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February 28, 2003

After the U.S. ousted the Taliban, there were plenty of handwringing naysayers implying that Afghanistan is hopelessly impoverished because it lacks natural resources and economic infrastructure.

Infrastructure, shminfrastructure.

The only thing required for prosperity is freedom; and freedom is what the people of Afghanistan now have. And--God bless 'em--they're cashing in.

The Washington Post reports:

Although countries around the world have promised more than $4 billion in aid to rebuild Afghanistan, there are today very few visible signs of the planned roads and schools and infrastructure projects. There are, however, signs throughout the capital, and in many provinces, of fast and dramatic change as Afghans and some intrepid foreigners open shops, businesses and even factories, quickly put up buildings to house them, and buy enough cars to create daily traffic jams.

In a city that had a handful of shopworn eating places two years ago, a new Chinese or Italian or American hamburger restaurant opens almost weekly, as well as kebab shops by the score. Small hotels have sprung up, and a $40 million Hyatt is on the way. The food bazaars are bustling and there are downtown blocks filled almost entirely with bridal shops. Rebuilt homes are rising from the ruins, and every little storefront seems to be stuffed with bathtubs or fans or with men building and carving things to be sold.

The Post focuses on the business ventures of Afghan entrepreneur Sabir Latifa. Latifa confidently points out, "There is so much money to be made in Afghanistan now. The country has been held back for 25 years, and now is the time to invest and do business. Afghans are very good at this -- we've been doing it since the time of the Silk Road."

I forget who said it but it's worth repeating: capitalism is what people do when they're left alone. And when left alone, people will create wealth and prosperity. Sabir Latifa is proof of that.

  • B. Sides @ 10:04 AM
  • February 27, 2003

    Canadian MP Apologizes To Us "Bastards"
    While flapping her gums to reporters about Canada's role [chuckle] in resolving the Iraq crisis, Carolyn Parrish, a Liberal (which is a polite synonym for "socialist") member of the Canadian parliament, cheerfully summed up her view of Iraq and Saddam thusly: "Damn Americans … I hate those bastards."

    Now, the CBC reports, Parrish has apologized. And it may rank as the Goofiest Apology Ever. Get this:

    My comments do not reflect my personal opinion of the American people and they certainly do not reflect the views of the government of Canada.

    There you have it. Carolyn Parrish's opinions do not reflect Carolyn Parrish's opinions.

    Take it from this American bastard: Carolyn Parrish is a stupid bitch.

  • B. Sides @ 11:08 AM
  • February 26, 2003

    No Pizza For Vous!
    Drudge links to a story about a Danish pizza shop owner who has banned French and German patrons from his restaurant because "he's tired of French and German attitudes toward the United States." The owner, Aage Bjerre, is quoted as saying, "Hadn't the United States helped Europe in defeating Germany, there would have been photos of Adolf Hitler hanging on the walls around here."

    Mr. Bjerre says he'll lift the ban on Germans if Germany ends up supporting US efforts to liberate Iraq, but "Frenchmen have a lifetime ban here. Their attitude toward the United States will never change."

    If Mr. Bjerre's pizza shop offered trans-Atlantic delivery, I'd order all my pizza from him. Delivered in 30 days or less, or it's free!

  • B. Sides @ 2:19 PM
  • The Great UN Diversion
    Those who think that President Bush's strenuous effort to secure UN approval of a US-led Saddamectomy is anything other than a component of a comprehensive military strategy should read this excerpt from a Washington Post report:

    In meetings yesterday with senior officials in Moscow, Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton told the Russian government that "we're going ahead," whether the council agrees or not, a senior administration official said. "The council's unity is at stake here."

    A senior diplomat from another council member said his government had heard a similar message and was told not to anguish over whether to vote for war.

    "You are not going to decide whether there is war in Iraq or not," the diplomat said U.S. officials told him. "That decision is ours, and we have already made it. It is already final. The only question now is whether the council will go along with it or not."

    Question: If the decision was America's and the decision had already been made and the decision is final, then why bother with the UN at all? Answer: Diversion.

    American and British overtures to the UN are a classic military diversion. While the rest of the world and the press are fixated on Security Council meetings, arms inspections, signs of Iraqi compliance, Franco-German mendacity, anti-Bush street protests, George Clooney's moral preening and the grandstanding of a variety of pro-Saddam Democrats, US and allied forces in the Persian Gulf have grown from 50,000 last March to over 200,000 today.

