The Everlasting Phelps

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

The Gender Genie

August 31st, 2003

Via Black Glenn

This thing is supposed to be able to tell your gender from your posts. It sucks at typing me.

  • “Another Year”: Female
  • “Fisking of the Day”: Female
  • “Puppy Blending Vampire Assassin”: Male

1 for 3. That’s a pretty poor showing. Maybe my samples weren’t long enough. The thing is showing about 50%, instead of the claimed 80%. You know what 50% is? Pure, random chance.

Another Year

August 29th, 2003

Had my birthday yesterday. I’m not going to worry about birthday dinners anymore. Last year, I was at the courthouse doing closing arguments on my birthday in a wrongful termination case. We got the verdict back. We poured him out. Life was good.

The victory dinner was at Bob’s Steak and Chop House, a Dallas landmark — one of the few really classy-but-not-snooty steakhouses in town. Dallas leads the nation on restaurants per capita, and a lot of them are steakhouses. Beef is popular here.

This year, I soaked a vendor. A lot of people avoid vendor lunches. I see it as an opportunity for entertainment. It isn’t like it is going to affect my decision on who to send work to. Once, an axiom was quoted by Molly Ivans that I actually liked: “If you can’t eat their food, drink their whiskey, screw their women and still vote against them, you don’t belong in the lege.” So when I get a chance to soak a good lunch off a vendor, I don’t pass it.

He took us to Fogo de Chao in Addison. This is my kind of restaurant.

They have a really swank salad bar. I like that. A good salad is nice. When you finish your salad, they bring you a fresh plate, and then there are guys walking around with meat. On skewers. And they say, “Would you like some roast sirloin, sir?”

And I say, “Please.” And then meat hits my plate.

Pretty soon, another guy comes by, and asks, “Would you like some (indecipherable)?” Then, after he realizes I have no idea what he is saying, he says, “It is roast lamb seasoned with–”

“Please. Medium.”

And that keeps happening. People keep bringing you meat. Until you can’t eat any more meat. They put some mashed potatoes on the table, and some fried bananas, but that is all ancillary. The meat just keeps on coming. Every kind of roasted meat you can think of, from Filet Mignon to chicken drumsticks.

Yes, friends, I have found the world’s best all you can eat. I think I am going to take my father there for his birthday. The reviews I have seen say it is about $25 for lunch and $45 for dinner, but I think it is worth it for a special occasion.

Meat. Until you can’t eat any more. With linen on the table.

Quick Post of the Day

August 28th, 2003

RE: Factivism: Steel Not Seen As Factor in WTC Collapse

Here’s the meat and potatoes:

“If we assume that the entire quantity of jet fuel from the aircraft was injected into just one floor of the World Trade Center, that the jet fuel burnt with the perfect efficency, that no hot gases left this floor and that no heat escaped this floor by conduction.

We have found that it is impossible the jet fuel, by itself, raised the temperature of this floor beyond 280° C (536° F).

Listen closely: there were other things burning in addition to the jet fuel. M’kay? The jet fuel didn’t burn and then just leave the building pristine. When jet fuel burns, other stuff catches fire. That other stuff burns at higher tempratures. That is why the jet fuel was the accelerant, and the building was the fuel.

Fisking of the Day

August 28th, 2003

Bush’s War Goes Global

The Marriott Hotel in Jakarta was still burning when Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia’s Co-ordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs, explained the implications of the day’s attack.

“Those who criticize about human rights being breached must understand that all the bombing victims are more important than any human-rights issue.”

In a sentence, we got the best summary yet of the philosophy underlying President George W. Bush’s so-called war on terrorism. Terrorism doesn’t just blow up buildings; it blasts every other issue off the political map. The specter of terrorism, real and exaggerated, has become a shield of impunity, protecting governments around the world from scrutiny for their human-rights abuses.

This is a false dillemma. First, it isn’t even the White House saying this — it is Indonesia. (I guess that is the best she could come up with.) Second, nothing in it says that you have to choose one or the other. It doesn’t even say that they should be protected from scrutiny, just that in the final evaluation, keeping people alive is more important than making sure terrorists get skim milk instead of whole milk in Gitmo.

