Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to us, and remember others not so fortunate

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas. Here's how some unfortunate Christians are faring around the world:

JOS, Nigeria — A series of unprecedented Christmas Eve bomb blasts and attacks on churches have left at least 38 people dead in Nigeria as authorities worked Saturday to keep the violence from spreading.
Seven explosions went off in two different areas of the flashpoint city of Jos in central Nigeria, killing 32 people and injuring 74, many of them as they were doing their Christmas shopping, police said.
In the city of Maiduguri in northern Nigeria, suspected members of an Islamist sect that launched an uprising last year attacked three churches, leaving six people dead and one of the churches burnt, an army spokesman said.

At least 130 Christians in Egypt still remain imprisoned after police attacked a church under reconstruction, a Christian missionary agency reported.

Local police have released 70 Christian prisoners in need of medical treatment, but the majority still remains in jail this Christmas season, according to Christian Aid Mission. The ministry is calling for prayers for the safety of the Egyptian Christians during their Christmas services and for financial aid to cover medical expenses of families who suffered from the attack.

As Christian leaders highlighted the plight of believers facing the threat of attacks around the world, a bomb in a church during Christmas mass in the southern Philippines on Saturday wounded 11 people, including a priest.

Military officials would not immediately name any suspects in the blast on Jolo island, but the island is a known bastion of the Abu Sayyaf, an al-Qaeda-linked group, blamed for deadly attacks in the Philippines and for kidnapping priests and nuns.

"There is a possibility that this could be the handiwork of the Abu Sayyaf because they have been perpetrating similar attacks against the Catholic church," Lieutenant Randolph Cabangbang, a military spokesman, said.

For some Iraqi Christians, this may be last Christmas in Baghdad
Repeated attacks and new threats against the minority group lead churches to skip decorations and evening services and families to consider leaving Iraq altogether.

I found these by typing Christians Attacked in Google's news aggregator. For some reason, it didn't turn up any news stories of Christians attacking anyone of other faiths. And for some other reason, only "extremists" of one other faith seemed to be obsessed with attaching Christians. Remember our religious freedoms, and remember those who have lost theirs, this Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010


George Orwell hissownself summed up punk perfectly, nearly 70 years ago:

"But the trouble is that conscious futility is something only for the young. One cannot go on "despairing of life" in to a ripe old age. One cannot go on being "decadent", since decadence means falling and one can only said to be falling if one is going to reach the bottom reasonably soon. Sooner or later one is obliged to adopt a positive attitude toward life and society."

Predictions of 2011 from 1931

The New York Times piece, revisiting the predictions made of our time by prominent men from 1931, has been getting a lot of circulation. The predictions reminded me of a couple of quotations. This one, from Victorian historian Thomas Babington Macaulay in 1830, predicting 1930:

"If we were to prophesy that in the year 1930 a population of fifty millions, better fed, clad, and lodged than the English of our time, will cover these islands, that Sussex and Huntingdonshire will be wealthier than the wealthiest parts of the West Riding of Yorkshire now are, that cultivation, rich as that of a flower-garden, will be carried up to the very tops of Ben Nevis and Helvellyn, that machines constructed on principles yet undiscovered, will be in every house, that there will be no highways but railroads, no travelling but by steam, that our debt, vast as it seems to us, will appear to our great-grandchildren a trifling incumbrance, which might easily be paid off in a year or two, many people would think us insane."

And this observation from Hilaire Belloc:

"Pray note the following most interesting truth: People cannot imagine the future because they cannot but believe that experience has been exhausted. All fiction portraying the future fills it with contemporaries. For instance, very few such books portray a new religion, and when they do so, that religion has no flame in it. Yet when a novel phase comes, it proves to be as vital as it is new."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Damned if you do...

It's weird. P. J. O'Rourke once quipped that if you refuse an adult beverage, people assume you're an alcoholic. In the same vein, Kevin Spacey insists on his privacy, and is therefore publicly assumed to be gay. The people doing the assuming are quite annoyed at him, for clinging to what used to be called his "private life" and declining to be a gay liberation figurehead. Here's hoping he doesn't lose control of his personal narrative.

California Happy Meal Lawsuit

I guess this is inevitable. As we lazily turn over more and more of our personal responsibilities to the government--health care, insurance, retirement, and now nutrition--the government finds itself constrained to try to keep us solvent and healthy, just to save their own expenses. McDonalds is just a convenient villain for Left Coast proggs, part of the larger, deplorable trend.

And the suit illustrates the proggy mindset too, the more conventional deep-pocket aspects of it aside. Treat children like adults: Suspend children for drawing pictures of their relatives in the military, file harassment charges against kindergartners who hug a classmate, etc. And treat adults like children, like in the present case, where parents are presumed to be in need of being usurped by this lawsuit.

The national trends, good and bad, often start in California. I hope the rest of the country has enough horse sense to resist this particular wave.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Now THAT'S a bomb factory!

Police raided this guy's house and found it packed with explosives and toxic substances. How much? So much that the authorities don't feel safe going in and emptying the house. Instead, they're building a firewall around the house, and plan to burn it on Wednesday. Dude must have had a serious grievance against someone or something...

Saturday, December 04, 2010

On the persistence of adolescence

Most of us. . . are young when we make our mark. And then we live and live, with our canes and blood tests and toilet seats flattened like orthopedic shoes.
-- John Updike, Self-Consciousness

Hmmm...I'm well into middle age, and I don't believe I've yet made all the mark I'm gonna. It's strange: I'm a settled family man, firmly ensconced in a career which I'm unlikely to leave, reasonably content, not one to make lots of new friends apart from the ones my children's activities bring my way. And yet I often have the same feeling I did when I was young: a feeling that I was just a few turns down the road away from some final apotheosis. I have lived long enough to know to look for happiness along the way, rather than waiting to arrive at it.

We must laugh before we are happy ; lest we should die before we have laughed.
-- La Bruyere

And my life is much the richer for it. Still, I can't help but sense that I'm still a work in progress, sometimes.

My first Wiki-leaks related post...

Is to hope that China's cyber-attack on Google will sober up those digital hippies in Mountain View, with their Don't Be Evil sanctimoniousness. The world is a big dangerous place full of evil people.

The New York Times, which received access to the unredacted cables, reported Saturday that according to a May 18, 2009 cable, Li Changchun, a member of the standing committee, was disturbed to learn that he could conduct Chinese-language searches on Google's international site. When he Googled himself, he found "results critical of him," according to the cable. According to the January cable, Li himself ordered up or helped coordinate the attack, the paper reported.

But the Times said that another person cited in the cable, who apparently is the source of the information on Li, acknowledged that Li "personally led a campaign against Google operations in China," but to his knowledge "had no role in the hacking attack."

According to the Times, the January cable states that the Google intrusions were coordinated with the oversight of Li and another Politburo members, Zhou Yongkang, China's top security official. Both Li's and Zhou's names were redacted from the memos posted by the two newspapers.

It is not one world, and "world citizens" are fools for thinking that it ever could be. The flat world that the digital revolution has created has drawn our enemies closer to us--it has not abolished the reality of enemies.

Keith Olbermann calls Bristol Palin worst person

What is with the perverse fascination libs have with the Palin children?

He likened her being an abstinence spokeswoman to saying former President George W. Bush "kept us safe, 'cept for that 9/11 thing, which doesn't count."

Is it possible to put a restraining order on a political persuasion?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

LGF: Portland plot not a conspiracy

No, just an isolated incident. Just a troubled kid, carried away with a carefully thought out determination to murder scores of Christmas revelers, and who yelled "Allah Akbar" as the authorities made the pinch. Hormones, racism, anomie, The System, nothing to do with anything else. Indeed, it is good news that the creep could find no confederates there in Portland, and had to seek them abroad (Have to see if the Samir Khan connection is valid). But no cause for alarm, the situation is well in hand.

Meanwhile, if you didn't vote Democratic this past election, you're a Timothy McVeigh in the making.


It is a frequent vice of radical polemic to assert, and even to believe, that once you have found the lowest motive for an antagonist, you have identified the correct one.
-- Christopher Hitchens

Monday, November 29, 2010

A bittersweet Thanksgiving

I drove the family two southern states over, to visit my elderly parents for the holidays. The older we both get, the more I appreciate my father, all he's done for us, & his many brothers and sisters. So I was very glad to take a day and drive him four hours to yet another state, to visit his brother, the last of his many siblings. They grew up on a farm, and had older siblings who were themselves old enough to be their parents. These have all passed on, and now it's only the two of them left.

