I didn’t blog much today (sorry), but I did take time out from an insanely busy schedule to do something nice: I had lunch with Neo-neocon. She was in town visiting, and we got together for some Chinese food and conversation. Both were excellent. Neo is precisely what you’d expect from her blog: thoughtful, traditionally liberal in her outlook (a la Dennis Prager, who claims to be a John F. Kennedy era liberal), and articulate. It was such a pleasure to have this break in an otherwise long and often frustrating day.
In some way, the intellectual differences between moonbats and me can easily be distilled down to thoughts about 15 captured British sailors. Rosie O’Donnell, an exhibitionist lesbian who would quickly be put to death were she an Iranian citizen, earnestly opines on American television that the Iranians acted in good faith to defend their territorial integrity, and that we should believe all of their promises and representations. (This touching faith in the Iranians is just a launching pad for accusing the U.S. Government of being behind 9/11, of course).
Rosie holds to this laughable position despite the fact that the Iranians have had to adjust their manifest lies in order to make them fit with irrefutable facts. She also does this despite the fact that the Iranians have made a special effort to humiliate and demean the one British woman captured — something that seems not to bother Rosie’s feminist sensibilities.
Can’t you just imagine the convoluted thinking in Rosie’s brain as she tried to deal with this assault on Western womanhood? It’s kind of like that old kid’s joke about falling out of an airplane. You remember: I fell out of an airplane. That’s bad. I had a parachute. That’s good. The parachute broke. That’s bad. But I landed in a river. That’s good. But I can’t swim. That’s bad. And on and on until your ingenuity, or your audience’s patience, gives out.
In the Rosie version, it goes
A woman was captured. That’s bad. But she was a complicit member of the vast military complex. That’s good, because her capture serves her right. Of, course, she’s British. That’s kind of bad, because they’re socialists, which is a good thing (as long as they don’t go after my millions). But Tony Blair is threatening economic sanctions against the poor Iranians. That’s bad, because he’s being a Western bully. As part of her captivity, they’re forcing her to wear a scarf over her head and parading her on TV, both in violation of the Geneva convention. Well, it might be bad, because maybe she doesn’t want to be humiliated this way. On the other hand, she could be having a bad hair day, and everyone wants to be on TV (right?), and the Geneva Convention applies only to bullying imperialist nations such as the United States, not to poor, little beleaguered oil rich nations with Muslim extremists in power.
Ah, the heck with all this: Somehow, it’s George Bush’s fault, and that’s GOOD.
When I hear about all the “confessions” the British sailors are issuing (in publicly televised sessions that violate the Geneva Convention, of course), I have no doubt but that the captives are being coerced, threatened, and possibly tortured. Although I haven’t yet seen any ruminations from the moonbats about these confessions (I haven’t been trolling the sewers of the more extreme liberal blogs), I’m willing to bet that they are accepting these confessions at face value. And why shouldn’t they? In Rosie the Moonbat world, Iran is the good guy, and is just trying to defend it’s poor little ol’ self from the big, bad, surprisingly helpless and hapless British Navy. (Queen Victoria is rolling in her grave as she hears through the ghost grapevine that a giant British battleship did nothing at all as its sailors were kidnapped.) The Moonbats also have a long and, to them, honorable tradition, dating back to Soviet times, of putting complete faith in the Kangaroo courts and show trials that the worst dictatorships periodically like to stage.
Yup. I’ve passed the test. I’m definitely not a moonbat.
Folks, the votes are in at the Watcher’s Council and the winners are:
In the Council-authored category are Eternity Road’s Demographics and the Medicalization of Human Existence (first place) and Colossus of Rhodey’s Student Press Rights (second place).
In the non-Council category, the winners are Michael Yon’s Tabula Rasa (first place) and Kobayashi Maru’s Iranian Machinations : Sun Tzu Would Be Pleased (second place).
As you’ve come to expect, they are extremely good articles and are well worth any time you can allocate to them.
It seems as if, to the extent the administration still retains cajones, they’re put to a single (and laudable) service: we will not arbitrarily withdraw from Iraq. As to everything else, I think Ann Coulter’s latest screed is correct:
Democrats have the breathtaking audacity to claim that Bush’s replacing his own political appointees is “politicizing prosecutions.”
They say this as Sandy Berger walks free after stealing and destroying top-secret national security documents – but Lewis “Scooter” Libby faces decades in prison for not outing a covert agent. (Let’s hope he’s learned his lesson!)
They say this as Rep. William “The Refrigerator” Jefferson sits on the Homeland Security Committee while waiting for the $100,000 found in his freezer to thaw – but Tom DeLay remains under an indictment by some hick prosecutor in Texas for an alleged accounting violation.
They say this as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid draws interest on the sale of a property he sold in a complicated land swindle – but American hero Randy “Duke” Cunningham rots in prison.
They say this while Sen. Chuck Schumer pays no price whatsoever for his Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee having illegally obtained a copy of Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele’s credit report, for which one employee, Lauren Weiner, pleaded guilty, but served no prison time.
Democrats have created a world in which a DNC card is a “get out of jail free” card, and “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt” means “no doubt the defendant is Republican.” (If Democrats keep this up, they’ll have to rethink their push to give inmates the right to vote.)
