Friday, May 27, 2005

The Eternal Sun of Humankind

Kim Il Sung Is Eternal Sun of Humankind: Guinean Figure

Pyongyang, May 21 (KCNA) -- Banou Keita, director general of the Kim Il Sung Institute of Agricultural Science... said in an interview with KCNA that President Kim Il Sung is the eternal sun of humankind. He said that visiting the International Friendship Exhibition he was struck with admiration at the great traits of Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il. Paying deep concern to the development of agriculture in African countries, the President indicated the concrete ways of development and the Kim Il Sung Institute of Agricultural Science was established in Guinea under his deep care, he said.

Noting that he was deeply moved to see the Korean people waging a vigorous struggle to build a great prosperous powerful nation, united close around Kim Jong Il, he went on to say:

Korea has wrought world-startling miracles and innovations thanks to the invincible might of the Songun politics pursued by Kim Jong Il and the strength of the Korean people single-mindedly united around him.

The revolutionary history of Kim Il Sung will shine long as the Korean people hold Kim Jong Il in high esteem as the great leader.
Yep, that's pretty much the way I've always thought of Kim Il Sung. You, too? Maybe soldering every radio tuner in North Korea to the gov't station helps him with the unity part. And maybe someday the Korean People will unite around him as closely, and as effectively, as Brutus et al united around Ceasar.

The original is here, at the Korean Central News Agency of DPRK.

Thanks to The Volokh Conspiracy - -

Nuanced thinking may do in the EU Constitution

Investor's Business Daily a good short summation of the problems Europe faces in the push for ratifyingthe EU COnstitution:
Chirac and others who have pushed for an enlarged and much-empowered European Union have failed to deliver growth and jobs in their own economies. So why let them control more?

Europe has just lived through a lost decade, with some alarming trends. Despite a late-1990s boom, Europe's joblessness stands near 9%; in the U.S., by comparison, it's 5.2%.

As for growth, Europe has very little. Since 2000, Europe's 15 core economies have added $478 billion in total output. Sounds good, again until you compare it with the U.S., which has added $1 trillion over the same time — with 100 million fewer people.

A series of recent reports — from the EU and European think tanks — warn that Europe is falling further behind the U.S. Unless something's done, it'll only get worse....

There's a growing sense, too, among Europeans that they've lost control of their demographic destiny. Thanks to liberal immigration laws, 20 million or so Muslims now live in the EU. They're now the fastest growing segment of Europe's population.

As such, they might soon become the most powerful political bloc. That could mean an end to Europe's experiment in social liberalism and the start to an era of ugly ethnic strife.
Europe has big problems. Many of the Brits don't want the EU because it will impose even more controls on them. A lot of the French don't want it because it will reduce controls on them. A lot of Dutch are displeased that liberal imigration laws have led to the port of Rotterdam being 47% Muslim- and apparently including a fair number of pretty intolerant anti-assimilationist Muslims at that. You couldn't pay me enuf to put my family downwind of all the stuff in that port. Way too tempting a site for a major attack.

I'd be interested to see the Dutch Muslim population data by national origin, tho. I expect that there are a lot of Indonesian descent, and they have traditionally been rather moderate compared to a lot of the Arab groups. Still, there are plenty of the bad guys there, as Theo van Gogh found out.

As long as the French and Germans and their cohort are unwilling to cut the social spending which requires high tax rates, and cut the business laws which make hiring and firing so unattractive, capital will be invested in more friendly places. And that is where the jobs will be.

Newspaper Guild President Linda Foley: US Military Targets Journalists

This story has been on the Internet for a couple weeks, but there has been mighty little in the mass news media. When it first appeared I watched the video: she really did say it, and apparently she really doesn't have any evidence at all. She is a very big figure in the newspaper industry, but the industry isn't holding her accountable. Go figure.

Thomas Lipscomb covers it tho in the newspaper industry journal Editor & Publisher:

Newspaper Guild President Linda Foley made a public statement on May 13 that journalists are “being targeted for real in places like Iraq.” She has been trying to slide out of it ever since. Pressed by E&P's Joe Strupp, Foley offered a clarification on who specifically was doing the targeting: “I was careful of not saying troops, I said U.S. military.”

