Thursday, December 22, 2011

Muslim baby adopted to prevent 'honor killing,' UK judges rule

When even British courts are taking atavisms like this seriously, that must count as progress.

"Inquiries of the police showed that (the baby's grandmother) had told them that if (the baby's grandfather) found out about the child, he would consider himself honor-bound to kill the child, (and the child's mother), (and the grandmother) herself and her other children."

The baby's father wanted the girl to live with him and his wife, but in July, High Court Family Division judge, Justice Parker, ruled that doing so would put her at "very significant risk".

If the family of the baby's mother discovered the truth about the child it could "provoke action to preserve the family's honor," Justice Parker said.

The values of rural Pakistan cannot integrate with those of Britain, and it is suicidal to continue to import these people.

Further musings on the passing of Christopher Hitchens from cancer


Hitchens, along with Nasim Nicholas Taleb, Peter Ackroyd, and doubtless other whom I can't think of at the moment, was one of the few people I admired whom I would nevertheless not want to meet. Why? Because I would be ashamed of myself for not being able to hold up my end of the conversation.

The best encomium I've read so far comes from the excellent general blogger Cobb:

Now that Christopher Hitchens is dead, the English speaking world is going to be able to get by with a little more bullshit.

Friday, December 16, 2011

RIP Christopher Hitchens

Not the least brave thing he did was to leave the herd of independent minds at The Nation, after 9/11, when they opted to withdraw all the more tightly into their proggy groupthink, rather than face up to the fact of The Jihad. Hitchens was almost alone among Leftists, in turning from a fair-weather foe into a foul-weather friend of the United States. The Left kept droning on about how bad America was, but how with enough "activism" it could be made better. Hitchens was shocked into realizing that America was a great good in the world--even if it were to become worse.

That's all I've got, really. Very sad. Search "Hitchens" in my blog's search box up to your left, if you want to see some earlier thought.

Have some quotes...

"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

"There's one thing that keeps surprising you about stormy old friends after they die--their silence."
-- Ben Hecht, Letters From Bohemia, 1964

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Seattle schools junk food ban is failing

Google's algorithm has been sending a lot of people here with their searches for junk food recently. I don't know why, but I bid you welcome, anyway.


Too bad.

The Seattle School District is considering rewriting a policy enacted in 2004 that removed junk food from public schools, citing the ban's huge cut to revenues used to fund school programs.

When the Seattle School Board first implemented the policy seven years ago, the district was placed on the cutting edge of the battle against childhood obesity. Fatty snacks like candy bars and fried chips were stripped from vending machines and replaced with orange juice, water and granola bars.

And, arguably worse:

This student behavior supports existing research on junk food in schools. Research published in November revealed that just banning soda from schools doesn't actually curb student consumption of sugary drinks. Across all states, whether they have no policy, ban sodas or ban all sugary drinks, students' out-of-school access and purchasing behavior of those beverages was unchanged.

Let those who cry "Nanny State" remember one thing, please: these are children we're talking about. Adults are supposed to make responsibl­e decisions on behalf of children, since they are not mature enough to make them on their own. The sugar and fat in junk food are addictive, so naturally kids will gravitate towards it. I've got nothing but disgust for Statists who try to forbid parents from buying Happy Meals for their children, that's just proggs getting too big for their britches. But schools are different, or should be. Costs? Yes, schools cost money to run. But let's not make a Faustian bargain with deep pocket sugar daddies (pun intended), and sacrifice the children's future health as a result.

Friday, December 02, 2011

San Francisco outfoxed by McDonalds



You may recall that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors banned McDonalds from giving away toys with their Happy Meals. This is because the BOS, good government nannies all, had decided that all those unlicensed parents were just too incompetent to keep their children away from the predations of an eeeeevil corprayshun like McDonalds. So, McDonalds is now charging ten cents extra for the toy, much to the flummoxment of nanny state proggs.

Okay, a number of things are at work here. Proggs feel themselves to be shouldered with the responsibility to run everyone else's affairs. Since proggs disapprove of commerce, feeling that everyone should really be knitting Mexican wedding shirts on some hippie commune instead, successful companies offend them. And since proggs believe that they are endowed with the wisdom to build, craft, plan, construct the perfect Erewhon society of the future, the natural, organically evolved society they live in also offends them. Also, as the general population gradually becomes accustomed to the idea that government should take over individual responsibilities, the government naturally looks for ways to both extend and entrench itself in this new role, and also to make its job easier. The more money government has to spend forcing people to get healthy, the less there is for other purposes. And there is also the psychological phenomenon known as transference. As California's astronomical debt burden crushes the state flat, acivists and the government avoids the problem by screaming louder and louder about trifles such as Happy Meals.

Kudos to McDonalds for not knuckling under. Let them be yet one more business chased out of California, rather than bow to these self-impressed social saviors.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Theatrum Belli

The French military has been fighting in Afghanistan for ten years, same as us. However, they aren't getting a lot of support from the folks back home. So, at this link, you can send a message of support to French soldiers in the field this Christmas, who are just as lonely as ours.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

David Mamet on Greed

I disagree with several details of Mr. Mamet's conservative epiphany, but he does score many incisive points. Like this one:

"The Left's current sentiment for the confiscation of benefits legally earned, but to them offensive, is Greed.

To wish to abrogate a legal contract between employer and employee because a nonparticipant feels someone got too much money is greed. It is not greed for money, but covetousness born of envy--the desire for that which legally belongs to another. That those in favor of this may not want the actual money for their own use is beside the point--they want the enjoyment of the power to strip the money from another. They may not use the confiscated funds to buy a car or a meal, but the billionaire who earns another million dollars cannot earn it either--he, like the offended Liberal, is enjoying the warm glow of its possession. A rampant and untrammeled glee, an unchecked ambition for gain is, in the individual, called miserliness; in the society which strips him of it, it is called Socialism.
-- David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm traveling, just ducked downstairs to the motel lobby to fire off a closing Thanksgiving greeting to you. What I am thankful for? I'm thankful for all the mid-life family challenges I face. I hit bottom pretty early in life, and it's been one long rebound ever since. I have grown up more than I ever suspected was possibly in the past decade and a half, so much so that I blush at the thought of my earlier protracted immaturity. In fact, I feel that I didn't grow up, so much as I converted to adulthood, with all the zeal of a convert. I feel my shortcomings in my present responsibilities quite keenly. But I'm grateful that I have been preserved, safeguarded, and brought to this present time to grapple with them at all. (Sorry to be enigmatic, but this is a pseudonymous blog, after all!) I'm also glad for my remaining family (I'm the youngest child of youngest children), and the chance to be with them. Hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday.

It frightens me
The awful truth
Of how sweet life can be
-- Bob Dylan, "Up To Me"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy Wall Street protesters being cleared out of parks.

Where do they go from here? Back to university. They'll get tenure, write the history books, and portray themselves as heroes to mush-headed students of a future generation. Just like the radicals of '68 did. No one remembers how they stole credit for the civil rights movement, nor all the bombs they set, nor the soldiers they spat on, nor the criminals that they made into folk heroes, nor the riots they instigated & then successfully blamed on the police. Rather, they sit in pampered academic security, giving their blessings to their young proteges. And so shall it be with this lot.

Brooklyn museum exhibit features depiction of ants running wild over crucifix

Well, aren't we just too edgy to handle without oven mitts. Supposed to be a statement about AIDS or some similar sort of values inversion, to put mainstream society in the wrong, I gather. But if the intent is to shock, then the artists stand revealed as wimps. They no more want to be murdered, or go into hiding, or fend off homicidal attacks in their own homes, or be ostracized as racist by their own kind, than anyone else does. But that's what would happen--what has happened--if they made sport with images of The Prophet of the One True Faith.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Porn star Sasha reads to LA school children

Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future. OTOH, you can only have one reputation at a time.

"I am an actor. I am an artist. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a partner. I have a past that some people may not agree with, but it does not define who I am.

Scores of angry parents, even nowadays, even in La-La Land, would beg to differ.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Seven billionth human born this weekend: welcome, little stranger!

"There's just enough of me, but way too many of thee" is a prejudice as old as civilization. But it's notable that liberals--who feel themselves shouldered with the duty to run everyone else's lives--regard the rising population as mere mouths and stomachs. That is, as just another problem to solve (or at least to strike a concerned pose about). But the flaw is in liberals' base presumption: that humanity will inevitably rush headlong into ruin without their, liberals', intervention. (They never explain of what finer clay they are made, but that's another story.) They never quite believe that other people can solve problems, that other people can co-operate peacefully with each other, that other people are smart. It doesn't make them feel all affirmed & complete inside, to think that way, to have that kind of respect for other people, as patronizing people does.