Bush should say: “We did it, it was political, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Then he should start holding hearings on Congress’ obstruction of the war effort. Members of Congress should be asked to come before the administration’s hearings and testify under oath about their commitment to victory. If they are not traitors, what do they have to hide? Surely they will be willing to state under oath that they are not undermining the war effort for partisan political gain.
The hearings could be televised in prime time: “Traitor or No Traitor?”
Read the rest here.
It’s no surprise to me that Iran is reneging on its promise to release the single woman amongst the captured British sailors. That was never more than a feint, intended to buy time while Iran keeps the pressure on a paralyzed Britain. What irks me is something different, and petty, since I haven’t walked a mile or a minute in Faye Turney’s shoes: it’s that headscarf she’s shown wearing in the illegal-under-the Geneva-convention videos made of the captured sailors. Has Turney converted to Islam? If she hasn’t, why is she wearing a head scarf? Presumably her captors insisted she wear one, but why isn’t she ripping it off her head. She’s not their willing guest and certainly owes them no respect for their religious beliefs. She’s a British sailor, for goodness sake, not an Iranian woman.
As I’ve said, I haven’t walked in Turney’s shoes, and I don’t know what coercion she’s under but, every time I see that picture of her “scarved,” I want to reach through my computer screen and reveal her blonde, British hair for all the Muslim misogynists to see and fear.
UPDATE: I’m in good company. Hugh Hewitt reached the same conclusion I did about that damn little piece of fabric.
A few days ago, based on a post in Little Green Footballs, I included in my blog a video of Hillel Neuer, of UN Watch, politely blasting the UN Human Rights Council for consistently supporting the world’s most murderous regimes while equally consistently demonizing Israel, the only Democracy in the Middle East. I noted, as did LGF, that the Council President demanded to have Hillel’s speech erased from the record. Now, the ever helpful LGF has posted a video with all the speeches that effortlessly flow into the UN record. Here’s Johnson’s description of the “approved” UN rhetoric:
UN Watch has now put together another must-see video, showing the kinds of disgusting, evil speeches that are NOT banned by the UN Human Rights Council—including support for the execution of homosexuals, support for terrorist groups, Holocaust denial, and the inevitable demonization of Israel (to a frightening degree).
Anyway, check out the LGF post, watch the video, and (a) see your taxpayer dollars and work and (b) see the entity the Democrats think should dictate America’s foreign policy, as well as many of its internal policies.
Accepted wisdom is that one of the reasons the voters gave Republicans the boot was that the Republicans, although they did lower taxes and increase federal revenues, spent money like it was going out of style. The Democrats, for the first time in their political history, positioned themselves as the fiscally responsible party. Turns out leopards don’t change their spots. Currently, the Dems are poised, not only to increase our taxes dramatically, which will inevitably choke off available revenues that can in future be taxed, but to increase spending, far above whatever the Republicans were frittering away. Here’s the Captain’s take:
Many people abandoned the GOP in the midterms because of their lack of discipline in federal spending. Discretionary spending rose by over 30% during the six years that the Republicans controlled both elective branches of government. They reduced taxes and grew the economy, but the GOP never delivered on their initial promise to reduce government an rein in spending.
Based on those failures, the nation gave the Democrats the majority in both chambers of Congress. What did we get? No decrease in federal spending; the Democrats want to grow the government by 2.4% each year, which would mean adding close to $100 billion in spending each year. In order to do that, they want to increase taxes across the board, choking off economic growth and making people even more dependent on the government.
By 2011, the added tax burden on every taxpayer would be over $1100 dollars. Twenty-six million small businesses would have to pay almost $4,000 in extra taxes. More than five million Americans whose incomes are too low to pay taxes now would have to start paying in 2011, making the Democratic plan more regressive than what it seeks to replace.
Democrats and taxes, together again after twelve years in the wilderness. It sounds like a movie romance — and we’re footing the bill for the production.
Mr. Bookworm and I work quite hard. As it is, between property taxes, state taxes, federal taxes, payments to keep social security afloat (because I don’t believe I’ll see this money come back at the end of my working days), gasoline taxes, sale taxes, etc., we see more than 50% of our money vanish into the government maw. The only type of tax where I feel the money is spent reasonably well is my local property tax, and that’s precisely for the old-fashioned reason that the local government is incredibly attuned to my community’s specific needs and desires. There is also, as I can tell you from my eyewitnesses point of view, almost no waste or corruption in my little government. This is a lot closer to “no taxation without representation” than the money chewing pork barrel in D.C.
Here’s an old joke from the Soviet era:
Rumor in Moscow has it that the grocery store has cans of meat. Despite the fact that it’s a very cold day, a long, long line instantly forms outside the store. After a couple of hours, a Communist official comes out of the store and announces, “Supplies are not as large as we first believed. All Jews must leave the line.” With empty bags and empty stomachs, the Jews quietly depart. Another couple of hours go by, and the same official emerges from the store, this time stating, “Supplies are even smaller than we thought. All non-Party members must leave the line.” The chilled, hungry non-party members wander off. Another two cold hours go by, and the official comes out for the last time: “Sorry, we have no supplies. Everyone must go home.” And as the Communist Party members wander off into the frigid afternoon, one can be heard murmuring to the other, “Those damn Jews! They get all the luck.”
