Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Frontline: Living in the Age of AIDS

I saw part one of this Frontline special last night, and canceled some plans to watch the second part tonight. There is a definite slant--guess which way--to the show so far, but it generally keeps Frontline's promise to provide the facts and let the viewers their own conclusions.

The talking heads are all gay activists and former medical officials. Only one Reagan-era official is allowed a spot to (very briefly) contest the cataract of allegations of neglect against her late boss. Since gay activists politicized the disease from the very outset--and thereby contributed mightily to the subsequent death toll--it doesn't seem fair for them to blame Reagan for not handing them the national purse strings at first demand.

Amazingly--to me, at least--the producers permitted mention of the bathhouses controversy. The San Francisco Public Health director, Dr. Merv Silverman, is given extended airtime to tell how gay activists thwarted his effort to contain the epidemic in the early stages by closing the public bathhouses. These were--are--sexual romper rooms where masses of gay men could come together to have anonymous sex with multiple strangers. The bathhouses did close briefly, but a judge quickly ordered them re-opened. Gay activist Cleve Jones is given rebuttal time, laying down a rhetorical fog about liberation and pride and suspicion, and how everyone was at equal, immediate risk. This bit is the only dissent from the theme of gay victimhood allowed on the show. At this point, I would have had on Michael Fumento or David Horowitz, to amplify this important point about how the disease spread because of the failure to use proven epidemic fighters like screening, testing, and quarantine. Something like this:

...the AIDS epidemic is more accurately described as a product of the gay rights movement of the 1970s, inevitably concentrated in the very centers of gay life in America -- San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles -- and impossible to conceive without the presence and agitations of the radical gay movements that directly preceded it. It was the gay radical left that defined promiscuous anal sex with strangers in public urban environments – the primary cause of the AIDS epidemic – as "gay liberation."

It was the gay movement that thought nothing of the massive epidemics of amoebiasis, rectal gonorrhea, syphilis, and hepatitis B that swept through gay communities in the decades preceding AIDS, producing astronomical infection rates and depleted immune systems in the process. It was the gay movement that regarded any intrusion by public health authorities to close the public sexual gymnasiums called "bathhouses" as a "threat" to gay liberation (both before and after the onset of AIDS).

But, "liberation" uber alles...

Sidebar: One victim onscreen says that all his friends abandoned him after he was diagnosed. My reaction was that those were not friends, then. Hard to see how casual f---buddies ever could be real friends. It put me in unpleasant mind of a co-worker of mine who died of AIDS. At his wake, his gay acquaintances kept to themselves, standing around chatting and leering at each other. I couldn't help but wonder if one of them was the one that had killed him.

The controversy between the American researcher Dr. Robert Gallo and his French counterparts is gone over, as to who should have credit for first isolating the HIV virus. The science aspect of the show has been quite good so far, in fact. For one thing, I didn't know that the virus masked itself from the body's immune defenses by cloaking itself in sugars.

One disappointment is how little examination there is so far of the mystery as to why AIDS in America started out and largely remains a gay and needle spread disease, while in Africa it is largely a hetero disease. It's as if the producers are fearful of broaching any explanations that would be embarrassing to multi-culti notions of the general equivalence of all cultures. An explanation like this, for example.

So far, there hasn't been any mention of the expanding definition of AIDS, which conservative critics say has been done to bulk up the numbers and thus the funding. Maybe that'll come up in part two.

Speaking of which, it's almost time for part two, gotta go.

Monday, May 29, 2006

More Memorial Day Photos

Have some of these, from last December. They are halfway down, after the Veteran's Day parade shots, and before the Korean dance troupe pictures.

Hope you had a good holiday. My small children are finally big enough to be good playmates with their older cousins. It was quite a raucous time, with all of them careening through the old homestead. Reminded me of similar fun, when I was a similar age...

And thanks and blessings on all our military & their families. There is no shortage of great Memorial Day bloggage out there, especially on the milblogs. But probably the most unexpected tribute may be found here, at the news satire site Scrappleface, of all places. It's so incongruous that proprietor Scott Ott tells us straight out, this isn't satire. It is a gem, though.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, III

The unburdened mules moved off to their olive orchard. The men in the road seemed reluctant to leave. They stood around, and gradually one by one I could sense them moving close to Capt. Waskow's body. Not so much to look, I think, as to say something in finality to him, and to themselves. I stood close by and I could hear.

One soldier came and looked down, and he said out loud, "God damn it." That's all he said, and then he walked away. Another one came. He said, "God damn it to hell anyway." He looked down for a few last moments, and then he turned and left.

Another man came; I think he was an officer. It was hard to tell officers from men in the half light, for all were bearded and grimy dirty. The man looked down into the dead captain's face, and then he spoke directly to him, as though he were alive. He said: "I sure am sorry, old man."

Then a soldier came and stood beside the officer, and bent over, and he too spoke to his dead captain, not in a whisper but awfully tenderly, and he said:

"I sure am sorry, sir."

Then the first man squatted down, and he reached down and took the dead hand, and he sat there for a full five minutes, holding the dead hand in his own and looking intently into the dead face, and he never uttered a sound all the time he sat there.

And finally he put the hand down, and then he reached up and gently straightened the points of the captain's shirt collar, and then he sort of rearranged the tattered edges of his uniform around the wound. And then he got up and walked away down the road in the moonlight, all alone.

After that the rest of us went back into the cowshed, leaving the five dead men lying in a line, end to end, in the shadow of the low stone wall. We lay down on the straw in the cowshed, and pretty soon we were all asleep.

-- Ernie Pyle, "The Death of Captain Waskow",

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, II

For the first time in a couple of years, I'll be out of town this weekend, and will not be able to attend services at the nearby National Cemetery. (Click here for more of my Veterans Day and Memorial Day snapshots.) It feels a little strange, as I've made a point of visiting most every year since I've lived here.

