Release The Hounds!

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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Neat New Option Available

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Not Only Is He Unhinged, But He's A Copyright Infringer Too

Ward Churchill apparently not only can't think straight but has difficulty understanding the concept of copyright infringement. Seems as though he has been passing off work by the late artist Thomas Mails as his own. And this is the guy the left is tripping over itself to defend...while a real scholar and gentleman like Larry Summers of Harvard is excoriated.

When Celebration Becomes A Wake

Just keep in mind, folks, that this stuff is not happening in some far-off, "non-westernized' place...it is happening in secular western Europe, and it is not at all uncommon. Again, I point to the failure to encourage or, dare say, insist upon assimilation as the cause. When there is no expectation of assimilation into the dominant culture and instead a "celebration" of difference, you end up with many things, including honor killings in Berlin.

Friday, February 25, 2005

The "Peace Process" At Work

Quite obviously, there are those who want to disrupt any chance for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. One must ask...why is that? I had just posted regarding my sense that there are a great many Palestinians who are not willing to peacefully co-exist with Israel. That should be obvious to anyone who has been paying attention. It may or may not be the majority, but it is for the Palestinians desiring a peaceful co-existence to clean their own house. If they do not, what are we to think? In that last post, I had been corrected by the Moose that I should have used the term "Palestinian Muslims" which I agree would have been more appropriate. However, my point was that there are in fact "Palestinian Christians" (indeed, the mother of Arafat's wife was one) who, despite living in the same conditions, do not turn to terrorism. Again, why is it that if the explanation for suicide bombings such as the one today are the result not of a societal immorality and lack of respect for life but instead the "occupation" we don't find any Palestinian Christians blowing themselves up?Posted by Hello

Quick Hits For A Friday

More enlightened jurisprudence from Iran... I have always been skeptical of any "plan" for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs (I purposefully omit "Palestinian Christians" because that group seems to be able to get by without the use of suicide bombers) because, quite frankly, it's my sense that the Palestinians truly do not want to peacefully co-exist. Their ultimate goal is the destruction of the State of Israel. Now with the latest, essentially unilateral, move by Israel to withdraw from Gaza, it will be supremely interesting to see the Palestinian response. Charles Krauthammer has a good piece on this issue... I had earlier posted regarding the population's ignorance regarding the Father of our Country (i.e. George Washington). Read Kathleen Parker's essay for more bad news on this front...

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Face Of The Devil

This is an absolutely chilling story about the ticket agent who processed Mohammed Atta when he checked in for his flight from Portland, Maine to Los Angeles through Boston on 9/11/01. He thought Atta and his travel companion somewhat suspicious, but suppressed his concerns. He describes that moment as follows: "I looked up, and asked them the standard questions. The one guy was looking at me. It sent a chill through me. Something in my stomach churned. And subconsciously, I said to myself, 'If they don't look like Arab terrorists, nothing does.' " "Then I gave myself a mental slap. In over 34 years, I had checked in thousands of Arab travelers, and I never thought this before. I said to myself, 'That's not nice to think. They are just two Arab businessmen.' " And with that, Tuohey handed them their boarding passes. Atta and his companion arrived in Boston, met up with three others and then boarded American Airlines flight #11 to LAX. At 8:46 am, flight #11 struck the north World Trade Center tower.

Theory vs. Reality

As much as I respect the Supreme Court, here is an example of legal and theoretical niceties taking precedence over hardscrabble realities. The Court has ruled 5-3 that California prison officials are barred from segregating new inmates according to race for their first 60 days of incarceration. Now, as you may imagine, this has been done (over the past 20 years) by prison officials in order to avoid gang violence. And since most California gangs form along ethnic and racial lines, prisoners are initially segregated that way for their own safety and the safety of others. I have worked in the past with jailers and, believe me, the threat is real. However, all you need do is read the words of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (writing for the majority) to appreciate the difference between the pollyannish world of the social liberal and the real world the rest of us inhabit: "By insisting that inmates be housed only with other inmates of the same race, it is possible that prison officials will breed further hostility among prisoners and reinforce racial and ethnic divisions.'' It's also possible that they will get people maimed or killed, but that apparently is not a significant enough concern. As Justice Clarence Thomas observed: "The majority is concerned with sparing inmates the indignity and stigma of racial discrimination...California is concerned with their safety and saving their lives.'' Last point. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who taught me constitutional law, agreed with the majority...so what do I know.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Quick Hits For a Wednesday

Harvard president Larry Summers remains under fire for his "outrageous" comments...Ben Shapiro compares the outcry over Summers' statements with the lack of the same over those by the execrable Ward Churchill... Charles Rangel, top House Dem, confirms the point that you need not be astute to be elected to public office, at least in New York...Maybe he should have read this before proclaiming that there is no worldwide Islamic terrorist movement... A 2-year old is promised in marriage to a 40-year old Pakistani man... Finally, Michelle Malkin discusses "cutting", the new self-mutilation craze thought cutting edge (bad pun intended) by our youth...and guess what, it is endorsed by some of our Hollywood elite.

60th Anniversary

Today is the 60th anniversary of this immortal moment. Posted by Hello The six soldiers who hoisted the flag at Iwo Jima were: Franklin Sousley, age 19 from Hilltop Kentucky; Ira Hayes, from Arizona; Mike Strank, age 25 from Conemaugh, Pennsylvania; Rene Gagnon from Manchester New Hampshire; John Bradley from Antigo, Wisconsin and Harlon Block, age 21 from Yorktown, Texas. Sousley, Strank and Block each died later that year in combat. Hayes returned home and died at age 32. Gagnon died of a heart attack in 1979. Bradley died of a stroke in 1994 at age 70 and rarely mentioned Iwo Jima to his eight children.

Monday, February 21, 2005

New Addition To The Eastwood Triptych

Harken forth!! My buddy the Lone Ranger's blog, Important Stuff--Or Not, has been added to "The Good..." He comments from a treasure trove of knowledge and experience as a media guy uncorrupted by the political correctness and leftism of the present day newsroom.

One Of The Documented Drawbacks To The B&D Lifestyle

Slightly off-topic from recent discussions, but whenever you think things are bad...you could always be this guy. Nice of her to at least drive him to the ER...OUCH!!!

Hope Springs Eternal...While Nothing Gets Done

On the one hand, we have solid proof that hate and jihad is being preached in mosques in America: Various Saudi government publications gathered for this study, most of which are in Arabic, assert that it is a religious obligation for Muslims to hate Christians and Jews and warn against imitating, befriending, or helping them in any way, or taking part in their festivities and celebrations; · The documents promote contempt for the United States because it is ruled by legislated civil law rather than by totalitarian Wahhabi-style Islamic law. They condemn democracy as un-Islamic; · The documents stress that when Muslims are in the lands of the unbelievers, they must behave as if on a mission behind enemy lines. Either they are there to acquire new knowledge and make money to be later employed in the jihad against the infidels, or they are there to proselytize the infidels until at least some convert to Islam. Any other reason for lingering among the unbelievers in their lands is illegitimate, and unless a Muslim leaves as quickly as possible, he or she is not a true Muslim and so too must be condemned. For example, a document in the collection for the “Immigrant Muslim” bears the words “Greetings from the Cultural Attache in Washington, D.C.” of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, and is published by the government of Saudi Arabia. In an authoritative religious voice, it gives detailed instructions on how to “hate” the Christian and Jew: Never greet them first. Never congratulate the infidel on his holiday. Never imitate the infidel. Do not become a naturalized citizen of the United States. Do not wear a graduation gown because this imitates the infidel... On the other hand, we have a Democratic Congressman from NY still going on about President Bush's alleged draft dodging and taking the remarkable position that, even though there is no evidence that the now famous forged memos were actually planted by the White House, it remains "very important to make charges like that." [Hat tip: LGF] So, the strategy of the Democratic party is that, despite the fact that there is no evidence for your partisan position, if you nevertheless believe (hope?) it is true you are obligated to publicly raise the issue. What leadership. I juxtapose these two stories to make it clear which party will not be dealing with the real threats to America.