    And those 200,000+ personnel have not been sitting around waiting on the Security Council to approve their deployment.

    For example, US and British special forces have been on the ground in Iraq for months presumably reconnoitring the enemy. And the coalition warplanes enforcing the northern and southern Iraqi no-fly zones have, over the last year, destroyed major Iraqi military installations. In fact, just yesterday, American fighter pilots bombed Iraqi missile systems in the northern no-fly zone and a contingent of American and British warplanes destroyed an Iraqi anti-aircraft missile system in the southern no-fly zone. Unless you regularly peruse news wire reports, you probably knew nothing about these attacks because most of the press was slobbering over Bush's latest proposed UN resolution and Dan Rather's interview with Saddam.

    Amazingly, the war to liberate Iraq has been underway for months and a lot of people haven't noticed. Bush's UN ploy is the most successful military diversion since the Allies fooled Hitler with Operation Fortitude in 1944.

  • B. Sides @ 10:42 AM
  • February 23, 2003

    Bill Clinton And Your Children
    If you immediately think it's us versus them, then this will not be a world for your children to grow up in. -- Bill Clinton, addressing the overwhelmingly pro-Saddam mob attending the Grammy's MusicCares dinner, 02/22/03

    Moreover, a world in which a president repeatedly humps the mouth of a 22-year-old intern in the Oval Office is not a world for your children to grow up in.

  • B. Sides @ 10:45 AM
  • February 20, 2003

    Quotes of the Day
    All right, Monsieur Chirac, perhaps we are poor, perhaps we were not raised properly - but we do not repay those who have helped us and who continue to help us with ingratitude. -- from an editorial in Latvia's Neatkariga Rita Avize

    Jacques Chirac's degrading message to the candidate countries can actually be taken as a compliment. The French President admitted defeat in his rage. Suddenly the 15 [EU members] succeeded in resolving within a couple of hours a matter on which they were not able to agree for months. It was the "new Europe" which forced "the old" to overcome itself. -- from an editorial in Slovakia's Sme

    This BBC report contains other superb quotes from various Eastern European newspaper editorials reacting to Chirac's snotty remarks. (Via Instapundit)

  • B. Sides @ 1:33 PM
  • February 19, 2003

    NAFTA For New Europe
    The laughably corrupt president of France had some snotty comments for those Eastern European countries backing the United States' policy on Iraq: "These countries have been not very well behaved and rather reckless of the danger of aligning themselves too rapidly with the American position . . . It is not really responsible behavior. It is not well brought-up behavior. They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet."

    Not content with just his toes in his mouth, Chirac proceeded to engorge his entire foot. As CNN notes, "Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, all of whom have dates for EU membership, joined EU members Britain, Spain, Italy, Denmark and Portugal in signing a letter last month supporting Washington's stance on Iraq. Ten other eastern European nations -- eight with entry dates and Romania and Bulgaria who are still in membership discussions -- signed a similar letter a few days later." Chirac deemed the Eastern European nations' decision to sign these letters as "dangerous" and "infantile." He whined, "They missed a great opportunity to shut up." As for Bulgaria and Romania, Chirac sniffed, "Romania and Bulgaria were particularly irresponsible. If they wanted to diminish their chances of joining Europe they could not have found a better way."

    Here's my favorite quote. As CNN reports, "When asked why he wasn't similarly critical of the EU nations that signed the letter, Chirac said: 'When you are in the family ... you have more rights than when you are asking to join and knocking on the door.'"

    In threatening to blackball the Czechs, Romanians, Poles, Hungarians, Bulgarians from joining the European Union, Chirac closely resembles Judge Smails. Remember Smails? He's the ultra-snob, old-money chairman of the hoity-toity Bushwood Country Club in Caddyshack. The first half of the movie features the nouveau riche Al Czervik, played by Rodney Dangerfield, annoying the hell out of Smails, played by Ted Knight. (Fortunately for this lame analogy, "Czervik" is an Eastern European surname.) Put off by Czervik's unBushwood ways, Smails' blue blood finally boils over:

    Smails: (indignant) Well, I can guarantee you'll never be a member of Bushwood!
    Czervik: (laughs) What? Join this crummy snobatorium? Why, this place sucks!
    Smails: [stutters in disbelief] su-su-su-su-su-su?!?!?
    Czervik: THAT'S RIGHT! IT SUCKS!