Many have argued that the WoTtm is the U.S. government’s thinly veiled excuse for constructing a classic empire, in the model of Rome or Britain. Two years into the crusade, it’s clear that this is a mistake: The Bush gang doesn’t have the stick-to-it-ness to successfully occupy one country, let alone a dozen.

Hey, dimwit, we are occupying two countries right this second — Afghanistan and Iraq. The list could really be much higher, since we are also still occupying Japan, Germany, Korea, and semi-occupying Kuwait to provide security.

Mr. Bush and the gang do, however, have the hustle of good marketers, and they know how to contract out. What Mr. Bush has created in the war on terrorism is less a doctrine for world domination than an easy-to-assemble tool kit for any mini-empire looking to get rid of the opposition and expand its power.

The war on terrorism was never a war in the traditional sense, it lacked a clear target or a fixed location. It is, instead, a kind of brand, an idea that can be easily franchised by any government in the market for an all-purpose opposition cleanser.

We already know that the WoTtm works on domestic groups that use terrorist tactics, such as Hamas or the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC). That’s only its most basic application. WoTtm can be used on any liberation or opposition movement. It can be applied liberally to unwanted immigrants, pesky human-rights activists and even on hard-to-get-out investigative journalists.

Domestic groups that use terrorist tactics. Hey, shithead, you know what we call that in the real world? They are called TERRORISTS. That what you are called when you use “terrorist tactics.”

It was Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who was the first to adopt Mr. Bush’s franchise, parroting the White House’s pledges to “pull up these wild plants by the root, smash their infrastructure” as he sent bulldozers into the occupied territories to uproot olive trees, and tanks to raze civilian homes.

Soon enough, Mr. Sharon’s wild plants included human-rights observers who were bearing witness to the attacks, as well as aid workers and journalists.

They weren’t “observers”. They were “interferers”. Observers don’t need bullhorns. Observers observe from the side. If you are observing from the side, you can’t be run over by something in the middle.

Another franchise soon opened in Spain with Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar extending his WoTtm from the Basque guerrilla group ETA to the Basque separatist movement as a whole, the vast majority of which is peaceful. Mr. Aznar has resisted calls to negotiate with the Basque Autonomous Government and banned the political party Batasuna (even though, as The New York Times noted in June, “no direct link has been established between Batasuna and terrorist acts”). He has also shut down Basque human-rights groups, magazines and the only entirely Basque-language newspaper. In February, the Spanish police raided the Association of Basque Middle Schools, accusing it of having terrorist ties.

This appears to be the true message of Mr. Bush’s war franchise: Why negotiate with your political opponents when you can annihilate them? In the era of WoTtm, little concerns like war crimes and human rights just don’t register.

Try this one on for size asshole. “Why negotiate with terrorists when they will simply break the cease-fire anyways?” That is what your beloved Palestinian child murderers have taught the world. Terrorists, by their nature, cannot be negotiated with. To do so simply validates the tactic.

Among those who have taken careful note of the new rules is Georgia’s President Eduard Shevardnadze. In October, while extraditing five Chechens to Russia (without due process) for its WoTtm, he stated that “international human-rights commitments might become pale in comparison with the importance of the anti-terrorist campaign.”

First, what exactly is “due process” in Georgia? I’m betting it isn’t the same as in the US. Second, Chechnyans… I’ve heard that name before. Oh, that’s right — they are the ones blowing up apartment buildings and taking entire theaters hostage. Lovely fellows. Why would anyone be upset with them?

Indonesia’s President Megawati Sukarnoputri got the same memo. She came to power pledging to clean up the notoriously corrupt and brutal military and to bring peace to the fractious country. Instead she has called off talks with the Free Aceh Movement and in May, invaded the province, the largest military offensive since the 1975 invasion of East Timor. The Indonesian human-rights organization Tapol describes the situation in the oil-rich province as “a living hell, a daily roundup of trauma and extreme fear, of sweeping villages, of the seizure of people at random and, hours later, their bodies left lying by the roadside.”

Why did the Indonesian government think it could get away with the invasion after the international outrage that forced it out of East Timor? Easy: Post-Sept. 11, the government cast Aceh’s movement for national liberation as “terrorist,” which means human-rights concerns no longer apply. Rizal Mallarangeng, a senior adviser to Megawati, called it the “blessing of Sept. 11.”

