Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Talking With the Enemy

Is fine, but as long as yo do it with clear eyes. Yes, this is follow up on my commentary yesterday about Ahmednuttyjihad's speech at Columbia U.

People say we should talk with Iran, Syria, North Korea (but then they are quick to want war on our allies). I say fine, but as long as it is understood to whom we are talking to and what it will most likely accomplish – nothing.

The problem is most of those calling for talks assume those we will engage will talk seriously and I seriously doubt that and when the talks lead to the inevitable nothing it will certainly not be due to the intransigence of our enemies but the critics will blame ourselves for the talks failure.

If you want to talk for the sake of talking that is fine, just do not expect anything worthwhile to come of it.

The Sand Pebbles

Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online published an interesting comment noting Katie Couric being puzzled by the surge in patriotism after 9/11.
Close readers may have noticed that I am increasingly vexed by cosmopolitanism, the idea that we are not citizens of a country or products of a place but rather "citizens of the world." See this old G-File, particularly the second half for a fuller explanation of my views.
Source: The Corner – The Nefarious "We" (Jonah Goldberg)
The "citizens of the world comment instantly sparked a recollection in my mind. Every now and then when flipping through the channels I come across a movie entitled The Sand Pebbles. I usually stop and watch. It stars Steve McQueen (I react the same to another Steve McQueen movie: Papillon). Here is what I wrote to Mr. Goldberg:

Ever see Steve McQueen's The Sand Pebbles? In it, Candace Bergman (IIRC) is the daughter of a "globalist" missionary. Steve McQueen's gunboat is assigned to rescue them and when the gunboat arrives to the rescue Candace's father says he tore up his passport and denounced his citizenship in front of the appropriate personal. He tried to tell the Chinese mob he wasn't an American but a citizen of the world as you can well guess it worked as well as the boxing routine the Chinese used to protect themselves from bullets.

It all comes back to the idea of how herding is a sound defensive mechanism.
E-mail I sent to Jonah
That is essentially what happened and in the end Steve's character is also killed. However, the main point is that the protestations of the missionary character that he was Not American but a citizen of the world did not do any real good. It made him an easier target is what it did. Similarly, for Tom Fox he hoped his denunciations of his nation and its efforts would spare him from barbarism but it did not. In the end his captors probably show more compassion to a Eid sheep than they did to him.

Later in the day I was visiting The Corner and this is what I see:
The Sand Pebbles [Jonah Goldberg]

I've never seen it, but apparently the movie made a big impact on quite a large number of readers. For example:

Mr. Goldberg,

One of my favorite scenes from a movie is in “The Sand Pebbles”, a Steve McQueen vehicle covering American involvement in the Boxer Rebellion. Going upriver to rescue a missionary, they discover he won’t leave, because he has renounced his citizenship and the local militia would never, ever harm him. As the troops approach, he runs toward them waving his ‘renunciation papers’ and shouting that he is a ‘citizen of the world’. He’s the first to die. Even as a kid, that lesson wasn’t lost on me.

09/26 02:57 PM
Source: The Corner – The Sand Pebbles (Jonah Goldberg)
One question I have for the globalists – do you support completely free trade?

Anyway, the note Jonah published was not mine but the sentiments were identical.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Nuts on Ahmednuttyjihad

President Ahmednuttyjihad speaks at Columbia University. The Iranian MSM glosses over the fact the welcome was less than warm, that makes for a warm glow in my heart because that was the sort of trickery the USSR news organs would resort to.

The burning question, before, during, and after was about how appropriate it was for Columbia University allowing Ahmednuttyjihad a prestigious platform on which to speak. Was it?

The Con(man)s

President Ahmednuttyjihad of Iran is petty tyrant who is more coffee boy than president. I am sure he wields power, but only as much power as suits the whims of the Iranian Mullacracy.

On the con side of the debate people are saying just that – why should we let a petty tyrant use one of our open forums to say things the likes of which his government would not allow said in an equivalent platform in Iran? So there is the lack of reciprocation.

