Hunter S. Thompson Quote of the Day

From a letter to Jim Silberman, Random House, dated May 9, 1971, as published in Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, 1968-1976.

In this letter Thompson attempts to justify the huge expenses associated with covering the Mint 400 motorcycle race in Las Vegas with his friend and attorney, Oscar Acosta.

There is no way to understand the public reaction to the sight of a Freak smashing a coconut with a hammer on the hood of a white Cadillac in a Safeway parking lot unless you actually do it ... and I tell you it's tense. They don't like it at all. It rips their nerve ends in a very extreme way.


Another Simpsons Post

300 reasons why we love the Simpsons from The Observer.

My favorite is number 23:
Ideally, you should be able to watch each episode anew at five distinct stages in life. As a toddler, marvelling at all the bright colours; as a teenager, enjoying the tilts at authority; as a student, relishing the in-jokes and movie references; as an adult, musing on the truths about life, love and death; and in your dotage, marvelling at all the bright colours.

Let's Trade!

Formula One driver Juan-Pablo Montoya and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon will drive each other's cars

What next? Will NHRA Funny Car champ John Force trade with World Rally driver Marcus Grunholm?  How about one of those Bassmaster guys piloting an offshore powerboat?

Mario Andretti at Indy

63-year-old Mario Andretti wrecked Tony Kanaan's IRL car at Indianapolis Speedway yesterday but came away unhurt which is surprising for an IRL car. Andretti put in 50 hot laps and posted a top speed of 225.4 miles per hour. Kanaan is recovering from a broken arm suffered in an earlier accident and may not recover in time to qualify for the Memorial Day classic, the Indianapolis 500. Andretti plans on qualifying Kanaan's car, and then turning it back to him for race day. From the Associated Press Sports Desk
The crash occurred when he hit debris between Turns 1 and 2 at more than 200 mph. After striking the debris, the car went into the air, flipped at least twice and landed on all four tires, said Carol Wilkins, spokeswoman for Andretti Green Racing.
Andretti, the oldest driver to ever test an Indy car, drove more than 50 laps Wednesday and turned a top lap of 225.4 mph. Last year at Indy, the 33rd car in the field had a qualifying speed of 227.096.


Everybody Loves The Simpsons

I know this is a attribution stretch, but try to stay with me. In today's "Media Notes" Howard Kurtz, quotes The Weekly Standard's Alan Jacobs on lefty reporter Robert Fisk.
The substance of his writing is easy enough to indicate: imagine someone taking simultaneous dictation from Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf and Noam Chomsky. The tone--and tone is what makes Fisk Fisk--is perhaps a trifle more elusive of description, but viewers of 'The Simpsons' will perhaps understand when I say that Fisk is the Krusty the Clown of journalism.
I laughed out loud when I read "...that Fisk is the Krusty the Clown of journalism.

Fisk's descriptive power is good, even though I disagree with his political position. Not that I agree with the vehemently right-wing, administration mouthpiece The Weekly Standard either.


Race Results Overturned

It appears that Jordan pilot Giancarlo Fisichella has been ruled the winner in last week's Brazilian Grand Prix. I don't know what took the FIA so long to figure it out. Everyone who saw the race knew Fisichella won. Congrats to Giancarlo and Jordan. Maybe Jordan will be able to pick up some sponsorship now.


Is The Job Done?

I seem to remember that in 1990-91 many people agreed that Saddam was a bad man who should be removed from power. I also seem to remember that some pundits at the time were calling for coalition forces to go ahead and drive to Baghdad to forcibly remove Saddam from power. Maybe they were right. However, because of the wording of the 1991 U.N. resolution, the coalition forces stopped after removing Iraqi forces from Kuwait. It was hoped that Iraqis would rise up and topple Saddam, but that didn't happen.

Now, in 2003, we're paying the price for not dealing with Saddam back then. Would it have been less costly to have removed Saddam from power in 1991? I don't know. I have a hunch that it would have been, considering all the trouble Saddam's been over the past twelve years. Now in 2003, we're driving to Baghdad from Kuwait and removing him from power just like we could have done twelve years ago.

In the last few days, I've heard some pundits talking about how evil Syria is. About how it's also ruled by the Ba'ath party. About how it is a repressive regime. About how it's also developing weapons of mass destruction. About how it has also invaded a neighboring country. I have also heard some pundits saying that freeing Iraq is an example to other repressive regimes in the area and a free and democratic Iraq will be a model for the rest of the Arab world. Will Syria learn from the Iraq example? I don't know. I'm not encouraged.

One could argue that ignoring the U.N. and forcibly removing Saddam from power in 1991 would have been the right thing to do. Since January of this year, that's exactly what we've had to do. Ignore the U.N and do the right thing; invade Iraq to free it and protect our country. Are we doing the right thing by stopping with Iraq? I hope that in twelve years U.S forces aren't back in the Middle East. I hope we don't have to invade Syria in 2015 to free the Syrian people when we could have done it now and saved ourselves a lot of time, trouble, money, and most importantly, lives.

