Silflay Hraka

1/04/2003




Marrying off a Menead

I have seen things that no man was meant to see and live. What they were I cannot say, lest ye share my doom. Suffice to say I spent more of a Saturday afternoon in a southern bride's dressing room than would be considered safe or sane under any circumstances.

Your normal weddings are stressful enough, or so I hear. The only thing I normally notice about weddings is whether the reception has an open bar and a guy carving roast beef. The few times I've been in the wedding party it's a little different, but really all the groomsmen are there for is to walk little old ladies down the aisle, and if they can do that and not fart audibly during the service, then all's well.

This time was different. Normal weddings are stressful, but there's nothing like a series of formal family events tacked on to the end of an already long, chock full of family holiday to add an extra soupçon of extra-special primo stress to your life. Or your wife's life, which is really the same thing when it comes down to it.

This time I wasn't in the wedding party. Ngnat was. Apparently there was a shortage of younger female relatives, so the bride, may she live a thousand years, decided that Ngnat and another toddler would be absolutely darling substitutes. The Sainted Wife was dragooned into being a greeter or hostess or some such. I don't really know which title to pick out of the multitude available. It was her job to smile and hand out the wedding programs to the blue hairs and tipsy sorority sisters.

Sadly, this meant that my job was to keep my daughter on target throughout the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony, reception, and possibly the honeymoon night morning after breakfast. I didn't exactly realize when my formal responsibilities as flower-girl wrangler began or ended, or even that I had them. It's the kind of job that reveals its pitfalls slowly, lovingly, and with low, evil laughter.

The opening of the festivities began early on Friday, with the bridesmaid's luncheon, which the wife and her sister were required to attend, despite the fact that neither were bridesmaids. Possibly being related to the bride made them honorary bridesmaids for an hour or so. Ngnat and I drove up later in the day and met her at the Comfort Suites we and the rest of the wedding party out of towners were booked into.

Ahh, the Comfort Suites, the hotel with neither. The first, non-smoking, room smelled mightily of cigarettes. Once the SW arrived, I left her in charge of Ngnat and the various neon bits of Play-doh she was busily straying about the room, and went to beg the girl at the front desk to move us to a less carcinogenic room. Now, unbeknownst to me, the Sainted Wife's sister, Aspiring Actress, had arrived just after her, and had been initially refused lodging, as her name wasn't on the credit card that held the room. She was finally allowed to check in, but not until she was just this side of seething.

She got in an elevator and went up as I came down in another, went to the front desk, informed the girl that my room was less than acceptable in the aroma department, and begged for a new one.

The girl at the counter said cheerily "No problem!", gave me keys to another, then promptly checked us into the same room (412) she had just given the Aspiring Actress.

At this very moment, as close as I can tell, Aspiring Actress swipes her key card at the door to 412 and finds that it does not work. Neither does the extra one. They don't work because the second the cheery girl at the front desk gave me the key cards to my new room, Aspiring Actress's cards were invalidated.

So, I head back to my old room, new cards in hand, and pile four feet of luggage onto the "complimentary" luggage cart.

Aspiring Actress, having swiped both of her key cards a few dozen more times, gives up and returns to the front desk with her four feet of luggage, cursing audibly.

The sainted wife and I herd Ngnat and the balky, overloaded luggage cart into the elevator. Ngnat, who has loved riding the elevator all of her short life, freezes at the sight of the dark, bottomless crack between her and the elevator and must be lifted over it.

Aspiring Actress causes a minor scene at the front desk, and has her card keys re-validated, rendering the two I have invalid. I discover this, much to my annoyance, seconds later, as the door to room 412 now refuses both my key cards. I continue to swipe them nonetheless.

Stubbornness doesn't run in our family, it gallops.

Aspiring Actress steps out of the elevator and see us in front of her room.

"Did she check you into 412?" she asks, temples pulsing.

Why yes, yes she did, we inform her. Aspiring Actress silently hands me her keycards, dumps her luggage in the middle of the room once we open it, and departs for the front desk once more. We finally get Ngnat and the Play-doh settled at the coffee table, and I return the luggage cart to the front desk. Aspiring Actress is nowhere in sight, but the front desk girl is rubbing her eyes and sniffing.

Coming Soon: The wedding rehearsal, and why you don't give a toddler an entire Pepsi to drink at eight o'clock in the evening.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.

1/03/2003




Selling Short

Back when I was training people for door to door vacuum cleaner sales, the conventional wisdom was that November and December were the worst months to try and see people, because so many of the days were holidays, and the next worst times were during the summer months, because of the vacations.

The best times were October and March, because they had 31 days, and no travel holidays.

For the 5 years I was there, the wisdom held. October was always the best month, and December was always the worst.

I was reminded of that when I saw this story over at Quark Soup (link via Daily Pundit). He doesn't appear to have permalinks, so I'll quote in full for posterity.

DECLININGPUNDIT?

After the Trent Lott dislocation, many were crediting the blogosphere with originating the takedown. And perhaps they did initiate discussion (though I have yet to see any Congressional aid say they read a blog). In any case, one wonders if one blog -- the blog, perhaps -- hasn't reached a peak: Instapundit. For the 7th week in a row, Instapundit has failed to reach its peak readership.

One wonders if problems like these are not going unnoticed.


It may just be me, but I sense a kind of smarmy joy at the possibility. It seems....uncouth to take joy in the perception of another's misfortune somehow. Certainly it's premature, as the numbers don't really bear out that trend from my point of view.

I get the feeling that the vast majority of blog visitors read them on weekdays, while they are at work. Certainly mine do, and whenever I've bothered to check somebody else's numbers they tend to roughly follow that trend. What that means is that most people surf the Internet from work, and when they're not at work, visitor numbers are going to decline.

If you think of blogs as a product, what the above means is that people are most interested in our product when they're at work. So, the months with the most workdays in them are going to be the most popular. Once again, that's October and March. I can't see Glenn's numbers for last March, but October looks to have been his best month ever. The time to judge whether he's actually lost a step will be March, which is the next comparable month.

One final note. Quarks final link is to a blog post basically accusing the Instapundit of sending an ungentlemanly e-mail.

