Friday, December 30, 2005

Alumni news...

I find an interesting distinction between the left and right as regards activism like this. Liberals are more apt to initiate and participate in boycotts based on a corporation's actions (ie, Coke pollutes India, so let's not buy their products). Conservatives, when they can be prodded to activism at all, will boycott on hot button domestic social issues, such as Ford advertising in gay magazines.

Maybe I'm hopelessly out of touch in my ivory tower, and never see the throngs of placard-weilding conservatives insisting corporations be held accountable for their actions (especially absent any government regulatory body holding them to account). Whatever, GO BLUE!!





University of Michigan
Suspends Coca-Cola Sales
Associated Press

December 30, 2005 10:43 a.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan suspended sales of Coca-Cola products on its three campuses over allegations that the company permits human rights and environmental abuses abroad.

The suspension, which begins Jan. 1, will affect vending machines, residence halls, cafeterias and campus restaurants. Coke's contracts with the university are worth about $1.4 million.

The university and the company said they will continue to negotiate.

"The University of Michigan is an important school, and I respect the way they worked with us on this issue," said Kari Bjorhus, a spokeswoman for The Coca-Cola Co., told the Detroit News. "We are continuing to try hard to work with the university to address concerns and assure them about our business practices."

Michigan's decision was prompted by a complaint last year from Students Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality. The student group accused Coke of draining local groundwater in India and conspiring with paramilitary groups in Colombia to harass and harm union members.
The company has repeatedly denied the allegations, which have prompted other schools to suspend sales.

The university, which has more than 50,000 students, decided not to renew its contracts when Coke said it was unable to meet a Dec. 31 deadline to cooperate in an investigation of circumstances in Colombia. The university and several other colleges had offered to fund the investigation.

Ms. Bjorhus said Thursday that a pending civil lawsuit prevented the company from participating. In a statement on the company Web site, the company said allegations involving its operations in Colombia are false and the company has been "an exemplary member of the business community" there.

Victor Davis Hanson, Movie Reviewer

VDH takes on Hollywood and the Middle East with commentary on Flight Plan, Munich and Syriana. Anybody seen these flicks ?

Scrutinizing Hollywood's cockeyed take on terrorists

"Aw, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent...

Forty percent of all people know that."

2005's Biggest Science Reporting Flubs

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The War on Christmas 2: Christmas Fights Back

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Blame Canada The USA

In Canada government ministers are up in arms (no pun intended) because Toronto has seen murders roughly double in the last year. Why is this happening you might ask? According to Toronto's mayor "The U.S. is exporting its problem of violence to the streets of Toronto"
I suggest Mayor Miller and Premier Martin sit down, crack a couple of Molsons and examine the history of gun violence in the US. Charts courtesy of the US Department of Justice


A Shout-Out To My Homies

The alma mater of a good many brigaders is playing in the Alamo Bowl tonight, so to all Wolverines and their friends:

GO BLUE!


fearless prediction: Michigan 27, Nebraska 14
UPDATE: I don't want to talk about it.

Common Sense

President Bush did not "lie and people died".

The conclusion in todays Chicago Tribune:

After reassessing the administration's nine arguments for war, we do not see the conspiracy to mislead that many critics allege.

Duh!!

It is disingenuous to say Bush lied to get us to war. I still believe reasonable people can disagree if the war was the correct policy or not. If you are against the war be honest and argue against it on its merits, not on ridiculous provably false fantasies and conspiracies.

Unfrozen Caveman Leader

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I'm just a caveman. I fell on some ice and was later thawed by some of your scientists. Your world frightens and confuses me! . . . When I see my image on the security camera at the country club, I wonder, are they stealing my soul? I get so upset, I hop out of my Range Rover, and run across the fairway to the clubhouse, where I get Carlos to make me one of those martinis he's so famous for, to soothe my primitive caveman brain. But whatever world you're from, I do know one thing--in the 20 years from March 22, 1972, when he first ordered that extra nicotine be put into his product, until February 25, 1992, when he issued an interoffice memorandum stopping the addition of that nicotine, my client was legally insane."--Phil Hartman as "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer," "Saturday Night Live," March 23, 1996

"Mr. President, maybe I didn't have the education of a lot of my friends. I was educated in a little school in Searchlight, Nev. We didn't have English class. Maybe my choice of words wasn't perfect. Maybe I should have said we killed the conference report. But the fact is, that is what we had done. People can try to change the words and the meaning of it all they want, but that is what happened. I may not have the ability to express myself like the folks who were educated in all these private schools and fancy schools, but I understand the Senate rules. Everyone knows that cloture was defeated, killed, whatever you want to call it. That means that cloture was defeated and that bill is still before the Senate."--Harry Reid as "Unfrozen Caveman Leader," "U.S. Senate," Dec. 19, 2005

via opinionjournal

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

12/27 Pub Quiz

UPDATE: Philly Jo Jo Shabadoo landed a silver medal, missing first place by one measly point.

questions


See you tonight?
1) Boxing Day Leftovers 11 pts
2) All is quiet... 10 pts
3) Match- Keys 10 pts
4) Bizarro World 16 pts
5) Dead or Canadian Fast or Better 10 pts
6) Picture round 15 pts
7) General Knowledge 24 pts

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Setback In The War On Terrorism

You know the terrorists have the upper hand when their scantily clad half-neices are infiltrating our society pages:



"I want to be accepted here, but I feel that everybody's judging me and rejecting me," said the California-born Dufour, a law graduate who lives in New York. "Come on, where's the American spirit? Accept me. I want to be embraced, because my values are like yours. And I'm here. I'm not hiding."

Betcha her phone's tapped.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Oddly, Liberally Enough

The liberal slant in the "oddly enough" page is enough to make me want to vomit with rage! Check this out:




Charlie Crist was a staunch defender of a tough anti-spam law passed by the state legislature last year, under which violators can be fined up to $500 for every e-mail they send.

But a report in Thursday's St. Petersburg Times said Crist, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, had annoyed some residents of the state by sending them unwanted e-mails promoting his candidacy and soliciting campaign donations.


So not only do they smear this guy for spamming when he actually is not, they also post an unflattering photo of Mr. Crist posing in front of some psychedelic muppet car (instrument? piece of furniture?).

