Sunday, April 29, 2007

John Edwards Buys Michigan

Well, maybe John Edwards didn't really buy Michigan, but he did come to Detroit to purchase votes. As the Detroit Free Press reports,
The U.S. government should invest billions to help Michigan become the hub for transforming the nation's energy economy, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said Saturday.

Speaking to more than 1,800 Democrats at the annual Jefferson Jackson dinner at Cobo Center in Detroit, Edwards said he'd like to see Michigan evolve.

"We should put billions of dollars into creation of the new technology and $1 billion should go right to the car companies," he said. "I don't want to see the cars of the future built anywhere else."
Of course there are always people who are glad to sell their precious vote to the hightest bidder.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm warned that Edwards wouldn't receive the state's Democratic support if he doesn't support fair trade and programs that will invest in workers who have lost manufacturing jobs.

"We're not going to stop working until we get George Bush out of office and replaced with a Democrat who cares about Michigan," she said.
The larger problem is that even if Edwards is elected president and makes good on his promise, he will not be using his own money. He doesn't have to. He's free to go on getting $400.00 haircuts and creating larger and larger carbon footprints by building more 27,000 square foot homes. He, like every other pandering politician on both sides of the aisle will have access to that bottomless bag of money supplied by American tax dollars.

What will Edwards offer other states? What will other candidates offer Michigan? I can't wait to find out.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Quoting Mark Steyn

So all I'm doing tonight is passing on the words of others. Sometimes there is nothing to add to what someone else says because it is said so well.

I wasn't going to post anything on the Virginia Tech incident, but then things keep popping up, like this column from my favorite columnist, Mark Steyn.

I live in northern New England, which has a very low crime rate, in part because it has a high rate of gun ownership. We do have the occasional murder, however. A few years back, a couple of alienated loser teens from a small Vermont town decided they were going to kill somebody, steal his ATM cards, and go to Australia. So they went to a remote house in the woods a couple of towns away, knocked on the door, and said their car had broken down. The guy thought their story smelled funny so he picked up his Glock and told 'em to get lost. So they concocted a better story, and pretended to be students doing an environmental survey. Unfortunately, the next old coot in the woods was sick of environmentalists and chased 'em away. Eventually they figured they could spend months knocking on doors in rural Vermont and New Hampshire and seeing nothing for their pains but cranky guys in plaid leveling both barrels through the screen door. So even these idiots worked it out: Where's the nearest place around here where you're most likely to encounter gullible defenseless types who have foresworn all means of resistance? Answer: Dartmouth College. So they drove over the Connecticut River, rang the doorbell, and brutally murdered a couple of well-meaning liberal professors. Two depraved misfits of crushing stupidity (to judge from their diaries) had nevertheless identified precisely the easiest murder victims in the twin-state area. To promote vulnerability as a moral virtue is not merely foolish. Like the new Yale props department policy, it signals to everyone that you're not in the real world.

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Golda Meir on Compromise

“I guess we have no choice. Either we do everything that is possible, and may seem to others as impossible, and just give up. Or we do everything that is really impossible and we remain alive. There’s one more basic thing that I think that people outside of Israel must realize, and if they understand and accept that, maybe other things will fall into place.

For instance, we’re not the only people in the world who’ve had difficulties with neighbors; that has happened to many. We are the only country in the world whose neighbors do not say, “We are going to war because we want a certain piece of land from Israel,” or waterways or anything of that kind. We’re the only people in the world where our neighbors openly announce they just won’t have us here. And they will not give up fighting and they will not give up war as long as we remain alive. Here.

So this is the crux of the problem: it isn’t anything concrete that they want from us. That’s why it doesn’t make sense when people say, “Give up this and give up the other place. Give up the Golan Heights,” for instance. What happened when we were not on the Golan Heights? We were not on the Golan Heights before ’67, and for 19 years, Syria had guns up there and shot at our agricultural settlements below. We were not on the Golan Heights! So what, if we give up the Golan Heights, they will stop shooting? We were not in the Suez Canal when the war started.

