Saturday, September 30, 2006

Editorialist On The Run From Jihadists--In Paris

Via Gates of Vienna, and thence to Fausta's blog. The latter has done a good job of citizen journalism collecting & translating an affair involving a French philosophy professor who blasted Islam in Le Figaro. His article was quickly yanked, and now he's under police protection, in hiding in his own city. Fausta also excerpts an email from Robert Redeker, the professor, to his friend the philosopher Andre Glucksmann:

"I am now in a catastrophic personal situation. Several death threats have been sent to me, and I have been sentenced to death by organizations of the al-Qaeda movement. [...] On the websites condemning me to death there is a map showing how to get to my house to kill me, they have my photo, the places where I work, the telephone numbers, and the death fatwa. [...] There is no safe place for me, I have to beg, two evenings here, two evenings there. [...] I am under the constant protection of the police. I must cancel all scheduled conferences. And the authorities urge me to keep moving. [...] All costs are at my own expense, including those of rents a month or two ahead, the costs of moving twice, legal expenses, etc.

It's quite sad. I exercised my constitutional rights, and I am punished for it, even in the territory of the Republic. This affair is also an attack against national sovereignty - foreign rules, decided by criminally minded fanatics, punish me for having exercised a constitutional right, and I am subjected, even in France, to great injury."


At this point in my reading, a mental strobelight started flashing. Glucksmann? Where had I seen that name before? [Click, clickety] Why, on my own blog, last year, via Sign and Sight. Glucksmann had posited at the time of the rioting Parisian "youths" that this was simply their way of integrating into French society, by rioting, as overwrought françaises are wont to do. When in Rome, do as the Vandals do.

Wonder if he's starting to feel a foreign vibe now?

George Soros Takes A Pass On The Midterms

Via McGehee, I read that billionaire Dem booster George Soros is going to stay out of politics from now on.

“In the future, I’d very much like to get disengaged from politics,” Soros said at a Council on Foreign Relations meeting on the Upper East Side. “I’m interested in policy and not in politics.”


Spoken like a true emperor-for-a-day. For, we know:

The grand delusion of contemporary liberals is that they have both the right and the ability to move their fellow creatures around like blocks of wood--and that the end results will be no different than if people had voluntarily chosen the same actions.
--Thomas Sowell

Poor Young Fellow....

How much does it suck, having a gold-digging bimbo for a mother? This much.

I can't even conceive of how shattering this is for her, though. There's the primal agony of bereavement, first & foremost. But then he was probably the only male she still had a non-mercenary interest in, and now he's gone. She probably told herself that she was doing all the things she was doing for his sake, and now he's gone. That's gotta be stunner, in and of itself.

I normally don't pay much attention to celebs, but morality tales tend to resonate with me. This is the smug tut-tutting of the Puritan in me to an extent, I know; but that's how it feels.

A Look Behind The Scenes At Expression Engine's Technical Support



LIFE! LIFE! GIVE MY CREATION...LLLIIIIIIIIIIIIIFE!!!!

Here's wishing them luck getting Protein Wisdom back up and running!

Friday, September 29, 2006

A New Pleasure! A New Pleasure!

So I was clicking through the venerable Catholic Encyclopedia the other day, when I went to its host's homepage. Lo & behold, New Advent has a blog now. Looks interesting at first glance.

Thank goodness for quotation marks....

...else one might think this is news, rather than a front page editorial.

Iraq's Past Slipping Away?

This news story suggests that fundamentalist shi'ites are going to a) step up the looting of Iraq pre-Islamic archaeological sites, the better to fund the insurgency, or b) destroy the sites, a la the Taliban and the ancient Bamiyan Buddhas. Or both?

There's a word for this fundamentalist Islamic attitude towards the pre-Islamic past: Jahiliyyah. Coupled with ordinary looting and the international black market in antiquities, it spells neglect and possibly ruin for some of mankind's most precious treasures.

This, by the way, is yet another reason to hope that the Muslim Brotherhood never comes to power in Egypt. Can you imagine these fanatics tearing down the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx?

Food, Beer, and Hate

The first two were all it took for one of the Rwandan genocidaires to motivate his killer militias. The third, they brought with them.

AllAfrica.com's postings expire pretty quickly, so here's an excerpt for you.

A former employee with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Simon Nshamihigo, recruited, armed and ordered Interahamwe militia to massacre Tutsi and moderate Hutus, the Tanzania-based UN Court heard on Monday. [...]

Senior Trial Attorney Alphonse Van said that despite his position as a Rwandan Prosecutor and Judge, Nshamihigo allegedly recruited, armed and ordered the Interahamwe militia to massacre Tutsi civilians and moderates from the Hutu opposition who he considered traitors and accomplices of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). [...]