"Oddly Enough" is so liberal, it's off the charts. It makes the Wall Street Journal look like the Washington Times.

Elections Rigged?

The thousands marching in Iraq today seem to think so. The US sure created a doozy.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Poor Scott McClellan

While it would be cool to have a spokesman who was around to take the heat for every contradictory statement you make, actually being that spokesman would suck. Then again, Scott McClellan seems to really relish further obscuring those contradictory statements:

At the White House, spokesman Scott McClellan was asked to explain why Bush last year said, "Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so." McClellan said the quote referred only to the USA Patriot Act.

Huh? So the Constitution doesn't let you check library records, which is why you need the Patriot Act; but the Patriot Act doesn't let you wiretap without a court order, because the Constitution lets you do that.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Dispatch from the Front: WoC, II

December 22, 2005 - Bandung, West Java
I've seen fewer "Merry Christmas" signs here, but still more than I think I would see in Los Angeles. West Java has seen some conflict in recent years between Christians and Muslims (though less than in Maluku). MkChicago had a good link in his comment on my last post to the plan for the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) youth organization to guard churches. In West Java a number of churches (maybe 40) have been closed in the past 2 years because of zoning issues brought by Muslim hardliners. In response, Muhammadiyah, the second largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, has offered the use of its facilities (schools, etc.) for use by Christian groups to celebrate Christmas on December 24 and 25. The FPI (Front Perlindungan Islam or Islamic Defenders Front) that has attacked bars and nightclubs (though not involved in bombings, apparently) has also offered to guard churches during Christmas and New Years. The police who are also planning to raise security for churches during this time have advised the FPI not to get to close to the churches, however, so as to not raise suspicion.

Hope to be in East Java (very Muslim area) on Christmas for some participant-observation.

Godwin's Law Be Damned!






Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.

- Hermann Wilhelm Goering

My Gift to You

Friends

and maybe foes, but I hope not!!

I'm writing to see what sort of chances I have in persuading the group to move the book meeting to Monday's for the next 2 months (Jan, and Feb). I will be out of the box on Tuesdays for 8 weeks beginning 1/3/06. If not, no worries, I'll just take a brief hiatus.

Stalin's half-man, half-ape super-warriors

Pretty incredible stuff, if news.scotsman.com is to be believed:






THE Soviet dictator Josef Stalin ordered the creation of Planet of the Apes-style warriors by crossing humans with apes, according to recently uncovered secret documents.

WWCJD (What would Commie Jesus Do?)

Christmas shopper sees red at star in the east
Tue Dec 20, 2005 10:34 AM ET

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Stars may seem like a harmless symbol of Christmas goodwill -- but in eastern Europe, if they're red, they may be anything but.

Hungarian shopper Istvan Hamza made a formal complaint to police that the star decorations in a record shop in the town of Szombathely were too much like the communist red star -- banned by law as a symbol of decades of dictatorship.

But the police let Christmas charity prevail.

"The shop's red stars are an irregular shape and their branches are not pointed but rounded, so they do not meet the specification set out in the law," spokesman Peter Kovacs said Monday, according to the local news agency MTI.
Oddly enough news

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Trouble on the Horizon

Bush better watch out for impeachment proceedings in '06 when the Dems take back the Senate.

Holiday Pub Quiz Categories

UPDATE: We are the champions, my friends. In a stunning 2 point victory Killhammad Aieee smashed all other 'bots last night.





Tonight's Categories:
1) Don't Forget your Gift Receipt 10 pts
2) Festivus 10 pts
3) Double Match- Oscars from the 70's 20 pts
70's best actor
70's best Picture
70's best actress
70's best director
4) Bizarro World 16 pts
5) Dead or Canadian- Ditka or Lombardi
10 pts
6) Pictures 14 pts
7) General Knowledge 20 pts

for the nostalgic last week's questions

Monday, December 19, 2005

Interesting study

Dispatch from the Front: the War on Christmas

December 19, 2005. Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia
In this 90% Muslim country, Christmas is alive and well. Many shops are decorated for the season and wish people Merry Christmas with signs (sometimes in English, more often in Indonesian). While I haven't yet observed any jilbab clad (scarf wearing) patrons purchase Christmas related items, the stores that advertise Christmas specials are full of jilbab wearing customers and clerks. Hotels and restaurants pleasantly blast Christmas carols with full vocals, "Noel, noel, born is the king of Israel...", "Have a holly, jolly Christmas, it's the best time of the year...", and "O, little town of Bethlehem..."

Kompas is Indonesia's national paper of record, like the New York Times but without the fake stories by its reporters. Yesterday's "Living" section in Kompas proved just how much this country gets Christmas with an article titled (my translation): "Santa Claus is here. Let's go shopping!"

Peace,
RC

Friday, December 16, 2005

Everything For Sale

At least no one can accuse us of hypocrisy for buying good news in Iraq.

In The Tradition of Cyber-Doe and Pancake Bunny Comes...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

TERROR in the Sahara

9-11 changed everthang!

Finally, some Happy News!



Those poor dolphins are going to the Bahamas! How happy!

Oh, and despite what the Liberal Media tells you every night, things are going great in Iraq! See? Check this out! And what about this one!

The truth is, past eras were way worse than this one! Everything's A-OK!

"Mother tosses baby from burning building!" You wouldn't think that's happy news, but it is!

I don't know why the MSM obsesses over body counts, environmental damage, lying government officials, etc. And I don't care! From now on, it's only HAPPY NEWS for me!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Where Momma Go?

Eliminating Democracy in Ohio

GOP style!

The Other Side of the Story

Here is an Op-Ed by a Marine heading back to Iraq from todays WaPo. I think it shows some perspective on what is really going on. Conditions aren't great, but they are not nearly as bad as the image on the nightly news projects.


The Truth On the Ground

By Ben Connable

Wednesday, December 14, 2005; Page A29

When I told people that I was getting ready to head back to Iraq for my third tour, the usual response was a frown, a somber head shake and even the occasional "I'm sorry." When I told them that I was glad to be going back, the response was awkward disbelief, a fake smile and a change of subject. The common wisdom seems to be that Iraq is an unwinnable war and a quagmire and that the only thing left to decide is how quickly we withdraw. Depending on which poll you believe, about 60 percent of Americans think it's time to pull out of Iraq.

