This BBC article looks like it came straight out of The Onion.
I have a LOT of very vivid, strange dreams. Last night, I dreamed I was in Salt Lake City, trying to make my way to Boston to meet with a customer. I stopped in the bar and had a drink, and ALMOST missed my flight. In fact, they backed away from the gate while I ran in that slow-motion, stuck-in-goo dream run. I convinced the gate agent to get the plane back (should have known it was a dream right there!) and as people were getting off the plane for a "break" before we took off, I realized that this plane wasn't going to Boston, but to San Jose.
So, sneaking back up the jetway, I made my way to another gate. I explained that I HAD to get to Boston tonight. They said that all flights to Boston were departed, but there was one plane left that was going to New York City. Looking out the window, the plane was a small eight-seat twin engine prop plane. What Bobcat Goldthwaite has called a "Buddy Holly killin' plane." But I don't really fear small planes, so I accept. However, I get destracted having a conversation with the gate agent, who knows me from some previous weird dream scenario. As we talk, the plane to NYC departs. So I'm stuck again.
The next available plane is a two-seater, going to Burlington, VT. Again, I accept. Working my way down to the plane, I realize that I don't have my bags. After scrambling back into the terminal and finding my bags, we're off. However, and this is the worst part of the dream, my iPod Nano is completely destroyed. The silicone nano-tube that's protecting it has experienced some kind of plastic rot, and the nano itself is broken apart and looks sprung like an alarm clock from an old Warner Bros. cartoon.
So it's late, I have no music, I'm wet (did I mention it was raining?), and I've got to chat with the pilot. We make small-talk as we drive the small plane THROUGH the terminal, nicking the occasional person with the propeller (nobody gets hurt - it's like getting hit by a ceiling fan for some reason) before we finally take off. Not long into the flight, however, the pilot decides to stop off at a friend's house for a visit. Inexplicably, I don't object.
So we land in the friend's front yard, and drive the plane into a barn, which is home to a bunch of birds that live in small mud dwellings, like wasps. At this point the dream sort of unravels, and I wake up.
Well, there you go. Someday I'll tell you about my creepy vampire dream.
You will never stop the Hearts on Fire
Hat tip: Brian
Take me down to Mutt Lynch's.
Take me down to the pub.
Buy me a schooner of Boddington's.
Brian's driving, I'll need more than one.
As we watch Canadians curling
On one of ten flat-screen TV's.
We'll eat wings, drink, and watch the sun sink
At Mutt Lynch's, please!
Mmmm. The Benihana at Scottsdale Road & Frank Lloyd Wright has some darn good sushi. Really tender cuts, and very good chefs.
Also, they have a great happy hour: $1 nigiri and 1/2 price rolls from 5-7pm on weekdays.
I've eaten there four times in the last 8 days (including tonight).
Hugh Hewitt called printing cartoons critical of Islam "un-Christian" on his show yesterday. I respectfully disagree. Christianity, and Judaism before it, have a rich history of mocking false gods and their prophets. My favorite example is from my favorite Old Testament bible story: Elijah on Mount Carmel. Elijah and the prophets of Baal are having a contest to see whose God is the true God. I quote the 1 Kings 18:26-27 from the English Standard Version:
And [the prophets of Baal] took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, "O Baal, answer us!" But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, "Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened."
Sorry, Hugh, but Moo-Hammed and the Porcine Prophet (and the others) are not only legitimate political speech, they are statements that are consistent with Christian criticism of false prophets.
Just wanted to note that I am presently eating many butter cookies. My favorites are the pretzel-shaped ones with large sugar crystals on the top. Yum!
I have received a message from Mohammed. It arrived in my inbox, just this afternoon. I now share it with you, unedited. Note that the Great Prophet's e-mail address is included, in case you would like to correspond directly:
From: "Mohammed" [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Date: January 29, 2006 1:00:45 PM MST
To: Monkey RobbL
One stop for all your medical needs.
and much more
Joe Sobran points out that if you're going to make a career of smearing others' reputations, make sure your accusations are unfalsifiable.
Money quote: "A full generation after Chappaquiddick, hes still expressing shock over other peoples pasts."
Via the Fraters:
Okay, I'm going to put my (dusty, faded, moth-eaten) Republican hat on for a minute here. What's a straightforward way to:
1. Cut off a major source of terror funding and trafficking
2. Reduce the cost of federal law-enforcement
3. Reduce the cost of federal and state prisons
4. Reduce gang violence
5. Free up federal resources to focus on national security
6. Open up a significant new source of federal revenue
I think you already know the answer: Legalize and regulate drugs for adult consumption.
It seems obvious enough, but some people can't see the forest for the trees.
Whew! Glad I got that filthy thing off my head.
