Sunday, October 30, 2005

Seymour Hersh . . . Comedian?

Seymour Hersh on Book TV (I'm paraphrasing): he likes to "joke" that Bill Clinton was the first president since WWII to bomb white people.

He said this in favor of President Clinton. He and Scott Ritter were having a discussion on Iraq at the New York Society for Ethical Culture sponsored by The Nation Magazine.

Being white, am I offended? No, but it sounded like a stupid racist thing to say. I'm sure Mr. Hersh was trying to make the point that the U.S. is a racist society by making a stupid racist joke, but what do I know? According to Mr. Ritter, Mr. Hersh, and the audience I'm stupid anyway because I'm an American and because I allowed Bush to be president. Actually, I did more than "allow" G. W. Bush to be president.

But getting back to Mr. Hersh, should the U. S. bomb more white people? Would he like us to bomb France? Canada? Red States (but only white neighborhoods)? I'm sure he will let us know in another "joke".

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Misplaced Priorities

According to a post at Little Green Footballs Muslim students at Harper College in Chicago protested this art exhibit. In true dhimmi fashion, it was closed within hours, free speech and freedom of expression be damned! But are any Muslims anywhere in the world outraged at this atrocity commited by Muslims on Christians?
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Unidentified assailants attacked a group of high school girls on Saturday in Indonesia's tense province of Central Sulawesi, beheading three and seriously wounding a fourth, police said.

The students from a private Christian high school were ambushed while walking through a cocoa plantation in Poso Kota subdistrict on their way to class, police Maj. Riky Naldo said. The rural area is close to the provincial capital of Poso, about 1,000 miles northeast of the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

He said the heads of the three dead girls were found several miles from their bodies.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation. But Central Sulawesi has a roughly equal number of Muslims and Christians. The province on Sulawesi island was the scene of a bloody sectarian war in 2001-2002 that killed around 1,000 people from both communities.

At the time, beheadings, burnings and other atrocities were common.

A government-mediated truce ended the conflict in early 2002 but since then, there have been a series of bomb attacks and assassinations targeting Christians. A market attack in the predominantly Christian town of Poso killed 22 people in May.
Oops! Wait a minute. As I reread the article I see that the Christian girls were attacked by "unidentified assailants". It must have been a subtle unconcious Islamophobia within me that made me assume the beheaders were Muslim. The killers could be from any of the numerous and varied religious terrorist groups that target Christians in Indonesia and behead their victims.

I sure hope the Muslim students from Harper College don't get upset with me for assuming that any vicious unprovoked attack on, and subsequent beheading of innocent Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddists, or Muslims is necessarily perpetrated by Muslim terrorists.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Piece Well Worth Reading

Go here to the Weekly Standard to read the parallels between Great Britain as the world's only super power in the pre and post WWI days and the United States the world's current and only super power.
WHAT DOES MODERN HISTORY have to teach us about the age of American empire? The final chapters of the British Empire offer lessons and parallels aplenty. Empires don't last forever, and the combination of martial victory, popular ennui, and liberal anti-patriotism is a dangerous mix for a superpower.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the British Empire was an unopposed hyperpower (much as the United States has been since 1989). As historian Colin Cross observes: "In terms of influence it was the only world power." The British people and their leaders accepted this fact. In the early 1930s, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin pronounced that "the British Empire stands firm, as a great force for good." Historian William Manchester argues that "most of the crown's subjects, abroad as well as at home, felt comfortable with imperialism."

But after the conclusion of the first World War, Britain's imperial psyche began to fracture. "After the survivors of the Western front came home," Manchester writes, "Britons wanted nothing more to do with war; most of them hoped never again to lay their eyes on an Englishman in uniform, and they were losing their taste for Empire." Winston Churchill despaired of this change. "The shadow of victory is disillusion," he noted. "The reaction from extreme effort is prostration. The aftermath even of successful war is long and bitter."

I found the link at Little Green Footballs.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Stop treating government like God

Here is an excellent column by Father Robert Sirico from yesterday's Detroit News. The whole thing makes a lot of sense, but here is the opening:
The media lately have grilled government officials about their responses to natural disasters -- from the South Asian tsunami to the Gulf Coast hurricanes to the recent earthquakes in Pakistan and India. Media watchdogs want to know what government will do to relieve suffering, how it will rebuild and compensate victims, and what it will do to prevent problems in the future.

Well, we can stop this cat-and-mouse game and state the bottom line: Government officials are mere mortals. They are not omnipotent.