How is it, then, that 64 percent of U.S. military officers think we will succeed if we are allowed to continue our work? Why is there such a dramatic divergence between American public opinion and the upbeat assessment of the men and women doing the fighting?

Open optimism, whether or not it is warranted, is a necessary trait in senior officers and officials. Skeptics can be excused for discounting glowing reports on Iraq from the upper echelons of power. But it is not a simple thing to ignore genuine optimism from mid-grade, junior and noncommissioned officers who have spent much of the past three years in Iraq.

We know the streets, the people and the insurgents far better than any armchair academic or talking head. As military professionals, we are trained to gauge the chances of success and failure, to calculate risk and reward. We have little to gain from our optimism and quite a bit to lose as we leave our families over and over again to face danger and deprivation for an increasingly unpopular cause. We know that there are no guarantees in war, and that we may well fail in the long run. We also know that if we follow our current plan we can, over time, leave behind a stable and unified country that might help to anchor a better future for the Middle East.

It is difficult for most Americans to rationalize this optimism in the face of the horrific images and depressing stories that have come to symbolize the war in Iraq. Most of the violent news is true; the death and destruction are very real. But experienced military officers know that the horror stories, however dramatic, do not represent the broader conditions there or the chances for future success. For every vividly portrayed suicide bombing, there are hundreds of thousands of people living quiet, if often uncertain, lives. For every depressing story of unrest and instability there is an untold story of potential and hope. The impression of Iraq as an unfathomable quagmire is false and dangerously misleading.

It is this false impression that has led us to a moment of national truth. The proponents of the quagmire vision argue that the very presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is the cause of the insurgency and that our withdrawal would give the Iraqis their only true chance for stability. Most military officers and NCOs with ground experience in Iraq know that this vision is patently false. Although the presence of U.S. forces certainly inflames sentiment and provides the insurgents with targets, the anti-coalition insurgency is mostly a symptom of the underlying conditions in Iraq. It may seem paradoxical, but only our presence can buffer the violence enough to allow for eventual stability.

The precipitous withdrawal of U.S. troops would almost certainly lead to a violent and destabilizing civil war. The Iraqi military is not ready to assume control and would not miraculously achieve competence in our absence. As we left, the insurgency would turn into internecine violence, and Iraq would collapse into a true failed state. The fires of the Iraqi civil war would spread, and terrorists would find a new safe haven from which to launch attacks against our homeland.

Anyone who has spent even a day in the Middle East should know that the Arab street would not thank us for abandoning Iraq. The blame for civil war would fall squarely on our shoulders. It is unlikely that the tentative experiments in democracy we have seen in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere would survive the fallout. There would be no dividend of goodwill from heartbroken intellectuals or emboldened Islamic extremists. American troops might be home in the short run, but the experienced professionals know that in the long run, quitting Iraq would mean more deployments, more desperate battles and more death.

Sixty-four percent of us know that we have a good shot at preventing this outcome if we are allowed to continue our mission. We quietly hope that common sense will return to the dialogue on Iraq. Although we hate leaving our families behind, many of us would rather go back to Iraq a hundred times than abandon the Iraqi people.

A fellow Marine and close friend epitomizes this sentiment. Sean has served two tours in Iraq as a reserve officer. During his last tour, he was informed of the birth of his baby girl by e-mail, learned his father was dying of cancer, and was wounded in the same blast of an improvised explosive that killed his first sergeant on a dirt road in the middle of the western desert. Sean loves his family and his job, but he has made it clear that he would rather go back to Iraq than see us withdraw.

Everyone in uniform does not share this sentiment. Thirty-six percent of military officers are less confident in the mission. But these officers will continue to work as hard as the rest of us toward success because they, too, are professionals. With men and women such as this, the United States has an excellent chance of success in Iraq. We can fail only if the false imagery of quagmire takes hold and our national political will is broken. In that event, both the Iraqi people and the American troops will pay a long-term price for our shortsighted delusion.

The writer is a major in the Marine Corps.

The week in self criticism

About me? Of course not. I'm perfect just the way I am.

Jonah Goldberg and Mathew Yglesias have articles out on a few things their respective parties need to fix. In National Review Goldberg repeats the oft asked “What ever happened to small government?” and "argues that "American conservatism is overdue for a reformation" , concluding

"Too many in the GOP have felt the rush that comes with giving out other people’s money, and as a result the party has become “worldly,” as Martin Luther might put it, selling favors like indulgences of yore. We have confused “low taxes” — which we all like — with limited government, which we don’t have. We expect Democrats to want the government to do everything, but at least they have the consistency to raise taxes in order to pay for it. Republicans lack similar convictions. Which is why they need to be born again."

Yglesias in the American Prospect, takes on Dean and Pelosi's botched anti-war(anti-victory) strategery:

"Instead, DNC Chair Howard Dean last week blundered right into the White House trap by proclaiming victory unattainable, rather than arguing more sensibly that the administration's definition of victory as something like the indefinite continuation of the war is perverse and wrongheaded.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has, if anything, been worse. She responded to Bush's new political push by first proclaiming herself a proponent of leaving Iraq as soon as possible, then by saying that most of the caucus agrees with her, and then by saying that the caucus wouldn't be adopting this as its official position. Telling the world that most House Democrats have a position on Iraq that they don't intend to expound and defend in public is bizarre and merely opens the door for Republicans to define their opponents' views any way they choose. Pelosi was trying, one assumes, to accommodate the existence of diverse viewpoints within the party, which is understandable. But at a December 8 press conference, she managed to explain this diversity of views in the most counterproductive way possible, describing the war as "not like an issue such as prescription drugs or Social Security, which are core issues to the Democratic Party." Thus, House Democrats apparently both have a secret plan to lose the war, and don't consider national security to be a topic that should be taken all that seriously anyway."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

"Yahweh Won't Go Away"

This is a fascinating interview with Harold Bloom on his new book, "Jesus and Yahweh" (thanks to the Ragincajun for passing it along). I'm curious what his old Reaganista con-rades are saying about this book.

