Monday, December 30, 2013
2013 was a zombie of a year.
Hits and misses from First Things. This blog, you may recall, used to be a running commentary on that magazine, until it sank in that I didn't have the intellectual horsepower to keep up on a regular basis. But I still read it from time to time.
Yes, man-made climate change is really happening.
Iceland highway project delayed by elves.
I thought Prince Charles was an arabophile. But here he is drawing attention to the slow pulverization of the ancient Christian church in the Middle East. Good for him!
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Martin Bashir emitted his vileness while on the air on MSNBC, acting in his capacity as an employee and representative of MSNBC. A reasonable viewer could conclude, at least at first, that he was not saying anything that MSNBC did not approve of. Else why let him say such things on the show?
Phil Robertson, OTOH, gave his private opinion, off the show, when asked for his private opinion. See the difference? He was speaking for himself. Now, the Lavender Mafia in the entertainment industry is not to be crossed lightly, so of course A&E sprinted for the tall grass when GLAAD went on the offensive. But the premise of the Two Minute Hate against Duck Dynasty is that one can no longer have a non-liberal private opinion. Presumptuous arrogance like that is as vile as Bashir's comments, and are no part of an America I care to live in.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
I would like to thank all the Jews out there for putting up with our awkward half-assed attempts to make you feel included this time of year— David, Nog Scientist (@Vodstok) December 25, 2013
Come from the land of ice and snow, Where my elves make toys, And I say "Ho Ho Ho!" -Santa Zeppelin Claus— WhirledRecord (@WhirledRecord) December 24, 2013
I had this great idea about mittens for feet, but then I realized that’s just socks.— Yule Plait (@BadAstronomer) December 25, 2013
You've Incurred the Wrath of Cthulhu, Charlie Brown.— JRehling (@JRehling) December 25, 2013
Tonight we commemorate the miraculous victory of the Maccabees over the forces of General Tso.— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) December 25, 2013
If you're an atheist, this agnostic says merry Christmas and shut the fuck up, please, if you want to say anything but "you too"— David, Nog Scientist (@Vodstok) December 25, 2013
It's pronounced Christmas jift, actually.— Luke O'Neil (@lukeoneil47) December 24, 2013
If Christmas caroling is OK, there should be a night when Black Sabbath fans can go door-to-door singing Iron Man and Crazy Train.— WhirledRecord (@WhirledRecord) December 25, 2013
"Hey, myrrh isn't cheap! I'd just expect a little more appreciation from people living in a stable."— Frank J. Fleming (@IMAO_) December 25, 2013
Friday, December 20, 2013
In the 30s, serious intellectuals traveled to the Soviet Union to hail it as the future of humanity. In the 60s and 70s, writers, actors & other assorted glitterati went to Cuba to be schmoozed by El Jefe. And now North Korea has hauled in...a retired basketball player with a penchant for shock publicity. The quality of useful idiots is on a definite downward trajectory.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
As for Francis, I wonder if his outlook is colored by his Latin American heritage. Unlike anglo-protestant North America, Central and South America were founded by a thin scum of sleazed-out nobility, lording it over a vast sweated underclass, with not much in between. With a more populous, more enterprising and more resourceful middle class, the North out-prospered the South, even though the southern continent was superior in natural resources. The desperate circumstances of Latin America's poor through so much of their history has impressed itself on anyone with a living conscience. Perhaps it's only natural for the Argentinian Francis to project their plight onto the world at large.
It might be remembered that pontiffs expressing care for the poor and laboring classes is not new. Even Pope John Paul The Great in June of 1989 came in for a rough ride from National Review--surely a Catholic-friendly venue--for seeming to equate the rougher edges of capitalism with socialism. It apparently wasn't noticed that his talk of respecting the rights and welfare of workers were even tougher on the communist societies from which he came.
So don't worry. Western progressives surely wish to forget about communism as quickly as possible and, through their control of the educational institutions, prevent coming generations from learning about its horrors at all. (Ever wonder why public middle schoolers are rightly taught about the Holocaust, but hardly anything unambiguously bad about communism is mentioned until graduate school, if even then?) But the popes were aware of communism's spiritual dangers very early on:
"Communism...is absolutely contrary to the natural law itself, and, if once adopted, would utterly destroy the rights, property, and possessions of all men, and even society itself." --Pope Pius IX, Qui Pluribus, 1846
Poland is free. The Baltic states are free. Ukraine is free, with an asterisk. Cuba will one day be free. So will China and Vietnam one day be free. With so many Catholics in the world enduring or having survived the assault of communism within living memory, no Pope is in danger of becoming a Marxist.
Let us be perfectly honest. The historical record is indisputable. Marxism means the persecution of Christians, the execution of right wing dissidents, massive slave labor camps, and grinding poverty for countless millions of terrified, muzzled human beings. -- J.R. Nyquist
The socialist state requires greater and greater degrees of force to make it function. If resources and wealth are allocated on the basis of need rather than production, people will compete to be more needy rather than more productive.