Nshamihigo also allegedly rewarded members of the Interahamwe with food and beer for participating in the massacres.


Just think on that for a moment. After having lived through the past century, we're accustomed to the idea of implacable ideologies driving people to commit horrible acts. But food and beer? As if, maybe if there hadn't been any food or beer, some of the killers would have begged off?

What a species...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Still Guest Blogging at Protein Wisdom....

That's why nothing much is happening here. I'm letting my goony side hang out there, much more than I do here on my serious, religio-political blog. Though I have carried over my occasional music video rock bloggage...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

No Death Penalty For Hamdaniya Slaying Marines

Facing charges of murder, conspiracy, assault and housebreaking is Pfc. John J. Jodka.

Cpl. Marshall L. Magincalda faces charges of murder, conspiracy, making a false official statement, larceny and housebreaking.

Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate faces murder, conspiracy, larceny and housebreaking charges. Shumate faces an additional assault charge in a separate incident, the alleged assault of another Iraqi man on April 10.

A specification of wrongfully seizing and holding the victim against his will was added to the charges against each Marine.

The murder charges are non-capital, according to the release, which means the accused could not be sentenced to death if convicted.


That's a minor relief, in this awful case. Wouldn't it be terrible to execute some of our own Marines, before any of the captured 9/11 terrorists get the needle?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Osama bin Laden Dead Of Typhoid Fever?

By now you've seen the leaks and the subsequent skepticism. The most satisfying conclusion would be if OBL could be arrested and brought into U.S. custody and tried and executed. If, like me, you've got a mind to rub it in, he could be brought to Gitmo and tried before Bush's military tribunals, while progressives make wail over his maltreatment, much to the embarrassment of tacitly like-minded Democrats.

But cosmic justice is usually unavailable to us. Pol Pot died of illness, ousted by a not-much-better faction. Stalin died in his room, attended by toadies rather than loved ones, to be sure, but never even sniffing justice. Castro is going to die in his bed, lionized by the transnational Left. Only Ceasescu met a satisfying, rough justice end, in recent decades. So, if OBL has expired of a preventable disease in the wilds of Waziristan, then we'll just have to accept the workings of Providence. And if he's still up there, then let's hope we can still bag him someday, or render him ineffectual, or both. It's good to remember something Donald Rumsfeld said in October of 2001, about the hunt for OBL:

Until you have him, you do not have him, so what is progress? Until he is no longer functioning as a terrorist, he is functioning as a terrorist. There isn't any "progress." You either have him or you don't.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Condoleeza Rice For President? No.

I would no more vote for Condi Rice for President than I would vote for Henry Kissinger. And for the same reason. A leader may be a diplomat and even a policy wonk, but a diplomat or a policy wonk is rarely a leader. The Presidency is more than the sum of its policy initiatives.

Plus, she's single. I believe that the burdens of the office of the Presidency are too heavy for anyone to bear alone, no matter how smart and energetic he or she is. To have that awesome responsibility weighing down on you everyday for four years, and to have no one to turn to in personal moments....can't be done.

Newt Gingrich For President? No.

He was the mainspring of the 90s conservative ascendance. He's brimming over with vision and ideas, and has always had energy and drive to spare.

But, he has a history of being false to his family. Call me a naif, but I don't think that someone who is false to his family, and has been so for decades, can be true to his nation.

We've already seen, to our cost, what happens when a priapic President cannot control his appetites. It takes his eye off the ball, sometimes.

Hillary Clinton For President? No.

I pledge allegiance to the America that can be.
-- Hillary Clinton

The greatest apostasy in Marxist literature has always been to find value in the present.
-- Belmont Club blog

'Nuff said, as they used to say in Marvel comics back in the 60s.

Bangkok Pundit

The blogosphere in action: The military coup in Thailand is being covered by a native blogger, Bangkok Pundit. He's posting translations of the local press, with commentary.

It's a pretty laid-back coup, compared to what goes on in some other countries, from all appearances. It's still too bad that they couldn't get rid of their crooked PM through the democratic process.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Chickens Running The Foxhouse

While Jeff Goldstein is house hunting, a number of his commenters, including me, are guest blogging at Protein Wisdom. It seems to be down right now. I'll constrain myself from drawing any number of witty conclusions from the outage. Much as it pains me to do so....

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Healing Words Requested For A Blogger

It is not so much our friends' help that helps us, so much as the confident knowledge that they will help.
-- Epictetus


No, not me. Rand, at Pantajali. He's had something of a sad sack persona on that blog for as long as I've been visiting, but nowadays it sounds like things are getting reeeally sour.