Pub quiz categories



Tonight's Categories
1) Tora! Tora! Tora! 11 pts
2) Torah! Torah! Torah! 11 pts
3) Richard Pryor Movie Quotes 12 pts
4) Bizarro World 16 pts
5) Dead or Canadian- Simpson vs Griffin 10 pts
6) Pictures 16 pts
7) General Knowledge 24 pts

(I am so ready for #5.)

UPDATE: Cookie Kwan #1 on the west side was #2 on the north side last night. Again. Always a bridesmaid...

The Truth Is Whatever Happens To Come Out Of His Mouth

President George W. Bush:

Carl, first of all, I don't talk about secret programs, covert programs, covert activities. Part of a successful war on terror is for the United States of America to be able to conduct operations, all aimed to protect the American people, covertly.

However, I can tell you two things: one, that we abide by the law of the United States; we do not torture. And two, we will try to do everything we can to protect us within the law. We're facing an enemy that would like to hit America again, and the American people expect us to, within our laws, do everything we can to protect them. And that's exactly what the United States is doing. We do not render to countries that torture. That has been our policy, and that policy will remain the same.


Yet again, the soft biggotry of low expectations proves to be the president's best friend. No one really expects him to tell the truth about anything, so it's barely newsworthy when he lies flagrantly (Hilzoy has a list of those countries that torture). Then again, I guess there's a better than even chance that he doesn't know which countries torture or to which countries we render. As someone named Hanlon is purported to have said, "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Liberal Media

Here's Sam Donaldson on CNN's "Reliable Sources," from December 21, 2003:

DONALDSON: Let me tell you something. I think Howard Dean deserves the bad press. And I'm not against him. I'm not making a case against him.

That one phase, "America is not safer because of Saddam's capture," in context you know what he's saying, which is the war on terrorism is a wide-ranging war in the future and this will not really affect that. But someone on his staff should have said, "Don't use that phrase because every headline and writer, every Donaldson, everybody on television will stick it out, and it's just the wrong message.


So here we have Sam Donaldson resolutely refusing to do what he's presumably paid to do, which is to report the days' events in context. Better still, he's admonishing Dean's staff for not spinning the shit out of every sentence the candidate uttered. He's all but acknowledging that because Dean's statement was at odds with the triumphalist predictions surrounding Saddam's capture, it was the corporate media's duty to slather themselves in unctuous patriotism and act as an attack dog, armed with the RNC's talking points du jour (OK, he's far from acknowledging that, but let's just say that his alter-ego is yearning to admit this, whether he knows it or not...).

I think that the Chairman's recent statement, in context, will ultimately prove correct, just as most reasonable people would agree that the one referenced above proved accurate. But this is a defect of the media that transcends liberal/conservative slants. I happen to believe that the current media narrative surounding the war--that it's going poorly, and that this is largely the fault of the Bush administration--is much closer to the truth than a lot of the cheerleading that went on before, but I wouldn't deny for a second that such a narrative has taken hold, and that narratives like these act as crutches for lazy or cowardly news organizations/individuals, and ultimately harm the public because they impede the flow of important information.

However, I wonder if it's possible to have it any other way, and if so, what structural changes would have to be made in order to change it. Given the speed at which modern societies operate, and the lack of time/desire that most people have to reflect on current events, maybe all most people want is the kind of go-with-the-flow soundbite that will keep getting Sam invited to This Week with George Stephanopolous.

"Admit it Goddammit"

According to former government officials, an Egyptian prisoner gave a false statement as his interrogators whooped that ass. This is what the Shrub Administration based it's flimsy Al Qaeda/Iraq ties on.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Chomsky

This is an excerpt from an old (August 29, 2002) Chomsky interview. It's a fairly comprehensive look at where Chomsky stands on the war, terrorism, international law, etc., though his views on the criminality of Israel's policies are only barely touched upon.

"Christopher Hitchens makes the point that while Saudi Arabia, Scowcroft, and Kissinger oppose war with Iraq because of its potential destabilizing effect in the region, the left should not care about the stability of the reactionary and corrupt regimes of the Middle East. Does this refute a commonly-heard objection to war?

It is hard to imagine what the point is supposed to be. The left has always been strenuously opposed to US support for "the reactionary and corrupt regimes of the Middle East," and would of course welcome their "destabilization" in favor of something better. On the other hand, if "destabilization" brought to power something even worse -- say, what Hitchens calls "Islamic fascism" -- then the left would oppose it, and I presume he would too. So what is the point?

I don't see how these considerations bear on any "objection to war," commonly heard or not, at least from the left. What Scowcroft and Kissinger may have in mind is another matter.
"

Boondocks

Friday, December 09, 2005

Yes, Voodoo Economics! (Or, Fisking Hurtleg)

Wow! Lower taxes lead to higher growth? Well, the numbers don't lie...

Hoping desperately to prove that tax cuts actually increase federal revenue (a notion for which Greg Mankiw, chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers during Bush’s first term, wrote that there is “no credible evidence,” and that a person who claims there is is a “snake oil salesman who is trying to sell a miracle cure.”), conservatives are fond of presenting economic data in nominal dollars, and without any context.

All you have to do is go to the CBO's website and dig around a little, and you'll see that nearly every presidential term shows several of those same "highest revenue ever!" figures, and that they're meaningless unless you look at them in terms of the GDP, as the Ragincajun pointed out. The height of receipts under Clinton were about 21% relative to GDP, while Bush's are still a few points lower than that. If you don't look at it in constant dollars relative to the GDP, you're basically claiming that the three bedroom house my grandparents bought in 1928 is 60 times less valuable than the condo my wife and I live in now because they paid 60 times less for it in nominal dollars.

While you're looking at those numbers, you may also want to try to plot a postive, durable relationship between cuts in marginal tax rates and increased federal revenues. I'd love to see what you find.

Republicans were right that Clinton wasn't particularly responsible for the 90s boom. What makes you think Bush is any more responsible for the major currents of the economy now?

Vodoo Economics???

I'm shocked, shocked. Lower taxes lead to higher growth and higher revenue. Who knew? See this chart for the evidence.

Now, if the Republican party of Newt Gingrich would come back and get hold of spending, the budget would be fine, even after paying for the war.