It's really only Daddy, though. The younger brother has been disappearing into dementia for the past decade. Now he is almost totally gone. Thank God he was able to recognize Daddy, though. He thought I was also Daddy, but I don't care about him recognizing me. We visited him in the hospital, where he had had to go after a bad turn the previous week. He lay in bed looking up at Daddy with a wall-eyed, frozen grimace--possible the result of a mini-stroke. Daddy looked down at him, his weathered old face shifting from sadness to compassion to attempted good cheer. He didn't know what to say to him, but just muttered some pleasantries in his bluff, good-natured manner. My uncle asked for a deceased sister and her deceased husband a couple of times. Daddy tried to explain that they were dead, but the second time just said that they couldn't make it this trip.

We couldn't linger in the hospital, because we had to get back home before Mother's in-home care left for the evening. We said our farewells; "See you next time", I promised. We drove back mostly in silence, didn't want to intrude on Daddy's thoughts. Finally I said that the visit had been too short, and that if he wanted to come back I'd be glad to take him some other time. He said he was grateful for me taking him--I've never heard him thank me so profoundly for something--and trailed off, and I didn't press. Daddy had helped him financially in the past, as well as several other siblings and inlaws. This might well have been the final favor he could do for his brother, just to let him look into his eyes once more. I'm glad I didn't bring a camera, for fear of the temptation to intrude on their moment together.

High anxiety


I screwed up at work last week, an unintentional, probably harmless but highly unseemly & embarrassing error. Been flushed with nervous adrenaline ever since, can't seem to calm down. I inherited my father's rusticated good looks--most of it, anyway--but my mother's depression, thin skin, and insecurity. So now I'm toiling away at work, once again feeling like I'm on double secret probation. People who require constant reassurance that they are loved, accepted, etc. become fatiguing to be around after a while. So I do what I can to avoid being one of them. Still,...bleagh...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Somali teen tries to blow up Christmas tree lighting

Implant him with a tracking chip, deport him to Somalia, and when he links up with AQ in that country, rain down the hellfires.

Oh, and a preemptive FU to lefties who seek to rationalize his murder attempt, claiming tit for tat. At least this KosKid has the grace to be grateful to the FBI.

And a grateful hat tip to the informant in "the Muslim community", who brought this holy warrior to the attention of the authorities.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


For "too much irony". North Korea accuses the South of using human shields. This from the regime which engineered terror famines against itself, and operates the largest and possibly last concentration camps in the world. Disgusting...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Things I used to believe, but don't so much anymore...

  • If you can walk you can dance, and if you can talk you can sing. 
  • It doesn’t matter who gets the credit, so long as the work gets done. 
  • A soft answer turneth aside wrath. 
  • There’s no such thing as a stupid question.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Remember, class...

The West "invades". Islam "spreads". There are always more of their demands to accommodate.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A tardy Veterans Day thought or two

This post began as a comment at Obsidian Wings.

The draft was abolished when I was a child, and I never enlisted. Closest I got to military service was doing yard work for a retired Army recruiter, a major who had been a rifleman in France, 1944. His house was filled with WWII memorabilia, and the war was never far from his conversation.

My father was always matter-of-fact about his Korean War service. He was in Air Force reconnaisance. His particular job on the night flights had been automated but not yet eliminated. So his biggest worry was having enough comic books to read while aloft. Presently he asked for and received a transfer to the photography lab.

Most of my uncles fought in WWII. One had enlisted in the National Guard because of hard times in the depression. His unit was called up after Pearl Harbor, and he fought across North Africa and Europe til VE Day. In 1995, I visited another uncle who had served in the Italian campaign. I asked if he was paying attention to all the 50th anniversary commemorations. He shook his head no. "I saw all the war I want to see, and I don't want to see it no more," he said, his voice trembling with more than just advanced age.

Thanks to them all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

From ghoulies and ghosties. And long-leggedy beasties. And things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!

I’m disappointed with the current craze for paranormal programming on cable TV. I took the plunge and bought cable some time back, because I wanted to enjoy good, solid documentaries, both nature and historical. Yet whenever I flip on the box, on most channels I want to watch, I find all manner of programs on hauntings, UFOs, cryptids, ancient astronauts--all of which have been exploded a hundred times over within my lifetime alone. The real world is much more mysterious and wonderful than this rubbish, and I’m quite sorry that said rubbish has crowded out the higher quality programming for which I subscribed to cable.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The trouble with American society today... that it's too darn masculine.

Does time pass more slowly in academia than in The World? With a little less concern trolling and a little more old-fashioned man-hating, this article could have been penned in 1974. How can anyone write as if nothing has changed since then?

Thus today’s typical man is seen as independent, ambitious and competitive, naturally suited to market work and the breadwinner role. Meanwhile, today’s typical woman is seen as nurturing, expressive and responsive to the needs of others, naturally suited to homemaking and the emotional work required by secretaries, flight attendants and nurses. These basic tenets of separate spheres continue to shape our default understandings of men and women, reproducing stereotypes that systematically advantage men and disadvantage women in the workplace.

Huh? Where did the last third of a century go? Masculinity is considered a vice by intellectuals nowadays, practically a crime. Who is Professor Williams' audience, here? And where have they been?
Masculinity holds the key to understanding why the gender revolution has stalled. As long as men continue to feel threatened by the possibility of being perceived as wimps and wusses unless they live up to the norms of conventional masculinity, we can expect little economic progress for women.
What would "progress" entail, in this sense? More women in traditionally male-dominated occupations? Higher incomes, despite putting less time than men into their professions? A thoroughgoing suppression of anything anywhere that smacks of masculinity, for fear that it may incommode female achievement or wellbeing?

Ex-patriate curmudgeon Fred Reed has a typically jaundiced view of these matters. As he admits, yes there are exceptions and degrees, and no he doesn't have polling data. But,

Men are capable of malignant government, whether authoritarian or totalitarian, as witness North Korea or the Russia of Stalin. I don’t know whether women would behave as badly if they had the power. (I’d guess not.) But women have their own totalitarian tendencies. They will if allowed impose a seamless tyranny of suffocating safety, social control, and political propriety. Men are happy for men to be men and women to be women; women want us all to be women.

The United States becomes daily more a woman’s world: comfortable, safe, with few outlets for a man’s desire for risk. The America of wild empty country, of guns and fishing and hunting, of physical labor and hot rods and schoolyard fights, has turned gradually into a land of shopping malls and sensible cars and bureaucracy. Risk is now mostly artificial and not very risky. There is skydiving and scuba and you can still find places to go fast on motorcycles, but it gets harder. Jobs increasingly require the feminine virtues of patience, accommodation to routine, and subordination of performance to civility. Just about everything that once defined masculinity is now denounced as “macho,” a hostile word embodying the female incomprehension of men.

My daughter is tomboyish at the present, but we're trying to raise her to be as feminine and considerate and kind and nurturing as possible. If she wants to succeed in business, I hope the sports activities we provide her with will help grow the necessary talents. If she wants to go into a profession, I am confident her native grey matter, coupled with the work ethic we're trying to instill into her, will carry her through. If she wants to be a feminist, a few semesters of Strong Wymynyst Studies in college ought to fix her right up. But in order for her to be a good mother and wife, such as becomes the very pearl of the home, she's gotta get it in her soul early. There's no written certification for it, no seminar to go to, to get it. It would be a signal tragedy is someone succeeded in reducing the rich pageant of her life to the dryness and hardness of mere political positioning. I hope she becomes a fullblown, unapologetic woman, and finds a man to match.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Election Day Plus One

In so many other countries, elections are a prelude to civil war, or simply a sham. No matter what any particular election is "about", I am always awed at the sight of genuine democracy in motion.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"But we support the troops"...

When proggs say that they support the troops, what many of them really mean is that they pity the troops, poor deluded unemployable children that they are. Amazingly enough, there is a difference. If you'd like to really support the troops, please consider one of these:

Soldiers Angels


Trust me: it's no more a violation of your flamin' "conscience" than supporting the post office is.

Rally to Restore Sanity

So, ten thousand liberals out having a laugh at Tea Partiers. (The jabs at msnbc are strictly pro forma) Like that's going to make the TP activists stay home on election day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Uganda anti-gay bill might soon become law

How terrible... Although I confess it took me a few moments of consideration to reach that conclusion. There's a cute verse by Dorothy Parker, that goes:

As I grow older and older
And totter towards the tomb
I find that I care less and less
Who goes to bed with whom

I'm not there yet. I'm not able to divorce sexuality and morality, as the prevailing winds of the current era demand that I must. But neither do I wish harm upon anyone for being what they were seemingly born to be.