Years ago I used to dispense comfort & advice (under my real name, with a different email addy) to strangers on usenet forums like alt.support.depression and alt.romance.unhappy Such was the nature of the internet--being alone at your pc, but also in a group of individuals with similar interests and problems--that it was easy to make a connection with people in need. I had to fight the tendency to come across as an Angel Of Misfortune, and I did step on a few rakes, and toes. But I will always remember the times I was able to say the right word at the right time to someone, and have it be a moment of healing.

I don't have opportunities to do much of that anymore, too many real-life concerns and all. But I'm sure--I know, rather--that there are plenty of people dropping by who have the gift of healing words in much fuller measure than I do. So...

So I would like to presume on our slender acquaintance, dear visitor, and ask you to go visit Rand, and say a kind, supportive word to him. If you have some good advice for him, some double backflip of a reverse-psychology insight that might help him get fresh traction on the situation, so much the better. But mainly, it seems to me, he needs heartening up. He could probably deal with everything just fine, but it would surely be easier if his morale could be boosted a few notches. Check the epigraph, up at the top of the post.

Kindness doesn't cost anything. So please; click on over and be a sunray for today!

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Non-Aligned Movement Summit In Cuba

What a joke. Cuba, a "non-aligned" nation? The term itself is an anachronism, of course, since the end of the Cold War. But even back then, Cuba was as firm a part of the Communist Bloc as the individual Soviet republics were. No one was in Khrushchev's and then Brezhnev's pocket deeper than Castro was. Yet, shrewdly, Castro managed to get himself into the forefront of it, early on.

NBC News was all a-smirk over the opening session of this summit the other night. The on-the-spot infobabe called the attendence roll George Bush's nightmare--as if the evil deeds of Robert Mugabe and Kim Jong-il and Fidel Castro would only ever offend a Jeebus-bothering lout like our President.

NPR Saves Nation From All-Out Religious Civil War

Imagine the rivers of blood that would be gushing over our land, if not for National Public Radio doing sympathetic profiles of American Muslims every time we turn around. Just this morning on All Things Considered we were taken along on a radio safari to suburban Chicago, to meet some actual live Muslim women--before it's too late!!!! But this is journalism, not National Geographic. So, we are treated to interview questions such as, "How many headscarves do you have?"

At least they were embarrassed into lifting the ban on Islamic terrorism researcher Steven Emerson a few years back. He's the one who wandered into a Yemeni grocery in New York--the same New York in whick NPR finds Muslims wailing as if they are victims of an American Yezhovshchina--and discovered terrorist training videos for sale. But it obviously satisfies some emotional need in NPR's editors, to view themselves as preservers of human rights in America, against all those close-minded, bigoted flyover people.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Vanilla Fudge Live in '68 - Shotgun

Random Rock Bloggage

An inexplicable gap in my Classic Rock background is my near total ignorance of these guys, when I was coming up. I'm pretty sure I would have remember this song, had I heard it in my formative years. As it is, I encountered it for the first time just this past month. Pretty rockin' for the Ed Sullivan show, don'cha think? >:^)

I think there was a rule in the late Sixties, that all American rock bassists had to look alike. Check Tim Bogert of Vanilla Fudge, Carl Radle of Delany and Bonnie and Friends, and Stu Cook of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Oh, yes: Turn up your sound.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Martin Amis On The Jihad

If I had anything of value to give away, I would run an internet contest offering a prize to anyone would could explain what the point of this tripartite article by Martin Amis in The Guardian is supposed to be. He ruminates at length on Paul Berman's book Terror and Liberalism (with quick quotes from Bernard Lewis and V. S. Naipaul and others) then recommends that the answer to the problem of Jihad is atheism. Sure, there are some sections of fine, pithy writing, but also some things that are so misconceived that they are, in Wolfgang Pauli's famous phrase, "not even wrong." For example:

Religion is sensitive ground, as well it might be. Here we walk on eggshells. Because religion is itself an eggshell. Today, in the West, there are no good excuses for religious belief - unless we think that ignorance, reaction and sentimentality are good excuses. This is of course not so in the East, where, we acknowledge, almost every living citizen in many huge and populous countries is intimately defined by religious belief.


So Western believers are ignorant, reactionary, sentimental anachronisms, while Eastern believers are merely authentic denizens of their native lands. He should really get out of London's intellectual circles more. Hope Richard John Neuhaus doesn't hear about this!