It’s because Egypt and Syria and the other Arab countries refuse to acquiesce to our existence. Therefore there can be no compromise. They say we must be dead. And we say we want to be alive. Between life and death, I don’t know of a compromise. And that’s why we have no choice.”
Source: 60 Minutes Interview, (September 1973)


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Armed Miss America 1944 Stops Intruder

I'm sure others will or have posted this, but here is someone who objected to becoming a victim or a statistic. I wasn't even going to participate in this debate, but this incident just speaks too loudly.
WAYNESBURG, Ky. - Miss America 1944 has a talent that likely has never appeared on a beauty pageant stage: She fired a handgun to shoot out a vehicle's tires and stop an intruder. Venus Ramey, 82, confronted a man on her farm in south-central Kentucky last week after she saw her dog run into a storage building where thieves had previously made off with old farm equipment.

Ramey said the man told her he would leave. "I said, 'Oh, no you won't,' and I shot their tires so they couldn't leave," Ramey said.

She had to balance on her walker as she pulled out a snub-nosed .38-caliber handgun.

"I didn't even think twice. I just went and did it," she said. "If they'd even dared come close to me, they'd be 6 feet under by now."

[ . . . ]

"I'm trying to live a quiet, peaceful life and stay out of trouble, and all it is, is one thing after another," she said.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Are the British Suffering From Terminal Stupidity?

My aunt's British boy friend recently returned from a visit with his family in Britain. With all I've read about the swift decline of that country, he made it sound even worse. He has no desire to ever go back. It's too depressing. According to what he saw, law and order have broken down across all of British society. British youth of all economic strata have no respect for anyone. Hooliganism has triumphed. He made it sound like the British are on their way to adopting the Somali model of society, or as Mark Steyn has termed it "reprimitivization". On the other hand, once their acceptance of dhimmi status is complete, there will be leadership. They might not like sharia law, but they are becoming more tolerant of their impending Muslim masters and the shaira they bring. Coupled with this is a raging anti-semitism, neatly demonstrated in all of its glorious stupidity by the British National Union of Journalists. As Carolyn Glick points out,
POOR JOHNSTON (a British reporter kidnapped by Palestinian gunmen and reportedly murdered by them - harry) was so biased in favor of the Palestinians that he could have been forgiven for believing he would be safe from Palestinian terror. As the BBC's Middle East Bureau chief Simon Wilson put it, Johnston "is regarded as a Gaza journalist foremost and a foreign journalist second." The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate said that Johnston is "famous for his opinions which are supportive of the Palestinians."

Of course, there is nothing extraordinary about Johnston's anti-Israel positions. The day before his execution was announced his colleagues in Britain went out of their way to prove their anti-Israel animus. By a vote of 66-55, Friday the British National Union of Journalists voted to boycott Israeli goods.

It will be interesting to see how they manage to implement their boycott and work as reporters at the same time. Since Israeli engineers developed their cell phones, their Pentium chip computers, their voicemail and their instant messenger software, boycotting Israel will involve giving up their ability to quickly amass their anti-Israel propaganda, vomit it out on their computers and send it off to their Israel-bashing editors.

But then, even if they figure out a way to work without technology, one can still only wonder at their decision. After all, their Palestinian colleagues don't seem too concerned with Israel these days. They have real tyrants to contend with.

In response to Johnston's disappearance and in protest against the utter lack of press freedom in the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate called a boycott not of Israel, but of the PA.
It's taken Britain generations to get into this mess, and I used to hope that they would realize the mess they're in and fight back. I've lost that hope.