Wealthy nations have lower birth rates. So, if liberals are serious about wanting the world's population to come down, they should recuse themselves from economic affairs, so that more people can get rich!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is Occupy Wall Street the culmination of an Alinsky-ist plot?

You know, I don't believe in conspiracies, so much. But filling the unemployment rolls with thousands of Left-indoctrinated young people, with massive debts and degrees in worthless subjects, would be a socially disruptive move worthy of Alinsky himself. If it wasn't done on purpose, it certainly is playing to the hard Left's hand of cards anyway.

Occupy Miami Oct.15th 2011

Occupy Wall Street law-breakers foreseen by Frederic Bastiat


Hey, when you practice civil disobedience--just like Gandhi did!!!!--everything you do is right, dood!

"What young man, going out into the world full of ardour and passion, does not say to himself: "The impulses of my heart are the voice of Nature, which is never mistaken. The institutions that stand in my way are man-made and are only arbitrary conventions to which I have never given my consent. In trampling these institutions underfoot, I shall have the double pleasure of satisfying my inclinations and of believing myself a hero" "
-Frederic Bastiat, 1848

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Screwy Louie mourns Col Klink

Contemptible.

“I come to say to the world that the Nation of Islam mourns the loss of a great brother leader. Those who rejoice at his death, your laughter will turn to tears, and your joy will turn to sorrow and great pain,” Farrakhan said during the two-hour interview at WVON’s South Side studios.

Farrakhan had been a vocal supporter of the Libyan leader, traveling to Tripoli several times, and his Nation of Islam’s international headquarters, Mosque Maryam, was purchased with a $3 million loan from Gadhafi.

Pampered America-hater doesn't know what tears are.

Can any good thing come out of Berkeley?

Well, if we're talking about the hard physical sciences, yes. A project called Berkeley Earth went back and reviewed the climate change data that's been disputed over so much these past few years, and confirmed the findings. Something as complicated and omni-directional as climate can't really be crammed into a four word headline, or a 500 word blog post, even if I were qualified, which I'm not. So, click here and get up to speed.

I will, however, repeat my frequently voiced attitude towards global warming. I'm politically inclined to be dismissive of global warming. The image of failed socialist wackademic revolucionarios re-inventing themselves as environmental activists, seeking to shut down the means of production that they failed to win state ownership of, fits my mental template of the Left pretty snugly.

But, as voracious a devourer of popular science as I've always been, I must also admit that there seems to be more than a little something to global warming. I'm a big believer in the power of aggregate knowledge. If independent findings in many different scientific fields point to the same conclusion, then you've gotta take that seriously, the political coattail riders notwithstanding.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Greece, Eurozone, banks, and the 50% "Haircut"

Scenarios dire unfolded here and here.

Okay, thought exercise! In place of "banks" in this story, insert your name, and in place of "Greece", insert a needy, deserving unfortunate of your choice. So, the scene is this: The needy, deserving unfortunate and you had entered into a financial arrangement. The needy, deserving unfortunate has been borrowing from you, but is not able to pay you back. The looming default threatens to play havoc with your personal finances. Enter the government! It sizes up the situation and decides for you. It decides that you must simply take a bath on the bad loans. Which is to say, the money that you had lent the needy, deserving unfortunate is gone, and you will be on the hook for it and whatever collateral risk you took along with it. You may, however, receive a token bit of chump change from the government, to ease the sting. All for the greater good, of course--unless you're some kind of hater who has it in for needy, deserving unfortunates.

Okay, now you can take out the needy, deserving unfortunates, and substitute back in bloated, profligate, cafe society wannabe Greece. You're still on the hook, though.


Links via David Thompson and I forget who, sorry!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gaddafi reported to be dead

So long, Col. Klink. The Mussolini of North Africa meets a fate quite similar to that of Il Duce. Cue The Clash:

But in these days of evil presidentes,
Workin' for the clampdown
Lately one or two have fully paid their due
For workin' for the clampdown




Else-web, I see that liberals and proggs are out in force, labeling him a creation of the U.S. That gives me an opening to post one of my favorite examples of American military heroism, right at the beginning of Gaddafi's regime, in 1969:

“One day Khadafy ran a column of half tracks through my base—right through the housing area at full speed. I shut the barrier down at the gate and met Khadafy a few yards outside it. He had a fancy gun and a holster and kept his hand on it. I had my .45 in my belt. I told him to move his hand away. If he had pulled that gun, he never would have cleared his holster. They never sent any more half tracks.”

That's the late Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr., a legend in the Air Force. "Where do we get such men?"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy Wall Street protesters *don't* want to tax the rich?

In a Guardian column rebutting some criticism of the OWS movement, Amanda Marcotte makes this strange claim:

It's fun to pick apart the illogic behind the conservative obsession with federal income tax, but what is most remarkable about We Are the 53% is how off-topic it is. Supporters of the 53% Tumblr seem to be under the impression that Occupy Wall Street posters are demanding a higher tax burden on everyone who pays federal income tax. There is simply no reason to believe this, especially since both We Are the 99% and Occupy Wall Street have repeatedly emphasised that they object to the 1% of Americans controlling 40% of our wealth.

Very odd, counter to everything I've heard the protesters themselves saying. See for yourself.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and The Tea Party Movements

The Tea Party and the OWS movement are mirror images of each other. The Tea Party is demanding that Washington stop robbing generations yet to be born of wealth yet to be earned, and leave productive citizens to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Occupy Wall Street is more European, demanding that "somebody" give or continue to give them free stuff, or preserve them from the consequences of their actions, since they've already gone to all the fuss and bother of existing. The sight never fails to disgust, whether it's this OWS stunt or a more typical demo: Unemployable post-post-post-post-docs who couldn't run a lemonade stand (not least because their kind have all but outlawed them) presuming to dispose of the earnings of their more capable fellow citizens, all for "the greater good". Neighbors, if you knew how to handle wealth wisely, you would also know how to earn it--and you wouldn't need to occupy Wall St., because you'd be able to be generous with your own earnings.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mikhail Gorbachev: We should have preserved the Soviet Union

This on the 20th anniversary of the dismantling of the Soviet Union. He also says the U.S. should have done more to bail him out during the attempted coup. Mmmmm, nope. Good riddance to the Soviet Union, the most evil regime to have ever arisen in Europe. Not Nazi Germany? No. Hitler was as evil as Lenin and Stalin, but he didn't have the means or the time to match their body count. Plus, he lacked their friends in the West. Nazism was based on racial hatred, while socialism is based on class hatred. By the 1930s, racism was becoming an atavism, whereas the Depression had given socialism renewed appeal to the herd of independent minds. The Nazis never claimed to be slaughtering their millions for the salvation of all mankind. So the luckless victims of socialism were done in on a more resplendent altar in a better-attended political temple.

It all reminds me of this old Jules Feiffer cartoon, shortly after the Soviet Union dissolved.

When that fool, Reagan, called the Soviet Union `the evil empire', I knew we were headed for war.
When that fool, Reagan, gave a blank check to the arms race, I knew the odds favored nuclear annihilation.
When that fool, Reagan, launched star wars on the premise that the Soviet Union would go broke trying to keep up, I knew he was a dangerous kook living in a never-never land.
When the Soviet Union went broke, surrendered its empire and called off the cold war, I knew it was Gorbachev's genius and Reagan had nothing to do with it.
Because if that fool, Reagan, was right all along...
What kind of fool am I?

Friday, October 07, 2011

The difference between progressives and children

Children demand the right to do whatever they please. Progressives demand the right to do whatever they please and consider themselves heroes for doing it.

#occupywallstreet Protesters Attack Police

Via The Jawa Report: Occupy Wall Street protesters attack police, as seen in the video below. Bet you've only seen the videos of the police's pushback, haven't you? Fautography from radical proggs? Well, knock me down with a feather... Ever notice how it's the union goons, the anti-globo rioters, the street-brawling anarchists, who are forever warning about the always-imminent but completely non-existent threat of Tea Party violence?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Anwar Al-Awlaki dead--Molly Norris to re-emerge?

First thing I did when I heard the news was to click over and congratulate the fine folks at The Jawa Report, for staying on this creep's case.

Maybe now Molly Norris can come out of hiding. Remember her? Molly Norris, a freeborn American cartoonist, practicing her lawful trade in the heart of her native land, had to go into hiding because of a death threat from al-Awlaki. I had a hard time believing that pre-Californicated Seattle would have stood for this. Would none of you hippies stand up for her, I wondered? Protect her, roar defiance at The Jihad, dare them to come through you to get to her? Or were they too busy laughing at misspelled Tea Party signs?

