Monday, February 26, 2007

Catholic Nursing Homes to Be Forced to Permit Assisted Suicide

Looks like Catholic care facilities will be forced to participate in The Great Liberal Death Wish, whether they want to or not. Tell me again how decisions like this are only the business of the person involved?

Is the U.S. capitulating to North Korea in the six party talks?

The bloggers at One Free Korea think so. Read why here and here.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ignoring the onrushing locomotive, then and now

Back in the 1930s, at the height of the Soviet Union's pre-nuclear malevolence, progressive Western opinion bent over backwards denying, rationalizing, and/or making excuses for what the Soviets were up to. Communist Russia was surrounded by enemies, threatened with traitors, trying to create a new future that was the only hope of mankind, they said. Nevermind that entire populations were being exiled or starved, that the country was on a war footing of incredible harshness in peacetime, that the Cheka was swarming over the world, kidnapping and assassinating Enemies of the People. Russia just wanted a warm water port, we were told. They just had bad memories of the Kaiser, and of Napoleon before him. They just wanted the prestige of being recognized as a Great Power. Progressive Western opinion seldom quoted the stated intentions of the Soviets themselves: to bring the entire world under communist domination. Because really! They couldn't possibly mean it, could they? Why, if they did, progressive Western opinion would disapprove! And the Russians surely wouldn't want to risk that, now would they?

I had that flashback to that bygone time when I listened to NPR's Weekend Edition this Saturday morning. An expert named Lisa Margonelli was on, discussing oil politics. Then came this:

WE: You were able to get at least some view of the Iranian oil industry. By taking a look at the Iranian oil industry, Americans might better understand what nuclear power represents to Iranians — even Iranians that are not wild at all about the government of Iran...

LM: Nuclear power, even since the time of the Shah, has been a very potent idea in Iran, because it would provide them with a more consistent electrical supply, and it would allow them to sell their oil for money while producing their own electricity. Nuclear weapons are also very symbolic, because Iran spent eight years or so at war with Iraq and has seen that Iraq was attacked because it didn't have nuclear weapons, while North Korea was left alone. So Iran has a sense of being besieged for years. Nuclear weapons offer a couple of things. They offer a very symbolic development and they offer what they feel is a kind of protection against attack by outside countries.

Of course, the stated reasons for the ayatollahs acquiring these weapons--stated more than once--is far from symbolic. Their stated purpose is to wipe Israel off the map. Of course, the nukes do have a more limited use. They are seen as being good for holding America at bay while Iran subverts the elected Iraqi government, stepping up Hezbollah's assault to the death on Israel, and who knows what else, some day. But surely they can't mean it, can they? If Israel were to be nuked, then experts would come on Weekend Edition and criticize Iran for it--or at least call for restraint by both sides in future nukefests!

If Ms. Margonelli thinks the Islamic nuke is for symbolic use, let her relocate to Tel Aviv, once Iran has a device in hand.

And a little comparison between eras like this shows the power of wishful progressive thinking or, as P. J. O'Rourke called it, "the awful power of make-believe.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

'Muslim Americans are Americans, too'

*Yawn*...Another Muslim pity party. This time it's from a local university adolescent, one Naureen Kamdar.

I was wearing [my hijab] when traveling to Virginia recently to attend a seminar. Standing in the security line at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. I was stressed about the possibility of missing my flight that was departing in 20 minutes. And that's where the trouble began.

I suppose it was because I was worried about missing my flight that I didn't hear the instructions about taking my laptop computer out of its case and placing it in a separate bin.

A student on the go, whose entire adult life has been in the post-9/11 era, still doesn't know to turn out her pockets and bags for the x-ray machine? Tsk, tsk. She gets drawn aside and frisked. Like any other well-off American kid, she is flabbergasted at not being given the princess treatment. So, she writes an op-ed for the local paper.

I understand the need for additional security at airports, and I agree all travelers and their luggage must be checked thoroughly. I also understand why security guards get annoyed when people don't follow simple directions.

