Listen, My Children...

Every Little Helps

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Why I Blog

Because there is nothing on TV. At 3:45, what is on? General Hospital. Dr. Phil. Family Feud (did you know that show's still running?). The Cosby Show. Crossing Over. This Old House. Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Jackie Chan Adventures (cartoon). And a Paid Programming ad for hair removal cream.

Mr. Rogers wins.

What people watch TV at 3:45? Apparently children (for Mr. Rogers and Jackie Chan) just home from school, people likely to buy hair removal cream over the telephone, and middle-aged women (for everything else). The Cosby Show is an unclear demographic. Maybe it's the catch-all for anyone not school-aged or forty and female.

Mr. Rogers

Beautiful writing is good in all occasions. Ross Douthat has a moving eulogy on Mr. Rogers. (Permalink's broken; scroll down.)

PeTA would be proud

Now this is just silly:
Endangered Species Envelop Marines in California

The passing of childhood

Mr. Rogers died this morning. They say that retirement seriously lowers the life expectancy of men (not so much for women). He seems to bear that out.

He will be missed by generations.


Here is the Dan Rather / Saddam Hussein interview transcript. When I have more time, I'll come back and write about it.

On Compelling Government Interests in Diversity

Justin Azadivar, a commenter over at The Angry Clam, asks, "If diversity is a "compelling government interest," how broad-based is that? I mean, one could propose that mass murder of whites increases diversity. Are there limits?"
Any takers?

Quote of the Day

"When nothing else works, war works wonders. Just ask Japan, well behaved since 1945."
link via Tim Blair.

Antisemitic Ivies

Eight decades after Charles Lowell supported racial quotas at Harvard to curb the number of Jewish students, Ivy antisemitism is still alive and well. Amiri Baraka (of the-Jews-were-warned-to-stay-away-from-911 fame) just spoke at Yale, to a standing ovation. The Yale Daily News, a paper in which, one student complains, "Jewish students have comprised a majority of management positions", published an editorial saying Baraka should never have been invited. The expected outcry, hysterical screams of "censorship," and articles sounding generally reasoned and claiming that of course no Yale student would agree wth Baraka's views but he should certainly be asked to speak, marketplace of ideas and all that.

However, certain Yale students did seem to agree with Baraka's views. The speech was sponsored by the Afro-American Cultural Center, fitting the stereotype of blacks as anti-semites. The audience's reaction supported the association. As James Kirchickwrites:
While I agree [...] that Baraka is "a man who deserves no attention at all" (2/24), what does deserve attention is that Baraka was invited here and received an overwhelmingly positive response from his audience.

A positive response? He describes some of it:
It was not Baraka's ranting which upset me most. Having read his work, I was thoroughly prepared for whatever was bound to come out of his mouth. It was the response he received from my fellow Yalies that shocked me. Following a reading of his notorious poem "Somebody Blew Up America," the puerile verses of which are now well known to the Yale community, Baraka launched into a paranoid tirade. As he cited "evidence" of Israeli complicity in the World Trade Center attacks, many Yale students vigorously nodded their heads in approval and erupted into cheering.

I keep realizing how naive I am. I'm told that we're beyond all this, that people are sensible now, and, because that holds true for the people of my close acquaintance, I believe it. When I hear overt and very literally expressed racism (usually from the left, but occasionally from the right), when I hear of very educated people cheering anti-semitism, when I see people abandoning all that is good and true and lapsing over into insanity, I'm truly shocked. It's disheartening; I need to get out of here to somewhere where I can read about such people in the papers, but they'll be far off and I can convince myself and my twelve kids that it's all just make-believe, that those people are all just figments of our imaginations and anachronistic castoffs from another age that don't belong here and therefore truly aren't.

(I know, Austin won't be the ideal place for that. It'd be better than London, though, and better than Boston as well. Just see if UT wants me.)

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

War Blog, quite literally

Glenn Reynolds says we should all go read Lt. Smash, writing "from the sandbox" -- and I heartily agree. A moving snippet:
I didn't come here looking for a thrill.
I'm here because there is a hole in the ground in New York, where a couple of the world's tallest buildings used to be.
I'm here because I knew some of those people in the Pentagon.
I'm here because my seven-year-old nephew has nightmares about terrorists.
I'm here because whether Saddam is responsible or not for those terrorist attacks, he has the will and is developing the means to do much, much worse.
I'm here because if History teaches us anything, it is that evil men cannot be deterred by sanctions, containment strategies, diplomacy, resolutions, or weapons inspections.
I'm here because I don't believe in appeasement.
I'm here because someone has to be.
I'm here because I was called.
I'm here because I have a job to do.

Abortion: anti-woman

This showed up in my email, so no source, but I find it very interesting -- and I've heard similar stories by people who are now newly anti-abortion, because, like most others, they were told that it was a "simple" and "safe" procedure.
Today's News & Views
February 25, 2003

"I Did Not Realize."

Well, as of ten o'clock this morning, I can now tell my kids that I actually lived long enough to see the following headline appear in the Washington Post-"Russians Feel Abortion's Complications: Used as Birth Control in Soviet Times, Practice Has Led to Widespread Infertility." (The story appeared in the Post Saturday but I ran across it reproduced on the MSNBC website.)

The numbers, and the ramifications, are nothing short of staggering.

"About 5 million -- or 13 percent -- of Russian married couples are infertile, and doctors report that diagnoses of infertility are on the rise. In nearly three out of four cases, infertility is attributed to the woman, typically because of complications from one or more abortions, according to [Vladimir] Serov and other health experts."

But this enormous infertility plague follows as night follows day in light of the startling fact that there are more abortions than live births in Russia: l.7 abortions for every one live birth, to be exact. (In the United States there are roughly three births for every abortion.) A l994 study by the Rand Corporation found that by the end of her child-bearing years, the average Russian woman had undergone no less than three abortions.

The ensuing infertility epidemic, in turn, has compounded the impact of an already dangerously low birth rate: "On average, Russian women now bear just more than one child."

(There is an almost off-hand reference in the article to a "soaring death rate," but what that means is not elaborated.)

Now the 6th most populous country in the world, Russia is expected to fall to number 17 in 50 years, according to "UN population experts." The only good news in an otherwise unremittedly grim story is that the abortion rate has dropped by 45% between l992 and 2001,and the number of women who died from abortions "also dropped by one-half in the 1990s, according to the Rand study."

Although the situations are radically different, one point of comparison very much worth pondering between the United States and Russia is the experience of the woman whose life story is intended to be representative.

Katya Esipova told the Post's Sharon LaFraniere that she had not been "overly worried" about having an abortion when she found out she was pregnant at l9. "All my friends had done it already," she said.

But "never lik[ing] to take a chance on her health" [!], Esipova asked doctors why she continued to bleed a month later. She was told not to worry; this was "perfectly normal."