Why am I telling this hoary old joke? Because the UN announced that it is going to make a major push for circumcision as a way to curtail the spread of AIDS. Jews, of course, have been circumcising their baby boys for more than 5,000 years. And somehow, somewhere, some little person is going to make the connection that the Jews, by doing something unpleasant that many people don’t want to do, lucked into something!
UPDATE: With perfect timing, after recycling that old Soviet joke, I read today in NRO that there is a whole movie coming out about the anti-Communist humor in the Soviet Union that even the Communists could not suppress:
But regarding an ideology with deadly seriousness doesn’t mean that it can’t also be laughed at. Director/co-writer Ben Lewis’s new documentary Hammer & Tickle, which was co-produced by the Moving Picture Institute, chronicles the long history of jokes about Communism, in which those who lived under Communist oppressors were — when they managed to sneak it past the authorities — able to wring some humor out of the system that surrounded them. Communism’s all-encompassing terror, the film suggests, may even have given its humor a boost. As one of the film’s subjects wryly states, “The worse the government, the better the jokes.”
The documentary recounts a number of the many, many jokes that spread, often secretly, throughout the communist citizenry during the long tenure of Soviet Communism and its various offshoots. But Hammer & Tickle isn’t merely a joke book on film. It’s a brisk, concise lesson in the grim history of Soviet Communism told through a series of joke-centered anecdotes.
Sometimes, you open a web page, and find the most interesting things. Today, I found slightly heartening (the first two stories) and definitely heart warming (the last story) three of the stories at YNet news, as of 8:13 PST (some of the others were less than thrilling). Briefly:
Arabs are talking peace with Israel. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they’re trying to revitalize the Saudi plan, which called for Israel to retreat to her pre-1967 borders. Even the UN had figured out that was a bad idea. So, either this is the opening in a real negotiation, or this is just the kind of pap Arabs put on for a credulous Western media. The only reason I’m somewhat sanguine about it is because I read somewhere (can’t remember where) that Arabs are finally slowing on their demand for a right of return — a demand that would have flooded Israel with Muslims and destroyed the State from the inside out.
Israelis and Palestinians may be returning to security coordination. Working with each other is a start, I guess….
And, best for last: “Evangelical Christians from around the world have presented a ‘letter of repentance’ to the Jewish people expressing remorse for Christian persecution throughout history, during a ceremony at the Knesset on Wednesday.” Here’s one Jew who says thank you!
I put off reading it, because I knew it would depress me. Then, because I also knew it would be important to read, as well as lucidly written, thought-provoking, intelligent, and informative, I got over my childish reluctance and read part two in Richard Baehr’s three part expose about the increasing hostility on the American Left towards Israel. Fortunately, the article also reveals the logical fallacies underlying so much of that hostility.
Surprisingly, to the extent it focused on the native common sense of ordinary Americans, as opposed to the twisted thinking of American intellectuals, including many self-hating Jews (Soros, Chomsky, etc.), it was also less depressing than I feared. Nicely, it celebrates the beauty of the connection between Jews who support Israel and Evangelicals who do the same.
Anyway, I’m quoting a little bit from the article (the cheering part), just to whet your appetite for the whole thing:
Would American policy change if the debate were opened up?
The real problem for pro-Palestinian Arabs and Muslims and their allies on the progressive left (who have adopted anti-Israel attitudes as a religion, much like their passionate hatred of the Iraq war and George Bush), is that Americans are not on their side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If Congress in a largely bipartisan fashion is pro-Israel, it is because their constituents are overwhelmingly pro-Israel. AIPAC did not make the man or the woman on the street uncomfortable with Palestinian suicide bombers, or with the Palestinians who cheered the 9/11 attacks in cites across the West Bank and Gaza, or with the Palestinian media, schools and mosques in which hatred is spewed for Jews, Christians, America, the West, and all non-Muslims (infidels).
The Gallup organization has been polling Americans on their sympathies in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians for decades. In every poll taken on the subject, the pro-Israel group has always been much larger. In the latest survey, the numbers show 58% for Israel (close to an all-time high), and 20% for the Palestinians . The 38% margin is one of the largest ever recorded in the survey. Gallup says fewer Americans are neutral or do not care about the conflict than in the past. The results also show very sharp differences among self-proclaimed Democrats and Republicans. Democrat-leaning voters are much more likely to be supportive of the Palestinians than Republican-leaning voters.
In the last few years, there has been a succession of books attacking evangelical Christians, also called “right wing Christians”, for their alleged control over American politics. In fact critics on the left believe they are in the center of political debate, and all who disagree with them are right wing or far right wing or “wingnuts”. It is not clear whom they would regard as left wing other than Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao perhaps (but only on their bad days). It is not surprising that some of the most vitriolic polemicists on the subject are also hard-line anti-Israel in their views (Chris Hedges is a prime example). With Christian Zionism in full bloom, the left’s hysteria over and hatred of the Christian right will only be more on display, and more intolerant. Christian evangelicals are a very large group of pro-Israel Americans who are among those surveyed in all the polls taken. And no Israel lobby was needed to make them supportive of the one Jewish state.