In An Alternate Branch of the Multiverse...

...where people still expect something other than fantasy, disinformation, and lack of accountability from this president, this story is probably a big deal:

Checking the Hard Facts

By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Thursday, December 8, 2005; 1:00 PM

Some American journalists intent on fact-checking President Bush's vision of Iraq are finding it too dangerous to inspect the areas Bush yesterday cited as models of success.

Which sort of tells you the story right there.

While conceding that American efforts to rebuild Iraq have been flawed at times, Bush nevertheless yesterday touted the effectiveness of reconstruction projects in Najaf and Mosul in particular as examples of the "quiet, steady progress" transforming the country.

So how are those projects really doing? Hard to say.

It's too dangerous to allow visitors to inspect them freely, Rick Barton of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington told James Glanz of the New York Times. "I bet if we could get around and see these places that they would not be the story that he's telling," Barton said.

Read the whole thing.

Fisking Cohen

If, as Samuel Johnson said, "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel," then "support our troops" is very close by. It is being used to deflect criticism of the war in Iraq, or to rebut those who call for a pullout or question how incompetents seized control of the government in a coup by ideologues. In the lexicon of some, the only way to support our troops is to ensure that more of them die.

If "seizing control in a coup by ideologues" means the elected government of the US set a policy that the opposition party disagrees with, then I guess Bush is guilty. Far be it for the current administration to reject failed policies and thinking that got us to 9/11 and try something new and inovative. The administration is dealing with a new type of threat not seen before, some new thinking is needed.

So I don't need any cheap reminders about supporting the troops. On the contrary, it's the other way around. It is the reminders who need reminding that they owe the troops the highest level of respect. That means, among other things, explaining clearly and honestly why they are being sent into harm's way. If that cannot be done -- if you cannot tell soldiers why they might die -- then you cannot send them. At the very least, you must stick to the strictest truth.

The truth, Bush spelled out in the 2003 State of the Union Address and his speech at West Point what the mission is. The point of the war is not to have zero casualties, but to accomplish the mission (removal of dictator and start of transformation in the middle east). Now, you can believe that the mission won't make America safer or is the wrong strategy, but it is disingenuous to say the war was a lie. If the goal wasn't clear, you weren't paying attention.

But Cheney was not strictly truthful. He turned the war in Iraq into a war against terrorism, when it is only partly that. The Sunni insurgents have no designs on America. And to say, as Cheney did, that terrorists "believe that, by controlling an entire country, they will be able to . . . establish a radical Islamic empire that encompasses a region from Spain, across North Africa, through the Middle East and South Asia, all the way to Indonesia" is to give credence to the fantasies of Islamic nut cases. This may or may not be the goal of certain terrorists, but it is clearly beyond their reach -- and no reason to fight in Iraq.

When do you start to worry, when the empire reaches Egypt, Libya? Cohen may not fear an Islamic empire, but I don't think anyone really feared a greater German empire in 1936. The whole point of the fight in the middle east today is to prevent the threat from expanding. Ask the Austians or the Czechs how that worked out for them. The other difference between today and Germany is that technology allows the islamofacists to strike us now, which Germany couldn't do in 1936.


Similarly, Cheney once again implied a link between the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and Saddam Hussein. His words were slippery, but his meaning was clear: "Some have suggested that by liberating Iraq . . . we simply stirred up a hornet's nest. They overlook a fundamental fact: We were not in Iraq . . . and the terrorists hit us anyway." Yes, and the crowing of the rooster makes the sun come up. Cause and effect is being mocked here.

No one has claimed that Iraq and 9/11 are directly linked. There was contact between Al Qaeda and Iraq throughout the 90's. After 9/11, the tolerance for this threat dropped, so the US launched a preemtive war.

As I recently wrote, I do not favor an immediate pullout from Iraq -- not yet, anyway. The arguments advanced for staying make sense to me, and Cheney mentioned some of them in his speech. There is reason to fear civil war in Iraq, the country's dissolution, the creation of a haven for terrorists and the precipitous loss of American prestige, which could encourage even more terrorism.

Someone tell Howard Dean Jack Murtha, John Kerry (depending on the day) and Nancy Pelosi.

But I do not fear the emergence of a vast, radical Islamic empire stretching from Granada to Jakarta, and neither do I believe that toppling Hussein dealt a blow to terrorists or made the United States one iota safer. Soon enough we will exceed in military deaths the number of civilians killed on Sept. 11 -- and the culprits, including Osama bin Laden, are still on the loose, still posing a threat. This is a policy that collapsed of its own stupidity.

Cohen repeats, so I will too. When do you start to worry, when the empire reaches Egypt, Libya? Cohen may not fear an Islamic empire, but I don't think anyone really feared a greater German empire in 1936. The whole point of the fight in the middle east today is to prevent the threat from expanding. Ask the Austians or the Czechs how that worked out for them. The other difference between today and Germany is that technology allows the islamofacists to strike us now, which Germany couldn't do in 1936.

Approval ratings for Bush are at all-time high

Don't believe me? It's in today's Sun-Times .

Cohen is a Trooper

Truth for the Troops By Richard Cohen
The Washington Post

If, as Samuel Johnson said, "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel," then "support our troops" is very close by. It is being used to deflect criticism of the war in Iraq, or to rebut those who call for a pullout or question how incompetents seized control of the government in a coup by ideologues. In the lexicon of some, the only way to support our troops is to ensure that more of them die.

The utter tastelessness of this approach was on display Tuesday when Vice President Cheney spoke to the 10th Mountain Division and the National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. These are storied outfits. The Mountain Division is Bob Dole's own, and those of us who followed him as he campaigned for the presidency in 1996 will never forget the day in New Hampshire when some of the division's World War II veterans gathered to hear from their old comrade in arms. There was Dole, trying as ever to be stoical, but that day his voice cracked and emotion rocked him and, along the wall of the hall, a mighty cynical press corps fought hard to hold back the tears.