    Bushwood is a lot like the European Union. It sucks. Why would any Eastern European country -- freshly liberated from the dictatorial grasp of the Evil Empire -- want to surrender its sovereignty to an economic version of the Borg?

    Does Bulgaria really need the EU to regulate the viscosity of its tomato sauce and the curvature of bananas? Does Poland want to be forced to put a toy in every pigsty? Is the Czech Republic in desperate need of tavern happy hour regulation? Do Hungarians want a prohibition of vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements?

    Somehow, I doubt it.

    That's why the United States should propose to the nations of Eastern Europe either inclusion in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or a similar free trade agreement. (And while we're at it, let's propose the same to Turkey.)

    Such an arrangement has obvious benefits:

    1) It would promote free trade, competition, and consumer choice in the United States and Eastern Europe

    2) It would enhance economic and political freedom in countries which, until recently, had neither.

    3) It would be so much fun pulling the rug from under EU elitists and watching them fall on their socialist asses.

    4) The Eastern Europeans could have their tomato sauce as thick or soupy as they want, and

    5) It would really piss off Jacques Chirac.

    Considering that free access to American markets is much more profitable than forcing farmers to buy toys for their pigs, I doubt many Eastern European nations would need much convincing to enter a free trade agreement with the United States. But for those who do, just remind them about the European Union's Judge Smails.

  • B. Sides @ 11:01 AM
  • Kill 3045 People, Get 15 Years In Jail
    A German court convicted a Moroccan terrorist for his role in murdering 3,045 people in the United States on September 11, 2001. Mounir el Motassadeq, 28, was sentenced to a whole 15 years in jail. Do the math and the sentence comes out to just under two days in jail per victim. It's unknown whether el Motassadeq will also be sent to bed with no dessert.

    Such a light sentence in Germany is to be expected. After all, when your former chancellor slaughtered over nine million people, the murder of 3,045 comes off as a mere misdemeanor.

  • B. Sides @ 10:29 AM
  • February 18, 2003

    A Pox On Schroder
    Creepy German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder made opposition to American efforts to disarm Saddam the centerpiece of his reelection campaign last year. Schroder repeatedly scoffed at US claims that Saddam was amassing weapons of mass destruction. He was so fixated on vilifying America that a cabinet minister went as far as to equate President Bush with Hitler. (The cabinet minister apparently forgot that it was her country which gave the world Adolf Hitler and his merry band of genocidal maniacs.)

    Now comes word, via eagle-eyed Andrew Sullivan, that the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine has broken a doozie of a story. During his reelection campaign last year, Schroder was briefed by German intelligence that Saddam was stocking up on smallpox bioweapons. Since this inconvenient fact clashed with Schroder's campaign theme, he trashed the intelligence report.

    Whoever coined the "Axis of Weasels" moniker nailed it. Herr Schroder makes Bill Clinton look honorable.

  • B. Sides @ 8:55 PM
  • America's New Enemy
    The Washington Times' Bill Gertz reports today that "the North Korean ship that last year delivered Scud missiles to Yemen transferred a large shipment of chemical weapons material from Germany to North Korea recently . . . The ship, the Sosan, was monitored as it arrived in North Korea earlier this month carrying a shipment of sodium cyanide, a precursor chemical used in making nerve gas, said officials familiar with intelligence reports."

    Germany seems hellbent on resuming its status as an enemy of the United States. What else would you call a country that sells tons of sodium cyanide to North Korea at a time when North Korea is issuing repeated threats to destroy the United States?

    Who would've guessed that when President Bush announced his preemption policy and warned all nations that they must choose between being for or against terrorism that it would ultimately flush-out and expose France and Germany as enemies of the United States? Who would've guessed that since President Bush's historic speech to the United Nations last September that Chirac and Schroder would end up nearly as politically isolated as Saddam Hussein?

    The lesson? Moral clarity always reveals who your real friends are.

  • B. Sides @ 12:36 PM
  • February 17, 2003

    Make It George Washington Day
    Today America pays tribute to its presidents. Unfortunately that group includes many lackluster chief executives, including the politically inept (James Buchanan, Ulysess Grant, Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter) and the morally inept (John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Warren Harding, Lyndon Johnson, and Bill Clinton). These presidents are not worthy of a holiday-caliber commemoration.

