Gee, how come I don't get email from strangers?
Alea iacta est
The voting in Iraq is simply wonderful! Some early reports say that voter turnout is at 72%, which is a success by any rational measure.
It hasn't come at no cost, of course; the terrorists have, as promised, committed attrocities throughout the country.
There are lots of good reporting going on our there. Start at Instapundit, scroll, and follow the links.
God bless those brave Iraqis who wish to take their country into their own hands. And God bless the soldiers, American, British, Australian and others who suffered and sacrificed to allow this to happen.
An odor patrol from the Detroit incinerator was sent out to trace the smell. They said the stench was coming from a rail car at the Environmental Quality company.
"According to the report from our odor patrol, we have tracked the smell to the corner of Ferry and St. Aubin, to the liquid waste processor that's located (there)," said Cathy Square, Director of the Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Authority.
Officials from Environmental Quality have denied that the odor is coming from their facility.
I smell a coverup!
Yesterday I, along with freqent commenter and biological sister Nancy, visited "the Alligator Capitol of the World" Gatorland.
One of the shows they have is called the Gator Jumparoo. In it, costumed yokels urge alligators to receive chickens (not actually that difficult) while the crowd cheers.
We had a great time, it really was a lot of fun. There are interesting displays and hands-on exhibits, shows, a smokehouse grill with BBQ and hamburgers, a gift shop, a nature walk, and a lot more.
There's a strongly religious quality to a lot of supposedly secular activism, in part due to the baby boomers' cultivated sense of grandisoity. This may help to explain why so many activists seem to confuse onanism with sainthood.
It's pretty good.
Mitch at Shot In The Dark posts an able deconstruction of Senator Mark Dayton's little speech to the Senate accusing Condoleezza Rice of lying to him.
Dayton says that he will oppose Rice's nomination for Secretary of State:
I do so, because she misled me about the situation in Iraq before and after the congressional resolution in October, 2002, authorizing that war, a resolution that I opposed.You know, this guy really is an idiot. Even taking his words at face value, it doesn't make any sense.
If Rice misled him about the situation in Iraq, then why did he oppose the resolution? Is he saying that he opposed the resolution as a result of Rice misleading him? Or is he saying that she misled him into believing that Saddam posed an imminent threat to the US and he voted against the resolution anyway!
You guys in Minnesota have got to get this guy out of there. He's a tool.
Captain Ed comments on a recent announcement by the main Iraqi Shi'ite party that clerics won't be welcome in their government, which flies in the face of the nay-sayers who predict that they would set up an Iranian-style mullahcracy in Iraq.
Why would they choose not to be ruled by folks like these? Ed writes "The Iraqis may fear the bombs, but they're not stupid enough to choose the bombers."
This story says that there might be thousands of lost works from the Roman world waiting to be uncovered in an ancient villa destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius in 79AD. It's a very interesting article, but I was caught by one paragraph:
Even in our age of hyperbole it would be hard to exaggerate the significance of what is at stake here: nothing less than the lost intellectual inheritance of western civilisation.Uh, why am I supposed to care about a bunch of books written by dead white guys, again?
Pious gratitude to: Miss O'Hara
Our baby Jordan was born at 4:48 p.m. on Tuesday, January 18, 2005. He was 7 pounds 12 ounces and 19 inches long. We spent 18 incredible hours with him - he was alert, Sadaf was breastfeeding him every two hours, and there was no indication that anything was wrong. Then a nurse at the hospital noticed his breathing pattern was distressed. He was taken in for examination by the hospital pediatrician. Shortly thereafter our perfect world came crashing down.
We found out that Jordan had a very large and very rare tumor inside his heart. The tumor measured 3.5cm in a heart the size of a walnut. He was immediately transfered to Columbia Presbyterian Children's Hospital in New York City, which is considered the best in the country. They performed open-heart surgery on Friday, January 21st. Unfortunately, they were not able to remove the entire tumor, and portions of it are interfereing with his heart's ability to pump blood effectively to sustain his tiny body. At this point a transplant is the only option to help save him.
I can only imagine what horror these parents are going through.
And, of course, if you yourself had just lost your own infant, your grief must be inconsolable.
But to have the courage to help someone else's baby live while you have lost your own...well, buddy, there's a place in heaven for folks like that.
Pious gratitude to: Donald Luskin
Back now, and I find this amusing Mark Steyn column, and I wanted to share.
