Category ►►► Watchers Council
March 25, 2008
Watcher Countdown - Blast-off!
Positively the last ever Big Lizards post as a member of the Council of Watchers of Weasels of Councils. And finally, we can exit the Council with all duties discharged!
(I will restrain myself from the obvious quotation.)
Our number-one choice came in first, which is always nice; but in this case, it did so by beating out our own nominee -- and by the slimmest possible margin! A nice kick in the trousers on our way out the door... thanks, Mr. or Ms. Howling.
- Change & The Cessation of British History, by Wolf Howling.
Wolf Howling howls about the dirty and underhanded way that the Labour Party of Great Britain backdoored ratification of th enew European Union constitution. In other news, Labour's popularity has sunk to new lows seen here only in the "popularity" of Congress. The two news items may be related.
(Our own nominee, Californichusetts, relating how the California Supreme Court may be poised to cram same-sex marriage up our -- er -- noses, polled second... by only 1/3 of a vote! That means that one extra person voted for the Wolf Howling piece... as his or her second-place vote. Yeesh!)
For our second place vote, we picked another fine post by Bookworm Room. (And what do you want to bet she was the one whose second-placer relegated us to landing behind Wolf Howling? Where's the gratitude!)
- Biology Will Have Its Way *UPDATE*, by Bookworm Room.
Bookworm relates the increasing raunchiness of American culture, and especially of "female chauvinist pigs," as one book calls the rise of raunchy chicks, to the new study that shows that 25% of all teenaged girls in America have had a venereal disease.
The winner among non-Council ("Nouncil") entries was (wait for it) yet another Yon:
- Guitar Heroes, by Michael Yon.
Now, I have nothing against Michael Yon, and his reporting scratches a niche that is large and important. But really, they contain no analysis beyond the immediate; his articles are fascinating, but in the same way one can be fascinated by watching the show Cops.
Granted, it's a view through a window that few other reporters open; he embeds for months at a time with different units in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I hope he continues doing so (so long as his family permits). But I think one win is enough... not virtually every time someone nominates his newest story.
Does this sound snarky? It's not in the sense you might mean it: I think Yon is doing a brilliant and essential job. But I believe awards such as this, particularly in the Nouncil category, should highlight posts that give us a new way of looking at the world that we might miss without the Council nominations and wins.
We voted for two posts that do just that:
- The Tragedy of the Democratic Party, by American Thinker;
- Amid Charges of Spitzer Tryst, Embattled Prostitute "Kristen" Expected to Resign, by Iowahawk.
In the first, Thomas Lifson and Richard Baehr note that the predicament the Democratic Party finds itself in is entirely of its own doing, mostly by switching from winner-take-all primaries to proportional primaries; the former would have selected a nominee by now.
The Iowahawk post is one of the most hilarious parodies of news obsession I have ever read; you must read it instanter!
The backward look
Here is the Watcher's result post listing every nominee who received at least one vote; but I urge you to bookmark the Watcher's main page... because you will want to glance at it at least once a week to see what wonderful posts have been nominated.
And with that last commercial message (just leave the bag o'swag on my doorstep, Watcher), I bid a fond adieu to the coven of cronies who gave me equal parts war, peace, pride, prejudice, night, day, black, white, the best of times, the worst of times, sickness, health, triumph, and tsouris. We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the -- ah, heck with it.
Guys, it's been a slice.
March 19, 2008
Watcher Countdown - One! And Out With a Bang!
We're quite relieved, actually, that we got one, last win before checking out; that way, we don't quite feel as if we're slinking out the back door, suitcase in hand, skipping out on the rent...
We really liked this post, so we're doubly glad it was this one that grabbed a final victory... instead of the worthless trash we usually publish on Big Lizards!
- Chicago Rules, by Big Lizards.
This was the piece about Barack Obama's astonishing run of good luck: Every time he runs for public office, it seems that something -- happens -- to his opponent; thus he managed to run virtually unopposed both for state senator and then for U.S. senator.
Then we connected this curious history to the wonderful piece by Wolf Howling that we voted for last week, in which we learnt that Obama's guardian angel is trying it yet again: There is a scheme being hatched that might force John McCain to accept public financing, thus shutting off his money spigot for months and months, virtually dooming his candidacy.
(And not only that, some Democrat actually did file a lawsuit asking that McCain be removed from all ballots... because, having been born on a Naval base in the Panama Canal Zone, the suit claims he's not a "natural born citizen" of the United States!)
If either angle bears fruit, then once again, Obama can run virtually unopposed (in the general election, at least!)... this time, for President of the United States.
To make our own win even more savory, our number 1 and 2 votes came in numbers 3 and 2 on the hit parade... a clean sweep of Lizardian splendor in the Council round!
- The Dershowitz Questions, by Wolf Howling;
- The Rape of Rape On American Campuses, by Cheat Seeking Missiles.
We're suckers for historical overviews on the existential war of our age, the war against global caliphism (I'm trying that phrase out instead of "global hirabah," since nobody outside our little circle knows what the heck hirabah means; I hope "caliphism" is self explanatory). This one by Wolf Howling is excellent, well deserving our number-one vote.
There were two posts on the moral and political implications of a brand new topic: "grey rape," where a girl voluntarily gets plastered at a party, goes home with a guy, has sex with him... and then later charges him with rape because (she proclaims) she was too drunk to give consent. (Of course, he was too drunk to notice; but somehow that doesn't exonerate his behavior, as it sanctifies hers.)
One of the posts was by Cheat Seeking Missiles, while the other came from the creative keyboard of Bookworm Room. We dithered a long time before finally voting for Laer's... but it was a close call.
We did quite well in the Nouncil round too, as it happens. For once, our own nomination -- which was also our number-one pick -- and also happened to be Power Line, which never wins (I think members are jealous)... won anyway. Hip hip, chin chin!
- Dissecting the 60 Minutes Scandal, by John Hinderaker at Power Line.
John writes about the 60 Minutes story that (falsely) claims Karl Rove orchestrated the arrest, indictment, and conviction of Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama. The entire conspiracy appears to have been fabricated by 60 Minutes' only witness... one Jill Simpson, who claimed to have been a long-time Republican operative working for Rove (but whom nobody in the GOP has ever heard of, mysteriously enough).
Too bad Dan Rather is no longer working on the show; this would have been a natural.
Our number-two pick went nowhere; but it's a great post nonetheless:
- Not to Complicate Matters, But..., by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Russell Jacoby writing at the Chronicle of Higher Education writes a hilarious pastiche of eduspeak, that content-free bureaucratic buzz whose only purpose is to confuse listeners who haven't been admitted to "the club" and received their secret decoder rings.
Watch your Hottentot
The Watcher watches all; and here be his watchings.
March 18, 2008
Watcher Countdown - Two! Just Around the Corner...
Yep, we're winding our way down. By the time you read this, we will already have voted on our last Watcher's Council vote. But we don't consider ourselves truly alumni until we finish the last three results posts... a tad late, but heck, you should be used to that by now.
In fact, the work involved in writing these posts is one of the reasons we're calling it a year after just a year (that didn't come out right, but you know what we meant.) It's not required to discuss each winning post and each post we voted for; all we need do to abide by the letter of the Council is list the winners and link to the results on the Watcher of Weasels' web site. (And, I think, link to the nominees; but I never noticed that requirement until a couple of weeks ago, and it's too late to teach the early worm a new trick.)
But the posts offered by the Council members and those others (the "Nouncil," or non-Council) they nominate are just too damned good to let slide by with a single sentence or a bare link. We feel compelled to discuss them, quote from them, betimes even argue with them. Hence these long, annoying Watcher's Council results posts... which, by the way, nobody has shown any sign of enjoying but we ourselves.
So without further ado -- or further mawkish self-pity -- we give you the winners, the also-rans... and the total losers who write Big Lizards!
The winner is Laer at Cheat Seeking Missiles for this poli-sci piece on the upcoming presidential campaign:
- In A PC Nation, How Will The GOP Run?, by Cheat Seeking Missiles.
I love technical politics... the nuts and bolts of how one actually runs a political campaign, either at the micro level (how Whatchamacallem should run his campaign against Thingamajig) or the macro (how should the GOP run against the Democrats). I never studied any of this at university (I frittered my time away on math and creative writing), so I appreciate any help a blogger can give me by his blogpost.
In this case, Laer takes issue with folks like Jack Kemp, urging John McCain not to run a cautious campaign:
The fact of the matter is, the GOP effort cannot be about, as Politico said, protecting the GOP from charges of racism or sexism. Those charges will come no matter what, so while it's important to prep messaging in order to avoid or reduce charges of racism in the campaign ahead, it's more important to develop a strategy for responding to those inevitable charges.
But I do take a little issue, though I am only an egg, with Laer's prescription for what McCain should do:
Race-card playing race-baiters (or sex-card playing fem-baiters) cannot be allowed to enjoy the immunity that's been extended to Jesse Jackson, the Irreverent Sharpton, or the flock of feminists. Perpetrators of such baiting need to be shut down in language that appeals to GOP and independent voters; forget appeasing the Dems. Here's a first take on such a message:"This is a defining moment for [race/women] in America, and we all must stand up to those who are playing the tired and empty [race/feminism] card, trying desperately to cling to an America that simply is no more. I am sick of people who want to shame America and embarrass it globally for the sake of their selfish power. I will not allow them to redirect this campaign to the past when I am looking to the future, and neither should you. Tell them you're done with the dirty politics of division."
To be clearer, I support the preamble -- don't let race-baiters get away with it -- but dispute the tactic advised. In fact, I would advist McCain to attack exactly as he would were Obama white or Clinton a man, and not make any big deal out of the first-ness of it all.
I think most people would be refreshed to hear a truly post-racial campaign of white vs. black. And if the race-baiters whine that McCain isn't giving Obama sufficient deference for being the first black presidential nominee of either major party... then McCain asks them to make up their minds: Does this campaign transcend race, or is it about nothing but Barack Obama's race? Let them simmer in their own juice.
Still, it's a great post; we voted it number two, but it's a perfectly reasonable overall winner.
Our number-one vote went to Wolf Howling -- which (as you'll see) appears to be a pattern:
- Obama (with links) & McCain's Petard, by Wolf Howling;
Mr. (or Mrs.) Howling notes a very ironical Catch-22 that John McCain finds himself in, though there is an easy out. We already discussed this in one of our own posts, Chicago Rules; so no need to go into it here as well.
But you'll be hearing about Chicago Rules in our next post...
The winner here was Gila Weiss, who writes an open letter to a radical filmmaker whose movie equated the victim of a suicide bombing to the murderous bitch who killed her... and Weiss tears the filmmaker a new pineal gland:
- To Die in Jerusalem, Part II, by My Shrapnel.
Can't do any better than to quote the money graf:
You boldly proclaim your identification with Ayat. How much time have you spent trying to identify with Rachel? Where is Rachel in this story? Is she important because she was, because of the person she was…or because she was a particularly interesting victim of terror--a victim the same age as and with a striking resemblance to her murderer? This is how I see it: the only reason that you care about Rachel at all is because she makes the story of your darling, tormented suicide bomber that much more dramatic. She is a foil for the blade to play against. If she were blonde, if she were ten years older, if she were, say, the downright heroic security guard, she would not have mattered to you at all. She would have been just another sad, but rather dull, statistic.
This short, little missive is lethal.
We voted for a couple other brilliant pieces:
- Validating AGW Skepticism, by The QandO Blog;
- The Democrats' Collective Cognitive Catatonia, by Dr. Sanity.
The first presents several points that shake the foundations of anthropogenic globaloney a bit, and you already know we're obsessed about that subject! And in the second, Ma Sanity really puts the casual perfidy and narcissistic preening of the Democrats in the House under the microscope, anent their failure to enact (or even allow a vote on) a bill to restore and permanize the Protect America Act of 2007, which fixed some gaping holes in our intelligence gathering.
Read 'em and weep
Check here for all the latest gossip about alien abductions, Bigfoot, liver pills, and a windy singer they call Mariah.
February 27, 2008
Watcher Countdown - Three! Superabbreviatedwatcherpost
From the February 22th Watcher post.
We -- er, ah -- completely spaced on voting. I think we only did this once before. The upshot is that we only have the two winners... and we didn't even read them!
But we are now entirely caught up on Watches.
We didn't vote for this piece, but only because we didn't vote for any piece. Too busy sunning ourselves on the sands of Brighton Beach. (Actually, BB doesn't have sand; just rocks. Big rocks. Step on them and break your ankle rocks. The naked English ladies were worth the risk, however.)
- Make Washington's Birthday a National Holiday Again, by Right Wing Nut House.
A paean to our first and greatest president (Gore Vidal notwithstanding), and perhaps the greatest day in his military command. And might we append a peroration on why it sucks that the only American to have a federal holiday named after him is someone who never held elective office in his entire life?
Sigh. Another 75,000 word Michael Totten piece.
- The Dungeon of Fallujah, by Michael J. Totten.
Totten visits... well, a dungeon-jail in Fallujah. 'Nuff said.
See the posts the Lizards never read!
Watcher Countdown - Four! Midwatch by the Watcher's Watch
The February 15th Watcher strategic conference and three-legged race.
Climbing out of the hole, just one more to go.
And the second shall be first, and the first shall be second, unto the end of Councildom. Our second pick actually tied with our first pick; so the Great Chronometer picked the winner:
- Mandate Me, Baby, by Right Wing Nut House.
Rick Moran rails about health-insurance mandates. Ook ook, can any subject be finer and nearer our hearts?
- Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and McCain Derangement Syndrome, by Wolf Howling.
Mr. Howling lights into the divine Ann (yeah, sure, if I were single) and the sublime Rush (not even if I were gay) for their continued attacks on John McCain, even after it was all over but the shouting. Now is the time for all good men to come together, right now, over he.
And the first shall be first, and the second shall be third, so sayeth Saurus Giganticus. The winner in this category is not only our top pick... we were the reptiles who nominated it!
- Are We At War? And What Is the Political Consequence of That For Conservatives In This Election?, by BeldarBlog.
Beldar asks the most important question of this election; for if we truly are at war -- and Big Lizards has believed that we are even before hatching from our leathery egg -- then our nation simply cannot afford for conservatives to monkey around with "protest votes" for Huckabee (or in the case of the divine she above, Hillary Clinton!)
- Obama's Politics of Collective Redemption, by American Thinker.
This came in third: Kyle-Anne Shiver examines the "messianic" fervor of Obamasm -- and shudders.
And the last shall be 45th, and the penultimate shall be 16th, and...
Here be -- as we refer to the Professor and Mary Ann -- "the rest."
February 26, 2008
Watcher Countdown - Five! "The Ancient of Weeks"
These last five posts in my tenure on the Watcher's Council will necessarily be brief (and, as you see, often late -- this is for the Watcher post of February 8th!) So forgive me for wasting less of your valuable time than normal...
The winner this week begins his post by saying, "no one's ever going to read this all. But what the hell." Shamefacedly, I must confess it was certainly true in my case! While Callimachus' writing is up to his usual high standards, I find the subject-matter -- ruminations on the Confederate battle flag -- simply tedious, despite the fact that I was born and raised in the South (of California, that is):
- A Short Hitch, by Done With Mirrors.
Rather, we voted for two posts that had absolutely nothing to do with old Stars and Bars:
- Obama Disparages the Military & Gets a Pass On Iraq From Fox News, by Wolf Howling;
- Cutting Off Berkeley, by Rhymes With Right.
In the first, Mr. Howling notes that Barack Obama continues to call our presence in Iraq an "occupation;" in fact, it ceased being an occupation when Saddam Hussein's Baathist government fell, and a new government was democratically elected -- and asked us to stay to fight against the terrorist insurgents trying to tear down what the Iraqi people built. Evidently, Sen. Obama is unaware of this history. (I wonder how he would have done on that "quiz" survey that Common Core gave to random 17 year olds?)
In the Rhymes With Right post, Greg notes with enthusiasm Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-SC, 100%) quest to eliminate from the Senate appropriations process any and all "earmarks" for the city of Berkeley, California... on grounds that if, as the city council wrote in a letter, the United States Marines were "unwelcome intruders" in their fair city -- then the city was not entitled to free money from the federal government they reject.
Sounds good to me!
Our own entry tied for last place... but at least we were spared the ignominy of getting no votes at all.
We did rather better in the Nouncil vote, with our number-one vote winning, and our number-two tying for third. (Our own Nouncil nomination got only one vote... and it wasn't even from us!)
- Changing the Organizational Culture (Updated), by Small Wars Journal.
LG William B. Caldwell urges us to become real players in the new world of communications via the internet, something our terrorist enemies have already done. To that end, he proposes we take advantage of the greatest strength of the American military: Not our technology (though that is extraordinary), nor our training (excellent as it is), but the trust and authority we have always invested in our individual soldiers -- as individuals -- to make decisions and take personal responsibility for their areas of operation.
This is something no other national military does to anywhere near the degree we do; most allow their lower-level members no authority whatsoever without orders from higher up... even when they come under attack. Caldwell urges us to allow and even encourage soldiers to post YouTube videos, blogposts, and suchlike; and dang, but that's a great and very American idea!
In our other pick, Oliver Kamm reviews a book on Iraq by Jonathan Steele, and finds that it comes up short:
- Our Policy In Iraq, by Oliver Kamm.
Full Monty Watcher
See him in all his glory here!
February 6, 2008
Wicked Watch of the West
Another Watcher post? Already?
Our bête noire, JoshuaPundit, came in first this week in the Council category. Which we really can't complain about, since we helped compel it there by voting it our Number 1:
- Energy Independence -- What It Am And What It Ain't, by Joshuapundit.
[At least our own post tied for Number 2.
We're number 2!
We're number 2! Wait, that didn't come out right...]
Freedom Fighter gives an excellent primer on the difficulties of going energy independent, finishing with a stirring call to dive into oil-from-coal and oil-from-shale production, along with many more fission power plants -- one hopes he means the newer designs, such as Pebble Bed Modular Reactors and Integral Fast Reactors.
The only point he didn't discuss is that we could greatly help the drive towards energy independence, without having to scrap our fuel-delivery infrastructure, by offering a massive X-prize -- say, a government contract for $1 billion worth of vehicles -- for the first company to create a commercially produceable car with a high-temperature ceramic engine that burns the gasoline (whether oil-based or artificial) at a much hotter temperature... say about 5,000° Fahrenheit.
The hotter you burn fuel, the more complete the combustion; hence the greater the mileage and the fewer pollutants out the tailpipe. (Smog comprises incompletely burned hydrocarbons that ought to be driving the power train instead.) Couple high-temperature burning with flywheel technology (to conserve some of the angular momentum of the wheels during braking), and the reduction in weight through scrapping the water pump and hose system and the oil pump and lubrication system, and we could see cars getting 80 to 100 mpg.
Our Number 2 was...
- Complicit, by Soccer Dad.
SoccerDad notes the sad irony of newspapers being accomplices beside the fact in the "Palestinians" (Hamas, actually) blowing holes through the security wall segregating Gaza from Egypt... given that Hamas, had they their own way, would surely dump freedom of the press along with every other freedom in a world of sharia.
This piece, written nearly a fortnight ago, is doubly ghoulish, given that the suicide bombers who killed a 73 year old woman in Dimona, Israel likely entered Israel by crossing the Sinai from Egypt, after escaping Gaza through the breech opened by Hamas. According to Fox News:
The Egyptian Police attempted to keep the escapees contained to Rafah, the town immediately on the Egyptian side of the border. They were unsuccessful. The Egyptians announced that they had picked up 17 Palestinian in various spots across the Sinai Peninsula, armed and intending to attack Israelis. Some were planning to attack Israeli tourists in the Sinai, others were intending to cross back into Israel and attack there.
While the Gaza Strip is separated from Israel by a fence, monitored with optics and patrolled by soldiers, Egypt is not. The border extending south from the Gaza Strip to the Red Sea is protected mostly by an open expanse of desert. There is some fencing but it’s not impassable. The first 30 miles of border, immediately south of the Gaza Strip, are patrolled by only eight soldiers at any given time.
