I've been looking at the 5 year averages for Sinclair Broadcasting stock. Maybe right before the elections would be a good time to buy the shit out of it. They're getting hit now, no doubt, and they had a serious drop at the beginning of September, but it doesn't take much to push it back up just a little...

Some things are immutable

There are many who today are disenchanted with the conflict. There were very few at the outset, either Republicans or Democrats, who opposed the ever deepening involvement; indeed, who did not support or acquiesce in it.

- Senator Mike Mansfield, in June 1971

Past performance has a hell of a lot to do with future returns

Take a look back.

Well, on one thing, Bush is right- personally capturing bin Laden isn't important. What is important is gathering intelligence, and following the money trail to dismantle his network.

John Kerry has a proven history of skill in utilizing this method to destroy both international terrorism and international crime. Look up the investigation of BCCI for proof of this.

George W Bush, on the other hand, believes that there is a country called terror and an army called terrorists, and if we kill the enemy army, we get victory points and win the game. I have heard this referred to as the "lump of terror fallacy" in some places. Essentially, that there is a finite amount of terrorist threat in the world, and we can tie it all up in one place and disable it.

Bush's prime criticism of Kerry simply mirrors his own inadequacy in fighting terrorism- he says that Kerry's idea, which is the right one, is not as good as his, which is the wrong idea, unsuited to this new threat.

This is patently ridiculous- the way we fight terrorists is the way that's been proven to work. Intelligence and detective work. Bush has made a mockery of our intelligence agencies and insists that indiscriminate smashing is the way to solve a delicate problem.

Such an august personage as Vice President Cheney has stated that if America makes the wrong choice in November, we will be attacked in a crippling manner. I agree completely- if George W. Bush is re-elected, the inability for our country's top leadership to grasp these basic strategic truths will end up harming us grievously.
  • Current Music
    Assemblage 23 - Infinite

The folks at newsmax don't know their guns

John Kerry has a war trophy. The horror!

Hey guys- news flash, the standard war trophy of Vietnam was the famous SKS, the Russians' answer to the M1 Garand.

It was developed before the creation of the AK, and continued to be used by the Soviets in their military aid program for fledgling Communist nations. The SKS was particularly prized by US soldiers in Vietnam because it could be sent home unaltered. Here's a charming story about how lots of veterans got their trophies.

It's likely that Kerry's war trophy is a SKS, if it's unaltered.

Update: Kerry says that the weapon isn't an assault rifle, but a bolt-action rifle. This would make it a Mosin Nagant clone, most likely. That's actually a lot more interesting.

It's a fine ride, but you better get off before the last stop

Steven Den Beste posits a conflict of philosophies.

Right. Let's see where this train goes.

Three movements at war.

One side: Medievalist Islam.

Another side: idealism.

Another another side: materialism.

There are problems: first, lumping atheist Stalin-Saddam in with religious bin Laden is a gargantuan error. Also, isn't 14th century Islam very teleological? As in, God makes our enemies so that we might fight them and prove ourselves? Hmm. But we'll move on- the basic idea makes sense if you further chop it up into Western/non-western, which is obviously what he is getting at. This appears, after all, to be a sort of inside analysis of who us Westerners are, as opposed to those guys we don't understand.

OK, moving on.

The medievalists' motivation is that, the way they figure it, God wants them to rule the world.

The idealists are driven by the conceit that the world has a perfect set of workings contained within, and we're just reaching for them.

The empiricists are driven by their own existence. Their relationship with the universe is one of exploration- there aren't any pre-conceived answers.

Now that the pieces are on the board, how did we get here?

Protestantism (and the printing press) encouraged empirical thought, since it was easy to let your heretical concepts get around. To a guy who thinks he has the direct line to God, anything he doesn't agree with is either sadly misguided or devilishly dangerous. Another step along the way was humanism, which presented the concept of natural rights. Humanism was fed by technical development, which prizes seeing the world as it is and in such a way that we can act and react with it (saying that pi=3.0 because a calculation of some cubits in the Bible said so will not give you very accurate engineering.) So empiricism kicked ass, and is still kicking ass.

Apparently the idealists and the islamists are a little miffed at this, as they always are, and keep on telling you that pi=3.0. For the record, the idealists and the Islamists hate each other like the Nazis hated the Communists. So they may agree some times, but they really want to kill each other. The idealists have been getting in the way of the real fighting of Islamists for a good long while now.

So who are all these guys?

The islamists, are, well, you know who. Bin Laden et al. The "insurgents." 9/11 guys. The folks who are looking for a new Grand Caliphate.

The idealists are the United States, and the pro-Iraq war side. We Americans brought our neocon folktales and unrealistic expectations of how the world works to Iraq, and look where that got us. Oh well!

The empiricists are the people who said this pig wouldn't fly, the ones who are still saying it to this day.

Actually, if you read the article, you will realize that I told you a fib.

But my fib is true. Isn't it a funny world we live in?
  • Current Music
    DJ Shadow - Devil's Advocate (Heaven vs Hell Bonus Beat)


The Non-News Chewbacca Memo Pseudo-Event is finally more or less off of Blogdex. Yay. It was making things profoundly uninteresting out there.

Hell of a show

I went to see the Cruxshadows at Nation last night. They were touring with The Azoic and Icon of Coil, all of whom put on a great show- but of course, if you've ever seen a Cruxshadows show, you know that they put on an amazing live act. Last night was no exception.

Rogue did his standard walking around in the crowd bit, engaging the audience directly. He ended up on my side of the the crowd during the last bit of Winter Born, and he sang the last part of the chorus together with me, looking right into my eyes, with his hand on my shoulder. I have no doubt that he created many such moments that night, and that is most likely the reason that he walks among the crowd.

Later, in sort of a reversal of the previous, Rogue started pulling people up out of the crowd to dance on the stage. Being at the edge of the stage myself, I let him pull me right up along with the others. I've danced on the floor stages in clubs before, but never with a live band playing. I didn't feel a bit self-conscious, even though there was a massive crowd below me. The audience and the art felt truly integrated.

It's situations like this that are the reason why people go to concerts, and the Cruxshadows are definitely worth expending significant effort to see- and the smaller the club, honestly, the better. I've seen them a few times before, and in very small Baltimore clubs, such as the Depot and the Sidebar, the effect I mention above is even greater than in the huge, international-act scale stage of Nation.

Tour dates are here, if they pass through your area, be sure to make it...