A race to help Soldier’s Angels

Squidoo has $80,000 to give away.  It wants people to vote on which charity (from a long list) should get some of that money.  For every vote cast for a specific charity, that charity receives $2.00, up until all of those $80,000 are gone.  My vote is for Soldier’s Angels.  You should check it out and, if you don’t know which charity to select (and there are many good one), I recommend Soldier’s Angels as your default vote.

Hat tip:  My Pet Jawa

Trying to break through the media fire

Since the moment Palin burst onto the scene, the media has engaged in the most sustained attack I’ve ever seen on a single political candidate.  Outright lies, partial lies, rumors, half-truths, full truths — it doesn’t matter.  There’s just a giant information dump onto the public radar, with the hope that most people will never sort through the information, but will just be left with a general impression that Palin is an idiot who lies, cheats, steals, slaughters animals indiscriminately, hunts and burns witches, sleeps with her whole family, censors books (but probably can’t read ’em), and (worst of all) believes in God.

The McCain campaign has now set up a pretty cute little website aimed at countering the worst of the smears against her.  It’s called, appropriately enough, Palin Truth Files, and it deserves some attention.

A blog to consider

Ronald Hayden wandered over to my blog in connection with my post about the transgendered bathrooms in England, and stayed to make some good points.  I therefore decided to wander over to his blog, Better Angels, and discovered that the good points were not accidental.

Better Angels is a good blog, written by a genuinely independent thinker.  Just as Ronald may not agree with everything said here, and you or I may not agree with everything said there, it passes my test of being well-written, well-informed, intelligent, and intellectually honest.  You all might want to scootch on over and check it out.

Interesting day

It’s been a surprising day.  I went up a belt at martial arts, so I’m now an advanced beginner, working towards becoming a beginning intermediate.  I also got a very interesting job offer.  I periodically get job offers from my clients, but I don’t often consider them interesting.  This one, however, I do, and I really need to sit down and seriously think about my long and short term goals.  (And I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow a.m., DQ.)

Still no American Carol

There is still no listing for An American Carol in my neck of the woods.  And this isn’t just because today is Tuesday and it’s not opening until Friday.  As you can see from the movie listings from my community, all the other “opening Friday” movies, but for Drona and Kidnap (both Hindi movies), are booked into theaters.  I therefore depend on all of you to tell me if the movie is good.

The view from across the pond

I like to read British publications, as well as the Spiegel, and whatever other English language versions of European papers strike my fancy.  It’s useful to see what’s going on in other parts of the world and, more than that, to see how the local press views its own events.

One thing I’ve noticed in all these foreign publications in the last week:  aside from whining about their own economic plight, they’re all thrilled to think that America’s dominance is at an end.  This story from Spiegel strikes precisely the note I’m talking about:

America Loses Its Dominant Economic Role


The banking crisis is upending American dominance of the financial markets and world politics. The industrialized countries are sliding into recession, the era of turbo-capitalism is coming to an end and US military might is ebbing. Still, this is no time to gloat.

I found that last sentence quite amusing, because the Spiegel Staff is so obvious gloating. After 60 years of being dependent on America — to rescue them from the Naziism they imposed on themselves, to protect them from Communists, and to support their economy by providing all the military they needed — the Germans (and most of the rest of Europe) are just too delighted with America’s current economic woes.

I will only say, Twain-like, that I suspect reports of America’s death are greatly exaggerated.  And more to the point, the Europeans had better hope that they’re exaggerated, because we are the last bastion of small “d” democratic freedoms, whether the European’s like to admit it or not.  We’re not holding our own as well as we once were, and some Europeans are wising up the hard way, but we’re still the last best hope.

European arrogance towards America doesn’t stop with politics.  How about this from the head of Nobel literature committee:

Bad news for American writers hoping for a Nobel Prize next week: the top member of the award jury believes the United States is too insular and ignorant to compete with Europe when it comes to great writing.


As the Swedish Academy enters final deliberations for this year’s award, permanent secretary Horace Engdahl said it’s no coincidence that most winners are European.