Paul Begala was on The Colbert Report earlier this week. About 2/3 of the way through his interview, he pulled a worn-out New Testament from his pocket that he said he received from Brother Jed when he was preaching at the University of Texas. Incidentally, we Monkeys just had an off-line conversation that included references to this traveling preacher:
Subject: Large Mammary Glands
HLMonkey: Speaking of large mammary glands, check this out: Scarlett Johansson felt up at Golden Globes [Ed. WARNING: Neither video nor blog ads are safe for work. Or your soul. Don't go here.]
RobbL: Those have to be enhanced boobs. Either lots of "miracle bra" style padding underneath or implants. She was not that big in "Lost in Translation."
The groping video is just bizarre. Why would anyone with self-respect allow that? Oh, wait, I forgot she's an ACTRESS. Self-respect isn't part of the package.
Speaking of self-respect, that reminds me of a classic quote from traveling preacher "Brother Jed" that Gordon used to always quote:
"Whores and whore-mongers. I have more respect for the hookers on Van Buren than I do for you. At least they have enough respect for their body to charge for it."
David: I heard him say something like that once. He yelled a whore couldnt make a living at ASU, because you girls are giving it away!
Then a guy in a full-size Big Bird costume walked up and tried to hug him.
So, I'm googling about for some information on the affects of alcohol on seratonin levels in the brain (just for academic purposes, of course...) and one of the first results is this page about how to have a more pleasant comedown from taking Ecstasy. In the "Water? Isotonic Drinks?" section, they use a phrase I've never seen before: "caning the fags." I assume this means smoking a lot of cigarettes, but I'm not 100% sure. It did give me a very juvenile giggle, though.
I got my sleep study results, and my Apnea-Hypopnea Index was 110.
Heard tonight at the Monkey RobbL household during family game night:
"Papa, can you put your cards down so I can give you a hug?"
I've eaten so much beef this week that the Chick-Fil-A cows have put out a hit on me.
In this month's issue of The Atlantic, there is a lengthy "book review" which, like all good book reviews, uses the book merely as a jumping off point for cultural commentary. "The Abolition of Man" started life as a book review, after all.
In this case, the article ("Are You There God? It's Me, Monica", subscription required) discusses the "oral sex culture" that may or may not be overtaking the early teen girls of America, and how we could have descended so far from the (comparatively, in retrospect) wholesome Judy Bloom books of a generation ago.
This quote, from late in the article, stood out to me:
As a parent, I am horrified by the changes that have taken place in the common culture over the past thirty years. I believe that we are raising children in a kind of post-apocalyptic landscape in which no forces beyond individual householdsindividual mothers and fathersare protecting children from pornography and violent entertainment. The "it takes a village" philosophy is a joke, because the village is now so polluted and so desolate of commonly held, child-appropriate moral values that my job as a mother is not to rely on the village but to protect my children from it.
My parents' generation would have been ashamed to be accused of "sheltering" their children. For me, it is a badge of honor.
I have absolutely no knowledge about this issue, but that will not stop me from making the following prediction:
Arizona Congressman J. D. Hayworth has so much Abramoff stink on him you can smell him from outside the beltway.
And if he doesn't, then it's not because he's principled, it's because he doesn't have enough juice to accomplish anything worthy of an Abramoff favor.
Note: Introduction and table of contents here.
The third criterion of Jus ad bellum is Legitimate Authority.
Definition: Legitimate Authority: Only duly constituted public authorities may use deadly force or wage war;
Evaluation: Distinct evaluations are not necessary here. By any traditional standard, the United States government, its military, and other government organizations meet the "duly constituted public authority" standard. I have not yet read or heard a compelling argument otherwise, apart from those that would argue against ANY "public" authority being duly constituted. While that argument may have its merits, it pretty much renders this entire discussion moot, as it attacks some of the presuppositions upon which Just War Theory is founded. Some may think the existence of the United Nations and our participation in it renders them a superseding public authority. I am not one of those people.
Conclusion: The United States government has the Legitimate Authority to wage war, as long as such war meets the other criteria for a Just War.
Next chapter: Right Intention
Note: Introduction and table of contents here.
The second criterion of Jus ad bellum is Comparative Justice.
Definition: Comparative Justice: While there may be rights and wrongs on all sides of a conflict, to override the presumption against the use of force, the injustice suffered by one party must significantly outweigh that suffered by the other;
Evaluation - Afghanistan: Again, if we accept that the Taliban were strongly complicit in the 9/11 attacks, this one's pretty easy to justify. On our side, we experienced almost exclusively civilian casualties and a great deal of physical damage. The collateral damage to the Afghan people has been, by most measures, fairly controlled. We deposed the government, accomplished our goal, and are for the most part engaged in rebuilding.
