Friday, September 29, 2006

Eviently if I want more serendipity and sureality in my life I need to start going on random errands early on Thursday morning.

Heard a song about someone as I was buying them something...

Heard another song about a store clerk's nationality as they helped me...

Walked into a live-action preview of Hugh Grant's next romantic comedy...

(Still wondering about that accent...)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

So, at one point in his recent interview on Foxnews, the former president said:

"That’s the difference in me and some, including all the right wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying."

in reference to dealing with AQ during the 1990's.

Well, I don't know whether I am(was) one of those 'right wingers', but I do know that I was no fan of President Clinton back when I was in high school. (He always struck me as a real sleaze... even before the whole 'blue dress' brouhaha... perhaps it was the saxophone...)

However, I for one did not ridicule Clinton for his actions against terrorists in the 1990's. Indeed, I actually wrote an editorial for the high school (independent) newspaper soon after the cruise missile attack on the 'asprin factory' in the Sudan, in which I defended the president's decision to take action.

Here it is... (not sure whether this was a final draft or what, it was just a file I happened to find on my compy recently)




Edward Teach was killed by the crew of a Virginian warship on November 22nd, 1718. Teach suffered twenty five separate wounds before dying, and his disembodied head was fastened to the bow of the ship. Was Teach the victim of some horrible injustice or act of cruelty? No, for Teach was none other than the infamous pirate “Blackbeard”, singlehanded cause of an 18 month period of terror along the Atlantic seaboard. When the inhabitants of America finally caught up with Teach, they did the only thing possible: met out a hideous death to the pirate as a lesson to those who might consider a similar route to fame or riches.

Although terror on the high seas isn’t a major problem nowadays, terrorism in its many forms is, and must be dealt with in one manner or another. The American response to the recent embassy bombings is an example of one method of dealing with terrorist activity. The American response was and is the proper response because it was legally acceptable, and because it had historical precedent.

Before considering whether the motivation for the retaliation was correct, it must be determined that the counterstrike was conducted in a manner acceptable under international and U.S. law. The Sudanese government has expressed its belief that the U.S. did not act in accordance with international law, and the UN may challenge the U.S. decision. In reality, however, President Clinton acted legally throughout the entire situation. Though not acting against a ‘direct’ threat, Clinton “acted pursuant to his constitutional authority, including that as commander-in-chief and his authority to protect national security.(sic)”Besides acting under the nations existing anti-terrorism laws, Clinton had historical precedent in the form of Reagan’s air strike against Libya in 1986. Neither did the U.S. act contrary to international law in its counterstrike. The UN charter provides for nations to act in self defense without first consulting the general assembly, or the security consul. Thus, although the timing of Clinton’s response may seem suspicious to some, truly he acted both legally and in a manner consistent with his duty as chief executive of the nation.

Having established that the U.S. response was a valid one, the effectiveness of the act must next be examined. The best way to get an idea of what responses to terrorism might be most effective, it may be wise to examine historical reactions to various forms of terrorism, effective, and not effective, to see if any common characteristics emerge. Pirates during the late 17th and early 18th centuries are an example of a group of individuals who based their very livelihoods on terror. While the movies portray heroic resistance to pirates, a truly successful pirate would have merchant vessels surrender at the sight of the pirate’s flag. The European governments, anxious to protect their colonial interests, and merchant profits, sent warships with men commissioned to hunt down pirate ships. These commissioners not only openly chased pirate vessels, but they also blockaded and shut down pirate bases. Pirates who were captured were usually hanged, their bodies exhibited publicly. The body of Captain Kidd, for example, remained on the gallows for a year and a half after his execution. Thus the response to piracy involved both horrific reprisals (grim executions), and the denial of places of refuge to pirates (elimination of pirate bases). As a result of swift action, merchant vessels could travel in relative safety by the mid 1700's.

As a contrast to the successful campaign against piracy, take the example of the war in Vietnam. The Vietcong were successful largely because of their ability to terrorize the South Vietnamese. American response was limited in scope and execution. Certainly when Vietcong forces were encountered, terror was utilized against them in the form of overwhelming firepower. Unfortunately, there was never any serious effort to destroy Vietnamese bases. Never did the U.S. seriously move to attack bases in either North Vietnam, or adjacent Cambodia, and Laos. As a result, Vietcong forces felt safe, and in actuality were safe almost everywhere. Eventually, the U.S. withdrew, and South Vietnam fell.