I even understand that suspicion of Muslims is inevitable because although certainly not all Muslims are terrorists, the terrorists who have struck our — I repeat, our — country were Muslims.

What I don't understand is why any of that — beards or head scarves included — allows bullying of American Muslims by airport security officials.

Bullying, she calls it.

Look, Miss Center of the Universe. The TSA agent at Hartsfield processed a hundred people not all that much different from you before you ever met him. He processed hundreds more after you were gone. It isn't his job to grok you & your Personal Issues. Everyone is inconvenienced by these probably useless patdowns. Had you hung around, you would have seen them pulling people randomly, or for boneheadedness similar to yours, regardless of ethnicity or religion. You can listen to the local radio as well as I can, and hear how many people wish the TSA would just herd Muslims into a separate line, and leave everyone else the hell alone. But that won't happen, this being America and everything. Until a lot more people and places get blown up, at least.

A whole lot of people died in a most horrible way the other day, on a train in India. That's what religious hate looks like--not you & your ruffled feathers. Don't like what terrorism is doing to domestic travel? Blame the terrorists. And no one else.

Monday, February 19, 2007

YouTube, RIP

Well, the great video takedown is underway. A lot of the Viacom videos I've been enjoying on YouTube the past eight months are gone now. I held my nose and went to MTV and VH1 to video surf. The selection isn't nearly as broad as YouTube's was, and I had to sit through a NyQuil commercial first. Forget that! I'm not saying people shouldn't maintain control over their intellectual property, just that I'm sorry they couldn't come to some sort of agreement.

Can you decipher this gibbersish?

A groundbreaking Muslim-Jewish partnership

Hasan said that the reason previous dialogues between the Muslim and Jewish communities have failed was because there was no process for people to discuss emotionally explosive issues (such as the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians) as they happen in a controlled environment. "With a system of accountability, members of each faith would have to follow key ways to express their feelings," Hasan added.

Rather than being exclusive among organization leadership, NewGround will target attitudes within members of the Muslim and Jewish communities. It aims to train groups of dedicated persons who will take their newly learned skills to their respective communities with the expectation that they would impart what they have learned to other community members.

"...a system of accountability". "...follow key ways to express their feelings". Sounds to me like the rats are gnawing at our American tradition of freedom of speech again. Wonder if someone will see this new program as something desirable to have in the public schools, or the workplace, or...

Seriously, the biggest obstacle to building trust among Muslim and non-Muslim communities may not be jihad, or that fraudulent neologism "islamophobia". It may be the steadily encroaching norm that Islam is entirely off limits to any criticism. Why should I sit bound and gagged while medievalists denounce my civilization? And why should you?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith, NASCAR headlines

This juxtaposition of unrelated headlines on Google's news page just seems...weird, as well as on purpose, somehow.

Embalming of Anna Nicole Smith's body begins
CNN International - all 2,292 news articles »

Cup teams looking for consistency as penalties stiffen
CBS News - all 1,641 news articles »

Talk about your pre-verbal connections...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hopefully, a stake through the heart for creationism in Kansas

The Kansas State Board of Education is set to vote in a new set of science education standards, standards that will be free from the creationist taint that caused so much trouble last year. Let's hope that'll be the end of that for the time being. Congratulations to Red State Rabble, especially, for keeping the the story alive in the blogs.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

"Courtesan"? Try "bimbo"! Or "slut", or "gold-digger", or "floozy", or...

Oh, brother! Someone is in culture-vulture overdrive, here.

Examples have influence over children. I know a couple who've made a career out of helping "wayward" girls at a group home. Their own daughters grew up among them. The couple are the salt of the earth, but children imitate their surroundings as much if not more than their parents. One daughter went badly wrong, and became the proverbial good time that was had by all. She's settled now, hopefully; but her parents honestly didn't do her any favors by bringing her up in that atmosphere.

So, for that reason, some of the editorializing about the death of Anna Nicole Smith is rubbing me the wrong way. Over the weekend, NPR tut-tutted moralizers like me for moralizing. She just "played the cards life dealt her", the mellifluously modulated voice said. No. She succumbed to the ever-present lure of easy money, made a godalmighty ruin of her life and those who loved her (her svengalis and hangers-on are another matter), and put all kinds of wrong ideas into young girls' heads everywhere. Who's going to clean up this mess?