The fact that a harmless cartoonist at a run-of-the-mill altie rag had to hide for her life because of a fatwa from the late imam should demonstrate both the international and the Islamic nature of the The Jihad against our liberty and our lives.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Random Rock Bloggage: Farewell to REM

I never did see REM in concert, but I did play their music on college radio in the early days. How early? So early, that they were still a college band, and Michael Stipe was still a longhair. The radio station I was on was tiny, couldn't be heard off campus, and the preppie student body was deaf to our offerings (though I'm sure many came around years later). Pretty much no one listened except the staff. Now, of course, the music we played is on the nostalgia stations, or filling out endless re-packagings of that era's songs. Of all those bands, U2 and REM are the only ones I can think of offhand who have endured and had their greatness affirmed by both the critics and the buying public.

I liked what Mike Mills said one time: "We're the acceptable edge of the unacceptable stuff". I didn't like what Michael Stipe said, though: "I've always referred to the Beatles as elevator music because that's exactly what they were. I've never sat down and listened to a Beatles record from beginning to end. Those guys didn't mean a (expletive deleted) thing to me." It isn't because it offends me, but because the influence is screamingly obvious. All of REM's music sounds like it's descended from, an exfoliation of a single Beatles song, "Rain". Come on, now: you can easily hear REM covering it in your mind, can't you? Just goes to show how fecund The Beatles music was.

I enjoyed their early albums up to and including Lifes Rich Pageant, still do. "The Flowers of Guatemala" is probably my favorite song of theirs. I enjoyed many of the singles that appeared on the radio once they hit the top, too, but by that time I was beyond getting emotionally involved with bands. Had they continued releasing Fables Of The Reconstruction II, III, IV, V, etc., I probably would have never even known they were still together, when they announced their breakup. So congratulations to them for starting out edgy and literate, and bringing those same qualities along to mainstream success, and happy retirement to them.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My 9/11 Story

I was driving to work, listening to the radio and waiting for the replay of David Letterman's Top Ten List to come on. The breaking news "swoosh* came on, and Tom Hughes on WGST announced that a small plane had hit the World Trade Center. Now, just a few weeks before that, someone in a parasail had fouled his rig on the Statue of Liberty. So, I thought that this was some brainwipe in a Cessna whose stunt had gone awry. Only when I got in to work did I hear that both had been hit. I tried to connect to various news websites, but the national ones were all jammed. So I hit upon the idea of connecting to some West Coast newspapers' websites before their patrons woke up, because I knew they would be running wire photos and reports. I finally got through to the website of the Sacramento Bee. (I later sent their webmaster a thank-you for his hard work.) I was so stunned that it wasn't until after lunch that it occurred to me to turn on the radio.

At one point I went down to the Publix to give a check for the Red Cross. A young man at the counter, whom I later figured out was an Arab, kept trying to make small talk with me, about how terrible the events were. I guess he, acutely aware of his nationality that day, thought I had been glaring at him. But in truth, I was lost in my own thoughts.

I got home and ate dinner in front of the TV. It was a cacophany of video loops, guest experts, officials, and reporters doing stand-ups at or near various newsworthy locations. The horrible news came cascading down all day and night. It was towards bedtime that I realized that I had been standing, not sitting, in front of the TV all evening. I woke up the next morning, from a pretty pleasant dream, only to have the awful new reality come crashing in as I woke. A few weeks later it felt as if this had been going on for months. And now, ten years later, I remember it as vividly as if it had happened last week.

Monday, September 05, 2011

CDC: Half of Americans will suffer from mental health woes

Wow. Half. Is there anyone in the country who doesn't suffer from some disorder or inadequacy? Just think: One day, with enough counseling, enough psycho-therapy, enough medication, enough self-help books, we'll be able to avoid life altogether.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

“A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror.” Ken Keyes.

No one likes having to endure the company of disrespectful hood rats, anywhere. People who know a little something about east Asia understand and appreciate how ingrained public courtesy is in their cultures. So the sight of Bruh-Man here abusing an elderly Korean couple in a very public place is doubly shocking and disgusting. And, for Americans, embarrassing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More thoughts on the British riots

It was Voltaire who described the English thus: "They are like their beer -- froth at the top, dregs at the bottom, the middle excellent." Of course mob violence, apolitical mob violence, is not new in British society. What is new is the assumption on the Left that a cradle to grave welfare state, taking over all responsibility from people to mind their affairs, reducing them to human livestock in government barns, would thereby remove any cause for violence. Earlier ages would have spotted such naivete straight off. But British policy makers today live in a world where all the good solid short words are considered hopelessly simplistic and insensitive, and "sinful" is only encountered on the dessert menu.

Dostoevsky:

"Oh, tell me, who was it first announced, who was it first proclaimed, that man only does nasty things because he does not know his own interests; and that if he were enlightened, if his eyes were opened to his real normal interests, man would at once cease to do nasty things, would at once become good and noble because, being enlightened and understanding his real advantage, he would see his own advantage in the good and nothing else, and we all know that not one man can, consciously, act against his own interests, consequently, so to say, through necessity, he would begin doing good? Oh, the babe! Oh, the pure, innocent child!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lambertville vandalism turns life-threatening

Lambertville vandalism turns life-threatening

Nothing on the MSM yet, other than a local TV station, but the conservative blogs are all over this, and rightly so. Forty-eight hour rule and everything, but I'll be very disappointed if this doesn't become national news. Thuggery by unions is unacceptable, and should not be taboo in the news.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ruth Padawer on The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy in The New York Times Magazine

Selectively aborting all but one fetus in a multiple pregnancy. Is this wrong? Answer: If abortion is not wrong, then this is not wrong. Nor is female-specific abortion wrong, as happens in Asian countries nowadays. Nor will abortion to eliminate fetuses of a particular sexual orientation be wrong, once that becomes possible. "Without God, everything is possible", as Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote.

Ms. Padawer has included a few tear-jerking stories of women wrestling with this difficult choice. (Though she does refer to a doctor receiving calls from a stream of women who don't seem to find it so difficult at all.) The article is not as disgusting as the one last time the NYTM discussed selective abortion. That piece, by abortion rights activist Amy Richards as told to reporter Amy Barrett, was appalling in its callousness. A no-longer young woman, still doing the co-habitation thing with a boyfriend, becomes pregnant with twins and a stand-alone. There's nothing wrong with them, although she alarms herself with the possibility that something "might" happen. The stairs are steep, the city is expensive, and she, like, reeeeally doesn't want to give up her urban hipster lifestyle, and go live in the icky-poo suburbs. So, death for the unborn twins it is.

I am appreciative that these procedures exist, and have become as safe as they are. I know that not every woman who aborts is just a selfish flibbertigibbet. I also acknowledge that this is one of the mercifully few issues where our ideals of liberty and morality are in direct conflict. So, it seems, with this medical advance we've crossed another Rubicon:

Marking what he called a “juncture in the cultural evolution of human understanding of twins,” Evans concluded that “parents who choose to reduce twins to a singleton may have a higher likelihood of taking home a baby than pregnancies remaining with twins.” He became convinced that everyone carrying twins, through reproductive technology or not, should at least know that reduction was an option. “Ethics,” he said, “evolve with technology.”

One might also argue for the existence of an inverse relationship between the progress of the two.

Britain's riots: what to do in the aftermath?

I've been reading the British newspaper punditry in the past week, and the arguments fall along two main lines. The liberals say "Public order must be enforced, but...", while the conservatives say "Public order must be enforced, therefore..."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy birthday, Herbert Hoover



Finally, a piece which lauds this man for his forgotten humanitarian achievements. As an international humanitarian first and a failed president second, Hoover was Jimmy Carter in reverse. Hoover also had a big hand in famine relief in Russia and Armenia in the 1920s; we are living through the 90th anniversary years of it. American citizens across the country volunteered by the hundreds to organize donation drives. A book published in 1930 about these efforts still makes the breast swell with pride at being a citizen of such a generous nation. (One section describes how the Armenians weren't just dumped into a camp with tents and sacks of food, as nowadays. They were given work to do, the remoralizing effects of which still went without mentioning back then.) When the American Relief Administration expanded into Kiev, the local wits said that ARA stood for "Amerike Ratevet Aleman", meaning "America Rescues Everyone."

Thomas Friedman envisions a grand compromise

Here. In brief, he imagines Republicans, including the Tea Party laying aside their principles and going along with the Democratic program, all in the name of bipartisanship. And his Obama lays down yet another cloud of rhetorical squid ink, while promising to do a better job of explaining himself to the thick American public. Well, at least Mr. Friedman isn't dabbling in The Totalitarian Temptation this time.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Happy Birthday, Instapundit!