It was hard to vet this quote; I finally found it and caught the Dowdism:

“This is a blessing of Sept. 11 — that we now know terrorism has two sources, God and nation,” said Rizal Mallarangeng, the adviser.

So which it? Are you an ignorant shit who didn’t know what he actually said, or a lying shit who decided to twist the words to mean what you need at the moment? It means that terrorists aren’t always religious fanatics. Sometimes they are nationalists, you simple-minded myrmidon.

Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appears to feel similarly blessed. Quick to cast her battle against Islamic separatists in the southern Moro region as part of WoTtm, Ms. Arroyo — like Mr. Sharon, Mr. Aznar and Megawati — abandoned peace negotiations and waged brutal civil war instead, displacing 90,000 people last year.

She didn’t stop there. Last August, speaking to soldiers at a military academy, Ms. Arroyo extended the war beyond terrorists and armed separatists to include “those who terrorize factories that provide jobs,” code for trade unions. Labor groups in Philippine free-trade zones report that union organizers are facing increased threats, and strikes are being broken up with extreme police violence.

Where’s your weasel language now? Shouldn’t that be “trade unions that use terrorist tactics”?

In Colombia, the government’s war against leftist guerrillas has long been used as cover to murder anyone with leftist ties, whether union activists or indigenous farmers. But even in Colombia, things have gotten worse since President Alvaro Uribe took office in August, 2002, on a WoTtm platform.

Last year, 150 union activists were murdered. Like Mr. Sharon, Mr. Uribe quickly moved to get rid of the witnesses, expelling foreign observers and playing down the importance of human rights. Only after “terrorist networks are dismantled . . . will we see full compliance with human rights,” Mr. Uribe said in March.

It is worth noting here that the “observers” mentioned here are the same ilk as the “observers” in Israel.

Sometimes WoTtm is not an excuse to wage a war, but to keep one going. Mexican President Vicente Fox came to power in 2000 pledging to settle the Zapatista conflict “in 15 minutes” and to tackle rampant human-rights abuses committed by the military and police. Now, post-Sept. 11, Mr. Fox has abandoned both projects. The Mexican government has made no moves to reinitiate the Zapatista peace process and last week, Mr. Fox closed down the high-profile office of the Undersecretary of Human Rights.

The talks were called off because the Zapatistas wouldn’t negotiate. No point in talking just to hear your own voice. As for sacking the Undersecretary, I’m all for removing redundant layers of bureaucracy.

This is the era ushered in by Sept. 11, war and repression unleashed not by a single empire, but a global franchise of them. In Indonesia, Israel, Spain, Colombia, the Philippines and China, governments have latched onto to Mr. Bush’s deadly WoTtm and are using it to erase their opponents and tighten their grip on power.

Last week, another war was in the news. In Argentina, the senate voted to repeal two laws that granted immunity to the sadistic criminals of the 1976-1983 dictatorship. At the time, the generals called their campaign of extermination a “war on terror,” using a series of kidnappings and violent attacks by leftist groups as an excuse to seize power.

The vast majority of the 30,000 people who were disappeared during the dictatorship weren’t terrorists; they were union leaders, artists, teachers, psychiatrists. As with all wars on terrorism, terrorism wasn’t the target — it was the excuse to wage the real war on people who dared to dissent.

Okey-dokey. What the hell does that have to do with the price of eggs? That’s the best you can come up with, huh? Okay, I can dig this logic. It follows logically that since one instance of wrongdoing is enough to demonize a whole philosophy, I’ll point to Stalin’s purges and condemn socialism.

Unfortunately for you, I have more than just that one example to support my position.

French Math

August 28th, 2003

I saw this article over at Misha’s blog, and I thought about it — France has 8 week mandatory vacations, a 35 hour (max) work week and 11 paid holidays a year. That is:

52 weeks
minus 8 vacation gives 44 weeks
at 35 hours a week gives 1540 hours
minus 88 hours vacation leaves a grand total of
1452 hours a year. Without sick time.

