Thursday, November 28, 2002

AL GORE says that the fact people make fun of him is a result of "post-modernism."

In a related story, "the latest Gallup poll shows that a broad spectrum of Americans enjoy laughing at the foibles of the former vice president.

Mr. Gore, asked by the New York Observer to explain what motivates the "ceaseless lampooning" he faces, said , "That's postmodernism...It's the combination of narcissism and nihilism that really defines postmodernism."

But polling data suggest that Mr. Gore elicits laughter not only from postmoderns, but also moderns, anti-postmoderns, pre-moderns, pre-millenialists, post-toasties, Luddites and Neanderthals.

"We were surprised at how the mere mention of Mr. Gore's name brings people of diverse backgrounds and thought-patterns together," said a Gallup spokesman. "Everybody loves laughing at Al Gore."


Shamelessly lifted from Scrappleface.
TOM DASCHLE feels threatened by the US media. He's lucky he doesn't live in Indonesia:

"The Secretary of the Tangerang branch of the Indonesian Council of Ulemas, Rasna Dachlan, and two officials from the regency's social affairs agency, Saroji and Achmad, were kept hostage for about six hours in a car by a group of men claiming to be reporters for local magazines.

"I was kept hostage inside my car by about 60 magazine reporters. They wouldn't let me get out of the car until I gave them money," Rasna was quoted by Antara as saying in Tangerang on Wednesday."

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

WHAT DO YOU GET when you combine cute kittens, heavy metal music and marauding Viking warriors? You get THIS.
I AGREE with Skippy regarding bloggers seeking monetary contributions. It strikes me as just a bit unseemly. However, that doesn't mean I'm above finding other ways to exploit my readers. My latest inspiration -- involving you in the misappropriation of intellectual property.

As I've noted, I'm re-designing this site. In connection therewith, I'm looking for ideas to shamelessly rip-off. If there are any sites out there, the design, graphics or features of which you really like, point them out to me, so I can go steal their good ideas.
PHAR KIM BENG of Asia Times has been listening to Tung Chee-hwa's crony's. Worse, he actually takes them seriously.

"Helped by what [Peter Woo of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council] calls "three flows and four strengths" of Hong Kong, the city will retain much of its vigor for years to come, it is said. What are these unique characteristics? They are the free flow of information, capital and people. In addition, Hong Kong's strengths are based on an independent judiciary, a viable market system, an educated workforce, and a stable currency."

Asia Times you've surpassed yourself. Pepe freakin' Escobar's Al-Asufuq interview made more sense than this. Let's look at Woo's "three flows and four strengths":

Flow #1. The free flow of information -- proposed Article 23 legislation will criminalize the possession or dissemination of any information the Mainland or Hong Kong governments deem confidential.

Flow #2. The free flow of capital -- Hong Kong capital markets are viewed as rigged. No sensible person has any faith in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange or securities regulators to crack down on wide spread corporate governance and trading abuses.

Flow #3. The free flow of people -- yeah, tell it to the abode seekers whose asses are forcibly flowing back to China. Its easier for a Mainlander to gain residency in the US than it is in HK. How many non-Mainland expats do you think are going to be eager to establish residency here now that the government will make us liable, under Article 23, for political crimes, even when we return to our home countries?

Sorry Woo, but the only thing I see flowing around here is bullshit.

Having dispensed with the "flows," let's proceed to the so-called "strengths."

Strength #1. An independent judiciary -- which has already been eroded when the HK government invited Beijing to overrule the HK courts in the abode cases.

Strength #2. A viable market system -- see Flow #2 above.

Strength #3. An educated workforce -- where the fuck are you living Woo? Jesus H. Christ on a rubber pogo stick, the schools here are an absolute disgrace. How do you manage to screw up an education system so badly that Chinese kids can't learn? English proficiency is appalling, despite the fact that English is an official language. Mandarin proficiency is even worse. As for the universties, I've hired a few of their graduates, most couldn't pour piss out of a boot it the instructions were written on the sole. Woo needs to take a look a Singapore's first class schools before extolling HK's educated workforce.

Strength #4. A stable currency -- except that HK is running a structural deficit that the government is unwilling to address and which is steadily eroding the SAR's currency reserves. These reserves are what enables HK to maintain its currency peg to the US dollar. This is precisely what happened in Argentina. Anyone want to buy some cheap Pesos?

I truly hope that this is a deliberate bit of spin by the Tung administration. It's too frightening to contemplate that they might actually believe this shit.

The truth is, Hong Kong prospered as middleman between a closed China and the West. With China's entry into the WTO, no intermediary is needed. We're fucked!

Will the last person leaving for Shanghai please turn out the lights?
IRAQ SAYS it has no weapons of mass destruction. Iraq says it will use its non-existent weapons of mass destruction in the face of any US attack. Reuters, meanwhile, demonstrates that, if you're not quite bright enough for a career in roofing, there's always journalism:

Iraq denies possessing any banned weapons -- so using them would immediately vindicate the U.S.

Well, no shit. Ya' really think so?

Will someone remind me again why we are going through this ridiculous inspection charade in the first place?
CHRISTOPHER CALDWELL channeling US Senator Orrin Hatch:

"I gotta say, what he’s saying is, he’s, and this is common sense, he’s saying let me tell ya. If one guy says, and people know this, because the American people are not stupid, if one guy says this plan is good–hey, now, wait a second, I didn’t cut you off, so don’t you cut me off–and the other guy says this plan is bad, then one of them is right and one of them is wrong. If the plan is good, then the guy who, I don’t mind telling you, the guy who says the plan is bad is wrong and, hey, we don’t always like to talk about this but we’ve got to admit it sometimes, if the plan is bad, then, and this goes especially for us in the Senate, if the plan is bad, then, I’m sorry but this is just the way I feel, the guy who says the plan is good is wrong."

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

A REMINDER to bloggers how fortunate most of us are to be able to voice our opinions -- however ill-conceived some of mine may be -- without interference. Also, an example of why I adamantly oppose the Article 23 anti-subversion legislation currently proposed for Hong Kong and, furthermore, one reason, given my location, why I blog anonymously.

From Amnesty International:

"[Mainland Chinese] authorities have introduced scores of regulations, closed Internet cafes, blocked e-mails, search engines, foreign news and politically-sensitive websites, and have recently introduced a filtering system for web searches on a list of prohibited key words and terms.

Those violating the laws and regulations which aim to restrict free expression of opinion and circulation of information through the Internet may face imprisonment and according to recent regulations some could even be sentenced to death. Amnesty International has compiled records of 33 prisoners of conscience who have been detained for using the Internet to circulate or download information.

[. . . .]

Amnesty International has investigated the cases of 33 people believed to be prisoners of conscience. They have been detained or are serving long sentences in prison or labour camps for Internet-related offences. Three have died in custody, two of whom reportedly died as a result of torture, and there are reports that others have been tortured or ill-treated in detention.

[. . . .]

Amnesty International is concerned at reports that some foreign companies may be providing China with technology which is used to restrict fundamental freedoms.

