Monday, October 31, 2005
October 31, 1517
On this day Dr. Martin Luther nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church his "Disputatio pro Declaratione Virtutis Indulgentiarum." He challanged all who might wish to do so to dispute his "95 Theses."
Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.Pope Leo X is supposed initially to have responded "Brother Martin is a man of fine genius, and this outbreak is a mere squabble of envious monks," but afterwards to have said, "It is a drunken German who wrote the Theses; when sober he will change his mind."
But Luther could do no other.
"Roe's mandate for abortion on demand destroyed the compromises of the past, rendered compromise impossible for the future, and required the entire issue to be resolved uniformly, at the national level. At the same time, Roe created a vast new class of abortion consumers and abortion proponents by eliminating the moral opprobrium that had attached to the act. ("If the Constitution guarantees abortion, how can it be bad?" - not an accurate line of thought, but a natural one.) Many favor all of those developments, and it is not for me to say that they are wrong. But to portray Roe as the statesmanlike "settlement" of a divisive issue, a jurisprudential Peace of Westphalia that is worth preserving, is nothing less than Orwellian. Roe fanned into life an issue that has inflamed our national politics in general, and has obscured with its smoke the selection of Justices to this Court, in particular, ever since."
Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 995-96 (1992)(Scalia, J., dissenting).
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
What if they call you a slavemaster at the same time? JACKPOT!
A spokesperson for a pro-abortion group in Canada (not incidentally, one that receives taxpayer cash) has relieved herself of the opinion that a pro-lifer's attitude towards women is like "the slaveholder's attitude to blacks, and the Nazi's attitude to Jews."
More HERE. H/T relapsed catholic.
Is the Trolley Off the Tracks?
I think there is an unspoken subtext in our national political culture right now. In fact I think it's a subtext to our society. I think that a lot of people are carrying around in their heads, unarticulated and even in some cases unnoticed, a sense that the wheels are coming off the trolley and the trolley off the tracks. That in some deep and fundamental way things have broken down and can't be fixed, or won't be fixed any time soon. That our pollsters are preoccupied with "right track" and "wrong track" but missing the number of people who think the answer to "How are things going in America?" is "Off the tracks and hurtling forward, toward an unknown destination."Has the Presidency itself -- as such -- become impossible?
I refer to the sheer scope, speed and urgency of the issues that go to a president's desk, to the impossibility of bureaucracy, to the array of impeding and antagonistic forces (the 50-50 nation, the mass media, the senators owned by the groups), to the need to have a fully informed understanding of and stand on the most exotic issues, from Avian flu to the domestic realities of Zimbabwe.But isn't the United States in the hands of a highly competent elite?
The special prosecutors, the scandals, the spin for the scandals, nuclear proliferation, wars and natural disasters, Iraq, stem cells, earthquakes, the background of the Supreme Court backup pick, how best to handle the security problems at the port of Newark, how to increase production of vaccines, tort reform, did Justice bungle the anthrax case, how is Cipro production going, did you see this morning's Raw Threat File? Our public schools don't work, and there's little refuge to be had in private schools, however pricey, in part because teachers there are embarrassed not to be working in the slums and make up for it by putting pictures of Frida Kalho where Abe Lincoln used to be. Where is Osama? What's up with trademark infringement and intellectual capital? We need an answer on an amendment on homosexual marriage! We face a revolt on immigration.
Our elites, our educated and successful professionals, are the ones who are supposed to dig us out and lead us. I refer specifically to the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere. I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they're living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they're going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley's off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it.
I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, "I got mine, you get yours."
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Poor Child Can't Catch a Break
VANCOUVER, Wash. - A 27-year-old man has been charged with assault after a tussle with figure skater-turned-boxer Tonya Harding.Story HERE.
Christopher Nolan told deputies she threw him to the gravel and bit his finger when he said she had had too much to drink. Nolan pleaded not guilty Monday in Clark County District Court and was released on his own recognizance.
Harding told deputies the scrap was in the kitchen of the house they shared, not the driveway and that it was a cat, not she, who scratched Nolan's finger.
Initially Harding, 34, called 911 and said she was attacked by two masked men who came to her home and assaulted her before she could escape.
Nolan was ordered to stay away from Harding and to avoid alcohol.
Nolan described the two as roommates. She said he was her boyfriend.
Harding was banned for life from competitive figure skating after her former husband hired a hitman to club Harding's rival Nancy Kerrigan with a baton as Kerrigan left the ice during practice at the 1994 U.S. championships in Detroit.
The attack prevented Kerrigan from competing, but she recovered to win a silver medal at the 1994 Olympic games in Lillehammer a few weeks later. Harding, then from Portland, Ore., finished out of the running.
More recently Harding tried her hand at professional boxing to very mixed reviews.
And before the hooting, scoffing and knee-slapping start, as Kathy Shaidle points out HERE:
Yeah, we know she's guilty of everything.EXACTLY!
You just know that chick she had beat up that time got driven to the rink by her parents in their fancy car, while Tonya had to hitchhike or take the bus at 4 a.m. You just know everyone told Tonya she wasn't skinny or pretty enough to win what amounts to a completely subjective sport, no matter how good her moves were. You just know she gave all those people the finger.
So. You know.
