Sunday, February 29, 2004


In the news:

"US State Department’s ambassador-at-large J Cofer Black has claimed that the Iranian government is in contact with al-Qaeda and that it must expel or extradite all members of the network to the countries of their origin."

Read Reuel Marc Gerecht's article, Going Soft on Iran. Here is an excerpt:

"Regardless of whether al Qaeda members in Iran were operationally involved in terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere, these individuals are among the most wanted men in American history. We have never had worse enemies, yet we did nothing when Iran prevaricated about whether they were in the country when we clearly knew they were. Remember, Rafsanjani and Khamenei are master chess players of power politics. If Americans don't rise in righteous indignation over the "detention" of possibly active al Qaeda members--and the key component of President Bush's Axis of Evil doctrine is that countries that harbor terrorists will be treated as terrorists--why shouldn't Rafsanjani and Khamenei, with their nuclear weapons, tempt America's wrath?"

Friday, February 27, 2004


Here is the second guest column by Burgess Laughlin:

What is a cult?

I sometimes hear attacks on the Objectivist movement for being a "cult." Is the charge valid? Here are notes for my tentative answer to that question.

The English word "cult" comes from the ancient Latin word *cultus*. Its literal meaning is "tilling" (as in "agriculture"); the extended meanings are "tending," "care," and "reverence." For the Romans, the connection was simple: The hierarchy of the gods micromanaged every piece of land, making it worthy of reverent treatment.[1]

My dictionary suggests the following usages for "cult."[2] I have omitted usages that are redundant or too specialized.

"1. A particular system of religious worship, esp. with ... rites and ceremonies. 2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers: *the physical fitness cult*. 3. the object of such devotion. 4. a group or sect bound together by such veneration of the same thing, ideal, person, etc. 5. *Sociol.* a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols. 6. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader. ... 10. of, for, or attracting a small group of devotees: *a cult movie*."

I have heard another usage, from the haters of Ayn Rand and others: A cult is a group of people who admire someone or something so much they abandon their independent judgment.

Do any of these usages of "cult" apply to the Objectivist movement? Usages 1, 5, and 6 do not apply. Objectivism is a philosophy, not a religion. Anyone who says otherwise must prove his case.

Usages 2, 3, and 4 (except for "sect") *do* apply. I and others do admire Ayn Rand for her achievements and Objectivism for its enhancement of our lives -- once we have understood and integrated it.

Usage 10 does not apply. The "followers" of a cult movie, for example, are individuals who are attracted to a movie because of some supposedly amusing aspect of it, not because of any high value. Of course, members of the Objectivist movement *are* "devotees" -- a label I would wear proudly in relation to my highest personal and philosophical values.[3] Also, for sure, Objectivists *are* a small group. But to accept size as a defining characteristic of "cult" is to define by nonessentials, a process which is a cognitive train wreck.

The eleventh usage -- a cult is a group of individuals revering a value so much that they abandon their independence of judgment -- is a package-deal. This "definition" is like a pill prescribed by an misanthropic witch-doctor: aspirin on the outside and arsenic at the core. The helpful, objective part of this use of the term is saying that a cult is a group of people who revere a value in common. The destructive, arbitrarily postulated part is saying (or implying) that what differentiates members of this kind of group from other groups of individuals who admire a common value is abandonment of independence.

All social movements contain some individuals who want to replace their own judgment with something else. The question is, does the philosophy underlying the movement encourage or discourage abandonment of judgment? Nazism, for example, demands dependence. Objectivism encourages independence, and thus the movement, over time, tends to exclude conformists ("Randroids") as well as those who claim to be Objectivists but actually disagree with the philosophy. (This double-edged exclusion is one reason why the drop-out rate from Objectivism is so high.)

The "cult" charge fails doubly. First, the Objectivist movement does not encourage intellectual dependence. Second, the idea as used by the attackers is an invalid concept because it is a package-deal of an essential and a non-essential characteristic.

This charge does raise another question: Are there negative cults? For example, are there cults of individuals who hate something or someone (such as Ayn Rand) as their common target? The question would be worth considering further -- if I didn't have better things to do in my life.

