Archive for September, 2003

Hillary Clinton’s autobiography is a hot selling item in mainland China. The Chinese government, however, takes exception to some of the politically sensitive topics she raises, and has deleted them from the version of the book being sold there.

Hillary’s reaction? “Unbelievable! I was amazed and outraged that they would censor me again.”

Amazed and outraged? How about fucking clueless?

And the “again” part of her comment is intriguing.

China is a communist country, and they take their communism pretty seriously over there. Hence the large numbers of people disappearing when they speak out against the government, and the broad censorship of anything that makes China look bad or even remotely resembles free speech (such as the Internet).

Simon & Schuster, the publisher, has indicated to the Chinese that this is a breach of contract. You think China gives a damn? They don’t have any respect for things like private property, copyrights, patents, or contractual obligations. It’s like expecting Saddam to keep his word, or believing Yasser Arafat when he says he’s working for peace.

The woman’s mental. It’s the only possible explanation. I mean, who else says something like “The great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it, is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband” on national television, with a straight face, and expects people to take her seriously?

This is an awesome idea that Chief Wiggles is putting together. Go see his blog for details on how you can participate.

This is a tremendous opportunity for us to show the people of Iraq that Americans are generous and caring, and basically normal. We’re not evil monsters, and the rumors of American prosperity are true. These kids have nothing, and they deserve the chance to play and be kids.

Ral

This website has no affiliation with www.smokerservice.com. If you’re looking for them, you missed. Type it into your browser’s URL field and not the search engine field.

Today my friend Holly shows me the amusing new metal tin that Camel cigarettes are available in. These particular cigarettes are mandarin orange flavored, part of a new product line of flavored cigarettes. She doesn’t smoke anymore — she just thinks the tin is cool.

But on investigating this product out of curiosity, we both discovered something rather odd. RJ Reynolds (which makes Camels and a few other brands) does not have a product listing or a product section of any kind on their website. From their own website I cannot get any information at all about what they manufacture, other than that they are cigarettes.

The domain www.marlboro.com does not exist. Philip Morris (the manufacturer) has a website that includes a little information about the ingredients of their cigarettes, and lists brands, but there is no detailed info on brand categories, such as lights or menthols.

These websites in general appear to be devoted to the social and political issues of tobacco.

Is this some aspect of their lawsuit settlement with the US Government? Are they somehow prohibited from presenting even the most basic information on their own products, such as which ones even exist? Reading the briefs available on these websites does not provide any illumination, nor do the sites seem interested in addressing the reasons behind this rather glaring oversight.

This crusade against the tobacco industry has gone way, way beyond the pale, beyond the realm of the stupid, into sheer insanity of a type and caliber that I cannot really fathom has been so thoroughly ignored.

If there is an explanation for this peculiar dearth of tobacco product info, I’d be very interested in hearing it.

UPDATE 6/24/04:
I am not Marlboro. I have absolutely no connection to the company. I do not have Marlboro catalogs. I do not pass on requests for catalogs.

DON’T ASK ME FOR A CATALOG! Anyone who posts a request for a catalog after today’s date is officially a moron, and their comments will be left up for the whole world to see what an idiot you are.

My mother in Tennessee just called me at work to let me know that my aunt and uncle in Virginia are ok.

They live in Newport News, which is approximately at the tip of the thin peninsula in the center of this picture, and Hurricane Isabel hit them almost dead-on. I chatted with my uncle Willard briefly on AIM on Monday, but he had to log off suddenly and I did not have any more contact with him after that. I supposed they were preparing for the hurricane, or possibly evacuating the area.

With Isabel’s arrival, of course, they lost electricity and will apparently be without it for about a week. They lost 7 trees on their property, 2 of which fell on their house. It’s dark so they can’t really see the extent of the damage yet, but nothing appears to be leaking.