NEWARK, N.J. - A Roman Catholic high school has ordered its students to remove personal blogs from the Internet in the name of protecting them from cyberpredators.
Students at Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta appear to be heeding a directive from the principal, the Rev. Kieran McHugh, to remove personal postings about the school or themselves from Web sites like myspace.com or xanga.com, even if they were posted from the students' home computers.
A spokesman for the prosecutor said there would be no public announcements Thursday. The term of the grand jury that could bring indictments expires Friday.AP story HERE.
As a public service, we ask if you or someone in your family knows a person suffering from BDD ("Bush Derangement Disorder"), please check on their well-being today.
Sounds Right To Me
The radical right wing of the Republican Party killed the Harriet Miers nomination. Apparently, Ms. Miers did not satisfy those who want to pack the Supreme Court with rigid ideologues.He says that as if it's a bad thing.
BREAKING NEWS:Harriet Miers Withdraws
9:00 pm PDT
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
FRANCO STILL DEAD!
"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative's identity could hand up charges as early as today, but Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is not expected to make any public announcements Wednesday, one source with knowledge of the probe told CNN. "
In related news, meteorologists declared themselves uncertain regarding next summer's weather, commodities experts opined that the price of gold would go up over the next six months, unless it went down, with little price movement a third possibility.
Are there no cat-lady stories, or pictures of hyper-siliconized starlets to post?
[UPDATE - 3:45 p.m.] Everyone's gone home for the day. LINK. Ferdinand Marcos also reportedly still dead. No major volcanic eruptions reported today in Maine.
First, what exactly constitutes an "undue fear of Islam" when Muslims acting in the name of Islam today make up the premier source of worldwide aggression, both verbal and physical, versus non-Muslims and Muslims alike? What, one wonders, is the proper amount of fear?Via relapsed catholic.
The more things change . . . .
Once while entertaining a visiting dignitary, B.H.Hill, [General Lee] said quietly, "Mr. Hill, we made a great mistake in the beginning, and I fear it will be fatal."
"What is that, General?"
"Why, we appointed all our worst generals to command the armies, and all our best generals to edit the newspapers. I have given the work all the care and thought I could, and sometimes, when I was through, my plans seemed to me to be perfect. But when I have fought the campaigns I have discovered defects. When it was all over, I found by reading a newspaper that these editor-generals saw all the defects plainly from the start...but they did not tell me until it was too late."
Hill smiled uncertainly as Lee paused.
"I have done my best," Lee said, "but I haven't succeeded as I would like. I'm willing to yield my place to these best generals, and I will do my best for the cause by editing a newspaper."
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Dude! That totally looks like you (two)!
We now bring you #2 Son, as a South Park character:
It's not bad.
Daniel Gross, Still An Idiot.
When you get right down to it, the "job" of the Federal Reserve is whatever the Federal Reserve says it is -- which, during the Greenspan era, was "ensuring price stability." This involves checking not only pressures on inflation, but pressures on deflation, which can (a) be far more damaging to an economy (see "Japan, 1990") and (b) wreak havoc over a much longer term (see "Japan, 2000"). In '02 and '03, massive federal outlays and tightening credit markets threatened to crowd out consumer spending, which had the potential to tank the U.S. and global economies for a long time. Greenspan and the Fed cut rates, ensuring healthy markets until the threat had more or less passed - and rightly raised them again (now, at their highest level in years, 3.75%) to give future monetary policymakers some breathing room. This, in fact, may be Greenspan's biggest gift to Bernanke as his successor. We'll see.
Finally, criticizing Bernanke for sharing Greenspan's view that the Fed possesses neither the ability nor the repsonsibility to control asset prices, Gross pulls another pied-dans-la bouche. Bernanke is a pragmatist who knows the limits of even the largest central bank. He's no slouch on inflation. Indeed, Bernanke's biggest weakness may be his well-known belief in setting "hard" inflation targets (his current pet number is 2%, FYI), which may compromise some of the breathing room he's been given by Sir Alan.
My prediction: this guy will be good. He'll be villified when the real estate bubble bursts, but (a) it won't be his fault; (b) it won't be Greenspan's fault, either; and (c) Daniel Gross will likely blame both of them anyway.
Last year, amid signs that the population had rebounded (which evidence could have included brown bears strolling through my back yard in nearby Virginia), the State granted permits (on a lottery system) for the hunting of 20 bears. All twenty were taken in one day.
This year, Maryland decided that the quota should be upped to 40-55, and again there was a lottery for the licenses, as well as a mandatory hunting safety test.
The first bear to be taken was shot in remote Mount Nebo, Maryland, west of Frostburg, near both the Pennsylvania and West Virginia borders.
The 211 pound bear was brought down at 50 yards with two shots from a .243-caliber rifle.
The hunter was 8-year-old Sierra Stiles, who stands all of 4 1/2 feet high. That's her, just below, with her trophy:
Girls Rule. Story HERE, from today's WaPo.
P.S. Yes, of course, the right-thinking people think this is truly awful:
The Humane Society of the United States, which has urged Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) to ban bear hunts, expressed concern Monday over the age of the hunter and noted that the first bear killed last year was a young bear.Hmmmm. Let's see now: On the one hand, I might expose my young daughter to guns and bears. On the other hand, to MTV, the New York Times, and pudding wrestling.
