Silflay Hraka

5/09/2003




Scott and Ellen of AMCGTLD, 4 weeks behind the Sainted wife and I in the pregnancy steeplechase have posted a list of 33 things pregnancy has taught them thus far.

I would only add a couple.

34. Pregnant women snore like lumberjacks.
35. Milk cuts down heartburn.


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Silent Running. New Location, Same Furniture

Featuring the best Bush quote ever - "Lincoln, Navy One, 12,500 lbs, I have the balls,"


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One meme to rule them all, One meme to find them all,
One meme to bring them all and to freedom bind them.
*

Another horrible repercussion, for Arabs and antiwarriors anyway, of the liberation of Iraq. A cd documentary on "The Life and Crimes of Saddam Hussein", produced by Arabs, for Arabs.


photo via Yahoo

The longer the occupation continues, the more stable Iraq becomes, the more things like this will pop up, the more free Iraqis will create memes and media opposing the metal illnesses of pan-Arabism and Islamic Fundamentalism.

When it comes to undermining oppressive totalitarians, we are Sauron, we have the Ring, and we are wielding it, as pictures like the above show.

*Yes, I know it's a horribly cheesy title


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Hickory Stick

Parents, Shopping for Discipline, Turn to Tough Schools Abroad
Ryan quickly learned the rules: stay silent, be compliant, don't look up, don't look out the window, don't speak unless spoken to. The punishments for breaking the rules included solitary confinement, lying on the floor in a small room, nose to the ground, often for days on end.

No beatings? Their punishment methods don't even approach turn of the century British public school discipline, and this is supposed to be shocking? But wait!

A youth who rises to Levels 4, 5 and 6 can become a "junior staff member" and "participate in the discipline process" against lower-level youths, Casa's contract with parents says.

"The authority is in your hands," said Ryan Pink, 19, of El Paso, who reached Level 5 at Casa. "You can discipline kids. The younger kids — they were constantly being restrained, being punished, put in R and R for four or five days. Nose to the wall. Or nose to the ground. And at night you sleep in the hallways.


The horror, the horror. Kids in charge of kids! It's just like Lord of the Files, Mildred! Those poor kids need a proactive counselor and some circle time, poor lambs.

Bah. Sounds like fagging to me.

It is one of the wholesome regulations of a public school that those who have raised themselves to a certain position should have authority over others inferior to them - not in age or bodily strength, but in mental qualifications. This authority, of which there are various grades, and to which all rise in their turn, is very instrumental in upholding the discipline, which would otherwise require the exercise of a stricter surveillance on the part of the masters.'

'But are there not many who abuse this power by employing it in a capricious and unjust manner? I have heard, moreover, that those who have suffered most as fags, have become, as soon as they possess authority themselves, the most tyrannical towards their inferiors, pleading as their excuse the example of their former masters!'

'Of course there are exceptions to every rule; doubtless there are some who have no feeling of personal responsibility towards those set over them; but this is not often the case. With regard to your last objection, I think bullying has a tendency to bring out a boy's character in a true light; if he be well disposed, the recollection of his own sufferings will make him kind to his inferiors; if, on the contrary, he be of a rougher and harder temper, the remembrance of what he has himself undergone will embitter him towards others. After all, I have not mentioned the most conclusive argument in favour of fagging; it is a fact established on long experience, that in those schools in which no legitimate authority is acknowledged, bodily strength exercises a tyranny far more oppressive.'


Got to prepare the little bastards for the duties of Empire somehow; emulating the educational system of the last Western empire is a good a place as any to start.

The only thing that bothers me about the Wwasp programs is that most of them are outside the U.S. Dollars to doughnuts at least half of the reported problems spring from that fact. It's not as if those schools wouldn't relocate if they could; enrollment would probably triple. But the same laws and attitudes that have emasculated American public education prevent it. Schools like the one described wouldn't be tolerated by the educational establishment; their very existence is a symptom of the failure of the NEA and her ilk.

