Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Murder Children - Get Great PR - If You are Palestinian

Here are two photographs. What do we see in them? Well, there is the obvious, masked men planting bombs. According to reports that came along with these AP photos, these men are preparing for the impending invasion of Gaza by the IDF.

In case you weren't sure, these are Palestinians. How do we know? Well, they're dressed in traditional Palestinian terrorist garb. And they are surrounded by Palestinian children. Has Palestinian society become so debased that they would cynically manipulate their children in order to gain PR points against Israel by using them as human shields and thereby exposing them to the possibliity of violent death or dismemberment?

Look at the pictures. They would and they do. If there is a work accident, and these "martyrs" are sent to their 72 raisons, children would be killed or injured also. Then any survivors would immediately blame the Jews. It's happened before in other "Palestinian work accidents". (Here is today's example. They haven't had time to blame the Israelis yet, but stay tuned). If the IDF attacks these miscreants, there too, is the danger that children will be injured or killed. The Palestinian leadership lives for those episodes. That's why their terrorists travel in crowds. If there is one thing they have an excess of, it's human shields.

It's crass. It's vile. It's what the Palestinians do. It's what their apologists in the Muslim world, in the MSM and on the left excuse. They blame the deaths of children purposely planted in the kill zone on the Israelis. This is only one example of many over the years of Israel being held to an impossibly high standard in warfare against a vicious terrorist enemy, while the Palestinians are excused for being subhuman in the same situation.

Is this an example of anti-semitism? Yep, pure and simple Jew hatred, expressed by Muslims, encouraged by the MSM and the immoral left.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Mark Steyn Does it Again

Here is a great one from one of today's best and smartest social/political analysts.
Today, lots of experts crank out analyses positing China as the unstoppable hegemon of the 21st century. But the real threat is not the strengths of your enemies but their weaknesses. China is a weak power: Its population will get old before it gets rich. Russia is a weak power: If Africa has health crises, the Middle East has Islamists and North Korea has nukes, then Russia's got the lot: a dying population whose men have a lower life expectancy than Bangladeshis with a Muslim separatist movement sitting on top of the biggest pile of nukes on the planet. Europe is a weak power, remorselessly evolving month by month into Eurabia.

Islam is a weak power: In the words of Dr. Mahathir Mohammed, the former prime minister of Malaysia, one of the least worst Muslim nations in the world, "We produce practically nothing on our own, we can do almost nothing for ourselves, we cannot even manage our wealth." But in Iran they're working full-speed on nukes that will be able to hit every European city.

North Korea is a weak power: Its population is starving but it's about to "test" the latest variation on its aptly named No Dong missile. I mean "test" in the sense that I test my new shotgun by firing it through your kitchen window. They're going to launch it and see where it comes down — maybe Tokyo, maybe San Diego; maybe they'll aim for Los Angeles but it'll fall in Vancouver. Hey, that's why we call it a "test," right?
He makes more important points in the rest of his essay.


Another Reason Israel is Superior Than its Neighbors and its Critics

Here is one of many reasons that Israel is infinitely morally superior to any of its neighbors and also superior to its critics. Not all of Israel's critics are Jew-haters. Some of them are merely misguided or delusional. All of them do need help with their thinking and none of them will give Israel credit for any of the good it does, including having a society, which as the linked article shows, is much closer to the type of egalitarian society many of Israel's critics on the Left claim to want than any society in the Muslim world. I found this report at Book Worm Room.
The Arab countries forcibly evicted their Jewish populations, so as to seize their property and purify their countries from the "stain" of Judiasm. Israel is also asking one of its Arab citizens to leave, but for a very different reason:

In a few weeks Ismail Khaldi, a 35-year old Bedouin shepherd from the village of Khawalid in the Zevulun Valley, will leave his family and move to the United States to serve as Israeli consul in San Francisco, as the first Bedouin diplomat.

And yes, you should read the whole thing. It's short.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Roger Waters: Twit

To see why Roger Waters has joined the ranks of the criminaly stupid, go here and make sure you read the entire post.


Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang

Joe Venuti played violin. Eddie Lang played guitar. Although they were two of the greatest jazz musicians this country produced in the 20s and 30s they are largely forgotten today. And that is a shame.

I had never heard of them until Mosaic Records produced an eight CD compilation of their recordings. It's not complete, as it doesn't include the sessions they did with Mildred Bailey because those are on Mosaic's recently out of print, 10 CD Mildred Baily set. Most of the music they recorded with Bix Beiderbecke is on a Mosaic set featuring Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer, and Jack Teagarden. Then there is music from labels they couldn't gain access to. But there is still a lot of first rate music here.

