This afternoon, my daughter went around the house singing “Can I get a napkin, please?” Now I know why:
Archives for March 2008
If you’ve got a few million lying around, have I got a deal for you:
Antioch College, the little liberal Ohio school that has fallen on hard times, is for sale for $12.2 million, a spokeswoman said Sunday.
The 156-year-old private college — which counts civil rights activist Coretta Scott King, writer Rod Serling, actor Cliff Robertson and evolutionary scientist Stephen Jay Gould among its long list of notable graduates — was put up for sale after its parent organization, Antioch University, was unable to finalize an agreement with a group of alumni and former trustees that was interested in taking it over, the Dayton Daily News reported.
The negotiations with the alumni group ended Friday when university officials turned down its “best and final” offer to pay half of the $12.2 million over five years.
Antioch University spokeswoman Lynda Sirk said any potential buyer — including the alumni group — must provide full payment up front.
Without a sale, Antioch College plans to close June 30 and reopen in 2012 after reorganizing, university administrators have said.
The college, whose first president was Horace Mann, has about 200 students, down from about 2,000 in the 1970s. Antioch historically offered no class grades, encouraged students to develop their own study plans and incorporated off-campus learning experiences.
Perhaps last year, and perhaps in the Atlantic, or maybe City Journal, I read a long, sad article about the way in which Antioch went from being a respected liberal arts college to becoming a hippie dippy joke, with a drugged out student population. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the place could be turned into another Hillsdale or other quality classic liberal arts college?
Hat tip: R”G”N
The accepted wisdom is that the intense hatred the Palestinians feel for Jews is a direct result of Jewish annexation of the West Bank and Gaza after the 1967 War. Of course, as with most propaganda, this is false. Aside from conveniently ignoring the 1956 and 1948 Wars, not to mention the Koran itself, this view ignores the fact that it was a Nazi/Arab alliance that helped fuel the virulence of modern Arab antisemitism. Indeed, it was this alliance, as much as the oil in Arab lands, that caused the British, who had been fairly philosemitic since Cromwell’s days because of their commitment to the Old Testament, to swing around and become extremely hostile to the movement for a Jewish state. (As to the long-dead philosemitism, I highly recommend Barbara Tuchman’s Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour .)
Mike Devx was kind enough to send me to a great video illustrating the tight ties the Nazis forged with the Arabs as part of their assault on British interests in the Middle East (for British interests, read “oil” and if you’re really interested in how the need to control oil was a driving force in WWII, read Daniel Yergin’s exellent The Prize : The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power.)
Do you recall that, on the day I posted the Fitna video, I wrote the following?
LiveLeak explains why it is showing this video, despite the fact that some at LiveLeak strongly disagree with its content. I note two things. First, LiveLeak understands free speech. Second, the LifeLeak discussion about its decision to show the video is based upon disagreeing with the content, not upon fearing the dangerous results of publishing such content. I find that interesting. Even though this type of speech, in Europe, sparked dangerous riots and enormous numbers of death threats, that’s simply not a concern LiveLeak voices. Is this the difference between America and Europe, or are the LifeLeak people just exceptionally brave?
Well, it turns out that, while they spoke in terms of free speech, the threats have begun and free speech has already gone out the window:
Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill informed reports from certain corners of the British media that could directly lead to the harm of some of our staff, Liveleak.com has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers. This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else. We would like to thank the thousands of people, from all backgrounds and religions, who gave us their support. They realised LiveLeak.com is a vehicle for many opinions and not just for the support of one. Perhaps there is still hope that this situation may produce a discussion that could benefit and educate all of us as to how we can accept one anothers culture.
We stood for what we believe in, the ability to be heard, but in the end the price was too high. (Emphasis mine.)
And there you see the victory of the violent, and the dhimmitude of the rest of us.
You can still see the video here. Keep in mind as you watch it that the Islamists are stopping a presentation of their own words and acts. Fortunately, the nature of the internet is that, no matter the threats, once information is out there, it’s hard to stop.
