June 28, 2004

Hegel and our times.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was thinking the other day about a number of different things when driving back from having lunch with the AirMarshal in DC. During lunch the AirMarshal stated that he didn't think that Ronald Reagan's historical legacy will be as glowing as the recent outpouring of funeral tributes would have us believe. Your Maximum Leader disagreed. But it caused him to think some more about it.

Recently Jonah Goldberg wrote a column on NRO discussing how in retrospect certain actions look more important to us now than they did at the time they happened. Goldberg mentioned Reagan's pullout of the Marines from Lebanon as one of these actions. At the time it seemed like the reasonable thing to do. But in retrospect, it may have shown Arabs that the US didn't have the resolve to fight when confronted by terror. Goldberg quoted historian R.C. Collingwood's assertion that each generation must redefine its own history.

This caused your Maximum Leader to think about Hegel and his musings (if a German philosopher can be properly said to "muse" about anything) on history. If you remember, Hegel wrote, in his treatise "The Philosophy of History," that history is an upward cycle of progress through a form described as thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. (That is to say an idea arises - the thesis, its opposite arises - the antithesis, and the conflict between the two causes a new thesis - the synthesis to be created. Hegel does not use this terminology, but instead refers to the Aristoliean dialectic.) History is a cycle by which the "World Spirit" evolves over time in what Hegel supposes we would define as progress. The ultimate goal of history being the realization of the "Spirit;" which is Freedom.

Hegel saw the world as progressing from days when the world spirit was limited by ignorance, despotism, and the constraints of religion. But, with optimism uncharacteristic of a German, Hegel saw that the spirit was manifesting itself in his time more greatly than in any previous epoch. He likely assumed that this progress would continue into the future.

In 1992, Francis Fukuyama wrote a controversial book in which he declared an "end to history." Of course, if people had read more than the title of the book on the dust jacket they would have not thought the work to be so controversial. Fukuyama is a Hegelian. In his book he theorized that since anglo-western liberal democracy had triumphed over communism/fascism in the battle of ideas commonly called the 20th Century we had reached an "end of history" in the sense of a new synthesis had been developed and we were entering a new age. A new age, in a Hegelian sense.

Of course at the time it was hard to guess what the antithesis of the triumphant thesis of anglo-western liberal democracy was. We still may be too close to our present world situation to adequately identify the antithesis Fukuyama was looking for.

This is the point that your Maximum Leader has been pondering. Is Islamo-fascism the antithesis to anglo-western liberal democracy. And if it is, does the world risk falling back into a new dark age. Made more sinister by the likes of theocratic Nazis?

Unless your Maximum Leader missed something, the goal of people like Usama Bin Laden, Al-Zharqawi, and their ilk is to redress the grievances suffered by Islam and restore the true faith to its place atop the world stage. Restoring a lost time when Islam was the beacon of the world.

So the choice on is asked to make is one between liberal western democracy, or Islamic fascism. Humm... What a choice.

If the antithesis of liberal anglo-western democracy is in fact near-eastern Islamofascism it would seem, if we viewed things like a Hegelian, that the world-historical forces advancing the Spirit would be destined to win. But assuming that advances in the Spirit (remember, the Spirit is human freedom) are not inevitable, doesn't that mean we must soberly examine the courses we must take in our actions.

By this your Maximum Leader means shouldn't we carefully examine our national foreign policy (among other things) and see how we must act.

This now brings your Maximum Leader on to the subject at hand, Iraq. Wow! Did you catch that handover of power today? Who'da thunk that we'd be so sneaky and give them control over their country two whole days early? What does this transfer of power mean really?

Not much for a while. But it is an important first step. Iraq is now one of the primary battlefields in the war against Islamic extremists. It is a battlefield that was created by the US liberation. How we proceed now, and how the Iraqis proceed is of outmost importance. We must continue to fight against our enemies in Iraq. We must go into Fallujah and the other cities that we have allowed to descend into a Hobbesian state of nature and crush the resistance there. But we must also continue to work with sensible Iraqis (and the interim government seems to have enough of them) to help them advance the world-historical Spirit against forces that would shackle them to a past that did not exist the way our enemies think it did, and shouldn't be allowed to come into being.

Carry on.

June 26, 2004

down with censorship!

I just sent a letter to a bunch of bloggers, and cc'ed it to a couple news organizations, and also made sure it would reach the South Korean MIC (Ministry of Information and Culture). One possible consequence is that the MIC will start hunting down proxy sites; then again, they might be doing this already. Be warned. This fight might see several twists and turns before it's over.

My letter:

Fellow blogger,

I am sending this message to the bloggers on my blogroll (and a few other folks) in the hopes that some of you will print this, or at least find it interesting enough for comment. I'm not usually the type to distribute such messages, but I felt this was important enough to risk disturbing you.

As some of you may already know, a wing of the South Korean government, the Ministry of Information and Culture (MIC), is currently clamping down on a variety of blogging service providers and other websites. The government is attempting to control access to video of the recent Kim Sun-il beheading, ostensibly because the video will have a destabilizing influence. (I haven't seen the video.)

Many Western expat bloggers in Korea are in an uproar; others, myself included, are largely unsurprised: South Korea has not come far out of the shadow of its military dictatorship past. My own response to this censorship is not so much anger as amusement, because the situation represents an intellectual challenge as well as a chance to fight for freedom of expression. Perhaps even to fight for freedom, period.

South Korea is a rapidly evolving country, but in many ways it remains the Hermit Kingdom. Like a turtle retreating into its shell, the people are on occasion unable to deal with the harsh realities of the world around them. This country is, for example, in massive denial about the atrocities perpetrated in North Korea, and, as with many Americans, is in denial about the realities of Islamic terrorism, whose roots extend chronologically backward far beyond the lifetime of the Bush Administration. This cultural tendency toward denial (and overreaction) at least partially explains the Korean government's move to censor so many sites.

The fact that the current administration, led by President Noh Mu-hyon, is supposedly "liberal"-leaning makes this censorship more ironic. It also fuels propagandistic conservative arguments that liberals are, at heart, closet totalitarians. I find this to be a specious caricature of the liberal position (I consider myself neither liberal nor conservative), but to the extent that Koreans are concerned about what image they project to the world, it is legitimate for them to worry over whether they are currently playing into stereotype: South Korea is going to be associated with other violators of human rights, such as China.

Of the many hypocrisies associated with the decision to censor, the central one is that no strong governmental measures were taken to suppress the distribution of the previous beheading videos (Nick Berg et al.). This, too, fuels the suspicion that Koreans are selfish or, to use their own proverbial image, "a frog in a well"-- radically blinkered in perspective, collectively unable to empathize with the sufferings of non-Koreans, but overly sensitive to their own suffering.

I am writing this letter not primarily to criticize all Koreans (I'm ethnically half-Korean, and an American citizen), nor to express a generalized condemnation of Korean culture. As is true anywhere else, this culture has its merits and demerits, and overall, I'm enjoying my time here. No, my purpose is more specific: to cause the South Korean government as much embarrassment as possible, and perhaps to motivate Korean citizens to engage in some much-needed introspection.

To this end, I need the blogosphere's help, and this letter needs wide distribution (you may receive other letters from different bloggers, so be prepared!). I hope you'll see fit to publish this letter on your site, and/or to distribute it to concerned parties: censorship in a supposedly democratic society simply cannot stand. The best and quickest way to persuade the South Korean government to back down from its current position is to make it lose face in the eyes of the world. This can only happen through a determined (and civilized!) campaign to expose the government's hypocrisy and to cause Korean citizens to rethink their own narrow-mindedness.

We can debate all we want about "root causes" with regard to Islamic terrorism, Muslim rage, and all the rest, but for me, it's much more constructive to proceed empirically and with an eye to the future. Like it or not, what we see today is that Korea is inextricably linked with Iraq issues, and with issues of Islamic fundamentalism. Koreans, however, may need some persuading that this is in fact the case-- that we all need to stand together as allies against a common enemy.

If you are interested in giving the South Korean Ministry of Information and Culture a piece of your mind (or if you're a reporter who would like to contact them for further information), please email the MIC at:


Thank you,

Kevin Kim
(Blogspot is currently blocked in Korea, along with other providers; please go to Unipeak.com and type my URL into the search window to view my blog.)

PS: To send me an email, please type "hairy chasms" in the subject line to avoid being trashed by my custom-made spam filter.

PPS: Much better blogs than mine have been covering this issue, offering news updates and heartfelt commentary. To start you off, visit:


Here as well, Unipeak is the way to go if you're in Korea and unable to view the above blogs. People in the States should, in theory, have no problems accessing these sites, which all continue to be updated.

