Wednesday, January 25, 2006

negotiating with osama

we should send this guy!

Is this horse dead yet? 'Cuz I want to smack it...

Joel Stein gives voice to something many conservatives have suspected, but liberal pacifists have always denied: leftists loathe the U.S. military on both a personal and political level.

Long before this guy's pathetic mewlings, the awesome George Orwell put it best:

"The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to taking life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond this point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists whose real though unadmitted motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration for totalitarinaism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writings of the younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States. Moreover they do not as a rule condemn violence as such, but only violence used in defence of the western countries."

"All in all it is difficult not to feel that pacifism, as it appears among a section of the intelligentsia, is secretly inspired by an admiration for power and successful cruelty." (George Orwell, Notes on Nationalism, Polemic No. 1, October 1945)

Writing after the cessation of hostilities in Europe, this was as authoritative an encapsulation of modern pacifism as you are ever likely to find. Stein provides us with the latest iteration of it in his insultingly glib 21st century L.A. column. This type of pacifism might be harder to explain to Mr. Orwell: another "minority of pacifists" who also "prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond" a certain point. And that point is their own comforting self-love and the desire to maintain fashionable opinions. Orwell might imagine a Bertie Wooster, if the latter were told anti-war sentiment was au curant, somewhat like the latest cravat. Today, it's like a desparate Maureen Dowd went to an infertility clinic and cloned her own worthless ass twenty-something years ago. The products of that conception are now given a press sinecure in LaLaLand.

You don't like the freedom won for you by men and women made of way sterner stuff than your own? Well then give it back, asshat. Start with giving back freedom of the press. No more of your stupid columns about yourself (see Truth and a million little consequences for an example of this nauseating little narcissist's trivial use of freedom of the press. "I have no clue how people are going to react to me," he gushes to himself about himself in the L.A. Times.)

Blindly lending support to our soldiers, I fear, will keep them overseas longer by giving soft acquiescence to the hawks who sent them there � and who might one day want to send them somewhere else.

Er, like maybe Iran, for example? What, exactly, are columnists at the L.A. Times recommending we do about that thorny problem? Can it be solved by "bringing home troops"? And how, exactly, are we going to fit a potential Iranian war into the Vietnam template so beloved by the left? Good thing we aren't counting on people like that to provide solutions.

I know this is all easy to say for a guy who grew up with money, did well in school and hasn't so much as served on jury duty for his country. But it's really not that easy to say because anyone remotely affiliated with the military could easily beat me up, and I'm listed in the phone book.

Somebody please look him up. Sit him down. Set him straight. Is it amazing that a guy grew up comfortable and successful and can be so callously ignorant and self-absorbed? Or is it to be expected of someone who so obviously never encountered any hardship? Regardless, our troops defend the freedoms of even idiots like this dork, who "failed to object to a war we barely understood".

Well, I submit you still don't understand it, but that doesn't stop you from objecting to it. Please try to live up to the sacrifices of better men and women than you, who have provided you this opportunity to be an idiot in comfort and freedom.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sounds like a party at MY house...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

missing in action

The new year is extremely busy. I am recording the Tailspin Recovery album, working on an IRB on outcomes treating migraine-related dizziness, finishing up my own album Electron Beach, getting married in February, trying to read up on phobic positional vertigo, trying to read up on primary upbeat nystagmus, trying to read up on military modernization (U.S. and China), plus the usual beginning of the year rush. Need to go to the gym. Christmas tree is still up. Working on new website (see sidebar). Our Skullbase Dissection course is on for this weekend.

So, to use the words of Glenn Reynolds, "blogging will be light". A tip o the hat to Glenn. Read the whole thing. Heh.

Friday, January 06, 2006

next oToLAthe performance

I will be performing a two-hour abstract ambient Laptronica/Live P.A. set at the opening of Dragon Veins: Traditional East Asian Art and Contemporary Paintings, at the USF Contemporary Art Museum. The show is Friday January 13th from 7-9 p.m. I'll be playing Five Elements Fist, my composition consisting of five 20 minute ambient environments with elements of traditional chinese music (but glitched-the-fuck-out, beyond recognition) interspersed with some darker moods reminiscent of Jason Voorhees (hey, it IS Friday the 13th, after all). I'll be the guy in the corner behind the laptop MIDI controller, trying not to get into a political discussion with anybody....