-- Linda Bowles
In every village there will arise some miscreant, to establish the most grinding tyranny by calling himself the people.
--Sir Robert Peel
We have yet to answer our right-wing critics’ claims, which are regrettably well documented, that throughout history from ancient times to the peasant wars of the sixteenth century to the Reign of Terror and beyond, social movements that have espoused radical egalitarianism and participatory democracy have begun with mass murder and ended in despotism.
A permanent possibility of selfishness arises from the mere fact of having a self, and not from any accidents of education or ill-treatment. And the weakness of all Utopias is this, that they take
the greatest difficulty of man and assume it to be overcome, and then give an elaborate account of the overcoming of the smaller ones. They first assume that no man will want more than his share, and then are very ingenious in explaining whether his share will be delivered by motor-car or balloon.
-- G. K. Chesterton
From its earliest inception, the Left cried that the world was not good enough. It held that any attempts to find happiness in the present were not only doomed, but immoral. Religion, Marx said, "is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness." He claimed that capitalism could never feed the poor. Lenin said Marxism could, and defined Communism as "socialism plus electricity".
What they forgot to add was that the world would never be good enough. That not a single Marxist state ever managed to provide either the food or electricity in adequate quantities remained beside the point. Shortages were always in the present and the present was unimportant anyway.
-- Richard Fernandez
Sunday, December 15, 2013
I read an article somewhere this past year about how this sort of thing happens, but I don't have the link to hand. I'm sure no humans were involved, though.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The U. S. should soften its stance towards Cuba? When will Cuba "soften" its stance towards Cuba? There should be an immediate release of all political prisoners in Cuba, restoration of basic human rights, including property rights, and post-Soviet style councils, like in Eastern Europe in the 90s, to account for the victims of Cuban communism, and bring the oppressors to book. Norteamericano proggs would be howling for this, if Castro had not couched his tyranny in anti-American leftist phraseology. Instead, he is still the darling of the doddering Sixties flotsam setting the tone for the American Left.
Castro killed more Cubans in his first three years than Hitler killed Germans in his first six. First World proggs just can't bear to part with their youthful infatuation with the old Red, is all, and they will ignore the boot stomping the faces of the Cuban people forever, if that's what it takes to preserve their collectivist illusions.
Friday, December 06, 2013
Sunday, December 01, 2013
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
The tenured radicals running the universities keep the students in high anxiety about all the ravening racists & sexists & classists & nativists & speciesists & whatnot lurking around them. Some students, with a natural adolescent urge to be the center of attention, decide to take a shortcut and make the long-threatened "oppression" hurry up and happen. Needless to say, proggs do not take these hoaxes as disconfirming evidence, nor do many of them seem to feel enough of a simple human kinship with those so slandered as to apologize.
I carried on much more crankily about this phenomenon some years back, here, in the aftermath of the Duke lacrosse team case.
Update: Welcome to readers of Blazing Cat Fur, to whom thanks for the link.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
This NYT contributor blames Dallas right-wing extremists for murder of JFK by a pro-Castro communist http://t.co/vvj50KRjfu— davidfrum (@davidfrum) November 17, 2013
They just simply transfer responsibility from those they wish to protect, and attach it to those they wish to attack. And David Frum in a later tweet asks the very good question: What collective responsibility does Los Angeles have for the murder of Robert F. Kennedy?
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
The uproar is all the greater since the affected people included so many free-lance journalists, I'll bet.
Saturday, November 02, 2013
But that is the opposite of true. As anyone could find out in fewer than two clicks, Furman University is 90% white and mostly upper-class. Jackson was still in friendly territory, since the students were very young and therefore mostly very liberal. But there's no excuse for posting such a howler expecting no one to notice.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
@andersoncooper Rube.— Bruce Thompson (@BruceThompson51) October 30, 2013
So far, the site has cost about $100,000 per line of code. That's pretty normal, right?— HealthCareDotGov (@HealthDotGov) November 1, 2013
Please help us. If we don't get this site running, we'll get the worst punishment a government employee can get: Time off with pay.— HealthCareDotGov (@HealthDotGov) October 31, 2013
If you like your candy, you can keep your candy. I'm sorry, your current bag plan has too many Snickers. *snatch* #Candycare— Grave-id Boo-rge (@iowahawkblog) October 31, 2013
If you like your cable package, you can keep it. PERIOD. Ooh, I see you don't have mandatory Oprah. That'll be $8k/month. #Obamacable— Grave-id Boo-rge (@iowahawkblog) October 29, 2013
Monday, October 28, 2013
Friday, October 18, 2013
Saturday, October 05, 2013
The New York Times quoted a US security official as saying that the target was believed to have been killed, although that had not yet been confirmed.