Civil Discourse: Redux

The right to free speech allows for poor taste, ignorance and stupidity. Posted by Hello I had posted earlier about the Sacramento couple who had displayed an effigy of an American soldier hanging from a noose with the sign "Your Tax Dollars At Work." Apparently, they have upgraded to a spiffier model with a "Bush Lied, I Died" sign. As distasteful as this is to me, they have the right to their views and to display on private property ugliness such as this. I don't agree with the person who trespassed and removed the earlier display, since it is an abridgment of their right to free speech (although the "crime" is simply trespass and perhaps vandalism or destruction of private property because the First Amendment applies to the actions of government, not private individuals). However, those who simply speak out against this display, or call for this couple to remove it, are not violating any "rights" they may have. Free speech includes the right to criticize the speech of others...a lesson that many on the left (and some on the right) don't yet comprehend. When the Dixie Chicks get shouted down at a concert when refusing to simply "shut up and sing," that is free speech at work. You cannot make provocative comments and not expect a vociferous response. Moreover, although you have the right to say what's on your mind, you are not entitled to a forum to do so. Recall Bill Maher's comments about the cowardice of our military. He had the right to make them, but ABC had the right to deny him its forum to make them. Just like you and me, he did not have the "right" to a late night talk show as a forum to expound on his views. The sad thing about this couple in Sacramento is that they are both attorneys...another blemish on my profession.

Counterpoint to the Vast Intellectual Wasteland

Here is a book that should be required reading for all highschoolers. It's entitled "A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror" by Schweikart and Allen. Look here for a brief Q & A with one of the authors.

Whither Afghanistan?

Rush Limbaugh is visiting Afghanistan along with Mary Matalin. This got me to pondering why we haven't heard all that much lately from or about what's going on in that country. Well, the obvious answer to me, granted arrived at without any research, is that there is no bad news to report. So I decided to Google-News the word "Afghanistan" and found these quotes from the first five stories that appeared [Note: only one was from an American media source, The Kansas City Star]: On the plus side, Afghanistan's economy is booming, growing at least 25 percent annually since then and expected to expand by at least 10 percent a year in the next decade. Some 4 million children have enrolled in school - more than ever before - and more than 3 million people forced from their homes have returned, most from Pakistan and Iran. After a decade of a lack of reliable information, Afghanistan launched its first-ever National Human Development Report (NHDR) on Monday. The report - entitled "Security with a Human Face" and based on two years' work by the government and the United Nations - is expected to help policy makers and stakeholders in the post-conflict country where there has been very little relevant or reliable information. AFGHANISTAN plans to export its abundant gas resources to India and Pakistan through the proposed gas pipeline project linking the Central Asian Republic of Turkmenistan with the Indian subcontinent, President Hamid Karzai has said. Afghanistan also hoped to regain its predominant position as the largest supplier of fruits and dry fruits to the world, the official Bakhter News Agency quoted the president as saying in an address to an international economic conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Speaking about the progress of ongoing operations in the central Asian country, British Army Maj. Gen. Peter Gilchrist, deputy commanding general of Combined Forces Command Afghanistan, said Feb. 19 that there many indicators the coalition's strategy is working and that anti-coalition forces are losing steam. Enemy fighters in Afghanistan include members of the al Qaeda terrorist network, the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin -- or HIG -- terrorist group, remnants of the former Taliban regime and other forces.

No news is indeed good news when discussing the MSM.

"Iraq 'N' Roll"

Here's a great story about local (to me) musicians traveling to Iraq to entertain our troops...and the effective this has had on both.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

A Vast Intellectual Wasteland

The good news is that only 10% of people surveyed believe that Bill Clinton was our greatest president. The bad news is that he beat out George Washington by four percentage points! By the way, only 46% knew George Washington lead the Continental Army against the British during the American Revolution.

The Metamorphosis Continues

Hillary Clinton continues her anticipated tack rightward as the putative Democratic frontrunner in 2008. Funny how she never made anything resembling the following statement prior to November, 2004: "The fact that you have these suicide bombers now, wreaking such hatred and violence while people pray, is to me, an indication of their failure" Or this: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said that much of Iraq was "functioning quite well" and that the rash of suicide attacks was a sign that the insurgency was failing. How short will everyone's memories be?

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Smoke A Cigarette (at home)...Lose Your Job

It was only a matter of time before this would happen. The anti-smoking zealots who have been behind smoking bans in public buildings, outside in public parks, and in adjacent apartments or condos, have now impacted your job security. Not enough to prohibit smoking on the job, a company called Weyco, Inc. in Michigan has prohibited its employees from smoking on their own private time away from work. The penalty is loss of job. The ban is enforced by workplace testing. Debra Saunders of the S.F. Chronicle has the right take on this. I am not shocked by this because it was only a matter of time. Our "god" is now health and we worship at the altar of the search for longevity. Nothing else apparently matters if it runs counter to the smoking bogeyman. Not personal freedom, not freedom of choice. The obvious next step is for employers to ban any supposedly unhealthful practices under the rubric of keeping down health care costs. Like the occasional cheeseburger and fries? You're fired. Like to knock down a few brewskis with your buddies on the weekend. Here are your walking papers. Like to sit in front of the big screen and watch "Starsky and Hutch" reruns rather than hit the treadmill? Clean out your desk. Enjoy unprotected anal sex with another man? ...I wonder how that will be handled since it is certainly known to have attendant health risks.

TTLB Question

Overnight I went from a "Large Mammal" to an "Adorable Little Rodent" in the TTLB Ecosystem. I won't lose too much sleep over it, but I am curious to know from those more versed in such matters how that could happen.

What's Scary Is What Is Below The Waterline

This is the kind of stuff that, when I stumble across it, right away has me think "tip of the iceberg." I had no idea that a "PBS for Kids" cartoon called "Postcards from Buster" has the cartoon bunny meeting with a real-life lesbian couple and their children. Nor should I have known, I suppose, since I no longer have any pre-school kids. However, I don't believe it is out of line to, first, expect that there will be no subtle proselytizing to six year olds about sexual matters and, second, that it is best left to the parents to decide when, how and where to bring such things up to their children. Not every child is the same and it is the height of presumptuousness for PBS, or anyone else for that matter, to decide when my child should be exposed to and learn about such issues.

Weekend Update

Kudos where kudos is due. The Washington Post has an editorial criticizing the Harvard faculty who have come down upon Larry Summers for raising the "outrageous" theory that there may just be some innate differences between men and women. The Wall Street Journal chimes in on the global warming debate and makes a point that ties into the Larry Summers brou-ha-ha. Namely, it seems that there are some orthodoxies that you are not allowed to challenge and will not be debated on the merits. That is wrong when public policy and huge expenditures hang in the balance.

And You Thought The GOP Was The Party Of Cross-Burners

Here is a very informative piece by Delroy Murdock about race and (these are my words now) the disconnect between perception and reality. The perception is that the Democratic party is the bastion of civil rights and supporters of the interests of minorities. The reality is that, historically, it has been the GOP that has been on the forefront of these issues. Indeed, as I wrack my memory banks, it seems that the only test offered these days is on the question of affirmative action. If you're for it, you are considered a friend. Against it, a foe. Here is an instructive excerpt from Murdock's column: The Republican party also is the home of numerous "firsts." Among them: Until 1935, every black federal legislator was Republican. America's first black U.S. Representative, South Carolina's Joseph Rainey, and our first black senator, Mississippi's Hiram Revels, both reached Capitol Hill in 1870. On December 9, 1872, Louisiana Republican Pinckney Benton Stewart "P.B.S." Pinchback became America's first black governor. August 8, 1878: GOP supply-siders may hate to admit it, but America's first black Collector of Internal Revenue was former U.S. Rep. James Rapier (R., Ala.). October 16, 1901: GOP President Theodore Roosevelt invited to the White House as its first black dinner guest Republican educator Booker T. Washington. The pro-Democrat Richmond Times newspaper warned that consequently, "White women may receive attentions from Negro men." As Toni Marshall wrote in the November 9, 1995, Washington Times, when Roosevelt sought reelection in 1904, Democrats produced a button that showed their presidential nominee, Alton Parker, beside a white couple while Roosevelt posed with a white bride and black groom. The button read: "The Choice Is Yours." GOP presidents Gerald Ford in 1975 and Ronald Reagan in 1982 promoted Daniel James and Roscoe Robinson to become, respectively, the Air Force's and Army's first black four-star generals. November 2, 1983: President Reagan established Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a national holiday, the first such honor for a black American. President Reagan named Colin Powell America's first black national-security adviser while GOP President George W. Bush appointed him our first black secretary of state. President G.W. Bush named Condoleezza Rice America's first black female NSC chief, then our second (consecutive) black secretary of State. Just last month, one-time Klansman Robert Byrd and other Senate Democrats stalled Rice's confirmation for a week. Amid unanimous GOP support, 12 Democrats and Vermont Independent James Jeffords opposed Rice — the most "No" votes for a State designee since 14 senators frowned on Henry Clay in 1825. Interesting...no?