What can be learned from these two examples? First it would seem evident that to effectively combat opponents who’s weapon is terror, one must utilize terror oneself. Going hand in hand with that idea is the idea that the terrorist must not have a secure base of operations, and must not feel safe anywhere. History shows that these two concepts exercised decisively in concert will greatly reduce the effectiveness of terrorism in its various forms. With modern satellite and cruise missle technologies, the United States has the capability to excercise terror against terrorist groups anywhere in the world. The nation merely needs the will to do so. This means accepting the possibility of residual damage, such as that in Sudan. Though unpleasant, using force in retaliation, as a method to prevent further violence, is justifiable. In this case Clinton had the will to order the proper response from a historical perspective. Since he acted decisively, one ought not second-guess his motivation, but rather give him credit for having the nerve to do something right.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Somedays, you just need a motivational poster to help get through the day...

Biased Dining Reviews - Season 1, Number 1

[A new feature here presented by Paltry Puissance, we're pleased to bring you reviews of the wide variety of Mad-town dining establishments. Up first we have The Sushi Box. Enjoy the review! -- Ed.]

Paltry Puissance: It was -- hands down -- the best meal I've ever eaten.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Mark your calanders, plan your visits to me for sometime after the 1st of October.

Look forward to seeing you all!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

They said it couldn't be done, but they were wrong...

Team Filler Squad!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Avast ye landlubbers! Blistering barnacles, tis TLAPD, so put on your sea legs you bashi bazouks and scurvy dogs! ARRRRRR!
Remember yesterday's post?

Well, the image was basically a picture of what German monkeys eat...

Delicious?

Remember people, we here at Paltry Puissance are professionals... don't try this at home.

(Actually, it wasn't half bad... I still prefer meat over fruit for this particular recipie, but, in a pinch...)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ninety-four bucks for a football game??!!

Cats BETTER win!
What is this?



Answer coming tomorrow.
This weekend may have seen the last hurrah of summertime.





Saturday, September 16, 2006

CATS WIN!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Daily Observation (1:32AM):

Today was beautiful.

Addendum (1:33AM):

Oh yes, the weather was nice too.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Did my little part to ensure that Naruto doesn't follow the ignomious trail blazed by Kenshin, and ordered the first box set. After waiting about three weeks for them to actually ship the thing to me (and three days after it was shipped) I received it today. Watched the first episode just to get a feel for it... was remined of why I dislike even good quality dubs. The subtitles seem to be off good quality, although I actually like some of the fonts I've seen used by fansubbers better than that used on the dvd.

Oh yes, and seeing "術" translated as "spell" is just really annoying... thankfully I've only noticed it once so far.
QotD:

"[Y]ou pretty much need to be able to flay your skin while counting all the corners in your living arrangements. Simultaneously."

Almost just like the old days...

In addition, I've discovered that it's somewhat difficult to write convincingly about agony when one is quite happy. Strange, that.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

QotD:

"That was meant for private discourse, not public intercourse."

Just like the old days...
Two very interesting anniversaries today, other than the obvious one...

441st

323nd

Related to the obvious one? You decide.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Oftentimes when I'm writing, I try to write something so well that it requires no revision.

Sometimes that results in writing nothing at all.

In most cases it's probably best to just write... and make revisions as necessary.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Just finished China Boy based on one of my reader's recommendation. An enjoyable easy read, although the author's romanization scheme for chinese words was annoying to someone accustomed to modern pinyin. I'd recommend it as great summer reading, so hurry up with the week or two we have left.

I did have one problem with the book however...
The main character has three older sisters, each given their English names by their mother's tutor prior to the family's flight from China (their father being a KMT soldier and therefore on 'the wrong side of history'). The youngest sister's name struck me as reasonable -- Janie. It sounds like a name you'd expect to hear in an 'Our Gang' short. However, the two older sisters were given the English names Jennifer and Megan... Neither of those struck me as being names that a Chinese tutor of English language would have chosen in the late 30's or early 40's.

This would have only remained a nagging doubt, were it not for eggy's serendipitous linking of The Baby Name Wizard. It would appear that my gut feeling was at least partly right... neither Megan nor Jennifer really appear in the rankings until the 1950's (well, ok, 40's for Jennifer). Janie meanwhile was at least in the rankings in the 1930's, and well before... Still, I suppose to modern ears having a character named Imogene would sound ridiculous, and perhaps even retard book sales.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Whatever else may be said about me, let no one say that I'm not a roadtripcionado.

Friday, September 01, 2006

CATS WIN!