I don't have a pat answer, terrible.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Juan Williams parsed on LGF

So a few days ago curiosity once again got the better of me, and I clicked over to see what Little Green Footballs would have to say about the Juan Williams affair. LGF couldn't honestly call him a racist bigot, as the site would have with a white conservative voicing the same opinion. So instead there was a hanging insinuation that he was bought off, secretly & in advance, by that $2 million payday from Fox News. Reminded me of similar failures of imagination in the past, where some bewildered conservatives thought that Charles just had to be taking money from some liberal backer, to have shifted course like he did. No, sometimes it's just a case of the lightbulb coming on.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Holy Crap...

No, really. I just saw my first commercial for the Creation Museum in Kentucky, the creationist monument to the willful ignorance of biblical inerrancy. A real spit-take moment, glad I wasn't drinking anything. It was similar to this, only it featured people together with dinosaurs:

Like I always say, to believe in things that can't be proved takes faith. To disbelieve in things that have been proved takes obstinance.

Juan Williams, you poor fall guy...

Okay, all very true. But he must realize that liberals like him are merely beards for hardline progressives. They've mostly completed their long march through academia and the news media, begun in the 60s, and don't need to pretend to share the fair-mindedness of liberals like Williams. If you dissent from the line that all people, all cultures, all religions, are equally uplifting and valid, that the only differences are those of headgear and cuisine, then you are branded a bigot by those in charge of enforcing the goodthink.

In prosperity our friends know us. In adversity we know our friends.
-- Caleb Churton Collins

Juan Williams fired from NPR, for comments on Fox News O'Reilly Factor

Juan Williams' fears are misplaced.

With the exception of the Fort Hood shooter, the Muslim terrorists on American soil of recent years have been dressed in Western garb. They wanted to blend in, to go unnoticed. So I'd actually feel more at ease on an airplane, sitting next to someone in a full Arab or Pakistani costume. Chances are good that they aren't up to anything.

That said, I can't help but grimace at NPR's PC enforcement. No doubt if Williams said something about feeling uncomfortable at a NASCAR race, he'd get a ten-year extension on his contract.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ancient History

Here's an interesting article in Der Spiegel about how pre-historic Middle Eastern farmers invaded and settled much of Europe, with the help of fresh milk. It reminds me of this quote by G. K. Chesterton:

But the truth is that the curtain rises upon the play already in progress In one sense it is a true paradox that there was history before history. But it is not the irrational paradox implied in prehistoric history; for it is a history we do not know. Very probably it was exceedingly like the history we do know, except in the one
detail that we do not know it. [...]

The most ancient records we have not only mention but take for granted things like kings and priests and princes and assemblies of the people; they describe communities that are roughly recognisable as communities in our own sense. Some of them are despotic; but we cannot tell that they have always been despotic. Some of them may be already decadent and nearly all are mentioned as if they were old. We do not know what really happened in the world before those records; but the little we do know would leave us anything but astonished if we learnt that it was very much like what happens in this world now. There would be nothing inconsistent or confounding about the discovery that those unknown ages were full of republics collapsing under monarchies and rising again as republics, empires expanding and finding colonies and then losing colonies. Kingdoms combining again into world states and breaking up again into small nationalities, classes selling themselves
into slavery and marching out once more into liberty; all that procession of humanity which may or may not be a progress but most assuredly a romance. But the first chapters of the romance have been torn out of the book; and we shall never read them.
-- G. K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man, 1925

Sunday, October 17, 2010


So I joined recently, and began cyber-connecting with friends and relatives. I encountered friends of friends whom I used to know, long ago. Some of these I joyfully re-established contact with. Others, I took a long, long look at, and finally clicked away, humming the CSN lyric to myself:

Don't let the past
Remind us of
What we are not now

And I'm pretty sure other former acquaintances have done the same to me, or will do so. I've no problem with that. As the years roll on, it's enough to just hope that those years have been good to them.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chinese miners trapped

Here we go again. "Miners trapped in China" is as much a news cliche as "Bus plunges into ravine in India" or "Apartment fire in Atlanta" Poor fellows, I hope they get out okay. But I don't look for much in the way of improvement in China, the land of disposable labor.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chile mine rescue live feed

I'm watching it on, minus the yammering news anchors. The first miner just came up. Good show all around!

Bolas de aceros...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Newsweek defends Ann Coulter against The New York Times

I'll pause while you climb back into your chair...

And actually, it is Mickey Kaus writing this piece. He's taken more care in nailing down the facts than Coulter seems to do, most times.

I enjoy Ann Coulter's zingers as much as anyone. But I find that I can abide her offerings more if I remember that she isn't arguing, so much as she's performing.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

What you mean "we", kemo sabe?

Hypocrisy in anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised.
--Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Over at HuffPo, an academic you've never heard of, who imagines that his eminence in his specialty translates into political perspicacity, pens this self-congratulating sneer.

...Finished? Okay. No one likes a concern troll. In the interest of honesty, let him replace "we" with "you effin' peasants". And all the lines that begin "We care about etc, etc...", change those to "You effin's peasants care about things which don't jibe with my proggy hobbyhorses." There, all fixed.

And that's really all the notice that screed deserves, but honestly, how can someone be this out of touch?

"We don't care about religion unless a mosque is being proposed near Ground Zero." Huh? Tell that to the 40% of Americans who say they attend church regularly. To all those rural storekeepers who put bible verses on their roadside signs. To those Americans who even in the hardest times give twice as much to charity as the next most generous nation.

"We don't care about the homeless and the poor unless they are dying on our doorstep." As above. For proggs, the prescription for society's ills is ever harsher scourgings of ordinary people.

"We care about entertainment not meaningful creation." No doubt his idea of "meaningful creation" is some piece of dadaist installation art which cost a zillion government art grant dollars to produce.

"We care about style not substance." A common plaint of people who are deficient in both.

"We care about shopping malls filled with unnecessary imported junk that advertisers convince us we "need" to have." Tell me: did Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissaro, and Eduard Degas create an "artificial demand" for Impressionism?

"We care about having vast amounts of inexpensive food." Says a man who's doubtless never endured a day without food in his life. And even if he has, let him remember that asceticism is a personal choice, not a public policy to be imposed by proggy wiseheads.

Just as youth is wasted on the young, so America is wasted on Americans like this.

The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer.
-- Theodore Roosevelt

Everyone with a gripe against Israel or America has joined the orgy in the guise of "analysis." Analyze this, you bastards.
-- Andrea Peyser, front page editorial, the New York Post, 9-21-01

Cato the Elder banned at Little Green Footballs

Just heard this today, en route to looking up something else. Another one of my old stablemates from the Class of '04 gone, one who had seemingly adapted to the changing times over there. Is everyone sitting on an ejector seat now?

I've got no problem with Charles changing his mind rightward to leftward (or center-ward) about things. John Cole at Balloon Juice did it, and so did Stephen Sherman of the now discontinued but once big time The Political Diktat. It happens. I respect his independence in staking out unpopular positions, defiantly declaring what he perceives as the truth, against what he perceives as a hurricane of distortions. It takes guts to do that, whatever one's position.

But goodness, couldn't all this have been accomplished without needlessly antagonizing so many former allies? Without having so much personal abuse play out on the pages of LGF these past two years? How can he regain transparency, so that the content of his bloggage rather than his personality will be the takeaway? How in the world is everyone on all sides going to climb down from all this hostility? It can't continue indefinitely. Can it?

10 10 No Pressure Video, adapted to a certain other "no pressure" situation...

I denounce myself in advance for posting this. If the LiveLeak embed doesn't work, as is its wont, just double-click it to go and view it directly on LiveLeak.

...and if the thing doesn't show at all, just click this link.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Westboro Baptist Church lawsuit

What, if anything, to do about the creepy picketers from Westboro Baptist Church at military funerals? I propose the following legislation for these cases:

Any person who commits assault and battery against any other person engaged in picketing or protesting a military funeral shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by not more than one hour incarceration or a fine of not more than five dollars.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Keith Ellison calls for tolerance

Home-grown Nation of Islam types are bad enough--street thugs in dinner jackets. Wahabbist and Deobandi Muslims are downright lethal to everything we'd recognize as civilization. Let's hope Keith Ellison is neither one of those.

Newsflash: General Philippe Petain still an anti-semitic creep, only moreso.

The Nazis chose their tool well.