UPDATE: Hurrah! LiveLeak has upgraded its security and restored Fitna. I applaud their principled bravery:
On the 28th of March LiveLeak.com was left with no other choice but to remove the film “fitna” from our servers following serious threats to our staff and their families. Since that time we have worked constantly on upgrading all security measures thus offering better protection for our staff and families. With these measures in place we have decided to once more make this video live on our site. We will not be pressured into censoring material which is legal and within our rules. We apologise for the removal and the delay in getting it back, but when you run a website you don’t consider that some people would be insecure enough to threaten our lives simply because they do not like the content of a video we neither produced nor endorsed but merely hosted.
Incidentally, when it first ran Fitna, LiveLeak noted that some on its staff disgreed with its contents, but agreed to free speech (good for them). I wonder if those same people, having been on the receiving end of the behavior described in the video, have changed their point of view about Fitna‘s merits?
Homebody: a person who prefers pleasures and activities that center around the home; stay-at-home.
I’m back, and so glad too. It was a very pleasant weekend up in what my kids still call “the snowy mountains,” but I’m a homebody and I’m so glad to be home. I’m getting the kids packed up for school now, and I have some household chores to do (including buying a new car), but I’ll be blogging today.
I love blogging. So, on days like this when I’m hitting the road for an out-of-town weekend, I feel somewhat bereft that I won’t get the chance to sit down and opine to my heart’s content. But that’s the way it’s got to be.
Whether I blog over Saturday and Sunday depends on internet access, which is an unknown right now. In any event, over the weekend, you guys will all be out having fun, so you’re not going to be checking in much regardless, right?
Watcher’s results are in, and this time I’m on top of things.
On the Council side, first place went to Done With Mirrors for the best post I’ve seen about the media’s “Grim Milestone” watch: Get Your Grim Milestone Today? Second place was for my post, “What Would You Do?,” which asked what you would do if you were an African-American and if everything Wright said about America as relates to blacks was actually true (because most people challenged his perception of the truth). And do you think it’s a coincidence that the two winning posts have questions in their title? Just asking.
On the non-Council side, first place went to Michael Yon’s “Stake Through Their Hearts,” another stunningly good post about Iraq. Clearly, Yon is doing the war reporting so that the MSM won’t have to (especially since it’s decided to stop reporting on the war now that the US is not manifestly losing). Second place was for the Investigative Project on Terrorism’s “CAIR exposed: Part I,” an article with a self-explanatory title, and one that deserves to be read (again, because the MSM is not doing its job).
A teenager learned it is not a good idea to try to rob a former U.S. Marine at knifepoint, no matter how old he is.
Santa Rosa police Sgt. Steve Bair said an 84-year-old man was walking on Fourth Street with a grocery bag in each arm when the boy approached him with a large knife at about 2 p.m. Wednesday.
“Old man, give me your wallet or I’ll cut you,” the boy said.
The man said he was a former Marine who fought in three wars and had been threatened with knives and bayonets before.
The 84-year-old put his bags on the ground and told the boy that if he stepped closer he would be sorry. When the boy stepped closer, the man kicked him in the groin, knocking the youth to the sidewalk.
The ex-Marine picked up his grocery bags and walked home, leaving the teen doubled over.
Can’t you just see it in your mind — some weeny little punk approaching an apparently frail little old man, only to be completely destroyed?
Geert Wilders’ 15 minute film about Islam is available now. While the Dutch government is afraid to show it, bloggers are not.
Please publicize this video as much as you can. It needs to be seen, if only to put the lie to those we accuse concerned Westerners of “making things up.”
UPDATE: LiveLeak explains why it is showing this video, despite the fact that some at LiveLeak strongly disagree with its content. I note two things. First, LiveLeak understands free speech. Second, the LifeLeak discussion about its decision to show the video is based upon disagreeing with the content, not upon fearing the dangerous results of publishing such content. I find that interesting. Even though this type of speech, in Europe, sparked dangerous riots and enormous numbers of death threats, that’s simply not a concern LiveLeak voices. Is this the difference between America and Europe, or are the LifeLeak people just exceptionally brave?