“Of course there is powerful literature in all big cultures, but you can’t get away from the fact that Europe still is the center of the literary world … not the United States,” he told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Tuesday.

Well, I guess you’re going to be the center of the literary world if you designate yourself as the center, but tautologies seem to be too sophisticated a thought for Mr. Engdahl.

As for me, I’m a woman of simple tastes, and make a point never to read recent examples of Nobel Prize winning literature, since they seem better suited to a man of Mr. Engdahl’s dubious sophistication:  unmoored to common concepts of grammar, narratively challenging, and morally vacuous.  But that’s just me.

Viva la difference!

First, I have to give you the money quote from the article.  Then, as you try to figure it out, I’ll fill you in on the story:

“You don’t necessarily have to have had gender reassignment surgery, but you could just define yourself as a man, feel very masculine in yourself, feel that in fact being a woman is not who you are.

Confused?  Well, yes, but so are a lot of people.  You see, the University of Manchester, in response to unnumbered complaints from transgendered people, have done away with men’s and women’s rooms and, instead, classified restrooms as “toilets” and “toilets with urinals.”  The quotation above is from a “women’s officer,” explaining precisely why the University thought this change was necessary:

Women’s officer Jennie Killip refused to say how many people had complained, and there are no figures for how many transgender people there are among the university’s 35,000 population.

She said: “If you were born female, still presently quite feminine, but defined as a man you should be able to go into the men’s toilets.

“You don’t necessarily have to have had gender reassignment surgery, but you could just define yourself as a man, feel very masculine in yourself, feel that in fact being a woman is not who you are.

“Transgender people can face violence and abuse when they go into toilets and we wanted to provide a place where they can feel comfortable.

“I have had complaints from people who said we didn’t have any facilities for them.”

I find it suspicious, of course, that Killip refuses to number those complaints.  Be honest:  Just how many transgendered people really are suffering potty confusion over in Manchester?

Not everyone is as thrilled with the change as Killip clearly is, but even the students who complain seem incapable of phrasing their complaints without falling back on their own PC victimhood (that is, raising one victim group against another):

Second-year student Jane McConnell, 19, a news editor on the Student Direct student newspaper, said: “While these signs might be appropriate for people with different sexualities, I also think that many people from different religious and ethnic groups are going to feel uncomfortable using these facilities.

“Even though they’re just two signs, at the end of the day, toilets should be for women and for men specifically, not for both.”

Although it may be hard to believe reading this post, I have sympathy for people who are sexually confused.  I can only imagine that it’s a hell of a life and that it does carry with it certain very real inconveniences.  Nevertheless, the university’s decision to abandon biology entirely and pretend on the basis of “unnumbered” complaints that the differences between the sexes are merely a product of any given individual’s self-perception is a form of intellectual dishonesty that really takes my breath away.

Frankly, even there really is a problem, how about digging into the university budget and springing for a few bathrooms with a single toilet and a sink that can be used by either gender, on a one-at-a-time basis?

It’s the end of the world as we know it.

The new brownshirts *UPDATED*

One of the most horrific things about both the Nazis and the Communists was the way in which they indoctrinated children.  Children were encouraged to place the State — and especially the state’s leader, whether Hitler or Stalin — above the family, and to give their loyalty to the former, not the latter.  Unhappy parents discovered that the state’s spy network extended to their own home, with their children, having been completely reprogrammed by the state, turning them in for whatever the average 9 year old deemed to be a treasonous infraction.

Thank of that as you view this video, which Kim Priestap found and posted at Wizbang.  Kim doubts that this is what it pretends to be — a grassroots moment where hyper aware kids discover the beauty of the Obamessiah and suddenly burst into song.  I agree with her, but I find it even more disturbing as a harbinger of our children being co-opted to the state:

UPDATETrust Confederate Yankee to discover just how polished this allegedly grass roots effort really is.

UPDATE IIThe Anchoress adds her two cents about the Orwellian nature of that creepy video.