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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Man, He Is SOOO Grounded

Kid's heart is in the right place and he's got balls, but not a lot of brains.

The virtues of being 16.

Like his parents are going to let him out of the house again...

"Mom! Can I go to the mall with Mike and Sara?"

"Surrender your passport..."

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Yes, Virginia, We Are Winning The War

You all have to remember this guy's simple wisdom

But are we -- the U.S. armed forces and our Iraqi allies -- winning?

I put that question to a friend in the Army reserve, just returned from a year in the Sunni Triangle. He is a level-headed and sober observer, a historian by profession, who was working directly with Iraqis in tasks directly related to fighting the insurgency. His reply was unqualified: "Of course we are winning. We know it. The Iraqis know it. And al-Qaida knows it. The only people who apparently don't know it live in Washington."

And 60% of the rest of the country.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

More Chutzpah

The NYC Transit Worker's Union is peeved because their rampant lawlessness has resulted in them getting fined by a judge.

NEW YORK - Commuters trudged through the freezing cold, rode bicycles and shared cabs Tuesday as New York's bus and subway workers went on strike for the first time in more than 25 years and stranded millions of riders at the height of the Christmas rush. A judge slapped the union with a $1 million-a-day fine.

The sanction was levied against the Transport Workers Union for violating a state law that bars public employees from going on strike. The city and state had asked that the union be hit with a "very potent fine."

The union said it would immediately appeal, calling the penalty excessive.

Kid Various thinks that breaking the law by going on strike and holding the entire City hostage because you don't want to shell out some more dough weekly to prop up your failing pension fund is also "excessive."

Adventures In Yiddish

The definition of the Yiddish word chutzpah used be a man being tried for the murder of his parents who begs for the court's leniency because he is an orphan.

Today in Iraq chutzpah was redefined:

Saddam Hussein launched into an extended outburst at his trial Wednesday, alleging he had been beaten and tortured by his Americans captors while in detention after a witness testified that his agents had tortured people by ripping off their skin.

"I want to say here, yes, we have been beaten by the Americans and we have been tortured," Saddam said, before gesturing to his seven co-defendants around him, "one by one."

After sitting quietly through several hours of testimony, Saddam said he'd been beaten "everywhere on my body. The marks are still there."
Oh man! Talk about the very definition of the word!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Year End Round Up

Y'all should definitely read Lileks year end round up.

An oppressive colonizer is forced to withdraw from occupied Arab land. This is initially met with dancing in the streets of Cairo, Paris, and Turtle Bay. Then everyone realizes it is Syria pulling out of Lebanon. You must understand that the Cedar Revolution, after years of Syrian domination, has nothing to do with the American presence in Iraq, you jingoist. It’s just one of those international coincidences like the moon being where it was when Apollo 11 flew past. A few months later, Israel voluntarily withdraws from Gaza, earning approximately 17 seconds of good will from the international community. Personal best!

Iran announces it will no longer allow inspectors into the Khomeini Memorial Peaceful Nuclear Research Facility for Hastening the Destruction of Israel. European diplomats threaten to take the matter to the U.N. Subcommittee of the Task Force for Occasionally Threatening to Issue a Strongly-Worded Report. But the group’s next meeting isn’t until 2007, and it must first take up the horror of Israel’s security fence. Iran promises to allow inspections in exchange for 500 million Euros, payable in coins of enriched uranium. The E.U. agrees, with the condition that the interest rate on the loan will be adjusted upward if Iran makes nuclear bombs. If they actually detonate a bomb there would be an immediate balloon payment, make no mistake about it.

Bombs explode in London, as perfectly ordinary apolitical young men driven to extremes by America’s imposition of elections in Iraq react the only possible way: by driving metal through the flesh of British commuters.

The 1,587th death in Iraq provokes no major display of eye-catching graphics in the Western media, as it is not a round number.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Man, They Are In Trouble Now!

