February 29, 2004

Hitchens and Vegan Vixens

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was over catching up on recent posting by the good Dr. Burgess-Jackson. Dr. Burgess-Jackson writes an excellent blog and your Maximum Leader commends it to you. But, your Maximum Leader must take issue with two recent postings. In this post the good Doctor is sad to see that Christopher Hitchens is engaging in name-calling and innuendo. Your Maximum Leader loves reading Hitchens' stuff, and really enjoys seeing him on the telly. (And thanks to the Poet Laureate, even owns one of Hitchens' books.) But really... Hitchens has always been in the name-calling business. He does quite a bit of name-calling in "Missionary Position," his book on Mother Teresa. And he is not above calling people names in interviews.

The thing about Christopher Hitchens is that he tells you exactly what he thinks about something. Which is refreshing and aggrevating. Your Maximum Leader doesn't always agree with Hitchens, but he always finds Hitchens engaging. If your Maximum Leader and Hitchens were introduced, your Maximum Leader would buy dinner and drinks and have a great time. Hitchens is the rare journalist/commenator who believes that you are listening to him because you want to hear about what he knows, and what he thinks about something. He has a point of view, and vigourously defends it. There is no feigned objectivity. Hitchens is great at what he does. But what he does often involves name-calling.

The next item on the good Doctor's blog that interested your Maximum Leader was this. Your Maximum Leader will quote in full:
Joanna Lucas brought this site to my attention. I had never heard of the Vegan Vixens. I'm wondering what scantily clad women have to do with sparing animals pain, suffering, deprivation, confinement, and death. I'm not saying the women in question were coerced into participating, but aren't they being objectified--aren't their bodies being used--to make a point, and isn't that objectionable? Does the end of liberating animals justify sexist means? Would it justify racist or anti-Semitic means? Shouldn't one argue for liberation rather than appeal to people's emotions?
Now to remind you, in case you've forgotten. Your Maximum Leader is not a vegan, or a vegetarian. He eats (and enjoys) meat, fish, and poultry. But your Maximum Leader is concerned about excessive pain, suffering, and privation inflicted on animals. Having reminded you of this, allow your Maximum Leader to state that what he wanted to comment upon was objectifing women.

As the good Doctor said, these women are all willing participants in this site. They have all chosen to be scantily clad on the internet. Is it possible to objectify yourself through your own free will? Frankly, in American society, using an attractive body to "pitch" or "sell" and idea is an effective tactic. We run (as anyone who has traveled to Europe knows) a little on the Puritanical side when it comes to sex. So long as it s voluntary, is it really objectionable? If seeing these attractive women cause me to think, even for a moment, about the cause for which they speak; isn't that a good thing? Perhaps there is something in the good Doctor's comments (or underlying the good Doctor's comments) that upsets your Maximum Leader. There is a free will element to the women's participation (and frankly any woman's participation) in showing off their bodies for a cause (or just for money). If a woman freely decides to wear a revealing swimsuit, or be naked, or have intercourse, or do other things to advance a cause or get a paycheck is she really doing something objectionable? The woman is free to choose another course.

It is something to think about further.

And in case your mind started to wander... Your Maximum Leader has said before, he is troubled by pornography. (The site in question, by the way, is not a porn site and is work safe - provided you can look at attractive (scantily clad) women at work.) He would like to see pornography on the internet segregated into a "virtual red light district" so to speak. Give all porn sites extensions like ".xxx" or ".sex." This change of extension would give people who do not want to see (or prevent minors for whom they are responsible from seeing) porn an easy way of blocking those sites. This is not a censorship issue. It is a means of assuring that unwilling, or unwitting, individuals don't accidentially visit sites that they really don't want to see.

Carry on.

UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Dr. Burgess-Jackson has written a short post on your Maximum Leader giving him a little hell on Christopher Hitchens and scantily clad women. Your Maximum Leader agrees that smart people shouldn't have to resort to name-calling. But that is part of Hitchens' schtick. He has created a persona, and lives up to it. Your Maximum Leader is quite sure that if Hitchens were allowed to smoke in his television interviews he would. That would add to the effect of the persona.

Thanks to Dr. Burgess-Jackson, who really is one of your Maximum Leader's favourite bloggers, for the "Analphilospher-lanche." And if you are visiting this space for the first time, your Maximum Leader appreciates the opportunity to indoctrinate you.

Carry on.

More Disney.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has given some thought to a list of the best Disney films. While he may not have mentioned it clearly, the AirMarshal was not looking for Miramax or Buena Vista branded films in the list. (Which eliminates such Maximum Leader favourites as Pulp Fiction.) So, after a review of Disney films here is your Maximum Leader's list of his personal favourite Disney films:
1) Fantasia
2) Monsters, Inc.
3) Robin Hood
4) Lion King
5) Mulan
6) Little Mermaid
7) Aladdin
8) Snow White
9) 101 Dalmatians
10) Herbie the Love Bug. (Which is one of the first films your Maximum Leader remembers seeing. And he thinks it was a double feature with Blackbeard's Ghost.)

While speaking of Disney. Your Maximum Leader also thinks it is time for Michael Eisner to go. It is not that he couldn't turn Disney around, but more that he has just outlived his time at the helm. New fresh blood is needed to reinviourate the company. Your Maximum Leader hopes that Comcast doesn't acquire Disney - as that seems to him to be a bad move for Disney. But who knows how this part of the great game of business will transpire.

Carry on.

New Blogger.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has further diluted the right-wing intellectual purity of his very own blog by inviting a new Minister to comment in this space. He is a long-time friend of the Minister of Agriculture and your Maximum Leader. He resides on the west coast, and is a liberal intellectual. He has a way with the ladies, and when not plying his charms on the fairer sex; he is busy exporting American culture to the world via TV and Cinema. (Your Maximum Leader will not reveal more about him, for fear that association with your Maximum Leader's political thought could get him blacklisted.) So give a warm welcome to your Maximum Leader's Minister of Propaganda. May you post well (but infrequently when we disagree) my Minister.

And just to give you a feel for how the interplay will go between the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Propaganda... Your Maximum Leader was copied on an e-mail from the M of P to the M of A concerning the M of A's recent post about his poverty... The body of the message read:
Hey Smallholder --

You're also ugly but whose fault is that?

It's going to be fun.

Carry on.

February 27, 2004

You guys kill me...

I know I am not a regular poster.... but, believe me, I am a regular reader. What's more, I really enjoy everything I read (though sometimes I DO NOT AGREE!).
That being said.

M of A....
Wow... I was just thinking about how we as a society move the delayed gratification down to the "lower classes" today! NO really! Spooky. I did not call it that though. It was more like "how can we help lower income families give a fuck about how there kids turn out". I have not come up with a problem solver though.... In the MWO, can't we just neuter and spay the parents before they procreate?
Some sort of government run day-care thing pops into mind from time to time but, in reality, I KNOW that the gov't probably would not do much better in the long run either....
Oh and another thing... you are SO RICH it is not even funny! You are just counting the wrong assetts.

M L on the Passion post by that other guy...
I really want to see this movie.
Funny, Derb goes to see EVERY one of Mels OTHER movies and then when one comes out about Jesus, he suddenly does not have a stomach for violence!!! He knows Mels work enough (or has enjoyed it enough) to QUOTE viloent scenes from Mel's Movies.... for Christ's sake!
But what really gets me is that Hollywood is bashing Mel for making a movie that sticks to the book too much!
How dare he take the Gospel as the Gospel?!?
Could the M of P please explain that?
I betcha that if ol' Mel had made the move "The Passion of Christ for Young Boys" they couldn't give it an Academy Award fast enough!

Air Marshall...
I don't think that we met.... but honestly if you are cool enough for the M of A and the M L to call a friend, then you are automatically a good joe in my book. Maybe when we visit this summer, we can all hook up?
Obviously, you chillins' have had you watch one too many animated films! I will not pick apart your choices one by one because I would hate to start a flame war over such a thing but Egad friend!

1 Fantasia
2 Song of the South
2 Dumbo
3 Snow White
4 Pinocchio
5 101 Dalmations
6 Monster's Inc
7 Bug's Life
8 Toys Story
9 Sleeping Beauty
10 Jungle book

I am not even going to attempt the songs, simply because I don't want them swimming around in me ead' all night!

M of A again....
I like your Marriage amendment idea.... Reminds me of the buffet Christians who take what they like and leave the rest.

Single issue voting?
Uhhh... ok I am guilty of this. Mainly because regardless of what Presidents say in Elections, they all pretty much do the same things when they get in. The only thing that changes is the funneling of Money to a different set of special interest groups. Which is why the big Special Interest give money to both parties to hedge their bets.
Except guns and taxes.....

Best Presidents....
Teddy R
Bush W
I would go into detail but this pretty much sums it up

Philosopher test...
1. St. Augustine (100%)
2. Aquinas (73%)

we can still be friends can't we?

And lastly... I may not be posting for a while.... we are in the season of Lent and here in Germany.
That means it is Super Duper Stong Ass Beer time. In theory, you can't eat because of Lent so they have fortified the beer and tripled the alcohol content so you can get all the nutrition you need in one glass!
If I drink 4 or 5 glasses, think of all the nutrition I will get!
I will be doing as the locals do and spend my time at the beer festivals!


Back to the trenches.....

Smallholder Confesses

I have a confession to make.

This may lead to the authorities confiscating my “liberal” membership card.

Are you ready?

I’m poor.

No, no, that’s not the confession. Why would liberals take away my membership card for being poor? The real confession is:

I am poor entirely because of choices that I have made.