What education needs is more trivium and less self esteem and football, the bastard combination of philosophy and jockocracy that has ruined so many schools. Until someone other than the Christians discovers this, the Hellmouth will continue to grow.


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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.


LKOIE FLEWRJNSA;LNPULITZERMWPW F'P!SSSSS

An infinite number of monkeys and typewrites will eventually produce Shakespeare.

Six monkeys and one computer produces....a computer covered in monkey poo, implying that they are only a Howard Raines away from the newspaper business.


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Truth Theorem

The Doggerel Pundit dares Timmy to get a blog. A taste:

The chilling winds are blowing,
With the end of freedom showing—
The voices of the masses all but stilled.
For dissension within hearing
There are people disappearing—
Or racked apart, electrified or grilled.

With due-process in the shitter,
Former unified are bitter—
And hatred from the world has grown insane.
Bush has ordered ninety freighters
Just to haul off all the traitors—
You'd think that Civil War is nigh again.


Bet it won't be as good as Snoop Dog's.

I have the beginnings of a theorem coalescing. It goes something like "The more likely a person screams 'Freedom of Speech', the more likely it is they don't want you using yours." As far as I can tell, this applies to Tim and Susan, but not to the Dixie Chicks, unless Natalie Maines said something I missed during her 15 minutes, which brings me to another theorem, one with a title;

The Silflay Hraka Corollary to the Warhol Principle

In the future, everyone will be controversial for 15 minutes.


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Congrats to the new parents at the World Wide Rant, and to their offspring, who already has her own blog.


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Smuttynose Portsmouth Lager

The beer of the night, of course, which Meryl probably thought was gone for ever and good riddance, Meryl not caring too much for the general theme, you see. Hopefully she, and you, shouldn't forget you, it would be rude, is a fan of complicated sentence structure. Yep, nothing like archaic sentence construction and ill-informed ruminations on alcohol to really spike the traffic numbers.

To be fair, though, the beer of the night posts are almost never strictly about the beer, serving instead as a catch-all for the unthemed, (sadly unthemed, to my mind) events of the day. I sent them on sabbatical due to reasons of the clock and the pocketbook, there not being enough time in the day to get around to them for a while, nor enough money in the wallet for me to afford a new beer to review every night.

Also, many beers come in six packs, as you might have heard, and while I was reviewing one bottle its five brethren were taking up space in the elderly dorm refrigerator that has been my unofficial beer cooler for the past ten years.

"Make room! Make room," they cried. Later they cried "Make water! Make water," but that's a story for another time, a time I'm sure will never come.

As well, rare beers, even the singles, cost a shocking amount, so there have been times when I was faced with a soul-rending choice between beer and a new picture book for Ngnat, or beer and a new book with altogether too few pictures for myself.

I've learned to patronize the library again. < shudder >. Ngnat always has to go potty there, and nothing gives me the heebie jeebies more than sitting her down on public toilets. I feel that I now know a little something of what Howard Hughes went through, just before the end.

As far as time goes, mine has been cut short by a woman who insists on nesting constantly. Were we ospreys, the nest would have passed amphitheater size long ago. Last saturday I mowed the lawn, went to the nursery, returned and planted new azaleas, hydrangeas, snapdragons, some tall purplish things and mint that I snuck in for juleps later in the summer, put together the extremely complicated wheel barrow gifted to me by the father-in-law, dumped leftover dirt into the creases of the hill behind the house, extended the brick edging for the plant beds around the house, staked roses and sanded down Ngnat's new bookcase. There was also a major trip to the grocery store in there somewhere.

I worked like a Mexican. I also ate like a Mexican, having asked the staff at the nursery where they had gotten the odd yet delicious looking lunch they were partaking of. After initial translation difficulties, they pointed me towards the new carniceria on 55, carniceria evidently meaning "bunch of gigantic latinos who stare impassively at gringos who try to order take out".

I had something with "carnitas" in the description, and a Senorial, a non-alcoholic carbonated Sangria. Both were excellent.