Members of the EU are threatening sanctions against Iran because Iranian Nutjob President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that the Holocaust was a "myth."

ATHENS, Greece - European leaders threatened sanctions against Iran for its president's remarks about Israel and the Holocaust, even as the regime's interior minister said Friday the widely condemned comments were "misunderstood" by Western governments.

Leaders at a European Union summit in Brussels, Belgium, will adopt a statement Friday condemning Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent comments describing the Holocaust as a "myth" and calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

"These comments are wholly unacceptable and have no place in civilized political debate," the draft statement said.

...Denying the Holocaust — in which 6 million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis — is a crime in several European nations.
So let's review. According to the EU:

Building nuclear weapons - still OK!

Holocaust denial - beyond the pale of human intercourse.

The history of the 20th century is going to have to be re-written because apparently Europe is not located on the planet Earth.

But Is Heath Ledger Eating Pudding?

Every day, in every way real life comes more and more to imitate South Park.

Is Kid Various the only one who's noticed that this year's breakthrough movie "Brokeback Mountain" has leapt out of the 1998 South Park episode "Chef's Salty Chocolate Balls" wherein the Sundance film festival moves to South Park, but the boys aren't interested because independent are all about "gay cowboys eating pudding?"

Cartman: Naw dude, Independent films are those black and white hippy movies. They're always about gay cowboys eating pudding.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Iraqi Election Prediction

Kid Various predicts that the Iraqis will surprise us with a good helping of political maturity.

Former PM Iyad Allawi, who is not backed by any religous or sectarian social movement/party, will gain a large number of seats in the new Assembly, perhaps the second greatest behind the "Shia List", 555.

Prediction: around 75-80 seats.

That would put him in line to be able to form a coalition with the sunni parties (and possibly the Kurdish Allaince if they see which way the wind is blowing) to make him PM.

That would be an achievement in Iraq. Not so much because Allawi is a good guy or committed democrat, but because it would show a level of political development that most people in the U.S. do not give the Iraqis credit for.

For months, Kid Various has been hearing from his sources in Iraq that people are frustrated with the slow pace of development in the country and that they're not going to vote for the people they voted for last time. The Kid was skeptical. Maybe people weren't happy, but in that tribal/traditional society, in the end, most people would vote the way their sectarian leaders told them to vote.

But in the past few weeks, it's become evident that the shia parties (SCIRI and Dawa) are scared of Allawi, they've launched the first public negative campaign in Iraq, comparing Allawi with Saddam. His headquarters in several cities have been ransacked. He was attacked by a mob in Najaf (definitely not a spontaneous outburst, but orchestrated by the shia leaders in that city.) There has been active campaigning against Allawi in the pulpits of shia mosques. The muzzein from the minaret now calls for people to take advantage of the 555 lists GOTV effort, getting a ride to the polls - unless they're voting for Allawi.

Oddly, this is progress. Because 555 is thinking that a good portion of their natural electorate, who they've taken for granted, is going to defect to Allawi. They'd make their own choice - not follow their leaders' commands. And this bespeaks of a certain level of political maturity The Kid was not inclined to give the Iraqis.

He now remains hopeful. We shall see.

Quick! Get Asw. Gregory-Schocci Out There!

What ever happened to the "call before you dig" legislation? Will mankind ever learn? Oh the Humanity!!!

BERGENFIELD, N.J. - An explosion and fire ripped through an apartment building Tuesday after construction workers hit a gas line, authorities said. Three people were killed and five were injured.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

That ****** Was Crazy! And So Are We...

It was title of his seminal 1974 work which won the Grammy for Best Comedy Album that year. Get it now???

Jesus, we're all so afraid of our fucking shadows when it comes to issues of race, precisely what Pryor was deconstructing back in the 1970's. But we have not progressed one iota, in fact, we have gone backward. What would the presenter of Pryor's Grammy have said had he won it today?

"And the Grammy goes to... Richard Pryor for "That 'N word' Is Crazy!"