I'm not military, btw (and not a wannabee, either). The closest I ever got to military service was a few summers mowing the grass of a family friend, a retired Army major, who had been a rifleman in France during WWII. He was an interesting man. He was always talking about old war stories, and he taught me to shoot. In fact, the only time I've ever fired guns was under his tutelage, as a teen. He was a rather lonely man, I thought. He had a couple of failed marriages under his belt, a son that lived on the other side of the continent, and a half-sister whom he saw infrequently. Towards the end of his life I impulsively bought him this book, A Day In The Life. He appreciated it, and died some months later--so I was gratified to have been able to give him that token of my esteem, while he was alive to receive it.

So spare a thought for the fallen, this holiday.

Cobb Evolution Textbook Stickers Case Kicked Back To Lower Court

Via The Panda's Thumb.

Some incomplete schoolboard meeting minutes, and a missing petition, apparently constituted a sizeable enough gap in the evidentiary record that the 11th Circuit Board declined to rule. So back it goes to lower court. Now both sides will likely have at it again. But maybe not. The Kitzmiller case in Pennsylvania, which was resoundingly ruled in favor of evolution, may hover over any subsequent proceedings in Cobb.

I semi-live blogged the original 11th Circuit Court hearing here, late last year.

One thing that the casual news browser may not grasp at first glom is that the school board here was never trying to impose creationism on the students. Not directly, at least. The school board was trying to upgrade its science education, going from barely teaching evolution at all, to teaching evolution more fully, but putting these ridiculous "warning" stickers in the textbooks, to placate the fundamentalists parents. Which is to say, the policy was a consensus monster, with the (elected) board trying to please everyone.

Another thing folks might not know is that, while Georgia ranks near the bottom in education, Cobb County schools are generally above average, nationwide. Check it out.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Happ Memorial Day Weekend, I

Have you forgotten yet?...
For the world's events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways:
And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you're a man reprieved to
Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.
But the past is just the same--and War's a bloody game...
Have you forgotten yet?...
Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you'll never forget.

Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz--
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench--
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
Do you ever stop and ask, 'Is it all going to happen again?'

Do you remember that hour of din before the attack--
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads--those ashen-grey
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

Have you forgotten yet?...
Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you'll never

-- Siegfried Sassoon, "Aftermath", 1919

Thursday, May 25, 2006

What I Saw At The Revolution, V

Russia's ambassador to Peking at the time [the early 1960s], Chevonenko, told us that Moscow instructed him to try to refuse Chinese food exports, and that Russia had sometimes declined to accept shipments of grain. The Russians knew only too well about the famine. "You didn't have to do any investigation," Chervonenko said. "It was enough just to drive in from the airport. You could see there were no leaves on the trees." On one occasion, when the Chinese said they were going to increase meat shipments, the Russians asked how. The answer was: "None of your business!"

-- Jung Chang and Dan Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story, 2005

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Support The Troops

Over on my other blog, I'm posting some photos from a support-the-troops rally three years ago. Check in often, as I'll be posting them all this week. Click on 'em to enjoy the gorgeous detail my ageing Olympus IS-3 was still capable of, but which unfortunately doesn't translate into pixels so well.

Obsessive Blogging

How do you know when you are addicted to blogging. Like any other addiction, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Wild Spirits of San Francisco

In a sense, the place is wide open, but not in the way the New York and Baltimore and Washington used to be wide open--vulgarly, garishly, hoggishly. The business is achieved with an air, almost a grand manner. It is good-humored, engaging, innocent. There is no heavy attitude of raising the devil. [...] It is a friendly place, a spacious and tolerant place, a place heavy with strangeness and charm. It is no more American, in the sense that American has come to carry, than a wine festival in Spain or the carnival at Nice. It is cut off sharply from all the rest of this dun and dour republic.
-- H. L. Mencken, _The Baltimore Evening Sun_, July 21, 1920

San Francisco is a mad city--inhabited for the most part by perfectly insane people whose women are of remarkable beauty.
-- Rudyard Kipling, _From Sea to Sea_, 1889

San Francisco is perhaps the most European of all American cities.
-- Cecil Beaton, _It Gives Me Great Pleasure_, 1955

I watched The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill the other night, and caught myself sneering at it, and then caught myself feeling a smidgen remorseful for sneering at it. A stereotypical Left Coast child-man, indulging in his quarter-century old identity crisis, finds a semblance of purpose in life by bonding with a flock of released pet conures and their wild-born offspring. A long time ago, I would have resonated to the guy's off-beat empathy; now, I'm just embarrassed and sad and yes a little scornful for him.

Yet, I retain enough of my youthful sensibilities to suspect that, maybe, there's a note here to which I've become tone-deaf. St. Francis is one of the most universally loved saints for a reason, after all. This story of a man, waiting around for his apotheosis to fall in his lap, running out of chances for a meaningful life, who finds a way to make an emotional connection with the world via this anomalous flock of parrots, has certain obvious parallels, no? I myself was becalmed in the sea voyage of life for awhile, and the breezes that finally filled my sails were no less unexpected (though much less interesting).

I spent my last $800 driving my mom's piece'a junk Ford Fairmont cross country to San Francisco and back one summer. Met up with a woman whom I had a painfully adolescent crush on for the longest time, though she was gracious enough to accept me as a friend. The city definitely had nothing to do with my formative environment--but I could see how it could be a lure and a solvent on people's identities, how someone would willingly hover over the brink of homelessness, working intermittently at odd jobs for years, just to stay there. Had I stayed there...well, who knows? Love, like sunlight, shines in through every chink. Maybe I'd be in no position--or mind--to sneer at an itinerant lover of wild parrots.

The Bahai Faith And Iran

Iran has been making death threats against Israel for some time now, and it's getting uglier by the week. Life has been hard inside Iran for that country's Christians and Jews ever since the Islamic Revolution. Indeed, one of the justifications for the founding of the state of Israel was self-defence:

Anywhere else I am at the mercy of the government. It is very simple. _I want to be in a country where I can defend myself when I am attacked_.
-- Ada Sereni, in James McNeish, _Belonging_, 1980

But Christians and Jews are at least quasi-tolerated as recognized classes of dhimmis. There's a religion known as the Bahai faith, though, which doesn't get even that much respect. They are a peaceful and peace-promoting syncretic sect, about six million strong worldwide. Think of them as transnational Quakers. They are persecuted--boy, are they persecuted!--under Iranian shariah law as out-and-out heretics. The faith is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, which like every other sect of Islam isn't supposed to have "offshoots". The "Seal of Prophets" and all, you know. I don't see it immediately anywhere online, but I remember being hearing that the floorplans for the Bahai temple in Iran, which the ayatollahs demolished, are in safekeeping in Haifa, for the day when it will be possible to rebuild it.

