September 30, 2004

Kerry's light request...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wonders if John Kerry's latest request of the debate commission (namely to lower the lights) is due to the fact that in recent photos he looks orange.

BTW... Weren't the lights all settled during the long debate debate (negotiated by Vernon Jordan and Jim Baker)? Your Maximum Leader can't image they didn't talk about the lights. Why go dickering about this now? Unless Kerry's decided he doesn't look good orange.

Carry on.

Don't Vote.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader doesn't often peruse Slate "e-zine." But yesterday, on Newsfeed there was a link that caught your Maximum Leader's eye.

Don't Vote - It makes more sense to play the lottery. By Steven E. Landsburg

The article is a statistical breakdown of why your vote will not really matter in the upcoming national election. Your Maximum Leader read the article, and in the end felt like he has just been sujected to a mini-lecture by a pompus intellectual. (Which many tell your Maximum Leader is how they feel after they read this blog. But that is a subject for another excursus.)

Your Maximum Leader is not a statistician. But he does understand mathematical concepts. The whole concept behind the Landsburg article is dead on. But if you want to give dissertations on how statistics affect your life, why not explore the ROI (Return on Investment for those of you unfamiliar with that abbreviation) on a lottery ticket. From a purely mathematical point of view if you shell out $1.00 on a lottery ticket with an odds of winning at 1:135,000,000; and you win less than $135,000,000 you are getting a negative return of your investment. That lecture might be use socially useful.

But to publish a tract on how your vote doesn't matter in what your Maximum Leader thinks will be a very close national election is just wrong. Sure Landsburg may smugly point out that from an abstract view a single vote doesn't matter. But, it is a civic duty to participate in an election; and your Maximum Leader frowns on those that don't vote.

Perhaps Landsburg actually wrote his article in a futile attempt to impress geek-chicks with his impressive grasp of statistics. Your Maximum Leader could at least understand that motivation...

Carry on.

Slip-Slidin' Away: Guns, Abortion, and Taxes

A trifecta of controversy!

The Maximum Leader has called my attention to Velociworld's piece on slippery slopes.

Methinks the good Velociman paints with too broad of a brush, particularly when he implies that all advocates of gun control want to eliminate all guns and leave right-thinking people at the mercy of the evil mutant criminal hordes.

Perhaps I'm an exception, but...

(Brace yourself for independently principled discourse)

(No, this is not "squishy.")

(I mean it! I'm not "squishy!")

(Damn. Like Kerry I seem unable to take a nuanced position without being tarred by the Maximum Leader's epithets... Okay, perhaps what follows is a wee bit squishy.)

I believe guns are a useful tool.

Deer in your orchard? Defend your livelihood.

Dogs chasing your sheep? Defend your animals.

Burglar breaking into your house? Defend your family.

Big Hominids rummaging through your fridge for tasty delicacies? Defend your nachos.

Obscure literary references wooing your daughter with felt tip markers? You know what to do.

That said, I don't believe in unlimited, unfettered, unregulated gun ownership. It's not necessary and it is not a right (see: "A well-regulated militia...").

I don't want to ban all guns. But I'm comfortable banning rocket-propelled grenades. I'm comfortable banning the Foreign Minister's beloved MP-40. (But it is coooool to shoot!)

I'm comfortable telling private citizens that they may not have handguns, but I'm not a fanatic about it. If someone were to convince me that handguns were so much better than shotguns for home defense that their concealability and potential for abuse was outweighed by that utility, I'd change positions.

In fact, the most persuasive arguments I have heard about permitting widespread gun ownership aren't based on a faulty interpretation of the Second Amendment; they are based on practicality. Would restricting gun ownership actually lead to a reduction in crime rates? It might not, simply because gunownership is so widespread that we will never be able to get all the guns out of the hands of criminals.

So the slippery slope on gun control does not apply to me - or many other Americans. Even many NRA members support the restriction of Class III weapons.

The slippery slope DOES apply to abortion. And it should. If you believe that life begins at conception, abortion is murder - so one cannot compromise. I am tremendously puzzled by pro-lifers who don't follow the logic of their own position and are willing to make exceptions in the case of rape or incest. If you believe that abortion is murder, it is also morally impermissible to murder a fetus for the sin of its father. In this case, failing to follow the slippery slope is asinine.

I wish people would reject the slippery slope on tax policy. Reducing taxes makes sense IF we are on the right side of the Laffer curve. But many anti-tax proponents mindlessly mouth the canard that "tax cuts grow revenue" - a silly position that, when carried to a logical extreme, seems to hold that 0% taxation would lead to unlimited government revenue. I respect Republicans who openly admit that Bush's deficit creation is an intentional attempt to bankrupt the government as a way to force a restructuring of government priorities - at least their goal is open and can be discussed. Voodoo economists who hold that Republican policies ended Clinton-era surpluses in order to increase government revenue frustrate me.

I stand prepared for my flaming.

For the Maximum Leader

George Washington.


What's not to love about this story?

UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: There is everything to love about that story. Of course, your Maximum Leader blogged about it before. Okay, he blogged about it last October in one line, with a link that is now dead... But it just shows he's been tracking the development of George Washington's whisky for a while now...

Foie Gras

I have to differ with the Maximum Leader's previous post.

While I love the taste of fattened goose liver pate, I no longer order it.

I was dining at a nice Charlottesville restaurant last week - L'Etoile - and saw the tasty delicacy on the appetizer list. I was tempted, but chose the veal sweetbreads instead.

While I believe that animal and human moral claims are far from equal, I can't justify the horrible suffering associated with the production of foie gras in the name of culinary delight.

Bad Maximum Leader! Bad!

UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Bah! Now who is squimish!

The beginning of the end for Calif cuisine...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, like is Minister of Agriculture, is all for easing the suffering of animals raised for human consumption. All for it except when the animal in question is a damned dirty goose! Your Maximum Leader is all for fattened geese. He loves his foie gras. He loves his roasted goose. He loves the succulent tender flesh. He likes it dripping in fat as it cooks. (Goose fat renders particularly well and is good for cooking other meats!)

So when he read that California Governator Arh-nuld, was signing a law giving Calee-forn-yah foie gras producers 8 years to figure out a humane way to fatten up the goose's liver, he knew. It is the beginning of the end for haute cuisine on the left coast.

Carry on.

Ave Smallholder!

Belated congratulations on the emergence of your offspring (and that tasty, tasty placenta, which I assume didn't go to waste, yes?)!

Here-- Gollum has a commemorative haiku for you. Can he hold the baby?

OK, G-- take it away!

Uncle Gollum's here!
Let me hold you close and AAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!!
you... bit... my... Preciooooooooooousssss!!


September 29, 2004

Kiss and Make Up?

I hope the previous post re-ignites talks between the United States of Agriculture and the People's Republic of Kevin. I am afeared that he took offense at my earlier bemoanment of his scatomania. So much so that he was able to resist writing a Schwartenegger/Maximum Leader haiku.

I was at least hoping for a commemorative BigHo haiku for the birth of Jack William Henry.

Ah well...

The Big Ho and Animal Rights

I have become frustrated with KBJ's blog.

When I first became a reader two summers past I enjoyed his prose and liked the way that he offered reasons defenses of his positions. I found him to be a witty, cordial correspondent. However, as time has worn on, he has become shrilly partisan in the political arena (not necessarily a liability - I still permit the Maximum Leader to associate himself with my own eminent reasonableness). His animal rights posts have featured factually inaccurate misrepresentations. In none of his posts has he addressed the majority of Americans who believe that animals and humans have different moral claims. He has committed the logical fallacy that:

a) Animals suffer
b) Humans suffer


Animal and human suffering is equal and both have equal moral weight.

I believe that animal suffering should be minimized, but to move from the factual statement that since factory farming is inhumane we should all become vegetarians is ridiculous. There are options that we as a society could choose that would lead to humane farming practices.

The previous logical jump seems akin to: The death penalty is not a deterrent, so therefore we should abolish all punishment for criminals. The conclusion does not necessarily flow from the initial statement.

I tried to engage with him on the issues on a couple of occasions. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to be willing to wrestle with the implications of further data. As an example, at one point he argued that eating meat led contributed to world hunger. I pointed out why that was simply not the case. He politely acknowledged my response but never returned to the issue to update his side of the argument in light of new facts.

I've come to realize that his position isn't based on reason - his position on the moral treatment of animals is akin to a religious belief. But I'm consistently maddened that this religious belief is covered by a pose of logical, philosophical argument.

SoDakMonk demolishes one of the essay-links from analphilosopher here. But I doubt that KBJ will respond to explain why SoDakMonk's points aren't fatal to the animal rights position. That is what I would like to see. KBJ is a smart, erudite, and articulate man - I'm sure that he could at least begin to address SoDakMonk's argument. I love a reasoned debate between talented individuals. I wish KBJ would live up to his potential.