So the New York Times, the Times of London, and other papers that cheered the "Palestinians" on -- "once more into the breach, dear friends!" -- were not only complicit in breaking the Israeli boycott intended to stop the Qassam rocket attacks on northern Israel; they may also have been complicit in one murder, eleven critical assaults, and God knows how much more death and mayhem, if other bombers manage to make it from Egypt into Israel.
I hope the journalists feel chagrin, but I suspect the more likely emotion is narcissistic self-righteousness.
Our Number 2 came in Number 1 this week; actually, it tied for first, but the Watcher selected it for the winner -- against our Number 1, which thus tied for Number 2 with two other Number 2s. Ya fallah?
- The Conclusion We Dare Not Face, by Dr. Sanity.
Dr. Sanity -- or Old Doc Electroshock, as I like to call her -- notes the consequences of entertaining the possibility that Islam might not actually be the "religion of peace;" and she asks whether we can face those consequences -- the decisions they require and the future world they imply. [A commenter swears that D.S. is a she, not a he; I have changed all pronouns accordingly.]
- Be a Victim! Or Else!, by Classical Values.
Eric examines the phenomenon of gay bashing by Moslem yutes... and thus falls down the rabbit hole of whether a society whose greatest virtue is tolerance can tolerate the intolerant.
The watchword is which word?
If you really want to read all the losers too (including Big Lizards), I supposed you could wend your way here.
But why would you?
January 31, 2008
Watcher Head and Goat
If we can get this post up quickly, before the Watcher announces this week's winners (or at least before I read the e-mail!), then we'll be current again. Accordingly...
And the (narrow) winner is:
- Liberal Fascism, by Done With Mirrors.
We're pretty happy about this (though we're not happy at being skunked again), because this was our first choice in the Council category. Both our first choices won this week.
This is a snarky, snarly review of the book Liberal Fascism, by Jonah Goldberg -- which I have but haven't yet read. We voted for this entry mainly for the wonderful alternative Callimachus invented to replace the left-right political axis:
A simple pair of labels invented to describe the seating arrangement of the French National Assembly in 1789 (in which the nobility took the seats on the President's right and left the Third Estate to sit on the left), they may have been useful for a time in describing the rudimentary politics of the early French Republic. Their application to anything else is a farce.
What would be better? Almost anything. A spiral galaxy, for instance. There is a large, undifferentiated, blurry center. There are arms that trail out of it, getting smaller and more extreme as they are more distant from the center. Here is socialism, and beyond it, communism. Here is conservative moralism, and beyond it theocracy. And out there is a lumpy arm that starts in libertarianism and ends in anarchism. The arms sometimes come nearer each other than the center as they spin out.
(Long quotes are nice; they make the post nice and big without requiring any writing on our part.)
Our other vote was for a more traditional political rant:
- The Radicalization of American Politics, by The Glittering Eye.
Mr. Eye objects to the increasing radicalization of the parties, as seen most clearly in the racially tinged combat between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party nomination to the presidency.
We knew this next post was going to be the winner, and by a substantial margin:
- Bylines of Brutality, by Iowahawk.
Iowahawk has penned (phosphored?) a wonderful parody of the recent New York Times hit piece on the American soldier that pretended there was a trail of Iraq and Afghanistan vets who had come back more or less like Bruce Dern in Coming Home: Insane, violent, murderous psychopaths.
Iowahawk applies the same non-standards to prove that reporters and news anchors are bursting out in violent outbursts all over the world. It's very funny; read it!
Again, this was our first choice. Our second was the piece we nominated:
- A Relatively Scientific Experiment, by John at Power Line.
John takes a more sober look at the same story that Iowahawk just took down with laughter. This post was the first I read that seriously looked at the wretched statistics manhandled by the Times, in their wild-eyed vendetta against our troops.
(I don't know why, but Power Line gets no respect at all on the Council. I don't recall them winning anything in the almost eleven months I've been on the coven.)
As always, follow the link to see all those nominees that actually got a vote or two.
January 29, 2008
Can't stop, running behind again, gotta go --
None of our votes won this week; we did much better next week.
- Ed. Schools: They're Awful (for the most part), by The Colossus of Rhodey.
Hube states his thesis right up front. He quotes George Leef:
The public overwhelmingly believes that the function of schools should be mainly academic – that is, to make sure that children learn very well the skills and knowledge that it takes to succeed in life....
On the other hand, the dominant view among those who run and teach in our education schools is that the key role of schooling is to achieve various social objectives. In their opinion, it's more important for teachers to properly adjust students' outlook on life and society than to instruct them in "mere" knowledge and facts.
Leef is right, and Hube expounds upon this profundity throughout the post.
Instead, we voted for a pair of lesser issues, evidently:
- Identity Politics Then and Now, by Bookworm Room;
- 500,000 Iraqis Did Not Die, by Cheat Seeking Missiles.
Bookworm writes about the politics of identification: "Vote for me because I look like you!" She contrasts this (largely Democratic) tendency with the (more often Republican) propensity to vote for the person whose philosophy and experience most closely matches what we see as ideal.
Is that an important topic? Nah. Tied for fifth.
Our second-place vote went to a post that notes the astonishing discrepency between the numbers of dead Iraqi civilians as estimated by the Lancet study and the World Health Organization... a gulf of greater than half a million souls!
Jeez, this is taking longer than I thought. All right, fifth gear! The winner was a nice piece by that Canadian guy who's under the gun for republishing the Mohammed cartoons:
- Kangaroo Court, by Ezra Levant.
Levant makes a great case that his purpose in publishing them was simply to exercise his freedom to publish them in the putative Western democracy of Canada. (We voted this one in first place, and I remarked to myself, "Self, this Nouncil post is going to win by a landslide."
It tallied 5 1/3 points, which means either eight first-place votes -- or else seven firsts and two seconds -- or six firsts and four seconds -- well, you get the picture. The silver medal was a three-way tie... and one of those three was yet another post about Ezra Levant's battles with the Canadian Human Rights Commission!
Another of the silver medalists was our second-place vote:
- The Media Does It Again, by Winds of Change.
Armed Liberal tears into the risible New York Times piece purporting to show a trail of death and destruction, or however they phrased it, following after Iraq-war veterans when they returned to the United States. (This was the piece we nominated.)
Here be Watchers.
January 17, 2008
Allow Us to Blow Our Own Canoe
This isn't really a normal Watcher's Council vote post... but it was a vote, of a sort.
Secretly, while the innocent were sleeping, the Watcher of Weasels conspired to keep a clandestine list of all the votes cast for blogs -- both Council and Nouncil -- which came in first in a weekly Council vote.
That is, whenever a blog would win a Council vote, the WoW would add all votes for that winner to a running tally. If later, that same blog won again, then all the votes for it that week would be added to the previous total, and so forth. At the end of the year, the Watcher toted up all the running tallies and declared a winner in The 2007 WOW Awards.
You probably wonder why we're telling you all this.
(Actually, I doubt that; knowing our entirely overblown opinion of ourselves -- which causes us, e.g., to refer to ourselves constantly in the first-person plural -- you have probably already guessed why. But our well-known modesty forbids us to come right out and say it.)
But of course, we did supply a link...
For those readers as interested in the past as we, here are the previous three years' winner tote boards (I think 2004 was the first year that the Watcher of Weasels compiled an overall winner):
Since we don't actually know whether the Watcher of Weasels is male or female -- or whether, like the Stig, the WoW exists in a freakish netherworld of uncollapsed wave equations -- we shall use the ficticious, all-purpose, genderless pronoun "yeye," invented by Damon Knight (who always insisted it was Swahili, or somesuch).
Here is the earliest Watcher post still up on yeye's site, from March 22nd, 2003: Humanoid Spacifications. That's from before the Iraq War began... in blog years, it's practically precambrian!
It appears that in addition to yeye's current domain-name digs (watcherofweasels.com), the Watcher is or was at one time blogging out of upsaid.com... which looks like a sort of blogger.com type thingie. Yeye had a journal there titled "My Jornal," but with a subdomain of "watcherofweasels;" or at least, so it looks. (The name in the user profile is given as "anna," by the way; which is why I hesitate to assign a sex to the WoW).
The creation date of the journal is listed as April 28th, 2004... but that should be the date when it was recreated or reinitiated or somesuch; because, in the first post we could find that explicitly mentioned the Council -- dated October 24th, 2003 -- the WoW makes reference to earlier Council rules in a (now defunct) link to upsaid.com/watcherofweasels. So the dates are all bollixed up, for some reason.
In any event, the Watcher is evidently one of the Grand Old Men or Grand Old Dames of the blogosphere. While blogging had precursors going back to the late 1980s (in 1987, I was sending around an e-mail newsletter titled the Huge Report), blogging as we know it today, looking like modern blogs, really began in late 1998. But the big explosion happened around 2004... so anybody preceding that should be considered a member of First Blogdom (those "blogging" before HTML -- the real pioneers! -- should be called members of Zeroth Blogdom).
We can see your eyes glazing over, so that's enough ancient history for today.
January 16, 2008
At Last, the Final Ketchup Watcher!
Since the vote this week has not even occurred, we're not yet late... so as soon as this post on last-week's Coucil vote hits the 'sphere, we'll actually be all caught up!
The winner was our number-two vote this time:
- Britain's Prosecution of The Blogger Lionheart for Criticism of Islam, by Wolf Howling;
The title says it all: the UK has issued an arrest warrant for a British blogger... for the crime of "stirring up racial hatred" by criticising radical Islamism. Can Britons spell S-h-a-r-i-a?
While the Wolf Howling post was good, we had been planning to blog about that ourselves and never got around to it -- a fact we hold against the wolves. Clearly, we could not possibly put that post in first place, as it just highlights our own inadequacy, lethargy, and laziness. We stuck it in second place, hoping nobody would notice.
Whoops; I think we weren't supposed to write that part out loud.
Instead, we voted for another excellent post -- this one by perennially enjoyable and edifying Laer:
- Honor Killings? What Honor Killings?, by Cheat Seeking Missiles.
Laer highlights the different treatments given (a) a story about an alleged "hate crime" against a black couple, and (b) the non-story about an Egyptian immigrant who is accused of the "honor" murders of his two daughters. (That's an act of "honor" like blowing up a children's hospital is an act of "jihad": Both are nothing more than acts of human sacrifice that will send the perpetrators straight to Hell.)
With the death in Iraq of Maj. Andy Olmsted -- blogger and former member of the Watcher's Council -- we were pretty sure that one of the winners would be one of the many heartfelt obituaries for Maj. Olmsted; it turned out to be in the Nouncil category:
- Andy Olmsted, by Obsidian Wings.
This vote is entirely fitting: Hilzoy was Olmsted's co-blogger at Obsidian Wings; Olmsted blogged there under the handle G'Kar, and it was there that he could fully express his love of the SF epic show Babylon-5, as well as comment on matters in the real world.
Requiescat in pace, Major.
We voted for a pair of other worthies:
- Sen. Obama's Calls for Unity Are Not What They Seem, by Dennis Prager at Townhall.com;
- An Amusing Greenie Attack on the Inhofe Report, by A Western Heart.
The first -- our own Nouncil nominee -- is a brilliant column by Dennis Prager. Prager notes that whenever somebody talks about "unity," he always means that everyone should unify around the unifier's ideas... tossing aside their own like used Kleenex.
The second is, well, just what the title says... a fun fisking of a pro-globaloney attack piece. The fisker is Dr. John Ray, a psychologist and behavioral scientist now out of academe and living in his native Brisbane, Australia.
I know you've never seen this before, but...
You can see all the entries that got votes by motivating here.
January 14, 2008
More Stale Watchers... Will We Ever Sight Land?
Someday, we shall overcome this evil curse of being behind in our Watchers. For I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal enmity against all forms of stale-Watcher tyranny over the mind of Man.
I've always rather liked posts that take on the self-inflated and prick their balloons:
- The Freddys Seven, by Soccer Dad.
Soccer Dad pops the automythological "relevance" of the "Reverend" Al Sharpton. 'Nuff said.
Here were our two votes in last week's Council category:
- America Derangement Syndrome -- Or, Yes, You Can Call Them Unpatriotic, by Bookworm Room;
- Politics Anonymous, by Right Wing Nut House.
In the first, Bookworm demonstrates that anti-Americanism is endemic in Europe and has always existed; it wasn't caused by having a "cowboy" in the White House... they always hate us. When the president is a Democrat, they're just politer about expressing their hatred. (But of course, anybody who watches the BBC car show Top Gear is quite familiar with this bizarre attitude; the main presenter, Jeremy Clarkson, nakedly loathes everything about the United States... and worse, he casually assumes that every decent person feels the same. I've never actually heard him refer to us as "the colonies," but I'm sure he thinks it -- in the most patronizing, infantalizing way.)
The second is a fun romp by the curmudgeonly Rick Moran through all the candidates... and it turns out he hates them all as even-handedly as European elites hate every aspect of America!
The winner was a post comprising a litany of myths about Israel and her neighbors:
- Exploding Myths, by Treppenwitz.
I agree with the author, David Bogner, in each case; but I'm not sure what is unique enough about the post for it to win the vote this week. Still, it's nice to see these all in one place.
Rather, we voted for a couple that we thought quite different from the norm of Nouncil nominations:
The first recasts one of the principals in the primary pandemoneum -- Ms. Hillary -- as a couple of characters from the P.G. Wodehouse "Bertie Wooster" stories... both are women to which Berties has unintentionally and inexplicably become engaged at various times. Depending on Hillary Clinton's mood du jour, she can be the strident and mannish Honoria Glossop or the pseudo-intellectual Florence Craye. But never, ever the soppy and simpering Madeleine Bassett! (I personally think that at core, she's more like Bertie's Aunt Agatha -- the bad aunt who chews broken glass and bays at the moon.)
The second was our own nomination, a Power Line post in which Scott "Big Johnson" Trunk -- whoops, reverse those -- quotes Thomas Houlahan on the myriad things Hillary Clinton doesn't know about Pakistan... but thinks she does.
This is an example of what Don Rumsfeld would have called an "unknown unknown," where one not only doesn't know, one doesn't know that one doesn't know. This is the most dangerous kind of ignorance, and it's emblematic of today's Democratic Party. Another way to put it, generally attributed to Will Rogers (and quoted in widely varying forms), is: "It ain't what he don't know that scares me; it's what he knows that just ain't so."
How to find a Watcher for your very own
Just search here, and I'll bet one will pop up!
January 6, 2008
Wait - Watch Which Watcher, Wretch?
Would you believe it? We're still not caught up. Once again, this is last week's Council decision; we still hope to get to this week's decision later tonight.
(Yeesh, this is like trying to pay off credit cards...)
The only thing as good as winning a Watcher's Council contest -- is seeing your number one and two votes come in -- numbers one and two:
- Judeo-Christian Doctrine and Moral Freedom, by Bookworm Room.
Bookworm makes the case that Islamism has a very important similarity to Leftism: "[N]either believes in free will or in man’s ability to make moral decisions independent of his immediate circumstances."
This was our first choice in the Council vote, as noted; here was our second -- which came in second:
- Ron Paul, by Done With Mirrors.
See if you can guess what this post is about. I'll wait.
Figured it out, have you? Well, I thought it one of the most erudite takedowns I've ever seen of the pompous, morally preening, far-above-the-fray (in fact, far above the mortal plane) candidate for the Libertublican Party.
We didn't do quite as well in the Nouncil category: Our number two took number two, but our number one was down in the pack. The winner was a nice defense of fear itself as a motivator to fight (and it includes a rant against Paul Krugman, everybody's favorite economist... where "everybody" means the collection of all anybodies who see no connection between economics and the free market):
- Fear, by Silver Bullet.
Ron Silver -- yes, the newly conservative (he would say "revolutionary liberal") actor guy from the West Wing -- writes that a certain level of fear about guys in caves declaring war on the United States is healthy... because it encourages us to take seriously guys in caves declaring war on the United States. (Had we a little more fear in the 1990s, we might have solved the al-Qaeda problem before it metastasized.)
I liked the Silver piece, but we voted for a couple others that were excellent as well:
In the first, Jennifer Rubin runs down a list of the Democrats' accomplishments last year... and a more run-down lot you'll never find. And in "Laughter and Tears," Francis W. Porretto ("Fran") gives us his last column for a while. He's a fellow author (though I'll bet he's published more recently than I!), and he has to take a blogbreak to finish some book he has under contract. (Something about an irate publisher with a 55-gallon drum of white-out...)
Fran runs through some of what has been making him so angry and tired recently, a series of events that revolve around the issue of power: the power sought by a few to rule over the many. It's well worth reading... and it reminds me somewhat of another author, far better known than I -- and, I suspect, than Francis Porretto: Harlan Ellison.
I wonder if Fran has been noshing on some of Harlan's "angry candy?"
Yeah, yeah; I know: Full results. Here. Now.
December 31, 2007
More Ancient Watchers...
Watcher Council cold --
Watcher Council in the pot
Nine days old!
Another hoary, old Watcher's Council post excavated from the Cretaceous period (i.e., last week).
Once again, I'm convinced the only reason we won was a really killer title...
- "The Courage to Do Nothing", by Big Lizards.
This is my paeon to Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK, 100%), and his plea that instead of flying off in all five directions to combat "anthropogenic global warming," we simply have to courage to do nothing -- and wait until we have some actual idea what the heck we should do... if anything.
The posts we bet on didn't do particularly well... but we still like 'em:
- More on the Teacher Accused of Insulting Religion in His Class, by Bookworm Room;
- I Bet Not, by Done With Mirrors.
I always enjoy Bookworm's posts, even when, as usual, they're ludicrously wrong. But on those vanishingly rare occasions when she happens, by merest chance, to be right, they're wonderful! (There, how's that for a backhanded compliment?) This time, Bookworm discusses an AP history teacher in San Juan Capistrano (about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego and very near Richard Nixon's "western White House" at San Clemente) who is, as she puts it, "accused of using his AP history classroom to indoctrinate his students in anti-Christian attitudes."
She has papers. Very worth a read.
Our second-place vote went to a post about a computer bug in Trondheim, a city in Norway. Parking tickets were erroneously issued for, ah, somewhat startling amounts:
In some cases, it attempted to drain their bank accounts of up to $148,000, which of course they didn't have. They discovered the overdraft when they went to buy food or Christmas presents and found their accounts frozen.
The post is extraordinarily short, which played a major role in our voting for it. If brevity is the soul of wit, Callimachus at Done With Mirrors is certainly more than half-way there!
The posts we voted for didn't do any better in the Nouncil category. The winner (sigh) was:
- A Stand-up President, by The Ornery American.
I have no idea why this post won (rather, tied for first place, then got the nod from the Watcher). All right, Orson Scott Card is a semi-big name in science fictiondom; and yes, I understand that he was attempting to stick up for George W. Bush. But for Pete's sake, he spends the first half of the post running down Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush... what's up with that?
Perhaps readers were so numbfounded by the sight of a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America who wasn't a shrieking leftist, that they panicked and cast their votes upon the water...
We voted for posts that were rather less ambiguous:
- Manic Misinterpretations of Climate Change Capitulation by US in Bali, by NewsBusters.org;
- Mearsheimer, Walt, and "Cold Feet", by Sandbox.
Our number-one vote was in fact for the post we nominated, a companion piece to our winning entry (subtle, aren't we?). Newsbusters was the first site we saw (courtesy of a commenter on Big Lizards named Seaberry) that debunked the meme that started to spread through the dextrosphere that the Bush administration had "caved" on globaloney at the meeting in Bali.
In fact, all we agreed to do was -- to discuss what we might do in the future. We calmly vetoed all hard goals and timetables. That is probably the best that could be done, given the -- er -- climate of the international "community" on the subject.
The Sandbox piece is self-explanatory, assuming you know who Professors Mearsheimer and Walt are. And if you don't -- well, even more reason to read about these blowhards who use high-falutin high-larity to mask their own rather thuggish Jew hatred.
I know you're sick of reading this, but if you look here, you can see the full list of posts that actually received votes. (The others would just as soon remain anonymous -- as we did the one time we were shut out!)
December 18, 2007
Grumpy Old Watchmen
This is the grumpy edition of the Watcher's Council vote... peevish, short, curt, crotchety, cranky, off the meds, fizzywigged... the reedy, rambling threnody of an alter kaker. Forewarmed is four-armed.