The Bahai faith does not appeal to me, but I do have a personal attachment to it. The first Iranians I ever met in person were Bahais. I met them at a Bahai meeting, which I was attending for a college class. They left Iran due to persecution after the Islamic Revolution. I studied the Bahai faith in more depth some time later, and even wrote a paper on the local Bahai community. Most amazingly, after it was done, I found a framed photo of the second Bahai spiritual leader, Abdul Baha, hanging in a pawn shop. I bought it for three bucks, and donated it to the local group. I've been wincing at the depredations visited on Bahais by the One True Faith ever since.

Fun fact: Bahaullah is the only founder of an Abrahamic faith of whom we have a photograph. Unless there's a daguerrotype of the Mormons' Joseph Smith out there someplace.

UPDATE: Yep, there apparently is.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

What I Saw At The Revolution, IV

In January 1952, [...] Mao ordered [a] campaign [...] called "the Five-Antis." The offences were bribery, tax evasion, pilfering state property, cheating and stealing economic information. It was aimed at private businessmen, whose property had not been confiscated, to force them to disgorge money, as well as to frighten them out of acts like bribery and tax evasion. One person involved at a high level put the number of suicides [...] as at least 200,000-300,000. In Shanghai so many people jumped from skyscrapers that they acquired the nickname "parachutes." One eyewitness wondered why people jumped into the street rather than into the river. The reason, he discovered, was that they wanted to safeguard their families: "If you jumped into the Huangpu River and were swept away so the Communists didn't have a corpse, they would accuse you of having escaped to Hong Kong, and your family would suffer. So the best way was to leap down to the street."
-- Jung Chang and Dan Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story, 2005

Saturday, May 20, 2006

RIP Jaroslav Pelikan

Via On The Square, I learn of the passing of the prominent biblical scholar Jaroslav Pelikan. I'm not the one to do him a proper encomium, so have some quotes, instead:

Tradition is the living faith of dead people to which we must add our chapter while we have the gift of life. Traditionalism is the dead faith of living people who fear that if anything changes, the whole enterprise will crumble.
-- Jaroslav Pelikan

The presence in the Bible of attitudes toward nature and the universe that are, in our judgment, "prescientific" is[...]not simply a nutshell that can be discarded to find the eternal kernel inside. [...T]hese attitudes are bound up with its fundamental message. Nevertheless, when seen in the light of the history of biblical
commentary and interpretation, whether Jewish or Christian, this "prescientific" picture of the universe is in fact one that it has been possible for widely divergent "scientific" pictures, as they have succeeded one another through the ages, to accommodate. It is a fair generalization that there is no scientific or philosophical cosmology with which the biblical message has been unable to come to terms at least in some measure, and at the same time none with which it has been entirely comfortable. What is more, the accommodation of the biblical message to this or that cosmology has often reached its completion at just about the same time that the cosmology was yielding to its successor. It is impossible to make up an alternate formulation, using the vocabulary of any scientific or philosophical
worldview ancient or modern, that could have the eternal staying power of the sublime opening words of the Book of Genesis, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth." The very irrelevance of biblical cosmology has made it relevant over and over.
-- Jaroslav Pelikan, _Whose Bible Is It?_, 2005

To invoke a Kierkegaardesque figure of speech, the beauty of the language of the Bible can be like a set of dentist's instruments neatly laid out on a table and hanging on a wall, intriguing in their technological complexity and with their stainless steel highly polished--until they set to work on the job for which they were originally designed. Then all of a sudden my reaction changes from "How shiny and beautiful they all are!" to "Get that damned thing out of my mouth!
-- ibid

My favorite quotation from Nietzsche: "Advice to a young revolutionary, be careful you are not crushed by a falling statue." Because what replaces the tyranny of tradition is what Lord Acton once called "the tyranny of the air we breathe." Structure and tradition are not the natural enemies of moral spontaneity, but the natural framework within which that spontaneity can be free to breathe.
-- Jaroslav Pelikan, Baccalaurate lecture "Morals Without Laws are Unstable", 2004, in University of Pennsylvania Almanac,

San Francisco WWII Machine Gun Nests Found

The other day, National Park Service crews clearing weeds and making surveys for a hiking trail above Baker Beach found some of the old wartime trenches and machine-gun nests, still there, still ready for the invasion that never came.

Make up your own bitter then-versus-now joke.

Amazon reviews

I'm getting caught up with some Amazon reviews, here. I also wrote a review of an Israeli film, Ushpizin, but for some reason it isn't appearing immediately.

If you like those reviews, how about clicking through to the item page and giving me a thumbs-up? I'd love to creep back into the top 500 someday.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Da Vinci Mode

I haven't read the book, probably won't see the movie, and am not perturbed by the backstory. But many people around me are. Last Sunday at my church there were some booklets rebutting The Da Vinci Code placed out by the refreshments table. And of course First Things has been defending Opus Dei, most recently here, and many times in the past.

But the only question I have of Code conspiracy theorists is the same question I have of most other conspiracy theorists: Why do you think you are worth conspiring against?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Monday, May 15, 2006

Blessed Are The Peacemakers

This is big news: Uncle Sam and Colonel Klinq are making up.

U.S. Restores Diplomatic Ties to Libya

If the people of Libya get a tangible peace dividend from normalization of relations with the U.S., then hopefully that will exert some popular leverage in other trouble spots. Maybe I should book a vacation bungalow on the Gulf of Sidra, just to do my part!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day, IV

The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral—a dwelling for an immortal soul. The angels have not been blessed with such a grace.
-- Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty

Happy Mother's Day, III

If it is true that illegitimacy is spreading through all levels of the population, perhaps one of the reasons is that state-supported single motherhood has been for some time the one situation in which women can actually be relatively relaxed about putting motherhood first. The idea of a nonworking wife has already become unthinkable for many middle- class men. "Welfare Mothers Have a Big Job To Do Raising Their Children," ran a defense of welfare opposing the idea that mothers on public assistance should be made to work. Who makes such an apologia for the harried middle-class mom, "juggling," "balancing," and "having it all"? Our society should rethink its ideas about motherhood, if it is serious about reducing illegitimacy. Come to think of it, it should rethink its ideas about motherhood, period.