I don’t blame anybody.

Liberals (gasping for air): Smallholder! You ignorant buffoon! You’ve succumbed to the capitalist brainwashing! The man is keeping you down! If not for evil corporations, Republicans, George Bush, Martha Stewart, and George Will, you would have a decent living wage, wonderful health care, and a chicken in every pot!”

Wait. Scratch that chicken in every pot part. That was T.R.

I’m not brainwashed. I’m poor for three simple reasons. And all of them are choices.

1) Instead of pursuing financial wealth in the private sector, I chose to be a teacher. My father had a really well-paid job when I was a kid. He was miserable. But he did set a fine example - I decided at an early age to find a job I loved no matter what it paid. What sense would it make to be a millionaire who hates what I do eight to twelve hours a day? I may have a miniscule salary, but I love just about every minute of my professional day.

2) We chose to buy land so I could farm. We spent a huge chunk of cash and are bleeding mortgage payments so I could have a hobby farm. I’ll be lucky to break even on a regular basis. If you count the cost of owning the land, farming is a stupid move. But I love it. I may not be able to go on fancy vacations and may drive my current truck until retirement, but I get to feed calves every morning and collect eggs every evening.

3) My wife chose to stay home to raise our child. My wife was the real wage-earner in our family. She used to make nearly twice my salary. But we thought that it was important to have one of us stay home with our kid. I was willing to do it, but when it came right down to it, I liked my career way more than she liked hers. I was blessed that my parents made the decision that my mother would stay home with me. I think many of the better elements of my personality are attributable to their decision and I am grateful to them. (The bad elements of my personality are attributable to the poor influences of the Maximum Leader and the Minister of Propaganda – they kept leading me down the primrose path…) Our daughter may not ride to school every day in a new SUV, but, even as a child, she is going to some developmental activity or playgroup every single day. Please don’t think that I am judging folks who decide to be two-income families. Every family should decide this for themselves. But we chose to trade material comfort for face time with the kid. One hopes she won’t hold that against us when we go back-to-school clothes shopping at Walmart.

At any point, my wife and I might have made different choices. I like to think I might have been reasonably successful as a lawyer or architect. My wife considered getting an MBA or a JD for a while. But we didn’t choose to do those things.

We won’t be poor forever. We did a lot of retirement investing in the first decade of our marriage (the ante-baby period). Those Roths and 403(b)s will be worth something in 2034. The land will appreciate. Eventually my wife will start puling down the Benjamins and support me like an Eastern Pasha and I will live in the lap of luxury while Jaime Pressly feeds me peeled grapes – er - I mean - pursue a fulfilling career. But for now, we have chosen (relative) poverty.

That’s the beauty of America. We get to choose. And the choice isn’t permanent.

The only reason for involuntary poverty in America is ignorance. When I taught in Baltimore, kids often complained that there was no way they could succeed in the traditional economy.


The Roth plans don’t ask you what your skin color, ethnicity, country of origin, or religion is. But someone has to teach you about it and convince you that deferred gratification is a good thing.

Owning a house is another avenue of wealth acquisition that many poor families just don’t understand. You might not be able to immediately buy your dream house, but if you start with a small investment, you can eventually leverage your equity into that dream house. Fannie Mae doesn’t care if you are a White, protestant, heterosexual family or a Black Muslim lesbian couple (though I would like to see reaction in that mosque).

But both routes to wealth require deferred gratification. You don’t buy the fancy new car right out school. You drive a clunker while you save for the house downpayment. You don’t get the $40 nail extensions so you can save for retirement. You don’t spend $6 a day on cigarettes and $3 a day on soda (Smallholder’s personal vice) so you can save for your kid’s college tuition. But too many kids grow up with the “I want it now!” attitude.

When I was in graduate school we saw a really neat film. Researchers would bring in five year old kids and sit them at a desk. They would put a cookie on the desk and say, “this is your cookie. You can eat it whenever you want. I’m going to step out of the room for a few minutes. If you still have the cookie when I get back, I will give you a second cookie and you can eat both of them.” The researcher would leave the room for a few minutes. The kids would sit at the desk and think about their choices.

Some of the kids would immediately gobble up their cookie. When the researcher returned and did not give them a second one, they complained “that’s not fair!”

Some kids simply leaned back in their chairs and calmly waited, deferring their gratification until they could double-up.

Some kids wanted to wait, but, almost as if by their own volition, their hands would creep across the desk toward the cookie. One kid was really hilarious – he ended up sitting on his hands, bouncing up and down, and practically squealing in agony until the researcher returned.

The study tracked these kids for ten years. The kid’s response to the cookie dilemma was a pretty accurate prediction of academic success. And I would wager that, if you looked at them today, it would also have been a good predictor at success in life. I imagine that those who have not done so well have come up with lots of people to blame for their lack of success. But blamelaying will not get people out of poverty. (Are Al Sharpton and Ralph Nader listening?)

The real solution to poverty is to transfer the middle-class idea of deferred gratification to the lower class. But I’ll be damned if I know how. It is too late by the time we get kids in school. Parental modeling influences behavior a lot more than teachers. Unlike many Republicans who throw up their hands and say nothing can be done (and more obnoxiously, nothing SHOULD be done), I would like to see us as a society do something. Helping the less fortunate is a Christian’s moral responsibility – heck it is any decent person’s responsibility even if they are not motivated by divine fiat. Helping the less fortunate is also in our self-interest. If we can break the cycle of instant gratification and blame-laying, society as a whole will be better off.

But neither party is talking about this. The Democrats want to blame (fill in the blank here) and slap monetary band-aids over the problem of instant gratification. Republicans are short-sightedly selfish.

So let’s end the blame game now.

I’m poor.

It is MY fault.

Derb on "The Passion"

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was just reading over John Derbyshire's column on NRO. And in part of that column he mentions that why he will not be seeing the film. Your Maximum Leader will quote that portion:
No, I don't think I'll be going to see Mel Gibson's Passion. Frankly, his movies are much too bloody for me. Even those movies in which he had no directorial role are way too gory. (And I suppose that even for those, he must have read the script and been attracted to them somehow.) When I do word association on "Mel Gibson," I come up with simulated eviscerations (Braveheart), heads and limbs carried off by cannonballs (Patriot). and spurting arteries (We Were Soldiers, Gallipoli, etc., etc., etc.) A Mel Gibson movie is basically a highfalutin splatter-fest — Blood Diner in historical costumes. I really don't have the stomach for it.

The obvious riposte to this is: Well, that's the way things were. Cannonballs did carry off heads, gunshot wounds do cause fast exsanguination, etc. I don't doubt this is true. (From an account of Waterloo quoted in John Keegan's The Face of Battle: "At the same time poor Fisher was hit I was speaking to him, and I got all over his brains, his head was blown to atoms.") It is also true, however, that you can make a very fine and thrilling historical movie without buckets o'blood, as any number of older sword'n'sandal epics demonstrate.

I note that a couple of reviewers — though unfortunately both from the left-secularist press — agree with me about Mel Gibson's over-the-top approach to movie violence. (Though I am working here from a New York Post review of their reviews.) David Denby at The New Yorker calls Passion "surpassingly violent." Peter Rainer at New York magazine tagged the film "the bloodiest story ever told."

I think Mel has a problem. Roman Catholic friends to whom I have expressed this opinion say: "Yes; but he's put his problem to good use here." Possibly so; but there is something peculiarly Roman Catholic about this (and Mel's) point of view. Meditating on the gory details of Christ's passion is a very RC thing. I recall a schoolmaster of mine, a Church of England stalwart, remarking that while the RC approach to Christianity had much to be said in its favor, "they make too much of the Crucifixion." That is part of the general Protestant prejudice: that Roman Catholicism is an over-the-top style of worship, filled with gaudy statues, elaborate rituals, convoluted theology, and so on. Turning the Passion into a splatter flick is just another aspect of that. This is, however, a matter of religious taste, than which nothing is more doggedly intractable; so I shall say no more.

There is something to be said of avoiding the film due to the blood and gore. Your Maximum Leader is torn. He does want to see the film. (For artistic and religious evaluation.) But he also doesn't want to sit and watch a man be tortured to death for two hours. (It is one thing to do it in the bowels of the Villainschloss for free, it is another to pay $8 and sit in a cinema for it. Okay, okay... Mrs. Villain doesn't allow the torture to go on and on like she used to...)

Your Maximum Leader just liked the last lines of the Derb peice. In a way it says it all. Look in a Catholic Church and see the crucifix with the corpus. It is there to remind the faithful of Jesus' passion. Look in a Protestant Church and see the crucifix alone. It is there to remind the faithful of the ressurection.

Carry on.

February 26, 2004


Ok, most of the bloggers here are parents of small children. As such, most of us are constantly exposed to Disney. I'm coming to believe that a trip to Orlando is a required pilgrimage for an American Family. Anaheim, though the original, is a cheap substitute at this point.

So the issue at hand in this post isn't to debate the cultural significance of Disney. The issue here is top 5 Disney films, and top 10 Disney songs. Why 5 and 10? Why the hell not. Pick your own numbers. And, yes, Pixar counts.

Top 5 Disney Films. (Personal Preference). No doubt that the older animated films are tremendous. But when the modern animated team hit a home run, as with Lion King, it was pure transcendence. Maybe it won't age well, who knows. Certainly Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are great films. But as the father of a three year old girl obsessed with princesses, I'm going to invoke the Emma rule. No princesses on this list.