It is true that government officials often create the expectation that they will perform in a way that would remind everyone of their God-like power. That's how they get re-elected, and how bureaucracies survive and expand. Elected officials, in particular, want us to believe they will make us safe and secure in a world without risk. After the government inevitably fails to live up to these expectations, elected officials and bureaucrats promise to learn from the mistake and eradicate the problem in the future. Again.

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Priorities in a Disaster

In the letters section of Saturday's Detroit News the issue being debated was whether to penalize states for not planning pet evacuations.

There are over 40,000 people dead from the earthquake in Pakistan. Over 200,000 people were killed in last December's tsunami. And here in the United States, after about 1,000 people died in hurricane related flooding, we are debating the rescue of pets.

Trivial? Maybe. But it does serve to show that because we in the West live in societies that are proficient in creating wealth, not only do we suffer less when a natural disaster strikes, but we are also quicker to recover, and we are so sure about our ability to rebuild that we can consider other things beyond mere survival.

I see this as another reason to create and celebrate wealth instead of condemning it. And, by the way, this wealth was not created by the government. It was created by hard working private citizens who are allowed to and encouraged to make better lives for themselves and their families. It's one of the hallmarks of a successful society.

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Israel Dismantles; World's Problems End

The headline is from what might be the funniest site on the web, The People's Cube.
Persistent rhetoric coming from concerned progressive critics worldwide has finally convinced Israeli officials that the state of Israel has no moral right to exist. "That's it," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon explained at a press conference. "We are dismantling the Nation of Israel. I'm leaving for Poland next week."

"My cabinet and I had long discussions about world troubles, and we concluded that our critics are right - all the troubles can be traced back to us. So, in order to resolve these issues, we felt it would be best to extend our withdrawal beyond Gaza to include the West Bank and Israel proper," Sharon said. "The Gaza pullout was only a test, and the ensuing waves of peace and brotherhood it had triggered in Palestine and beyond, encouraged us to disband altogether. Without us here, people of the world will finally be able, once again, to live in permanent harmony and understanding - just like they all did before Israel's founding nearly sixty years ago."

Palestinian President Abu Mazen: "We believe that our future is in limited government. We will bring to fruition all the programs started in refugee camps, such as our breakthroughs in medicine, education, applied and theoretical sciences, nanotechnology, and space exploration."

From Russia to Morocco to Yemen to France, countries are anticipating the arrival of Israelis. In Moscow, an enormous banner was erected that read "Welcome Home, Jews." and erstwhile presidential candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky exclaimed, "I'm going to bake a huge batch of cookies for this homecoming!" And in cities throughout Germany, joyous "Judenfests" were ubiquitous, as local citizens were arranging festivals to celebrate the Jewish arrival. German foreign minister Joschka Fischer indicated that, "For some reason, the Jewish presence in Germany is low by historical standards; many of our citizens under the age of 70 have never even met a Jew. In addition to curing the world's problems, the dismantling of Israel will give our people the opportunity to achieve their main wish in life - to live with Jews."

Similarly, the new Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has kicked off a popular "Iran-loves-Jews" campaign that will include a sensitive re-writing of the laws to accommodate religions other than Islam.
It's worth reading the whole thing. Great satire is always worth reading.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Latest from Michael Yon

Every dispatch from Michael Yon, besides being a brilliant piece of war reporting, is another reminder of how despicable the terror-supporting propaganda from the Main Stream Media has become. His latest is here. It's a must read if you want to know some of what's really happening in Iraq. The important discovery in reading this one, is that no matter the depth of defeatism the MSM tries to drill into our heads, we're winning!
The police were also developing their own intelligence and acting on it, even becoming adept at “the cascading raid,” as I began to call it. The Americans do it often, but call it “the domino effect.” Watching these raids unfold, I saw the effect was more like a cascade. Raid cascades happened like this: a bad guy is caught, and tells where other terrorists are, who are then quickly caught, and they in turn rat out a few more. One terrorist might lead soldiers to three more, who might lead them to four more, who might lead them to another one. Sometimes the cascades lasted only a few hours and netted perhaps a half a dozen fighters before petering out. Other cascades lasted days and netted dozens.

An example of a typical cascade happened when the 5-West police captured two terrorists who were handing out Jihad literature. During interrogation, they ratted the location of their cell leader. The police raided the cell leader's house, killed one terrorist and captured seven others. The cell leader quickly broke, giving up the identity of his boss. The police continued the momentum of the cascade, capturing the higher ranking cell leader, who in turn gave interrogators the location of a large cache of weapons, mortars, and ammunition. The weapons cache validated the capture and validity of all the previously captured terrorists in the cascade.