Burgess Laughlin

[1] *Cassell's Latin Dictionary*, 1968. For paganism 100-300 CE: R. MacMullen, *Paganism in the Roman Empire*, 1981.
[2] *Random House Dictionary of the English Language*, 2nd ed., 1987.
[3] Ayn Rand notes terms -- such as "sacred" -- that religionists have hijacked are suitable when objectively defined. See: "Religion," *The Ayn Rand Lexicon*, pp. 414-415.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004


Are you feeling safe? How real is the terror threat? I must say that the picture is pretty bleak after reading the below mentioned excerpts from the CIA director George Tenet's appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"The steady growth of [al-Qaeda leader] Osama Bin Laden's anti-US sentiment through the wider Sunni [Islamic] extremist movement, and the broad dissemination of al-Qaeda's destructive expertise, ensure that a serious threat will remain for the foreseeable future - with or without al-Qaeda in the picture." (Al-Qaeda 'still a potent threat', BBC News.)

"America's assault on al-Qa'eda has scattered its terrorist expertise across the globe, meaning that the United States will be menaced by Islamic extremism "for the foreseeable future."" (CIA chief predicts war with no end, The Telegraph.)

"The director of the Central Intelligence Agency is warning that the al-Qaida terrorist network remains capable of striking the United States on a scale similar to that of September 11, 2001, despite U.S. efforts aimed at dismantling the organization." (CIA: al-Qaida 9/11 Style Attacks Against US Still Possible, Voice of America News.)

Go to the War on Terrorism category for a list of good resources.

UPDATE 03/01/04:

I am all for awarding brave men and women in uniform with "war on terrorism" medals. I hope Bush is sticking to his guns and that he is keeping a firm stand against the Axis of Evil, because here is evidence that "Kerry Will Abandon War on Terrorism":

"The Democratic Party's presidential front-runner, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), has pledged that if elected he will abandon the president's war on terror, begin a dialogue with terrorist regimes and apologize for three-and-one-half years of mistakes by the Bush administration." (Kenneth R. Timmerman, Insight on the News magazine.)

I have illustrated this post with Cox & Forkum's cartoon, Hydra. Read what John Cox and Allen Forkum have to say about the "war on terrorism" and their cartoon:

"The first attempts to undermine America's resolve to wage war came from the (supposed) pacifists, who demanded that the attacks be treated as crime and not acts of war. This would have meant bringing justice merely to those directly involved, most of whom conveniently committed suicide in the attacks. This approach, like chopping off only one head of the mythical Hydra (facing page), would have left intact the source of the danger: terrorist-sponsoring states." (Black & White World, page 8.)

"In "Hydra," I wanted to show a strong Uncle Sam. Contemporary cartoons often show him as an ineffectual old man beaten down by conflicting feelings of guilt and power. But why not show Uncle Sam as a well-built, vibrant symbol of patriotic resolve and steadfast ideals? Why not show him as he ought to be? This Uncle Sam could easily defeat the Hydra - if only he chooses to." (Black & White World, page 8.)

Hydra (09/30/01, Black & White World, page 9.)
For more cartoons like this, check out John Cox & Allen Forkum's book, Black & White World.

Monday, February 23, 2004


Ralph Nader, the so-called consumer advocate, has announced that he is running for President. Hopefully this will increase Bush's chances to win the election. The negative effect of Nader's campaign is a potential shift of the political agenda towards a more environmentalist (read: anti-man) viewpoint. For more on Nader's hidden (?) agenda, read N.Z. Bear's post, Run Ralph, Run!

What do you think of this quote by Nader:

"We need to restore the sovereignty explicit in the Preamble to our Constitution - 'We, the People' - not for sale, can decide to displace the corporate controls that try to make everything for sale."

For a background on the Green Party, read Christopher Archangelli's article, The Green Menace. Here is an excerpt:

"Back in the dark Cold War days of 1984 a seed was brought to American soil. Fallen from the vine of the Green Party in Germany, planted in the dark socialist earth of the American Left, and watered with rampant anti-Americanism, the Green Committees of Correspondence took root in 1990 and adopted their first national Platform. By 1996 the Green Party was formed and the twelve years of growth had created a succulent fruit for the far-left movement: the watermelon. Green on the outside and red on the inside, the watermelon became the perfect metaphor for the Green Party with its deeply Marxist philosophy hidden underneath a thin environmentalist façade. If only the Greens had a sense of humor they might actually adopt the melon as their official symbol."

If you are interested in the strange political landscape (with an ugly mix of socialists, communists, and environmentalists) of Sweden, read my post, SWEDISH ELECTION.

