September 12, 2005

Chrenkoff vs. Cole: A Question

Arthur Chrenkoff has said that he will be retiring/taking a break from blogging, but it hasn't happened yet. He has something like the ultimate Chrenkoff post here: All the Good News From Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pixy Misa once remarked to me that "for every blogger, there is an equal and opposite blogger" -- meaning that the blogosphere, is, in a sense, Newtonian. While the analogy is not perfect, it has a lot of merit.

I have long thought that Juan Cole is the opposite number from Chrenkoff. He certainly seems to have a big catalog of bad news which he shares with the world. I often wondered --continuing the physics analogy -- if you brought the two of them into the same room, would there would be an enormous explosion, like when matter and anti-matter meet?

I decided to see if they ever came in contact. I googled Chrenkoff's site for mentions of Cole; there are eight -- three of them are google duplicates, leaving five.

I repeated the process for Cole's site, looking for mentions of Chrenkoff. There are none.

Not a one.

Perhaps Google is flawed -- because certainly, if one believes that Iraq is so full of bad news as Cole seems to suggest, one would think he would, at some point in the last two and a half years, have taken the time to review evidence to the contrary.

He is, after all, a trained academic, and pursuing the truth in a spirit of fair and impartial inquiry is his business, when he's not relating the daily summary of car bombings, executions, and all-around hideousness which he seems to find with relative ease.

And it's not as if Chrenkoff has been hiding under a rock -- his summary has been mentioned on Instapundit numerous times, and featured in The Wall Street Journal online. Everyone cites him.

I'm curious -- is Juan Cole ignoring Arthur Chrenkoff on purpose? Does he only read sites that reinforce his existing opinion? Does he not deign to read Chrenkoff, as Chrenkoff lacks the requisite academic "credentials"?

Or is it a simple case of blogger physics -- bring Juan Cole into contact with Chrenkoff and his head will explode?

Inquiring minds want to know.

September 6, 2005

Good News From Afghanistan

Arthur Chrenkoff has the stories.

August 5, 2005

Arthur Chrenkoff To Retire From Blogging?

Say it ain't so, Arthur. Say it ain't so.

UPDATE: Arthur confirms it here. He will be sorely missed.

August 1, 2005

Chrenkoff's 32d Installment of Good News From Iraq

Where would we be without Arthur Chrenkoff? There is absolutely no balance in the media, as these stories get round-filed by everyone except our friend from Australia.

Set aside at least an hour to read this.

Or, if you like, you can wallow in negativity with Dr. Juan Cole, the anti-Chrenkoff. As blog guru Pixy Misa once said, for every blogger there is an equal and opposite blogger. Dr. Cole is certainly Arthur Chrenkoff's opposite.

He is, however, by no means Arthur's equal.

June 14, 2005

Chrenkoff's Good News From Iraq

Refreshing as always. There's a lot of it.

June 6, 2005

What Symbol Are You?

Arthur Chrenkoff has more "Good News From Afghanistan". One of the links mentions how Afghan political parties are being asked to choose symbols for themselves that have no particular Afghan cultural reference (so, things like a Koran Surrounded By Lightning Bolts, or a Fist Holding an Opium Poppy are not allowed, but a Toothbrush is)

Hence, voters this fall could be deciding whether they want a toothbrush, an electric plug, a hairbrush or a broom to represent them.

(Just occurred to me: Maybe it's just me, but wouldn't you find it demeaning if some foreigners told you that your cultural unfamiliarity with Toothbrushes made them acceptable as political symbols? Sounds like they're trying to send you a message, no?)

If you were starting a political party, what symbol would you choose? I myself think I would choose the Top Hat.


Or maybe the Battleship.

(Images courtesy of, which has all kinds of neat, oversized things for you to buy, including large versions of the Monopoly tokens).

What I'm pointing out is that the tradition of choosing a non-specific icon to represent oneself does have some history. Consider our own political parties -- the Elephants and the Donkeys. Believe me, the symbols the Afghan parties choose for themselves will take on significance and a life of their own after a few elections.

May 31, 2005

Chrenkoff on Upcoming German Elections

Arthur Chrenkoff has a good roundup on CDU leader Angela Merkel. A German Thatcher? Perhaps not. But should she sweep Schroeder out of office, I'm expecting a fairly high-profile visit to Washington from her early on.

April 25, 2005

Good News From Iraq

Arthur Chrenkoff's series continues.

April 22, 2005

Soros Watch


(Images courtesy of this Norwegian James Bond fan site)

Gee, this doesn't sound too ominous or anything . . .

