Banana Counting Monkey

Friday, June 28, 2002:

Osama? Time For The Dead Parrot Sketch

Mark Steyn
says that Osama is dead, but that he will live on publicly because it is in the interests of the US War on Terror.

BCM // 12:09 PM


On Pilots Carrying Guns

StrategyPage has a few notes
regarding reasons why the Bush Administration is reluctant to allow pilots the right to carry guns in the cockpit.

Debate continues to rage over the issue of airline pilots carrying guns. While the pilots continue to demand this and the Bush Administration continues to refuse (and Congress continues to threaten to order the guns into the cockpits), some key points are getting lost. Certainly, at the point a hijacker starts forcing his way through the cockpit doors, having a gun that the pilots can reach is a final and definitive defensive statement. The problem is what happens to the 99.99% of such pistols that are never called upon for such duty? This is why the Bush Administration does not want guns in airliners (except in the possession of undercover sky marshals). Thousands of guns inside the security gates create no end of nightmares for security forces. If they are locked in a strongbox inside the cockpit, any mechanic with a couple of heavy tools could get into one, and so could a terrorist. If pilots carry the weapons in shoulder holsters, any terrorist who walked through security without a gun need only bushwhack a uniformed pilot to get hold of a weapon. Hundreds of pistols in a given airport, regardless of the security, is (the Bush Administration fears) an accident waiting to happen. Pilots are not trained policemen or soldiers and, sooner or later, one of them will leave a pistol somewhere unattended, or will accidentally discharge one.--Stephen V Cole

These are the first arguments against allowing the pilots to carry that have made any sense. Personally I am for arming the pilots. Agents from the Department of Agriculture are legally allowed to carry weapons on flights. I cannot see any reason why that if these gov't employees are allowed to carry why pilots, who have much more reason to want a defense, cannot. (I'm sure a comparison between the number of Dept of Ag workers who have been hijacked versus pilots being hijacked would be instructive).

BCM // 11:37 AM


Al-Queda Still Getting Supplies

I'm with Neal Boortz on this one.

"Pentagon Don says that the Al Qaeda are replenishing their weapons supplies. What are we doing to find out where these weapons are coming from --- and when do we bomb the suppliers into next week?"

BCM // 9:57 AM


Movies For The Weekend

I've seen both Minority Report and Lilo & Stitch this week. (My popcorn tub runetth over.) Both were great movies, certainly better than anything coming out this weekend. I was looking forward to lilo & Stitch for a while after first seeing the trailers for it. My impression was that Disney had not let their animators off the leash, so much as they let the leash out a few feet. (
Turns out I was correct.) I'll heartily recommend the movie. I was laughing all of the way through, uncontrollably at points. It's not just a kids movie, no matter the reputation Disney has as a kiddie shop.

Minority Report was fantastic as well. Gee, for the first time in ages, I was actually at the edge of my seat during the chase scenes. (Which didn't happen for Episode II at all.) What a wonderful feeling! Great story, well filmed and the first great John Williams score (which wasn't Star Wars) that I will be looking to buy. One particular thing I liked about the movie was the way it integrated the future fifty years from now with the modern day. Not everything was ultra-shiny new technology. If you look around you today, you'll see buildings from a hundred years ago, antique chairs, mirrors older items still in everyday unremarkable use. Well, the Minority Report future has that sort of feeling as well, the past seamlessly integrated with the future. Just because it's the future doesn't mean all of today's houses are going to be torn down. This makes the Minority Report the most plausible looking future I've seen on the big screen.

Both movie deserve your consideration if you're looking for some entertainment this weekend. I'll be abstaining this weekend. I have no real desire to see Mr.Deeds. MIB 2 next week on the other hand, I'm looking forward to seeing. This time the trailer doesn't give away every joke in the movie - or it's a very unfunny movie.

BCM // 8:33 AM


Thursday, June 27, 2002:

Is Here At Last.

I couldn't be happier. it doesn't look like they have the same selection as the US version as of yet (which would be incredibly appreciated), but this represents a massive improvement over Indigo/ I noted in February that Chapters didn't stock Bernard Goldberg's "Bias", even after it spent ten weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. It was mid-march before they finally started stocking it. Gee, four months to start stocking a #1 bestseller? Bloody appaling service.

Heather Reisman, Chapters/Indigo's CEO is pissed as hell that Amazon has made it across the border. She's demanding that the government investigate Amazon for violations of Canada's cultural protection laws. (Ah yes, Canada's culture, so strong and vibrant that it needs coddling. Especially where the interests of Liberal party bagmen and women are concerned.)