Saturday, February 21, 2004


In the news:

"A British Sunday newspaper is claiming Osama bin Laden has been found and is surrounded by US special forces in an area of land bordering north-west Pakistan and Afghanistan."

Click here for information what's going on in the area called Balochistan, near the Pakistani-Afghan border.

UPDATE 02/22/04: Watch the program, The Hunt for Osama Bin Laden, on Discovery Channel at 9 P.M. EST.

UPDATE 02/23/04:

From the Washington Times [via]:

"The Pentagon is moving elements of a supersecret commando unit from Iraq to the Afghanistan theater to step up the hunt for Osama bin Laden."

UPDATE 02/25/04:

Maybe I should change the title to IS OSAMA BIN LADEN IN AFGHANISTAN? In the news: "Wanted al-Qaeda terror network chief Osama bin Laden and his top aide, Ayman al-Zawahri, had moved out of Pakistan and were believed to have crossed the mountainous border back into Afghanistan."

More news: "A son of Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahri, has been captured by Pakistani forces, one of Pakistan's leading newspapers reported today."

UPDATE 02/28/04:

Is Osama bin Laden dead, captured, or on the run? Or maybe he is on a tour in Euro-land and recruiting new members to the al-Qaeda network? What's your guess? For regular updates, go to the section called "Global War on Terror" @ the Command Post.

UPDATE 03/07/04:

From The Telegraph:

"A son of Osama bin Laden's deputy has given crucial information on the whereabouts of al-Qa'eda leaders after being captured by Pakistani forces in a lawless frontier area close to Afghanistan, intelligence officials in Islamabad have revealed."

From The New Yorker:

"“We’ve got to get Osama bin Laden, and we know where he is,” the former senior intelligence official said. Osama bin Laden is “communicating through sigint”—talking on satellite telephones and the like—“and his wings have been clipped. He’s in his own Alamo in northern Pakistan. It’s a natural progress—whittling down alternative locations and then targeting him. This is not, in theory, a ‘Let’s go and hope’ kind of thing. They’ve seen what they think is him.”"

UPDATE 03/09/04:

From Newsweek, March 15 issue:

"The hunt for bin Laden is an unprecedented confrontation between 21st-century technology and age-old guerrilla tactics. While the elusive terror chieftain hides in mountain caves and scurries along mule trails, Task Force 121 "bytes" away at him and his chief deputy, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, with the best the Information Age has to offer. Using powerful software called Analyst's Notebook, which helps to piece together data on criminal and terror networks—Special Forces command just ordered up more copies—military and intelligence officials are increasingly confident they are narrowing bin Laden's whereabouts."

Here is an excerpt from Daniel Pipes' article, Capturing Osama:

"While Bin Laden personally symbolizes militant Islam and his continued ability to elude coalition force inspires his Islamist followers, his capture or execution would have a mainly psychological impact by demoralizing those followers. His elimination would certainly be a blow to his movement, but one it could readily recover from it. "His capture won't end terrorism's danger," Robert Andrews rightly noted in a recent USA Today article.

Ending terrorism requires more than targeting terrorists, their leaders, or their organizations. It requires recognizing and defeating the body of ideas known as militant Islam or Islamism. The war cannot be won until politicians and others focus on this ideology rather than on terrorism, which is merely its manifestation."

UPDATE 03/10/04: U.S. may up high-tech ante in bin Laden hunt.


In the news: Tyranny wins in Iran.

UPDATE 02/22/04:

From Reuters:
"The 50.6 percent turnout was well below the 67 percent who voted in 2000 parliamentary elections. It also was the lowest in a parliamentary vote since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Turnout in the capital Tehran was around 29 percent, an Interior Ministry spokesman said. In Tehran province, which includes outlying towns and cities, it was 33 percent."

Go to Free Iran News for a good coverage on what's going on at the moment.

Check out Cox & Forkum's post, Ballot Initiative, for more links.

UPDATE 02/23/04:

Here is Ayatollah Khamenei's comment on the result:

"Those who lost the elections were America, Zionism and the enemies of the Iranian nation."

Read Michael Ledeen's article, The Great Iranian Election Fiasco.

For more cartoons like this, check out John Cox & Allen Forkum's book, Black & White World.

Friday, February 20, 2004


I have the pleasure to announce a new feature on this blog. Here is the first guest column by Burgess Laughlin:

Historical parallels?

What earlier period in the history of Western Civilization was most like our own?[1]

My answer is the period in Europe from about 1550 (the end of the Renaissance) to about 1700 (the beginning of the Enlightenment).