When the Iraqi forces scored serious victories—which was increasingly common—Americans demonstrated their respect. Mindful of local culture, this often entailed a trip downtown on a mission requiring a specialized skill set. Many times, I accompanied American soldiers to the livestock market to haggle for sheep.

[ . . .]

While open warfare still rages parts of Iraq, in Mosul the war is becoming more like police work. Most of the top enemy leadership in Mosul has been killed or captured, and the replacements of the replacements of the replacements are the new targets. But these new quarterbacks recruited from the fans in the stadium are progressively less adept at staying alive in an increasingly terrorist-hostile environment. They face an increasingly sophisticated ISF. The rates of incline (the ISF) and decline (the terrorists) sharply intersect to form an “x.” The ISF grows stronger every day, while the insurgents weaken and stumble.

The people of Mosul, too, have demonstrated newfound trust in their new government; an expectation that sometimes extends to patience with the inevitable glitches that have to be worked out of any new system. In a period of months, they have gone from not talking with the Americans to providing a flood of information that increases in scope and value, resulting in the elimination of terrorists, and the discovery and removal of weapons and bomb-making materials, items they don’t want near their children.

The terrorists feel their own grasp slipping off of Mosul. One night, during a raid, our soldiers captured a letter from the latest “top enemy leader” in Mosul. The letter was a plea to the most ruthless terrorist leader in Iraq: Abu al-Zarqawi.
You've got to read the whole thing.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I believe this cartoon says it all.

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Shmendrik Award

The Dry Bones Project presents The Shmendrik Awards. Yes, there are so many who deserved to win, but I think the winners certainly deserved this award.


Anglicans for Israel

The Anglican Church, as I've read, has become one of the denominations denying the truth surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian situation, has bought into the Muslim-inspired, anti-semitic lies, and has joined the Presbyterians and others in blaming Israel for all of the troubles in the Middle East. As I have also discovered, there are members within all of these denominations who have kept their moral compass intact and are active in the battle to support Israel. One of them is Anglicans for Israel. I originally found them on Melanie Phillips' site. Their stated aims are:

1. To resist the call for a boycott of Israel.

2. To support the people of Israel and to secure defensible borders for the State of Israel.

3. To promote bonds of fellowship and interfaith understanding between Anglicans and the Jewish people.

4. To recall the Church to G-d's Covenant with the Jewish people and to call the Church to affirm the centrality of Israel to the Jewish faith.

5. To call Anglicans to repentance for the wrongs-of both word and deed- inflicted by Christians on the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.

6. To fight all libels against Israel and the Jewish people and their State.

7. To promote reconciliation and ties of friendship between the people of Israel and the righteous Arabs who oppose terrorism and wish to have peaceful relations with Israel.

8. To protect the Christian communities threatened by Islamic extremism in the Middle East.

9. To bring the Church back to an understanding of the Jewish roots of our faith.
They're obviously on the side of honesty and morality.

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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Orson Scott Card on Freakonomics

As a youngun' I read Science Fiction almost exclusively. That was a long time ago. About the time I was leaving SF to explore other genres, Orson Scott Card began writing SF. Consequently, although I heard of him, and heard his praises from others, I've never read any of his books. I do read his posts on The Ornery American. He's brilliant. He's well-read. He's intelligent enough to work through the B.S. offered by the left and the press to come to starling, yet sensible conclusions based on facts, not paranoid fantasy. Because of
this piece, I'm going to buy FREAKONOMICS. I'd read some of the reviews when it first came out and they were wishy-washy, presenting it as a book that didn't quite cover its bases as it should have. But these were reviews in the Main Stream Press. Mr. Card is sharper than they are. As he says:
When the crime rate started dropping in the 1990s, it took everyone by surprise. All the experts had predicted that crime would continue to rise in the radical way it had during the 1970s and 1980s.

Experts were talking about how we'd have to adapt to a society dominated by fear, living in gated communities, paying for far more prisons and police forces.

And then ...

It didn't happen. Instead, crime rates started to fall. All kinds of crime, across the board. And not just in one place, in many places.

Why Did Crime Rates Fall?

The innovative policework in New York City was given much of the credit, but the same thing was happening in cities with no new theories or practices.

All kinds of theories were advanced, but they all fell apart against statistical realities -- none of them explained why crime rates fell at exactly the time they began to fall.

Except for one explanation. Abortion.

Try to set aside your personal opinions about abortion and let's look at history.

In 1973, Roe v. Wade made abortion permissible throughout the United States. The floodgates opened, and vast numbers of abortions were performed. As a result, vast numbers of children were not born.