Perhaps Big Ho is right - hilarious mockery may be the best response*.

* - Blatant kiss-up link to the Big Hominid.

Every thing you need to know for the upcoming election...

I just stumbled on this site and new that I MUST bring it to the attention of the ministers here. Especially the Air Marshal and the ML himself.

New 527 Football Fans For Truth

Back to the trenches....

Another Christian Missing the Point

The good Mr. Bill (Oh no!) over at Bill's comments directs us over to a rather funny Bill of Non-Rights on the Wicked Thoughts blog.

I was reading along and chortling to myself:

ARTICLE III: You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.

Heh. Heh. Heh.

ARTICLE VI: You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.

I'm now opposed to the death penalty (not as an absolute embrace of the right to life but out of concerns about implementation), but I still found that article amusing - thus far.

The Bill of Non-Rights lost me at:

ARTICLE XI: You do not have the right to change our country's history or heritage. This country was founded on the belief in one true God. And yet, you are given the freedom to believe in any religion, any faith, or no faith at all; with no fear of persecution. The phrase IN GOD WE TRUST is part of our heritage and history, and if you are uncomfortable with it, TOUGH!!!!

The angry, in-your-face, counter-productive "so there" quality of the testimony here is rather offensive. Is this (historically inaccurate) article likely to win converts?

I think not.

Christian Who Misses the Point

My people back in Wisconsin belong to the Wisconsin Synod Lutheran church.

The Wisconsin Synod is a pretty conservative outfit.

The Smallholder clan has a lot of history at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Elkhorn Wisconsin. My Grandparents attended when the services were still auf Deutsch. I was baptized there.

But my cousin wasn't married there.

When the church's aging population declined, the church moved to one service instead of two. And, being an older parish, kept the early service. The cancellation of the late service made it impossible to attend on Sunday. He is a dairy farmer. Dairy farmers cannot play around with milking times.

My cousin falls in love. They decide to get married in the church he has attended since childhood. In a church that has seen five generations of his family. His father is an usher and on half a dozen committees. But the pastor won't marry him because he hasn't been coming to services.

Missing the point.

None of my children will be baptized by a pastor so out of touch with the essential core of the Christian faith.

Condemning Christians

Memento Moron has called readers' attention to Jimmy Swaggart's latest unchristian action:

"I'm trying to find the correct name for it... this utter absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men marrying men... I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died."

Let me heed Eugene Volokh's call for Christians to condemn Swaggart.

Swaggart is a bad Christian and is bad for Christianity.

Christians who hijack my religion and use it as an excuse to attack their fellow man are missing the central point of Jesus' teaching.

One of the biggest duties of a Christian is to bring more people to Christ. Acting like a redneck bigot probably isn't a very good recruiting tool.

Speaking of Fecundity

I used the word in the last advisedly.

Just to set up this post.

We have had a fecund week at Sweet Seasons Farm.

On Thursday my wife gave birth to a new farm hand.

Yesterday, in the middle of the torrential downpour of dying Hurricane Jeanne, one of my Tunis sheep gave birth to a ram lamb.

I went out to move the cows to a new field (they eat right through the rain) and saw "Wooly" standing over her son. He was very chilled and not very responsive. He couldn't have been more than a few minutes old - the rain had not yet washed away the blood of the afterbirth on her udder and he was still covered in gunk. I picked him up and took them into the barn. I was afraid he would die, but after I rubbed him down with a warm towel, he struggled to his feet, began moving around, found a nipple, and downed his colostrum.

I am excited that it looks like he will survive after such a miserable birth experience. On the other hand, I am disappointed that he is a ram because if he had been a ewe, I could have used another ewe unrelated to my ram. Additionally, I am concerned that he is a singleton; the historical farm that sold me Wooly assured me that she had delivered twins in her last three births. I hope that she is not one of those sheep that only delivers one at a time. If it costs $80 to feed a sheep for a year, and a lamb sells for $100, there is very little profit from a single-bearing ewe. But a twinning ewe would yield a net of $120 - six times better.

The new guy is a grogeous, deep red. I look forward to showing him off to the Maximum Leader's wee ones.

Passing the 1000 Mark

I note that the fecundity of the Maximum Leader has pushed the blog passed the 1000 post mark. Kudos to the Maximum Leader!

The Wee Smallholder

Becoming a Dad a second time is a calmer joy. With the first child, your awe at the immensity of the event is tempered by the raw terror that accompanies the new responsbility of rearing a moral human being. After two years with the Smallholderette, I can look on Smallholder Junior with a bit of confidence.

For a while it appeared that I would never be a parent. But the good Lord (or random, impersonal chance if you are the Propaganda Minister) has now blessed me with two healthy children. I hope that we will be able to raise decent people who love to learn, treat others well, and enjoy their lives.

Thanks to all the well-wishers and to Bill over at Bill's Comments for his kind congratulatory note.

The Free Centipede?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader warns you to be afraid. The Poet Laureate has a centipede. And worse that that, he might also have the free will to use it!

Then again, his free will might be illusory. In which case God only knows what will happen with that Hominid and his centipede.

Carry on.

My Pet Jawa makes news.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader checks out Dr. Rusty's site a few times a day - time willing.

But now that the good Doctor has been on MSNBC and has become such a huge star in the blogosphere; is he going to be insufferable at dinner parties? Is he going to forget his homeys?

Your Maximum Leader can't help but wonder...

Seriously, congrats to Rusty.

Carry on.

Slippery Slopes.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader knows that the Minister of Agriculture doesn't care for "slippery slope" arguments. Which your Maximum Leader admits is fair, in that most of the time the exponent of a "slippery slope" argument is committing a logical fallacy. It is important to remember however, that for a "slippery slope" argument to be logically flawed, the final conclusion must be shown not to be a result of the primary step in the argument.

Of course, when talking about our political society, typical laws of logic do not seem to apply. Indeed, sometimes people persist in denying the slippery slope connection even when you can clearly document it. (Like here and here.)

With that thought in mind, you should read the latest from Velociworld

Carry on.

Oh to have these problems.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, pending the establishment of the MWO, likes to keep a sort of low profile. But he would, for just a moment, want to trade places with Conrad this weekend.

Oh to have to fight off the paparazzi while taking your (no-doubt lovely) Indonesian paramour back to her villa; and then fight back your own inclination towards sarcasm when looking around the place...

Your Maximum Leader is sure that he could out-Elton Elton in the "rude, vile pigs" comment department... But isn't sure he could keep his snide decor comments to himself.

Carry on.

The NHL is still locked out...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader would like to observe that the NHL is still locked out, yet there is still NHL news to report on ESPN. How odd is that? Pretty damned odd if you ask your Maximum Leader.

And what is even more peculiar is that none of the news about the NHL has anything to do with negotiations to end the lockout. Why is that? Could it be because there are no negotiations? Curiouser and curiouser.

Do you know what else? Nobody really cares at all. Because we have football and baseball.

Carry on.


Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was just experiencing an interesting dichotomy.

First he was reading some of the latest entries on the Sarong Party Girl blog.

Then he was reading some of the latest entries on Celibate in the City.


Carry on.

NFL Week 3

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader didn't have much fun watching football this weekend. (But he did, as he always does, have fun reading TMQ today.)

Your Maximum Leader's beloved Green Bay Packers fell to the Indianapolis Colts in what was a real shootout. One of the things that most annoyed your Maximum Leader in the run up to the game however was the incessant discussion concerning the quarterbacks. Yes, yes. We all know that Peyton Manning is possibly the best quarterback out there right now. (But a strong case can be made for Michael Vick.) And Brett Favre is a certain Hall of Famer. But to cast this game in terms of the battle of the QB's is a bit much.

First off, Manning is at the peak of his game. He is young, smart, and healthy. He is the Colts. Without Manning (much like the Falcons without Vick), the rest of his team is nothing. But it isn't right to compare him with Favre. Favre, while still great, is in the early twilight of his career. (And he still has those melingering thumb problems.) And it must be noted that the Packers are a more balanced team than the Colts anyway. The Packers have a running game. The Colts do not.

Of course, neither team has a defensive secondary. Thus the very very high score.

And as for the Redskins/Cowboys game... Your Maximum Leader firmly believes that Joe Gibbs did not help his team win that game. Poor clock management at the end of the first half, and at the end of the game is definately a major contributor to the Skins loosing. This is not to say that the outcome would have been different had the clock been controlled better. It is just to say that poor management of the clock was as big a contributor to the Skins defeat as their weak girlie-man offensive line.

Well... There is always Week 4...

Carry on.

September 28, 2004

The National Mall

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was thinking about our National Mall over the weekend. Then he found this article about the Mall just today. And as you may know, last Friday the National Museum of the American Indian is being dedicated. It is (supposedly) the last major building to be built on the Mall in DC.