The prestige it gives the guy back in Iran is another drawback. The appearance (even though it was less than a positive experience for Ahmednuttyjihad) might demoralize the Iranian opposition.

I think too the idea of fueling the illiberal forces in our nation too does a diservice. As we have seen there has been plenty of gushing commentary and one blog had a survey where they asked the readership who they would rather have as president Ahmednuttyjihad or W. W won, but not by all that much.

The Pros

No one exposes a nutter better than the nutter himself and Ahmednuttyjihad did just that. While I am disappointed by the crowd in not giving him more guff than they did there were a few points where Ahmednuttyjihad had pretty much the whole audience against him.

Lee Bollinger also did a good job in introducing Ahmednuttyjihad.

On The Whole

I have no problems with letting the likes of Ahmednuttyjihad speak at our institutions.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Choral Music

WCPE is playing some absolutely stunning music. It sounds like Middle Age worship music. Unfortunately their website does not release the playlist until a couple of weeks after, actually it was just announced and the work was The Vespers of our Lady by Juan Garcia Salazar.

I can not describe it.

I recall a number of years ago in July I had my wisdom teeth pulled. All four I chose a general. They told me I can bring a CD along and I got in the chair they did what they had to do, popped the CD in and hit play. I chose the UST Singer's Celebrate CD. Something happened and they skipped the first track, but that was okay. I went to sleep with Lay a Garland playing.

Interesting piece to under anesthesia!


An Espidida

We have been dealing with one espidida after another the last week. An espidida (say it espa-deeda) is going away party. I do not know if the word is pure Filipino or a Spanish loan.

Anyway our friend Cora and her new husband Tom are moving to the Philippines and leave tomorrow. Our friend Mary was Cora's sidekick and Mary was not in a good mood tonight. Kawawa naman kay Mary, Mary is usually a very jolly woman and she was tonight but as The Empress and I were leaving it was very obvious Mary was fighting back tears. How can it be any different?

When I was in Al-Ain the UAE Espididas were a common affair. One was held for me and then I returned to get the Empress and went through it all again.

Espididas are hard but at least it is good to know there are people in the world who you will cry for their absence and those who in return will cry on account of your absence.

Better and espidida than a funeral.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I'll Never Get Traffic Patterns

Here on Blogger Beer. Most of my traffic is from Google Searching. 9% of the last 100 visits were referred by an unknown source. I know the source and that is bookmarks. A number of other visits arrive through links on other Websites such as the Jawa Report, the Badger Blog Alliance, or a site that blogrolls the 101st Keyboardist Division.

However, Google referrals are my number one source of visits. I can discern no patterns, but for one thing. It has to be fresh here. I can lay off posting for a bit and the visits drop off. If I keep things fresh here then the visits increase even though the visits are just as likely to be a blog from January of 2005 as they are to visit my recent blogs. It is almost like Google punishes blogs for not keeping fresh.

No matter how you arrive at Blogger Beer you are most welcome!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Horror and Grass Roots Unity

Omar at Iraq The Model posts a story about a Sunni village that had enough of Al-Qaida. Al-Qaida doesn't like its power challenged and hence AQ attacked the village and started doing what it does best, beheading women and children. Unfortunately, the official Iraqi government nor US forces were able to come to the rescue, however people from a neighboring Shia village did:

The tragedy of this village offers us a lesson that we must learn. First, al-Qaeda wanted through this barbaric massacre that belongs to the dark ages of history to prove that anyone regardless of sect who dares turn against them would become the target of the most horrific ways of revenge. Second, the noble behavior of the neighboring Shia town proves once again that violence in Iraq isn't civil war and that the reconciliation we should be looking for is one among politicians, not among ordinary Iraqis.

Third, it is really disappointing that neither the government nor the MNF was quick enough to intervene and stop the massacre. This means the government and MNF are likely to lose the trust of those families and this is a precious asset that we can't afford to lose at this critical stage of the war.
Source: Iraq The Model – Abu Dsheer, a massacre and a moment of unity (Omar)
Of course the result is horrific and it does raise questions as to why our forces in Iraq or the Iraqi government were unable to respond.