Ah, but which children? The vast majority of the abortions were among women who would have been raising their children without a father; substantial numbers of these women were addicts. And even the abortions performed on middle-class women were somewhat more likely to be the result of liaisons in which one partner or the other, or both, had poor impulse control.

In other words, the fetuses that were aborted, had they been born, would have become children who were statistically the most likely group to become criminals. Raised by single mothers, in poverty, with genes that might not provide them with much ability to foresee the longterm consequences of impulsive actions.

The crime rates began falling exactly when that generation of children would have reached adolescence and those with such tendencies would have begun their criminal careers.

It certainly looked as if we killed off much of our criminal class in the womb.

Proving Cause and Effect

Of course, a causal assertion like that is hard to prove -- though people make even more sweeping assertions on less evidence all the time. But we're far more likely to accept, without evidence, the causal assertions that fit our beliefs. Those that don't fit, we try hard to ignore.

This one doesn't fit anybody's beliefs. The pro-abortion group is generally on the Left, and if you had tried, in 1973, to introduce abortion as a means of killing off the criminal class of the 1990s and 2000s, they would have opposed it.

Likewise, anti-abortionists tend to be among those who are concerned about law-and-order issues. But if, in 1973, you had proposed that the most effective longterm crime-control measure would be to allow abortion, I doubt that many anti-abortionists would have been persuaded that this was a good idea.

Why? Because it's eugenics, plain and simple. Hitlerian logic. Purifying the race by preventing the birth of the class of people who are most likely to degrade the quality of life for the rest of us.

So few would have dared even suggest such a thing in 1973; but a group of judges decided to perform this eugenics experiment on the American people, and now we're seeing the results.

Or are we? Nobody wants to believe it. There's no way to prove that the unborn babies we killed would have grown up to be bad people, or that crime rates have anything to do with abortion. I know my first reaction to this idea was repugnance and rejection.

Except ... 1973 wasn't the beginning of legal abortions in the United States. There were states that legalized abortion several years earlier.

And guess what? In those states, the crime rate began to fall exactly that number of years earlier. The fall in crime rates marches in lockstep with legalized abortion fifteen to twenty years before.

Maybe the growing awareness of this fact is part of the reason why even though most Americans find abortion itself to be a morally appalling act and wish it were rare instead of common, we are also reluctant to give up the relative peace and safety that killing all those babies has brought to us.

That's another causal assertion, and one far less likely to be true. Abortion as class warfare is not something that any political group I know of is likely to openly approve of. So we have to ignore or deny the evidence.

Well, there's a book -- and a mini-movement -- that is trying to cut through all the fog and insist that we face facts in all sorts of areas of American life. It's called "Freakonomics," and it gets its name from the book Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt (economist) and Stephen J. Dubner (science writer).
What really got me is that I remember when the abortion argument was first advanced as a possible cause for the decrease in crime. And I remember that the person (people? I don't remember) who brought it up was vilified and effectively shut up. Not another word was ever mentioned . . . at least in public or in the media.

If you read the rest of Mr. Card's essay though, you may be startled at his sensible, logical conclusion. His conclusion is based on solid evidence and he's a fine writer.

I don't know if I'm ever going to read any of his Science Fiction, but I am going to continue to read his columns, and I'm going to buy a copy of FREAKONOMICS.

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The Rest of the Story?

Here is the news story in its entirety. Below are the main events. Yes, it is trivial, but it piqued my interest.
MONTREAL (CP) - The two U.S. models who were found dead in a Laval quarry after having disappeared in late August probably fell to their deaths after they tried to escape a taxi driver who was chasing them, the victims' families said Friday.

According to the families of Steve Wright, 20, and Mark Kraynak, 23, video from a security camera at the night-club where they were headed seems to suggest the two exited their taxi running, followed by the cab driver.

[. . .]

Police are still looking to question the taxi driver.

The two men, in the Montreal area on vacation, called a friend after leaving a downtown bar about 3 a.m. on Aug. 22 to say they were heading by taxi to an after-hours bar in Laval.

[. . .]

Wright of Guerneville, Calif., and Kraynak of Uniontown, Pa., had been working as dancers at a strip club in Toronto during the summer.
That taxi driver certainly sounds sinister in this report, doesn't he; chasing two young men down the street, causing them to fall to their deaths. I could be wrong, but I'm betting that the two "models" stiffed the taxi driver. The driver was rightly angry, and he wanted his money. He probably chased them to get the money he was owed. If that's the case, I don't blame him at all.


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