Well, she ought to have worried. When she and her husband want a baby four years later, they learned that both her fallopian tubes were partially blocked, the result of an infection caused by the abortion. Three years later she did get pregnant but, tragically, the baby lodged in one of the fallopian tubes. At age thirty, "she has all but given up her hopes of having a baby. 'It is so terrible to wait every month and be disappointed,' she said over a Greek salad in a downtown restaurant. 'I was too young. I did not realize how big a problem an abortion could be.'"

One can only wonder in dismay how many tens of millions of women have never realized "how big a problem an abortion could be."

Typical PA member?

Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, is Arafat's likely successor. He's the author of a lovely book entitled, The Other Side: The Secret Relations Between Nazism and the Leadership of the Zionist Movement. Yup, a Holocaust denier. And praised by Europeans as a great choice.

But that can't be part of a widespread trend, can it? He has to be an aberration, and most of the PA types are more sensible and more committed to tolerance and peaceful coexistence, right? Well, perhaps he's an aberration, but in the other direction: He "has little credibility among ordinary Palestinians. Some consider him too conciliatory toward Israel."

Start worrying. Things aren't getting better anytime soon.

Curse Google

Blogger, down again. Erasing nice long posts en route to being published.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

The NHS and downsides of socialism

Owen Courrèges brings to our attention this article:
Doctor 'told to use spoon in op'
From correspondents in London
Associated Press
February 21, 2003

BRITISH hospital managers gave a surgeon a dessert spoon to use in a hip replacement operation, prompting him to spend £150 ($405) of his own money to buy the proper instrument, a tribunal has heard.

We're getting there here, as well, with the Houston Roommate's father quitting his job after the HMO told him to make some serious surgeries outpatient ones. He'd rather quit than have to endanger the lives of his patients. Enough doctors quit, they'll fix it all. I'm sure. (I hope I'm not just being overly optimistic.)

Monday, February 24, 2003

Kicking the Secularist Habit

Fun article. Much like the one a while back on how we are in a post-secular era now.
I now get extremely annoyed by the secular fundamentalists who are content to remain smugly ignorant of enormous shifts occurring all around them. They haven't learned anything about religion, at home or abroad. ...They still don't know what makes a Pentecostal a Pentecostal (you could walk through an American newsroom and ask that question, and the only people who might be able to answer would be the secretaries and the janitorial staff). ... A great Niagara of religious fervor is cascading down around them while they stand obtuse and dry in the little cave of their own parochialism...

Hollywood, the degenerate

I'm sick of hearing the complaints that people around the world hate the US specifically above all other countries because of the sexual content of our movies and television.

(A side note: so, the liberals from whom I hear this -- are they now saying the US is sexually over-liberated? Would they have a change? Will they then stop complaining about "prudes" and "censorship" and "hang-ups" when people complain about public obscenity? If not, then what would they do -- make sure the rest of the world changes its mind about open sexual expression? Or just let it be and say, in effect, they don't like us, but just because we're doing something good and liberal and they're not ok with that? ....would a liberal actually say that America is doing something liberal and progressive and the rest of the world is repressed and wrong?)

Anyhow, those complaints: have they never seen European network television? Countries with more conventional concepts of sexual morality might dislike us for our TV, but they should then dislike Europe much more. (My favourite German TV ad, on after 11pm at night, and more common in former East Germany: blonde, big-haired, in a tiny amount of pleather, cracks a whip and says (out of sync with her lips), "Ruf. Mich. An." ("Call me.") That encompasses Germany in 6 seconds.) But European TV of that variety won't get shown on American network TV, because we're too prudish. Well, and it's just no good. And American TV is eagerly snapped up by Europeans and people around the world -- obviously, a sign that they disapprove of it. "Mission Impossible" was almost as big a draw as "Khiladi 420" when I was in India -- clear disapproval. Then again, American PG-13 (and often R)-rated movies have significantly less violence, blood, gore, and dang scary psychotic villains than family-rated Indian movies. (Indian movies have two ratings: family and adult. Has to be pretty raunchy to be rated "adult." Violence doesn't matter for the ratings.)

I will say I'm dissatisfied with some of the results of American movies and TV shows being shipped overseas, the main among them being the image they give of blonde women as "easy." Don't travel in third-world countries alone if you're a blonde female. Men will grab you constantly and expect you to love it, just like Jenna Jameson. Which is a pretty good sign that those men disapprove of the lax morals displayed in American films, right? Yeah.

Rhode Island Club

Great quote from the cops in RI in re the nightclub owners: "I just wish they'd be as helpful and open with the law enforcement officers as they have been with the press."

On responses to antagonism

This idea will be followed up in my own words, later, but here's a quote to whet your appetite by Bill Whittle (link from Instapundit, of course):
These are hard times, psychologically, to be a person who loves America. Hard because we do, indeed, wish to be liked by the rest of the world. Hard because we know in our hearts that we are good people, decent people who do not leap for joy at the chance to spill the blood of our own children and spend untold treasure just to have the hateful, pornographic thrill of seeing brown people blown to bits.

Yet we are accused of exactly this, and worse. We hear of polls saying that upwards of 75% of countries like England and France see the United States as the greatest danger to the world, and it knocks the wind out of us. No, that can’t be right. Can it? Can they really believe that?

Realizing that people honestly believe all sorts of things you know to be wrong is a bit shaking. It's difficult to come to terms with the fact that there are people who seriously believe your beliefs, actions, or even very existence is an affront to their being and causes them much pain. Even if you think -- or even know -- that you have done nothing wrong, it's rather disheartening to learn that people believe themselves to have been given great mental anguish by you -- and who are you to tell them they have not felt that way? Justifiably or not, they have suffered, and it is as a result of your actions.

But I swear, we just want to be able to coexist peacefully!

Some jerk's been going around Harvard and, wherever they see "Israel" on a sign, marking it out and writing in "Palestine." Along with the people who refer to different areas in the region as "the part occupied by Israel in 1967" and "the part occupied by Israel in 1948," and the people who hold flags with a map of a state of Palestine taking up the entire region, right down to the coast, with no Israel in sight. Peacefully coexist? Maybe we should pay more attention to the people saying they want to "drive Israel into the sea." That point of view seems to be taking hold here, at least.

Campus food

Harvard University Dining Services promised us we were getting cheese blintzes yesterday. I was so excited; I even left mass right after communion in order to get back in plenty of time. To my dismay, they had neither the blintzes nor even the excellent broccoli cheese chicken breasts. Just some overcooked rice and some egg salad. I don't like being lied to. (Matherites: let's mount a rebellion! the Taiwanese roommate's boyfriend says Lowell has stopped feeding its students entirely -- we must put a stop to this before it reaches that level at Mather as well!)

In other news, Senior Bar is starting. The Kong last night, and then I've got to do work the next few nights, but then Rock Bottom on Thursday. We're graduating in 102 days; let the debauchery begin. Or something.