Your Maximum Leader certainly hopes so. The Mall, supposedly a grand open space in our Nation's capital, is becoming a cluttered melange of jumbled architecture. There is no space for another building, but your Maximum Leader is sure that someone out there is finding a way to fit another one in there.

And something else bugs your Maximum Leader. Everyone with a beef about something done to, for, or near them feels they need a monument on the Mall.

Allow your Maximum Leader to tell you all something. Monuments are trivialized when everyone gets one. Monuments are there to serve an important civic function. They are to remind citizens of the sacrifices of fellow citizens. Or they are to remind citizens of the lives of seminal figures in the "life" of our Republic. They are not tools by which we assuage the hurt feelings of some group. They are not band-aids for the bruised egos of the whiney.

It drives your Maximum Leader absolutely nuts when he hears of another group that wants a monument on the Mall. The Mall should be closed to new monuments. Period.

Carry on.

You might be a Neo-Con if....

I know that the Nakedvillany crowd loves to take quizzes that help to determine what you already know about yourself.

Are you a NeoCon?

Back to the trenches

More about Flypaper.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader continues to ruminate on the whole "Iraq is flypaper to terrorists" idea.

As you may remember, last week your Maximum Leader responded to a post from the Smallholder. Then Nicole commented on her blog about this topic as well.

First off, let your Maximum Leader state for the record that he continues to maintain that making Iraq the primary front in the war on terror is completely accidental. Nicole, in her peice writes:
I wonder. Was it so unintended? I mean surely, it was not so unpredictable that if we invaded the terrorists would come lend their hand to the fight against the Great Satan. I don't think it's so farfetched to assume that maybe the administration knew quite well that this is precisely what would happen and that one of the fringe benefits to the invasion of Iraq would be concentrate most of the terrorists in one place. Now you could argue that we already had that in Afghanistan, but Afghanistan is not such a great place to fight a war. In fact, if history is a judge, it's one of the worst places to fight a war. Iraq's a bit better. It's a little smaller, and the terrain, while not ideal, is not nearly so treacherous as in Afghanistan. It's also more centrally located within the problem region, perhaps giving more of the jihadi types not specifically allied with a particularly group an opportunity to come lend a hand to the battle.
Your Maximum Leader believes that while Nicole makes some excellent points, many with which your Maximum Leader agrees, one fact belies the truth of the accidental nature of the current Iraq situation. That fact is that the United States is not prosecuting the war - nor apparently planning to prosecute the war - in a way that would eventually assure the "flies" are killed.

Your Maximum Leader believes it is a stretch to come to the conclusion that the Allied "no-go" zones are intentional creations meant to draw in terrorists. They seem to be zones in which the Allied forces have not been able to restore civil authority due to lack of resources and support of the local population. They are organic growths that, as of yet, have not been dealt with.

The "no-go" zones (like Fallujah) are primarially Sunni muslim areas which stand to suffer the most under a non-Baathist regime. As your Maximum Leader wrote before, the Shia and the Kurds are grinding their axes in anticipation of what is to come. The Sunni's in these "no-go" zones are acting in their own self-interest by not supporting Allied troops or the new Iraqi interim government. This choice has worked out rather well for them so far. They are self-governing and not under the thumb of anyone but themselves. Terrorists are welcome - we suspect - in these areas because their presence and activities will promote the continuance of a system that the Sunni residents of these areas find preferable to control by the Interim Government or the Allies.

Now, if the "no-go" zones were the intentional creation of the Allies (and the US specifically) then your Maximum Leader has a problem with the situation. The problem is that it is completely unacceptable for US commanders to allow those who seek to kill US (and Allied) ground troops (and Iraqis in general) a safe haven from which to operate. Safe havens for terrorists means more casualties and deaths of our troops. And each solider's life is too valuable to allow to be wasted towards the goal of gathering as many terrorists as possible in a few specific geographic locations.

Since your Maximum Leader hasn't been accused of being bloodthirsty in a while he'll throw this out there. If your Maximum Leader were in charge of our troops, he would go systematically through those areas and exterminate anyone who resisted. He would destroy homes and property that was not immediately surrendered for search. He would relocate inhabitants while their city was razed to assure that no terrorist havens remained. (Then, being good Americans, we would rebuild their city and make it much nicer than the one we just blew up.)

Now, back to your Maximum Leader's assertion that the war is not being prosecuted in a way that would end with the killing/arrest/detention of terrorists. At what point would the US, our Allies, and the Iraqi's start to move to assert their control of the "no-go" zones? How much longer will the borders remain pourous and terrorists find safe haven? Apparently a while longer. No credible source has stated that it is in the works to send troops (of any nationality) into these areas.

Eliminating terrorist havens in Iraq will require troops and supplies. If one were planning on soon going after the terrorists in Iraq, one would start moving many more troops over there now. But, there doesn't appear to be an increase in the number of troops going to Iraq.

This returns your Maximum Leader to his problem. Allowing terrorist safe havens to exist in Iraq is wrong. But, as your Maximum Leader wrote a few lines ago, the US does not appear to have committed the resources to restoring order to these areas. This can be for a number of reasons.

There are many who would say that it is political. The Administration is too willful to admit that they need more troops than they estimated. The Administration has also been accused of keeping the number of troops constant before the election, then building up after the election. This gets back to the previously stated problem, it is wrong to allow soliders to die pending a force buildup.

Your Maximum Leader is inclined to believe that the reasons the troop numbers are not what is needed to root out the terrorists are: 1) the US is overdeployed at the moment; and/or 2) the Iraqi interim government has resquested that we not send additional troops.

As for the overdeployed statement... For this both the Administration and Congress bear responsibility. Neither has made any significant movement towards realigning our existing force, or increasing the size of our forces overall. Both of these steps need to be taken.

As for the Iraqi government requesting that no additional troops be sent to Iraq... It appears as though the Iraqi Interim Government is serious about trying to dispell the idea that Iraqi is occupied. An increase in Allied troops in Iraq would certainly seem to Iraqis as more occupiers. The Iraqi government may well be trying to do what it can with the resources available.

Neither of these situations is good. As Secretary Powell has noted, the situation in Iraq is "getting worse." The US and the Iraqis need to determine, and determine NOW, how long they are going to allow an untenable situation to exist. One hopes it is not much longer.

Carry on.

More on Kerry's Guns.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wrote a while ago that he and John Kerry had something in common. That something was Soviet-style assult weapons.

Well, imagine your Maximum Leader's dismay when he read Michelle Malkin's piece saying that Kerry is retracting/clarifying/otherwise-changing-his-story on the whole Chinese assault rifle statement. Now the Chinese assault rifle appears to be a 100 years old Russian-made shotgun used by the Vietcong during the war in which, your Maximum Leader is lead to understand, Senator Kerry was a combatant for the United States.

Very very sad. Your Maximum Leader was hoping to invite the Senator out to shoot one day. That cannot happen now. Alas, your Maximum Leader's Russian-made SKS would woefully out-gun Senator Kerry's old shotgun. It wouldn't be very fun...

Carry on.

September 27, 2004

Seems like not going to war was "about oil" too

I don't know how many of you have been interested or have followed the UN's corruption in dealing out the Oil for Food program. Seems like a lot of those countries (Germany, Russia, France etc) that were soooo against the war were just protecting their own interest..... wait I KNOW that the US is supposed to be the only unilateralist on the planet but look what we have here!

Kick backs, bribes, skimming money off... VERRRYYY interesting.

Can't wait till the names get named but it seems that the Honorable Kofi Anon son is being implicated.

I love this stuff....

Back to the trenches

King Returns on Dec 14th.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is excited. The King returns on December 14th. Not Elvis (the one and only King). But the film "The Return of the King" comes out in the full extended version glory on December 14th.

Your Maximum Leader already has the first two Lord of the Rings movies in extended format. He has been awaiting the last. Mrs. Villain hasn't even seen ROTK yet. Your Maximum Leader has forbade her from renting the theatrical version - telling her that she needs to wait and see the extended version... Very exciting.

Carry on.

Mount St. Helens

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has a twisted fascination with natural disasters in the making. Surely he empathizes with victims, and he doesn't wish them upon anyone. (Except Islamofacists...) But they are interesting... It seems as though there is seismic activity under Mount St. Helens' crater.

For those of you in the Portland or Olympia areas, beware!

What makes this weird is that over the weekend your Maximum Leader was watching a tv program about Pompeii and Herculaneum and their destruction by Mt. Vesuvius... Hummm....

Carry on.

You don't look a day over 299...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader's architectural tastes range from neo-classical to usonian, but he knows a beautiful building when he sees one. And the Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful and perfect structures ever built. It is turning 350 years old. And India is celebrating.

Your Maximum Leader hopes that pollution, development, and any number of other circumstances don't coalece to damage this marvel.

Carry on.

September 26, 2004

Killing time before football...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is killing a little time before the football games start by doing a little blogging.