PPPS: This email is being cc'ed to the South Korean Ministry of Information and Culture. Please note that other bloggers are writing about the Korean government's creation of a task force that will presumably fight internet terror. I and others have an idea that this task force will serve a different purpose. If this is what South Korea's new "aligning with the PRC" is all about, then there's reason to worry for the future.


June 25, 2004

Lewinsky Speaks Out

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been waiting all week for the "other shoe to drop." Now it appears as though it is dropping. According to the news wires, Monica Lewinsky is "was really upset" about what Clinton is saying about her in his book and all over TV.

Now your Maximum Leader hates to be the one to break this to you Monica, but you shouldn't be surprised. He didn't treat you particularly well (at least by your Maximum Leader's standards). You were essentially an object into which he could put is libidinous needs. Did you expect to be treated well? If you did, sadly you were about the only one.

Ah well. Live and learn, eh Monica?

Carry on.

June 24, 2004

Jane Goodall eat your heart out.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader scorched his sensitve nasal pasages reading the following piece from INDC. Your Maximum Leader presents, "Moonbats in the Mist." for your reading pleasure.

Carry on.

June 23, 2004

Dr. Rusty makes us laugh

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader tries to read Dr. Rusty's site every day. This post gave your Maximum Leader a chuckle.

Of course we know that Dr. Rusty must not be terribly fluent with his translation. The first censored line that the good Doctor renders as "What up G-Dawgs?" should really be rendered as "Shoutin' out to my peeps." Not that your Maximum Leader is going to make an issue of it. Vernacular after all.

Carry on.

Another sign...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader hasn't been blogging much of late. He has been taking care of family business at the Villainschloss and enjoying it. But, he thought he would submit the following item from the news wires. In case you hadn't seen it. U.S. Dominance of Skies May Wane.

Perhaps the AirMarshal would care to comment.

Carry on.

June 22, 2004

A little election humor

From an e-mail I received:

"This a case of a "good" idea not really thought out very well.

"The backstory is as follows: earlier this month, the web site for the Bush-Cheney campaign - the real one, paid for by MBNA America and Richard Scaife - featured a "create your own banner" tool, where you could enter your own slogan and print out your own poster, with the Bush-Cheney logo, and a note at the bottom - "paid for by Bush-Cheney 04, Inc."

"Democrats, of course, couldn't get enough of this. The original sloganator accepted everything, then it started censoring profanity and words like "Hitler," "dictator," and "evil." Nevertheless, many clever folks exploited the sloganator to their own ends before its sad demise only a couple of weeks after its birth, and its mourners assembled some of the best for the slideshow."

Just a few laughs between election opponents provided by your Minister of Propoganda, who urges you to vote FOR the Geneva Conventions in '04.


Ferguson's essay/ Europe

Ferguson essay on an apolar world is very interesting. History seems to be a series of peaks and valleys. Our recent concept of progress, and a constant state of improvement, is a relatively new concept. The peaks seem to get higher and higher as we build on past achievements, and the valleys seem lower and lower by comparison. Ferguson speaks more eloquently about this, and the global situation than I can, so I'll leave it to the reader to come to his or her own conclusions.

As for Europe emerging as a world power... Hah. The foundation of European power has been colonization, and bringing in revenue from around the globe. Now, Europe has no colonies, a dwindling and aging population, and little relevance outside it's own continent.

Europe is like the old Grandmother who won't stop talking at a family event. People will let her rant on out of respect for her, but noone really pays attention to her or cares what she says. Yes, Grandmother may have been beautiful, and relevant in her day, but her day is long gone. Grandmother doesn't care about younger people, or today's issues. She talks about films released 50 years ago, news stories from WWII, and people who lived the better part of a century ago. And periodically she'll tell you about her latest health concern. Still, you listen to be polite. Inside you hope she'll either shut up, or learn to listen, but you know that won't happen.

Europe thinks she's the matriarch still deserving to run the family. The reality is quite different.

And on the subject of the European Union, I've always wondered what the foundation for power for the EU is. In America, we believe that power flows from the ground up. "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed". Where's the power base for the EU? It seems to have a top down philosophy. That power comes from the governments themselves. This bothers me. A logical extension of this would be that rights are things to be given to the citizens, by the government. This has profound implications.

June 21, 2004

Something to boost your morale...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was trying to catch up on the day's readings when he started to review the Opinion Journal site. Your Maximum Leader read Niall Ferguson's latest there.

Your Maximum Leader recently received a copy of Ferguson's new book, Colossus. Alas, he hasn't started it yet, but from the introduction (and from other articles Ferguson has written), it looks to be a thought provoking read. Not at all unlike the Opinion Journal piece.

Your Maximum Leader hasn't really given much thought to an apolar world. Mainly because your Maximum Leader has always assumed that China or India would fill in the other superpower status (recently vacated by the late Soviet Union). Your Maximum Leader has never believed that Europe would act as a counterbalance to the US, or even gain superpower status. It is an odd collective. Certainly not the Borg, but then again hardly even a Confederacy.

So what happens to the world if the US retreats from its world power status? Would an apolar world develop? One ruled by theocratic impulses like in the 10th Century? Would we devolve into isolated polis? Well, probably not isolated polis... But Ferguson does paint a rather bleak picture of an apolar world.

Is this one of those times when historical analogy might not apply?

Carry on.

June 20, 2004

Churchill Inspires.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader and his loyal Minister of Agriculture spent a little time together yesterday. We went to the Library of Congress to see the Churchill and the Great Republic Exhibition.

It was a fascinating exhibit. Mostly papers and written artifacts of Churchill's life. Among the highlights were some of the letters Churchill wrote to his father and monther; to his wife; and to political friends. Also of great interest were a number of his most famous speeches. The speeches were ditctated by Churchill to a secretarial pool (normally at night). The secretaries then typed up the speech, and gave it to Churchill for revision. On exhibit were his famous speech to the House of Commons on June 4th, 1940. The speech contains the lines:
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,...
It was so interesting to see the corrections and additions to the speech written in Churchill's hand.

Among the interesting articfacts that your Maximum Leader will surely possess for himself in the MWO is a 10 Shilling Note. The note is signed by Churchill, FDR, George Patton, Louis Mountbatten, Ernest King, and others. Your Maximum Leader saw it and coveted it immediately. Your Maximum Leader was also covetous of a place-card signed by Churchill, FDR, and Stalin.


Your Maximum Leader and his Minister of Agriculture were reading a cable from Churchill to Anthony Eden (his Foreign Secretary) about the Holocaust. In the cable are the following lines:
"There is no doubt that this is probably the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world, and it has been done by scientific machinery by nominally civilised men in the name of a great State and one of the leading races of Europe. It is quite clear that all concerned in this crime who may fall into our hands, including the people who only obeyed orders by carrying out the butcheries, should be put to death after their association with the murders has been proved.... There should therefore in my opinion be no negotiations of any kind on this subject. Declarations should be made in public, so that everyone connected with it will be hunted down and put to death."
After reading these lines the Minister of Agriculture turned to your Maximum Leader and said, "We should make a statement like this about the people who killed Paul Johnson."

Your Maximum Leader agrees wholeheartedly, even enthusiastically. While not wanting to appear too bloodthirsty, he does want to make sure the murderous thugs who did this are hunted down and put to death. There can be no negotiations with these people. They are not rational actors capable of keeping any agreement they enter into. They are only deserving of death.

Carry on.

June 17, 2004

Unapologetic and Shameless

At first I thought that the lack of connection between Saddam and al Quaeda was old news, but then Bush continues to make up a story about it. Bush's Iraq failures are massive, and yet he continues to blame everyone else. Even retired military officials, who normally avoid public political statements, are speaking out.

Voting for Bush is an endorsement of his failures. Whatever course President Kerry follows, it will not be a radical shift of policy (Democrats in this day and age, after all, want to be the new Republicans). A "regime change," however, will allow us to conduct the national debate we should have had before the war. Bush is unrepentent. He should take that attitude straight back to Texas. There has been much talk lately about how Reagan made America feel good again about itself, and W, wants to assume the same mantle. Leaving Reagan's legacy aside, is G.W. Bush really the guy we'd want to make us feel good?

America is the world's only superpower: we are the only nation with both global power and global reach. I'm a patriot and I'm proud of what our nation has achieved. I served in our military and I love what our military can accomplish. However, I would actually prefer to live in a country that accepts that awesome responsiblity with humility and caution; a country that perhaps expresses a little self-doubt before it acts rather than a country that follows an emotional course of action and then rallies unrepentently around it's mistakes. When you have true power, you don't have to constantly prove it. If you have the authority to discipline someone at work, for example, you can afford to be gracious in it's execution -- humilitating or embarrassing your subordinate is an unnecessary personal indulgence. Understanding that difference is called leadership, and that's something that the Bush administration is never going to get.