1. Lion King
2. Jungle Book
3. Mary Poppins
4. Mulan
5. Toy Story 2

Top 10 Disney Songs (Roughly Chronological order). I have to add a caveat here. I'm not to particular about songs from the Lion King, though they work very well in the film. However, the musical score when Simba's father is revealed to him in the clouds is amazing. So I'll give the orchestral score of the Lion King a nod here, while omitting Hakunah Matata (sp) et al. from the following list.

1 Hi Ho - Snow White
2 When you Wish upon a star - Pinocchio (?)
3 Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious (sp?) - Mary Poppins
4 I wanna be like you - Jungle Book
5 The Bare Necessities (sp?) - Jungle Book
6 Kiss the Girl - Little Mermaid
7 Under the Sea - Little Mermaid
8 Be Our Guest - Beauty and the Beast
9. Whole New World - Aladdin
10 You've got a Friend in Me - Toy Story

February 25, 2004

Federal Marriage Amendment

As a fundamentalist, anti-freedom of religion Christian, I think it is high time that we put the Bible back where it belongs - smack dab in the middle of our government. I fully support the Federal Marriage Amendment, but fear it does not go far enough in reshaping our society as a Godly nation that accepts the commands of our Lord Jesus. So I have amended the amendment to reflect Jesus' true teachings on marriage. Please call your congressman and urge him to support the Smallholder Federal Marriage Amendment.

Article I.

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.

Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Article II.

Jesus Christ is on record as stating that: "What God has joined together let no man put asunder" (Mark 10:9).

All marriages in which a spouse has been previously married are hereby dissolved and are legally null and void.

Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon couples whose adulterous second marriages have been thus dissolved.

Baby Einstein? No, I've Got Baby Cato

I love to play blocks with my sixteen-month old daughter. Sometimes she helps me complete my architectural masterpieces by clumsily sitting a new piece atop the structure. Her motor control doesn’t yet rival Jackie Chan, so I have to hold the lower part of the structure so it won’t collapse. After the piece is in place, she looks at me triumphantly, as if to say: “Look out Eero Saarinen -- there’s a new sheriff in town!”

At other times, she isn’t interested in building. She toddles over, a pint-sized Godzilla, stretches both arms waaaaaaay back, and then pounces on the structure, knocking the components of my finely crafted tower helter-skelter. She doesn’t talk yet, but I just know what she is thinking:

“Carthago Delenda Est!”

This is simply more proof that she will grow up to be an inspiring orator and leader of men.

Even more single issue voting!

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was rightfully taken to task just a few short posts ago conerning his post about the Poet Laureate's narrowing of the field of prospective candidates to someone vs. Daffy Duck. Your Maximum Leader was inspired (if that is the right term) to write that post after reading this post on the Poet Laureate's site. That post, in its original form (sans updates) led your Maximum Leader to conclude that the Poet Laureate had decided to drop Bush on the grounds of his favouring the Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage. That led your Maximum Leader to start contemplating the single issue voter... While your Maximum Leader is perfectly aware that the Poet Laureate would not be a single issue voter (were he a voter), the post just struck me as the type of thing a single issue voter might say. So yes, it did appear as though your Maximum Leader completely ignored many posts to the contrary and just focused on the one for which he wanted to make a point. But such, my dear Poet Laureate is the name of the political game. Anything that can be taken out of context will.

Moving on...

Your Maximum Leader can understand why the Poet Laureate likes Edwards. He is, more or less, a hawk. In so much as he wasn't ashamed to say he was for the war in Iraq. But what will he do now. He says he wants to involve NATO as peacekeepers. This would be the same NATO that boasts such staunch allies as France, Belgium, and Germany? Those same NATO allies who rushed to join us an the onset of the campaign? While asking for NATO help is only slightly more sensible than asking the UN for help, your Maximum Leader will not hold his breath until the crack Belgian Commando Waffle Brigade arrives in Baghdad. Edwards has been critical of the post war handling of Iraq. But no one had a good plan. It is all well and good to say, "I'd have had a plan." when you don't have to produce a hypothetical plan. Your Maximum Leader isn't sure that any plan is better than the one we are working on (perhaps inprovising?) now.

Edwards is also tilting towards the Hominid's preference on social issues. On the gay marriage issue that the Hominid cites on his blog, Edwards sounds federalist. But the position he is advocating is the most improbable of all of the positions to hold. Your Maximum Leader has read all the arguments one way or the other concerning how the "Full Faith and Credit" clause of the Constitution really will not apply to gay marriage. Your Maximum Leader thinks many of those arguments are hogwash. The "FFC" clause must apply, and will apply. If you are for gay marriage, the best thing to happen was the Massachusetts decision. If you are against it, the only way to stop it is to amend the Constitution. Because the judges will not enforce the Defence of Marriage Act when push comes to shove.

And on the fiscal probity issue, there is no evidence that John Edwards is a fiscal conservative. (Of course there is no evidence that Bush is either - so that is a push.) And it is speculation on my part, but your Maximum Leader doesn't believe that Edwards has the balls to go to the mat with the North Koreans. In the end he is a medical malpractice lawyer, and is willing to make a deal. The North Koreans are great at making deals. But! Does any of this matter? Not really, because Edwards will not be the nominee of his party.

Your Maximum Leader would like to ask the Poet Laureate for whom would he vote if it was a Kerry v. Bush election? (Which it is very likely to be.) On the issues that the Hominid lists, one would appear to get a split decision. Bush over Kerry on Defence. A push on managing the economy. And Kerry over Bush on social issues. Does that make the Hominid likely to cast his (hypothetical) vote for Bush or Kerry? Perhaps it does come down to one issue. Gay marriage? Korea policy? Or does the plot thicken? Does the Hominid cast his vote for Nader? For Daffy Duck? For Opus the Penguin? (Or does he do the sensible thing and write in his Maximum Leader?)

But more on single issue voting...

The Minister of Agriculture and the Big Hominid, perhaps inadvertently, shows plausible ways in which a person might become a single issue voter. (At least in one election.) While the Minister of Agriculture may feel that the Democratic candidate's beliefs and articulated social policy may closely coincide with his own; the Republican candidate's beliefs and articulated positions on national security issues also coincide with his own. How do you choose? It might all come down to an intellectual crap-shoot with social policies on the one hand and national security policies on the other. The Minister of Agriculture may decide that it is better to accept social policies with which he does not agree rather in order to support national security policies with which he does agree. Or vice versa.

The M of A also points out (perhaps inadvertenly again) what is the potentially the biggest problem in the upcoming election. There may not be many areas in which the two candidates contrast sharply enough to allow voters to feel they can make an easy choice. Bush and Kerry don't match particularly well against each other. This is perhaps why they are both trading shots about Vietnam - it is the easiest contrast to make.

And finally, your Maximum Leader must agree with the Poet Laureate; that from a Humean perspective, just because the Big Hominid hasn't voted in past elections there is no causal relationship to be drawn about his voting in this upcoming election. But your Maximum Leader will bet the Poet Laureate - on his honour - that in fact the Big Hominid will not vote in the upcoming election. Your Maximum Leader is willing to wager some good ole American Greenbacks that the Hominid can use to purchase calligraphy supplies. And if the Hominid should loose the bet, your Maximum Leader will accept a pithy mildly pornographic phrase done in Chinese characters on some object from the Hominid...

And please rest assured that in the Mike World Order Jaime Pressly would be sent to the Minister of Agriculture for reeducation so fast we might have to recalibrate the speed of light.

Carry on.

February 24, 2004

Single Issue Voting (And Jamie Pressly)

Smallholder is not a single-issue voter. That said, because the social issues that I care about tend to stem from a common root, the issues I care about tend to get clustered in one party – at least socially. I’m feeling a bit schizophrenic lately because on National Security issues, my issues cluster in the other party. Of course, since in a Democracy, both parties strive to capture the middle ground, I do not think either party is strong (extreme?) enough on the particular issues that make me want to support them. In this election, I think my desire to enjoy managed capitalism (no, that’s not an oxymoron) and seek social justice is key. However, I also don’t want France to have a veto over American foreign policy and I think that there are some people with whom we should not negotiate or appease. Osama and his medievalists need to be dead, dead, dead.

Kerry and Edwards have both thrown a monkey-wrench into my Democratic lean by attacking (to various degrees) NAFTA. Free trade is better, in the long term, for everybody. It may be painful in the near term for some, but that is not a reason to throw up inefficient blockades. In a progressive world, we would have free-trade AND train workers to adapt to the new economy AND educate kids well-enough that they are not vulnerable to outsourcing. Of course, Bush doesn’t exactly make the case for free trade well – particularly when it comes to steel.

UPDATE: I take it back. I COULD be a one-issue voter. If a candidate promised to repeal the silly monogamy law and force Hollywood starlets (like, say, I dunno, maybe Jaime Pressly) to repent for their harlotry by forcible marriage to small farmers so they can be reeducated about the dignity of working the soil, I would vote for the candidate so fast I might hurt myself. After all, that’s how the Maximum Leader bought my support for the Mike World Order.

UPDATED UPDATE: Speaking of Jaime Pressly, I would like a full, suitably repentant apology posting from the Minister of Propaganda. After all the women I hooked him up with in high school and college, he can’t manage to set me up with ONE Hollywood B-grade actress? And he’s a director! “Well, Ms. Pressly, you do seem to be what we are looking for, but a ‘producer’ friend of mine wants input on casting decisions. Here’s a ticket to Virginia – call me when you get back.”

UPDATE #3: Mrs. Smallholder observes that, since we are going to reeducated selected parts of Hollywood, Viggo Mortenson is in dire need of chastisement.

ach du liebe Gott!