I mean, heck, Glenn Reynolds dropped the f-bomb when he heard about it and essentially called me and Liberal Oasis liars in an e-mail last night. I'm sure the folks at the White House will respond in a similar fashion. Sorry Glenn. It is true. I'm looking at it.

And isn't it humorous to see Glenn do his "Miss Manners" routine about proper e-mail etiquette within five minutes of sending me an e-mail with profanity in it. I mean, heck, I'm an adult but I wouldn't dream of sending an e-mail like that to someone. I get some pretty loony e-mail too from some of Glenn's supporters and I don't respond like that. And then he has the gall to fuss at me on his blog for what I sent him!


I've got no problem with the story, certainly e-mail lends itself to things of the f-bombs nature, but if you're going to make an accusation, put the evidence up for the rest of the world to judge. Not putting it up suggests that you're either lying, or have something to hide.

Update: Thinking it Through has taken issue with the explanation above;

Boy, you ought to read the pathetic excuse-making by Insty fans here and here. His numbers have to be down because of the holidays, right? You can tell it bothers them to think that Insty's numbers are going down. Since my record day for hits was the day after Christmas, that shoots a rather large hole through that theory.

And, BTW, I didn't see any need to share that e-mail with everyone in the blogosphere. I didn't make it up. It was embarrassing for Glenn and he apologized for it. I saw no need to embarrass him further. In fact, I only mentioned it after he preceded to lecture me about e-mail etiquette just moments after sending me a blue e-mail. Otherwise I wouldn't have said a thing about it.

And isn't it interesting when right-wing bloggers who support W, accuse lefty bloggers of lying? We expose rather large whoppers by W and the boys every day right here on this blog. Ah, it's the right's preferred method of argumentation -- smearing and name-calling.

I can't say I'm surprised.


I can say I'm surprised. Anyone who did even a modicum of reading here would soon discover that while I may be many things, I'm neither right-wing nor a supporter of W. Bill's right wing, yes, but also hardly a supporter of W. In fact, my politics have been measured. I'm left-libertarian, according to the Political Blogmap(Google cached version provided as it appears mentalspace's archives are either down or removed). It's a common reaction, to automatically assign politics and positions radically opposite your own to someone who has the temerity to disagree with you, but it implies sloppy thinking.

As to the smearing and name-calling, I did neither consciously, at least in the original post.:) I think Tom's referring to the bit about "Not putting it up suggests that you're either lying, or have something to hide." I'm used to people backing up assertions in their blogs with a link to or a copy of what they are referring to. That's precisely why I questioned the lack of an e-mail copy, because it is so pervasive a practice. A lack of documentary evidence for a particular allegation is simply much more striking in the blogosphere than in other media. I didn't consider it an insult, I considered it a warning of how people will react, and I stand by that warning. People will call a blogger on what they consider a questionable assertion, and I think it's the blogger's responsibility to anticipate that.

A lack of such evidence could imply a lack of experience, but to baldly call a stranger "newbie" is insulting, and I didn't want to do that. Tom's assertion that he didn't post it out of some regard for Glen Reynolds feelings is ludicrous, as it could hardly do more injury than the already published allegations. A published summary of the e-mail has the exact same effect as a published copy of the e-mail. Essentially, he had already shared it "with everyone in the blogosphere." If that was not his intent, perhaps Glenn will be getting an apology from him sometime soon. As Glenn is a gentleman, I don't expect to ever know anything about the content of said apology.

As for myself, If I said anything in my original post that hurt Mr. Spencer's feelings, he certainly has my apologies.

A couple of other points;

Since my record day for hits was the day after Christmas, that shoots a rather large hole through that theory

Tom has no publicly viewable counters on his blog, and thus no readily available evidence for the above claim. I'm detecting a pattern here. As in the case with Glenn's e-mail, we must take him at his word.

But, let's assume that he is not lying. I'll take Tom's claim at face value, just as I did his story about Glenn's e-mail. It still means nothing, again because without the documention a public counter gives, the claim has no context. I have no way of knowing if the daily readership for TiT is in the tens, the hundreds, or the thousands. The lower the daily readership, the easier it is to set records. Unless TiT's daily readership numbers are are equal or larger than those of Instapundit, then his conclusions are non-transferable. It would be the same as making claims about how people will cast their vote on election day after polling a sample group of inadequate size. I would think an assistant professor of history would realize this, but perhaps he was under deadline.

In any case, I did not dispute the conclusions about the decline of Instapundit. I simply said that until March arrives, we can't know for sure. The data set is too small to draw on, and nothing that's been said since has persuaded me otherwise. Once again, most people surf the Internet from work. October has 23 work days, and November and December have 18 each, or at least they did at my work place.

I've been a webmaster or a sysadmin for 5 years now, and most of the traffic patterns I seen all fit the "people surf from work" model. At my old dot-com, visitors and sales sucked wind in December, and October and March were always gangbusters, at least relatively so. Weekdays were always better than weekends, and Wednesday was normally the the best weekday. Sadly, I don't have any links to net32 traffic pages, because there have never been any, but feel free to call them up and ask them.

Now, given Instapundit's average of 23,043 visitors a day, those missing 5 days easily cover the decline in numbers for those two months. Yes, there are a comparable number of days in each month, but not all days have the same value. On average, weekends and holidays produce lower visitor counts. To reach an average of 23,043 visitors a day, Instapundit actually has to pull in more than that number during each day of the workweek.

January at least has 22 workdays, so it may be possible to tell before March, except that over 5% of Instapundit visitors come from .edu domains, and many if not all colleges are not back in session yet. As college students are among the most avid consumers of Internet content, I tend to doubt the January numbers will have any value in a comparison with October. One should be able to compare them to December and November numbers, though.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.




Segregation in America

Senator Lott’s comments of several weeks ago caused me to reflect on what he said, and the current state of race relations. Lott bragged that Mississippi voted for Strom Thurmond in his bid for the presidency in the 1940’s and that if he had won America would not have many of the problems we have today. The problem of course is that Thurmond ran as a segregationist which rubbed many people of today wrong. My question then is simply, “Don’t you really want there to be segregation?” Don’t throw stones at me yet.