-- Carol Iannone

Happy Mothers Day, II

It seems peculiar to our time that we have so many more ways to amuse ourselves, and so much more time in which to do it. As the average age of American first-time mothers increases, so do the years in which women are independent adults, working but in most cases unencumbered. Pleasing yourself, setting your own routines, always seeking what is interesting—these things aren’t necessarily sinful. But they are hard to give up. We have so little experience in enduring boredom for the sake of someone else’s good.

I don’t know how to solve these problems for other women. It seems useless to protest that, despite everything, staying at home can be a reward in itself. How to persuade someone else that my growing satisfaction with my occupation is anything more than a quirk of my personality?

Yet I wish I could convey it. Like so many other full-time mothers I have learned the obvious: for my children, not just anyone will do. Even the best teacher, the kindest day care worker, cannot replace me, my attentive presence. No matter how closely someone may agree with me and my husband, she cannot guide and nurture our children as we can. No one else can parent our children. It is God’s gift to me and to John, ours alone.

If we care about how our country’s children are raised, and who raises them, I think this point is where we have to start. And may He who turns the hearts of the fathers toward their children bless all parents, in all walks of life. It is the toughest job we’ll ever love.

-- Sibyl Niemann

Happy Mothers Day to all ROFTERS!

And to you, too!

Honor your mother, while you can. If you don't, you're a blue-ribbon jerk. Just in case no one told you before, is all.

Around the way there lived an old widow who had been abandoned by her grown children. I had no direct contact with her, but her immediate neighbors told me that they were getting together to do some upkeep on her house. The yard was overgrown, the ceilings were falling down, and it was just a big sad mess. No one I spoke with knew what her children had against her, but the way they neglected her was just unnatural. I cut her grass one day, though I never saw her, and other people did some other work around the house. But soon after that she passed away. I later learned that, during her funeral, the children came to the house and cleaned it out, and then left. How contemptible. There ought to be a commandment about that--and there is.

No matter how rough a ride someone's childhood may have been, everyone is here thanks to someone else. Every child eventually reaches the point where they look back on the job their parents' did in raising them, and renders a verdict. Parents can only hope they will be just, and/or merciful. So, while I hope your relationship with your mother is all carnations and sunshine, don't forget what the commandment says. Not "love", not "respect", not "tolerate", not "relate to"; but "honor". You can look it up.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

"A coherent political philosophy implies a certain understanding of human nature"

Former Congressman Brad Carson, D-OK, opines about how the Dems can climb back into contention.

A coherent political philosophy implies a certain understanding of human nature, of the proper ends of human life. Progressive politics across the world - from Britain's Labour to Germany's SDP to America's Democrats -- has no vision of a better world because these deeply philosophical foundations of left-wing politics have eroded over the last thirty years. Events like stagflation and the fall of the Soviet Union played a role in this, but, so, too, did a line of brilliant thinkers like Hayek, Friedman, Buchanan, Stigler, Lucas, Kydler, Prescott, Merton, Miller, Becker, Simon, and Coase, all of whom received Nobel Prizes for their now-accepted apostasies from left-wing orthodoxy. [...]

The need for progressive politics is greater than ever. Democrats can find solace in knowing that their problems are not self-inflicted and are present in similar form wherever the Left is to be found. But hope requires Democrats to acknowledge that the solutions will not be found in merely better rhetoric, but in slow-boring through the hard wood of philosophical retrenchment.

Well, the country certainly does need a strong two-party system. It's like an old Bill Mauldin cartoon from the 1940s had it: A couple of guys representing the Left And Right are standing in a rowboat, brandishing hand drills. "Yer a menace to society! It's me duty to sink your end of the boat!" So it's strongly to be hoped that the Democrats can find their way back, not to power, but to their senses. So long as their candidates continue getting brought up short by their Inner Peacenik in national defense matters, so long as they act like my money is really the government's money on extended loan, and so long as the party is spear-headed by the likes of Michael Moore, International A.N.S.W.E.R., and those who accept their presence without protest, they will do so minus my support.

But the Congressman is right: the Democrats are sifting through the detritus of a generation's worth of stale leftisms, looking for snappy focus-group slogans when they should be trying to find something of value. For all our sakes, let's hope they succeed.

Your First Things tie-in? Not this time. They tend to hammer on the abortion issue more than I care to, when the topic is "what's the matter with the Dems?"

Find, Read, Post

Via young Kevin K., here is a reading/posting tag:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open it to page 161.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

"A deceptive green cover hid a black vicous swamp, which sucked in anyone who broke throug the thin crust or strayed from the narrow path."
-- Jung Chang, Mao: The Unknown Story.

Now you're it.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Business Smarts

A student goes to nursery school, to pre-K, to kindergarten. He or she goes on through the elementary grades, into middle school, and then into high school, the launching pad of adulthood. This person can then go on to college, be it a good, middling, or fraudulent one. Our student may then go on to earn some advanced degree--that's what it often takes to earn a decent living in one of the professions or academic disciplines anymore. The B.A. or B.S. is only a ticket stub for grad work. The student may finally exit the formal education path in his or her late twenties or early thirties, having invested prodigious amounts of time, money, and grey matter into learning what's important in life.

And it is entirely possible that the only thing our student learned--or had an occasion to learn--about the business world in all that time is Willie Loman collapsing in his squirrel wheel and getting chucked into the ashcan. Nothing else! Sometimes I think that explains where certain segments of the electorate come from.