There is no doubt about it, the primary purpose of a government is to protect the life, limb, and property of the citizenry. However, I view the Iraqi Government in Baghdad as fatally flawed and for the most part more interested in securing their own power than building a truly unified Iraq. We can not judge too harshly as the big players came to their positions by playing a very different game of politics than what is needed in Iraq.

The MNF is very very busy even with the increased number of soldiers surged in. No decent government can be everywhere at all times to defend against all threats.

The most important thing to come from this and that is the continuing germination of a true grass roots unity in Iraq. Omar notes a neighboring Shia village came to the aid of the Sunni village. This sort of cooperation we are seeing over and over again, sooner or later this unity will start to show itself in higher level political structures and sweep out the old school of Iraqi politicians.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Twoofer Tuesday

First: The Cry if The Barking Moonbat

Jonah Goldberg posts an interesting note in regards to the showman: My face burned for hours after that last one, and I still never screamed like that left wing sissy. (an e-mailer to The Corner) Mr. Meyer was putting on a show:

Next, for comparison: How About That Jack?

The student in this scene is much more respectable and while I say he was on the line, I get a notion the elevator was off limits and he crossed that line once or twice, but at least the word raving never comes to mind.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

The Old Neighborhood

Well, I did not find any blowoff fires, but I did find my old flat in Al-Ain United Arab Emirates. If you are really interested in checking out the neighborhood you can plunk in: 24 °14'42.69" N & 55°43'17.57" E into any satellite imagery service and zoom in. It took me some looking and thinking as it appears if the main roads nearby were tore up and some rerouting was done.

You can see the remains of an old intersection (a perpendicular intersection) replaced with a western job and the north south road tangentially hits a round-about. That intersection was dangerous because many locals would blow through it at 50 mph even though they had a red-light. Anyway that road re-engineering made my job much more difficult.

Anyway have a good one!

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Syrian Nukes?

The speculation on the Israeli hit against Syria continues. Former Spook gathers together some of the latest information on the hit. The most interesting things Former Spook discusses is the distinct possibility of Turkish cooperation with – Israel. Former Spook says there are solid military ties between Turkey and Israel. Interesting and at least without further thought very counter-intuitive.

Wretchard zeros in on the photograph above and from that photo is where I obtained the information to obtain the above one myself. The first image above is the original from Google Earth and the second one is the image with the brightness and contrast both cranked up (via GIMP). I have never had any training in the analysis of such photos but one thing stands out both photos and that is the orange areas to the center east side of the compound. While visible in both photos there appear to be gray tendrils to the southeast. Fire? I do not know I wonder if there any satellite imagery analysts who from time to time Read Blogger Beer? Wretchard's photo shows a similar feature but his photo is from a slightly different angle.

I am attempting to find blow fires I know exist in the UAE and see how fire looks from a satellite image. However, don't expect that to be timely.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Captain Credit Crunch

A lot of noise is being made about the so-called credit crunch.

However, I am not certain we are in one or if we are the correct remedies are being discussed.

The most common idea is the reduction of the Fed's interest rates. However, if we are in a credit crunch then cutting rates would exacerbate the problem. Interest is nothing more than the cost of money. I take "credit crunch" to mean there is not enough money in the system to satisfy demand, that is there is not enough cash to satisfy the demand to borrow it. So cutting interest rates will cause more people to want to borrow. No, the solution would be to keep rates where they are or even allow the rates to go up more!

With an increase in interest rates fewer people would borrow, more people would direct their wealth into those areas in order to get better returns on their money.

There are other ways to increase the amount of cash available for lending, but those too come with costs.

Also, I am not convinced the "sub-prime" credit market is as bad as being portrayed. I just can not believe the sub-prime market is large enough to have serious effects upon the economy as a whole. Of course, those who played the market are feeling the problems severely, but such is the game of investing.