A newly discovered document proves that Philippe Petain, the infamous leader who set up the puppet Vichy regime, in fact spearheaded the persecution between 1940 and 1944.

Petain had always claimed that he opposed the deportation of Jews to concentration camps, and in fact tried to do everything he could to stop it.

But a handwritten note from Petain in fact proves that he complained that his fellow countrymen were not doing enough to attack Jews during World War Two.
The original Statue on Jews, discriminatory laws passed by the French collaborators, read that 'descendants of Jews born in France or naturalised before 1860' would be spared internment.

But Petain crossed out the exemption clause and even suggested that Jews should be banned from becoming lawyers or teachers.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Germany's 20th reunion anniversary

The most momentous years I personally ever lived through were 1989-90, the West's victory in the Cold War. During the failed Soviet coup against Gorbachev, I pounded the steering wheel of my van in excitement, listening to the developments on the radio. Congratulations to the Germans on finally reuniting after all those decades spent asunder. Hope Otto von Bismarck has been resting more peacefully since then.

Recalling the slogan of the East German freedom movement of 1989, Mr Wulff on Sunday told his audience that “We are the people” was “an invitation to everyone” – immigrants and natives alike – to take part in the forging of a nation.

“When German Muslims write to me to say that I’m their president, then I answer, ‘Of course I’m your president’,” he said in reference to a recent public debate about whether some immigrant groups are more resistant to integrating.

Christianity and Judaism were key to German culture, he said, and so too should the country accept that “Islam has also become a part of it”. It was right that the Muslim religion should be taught alongside others at German schools.

“The future belongs to those nations ... which are open to cultural diversity,” Mr Wulff said to applause. “In the race for the brightest minds, we have to be able to attract them and to be attractive to them.”

Correction: Germany is becoming part of Islam, along with the rest of Europe. Cultural diversity will be a sad mock, if one culture insists upon an adversarial, supremacist course.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

10-10 No Pressure video

Me being a literal-minded Yank, I'd be appalled at this if I didn't have some Australian acquaintances. But remember, this is a country that honored a prime minister who died by drowning by naming a municipal swimming pool after him. So, consider the audience.

UPDATE: I've since learned that this is a British production, not Australian. So, color me reverting to being appalled. For filmmaker Richard Curtis and crew, this is one of those revealing instances where people do not see what you want them to see. Instead, they see what you really are.

What a baroque religion Hinduism is...

I'm reading William Dalrymple's Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India. Some of the rituals he mentions are preserved on YouTube. Like theyyam dancing, where dancers travel from village to village, invoking the deities and taking prayer requests from the locals. And singing the epic of Pabuji, a medieval warrior from Rajasthan whom time and renown has promoted to godhood, in that region. The performers sing his story for nights on end, before a phad, an illustrated tapestry of the epic, which doubles as a portable shrine. In the media age, with fewer people keeping to the old ways, fewer people have time to devote to listening to the whole thing, and so this tradition is slowly dying out.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where are video cameras?

They are in two places: everywhere they should be, and everywhere they shouldn't. RIP, Tyler Clementi.

Being a big-time blogger--in your dreams...

Falahime over at POWIP dreamed that she posted a doozy of a traffic magnet on her blog. Unfortunately, she doesn't remember what it was about. This sort of thing happens to people in creative endeavors, it seems. Here's a passage from the memoirs of Hector Berlioz, describing a symphony that came to him in a dream, for a while:

Two years ago, at a time when my wife's state of health was involving me in a lot of expense, but there was still some hope of its improving, I dreamed one night that I was composing a symphony, and heard it in my dream. On waking next morning I could recall nearly the whole of the first movement, which was an allegro in A minor in two-four time (that is all I now remember about it). I was going to my desk to begin writing it down, when I suddenly thought: "If I do, I shall be led on to compose the rest. My ideas always tend to expand nowadays, this symphony could well be on an enormous scale. I shall spend perhaps three or four months on the work, ...during which time I shall do no articles, or very few, and my income will diminish accordingly. When the symphony is written I shall be weak enough to let myself be persuaded by my copyist to have it copied, which will immediately put me a thousand or twelve hundred francs in debt. Once the parts exist, I shall be plagued by the temptation to have the work performed. I shall give a concert, the receipts of which will barely cover one half of the costs--that is inevitable these days. I shall lose what I haven't got, and be short of money to provide for the poor invalid, and no longer able to meet my personal expenses or pay my son's allowance on the ship he will shortly be joining." These thoughts made me shudder, and I threw down my pen, thinking: "What of it? I shall have forgotten it by tomorrow!" That night the symphony again appeared and obstinately rang in my head. I heard the allegro in A minor quite distinctly. More, I seemed to see it written. I woke in a state of feverish excitement. I hummed the theme to myself; its form and character pleased me exceedingly. I was on the point of getting up. Then my previous thoughts recurred and held me fast. I lay still, steeling myself against temptation, clinging to the hope that I would forget. At last I fell asleep; and when I next awoke, all recollection of it had vanished for ever.

Blogrolling is closing up shop

I just noticed this. I've got to find a new blogroll service soon, before all the really truly terrific sites in mine go poof!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another visit to the Answers In Genesis creationism museum

Writer John Scalzi blogged a visit to the creationism museum a few years ago. He was overwhelmed by the sheer idiocy of the place, and was reduced to spewing incredulous profanities, mostly.

Now comes this Indian fellow, Krish Ashok, paying a visit. Coming from a heritage which includes the most baroque religious traditions in the world, he seems to be a little tougher to freak out.

Most people in the queue did not strike me as fundamentalist nutjobs out to destroy the Western intellectual tradition. They struck me as tourists who thought it might be a decent idea to take their kids to a museum that advertised dinosaurs. Now, lifetime members are a different species altogether. They pay $495 and are people who seriously believe that (barring the engineering that built the museum itself) science is generally bad and that (a specific English version of ) the Bible is literally true. But then I have met VHP-RSS type uncles in Chennai who believe that India had the Pushpaka Vimaana thousands of years before the Wright brothers. And people drop jewellery into the Hundi at Tirupati, so to each his own I guess.

Doubtless because of this ancient hodge-podge of a heritage, which isn't so hung up on establishing underlying unities as the Abrahamic faiths are, he is gallantly forbearing of the museum's patrons:

So hahaha, LOL and all that at all these creationist duffers etc. But then, the only difference between a 21 million dollar Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY and people who consult astrologers is budget. It’s easier to laugh at dinosaurs eating pineapples than it is to smirk at someone breaking coconuts for Lord Ganesha. One’s own way of life is always superior no? “Our” philosophy was more advanced than this sort of simplistic nonsense no?

It was interesting that I did not find the sort of people Richard Dawkins always seems to find when he goes about pwning creationists. I just found regular folk who didn’t particularly care much about the complexities of the origin of life, the universe and everything else, not even two score and two times. To them one explanation is as good as the other and while we can bemoan this collective failure of rational thinking, there isn’t much one can do except build a better real science museum right next to this one. Even then, I’ll still visit this place to feed the alpacas.

Very sporting. It's more than I can manage, whenever I visit Answers In Genesis online. Teh stoopid, it burnnnsss...

Ambush interviews

I don’t care who it is, I dislike ambush interviews. The whole way the interaction is framed strongly insinuates the guilt of the quarry. A jittery shot of someone walking briskly & disappearing behind a door or into a car just makes them look shifty. If I ever get notorious enough for a cameraman + mike jockey to waylay me, I intend to do the following: Stop where I’m at, look at the interviewer and answer every question with “I’m sorry, but I don’t do ambush interviews.” Repeat until they get fed up and leave.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bishop Eddie Long, what he should have done...

Today he addressed his congregation, voicing defiance of the charges against him, but declining to refute them, in public.

What would have been a smart move is this: He could have taped himself at home, uploaded it to YouTube, and sent out a statement via his home email account. He could have said that he was doing this in order to show that he was going to fight these allegations entirely on his own dime. He wouldn't spend one minute of work time on it, nor one penny of church money--not even a bit of the church's electric bill. It would have been a great good faith gesture.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Church of Body Modification

Did you know that there was such a thing? Just like with witchcraft a coupla decades ago, it's probably a phase for willful teenage girls. Like this one, for example.

Yes, I think these things are bollocks, as the British say. "Your body is a temple"--that plainspun commonplace should be everyone's watchword.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Holy Wackah-moley!

This guy prays for Glenn Beck's children to become Muslim suicide bombers! (FF to the 3:00 mark) Why? Because his rally for America was too inter-faith for his liking. What a creep!

