CNN is reporting the Pope has been given last rites.
Thursday, March 31, 2005
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Friday, March 25, 2005
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Take some time to read John Derbyshire in NRO today. His column "Confessions of a Premature Anti-Terrorist" should not be missed.
I admit that I thought the IRA was the good guy for a long time. When I heard they were training in middle-eastern countries and were more interested in playing bully I began to have my doubts.
I emailed Mr. Derbyshire the following and he was kind enough to respond.
Yours is an excellent article that should be copied and distributed to the Gaelic League and the AOH. I didn't come around to your way of thinking until after 9/11. I did think the IRA was fighting the good fight for nationalism. This point of view is so crass that I am embarrassed for ever feeling that way. These days I get a sick feeling when I stop by a hall and see IRA shirts and bumper stickers for sale. I cannot get the thought out of my head that I would jump across the table if they were selling bin Laden merchandise. Thanks for pointing out the now obvious. Hopefully my distant relatives will wake up soon also.
Thanks, Matthew. Unfortunately the IRA (and its "loyalist" imitators)are now so imbedded in low-class NI life that if the politicians continue to shun them, they will just become criminal Mafias. This has already happened to a large degree.
Posted by Critical Matt at 2:34 PM
Monday, March 21, 2005
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Friday, March 18, 2005
I'm loving the new computer. I've been taking it through it paces and installing some anti-spyware items also. Did you know Microsoft has a new anti-spyware tool? I've been pretty happy with it. It can be found here. It's free too!
I'm not crazy about all of the pre-installed apps by Dell. So many of the DVD and music programs all want to pre-load and run for you. It's a pain to gut them from startup. I found a site, Major Geeks, that has loads of useful downloads.
Posted by Critical Matt at 12:34 PM
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Received the new Dell Inspiron 6000 today, so I'll be unloading all the junk software and adding in my own stuff. I love it so far. The screen is huge (compared to my last laptop and my work laptop) at 15.4 inches. Updates to follow.
Posted by Critical Matt at 11:29 PM
Monday, March 14, 2005
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Sigh. Flipping channels and I ran across the Disney channel with an advert for a show this week called Cadet Kelly. It's seems to be about a military school and the drill teams there. Disney found it necessary to run a graphic at the bottom of the page any time a rifle was onscreen that 'no real guns were used in making this movie'. How lame.
Posted by Critical Matt at 1:09 AM
Friday, March 11, 2005
John J. Miller writes at Opnionjournal.com:
This time next week, many Americans will wake up wondering why they had partied so hard the night before. A better question might be why they honor St. Patrick at all, because he is not the most fitting patron saint for Irish America.
The problem isn't that Patrick is objectionable in any way. As the man who brought Christianity to Ireland, he is obviously a figure of enormous significance. Yet there is nothing distinctively American about him--and Irish-Americans have a better choice in St. Brendan.
In the year 486, about a generation after Patrick's death, Brendan was born near Tralee, on the southwest coast of Ireland. Few hard facts are known about his life except that he founded a monastery at Clonfert and established several other enclaves around the British Isles--making him one of the fellows who laid the groundwork for Irish monks to "save civilization," as Thomas Cahill's best-selling account has it, when the rest of Europe was losing its heritage.
I personally prefer St. Declan, who predated St. Patrick, and may have been the actual person who brought Christianity to Ireland. Of course, Declan is also my son's name, so I may be prejudiced.
Posted by Critical Matt at 11:48 AM
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Monday, March 07, 2005
You should read Mark Steyn.
I don't suppose Bashar al-Assad has much in common with Eric Clapton - though, come to think of it, "Layla" is a Lebanese name, and there must be a few of them among the smouldering, raven-tressed, black-eyed Beirut babes so fetchingly demanding their nation's freedom on the covers of this week's Economist, Newsweek, Weekly Standard et al. At any rate, Boy Assad has no desire to find himself wailing, "Layla, you got me on my knees."
Click on the link for the whole story.
Posted by Critical Matt at 10:32 PM
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Friday, March 04, 2005
Our cousins abroad cannot figure out why a crass nation of former European rejects, led by a cowboy from Texas, is wealthier, stronger, and more willing to sacrifice for principle than a more venerated, cultured, and aristocratic civilization. Europe, it turns out, worships class and privilege in the flesh while it damns them in the abstract � even as the uncouth popular culture of America that has corrupted the planet is most welcome and at home in, of all places, Europe.
Click on the link to read it all.
Posted by Critical Matt at 10:23 PM
Iowahawk takes on Moveon.org:
MoveOn.org is Blowing The Winds of Freedom
Iowahawk Special Commentary
by Aaron Headley
MoveOn.org Special Deputy Assistant for Grassroots Direct E-Marketing
Do you feel what's in the air?