A random thought, provoked by listening to an audio production of Death of a Salesman during my commute these past few days.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

More Beatles Bloggage

I usually don't have much use for covers of Beatles tunes. However, while nosing around on Wal-Mart (shaddap!), I found a version of "It's All Too Much", by a Seattle band call Just Plain Bill. I don't know anything about them other than that, but I like this cut! The original, a Harrison composition, is a wild, acid-aided shout of joy for being part of The Infinite. This cover version is more of a loping, stoner take on the same sentiment. There's no fiery guitar work; instead the song is built on a thick carpet of...well, I guess you'd call them Beatleisms, sonic effects grabbed from a lot of different Beatles songs and re-woven into new material. I don't mean that it's cobbled together out of a bunch of samples; I mean the band recreated a Beatly tone. The organ-sounding flanged guitar, the sitar, the backward loops, they're all here, confected into something quite new.

It was worth eighty-eight cents, I'll tell you...


I felt a disturbance in The Force, clicke over to check, and yep! Donald Sensing is blogging again!

What, you're still here? Click, already!

The Cultural Crouch

There's a nifty term. It refers to the inferiority fundamentalists are alleged to feel and overcompensate for, in the presence of better educated and more cultured secularists.

What has this gained them from their masters? By and large, condescending tolerance, tolerance as one might tolerate a flatulent spaniel that is, his aroma notwithstanding, an excellent retriever.

To which Richard John Neuhaus adds, at the First Things blog:

Of course the cultural crouch is hardly unique to evangelicals. Consider the number of folks who admit that they’re Catholic and then quickly add, “But I’m a Catholic who thinks for myself.”

Then he goes and ruins the zinger by zapping it to an anti-creationist Jesuit priest. Did and undid.

Still, it's worth parsing. How do our relative social standings affect the opinions we hold, and how we react to others'? We're all familiar with the respect given to the opinions of celebrities and academics on matters well outside their bailiwicks. Most of us have felt, however fleetingly, that our bedrock opinions aren't so bedrock, when questioned by someone whose approval we seek. And most of us have caught ourselves running on about matters that we don't even really have opinions about, only reactions. But just how does class figure in as to who gets listened to, and who gets dismissed with a snort? It'd probably be a sobering experience, to fully realize just how much we pay attention to someone's haircut, clothes, and degrees (or insufficiency thereof), and how little to their ideas.

Myself, I'm at peace with the idea that I'd probably get a good verbal birching from H. L. Mencken, were he alive and happened to notice me. If I want to be high in the world, I have to let the people who are above me be high, too. But, as I grow older, I don't feel much compulsion to seek validation for my attitudes, from people who don't share them. It's always nice when that happens, though, of course.

Societies run into trouble when the cognoscenti start assuming agency over everyone else's affairs. But that's another post.

Favorite Beatles Songs

This fellow is going through the entire Beatles catalog, ranking and commenting on his favorites. It's good reading, too. I couldn't do it, though. For me, having a favorite Beatles song is like having a favorite page of the encycopedia.

Happy Second Blogoversary to Shay at Booker Rising

This is a news site and media watchdog for black moderates and conservatives, regardless of party affiliation. It's particularly geared to those ages 45 and under. Booker Rising was begun to counteract negativity, victimology, and defeatism, which is too often thrust upon black Americans by schools, the media, and so-called leaders. We're concerned about eroded values, hopes, and dreams, even though overall we're living better than ever. Booker Rising wants to help stop the sacrilegious assault of our grandparents' (and ancestors') legacy, as if little to no progress has been made and the civil rights movement was almost for naught. Inspired by Booker T. Washington's work, this website will promote self-help, education, enterprise, democracy, and society as the seeds for Black America's future. We won the civil rights movement. It's now time for Stage II: further propelling black American success in this increasingly globalized era, via our 'seeds.' Booker Rising will provide commentary, highlight our progress and achievements, and discuss moderate and conservative solutions to our communities' challenges. We have love for and faith in black folks. We deserve better, our ancestors deserve better!"

And she's been pouring it on hot and strong ever since.

100,000+ Hits For A Three Month Old Blog?


Or not, if this is what you have to do to get them.

Best of luck to him, anyway.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ayaan Ali Hirsi Lauds The West At Harvard

This just might be the most significant speech made at Harvard since Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's in 1978. It must've made the multi-culti diversicrats cringe in their seats, listening to this Somali-Dutch heroine running down their sainted Third World.

Muslim countries misunderstood Islam. In our countries, government terrorized you. Here, government served the people. Governments did nasty things to you, they terrorized you, they took your money. In the West, they did things like take your garbage away. It was unthinkable.

The West appealed to my reason. I thought it was fascinating what humanity could accomplish. A good number of students who went through the refugee camp with me and then came to the West saw something else. The same things that fascinated me, infuriated them. They saw the West as an enemy of Islam.

I thought to myself, these people (westerners) are the enemies of God? These people are in trouble with God, but they are doing things better than you? That became a curiosity for me. Who would believe these people are in trouble with God? I became more curious.

Good thing Edward Said isn't alive to hear this. He'd just die! Let's hope that there are still people at Harvard hearing this who take the side of the West, instead of people floundering in progressive po-mo goo. Can we *ever* expect there to come an eventuality where these Speakers of Truth to Power will turn from fair weather foes into foul weather friends? Or do they intend to float above their compatriots on the higher moral plane, forever and ever and ever, or until the jihadis cut them down?

Ms. Hirsi also gave a nice photographic surprise to Charles Johnson in that post.
Via LGF.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Old Books, II

Recently I had an occasion to sort through a lot of old books. It was the lifetime collection of a minister, ranging from simple tracts to preaching handbooks, to mass market inspirational works. And lots and lots of penny wisdom--daily devotionals, quote books, gift books, going back for years. I always check for inscriptions, and these had dozens of different names, so he must have picked up many of these from used book sales. The highest brow thing I saw was a copy of William James' Varieties of Religious Experience.

Whenever I'm occupied with this particular activity, my mind slips into an empathetic mode, wherein I imagine--and "imagine" is probably the key word--that I can feel the original owner's personality. I've rummaged through pastors' collections before, but this one was vaguely disappointing. So much of it was just treacle to me--moreso because of the cumulative effective of examining so much of it at once. Obviously many of these books had been bought, flipped through, and shelved, never to be opened again. Others had been attentively highlighted and underlined. But nothing much in the collection really grabbed me, not even the century old tomes, which usually draw me most.

But, I reminded myself, this was a working, real life pastor. He wasn't reading these books for entertainment, but to minister to his congregation. A common touch was what was required.