Congratulations! Back in those days I mostly got my daily commentary fix by surfing the websites of conservative magazines. One of them, James Taranto at the WSJ's Opinion Journal, started linking to Instapundit. I clicked over, liked what I saw, and branched out into the blogosphere from there. Many major blogs have come and gone since then, or changed their character. Even blogging itself has now passed beyond its frontier days, with the solid bloggers prospering and the less compelling ones vanishing, or contenting themselves with seeing their own scribblings onscreen. But Glenn Reynolds blogs on, remarkably even-keeled, his place in internet history secure as the man who discovered that repeatedly sending traffic away will bring traffic back ten-fold.

An Era of Left-Wing Shibboleths

The Chronicle of Higher Education invited a number of academics to muse on various themes in connection with 9/11. I read a few & then gave up. None of these people whose articles I read, excepting Victor Davis Hanson, wrote as if they believed 9/11 happened to them. Have you ever been threatened by a terrorist? If you've read any of AQ's communiques, yes you have, acknowledge it or don't.

I left a number of comments, for as long as I lasted. You might enjoy this one, which in truth I've recycled in a number of forms over the years:

One of the lessons of 9/11 was what we learned about the Left. 9/11 proved, perhaps once and for all, that there is no attack that America can suffer that will induce the Left to take up her cause, against whatever enemy might be out there. Progressives' standing hatred--however disguised--of America must filter and trump any attack on her. I'm disappointed and actually rather surprised that Dr. [Todd] Gitlin seems to have reverted to channeling his inner 1968. I thought he had made a firmer peace with America over the years than this piece indicates. Guess I haven't been paying close enough attention.

The flaw of acting as if you believe that "ideas are the only homeland" is that one's actual physical homeland is always measuring up short by comparison. Richard Fernandez some years back said that progressives forbid themselves to find value in the present, only the any-day-now Golden Future that they're all working for is worthy of prizing. ("I pledge allegiance to the United States that can be.") At what point do fair weather foes of their American here-and-now home turn into foul weather friends? If the answer is "never", then they have no right to bang on about their "dissent" being the highest form of patriotism. It is instead just the weasely-est form of self-congratulation. And yet America receives them, protects them, rewards them, without a murmur. V. S. Naipaul put it very well:

"Always out there, the United States, an unacknowledged part of the world picture of every kind of modern revolutionary: the country of law and rest, with which at the end of the day a man who had proclaimed himself to be on the other side–in politics, culture, or religion–could make peace and on whose goodwill he could throw himself."

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Helicopter downed in Afghanistan, 31 special forces killed

This is utterly awful, in addition to the loss to their families. These spec warriors and their accumulate­d battlefiel­d savvy are not going to be replaced anytime soon. Just awful....

At one point during the '04 campaign, John Kerry declared that he would double the number of our special forces. How? The graduation rate of those training courses is about 30%, I've heard. This is truly a terrible loss for America's military. I just hope that this was some peasant who got off a lucky shot with an RPG. If the Taliban was able to interdict a spec-op mission, in revenge for the death of Osama bin Laden, that's scary.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Muslims apologize for attacking Christians

From the "catch 'em being good" file.

Two Muslims have apologized for an anti-Christian rampage in the Punjab city of Gojra two years ago that left 10 Catholics dead.

At an interfaith seminar at the Sacred Heart Church in Gojra on Monday to mark the second anniversary of the incident, two Sufi masters expressed regret for the violence, saying it went against the “spirit of Islam.”

In August 2009, more than 800 Muslims went on the rampage against Christian communities Gojra and a nearby village, torching buildings and attacking inhabitants. The anti-terrorism court in Faisalabad in June acquitted all 70 people arrested in connection with the attacks.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Debt Ceiling Deal

Haven't had a chance--and probably won't--to read through it. But I've heard people on talk radio slamming it, and the libs at Huffington Post slamming it. So, it looks like a typical government consensus monster, tossing a bone to all the factions, who were insisting on steak.

As for how we got here, in truth the U.S. has been broke since World War II. IMO the fight to reign in federal spending was fought and lost in the Reagan years. The two-year period in the mid-Aughties when Republicans controlled everything was wasted, because not enough of them were serious about the public debt. The Tea Party candidates have fought as single issue representatives--they are only there to reduce spending. They are probably right when they say that if they don't fight now, they will have no standing to fight later, and they will be voted out. But the fickle public will probably vote them out even if they succeed, if certain programs are affected. So, they are probably single-use reps, in addition to being single issue.

The stimulus? It failed, drag it out back and bury it. But we will probably instead fall victim to the usual Washington logic: Did the government program succeed? Expand it to ensure future success. Did the government program fail? Expand it to ensure future success. Galvanizin­g frogs legs will make them jerk, but it won't bring them back to life. So it is with the zillions wasted on the stimulus. Better to let the economy revive and strengthen on its own, rather than be stuck with a zombie economy, which collapses as soon as the electrodes are removed.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Question for Senator Harry Reid and President Obama

If default is the end of the world, why is cutting spending even worse?

John McWhorter on comprehending Shakespeare's language...

...in The New Republic.

In the past I have suggested careful translation into modern English of the passages in Shakespeare that truly cannot come across intelligibly. However, an alternative would be the general acceptance that anyone who wants to get a full meal from a Shakespearean evening should read the play beforehand.

I would reverse those alternatives. Bantam Books used to have an excellent series of Shakespeare plays, extensively footnoted, informative introductions about the play and the history of its staging, and a wonderful forward by the late Joseph Papp. These, plus the BBC's video productions of the Bard's complete works, helped ease me into the rhythms of Elizabethan English, and to appreciate Shakespeare's genius.

Indeed, let Dr. McWhorter not lament that bits of Shakespeare are incomprehensible, but that so much of it is still intelligible. The English language morphed very quickly in the Middle Ages, so much so that by Shakespeare's time the English of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales was as obsolete as it is to us today. Yet the language has stabilized since then, by comparison. We still "get" Shakespeare in large part, almost as if the English language itself were wary of losing its ability to transmit the plays to living viewers. This is a cause for rejoicing. No, I don't know what some of those passages mean. I don't know who all those people in Raphael's School Of Athens are, either--but it's no barrier to feeling the genius of the art one is in the presence of.

You are very sensible, and yet you miss my sense.
Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Faithlessness and marriage

I know a couple who have cohabitated for years, had a baby together, and finally married last year. This past week, she left him. She didn't so much break up with him as she dismissed him. Just didn't dig being a wife anymore, it seems. He's crushed, on a roller-coaster of emotions right now. And these aren't kids, they are staring middle-age in the face. You never know what's going on in other people's families, I guess. But I hate the sight of solemn relationships being abused, being entered with a giggle and exited with a shrug.

Have some quotes:

Alas! how many who have been confided in for years, have yet suddenly proved faithless to the trust reposed in them.
-- Mrs. H. Buckner

Faithlessness is one of the most pernicious sores of our social life; it contaminates all it touches, and spreads disorder, ruin, and despair in the path of those who have loved, trusted, and been betrayed.
--James Ellis

He lives in a serial non-pledged monogamy, in ad-lib cohabitation. This is preceded by no awe-provoking exchange of oaths, or reminder of his (now legal) duties.

When he tires, and eventually marries, the ceremony will be understood as supererogatory--has he not engaged in cohabitation several times before? He knows how to live with woman, he has done it many times.

The awesomeness of an oath, and the meaning of his signature on a legal document committing him to various responsibilities, will occur to him--though only at the *end* of his marriage. They in their totality are known as "divorce", which has, in our day, replaced marriage as the culturally determined ritual signifying "leaving home".

The ceremony of beginning one's new home, of separating from one's parents, originally ending in marriage, with desire and joy, has been replaced and is now attended by rancor and shock: the community has finally insisted upon its rights.
-- David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Budget talks break down, default looms

Ever get the idea you're watching a snowball fight on the decks of the Titanic, after the iceberg has struck?

"I hate all bungling as I do sin, but particularly bungling in politics, which leads to the misery and ruin of many thousands and millions of people."
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Norway murderer a right wing anti-multicultural extremist.

I will admit that it gave me sharp pause: someone types out his concerns of creeping Islamization of Europe, which I share in substantial part, and then goes and murders nearly a hundred young campers. I now know the disquiet progressives must have felt from time to time these past ten years, hearing jihadists repeat their own denunciations of the First World, while waving severed Western heads.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blasts and gunfire in Oslo, Norway

I have no information. But, if it was Muslims, be sure to read what expatriate journalist Bruce Bawer has to say. He lives in Norway and, though otherwise quite liberal, has been on the case of the Islamization of Europe for some time.