As for the 42nd Division, it is my own. Its famous Rainbow Patch -- Douglas MacArthur said "the 42nd Division stretches like a rainbow from one end of America to the other" -- is among my mementos. I make no great claim to military service -- I was a reluctant Vietnam-era enlistee in the National Guard -- but I trained at Fort Drum, wore the Rainbow Patch and keep it to this day on the bulletin board in my office. By accident and happenstance, it's my outfit. Somehow, it matters.

So I don't need any cheap reminders about supporting the troops. On the contrary, it's the other way around. It is the reminders who need reminding that they owe the troops the highest level of respect. That means, among other things, explaining clearly and honestly why they are being sent into harm's way. If that cannot be done -- if you cannot tell soldiers why they might die -- then you cannot send them. At the very least, you must stick to the strictest truth.

But Cheney was not strictly truthful. He turned the war in Iraq into a war against terrorism, when it is only partly that. The Sunni insurgents have no designs on America. And to say, as Cheney did, that terrorists "believe that, by controlling an entire country, they will be able to . . . establish a radical Islamic empire that encompasses a region from Spain, across North Africa, through the Middle East and South Asia, all the way to Indonesia" is to give credence to the fantasies of Islamic nut cases. This may or may not be the goal of certain terrorists, but it is clearly beyond their reach -- and no reason to fight in Iraq.

Similarly, Cheney once again implied a link between the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and Saddam Hussein. His words were slippery, but his meaning was clear: "Some have suggested that by liberating Iraq . . . we simply stirred up a hornet's nest. They overlook a fundamental fact: We were not in Iraq . . . and the terrorists hit us anyway." Yes, and the crowing of the rooster makes the sun come up. Cause and effect is being mocked here.

As I recently wrote, I do not favor an immediate pullout from Iraq -- not yet, anyway. The arguments advanced for staying make sense to me, and Cheney mentioned some of them in his speech. There is reason to fear civil war in Iraq, the country's dissolution, the creation of a haven for terrorists and the precipitous loss of American prestige, which could encourage even more terrorism.

But I do not fear the emergence of a vast, radical Islamic empire stretching from Granada to Jakarta, and neither do I believe that toppling Hussein dealt a blow to terrorists or made the United States one iota safer. Soon enough we will exceed in military deaths the number of civilians killed on Sept. 11 -- and the culprits, including Osama bin Laden, are still on the loose, still posing a threat. This is a policy that collapsed of its own stupidity.

By dint of heroic effort, the Bush administration long ago lost any credibility. But if we are going to stay in Iraq -- if additional Americans are going to be asked to die -- then Bush, Cheney and others should avoid emotionally compelling, but intellectually fatuous, arguments. As far as the troops are concerned, pay them the ultimate respect for their ultimate sacrifice: Stick to the truth.

cohenr@washpost.com

Budget Perspective

I found this graph interesting. It illustrates how defense spending is historically pretty low, even though we are at war. It also shows that that healthcare costs are the fastest rising part of the budget (no surprise). The problem is nobody has a good answer on how to fix it.

The most important headline you will ever read

Click here if you dare.

**** Happy Anniversary everybody. This is our 100th post. ****

Thursday, December 08, 2005

“Shame of the Nation, The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America”

Per Eric Alterman's suggestion, I nominate this book by Kozol for the February meeting of the minds. Here are a couple snippets.

p.8 In Chicago, by the academic year 2000-01, 87 percent of public school enrollment was black or Hispanic, less than 10 percent of children in the schools were white. In Washington D.C., 94 percent of children were black or Hispanic; less than 5 percent were white. In St. Luis, 82 percent of children were black or Hispanic; in Philadelphia and Cleveland, 78 percent, in L.A., 84 percent, in Detroit, 95 percent, in Baltimore, 88 percent, In NYC, nearly three-quarters of children were black or Hispanic in 2001.

p.9 A teacher at PS 65 in the Bronx says, “I’ve been at this school for 18 years. This is the first white student I have ever taught.” In that district there were 11,000 children of which only 26 where white meaning a rate of 99.8 percent non-white. Two-tenths of one percent. That’s it.

Thoughts?

A Little John Lennon

As soon as your born they make you feel small, By giving you no time instead of it all, Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all, A working class hero is something to be, A working class hero is something to be.

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school, They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool, Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules, A working class hero is something to be, A working class hero is something to be.

When they've tortured and scared you for twenty odd years, Then they expect you to pick a career, When you can't really function you're so full of fear, A working class hero is something to be, A working class hero is something to be.

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV, And you think you're so clever and classless and free, But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see, A working class hero is something to be, A working class hero is something to be.

There's room at the top they are telling you still, But first you must learn how to smile as you kill, If you want to be like the folks on the hill, A working class hero is something to be. A working class hero is something to be.

If you want to be a hero well just follow me.

(From John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band, 1970)

"Slim For Him"

Not exactly a KKRB reading selection, but check out this excellent review of what looks to be a very interesting book.

"Historians generally have interpreted the evolving meanings associated with rigorous dieting (and other kinds of physical denial) as a process of secularization. What started as mortification for sin, they say, turned into purposeful renunciation to compensate for the guilt of affluence and leisure. Griffith disagrees. She argues instead that religion has been involved in those cultural protocols from beginning to end. "

"Bluntly put, the diet industry, Christian and otherwise, is fighting an unwinnable battle. Sociologists, she tells us, have found that religious practice correlates positively with obesity. Christians in general and Southern Baptists in particular are the heaviest. Yet who is surprised? Whole Foods-style supermarkets might be growing, but so are McDonalds. Indeed, I do not recall ever seeing a fast-food franchise boarded up for keeps."

Thursday afternoon frivolity

Here's a groin-grabbingly good List of neologisms on The Simpsons . Should come in handy for naming the pub quiz team. Pull up a chair, grab a stick of Khlav Kalash and enjoy.

Wow. Just Wow.

Turns out Dean isn't alone regarding our ability to "win":

When asked "Can we win?" the war on terror, Bush said: "I don't think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the — those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world."

Then there's that turncoat pinko Chuck Hagel:

"Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality," Hagel tells U.S. News. "It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

Amazing. The Republicans are admitting defeat, emboldening the enemy, giving up. This should be 10,000,000 times more worrysome to a war supporter than anything Howard Dean says, shouldn't it?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Voltaire on Fundamentalism



If there were only one religion in England there would be danger of despotism; if there were two, they would be at each others' throats; but there are thirty and they live in peace and happiness.