Sohu.com, a Chinese Internet portal, reportedly funded by overseas companies, and financed by leading investment banks and other venture capital firms from the West, reminds those accessing its chat room that "topics which damage the reputation of the state" are forbidden. "If you are a Chinese national and willingly choose to break these laws, Sohu.com is legally obliged to report you to the Public Security Bureau".

In November 2000, the Ministry of Public Security launched its "Golden Shield" project. This project aims to use advanced information and communication technology to strengthen police control in China and a massive surveillance database system will reportedly provide access to records of every citizen. To realise this initiative, China depends on the technological expertise and investment of foreign companies.

Foreign companies, including Websense and Sun Microsystems, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, Microsoft, have reportedly provided important technology which helps the Chinese authorities censor the Internet. Nortel Networks along with some other international firms are reported to be providing China with the technology which will help it shift from filtering content at the international gateway level to filtering content of individual computers, in homes, Internet cafes, universities and businesses."


The entire report is available here.
ITS DONE. I'm leaving Blogger. The new site is being designed. Functioning image hosting will let me add posts on Asian art and some of the amazing things I've seen and photographed out here in the East. The content of the new site will consequently be somewhat less political -- though I won't abandon "warblogging" altogether -- but there are plenty of others doing that now anyway.

I don't have a timetable for the new launch yet, once it comes, I hope you will all give it a chance and let me know what you think. Blogging may be an inexpensive vanity press in many ways, but there's no point in my doing this if no wants to read it.
A NEW PERMALINK to Eric Tam and Manu Rangachari at Antidotal. I don't think we agree on much, but I'm all in favor of diversity of opinion and, if nothing else, poor Skippy won't feel so lonely on my links list.
OVER THE PAST few days my personal life has grown stranger and stranger. Just when I think it can't possibly get any more peculiar, something even more unbelievable happens.

Last night I spent an hour on the phone with my ex-girlfriend who called to tell me either that she wants me back or wants to be rid of me forever; that she loves me or can't bear the thought of me; that we belong together or were the most ill-matched couple in history. I swear to God, sixty minutes of it and I haven't got a clue what she was on about. If that's not enough, and it was for me, I also learned that my latest romantic interest works for a reputed organized crime figure. One would think this would be sufficient oddness for one week. One would be wrong.

Today alone, I received the following text messages on my mobile phone:

1. From a girl I've been seeing on and off for a few months -- "I think maybe we should just be friends. BTW, I'm getting married next month."

2. From a Makati bar girl I shared drinks with in September and haven't seen or spoken to since -- "I'm in love with u 4 sure."

3. From a number I have never seen before -- "I hate you!!!"

4. From a girl I know in Indonesia -- "You come here this weekend, I have girl to give to you."

5. From a female friend going through a break-up -- "I think all men should just fucking die lingering deaths."

That's it. I'm finished. This exceeds my personal weirdness specifications. For the foreseeable future -- or at least until the weekend -- I'm staying home with the dog.
I HAD A GOOD chuckle today, courtesy of Tanya's dad. It seems I even like the parents. Is this a match made in heaven or what?
NO BLOGGING for the past couple days. IE totally locked up and refused to operate this weekend. I've never seen anything quite like it. I sweet talked one of my firm's IT girls into taking a look and she seems to have fixed it without being able to figure out what was wrong or how she corrected it.

The world has definitely changed. It wasn't very long ago when anything vaguely technical was a man's domain. Now I stand helpless, laptop in hand, before a 21 year old cutie mumbling "It broke. What me do?"

And one more thing, if Microsoft can remain in business selling a piece of shit like Windows XP, they must have a monopoly.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

OUT TONIGHT -- indeed, I'm taking an R&R before rejoining the fray -- with a prominent HK model/actress. There's nothing going on between us, she has a boyfriend and we're just buddies, but escorting her around town does wonders for my cred. Anyway, I ended up totally mortifying her by getting into a heated verbal dispute with the Caucasian wankers eating dinner at the table next to ours.

Who provoked it? Well, honestly, me. But, in my defense, they were extraordinarily egregious and were eavesdropping on our conversation. So, I decided to give them something to listen to -- namely, a recitation of their numerous sins against fashion, good taste, beauty and intelligence. They took issue.

Why did I do this? Because I relish conflict. I main-line dispute. I crave disagreement. I like trouble.

Its a character flaw. I know this.

I never intended to grow up to be an asshole. Nevertheless, it seems it happened.
ALLEN PRATHER on the latest Islamic insanity:

"These jackasses cannot even hold a beauty pageant without killing each other. I've never seen anything like this before. What a bunch of fuckups!"

Friday, November 22, 2002

NO RANTS TODAY. Life is just too damn good and only an ungrateful bastard would complain in the face of such blessings. What's the source of this new found contentment? A woman, of course. I met the most spectacular girl last night. An angel come to earth. My princess. And the fact that she got drunk and vomited on my leg just endears her to me all the more.
NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTS, Tony Pierce can flat friggin' write. Were I just a wee bit less smug and self-satisfied, I'd hate him for it.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. Canada's defense minister admonished President Bush to mind his own business after Bush urged NATO members to increase their military budgets in the face of threats from terrorists. "I would not urge the president of the United States or the U.S. ambassador to Canada to do my job to ask for more defence spending. I think that is a Canadian matter," said the minister.

Unfortunately, the US is already doing the Canadian defense minister's job for him. For example, Canada lacks the ability to transport its troops abroad and the airlift and logistics capacity to keep them supplied while there. The job of moving them, feeding them, supplying them and returning them home again falls to the US. Furthermore, Canada is a NATO member with specific treaty obligations to, among others, the US. It is currently, due to its anemic defense spending -- third lowest in the alliance, if you count Iceland which doesn't even have a military -- unable to fulfill those obligations. These facts make Canada's military expenditures the President's business.

Meanwhile,

Earlier in the day, a senior Canadian official, who asked not to be identified, called Mr. Bush "a moron" because of his efforts to push the war against Iraq to the top of NATO's agenda.

When President Bush doesn't consult with allies regarding Iraq, he's a unilateralist cowboy. When he does, he's a moron.

On the other hand, Bush is smart enough to realize that, since the US is paying for NATO, it, and not Canada, gets to set the agenda. A fact that seems to have escaped this astute Canuck.
IT WAS BOUND TO HAPPEN eventually. Tony Pierce has finally snapped.
WHEN I LIVED IN ENGLAND I would, from time to time, hear politicians and legal scholars assert that Britain doesn't need a written constitution because its system affords at least as much protection to individual rights as does the US.

Oh yeah, then explain this.

Robin Page, a columnist for The Telegraph, has been arrested on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred after making a speech at a pro-hunting rally.

Mr Page . . . told his audience that Londoners had the right to run their own events, such as the Brixton carnival and gay pride marches, which celebrated black and gay culture. Why therefore, he asked, should country people not have the right to do what they liked in the countryside.


The imposition on freedom of expression is obvious, but consider this as well:

Mr Page duly attended the meeting with two officers, but when he refused to answer questions without his lawyer present he was arrested and taken to Cambridge police station, spending 40 minutes in a cell.

He was told that he would have to stay there overnight if he wished to wait for his lawyer to attend, and so eventually agreed to be interviewed without him.