Alas, I'll have to risk being dragged out and shot. I'll take a page from that nitpicker Keith Burgess-Jackson and note two problems in the ML's post:

(1) That a past history of non-voting implies anything about future conduct. This violates the ML's own sometimes-Humean position. It also ignores the plentiful evidence on my blog that I've been seriously mulling voting this time around.

(2) The claim that I'm a single-issue voter is based on... what, exactly? Here, too, plentiful evidence on my blog is simply being ignored. What I'm looking for is a candidate who will be (a) a defense hawk, (b) somewhat wise about the economy (at least wiser than Bush has been) and (c) better on social issues than Bush. All of this is documented in some form or other on my blog.

So: Bush seemed like the better choice to me, until Edwards bopped along. Kerry has never been a plausible choice: too spineless, too Vietnam-obsessed, too Clinton-lite, too UN-happy. None of these traits is appealing. Edwards, in his personal convictions about gay marriage, isn't much better than Bush, but he scores points on (a) a somewhat-federalist outlook re: gay marriage (and here I think he does better than Kerry), (b) a better vision of fiscal probity, and (c) most important to me (since my blog apparently didn't make this obvious enough) he's a defense hawk. If I were to boil everything down to one issue, then this would be it.

Bush has indeed expended a lot of "diplomatic capital" among us moderates. I was willing to think of him as a viable choice, but he's not exactly doing the best job on the economy, nor has he articulated much of a vision for what's to happen with the Koreas (somewhat relevant to me because of where I am right now), and he's royally screwing up social issues. Bush no longer presents himself as all that palatable a choice.

So I hope that clears things up. If actual links to posts are needed to prove I'm concerned about more than one issue, I'll be happy to provide them.

See you at the firing squad!


Genetic Engineering

Big Hominid opines that genetic engineering is inevitable in a recent blogpost. He doesn’t stop to discuss whether he thinks it is a good thing or a bad thing. The Maximum Leader and I have chewed this over in the past and were miles apart – so perhaps it is a good issue to throw open to the Villainous Bloggers: If you could genetically engineer your offspring, would you do so? Would it be moral?

The Big Hominid narrows his own field for the November Elections.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is pleasantly amused by the Poet Laureate's determination concerning Bush vs. Daffy Duck or Someone else vs. Daffy Duck. The first cause of your Maximum Leader's amusement is the fact that the Poet Laureate doesn't vote. The second is that the Poet Laureate is appearing to be a one issue voter (should he choose to break the cycle and vote).

(Aside: Allow your Maximum Leader to say that in a choice between Bush/Kerry/Nader or Marvin the Martian (since we are talking classic cartoon characters), your Maximum Leader would likely choose Marvin the Martian. He is just the type of singleminded interventionist that the US needs to get rid of terrorists. Plus, he would bring to office the XP5 Space Modulator which is sure to be able to disintegrate terrorists with a single shot. But your Maximum Leader digresses...)

One-issue voting has always been a subject of curiosity to your Maximum Leader. What would make one issue so important as to override consideration of others? That is a mostly rhetorical question, since surely the reasons are as varied as the issues to be considered. Take gay marriage. What about gay marriage is so important that a candidate's position on that issue might trump say, national security or tax policy? Would someone be inclinded to vote for Dennis Kucinich who would allow Muslim terrorists to indiscriminately bomb US cities - so long as gays can marry? Would someone be inclinded to vote for a candidate who would double the taxes on married couples - but allow gays to marry? (To balance the budget of course...) It is curious.

As for gay marriage, a subject hammered upon at length in so many spaces - including this one, the issue is one that is rapidly coming to a head. Judges (and Mayors) are forcing the issue. And overall, your Maximum Leader believes that forcing the issue is a bad thing. (At least in domestic politics.) People don't mind being given time to come around to your point of view. But they tend to really dislike contraversial decision being taken without any semblance of democratic input. Gay marriage by judicial fiat, or by Mayors choosing to disobey state laws, is not a popular idea. (Frankly no such societal change so implemented is really popular.) As polls seem to go, the good people of Massachusetts seem to be souring on the gay marriage issue. And the majority of people nationally seem to be against the idea. If judges continue to rule the way they have, your Maximum Leader wouldn't be surprised to see support grow for a Constitutional Amendment against gay marriage; and a whole bunch of judges will loose their seats on the bench.

But to get back to single-issue voting... It just seems like a bad idea to your Maximum Leader; who evaluates many positions before deciding for whom to vote. Your Maximum Leader knows many people for whom Second Amendment Right and gun policy is the single-issue on which they vote. While all in favour of gun rights (and expansive gun rights at that), your Maximum Leader would wiegh that issue among all the others before deciding for whom to vote. It just is curious. Your Maximum Leader welcomes any opinions on single-issue voting that anyone would care to share.

Carry on.

Trust the Maximum Leader

The Maximum Leader knows of what he speaks. At least when he is talking about food. Several months ago, he wrote a short blog that commented on the flavor of his humanely-raised pasture-fed beef supplied by yours truly. While my less sophisticated palette had not picked up on the "beefier" flavor, the ML thought that the beef had a bit stronger beefiness and hypothesized that it came from an all-grass diet. As I was surfing the "Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas" website - attra.ncat.org - I came across a bulletin that discusses how small farmers can market their PFB - Pasture Finished Beef. It reported on various taste tests conducted by agricultural extension agents and made the same point that the ML did - and also ascribed it to the fact that the high-grain diet most beef receives "washes" out the flavor.

This makes sense to me but it is nice to see it explained. The same concept holds true for eggs; check out the bland yellow yolks of your weeks-old grocery store eggs. The bland yellow exists because of the extensive grain diet of the chickens. If hens have access to forage and the outdoors, the yolk colors will shift toward a richer orange-yellow tint. Analphilosopher once wrote a post about the confusion inherent in selecting a "free range" egg. Many of the labels used by marketers are extremely misleading. My advice to those who seek eggs laid by hens who have freedom and access to nature is to check the yolks. The color don't lie and, protected by the shell, isn't subject to recoloring like margerine.

Update from the Maximum Leader: If for no other reason than the title, your Maximum Leader wholeheartedly endorses this post.

Thoughts on Kerry, Bush and Nader.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader spent some time at the Villainschloss watching the President's speech to the Republican Governors Association last night and it caused him to think for a little while about electioneering.

It looks as though Kerry will be the nominee for the Democrats. Your Maximum Leader believes that the only way Kerry will not get the nomination is if there is either 1) a major Kerry gaffe very soon (highly unlikely) or 2) Democrats start to have "buyers remorse" about crowning Kerry and decide to go with Edwards (unlikely). Kerry is not a strong candidate in your Maximum Leader's opinion. He is not a strong candidate because of his extensive Senate record. Kerry has voted on issues. Which means he has opinions which must be defended, endorsed, repudiated, clairified, denied, ameliorated or lied about by himself or his surrogates. And that is bad for him. Think about it. The last person to jump directly from the Congress to the Presidency was John F. Kennedy. And he was only a first termer, rather like John Edwards. (Minus the hottie wife and the huge trust fund from his daddy. Edwards earned his own trust fund via medical malpractice lawsuits. Advantage: Kennedy.) Lyndon Johnson would not have won election to the presidency had Kennedy not been assasinated. When you have a record to run on (or from as the case may be) you have a big liability in our modern electoral process. This is why Governors and non-Washingtonians are more successful. Their records are harder to get at by the national media, and generally not as expansive (as state government just doesn't deal with many issues that the Federal government - for good or ill - deals with). And we are now beginning to see the Bush campaign go after Kerry on his record. Which leads your Maximum Leader to his next item.

Your Maximum Leader believes that the Bush team started the campaign season a bit too soon. Why not wait until John Edwards started to get a little desperate and started to go after Kerry? Why not let the two of them duke it out some? By coming out against Kerry now, you risk the chance of making Edwards the nominee. (Who, by the way, your Maximum Leader thinks is a much stronger candidate - of the Democrats still running.) By the Bush people going and attacking Kerry, who's major strength as been the nebulous term "electability;" they threaten to make him appear "less electable." If he starts looking less electable, perhaps the Democratic primary voters will decide to switch horses (the season is yet young). To your Maximum Leader, this looks like a "strategery" mistake by the Bush Campaign. Sure Edwards was running a clean campaign, but the desperation hadn't set in yet. And the media hadn't grown tired of Kerry yet. Just wait a few more weeks. Things could change. Why engage your enemy when you don't have to fight? (Didn't Master Sun admonish us to avoid avoidable combat?) It seems that the good Mr. Rove and company just didn't like seeing the low poll numbers.

Not like the polls mean anything at this point. And we all know (at least your Maximum Leader knows) that any Democrat will get about 40% of the vote and any Republican will get about 40% of the vote - just for being the party nominee. The independents that both sides are looking for are too busy living their lives to care much about the election at this point. They will not focus on the election until September. (August at the earliest.) So just keep your powder dry and wait.

And then there is Ralph. Your Maximum Leader doesn't know what to think of Ralph Nader. On the one hand your Maximum Leader believes him to be an ideologue with an ideology that is hard to stomach. On the other hand, Nader is an honest ideologue and that is worth a little something. At any rate, your Maximum Leader doesn't believe that Nader will be much of a factor at all in this race. Especially since he will not be on the ballots of all 50 states. (Sure he says he will, but your Maximum Leader doubts that he will get the organization needed to do it.) Your Maximum Leader also is tired of the whole canard of "he cost Gore the election." Nader did not cost Gore the election. If Gore had won his putative "home" state of Tennessee, the outcome of the race could have been different. If people weren't allowed to write-in candidates, the outcome could have been different. If Pat Buchanan hadn't run, the outcome could have been different. Alas, there are too many radicals on the table to blame poor Ralph for all of it. Nader will be an interesting diversion from the main race. Sort of like a side-show tent at a carnival. Sure you might be morbidly curious about the two-headed man, or the giant cockroach that eats babies; but really you want to get to the big top and watch the professional clowns.