The Middle Ages had been dominated by faith. Then the Renaissance brought reason to the forefront, but only as an uneasy equal of faith. After around 1550, a new debater appeared: not reason, not faith, but philosophical skepticism.

The entry of philosophical skepticism into the debate was triggered in the period 1550-1700 by the revival and rapid distribution of the works of Sextus Empiricus. A Greek physician, he lived c. AD 200, and he advocated the most radical and most articulate form of ancient skepticism: Pyrrhonian skepticism.[2] His mission in life was to destroy "dogmatism" -- any positive, integrated philosophy offering a way of life (ethics) based on ideas about the essential nature of things -- especially ideas formed by applying reason to sense-perception.[3]

In Europe, the period 1550-1700 -- like our own 20th/21st century period -- was marked by conflicting extremes: massive expansion of chattel slavery in W. Europe and its colonies; peaceful commercial activity connecting Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas for the first time; a resurgent Inquisition; advancing technology (e.g., the telescope); large-scale witch-hunts; scientific progress (e.g., Galileo, 1564-1642); and devastating religious wars.[4]

By c. 1700, advocates of reason (often merely "rationalists") and advocates of faith had blunted the skeptical attack, but at the cost of compromising with it. In some cases, fideists and pro-reason intellectuals used skepticism as a tactical weapon to undermine each other's conclusions.[5]

The Enlightenment began, and reason became for some the ultimate standard of judgment. Accordingly, European culture experienced a burst of progress in technology, science, and politics. However, the Enlightenment lasted only until c. 1800, when Kant (1724-1804), the great philosophical syncretist, ended the Enlightenment by trying to "make room for faith." To do so, he crippled reason with the iron mask of skepticism: We can only know appearances, not the reality behind them.[6]

From his philosophy, our own time has become an Age of Skepticism. It reached its peak of power in the 1990s, and still dominates. The cultural vacuum created by skepticism is now being filled by resurgent faith and by the tiny but growing pro-reason movement, Objectivism.

Burgess Laughlin

[1] What is W. Civilization? It is a complex of cultural elements related philosophically and historically. It is a member of the genus rational culture. Besides its particular philosophical components (reason, science, technology, rule by law, romantic art), what differentiates *Western* Civilization from other streams of rational culture is the historical connection between its components and their roots in ancient Greek culture. (W. Civilization is not the same as European culture, which includes many irrational components too.)

[2] For ancient Greek skepticism: R. J. Hankinson, *The Sceptics*, 1995 (revised 1998). For Sextus, see: R. J. Hankinson, "Sextus Empiricus," *Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy*, 1998.

[3] This comment about his purpose in life is my inference from reading his main surviving work: Sextus Empiricus, *Outlines of Scepticism*, transls. and eds. J. Annas and J. Barnes, 1994.

[4] The Wars of Religion raged in France c. 1560 - c. 1648; the Thirty Years War devastated central Europe c. 1618 - c. 1648. See R. R. Palmer, *A History of the Modern World*, 2nd ed., 1964, sec. 13-15.

[5] For the emergence of skepticism in the late 1500s, and its battles with both fideists and rationalists: R. Popkin, *The History of Scepticism: From Savonarola to Bayle*, 2nd ed., 2003; and F. C. Beiser, *The Sovereignty of Reason: The Defense of Rationality in the Early English Enlightenment*, 1996.

[6] This is the theme of Kant's *Critique of Pure Reason*.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004


Have you seen signs that the hunt on terrorists has been intensified lately?

From the Boston Globe:
"But he said US forces are "reenergizing" efforts to find not just bin Laden and other senior Al Qaeda members but also leaders of other enemy groups -- most notably, Mohammad Omar, who headed the Taliban government ousted by US forces in 2001, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a renegade Afghan warlord."

From the Chicago Tribune:
"Terrorist attacks in Arab and Muslim countries have led those governments to vastly improve their cooperation with U.S. authorities in the war on terrorism, particularly in cutting off financing, FBI Director Robert Mueller said Tuesday."

From Reuters:
"Pakistan has stepped up efforts to track down al Qaeda and Taliban militants in recent months in response to American concerns that Islamic militants have been using Pakistani territory to launch attacks inside Afghanistan."

From NBC News:
"The commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan said Tuesday that his troops are stepping up efforts to capture Osama bin Laden and ousted Taliban leader Mullah Omar, maintaining that the "sand in their hour glass is running out.""