[I]n the middle of his dispatch was this quote from Joyce Smith of Coalgate, Okla.: "When Kerry said he was for abortion and one-sex marriages, I just couldn't see our country being led by someone like that."
Von Drehle added: ''Later, I double-checked what Kerry had said on those subjects. During his campaign, he opposed same-sex marriage and said that abortion was a private matter.''
If the point is that Red Staters are ignorant, double- or even triple-checking John Kerry isn't the best way to demonstrate it. Insofar as I understand it, Kerry's view on abortion was that, while he passionately believes life begins at conception, he would never let his deeply held personal beliefs interfere with his legislative program. On gay marriage, likewise. That's why gay groups backed Kerry and why von Drehle's media buddies weren't running editorials warning that a Kerry presidency would end "a woman's right to choose": They understood his deeply passionately personally deep personal passionate beliefs were just an artful but meaningless formulation designed to get him through election season. Message: If Kerry's elected, abortions will continue and gay marriage will happen and he'll be cool with both. Joyce Smith understood that. Von Drehle seems vaguely resentful that she wasn't dumb enough to fall for the spin cooked up by Kerry's hairsplitters and enthusiastically promoted by his media cheerleaders.
Well, we went ahead and got the PT Cruiser we've been eyeing for a while. It's black and blue, so we call it a "PT Bruiser" though we also call it the Wild Blue Yonder.
Mrs. Agnostic is very happy to have her new vehicle; and when Mrs. Agnostic is happy, everybody's happy.
Update: Replaced the stock picture with a picture of the actual beast.
The Diplomad points us to this interesting column, written by a U.S. Navy officer currently serving with the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, performing tsunami relief missions off the Sumatran coast.
He reports on the influx of "aid officials" to the Lincoln:
As I went through the breakfast line, I overheard one of the U.N. strap-hangers, a longhaired guy with a beard, make a sarcastic comment to one of our food servers. He said something along the lines of “Nice china, really makes me feel special,” in reference to the fact that we were eating off of paper plates that day. It was all I could do to keep from jerking him off his feet and choking him, because I knew that the reason we were eating off paper plates was to save dishwashing water so that we would have more water to send ashore and save lives. That plus the fact that he had no business being there in the first place.
Over at Fraters, they talk about those who are enfuriated by the President's use of the "F" Word.
Captain Ed writes "The Democrats have become the party of stupid and useless gestures."
He's talking about their obstructionism with regard to the Rice confirmation, and recommends that the Republicans Get The Nuclear Option Ready.
CodePink was out demonstrating in Orlando yesterday to "express[their] discontent for the Bush administration"
I didn't actually see them myself because they were on another side of town, but a radio account reported that they were flying giant peace dove puppet over the intersection. Must have been quite a sight.
During the news report, they quoted someone from CodePink who expressed their wish to "Stop the war and bring the troops home."
I really can't argue with them, if this is their wish. I too would like the war to end, so our troops can come home. I suspect, however, that her understanding of the war and my own are somewhat different. And I'd rather the war end with us winning it, not retreating from it.
But that's just me. I wish I had a picture of that peace dove!
Update: Somehow, I suspect this Orlando protest wasn't as violent as this one
If the President was twelve years old, and delivered his speech through text messaging:
WA GO FORWARD WIT COMPLET3 CONFIEDNCE IN TEH EV3NTUAL TRIUMPH OF FREDOM!1!!!111 WTF NOT B/C HIS2RY RUNS ON TEH WHELS OF IENVITABILITY IT IS HUMAN CHOIECS TAHT MOVE AV3NTS1!11!! OMG WTF LOL NOT B/C WA CONSIEDR OURSELVES A CHOSEN NATION GOD MOVAS AND CHOSAS AS HA WILS!!!!!11 WTF WE HAEV CONFIEDNC3 B/C FREDOM IS TEH PERMAENNT HOPA OF MANKIND DA HUNGAR IN DARK PLAECS DA LONGNG OF TEH SU!11111 LOL WH3N OUR FOUND3RS DACLAERD A NU ORDAR OF DA AEGS WHEN SOLDEIRS DEID IN WAEV UPON WAEV FOR A UNION BAESD ON LIEBRTY WH3N CITIEZNS MARCHAD IN PEAECFUL OUTRAEG UNDER TEH BAN3R FREDOM NOW - THAY WAR3 ACTNG ON AN ANCEINT HOP3 TAHT IS MAANT 2 B FULFILED!1111!! WTF LOL HIS2RY HAS AN EB AND FLOW OF JUSTIEC BUT HIS2RY ALSO HAS A VISIBL3 DIERCTION SET BY LIEBRTY AND DA AUTHOR OF LIEBRTY1!11!! OMG
The Anchoress jumps back into the blogging thing after her loss with verve and passion:
The fact is, if the President of the United States had a D after his name, instead of an R, the liberation of millions of people over the past three years would be hailed - quite rightly - as the victory of a visionary. The re-emergence of a robust American economy on the heels of a recession, an attack on our shores and our economy and two wars would be touted as an astounding acheivement. The second inaugural party of such a president, with a D after his name, would be hyped as a "well-deserved celebration for the whole nation."