Bangladesh, having done the wrong thing when it arrested Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury and threatened him with death for having the temerity to suggest that Israel ought to be allowed to live in peace and for pointing out the Islamist threat in Bangladesh, is now trying to prove that, if two wrongs don’t make a right, at least they should manage to silence dissent:
On March 18, more than a dozen members of the government’s Rapid Action Battalion stormed Mr. Choudhury’s newspaper offices in Dhaka at gunpoint. After “discovering” illegal drugs in Mr. Choudhury’s desk drawer, the RAB blindfolded Mr. Choudhury and a colleague and carted them to headquarters. There, Mr. Choudhury tells us, his interrogators accused him of being a “Zionist spy” and beat his colleague, Mahboob Ar Rahman, a 57-year-old man who had to seek medical treatment. The pair were released after midnight.
The Bangladeshi thugs, however, seem to have chosen the wrong man to threaten:
The world can’t afford for Bangladesh’s transition to democracy to fail, and Mr. Choudhury’s case is one test of the government’s commitment to keeping the influence of Islamists in check. Mr. Choudhury, for his part, is undeterred. When we spoke to him yesterday he was preparing to publish the newspaper’s next issue. For his country’s sake, he should be allowed to do so unmolested. (Emphasis mine.)
I am awed by Mr. Choudhury’s integrity and bravery. When I see the ridiculous posturing on the American Left, with its street theater and it’s whining about “speaking truth to power,” I wonder how many of them even know of Mr. Choudhury’s plight. Even worse, even if they knew, I wonder if they would care.
And speaking of those on the Left who don’t care, let me remind you that of Congress people on both sides of the aisle, the only one who didn’t care was the smooth talking Barack Obama, the most liberal member of Congress.
In today’s Guardian, there is a glowing review of Ron Paul, particularly with regard to Paul’s stance on American support for Israel:
If that weren’t enough, when the House of Representatives was recently passing another denunciation of Palestinian violence, Paul refused to support it. He abhorred all attacks on civilians, he said – but on Palestinians by Israelis as much as on Israelis by Palestinians.
“It is our continued involvement and intervention – particularly when it appears to be one-sided – that reduces the incentive for opposing sides to reach a lasting peace agreement,” he said. “We must cease making proclamations involving conflicts that have nothing to do with the United States. We incur the wrath of those who feel slighted while doing very little to slow or stop the violence.” It says something about US politics today that words as sane and humane as those come from an “extremist”.
No doubt this excellent man’s bid for the Republican nomination was by way of being a romantic gesture. But what about Ron Paul for secretary of state?
Frankly, I’ve considered Paul such a crackpot in so many ways that I never seriously considered the idiocy in this statement, now embraced by Geoffrey Wheatley, a Guardian columnist (or something).
It’s that bit about “our continued involvement and intervention — particularly when it appears to be one-sided…” that got me. I did some digging. According to one site, US aid to Israel in 2006 broke down to about $2.4 billion dollars. I’ll accept that as true.
But is that really one sided? How about if we look at US aid to Israeli’s opponents, the Palestinians. And, if we’re counting outside help from other parties, how about aid from the rest of the world, including the UN, to the Palestinians. Here’s the aid information for 2006, when there was an ostensible embargo on Palestinian aid after Palestinians elected a government that boasted about its intention to destroy a UN member and commit genocide against its people (that would be Hamas):
Despite the international embargo on aid to the Palestinian Authority since Hamas came to power a year ago, significantly more aid was delivered to the Palestinians in 2006 than in 2005, according to official figures from the United Nations, United States, European Union and International Monetary Fund.
Finance Minister Salam Fayyad estimates that the Palestinian Authority received more than twice the amount of budget support in 2006 than in 2005.
Instead of going to the Palestinian Authority, much of the money was given directly to individuals or through independent agencies like the World Food Program.
The International Monetary Fund and the United Nations say the Palestinians received $1.2 billion in aid and budgetary support in 2006, about $300 per capita, compared with $1 billion in 2005.
While the United States and the European Union have led the boycott, they, too, provided more aid to the Palestinians in 2006 than 2005. Washington increased its aid to $468 million in 2006, from $400 million in 2005.
As for European giving in 2006:
In 2006, Ms. Udwin said, the European Union and its states spent $916 million on the Palestinians, not including United Nations contributions.
Even UN employees note the overwhelming outpouring of world money into Palestinian hands, as well as the deleterious effects of that money:
In 2007, the United Nations began a humanitarian appeal for the Palestinians of more than $450 million, twice the 2006 appeal, the third largest United Nations request, after Sudan and Congo, ahead of 18 other disasters.
