Tuesday, June 13, 2006


My car is now masquerading as the vehicle of someone who cares about the World Cup of Soccer [read: FOOTBALL]. I can't say that's exactly accurate. I watch some, but don't knock myself out to follow its progress. However, it's fun to cheer for England amid the plethora of Italian and Brazilian flags that dominate the local scene.

Mostly, t
hough, it gives me a rare chance to sport the emblem of THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR, not to mention the whole CRUSADER thing. It's delicious. I encourage it. Americans especially, who pay precious little attention to soccer (that's FOOTBALL, folks), should embrace this opportunity. Indulge yourselves.

[Frightening factoid: Google "England soccer" images and you
get an x-ray of David Beckham's right foot. This is not healthy.]
Rip Van Bush wakes up

Two pieces of exciting news from Camp David, Maryland:

(1) The President met with an interesting selection of folks (among them, as I understand it, Frederick Kagan and Robert Kaplan ) who are likely to convince him of the timeliness of an all-out military effort to “clear-hold-build” the city of Baghdad, as they have successfully accomplished with other, smaller Iraqi cities which were once terrorist strongholds. (Notably absent, as I understand it, the Secretary of Defense, whose strategery has been to confine what troops there are to bases, and then send them out to address flare-ups as needed. Screw that.) Yay, Hurray, and IT’S ABOUT EFFING TIME!!!

The White House press corpse (and I mean that, for corpses are all that interest them) was hearded into a bus to head for Camp David, only to be informed that the President was no longer there—that he is, in fact, in Iraq meeting with new Prime Minister Maliki and giving the old back-slap to the newly minted government. Excellent news, and again, ABOUT EFFING TIME. Bush has been pretty much confined to base for past few years himself.

We know he likes to catch a refreshing nap now and again. A shame this last one’s been about two and a half years long. As the guys in uniform like to say, TURN US LOOSE, OR TAKE US HOME.

If that kind of sentiment unnerves people now worrying about what took place in Haditha, two things:
(1) a more strategic “turning loose” to address the larger problem of the terror campaign might preclude the likelihood of these one-off reactionary encounters; and (2) the more one learns about Haditha from those who were actually in the neighbourhood at the time, the more the worst case scenario is falling apart. Can you spell "Jenin"? Time will tell.

To no one’s great surprise, Congressman J
ohn Murtha’s unconscionable grandstanding summary conviction of his fellow Marines has coincided with his announcement to Congressional Democrats that in the event of their re-capture of the House in November he is putting himself forward as a candidate for majority leader. This man is so stupid he can’t even be underhanded—could there be anything more obvious than his anti-war, anti-troops bloviating as a naked ploy for maximum publicity, and pressure on the Democrats to exploit his usefulness as an anti-war veteran? (Gee, that worked so well in the ‘04 presidential race!—hell, Democrats, GO FOR IT! It could be your most cynical, and suicidal move yet!)

There is a pattern here, though, folks-- Murtha has the House back in Democratic hands months before the election-- he's jumping to a by no means foregone conclusion again-- kind of like hanging Marines before they're tried. Or even named! Who exactly should be put in the noose Congressman? Names? Who is going to lose their seat in Congress? Names?

Act now! Support the gorgeous and level-headed Diana Irey for Congress and maybe Murtha himself will be out of a job.

Jonathan Kay has an interesting piece in today's National Post called Islam as Goth-- maybe radical Islamist terrorism is attracting bored and disaffected youth as a new form of rebellion, like looking sullen, dressing Goth, and flipping off society. That's one of the popular multi-culti takes on the Toronto Seventeen, and Kay doesn't disagree-- he likens these guys to the Columbine High School killers. Except he reminds us that people wound up DEAD, and that was just with the stuff that two lone gunmen could accumulate in their garage, under their oblivious parents' noses. When seventeen people have the connections to accumulate a three-ton bomb, the deadness gets very very big, and the "ordinariness" of the kids doesn't actually matter much.


We're full of insecurities about Canadian patriotism these days. So it was actually quite moving to watch the pre-game ceremonies of the Oilers-Hurricane match last night. One of those big old opera singers, Paul Lorieau, came out to do the national anthems, and had to wait considerable time for the totally hysterical crowd to begin to calm. Eventually he just started to sing over the noise, and did a dramatic rendering of the Star-Spangled Banner. The place quieted down, and there were many voices joining in. The usual thing happened at the end, where the crowd erupted into cheers before the song was done.

Then the not usual thing happened. As the singer prepared for Canada's anthem, the whole arena went dead quiet. The song began and about three or four lines into it, Lorieau simply raised his microphone to the air and let the crowd take it.

I have never heard the anthem sung with such power (though apparently this has been building for awhile while I was watching other teams in the play-offs-- I thought I had video of last night, but turns out it was an earlier game against the Ducks, looking more or less exactly the same as last night. Well, good for them-- I can think of worse habits to cultivate than socking it to the national anthem. And Canada's is such a good one-- much better, as music, than the Star Spangled Bananner, which I have always felt was grossly inferior to America the Beautiful. Anytime Congress wants to change it is fine with me.]

The moment transcended hockey, and in an odd way transcended patriotism too-- it seemed more than anything else to be familial rather than national. Yes, I know, the Canadian anthem was booed in San Jose. (Real class act, Californicators.) But that seems a long time ago now. I thought the singer might take back the mic for the final bars, but he didn't-- he let the crowd have it all.

Unfortunately it didn't win the game. Back to Carolina. There is no tomorrow.