On Fiskings

A good Fisking, such as that at LILEKS today, is so refreshing. Perhaps it's like a good bedroom romp. Or maybe it's like satisfactorily completing one of those gopher games at arcades, where you hold a hammer and bash the heads of each gopher that pops up. Every thing that rankles, everything that itches, gets scratched. You go through, point by point, declaring each sentence fundamentally flawed, and the final line implies, Q.E.D. there is no merit whatsoever to the fisked article. It's like finishing an excellent very rare porterhouse steak and having the waiter bring you a snifter of bristol cream sherry at the end of it. Utter perfection, the bad has been defeated, and the good has triumphed.


Go here to see the Navy's collection of safety-photos of the week. Some are... rather painful.

Sunday, February 23, 2003


An American in the UK learns how he feels about being an American. Unlike Frank Griswold, he does not find himself ashamed:
Initially, I took pride in being the token non-ugly American, and I liked not having to answer, personally, for every word out of Ronald Reagan's mouth and every bun out of Ronald McDonald's kitchen. Accepted at last by the global intelligentsia, a Minnesota country boy! Miraculous!
So why, deep down inside, as time went on, was I starting to feel like a traitor? Because I'd lied -- to my classmates and to myself. Their hostility hurt. Their caricatures really stung. Even worse, in a way I'd been eager to deny, I sensed that the anti-Americanism around me wasn't the reasoned, rational position that many of its adherents made it out to be, but something a bit more pernicious: a form of bigotry intended to humiliate and wound rather than to win over hearts and minds.

(Link from OxBlog.)

More responses to Chirac

The French have to learn they can't be stuck-up idiots and get away with it. And they are being told that they can no longer do it. As said by President Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia, one of the countries Chirac told to shut up or not get into the EU club:
"We certainly have seen the results of appeasement. It's much easier to tolerate a dictator when he's dictating over somebody else's life and not your own."

And, by the way, I just love the IHT's layout.

Hinduism: the Peaceful and Tolerant Religion

Here you can see and read about the latest in the Ramjanmabhumi saga. The picture seems to say, we'll dance around with swords and threaten to kill anyone who disagrees with us. The piles of dead bodies in Ayodhya, Godhra, Bombay, and anywhere else the Sangh Parivar has stuck their filthy fingers would seem to corroborate that thought.

Organ transplant girl dies

Is it just me, or do all the news stories make it seem like the girl's family is just scum? "The Santillan family declined to donate any organs from Jesica's body."

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Globalization, means for social uplift

From The Hindu: Globalization, while bad for small local businesses unable to compete, is good for social uplift of depressed classes.
In the cultural realm, globalisation seems to have opened up a new channel of hope for the historically suppressed masses. Modern sociological studies have shown that the Brahminic notion of purity and pollution in relation to ritual-culture, food habits and dress code kept a majority of India's masses as cultural slaves.

It happens in cities across India -- you don't know everyone in the town, so you can't possibly make sure that the shadow of a lesser being does not touch you. You have no idea whether or not you've been polluted by bumping into that guy on the train. You can keep it up in marriage choice and in how you cook in your own home, but that's about it -- and even that's fading fast.

And this gem, entirely true but rarely found in Indian sources, even ones as moderately Anglophilic as The Hindu:
The real change came after the Christian missionaries began interacting with India's productive masses. The missionaries, instead of condemning the food habits, dress code, ritual practices of these masses, began seeing them as part of the divine process. They lived with them, ate their food and adopted their dress code in order to give them cultural confidence.

The Christians could understand concepts of not being overly chummy with people from different social groups (as is the case in any culture), but even then they did not claim this separatism to be a positive action. And they were entirely incapable of comprehending rationales behind lynching a man because he had the audacity to wear shoes or gang-raping a woman because she was uppity enough to wear a blouse under her sari. They offered schools and English education and government positions to all people, regardless of caste, and, since the ferengi Christians were out-castes themselves, the Brahmins took them up on very few of those offers, to their detriment. Christianity first, and globalization by world philosophies grounded in Christianity second, is the root of almost all progress in India today.

Even Bob and his family agree, and they're South Indian Brahmins.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Orwell Alert

From over at Samizdata, this terrifying description of Europol powers:
Europol can hold information on individuals on its Central Information System database that includes their 'sexual orientation, religion, or politics', as well ethnic origin, age, address, and so on. Indeed under article 8.4 of the Europol Convention there is a catch-all category of 'additional information' that could include hearsay and unsubstantiated allegations. Individuals included in the database need not have been convicted of committing criminal offences under national law or be thought likely to have carried out crimes for which they were never convicted. Information can be entered about persons who it is believed will commit crimes in the future.

Bono and AIDS

(Sorry, the post below got messed up and can't be fixed. Dang open tag.)
Lots of articles in Christianity Today on Bono and on AIDS. Bono's faith history and current beliefs -- interesting stuff. And good bits about what needs to be done about AIDS in Africa, and what's being done, and what doesn't help (billions of cheap and rarely-used condoms).

They leave out one point that's not made often enough, but that I've heard from various scientists, CPS AIDS factsheets, and other sources: providing free medicines to Africa, just like providing free medicines to homeless people here, can be a very dangerous idea. The medication has to be given at very specific times of day and very regularly. You skip, you get worse, and the medicine stops working for you even if you take it again. If a whole bunch of people are given medicines that they take a time or two, quit because they don't like the side effects, maybe start up again when the health worker comes by, and stop again, strains of drug-resistant disease will develop. Plain and simple as that: it'll be equal treatment for all, then, because it'll be no treatment for anyone. Shooting ourselves in the foot.

Bono and AIDS

Lots of articles in

NY Fire

My goodness. Staten Island is on fire. Refinery blew up. Hope it's fixed soon.

On Relativism

One of my pet topics is ridiculing "everyone's equally good/bad" relativism statements. Today, James Lileks does it for me:
When Blair shows up in the pulpit cleaving the air with a scimitar, let me know. When US television broadcasts a speech with Billy Graham hosting an Excalibur replica from the Franklin Mint Collection, demanding the decapitation of Muslims, let me know. When George Bush grips the podium and beseeches American rock formations to give up the location of non-Christians so we can slit their throats, and it’s carried live on national TV by presidential order, drop me a line.

It takes a particularly rarified variety of idiot to look at a Jew-hating fascist with a small mustache - and decide that his opponent is the Nazi.

Useful Idiots

Bloody Wankers:
President Saddam Hussein's government, apparently emboldened by antiwar sentiment at the U.N. Security Council and in worldwide street protests, has not followed through on its promises of increased cooperation with U.N. arms inspectors, according to inspectors in Iraq.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Wrapping it up

(probably) final installment of the Feb. 15 wrapups: Christopher Hitchens:
DURING the many years I spent on the Left, the cause of self-determination for Kurdistan was high on the list of principles and priorities - there are many more Kurds than there are Palestinians and they have been staunch fighters for democracy in the region.