The raid hit a two-storey house close to the beach in the town of Barawe, an al-Shabaab stronghold, in the lower Shabelle region, some 150 miles south of Mogadishu. It is the same town where US navy commandos killed a senior al-Qaida member four years ago.
Good! We need a win against these vipers. It's especially fitting that it occurs on the 20th anniversary of the Black Hawk Down battle, when the people we came to rescue from famine dragged our dead soldiers through the streets. Forty-eight hour rule and everything, but if we've managed to hit the slithering jihadist Islamist filth hard and accurately, that's huge. And I hope the Kenyans are paying attention, as they were embarrassed to have their soldiers exposed as mere looting bullyboys.
I approve getting back pay for the SEAL team, once the shutdown is over!
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Took this just few mins before she was brutally taken away along with her unborn baby... Our Ruhila's gone. pic.twitter.com/9rjuwVhgFk— ƸӜƷ Kamal Kaur ƸӜƷ (@kamz26) September 22, 2013
Possibly a death in real time over social media? No, another twitterer said that she was safe at home, several hours later.
The spirit of Kenya.
The President of Kenya suffered loss.
A hero died protecting children.
Vimal Shah lost his brother who was shielding kids at #WestGate Another hero without a doubt— Dennis Itumbi (@OleItumbi) September 22, 2013
Kenya's Muslims denounce the attack.
A blow to the world of African arts.
Kofi Awoonor, one of Africa's greatest poets, killed in Nairobi terror attack: http://t.co/g7f0qiCFQ1— sanjeevsanyal (@sanjeevsanyal) September 22, 2013
Terror follows a Somali to Nairobi.
NYT photographer was on the job when attack happened.
Israelis reportedly joining in. Hope they include Falashas, who will deal retributive justice to the jihadists.
And African politics intrude even in this nightmare.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Saturday, September 07, 2013
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".
Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Sunday, September 01, 2013
“How is it supposed to work? How are we meant to furnish machine guns and anti-tank weapons to one set of opposition forces, without them ending up in the hands of men like the al Qaida-affiliated thugs who executed a child for telling a joke?"
Despite a 'graph that's too forgiving of Iran, this is a good explication of what's what in Syria.
Remember Kevin Sites, the embed journalist who ten years ago reported a soldier for shooting an enemy that Sites did not feel was a threat? He's a professor in Hong Kong now, and still doing foreign reportage from Afghanistan.
I bleed for this?
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Friday, August 09, 2013
Monday, August 05, 2013
Sunday, August 04, 2013
Friday, August 02, 2013
Victor Davis Hanson assumed that an invitation to racial dialog was sincere--aftermath summarized here, along with related reactions. If the ground rules of a conversation constrain one side to pretend that they do not see, hear and know what they in fact do see, hear and know, the ensuing conversation may be quite balletic, but it won't be honest. As Voltaire famously said, the great consolation in life is to say precisely what one thinks.
Will Detroit's splendid art collection become a bankruptcy casualty?
You can learn about loss just as effectively from a laser gun as you can from an unsuccessful affair in Paris.
“Your help is hurting.” More to the point: Helping people is good. Making pets of them is bad.
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Yes, young black men use the N-word among themselves ad nauseam--but you can't.
Yes, young black men kill each other up all day every day all over the country--but you can't.
Why? Because to many of these people you, if you are white, are the enemy, into whom the many undoubted ills of Black America are projected. This slaying is a bitter reminder of times past, when it was white people regularly killing young black men without a second thought and little fear of consequences. Nevermind that it is now other young black men who hold black life cheaply. The demonstrators don't look past the symbolism, the imagery--which admittedly is potent indeed. The disconnect between the jury's verdict and the demonstrators' anger tracks the disconnect between justice and so-called racial justice.
My congratulations to the court and jury for arriving at IMO the correct verdict without fear or favor.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Five decades? Six? Seven? How long should it take to understand that the life of a community cannot be reduced to politics or wholly encompassed by government? The time in which we live has unfathomable depths beneath it. Our age is a mere film on the surface of time.
--Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, November 1916
Sunday, July 14, 2013
I believe the verdict was just. Trayvon Martin was committing no crime and had a right to be in the neighborhood. But if I or any of my family gets assaulted by a hotheaded young man who is in a fury for being "dissed", then yeah: self-defense is a basic human right, open and shut. I like to think that I would feel the same way no matter the races of the parties involved.
At the same time, I do suspect that things would have developed differently had Zimmerman ended up dead, and Martin left to explain himself to the police. (Assuming he didn't run away & his family & friends shield him with omerta) Trayvon would have been arrested immediately & charged with murder, later knocked down to manslaughter or some such. A conviction would have been almost certain. And the whole thing would have been a two-day story in the Orlando Sentinel.