My mother invited them to come stay in Tennessee for a while, as they will be without electricity for at least a week. My uncle indicated that they could not leave yet, as the roads out of the area are all flooded and the tunnels under the Chesapeake Bay are closed because they are full of water. He also wants to assess the damage to the house a little better.

The local Hampton Roads newspaper reports widespread power outages and a good deal of flooding. Newport News residents are advised not to use any water for the time being, due to low pressure in the water system that is being caused by problems at the local water treatment plant. My guess is that the plant is flooded and the water is contaminated.

Isabel was not as powerful when it hit as some people had feared, and to that I can only express relief. A lot of people could have died, and there are always some dumbasses in the Outer Banks (which are basically sandbars) who refuse to leave.

But I’m glad my relatives are ok.

I’ve been seeing a major spike in emails on my personal mail account with titles like “Current Microsoft Critical Pack”, “Current Net Critical Update”, “Latest Microsoft Security Upgrade”, etc. These mails claim to be, no surprise, critical security updates from Microsoft. It’s obvious that they’re actually e-mail virii. This is a nasty bit of social engineering targeted at the naive Windows user, and judging from the volume of them I’m receiving it seems to be working.

The thing that makes me curious, though, is that I haven’t heard a new virus warning for this one. Am I just not paying attention?

(This is the sort of thing that makes me glad I run Linux, incidentally.)

A certain Daniel E. comments on my entry about illegals and California’s driver’s licenses. Daniel’s words are in yellow.

Why we are here. That is the big question. Whether immigrants are here, legally or illegally, there is a reason for it. I have embraced the U.S. as my home for the last 15 years, and I came here illegally. Do you know WHY? SURVIVAL.

Really? I thought it was to take jobs away from Americans, undermine the economy, and cast aspersions on the English-speaking populace.

And for those of you who need the clue, I was being facetious just now.

The United States has had a long history of intervention in many of our countries. Even today, American companies have established themselves in many of our countries, exploiting our people-paying less than $3 a day.

And they should thank us for that employment.

Let’s take Mexico by way of example. With respect to the $3.00 a day claim you make, I respond that you pulled that number out of your ass and it does not reflect reality.

In December 1995 in Mexico City, the daily minimum wage stood at 20.15 new pesos, or US$2.70. . . In 1993 the government reported that 10 percent of workers earned less than the minimum wage, 34.7 percent made between one and two times the minimum wage, and 36.5 percent received between two and five times the minimum wage.”

I also dispute the claim that American companies seek out “poor” nations like Mexico to take advantage of low wages:

The reality is that companies are not just looking for low wages. Low productivity can too easily offset any cost advantage. When investing, they also look at things like taxes, government regulation, trade restrictions, access to consumers, ease of transportation and availability of raw materials. While they also look at wages, there simply is no evidence that this is the dominant factor in encouraging U.S. companies to invest abroad.”

American corporate investment in Mexico goes way beyond employing low-cost labor. The overall capital investment is good for Mexico’s economy, it’s good for the company’s revenue, it’s good for end consumers (cheaper products), and it’s good for the Mexicans that have steady jobs in safe workplaces with good wages.

Subcontracting to local Mexican companies is also pretty common, and in those cases the American partners usually train them in advanced production standards such as clean-rooms, assembly line efficiency, quality control, and other techniques. These are net benefits to the Mexican manufacturing sector.

Additional Source.

People in our countries are still hungry.

Betcha it’s not the ones who are working for US companies.

The U.S. along with many of our countries have failed to implement other economic measures that would really prevent mass migrations.

And why are those migrations occurring? Because the countries of origin have shitty economies compared to the United States. It is not our fault that other countries have shitty economies. Mexico is a poor nation entirely as a result of its own bad economic policies, form of government, and failure to take proper advantage of existing natural resources. Between the oil (which, indeed, is so rich that people have accused the US of trying to take control of it), natural gas, and the minerals (silver predominantly, but also gold, copper, iron, lead, zinc, manganese, arsenic, tellurium, the highest quality amethysts and adamite in the world, opals, agate, and gypsum), Mexico should be one of the richest countries on earth. The fact that it is not has nothing to do with the United States.