Update: Rumors are trending away from it being the world of Muslims. I'll repeat my recommendation to see what Bruce Bawer says, though. He speaks the language and writes for the Norwegian newspapers sometimes. So he's a good English portal into Scandinavian doings.

Update the second: 80 dead. This is beyond horrible. Sympathies to the victims & families. And a grudging, muttered "sorry" to Norway's Islamic population: looks like a right-wing extremist is shaping up to be responsible for this one. Though I ought to take my own advice and go with the 48 hour rule.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Borders Books going out of business

Since progressi­ves believe that profits are immoral, they must be very happy that Borders has gone bust. It's an eeeevil corprayshu­n, after all, right?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

From tofu to brass tacks

I recently read David Mamet's new book The Secret Knowledge. I found it to be very intriguing, and so I repost my Amazon review of it, below:

******************

I will confess my attraction to this book: It's like a collection of earnest usenet posts. It's full of far-fetched analogies. It's full of wild over-generalizations. The arguments read like assertions, the assertions read like epiphanies, and the reader bounces from one to the next on Class-5 rapids of outrage and disgust. These stylistic characteristics, along with the general affinity I feel for the political attitudes herein, remind me of, uh, me. I argue like this also, on usenet. But nevermind...

There are several fine but too-brief passages on his youth in Chicago, on his career in show business, and time with his son. We must hope that he will return to these themes in a future memoir, as they serve as well-placed breathing spaces in the larger polemic.

It's too bad he fell in with the climate change deniers--they're wrong & no few of them are dishonest. When scientists working in several different fields come up with data pointing to the same conclusion: AGW is real, artificial, growing, and a menace--a consensus like that isn't to cried down as some leftist cabal.

And what is it with his scornful pity for college students? Yes, it's sad to think of unemployable soft-science majors spending their working lives folding sweaters in Macy's. But, liberals don't work? Who is in the membership of all those labor unions, then? Counselors sell empty breath to jaded rich people? Surely Mr. Mamet at least knows of people who have been stymied or hurting, and benefited from healing words. I wonder if he is taking his experience with Hollywood hangers-on and projecting it to the entire rest of the country.

But of course the main thing is his conversion. These passages are, like the other autobiographical sections, too brief. And there is a lot of genuine wisdom here, some repeated from his readings of the great contemporary conservative thinkers, and some from he himself. He incisively scores the Left for having become a refuge for terminal adolescents, unable to take responsibility for themselves, and compensating that everyone else do so instead. Indeed, he's onto himself as a fallen sinner, as only the convert can be. A fair-use example:

"My generation has a giddy delight in dissolution. [...] To inspire the unsophisticated young to demand "change" is an easy and a cheap trick-- it was the tactic of the Communist Internationale in the thirties,another "movement.[...] We were self-taught in the sixties to award ourselves merit for membership in a superior group-irrespective of our group's accomplishments. We continue to do so, irrespective of accomplishments, individual or communal, having told each other we were special. We learned that all one need do is refrain from trusting anybody over thirty; that all people are alike, and to judge their behavior was "judgmental"; that property is theft. As we did not investigate these assertions or their implications, we could not act upon them and felt no need to do so. For we were the culmination of history, superior to all those misguided who had come before, which is to say all humanity. Though we had never met a payroll, fought for an education, obsessed about the rent, raised a child, carried a weapon for our country, or searched for work. Though we had never been in sufficient distress to call upon God, we indicted those who had. And continue to do so."

There are also several fine nuggets buried in the numerous footnotes. One of them brutally demonstrates how society's solemn rite of Leaving Home is no longer marriage, owing to its many many counterfeits, but divorce.

A reader used to the polished--and predictable--tones and rhythms of opinion columns will likely find this book rather a lot of trouble to unpack. But, given the caveats above, it's worth the effort.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Welcome, South Sudan

"Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!"

Hope they will now be able to defend themselves from their Muslim neighbors in north Sudan...no more slave raiding, no more forced conversions, no more torched villages.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

It's a funny old world sometimes...

I found a close childhood friend on the internet recently. I didn't contact him, just looked him up. As a child he was outdoorsy, active, squared away (for a child), whereas I was bookish, lazy and daydreamy. We grew apart in our early teens, & I only heard news of him sporadically after that. He became a Third World traveller, practicing total immersion in other cultures, a practice that I admired but never quite had the nerve to attempt. In the meantime, I plodded on with a by-comparison (it seemed to me at the time) under-achieving career in a humble profession.

Time did its thing. I rose in the ranks. I married & started a family. At middle age, I can sleep at night and feel that I can look everyone I've had dealings with in the face, with only minor pleadings of immaturity or passing @#!*% . With every passing year I linger more over my blessings, which are numerous and precious.

He, OTOH, is now a natural health quack. There's a video on YouTube, of him pitching his services. It's full of the upbeat flummery and soothing lies typical of that ilk. Apparently he and his wife--who is in the same business--once had a website but in these hard times it expired and they went with a Blogspot site instead, which just screams "fly by night". (No offense to my hosts!) I could never live such a lie. I don't expect I will ever contact him, nor allow him near me and my family in the unlikely event he ever contact me. I feel superior to him in every respect that I previously felt him to be superior to me. Idle, unnecessary thoughts, to be sure. But, it's a funny old world, sometimes.

Atlanta School Cheating Scandal

I wish it could be more widely understood that education is not manufacturing, schools are not factories, and children are not piece rate goods. When we reduce education to just one or two variables--the CRCT, the SAT, etc.--people will leave off everything else involved with education and focus on those. Will in fact try to game those few variables. It's too much temptation for fallen humanity.

That said, I hope the malefactors are de-credentialed and punished. A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste, and boy did they waste a lot of 'em.

Two absolutely golden ruminations on this scandal are here and here:

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/why-the-shock-over-atlanta-teacher-cheating/
http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/comment/165277/

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!



The only people who seem not to understand the worldwide significance of American society are our own intelligentsia. To them the Fourth of July is at best an embarrassment, if not something to sneer at. The flag-waving, the proud speeches and the Horatio Alger stories are just part of a nationalist "myth," as far as the intellectuals are concerned.

They could not be more wrong. The prosperity that we -- and they -- enjoy today is in large part a product of many, many real-life Horatio Alger stories about ordinary people who rose from humble circumstances to achieve success for themselves by creating a more abundant life for millions of other Americans. ...No wonder the Fourth of July makes the intelligentsia uncomfortable. It celebrates the
revolution that gave ordinary people freedom from the rampaging presumptions of their "betters."
--Thomas Sowell

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Federal debt showdown drags on, default looms

To paraphrase Thomas Paine: "I prefer prosperity. But if austerity must come, let it come in my time, so that my children can live in prosperity."

Friday, July 01, 2011

San Francisco becoming a child free zone?

So says this NPR segment. San Francisco's response? Treat everyone like a child. No! you can't own pets. No! you can't have a happy meal. No! you can't circumcise your son. No! you can't have a handgun. No! You cannot have, do, say, or be anything that harshes the mellow of liberals.

Especially silly is the bit where it's implied that developers are to blame for making the city un-family friendly. In a town where the

Build
Absolutely
Nothing
Anywhere
Near
Anything
Society

holds sway, I'm surprised it isn't a crime in SF by now to even be a developer.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Marriage is better than un-marriage

Why is it better to bring a child into a family with married parents than with unmarried? Because co-habitating couples are bound by nothing more than their present feelings, which only the extremely young or terminally adolescent imagine will never change. A vague disquiet of inpermanence and insubstantiality attends childhoods in such homes. But the best marriages, even in the present degraded era, have two sentries to guard them. They are Duty and Affection: two, so that if one goes AWOL, the other stands watch.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Farewell to the space shuttle

The space shuttle was the technological marvel of the age, operated by brilliant engineers and brave astronauts. I remember the mid 70s, when the first space shuttle Enterprise was being flight tested, mounted on the back of a modified 747. Crowds of people watched TVs in the store windows in the mall, as chase planes filmed the stubby craft separating from the 747 and taking wing on its own.