June 16, 2004

Health Insurance

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been thinking about something he heard on NPR for a few days now. On June 4th your Maximum Leader was driving about in the Villainmobile and wanted to raise his blood-pressure some by listening to NPR. That day they played one of the few token commentaries aimed at people of your Maximum Leader's political tendencies. The commentary (audio link from NPR.org) was by Dr. Merrill Matthews of the Institute for Policy Innovation.

In case you are not planning on listening to what Matthews had to say, allow your Maximum Leader to summarize the key idea. Health insurance is, by and large, an employer benefit extended to workers. This grew out of an IRS ruling stating that corporations could deduct health insurance costs from their corporate income taxes. Matthews went on to say that this system may have well suited us in the 1950s-1970s when American workers didn't change jobs often. But now that workers change jobs with some frequency, we ought to consider new ways of approaching private health insurance. Matthews suggested that organizations and interest groups provide health insurance for their members. He cited how the AARP grew in the 1960s because it provided health insurance for retired workers before the creation of Medicare. Matthews suggests that people, who are likely to change jobs frequently, are not as likely to change the organizations to which they belong. For example, you may change jobs, but you will likely belong to Greenpeace or the NRA for a long time. Why not allow Greenpeace or the NRA to be your health care insurer?

Your Maximum Leader is fascinated by this idea. Your Maximum Leader, for one, would prefer to get his health insurance through some organization with which he wants to affiliate. The NRA is a fine example. If you agree with the goals and aims of the NRA, and they offered you a health plan that would meet your needs why wouldn't you go with them? The NRA is a larger organization than most businesses. (Since most of American businesses are small businesses.) They would have more organizational buying power than would most businesses. They could fight for lower costs, and win.

Using this method might also allow you to buy health insurance that believes in the things you believe. Let's say, for argument, that you are a Roman Catholic man. And you adhere to most of the teachings of the Catholic Church. You might prefer to be covered through the Knights of Columbus. The Knights policy might not offer coverage in health-related areas that are not in accord with Catholic theology. For example, any sort of birth control for your wife (or daughter) might not be covered.

But what if you're not a traditional Catholic man? Suppose you want birth control covered? And elective abortions? Well, if you are a woman, you might want your health insurance covered through the National Organization for Women. (And if your Maximum Leader is not mistaken, men may also join NOW. But your Maximum Leader would be surprised if they chose to cover Viagra prescriptions.)

Of course, this type of plan is fraught with potential problems. The first and foremost would be the most self-evident. Would corporations pay workers in salary the amount they are now paying for health insurance? Especially since that salary isn't tax deductible any more. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you are executive assistant to a VP in your company. You currently earn $19.23/hr (or about $40K/year) before taxes. Your fully-loaded cost to the company (salary and insurance) might be closer to $25/hr (or about $52K/year). Would your employer, if he did not provide health insurance under the plan we are discussing, actually pay the worker $25/hr?

Your Maximum Leader is inclined to believe most small businesses would gladly pay workers the money to save themselves the headache of managing their own health insurance plans. (A non-employer-based plan may be fairer to small business owners who are prohibited from participating in their own company plans - but would not be prohibited from joining an organization.) Big corporations (GE, IBM, Microsoft types) might be disinclined to do so. Although one would have to see how much savings they could realize by eliminating the huge departments that currently administer their employee health insurance plans.

The next big problem would likely be the tax status of the organizations that choose to offer insurance. How would the NRA be classified if in addition to being a not-for-profit interest group and (potentially) one of the largest providers of health insurance in the land?

There are many vexing issues here. But these are ideas that ought to be explored further. This idea is one that could provide less-expensive comprehensive medical care to most Americans. It also might help to fight political apathy among many Americans. If you get your health insurance statement and it also included a list of Bills before the Congress that relate to issues in which you're interested, wouldn't you pay closer attention to what your Congressman was doing? Would you like a helpful notice indicating that your prescription co-pay for Lasix is going up; but if your state legislature passes HR-1234, ammunition for your .45 will be cheaper and you can more easily afford to lower your blood pressure by shooting off a few rounds at the range?

Fascinating subject. Your Maximum Leader will attempt to find some other White Papers on this subject and read over them.

Carry on.

Many gracious thanks.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader thanks each and every one of you who wished him a happy birthday. Special thanks must go to the Poet Laureate and the AirMarshal for their birthday posts.

For the record, everything in the Poet Laureate's post is true. And only part of what the AirMarshal wrote is... Heh...

In case you were interested, Yahoo provides a completely meaningless listing of facts associated with your Maximum Leader's birthday. The History Channel also has such a page.

All in all, the day has been a good one. Among the tribute received by your Maximum Leader were some books, some DVDs, and a record. The Villainettes informed their sainted father that he would be receiving a photo of Ronald Reagan to be framed and matted with the Laying-in-State card he got at the US Capitol. So that is something which will be greatly anticipated.

Of course, what your Maximum Leader didn't get was a photo (or even a photoshop forgery) of a beautiful female reader wearing a Nakedvillainy Thong or T-shirt (or both). Sadly that gift will have to wait for another time... (Female minions, remember! Any day you send a photo of yourself to your Maximum Leader is a good day for your Maximum Leader.)

Now we must all await the arrival of the wee Villain. Which should happen at any moment now...

Carry on.

June 15, 2004

Happy Birthday to the Dude Man Himself

Well, I wrote a Friar's Roast type of post slamming good old MaxLdr, but in light of his Alcoholism, Upcoming obscenity trial, and failing health, I thought I'd just take a stroll down memory lane.

Althought I've known him since 1982 or so... he's only been cool since 1986, so I'll start there.

- Summer 1986. ML enlists our help to aid in his parent's move to another townhouse.

- Winter Spring 1986/87. ML, myself and another friend appear twice on It's Academic on TV. The first time, we trounce two other teams. The second time we get trounced by Catholic High School girls. Didn't help that one was playing footsie with ML under the podium

- Spring 1987. ML organizes a high school trip to New York for a Model United Nations. The rest of us party it up and try to sabatoge it. He takes it seriously. His loss. For the record, it was I who threw the butthole surfers tape out of the 14th story window. It was also I who sent threatening messages to the South African ambassador.

- Also Spring of 1987. ML makes an English teacher cry. Just to show that he can.

- Summer 1987. ML enlists our help to aid in his parent's move to another townhouse.

- Thanksgiving 1987. ML comes home from college dressed like something out of Miami Vice. ("Friends" makes fun of this in flashbacks FYI... with Chandler and Ross). ML also has a mustache about 3 years before he should have even tried to grow one. It looked like Chocolate milk on his upper lip. Coupled with the wrinkled flannel jacket with the sleeves rolled up, he's a vision of the 80's. After absorbing a decade's worth of abuse from us in one night, we never, ever see the outfit again. He refuses to shave though.

- Summer 1988. ML enlists our help to aid in his parent's move to another townhouse.

- Summer 1989. ML's parents finally BUY a damn townhouse. ML enlists our help to aid in his parent move to said townhouse.

- Summer 1989. Boasting how he never got sick on alcohol, ML spent a night in Blacksburg puking his guts out after polishing off a fifth of Glenfiddich and playing SuperMario brothers. I have since heard him boast of never getting sick on alcohol. Uh huh. Sure.

- Summer 1989. Running by the GOP Governor's headquarters prior to a Grateful Dead concert, ML and I run into the late Lee Atwater. ML stutters like an idiot, but later will recount to listeners how at that meeting, he gave Atwater the strategy for the 1992 campaign. Atwater's brain then explodes, and Clinton becomes president.

- Summer 1991. After five years as a leech on friends with cars, ML is finally forced to learn to drive due to a job. He uses my new car to take the test, and promptly buys a manly little red civic. He gets a vanity tag though, to protect his macho ego.

- Late December 1994. After watching Peyton Manning dismantle my Va Tech Hokies in the Gator Bowl, we have a fun filled day in DisneyWorld. Amazingly fun road trip.

- Summer 1995. Recuperating from major knee surgery (no joke) after seriouly blowing out my knee while rollerblading slowly on a straight and level surface (no joke), ML and BigHo come to visit me and spend the weekend waiting on my every whim and need.

- Late Summer 1995. ML and I take a cross country roadtrip including stops at Graceland (where I refused to enter), The Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas. It was in Vegas where ML vanished for four hours in the middle of the night. I noticed we had to stop by a pharmacy for some penicillin the following morning, and that cold sore took forever to go away.