All the early reports of the riots at Paris’ Gare de Nord train station — and most of the subsequent ones, as well — have referred to those ubiquitous “youths” as the troublemakers. (And if you’ve ever seen the movie “My Cousin Vinny,” every time you hear the word “youths,” you want to giggle.) This is London, however, is finally naming names or, rather, national origins:
Many of the rioters appeared to be of African or North African origin.
Also, despite reports I’ve read about police brutality being the problem (i.e., that the police were too rough with the original fare dodger), it looks as if, aside from breaking the law by dodging the fare, the original malfeasor, who has a long record, tried a little brutality himself:
The fare dodger, who punched one ticket inspector, has a lengthy criminal record, interior minister Francois Baroin said.
Police, who made 13 arrests, said he was an illegal immigrant from Congo who has challenged efforts to expel him. He was convicted in 2004 for insulting a magistrate.
Note the “illegal immigrant” part of the equation when it comes to describing the man who started it all. I rather wonder about the immigrant status of the rest of the “youths” involved in this by now typical Paris kerfuffle between the police and these African and North African immigrants.
On a related topic, Mr. Bookworm and I are about 2/3 of the way through Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie Blood Diamond. The reviews were a little sour, but I think it’s a good movie for two reasons: First, it has DiCaprio, a man I think is one of the best actors around. I like watching him, and I think he’s matured gracefully from a little boy to an actor of substance. I like watching him so much that I assiduously ignore any stories about him — his lifestyle or politics — so that I won’t be so soured on him that I stop watching his movies. I did catch, though, that he has an Israel girlfriend, which indicates, although it doesn’t prove, that he’s not an anti-Semite.
Second, the movie portrays really well a vital fact we all tend to forget. As Mr. Bookworm inelegantly stated, “Africa is a s**thole.” While there do seem to be pockets of civility, for the most part, Africa is a continent that catapults wildly from one natural or man made disaster to another, without pause, and always with the highest number of brutally abused victims, especially children. Some might think the movie exaggerates the terrors of rebel warfare (this time in Sierra Leone), but I’ve read enough articles and stories over the last several years to believe that, if anything, this blood-drenched movie is weak on portraying real life in the most degraded parts of Africa.
Keith Richburg, an African-American, was only telling the truth (and presciently in many ways) when he wrote his 1998 book Out of America : a Black Man Confronts Africa. Having served as the African bureau chief for a major American newspaper (I can’t remember which one right now), he makes the very un-PC admission that he is incredibly grateful to be a black man in America, rather than Africa. He holds to this belief despite the fact that it was the evils of slavery several hundred years ago that resulted in his ancestors’ being transported from one land to another. In other words, his ancestors suffered so that he could live. Incidentally, the book is also a great indictment of the African-American political leaders who resolutely turn a blind eye to a lot of the worst dictators in Africa so as to score political points at home.
Paper or plastic? Not anymore in San Francisco.
The city’s Board of Supervisors approved groundbreaking legislation Tuesday to outlaw plastic checkout bags at large supermarkets in about six months and large chain pharmacies in about a year.
The ordinance, sponsored by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, is the first such law in any city in the United States and has been drawing global scrutiny this week.
“I am astounded and surprised by the worldwide attention,” Mirkarimi said. “Hopefully, other cities and other states will follow suit.”
Fifty years ago, plastic bags — starting first with the sandwich bag — were seen in the United States as a more sanitary and environmentally friendly alternative to the deforesting paper bag. Now an estimated 180 million plastic bags are distributed to shoppers each year in San Francisco. Made of filmy plastic, they are hard to recycle and easily blow into trees and waterways, where they are blamed for killing marine life. They also occupy much-needed landfill space.
Two years ago, San Francisco officials considered imposing a 17-cent tax on petroleum-based plastic bags before reaching a deal with the California Grocers Association. The agreement called for large supermarkets to reduce by 10 million the number of bags given to shoppers in 2006. The grocers association said it cut back by 7.6 million, but city officials called that figure unreliable and unverifiable because of poor data supplied by markets.
The dispute led to a renewed interest in outlawing the standard plastic bag, which Mirkarimi said Tuesday was a “relic of the past.” Under the legislation, which passed 10-1 in the first of two votes, large markets and pharmacies will have the option of using compostable bags made of corn starch or bags made of recyclable paper. San Francisco will join a number of countries, such as Ireland, that already have outlawed plastic bags or have levied a tax on them. Final passage of the legislation is expected at the board’s next scheduled meeting, and the mayor is expected to sign it.
The grocers association has warned that the new law will lead to higher prices for San Francisco shoppers.
I don’t know if it makes me feel better or worse to know that I went to school with one of Supervisor Mirkarimi’s relatives. SF is a small world, and I guess we can all boast of one or two degrees of separation between any one of us and a SF silly person.
You know about the small print: You see some advertisement touting a fantastic bargain on a product if you’ll just rush into the store during a small window of time, bearing a check book. If you dig out the magnifying glass though, you might see that the tiny dot you thought was dust is actually an asterisk, and that the blurry box at the bottom of the page is actually the text connected to that asterisk. Magnifying glass still in hand, you read to discover that the “offer is not available in all states,” a statement then followed by a list of the 48 states in which it’s not available. Turns out that this principle also applies to the Geneva Convention.