Americans were all in an uproar at Lott’s comments, as if Americans are completely against segregation, but I have my doubts. Many people got on their high horses and acted as if this was such a terrible thing to say, and immediately called for Lott’s head. In public they were crying for his job, yet in their personal lives I am willing to bet that 99% of them lead extremely segregated lives, as do many of us.

Look at your churches, are there people of a different race attending your church (and not those who work in a custodial capacity), or do the members turn their heads when someone of a different color walks in? What do your friends look like? Not your acquaintances, but your good friends, do they look like you? For most of us the answer will be yes. What do your children’s friends look like? Are you uncomfortable when they bring someone from a different race over to spend the night?

Americans are hypocritical and no, I am not just lumping the Republicans into this category. It is funny to me how everyone found Lott’s comments to be so upsetting, yet most of them live their lives in a similar manner to what he described. NEWSFLASH: America is not the great melting pot, it is more like a tossed salad where we all live close to one another, but where cultures do not blend together.

So, do you want segregation? Look at your own life and evaluate whether or not you are living that way already. You want to meet other cultures then find opportunities to do so, the burden should not always be on others to meet you. Is it uncomfortable??? Damn right, it can be, but the possible rewards may greatly outweigh the risks. We fear what we don’t know, and much of us don’t know squat about other cultures. Don’t blame Lott too much for what he said for we already live in a segregated society, we just can’t talk about it.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.




Silent, But Deadly

Something special for that next anniversary dinner.

Link via Ernie's Stupid Weblog


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.




Jesus has returned, and he wants your vote in 2004




Update: The above is pretty good, but I'm still looking for a slightly more comparably Jesus image. If you know of one, let me know. Alternatively, images of my senior senator wearing a crown of thorns are acceptable as well.

More Update: Charles of Little Green Footballs has obligingly sent us this picture;

making me wish once again that I had paid more attention in those three Photoshop classes I took. Thanks, Charles!


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.




Surprise, Surprise

Now that they've gotten what they wanted from a clueless and scientifically illiterate media, Clonaid has decide not to allow a DNA test to determine if Baby Eve is a clone.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.




'Hurray! Hurray! Many Happy Returns!' they shouted, and they hammered joyously on the table.

Today is my one hundred and eleventh birthday : I am eleventy-one today!'


Update: Meryl's hosting a Tolkien birthday blogburst. Stop by and see what all the Tooks and Brandybucks, and Hornblowers, and Bolgers, Bracegirdles, Goodbodies, Brockhouses and Proudfoots have to say.

Zod: ProudFEET!


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.

Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.




Not only is something rotten in Denmark, something's afoot in Sweden.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.




Well Done, Thou Good And Faithful Servant.

Feel like striking a blow in the war of terrorism, yet don't know what you, wide-bottomed civilian that you are, can possibly do? Too old for the military, and not really that much of a fan of exercise in any case? No Islamofascists close at hand that you could reduce to tears with a demonstration of biting wit and patriotic metaphor?

I too faced this problem, friend and I did despair. But as I sunk slowly into the slough of despond, a man came and pulled me out. And verily he did say unto me.

"Son, you don't need a gun to be offensive, and your enemy needn't be close at hand. Now, you might now be able to shoot at your enemy, but you can damn sure annoy him," he said as he handed me a small booklet.

And a vision did appear to me, of Prince Bandar buried under a torrent of the small booklets. He was wroth, and cried aloud to Allah, who heard him not. Close upon the heels of my vision came similar ones, of the Finsbury Mosque besieged by postmen with large bags, and of Sheik Abd-al-Rahman al-Sudays tearing at his beard and wailing, as a cascade of these booklets fell upon him like the Tribbles did unto James Tiberius Kirk. And he did scream in fear and agony, like Koloth.

And each spent all his days struggling against a tide of the small booklets, and all their minions did likewise, and they had no time for their evil machinations and nefarious plots. And they cried aloud against the people of the west, who had sent them the booklets in such numbers, whose contents were anathema and yet drew the eye like the flash of ankle from underneath a burka.

And this vision was pleasing to me, and cheered me greatly, like unto a new Simpsons episode, and I thanked the man. But my happiness was fleeting, and I despaired again, for I had only one booklet, and knew not where the enemies of my people lived.

"Oh ye of little faith." said the man. "I will provide the small booklets, that you may send all that you wish to the enemies of your people at a minimal cost to yourself. You and your kind will be as a cloud of biting flies that torment the jackass, who can do naught but shake his head and bray."

And I gazed in wonder at this miracle, and said unto the man. "But what if the jackass brays 5 times a day?"

And the man was sore aggrieved with me, and verily he did say. "Enough with the puns." and waving his hands, summoned a daemon of search, who did fetch me the addresses of the tormentors of my people, that I might torment them in return, and those addresses were;

Prince Bandar bin Sultan
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia,
601 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037
United States

Finsbury Park Mosque
715 Saint Thomas Road,
Finsbury Park
London N4
United Kingdom

Sheik Abd-al-Rahman al-Sudays
Mosque of Mecca
Mecca
Saudi Arabia

And I gazed in wonder at the miracles before me, that both the means and the method to strike my own blow against oppression were so near at hand. Yet I despaired a third time, for what could injury could my small action do the hosts that opposed my kith and kin?

"Lo," said the man "The straw that breaks the camel's back is but one of many, yet they must all be placed. It is not given to you to know which straw is the camel's bane, but only to place them, knowing that with each his bane grows closer."

And I bowed my head in wonderment at the wisdom of his words and begged of the stranger only his name, so that I would know whom to thank.

"Jack," he said. "My name is Jack."

And I thanked the man, Jack, and set to my task of piling straw.

Now, go thou and do likewise.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.




No School Left Standing

I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with Bush's "No Child Left Behind" idea, which labels schools as "failing" and then allows parents to send their children somewhere else, but from what I am learning, it sucks. Those against the policy suggest that it has a number of problems with it. First, White parents will take their children out of certain schools and send them to schools where they can be with students who are more.................White, enabling a greater level of segregation to occur. Secondly, those children who are not good students will simply move from one school to another, bringing other schools down to a failing level rather than benefiting from teachers who are thought to be much better. Instead of "No Child Left Behind" I've heard it referred to as "No School Left Standing" by administrators in public education (which, admittedly, is not my area of work).

