Interesting op-ed in the WSJ today from a former UNSCOM bio-weapons guy arguing essentially that the anthrax in the attacks was weaponized in such a sophisticated fashion it’s unlikely Ivins—or any individual—could have produced it. Which leaves state sponsorship (or sub-state, if al-Qâ’ida or the like was willing to spend millions on research and equipment). I know Iraq was looked at pretty hard in this context, but if there was this kind of innovative weaponization involved, the obvious culprit is the Russians, or perhaps the Chinese. But talk about motive-less crimes. Perhaps (the fairly obvious step of) closely looking at individuals formerly associated the downsized Soviet lab Biopreparat—which was the world’s most sophisticated producer of weaponized anthrax, if I’m remembering right—will reveal that someone walked out with a baggie of death dust. (And yeah, the Volgi knows there are conspiracy theories revolving around Qanatjan Älibekov/Ken Alibek’s involvement. Don’t bother mailing.)
In general, I think the nuttiness of the Islamic Republic is overstated—they generally comport themselves like most rational state actors. However, their rationality has led them to believe that aggression, particularly through proxy terrorism, is rewarding. Consequently, they’re one of the more destabilizing forces in the region. And having the relative feeling of invulnerability that nukes provide isn’t going to make them any more demure. And of course, Ayatollâh Rafsanjânî once said
If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave any thing in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world. [Tehran, Friday sermon, 14 December 2001]
Of course “the world of Islam” has had nukes for some time in the state of Pakistan without much problems for Israel (though not insignificant ones for India), but given that ideologically, the Islamic Republic is the vanguard of a pan-Islamic state, its leaders might believe that nuking Israel, whatever the price, is a “win” in their book, and whatever “damages” they take to be rationally justifiable costs.
St. Norbert the Peacemaker, ora pro nobis.
During my usual course of perusing various websites, I came across this story on Slashdot. I find it humorous on a number of levels: First, COBOL…seriously. Second, they only started to try to revamp the system 10 years ago (that’s 1998) when a number of “newer” programming languages were more viable 10 years before that. Third, they couldn’t migrate the payroll data into a modern payroll system that most companies, many municipalities, etc. use? Fourth, and totally non-technical, I applaud the Governator for doing this when the state can’t pass a budget. Fiscal reform NOW! Congress, states, etc. shouldn’t be blowing budgets when the American people can’t blow their own…oh, wait, apparently they can and we’ll just bail them out. Ok, note to self: GorT-land’s Constitution to prohibit fiscal irresponsibility.. The state controller described the state’s payroll system as “a computing relic on par with vacuum tubes and floppy disks”.
Amanda Peet is my new favorite actor, and for reasons other than the ones showcased in her photo. Since I generally detest actors, it’s really not that much of an achievement to make the list. However, Ms. Peet’s refreshing candor on the vacuity of Hollywood’s denizens and their mind-boggling stupid pronouncements earns full marks.
“It seems that the media is often giving celebrities and actors more authority on this issue than they are giving the experts,” Peet said. “I know it’s a paradox, but that’s part of why I wanted to become a spokesperson, to say to people, ‘Please don’t listen to me. Don’t listen to actors. Go to the experts.'”
Let me add my congratulations to GorT’s to Art Monk and Darrell Green, two of the emblematic—perhaps the two most emblematic—personalities of the first, great Joe Gibbs era in Washington. Both men were consummate professionals, utterly dedicated, profoundly humble, and incredible athletes. Not a little of this can be traced to their bedrock-solid upbringings and their deep adult religiosity, the latter reflected in the testimonies to their relationship to Our Lord that they spoke about at length—too much length for the Volgi’s taste, but chacun à son goût and they’ve certainly earned the right and will never have such a stage again.
On to football. Green was a shutdown corner before there was such a phrase, arguably the greatest ever to play the game in the modern era, as Thomas Boswell points out in the Washington Post with a comparison to the man usually held up as the ne plus ultra:
Go on, say, “But Darrell wasn’t Deion Sanders.” Maybe not. But both started on two Super Bowl champions. Green had 54 career interceptions, five in the postseason, to Sanders’s 53 and five. Green had eight defensive touchdowns, two in the playoffs, to Sanders’s 10 and none. Green averaged 15 pass deflections a season to Sanders’s 11. Green made seven Pro Bowls to Sanders’s eight. In his first dozen seasons out of 14 overall, Deion averaged 38 tackles a year. In the first 17 of his 20 years, the much smaller Green—who liked contact much more—averaged 64 tackles.