President Bush's Inauguration Speech is here:
So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.
The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations. The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it. America's influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America's influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom's cause.
My most solemn duty is to protect this nation and its people against further attacks and emerging threats. Some have unwisely chosen to test America's resolve, and have found it firm.
Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.
Then comes this:
In America's ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character - on integrity, and tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives. Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self. That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards, and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people. Americans move forward in every generation by reaffirming all that is good and true that came before - ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
I know, I know, that's put in there to mollify some people; but I don't think that the words of the Koran actually sustains our national life: they are more likely to be antithetical to our national life. This is total RoP boilerplate.
Finally, there's this:
We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul. When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner "Freedom Now" - they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled. History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty.
Good speech; I wish I could have heard it delivered.
Last night, I was looking through some old letters that my mother had written to me while I was in college. My father was dying, and my mother wrote of her anguish and heartache, and her love for her husband, and her fears for the future.
After my father's death, my mother rebuilt her life to an inspiring extent. Having lost her companion way too early, she went on to become a new woman; a woman that all her children are proud of.
Death is a doorway for all who approach it, even if they don't pass through themselves.
As I noted last week, the Anchoress lost her brother after a long illness.
She writes that her recent post "is all I have yet figured out about death, dying and wakes. It's not much. The biggest revelation has to do with the human heart and how expansive it is."
This post at LGF reports on the latest call for a boycott by the anti-war Left.
During “Not One Damn Dime Day” please don’t spend money, and don’t use your credit card. Not one damn dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse purchases. Nor toll/cab/bus or train ride money exchanges. Not one damn dime for anything for 24 hours.
Please, Leftist moonbat, try to understand the futility of these sorts of temporary boycotts: if you decide that you aren't going to spend money today, you'll make up for it tomorrow.
If you aren't going to a restaurant or buying groceries today, unless you aren't going to eat anything at all, it stands to reason that you stocked up in some way yesterday.
And even if you decide to fast entirely today, tomorrow you're going to be extra hungry and probably make up for your caloric shortfall by buying (you guessed it) more groceries.
The same dynamic is in play when people protest high gasoline prices with one of those "don't buy gas today" boycotts: you still need to drive your car to work, so you'd better fill up the night before.
The shops and restaurants you boycott today will make up for your absence with more sales the next day. It hurts them in no way whatsoever. It's totally pointless from an economic point of view.
But totally pointless gestures seem to be the standard with this type of thoughtless, emotionally charged Leftist demonstration.
On the “James Randy Educational Foundation” Forum, the poster zenith-nadir lists the arguments faced by anyone who attempts to defend the state Israel’s right to exist:
1) Zionists created Israel not UN Resolution 181.
2) Israel is a Zionist colonisation project who's only goal is to steal land and water from palestinians in it's unyielding quest to steal more land and water.
3) There was no Arab aggression against jews ever...until arabs...sorry...palestinians had to defend their lands from land-stealing zionists, who ironically don't belong there in the first place.
4) Palestinians are Palestinians and not descendants of Arabs.
5) Jews living side by side with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is positively unthinkable... but not racist in any way.
6) Sharon is the "cause" of the 2nd intifada because he walked on the temple mount....that statement too is not racist.
7) Arafat, the PLO and palestinian terrorism from 1964 until 2005 is the result of zionists stealing water & land.
8) Hamas, Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad, AL Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are "freedom fighters" who just happen to blow up buses, restaurants, discos, shopping malls, cafes, pool halls, seders, bus stops and markets full of civilians because zionists stole land and because zionists have American-made weapons. They are not islamist fanatics trying to destroy israel.
9) Arafat, the PLO and terrorism are understandable because zionists stole land and zionists have American-made weapons.