I'm in the process of moving over my cart from .com to .ca.

BCM // 1:44 PM


Islamic Banking

Explored in
Fortune Magazine. The most prominent feature is the ban on charging interest for loans.

(via E. Nough in LGF Forums)

BCM // 1:37 PM


"Why Does the Left Hates Israel?"

asks Dennis Prager.

The question is rarely asked. It is simply taken for granted that the left -- Europe, the Western news media, the universities, the liberal churches, the arts world -- supports the Palestinians and the larger Arab/Muslim worlds in their war against Israel.

But the question does need to be asked. For it is completely inconsistent with the left's professed values to side with Israel's enemies. Just about every value the left claims to uphold Israel upholds and its enemies do not.

The left speaks about its passion for democracy ("power to the people"). Yet it is Israel that is a fully functioning democracy, as opposed to all of its Arab and Muslim enemies. Yasser Arafat is precisely the self-aggrandizing, corrupt dictator-type that the left claims to hold in contempt.

Read the whole thing.

BCM // 1:34 PM


Wednesday, June 26, 2002:

I Love Capitalism!

WCOM last trade $0.23, Down 0.60.

Dow Jones, opened down slightly, dropped 200 points, and closes down 6.71
NASDAQ, down 80 at one point, closes up 5.34

Potentially the biggest bankruptcy in history. The market takes it in the gut and recovers by the end of the day. Marx must be rolling in his grave.

Oh, and as for Martha Stewart, I really don't think that there's any issue there. She took a perfectly sensible precaution of placing an on-stop order on her share holdings. She placed the order a better part of a month before ImClone tanked. This is something smart investors do to make sure their investment doesn't go down with the ship, so to speak. I understand that she knew people who were executives at Imclone. Does knowing an executive mean that you are forever locked into a stock for good or bad?

BCM // 1:58 PM


NY TImes Shows IT Just Doesn't Get It...

Aides To Bush Say Arafat Financed A Terrorist Group"

"As a result, the officials said, the aggressive diplomacy that had been originally been expected to floow the President's speech- including an immediate trip by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and a Middle East peace conference_ will now be delayed. Instead officials acknowledged that they would need a new round of consulatations before deciding on their next steps."
BCM // 9:50 AM


Canadian Dollar

Powering past 66 cents....or rather, the USD dropping below 1.51....

$0.6631 USD, up 0.0039 USD.

I am now modifying my outlook to "Long term bearish" on the Canadian Dollar. You can bet that I'm going to be buying some USD at these prices.

BCM // 9:44 AM


Question That Answers Itself


Fired for being Israeli Two noted Israeli scholars have been sacked from European journals, victims of a boycott against Israel. Why are progressive intellectuals descending to such bankrupt tactics?"

Via InstaPundit

Oh, and on an urelated note, I see Salon has adopted the most annoying ad technology I've seen on the web as of yet. Ads that load before the article you want loads. Why am I not suprised that a "progressive" magazine is the first to adopt such obnoxiousness? If I were to search Salon, how many articles would I find decrying consumerism and advertising? Just wondering.

BCM // 8:02 AM


Unfortunate Headline of the Day

Arafat To Run Again: Palestinian Leader Will Shoot For Reelection In January"

(The link is to the article itself. The blurb I quote is from the FOX homepage. Given that it's updated regularly, I don't expect the blurb to be there for too long.)

BCM // 7:05 AM


Tuesday, June 25, 2002:

"Amazon is Now Accepting Pre-Orders"

For "
Brotherhood of the Wolf" on DVD, according to an email I received from them a few days ago. I probably won't be ordering it from them (due to shipping costs) but I thought Amazon would be a good indicator of when the DVD becomes available. I was really pleased when I got that email.

Then I actually checked the Amazon page. "This item will be released on October 1, 2002." That, my friends, is a tease.

Well, that's my petty complaint for the day.

BCM // 8:21 AM



Mugabe has sealed his nation's fate. The
most productive farmers in his nation have just been banned from owning land, in the name of avoiding famine.

Oh wonderful, another "socially just" famine.

A former farmer details his experience in Zimbabwe. I guess I should mention that he's white.

I write this not to elicit sympathy -- I fully appreciate, as relics of the colonial era, we are political dinosaurs -- but to explain why some Canadian tax money will be coming to Zimbabwe, and why it did not have to be this way.