Still, I find the ideas and debates interesting. Here is something passed through email that found its way to me from Phi Delta Kappa which gives Bush an "award" for these efforts. Made for some interesting reading. It came as follows:

THE EDUCATION ROTTEN APPLES AWARDS OF 2002

Gerald W. Bracey

INTRO

Beginning with the "Seventh Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education" in the October, 1997 issue of Phi Delta Kappan, the critiques and kudos that had been part of the text in early reports were set off in boxes as separate Rotten Apples and Golden Apples, respectively. The Golden Apples remain part of the report. However, in 1999, the Phi Delta Kappa Board of Directors (not the Kappan editors) decided that the Rotten Apples were inappropriate on the pages of their house organ. No doubt it was coincidental that this decision was reached just after a Rotten Apple recipient, Willard Daggett, had threatened to sue. Mr. Daggett is a sort of civilian Baron Von Munchausen who regales his audiences (for large fees) with assorted facts that exist nowhere but in Mr. Daggett's mind. The Golden Apples remain, but now the Rotten Apples are first posted to various lists and then archived at the Education Disinformation Detection and Reporting Agency (www.america-tomorrow.com/bracey). Herewith the miasmatic treasury of decaying fruit for 2002:

Referred


THE "CRAWFORD BEST DANG TROJAN HORSE SINCE ANCIENT TIMES " AWARD:

TO: George W. Bush

Who would have thought that a mere two years would be sufficient to eclipse such dis-achievement champions as Bill Bennett for lifetime honors, but the 5-4 Prez has done it with his No Child Left Behind legislation (he did have, we should note, a few warm-up years in Texas).

This is truly a weapon of mass destruction, a bunker-buster of mammoth proportions. Some of the lunacy is inherent in the legislation. Other gobs of goofiness fall from the work of the National Institute for Doctrinal Uniformity, previously known as the U. S. Department of Education. In its first pass at labeling schools as failures, the Department uncovered startling facts: Michigan has the greatest number of failing schools (1500) and Arkansas is home to the smallest (zero) (has anyone observed convoys of prairie schooners heading South on I69 out of Lansing?). Obviously, Bill Clinton was a better education governor of the Razorback State than anyone, Clinton included, previously realized.

The National Council of State Legislatures projects that 70% of all public schools will be labeled failing (or, "needs improvement" under the obfuscation code derived from another George, George Orwell). According to Department regulations, all children in failing schools must be offered the option of transferring to a better one. Crowding is not acceptable as an excuse (except, and I am not kidding here, where it might violate fire codes or other safety regulations). Schools with large numbers of students wanting in must have larger classes, buy mobile trailers or build more classrooms (how's that for an unfunded mandate?). We thus face the possible prospect in a few years of having 100% of our children attending schools currently occupied by only 30% of our children (no one has yet dealt with what those transferring students will do to the test scores of the "successful," receiving schools). I say, old chums, is there a bit of irrationality in all of this?

Chris Whittle is no doubt standing by ready to accept in Edison Schools kids arriving with the vouchers that Bush will without doubt resurrect.

The NCLB trap has already received additional attention and deconstruction in "The Twelfth Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education" (Phi Delta Kappan, October, 2002, posted at www.america-tomorrow.com/bracey/EDDRA/EDDRA26.pdf) and in "No Child Left Behind: Just Say No." Although many have been offered the latter, only the Minnesota School Boards Association has had to courage to publish it. It's been posted, and will be soon, if not already, archived at EDDRA.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.

1/02/2003




Some Light Afternoon Reading

The Intellectual Origins Of America-Bashing
Synopsis: America-bashing is the opiate of the intellectual.

America-bashing is anti-Americanism at its most radical and totalizing. Its goal is not to advise, but to condemn; not to fix, but to destroy. It repudiates every thought of reform in any normal sense; it sees no difference between American liberals and American conservatives; it views every American action, both present and past, as an act of deliberate oppression and systemic exploitation. It is not that America went wrong here or there; it is that it is wrong root and branch. The conviction at the heart of those who engage in it is really quite simple: that America is an unmitigated evil, an irredeemable enormity.
.........
For example, there was no longer any difficulty in accepting the astonishingly high level of prosperity achieved by the work force of the advanced capitalist countries — indeed, it was now even possible to arraign the workers of these countries alongside of the capitalists for whom they labored — or, rather, more precisely, with whom they collaborated in order to exploit both the material resources and the cheap labor of the Third World. In the new configuration, both the workers and the capitalists of the advanced countries became the oppressor class, while it was the general population of the less advanced countries that became the oppressed — including, curiously enough, even the rulers of these countries, who often, to the untutored eye, seemed remarkably like oppressors themselves.



The Emotional Origins Of America-Bashing
Latin quote I'll be attempting to remember: Oderint dum metuant

Human beings will not be denied their consolations; and one of the consolations of being poor has always been faith in the fact that while the rich may be more comfortable, they are morally degraded.

She was poor but she was honest,
And unsullied was ’er name,
Till the local squire came courtin’—
Now the poor girl’s lost in shame.

It’s the same the ’ole world over,
It’s the poor what gets the blame.
It’s the rich what gets the pleasure,
Ain’t it all a bloomin’ shame?


And in fact the poor have a point. Traditionally—I mean, before the invention of the welfare state—the rich didmisbehave more than the poor, because the relative cost to them of doing so was much less. There is a touching episode in My Secret Life, the classic Victorian porno-autobiography (I mention this for the benefit of those who have not read the book, or whose memory of it has been dimmed by time) in which Walter, the pseudonymous first-person narrator, attempts to seduce a young working-class girl by offering her ever-larger sums of money. The girl steadfastly refuses: “It wouldn’t be right, Sir”—at any rate up to the point where the sum offered is so tempting, she concedes him one of the minor kinds of relief. Taking his leave, Walter marvels at the power of instilled morality over mere avarice. Large parts of the world, of course, have no welfare state, and poorer inhabitants of those regions have an attitude to moral laxity, most especially in the sexual sphere, that we would call Victorian. In their minds, the United States is, not to put too fine a point on it, Walter. The wretched of the earth know that they are wretched, while we are not. This is a painful thing for them to know. Their consolation is that they are morally superior to us.