The Tea Party

I heard a rerun of Rush today, railing against the Republican "establishment" and plumping for the Tea Party candidates. He was especially histrionic; I wonder if he suspects that this is going to be the Right's last, best shot for a while, this November.

The Tea Party movement will dissipate, as all movements eventually do, and no doubt some opportunists will hop off the bandwagon once it's carried them to where they want to be. The question is: what will it leave behind? The memory of a mere spasm of popular pique, or a genuine revival of our nation's foundational principles?

One thing I think we can agree on now: this is no astroturf movement. And they aren't going to run away and hide because some liberal bloggers sneer at their misspelled signs, or holds them to shameful double-standards.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hey, Seattle...

So Molly Norris, a freeborn American, practicing her lawful trade in the heart of her native land, has to go into hiding because of a death threat from an imam hiding in Yemen? I have a hard time believing that pre-Californicated Seattle would have stood for this. Will none of you hippies stand up for her, protect her, dare the jihadists to come through you to get to her? Or are you too busy laughing at misspelled Tea Party signs?

Christine O'Donnell and the leftosphere

O’Donnell has induced quite the stack overflow at some excitable liberal blogs. Maybe they can organize and elect a more suitable public someday.

Always entertaining to watch these types sneer in fear, when the peasantry dares to answer back.

Christine O'Donnell's 90s The Salt clip

You've seen the video & maybe had a good snicker over it. But consider: These people aren't forcing their morals on anyone--and when have liberal entertainment industry types ever been shy about forcing their *lack* of morals on everyone else?

Amazingly enough, to some, there are people in the world who don't want to be sybarites, libertines, spiritual and moral slobs. They long for a zone of purity and cleanliness around themselves. They understand, however inchoately, that when anything goes, nothing matters. They don't want their own God-given sexualities not to matter. Clean living under adverse cultural circumstances is an achievement which deserves praise, not derision.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

On the public passing away of Christopher Hitchens, pt 2

When I mount the scaffold at last these will be my farewell words to the sheriff: Say what you will against me when I am gone, but don’t forget to add, in common justice, that I was never converted to anything.
-- H. L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, June 12, 1922

Yaron Brook and Onkar Ghate say our moral code is out of date?

Of course our moral code is out of date! That's why it's called "our moral code"!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

English Defense League poobah turned away at JFK airport--good!

I've got no love for jihadists or creeping shariah. But the EDL are street thugs with union jacks, nothing but. A load of skinheads swarming through the streets chanting, "Let's go fookin' mental! Let's go fookin' mental!" are nobody's freedom fighters.

Don't you get tired of hearing people denounce "religion" as if they were all the same?

He pulled together the available evidence and found that the more atheists or agnostics a free society has the more moral it becomes.

And I pulled together the available evidence and found that the more ice cream I eat, the hotter the weather becomes.

Who discovered water? Probably not a fish.

Nicholas Kristoff shoots the messenger

He wants his country back!

Europe is alarmed that Muslim immigrants have not assimilated well, resulting in tolerance of intolerance, and pockets of wife-beating, forced marriage, homophobia and female genital mutilation. Those are legitimate concerns, but[...]

Mr. Kristoff: Change the "but" to "therefore", and try again.

On the public passing away of Christopher Hitchens

I'll probably never execute my old plan to do a model funeral service for agnostics, admittedly damned. I am now too near my own need for it to give it the proper lightness of touch. Some day somebody else will do one. It is really amazing that none has ever been drawn up. An agnostic's funeral, as things stand, consists mainly of idiotic speeches--that is, when there is any ceremony at all.
-- H. L. Mencken, diary, May 11 1940

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace fear when we are caught without
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no-one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.
-- from Philip Larkin, "Aubade"

When death comes and whispers to me,
"Thy days are ended,"
let me say to him, "I have lived in love
and not in mere time."
He will ask, "Will thy songs remain?"
I shall say, "I know not, but this I know
that often when I sang I found my eternity."
-- Rabindranath Tagore

My best once again to him and his family.


Whoah! A major American newspaper describes American communists as "communists"! Not activists, or community organizers, or some such euphemism, but communists. Maybe we're finally putting the McCarthy legacy behind us, and can now go back to calling these people what they really are.

Neo-nazis and such base their beliefs on racial hatred, and are thus correctly abominated by all good people. But communists are motivated by class hatred, which, even after all the bodies have been tallied up, carries much less stink among people who consider themselves a cut above the common run of humanity. While vanishingly few such self-congratulatory types would ever actually endorse execution cellars for landlords, something in the back of their minds will respond to them with "Well yes, but..."

Back in my marchin’ days, I attended a U. S. Out Of El Salvador march & rally in Washington, D.C. The organized groups participating were all hard-left in persuasion. Spartacists, Trotskyists, Social Revolutionaries, Maoists, Communists, Stalinists, Castroists, Fourth Internationalists, plus numerous brands of Socialists, all practicing truth in labelling with their t-shirts and signage. I heard many chanted slogans about overthrowing the government, the joy of violent revolution, and so forth. I collected quite a stack of mimeographed lefty propaganda, too. One group in particular had an enormous banner, which dominated the march from every line of sight. On it were printed revolutionary slogans of the crudest, most anti-democratic, anti-humane type.

When I got home, I read about the march in the newspaper. They did mention one communist group by name, but only one. On the front page was a photo of the crowd, including that enormous banner. Thing was, it was obscured. The newswire photographer must have hiked rings around that crowd, and shot dozens of frames, in order to get a picture of the crowd that didn’t include “SMASH THE RUNNING DOG CAPITALIST PIGS!” hovering over all. He obviously wanted a favorable image of this march to be presented, so he had to hide the fact that the biggest banner advertised communism. This was my first first-hand encounter with leftist bias in news photography.

I guess the next thing will be to see how many of the anti-globo groups get named, when those recreational rioters next follow the G-Whatever summit to town.

Neo-nazis in the news

A quick browse through google's news aggregator lists three recent appearances in the news of American neo-nazis. One is a couple of weeks old: Bill White getting slapped with a big fine. Another is J.T. Ready, seeking state recognition from Missouri for his group, as a "militia". The third is some murdering scumball standing trial, who is covered head to toe with nazi tattoos. Creep looks like he was scraped up off the bottom of an ashtray.

The rest are all European: German, Russian, Dutch, Bulgarian...The most bizarre one is this:

Holland is considering tightening up regulations governing sperm donors after clinics accepted the offerings from a prominent neo-Nazi who said he wanted to promote ‘a strong white race’.

Patrick de Bruin attached the condition that his sperm should ‘only be used for white couples' infertility treatment’.

Sheesh. Given how the bravest person in the Netherlands is--or was--a black Somalian woman, that's quite bemusing.

The lesson of 9/11

One of the big lessons of 9/11 was this: There is nothing, literally nothing, that could befall the U.S. which would induce progressives to float down from their presumed higher moral plane and stand together with those icky fellow Americans. Instead, they bitterly cling all the more tightly to their exploded yet still treasured memes: poverty causes terrorism, the straight white male conservative middle class taxpayer is the root of all evil, to be brown, foreign, and angry at America is to be in the right by definition, etc.

Yes, Katha Pollitt, I'm remembering you.

Friday, September 10, 2010


"Given the explosive debate over an Islamic center near ground zero, “we thought it [the celebration] might be misunderstood and create a wave of attacks on our faith and community,” the imam said."

There's a word for attitudes like that: Projection. The imam doubtless knows how savagely Muslims treat Christians in Jos, Hyderabad, Orissa, and so forth, on the slightest pretext. He naturally fears that Americans would react to trifles the same way.

Quran-Burning Flap Stokes Concern In Muslim World

All this concern trolling by the Islamic press reminds me of certain community activists, who threaten (while pretending to warn) the authorities with riots if they don't get their way.

Shakespeare's Pericles, Prince of Tyre--a parallelism

Sir, I foretold you then what would ensue:
My prophecy is but half his journey yet;
For yonder walls, that pertly front your town,
Yond towers, whose wanton tops do buss the clouds,
Must kiss their own feet.

How to commemorate this anniversary of 9/11

Me, I'll probably repost my usual: my account of what I saw and did that day. Look for it a bit later this weekend. I might take my kids down to Centennial Park for some of the reading of the names of the murdered. Certainly not the whole thing, as they'd never sit still for it, and besides one of them has a soccer game. I'll block out an hour, maybe.

Other than that, I'll probably trawl through some archives of that day in 2001, including some of my own usenet posts. Just so I don't forget...