When I first read about the Venuti/Lang set in the Mosaic catalogue, it sounded interesting, especially Eddie Lang's guitar duets with Lonnie Johnson, but it didn't provoke my interest enough to want it, especially as there were already a bunch of other sets I wanted desperately.

Then I read a book by Nick Tosches called, Where Dead Voices Gather. It's billed as a search for information on an even more forgotten musician: Emmett Miller. From the book's back cover: " A forgotten singer from the early days of jazz is at the center of this riveting book - a narrative thatis part mystery, part biography, part meditation on the meaning and power of Music.

Nick Tosches spent twenty years searching for facts about Emmett Miller, the yodeling blackface performer whose songs prefigured jazz, country, blues, and much of the popular music of the twentieth century . . .".

It's a fascinating book. He goes back and forth through the history of popular music, showing where many hugely famous and influential musicians stole from those before them, and in turn were stolen from by the following generations. It gives a sense of history of the music and made me appreciate the music I listen to even more. Tosches repeatedly writes about Eddie Lang as "the first great jazz guitarist" and his influence on later guitar greats. He writes about his duets with Lonnie Johnson, another one of the best and a main influence of Robert Johnson. Where would rock music be without him? He also writes about Lang's boyhood friend and long time musical partner, violinist Joe Venuti. They were two Italian Americans who became jazz greats, in demand among both white and black musical groups. After reading this book, I reread my latest Mosaic catalogue on Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang. I downloaded some random Venuti/Lang cuts off the Internet. I liked what I heard. This set immediately moved to number one on my "must have" list. Max Roach, Gerald Wilson, Elvin Jones, Sonny Stitt, Roy Eldridge, and Oliver Nelson would all have to wait. And so will the Bix Biederbecke set. I didn't even know I wanted that one until I heard the selections on this set that did feature Beiderbecke.

My wife and children got me the set for Father's Day. How did they know? I told them. They also got me the Mosaic select Paul Chambers set. More on that one in a later post.

The music that is included in this collection is for the most part exquisite. There is a huge variety of musical settings, from duets like the ones with Lang and Johnson, which prove you don't have to be black to play the blues, more duets with Lang and Johnson, small groups with and without vocalists (some famous, some forgotten), and big bands (including one cut with Louis Armstrong). There are also some "novelty items", but they really don't detract from the value of the set. Some of the settings are also pretty commercial sounding, but even those have a charm to them that increases their appeal, at least for me. The final disc only features Venuti as Lang had come to an all-to-early end due to a botched tonsillectomy

The most exciting thing I found with this set was the exposure to forgotten music that is as brilliant now as it was when it was first recorded. With the speed at which tastes change and the old is replaced with the new, it's good to stop sometimes and revisit the music of the past, not for nostalgia's sake, but to remind ourselves that modern music has roots stretching even beyond the music in this set, and to be able to enjoy other forms of music that we otherwise would not be exposed to.

As with all of their sets, Mosaic has painstakingly searched for the best and cleanest sources for all of the cuts and has lovingly restored them so that sound quality is way beyond what you would expect from music recorded over seventy years ago. For you audiophiles, the whole set is still in mono.

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Understanding Between Islam and the West?

Much has been made over a recent poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press on how people in the West and in the Islamic world view each other. For some reason, many on both sides distrust the other side. We knew that already. In the Detroit Free Press report on this poll, there was the obligatory quote from a local Muslim spokesman. After all, the Detroit area does contain the largest Muslim community in the United States so - well - you know the rest. They must have their say whenever anything happens that reflects poorly on Islam, and most of what happens these days just happens to reflect poorly on Islam. But we always get the same story.
"The report clearly shows the need for the West and the Muslim world to increase dialogue between the two civilizations," said Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "Since there is not a lot of personal contact between Americans and people in the Muslim world, both groups are primarily operating out of generalizations which they see through their respective media outlets."
Yes, that's it. We must sit down and talk. And while we are talking, Mr. Walid, I'd like to ask you some questions. Why do you excuse imams throughout the Muslim world and many right here in the West who actively promote violence? Why are Muslims never responsible for violence perpretrated by Muslims? Why is it always the fault of the Jews, Crusaders, Zionists, Neocons, West, poverty, conspiracy, misreading of the Qu'ran, misunderstandings, hijackers of a peaceful religion, all of the above, but never ever the fault of the Muslims performing the act? Why are we never to refer to "Islamic" aspect of any terror attack? When will Muslims all over the world accept responsibility for the debasement and moral illness that keeps the Muslim world lagging behind behind the Christian West, and behind Hindu India, and behind Communist(?) China, and behind tiny Jewish Israel (actually part of the West) in wealth, technology, freedom, and literacy? Why can't Muslims speak honestly about what is in the Qu'ran and the Hadiths that promote hatred of others and violent jihad?