The long examination at second hand of Sayyid Qutb is interesting, not least because I read Berman's book a couple of years ago (reviewed it on Amazon, too). But it seems kind of pointless. Here we have a portrait of the founder of Islamism, (intertwined with a gloss of a stillborn novella of Amis') the modern Jihad, with all the horrors that proceeded from his thought. And Amis is in fact reassuringly lucid about the seriousness and implacability of the threat:

Suicide-mass murder is astonishingly alien, so alien, in fact, that Western opinion has been unable to formulate a rational response to it. A rational response would be something like an unvarying factory siren of unanimous disgust. But we haven't managed that. What we have managed, on the whole, is a murmur of dissonant evasion. [...] Contemplating intense violence, you very rationally ask yourself, what are the reasons for this? And compassionately frowning newscasters are still asking that same question. It is time to move on. We are not dealing in reasons because we are not dealing in reason.


But the trouble with all this is the same as the trouble with his book on Stalin, Koba the Dread*. It's eloquently stated, and true enough, but hardly the scoop he seems to want it to sound like. At the end, what does Martin Amis think we should do? Have Islamic lands enfranchise their women. Good, good. And have us turn into deracinated relativists, apparently. English deracinated relativists, with a post-modern horror of those martial virtues without which the survival of the West is much less assured. I wonder if Amis has ever considered some form of Dennis Prager's distinction between moral violence and immoral violence? His final call reminds me of this quote by John Maynard Keynes, referring to Bertrand Russell:

Bertie in particular sustained simultaneously a pair of opinions ludicrously incompatible. He held that in fact human affairs were carried on after a most irrational fashion, but that the remedy was quite simple and easy, since all we had to do was to carry them on rationally.


And this from Dostoyevsky's Notes From The Underground:

Oh, tell me, who first declared, who first proclaimed that man only does nasty things because he does not know his own real interests; and that if he were enlightened, if his eyes were opened to his real normal interests, man would at once cease to do nasty things, would at once become good and noble because, being enlightened and understanding his real advantage, he would see his own advantage in the good and nothing else... Oh, the babe! Oh, the pure, innocent child!


His Joseph Conrad quote extolling rationalism is trumped by another from The Secret Agent, which has become much more famous since 9/11. More apposite too, if you ask me:

"I have always dreamed," he mouthed, fiercely, "of a band of men absolute in their resolve to discard all scruples in the choice of means, strong enough to give themselves frankly the name of destroyers, and free from the taint of that resigned pessimism which rots the world. No pity for anything on earth, including themselves, and death enlisted for good and all in the service of humanity--that's what I would have liked to see."


When the Humanist Society takes the field to blow holes in people like that, then I'll know that Amis' call has found its audience.


*An excerpt of my Amazon review: About a quarter of this book should have been confined to a personal journal. But that would have taken away the raison d etre from the rest of it, so what can you say? For a while in the 19th century authors would pen flowery, mock self-disparaging introductions, apologizing for imposing on the public s attention. We certainly need to have the evils of communism forcefully and regularly repeated, but such a forward wouldn t have been out of place for Koba the Dread.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 Anniversary Evening

I remember where I was that evening five years ago, too. While still at work, I phoned my wife and said after I got home I was going to drive down to the Publix and donate a check to the Red Cross. I wasn't yet comfortable with donating money over the 'net, and Publix is always fundraising for something or other, so I figured that would be the fastest way to assuage my pressing urge to Do Something.

So I got down there, and they didn't have anything set up, but they said they would by morning. Well, I'm here now, I said; can't I leave the check in your safe, and you can give it to the Red Cross tomorrow? The customer service clerk went to round up a manager to handle me, leaving me alone for a moment with the other clerk, an Arab (as I surmised later). He was feeling self-conscious, I guess, and thought I was glowering at him. He looked at me nervously and stammered about what a terrible day it was for "our country". I nodded, concluded my business and left.

I watched TV until around midnight, soaking up the endlessly replaying video clips, trying to glean something new from the guest experts and the on-the-spot reportage, marvelling once again at the ability of TV news to put together graphics and bumper montages out of events that have just happened. I went to bed, and the next morning awakened from a very pleasant dream. My consciousness reconstituted itself, my memory booted up, and a niagra of awfulness fell upon me anew.

Just like it was yesterday; damn right...

What If 9/11 Never Happened?

I just found Andrew Sullivan's what-if scenario here. It's part of a feature from a couple of weeks ago, in which several columnists were invited to speculate.

