Discuss amongst yourselves

If you didn’t think I could indicate my lack of interest in the ports issue or the media coverage of Dick Cheney: Great White Hunter any more clearly, I believe this week’s column should convince you.

It might even convince Morgan that I’m not all that interested in my so-called career.

Two hearts, beating as one

Everyone’s favorite Token Hippy gets a present:

So Larry comes home today with a bucket. In the bucket is a PVC tube with a piece of screen molded to one end. In the tube is a rat.

“Look at this,” he said. “What do you think?”

“I think you have a rat in a bucket,” I said….

He sent me for the camera, so we could capture this special moment forever. But why be greedy. Why should I enjoy such a golden moment without sharing it with the rest of you?

Behold, the rat.

At least it wasn’t Valentine’s Day….

All too typical

Women and Iraq in Foreign Affairs:

In Iraq, unlike in many other Muslim nations, women will have a strong advantage in their fight for equality: namely, a provision in the new constitution that guarantees them 25 percent of the seats in parliament. This quota is the product of intense lobbying by women’s groups, who feared being left out of the new Iraqi politics. It also has some grounding in Iraqi history. The Baathists gave women the vote and the right to run for office in 1980; within two decades, women had come to occupy 20 percent of the seats in Iraq’s rubber-stamp parliament (compared to a 3.5 percent average in the region) and some prominent cabinet positions. After the invasion, U.S. policymakers were sympathetic to women’s concerns that they would lose their political position in an election process dominated by conservative Shiites. Washington also wanted to support Iraqi women without directly challenging religious convictions. Instituting a quota seemed a good way to do both….

At the time of the elections, some Western commentators pointed to this high level of female representation as evidence that a grand social and cultural transformation was under way in Iraq.

So, the occupying military power forces the new Iraqi government accept a parliament that is 25 percent women. Naturally, the pro-war (or pro-feminist) commentator jumps on this wildly atypical female representation as proof that the Iraqi people are willing to elect women and turn their back on conventional interpretations of Sharia, never mind the fact that they are quite clearly not willing to do so or there would be no need to use the weight of the American military to make them do it.

Classic media doublethink. Also, you have to love how we are bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq BY ESTABLISHING ELECTION QUOTAS! Nor are these the only ones. Why not just force them to elect Laura Bush dictatrix-for-life and have done with it?

The neocons finally begin to concede

“It didn’t work.” Thus spake William F. Buckley:

One can’t doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. The same edition of the paper quotes a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite mosque in Samarra and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. He concludes that “the bombing has completely demolished” what was being attempted — to bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.

Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans.

Now, one hopes the neocon mission will be to salvage the concept of World Democratic Revolution instead of further risking it. The alternative is a grand event to inspire war against Iran. As poisonous as the former is, it is hugely preferable to the latter. This column by Buckley is a sign that optimism is not unwarranted.

The reason Iraq failed is that the postulates were stupid from the start. There was never any reason that Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims and Kurds were going to stick together without a dictator forcing them to do so without mass slaughter, the breakup of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia should have been evidence enough for any logical observer. As for the wonderful drug that is democracy, I couldn’t help but laugh when I read a minor columnist clinging to the now-outdated argument that we must stand by Israel because it is the only Middle East democracy, ignoring the free and democratic elections in Iraq and the Palestinian Authority.

By that logic, Hamas must now be our ally. What a tangled web we weave, when ourselves we practice to deceive….

Watch for the democratic government of Iraq to do these two things prior to the 2008 election: a) launch a large-scale anti-Sunni pogrom, and b) call for the eliminatio of Israel.

Trust me, I have no idea what’s going on

Pruden on political strategery:

Once they’re no longer regarded as the toughest party on national security the Republicans will be burnt toast. Not even Karl Rove’s dream of a mighty coalition of Muslims and illegal Hispanic immigrants will be enough to put Humpty Dumpty together again. “Vote Republican, we’re not as bad as you think” is persuasive only as long as the tough guys put first things first. The Great Seaports Giveaway is enough to persuade a lot of Americans, including reliable and devoted friends of George W. Bush, that maybe the Republicans really are as bad as they think.

John McCain argues the point, a reasonable one, that George W.’s stubborn determination to fight the war against Islamist terror entitles him to a pass on the ports. “We all need to take a moment and not rush to judgment on this matter without knowing all the facts,” the Arizona senator says. “The president’s leadership has earned our trust in the war on terror, and surely his administration deserves the presumption that they would not sell our security short.”