The winner this time was JoshuaPundit -- for making yet another invalid comparison, again to George Bush's disadvantage. (Does Freedom Fighter agree with Democrats that Bush is The Worst President In All of American History? I don't know for sure, but I have my suspicions.)
- Pearl Harbor... And 9/11, by JoshuaPundit.
This time, he posits the following question:
66 years ago on this day, December 7th, Japanese pilots bombed Pearl Harbor in a sneak attack.... The next day, December 8th,President Roosevelt went before Congress and asked them to declare war.... Less than 4 years later, Germany, Japan and Italy were in ruins, their militaries destroyed, their capacity for evil extinguished....
Sixty years after that grim December morning in Hawaii, there was another sneak attack on American soil.... It's been over six years since that happened, and we have yet to defeat these enemies who pose no less of a threat to our civilization and our freedom.
Why is that?
Well for one reason, because we were not attacked by any specific country. We were attacked by an amorphous, transnational terrorist group with no chain of command, no fixed membership, and not even a completely consistent ideology. Nevertheless, we have fared remarkably well: We utterly routed al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and we're well on the way to doing the same in their next base, Iraq.
(They've returned to an old base, Sudan, and to a traditional one, Pakistan; and there are AQ affiliates, allies, wannabes, groupies, and hangers on deeply infested in scores of countries around the globe, all plotting our death and the death of Israel. Merry Christmas!)
There has been no successful attack on American soil or territory since 9/11, and we have shattered major cells from the ME to the Horn of Africa to Canada to Minnesota. But there isn't going to be a signing ceremony on the deck of the USS Missouri because, at its core, our enemy is really not this or that particular group; it is a meme, a wicked, nihilist ideology that seeks only destruction, ruin, and human sacrifice. We are fighting Moloch, and Moloch is everywhere.
But for some reason, Freedom Fighter choose not to compare the War Against Global Hirabah to the more obvious conflict: the Cold War. How long did it take us to defeat the Evil Empire? Well, we first invaded in the 1920s and it didn't fall until 1992... so it took us about 70 years.
But of course, we weren't just fighting the Soviets; we were fighting Communism -- which included also Red China, North Korea, North Vietnam (later just Vietnam), Cambodia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Berkeley, Harvard, and many other satellite countries. Most of these still exist; does that make the entire Cold War worthless, the fall of the USSR a pyrrhic victory, and Ronald Reagan a fool?
Of course not. We won the Cold War because the influence of Communism collapsed from its peak in the early 1970s and has never recovered to that point. Victory is not complete so long as Communists states still exist in various places; but it is a victory nonetheless, because our future is no longer clouded by Lenin's long shadow.
And that is the same sort of war and "victory" we look for in the WAGH: When our future is no longer clouded by the grasping dead hands of Salafist Sunni and Shiite Twelvers, then we will have won.
We do not fight WWII-style wars anymore for reasons amply discussed in Thomas P.M. Barnett's book the Pentagon's New Map. That is not a reflection on President Bush, any more than it was a reflection on Ronald Reagan that we didn't leave the Soviet Union "in ruins, their militaries destroyed, their capacity for evil extinguished."
We live in a different world than that of six decades ago. So it goes.
Freedom Fighter is not the only person I know who pines for the good old days, when our enemies were clearly defined and had the decency to clump together into a single country (or in the instant case, a pair of discrete countries), and when we could fight massive tank battles in the sands of North Africa and hop from island to island, closing in on our foe. I think to some extent we all do... but some more than others.
But to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you go to war against the enemies you have. We weren't attacked by a country; we were attacked by a transnational group that affiliates, to some extent, with a number of countries. We took out two of the most dangerous affiliates -- the Taliban's Afghanistan and Hussein's Iraq. But we cannot possibly launch a war simultaneously against Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Pakistan (with nukes), Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and a half-dozen 'Stans. I'm puzzled that anyone would think we could.
I think this is another manifestation of American Omnipotence Syndrome... sort of the flip side of the Democratic version, where liberals demand to know why Bush "allowed" Hurricane Katrina to destroy New Orleans -- instead of turning on his big wind-sucking machine and vacuuming it all up.
We voted for a pair of posts that did not fare all that well. Our number one achieved "middle of the pack" status, but number 2 was skunked by everyone else:
- What the NIE on Iran's Nuclear Weapons Development Doesn't Say, by The Glittering Eye;
- Another Sign: Islam Is a Human Rights Violation, by Rhymes With Right.
In the first, the author (I don't know who writes the Glittering Eye) points out all the cold facts about Iran that the new and not very improved National Intelligence Estimate did not change; they remain the same, and just as dangerous as before.
The second falls into the category of posts that note how much of the violence and depravity of Islamic radicals in fact comes straight from the tenets of Islam itself. The difference between a Moslem militant and moderate is not so much what they believe... but what they intend to do about what they believe.
We did much better in the Nouncil category, though neither of our choices won; but our number one and two came in a clean second and third, respectively. First, the winner:
- Men of Valor: Part IV, by Michael Yon.
Another Michael Yon piece. I suppose a lot of people love this stuff; Sachi does. But I must confess, it all seems the same to me... and purely descriptive, no real analysis. Not even the level of strategic thinking that one gets from, e.g., Bill Roggio at the Fourth Rail (and all around the milblogosphere). Oh well; vox populi, vox Dei.
Now to our much more interesting choices...!
- What Happens After the Surge, by Pajamas Media (Omar Fadhil of Iraq the Model);
- What Iran's "Victory" Means, by ShrinkWrapped.
The first is an amazing, fascinating insider account of what is happening in Iraq, and where it's likely to go after the "surge" ends (after we transition out the extra troops we transitioned in). It's written by Omar Fadhil... one of the famous brothers who started and still contributes to Iraq the Model, the greatest blog every to come out of the Arab Middle East. (In fact, Omar is still the mainstay of the blog.)
In the second, the anonymous psychiatrist and psychoanalyst of ShrinkWrapped (hence the name -- cute, eh?) tries to fathom Iran and what it will do in response to the fawning NIE that the nits from the State Department just handed to the president (and the media). He has some very interesting insights, well worth reading.
I Saw 17 Posts Come Sailing In
...And you too can see them here!
December 12, 2007
Watch Your Head and Coat
Golly, we're getting later and later posting these thingies...
What if we fall a week behind? All those readers who go from Council member to Council member, reading all the results posts, will be utterly befuddled; it'll be like we're living in an odd time zone of last week.
(I swear, I didn't realize as I wrote those words -- we have already done just that! And last week's Watcher post, to boot! But I'm determined that last week's post will post before this week's; so hang on, let me quickly finish off t'other...)
Okay, that's done. Now we're back on track.
A certain lupine so-and-so has won again, the dirty dog. If GW at Wolf Howling wins again next week, he'll have done what we've never been able to do: a "three-peat."
- Of Islamist Foxes and British Chickens, by Wolf Howling.
We did like the post; voted it number 2. GW first notes the incredible level of radicalization among the UK's two million Moslems... and then he notes with astonishment that the British government has decided to appoint two Moslem associations that are, at the least, rather chummy with some terrorism-supporting, radical Moslem groups to -- I swear I'm not making this up -- to Great Britain's "Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board." Cushlamocree!
For our number 1, we turned to hardy perennial Rick Moran:
- If the Huck Wins, the Right Loses, by Right Wing Nut House.
I think the title is pretty self explanatory...
Didn't fare too well in the Nouncil category: Our number 1 tied for sixth place, while our number 2 got treated like -- er -- let's not go there. Suffice to say that we were the only ones to vote for it.
Instead, the winner was a piece by a blog whose very name probably got it a couple of votes:
- Teddy Muhammad, by Pierre Tristam's Middle East Issues Blog.
Tristam gives us a brief overview of the rise of radicalism in Sudan and how that led, inexorably, by way of distraction, to the arrest, imprisonment, and calls for the execution of British subject Gillian Gibbons... for the crime of allowing her Moslem students to name their teddy bear "Mohammed."
Here are our two votes; can we pick 'em, or what?
- Insurance Haters, Let's Get the Job Done!, by Classical Values;
- Arlington Schools Hire Race-Baiting Diversity Consultant, by OpenMarket.org
Eric of Classical Values begins with a rant against medical-insurance companies, then winds his way, by a commodious vicus of recirculation, to a denunciation of Hillary Clinton. A quote makes all clear:
Well, much as I hate the insurance companies, (a fact I fully admit), there are much worse things. Socialized medicine would be far, far worse. Worse for the country, worse for the individual, but better for Hillary and her faux socialist supporters who imagine themselves to be Robin Hoods while robbing the insurance industry and enriching themselves out of their clients' lottery winnings.
And in our number 2 vote, Hans Bader vents about a race-hustling "affirmative action" champion "diversity consultant," Glenn Singleton, who, despite being personally slapped down by the United States Supreme Court, has nevertheless managed to get himself hired (at six-figure salaries) to school districts from Seattle, Washington to Arlington, Virginia.
Just the facts, ma'am
As ever, get yer red-hot list of vote getters here!
December 11, 2007
Swatchers of Swine
Egads... I prepared all the scutwork for this post (putting in all the links) -- and then I went and forgot to finish and post it! So on the theory that twice done is half begun, here is last week's Watcher's Council post. A little late.
In both the Council and Nouncil categories, one of our posts won; in this instance, it was our second-place choice:
- Buchanan's New Book: “Prepare Ye for the End”, by Right Wing Nut House.
Rick Moran turns his mocking dialectic upon the ever darker Patrick J. Buchanan. I must admit, I very much enjoyed his autobiography, Right From the Beginning; his -- Buchanan's, I mean -- his conservatism was of the muscular, workingman's type... not the limp-wristed asceticism of a George Will, nor even the aristocratic, antidisestablishmentarian hauteur of a William F. Buckley, jr.
But Pat seems to have gotten himself into a slump. I covered the Reform Party's convention in Long Beach in 2000 -- well, one of them, anyway; I never could find John Hagelin's separate convention, even though I stood still in the street, cupped my ears, and listened intently for the "AAUUuuuuummmmm..."
I found Buchanan's, however; but the man seemed tired and distracted, just going through the motions. He didn't even blink or comment when several people in the front row stood and gave a Sieg heil type Nazi salute to Buchanan (and his black, female running mate, Ezola Foster). I badgered Bayh Buchanan (his sister and campaign mangler) until she finally admitted that Pat wouldn't even have been in the race were it not for the $12.5 million in matching funds the Reform Party had earned in 1996... but never again, of course, since Buchanan's run killed it off.
But if Moran's review of Buchanan's new book, Day of Reckoning, is accurate (and I have no reason to disbelieve it), then the man has finally sunk to quotidian armageddon-mongering for hoi polloi: Doom is Nigh!
This is a sad end to a fascinating and enigmatic man, falling from the heights of power -- White House advisor and speech-writer under both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan -- to the slough of irrelevance and apathy.
Our second choice was another nice piece by Laer at Cheat Seeking Missiles:
- Still No Evidence 9/11 Nuts Rule, by Cheat Seeking Missiles;
Laer examines the Left Wing Nut House, which has nothing to do with Rick Moran, and in particular the 9/11 "Truthers" (Laer hates the term); he asks whether the disturbingly large number of Americans who believe this or that insane conspiracy theory about 9/11 bodes ill for our republic.
I think not. Whenever an event of such magnitude and momentum as the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington, and wherever Flight 93 was aimed (probably the White House) occurs, many people are going to be so overwhelmed by the almost cartoon-like reality that they will naturally retreat into the somewhat more understandable, if not comforting, surreality of a conspiracy theory.
In this category, our first-place vote took first place... a piece by Wolf Howling, which evidently encouraged the anonymous lupine author "GW" to join up with the Watcher's Pack:
The "McClellan" he refers to is, of course, retired Army Lt.Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, formerly the head of Coalition Forces Iraq (which today would be called Multinational Forces - Iraq, the position now held by Gen. David Petraeus). Sanchez flung himself into the arms of the defeatist Democrats, just as McClellan did in 1864; however, the former has not elected to make a run for the presidency.
It was a great post, and GW followed it up by another winner next week (isn't the tense of that sentence off somehow?)
Finally, we voted for a La Shawn Barber post in second place, but it was good enough to be a first-place vote in any other week:
- Another Victory for Colorblind Government Policy, by La Shawn Barber's Corner.
Barber has a personal stake in eliminating racist, "affirmative-action" policies enacted in the name of a "color-blind society" -- which is rather like the Weight-Loss Donut Shoppe. She recounts the sorry history of a couple of counties still desperately trying to find some way around the Constitution, so they can feel like good guys by stiffing white kids.
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All last week's winners and whiners can be found in this post.
Note that we're setting this post's date back one day, so we can maintain the fiction that we posted today's post yesterday. We'll post this week's post tomorrow, which will be today by the time you actually read it. (Don't be cross, it's quite simple.)
November 28, 2007
Ask Not For Whom the Billfolds
Ho hum, another day, another humiliation. Lizards were born to suffer as the sparks fly upward (from the barbecue over which we're being turned into "lizard on a stick" fair food). At least this time we got one vote in first place (or two in second place); it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp suit... but still I long for the glory days of mid-November, when Big Lizards was winning the Watcher votes left and right.
Special note: Council members are dropping like moths around the bug zapper. Now it's Okie From Muskogee (and something about a little lamb) who has shaken the dust from his boots and taken the big sleep (well, as far as the Council of Weasel Watchers is concerned).
The Wotcher needs another victim... so anybody who thinks his blog is ready to hit the big time, tune to this spot and make your case with the Watchman.
This time, funnily enough, our Number Two won, and our Number One didn't attract any votes other than our own!
The winner is a winner of a Cheat Seeking Missiles post:
- Charting a New Course In Iraq Messaging, by Cheat Seeking Missiles.
Laer charts the repeated twistings and turnings of Democrat defeatists desperate to destroy our victory in Iraq... always good for a few laughs!
And just to show that I can go off the deep end as well as anyone, our first choice was actually a post by JoshuaPundit. Yes, you read that correctly:
- Lebanon's Presidential Election Postponed -- Again, by Joshuapundit.
When JP isn't manning the barricades against the evil George W. Bush, he can be quite insightful. (When he gets on a tear, he's merely inciteful.) In this case, he recounts the sorry history of Syria's slo-mo takeover of Lebanon.
In this category, our first was first and our second was a strong third. The winner:
- The Irrationality of Europe, by The Van Der Galiën Gazette.
In this entry, the Van der Galiën Gazette -- run, oddly enough, by Michael van der Galiën -- notes the perversity of European politics: They fawn over their enemies and kick their friends in the yin-yangs.
Our second-place vote went to a Pajamas Media account of the almost farcical gyrations performed by France 2, the television station that broadcast the first stories about the "killing" of Mohammed al-Dura, a young boy:
- Al Dura Affair: France 2 Cooks the Raw Footage, by Pajamas Media.
The more evidence we gather, the more it appears that the entire "death scene" of young al-Dura was just another example of "Pallywood," the bizarre choreography staged and faked for Western news media by the Palestinian militiants.
More than likely, Mohammed al-Dura is still alive and well somewhere; regardless, he surely wasn't killed by Israeli troops.
But when a French judge ordered France 2 to produce all of the raw footage and convey it to the courthouse... it appears that France 2 actually spliced the most important footage out of the videotape, then told the judge that was the complete record. Bad journalist! Bad, bad!
Lest we forget...
You can see the full results by clicking here. If you really want to bother, after our excellent summation.
November 20, 2007
A Watcher Just Under the Wire
Huh, I would say "It's a great honor just to be nominated;" except that we each nominate ourselves, of course. And saying "It's a great honor to nominate myself" is a bit much, even for my preening narcissism.
So instead I contemplate the absurdity of life, as I carom back and forth between winning the Watcher of Weasels' contest -- and getting literally no votes whatsoever. It's an outrage, I tell you. Heads will roll. Let Madame LaFarge practice her knitting once more.
Or... nevermind. Forget I said anything.
This week's winner was an amusing piece by JoshuaPundit; I didn't vote for it, however, because I think it makes a fundamentally flawed argument by analogy:
- 'Land For Peace', American Style, by JoshuaPundit.
As you may have guessed by now, "Freedom Fighter" at JP is one of those Israel boosters (I don't know where he posts from, here or there) who is so wrought up in the battle that he considers George W. Bush -- the most pro-Israeli president America has ever had -- to be Israel's enemy. Why? Because Bush suggests that Israel and the PA should find a way to coexist, and because (I think) he won't ram an act through Congress declaring that God did so personally give the West Bank ("Judea and Samaria") and the Gaza Strip ("Gaza Strip") to Israel several thousand years ago.
In this post, he makes use of a clever -- but I think failed -- rhetorical trick: the extended analogy: He analogizes calls for Israel to withdraw from
Judea and Samaria the West Bank, recognize a second Palestinian state, and live side by side in peace (or at least a permanent truce) to calls by, I think, six L.A. Chicanos and an angry migrant grape-picker in Escondido for America to withdraw from California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas and recognize them as a new Mexican state of Aztlán (which Freedom Fighter spells "Atzlan" throughout the piece; Azt is the same root as in Aztec).
Alas, the problem with clever analogies is they create a huge temptation to overlook sizeable differences between the analogy and reality, differences which actually overwhelm the similarities. Analogies are not arguments; they only displace the argument from "this is why we should do X" to "this is why this analogy, which implies we should do X, is actually a valid and accurate depiction of reality." In the absence of a strong argument why the analogy is accurate, the analogy is reduced to a cute fictional story.
And the differences between the analogy and the reality are stark:
History: Israel first occupied the West Bank forty years ago, as part of their victory in the 1967 Six-Day War (when they heroically and quite properly vanquished four Arab armies that had massed to attack them).
By contrast, the United States first "occupied" the border states more than 150 years ago... long before the current Mexican government came into existence (in 1867, following the expulsion of Emperor Maximillian of France). In fact, even before the previous Mexican Republic of Benito Juárez was established by the constitution of 1857.
Texas was annexed in 1845; and California, Arizona, and New Mexico (plus Utah, Nevada, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming) in 1848, after the Mexican-American war, by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo (TGH).
- Annexation: Israel has never annexed either the West Bank or the Gaza Strip; contrariwise, the United States not only annexed the territories ceded by the TGH... they are all full states and have been for longer than Israel has even existed -- with Texas (1845) and California (1850) becoming states even before the Mexican Republic existed.
Population: Israelis have never been the majority population in either of the occupied territories; those entities have always, always, always had a majority population of Arabs (who now call themselves Palestinans) and have always been totally opposed to being part of Israel.
On the other hand, the populations of the four putative "Aztlan" states consist overwhelmingly of American citizens or legal residents, and even more overwhelmingly of residents -- legal or illegal -- who accept the United States as the legitimate controlling power of thost states. Those who say the states are really part of Mexico are a tiny fraction of 1% of the population of those states.
- International ratification: Every country in the world, including Israel, agrees that the occupied territories are an odd-duck entity distinct from the nation of Israel; but no country in the world -- including Mexico -- seriously maintains that California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas are "really" part of Mexico.
There are other differences related to the ability of the two countries to hold onto the territories, but this should be sufficient to demonstrate that the analogy, while admitedly amusing, is not particuarly close or accurate. But it's worth reading the post; you will enjoy it.
Our votes went to two posts that got very little support... so you should go read them and help pump up their Sitemeter stats:
- Poverty and Terror, Again, by Soccer Dad;
- Hollywood's KoolAid Fest Continues: Wimps for Lambs, by Cheat Seeking Missiles.
Soccer Dad makes the argument -- which is almost unanswerable -- that there simply is no correlation, let alone causality, between poverty and terrorism; at least, the former does not cause the latter... though it's entirely possible that too much of the latter causes the former to become endemic in a society.
In the Cheat Seeking Missiles piece, Laer launches from a discussion of Lions for Lambs into a general condemnation of Hollywood for the recent spate of terrorism-related movies they've churned out. All right, they may be wildly unpopular... but at least they're unAmerican!
We fared better in the Nouncil category, where our first-choice was the winner:
- A Conversation in Bagram, Afghanistan, by Austin Bay Blog.
