Friday, May 30, 2008

Wine Drinkers of the World, Unite.

Ever have a waiter that was too attentive? Christopher Hitchens has.

Book Review: Is Milton Better Than Shakespeare?

In a word: No.

Don't get me wrong Milton is great and all but seriously. Adam Kirsch agrees.

Did a 'dream team' of biblical scholars mislead millions?

When the Gospel of Judas was unveiled at a news conference in April 2006, it made headlines around the world — with nearly all of those articles touting the new and improved Judas. "In Ancient Document, Judas, Minus the Betrayal," read the headline in The New York Times. The British paper The Guardian called it "a radical makeover for one of the worst reputations in history." A documentary that aired a few days later on National Geographic's cable channel also pushed the Judas-as-hero theme. The premiere attracted four million viewers, making it the second-highest-rated program in the channel's history, behind only a documentary on September 11.

But almost immediately, other scholars began to take issue with the interpretation of Meyer and the rest of the National Geographic team. They didn't see a good Judas at all. In fact, this Judas seemed more evil than ever. Those early voices of dissent have since grown into a chorus, some of whom argue that National Geographic's handling of the project amounts to scholarly malpractice. It's a perfect example, critics argue, of what can happen when commercial considerations are allowed to ride roughshod over careful research. What's more, the controversy has strained friendships in this small community of religion scholars — causing some on both sides of the argument to feel, in a word, betrayed.

Stuck on an escalator.

Harvey Korman, Dead at 81.

I always loved the way Tim Conway would try and crack him up with his add libs on the Carol Burnette Show. Poor Harvey, try as he might he just couldn't say in character.

The performance that people will really remember though is Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles. For my money, one of the all time greats. He'll be missed.

Proposed Porn Tax in California.

Eugene Volokh suspects it's unconstitutional:

It seems to me the tax would likely be unconstitutional. Content-based taxes on the sale of First-Amendment-protected materials (and recall that the law targets not just unprotected and illegal obscenity, but also constitutionally protected pornography) are generally forbidden, see Arkansas Writers' Project v. Ragland (1987).

The backers of the law seem to rely on the Court's "erogenous zoning" cases, which allowed special zoning restrictions on sexually themed entertainment on the grounds that this entertainment causes "secondary effects," in the form of crime by patrons and a decline in neighboring property values. But this law is not a zoning restriction, and would extend to places that have no consumers at all. The Court might be willing to recognize other effects as "secondary," such as the possible harms (e.g., sexually transmitted disease risks, or even mental health risks) to performers. But the law seems to be quite ill-fitted to avoiding or remedying such harms, given that the law isn't at all calibrated to these harms: For instance, the law applies to distribution of porn created outside California, which creates problems that aren't remotely remediable through a tax paid to California authorities.

Moreover, parts of the law's stated rationale -- that pornography "[e]ncourages unsafe sex by consumers," "[o]ften encourages sexually aggressive behavior towards women," and "may negatively influence [children's] developing attitudes towards sexuality and relationships" -- focuses on what the Court has treated as primary effects (the tendency of speech to change people's attitudes, and the behavior that flows from those changes) rather than "secondary effects." See, e.g., United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group, 529 U.S. 803 (2000). I think the "primary effects" / "secondary effects" distinction isn't conceptually sound. But it's pretty clear that these effects can't count, under the Court's precedents, as secondary effects.

Prelude to Midway - US Carrier-based Air.

Click to enlarge.

SteelJaw Scribe has a cool overview of U.S. naval aviation on the eve of the battle of Midway.

Flash Physics.

Something fun to play with. Use left and right arrows to move to different examples.

Changes at Diminished Expectations.

Sorry that the blogging has been light lately. With The Wife being pregnant and me trying to sort out some technology issues...I guess I haven't paid enough attention to my loyal readers. Hopefully that will change soon.

I'd like to take this opportunity to announce some changes here at DE (that's what all the cool kids call it). Over the past year DE has become a team effort and it really ought to reflect that. Instead of "about me" the page should say "about us". That sort of thing.

I began Diminished Expectations began as a place where I could post links to articles that I thought were interesting...that's it. For the most part it will remain that way. I'm hoping however, to add a lot more original content over the next several months. Mostly, this will mean me getting off my metaphorical backside and writing more. But it also means DE will have lots content from people besides me.

Unless you're blind you've noticed that Indy Jane has joined the crew recently (OK a few months ago...look this is free. For timely you have to pay). With her insightful articles and fantastic video skills, she's improved the quality of the website immeasurably. She's a great addition and we're lucky to have her.

If Indy and I have done the lion's share of the visible work here, The Wife has done quite a bit in the background. She routinely proofs my posts, suggests articles, and acts as an all around back seat driver. She'll continue in those roles but less often. With the demands of her career as well as impending motherhood weighing upon her, she has better things to do.

I'd also like to add content from others too. If you have something you want published let me know. Here's your big chance. It can be anything: Art History, Pop Culture, German Philosophy whatever. The more the merrier. In this way, massive blog empires are built (I can hear Matt Drudge quaking in his boots). I do however reserve the right to edit for obscenity and liability issues.

In short just like life, nothing here stays the same. Hopefully you'll like the changes.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What went wrong in Iraq - An al Qaeda perspective.

[I]t is a common problem among terror groups. They lack the numbers and ability to successfully attack hardened sites and armed and trained troops. So they're reduced to finding other ways to make their presence both known and feared. That, of course, involves killing innocent civilians, or, as AQ calls them, "involuntary martyrs".

As you might imagine, that wears thin among the "involuntary martyrs" (and we think "collateral damage" is bad) very quickly. And the result was the loss of their base of support (in this case, the Sunni insurgents).

via Maggie's Farm.

Headline of the Week.

Monkeys control robot arm with thoughts.

We're all doomed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Israel has become the World's Jew - it's favorite scapegoat."

Finding New Ways to Express Jew-Hatred
by Dr. Dvir Abramovich

I am often reminded of Martin Luther King’s statement about anti-Zionism:

“You declare that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely anti-Zionist. And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops…When people criticize Zionism they mean Jew; we are talking anti-Semitism….Zionism is nothing less than the dream and ideal of the Jewish people returning to live in their own land… Anti-Zionist is inherently anti-Semitic and ever will it be so. And what is anti-Zionist? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews. In short, it is anti-Semitism.”

Late last year, Israeli author A.B Yehoshua observed: “Instead of attacking Jews they are attacking Zionism, and this is the way because you cannot attack Jews anymore openly.”

Anti-Zionism gives old fashion anti-Semitic intent a sheen of civilised discourse, but people of good conscience should not be deceived or intimidated to deal with it or let down their guard. As they say, the devil is in the details. Principally, anti-Zionism is an accurate reflection of unbridled street level anti-Judaism feeding on anti-Semitic myths that in turn nurture the battle against the existence of Israel. Obviously, it’s easier to disseminate age-old anti-Jewish feeling cloaked as anti-Zionism. But in no way should Anti-Zionism serve as a convenient cover, a euphemism, a loophole for those spewing and fomenting anti-Semitic slander.

For the record, not every criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. No one wants to stifle a free, honest and open debate on all sides. It’s all about the pitch the criticism reaches. Moreover, there’s no problem with champions of the Palestinian cause who dissent and use industrial strength criticism to make a point about the specific policy of the Israeli government. As long as they recognise Israel’s right to exist, do not deny individual Jews self-determination and the right to live and do not seek Israel’s destruction because it is “a racist entity’ guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity” (NGO declaration before Durban).