10) No Israeli prime minister has ever tried to make real peace with the Palestinians, it has all been "a trick" in order to steal more land & water for the Zionist colonisation project.
The beginning of this interesting debate can be found here.
The Daily Standard is enlisting the blogosphere to answer some questions outstanding from the Thornburgh-Boccardi report. One of these questions is:
(4) How many copies of the forged documents did CBS have? The documents CBS showed on the original 60 Minutes Wednesday segment appeared to have been crumpled, while those reproduced in the Thornburgh-Boccardi report appear uncrumpled.
Actually, I think I can answer this one. When they were preparing images of the documents for the report, they were concerned about the wrinkles; so, they gave Mary Mapes a call, asking her if she could run off another copy, and she said "Sure, I still have them on my hard drive...."
I started first grade in 1967 (extra credit to anyone who can calculate my age!), so my education straddled the Old/New Math divide, I guess.
People used the term 'New Math' in a derisive way, and they still do, but I don't think I ever understood what exactly was meant by the term.
Google is a wonderful thing. A good, readable explanation is here.
I do know that my father was always aghast that I didn't know the multiplication table by heart (and I still don't know it by heart, exactly). I'm not sure that New Math really helped me out any.
Anyway follow the link, especially to the amusing part at the end.
Even though I find it endlessly interesting, it is possible that you may be bored with the whole "CBS-TexANG-Forgery-Thornburgh-Boccardi-Report" kerfluffle.
If that is the case, then you certainly won't want to read this John Podhoretz column in The Weekly Standard:
The Deacon poses a philosophical question:
[C]an behavior that is indistinguishable from ordinary conduct ... be a protest if those against whom it is directed (a) don't know about it; (b) can't be affected by it, even indirectly; and (c) would have no reason to be other than indifferent about the behavior even if they knew of it?
Michelle Malkin reports on A Mystery in the Skies:
After all the passengers had deplaned, the Federal Air Marshalls checked with the flight attendants for more information. During a final check of the overhead bins, a flight attendant had noticed that one of the blankets was slightly unfolded, and he repositioned it in the bin. At this time, a razor blade fell out of the blanket. Concerned, but still believing this might be a straightforward mistake, the flight attendant began to check other overhead bins. Several additional incompletely folded blankets were noted, and hidden in each one was a box cutter: a total of five. It appeared that these had been placed there by the cleaning crew prior to the boarding of the airplane.
Scary...read it all.
Mrs. Agnostic and I received the following Christmas gift from my sister, and there is a plurality of opinion as to what, exactly, it might be:
On the one hand, it might be a nice candy dish:
On the other hand, it might be a handy desk organizizer:
Our personal guess was that it was a soap dish:
However, my sister claims that the true purpose of this piece of crockery is this:
We leave it up to you, the dear reader, to offer any other suggestions you may have in the comments.
There was a 'Goofus and Gallant' Photoshop contest yesterday over at Fark.Com.
I fondly remember Goofus and Gallant from Highlights magazine from the pediatrician's office when I was a kid.
As usual with Fark, it's usually an 'R' rated site. And because there are lots of images, it may take a long time to open with dial-up.
Blogs, blogs, blogs. What are blogs, you ask? Where can I find out the kind of information I need to understand blogs, you ask?
(What am I smoking, you ask? Where is my keeper, you ask? Will I ever stop saying "you ask," you ask?)
Frank J. answers all your questions.
Orlando is a driving city, not a walking city like New York. Thus, it would be very difficult here to create a web site like Overheard in New York.
Fratboy: We went to that bar once cause I heard there were lots of skanks in there. But there were no skanks! It sucked.
--outside Blue & Gold, East Village
I think that Sheila is right when she says this is addictive.
Clint Eastwood speaks:
"Michael Moore and I actually have a lot in common - we both appreciate living in a country where there's free expression," Eastwood told the star-dotted crowd attending the National Board of Review awards dinner at Tavern on the Green, where Eastwood picked up a Special Filmmaking Achievement prize for "Million Dollar Baby."
Then, the Republican-leaning actor/director advised the lefty filmmaker: "But, Michael, if you ever show up at my front door with a camera - I'll kill you."
The audience erupted in laughter, and Eastwood grinned dangerously.
"I mean it," he added, provoking more guffaws.
Moore, surprised at the buffet table, dropped a ham and wet himself.
Pious gratitude to: Tim Blair
The Deacon reviews CNN:
The worst thing about being stuck in an airport these days is the televisions running CNN non-stop. But today Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics was so over-the-top that it provided comic relief.