This weekend,so far, there will be more, I am to steam clean the carpets, upstairs and down, as well as at least one sofa. There's also the outdoor floodlights over the garage to replace, and the bookcase to finish. It at least is almost done, needing just a final smoothing of the paint before I take it to Ngnat's room. Its initial appearance was a shock to Mrs. Pregnant, I having treated her as Bush does Congress and bought it with neither advice nor consent, but it solves the picture book on the floor at night problem in Ngnat's room that had been driving her to distraction. Her being the Sainted Wife, rather than Ngnat, who is perfectly happy having everything at hand in case a book is needed in the wee hours of the morning. The color, a lovely dark pink that the can calls English Tea Rose, has done its job in mollifying her as well.

Not that it matches anything else in Ngnat's room, mind you. I need this baby to come before that gets noticed.


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Twelve Years and Ten Books Left

For the one or two of you who might be wondering, Richard Sharpe and I have reached the Lines of Torres Vedras. I'm moving through the books at the rate of about three a week, so I should be done in a month or so, unless I'm sidetracked by little beauties like this. It's not often that I run across something of such historical significance without prior knowledge of it, so the mention of the Lines at the end of Sharpe's Gold came as a rather pleasing shock. It was like suddenly discovering Thermopylae.

And the two are of a similar nature. Thermopylae saved the West, and the Lines of Torres Vedras saved Europe from Napolean. Had the French driven Wellington from Portugal, Britain would likely have sued for peace. Certainly there would have never been a Waterloo. Russia may have still defeated Napolean, but he would have faced enemies on one front only, and Russia's armies could have never gone on the offensive beyond her borders.

So occasionally, there are new things under the sun, or at least things one hasn't seen the sun's rays touch previously. It makes for a pleasant evening.

A word of advice, though. Nine months pregnant women on the main do not appreciate being woken up to hear a quick comparison of the merits of Thermopylae and the Lines of Torres Vedras.

My own fault, really. I should have remembered she didn't really contribute a lot to my early morning monolog on the Light Brigade back when we were dating, and drawn from that experience.


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Too Quiet Around Here

After a week of being gone I will be reunited with my wife and kids after a week. Who would have thought I would miss all the noise and action that usually goes on around here so much? Yipee, I get to hear The Bug say, "Shut up" again. I realize this makes me the ultimate puss, but I blame it on being so freakin' tired.


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Too Tired to Sleep

Have you ever been too tired to go to sleep? I know it sounds goofy, but that is how I feel right now. Wouldn't it be cool if we never had to go to sleep? Bigwig, Kehaar, and I tried that experiment during our college days, but typically only could make it through dawn, or until the beer ran out, whichever came first (usually the end of the beer).

What would I do differently if I never had to sleep? Well, there are a few things that I can think of that would be different. First, we wouldn't need any bedrooms. They would just be rooms, because we wouldn't need any beds. Of course, I'm sure someone would invent the "Hump Sofa" to give us a place to do our business, but beds would not be needed.

Also, I might get a lot more done if I never got too tired. Admittedly, I might just waste more time, but the possibilities would be endless. Can you imagine how much time we might spend blogging??? Dear God, we wouldn't be able to count the relationships that might ruin.


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5/08/2003


They Also Produce Piles Of Crap And Think It Art

Madonna on France: "Here in France I feel at home."

Of course you do, dear. Most pretentious women with underarm hair do.

Update: The ananova link vanished with startling swiftness. Here's one for the same story, in the Irish Times

Link via Instapundit


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Sniffling Broadside

Something struck me today. SARS. No, I wasn't sneezed on. The acronym has started to annoy me, though I suspect not nearly as much as it does some Norwegians. It stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which strikes me as somewhat redundant. It's Severe and Acute? I realize that the disease is "acute" as opposed to "chronic", but the very definition of the word is "A type of disease or disorder having a sudden onset with severe symptoms, and generally a short or self-limited duration (such as a head cold or sprain). The opposite of chronic. " It's the essentially the same thing as calling the disease SSSDRS, (Severe Severe Short Duration Respiratory Syndrome), though admittedly SARS is easier to pronounce.