To wit, who can forget the blatantly hypocritical circus of the Durban conference where a considerable number of nations insisted that every reference to Anti-Semitism be linked with the racist practices of Zionism” while simultaneously arguing that Zionism was a movement based on racist supremacy akin to apartheid.

It has been noted that the line is crossed when Israel is imbued with known antisemitic stereotypes, when Israelis and Jews are compared to Nazis and blamed for worldwide disasters (the Mel Gibson syndrome), when they are singled out and attacked in a disproportionate manner, and when Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is questioned.

For Gabriel Schoenfeld, editor of Commentary, anti-Semitism is “the right and the only word for an anti-Zionism so one-sided, so eager to indict Israel while exculpating Israel’s adversaries, so shamefully adroit in the use of moral double standards, so quick to issue false and baseless accusations, and so disposed to invert the language of the Holocaust and to paint Israelis and Jews as evil incarnate.” In a similar vein, Ruth Wisse reveals that, “Contemporary Anti-Zionism has absorbed all the stereotypes and foundational texts of fascist and Soviet anti-Semitism and applied them to the Middle East.” Swedish statesman Per Ahlmark wisely doubts that anyone would believe this declaration, “I am against the existence of Great Britain, but I’m not anti-British.”

History has shown us that rarely has there been anti-Zionism without anti-Semitism. Dr King named the lie, saw that anti-Zionism is often used to mask the face of anti-Semitism and so do I. Take Resolution 3379 (Zionism=racism), a strategy to de-legitimatise Israel’s right to exist. Arab Historian Bernard Lewis has written that the insidious resolution was chosen as the best stand in for a vicious anti-Semitic campaign by Soviet and Arab Ideological goals. Once accepted, it erased the taboo against publicly expressing anti-Semitic sentiments in the wake of the Holocaust. And as then US Ambassador to the UN Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan recalled in his book A Dangerous Place, the shameless resolution was not only aimed against Israel but also against world Jewry. Intellectual William F. Buckley observed at the time that the UN had become “The most concentrated gathering of anti-Semitism since the days of Hitler’s Germany” while Lionel Trilling maintained that with this legal travesty the ghost of Hitler haunted the halls of the UN.

Recognising the interdependence of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, the US Senate passed a resolution condemning the vote as an encouragement of Anti-Semitism as did the Australian Parliament. In 1991, President Bush in an address to the UN assembly, stated, “Zionism is not a policy, it is the idea that led to the creation of a home for the Jewish people in the state of Israel…To equate Zionism with racism is to reject Israel itself, a member in good standing of the UN.” Even the Vatican, in its document The Church and Racism of the Holy See’s Council acknowledged that, “Anti-Zionism…serves at times as a screen for anti-Semitism feeding on it and leading to it.” (part II, no. 15).

Consider that anti-Zionism is the first type of Jew hatred to deny that it hates Jews. Today, those who hate Jews and who fan the flames of bigotry call themselves anti-Zionists, seeking new modes of packaging their virulent ideology and knowing that “if one tells the same lies long enough” as Goebbles stated, “people will begin to believe them”. Yet, it is beyond dispute that throughout the world, classical anti-Semitism is being dressed us as anti-Zionism, a more respectable, but no less poisonous and vile, type of hate.

There is hard and fast evidence that all too often anti-Semitic figures brand themselves anti-Zionists. Consider Kwawe Ture. When speaking on American campuses, the Black Nationalist figure’s favourite punchline is “The only good Zionist is a dead Zionist.” Ture asserts he is not anti-Semitic, merely anti-Zionist although he heads the AAPRP, one of the most radical anti-Semitic groups on the left, tells audiences that Jews dominated the slave trade and that Zionists collaborated with the Nazis to create the Holocaust. Clearly, animosity towards Zionism by high profile hate mongers is always bonded to smearing against Judaism. Robert Wistrich remembers an interview with Valery Emelianov a leading member of the ultra right wing Russian group Pamyat in which Elianov kept using the word Zionists where it was plain it was a transparent codeword for Jews, also repeatedly employing the term “Jewish Nazis”. And what about Syrian Defence Minister Mustafa Tlas and his 1983 book The Matza of Zion, a blood libel clocked as insight into Zionist behaviour and intention. One could also add the Peronist congressman in Argentina who classified Zionism as device for taking over Latin America and the Court in Crete that ruled in 1984 that Jehovah’s Witnesses are part of a Zionist conspiracy to rule the world as prime examples.

Even left-wing icon and peace activist Israeli author A. B Yehoshua has recognied the anti-Zionism agenda. In March last years he observed: “Instead of attacking Jews they are attacking Zionism, and this is the way because you cannot attack Jews anymore openly.” Let us also recall that that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran spoke at anti-Zionism conference when he infamously spoke about wiping Israel off the map.

The establishment of a Jewish state has not erased anti-Semitism. There is still a need for a demonized scapegoat and Israel itself has become the world’s Jew, its favorite scapegoat. Anti-Zionism is an ingenious way to defame Israel and the Jewish people. And for that very reason, anti-Zionism should not lose its seat on the bus of political correctness that protects certain groups; it should never be made acceptable, tolerated, ignored or hushed up.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Lest We Forget.

Freedom isn't free.

Seige of Sevastopol Panorama

One of the most notable events involving the city is the Siege of Sevastopol (1854-1855) carried out by the British, French, Sardinian, and Turkish troops during the Crimean War, which lasted for 11 months.

Despite its efforts, the Russian army had to leave its stronghold and evacuate over a pontoon bridge to the north shore of the inlet. The Russians had to sink their entire fleet to prevent it from falling into the hands of the enemy and at the same time to block the entrance of the Western ships into the inlet. When the enemy troops entered Sevastopol, they were faced with the ruins of a formerly glorious city.

A panorama of the siege created by Franz Roubaud and which was restored after its destruction in 1942 is housed in a specially constructed circular building in the city. It portrays the situation in the height of the siege, on 18 June 1855.It was made with two methods - the closer to the observer layers are made with the real objects - cannon balls, cannons, grass, fortification logs, guns - everything is real etc and further from the observer starts the epic drawing on the round walls of the panorama, creating the illusion that the observer is standing on the top of the hill in the center of the battle for the defense of Sevastopol.

Cell Phone in Microwave.

This is why you should never, ever do this. You've been warned.

The Obama Gaffe Machine.

Michelle Malkin wonders how he gets away with it:

All it takes is one gaffe to taint a Republican for life. The political establishment never let Dan Quayle live down his fateful misspelling of “potatoe.” The New York Times distorted and misreported the first President Bush’s questions about new scanner technology at a grocers’ convention to brand him permanently as out of touch.

But what about Barack Obama? The guy’s a perpetual gaffe machine. Let us count the ways, large and small, that his tongue has betrayed him throughout the campaign:

Last May, he claimed that tornadoes in Kansas killed a whopping 10,000 people: “In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed.” The actual death toll: 12.

Earlier this month in Oregon, he redrew the map of the United States: “Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states? I think one left to go.”

Last week, in front of a roaring Sioux Falls, S.D., audience, Obama exulted: “Thank you, Sioux City. ... I said it wrong. I’ve been in Iowa for too long. I’m sorry.”

Explaining last week why he was trailing Hillary Clinton in Kentucky, Obama again botched basic geography: “Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it’s not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle.” On what map is Arkansas closer to Kentucky than Illinois?

Obama has as much trouble with numbers as he has with maps. Last March, on the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Ala., he claimed his parents united as a direct result of the civil rights movement: “There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Ala., because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born.”