Thomas Sowell once posited a distinction between justice and "cosmic justice". This trial could not have righted the historic wrongs suffered by American blacks, nor could have any other trial. It was a mistake to have expected such a thing, to have freighted the case with so much baggage--so much irrelevant baggage. But popular passions have a way of washing away such nice sharp distinctions of the law. That's why we have a rule of law, and jury trials.
Tough case! I can see all sides. I can see the resentment of the young man being profiled. I can see the resentment of the citizen fed up with crime plaguing his neighborhood. I can see the fear of the parents, worried that one slip by their teen children will result in jail or worse. And I can see the fear of people imagining themselves attacked by feral street thugs--especially after last summer's highly publicized rash of black flash mob violence ("White Girl Bleed A Lot"). If I'm held to it, though, I would have to find for the defendant and the principle of self defense.
Most every commentator I've seen has been citing other cases, to make points of cheap parallelism or inconsistency. I'm no better so here's mine: This is a case from the end of the 19th Century. A church-going, law-abiding black farmer was escorting his elderly parents home from church on Christmas Eve. He was beset by three drunk young white men, possibly dressed up as KKK. They had been making trouble in town, until sent away by the police. They followed him home, shot off fireworks in front of his house, and threatened to shoot his dog. He came out of his house into the road and knifed two of them, killing one. Verdict: guilty of murder, mostly based on the testimony of the surviving stabbing victim, sustained on appeal. Make of it what you will...
Sidebar: the expectations of riots was an insult to the black community--no matter who was predicting them.
Thursday, July 04, 2013
But examine our local haters of democracy, and of capitalism, the American left and their foreign comrades come a-visiting to tell us our faults. They are here not because we are the Great Satan, but because here they are free to speak. And you will note that when they write they copyright their books, and buy goods with the proceeds.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Well, we're well on our way into unknown waters now. If mere shreds of legislation and judicial hair-splitting are all that's keeping legal same-sex marriage from becoming a reality, then society is surely ready for it.
But as I said, the waters are unknown. As the writer Donald Kingsbury said, Tradition is a set of solutions for which we have forgotten the problems. Throw away the solution and you get the problem back. Sometimes the problem has mutated or disappeared. Often it is still there as strong as it ever was. Society's insistence on monogamous, lifelong, opposite sex marriage was a solution to a problem which apparently we no longer remember. Will it now come back, in some guise or other?
We'll see. We've heard the wheels of history creak today, no doubt. Now we'll await the ramifications, which will probably play out long after we're gone.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Antoni Gaudi stayed out of pigeonholes in a big way. His work defies analogy, let alone description. Let's see: Ice cream castles? No. Victorian/Edwardian psychedelia? Maybe, kinda sorta. A Beaux-Arts H. R. Giger? His work does have that certain sinuosity to it, though it contains nothing of the macabre. It's like he was plunked down in 19th century Barcelona from some future era. One can only imagine what he could have done with modern building materials.
This book is a photodocumentary of his most notable work in Barcelona, although one building out in the countryside is included. The pictures are well composed and shot, and the text, an adaptation of a Spanish text, is interesting and clear.
Architectural surprises and oxymorons abound in these pictures. A classical caryatid is made out of small gray stones. The frame of a stained glass window turns out to be made out of knitting needles. The double doors of a courtyard open into a room, the entrance to which is obstructed by twin pink and yellow columns. Chimneys and ventilators are turned into colorful cones that wouldn't be out of place in the Hall of the Elves in Rock City, Tennessee. And the gateway to a park looks like nothing so much as a taffy-puller in action. And to think that all this expressiveness was built just one generation before the plague of Glass Boxes spread from northern Europe.
The appearance of Gaudi's buildings and decorative designs is striking enough for the casual viewer. But the details of how he came up with some of these designs is just as amazing. For one crypt, he dispensed with mathematical calculation altogether, instead working out the stress loads with a primitive, time-consuming system of ropes and sacks of buckshot. He was in fact so ferociously individualistic that it is amazing that he found enough patronage to keep him in work. Thanks to his open-minded patrons, most importantly Eusebi Guell, he was free to let his talents and imagination rip. Thanks also to his nationality--the English would have pegged him as an eccentric and consigned him to country houses. The French would have gone into ecstasies of theorizing, but would have been mindful of how little his work promoted "La Gloire". And as for Germany, who could imagine Bismarck and Kaiser Wilhelm living in ice cream palaces? But the Barcelona authorities were tractable enough to let him get away with flouting not only criticism but the very building codes. Perhaps they sensed that Gaudi was a manifestation of the revival the city was then enjoying.
This is an attractive book about a lone genius who put his stamp on his city; who followed his own drummer, sometimes right over the cliff, but always without hesitation.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Up til now there have been undiscovered wildfires in the Amazon rainforest. Wonder how many of them are slash-and-burn farm clearances.
Searching for love and friendship in a hook-up culture.
Tiny galaxy found orbiting Milky Way.
Can lack of trees kill you faster?
Is a family nowadays merely any group of people who for the moment share sweet feelings and a refrigerator? It says here that yes it is.