“These numbers are quite stunning,” said Alexander Costy, head of coordination for Álvaro de Soto, the United Nations special Middle East envoy, “given the relatively small size of the population of the Palestinian territory.”
He added: “What we do know for sure is that Palestinians, and their economy and society, are becoming increasingly dependent on humanitarian handouts, and this dependency is growing fast. For a state in the making, I think this was a step backwards in 2006 and a cause for alarm.”
What’s amazing is that even the above, from the International Monetary Fund, from the UN, from the Americans, and from the Europeans, is not all that the Palestinians received during an embargo year:
But Salam Fayyad, the finance minister in the new Palestinian unity government, thinks the Palestinians received at least 250 percent more than that in direct support when cash from Iran and Arab nations is counted, as well as the amount smuggled in by Hamas officials after trips abroad.
“I say the minimum for direct budgetary support was $880 million in 2006 compared to about $350 million the year before,” Mr. Fayyad said. He estimates total aid in 2006 was closer to $1.35 billion.
Please keep in mind a few things: (a) this was money during an alleged embargo on money and (b) most of this money goes directly into the hands of the terrorists, either as graft with which they enrich themselves (remember Arafat’s $10 billion estate) or to fund weapons. Further the story above just looks at cash handouts. It doesn’t calculate the massive amounts of military aid sent to Palestinians from Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.
The above report also doesn’t take into consideration the fact that Palestine’s have created for themselves just one enemy — Israel, which is a reactive enemy only, in that it simply seeks to take out weapons aimed at it, and terrorists handling those weapons. Israel, on the other hand, faces active hostility from Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinians, and Iran. (And let’s not forget that Hussein funded terrorism against Israel when he was alive and operating.)
All of which means that it’s nonsensical for Paul and his followers to pretend that America has been giving Israel an unfair advantage by giving her money. America has, instead, been giving Israel a clearer path to a level playing field. If Paul and his fellow-travelers truly wants funding in that region to stop, before they pull the plug on Israel, they’d better be damned sure to pull the plug on all funds flowing to the Palestinians as well — and they should stop funding nations that fund the Palestinians, such as Egypt.
I’m sure Israel would love to see the cash flow to Palestinians stop, because the latter might then be forced to turn their energies to creating an economy, instead of just to creating ever increasing numbers of zombies, trained only to kill. Indeed, I’m willing to be that if the world promised to stop funding Palestinians, Israel might be happy, in exchange, to subsist on its own thriving economy.
I don’t know why, but I found this a tremendously amusing and rather charming story.
Writing at the American Thinker, J.R. Dunn has a scathing indictment of modern liberalism, starting with the 1968 Democratic convention. I think the whole article is worth reading, especially the bit about the Clinton-esque corruption of Governors Spitzer, McCreevy and Paterson, but I was especially taken with this run-down, which describes the liberalism in which I grew up believing, until even I figured out it was an elaborate shell game:
The Democrats’ 1968 Chicago convention marked the end of classical liberalism. Media coverage revealed American liberals as incapable of controlling their own constituency, much less directing a country. As delegates cowered within the convention center, Movement rioters ran wild throughout the downtown area, fighting knock-down, drag-out battles with the police. Not a single liberal figure made any serious attempt to confront, control, or even communicate with the rioters. Little more than a decade after declaring itself the “American civic creed”, liberalism was on the ropes.
Instead of joining the Whigs and Know-Nothings in historical oblivion, liberalism surrendered to its internal rebels, the Democratic Party’s left wing, indistinguishable in beliefs and intent from any hardcore socialist party on the international scene. In 1972, they ran one of their own, George McGovern who in 1948 had served as delegate for communist front-man Henry Wallace) for the presidency.
McGovern’s defeat at the hands of Richard M. Nixon represented no real setback for the new ideology. American leftists commenced their “Long march through the institutions” using techniques developed by Marxist theoretician Antonio Gramsci to take over the media, academia, and much of the bureaucracy. Political liberalism, due in large part to its control over massive urban machines, many of then going back to the days of Tammany, continued as a kind of husk animated by the new leftist persona. But liberalism in the classic sense existed only in the minds of the naive, the ill-informed, and terminally nostalgic.