Friday, February 18, 2005

But It's No Worse Than A Pair Of Panties On The Head

This is the kind of stuff that makes me sick. Not just that a suicide-idiot will drive an explosives-laden ambulance into a U.S. checkpoint in Iraq, nor that Al-Jazeera will document the event and the preparations. It is the inevitable reaction from the self-hating left that this sort of sub-human conduct is a rationale response to something we have done. There is no middle ground with people who believe that the use of ambulances for suicide missions is heroic or appropriate, or with those who carry these missions out, or with those who countenance those who do. Hat tip: New Sisyphus

Thursday, February 17, 2005

What's Good For The Goose...

Here is something that repeats itself from state to state, from school district to school district. Every survey or study I have seen on this topic shows the same result: children of public school teachers attend private, religious or charter schools at a substantially higher rate than children of the public at large. The most recent example is within the Albany, NY school system. There, only 29% of teachers with children send, or have sent, a child to the public school system. If the point was not clear enough, 83% of teachers would oppose a requirement that the children of teachers attend schools within the Albany public school system. However, these hypocritical idealogues at a rate of 81% oppose the creation of tuition free public charter schools that would be open to all schoolchildren, while 68% oppose publicly funded scholarships that would allow parents to send their children to the school of their choice. I'm lucky. I can afford to send my kid to a private school if I'm unhappy with her education or environment in her public school. But I'm also an exception. Why is this constantly recurring theme in public education not enough to convince any thinking person out there that vouchers, or some similar program, is a necessity so long as the teachers' unions hold a monopoly on the education of our children? If the people who are in the system don't want their kids there, what else do we need to know?

"Fatwa Of The Week"

Recently, I stumbled across Islam Web, self described in part as follows: The purpose of this site is to increase the awareness of Muslims and non-Muslims alike about the mission of Islam to warn mankind of God's punishment and to give the good news of their salvation in Islam. Islam is a revealed religion and a way of life that addresses all aspects of the human condition. As a rule, Islamweb adopts balanced and moderate views, devoid of bias and extremism. It is designed to address the interests of a wide audience - casual viewers, new converts to Islam, and Muslims of long standing. I spent a few minutes surfing the "Fatwa of the Week" section and came upon these few nuggets: Question: If I shake hand the Christian man while I going to pray, I have to repeat the Wudu again as they are Najis, because they didn't clean themselves after finishing evacuation from the toilet, and they never wash their hands. Please I waiting for your kind answer. Fatwa: All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, may Allaah exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions. If a Muslim shakes the hands of a non-Muslim, whether a Christian or anyone else, his ablution is not invalidated. The impurity of the non-Muslim is abstract, because his soul is impure as a result of his Kufr (disbelieving in Allaah). This is the meaning of the verse of Allaah (which translates): {Verily, the disbelievers (are impure}[9:28]. So it is not a corporeal impurity. Moreover, some scholars, may Allaah have mercy on them, stated that if one is pretty sure that the clothes of the non-Muslims are touched by an impurity; they should not be worn unless they are washed. So if one shakes the hand of a non-Muslim and his hand gets wet by what he thinks is an impurity, then it is more appropriate to wash his hand. But his ablution is not void because of touching the impurity, but he has to get rid of it [by washing what is affected by it]. Allaah knows best. ...and this: Question: My husband told me that I am divorced if I go to hair saloon, so can I go with letting him know. If I go am I divorced that easy? Fatwa: All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, may Allaah exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions. Your husband conditioned divorce on your going to the hair saloon, so if you go, divorce takes place according to the majority of the jurists, may Allaah have mercy on them, whether he intended divorce or intended something else. The matter is in your hand so you must be careful. Even if you go out with his knowledge and permission divorce still takes place, unless if he means if you go to the hair saloon without his knowledge then in this case if you go with his knowledge you are not divorced. In principle the wife has to obey her husband in everything as long as he does not order her to disobey Allaah. What he has prevented you from could be a benefit for you in relation to your religion and worldly matters. Finally, we remind you to be cautious about anything that could cause division, divorce and the breaking up of the family. Allaah knows best. No comment.

Double Standard?

Just a quick question that came to my mind after the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri: Syria has "occupied" Lebanon since the early or mid-seventies, I believe. Israel has "occupied" Gaza, etc since the 1967 war, I believe. Why is there no discussion concerning the injustice and immorality of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon.

DUH!

Here is an issue on which I diverge from the Bush Administration's position. I am 100% in favor of doing whatever we can to secure our borders and reduce the ability of terrorists to enter the country. The logic of an al-Qaida operative seeking to enter this country through Mexico seemed pretty self-evident to me. However, when I would debate this issue with my "open-border-we need nannies and agricultural workers" friends (including the estimable "Don" Georgina), the security issue would always be pooh-poohed. Well, apparently al-Qaida has been considering trying to enter through Mexico. That now being the case, is there any supportable basis to not lock down that border? And on a related issue, is there any reason to continue to advocate for standard drivers licenses for illegal immigrants?

Michael Crichton

Here is a link to an interesting and provocative lecture given by Michael Crichton on the topic of global warming. I have always had my doubts about the science behind this theory for a number of reasons. One is that it is being advanced and supported by the left...the same folks who were confident of the ill-health effects of, for example, Alar...the same folks who believed in the inevitability of the "population bomb"...the same folks who confidently asserted that the Soviet Union was here to stay (OK, slightly OT). Another reason was purely logical and intuitive. Our planet's environment has moved from extreme to extreme over the millennia without the help of greenhouse gases. Before the last ice age, the average temperatures in North America were considerably warmer than the are now. With the advent of the last ice age, these temperatures obviously dropped to...icy levels, as far south as Virginia and Tennessee. Quite obviously, those average temperatures again rose to their contemporary levels. All this occurred without the assistance of human race generated greenhouse gases. Therefore, how can we say that any incremental increases noted over the, say, last 100 years are not just an inevitable warming trend? Crichton makes several thoughtful points: I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. **** Probably every schoolchild notices that South America and Africa seem to fit together rather snugly, and Alfred Wegener proposed, in 1912, that the continents had in fact drifted apart. The consensus sneered at continental drift for fifty years. The theory was most vigorously denied by the great names of geology-until 1961, when it began to seem as if the sea floors were spreading. The result: it took the consensus fifty years to acknowledge what any schoolchild sees. **** Let's think back to people in 1900 in, say, New York. If they worried about people in 2000, what would they worry about? Probably: Where would people get enough horses? And what would they do about all the horseshit? Horse pollution was bad in 1900, think how much worse it would be a century later, with so many more people riding horses? **** I remind you that in the lifetime of most scientists now living, we have already had an example of dire predictions set aside by new technology. I refer to the green revolution. In 1960, Paul Ehrlich said, "The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergoe famines-hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death." Ten years later, he predicted four billion people would die during the 1980s, including 65 million Americans. The mass starvation that was predicted never occurred, and it now seems it isn't ever going to happen. Nor is the population explosion going to reach the numbers predicted even ten years ago. In 1990, climate modelers anticipated a world population of 11 billion by 2100. Today, some people think the correct number will be 7 billion and falling. But nobody knows for sure.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Help This Young Lad While You Still Can...A First Step To Helping The World

I was visited by "Comrade M", the author of an upstart blog. He professes to be a middle-school student from a "red state." What fascinated me was his apparent devotion to Marxism, Socialism, Leninism, etc...all at the age of about 14. Although obviously on the wrong course, it may not be too late for an intervention and, with hope, a cure. He writes: We are, in theory, democratic marxist-trotskyists and social libertarians. We believe a vote for the Democrats is technically a vote for the bourgeoisie, but we prefer them to the Republicans VASTLY. We do not support voting libertarian, the libertarians think it is someone's right to steal from others in the business world. I would like to help this young man, so please be understanding and patient with him.