In the interest of linguistic elegance, I think the initial "S" in SARS needs to be dropped, leaving it as "ARS". We could then refer to it as the "The Pirate Disease" injecting a much needed note of humor into the coverage of the disease; something to cut the rampant paranoia and fear with. There's a nice little sub-textual nod of the head there to China, not only the origin of the disease, but home of the biggest software pirates in the world. We could also then pepper our daily discussions of the virus with nautical neologisms, and who doesn't like a nice nautical neologism now and then?

I can hear them now: "Batten down your hatches, lubber, lest ye go spreading the ARS!" to someone not covering their mouth when they sneeze, and "Set Sail, matey!" to someone who has forgotten to put on their facemask. Doctors could proscribe a short stay in the brig when they tired of telling people they were being quarantined, and nurses could swab the decks rather than disinfect a room.

Certainly most people would prefer being upwind of an ARS sufferer. "Keep to windward, me lad (or lassie)" would replace the totally overexposed "Have a nice day", as well as allowing "beating to windward" to describe the movement of ARS-wary individuals in a crowd, as they seek the upwind and germ free edges of a mass gathering.

And, should cannabis that's been blessed by a priest prove efficacious in preventing the spread of ARS, people wouldn't be inoculated. They'd just get holystoned.


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Testing the Limits

My daughter, The Bug, is a little over 2 years old. Much has been written about the “terrible 2’s” but so far we have been spared most of the horror stories we hear from other parents. That said, she is beginning to test the limits of what she can and cannot do. Thankfully, most of it, while sometimes irritating, is so frickin’ funny that you can’t help but laugh at it.

We try to be careful what we say in front of her, but sometimes words slip out without the normal censoring that should be done. My wife, unprovoked for sure, has a habit of telling me to “shut up” on a regular basis. The Bug, not one to let things pass, quickly picked up on this and has begun to use this phrase with some regularity. She will not say it at someone (i.e., “Shut up, Bigwig”), instead preferring to walk into a room just repeating it time after time (i.e., “Shut up, shut up, shut up"). Realizing that this is not something we want her to consistently throw out to everyone she meets, we have told her that we do not say that to people because it isn’t very nice…………which apparently in a two year old’s language means, “Say it when you can and watch the reactions you get.”

It is typical for her to wake up in the mornings and call out for her mother or me. Normally, I will go into her room, crawl into her bed and try to steal another 15 minutes of sleep before the day really gets going. The other day I did the same thing and turned away from her to close my eyes. I was dozing in and out and felt her roll over close to me, right next to my back. In the sweetest voice she began to whisper, “Shut up”……pause……..”Shut up”……more pausing…..”Shut up.” She obviously thought that I was asleep and was dying to use her new favorite slogan. I turned over and started laughing. I realize that this doesn’t do much to encourage her to stop saying it, but I couldn't help it.

A day or so later she was in the car for the 3+ hour drive to the beach when my wife heard her begin to whisper again from the backseat. She proceeded to say, “Shut………down. Shut………down. Shut……….up.” Eventually getting up enough courage to leave out the pause and repeatedly rattle off “Shut up” a number of times.

You have to pick what is important and what isn’t as a parent, and decide what really needs to be corrected and what doesn’t. No, I don’t wish for her to walk up to her grandparents and constantly say “Shut up” in front of them (anymore than it has already happened), but I also realize that saying this doesn’t make her a trouble maker and isn’t such a big deal. Surprisingly, she has not yet picked up on the other words we let slip, especially “Shit,” a common knee-jerk reaction to something gone wrong. The funny thing is that my wife is worse about saying this in front of her than I am, which is somewhat of a surprise to even me. Perhaps I finally am maturing…………but I doubt it.