Whether you're a protester in the streets of Beirut, or a grassroots American citizen activist speaking your mind on the SmirkyVonChimpHitler.com UBB forum, you can't escape it -- that unmistakeable stirring of something new, something big, something poised to change our very world. What is it? That, my friend, is the Wind of Freedom -- and where ever you find it, MoveOn.org will be blowing.
Since its inception, MoveOn.org has championed the cause of People Power, harnessing the mighty force of millions of ordinary Americans from Park Slope to Williamsburg, from Los Feliz to Santa Monica, from Wicker Park to West Wicker Park and everywhere in between. Through our organization and fundraising efforts, we have inspired countless millions of everday Americans to log off of Craig's List, get up out of their Aeron chairs, and work together to change the world. And now this prairie fire of activist People Power, first kindled by MoveOn, is spreading across the globe.
Case in point: witness the street protests that took place in Lebanon this week. No doubt inspired by the election year example of MoveOn and other vital progressive organizations in America and Europe, thousands of young Lebanese people marched through the streets of their cities. The parallels to our 2004 anti-war actions were almost eerie: here was a spontaneous march of courageous young people saying NO to violence, and demanding things. Also, many of them were carrying signs. If you squint your eyes just right, and mentally PhotoShop in a jpeg of Madison Square Garden and a few "No Blood For Oil" banners, you can almost see the MoveOn protest at the GOP National Convention.
Beirut is not the only place where MoveOn is having an impact. Throughout the Middle East, from Egypt to Iran, there is a rumble of freedom that can be directly traced back to MoveOn's earliest Flash Animation Against Bush film contest. When Al-Jazeera and Iraqi State Television broadcast these films, I can only imagine how many normal Muslim citizens were heartened by our principled stance with the international community against the illegal US invasion of Iraq. Later, they drew encouragement from our online petition to end US military occupation, our fund drive raves to Re-Reject Bush, our courageous suit to overturn the stolen election in Ohio, and our steadfast opposition to the Administration's dangerous push for early Iraqi elections. Make no mistake: these efforts created a rich loamy fertilizer of inspiration from which the flower of Mideast freedom is just starting to emerge.
To be sure, the revival of People Power in the Middle East is not all due to MoveOn. We must give credit where credit is due. The people of the region have also drawn courage from other role models, like visionary filmmaker Michael Moore; respected intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and Ward Churchill; political trailblazer Dr. Howard Dean; and elected leaders like Ted Kennedy and Maurice Hinchey. These are just some of the fearless dreamers and tireless doers who show, by example, how ordinary folks can speak out up to corrupt fundamentalist dictators.
In closing, I would like to tell the young people of the Mideast that they shouldn't worry about thanking MoveOn and others in the US anti-war community; you have already paid us back, with interest. Your courageous movement for freedom and democracy has inspired us in turn. At MoveOn, we have embarked on a new $15 million ad campaign calling for the immediately withdrawal of US troops from the region, so that your countries can hold elections without the taint of American-style corruption and crony capitalism.
Good luck, and drop an email to us sometime.
Posted by Critical Matt at 8:43 PM
What are we waiting for� are we ready to do something about the Saudis yet?
Steven Den Beste adds "The one area of Bush's handling of the war about which I am most puzzled and most disappointed is his handling of the Saudis. Before this war can end, there will have to be an end to Saudi financing of evangelistic Wahhabism around the world."
I agree it's about time to put the screws to our erstwhile ally.
Posted by Critical Matt at 8:23 PM
Thursday, March 03, 2005
I'm watching Starsky & Hutch and just noticed the band at the Bat Mitzvah is the same band that sang at the wedding in Old School.
My brother, Gary, was crushed that there were two OCs on tonight, but both were reruns.
Jenna and I watched Shaun of the Dead last night. Highlarious.
Does Mr. Burns say Nimcompoopery or Numbskullery? Both? Neither? I can never remember.
Posted by Critical Matt at 10:51 PM
Live blogging a meeting. Two days in a row, full day meetings. Nothing can kill productivity like being kept from doing your job...
Update: Fortunately, We're around a large conference table and I'm on the opposite side as one of the managers. So I'll be able to keep updating.
8:59am: One minute to meeting and they're still trying to find a router so everyone can get hooked up...
9:08: Still plugging in lan lines.
9:15: Powerpoint presentation #1 begins...
9:20: 21 high level meetings needed to come up with assessment program (time well spent, I'm sure).
9:30: 210 question (this is not a test) "assessment" will determine future career path and opportunities.
9:40: first powerpoint presentation end. 2nd one starts.
9:55: 2nd powerpoint ends. I cannot tell you what it was about.