Your Maximum Leader realizes that it has been over a month since he has blogged at all about Jennifer Love Hewitt. JLH, as regular readers know, is the starlett on whom your Maximum Leader is unheathily fixated. Why? Is it that smile? Those long brown tresses? Her ability to belt out a pop tune? Those flesh zeppelins moored to her chest? (To borrow a phrase from a good friend.) It is a likely combination of all of those and so much more.

Well, this morning, your Maximum Leader decided to write a Jennifer Love Hewitt haiku. Here tis:
autumn leaves turn yet
Jennifer Love Hewitt is
Max Leader's delight
Like it? Your Maximum Leader wrote another haiku this week. It was for Annika's Joe Don Baker Haiku contest. His post must have gotten lost somehow and it didn't get published over there. Thus, your Maximum Leader reproduces it here:
Joe Don "Walking Tall"
Now bit roles in James Bond flicks
Mighty is his fall
Your Maximum Leader doesn't believe it would have made Annika's final list. But hey, it was fun.

Well, time to watch "Gameday" on ESPN. Ciao, minions.

Carry on.

Shyabu-shyabu or Shabu-shabu?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was over on the Poet Laureate's site earlier and read his post about shyabu-shyabu. He feels that the good ole Big Hominid's co-worker is displaying a little ethnic pride concerning the dish called, in Korean, Shyabu-Shyabu. Upon hearing the name, the Big Ho' mentioned that the name sounded Japanese. The Big Ho's co-worker stated the dish was Korean.

Well, your Maximum Leader started reading the Big Hominid's description of the dish and thought immediately, "Ah! Shabu-shabu!" Shabu-shabu is, to the best of your Maximum Leader's knowledge, a traditional Japanese dish. The name "Shabu-Shabu" coming from the swishing noise made by your chopsticks while cooking the beef.

Of course, the true historical antecedents of this dish are rather hard to pin down. Most "traditional" dishes of one asian nation have close counterparts in most other Asian nations. So, this dish may be rightfully claimed by either Korea or Japan. Insofar as most non-asian nations are concerned, this dish is typically identified with Japan.

A quick search of the Food Network's web page resulted in finding an Emeril Lagasse variation on this rather common recipe. A quick Google search renders this as the first match.

Your Maximum Leader has prepared Shabu-Shabu himself. Here is his take on it:

Shabu-Shabu (Maximum Leader style)
For 3 women, 2 men, or 1 Big Hominid.

1.5 lbs of beef (sliced paper-thin, with little marbling)
4 large leaves of Chinese cabbage
2 Leeks
8-10 Shiitake mushrooms
1 small package (7-8oz) of Watercress
3.5 oz of rice noodles (the thin transparent type)
Sesame sauce
3-4 cups of distilled water or clear chicken/beef stock

FYI the Sesame Sauce for dipping consists of: sesame paste mixed with sugar, miso, saké, rice vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce. A few (2-3) tablespoons of each mixed together to taste. Your Maximum Leader likes to add a little more rice vinegar (4-6 tbs) to get the taste he likes.

Step 1) Cut your cabbage and leeks into small thin strips of roughly equal length. (Your Maximum Leader generally goes about 2 inches long by .25 inches wide by .5 inches thick.)

Step 2) Cut watercress into 2 inch lengths.

Step 3) Remove stems from Shiitake and clean the caps.

Step 4) Soak rice noodles in cold water until they become translucent and soft.

Step 5) Arrange the veggies and beef on plates. Place dipping sauce in bowls. Your Maximum Leader generally arranges all of the veggies and sauces on plates on a per person dining basis, but puts the beef on a separate plate or plates. (To keep contamination down.) But your Maximum Leader has seen all the elements arranged together on single plates.

Step 6) Bring your water/broth/stock to boil over table-top burner. If you have a nice earthenware pot, use it. Otherwise a wide mouthed fondue pot will work. If you are doing this in the comfort of your own home without guests to impress use a regular thin metal saucepan.

Step 7) At the table, individually take slices of the meat with chopsticks and swish them back and forth in the boiling liquid a few times. As soon as the meat turns colour, remove it, dip into sauce, and eat/plate it. Remove any scum that may appear on the liquid periodically. After the meat is cooked, add the veggies in small batches and bring to boil. Add rice noodles. Then dish out the soup into bowls and eat.

Aside: As for the water/broth/stock choice. If you have access to really high quality beef (like Kobe, Mishima, or a particularly fine and tender USDA Prime Angus) your Maximum Leader will recommend distilled water. The water is without chemicals which, if they were present, would disturb the flavour of the meat. If you are using a regular beef, you may want to go with beef/chicken stock/broth. This will add a little flavour to the meat and soup as they cook. Be careful that the stock/broth is not too salty.

So there you have it. Shabu-shabu, Maximum Leader style.

Carry on.

UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Many thanks to the Poet Laureate for a few grammar/spelling edits. Your Maximum Leader was dashing off this post quickly this morning.

September 24, 2004

Congrats Nicole.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader congratulates Nicole of Potomac Ponderings. She was just quoted today in the lead-off story in OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today.

Carry on.

Love those AP Headlines.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has a question to ask concerning the following headline from the AP:

Democrat Edwards Courts Women Voters

How does Elizabeth feel about all this courting?

Carry on.

UPDATE: Okay... So no one uses the word "courting" like that anymore, it made your Maximum Leader smile to himself.

Tanks! Trains!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was, at the suggestion of the Llamabutchers, over on the TexasBestGrok site voting for Star Trek babes.

While there your Maximum Leader found a link to a cool place. Tank museum, Russia Perhaps the Foreign Minister can arrange a field trip and visit...

And for those who care, your Maximum Leader voted for Uhura.

Carry on.

Quick Exit from Iraq?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been giving some thought to the Smallholder's post concerning the recent Bob Novak column in which Novak says that a withdrawl of US troops next year is immenent. The good Minister of Agriculture asks a series of lettered questions. They were:
I would like the Maximum Leader and Foreign Minister to weigh in on this topic. IF Bob Novak is not Marion Barry's new crack-smokin' bud, and IF Bush plans to pull us out post November, is this a) immoral, b) impeachable, c) does it consitute a betrayal of the armed forces, and d) how pissed would you be?
Here are your Maximum Leader's thoughts on these questions.

First off, letter "b" is the easiest of these to answer. By no commonly accepted definition of high crimes and misdemeanors, nor by any definition that your Maximum Leader could imagine putting forth; does the withdrawl of US forces from Iraq constitute an impeachable offence. Skippy suggested this course in his post, referenced by the Smallholder. Impeachment on the grounds that President Bush would have failed to uphold his oath of office and would have abandoned Iraq to a murderous outcome - which could constitute a war crime. Well, Skippy is a generally astute observer of American politics. But this analysis is over the top and unimaginable. (Perhaps it makes sense in Canada?) A perfectly reasonable argument can be made that American interests "have changed" and that troops in Iraq are no long in the national interest. Thus having them remain would be a violation of his oath. Additionally, in order to levy a charge of war crimes, you have to have had war crimes committed. While your Maximum Leader hasn't checked in a the Hauge recently, failure to stop a murderous civil war (when you have no troops on the ground) hasn't yet been declared a war crime. The various interpretations and possible spins of why we left Iraq, coupled with Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress, makes the whole issue moot. Impeachment for leaving Iraq just isn't a vaugely plausible outcome of the Novak senario.

And to add on one more clarification (in case the Smallholder thinks your Maximum Leader isn't fully answering the question) should Bush be impeached for leaving Iraq in 2005, assuming the situation doesn't substantially change for the better? No.

Now, moving along to a) and c), which are closely linked. Your Maximum Leader feels that if, in fact, the Administration has determined that come hell or high water US troops will leave Iraq in 2005, and is only delaying withdrawl for the purposes of securing Bush's re-election; it would be an immoral act of betrayal of the trust of the American people and our valiant soliders.

That said, this is a pretty hard policy to prove. There are lots of "ifs" in there... If the decision has already been made. If the motivation behind the decision was the election. If, if, if.

And finally, would your Maximum Leader be pissed if Bush just up and withdrew our troops after the Iraqi elections (or some other arbitrary date) next year? (Assuming that the situation doesn't dramatically improve.) Yes, he would. (But do these hypotheticals all add up to support for Kerry? No.)

Now, having answered the Minister of Agriculture's questions... Allow your Maximum Leader further discourse on this topic.

Your Maximum Leader certainly hopes that various folks at different levels of the Administration are reviewing all sorts of policy choices concerning Iraq. He hopes that these range from saying "To hell with Iraq, let's nuke the whole bloody place." to "We need to think about a 40-50 year occupation force, with all the acutrements of nation-building."

One of the possible options needs to be, in fact must be, "Let's cut our losses and get the hell out of Dodge."