    Moreover, honoring all the presidents collectively on one day renders the holiday meaningless. That's why Congress should scrap Presidents Day and replace it with a holiday honoring the one person indispensable in the forging of the United States: George Washington.

    As the Continental Army's commander-in-chief in the American Revolution, the most influential voice calling for a Constitutional Convention (over which he presided) and the first president of the United States, Washington occupies the center stage of American history. But more important than what Washington did is what he did not do. Though he would have had the military and popular support to do so, he firmly refused absolute power by explicitly dismissing suggestions that he make himself America's king.

    In May of 1782—less than a year after the British surrendered to Washington at Yorktown—the Continental Army had yet to be paid by the new (and largely powerless) Congress established under the Articles of Confederation. In an attempt to resolve the issue of compensation, Colonel Lewis Nicola wrote his commander-in-chief expressing the opinion of many in the Continental Army that Washington make himself king of the United States. Washington's indignant reply reveals not only his exemplary character but his steadfast commitment to limited republican government:

    Sir: With a mixture of great surprise and astonishment I have read with attention the Sentiments you have submitted to my perusal. Be assured Sir, no occurrence in the course of the War, has given me more painful sensations than your information of there being such ideas existing in the Army as you have expressed, and I must view with abhorrence, and reprehend with severety. For the present, the communication of them will rest in my own bosom, unless some further agitation of the matter, shall make a disclosure necessary.

    I am much at a loss to conceive what part of my conduct could have given encouragement to an address which to me seems big with the greatest mischiefs that can befall my Country. If I am not deceived in the knowledge of myself, you could not have found a person to whom your schemes are more disagreeable; at the same time in justice to my own feelings I must add, that no Man possesses a more sincere wish to see ample justice done to the Army than I do, and as far as my powers and influence, in a constitutional way extend, they shall be employed to the utmost of my abilities to effect it, should there be any occasion. Let me conjure you then, if you have any regard for your Country, concern for yourself or posterity, or respect for me, to banish these thoughts from your Mind, and never communicate, as from yourself, or any one else, a sentiment of the like Nature.
    —May 22, 1782

    As the nation's first president, Washington established presidential precedents and traditions to which most of his successors adhere. He defined the office. In doing so he was guided by one objective, which he explained in his Farewell Address of 1796:

    With me, a predominant motive has been to endeavour to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption, to that degree of strength and consistency, which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.

    Washington's policy triumphed. And today the United States has "the command of its own fortunes."

    America should show its gratitude and respect by designating George Washington's birthday—February 22—a national holiday.

  • B. Sides @ 1:38 PM
  • February 15, 2003

    Desert Goosesteppers
    National Review's Jonah Goldberg relates an incident from a press conference conducted by Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz:

    He [Aziz] sat quietly as an Israeli reporter asked a polite question politely. Aziz then responded that he would not answer any questions from Israeli media. Some journalists jeered and hissed and it seemed like a few walked out. It would have been nice if the next reporter asked the same question or, better still, asked him why he wouldn't answer the prior reporter's question or, even better, if they all refused to ask any more questions.

    This confirms what's always been obvious—that Saddam and his goons are just a bunch of warm-climate Nazis.

  • B. Sides @ 9:19 AM
  • February 14, 2003

    Website of the Day
    Just in time for Valentine's Day and the Blix Report! Be sure to explore the many wonders of And don't forget to answer the daily polling question.

  • B. Sides @ 5:17 PM
  • Le Weasels
    Hans Blix's second report to the UN Security Council was predictable and can be summarized thusly: "We still have no evidence that Saddam has destroyed his weapons of mass destruction." And true to the cover of today's New York Post, France weasled out by reaffirming its support of Saddam's monstrous regime.

    This, of course, is no surprise. I mean, what do you expect from a country whose citizens flee in screaming hysterics everytime they see Pepé Le Pew coming their way?

  • B. Sides @ 1:29 PM
  • A New York Post Classic
    Check out the Post's front page. This is one for the ages. (Note: It's not trick photography.)

  • B. Sides @ 10:44 AM
  • February 13, 2003

    Osama To Die . . . Again
    Remember the M*A*S*H episode where General "Iron Guts" Kelly unceremoniously dies in bed with Hot Lips Houlihan? Though the general was dead, his loyal aide was determined to rewrite history so that world would believe Iron Guts died a death befitting a warrior. The aide makes arrangements to have the general's body dumped at a fierce battlefront and, sure enough, the press reports that ol' Iron Guts Kelly gloriously died battling the enemy.

