, nor had India during the nearly 25 years in which it had a nuclear monopoly vis a vis Pakistan.

After the events of September 11th, it is clear that we cannot rely on restraint number 2 to protect us from the enemy.

And, unfortunately, given enough time, the chance of the enemy overcoming restraint number 1, either by increasing their own technical capability or by procuring weapons from an existing nuclear weapons state, approaches 100%.

Therefore, there is an unknown, but finite, amount of time that we are working with before New York City is destroyed in a terrorist strike.

What the United States must do, is destroy/disable the enemy in that unknown but finite window of time.

What must be pointed out is that, and Kid Various will give the opponents of the War this, the enemy cannot destroy the United States of America. Not with one nuclear weapon, not with ten. Nuclear strikes would be a disaster unprecedented in American history, but they could not destroy us. Only we can do that.

To quote Abraham Lincoln:

At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

The enemy seeks to have us destroy ourselves. The nuclear scenario in which New York City disappears spells the end of the Republic, in two specific ways.

First, after New York City is destroyed, America will become a national security state that is locked in a permanent state of emergency. Those opponents of the War who rail against the USA PATRIOT act should think heavily about what will happen after a nuclear strike on one or more American cities. As a civil libertarian, Kid Various is disturbed by the expansion of government surveillance and prosecutory power since September 11th. Specifically, he is most appalled by the President’s move to accrue to himself the authority to have anyone (citizen or foreign) at any time deemed an “enemy combatant” and subject to indefinite detention without benefit of counsel, knowledge of the charges against him, prohibition against self incrimination or any way to challenge his status as an enemy combatant.

But, all said, the expansion of government power since September 11th does not change America’s basic character as a nation.

After an attack of such magnitude that it kills hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people, the pressures to go to any length to secure the homeland will be too great to bear. It is not likely that Americans will escape martial law. The government will have to be invested with great powers to investigate into the private lives of its citizens. The time of America as a free republic will be at an end.

Secondly, we will begin to fight this war unrestrained. That is a terrifying thought.

What Kid Various finds perplexing is that so many people in the Arab world and their fellow travellers in the anti-war movement see America as pathetically weak. Support for the Iraq front in the War is slipping to all time lows because people think we are losing. What they don’t understand is that we could easily win here without breaking a sweat. We could easily destroy the entire area from which the enemy springs. We could remove the threat of the enemy obtaining nuclear weapons by destroying every nuclear stockpile that is not in our own hands or the hands of our allies. We could subjugate the entire Muslim world from the Atlantic to the Gulf and destroy other potential problem areas such as North Korea.

We also would lose our character as Americans, for we would become the greatest mass murderers of innocent civilians since the Stalinist era Soviet Union.

We have done it before. If pressed to make the choice, we will choose to do so again. During WWII, the last time our nation was truly mobilized for war, we killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in central Europe and Japan through strategic bombing. Deliberately. Because by their labours and their efforts they kept their nations’ war machines running.

Similarly, the civilians behind whom the enemy hides, from whom he draws sustenance, from whom he replenishes his ranks, those civilians will be marked as necessary sacrifices to secure the victory of the United States.

The enemy, who pathetically burns American flags in the street, as if by some transitive effect of primitive magic they could do the same to the U.S., has no idea that he faces a society that indeed burns civilizations to the ground.

The Arabs, for all their bluster, have never produced a Dresden, a Tokyo or a Hiroshima.

A post-New York America, truly imperial, truly murderous and truly authoritarian, is a fate too horrible to contemplate.

Therefore, we must, in the time allotted to us, destroy or disable the enemy and the threat that he poses.

How then are we to defeat the enemy before he can strike us down?

The preferred method of the AA crowd is apparently to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Seeking to highlight the alleged folly of the opening of the Iraq front in the War, these people disingenuously squawk “But what about Osama? Osama is the one who attacked us! Where is Osama? We’ve diverted resources from the hunt for Osama!”

As if these people were not complaining about alleged massive civilian casualties and cluster bombs that looked like food packets in the autumn of 2001.

Let Kid Various be clear. The day that Osama bin Laden is marched in chains into federal district court in lower Manhattan to stand trial for the murder of nearly 3,000 Americans will be a great day for this nation.

But it will also be largely strategically insignificant in the War.

Osama bin Laden is not our problem. Al Qaeda is not our problem. Our problem is the dysfunctional culture that exists within Arab societies that produces such twisted men and fuels their illegitimate rage at the West.