Col. Austin Bay initiates a conversation with a USAF lieutenant colonel fighter pilot about Afghanistan, the Taliban, and the war on global hirabah.
Our other choice, however, was somewhat less popular (our oblique way of noting that ours was the only vote):
- Shooting Elephants: Musharraf, Pakistan, and Iran, by Neo-Neocon.
The anonymous author of the Neo-Neocon blog limns the dilemma faced by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, as he struggles -- or wrestles, in her apt wording, with "the Scylla of dictatorship and the Charybdis of anarchy." Her analysis is quite complete and well worth perusing.
The Compleat Watcher
Here be dragoons.
November 13, 2007
Watchbaker, Watchbaker, Bake Me a Watch
Yeah, yeah, that time again. You could set your watch by it. Unless, of course, you want your watch to run somewhat faster than "weekly."
(What the heck does that mean? It doesn't even make sense. I was punchy from lack of sleep when I wrote it -- and I reckon you need to be equally punch-drunk to find it funny. Fortunately... I know my readers!)
Sometimes I think that winning the Watcher's Council weekly massacre is nine-tenths just coming up with a truly awesome title:
- Courts v. Terrorism = Wile E. Coyote v. Road Runner, by Big Lizards.
In fact, I must note that we didn't really win: We tied with Soccer Dad's post. The Watchthing had to pick one or the other; he was about to vote for the latter, but moved by all the trouble we've had lately (the haunting, the burnt toast, the Prodigious Hickey, and that whole thing with the lard jar that was so disturbing, I never even mentioned it to anyone), pity stayed his hand.
You remember this post: the whole spiel about why civilian courts just aren't up to the job of fighting terrorism, at least not by themselves.
We voted for a pair of posts that ended up doing pretty well themselves; in fact, they came in numbers 2 and 3... even in the right order! (And of course, in the ordinary voting, Soccer Dad tied with Big Lizards.)
The first is about the quandry of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-Carpetbag, 95%): Should she "unsex" herself and run just as a (genderless) candidate? Or should she run as "the girl," so she can complain about the unchivalrous nature of bullying men -- who keep asking her hard questions. I think she should just bite the bullet and run as a dumb bleached beach blonde.
The second is more or less a grudge post by Laer at Cheat Seeking Missiles, responding to a post by another Council blog -- Rick Moran at Right Wing Nuthouse; Moran implied that anyone who sought to "politicize tragedy" was an idiot; and Laer, having examined the political implications of tragedies and disasters (as have we at Big Lizards), took exception.
We fared pretty well in our Nouncil vote, too: Our number-one pick won, and our number-two pick tied for third (along with about thirty other blogs):
- A Great Shifting of the Winds, by Eternity Road.
Aaron at Eternity Road posts that in recent years, and against what most people believe, the Democratic Party has truly become the party of the rich and infamous. The GOP remains the party of the middle-income voter, the religious voter, and the married voter.
- Clinton & Bush Both Thrown a Curveball on Iraq?, by the Anchoress.
The Anchoress writes about the deep and unfathomable "Curveball," who gave us the information about WMD in Iraq... which most people, probably even including the Anchoress, thinks was wrong; but which I have long argued was actually correct: We really did find "stockpiles of WMD" in Iraq.
But the CIA decided post-hoc not to count as WMD any device or chemical that was "dual use" -- since they belatedly decided that they were against villainizing Saddam Hussein... which might retroactively justify the Iraq war that the CIA opposed (and have been punishing President Bush for initiating ever since). Still, the aptly named Curveball is a character well worth studying.
Interestingly enough, nobody voted for the post we actually nominated in the Nouncil category... not even us! I've noticed that Power Line doesn't tend to do well in these Council hootenannies; don't know why.
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November 6, 2007
Watch Not for Whom the Watch Tolls... It Tolls for We (Us. Whatever.)
In the nine or ten years in which Big Lizards has been on the Watcher's Council, dutifully submitting posts for nomination (when we don't fall asleep on our hammock of nails and forget), decades in which we have sometimes won and sometimes lost, we've had joy, we've had fun, we've had seasons in the sun... we have always taken comfort in the fact that somebody, somewhere on the Council has always enjoyed our post enough -- or was moved to sufficient pity -- to cast us at least one, lowly vote... even in second place.
But this week, in what may be a harbinger of things to come, Big Lizards was completely snubbed and shut out by every, last member of the Council of Watchers. Not a single person voted for our nomination -- Mucking About With Mukasey... not one!
We suspect that this will continue into the future. Fate has spoken; our lot in life will be to become the invisible member of the Council, reduced to furtively scuttling about the kitchen floor after the banquet, picking up odd bits of cheese and scraps that fall to the floor and are missed by the hound.
We feel like Vice President Hubert "Humpty Dumpty" Humphrey: destined for a great fall and to be totally forgotten as soon as the eggshells are all swept away.
To kick us when we're down, the Council also gave the win to our nemesis and arch-rival Joshuapundit, the most anti-Bush member... whose posts, however well reasoned and well written, cannot seem to go more than a paragraph or two without bashing someone in the administration:
- Syria's Assad Caught With His Hands in the Nuclear Cookie Jar, by Joshuapundit.
The post describes the discomfiture of Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose North-Korean built nuclear weapons reactor was just destroyed by the Israelis -- a bold and courageous act for which the entire world should applaud the most unjustly reviled nation on the planet, Israel. The post makes some very good points; but like David Copperfield's Mr. Dick and poor King Charles's head, Condoleeze Rice creeps into the post at the beginning then makes a strong comeback later, seizing control of the entire last third of the piece.
The two posts that we voted for did well, finishing 2 and 3 in the very order we voted them. In fact, in the normal voting, our number-one selection got the same number of votes as the winner; the Watcher had to break the tie... which, as reported, he chose to give to Voldemort. I mean Joshuapundit:
- Why Hate Crimes Are a Joke Part 5783, and Why the University of Delaware Digs 'em, by The Colossus of Rhodey;
- A Matter of Death, by Rhymes With Right.
The first post discusses -- well, it's best described by the press release from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, with which Hube opens the post: "The University of Delaware subjects students in its residence halls to a shocking program of ideological reeducation that is referred to in the university’s own materials as a 'treatment' for students’ incorrect attitudes and beliefs."
The second post discloses the reaction of a congregation of United Methodists to a brutal triple-slaying of their own congregants... and how that changed the attitude of many of the survivors towards the death penalty.
We did pretty well in our first choice for the Nouncil, not so well in our second. Our first-place choice came in first, which is always a nice feeling. Almost but not quite making up for the career-ending humiliation of... but enough about us and our private tragedy:
- Is This the State of Academics Today?, by The QandO Blog.
This very funny post (all humorous posts get a few extra points in our evaluation, because humor is so hard to do... as we have invariably found to our chagrin and further shame) takes a look at how a professor of English can go astray when he assumes his facility with literature makes him an expert on pollution, global warming, and military strategy.
- Impossible to Take Seriously, by Power Line.
This Power Line post -- nobody but Big Lizards cast it a vote, which can only be explained by concluding that nobody actually read that far down the list of nominees -- notes that nearly all of the most vociferous media critics of the Iraq war appear to have gained their understanding of military affairs by watching Vietnam movies... bad ones.
And from Tribes (a bad remake of the great Jack Webb movie, the D.I.), to M*A*S*H (yeah, yeah, but the Robert Altman movie is really about Vietnam), to Soldier Blue (yeah, yeah, but it's is really about Vietnam), to the Boys in Company C, to Coming Home, to the Deer Hunter, to Apocalypse Now, to Spitoon, to Full Metal Jacket, there are an awful lot of awfully bad Vietnam movies to choose from.
If it's Tuesday, it must be the Watcher
See the sights and hit the heights here. And join in the general mockery and rock throwing at the lizard. I think I'll save everyone the trouble and go hang myself in effigy. Or in Bakersfield.
October 28, 2007
Watch Out! the Watchman!
I have a template I use for these posts; I'm tempted to just leave it as is. That will fix your wagon:
Blather (how great an honor just to be nominated...)
But I think the joke would grow stale after a while. Or maybe not... what do I know? Let's find out!
I should at least note that we didn't win this week (another body blow)... but at least the winner was our number-one pick -- since we're not (ahem) allowed to vote for the post we'd all really prefer voting for (ahem). The envelope please...
- The MSM's Rush Limbaugh Horror Story, by Bookworm Room.
The piece should be self-explanatory, if you've been following the news. Milady Rosebud Hilaria Mahogany de Winter (that's "Bookworm's" real identity, I'm reliably informed, though she prefers to remain anonymous for reasons that should be obvious) lays out the sequence of the Democrats' bootless attempts to smear Limbaugh (aided and abetted by their willing accomplices in the media) with the risible accusation that he hates the troops; and Milady does it brilliantly.
I should say more, in my modest way --
Blather (whining about not winning)
-- But after all, I can't win every week, can I? I mean, how would it look? (We did tie for second, but only because Cheat Seeking Missiles was hiking in the Himalayas this week and couldn't vote.)
I suppose I ought to mention that in addition to the Bookworm post above, our second-choice was the same, ever-lively Cheat Seeking Missiles (we can still vote for him, even when he is tobogganing down K2):
- DC Coughs Up a War On Terror Win, by Cheat Seeking Missiles.
Blather (what they're about)
Or "it," in this case, since there's only one other vote. This is a snarky, little piece about our hapless Squeaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 95%), and her frutile attempts to snake past Congress and the president a FISA bill that would make it quite impossible to surveille any terrorist, anywhere. If I may quote from a completely different post on Power Line noting the central absurdity of the original FISA law itself:
[The law] requires that surveillance be conducted pursuant to warrants based on probable cause to believe that the target of surveillance is a terrorist, when the desperate need is to find out who is a terrorist.
In other words, FISA says you can only surveille someone if you already have probable cause to believe he is a terrorist... but what we need is the type of surveillance that will detect terrorists we don't even know about yet!
Anyway, the Cheat post is a worthy entry in the "tell us why Pelosi is a putz" competition.
The (yawn) winner is (Yon). Again:
- Resistance Is Futile, by Michael Yon.
This is another endless Michael Yon post. If Sachi were here, she would have forced me to vote for it (she's a guest of the feds in Hawaii -- no, not in a penitentiary; a different other department)... she dotes on the Yon. I think he runs on, even by my standards. This piece, for example, is twenty-three screens long... though of course, as always, it has pictures.
Yon contrasts what the elite media tells us is going on in Iraq with what's really going on in Iraq (which he knows better than any other reporter in country, possibly better even than Gen. Petraeus. No, not better than Petraeus; the latter knows the big picture, Yon knows everything from the point of view of the sharp-end of the stick).
Blather (whining about our nominees not making the grade)
I can't understand why our nominees so rarely make the grade. This week, even I didn't vote for my own nomination! Instead, our (royal plural) top vote went to K.; our second vote went to K. at National Review:
- The Inevitability of Neoconservatism, by By Benjamin Kerstein;
- Raid Revelation, by National Review Online.
The first is a fascinating piece displayed in black type on a hideous institutional-green background. Mr. Kerstein argues (as Sachi has repeatedly argued -- say, has K. installed a burst transmitter somewhere in Lizard Central?) that there really were no other good solutions to the growing Iraq crisis other than the one usually attributed to the hated "neocons." The neocon solution was inevitable.
The Stanley K. piece we nominated and then snubbed puts all the pieces together about the Israeli raid on Syria: the known knowns and the known unknowns, and thoroughly explicates all the unknown unknowns that we know of.
Generic watcher link
October 23, 2007
BeWatched, Bottled, and BeWhiskered
Sadly, we were unable to vote in last week's Watcher's Council thingie. It really wasn't our fault; the car broke down, and I lost my galoshes. Sachi misplaced her coat hanger, and even the dog tracked mud into the governor's mansion.
It rained in a nearby county; it's hard to explain how this concatenation of catastrophes conspired to quell our cooperation in the Council... but could anybody say with certainty that he would actually vote, after discovering that he had not one but two identical mismatched pairs of socks? I mean, surely you can see the peril?
Even without our help (because of that pesky windowshade I mentioned above), the Council managed to select a winner:
- Carrolling, by Done With Mirrors
This is an overlong piece by Callimachus, otherwise known as the fastest cactus in the salad, debating the wisdom of allowing journalists to wallow in the present, thinking it the culmination of centuries of human civilization. In fact, it was those very centuries that led to the tragic breakdown in our ability to vote -- as we explain in the paragraph immediately below.
But if we had voted, assuming the freeway onramps had been opened, we would have voted thus:
- Gore Derangement Syndrome?, by Cheat Seeking Missiles;
- Retired General Sanchez Blasts Press -- No One Reports It, Natch!, by ‘Okie’ on the Lam.
The first is a straightforward explication of the startling, new diagnosis by Paul Krugman -- jealous that Charles "the Sauerkraut" Krauthammer should have all the fun. Krugman believes he has identified "Gore derangement syndrome," whereby the perfectly ordinary creater of the internet and real-life model for Segal's Love Story and Dostoevski's the Idiot is reviled and contumelied -- if there is such a word (and if not, there certainly should be) -- by Republicans anxious to expiate their guilt at having allowed their hairy, hidden hands to work the machinations behind the scenes to steal the 2000 election.
The second post reports that the elite media seem to have missed the fact that half of Gen. Ricardo Sanchez's speech the other day was spent attacking the media themselves... not President Bush.
Unfortunately, the kayak tipped over, and you know what that means!
But as we said, other voters managed to overcome the annual thaw of the crocuses and get their votes in on time; we really have no excuses -- in spite of the malediction of faeries and the faulty spinner-tuner on the Cauchy box. Toting up their votes, the winner in the Nouncil category was:
- The Problems and Course of Rebuilding in Iraq, by Dumb Looks Still Free
I know you won't believe this, but Problems and Course of Rebuilding in Iraq is about the problems and course of rebuilding in Iraq. That's even more obvious than the king-high flush staring me in the face that summer evening. You know we always aim high here at Big Lizards... but we never expected six inches of rain in Neodesha, Kansas!
If we could have overlooked the underwear caper, we would have [woulda, coulda, shoulda!] voted as follows:
- Classical Liberalism Is for Kooks!, by Classical Values;
- A Thought Experiment for Civil Libertarians, by Atlas Blogged.
In the first, Eric -- who sports the biggest, thickest, longest, and most throbbing blogroll I have ever seen in my life -- wonders whether "classical liberalism" (a.k.a. free-market libertarianism or capitalist-conservatism) is still to be found among conservatives.
The second is a wonderful analogy to the current re-FISA debate.
Oh, if only the fish hadn't died, so we could have voted! Cheat Seeking Missiles would have been tied for second in the Council category, while the Nouncil category would have remained more or less the same. But I had to go and send my condolences book rate. I mean, how dumb can you get?
But if you ever find the Rhesus monkey, who all by himself was responsible at least three of the four non-votes above, you'll be able to see the list of all posts that got a vote here.
And next time, I swear by all that I hold dear that I won't let the bluing out of my sight until the sled dogs have been fed. You have my solemn word.
I feel better now. Everything is back to norbal.
October 16, 2007
Midnight by the Morphy Watcher
Yeah, yeah, I know. Award hog.
Our winning post was about brave federal Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, who ordered Rep. John "Mad Jack" Murtha (D-PA, 65%) to show up in court and suffer cross-examination in the slander lawsuit brought by one of the Marines accused in the so-called (and increasingly dubious) Haditha "massacre":
We're always glad to win; but in this case, I think it more a tribute to the judge -- whose ruling may or may not ever be enforced -- than to anything we wrote!
Obviously, since none of us is allowed to vote for himself, neither of our votes prevailed; but our number-one vote came in second, and our number two tied for third -- which makes it a clean sweep in the Council category!
- The Enormous Damage Done To Our Space Program By "The Space Race", by Right Wing Nut House;
- Fulfill the Old Commitments First, by Soccer Dad.
The first really struck a chord in me, because for years I have dithered back and forth whether, in the long run, John Kennedy's call for us to land a man on the moon before 1970 was good or bad for the space program. Rick Moran argues the con side; but I don't know whether he has considered that, absent the "space race" against the Russkies, rather than go into space in a more logical and developmental style... we might not have gone into space at all.
The second is a doctrinally sound, common sense observation by SoccerDad that, before the Palestinians be allowed to place new demands upon Israel, the Palestinians themselves should be required to live up to their own previous agreements... which, so far, they have not even attempted.
We did quite well in the Nouncil category, as well... but our nomination didn't win. The winner was a depreciation of Che Guevara, everyone's favorite thug assassin:
- Battleground Che, by Publius Pundit.
While we like anything that spits on the grave of that scumbucket (and were annoyed all to heck by the lighthearted musical Evita), we found a couple of other pieces that we liked just a smidge better. Our own nomination (and our number-one vote) tied for second place, while our second-place vote tied for third -- along with six other nominees!
- 'Journalists' Tell Howard Kurtz Why Good News from Iraq Shouldn't Get Reported (updated w/video), by NewsBusters;
- An Astonishing and Sickening Breach of Trust, by Hugh Hewitt... Hugh's honor hangs by a single comma!
The first is a fairly stunning post on NewsBusters about an episode of CNN's Reliable Sources, where Kurtz's guests -- Robin Wright of the Washington Post and Barbara Starr of CNN -- explained to him exactly why good news from Iraq is no news, while bad news is big news. Ya fallah?
In the second, Hugh discloses yet another example of the elite media (the Washington Post, in this case) leaking yet more deeply classified secrets... this time, blowing the fact that we had penetrated a major al-Qaeda computer network. What is it that makes tattling on anything the government does to protect America -- even when utterly legal (as this was) -- so bloody attractive to the inaptly named "mainstream" media?
Extree, extree, read all about it
...And you can read all about it here.
October 9, 2007
Yawn. So Big Gizzards racks up another win on the Watcher's Council.
Big deal; I'm sure we'll win nearly every vote from here on out. The competition fades away, and there is left only us, standing unbowed and invincible. You know, like President William Jennings Bryan... you shall not crucify Mankind upon a cross of scales!
Y'all read this already... I hope:
- Gratefully Not Dead: Iraq Civilian and US Military Deaths Plummet, by Big Lizards.
This was one of our few ventures into more or less straight reporting, as opposed to our usual crooked analyses. Not much to say about it here; its title contains the entire post... so if you read the title, you needn't read any further!
Oddly enough, we voted for two different Council nominees -- but only because the Watcher put a gun* to our heads and warned us not to be utter narcissists:
- Can American Culture Survive the Constant MSM Onslaught?, by ‘Okie’ on the Lam;
- Reporter-God Sy Hersh's Dixie Chick Moment, by Cheat Seeking Missiles.
The Okie post is just exactly what its title promises (seems to be an epidemic of truth in advertising on the Council). Didn't do well in the vote. Don't know why.
The post about Seymour Butts -- oh, sorry, Hersh -- is number 6,919 in a series of despicable, anti-American quotations [collect the entire set!] from the dolt who (a) broke the Abu Ghraib story, and (b) tried to pretend it was an Army cover-up that he somehow penetrated -- when in fact, he was simply quoting (selectively and mendaciously) from the criminal investigative report by Army Maj.Gen. Antonio Mario Taguba.
The Hersh post would have been second in the voting, except Laer foolishly forgot to vote; so the vengeance-seeking Watcher punished him with a 2/3-vote reduction. He landed in third.
We continued the fine, lizardly tradition of voting for nominees that are brilliantly obscure. We failed to vote for the winner:
- That's Propa-tainment!, by Pajamas Media.
Jules Crittenden complains -- rightly -- about the lack of recent Hollywood movies about the war on global hirabah... or at least, movies that aren't cheerleaders for terrorism, like Syriana.
But we hurried to vote for posts where only a single other voter in each case followed our lead... and with only 1/3 of a vote each time! Big Lizards rushes in where the cooler Council members fear to tread...
- Hillary 1993: Nationalize Health Care Through the Kids, by Captain's Quarters;
- The Last of Zimbawe's White Farmers Are Forced Off Their Land Today, by Say Anything.