She is in terrible distress because a horrible person she used to work for is coming back to her workplace very soon. This person tormented poor Miss O'Hara relentlessly in the past, in the way that only a petty supervisor can do, to an extent that leaves her terrified.
There's very little that any of us can do except pray, unless you happen to live in Detroit and have a job opportunity for her (and if you do, please contact her). She is asking for advice.
It seems to me that an obvious step is for her to approach the Human Resources department where she works. Now, I am under no illusions that the HR people have any purpose other than to shield the company from lawsuits; I've never known an HR person to have my interests at heart. But is seems to me that this is the very definition of "Hostile Work Environment" and those three words are guaranteed to make their pointy little ears perk up.
Also, Miss O'Hara has reported that she has mentioned her concerns to her boss, and that he made light of the situation. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
I realize that Miss O'Hara is a good Christian woman who doesn't want to bring grief to anyone, and who tries to live her life the way God wants her to, and so she may not take my advice because it seems a little beligeriant.
But I'm concerned about her wellbeing; and she did ask for the input.
Ann Coulter sums up, in her way, the case for claims of CBS bias, Mapes' monomania, Rather's dishonesty and Burkett's need for strong medicine:
... in 1984, my father passed away after a lengthy fight with cancer.
I'm sure I'd be a better man for having had him in my life longer, but I know that whatever goodness is in me, I got from his example, and whatever's bad I got despite him.
Say a prayer for Miss O'Hara that she finds a new job soon. Her current situation sounds pretty intolerable.
Michelle Malkin shares some of the sweet email that she, as a minority conservative columnist, receives:
You're just a Manilla whore shaking your [a**] and waiting for the Republican fleet to come in, aren't you? You've even got the lip gloss about right. Maybe if you love sailor long time, he bring you home to big American house? I don't think so. Just like in Manilla, Honey, they'll pass you around 'til they've all shot their load in you, and then they'll try to scrub off the stench so they can sail off in their crisp, white uniforms to the land of W.A.S.P.
Here's a tip. We know you are lyin' pond scum and a whore to your profession......and, not a very expensive whore at that. So............when we get rid of you neocons; how will you ever pay your rent? You're not good enough to make it as a real writer. [f***] you; I hope you get cancer & die a horrible painful death all alone, with your collegues shunning you and the rest of us reading how wrong you are AND WHAT A CRUMMY WRITER YOU ARE.
Malkin, you're a dumb [f**ing] whore. You're a philipino piece of [s***] who should be wiping my [a**]. Go back to the massage parlor. Sucky sucky long time. How dare you thing you have any right to express any opinions in this country. You're a joke. Go back to nursing school. Whore.
Man, I just love it when the mask slips from these oh-so-tolerant racists on the left.
Michelle, you are a fine writer with an insightful mind who expresses herself clearly and cogently. I sure hope these assbites who write to you get what's coming to them.
Iowahawk has another chapter in his continuing saga of Inspector Dan Rather:
It was raining cats and dogs when the train salamandered into Minneapolis Union Station. I ducked through the Pullman doors, hoping this was not another wild goose chase.
That's good parody!
Robot Monster the movie may be bottom of the barrel for cheap special effects, script, acting, editing, and other such incidentals, but Ro-Man the character transcends his part. He is the die-hard wing of the Democratic party contesting the Ohio vote: "A miscalculation in the 22nd category of 16 billionths." He is the politically correct college administrator complaining about the uncanny persistence of conservative students: "Great Guidance, I do not understand how they survived the deadly Calcinator C-Ray!" He is Howell Raines, Dan Rather, and Michael Moore swelling with power and proud confusion, where would-be seriousness spills over into the haplessly ridiculous.
One recurring annoyance for me as a religious person is the assumption that, because I believe in God, I must by necessity embrace everything that other people who are also religious purport to believe. One of these things is the notion of Intelligent Design (ID), the in-my-opionion unprovable and untenable position that claims that the universe shows undenyable evidence that it was "designed" by an "intelligence" (i.e., by God).
At some point, perhaps, I will post an interminally long essay on exactly what I believe along these lines, but for now I will summarize: I don't believe in ID, for the simple reason that if God leaves His fingerprints so obviously on things it undermines the requirement for Faith. Is this counterintuitive? Probably, but much of Faith is.
Intelligent Design is discussed (and dismissed) rather eloquently by John Derbyshire here.