If you want to stop a flood, does it make more sense to plug the drain or shut off the water at the source?

I say Our countries because we come from all across Latin America, from Mexico to Guatemala to Colombia and many others. These are poor countries. We come here to survive, not as terrorist or “free loaders.”

Many do come here for survival reasons. In fact I bet the majority of them do. But the population of “freeloaders” is apparently quite high:

Medical care, for example, provided to illegal immigrants at taxpayer expense: “The Regional Medical Center Hospital and Pioneers Memorial Hospital, both in El Centro, Calif., lost more than $1.5 million last year in their treatment of illegal immigrants. Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego was forced to close after losing more than $5 million a year in unreimbursed medical care, much of it for illegal immigrants.”

And that was just three hospitals.

As for services overall, illegal immigrants appear to account for about 38% of the total cost of services for the whole immigrant population.

It also seems that rather a large number of people getting the Tax ID numbers are not actually paying taxes:

“As of October 2002, over 5.5 million ITINs [Individual Tax Identification Number] had been issued. But, strangely, only 1.5 million tax returns actually were filed using the ITIN number. It is assumed that the people who applied for the ITIN and do not file taxes are using it as official U.S. government identification to obtain driver’s licenses, bank accounts, and government services.

“This has resulted in an illegal population of nine million people — 40 percent are visa overstayers and 60 percent crossed our borders without permission. Of the latter group, the vast majority are Mexicans.”

Gosh. Sounds like illegal activity to me.

I assure you that immigrants or I should say illegal immigrants. . .

The difference is extremely important, so don’t lump them together.

. . . contribute much much more in taxes to this country than any services claimed to be paid by our government.

That is a flat-out lie, although is commonly believed and broadly cited. Even Steven Camarota’s study showed this:

“the estimated life-time net fiscal drain (taxes paid minus services used) for the average adult Mexican immigrant is negative $55,200.”

Illegal immigrants, even if working illegally. . .

That would pretty much be by definition.

. . .still have deductions taken from their checks for federal and state taxes among others. Most immigrants never file income tax returns at the end of the year. Where do you think all that money goes? Uncle Sam’s pocket!

That’s true. So?

Do you think employers not know that hiring illegal immigrants is against the law? Why do they do it?

Partially because US law prevents employers from asking certain kinds of questions of potential employees, and thus are actually prohibited from finding out for sure.

Because they know who will do the work for minimum wages, sometimes even less; because you (citizens, “legal immigrants,” whites, “americans,” your fathers, mothers, uncles,etc.) will not take the work these immigrants perform. Will you pick up tomatoes and other crops in the field under the intense heat? Will you wash dishes in restaurants? In other words, will you really do the “dirty” work that most of these immigrants take?

Stop right there. You’ve just begun using the word “immigrants” instead of “illegal immigrants”. Don’t mix them together. The difference is important and quite relevant to this argument.

And anyway, you make it sound like it’s a bad thing that these immigrants are getting employed. I thought that was a the point of immigration.

I don’t believe so. If it were not for immigrants, which really forms a significant part of the basis of the U.S. economy, this country would be in worse shape than it already is. The reality of immigrant life is that immigrants can’t wait (as someone mentioned earlier. WAIT to come legally. WAIT you SAY? Would you wait if you were starving?).

The INS is an extremely inefficient and schizoid organization. I do not deny this. There is no excuse for legalization to take 5-10 years, or more, during which time people live in a legal limbo. But that is an entirely separate issue from the one under discussion.

The forefathers of this country came here to escape the injustices of the British rule. The forefathers of this country came from an ocean away. But wait, the forefathers of this land were here before the forefathers of this country. Native AMERICANS were displaced; the conquest of the West came through non-sense ideas such as “manifest destiny.” Yes, California, Oregon, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada….. over half of the Mexican northern territory was unjustly lost to the U.S.