So, why Bob Novak? Why does this come out? Your Maximum Leader remembers during the Reagan and Bush 41 years learning of the concept of the "trial balloon." That is to say that some Administration member, who should be able to speak authoritatively on a subject, meets with a reporter or other person who can circulate an idea publically; and says "the Administration is planning to do 'X.'" The Administration source neglects to mention that plan "X" is only the 24th in a list of many possible plans. Or says that while there are many other plans, but we like "X" right now to the exclusion of others.

The purpose of the conversation is to have plan "X" circulated publically and for the Administration to listen for the reaction. They can then gauge what might happen if they do in fact go with plan "X."

Your Maximum Leader is confident that the Novak column was a trial balloon, directed at conservative supporters of the President, to illicit the response given by Skippy; and prompt the pointed questions of the Smallholder. (In the Reagan years, your Maximum Leader seems to remember that Jack Anderson was the trial balloon commentator of choice. It must be Novak now.) Probably, Karl Rove was trying to figure out what the full political fall-out of a 2005 withdrawl would be (assuming the situation in Iraq doesn't improve). Anyone who thinks that in the world we live in decisions aren't contemplated from the standpoint of political fallout is deluding themselves.

Of course, what if the situation does change in Iraq in 2005? Prime Minister Allawi is hopeful. (Or he is Bush's willing dupe? Or are those people claiming that Allawi is a dupe really just disrepectful defeatists?) Suppose that elections in Iraq cause a new government to be formed that has broad support and is able to make quick improvements in the security situation? Would your Maximum Leader be upset if US troops withdrew under those conditions? Nope. That would be just fine in fact.

Does your Maximum Leader anticipate that Iraq will magically become a better place - with an improved security situation - after the elections? No, he does not. The more he thinks about it, the more he thinks that the Sunni Muslims need to prepare themselves for a real nasty smackdown. The Shia will likely dominate the new government, and they will likely show their ire towards decades of Sunni oppression in rather harsh terms. This may be moderated somewhat by the presence of US troops, but your Maximum Leader doubts it. US troops have already (more or less) given up on the real hotbeds of Sunni terror. Your Maximum Leader figures that some quickly deputized Shia militias will move into places like Fallujah and "clean house."

The unintended concequence of our Iraq invasion is that Iraq is now a primary front in the war on terror. Everyone agrees that terrorist, potential terrorists, and sort-of-potential terrorists are a) in Iraq or b) on their way to Iraq. This got your Maximum Leader to thinking that (Heresy!) this situation might not be all that bad (from the point of view of everyone in the world that isn't an Iraqi) - if played correctly. (Big if.)

Allow your Maximum Leader to wildly speculate some...

The first benefit to the US of Iraq being the primary front in the war on terror is that terrorists in Iraq, attacking US soliders in Iraq, are not attacking US civilians in the US. The drawback to this is that in the areas where US troops are not trying to keep the peace, terrorists are likely planning ways of killing Americans in America. While the knowledge that our troops are targets at every moment is not pleasant; your Maximum Leader can take some comfort that our brave soliders are trained to protect themselves and aren't going to just sit around and get killed.

The concentration of terrorists, or the terror movement in general, in Iraq gives the US the opportunity to deliver a devastating blow to the widespread support of terrorist and terror networks throughout the Muslim world.

If the terrorists are doing there best to drive the US out of Iraq. And if the terrorists are doing their best to prevent any sort of secular, tolerant, democratic goverment from taking root in Iraq. What is a possible outcome of the terrorists failing to accomplish both goals?

One possible outcome is that lots and lots of terrorists are hunted down and killed in Iraq. Leaving many fewer terrorists.

Certainly another possible outcome is disillusionment with terror as a viable means to a desired end. Will this mean an end to terror and terrorists? No. Nothing will ever cause terrorist methods from ceasing to be used. But perhaps widespread public support for terrorist (enjoyed widely throughout the Muslim world) will begin to dissipate.

As so many commentators have pointed out, the only (plausible) way to break the hold of the terrorist mentality in the Muslim world is to create an environment where terror doesn't naturally flourish. It means improving the political situation. It means improving education. It means improving the standard of living of common people. It means moderating Islam.

None of these things are easily done. None of them are done quickly. But they can be done. The first step down this path in Iraq was removing Saddam Hussein. The next step is free elections and the beginnings of self-government. The step after that is the reestablishment of an Iraqi civil society in a secure environment. That step will have to be a joint Iraqi and US effort, at least in the early stages.

Of course, what sort of civil society will Iraq have? While your Maximum Leader hopes that the three major factions in Iraq will be able to come to terms with each other and live together - he is beginning to doubt it. Your Maximum Leader is becoming more convinced that two states will emerge from what we now know as Iraq. There will be a Kurdish dominated one in the north; and a Shia dominated one in the south. They will likely emerge after the elections. The Shia are the largest of the three groups, and will likely be able to form a government and an army that will be able to take control of a significant portion of the country. The Kurds have been semi-autonomous already, and are not likely to want to stay involved with a government that would require them to give up some (or all) of that autonomy.

Probably, the newly established democratic government of Iraq will want to institute some broad "federal/national" powers. The Shia majority will tell the Kurds to comply or else. The Kurds will suggest just leaving Iraq. And your Maximum Leader thinks that the Shia might just let them go.

It is something of a cost benefit analysis rationality here. The Shia dominated government could expend all of its resources trying to bring the Kurds to bear. Or they could agree to let the Kurds go, and just kill some Sunnis. After all, the Kurds suffered under the Sunni rule. Why not just let them go? If the Shia are thinking logically about it, they might just let the Kurds go.

Provided that both sides can come to terms on how to deal with the oil reserves in the Kurdish north. That oil either flows south to the Persian Gulf, or it flows some other way. Turkey is not a likely partner. Neither is Syria, nor Iran. But if the Kurds could get a passage to Saudi Arabia or to Jordan... It just might work. Assuming that the Kurds and the Shia couldn't come to terms on existing pipeline use...

Yes... About the only thing holding Iraq together is oil.

Your Maximum Leader hasn't been very kind in his predictions to the Sunni population of Iraq.

Well, the Sunnis are the big loosers here. Both the Shia and the Kurds have axes they are grinding now with the eager anticipation of planting them into a Sunni's back very soon. Your Maximum Leader feels he should be more upset than he is about this possible outcome. In some way he feels it is karma. The Sunnis have had it coming. If you don't think that your crimes will be revisited upon you, think again.

Some commentators have speculated that Iraq could break into three nations. Kurdish, Shia, and Sunni. Your Maximum Leader just doesn't think that the Kurds and the Shia will let the Sunni get away so easily. There will be some serious ethnic bloodshed. It is only a matter of when.

So, back to how Iraq as a primary battlefield in the war on terror is (possibly) good for the US...

The US must remain dedicated to firmly supporting a new Iraq. (Or possibly two new Iraqs.) We must continue to press for democracy. We must continue to press for property and legal rights. We must continue to press for toleration. If these ideas can begin to take hold and stability ensues, despite the worst efforts of terrorists, it will give the Muslim world something to hope for other than another infidel beheading to watch on Al Jazeera.

Carry on.

Ad pulling.

Greetings, loyal minons. Your Maximum Leader keeps telling John Kerry not to panic and do something rash. Well... He seems to be doing rash things. According to the Washington Times (as reported by the Vodkapundit) Kerry is sounding the retreat in four states.

Carry on.

September 23, 2004

Good News!!!

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has just gotten a report from the Minister of Agriculture. Both he and Mrs. Smallholder have been blessed with a Smallholder, Jr. Wee Smallholder weighs in a 9 lbs. 6 oz.

Mother and son doing well.

Many congratulations to the whole family.

If you should desire to send a well wishes message to the Smallholder you can either:
1) write him directly: smallholder - at -
2) write your Maximum Leader: maxldr-blog - at -
Your Maximum Leader will collect all well wishes and deliver them to his Minister of Agriculture this weekend.

Carry on.

September 22, 2004

Russ Meyer - Rest in Peace

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is saddened to report that an oft overlooked filmmaker of some influence has passed.

Russ Meyer has died of complications of pneumonia.

Here are some links to various obits: Yahoo! News via AP CNN's Obit Variety's Obit

Here is the official Russ Meyer site.

Your Maximum Leader has seen a number of Russ Meyer films. Once upon a time the wonderful (and your Maximum Leader believes now defunct) Biograph Cinema had various film-fests. If your Maximum Leader remembers correctly, he once saw a "Sick and Twisted Animation Film-Fest" at the Biograph with the Poet Laureate. Another time he saw a Russ Meyer film-fest/tribute at the Biograph. Among the films shown were "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" and "Supervixens."

Meyer's films were all formulaic. Put a bunch of heavy-chested women in some strange situation, make sure they become topless, and score it all with funky music. Of course, that is also their appeal and charm. We all know the formula, but just can't look away.