Also, it should be pointed out that ID is not simply the provenence of Bible-toting Fundies; such crack-pots as the Raelians also promote ID, but in their case they think the intelligent designers are extraterrestrial aliens and other such claptrap.
Mitch writes about something near and dear to my heart: "The subject is Madison Avenue's continual neutering of the American male via advertising."
Keep a pad of paper next to your television; make two columns, one marked "Men" and another marked "Women".
As you watch ads, you will undoubtably see ads where men and women come into conflict in the course narrative; usually one or the other is revealed to be dumb or ignorant or "un-hip" by the end of the ad. Put a tally in the column of the gender that comes out on the bottom.
I predict that there will be almost no tallies in the "Women" column, but plenty in the "Men" column.
Why is this?
The Thornburgh-Boccardi report on Rathergate concludes that it can find no evidence that partisanship or bias played any role in CBS's decision to air the "unsourced" (aka, forged) Killian documents.
Captain Ed has a detailed and fascinating analysis that convincingly shows that there is plenty of evidence in the report itself that would lead a different conclusion; that Mary Mapes was an anti-Bush partisan, and bias at CBS allowed her to procede unchecked.
I share Sheila's opinion that you should read this article:
It is very interesting and concludes:
There are media dedicated to the dividends of darkness that both reflect a cultural bias toward despair and simultaneously shape it. They are enormously influential, and if you wonder why our young people are in the midst of an epidemic of depression and meaninglessness in the presence of unprecedented wealth, education, and opportunity, you might start with what they read in the New York Times.
If you are interested in the CBS Report on Rathergate, Jim Geraghty is all over it.
I fear that Little Green Footballs may be under another DOS attack. I can't get to the site.
He's on a roll. (Hope he doesn't get butter on his trousers.)
Today's all-star cricket match between a World XI and an Asian XI at the MCG will do more for the beleaguered Muslims of Banda Aceh than Libya, Syria and Egypt combined.
In fairness to the Saudis, they've just upped their pledge to $US30 million. But for purposes of one final comparison, consider this: a single Saudi telethon in 2002 managed to raise $US56 million. That was for widows and orphans of Palestinian suicide bombers, those deceased as well as those yet to blow. It seems nothing gets the wealthy elite of Riyadh and Jeddah adding the zeroes to the cheques like self-detonating on an Israeli bus.
Is should be noted the the USS Abraham Lincoln is the same carrier where this happened. Different mission. Still accomplishing.
Pious gratitude to: Instapundit
At midday Thursday, as George W. Bush was about to be confirmed formally as the winner of the presidential election, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, described by Agence France-Presse as the ''Democratic former presidential hopeful,'' led 400 other Democrats in a protest outside Congress. Presidential-wise, they may be former but they're still hopeful. So they were wearing orange, the color of the election protesters in Ukraine, who overturned their own stolen election with an ''orange revolution.''
Now, on the one hand it's very brave for the Rhymin' Reverend to lead an orange protest. There is no rhyme for the word ''orange.'' Irving Berlin tried and the best he could manage was ''door-hinge,'' which just about works in certain boroughs of New York but would make an unreliable jingle for the Rhymin' Rev to bellow at Bush from outside the White House:
''We're here, we're orange
We're pushing at your door-hinge . . .''
Pious gratitude to: Power Line
Submitted for your comment: German Toilets
I do not understand the purpose of this toilet. It does not save water - you must flush it eight or ten times to remove every last scrape and smear. It is not hygienic - the smell is ungodly. The only conceivable explanation is that Germans love to inspect their stool, so the German toilet of necessity features a built-in stool inspection shelf. I wouldn't be surprised if the more expensive models include a digital scale: "Mein Gott, zwei kilogram!" exclaims Günter, joyful and relieved.
I don't recall these toilets when I was in Germany in 1990, but I have family (service folks and otherwise) who may be able to shed some light, so to speak, on this.
Flushed out of: Instapundit
There is a new strange mood of acceptance among Americans about the world beyond our shores. Of course, we are not becoming naïve isolationists of 1930s vintage, who believe that we are safe by ourselves inside fortress America — not after September 11. Nor do citizens deny that America has military and moral obligations to stay engaged abroad — at least for a while yet. Certainly the United States is not mired in a Vietnam-era depression and stagflation and thus ready to wallow in Carteresque malaise. Indeed, if anything Americans remain muscular and are more defiant than ever.