Obama was born in 1961. The Selma march took place in 1965. His spokesman, Bill Burton, later explained that Obama was “speaking metaphorically about the civil-rights movement as a whole.”

Earlier this month in Cape Girardeau, Mo., Obama showed off his knowledge of the war in Afghanistan by homing in on a lack of translators: “We only have a certain number of them, and if they are all in Iraq, then it’s harder for us to use them in Afghanistan.” The real reason it’s “harder for us to use them” in Afghanistan: Iraqis speak Arabic or Kurdish. The Afghanis speak Pashto, Farsi, or other non-Arabic languages.

Over the weekend in Oregon, Obama pleaded ignorance of the decades-old, multibillion-dollar massive Hanford nuclear-waste cleanup: “Here’s something that you will rarely hear from a politician, and that is that I’m not familiar with the Hanford, uuuuhh, site, so I don’t know exactly what’s going on there. (Applause.) Now, having said that, I promise you I’ll learn about it by the time I leave here on the ride back to the airport.”

I assume on that ride, a staffer reminded him that he’s voted on at least one defense-authorization bill that addressed the “costs, schedules, and technical issues” dealing with the nation’s most contaminated nuclear-waste site.

Last March, the Chicago Tribune reported this little-noticed nugget about a fake autobiographical detail in Obama’s Dreams from My Father: “Then, there’s the copy of Life magazine that Obama presents as his racial awakening at age 9. In it, he wrote, was an article and two accompanying photographs of an African-American man physically and mentally scarred by his efforts to lighten his skin. In fact, the Life article and the photographs don’t exist, say the magazine’s own historians.”

And in perhaps the most seriously troubling set of gaffes of them all, Obama told a Portland crowd over the weekend that Iran doesn’t “pose a serious threat to us” — cluelessly arguing that “tiny countries” with small defense budgets can’t do us harm — and then promptly flip-flopped the next day, claiming, “I’ve made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave.”

Barack Obama — promoted by the Left and the media as an all-knowing, articulate, transcendent Messiah — is a walking, talking gaffe machine. How many more passes does he get? How many more can we afford?

I've said it before and I'll say it again...the guy's not ready for prime-time.

UPDATE: He did it again today.

"On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today -- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong."

I'm sorry but the man's an idiot.

How To Make a Ghost.

Not bad for a bunch of chicken wire.

Drug-dealers vs software developers.

"The first one's free!" vs "Download a free trial version..." and so on.

Fallen Icons.

Ever wonder what happens on your computer when you're not around? Click here and find out!

The F-22: A Pilot's Perspective.

Those few pilots favored with the opportunity to fly the F-22 Raptor quickly become comfortable with the aircraft’s unique characteristics. They talk casually about aircraft handling qualities at airspeeds and angles of attack that would make any other fighter spin out of controlled flight. In the same conversation, they describe outstanding handling qualities at supersonic speeds and regularly running chase aircraft out of gas. The F-22 is an impressive aircraft at both ends of the flight envelope. In this first of a series of articles of pilot impressions on the F-22, Paul Metz takes the high speed end of the F-22 flight envelope and Jon Beesley takes the low speed end.

The Perils of Dihydrogen Monoxide.

Dihydrogen Monoxide kills thousands of Americans every year. It's also responsible for billions in property damage. In a recent poll, 86% of the respondents wanted the chemical banned. Thus far however, the Bush Administration has refused to even study the issue-typical given their attitude toward science. Perhaps only Barack Obama can save us from this threat.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dinner in the Subway.

This is I think, the Moscow Subway...which is a good thing. I suspect trying this in New York at rush hour would get you stabbed.

Lego Celebs.

Very Cool.

Corpse Found Sitting in Front of Television for 42 Years.

Detectives in Croatia have a little explaining to do. A woman by the name Hedviga Golik was reported as missing way back in 1966 when neighbors lost all sign of her.

Apparently, no one thought to look in her apartment until yesterday. In order to establish who owned the long dormant apartment, cops finally entered and discovered the missing woman sitting in a chair in front of a black & white television. She had been sitting there for 42 years!

A police spokesman said: "So far, we have no idea how it is possible that someone officially reported missing so long ago was not found before in the same apartment she used to live in.
"When officers went there, they said it was like stepping into a place frozen in time.

"The cup she had been drinking tea from was still on a table next to the chair she had been sitting in and the house was full of things no one had seen for decades. Nothing had been disturbed for decades, even though there were more than a few cobwebs in there."

No word yet on whether she was disappointed with the American Idol results.

World's Largest Tidal Turbine.

It's a pretty cool idea to harness tides and use them as a power source. Probably going to be a little hard on the fish though.

The Truth About High Gas Prices.

Why is gasoline so damn expensive? The mainstream media has rounded up the usual suspects. They demonize oil companies (for excessive profits), lambaste environmentalists (for blocking domestic drilling and refining), and sock it to speculators (for fear mongering over supply). Simply put, the current crisis is a speculative bubble whose impact to American consumers is exacerbated by domestic economic conditions. I fully expect crude oil will trade below $80 a barrel in the not too distant future. Meanwhile, let’s tackle this one myth at a time.

I Was Afraid This Might Happen.

The Onion Reports:

Obama, Clinton, McCain Join Forces To Form Nightmare Ticket

WASHINGTON—Presidential hopefuls John McCain (R-AZ), Barack Obama (D-IL), and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) announced Monday their plans to form what many Beltway observers have already dubbed the "2008 Nightmare Ticket," a calculated move that political analysts say offers voters the worst of both worlds.

After nearly a year of verbal attacks and negative campaign ads, the nominees announced that, for the good of the country, they were willing to push their differences to the forefront and grant the American people the ticket they've been dreading all along.

"No other ticket is capable of rallying this nation around a clearer, more unified message of chaos and hopelessness," the candidates said in unison from three separate podiums, each adorned with its own American flag arrangement and personal message. "Together, we will lead this nation into the future—a future where absolute deadlock over even the most minute decisions and total inefficiency on matters of the war, the economy, and the environment will launch a bold new age of confusion and social decay. For America, the only choice is [indecipherable]!"
The candidates said they had not yet decided who would fill the offices of president, vice president, and a new post the nominees are calling "the middle president." They did, however, confirm that each would choose his or her own full cabinet, would be able to veto any bills the others sign into law, and would reserve the right to cast the tie-breaking, tie-making, and tie-rebreaking votes in the Senate.

Glass Houses.

An email compares the environmental footprint of the homes of Al Gore and George Bush with W's home coming off as the "green" one. But is it true? Snopes has the score.

As Glen Reynolds likes to say about global warming: I'll believe it's a crisis when the people who say it's a crisis start acting like it's a crisis.

What Went Wrong?

The exclusive story of Hillary's fall, as told by the high-level advisors, staffers, fundraisers, and on-the-ground organizers who lived it.

Common Sense.

When advanced economies admit ever larger numbers of unskilled workers (plus a chain of relatives through "family reunification"), they are importing poverty. The President says this is to do "the jobs Americans won't do". For the sake of argument, take him at his word. So why won't Americans do them? Because they're a great way to ensure you live in poverty. So we import foreigners to be our poor people. Can we import just the right number to ensure that poverty doesn't "grow"? Unlikely.

There are arguments to be made both for and against immigration, but you can't be in favor of mass unskilled immigration and then pledge to fight the "war on poverty". It's like spooning out a bathtub with a thimble while leaving the faucets running.

For Greg Dorner.

Robin's Army of Darkness Archive.

Can low European birth rates can be tied to their living arrangements?