Carry on.

Where there's smoke...

Driving accross the Wilson Bridge on Sunday, I noticed a column of dark smoke rising up from the DC skyline. Immediately I turned on 1500am, the local 24 hour news channel to see if something bad was going down. No news about anything. By the time we were driving past the Naval Research Lab heading north, accross the Anacostia river from the city, there was no smoke visible anywhere. No clue what caused the smoke. Couldn't find anything on local news about it.

It's a different world we live in now. Prior to 9/11, one would assume that it was just a fire. But now, smoke over DC looks ominous.

More Philosopher Test.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader took the philospher test commended by the Minister of Agriculture. He found he really disliked the test overall, as it was primarially trying to gauge what vision of morality you (the testee) agree with. Some highlights of your Maximum Leader's results:

Ayn Rand (100%)
Kant (95%)
David Hume (90%)
Thomas Hobbes (88%)

Your Maximum Leader never thought of himself as an Objectivist. And he certainly isn't a great adherent of Rand. Kant, Hume, and Hobbes are good company.


Carry on.

February 23, 2004

Best Presidents Link

I don't agree with much of what is said in the following article (I am far from a strict constructivist and find the "Civil war was not about slavery" argument silly), but it was an interesting read. The best point they make is that your criteria matter when you are constructing a list of best presidents.


Philosopher Test

With whom do you most agree?


Smallholder's answers (He may be shot by the Hobbesian Maximum Leader):
The worst part is that my number two is that darn pesky Frenchman (We were ALL in the resistance! There was no collaberation!).

1. Jeremy Bentham (100%)
2. Jean-Paul Sartre (93%)
3. Aquinas (90%)
4. Kant (87%)
5. John Stuart Mill (84%)
6. Spinoza (70%)
7. St. Augustine (70%)
8. Plato (68%)
9. Aristotle (65%)
10. Prescriptivism (64%)
11. Ayn Rand (57%)
12. Epicureans (42%)
13. Ockham (42%)
14. Stoics (42%)
15. Nel Noddings (39%)
16. Nietzsche (18%)
17. Cynics (14%)
18. David Hume (14%)
19. Thomas Hobbes (14%)

William Raspberry's Column on Marriage

A New Minister!

We have a new Propaganda Minister* - director boy has risen to the challenge of my taunts (his mother smelt of elderberries) and submitted his first entry:

First, double standards:

Second, a hilarious article about the Office of Special Plans:

Finally, gay marriage:

Valentine's Day, that great state holiday
By Bill Maher, 2/14/2004

NEW RULE: You can't claim you're the party of smaller government, and then clamor to make laws about love. If there's one area I don't want the US government to add to its list of screw-ups, it's love.

On the occasion of this Valentine's Day, let's stop and ask ourselves: What business is it of the state how consenting adults choose to pair off, share expenses, and eventually stop having sex with each other?

And why does the Bush administration want a constitutional amendment about weddings? Hey, birthdays are important, too -- why not include them in the great document? Let's make a law that gay people can have birthdays, but straight people get more cake -- you know, to send the right message to kids.

Republicans are always saying we should privatize things, like schools, prison, Social Security -- OK, so how about we privatize privacy? If the government forbids gay men from tying the knot, what's their alternative? They can't all marry Liza Minnelli.

Republicans used to be the party that opposed social engineering, but now they push programs to outlaw marriage for some people, and encourage it for others. If you're straight, there's a billion-five in the budget to encourage and promote marriage -- including seed money to pay an old Jewish woman to call up people at random and say "So why aren't you married, Mr. Big Shot?"

But when it comes to homosexuals, Republicans sing "I Love You Just the Way You Oughta Be." They oppose gay marriage because it threatens or mocks -- or does something -- to the "sanctity of marriage," as if anything you can do drunk out of your mind in front of an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas could be considered sacred. Half the people who pledge eternal love are doing it because one of them is either knocked-up, rich or desperate, but in George Bush's mind, marriage is only a beautiful lifetime bond of love and sharing -- kind of like what his Dad has with the Saudis.

But at least the right wing aren't hypocrites on this issue -- they really believe that homosexuality, because it says so in the Bible, is an "abomination" and a "dysfunction" that's "curable": they believe that if a gay man just devotes his life to Jesus, he'll stop being gay -- because the theory worked out so well with the Catholic priests.

But the greater shame in this story goes to the Democrats, because they don't believe homosexuality is an "abomination," and therefore their refusal to endorse gay marriage is a hypocrisy. The right are true believers, but the Democrats are merely pretending that they believe gays are not entitled to the same state-sanctioned misery as the rest of us. The Democrats' position doesn't come from the Bible, it's ripped right from the latest poll, which says that most Americans are against gay marriage.

Well, you know what: Sometimes "most Americans" are wrong. Where's the Democrat who will stand up and go beyond the half measures of "civil union" and "hate the sin, love the sinner," and say loud and clear: `There IS no sin, and homosexuality is NOT an abomination' -- although that Boy George musical Rosie O'Donnell put on comes close. The only thing abominable about being gay is the amount of time you have to put in at the gym.

But that aside, the law in this country should reflect that some people are just born 100 percent outrageously, fabulously, undeniably Fire Island gay, and that they don't need re-programming. They need a man with a slow hand.

--- Minister of Propaganda

* Director boy has also indicated that he would accept the Ministries of Media or Vice. I'm tempted to add a few other portfolios to the lad (Women scorned? Gentle deflowering?), but thought I might see if the Maximum Leader or Foreign Minister have any ideas. Smallholder and Propaganda's friendship actually may predate the Maximum Leader's friendship with the Air Marshal and Poet Laureate, but Propaganda did once share a boot-shoot with the ML and FM.

February 22, 2004

Evil Overlord Guide.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader liked this Evil Overlord Guide. Thanks to Minion and Lackey for pointing it out. Now to find the author, and kill him...

Carry on.

Some gastronomic advice

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wants to pass along some gastronomic advice.

First, if you happen to be in Richmond Virginia and have a hankering for Sushi, go to Akida. It gets the official Maximum Leader seal of sushi approval. It is a small place (at least the one on Robinson Street is). The facility used to be an old street corner pub. But it works well as a sushi place. Great food.

Second, if you have been drinking Glenfiddich for a few hours and decide you need to make a brand change (but not a liquor change); be careful! Do not (repeat do not) pour yourself a double of Ardbeg. Glenfiddich is a wonderful smooth scotch. Ardbeg is wonderful, but is not nearly as smooth. It is full of smoke and fire. It was a bit too shocking a change.

Third, if you are up in Washington DC go to Georgia Brown's. Your Maximum Leader has been for lunch a few times. But last night he had Georgia Brown's Executive Chef, Neal Langermann (aided by his stunning assistant Yvonne) cook a private dinner for him, Mrs. Villain, his esteemed Brother and Sister-in-law, and two other close friends. The dinner was not in the restaurant, but at the home of your Maximum Leader's friends. We stood in the kitchen and chatted with Chef Langermann as he cooked. He shared tips, stories, and some jokes. And it was one of the finest meals your Maximum Leader has ever had. It is a rival to the fabulous time he had at Morimotos last year. Go to Georgia Brown's, it is well worth your trip. (And it seems that Sunday Brunch is one of the best times to go. They have a huge buffet, and let you have a to-go box before you leave...)

That is all the gastronomic advice for now.

Carry on.

Happy Birthday George!

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader pronounces birthday "huzzahs!" for George Washington. He was truly first in war, first in peace, and should be first in the hearts of his grateful countrymen. But alas, George now gets rather short shrift in our schools. Your Maximum Leader believes that, as a precondition of graduating from high school, all Americans should read Richard Brookhiser's Founding Father. While it is not a comprehensive biography of Washington, it is a great "character biography" which discusses why we should care (and love) our Founding Father.

Anyway... Happy 272nd Birthday General Washington. At least one of your grateful countrymen will raise a toast to you this day.

Moving on... Your Maximum Leader presented a challenge to his ministers and minions. Alas, the Poet Laureate is history-illiterate. So rather than attempting to educate himself, he wrote some funnies. And you know, deflecting tough questions with humour is a trait we like in our hominids. So, after your Maximum Leader erases from his imagination the image of Christina Aguilera masterbating in the Oval Office, he will chukle at the Big Hominid's post.

The AirMarshal started with a good list. But really, Gover Cleveland? He did give us the Baby Ruth...

Still waiting to hear from the Foreign Minister and Minister of Agriculture...

Without further adieu, here is your Maximum Leader's list, in full:

1) George Washington. The first president, and the overriding shaper of the office. He set down many of the precedents that still function today. He established the cabinet system, and gave shape to the executive branch. He set down the major goals of US foreign policy (shunning entangling alliances) which held until (arguably) the Second World War. He also flexed (for the first time) federal supremacy over the states by putting down rebellions in Pennsylvania.

2) Abraham Lincoln He saved the Union.

3) Franklin Roosevelt Created the modern presidency (characterized by a strong executive). He also created the modern federal government (characterized by not only supreme federal authority but by an all-intrusive federal government).