Links via Arts & Letters Daily

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Industrious Clock

This clock is pretty cool, but a little annoying after a while. Check it out.


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L is for Laurence who swallowed some tacks
M is for Meryl who was swept out to sea.
*

Amish Tech Support is allowing 2003 Dead Pool participants to add an extra person to their list.

My tenth pick to die in 2003? Laurence Simon

Zod: Ooooo. Me likey!
I was that favorite bunny post that did it.
Zod: Meryl gonna be your 11th pick, then?
Damn skippy.
Zod: You're a bitter, bitter old man. I feel....so close to you right now.

*The original Gashleycrumb Tinies can be seen in its entirety here.


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A Good Day for the Northern Europeans

Samuel Pepys dishes the dirt in his new blog, and a Viking leaves the sea to join the wolves of blogistan.

Zod: Just what the world of blogs was lacking, a couple of opinionated white guys!


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1/01/2003




Representative of the People

I find Bush's latest excuse for war with Iraq to be a little laughable. Bush now claims that an attack on the U.S. would cripple the economy. While I don't dispute this, I sincerely doubt that Saddam Hussein has a.) the means to attack the U.S. or b.) the rationale to attack the U.S, unless an attack on Iraq by the U.S. seems imminent and inevitable. Of course, it does seem to be inevitable, but GW doesn't like to be questioned about something like that. In an article on MSNBC.com, GW is quoted as saying:

“You said we’re headed to war in Iraq. I don’t know why you say that,” Bush told reporters. “I’m the person who gets to decide, not you. And I hope this can be done peacefully.”
Assuming that the President of the U.S. is an elected representative of the people of the United States, shouldn't it be the people who decide whether we go to war with Iraq? Somehow I doubt we'll get the chance. Unless, of course, we happen to represent corporate America and have tons of money to donate to the cause of keeping GW in office another four years.

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Bad Moon Risin'

The News and Observer has a section called "Connect" that deals mostly in light news and trends dealing with computers and the net. On the front of the print edition of Connect today is a small notice;


Triangle Blogs
We're looking for local Webloggers for an upcoming Connect story. Please drop us a note with the site, your name, and a daytime phone number. Contact Connect editor Alan Wolfe at awolf AT newsobserver DOT com. (e-mail editorially munged)

Now far be it from me to trash the paper I grew up with, but that's just lazy journalism, and just what one would expect from an Internet challenged reporter. But for god's sake, this is the freaking technology editor, and he apparently can't even think to use Google. What's worse is that the plea only appears in the N&O's print edition. As of right now, it's totally absent from the online section. Is it too much to expect that a journalist whose beat is the Internet to have some freakin' Internet savvy?

The problem with soliciting a story like this is that Alan won't be selecting his sources and creating a story. His sources will be selecting themselves, which means the column will be skewed and inaccurate before the first word is written. The bloggers that volunteer themselves by writing in will be people hungry for the spotlight, newbies desperate for traffic, or the Internet equivalent of the the toothless rednecks that pop up on the local television news every time there's a drug bust in a trailer park.

Zod: I assume you've already left three or four messages for him, then.
Surprisingly, no. Decided to stick to my moral guns on this one.
Zod: I guess there is a first time for everything.

If the N&O used a similar tactic on a story about novelists, you know who would write in? Norman Mailer? No. Stephen King? No. Piers Anthony? Damn skippy. I've got nothing against Piers, but I stopped reading his stuff around age 15, and I don't think a news story on novels would be real representative of the industry with him as the source. An article about bloggers and blogging is going to suffer in exactly the same way.

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New Year! Same old life? New Blog!

As Daniel says, The truly devoid of social life take this quiet time to start a new blog.

Zod: Daniel Boone was a man,
Yes, a big man!
But the Bear was bigger, so he ran like a
Hey!
Zod: up a tree...


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Advice from Uncle Dub

Outflanked Democrats Wonder How to Catch Up in Media Wars

"If you start from the premise that the message was right, which we do, then the problem was that it wasn't getting out to the people," said one official of the Democratic Party who spoke on condition that his name not be used.

Well, there's your problem right there, Mister. Ya'll's Premise has thrown a rod and is a-leakin' oil all over the place. Now, that's going to cost you a pile to pretty up, and it warn't running that well no how. Tain't surprising, you been driving that ole rattletrap for nigh on forty years, and it's showing its age. No wonder folks don't want to ride around in it. I don't know how that Clinton boy kept it running as long as he did. He could do more with a little duct tape and spit than the rest of you city boys can with a whole damn team of media engineers, I'll give him that, but he's gone, and the damn thing's ten years older. Maybe ya'll ought to trade it in a on a new one?

Won't get much for it, mind. Might be able to sell it abroad as scrap. But you could make a nice little down payment on a new model. Ain't much like the one you got now, but least it's new. I got me one sitting in the lot right now, comes standard with a bumper sticker saying Saudi Arabia's the real enemy and a handy list of corporations what been screwing the little folks out of their retirement. You won't find either a those in any of them fancy ones parked over at the country club, and it's a got a neat little feature that'll let you bitch about the size of of the guv'mint.

Yea, yea, ya'll heard me right. I pulled it of one off the old Republican models. Asked 'em if they wanted it installed in the new one, but thet Rove fella just started laughing and handing out dollar bills to all the farmers and steelworkers roundabouts. He told me the only time that bitching about guv'mint worked was when you ain't them, and he didn't think they'd be needing to worry about that for 20 years or so. I reckon ya'll might be able to use it now. Still got the instruction manual around here somewhere.

What? Oh, hell no, it hasn't got directions in Mexican and American. Listen, ya'll want it or not? Ross Perot called me up today, said "Save the little one, I wanna take a look at it. I got me an itch to scratch." Ya'll don't buy it, somebody else will, and ya'll might as well be Whigs, then.

Well? Time to shit or get off the pot, you ask me. I ain't patching up that damn Premise anymore, it's a danger to the public, and they know it. It's dead, and you gonna have to find sumpin else to ride around in.


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Legal in West Virginia

Carnival of the Vanities #15 is up. This week's edition is at Solonor's Ink Well, whom we conned into giving up his New Year's Eve in exchange for the fleeting fame that is the lot of the Carnival host.