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Something I Never Do, But I Did

I am the sonnet, never quickly thrilled;
Not prone to overstated gushing praise
Nor yet to seething rants and anger, filled
With overstretched opinions to rephrase;
But on the other hand, not fond of fools,
And thus, not fond of people, on the whole;
And holding to the sound and useful rules,
Not those that seek unjustified control.
I'm balanced, measured, sensible (at least,
I think I am, and usually I'm right);
And when more ostentatious types have ceased,
I'm still around, and doing, still, alright.
In short, I'm calm and rational and stable -
Or, well, I am, as much as I am able.
What Poetry Form Are You?

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Sports in the Muslim World

Debbie Schlussel has an interesting post about sports in the apartheid kingdom of Bahrain.
When you allow yourself to be the house slave, that's exactly how you'll be treated.

That's the experience of Leonard Mucheru a/k/a "Mushir Salem Jawher"--a world-class Catholic marathoner from Kenya--who sold himself and his religious status to Bahrain. Now, his life has been turned upside down because he dared to go to Israel in January and win the country's Tiberias Marathon. (As readers of this site know, I've written repeatedly--including here and here--about the anti-Semitic sports and travel apartheid regularly practiced by the Islamic World.)

It's a phenomenon I've been following for years: Arab Muslim countries, whose native Muslim Arab inhabitants suck at all sports (except bomb-detonating and molotov-tossing), buy Black athletes from Africa. They make them convert to Islam, change their names, and the athletes then make Muslim countries--mostly Gulf States--into fake athletic powerhouses.

Today's Wall Street Journal--which has a front-page story on Mucheru/Jawher--reports this new form of Islamic slavery of athletes as a relatively new phenomenon, but it isn't. It's been going on for years. Still, the article is otherwise important, as it further highlights the anti-Semitic sports apartheid regularly practiced by our Islamic "allies," like the "moderate" Bahrain, which features the enlightened "Bahrain Society for Resisting Normalization With the Zionist Enemy." One wonders what the hazing is for initiation into that exclusive "club."
She's got a link to the Wall Street Journal article and a lot more to say about it. It's well worth reading.

Saudi Aramco World, a free glossy magazine reports on the Asian Games, held this past December in the apartheid country of Qatar.
The biggest gathering of athletes in history. The first major international multi-sport event to be hosted by an Arab country. The world’s largest video projection, against a backdrop of dazzling pyrotechnics. All describe the 15th Asian Games staged in Doha, Qatar last December. Like the little engine that could, tiny Qatar put on two weeks of sport with style that will be hard for even the Olympics to top.
The author goes on to describe in glowing terms, the spirit of brotherhood and friendly competition that pervaded this event, comparing it favorably to the Olympics. Of course in the eyes of the participants, this surpassed the Olympics.

Later in the article however,
The Asian Games have another similarity with the Olympics: controversy. In addition to the long-standing question of professionals competing against amateurs, the common American and European practice of hiring top-notch athletes and coaches from other countries has begun to spread to those Asian countries that can afford it. For example, Qatar’s basketball coach is American Joseph Stiebing, and most of its soccer players are trained in Europe or Latin America.

“It is legal to bring athletes from outside the country,” al Malki says to critics. “Much of the world does it. We are a small nation, and to get results we need stars.”
I would refer the reader back to Schlussel's post.

This article makes no mention of the Israeli team. I have to assume that the spirit of Asian brotherhood only extends as far as the borders of the Jewish State. At the end of the article,
Members of the International Olympic Committee, which Qatar is wooing in its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, also praised the ceremony, faulting only the weather.
I have to wonder, with the unabashed antisemitism of the Muslim world, and the increasing acceptance of antisemitism to Europe, will Qatar be allowed to discriminate against Israeli and other Jewish athletes if they do host the 2016 Olympics?

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

On Aging

I'm still friends with one of my old college roommates. We knew each other in high school, but got to be better friends in college and we roomed together for a year. We hosted keggers in our apartment, listened to loud rock music, chased college women, and on occasion went to class. (I admit it. I was not a good student back then.)

