Mister Pterodactyl
Monday, January 31, 2005
Here's BoiFromTroy, noting the 72% turnout rate in yesterday's Iraq election: "News out of Iraq should send chills of distress around the world. As voting ended, turnout was estimated at 72%... it reflects a 28% decline from voting in Iraq's last election. Furthermore, the unity that marked Iraq's 2002 election has been dissolved by the Bush Administration's divisive policies. The consensus which marked the last election has fallen apart to the point that one party may not even gain a majority."

Ha. I say again: ha.

P.S. I've been gone for awhile; I'm coming back.

Sunday, January 23, 2005
Via Meryl Yourish: "Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday said Hizbollah's military operations in South Lebanon against Israel are 'disturbing'" and "the Secretary-General condemns the Palestinian terror attack that caused the death of six Israeli civilians and injury to four others at the Karni crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip yesterday evening."

And from the EU: "Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, whose country holds the European Union presidency, told Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that Palestinian attacks against Israel must end."

Even a broken clock is right sometimes.

P.S. hat tip.

Thursday, January 20, 2005
According to this story, Afghanistan is sending a relief team and 300 tons of supplies to Aceh to help with tsunami relief. Afghanistan.

This is a sign of something. Not sure what, but it must be good.

Thursday, January 13, 2005
Not One Damn Dime Day
Have you heard of this? Apparently an email is going around urging people to boycott all consumer spending on Inauguration Day as a protest against the war in Iraq. Ann Althouse has a good post about it. She quotes Snopes – “one of the least effective forms of symbolic protest one could devise: it literally proposes that people do nothing,” and Citizen Z – “Take action by doing nothing.' It's a protest and a zen koan!” There’s that koan again. Keeps coming up at AA's.

This reminds me of something I saw a couple years ago. I was at a nearby University of Wisconsin branch campus, and noticed a sign a student group had put up. It declared a day later in the week to be Human Rights Day, and called on students and faculty to show their support for human rights around the world. And to show that support it asked that, on that day, everybody … wear blue jeans. I found this unbearably funny. I wear blue jeans on most days (I’m blogging in them now), and as I looked around I saw well over half the people in the hallway wearing them too.

These are two good cases of damning by low expectations. Or possibly broadening the message into oblivion. Take a cause that nobody could possibly disagree with (in the latter case, anyway; I suppose the originators of the former at least believe it about theirs), then suggest a course of action that is so easy to do that no one will be a bit inconvenienced and in many cases will be doing anyway. Then you can claim that your event was a success.

But hey, next time you’re out somewhere and you see people in blue jeans, make sure to congratulate them on their bold stance. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

Friday, January 07, 2005
Comedian Keith Alberstadt, on the Bob and Tom Show (radio show): "fantasy football is like Dungeons and Dragons for guys who used to make gun of the kids who played Dungeons and Dragons."

Tuesday, January 04, 2005
The inimitable wit and accidental genius of Ann Althouse
First, “I’ll link to that/I’ll drink to that.” I can’t excerpt and convey the idea, just go read it.

Second, in a post that's actually about stay-at-home dads, this gem: “this is a chicken-and-egg conundrum: do people do boring things because they are boring or are they boring because they do boring things?” That’s beautiful. It’s like a Zen koan. I began to contemplate it. It turns out, though, that my scientific tendencies are considerably stronger than my inner Buddhist. I’ll explain.

AA continues, “I'm inclined to think boringness is a big complex interactive mix of inherent tendencies and acquired attributes.” Well, she’s a law professor. To me it’s much more simple. She has unwittingly identified the two types of boring people. There are intrinsically boring people (the ones who are born), and there are people who become boring through boring lifestyles (those who are made).

The question is, how does one determine which type individual boring people are? Without having to actually get to know them, I mean. They are boring, after all. Discuss.

Finally, she links to the first ever use of the word 'blog.' Not necessarily a flattering use, but still historically significant.

Monday, January 03, 2005
Michael Totten, writing about the recent actions of Mahmoud Abbas:

"GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that he wants to shield Palestinian militants from Israel and indicated he has no plans to crack down on gunmen after upcoming presidential elections."

I submit that this is the problem with the Palestinians: that they’re so factionalized and so dominated by groups like Hamas and Al Aqba that no politician can succeed without them. First, the militant groups command a great deal of support from common Palestinians, so if Abbas were to openly turn against Hamas he wouldn’t stand a chance. It would be like an American legislator introducing a bill to abolish high school sports. Second, any politician doing so would invite severe repercussions upon himself and his followers. The aforementioned American would at least not have to fear assassination.

I believe this is why, for example, Arafat turned away at Oslo. He knew that the militants would never agree to the accord, and without them it couldn’t stand. [Not to excuse Arafat in this; he was instrumental in creating the circumstances that caused it.]

Abbas needs the militants in order to make peace with Israel. He also needs to marginalize them to present Israel with a more moderate, more conciliatory face. He can’t do both, and neither can anybody else.

Sunday, January 02, 2005
Do I really have to say this next line?
Okay, it's January, it's Wisconsin, and it rained all last night. Those three concepts do not belong in the same sentence. Could be a portent.

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