9:57: Mgr showing reporting tools we'll never see or need. It's neat cause it's online...
10:05: Break needed. No one is set up in system. Managers conferring.
10:11: Mgr wants to trade Steve and me to another unit for Steve's wife and some office supplies.
10:20: visiting mgr trying to remember how her own system works. She's trying to show us how the grading scale (this is not a test) works.
10:27: It's doubtful we have enough brain power in the room to power a 60 watt lightbulb.
10:35: 2 function break and then assessment begins.
11:45: Steve hits wrong button and thinks he's submitted assessment after only 70 questions. After mild heart attack we figure out how to get him started again.
12:15pm: Completed assessment with and hour and 40mins to spare. Proficient in all disciplines (and first one done). Now I have to wait for everyone else to finish.
12:25: Mgr ups trade offer to include Steve, me, and cash to another unit. He also offers us a chance to have our own unit, but we'd have to wear hockey helmets all day.
Final Update: Steve and I score highest on assessment. Our jobs are secure for the moment. I left the office around 2pm and there were still people taking the 'test'. I've got tomorrow off. Thank God.
Posted by Critical Matt at 8:55 AM
For, lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.
Baseball season begins today for the Tigers. I'm not the baseball fan I used to be. I can't remember the last time I sat and watched an entire 9 inning game for any team, much less my hapless Tigers.
I really miss listening to Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey calling the games on the radio. If you've never heard them, you've really missed out on a great piece of Americana. I can try to explain in writing, but probably won't do them justice. I loved how they switched off after 3 innings. Ernie had such a great pace to his announcing. He wouldn't try to fill gaps with small talk or stats too often. You could hear fans talking and the peanut guy hawking in the background. I loved Paul Carey's deep base voice. They were the perfect pair.
I can remember listening at night with the windows open and the warm summer breeze blowing past. The smell of a summer night in Michigan. That perfectly comfortable feeling when the night cools just enough and the smell of freshly cut grass floats in the air. Ernie's delivery was as good as any Cy Young winner. He kept it perfectly simple. "The wind up, and here's the pitch..." He'd wait for the crack of the bat and just long enough for the crowd to stir before he'd make his call. "That ball is way back....It's long gone!"
And so am I.
Posted by Critical Matt at 12:52 AM
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Jackie Robinson was postumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. It's hard to imagine how much strength he needed to be able to endure being the first black in the major leagues.
Posted by Critical Matt at 10:09 PM
Austin Bay: "I don't believe in happy endings, merely a respite before the next struggle, However, this Millennium War has reached and passed a crucial midpoint. All but the most recalcitrant, calcified and now laughable naysayers in the West suddenly recognize the pragmatism of American idealism."
Posted by Critical Matt at 7:06 AM
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
NBC has reported that the judge in the Saddam Hussein trial has been assassinated.
BRIAN WILLIAMS INTRO:
Good evening. We're going to begin here with an NBC News
We've learned tonight the violence in Iraq has claimed another victim, and this time, it is a high-profile target: a man who knew he had a dangerous job. There is word from Baghdad this evening -- confirmed by NBC News -- that the presiding judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein has been assassinated. American television viewers at the time remember him as the brave man on the bench but at the time only the back of his head was visible on television because the risk to his life was that obvious. He lived amid heavy security. Tonight his death is a graphic reminder of the everyday danger still in Iraq. NBC's Jim Miklaszewski is with us from the Pentagon tonight. Jim good evening.
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI REPORTING:
Good evening Brian. NBC News has learned that the judge, 35 year old Raid Juhi was apparently gunned down today as he left his home in Baghdad. Now Juhi was seen on video but just barely last July during the initial court appearances of Saddam Hussein.
The young judge at the time gained widespread respect and admiration when he stood his ground against the belligerent former dictator who launched into a lecture during the proceedings.
Juhi had already been the target of several assassination attempts, and was forced to move into a walled compound with his wife and three small boys behind concrete walls that could withstand bombs.
He normally traveled with armed escorts, but the details around his assassination today remain unclear.
He was a former prosecutor under the former Saddam Hussein regime -- and as an investigative judge was handling 12 high profile cases, including Saddam Hussein and the infamous Chemical Ali.
U.S. officials see the assassination today as an attack not only on the judge, but the entire Iraqi judicial system. Nevertheless, they predict despite today's assassination, the legal proceedings against Saddam Hussein will remain on course. A date for Saddam's next court appearance has yet to be scheduled.
Posted by Critical Matt at 7:21 PM
Michael Barone: George W. Bush gambled that actions can change minds. So far, he's winning.
Click on the link to read the entire piece.
Posted by Critical Matt at 11:37 AM