Tom Maguire wonders if suburban sprawl is the only thing propping up America's birthrate.

MythBusters Hack Go-Kart in Extreme Electric vs. Gas Test.

Adam and Jamie tear apart a perfectly good gasoline-powered go-kart and transform it into a tire-smoking machine that's fast—and clean.

This Should Frustrate the Pinko, Leftard, America-Hating, Defeatists...

...we are winning in Iraq! My Muslim co-worker who hates Republicans and George Bush goes on and on about how we need to cut and run from Iraq. He states that it is impossible to win. I say, he hopes it is impossible for us to win. I asked him why do Muslims who are far more conservative and traditionalists side with the Liberals. After all, Muslims are anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, even farther to the right than American conservatives on Gay issues. For example, we don't call for their death. They are in the dark ages on women's rights, etc. He claimed it was fiscal issues. LOL

My theory is that Islamists are very bright indeed. They understand that the Liberal Left of the West is our Achilles heal and is what will weaken us. They can smell the blood as we are destroying ourselves from within making the conditions ripe for their agenda of a global caliphate.

Here is the good news of our impending victory in Iraq-

Even Polygamists Are Innocent Until Proven Guilty.

I've avoided commenting too much on this case. I honestly don't know too much about the legal issues involved and what I do know tends to put me in the awkward position of siding of siding with the polygamists. We have what appears to be an overzealous state once again smashing in the door and carting off people whose values don't match very well with mainstream American society. See Ruby Ridge and Waco for bloodier examples of this. As Glen Reynolds says, "On the upside, at least they didn't burn everyone to death, like Janet Reno".

That's not to say there weren't real crimes being committed at the Yearning For Zion ranch in Eldorado, Texas. There may well have been. I have no idea, and neither do you. What we do have is the argument from the state which seems to have more holes than Swiss cheese.

I find polygamy abhorrent and this particular sect to be more than a little creepy. Nevertheless anyone who cares about civil liberties should find the actions of the government in this case profoundly disturbing.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Good Muslim's Journey to Christ

It is so easy to get completely caught up in politics during such an intense campaign season. My political fervor is heightened especially for this important presidential election when we are facing a global jihad war waged on us by islamofascists. My worst political nightmare in this scenario is a Barack Hussein Obama. I must remember that there is something even more sovereign than our POTUS and that is the Creator of the Universe. If BHO does take the office, God forbid, I must be comforted by the knowledge that the Holy One, blessed by He, is the true Sovereign over the US and the World regardless of what Barry thinks or tries.

Switching gears slightly- one of my pet peeves is when I hear people equate the One True God of the Judeo-Christian Bible as the Allah of Islam. I view this as a complete and total assassination of His character. Perhaps, if time permits I will do a blog post on this subject using , scripture, the Koran and sound theology of how this is an impossibility. For now, I would like to present you with this really amazing testimony of a Good Muslim's journey to the true Messiah of Christianity. He makes it clear that he did all he could as a Muslim to please Allah only to find out that Allah is not God.

A Video Portrait of Barack Hussein Obama

This is excellent and pretty thorough for being only 13mins long. Barry is bad news for America and the world-at-large. If you need more dirt on BHO head over to Atlas Shrugs. Pamela Geller has a virtual encyclopedia on him.

Thinking of our Soldiers...

Thanks guys!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Democrats and Our Enemies.

Joseph Lieberman wonders:

How did the Democratic Party get here? How did the party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy drift so far from the foreign policy and national security principles and policies that were at the core of its identity and its purpose?

I've wondered from time to time myself.

Church of Green.

Environmentalism’s most renewable resources are fear, guilt, and moral bullying. Its worldview casts man as a sinful creature who, through the pursuit of forbidden knowledge, abandoned our Edenic past. John Muir, who laid the philosophical foundations of modern environmentalism, described humans as “selfish, conceited creatures.” Salvation comes from shedding our sins, rejecting our addictions (to oil, consumerism, etc.) and demonstrating an all-encompassing love of Mother Earth. Quoth Al Gore: “The climate crisis is not a political issue; it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity.”

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What did people do before photoshop?

Good Lord.

The brother of a man who committed suicide in jail still must pay the federal government $20,000 for an unsecured bond because the brother failed to show up for his trial, a federal judge has ruled.

Would he have had to forfet the money if he had died of natural causes?

Why Do Outlets Have Three Prongs?

I always wondered about this. Here's the answer.

House Votes to Sue OPEC, Overturn Laws of Cause and Effect.

The Jawa Report explains:

Clever. Following the first law of politics, point the finger in a slightly relevant (if you cross your eyes and stand on one foot) direction when your chickens come home to rrrooost.

It might work if we were the only customer for OPEC oil. You know, if there wasn't a huge ready market desperate for oil at almost any price. Certainly there are many rapacious villains within OPEC. So what? They're willing to drill for oil. We aren't.

It is Congress that has allowed the ban on drilling in ANWR to stand. It is Congress that has not acted to approve drilling in our coastal waters - better that Mexico do it. We have not built a new oil refinery in more than 25 years, and are not building any now, despite the dire warning of Hurricane Katrina, which threatened the few we have. It is Congress that has allowed ignorant, superstitious crackpots to halt nuclear power plants in this country, leaving the generation of electricity up to coal- and oil-fired plants. And it is Congress that allows the states to keep their own idiotic "environmental" recipes for gasoline. Do you remember what your gas mileage was when President Bush suspended the practice temporarily after Katrina? Mine was 25-30% better. Does the vastly reduced mileage under my state's gasoline recipe help the environment? Seems doubtful.

Paper Money Discriminates Against the Blind, Appeals Court Says.

A divided D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled 2-to-1 that paper money discriminates against the blind in violation of the Rehabilitation Act, in American Council of the Blind v. Paulson. The ruling upheld a controversial trial court ruling in November 2006 that paper money discriminates because it lacks features that the blind can use to easily distinguish between different denominations, such as bumps or different sizes or shapes.

Sarah Waldeck observed that that ruling was
judicial overreaching, for two reasons. First, the Rehabilitation Act and other disabled-rights laws only guarantee the disabled meaningful access to services and transactions, not perfectly equal access, and the blind have such access, through use of credit and debit cards and other payment options and innovations, which reduce the risk that merchants will defraud unknowing blind people. Second, most of the burden of redesigning the bills (indeed, an undue burden) would fall not on the Treasury Department but on merchants, vending machine operators, and other third parties.

The appeals court wrongly gave short shrift to the burden imposed on third parties, suggesting that it did not even need to be considered, even though other federal court rulings recognize that an institution is not required to accommodate a disability or religious practice if doing so would unduly burden third parties. (Thus, as another federal appeals court has observed, “an employer is not required to accommodate an employee’s religious need if it would ‘impose personally and directly on fellow employees.’” EEOC v. Firestone Fibers & Textiles Co., 515 F.3d 307, 317 (4th Cir. 2008)). As Judge Randolph noted in dissent, “There are approximately 7,000,000 food and beverage vending machines in the United States; by one estimate, it would cost $3.5 billion to retool or replace these machines.”

I predict a prompt reversal.

P. J. O'Rourke Visits China.

“If the old days were so terrible,” said the British woman, “why the long queue at Mao’s tomb?”

I resisted the temptation to say, “They’re making sure he’s dead.”

Why Harvard Harasses the Military.

How sad this is. We are constantly told by critics that it is the war and the administration's policy they oppose, not the troops. University commissioning ceremonies would be a good time to prove it. Whether our new officers come from Benedictine or Harvard, they will be entrusted with one of the gravest responsibilities in our democracy: the lives of the men and women under their command. When America's sons and daughters are put in harm's way, we want them led by officers of character and integrity.

