Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Marlboro Marine...
Recent photograph in local papers featuring a Marine in Fallujah, taking a break after a hard day's fighting, and lighting one up. Well deserved smoke break, I say.

However, the people out there who still want to be everyoe's Mommy and Daddy (and you know who the fuck you are) have been flooding newspapers that carried the photo with letters abotu what a bad example it sets to our youngsters to see a Marine with a cigarette.

See, some people still don't get it.

Regardless of whether a cigarette is visible in the photo, the point was to convey to the public just how difficult our troops have it over there, how tired and dirty they are, and how tough and courageous they are. It's pure chance that the Marine in question happened to be smoking when the picture was taken. That photograph is still poignant, regardless of whether that Marine had a cigarette or a cup of tea and a lady finger. It sends a message: thiese guys are hard men doing a very hard job.

But of course, there's that cigarette. Cigarettes, as you know, are the greatest evil ever perpetrated against mankind according to the Mommy/Daddy-permanently-panty-bunched crowd (but don't you dare criticize the American Indian, from whom the habit was acquired. That's not politically correct, you know). Well, I have news for these jerks: this is America, and if people want to smoke, they have the right to do so. If a Marine in combat wants to smoke, he has more of a right to do so than the rest of us, if you ask me, because he's fighting for my freedom to light up.

But of course, this never occurs to the self-appointed guardians of polite society, the safety nazis of the suburbs. Never minid that men are dying over there to keep them safe, they can only see the trees and not the forest, or in this case, the cigarette, whle the larger scene eludes them. Now you know why John Kerry lost on November 2nd -- these are the people who more than likely voted for him.

Fucking idiots.
Taking Out the Trash...
Yasser Arafat was buried yesterday amidst a riot. Why Arabs feel it to be necessary to fire guns randomly into the air is a question I have not been able to find a satisfactory answer to, and there was plenty of that yesterday. Too much, in fact.

If you looked real close at the television screen, you would have noticed that (by my count) it seemd that every fifth or sixth person present had some form of weapon. These were not soldiers or police officers, these were the common folk. Imagine what kind of screwed up place you would have to live in where people didn't have jobs, hospitals, schools or enough to eat, yet everyone was armed to the teeth. I'd place a wager that states that, per capita, Palestinians have more guns than any Second-amendment-fearing State here. I wonder where all the anti-gun nuts are?

Anyway, about the funeral.

John Lennon was murdered and at his funeral, no one went around in masks firing indiscriminately. Albert Einstein died and there was no foreign military honors rendered to him. I'm sure no head of state arrived in time for Beethoven's funeral, and I'd bet the ranch that not one person at Lincoln's funeral attempted to waylay the casket. All this, and more, happened at Arafat's funeral. Final analysis: Europeans still suck, and Palestinians are animals.

It leads one to wonder; with all them guns, all that raw emotion and nothing resembling self-control, can Palestinians make themselves a state one of these days and have it last longer than a stick of Juicy Fruit? If that kind of mayhem occurs at a state funeral, I rather doubt it.

It's made me change my mind about what todo with Arabs and Muslims in general. I had once advocated genocide, and then relented, because I thought my view was being clouded by the events of 9/11. After what's happened in Iraq, and now this disgusting scene, I've returned to the conclusion that Arabs are little better than animals.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Europe and Terrorism...
Just read this morning about the first confirmed murder of a Muslim linked to the death of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. The correspondant who wrote the story included a quote about the diffeence between America's response to terrorism and that of the Dutch, in which he states that he's awed that there wasn't more backlash against the Arab community in America after 9/11, but that there seems to be quite a bit of it in Holland. He wonders, pray tell, where all that lovely European tolerance has gone to?

This is not the first murder fo this type in Holland, nor will it be the last. A few years ago, a conservative minister of the Dutch Parliament, Pim Fortuyn, was murdered by a muslim lunatic who saw his homosexuality as an abomination before God. The Van Gigh mudrer included a lovely little note (stuck to the victim with a knife) indicating that there are others on the list: an Arab minister in the Dutch government, for example.

Van Gogh was making a film about the systematic abuse of women in the Middle East. Along the way, he just had to have come across other disgusting aspects of Muslim life, and since these things are an affront to Allah (i.e. Infidels making films that question the will of God), Van Gogh had to, well, go. Can't have the rest of the world learning the truth about the "religion of peace".