I did something similar on usenet a few years ago. Here it is:

Suppose, at 9:00am on September 11th, 2001, you flipped on CNN and saw this report:

"In a lightning pre-dawn raid, the FBI and local police arrested 19 suspected would-be hijackers at motels in the Boston, Newark, and Washington D.C. areas. Acting on information received from Interpol and German federal police, the agents apparently thwarted an attempt to hijack four airliners, possibly with the intention of crashing them into major U.S. landmarks. An FBI spokesman would not divulge details of the hijackers' plans, but said that analysis of handwritten materials and other literature in the suspects' rooms was "under way". The spokesman said it was "very possible" that the suspects, mostly arabs, were linked to Al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization headed by Osama bin Laden, who is believed to be responsible for the bombings of the U. S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the bombing of the USS Cole.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said that President Bush was "deeply troubled" by the news of the alleged plot, and said that the President would consult with national security officials before commenting further. Meanwhile, in the Chandra Levy case..."

Based on that hypothetical scenario, would you have supported the President if he later called for the country to invade Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and kill as many Al-Qaeda as possible? Why or why not?

The Anniversary

Five years on, I'm still as enraged as I was then. If I live to see the 50th anniversary, I won't have spilled enough grief.

Not When, But If

Among all the interviews airing today, there are a number of prophecies of another big inevitable terrorist attack on America. I suddenly had an emotional rebellion against that attitude. I don't believe it. I believe, with a forceful conviction, that our guys are better than theirs. They are stumblebums by comparison. Evil, nihilistic stumblebums, who are the spearhead of a much larger civilizational crisis, yes--but stumblebums nonetheless. Their few competent people are dispersed and underground. If they could have hit us again by now, they would have. We're better than they are. We have to win every set-to, but so far we have. We're better than they are.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

"The Path To 9/11", Part One

There are heroes in evil as well as in good.
-- la Rochefoucauld

A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes.
-- Mark Twain


Some quick hit reactions on the first installment:

The Arab, Afghani, and Pakistani actors turn in splendid character roles. The Ramzi Yousef character is a real rat bastard, and the Kenyan embassy bomber is convincingly rabid.

A good first draft of the '93 WTC bombing backstory is in the book The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot and Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It.

I didn't like the jerky handcam technique in United 93, and I didn't like it much here, either. Close-ups of eyes, mustaches, scenes shot through windows, through grates, through screens abound. So do cliches: yawning guards, spider webs, flies on the wall during a surveillance scene (get it? Huh?), musical comment on the goings-on from the soundtrack. (A soundtrack?)

John O'Neill mutters "I hate mayors" after being blocked by red tape in an investigation.

Osama bin Laden's declaration of war on America is read aloud in a couple of scenes. There isn't a sentence in it that a major American university's humanities department could bring itself to dispute, from what I've seen the past few decades. Which is why I don't trust academics to stick up for America. So many of 'em think that they are sitting in some hypothetical grandstand, watching all us little ants fight it out in a mason jar, far below.

The special forces in the field radiate a grungy Joe Cool lethality (with the inevitable Hollywood prettying-up. But, just as the British army in World War One were lions led by donkeys, so these guys are falcons led by turkeys. This can be corroborated by a real life source. Retired SEAL Matthew Heidt ran a milblog for a while. In one post he complained about how Bill Clinton had the teams run drills and dry runs all the time, but never turned them loose on America's terrorist enemies. According to him, Clinton "didn't have the sack to pull the trigger."

Amazingly, the Dems are almost uniformly depicted as contemptible and ineffectual. Cuomo shrugs off the '93 bombing. Sandy Berger loses his nerve (but, apparently after some last minute editing, does not hang up on the UBL snatch team). Madeline Albright tries to cover her incompetence with arrogance. And Bill Clinton's lack of character, and its fateful consequences, are acidly rendered. (What's worse than having a President with low poll numbers? Having a President whose #1 priority is being liked.) That's the amazing part of this film, given the entertainment industry's long love affair with The Big He. The same people who called Fahrenheit 9/11 "hard-hitting" are all a-squawk over this film, and many of those howls sound like cries of betrayal. The visual media and creative community are all supposed to be in the Democrats' corner, so where'd this come from, then?

The Kenyan embassy bombing scene had a small bit of personal connection for me. I visited the embassy in Nairobi several years before the bombing. I was young and idealistic, and thought I might make a career in an NGO. So, when I was there on a foreign study trip, I went to the embassy to ask about what kind of volunteer opportunities were available in country. Nothing came of it, but I always had fond memories of Kenya. I was outraged at the embassy bombings, and later at the bombing of that Kenyan lodge which was a favorite of Israeli vacationers. Vile jihadis, they don't deserve to clap eyes on such beautiful country or people as that.

That was one expensive blowjob, pardon the language....

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I Feel Fine - The Beatles - Ed Sullivan '65

Random Rock Bloggage:

Do you know what your earliest music memory is? This is mine. I clearly remember being a little tyke, plugging in the 12" black and white GE television, with a green bakelite casing, on a wire cart, and seeing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. It may have been this very song; it was surely one from the same show, shot from the same angle.

