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