    Evidently, al-Qaeda thugs watch M*A*S*H reruns.

    CBS News reports that another audiotape message purportedly from Osama bin Laden has been received by an "Islamic news agency". On the tape, the person representing himself as bin Laden says, "Surely this year I will lead my steed and hurl it, and my soul, at one of the targets ... and I become a martyr."

    Why is it that after all this time, "Osama" is predicting his death? Why didn't he schedule his martyrdom for 2002? The answer is obvious: because he's already dead. Osama died in an unceremonious, Iron Guts Kelly fashion—hiding in a Afghanistan cave in late 2001. That's certainly not a martyrdom worthy of a supposedly fearless leader of an Islamic jihad, is it?

  • B. Sides @ 11:37 AM
  • February 12, 2003

    Quote of the Day
    "There are good wars, and there are bad wars -- but this one is gonna be fantastic!!!" — seen on a t-shirt in New York City, as reported by the New York Post

  • B. Sides @ 9:43 PM
  • "To Hell With Them"
    Instapundit has posted an email message he received from a French-born naturalized American. The emailer details his native country's embarrassing performance on the world stage and then turns his attention to the Germans:

    As to the Germans, they don't see the link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Quaeda anymore than their good burghers smelled the burning flesh from the ovens at the concentration camps that were so efficiently carrying out the "final solution."

    No more Munich Conferences and umbrella solutions of "peace in our time." No more September 11ths. And no more "Ich bin ein Berliner." To hell with them.

    Bravo! Read the entire message here.

  • B. Sides @ 2:12 PM
  • February 09, 2003

    The Dupe of Windsor
    If this News of the World report is accurate, then there can be only one conclusion: Queen Elizabeth II and her boorish husband are too closely related.

    Their elder child and heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, has taken a break from his only job—waiting for his mother to die—to undermine American and British efforts to liberate the world from the threat of Saddam Hussein. Charles, according to the report, is whining that "American imperialism" is a greater threat than Saddam. (There's something amusing about the future pretend-ruler of the British Empire accusing another country of having imperial designs.)

    He also accuses President Bush of being motivated by—you guessed it—oil. As with his fellow celebrity-simpletons, Charles is apparently oblivious to the events of September 11, 2001, the Bali bombing, the Foley assassination and al-Qaeda's Ricin poison operation in London.

    The News reports that Prime Minister Tony Blair's government is, understandably, pissed:

    There are also worries that he makes no secret of his anti-American views in conversations with members of Arab royal families and their leading officials . . . A Whitehall source said: "Downing Street tries not to involve the prince in anything—because they have concerns over how he will react. "He has this lunatic view he is the voice of the people."

    The News also reveals that the prince patters around at home in "Islamic dress", reads the Koran daily and cozies up with nefarious members of the Saudi royal family:

    One of his closest friends is the former Saudi ambassador Ghazi Algosaibi who wrote a poem in praise of the first woman suicide bomber. Algosaibi said that the "doors of heaven are opened for her". He once described the Israelis as worse than Nazis and he was a regular guest at Highgrove—Prince Charles's country home—before he was recalled by his government last year.

    As a result, Blair has cut Charles out of the loop and President Bush personally canceled plans for Charles to make an official visit to the United States. In other words, the Prince of Wales is a security risk. Given that the two-faced Saudi regime plays footsies with al-Qaeda and some members of the Saudi royal family are al-Qaeda's major funding conduits, keeping Charles in the dark is a matter of national security.

    This is not to say that Charles Windsor supports terrorism. This is to say, however, that Charles has too much spare time. His lifelong job as heir to the throne is not much different than that of the casino greeter-in-centurion-garb at Caesar's Palace. He smiles and he waves and dresses in nifty costumes. And there his responsibilities and experience end. Combine that with the fact that Charles feels insecure about possessing the appearance rather than the essence of power and you have the precise makings for a dupe.