It would have been a wonderful thing if hundreds of thousands of people had flooded into London's Hyde Park and stood in solidarity with this, one of the most important struggles for liberty in the world today.
Instead, the assortment of forces who assembled demanded, in effect, that Saddam be allowed to keep the other five-sixths of Iraq as his own personal torture chamber.

There are not enough words in any idiom to describe the shame and the disgrace of this.


So, Instapundit is making the argument that if there were no war on drugs, innocent bystanders wouldn't get caught in police shootouts. There's a similar argument: if there were no war on crime of any sort, innocent bystanders wouldn't get caught in police shootouts, and there would be no prison overcrowding or violence problem to boot! Professor Reynolds, there are some good arguments against the war on drugs, but that's not one of them.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003


Of course, this bit from Hit & Run does run a close second. Congressmen shocked to find out that the campaign finance reform bill they voted for is incredibly idiotic.

Site of the Day

Mark Steyn up in Canada tells it like it is about the protesters last weekend and their platform. Won't cite -- the whole thing's too good to cut out a bit -- just go read it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Heck Yeah.

This demonstrates affirmative action better than anything I've ever come across. Hope more groups do things like this!
An affirmative action bake sale organized by the Bruin Republicans last week has provoked impassioned responses from a top California Democrat and political student groups on campus.

The sale, held on Bruin Walk on Feb. 3, offered cookies at different prices depending on the customer's race and gender. Black, Latina and American Indian females were charged 25 cents for cookies that cost males of minority descent 50 cents. White females were charged $1, and white males and all Asian Americans were charged $2.

Students selling the cookies were assigned name tags portraying them as "Uncle Tom," "The White Oppressor" and "Self-Hating Hispanic Race Traitor."

Ahh, conversions

In line with my current pastime of reading liberal-to-conservative conversion stories on heretofore unread blogs, here's a story much like mine: Up Yours - And More Helpful Tips: MY CONVERSION TO CONSERVATIVE ALMOST COMPLETE.

Protecting the right of the Left to look like academic frauds

Now this is just silly:
Soft Skull Press to Reissue Controversial History Book Revised Edition of Michael Bellesiles' Arming America:
Press Release
Soft Skull Press
71 Bond Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Richard Nash
Phone: 718-643-1599

Soft Skull Press today (Thursday) announced that it will republish the controversial history of American gun culture, former Emory professor Michael Bellesiles' Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture.

Soft Skull Press. Doesn't "thick-skulled" or "hard-headed" mean you're stubborn and perversely refuse to change your mind no matter what the evidence? Then, wouldn't "soft skull" mean you're open to revising your opinion based on the evidence? Hmm. Ahh, I've got it: Soft Skull means they're forceps babies, with their brains damaged when their skulls were still soft. Nothing else could explain this strange republishing plan.
Published to critical acclaim in 2001 -- "Bellesiles has dispersed the darkness that covered the gun's early history in America. He provides overwhelming evidence that our view of the gun is as deep a superstition as any that affected Native Americans in the 17th century," wrote Garry Wills in the New York Times Book Review -- the book and its author were subjected to vicious attack by the pro-gun Right. In an orchestrated series of web and print articles, organs such as the History News Network and the National Review furiously denounced the book.

Yes, the book and its author were placed under serious fact-based suspicion by the likes of Clayton Cramer first. This was mainly because the left was so happy to see the book that they accepted and praised it without question. Glaring and consistent fabrication would be noticed only by people who either 1) had the same personal reason to believe guns were prevalent as Bellesiles had to believe they weren't, which is not a motive on its own but does not alter the factuality of the statements made in either case, or 2) had a great interest in and had done a good amount of research on revolutionary-era gun-ownership in the US, a group heavily composed of people who are interested in guns, as people tend to study things they're interested in. Once Cramer et al pointed out the most egregious of the errors, historians generally considered liberal (including several from Harvard's history department) examined the book and found it seriously lacking in truth or academic integrity.

And "orchestrated series"? Now you're getting laughable. There was probably a huge conspiracy involving Episcopagans, Marxists, and other people who have a secret plot against Lyndon LaRouche.

However, serious historians ["serious historians"? You can't be a serious historian if you aren't a liberal?] also raised a number of questions concerning what appeared to be sloppy research. In the January 2002 issue of the William and Mary Quarterly, some of Bellesiles' research in probate records was criticized for misattribution and lack of verifiability. Facing a political firestorm, Emory University in Atlanta appointed a committee to investigate the allegations. Following the committee's report (available on Emory University's website), Bellesiles resigned from Emory, and Columbia University rescinded the prestigious Bancroft Prize it had awarded the author. Last month, Knopf decided to end their contractual relationship with the author.

Obviously, he was the victim of a heartless smear campaign. Even some of his strongest supporters (including of course the Bancroft Prize-givers) who were thrilled by his result bowed to the orchestrations of the pro-gun Right. They must have been paid off or blackmailed or something -- oh wait, no, liberals are all morally righteous and never do anything the corrupt conservatives could get them for. They must have been threatened with the McCarthyist idea of having their published opinions quoted on a website. Why else would they have capitulated?
"This is not the first time it has fallen to Soft Skull to ensure the American public can read books the Right doesn't like," says Publisher Richard Nash. "It is imperative that we stand up to the NRA smear machine. We believe in allowing readers to evaluate for themselves how Bellesiles has responded to the legitimate criticisms and whether the core thesis of the book-the undermining of the creation myth of the Second Amendment-stands up."

This is not the first time it has fallen to Soft Skull to ensure the American public can read across-the-board discredited books with fraudulent premises that happen to be leftist, without any disclaimers, that is. I had heard of a few plans by professors to use the book in class as part of an exercise in debunking. Along with the tongue-in-cheek suggestion (apparently taken at its word by some mortified booksellers) to move Arming America to the fiction section, others had suggested reprinting a heavily annotated version of the book with each imaginary or misquoted source and twisted fact pointed out. That would certainly let the non-annotated sections of the book speak for themselves, and allow the readers to evaluate for themselves whether to trust the thesis of a book whose author was unable to find enough truthful evidence to support his claim. Oh, but I forgot. If we don't like it, who cares about fact or truth or any of that -- accuse our opponents, left and right, pro-gun and anti-gun, of being part of "the NRA smear machine." If you can't refute their claims, always resort to ad hominem attacks. It makes you look so sensible, reasoned, and mature.
The book will feature a new introduction by the author, as well as several clarifications concerning research and a new Table One (the original being the source of much of the controversy) in which the author recreates the contested data.

"Recreates," I'd wager, is precisely the right word to use here.
"I challenge anyone to show how the revised paragraphs addressing probate materials undermine in any way the thesis or logical structure of this book," said Bellesiles, who is currently teaching in the U.K.