- September 1997. In my Blacksburg appartment, I get a phone call from ML from the hospital. He's holding his newborn baby girl in his arms and blubbering about how beautiful his baby is. I've never heard him so sentimental, emotional, and heartfelt. I teased him about it for a while. Then in April 2001, holding my new baby girl in my arms, I finally understood what he was saying, and I have teased him no more. About this instance, that is. I tease him all the time about everything else.

- Spring 1999. Serving as Godfather to ML's second daughter, I had visions of the Christening being a somber occasion as in the film "Godfather" where we exacted revenge upon our enemies while renouncing satan. Two problems. We have no real enemies, and neither one of us really felt like renouncing satan. The other problam was that baby E puked all over my wife.

- May 2001. Being an Agnostic married into a quasi-psycho Catholic family, religion is a challenge for me, and the Christening of my daughter was an especilly tough day. ML and especially Mrs. Villain did a phenomenal task of making the day easier on me. The priest delivered a homily in which he told the parish they didn't have the right to think or read scripture for themselves, and then he got mean. I remember feeling sick to my stomach, looking over my shoulder at ML, and another close friend who both gave me looks that were at once sympathetic and absurd. It made the day a little easier.

- May 2004. ML agrees to be the Godfather for my soon-to-be born daughter MH (due in July). I hope that she returns the favor and pukes all over him...all will have come full circle...

in honor of the Maximum Leader's BIRTHDAY (June 15)

I write you now in my capacity as Poet Laureate of the Mike World Order. Today, fellow minions, we celebrate the holy birth of our Maximum Leader, and as you do every year on this most auspicious day, you gather outside the awe-inspiring Villainschloss, rain or shine, and listen with rapt attention as I recite vignettes from the adventurous life of our Maximum Leader.


Your Maximum Leader was born of two great cosmic forces: Time and Struggle. He shot like a lightning bolt out of his mother's eye socket and declared, "I am prophet, sage, lover, and leader of you all." All the creatures in the cosmos sang with joy and paid the Maximum Leader obeisance, bestowing on him the Crown of Might, the Shield of Justice, the G-String of Cleverness, and the Codpiece of Eternal Glory.

But the dwarves did not do obeisance, and they brought no gifts, and for this they were cursed to be forever and roundly beaten by the Maximum Leader and all his loyal minions. In time, the dwarves repented of their stubbornness, but to this day the Maximum Leader does not forgive them their primordial transgression.


The Maximum Leader had been out spearhunting all day. It was during a period of rest that he happened upon a beautiful, perfectly circular lake inside a volcanic crater, and he decided to bathe. All the creatures in the cosmos were curious, for they had never seen their Maximum Leader in his majestc nakedness before. But it is forbidden for all but the Maximum Leader's betrothed to behold him in his pristine state. The creatures gathered around the lip of the crater, straining to see what no mortal had ever beheld, and when the Maximum Leader removed Codpiece and G-String, they were struck blind and overcome with mortal agony. As all the creatures writhed about in pain, they screamed,

Praise Him!
Though we be struck blind,
and unable to find our way back to our homes,
though we be likely to die horrible deaths
from starvation and simple neglect,
all praise and honor unto our Maximum Leader!
He taketh away our sight
But our loyalty remaineth steadfast!
Lo, the pink-nippled virgins sit at their lyres
a loveliness we cannot behold
singing sweet rhapsodies in honor of His blinding glory!
Praise Him!


It was during the Maximum Leader's many hunts for wild boar (the symbol you see on the banner of Naked Villainy) that he met his friends, who in time became the Ministers of the Mike World Order.

To the Minister of Propaganda, the Maximum Leader bestowed the Horn of Naysaying and Contrariness.

To the Foreign Minister, the Maximum Leader bestowed the Righthammer.

To the Minister of Agriculture, the Maximum Leader bestowed the Cow of Plenty.

To the Air Marshal, the Maximum Leader bestowed the Missile of Priapism.

To the Poet Laureate, the Maximum Leader bestowed the Golden Anus of Chaos.

Since those glorious days, the Horn, the Hammer, the Cow, the Missile, and the Anus have stood as symbols of the munificence and magnanimity of the Maximum Leader's reign. Every child is branded with at least three of these symbols, one brand upon the sternum and two upon the buttocks. And every child's shriek is a shriek of praise for our Maximum Leader.


How famous is the tale of the Maximum Leader's seduction of his woman!

Cleverly hiding his manhood inside a bouquet of flowers, the Maximum Leader invited his loved one to choose her favorite from among them. Of course, she chose the largest and veiniest purple flower in the bunch, struck by its strangeness. "It has a terrible aspect," she whispered, "I shall pluck it and keep it in my chambers as a symbol of the changing fortunes of this world." But she proved unable to pluck the flower, no matter how she tried, and the flower grew larger and larger still with each successive attempt.

Soon the ruse could no longer be sustained, and the bouquet was destroyed by the flower's sheer massiveness. And because she was the chosen of the Maximum Leader, she was not blinded by the sight of it, but instead rode it for all it was worth. Her words during her moment of climax have been preserved for all time:


And these are the sacred words we recite in prayer before every breakfast and every supper, to remind us that indeed we are all filled with the Maximum Leader's goodness and beneficence.


It was in the aftermath of one of the worst storms to strike the realm that the Maximum Leader stood upon the highest parapet of the Villainschloss and surveyed the plight of his people with the eyes of an eagle. Maddened with grief by what he beheld, he threw several dozen dwarves off the tower, and they fell to their doom, shouting, "Praise Him!" all the while.

The Maximum Leader was too impatient to allow his many able-bodied minions to assist in reparations. Straightaway, he ran down the parapet, Codpiece glinting in the torchlight, and burst out the front gates of the Villainschloss to assist his stricken people in any way he could.

One woman, whose young son was trapped beneath an overturned carriage, cried, "Save my child!" With a single flex of his mighty buttocks, the intrepid Maximum Leader forced the carriage off the child, then claimed the child as his own and took him forthwith to the Villainschloss.

On that day, the Maximum Leader saved over twenty thousand of his people through various buttock-flexes, penis-pushups, and cleverly applied cunnilingus-- the latter technique producing the loudest cries of "Praise Him!"

But the Other Kingdom saw the realm's strife as an opportunity to attack. While the Maximum Leader's people busied themselves with repairs and rebuilding, the soldiers of the Other Kingdom stormed into our glorious realm. None of our fighting men were ready to defend hearth and home.

And in truth, all would have been lost that day, had it not been for the Maximum Leader, who faced that evil horde with only his Ministers at his side. With a great cry, the Maximum Leader charged forward. He and his loyal Ministers were only six against an army of fifty thousand, and yet they prevailed.

The silver-tongued Minister of Propaganda duped whole battalions of the enemy army into believing that there was no real danger, that this was not, in truth, a war. As they sat docilely, the Minister of Agriculture came upon them with his fierce and noble Cow of Plenty, who inundated the battalions with a horrifying torrent of equal parts milk and dung.

The Foreign Minister stood his ground, and with every blow he smashed dozens upon dozens of the enemy with the Righthammer, which always knocked opponents to the left of the wielder. The Foreign Minister waded through the army, granting a quick and merciful death to all who came too close.

The Air Marshal summoned flying steeds and rained death onto the armies from above, his Missile of Priapism causing massive arousal-- and subsequent immobility-- in the army of the enemy. His flying steeds dropped clusters of screaming, explosives-laden dwarves, decimating untold numbers of soldiers.

The Poet Laureate leapt, spun and dodged among the enemy, his Golden Anus of Chaos sowing confusion and disgust in an ever-widening circle of death. A single clench of that golden sphincter imploded the heads of the enemy army's generals, and the path was then clear for the Maximum Leader to challenge the King of the Other Kingdom to a one-on-one duel, for the King himself was leading the battle against our realm.

The ensuing combat was terrible to behold. At several points the loyal Ministers begged to come to their Maximum Leader's aid, but with a scowl and a stern warning, the Maximum Leader commanded his Ministers to stay back. The battle lasted seven days. The earth trembled, demons fled, and smoke rose from great fissures that suddenly appeared in the ground. But the outcome was never in doubt. The Maximum Leader fought with all the cleverness of his G-String, all the might of his Crown, all the justice of his shield, and all the glory of his Codpiece. In the end, the King of the Other Kingdom was beaten. He dropped to his knees, and the Maximum Leader yelled, "Close your eyes!" to his faithful Ministers, whereupon he beheaded the King with a single swipe of his ponderous manhood. Only I, your Poet Laureate, refused to close my eyes, and I beheld the terrible event by staring at the shadows on the ground. The evil King's head rolled to a stop in front of me and recited its death poem:

Felled was I by phallus-foe
My soul now flees to realms below
Truly hast thou beaten me
Hang my body on a tree
Leave me there for all to point
With my blood your folk anoint
Be at peace, this realm divine
What was my Kingdom, now is THINE!