Going through several decades of books, you could fleetingly discern the changing times and the unchanging message. Most notable was the increasing presence of psychology, with self-help books coming into full bloom by the Seventies. Most everything before mid-century was starchy old-time-religion. There were a smattering of late 1960s social gospel books, as dated as a nehru jacket with their harping on "relevance" and their dedication to The Church Of What Is Happening Now.

The Seventies were the golden age of helmet-haired evangelists. The author photos on the flap copies of books from that time showed smiling, beefy-faced men with coifs that had only recently been abandoned by hip secular youth, and sideburns that would have done a Civil War general proud.

And by the Eighties we start getting into the full tie-in packages: Book, workbook, study group guide, maybe an audiotape, etc. There wasn't much beyond that period of time. He must have retired around then. And if he's gone now, may God rest his soul, and may He bless all the lives he undoubtedly touched.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

A Scene From The Jihad, VIII

A handful of Green Berets from the 5th Special Forces Group had just spent their summer training an airborne unit of the Kazakhstani Army, and they were almost halfway into their final month as advisors in the former Soviet republic. ...

A pizza parlor in the center of [the capital,] Almaty had been the nightly haunt for the Green Berets, who would socialize over slices of pie after long days... One of the special operators, Sergeant First Class Mike McElhiney, answered the cell phone that began vibrating on his hip. ... As he listened, his steel-square jaw lost its smile, and he dropped his slice of pepperoni back onto his plate. After a few moments, McElhiney closed the flip phone and called out to the restaurant's owner: "Holy shit! Turn the television to the BBC!"

The gruff ex-Soviet pizza maker quickly flipped through the stations. ...

As the Green Berets watched the screen in disbelief, they saw the second plane hit the Twin Towers. After several reruns of the destruction of the world's foremost cityscape, they began to discuss who could be responsible for such an atrocity. All of the Green Berets had the same opinion: Osama bin Laden.

McElhiney's phone rang again, and this time it was Green Beret headquarters at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

"Right, right, roger that!" McElhiney hung up the phone.

"Fucking A, guys, we're going to war."

-- Robin Moore, _The Hunt for Bin Laden: Task Force Dagger_, 2003

Monday, May 08, 2006

Still Reading

I'm still reading Jung Chang's Mao: The Unknown Story. What an appalling story it is. I'm up to the late 1930s, when the communists were becoming too entrenched to contain, like they could have been ten years previously. And what a terrible human toll they exacted.

As an aside, why is China now considered a repressive regime by the Western Left (nutjobs like South America's Shining Path excepted)? Why did the turtleneck-and-pathetic-beard set put down their copies of Mao's Little Red Book, and pick up Free Tibet signs? I'll bet someone could produce an X-shaped line graph of that shift in mood against the rising importance of China as a trading partner of the U. S. The Dalai Lama went into exile in 1959, but he didn't get a standing backstage pass to the more enlightened rockstars' shows til the Eighties. The Chi-coms treated the Chinese people as a disposable resource from the get-go, but nobody to the left of Simon Leys cared until comparatively recently. The anti-Rightist campaign, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution could all be forgiven, even applauded. But getting cozy with that bourgeois planet-raper, Uncle Sam? For (*hocchh* ptooey!) profit!? [shudder] No, even the most abandoned communist tyranny can push progressives too far, on some things. They've got their flamin' consciences to consider, after all.

The Protein Wisdom Fund Raiser

Jeff Goldstein is rattling his tin cup. I gave a while back already, so here's the least I can do for him.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Man's Home Is His Hassle

A number of issues pertaining to the ol' abode require my attention this weekend, sorry...

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Campaign Season Is Just Around The Corner

And here's a tried & true precept, for rallying at least one segment of the electorate:

The central belief of every moron is that he is the victim of a mysterious conspiracy against his common rights and true deserts. He ascribes all his failure to get on in the world, all of his congenital incapacity and damn foolishness, to the machinations of werewolves assembled in Wall Street, or some other such den of infamy. If these villains could be put down, he holds, he would at once become rich, powerful and eminent. Nine politicians out of every ten, of whatever party, live and have their being by promising to perform this putting down. In brief, they are knaves who maintain themselves by preying on the idiotic vanities and pathetic hopes of half-wits.

That's H. L. Mencken, from around 80 years ago.

Answers In Genesis on NPR

Just for entertainment, I sometimes visit the creationist website Answers In Genesis. I especially like to appall myself with their Creation Museum. This past visit, I was a little surprised to see them touting a mention they got on Morning Edition.

A National Public Radio program mentioned AiG’s website:
In a nationwide broadcast heard on NPR (National Public Radio) and its “Morning Edition” program on May 3, evolutionist and arch anti-creationist Dr. Kenneth Miller of Brown U. stated (in a workshop recorded by NPR) that the AiG website is “probably the best compendium of anti-evolution information and propaganda you will find.”

No such thing as bad publicity, so long as they spell the name right, I guess...

Friday, May 05, 2006

What I Saw At The Revolution, III

The Cold War is over and communism as an organized political social fact is dead. But communism as a pleasant figment of the "progressive" worldview lives on, giving a phantom life to the illusions and historical distortions that sustained that murderous and oppressive ideology. The intellectual Cold War, alas, is not over. Academic revisionists who color the history of American communism in benign hues see their teaching and writing as the preparation of a new crop of radicals for the task of overthrowing American capitalism and its democratic constitutional order in the name of social justice and peace. Continuing to fight the Cold War in history, they intend to reverse the victory of the West and convince the next generation that the wrong side won, and to prepare the way for a new struggle.
-- John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, introduction to In
Denial: Historians, Communism and Espionage
, 2003

Porter Goss Out As CIA Chief

Internecine causes suspected.

An internet acquaintance of mine is ex-CIA, and loathes Bush. He laments that all the intelligence sources so carefully assembled in the past had been spent and burned by Bush, in the WOT. But it seemed to me--speaking with the benefit of ignorance of the inner workings of the CIA--that the intelligence agency was just stamp collecting by the time 9/11 came along. That the whole point was not to gather intel for the sake of gathering it, but to use it.* Porter Goss thought so, too; and tried to overhaul the agency. He failed, and who knows what it's going to do to the war effort now.