Campus diversity, yes!--but not if you are Asian or Jewish. But university diversicrats get to think wonderful things about themselves, as they commute from their gated neighborhoods in affluent super-zips.
Monday, June 10, 2013
When my abuser is welcome at the table, I am not. Here's an article over at Patheos religion blog, about the limits or at least the difficulties of forgiveness. The progressive Christianity she describes is more "beyondist" than Christian, IYAM. Beyondism is the tactic some leftists have of proclaiming themselves to be "beyond" the categories of Right and Left. The people she describes seem not to be great-hearted so much as they simply don't care, can't be bothered to make any value judgments.
But forgiveness and justice are not the same thing. Pope John Paul the Great forgave his would-be assassin, but he didn't ask for him to be let out of prison. Of course the primary benefit of forgiveness, if one doesn't wish to maintain or resume a relationship with the offender, is to end the gnawing away of one's own wellbeing. But that choice must come of one's own free will--not just because that's what all the cool kids are doing.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Monday, May 27, 2013
Breaking: 89 Year-Old British Veteran Vows to Not Move From War Memorial Until Islam Graffiti Is Removed
Breaking: 89 Year-Old British Veteran Vows to Not Move From War Memorial Until Islam Graffiti Is Removed
Saturday, May 25, 2013
It's hard to fight to save civilization, when deracinated relativists forbid everyone from even naming the enemy. The go-to guy for more on this is likely to be the multi-lingual expatriate writer Bruce Bawer. His website is very 1995-ish, but watch his Front Page column, it'll likely be where he'll publish next.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Sunday, May 05, 2013
Myself, I take strength from my centuries of farming ancestors. I've never lived on a farm, having grown up in small town middle-class comfort. But I'm still close enough to the land to still feel it in my bones, how my forebears had to tough out tough times, be thankful for small blessings, keep a simple faith, and be optimistic because there was no point in being anything else. I can't drawn anyone a map, but I can tell them that other people have gotten over these mountains before them.
The anti-semitic Left is lost inside a vast morality inversion.
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
During his early years at Alexandria, Origen wrote On First Principles, the first systematic theology ever produced. For 28 years he worked on another book, the Hexapla, a massive work of Old Testament textual analysis. He was one of the few churchmen before the Reformation who learned Hebrew to assist his study of the Old Testament. Origen's method of interpreting Scripture tremendously influenced the Middle Ages. He found three levels of meaning in it: the literal, the moral and the allegorical. He used allegory to reveal Christ in the Old Testament.
Paradoxically, Origen can be called both a father of orthodoxy and a heretic. He wrote at a time when the church was defining its basic doctrines. His contributions have helped theologians for centuries. But his active mind also led him into speculations that the Church rejected. In fact, church councils held in 231 and 232 enacted motions against Origen, and excommunicated him.
Origen found refuge in Palestine and Arabia. The faith was still dear to him. During a third century persecution, pagans threw him into prison. Tortured and condemned to die, only the death of Emperor Decian saved him from execution. But Origen's health was broken. He was close to 70 when he died in 253 or 254.
Though he made serious mistakes, Origen's contribution was inestimatable. One of his students, the church father Gregory of Nazianzus, aptly summed him up as "the stone that sharpens us all." Because no definite dates are associated with Origen's life, we have chosen this day, April 22, to recognize his contribution to the church.
Friday, April 19, 2013
...for those un-inclined to click and scroll, they stopped when it became apparent that the bombers were Muslims.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Somebody at Google dislikes Michelle Malkin.
I still miss gatefold album cover art. And if desktop PCs go away, I supposed I'll miss desktop wallpaper.
Eerie abandoned islands.
Same sex marriage is succeeding in changing the culture:
Gay marriage is advancing on the basis of something other than the expected rational arguments. [...] When elites rally unanimously to a cause, it can become a kind of common sense. The upwardly mobile parts of democratic publics emulate their “betters.” They quell their natural misgivings. Those who do not quell their misgivings, therefore, look like losers. There is a first-they-came-for-the-Communists element to this shift—a lot of people worried about saying something un-chic assume that there will always be someone more conservative, more heedless of his social position, ready to come out of the “woodwork” to take the heat in front of public opinion. But Rush Limbaugh now supports civil unions and Glenn Beck opines that gay marriage “isn’t hurting anybody.”
North Korea is China's tool for making trouble for the West on the cheap, with a degree of deniability. So we have to stand with South Korea all the more steadfastly.
If you're using Disqus comments, you can comment on Michelle Malkin's blog now. Still can't figure out how to resume commenting on NPR.org though, now that they've taken away Google login, and the Disqus button there doesn't recognize me.
Friday, April 05, 2013
Roger Ebert, defender of evolution.