I like watching her try out her new independence, and really don’t want her to be afraid to do these things for fear of punishment. I know more testing of limits will take place, but so far, the 2’s aren’t terrible. Instead they just provide a never-ending supply of funny things to blog about or share with others who have children and understand how hilarious this stuff can be.


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Lex Luthor is looking happy.


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For Nieces and Nephews

I got a link to this site in my email. It's like virtual teletubbies or something. Lots of cool/weird stuff to see and do.


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Millions Panic As Giant Space JellyFish Enters Solar System!



Astronomers urge caution, scan night skies for Interstellar Leatherbacks; Asian jellyfish market collapses.

In preparation for a possible attack on the planet by the giant invertebrate, President Bush today ordered the nation's armed forces to begin an emergency stockpiling of urine. Giant urine donation centers have been set up in miltary bases across the land, and a case of beer and a month's supply of diuretics has been issued to every active member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Upon the announcement ot the program, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld issued a statement urging all members of the military to "Go for the Gold."

photo via yahoo


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5/07/2003


Putomayo Party

The 33rd edition of the Carnival of the Vanities is at Common Sense and Wonder this week. Upcoming Carnival stops include;

Upcoming Carnival stops include;
May 14th The Inscrutable American
May 21st Cut On The Bias
May 28th Dean's World
June 4th Drumwaster's Rants
June 11th Overtaken by Events
June 18th Real Women Online
June 25th Single Southern Guy
July 2nd Amish Tech Support
July 9th Winds Of Change -- The 42nd spot, coveted by hitchhiker's across the galaxy.
July 16th Caerdroia
July 23rd DaGoddess
July 30th Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

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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Not Dead, Just Abnormally Active

Like I could go practically a whole weekday with just one post. Not that this one will make up for my lack of electron herding. More in the nature of a test really, of the SilflayHraka RSS feed, which should be available here if I haven't screwed the setup somehow. In other words, if blogspot suddenly goes down, it was me. Or a light wind.

Thanks to Bruce of Redwood Asylum for planting the RSS nail and to Ole of Critical Section for driving it home.

Update: Yes, it works, but not without some cussing. If there is any html code in the required blogspot description field, then the xml is formatted incorrectly. And there was html code there, code that produced the ever so delightful "bigwig is, kehaar is, woundwort is" entries on the left, code that I liked, so I was wroth when I determined the cause of the failure. In case anyone is interested in doing this themselves, I got around it by putting a single space in to the description field (under "Settings" on the blogspot editor page), then replaced the "< $BlogDescription$ >" entry in the template with the code I had originally put in the description field.

Now, if I can just get someone to explain Blogspot Plus to me. If it could be set it so that I could use the blogger interface to produce pages like http://silflayhraka.blogspot.com/books or http://silflayhraka.blogspot.com/photos, then I would go ahead and buy it, but from what I have read thus far it doesn't seem as if that is possible.

It's also possible that the documentation is horrid. That's par for the course on most apps, but I usually blame myself for not understanding the docs rather than the inept technical writer who produced them.


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.




France: Ally to Axis of Evil?

While watching Fox News Channel last night I heard the story suggesting the France may have issued visas to some of the former ruling party members of Iraq. In addition, there is evidence suggesting that they may have aided in some of these members fleeing Iraq and entering Europe. These alleged visas would allow these ruling party members to enter approximately 80 countries in Europe (I believe).

If this is true, and apparently there is good evidence suggesting that it is, what does this mean regarding how we will relate with France in the future? Previously, our attitude towards France was irritation, believing that they did not support our war due to objections directly related to the conflict. This information would suggest that they are far more than just objectors. So, what do we do?

France has been viewed as an ally for a number of years. This would appear to be in jeopardy of changing. We do not need allies who work behind our back to protect those whom we view as threatening to our safety. Bush has long said that those who would protect and harbor those who wish to do America harm will be seen as enemies and will be treated accordingly. That language is easy to throw around to countries who friendship we have traditionally not enjoyed, but how will this relate to a country who has been our “friend” for generations?