4) James Knox Polk Your Maximum Leader throws you a fastball here. He has always believed in the greatness of James K. Polk. Polk promised four things would be accomplished during his presidency. 1 - the Indian question in the south would be resolved; 2 - Texas would enter the Union; 3 - California would become part of the US; 4- a northern border with Canada west of the great lakes would be fixed. Polk said if these four things were not done in his four years, he would not seek another term. During his term he: sent the army in to round up and move the Indians in the south, he faught a war with Mexico and acquired Texas, California, and other western lands. He was (thanks to British/Canadian intransigence) unable to negotiate a northern border with Canada. He refused to run for a second term, and retired. (Your Maximum Leader will also add that he died shortly after leaving office - which your Maximum Leader also thinks is a generally good thing for ex-presidents to do.)

5) Ronald Reagan He redefined the role of the modern federal government. (If you don't think so, look at the administration of Bill Clinton and guess again.) And he won the Cold War.

6) Theodore Roosevelt He started moving the nation towards global superpower status. Started necessary progressive changes and sensible regulation of the American economy.

7) Andrew Jackson The first populist president. First to utilize the presidential veto and thereby create the modern system by which laws are made in the US.

8) Harry Truman Had a tough act to follow, but did very well at it. Used the Bomb to end the war. Nationalized the Coal industry to break an illegal strike. Suddenly woke up and smelled the coffee concerning Soviet aggression and started defending US interests against communists.

9) Thomas Jefferson Overall he doesn't score lots of points with me for his presidency. But you have to give credit to him for the Louisiana Purchase.

10) Lyndon B. Johnson To those who know your Maximum Leader well, this may seem like a surprising choice. But, Johnson used the power of his office to push through Civil Rights legislation. His "Great Society" programs were the logical extension to the "New Deal."

So there it is... In all honesty, the Top 4 on your Maximum Leader's list haven't changed in about 15 years or more. He is very committed to the order of those four. The 5-8 slots are tough. They always consist of the same men, but your Maximum Leader sometimes changes the order. He often switches Reagan and TR. Slots 9 & 10 are so hard. Because once you get down to that level, there are always signifcant reasons for not including a particular president on the list. Other than the Louisiana Purchase, Jefferson's Presidency was a complete failure. Johnson's albatross is Vietnam. It is hard to pick the lower part of the order. Other Presidents that your Maximum Leader is fond of are: John Adams (oft overlooked - if it were not for the Alien and Sedition Acts he would be much better remembered as a president); Dwight Eisenhower (great Cold Warrior); and James Madison (master manipulator of Congress - a fact often overlooked). Some great men who happened to be president include: John Quincy Adams, Herbert Hoover, and Woodrow Wilson. But they were failures as president. And then there is the special case of Richard Nixon. So much potential for greatness. So much realized misery. Nixon really deserves a category all to himself.

Could your Maximum Leader reel off a short list of the worst presidents? Sure. They are (in no particular order): U.S. Grant, James Buchanan (Is your Maximum Leader the only one surprised that Pennsylvania has only produced one President of the US?), Millard Filmore, Warren G. Harding, and Andrew Johnson.

Well... That was a fun intellectual exercise...

Carry on.

February 21, 2004

dread presidents

I'm so damn history-illiterate than I doubt I could even NAME ten presidents. Let's see...




There, I did it. Barely. Whew.

Oh, wait-- we're supposed to provide reasons for our choices.

Eastwood: Shot a lot of people both in and out of office. Steely-eyed diplomacy. First president to threaten a Middle Eastern representative with an orangutan. I remember his slogan: "Deserve's" got nothin' to do with it.

Osbourne: If I recall correctly, his tenure was one big, drug-addled party. Great musician, terrible public speaker. Once bit the head off a bat. Now that's a president! Vice President Eminem was a holy terror, his speeches laced with repeated references to bitch-slapping-- bitch-slapping this or that country, bitch-slapping the "goddamn Senate," and so on. Some people wisely pointed out, though, that VP Eminem's repetitive, overly-focused style was reminiscent of Zen Master Gutei's teaching method, in which all questions were answered by the raising of his index finger.

Chase: Fell a lot. Once shilled for Doritos, but the acting experience was a boon. Spent most of his presidency making people groan, but he's fondly remembered, despite being something of a smartass.

Mortensen: Persuaded people to fight, even if he was only pretending and didn't really like fighting. Pretty good with a sword. Banged a few too many women, but we forgave him.

McKellen: Stood around looking all dignified. Introduced America to the, er, First Man. The only president who could transmogrify our enemies, though he tended to take long, mysterious absences from office, then spun tales of demon-wrestling. Liked all-white suits. Also liked manipulating metal objects from a distance, and once telekinetically rescued someone whose pacemaker was malfunctioning. Brought Shakespeare to the Oval Office. Once caused a scandal by dressing as a Nazi.

Rhys-Davies: Pugnacious, in-your-face leadership style. Pissed off all the right people and often seemed to be mocking Middle Easterners. Staunch advocate of Western civilization, and inventor of "battleaxe diplomacy."

Astin: Kind of youngish and inexperienced, but good-hearted, earnest, and determined. Liked giving people piggyback rides. Followed the Clinton tradition and hung out at barbecues.

Electra: Famous for how she campaigned-- not a single poster showed a picture of her face.

Aguilera: First president to masturbate in public during a speech. I recall being transfixed. And she brought facial piercings to the White House!

Spears: Her term was for the most part a cavalcade of artificiality, it's true, but she did like to cry for the camera, and her third State of the Union address featured her humping a microphone.


February 20, 2004

Top Six Presidents

Why Six? Because I felt like it. No particular order.

1. George Washington

Mostly because I grew up near Mount Vernon. And for all the stuff ML said below.

2. Abraham Lincoln

Again, ML gets to the point below.

3. FDR

One hell of a war time leader. The man who lead America to victory through WWII deserves to be on this list for that fact alone.

4. Teddy Roosevelt

Foreign Policy would never be the same.

5. Harry Truman

The Buck Stops here. I love accountability, and for that , he earned his spot here.

6. Grover Cleveland.

Why? Because I said so.

Two non consecutive terms. Any man who has the balls to run for President, AND WIN, after losing a national election deserves a place near the top.

President's Day Challenge.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is beginning to make plans for what he will do on Washington's birthday. (Which is this Sunday. February 22, 1732 for those of you who didn't know.) He plans on taking the Villainettes and Mrs. Villain to Ferry Farm. Ferry Farm is the site of Washington's boyhood home. I say the site because the house burned down and now there is just an ongoing archeaological dig on the site. This aside... Your Maximum Leader issues a challenge to his ministers and readers. Please list the 10 greatest presidents of the United States. Give an explanation as to why you think they should be in the list. The criteria for greatness listed must be restricted to their presidential careers. For example, if you wanted to claim (wrongly) that U.S. Grant was one of the greatest presidents you could not cite his Civil War record as "proof" of greatness. (However, for Grant you could cite the widespread corruption of his administration as a model for future corrupt presidential administrations.) Any reader who sends in a list will have his list published (with possible editorial commentary from your Maximum Leader).

To preview your Maximum Leader's list, he presents his top five:

1) George Washington. The first president, and the overriding shaper of the office. He set down many of the precedents that still function today. He established the cabinet system, and gave shape to the executive branch. He set down the major goals of US foreign policy (shunning entangling alliances) which held until (arguably) the Second World War. He also flexed (for the first time) federal supremacy over the states by putting down rebellions in Pennsylvania.

2) Abraham Lincoln He saved the Union.

3) Franklin Roosevelt Created the modern presidency (characterized by a strong executive). He also created the modern federal government (characterized by not only supreme federal authority but by an all-intrusive federal government).

4) James Knox Polk Your Maximum Leader throws you a fastball here. He has always believed in the greatness of James K. Polk. Polk promised four things would be accomplished during his presidency. 1 - the Indian question in the south would be resolved; 2 - Texas would enter the Union; 3 - California would become part of the US; 4- a northern border with Canada west of the great lakes would be fixed. Polk said if these four things were not done in his four years, he would not seek another term. During his term he: sent the army in to round up and move the Indians in the south, he faught a war with Mexico and acquired Texas, California, and other western lands. He was (thanks to British/Canadian intransigence) unable to negotiate a northern border with Canada. He refused to run for a second term, and retired. (Your Maximum Leader will also add that he died shortly after leaving office - which your Maximum Leader also thinks is a generally good thing for ex-presidents to do.)

5) Ronald Reagan He redefined the role of the modern federal government. (If you don't think so, look at the administration of Bill Clinton and guess again.) And he won the Cold War.

Aside: It is your Maximum Leader's belief that Ronald Reagan will be the last true ideological president we will elect. With the 24 hour news cycle what it is (and the high level of scrutiny that candidates go through) it is so improbable that any "true believer" of any political stripe will be elected. We will be stuck with left-center, right-center, or center candidates from now on.

There are the top five. The complete list will appear sometime later today or tomorrow. List away!

Carry on.

February 18, 2004

Kerry, Bush, and War Leadership

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wanted to chime in on the whole Bush National Guard issue.

First to address the Post Article by Richard Cohen that the Minister of Agriculture quoted extensively below. Logical fallicy. Cohen is arguing that because HE did precisely the things that the Kerry/Terrry McAuliffe/Democratic Operative people are saying about Bush; then Bush did the same things. Or, at least, Cohen strongly infers that because it was easy to sign up for the Guard, skip service, and still get paid; that it was easy to do and Bush could have done the same thing. But the thing Cohen doesn't do is provide any proof whatsoever that Bush's National Guard record is anything less or more than the President has said it is. Cohen relates an interesting and topical anecdote and wants the reader to join him in his own preconceived notion of the nature of the President's Guard service. It's an enjoyable and well-written column that means nothing. (Like much of the "Oh look at me I'm a progressive! Niether a liberal nor a conservative; just progressive!" blather that the Minister of Agriculture blogs from time to time...)

