Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Thorn in Islam's Side

Victor Davis Hanson's Private Papers has a post about a remarkable Coptic priest.
Though he is little known in the West, Coptic priest Zakaria Botros — named Islam’s “Public Enemy #1” by the Arabic newspaper, al-Insan al-Jadid — has been making waves in the Islamic world. Along with fellow missionaries — mostly Muslim converts — he appears frequently on the Arabic channel al-Hayat (i.e., “Life TV”). There, he addresses controversial topics of theological significance — free from the censorship imposed by Islamic authorities or self-imposed through fear of the zealous mobs who fulminated against the infamous cartoons of Mohammed. Botros’s excurses on little-known but embarrassing aspects of Islamic law and tradition have become a thorn in the side of Islamic leaders throughout the Middle East.

Botros is an unusual figure on screen: robed, with a huge cross around his neck, he sits with both the Koran and the Bible in easy reach. Egypt’s Copts — members of one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East — have in many respects come to personify the demeaning Islamic institution of “dhimmitude” (which demands submissiveness from non-Muslims, in accordance with Koran 9:29). But the fiery Botros does not submit, and minces no words. He has famously made of Islam “ten demands,” whose radical nature he uses to highlight Islam’s own radical demands on non-Muslims.

The result? Mass conversions to Christianity — if clandestine ones. The very public conversion of high-profile Italian journalist Magdi Allam — who was baptized by Pope Benedict in Rome on Saturday — is only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, Islamic cleric Ahmad al-Qatani stated on al-Jazeera TV a while back that some six million Muslims convert to Christianity annually, many of them persuaded by Botros’s public ministry. More recently, al-Jazeera noted Life TV’s “unprecedented evangelical raid” on the Muslim world. Several factors account for the Botros phenomenon.
I hope this is no exaggeration, and I hope his success increases.

Zakaria Botros' website is here.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Propaganda Video or Hoax?

Over at Little Green Footballs, a fairly bizarre video was posted, its creator alleging that it's a North Korean anti-American video. After watching it, I randomly picked another one to watch by the same person. About 1 minute and 19 seconds into this video, it gets too hilarious for words. Could this be a hoax? If so, it's much more entertaining than the one from that arthole from Yale. Only an idiot could believe that the claims in this video are real, but there are a lot of idiots in this world. In any event, watch it and get a good belly laugh.

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Speaking Out Against Islamic Child Abuse

I found this post over at Miss Beth's Victory Dance, wherein the question is asked,
What constitues pedophilia in the Muslim world?
The answer is quite disturbing, but it does give us another reason to fight against the Jihad. I swiped this video from the same post. In the end, if Islam is ever going to join the rest of the world in the 21st century, it will be due to brave Muslim women like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, and Ghada Jawsheer, who exposes Islamic-approved child abuse. How far does this child abuse go? Here are some excerpts from a book by Ayatollah Khomeini. Not only are they not "work safe", but some people might even find them disturbing and disgusting.

UPDATE, 4/27: According to Rancher;
I was going to dump on Iran but the Khomeini quotes seem to be a hoax. From Wikipedia:

A book "Tahrirolvasyleh", cited on the Internet, which quotes the Shia Ayatollah Khomeini approving of sex with animals under certain conditions, is unconfirmed and possibly a forgery.[43] Though the book Tahrir-ul-Vasyleh does exist, there is widespread suspicion concerning the existence and authenticity of such a "fourth book".

The cite itself is widespread,[9] [10] [11] [12] however it is contested whether such a fourth volume of Tahrirolvasyleh ever in fact existed (see relevant article for more). No evidence of verified translations or cited references seems to be found in the hands of independent (Western) or other notable Islamic scholars and the main sources seem to be anti-Islamic in nature.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Heart of a Marine

This Detroit Free Press profiles a student at West Bloomfield High whose life dream is to be a marine. That makes him an anomaly in West Bloomfield, a wealthy Detroit suburb. Not all of the kids there are spoiled brats, but the fact that one of them wants to be a marine and to defend our country is unusual. If you read the article it's obvious that the reporter is trying hard to be objective, but can't help denigrating the kid at least a bit. His parents, teachers, and friends are more open. They desperately try to talk him out of it.

The part of the article that troubled me though, was his English teacher who, as the article claims,
wants her students to do more than learn facts; she wants them to think for themselves; she wants them to question authority; she wants them to read and argue and listen and learn.
But, she
assigned the class to read "Johnny Got His Gun," an antiwar novel by Dalton Trumbo. It is based on World War I, but the themes apply to Iraq.
She wanted him to read Trumbo's novel, as well as "Slaughterhouse-Five," by Kurt Vonnegut.
If you read the comments after the article, there are a bunch from students who love this teacher. And I'm sure she is a good English teacher. But reading about this teacher brought to mind the quote from Don Marquis,
If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; But if you really make them think, they'll hate you.
Sure, she wants her students to question authority, but does she ever give them enough information to question her authority? She and the rest of the class badger a student who wants to do more than huddle with a group of elite conformists who work tirelessly against the very people who make their elitism possible. And they are blind to that fact. Sure, some of that has to do with worry that he will get hurt. But they have become "those cold timid souls" that Teddy Roosevelt decried in his famous speech, To the Man in the Arena.