There is a lot more on Dawud Walid and his terror supporting, Jew-hating (except for "good" Jews who hate Israel) cohort in promoting jihad Imam Mohammed Ali Elahi at Debbie Schlussel's blog. She discusses the ridiculous way CAIR would have us refer to Muslim terrorists and Muslim terrorist wannabes. And if we were good dhimmis, we certainly would do as CAIR asks.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Culture of Corruption

I don't have the patience to listen to talk radio at home. But in the car, if there's no good music on (most of the time) I can flip through the stations during commercials or when the host is stretching, making a short story long in order to fill time. So I can listen to three talk radio stations at once and easily keep track of all of the arguements. They all stretch, everyone on both sides of the political dial, kind of like what I'm doing now. As I fill space, they fill time. But eventually, they get to the point of their story, as I am about to do.

As I was driving, Michael Savage read this editorial from the Washington Times. It's about Representative "Redeployment" himself, Jack "Cut and Run" Murtha.
Last June, the Los Angeles Times reported how the ranking member on the defense appropriations subcommittee has a brother, Robert Murtha, whose lobbying firm represents 10 companies that received more than $20 million from last year's defense spending bill. "Clients of the lobbying firm KSA Consulting -- whose top officials also include former congressional aide Carmen V. Scialabba, who worked for Rep. Murtha as a congressional aide for 27 years -- received a total of $20.8 million from the bill," the L.A. Times reported.
In early 2004, according to Roll Call, Mr. Murtha "reportedly leaned on U.S. Navy officials to sign a contract to transfer the Hunters Point Shipyard to the city of San Francisco." Laurence Pelosi, nephew of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, at the time was an executive of the company which owned the rights to the land. The same article also reported how Mr. Murtha has been behind millions of dollars worth of earmarks in defense appropriations bills that went to companies owned by the children of fellow Pennsylvania Democrat, Rep. Paul Kanjorski. Meanwhile, the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan campaign-finance watchdog group, lists Mr. Murtha as the top recipient of defense industry dollars in the current 2006 election cycle.
Please notice that the name Pelosi also figures into this story. And of course, there is more.

It's probably time for an investigation into this culture of corruption. After all, everyone claims to be against corruption.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

John Pentsil

As a proud supporter of Israel, I commend John Pentsil for flying the Israeli flag. Seeing him with that flag is like finding one perfect rose growing amidst a sea of noxious weeds. I applaud the honesty of his action and his simple bravery in the face of a world growing more cruel and hateful by the day.

It's unfortunate that the Ghana Football Association, by apologizing to the Islamonazis is one of many organizations and governments plodding toward dhimmitude.

One day the Jew-hating Muslim governments and their apologists (including the multiculturalists who absolutely should have been on John Pentsil's side) who protested the flying of the Israeli flag will be eaten by their own blind hatred.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tragedy on a Gaza Beach

No matter how anyone tries to spin the facts, it was not Israeli ordinance that killed a family on the beach in Gaza on June 9. Melanie Phillips gives us this report.

After Israel said last week that it could not have been responsible for the shell that killed the seven Arab family members on the beach at Gaza, various British newspapers published prominent stories contradicting this account, largely based on claims made by a member of Human Rights Watch, whose own record of impartiality leaves something to be desired (see reports by NGO Monitor)

Now there are two more pieces of information to consider. According to this report, a German newspaper, Suddeutsche Zeitung, has pieced together evidence which suggests not just that Israel was innocent of the killing, but that the event was deliberately staged to hold Israel falsely responsible.

The pictures that went round the world of the child screaming in shock and grief over the body of her dead father on the beach were taken by Zakaria Abu Irbad, a cameramen with the Palestinian independent news agency Ramattan.

Did Hamas men hide evidence from the scene, as claimed by eyewitnesses interviewed by Israeli broadcasters?

The newspaper said Irbad evaded most of the questions addressed to him.