Next, and more importantly, what is the point of all of this carrying on about Bush's time in the National Guard. The point(s) appear to be 1) Bush lied! Just like he lied about Iraq! 2) Bush is unfit to be Commander in Chief because he never served in battle (and had the opportunity) 3) Bush's National Guard service makes Kerry's heroic war record look even more heroic and presidential.

Let's deal with these items. Bush lied. Did he? For years all your Maximum Leader ever heard was that he was in the National Guard and flew fighter/interceptors. And so he did. He got paid for service. He also said he was honourably discharged. All these things are true. The Dems are saying that there is a period where he was AWOL, and this makes him a liar. While Bush has released a considerable portion of his records from the Guard, he did seem to bungle the release "everything" stage. It is the job of the Press to assume that that which was not released somehow is proof of him covering up something nefarious. Of course, in reality, we just don't know. Your Maximum Leader is sure that more records will be released. And more people will come forward saying how great Lt. Bush was in Guard. And for every faithful Bush-adherent, there will be a feckless Bush-detractor who will directly contradict everything everyone on the other side said. In the end the Dems are hoping to get the "Bush lied" moniker to stick. They hope to create linkage between this "lie" and the "Iraq WMD lie."

Since your Maximum Leader brought it up. Let's just touch on the "Iraq WMD lie," shall we? The Dems are saying that Bush lied about the Iraqi situation as a means of setting up an invasion and occupation of Iraq. Why invade and occupy Iraq? A host of different Dem reasons. They range from "Its all about Oil" to "I gotta finish off that evil man who tried to kill my daddy." Your Maximum Leader will allow you to choose your own imbecillic conspiracy theory. Your Maximum Leader's dim view of human nature (and the American attention span and the simplistic nature of the press corps) is once again confirmed. During the whole "Prelude to War" period the various member of the Bush Administration went to all the major news outlets to build support for the war. They all were prone to give highly detailed lists of reasons why invasion was in the national interest. Upon beginning a laundry list of reasons to invade Iraq the Administration official would be asked by an insipid reporter "It's all about weapons of mass destruction isn't it?" Whereupon the Administration person would say, "Yes, that's part of it." And then the follow-up questions would all be about WMD. All the questions about the war were posed from the position of WMD. Since the press was asking about it, the Administration kept talking about it. Now and again they would try to talk about the other points. But it seemed as though all anyone wanted to talk about were WMD. So that is all that was fed to us through the media. Your Maximum Leader realized that there was more to it than that. Your Maximum Leader's trusted Ministers believed there was more than that. But all anyone wanted to know about was WMD. Now that we haven't found WMD it is all "Bush lied." Your Maximum Leader wonders how many reporters have gotten the intelligence briefings the President (and key members of Congress) got? He wonders how many raw intelligence feeds the reporters got? He wonders how many raw intelligence feeds the President (and key members of Congress) got? (Not many he suspects.) Intelligence is often wrong. (Go back and read about the spy wars of WWII. Remember, the Germans didn't counter-attack on D-Day because their intelligence told them that the real attack was coming at Calais and not Normandy. How wrong they were.) If the intelligence seemed shaky at the time no one seemed to think so. No one in the Administration, and no one in Congress. (Both the Senate and the House have intelligence committees that received briefings.) Now... All the press does is parrot "Where are the WMD?" As if that is all the war was about. Your Maximum Leader will not go on at length here about the benefits of the war, but he thinks they are many.

Next, Bush's National Guard service (as opposed to active duty front-line service) makes him less prepared for being Commander in Chief. Kerry's war service, on the other hand, makes him more fit. Your Maximum Leader will cite two examples of how front-line service doesn't a Commander in Chief make. The two people are Winston Churchill (the Greatest Man of the 20th Century - and one of the greatest ever to have lived) and Adolph Hitler (the most Evil Man of the 20th Century - and one of the most evil to have ever lived). Both saw action in battle. Churchill in India and Africa and WWI. Hitler in WWI. Churchill was a junior officer in India and Africa. He was a Colonel in WWI. Hitler a Corporal in WWI. Neither man's service helped him at all lead their country in war. In Churchill's case, he couldn't apply anything he did directly to leading Britain's war effort. He did have firsthand knowledge of the suffering of the common solider. But being a late-19th century cavalry officer didn't help him think strategically during WWII. He drew upon other talents for that. He was a great war leader because he had the vision it took to motivate others to win the war. He was not made a great war leader by killing Dervishes in the Sudan. Hitler on the other hand believed his military service and his suffering in WWI made him more competent as a war leader. So much so that he directed much of the German war effort. Corporal Hitler was not a strategic visionary; but he was a meddler. Thank God for that.

Neither Bush's service in the National Guard, nor Kerry's service in Vietnam, qualify them (or disqualify them) in any way to be Commander in Chief. What matters is their strategic vision. We know what Bush's is. We also know what Kerry's is. Bush is going to try to get international support for an aggressive take-the-fight-to-the-terrorists war. And if he can't get that support, he will act in what he believes is the best course for our national security. Kerry has said he is an internationalist; and would act only in accord with our "allies" and with the sanction of the "United Nations." (Quick - What are the nations united for in the United Nations? They are united in opposition to the US! Two marks to everyone who got the correct answer. Your Maximum Leader applauds you.)

So really, the Guard issue is a non-issue if you look at it from the perpective of how would each man lead our national foreign policy. Bush will take a high-risk "go-it-alone-and-do-what-is-best-for-us approach." And Kerry will take a higher-risk "only-with-our-buddies-the-French/German/Russians/UN" approach. If you haven't thought of it before my minions. Think now. Realize that THERE ARE NO LOW-RISK PATHS IN OUR FOREIGN POLICY FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE. You aggressively fight the terrorists, you incite people who want to kill us and destroy our way of life and nation. You don't fight the terrorists, they continue to want to kill us and destroy our way of life and nation. You try to take the middle path and only act with broad international support against terrorists, they continue to want to kill us and destroy our way of life and nation. Hummm... Do you see a trend my minions? Don't tell me your Maximum Leader was the first to point this out. In this way your Maximum Leader is like Barry Goldwater. In your heart you know he is right.

So the last issue really seems to be Kerry is a war hero and Bush isn't. Well, no argument from your Maximum Leader on that one. Kerry is a war hero. He is a very brave man, who gallantly led his men through things that many men couldn't. He deserves our thanks and the gratefulness of the nation for that. Bush is not a war hero. Does being a war hero make you look more presidential? Maybe. Your Maximum Leader is impressed by war heros. (At least American and British ones.) But he doesn't equate heroics with presidential leadership.

And do war heros come back and bash the war they faught in? Well, some do and that is their right to do. But your Maximum Leader is not impressed by Kerry's anti-war message and congressional testimony during the 1970s. He testified to congress about how US soliders raped and pillaged villages in Vietnam. He testified about how US soliders committed atrocities against Vietnamese. Your Maximum Leader is not so naive as to believe that it didn't happen. But if Kerry had firsthand knowledge of these things, and did nothing to stop them; then he is a criminal. If he just heard about these things and repeated the stories to congress, he did nothing to help end the suffering caused by renegade soliders.

So... Where does that leave us on Bush and Kerry and the future of the War on Terror? Exactly where we were before we started to worry about National Guard service and who is the decorated war hero.

Carry on.

UPDATE FROM MAXIMUM LEADER: Added link to text of Kerry's comments to Congress. Thanks to Hugh Hewitt.

Carry on.

Tenspot on Politics.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was over on Dr. Burgess-Jackson's blog and saw he was putting a tenspot down on political observations. Your Maximum Leader will not take his bet, but thinks his comments are worth reading. And thinking about.

Carry on.


Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader loves a close primary. The polls have now closed in Wisconsin (home of the Packers) and it is too close to call. It could be Kerry. It could be Edwards. It could not (it appears) be Dean or Sharpton. So you have all this political programming with all these talking heads just sitting around trying to "make sense" of the non-results so far.

Ah... Your Maximum Leader loves to watch Chris Matthews sweat.

Carry on.

February 16, 2004

I hope I am not disappointed....

IF guard accusations are true then we really are in a predicament. The faithful followers of the last administration wanted us to forget about the Presidents foibles as inconsequential and meaningless (the current ones and the one 30 years ago).
The folks on the other side of the fence pressed these issues as a BIG deal and indicators of BAD character.

So, to prove we are not hypocrites, the electorate on the Dem side needs to forget this as "nonsense" and the Repubs need to decry the president. Sound fair?

Can I have a different by line?

By the way, I still don't know who Miss Denver is….. will I be enlightened?

Back to the trenches

Conspiracy Theory Uncovered



What They Don't Want You to Know

In order to understand mercantalism you need to realize that everything is controlled by a Packers fans made up of the Finns with help from Freemasons.

The conspiracy first started during The Great Awakening in Longwood College. They have been responsible for many events throughout history, including Trafalgar Day.

Today, members of the conspiracy are everywhere. They can be identified by sleeping in the nude.

They want to Skullfuck the Maximum Leader and imprison resisters in the University of Virginia using camels.

In order to prepare for this, we all must mutiny. Since the media is controlled by Smallholder we should get our information from the Foreign Minister.