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The original burn the Koran day

Very funny. Book burning is still barbarous, though. I don't care what they do in Saudi Arabia; "everyone does it" is a teenager's argument.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Team Rubicon rescues Pakistan

For those who are unaware what or if the U.S. is doing to help Pakistan: This remarkable bolas de acero charity, Team Rubicon, is in country in Pakistan. They are saving lives by distributing simple, easy to make, rehydration fluids. They are partnering with locals--a dicey proposition in the Paki hinterlands--and keeping on the move, to stay ahead of the Taliban.

Over the past few days TR has treated over 2,500 patients in various parts of southern Punjab, an area devastated by the floods and resulting water-borne disease. We treated patients for heat stroke, malaria, multi-drug resistant TB, scabies, boils, diarrhea, and severe dehydration. We were able to reach remote villages because we developed a local partner who facilitated our entry, security, and other logistical needs. Dr. Eduardo Dolhun noted that many of his colleagues wanted to travel to Pakistan but were just too scared to commit. Given the barriers to entry, including fear, I think we’ve proved that developing a trusted local partner – in conjunction with local security forces – is a safe way to bring medical relief to the 20 million plus Pakistani people who have lost their homes due to the flooding crisis. God knows they need it.

Browse their blog. Caution, contains wrenching video clips of dehydrated infants.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Koran burning on 9/11

I'm against it. Book burning is barbarous, and this deed is being done out of frustration more than anything else, obviously.

Little Green Footballs de-linked

Well, my high-minded intentions from earlier this spring are coming to naught. I thought that I would keep my own banning from Little Green Footballs in perspective, and still recommend it as a reasonably bi-partisan if somewhat overheated forum for all comers. But in the past couple of weeks it looks like some sort of Final Offensive against conservatives has been occurring at LGF, with a number of old familiar names leaving or being banned. Looks like most of them are landing at Correspondence Committee blog, the alleged stalker blog which doesn't actually stalk. Charles is "turning over the house", as club operators say, when they induce customers to leave after they've bought all the drinks they're going to buy, to get a fresh crowd of customers in.

So, I've concluded that the leftward shift over there has gotten to the point where LGF isn't all that even-handed anymore. Such balance as there ever was turned out to be temporary, maybe even illusory.

I know, I know...

And so I can no longer endorse the site on the terms I formerly did (for what little that was ever worth). And so out of my blogroll it comes. Farewell once again.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

"We were expecting Islam to adapt to France and it is France adapting to Islam"

His camera shows that Muslims "are blocking the streets with barriers. They are praying on the ground. And the inhabitants of this district cannot leave their homes, nor go into their homes during those prayers."

"The Muslims taking over those streets do not have any authorization. They do not go to the police headquarters, so it's completely illegal," he says.

The Muslims in the street have been granted unofficial rights that no Christian group is likely to get under France's Laicite', or secularism law.

"It says people have the right to share any belief they want, any religion," Lepante explained. "But they have to practice at home or in the mosque, synagogues, churches and so on."

Some say Muslims must pray in the street because they need a larger mosque. But Lepante has observed cars coming from other parts of Paris, and he believes it is a weekly display of growing Muslim power.

"They are coming there to show that they can take over some French streets to show that they can conquer a part of the French territory," he said.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Ground Zero Dialog films

A collection of PBS's pro-Islam films is collected here. "My Faith, My Voice". Tax-funded taqiyya, yessireebob.

Well, one PBS film which you won't find there, and the likes of which Public Broadcasting System will never, ever air again, is this: Terrorists Among Us: Jihad In America. This is the notorious 1994 episode of Frontline about violent Islamic militants in America, bracketed by post-9/11 footage of that disaster and the U.S. attack in Afghanistan. Hidden cameras inside American mosques reveal Islamic militants raising funds for Hamas, baying for the blood of Jews. Even something so innocent as a summer camp for boys is turned into hate training by these apostles of jihad. (Catch the little arab boy hissing "Butcher the Jews!" during that segment.) Evidence is also offered suggesting that the first World Trade Center bombing was plotted and funded inside the U.S. At the end, the narrator assures us that Islam itself does not condone the violent jihad that American Muslims are being called to. This is baldly untrue, based on the Koran and the Hadiths and a quarter century of painful experience, but that issue needs its own video, so it doesn't much matter here.

It's hard to believe that PBS once actually aired this mortal sin against multi-cultism. Complaints against its creator, Steve Emerson, from well-funded American Muslim groups helped get him blacklisted from NPR's All Things Considered for a while. Less subtle disapproval from less savory Muslims nearly landed him in the FBI's witness protection program. In response to the (non-existent) oppression of Muslims in America, PBS in 2002 aired its infamous pro-Islam infomercial, in which American Muslims are portrayed as no different from anyone else save for headgear and cuisine. It ain't so, and this film shows why. As Paul Harvey says, it is not one world.

So what can honest, patriotic, innocent American Muslims possibly do? They are lumped in with terrorists, their religion is openly feared and reviled, they are presumed to be dissembling (as their religion permits them to do to advance the cause of the faith), and their children receive the cold shoulder, even scorn. They've been good citizens, paid their taxes, obeyed the laws, served in the military, and yet they are viewed as the menacing, unassimilable Other. What can they do? Beats me. It's a real dilemma, but you know what? More and more, I feel that it's not my problem.

It seems that I mourn for my murdered compatriots even more as time goes on, and have less and less patience for American Muslims' pity parties. How about some sensitivity from them? As much as Muslims and liberals instruct me to ignore how savagely Muslims treat non-Muslims in Islamic lands, I can't. I can't help but wonder how many of these earnest people in these videos, entreating my humanity and understanding, would just sigh "Allah knows best" if such savageries ever became widespread in this country. No doubt about it: an Islamicised America would be a disaster beyond all lamentation.

The reason this all stings so much is that Islamic terrorism is just that: Islamic. The elephant in the room is the fear that it is not a perversion of Islam, but its fulfillment. American Muslims urgently plead that all these fire-bombings, head-choppings, and all have nothing to do with Islam. Not so. The fire-bombings and head-choppings have nothing to do with American Muslims, personally. But their perpetrators are inspired and guided by the Koranic injunctions to wage war against all infidels, everywhere, forever. And it is this that I fear, Islam itself, in all its historic glories and modern horrors, for myself and for my country and my children's futures.

Islam is what Islam does. The tree is known by its fruit.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Broadband subsidies to backfire?

That's one of the fears from some telecoms in Montana, where the federal stimulus package is trying to extend broadband connectivity.

The government is pushing larger users, such as hospitals and schools, to jump from smaller networks onto ones being built with federal dollars. Without those large users, or "anchors," in their customer base, smaller consumers on the existing networks face higher rates for high-speed service, he said.

And that's a neat illustration in miniature of how government subsidies can make things cost more for little people. I have a feeling that we'll see the same thing with healthcare insurance reform--only not in miniature.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

NPR figures out why America isn't giving to Pakistan

Bigotry, donor fatigue, bigotry, the slow-motion nature of flood disasters, and ...ah...bigotry.

At this embarrassingly late date, NPR should really be less ingenuous in its reporting on these matters. It is not one world, and people are not all the same except for headgear and cuisine. Why are Westerners reluctant to donate to Pakistan? Because the Taliban has been carrying out its threats to murder Western aid workers, even during this disaster. And because there is a high likelihood that the money and aid donated will be siphoned off to corrupt officials or worse to the Taliban itself, to be used against our soldiers. And because Islamic charities are not like Western ones, in that the Islamic conception of "zakat" includes conventional charitable aid, but also bribery and funding of jihad.

The poor wretches... One can only hope that a lot of al-Qaeda have drowned also, up there in the Swat Valley.

Farewell to Mandy Manners' LGF account

Honest, I've been trying to just draw a line under my lizaroid years and move on. Really I have. But the pull of fascination is strong, still. I bump into an ex-lgf-er here, I comment on someone banning tale there, etc. So when a fixture like Mandy Manners finally wore out her welcome, well... *shakes head*

Mandy old pal, if you happen this way, take it from me--it's a big internet. Branch out! You don't have to fall in with the stalkers in order to have a life beyond Little Green Footballs. Don't feel bad--if Irish Rose couldn't stay on his good side, then probably no one from "our" side could, either. Whatever name-calling he directed at you won't follow you out into the wider world.

My best to you & your child, btw.

UPDATE: And I also hear that Spare O'Lake bailed, voluntarily. Good luck to you too, then.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Beslan, six years on...