Mr. Bellesiles, I assure you, your challenge will be taken up. That is, if there seems to be any danger whatsoever of people believing you have fixed your book. And ah, the UK. They'll take them all in, no matter how loony or discredited. He's only teaching there because nobody here would have him. Although that may not be true -- Tawana Brawley is still moderately popular on college campuses... but I digress. The man's a fool, and the US is well rid of him.
Arming America will be published October 2003.

Seven copies will be bought, in addition to the 2,000 purchased by Bellesiles and certain SoftSkulled people in a pitiful attempt to make the book look like a success.
Join Together Online publishes selected press releases consistent with our mission to support communities working to prevent gun violence. The views expressed are those of the issuing organization and do not necessarily represent Join Together.

Ahh, that's it. Clearly a non-partisan organization. How could I ever have doubted them?

Idiocy makes me laugh.

All Dissent is Repressed?

Ahh, the fresh scent of scorn from The Telegraph: "Even the keenest anti-war protester could see that repressive forces of the British state weren't exactly lining up to gun down the marchers." (Link from OxBlog.)

Monday, February 17, 2003

The Change

Why Emperor Misha abandoned leftist ideas. My story's not nearly so good. Nor do I write one fifth as well.

Which Art Movement Are You?

You're the Rococo style!

which art movement are you?

this quiz was made by Caitlin

Anti-Religious Nuts

So Breakpoint Prison Fellowships, along with others who run Christian prison systems, has been sued. Who cares if they've got a 15% recidivism rate, as opposed to a 70% one for prisoners not in religious programs. Who cares if it works. It's got God in it, and therefore must be evil. (Fools.)


This, as linked from Oxblog.

Gakslavakian Kajigadigs (or, the French)

And to think I thought I was overly cynical. A disturbing post from OxBlog:
AXIS OF "SHUT UP AND DO AS YOU'RE TOLD" .... Chirac, speaking of nineteen other European countries (the group of eleven plus the group of ten minus the two countries (Albania and Slovakia) in both groups), says that their signing letters of support for the US on Iraq

is not really responsible behavior .... It is not well brought-up behavior. They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet.

They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet!?!?! That bullying, unilateralist bastard!

He went on to threaten the countries seeking EU membership:

Concerning the candidate countries, honestly I felt they acted frivolously because entry into the European Union implies a minimum of understanding for the others .... Romania and Bulgaria were particularly irresponsible to (sign the letter) when their position is really delicate .... If they wanted to diminish their chances of joining Europe they could not have found a better way.

The sheer, unmitigated Gaul ...

I can hardly believe it. I must just be very naive.


I have a hard time believing the worst about people. I really do. It takes a lot to convince me that someone's scum. That's why I hope the clear opinion bias here is also a factual bias, otherwise Tawana Brawley (and, by association, Al Sharpton) is one of the greatest scumbags I've heard of.

No Media Bias here, nothing to see, move along...

In this NYTimes article, entitled, "Hamas Says Israel Killed at Least 6 in Gaza Blast", it says,
Hamas blamed Israel for the blast today, suggesting that the men were killed by a booby-trapped toy plane.

But hark, scroll down a few screens, and you'll see this:
Later, in a statement, Hamas said the men had been working on a small remote-controlled plane, which they evidently planned to use in an attack.

So, what it amounts to is little sister going, "mommy, I was trying to kick my big sister, but I fell down and scraped my knee, so punish her!" Infantile. And, at least by the title, the NYT buys it.

On Holidays

Matthew Yglesias has some good points about holidays. He suggests making them impersonal. I wholeheartedly agree.

That gosh-darned unilateralist cowboy US

As quoted in Boston's Metro:
--Saudia Arabia
--Czech Republic
--Et alia

Hope she gets the nomination

Single supporter braves snow to hear Moseley-Braun speech. (As cited everywhere.)

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Quote of the Day

Donald Rumsfeld, from this week's Federalist:
"An institution that ... would permit Iraq, a terrorist state that refuses to disarm, to become soon the chair of the United Nations Commission on Disarmament, and which recently elected Libya -- a terrorist state -- to chair the United Nations Commission on Human Rights of all things, seems not to be even struggling to regain credibility. That these acts of irresponsibility could happen now, at this moment in history, is breathtaking. Those acts will be marked in the history of the UN as either the low point of that institution in retreat, or the turning point when the UN woke up, took hold of itself, and moved away from a path of ridicule to a path of responsibility." --Donald Rumsfeld

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Final last post

(Sorry, but it's been a while since I've done these. This is fun.)
Results... You are Bavarian
You are a Bavarian.

What's your Inner European?
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Security is Insensitive

Along the lines of those who complain that the pilots on Sept. 11 are "depicted as Islamic" in order to promote stereotypes, and the wife of the LAX shooter who claimed her husband was the victim of an anti-Arab smear campaign, here come people angry that security is being stepped up in conjunction with a Muslim holiday that certain Muslims have given us cause to believe might be a good time to get attacked. From Tongue Tied:
Muslims in Britain are said to be complaining that security officials there have decided to take additional security measures at the nation’s most important airport during the Eid festival, reports This is London.
Soldiers were posted at Heathrow this week in response to credible threats of a terror attack this week.
But some in the Muslim community said the additional security during Eid was "insensitive and intolerant."

And that's all for the night.

Hypocrites for Peace!

David Warren tells it like it is:
Chic exponents of abortion on demand will accuse President Bush of wanting to kill Iraqi babies; socialist proponents of public theft will accuse him of trying to steal Iraqi oil; and people whose safety and freedom have been guaranteed by U.S. military protection all their lives, will chant that "Amerika" is a fascist country.

(Courtesy of Canadian journalist and Relapsed Catholic Kathy Shaidle.)

London Iraqi on the War

The Dancer was at the London protests today. Hope she enjoyed it. Who knows, maybe she'll be like me, and like Josh Chafetz if I remember his High School political leanings correctly, and be so disgusted and turned off by the despicable outrages or just plain stupidity of the left that she'll turn "Neocon." (I'm not holding my breath, though.)

Anyhow, there's a nice little letter in the Guardian:
I could argue one by one against your reasons for opposing this war. But just ask yourselves why, out of about 500,000 Iraqis in Britain, you will not find even 1,000 of them participating tomorrow? Your anti-war campaign has become mass hysteria and you are no longer able to see things propely.

Read the whole thing. It's sensible and worth it.

When Presidents Talk Of God

Nice WaPo article:
There he goes again. Here's our president, the president of our land of religious liberty, going out there and making his point by citing Saint Paul's letter to the Ephesians.

"Ephesians says we should speak the truth with our neighbors for we are members one of another," the president said. "I believe that. I think that is the single most important political insight, or social insight, in the Bible. And I think it is what should drive us as we behave together."

Then he got to the compassionate God-talk. "Is my destiny caught up in yours?" he asked. "Are we part of the same family of God? It's not enough to say we are all equal in the eyes of God. We are all also connected in the eyes of God."

And the crowd applauded.