A cry arose from the people, and they rejoiced at this great victory. I tell you, many a dwarf was beaten in celebration that evening.

And from that day to this, the realm has enjoyed boundless peace and limitless prosperity. That is why, on this day, this auspicious Day of All Days, we gather in celebration of our Maximum Leader's birth-- child of Time and Struggle, Protector of the Realm, Vanquisher of the Other Kingdom.

Praise Him!


June 14, 2004

Happy 10th anniversary!

How could we all miss it? 6/12/94 were the OJ murders. 10 years ago this past Saturday.

So now I raise my glass and toast one of the greatest travesties in American justice I've ever seen.

Here's to you OJ. You and your lawyers taught us all that justice can be bought. Here's to you OJ. Your attorneys set racial relations in America back 20 years, and did as much to tarnish the reputation of the legal profession as anyone in the past century. Oh how it warmed my heart to see African Americans cheering the release of OJ. "It wasn't just about that case, it was an indictment of blah blah blah in America." You still let a cold blooded murderer go free to make a point? Here's to you OJ, you and your jury taught us how dumb as rocks Americans can be. Here's to you OJ. You are a wife beater, a liar, a murder, an asshole and a bad actor. And you are free.


First, kill all the lawyers

June 13, 2004


Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wanted to take one more post to close out some of his thoughts on Ronald Reagan.

Earlier in the week, your Maximum Leader recounted his one minute with President Reagan. Then the made a few more observations. Then he admitted that he shed tears during the state funeral when Dick Cheney (of all people) spoke. He also said he was going to go to DC to pay his respects to Reagan.

Well, your Maximum Leader did go to Washington, to the Capitol, and did pay his respects to Ronald Reagan. It was a very moving experience. It was also sort of fun. Your Maximum Leader met a number of interesting and engaging people. None of the people he met were from the greater Washington DC area. They were from California, New Jersey, Tennessee, South Carolina, and so many other states. They were from all different political persuasions. (For example: your Maximum Leader's new friend from California, Renee is by no means a Reagan Republican - heck, she's not even a Republican. NB to Renee if you are reading this: if you can get that tape of us in the Rotunda to your Maximum Leader, he would appreciate it greatly. And he hopes your flight back to Calif. was a without incident.) But everyone who came shared a few common thoughts on the experience. They wanted to be part of history, and they wanted to pay respects to a man who changed America. (You may judge for yourself the positive or negative qualities of the change, but there was change.)

Your Maximum Leader made it through the line if five hours. If you happened to be watching C-Span around 1:30am on Friday, June 11 you would have caught a glimpse of your Maximum Leader filing through the Capitol Rotunda near the flag-draped coffin of President Reagan. For all the time we waited, there were few if any complaints. The lines moved almost continuously. There was plenty of water (most of it warm) along the line to combat the hot muggy temperature.

When your Maximum Leader finally got into the Rotunda he had a feeling of the place being small. He has been through the Capitol Rotunda hundreds of times. It is a grand soaring space. It tends to dwarf people. Of course, like the baroque architecture of the old world, the Rotunda is supposed to dwarf people. To make you feel smaller compared to the grandeur of the American Republic. The statues of great Americans (like Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and King) are larger than life. They all look down from their pedestals at the visitor. (Except Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, which is large, but at eye level.) If you look up, you see the great fresco of "the Apotheosis of Washington." It shows George Washington being greeted by the heavenly hosts. It is an awesome place. Indeed, your Maximum Leader remembers feeling proud and awestruck being there on other occasions.

But this night it seemed a bit small for the occasion. The first thing one saw after climbing the stairs from the west front of the Capitol was the President's casket on the catafalque. It seemed very large in the space. Then your eyes moved to the honour guard. Silent. Motionless. Emotionless. The soliders and sailors who performed that duty were magnificent. Then your eyes traveled around the Rotunda. Hamilton, Lincoln, Grant, Garfield all looking down at the casket in the center of the chamber. Washington, Jackson, Grant, looking distantly over the casket and the mourners. Then you looked back to the casket. As one regarded it, it seemed very large. It seemed to fill the space, and make it seem smaller.

Slowly we all filed past. We received our visitation cards. Then the crowds dispersed into the night. It was somehow a fitting start for the beginning of the last day of public remembrance.

The national funeral service was excellent. Margaret Thatcher's eulogy was superlative. George H.W. Bush's eulogy was also superb. Unfortunately, President George W. Bush's speech was rather forgettable. One would have thought that he might have had some of the old Reagan people help a little on it. And President Bush has delivered good speeches in the past. But in this case, he was overshadowed by all the other speakers. Your Maximum Leader cried during Thatcher's videotaped speech. And he continued to do so through former-President Bush's eulogy. He was able to control himself during Mulroney's and President Bush's remarks.

As far as the eulogies are concerned for the week here are your Maximum Leader's thoughts on them. Your Maximum Leader thought that Margaret Thatcher's was by far the best. Thatcher's is followed closely by Ron Reagan's (even with the jibe at President Bush) and George H.W. Bush's. Then came Vice-President Cheney's remarks. All of the others were not very memorable. (And frankly, in a few months, Cheney's may not be all that memorable.) Thatcher's eulogy put Reagan into a historical context and illustrate the greatness of the man. George H.W. Bush's and Ron Reagan's put a human face on the man and showed how Reagan could change people. Cheney's struck a number of different chords and wasn't as political as the others delivered at the state funeral. And the others were rather plain.

The "private funeral" in California was a masterpiece of imagery. It looked spectacular. Your Maximum Leader is sure that the two lasting images he will forever have in his mind of the past week's events are looking at the casket under the Capital dome; and seeing the casket, on the bier at the library in California - bathed in the shimmering gold light of the sun setting over the Pacific. If 1984 was "Morning in America," this was surely sunset in America. It was a fitting sunset indeed.

Now our official mourning is ended. We can go back, and we have gone back, to thinking about all of the issues we thought about before last Saturday. As more of Reagan's papers are released and reviewed we will gain even more historical perspective on this great man. Your Maximum Leader hopes that we will one day be able to find a national leader who embodies the optimistic spirit that Reagan did.

Carry on.

Another sign of the decline of civilization...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was perusing the news wires and found this: Mad monk's member features big in Russian erotica museum.

Now your Maximum Leader wasn't surprised when the sex museum opened in NYC. We are, after all, growing more accepting of sex despite our nation's sometimes puritanical instincts. But the Russians? Humm... Perhaps it is all those years of repression under the Soviets?

And what the the provenance on a Rasputin penis? On second thought, your Maximum Leader doesn't want to know.

Carry on.

RE: A different opinion

I dunno if I'd go so far as to say Reagan was a bad president. But the assertion that he was a uniting force in America is absurd. Reagan did more than his fair share to fertilize the divisiveness that came to a head in the Clinton years, and is currently festering in the pathetic administration we have in office at the moment.

One thing I will say about Reagan is that he posessed a certain subtlety and style that makes Dubya look like a clumsy pre-schooler with a lisp.

A different opinion

Reagan was a bad President.

Apologies to the Maximum Leader, but someone has to say it.

Still suffering from media-induced amnesia? Round out your memories of the ol' Gipper legacy by reading this, this, this and this. And I'll buy this book for any minister who will read it.


June 12, 2004

NO! Surely not!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is shocked! Shocked to discover that Republicans in Congress are thinking now that perhaps they shouldn't spend taxpayer money like drunken sailors. (No offence intended if you are a drunken sailor.) It is good to see that Congress is beginning to realize they can't just spend and spend and spend.

Congressional oversight is good. (Partisan takeover of oversight hearings is bad though.) Your Maximum Leader will wait to see how this one pans out.

Carry on.

June 11, 2004

RE: With Friends Like These

Is this the Same Putin who brought us Chechnya, and wants to bring back a Soviet-esque Russian Empire? Great guy to have agree with us.

With friends like these...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will let this article speak for itself. Putin Takes Bush's Side Against Democrats on Iraq.

Carry on.

Mike Isn't the Only One...

To use the Napoleonic Wars as romantic allegory.

Gentlemen, I give you Bananarama:

My my (my my) at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender,
Oh yeah (oh yeah) and I have met my destiny in quite a similar way:
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself.

I was defeated, you won the war,
Promise to love you for ever more;
Couldn't escape if I wanted to,
Knowing my fate is to be with you,
Finally facing my Waterloo.