The United States military is one of our nation's most open and diverse institutions. The freedoms our universities depend on are defended by those who wear the uniform. And whether you are for the war in Iraq or against it, for gays in the military or against them, we should be able to honor these good men and women – publicly and without embarrassment.

The History of Compulsory Education

My New Favorite Zionist YouTube Channel

I love this Zionist vlogger! Check him out! ;) Oh yeah, and check out his new CyberZionist Forum for YouTubers.
Warning: Language

Monday, May 19, 2008

If the shoe fits...whine about it.

The funniest political story this week has been the umbrage that Democrats have taken about Bush giving a speech to the Knesset in which he spoke out against appeasement of terrorist groups. Ah, Bush talks about appeasers, the Democrats scream, he must be discussing Barack Obama!

The party whose Speaker of the House traveled to Syria and proclaimed that the road to peace went through Damascus and whose former president recently met with the leader of Hamas and whose prospective presidential nominee proclaimed proudly that he would meet without preconditions with the leaders of Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela heard the mention of appeasement and realized that the shoe fit and they were being forced to wear it. As the Wall Street Journal writes today,

Mr. Obama asserted again yesterday that he will not meet with terrorists. He is, however, willing to meet with Iran or Syria. Virtually no serious person disputes that Iran has shipped weaponry to terrorists in Iraq and that Syria has provided safe haven to these terrorists and let them cross from Syria into Iraq. In turn, these jihadists have killed U.S. soldiers. At a minimum, one might expect that ceasing this lethal activity would be a "precondition" before committing the office of the presidency to meet with either.

Sure, Obama won't meet with terrorists, but he'll meet with the sponsors and bankrollers of terrorists.

A Conspiracy So Lunatic... Only 60 Minutes could fall for it.

Normally one might expect a person of uncertain mental health who alleged such a comprehensive conspiracy to be ushered quietly offstage. Instead, in late February, CBS's 60 Minutes gave her a starring role. This can be explained only by the fact that Simpson included in her fable, as she related it to CBS, a final conspirator: Karl Rove, who, according to Simpson, orchestrated the plot against Siegelman.

In her 60 Minutes interview, Simpson claimed to have been Rove's secret agent in Alabama. She said that during Siegelman's term as governor of Alabama, Rove had asked her to follow Siegelman around and try to get photographs of him "in a compromising sexual position" with one of his aides. This led to one of the great moments in recent broadcast history:

60 Minutes's Scott Pelley: Were you surprised that Rove made this request?

Simpson: No.

Pelley: Why not?

Simpson: I had had other requests for intelligence before.

Pelley: From Karl Rove?

Simpson: Yes.

Pelley was at a crossroads: He knew that either (1) he was on the verge of uncovering a whole series of Rovian plots, the stuff of which Pulitzers are made, or (2) he was talking to a lunatic. Intuiting, no doubt, which way the conversation was likely to go, Pelley discreetly chose not to inquire further.

Obama’s Iraq Minefield.

Far from being “above politics,” Obama has demonstrated a remarkable capacity to play the sordid game with almost undetectable skill. He has indeed equivocated and contradicted himself on the war, and he has more or less confessed to tilting whichever way the wind blows for the purposes of political expediency. He had jaw-dropping exchange with Tim Russert on the November 11, 2007 installment of Meet the Press in which, when challenged with some of his own wobblier pronouncements on holding fellow Democrats to account for authorizing the war, he replied that the party had just put up “a nominee for the presidency and a vice president, both of whom had voted for the war. And so it probably was the wrong time for me to be making a strong case against our party’s nominees’ decisions when it came to Iraq.”

Thus Obama was willing to sacrifice his own belief in the folly of Kerry and Edwards’s decisions in order not to rock the boat on their way to the White House. What else might he be willing to sacrifice, go silent on, or obfuscate, when he himself is the one running for president?

In an interviewNew Yorker in 2007, before he had declared his presidential candidacy and when he was still in the habit of giving Hillary Clinton her dues: “[P]erhaps the reason I thought [the war] was such a bad idea was that I didn’t have the benefit of U.S. intelligence. And, for those who did, it might have led to a different set of choices… [Clinton] and I were in different circumstances at that time: I was running for the U.S. Senate, she had to take a vote, and casting votes is always a difficult test.” No doubt it is. But lest this generous dispensation to his future rival lead you to credit Obama with self-criticism and doubt, consider that the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, on which he claimed to have based his antiwar stance and from which he formulated parts of his Chicago speech, conceded that Saddam had an arsenal of WMD but did not pose an imminent threat. As Crowley put it, “If Obama already accepted that Saddam had WMD, why would the intelligence have changed his view about war?” What would he have learned from classified information that he didn’t already know and that any one of the former Democratic contenders for president this year might have trotted out in their defense for voting to go to war?

Hamas Home Decor

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Humanitarian Invasion Of Burma? It's Probably Too Late.

We’re in a Catch-22. If we use a possible future harm to justify an action which then prevents that harm, then we simultaneously destroy the evidence that we made the correct choice. Political opponents can always claim the action unnecessary and no one can demonstrate otherwise. Paradoxically, the more successfully one averts disaster, the more one’s actions appear unnecessary. If the phenomenon prevented is very rare, many will question its very possibility. It’s like that old joke, “Why do we have so much fire proofing? We never have any fires.”

Backlash Against Media Smears in the Heartland.

Many have simply judged the content of Mr. Obama’s character or his lack of leadership experience. On that basis, they believe he is unqualified for the highest office in the world. Most folks I know who do not support Obama would gladly vote for a black man if he were the right person. Most often, names like Colin Powell, J.C. Watts, Lynn Swann, Alan Keyes, Condoleezza Rice, Thomas Sowell, and Walter Williams come up, as they do in Merida’s piece toward the end.

Will this election reach the point where any and all criticism or opposition to Barack Obama will be labeled “racism”? It seems the Illinois senator still prefers to avoid that. What the Washington Post article — by dropping in nothing more than a few random stories — really shows is that if Obama ultimately loses in the fall, it will be due to his views, inexperience, and lack of authenticity, not because of his skin color.

Seems Barack knows this, as do most Hoosiers and Americans. It’s time for the media to admit it, too.

John McCain on SNL Last Night.

He has some good advice for Democrats.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hobo Signs.

Click to enlarge.

Hobo signs - Beginning in the 1880's up until World War Two, hoboes placed markings on fences, posts, sidewalks, buildings, trestles, bridge abutments, and railroad line side equipment to aid them and others of their kind in finding help or steering them clear of trouble. Usually, these signs would be written in chalk or coal letting others know what they could expect in the area of the symbol. The classic American hobo of the late 19th and early 20th centuries communicated through a basic system of markings, a code though which they gave information and warnings to their fellow Knights of the Road. Today hoboes communicate with cellular phones, and e-mail.

Edward Said's shadowy legacy.

Tricky with argument, weak in languages, careless of facts: but, thirty years on, Said still dominates debate.

So many academics want the arguments presented in Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978) to be true. It encourages the reading of novels at an oblique angle in order to discover hidden colonialist subtexts. It promotes a hypercritical version of British and, more generally, of Western achievements. It discourages any kind of critical approach to Islam in Middle Eastern studies. Above all, Orientalism licenses those academics who are so minded to think of their research and teaching as political activities. The drudgery of teaching is thus transformed into something much more exciting, namely “speaking truth to power”.

The Forgotten Philosopher.