Read Jeff Jarvis' interesting thoughts on how we "expose our thoughts with our words and our relationships with our links."

Please support my supporters by clicking on the Blogads in the sidebar.

Here is an excerpt from Body in Mind's "About Us" page:

"Interest in both the site and its subject continues to grow around the world, as evidenced by the proliferation of like-minded sites that have surfaced on the web in recent years. But as yet Body in Mind remains the original and only true thinking man's beauty site, the only site to feature morality and philosophy mixed with breathtaking beauty in an intelligent, moral, and purposeful way. D.Bell calls this kind of beauty superbeauty, because of its special power to motivate and reward moral behaviour in us."

Here is a quote from the back cover of Burgess Laughlin's book, The Aristotle Adventure:

"The daily news is filled with stories of crime, famine, and tribal warfare. All these horrors are products of the irrational foundation of most world culture. But what about the good things in life -- such as the insights of science, the products of technology, and the pleasures of prosperity? Their foundation is a philosophy of reason. An indispensable tool of that philosophy is logic.

That tool and that philosophy came from Aristotle around 330 BC. How did they reach us through all that time?"


In the news: Soldier wants to take Saddam's dog back to Texas.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004


My post, FINANCIAL IRREGULARITIES IN EU, is included in this week's Carnival of the Capitalists. The carnival is hosted by Tasty Manatees.

Here is another statement by Jan O. Karlsson. Please tell me if you have a clue what he is talking about... Something is wrong.

"Jan O. Karlsson, Co-Chair of the Global Commission on International Migration, called for bridging the gap between decision-makers and those who really knew about the issue. He said the Global Commission would try to give governments and the UN a toolbox of instruments to benefit from the advantages of migration, both on an individual and on a collective level." (UN News Centre, 02/10/04.)

Click here for a solution.

Monday, February 16, 2004


Three of diamonds (#48) - Muhsin Khadr al-Khafaji. Captured on February 7.

Four of spades (#41) - Muhammad Zimam abd al-Razzaq al-Sadun.

The U.S. Central Command's list of the "Iraqi 55 Most Wanted" is starting to look like "Ten Little Ba'athists" to paraphrase the title of Agatha Christie's novel, Ten Little Indians (a.k.a. And Then There Were None).

Look at this picture, shortly after the arrest. What's up with the head gear? He doesn't look too happy... Commissar / Natasha @ the Politburo Diktat are not happy campers... ;) [Editor: Commissar, maybe you should get your hands on "The House of Cards: Deck of Bush"...]

In the news:
Here is an excerpt from an interview (by Sean Dodson) with Jeremy Botter ("Letters from Iraq"):

"I'm a medic with Apache Troop of the 1-10 Cavalry. Our mission is to do the things that no other unit wants to do or can do. Our unit has been instrumental in capturing 10 of the people on the Iraqi Most Wanted playing cards, including Saddam Hussein." (The Guardian, 01/22/04.)


I recommended John Ridpath's article, America Needs a Leader Like George Washington, in a comment to Michael Van Winkle's (Chicago Report) post, Longing for Gridlock? Or Maybe Not. Here is an excerpt of Dr. Ridpath's article:

"On Presidents' Day, Americans have an opportunity to reflect on its Presidents--past and present--and particularly on those who have been great leaders. History is replete with examples of charismatic power-lusting "leaders" directing mindless and obedient legions on campaigns of suppression and destruction. But America's great leaders have been different."

On this day, I take the opportunity to "rattle" my tip jar. If you have a selfish interest in keeping this blog going, take some time and think about how much value this site is for you. You have several options to pick if you want to support my blogging. If you have a product or service you want to promote, place an ad through Blogads. If you want to give cash, use the PayPal button. If you want to buy me stuff, check out my wish lists at Amazon. Scroll down the page and look under the category titled "Support" for more ways to support this blog. Please explore the ways you could support my efforts, by clicking on the links and banners. I want to end this PR message by thanking all my readers for visiting my blog, subscribing to email updates, commenting on my posts, and for you who have purchased EGO products and books from Amazon (via affiliated links and wish lists).

In honor of this day, I have added a portrait of George Washington (by Gilbert Stuart) to the Patriotic Poster category. Please tell me how you will celebrate the Presidents' Day!

Sunday, February 15, 2004


I think it will be a very low turnout (maybe 10-20% will vote) in the sham election in Iran. The conservative hard-liners and the mullahs will stay in power, and the so-called reformists will be marginalized.