“Lost” implies that it belonged to Mexico at some point, which is not really the case, if you bother to investigate the history of Spanish colonization. Also, native Indian populations and the Spanish conquistadors are not the same. “Mexicans”, as a population, are a mixture of Spanish and native Indian blood in varying degrees.

The entire concept of America “stealing” land from Mexico is just silly, because the history is not that cut-and-dried, nor did it take place all at once in some kind of gargantuan battle.

And are you suggesting that the native Indians, on their own, would have attained a technological, industrial society of the same level as the current nations of America, Mexico, or Spain in the same amount of time? Obviously that didn’t happen.

I do not mean to alarm you my friends, but Hispanics/Latinos (words that the U.S. have made up to classify us immigrants from Latin America)

According to various Hispanic sources I have been able to find, Latin American immigrants seem to argue more among themselves about the correct use of these words than us white folks do.

The word Hispanic came about precisely due to the pressure and assistance of Latino advocacy groups as a way of defining specific South American and European populations from different areas. The US Census Bureau wanted to classify them for demographic purposes:

“The Oxford English Dictionary documents the word Hispanic to the 16th Century, when it referred to residents of the Iberian Peninsula who spoke either Spanish or Portuguese. The word first came into wide usage in the United States in the 1970s, largely through the efforts of the U.S. Census Bureau. Realizing that among the U.S. minorities it had seriously undercounted in the 1970 census were people of Latin-American extraction, the bureau (abetted by a number of well-intentioned Latino political advocacy groups) launched a campaign to help it get a better head count in 1980. Hispanic was the term for Puerto Rican émigrés in New York, Cuban refugees in South Florida, Mexican migrants in Los Angeles and the descendants of Spanish settlers in northern New Mexico.”

And the word Latino is not of American origin:

“Even the origins of the word Latino are controversial. The term dates to the 18th Century and the colonial rivalry between England and France. Its application to Latin Americans apparently originated in Napoleonic France and was used to differentiate the “Latin” world (France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the many countries of Central America and South America, all of them predominantly Roman Catholic) from the English-speaking and largely Protestant world of Great Britain and its colonies in North America.”

Both quotes from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

. . .have become the largest minority of this country…Soon i assure you, maybe not within your lifetime, but your of your kids, we will no longer be a minority- we will in fact be the majority.

So?

Politically speaking, maybe it is not possible for Mexicans to regain the territory that was stolen from them, but theoretically speaking, Mexicans and other groups will regain what once belonged to them. In the mean time, I can say thanks to this country I have survived. I as an immigrant feel a deep sense of gratitude for this country, for the many friends that I have made. I came here to work and be part of this “system” like many of my paisanos

You do realize that word originates from the Spanish invaders, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

want to do. We are here to work, we are no terrorist. We are here, and here we will stay.

That’s perfectly okay with me, as long as you are a legal resident. You are a legal resident, right? No? Are you trying? As I have said, I don’t have a problem with people who want to come to America to work and become Americans. That’s what makes America great.

I Doubt there is anything that you could do to drive us out or keep us from coming. Do some research to see how much of our tax money is going to the border patrol, and ask yourself if it is effective? NO, it is not. The U.S. government knows they need immigrants, the Border Patrol is just a cover, to make people feel that “something is being done.” If it were in fact effective, they would completely stop immigrants from entering the U.S.

Yeah, I’m sure it would be practical to make a border guard stand at attention every hundred feet or so along the entire US/Mexican border, including the parts out to sea on each coast. *rolls eyes*

Anyway, you’re right that the Border Patrol is laughably inadequate. That does not, however, justify illegal entry into this country, nor does it change the basic principle of my argument.

Think people from Latin America risk their lives trying to cross the Arizona Desert or the Rio Grande, and yet you have terrorist coming in with “legal” visas and permits. Who is doing their job and who is not? We are just here to survive, that’s all.