My my (my my) I tried to hold you back but you were stronger,
Oh yeas (oh yeah) and now it seems my only chance is giving up the fight,
And how could I ever refuse,
I feel like I win when I lose.

I was defeated, you won the war,
Promise to love you for ever more;
Couldn't escape if I wanted to,
Knowing my fate is to be with you,
Finally facing my Waterloo.

And how could I ever refuse,
I feel like I win when I lose.

Couldn't escape if I wanted to,
Knowing my fate is to be with you;
Finally facing my Waterloo,
Knowing my fate is to be with you,
Finally facing my Waterloo.

UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Bannanarama!?!?!?! Try Abba. After the Abba version (or should your Maximum Leader say versions?) all others are pretenders.

Darn Conscience

BigHo is at post 999. Do I steal the 1000th post? I want to, but it just seems wrong.

June 10, 2004

I knew Thomas Jefferson....

I don't know how one would determine the best words ever written, but I would nominate the following exerpt from the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

More to the point, I just felt like reading it into the record.

Why we're better than the French

Brigitte Bardot's in trouble for inciting hatred of Muslims. What did she do? She called Muslims "invaders, cruel and barbaric" in a book. And for this, she was CONVICTED of inciting racial hatred.

In America, to get her convicted, Muslims would have to go to court and prove that they aren't "invaders, cruel and barbaric." I mean, what if they actually are "invaders, cruel and barbaric"? Then it's not exactly fair to the geriatric sex kitten, is it?

I quote

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Freedom of Speech. What a concept. Even for morons.

To read more about why the US is better than France, click here, here and here.

Suggestion to MaxLdr

Regarding that last post... I don't know what medications the doctor put you on for that injury, but it's about time to stop taking them. They're imparing your ability to drive a blog.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em

MaxLdr re: BigHo

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader warns you all do not let him near farm animals... Before the Big Hominid left for Korea he called your Maximum Leader and asked for a favour. Of course, he is your Maximum Leader's dear friend; so the favour was granted. Little did your Maximum Leader know that the favour was to borrow a division of dwarves to come to the Hominid's Hovel and destroy the army of mutant farm animals that had spawned from the Hominid's bowels! Your Maximum Leader was horrified. It was worst than anything one could imagine on the island of Dr. Moreau. It was even more horrifying than that one episode of the Simpsons when Dr. Hibbert had an island...

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Carry on.

BigHo re: BigHo

Luckily for everyone's farm animals, I'm not currently on a schedule (have been off my weekly schedule since I moved), and probably won't return to scheduled blogging until I've got DSL service from my domicile, wherever that might be eventually. So post at will, fellow minions!

(I wouldn't mind getting to know some of the Smallholder's cows better, though. Cows have really long tongues. Mmmmmm.)


Warning to Smallholder RE: BigHo

Be careful diverging from the weekly categories. He gets downright nasty. He's been known to kick little old women in the knee, take candy from babies, and drop kick cute puppies as retaliation for those who post on the wrong day.

Better lock up your farm animals if you decide to do this.

The Charge of the Ronin

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader likes Frank J.'s stuff. He instructs you to go and read The Charge of the Ronin. It made your Maximum Leader's day.

Carry on.


Has anyone noticed that the Big Hominid has been a bit less prolific (or even profligate?) lately? He might claim that he is in the middle of a move and a job search, but methinks that he is simply building up to a megapost for his 1,000th blog entry. He is currently on post 992.

I'm sure he has a scarily philosophical, scatological, meditative, and even demented cartoon epic up his sleave to celebrate post 1000.

Little does he know that I'll be lurking in the shadows, ready to post an insipid and inane single sentence. The sentence will have nothing to do with his vaunted posting regimin. In fact, it won't fit into his daily categories at all. Perhaps something about Vitus Bering.


Uh-oh. Maybe Mike Won't Like Me Anymore

UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Somthing about this Smallholder post is causing site problems. So alas, your Maximum Leader felt he had to delete the content. Let it suffice to say that the Minister of Agriculture took the Polygeek test and scored only 25% geek. Your Maximum Leader also took it, and scored 30% geek. If you, my minions, would like to take the test, the URL remains below.

Carry on.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at Thudfactor.com

Battle Hymn of the Republic

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has always been a great admirer of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Your Maximum Leader suggests you read over those lyrics and think about them. Strong strong words.

Carry on.

David Frum on NRO

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader agrees with David Frum's assessment of letting Bill Clinton speak at Reagan's funeral. If Clinton wants to speak, your Maximum Leader thinks he should be allowed to. Alas, his speech would likely be the most moving, as he is the best speaker among our living ex-Presidents (and frankly, our President). If you want to read Frum's assessment: David Frum's Diary on National Review Online

Carry on.

Love Match for the Minister of Propaganda?

Idly clicking on our villainous profiles, I discovered that you can click on interests to see if anyone else has them in their profiles. Kind of neat.

First off, why am I the only one in the blogosphere who has "Mad Dog and Glory" in profile. You are all a bunch of philistines.

Secondly, I came across an interesting fact; all but one of the bloggers who like "Big Trouble in Little China" are men. Go figure. But one cool chick does list the Rob and I's movie: Jess of The Lunchbox Assassin. And then I notice that she lives in Hollywood. The yentl in me is working overtime.

I just did a quick scan of her blog. She's got some talent, has a theatre background, and, as an added bonus, throws in a visual reference to Lumbergh.

Heh. Go read, minions.

Update from your Maximum Leader: The Minister of Propaganda and the Foreign Minister really ought to complete their profiles... Hint. Hint.

More Reagan.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was blubbering like a woman yesterday evening. He sat in the Villainschloss watching his TV and was fine. Until Cheney's speech. Why the hell did your Maximum Leader lose it during Cheney's speech? How the hell can your Maximum Leader be moved to tears by Dick Cheney? Then when Mrs. Reagan patted the coffin, your Maximum Leader cried some more.

All your Maximum Leader can say is that President Bush's speech is going to have to be damn good to beat Cheney's.

Around 10:30 last night, Mrs. Villain asked your Maximum Leader how much longer he was going to watch C-Span's coverage of people passing by Reagan's coffin? His reply, when they stop broadcasting it.

Your Maximum Leader got more teary eyed when Margaret Thatcher came in to pay her respects to Reagan.

Does all this crying mean that your Maximum Leader has suddenly gotten in touch with his nurturing side? Churchill cried alot too, and he was no wussy...

Your Maximum Leader is going to leave a very pregnant Mrs. Villain and take his wounded leg (bad calf tear) and go to the Capitol this afternoon.

He only hopes he doesn't cry.

Carry on.

Rachel Hunter, Aussie Tory?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, while never having had a "thing" for redheads; he does have a weakness for like-minded women. So when he read this he was intrigued. A redhead Aussie supermodel who seems to share some of your Maximum Leader's political views! Grrr baby! Very grrr! (Too bad she can't vote.)

Carry on.

June 09, 2004

Bidding you welcome...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader would like to visit the many new visitors who appear to be coming this site over the past few days. Your Maximum Leader is not sure if this is a factor of both your Maximum Leader and his Minister of Agriculture have been featured in posts recently by our favourite, Keith Burgess-Jackson. Did your Maximum Leader mention how much in awe of Dr. Burgess-Jackson he is? This man posts regularly to three blogs! Three! Stop the insanity.

Of course, you could be visiting because a number of sites have linked to your Maximum Leader's recounting of his one minute with Ronald Reagan. (Thanks for reading it, but excuse the bad grammar in the title. Your Maximum Leader was going to fix it, but discovered that it was already linked on other sites, and changing the title would mess up the link.)

Anyway... Like Dracula, your Maximum Leader bids you welcome to his internet home. All he needs now is the sounds of the children of the night...

Carry on.

This Is When Being Organic Bites

This is what I am dealing with in my tomato and pepper plantings.

Seeds can lay dormant for sixty years. Roots twenty feet down.


Hand control.

Every day - the stuff grows at least six inches a day.


Mulching like a fiend.


I know something the foreign minister can do when he gets back to the states.

Why lord? Why?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader hurt himself this morning. He did. Hurt himself really badly. You see, your Maximum Leader was sipping very hot tea when it happened. (Pride of the Port to be precise.) He was sipping this hot tea and was reading this. Then the tea spewed from his throat, through his nose (scalding his delicate nasal membranes) and onto his bare chest. The hot tea and mucus combined to make a sickly paste that got stuck in his chest hair. This required a shower. A long hot shower. A looooonnnggg HOT shower.

Thanks Anna. You're the best.

Carry on.