Oh well. One thing I know, one of the signs of looming recession were noted to me by my banker sometime ago and that was short term interest rates (in this case house ARMs) were higher than 30 year rates the infamouse inverted yield curve.


Indian Darbar

The Empress and I dined in Appleton's newest Indian restaurant Indian Darbar. The link takes you to the directions to Taste of India restaurant, but that one closed and India Darbar is now opened in the same facility.

The Atmosphere

The atmosphere is Indian the artwork and the music make it so. The restaurant is suitably dim but not to bad. The furniture is functional and little more. They have stock tables for four and looked like a number of tables to seat six. Of course, if you have a larger party then the staff can put tables together.


The Bar

Indian Darbar must not refer to the bar. The bar is stocked with wines and beers but they do not have sufficient permission to also serve liquor. Of course, I am quite fond of ginnentonics before I dine so this was a disappointment. However, this is somewhat common for new ethnic restaurants. Full liquor licenses are rare and expensive. I order a glass of shiraz, no complaints it was a good wine.


May I Take Your Order

The service was so-so. We do not need help with deciding as The Empress and I are familiar with Indian cuisine and usually have a short list of items we like. The service was not so good though, I thought it slow.

The major problem I had with the waiter was when he took our order he did not ask for our desired spice levels. So, when my order came it failed to please my spice demanding palate. The appetizer relish had more spice than my entree.

After dinner I suggested to our waiter to ask the customer their desired level of spiciness and he thought I was going to complain about my dish being too spicey. I assured him the problem was the exact opposite. I understand the concern, but they should ask the customer and that way the customer can get it their way. After all, some like it hot, and some not.


The Food

Was good! They dinner started out with a couple of chutneys and papperdam bread. Those were good absolutely no complaints. The next round was the vegetable pakoras again no complaints I found them to be up to standard.

I ordered the lamb mushroom dish. I found the dish (as mentioned earlier) to be bland, but with waiter questioning they can get it up to my liking. Despite the blandness I thought the dish was good and will order it again. The mushrooms and pieces of lamb covered up in the sauce had you guessing as to what was going in. The accompanying rice was good and the nan bread was also excellent.

The Empress ordered the chicken briyani. I tasted it and found it be good, but The Empress complained it was too moist and the rice stuck together at least a bit. I like my briyani on the moist side and I was used to it being served with yogurt and another sauce which I would immediately pour on the dish to relieve it of hte dryness. The Empress also ordered the mango lassi drink and she complained the glass was small and the sweetness was too concentrated. She poured quite a bit of water into the drink (drinking it and pouring water into the drink) until the sweetness meshed with her tastes.


The Bottom Line

Considering the entire order the price was fairly reasonable.


Executive Summary

Overall, I liked Indian Darbar and it being a new restaurant I am sure they will improve on the items I ding them on. In fact, the other Indian restaurant suffers from the same defects.

The funny thing is, I met the owner last Wednesday night. I was at Maharajah Indian on Madison's West side and the manager and cook were taking a break. I struck up a conversation with them and when they found out I lived in Appleton the cook informed me he just opened a new restaurant in Appleton. So Malkeet, if you read this please don't take it too hard, just be sure the waitstaff and cook understand how spicey (or how NOT spicey) the customers want their dish!

Tallying up the scores: +6

I will go back to Indian Darbar but it is not compelling enough to make it my first choice of Indian Restaurants in town.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Quack Quack!


Michigan is taking a beating from the Oregon Ducks. Certainly, half-time adjustments and the second half can save the Wolverines yet, but they were way over-rated in the pre-season polls. At least the polls adequately corrected.

Go Ducks! Go Badgers!

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

How Long?

Till the 419 Scammers start to send out e-mails based on the story of Norman Hsu?