So, it seems that in England, home of the Magna Carta and the Mother of Parliaments, your neighbors, if they don't care for your political views, can report you to the authorities, who -- based upon nothing more than that complaint -- will arrest you and force you to give testimony against yourself, without the benefit of counsel, under threat of imprisonment.

And this differs from the former East Germany exactly how?
ITS NOW BEEN FOUR WEEKS since I first requested technical support from Blogger to resolve my image hosting problems. I have yet to receive any response whatsoever.

Screw that.

Blogger, you're fired.

Look for a new, improved, customized, Gweilo Diaries soon.

Now, if we could just improve the writing around here.
SKIPPY a "little twit?" We report, you decide.
DAMN IT! I've been snubbed yet again.
A JUDGMENT IN the Nina Wang case. This one had it all -- kidnapping, adultery, vast sums of money, eccentric characters, missing tycoons, forged wills, perjury, tearful witnesses, family feuds, dark plots and, most important, huge legal fees. I will miss it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

ASIA TIMES FORGETS the first rule of holes. When you find yourself in one, stop digging.

A few days ago Asia Times published an article exposing terrorist plans for a nuclear attack on the United States. The article was based upon a purported al Jazeera interview with a previously unknown al Qaeda leader. There was no such interview. Asia Times fell for an internet hoax.

I was one of the first bloggers to note the Asia Times piece (no special credit to me, being in Asia I was up when most bloggers were sleeping). To me, the article was, on its face, total bullshit and I posted a pretty derisory link. Others, most notably, Charles Johnson, took it at face value, although, to give credit where its due, the first conclusive evidence that the story was a hoax seems to have come from his readers.

When the truth became apparent, Asia Times admitted their mistake and pulled the piece from their website. End of story, right?

Wrong.

Asia Times and the author of the article, Pepe Escobar, have now written a defense of their actions. That defense is a self-important fantasy intended to divert attention from the fact that Asia Times and Escobar were gullible and negligent. The Times and its "journalist" conclude the hoax was perpetrated by (1) US intelligence to justify an increased US presence in South America; (2) al Qaeda to terrorize the West; or (3) parties unknown for the express purpose of discrediting Asia Times.

What actually happened, almost certainly, is that some prankster put the "interview" on the web. Escobar found it, downloaded it, fell for it hook, line and sinker and -- in an amazing example of shoddy reporting -- failed even to check with al Jazeera to see if such an interview actually occurred. Asia Times ran it, despite the fact it was patently absurd and based solely upon an internet download.

The purported al Qaeda leader was named "Asuquf ", for Christ's sake -- effectively "fuck USA" in reverse. The claims and technical details were hilariously, spectacularly, wrong. The very idea at the heart of the article, that al Qaeda had a number of nuclear warheads hidden in the US which it had not yet used, despite its devastating defeat in Afghanistan, was laughable. Both US intelligence and al Qaeda are more sophisticated than this and what possible benefit could either hope to gain from a hoax interview that was sure to be (and was) discredited in less than 24 hours.

Asia Times you were had. You screwed up -- the victim of a credulous reporter and your own lousy editing. Your efforts to avoid that admission, by inventing conspiracies, only make you look even more absurd.
A DISPATCH FROM THE DATING WARS:

FRIDAY: I met friends for a drink in Lan Kwai Fong. While waiting, I noticed a pretty Chinese girl at the bar. I introduced myself. We talked. She invited me to join her and her friends at their table, where she mentioned that she's a student and lives in my neighborhood. Things go well, it gets late. I invite her to share a taxi home. She agrees. Kissing and foreplay ensue. I ask her what she is studying.

"Nothing in particular."

"Where do you go to school?"

"St. Pauls."

*Pause* [Yikes!. That's not a university, its a high school.]

"How old are you, Darling?"

"Seventeen."


Shit, fuck, hell!!!!

YESTERDAY: Out again, this time in Wan Chai. Another Chinese girl. Discreet inquiries reveal she's well over 18 and a college grad. Intense conversation, flirting and meaningful eye-contact ensue. Around 11:00 I tell her I must get home.

"Do you have to go?"

"I really should. I have to work in the morning."

"Please stay (taking my hand)."


So I stay. Alcohol flows. Things progress. It gets late. Eventually, we're discreetly making-out in a corner.

"It really is getting late, Darling. I should go."

"Alone?"

"Would you like to come?"

"Yes."

"Wait here, I'll be right back."
I tell her as I go to settle my tab.

In less than 5 minutes I return -- to find her locked in an embrace with someone else, his tongue down her throat.

What the fuck was that!?!

TODAY: My mobile rings.

"Hi, Conrad. How are you?"

"Good."

"What are you doing tonight?"

"Nothing. Uhm, who is this?"

"Annie, silly! I'm going to Boca. You want to meet me and my friends tonight? Around 8:00?"

"Uhm, I'll see if I can stop by."

"Okay-la. I miss you. Bye-bye."


Who the hell is Annie?
KOFI ANNAN does not think firing on no-fly-zone patrols constitutes a material violation by Iraq of UN resolutions. Donald Rumsfeld responds:

"I don't know that he (Annan) necessarily reflects the United Nations, the center of gravity of the Security Council, on any particular issue at any particular time," Rumsfeld said. "He certainly is the secretary-general and he has a place and a role. On the other hand, until President Bush went to the U.N., the U.N. was quite happy with the way things were, it seems."

"The United Nations, in order to be relevant, to have any standing in the world, cannot have 16 resolutions ignored by any country," Rumsfeld said. "If they really don't care, they shouldn't pass resolutions."
HONG KONG UNIVERSITY professor Emil Man-Lun Ng founder of the Asian Federation for Sexual Health says that too little sex is bad for business. According to Ng:

If you are sexually not fulfilled, your quality of life will decrease, which leads to a dip in the resources of the country and the economy. If people have more sex, they will be happier and more motivated to work and, consequently, the economy will improve.

That's all well and good on a macro-economic level Ng, but how can I use this information to get my firm to spring for an expense paid trip to Bangkok?
A POSTER SHOWING British Finance Minister Gordon Brown with his trousers around his ankles is to be displayed worldwide as part of an exhibition of UK political images. Now Mr. Brown can appreciate how British taxpayers feel.
NAKED SWEDISH NURSES:

Home-help nurses in Sweden are threatening to go to work in the nude. The nurses in Orebro are preparing for the naked protest if their bosses fail to help them them pay for new uniforms.

I believe I'd have to call their bluff.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

NORTH KOREA probably abducted far more Japanese citizens than it has admitted. It has almost certainly killed them all by now. This regime is so spectacularly evil, it is hard to comprehend. When it falls, I expect the horror stories that emerge will be mind-boggling.