Technically, I'm a baby boomer, although I was too young to have anything to do with The Sixties. But, I wore a leather peace pendant in elementary school, had quite a hair mountain in junior high. I like to think that this is the seed that started all of that.

The Anniversary Approacheth...

It's as good a time as any, to go back over my experience on that awful day. I remember it as vividly as if it were yesterday morning. As if it were this morning, sometimes.

I was on my way in to work, listening to WGST, waiting for the replay of David Letterman's Top Ten List. The breaking news "swoosh" sounded and I heard that "a small plane" had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. Now, just the other week, somebody in a parasail had fouled the torch of the Statue of Liberty. So, I thought that this was some brainwipe in a Cessna whose stunt had gone awry. Only when I got in did I hear that both had been hit. I tried to connect to various news websites, but the national ones were all jammed. So I hit upon the idea of connecting to some West Coast newspapers' websites before their patrons woke up, because I knew they would be receiving wire photos and reports. I finally got through to the website of the Sacramento Bee. I later sent their webmaster a thank-you for his hard work. I was so stunned that it wasn't until after lunch that it occurred to me to turn on the radio.

I got home and ate dinner in front of the TV. It was a cacophany of video loops, guest experts, officials, and reporters doing stand-ups at or near various newsworthy locations.

It's hard for me to even look at my own usenet postings from that week on google. I'm grateful to have had that outlet, though.

One thing I still can't stand, is hearing people call it a disaster, or a tragedy. Katrina was a disaster, and Oedipus Rex is a tragedy. This was an atrocity. It's important to call things by their right names.

More ruminations later...

Korean Dog And Cat Rescue

In case the plight of food- dogs and cats in Korea anguishes you, you'll be pleased to know of this home-grown effort to stamp the barbaric practice out. The Korean Animal Protection Society

9/11 Photo Gallery

One of the earliest and still one of the best photo collections of the September 11th terrorist attacks is at this website: Here Is New York. I'd post a few samples, if not for copyright considerations.

If you want a copy of this handsome tome, you can get much cheaper second-hand copies via Amazon.

Friday, September 08, 2006

GKC And GBS In The New Age

G. K. Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw were, among the other things they were, two of the most prominent British public intellectuals of their era. They toured together, having public debates, and exchanged sallies in the popular press. I revere Chesterton, and grudgingly respect Shaw.

So imagine my pleased surprise when I discovered that Brown University had scanned and posted a number of issues of an Edwardian opinion journal, The New Age. Thanks to the wonders of the internet age, it's possible to zero in on issues of it with articles by or about the two luminaries. Like this!

Seeing Green In The Gulf Of Mexico

Under certain conditions, at certain times of year, the sunset turns green. fuh-Reaky....

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Richard John Neuhaus on Canada

From the First Things blog:

Meaning no offense, Canadian politics has been something of a circus since Pierre Elliot Trudeau became prime minister in 1968, reigning until 1984, and in many ways dominating the political culture until his death in 2000. Trudeau worked very hard at demonstrating that Canada, too, could produce a celebrity and encouraged an ordinarily sensible people to devote themselves to the earnest intellectual and cultural industry of crafting a distinct Canadian identity, meaning the determined celebration of the ways in which Canadians are not like Americans, meaning, in fact, the ways in which Canadians, too, can be liberal Democrats. To the outsider–and, despite all, I suppose I am that–it was depressingly imitative, but many Canadians seemed to find it quite exciting. With Stephen Harper, one has a sense of government being returned to the grownups.

Civilization's Enemies Are Progressives' Mascots

First, the Yale Taliban, and now this: Ayatollah Khatami speaking at Harvard, on the eve of the five year anniversary of 9/11. What, they couldn't get Mumia to speak on National Law Enforcement Day or something?

Don't let the rhetorical octopus ink about "dialogue" fool you: this is nothing but a piece of "épater les bourgeoisie" on the part of the higher learning set. For people for whom ideas are just ideas, to be exhaled around with no acknowledgement of them once they come to fruition, having their tuition-paying charges receive a finger-wagging from a leader of the foremost terrorist state in the world is just "challenging their assumptions". You'd think The Jihad would have challenged the professors own "assumptions" by now. But no...

Have some quotes:

They who would combat general authority with particular opinion, must first establish themselves a reputation of understanding better than other men.
--John Dryden, "Heroic Poetry and Heroic Licence", 1677


Those who obstinately oppose the most widely-held opinions more often do so because of pride than lack of intelligence. They find the best places in the right set already taken, and they do not want back seats.
--la Rochefoucauld, _Maxims_, 1665


Or, less elegantly:

You want to give in to Al Qaeda? Fine, have the courage of your convictions. Go sign up for a "tour of duty" in Islamabad for two or three years. If you can live under Islamofascist rule yourself, then you have earned the right to urge it on the rest of us.