Asked why he didn’t try to calm Hadil instead of filming her he said: “She asked me to film her. She wanted to be seen next to her father to show the world the crimes that Israel is committing.”

The newspaper finally asks: ‘Did the shocked 10-year-old girl, who had lost her father minutes earlier, give the cameraman direction instructions?’

Now consider this, reported on History News Network:

Dr. Michael Bayme wrote his friends:

Some of you may have been following the tragic story of a Gazan family that was destroyed by some sort of bomb last friday. The world of course chose to blame Israel - without verifying any facts. The fact that Israel immediately accepted all the victims to its hospitals was seen as an admission of guilt, and not as a humanitarian gesture.

There is now incontrovertible proof that Israel did not cause the tragedy - shell fragments extracted from one bomb victim match the types of bombs made by Hamas - and not Israeli artillery shells. How do I know? I received the victim last Sunday (at 2:00 am), operated on her until 5am, and have re-operated every night since. Now she’s out of danger, and will survive to rejoin her family.

The Israelis may be criticised for many things but they do not generally tell lies. Yet the British media assume they do, while failing to investigate the obvious inconsistencies that alerted the journalists on Suddeutsche Zeitung.
And here's more from Ynet News:
The Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv has released an unusual statement, saying that that 21-year-old Ayham Ghalia, who was injured in the Gaza beach explosion , was 'cleansed' of shrapnel before arriving at the hospital.

According to new findings, testimonies and hospital records, deadly blast at Gaza beach, which killed Ghalia family members, occurred at time of shelling, not after; British Guardian, Independent, Times newspapers publish findings casting doubt on Israel's claims
Full story

The report casts further doubts over what happened in Gaza about a week and a half ago. The Israel Defense Forces said it was not involved in the explosion after completing an investigation it conducted, while the Palestinians continue to claim that explosion was caused by an IDF shell.

[ . . . ]

"We would like to make clear that no shrapnel was found in Ayham's body except one piece which was not accessible surgically. What is clear beyond any doubt is that part of the injuries were caused by shrapnel… this does not fit our medical experience in hundreds of injuries of terrorist attacks and explosions who usually arrive with pieces of shrapnel in various parts of their body," the hospital said.
Even the afore mentioned member of Human Rights Watch, Marc Garlasco was forced to retract his earlier immediate and irresponsible charge of Israeli responsibility.
On Monday, the Human Rights Watch, while sticking to its demand for the establishment of an independent inquiry into a blast on a Gaza beach 10 days ago that killed seven Palestinian civilians, conceded for the first time since the incident that it could not contradict the IDF's exonerating findings.

[ . . . ]

"We came to an agreement with General Klifi that the most likely cause [of the blast] was unexploded Israeli ordinance," Garlasco told The Jerusalem Post following the meeting. While Klifi's team did a "competent job" to rule out the possibility that the blast was caused by artillery fire, there were still, Garlasco said, a number of pieces of evidence that the IDF commission did not take into consideration.

[ . . . ]

Garlasco told Klifi during the meeting that he was impressed with the IDF's system of checks and balances concerning its artillery fire in the Gaza Strip and unlike Hamas which specifically targeted civilians in its rocket attacks, the Israelis, he said, invested a great amount of resources and efforts not to harm innocent civilians.

"We do not believe the Israelis were targeting civilians." Garlasco said. "We just want to know if it was an Israeli shell that killed the Palestinians."

Lucy Mair - head of the HRW's Jerusalem office - said Klifi's team had conducted a thorough and professional investigation of the incident and made "a good assessment" when ruling out the possibility that an errant IDF shell had killed the seven Palestinians on the Gaza beach.

'We differ when it comes to other pieces of information from other sources that don't relate to the military strike such as the timing and the type of injuries," Mair explained. "While they [the IDF] made a very good presentation, we still think there are enough unanswered questions that have not been examined by Klifi's team…and that is why we believe there should be an independent investigation."
In other words, "even though it's obvious that the IDF is telling the truth and the Palestinians have once again been caught sacrificing their own children in a disgusting attempt to smear the Israelis, we still must hold the Israelis to a ridiculously high standard of humanity even as we allow the Palestinians to feed their children to Moloch. But we're not anti-semitic."

But even this debased "human rights" organization is many steps ahead of the Muslim world. In their deeply ingrained hatred of Jews, they will never let the facts, no matter how obvious or compelling get in the way of their belief if Israeli culpability.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

The World According to Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright is not happy over the war in Iraq.
Former Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright criticized the U.S. invasion of Iraq, saying Monday it had encouraged Iran and North Korea to push ahead with their nuclear programs.