Movie Studio President...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was entertaining the Villainettes this evening by explaining to them one of his favourite throw-away lines from a comedy film. The film was a Bill Murray/Dan Aykroyd masterpiece Ghostbusters. The line was: "Stop! Listen! Do you smell something?" Your Maximum Leader remembers laughing in the cinema at that one. The humour was lost on Villainette #2, but Villainette #1 (upon reflection) got it and thought it was "Silly funny maybe."

Well... That little dinner-table activity got your Maximum Leader to think what he would do to "Ghostbusters" if he could. CGI. Great special effects. Your Maximum Leader would out-do Lucas. (Lucas... George Lucas... He added all that CGI to the first three movies and re-released them... Remember?)

Yes... When the MWO comes your Maximum Leader will call the Minister of Propaganda to the Villainschloss and order "Ghostbusters" be re-worked to include lots more and much better special effects. Other film projects of the MWO...

Remake Cleopatra. Only instead of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. It would star Jennifer Love Hewitt and your Maximum Leader. And your Maximum Leader figures a budget of about $1,000,000,000 should be enough to shoot the movie as it was meant to be shot.

An epic based on the life of Sir Francis Dashwood. What!?!?! You've never heard of Sir Francis Dashwood. My... You have been very loosely educated. Your Maximum Leader will help you out. Click through here to read a quick biography. Sir Francis Dashwood figured promenently in your Maximum Leader's senior thesis at college. And Sir Francis has ever since held a special place in your Maximum Leader's small cold heart since then. How can you not like a man described as having the "staying power of a stallion and the impetuosity of a bull?" Really now... Those words could just have well been spoken about your Maximum Leader... But! Yes, a Francis Dashwood movie would definately be in the offing. Can't think of the casting right now. But shall we say the various young women shall be quite delicious.

Your Maximum Leader would like to remake Gigli. Only instead of it taking place in the year 2000 it takes place in 1985. And instead of the Jennifer Lopez being a lesbian, she should be hetero. And instead of Ben Affleck being a sorta slow lowly thug named Larry, he should be a high ranking member of an Italian crime family named Charley. And he should be involved with the Don's daughter, and then start to fall for Jennifer Lopez's character, who should be Polish and not Puerto Rican. And they shouldn't be thrown together on a kidnapping, but they should be thrown together because they are both hit-men. And frankly... The casting should be changed. Your Maximum Leader isn't sure that Lopez and Affleck are right for the roles. You need real actors. Hummm... The more your Maximum Leader thinks about it the more he sees no reason to remake Gigli.

Remake Flash Gordon. Really. the 1980 version sucked. Bad acting. Bad special effects. Bad script. Bad plot. Okay score (and song! "Flash! Aaaaah!") And they had so much character/story material to work with! For the MWO version you have to make some changes. First off, you need a good plot idea. Humm... How about Flash tries to save the universe from the evil Ming the Merciless and get the girl, the lovely Dale Arden. But in the end, Ming kills Flash and weds the lovely Dale Arden. The dialogue and script/story doctoring could be a collaboration between Quentin Tarantino and David Mamet. As far as casting goes... Flash could be Tom Cruise. Dale Arden could be Jennifer Love Hewitt. And your Maximum Leader could be Ming the Merciless.

Those are just a few of the movie projects of the MWO...

Carry on.

Why is this not surprising...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was in the mood to take a silly test. And here are his results...

Take the Dead German Composer Test!

Not at all surprising. (And thanks to the Celebate for pointing out this test.)

Carry on.

June 08, 2004

Homeward bound...

I typed the subject line with the intention of letting my buds know that in a few days, my family begins the trek back to the good ol' USA. Summer break is a wonderful thing!

But I wanted to say a few words about Ronald Reagan and I guess that the subject line fits with that too. I am not eloquent enough to express any memorable post that folks would link to but, the man meant a lot to me. I guess if one is to have a "first" president (the first President that you are politically aware of growing up) RR is about as good as you can get. My generation remembers what they were doing when Reagan was shot (at). I was on my way to Biology class in middle school. I remember the LANDSLIDE victories at election time. I remember how good he made it feel to be an American. It was like having your own Grandfather be President.

I wish I had my picture taken with him too.

I thought I had read on Burgess-J's site that he was an ovo-lactic or that he ate chicken... can anyone confirm that?

Back to the trenches.... with Rest and Relaxation on the way

There He Goes Again...

No, this is not a paean to the late great Ronald Reagan. I'm referring to Analphilosopher, who claims to be a rigorous thinker, but appears to become addled when he posts on his twin hot button topics, conservatism and vegetarianism. He may reject organized religion and theism, but he certainly displays all the aspects of a born-again fanatic, eager to advance "orthodoxy" and demonize all opponents. As I have pointed out in previous posts, the good Burgess-Jackson's analyses of political topic are so partisan as to be laughable (for instance, did you know that all liberals are power mad? That's why I became a farmer - because that is a sure path to wealth and influence). He has posted some thoughtful stuff on animal rights in the past (check back to some of my earlier posts in which I acknowledge some of his strong points), but it appears that his tendency to grossly oversimplify and to paint the world as black and white has bled over into his thinking about vegetarianism, as shown by his latest post, Confusions and Fallacies About Animals Part 9.

Burgess-Jackson's argument for vegetarianism rests on the concept that animals have rights and claims on our actions. When arguing in this realm, he makes a good point. His real problem is convincing people who do not believe that animals have the same rights as humans. In his latest in a series, he tries to appeal to those who are speciest and believe our only obligations are to other humans. To do so, he compromises his intellectual integrity and attempts to sway his readers with falsehoods.

To wit:

1. Meat-based agriculture is wasteful. "If we are to analyze the real efficiency of animals as food machines, . . . we must add in all grain and other food energy spent in rearing and maintaining breeding animals and all losses resulting from infertility and deaths. When these are figured in, only about 17 percent of the usable grain or food energy fed to a dairy herd is recovered in milk, and only about 6 percent of that fed to a beef herd is recovered in edible meat" (Jim Mason and Peter Singer, Animal Factories, rev. and updated ed. [New York: Harmony Books, 1990], 110 [endnote omitted]).

2. There are human beings throughout the world, including in the United States, who are starving to death or otherwise malnourished. I hope I don't need to support this factual claim. If you doubt it, do some research.

Both statements are intentionally misleading.

Statement number one should read: INDUSTRIAL meat-based agriculture is wasteful. This is an important distinction. Other forms of meat-based agriculture convert non-edible grasses into products fit for human consumption and prevent erosion by replacing clean-cultivated grain monoculture with soil holding sod. The good professor is aware that not all agriculture is wasteful. He has published my description of eco-friendly farming in his own blog. But he purposefully leaves that important "industrial" qualifier out because he is not really concerned about hunger or the environment – he wants to make people vegetarians. As a point of fact, spreading vegetarianism to third world countries, which rely much more heavily on grazing marginal lands unsuitable for crop production, would lead to both more hunger and increase erosion as people desperately tried to grow more food through slash and burn agriculture and breaking hillside sod.

As a side note: When checking out the propaganda of animal rights organizations, watch how often they conflate industrial farming with all farming. Sensible people are alarmed by the conditions in veal barns and feedyards. The animal-rights folks don't mention more humane farming methods because they want the public to believe that there is only a black and white choice: cruelty or vegetarianism. To his credit, Analphilosopher published my letter describing humane farming. He later attacked my position, but to do so he had to fall back on the animals = humans argument, which simply doesn't work for those of us who believe that people and animals are fundamentally different. Which brings us back to his attempt to persuade speciests that eating meat is bad for humans. Having dismantled his first point, let us move on to point two: hunger.

People are starving around the world. Analphilosopher would have his readers believe that if people just stopped feeding grain to cattle in feedlots (a practice I heartily condemn), all that grain would a) still be produced by farmers who no longer have a market incentive to produce the grain, b) would somehow magically be transported to the third world, and c) would magically be distributed to the hungry, skipping over all the political, social, and military hurdles that currently derail food aid programs.

A quick google search turns up a huge number of vegetarian sites that promote the myth of meat = hunger and meat = destruction of the environment. It's vegetarian orthodoxy. If a college student gave me a pamphlet and tried to proselytize me on the subject, I'd be likely to smile indulgently. I'd probably be more polite to the "Veggianity" nuts than the Chomsky-addled lunatics one often finds on campus.

But Burgess-Jackson disappoints me. He's a smart guy. I enjoy his blog. I just wish he would apply his philosophical analysis to his own religious dogma.

For further bashing of the meat = hunger meme, please see my "Fisking the Tofu Mystics" post.

June 06, 2004

More Reagan Obits.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader would like say a few more words about President Reagan and his legacy, and then do a link dump of sorts.