Upcoming stops include;

1/8 The Eleven Day Empire
1/15 Greeblie Blog
1/22 Yourish.com
1/29 Ipse Dixit
2/5 Plum Crazy
2/12 Dissecting Leftism
2/19 The People's Republic of Seabrook

If you'd like to host the Carnival, drop us a line. Information on how to join the Carnival can be found here.


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Always Listening

I like seeing the "Currently listening to" feature some blogs have. To lazy to do it myself, not to mention that it would hardly ever change. Ever since May I've basically blogged to one sound. Funkyville #2

Zod: There's like all of one person in the world who cares.
We'll, I'm there for them.
Zod: You are them, dip.
Somebody has to be.
Zod: Why don't you go get another beer?
Alrighty, then.


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In the Zone

Welcome back,
Your dreams were your ticket out.
Welcome back,
To that same old place that you laughed about.
Well the names have all changed since you hung around,
But those dreams have remained and they're turned around.

Who'd have thought they'd lead ya (Who'd have thought they'd lead ya)
Here where we need ya (Here where we need ya)
Yeah we tease him a lot cause we've got him on the spot, welcome back,
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.


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12/31/2002




Auld Aquaintances

Zod: Chex mix?
Check.
Zod: Hoegaarden poured?
Check.
Zod: Tatty long johns, elderly shorts and threadbare sweatshirt donned?
Check.
Zod: Toddler asleep?
Check.
Zod: Pregnant wife asleep?
Check.
Zod: Don't you think you ought to make some sort of announcement?
They'll figure it out eventually.
Zod: Okay then. Confirming absolute lack of social life.........done. You're cleared for blogging on New Year's Eve 2002.
I'm all a-quiver.


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Fuk Yor Chikin

Sadly, I cannot find a copy of the commercial, so you'll have to take my word for it. I'm watching the Peach Bowl, and a Chik-fil-a commercial comes on.

There's a cow, standing in a construction site. A bulldozer approaches. The cow stands its ground. The bulldozer moves to one side,and the cow blocks it. The bulldozer moves to the other side, and the cow blocks it. Cut to a sign that says "Future Home of Burger World" or something like that. Cut back to the cow, now standing in front of four bulldozers, in an exact recreation of this scene.

Chik-fil-a takes one of the most heroic pictures of all time, from one of the most horrible tragedies of the last 20 years, and uses it to sell fast food. Chik-fil-a won't sell you a chicken sandwich on Sunday because of their supposedly high moral standards, but the company has absolutely no problem with those standards when it comes to something like this. Classy, it ain't, and I've had my last sandwich from them for quite a while.


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I Will Be Your Larry, If You Wish

Silflay Hraka, one of the The Most Intriguing Bloggers of 2002?

Zod: Must have been kind of a lean year. Gonna stuff the box?
Maybe enough to keep us out of dead last.
Zod: There's a nice attitude. 'Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me fake the results so I don't lose as badly?"
When did you stop being id and start being superego?
Zod: It was getting crowded down there. You move in, I move out. That's how it works.
Stupid poll. Stupid popularity contest.
Zod: That middle school student council race scar you forever, or what?
Dammit, Larry picked his nose in public and flicked it at people! There's no way I should've lost to....I mean, no, no it didn't.
Zod: No, not at all. The fact that every D&D campaign you ever ran featured a retarded syphilitic kobold by the same name was just a total coincidence.
That kobold's name was Laeri, asswipe
Zod: Such an impenetrable disguise.
It's my story, and I'm standing by it.
Zod: As long as you don't stand on it. It's far to thin to hold such a vast great bulk as yourself.
Goddammit! I'm not fat, I'm big-boned.
Cartman: Hey!
Zod: You! Out!
You want crowded, I'll give you crowded.
Cartman: Quit ripping me off!
Badger: Get in line, fat boy.
Highlander: There can be only one!
Zod: Ok, ok! You're a pleasant, well-adjusted person who isn't overly competitive.
Badger: Larry?
Zod: Hellooo? He's starting to froth in here! You don't want him out any more than I do.
Badger: Are you Larry?
Oh, alright. Larry's dead, Badger.
Badger: Dead?
Yes, dead. He fell out of a pickup truck that was doing donuts on the football field his junior year, and the back wheel crushed his skull.
Badger: Really?
Cartman: Sweeeeeet.
Yes, you can all go back to sleep.
Cartman: Can I have a candy bar later?
Yes, later.
..............................
Zod: Well, that was closer than you...
Badger: You're sure?
Zod: Ahhh!
Yes, I'm sure.
..............................
Zod: You think that was intriguing enough?
I certainly hope so.


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12/30/2002




Holidays in Hell

Chris Ruzin had one.

we pull out on the road to cross the bridge, but there’s signs up saying the road is closed. Not knowing what to do, my mother decides to make a U-turn TO THE RIGHT and ends up stopped, facing the wrong direction, blocking the on-ramp to the interstate highway!! I was just about to soil myself expecting at any point to be hit head on by an 18 wheeler trying to get onto the highway. Mother just sat there, yelling that she didn’t know what to do. At that exact moment, my sister in Kentucky calls our cell phone wanting to know where we are. We had brought two cell phones which look alike, don’t ask why. Both were buried under all our stuff, so my dad is flinging stuff around trying to find it before it stops ringing. Mother yells for him to “just pick it up”, like it’s that easy or something. Sure enough, he picks up the wrong one. Mother decides to start cussing, I guess to make the moment so much calmer and less stressful than it already was.



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Absolutely the Last Post on Cloning...Today, Maybe

You might get the feeling from reading the posts immediately below that I think human cloning is either wrong or impossible, neither of which is true. If I had my druthers, then Eve would be a clone, a happy, healthy one.* Of course, if I had my druthers, then Bigfoot would be real, too. The world would just be a more interesting place all round if all the wacked out stuff I believed in when I was twelve turned out to be true.

But I want the Clonaid kid to be real because I want the cat out of the bag. I want the science of cloning to outpace the efforts to outlaw it, or to regulate it. I want cloning to be as hard to shutdown as file trading is now.