Pryor was no great civil rights icon. He was a comedian. An incredibly talented comedian who used the discomfiture between blacks and whites to great effect - by pointing out the absurdity of the whole goddamn situation. He influenced all comics after him, including Kid Various. How sad that in his lifetime he actually witnessed the deterioration of race relations to the point where innocent use of WORDS can create devastating controversy.

Everyone who knows Kid Various knows that he would never use nigger the "N" word as an insult or an as attempt to hurt anybody. But even if he did, Kid Various still categorically denies that there are any words or ideas so terrible, so beyond the pale of human intercourse, that they cannot be expressed.

Kid Various could go on about this for hours. However there's a war on, which will determine whether or not words and ideas can continue to be freely expressed in the future - or whether that paradigm will vanish.

Just try not to lose it on the home front until I get back.

Update: And you should all buy this disc by another great comedian, Carlos Mencia, where he implores "Take A Joke, America!"

Monday, December 12, 2005

Richard longer live on the Sunset Strip

Christ, he was so f*cking funny...

Richard Pryor
1940 - 2005

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Holy Jesus!

John Lennon was killed 25 years ago today!

Christ we're so freakin' old...

1940 - 1980

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

XXXmas Present

Ah, Kid Various was wondering what he was going to get Mr. Surly for Christmas.

An entire porn video company is being auctioned on eBay. Starting bid is $100k, instructions included! As BB pal Vann Hall says, it's the perfect "xxxmas (sorry!) gift for the perv who has everything."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Dillweed Of The Month

Question: What sort of morally bankrupt monster would have the sac (and bizarre ability to hold cognitive dissonance at bay) to legally defend Saddam Hussein and in the same breath accuse the United States of gross human rights violations?

Answer: Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. We here at The Idiom don't really condone violence directed at old people, but we really want to pop this guy in the mouth and shout "What the F*ck is wrong with you? You're old enough to know better!"

So therefore, we bestow upon Clark the mantle of Idiom Dillweed of the Month.

What a frickin' DILLWEED!

Well That Makes It Easy

Yesterday, during his trial, former Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein stated that he was "not afraid to be executed."

How convenient, because they're not afraid to execute you.

"Don't interrupt me!" Saddam shouted at the judge, who tried with little success to make him stick to questioning the witnesses. Later, Saddam pounded on the lectern and his microphone, comparing himself to Benito Mussolini and insisting that he was "not afraid to be executed."

Dude, comparing yourself to Mussolini is not helping your defense.

But then you always were a dumb schmuck anyway.

What concerns Kid Various is that the judge is letting the trial get way out of hand. Who did they get to run this trial Lance Ito?

He's letting Saddam get away with all sorts of stuff. Apparently, since Saddam's defense team walked out, the Iraqi strongman was allowed to conduct his own defense, badgering witnesses (you know what they say about having a fool for a client.)

If Saddam's defense team went on strike then the judge should have called a recess and appointed new lawyers instead of letting Saddam and his cohorts ramble on. Then the defense attorneys examine the witnesses and these guys sit the f*ck down and shut the f*ck up, even if they have to be chained and gagged.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Simian Sexual Harassment Suit Settled

Lawyers for Koko the gorilla today settled out of court a sexual harassment suit filed by two former workers for the Gorilla Foundation of Woodside, California. The women claimed that Koko, a research ape who had been taught to use sign language, had created a hostile workplace environment by constantly signing to them “Show us your tits!”

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Two women who had taken care of Koko, a gorilla who communicates with humans by sign language, have settled a lawsuit charging the president of its sanctuary urged them to show their breasts to the ape, a lawyer said on Thursday.

The two said foundation President Francine Patterson would interpret hand movements by Koko as a demand to see human nipples. They declined and were later fired in an act of retaliation for not indulging what the lawsuit called Koko's "nipple fetish."

The amount of the award was undisclosed, but legal experts estimate it may have reached the mid six figures (in bananas.)