Deion picked his Prime Time spots. Then danced. Green played the whole game.
Green played cornerback—the position most demanding of speed and quick reflexes—for an unfathomable twenty years, almost uniformly at a stellar level. Green’s one relative fault was his hands. My brother once justly observed, watching Darrell break up an interceptable pass, “You know, if he could catch, he’d have the interception record by a mile.”
The real story was, however, the long-standing rejection of Art Monk by the Hall of Fame committee and their finally relenting and recognizing a career that was contemporaneously universally regarded as a mortal lock for Canton. An informal campaign of fans and sportswriters organized to press Monk’s case once it became clear he might not make it, notable among them the Post‘s Len Shapiro and Michael Wilbon in the latter group and Ted Jou and Tom Kerchival in the former.
What was the fuss about? For those who came in late, click here and enjoy Kerchival’s tremendous video demolition of the case against Monk’s induction. The featured testimonial video is very good, but the meat is in the Case for Monk series just below it, which specifically refutes the arguments publicly cited by committee members for rejecting Monk the first seven times around.
The four-minute four-second standing ovation Monk received was unprecedented at a Hall ceremony and an outpouring not merely of affirmation of his overcoming the admission committee’s long-standing standoffishness but of the love so many Washingtonians developed for Monk, a model football player, citizen, and man, over his lifetime around D.C., as was the sea of burgundy and gold which swamped the Canton stadium. Tom Jackson and Trey Wingo, hosting for ESPN, stated they’d never seen anything like it in all their years covering such ceremonies—including the huge turnout of Broncos fan for face-of-the-franchise-quarterback John Elway. Well done, Washington. And well done, Mr. Green and Mr. Monk.
Man, Ghettoputer is back and on fire with blogging ninjitsu. Truly he is a ninja and a pirate rolled into one. In an attempt to keep up the side, I’ve provided a new quiz to the left. Enjoy the question, “Who’s got the craziest monarchical cognomen?”
And to recap the last quiz (moved to the bottom):
Who is the most likely to identify the real Jack the Ripper?
We have a three-way tie: Encyclopædia Brown (doubtless in “The Case of the Disemboweled Doxies”), Real-Killer Hunter® O.J. Simpson (provided he can make the time), and one believing the wide-spread Fantasy Island/Ripper theory that’s only slightly less popular than Walter Sickert, holding that Hervé Villechaize had, in fact, identified the Ripper, but the secret died with him, God rest his tiny, lisping French soul. (“Mthieu Thcaramanga!”)
For more about Jack the Ripper, visit your local library. Reading Is Fundamental®.
Explain the post title, you demand? Mais bien sûr!
So didja know that Mah Nà Mah Nà was originally composed for a sauna scene in a ’60s Italian softcore “documentary” about sex in Sweden?
Taking the challenge of the Notorious OEV (forgive my lack of font knowledge), Ghettoputer took The Good Junior Senator From Illinois’ Constitutional Law exam over his Delmarva Vacation Extravaganza. The following is the text of his answers.
Under either a substantive Due Process analysis or an Equal Protection analysis, the answer of a Unites States Supreme Court appointed by Professor Obama would be the same.
“Ghettoputer, C. J., per curiam. The Constitution is a living, breathing document into which the hopes of each American is written. Therefore, we must interpret the Constitution giving heavy weight to the views of the appellants before us, as they are living, breathing Americans, not the dead white guys who devised the greatest nation on the face of the Earth. Since Richard and Michael want to get gay married, have babies and rent a uterus, who are we, as Justices of the Supreme Court, guardians of 230 or so years of American law, and over 900 years of English-derived common law to stand in their way, despite the fact that such arrangements have never, ever been deemed acceptable by neither a majority of people in our nation, nor their elected representatives? We are now a post-modern nation, and as such, the Constitution means whatever anyone thinks it means, including Richard and Michael. We must honor their differentness, regardless of any impact on society or its foundations. To do otherwise would negate their otherness. Therefore, without careful, considered deliberation by the people’s elected representatives, or input from American’s freely elected executive, this unelected, unrepresentative Court hereby holds that the Constitution should mean whatever anyone thinks it means. The state of Nirvana must not only permit Richard and Michael to gay marry, have babies and rent uteri, the State of Nirvana must hold a week long poetry reading, sit-in and drum circle session to celebrate Our Decision.