In the end I have to wonder if she is really making them think, or just convincing them that a knee-jerk reaction against the war and the military is real thought. Are they doing any more than following the crowd that claims to speak truth to power, but only when there are no consequences? Does she have the nerve to have them read Victor Davis Hanson or any of the other eloquent writers who battle in print to let us know why we fight, and why societies have had to fight throughout the ages in order to survive? I doubt it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

And Now for Something Completely Different

I am not a doctor so this shouldn't be taken as medical advice. But one day, you may be in a situation where you are going through the unpleasant task of preparing for your colonoscopy. As part of that preparation, you may have to suck down two liters of Halflytely. According to the directions, you must finish drinking the entire two liters. But you might get to that last little bit, those last few - or maybe last 16 ounces, and your body might not let you get those last few glasses down. You might feel so bloated that there's no room for another drop of that wretched liquid. But the directions say to finish it. What if you don't? Will you be cleaned out enough for the doctor to see what he has to see? I don't know. And I'm not a doctor. That's why I don't give medical advice.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in that very situation. And I asked myself, do I have to finish the Halflytely? It was too late to call the doctor's office. I tried and got the recording. I could have spoken to the on-call doctor, but this really wasn't an emergency, so I hung up. Then I went to the web. There are newsgroups devoted to health. Other people have been through this. Groups of people had discussions on this very topic. Some of these people are tougher (and probably bigger) than me, and managed to force the whole two liters down. Others didn't finish, but they were still adequately cleaned out. I'm not that big, so I took a chance and didn't finish. I don't think I could have. I was cleaned out though. The procedure was a success.

Except for the part when they couldn't get me to wake up and I slept for an extra hour. I think I was probably just tired.

Oh yeah, and the part when they finally did wake me, and I couldn't release the gas that was injected into my colon in order to get a better look in there. It hurt. It was appendicitis quality pain. My wife ended up driving me to the hospital. The doctor called ahead, so they were ready for me. We didn't have to wait.

As soon as we got to the hospital, I went into the bathroom and I was able to force out a good deal of the gas. It was loud. It shook the building. Had I not been in so much pain, I would have been embarrassed. I felt much better and I would have liked to have gone home, but everyone else (wife, doctor, nurses) was so worried that they kept me there for six hours. Everyone was very nice and they attached an IV so they could pump me full of liquids. I had become dehydrated - what a shock. They fed me - crackers and applesauce. After 48 hours with no solid food that was quite a feast.

All of the people at the hospital were very nice, but I really didn't feel like spending all of that time there. The worst part was that I finished the book I was reading an hour before they were ready to let me leave. They weren't going to let me out until the second IV was empty. I told my wife to give it a squeeze to force it into me faster, but she only laughed. Then she went back to her book.

I had more applesauce and some toast when I finally got home. The next day I started eating real food. But I still have a greater appreciation for applesauce and I even bought a jar the other day. It's good. And it's good for you.

Most of this has nothing to do with whether you need to finish the Halflytely, but it is part of my story.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Witch Hunt

From a recent article in the Detroit Free Press
Top executives of the five biggest U.S. oil companies were pressed today to explain the soaring fuel prices amid huge industry profits and why they weren’t investing more to develop renewable energy source such as wind and solar.
“On April Fool’s Day, the biggest joke of all is being played on American families by Big Oil,” Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said as his committee began hearing from the oil company executives.

With motorists paying a national average of $3.29 a gallon at the pump and global oil prices remaining above $100 a barrel, the executives were hard pressed by lawmakers to defend their profits.

“The anger level is rising significantly,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., relating what he had heard in his district during the recent two-week congressional recess.
“I heard what you are hearing. Americans are very worried about the rising price of energy,” said John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co., echoing remarks by the other four executives from Exxon Mobil Corp., BP America Inc., Chevron Corp., and ConocoPhillips.

But the executives rejected claims that their companies’ earnings are out of step with other industries and said that while they earn tens of billions of dollars, they also invest tens of billions in exploration and oil production activities.

“Our earnings, though high in absolute terms, need to be viewed in the context of the scale and cyclical, long-term nature of our industry as well as the huge investment requirements,” said J.S. Simon, Exxon Mobil’s senior vice president.
and remember
The prices are of concern, Hofmeister said at the time, adding a note of optimism: “Our industry is extremely cyclical and what goes up almost always comes down,” he told the skeptical senators on a day when oil cost $60 a barrel.