In the first, Captain Ed exposes a long-hidden memo from Hillary Clinton's health-care task force that recommends she use health insurance for children as a Trojan horse to sneak socialized medicine past the American people. Sound familiar? Well, we all know Hillary's first impulse when the s-chips are down.
The last post is a sad commemoration of the ugly conclusion of an insane policy in Zimbabwe [lurid adjective trifecta!], which used to be called Rhodesia -- and used to be called "the breadbasket of Africa."
Today, it's the breadbasket-case of Africa, in trouble even by African standards. Why? Because of madman Robert Mugabe's successful campaign to ethnically cleanse Zimbabwe of all white farmers. Oddly, when city-bred slum-dwellers took over the huge, sophisticated, modern white-owned farms, they couldn't make a go of it -- even though they were black!
Here there be posts, matey. Arrr!
October 3, 2007
All Along the Watcher Tower
We didn't win last week's Council vote; which isn't surprising, as we plum forgot to send in any nominations. But in a cosmic irony, the Big Lizards post that the Watcher of Weasels nominated on our behalf, The Human Touch, was exactly the post that we would have picked ourselves (to clarify, you do realize, one hopes, that whenever we use the first person plural, we mean it in the royal, not "multiple-person" sense).
In a second cosmic irony, the Watcher's nomination from the Big Lizards pantheon of posts actually came in second.
And in the final cosmic irony, the actual winner was Bookworm's post -- titled "Cosmic Ironies." That's not just an irony... it's a synchronicity!
The winning entry is actually a quite charming story Bookworm's mother told her of the family history -- and more than a little lurid, what with her paternal grandfather marrying her maternal grandmother, and all. I very much enjoyed the historical soap opera:
- Cosmic Ironies, by Bookworm Room.
(By the way... will somebody explain to us why, when we click on any Bookworm Room post, it spawns not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six (pause to breathe), not seven, but eight copies of itself in succession? Thus, after reading, if we click the "back" button, we're redirected right back to the page we started from. Heck, the actual previous page almost scrolls off the "go" button list of recent pageviews. "I, a stranger and afraid, trapped in a world I never made!" Exclamation point added.)
Alas, it begins with the following sentence: "Note: I originally posted this bit of family history in August 2006." And one of our stuffy rules is that we won't vote for a republished piece, no matter how great it is. Therefore, we voted for a couple of other, equally good pieces:
- Gates' Iraq Agenda Short On Democracy, by Cheat Seeking Missiles;
- Krugman Spews Race-Baiting Bile, by Rhymes With Right.
In the first (which came in third in the voting), Laer focuses on a recent list from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates of his priorities in Iraq -- which appear to conflict with the president's priority of transforming the region by planting a democracy in the heart of the Middle East.
The second post -- which, in a stunner, we were the only one to vote for -- is a good, old-fashioned Fisking of the eminently Fiskable Paul Krugman.
Naturally, we have no idea what Nouncil post the Watchthing nominated on our behalf... so let's just skip that part. It's a failure we're trying to forget. The winner, however, just happened to be the post that we voted in the top spot ourselves. (Another cosmic irony!)
- Rafael Medoff: Columbia "Invites Hitler to Campus" -- As it Did in 1933, by History News Network
We leave as an exercise to the alert reader the subject of this post...
Once again, our second-place vote flew solo:
- There's Slanting a Story, Then There's This Doozy, by The Sundries Shack.
The Council's neglect is inexplicable. The post illuminates yet another risible attack on President Bush: He stands (falsely) accused of being so stupid, he thinks Saddam Hussein had killed Nelson Mandela. In fact, what Bush actually said was perfectly clear:
Part of the reason why there is not this instant democracy in Iraq is because people are still recovering from Saddam Hussein's brutal rule. I thought an interesting comment was made when somebody said to me, I heard somebody say, where's Mandela? Well, Mandela is dead, because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas. He was a brutal tyrant that divided people up and split families, and people are recovering from this. So there's a psychological recovery that is taking place. And it's hard work for them. And I understand it's hard work for them. Having said that, I'm not going the give them a pass when it comes to the central government's reconciliation efforts.
Anyone with a pair of neurons to rub together should be able to figure out that "Mandela" does not mean the literal Nelson Mandela (who is still alive), but rather a metaphorical Mandela who could, one supposes, have led Iraq towards democracy; Bush says that all such possible leaders were killed by Hussein, hence they're not available to do all that Moses-like leading to the promised land.
Of course, the literal Mandela actually tried to lead South Africa towards Communism, not democracy -- which is my own beef with the Bush quote; I only defend him from the surreal charge that he thinks Nelson Mandeal is (a) an Iraqi and (b) dead.
Bog only knows why more folks didn't like the post.
If you want to read more, then look here.
September 24, 2007
Jobbed by the Watchman!
I've never seen this before, but there was a tie in the Nouncil voting this time... and the Watcher in the Weirds broke the tie by giving his extra point to the one he liked best. Which would be perfectly fine, if it happened to someone else (with my narcissism, I probably wouldn't even have noticed). But it happened to me. Me!
Well, I mean it happened to the Nouncil nominee I nominated... and I'm still smarting. Ouch. Stupid voters; if just one more Council member had voted correctly, even as a second-place vote, there wouldn't have been a tie; and the Watcher's awesome powers would have been stymied.
The winner in the Council vote is... ah, who cares? I'm still steaming about the Nouncil vote.
All right, all right; contractual obligations and all that. The winner in the Council category was:
- Is War With Iran Now Just a Matter of Time?, by Right Wing Nut House.
Since I voted for this piece (not being allowed to vote for myself, which otherwise I would do every week, whether my post was good, bad, or ugly), I really can't kick about it winning. Still, I can't escape the feeling that the Watcher is somehow mocking me.
The piece is about -- exactly what its title proclaims. Therefore, I'll take the opportunity to blow my own harp instead. In an e-mail I sent to my very good friend and drinking buddy Scott Johnson, I quote from my very good friend and drinking buddy J.R.R. Tolkien:
In your post Tehran Calling, you quote Robert Trackinski:
The coming of the war with Iran has very little to do with our intentions and has everything to do with the enemy's intentions. Our only choice is how we will respond. Will we continue to evade the need to confront this threat--or will we finally begin to fight back?
I thought suddenly of a quotation from the Lord of the Rings. Theoden King, king of the Riders of Rohan, is worried about confronting the evil wizard Saruman. He speaks to Gandalf the Grey, the good wizard:
Theoden: I will not risk open war.
Gandalf: Open war is upon you whether you risk it or no.
We can sit here and say we'll not risk open war with Iran... but open war is upon us, whether we recognize it or not. It's a fine line; we're such a powerful country that we barely notice the pinpricks Iran inflicts upon us. But they are growing more desperate to gain our attention; and eventually, their "pinpricks" may turn to something much more serious. We daren't wait until that point (Bush's comment about the first indication being a mushroom cloud applies); but we cannot strike too soon, or we may lose critical allies in the war against global jihad.
But open war is upon us; and sooner or later, we shall have to strike. And when we do, then we must make it a death blow. As Machiavelli wrote, if you strike at the king you must slay him... which also applies to the clown, if the clown has a nuclear hand grenade. (50-foot throwing range, 5-mile blast radius -- why bother throwing it? Just stand nearby and pull the pin.)
So you see, it all ties together. "It's part of the lattice of coincidence that lies on top of everything." Scott's jocular response -- "who exactly are you, anyway, and where did you get this e-mail address?" -- only points out how much he appreciates my point.
Since we already spilled the beans about how we cast our number-one vote, you're probably equally fascinated to know who got number two:
- (See above)
- LA Times: "No Blood For Oil" Lackey, by Cheat Seeking Missiles.
The last discusses the L.A. Dog Trainer's interview with former Federal Reserve Board Chairman and Erstwhile Randroid Alan Greenspan... but you know all about it if you read Mr. Greenspan Regrets He's Unable to Bash Today. And if you didn't, then don't hold me accountable for lacunae in your education.
Here is where the real action occurred. This is the piece that required our esteemed leader to take the iron glove off the velvet hand and directly force its victory:
- Dead Eyes, by Acute Politics.
Here is what Mr. Watcher wrote about why he chose to intervene:
There was actually a tie in the non-council category this week... there were two very good posts about Iraq but Teflon Don's post about the weariness of war ultimately won me over.
Gaak. That was precisely the reason I did not vote for Dead Eyes: Its premise appears to be that everything is hopeless in Iraq, it's all a waste, so what's the use?
Here, our number-one vote, is the Iraq piece that should have won:
- Iraq the Model, by Hugh Hewitt (actually by Dean Barnett writing on Hugh Hewitt);
- "al Qaidastan" Rising, by ZenPundit.
The Barnett post -- named in homage of the best blog out of Iraq -- takes a look at the rapidly declining homicide rate in Iraq and sees therein proof of the effectiveness of the counterinsurgency strategy.
The ZenPundit post is a technical post about "Fourth Generation Warfare" that I found interesting and thought to bring to your attention. Consider yourself alerted.
The usual plug...
Read all about it here.
September 18, 2007
Condensed Cream of Watcher
This will be, as the title suggests, a very brief version of the post we usually make, owing to the fact that we were AWOL from our normal bloggistic duties, frittering away our time (and time well wasted it was) on some tomfool cruise ship in the Alaskan waters, where, alas, we were unable to strike it rich in the gold fields and had to make do with $3,214 worth of pyrite, plus of course this excellent run-on sentence, which was a steal at a scant $3,215.
Since we neither nominated nor voted, we can only report on the posts that won -- which we haven't read yet but will in the next few minutes, as we write.
So there you have it, whatever the referrant of "it" is.
And the winner was...
- 2001 -- Our Own Odyssey Began On 9/11, by ‘Okie’ on the Lam
I'm guessing this has something to do with the attacks on that day, but let me read it and find out...
Yep, as I thought... but I thought it a beautiful touch that Okie wove the tapistry of memory not only from the threads of 9/11 but also those of the hopeful, exuberant movie 2001: a Space Odyssey -- the best or second best movie Kubrick ever made and possibly the best science-fiction movie ever made as well.
(Other possible contenders for the title: Rollerball, the original version, screenplay by William Harrison from his short story "Rollerball Murder;" Dr. Strangelove; or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, the other greatest Stanley Kubrick movie; Gattica -- does anyone detect a thematic pattern here?; and possibly Zardoz, though it's a debit that the film doesn't begin to reveal its multifaceted brilliance until the third or fourth viewing.)
Again, since we didn't vote (or even read the other entries), that's about all we can say about the matter. Oh, except that it appears the vote was exceptionally close this time; in fact, as close as possible without it begin a tie: The winner took 1 2/3 votes, after which no fewer than four other posts tied for second place with 1 1/3 votes... certainly the closest Watcher's Council vote I've ever seen. Take it and be off with you!
In this section, looking at the Watcher's list, it appears that the winner was --
- When the Left Cares, and When It Doesn't, by American Thinker
This victory was not quite as tight as the Council vote, but still only 2/3 separating 1 and 2.
Briefly, Denis Keohane's thesis is that the Left has lost interest in Iraqi civilians because they are no longer merely props in the Left's eternal morality play about the wickedness of the Right. They have begun to act on their own -- and they have had the effrontery of allying with the United States:
It has also become obvious in place after place, beginning perhaps with Tal Afar and repeating in Al Anbar and Diyala Provinces, that when the insurgents are forcefully engaged, the local populace, the Iraqi military and the Coalition forces all appear to be something like one team with shared goals. More and more Iraqis themselves seem to be behaving as allies of the Coalition.
And that's the problem for the left, and why they no longer care about them. They only ‘seemed' to care for the Iraqis when they could be made out to be our victims. As our allies, they have betrayed the left and forfeited the left's concern. [Boldface added; italics in original.]
To see what you can see
Here lies the complete results of the vote.
September 9, 2007
The Divine Watchermaker
This will be a little briefer than usual, because I'm off tomorrow. (Yeah, yeah, I've been "off" for years now!)
Nope, didn't pull off the hat trick; but almost as good: In the Council category, our first-place vote won first place, and our second-place vote came in second...
We loved "Contemptible," and we were overjoyed that it won the vote this week:
- Contemptible, by Done With Mirrors.
Callimachus finds it "contemptible" that Brian De Palma has made a film about the rape and murder of an innocent, 14 year old Iraqi girl (and the murder of her family) by a couple of renegade soldiers... deliberately implying that this is the norm for American military behavior in that country.
Callimachus probably finds it even more contemptible that De Palma actually won the "best director" award for that film today. But the victory certainly tells us what side Hollywood is on in this war... even when "Hollywood" equals Venice, Italy.
Our second place vote came in second place, funnily enough:
- The War To Remember 9/11, by Right Wing Nut House.
Rick Moran frets about what will happen as direct memory of 9/11 fades; I enjoyed the piece, but I think memory has not faded... only sunk a bit deeper into the subconscious.
We voted this weeks winner in first place -- and so did nearly everybody else! It got five votes, which I don't think I've ever seen happen before. At the least, it means eight members voted for it (seven first places plus one second place would equal 5); all other combinations require even more members voting for it in either first or second place:
- Anatomy of a Tribal Revolt, by Small Wars Journal
This was a fascinating piece by that Australian Lt.Col. who used to be (or perhaps still is) the senior counterinsurgency advisor to MNF-I -- that is, to Gen. David Petraeus himself. But it's also long, and I admit I didn't read the entire thing. But what I did read blew everything else this week out of the water. The part I actually got around to reading described in some detail just how the revolt of the Sunni tribes against al-Qaeda actually got started and how it grew to the point where AQI was actually slung out of Anbar and Diala provinces, and mostly out of Baghdad and Salahuddin provinces. Great stuff!
Our only misfire was our second-place vote, which only one other member voted for (also in second place):
- Video: Let's Get Retarded, by The Jawa Report
Well I thought it was hysterically funny. Feh. It's a post and a delicious video explaining to the "reality-based community" the difference between a bullet -- and a cartridge. I don't know why we two were the only ones who liked it enough to vote for it even in second place.
As always, find the rest of the nominations that received at least one vote here.
September 4, 2007
The Watcher Lurks Behind My Sleeping Back
In a bizarre, almost Clintonian concatenation of coincidence, we once again forgot to submit nominations last week for the Watcher's thingie; this forced the Watcher to pore through Big Lizards (a chore that likely unmanned him for the rest of the day) and pick our nominee himself.
I was just saying to Sachi that it sure would be funny if...
The winner of the Council vote last week was:
- NYT: Analogies Are Meaningless (Unless They Favor the Left), by Big Lizards.
From now on, our plan will be to have anyone other that Dafydd pick our nominations. We will randomly call strangers and ask them to pick a post; we will spin the huge wheel of fortune in our living room with post titles in place of the numbers; we will make frequent and servile use of our Magic 8-Ball... it all seems to work better than Dafydd pondering all the posts that week and making his "informed" nomination.
(To that end, this week, RealClearPolitics put one of our posts on its front page; therefore, since this satisfies the new criterion of allowing someone else to select our nomination, we'll send that one off to the Watcher this week!)
Our post noted that the Times first argued that analogies between the Iraq war and other wars are impossible (in order to denounce the idea that withdrawing from the former would have the same terrible effects as withdrawing from the latter did) -- and then went on to draw analogies between the Iraq war and other wars that better suited the Times' taste.
As always, we are disallowed from voting for our own nominee (else we would routinely send off two votes for ourselves each week); therefore, we voted for two other excellent posts:
- Victor Davis Hanson -- Why We Must Study War, by ‘Okie’ on the Lam;
- The New Conspiracy Theorists, by Bookworm Room.
The first comes, as its title suggests, from the Victor Davis Hanson piece "Why Study War?", which is required reading. Oddly enough, Okie suggests that it is required reading; and since I liked both pieces, I was happy to vote for the only one available to me in this category.
The second piece looks at the new "paranoid style," which is now associated with the Left, not the Right. Sadly, neither of these worthy pieces did all that well in the voting; but they should have.
We batted .500 in the Nouncil vote; the winner was our first-place vote:
- Like a Suppository, Only a Bit Stronger, by the Dissident Frogman.
This is a very droll post and "mime" video from a combined English-French-language blogger instructing journalists on the distinction between (a) a bullet, and (b) a cartridge.
Our second-place vote was for...
- This Is What Sadness Looks Like, by Logosphilia.
This aptly named post -- alas, I was the only one to vote for it, and Logosphilia probably feels a bit sad about that... and indeed, it deserved a lot more attention than it got! -- simply comments on the sad state of most journalism, brought to the sad end of actually rooting for their own country's defeat. (Of course, one counterargument is that America is not most "American" journalists' country: They consider themselves "citizens of the world" instead.)
It was a great post; I wish more people agreed with me.
If you really must read all the other vote-garnering posts (the most important ones are linked right here!), you can do so here.
August 27, 2007
Watcher On the Rind
Last Council vote gave us a winning week; this time, it's a weak win: We didn't do so well with our own nomination in the Council vote... but our nominee and first choice for the Nouncil vote won hands down.
Yes, yes, it's an honor just to be nominated. Or it would be, except that we nominate ourselves... so it's an honor that I found myself worthy of being nominated. Wanna make something out of it?
The winner instead was --
- Is the United States an Imperialist Power and Does It Matter?, by Right Wing Nut House
Pretty much just what the title says. Rick Moran asks whether we're an imperialist power, what an imperialist power is, and does such an appellation really matter? I would say that the only people I have ever heard raise the question are either (1) utterly convinced that we are imperialists just like the Nazis (90%), or (2) trying in exasperation to show that we are not an empire under any rational definition of the word (10%). No room for Mr. In-Between.
In fact, I will go farther. The only way to call the United States an "empire" is to twist the plain meaning of that word like a pretzel, what I call "argument by convenient redefinition": proponent redefines a horrific word to include perfectly ordinary behavior; but he then relies upon the frisson caused by the original meaning to induce an ugly, emotional response to the ordinary.
That is, to change the meaning but rely upon the old meaning to cling to the new circumstances, like a bathtub ring.
Other examples abound:
- If we redefine the word "rape" to include despoiling Mother Earth by cutting down trees to build houses, then everyone who lives in a house is a rapist; can't we all agree that rapists should be behind bars?
- "Racism," henceforth, shall mean any policy that has a disparate effect on different races, intentionally or accidentally. Since tax cuts primarily benefit those who pay more taxes, they help white people (on average) more than blacks. Republicans support tax cuts. Therefore, Republicans are racists -- so how can any decent human being vote to put a Ku Klux Klansman in the White House?
- "Amnesty" means forgiveness of a crime without punishment; but let's redefine it to include any plea bargain. In the comprehensive immigration-reform bill, illegal immigrants serve reduced punishment as part of a plea bargain. Are we going to let criminal lawbreakers off scott free with an out-and-out amnesty?
Moran's argument about imperialism essentially boils down to the same point: If you define imperialism to include any foreign engagement, occupation, or enforced sanction, then sure, we're "imperialists"; but the word at that point has lost all meaning and sense.
However, this question has been explored a lot in recent years; I think it now constitutes beating a dead horse into a different color. Thus, we voted for a different pair of nominees:
In the first, Callimachus notes the debriding effect of religious rituals:
Religions are structures which draw destructive internal poisons and cure them, mostly, into constructive and calming rituals. Only a fool would think we can dispense with any such structure when Cambodia still reeks of corpses and we are only a few geological ticks out of the Ice Age....
[Quoting René Girard] Thinkers like Dawkins and Hitchens conclude that religion is the cause of this violence and sexual obsession, and that the crimes committed in the name of religion can be seen as the definitive disproof of it. Not so, argues Girard. Religion is not the cause of violence but the solution to it. The violence comes from another source, and there is no society without it since it comes from the very attempt of human beings to live together. The same can be said of the religious obsession with sexuality: religion is not its cause, but an attempt to resolve it.
In the second post above, Soccer Dad considers the propriety and efficacy of declaring the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to be a terrorist organization, and comes to a clearthinking conclusion (with emphasis added by moi):
I would guess that most of those opposed to fighting the Revolutionary Guards economically are certainly opposed to fighting them militarily. And yet failing to rein in the guards economically will almost certainly make a military confrontation with them -- however ill advised it is -- more likely.
Hard to argue.