Albright, who served under President Clinton, said "the message out of Iraq is the wrong one."

"The message out of Iraq is that if you don't have nuclear weapons, you get invaded. If you do have nuclear weapons, you don't get invaded," she said after an investors' conference in Moscow.
It appears to me that Ms. Albright is demanding that we invade Iran and North Korea. That way, we demonstrate that we are not prejudiced against countries based on their acquisition of nuclear weapons. And that would be fair. Neither Iraq or Afghanistan have nuclear weapons and we invaded both of those countries. Iran and N. Korea would even things up at 2 and 2.

But then again, there are a host of countries that don't have nuclear weapons that we haven't invaded. I'm confused. I do hope she takes more time and makes herself clear.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Israel and the Impending Palestinian Civil War

According to this article from the Detroit Free Press,
Stumbling toward the brink of civil war, Palestinian leaders are struggling to snuff out an internal feud before it extinguishes their flickering hopes for an independent state.

Their efforts to keep their society from splitting into warring Islamic and secular camps were set back last week when Israeli missile and artillery strikes killed Palestinian civilians, the militant Islamic group Hamas resumed rocket attacks on Israel and a mob of Palestinian soldiers stormed their own parliament building and briefly abducted a lawmaker.
Reading that portion of the article, it suddenly struck me; no matter what the Palestinians are doing to each other in their stumble toward civil war, there has to be some blame apportioned to Israel. Our newspapers are still playing that game, millenia old, but more popular than ever: BLAME THE JEWS!

As we've seen over the past 60 years, the so-called Palestinians are quite capable of vicious, senseless violence. Before they were left to their own devices in Gaza, all of their pent up viciousness (encouraged by Palestinian and Muslim outlets) was directed toward Jews and Israel. Now Israel has called their bluff and given them exactly what they claim they have wanted all along, a state of their own.

So what are they doing with it? Besides launching rocket attacks against Isreal, that is? They're battling amongst themselves of course. After 60 years of being pandered to by the rest of the world, being given billions of dollars with no demands of accountability, being excused (and at times actively encouraged) for formenting violence against Israel, being absolved of all responsiblility for their debased condition, they have reaped exactly what they've sown. Surprise!

But still, they and our MSM, it seems, feel the neeed to place at least some of the blame on Israel. They have, after all, insisted on defending themselves against the relentless Palestinain terror campaigns of the past 60 years. After the Holocaust, they realized that there was no future in being "good Jews" and filing into the boxcars as they and their chidren were told to do. They came to the sane conclusion that he only way to survive those who would destroy them was to actively fight back. This is inexcusable to the Muslims who are trying to create a worldwide ummah, and to many others who love downtrodden, humbled, victimized Jews, but have no use for free Jews who are full members of the world society with full rights and priviliges. These Jews tend to get uppity and do things like succeed in the arts, sciences, business, medicine, literature, music, etc.

So while the Palestinians force themselves to sink ever deeper into their personal Hell-on-Earth, Israelis and Jews will continue to succeed in a world they helped create, whether or not anyone else approves.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Rebecca West Says -

Here is something I found thought provoking from Rebecca West's book, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. It's on page 55 of the Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics edition:
Art is not a plaything, but a necessity, and its essence, form, is not a decorative adjustment, but a cup into which life can be poured and lifted to the lips and be tasted. If one's own existence has no form, if its events do not come handily to mind and disclose their significance, we feel about ourselves as if we were reading a bad book.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Frenchman with a Spine, Italian Dhimmis

According to this article in Haaretz, there are some in France like Xavier Lemoine, mayor of Montfermeil who do "get it" when it comes to the Islamic peril facing Europe.
"Look," he said, standing at the window of his office and pointing at the immigrant neighborhood, "it's either them or us. If they win, we are dead ducks. I am a proud French Catholic and I have no intention of living as a 'dhimmi' (a non-Muslim enjoying protected status in a Muslim country - D.B.S.) in my own country. We are different from them, and these people do not represent France. We are caught in the middle of an Islamic war being fought all over the world - in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Everything that happens over there has reverberations here in France and influences the immigrants."

Initially, he thought the "rebellion" was being fueled by poverty and problems of integration in a new society. He soon realized that the Muslims were a cultural challenge to his country. One incident, for instance, continues to haunt him.