Contemporary academic philosophy is riven by a great divide: Either you adhere to a Continental perspective identified with Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger that addresses big speculative subjects like the Essence of Being, or you identify with the British and American analytic school that puts a priority on rigorous logic, language, and meaning. What, then, are we to make of John Stuart Mill, who belongs to neither?

Sen Edward Kennedy hospitalized.

BOSTON (Reuters) - U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, a leading Democrat and patriarch of a prominent American political dynasty, was hospitalized on Saturday in Boston after suffering symptoms of a stroke.

Kennedy, 76, was rushed from the Kennedy compound at Hyannisport, Massachusetts, to Cape Cod Hospital at 9 a.m. (1300 GMT), before being airlifted to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, hospital officials said.

A Democratic Party aide confirmed that the long-serving Massachusetts senator had symptoms of a stroke.

I had the opportunity to meet Senator Kennedy in...what was it...1989? Anyway it's been a while. He was kind and gracious and unlike his late brothers he actually worked hard at being a Senator. While I seldom (if ever) found myself in agreement with him, I've always admired his commitment to public service and his unshakable faith in the power of government to help the unfortunate. Get well soon.

Revisiting the Lessons of Appeasement.

Donald Douglas over at American Power reminds us of the folly in trying to appease Iran. Unfortunately certain Democratic Presidential candidates are so historically illiterate that such lessons are lost on them.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Botswana and Zimbabwe: A Tale of Two Countries.

In most African countries, even those that are nominally democratic, the leaders are so far removed from day-to-day public scrutiny that they behave with impunity and in an embarrassingly rapacious manner. Of course, Botswana’s free media plays a vital role in keeping her politicians honest. My visit to Botswana, to give one example, coincided with President Festus Mogae’s last “state of the nation” address. One of the country’s weekly newspapers, Mbegi, carried a page-long response to the president written by the leader of the opposition, who railed against the government’s “laissez-faire” policies. Though I disagreed with the substance of his arguments, I was happy to see his freedom of expression honored, especially considering that Botswana has been ruled by the same political party, the Botswana Democratic Party, since 1965.

That brings me to probably the most important legacy of Khama’s presidency: a limited government and one of the freest economies in Africa. (In its 2007 Economic Freedom of the World report, Canada’s Fraser Institute ranked Botswana’s economic freedom on par with that of Belgium and Portugal.) According to Scott Beaulier, an economist at Beloit College, “Khama adopted pro-market policies on a wide front. His new government promised low and stable taxes to mining companies, liberalized trade, increased personal freedoms, and kept marginal income tax rates low to deter tax evasion and corruption.”

h/t Maggie's Farm

Home for the Lost Tribes of Israel.

Look at Gaza today. No Israeli occupation, no settlements, not a single Jew left. The Palestinian response? Unremitting rocket fire killing and maiming Israeli civilians. The declared casus belli of the Palestinian government in Gaza behind these rockets? The very existence of a Jewish state.

Israel's crime is not its policies but its insistence on living. On the day the Arabs -- and the Palestinians in particular -- make a collective decision to accept the Jewish state, there will be peace, as Israel proved with its treaties with Egypt and Jordan. Until that day, there will be nothing but war. And every "peace process," however cynical or well-meaning, will come to nothing.

California Supreme Court Voids Gay Marriage Ban; Opponents Vow to Continue Fight.

Unless you've been under a rock for the last 24 hours, you're aware that the California Supreme Court overturned the state's ban on same sex marriages yesterday.

I have some mixed feelings about this issue. I'm personally more or less agnostic on the issue of gay marriage. On the one hand, I have had the pleasure and privilege of knowing a number of committed gay couples who would enjoy the opportunity of marrying one another and who frankly regard it as a basic civil and human right. Furthermore, a substantial part of my adolescence was spent in San Francisco during the 1980's where I got a chance to observe the the gay subculture up close. I found it distinctly unscary. If yesterdays events brought joy to my gay friends and neighbors, I rejoice with you.

On the other hand, I am also a cultural and religious conservative (or perhaps a better term might be traditionalist). Through the travail of ages, institutions of great and lesser importance have come and gone. Through it all however, marriage has remained one of the basic building blocks of human civilization. And whether a society was Pagan, Christian, Moslem, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, or Zoroastrian, marriage has always meant the union of a man and a woman.

Marriage has of course changed and evolved over time. The abandonment of concepts like dowry, arranged marriage and polygamy have improved it enormously. The legacy of no-fault divorce, "starter marriages", and widespread acceptance of illegitimacy is at best, more mixed. Still, it's hard to imagine a more fundamental change in the nature of marriage than to to make it a same sex affair. Whatever one might think about the normalcy of homosexual relationships, you have to concede that gay weddings are mighty strange (at least to most of us).

I am like all people, a product of my times. I have no special insight on how the future will regard prohibitions on gay marriage. Perhaps in time it will be viewed like bans on mixed race marriage which were once common. Then again maybe not. As America becomes more Hispanic and religiously conservative (Populations of conservative denominations are booming, more left-wing minded groups like mainline protestants are at best, stagnant) I think it's likely to be less receptive to demands from homosexual activists.

If the future looks bleak for gays, the present isn't that great either. Gay marriage is opposed by something like 60% of Democrats and about 80% of the overall electorate. If we take them at their word, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, and John Edwards are all on record opposing gay marriage. Obama and Hillary have tried to finesse the issue by saying the issue should be left up to the states (when is the last time you heard a democrat say that?) but when pressed come down as being "personally opposed" whatever that means. Given that reality, it's not difficult to understand why gay activists have taken a judicial approach to achieving gay marriage as opposed to a legislative one. The hard truth is if they can't get approved by voters or legislators in California or Massachusetts, they can't get it approved anywhere.

The problem with a judicial approach is that voters tend to resent it...bitterly. If you out organize and out hustle me that's one thing. Imposing your agenda on an unwilling electorate by judicial fiat on the other hand, tends to get peoples dander up.

In the early 90's after he was safely elected Bill Clinton promised to sign an executive order integrating homosexuals into the armed forces. The backlash was devastating. The Joint Chiefs of Staff threatened to resign en masse. Panicking, the Democrats who controlled both houses of Congress then made "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" the law of the land-in most ways a much harsher rule than had been the case previously. Not that it helped them any. In the following election the Republicans took back the Senate and gained control of the House for the first time since the Eisenhower Administration.

The statute which the state Supreme Court invalidated yesterday had been enacted by ballot initiative by the people of California in 2000. In a high turnout election, in a state that Al Gore won handily, it passed with over 61% of the vote. It appears likely that this fall California voters will be asked to amend the state constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman-thus overruling the court. It needs only 50% plus one vote to pass.

Any bets?

The MySpace Suicide Indictment -- And Why It Should Be Dismissed.

Orin Kerr explains:

Problem One: The first major hurdle is a legal question that I wrote an article on in 2003: Is it a federal crime to violate contractual limitations on use of a computer? The federal statute, 18 U.S.C. 1030, generally prohibits accessing a computer "without authorization" or "exceeding authorized access." But what makes an access "without authorization"? If the computer owner says that you can only access the computer if you are left-handed, or if you agree to be nice, are you committing a crime if you use the computer and are nasty or you are right-handed? If you violate the Terms of Service, are you committing a crime?