MEANWHILE South Korea fired on an intruding North Korean patrol boat.
IF "IFS" AND "BUTS" were fruit and nuts. . . .
HAVING YOUR CAKE and eating it too. Senator Joe Biden says he opposes a US war with Iraq. Joe Biden voted in favor of the resolution authorizing a US war with Iraq. DeWayne Wickham, in USA Today, calls this "courageous leadership." DeWayne Wickham is a jackass. Joe Biden is an opportunist. US Democrats are appalling. I swear to God, its almost enough to make me become a Republican.
GLENN REYNOLDS is an Atkins diet skeptic. I'm not. I, sadly, inherited fat genes from my father's side of the family and must carefully watch my weight. Once I began sharply limiting my carbohydrates, I've not gained a pound and keep a 32" waist and low body-fat, despite otherwise eating well, even when I can't work out. Admittedly, this isn't scientific proof, but I can't otherwise explain it.
JOEL SOLER answers the question, just how crazy is Saddam Hussein?
CHRISTMAS DAY AT THE GWEILO home should be interesting this year. The guest list:

1. Rani -- my date. Indonesian model. Muslim. Doesn't eat, ever. Once described by her sister as "as close to mad as makes no difference."

2. Mom -- my mother. On her last vacation she rode elephants through the Indian mangrove swamps looking for tigers. None found. Once stalked by a lion in Africa while on horseback. Escaped. Lucky lion.

3. Jack -- Mom's husband. Retired US special forces officer. Shouts at CNN. Once had a 10 minute conversation with my ex-girlfriend, in Vietnamese. Mom didn't know he spoke any Vietnamese.

4. Lydia -- my amah. Needs no introduction to regular readers here.

5. Tess -- my amah's sister. 27 year old virgin.

6. Will -- fellow expat. Ocassionally right, never in doubt. Has strong opinions. Shares them freely.

7. Porn -- Will's fiancee. Former Bangkok bar girl. Claims she never went home with men. Will believes this.

8. Conrad -- me. Intends to drink heavily.
A NEW ADDITION to my links column -- Allen Prather. Is it just me, or his his taste in women just a little offbeat?

Monday, November 18, 2002

I DON'T CARE WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY, I do not believe it. Anyone care to place a bet?
I'VE HAD A FEW of Harvard Law graduates work for me since I've been practicing law. Most were quite bright, few were well prepared to be lawyers. Now I see why.

Oh, and by the way, "problem solve" is not a fucking verb!
SO, THIS IS THE FACE of the heroic mujahedin? This is what is meant by jihad?

JAKARTA, Indonesia, Nov. 17 — The Qaeda network that carried out the terrorist attack in Bali is responsible for past plots against the United States in Southeast Asia, and is now planning to strike at Western students at international schools in Jakarta, Western and Indonesian officials said today.

Based on the latest information gathered by Western intelligence agencies, diplomats said the planned attack was directed primarily at the Jakarta International School. The school has 2,500 students, about a third of whom are Americans, on three campuses across this teeming city. It has classes from kindergarten through high school.


Having waged war on secretaries and bond traders, having vanquished sunbathers and backpackers, the brave Islamic warriors now stand ready to sweep the playgrounds of ferocious kindergarteners.

I'm sorry, but I can't think of an insult vile enough for these cowards. Can we please get about the business of exterminating them?
YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING: Oliver Willis thinks the US is a police state, comparable to Iraq, because it is monitoring Iraqi citizens -- citizens mind you, not Americans of Iraqi descent -- in the US, in anticipation of impending hostilities between the two countries. Can you imagine the outrage if such Iraqis launched terrorist counter-strikes in the US and it was discovered that they hadn't been monitored?

If an Iraqi sleeper agent releases nerve gas in the New York City subway system, I don't want to hear a peep out of Willis about US intelligence failures.
THANKS BUT NO THANKS:

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - A statement attributed to al-Qaida threatened more attacks in New York and Washington unless America stops supporting Israel and converts to Islam, an Arab TV reporter who received the unsigned document said.

Personally, given a choice between getting blown to bits on the one hand, or living in a world where I can't get a drink and the women wear bedsheets over their heads on the other, I'm going with door number one.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

THE WASHINGTON TIMES REPORTS that state Democratic Party chairmen continue to support Terry McAuliffe. If this is true, the Democrats deserve exactly what they are going to get in two years time -- a Mondale/Dukakis style trouncing. McAulife is perceived as a sleazy operator, he's tainted by his ties to Clinton era fundraising abuses, his primary loyalty is to the Clinton's and not the party, and he has a political tin ear. The only conceivable reason to keep him is his ability to skirt campaign finance laws and raise vast amounts of cash. Keeping McAulife simply reinforces the image that Democrats have no principles or policies to offer. Its not even a case of being willing to whatever is necessary to win. McAulife has demonstrated he can't win. Rather, its a case of state party leaders being willing to do whatever is necessary -- including lose -- to keep the money flowing. As Zell Miller observed:

"I think the Democratic Party could not have made a worse choice in choosing Terry McAuliffe as chairman of the DNC,"

Which raises another question, given Miller's recent comments and his piece in yesterday's Wall Street Journal Online, is he preparing to bolt the party?

Saturday, November 16, 2002

HONG KONG'S lax corporate governance comes under scrutiny in the Far Eastern Economic Review:

[Analysts] believe there is a serious lack of will in top levels of government to enforce the law. Some commentators note that so far there have been no major prosecutions or disciplinary measures arising from major recent corporate scandals in Hong Kong, including the 1999 collapse of Akai Holdings with losses of nearly $2 billion and the 1998 crash of Peregrine Investment Holdings, with debts that were estimated at the time to exceed $4.5 billion.

These accusations are not new. Even in the colonial period, there were grave doubts about the willingness of the authorities to tackle suspected white-collar crime. However, former senior police officers believe there is now even less resolve to investigate and prosecute difficult cases involving rich merchant bankers and powerful business leaders who would vigorously contest any charges and take advantage of all avenues of appeal to overturn a conviction.


MEANWHILE Philip Segal points out the SAR's impending financial crises:

Hong Kong's party is over, but the territory's government, adrift in a sea of policy options, wants to order more champagne.

Like a proud noble family living on past riches in a slowly-crumbling mansion, the government is running a chronic and fast-growing deficit worth a worrying 5% of GDP and is looking at what could be the first of several credit downgrades. The nobles in government hope that if they just stay the course, the good old days will soon be back.


The solution, as Segal points out, is to impose a sales tax and free the property market. Something that the Hong Kong's vested interests will not permit.
I'M BACK FROM TOKYO, my mission a failure.
AMERICANS CAN REST easier knowing that the US Congress has tackled this urgent problem:

Congress on Friday passed legislation that would make it a crime to insert illicit or pornographic material into packaged food products.

Via skippy the bush kangeroo.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

LITTLE IF ANY BLOGGING for the next two days. I'm off to Tokyo to try to break-up someone's engagement.
NOW YOU'VE GOT ME right where I want you.

Hashem Aghajari, the Iranian university professor sentenced to death for insulting Islam has refused to appeal the sentence, challenging the hard-line judiciary to carry out the execution.

Aghajari said, "I should have died when I lost my leg defending my country (during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war) but I've lived two decades more ... If the death verdict is true, let them carry it out, and if it is wrong, then judiciary needs to work on its shortcomings,"

The mullahs have gotten themselves in a real fix now. If they execute Aghajari a full scale uprising may well ensue. If they don't, they will have demonstrated their weakness -- dictatorships that aren't willing to kill to retain power don't last long -- emboldening the opposition.