Someone drew a lot of fire years ago, when John Belushi died. For fear that Belushi would become some kind of pop martyr to impressionable youth, he spelled it out: John Belushi died of a drug overdose, naked and covered with his own vomit on his bed. It was necessary, to dispel the aura of a fast life and a cool death. Somebody had to say it.

The Washington Post article linked above is a perfectly ridiculous piece of attempted bigthink, purporting to blame the institution of marriage, post-feminism, and Newt Gingrich for ANS's troubles. "Anna Nicole Smith Stripped Marriage Of Its Illusions", it says. No. She defaced her marriages, certainly. That doesn't invalidate everyone else's--it's silly to even think so.

It's a familiar conundrum for our culture. ANS was famous, so therefore her death must be significant somehow, instead of being the stupid waste it really was. But a stupid waste it was, and people who are inclined to admire people simply for being famous should know it.

It's a great evil to disparage the newly-deceased. But, somebody's gotta say it. "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."

Sidebar: the Post article makes mention of "wealthy Westerners" getting fixed up with nubile Third Worlders. He might be advised that the phenomenon exists in other cultures, too; and that certain sects of Islam even have a special dispensation for it: "temporary marriage".

San Francisco Chronicle's CAIR whitewash

Here comes Jonathan Curiel of the San Francisco Chronicle, to chant "shame, shame!" at U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer's office, for rescinding an award to Basim Elkarra, the head of the Sacramento office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Within weeks, a vocal opponent of the council, Joe Kaufman, condemned the honor, saying that the council has "direct ties to Hamas," the Palestinian organization that the United States and Israel consider a terrorist organization. Days later, after reading Kaufman's pleas, Boxer rescinded Elkarra's award, saying that the council had not adequately condemned Hamas or Hezbollah.

Probably more Israelis would "consider" Hamas a terrorist organization, if Hamas hadn't murdered them before they could come to an opinion that was nuanced enough for Left Coast media libs.

Mr. Curiel accepts CAIR's denial at their word. And in a masterpiece of stalinist reality inversion, he renders The Jooos as the tramplers of the Muslims' free speech on American university campuses. Further down, he write:

Working from his Florida home, Kaufman has become a full-time activist against extremist Muslim groups. His "CAIR Watch" Web site features large photos and biographies of council officials, including Elkarra, whom he criticizes for (among other things) once hosting a panel discussion on Palestinians at UC Berkeley that featured a speaker convicted in Israel for working with Hamas.

The council's link to Hamas, Kaufman says, is through Mousa Abu Marzook, a top Hamas official living in Syria who helped found the Islamic Association for Palestine, to which the council's current executive director, Nihad Awad, once belonged. Kaufman also criticizes the council because Ghassan Elashi, a founding board member of the council's Texas chapter, was sentenced to six years in jail for funneling money to Marzook and for violating export laws.

This is not enough linkage for Mr. Curiel. If the link led to, say, David Duke rather than pizzeria-bombing Muslims, I doubt he would be so forbearing of the appearance of association. But since Muslims are by definition The Wretched Of The Earth, whose part against their First World targets must always be taken by good liberals, he just can't bring himself to see the truth, even as he types it.

Every grain in a sandstorm can exclaim, "Who, me?"

Get the door--it's Yad Sarah!

This is a most heartening story. A couple of predominantly Muslim countries in West Africa want an Israeli relief agency to "franchise" itself in their countries:

Senegal and Mauritania are interested in franchising Yad Sarah in their countries.

Yad Sarah is an Israel-wide network of volunteers aiding disabled, elderly, housebound people. The organization provides medical equipment to anyone in need.

With the help of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, the two Muslim countries will adopt Yad Sarah’s model for the benefit of their citizens.