The way it works is that, if you’re America, the Geneva Convention is available to all comers, whether they are members of a formal military, whether their country is a Convention signatory, whether they were caught in uniform, etc. The asterisk, however, is that terrorist states that have signed on to the Geneva Convention don’t, in fact, have to follow it. John at Power Line connects the dots:
One more thing: these uniformed British servicemen (and woman), unlike captured terrorists, are entitled to be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention, which Iran has signed. Pretty much every aspect of their treatment has violated the Convention: a video showing them in captivity has been filmed and played on television, they have been “interrogated,” in Iran’s own description, and are now being held incommunicado in an undisclosed location. Has anyone noticed any outcry from the “world community” about this? Does the Geneva Convention apply to anyone other than the U.S.?
The same post has a good, short analysis of the Iran/Britain situation generally, so you may want to read it.
You’ve no doubt heard that the Six Imams, as part of their legal strategy, have named as “John Doe” defendants in their lawsuit some of the people who alerted the authorities about the fact that the Imam’s were behaving in a peculiar and threatening way. That threat, to drag citizens into litigation, might have been a straw, breaking the back of the forbearing American public. People are not happy. Lawyers are promising free representation. And Michelle Malkin has created the John Doe Manifesto, which is not a bad thing to read, remember and pass along:
Dear Muslim Terrorist Plotter/Planner/Funder/Enabler/Apologist,
You do not know me. But I am on the lookout for you. You are my enemy. And I am yours.
I am John Doe.
I am traveling on your plane. I am riding on your train. I am at your bus stop. I am on your street. I am in your subway car. I am on your lift.
I am your neighbor. I am your customer. I am your classmate. I am your boss.
I am John Doe.
I will never forget the example of the passengers of American Airlines Flight 93 who refused to sit back on 9/11 and let themselves be murdered in the name of Islam without a fight.
I will never forget the passengers and crew members who tackled al Qaeda shoe-bomber Richard Reid on American Airlines Flight 63 before he had a chance to blow up the plane over the Atlantic Ocean.
I will never forget the alertness of actor James Woods, who notified a stewardess that several Arab men sitting in his first-class cabin on an August 2001 flight were behaving strangely. The men turned out to be 9/11 hijackers on a test run.
I will act when homeland security officials ask me to “report suspicious activity.”
I will embrace my local police department’s admonition: “If you see something, say something.”
I am John Doe.
I will protest your Jew-hating, America-bashing “scholars.”
I will petition against your hate-mongering mosque leaders.
I will raise my voice against your subjugation of women and religious minorities.
I will challenge your attempts to indoctrinate my children in our schools.
I will combat your violent propaganda on the Internet.
I am John Doe.
I will support law enforcement initiatives to spy on your operatives, cut off your funding, and disrupt your murderous conspiracies.
I will oppose all attempts to undermine our borders and immigration laws.
I will resist the imposition of sharia principles and sharia law in my taxi cab, my restaurant, my community pool, the halls of Congress, our national monuments, the radio and television airwaves, and all public spaces.
I will not be censored in the name of tolerance.
I will not be cowed by your Beltway lobbying groups in moderate clothing. I will not cringe when you shriek about “profiling” or “Islamophobia.”
I will put my family’s safety above sensitivity. I will put my country above multiculturalism.
I will not submit to your will. I will not be intimidated.
I am John Doe.
Pass it on.
For more on the John Doe revolution, check out Michelle’s website.
The title of my post is reflective of what’s been going through my mind since I saw the Drudge headline announcing that the U.S. Senate, led by Democrats, has joined the surrender brigade. In what war in history, I ask you, has a country, with victory still more than possible, ever announced in advance to the enemy the date on which it intends to surrender? This is insanity on a national scale and it’s quite scary. I’m so flummoxed by the whole thing that I’m utterly unable to come up with something even marginally intelligent or meaningful to say about the subject. Blogs other than mine will castigate specific political figures or analyze in depth the crazy details in the Bill. All I can do is stand around with jaw dropped, assuming that something will happen (veto, anyone?) to take this train off the track.
By the way, I assume that the Dems passed the surrender bills in House and Senate precisely because they can rely on the veto. They can make a statement to their moonbat supporters knowing that they won’t be called to account for their utterly irresponsible conduct.
Okay, so there’s nothing meaningful coming from me on the real subject of the day. Fortunately, though, I have a backlog of really interesting emails from friends of my blog giving me the heads-up me about interesting things that other people have said. So, here, in no particular order, is stuff that, had I said it or found it in the first place, would have made me look very smart:
A few weeks ago, the British Guardian (a far Left paper that occasionally publishes surprisingly good articles) published an article entitled “We’ve never had it so good,” noting that, despite feminist whining, life for young British women in their 20s and early 30s is pretty damn fine. So fine, indeed, that, as described in the article, they sound like an extraordinarily arrogant, self-centered, emotionally isolated group of women. The real kicker, though, is in the article’s closing, which reminds us that these sophisticated, intelligent, successful young women, none of whom will demean herself by dating down, are going to face a demographic problem sometime soon:
Maybe it is a red herring to compare them to my generation [the article's author is in her mid-1930s]. Maybe we should be comparing them to their male counterparts. After all, the chasm starts early. Girls are outstripping boys at school; 59 per cent get five or more high-grade GCSEs, compared to 49 per cent of boys; 44 per cent compared to only 35 per cent of boys gain two or more A-levels, and last year more than half of first-degree graduates were women. They’re gaining a march on previously male-orientated professions – girls make up 62 per cent of law students, for example, 58 per cent of medicine and dentistry graduates, and are holding their own in science, previously a male-dominated subject, which now boasts an equal split between the sexes. They also seem to be more employable. Last year, while, seven per cent of 2005 male graduates were jobless – a relatively tiny percentage – for women, it was almost half that.