George Soros told a carefully vetted gathering of 70 likeminded millionaires and billionaires last weekend that they must be patient if they want to realize long-term political and ideological yields from an expected massive investment in “startup” progressive think tanks. . .

. . . One source at the DNC with direct knowledge of the agenda said that the Phoenix Group had three specific goals at the outset. It wants to create liberal think tanks, training camps for young progressives and media centers. . .

"Patience, gentlemen, patience. To fund and build something as complicated as Operation Prometheus takes time . . ." said Soros, as he pushed a button. A panel on the wall slid away, revealing beneath it a large, detailed global map with surprisingly current information on the location of U.S. Russian, and Chinese missile silos. "We must bide our time gentlemen. But when we do act, it will be far too late for any of these governments to do anything about it. . ."

OK, I made that last part up. But a collection of billionaires called The Phoenix Group? I mean what the hell is that all about? Can you imagine the reaction if there was a meeting like this on the Republican side?

Hat tip to Arthur Chrenkoff, who has his own thoughts on it.

April 21, 2005

Spot On!

As they say in Australia. Arthur Chrenkoff gets what the Pope's name means.

April 11, 2005

Good News From Iraq

Arthur Chrenkoff's usual roundup. You'll need a couple of hours to read through it. Well worth it, though. Besides, it is a lot better than Juan Cole's counterpoint "bad news from Detroit" article today. If you've never read Juan Cole, you should, because his blog is so utterly depressing that the rest of your day seems like paradise by comparison. Not a ray of sunshine or hope is allowed to exist anywhere on its pages.

To understand his worldview, I offer the following two sentences. For foreign policy guidance, he reads Arab newspapers. For domestic policy, he consults comedians.

Neither are very amusing.

April 5, 2005

Chrenkoff Fisks The Guardian

Arthur Chrenkoff fisks the Guardian's "obituary" of Pope John Paul II.


There is the breath-taking moral equivalence:

"As a prelate from Poland, Wojtyla hailed from what was probably the most reactionary national outpost of the Catholic church, full of maudlin Mary-worship, nationalist fervour and ferocious anti-communism. Years of dealing with the Polish communists had turned him and his fellow Polish bishops into consummate political operators. In fact, it turned the Polish church into a set-up that was, at times, not easy to distinguish from the Stalinist bureaucracy. Both institutions were closed, dogmatic, censorious and hierarchical, awash with myth and personality cults. It was just that, like many alter egos, they also happened to be deadly enemies, locked in lethal combat over the soul of the Polish people."

Except that one is responsible for the murder of tens of millions of people, and the other one fought for independence, freedom and human dignity. Aside from that, a perfect match.

As they say in the blogosphere, read the whole thing.

March 14, 2005

Monday's Reading

Chrenkoff. More good news from Iraq than you could shake a stick at.

March 2, 2005

Q: How Do You Know You've Arrived As a Blogger?

A: When Andrew Sullivan feels threatened enough to attack you.

Congratulations, Arthur. The notoriety is well deserved.

February 14, 2005

Good News From Iraq

This series upsets me.

Not because of the items themselves, of course.

But the fact that we are reading about them on a Polish expatriate's Australian blog and not on the front pages of the New York Times or the Washington Post is nothing less than a criminal indictment of the mainstream media.

The major media wants us to lose. Plain and simple. They are doing everything in their power to shape the debate in the way that puts the actions of the United States in the most pejorative light possible. They are not presenting events in Iraq with any measure of objectivity or fairness.

They want to portray our military as sadists and butchers. They want to portray the "insurgents" as freedom fighters. They want us to lose so they can talk about American hubris and how the rest of the world is somehow morally superior to us.

It takes a man who has lived under Communism, Arthur Chrenkoff, to recognize the media for what it is: propaganda.

My question is, whom does the media serve? The Cold War is over and Communism lost. Certainly they are not serving Moscow.

Is any ideological surrogate, including the murderous, butchering hatred of Zarqawi, now an adequate surrogate, a fit master to serve? Is the ability to hate the West and all it stands for only criterion for the left's ideological subservience to a master?

Because otherwise I do not understand it.

Present the facts. Let the readers judge. How hard is that?

February 10, 2005

An Enlightenment, Not a Reformation

Arthur Chrenkoff makes some excellent points about Islam.

To me, the Reformation set off religious fighting in Europe that culminated in the atrocities of the Thirty Years War. After this war, Europe seemed to take a step back from religion to try other things. The victor of the Thirty Years War was the nation state, as personified by France under Richelieu and Mazarin. These clerics-turned-statesmen made alliances with their nominal religious foes to reign in the power of the Hapsburgs. The fact that Protestants and Catholics could reach a detente, in my view, led to a lessening of the religious conflict. War in Europe became the province of states, and not of religions.