Here is where we shone. Our nominee, our first choice, and the winner was:
- How The New Republic Got Suckered, by Richard Miniter of Pajamas Media
Miniter's is the best and most straightforward account to date (in the absence of any self-reflective word from the editors at the New Republic itself). Evidently, members of the Council agree.
Our second-place vote was about a subject dear to our hearts; it even has its own category: Globaloney. (I think we voted for a Logosphilia post last week, too; I like this blog a lot.)
- "Consensus": Wrong, by Logosphilia
Matt also comments on Big Lizards fairly frequently under the name K2Aggie07... which I can only suppose means that he attends Texas A&M, graduated this year -- and must have climbed the second highest (and most difficult) mountain in the world, in the Karakoram segment of the Himalayan chain separating Pakistan and China. Perhaps during Spring Break, while the other kids were gawking at wet t-shirted co-eds.
As usual, full list here, if you can get the site to come up. As I write this, the domain name cannot be found.
I can only conclude the Watcher of Weasels site has been shut down, the Watcher himself arrested and subjected to stress positions, loud music, water boarding, and the dreaded chest grab, which has induced him to spill the beans out of the cat. What else could it be?
August 19, 2007
Watch That Watcher!
Well, I can see by the old clock on the wall that it's time to get a new clock on the wall. And also that the old Watcher's Council time has rolled around once more (time to get a new Watcher's Council).
Big Liz had a spectacular week this week in the Council, not so good in the Nouncil. In the first place, look who came in first place:
Of course, you all remember (because you read it) that this was my rumination about the politics of the Iraq war... specifically, that I reject the meme that, unless Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki puts on his manly gown, girds his loins, and pulls up his socks, and bullies parliament into passing a bunch of Washington D.C.-generated legislation, then we've lost the war -- even if we've won the war.
Rather, I argue that we should focus on the military, encourage the politics to trickle up from the individual, tribal, and provincial level, and let the Iraqis sort things out.
We received four points... which means (via the cockamamie voting system) either six first-place votes (out of eleven voting members of the Council who are allowed to vote for Big Lizards), or else five firsts and two seconds, or four firsts and four seconds, three and six, two and eight, or one and ten, to be annoyingly completist about it.
But that's not all: Besides our win (and the Ginsu knife set), our two choices for our own votes...
- Political Fairy Tales, by Bookworm Room;
- Globalization Killed the Bison?!, by Cheat Seeking Missiles.
...Came in second and third, respectively. In the Council vote, that makes a clean sweep.
The first explicates the journalistic phenomenon whereby the actual facts of real-world events (with political implications) become subordinated to a pre-created narrative... in other words, newspapers substitute a leftist political fairy tale for the facts.
In the other post, Laer takes environmentalists to task for exaggerating both how "good" things were before industrialization and also how "bad" things are today.
We didn't do so well in the Nouncil, however. The winner was a very, very good piece about changing our lexicon for describing terrorists, so that we don't inadvertently validate their own self-descriptions as "martyrs," "holy warriors," and "caliphs;" but I thought it a bit too similar to an earlier piece in the same magazine:
- General James Mattis -- Attacking the al Qaeda "Narrative", by Small Wars Journal.
By contrast, those blogposts that we voted for in the Nouncil category had slim pickin's:
The Logosphilia post tied for fourth, while the JunkYardBlog post tied for eighth with three other nominees. I really thought both of these deserved better.
In the first, K2aggie07 (a frequent commenter here) runs through the history of black achievement in America -- and notes how such progress cut off abruptly when pro-black racial preference (that is, "affirmative action") was enacted: The free market was doing a great job of equalizing the races, until the "invisible foot of government" came along and tripped them up.
K2aggie07 echoes the pioneering work of Walter Williams, who in 1989 published an entire book -- South Africa's War Against Capitalism -- about how blacks in South Africa were actually achieving parity in many areas under a relatively free market... until the turn of the last century, when the Boers began to impose Apartheid, stopping such progress in its tracks.
In addition, as Thomas Sowell discussed a year later in Preferential Policies, many of the early Apartheid laws bore a strange and suspicious resemblance to supposedly pro-black affirmative-action programs -- the best example being a law rammed through following the horrific Rand Rebellion, one of the bloodiest labor riots in history, imposing a minimum wage for South African miners. (During the Rand Rebellion, the Communists joined on the side of the white mining unions, unfurling the slogan, "workers of the world unite and fight for a white South Africa!")
A minimum wage to help blacks sounds great, right? Except that, under the old system -- where blacks could, if they chose, work for less than the new "minimum wage" and far less than the prevailing (white) rate -- there was a financial incentive for companies to hire competent blacks in place of equally competent whites... which they often did in defiance of racial-quota legislation. Thus, companies hired more and more blacks to supervisory and managerial positions over whites... which drove the unionistas into a frenzy.
For anyone interested in reading further about the issues that K2aggie07 raises in this post, I strongly recommend the Williams and Sowell books.
"False Altruism" is an exemplar of truth in advertising: SeeDubya explains that altruism is bad enough; altruism is when a person sacrifices himself so that another person, no more deserving, can live. But under false altruism, liberals and lefties (for the most part) sacrifice your money to give to the undeserving poor -- for the primary purpose of making the lefty (who orchestrated the confiscation) feel good about himself. This is like a father taking food away from his own starving child in order to feed a total stranger's starving child, then turning to the audience and saying, "oh what a good boy am I!"
Funnily enough, our own Nouncil nominee was the Captain's Progressive For Racist Smears? (Update: Progressive Wises Up A Little Late)... which we didn't even vote for, given how much we loved the two above. Yet even so, our nominee came in second place.
At least we're spared the ignominy of having cost the Captain a win... even had we cast our first place vote for it, it still would have been second.
That is, here, if you want to see the full list of every entry that garnered at least one vote from somebody.
August 13, 2007
Dr. Winner and Mr. Loser - UPDATED
At it must every week, around rolls the weekly wash of winners -- and the lashing of losers.
All we can say about our own nomination, Gonzales, Intelligence, and Perjury: The Penultimate Word, was that we didn't come in dead last. A victory, of sorts!
The actual winner in the Council category was:
- My Excellent Adventure At Yearlykos, by Right Wing Nut House.
This is a pretty good blogpost; but it's the first one about this Kavalcade of Kossacks from Right Wing Nut House (Rick Moran), and it's necessarily too much of an overview for my taste. RWNH promises it's only the first of several others... and I'm hoping that the later posts will have more depth and analysis.
But if you want a summary of the great annual nutroot summit, this is the one.
We voted differently:
- Newsweek Attacks Global Warming Deniers, by ‘Okie’ on the Lam;
- Tancredo and Tonic, by Done With Mirrors.
In the first, Okie (Arthur Baker) takes on a particularly odious incarnation of the advocate in reporter's clothing; you can probably guess the topic.
INSTANT UPDATE: In the very next issue of Newsqueak, contributing editor Robert J. Samuelson attacks the previous week's story as "contrived":
We in the news business often enlist in moral crusades. Global warming is among the latest. Unfortunately, self-righteous indignation can undermine good journalism. Last week's NEWSWEEK cover story on global warming is a sobering reminder. It's an object lesson of how viewing the world as "good guys vs. bad guys" can lead to a vast oversimplification of a messy story. Global warming has clearly occurred; the hard question is what to do about it.
If you missed NEWSWEEK's story, here's the gist. A "well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change." This "denial machine" has obstructed action against global warming and is still "running at full throttle." The story's thrust: discredit the "denial machine," and the country can start the serious business of fighting global warming. The story was a wonderful read, marred only by its being fundamentally misleading.
So I reckon the "ol' Okie" was onto something.
The second demonstrate's the essential fairness of Big Lizards... for even though I completely agree with the thrust of this piece, I think it either got off one stop too soon or one too late; however, I voted for it anyway, because I thought it well argued and interesting.
Writing in Done With Mirrors, "Callimachus" begins by making clear he does not agree with Tom Tancredo's ill-considered remark (again) about threatening to bomb Mecca and Medina; but then he takes on a blogger, PoliBlog, who argues against it, attempting to shoot down PoliBlog's arguments -- with which Callimachus more or less agrees but thinks are weak (are you following this?)
While Callimachus' responses do address to the points raised by PoliBlog, he doesn't take the next step of reformulating the arguments to make them more convincing -- which would have been the natural progression. Still, it was an interesting exercise on Callimachus' part, countering arguments against a point that he, himself, also opposes.
Our votes came in third and second, respectively; so at least this time, aside from the Yoniacs, we were in the midst of the Council mob.
In the Nouncil, the genius award fell upon:
- Bread and a Circus, Part II of II, by Michael Yon.
Once again, I have nothing against Micheal Yon; I like his reporting. But that's what it is: reporting. There is little or no analysis (beyond squad-level tactics), because Yon, being embedded with units involved in firefights all the time, has no time for that. It's interesting, but I don't see such reporting as "blogging" in the usual sense of the word.
Thus, we voted for two other posts, including, as our first-place vote, the piece we nominated:
The first is (naturally) a piece by Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard, discussing Beauchamp's purported recanting... and what that means to the tatters and shreds of credibility that the New Republic had left after the Stephen Glass scandal. (Alas, we were the only ones to vote for this piece; possibly others found it to be too professional... not a blog but a magazine editorial cum comments.)
The second, by Jeremy "Panda Man" (don't ask) Weidenhof at the Lone Star Times, turns a weary, critical eye to the instant response to the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis: Darn that Bush! If only he had spent more money on infrastructure! This piece came in third, so at least it got some recognition.
As it ever is, here is the full list of every entry that received a vote (those that didn't... well, let's just say the authors are probably glad not to be held up to public ridicule, after their experience in the stocks last month).
August 6, 2007
Spinners and Winners
Another complete breakdown of the Big Lizards machine; but this time we have an excuse -- a massive disk-drive failure that required replacement and which interfered with the smoothly oiled functioning of the reptilian automaton.
We were unable to send in our nominations in time, and the Watcher himself was forced to pore through this site, looking for something to nominate. Astonishingly enough, Mr. Watcher picked the very post that we would have nominated, had we been compos mentos... Miracle on Sand, about the possibilities of civilization in Iraq, if they take hope from winning the Asia Cup -- just as I believe our win against the Soviet Olympic machine in 1980 (the "miracle on ice") gave us the hope to elect Ronald Reagan instead of reelecting Jimmy Carter.
It didn't win, but it had its shot, for which I'm grateful to le Voyeur. But here are the real winners...
- NEA Also Confused About SCOTUS Decision Regarding Race & Schooling, by The Colossus of Rhodey.
Although I liked this post, I actually voted for two others in this category:
- Whose Freedom? What Is Speech?, by Right Wing Nut House;
- Perhaps We Should Dunk the Administrators in the Toilet, by Cheat Seeking Missiles.
The first discusses "Stanislav Shmulevich of Brooklyn," who has been charged with two felony counts of "hate speech" for throwing a pair of Korans in the toilet (one felony charge for each insulted Koran, one presumes).
This raises extraordinarily disturbing questions about freedom of speech: It's bad enough to punish, say, a violent assault more severely if done out of unacceptable hatred -- say, for a person's race or religion -- rather than for an acceptable hatred, such as rage at being dumped by one's girlfriend.
But in this case, the only crime other than hatred, theft of the Korans, was not only a misdemeanor, but its victim -- Pace University in New York -- was not even Moslem, hence not the target of the hatred. Shmulevich has, in fact, been charged with a felony solely for insulting Islam... something one would expect in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, not New York. And just as in a Moslem country, I, at least, have the disturbing feeling that the district attorney would never have charged him with a felony for flushing the holy book of a false religion... like Judaism or Christianity. This piece came in second in the Watcher's contest.
The second post discusses the same issue, as you probably deduced from the title; but in Laer's piece, he focuses on the reaction of the university itself... which has decided to force its students to undergo Islamic sensitivity training! We were the only ones to vote for this one; but that may have been because other voters picked between them, since the subjects were so similar.
- Baghdad Raid Night, by MIchael J. Totten.
This sort of nominee is always popular; but I look for a unique, original view when I vote, not simple reportage. Ergo, I voted thus:
In the first, Eric begins by quoting a Volokh contributer for a pair of definitions: "[T]here are two general ways to increase your wealth: by creating things people want, or by fighting over prizes that already exist -- things other people have created or found."
Eric then considers the taxonomy of lawyers and notes that they fall out on both sides of the definition: Most attorneys make very good money; but some actually contribute to society and the rights of the individual (prosecutors who put criminals behind bars, defense attorneys who defend potentially innocent people, lawyers who specialize in drawing up mergers or wills or other vital documents). While others make their fortunes by looting the innocent or society itself (the examples are mine, not Eric's):
- They sue businesses they know are innocent but will be so frightened of being dragged into court they'll pay extortion (John Edwards, environmentalist lawyers, OSHA lawyers);
- They prosecute the innocent in order to get reelected (Mike Nifong, the DAs who prosecuted the raft of day-care molestation cases some years ago);
- They defend clients who are almost certainly guilty -- no problem so far -- but they get them acquitted by patently unjust antics, such as repeatedly interrupting the prosecutor's summation so that jurors lose track of the argument; by putting on bogus expert witnesses to testify falsely, playing to the jurors' bigotry; and by deliberately confusing jurors by misleading comments about the evidence (Johnnie Cochran, Barry Scheck, Robert Shapiro, et al, who got O.J. Simpson acquitted by spinning a fantasy of massive police fraud with no foundation whatsoever -- and their counterparts in the 1950s and 60s, who got Ku Klux Klansmen acquitted of lynching charges by inflaming racial hatred in white juries);
- They're employed by the Mafia or by terrorist groups to get as many evil thugs acquitted as possible (lawyers at CAIR, Bruce Cutler -- a.k.a., "house counsel to the Gambino crime family," and so forth).
I love a good anti-lawyer rant, so I voted for this in the number-one slot. Others must have agreed, because it came in number two.
The second post highlights the astonishing statement by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC, 95%) that all the good news coming now from Iraq, if it causes the Republicans to unite, "would be a problem for us."
On the one hand, it's obvious; Clyburn means it would be a big problem for Democrats if Republicans were more united. But on the other hand, if we strip out the middleman, Clyburn admits that success in Iraq is a problem for Democrats. Thus, they have managed to become invested in military failure for the United States... a remarkable feat for any political party that hopes to compete on the national stage!
The full, final, and feral findings
As it ever was, you can "read all about it" here.
July 31, 2007
A Time to Win - and a Time to be Crushed Like Jimmah Cattah
Heh. Well, at least we got one vote. Though it was a second-place afterthought...
Worse, through a mixup in our comprehension of the rules, we didn't even get to nominate a Nouncil post. I thought, since I couldn't nominate a Sachi post as the Big Lizards contribution, that meant I could pick her for our non-Council ("Nouncil") nominee. No dice! Instead, the Watcher just picked yet another nomination (I think he gets to make about 48 nominations in the Nouncil category) -- which got more votes than my feeble Big Lizards Council nomination.
Thanks. Kick me while I'm down. What are you... French?
All right, my actual nominee (Sachi had nothing to do with it) was Democrats Snub Vets for Freedom: Look What You Made Me Do!, by Sachi at Big Lizards. But this was the one that got away, so it doesn't count. Ya follow? Never mind.
The actual for-real winners were...
- Little Noted But Long Remembered, by Right Wing Nuthouse.
By an amazing coincidence, this was our first choice among the Council nominees. RWNH blasts off from the July 20th 38th anniversary of the first Moon landing; Rick Moran makes a good case that this may be the only important event from the latter part of the 20th century to be remembered (for all practical purposes) forever.
Our other vote in this cat was Max Boot to Kissinger -- “Iraq Isn't Vietnam, Henry”, by ‘Okie’ on the Lam. The title pretty much explains it on a nutshell.
We fared unwell in this category. First, there was that whole blow-up about the Sachi post. Then to add insult to injun country, our second place came in second place, while our first place was roundly ignored by everybody but ourselves!
The winner in the Nouncil category was:
- ON THE FRONTLINE / Cpl. JOHN MATTHEW BISHOP: In the Shadows of Fallen Comrades, by the Atlanta Journal Constitution -- or as my worthy conspirator Brad Linaweaver, who used to work there, calls it, the Atlanta Urinal Constipation.
Frankly, I question this as a nomination; I don't think it's really a blog if it's run by a mainstream newspaper. Skipping lightly over this question of jurisdiction, I found the piece interesting but not thought-provoking; nothing said by its author, a Marine Corps corporal in Iraq, was particularly original or startling. Oh well.
Instead, we voted for:
The first was a hysterically funny piece (well, I laughed) by my old blog-boss, Captain Ed, about a union picket line -- that had actually outsourced its picketers. You must read it to believe it.
The second was a short piece full of pith and vinegar, in which Surber notes an amazing connection between a conservative group and a watchdog group. Again, read it and laugh out loud. (What can I say? I was giddy the day I voted.)
Per usual, you can find the full list of every nomination that got even 1/3 of a vote -- like Big Lizards -- by clicking here.
July 20, 2007
Catastrophic Loss for Big Lizards! Film at 11:00...
Well, not really that bad; just wanted to grab your attention.
The weakly, er, weekly results for Big Lizards and a gaggle of lesser included blogs on the Watcher's Council are in, and here's the let down. I mean low down:
This week's weenie -- dang! I mean winner -- is:
- Harry Potter and Ostrich Syndrome, by Bookworm Room.
I suppose I can claim partial
vindictiveness vindication on this post, as this was our choice for numbness -- number one. Mrs. Bookworm ruination -- ruminates on the muscular, essentially conservative world destruction view of a number of resent R-E-C-E-N-T fantasy and science friction moanies and works of litter. Atcher. Literature!
Oh hell; just rend it for yourself. (No, I don't know what she has against the definite article.)
In the number two slot, we voted thus:
- Pangloss, by Done With Mirrors.
Dr. Pangloss was (according to Answers.com) the "irrepressible professor of ‘métaphysico-théologo-cosmolo-nigologie’, used by Voltaire to mock the philosophy of Optimism in Candide."
(The aptly named Commie plagiarist Lillian Hellman, the George Galloway of her day, also allegedly co-wrote a musical version of Candide... or perhaps stole it from a better writer -- they are legion, including her fellow-traveler co-writers Dorothy Parker, James Agee, and Leonard Bernstein -- stole it, as she did the life story of Muriel Gardiner, whose dangerous adventures smuggling cash to anti-Fascists in Nazi Germany Hellman "expropriated" to herself, in her second "memoir," Pentimento. And I bloody well bet Dash wrote most of of her plays. But who the hell cares about Lillian Hellman anymore? Whoever she was.)
Callimachus -- oh, sorry, we're back to our second-vote post, Pangloss -- uses the name to good effect to mock the devil-may-care attitude liberals seem to have towards terrorism (you know, that Bush bumper-sticker thing). It's a great post, worth your time reading. Pangloss came in tied with two other blogs (as Michael Medved would say) or internets (as Bush would say), but that was only after Rick Moran at Right Wing Nuthouse spent all day Thursday beachcombing along Lake Michigan, clad only in a pair of Magritte-blue Speedos, listening to Insane Clown Posse on his iPod... and completely forgot to vote. Without the 2/3 vote penalty, Moran would have had second place all to himself, leaving our Callimachus forlornly wandering the stacks at the library of Alexandria.
We seem to have calmed down now from our rage against the machine that voted against Big Lizards. It's time to live and let evil. Everything is back to norble.
The winner among the great unwished is:
- Myths and Realities of the George Bush Presidency, by TCS Daily.
This is another one of those "damning Bush with gossamer-faint praise" thingies that have become so popular among the Council lately. Read it and see for yourself.
We got skunked in this category. Our two votes were for:
- Staunch Republicans for Ted Kennedy, by John Hinderaker at Power Line;
- Keith Ellison and the "Reichstag", by FrontPage Magazine.
The first (our own nominee) told the absurdist tale of "reporter" Jennifer Hunter of the Chicago Sun-Times, who got punked by fellow liberal Democrat Jim Ronca. She latched onto him at a meeting of the American Trial Lawyers Association (newly reminted the American Association for Justice); the ATLA/AAJ had just held a forum to which presidential candidates were invited, so long as they were Democrats or erstwhile candidates named Howard Dean. Ronca was in the audience; Hunter was hunting for a story.