Apparently, this type of wild behaviour was de rigeur at the Gorilla Foundation lab for at least 14 years.

Koko and an unidentified Gorilla Foundation intern in 1996

After the court proceedings, however, lab officials were stunned to discover that Koko, previously thought to belong to the species Troglodyte Gorilla, was actually Steve Randall, 39 of Oakland, California. Mr. Randall, who was taken into custody by Woodside police on charges of fraud and trespassing, had apparently been dressing up in a gorilla costume to surreptitiously film women in various states of undress and to get free bananas.

“I can’t believe I got away with it so long,” Mr. Randall said. “How difficult was it to figure out? I mean, a monkey talking sign language? Give me a f*cking break!”

Azeri Elections

And now for a special treat... A dispatch from our friend, former New Jersey pol, Mr. Democracy who is currently on assignment bringing the gift of liberty to the people of the Republic of Latveria:

Many of you may not have noticed, but there were parliamentary elections in the caucasian Republic of Azerbaijan last month (Nov. 6) I happened to spend a year in Azerbaijan working for a democracy promotion group assisting in the development of political parties, both the ruling party Yenni Azerbaijan (YAP) and the main opposition parties (ADP, Musavat, ANIP, AXCP)

YAP got 62 out of 125 seats, which sounds reasonable until you realise that the main opposition parties got just 5 seats (the rest of the winners are "independents" or minor parties completely under the control of the YAP.)

Although things may be somewhat different from when I was there, my suspicion is that the opposition parties still don’t “get” it. They have a very shallow base of support within the electorate. What’s worse is, they refuse to believe that the have a very shallow base of support. We conducted a nationwide poll several months before the last presidential election in 2003 which showed that none of the opposition parties got out of the single digits in terms of popularity. In short, they have utterly failed over the years to articulate any sort of reason why they would be a better choice than the Government. Regular people see no reason to put anything on the line for the opposition because they don’t care about them.

Which is not to say that the Government doesn’t cheat. They do…massively. The irony being that they don’t have to cheat because they would win in what most of us in America would consider a landslide.

Unlike their neighbors, the Georgians (with whom I also worked with for a year) the Azeri opposition was never able to understand the basics of political message development and communication – namely, that you have to research the electorate and identify and communicate a message that will resonate with a specific portion of that electorate. You can’t talk to everyone, and not everyone is going to buy what you have to say. But you don’t have to get everyone on your side to become politically relevant. You only have to put down roots with a portion of the electorate to get you to where you need to be (7% plus one to get into parliament, approximately 40% to get into the presidential run-off, etc.)

The Azeri opposition keeps hitting a generic “democracy” message which simply does not resonate amongst Azeri electorate. My theory on this is because the current generation of opposition leaders; Isa Gambar, Ali Kremli, Etibar Mamedov – came of age as dissidents in the late Soviet era. Their formative political experiences were the massive democracy protests that rocked Azerbaijan in 1989-90. Azerbaijan was in the forefront of the independence movement in the late Soviet era and “democracy” was the message that the opposition leaders stumbled into back then and have been holding on to ever since. Interestingly, this proves that the Azeri public can be motivated to political action. However, the democracy message in the intervening 15 years has been played out. Yet the current opposition leaders think that by trying to replicate the past, they can come to power.

Which shows just how much they do not understand basics of message, or the forces which drove the neighboring Georgian “Rose Revolution” and Ukrainian "Orange Revolution,” which completely confound them. The mere fact that they have been decking their supporters out in orange shirts and scarves shows just how little they understand these concepts. They think that by aping the surface features of the Orange Revolution they can garner political strength. But they will never be able to achieve their objectives until they put down real roots in the electorate and give a segment of the Azeri public a reason to risk their lives and livelihood.

