Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Watchmen For Real: Total Eclipse Of Civilization

What's worse than being a nerd? Being a nerd that has gone completely insane, put on a costume and decided to become a crimefighter. I presume his secret power lies in disabling his opponent through inducing paralyzing mirth.

It is well worth one's time, particularly if contemplating suicide, to pay a visit to the World Superhero Registry. Some of these guys seem to be directly inspired by the character Rorschach which is, um, disturbing.

Between this and the recent story about the woman who fell in love with the Eiffel Tower, I am really feeling like at some point I woke up in a Phillip K. Dick novel. A really nasty one.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"We Are America. We Don't Fucking Torture."

Do we have to pay some kind of ransom to get this guy out of there?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Since Lent Is Over....

....It's time for the video that got Lawrence Lessig in so much trouble.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Quote For The Day

“In America there is no anti-status quo media,”says Smith. “It’s all the same four big companies, and they’re all afraid of losing Budweiser so it’s just like, there’s no voice. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is the most watched ‘news’ program by people under thirty-five and it’s a spoof comedy show. There is a huge market out there of disenfranchised kids, and we do these political things which aren’t Republican or Democrat, but more like how a punk would look at things, which is more like ‘This is absurd. It’s not right, left, center, whatever, it’s just fucked.’”

Shane Smith, quoted in Matt Mason's excellent book The Pirate's Dilemma.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lane Wallace says "Suck It Up"

She takes a somewhat unsympathetic view of the travails of Alexandra Penney, the over-celebrated Madoff victim. Unfortunately, she strays off into literary criticism:

To put Penny’s posts in perspective, imagine Frodo Baggins, the hobbit hero in The Lord of the Rings, reacting similarly. Imagine him railing in the woods about how unfair it was that he had to go return this stupid ring to fix a problem someone else created, complaining about the rain, the uncomfortable leaf piles he and Sam had to sleep on, how hard the walk and journey was … and getting a bit happier only if some opportunist or kind soul took pity on his victim-pout complaints and installed him safely back in a warm, cozy house with ease, comfort, and good food and wine. Or, if you haven’t read or seen that particular story, you could try the same exercise with Luke Skywalker from Star Wars, or Ulysses, in Homer’s Odyssey. Or any epic hero, for that matter.

Except that is exactly what all those heroes do. Greatness is thrust upon them against their will. That's the story.

David Rivin Gets It Right

Since I usually mock and deride NRO....I believe that so doing gets souls out of Purgatory....I feel I should note when someone gets it exactly right over there.

Second, the reason Lee Casey and I have been critical of the U.S. Navy is that there are time-tested and cost-effective solutions to piracy problems, and the Navy has not employed them. It’s not a matter of escorting ships; it is a matter of conducting aggressive offensive operations against pirates at sea and on land, driven by robust rules of engagement. For example, we don’t have to wait till a pirate attack occurs; we can stop boats crewed by armed men — there is no legitimate reason for fisherman to brandish automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. This, by the way, is how slave trade was suppressed: Ships that were equipped for carrying slaves were seized, and their crews punished, even if they had no slaves aboard. Captured pirates also need to be punished promptly and harshly. Ransom payments should be intercepted; pirate havens should be bombarded; pirate assets should be seized.

The goal isn’t to nation-build in Somalia; it is make piracy costly, difficult, and risky. All of this is doable.

This is true. Jeez, doesn't anyone read Hornblower novels anymore?

Steven R. Hurst Needs A Factchecker

Oh, wait, he is the factchecker. Uh-Oh.
In the midst of a remarkably silly and wrongheaded "analysis" piece concerning the Somali Pirates, the AP's Hurst drops in this little gem of misinformation:
Short of flooding the waters with fighting ships, the only course of attack would seem to be special operations assaults on the ground in Somalia. But Obama is sure to remember the outcome—Black Hawk Down—when the last young Democratic president, Hillary Clinton's husband, Bill, sent U.S. forces ashore in that lawless land.

The current situation has absolutely nothing in common with the Battle of Mogadishu and "flooding the waters" (Cool metaphor, huh? Weak reasoning gains so much from lazy writing) with "fighting ships" (Ar!) is actually a pretty good idea.... as Hillary pointed out yesterday. In fact, it is such a good idea that every nation that has ever encountered a piracy problem or, for that matter, a U-boat problem has done exactly that.

But beyond all that, President Clinton did not send U.S. forces ashore in Somalia. Our forces went into Somalia in December,1992. Bill Clinton did not assume Presidential authority until January 20th, 1993. A lot of us non-interventionist types believed at the time that it was a pretty thoughtful poison-pill parting gift for president Bush to leave office with.

Checking this "detail" would have taken five minutes, minutes Hurst apparently didn't have. So when the newspapers finally shut their doors just remember that they didn't always produce a lot of value in the first place.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Glory Of Big Youth

First Dub sound I ever heard, and still probably the best.