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Instaprognosis: Sharon Out.

Damn, this isnt good.

Earlier he'd had a minor stroke, probably the embolic type judging from reference to a heart defect and by the fact that he had been placed on blood thinners. Now he's had a hemorrhagic stroke, and probably the blood thinners exacerbated the condition. Facts such as "massive hemorrhage," morbid obesity, and being in respiratory failure, if true, do not portend well for saving his life, let alone his administration.

UPDATE: Yes, with FBRU you can get near-realtime interpretations and speculation regarding the announcements of Sharon's medical team and various experts. Now they have him in a likely "barb coma". Barbiturates are frequently given after brain surgery to prevent seizures, which are bad in this context, and poorly controllable.

To recap (and please note that none of these words are pejorative; I am a long-time admirer of Sharon. There is a tendency for medical people to sound a little bit, er, clinical): A morbidly obese septuagenarian is in respiratory failure and in a barb coma because of "massive brain damage" (per his M.D.'s). Obesity will probably hurt him by 1.)aggravating his respiratory failure, since his chest expansion will be restrained by the weight, leading to vulnerability to pneumonia, and 2.)by making stasis ulcers ("bed sores") very difficult to prevent. Either pneumonia or bed sores can get out of control and lead to systemic sepsis ("blood poisoning"). Toxins circulating in his blood can lead to more of his systems failing (liver, kidneys, GI tract, etc.) It is likely that Ari Sharon will not survive this. I would love for him to make a liar out of me.

Pete Townshend vs. iPod

Throw away your iPods, chillun, lest you end up like Pete Townshend, says Pete Townshend.

It would be irresponsible of me, as a highly-trained specialist in hearing and balance disorders, to advocate excessive exposure to high amplitude noise of any kind. But. Come. On. Noise-induced hearing loss is cumulative over a lifetime. Townshend's career spans something like 42 years of playing a Telecaster next to a stack of HiWatt amplifiers. If we looked at a weighted average of noise intensity over his career, I'm betting most of the damage he sustained to his hearing occurred when his stage volume was averaging 100 to 120 dB (this is my personal estimate based on one Who show I attended, so take it with the appropriate size grain of salt). 15 minutes of exposure to continuous 100dB sound is enough to incur permanent damage to your hearing.

State of War

The New York Times has been the butt of jokes by conservatives for a brand of reasoning peculiar to liberals. "Why do we keep putting so many people into our prisons when the crime rate is going down?" was the formulation. Yuk yuk.

Then I picked up State of War : The Secret History of the C.I.A. and the Bush Administration by James Risen, and got as far as the prologue. This stopped me dead in my tracks:

"The ease with which the Bush administration has been able to overcome bureaucratic resistance throughout the government has revealed the weaknesses of both the military's officer corps and the nation's intelligence community. In very different ways, the army and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have traditionally served as gravitational forces supporting the status quo. Dominated by career professionals, both institutions abhor sudden change and tend to force policy towards the middle."

Mind you, this is offered as a criticism of the Bush administration!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Containment by any other name....

I posted this on Belmont Club recently, but it has been a familiar theme of mine earlier.

The one 20th century model which may see resurrection in 2006 is that hoary old concept containment. Allow me to be so bold as to predict that, for the forseeable future, this will be the policy towards Iraq. Basing rights in Turkey, Oman, Iraq, etc. will be used to establish anti-missile defenses (remember, there is no ABM treaty with Iraq.). Although I speculate, certainly anti-ballistic missile technology has come a long way since the Patriot missiles of the 1991 Iraq War.

Following a policy of containment allows breathing space to position espionage assets within Iran via the porous borders with Iraq and Afghanistan. It gives diplomacy time to work. By temporally separating the Iraq conflict from any new conflict with Iran, domestic "selling" of any military intervention can proceed under the premise that it does not threaten strategic overreach of already overburdened U.S. military forces.

I now see this article by Christopher Hitchens that asks the question, If you want to know what the Bush administration policy is toward Iran, you will have to keep asking (and if you manage to find anything out, please let me know).

The policy is containment. Detente. What you do when a hostile power is aiming a gun at your temple, but you got some on his.