You are, perhaps. But that is not true of all illegal immigrants, not just those from Mexico but a number of other countries. Again, it does not change the principle of my argument, and you fail to be persuasive.

Unlike Donald Sensing I don’t find my results to be the least bit surprising:

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
You belong in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. You
value freedom above all else. You would fight
and die for your family and your home.

Which Heinlein Book Should You Have Been A Character In?
brought to you by Quizilla

This is my favorite Heinlein novel.

[Anne speaking]: Hmm. This was mine.

The cat who walks through walls
You belong in the Cat Who Walks Through Walls. You
are creative and cunning. Your works often
feel empty to you, though others love them.
You suspect that the universe and everyone in
it are just characters in someone else’s story.

Which Heinlein Book Should You Have Been A Character In?
brought to you by Quizilla

More dumbass music pirates. My attention was drawn to this quote regarding the mother of the 12-year-old defendant being sued by the RIAA:

Her mother says her daughter paid $29.99 for the downloading service [Kazaa] three months ago. Torres says if you’re paying for it, you’re not stealing it.

*sighs and counts to ten to regain control of temper*

Kazaa is a P2P (peer-to-peer) service that uses a front-end application. Not everything on Kazaa is copyrighted. But Kazaa does not directly provide or control the content. They only enable the P2P file sharing service. There is no guarantee, implicit or otherwise, that the content is legal, nor does Kazaa attempt to claim any such blanket legality of the content, per se.

The concept of stealing accompanies the concept of property rights (ownership). So who has the property rights to the copyrighted music here? Kazaa? No. And apparently Kazaa did not have license/distribution rights to the copyrighted material in question, nor are they even the originators of the stolen material.

In this case, the copyright holders did not give permission for the material to be distributed in this way. Therefore people downloading it are stealing. Kazaa subscribers are not paying for the content of the site. They are paying for the P2P service that makes the file sharing possible. The files themselves come from other Kazaa users, not from Kazaa.

C’mon guys, it’s not that hard.

From the “duh” department:


Some fear move to allow illegals to get driver’s licenses could lead to fake IDs”

Gee, ya think?

FoxNews states the obvious today in the latest installment of this stupid idea become law. I recommend reading the whole article for a general overview of some of the main concerns people have with this new law.

“In California, you can now obtain a gun, explosives, jobs in secure areas — even at a nuclear power plant” — with a driver’s license, an undercover officer who is a document fraud expert told Fox News.

Let me be extremely clear about something: I do not have a problem with immigrants. I have a problem with illegal immigrants. I especially have a problem with illegal immigrants coming into this country and placing a huge burden on taxpayer funded services and generally living below the radar. Illegal entry into the United States is a felony. In the words of the late Congressman Sonny Bono, who was once asked about his “position” on illegal immigration: “It’s illegal.”

One of the factors that compounds this problem is the existence of the Matricula Consular card. For those of you unfamiliar, basically it is an ID issued by the Mexican government (through its consulate offices) to any Mexican national who requests one. They do not have to be legal residents of the US. The “purpose” of this card is to provide identification for Mexican nationals (read: “illegals”) in the US who do not have any kind of US identification (because they’re illegal immigrants and therefore do not have a passport, which is the normal form of ID for foreigners in the US).

Basically it is intended as a de facto amnesty for illegals to remain in the US with as little hassle from the authorities as possible, and allow them to obtain services and benefits that normally require ID that only citizens and legal residents have.

The Mexican government has managed to persuade California (and some other states) to accept the Matricula Consular cards as official identification. They can be used to open bank accounts, board airplanes, and gain access to Federal facilities.

Obviously there are problems with this, especially since these documents are not authenticated in any way. In other words, they don’t check to verify the identity of anyone who asks for one. The put whatever name on it you tell them to. They also do not cross-reference with other consulates to find out if the same individual has applied for a card more than once.