Evaluation - Iraq: Not even close. Since Iraq as a nation was not complicit by any fair standard, and Saddam Hussein was not meaningfully complicit, our invasion and killing of thousands more civilians than we lost is completely unacceptable by Comparative Justice standards. The first Gulf War satisfied any "comparative justice" the Kuwaitis may have been entitled to, so our invasion and subsequent destruction was not justifiable by this standard.
Evaluation - Other: Our damage to other peoples and regimes has been fairly insignificant at this point.
Conclusion: While the Afghan invasion appears to satisfy the Comparative Justice requirements of Just War theory, the Iraq War does not even come close. It is Unjust according to these standards.
Next chapter: Legitimate Authority
The Oakland Tribune reminds us that we were warned all of this would happen.
Of course, they end with the overly idealistic political gesture of sending a copy of "1984" to each member of Congress, along with Bush & Cheney.
Don't they understand that they all have copies already? They're clearly using them as "how-to" manuals for legislation and political rhetoric.
Shatkins: The uniquely fluid bowel movements one has after a few days without carbohydrates.
I've lost 19 pounds in 5 days, by the way. No joke.
Joe Sobran offers a defense of C.S. Lewis that is worthy of the man himself.
This should have happened a couple of months ago.
Who is this Mary Katharine Ham person blogging at Hugh's website? I completely missed this. In fact, I didn't even notice there was a different name listed under a bunch of the blog entries until the last couple of days. I thought Hugh had somehow become more charming and articulate due to some sort of Robert Johnson crossroads deal.
I'd listen to his show to try to find out, but stupid KKNT has shoved him out of his old spot to make way for those idiots Liddy & Hill, and I'm still trying to find a good spot in my room for my Radio Shark antenna so that I can listen when I want to.
Anyway, somebody fill me in, will ya?
I'm not sure if science or philosophy can answer this question:
What is the best remix album ever recorded: "Disco" by Pet Shop Boys, "Mixed Up" by The Cure, or "Wishful Thinking" by Propaganda?
Too close to call.
Okay, so I snore REALLY loud. REALLY REALLY loud. And I stop breathing a lot, or so I'm told. Apnea, they say. I know a lot of guys with sleep apnea. That's odd, it seems to me.
Anyway, so my Dr. set me up for a sleep study. Tonight starting at 10:00pm. Seemed reasonable at the time. Complications:
1. Had a NYE party at my house last night.
2. After NYE party ended, got home from fireworks and my dog had run away. Up until 2:30am driving around looking for dog. Relieved by Mrs. Monkey.
3. Had to get up at 7:20am to play bass at church.
4. Not allowed to have caffiene after noon today.
5. Not allowed to take a nap.
So now I'm deliriously tired, trying to stay awake for JUST A LITTLE LONGER before the 30 minute drive to the sleep study place. I hope I make it.
Note: Introduction and table of contents here.
First we must evaluate if our entry into war was just (jus ad bellum)
Definition: Just Cause: Force may be used only to correct a grave public evil (e.g. a massive violation of the basic rights of whole populations) or in defense;
Evaluation - Afghanistan: It can reasonably be argued that our actions in Afghanistan satisfy both criteria for Just Cause. The Taliban was actively involved in funding, supporting, and hosting the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Bombing Afghanistan and removing the Taliban from power was a defensive action in response to those attacks, which also had the effect of correcting the "grave public evil" that was training, funding, and protecting international terrorists.
Evaluation - Iraq: This is much more difficult. Iraq had insignificant, at best, ties to the 9/11 attacks. They had not meaningfully attacked us (i.e. anything other than shooting at our planes that were flying in their airspace) since the first Gulf War.
Some would argue that we were correcting a "grave public evil" because of the activities Saddam Hussein carried out against his own people. But this would be both hypocrisy and sophistry: We sat by and ignored and/or funded Hussein's government for decades knowing full well what kind of horrors he was engaged in. Likewise, our official justifications for invading Iraq did not address these issues at all - they have only been used as a retroactive justification. The "Iraq is a better place now that he's gone" argument is a good example of this retroactive justification. Additionally, the fact that we chose Iraq to invade rather than any of a dozen other countries engaged in massive internal human rights violations gives the lie to this argument. Our motivation for entering Iraq was not to correct a grave public evil, it was just a potential side-benefit of the invasion.
Evaluation - Other: "Global Terrorism" is so ambiguously defined that evaluation of this criteria is difficult. Any "defensive" action in response to 9/11 was certainly proportionally resolved in Afghanistan. Correcting the "grave public evil" of Islamic terror possibly meets the criteria.
Next Chapter: Comparative Justice