"Governor Ehrlich is personally responsible for exposing young children and young bears to this cruelty," read the news release.
Surely there are more difficult parenting issues, right?
Entirely understandable, then, that 59-year-old Jerry Stewart, an attorney in Benton, Arkansas, resolved to appeal his recent conviction for driving while drunk. He was already a one-time loser, having a prior conviction for same, and Jerry might have correctly divined that a second condemnation would do more than twice as much harm.
And one can imagine that, faced with so vital a court appearance, Jerry would be more than a little tense. On edge. Nervous.
And so Jerry Stewart is now in jail, for contempt of court, having gotten yet another rotten break, and turned up drunk in court. To represent himself. For his second drunken driving conviction.
We do not make this stuff up.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Friday, October 21, 2005
Better Living Through Electronics
But widespread use of smaller and smaller phones has other effects, as well.
I recall the first time I saw an apparently well-dressed fellow standing on a corner, talking to the air (which seemed entirely unresponsive), complete with complementary hand gestures directed to no one in particular. Once upon a time a such a two-way conversation taking place without evidence of the second participant was taken as evidence of mental incapacity. I finally spotted the button in his ear, with the cord and dangling microphone.
"Wow," I thought, "Does that guy know he looks like a lunatic?" Only later did I grasp that NO, he knew he looked like one of the Masters of the Universe, always connected, his words always irreplaceable.
But it hasn't been that long ago that I waltzed unsuspecting into the public restroom at my office building. Vaguely noticing that the only other occupant was in the third stall, I proceeded about the tasks at hand. But I began to hear a soft, almost inaudible conversation coming from that third stall. Then it got a little louder. "Oh yeah," the voice said. "That's great. No, really, it's just fine."
The only thought that popped into my head was "Good God! I hope he's at least in there with a WOMAN!"
It took me a moment to realize that the moron was having a conversation -- eventually obviously with his wife or girlfriend -- while performing one of the basic bodily functions for which rest rooms were originally designed. And doing so enthusiastically, and with great energy, positive result, and full sound effects.
Now that I think about it, it must have been his wife.
[The image is of an ink drawing titled "Assholes on Cell Phones #1" by Marc Dennis.]
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Dude! That totally looks like you!
The Iraq War Was Wrong Blog
Our opinion leans to the conclusion that it's a joke, much like THIS, but somewhat more subtle and sophisticated. But it's a difficult call.
And if you once decide that it is a put-on, you must then wonder about the actual views of the author.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
News You Can Use
While the jackpot is listed as $340 million, that's a crock: They get to that number by adding together 25 yearly payments of a paltry $13.6 million. Like we're not smart enough to figure that one out.
The real jackpot -- that is, the cash value -- is about $164 million, which is way less but not so bad. Taxes take rather a large bite, but I'll still be left with about $90,000,000. It's really not right to get too far ahead of oneself on things like this, but I think I'll probably quit my day job. But maybe not. How cool would it be to go into the office every day, knowing you can quit any time you want, and the boss knows it too. Or maybe I wouldn't tell him, so only I know the awesome power I hold in my hands. And maybe, just maybe, if the boss gets particularly difficult to take, I'll go behind his back and I'll buy the mortgage on Wuthering Heights from the bank, and then we'll see how he treats me. And Cathy, well, then I'd finally be worthy, and she'd realize . . . .
Well, anyway, perhaps I've already said too much.
I see that Lileks has also bought a ticket. I probably should have let him know that I had bought the winning number, but I had no idea he'd be wasting his money. In any event, he seems to have rather a different take on the whole thing:
Yes, I bought a Powerball ticket. And then I ate it. It’s much more interesting than just buying one and waiting to see if you win; now you hope, intensely, that you lose. If you take down the numbers before you swallow it, you get relief the moment they announce the winning numbers. (Which should be called the losing numbers, since that’s what they are for millions of people.) (I am certain some stand-up “comic” has made that point before, possibly on one of those concert performances that seemed to infest the USA network back when I watched too much cable. Sounds stupid enough, anyway. “Why do they call them the winning numbers? One guy wins! Oughta call ‘em losing numbers! Am I right?” Whoot whoot from the drunken crowd, audience shot of cute women with faces frozen in an unconvincing smile left over from a vaguely amusing reference six jokes ago.) If you don’t write down the numbers before you eat the ticket, you have to wait for the media to tell us where the ticket was bought. If - God forbid - it’s the store where you bought your ticket, you have to wait for someone to show up and present the winning numbers. Excruciating, but once someone comes forward, your relief is unbelievable.
How many people does it take . . .
Thanks to the European Union' s "Working at Heights Directive" the answer is four -- over three days at a cost of more than 1,300 pounds.From Reuters.
Preaching at St Benet's Church in Beccles, Suffolk in gathering gloom, Father Anthony Sutch had to call in electricians to change light bulbs that are 40 feet above the congregation.
Because safety regulations deemed the church ceiling too high for a ladder, scaffolding had to be erected for a lengthy and costly replacement operation.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Did she or didn't she?
We'd like to think so.