Until then, have a nice tall glass of shut your irrelevant sissy mouth juice.

I'm tired of the chickendhimmis. If you want to live in dhimmitude, by all means, go ahead. Stop the 'backdoor draft" on me into dhimmitude as well.



And, it bears repeating:
Civilization's Enemies Are Progressives' Mascots
I might open me a Cafepress store with that, come to think of it.

Foxes Guarding Henhouses In War On Terror

At Right Wing Nut House, here's a breakdown of the bad juju going down in Pakistan. I understand that Musharraf is almost as much of a fugitive in his own country as the jihadists he's allegedly been trying to help us catch. i also understand that we've asked a lot of him, at his great personal risk, over these past five years. But this is, as advertised, a military catastrophe. If Pakistan cedes authority over Waziristan, maybe we can regard it as a separate rogue state, and treat it accordingly. Oops, no we can't, it seems. A whole lot of hurt is going to spill into Afghanistan in the meantime, I'm afraid.

Meanwhile, Donald Sensing is gaping with astonishment and disgust at the United Nations. The job of stopping Syria from re-arming Hezbollah will fall to...Syria.

Is it any wonder that practically no Israeli of any political stripe has the slightest trust in Kofi Annan? By assigning Syria the responsibility to enforce the arms embargo against Hezbollah, Annan has truly put a ravenous fox in charge of guarding the henhouse. Where did Annan think Hezbollah’s weapons were coming from?

A more craven, unsavory character to head the UN can hardly be imagined. He has done more to destroy the UN’s credibility (when it’s had precious little to spare) than anyone else in the whole, wide world.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

NPR And The Missing Sobriquet

I was mildly surprised, listening to Morning Edition (or maybe it was All Things Considered) to hear someone from The Heritage Foundation being allowed on air to comment on something. What's more, the think tank was identified as "the Washington-based Heritage Foundation", rather than the more usual warning label in such cases, like "the conservative Heritage Foundation". So, credit where credit is due, to the Blue State Of The Airwaves.

Making The War Worth Fighting

What "advice" does one give to college students entering or returning to the Fall Semester? I am tempted to say, "First, learn what 9/11 was all about." That event, more than any other -- whether you want to admit it or not -- has already shaped and is shaping what your world will be like. But normally, I am an advocate of the doctrine, "Do not let your college life be a 'major' in current events." This is a big temptation. Current events are not unimportant, but neither are they education. In 1944, during the World War II, T.S. Eliot, as if to illustrate this point, was invited to give a lecture to the Virgil Society in London. The lecture he gave was not about war. It was entitled, "What Is a Classic?" Why did he not speak of war? Because he thought war had a purpose and we better, at least some of us, know its purpose. Otherwise, we can lose the war even if we win the battles.
-- Fr. James V. Schall, "On School and Things That Are Not Fair", Ignatius Insight, August 24, 2006,

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Happy Labor Day To All!

Unless you're an actual laborer or something. Then, accept my sympathy for having to work tomorrow. Seems like everyone gets Labor Day off except workers at the retail level on down.

Maybe someday they'll just rename all the holidays to reflect the facts: Banks and Post Office Holiday #1; Banks and Post Office Holiday #2; Banks and Post Office Holiday #3...

NPR Weekend Edition had a labor history professor to talk about the good old days of the labor movement this morning. Kind of interesting, too. However, they didn't touch the fact that the only really robust unions in the country nowadays are government unions. That's more Neal Boortz's area, anyway.

Stay dry and stay safe!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Multiculturalism Dissected

Over at the First Things blog, Michael Novak is recycling an old book of his. It's still a cogent takedown of multiculturalism, no matter that the multicult has now a) fallen prey to the inevitable creeping irony, and b) will possibly get us all killed if we can't shake it off. Go ahead and click through to read the bullet-point indictment; but here's a great pull-quote from further in:

For centuries, humans have suffered, and from suffering have drawn wisdom. To absorb this precious wisdom requires respectful attention to the records of the past. One learns, as well, from evils committed in the past. The past records both: sins against wisdom, and wisdom painfully acquired. Let those whose ancestors are without sin throw the first stones. Let those without sin throw the first stone at their ancestors. My father once told me that people who boast about their ancestors are like potatoes—”the only good part of them is underground.” Yet he urged us all to study history avidly. He warned us not to be surprised to find that our ancestors were in some things smarter than we. (That is probably a good definition of a conservative—one who believes that his grandparents were at least as good as he.)