Happy Poetry Month! Odgen Nash is about my speed, unfortunately. As for people bemoaning the decline of poetry, I'll just say what I say to the people on YouTube complaining about how music sucks nowadays: There was plenty of crap in the old days too--we just don't pay attention to it anymore.
Bizarre sea creatures
Most classless paleontology analogy ever.
Christians Injured, Church Damaged in Pakistan After Mosque Incites Attacks From Loudspeakers It just never stops...
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
But as I said, the waters are unknown. As the writer Donald Kingsbury said, Tradition is a set of solutions for which we have forgotten the problems. Throw away the solution
and you get the problem back. Sometimes the problem has mutated or disappeared. Often it is still there as strong as it ever was. Society's insistence on monogamous, lifelong, opposite sex marriage was a solution to a problem which apparently we no longer remember. Will it now come back, in some guise or other?
Monday, March 25, 2013
So I most often can be located in my Disqus feed, cordially debating or mixing it up with liberals and proggs, defending my views and enjoying the sight of people who aren't used to it being forced to justify theirs. I keep scribbling here a couple of times a week--who knows? Small blogs may come back some day. (Here's a tumblr I made recently, which so far as I can tell hasn't landed a single hit.)
And, truth be told, real life is being very good to me these days. I spend more time on Facebook, and my meatspace affairs are absorbing and fulfilling. All that tends to take the edge off of the acerbity I once wielded. You should have seen me in my usenet heyday, just sayin'...I suppose I'll continue to blog here for the foreseeable future, and if you're lucky it might even be worth reading from time to time. And if not, then I'm proud to say that my blogroll over there is bound to have something intriguing someplace, so try it out!
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Voyager I is not out of the solar system yet. Impress your friends by using the word "heliopause", if you discuss this story.
Fighting creationism in Louisiana schools and legislature.
Identifying a huge trove of art theft loot.
So long as Delaware can keep its interstate tollbooths above water, their economy will be fine.
A classic honey trap?
A costumed re-enactment of Western history, Asian style.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Which brings to mind this bit of satire from 2005, on that very point:
Pick Seen as Sign of Contradiction
By Ian Fisher
CAESAREA PHILIPPI (20 Kislev). Yesterday's surprise announcement that doctrinal hardliner Jesus of Nazareth had been anointed “messiah” provoked mixed reactions in the diverse and sometimes fractious Israelite community, ranging from cautious disappointment to frank despair.
“I see it as a missed opportunity,” said Herodias Schneidkopf, a Galilean incest-rights activist. “Many of us were hoping for someone more open to leadership roles for women and more appreciative of our experience. I don't feel valued.”
Respected archpriest Caiaphas Bar Nun agreed. “Above all, the messiah should be a good listener. How can we as a faith community keep credibility among the youth of today if we cling to every jot and tittle of an outmoded social code while thousands die of leprosy and hunger? Today's highly educated Judahite community isn't satisfied with the old answers. I'm afraid it's a missed opportunity.”
Even some members of the Messiah's personal entourage expressed misgivings. The Rev. J.E. “Dimples” Iscariot, S.J., a media consultant, did not hide his regret. “A missed opportunity, I'm afraid. We in the Society of Judas traditionally enjoy a special relationship to the messiah, but we'll find this choice very hard to explain to gays and lesbians—I mean, of course, to gomorrhaists and sodomitesses—as well as to the divorced and the marginalized. Why just the other day I saw 300 denarii, which might have been used to help find a cure for leprosy, squandered on wholly unnecessary ritual excesses.”
Fighting the spread of leprosy is a vexed issue among contemporary Palestinians. Most polls show Israelites widely ignore official teachings on ethical matters, preferring to follow their own conscience. Some see Jesus' moral conservatism as a rigidity that leads to disfigurement and death in at-risk populations—and that may ultimately doom his movement to irrelevance.
“Yesterday's unction was an opportunity missed,” insisted real-estate broker Sapphira Glass. “Today's young professionals don't find their own experience reflected in a one-size-fits-all morality that limits options and encodes patriarchal bias. I mean, sacrificing one's newborns to Moloch is a tragic but often necessary choice, and many of us find the language of apostasy alienating and judgmental.” [NYT copyeditor's note: Need some quote from supporter—J.L.]
“It all comes down to power,” countered maverick theologian Fr. Richard Maccabeus, retired professor of applied autology, who pointed out that the successful candidate had almost no pastoral experience. “What we're seeing is a right-wing restorationist fantasy in its death throes. Intelligent Israelites aren't buying. We want to be heard. We want someone who speaks not with authority but like us academics—I mean, of course, like the scribes and the pharisees. One can only call it a missed opportunity.”
The Procurator of Judea was unavailable for comment.
Thursday, March 07, 2013
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
He was of course the most prominent face on Latin America's general leftward tilt over the past decade. The fact that he looted the nation's economy while being fawned over by First World proggs is a banality at this point, after the 20th Century's long and disgraceful history of the same phenomenon in other workers' paradises.