    Dupes are nothing new in the House of Windsor. Charles' great uncle, the Duke of Windsor (the former King Edward VIII who abdicated in 1936 so he could get laid by a golddigging American divorcee), was so desperate to recover some of the influence and power he had as a monarch, he struck-up a friendship with Adolf Hitler. (Here's an infamous photo of the duke and duchess being warmly greeted by their Nazi pal.) Hitler, of course, cheerfully duped the duke into spewing pro-Nazi propaganda to the rest of the world. Edward vigorously defended the Nazi dictator even as late as 1941 in a letter to the American magazine Liberty. In that letter to the editor Edward wrote "it would be a tragic thing if Hitler was overthrown." Rumors that Edward actively sought to overthrow Churchill's wartime government by force are probably exaggerations, but there can be no doubt that, at the very least, the duke sought to undermine British efforts to stop Hitler. And the Nazis were counting on him. "There is no need to lose a single German life in invading Britain," Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess wrote to Hitler, "The Duke and his clever wife will deliver the goods."

    Is Edward's grandnephew trying to deliver the goods for Islamofascists by sabotaging the liberation of Iraq? If so, Downing Street would do well to discreetly remind Prince Charles that if the 1701 Act of Settlement establishing succession can be altered to remove a reigning king from the succession, as it was in 1936, it sure as hell can be altered again to nix a prince of Wales from the line-up.

    It's doubtful matters will reach that critical point. But if they do, so what? Charles is damaged goods, his lack of good judgment is apparent and his sense of priorities is twisted. He is not fit to be king.

    The Duke of Edinburgh agrees. Charles, he said, "is precious, extravagant and lacking in the dedication and discipline to make a good king." And the Duke of Edinburgh should know; he's the father of Prince Charles.

  • B. Sides @ 4:15 PM
  • February 08, 2003

    Great Headlines from The Onion
    "UN Orders Wonka To Submit To Chocolate Factory Inspections" -- January 29, 2003

  • B. Sides @ 6:22 AM
  • Quote of the Day
    "Washington is a Hollywood for ugly people. Hollywood is a Washington for the simpleminded." -- Sen. John McCain, as quoted by the Washington Post (via James Taranto)

  • B. Sides @ 5:59 AM
  • February 06, 2003

    92 Years
    President Reagan becomes the longest-living former president today on this his 92nd birthday. And who better to mark the occasion than the Great Communicator himself?

    The house we hope to build is not for my generation but for yours. It is your future that matters. And I hope that when you are my age, you will be able to say as I have been able to say: We lived in freedom. We lived lives that were a statement, not an apology. -- Ronald Reagan, St. John's University, March 28, 1985

  • B. Sides @ 8:21 PM
  • Another Hollywood Has-Been Sides with Saddam
    The world can finally exhale. Actor and notorious dick Dustin Hoffman has finally handed down his much-anticipated ruling on the Iraq crisis, finding in favor of Saddam and accusing President Bush of being secretly motivated by oil.

    Fortunately for the United States and the rest of the free world, the opinion of anyone simple enough to accept a role in Ishtar doesn't count.

  • B. Sides @ 10:00 AM
  • Quote of the Day
    "Your father started the job. And I am going to finish it." -- President Bush, to the children of Columbia astronaut Ilan Ramon after they told the president that their father destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981.

  • B. Sides @ 6:25 AM
  • February 05, 2003

    Just Ignore 'Em
    Someone in a position of influence has finally said it. France is no friend of the United States. Richard Perle, the chairman of the Pentagon Advisory Board, is quoted by UPI as urging the United States and NATO to "develop a strategy to contain" France because "our erstwhile ally" is "no longer the ally it once was."

    How about this strategy to contain France: ignore them; I can't think of one downside to this policy. In geopolitical terms, the wants and desires of France are only relevant if the United States gives them any consideration. Had the U.S. ignored France's pro-Saddam b.s. from the git-go, Saddam would have been toast a year ago.

    And let's not forget the most significant benefit of an Ignore France Doctrine: not having to hear the French speak French.

    Besides, why do we need an ally who's a perennial loser? According to, even you can conquer France!

    Thanks to Sus for alerting me to that website. At this very moment she is conquering France from her command center in Iowa.

  • B. Sides @ 9:33 AM
  • February 04, 2003

    And On This Farm He Had A Pig, EU EU Oh My God!
    The socialist overlords of the EU have managed to implement a policy that resembles satire lifted from The Onion.

    The Times of London reports that U.K. farmers "have 90 days to put a toy in every pigsty or face up to three months in jail. The new ruling from Brussels, which is to become law in Britain next week, is to keep pigs happy and prevent them chewing each other."

