Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

February 1, 2005

I think this means they’re losing

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:26 pm

Iraqi terrorists have taken GI Joe hostage! And they are threatening to “behead him in 72 hours unless the Americans release Iraqi prisoners.”

Take a look at the AP story here and the pictures Matt Drudge has posted here.

For those of you who aren’t up on these things (for Americans, this means you haven’t watched TV cartoons in 35 years), “GI Joe” is a brand of toy soldier. (Are the insurgents learning their techniques from Dan Rather?)

(Note: The AP caption on the photo does not indicate that it’s not of a real person. Looks like the AP is fooled more easily than Matt Drudge. Does that surprise anyone anymore?)

Folks, I think this means the “insurgents” are losing. First, they threatened to kill all the American soldiers (remember “Baghdad Bob“?), but the invasion was over in three weeks, with most of the Iraqi Army refusing to fight. Then, they said the Iraqis would fight against the “occupiers,” but they had to import insurgents from all the other Middle Eastern countries, to fight the Iraqis who were joining the new Iraqi National Guard.

Then, just last week, they threatened to kill any Iraqi who voted — but were only able to kill 36 people out of the 8 or 9 million or so who voted (that’s about 0.0004%) — even when the voters had ink-stained fingers to easily identify them as targets!

Now, instead of actually capturing hostages, they have to go to the toy store to buy dolls, and hope no one recognizes the pictures.

Folks, they’re losing. Five years from now, Iraq will be a flourishing democracy, and the argument in the U.S. will be between Republicans who will argue that George W. Bush deserves some credit, and Democrats who will claim it was all “inevitable.” You heard it here first.

Is academic history not political enough? And, is Bush a “legitimate” President?

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:13 am

Is the practice of history in academia too political — or not political enough?

Clayton Cramer reports on an interesting debate taking place on a mailing list for historians of the colonial era. Apparently, some historians think the History Channel is not left-wing enough, and that academic historians should try to change that. Others think historians should “learn from the interests of the general public” and let that influence their research agendas.

Then, out of left field, from Trish Roberts-Miller (who teaches “Demagoguery” and “History of Public Argument” and other things at the University of Texas) came this:

Thus, for instance, 51% of *your* fellow citizens, Mr. Cramer, did not vote for Mr. Bush. That’s a statistical sleight of hand being pushed by the GOP to legitimate a President supported by a minority of citizens. It isn’t true. That you would toss out a false number as though it’s true is an interesting sign about with whom you talk.

Apparently, Bush is an illegitimate president because he didn’t get a majority of eligible voters, even though he got a majority of actual voters. Somehow, I doubt Ms. Roberts-Miller raised any objection to the legitimacy of Clinton’s presidency — and Clinton never even got a majority of the actual voters! (He got 49.2% in 1996 and 43.0% in 1992 — of actual, not eligible, voters.)

In fact, by the Roberts-Miller standard, we’ve never had a legitimate president! The highest presidential popular vote percentage ever was 60.3% for Richard Nixon in 1972, and it would require a turnout rate of 83% for that to be a majority of eligible voters. I’m pretty sure there’s never been a turnout of 83% (or higher) in the history of U.S. presidential elections.

Where Were the Human Shields on Election Day?

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:41 am

From Michelle Malkin’s reader Joseph O’Neill:

Why don’t we see the human shields at the polls in Iraq? They were willing to protect Iraq from bombs before the war started. Why aren’t they protecting Iraq now?

Mass Backwards has one good answer:

Gee, I dunno, maybe because they never gave a rat’s ass about the fate of the Iraqi people, and were just a bunch of anti-American, Kool-aid felching j[------]s with their heads lodged up their collective poopchute.

That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

Then again, at least one of the “human shields” did care deeply about the people of Iraq, and concluded that he was wrong to be a human shield. Here is his story.

Tax Tip for Bank Robbers

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:18 am

In most European countries, it is illegal, or usually illegal, to own a handgun. However, if you buy a handgun and use it to rob a bank, then in the Netherlands it least, the cost of the handgun you use to rob the bank is deductible as a business expense. The same applies to drug dealers who use a car to transport their drugs (if there are any drugs still illegal in the Netherlands). This according to this story in the Telegraph (via Mass Backwards), which says an actual bank robber was allowed an actual deduction for this purpose.

The deduction was not for tax purposes, but for his fine! From the Telegraph story:

The 46-year-old criminal was able to set the price of the pistol against his gross proceeds of £4,700, which he stole in the southern Dutch town of Chaam.

Jailing him for four years, the judge at Breda criminal court reduced his fine by that amount.

Clayton Cramer reports that this is also true under U.S. federal income tax law, but not under California state income tax law. (Somehow, I don’t have the urge to look this up for all the other states.)

So if you are a bank robber in California, remember to deduct the cost of your gun, and mileage for your getaway car, from your federal income taxes but not your state income taxes. After all, you wouldn’t want to violate any laws, now would you? :-)

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