True enough, and George W. Bush still looks light-years safer than Al Gore or John Kerry. But the president’s remarkable morning-after explanation that the first he knew about the sale of control of six of the nation’s most important ports was what he got from the newspapers is not exactly what Americans expect to hear from a president, any president, and proves once more that trust must be earned anew every day.

I think this administration is probably long overdue for the smell-test council suggested by the Fraters Libertas a few days ago. Don’t get me wrong, I’m convinced that the president is devoted to interests inimical to the nation, but someone is going to lie to me, I’d prefer that they not insult my intelligence while doing so. At least you can take the trouble to make it sound good.

How many days is it until the Lizard Queen begins her rule? I’m almost looking forward to it, in a sickly fascinated way. It’s been very interesting to see how the scenario is playing out… I’m still waiting for her to make her move to become Champion of the Southern Border.

Asking out

The die is cast once you lose your champion. It’s as true in the publishing world as it is on the field of Warhammer fantasy battle. I sent in a written notice to my publisher a few days ago, informing them that they are in breach of contract, having accepted a certain, long-awaited novel more than 18 months ago without publishing it. Accompanying the notice was a request for termination and reversion, which would allow me to recover the publishing rights without having to wait six months for the automatic provision to kick in.

I did so because the vice-publisher who happened to be the editor that first offered me a book contract departed the company in favor of another publishing house. While the book survived – for the second time – a catalog kill review conducted by his replacement, a conversation with him left me convinced that there’s no future for my books there.

This isn’t a bad thing, since there’s not only another publisher who is interested in publishing the book, there’s also an editor at a third publisher who wants to publish a fantasy trilogy set in the world of the five novellas. And to top it all off, I was exchanging emails last week with a Very Big Name – we’re talking major articles in Time Magazine – who read and liked my unpublished Chronicles of King David, of all things.

(I actually received the first email from said VBN from mid-2004 on my old laptop, but I’d never responded to it since I didn’t note the name and I basically ignore everything that mentions television, the movies or anything remotely having to do with Hollywood. I had to fire it the old machine again to figure out when that other novel had been accepted, happened to notice his email, and found myself wondering why the name seemed so familiar. So, I sent a very belated email asking if he was THE VBN, and was shocked when that turned out to indeed be the case. Strange, but it goes to show that you just never know who is reading your website.)

Anyhow, who knows will come out of any of this, but one thing remains clear. I am the king of being paid not to publish. If anyone else requires me to not write or not publish a short story, novel, or screenplay, please contact me and I will be happy to not write it for you. Be warned, however, my word-rate is high.

The easy out

Urban Cougar comedy:

At 41, Chicago comedian Tracy Tedesco is beating back guys in their 20s like she was giving away Xboxes. Tedesco is the definition of an “urban cougar.”

The label used to be an unflattering characterization of middle-aged, boy-hungry single women. But as more women shed the traditional taboos about age and dating, the name has been taken on as a badge of empowerment by sexy, older professional women who prefer the physical and spiritual qualities of younger men.

Look no further than the celebrity world for proof that the movement is growing. Some of Hollywood’s hottest actresses have taken on younger mates, and a number of male celebrities in TV and music have chosen girlfriends who are several years their senior.

This would be massively amusing if it wasn’t so pathetic. I’m sure men admire Jessica Simpson and Adriana Lima for their “spiritual qualities” too. This is a perfect demonstration of how women are capable of entirely missing a point, then celebrating their misunderstanding. The older woman has always been a male fantasy precisely because it represents an ideal situation, sex without the pressure of commitment. A man in his twenties will cheerfully date a hot older woman, since there’s no pressure, no hassle and no future to the relationship. It’s an in that comes with an automatic out, like a hooker that doesn’t charge.

Among cougars, Adler also cautions the marriage-minded and the biological tick-tockers to think carefully about the lifestyle. “Is this really going to last long-term?” she asked.

“There can definitely be a spark in the bedroom between younger guys and older women,” she said. “But if an older woman is really looking to settle down, they have to make sure they’re not wasting time just for fun.”

That is a concern for Tedesco. She did not expect to be in the position she’s in–she wanted to be married and have kids by now…. She has dated several younger guys in the past five or six years, including one 24-year-old, when she was 37.

The ironic thing is that she probably considers herself to be intelligent. The evidence clearly suggests otherwise. In another five or six years, it’s almost inevitable that she’ll be a toothless, clawless cougar, with neither the marriage nor the casual relationships.