More Civil Discourse From The Left

This is a photo of a U.S. soldier's uniform hanging from a noose at a home in Sacramento, CA with the words "Our Tax Dollars At Work" spray painted on it. What the hell is wrong with some people!? Posted by Hello Hat tip: Reaganesque

"No Brain, No Pain"

In a cruel blow to PETA, a Norwegian study has concluded that lobsters most likely do not feel pain when cooked. The nervous systems of invertebrates (which include lobsters, worms, crabs and snails) are too primitive to consciously process stimuli and register it as pain. As expected, PETA disputes the results saying that the studies are biased. Interestingly, why PETA doesn't consider its own funded studies biased remains unanswered. This whole debate raises a few questions in my mind. Although PETA takes no official position on abortion (for reasons obvious and described below), I would lay odds that most PETA members are also pro-choice, which leaves them in the interesting moral, ethical and scientific quandary of being anti-lobster thermidor or clams on the half shell but pro-puncturing the skull of a seven month old fetus before extraction from the womb. I'm no biologist but I must believe that the nervous system of a seven month old fetus is less primitive and more highly developed that that of an adult lobster.

This Is Wrong, Just Plain Wrong

This is remarkable. In Britain, students must include the acronym PBUH ("peace be upon him") immediately after writing the name of "Muhammed." I'm copying the entire LGF post below: Religious Education students in Britain must now include the letters “pbuh” (“peace be upon him”) in parentheses every time they write the name of Mohammed, according to teacher David Holford. Religious Education in most schools in the UK is about comparative religion. There are six statutory religions in teaching RE. The law says that Christianity has to be the dominant religion taught in RE. Schools then choose amongst Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, and Buddhism to fill out the rest of the curriculum. My school does the first three. These four religions are taught in years 7, 8, 9 (the same ages as 6th-8th grade in the US). At GCSE* we do one of the Christianity papers and one of the Islam papers (with corresponding essay coursework). Now I don’t have a problem teaching comparative religion generally. I think it is a good thing for both children and adults to know about other religions and understand the cultures around them. The potential problem has arisen in teaching about Muhammad. The exam board requires that every time Muhammad is written, the letters “pbuh” in parentheses be placed after it. This is shorthand for “peace be upon him”. The writer therefore prays a blessing upon him everytime his name is written, as is the custom of Muslims. So I have to tell my students (over and over if there is any hope of them remembering) that they must bless Muhammad every time they mention his name. For most, if not all, of my students, this will be no problem. Few, if any, have any religious convictions whatsoever. It’s not so bad that I have to tell them to do something that I would find reprehensible. However, I am expected to model what they should do to reinforce their learning. I will never pray a blessing upon Muhammad. To do so would be to repudiate my faith. It would imply I believe the Shahada (the Muslim declaration of faith) even if those hearing or reading it were unable to infer this. I do not wear my faith on my sleeve when I teach RE. When students ask me if I believe in God, I tell them. If they ask if I am a Christian, I tell them. If they ask which variety of Christian I am, I tell them. I never do more than honestly answer their questions. And I would never insist that non-Christian (Muslim or otherwise) students make the sign of the Cross at every mention of the Holy Trinity, even though that is part of the tradition of my religion. I am truly, truly at a loss to explain the thinking behind such a requirement. This would be the equivalent of requiring these students to include TLOG ("The Lord Our God") after writing the name of Jesus. This sort of thinking is not limited to the Continent. It is slowly creeping into our mindset as well as evidenced by the decision last year by Hamtramck, Michigan to allow to be broadcast over loudspeakers five times per day the Islamic call to prayer. Click here if you'd like to hear what is being broadcast along with translation. Tell me then if your local Catholic Church wanted to broadcast the Lord's Prayer five times per day how long before the ACLU would be arriving in force?

Monday, February 14, 2005

History Of The Crusades: Part I

One of the main reasons I became interested in this era of history (which actually encompassed a number of eras) was because, even with my limited knowledge at the time, the story was seemingly always told as beginning with the first Crusade. There was never any account of the "pre-history" of the Crusades. The motivation of the crusaders was described as that of conquest and that of expansion of influence of the Roman Catholic Church. There was no history given of the lands sought to be "overrun" by these armies who took the Cross. After 9/11, there was much punditry concerning President Bush's use of the term "crusade" as being inappropriate or offensive, and that got me thinking. I did know that Mohammed was the father of Islam who died sometime in the 7th century and the sphere of influence of Islam at the time of his death was limited to the Arabian peninsula (essentially Saudi Arabia today and where Mecca and Medina, the holy cities of Islam are to be found). So sometime from the death of Mohammed to the 11th century Islam spread beyond its initial borders both west and east. The logical question that then came to my mind was...who were the peoples who inhabited those areas and what was their dominant faith. These were questions that could not be answered if the "history" of the Crusades were recounted only from the late-11th century forward. The first point that is seldom mentioned, perhaps out of ignorance or perhaps out of political correctness, is that the Crusades were defensive wars in large measure the response to Muslim aggression. At the time of Mohammed, Christianity was the faith of the Roman Empire and, as such, extended throughout the Mediterranean which included the Middle East. Indeed, the Middle East was the birth place of Christianity. After Mohammed's death his followers advanced by military might into Palestine, Syria and Egypt, all of which at the time were heavily Christian. By the next century, Muslim armies had conquered most of North Africa and Spain...again, heavily Christian areas. By the 11th century what is now modern Turkey, which had been Christian since Biblical times, fell to the Muslim armies as did most of the Byzantine empire. It was at this point in time, after nearly four centuries of Muslim conquests which had taken over nearly two-thirds of the old Christian world that the emperor of Constantinople sent a call for help to western Europe's Christians. Part II to follow...

What Do An Art Project, A Berlin Hooker And A Terrorist Have In Common?

I had read these three separate stories over the last few days and posted about one of them: (1) the Rhode Island student winning an award for his "Bush/Hilter" art project; (2) a Berlin waitress losing her welfare benefits after refusing work in a brothel; and (3) a British court finding that a suspected terrorist should not be detained lest his "depressive illness" be exacerbated. Leave it to Mark Steyn to weave them into a coherent whole. A must read!

Keeping An Eye Out For Dumbo

In the tsunami devastated area of Banda Aceh, Indonesia clean up efforts continue. Because of the scarcity of trucks, bulldozers and other heavy machinery, the locals are enlisting the aid of elephants for some heavy lifting. Naturally, our activist community is up-in-arms over this practice.

Happy Valentine's Day...Unless You're In Saudi Arabia

In another example of what appears inevitable in any society dominated by Islam...total lack of tolerance...beware trying to buy red roses for your honey if you are in Riyadh. Side point to those who worship at the altar of tolerance and multiculturalism: Are you supposed to be tolerant of the intolerant and, if so, how does one do that exactly without indulging their intolerance and making things more...intolerant? Just asking. Tolerance update: The death sentence on author Salman Rushdie remains in force.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A Brief History of the Crusades

The First and Third Crusades Posted by Hello (click to enlarge) Well, here we go. I had planned on following up on the extraordinarily successful [my personal editorial comment] series of posts on the history of the Israeli/Palestinian Arab conflict with something similar about the Crusades. For those of you who missed the former, look in our archives from 11/17/04, 11/18/04, 11/19/04 and 11/23/04. [Note: one of these days I'll learn how to internally link] I've been spending a bit of time over the last six months or so reading from various sources including Thomas F. Madden and will, at the end of the series, provide a bibliography of sorts. Part I to follow shortly.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Islam, the Crusades, and the New Movie...Kingdom of Heaven