No, I don't want to create an army of Bigwigs to conquer the world with (not that we couldn't), and I wouldn't expect a clone of myself to be anything like me. I don't need another me, and I've already passed on my genes once the old fashioned way. What I do want is a new liver, 30 years down the road, and a new heart, and new set of lungs, and the development of cloning technology is what will give that to me. The only other area of research that might do that for me as well is stem cell research, but that's already somewhat proscribed.

As far as the law now is concerned, I think that I've already got the right to clone myself.** If Roe v. Wade says that up to a certain point, a woman can do as she likes with a mass of cells in her body, then doesn't that same protection apply to me? After all, they're my cells, whether or not they are actually inside me. As the decision says;

With respect to the State's important and legitimate interest in potential life, the "compelling" point is at viability. This is so because the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother's womb. State regulation protective of fetal life after viability thus has both logical and biological justifications. If the State is interested in protecting fetal life after viability, it may go so far as to proscribe abortion during that period, except when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.

In other words, until potential human life becomes actual human life, current law allows a woman to do whatever she likes with her own cells. Not allowing me to do the same is discriminatory, even if what I do is grow a 19 week old fetus, then harvest it for its organs.

Not that I would do that, though I suspect you might get a different answer when I'm 80 and need a new bladder. Even then I would think that we would have the ability to grow organs without having to wrap them in a fetus, but that will likely depend on how far the science has advanced, and if Pat Robertson and his cronies have their way, I'll have to piss my undies like the oldsters do now.

*Watch. If it does turn out that Eve is a clone, there will be those pulling for her to grow up retarded, sick and miserable, even if they don't say so in public. They'll be the ones who mention the term "against nature" whenever the subject comes up.

**Constitutional scholars may disagree

Update: Andy at the WorldWideRant agrees that people are afraid Eve will be happy, healthy and normal. He also wonders who is crazier;

The person who posits a known science (genetic engineering) with a statistically possible entity (aliens) as the origin of life - or the one who posits an unknown angry sky god on the basis of a 2000 year old book?


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The Raelian Hymn

Ok, I was positive someone would have posted this by now, but I am seemingly wrong. Not only are the Raelians obsessed with cloning, they're obsessed with sex, two themes that Isaac Asimov joined together years ago.

The Clone Song, by Isaac Asimov, sung to the tune of Home On The Range
 
Oh, give me a clone
Of my own flesh and bone
With its Y chromosome changed to X.
And after it's grown,
Then my own little clone
Will be of the opposite sex.
 
Clone, clone of my own,
With its Y chromosome changed to X.
And when I'm alone
With my own little clone
We will both think of nothing but sex.
 
Oh, give me a clone,
Is my sorrowful moan,
A clone that is wholly my own.
And if she's X-X,
And the feminine sex,
Oh, what fun we will have when we're prone.
 
Clone, clone of my own,
With its Y chromosome changed to X.
And when I'm alone
With my own little clone
We will both think of nothing but sex.
 
My heart's not of stone,
As I've frequently shone
When alone with my own little X.
And after we've dined,
I am sure we will find
Better incest then Oedipus Rex.
 
Clone, clone of my own,
With its Y chromosome changed to X.
And when I'm alone
With my own little clone
We will both think of nothing but sex.
 
Why should such sex vex,
Or disturb or perplex,
Or induce a disparaging tone?
After all, don't you see,
Since we're both of us me,
When we're having sex, I'm alone.
 
Clone, clone of my own,
With its Y chromosome changed to X.
And when I'm alone
With my own little clone
We will both think of nothing but sex.
 
And after I'm done
She will still have her fun,
For I'll clone myself twice ere I die.
And this time without fail,
They'll be both of them male,
And they'll each ravage her by and by.
 
Clone, clone of my own,
With its Y chromosome changed to X.
And when I'm alone
With my own little clone
We will both think of nothing but sex.


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Gullible Much?

Clonaid has announced that DNA test of it's supposedly cloned baby will be headed by former ABC News science editor, Michael Guillen.

His credentials are just the ones Clonaid needs.

In 1997 as the science correspondent for ABC Good Morning America, Guillen did a three-part series, “Fringe or Frontier”.Of precognition he concluded “these guys are not flakes”; on astrology, “I think we’re just going to have to suspend judgement”; on psychokinesis, “you have to take it seriously." Indeed, Guillen covered everything from James Patterson’s cold fusion cell to Kirlian photographs of the human aura with the same credulity.

That series won him James Randi's Pigasus* Award in 1998, awarded to the scientist who said or did the silliest thing related to the supernatural, paranormal or occult in that year.

Obviously feeling that he had not yet plumbed the depths of his own will to believe, Guillen later returned with a gushing look at human auras.

*Pigasus, a horrid pun on the flying horse of myth, Pegasus. In other words, the award is given out for things that will be science "when pigs fly"

Update: The Grey Lady also mined this particular vein.


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12/29/2002




Something In The Water

Less than a week after condemning NC boy made good Doug Marlette for his political cartoon depicting Mohammad driving a bomb-laden truck, Cair has flexed its mighty political muscles and convinced the Guilford County Republican Party to remove a link to Islam Exposed. It made a small splash here in NC, but it doesn't seem to have crossed the radar horizon for the rest of the country.

You can see a cached version of the old Guilford County Republican Party website here. Of course, if they had bothered to respond to the e-mail fellow blogger Mark Kleiman sent them back in October, none of this would have happened.

As for Islam Exposed, make your own call, I suppose. They've got some sort of Illuminati thing going on, and the quotes identified as "hate speech" in the N&O article;

But Muslims are still outraged that the county's Republican Party would direct users to a Web site with a stated objective to "expose one of the greatest evils on our planet -- Islam." The Web site, www.islamexposed.com, goes on to say, "We have the evidence and materials to prove that this false religion is nothing more than a barbaric occult invented by savages for savages."

"It's disturbing to say the least," said Shafiq Mohammad, president of the Islamic Center of Greensboro. "We're really surprised that a political party of national stature would do this. I don't know what the justification was for that."


are actually kind of mild when compared to some of the other pages there. Hate speech by lunatics is still hate speech, I suppose, though I hesitiate to call anything "hate speech" unless it's asking people to go out and start shooting the targets of that speech. By that measurement, Islam Exposed doesn't qualify.