More on Bush in the Guard

When I blogged about the whole National Guard thing earlier, I was primarily interested in the partisan lens through which people compared Clinton's student deferment and Bush's service. It seems that the can of worms is much messier.

The following blog is on top of all the briefing materials:


Bush said he would release his records and then didn't. Phony (politically motivated) recollections. Phone calls from political heavyweights to make sure Guard officials didn't distract Lt. Bush from important campaign-related events with petty demands that he show up for training. But the money exchange is Helen Thomas and Scott McClellan (Posted Feb 13) in which Helen seems to be doing research on a community-service sentence article. Poor McClellan.

Do I think avoiding Vietnam is a disqualification for public office? I do not. Hell, if I had been alive back then I hope I would have been smart enough to avoid Vietnam too - and I would have had to been smart since my dairy-farming family had no connections that could get me into the Guard. However, if Bush's main campaign plank is character and he is revealed, once again, to have been disingenuous about his past/criminal record, it might be worth noting. That said, I can't see how Thomas could be writing a story about the President being sentenced for a crime during his guard years; how the hell would a public record like a conviction have remained hidden after all these years? Someone would have found it four years ago. One would think.

Dave Barry on Winston Churchill

The Maximum Leader will enjoy this:

But that is the imperfect nature of our political system. As the late Winston Churchill once said: "Democracy is the … the … (WHAM)." Winston was on his 17th glass of gin when he said this, and would have broken his nose had he not landed face-first on a member of the British Royal Family, who, fortunately, was lying on the floor at the time.

From Dave Barry

Via Analphilosopher

Denver Girl

In an earlier post I proposed blogger blind dates. I didn't think much would come of it. My intention was to give the FM's ego a little boost - after all, who doesn't like to hear that attractive members of the opposite sex are interested in them? I was also trying to give the ML a chance to whup up on me a bit with a reminiscence about how Denver Girl always preferred a Mike massage to a Mark massage. Plus, I hoped to tweek my good buddy director boy -> Look at this smart, hot woman that you are missing out on because of your left-wing ideology. But alas, director boy has issued no response.

The Maximum Leader and I were talking about this and we had a good laugh. If Denver Girl perceives me as chopped liver, it must be an aberration, right? Assume all of the Naked Villainy essayists were single and looking on match.com. Smallholder would get the most interest, would he not? You decide:

Maximumleader: Well-read, witty corporate executive seeks...

Airmarshal: Successful PhD Rocket scientist seeks...

Foreign Minister: World-traveling raconteur former football star seeks...

Big Hominid: World-traveling, poetry writing philosopher seeks...

And, (prepare yourself ladies):

Smallholder: Grey-haired, poverty-ridden teacher and small farmer seeks...


In actuality, only the Poet Laureate is childless and unmarried. Anyone interested should check out his blog: Bighominid.blogspot.com and post a love note in his "vile viturperation" You can thank me later, Kevin.

P.S. Does it seem odd to anyone that blogger's spellcheck does not know "blog" or "blogger?"

Hey Foreign Minister!

Call me a Republican now. I dog dare ya.

Note to Religious Types

I try to base my opinions on reason. But I understand that there are people out there who don't like reason when it conflicts with their prejudices (see: The Maximum Leader on gay marriage). I understand that there are Christians out there who use our Lord to advance their hate-mongering agenda.

Note to hate-mongering fundamentalists: STOP HIJACKING MY RELIGION! What part of "Love thy neighbor" don't you understand? Do you think your condemnatory tactics and attempt to impose a Christian character on public institutions saves souls? Shut the Frick up! (I had to clean up that last bit since I was appealing on religious grounds)

One wonders why fundamentalists need to demonize other groups. Is it so they can feel better about their sad lives? Try learning to think independently and you may be able to get better jobs and have better inter-personal relationships. Can't land a good job in the science sector? Could it be that your blind adherence to an errant Creationist doctrine keeps you from understanding the Lord's creation? Read history, my friends. Every single time the church has put itself in opposition to science (remember Galileo?) the church has lost. And that's not because God was wrong - oh no - it was because some knuckleheads in positions of authority were a-feared of modernity and tried to use religion to suppress inquiry.

The whole point of the Protestant Reformation was that people should read the Bible and apply their individual reason to the text. But is seems that far to many fundamentalist protestants have turned off their individual reasoning skills and have allowed their preachers to TELL them what to think.

Independent thought is one of the neat things that has evolved out of Christianity. I tend (and this is not a reason-based position to reject it if you will) to believe that the kind of free, open society where we use individual thoughts and move beyond the historical prejudices of holy writ lead to a stronger, more just, and more economically vibrant society. Christians eventually moved away from sex discrimination, effectively doubling the brainpower of our population. Could that be why we have more technological innovation than Islamic society? Religions tend to promise success to their followers. Look around. A nation that is TOLERANTLY Christian is the most successful nation by almost any measure. If success is the mark of divine approval, perhaps a tolerant society is favored by the deity. I'm just sayin'.

Kilgore Trout is a wise man

Check out Kilgore's blog. He reduces the elements of the gay marriage debate very succinctly. I particularly like how he uses atypical language that may make people think outside the boxes they have come to inhabit.

Things on the civil rights front are moving much faster than I thought they would and I expect that people who believe in equality will triumph over the merchants of hate and discrimination within the next few years. I am particularly pleased that the debate seems to have shifted. The discrimination have recognized (de facto) that discrimination is unconstitutional - they now confine themselves to bleating about a constitutional amendment (which would not be needed if the discrimination was currently legal).

I am starting to believe that many Americans who cling to the "Ewww! Gays are gross" meme will stop and think very carefully about the first proposed constitutional amendment that is aimed at taking rights away from a minority group (yes, Maximum Leader, prohibition and income tax took away rights - but they took them away from everybody equally). I believe (hope?) that Joe Snuffy will say "Well, I may not like them homosexuals, but, by God, America is about the expansion of rights, not discrimination" and will reject the amendment.

February 15, 2004


It's my understanding that the medals Kerry threw weren't even his own.

There's gotta be an online source about this somewhere...


Apologies...... you are a dyed in the wool Progressive

I have been away from the Computer recently as a group of our friends from the UK are visiting for the long weekend. Upon my return to the swiveling chair in front of said computer, I see that there has been some activity here.

Oh Minister of Agriculture, do forgive me. As I do not have time to sift back through the archives to cut and paste your Right Wing leaning posts, I will acquiesce with the M of A and recant my charge that he is on the verge of becoming a Conservative Republican.

Do I get my cabbage now?


I find it a hoot that this is the first time since ???? that a military service record has ever been an issue for the DEMOCRATIC party. It will be interesting once things heat up and the gloves come off. I can't wait to hear Kerry defend his other Vietnam record. The one that has him throwing away his medals and riding in cars with Jane Fonda.

Now I am intrigued.
Who is the Lass from Denver?
Do I know her?
Details please gentlemen!

Back to the trenches….

February 12, 2004

Colin gets angry!

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has always wondered how he would repond to Congressmen should he ever have to testify in front of a Congressional Committee. Let him just say that he would react less politely than did Secretary of State, Colin Powell. If your Maximum Leader had to deal with Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) it might go like this:

Ackerman: Truth is the first casualty of war.
ML: No Mr. Ackerman, you are the first casualty of war. For I intend to have you liquidated and your family relocated.
Ackerman: Uh... Mr. Chairman! The witness is being beligerent.
ML: Mr. Ackerman what is it to be? Beheading? The Rack? A Pack of wild dogs? Gangbanged to death by a group of dwarves?
Ackerman: Mr. Chairman! Make him stop! He's scaring me now.
ML: Mr Chairman... Really... If you knew what was good for you; you would send that shrill toad somewhere where decent people wouldn't be nauseated by his grotesque deformities.
Ackerman: I'm not grotestquely deformed.
ML: Give the dwarves time. You'll hardly recognize yourself...
Ackerman: Mommy. (wimper)
ML: Now who was going to be the next dimwitted interlocutor in this circus proceeding?

Ah yes... That is how it would go.

Carry on.

Finally... Others get it.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is very pleased to read this. Your Maximum Leader has tried to read Ulysses many times. But it doesn't go anywhere! It is a boring overwritten story. Money line from the Reuters article:
Journalist Sean Moncrieff, writing in the Irish Examiner, said Ulysses would never see the light of day if written now.

"What happens in Ulysses?" he asked.

"Well, not much. Bloom has breakfast. Goes to a funeral. Wanders around Dublin a bit. Stephen Dedalus does the same. Gets pissed (drunk) and makes a fool of himself. They both go home."

"Send that plot outline to any modern publisher and see how far you get."


Carry on.

February 11, 2004

Blogger blind dates

A friend from the Maximum Leader and I's college days has recently became single. She asked the Maximum Leader if his cute friend, our very own Foreign Minister, was a set-up possibility. What am I, chopped liver?

Of course, like the Foreign Minister, I am married and a father. But still. It would have been nice to have been thought of.

At any rate, our friend lives in Denver. She may not have the big nose Kilgore Trout seeks, but her svelte figure seems to match his other requirements. What is the etiquette of setting up someone of whom you know nothing other than their blog?

Actually, come to think of it, Denver girl's appetites might scare the bejeezus out of shy retiring Trout.

The real internet set-up I would like to see is Annika with our Hollywood director friend. It'd be fun to see her talk politics with one of the major supporters of moveon.org. Of course, as charming as Rob is, she might overlook his raving left-wing tendencies. But my money says she would beat him to death with his own severed arms. Fun either way.