Thursday, January 19, 2006

Enemy Sues for Peace
"We do not mind offering you a long-term truce with fair conditions that we adhere to," he said.

All the rest is piffle.
This is, indeed, London
This is London has a cranky article about a TV interview with Christopher Lee which includes this somewhat interesting reference to another guest on the referenced program:
The former Coventry City footballer and BBC sports presenter stunned the nation in 1991 by announcing on the show that he was the Son of God.

Wearing a turquoise shell suit, he warned that Britain would be destroyed by floods and earthquakes.

Icke, 53, has not mellowed in the intervening years.

He believes the world is run by 12ft lizards and claims the September 11 attacks and the London bombings are part of a global conspiracy.

Dressed this time in a sober black suit, he told Wogan that Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush are puppets of a sinister network which controls all of our lives.

Next he'll be saying George Bush IS a twelve-foot lizard. Or is it Rove??

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

If I were a cynic
Niall Ferguson's speculating again, but perhaps not so wildly:
This [wasted diplomatic effort by the EU3] gave the Iranians all the time they needed to produce weapons-grade enriched uranium at Natanz. The dream of nuclear non-proliferation, already interrupted by Israel, Pakistan and India, was definitively shattered. Now Teheran had a nuclear missile pointed at Tel-Aviv. And the new Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu had a missile pointed right back at Teheran.

My Vodkapundit comment on the potential nuclear standoff between Iran and Israel:
If I were a cynic I might say the elimination of Iran by Israel and Israel by Iran would solve the two most obstinate problems in the Middle East today. IF I were a cynic.

Boy, I'm glad I'm not a cynic. What a depressing state of mind.
Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Pronouncing and denouncing

Samizdata had an interesting thread called "Abolish the Welfare State and restore some Respect":
In the decades before the Welfare State, you depended on the people around you - like landlords, employers, neighbours, etc., above all on your own family - for whatever goodies you managed to get your hands on, and bad behaviour towards these people was punishable, and was punished, with loss of goodies.

And as one gets older, one accumulates pomposity like a coating of moss, so I thought I'd share some:
A society prospers or declines depending on how the majority treats the violent and amoral fraction that always exists. As in the Islamic world and among American blacks, most people are good and honorable, but the violent criminals are too often condoned. US welfare reform in the Nineties had an immediate beneficial effect. Those in the British working class who don't wish to put up with the amoral fraction need support from their government and their culture (I almost said "their betters" naughty me!) instead of the "don't be a troglodyte - anything goes!" mentality that prevails today.
Vodkapundit had a post bloviating about the Chinese discovery of everywhere:
Now the BBC reports a story which, if true, could prove Zheng really did beat Columbus:

A map due to be unveiled in Beijing and London next week may lend weight to a theory a Chinese admiral discovered America before Christopher Columbus.

The map, which shows North and South America, apparently states that it is a 1763 copy of another map made in 1418.

There's just one little problem. The map is an obvious forgery.

I've been daydreaming about this since the days of the Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation. I'm not seriously interested:
One problem I had with "1421" was its claim that the shorelines had changed tremendously since because of global warming. I don't think so.
This goes back to the whole controversy about the Piri Reis map - also "copied from ancient charts" - in that case portolans. Fascinating speculation, but, as VS says, irrelevant to actual history. When we discover Atlantis buried under the Antarctic ice, I may re-read Velikovsky.
Happy conundrum

I'm not too worried about Iran, despite thoughts like this from Stephen Green and his ilk:
If a EU crackdown is attempted, Iran will (credibly) threaten to lob a couple nukes at some target of national interest. The EU cannot credibly respond to such a threat- they lack the capacity.

Should that day come, "I told you so" just won't cut it.

Comment on Vodkapundit:
How do you support an intifada with long-range missiles? The point of insurgencies has always been that they have no center of power to retaliate against. The second Iran gets unequivocally tied to any terrorist movement, Rumsfeld sighs with relief. And if they're not so tied, how can they threaten anyone on the terrorists' behalf?

And I updated thusly: "And when Rumsfeld sighs with relief, many people die!" ah, so true.