Instead, there is a new sort of resignation rising in the country, as the United States sheds its naiveté that grew up in the aftermath of the Cold War. Clintonism may have assumed that terrorism was but a police matter, that the military could be slashed and used for domestic social reform by fiat, that our de facto neutrals were truly our friends, and that the end of the old smash-mouth history was at hand. The chaotic events following the demise of the Soviet Union, the mass murder on September 11, and the new strain of deductive anti-Americanism abroad cured most of all that.
Imagine a world in which there was no United States during the last 15 years. Iraq, Iran, and Libya would now have nukes. Afghanistan would remain a seventh-century Islamic terrorist haven sending out the minions of Zarqawi and Bin Laden worldwide. The lieutenants of Noriega, Milosevic, Mullah Omar, Saddam, and Moammar Khaddafi would no doubt be adjudicating human rights at the United Nations. The Ortega Brothers and Fidel Castro, not democracy, would be the exemplars of Latin America. Bosnia and Kosovo would be national graveyards like Pol Pot's Cambodia. Add in Kurdistan as well — the periodic laboratory for Saddam's latest varieties of gas. Saddam himself, of course, would have statues throughout the Gulf attesting to his control of half the world's oil reservoirs. Europeans would be in two-day mourning that their arms sales to Arab monstrocracies ensured a second holocaust. North Korea would be shooting missiles over Tokyo from its new bases around Seoul and Pusan. For their own survival, Germany, Taiwan, and Japan would all now be nuclear. Americans know all that — and yet they grasp that their own vigilance and military sacrifices have earned them spite rather than gratitude. And they are ever so slowly learning not much to care anymore.
Tim Blair has an interesting round-up of UN tsunami relief efforts. For example, he quotes Francis Till, in New Zealand's National Business Review:
While the United Nations appears to be adept at having meetings, the organisation is hopeless on the ground say career foreign service officers in tsunami-affected regions.
As news media are increasingly dominated by footage of US, Australian and regional military forces actually delivering aid to stricken survivors of the Boxing Day tsunami, UN officials are carping about housing in major cities far removed from the front lines and passing around elaborate business cards.
A high-profile Australian charity headed by a Catholic priest has backed away from plans to set up an orphanage in tsunami-shattered Aceh after the plan enraged hardline Muslim groups.Because, you see, he's not Muslim, and Aceh has fully implemented Islamic sharia law. I guess those mullahs would rather the kids die in the street than be helped by a dirty kaffir.
Pious gratitude to: Tim Blair
Go read this: How to Interrogate Terrorists
To read the techniques requested is to understand how restrained the military has been in its approach to terror detainees—and how utterly false the torture narrative has been. Here’s what the interrogators assumed they could not do without clearance from the secretary of defense: yell at detainees (though never in their ears), use deception (such as posing as Saudi intelligence agents), and put detainees on MREs (meals ready to eat—vacuum-sealed food pouches eaten by millions of soldiers, as well as vacationing backpackers) instead of hot rations. The interrogators promised that this dangerous dietary measure would be used only in extremis, pending local approval and special training.
The most controversial technique approved was “mild, non-injurious physical contact such as grabbing, poking in the chest with the finger, and light pushing,” to be reserved only for a “very small percentage of the most uncooperative detainees” believed to possess critical intelligence. A detainee could be poked only after review by Gitmo’s commanding general of intelligence and the commander of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, and only pursuant to “careful coordination” and monitoring.
None of this remotely approaches torture or cruel or degrading treatment. Nevertheless, fanatically cautious Pentagon lawyers revolted, claiming that the methods approved for Kahtani violated international law. Uncharacteristically irresolute, Rumsfeld rescinded the Guantánamo techniques in January 2003.
Pious gratitude to: Power Line
Director Oliver Stone said he was surprised by the critical reaction to his historical epic "Alexander" — and put the blame on the fundamentalist morality in some parts of the United States.
Critics lambasted the film, which stars Irish actor Colin Farrell, and some conservative groups condemned Stone's depiction of the Macedonian conqueror's sexuality.
Yeah, because conservative Evangelicals are really, really over-represented among film critics. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting one of those conservative religious-type movie critics.
Dumbass. The movie stank.
Last night, I finished Ann Coulter's book How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must). I found this collection of her essays entertaining and fun, for the same reason I like everything she writes: she's not afraid to use the same outragous rhetoric to attack her political enemies (liberals and/or Democrats) that these same enemies use against Conservatives.
And to see the way ganders respond to her generous application of goose-sauce just makes me smile.