Give him this, though: he was indeed conspicuously un-murderous, for a socialist maximum leader. And who knows, maybe he would not have later instituted gulags, had he lasted and had a free hand. Unlike most of his marxist predecessors, he never used the pretext of This Present Hour Of Armageddon to institute mass jailings and executions of opponents, nor random terror to keep the people off balance and in political disarray. (If I missed it, someone please let me know.) So low has the bar been for socialist Second and Third World governments that this minimum, this simple refraining from launching a blood bath, seems like an actual achievement by contrast.
So why does Latin America keep throwing up people like this? Blessed as I am with near perfect ignorance of most details of the continent's history, I'd say that it's founding was awry. Instead of a sturdy, independent anglo-protestant yeomenry as in northern North America, Latin America was settled by a thin scum of violent, sleazy Iberian nobility, lording it over a vast sweating under-mass of suffering peons, with very little in between. It's rather as if all of North America had consisted of a small aristocratic planter class, slaves and indentured servants, and little else. The imbalance has perturbed Latin America's course ever after. They don't need revolutions, they need a free, robust, enfranchised middle class, with a rule of law that inspires respect.
He survived a coup attempt, and he was re-elected a couple of times. But I'd still rather be governed by my last twenty county commissioners than by someone like him. When politics is dictated by a single person, whether or not under the guise of some -ism or other, political life withers into simple alignment for or against him. It barely matters if he's Idi Amin or Frederick The Great--Dear Leaders are bad for democracy.
Here's hoping for the best for Venezuela's future, may God guide her.
Saturday, March 02, 2013
Vietnam vet not allowed to own a gun due to 1968 misdemeanor - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5
Vietnam vet not allowed to own a gun due to 1968 misdemeanor - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5
Friday, March 01, 2013
Well, at least he didn't go there to label the conditions of the ordinary people trapped in that hellhole of a country as being the wave of the future. Unlike the intellectuals of the 30s oohing & ahhing over their Potemkin tours of the Soviet Union, or the celebrity radicals of the 60s & 70s, Rodman apparently doesn't claim any higher political acumen. "I'm not a politician. Kim Jung Un & North Korean people are basketball fans. I love everyone. Period. End of story," he tweeted. But he's still appallingly wrong for saying things like this in public: "About the relationship, no one man can do anything. His country and his people love him. I love him, he is an awesome guy."
For any un- or mis-informed readers, here's what the problem is. North Korea is the grimmest, most murderous, most total of all remaining totalitarian states in the world. Yes, our client South Korea was a police state until the late 1980s. But the communist North usurped their people's very souls, stripping away all intermediary institutions--church, family, non-government organizations--leaving the people naked before the whims of the state. See for yourself:
It is shameful for anyone who enjoys the very best of the free, prosperous West, as Rodman does, to give legitimacy to that horror show.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Donald Sensing calls out feminists in Colorado for being soft on rape. How do feminists advise their daughters to protect themselves from rape, anyway? I've never gotten an answer beyond "Sexist!".
"Put simply, the bills tell us that this is not about interfering in a free market. It’s about facing the reality that our largest consumer product by far — one-fifth of our economy — does not operate in a free market."
Newscaster bloopers are funny even when they are in a foreign language.
I love stories of veterans being reunited with long-lost personal items:
WWII Normandy veteran has missing canteen returned to him.
Silver Star, Purple Heart, belonging to WWII soldier, killed in final weeks of the war, is returned to his daughter who never knew him.
A buyer's market in zero-day cyber weapons.
Thawing permafrost concerns climatologists.
Tiny people swim with the fishes.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Sunday, February 17, 2013
This blog has broken national stories, which have been cited in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, among other Big Media rags. Stories published here have been featured on national TV news networks and discussed by late-night comedians. I have published op-eds in the Los Angeles Times. The blog has broken a story that contributed to the downfall of a Congressman, published another national story that got a Big Media journalist reassigned, defended a federal judge against misleading accusations, and appeared on radio programs all across the country.
He then gets all modest and self-deprecating, but you can justly nevermind that bit. He's a big-time blogger who enjoyed the success most of us only dreamed of, made the correct kind of enemies but no more than that, and kept his head on straight. Congratulations to him!
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Monday, February 11, 2013
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Friday, February 08, 2013
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
When the Assassin Calls…
The multi-lingual Bawer is your porthole into Scandinavian and Low Countries politics, especially as the Islamization of those parts of Europe are concerned.
Monday, February 04, 2013
This was a pleasant surprise, watching the Super Bowl. It was inspired to revive this old Paul Harvey bit, rather than run yet more "manly man" cliches, for this truck commercial. Good old Paul Harvey...As he said of other people when they died, Someone will take his job, but no will ever take his place....