Compare that to what I presume is the average American full-time job:

52 weeks
minus 4 weeks vacation — he’s been there about 10 years — gives 48 weeks
times 40 hours a week (minimum) gives 1920 hours
minus 48 hours for six paid holidays gives
1872 hours a year. That’s 29 percent more work a year.

And that presumes no overtime. None. Suppose he works an average of 45 hours a week, and only has two weeks vacation, since he has only been at this job two years. (I sway between 40 and 90. I get long weeks sometimes.) Now the total is 2202 hours a year. Now we have a 51 percent increase.

Bottom line? The French are lazy bastards by and large who are using guns to drag down the few that aren’t lazy bastards, and I hope they collapse like the fucking USSR for it.

Be glad I didn’t do the Jamaican-American numbers. Hell, at the law firm I work at, at one time associates were expected to bill 225 hours a month. That’s 2700 hours a year, giving an 86 percent increase over the maximum allowed by French law. They aren’t civilized. They are goddamned savages who think that they can lie around and pluck fruit off the trees. Go to work, you lazy pricks.

White House Gets It

August 27th, 2003

While Arafat calls on Palestinians to commit to cease-fire the White House seems to finally get it:

In Washington, the Bush administration dismissed Arafat’s move, saying he is trying to undermine Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and the peace process.

“Nothing has changed in respect to Arafat,” said State Department spokesman Phil Reeker.

Reeker and a White House spokeswoman, Claire Buchan both said Arafat is “part of the problem, not part of the solution.”

Horray! The sooner the world makes Arafat persona non grata (that’s Latin, not French) the better. I would like to say that we have finally given up on dealing with murdering terrorists, but it is pretty certain that Abbas was the financier of Black September. We are still better off turning our backs on the biggest murderer.

Also, in an interview with Reuters, Arafat is quoted as saying he is ready to take action against the militant groups on the condition that Israel stop its strikes against them.

David Saranga, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, asked, “Why does Arafat wait for Israeli action before he is acting against terrorism?

“The Palestinian Authority should act against the infrastructure of terrorism as soon as possible and they should start doing it today, if not yesterday,” said Saranga.

First of all, you are supposed to have already turned those duties over to Abbas, you murdering liar. Second, it shouldn’t be an “either / or” matter. You should be working with the Israelis to root out the terrorists, not in lieu of the IDF.

Take a look at that roadmap you agreed to, you piece of slime.

Phase I Highlights: PA
  • Dismantles “terrorist capabilities and infrastructure”
  • Ends all incitement against Israel

That isn’t phase I-B. That isn’t phase I.2. That isn’t phase I(b). That is phase ONE. Do it or face total war.

Puppy Blending Vampire Assassin

August 27th, 2003

I live in Dallas, so even though it happened before I was born, the Kennedy Assassination is something burned into my psyche by proximity. I know a lot of the stories of that day, and one of the more interesting ones is the story about the three “well dressed bums” that were arrested and then mysteriously released, with no record of the arrests surviving.

A lot of people think that these bums are connected to the assassination, as the rail yard is at the top of the infamous “grassy knoll” in Dealey Plaza that many believe that the real assassin shot from. When I thought about that today, I felt a little tickle at the back of my mind… and I looked up the picture. What did I see?

Glenn_killer.jpg

Take a good, hard look at the third bum, furthest to the left. I am certain that this is non other than the Puppy-Blender himself! Take a look at the closeup!

Glenn_zoom.jpg

There is no doubt that this is the hated spawn of Satan. However, even I am cautious about throwing around accusations of presidential assassination. It is then that I realized why they were released. The police knew that they didn’t assassinate Kennedy, because they knew the real reason they were in that rail yard amongst the bums — they were a hobo smiting cabal. Conspiracies within conspiracies, my friends.

Think about the implications. We learn two things from this evidence: first, White Glenn is not only a hobo smiter, he is indeed a member of an entire hobo smiting secret society, and two, he has not aged a day since 1963. That means that he is a vampire, or some other form of immortal occult monster. This would explain his insatiable lust for puppy blood. We are at the cusp of uncovering a murderous plot with worldwide implications, my fellow countrymen. Join us now, before it is too late!

The Everlasting Phelps

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.