When and if multiculturalism embraces truth—shows genuine respect for all (including dead white males)—and ceases to be intolerant toward any but the politically correct, it may command some measure of respect. As long as its fundamental appeal is to its own moral superiority, intolerance, and coercion, it deserves to be met with contempt by those who seek to live under standards of evidence and truth.



I still like what I read somewhere, that there's a difference between multicultural people and international people. International people speak other languages, can knowledgeably order wine anywhere, and may send their kids to foreign boarding schools. Multicultural people lambaste America, run around in Mexican wedding shirts, and live by grubbing for grant money. Which one sounds better to aspire to, savoir vivre-wise?

Meet The New Jefe, Same As The Old Jefe

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is running for re-election in December, said he would call a referendum in 2010 to change the constitution, allowing him to hold office without any term limit.

``If the majority of the people say yes, we'll have to change the constitution so that re-election in Venezuela will be indefinite,'' Chavez, 52, said in a televised speech in Caracas before tens of thousands of red-shirted supporters. ``The people will decide.'' Chavez would have to step down in 2013 under the current constitution if he wins in December.


Just in time, too; with Castro clearly heading for the exits. Can't have our First World progressive academics and glitterati left high & dry, with no anti-American Maximum Leader to slobber over for the next third of a century, now can we?

Your First Things tie-in: Via On The Square, an excerpt of a Weekly Standard piece:

Paul Hollander has over the years chronicled America’s “political pilgrims,” meaning anti-American Americans who do obeisance at the shrines of utopian visionaries from Josef Stalin to Chairman Mao. The shrine du jour is Venezuela, from which luminaries such as Harry Belafone, Jesse Jackson, and Ramsey Clark have returned to report that they have seen the latest future that works. Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy writes in the current Weekly Standard:


When Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez met with the Pope earlier this week, he assured Benedict XVI that he is a Christian. And he told the press that he has a special friend who is one too. Sort of.


“Our Bolivarian revolution is very Christian and I have a friend who isn’t Christian, but lately has said he is a Christian in the social aspect: his name is Fidel Castro,” Chávez announced. “I talk to [Castro] a lot about Christ each time we see each other, and he told me recently, ‘Chávez, I’m Christian in the social sense.’”

Hurricane Katrina

I kind of like what one comedian said last year. "Wilma. Rita. Katrina. Do those sound like things you should run for your life away from?"

I've been surfing around, reading the MSM pieces on Katrina. If you search keywords FEMA-Katrina-incompetence you get quite a lot of Bush bashing, and if you search FEMA-Katrina-corruption you get more criticism of the state and local Democrat governments. (You also get about a hundred fewer results from our fair, impartial news media with the latter search, but that's another post.)

The worst move in the whole mess, IMO, was this directive from FEMA to would-be rescuers around the country: "Do not self-dispatch". FEMA was supposed to be the responder of last resort, if the state and local governments were overwhelmed. They were overwhelmed, all right, in addition to being corrupt through and through. FEMA may well have been more of a sheet anchor than a life preserver in the best scenarios, but the complacent, corrupt local Dem political machines were not fit for any function of governance beyond rabble rousing. The aggregate goodwill of the American people--the oft-derided by liberals "thousand points of light"--would have been a huge boost to the rescue efforts had they been allowed into New Orleans. In fact they were a huge boost, elsewhere in the Gulf Coast, and in the cities where the evacuees rolled in.

As it was, Sean Penn and his rowboat rescued more people per hour, on average, than the government did. Not that I can be bothered to actually crunch the numbers or anything...

I haven't seen any evacuees in my area in a few months. Some were stereotypical underclass; over-barbered, under-educated people who were just sitting in residential inns, waiting for something to happen. Others were probably not much better off, but had more gumption; looking for work, trying to navigate the FEMA relief process, seeing about their homes back home--trying to land on their feet, in short. I was glad to do what little I did to help the former--"as you have done to the least of these..."--and proud to help the latter. If something like this happens again, and I'm in a position to leave my family, I'm packing my handtools and cooler, ignoring the government, and self-dispatching the livin' daylights out of myself.
Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad) - Closer to Home

Random Rock Bloggage:

My favorite song by the late 60s/early 70s sweat 'n' boogie legends Grand Funk Railroad. I've been deeply imprinted with these haunting chords since childhood. Literally. I must have heard it on the radio at an early age, for, from time to time, I would hum the "I'm getting closer to my home" theme to myself, not knowing what it was or where it came from. Then one day in graduate school, it came on the classic rock station. (My small-town station only played top-forty) When that section came, it was like a revelation, as the old musical memory awakened. Where had it been all those years? There's probably a good neuro-science thesis in there someplace.