We remained friends after college. Through the years we both got married and had kids. We grew into different concerns. We still listened to music, but now we traded "poop stories", and other tales of our children. We went out with our wives as a foursome, or rented movies at one house or the other. There were barbeques and trips to the park with our kids. And yes, there were birthday parties.

Lately we've seen each other a lot less. Our kids are older and are at college, or in high school, or middle school. Some of them are driving. They are doing a lot more on their own. Last week we compared heart ailments. His is more dangerous than mine, though I still see my cardiologist annually. My condition is a minor annoyance. His can cause him to have a stroke. My politics have changed. His haven't, so we rarely discuss them. We talk about our parents. His mother is getting more forgetful. He's worried about her. My mother's cancer had returned and her tumors had spread to her brain.

She died yesterday morning. That's the bad news.

Her first bout with cancer was twelve years ago. She had to have a kidney removed. Five years later, they removed half of her remaining one. Two years ago, doctors predicted she would be gone in a matter of months. Mom had other ideas. She had a goal. She wanted to be there for my daughter's Bat Mitzvah. Of course she was there, and she had a wonderful time. It was obvious that she was not as energetic as usual, but she was in pretty good shape.

A few months before that, my sister and her husband adopted a baby boy. Mom had to have some time with him. Then there were the fabulous performances of my children in the high school production of Les Miserable. She couldn't miss that even though it was difficult for her to last through the entire performance.

About two weeks ago, a little before Passover, doctors told her that the tumors that had begun in her kidneys and traveled up through her lungs and lymph nodes were now in her brain. She took one radiation treatment. It left her so weak that she decided it wasn't worth it. From there she declined rapidly. She only got out of bed for the first night of Passover, but didn't feel up to joining us for dinner so we dispensed with the first seder.

Hospice was called in a few days later. Mom was bedridden. Dad was frustrated because she was getting worse about eating and about taking her medication. Last week she even stopped taking her pain medication. The last time she ate or drank anything was either last Thursday or Friday. We were over there a lot helping Dad. We called the out of town siblings who both came in Monday. She died some time early Tuesday morning. My father woke up and he knew she was gone. I raced over as soon as I got the call from my brother. We were all there for support, but Dad had what I'm guessing was the worst morning of his life.

The funeral is tomorrow morning. I'm not looking forward to it, but I am looking forward to it being over. I wrote a short eulogy. My wife wrote another. My brother wrote a third. It doesn't leave much time for the rabbi, but he did tell us that we could talk at the funeral if we wanted. I've spent most of the past two days with my siblings, wife, and children at my Dad's house. Out of town visitors have begun coming to town. Local relatives and friends have been dropping by. People have sent and brought food by the ton. Friends of my parents, people from "the old neighborhood" have come to the house in tears. It seemed strange, because we've been through the tears already. Watching someone else though, kind of makes you misty eyed.

I have a wandering mind. Sometimes it wanders into some weird connections. As some old neighbors came in tonight telling me how sorry they were, hugging me, and my father, and my siblings, I thought of Mottel the Canter's Son. It was the last book written by the great Yiddish author, Sholom Aleichem, who died before he could complete it. It is still a wonderful book, as are all of his books and stories. He created Tevya the Milkman, whose many stories were "borrowed" in order to make Fiddler on the Roof . . . another play my children were in. My mother gave me this book when I was probably twelve or thirteen years old. I don't remember exactly when. It's a delightful book, full of warm humor and painful episodes as Mottel and his family leave Europe to come to America. Througout the years I've picked up other volumes by Sholom Aleichem.

In the beginning of the book, Mottel's father dies. Mottel, the innocent child of nine, doesn't grieve, but exults in the attention he now receives and his new status as: one who is an orphan and so cannot be punished for any faults or misbehavior. Yes, his mother is still there, but he is still referred to as an orphan. Yes, the parallels are extremely thin, but minds do make connections even, or especially at my advanced age.