But your Maximum Leader has a special memory of "Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" He remembers seeing FPKK at a friends house on what was, presumably, a pirated Betamax tape. In those days your Maximum Leader was a raging ball of hormones (as all young boys are) and although the story was insipid the pendulous breasts and provocative dancing - basically the soft-core porn aspects of the film - were utterly hypnotic.

As the good Smallholder has observed (but not observed on this blog), your Maximum Leader does like his women to be somewhat endowed. Perhaps there is some influence from Russ Meyer in this. (Although your Maximum Leader, unlike Russ Meyer, does believe that there can be too much of a good thing. If you catch his meaning...)

Of course, your Maximum Leader's prefered female form was likely formed more by Kathryn Morrison (Playboy - Miss May 1978) than any one else. But that is old news, as your Maximum Leader has blogged a little on that subject already. And speaking of Kathryn Morrison... This site gets, on average 5 unique visitors per month who are searching the term "Kathryn Morrison Playboy." It is hard to believe that after 26 years she is still sought after...


Rest in peace, Mr. Meyer. You gave your Maximum Leader (and countless other men) hours of enjoyment through the medium of film.

Carry on.

No Need To Be Cryptic

Thanks for the good thoughts, Mike.

There is no need to be cryptic.

My wife is having a c-section tomorrow morning. If anyone out in the blogosphere wants to say a prayer for a healthy baby and a healthy mom, I thank you.

I'm pretty gosh darn excited.

UPDATE FROM YOUR MAXIMUM LEADER: Your Maximum Leader is pretty excited for you both.

Bush Memos à la Dashiell Hammett.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has always liked Dashiell Hammett novels. And all the Bogart movies based directly or loosely upon them.

Your Maximum Leader draws your attention to Iowahawk's latest: MY TELEPROMPTER IS DEADLY.

It is, as they say on those annoyingly-pleasing Guiness ads, "BRILLIANT!"

Carry on.

Fall Tuesday Ritual...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wants to direct the attention of all football-loving minions to the new TMQ column.

Go now and read.

Carry on.

Good Luck Smallholder...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader will leave a public, yet somewhat cryptic, message on ye olde blogge for all to see. Your Maximum Leader wishes his good Minister of Agriculture good luck in all of his endeavours tomorrow.

Carry on.

Bob Novak

Bob Novak's Washington Post op-ed piece on a quick withdrawal from Iraq was interesting.

If the Bush administration is really planning on a quick, post-November screw-the-Iraqis withdrawal, he is truly an evil man.

Let me 'splain.

If Bush's team - Novak mentions Rice and others - have concluded that Iraq is a sinkhole and that the insurgency cannot be suppressed, getting out now, while disastrous for American prestige and foreign policy, is better than postponing a date of reckoning.

This reminds me of the MacNamara interview when he confessed that he knew Vietnam was unwinnable, but kept sending boys to die because there was not a politically viable exit strategy. If the war is unwinnable, it is better to cut our losses now.

But Bush's cabinet, according to Novak, isn't talking about cutting our losses now. The proposed plan is to wait until after the November election because an admission of failure would doom Bush's reelection chances. Novak, astoundingly, seems to have a tin ear for the moral implications of this plan.

We are asking American soldiers to die for another two months - not for America, not for Iraqis, not for freedom, not for the war against terror - but to give the president job security.

Iraqis are being cajoled to support the administration with the full knowledge - aforethought - that we are going to leave them swinging in the wind to be killed as collaborators.

I hope - no, scratch that, I pray, that Bob Novak is hallucinating and relying on sources more unreliable that Rather's.

Skippy, our non-partisan political observer, thinks this an impeachable offense. I'm not sure that it is - an impeachable offense is whatever the house decides is an impeachable offense and Republicans are going to maintain control of the lower house. Go over and read skippy's post - he is more astute and a better writer than I.

I would like the Maximum Leader and Foreign Minister to weigh in on this topic. IF Bob Novak is not Marion Barry's new crack-smokin' bud, and IF Bush plans to pull us out post November, is this a) immoral, b) impeachable, c) does it consitute a betrayal of the armed forces, and d) how pissed would you be?

September 21, 2004

Partisan Hack.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has, from time to time, been accused of being a partisan hack. (Okay, only the Minister of Agriculture has spread such lies... The Minister of Propaganda feels your Maximum Leader, while a nice guy, has been hopelessly brainwashed and just needs to sit down and think about his misguided ways...)

Well, reporting on this topic makes your Maximum Leader feel like a partisan hack.

It started with a visit to Wizbang. There your Maximum Leader read about John Kerry taking money from children. Your Maximum Leader agreed with Paul and thought that what Kerry should have done, if he was thinking about it, would have been to return the money to the kids asking them to save it for their own futures. A future that would be that much brighter if he were to be elected president in November.

That would have gotten a warm fuzzy "Awww" from Kelly Ripa.

(Speaking of Kelly Ripa, you Maximum Leader can't decide if she is sleazy sexy, cutie sexy, or just sorta dumb and not sexy at all.)

Your Maximum Leader filed that little tidbit about John Kerry away and was prepared to think no more of it.

Until he visited Michele Malkin's site. (Like Skippy, your Maximum Leader finds Michele oh so very sexy.) It was there that your Maximum Leader read this post: Kerry's Illegal Kiddie Cash? It seems taking money for your campaign from minors is illegal in many states.

Okay, so what John Kerry just admitted to on national TV is that he took (possibly) illegal campaign contributions (from CHILDREN) and is proud of it.

That, gentle minions, is just plain ole stupid. Is it too late to give it back with a note?

Once again, your Maximum Leader asks Senator Kerry to grow a pair and start firing some people. Senator, you need better advice. Your Maximum Leader has suggested Carville a number of times. But, as far as you're concerned, Carville is just one of the team.

Your Maximum Leader has a proposal for you Senator Kerry. You seem to be having problems with your staff. They seem to not be able to steer your campaign cogently. And from what some of your erstwhile supporters say... About your staff, they're all Democrats and therefore incapable of winning this election. Here is the deal. Your Maximum Leader, who is available right now for just such a challenge, will gladly come and run your campaign for you. Here are the terms:

1) Your Maximum Leader can't guarantee you victory; but he can guarntee you that everything will get really nasty.
2) Your Maximum Leader gets to fire some people. Better yet, execute them so they can never come back.
3) You kill a hamster during one of your debates with Bush to show that you aren't a wussy.
4) Your Maximum Leader is to be paid in Heinz stock. Additionally, he will be supplied with free Heinz 57 Sauce for the rest of his life.
5) You agree to stop mentioning Vietnam all the time. Indeed, you agree never to mention Vietnam again, for the rest of your life.

There is the deal. You can contact your Maximum Leader anytime. Dan Rather's people have the number.

Carry on.

TCS Article worth reading

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader thinks that you may want to take a virtual trip over to Tech Central Station and read Stephen Schwartz's article: Is Saudi Arabia Holy Soil?

Your Maximum Leader learned that for the first time Saudi Arabia has been listed by the US Department of State as a nation of particular concern in the area of religious freedom. How interesting.

Carry on.

Next thing you know...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is dismayed. It appears that with the exception of a few "heritage" routes, the infamous red double-decker London buses are going to be retired.

Sure it makes sense financially... But what is next? Running the monkeys off Gibraltar? Poisoning the ravens at the Tower?

Egads. To what is Britain devolving?

Carry on.

Police Cover Up?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader provides yet another article for your reading pleasure. This is yet another example of how your Maximum Leader will NOT run things in the MWO.

In Taiwan, the Taichung police orders fleshy 'betel nut beauties' to cover up. What? Police asking scantily clad female peddlers of food for the masses to cover up! This will never happen in the MWO.

Other things to expect in the MWO... More happy, busty, bar wentches!

Carry on.

Oil in North Korea

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was reviewing the Marmot's blog and he came upon this: The Marmot's Hole - Brits to drill for oil in N. Korea?

It seems as though a British oil and gas company will be doing some "technical assisting" of the North Koreans as they begine to develop their oil industry. Humm...

Of course the best part of Robert's post was his line at the end: I think it's at this point that Brian at Cathartidae would joke (?) that Pyongyang had better hope Aminex doesn't find anything; otherwise, with a nuclear program AND oil, Kim Jong-il is truly screwed.

Of course, other questions are raised by this article. Real serious questions...

1) If North Korea has significant oil reserves, why would they need a nuclear "power" program too?

2) Would/Could North Korea produce enough oil to export into the world market? If so, would that give the regime enough hard cash currency to prop it up and advance their nuclear "power" program?

3) If oil became a significant source of income for North Korea, would Kim Jong-Il start a North Korean version of the Beverly Hillbillies? It would be called the Pyongyang Hillbillies and Kim Jong-Il would be the Jed Clampitt character.

Your Maximum Leader wonders.

Carry on.