Followers of the mutant ideology were in no way open with their agenda. Instead they operated under the cover of two pretenses — superior governance and high morality. Liberals presented themselves as technocrats with a clearer understanding of policy and governance than the opposition. Pragmatism was their creed, results their only criteria. Utilizing the old gimmicks of constituent services and favors and the new ones of planning and centralization, liberalism was able to maintain its dominance in backward and desperate areas of the country such as the Northeast and Upper Midwest.
The claim to higher morality was more inchoate, a kind of luminous abstraction beyond the grasp of money-grubbing Republicans, clearly understandable only by liberals themselves. Liberals claimed a monopoly on compassion, decency, and social justice (as defined by themselves), posing as the sole defenders of civic virtue against a horde of backwoodsmen, racists, and religious fanatics.
This elaborate double imposture served to keep liberalism alive for over three decades in the absence of ideas, doctrine, and serious accomplishments. But 2008 has brought the charade to an end. Events this year have exposed, once and for all, in a way that cannot be denied, elided, or spun, Democratic liberals as the party of abject incompetence and institutionalized corruption.
To me, the above is a good example of good writing and good thinking. You can read the rest here and see how neatly Obama and Clinton fit into the modern liberal package.
Saddam Hussein’s intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
The three anti-war Democrats made the trip in October 2002, while the Bush administration was trying to persuade Congress to authorize military action against Iraq. While traveling, they called for a diplomatic solution.
Prosecutors say that trip was arranged by Muthanna Al-Hanooti, a Michigan charity official, who was charged Wednesday with setting up the junket at the behest of Saddam’s regime. Iraqi intelligence officials allegedly paid for the trip through an intermediary and rewarded Al-Hanooti with 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil.
The lawmakers are not named in the indictment but the dates correspond to a trip by Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California. None was charged and Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said investigators “have no information whatsoever” any of them knew the trip was underwritten by Saddam.
“Obviously, we didn’t know it at the time,” McDermott spokesman Michael DeCesare said Wednesday. “The trip was to see the plight of the Iraqi children. That’s the only reason we went.”
Both McDermott and Thompson are popular among liberal voters in their reliably Democratic districts for their anti-war views. Bonior is no longer in Congress.
Thompson released a statement Wednesday saying the trip was approved by the State Department.
“Obviously, had there been any question at all regarding the sponsor of the trip or the funding, I would not have participated,” he said.
During the trip, the lawmakers expressed skepticism about the Bush administration’s claims that Saddam was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. Though such weapons ultimately were never found, the lawmakers drew criticism for their trip at the time.
I actually believe Thompson and McDermott when they say that they didn’t know that Saddam was the direct backer of their trip. Given the run-up to the war, I don’t think even anti-War Dems would have been foolish enough to take money from Saddam and go on an official Iraqi sponsored trip. At the very least, they’d have known that to have done so would have cast doubts on any findings they made, just as no one believes reports that come back from official visitors to North Korea.
What makes the story interesting isn’t that three Congressmen got snookered. What makes it interesting is that Saddam Hussein was using local affiliates to affect the American political process. Only the most naive would believe that this was a unique incident, or that Saddam Hussein was/is the only one doing it. The covert aspects of this story are disturbing, and have a distinct Cold War odor in the middle of the hot war that’s currently preoccupying us. As those of us who lived through the Cold War know, disinformation is as potent a weapon as a bomb, and the ease with which Hussein manipulated American politicians is disturbing.
Hey, everyone! Welcome back and thank you for your patience yesterday. The server that hosts my web has been dying slowly, and yesterday was a bad day. A new server is going into effect over the next two weeks (these things take time), but the transition should be fairly seamless. If you try to log in and can’t find me, just wait a few minutes and try again.
As for me, the irony of yesterday’s outage was that I was going to put post up a post yesterday saying that I wasn’t going to post. A cold that’s been dogging me the last 3 weeks suddenly got worse yesterday, so I hied myself off to the doctor and learned that it’s probably morphed into a sinus infection. I’m on antibiotics now and am hoping I’ll feel better soon. I certainly feel better today than I did yesterday, since he got me on a better cough medicine and decongestant.
Anyway, check this space in an hour or two, because I definitely feel like blogging today.