More HERE, including the inevitable:
A spokesman for Patrick said she was appalled that Lazier would claim he was punched. She was trying to tell him to use his head next time.[And the answer is "YES": Girls are allowed to race Indy cars; Girls are allowed to punch jerks; and Girls are allowed to have it both ways, and then taunt said jerk for having been punched by a girl. Yes they are.]
"So you're telling me that Jaques is saying he got beat up by a girl?" Patrick said through [a spokesman].
We have ALWAYS been at war with East Asia
Life in any modern totalitarian police state is characterized by a disjunction between reality and day-to-day life. There are those things ordinary citizens know perfectly well to be true, as well as those modes of behavior they know to be perfectly ordinary, and then there are those things they must officially believe, and those modes of behavior they must follow when The State might be observing them. Which might be anywhere, any time.
One may with profit consult either Mr. Orwell or Mr. Solzhenitsyn.
One might have thought that with the fall of the Soviet Union, the emergence of Eastern Europe into the light, and the retreat from respectability of Stalinism among Western "men of the Left," this conflict of official reality with objective reality would begin to dissipate.
Here in the West we know perfectly well that Muslims, principally but not exclusively Arabs, wish to see us dead or, at the very least, are wholly indifferent to our survival so long as we submit to the Caliphate. Yet we officially and publicly recoil from directing the attention of security and intelligence forces at those poor misunderstood fellows. As he was shot and then butchered by a Muslim fanatic, Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh's last words are reported to have been “Don’t do it . . . we can still talk about it.”
I think not.
So to Mr. Mugabe. When Zimbabwe was known as Rhodesia it was the breadbasket of Southern Africa. Since it has come under Mugabe's management its people have been reduced to starving beggars, its farmers displaced from their land by criminal thugs in Mr. Mugabe's pay. Out of a population of about 12 million, it is variously estimated that as many as 5 million Zimbabweans will need food aid this year.
So to Mr. Mubabe's appearance at a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. An intersection any editor of fiction would reject as wholly implausible.
There Mr. Mubabe, a brutal dictator, head of a police state responsible for the starvation of its own citizens, relieved himself of the following opinion:
Must we allow these men, the two unholy men of our millennium, who in the same way as Hitler and Mussolini formed (an) unholy alliance, formed an alliance to attack an innocent country? The voice of Mr Bush and the voice of Mr Blair can't decide who shall rule in Zimbabwe, who shall rule in Africa, who shall rule in Asia, who shall rule in Venezuela, who shall rule in Iran, who shall rule in Iraq. Is this the world we desire? The world of giants and international terrorists who use their state muscle in order to intimidate us? We become the midgets.This, of course, is the complaint from the alternate reality of the criminal thug, who protests that the police are coming onto his turf, and disrupting his business. What right have they to seek to free his victims from his violent exploitation? Do they not understand that the peasants, the common people, exist only to serve the greater vision of the President for Life?
And recall -- note well -- that this is not the rant of John Gotti, but a speech by the executive of a sovereign nation, delivered to the applause of a United Nations audience.
In a world political structure rooted in reality, Mr. Mugabe would be laughed at, placed under arrest, and removed to some locale where he could do no more harm. And the people of fertile and potentially rich Zimbabwe would be encouraged and assisted in setting themselves free.
But we live in a different world, the one where we are at war with Eurasia. The one where we have always been at war with Eurasia.
Monday, October 17, 2005
October 17, 1989
I was watching the baseball playoff on TV, much like I am some 16 years later. So was this SFist blogger, although she was actually there.
Ah, Yes: Harold Pinter
Today's subscription-only WSJ op-ed page answers the question, "Who would you like to read on the topic of the clownishly anti-American Harold Pinter being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature?" Mark Steyn? Well, sure, but he's never been that well connected to the British Left, now has he? Bill Kristol? Nahh, it's a purely political gesture largely beneath his notice.
Yes? You in the back of the room, waving your hand wildly?
YES! OF COURSE! WE WANT TO HEAR CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS!!
Harold Pinter's early writing for the stage was correctly described -- with no objection from him -- as "the theater of the absurd." But it has been left to the selectors of the Nobel in literature to make that definition postmodern and thus to drain it of all irony. Their choice of Mr. Pinter is a selection of absurdity quite detached from drama: a straight and philistine preference for the grotesque. "I have no idea why they gave me the award," said the playwright when the news was brought to him. This justified incredulity showed a brief flash of his old form.For those with wisdom and cash conjoined, the pay-only link is HERE: "The Sinister Mediocrity of Harold Pinter."
But in point of fact, any thinking person knows precisely why he was this year's Laureate at a moment when a person of even average literacy might have lit upon Rushdie, Roth or Pamuk. Just as with the selection of Jimmy Carter for the "Peace" Prize, where the judges chose to emphasize the embarrassment they hoped thereby to visit on the Bush administration, the ludicrous elevation of a third-rate and effectively former dramatist is driven by pseudo-intellectual European hostility to the change of regime in Iraq.