Ronca told Hunter he was a Republican and gushed to her that he was now convinced that the Democrats were aces, and he would not only vote for one but would even send them money! Breathlessly, Hunter rushed the copy to the Sun-Times, taking the first four grafs to gloat that even "staunch Republicans" like Jim Ronca were switching to the Democrats. Alas for Hunter's credibility, five minutes of checking with the FEC website demonstrated that Ronca was a Democrat, not a Republican, who had donated many times to Democrats (including Ted Kennedy) and only twice to Republicans... one of whom was Sen. Arlen Specter (RINO-PA, 43%), so doesn't count.
We were the only ones to vote for this post. They're blind, blind I tells yer.
The second post above is a Robert Spencer piece (yeah, the book guy) about Keith Ellison (surpise) and his recent comment comparing 9/11 to the Reichstag fire (double surprise), which many people believe was actually started by the Nazis themselves so they could blame it on the Communists. (I've seen recent evidence that suggests otherwise; but at the very least, the Nazis seized upon the fortuitous event to solidify dictatorial power in Hitler's hands. My personal theory is that it was set by Lillian Hellman.) Spencer slaps CAIR's congressman around a bit and musses his hair. A nice read.
Last resorts. I mean full results...
July 15, 2007
Qvis Cvstodiet Ipsos Cvstodes
All right, to jump right to Chevy Chase, Big Lizards carried off another $73,000 prize for winning the Watcher's Council vote last week:
- High Noonan, by Big Lizards.
This was our takedown of that harpy, Peggy Noonan -- most recently seen saying that "everyone" (read: Peggy Noonan) was "tired" of George W. Bush (read: frustrated that he won't listen to her advice) and just desperately wishing for a new president, whether Republican or Democrat (read: Noonan's open to voting for a Democrat, if the price is right).
Since we can't vote for our own posts, of course, I didn't; I voted thus:
- Hillary's Grand, Failed Cover-Up, by Cheat Seeking Missiles;
- Independence Day, by Done With Mirrors.
The first, as you have probably gathered, elucidates the hypocrisy of Shrillery geshreying the commutation of Scooter Libby's jail term -- considering the hundreds of full-on pardons that Billery sold for library-fund donations, even to felons who bilked seniors, the poor, and ordinary Americans out of millions of dollars... then fled the country to avoid prosecution.
In the second, Callimachus begins with this quotation from William Hickling Prescott's History of the Conquest of Peru; speaking of the Incan empire, Prescott wrote:
Where there is no free agency, there can be no morality. Where there is no temptation, there can be little claim to virtue. Where the routine is rigorously proscribed by law, the law, and not the man, must have the credit of the conduct.
Callimachus goes on to link the two seemingly disparate qualities of freedom and morality -- following in Ayn Rand's footsteps. It was short, pithy... I liked it.
Alas, only one other person did, for a second-choice vote (I wonder who it was?)
We didn't fare so well with the non-Council ("Nouncil") nominees; the winner was...
- Interview With Todd Bensman, by View From a Height.
This is just what it says it is: Bensman is the author of the newspaper series "Breaching America;" per the description at View From a Height, "The series followed an illegal immigrant and asylum-seeker from his homeland across the US-Mexican border, to his release by US authorities to join his family in the States. His homeland: Iraq."
One of the nominees we voted for did fairly well but didn't win; the other just lay there like a kippered herring:
- Anti-American July 4th, by Zombietime;
- Unhinged Anti-War Zealot Shoots Airman, Kills Self, by Michelle Malkin.
The first is a beautiful piece of photojournalism showing how San Francisco and the Propaganda III Art Show and Cattle Auction decided to "celebrate" Independence Day.
The second vote was for our nominee in the Nouncil category, and I freely admit I nominated this short Michelle Malkin post because I hoped it would get spread around to readers outside Malkin's usual circle.
Michelle highlighted a story about USAF Senior Airman Jonathan Schrieken, who was shot in New Jersey on July 4th by an anti-war fanatic... evidently because the attacker hated the military (according to a note left by the gunman, who slew himself after attempting -- and failing -- to kill Schrieken).
I find it amazing that the elite media thinks it unnewsworthy that an anti-war lefty would shoot an airman simply because he was in the Air Force, but there you have it.
However, the other members of the Council must also have found it unnewsworthy, as not a single person voted for this post -- or perhaps even read it -- other than myself.
As per, read all about it at the Watcher of Webelos' own site.
July 10, 2007
This week's winners in the Watcher's Council votes are enumerated below...
For the Council
- Guess Where Your President Was Wednesday Morning... Insh'allah, by JoshuaPundit.
My votes for this category were ignored, as usual. I cast my votes thus:
- Cage Match: Assimilation vs. Multiculturalism, by Right Wing Nuthouse.
This was a fascinating look at a social scientist, Robert Putnam, who had a large, well-performed study indicating that "diversity" was terrible for trust, community, and neighborhood cohesiveness... but he is sitting on the results because he is afraid either that right-wingers will use them to promote (wait for it) assimilation of immigrants... or that left-wingers will use the results to cast Putnam out of the group of the "anointed," as Thomas Sowell calls them.
- Quote of the Day: Islamophobia Edition, by Cheat Seeking Missiles.
This piece is about all the various "phobias" that radical hirabis and irhabis seem to exude. Some examples:
- "Someone touched my Koran phobia;"
- "Daughter has a boyfriend phobia;"
- "Young women dressed up phobia."
It's funny, but it also makes a serious point: That the sane seem obliged to cater to the psychotic whims of the insane; and that the Europeans especially increasingly buy into this insanity.
For the Nouncil
- Bless the Beasts and Children, by Michael Yon.
Another masterpiece of "non-fiction short story" (with a tip of the hat to Truman Capote) from Yon, this time contrasting the hope of Iraqi and American forces fighting side by side with the despair of horror by al-Qaeda, and what it looks like when they decide to tree a town.
It was good, but I didn't vote for it; hey, one Michael Yon is much like another, eh? Rather, I cast my broad upon the waterbed with these two pieces:
- Understanding Current Operations in Iraq, Small Wars Journal.
Also my nominee. A tour de force recounting of what we're doing in Iraq -- and more important, why we're doing it -- by some fellow named David Kilcullen. Who's he? Oh, yeah: "Senior Counterinsurgency Adviser, Multi-National Force - Iraq." In other words, Kilcullen is the guy that Gen. David Petraeus turns to when the general wants some advice on counterinsurgency operations.
- Guess Who Likes Earmarks?, by Captain's Quarters.
A typically great post by my old blogboss, Captain Ed; he finds that one of the most prolific earmarker in the House is... oh, it's too hysterical; I can't squish Cap's punchline!
Watcher in the weeds
As always, here you can see the full run of submissions (Islams?) that received at least one vote from one person, sometime, somewhere, somehow.
July 3, 2007
Big Lizards Crushed by Massive Penalty!
Due to the intervention of a number of scurrilous, squirrelly liberals and assorted yahoos, the proprietors of Big Lizards -- "never first, but always final" -- were victimized into forgetting to vote in the last Watcher's Council, ah, vote. Look what you made us do!
As a result, we were assessed the maximum penalty allowed under the rules: a 2/3 vote reduction, which dropped us from third (yecch) to fourth (yecch yecch).
(Repeated request sent to the White House produced no executive clemency; they claimed they were busy with another case.)
Anxious to adhere to the terms of our parole, herewith are the winners of the last Watcher's Council dohickey...
For the Council:
- A Stunningly Dishonest Piece of Advocacy Writing About the Supreme Court, by Bookworm Room.
In this piece, Bookworm -- a lawyer -- disses Jeffrey Toobin (or Tubesteak, as I usually misremember his name). Now this is a fine and good thing all by itself; but it's even better when there is a reason to diss the Tubesteak. In the present instance, it's his perfidious pandering to liberal lawyer lackeys who want to connive in a captious conspiracy of Catholics on the Court.
Our own nomination was Dividing and Conquering, or Dancing With the Devil? If you'll recall (or as you can see, right where you are sitting now, by clicking the link), we asked whether dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood -- an organization that condones some terrorism but which has a number of members who reject all terrorism -- might not be the strategic equivalent of our alliance with the Anbar Salvation Council against al-Qaeda.
For the Nouncil:
- The Rupture, by Seraphic Secret.
Seraphic notes the divergence between the West Bank (alias Judea and Samaria) and Gaza (alias Gaza), which mostly boils down to the Muslim Brotherhood (there they go again!) being really active in the latter but not in the former, and the Hashemites being really active in the former but not in the latter. S.S. anticipates a violent "rupture" between the two "Palestines."
We nominated Iraq Report: al Qaeda Strikes at the Seams, by The Fourth Rail (Bill Roggio), about Operation Phantom Thunder in Iraq (not to be confused with the Phantom Lettuce, the first installment of the second Star Wars trilogy).
For reasons which would have been obvious, had any of you actually read the beginning of this post (slackers!), we cannot list or discuss the posts we voted for. But you can read all the toothsome posts that everybody else voted for right here!
June 25, 2007
Winning Is Better Than Losing
...And who should know better than such a loser as Big Lizards?
Pardon the weeping and the wailing and the gnashing of teeth; I have been through the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, wept tears in rain, and been cast adrift like Bligh in the lifeboat. That is, we had another lousy week at the old Watcher's Council vote.
Here are the winners, the golden boys of endless summer:
- Gaza Becomes Hamastan, Part 2 -- Clarity and an Opportunity, by JoshuaPundit.
A sad confession to make: I generally like JoshuaPundit's entries, but this one left me cold: yet another post on the supposed incompetence and treason of the evil Bush administration. I think his disappointment at not getting the president that he wasn't promised sometimes overwhelms his fairness:
After millions of dollars and months of arming and training the Bush Administration's preferred terrorists in Fatah under Mahmoud Abbas and spending millions of dollars on them to prepare them to push Hamas out of the picture, the US has ended up with what stockbrokers genteelly call a `non-performing investment'.
Normally when that happens, an investor cuts his losses and pulls out. But since that would upset the Bush Administrations Arab pals, it looks like we're going to do nothing of the kind.
Instead, the Bush Administration is planning on giving even more arms and money to our preferred terrorists, Abbas and Fatah.
The horse manure pushed all along by the Bush Administration was that the solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict was an eventual two-state solution with Israel living next to a `Palestine' that somehow marvelously turned from the genocidal terrorist enclave Arafat created into Switzerland by signing some papers and maybe transferring some real estate. And that fantasy was based on the idea that Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah were somehow different than Hamas when it came to their long term goals of conquering and destroying Israel or siding with the West.
Etc., etc., and so forth... a seemingly endless threnody directed at the core of evil in the world today: George W. Bush, the great betrayer.
I happen to agree with JoshuaPundit that it's a waste of time dealing with Fatah; but it's not an insane position to take that Fatah may be easier to control or even defeat than Hamas. And if one takes that tack, as Bush evidently does, then it makes sense to support them in their war against Hamas. Too, Bush may hope that the two will fight each other to the exclusion of launching any substantive attack on Israel.
I weary of extremism in defense of the impossible: JoshuaPundit wants Israel to annex Gaza and remove "the majority of the local population" elsewhere, and he wants us somehow to force Jordan to "resettle" all the West-Bank Palestinians into Jordan or other Arab states.
Yes, that would be lovely. I'm sure the Arabs will rush to comply.
Since Bush won't waste time trying to do that which cannot be done, JP accuses him of being a Saudi puppet. Did I mention that JP also believes that we went to war in Iraq on orders from the House of Saud, which runs American foreign policy? And that Bush is deliberately seeking defeat in Iraq to appease the Iranians?
But worse than this peculiar way of looking at world events is the fact that JoshuaPundit's win was substantial: Evidently, lots of members of the Watcher's Council thought he was on a roll, and perhaps they agree with him that Bush has committed high treason to our country. (Can you tell I'm not happy with the Council this week?)
- My own number-one choice, Muslim And Christian? In One Body?, by Cheat Seeking Missiles -- about the Seattle Episcopal priest who says she is also a Moslem -- did fairly well, placing with four or five votes.
- My second choice, Overstating a Problem, by Rhymes With Right, got one other second-place vote besides mine. Which is better than my own entry -- Yon On Baqouba -- got! (Though the source of my commentary post did considerably better; see below.)
- Be Not Afraid, by Michael Yon.
This is the discussion of the Arrowhead Ripper campaign in Iraq's Diyala Province that I comment upon in my own post; it's possible folks thought that it redundant to vote for both Torah and Mishnah (how's that analogy for chutzpah!)
My two choices for non-Council ("Nouncil," in my own twisted language, a la "Funes the Memorious" by Borges) were:
- Beware: Misleading Income Statistics Are Coming Your Way, by Back Talk;
- What Is Your Purpose Here, Senator Reid?, by BitsBlog.
The titles are self explanatory.
June 15, 2007
This Week's Swimmers
This week, one of my number-one picks actually won; in the other category, I was literally the only person to vote for either of my two picks!
Here are the winners:
Among the Council:
- Judging People By Their Friends and Their Enemies, by Bookworm Room.
Bookworm contrasts the people who love George W. Bush -- many of whom have experience, up close and personal, with the Evil Empire, and love America for what we did to help liberate them -- with the snide, superior, condescending Democrats who wanted to leave Eastern Europe in Soviet hands forever.
This is the one I voted for in first place; my second-place vote for the Council nominees was Something Wicked This Way Comes -- A Democrat Congress Tryin' To Fix the Alternative Minimum Tax, by 'Okie' On the Lam. It came in third on the list with one full point; my number-two vote gave it 1/3 of a point, so either one other person voted it in first place, or else two others voted it second.
The Okie post is just what it says: ruminations on the ruination that will follow a Democratic "fix" of the AMT.
Among the Nouncil:
- Death or Glory Part II of IV, by Michael Yon.
I didn't vote for this one. It was good; but it just seemed like any other Michael Yon embedded piece... nothing really jumped out at me.
Instead, I voted for these here two, for which (as I intimated) nobody else bothered to vote. Or even read, I reckon. Everybody else besides the Lizard hates these two authors, and I suspect a couple of the more exuberent Council members left stink bombs on the authors' doorsteps. I'd watch my back walking near any of the other Council members besides me, if I were they! You never know what those weasels that the Watcher watches might do:
- U.S. Finds Karbala PJCC Mockup Inside Iran, The Fourth Rail;
This is the piece I nominated: Using satellite photography, we found solid evidence of a mock-up in Iran itself of the target of a Qods Force raid that killed several Americans in Karbala, Iraq, south of Baghdad in (here's a surprise) Karbala province; a model in Iran of the Qods target in Iraq:
"U.S. reconnaissance spacecraft have spotted a training center in Iran that duplicates the layout of the governor's compound in Karbala, Iraq, that was attacked in January by a specialized unit that killed American and Iraqi soldiers," Michael Mecham reported in the In Orbit section of the [June 4 edition of Aviation Week and Space Technology].
A bit hard to square Iranian denials of attacking us with the existence of a mock-up of the Iraqi target right there in the land of the mad mullahs.
This is pretty clear evidence that Iran has declared covert war on the United States; in a followup piece on Big Lizards, you will recall, Sachi discussed this at greater length: She got the goods on Qods.
Originally, I tried to nominate Sachi's piece for our Council post... forgetting that, by the Council rules, only the posts of a single member of a group blog can be nominated -- and that one is I, not Sachi. I could have nominated her in the non-Council slot; but my plan was to nominate Sachi's piece for the Council slot and Bill Roggio's piece (our source) in the non-Council spot, so... well, the whole thing turned into a dog's breakfast, let me tell you, which culminated in the Watcher calling Homeland Security on me.
- Frist Pushing Dem Agenda, AlphaPatriot.
Former Majority Leader Bill Frist wants to solve all of Africa's problems by throwing money at them... our money. AlphaPatriot has the skinny.
Watch... the Watcher
...Who you can find here, with his pronunciamento about the vote this week.
June 11, 2007
Once again, I flail, I flounder behind the times...
This week's winners were --
Among the Clowncil
- 3 Spies and Six Days, by Soccer Dad.
Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Six-Day War.
Among the Playity
- Four Modest Proposals for Getting Out of Iraq, by Dan Simmons. (Is that the same chap who wrote Song of Kali? Why, yes it is, along with many other later novels.)
In which Mr. S. outs himself as a non-liberal, at least one one seminal subject...
My own disregarded picks...
I was truly shut out this time: Not only did none of my picks do well, but my own nomination -- Salvation à la Mode -- got only one vote... and that one was for runner up! That's the lowest possible score that isn't a complete doughnut. Yeesh!
My post was about the stunning rejection of al-Qaeda by the Iraqi Sunnis, now spreading to three provinces. Nothing to see here, folks, just move along...
For the Council, I voted as follows:
- Smelt Stink, by Cheat Seeking Missiles: The insanity of environmental extremism;
- Tweedle, by Done With Mirrors: Along the same theme, extremism in defense of anything is extreme.
And for the non-Council blogs, thus:
- RCTV Protests Spread To Atlanta, San Francisco, Mexico City, by Publius Pundit: A brilliant piece of photo-journalism on the widespread and widespreading protests against Oogo Chavez in Venezuela;
- The End of the Bushes?, by Captain's Quarters: The post-Bush Republican Party.
Where to find the complete list compiled by the ever-vigilant and perspicacious Watcher of Weasels
June 4, 2007
I was out of town (or out of my mind) this weekend, so consider this the late late edition (and quite abbreviated, alas) of the winners of the Watcher's Council trials. Note that this is just a short announcement missing all the detailed analysis and discussion we usually provide, and stop cheering over there in the corner.
The winning entries were:
For the Council
- A Cure for “Anti-Zionism”, by Joshuapundit.
This was my first pick, and my nearly-late vote actually put this over the top: Had I voted for any other post, this excellent piece by Joshuapundit would not have won. (Of course, that is also true for every other person who voted for Joshua pundit and reflects only that it was a close race!)
My second pick in this category was Bush Defies Warming Autocrats At G8, by Cheat Seeking Missiles; and I was the only one to vote for this. So once again, everybody's lost but me.
For the laity
- Sticking To What I Know Best, by Dr. Sanity.
My two [losing] picks were:
- On Memorial Day, by Dean Barnett writing on Hugh Hewitt's blog;
- From the Mouths of Babes: Climate Analysis That Actually Works, by Kobayashi Maru.
You can find these links plus their compatriots at this post by the Watcher of Wheezels.
May 28, 2007
Winners, Winners, Who's Got the Winners?
We have the winners; unfortunately, the winners haven't we!
- Israel Faces Its Choices In Gaza, by Joshuapundit;
This was my first choice, and I think it's a super post. It's succinct, simple, and straightforward... all the qualities I like in a blogpost -- all the qualities I lack in my own Miskatonic experiments in chaotic conjugations and eldrich editing.
Joshuapundit lays out the current situation in Israel, then maps out a strategy they can follow to victory. No weeping or gnashing of teeth, no Dr. Smith-esque "we're doomed, doomed!" Problem; analysis; solution -- or at least a good strategy. Great stuff.
My second choice was Hello, Hillarycare!, by Cheat Seeking Missiles; again, a straight-ahead confrontation with socialized medicine and its victims.
Beyond the pale
TigerHawk notes that in all wars prior to Vietnam, we "dehumanized" our enemies... and thereby overcame our natural empathy and were able to fight with joyous abandon. But 35 years ago, we lost the ability to dismiss the humanity of our enemies; we treat them as fellow people, and that means we can no longer kill with impunity. Like the aptly named "Zed" at the end of Zardoz, we can no longer kill because we see the enemy as one of us.
I got skunked among the non-council nominees: My second choice came in third, and my first choice (and nominee)... well, judging from the scores, I reckon I was the only one to vote for it!
I voted this way:
- Strange New Respect, Judicial Branch, by John Hinderaker at Power Line.
- In the Shadow of the Wolfowitz Wars -- the Melkert & Malloch Brown Dollars-for-Despots Program, by Claudia Rosett.