RE: Kalashnikov time

Red Army Vodka is yummy. I have a couple bottles at home. My understanding of the product is that the packaging is pure American marketing, but the vodka itself is authentic top notch Russian vodka. And the vodka is really good. It's actually very enjoyable sipping at room temperature, and it makes great cocktails.

Now I've e-mailed them repeatedly trying to get one of their posters to put up in my bar... maybe when I take all my hockey stuff down... but they haven't responded.

Here's what I'm talking about:

WWYMLD? John F. Kerry edition

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, in the spirit of bipartisanship, figured that he would turn his keen mind on the situation John Kerry faces.

First off Senator Kerry, don't panic. It looks like you are panicing. Don't lose your cool. Yes, Bush seems to be leading you in many (read: nearly all) national polls (and even a few - read: quite many - polls in the battlefield states).

A number of bloggers (you can call them amateur pundits if you like) are saying the election is over. BRD has declared the Tipping Point tipped. Skippy has said as much too.

But none of these preditions matter. They don't matter because really the electorate is still pretty polarized and isn't sure about either of you.

A little while ago your Maximum Leader suggested you give James Carville a call. In that earlier post your Maximum Leader wrote:
But will Kerry fire his Massachusetts buddies and hire a ragin' cajun to run his campaign over the last 60 some odd days until the election?

And have you hired James Carville yet Senator? No. He is an "unpaid advisor" to the campaign. "Unpaid advisor" is not the same as "running your campaign."

And did your Maximum Leader mention anything about Paul Begala? Or Joe Lockhart? Or Mike McCurry? Or Bob Schrum?

That would be: no, no, no, and no.

And is Mary Beth Cahill still working for you? Uh... Yup.

And who exactly is in charge of your campaign?

No! Lemme guess... Teresa? Uh, Lockhart? No! That Sasso guy? Uh, you?.

Humm... Do you see a pattern here Senator?

Let your Maximum Leader use a cliché, too many chefs spoil the soup. (Look, it isn't only your Maximum Leader who thinks so.)

You can't project a message and a constant image when you have a whole bunch of schmucks telling you how to do things. Senator Kerry, you need to grow a set of balls (or just take the ones Teresa has for the next two months) and start firing people. As your Maximum Leader sees it, Cahill, Lockart, McCurry, Schrum, and the unpaid Begala have to go. Keep Carville and ditch the others. Carville knows how to win, and he knows how to keep people who don't know how to stay on message, on message.

Have you ever really listened to Bill Clinton speak when he gets on a policy-wonkish roll? Get an intern to give you some videos of Clinton at some of those White House summits he had during his first year in office and watch them. Then think to yourself, James Carville kept this man on message for two years while he ran for president. (If your interns seem to be in short supply, give Bill a call. Tell him you have about two hours free and you want him to tell you how to fix healthcare and let him roll. You'll get a first-hand taste of that to which your Maximum Leader refers.)

Anyhow... You really really really need to take control of your campaign and give the reins to Carville. You are too busy to do all the things that need to get done. That is why you have a campaign manager.

Speaking of things you need to do...

Hows about finding a message and sticking to it. Calling Bush the "excuse president" is a good start. Your Maximum Leader liked it. He liked it a lot. Catchy. Plus it gives that subtle cut to Bush's line about being decisive. Sure Bush is all decisive, but when his decisions are bad he makes up excuses. Brilliant! (Tell your Maximum Leader, did Carville feed you that one? Your Maximum Leader thinks he did.)

The "excuse" line is a good one to pull out in debates too. When Bob Scheffer asks Bush to explain the weak economy, when you get your rebuttal just say "Excuses, excuses George. When are you going to take responsibility and own up to what you haven't done?" Bush will hate that.

And while we are talking about debates. Push for three, settle for two, and demand that one be in late October. You are a skilled debater - if you stay on message. You can take Bush if you don't let him get under your skin and don't let him corner you in your record.

About your record. You need to develop a short, simple answer to all of the flip-flop stuff the Bush people are throwing your way. How about a pat response of "Bills in the Senate are often riddled with amendments. Many times I had to vote against measures which I originally supported because they contained too many riders that I couldn't in good faith support."

Your Maximum Leader suggests that after the short answer you try this out for size, "If the President had taken any time to understand the legislative process, or taken the initiative with his own party to fashion a legislative agenda; he might know a little more about how things work in Washington."

That would make Bush supporters cry, "Ouch."


You've got 43 days until the election. This thing is far from over. You just need to pick a theme and hammer it home.

And not make an ass of yourself.

Carry on.

PS: In case you missed it. Here is the WWYMLD George W. Bush edition.

September 20, 2004

Security Guard Shot Inside State Capitol

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader can hardly believe one line in this report from the AP concerning a shooting today at the Illinois state capitol. The line is:
The Capitol has no metal detectors, and its officers are not armed.
A government building. A legislature no less (they always vote themselves new equipment), that has no metal detectors. It is hard to imagine.

Your Maximum Leader hopes they find the person responsible and do evil things to him. Also hope the victim recovers.

Carry on.

It's Kalashnikov time...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader loves stories about people who suffered under communism and are now flourishing in a market economy. Well, Mikhail Kalashnikov probably never suffered much under communism. Indeed, his revolutionary assault weapon, the AK-47, probably caused lots of suffering at the hands of communists, revolutionaries, and others. But then again, it is, in your Maximum Leader's opinion, the finest assault weapon ever made.

Anyhoo... While he didn't profit in a capitalist sense from his great gun design, he can profit by licencing his name now. Your Maximum Leader has already seen Kalashnikov brand knives and outdoors equipment. Now we can add

Your Maximum Leader isn't a big vodka drinker, but he would like to do a taste test between Kalashnikov Vodka, and Red Army Vodka. With the loosing brand dragged out and shot. (With an AK-47.)

Carry on.

President Hu. General Hu. Great Leader Hu...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader likes to keep close tabs on his rivals for power around the world. Well, it seems as though Hu Jintao has set himself up as ruler of China. At least the AP is reporting as much.

This is an interesting development. Your Maximum Leader wasn't sure that former-president Jiang was going to hand over control of the army for a while. But it seems as though he has. (Happy retirement Zemmie! You murderous commie bastard!)

So now President Hu will have to fight corruption, liberalize the strained relationship with the "autonomous region" of Hong Kong, and introduce "reform." Strange... Your Maximum Leader thought that was what President Jiang was going to do while he was in charge.

Your Maximum Leader wonders to what extent corruption can really be fought in China. Not meaning to indulge too much in sterotyping, but it seems as though corruption is widespread in Asia in general. And communism isn't the cause. Corruption seems just as widespread (if sometimes less reported upon) in Japan, Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand. It seems to be a cultural problem. Is there some hidden element in Asia's shared Confucian/Taoist/Buddhist heritage that promotes corruption? Your Maximum Leader will ponder that for later.

Regardless. Your Maximum Leader hopes (but doesn't expect) President Hu will act in a "softened and pragmatic" way towards political dissent and dissenters, Tibet, and a more open political system.

Carry on.

Source Protection

I have a confession to make.

My wife, pre-Smallholderette, was a journalist!

Zounds! Indisputable proof that the Smallholder family is part of the vast liberal conspiracy!

(Offstage, the Maximum Leader begins quiet preparations for a purge...)

One of the central ethical standards of journalism is to protect the anonymity of sources. She and I have gone around and around about this. I believe that some protection of sources is necessary for the proper functioning of a free press, but, being the "squishy" progressive that I am, think that there should be some limitations - both legally and ethically, just as there are certain limitations on rights like free speech. She is an absolutist. Were a D.A. to pressure her to divulge the identity of a source, she would go to jail.

Spurred by Memento Moron, I hereby offer the following bit of doggerel. Before the literary critics launch an attack on my poor poetry, please be aware that, "Dammit, Jim, I'm an inbred agrarian, not a poet!"

Source Protection

The function
Of the anti-revelation injunction
Is to assure potential whistle-blowers that they can reveal information
For the public to assess
Through the medium of the press
Without the fear of immediate and painful retribution.

Society benefits
When an independent press
Revealing corruption or malfeasance
Alerts us to a mess
And we are able to address
The situation or redress the grievance.

Reporters observe
Its the public they serve
Indeed, they proclaim, we will our sources protect.
The D.A. may wail
Even threaten jail
But the reporter will prosecutor's entreaty reject.

But a virtue becomes vice
When against all advice
CBS wraps itself in righteous indignation.
We, the Bush Guard
Forger regard
As protected by our reporter tradition.

Not the goal of the gag laws:
Protecting scofflaws.
What purpose could be served by hiding
An election diverter,
A press perverter,
Who deserves a good, sound, public chiding?

False, libelous acts
Distorting facts
Ought to be regarded with scorn.
Give us the name!
Free speech will remain.
Danny boy, why art thou so torn?

One hopes it is not
Biased, partisan rot
That led to the Sixty Minutes parade.
Prove that it is not
Biased, partisan rot.
Publicly expose the author of the charade.