Well I thought I was "picking up slack" for ric being out of town, but even though he is not, I still wanted to post. I have seen the new trailer for the new movie coming in May Kingdom of Heaven a few times and it looks really great...but who knows. I am huge of fan of Ridley Scott and will see anything he does...."Black Hawk Down"..."Gladiator"...I even saw "Hannibal", although disappointed except for the shots of Italy. Anyway, his movie looks like "Gladiator" and "Lord of the Rings" meets "Braveheart" with some really good casting of Orlando Bloom too...and he is taking on a timely topic the Crusades which is the reason for this post. Islam and Christianity have had a sordid past. The Crusades brought Islam into a prolonged and painful contact with Eastern Christianity [Orthodox Christians mostly] and the images of Christianity in the Muslim mind date from this period. Not a good thing... Muslims believe they have a serious obligation to conduct Da'wah [invitation] to Islam and War is an acceptable method...but how did Christians/Western countries get involved in this? Osama Bin Laden is waiting for the fifth Crusade to start any day now and suddenly according to the Left, the Right wing running the presidency is only to pleased to oblige, but why? How did Christians see this as a war of religions? We remember the idea of the medieval Christian knight?...which is what this movie is going to be all about. One of the greatest social problems, ranking with poverty and racism, is War, which has evoked a variety of responses from Christians, from non-violent Pacifism...to the idea of a Just War...to the concept of the CRUSADE. Well Jesus said, "do not resist an evil person," [Matt. 5:39] and "Love your enemies" [Matt. 5:44]. So how did we go from those statements to Republicans want to blow the Muslims off the face of the earth? Well once the Roman Empire became Christian, when the Eastern Roman Emperor, Constantine [that's a different movie with Keanu Reeves] converted to Christianity and made it the predominant religion...it was hard to keep Pacifism going among Christians now that Rome was all about acquiring territory. We can thank St. Augustine for that, pronounced St. "Ugh-gust-tin" not "August-steen" like the city in Florida. He came up with the JUST WAR theory and formulated a series of rules to regulate violence and permit Christians to fight for the Roman Empire. He combined Old Testament [full of wars] with Aristotle, Plato, and Cicero to formulate the Just War Theory. 1. The war should have its goal...the establishment of justice and the restoration of peace. 2. War must be fought under the authority of the legitimate ruler and be conducted in a just manner which included keeping one's promises to the enemy and refraining from looting, massacre, and burning, so that non-combatants would not be injured. 3. Monks and priests were exempt from military service. 4. Genuine respect for pacifism. The Crusades let us take on a Just War...the Crusades led us in a series of Crusades that were launched to free the Holy Land... Jerusalem specifically, from the Muslims and from Islamic control in the region in general...which is why Osama Bin Laden and his kind sees freeing Jerusalem from the Israelis control as a Crusade now. In 1095 it started...the first Crusade [the movie is set during the third and final/fourth crusade] under the auspices of the Church for a holy ideal and the church. But after the first Crusade the holy ideal was to characterize the enemy [the Muslims] as the "evil one." Sound familiar? And because of this characterization the Just War theory went out the window and the torture and rapine became the order of the day...and the Crusades further ensued. We have come from Pacifism to Just War to the Crusade interpretation which is the most popular seemingly today...and likely the viewpoint of the movie, although I have not seen it yet. If and when you see this movie, you may wonder how the Christian knight came to be? Well this is how...and this history haunts us today from the Muslim community for better or for worse, because they among all else have not forgotten this history [taught in school curriculum from what I understand] while we sit around and think...it's just a movie...

Facts is Facts...Unless They're Inconvenient

It is this kind of purposeful, political force everyone's eye off the ball stuff that is infuriating to me. President Bush explains that social security reform would be particularly advantageous to blacks since their life spans at present are shorter than that of whites (both male and female). Rather than deal with the issue of social security reform, opponents bite down on the President's supposed "exploiting the tragedy of the shorter black life span for political purposes, rather than trying to do something about it." Pointing out facts is not "exploitation." You may want to debate whether the asserted facts are true or not, and that's a fair point to raise. But the avoidance of the central point by cloaking it in highly charged adjectives does nothing to move the argument forward...which is precisely the objective of the opponents of social security reform .

Friday, February 11, 2005

Have A Good Weekend!

I'm off to beautiful Bakersfield, CA to "coach" my daughter's under-13 club soccer team in State Cup competition, so I'll be taking a break from posting until at least Sunday evening. Hopefully Don Georgina will pick up some of the slack if she's not too busy politely listening to the half-baked ravings of her liberal friends. UPDATE: Well, the weather didn't cooperate and all games were postponed until next week.

Remember Neville Chamberlain?

Muslims in the Netherlands are "radicalized" because their radical principles are being criticized. I see... they have come to their host country unwilling to accept its cultural norms. That un-guestlike conduct is rightfully called into question and that then becomes the explanation for the behavior that preceded the criticism. Quite logical wouldn't you say? Rather than confront the problem, the stock explanation of the liberal left is trotted out. They are only beheading us because we are unwilling to accept them for what they are...vicious beheaders. Muslims in Iran are upset because the U.S. now requires women who apply for visas to be photographed without their headscarves. I imagine it won't be long before someone, probably a university professor, will justify the next violent act by our refusal to respect and accept their culture, ignoring that perhaps acceptance is a two-way street.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

What Kind Of Message Do You Think This Sends To Our Kids?

A 17 year old high school student from Rhode Island receives an "A" from his teacher and a "Silver Key" at the Rhode Island Scholastic Art Awards for his "artwork" equating President Bush to Hitler. The snappy title of his piece was "Bush/Hitler and How History Repeats Itself" Posted by Hello Hat tip: The Antiprotestor Journal. This is remarkable for a number of reasons, none of which are that a 17 year old high school student has a stupid opinion. I would have liked to see some, any...even one of his teachers pull him aside, give him a history lesson and explain the difference between the Nazi blitzkrieg and what our military is doing today. Unfortunately, I suspect many of his teachers share the same sentiment. True Story: When I was in sixth grade a friend and I thought it would be a real crack-up to make fake Hitlerian-looking moustaches out of black construction paper, scotch tape them to our respective fuzzy upper lips and goose step around the hallways, every once in a while punctuating our march with a "Sieg Heil!" Our teacher pulled us into his classroom, closed the door and politely but firmly explained to us precisely who Hitler was, what he did, what he stood for and told us quite directly to take our supremely-in-poor-taste disguises off and think about what we had just done. Inasmuch as I still clearly remember this life lesson over 35 years later, it had its intended effect. Now, you get the highest grade in the class and an award for being an ignorant, irresponsible punk.

The "Carrot and Carrot" Approach At Work

North Korea announces it will boycott regional talks concerning its heretofore believed to be nascent nuclear program and proclaims it now actually has a nuclear weapon(s). Please recall the brilliant strategy employed by the Clinton administration and brokered by the always foolhardy Jimmy Carter coined the "Agreed Framework" . Here's the significant chronology: March 1994 - IAEA inspectors arrive in North Korea for first checks in a year. North's refusal to allow inspections at Yongbyon plutonium reprocessing plant, north of Pyongyang, prompts IAEA to demand it allow all requested checks immediately. June 1994 - North Korea announces withdrawal from the IAEA. Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter negotiates deal with North Korea in which it confirms willingness to freeze its nuclear arms programme and resume talks with United States. October 1994 - United States and North Korea adopt Agreed Framework in Geneva calling on North to freeze and eventually eliminate nuclear facilities and allow IAEA special inspections. In exchange, Pyongyang is to receive two proliferation-resistant light-water reactors (LWRs) and annual heavy fuel oil shipments. October 2002 - Top State Department envoy James Kelly confronts Pyongyang with evidence of covert uranium enrichment programme. Pyongyang says it is "entitled to possess not only nuclear weapons but other types of weapons more powerful than them in defence of its sovereignty in face of the U.S. threat". November 2002 - United States and KEDO allies meet in New York and decide to cut off fuel oil shipments. December 2002 - North Korea says it plans to restart Yongbyon reactor, disables IAEA surveillance devices at Yongbyon and expels IAEA inspectors. The obvious point is why would you expect a meglomaniaical dictator to honor his end of any agreement? It has never happened before (e.g. Hitler), will not happen today, and will never happen in the future. There is no incentive on the despot to comply unless it suits his immediate needs. When it doesn't, he simply reneges with impunity. It's not as though he's afraid of being voted out of office at the next election.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Quick Hits for A Wednesday

Kathleen Parker discusses the flap over the "insensitive" words of Lt. Gen. James Mattis. John Leo helps Harvard president Larry Summers with his sensitivity training. Jonah Goldberg discusses the pitfalls of our "therapeutic" culture.