In France, the government, in a brilliant display of unity and tolerance, passed a law in which Muslim women are denied the right to wear the headscarf in public. Beari nmind thatthere are places in France where policemen fear to tread without a tank (the heavily Muslim areas, btw), and that many North African Muslims hold dual citizenship and live in france, and I can't see just how this was a good idea. The French explain it away by saying that wearing a headscarf is a display of religion and that it is somehow inimical to an "inclusive" society.

In Britain, roving packs of Pakistani boys roam the streets looking for fights, when they aren't busy running fish and chip stands. In Italy, hundreds of thousands of Albanians line the alleyways seeking fresh victims for muggings and selling drugs. In Germany, a regular Al Qeada Underground Railroad exists in Hamburg, allowing terrorists free access to the air routes of the West.

Where did all these Muslims come from? Guest worker programs, dual citizenship initiatives and political asylum seekers, of course.

You see, Europe is trapped between a rock and a hard place; you;re typical Frog likes working a 30 hours week, retiring at 40 and having a government-subsidized maid. The problem is how to pay for it. If you stop working at 40 and don't have any children, then someone has to do the work and pay the taxes, and since Europeans won't do either, they have resorted to importing foreign labor. This labor comes, in large part, from the Middle East -- Algerians, Palestinians, Iraqis, Turks, Syrians, etc. They go to Europe and do the jobs that Europeans won't do: clean the sewers, pick up the garbage, drive trucks, pick produce, etc., and without which, European life, as it now stands, would come to a screeching halt.

In the process, Europeans have managed to create a new underclass in their midst, one that that they depend on to maintain their own standards of government largesse. This is the main reason why most European governments have not lifted a finger to fight terrorism. The terrorists are already in their own backyards, and no self-respecting Frenchman will go after them if it means the maid can't come by to vaccuum once a week.

The attitude is slowly changing. In Denmark a few years ago, there was a law passed to limit immigration from Islamic lands. Danish life was under assault by foreigners and the voters saw it --- and blanched from it. Spain had a government toppled by people wearing kaffiyahs, and 200 people had to die dor that to happen. When the next 200 die, I wonder if Spanish voters will vote the other way?

There is a disconnect that needs to be reconciled: Europeans can either continue to have their cake and eat it too, or they can wake up to the realization that they have a ticking time bomb in their midst. Based on history, Europeans love to let time bombs tick; Hitler, Franco, Stalin, Napoleon, Mussolini, Torquemada, etc, are all fine examples.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Job Hunting...
I have been seeking employment as of late. It's kinda tough, too. If I had to pick a bunch of resaons for it, I would say that being in Charlotte is a point against me. For while Charlotte is a wonderful city, it is dominated by a single industry (banking) and the population (around 600,000) makes for limited opportunities.

If I was back in New York, I might have had upwards of half a dozen nibbles after a few days, I'm sure. However, that's another thing you trade away when you decide to leave the Big City for the relative calm of a smaller place. No complaints, just a statement of fact.

Then again, if I had to pinpoint a spcific reason as to why I haven't heard a thing in two weeks, I would point to what passes for personnel agencies in this city.

The "employment speciliasts" that I have spoken to in recent days haven't a clue as to what I did in my former life (they know what a systems programmer is, they just can't understand the concept of an automation systems programmer). What they often miss is that there is a wide range of skills that goes into making an automation programmer and thus, they limit their searches to automation jobs and ignore the rest of the skill set. I also get the impression that that the people I'm dealing with also have a very flimsy gasp of my field in general. I'm just betting that somewhere, someone has listed a set of requirements for a job, and that my "employment specialist" is busy comparing what's on my resume to what's on the list, point-by-point. This has a certain, insane logic to it, to be sure. However, not being familiar with the field as a whole, I believe this is a very sorry way to run a business. I might be missing an exact match, but I may also have experience with a related product or job, and due to incomplete knowledge the agent is missing it.

It didn't used to be this way.

There was a time when the people who ran personnel companies actually knew something about the businesses they were supplying candidates for. Now it's been reduced to comparing a bunch of lists. There is no longer a need, I guess, to actually ask a candidate questions (I have one 'employment specialist" who has had my resume for almost three weeks, and has not called once. When I finally got through to her, she told me she had not found a "match" for me, and if she couldn't, she would pass it on to a "senior employment specialist" --- in other words, she's just pushing square pegs into square holes. The guy who could pound a round peg into a square hole doesn't even know I exist). Had she at least askd a few questions, perhaps we could save her a bunch of headaches and me some anxiety. I have even offered to voluntarilky submit to questioning, but I was informed "that's not the way we work here". She has a "database" and she searches it (just how she cannot explain), and when she's exhausted all (possibly three) ways of searching, she sits there dumbfounded.