Bloggers unite!
Defend what is right.
Keep the pressure on the CBS chiefs.
Annika want their collective head,
Rather's career dead, dead, dead:
Go thee hence and read her briefs.

The forgery stain
Will surely remain
Unless CBS shows its goodwill.
Give us the name!
Free speech will remain!
Divulge! Reveal! The beans you must spill!

Where is the Foreign Minister?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was wondering, where has the Foreign Minister been? He hasn't been posting with any regularity.

Then your Maximum Leader saw this: World's Beer Fans Meet for Annual Munich Binge.

All has been revealed.

Carry on.

Metaphors in politics

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader thought that this post from The Ministry of Minor Perfidy was particularly funny. Thus, it is linked here for your reading pleasure.

Carry on.

Maximum Marketing...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader was both a good dad and a bad friend this weekend.

A bad friend in that he left the Minister of Agriculture high and dry when it comes to going to a movie. Yes, the good Smallholder invited your Maximum Leader to come down and see a movie with him. But your Maximum Leader really couldn't go on Saturday, and he had already promised another friend, as well as Mrs. Villain, and the Villainettes, that he would go with them to the Chinese Culture Festival in DC on Sunday.

So, Smallholder did not get to appreciate your Maximum Leader's company. But your Maximum Leader did go to DC on Sunday with the Villainous family.

So, your Maximum Leader, and his family, met a friend downtown to enjoy the Chinese Culture Festival. We wanted to see prancing firecrackers, dancing dragons, and eat some dim sum.

Upon arriving in Chinatown, a Falun Gong member attempted to give your Maximum Leader some literature. Your Maximum Leader declined it, but did stop to ask himself what exactly do the Chinese Communists find so objectionable about Falun Gong. To your Maximum Leader's knowledge they are just a bunch of people gathered in public places doing some sort of tai chi. Is there something your Maximum Leader doesn't know? Is there some secret ritual he's not clued into? Do they bathe in goat's blood? Do they eat babies? If a loyal minion knows the answers to these not-so-pressing questions, please drop your Maximum Leader a line.

Well, we started with the dim sum. Your Maximum Leader grossed out his Villainous progeny, and Mrs. Villain, by eating whole fried prawns. Heads. Eyes. Tails. Everything. It was quite yummy. After eating dim sum, we went back out onto the streets of DC's pathetic Chinatown for the parade and cultural activities.

A very fun day was had by all. But rather than leaving it at that, your Maximum Leader will relate in more detail a happening of the day.

As you may know, your Maximum Leader is the proud owner of a Big Hominid "Dick Proverb" t-shirt. The shirt reads: "Bul-un-shi, dae-nam-gyeong, mu-so-yong." or translated: "In a time of misfortune, a big dick is useless." This is from the original Roman saying, which rendered in English is: "When your luck has run out, a big dick is useless."

Your Maximum Leader decided to wear this t-shirt out to the Chinese Culture Festival. Which was also, by the way, a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Beijing and Washington DC becoming "sister cities."

Aside: If Beijing and DC are "sister" cities, when can we expect some hot lesbo action? Really? Your Maximum Leader wants to know. He imagines Beijing to be a leather-clad dominatrix type a la Lucy Liu in Payback. (Only red leather, not black. And it would probably have Hu Jintao silkscreened across the bosom; and Mao across the crotch...) DC, your Maximum Leader imagines, would be more the Queen Latifah type. Now your Maximum Leader figures that Beijing, being filled with communists and all, is probably a pretty tough town. But, as they are chinese communists, they are also interested in business. So they are tough, heavy-handed, and always looking to put the smack-down on the competition. Beijing would likely want to cutler DC just for the hell of it. Of course, DC isn't a pushover. Sure they have a high murder rate. They can't get their schools together. They can't balance a budget to save their life. And, of course, they keep electing Marion Barry to office. But you know, DC has street cred and just isn't gonna take a cutlering from anyone.

Wrap your brain around that for a moment...

But where was your Maximum Leader? Oh yes... Dick Proverb shirt in the midst of a chinese culture celebration...

So... Your Maximum Leader was sipping a hot Chai Latte (from the Chinatown Starbucks). When a young chinese man stopped directly in front of him. The young chinese man (YCM) looked at your Maximum Leader's shirt. Then he spoke.

YCM: I don't understand your shirt.
ML: Oh?
YCM: Do I read it left to right like English?
ML: No. Vertically right to left... Like Chinese.
YCM: Oh. I see...

YCM pauses to read shirt while still blocking your Maximum Leader.

YCM: I don't understand. "In times of misfortune having... something... is not a help?" (Thinks some more.) No. No. "In unfortunate period, having a BIG... something... is not a help." I really don't understand that character there. (YCM said pointing.)
ML: Dick.
YCM: Wha?
ML: Dick. Schlong. Heat-seeking moisture missle. ICBM of love.

YCM doesn't appear to get it.

ML: Penis.
YCM: Oh... OH! Now I get it. Oh yes! I see it now.

YCM starts laughing uncontrolably.

ML: My friend would be glad that you like it. Read the URL. Visit. Buy some. It's a big hit with white chicks.

Your Maximum Leader then pressed on. About 30 minutes later, your Maximum Leader was walking towards the MCI Center. When he noticed the YCM and some other young (and middle aged) chinese men. The YCM shouted out something in chinese to the others. They all walked towards your Maximum Leader.

YCM: We really like your shirt. My friends wanted to see it.
ML: Regard it if you must.
YCM: It is very funny. Where did you get it?
ML: My friend's web site. Look it up. Buy some. It would make him very happy.
YCM: (giggling) Very funny. But you know, my friend wants to ask you a question...
ML: (Cutting him off.) Of course. Tell him that a big dick almost always comes in handy.

With that your Maximum Leader pressed on, leaving a bunch of chinese men in his wake to ponder the wisdom just emparted to them.

And that, gentle minions, is how your Maximum Leader spent his Sunday.

Carry on.

September 18, 2004

PoMo for the Real World Redux.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader blogged yesterday about a Celebate in the City post which he thought was very well done. Then just after linking to the post in this space, it disappeared.

Well, posts that your Maximum Leader likes shouldn't just disappear without warning. Or follow-up investigation. Your Maximum Leader felt that the Celebate's Postmodernist analysis of her date should not become another blog plastered to the side of the milk carton of life. (Phrase ruthlessly stolen from the apple of your Maximum Leader's eye: Anna. Who by the way is in rare form in her latest. It makes me just want to cuddle up to her little sacreligious self and say, "Let's burn together.")

So your Maximum Leader wrote to the Celebate in an effort to determine "what gives?"

The Celebate wrote back:
Dear Maximum Leader,
My sincerest apologies for removing the PoMo post. I have rectified the error and re-published it. I thought it must have been a boring post since I wasn't getting comments on it. And since I freely admit to whoring my blog for hits, I pulled it. I won't underestimate my readers' intelligence again, especially since the Maximum Leader is himself a loyal reader.

Your apologetic and humbled minion,
JL, your Maximum Leader forgives all. And in an interesting aside, please note. JL, while not a whore, will gladly whore her blog. Somewhat ironical, n'est-ce pas?

Without further adieu. You should now read:
Celibate in the City: Welcome to the Desert of the Real

Carry on.

September 17, 2004

LaVar Arrington

Here's an article about Redskins Linebacker Lavar Arrington. I'll draw your attention to the third paragraph.

Last year, after Arrington served under his fourth defensive coordinator in four years, the linebacker posted a description of the Battle of Thermopylae -- where the Greeks made a heroic stand against the Persians in 480 B.C. -- to mark the start of a new era.

Who knew he was a history buff. How many linebackers think Greece is something that comes out of bacon when you cook it?

Smallholding blog

I just stumbled across The Accidental Smallholder.

I felt particular empathy the "Thirty Pieces of Silver" post.

I would say they had stolen my moniker, but I seriously doubt that they have heard of our humble little blog all the way in Scotland.

This Explains Everything!

The Maximum Leader's confessed editing of my posts explains how my analysis, which always begins and ends with "Bush=Hitler" has ended up appearing moderate when posted to the blog. I was so confused. No matter how hard I tried to be shrilly partisan, the facts kept myusteriously creeping into my post and making them squishy. Darn right-wing conspiracy!

No explosion...

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader had a forehead-slapping "WTF?" moment when he read this:
S.Korea Says There Was No Big Blast in N.Korea.

Lemme see if your Maximum Leader got this right. North Korea said they were blowing up a mountain to make a power plant (re: uranium enrichment site); and that is what was observed. But the South Koreans now say that there really wasn't any explosion.

Uh... Sure...

Humm... Let your Maximum Leader guess. That big mushroom cloud was really just a whole bunch of North Koreans having a fart-off on near Mt. Paektu.

Carry on.