Iran may well fall before Iraq. Hey, Kim Jong Il, are you paying attention?

BTW: A note to certain expat business leaders in Hong Kong -- THIS is what a man with moral courage does when confronted with oppression.
AN ISLAMIST FANTASY: Asia Times reports an Al-Jazeera interview with Mohammed al-Usuquf, purportedly al-Qaeda's third ranking member, who claims to be a doctor in physics and to hold a masters degree in international economics:

"Al-Usuquf insists that September 11 "was just the beginning. It was a way to call the world's attention to what's going to happen." He then details a plan to destroy the US by "attacking the heart of what they consider the most important thing in the world: money".

The alleged al-Qaeda leader asserts that his organization is prepared to bring the US economy to its knees by:

"destroying America's seven largest cities and some other measures". The means? "Atomic bombs." Al-Usuquf's most startling revelation is that the bombs "won't be launched, they are already there". "Seven nuclear heads have already been positioned on American soil, before September 11, and they are ready to be detonated. Before September 11, American security was a fiasco, and even later, if we needed, we could position the bombs there. They arrived through seaports, as normal cargo. A nuclear head is not bigger than a fridge, so it can easily be camouflaged as one. Thousands of containers arrive at a seaport every day, and even with very efficient security, it's impossible to check and examine each one of them."

Al-Usuquf says that the bombs were bought on the black market: five from the former USSR and two from Pakistan. The five Russian heads "are from T-3 missiles, also known as RD-107, and their power is around 100 kilotons each, that is five times the Hiroshima bomb. The Pakistani ones are less powerful, something around 10 kilotons each."

Each of the Russian bombs would have cost around $200 million. Al-Qaeda was able to raise the money "because we have many sponsors. Many countries sponsor us, and also some very rich people." And not all of these are Arab countries. "Some European countries as well are also interested in the fall of the US." As to the "rich people", they are "people who are also tired of seeing the US bleeding the rest of the world."


Warming up to his tale, Al-Usuquf claims that the US is defenseless against these hidden nukes:

"Even if they are old, they were modernized and are very well hidden. Even if they were located, they have autodetonation mechanisms in case something or someone gets close. Even an electromagnetic pulse is not capable of deactivating them." The bombs allegedly cannot be detected because "they are enveloped in thick layers of lead". They could be detonated "by various methods - cellphone call, radio frequency, seismic shock or by their regressive clock".

Al-Usuquf details the whole plan. "First, one head would be detonated, which would cause the deaths of 800,000 to 1 million people and a chaos never seen before. During this chaos, two or three planes, which are now disassembled inside barns near empty roads in the US countryside, would take off in suicide missions to pulverize another two or three big American cities with chemicals. Once the disease was identified, all seaports and airports would be quarantined. Land borders would also be closed. No plane, boat or car would enter or leave the US. This would be total chaos." The first target would be the city "that would offer the best conditions, for example bright sky and winds of eight or more miles an hour blowing towards the center of the country, so radioactive dust can contaminate the largest possible area".


Why do I have the feeling that I have seen this someplace before?

UPDATE: It seems my bullshit detector is still in good working order. Asia Times admits that the article was a hoax.
HAROLD FORD EXPLAINS why he should be elected House Minority Leader:

My opponent in this election, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, is an able public servant and a respected member of the House, but she is part of a leadership team that has fallen short of the majority. I will make this pledge: If I cannot lead Democrats to the majority in two years, I will step down in favor of someone who can.

Nov. 5 wasn't so much a wake-up call for Democrats as it was a shape-up call. At the polls, voters told us they want more than gridlock and obstruction. They want candidates to articulate a clear agenda for governing.


Ford could pose serious trouble for the Republicans. Which is why the Democrats will elect Pelosi.
LILEKS SPECULATES:

So why doesn’t bin Laden appear on any videotapes? Why just his voice?

1. Facial tic is so pronounced it induces an epileptic seizure in susceptible viewers

2. Double eyepatch would imply he is now a blind cleric, which is SUCH a cliché

3. Makeup cannot conceal greenish tone of extremities

4. Like, omigod? A big zit, right before he has to make his first appearance since Tora Bora? On the nose! It’s like huge! Everyone’s going to look at it! He hates his life! He hates everything! (Runs to room, slams tent flap)
THE SHRUB MARSUPIAL takes the words right out of my mouth.
GREAT MOMENTS in advertising. From Gene Expression. Examples:

Frank Perdue's chicken slogan, "it takes a strong man to make a tender chicken" was translated into Spanish as "it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate".

When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, " it won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you". Instead, the company thought that the word " embarazar" (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant".

There are more where those came from, so check them out.
THE FULL TEXT of Iraq's letter to Kofi Annan "accepting" the UN resolution relating to weapon's inspectors is posted here.

I've had a few crazy ex-girlfriends in my time. Relationships whose deterioration was marked by long, rambling, incoherent, grandious, delusional and paranoid, letters and e-mails, and which inevitably culminated in some irrational, destructive and mortifying episode. Well, those letters and e-mails read just like this (minus the anti-Semitism -- except in the case of an Iranian girl I once dated who called me a "Jew lover", among other things, before ultimately taking a balpeen hammer to my BMW at 3 AM).

The mind behind this letter -- presumably Saddam either wrote or approved the thing -- is truly, deeply, dangerously, insane. A violent outburst is inevitable. And in this case, changing our phone number, getting a restraining order and repainting the car, isn't going to fix things.

It's time for the ultimate "dear John" letter.

Written on the side of a laser guided bomb.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

I'VE MET MANY US Foreign Service officers and this doesn't sound like any I know.

Via Insane World.
AM I THE ONLY ONE who finds this funny? What can I say, I have a strange affinity for talking dogs.
ONE OF THE THINGS I MISS from New York -- William Byrk's "Old Smoke" column in the NY Press, searching out obscure bits of NY history. An excerpt:

In 1879, Petrosino got a break when Police Captain Alexander "Clubber" Williams was assigned to command the street cleaning department. Capt. Williams’ nickname encapsulates his philosophy of law enforcement. According to Andy Logan, Williams began his career in the late 1860s by cleaning up Broadway and Houston St. He fought a pair of local toughs, beat them unconscious and threw them through the plate-glass window of the Florence Saloon. A half-dozen of their friends charged out the swinging doors. Williams met them alone, club in hand. He was the last man standing. Captain in 1871, later an inspector, Williams was brave, efficient, brutal and corrupt. Witnesses before an 1894 investigation into police graft claimed the Clubber was receiving $30,000 a year in protection money from one brothel alone. When asked to explain his 17-room Connecticut mansion and 53-foot yacht, Williams claimed he had made his fortune through real estate speculation in Japan.
RUSS SMITH questions Bill Clinton's reputation as a master politician:

Yes, he slithered out of trouble in 1992, when a compliant media didn’t dig deep enough into his past to expose the man as a narcissistic fraud; and was lucky enough to escape conviction in the Senate after being impeached, mostly because of a robust economy. But Clinton’s political skills should be reconsidered. Who has he helped beside himself? Unlike President Bush this year, he was poison on the campaign trail in 1994 – his first midterm after being elected – leading to the historic GOP takeover of Congress. And he was lucky enough that Newt Gingrich, after masterminding the victory, suddenly thought he was prime minister and then was putty in Clinton’s hands. In ’98, he stayed out of sight, with candidates fearing Monica’s shadow behind him; and in 2000, a bitter Al Gore shut him out of his presidential campaign.
ITS CONCLUSIVE: Al Gore did so carry Florida in 2000.
BEIJING CANNOT BE PLEASED with Nancy Pelosi's impending election as House Minority Leader. Pelosi is one of the PRC government's harshest and most persistent critics in Washington. How harsh? See this and this and this and this. How persistent? This persistent.
NORTH KOREA'S OTHER SOURCE of hard currency:

"North Korea never ceases to surprise, even to amaze. Nor is it in all aspects quite so cut off from global trends as we tend to think. True, not a lot that Pyongyang produces is of a quality to be readily salable worldwide. Among the better known exceptions are missiles. Among the less well known are cartoons.