It will be interesting to hear the rhetoric that will be used during this latest issue. Will Bush continue to talk tough, or will the anger and threats be avoided because of our history with France? The whole situation is somewhat unbelievable. It adds credence to the statement, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”

Perhaps the situation will end up making Bigwig looking like a prophet with his “First Iraq, then France” bumper stickers. While I realize this will not reach that point, if this is true France needs to suffer some consequences. Only time will tell what these may be, if anything.

The original story is found here.

More found here, link found by Bigwig.


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pkill Or Not pkill, That Is The Question

Here's an addendum to last week's comments on killing multiple processes, because I know you've been dying for it. pkill does not work if the filter you are grepping for is fairly far into the body of the process entry. I suspect it uses something like ps -ef, which returns only a portion of a particular entry, rather than the entire entry. I had thought that at the time, but haven't had a chance to test it until this morning.

kill -9 `ps -auxwww | grep smart | grep -v grep | awk '{print $2}'` works just fine.


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5/06/2003




Comparatively good

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
LevelScore
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test


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Craps Throwing Surrender Monkey

Most people enjoy seeing the mighty taken down a peg or two. "Pride goeth before a fall" is one of the most enduring tropes of American culture. Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings. Ma, Ma, Where my Pa? Gone to the White House, Ha! Ha! Ha! There's a long history of sex scandals in Washington; Bill Clinton and Gary Condit are just two of the more current examples.

Those whom the gods would destroy, they first raise up*. When the object of the destruction is a moralistic scold, an extra little fillip of glee courses through the American consciousness as we watch their descent from the heights. There's a reason why people gloated over the falls of Aimee Semple MacPherson, Jim and Tammy Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Jesse Jackson and now of course, Bill Bennett, even though his ostensible failure was not sexual in nature. Observing a moral scold receive his or her comeuppance is a tonic for the soul. It's not just the joy of seeing hubris experience its peculiar reward. America revels in downfalls like that of Bill Bennett because we don't like being told what to do, regardless of the aptness of a particular message.

It's called liberty. It's the bedrock of the American psyche, the cardinal American virtue, and Bill Bennett has betrayed it. Not by gambling, which he correctly pointed out was not only with his own money, but a legal activity where he practiced it**, but by his abject surrender once the story broke. Rather than stand in the teeth of the storm and defend himself, an action one would assume would be automatic for a man who penned entire chapters on Courage and Perseverance in his bestselling Book of Virtues, Bennett knuckled under.

He folded. Not to pressure from the the Left, but from his ostensible allies on the Right.

  Concerned Women for America said it "commends our friend Bill Bennett's bold move to cease gambling, despite an absence of personal conviction. Taking responsibility for his example to others, he has once again demonstrated good character."
     Noting that "families are crumbling under the weight of irresponsible gambling losses," CWA, founded by Beverly LaHaye, said in a statement: "We pray that Mr. Bennett will remain firm in his resolve to eliminate gambling from his life and will not hesitate to seek any help he may need in keeping his resolve."
In Colorado Springs, James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, said he was "disappointed to learn that our longtime friend, Dr. Bill Bennett, is dealing with what appears to be a gambling addiction."
" 'Gaming,' as the industry euphemistically refers to itself, is a cancer on the soul of the nation," Mr. Dobson said. Commending Mr. Bennett for his intention to quit gambling, he said, "Our prayers will be with him and his family in the days ahead."


His was an abasement swift and unconditional, one well-nigh French in its boneless rapidity. Faced with the chance of defending actions private in nature and legal in practice, of defending Liberty, William Bennett fell to his knees and admitted wrongdoing. He jumped off the burning deck without ever looking back. Next step, the ever so humble "forgive me" speech, followed by a resumption of his scolding. Like Jimmy Swaggart, like Jesse Jackson. Rather than striking a blow for Freedom, Bennett took a dive and gave Sin the win.