Dean loses it.



As mentioned last night the head of the DNC has said the "idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong". complete story

I understand that we could lose the war. But to say we can't win. Wow. Just wow.

Merde!

According to the CIA World Fact Book, France is 5-10% muslim, which, based on past performance, would suggest that there are no muslims in France at all, or there were, but they were all secretly smuggled into Syria right before the CIA arrived to do its research. A guy writing for Foreign Affairs puts the number at 7-10%, which means that Mark was right, I was right, and France is fucked.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Hard to imagine a bigger waste of time...



...which may be its charm. I note that the website lists the time as 6:00 AM to 7:30 AM, but I'm guessing that's a mistake.

The Simpsons: Cultural Criticism and America’s Favorite TV Family

Animated anti-hero Homer Simpson drunkenly sums up his family, "Look, the thing about my family is there's five of us. Marge, Bart, Girl Bart, the one who doesn't talk, and the fat guy. How I loathe him." A panel of scholars from the humanities and social sciences will take on Homer, Bart and the whole crew in this exploration of popular culture. Academia has begun to notice what fans of the show have known all along, that The Simpsons is very intelligent satire. Short clips from this longest running TV show will be analyzed with an eye to social commentary, philosophy, history, and politics.

Location: Chicago Cultural Center - 78 E. Washington Street
When: Wednesday, 12/7
Admission: Free
Contact: Liberal Education
Phone: 312-344-7295

I wonder how much in taxes these guys pay.


the Forbes Fictional 15 (profiles inside)
1. Santa Claus
2. Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks
3. Richie Rich
4. Lex Luthor
5. C. Montgomery Burns
6. Scrooge McDuck
7. Jed Clampett
8. Bruce Wayne
9. Thurston Howell III
10. Willy Wonka
11. Arthur Bach
12. Ebenezer Scrooge
13. Lara Croft
14. Cruella De Vil
15. Lucius Malfoy

Monday, December 05, 2005

Commercial Enough For Ya?


Sorry, chumley - Christmas should be more commercial! "It is time," Dr. Peikoff tells us, "to take the Christ out of Christmas, and turn the holiday into a guiltlessly egoistic, pro-reason, this-worldly, commercial celebration." Excelsior!

Who Needs Habeas Corpus

when, in the name of freedom, we can kick your ass, put you in diapers, and fly you to the Eastern Bloc to murder you?

Yes, but can he scan groceries?

Quite a photo op:



"And so I urge all Americans to assist your fellow citizens in menial and skilled labor jobs, no matter how expensive the suit you are wearing at the time. Whether you are clearing brush wearing penny loafers or tightening hose clamps wearing an Armani suit, the message of community and freedom and ostentatious wealth that you transmit to the terrorists will be heard loud and clear."

"Only by pretending to actually work will we be able to keep our economy strong and resilient for the next generation of posing politicians."

"By tightening this hose on this doohickey, the internal air pressure will increase, and this John Deere machinery will operate more efficiently, enabling people like Terri Schiavo to one day live longer, fuller lives."

Take That, Herbman!

Odds on that God exists, says scientist

Stewart Maclean, Catherine Bolsover and Polly Curtis
Monday March 8, 2004

A scientist has calculated that there is a 67% chance that God exists.
Dr Stephen Unwin has used a 200-year-old formula to calculate the probability of the existence of an omnipotent being. Bayes' Theory is usually used to work out the likelihood of events, such as nuclear power failure, by balancing the various factors that could affect a situation.

The Manchester University graduate, who now works as a risk assessor in Ohio, said the theory starts from the assumption that God has a 50/50 chance of existing, and then factors in the evidence both for and against the notion of a higher being.

Factors that were considered included recognition of goodness, which Dr Unwin said makes the existence of God more likely, countered by things like the existence of natural evil - including earthquakes and cancer.

The unusual workings - which even take into account the existence of miracles - are set out in his new book, which includes a spreadsheet of the data used so that anyone can make the calculation themselves should they doubt its validity. The book, The Probability of God: A simple calculation that proves the ultimate truth, will be published later this month.

Dr Unwin said he was interested in bridging the gap between science and religion. He argues that rather than being a theological issue, the question of God's existence is simply a matter of statistics.

"On arriving in America I was exposed to certain religious outlooks that were somewhat of an assault upon my sensibilities - outlooks in which religion actually competes with science as an explanation of the world," he said.

"While I could not be sure, having slept through most of the cathedral services I had attended during secondary school, this did not seem like the version of faith I had remembered. In many ways, this project was for me a journey home - a reconciliation of my faith and education."

Despite his findings, Dr Unwin maintains that he is personally around 95% certain that God exists.

However, Graham Sharp, media relations director at William Hill, said there were technical problems with giving odds on the existence of God. "The problem is how you confirm the existence of God. With the Loch Ness monster we require confirmation from the Natural History Museum to pay out, but who are we going to ask about God? The church would definitely confirm his existence."

Mr Sharp said William Hill does take bets on the second coming, which currently stand at 1,000/1. For this confirmation is needed from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

"We do take bets on the second coming, whether that confirms the existence of God is up to the theologians to argue, most people wouldn't believe that, though."

Vietnam War Revelations

No doubt about it that the war in Iraq is walking the same footsteps.

US Vietnam intelligence 'flawed'
USS Maddox attacked by a North Vietnamese motor torpedo boat in the Gulf of Tonkin, 2 August 1964. Picture from US Navy
A US ship was attacked on 2 August 1964. But was there a second?
Newly-released US documents suggest the US escalated the war in Vietnam based on skewed intelligence.

The documents cast doubt on the existence of an attack on a US warship by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin on 4 August 1964.

The incident prompted President Lyndon Johnson to ask Congress, in effect, to declare war on Vietnam.

The revelations, released by the National Security Agency, were written by its own historian in 2001.

Robert Hanyok declares his review of all the intelligence shows beyond doubt that "no attack happened that night". The USS Maddox had been attacked two days earlier.

He claims errors were made in the translation of the intercepted signals from the North Vietnamese, and officials gave too much weight to flimsy evidence.