What's more, you've seen them. So cunning is this axis of evil, it's even infiltrated Hollywood. Yup, we're talking Disney. Pocahontas? The Lion King? Both of these used North Korean animation skills."


Perhaps Disney would like to explain why it is financing the most repressive, murderous regime on earth.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

SOME WEEKS BACK I poked fun at WorldCom CEO John Sidgmore when he said of his company "If you get away from the debt and fraud, this is a tremendous company with tremendous assets." I hereby apologize Mr. Sidgmore, tremendous assets, tremendous indeed.
REUVEN KORET says suicide bombing is all about sexual incompetence. I particularly like this tale:

"[T]he Palestinian Authority's daily Al-Hayat al-Jedidah . . . reported in a front-page article recently that "the occupation is using naked women to hunt down intifada youth." The article said that during a clash near Karni in Gaza, a woman soldier suddenly appeared on top of a tank. "She started to take off her clothes in front of the demonstrators until she was [nearly] naked. Some of the protesters said they were disgusted by it, while others said the Zionist soldier made rude gestures at them," the paper reported. "When they approached to throw stones at her, the female soldier whipped out a pistol from her underwear and shot at their heads," the paper said, adding that two were killed and nine wounded. It gives a whole new meaning to the Gaza Strip."

Now that sounds like my kind of girl!
GOD SAVE US! We're doomed! Doomed I tell you!

NZ will not fight in Iraq: PM

NEW Zealand's navy and air force are to join the war on terror but will not be available for any conflict with Iraq, Prime Minister Helen Clark has vowed.

New Zealand has a navy?

Denying the deployment order was in preparation for a US-led attack on Iraq, Miss Clark said she had an "understanding" with US leaders that the New Zealand forces would be used only in and around Afghanistan.

Perhaps not, given that Afghanistan is freakin' landlocked!

"They are roped off," Miss Clark said. "It's quite a different operation – they are working under the Canadian leadership of the Maritime Interdiction Force, and the Canadian position on Iraq is the same as our own."

Ah yes, the Canadian navy.

Can you imagine being interdicted by Canada and New Zealand? How embarrassing. That's got to be grounds for expulsion from Al Qaeda. And what if they were to kill you? "You were martyred by who?!? No 72 virgins for you Ahmet, here's a nice goat instead."

Monday, November 11, 2002

PYRA LABS, the folks behind Blogger are really starting to piss me off! An upgrade to BloggerPro and BlogPlus were supposed to bring easy image hosting. It did not. Twelve days have passed since my first request for support. I've sent additional requests every few days. Have I received any response whatsoever? Hell no! And since the upgrade, I'm a paying customer. You'd think that would at least merit an e-mail. Apparently not.

There are other hosting options out there Pyra. Some of them might actually work!

Bastards.

AND WHILE I'M ON THE SUBJECT of bitching about technology, Windows XP is a staggeringly shitty piece of software.




you have an ominosity quotient of

seven.


you are as ominous as the creators of this quiz. which terrifies us.


find out your ominosity quotient.

THINK YOUR JOB SUCKS?

"[Z]ookeepers [at Sydney Australia's Taronga Zoo], last week went public over concerns about long hours and inappropriate work directions including masturbating an infertile gorilla."

If they don't receive a satisfactory response, they can always try this:

"A German zookeeper, fired last month for eating animals in a town zoo, has been awarded six-months severance pay after reaching a settlement in a labour court.

The town of Recklinghausen, north of Cologne, fired the zookeeper after he was caught barbecuing five Tibetan mountain chickens and two Cameroonian sheep at the zoo, popular with children who were allowed to stroke the animals."


UPDATE: I think the Sydney Zoo will become my personal standard against which all future unpleasant assignments are measured. Yes, I'm working around the clock, my clients aren't paying their bills, my assistants are idiots and Clarence Darrow himself couldn't win this case, but a least I don't have to masturbate a gorilla. Or, if approached by a particularly eggregious client, "Thanks, but all things considered, I'd rather work at the Sydney Zoo."
E-MAIL RECEIVED FROM a girl I've been seeing:

"I don't know what I feel for you. I guess I can't find anyone better than you."

Perhaps not Darling, but you're about to have to find out. Jesus!

Thursday, November 07, 2002

THE DEMOCRATS BEST HOPE of re-taking control of the US Congress? Two words. "Trent Lott." How long will it take this ham-handed buffoon to hoist himself by his own petard?
PART 2 Of MARC ERIKSON'S excellent piece on Islamism and Fascism is now available at Asia Times.
INTERMITTENT TO NON-EXISTENT POSTING over the next couple days. I have until Monday to make final edits to two articles I've written; I've got pleadings to draft in an arbitration proceeding; and I'm leaving for Indonesia tomorrow. I'm also working on a long piece on who may have ultimately been behind the Bali bombing -- although I don't know why I bother. Judging by my hits, you all are much more interested in reading about my amah's breasts and Bangkok bar girls.

BTW: For the several hundred of you who have come here looking for Diana Zubiri pics, here you are, knock yourselves out:

http://members.xoom.virgilio.it/filcelebs/gucci/newest/halloween/April-copy.jpg

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

BALI AFTER THE BOMBING: From the Sydney Morning Herald, via Tim Blair:

Christmas is usually high season in Bali, but at the biggest hotel on the island they are still without a single booking.

With 750 rooms and 1050 staff, everyone at the giant Grand Hyatt hotel at Nusa Dua is beginning to wonder just when or if the tourists might come back.

Staff have been told to take holidays. You can see in the faces of those on duty the fear their jobs might soon go.

In the weeks after the October 12 bombing, occupancy rates plummeted from 70 per cent to just over 3 per cent, or about 20 rooms. On Sunday night they had recovered to just under 7 per cent or 45 rooms. None of the guests were Australian.
WHY THE U.S. DEMOCRATS LOST, written by Alexander Cockburn -- no righty there -- in the NY Press, the day before it happened:

The problem is, the Democrats have no credibility, because they haven’t earned any. No one believes they have an economic strategy, and as for the rubble of the bubble, what were the Democrats doing as that same 90s bubble swelled? Led by Sen. Joe Lieberman, they destroyed the regulatory apparatus put in place in the 30s, after the 20s bubble, and burst into ecstatic applause every time the federal watchdog of the markets, Alan Greenspan, ambled along to the Hill to tell everyone what a fine job he’d been doing.