It is so ordered.“
PART II, Subparts A and B.
“Ghettoputer, C.J., per curiam. Anything that disadvantages any minority group, no matter how tangentially, no matter how small, no matter how rational the basis for such policy, no matter how equally any such test is applied to all racial groups (see, e.g., credit scoring to get a loan, standardized testing to secure a university slot, merit based pay), such thing is per se evil and bad. Therefore, meritocracy is hereby declared unconstitutional in the United States. Enjoy driving over bridges designed by subpar civil engineering students. Oh, by the way, banks must now loan to everyone who applies, regardless of past payment history or state ability to repay, or risk being shuttered by the FDIC or other appropriate regulatory agency. And the State of Utopia must hire everyone who applies, regardless of ability. To quote a great Obamanation Founding Father, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” If a person needs a job, Utopia must take one away from someone with ability and give such job to the needy person.
As Ramses II once said, according to the noted Constitutional scholar Cecil B. DeMille, “so let it be written, so let it be done.” (Shout out to noted Jewish minority and cigarette smoker (and stud) Yul Brynner).
It is so ordered.”
I hope I beat Professor Obama’s 12 page limit. Forgive the lack of proper margins. Ghettoputer awaits Professor Obama’s grade. Or the death of our Republic, whichever shall first occur.
Cab Calloway, a fellow Upstater born in scenic Rochester (motto – Made for Leavin’), wrote a song about the greedy and powerful public sector unions strangling my adopted state. He called it Many the Moochers. Well, not really, but were Mr. Calloway still alive today, he could well have done so.
New York’s “three men in a room” government — the execrable head of the Assembly Sheldon Silver, the namby-pamby accidental governor David Patterson and handpicked successor to the nearly indicted former head of the Senate Dean Skelos — recently decided that with 74% of New Yorkers favoring a property tax cap, they’d better get cracking on something.
From this article from the appalling nicknamed Rochester news paper The D&C (Democrat and Chronicle), it appears that our hardworking public officials have determined that the best way to lower property taxes is to continue runaway spending, but to shift more of the burden away from property taxes to income taxes. Way to go, geniuses! Forget about cutting back. Spend more instead, but attempt to hide your profligate ways by shifting the source of the revenue. Those stupid peons we “represent” will never notice, and we can keep our union masters happy.
As noted in the article, New York has the “highest local and state tax burden in the country, a major factor in the state’s population and job losses.” Note, however, that unionized state government jobs (health care, teachers, etc.) are actually growing, unlike the private sector jobs that support them. By way of example, in my part of the state, it is not unusual for a house assessed at $200,000 to pay over $8,000 each year in property taxes. This excludes the state income tax rates of between 4% and 6.85%, and NYC and Yonkers income taxes, if you are fortunate enough to live there. And don’t forget sales tax, which generally is between 7% and 8.75% depending on where you’re shopping.
These taxes all go to support an enormous unionized government workforce that has benefits significantly better than that of the private workers generating the tax revenue to pay these benefits. The New York State Constitution (Art. V, § 7) actually enshrines a right of current workers to their pensions, without change, regardless of the impact of state taxpayers. And who wouldn’t want one of these gold-plated pensions? A Tier 4 (pension classification for most current teachers starting after 1983) can expect after 30 years’ service at age 55, lifetime health care (not yet a Constitution right, but bills are pending to do so) and 60% of the average of the best three years’ salary for life. Guaranteed. This doesn’t count social security and any 403(b) contributions made. Oh, and the state pension is state income tax free (“Your retirement benefit is exempt from New York State income tax”). And New York’s political class can’t figure out why private businesses and residents continue to flee.
Maybe when the last private sector job leaves the state for the greener pastures of lower tax jurisdictions, New York’s politicians will finally come to their senses. But I wouldn’t bet on it.