Thanks to Howie at The Jawa Report for reminding me: The most savage jihadist attack since 9/11.

Note that which is noteworthy, which nonetheless notably goes un-noted in the above news clip. Not so in the one following:

And memo to everyone: Oedipus Rex is a tragedy; this was an atrocity. Yes, there was a backstory, a history, a precedent, etc. Bringing those up just amounts to telling the Russians "you deserved it"--same as certain Voices Of Conscience© have been telling us for nine years.

But hey: some teens hassled worshipers at a mosque in New York, so who are we to judge...

H. L. Mencken on teh OUTLAW

On blue, hyperacid days the suspicion often seizes me that most of my favorite notions are nonsensical—worse, that some of them are probably downright insane. It is a sad pleasure to examine them thus at leisure, and pick out the flaws in them. What is left is little save a pile of platitudes -- the apple-cores of meditation. Well, who is better off? I know of no one, though neither do I know of anyone who admits it. [...]

Nevertheless, it comforts me to think that, in one respect at least, I am superior to my chief opponents. That is in the respect that, in the main, my ideas are unpopular, and hence not profitable. No one can reasonably allege that I emit them in order to gain political office, or to get an honorary degree from the Ohio Wesleyan University, or to acquire the Legion d’honneur. This may seem a small thing, but it is at least something, especially in an American. Practically all the other men that I know try to capitalize their doctrines in some way or other. Who ever heard of an uplifter who was not looking for a job? Or, at all events, some one to finance his crusade? No one finances mine, such as it is. No one ever will.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Resisting an epiphany

Over at POWIP, Enoch is disturbed by the gradual roiling of dark waters in his soul.

I am not sure what to do with how I have come to feel about Islam in general and Muslims in general. [...] It is not as if I have a personal issue personally with any given Muslim person. And herein is the rub, as they say. [...] I would not consider myself a racist or a xenophobe. And I won’t proclaim that I am so very beyond harboring a sliver of deep distrust. Nor will I pretend it is but a sliver. The creaturely part of me signals as if I need be on guard when I am around The Them. And it bothers me that I do feel this way involuntarily.


A history professor of mine in college once told about an incident when he was touring the Balkans, Greece IIRC. He was in an old church, and noticed that the walls were streaked with soot. There had been a fire inside. The docent angrily confirmed it: "The Turks did this!" How terrible, the professor replied. When did it happen? "1348!" We all laughed. Such ancient, slavic grudge-carrying was quite foreign in America, the land of buried hatchets and fresh starts.

It doesn't feel so much like that anymore. Something is coalescing, taking root, something which may have repercussions centuries on down the road.

Americans are a kind, forbearing, humble, welcoming people, lefties' incessant accusations otherwise notwithstanding. I have never had a negative personal experience with a Muslim and, SFAIK (anonymous internet flammage aside) no Muslim has ever had one with me. I suspect that that is true of most everyone reading this, left or right. In fact, I sometimes have occasion to help Muslims who are new to the area, or to America altogether. During one point of misfortune a few years ago, I learned that one Muslim family of my acquaintance was praying for my wellbeing. So trust me: I know how all this sounds to people who disagree. American Muslims just want to run their convenience stores, parking garages, halal meat shops, or physics labs, and get on in life, same as everyone else.

And yet the Islamic terrorists, well-trained foreign agent or Sudden Jihad Syndrome flipout, are hiding among them, not us. And the alleged moderate Muslims who run interference for them are quick to scold us for noticing, as are the progressives who tend to make mascots of civilization's enemies. And every snowflake in an avalanche can plead "who, me?".

On the ground, under the news radar, most people get along fine much of the time, even in the world's hot spots. Muslims will even visit Palestinian churches to receive The Virgin's blessing, I've heard. And yet "My biking buddy is a Muslim, therefore Islam is a religion of peace" is as idiotically simplistic a statement as "I get along fine with all the black people at work, therefore there is no more racism in America." Only difference is that the stakes are far higher with the former delusion.

The people who roll their eyes at the commotion over Park51 do not understand or appreciate the power of symbols--intended or unintended. They do not understand the power of memory, of grievances unassuaged, and how they can be passed along year to year, generation to generation, to unpredictably multiplying effect.

No, like Enoch, I don't want to follow these thoughts to their terminus. Just as force should not always be applied to its utmost extreme, so ideas should not always be pursued to their logical conclusions. But the sectarian wedge has been driven deeper between us, with this "center". Who or what can prise it out again? Here be monsters.

Update: welcome readers of Lawyers, Guns and Money. Gee, between The Jawa Report flood earlier and now this, it's almost like having a live blog again, circa 2005!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blowback for Muslims

There's a small mosque in Cobb County, which was burned by an arsonist earlier this summer. It had been there for years and years--I drove past it sometimes--and the congregation even hosted a memorial in 2004 for a local man who was beheaded by al-Qaeda in Iraq. But all the hate speech flying around finally sent someone over the edge, and the place was torched.

It was torched by a Muslim, and the hate speech was flying around in his native Gambia, where Wahhabism imported from Saudi Arabia has poisoned people's minds.

So let no one think that opposing The Jihad is *quite* the same as opposing Islam. They'll kill insufficiently crazed Muslims as quickly as they will the rest of us.

Twitter for Victorians

From the Victorian London blog, a great find from the 1850s:

A Telegraph all over London? The wires brought to within 100 yards of every man's door? A Company established to carry it out?
Well - I don't know. There's a good deal to be said on both sides.
It certainly would be pleasant to be within five minutes of such a message as "Dine at the Club with me at seven;" or "SQUATTLEBOROUGH JUNCTIONS" at six premium; I've sold your hundred, and paid in the cash to your account;" or "Little stranger arrived safe this morning at twelve; mamma and baby doing well;" and one might occasionally be grateful for such a warning as "KITE and POUNCE took out a writ against you this morning - Look alive;" or "JAWKINS coming to call on you; make yourself scarce."
But think on the other hand of being within five minutes of every noodle who wants to ask you a question, of every dun with a "little account;" of every acquaintance who has a favour to beg, or a disagreeable thing to communicate. With the post one secures at least the three or four hours betwixt writing the letter and its delivery. When I leave my suburban retreat at Brompton, at nine A.M., for the City, I am insured against MRS. P.'s anxieties, and tribulations, and consultings, on the subject of our little family, or our little bills, the servants' shortcomings, or the tradesmen's delinquencies, at least till my return to dinner. But with a House Telegraph, it would be a perpetual tete-a-tete. We should be always in company, as it were, with all our acquaintance. Good gracious, we should go far to outvie SIR BOYLE ROCHE's famous bird, and be not in two places only, but in every place within the whole range of the House-Telegraph at once. Solitude would become impossible. The bliss of ignorance would be at an end. We should come near that most miserable of all conceivable conditions, of being able to oversee and overhear all that is being done or said concerning us all over London! Every bore's finger would be always on one's button; every intruder's hand on one's knocker; every good-natured friend's lips in one's ear.
No - all things considered, I don't think society is quite ripe for the House-Telegraph yet. If it is established I shall put up a plate on my door with "No House-Telegrams need apply."

I thought this was too perfect, but here is the original page from Punch, archived in Google Books. People often lament the passing of the closeness of small town community, where everyone knew their neighbors & their business. But like everything else, this closeness has been digitalized and globalized, with the warmth of human contact replaced with the high-tech sheen of the internet age. Instead of socializing over the back fence, we connect by peering into this year's hot new glowing rectangle.

And, like a commenter at the original blog post said, don't knock it til you've tried it. Maybe the Victorian writer would have overcome his misgivings and plugged right in, if given the chance. You never know.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Test post

To see if IntenseDebate comments is working.

Shirley Sherrod declines to be rehired by Department of Agriculture

Good for her. Even in tough times like these, there's room for only so many knives in one's back. Loyalty is a two-way street.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mayhem at the Ground Zero Mosque protest

From YouTuber MikeFerrara66

YouTuber: "Hey bro, bro: How does it feel to curse out an old man who's a Holocaust survivor? How does that feel?"

Lefty counter-protestor: "I have no problem cursing out a goddamned treasonous piece of garbage, who wouldn't know the Constitution if it hit him in the f!ing face, okay?"