Monday, January 16, 2006

MLK day
Ah, Martin Luther King Day! The day every year when I meditate on the good things that African-Americans have brought to American civilization and especially the benefits their history and culture have bestowed on me personally.
This post on Captain's Quarters brings Nicholas deB Katzenbach back to mind:
Now Katzenbach wants America to disavow wiretaps altogether and cynically uses King Day to stump for that position. However, the two situations hardly prove analogous. Today we face an enemy that has already killed thousands of Americans in a sneak attack, using our open communications networks to stage and time the attacks for maximum effectiveness. In order to stop the next attack, we need to have the ability to grab data from those phone sets that have connections to al-Qaeda based on evidence and testimony -- and to do it quickly. The calls that get intercepted cross international boundaries, so domestic calls still require (and get) warrants. The numbers come from captured phones and computer equipment directly tied to terrorists. Under those circumstances, the use of warrantless wiretaps makes sense and has prevented attacks on America, according to one Senator who participated in the briefing sessions from the NSA program.
What is going on this weekend? Cronkite levitates creakily from the edge of the grave:
We had an opportunity to say to the world and Iraqis after the hurricane disaster that Mother Nature has not treated us well and we find ourselves missing the amount of money it takes to help these poor people out of their homeless situation and rebuild some of our most important cities in the United States," he said. "Therefore, we are going to have to bring our troops home."
Right. The hurricane means we should stop fighting terrorists and just forget about 9/11. And no one has put any money into New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Hell, more money has been ripped off down there than we spent in Iraq all last year. How many stupidities can Walter pack into one paragraph? I guess he WAS there but he ain't any more. Now NdeBK has to comment on the wiretapping scenario. Why someone might think there was a plan here. A plan to beat Bush about the head and shoulders with implications of needless wiretapping and bigotry. And someone like me might even remember a link between Nicky K and people like Ramzi Clark, PR genius and defender of a certain oppressed totalitarian baby-murderer. A link they share with me. From right around the same time NickyK was contemplating wiretapping MLK - just to teach J. Edgar Hoover a lesson, of course. Say no more.
Tax Blather
Found this thread on Samizdata about living other places, always a favorite topic of mine. This comment:
I thought Americans don't work abroad much because they remain liable for US taxes as well as the local taxes...?

Posted by Ron at January 16, 2006 01:19 PM

started me off on a somewhat ignorant blather/comment:
I believe that for US expatriates foreign tax paid can be offset against US tax due. I'm not even sure that foreign source income is counted. And I suspect British tax, at least, would be more than applicable US tax, although that may just be latent Anglophobism! Perhaps someone with actual expertise can untangle the situation.

I really shouldn't pontificate about important stuff like taxes when I haven't really got a clue, just some notions from talking with Flea about US taxes for expatriates. But I'm just a risk-taker from the word "go".
I do intend to live in Turkey when I retire, so I suppose I should inquire about the tax I will be paying on my Social Security and Florida State Pension payments, assuming I ever get anything from those sources, after the Great Nuclear Exchange with Turkmenistan in 2012. And the more imminent and likely disaster of the Great Pension and Alimony Robbery of 2006 by Miss Maloney.
Enjoying a somewhat sybaritic weekend, I ran across some thoughts on Noodlefood about decimalization and this memory floated up:
As a nine-year old, back in the Fifties, I was enrolled in a British school after having lived in Florida for years. My first test was addition and subtraction of pounds, shillings and pence. And I loved it! Much more interesting than dollars and cents. The added complications of florins and guineas and half-crowns and farthings just made it all seem more human and connected to centuries of fascinating if somewhat bloody history. Because of the prevalence of computers today, decimal currencies are not needed to make calculations easier. Back to the guinea, halfpenny and crown!

They say as you grow older the past comes back more vividly. I can remember the ledger in which I did the calculations for the headmaster, in his office, to see if I was qualified to go into St. George's in Mill Hill. Can't remember his name, but I sure do remember the cane he always carried, which Haynesworth became uncomfortably familiar with every week or so.