If you want to have a great laugh and get a glimpse of the strange world of politics, check out the British comedy series, Yes, (Prime) Minister. Read Chris A. Wolski's article, Yes, Satire, in the January issue of The Intellectual Activist. For more information, go to the Yes (Prime) Minister Files.

Saturday, February 14, 2004


Did you know that Sweden has a leading role in stem-cell research?

"The US decision in 2001 to only allow embryonal stem cell research on existing lines put the spotlight on Sweden. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) survey of global stem cells reveals that more than a third of the 72 existing lines are found in Swedish laboratories. Here, embryonal stem cell production has been deemed ethically defensible and in the best interest of public health." (At the forefront in stem cells,

If you are interested to learn more about stem-cells, check out this list of links.

Go to Cox & Forkum's post, On High, and read excerpts from Alex Epstein's article, Cloning is Moral, and Harry Binswanger's article, Immoral to Ban Human Cloning.

For more cartoons like this, check out John Cox & Allen Forkum's book, Black & White World.

ImClone's new cancer drug, Erbitux, is another example on why the politicians and bureaucrats should back off and follow the instruction: Laissez-faire!


Recommended reading: Love and Selfishness by Gary Hull. Here is an excerpt:

"Every Valentine's Day a certain philosophic crime is perpetrated. Actually, it is committed year-round, but its destructiveness is magnified on this holiday. The crime is the propagation of a widely accepted falsehood: the idea that love is selfless."

Friday, February 13, 2004


I have written some new posts on my other blog. Read about afternoon tea in NYC, music concert in Stockholm, and an update of a post on strength training. Enjoy!


What are your plans for Valentine's Day? How about watching a movie with Marilyn Monroe and listening to the song, Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend.

My interest in precious stones sparked after a trip to Asia (Hong Kong, Macau, Bangkok, and Taipei) in 1992. I went with my friend Christer Sjöback. For a nice collection of semi-precious and precious stones, check out Christer's jewelry gallery. I have participated in a gemology course and have visited the Gem- and Mineral Show in Gothenburg several times.

Steven Den Beste has written an interesting post on synthetic diamonds. For more on diamonds, read the following articles:

* De Beers sales sparkle ahead of shake-up.
* She may be a gem but is it the real thing?
* Diamonds: Beyond Valentine Bling.

Thursday, February 12, 2004


Have you seen the documentary, I Met Osama bin Laden by Brian Lapping? The program includes footage of several meetings and interviews with Osama bin Laden. Here are two guys who have met the "high priest of terror":
¤ Jamal Khashoggi - former editor of Al-Watan newspaper, now adviser to Turki al-Faisal, Saudi ambassador to Britain.
¤ Hamid Mir - author of the unfinished biography of bin Laden and editor of the Daily Ausaf newspaper.

Read the report on Sheikh Abdullah Azzam: Bin Laden’s spiritual mentor.


The King of Sweden has paid a visit to Brunei. I wonder if Carl XVI Gustav attended the "Hari Raya Korban" ceremony, or visited one of Brunei's many mosques...

Wednesday, February 11, 2004


Kathy Kinsley (On the Third Hand) is the host of this week's edition of Carnival of the Vanities. My entry is included in the category "Future Shock."

Monday, February 9, 2004


I am pretty interested in social networking despite the fact that I have been called a "lone wolf"... ;)
Read about the social network with the difficult name "Orkut" (named after the guy who came up with the idea of this online community). Have you been invited yet?

In the news: The coming search wars.

Sunday, February 8, 2004


Time for my weekly post on Iran. It seems that the Mullahs have a hard time to avoid the spotlight. That's good. To use Michael Ledeen's slogan: "Faster, please."

From Debka (02/06/04): "Iran's Islamic Revolutionary regime last month marked the 25th anniversary of its victory over the Shah by launching a sophisticated missile dubbed Raad and its accompanying advanced radar system designated DM-3b." [Hat tip to Blog Iran mailing list.]

For more on Iran's arsenal of weapons, read Nooredin Abedian's article, More Than Don Quixote.

UPDATE 02/11/04: President Announces New Measures to Counter the Threat of WMD.

In the news:
"United Nations inspectors have found a new type of centrifuge design in Iran and other experiments that Tehran has failed to declare, despite its claim in November that it had fully disclosed its nuclear programme." (The Financial Times, 02/11/04.)