It's a pity no one thought to ask Shafiq Mohammad about the hate links on his own site, such as the one to Shariah. Here's a typical bit;

In America, we see that the government has actually become affected by the greatest sickness of human disease. This disease is a sickness which has its roots in the time of the great Prophets such as Musa (AS) and Isa (AS). This disease is hypocrisy of those who say we believe, yet in their hearts they believe not. And Allah spoke of this disease and its carrier in many verses when speaking about the Jews. We find that again, the Jews have landed to spread corruption. When they come into a land, you will find that corruption at first begins slowly, then escalates until they are handed over power with others out in front. This is the ways of the Jews, and it has not changed since Rome at the time of their plot kill Isa

Shariah.net is associated with the notorious Finsbury Park Mosque and it's Sheikh Abu Hamza, who praised the 9/11 attacks.

Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Masri, another outspoken Islamist, heads an organisation called The Supporters of Sharia’a, based in North London. Al-Masri is wanted in Yemen for his involvement in dispatching eight British Moslems to perpetrate terror attacks against Western targets in Yemen. After the 11 September attack, Al-Masri declared that "there are many exultant people now. America is a crazy country and whatever we perpetrate against it, is done in self-defence. If the perpetrators of the attack were Moslems, justice is on their side."

Then there's Khilafah.com, an online Islamic newsmagazine which has as its goal a world-wide Islamic state governed by sharia law.

On the September 23rd of 2001 Khilafah told Muslims that Alliance with America is a great crime forbidden by Islam.

As for what relates to the Arab group and some Asian states, including Pakistan, that will be classified under 'demands' or orders'. America will not negotiate with these states, rather she will say categorically, “Are you with America or with terrorism?”
O Muslims! The Shari'ah obliges you to reject this American demand, which looks down upon you with disdain and contempt. America has no high values so as to lecture you on who you should support and who you should fight. You are the people who have a divine Message. You are the ones who carry the Guidance and Light to mankind.


Apparently Shafiq Mohammad is a devoted follower of the moral principle of "Do as I say, not as I do."

Update: According to this story, Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Masri is accused by the U.S. government of being linked to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. He's also tied to 2 al-qaeda members arrested with with documents in their possession about how to poison the country's water supplies.

Sources say the Ujaama brothers and Osman are all tied to a prominent radical Muslim cleric in London named Sheikh Abu Hamza Al-Masri. Al-Masri is a one-eyed mullah who is often seen preaching at Finsbury Park's North London Central Mosque and is wanted in Yemen on terrorism charges.
Investigators say they have evidence indicating that Al-Masri supplied the information about poisoning water supplies to both James Ujaama and Semi Osman.



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A TSA Response

We're back from the wedding, having successfully reduced the number of Ngnat's maiden aunts by one. More about that later. TSA spokesman Brian Doyle sent me an e-mail addressing the questions I sent the TSA regarding the Nick Monahan account of abuse at the Portland airport.

Here's his response;

Dear Mr. Bigwig*,

You raise a number of questions which I hope I can clarify for you.

Our screeners, as you may be aware go through an extensive training program of over 100 hours. They are trained in not only the security aspects of their job but in customer service. Including, training in various ethnic and cultural differences which may appear different to the average public. TSA is dedicated to world class security and world class customer service.

TSA treats pregnant individuals no differently than non-pregnant individuals. It is standard operating procedure to have a female wand a female passenger. As for touching a woman's breast, If the hand wand signals an alarm over the breast area, the screener must resolve the alarm. Typically, it is an under wire bra. The screener uses the back of her fingers to the under wire portion of the bra to resolve the alarm. It is TSA procedure to have a private screening option available at each airport, and if a person is required to take off clothing, they are escorted to a private area at their request.

The video of the checkpoint in question is maintained by the Port of Portland and the resident Port of Portland police. They do not destroy images, but it records over itself every three to seven days, depending on the image rate.

Matters of discipline are privacy act protected, and disclosure of an employees disciplinary record, absent litigation, could result in a cause of action by the employee against the Government. However, if it was found that an employee knowingly lied or falsified information, discipline could be imposed.

Regarding Mr. Monahan's allegations. TSA has no comment on any of Mr. Monahan's allegations. It is against policy to comment on any litigation or pending litigation.

Sincerely,
Brian J. Doyle
TSA Public Affairs


Initial Notes: Including, training in various ethnic and cultural differences which may appear different to the average public. - I so don't want people treated differently based on their ethnicity or culture, unless their ethnicity or culture gets them more attention from security than they would otherwise receive.

It is TSA procedure to have a private screening option available at each airport, and if a person is required to take off clothing, they are escorted to a private area at their request.

So it appears that the TSA will consent to a private search, but only at the request of the detainee. I wonder if they advise a person of that alternative before the search begins? My guess is no. Just as an aside, in a more innocent time when the sainted wife and I were married, her underwire bra set off the alarm at the courthouse, but once the wand search narrowed the search down to the boobal areas, the elderly and by now rather embarrassed guard asked her if she was wearing an underwire bra, and that was that.

The video of the checkpoint in question is maintained by the Port of Portland and the resident Port of Portland police. They do not destroy images, but it records over itself every three to seven days, depending on the image rate.

Every time I ask about the videotape, the Port of Portland sends me to the TSA and the TSA sends me back to Portland. My guess is that they realize their policy is weak on this point, and are eager to move me along. I don't mind that, particularly, it's the nature of bureaucracy. What does bother me is that any suspicious person who arrives via the Port of Portland will have all evidence of his arrival wiped out after at most a week. That seems like far too short a time, especially now that digital storage media is so cheap.

*No, he didn't call me bigwig

Update: One more thought, before moving on tonight. It is against policy to comment on any litigation or pending litigation. - I may be misinterpreting this, and if so maybe one of the law bloggers can help me out, but doesn't "pending litigation" cover an awfully wide area? If "litigation" means that someone is suing you, does "pending litigation" mean that someone might be thinking of suing you, or that you suspect someone might be thinking of suing you? If so, does saying "It is against policy to comment on any litigation or pending litigation." mean that you'll never have anything to say, no matter what the subject, ever? And this is a stated policy of a Federal Department? When did Omerta become official government policy?


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.

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