Talking to my group, I am sure about one thing though. The future is bright and it is female. Maybe it is the poor, confused young men we should be worried about. As a friend said: ‘You’re OK, you’ve got girls, but as a mother of a boy, I’m just a bit worried.’
Moving on to something good, it took me too long to carve out some time to watch John Hagee’s speech to AIPAC, but I’m so glad I finally did. I just had chills running up and down my spine, and tears running down my cheeks, as I listened to his speech. What an inspiring speaker, and what beautiful words poured forth from him. I’m tremendously grateful to my friend Jack, the Ex-Preacherman, who brought it to my attention.
In an editorial in the Philadelphia Daily News, Donna Baver Rovito took on the unconscionable silence of American feminists in the face of the horrors inflicted against women in the name of Islamism. Sadly, the article is now archived, for subscribers only, but I can quote a little:
ZILLA HUMMA Usman and Ayaan Hirsi Ali may be the bravest women on the planet.
Not brave like they might lose their jobs or be insulted for speaking out about workplace inequities, or they might get cold or wet demonstrating against “Bush’s war.”
I mean really brave, like they might be shot or stabbed or stoned or set on fire for having the courage to fight for the rights of Muslim women who are being oppressed, mutilated, abused, raped or even killed for the crime of being a woman.
Sadly, one of these brave women, Pakistani provincial minister Usman, IS dead – killed because she wasn’t wearing a head scarf and held public office. “I just obeyed Allah’s commandment,” said gunman Mohammad Sarwar. “I will kill all those women who do not follow the right path.” Many fundamentalist Muslims apparently feel the same way, if the number of “honor killings” in Pakistan – and in Germany, Canada and Australia- is any gauge.
The president the National Organization for Women immediately issued a statement denouncing Usman’s murder and praising her work, calling on feminists throughout the world to continue her fight for gender equality for Muslim women.
Oh, wait… no, she didn’t.
Neither NOW nor its Web site said anything about this brutal murder or the loss of this significant female leader. Not a word. (There is, however, an important piece on the site about how ” ‘Desperate Housewives’ Misleads Viewers About Teen Contraception.”)
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born author of “Infidel,” learned of a death threat against her when it was stabbed into the nine-times-shot-and-nearly-beheaded body of Theo Van Gogh. They had collaborated on a short film called “Submission” about the oppression of women in conservative Islamic cultures.
Forced out of her adopted home of Holland, where she was member of Parliament, Hirsi Ali now lives in the United States, where she was warmly welcomed by sister feminists from NOW, which offered her a weekly column about Muslim women’s rights on its Web site and features her writings prominently in its Books section, as well as a link to download “Submission.”
Oh, wait… no, they didn’t.
There isn’t a single entry about Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the NOW Web site. (But there IS a helpful video about “how advertising effects women’s body image, health and self-esteem.”)
Rovito goes on to detail something you will discover yourself if you check: NOW’s deafening silence in the face of these assaults against women’s very right to exist. I guess the NOW gals are just too busy trying to resuscitate the moribund — and pointless — Equal Rights Amendment.
Aack! Gotta run. I’ll pick up with another, similar post later.
One of the things that distinguishing humans from all other animals is their ingenuity. If you live in the West, that ingenuity is used to discover new vaccines, maximize crop harvests, invent computers, make beautiful communities, etc. If you live in the world of radical Islam, that ingenuity is used to create ever new forms of absolute evil, in conduct and in thought. Here’s Dennis Prager:
I never thought we could see a new form of evil. After the gas chambers of the Holocaust, the tens of millions murdered in the Gulag, the forced starvation in the Ukraine, the hideous medical experiments on people by the Germans and the Japanese in World War II, the torture chambers in all police states, I had actually believed that no new forms of evil existed.
I was wrong.
Of course, for sheer cruelty, one cannot outdo the Nazis; no depiction of hell ever matched the reality of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. But while Islamists and Baathists in Iraq have not devised new forms of torture — there probably are no new ways left — they have devised a new form of evil: murdering, maiming and torturing as many innocents among their own people as possible.
I do not know of an analogous form of evil. When the Allies conquered Nazi Germany, disaffected Nazis did not go around murdering and cutting off the heads of fellow Germans in order to make the Allies leave. Nor did disaffected Japanese blow up Japanese students so as to make the American occupation of Japan untenable.
