Thursday, October 30, 2008

The evolving face of antisemitism

When the Christians were anti-Semitic, they did not just say, We hate Jews. They said, We hate Jews because, unfortunately, they committed the great crime, which was to kill Christ. When Voltaire was anti-Semitic, he did not say, I hate Jews because there is something in their essence which deserves hate; he said, I hate them because they invented Christ.

And this is the sort of tricky way of assembling a big number of people around the speech of hatred. Barring that, you would have very few anti-Semites. So today, all the old processes of legitimacy are dying, are more or less dead. Not so many Christians really think that I killed Christ. Not so many followers of Voltaire really think I am guilty of having invented Christianity. Fewer and fewer believe in the racist identity of the Jews, of which people like me would be the bearers.

But we are facing the installment of a new scheme, with new arguments, new reasons, new logic, trying to make anti-Semitism again acceptable, relatively, according to the general mood of the times.
-- "I’m a Liberal, But...An interview with Bernard-Henri Lévy", Guernica, October 2008

Adam Boulton is gobsmacked at the American news media

...but in a good way:

I've been in the US less than a day - but already I'm struck by how unjustifiably arrogant and patronising we Brits are towards the American political process.

Just look at the contrast. [...]

Americans are thinking hard about the direction their country is heading.[...]

On TV, their talk show hosts such as Jay Leno, David Letterman and John Stewart are funny but serious - cutting through the spin to put the candidates to the test.

And they don't do pee, bum, belly, poo jokes either.

Leno and Letterman's wise cracks epitomise what the public is really wondering about their next President.

And what to we get? Jonathan Ross asking David Cameron if he used to masturbate about Mrs Thatcher.

We love to attack the US media such as Fox and MSNBC for bias - but what they are doing is arguing fiercely about the issues and attitudes which will define their nation for the next eight years, teasing out such fundamental issues as race, gender, equality, liberty and power.

Their viewers are being fed food for thought.

I don't know what the BBC thinks it's serving up. But it's not serving the public.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lower taxes equaled more revenue--in Liechtenstein

While looking up information about Liechtenstein during WWII (don't ask), I chanced upon this paragraph in a seventy year old issue of TIME magazine.
If Liechtenstein now becomes part of Greater Germany the inhabitants will almost certainly lose their most cherished liberty—freedom from taxation. The ruling Prince, having long footed the Government bills himself, discovered in 1926 a way to relieve the strain on his own diminished income. Watching the rise of confiscatory taxes on corporations, wealthy citizens in Europe and the U. S., he smartly invited foreign corporations and private citizens to incorporate in his state and pay minimum taxes. Since then these foreigner-paid taxes, small as they are, have paid some 45% of the nation's expenses. The Liechtenstein family, owning virtually all the nation's wealth, graciously pays the rest.

Mit anderen Worten: lower taxes = more revenue. In these days before The One ascends to the seat of power to make us all equal, it's interesting to hear how a basic conservative precept was anticipated decades ago, in soon-to-be socialistic Europe. If the libs are determined to imitate their Continental mentors, let them start here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Saintliness that passeth all understanding

One thing I should add is that – usually – I don’t interrupt a meal or rush out of the bathroom to answer my phone. People will leave messages if it is important and sometimes even if it is not.

However, there was one time that was an exception. I was waiting anxiously for an extremely important phone call from my boss at “The Caribbean Star.”

I was taking a shower.

The phone rang.

I ran out of the shower. Dripping wet and naked, I answered the phone to hear a telemarketer give me a sales pitch.

“I’m sorry but I’m not interested and really cannot take it,” I replied as water droplets drifting down my nude body. “However, I really hope you make some sales today and have a beautiful day, OK?”

The telemarketer accepted that answer and we hung up on polite terms.

I think I can consider that ill-timed call the ultimate test of my principles regarding telemarketers – one that I passed.

There's a special seat in heaven for that guy.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Somali Christians casually killed

A Christian convert attended a Somali wedding, and asked for a translation of the arabic ceremony. Then...

The Sheik performing the ceremony was aware of Nur's conversion to Christianity, however, and took offense to the request. He declared him to be guilty of apostasy and asked a guard to "silence" him.

Nur was encouraged to leave the ceremony, and upon exiting, he was shot and killed by the armed guard.

Thank God once again for my Nerfball life of faith...

Via The Religion of Peace

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Monkey business

Normally, if you start seeing monkeys in dapper little suits wandering around the bar, that'd be a signal that you've had enough. However....

Via David Fleck

Solace for our San Francisco friends

True, there's this, this, and there's even this, but mercifully now there's this.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nowhere to hide

I kept the stock ticker on my computer all day today, watching my investments slide and flail, mostly sliding. I've got savings, but the interest after all these years of rate cuts is birdseed, no defense against inflation. My home is paid for, but its value is probably dropping along with everyone else's, thanks deadbeats! An aggressive international growth mutual fund that I eyed but did not buy this past summer is now trading at half its value; glad I didn't bite. I'll need a new car soon, but I'm wondering if I should patch up my old one just one more time, and hope to get another year out of it. There just doesn't seem to be anywhere to hide in this current s! shower.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Yom Kippur War, + 35 years

Richard Nixon's greatest achievement was saving Israel from extermination, by shipping emergency aid to that nation after Egypt's and Syria's surprise attack. It's the greatest act of wartime humanitarianism in the past half century. If you think I'm wrong please post a comment.