I'm not an advocate of war. But I do believe it's always better to deal with problems sooner, rather than later.


Dreaded Iraqi Army

I've been reading that U.S. forces, in their drive toward Baghdad, have bypassed some Iraqi Army divisions near the border with Iran. This *New York Times article seems to verify that claim and provides another example of why the Iraqi Army is such a feared fighting force.
A group of Marine battalions from Task Force Tarawa swung east today toward Amara, near the Iranian border, to confront the 10th Armored Division of the Iraqi Army and determine whether it intended to surrender.But on the initial approach to the city, there was no Iraqi division to be found. 
"Apparently the 10th Armored capitulated yesterday, but they didn't have anybody to capitulate to," Lt. Col. Glenn Starnes of a Marine artillery battalion said. "The locals around there are saying they stacked their weapons, parked their vehicles and walked away. Right now, there is no enemy that we know of."
I'm going out on a limb and predicting that Baghdad will be pacified by Sunday April 13. I could be wrong. I hope it doesn't take that long.

*NOTE: Registration is required to read New York Times articles on the web.


Saddam ... NOT!

I could tell right away ... this is not Saddam.


Fleeing Baghdad

It appears the mother of all surrenders is underway as described in this article from Reuters. Here's an excerpt:
Reporting from central Iraq, south of Baghdad with the 1st Marine Division, [ABC correspondent Mike] Cerre said U.S. support aircraft had counted more than 60 buses filled with Iraqis fleeing Baghdad.
"What is stopping us now is the flood of deserters and civilians, on buses, trucks, taxicabs and whatever they can catch a ride on, trying to make their way south to their families or American forces to surrender" he said.

Banned in Baghdad

The Iraq war has been filled with examples of the  Iraqi regime's desperation.  Surrendering soldiers who then shoot  fighters hiding in mosques death-squads forcing soldiers to fight at gunpoint and suicide bombers

But a sure sign that the regime is collapsing has to be when you kick out the oh-so-sympathetic Al Jazeera. This is an excerpt of an article from CNN's web site.
A statement read by an Al-Jazeera news anchor said: "The Iraqi Information Ministry told Al-Jazeera office in Baghdad its decision to ban Diar al-Omari, Al-Jazeera's Baghdad correspondent, from practicing his journalistic duties."
Perhaps Saddam is ashamed of his "glorious heroes"?


Is Saddam Alive?

Gregg Easterbrook (who is a great writer) points out today that it\'s been a while since Saddam has been verified alive by anyone outside Iraq:
... it feels ever more significant that it's been twelve days since the "decapitation" attack and there has been no public image of Saddam speaking about any fact that has become known since then.
The following is a scenario I'm hopeful for:

If Saddam is dead, the surrender of Iraqi forces will come quickly and will be a surprise. Coalition forces will fight a tough battle, will enter Baghdad, will begin to close in on the leadership. The leadership, sensing imminent demise, will fold quickly. Some will attempt to flee, some will commit suicide, some will die fighting.

Soon, we shall see if the mustachioed one is still alive.

Peace Activist Etiquette

Got this in an email today. It's a bit facile, but amusing.

With the war going on, many of us will encounter "Peace Activists" who will try and convince us that we must refrain from retaliating against the ones who terrorized us all on September 11, 2001, and those who support terror. 
These activists may be alone or in a gathering.....most of us don't know how to react to them. When you come upon one of these people, or one of their rallies, here are the proper rules of etiquette: 
1. Listen politely while this person explains their views. Strike up a conversation if necessary and look very interested in their ideas. They will tell you how revenge is immoral, and that by attacking the people who did this to us, we will only bring on more violence. They will probably use many arguments, ranging from political to religious to humanitarian.
2. In the middle of their remarks, without any warning, punch them in the nose.
3. When the person gets up off of the ground, they will be very angry and they may try to hit you, so be careful.
4. Very quickly and calmly remind the person that violence only brings about more violence and remind them of their stand on this matter. Tell them if they are really committed to a nonviolent approach to undeserved attacks, they will turn the other cheek and negotiate a solution. Tell them they must lead by example if they really believe what they are saying.
5. Most of them will think for a moment and then agree that you are correct.
6. As soon as they do that, hit them again. Only this time hit them much harder. Square in the nose.
7. Repeat steps 2-5 until the desired results are obtained and the idiot realizes how stupid of an argument he/she is making.
8. There is no difference in an individual attacking an unsuspecting victim or a group of terrorists attacking a nation of people. It is unacceptable and must be dealt with. Perhaps at a high cost.
*We owe our military a huge debt for what they are doing for us and our children. We must support them and our leaders at times like these. We have no choice. We either strike back, VERY HARD, or we will keep getting hit in the nose.
I don't agree with #8 or really any of it. There IS a BIG difference between an individual attacking an unsuspecting victim and a group of terrorists attacking a nation of people. However, the point that both actions are unacceptable is correct. The writer undercuts their own argument by advocating that the reader attack a peace activist.