"It was two months after September 11," he recalled. "We were holding a festival of drawings in our kindergartens and elementary schools. I was amazed to find that 20 percent of the children, all of them Muslims, had depicted Osama bin Laden as a cultural hero. That discovery still sends shivers down my spine."

For the past few nights, he has been troubled by a recurring nightmare in which immigrants flee their houses and burn down the city. He is sure the Muslim immigrants have declared war on France with the intention of bringing it to its knees. He considers the Jews allies in this confrontation. "I am pained by the thought that my country is ashamed of its culture and values. When France denies its own history and incessantly apologizes for slavery, for its conquests and for colonialism, is it any wonder that the immigrants are rising up against it and are showing no respect for it? Unfortunately, France has not demanded that they change. It has allowed them to speak Arabic and to cultivate their heritage at the expense of French culture."

Construction will soon begin in Montfermeil on a mosque with a 12-meter minaret. According to Lemoine, because of a lack of Muslim places of worship, he gave in to pressure and permitted the building of the mosque, which is intended to serve the 25,000 Muslims in the area. He hopes the prayer services and the opening of a place where Muslims can gather will cool passions in their community; however, he has no illusions. "This is a struggle between cultures," he sighs. "It is a war between Islam and Western culture. France and all of Europe are in danger. If we fail to understand the extent of the Muslim threat, we are in grave peril."
We know, of course, that the building of this mosque will only empower the local Muslims to demand more. If Mayor Lemoine had more support from the spineless French and deluded EU governements, maybe he wouldn't be in this situation.

Meanwhile, in Italy, assorted mental midgets, moral retards, and dhimmis are allowing Oriana Fallaci to be brought to trial for defaming Islam. The charge is being brought by a certain Adel Smith.

As far as I know, Ms. Fallaci is living in New York City and has no plans to visit Italy to face these fools.

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My Representative Doesn't Represent Me Anymore

There was a time when I would have agreed with my elected congressional representative when he said garbage like this in his email newsletter.
On May 25, the House of Representatives voted 225 to 201 to approve legislation [H.R. 5429] opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Opponents of the bill underscored the fact that opening the Refuge to drilling would do nothing to bring down gasoline prices, since no Refuge oil would reach the market for at least ten years. They also objected to rewarding the oil industry when oil companies are posting record profits.
On his website, he continues in the same vein:
In 2005, the six largest oil companies reported $110 billion in profits. These profits will likely set a new record this year. The Majority's philosophy is that what's good for Exxon-Mobile is good for American consumers, but we have learned that this is not the case.
My question to my esteemed representative was, "why not let the oil companies use some of those record profits in the way they are intended, that is, by rewarding the hard working American consumer with a greater supply of oil? And why not let us buy our gasoline without, at the same time, sending record profits to the terror supporters in Saudi Arabia? Our oil companies actually invest and work to make their profits. The Middle East terror masters do nothing except sit on huge supplies of oil, which they would not even have access to, if not for "greedy" Western oil companies. Why condemn oil companies for powering our economy while giving the decadent, hypocritical Arab Oil Shieks a pass?"

He pretends to have a solution to our energy woes:
Yesterday, Representative Visclosky sought to offer a far-sighted amendment to the Energy and Water bill to provide $750 million to move the United States towards energy independence. This amendment would have made important investments in alternative energy, including ethanol and biofuels; renewable energy research and development, and energy efficiency. Yet, the Majority blocked the House from even considering this proposal.
We've been hearing about "alternative energy sources" for years. And some day, some of these new sources will be available on a large enough scale to actually do some good - except for nuclear energy, which is available today. If the scaremongers hadn't frightened us away from building the nuclear power plants that could power our cities, we'd be using clean, cheap nuclear energy today instead of dirty, dangerous coal and heating oil.

Instead we are left with empty energy promises and blatent green hypocracy like this from the Kennedys, who inherited their wealth and their disdain for us, the great unwashed.
Kennedy, a rabid green activist especially when it comes to other countries, showed up in the news last week to oppose a U.S. $700 million wind turbine farm in Nantucket Sound, located near Hyannis, home to the Kennedy family compound, among other stables for the rich and famous of the political left. Despite the emerging hypocrisy of course, as recently as this past weekend, Kennedy was back in Canada (in Montreal) to slam Canada’s record on the environment.