[ . . . . ]

The Democrats are a party of ghosts and revenants, not the most convincing battalion to put against the party of property and oil, of fundamentalist Christians now in coalition with warmongering neocons ranging from Wolfowitz to Hitchens. The most articulate voice against the war fever has been an octogenarian, Bobby Byrd, and the man assigned the task of carrying the torch of liberalism in Minnesota is Fritz Mondale.


I believe Americas benefits from a strong two party system. They haven't got one now. Looking at the current Democratic Party I see rot and dissarray.

BTW, for a little alternative weekly, the NY Press has some of the finest writing to be found anywhere. Check it out.
FBI NABS Al QAEDA ARMS BUYERS. From the South China Morning Post (which still requires paid registration):

Al-Qaeda arms deal foiled in Hong Kong, court hears
Trio accused of trying to swap drugs for missiles

Three men were arrested in a Hong Kong hotel room as they tried to buy anti-aircraft missiles for al-Qaeda in exchange for a huge haul of drugs, a court heard yesterday.

Details of how the two Pakistanis and an Indian-born American were seized in a September 20 sting operation involving the FBI emerged in an Eastern Court hearing at which they were told the US was seeking their extradition.

They were told they would each be charged under US law with supporting a terrorist organisation, in addition to two counts relating to the drugs.

Defence counsel Jonathan Acton-Bond told Magistrate Ian Candy the defendents would contest the extradition.

Pakistanis Syed Mustajab Shah, 54, and Muhammed Abid Afridi, and US-citizen Ilyas Ali, 57, were arrested by Hong Kong police in a Hong Kong hotel where they were meeting FBI agents posing as arms dealers and who were offering cash and four Stinger missiles in return for drugs. Shah, Afridi and Ali allegedly agreed to supply and distribute five tonnes of hashish and 600 kilograms of heroin in the United States.

The three men allegedly told the undercover agents that they intended to deliver the missiles to the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation.

It is believed to be the first time that anyone alleged to have al-Qaeda links has been arrested in Hong Kong. However, it is not clear whether the men are members of the organisation.

Prosecutor Wayne Walsh said the men came to Hong Kong specifically for the meeting but would not elaborate on why they chose the SAR for the transaction.


Hashish and Heroin? I thought Islam frowned on that sort of thing.
NO U.S. ELECTION COVERAGE HERE, I'm too far away and its not really my thing. Check out Vodka Pundit though, Stephen's all over it, plus the least you can do is give him a few hits after he missed Buffy for you.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

STUPIDITY WATCH: Today's New York Times story regarding the Al Qaeda leader killed by a US missile in Yemen, includes the following passage:

The decision to use a Predator to strike in Yemen may place the country’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in an awkward position, observers said. ‘‘We make him look like a wimp — a guy who can’t control his own territory, which complicates our joint war on terror by weakening him in the eyes of the tribals and Islamists, two powerful constituencies,’’ said one former U.S. official.

Let's see if I've got this -- Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization. The president of Yemen is unable to act effectively against Al Qaeda. The US is capable of acting effectively against Al Qaeda, but if it does so it will weaken the Yemeni president in the eyes of tribal leaders and Islamists. If the Yemeni president is weakened in the eyes of tribal leaders and Islamists it will complicated the US "war on terror." Therefore, no effective action should be taken against Al Qaeda lest it complicate the US war against Al Qaeda.

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, this must be a former State Department official. No ordinary person could be such a damned fool.

Would anyone care to venture a guess which administration this "former official" served in?
ASIAN VALUES. Imagine this in Paris:

Korean Workers Strike Against Days Off.

SEOUL - Workers at South Korea's big three auto makers - Hyundai Motor Co, Kia Motors Co, and Ssangyong Motor Co - went on strike Tuesday, delaying production and shipments. Their move was in line with a general strike Tuesday afternoon by the militant Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) to protest against the government's bill to cut the working week from six days to five.
JIANG ZEMIN DECIDES HU WILL LEAD AND WEN:

(2002-11-05) -- In a rare peek behind the Great Wall of Chinese politics, journalists learned this week that premier Jiang Zemin has decided Hu will lead the Communist Party, and Wen.

Jiang has chosen Vice President Hu Jintao, 59, to become party general secretary at the end of the 16th party Congress – and state president next March.

Vice-Premier Wen Jiabao, 60, was also hand-picked by Jiang to succeed Zhu Rongji as premier next March.


From ScrappleFace.


Monday, November 04, 2002

MORE REASONS (as if more were needed) to loath Saudi Arabia.
ISLAMISM AND FASCISM: Its been noted before, but Mark Erikson points out the similarities in Asia Times:

"Islamism and fascism have a long, over 80-year history of collaboration based on shared ideas, practices and perceived common enemies. They abhor "Western decadence" (political liberalism, capitalism), fight holy wars - if needs be suicidal ones - by indiscriminate means, and are bent on the destruction of the Jews and of America and its allies."

[ . . . . ]


"Such convergence of views, methods and goals goes back to the 1920s when both Islamism and fascism, ideologically pre-shaped in the late 19th century, emerged as organized political movements with the ultimate aim of seizing state power and imposing their ideological and social policy precepts (in which aims fascism, of course, succeeded in the early '20s and '30s in Italy and Germany, respectively; Islamism only in 1979 in Iran; then in Sudan and Afghanistan). Both movements claim to be the true representatives of some arcane, idealized religious or ethnically pure communities of days long past - in the case of Islamism, the period of the four "righteous caliphs" (632-662), notably the rule of Umar bin al-Khattab (634-44) which allegedly exemplifies "din wa dawla", the unity of religion and state; in the case of the Nazis, the even more obscure Aryan "Volksgemeinschaft", with no historical reference point at all. But both are in reality - as historian Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, puts it - 20th century outgrowths, radical movements, utopian and totalitarian in their outlook. The Iranian scholars Ladan and Roya Boroumand have made the same point."

[ . . . . ]

"[Unlike Fascism] Islamism, by sharp contrast, has every chance for wreaking escalating world-wide havoc based on its fast-growing influence among the world's more than one billion Muslims. Immediately following September 11 last year, US President George W Bush declared war on terrorism. It's a catchy phrase, but a serious misnomer all the same. Terrorism is a method of warfare, not the enemy. The enemy is Islamism."
DISPAIR IS A MORTAL SIN, but I don't know how one can read this and feel anything else. (Via Orchid at The Daily Dose)
I'VE FOUND MY CALLING in life, to spread this to as many people as possible.

Of course its from tanya. Do you see now why I'm smitten?
A READER SUGGESTS that Alan Page was told to "take a hike" by Minnesota Democrats not because he is black, but because he lacked name recognition in Minnesota. Hmmmm. So who is this Page guy, anyway? Let's go to Google and see what we find:

Alan Page:

Elected to the National Football League Hall of Fame after a career with the Minnesota Vikings (hey, aren't they in Minnesota?).