Here is the latest example of this new form of evil as reported by the Associated Press: “Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director for regional operations on the Joint Staff, said . . . the vehicle used in the attack [on Iraqi civilians] was waved through a U.S. military checkpoint because two children were visible in the back seat. He said this was the first reported use of children in a car bombing in Baghdad. ‘Children in the back seat lowered suspicion, (so) we let it move through, they parked the vehicle, the adults run out and detonate it with the children in the back,’ Barbero told reporters in Washington.”
These same “insurgents” routinely blow up children who line up to receive candy from U.S. troops. Likewise, college students are targeted for death, as are men lining up to apply for civilian jobs, men and women attending mosques, physicians in hospitals, and so on. The more innocent the Iraqi, the more likely he or she is to be targeted for murder.
I submit that there was no way to anticipate this. And no one did. This includes all those who predicted a civil war in Iraq between Shiites and Sunnis. I include myself among those who predicted savagery in Iraq. On a number of occasions prior to our invasion of Iraq, I recounted to my radio listeners this chilling story:
As a young man, in 1974, I was riding on a bus traveling from Beirut to Damascus. The man I sat next to was an English-speaking Iraqi whom I asked at one point in our conversation, “Can you describe your nation in a sentence?” “No problem,” he immediately answered. “We Iraqis are the most barbaric people in the world.”
I obviously never forgot that man’s words, and therefore anticipated great cruelties in Iraq. But neither I nor anyone who predicted a civil war had so much as a premonition of this unprecedented mass murder of the men, women and children among one’s own people as a military tactic to defeat an external enemy.
You can — and should — read the rest here.
Paul Belien, the editor of the Brussels Journal, has written an op-ed describing the battle in the front lines in Europe — and the Europeans are not only losing, their handing their weapons over to the Islamic hardliners, with instructions about how to shoot. The heroine of his story is Marij Uijt den Bogaard, a 49 year old Belgian government employee who started getting an eye into what the radical Salafists were doing in the community, and how they were alternately bullying and cajoling the moderate Muslims around them to “get on board.” The description of the radicals’ conduct is ho-hum, because we’ve heard it all before, again and again. What’s shocking is the insight into how the Brussels’ government responds to the cancer in its midst:
Worried immigrants told Ms. Uijt den Bogaard what was happening. On the basis of their accounts and her own experiences she wrote (confidential) reports for the city authorities about the growing radicalization. This brought her into conflict, both with the Islamists and her bosses in the city.
The city warned her that her reports were unacceptable, that they read like “Vlaams Belang tracts” (the Vlaams Belang is Antwerp’s anti-immigrant party) and that she had to “change her attitude.” The Islamists sensed that she disapproved of them. They might also have been informed, because there are Muslims working in the city administration. One day, when she was accompanied by her superior, she was attacked by a Muslim youth. Her superior refused to interfere. When she questioned him afterward he said that all the animosity toward her was her own fault.
In the end she was fired. She is unemployed at the moment and gets turned away whenever she applies for another job as a civil servant. Last week, she learned that city authorities have given the job of integration officer, whose task it is to supervise 25 Antwerp mosques, to one of the radical Salafists. Meanwhile, the latter have threatened her with reprisals if she continues to speak out.
After her dismissal Ms. Uijt den Bogaard went to see Monica Deconinck, a Socialist politician who is the head of the Antwerp social department, to tell her about the plight of the Muslim women. Ms. Deconinck said, “You have taken your job too seriously and tried to do it too well,” adding that she cannot help, although she sympathizes. Ms. Uijt den Bogaard also went to see Christian Democrat and Liberal politicians. They also refused to help her because they are governing the city in a coalition with the Socialists. The only opposition party in town is the Vlaams Belang.
According to Ms. Uijt den Bogaard, the reason why the Socialists, who run the city, allow the Islamists to do as they please is because they want to get the Muslim vote, which is controlled increasingly by the Salafists who are in the process of taking over the mosques.
Europe isn’t dying; it’s already dead. What we’re witnessing are the nervous twitches that continue for some minutes after death.
We watched a humdinger of a movie yesterday, one you might already know about because it’s been out for a while, and received a lot of well-deserved acclaim. It’s a documentary called Murderball, which focuses on the lives of the United States Paralympic Rugby team.
These wheel chair bound rugby players, all with no leg use (or no legs at all), and all with limited arm and hand use (or no hands at all), are the most aggressive, Mad Max athletes you’ve ever seen. What impressed me even more than their athleticism, though, was the competency with which they live their daily lives. Sports isn’t for everyone, but rolling out of bed when your paralyzed, getting yourself dressed, brushing your teeth, making your breakfast, and driving to work when you have your arms amputated at the elbow and your legs amputated at the thigh is beautiful to watch.
The movie has some strong language, because these guys are jocks, and some sexuality, because it discusses the guys’ sexuality (and they have it), but I highly recommend it. Bring Kleenex with you to your couch or TV chair, though. I’m not going to admit to crying, but my eyes leaked (as did Mr. Bookworm’s).
As you watch this amazing video, in which a UN Watch spokesman unloads on the “Human Rights” Council, keep in mind the fact that the first thing the council did when he was finished was try to erase the speech from the record. Then, remember what Winston Smith’s job was in Orwell’s 1984.
Hat tip: Little Green Footballs
If you’d like to get a perfect sampling of illogical thought masquerading as logic, check out this Brutally Honest post, which examines Hillary’s latest bon mot.