*(Scroll down to the last two paragraphs.)

A Rare Movie Outing

I went out to see United 93 this afternoon, alone. Two thumbs up, although I was fidgeting like a kid late for the potty much of the way through. I had watched the Discovery Channel docu-drama, The Flight That Fought Back at home, and paced the living room the whole time. Moistened up at both films, too.

My cinematic tastes are a bit old-fashioned, I guess. The herky-jerky shoulder-mounted camera work, used throughout, was effective in the dramatic scenes, but the rest of the time it just reminded me of early MTV videos. And we didn't get any character development of the passengers, given the you-are-there POV. (The Discover Channel's film was much more informative--and therefore poignant--because of the relatives' onscreen interviews).

Not surprisingly, most of the acting is a series of reaction shots. The growing horror of the flight controllers as the attacks multiply is possibly the best thing about the film. That guy playing himself as the top civil aviation cheese was especially good, vis-a-vis that.

It ends too abruptly for me, with a POV shot of the plane crashing. I mentally filled in some coda scenes, like someone looking up from his work at the sound of the crash, and seeing the mushroom cloud rising over the countryside. Or more scenes of muddle at NORAD and other ATC centers, as they try to catch up with events. Or the congressional staffers being evacuated from the Capitol, later realizing that the Flight 93 passengers have saved their lives. But the film instead ends along with the lives of all aboard the flight.

So, considered in a vacuum, it's a quote pretty good film unquote. Given the political climate in Hollywood, it's a near miracle. Recall, please: the first thing the film industry did after 9/11 was alter or delay all the major projects that showed Arabs as terrorists. Then they & the liberal news media got to work giving that celluloid string of lies Fahrenheit 9/11 a big launch.

The terrorists in United 93, though they are shown praying and trying to keep down the butterflies in their stomachs, are clearly presented as evil. There's no social commentary at all--nor any shying away from the Islam element-- unless it was woven in too symbolically for me to catch it at first viewing. It's a straightforward tale of professional people being blindsided by catastrophe, and ordinary people called to do heroic things, and sacrificing themselves in the process.

I have a feeling this film is only the beginning of what will turn into a legend, in the best senses of that word.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bringing Back The Liberal Cold Warriors

This Peter Beinart article in the New York Times Magazine, about re-establishing the Democrats' hawkish bona fides gets blogged by RJN here, and by Russ Douthat here. I'm hoping to have a crack at it myself later this weekend, but don't wait on me; dive right in!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Is "The New Nixon" Bush Or Gore?

The images are the links; click 'em.

Zacarias Moussaoui Sentenced To Life

THAT's showing him! Life in prison in the United States! Do realize what this means? It means a minimum of 12 to 15 years in the Big House, straight up! Zero profit from the proceeds of t-shirts and posters that somebody will inevitably start selling! And all university commencement speeches to be delivered by transcript only!

Seriously, I think this is the most just verdict. We can't put the 9/11 killers to death; they're already dead. And Moussaoui didn't kill anybody. So, life in solitary confinement is what he deserves. If nothing else, it demonstrates once again the humane superiority of our justice system to that of our enemies.

James Joyner hates it, though, and has a link-fest to others of like mind.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

May Day

A good page of links to various articles of what May Day really signified in the Twentieth Century. Via Greyhawk, who has much more.

NPR In Full Retro-Lefty Mode, II

One constant of urban studies since at least the late Sixties has been the attitude of hostility towards the suburbs. Whatever was wrong with anything--pollution, falling tax rates, highway congestion, you name it--was the fault of those selfish suburbanites, and it was the job of urban planners to sweep them back into the anthill. Libs never seemed to stop and consider their own part in having made cities undesirable places to live, to people with the means to escape. Confiscatory taxation, de facto de-criminalization of crime, public services run as jobs programs for constituents--people voted with their wheels, and the after-effects are still felt today.

So here is an NPR piece on soaring gas prices. It's the suburbs' fault, and the solution, according to this Berkeley urban studies professor, is to re-urbanize the suburbs. He gets quite dreamy-eyed about the prospect, actually:

GONYEA: When you describe people living in greater concentration around rail lines or around public transit options, and how there is an emerging trend, perhaps, toward that in some places, is it in some ways a 21st century version of what the country was like before the age of the automobile, when the train was the main way to get around?

Mr. CERVERO: Exactly. You know, the only way people could really get around, for the most part, over longer distances was to take street cars and inter-urban electric trains. Accordingly, the city adjusted. The city evolved around those train stations, and what you found around most train depots and stations were retail shops and offices, two to three to four story buildings right clustered around the stations. Then you would find the higher density housing in a three to four story walkup apartments, and then four or five blocks away you would find the detached, higher quality housing. Plus you would find a lot of civic squares, schools, playgrounds and so forth.

So this, in many ways, is trying to bring us back to a good century ago, how we designed and built cities where we had landscapes which were far less reliant on cars and much more transit-oriented forms of development.

In brief, you'd cram the peasants back in their place, like it was before all that vulgar automotive freedom came along.

Oh, and catch this statistical inversion:

GONYEA: We see some new developments that try to be created with all of that in mind, but for the vast majority of places, we would have to evolve into that from something that's very different from what you're describing now.

Mr. CERVERO: Most studies suggest that there's probably upwards of 20 to 25 percent of the niche market of American households potentially that would be very receptive to living in these kind of walkable neighborhoods, clustered within a, you know, a mile or so of a train station or transit station; granted, in big metropolitan areas, but nonetheless, a substantial share of future households, which could then take advantage of public transit and accordingly put less of the stress and the demand on expanding our highway system.

So, it's a cluster of factors, I think, that are giving rise to more and more market demand to living in these kinds of neighborhoods.

Emphasis added. A similar instance of the same phenomenon is noted by Andrew over at Bound By Gravity.

NPR In Full Retro-Lefty Mode, I

National Public Radio is time-warping back to the early Nineties, the days of High Political Correctness, it seems lately. Who in the world do they have writing this stuff nowadays, anyway?