* * * * *
The Nobel committee allowed Borges and Nabokov to go to their graves unrecognized, while choosing writers who it is difficult to remember without wincing. Last year's selection, of a mediocre Austrian Stalinist named Elfriede Jellinek, caused a few winces even in Stockholm. And Dario Fo? What can one possibly say -- except that the theater of the absurd is apparently always on the road. Jose Saramago can certainly write -- just as Frau Jellinek can certainly not -- but one is compelled to suspect that without his staunch post-1989 membership of the unusually degenerated Portuguese Communist Party he would not have been considered. As with the Peace Prize, the award of the laureateship for literature has come to approximate the value of a resolution of the U.N. Special Committee on Human Rights. The occasional exceptions -- I would want to instance Sir Vidia Naipaul in spite of his own toxic political views -- only throw the general sinister mediocrity into sharper relief.
And sinister mediocrity has become Mr. Pinter's stock-in-trade. Is it really believable that a conclave of righteous Scandinavians should have honored a man who said, in loud terms, that the mass murder in New York in September 2001 was a justified "retaliation"? A man who described the genocidal war-criminal Milosevic as the true leader of the "Yugoslavia" he had subverted and cleansed and destroyed? A man who said that George Bush and Tony Blair were "terrorists," while Saddam Hussein was not?
Even in his increasingly lame and slovenly literary output, Mr. Pinter always married politicization to illiteracy. His useless play "Mountain Language," extruded about a dozen years ago, drew attention to the plight of the Kurdish people but lost interest in them as soon as the subject crossed the border of the NATO alliance: Turkish Kurds were fine but Mr. Pinter would fight like a madman against any attempt to liberate their brothers and sisters in Iraq. Mildly rebuked by the American ambassador in London for "calling the U.S. administration a blood-thirsty wild animal" (I quote from Mr. Pinter's own narrative here) he replied: "All I can say is: Take a look at Donald Rumsfeld's face and the case is made." All he can say? Alas, yes. I have my own differences with the secretary of defense but this rhetoric is pathetic and nasty at the same time.
* * * * *
Is this depressing? I happen not to think so. The Nobel judges have again given their approval to a writer of doggerel; a very poor man's Beckett, a man most celebrated for the long silences that punctuated his stage "dialogue," who would have no reputation of any kind if it were not for the slightly unbelievable character of his public statements. Let us hope, then, that the day when the Nobel Prize is a local and provincial event has been brought closer. Especially in their opinions about peace and literature -- two matters that ought to concern all serious people -- the judges have brought absurdity upon themselves. Let us withdraw our assent from their fool's-gold standard, and see what happens. Let us also hope for a long silence to descend upon the thuggish bigmouth who has strutted and fretted his hour upon the stage for far too long.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
"We're willing to sponsor a prom, but not an orgy."
"It is not primarily the sex/booze/drugs that surround this event, as problematic as they might be; it is rather the flaunting of affluence, assuming exaggerated expenses, a pursuit of vanity for vanity's sake -- in a word, financial decadence," Hoagland said, fed up with what he called the "bacchanalian aspects."Amen, Brother Kenneth (but we're not sure why you're soft-pedaling the sex, booze and drugs). It appears that a boat was being chartered for an after-prom "booze-cruise," a $10,000 down payment had been made on the rental of a house in the tony Hamptons for a post-prom party house, and so on and so on.
From CNN. On the school's web site Brother Kenneth's two letters regarding the prom are reproduced: First, a letter sent in March, and then a follow-up in September. They're worth reading.
I'm requesting my friends at dial-a-verse to provide an appropriate Scriptural reference.
Personally, I'm proposing Judges 10:14, "Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation."
They Who Must Not Be Named
I underestimated multiculturalism. After 9/11, I assumed the internal contradictions of the rainbow coalition would be made plain: that a cult of "tolerance" would in the end founder against a demographic so cheerfully upfront in their intolerance. Instead, Islamic "militants" have become the highest repository of multicultural pieties. So you're nice about gays and Native Americans? Big deal. Anyone can be tolerant of the tolerant, but tolerance of intolerance gives an even more intense frisson of pleasure to the multiculti- masochists. And so Islamists who murder non-Muslims in pursuit of explicitly Islamic goals are airbrushed into vague, generic "rebel forces." You can't tell the players without a scorecard, and that's just the way the Western media intend to keep it. If you wake up one morning and switch on the TV to see the Empire State Building crumbling to dust, don't be surprised if the announcer goes, "Insurging rebel militant forces today attacked key targets in New York. In other news, the president's annual Ramadan banquet saw celebrities dancing into the small hours to Mullah Omar And His All-Girl Orchestra . . ."He concludes:
I'm aware the very concept of "the enemy" is alien to the non-judgment multicultural mind: There are no enemies, just friends whose grievances we haven't yet accommodated. But the media's sensitivity police apparently want this to be the first war we lose without even knowing who it is we've lost to. C'mon, guys, next time something happens in the Caucasus, why not blame the "Caucasians"? At least that way, we'll figure it must have been right-wing buddies of Timothy McVeigh.Read it all HERE.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Gesundheit, Dr. Krauthammer
On the other hand, resurrection of the virus and publication of its structure open the gates of hell.Sure, Charlie - but this is how science works. Making the Spanish flu's sequence public is the best hope we have of effectively heading off not only the Avian crisis laying in wait, but also the possibility of a devastating biological terrorist attack. The answer to these potential crises is not shutting scientists off from one another. Transparency is.
You'd have thought Dr. K would have learned something from the horrifying arms races of the Cold War that were directly caused by the same kind of irrational information-hoarding mentality. Oh well.