If there is hope for the Azeri people to live in a decent society, it will come from an evolutionary progression of one of the smaller independent parties. This story in the WaPo gives me some hope that some individuals not linked to a main opposition party actually “get it.” I have actually trained some of them. It would be gratifying to see if it might be possible, over progressive election cycles, for some of them to gather a substantial following in the Azeri electorate and possibly be the impetus for some change in Azerbaijan’s corrupt autocracy.

Good luck Mr. Democracy! We await your next dispatch. Watch out for Doombots!

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers! For those of you who haven't visited The Idiom before, we specialize in two different types of posts.

#1 - Thoughtful pieces about The War.

#2 - Humourous pieces on animal sex.

Please look around.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Ask The Magic 8 Ball

Iran has just passed a law that will kick out IAEA inspectors should the U.N. Security Council have the temerity to call them on their "secret" nuclear weapons program.

As America and Britain change their approach and now seek to encircle Iran diplomatically by including Russia and China directly in the process, the Iranian Guardian Council has approved the Mejlis’ bill that outlaws IAEA nuclear inspections if Iran is put before the UN Security Council over its nuclear development program. The mere formality of Ahmadinejad’s signature will make it Iranian law.

...“If we could get China and Russia to agree that this bears all the hallmarks of a weapons program, it could have an enormous impact on Iran,” said one senior European diplomat, because it might signal that if the issue reaches the Security Council, Iran could not count on Beijing or Moscow blocking action.
Ooooh. We bet the mullahs are shaking now!

Let's ask the magic 8-ball. Will anything that "senior European diplomats" or the U.N. are going to do prevent Iran from getting the bomb?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Democracy In Iraq

In another attempt by the defeatist media to spin the Iraq Campaign badly, Agence Frog France Press has released the stunning news that America is not loved in the Arab world. (You know, as opposed to pre-2003, when the Arab world just gushed with girlish glee over America.)

The University of Marylan Zogby International poll published Friday was conducted in Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in October.

…Seventy-eight percent of people questioned believed the Iraq war had resulted in more terrorism than before, while 58 percent said it brought less democracy, with only nine percent believing it enhanced democratic development.

Funny thing that, as The Kid notices, that this poll on the Iraq Campaign neglected to survey actual Iraqis. Perhaps they might have better insight over whether the actions of the United States brought democracy to the region.

In a similar vein, much has been made about the recent revelation of secret shi’a prisons, one of which was raided by American troops where evidently the sunni prisoners were being tortured. This is altogether proper to highlight. It would also be proper to highlight this
Interior Minister Bayn Jabr dismissed Nouri al-Nouri, the ministry’s chief inspector for corruption cases and human rights violations, on the order of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, an official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

Al-Nouri, a Shiite Muslim, had been in the post since the handover of sovereignty to Iraqi in June 2004.

Al-Jaafari, a Shiite, ordered an investigation into the alleged mistreatment of up to 173 detainees after U.S. forces entered an Interior Ministry lockup on Nov. 13 and found that some of those being held showed signs of torture.

This is a big deal. Al-Nouri is a player within the shi’a political community. Will he be taken care of by his political godfathers? Undoubtedly.

But here we have perhaps the first example within the Arab world of a high official being removed from his post not because of the displeasure of his higher-ups, but because he did something wrong and is being held accountable by the political system.

We have here an indication that the new Iraqi political system, for whatever its flaws, can work. Whatever the desires of the shi’a's political elite and the Jaafari government (who would not want to jettison him), they felt the pressure from Iraq’s political minorities, international pressure and a vibrant free press who refused to let the story die. The Jaafari government was forced to throw him over the side and review their policies. This is how democracy works, and it is working, however fitfully, in Iraq.

Also note: The MSNBC story headlined the news that suicide bombings have been reduced to their lowest level in 7 months - due the increasing effectiveness of new Iraqi security forces and better U.S. tactics. Quagmire indeed.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Rangers Update

Jaromir Jagr returns to Pittsburgh to defeat the Penguins 2-1, stretching the winning streak to SIX! (The longest since 2001)

New York Rangers...STILL in first place.