> Dear progressive! I solicit your confidence in this transaction, this is by virtue of its
> nature as being utterly CONFIDENTIAL and TOP SECRET. I am Ms H.R. Clinton,
> a battered wife of an impeached president of a certain
> country sometimes referred to as Les Etats-Unis d'Amérique.
> I came to know of you via Daily Kos member list in my search for a reliable
> and reputable person to handle a very confidential transaction which
> involves the transfer of a huge sum of money to my campaign fund
> requiring maximum confidence.
Source: The People's Cube – Hillary Employs Email Experts From Nigeria
Leave it to the People's Cube! Oh, if you visit the People's Cube make sure you note your thought crime serial number so you can turn yourself in.

The Day The Music Died

I heard criticism Luciano Pavarotti did not strive to get the most out of his God given talent. No surprise, it seems as if he was too busy enjoying life. He was so blessed his cup flowed over and he was able to share his blessing with us.

Every generation has a famous tenor one who is remembered for generations Luciano is ours.

Luciano Pavarotti, may God grant you eternal rest and let his perpetual light shine upon you.

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What is Ex-(moonb)Atty General Clark Up To?

What do Slobodon Milosovic, Saddam Huessein, and now Jose Maria Sison have in common? Whatever it is DJB Rizalist is taking an interest in Ramsey Clark's latest effort:
Following his arrest on suspicion of ordering the murders of his former comrades (Arturo Tabara and Romulo Kintanar) CPP-NPA founder Jose Maria Sison has been indicted by a Dutch Court in The Hague, Netherlands and sent to pre-trial detention and custody for fourteen days.
Source: Philippine Commentary – Jose Maria Sison Indicted on Suspicion of Murder by Dutch Court (DJB Rizalist)
Look who wants to defend him:
Former US attorney general turned human rights lawyer Ramsey Clark has offered legal assistance to detained Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison.

As this developed, Luis Jalandoni, National Democratic Front peace panel chair, said Sunday the Dutch government was "maltreating" Sison despite flimsy evidence, and allowing itself to be used by the Arroyo administration “like a horse pulling a cart."
Source: GMA News TV – Ex-US atty general Ramsey wants to defend Joma Sison
Wow! I like the part about the Netherlands accused of being used by PGMA. I would wager the Netherland government was turning a blind eye to Sison's activities from the start, but Sison's activities came to be so blatant they could no longer be ignored.

I doubt Sison is being treated badly.

Ramsey Clark as is noted wants to defend Sison. No one is going to believe the Netherlanders are treating Sison poorly nor and charges the Philippines forced the Netherlands into arresting Sison will stick like oil on teflon. Clark is bound to another futile (and worthless if Sison is your friend then you are a reprehensible person) cause. Is there no one or no cause Ramsey Clark will not support? Oh yeah, those in the name of liberty.

Here is to hope Ramsey Clark gets a hat-trick!

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Joy of Victory

Pride Check

Remember some years ago when President Bush was riding on a Segway? He fell and apparently a certain Piers Morgan commented only an idiot can manage to fall while riding a Segway. Well, Piers Morgan joins the ranks of idiots by falling off of a – Segway. Not only falling but breaking ribs too.

While I am not gleeful over the physical injury I hope Mr. Morgan's pride is hurt and taken down a few notches. Not so easy to ride one of those things? Mr. Morgan, can we now call you an idiot?

Check out the report and yes, video is out.

Monday, September 03, 2007

A Phishy Note

I absolutely love the phishing note I received this morning! They start off by warning us of – yes you guessed it – phishing scams!

I love the line Failure to authenticate, your account may result in account malfunction, slow online expericence or even exposeure of sensible data. Think it a legitimate message, of course not! People pulling these attempts off really should troll around for starving writers to help with the editing.

Dear JPEFCU member,
Due to the recent pishing attacks targeting Jefferson Parish Employees Federal Credit Union,
we are currently launching a new security system that will improve the level of
member service we can provide to you.

In order to update your account and benefit from new facilities, click here to login.
To enhance the security when accessing your online accounts, we implemented
an additional layer to our system called Secure4U.

You may be requested to answer a few security questions in order to complete your login
to our Online Banking.

Failure to authenticate, your account may result in account malfunction, slow online expericence or even exposeure of sensible data.