And yes, Bennett's downfall does raise questions about the educational utility of his book. Why should one have faith in a message when the messenger delivering it is betraying the principles within? It could certainly be argued that an eight million dollar gambling habit puts paid to Self Discipline, and we've already seen Courage and Perseverance go by the board. What hope is there for Compassion, Responsibility, Friendship, and Work?

Liberty, you'll note, is nowhere to be found. It's is an inconvenient virtue for scolds, though one might think that scolds of the Right might value it a tad bit more that the scolds on the Left. After all, Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. was once a rallying cry for conservatives.

For Bill Bennett, at least, it's become "Extremism in the defense of liberty is... not a consideration."

* Yes, I know Euripides said it differently
**Presumably this argument would also be acceptable to Mr. Bennett's supporters had he been a frequent patron of Nevada's brothels, rather than its casinos.

Update: The Light of Reason on Bennett "For Bennett, there is no principled recognition of individual rights -- no recognition that, as long as a person is not violating the rights of others (defined objectively and narrowly -- and not with dubious and amorphous appeals to dangers to "society in general"), an individual has the right to consume as many drugs as he wishes, to engage in sex with other consenting adults in any manner he wishes, to hire a prostitute, and the like."

LoR link via The Daily Pundit


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5/05/2003




Indecency in Danger

The drive to stamp out all that is indecent and obscene has infiltrated my email for the umpteenth time. I hate getting forwards from people telling me what I should boycott almost as much as I hate getting spam offering me deals penis enlargements. A week or so ago, another upset consumer forwarded me mail telling me something new I should avoid and protest against.

This time it was regarding a radio show. Apparently some guys on a show were talking about all the different types of sexual activities that some people may engage in, and the funny names that go along with them. The email explained how I should be so upset that this type of “filth” found its way onto the airwaves. This link reveals the conversation that took place and the topics that were dealt with.

****Some people email us after a few of our posts suggesting that we should have put up a warning telling people what to expect. Well, this is it. This link contains material that is graphic in nature (words, not pictures) and may be offensive to some of you. If you read it, that is not our fault****

While I know some people are offended by such material, and I can even understand it, things like this irritate me more than they should. I should have (but didn’t think about it until it was too late) email this person back and told him/her that if you don’t like what people are talking about, then CHANGE THE DAMN CHANNEL!!!! This would be more of a problem if we only had one channel to choose from, but we don’t. This is why we have cable television, to give us the option to watch and listen to what we want to, and to turn off what we don’t want to see/hear.

No, I wouldn’t want my daughter to listen to that at her age, but when she gets older she can decide for herself what she does and does not want to hear. Aren’t there bigger things for us to worry about than some guys with a radio show talking about butt-loving? What amazes me is that the people sending around these emails took the time to listen to the whole conversation before emailing it to all of us. If you hated reading it so much, why the hell did you send it to the rest of us to read it? Seems like you could have kept it from becoming such an issue by not promoting it to the people on your email list.

Reading the angry email made me feel like littering, cutting down old trees, driving an SUV and clubbing some seals.


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What Does She Know That We Don't?


photo and blurb via yahoo


A Chinese soldier cries as she attends a ceremony to bid farewell to military medics leaving Shanghai to reinforce Beijing in the country's fight against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, May 5, 2003.

Somehow I doubt that a ceremony to bid farewell to military medics is that emotionally moving, unless one is thinking either "We're doomed, the doctors are leaving." or "My doctor husband/boyfriend is going to Beijing to fight Sars, and he's doomed." It just strikes me as a bad sign for any regime when the soldiers that ostensibly support it are driven to tears. Soldiers crying, and peasants rebelling. Interesting times?



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Caricatures In Granite

There's still an Old Man of the Mountain, he just looks like Nixon now.


photo via yahoo

It's the jowls that do it, I think. Still trying to id the political cartoonist this reminds me of. Not too many people drew Tricky Dick with a short stubby nose. Maybe Paul Conrad?