There are documented instances of criminals being arrested in possession of several of these cards with different names on them. The forgery of documents for illegal immigrants is an enormous industry. Even the Matricula Consular card itself, so easy to obtain, is also easy to forge.

The FBI outlines three major threats of these cards and other cards like them:

1. Breeder document for establishing a false identity.

2. Border smuggling of illegal immigrants (smugglers use the card to conceal their real identities and lend legitimacy to their border crossings).

3. Non-Mexican terrorist foreigners using the document in the manner of item #1. Mexican nationals aren’t the only ones with Matricula Consular cards, and have used them to enter the US illegally and establish a false identity. They can travel within the US freely and the names do not arouse suspicion on watch lists.

Illegal immigrants legally obtaining a California driver’s license (an oxymoron, as FoxNews points out) is the next stepping stone along a dangerous path. Unlike the Matricula Consular card, this isn’t nominally limited to Mexican nationals. Anyone from any country can enter the US illegally and get one.

Really, this situation is so bizarre that it defies discussion at some points. You ask yourself, “Why are we giving driver’s licenses to foreign nationals who don’t even have a passport? Why are we legitimizing illegal residency? Why are we rewarding criminal behavior?”

A driver’s license is practically the core form of identification in many states, including California. In most government contexts, having one is proof of citizenship. The only more solid ID is a Social Security Card. It’s bad enough that people have easy-obtainable forgeries of these documents. But to legalize one of them? It’s insanity.

Advocates argue that a driver’s license makes it possible (read: legal, since it’s already possible with forgeries) to drive a car to get to a job, to open a bank account, to travel, i.e. to become a productive member of society.

But they’re not supposed to be here in the first place. Matricula Consular cards exist for only one reason: to allow illegal aliens to get benefits to which they are not entitled. Only criminals have a need for one. Similarly, criminals will use this new driver’s license law to obtain official identification, whose data is totally unverifiable and unauthenticated.

A terrorist could hardly ask for a better opportunity.

UPDATE: [Kyle speaking] I just wanted to toss in a couple of points of my own. As Anne mentioned above, the first thing to remember about illegal immigrants is that they are in the country illegally. They are in criminal violation of the country’s immigration and residency laws. In short, they are criminals. And the proper thing to do with criminals is to catch them and punish them in accordance with the law — not give them driver’s licenses and treat them as though they were law-abiding.

(The fact that in California a driver’s license is essentially the only documentation you have to provide to register to vote also means that giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants makes it much easier for them to engage in vote fraud. In my more cynical moments I think this is the real reason why the Democrats have been pushing this reform.)

It’s possible (even likely) that many immigrants who entered the country illegally would make productive citizens. But the conclusion that follows from this is that we should consider liberalizing the immigration laws, not that we should pretend that people who break the laws aren’t criminals.

To quote Jeff Foxworthy:

“Y’all ain’t gonna believe this shit.”

Yesterday, Gray Davis made fun of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s accent:

In his public remarks to about 300 members of the Los Angeles Ironworkers Local 433, Davis suggested Schwarzenegger — whom he referred to only as “the actor” — would repeal Davis-backed union gains such as daily overtime pay and family-leave benefits, reported the Sacramento Bee. . .

Whipped into an anti-Schwarzenegger frenzy at the picnic, one crowd member screamed, “He’s a foreigner!” as Davis criticized the Austrian-born Terminator, who hopes to take over his seat in the Oct. 7 recall election.

The man who made the foreigner comment later apologized to Davis for making the remark.

Davis told him not to worry, the Bee reported, and added with a smile, “You shouldn’t be governor unless you can pronounce the name of the state,” in an apparent reference to Schwarzenegger’s Austrian accent.

Am I the only one whose jaw is on the floor?

Usually Gray Davis has a better ear for politics than this. Usually Cruz Bustamante does, too, but these guys have been sticking their foot in it since Day 1, and I’m at a loss to explain it. Maybe Arnold is such an unusual candidate that he keeps breaking their flow chart.