Does it bother you that our president talks that way? If it does, consider this: The speech I just quoted was not given by President Bush. It was given at Washington's Metropolitan Baptist Church in December 1997 by a president named William Jefferson Clinton.

Reminds me of the old WSJ article from years ago that had Bush and Cheney talking about how God was on their side, and how they were appointed by God to rule the country, and so forth, calling up righteous outrage from the disestablishmentarian and righteously concerned left, and then the Journal mentioned that said remarks took place, true, but out of the mouth of Joe Lieberman about him and Gore.

Gay Palestinians?

Go read the Independent Gay Forum for info on how to respond to the "Queers for Palestine" people you ran into at the protests today.

Which Self-Mutilation are You?

(Rather late, but quite intriguing. Mmm, crow.)
You are cutting
You are cutting

What Self-Mutilation Are You?
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Useful Fools

Ah, the insanity. How many groups (Palestinians, Communists, Nazis, Iraqis....) can one man support?

Friday, February 14, 2003


Not about WWII. Anyhow, happy Valentine's Day, all. I'm lucky enough to have the most wonderful guy in the world, a guy who will stay true to me through four years of him being in Texas and me being in Boston, through four years of my bickering and nagging and his parents' (gleefully now relinquished) hatred of my non-brown-ness, through four years of my dubitable perfectness. Bob, I love you. And I'm looking forward to many more years with you -- I can't see the future otherwise. Thank you!

No war for wicker furniture!

Samizdata has some good stuff on "why war?" today -- apparently, it's all about the Euros.

Happy Valentine's Day

Lovely Today Show bit with a couple getting married on the show. The priest is giving a typical Christian marriage homily. I was right about the anti-religious-expression outrage about Bush's Columbia speech; let's see if people complain about the Jesus references here. It's not by the president, but it's unquestioned unchallened exclusionary expressions of Christian faith on big-three network television.

Al Qaeda responsible for Harvard grade inflation

I'm tired of people blaming everything on Al Qaeda and saying that all actions anyone does support terrorism. So, apparently, is Lileks, as he says: "Karen Clark verdict in; she's guilty of running over her husband, Al Qaeda link to murder suspected since she may have filled her car with Saudi oil." Guess it just goes to show I don't quite walk in lockstep with certain political factions.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Irani matrimonial guide

This is hilarious, and reads like a Hindi film magazine:
First thing you do is a very "Salaamo aleykom, caakerim haaj khaanoom."

Do NOT look her straight in the eye. Sar bezir. Sharmo-hayaa, aaberoo hey-siyyat baayad hefz besheh!!

For added warmth grab her lop, mildly squeeze it and say "Chettttouri Goozoo?" Make sure taraf sefid-mefid topol-mopol baasheh before you attempt this.

Agar kayf kard and blushed, you are on the right track. Begoo ey-vallaa!

Agar torsh kard and started talking about hoghoogheh jenseh mo'annas, bi-khiaal aaghaa, bi-khiaal.

(Understandably, some basic knowledge of some variety of Arabic/Indo-Iranian language helps.)


Fixed the problem with no comments on the top post. (Now Powered By BackBlog.)




Wow. A Before/After picture of the Islamic Iranian revolution. Admittedly biased, yet fascinating for those of us who know nothing whatsoever about Iran except what we read on the Iranian Girl blog. Which has some good stuff today too:
Valentine's Day crackdown in Iran
"...TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iranian police have launched a massive crackdown on Valentine's Day celebrations in a bid to limit Western influences.
Shops were ordered to remove heart-themed decorations from their windows and Valentine cards were confiscated.
Plainclothes police began the crackdown on Monday after Valentine products inundated shopping malls in wealthy north Tehran and young people began to show great interest in marking the day.
Valentine's Day and its tradition of exchanging gifts with the opposite sex contradict conservative morals in a country where contact between unrelated men and women is strongly discouraged..."

Actually I got a little surprised by reading this piece of news, because yesterday that I had gone out, I saw all shops that sell valentine card, chocolate, dolls & the stuff open, & also full of young girls & boys, just like other, I don't know, perhaps this cracking down started today! or it is a little bit bombastic!...anyway, no matter what they wanna do, but Iranian boys & girls, do not obey them to be different from other young people...valentine will be held here in Iran.

You go girl!

Harvard now against profiling

And my dear friend Tsu-Huan Lo wrote a letter, as predicted, complaining about the Crimson's advocacy of racial profiling to ferret out spies. I don't quite know what I think on this topic, actually. I see both sides, which may be a good thing but sure does lead to indecision.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

On Fitness

Such interesting commercials on nowadays. The oddest of all is one for Bally Fitness -- a rather unattractive man says, in pretty much a monotone, "before, I could hardly get off the couch. Now, I can hardly get off the couch. I can't believe the difference." Very strange.

On Steven, honor and war

Can't even think of a good summary: just go read Lileks' Bleat today. It's the best I've read, by far. So... moving. And real. I've got the college student disease -- I need things that are real.
That’s the winter of 03: she’s at her little table, concentrating hard at her iBook, dressing up Mr. Potato Man; I’m at the island working on my iBook, flitting around and soaking up data, and the TV volume is set low, the screen showing old men in good suits in elegant rooms. They say nothing. We sit, and work, and wait for war.


Matthew Yglesias is suggesting consumption tax instead of income tax. I'm all for it. The typical intro economics example of John and Steve, where they both make $150,000 a year, but John invests most of it and Steve spends most of it on cheetoes and cheetahs and whatnot, and John, while doing more productive things with his money, has to pay the taxes that Steve does not. Consumption tax would reverse that.

Harvard Students for Profiling?

The Harvard Crimson comes out in support of increased FBI observance of students from countries hostile to the US or otherwise liable to spy. Rather surprising; I'm sure it'll get a bit of play in the letters columns in the next few days.

Racial Profiling

Owen Courrèges has some interesting posts here about racial profiling in traffic stops. Apparently, out in CO, white men are stopped a disproportionate amount. And in Jersey, they photographed drivers while clocking their speed, and blacks speed more often than whites. So, perhaps they get pulled over more because they speed more. Would make sense, wouldn't it?

Fat Children

The Policy Review talks sense on the McDonald's case:
But it is at least as reasonable to suppose that the opposite is true — that fast-food franchises and the like are responding to demand rather than creating it. Maybe Americans are not in fact wallowing zombie-like to the trough because Colonel Sanders tells them to. Maybe fast-food and other companies unable to ignore our capacious appetites are just engaged in business as usual: trying to keep the customers — with apologies — fat and happy.