First off, your Maximum Leader thinks the generally favourable news coverage is a positive sign. Although you certainly can tell the bias in Fox and CNN. Fox coverage, if you Maximum Leader may steal a line from someone on National Review Online, is more like an Irish wake. Coverage on CNN is more like a news story that must be handled carefully. The CNN people must feel it is encumbent on them to say one bad thing about Reagan for every good thing anyone says. Be that as it may...

Your Maximum Leader read over the AirMarshal's post. Your Maximum Leader will agree that there has been a tendency among some Republicans to want to name too much stuff after Reagan. But, your Maximum Leader understands why this tendency exists. We Americans don't have much of a historical memory. And naming a school, or a building, after someone may result in some person down the line asking themselves "Who was this person, Ronald Reagan? And why is my school named after him?" And if they try to find out more about the person, they may be inspired. Reagan's life and work can be a powerful inspiration to so many people in the future. In your Maximum Leader's opinion, the most fitting monument to Reagan is the USS Ronald Reagan.

Also in the AirMarshal's post is some important references to Iran-Contra. While your Maximum Leader agrees that this scandal was of tremendous importance, Reagan was not directly involved. Your Maximum Leader believes it was the grouping of McFarlane and Pointdexter (aided by Oliver North) who really thought up the plan and saw it was carried out. The AirMarshal says this shows that Reagan had lost control of his White House. To some extent this may be true, there were key personnel changes in the White House around the time the whole scheme was started. That cannot be overlooked as a contributing factor. Reagan relied on a core group of people to execute his ideas. That mode of management failed him in this instance. Had Reagan been a more detail-oriented President (like Jimmy Carter perhaps), Iran-Contra would likely never had occured. But then again, neither would he have won the Cold War.

Reagan was not a particularly detail-oriented president. Which is a characteristic shared by many great presidents. As Isaiah Berlin wrote, men come in two types foxes and hedgehogs. Foxes are smart and cleaver and know much about a great many things. Hedgehogs on the other hand, know one big thing. Reagan was a hedgehog. But the one big thing he knew (that the US was good and must use its power to spread good throughout the world) was not simplistically arrived upon. Reagan was a smart man. Read the recent books by Kiron Skinner and Martin & Annalise Anderson and you can descern for yourself that Reagan was a well-read and very thoughtful man who understood the complexities of many issues. But he didn't get bogged down in those complexities.

Like winning the Cold War for example. Many have said that he didn't have a plan for winning the Cold War. Your Maximum Leader believes this is patently wrong. The plan was simple. Increase defence spending. Be aggressive in confronting the Soviets diplomatically and through surrogates. Don't let up on the Soviets, keep them under contant pressure, and their system will collapse. That was the plan. The fact that it was simple and widely regarded as stupidly naive doesn't change the fact that the plan worked. Yes winning the Cold War increased the deficits. But, deficits can be managed. (As they were briefly in the late 1990s. And can be again if either political party stifens up the sinews and goes to it.) And the deficit was a small price to pay for the defeat of the communist system.

As for your Maximum Leader's own thoughts on Reagan's legacy. He was one of our greatest leaders. He restored our basic belief in ourselves. He changed the political dialogue in Washington forever. (You don't hear anyone - except the Minister of Agriculture and we can ignore him - talking about bringing back 60% marginal tax rates for example.) He mastered the power of speaking to the American people and thereby motivating them to get behind him in whatever he set off to accomplish. He won the Cold War. And throughout it all he kept true to his core beliefs.

So far the best obituary your Maximum Leader has read is Lou Cannon's at the Washington Post. (Also check out Cannon's excellent books on Reagan.)

Of course, National Review has a series of good articles. The best are here, here, and here. As more of the regular contributors to National Review add their own writings, your Maximum Leader will commend them to you as he sees fit.

Richard Perle's comments in the Daily Telegraph are quite good in explaining how Reagan dealth with the Soviets.

The Times of India sheds some light on US/India Relations during the Reagan Administration.

From the Blogosphere...

Charles at Little Green Footballs writes something with which your Maximum Leader completely agrees.

Pejman Yousefzadeh writes an excellent memorial. Two in fact.

Skippy's comments on Reagan's passing are, as are so many of his political comments, quite insightful.

Bill Whittle is short and heartfelt.

A Small Victory is very good.

Tacitus is particularly good as well.

The Commissar also has a good roundup of blogs on Reagan.

Your Maximum Leader just listened to the funeral arrangements. He will try to get to the US Capitol to pay his respects.

Carry on.

Disjointed Reagan thoughts

First of all, I was a Reagan youth during his first term, along with Max here. I was 11 when Reagan was inaugurated. I remember the fuel lines of the late 70s, the hostage crisis in Iran, and the sense that I lived in a once great nation that had lost its way. I was comming to really gain an appreciation of American history, and understand true evil in historical terms such as the Holocaust and the like.

Why I personally became enamored with Reagan as a president is that he restored the sense of good and evil to my universe. America was good. We stood for principles that rang true. People would die to escape from Soviet opression and people would die for a chance to live in America. That said everything.

Where I differ from MaxLead is my take on Reagan's second term. I remember being glued to the television during the Iran Contra hearings. That scandal shed light on how the Executive branch truly functions, although we never really learned everything. I still believe that of the three major scandals in the past 35 years, Iran Contra is the least understood and the most significant. Watergate and BlowJobGate ultimatly were reflections on personal corruption. Iran Contra represented Policy corruption at the highest level. It bothers me more than either of the other two scandals.

We were dealing with terrorists, ransoming hostages with weapons, sponsoring opium trade, dealing with "evil" governments and all in order to finance the war against Communism. I firmly believe that it is the ultimate hypocrisy to sacrifice ones principles in a war of ideology. If you are willing to kill (and in theory, to die) for what you believe, then in sacrificing those principles to achieve victory, what have you really achieved. You have become something where those principles are meaningless. It was a hallmark of military intervention in the Cold War era unfortunately.

At the very least, Reagan had lost control of his White House. The potential that he was involved is also very real. We have never found out. I am extremely skeptical that a Marine O-5 had as much authority or power as Ollie North seemed to have. I firmly belive he was a willing scapegoat. The fact that he became a hero to so many is one of the more disturbing aspects of 90s polititics to me.

Reagan also reflects the loss in direction of the mid to late 90s GOP to me. In lieu of leadership during the Clinton Administration, the GOP seemed to want to name every other building in DC "the Ronald Reagan Memorial ...." Just look at National Airport.

Reagan was the first President to truly master the Soundbyte. From "There you go again" to "Honey I forgot to duck", one could always come away from a Reagan speech or press conference with memorable quotes, and they stick, even out of context. He was a master of the televised speach (something that Dubya should return to) and RR was a true master of the press conference.

Reagan was also the last president we had with a true vision for America. Senior Bush never really knew what he wanted to do, and I agree with MaxLead in his assessment of Clinton as a smart man with no principles/vision. Dubya's administration has a vision, but they aren't honest about it. Reagan knew where he wanted America to go, and he told us, and he took us there.

Reagan also really did win the Cold War. I'm not convinced that he meant for it to end the way it did. Revisionist history is painting him as a genious who sought to break the back of the Soviet Union, and maybe he was. I'm not sold. But the military buildup of the 80s was good for us, and bad for them, and that's how we won in the end. So he deserves major kudos for that.

Ultimately I have two memories of Reagan that define him for me.

First was the "there you go again" debate with Carter. Reagan was the consumate smartass who could through a quip out there. The substance of what Reagan and Carter were saying was irrelevant. Reagan disarmed Carter with one line. Not sure if that's good or bad. I remember watching this at a boy scout meeting oddly enough. Two older scouts got into an argument about that. One was delighted at the tremendous burn on Carter. The other was frustrated because "He (Reaga) didn't _SAY_ anything."

Second, I remember the pressconference that ended with Reagan retreating down a hallway and Helen Thomas yelling out to him "did they decieve you Mr. President?" as Reagan looked lost and defeated and scared. It was a sad moment for me. That was the moment for me when it became obvious that the Reagan vision had been lost in the muddle of corrupt policies.

Reagan ultimately was a great and influential president. He impacted and directed great events throughout the globe. I think his legacy is inflated by his political achievements and his mastery of the media of his day. And we're about to be flooded by sentimental nostalgia. Be prepared for even more buildings named after him.

Ultimately, I think the book is still open on Reagan's legacy. in terms of his impact on the world, we know what he did. He helped break the Soviet Empire. Unfortunatly his successors absolutely botched the resulting chaos, but that's not a mark against Reagan. His political legacy is more murky. I'm still not sure what the result of that is. The cannonization of him by the GOP in the last decade of his life was troubling to me.