Forget the debate over whether wind turbines are economical or whether they might slaughter a few too many seagulls. It is sheer fun to watch Kennedy squirm in the face of 130 possible 40-storey windmills that might give clean, renewable energy for a couple of thousand homes in Martha’s Vineyard. The pleasure is acute given how Kennedy and his merry band of green activists warn Canadians not to put comfort, i.e., a job, ahead of environmental purity.
In the war between the Democrats and the oil companies, I'm solidly on the side of the oil companies. At least they are earning their money honestly by providing the consumer with a necessary product.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Another Reason (as if we needed more) for the Sad State of Public Schools

When he said it, I couldn't believe it. I wanted to contradict him, but what he said was wrong in so many ways, I didn't know where to begin, and I didn't want to go off into a political discussion. After all, this was a meeting of the 4th and 5th grade math teachers. We were analyzing this year's state-mandated standardized test scores in math. Our assistant superintendent stopped in to give his views on what kind of curriculum changes he was going to make.

But then he said something that I'd heard others say before, others who run unsuccessful public schools. We are classified as an "urban" district. Urban, in this case is a code word for Black, or African-American if you wish, or you can say "minority" if that's your brand of political correctness. Almost all of our students are black. A huge percentage qualify for free or reduced lunch, and breakfast. There are many single parent families. Some of our students come from really awful situations. Many of them have difficulties in school. They show up unprepared, hungry, etc. Not all of them, but some of them. Others have wonderful families. They work hard. They do well. They will go to college and succeed in whatever they decide to do.

Remember though, they are almost all black. So, our assistant superintendent, who is in charge of our curriculum, tells us that minority students learn differently from white students. They need to be taught using different strategies. My mind began to rebel. That's an old excuse for failure. Rather than address the fact that we don't teach phonetically as we should, educational experts for the last 40, or 60, or God only knows how many years, have come up with various cockamammie theories to explain why some students don't learn, and even more cockamammie programs to fix the problems. Obviously they haven't worked. Phonetics, remember? They continue to ignore or demean the necessary phonetic component. So of course their theories are useless, and their annual *NEW* and *IMPROVED* programs are doomed to failure. They do get lots of money and prestige, but that's another topic.

Our assistant superintendent goes on: Minority students, he imforms us, come from collective cultures while the culture of the United States is based on individuality. This is true, he says, not only for Black students but also for Hispanic/Latino students. Therefore, he states, we must not teach them individually, we must teach them collectively, using "cooperative learning" techniques to insure that they continue to fail. Oh wait, he didn't say they would fail, I did. For some reason, he thinks, and he is not the first to think this, that if we expect them only to succeed in groups in school (groupthink?), this will help them succeed as individuals in an individualistic society. Of maybe they will get together and form their own failing societies within the larger American society, you know, like a college town.

For some reason, he, and other educational "experts", who run our schools and profess this nonsense have never read about Marva Collins, or any of the other teachers who successfully taught minority students to achieve. They've never read anything by Nancy Ichinaga. They've never researched the KIPP schools. They've never visited the NO EXCUSES website (now sadly defunct) or read their book (even more sadly, out of print).

I couldn't argue with him because I didn't know where to start. Now I do know. It will be useless because I will never convince him that he's wrong, but I can't let this pass. Besides, over the past six years I've become pretty adept at beating my head against the educational wall. It took a pretty good pounding during the former regime, but I've been working on the new regime beginning with our new principal. He's a reasonable guy, but so was our last principal. Me? I'm not reasonable, so I will argue with the assistant superintendent the next time he tries to hand us this collectivist crap. I will point to the failures of the past and present, and I will suggest that we actually visit some of the "urban" schools that do succeed. There are some in our area. I won't go beyond that into the worldwide failure of collectivist societies though. As I encourage my students to do, I have to stay on topic, because if I go off, he will too, and who knows where we will end up.

Unfortunately, this debate still has a long way to go before it's resolved.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Reaction to Al Gore's New Flick

No I haven't seen An Inconvenient Truth, and I don't intend to. Sure, a lot of critics love it, and I know some of my friends will be going, but what will its effects be? On me, that is. I don't watch slasher movies (well . . . except for Sorority House Massacre 2 on the recommendation of Joe Bob Briggs), because I don't react well to the endings to the ones I've seen (except for Sorority House Massacre 2, because I don't remember the ending. Other parts I do remember). The killer usually survives somehow to cruelly terrorize more victims in the sequel. If, on the off chance that the killer does die at the end, a new one is introduced to continue to bloodshed - in - the - sequel.