A piece on economic revival in Vietnam's China Beach begins thus:

Forty-one years ago, the first U.S. combat troops arrived in Vietnam. They came ashore in the central Vietnamese city of Danang. America's involvement in that civil war lasted more than a decade. When it was over, more than three million Vietnamese were dead. So were 58,000 Americans. Three decades after Communist North Vietnam won that war, a unified Vietnam is moving steadily forward, attracting both foreign investment and tourists.

Note the willful rejection of any of the lessons of the Cold War--the forcible imposition of Communist tyranny, aided by hostile superpowers, first on the north and then the south; the reprisals and re-education camps; the mass exodus of the defeated (and now, it seems, invisible) Southerners--all passed over in silence. Very shortly after the Communist victory, political prisoners in Vietnam were circulating samizdat appeals for suicide pills. The current conditions of Vietnam's state prisons and concentration camps is not well known--wouldn't that be a better topic for the progressive, hardnosed speakers of truth to power, rather than boosting a dictatorship's showcase tourist hotspot?

What I Saw At The Revolution, II

When Chou first arrived in Ruijin at the end of 1931, he had adjudged Mao's purge methods as not altogether correct. Mao had"relied entirely on confessions and torture," and "caused terror in the masses." Chou rehabilitated some victims. [...]

But within a matter of months Chou had brought this respite to an end. Even so short a period of rehabilitation and easing up hadreleased a groundswell of dissidence. "Relaxing about purges caused raise their heads again," Chou's security men noted aghast. And as people thought, wishfully, that there would be "no more killings," "no more arrests," they started to band together to defy Communist orders. It rapidly became clear that the regime could not survive without constant killings, and killing soon restarted.
-- Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao, The Unknown Story, 2005

Liberals Under Fire From The Left

In the course of reviewing a couple of Culture War books, Columbia U. Professor Todd Gitlin makes wail over the misguided academic Left's attack on liberals. Far be it from me to get involved with the upstairs neighbors' quarrels, but here's one reaction:

Gitlin expresses incredulity and disgust at the current state of affairs:
In this perverse climate, dissenting intellectuals might gain some traction by standing for reason. [...] Among the topics they might explore: the academic left's ignorance of main currents of American life, their positive tropism for foreign saviors, their reliance on intricate jargon, their commitment to keeping up with post-everything hotshots of "theory" from more advanced continents. Instead, in a time-honored ritual of the left, a number of academic polemicists choose this moment to pump up rites of purification. At a time when liberals hold next to no sway in any leading institution of national government, when the prime liberal institution of the last centuryorganized labor wobbles helplessly, when most national media tilt so far to the right as to parody themselves, the guardians of purity rise to a high pitch of sanctimoniousness aimed at ... heretics. Liberals, that is.

Well, that's an old Leninist precept. Split, split, and split again, with the goal above all being for you to remain the Central Committee, and all the others to classed as deviationists. And academics are no more immune from herd instinct than anyone else is.
There are no wise few. Every aristocracy that has ever existed has behaved, in all essential points, exactly like a small mob.
G. K. Chesterton, "Heretics", 1905

That includes intellectual aristocracies.

Pope Benedict's First Year

This article in U.S. News & World Report is as good an account of the current pontiff's first year as any. The authors spend a lot of time exclaiming how wrong the media rent-an-experts were about the direction and tone of his reign, and then trot them out again to predict how his second year will go. But it's a good article, nonetheless, even featuring a couple of soundbites from Richard John Neuhaus. The pope's challenges are steep: Reviving Christianity among the young in Europe, mucking out the American church in the wake of the sex scandals, dealing with Islam, etc. He's confounded the expections of many in his first year, let's see how many he fulfills in his second.

Sirius Radio Losses Soar on $1/4B Payout To Stern

How in the world are they ever going to earn this back? Howard Stern will have to drop a lot of F-bombs for a long time, to keep his audience amused enough for Sirius to have anything to show for hiring him. I predict that the satellite radio stations will have to start running commercials eventually, to maintain investment growth. Then many people will turn off, like I did years ago when cable TV did the same thing. "See, you pay this monthly subscription, so you don't have to watch commercials like you do on broadcast TV!"

I'd feel like a first-prize sucker if I paid money to watch television. I'd also feel compelled to make time to watch it, if I was paying for it. I've been a little more open to the idea of satellite radio, though. Back when both XM and Sirius used to be more generous with the free samples on the internet, there were a couple of channels that I quite liked. I guess my favorite was their AOR channel, digging deep into the classic rock back catalog. My commute's not really long enough to be worth subscribing to it though, if they're going to have to run commercials.

Fortunately, in my area, there are a lot of radio stations, and a couple of them have enough variety to hold my interest. One is the wildly eclectic AM 1160, which plays just about anything, so long as its good. The other is Dave FM, which used to be the classic rock station, playing the same 300 songs over and over, but which has now branched out to compete with the challenge of satellite radio. And then there's my trusty set of cds, set on "shuffle". And there's always talk radio. And there's always blogging!

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Worm In The Apple

Via The Panda's Thumb, here is some creationist correspondence with Michael Behe in the March issue of First Things.

I wish the editors of FT would cut the Intelligent Design scow loose. The attitudes on display here evidence a fragility of faith, not a rigor of scientific investigation. It isn't Darwin's, science's, or nature's fault or problem if these people's religious lives are roiled by the idea of evolution.

ID has gotten soundly smacked down in two major court cases, and it'll likely take a third thump once the 11th Circuit returns its ruling on the Cobb County textbook stickers case. These defeats of course do not mean that ID is going to evaporate. Like any other mass mania, it has to rage its course before it subsides, before it loosens its grip on people's minds. It can't be argued away. But it has to be resisted, since it is trespassing on ground that belongs to rationality. If it were unadorned creationism, it could be dismissed as such, same as any other form of primitivism, such as Celtic Chic. But since it deceptively takes on the raiment of science, it is more insidious.

It's like I said some time back, if you will forgive the ipsedixitism:

I would actually think less of the Creator if He was constrained to take a visible hand in the operation of the universe, if our scientific inquiries could actually jacklight Him at His forge, pumping the bellows of Creation.

To believe in things that can't be proved is faith. To disbelieve in things that have been proved is obstinance.