The Polls Have Closed
CNN's Nic Robertson, who covered the January vote for the transitional National Assembly and is in Iraq now, said voting appeared to be heavier this time.
And at least one polling site in Diyala province -- which has seen its share of insurgent violence -- reported a high turnout exceeding the 60 percent turnout seen in January elections. About 15.5 million of Iraq's 26 million people are eligible to vote.
Friday, October 14, 2005
National Review: "Start Over" on Miers
The prudent course is for Miers to withdraw her own nomination in the interests of the president she loyally serves. The president could then start over. Both he and his party would probably benefit from having the clear fight over the direction of the courts that only a new nominee would allow.Available online HERE.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Silence of the Lambs
(Actually, click HERE for details.)
Heck, I thought it was a pretty bad idea to attempt a musical adaptation of Les Miserables (and boy, was I wrong!), or Phantom of the Opera (and boy, was I right!). So I'll just let you make up your own mind on this one.
Via relapsed catholic. (Where Kathy has titled her post " 'And then it rubs the lotion on itself...' (2-3-4!) "
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
October 12, 2000
Your Reading Assignment For The Day
Bush doesn’t care about abortion, and neither do the bibliocons. They understand that even if the Supreme Court was to strike down Roe, the states would legalize it anyway, and they’d lose their moral authority. It’s one thing to say that five men in black robes are imposing their personal views on you, and quite another to be faced with the certain knowledge that the people hold values that define you as outside the mainstream. So it’s best if Roe stays intact and the conservative movement has the issue to complain about.
The real problem that bibliocons have with the court showed up earlier this year in the great shouting match over the corpse of Terri Schiavo. All along the bibliocons and paleocons had been telling us they were fed-up with activist judges getting involved in state and local issues where they didn’t belong, but suddenly they were all over the courts for refusing to be activist with respect to the family and the State of Florida. So it became clear that the right wants the mirror image of what the left wants, an activist bench that is willing to impose its personal values and beliefs on the rest of us.
Something to ponder. Isn't that what you want, guys?
Is it just me?
We report, you decide. Sharon Osborne. Harriet Miers.
Hat tip to The Idiom.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
September 15, 1950
Douglas MacArthur's admirers and detractors alike admitted to his uncanny predilection for victory, never so evident than at his landing at Inchon in the Korean War, code-named "Operation Chromite." The Inchon landing offered the promise of relieving battered United Nations defenders on the Pusan Perimeter, soundly defeating the North Korean People's Army (NKPA) and rapidly ending the Korean War. Unfortunately for him, those hopes proved ephemeral during the brutal winter of 1950-51, as U.N. fortunes were reversed by a massive, clearly telegraphed Chinese intervention, triggered in part by MacArthur's single-minded pursuit of a final triumph at the Yalu River. Instead of celebrating a solid victory in the late fall of 1950, U.N. forces found themselves once again desperately fighting for survival. After MacArthur slipped from the stage, relieved of command, the bitter, unpopular war he might have won in 1950 dragged on in a grinding stalemate until July 1953, with the face-saving but inconclusive armistice that remains in effect today.
How to Buy a Veto
PARIS (AP) -- France's former U.N. ambassador has been taken into custody as part of an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in the Iraq oil-for-food program, judicial officials said Tuesday.
Jean-Bernard Merimee, 68, who also was ambassador to Italy from 1995-98 and to Australia in the 1980s, is suspected of having received kickbacks in the form of oil allocations from the regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. He was also a special adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan from 1999 to 2002.
Merimee was taken into custody on Monday, and is expected to be presented Wednesday to the judge leading the probe, the officials said on condition of anonymity because French law does not allow disclosure of information from judicial investigations.
Merimee was France's permanent representative to the U.N. from 1991-95. He was one of the world body's most prominent diplomats, in part because France occupies one of five permanent seats on the powerful U.N. Security Council.
Bush Sells Louisiana Back to the French
BATON ROUGE, LA. – The White House announced today that President Bush has successfully sold the state of Louisiana back to the French at more than double its original selling price of $11,250,000.
“This is a bold step forward for America,” said Bush. “And America will be stronger and better as a result. I stand here today in unity with French Prime Minister Jack Shiraq, who was so kind to accept my offer of Louisiana in exchange for 25 million dollars cash.”
The state, ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, will cost hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild.
“Jack understands full well that this one’s a ‘fixer upper,’” said Bush. “He and the French people are quite prepared to pump out all that water, and make Louisiana a decent place to live again. And they’ve got a lot of work to do. But Jack’s assured me, if it’s not right, they’re going to fix it.”
Monday, October 10, 2005
A Modest Proposal
I think we should do a study of all the Islamic countries, and find the one that is the most open, the most tolerant, the most respectful of religious minorities, the most liberal. We should get an accurate description of their rules and policies toward minority religions (esp. Christianity). Then we in the West should simply adopt equivalent rules:
That is, if that most tolerant of the Islamic countries allows Christians to worship and proselytize, then we should allow Muslims to worship and proselytize to the same extent. If that most liberal of Islamic countries issues licenses to Christians to let them run places of worship, then we should issue licenses to Muslims to the same extent. If that most free of Islamic countries allows public criticism of Islam and its prophet, then we should allow Muslims here to publicly criticize Christianity and Jesus. If that most benevolent of Islamic countries requires public officials to respect the Christian Bible and the Cross, then we should likewise require that our officials respect the Koran and the Crescent. If that most sensitive of Islamic countries prohibits Islamic symbols in public that might hurt the feelings of fragile Christians, then we should prohibit Christian symbols (and other things, like pictures of pigs) to the same extent.