When this is all over, I will tell my wife about this connection. She will once again tell me that I am strange.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Where Do Sudanese Asylum Seekers Go? Why to Israel, of Course.

According to this article in the Detroit Jewish News, Israel has become the promised land for Sudanese refugees escaping that country's genocide.
With two miles of bare footprints behind them, Ahmed, Fatima and their three children approached the border with Israel in the middle of a cold winter night. Snow was falling in the Sinai.

Avoid the Egyptian military patrols, warned their Bedouin smugglers, who were paid with money borrowed from Sudanese friends.

"If they catch you, you could be shot or deported back to Sudan," the Bedouins said.

The 12-hour trip was the last leg of a multi-year journey stretching from the violence of Darfur to Sudan's dangerous capital, Khartoum, to the teeming streets of Cairo. Ahmed had been imprisoned in each city.

Israel was their last hope for what Fatima calls "a normal life" without "fear of being sent back to Sudan."

[ . . . ]

The Israeli soldiers gave the children their green military coats.

In an often-reluctant ritual that has been repeated almost weekly for two years with Sudanese sneaking into Israel, Israel Defense Forces patrols gathered up the tired refugee family, placed them in an ambulance and handed them over to the Border Police.

"We were afraid of the Egyptian army, not of the Israeli army," Ahmed recalled later.
This creates a new quandry for Israel. On the one hand,
The failure of the United Nations to cope with the doubling of refugee applications in the past decade or to intervene to prevent the genocide in Darfur has had ripple effects throughout the world.

That now includes Israel and the Jewish world.

Faced with genocidal threats from Iran and terrorist groups, a legacy of the Holocaust and even echoes of the Exodus 3,700 years ago, Israel is torn between its commitment to universal humanitarian concerns and its own security interests.
But on the other hand,
"Sudan is one of six nations that supports Islamic terror," he said. "All the security services say that there is a danger when it comes to the Sudanese. Detention or alternative detention is legitimate in a democratic country and also in the State of Israel."

Debate is being waged about how many Sudanese would seek refuge here if the detainees are released from prison and accorded good treatment in the Jewish state.

"What we do here will determine if 3 million will come" from Egypt or will stay there, said Yossi Edelshtein, director of the Enforcement Unit of the Immigration Police.
"Sudan is one of six nations that supports Islamic terror," he said. "All the security services say that there is a danger when it comes to the Sudanese. Detention or alternative detention is legitimate in a democratic country and also in the State of Israel."

Debate is being waged about how many Sudanese would seek refuge here if the detainees are released from prison and accorded good treatment in the Jewish state.

"What we do here will determine if 3 million will come" from Egypt or will stay there, said Yossi Edelshtein, director of the Enforcement Unit of the Immigration Police.

In 2005, the security forces caught 5,600 people trying to infiltrate across the Egyptian-Israeli border, including drug and weapon smugglers, women destined for prostitution, foreign workers and refugees.

In 2006, 100 of those caught trying to infiltrate belonged to terror organizations, according to Israeli media reports. That same year, the U.N. High Commission for Refugees in Israel saw an increase in its case load, with 1,600 applying for refugee or asylum status, up from 1,000 in 2005.

Most of the increase was from foreign workers who did not want to return to their native lands, often because of wars in the Congo, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast and other African countries.
We know that none of the Islamic countries care one whit for the life of any Muslim beyond their use as a tool of jihad. We also know that Israel will be pressed to accept any and all refugees because as some Israeli leftists are already saying,
"I am ashamed as a person and as a Jew," Braverman told JTA, referring to the practice of imprisoning asylum seekers. "We of all people have to know how to behave."
So, if Israel refuses to accept and settle each and every Sudanese refugee, they will be condemned by all Muslim nations, by the EU, by the UN, and by the left in general. Meanwhile, the president of Sudan denies there is a genocide going on. As he relayed to a Detroit audience recently,
"Colonial powers ... want to come back" to Sudan, al-Bashir said through a translator to a crowd inside Cobo Center, the site of a three-day convention by the Nation, founded in Detroit and headed by Louis Farrakhan. There is an "American, Israeli, British alliance to dominate all the region."