Then goes on to blame the child-obesity increase on working mothers. I'm not so sure about that one (for one thing, as the Dancer points out, the concept of a "working mother" has never been a question for certain strata of society, who are also undergoing a current spike in obesity). The increased activity & stress of the mother might have something to do with it (one argument for ADD epidemic), but I doubt that's the whole story either. Not absence of the parent (leading to lack of discipline and lack of structured activity) entirely, or activity of the mother entirely, but something that draws in both the lack of parental exercise of authority and, yes, McDonald's. The availability of inexpensive junk food and the inability of parents to tell their children not to eat it is causing the problem. (McDonald's isn't causing it.) Seen several of those "my kid is fat and I'm proud of it" shows on Maury Povitch or whathaveyou; in all of them, the mother mentioned feeding her 100-lb four-year-old cheetos and french fries and other such healthy delicacies all day long, with the rationale being that it's what he wants and it's "mean" to tell him no. ("I'm not going to starve my child!") Fools. You'd rather kill him than say he can't have everything he wants. In the end, it comes down to inept parenting, which has a connection with absent mothers but does not necessarily go hand-in-hand with it. It does go hand-in-hand with absent mothers (assuming in all cases absent fathers) who do not make sure their child is being cared for in their absence. That this seems to be a majority of working mothers reflects poorly on the upbringing (or lack thereof) of many current mothers, and not on the institution of working mothers per se. The many women who have worked for centuries (as seamstresses, cooks, or other usually menial labor) did not have fat kids, both because it wasn't quite as easy for anyone to get fat, and because they made sure their children were brought up well enough in their absence. Bill, you play with Johnny and Pete after school. Mary, you have to watch Susan; stay with Grandma until I get home. Shuffle the kids if you don't like the gender roles, but still, they're being active and being taken care of. Higher-class women, not brought up in a part of society where they could learn how working women still parented children, had to figure it out for themselves. Several made it; many failed.

A semi-related note: what's the freshman fifteen? it's been around longer than the fat-kid problem (my mother had the freshman forty). I'd suggest in some ways it's from the same root as the collegiate tendency to have messy rooms, to put off work, and to have disreputable parties: absence of parental figures. The parental figure could just be a message so strongly drilled into your brain that you cannot get it out (perhaps why fewer people at Harvard completely quit working and fail out than at colleges where students haven't been as driven by their parents their whole lives). If they're not there, not even in the form of a conscience, then you'll do the sins of omission (lazy things like not cleaning and not preparing/seeking out healthy food) and the sins of comission (wild parties and seeking out unhealthy food) that they wouldn't have allowed. I know I eat more and worse when no roommates (who know I should be dieting) are around.

The article does have a good point about breastfeeding, though:
Over the years, a substantial body of evidence has developed to suggest not only that mother’s milk in the first year of life confers immune and other protections for a variety of baby problems — that much has been known for decades — but that such feeding also apparently reduces the likelihood of obesity later in life.

I still think I'll do like my mother and breastfeed until they have significant teeth.

Douthat's Back!

Ross Douthat, late of Harvard, was the only college conservative I've ever heard described by most college liberals as a good writer. They hate all he stands for, but they concede he writes well. Therefore, for all and sundry it should be a delight to read his blog, The American Scene. He also has links to many of his (and his friend and coblogger's) articles on the site. One brief post as an example:
Nuanced Stupidity: There's media bias, and then there's media fatuousness. Consider the following line, from a New York Times article on the budding special relationship between George Bush and PM Jose Maria Aznar of Spain:

"Although European leaders tend to a more nuanced sense of history, Mr. Aznar has no problem in seeing the Iraq crisis as a choice between Saddam Hussein and George Bush."

Oh, those Europeans -- so sophisticated, so nuanced, so much smarter than us! Never mind that Aznar speaks for far more European leaders than, say, Gerhard Schroder or Jacques Chirac. Such piddling details are quite inconsequential. Just as when Kofi Annan refers to us "going it alone," he really means "without the United Nations," it's clear that when the Times refers to "European leaders," they really mean "the leaders of Germany and France."

Oh, and Belgium. We mustn't forget Belgium.

There's so much more where that came from. Go read it. (Ladies, he's cute, too, and, as far as I know, available.)

Monday, February 10, 2003

Let the conquests begin!

Although it's satire, unlike the accidental invasion of Morocco by some lost members of the British Navy a while back, this is amusing:
France Surrenders to Texas High School (Chirac accepts exile in Iraq).

On pots (and kettles)

Man! the "Dude, you're getting a Dell" guy was arrested for marijuana possession!

May as well clarify my drug policy opinions. They're variable, but, as they stand right now: Marijuana, cannabis, hashish, etc. should be treated more like tobacco and alcohol. (Heroin, cocaine, etc., probably not.) Perhaps like clove cigarettes, which are hard to find but still available. As in, age restrictions (well, they wouldn't have stopped me any more than the alcohol ones, but age restrictions do seem to have an effect in general), you can't buy it everywhere but can still go to stores and get it, heavy penalties for providing it to underage types, and very highly increased penalties for doing bad things "under the influence". Bad things like driving your car over people.

As for these commercials: well, the ones that in effect say, "marijuana is bad because you can get arrested for it," while logically vapid, may well have a strong effect on people (why I never bought alcohol in the picky state of Massachusetts underage, for example -- no moral qualms, but fear of penalties). The ones that say, "you'll hit on your friend's sister or do other stupid things if you smoke out," well, just stupid. The ones that say, "there are serious health downsides to smoking pot," I think, might have an effect on people who have always heard "it's harmless" but really are concerned about their health. And the ones who say, "people pulled over for reckless driving often test positive for drugs," now, that made me decide (anew) never to drive after smoking/drinking much of anything.

In some ways, that's a bit of a libertarian anti-drug approach -- don't ban it or declare "war" on it -- just teach people the plain facts about if/why/how it's bad for you and let them decide for themselves (over a certain age, of course).

Friday, February 07, 2003

Quote for the Day

"There are hidden contradictions in thr minds of people who"love Nature" while deploring the "artificialities" with which 'man has spoiled Nature".The obvious contradiction in in their choice if words which imply that Man and his arifacts are not part of 'Nature"-but beavers and their dams are.But the contradictions go deeper than this prima-facie absurdity.In declaring his love for the beaver dam(erected by beavers for beavers purposes) and his hatred for dams erected by men(for the purposes of men)the "Naturist" reveals his hatred for his own race-i.e his own self-hatred.This self-hatred is understandable for they are such a sorry lot.But hatred is too strong an emotion to feel toward them.Pity and contempt is the most they rate."


Thursday, February 06, 2003

I, Feminist

No, really. According to the iFeminist website, I just might be. Because they're dang sensible types. Yes, women should be allowed to work outside the home (not forced to), yes, they should get equal pay for the same job (not a lesser one). No, they shouldn't get special preferences. And with mild libertarian leanings. Huzzah!

According to the iranian girl, they're having problems in Iran with teens killing themselves because they've been caught with music CDs. As she perceptively points out, something's wrong in that society.