Would There Be A Disclaimer If Jack Bauer Were Fighting The KKK?

Read the story of Keifer Sutherland's "disclaimer" being broadcast before episodes of Fox's "24" where he intones: "Hi. My name is Kiefer Sutherland. And I play counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer on Fox's ‘24’. I would like to take a moment to talk to you about something that I think is very important. Now while terrorism is obviously one of the most critical challenges facing our nation and the world, it is important to recognize that the American Muslim community stands firmly beside their fellow Americans in denouncing and resisting all forms of terrorism. So in watching 24, please, bear that in mind."

How Do You Spell "Irony"?

Seal of Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Posted by Hello The court that ruled the Pledge of Allegiance as unconstitutional for including the words "under God" has itself been sued by, and it pains me to say it, a publicity-seeking, bottom-dwelling lawyer for its allegedly unconstitutional seal (see above and click to enlarge). If you pull out your magnifying glass, you may notice that at the right hand side of the image of the woman is a tablet that bears a striking resemblance to the tablet given to Moses on which were displayed the Ten Commandments. There you go...an impermissible endorsement of religion in violation of the Establishment Clause...clear as the nose on your face. Oh, by the way, that seal has been in place for about 100 years.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

He Sure Acts Like He Has Something To Hide

John Kerry flip-flops again!

No Music, No Dancing, No Eating...Or Face Arrest

From Pakistan, where legislation has been introduced to ban music and dancing in public places and the use of photographs of women in advertising, to Malaysia, where state-empowered religious police raid nightclubs and arrest Muslims for eating during periods of fast, one had better come to grips with the inevitability of what occurs under Muslim rule. As I have pointed out in the past, this sort of thing is not an aberration but instead the norm when Muslims come to power. I'm not well enough versed in Islam to be certain why that is (and would love to hear from someone who is), but anyone who believes that this interpretation of Shari'a is some sort of perversion is fooling himself. Hat tip: Dhimmi Watch

Monday, February 07, 2005

Hero Salute

If you missed the Anheuser-Busch Super Bowl tribute to our military men and women, go to this link for a view. I teared up and suspect you will too.

The Horror! The Horror!

Sometimes I feel like I was born not in a different century (not too bad since we are only five years into my second) but in a different epoch. Case in point. A world renowned, so I'm told, economics professor at UNLV makes the statement that, as a group, homosexuals tend to plan less for the future than some other groups. He also explained that younger people, as a group, similarly tend not to look very far down the road, while middle-aged persons with children, as a group, tend to do just the opposite. Nothing remarkable there...just some good, old-fashioned common sense. However, one self-centered narcissist of a student at this lecture complained of being...all together now...OFFENDED, and the next thing you know the good Ph.D is being disciplined by the administration by letter of reprimand and loss of one week's pay. Please, please, please someone tell me what was offensive about his remark. From my limited experience what he said is likely generally true. But that is not the point. "Offensive" has been redefined as anything remotely negative concerning our, as I call it, minority group du jour. [Aside: I suspect my last comment, if made in a college lecture hall, would be deemed offensive] You can call our President the moronic incarnation of Hitler, with a splash of Stalin, a dash of warmongering idiocy, and topped off with a bit of lunatic baby-killing tendency and that's all part of the right to academic freedom and free speech. Mention in passing that there actually may be subtle genetic differences between men and women, or that gays may be less concerned with socking away savings than a forty something couple with three college bound kids and you're a hate-filled misogynist/homophobe worthy of censure. The only good news is that the ACLU actually came to his defense, but not before noting that it understood how some might find the professor's views offensive.

RTH! Closes In On 10,000!!

I just realized that Release The Hounds! is fast (?) approaching the 10,000 hit plateau. I would therefore like to thank my mother who has always...got carried away there for a moment. In all seriousness, I launched this blog on 10/18/04 with a post in response to a Hugh Hewitt Vox Blogoli request, and from that moment on couldn't stop converting my random thoughts to writing and then catapulting them through cyberspace. Recently, and to my everlasting surprise, I've been registering a bit less than 100 hits per day, and that was after I learned to prevent my own visits from being logged. I have had a handful of sincerely positive comments and compliments regarding some of the stuff I've posted about, and have been lead to many truly creative, ingenious and thought-provoking blogs maintained by some remarkably talented people. Now 10,000 hits is just a few hours work for some of the mighty out there, but it's about 9500 more than I ever thought I'd see when I started this endeavor. So thanks for visiting and I hope you continue to drop by periodically. I hear the orchestra starting to play so I know my time is up. UPDATE: the "milestone" was reached on 2/9/05.

Weekly Standard: Dems' Week From Hell

This Weekly Standard column by Noemie Emery sums up all the recent missteps by the Democrats. Here are my favorite paragraphs: For mysterious reasons best known to themselves, a small diehard clique of old-line insurgents hiding out in the depths of the U.S. Senate decided to make confirmation hearings for Condoleezza Rice the venue of a bomb-throwing session, on the basis of two cherished liberal theories: one, that the war in Iraq is an utter catastrophe; and two, that while criticism of liberal nonwhites and women is always racist and sexist in nature, nonwhites and women who are right-wing or centrist are less than "authentic," and therefore deserve what they get. Thus, Margaret Carlson in the Los Angeles Times found nothing amiss in Boxer's calling Rice a liar and a lackey, but insisted Boxer's critics were somehow attacking all women. This followed by weeks an unprecedented onslaught from liberal cartoonists and columnists, who compared Rice to a parrot, a house slave, Aunt Jemima (with one hell of a weight loss), and Prissy in Gone With the Wind. It did not help that one of Boxer's main allies was Robert A. Byrd of West Virginia, who in a prior life had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan. As a method of expanding the vote of an ever-shrinking minority party, this tactic stunned some observers, who concluded the scheme had been cooked up by Karl Rove. "I wouldn't think having a former kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan lead a futile floor fight against the nomination of the first black woman to be secretary of state is a good way to enhance the appeal of the Democratic party to swing voters, but maybe that's just me," opined Jack Kelly.

Forget Whether it's a "Religion of Peace"...It's Definitely Not a Religion of Bussing or Buzzcuts

Islamic radicals looking to kill barbers in Baghdad because they have trimmed beards or provided "western-style" haircuts. Write it off as a bunch of extremists that do not fairly represent the true contemporary application of Islam . But then go to Indonesia where Muslims rule, and make certain you do not kiss in public (unless you can prove you are married to the kissee) or risk prison time.

Why Lawyers Aren't All Bad

Hugh Hewitt posts today in a discussion of Easongate : This is another example of why lawyers makes much better analysts than journalists, and thus better journalists than journalists --they are trained in logic and evidence. ...and references an analysis by Paul Mirengoff of the Dan Rather scandal, from a legal standard of proof point of view. As a lawyer myself, this is a notion that has been developing in my mind for sometime, and especially since starting up this blog. There seems to be quite a lack of logical analysis of issues, certainly by the MSM and also in parts of the blogosphere. Although there are certainly abuses of our legal system and its laws of evidence, I can vouchsafe that much more frequently than not, the process is grounded in logic and reason. That's why the threshold question is always "relevancy." If certain information or evidence is considered irrelevant, it will not come into play because it would only serve to distract form the real point. The rules applied to determine relevancy are long-standing and well-tested, and are not a willy-nilly, which way is the wind blowing today, analysis different depending upon the judge or court. That's why journalists can conclude that there is no evidence to believe that "Rathergate" was motivated by political bias. However, if this question was put before a relatively impartial jury and the rules of evidence applied, the result would be the opposite nine times out of ten.