Sun Tzu once said:

Where your enemy is strong, harass him.

Where your enemy is weak, strike!

Going after Osama is going after the enemy’s strength. Our enemy’s strength lies in the fact that he is not organized as some sort of terrorist corporation, with operational control of the lower levels held at the top. By killing or capturing Osama we would merely remove one node in a vast enemy network, with different cells and organizations retaining the capability to act independently. Rooting out every terrorist cell across the globe is a Sisyphean task. No matter how many terrorist we kill, the dysfunctional culture of the enemy will simply produce more.

Where the enemy is strong we will harass him. We will continue to hunt for Osama and all his compatriots. We will narrow their areas of operation. We will squeeze their sources of funding. We will deny him movement and resupply. The enemy will never know rest.

But to tie the fate of America as a free republic to our ability to fully extinguish Al Qaeda and other organizations through military and police means would be folly. Ultimately, we can destroy the enemy only by hitting him where he is weak.

Where then is the enemy weakest? The great weakness of the enemy is that his culture is not inherently attractive. He knows this. It’s his greatest fear. He knows that, given a free competition of ideas, his traditional way of life will be extinguished. His weakness is our strength. It is the reason he attacked us in the first place. The value of individual Liberty, that is at the root of Western culture, makes it inherently attractive to the peoples of the world. Given a free choice, humanity will tend to choose more freedom over less freedom, not because Liberty makes the cultures that embrace it prosperous (it does), or powerful (it does) but because the idea of being the author of the script of your own life, without reference to government or tribe, is intrinsically desirable.

The enemy sees this as corruption. The United States is the Great Satan, not in terms of being evil, but in the sense of being the tempter. The enemy sees humankind as being inherently wicked, weak and easily given over to what he considers “sin.” Therefore, he is justified in using any means available to enforce “virtue.” And he must use force to do so, otherwise the power of Western values would eventually overwhelm his traditional values.

Kid Various has heard it asked, “Why is there no jihad against China? After all, China ruthlessly represses its Muslim Uighur minority, but, as of yet, there has been no attempt by the enemy to combat Chinese oppression.

Of course, some of the reason for a lack of Jihad against the Chinese lies in the fact that since China is a closed society, it is much more difficult for the enemy to operate freely there. There is also the fact that the Chinese would not stand for nearly the amount of provocation that the West does before it murderously stamped out all challenge to its power.

But the real reason there is no jihad against China is because China offers no real threat to the enemy.

True, they oppress and kill Muslims, but their culture offers no existential threat to the enemy. They have their own authoritarian culture that works just fine, no need to import one from China.

But the West, led by the United States of America, represents a threat so damaging, so basic, that the enemy is compelled to strike at it with every amount of force available. As stated before, he lashes out because on this ground he is weak.

And this is where we will strike him and this is where we will defeat him.

The answer to Mrs. Sheehan’s question is that her son died in Iraq because it is here that we are trying to implant the seed of not only democracy, but of individual Liberty in this barren cultural desert of tribal despotism.

Weapons of mass destruction, links to terrorism, regional instability – are all valid (and true) reasons for the opening of the Iraq front in the War. But the ultimate reason the Untied States is in Iraq, and the reason why we must prevail in Iraq, is because the dysfunctional cultures of the Middle East must change.

We cannot prevent the post-New York America by battling the enemy on his ground. We can only do so by attacking his weakness. When his society is free, when his traditional tribal ties break down, when his people have the ability to chart the course of their own lives – only then will they begin to become prosperous, powerful and content.

Content with their own station and their ability to control their own destiny. Content not to bring their anger and hatred upon us. Content not to set in motion the murderous machinery that will result in the post-New York America.

The enemy knows this. And he knows that if he allows this seed of Liberty to germinate, prosperity and power in small amounts will follow, followed then by more breaking down of traditional ties and more Liberty, followed then by more prosperity and power in an ever upward cycle until his dysfunctional traditional way of life has been utterly usurped.

That is why the enemy killed Casey Sheehan. That is why they will kill many more like Casey Sheehan. Because if Casey Sheehan, and the hundreds of thousands like him are successful in their mission, the enemy’s way of life is doomed.

And so, it was worth your son’s life Mrs. Sheehan. It is worth my life. It is worth the life of countless numbers of other Americans to ensure that this nation; the most powerful, the most prosperous, the most just, the most good - society in the history of mankind shall not perish from the face of the earth.