Take my farm as a microcosm of Zimbabwe's agriculture. We purchased it in 1985, five years after independence -- a total of 60% of commercial farms (mostly white owned) have changed hands since 1980. Since we bought here, we have built three dams, installed sufficient irrigation for the arable area, fenced off grazing, built housing with electricity and running water for the 40 families who work here, andgenerally improved the place. Until two years ago, I was one of the best investors this country could hope for: Any money I made was ploughed back into improving the business, obviously to make more money, and of course provide more employment. I was a typical white farmer.

In late March, some government surveyors informed me they had come to divide the farm into 26 plots measuring 40 hectares (100 acres) each. Six weeks later, fancy four-wheel-drive vehicles started arriving with the proud recipients coming to inspect their plots. These folk are all employed in the local town, mostly civil servants, and do not possess sufficient funds or knowledge to allow them to farm properly. Of the 26 plots, only 13 are arable, so 13 families, with an alternative income, will replace the 40 currently employed here who will be left destitute. Given comparable figures on neighbouring properties that have already been seized, the new farmers are likely to produce 5% of my current production. This is where your tax money will be used: Can you honestly look at night after night of images of starving children? I think not.

How could this have been handled differently? Well, because this is a political issue designed to keep Robert Mugabe and his henchmen in power, chaos has reigned supreme and the truly landless peasants and the skilled black farmers are forgotten in the rush to reward the party faithful.

Yes, it may be said that "the white farmers lacked imagination" (to quote George Alagiah's Passage to Africa) and we should have seen the inevitable land reform coming, but as a practising capitalist, I cannot apologize for my contribution to this nation's economy. My focus was on expanding this farm to make more money, which in turn provided more employment and fuelled more economic growth.

The hot topic in Africa is NEPAD (the New Partnership for Africa's Development). To me the answer is simple: Donations from the developed world are not sustainable. At some point, donor fatigue or corruption stop the giving and the nation slips further into poverty. A long-term solution is to make conditions attractive for business to operate to capacity, creating jobs and opportunity along the way.

Raw capitalism will leave casualties but ultimately economic growth is beneficial to most everyone, and hopefully business will divine the road ahead rather than the chaotic Big Brother approach of most African governments.

I do not profess to be an economist, just a formerly successful white African farmer. Formerly, because I shall be joining your ranks in the First World now that my means of income have been taken, and from my new home will watch our tax money being spent feeding people in a country capable of feeding itself if attractive conditions were provided.

Paul Kuhn, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe.

BCM // 6:46 AM


Monday, June 24, 2002:

I think I finally Understand

...why exactly Bush and other Western Leaders
have so consistently pushed for an eventual Palestinian state and the "peace process".

Because the only alternative is a war in which the Israelis will crush the Palestinian resistance. This would involve driving large numbers of refugees out of the West Bank and a not inconsiderable number of civillian casualties. Even barring the possibility of Syrian, Egypt, Jordan and other arab states becoming involved in the conflict, this is still unthinkable to the west.


To those of us who believe in western civilization, Israel is an exemplar. Israel is capitalist, free, democratic and has survived ordeals that would have crushed other nations. We in the West identify with Israel, and that identity is the stumbling block. The self-image of western civilization has us as liberators, champions against military aggression, righters of wrongs. To western perception, forcing a people out of what is considered their homeland is something un-western, something wrong.

When was the last time a modern western nation committed military action which caused massive dislocation of refugees? Not through proxies but directly turning a modern military machine against a relatively lightly armed people? Everyone knows dammed well that the IDF could level the West Bank in less than a week, if not days or even hours. it is this imbalance that makes it feel wrong. We don't want to see those who are like us do such a thing. We don't want to see a western nation committed to a path of complete violence against a weaker people. We don't want to believe ourselves capable of that.

Because we know that the only final alternative to annihilation of the Palestinian people (or utter defeat like WWII with the attendant horrors) is a negotiated two-state solution or the status quo, western leaders keep pushing the dead letter on the Israelis.

BCM // 2:00 PM


Quote of the Day

"It's time to KICK SOME HAMASS! "

-Bossman in
LGF Comments, re post that IDF is preparing a major offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

BCM // 12:46 PM


GM Food, Circa 19--

letter to the Financial Post regarding their series on Junk Science against GM Foods.