Old Blue Eyes Was Right...And Also In Reverse *

One would thing that, in the heat of the Presidential election, Air America (the liberal talk network) would have seen its finest hour ratings wise. Not. Arbitron ratings for the October-December 2004 period reveal Rush Limbaugh kicking the #### out of Garofolo, Franken and company. To make matters worse, their ratings during this period were 15% lower than over the summer of 2004. It seems even liberals can take only so much shrill, dim-witted pseudo-discourse before tuning out. * Think the tune "New York, New York"

LA Times: The Glass is 1/10th of 1% Empty

This is sometimes too easy. When the LA Times (or NY Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, etc) decide to go negative with a story about some facet of the war in Iraq, just scratch a millimeter or so below the surface and watch the bias ooze out. And definitely don't rely on the headline. Case in point: The LA Times runs a 1500+ word story entitled "Breaking Ranks to Shun War" about how 150 of our service personnel in Iraq have filed conscienctious objector applications from 2002 through 2004. Why is this news? There will be some 135,000 troops in Iraq over the next 12 months. There have been between 140,000 and 150,000 over the last 12 months. If you take the full three year total of objector applications and compare it to the current reduced force, it comes out to about one-tenth of one percent. When 10% of Americans believe Elvis is still alive, why is this statistically significant? As importantly, the headline should have been rewritten to read: "Troops Almost Unanimously Back Mission in Iraq."

They Probably Picked The Philadelphia Eagles In A Blowout

Thank our lucky stars for the internet and cyber-space, where stupid and wholly incorrect predictions live forever. Take a look at this LA Times article about early prognostications about the Iraqi elections. Compare Albright, Kerry, Dean and Biden's "predictions" to those of President Bush and the others. Why would anyone ever again take anything the first four said seriously? (Although they had lost their credibility long before.)

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Just Another Run Of The Mill Event Cancelled Because Of Red-Tape

This is the kind of thing that just, as my military buddies would say, torques my skivvies. Look here at A Daily Briefing on Iran for a story about the cancellation after protest of an Iranian government sponsored event at the Bethesda Marriott. The event was called "Twenty Sixth Anniversary of the Glorious Victory of the Islamic Revolution and Death to America Day" Now, I'm perfectly happy with the fact that an Iranian government sponsored hate-fest was short circuited. My skivvies are twisted for the following reason: Visit the link to the WaPo story about this development and tell me if you can find any reference to the "Death to America" part. Instead, it is described as a "celebration...marking the 26th anniversary of the Islamic revolution..." Why, oh why, would the reporter/editor leave that interesting tidbit out of the story? Any ideas? Hay tip: LGF

And I'm Afraid Just To Do Laps In A Pool

Briana Walker, 26, of Huntington Beach catches a wave in Carlsbad with the help of Wheels 2 Water volunteers. [Mindy Schauer, The Orange County Register ] Here is a wonderful story about a guy from Huntington Beach, CA who has formed a group called "Wheels 2 Water" that assists persons who have suffered spinal cord injuries to, believe it or not, surf! I look for stories such as this one because it is heartwarming to know that there are many of us out there willing to put the time and effort in to help others less fortunate, and good to see that it is reported. After a while, you need a break from the incessant whining and complaining. Posted by Hello

Where Have You Gone GI Joe?

Here's an on-point piece from Jack Kelly of the Post-Gazette where he asks the salient questions: Why have the "insurgents" been reduced to peddling hoaxes (e.g. GI Joe as captured American, British C-130 shot down by surface-to-air missile) and why is the MSM so willing to uncritically disseminate whatever a terrorist group throws against the wall but will not inquire into what this reliance on hoaxes might mean in the big picture? As Kelly points out: Last Sunday's elections demonstrated the massive support of the Iraqi people for democracy, and the relative impotence of the "insurgents." The "river of blood" they promised was barely a trickle. Eight suicide bombers killed 36 Iraqis besides themselves. Of these, seven were foreigners (six Saudis and a Sudanese). The only Iraqi suicide bomber was a child suffering from Down syndrome. That is, as the Iraqi writer Nibras Kazimi put it, "eight against 8 million." And on what basis, one might ask, do the media call seven foreign terrorists "insurgents"? Very good questions indeed. At the same time, Ralph Peters of the NY Post rightfully laments the vaporous hand-wringing of the media over the comments by Lt-Gen Jim Mattis (i.e. "You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil . . . it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them." ) and places it in proper...drum roll, please...perspective

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Islam and Pluralism Don't Seem to Mix

Here is an example of what is apparently not a radical interpretation of Islam. The Qur'an provides that the penalty for apostasy is death. Read about what is an increasingly regular occurrence in the U.K. when one converts from Islam.

Social Security Games...Guess Who is Playing Them?

The President in the past has said: "We all know a demographic crisis is looming. ... If we act now it will be easier and less painful than if we wait until later." He has also said: "Above all, we must save Social Security for the 21st century." The Washington Post has noted: "[They] want to put Social Security reform on the back burner." A prominent senator is reported to have said: "Our goal should be to eliminate poverty among the elderly - through progressive Social Security reforms. " Finally, it was reported that the President: "... favored private accounts as add-ons to Social Security, with the government matching contributions by low-income Americans." Now, I don't know what the right answer is to the question of how do we reform and save Social Security, but I do know that the Democrats are playing pure scare-tactics politics when they assert that there is no looming crises, or even a major problem for that matter. The first two quotes noted above were from President Clinton in 1998. The third quote was in reference to Republicans. The prominent Senator who made the fourth remark was Bob Kerrey...Democrat. The proposal for private accounts as "add-ons" was the suggestion of President Clinton. So who is playing games here? Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the usual suspects.

The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling!

It is obviously still too early to tell, but there are encouraging signs that there will not be a civil war in Iraq and that the Sunnis will engage in the political process. Two Sunni groups have expressed their desire to help draft a constitution. A good sign indeed...but not to the "Chicken Little" Democrats who have predicted failure at every turn.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Tomorrow's AP Photo and Story?

"This image of US soldiers advancing on and shooting at unarmed and peaceful Muslims gathered for prayer outside a Baghdad mosque was posted on an Iraqi militant website today. It was claimed that the infidel protectors of pigs and swine had already massacred an entire classroom of Iraqi children studying (peacefully) the Qur'an and thereafter drank their blood but not before enjoying the flatbread commonly associated with the Zionist-entity. These claims could not be verified but that did not stop Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer from condemning the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq from the floor of the Senate. (not-AP photo)" Posted by Hello Special thanks to Uncivil Rights for use of the photo.

A Problem That Will Only Get Worse If Nothing Is Done

This is a must read for anyone who believes that the hate-filled preaching of jihad against the west is an isolated occurrence limited to "radical" Islamists. Daniel Pipes describes a Freedom House study of 15 prominent American mosques and the venomous preachings and literature to be found there...all funded by the Saudis.

Janeane Garofalo Remains Somewhat Bitter...

"To mock the display, Garofalo soon held up her hand in a Nazi salute as she predicted: "The inked fingers and the position of them, which is gonna be a Daily Show photo already, of them signaling in this manner [Nazi salute], as if they have solidarity with the Iraqis who braved physical threats against their lives to vote as if somehow these inked-fingered Republicans have something to do with that." Go here for the entire story. Posted by Hello

Victor Davis Hanson Rides Again

Victor Davis Hanson has penned the overarching column of the times. Long but readable, it reminds and places in perspective. It informs and rebukes. In my mind, he is one of the few commentators today that has the ability to write in big pictures but without loss of detail. Some excerpts: And then there was the parade of heroes who were media upstarts of the hour — the brilliant Hans Blixes, Joe Wilsons, Anonymouses, and Richard Clarkes — who came, wrote their books, did their fawning interviews on 60 Minutes, Nightline, and Larry King, and then faded to become footnotes to our collective pessimism. Do not dare forget our Hollywood elite. At some point since 9/11, Michael Moore, Sean Penn, Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange, Whoopi Goldberg, and a host of others have lectured the world that their America is either misled, stupid, evil, or insane, bereft of the wisdom of Hollywood's legions of college drop-outs, recovering bad boys, and self-praised autodidacts. ***** Then there was our media's hysteria: Donald Rumsfeld should be sacked in the midst of war; Abu Ghraib was the moral equivalent of everything from Saddam's gulag to the Holocaust; the U.S. military purportedly tried to kill reporters; and always the unwillingness or inability to condemn the beheaders, fascists, and suicide murderers, who sought to destroy any shred of liberalism. Meanwhile, the isolation of a corrupt Arafat, the withdrawal of 10,000 Americans from a Wahhabi theocracy, the transformation of the world's far-right monstrosities into reformed democracies, and the pull-back of some troops from Germany and the DMZ went unnoticed. ***** First, there is a tremendous sense of impotence. Somehow sharp looks alone, clever repartee, long lists of books read and articles cited, or global travel do not automatically result in commensurate power. So what exactly is wrong with these stupid people of Nebraska who would elect a dense, Christian-like George Bush when a Gore Vidal, George Soros, Ben Affleck, Bruce Springsteen, or Ted Kennedy warned them not to? ***** In this context, the Iraqi elections were surely poorly attended, or illegitimate, or ruined by violence, or irrelevant, or staged by America — or almost anything other than a result of a brave, very risky, and costly effort by the United States military to destroy a fascist regime and offer something better in its place. It is well worth reading start to finish.