I have the feeling that something will break soon, but that I might have to do some more to make it break my way.

Still Critically Dead...
Debka ( is reporting, for the fourth time in 10 days, that Yassir Arafat is dead. I'm reminded of Chevy Chase and Francisco Franco.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Talking in Circles...
I know I said that I would not continue to talk about the election now that it's over, but I can't help it. Just like Michael Corleone, everytime I try to get out, they reel me back in.
There are some people out there, from both political parties, that still do not get it. George Bush won re-election not because of evangelical Christians, Karl Rove, the gay marriage issue or even the Easter Bunny. John Kerry did not lose the election because he was savaged by Bush, "the base" didn't come out, provisional ballots were not counted or bad exit polls.

Bush won for a very simple reason: the majority of people knew waht he was talking about without the need to read between the lines, to discern nuances or to consult a crystal ball. Many may not have agreed with what he said, but they could at leats understand it, and that makes all the difference in the world.

For all I know, John Kerry is an infinitely wonderful human being who has the best intentions, who means well and who genuinely believes his is the better world view. Perhaps it is, to be fair. However, when you listened to Kerry try to explain himself he got lost in the deatils. Consequently, he lost us in the details. Or to be more precise, forgot to mention the important details.

Perhaps a President Kerry would have fought the war differently, we don't know because while Kerry told he would fight it differently, he never exactly told you how he would fight it. Maybe John Kerry did have better ideas on economics, medical care, social security, etc, but we'll never know because he never got past bloviating and politics long enough to put them into black and white.

Perhaps if Kerry had spoken to a reporter or done an interview of substance for the last three months of the campaign and made an effort to explpain, perhaps he might have changed some minds. I doubt it, but it's entirely possible.

The fact is that when asked a direct question, Kerry never gave a direct answer. When asked a softball question that even your pet airdale could answer, Kerry resorted to Washington crapspeak.

Most people in the country speak English, not Senatorese.

Then again, there were some personal things about Kerry that turned a lot of people off. I've heard of rapists being scared into celibacy by being forced to watch a Kerry speech for several hours. Then there was the Mary Cheney incident, perpetrated by both Kerry and Edwards (one of them would have been an accident, both of them doing it was a conscious conspiracy). I'm not sure how many people knew beforehand that Mary Cheney was gay (I did), and I'm not sure how many were shocked to find out. What I can tell you is that most people found it disgusting that a presidential candidate (and his veep) would try to make an issue of someone's personal life.

I know what you're about to say: we made an issue out for Bill Clinton's personal life for eight years, Matt. Let's be serious. Clinton's foibles cannot possibly be considered "personal" when there are allegations of sexual harrassment and rape. It's not personal when State Troopers are instructed to hermetically seal the room while one forces himself upon an unwilling sexual partner (or even a willing one, for that matter). It's definitely not personal when the President of the United States, who takes an oath to uphold the law, commits perjury in a court of law to cover the whole thing up. That Kerry and Edwards did that kind of thing to Mary Cheney was not bad strategy, it wasn't a mistake and it wasn't inadvertant. It was slimy.

What happened to the democrats on Nov. 2 was very simple: people were offered a choice between a straght-talking, well-meaning man with a record of leadership, and bloviator in expensive clothes offering nothing but automatic rejection of his opponent's performance without once giing a clear indication of what he would have done differently. One man had a track record which included revitalizing a moribund economy, finally doing something sensible about public education and a steady hand during a very trying national crisis. The other had a 20 year record with three laws to his name and a penchant for investigations rather than legislating. Bush has charisma, Kerry has the ability to bore you to death. To paraphrase Mr. Kerry, he was "the wrong candidate, in the wrong race, at the wrong time."

Perhaps if we were at peace, with a down economy and with nothing better to worry about, John Kerry might have been President. That's how Bill Clinton got elected, after all. Unfortunately, for Kerry, we're not at peace, the ecomony is humming and we do have more important things to worry about, and so, we elected George Bush. We liked Bush so much, in fact, that we also elected four more republican senators and 6 more republican congresscritters.

And therein is the lesson --- people are pretty satisfied with what they have, and relatively certain of what they're going to get, and won't change just because the other side says they should. "Because I said so" is not the way a presidential candidate goes about persuading the voters. He has to offer information. He has to offer a vision. He MUST offer explanations. Kerry did none of these, and so he lost. The pointy heads can debate all they want about exit polls, internal numbers, voter turnout and 527's all they want. It doesn't change the fact that the American public did not want a candidate that offered opinions without backup.

I SWEAR this is the last time I'll write about election 2004...