This gave the Enlightenment a chance to take hold and spread.

My hope is that the Islamic world can pass from Reformation to Enlightenment without passing through the murderous phase of internecine religious strife that Europe did. Perhaps a Pax Aemricana, imposed on the Islamic world from the outside, could do this.

Or perhaps the rift between militant Shi'a and militant Sunni will burn through the Muslim world like a terrible fire, consuming everything in its path. I think that Iraq represents a critical historical nexus. If the Pax Americana and the imposition of Enlightenment from outside is to work, it will work there first. If it fails, Iraq will be the battleground for the civil war much like Germany was from 1618-1648.

Men will decide this.

February 7, 2005

Arthur Chrenkoff in the WSJ

Good to see my fellow Homespun Blogger and occasional reader Arthur Chrenkoff making it big.

The story is his usual summary of good news from Afghanistan, which is not being covered by the major media.

January 27, 2005

Chrenkoff -- Good News from the Muslim World

More from the indispensable Arthur Chrenkoff.

January 24, 2005

Chrenkoff on the Iraqi Election

Arthur Chrenkoff has the Iraqi political party update. Quite the assortment.

I imagine a few elections will weed out what looks like a profusion of Whigs, Know-Nothings, Bull Moose, Reformites, Dixiecrats, Libertarians, Greens, Social Democrats, and so forth.

I imagine, if all goes well, you'll see this culled down to five or six major ones in a few years.

Hard to tell who the good guys are, but I bet you the Iraqis know.

Which is the important part. Their country, after all.

January 17, 2005

Chrenkoff: Good News From Iraq

Arthur Chrenkoff has his usual thorough compendium of unreported and underreported items from Iraq here.

January 14, 2005

Chrenkoff on the Middle East

The genie is out of the bottle.

Great post with many great links.

January 11, 2005

John Hawkins Interviews VDH

John Hawkins interviews Victor Davis Hanson here.

To me, the most interesting observation is this:

"It reminds me of something like Reconstruction after the Civil War . . ."

I think there are a lot of good comparisons here. The reconstruction of Iraq is similar in a number of ways to the reconstruction of the American south. The Ba'athists and Zarqawi are like the Klan, also -- causing terror in the formerly oppressed. It took a number of years for the South to become healthy again; I think Iraq will look a lot better in 5 to 10 years than it does now.

Hat tip: Chrenkoff.

January 10, 2005

Monday Morning Means Chrenkoff

I have yet another busy work day ahead. But if I can find an hour or so today, I plan to read the voluminous "Good News From Afghanistan" that Arthur Chrenkoff has compiled.

It is remarkable how much there is. And more remarkable that I am hearing most of these stories first from a guy at his computer in Australia and not from a professional news organization.

January 3, 2005

Chrenkoff: Good News From Iraq

Arthur Chrenkoff is back from vacation and has more Good News from Iraq.

December 24, 2004

Chrenkoff Closing in on a Milestone

Chrenkoff wishes us a Merry Christmas from muggy Australia, and notes that he is closing in on his millionth customer.

Now if only each customer would pay him a dollar, right? He certainly deserves it.

December 20, 2004

Monday Means Chrenkoff

Good news from Iraq. 17th in a series.

December 19, 2004

Chrenkoff Is Blogging . . .

The blogosphere is slow this weekend, but Arthur Chrenkoff, at least, is still working. Consider these posts.

Sir Richard Branson's secret 2002 plan to avoid invading Iraq.

Chrenkoff fisks an interview with John Pilger.

Australia considers "motor voter", mainly as a plot to save the left. Chrenk offers advice for the U.S., and apparently takes some heat for it.

Arthur is a great blogger; as evidenced by the fact, if nothing else, that he has his own category over on my navigation bar for posts of his to which I've linked.

December 13, 2004

Monday Morning Chrenkoff

Chrenkoff has a cornucopia of good news from Afghanistan.

December 12, 2004

"As Seen on Chrenkoff"

Kind of like the advertisements for kitchen appliances -- "As Seen on TV" . . .

Arthur Chrenkoff links to my piece where I take issue with some comments by Allah. To clarify -- I am not attacking Allah. I was never a regular reader of his site, but people in the blogosphere of whom I think highly miss him a great deal. My only point was -- blogging is not journalism, and bloggers should not seek to become journalists. We can act as critics of journalism, and point out journalism's excesses, but we should not seek to replace journalists. What we are doing is, frankly, more interesting.