In the first, John discusses the abrupt, new respect liberals have for "stare decisis," the Court's reluctance to re-evaluate issues that are already decided... now that Roe v. Wade teeters on the brink of oblivion:
Given her own history, Sandra O'Connor's pontificating on the virtue of stare decisis is an act of judicial chutzpah. She herself has shown no respect for the doctrine when it served her purposes. The best example is Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 decision in which the Supreme Court held Texas's law prohibiting homosexual sodomy unconstitutional, on a 5-4 vote. What's remarkable about Lawrence is that only 17 years earlier, in 1986, the Court had held in Bowers v. Hardwick that a ban on homosexual sodomy did not violate the Constitution. Showing no respect for stare decisis, the court in Lawrence simply overruled Bowers.
Here is what is even more remarkable: the difference in the outcomes of the two cases resulted from the fact that Justice O'Connor changed her mind! She voted with the 5-4 majority in Bowers that a ban on homosexual sodomy was constitutional. By 2003, she had reversed position, and her vote flipped the majority the other way. Homosexual sodomy became a constitutional right, for the first time in American history.
When liberals talk about stare decisis, they mean that Roe v. Wade is sacrosanct. But not Bowers, and not Stanford v. Kentucky, a 1989 decision in which the Court held that juveniles could constitutionally be subjected to the death penalry -- a decision that the Court reversed in 2005 in Roper v. Simmons.
In the second blogpost, Ms. Rosett discloses that the two chief antagonists of Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank may have something rather, er, monetary in nature to hide, if you know what I mean (and I think that you do).
As always, ad infinitum, and by the 'tarnal, the full list of vote getters (or goat vetters) is here.
Oh, one last point, ladies and gentiles: Due to Eternity Road terminating -- or at least terminating its association with the omnipotent, omniscient Council -- a slot has actually opened up on the supreme Council of Watchers of Weevils. This is a rare occasion; the last slot was more than several weeks ago.
This is your opportunity to shine. Or to be laughed out of the office. Just read everything at this webpage, and then contact the Watcher Himself to submit your website for his perusal.
You'll either be glad you did, or you'll make a complete ass of yourself. And who could ask for better odds than those?
May 19, 2007
Winners Are Free, and Whiners Are We
I know you've all been waiting with baited bread, wondering when I was going to get around to announcing the winners of the Watcher's Council. Well, now.
From the fact that we didn't post this even before the Watcher of Weasels did, you probably inferred that Big Lizards didn't win.
You're right. Sen. Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 95%) stuffed the ballot boxes.
Among the hoity-toity "Council" members, ooOOooh...
- Cheney's Chess Moves in the Middle East, by Joshuapundit
I'm sorry to say I was somewhat irked by the fatalism in this piece. It's very well written, as usual; but I've always preferred hope and optimism. I can see why others voted for it; it's definitely worthy of a win. But, you know...
My two votes were for:
The first (which tied for second) discusses a new innovation in the old, reliable infernal combustion engine which I found fascinating. Now, if only we could add this innovation to my old hobby horse, the high-temperature ceramic engine...
The second is about mixed messages: We send Iran a message of reasonableness, but the Iranians receive a message of weakness.
Among those peons who don't count
- Don't Bury Your Heads in the Sand, by Iraq the Model
This was my first choice, and this is the kind of stuff I like to read! Mohammed at ITM lives in one of the most hellish places on earth right now -- Baghdad -- but he never loses hope, never despairs. It's so obvious that he loves his country and will never give up on Iraq... and with all of the danger surrounding him, he has the chutzpah to rally us, the U.S., to stick to the good fight and not leave until we can leave as winners, and the Iraqis can stay as winners.
A big, huge round of applause for Mohammed -- who, with his brother Omar, are two of several hundred thousand reasons why I refuse to believe that Islam itself is the problem (and Robert Spencer be hanged): The problem is the jihadist perversion of Islam, alas that it is so very powerful right now. But Mohammed and Omar, a pair of "Moslem Methodists" if ever I saw one (I hope they don't take offense at the term), give us hope for the future not only of Islam but of the world.
My second choice was the Power Line piece I nominated:
It's about how the Democrats "support" our troops... in the same sense that they "support" welfare mothers and seniors on Social Security, by trying to turn them into wards of the State.
I'm the only one who voted for it. Everybody thinks I'm weird.
You can see links to these posts and a bunch of others (including my own miserable failure) right here.
May 11, 2007
The Council hath hisseth, and here ith the hith...
For the emirs of the Council of the Watcher of Weasel
- Does America Elect Defeatists?, by Big Lizards.
If you're bothering to read these words, then you likely already know what the post linked above was about!
Barred from voting for myself (as are we all), I cast my ballot for the ticket of:
- "The Greatest Scientific Scandal of Out Time", by Cheat Seeking Missiles;
- I Know What You're Against, But What Are You For?, by Bookworm Room.
The first (which came in second -- I Don't Know's on third) describes a fascinating paper by an eminent scientist rejecting the fundamental premise of politically driven anthropogenic global-warming theory... or "globaloney," as we call it here.
The second amply demolishes the atheist argument that there is nothing more destructive than religion... Bookworm suggests the anti-religious state as one counterexample.
For effendi not privileged to sit in judgment of their fellows
- "Better a Thousand Israeli Invasions...", by Michael Totten.
I liked this piece (about the Olmert government of Israel's wretched mishandling of the recent war against Hezbollah in Lebanon); but I voted for a different pair of nominees:
"The Gatekeepers' Gambit" takes off from "a Rasmussen poll 'finding that 61% of self-identifying Democrats either believe George Bush knew of the 9/11 attacks in advance or are not sure if he did or not'" and lands squarely on the conclusion that the elite media did not heap scorn and ridicule upon this poll result because they don't see anything particularly odd about the claim that the president of the United States was complicit in the greatest attack on American soil in our history.
"It Takes Two Sides to End a War" is short and punchy, drawing this final conclusion:
The Democrats' plan to "end the war" is really a plan to prolong it, increase its violence and bloodshed and raise the probability that the war will be brought to our shores in ways and lethality we cannot yet foresee.
Whither the full list of nominees?
Why, here, of all places!
May 6, 2007
The Wins - It's Late, But Not Too Late
Amazingly enough, the Watcher's Council again avoided imploding, falling asleep for forty years à la Rip Van Winkle, or emigrating en masse to Zimbabwe to take on Bobbie Mugabe. Instead, we lolled about and voted... and here is how the whole thing fell out:
The high and mighty Watcher's Council winner
- Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, by Bookworm Room -- a paean to working moms who decide to give up the "glamor" of a high-pressure job to make motherhood their careers.
My two nominees in this category were:
- Voter Fraud? Not a big deal!, by Colossus of Rhodey; and
- Giuliani on Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Terrorism, by Joshuapundit.
The first is just a nice, timely reminder of the danger of one-sided investigations into voter fraud, which become, in essence, voter intimidation themselves; the second is an apologia of Rudy Giuliani (not my pick for the Republican presidential nominee) and his counterterrorism policies.
Naturally, my choices were snubbed.
The low and puny rest of you lot
- COIN: The Gravity Well, by Black Five -- insurgency and its counter visualized as fiddling with a gravity well.
This was my second choice; my top choice was the blogpost I nominated, Mitt and Osama, by Dean Barnett at HughHewitt.com. This piece (by avowed Mitt Romney supporter Dean Barnett) analyzed Romney's comment to the effect that it was more important to fight against jihadist groups than to focus all our energy and military on capturing one man, Osama bin Laden (which I argue would be particularly foolish, as he would almost certainly evade capture -- thus making Uncle Sam into a monkey).
And you can read all the supported nominees, until we must pry your hands from the keyboard with a spatula, at this link.
April 28, 2007
And the Winners Aren't... Big Lizards! (Version 007)
(But they're pretty danged good ne'ertheless.)
Thus spake the Watcher's Council. This week, the winners be...
Amongst the Council members:
- Earth Day, by Done With Mirrors
This is an interesting piece that, even without mirrors, demonstrates the folly, the hubris of believing that the only explanation for climate change is the big-footed human race, with all its factories and wind-breaking livestock. A sample (emphasis added):
I read years ago about... the punishing storms that re-drew the coastlines of Flanders, Holland and Friesland in the 12th century. All because of climate change.
The North Sea incursions were catastrophic on a Hollywood scale: sea surges punched through the dunes (you can see the relics of the old coast in the line of islands off the coast of Holland, Germany, and Denmark), killed perhaps 100,000 people, and turned vast agricultural districts into reed seas. In 1231, the sea flooded up river channels into the inland lake of Holland and by 1300 it had become a bay. In 1277, thirty villages in the lower Ems basin were drowned and the Dollart formed. In floods in 1240 and 1362, sixty parishes in the diocese of Schleswig were drowned, amounting to half the agricultural land of the realm. The island of Heligoland was 60 kilometers across in C.E. 800; by 1325 it was only 25 kilometers in diameter at the widest, half the loss having come in a single storm in January of that year. Today it is only 1.5 kilometers at the widest. The English ports of Ravenspur and Dunwich drowned about the same time.
And all that was before the internal combustion engine, the Frigidaire, the Industrial Revolution.
Read it all; then the next time some environmentalist starts instructing you on the wickedness of the automobile -- which has raised temperatures by 0.7°C in the past 100 years -- you can seize his beard and give it a firm tug (or her beard, as the case may be).
Amongst the feeble and infirm:
- The Big White Lie, by City Journal
This is one of those pieces that is fully and wonderfully described, fractal-like, by its opening sentence:
The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don’t have to lie.
Think of Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 95%), and you'll understand upon the instant.
And lest we forget, the full panoply of vote achievers can be perused at this link.
April 20, 2007
Huh, Big Lizards Wins Again...
...I knew joining the Watcher's Council was a clever idea!
Unaccustomed as I am to modesty, I humbly accept this signal honor. But weren't we supposed to get gold trophies, or an aquarium, or something?
The protocols of the learned elders of the Watcher's Council:
- Fighting Back Was Not an Option, Part 2 (but you already knew that), by Big Lizards (you already knew this, too, o wise).
Wherein, we examined the phenomenon of the student victims at V Tech who did not fight back against the mass murderer, may his name be forever blotted out, and asked ourselves whether we have bred the capacity to fight out of a portion of the younger generation. (Obviously not out of other members of that same generation... those who chose to join up and head to Iraq.)
Naturally, I couldn't vote for myself. Not because of any natural disinclination to grub for any votes I could get, including my own, but because those are the rules. Otherwise, everybody would vote for his own, and we would have a 12-way tie every week. But the piece that I put as number one in fact came in at number 2 -- Media at Its Worst On Display at Virginia Tech, by Cheat Seeking Missiles... which is about exactly what the title implies.
Among the laity:
- The Laughter in the Dark, by Belmont Club.
In which Wretchard suggests that those who enable the terrorists by blurring all distinctions between right and wrong -- the Ward Churchills with their snide accusations about "Little Eichmanns" -- are perhaps worse than the terrorists themselves, who at least have strong opinions about right and wrong (however evil those opinions are). This is the piece I picked as number one in this category, putting it even ahead of my own nomination, And Yet There Are Heroes, by the Remedy.
Actually, it's very interesting to read these four pieces back to back: The two winners deal with blaming the victims, to some extent; but mine blames them for not fighting back, while Wretchard's villainous enablers blame the victims because the enablers have identified with the enemy.
And the other two cover peripheral yet fascinating issues surrounding the shooting.
As we always announce, all of the nominations that actually received votes can be found at Weaselpalooza!
April 13, 2007
Dem Winners, Dem Winners... #005
The incredible, inedible, lucky Friday the 13th results are in -- and guess what! Big Lizards successfully lost again!!
But that's all right; having won once, the precedent has been set, and we are content.
However, there are real winners out there, and the time has come to enunciate and remonstrate, to proclaim and exclaim, to kvetch and to... ah, and to fetch -- not bad, eh? -- the winners hither for your perusal:
Among the sinister Watcher's Council conspiracy:
- Don't Know Your Enemy, by Cheat Seeking Missiles.
This is a charming little piece about the Squeaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 95%), and her excellent Syrian adventure propping up Bashar Assad ("Don't worry, Bash -- help is on the way"). I voted this one in the second slot; I really enjoyed it, mostly for the snarky writing.
(My number-one pick among the Council members was Heart Rending Stories, by Bookworm Room: "Bookworm" is a proud mother, and she explains, in a motherly way, why the elite media is so fixated upon sob stories, and how that negatively impacts the information they spew upon the rest of the world.)
Among the unanointed who have likely never heard of the Council (and wouldn't care for us if they had):
- Orwell, the Left, and 9/11, by American Future.
If you haven't already read a lot of George Orwell's nonfiction, this will come as an eye-opener; alas, I have read a couple of collections of his essays, so none of this was new to me. It's cool stuff, however; you may not realize how deeply this card-carrying Communist detested and despised the British Left, of which he was (of course) the most prominent member.
My picks in this category were:
- Just in Case the Easter Bunny Goes Psycho..., by Kobayashi Maru, which laughs at the absurdity of Congress ordering the CIA and Pentagon to move global warming up to the number-one slot of national-security challenges;
- Britain On Its Knees, by Melanie Phillips, another excellent Phillips essay -- this time about the fifteen British, er, "heroes" who gave us the memorable phrase "fighting back was not an option," which Dean Barnett thinks might become the epitaph of the Western world.
As always, if you want to read all of the nominees that actually received votes -- and see where everyone stud in the rankings -- head to Weaselpalooza.
This is the Big Lizards Entertainment Network, signing off!
April 6, 2007
And da Winners Are... #004
The winners of the Watcher's Council award for best blogposts of the week are...
Among the Watcher's Council cabal:
- The Scourging, by Eternity Road;
I voted for this one; it's a great post. It explains modern liberalism as a secular form of penance in expiation for the sin of material success.
Among the slovenly louts who haven't joined the Council:
- Universal Moral Equivalence, by Gates of Vienna;
This is a clean and simple primer about moral equivalence -- "the worldview tells us that there’s no real distinction between good and bad, between God and the Devil." It's well written and incisive; but it breaks no new ground, which is why I didn't vote for it. (It's also long, over 2,500 words, according to Microsoft Word.) If you like points laid out in a tidy and logical way, however, you will likely enjoy this post.
I voted for "Iran, the EU and the PM," by Oliver Kamm, and I was the only one; to quote the young Indiana Jones, "everyone's lost but me?" Kamm addresses the failure of the Europeans to pull up their socks and confront Iran.
Weaselpalooza, the entirety of entries that received any votes at all, can be found at the link.
March 30, 2007
And the Envelope Please #003
The winners of the Watcher's Council award for best blogposts of the week are...
Among Watcher's Council members:
- Demographics and the Medicalization of Human Existence, by Eternity Road. (I'm not sure why I didn't vote for this post; but I do know they really meant "demography.")
Among the slug-a-beds who haven't joined the Council:
- Tabula Rasa, by Michael Yon
But should you desire to read all the others who garnered at least one vote (which doesn't include Big Lizards this week -- we were shut out!), rush to make your own judgment by reading Watcher of Weasels' full report on Weaselpalooza.
And at last, I shall answer the burning question from last week: For whom did I vote in the last Watcher's Council linkfest?
Among Council members -- where we are not allowed to vote for ourselves -- I cast my primary vote for the American Ideon: Its Decay and Restoration (Eternity Road), and my secondary for Muslim Cashiers Refuse to Touch Pork (Colossus of Rhodey).
Among the great unwashed, my primary was for Quote of the Day, and Is CAIR Paying Lawyers to Intimidate Air Travelers? (my own nominee, from Power Lint), and secondarily for Good News Never Sells (Kobyashi Maru).
Now, let's see how well the guessers did... all two of them. (That is pathetic. Jeez.)
Soccerdad got one right for 25%; he guessed that I voted for the Muslim Cashiers. Binder beat him with 50%, picking both the Power Line post on CAIR and the Eternity Road post, American Ideon.
But since 50% is still a failing grade, I have to say that nobody really won, and I'll never do that again. Slackers.
March 23, 2007
Big Lizards Wins Watcher's Council Award!
So you see? Our plan worked! (Which plan was that, Dafydd you conniving reptile? Shh... it's detailed here.)
Anyway, the winners of the Watcher's Council award for best blogposts of the week are...
Among Watcher's Council members:
- The Contranomics of Global Jihad, by Big Lizards
Among the heathen beyond the pale:
- Four Years In, by American Digest
But if you want to read all the nominees (and you know you do!) then slither hither, my friends.
Note that neither of my two votes for the non-Council-member blogposts won; so I'd love to see you readers guess which of the nominees I picked. (One should be really obvious; the other more obscure.)
Also, neither of my two votes for Council-member blogposts won, of course, since we're not allowed to vote for ourselves. Yes, that was a very subtle gloat. So again, see if you can guess who I voted for among the 11 non-lizardian nominees.
The prize for the best guess will be a virtual margarita made with a double-shot of Jose Cuervo Tequilla Oro and Master of Mixes Margarita Mix -- which Sachi will drink in your honor when she gets back. So with that tantalizing prize (literally) to flog you on, be off with you! Head to Watcher of Weasels to get the full list of nominees, then guess which ones I voted for.
Avanti! (Which is also the only movie ever to show Juliet Mills, the nanny from Nanny and the Professor, "Phoebe Figalilly," half-naked.)
March 16, 2007
And the Envelope Please #001
One of the requirements for continued membership in the Watcher's Council is to announce the winners each week of the council's blog vote. Watcher of Weasels has put up his post of all the nominees who received at least one vote this week for either first or second choice.
Every week, each council member (except for the WoW) nominates a post of his own and also a post by someone not on the Watcher's Council. We vote on these 24 nominations -- 12 posts by council members, 12 by persons not on the council -- and a pair of winners is determined by an abstruse and complex procedure (Watcher of Weasels counts the votes).
Congratulations to this week's the winners:
- Council post: Serving While Republican, by Eternity Road;
- Non-council post: Tenured Deceit, by Sigmund, Carl and Alfred.
The two posts are well worth reading... as are the 22 others that didn't win anything; think of them as 22 "honorable mentions!"
March 12, 2007
The Lidless Eye of Big Lizards
Big Lizards has been granted the singular honor of being drafted into the Council of Watchers, as administered by the all-knowing, all-powerful Watcher of Weasels.
("Honor," ho! Actually it's a dreadful lot of work. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I ask rhetorical questions? How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?)
Note how gallantly the Watcher words his post:
After careful consideration of all the applications I've received, I finally managed to reach a decision on the replacement... Big Lizards will be filling the vacancy left by American Future.
5 will get you 8 he received exactly one application... from one besotted reptile. Everyone else fled in horror at having to wade through even more blogposts every week than normal.
You can now look to the right of your screen and see the Watcher's Council blogroll. It should be easily identified by its label. (This sentence will only be operative for pages other than the main page when I get around to rebuilding the blog -- which will be very shortly. But it takes forever.)
I actually have an answer for why I do this to myself: Despite frequent shots on goal and more than $11 in bribes spread around, I have utterly failed to win a Watcher Council's award in the larger blogosphere (I think I qualify for the Susan Lucci Consolation Prize). Thus, I reasoned that I could improve my odds immeasurably if I only had to compete against 12 other bloggers, instead of a cast of thousands.
See? There's menthol in my mattress, or however that saying goes.
But here's where you come in (yes, you knew it had to happen): Since I don't have time to read every single post published in the entire blogosphere -- I have barely enough time for half of them! -- I rely upon you, my faithful followers, my right arms in battle, to suggest posts on sundry people's blogs (including, if you wish, your own) that you think qualify to win a Watcher's Council award.
I promise to at least take a look. But woe betide anyone who suggests a dog: If the first paragraph I read doesn't grab me, it will also be the last. I know how to do this; I was on the SFWA Nebula Short-Fiction Jury for two years... and I did less work than anyone else on that jury, let me tell you!
(I am the laziest person I know. Though actually, I don't have a very large sample set; hunting around for comparison lazy people is a bit too much effort, I'm afraid.)
Every week, I will post the winners of the Watcher's Council award, plus a link to the full voting results, so you can humiliate your enemies, or make new enemies by humiliating your friends.
So that's the solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short of it, I'm afraid. Well, what did you expect?
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