For more cartoons like this, check out John Cox & Allen Forkum's book, Black & White World.

UPDATE 02/13/04: Iran's secret nuclear plans exposed.

Saturday, February 7, 2004


In the news: Five Nigerians charged in $242 million '419' fraud trial.

I received my first "Nigerian letter" more than 10 years ago. I had my own small business, importing stuff (mainly electronic and computer products). My post office box started to get crammed with letters from Nigeria, after I had placed an ad in an international trade magazine. Nowadays, the scams are delivered by e-mail instead of "snail" mail. Check out this new version of the 419 scam. Read more about "Operation 4-1-9" by the United States Secret Service.


Please support my blogging by clicking on the Blogad.

Here are some interesting posts on advertising and how to make money on blogging:
$ 10 Ways To Make Money Blogging by John Hawkins. [Via InstaPundit.]
$ Google Adsense vs. BlogAds by "Commissar" @ the Politburo Diktat.

Friday, February 6, 2004


This is too much! Readers who are familiar with the Swedish politician Jan O. Karlsson, will get a kick out of this announcement:

"Vice-President of the European Commission Neil Kinnock has appointed Mr Jan O. Karlsson, former President of the European Court of Auditors, as chairman of the new Financial Irregularities Panel (FIP), with effect as of 1 February 2004." (European Communities, 02/04/04.)

The above mentioned politician has been involved in several scandals. He once had a private crayfish party and then sent the bill to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Guess who he called: "that fucking Texas geezer."

In the news: Ex-commissioner's fraud case goes to court.

UPDATE 02/15/04: Ex-Swedish Minister Won't Be Charged.


I have updated my other blogs, Martin Lindeskog's Weblog and Lukeion. You could read a post about my strength training. The other post is about an article published in a Swedish newspaper discussing G.W. Bush's patriotism.


Read about Johnny Chung's illegal contributions to John Kerry's campaign in 1996, in Michael Isikoff's article, Cash and Kerry.

Go to - "the rational solution to campaign finance reform."

Lyndon LaRouche must have some other sources than his Amazon contributions... [Via InstaPundit.]

Wednesday, February 4, 2004


I have noticed that my toolbar (powered by Google) has blocked popup ads on my blog. I wondered some time about the source and came up with the conclusion that it could be Bravenet. I sent them an email and got this reply:

"We do have popup advertisements on the majority of our service, but they are on every so many clicks, so your visitors won't be bombarded with them all at once."

I understand that a company like Bravenet must use different kinds of advertisement in order to provide the huge range of free webtools, but I am not so sure about the effectiveness of the pop-ups in the long run. I want to keep my guestmap, FAQ, poll, et.c., so I hope you don't mind a commercial break now and then. If you think that the pop-ups are annoying, please get a pop-up blocker. Don't hesitate to send me a email about this issue, or add a comment to this post.

In the news:
Shooting down pop-up Internet ads.
Is Ad-Supported RSS the Next Big Thing?

Tuesday, February 3, 2004


In the news: Iraqi Earns $1 Million for Tip Leading to Insurgent's Capture.

No card available - (#54) Khamis Sirhan al-Muhammad. Captured on January 11.

Maybe the Politburo Diktat's "DemCom Deck of Cards for Operation Bloggi Freedom" will end up at the British Museum in London?


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Monday, February 2, 2004


I have said to myself that I will smoke a cigar from Havana on the day of Castro's death. Do you think the time is ready?

Related: My post, CASTRO'S BLOODY REVOLUTION (1953 - 2003).

UPDATE 02/04/04: In the news:
Desperate Cubans Escape to America by Car.
Havana says Bush seeking regime change in Cuba.
Cuba's new ally.

For more cartoons like this, check out John Cox & Allen Forkum's book, Black & White World.


I wonder if Janet Jackson attended the "wrong" football game? Do you think she would get her body "busted" at the Lingerie Bowl? I have to admit that I agree with Howard Dean on this incident and say it is "silly." Read Skip Oliva's post, Can the FCC Protect us from Janet Jackson?

In the news: Why we should root for the Patriots.

How about buying an electronic gift certificate @ the New England Patriots online store?


UPDATE 02/03/04: AOL May Ask for Money Back After Halftime Debacle.
I agree with Glenn Reynolds' observation of Janet Jackson's appearance. I hope that the TiVo users soon get tired of hitting the replay button, and start to look out for real beauty instead.