Still, I actually hope that the era of manned space flight is over, and its resources repurposed to unmanned missions. I haven't seen any numbers, but I'd be surprised if the reusable shuttle flights were really any cheaper than the old one-use Saturn launches. Plus, the unmanned missions--the planetary probes, the robotic landers, the space telescopes, have all been much more productive of scientific knowledge than lofting some elementary schools bean sprouts garden into zero gravity.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Yes, illegal immigration is a crisis

Here is the problem in miniature: There is in my town a soccer complex, next to which are apartment buildings full of illegals. The local soccer leagues pay registration fees to use the fields, and of course only use them when the fields are open. Not so the illegals! They hop the fences at night or out of season, tear up the fields having their own tournaments, todo gratis, por supuesto. Now expand that to include schools, hospitals, all other social services, and scale it up into the tens of millions.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Progressives love everything that America is not.

A great quote by someone named Michael R. Bowen, from a now-defunct blog some years back:

But why is it that conservatives, when they are unhappy with what our government is doing, wave the flag and declare themselves ashamed of our president, while liberals, when they are in the same position, burn the flag and declare themselves ashamed of America? [...] The conservative speaks of all the good things America is, and wants to defend them. The liberal loves all the things America is not: a nation with universal health-care, ever more "progressive" taxes, subservient to the United Nations; a nation with no guns in private hands, a nation you could traverse from coast to coast and never hear the name of God. If you love all the things America is not, and care more for them than for all the things she is, then, no: you don't love America. Not really.

Random Rock Bloggage: Peter Frampton Divorces

Too bad. Rock, with its promise of eternal youth, is not kind to its forefathers. Rockers, with their wish for eternal tomcattery, are not kind to matrimony. Why do they even bother?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Transphobia", ugh!

Must every newly minted identity come with its own "-phobia", to automatically put straight society in the wrong and thereby wring concessions from it? A stable, democratic, conventionally moral society whose foundation is the nuclear family made up of one man, one woman, and their children is the precondition which makes all this Ziggy Stardust experimentation possible. The Taliban wouldn't put up with these people's existence for so much as a fortnight.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

End military aid to Pakistan? Hell, why not!

What are they gonna do? Hide Osama bin Laden next door to their premier military academy? It's been noted that Pakistan heroically comes up with a big terrorist arrest, whenever a vote in Congress on their annual handout is in the offing. I suggest that we hold another vote, let them bag a few more Taliban and AQ, and then cut aid anyway. Any country in which OBL was able to buy protection or in which he was an honored guest is no friend of the U.S.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Anthony Weiner enters "treatment"

It won't work. Unlike certain other Democrats he doubtless has in mind, Weiner is not "an unusually good liar". Power is an aphrodisiac, though, and he probably has convinced himself of his own indispensibility. But, it won't work. He will not be able to brazen it out. He may finagle a sweet deal from the Dem leadership to be rid of him, but it'll soon be over.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Arrested for feeding the homeless

In Orlando.
Members of Orlando Food Not Bombs were arrested Wednesday when police said they violated a city ordinance by feeding the homeless in Lake Eola Park.

Jessica Cross, 24, Benjamin Markeson, 49, and Jonathan "Keith" McHenry, 54, were arrested at 6:10 p.m. on a charge of violating the ordinance restricting group feedings in public parks. McHenry is a co-founder of the international Food Not Bombs movement, which began in the early 1980s.

The group lost a court battle in April, clearing the way for the city to enforce the ordinance. It requires groups to obtain a permit and limits each group to two permits per year for each park within a 2-mile radius of City Hall.

Arrest papers state that Cross, Markeson and McHenry helped feed 40 people Wednesday night. The ordinance applies to feedings of more than 25 people.

"They intentionally violated the statute," said Lt. Barbara Jones, an Orlando police spokeswoman.

Sounds to me like they were more interested in making pets of these people rather than actually helping them, more interested in striking a pose against "pharaoh" than reaching out in humility and charity to those in need.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

My standing response to progressive critics of the war on terror

We needn't listen to the weight loss advice of morbidly obese people. Nor to the financial advice of the chronically broke. Marriage counseling from people who are multiply divorced may be ignored with a clear conscience. And it is a matter of common decency to reject the national security advice of people who believe that America deserved 9/11. It's concern trolling at best, hypocrisy at worst.

Can't believe it took me ten years to come up with that simple retort...

Meanwhile, communist China is still unfree

Repressing a church is something any old dictatorship can do, the church being a rival center of authority and all. But it takes the boundlessly coercive impulse of communism to usurp the church from within:

Father Joseph Shen Guo’an is set to be ordained a bishop soon in Wuhan (Hankou) diocese, central Hubei province, despite there being no papal mandate for the move, ucanews.com has learned.

Church observers warned the authorities should not force an illicit ordination saying that it benefits nobody.

The ordination of Father Shen, 50, is tentatively set for June 9, according to Church sources. They said some diocesan priests who tried to keep up the Church principle are now suffering, as government officials have lobbied their support for the ordination.

Some bishops in neighboring provinces are also “under great pressure,” as officials asked them to ordain Father Shen, the sources continued.

Local Catholics say Father Shen is not a suitable candidate and does not have papal mandate. They say that it is not his will to become a bishop.

What lever did they find, to force this man to become a regime tool?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Naive" anti-terrorism film in UK

Titled "Wish You Waziristan", the film tells the story of two young Muslim brothers who travel to Pakistan to join an Al-Qaeda training center.

The £30,000-cost film shows that the two brothers went to Waziristan after being subjected to racist beating while playing football on a UK beach.

The cartoon, which combines computer game-style graphics and teenage street slang, opens with a failed attempt by the brothers to launch a grenade from a mountain-top in Waziristan.

The pair are shown watching videos of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin laden.

As they returned to Britain, the two brothers were detained at a British airport.

The video ends with the older brother making a phone call from his jail cell to his mother apologizing for what he had done and writing to his brother asking for forgiveness.

"Having these animated movies will not help in anyway whatsoever," said Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation.

The British Security service estimates that 4,000 young British Muslims have travelled overseas to attend training camps since the 9/11 attacks.

Note the subtext: everything was fine until the racist English showed up. There is nothing, nnnnnnozzing! in the brother's backgrounds or culture or religion which would dispose them to violence, at least based on this blurb.

Islamic Creationism

Gaaaaghh... And you thought Christian creationism was maddening.

“At school, we believed the teachers, but here their theses are disproved: they don’t have the truth,” adds Yanina Gelassi, a 19-year-old student veiled in black. Nouri Hamid, 28, a doctoral student in genetics, is not “totally in agreement that there is a complete lack [of evidence] for the evolution of species,” but he also declares that “science has never demonstrated the connection between homo sapiens and man.”

Similarly, the “concordist” approach to the Koran, defended by the conference speakers, is popular among young Muslims. This concept states that the recent scientific discoveries only confirm the scientific content of the sacred book. “This proves to us that, despite all of the research, God has said and written everything down in the Koran nearly 1,400 years ago,” says Najoua Oubaya, a 21-year-old saleswoman.

“These discussions are good for the people because they prove that the West has discovered nothing, and that Islam is superior, even scientifically,” explained Nidhal Guessoum, a Muslim astrophysicist, in Le Monde in 2009. The author of Réconcilier l’Islam et la sciecne moderne: l’esprit d’Averroès (Reconciling Islam and Modern Science: The Spirit of Averroes), he describes the methods of Yahya as “do-it-yourself,” and defends the search for connections between science and faith, just as has been done in Christianity. In 1996, John Paul II confirmed that the theory of evolution was “more than a hypothesis,” but the Catholic Church maintains that science is not the sole contributor to the explanation of the origin of life, as Benedict XVI recalled in 2007.

“The scientific manipulations of Haroun Yahya are alarming for the Muslim community,” says Saïd Branine, who runs the site Oumma.com, and organized a training on the topic.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

RIP Gil Scott-Heron


He was best known for The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, of course. He was on record in recent years claiming that it was all a satire rather than a call to arms. If so, I thought he could have added this line: "The revolution will make whites whiter and coloreds brighter". It's an allusion to a Tide detergent commercial from that era, for those under 40.


I found his song "Message to the Messengers", his bit of grandfatherly advice to the angry rappers who came in his wake, to be oddly sweet. Oddly I say, because I'm repulsed by rap and hiphop. The image of the old word warrior giving his benediction to the young turks was downright heartwarming.



As always, if the vids don't display properly, double-click to view them on YouTube. RIP.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Interfaith Alliance asks churches to share their pulpits with Muslims

I used to criticize The Interfaith Alliance from time to time in this blog's early going. Now I see that I have occasion to do so again. The Interfaith Alliance is a load of deracinate­d relativist­s of the proggy persuasion, who wouldn't acknowledg­e their nominal co-religio­nists abroad, murdered by Muslim fanatics, if they bled to death on their front porches.* The IA emerged from the National Council of Churches, which never to my knowledge repented of its vigorous cheer-leading for nearly every left-wing dictatorship of the past half century. I'll not be scolded about American Muslims hurt feelings by people who act as though they believe America deserved 9/11.