Quick Hits For A Friday

Sometimes the obvious escapes me. You've probably heard of Ward Churchill, the Colorado professor who called the people who died in the WTC on 9/11 "little Eichmannns." This story came on the heels of the brou-ha-ha over remarks by Larry Summers of Harvard who suggested at the possibility of genetic differences between men and women. Mr. Summers was roundly condemned by his fellow members of academe. Curiously, none of these same persons took Mr. Churchill to task for his "insensitive" remarks, but instead defended him on the basis of the purity of academic freedom. A 55-year old women just gave birth in an Orange County (CA) hospital. This is after having given birth to a daughter three years ago, at age 52. The NBC report I've linked omits certain facts which were reported in my local Orange County (CA) newspaper: (1) the fact that she had three years earlier had a child; (2) that both were conceived through in vitro fertilization; (3) that she was when her first child was conceived, and remains today, a single mother having separated from her husband in approximately 1998. Here is the full account from the OC Register. Is this such a good thing? A single mom in her mid-fifties giving birth to children that won't be ready to spread their wings until mom is at least in her early seventies? And with no full time father figure? I think this is an example of the narcissism of our age. I want to do it so damn the consequences or risk to others of my actions. The desire to raise and nurture children is a precious thing, but not if you likely cannot live up, or long enough for that matter, to meet the challenge. Two quotes from the new mom give me pause: "People say, 'Oh, you must be crazy. You're old enough to be a grandmother,'" Pelcak said Thursday, cradling Alexandre against her chest in her Anaheim home. "But the alternative is that these children wouldn't be born." What precisely does that mean? Because I had a vasectomy last year (I know, too much information) there will be children that will not be born. So what? "I put it in God's hands. If you're meant to be a mother, you will." Several failed attempts at artificial insemination, followed by the harvesting of eggs, and the freezing of embryos for four-plus years before reimplantation into the womb is probably placing your motherhood less in God's hands than those of a fertility specialist.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Morass That Is Social Security

I feel duty-bound to point out the contradictions so obvious in the Democratic party's position on Social Security reform. In 1996, then President Clinton had acknowledged that something had to be done before the system bankrupted itself. One of his suggestions was privitization of part of the program: "[Clinton] signaled that he would entertain a whole range of changes to Social Security, including privatizing part of the system: letting workers invest part of their Social Security taxes in the stock market, instead of having the Social Security Administration invest those taxes in Treasury bills. Clinton is not the only Democrat singing the privatization tune. Senator Bob Kerrey, Democrat of Nebraska, has been belting it out for some years now." I also was rather confused over the projections being bandied about so I located the following: "Here’s how the Social Security Administration projects the timeline: In 2018, Social Security will begin paying out more than it takes in. For the first time, it will have to use the interest being paid on the securities it holds in order to meet its obligations. In 2028, Social Security would have to start redeeming the securities themselves. By 2042, Social Security would have cashed in the last security, and the system would have enough revenue to pay out only 73% of promised benefits. That percentage would drop over time if Congress failed to act." I intend to do quite a bit more research on this over the next few days including which Senators originally were behind Clinton's privatization proposal.

Quick Quiz

Which U.S. President made the following statement: "We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of Liberty." Hint #1: The statement was made within the last 45 years. //// //// //// //// Hint#2: He authorized the invasion of a sovereign nation in order to effect "regime change." //// //// //// //// Hint#3: He involved the U.S. in a separate war to combat a brutal dictatorship seeking to overrun its neighbor. //// //// //// //// Hint#4: He was not a Republican (although he certainly was a conservative). //// //// //// //// Answer: John Fitzgerald Kennedy. ...amazing that he and Teddy could have sprung from the same womb. Answer to Hint #2: Bay of Pigs invasion Answer to Hint #3: Vietnam

Real American Heroes

A buddy of mine is a former Marine (there are no "ex-Marines" I'm told...I hope I don't have that reversed) who periodically gets email and photos from his former brothers-in-arms now in Iraq. The photo and account below is one he forwarded to me about the heroism of 1stSgt Brad Kasal, who was involved in Urban Ops in Fallujah. These are our real heroes who are in Iraq because they believe in the mission. It makes me sick when I compare those whiny, complaining, naysaying, sniveling lefty bloggers I hear from every day to men like 1stSgt Kasal. Like I'm fond of saying these days, what the left sorely lacks is any type of perspective.
"Marine 1st Sergeant Brad Kasal (in the middle). This photo is from the most recent major offensive in Fallujah. 1stSgt Kasal sacrificed his own safety to save a room full of fellow Marines. He ended up taking several AK rounds in the leg. Most of his lower leg was blown away but you can't tell it from this pic. He took rounds in the back which his armor saved him from. He took one round through his butt which passed through both cheeks leaving 4 holes in him. And he also took the brunt of a grenade blast. He jumped on top of a younger Marine to cover him from the fire. He killed the enemy who did most of the damage to him and his men, and despite a massive loss of blood he never stopped fighting. Notice that he's still holding his pistol. He has been put in for the Medal of Honor for his actions on that day. He already has several Purple Hearts for previous battles throughout his career and he has turned some down so that he could stay with his unit. " Posted by Hello (click on photo to enlarge)

Obscenity Is In The Eyes Of The Mullah

A Swedish museum removes an exhibit after Muslims complain it is "obscene". Remember Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ", the photo of a crucifix submerged in urine? I do recall that there was outrage over the blasphemous nature of the photo and calls for the exhibitor(s) to not display the "artwork" (bias, mine). In response there were the cries of "censorship" etc. Well, as distasteful as I find "Piss Christ" and other artistic expressions of that ilk (e.g. Robert Mapplethorpe), there is no legitimate reason to prevent their display. I believe that the objections to the display of Serrano's work was met largely with resistance to any effort to have it closed down. I doubt however that there is much hand-wringing going on in Sweden, nor would there be here, over censorship unless it is the non-dominant culture's ox being gored. Why are we so reluctant to apply the same standard to minority religions (and groups, generally) as we do to our own religion or culture. We are told, rightfully so, that it is part of the rough and tumble nature of free expression when presented with a urine-soaked crucifix or a portrait of the Virgin Mary smeared with elephant feces, but we are overcome with the vapors if the same right of free expression is negatively directed towards an oppressed group du jour.

At Least Someone In Hollywood Gets It

Ron Silver, who I've always respected as an actor and now more so as a stand up guy with common sense and vision, is on record as saying that the Michael Moore-itis that has afflicted the Democratic party contributed to the President's win last November.

Winners, Losers and Weaklings

Read the sage words of Interim Prime Minister Allawi in The Times Of London and compare them to the pessimistic hysterical rantings on the left (too numerous and ill-conceived to link with the exception of a particularly morally vacuous post by the always unhinged Ms Liberty). Allawi says in part: The winners are the millions of Iraqis who want their country to be free and peaceful, who want control of their own destiny and a better life for their families. The winners, too, are those who believe that a democratic Iraq can be a symbol of hope and progress throughout the region. The losers are the extremists and the terrorists who fear and despise freedom. OK, I've changed my mind. Mort Kondracke has a piece which actually does note some of the ridiculous comments of our left-leaning politicians and discusses the historical predisposition of Democrats to act weakly in the face of our enemies.

News Flash: Sunnis Willing To Accept New Iraqi Government

Here is an extraordinary piece of good news. The hard line Sunni Muslim group that had called for the boycott of the Iraqi elections (which then triggered the response by John Kerry and others that the election was consequently "illegitimate") has softened its position. It is now willing to accept the new government. Why isn't this front page news since the same group's rejection of the election was so prominently displayed? Conversely, Osama bin Laden has released a statement saying only "holy war" is the acceptable path for change in Muslim nations.