In my article, Cybercrime's Scope: Interpreting "Access" and "Authorization" in Computer Misuse Statutes, 78 NYU L. Rev. 1596 (2003), I argue that the answer should be "no." I won't recite the legal arguments here, as you can just read the article itself. (You can imagine the basic idea, though: Since everyone who uses computers violates dozens of different TOS every day, the theory would make everyone who uses computers a felon.) However, I will point out that the MySpace case is to my knowledge the very first federal indictment that has tried to claim that violations of Terms of Service for an Internet account amounts to a crime under Section 1030. In fact, I wrote my NYU article in part because I figured it was only a matter of time before a sympathetic case came along and some aggressive prosecutor would try the argument and see if it flew. It looks like this is the test case.

Problem Two: The second and third legal hurdles to the prosecution are less intellectually interesting but clearer and easier for the defense to make. The first problem is that the crime requires the government to show that Drew intended to violate the Terms of Service. That is, lack of authorization must be intentional — it must have been Drew's conscious object to have violated the TOS. But here there is no evidence that Drew even read the TOS. Most people don't, of course; I would be surprised if 1 person in 100 actually tried reading it. If Drew wasn't aware that she was violating the TOS, she couldn't be exceeding her authorized access intentionally. (Paragraph 11 of the indictment lamely notes that a copy of the TOS was "readily available" to MySpace Users if they went looking for it, clicked the link, and read it. But the statute requires intent, so whether the TOS was "readily available" is irrelevant.)

Problem Three: The third hurdle, and perhaps the easiest way for the defense to win, is that the government's theory requires proof that the goal of the conspiracy was to obtain information. The alleged underlying crime here is 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(2)(C), which prohibits exceeding authorized access to a computer to get information. Think hacking in to get credit card numbers, to get a copy of a special computer file, or to take data from a database. But based on the facts discussed in the indictment and the news stories, it doesn't seem that Drew had the intent to obtain information from her victim. Her apparent goal was to harass her victim and to cause emotional distress, not to obtain information from her. That may not make it morally or ethically any less objectionable; indeed, perhaps it is more so. But the statute wasn't violated unless Drew was acting to try to obtain information, and it doesn't seem like that was her intent.

Daniel Solove on the other hand, has some doubts:

"I'm not so sure I agree. The news accounts I read about the case indicated that one of Drew's primary motivations for creating the fake profile was to learn information from Megan Meier. She wanted to know information from Megan that pertained to her own daughter, who was a classmate of Megan's. The harassing came later on." I haven't read the news reports closely, so maybe we'll have to wait and see how the facts unfold on the third issue.

This Deeply Unpopular War.

Ignorant folk might be tempted to see this sort of thing as intellectually dishonest. But as Keith Olbermann so trenchantly reminded us, when the stakes become high enough, abstract principles like journalistic ethics are the first thing to go out the window.

After all, winning "this deeply unpopular war" is of the utmost importance. In the end, it's really just a question of whose set of emergency rules will carry the day. Of course, it always helps when you own the microphone.

Russians Unveil a Monument to Laika.

On November 3, 1957 Laika, a stray dog from the streets of Moscow became the first earthling to slip the bonds of earth and venture into outer space. Though many have followed since, she was the first and deserves all our respect and admiration.

The Last of the Tigers.

There was a military reunion last Friday at Lackland AFB in San Antonio. But it was anything but your typical gathering of veterans and their family members. In fact, the reunion may be the last of its kind, since it brought together the last surviving members of the American Volunteer Group (AVG), the famed "Flying Tigers" who fought in China during the early days of World War II.

via Theo.

Fred is Back! Woot!

Fred is blogging at and he says he is writing a book to avoid doing real work...LOL. ;)
Here is an excerpt from his blog:

Spending some time on the campaign trail has confirmed a couple of thoughts I’ve had before I entered the Republican primary race.

First, conservatism is alive and well in America; don’t let anyone tell you differently. And by conservatism, I don’t mean the warmed-over “raise your hand if you believe …” kind of conservatism we see blooming every election cycle. No, I’m speaking of the conservatism grounded in principles based upon enduring truths: an understanding of the importance of human nature in the affairs of individuals and nations. Respect for the lessons of history, the importance of faith and tradition. The understanding that while man is prone to err, he is capable of great things when not subjugated by a too-powerful government. These are the principles that inspired our Founding Fathers, and resulted in a Constitution that delineated the powers of the central government, established checks and balances among the branches of government and further diffused governmental power by a system of Federalism.

read the rest here

Indy Swooning... ;)

This YouTube video of his interview on Fox and Friends this morning is also posted but it is so good I just had to put it up here as well. He touches on Obama's knee jerk sensitivities to Bush's comments about negotiating with terrorists and appeasement. Thompson says "If the shoe fits..." I so hope that we continue to hear from Fred.

and just because, I still gotta crush...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

People banned from Saturday Night Live.

There's more than you'd think. Everyone knows about Sinéad O'Connor ...but Frank Zappa?

100 Must-Read Books: The Essential Man’s Library.

It's hard to argue with this list (though I'm sure there are a number of things that could be added). By my back of the envelope calculations, I've read 57 of these and own copies of 59....though the total for owned or read is over 80. Looks like I have some reading to do. The only book here that I'm unfamiliar with is The Master and Margarita by by Mikhail Bulgakov which given it's subject matter sounds right up my alley. For those of you who have summer reading lists this is a good place to start.

Bush, Hamas and Israel = PEACE? More Like RIP

34 people, including many children were hurt when a Hamas rocket made a direct hit on a shopping center in Ashkelon.

All this from the duly democratically elected "Peace Partner"! G-d help Israel while Bush is in town, no doubt pushing for Israel to make greater concessions to Israel's determined Islamic enemy. So, he can create them a state. The same exact ones Bush is determined to defeat everywhere else.
"Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done." -- George W. Bush, 9/20/01

"We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the destruction and to the defeat of the global terror network." -- George W. Bush, 9/20/01

"And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." -- George W. Bush, 9/20/01

This AD will appear in Israeli newspapers for Bush while he visits, signed by these organizations: Action Committees Har Choma - Efrat-Gush Etzion - Kiryat Arba-Hevron
Hamateh LeHatsalat Ha'Am veHaarets - Vaad Rabbanei Yesha - The Sanhedrin
Women in Green- Loyalists of the Land of Israel - Youth for the Land of Israel - Chomesh Tehilla-Nahalal Forum - Virashtem Ota-Meginei Erets-Mateh Tsafon-Mateh for Erets Israel - Mattot Arim-The New Jewish Congress - the Movements for the Temple Mount

President Bush, the Bible is so astoundingly contemporary. In I Kings 18 the prophet Elijah challenges the nation:

“How long will you keep hopping between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; and if Baal, follow him!”

This is exactly the choice you face today.


President Bush, if Islamic terror is threatening Western Civilization, you can't fight it in Iraq while establishing a state and new international base for it here in Israel.

If the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People according to God’s law, International Law, and moral law then you can't dismember it and give it to Israel’s sworn enemy.


Mr. President: We’re not confused. The majority of Israelis see reality clearly as do the majority of Americans.

We know that Olmert and Livni are corrupt, morally bankrupt, and selling Israel out.
We know that any Arab talk of peace is just a tactic in their strategy to destroy us.
We know that no one will help or save a weak Israel, and that only a strong Israel will guard the Free World from the Islamicist tsunami.


Nothing weakens like confusion, and the lies underlying Oslo and the false “peace” initiatives it spawned severely weakened Israel.

However, there’s been an awakening here and a return to the Zionism that animated Israel’s founding generations. Like then, we realize that it’s not enough to know that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People, but our life depends on acting accordingly. Therefore, we will continue to live on and build our land, ignoring the immoral anti-Jewish decrees of the Olmert-Livni government.