...Sound familiar? It should. Eason Jordan, president of CNN News, had to resign for making exactly the same accusation at Davos four months ago. He had a major problem--no evidence to back up his charges....

...Foley had the advantage of seeing what happened to Jordan and, as the head of a powerful union of 35,000 journalists and media workers, she knew anything she said about targeting journalists would likely be scrutinized. So one would expect that she has a pretty solid case for her revival of the discredited Jordan charges? But one would be wrong. Her spokesperson, Candice Johnson, told me Foley can provide “no evidence” to support her charges either....

Foley braced for the worst....

Sherlock Holmes’s key clue to who stole the racehorse in “Silver Blaze” was a dog in the stall that didn’t bark. And something equally odd happened on the way to the Foley firestorm: To date, not a single pundit, editorial writer, or newspaper ran anything, with the exception of the Chicago Sun-Times story I wrote, a St. Paul Pioneer Press column by Mark Yost, and a Washington Times column item.

Clearly Foley was correct in assuming the Right was the only danger to her repetition of the statement that got Eason Jordan canned. The Mainstream Media couldn’t be bothered to cover “Easongate: The Sequel.” And positioning Foley as the gallant defender of the lives of journalists targeted by the U.S. military was inspired PR. After all, Sherlock Holmes’s dog didn’t bark because he was good friends with the thief.
Lipscomb concludes that news media credibility, or lack thereof, is behind the major drop in circulation suffered by newspapers over the past few years, and winds up with:
If the press isn’t going to take its own standards seriously, it is hard to think of why anyone should take the press seriously enough to pay for it.
Good point. I wonder if the pros who read E&P will pay attention.

Another gripe which I have long had: remarkably little data per column yard. Most news stories are loaded with blather rather than info. A couple months ago I saw a local news article which was so packed with data that I figured the writer had to be a beginner who would quickly be slapped down. I've never noticed anything by her since.

My impression is that newspapers could convey the same data in 15% of the space, and do a bang up job of informing us in 40%. I won't hold my breath.

Thanks to Power Line for the tip.

Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven

I thought it was boring, preachy, and more than a bit condescending, but here is a Medievalist's take on it as history. Thomas F. Madden caught it while at the International Congress on Medieval Studies:
Ducking out on what I am sure was a fascinating session called “Focus on Fluids: Analyzing Urine in the Middle Ages,” I...headed to the local cineplex to catch the matinee...

After one hour of ponderous dialogue and assorted arrow wounds I was already checking my watch to see if I might still make that paper on medieval English uroscopy....

When preparing for the defense of Jerusalem, Balian proclaims that it is not the stones that matter, but the people living in the city. In order to save the people’s lives he threatens to destroy all of the Christian and Muslim holy sites, “everything,” he says, “that drives men mad.”...The truth is that Scott’s Balian has it exactly wrong. It is the stones, the buildings, the city that mattered above all else. Medieval Christians saw Jerusalem as a precious relic sanctified by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. The people were there to glorify God and defend His Holy City. The real Balian, faced with the inevitable conquest of Jerusalem, threatened to destroy the Dome of the Rock if Saladin did not abandon his plan to massacre the Christian inhabitants. That plan is airbrushed out of the movie. Indeed, the good and noble Saladin of this movie lets all of the citizens depart with a hearty, good-natured smile on his face. The real Saladin required them to pay a ransom. Those that could not — and there were thousands — were sold into slavery.

Given events in the modern world it is lamentable that there is so large a gulf between what professional historians know about the Crusades and what the general population believes. This movie only widens that gulf.
It's a shame. I went to see it based in part on Scott's Blade Runner. Perhaps he does better when he isn't propagandizing. That Kingdom fails as history is hardly surprising: Hollywood doesn't do history, they besmirch it, but Kingdom fails even as entertainment. It's gooey PC.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

"Hufu: The Healthy Human Flesh Alternative!"

Trust an MBA student at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business to find a here-to-fore unfilled market niche: a healthy alternative to cannibalism . It has the added benefit of being legal as well.

Since it made from tofu it will even satisfy the most discriminating of vegan cannibals. How can it miss?

PS: They have a clothing line: Don't miss the Happy Cannibal T-shirt.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Good for Carol Rosenberg & for Alasdair Palmer

Carol Rosenberg of Knight Ridder Newspapers is one of the vanishingly small number of reporters who have included a crucial sentence in her article on allegations of prisoner abuse by American guards. In this case she was reporting on Amnesty International's criticism of Guantanamo Bay as a 'gulag of our times'.