This is Al Gore's sequel, so we are safe on that front, but from the trailer, this is a scary movie, one might even say, the work of a fear monger. We know that the killer in a slasher movie is a figment of the writer's imagination. Al Gore wants us to believe, and many do believe it already, that his movie presents the truth . . . um . . . which is probably why he chose this title.

So how would I react to this movie? Stop driving my car maybe. I could ride my bike to work. I don't work that far from home. It would be tough in the winter, but I could do it. The bike would wear out faster due to the winter conditions. I'd have to buy a new one eventually. But a new bike would use up too many of the Earth's resources. I would have to go on Ebay or Craig's List to find a used one. But then, what about the energy I'd have to use to power my computer? Find a bike in the newspaper? They cut down trees for the paper, use nasty chemicals in the production of the paper and the ink, and they use precious coal or oil, both contributers to global warming, in the creation of the papers, not to mention that they are delivered in trucks with internal combustion engines that spew global warming constituents into the atmosphere. I will have to steal a bike. Please don't tell anyone.

My children can walk to school. My wife depends on her car too much for her job, so she will have to quit. She can stay at home. She will have plenty of time to walk to the local markets to purchase only organic foods, which we will cook over a wood fire, so we can combat global warming by not using either an electric or gas stove, since both are bad for the Earth in their own way.

Then again, we will have to cut down trees for our wood fuel, so my family will from now on, only eat uncooked food; raw meat, raw veggies and fruits; we will adjust in order to save the Earth. But all of the produce has to be delivered to my local market, which means more pollution from those dreaded Detroit creations; trucks. We will have to grow our own crops, organically of course.

We will no longer use our furnace. We will dress warmly in the winter and be out feeding our cows and sheep in the winter. The exercise will keep us warm, and we will have meat all year long, plus a surplus for barter. We don't want to use money anymore because it has to be manufactured, leading to you-know-what. I won't have any money anyway. At this point, I will have to quit my job to allow enough time for what has become my new farming lifestyle.

To avoid all of those difficult changes, I am just going to skip Al Gore's horror movie. I will not react well to it.

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Dershowitz on Zarqawi and Israel

Here is Alan Dershowitz' take on the recent demise of terrorist bigwig and darling of dysfunctional Muslim societies, Abu M. Zarqawi:
As the civilized world justly celebrates the long overdue killing of Abu M Zarqawi, it must recall that his death was brought about by what has come to be known as "targeted assassination" or "targeted killings." This is the same technique that has been repeatedly condemned by the international community when
Israel has employed it against terrorists who have murdered innocent Jews. When Israel targeted the two previous heads of Hamas, the British foreign secretary said: "targeted killings of this kind are unlawful and unjustified." The same views expressed at the
United Nations and by several European heads of state. It was also expressed by various Human Rights organizations.

Now Great Britain is applauding the targeted killing of a terrorist who endangered its soldiers and citizens. What is the difference, except that Israel can do no right in the eyes of many in the international community. Surely there is no real difference between Zarqawi on the one hand and terrorist leaders from Hamas and Islamic Jihad on the other hand. If it is argued that Sheik Yassin was merely a spiritual leader of Hamas (a total lie since he explicitly authorized numerous terrorist acts), then it must be noted that one of the people targeted by the United States was Sheik Abd-al-Rahman, who was also described as a "spiritual advisor."

When the United States and British forces have engaged in targeted killings of terrorists, there have often been collateral deaths of non terrorists, as there apparently were in this instance as well. Collateral deaths are inevitable when terrorists hide among civilians and use them as shields. Both Israel and the United States make great efforts to reduce the number of collateral deaths and injuries but they do not always succeed.

I applaud the targeted killing of Al Zarqawi. His death will save many innocent lives. But I also applaud the targeted killings of anti-Israel terrorists whose deaths save numerous lives. All decent people must insist on a single standard of judging tactics such as targeted killing. It is nothing short of bigotry to approve this tactic when used by the United States and Great Britain but to condemn it when it is used by Israel.
And yes, I apologize, but I swiped the whole thing. I just love the way he exposes the hypocrisy of those who pretend they are nobly engaged in the war against Islamic terror while refusing to allow the leader in battling Islamic terrorism, Israel, the use of tactics they themselves use, and which will lead to victory against Islamic fascism.

The double standard used against Israel by European governments and the UN is the continuation of 1500 years of European anti-semitism, and if it continues it will lead to the demise of Europe and the creation of Eurabia.
You cannot fight a war while demonizing the one country who should be your most important ally.

As long as we are on the subject, you should buy Dershowitz' book, The Case for Israel.

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