Random Rock Bloggage

I'm enjoying using the Google archive of photos from LIFE magazine. But it's maddening when I find errors, and have no way of correcting them, or calling them to Google's attention. For example, if you search for bluesman John Lee Hooker, a number of mis-identified photos of Bo Diddly are also returned. I went through all of these and added Bo's name to the labels, but when I returned several days later all of my additions had vanished. There's no email contact provided, and I couldn't get through to Mountain View on the phone the other day, either. It's a shame; I'd love to help improve this fine resource, but they seemingly can't be bothered.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A view of The Jihad

"A gigantic taboo zone has been created, repeatedly reiterated and expanded with the well-intentioned collaboration of Western intellectuals. [...] In the confrontation with Islamism, the Left has abandoned its principles. In the past it stood for cutting the ties to convention and tradition, but in the case of Islam it reinstates them in the name of multiculturalism. It is proud to have fought for women's rights, but in Islam it tolerates head scarves, arranged marriages, and wife-beating. It once stood for equal rights, now it preaches a right to difference – and thus different rights. It proclaims freedom of speech, but when it comes to Islam it coughs in embarrassment. It once supported gay rights, but now keeps silent about Islam's taboo on homosexuality. The West's long-due process of self-relativisation at the end of the colonial era, which was promoted by postmodernist and structuralist ideas, has led to cultural relativism and the loss of criteria."

Submission in advance: 20 years after the fatwa was issued against Salman Rushdie, Islamism has the West more firmly in its grip than ever before.
By Thierry Chervel

Ground Zero Mosque protests photos

Here are more than 600 photos taken by various photographers today at the Ground Zero Mosque protest, uploaded so far to Flickr. And if you click through all of them, you will find two of a dude got up in prison tats and Confederate gear.

In the comments to one of the shots of this fellow, I noticed Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, asking permission to reproduce it at LGF. Here it is, trumpeted as the face of the protest. (And IINM that's the first time I've been back to LGF since getting the heave-ho--I don't do the stalker thing. Felt strange, but that's another story.)

Now, Charles must have searched through all 300+ [at the time] of these pictures, same as I did. He surely saw all the other people there: bikers, firemen, family members of 9/11 victims--certainly nothing like the freakshow at anti-war marches over the past decade. He may have even clicked through to some of the photographers' profiles and blogs, as I did, and seen that they were by no means sympathetic to the protesters. If there were more like Rebel Boy available to be photographed, they would surely have been snapped. But there apparently weren't. I'll stand corrected if more photographers upload examples later. But for right now, a better title for the LGF post would be The Most Disgusting Character I Saw At The Ground Zero Mosque Protest. Because that's all he really is, based on the available pics so far.

Sidebar: if any lizardoids of my former acquaintance should swing by, and happen to remember a family situation I shared with them last autumn, I'd like to thank them for their kindness back then, and let them know that it's now over.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The real problem with the Ground Zero Mosque

It's not tall enough.

No, really. If it were taller, it would "affect" the New York skyline, and the city government would be involved up to their elbows in this private construction matter. As they are with this proposed building.

Via videoblogger Vincent Ferrari.

And this Burmese YouTuber warns American Muslims of blowback, if the GZM is built.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Iranian Bomb -- I mean, reactor, is set to be fired up Saturday

Los Angeles Times to publish names and "scores" of teachers.

I believe that teachers should be held accountable. I just don't believe that the puzzle of classroom achievement can be boiled down to just that one variable. A great teacher can move mountains in an under-performing district, where the children struggle under any number of disadvantages, and barely budge the results. A mediocre teacher can be placed in a district with bright, motivated children, involved parents, & so forth, and just proceed on cruise control.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Insensitivity in New York City

The backers of the thing seem to actually think--assuming they're sincere--that building it will make them part of the national healing process. After all, they've been in Manhattan for 30 years. They are reportedly Sufists, not hardline Wahabists. The imam has soft feelings for Hamas? Well, so does just about every "fill-in-the-blank studies" department in our top drawer universities.

So the question is, what can this congregation do to show their sympathy and support? Answer: I don't know, and given their moral tone-deafness in foisting this project on lower Manhattan, their dilemma is not my problem. As much as sensitivity towards Muslims is demanded of us, it isn't too much to expect some from them, once & again. I will not be buffaloed by anyone into reviling them, but this controversy...they did it to themselves.

Bad mothers in the news

How does the news media decide which crimes are to be covered nationwide? This crime is horrible, as reported on CNN:

Shaquan Duley is scheduled to make her first court appearance Wednesday afternoon. She faces two counts of murder in the deaths of her two toddler sons, the Orangeburg County sheriff said. Police identified the dead children as Ja'van T. Duley, age 1, and Devean C. Duley, 2. The funeral for the children will be Friday morning.

But so is this crime, which was only reported in its immediate locality:

In addition to having intercourse with the child, the indictments allege Richardson used his hands and electrical cords as deadly weapons inflicting serious personal injury and also restrained and terrorized Teghan.

Teghan died July 19 at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, three days after she had been taken to Johnston Memorial Hospital by Richardson. She had cuts, lacerations, bite marks, head trauma and sexual assault injuries, authorities said.

Teghan and her mother, Helen Reyes, had been living in a barn with Richardson on 750 Old Sanders Road behind the home of his grandparents, Wade and Helen Creech, for the past four weeks. The structure had no bathroom, no running water and a single air mattress on the floor for sleeping, according to Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell.

Reyes left for New Mexico for Army Reserves training on July 6, leaving the sole care of her daughter entrusted to Richardson.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Ground Zero mosque

A sudden disgusting thought. Maybe that Ground Zero center will be built in time for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Maybe, at the vigils that will be sure to be held there, the imam and his congregation will join in--in all sincerity, let's say. Imagine his flock mumbling prayers in arabic during the Moment Of Reflection....allahu akbar, allahu akbar...the same prayers the hijackers screamed as they slit the flight crews' throats, as they stabbed the passengers who tried to resist, as they revved up the engines and slammed into the buildings. The same prayers that the muslims worldwide cheered in their mosques, dancing in the streets, exulting over the infidel victims' deaths.

Fuck that.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Random Rock Bloggage

You know, it's strange. When I was a spacey adolescent, back when woolly mammoths roamed the continent, I enjoyed the hell out of Jimi Hendrix. But now that I'm hauled up into middle age, I find that he's frequently too intense & mind-blowing for me. Why? I enjoy plenty of less innovative rock from that same era. I certainly wouldn't be so idiotic as to say that I've outgrown him. But he's just overwhelms me nowadays. A function of the broad mind & the narrow waist changing places, prolly. But it's amazing how his freshness, intensity, & innovation has *stayed* all these years, without losing its potency. His best transcended the hippie daze, and is undiminished to this day.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Visible girl, invisible girl

Porn is ultimately not very liberating for women. The 70s being long past, a feminist voicing such an opinion is not such a rara avis anymore. Indeed, Dr. Gail Dines is a long-time activist against what she sees (disclosure: and me too) as the pornification of our culture.

The Stepford Wife image that drove previous generations of women crazy with their sparkling floors and perfectly orchestrated meals has all but disappeared, and in its place we now have the Stepford Slut; a hypersexualized, young, thin, toned, hairless, technologically, and in many cases surgically-enhanced, woman with a come-hither look on her face. We all recognize the look: slightly parted glossy lips, head tilted to the side, inviting eyes, and a body contorted to give the (presumed male) viewer maximum gazing rights to her body. Harriet Nelson and June Cleaver have morphed into Britney, Rhianna, Beyonce, Paris, Lindsay and so on. They represent images of contemporary idealized femininity – in a word, hot – that are held up for women, especially young women, to emulate. Women today are still held captive by images that ultimately tell lies about women. The biggest lie is that conforming to this hypersexualized image will give women real power in the world, since in a porn culture, our power lies, we are told, not in our ability to shape the institutions that determine our life chances, but in having a hot body that men desire and women envy.

Okay fine, so far as that goes. But this rubs up against my dissatisfaction with feminism as a Compleat Theory of Everything, which some advocates seem to want it to be. Reducing all the rich pageant of men and women and home and work and life and love to mere politics is as barren, in its own way, as reducing it to mere carnality, as porn does. I wonder: what would she think if one of her students were a chaste, home-schooled, moral, prairie dress wearing virgin? "That's not normal" would be one of those thoughts, I'd wager. And if "That's not right" were another, I'd despair of her & her counsel altogether.

Feminism makes use of conservative moralism to further its own ends. This is akin to, and actually part of, the fatal old alliance between traditional conservatives and radicals, which has had such far-reaching effects for more than a century. They had nothing in common but their hatred of capitalism, the conservatives looking back to the revival of throne and altar in the various European nations, and to piety, the radicals looking forward to the universal, homogeneous society and to freedom — reactionaries and progressives united against the present.
-- Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind, 1988