But if, instead, the most liberal Islamic state effectively burdens the practice of Christianity, or saddles it with licensing obligations, or restricts the Church's public activities, or puts sanctions on those who convert to Christianity, or threatens Christians with legal problems if Muslims accuse them of proselytizing or defaming the Prophet, or expects Christians to understand that they are a minority and should just get used to it--if that's what we find, then we should simply revert to our status quo ante of about the year 2000. We should then invite any Muslims who do not feel grateful for the unaccountable freedom and welcome that they enjoy in this stupendously magnanimous country either (a) to suck it up and be quiet and look away from any pig pictures that hurt their feelings, or (b) to invest their energy in addressing the gross injustices against Christians that are perpetrated officially and without apology in Islamic states and cultures, or (c) to go to the Islamic state of their choice and bask in the Muslim bliss that they will presumably find there.
A Timely Thought
Halloween, night of horror, harvest of terror. How can we call ourselves a civilized nation after carving and then displaying the grotesque corpses of pumpkins on our stoops? Stop the butchery and the madness, end the silent screaming of tormented pumpkin souls.Yes. People for the Ethical Treatment of Pumpkins (pronounced "Pet-Poo") would like to speak with you.
Stop the senseless slaughter!
I Always Knew We'd Get Those Pinko Bastards
It opens with the Smurfs dancing, hand in hand, around a campfire and singing the Smurf song. Bluebirds flutter past and rabbits gambol around their familiar village of mushroom-shaped houses until, without warning, bombs begin to rain from the sky.Sweet.
[UPDATE] Here's a screen capture:
Our clever band of researchers has been unable to locate a link to the ad itself. We'd be pleased to be referred to one.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Not Your Grandfather's BBC
While rather unlikely, it is not impossible that the President said something more or less along the lines of being impelled by a perceived moral obligation. It's anyone's guess how whatever was said comes out translated into Arabic, and then back into English, filtered through the memory of an interested party.
But the Palestinian Foreign Minister has an even more bizarre tale to tell:
Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"This is, of course, preposterous. And we leave aside the question (which will be answered only when the program airs) of whether the Beeb has provided the slightest corroboration for this silliness via interviews with the usual army of translators, aides, other officials and the like, some part of the "all of us" Shaath claims was present. The press release certainly makes no reference to any substantiation, nor does it express the slightest curiosity as to why such a strange story should first come to light more than two years after the fact.
What is positively grotesque is the fact that the BBC's press release touting the program is titled "God told me to invade Iraq, Bush tells Palestinian ministers," and the first line of the release explains, "President George W. Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals."
Note the absence of any qualifying language such as "A Palestinian minister claims . . . " or the like. If Nabil Shaath says so, and if it makes the President of the United States look like a dangerous nitwit who hears voices and gets his instructions directly from the Almighty (with whom he is apparently on a first-name basis), then that must make it so, right?
Sigh . . . . . .
The press release is online HERE.
The Pause that Refreshes
Noonan thinks things might go smoothly, but has a rather specific suggestion as to how they might not:
Barring a withdrawal of her nomination, it's going to come down to Harriet Miers's ability to argue her own case before the Senate Judiciary Committee. If the American people decide she seems like a good person--sympathetic, wise, even-keeled, knowledgeable--she'll be in; and if not, not.
What everyone forgets about the case of Robert Bork in his confirmation hearings is that regular people watched him, listened to the workings of his fabulous and exotic mind, saw the intensity, the hunger for intellectual engagement, caught the whiff of brandy and cigars and angels dancing, noticed the unusual hair, the ambivalent whiskers, and thought, "Who's this weirdo?"
So the administration can turn this around. Or rather Ms. Miers can. In her favor: America has never met her, she'll get to make a first impression. Working against her: But they'll already be skeptical. By the time of the hearings she'll have been painted as Church Lady. There's a great old American tradition of not really liking Church Lady.As to whether Miers might turn out to be Souter redux, Noonan warns that the problem is not nearly so simple as discovering that an appointee harbors unexpressed views at odds with presidential expectations:
No one can know how the experience of the court will affect someone--the detachment from life as lived by the proles, the respect you become used to, the Harvard Law Review clerks from famous families who are only too happy to pick up your dry cleaning and listen to the third recounting of your boring anecdote. Everyone wants you at dinner. You notice that you actually look quite good in black.The column is online HERE.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
A Prissy Twit having a Hissy Fit
But I'd have to say more than that. I'd have to explain.
Fear not: Blogosphere to the rescue.
Simply go HERE. Beware: The picture is actually an animated gif. It changes. Pay attention.
Sigh . . . . . . . If only I were so clever.