You can figure out which it is:
The July 2002 FBI report quoted a prisoner as claiming, "The guards dance around when the detainees are trying to pray."

The Pentagon has said in the past that it recovered an al-Qaida manual that shows captured members are taught to fabricate abuse episodes in custody.

The Pentagon says all the enemy combatants at Guantanamo are either Taliban or al-Qaida members, or their sympathizers.
I don't think I've seen the second sentence more than once or twice in a major news service's report in the last couple years. Why not? It seems like basic information readers should be given repeatedly in order to evaluate allegations for themselves. It is at the end, but the wonder is that it is there at all.

Good for Rosenberg, and good as well for her editor for not removing it in the interests of brevity.

In January, Alasdair Palmer did write an article, This is al-Qa'eda Rule 18: 'You must claim you were tortured', for the UK's Telegraph:
The men's claim that they were tortured at Guantanamo should also be set in the context of the al-Qa'eda training manual discovered during a raid in Manchester a couple of years ago. Lesson 18 of that manual, whose authenticity has not been questioned, emphatically states, under the heading "Prison and Detention Centres", that, when arrested, members of al-Qa'eda "must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by state security investigators. [They must] complain to the court of mistreatment while in prison". That is not, of course, proof that the Britons were not tortured in Guantanamo. But it ought to encourage some doubts about uncritically accepting that they were – which seems to be the attitude adopted by most of the media.
Next, I'd love to see an article about that al-Qaida manual. Given the abuse allegations recently, it would be timely, and help put things in perspective. Give us a picture or two. As I recall it is on the Web (tho I couldn't find it quickly), so why are so few telling us about it?

Why didn't Newsweek mention it?

Saturn's Particles

Oriana Fallaci would be in trouble if she wasn't already dying

An Italian judge has ordered her to stand trial on charges of defaming Islam. It was cultured European ways, of course, which led the rustic Founders to incorporate the 1st Amendment into the US Constitution.
...a preliminary judge in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, Armando Grasso...said Fallaci should be indicted.

Grasso's ruling homed in on 18 sentences in the book, saying some of Fallaci's words were "without doubt offensive to Islam and to those who practice that religious faith."
Offensive? No kidding? Imagine how many ppl here would end up in the slammer if they could be prosecuted for offending ppl who practice religious faith.

Fortunately for Fallaci, she is dying of cancer in NY.

I suppose the Italians can try her in absentia and use a conviction to steal, I mean seize, her Italian property such as book royalties. Perhaps they can also put liens against her estate, as well. I don't know what their laws allow, nor what our extradition treaties and laws allow them to do to her here.

There are plenty of ppl in this country who want us to look to enlightened Europe, that continent which has brought us the blessings of both Marxism and fascism, for our political instruction. Fallaci, a far left European with plenty of criticism for the US, has a far better grasp of the obvious than they.

If you haven't read anything of Oriana Fallaci's, she was a lefty journalist, far better known in Europe than she was here, who covered the world's wars and interviewed the politicians who ran them.

After the attacks on NYC and the Pentagon she wrote her response for Italians, calling it"The Rage and the Pride". " She opened it thus:
You ask me to speak, this time. You ask me to break at least this once the silence I’ve chosen, that I’ve imposed on myself these many years to avoid mingling with chattering insects. And I’m going to. Because I’ve heard that in Italy too there are some who rejoice just as the Palestinians of Gaza did the other night on TV. "Victory! Victory!" Men, women, children. Assuming you can call those who do such a thing man, woman, child. I’ve heard that some of the insects of means, politicians or so-called politicians, intellectuals or so-called intellectuals, not to mention others not worthy of the title of citizen, are behaving pretty much the same way. They say: "Good. It serves America right." And I am very very, very angry. Angry with an anger that is cold, lucid, rational. An anger that eliminates every detachment, every indulgence. An anger that compels me to respond and demands above all that I spit on them. I spit on them. Angry as I am, the African-American poet Maya Angelou roared the other day: "Be angry. It’s good to be angry, it’s healthy." And I don’t know whether it’s healthy for me. But I know that it won’t be healthy for them, I mean those who admire Osama Bin Laden, those who express comprehension or sympathy or solidarity for him. Your request has triggered a detonator that’s been waiting too long to explode. You’ll see. You also ask me to tell how I experienced this apocalypse. To give, in other words, my testimony. Very well, I’ll start with that.