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William Bennett's Book of Virtues, Revised Edition

Chapter 1 - Self Discipline In which our hero, young Christian, learns to never split 5s.
Chapter 2 - Compassion In which our hero discovers which chips are best for tipping the barmaid.
Chapter 3 - Responsibility In which Demon alcohol teaches out pilgrim to never play when he has had too much to drink.
Chapter 4 - Friendship In which our hero learns when and how to share his system.
Chapter 5 - Work A very special chapter in which Christian meets a gentle bearded man who entreats him to "know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em."
Chapter 6 - Courage In which Christian is rewarded for letting it ride at the roulette table.
Chapter 7 - Perseverance In which Christian learns never to quit after a win.
Chapter 8 - Honesty In which our hero learns that it is the mark of an inexperienced man not to believe in luck.


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.




CSI:Baghdad

Enough of a force to win the war, but not enough to keep the peace? I don't mind a little looting, I don't really mind a lot of looting. In a state where everything was owned by an oppressive government, it's understandable that people are going to take some of their own back. But in the aftermath of a war where one of the stated reasons was to keep Weapons of Mass Destruction from proliferating in the Middle East, shouldn't we have been concentrating on keeping the ingredients needed for making WMDs from proliferating in the Middle East?

It's certainly going to be a kick in the teeth if we discover that the real reason we can't find any weapons of mass destruction is because they were all looted after we toppled Saddam.

Forget the golden heads and silver harps, the real treasures of Iraq, the cash on the barrelhead no questions asked treasures, are the chemicals, germs and radiological materials. Certain parties are willing to pay big money for that stuff, and you can bet that if someone thought to pre-loot the National Museum, then someone else thought to pre-loot the WMDS. How much is a lead lined vial of plutonium worth? Surely more than all the stolen treasures from the museum put together. Of course, all of the stolen treasures is a much smaller number than it used to be, isn't it?

The fact that the initial stories on the looting of the National Museum were so wrong is something of a comfort here, though presumably not to the portions of the commentariat who gleefully used them as a club to cudgel the administration, as if the disappearance of some elderly gold trumped the overthrow of a government that committed mass murder upon its own citizenry. It's a comfort because, just like the museum, we don't know a lot about the inventory at the Baghdad Nuclear Research Facility. Once we locate the inventory listing, and there will be one, there's nothing like a one party oppressive government when it comes to generating paperwork, and start crosschecking it against actual contents, the fear of massive amounts of radioactive material spreading across the region will be mostly unfounded.

Mostly, not all. If the one remaining unchecked item on the list is "plutonium, 16 two ounce vials in lead lined box"*, I don't expect we'll hear about it. I think we should, but given the administration's penchant for secrecy, I don't think we will. It's also not like them to hand the Democrats a stick to beat them with.

The problem is that this question should have never come up. The Baghdad Nuclear Research Facility, and every other known or suspected WMD site in Iraq should have been as pristine and untouched as the day it was occupied by our forces. Not doing so not only leads to this insanely dangerous looting, but to the inevitable charges that we have either tampered with the evidence, or let it be destroyed by accident.

Every WMD site in Iraq is a crime scene, and like all crime scene should have been left inviolate until the detectives arrived. If it takes a while because we had to assemble a group of detectives that we trusted, well, then it is closely guarded for as long as it takes.

If we're going to be the world's policeman, the first thing we need to to is to quit letting people into the crime scene. Of course, letting people trample the crime scene is ok if you're not concerned about getting good evidence to begin with. Many people have been accusing this administration of that particular failing for months, proving them right just makes the next step in the war on terrorism that much more difficult.


*note, I have no idea how plutonium is stored. It could be tied up in the toes of worn out socks and left in old Lucky Charms boxes for all I know. What I'm saying is "It's late, and I don't wish to spend an hour searching the web to determine the correct method of packaging plutonium." I'll wait for one of you to tell me, preferably in your best pedantic tone, that any fool knows plutonium is actually stored in old Frankenberries boxes.


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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