Democrats typically present themselves as the champions of minorities, particularly those for whom English is not a first language. But man, you scratch the surface and they are racists to the bone. This other quote from the article is odd, too:

“He can’t even speak English well. How can he govern the state of California?” Sukhee Kang, who emigrated from South Korea in 1977, asked the crowd before Davis arrived, the Bee reported.

First of all, I challenge the premise that Arnold doesn’t speak English well. Yes, he has an accent. So do a huge number of people in the United States, even people who are native born and who trace their lineage here back many generations. Accents are relative. I, for example, am from Tennessee. When I moved to California in 1979, I spoke with a ferocious Tennessee accent, compared to others here. My father still has a trace of it. Does that mean I don’t speak English? Does it mean I’m a foreigner? Does it somehow affect my intelligence (all redneck jokes aside)?

But as for Arnold’s command of the English language, I cite this by way of example (from a recent interview regarding a shoot on the set of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines):

“Everything has gone extraordinarily well, except we took a little bit more time, I think, than anyone expected because there were so many visual effects shots. It’s going to be a real spectacle because we’ve never really seen a fight scene of two people, who are actually machines, one weighs two thousand pounds and one a thousand pounds. Every move you make towards any piece of wall or door or anything immediately breaks, so everything has to be rigged in such a way. For instance, there’s a scene where I grab her by the jaw, lift her up in the air and then just throw her down on the ground. As soon as I throw her down into the ground, the tiles on the ground just break. And then I lift my foot up really high and just step down on her head and that then makes her whole head crush into below the floor of the bathroom. You have to rig all that stuff, and then you have to cut, and then you have to put the dummy down because I can’t step on her head otherwise it breaks her nose. So you have to split it up, all those things.”

Does that sound to you like a man who can’t speak English?

All that aside, I haven’t heard Sukhee Kang actually talk, but I’d be curious to know if s/he (gender is unclear in the article) speaks with anything I might recognize as a South Korean accent.

Davis makes another idiotic statement:

“He just fights in movies,” Davis said, the Bee reported. “I served in a real war to defend this country and I’ve worked hard to advance the interests of Asian Pacific Californians.”

Somebody want to tell me how military service or lack thereof affects a person’s ability to be governor?

I did a little digging about Gray’s military service. Turns out he was in the Army in the Vietnam War (1968-69). He attained the rank of Captain, and was awarded the Bronze Star*. The draft was not implemented in Vietnam until 1969, so Gray was either already in the Army at the time, or he volunteered.

That’s fine. I appreciate his service on behalf of our nation, and I respect the willingness to lay down one’s life in this way.

But I still don’t see the connection. I mean, come on. Politicians with military service include Dick Gephardt, Tom Daschle, Al Gore (an Army journalist, so I’m not sure he counts), Ted Kennedy, John McCain, Gerald Ford, Strom Thurmond, and Oliver North. I wouldn’t really call any of these people fit candidates for leadership, regardless of their actual careers.

Conversely, politicians without military service include Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush (governor of Florida), Ronald Reagan (who had bad eyesight), Rudy Giuliani, and Clarence Thomas (Supreme Court Justice). I would argue that all these men have earned their leadership, and that their lack of military service does not mean they cannot do it well.

Jimmy Carter even has this unusual distinction:

“Except for his fellow service-academy graduate Dwight Eisenhower, no President of the twentieth century spent more years in uniform than Carter.”

And yet Carter was one of the worst presidents in the history of this nation, and is an all-around Goddamn fool when it comes to international politics even now that his political career is over. He really needs to keep his nose out of our country’s affairs and go back to building houses for the poor.

What was I originally talking about? Oh yeah, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Anyway, normally I would tell Gray Davis to shut the fuck up, except that I so dislike the man, and it’s amusing watching him continue to make himself look stupid.

* “The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Army of the United States after 6 December 1941, distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against an armed enemy; or while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.” Source