    Give yourself a moment to absorb that.

    Ready? Here's more:

    Official instructions to farmers are to give pigs “environmental enrichment” by providing “manipulable material”, which the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs last night defined as balls.

    A spokesman said: “We mean footballs and basketballs. Farmers may also need to change the balls so the pigs don’t get tired with the same one. Different colour ones will do. These rules are based on good welfare. We don’t want to come across as the nanny state, but the important thing is to see pigs happy in their environment and they like to forage with their noses.” He added that hanging chains were also good, since pigs could brush their noses against them. The Government is not ready to recommend specific toys, however, because they know of no firm manufacturing playthings for pigs.

    But farmers should be careful about scoffing at the idea: they could be fined up to £1,000 or jailed for three months if they fail to amuse their stock. And Neville Meeker, who farms near Warminster in Wiltshire, was told by a farm standards official last week that he will lose the right to use the red tractor farm logo to market his pork if he does not buy a toy for each of 64 sties.

    This policy is obviously misguided. Pigs are said to be intelligent; toys such as balls are intellecutally beneath our swine brethren. I suggest giving them Scrabble. Perhaps the home version of Jeopardy. Oh, and my favorite: Operation, the goofy game for dopey doctors. (Though a player with a hoof would have problems using the tweezers.) And for unsociable porkers, a deck of cards for Solitaire.

    Who knew socialism could be so much fun? Too bad the millions of people murdered by Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Castro couldn't live to see it.

  • B. Sides @ 5:34 PM
  • Good News and Bad News
    The good news: the Food and Drug Administration has declared hexacyanoferrate -- a drug capable of ridding the body of many radioactive elements -- safe. This vastly reduces the red tape and time required for final approval.

    The bad news: the FDA's unbureaucratic swiftness in approving hexacyanoferrate is motivated by the possibility of radiological "dirty" bomb attack.

    Opinion Journal's Brendan Miniter has the details.

  • B. Sides @ 2:45 PM
  • February 01, 2003

    "Seven Souls We Mourn"
    In a speech made from the Cabinet Room of the White House, the president delivered a moving tribute to the crew of the Columbia:

    My fellow Americans, this day has brought terrible news and great sadness to our country. At 9:00 a.m. this morning, Mission Control in Houston lost contact with our Space Shuttle Columbia. A short time later, debris was seen falling from the skies above Texas. The Columbia is lost; there are no survivors.

    On board was a crew of seven: Colonel Rick Husband; Lt. Colonel Michael Anderson; Commander Laurel Clark; Captain David Brown; Commander William McCool; Dr. Kalpana Chawla; and Ilan Ramon, a Colonel in the Israeli Air Force. These men and women assumed great risk in the service to all humanity.

    In an age when space flight has come to seem almost routine, it is easy to overlook the dangers of travel by rocket, and the difficulties of navigating the fierce outer atmosphere of the Earth. These astronauts knew the dangers, and they faced them willingly, knowing they had a high and noble purpose in life. Because of their courage and daring and idealism, we will miss them all the more.

    All Americans today are thinking, as well, of the families of these men and women who have been given this sudden shock and grief. You're not alone. Our entire nation grieves with you. And those you loved will always have the respect and gratitude of this country.

    The cause in which they died will continue. Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on.

    In the skies today we saw destruction and tragedy. Yet farther than we can see there is comfort and hope. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."

    The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth; yet we can pray that all are safely home.

    May God bless the grieving families, and may God continue to bless America.

  • B. Sides @ 3:05 PM
  • Remembering Columbia
    The crew of the space shuttle Columbia was lost this morning when the shuttle disintegrated shortly before it was to land at the Kennedy Space Center.

    I'm reminded of Ronald Reagan's speech to the nation following the Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986:

    Ladies and gentlemen, I'd planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.

    Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we've never lost an astronaut in flight; we've never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we've forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle; but they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.

    For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we're thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, "Give me a challenge and I'll meet it with joy." They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.

    We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.

    And I want to say something to the school children of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.

    I've always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don't hide our space program. We don't keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That's the way freedom is, and we wouldn't change it for a minute. We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue.

    I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them: "Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it."

    There's a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, "He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it." Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake's, complete.

    The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."

  • B. Sides @ 1:27 PM
  • Thousands of Deadly Islamic Terror Attacks Since 9/11


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