Wonderful. I hope this will counteract the Wahhabist poison that Saudi petro-billions have been pouring into West Africa. What a great opportunity for bridge-building!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith dies

What a sad story. And what a hanging curve ball for a natural born puritan like me. First, her grown son drops dead right in front of her. Now her infant daughter will grow up with no mother and a courtroom full of gold-digging paternity litigants for a father.

I can only hope her case will have a dissuasive effect on girls considering a career as a glitzy bimbo. She would have been better off remaining a white trash waitress down in Texas, and keeping her boobs to herself.

What did she die of? Probably coroners don't write "a broken heart" in that field of the report, anymore. But I'll bet that was a contributing factor. RIP.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Eucharist Disaster!

Last time I checked in at Falafel Sex blog, it was a Jewish humor site. Tonight, I tune in and find a Catholic cute-kid heartwarmer. It gave me my biggest smile of the day, so now it's your turn!

Astronaut love triangle, kidnap attempt

Yipes! It's too bad Florence King is retired, else she'd make feminist hay out of this story.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

San Antonio CAIR chapter's Sarwat Husain

I give you the Martha Stewart of Muslim pity-parties.

She defends CAIR and her work with it.

"This is something that happened not while he was with CAIR," she said of [convicted terrorist conspirator] Elashi, calling CAIR critics "fundamentalists."

"They create all these accusations and the public gets confused," she said. "These kind of things give you more strength because we know there are people out there who don't want us to succeed."

The profile says she aggressively fights "discrimination" against Muslims. But a close--hell, a cursory reading shows that she's just out to silence criticism of Islam, same as any other Saudi-funded P.R. flack. And this is why the oft-rumored moderate Muslims are doomed to inconsequence in the larger war on terrorism. Like the rest of Islam throughout most of history, they just aren't willing to appraise themselves and their religion with a critical eye. The Dark Ages philosopher al-Kindi may have been the last one of any note during Islam's formative centuries to do so, in fact.

There's no law against sticking up for yourself, of course. It's still a free country. But let Mrs. Husain ask herself if she'd like to trade places with a Copt in Egypt, a Bahai in Iran, or a Christian in Pakistan, the next time she strikes up a tune on the ol' victimology fiddle. I direct your attention once again to this post, which details some real, actual oppression suffered by Muslims in India--not this bruised self-esteem stuff she's concerned with. No one who enjoys the limitless freedoms of the West has any right to complain about the United States' resistance to the Shariazation of free speech here at home.

Invisible Children

You've heard of child soldiers, probably. Here's a chance to learn more. A trio of young filmmakers, out knocking around the world, wound up in northern Uganda and found an army made up of kidnapped children. They made a documentary, and it is screening around the country this month. Invisible Children is the name of the doco & website. It'll be showing at my church this month, so maybe I'll see you there...?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Protection money

A State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe sensitive international negotiations, said that preliminary reviews show more than $700 million (€537.6 million) in such aid last year. The official estimated Hamas took in only about $110 million (€84.5 million) in legitimate and clandestine revenue.

The Palestinian Authority is effectively broke, with a monthly deficit in the tens of millions of dollars. Palestinians are the biggest per capita recipients of foreign aid in the world, with overseas donors typically contributing about half the annual $1.9 billion (€1.5 billion) budget.

Oof. The same people, whose hands are purple and smoking with the blood of innocent Jews and Americans, have got those same hands this deep into our pockets?

Their lack of humanity is not my emergency. Send their next handout in kind. JDAMs, preferably.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The space telescope is dead; long live the space telescope!

The Hubble Space Telescope shorted out, apparently; though NASA may still go up and fix it. Dang. Just when it had scored another historic first, imaging the atmosphere of a giant exoplanet. At any rate, mark your calendars for the launch of Hubble's replacement, the James Webb Space Telescope, due up in 2013.

Wouldn't it be truly amazing if someday we could have public access space telescopes? Like giant webcams in the sky!

via BlackStump, one of the better Website of the Day sites around.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Zune chief resigns to "pursue personal interests"

When a computer geek quits under cover of the "spend more time with the family" alibi, you know there's been a biiig belly-flop.