But he clears President Johnson and his ministers of any blame. They were only shown intelligence supporting the claim of an attack, not a wealth of contradictory material, he says.

Instead, he blames the intelligence-gathers. "They walked alone in their counsels," he wrote.

Three days later, President Johnson asked Congress to empower him to take "all necessary steps" in the region, opening the way for a war that resulted in the deaths of 58,000 Americans and three million Vietnamese.

The US government is said to have fought the declassification of the documents over fears of comparisons with the handling of Iraq, says the BBC's defence and security correspondent Rob Watson.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Forest, The Trees

"I fear that we may have already committed more physical resources to the baby-boom generation in its retirement years than our economy has the capacity to deliver," says Greenspan. This is a classic example of Greenspanian double-speak horseshit. We have the most productive economy in the history of the world, creating wealth at a phenomenal rate. It has the "capacity to deliver" funding for two simultaneous expensive foreign military adventures; billions in reconstruction aid to the victims of recent natural disasters; another expectation-busting holiday spending spree; Alaskan bridges to nowhere™; multi-million dollar bonuses for Wall Street executives; etc, etc, etc. On what reasonable grounds could Greenspan be making this outlandish assertion?
There are no "physical resources" we have committed that we would be unable to deliver, unless shifting the priorities of our wealth allocation is off the table.
Greenspan Again Sounds Alarm on Budget Deficit

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. economy is expanding at a "reasonably good pace" heading into 2006, but the budget deficit will worsen significantly unless steps are taken to control entitlement spending, particularly on health care, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Friday.
"Our budget position will substantially worsen in the coming years unless major deficit-reducing actions are taken," Mr. Greenspan cautioned in prepared remarks delivered via videotape at a policy forum at the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank.
Mr. Greenspan reiterated his call for Congress to restore federal spending caps, saying the necessary choices will be "especially difficult" to implement unless there are procedural restraints on the budget-making process. But he cautioned that changing the budget rules won't solve the looming budget crisis when baby boomers begin retiring in 2008.
"The fundamental fiscal issue is the need to make difficult choices among budget priorities, and this need is becoming ever more pressing in light of the unprecedented number of individuals approaching retirement age," he said.
As long as health-care costs continue to grow faster than the economy as a whole, "they will exert budget pressures that seem increasingly likely to make current fiscal policy unsustainable," Mr. Greenspan said.
Mr. Greenspan cited government estimates that entitlement spending, which currently accounts for 8% of gross domestic product, will consume 13% by 2030. "I fear that we may have already committed more physical resources to the baby-boom generation in its retirement years than our economy has the capacity to deliver," he said.
Mr. Greenspan observed that higher productivity could alleviate some of the burden on entitlement programs, though he cautioned that it is "unlikely to represent more than part of the answer." Higher productivity could actually put added pressure on the benefits side of entitlement programs, particularly Social Security, he said.
"Because initial Social Security benefits are heavily influenced by economywide wages, faster productivity growth will, with a lag, also raise benefits under current law," he said.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A Treasure Trove of Information about Cities

Check it out: City-Data.com, a fantastic reference source for any info Junkie. Their page on Chicago is all sorts of interesting. For example, I had no idea John Ashcroft and Bobby Fischer were born here. Boy, there's a chess match I'd like to watch.

Chariots of Fire

Check it out, the WSJ trashing the Prius. Really, we should all be driving Hummer's not these little sissie commie cars.

20 Facts about Chuck Norris

This is culled from a longer e-mail called "28 Facts about CN", but these are the best. My favorites are #2, 7, 10, ands 17.



1. Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

2. Rather than being birthed like a normal child, Chuck Norris instead decided to punch his way out of his mother's womb. Shortly thereafter he grew a beard.

3. When Chuck Norris plays Oregon Trail his family does not die from cholera or dysentery, but rather roundhouse kicks to the face. He also requires no wagon, since he carries the oxen, axels, and buffalo meat on his back. He always makes it to Oregon before you.

4. Chuck Norris built a time machine and went back in time to stop the JFK assassination. As Oswald shot, Chuck met all three bullets with his beard, deflecting them. JFK's head exploded out of sheer amazement.

5. Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

6. Chuck Norris's girlfriend once asked him how much wood a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. He then shouted, "HOW DARE YOU RHYME IN THE PRESENCE OF CHUCK NORRIS!" and ripped out her throat. Holding his girlfriend's bloody throat in his hand he bellowed, "Don't fuck with Chuck!" Two years and five months later he realized the irony of this statement and laughed so hard that anyone within a hundred mile radius of the blast went deaf.

7. Chuck Norris recently had the idea to sell his urine as a canned beverage. We know this beverage as Red Bull.

8. A man once asked Chuck Norris if his real name is "Charles". Chuck Norris did not respond, he simply stared at him until he exploded.

9. Chuck Norris was the fourth Wiseman. He brought baby Jesus the gift of "beard". Jesus wore it proudly to his dying day. The other Wisemen, jealous of Jesus' obvious gift favoritism, used their combined influence to have Chuck omitted from the Bible. Shortly after all three died of roundhouse kick related deaths.

10. To prove it isn't that big of a deal to beat cancer, Chuck Norris smoked 15 cartons of cigarettes a day for 2 years and aquired 7 different kinds of cancer only to rid them from his body by flexing for 30 minutes. Beat that, Lance Armstrong.

11. Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

12. Chuck Norris once shot a German plane down with his finger, by yelling, "Bang!"

13. The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

14. After much debate, President Truman decided to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima rather than the alternative of sending Chuck Norris. His reasoning? It was more "humane".

15. Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.

16. If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris you may be only seconds away from death.

17. Before each filming of Walker: Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris is injected with five times the lethal dose of elephant tranquilzer. This is, of course, to limit his strength and mobility, in an attempt to lower the fatality rate of the actors he fights.

18. One of the greatest cover-ups of the last century was the fact that Hitler did not commit suicide in his bunker, but was in fact tea-bagged to death by Chuck Norris.

19. Chuck Norris once tried to sue Burger King after they refused to put razor wire in his Whopper Jr., insisting that that actually is "his" way.

20. Chuck Norris frequently signs up for beginner karate classes, just so he can "accidentally" beat the shit out of little kids.