Speaking of Hillary, I heard a woman today telling Michael Medved that, while she is a Republican, she’ll vote for Hillary because she wants to see a woman in the White House. That’s the reason. She’s willing to accept Hillary’s political positions because she wants a woman in the White House.
This is the reductio ad absurdum of identity politics. I can see that 2008 is going to be an election reminiscent of the one in 1920, when women voted in droves for Warren G. Harding, whom most would agree was one of the worst presidents ever (and certainly one of the most corrupt), simply because they found him handsome. In other words, this is may be one of those elections where women embarrass themselves and hurt our country.
And, yes, for those of you who don’t know, I’m a woman — but I’ll only vote for a woman candidate when there’s actually a good one. I know a good one will come along, and I’m pragmatic enough to wait, so that I get the best for my country, not just the most female.
Of the many foolish ideas I had when I was young, a belief in government run medical care wasn’t one of them. This rare moment of youthful intelligence came from the fact that I spent a very enjoyable year as a student abroad during the twilight years of the Thatcher administration. Maggie had managed to make a lot of changes, but she hadn’t touched national health care. I therefore got to see that National Health program with my own eyes.
What I learned was that, even though it was true that everyone had access to doctors, there was a little, unspoken, problem: While in America most got good to excellent treatment, with some unfortunates getting lousy treatment, in England, everyone got lousy medicine. My friend’s mother spent years in a wheelchair in excruciating pain because she was too far down on the list for hip replacement surgery. I know for a fact that wouldn’t have happened in America. My father, once he was diagnosed as needing a hip replacement, had the same surgery within a month of diagnosis.
To me, the British national health care system was always the perfect symbol of socialism: better that everyone should be miserable, rather than anyone being happy.
My point is that, as Hillary gears up to make Hillarycare a reality, stop and think about what happens when the government, not the market, controls health care. If you’re having a problem visualizing that system, watch this video:
Hat tip: Michelle Malkin
One of my friends, who goes by the wonderful name of “Bald-Headed Geek” has decided to open up shop as a blogger. You know you’re going to enjoy the blog when the “about me” reads as follows:
I am a forty-something professional who lives in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States. In my one concession to political correctness, I would describe myself as folically-challenged, vertically-disadvantaged, and hebraically-heritaged. And, I hate the U.N. with a passion.
Mr. Geek is off to a good start with his post about Iran, where he points out, correctly I think, that Iran is crazy like a fox:
The Iranians are many things, but they are not stupid. The leadership of the country may be crazy by our standards, but it would be very, very foolish on our part to think that the action of capturing the British sailors was anything other than a calculated move which was conducted with a long-term goal in mind. The Mullahs and their frontman, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, know that the support for the Iraq War is pretty much non-existent, especially in the cities of England. They also know that British Prime Minister Tony Blair, one of the war’s strongest proponents, is in the twilight of his leadership, and that it would not take much to push Prime Minister Blair’s eventual successor, be they from the Labour Party or the Conservative Party, to simply pull the plug on the remaining British troops in Iraq and bring them home. Further, they know that there would be a “domino” effect of sorts once this occurred, as the departure of British soldiers and sailors would place even more pressure on U.S. troops.
That’s the kind of thing I would like to have written if I’d had the time this weekend to comment about the most recent act of provocation by the Iranian government.
She helped kill nine people, she got five consecutive life sentences, she’s never shown the slightest remorse, and she’s walking after only 24 years in prison:
A former member of the Baader-Meinhof gang has been released after serving 24 years for her involvement in kidnappings and murders in the 1970s.
Brigitte Mohnhaupt, 57,was released from the Aichach prison in Germany on Sunday, a prison official said.
Last month a German court ruled that Mohnhaupt qualified for early release after serving a minimum proportion of her five life sentences.
The group was also known as the Red Army Faction.
The prospect of Mohnhaupt’s release sparked a fierce debate in Germany.
Mohnhaupt was convicted of involvement in nine murders. Victims included a judge, a banker and the employers’ federation president.
The BBC’s Steve Rosenberg, in Berlin, says she was once described as the most evil and dangerous woman in West Germany.
The Red Army Faction sought to combat what it saw as capitalist oppression of workers and US imperialism.
It was active from about 1970 – having grown out of student anti-Vietnam war protests – until 1992, when it abandoned violence. It formally disbanded in 1998.
One of the group’s most prominent targets was the German industrialist Hans Martin Schleyer – who was kidnapped in September 1977 and shot six weeks later.
Speaking before the court ruling, Mr Schleyer’s son Joerg said members of the group had expressed no remorse for the killing.
Where’s the justice in that?
When I was young, I knew a family of six that could “boast” about the fact that each member of the family had been involved in a serious car accident. If that coincidence wasn’t strange enough, what made the whole thing truly bizarre was that none drove. Each of them had been unlucky enough, at some time or another, to be a passenger in a car that got involved in an accident.
I’ve just read about another family in that same horrible situation, except much less lucky than the family I knew. The family I knew saw all of them walk away from the accidents. The family I read about today, however, has lost five people to drunk drivers. I actually find that kind of statistical anomaly (and I have to assume it’s anomalous) hard to comprehend.