Saturday, February 02, 2013
Friday, February 01, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
RIP Leroy "Sugarfoot" Bonner. They were part of my school years. I would often hear their music coming out of the eight-track boom boxes the black kids would bring to school, as well as on the radio. I'm glad he lived long enough to enjoy the renewed celebrity that YouTube-fueled nostalgia brought.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Rest easy, dear reader. I would never stoop so low as to compromise either of our principles in this way. At least not until I was reduced to actually trying to make a buck off of my scribblings on this blog...
Saturday, January 26, 2013
I used to peruse an anti-Scientology usenet group years ago, which seems to be thriving still, other than that I've had no direct connection with the cult. The cosmology of it reeks of kitschy 1950s science fiction, more Plan 9 From Outer Space than spiritual enterprise. You can't reason people out of notions they were never reasoned into, though. If Scientology is the only religion spiritually receptive people encounter, they are very likely to be and remain imprinted with the initial stamp of belief. But if there are those with ears to hear, this time around they may hear.
I salute Mr. Wright's bravery, and all those before him who have stood up to Scientology.
15 Scientology Revelations From Lawrence Wright’s ‘Going Clear’
Why You Could Have Fallen for Scientology, Too
Lawrence Wright Publisher Defends Book Against Church Of Scientology Claims
Scientology creates 'atmosphere of fear,' says 'Going Clear' author Lawrence Wright
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Justice Antonin Scalia wears Thomas More's cap to the inauguration. "Wearing the cap of a statesman who defended liberty of church and integrity of Christian conscience to the inauguration of a president whose policies have imperiled both: Make of it what you will."
Sperm Whales Adopt A Dolphin With Spine Deformity
Four Siberian volcanoes erupt at once, as seen from space.
The producer of the forthcoming documentary Guilt Is My God reports that he has been seriously injured & will be laid up for a couple of months. He also says that he is still getting death threats, for making this film about people who have left Islam.
More attempted SWATting, this time not against a conservative blogger.
The Chinese Navy
Is getting tremendous
The results for us
Could be horrendous
Rejection Therapy Day #47: Offer to pump gas for strangers.
Still no idea why Google's Eric Schmidt went to North Korea--does he want to be the present age's Ted Turner? Good to see that his daughter wasn't fooled by the Potemkin treatment they were given.
Is a prominent creationist close to coming around from the dark side?
Patterico hated the inauguration speech. Well, there's nothing that Romney would have done differently in the late economic crisis. There just wasn't any choice this time around.
God bless America...
Monday, January 21, 2013
Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of
A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed
that uses it.
Every now and then I like to go over to Edge.org and scan the thoughts of the current era's leading intellectuals. I really have no business going there. Most of the stuff is over my head, and I'm old enough for that fact to inspire respect, rather than dismissal. This entry on Chinese eugenics just gives me the creeps, however. (Click on Respondents if you land on the front page, and then search for Geoffrey Miller. The individual contributions don't seem to be permalinkable.) Dr. Miller describes how the Chinese, in keeping with tradition of seeking out the well-bred, are sequencing the genome of high IQ people from around the world, in hopes of breeding an ever-more intelligent overclass. But that's not the disquieting part. What loosened my jaw was that Dr. Miller seems to approve of this. Thinks it right, good, and necessary:
There is unusually close cooperation in China between government, academia, medicine, education, media, parents, and consumerism in promoting a utopian Han ethno-state. Given what I understand of evolutionary behavior genetics, I expect—and hope—that they will succeed. The welfare and happiness of the world's most populous country depends upon it.
My real worry is the Western response. The most likely response, given Euro-American ideological biases, would be a bioethical panic that leads to criticism of Chinese population policy with the same self-righteous hypocrisy that we have shown in criticizing various Chinese socio-cultural policies. But the global stakes are too high for us to act that stupidly and short-sightedly. A more mature response would be based on mutual civilizational respect, asking—what can we learn from what the Chinese are doing, how can we help them, and how can they help us to keep up as they create their brave new world?
Now, I'm a literal-minded fellow, endowed with a pesky case of Dunning-Kruger Effect, and those last three words in the passage seem to indicate that this is a bitter spoof. But, as infested with deracinated relativists as higher education has been in recent decades, who knows? If you're reading, Dr. Miller, please...tell me you're kidding.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Friday, January 18, 2013
Chrysler will indeed produce Jeeps in China.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
French troops face combat with Mali rebels ‘within hours’ - World - News - London Evening Standard
The French are going to get in the first blows against Al Qaeda in Maghreb, it looks like. We've had special forces creeping around the Sahara for years, of course. But now that the Arab Spring has really stirred up the hornets' nest, the French and by means of them the civilized West will shortly close with the Holy Warriors. Best of success to them. And no jokes, please--the French military is quite seasoned at operating in North and West Africa, and they've rescued our nationals a time or two in Ivory Coast, when unrest threatened.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Hiroshima and Detroit: The Damage Democrats Do to the Poor Lasts Longer Than a Nuclear Bomb