In recent years, al-Bashir and his government's military forces have been criticized for allegedly killing people inside Sudan, allowing slavery, and providing a haven for terrorists. The U.S. State Dept. lists Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism.

But al-Bashir said that "there is no ethnic cleansing at all" and "there isn't any slavery in the Sudan."
We know that Islam and honesty are rarely on speaking terms. Rather than face that fact, all of the afore mentioned groups find it simpler to blame Israel and the Jews for the world's problems.

There is a simple solution though. The first step is to stop pandering to the islamists and admit they are at war with us. Forcing Israel to take Sudanese refugees (pawns) is a tactic in that war. Once we can admit the war, we can figure out the best way to fight back. I don't know what that best way is, but it's sure to be ugly. The longer we wait though, the uglier the final fight will be.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

In Honor of Captain David P. Gibson

I discovered Captain Gibson at Pen of Jen. You should read his story (lovingly written by his daughter) in its entirety. It's that important.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

The Times They are A-Changin'

Or maybe they've already changed. Here is a quote from Efraim Karsh's book, ISLAMIC IMPERIALISM, A History. It's from the paperback edition, page 124, the middle of the third paragraph.
In December 1856 British forces invaded Iran, and before the year was over they had captured the southern islands of kharg and Bushir and continued their advance northward. In early March 1857, the heavily fortified town of Muhammara fell after an hour's fighting, with thirteen thousand panic-stricken Iranians being pursued as they fled by fory-five British cavalrymen. Ahwaz was captured on April 1, and the following day Iran signed a peace treaty renouncing all its territorial claims to Afghanistan.
I could comment on the British lack of diplomacy, but I won't. I could also point out how a powerful show of strength carried the day, but I'm not going to. I'm not even going to compare the British Army of old with that of today. I'm just going to present the quote and keep my big mouth shut.

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What - Me Think?

I thank Jungle Mom for tagging me to receive The Thinking Blogger Award. I'm a regular at her blog. She and her husband are living a life of service to others. It's the kind of life that others talk about, but few actually live. Thanks to her, I get to learn about how missionaries who work to make a better life for others who truly are less fortunate, really live as I sit here in my comfortable suburban home (although my wife constantly complains that the kitchen is too small, and we could use a garage and a second bathroom) listening to Duke Ellington, as I try to narrow my choices of who to tag down to five. As Rancher (another deserving recepient of the award) did, I'm only tagging little blogs. With over 8 million blogs in the bloggosphere, there are a number of worthwhile blogs. It's taken me a couple days of thinking, but making the job a bit easier is the fact that some of the blogs I could have tagged have already been tagged by others.

My five picks as thinking blogs are: (drum roll, please)
1. Dr. Sanity
2. Elder of Ziyon
3. Ask Mom
4. Clarity and Resolve
5. Hillbilly White Trash.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Cartoon That Says it All

I've always loved comics. I grew up reading comic books, newspaper comic strips, political cartoons; if it had words and pictures, I would at least give it a try. The best comics can distill a complex idea into a simple concept. It may not give a complete explanation, but it can allow you to comprehend something that you couldn't comprehend a minute before. The best comics make it look easy; a simple picture, a few words, leading to a laugh born of both mirth and of understanding. Dry Bones is one of those rare strips that entertains while it makes a powerful point. The pictures are simple. There are only a few words. But the combination is a dual hammer blow to the brain and to the funny bone. I don't like swiping comic strips, and I rarely do it (please disregard my previous post). But this one rings with an aching truth.

For the long-winded prose version of this strip, read: Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism, by Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin. If you are interested in the subject, it is a book worth reading. You may or may not agree with their conclusions, but it will give you something to think about.

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