Bad Sex

Charles Murtaugh up at the Quad asks, "Why is it assumed that the only way to be pro-woman is to support the right of 16-year-olds to have bad sex?" As I watch my suitemate prepare for the Vagina Monologues, I wonder, along those lines, why is it assumed that the only way to be pro-woman is to support the right of 13-year-olds to be raped? (remember, when it's done by a lesbian, it's a "good rape.")

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Unwilling converts

I love stories like this one, from Accuracy In Media (and no, I don't think AIM is anything approaching a reputable news source; they are, however, occasionally interesting reading):
In 1999, Danish professor Bjorn Lomborg published The Skeptical Environmentalist. The book provided an upbeat assessment on global warming and other environmental issues so dear to leftists and their friends in the national media. In his preface, Lomborg admits that he set out to prove that the leftists’ pessimistic pronouncements were accurate. To his surprise, however, he found himself debunking their most cherished beliefs.

Like Lee Stroebel or Josh McDowell, he set out intending to write towards a certain goal and ended up having his mind changed by the evidence. Those people are the most believable, to me -- not only are they not biased towards their eventual side, they're biased against it!

Monday, February 03, 2003

Unilateral this

From the Wall Street Journal -- letter by 8 European heads of state, supporting the US -- beautiful.

Yet more sullahness

Allah Has Made Sure That His Footsteps Never Touched The Ground Ever Again - Right Wing News (Conservative News and Views)

More Muslim Insanity

(Think I should perhaps go the way of HinduUnity (God forbid?) and start saying "sullah" or some such when referring to those people some peacable Muslims claim do not represent Islam, all appearances to the contrary, so as not to appear to be tarring all Muslims with the same brush. Thoughts?) Anyhow, Daimnation! has another interesting link to here:
"They were sent to space to spy on the Arabs and Muslims,"said Rudainah Salman, a 28-year-old schoolteacher from Ramallah. "I have no sympathy for the astronauts because they were doing something bad to us. Allah punished them because of their bad intentions. I hate the Americans and the Israelis because of what they are doing to our people."
One of his friends, Ayman Dweik, 19, said he heard "somewhere on TV" that the Columbia explosion was the first in a series of disasters that are expected to hit the US.

"They said on TV that the next strike is going to be when the sea opens and swallows one of the American warships that s on its way to attack Iraq. This is the will of Allah, that all the enemies of Islam shall be destroyed. People here say that the shuttle was on an espionage mission to gather information on the Arab and Muslim countries," Dweik said.

Like a fish needs a bicycle/ like a screen door on a submarine

Quote of the day from I Am Always Right:
"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. You just leave a lot of useless, noisy baggage behind." - Jed Babbins, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, on Hardball with Chris Matthews

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

So you're always hearing about how "if you knew how it really was, you wouldn't dislike it / ridicule it / whatever." I think, at least in my case, that's wrong. I never really made fun of Canada before I went there and saw how lovable yet goofy all the people in the Maritimes are. And I thought Islam was a nice and friendly religion with incredibly beautiful architecture and calligraphy; but I started reading about it, and listening to the people who proudly claim to speak for all Muslims (without the "mainstream" Muslims emphasizing that they don't), and talking to people who have lived in Islamic countries, and now I think it's terrible. My opinion of the architecture and calligraphy hasn't changed, though. I was also noncommittal on the Israel-Palestine conflict, as well as the Kashmir one, but research and knowledge and visits and discussion with people on both sides has changed my opinion on both of those as well. On Kashmir, incidentally, I have no good solution, but I do think everyone's wrong (I used to think just the Pakistanis were; now I think they're more wrong than the Indians, but not much).

More lunacy

SoundVision.Com has some more young Muslim wankers:
i just cum online to tell u guys but obviously someone got there before me, when i first heard that there was an isreali on board, i was like on my gawd this is allah having his revenge on the isreali after what they have dne to the muslim world,

i know i shouldnt be feeling like this but i dnt feel no sorrow toward these ppl, who tld them to go out of space, trying to act rather clever, they were rather proud with them selves, (this is nasa with thier sucess with the space shuttle

allah help us all (ameen)

wassalam alikum


Sadly enough [and it is sad] But My heart just cant feel sympathy for them, Instead i have a weird sense of satisfaction I know that sounds horrible, But after the Millions of Muslims being oppressed and slaughtered ans as America and Israel prepare to kill More Muslims I just cant feel anything for them, But I hope god gives their families strength.

The israeli officer was a colonel who have previously killed Palestinians,

He burnt in Space and Now he can Burn in Hell!

Links from LittleGreenFootballs.

More DU insanity

Some examples from Democratic Underground Forums - Now that we are sufficiently distracted by the shuttle disaster....
theriverburns (5 posts)
Feb-01-03, 10:45 AM (ET)
Reply to post #6
9. wrong
Knowing yes, knowing, that even before the bodies are fournd that this will be used by Team Bush for promoting Bush's oil war is heartbreaking.


Patriot_Spear (711 posts)
Feb-01-03, 10:56 AM (ET)
Reply to post #9
21. He used 3000 bodies last time...
What makes you think 5 will even slow him up?

Bush Knew... Pass it on.

This is why I -- in good company -- no longer consider myself anything even remotely approaching a liberal.

Realtime thread

Space Shuttle Columbia Will Be Visible In San Francisco Area (6AM Pacific) -- realtime thread from Freerepublic.

Only a matter of time

Iraqis Call Shuttle Disaster God's Vengeance -- although one of the Demo Underground goons calls this article part of the right-wing-tool Reuters' "disinformation campaign" to try to get us to go to war.


The Ebay barbarism has started.
UPDATE: This is a typical example.
UPDATE: Well, that was a piece of debris. Got taken down quickly.

My God.

What could be worse than this? I think I'm going to be sick.

Safely Home

Beautiful speech by the President. They did not return safely, but may they be safely home. (Cynicism alert: wonder how long it'll be before people complain about Bush quoting from Isaiah and discussing God?)

Poems, part II

And one for the road, by Keats:

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact'ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And feel that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think,
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.


Just been asked what my headline's from. Therefore, here, one of the most beautiful poems ever written, by Rupert Brooke:

V. The Soldier
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

There is a corner of a foreign field

The Columbia shuttle has exploded; all aboard assumed dead.

But Harvardians take no time to mourn before making political statements about things; as seen on Mather's open email list:
Maybe the collective sense of loss that this tragedy should inspire will give rise to one good cause: everyone will realize what the real impact of going to war with Iraq might be...

That is, it has been explained, whether or not this was intentionally caused, it could have been, and it should have been expected and is defensible because a damn Israeli was aboard. If we go to Iraq, we should expect more justified killings of Americans and Israelis. Of course.

Not supposed to do more than one point per post, but: this seems to have as much logic as the ads I've seen, the ones that say, "Saddam has no nuclear weapons; plus, if we attack him, we'll make him fight back with nuclear weapons." Umm?

doesn't seem to have made it. well, better luck next time, i guess.

Bob's hearing about his med school admits in a few minutes; keep your fingers crossed!