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.