About six months later, when the cost of the same barrel reached $75, the executives were grilled again on Capitol Hill on their spending and investment priorities.
There have been no charges of wrong doing, no allegations of wrong doing, no suspicion of wrong doing, yet oil company executives are once again being hauled in front of Congress to be publicly humiliated in order to mollify the anger of the American public. What did they do that was so wrong? Oh yeah, they earned a lot of money. They did it honestly, but according to Congress and other witch hunters, they've earned too much. It's not fair. The oil companies must be punished for earning too much money by providing the product that keeps the world's economy afloat.

Due to rules passed by Congress, at the behest of their environmentalist friends, no oil company has been able to build a new refinery in the United States in almost thirty years. Oil has to be refined so some of our oil has to be refined outside of the U.S. Many areas in the U.S. with proven oil reserves are off limits to drilling thereby increasing our demand for foreign oil. All of this drives up the cost of oil, which leads to increased profits for the oil industry. Which causes the idiots in Congress to add insult to injury by scapegoating the oil industry and putting on glorious show trials in order to escape their responsibility for forcing the sickening, wallet-busting rise in oil prices.

Isn't this the exact tactic used by communist dictatorships throughout the last century in order to avoid blame for their own destructive economic policies? Blame the "kulaks" and other enemies of the people. It's a good bet that right now, government lawyers are looking for any kind of law or rule that they can twist to accuse oil executives of some kind of "crime against the people." Rather than cheer on this kind of sick charade, we the people should be up in arms that Congress can publicly abuse American citizens. We accept this because the oil executives like tobacco executives before them, are very wealthy, and throughout history the wealthy have garnered the jealousy of the middle class and poor. We are still trained today to hate the rich. We are supposed to enjoy seeing the rich and powerful knocked down a few notches, whether it's done honestly or not.

My advice is: don't gloat about the oil executives being dragged through the congressional mud. It begins with the rich, who are easy to scapegoat, but as we've seen Russia, China, N. Korea, Venezuela, and other "people's republics" eventually this kind of harassment works its way down to you and me and we are much worse off for it. And even if it doesn't go that far, punitive measures aimed at oil companies will reduce the gasoline supplies and raise costs for us all. We saw that under President Carter.

But as always, Thomas Sowell knows best.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Robert Spencer on Latest Islamic Attempt to Stifle Free Speech

I commandeered the following video from Smoothstone, and yes, I informed Smooth that I was going to swipe it. For more information, I highly recommend both Smoothstone and Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch.

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Energy Held Hostage

A rare voice of sanity intrudes on the Detroit Free Press' editorial page. With all of the focus on the renewable energy sources, we tend to forget that, at least for now, whether we like it or not, the world's economy runs on oil . . . black gold . . . Texas tea. I'm sure the Free Press has been receiving furious emails throughout the day for having the audacity to run a column that calls for using the oil we can get to, but they did run it. The Free Press does run contrary opinions occasionally. This is one of them.
At a time when saying anything good about fossil fuels is like declaring war on the environment, it may seem like wishful thinking to press for an expansion of U.S. oil refining capacity.

Yet it is precisely this sort of thinking that is necessary if we are to make use of a vast, secure and reliable supply of fuel from Canada's oil sands.

The tar sands hold an estimated 174 billion barrels of crude oil, making Canada's oil sands deposits second only to Saudi Arabia in global reserves. The United States currently obtains a million barrels of oil a day from Canada's tar sands. With planned investments, the daily supply could exceed 3 million barrels by 2015.

But extracting heavy oil from tar sands and transporting it by pipeline for refining is a difficult and costly process. Producers are developing new drilling techniques to reduce the large volumes of natural gas and water needed to separate the oil from sand. And the oil companies, which have pledged to reduce greenhouse emissions in their operations, are making the needed investments to meet environmental regulations.
But then there are the environmentalists who want to hold our economy hostage.
Although President George W. Bush has publicly welcomed production of Canadian tar sands oil, Congress last year passed legislation that prohibits the government from using alternative fuels that have a larger carbon footprint than conventional oil.

As a result, the U.S. Defense Department is unable to use jet fuel made from tar sands oil even though greenhouse gas emissions per barrel of tar sands oil have fallen 32% since 1990.

Now California is moving to disallow the use of tar sands oil under a recently approved low-carbon fuels standard sought by environmental groups, and Illinois is among a dozen states also considering such a standard. Environment Illinois has vowed to challenge any refinery expansion or modification permits that would facilitate greater use of tar sands oil, and has asked the Great Lakes state governors to impose such a ban.
It's time to create a grass root fight to free our economy from the dictatorial restraints of the environmental lobby.

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