Cronkite Calls for Military Coup
Last Friday, on CNN's Larry King Live, Cronkite relieved himself of the opinion that American voters are incapable of voting correctly:
We're an ignorant nation right now. We're not really capable, I do not think the majority of our people, of making the decisions that have to be made at election time and particularly in the selection of their legislatures and their Congress and the presidency, of course. I don't think we're bright enough to do the job that would preserve our democracy, our republic. I think we're in serious danger.Video link HERE (this quote is about 58 seconds into the clip, which begins with an ad to pay the bills). Or check today's Washington Times.
Now it has long been a given among the unhinged Left (which today seems to include most elected Democratic officials), that the only possible explanation for repeated electoral defeats is the ignorance and gullibility of the majority of American voters. See, for example, the book "What's the Matter with Kansas?," the thesis of which is that Kansans would elect Democratic candidates if only those damn Jayhawks were wise enough to know what was good for them.
But it is a dogma seldom articulated with such blunt clarity, since to do so naturally invites rude questions: "And what do you propose as an alternative to representative democracy?" Nor do we suspect that it would be a successful marketing strategy for Democratic candidates to solicit votes by advising prospective voters that their alternative to voting Democratic was to conclusively demonstrate themselves to be ignorant buffoons.
So it simply will not do to dismiss this outlandish riff as the irrational rambling of an aged, infirm mind. The story is that Larry King did not find the statement sufficiently bizarre to provoke even mild inquiry, let alone firm objection. Perhaps a gentle follow-up question as to whether Cronkite really meant to say that those who had elected Mr. Bush were stupid? Nada.
But the real story will be the fact that no mainstream media outlet will pick this up and run with it, inquiring of Cronkite what exactly he actually advocates as an alternative to voting, and hounding Democratic pols to issue firm denunciations. Will Brian Williams ask Nancy Pelosi if she agrees that the majority of voters in America are stupid? Will Bob Schieffer, heir to Cronkite's chair, sadly commiserate with Harry Reid that "Many observers wonder what Cronkite could have been thinking in condemning American democracy in such harsh terms."
Do we imagine that we would hear nothing but the calm chirping of crickets were Brit Hume to suggest that the failed public school system of Massachusetts, having produced an ignorant electorate, is obviously the root cause of . . . .
We didn't think so.
A Thousand Words (II)
How do you suppose this picture was taken? By whom? For what purpose? Are you more troubled if it is posed, or if it is not posed? Does it bother you if the photographer is traveling with the terrorists, or knew in advance that the terrorists would be where they were? Do you think the Associated Press should tell you these things?
Think about it, and then go HERE. Then think about it some more.
"The Surprising Scarlet Knights"
His toughness and, uh, enthusiasm, were part of the dynamic package he brought to Rutgers, where he has established himself as perhaps the best fullback in the country and has helped the surprising Scarlet Knights to a 3-1 start (1-0 in Big East) going into Saturday's game against West Virginia. A win would allow Rutgers to start 4-1 for the first time since 1992.Well, some of us watched the Centennial Game against Princeton in November, 1969.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Just sayin': Any post incorporating those sentences is a must read, and you ought to so so HERE.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Up the Pigs!
Alas, the United Kingdom's descent into dhimmitude is beyond parody. Dudley
Metropolitan Borough Council (Tory-controlled) has now announced that, following a complaint by a Muslim employee, all work pictures and knick-knacks of novelty pigs and "pig-related items" will be banned. Among the verboten items is one employee's box of tissues, because it features a representation of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. And, as we know, Muslims regard pigs as "unclean", even an anthropomorphised cartoon pig wearing a scarf and a bright, colourful singlet.
Cllr Mahbubur Rahman is in favour of the blanket pig crackdown. "It is a good thing, it is a tolerance and acceptance of their beliefs and understanding," he said. That's all, folks, as Porky Pig used to stammer at the end of Looney Tunes. Just a little helpful proscription in the interests of tolerance and acceptance.
And where's the harm in that? As Pastor Niemöller said, first they came for Piglet and I did not speak out because I was not a Disney character and, if I was, I'm more of an Eeyore.
And here's the money quote:
When every act that a culture makes communicates weakness and loss of self-belief, eventually you'll be taken at your word. In the long term, these trivial concessions are more significant victories than blowing up infidels on the Tube or in Bali beach restaurants. An act of murder demands at least the pretence of moral seriousness, even from the dopiest appeasers. But small acts of cultural vandalism corrode the fabric of freedom all but unseen.This bizarre event has caused a Blogospheric Disturbance. Kathy Shaidle has posted HERE, HERE, and HERE (and that's just today). She has lots of links to the inevitible graphics.
[UPDATE: Wait 'til the Islamists get a load of The Pig Site! Hat Tip to John the Mad. (You know, some of these Canadians are JUST crazy enough . . . .]
A Thousand Words
The coverage of this demonstration by the San Francisco Chronicle produced, among much else, the following picture:
At the same demonstration, however, were other photographers, who produced other photographs. Some such photographs included the very same person, but from a somewhat different, and certainly wider, angle:
This second photograph seems to show that (whatever one thought one was observing in the first) this person is part of an orchestrated performance, whose accouterments of protest have been mass produced, all apparently at the behest of Communist organizers.
The Chronicle’s version is HERE, the photo-blogger’s version is HERE.
New York Times v. Buckley
So much for failing to retain creative control. Of course one must not discount the probability that Buckley, being Buckley, himself chose this very picture.