And it is a little dangerous. The danger is that of addiction. We all begin to think of ourselves as indispensable commentators on the world. But we need to step back and take perspective from time to time. Steven Den Beste couldn't take the constant criticism and attention, so he quit. It appears that Allah got sick of the same thing. I hope in both cases they return to blogging, at a more manageable pace. Other bloggers have done it -- consider Jeff Goldstein, who took a long break from blogging but has returned "with a vengeance" as they say.

We must all keep it in perspective. There are none of us who are indispensable or necessary. The world spins whether we blog or not. If I stopped blogging tomorrow -- or for that matter, stopped drawing breath on this planet -- the result would be like drawing one's hand from a bucket of water. The water fills the void pretty quickly. A few people would be sad for a time. Consider the traffic Den Beste still gets in a day. A lot of people are sad and wish that he'd return. But there's still other quality essayists out there -- Bill Whittle, Lileks, Vanderleun, Wretchard the Cat, Chrenkoff -- and more people come into the hobby each day.

Maybe we should stop thinking of ourselves as journalists, and realize we are really like television sitcoms. We go on for a while, build a cult following, then move to the top of the Nielsens for a few years. Eventually, we either quit on top of our game, or we jump the shark and the decline begins. Then we go do something else. Maybe we move to the west coast to be closer to our family, or get some new friends. Maybe the new experiment doesn't work out. Maybe we wander the world with an albatross or three around our necks. Maybe fate is kind, and grants us a second life. Or maybe we quit and never look back.

Doesn't mean people are going to stop watching TV. We all have to be content with our decisions. I'm blogging right now. I've had other addictive hobbies that I've moved away from -- brewing beer, building high speed gaming computers, painting, writing a novel. Eventually blogging might be on the ashheap, or on the back burner for awhile. But I'll be happy about it when I make that decision.

December 10, 2004

This Might Be Going a Little Too Far

The Watcher of Weasels (winner of the "Best Illuminati-Themed Web" in the Fed Ex-Nissan-Starbucks-Wizbang-Blog-Bowl) has your Weekly Roundup of Weekly Roundups.

In a similar vein, I offer my compilation of Good News about Good News from Arthur Chrenkoff:

Good News from Iraq
Good News from Afghanistan
Good News from The Islamic World
Kinda Good News from Europe

Chrenkoff: Tim Tams Go To War

Tim tams go to war.

Yeah, I know. It's at the bottom of the Tony Blair post. Sometimes you have to work for it, folks. And what the hell's a tim tam, you ask?

When you say the words "Australian food", naturally my mind leaps to the worst conclusions. I was worried that it might be some vegemite-inspired monstrosity made from the entrails of wallabies. But no, it's just a chocolate cookie.

Pictures and more here:

Although it might not be as simple as putting a crate of tim tams on a plane and sending them to Iraq. Chocolate and the desert heat don't mix very well, so our Aussie friends might get a box of mush at the other end. I'm sure that John Howard's military folks will tell him this -- the Australian army knows all about fighting in hot, nasty places.

The solution, of course, is military chocolate.

American military chocolate was first developed in World War II, if this post is to be believed, which I am confident it is. Roosevelt's War Department was nothing if not thorough.

The modern day MRE also deals with the issue of chocolate heat sensitivity.

During Operation Desert Storm, MREs were eaten by troops for far longer than they were originally intended. Originally intended for 10 days or less, many troops ate them for 60+ days. As a result, three changes were quickly made to supplement the MREs and enhance their acceptability: shelf-stable bread in an MRE pouch was developed, a high-heat-stable chocolate bar was developed that wouldn't melt in the desert heat (this had been attempted before but the bar had a waxy taste and wasn't widely accepted), and flameless ration heaters were developed as a quick and easy method for troops to heat their entrees.

People often wonder why military stuff is so expensive. You can't just buy off-the-shelf-chocolate and ship it to the hellholes where we send the Army.

I'm sure that if the Tim Tams make it, they will taste better than Army chocolate. But I hope that they remember to put them on a refrigerated cargo plane.

December 8, 2004

Arthur Chrenkoff Has Deja Vu

It's deja vu for Arthur Chrenkoff. He was reading the Iraq the Model website, where Mohammed, Ali, and Omar have discovered the left side of the blogosphere, and realized, with something like vertigo, that not everyone in the west agree on things, and not everyone in the west thought the war in Iraq was a good thing.

Arthur relates his own experiences in coming to Australia. Both his post and the Iraqi post are well worth reading.