I was at home, which is in the center of Manhattan....

Be afraid, Glen Reynolds! Be very afraid!

The Site Meter claims the 1000th visit to Blogospherical Ruminations occurred at May 24 2005 11:10:53 pm. I am dubious as it seems to define visit as casually as appearing as a result on somebody's Google search even if they didn't actually click on the link, but I'll take whatever little ego boost I can get.

Look upon my works, ye Mighty InstaPundit, and despair!

Tough love in the Phillipines

MAYOR Rodrigo Duterte is planning to buy 150 shotguns that he will distribute in the barangays frequently faced by problems on hooliganism.

In his weekly television program Sunday, Duterte said he will arm barangay tanods with shotgun (sic) so they could put a stop on gangsters....

The mayor then reiterated his earlier warning to parents of youngsters involved in hooliganism to better buy coffins for their children now while it is still cheap.
Maybe this guy should be mayor of DC.

Ben O. Tesiorna has the story in the Sun-Star Davao.

This is so cool...

...that the Republicans are sure to ban it.

This is guaranteed to turn Republicans into the world's most fervent supporters of the UN as world government, with them at the controls. Of course they will still praise federalism and excoriate those who praise the withering away of the nation-state.

'If you draw the timelines, realistically by 2050 we would expect to be able to download your mind into a machine, so when you die it's not a major career problem,' [Ian Pearson, head of the futurology unit at BT] told The Observer....

"Not everyone agrees, but it's my conclusion that it is possible to make a conscious computer with superhuman levels of intelligence before 2020.'
David Smith has the story in the Observer. Worth a read, oh ye of little faith in Progress.

Thanks to ArtsJournal: Daily Arts News for the lead.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Japanese sex-bots?

As the feller says, capitalism aims to please the consumer.

I wouldn't choose a Pam-bot tho.

Airport Peep Shows

The new body scanners about to be deployed in airports might actually cut screening costs: instead of hiring screeners, TSA could charge them for the privilege:
"Well, you'll see basically everything," said Bill Scannell, a privacy advocate and technology consultant. "It shows nipples. It shows the clear outline of genitals."...

Steve Elson...former Federal Aviation Administration investigator...argues for a sensible balance between risk management and risk reduction. On numerous occasions since the 2001 terrorist attacks, he has led reporters on test runs at airports, showing how easy it is to penetrate security throughout the airport.

Thwarting body-scanning technology would be simple, he argues. Because of concerns about radiation, body scanners are designed not to penetrate the skin. All that's needed is someone heavily overweight to go through the system, he said. I won't quote him directly on the details; suffice it to say he posits that a weapon or explosives pack could be tucked into flabby body folds that won't be penetrated by the scanner.
These things could be big money makers.

Joe Sharkey has the story in the New York Times.

Still sick... lite blogging.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Arthur Chrenkoff: Good News from Iraq, part 28

Arthur Chrenkoff has his round up of 67 pages of Good News from Iraq online. It covers the last two weeks.

Much of what he posts is excerpted from news services around the world, but it generally gets little play. There is a ton of good news, and his service is a great counterbalance to that of all the mayhem.

Sunnis are buying into participating in the political process, the Iraq Stock Exchange is up and running, government-owned businesses are being privatized, the economy has largely been opened to foreign investment, ppl are realizing they need to resist the damn murderers around the country. The number of cars has doubled to 2 million. 450 schools have been rehabbed. Kids are being innoculated.

Anyway, if you have the time, it is very cheery news instead of all the bad stuff.

No wonder no one bothers to learn history.

The British are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar with a re-enactment of the battle which doesn't mention the British fleet, the French/Spanish fleet...or Trafalgar.
Organisers of a re-enactment to mark the bicentenary of the battle next month have decided it should be between “a Red Fleet and a Blue Fleet” not British and French/Spanish forces.

Otherwise they fear visiting dignitaries, particularly the French, would be embarrassed at seeing their side routed.

