The Attorney General Is Not A General!!

John Podhoretz has a piece in the New York Post this morning about why Leahy backed down so quickly last week when Ashcroft returned fire during his little Senatorial inquisition. But what I’m really writing about is the last line:

Good work, General.

This has been a pet peeve of mine for years (particularly when the fawning media would call Waco Janet “General Reno.”) The Attorney General is not a general–the Attorney General is an attorney. I know it sounds a little strange in English, where the modifier usually comes first, but “general” is an adjective here–not a noun.

Please stop.

More On Bug Eating

Tim Blehh (phonetic spelling–he’s from Oz), in honor of my commentary on lobster, has posted a picture of some gruesome cuisine that only a Klingon could love.

He also helpfully provides a site of bizarre Aussie critters del mar. I’d never heard of the Balmain Bug, but when I was in Brisbane a few years ago, I did try a plate of Moreton Bay Bugs. They were pretty weird looking–kind of like a cross between a lobster and a trilobite. Interesting flavor, but it shows just how off the main path Australia is, evolutionarily speaking…

Birds Of A Feather

Nice catch by Best of the Web.

The reliably obnoxious Eric Alterman attacks ABC News head David Westin, who apologized for suggesting that the Pentagon may have been a “legitimate target” for terrorists. “Of course the Pentagon is a legitimate target for an attack for those at war against us,” Alterman opines. “Hello? War is the Pentagon’s entire reason for being. It’s where we plan our wars and figure out how to carry them out. By what conceivable definition of war could the Pentagon be excluded as a potential target?”

And, Eric, this is OK, because the terrorists had issued a formal declaration of war against us.



Alterman? Alterman? Bueller? Anyone?

Whether or not the Pentagon was a “legitimate military target” is utterly beside the point, which both Dave Westin and Eric Alterman seem to have missed. As on December 7, 1941, on September 11, 2001, the United States was not, as far as it knew, at war.

With anyone.

Had we been, we might have had defenses up against what happened, especially at the Pentagon.

But such issues, being favorable to the position of the US, are not worthy of note to “journalists” such as Eric Alterman and Dave Westin…

Yet More Airline Insecurity

Thanks to Professor Reynolds for pointing out this superlative piece by James Delong, in which he articulates in an article most of the things about which I’ve been fuming for the last three months. Fortunately (or not, if I can’t get my butt into gear), there are still a few points to be made, or at least elaborated upon, at least in a quantitative sense, and I hope to be able to sort them out in the next few days, before going back to California.

The Sins Of The Father

Will Vehrs asks:

While we’re at it, shouldn’t the Treasury Department freeze the assets of Walker’s parents? After all, they were supporting a terrorist.

Well, actually, while I’m probably a little “wobbly” on Walker myself (in that while I think his behavior treasonous, that there’s little point in making a literally capital case of it), I do think that this would send an interesting message to parents who not only don’t control the direction of their offspring’s antisocial behavior (which is not always possible), but who actively encourage it by, for example, sending him money in the midst of it, and not even under the pretense that he will use it to get out of the game, but to actually allow him to continue it.

I have even less sympathy for the parents than I do for little Jihad Johnnie.

Bear-Proof Suit Batting .500

In the battle of duct tape against nature, the score is Bears 1: Suit 1.

According to The New Scientist, which has been diligently tracking this important story, a female grizzly was so put off by the bizarre appearance that she wouldn’t even approach it.

The bad news is that the much-larger male grizzly did come up to the empty suit, and started jumping on it and tearing it apart. The suit’s owner/designer was pleased to be viewing the ursine adventure from afar.

Hurtubise has learned that you should never skimp on chainmail. “I should have used shark chainmail,” he now laments. “Instead, I sent away for butcher’s chainmail from France.”

Yes, those cheese eaters haven’t made good chainmail since the Battle of Hastings. Plus, he may have skimped on the duct tape. You should never do that…

They Didn’t All Know They Were Islamakazis

According to reports, the latest bin Laden tape indicates that not all of the hijackers understood the mission (or perhaps they were too dim to understand that driving their airplane into a skyscraper would kill them, too). What this indicates is that bin Laden couldn’t come up with the dozens of suicidal people necessary to carry out the attacks on September 11. He had to convince most of them that they were hijacking the plane for some other purpose, and only the pilots themselves knew the true mission.

If true, this gives me a little solace. It also lowers my opinion of bin Laden even further, a feat I would heretofore have thought impossible. He didn’t even care about his own people. One wonders whether this will have any effect on future recruiting, assuming he survives his current “Where’s Waldo” escapades.

I have always been somewhat sanguine about our prospects for being damaged by terrorists, because of the thought that the combination of both evil intent and competence to carry it out is rare. There is a large supply of people willing to kill themselves or others for (fill-in-the-blank), particularly in Arabia, but the intersection of that set with people who can fly airplanes, set ordnance, design bombs, breed smallpox, etc., is small. This will hopefully remain true as truly terrifying technology comes along in the future.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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