*Harsh, but true. The search engine on their site retrieves no results for Copts, Indonesian Christians, Pakistani Christians, Nigerian Christians, who are being persecuted by their Muslim neighbors. You, however, need merely click here to stay up to date.

"In a dictatorship, it takes courage to speak the truth. In a free country, it takes courage to see the truth."
-- Natan Scharansky

The life cycle of an internet meme

From Cracked. My rule of thumb is: by the time I've heard of it, it's pretty much run its course.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

In answer to The Jawa Report's question about al Qaeda's leadership...

Does anyone else notice the irony of the anti-democracy death cult electing its leader?

No irony. The hierarchy of authority in Islam runs thusly: The Koran, the hadiths, the ulema (Muslim clergy), tradition, and consensus. Arabs are capable of deciding matters in a democratic way, up to a certain societal scale, at which point clan and tribal loyalties trump civic society. Selection of leaders in this way is within the bounds of Islamic normalcy.

*koff*...I mean, it would be in the bounds of Islamic normalcy, but of course al Qaeda "has nothing to do with Islam"© Just hypothesizin'...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What is the purpose of the United States? None!

I read this gem in an article in Businessweek about Osama bin Laden:

The United States has no purpose. That is perhaps its greatest achievement. America's founding document, its Declaration of Independence, allows that a state exists only to secure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

That's it. There's a curious lack of ambition in those words. The United States was not founded for the greater glory of anything, or as the necessary outcome of history, but for the freedom to collect figurines, to join a clogging troupe, to take a road trip. Yet these words, which carry no ideology whatsoever, are the ones that keep winning. This is the lesson of the past 10 years, and one Osama bin Laden, a man animated by a grandiose vision of restoring a 7th century Muslim empire, never grasped. The most successful organizing principle the world has ever known is a simple guarantee that we can buy and do things that have no point greater than the satisfaction of our own happiness.


-- Brendan Greeley, "Why Bin Laden Lost", Businessweek, May 4, 2011

How much more liberating, life-affirming, and (dare I say it?) civilized our way of life is than Islam's implacably stultifying drive to "compel the right and forbid the wrong". Ditto for secular leftists' urges to winnow, purge, reforge, remake, reengineer, and ultimately waste their fellows, in pursuit of progressive visions.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

brookly red banned at Little Green Footballs

Update: I'm actually not sure of brookly red's sex at all, so forgive my mistake, if it is indeed a mistake.

Just noticed, due to people landing here while looking up commenters banned by Charles Johnson. There goes another familiar face! I enjoyed some of her comments, and she mine, I'm pretty sure. Hope she finds a good home elseweb soon. One of the Monitor Lizards in particular took especial relish in bullying her, whenever they both appeared in the same thread. If she's like me, brookly red will find herself slowly being glad to be out of that oppressive atmosphere.

Since my banning, I've found myself being attracted to some of the big liberal blogs, like Huffington Post (my comments at HuffPo) and the comment threads at NPR (my comments at NPR). While I still enjoy spray-marking with like-minded types, I also enjoy engaging people of differing viewpoints (such as Obdicut, windup bird, san francisco zionist, Stanley Sea, etc., all still at LGF). I find that it's more gratifying to be the fellow who's too conservative, than to be the person who's not conservative enough. If LGF could have preserved its fleeting equilibrium among commenters--and dispensed with the controlling and bullying (it's still a shame what happened to Wild Irish Rose)--well, I might be going back and peering through glass a little more frequently.

See you around, brookly.

Monday, May 16, 2011

On the Islamic funeral of Osama bin Laden

It was wise though probably fruitless to give him an Islamic funeral. Doubtless the powers that be were thinking of the rage of Afghans against American soldiers, when the soldiers burned or otherwise (allegedly) mistreated dead Taliban fighters some time back. Judging by the worldwide displays of public grief and rage Muslims are displaying, it isn't working. They partied in the streets on 9/11, and now they mourn in the streets after he's gone. Try to tell me that this "has nothing to do with Islam" now, proggs!

The Islamic Society of North America hailed OBL's termination, denouncing him as a mass murderer of Muslims. Isn't it enough for them, that he's a mass murderer, period?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Been busy

Been out attending to some real world activities & responsibilities. Pesky meatspace...

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Jihadists wail

A roundup of terrorists' reactions to Osama bin Laden's death from various jihadist forums, from Jihadology.

******************

“O Allah, make this news not true”

“Allah protect us in our loss”

“God willing, news is not true. Catastrophic if it is authentic.”

“O Lord for your kindness”

“May Allah increase you rank in Jannah o Sheikh Usamah!”

“Ameen AMEEN AMEEN! May Allah give you a place next to our beloved Prophet (saws), ameen ameen”

“Please everyone calm and pray”

“We ask God to be the news is not true Lord of the Worlds”

“If it is true then we must thank Allah that America was not able to capture him alive. Else they would be humiliating him like Saddam Hussain. At last he may have find his greatest desire of Shahada.”

“Think not of those killed in the way of Allah dead, but alive with the Lord. We consider him a martyr. O Allah, accept the martyrs. And join us by the Lord of the Worlds”

“Brothers and sisters the order to attack the shaykh didn’t come from Obama, it came from Allah SWT and we should be aware that Allah SWT has the power to obliterate the White House in no time. So have yaqeen in Allah SWT because today the kufaar celebrate but tomorrow the ash of their fitna will block out their joy.”

“The celebrations are amusing. Cheer all you want kuffar, you only have a limited amount of time in this dunya in which to do it. And then you will see the reality of this life.”

“Coming Oh America; Coming Oh Jews, Coming Oh rejectionists (Shi’a); Coming Oh Kufar, secularists, and apostates. Arrivals are coming and they are bringing the coffins with merciless devices”

“please let them celebrate, they are celebrating their own end.
osama is in the heart of every muslim, even those who dont admit publicly.
in sha Allah its the start of something. this is the day muslims will remember Allah alot and seek the destruction of this pharoanic nation of our time.
oh Allah destroy this nation for their hatred and enmity toward your deen
oh Allah seal their hearts with disbelief they shall never taste faith untill they taste your severe punishment.
oh Allah send them endless tornados to destroy their homes and earthquakes to crash them.”

“Agggh!!! This news on TV is annoying. These sell out Muslims really piss me off. I hope that Allah (swt) raises them with their community of shaytaan who they chose to side with, make friends with and obey instead of His (swts) law in the duniyah. May these sell outs also be thrown into the lowest depths of Hell with no respite.”

“My father woke me with this news, I had tears…The worst is when I saw the Kuffar celebrate on TV, I felt lousy”

“The killing of Sheikh Osama bin Laden does not affect the progress of victory, God willing. After the death of Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, Jihad did not stop. And went on…….. And went on……… And went on ………”

“If it is authentic [that] Osama [died], indiscriminate killing is the solution, is the solution, is the solution.”

“Sheikh Bin Laden is not dead! What a farce from the Tawaghit!!”

“Hope that this act will not go unpunished.”

Osama bin Laden roundup

A very good roundup of knowledgeable bloggage on the end of OBL was posted a couple of days ago, at the criminally under-publicized Jihadica blog.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Bush declines invitation to Ground Zero

That's very considerate. Unlike Carter and Clinton, who backbit him for much of his Presidency, Bush has stayed off the commentariat circuit and out of Obama's hair. "He deserves my silence", he once said. Genuine class.

Now here's a way to celebrate the end of Osama bin Laden!

ROGERS, Ark. — A district judge in Rogers marked the death of Osama bin Laden by giving misdemeanor violators a $51 break on their fines and court fees.

The amount represents May 1, or 5-1, the day a team of Navy SEALs killed the terrorist leader during a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Osama bin Laden killed

Very fitting, that the last people he ever saw were SEALs and spooks, come to put a bullet in his eye. Fitting, too, that some of his number died hiding behind a woman. Well done, guys! Have some Shakespeare:

The period of thy tyranny approacheth.
On us thou canst not enter but by death;
For, I protest, we are well fortified
And strong enough to issue out and fight:[...]
On either hand thee there are squadrons pitch'd,
To wall thee from the liberty of flight;
And no way canst thou turn thee for redress,
But death doth front thee with apparent spoil
And pale destruction meets thee in the face.
-- 1 Henry VI

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Royal Wedding

The whole affair reminds me of this passage from a Robertson Davies short story:

"I am a democrat. All of my family have been persons of peasant origin, who have wrung a meagre sufficiency from a harsh world by the labour of their hands. I acknowledge no one my superior merely on grounds of a more fortunate destiny, a favoured birth. I did what any such man would do when confronted with Queen Victoria; I fell immediately to my knees."
-- Robertson Davies, High Spirits, 1991 ed.