Named NFL Most Valuable Player while with the Minnesota Vikings, the first defensive player ever to receive the award in NFL history.

Named NFL Most Valuable Defensive Player, 2 times, with . . . the Minnesota Vikings.

Named NFC Most Valuable Defensive Player, 4 times, still with the Minnesota Vikings.

Named All-Pro 9 times, all with the Minnesota Vikings.

Team Captain of . . . you guessed it, the Minnesota Vikings.

Played in 4 Super Bowls with the Minnesota Vikings.

Leader of the famed "Purple People Eater" defense of the Minnesota Vikings.

First round draft choice of the Minnesota Vikings.

Elected to the Minnesota Vikings all-time great 40th Anniversary team.

Justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court.


Who is this fucking bum?!?. Get this nobody out of here! MV who? NF what? Who in Minnesota watches that football shit anyway? Switch it to C-SPAN for Christ's sake and bring me someone Minnesotans have heard of. Like the guy who ran for President. The one who's daughter was giving Clinton "Lewinskys" when Lewinsky wasn't available. You know who I mean, the old guy. From 20 years ago. Reagan's bitch. The one who lost every single state in the Union, except . . . Minnesota.

Yeah . . . I think he's still alive. I mean, I'd have read something if he wasn't . . . wouldn't I?

UPDATE: Alan Page called a press conference to deny Robert Novak's story. I haven't seen a transcript of Page's statement. The press reports I've seen leave the impression it may have been a bit "lawyerly". But since Alan Page was my very first football idol, back when I was just a wee gweilo, I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

COMMENTS, WE'VE GOT COMMENTS! The site now has a comments feature. You can find the link with a freakin' magnifying glass at the bottom of each post. I'm attempting to increase its size, but the obvious remedies aren't working.

I should also now have image hosting, but that isn't working at all and repeated support requests to Blogger go unheeded. Bastards!

UPDATE: No we don't. There's now a problem with the comments feature. I'm working on it.

UPDATE: Comments appear to be fixed. Now I need to figure out how to increase the link size.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

HOW BAD IS CORRUPTION IN INDONESIA? So bad, it seems, that even government agencies must pay bribes to get things done. The Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency is accused of offering bribes to certain legislators to obtain approval of its plan to sell its interest in three banks. Legislators who were not offered bribes took offense and blew the whistle.

Meanwhile, the economy remains moribund. The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce estimates that half the country's work force is either unemployed or unable to find full time employment.

The terrorist attack in Kuta, Bali has, not surprisingly, exacerbated the economic situation. Hotel occupancy rates in Bali are in single digits -- yes, that's less than 10% -- leaving that island's economy on the verge of collapse. Nationally, foreign investment, already slowing, has now virtually dried up. Foreign capital is critical:

Conservative estimates suggest that Indonesia will need more than $130 billion in investment over the next decade to provide an infrastructure that can support the growth of 6-7 percent per annum necessary to absorb . . . new entrants into the labor force and prevent the country from lagging farther behind its competitors, such as China and Vietnam, as a competitive industrial platform.

The prospects of Indonesia obtaining such outside investment is virtually zero. There is a major crises brewing in the country. Its hard for me to see how Indonesia can avoid serious unrest in the near future.

Bill Guerin, by far the most knowledgeable journalist reporting on Indonesia, has more in Asia Times.
APPARENTLY THERE ARE EIGHT DEADLY SINS, or at least there are in the Philippines:

"It's a mortal sin for cars to be stalled on the streets," Metro-Manila Development Authority chairman Bayani Fernando said. He added that having your car towed away by the authorities was penance, the Philippine Star reported. He gave no indication as to why his statements should be seen as holy writ, but all government officials in Asia seem to assume that anyway.

It looks like someone's going to hell:

Filipino starlet Diana Zubiri has been slapped with a lawsuit by the authorities after she posed as a scantily-clad hitchhiker and caused a major traffic jam on one of the city's main thoroughfares on Tuesday.

Zubiri, whose nickname is 'Triple X', literally stopped traffic at the EDSA-Shaw flyover in Mandaluyong City when she posed for men's magazine FHM Philippines.

Mandaluyong City Mayor Benjamin Abalos Jr. yesterday ordered the filing of grave scandal charges against Zubiri for posing provocatively, which he said aggravated an already terrible traffic jam.


I can see how she might have caused a distraction.

UPDATE: The Diana Zubiri link is being tempramental. If it isn't working, cut and paste this:

http://members.xoom.virgilio.it/filcelebs/gucci/newest/halloween/April-copy.jpg
I WISH I'D WRITTEN THIS:

"It was a fateful day when someone congratulated Maureen Dowd on her cutesie, baby-talk style of political satire. Poor thing, she believed it. And she has been embarked on a campaign to outdo herself ever since. It is a grotesque performance, the journalistic equivalent of Gloria Swanson’s character in Sunset Boulevard."

From The New Criterion via Instapundit.
CHISTOPHER CALDWELL isn't a Jimmy Buffett fan:

Anyone who passed through college between 1975 and 1995 knows that there is no more trustworthy badge of moron status than an enthusiasm for this three-chord clown with his seventh-grade-talent-show lyrical sophistication. You remember the Jimmy Buffett People from college, don’t you? Thoroughly uninterested in reading or thinking, obsessed with booze but not particularly skilled at holding it, so esurient for dope that they left tooth marks on their bongs, slobbering over women but too immobilized on the couch to ever get out of the dorm long enough to find one. But the really annoying thing about the Buffetteers was their tendency to address you as if you were as clueless as they were. "Hey, let’s go out drinking!" they’d say. "I’ll pick the bar and you pay!"

UPDATE: Sorry if I was ambiguous, Tony. I, most emphatically, am not!
SOMETHING FISHY: Anyone who's smelled traditional Vietnamese fish sauce knows how potent the stuff is. For those who haven't, trust me, its nasty. How nasty? This nasty:

A factory worker in Phan Thiet:

". . . got too close to a 2.2-metre-deep vat of traditional fish sauce. Overcome by the powerful fumes, he fell in. Another employee rushed to his aid--and also fell in. Then a third staff member and a fourth did the same thing in turn. In all, five people, including the first victim's wife, lost consciousness after inhaling the pongy gas, which comes from fermenting fish."

One worker died. The other four were hopitalized.

Friday, November 01, 2002

WHY CHINA'S ECONOMIC FUTURE may not be as rosy as many think.
WHO LET THE DOGS OUT? I love this photo. I'd publish it here, except blogger still isn't letting me upload files and my repeated requests for technical support remain unanswered.
DID I FALL ASLEEP and somehow wake up in the 15th Century?

According to the Moskovski Komsomol newspaper, Russian security forces have decided to bury the terrorists from last's week's hostage siege wrapped in pig's skin. The aim is to deter potential Islamic terrorists from future attacks.

Shahidi (Jihad martyrs) believe by their nefarious acts that they ascend immediately to heaven. Using their beliefs against them, wrapping their corpses in 'unclean' pigskin prevents them from entering heaven for eternity.


From Israel National News.
THIS EXPLAINS WHY my Cantonese lessons are not going well at all.