The article GM Foods: Good for the Earth and Our Future (June 20), prompted me to recall a story you may find interesting. Two years ago I was in Maryfield, Sask., attending my life partner's family reunion. Many of the men, retired farmers now in their seventies, recalled the early years of their life on the land. Times were tough. In particular, they recalled the first introduction of rust-resistant wheat. It was as if the hand of God had come down and touched them! Their lives were completely transformed by this. Dedicated men and women, working within Agriculture Canada (I believe), painstakingly produced a wheat with this characteristic.

It seems mundane now, but 50-odd years ago these men were faced with the prospect of their growing season's work being totally lost to rust. These rust-resistant strains, of course, were created by laborious hand pollination of plants, not much different than the pioneering work of Mendel, working so diligently in his monastery with his peas so many years before.

Proto-genetic engineering. I wonder what the eco-lobby would have said about it, if it had existed then?

George Hayward, Winnipeg

BCM // 12:36 PM


The Whole Padilla Thing

Are his rights being violated or not? Does he have rights? As an enemy combatant should he have the protection of the US legal system?

I'm not a scholar of legal affairs, but there's one comment that has stuck with me. When Instapundit opened up commenting on this issue, one person cited Lincoln as a precedent. During the US Civil War, many american citizens were held as enemy combatants without access to their rights. This seems fairly final to me. Am I missing something here?

BCM // 12:32 PM


Deadline on Bin Laden's Life

President Bush, reacting to reports that Bin Laden is alive, has
set next Sept 11th as a deadline for Bin laden's death.

Bad idea. First of all, if the US doesn't have a body by Sept 11th, another "humiliation" of the West will be proclaimed across the Arab world. This is now all too likely, as Bin Laden is dead, dead, dead and buried. Either beneath Tora Bora or in a very deep grave dug by his compatriots who want to ensure his immortality.

I don't believe Al-Queda's spokesman for a moment that Bin Laden is alive. Of course they are going to claim he is. It's the only thing that makes sense for them. Let's look at their options. A: Declare Bin Laden martyred. Hmmm. Doesn't look good as in terms of the struggle against the West. No grand last stand, and getting killed maybe three months after getting the US' focused attention. Al Queda loses its charismatic leader, and all of the credibility he'd built up. Not acceptable. B: You don't know if he's dead or alive either. Proclaiming him dead gives rise to previously noted consequences and requires you to admit your glorious leader wasn't so glorious. No, better to proclaim his safety and hope he call you. C: Lie through your teeth and proclaim him alive. Keep your supporters hopeful and focused. As long as the americans don't have a body, you can trumpet the West's failure and impotence. You get to keep the political capital his name invokes. Al-Jazeera continues to listen to you and broadcast your propaganda. Your organization continues to look viable and resistance to the US looks possible.

You also come from a culture where pride and honor are everything, humiliation is to be avoided like the plague, and lying is an accepted social practice. So, what option are the Al-Qaeda going to pick?

Until I see a tape of Bin Laden making explict reference to current events, I'll continue to believe he's dead.

BCM // 9:37 AM


Health Care As A "Right"

Neal Boortz
details exactly why health care is not a "right" in the same way that free speech, assembly, etc are rights.

First of all, think about the right to free speech, religion, assembly, the press, etc. Does anyone else have to sacrifice any portion of their life or any of their property in order for you to enjoy these rights? No. Nobody has to surrender one second of their life nor one small smidgen of their property in order for our government to protect your right to say what you want, pray how you want, gather with whom you want or read a free press.

Now – what about medical care. Medical care consists of the personal services of medical personnel, and the benefits offered by medical equipment and drugs. In order for you to receive medical care some individual somewhere has to either offer you a personal service such as an examination, or some equipment such as a wheelchair or a sling, or some medication. The personal service is an expenditure of a portion of someone’s life. The equipment and drugs constitute someone’s property. The claim of a “right” to medical care is a claim of a “right” to a portion of someone’s life or to someone’s property.

BCM // 8:09 AM


Schadenfreude, Yet Again

Not mine, but from FOX News.

CNN Says it Erred in Mideast Coverage"

"CNN erred in giving more programming time to the family of a Palestinian suicide bomber than to his Israeli victims and tried to rectify the mistake, the network's top news executive said Sunday during a damage-control visit to Israel.

CNN's coverage of recent suicide bombings has provoked anger in Israel and led a local cable company to start carrying CNN's chief U.S. competitor, Fox News Channel. Fox said it expects others to follow suit. Recent comments from CNN founder Ted Turner describing both Israel and the Palestinians as terrorists have fueled Israeli anger.

You can't tell me that the FOX writer wasn't smiling as he entered this AP story on the FOX website.

BCM // 6:43 AM


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