Best of everything to the young couple, Kate Middleton and Prince William.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Donald Trump takes credit for "ending" Obama "birther" "controversy"

The Donald is having a late-life crisis, fearing that he is probably Yesterday'­s News. Hence all this irrational talk about running for President and embrace of the birther nuttery. That's my most charitable explanatio­n.

Be nice to call center phonebots

This. I'm glad I'm not in that line of work, and hope never to be. But I believe in being civil to them--if it's me that initiated the call.

When I have to call an 800 number to sort out a problem, I frequently ask the person on the other end of the line, "Everybody being civil to you today?" They are surprised and appreciati­ve to hear that. The most memorable instance was in autumn of 2008. I called one of my mutual funds on a day when the stock market was absolutely cratering, in response to the beginning of The Great Recession. I knew the guy on the phone must have been getting it hot and strong all day, so he was almost pathetical­ly grateful for the kind words.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fox News is coy

Fox News is playing an under-the-­table game of footsie with the birther & seekrit moozlim fringes. They won't openly side with them, but they'll sure deploy their hanging insinuatio­ns for them.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Martin Amis on Christopher Hitchens

The distinguished novelist pens an affectionate encomium of his old friend, which veers toward eulogy at the end. Not yet, please. Not yet!

Hitchens was a fair-weather foe of the U.S. for most of his punditry career, who famously, and in gleaming contrast to his fellow leftists, became a foul-weather friend after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. He never seemed to entirely let go of his love for Red revolutionary Leon Trotsky, who would probably not have been one whit less bloody a dictator than Lenin was. But he did back off one of the main axioms of progressives, which is to refuse to find value in the present. ("I pledge allegiance to the United States that can be...") The horrors of 9/11 and the fight against The Jihad which ensued anew thereafter impressed upon him that the free democratic West, in its imperfect Here And Now, was worth fighting to preserve.

I've been aware of him since the late 80s, I suppose. I remember him downplaying Stalin's terror famine of the early 30s, by suggesting that it was mostly Ukrainian Nazis who wanted to inflate the casualty count. I remember his post-election analysis when the Sandinistas were voted out of power in Nicaragua, mentioning his fear that "the news would not be good" before he opened the newspaper that morning. I even wrote an Amazon review of his biography of Thomas Jefferson. But I, like so many other conservative consumers of political commentary, perked up my ears after 9/11.

Members of the left, along with the far larger number of squishy "progressives," have grossly failed to live up to their responsibility to think; rather, they are merely reacting, substituting tired slogans for thought. The majority of those "progressives" who take comfort from [Oliver] Stone and Chomsky are not committed, militant anti-imperialists or anti-capitalists. Nothing so muscular. They are of the sort who, discovering a viper in the bed of their child, would place the first call to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

and

Watching the towers fall in New York, with civilians incinerated on the planes and in the buildings, I felt something that I couldn’t analyze at first and didn’t fully grasp ... until the day itself was nearly over. I am only slightly embarrassed to tell you that this was a feeling of exhilaration. Here we are then, I was thinking, in a war to the finish between everything I love and everything I hate. Fine. We will win and they will lose. A pity that we let them pick the time and place of the challenge, but we can and we will make up for that.

Compare that to the contemptible sight of Katha Pollitt, his stablemate at The Nation, refusing to let her daughter display an American flag after the atrocity.

I don't kid myself that I could ever hope to hold up my end of a conversation with him, of course. I'm content to groove to the commentary, have my beliefs challenged, and not infrequently learn something. Still, I think that if there had been no 9/11 and no counter-attack against The Jihad, his career would have followed the trajectory of so many other leftists. He would have simply talked himself out, and ended up exemplifying V. S. Naipaul's observation:

Always out there, the United States, an unacknowledged part of the world picture of every kind of modern revolutionary: the country of law and rest, with which at the end of the day a man who had proclaimed himself to be on the other side–in politics, culture, or religion–could make peace and on whose goodwill he could throw himself.
–V.S. Naipaul, Beyond Belief, 1998

It's good that the past terrible decade has prompted him to genuinely appreciate America, or should I say appreciate her more profoundly, rather than arrogantly taking her blessings for granted. Here's wishing him & his family and friends the best.

Andrew Klavan: How to Behave During an Islamic Massacre

Oh hell yes, as Atlanta Falcon fans used to say!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to the King James Bible

Worthy of dramatic commemoration, indeed. Whether you believe in it or not, this book formed much of the world we live in, very probably forming you yourself, dear reader.

It is an act of faith to believe that the books of the Bible even belong together between the same covers. The New York Times food columnist Robert Farrar Capon once suggested this analogy: The Bible is like a trunk in your grandfather's attic. It contains a variety of things: a family tree, some poetry, some attempts at short fiction, some political opinionating, some love letters, some legal documents, some penny wisdom gathered through the years, and etc. All very diverse, and all from different times, but all from the same grandfather.

Have some quotes:

"A noble book! All men's book! It is our first oldest statement of the never-ending problem--man's destiny, and God's ways with him here on earth; and all in such free-flowing outlines, grand in its sincerity; in its simplicity and its epic melody."
-- Thomas Carlyle

"The Holy Bible is not only great but high explosive literature. It works in strange ways and no living man can tell or know how that book in its journeyings through the world has started an individual soul 10,000 different places into a new life, a new belief, a new conception and a new faith."
-- Stanley Baldwin

"I know the Bible is inspired becaue it finds me at greater depths of my being than any other book."
-- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Monday, April 18, 2011

Has Multiculturalism Failed?

No. It was always a delusion, the delusion that cultures are all the same except for holidays, headgear, and cuisine, founded upon the underlying delusion that Western Civilization is the scourge of the world, and should henceforth adopt a permanent cultural cringe towards peoples of the developing world. A delusion cannot succeed or fail, it can only persist or be dispelled.

There's a difference between international people and multicultural people. International people appreciate other cultures--they can discuss wine with the waiter in French, participate in a Japanese tea ceremony without help, know their way around off the beaten tourist path, etc.--but are still proud citizens of their own lands. Multiculturalists are alienated from their country and/or their fellow citizens, and seek to disappear into a romanticized mish-mash of exotica. By acting as though the world's multitudes are an anonymous mass of little brown people for them to make pets of, mere symbols of Western sin, multiculturalist demean those people's full humanity as much as colonialists in earlier ages did, by regarding them as mere savages.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Discovered QuickMeme late last week...

...and away went my weekend. Here are some that I made, and others that I liked:




Friday, April 15, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In which I callously refrain from being moved to tears by the chronic awfulness in the Congo

Yes, it's terrible. But I saw this show 20 years ago, with all the heart-rending images of Somalia. They launched a series of events culminating with our dead soldiers being dragged through the streets by the people they came to save. But proggs don't care. Why should the Left's Third World darlings du jour die, when American military can die instead? Proggs only support foreign intervention if there is no material American interest at stake. Their attitude towards the soldiers is "with my brains and your brawn, what a wonderful world we can make!" There are any number of two-syllable retorts to arrogance like that, of which the most printable is "No, thanks".

The Civil War 150th Anniversary

The Civil War is one of the few conflicts in history, like the Roman war against Boudicea and the Iceni, or the Spartans at Thermopylae, or the Nez Perce war, where the winners claimed the victory and the losers claimed the glory.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The kindness of strangers



This man walked around a tsunami-ravaged city, and gathered up all the photos he could find. He hopes that survivors will come by and find them. How kind... If it won't display full screen, click here.

Idjits...

Is there to be no end to the Birther mania?

Sarah Palin said today she "appreciates" Donald Trump's repeated questioning of where President Obama was born, saying that though she believes he was born in Hawaii, "there is something there that the president doesn't want people to see on that birth certificate."

Palin's remarks on the "Judge Jeanine" show on Fox News came as the Hawaiian state health official that reviewed Obama's birth certificate denounced conspiracy theorists as "silly."

"It's kind of ludicrous at this point," Dr. Chiyome Fukino, the former director of Hawaii's Department of Health said in an interview with NBC, adding that "birthers," or those who have been questioning where the president was born, will never be satisfied.

"They're going to question the ink on which it was written or say it was fabricated," Fukino said. "The whole thing is silly."

Idjits...or not, if they're just playing to their idjit gallery.