She's very confident, and once you've heard her throaty, not-exactly-melodious voice on TV or radio, it comes through in every line she writes.
Update: In the likely event you want to read more of Ann's columns, go here.
Via Power Line, I find an appalling story about a young Arab student who is attacked and told he needs psycho-therapy because of his faith.
Is Muslim faith? No, his faith in America.
Professor Woolcock didn’t grade my essay. Instead he told me to come to see him in his office the following morning. I was surprised the next morning when instead of giving me a grade, Professor Woolcock verbally attacked me and my essay. He told me, “Your views are irrational.” He called me naïve for believing in the greatness of this country, and told me "America is not God's gift to the world." Then he upped the stakes and said "You need regular psychotherapy." Apparently, if you are an Arab Muslim who loves America you must be deranged. Professor Woolcock went as far as to threaten me by stating that he would visit the Dean of International Admissions (who has the power to take away student visas) to make sure I received regular psychological treatment.
It is a well-known and established fact that, while not all Monty Python fans play D&D, all D&D players are Monty Python fans.
I think either category will get a kick out of this.
Powerline writes about The Klannish Left
Earlier today, Rocket Man linked to a piece from FrontPage Magazine in which Naseer Flayih Hasan expressed his disillusionment with the European leftists he has met in Iraq. According to Hasan, the prevailing view among many of the leftists he has encountered in Iraq (typically journalists or aid workers) is that the Americans are criminals, the Iraqis who support the American efforts are traitors, and the Iraqi insurgents are resistance fighters. The view is not confined to European leftists, of course -- it is the position of the Michael Moore left in this country. And aspects of this view have found their way into the mainstream. Just today, Washington Post columnist William Raspberry wrote:We can argue all day that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant whose defeat and humiliation should evoke no sympathy from us. But he did have a functioning country. There was a government in place. People went to work and to the market and to school in relative safety. Can anyone really believe that the U.S.-spawned anarchy has left the Iraqi people better off?
I wonder whether Raspberry would have made the same argument with respect to the American South in 1868. Prior to the Civil War, there was a government in place and people went about their business (or their master's) in relative safety. Could anyone believe, in 1868, that the anarchy spawned by th Civil War had left southerners better off?
Update: Next, read How the Left Betrayed My Country - Iraq
After those, and many other, experiences, we finally comprehended how little we had in common with these “peace activists” who constantly decried American crimes, and hated to listen to us talk about the terrible long nightmare that ended with the collapse of the regime. We came to understand how these “humanitarians” experienced a sort of pleasure when terrorists or former remnants of the regime created destruction in Iraq—just so they could feel that they were right, and the Americans wrong!
Please read the Captain's Quarters post linked above. I intend to participate. Won't you?
Last week's "Mainstream Media vs. Bloggers" story brought to you by Nick Coleman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
This story (and the accompanying links) will bring you up to date.
I've decided that I'm not going to go back and obsessively read all the blog posts I missed last week. I can't claim that I arrived at this decision after lots of soul searching and nocturnal turn-tossing. It's pretty much a spur-of-the-moment thing.
Life just seems too short to go back and try to follow all the threads. I'm usually pretty good at figuring out what's going on when I join a movie after it's started, so I'm confident.
On the other hand, what does it mean if I can pull this off? If I can go cold-turkey on blogs for a week, could I do the same for two? three? six?
Could it be that this glorious activity, so full of rewards and promise, could be something can simply discard, like the train set I am (was) building in my den, or the model rockets that so consumed me a few years ago?
Yeah, I guess it does. Oddly enough, it doesn't concern me; on the contrary, it makes me feel healthy.
I can quit whenever I want, honest.
I pray for Wisdom to understand my man;
Love to forgive him;
And Patience for his moods.
Because, Lord, if I pray for Strength,
I'll beat him to death.
We're home safe and sound. We had an absolutely wonderful time with our family in Cincinnati, and feel such gratitude for their generosity and hospitality.
I've been completely cut off from the web since I left (more due to choice than to lack of opportunity). I'm told I have a lot to catch up on. And, naturally, I didn't even unpack my digital camera, so no pictures, not even of the wonderful meals we were served.
The horrible tsunami was on our minds the entire trip. Every day, the death toll mounts. Horrifying! God bless all of them.
I'll be leaving up the "Winter Wonderland" style at least until Epiphany, but it may be longer. Keep the Christmas Spirit in your hearts all year long.