Even the official literature has been toned down. It describes the re-enactment not as the battle of Trafalgar but simply as “an early 19th-century sea battle”.
I suppose it would be bad form to mention Napoleon, too. Maybe the Napoleonic Wars were all about the British aggressing against the poor guy. They will "feature" Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, but perhaps they'll gloss over his relationship with Emma Hamilton. Maybe he is acceptable because he was handicapped/differently abled/had special needs/maimed:
Nelson lost the sight in his right eye during the Siege of Calvi in 1794, and his right arm was amputated after it was shattered by gunfire during the battle of Santa Cruz at the island of Tenerife in 1797....Nelson's most famous victory was also his undoing: at Trafalgar he was mortally wounded on the deck of his ship HMS Victory.
Apparently the Queen will be attending. I suppose that over the years she has developed a keen sense of farce.

I wonder how they'll celebrate the 200th anniversary of the liberation of Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen.

Anyway, Andrew Porter has the story in the Sunday Times of London.

Thanks to The Corner on National Review Online for the lead.

Color me slow, but I just found out that Ozymandias was Rameses II

Sigh. I guess I just read the wrong stuff. Anyway, here is Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem:

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Rameses II or Ramses II if you prefer, was apparently the Pharoah of biblical fame...or infamy...whichever...Google the dude if you want to know more.

He seems to have been a big spender: built more temples than anyone else, and fought big wars. He and Dubya would likely get along, altho RamMan had eight wives and a pile of concubines, so they might have had something to argue about.

Thanks to Peter Robinson of The Corner on National Review Online for finally cluing me in. Now I think I'll go hide in my cave for awhile.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Still sick

I am definitly back downhill since this afternoon, when I actually felt pretty good and went grocery shopping. Now I'm back to being feverish. Just took a couple aspirin and am drinking some malted skim milk.

I suppose this better-in-daylight, worse-at-nite rhythm is an ancient evolutionary ploy which allowed the ailing CaveMaster to totter out during the day to slay a passing mastodon and drag the carcass back to the cave for his Beloved CaveBabe to skin and cook whilst he returned to languishing on the fur couch. If eked out with some wild rice and roasted acorns it might last the family for a couple or three days. Unless of course there was a teenage CaveDude around.

Recipe: Lutefisk of the Rebellion

For all you who have been following the Lutefisk Rebellion with baited breath but wondering just what da heck lutefisk is, here's a recipe for the Holy Lutefisk allegedly so desecrated by American soldiers, I mean military:
Yield: 2 servings

2 1/2 lb Lutfisk (Dried imported cod)
1 c Slaked lime
2 qt Oak or maple ashes

...Saw fish into 3 parts, clean thoroughly and place in a wooden bowl or

Add water to cover and set in a cool place for 5 to 6 days.
Change water each day. Remove fish and thoroughly clean wooden bowl.

Make a solution of water, lime and ashes and allow to stand
overnight. Drain off clear liquid and pour over soaked fish, set in a
cool place for 7 days.

When fish is soft, remove from solution, scrub
bowl well and soak fish for several days in cold clear water.

Cook in boiling salted water at simmering temperature for about 20
minutes. Drain well and serve.
Don't forget to slather it with mustard of one sort or another, and you'll see why da Lutherans were so upset.

If you negligently failed to click on the link in the Lutefisk story and hence missed the important background article , here is another link. It is critically important to understanding the violence-torn Midwest.

I got this from the: Click here: RecipeSource

I wonder what section she was in.

According to UK tabloid the Sun, a 33-year-old Welsh housewife ended up in hospital after wearing Ann Summers vibrating Passion Pants to her local Asda supermarket in Swansea.

Unfortunately, she became "so aroused...that she fainted" then "fell against shelves and banged her head". This prompted the attendance of the paramedics who "found the black leatherette panties still buzzing"...they then whisked the senseless shopper to hospital where she made a complete recovery....

...We assume...that she will be shopping at her local Tesco...until everyone in the Asda who witnessed her ordeal is dead or has succumbed to total amnesia...
Yep, I think I'd find a new market, too. Possibly a new city.

Thanks to Dave Barry's Blog for the lead.

Japanese Hygienic Nightingale Droppings

Treated with ultra violet light, and only $17.50 per ounce, at that.

Every now and then one comes across a snippet which gives a new perspective on something, in this case Kabuki actors and Japanese monks.