Mr. President, we invite you to “stop hopping between two opinions” and join us at the Shdema army base today, where we'll be renewing the Jewish presence there.* Leave Olmert with his defense attorneys and join us

. . . in making the right choice!

The Bible is our Road Map, and with it as our guide we will, God willing, go from strength to strength!

* Sdema is an Israeli army base in area C just south of Jerusalem, on the road connecting Har Choma to Eastern Gush Etzion that was vacated about 1½ years ago. The Olmert government wants to give Sdema to the PA for Arab settlement despite the army’s objection on the grounds that it will endanger Jewish security. We will not allow this plan to proceed and intend to resecure the area by opening it to Jewish settlement.

Did I miss something?

Help me out here. Did Hezbollah just take over Lebanon? Ummm, why was this permitted to happen? Where was Israel? Where was the US? Why are we fighting so hard in Iraq and Afghanistan to quell Islamic terrorists, yet sit idly by while an entire country is taken over by these same murderous "take over the world" thugs? I have another question. Why is GW and Condi hell bent on creating yet another terrorist state in the land of Israel, while trying to prevent terrorist states from forming in Iraq and Afghanistan? The so-called Palestinians whether they be of Hamas or Fatah have declared over and over again that their goal is the complete and utter destruction of Israel.

Just asking...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I will Survive... what I keep telling myself during crazy weeks like this. Whenever, I have to work more than to 2 evening shifts at the hospital during the week and keep up with everything else such as homeschooling, laundry, showering, kids sports, guitar lessons, etc I tend to turn into the giant whiner baby. All this responsibility tends to cut into my lounging around, net surfing time...wah wah wah...

Monday, May 12, 2008

May 1968: 40 Years Later.

Six City Journal authors recall a spring that shook the world.

Google Moon.

Cool views of all six Apollo landing sites.

Standardized Hand Signals For Close Range Engagement (C.R.E.) Operations.

For those of you who want to add some authenticity to your online shooter games.

Your Age on Other Worlds.

Want to melt those years away? Travel to an outer planet!

A year is simply the amount of time the Earth takes for a trip around the Sun. As one might imagine, the planets in our solar system do their circuits of the Sun at their own pace. On Mercury your humble author would already be 157. On Jupiter I'm only 3 (though some say I don't look a day over two).

The calculator is here.

The Ultimate Rejection Letter.

Herbert A. Millington
Chair - Search Committee
412A Clarkson Hall, Whitson University
College Hill, MA 34109

Dear Professor Millington,

Thank you for your letter of March 16. After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me an assistant professor position in your department.

This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of candidates, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals.

Despite Whitson's outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet my needs at this time. Therefore, I will assume the position of assistant professor in your department this August. I look forward to seeing you then.

Best of luck in rejecting future applicants.

Chris L. Jensen

Rethinking the Oil Curse.

I’ve been skeptical of some of the alleged evils of petroleum, but I bought into the recently popular idea among development experts that reserves of oil and other natural resources are a curse to many countries. What I saw while reporting in Iraq jibed with academic studies concluding that a wealth of natural resources did a country more harm than good. It was an appealing and clever counterintuitive idea — but perhaps too clever by half.

A report in Science argues that the “resource curse” theory is dubious because scholars (like Jeffrey Sachs and Andrew Warner) have been looking at the wrong data in studies showing that countries heavily dependent on exports of natural resources are exceptionally prone to slow economic growth, high rates of poverty, authoritarian rule, corruption and violent conflict. The easy money from natural resources, the curse theory went, helped finance civil wars and also weakened civil institutions by enabling repressive governments to buy off opponents and stay in power despite policies that stifled the rest of the economy.

But the new report in Science argues that the causation goes in the opposite direction: The conflicts and bad policies created the heavy dependence on exports of natural resources. When a country’s chaos and economic policies scare off foreign investors and send local entrepreneurs abroad to look for better opportunities, the economy becomes skewed. Factories may close and businesses may flee, but petroleum and precious metals remain for the taking. Resource extraction becomes “the default sector” that still functions after other industries have come to a halt, according to the authors, C. N. Brunnschweiler of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and E.H. Bulte of the Oxford Center for the Study of Resource-Rich Economies.

Representations of Children’s Nursery Rhymes.

Should Prosecutors Who Withhold Exculpatory Evidence Face Criminal Charges?

Actually I think this is an easy call: Yes.

I'm a law and order type guy. I'm utterly indifferent to the cries of civil libertarians about the state treading "rights" of criminals. That said, this is supposed to be about justice. Convicting the wrong man only serves the interests of careerist prosecutors. To do so knowingly ought to be more than enough to send you to prison.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Men charged after skull dug up, used as bong.

I'm speechless...what were those idiots thinking.

The Kingwood teenager's story of decapitating a corpse and using the head to smoke marijuana was so outlandish that at first Houston Police Department senior police officer Jim Adkins did not believe it.

Yet, Kevin Wade Jones Jr., 17, appeared almost indifferent as he relayed the bizarre description of his and two friends' activities at an Humble area graveyard, Adkins said.

"I just doubted it because it's very morbid, and I couldn't see anybody doing something like this," Adkins said Thursday.

Not until police went to the home of another Kingwood 17-year-old, Matthew Richard Gonzalez, did the officer believe the tale.

"He regurgitated in his plate of food when I asked him about it," Adkins said. "So I knew there was some truth to the story."

Puking all over yourself while being questioned by the cops sorta undermines the whole "Dude look how cool we are. We're smoking weed out of this dead guys skull" image. Now it's bad enough that you desecrated a grave of a child to use his skull as a bong, but it also turns out your a total wuss. Enjoy prison moron.

h/t Dan "toking one for the team" Gaines.

Great tits cope well with warming.

Without a doubt, the most disappointing link from Theo EVER.

Painfully safe for work.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Indy Jane an Operation Chaos Operative

This was too fun not to share with ya'll!

Rush Limbaugh Blamed for Obama Loss in Indiana

Hillary Clinton eked out a narrow victory over Barack Obama in the Indiana Democratic primary, but top Obama aides say Obama would have won if it were not for conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.

David Axelrod, Obama’s top strategist, told reporters that he attributed Clinton’s lead in Indiana to Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” — his campaign to have Republicans cross over and vote for Clinton to prolong the nomination fight and damage the Democratic nominee.

Exit polls appear to back up Axelrod’s claims. Results of the Indiana exit poll found that that 17 percent of primary voters said they would vote for Republican John McCain over Clinton in the general election. And 41 percent of those voters still cast a vote for Hillary in the primary, according to the Baltimore Sun. full article

75 Skills Every Man Should Master.

A man can be expert in nothing, but he must be practiced in many things. Skills. You don't have to master them all at once. You simply have to collect and develop a certain number of skills as the years tick by. People count on you to come through. That's why you need these, to start:

37. Shuffle a deck of cards.
I play cards with guys who can't shuffle, and they lose. Always.

38. Tell a joke. Here's one:
Two guys are walking down a dark alley when a mugger approaches them and demands their money. They both grudgingly pull out their wallets and begin taking out their cash. Just then, one guy turns to the other, hands him a bill, and says, "Hey, here's that $20 I owe you."

39. Know when to split his cards in blackjack.
Aces. Eights. Always.

Auditoriums & Theatres From The Ancient World.

Some of the most fascinating man-made structures on earth are the massive auditoriums that were once used for theatrical performances, music shows, as well for more sinister purposes such as violent wild animal shows and gladiatorial contests. These awesome theatres have a historical stigma attached to them, and in some cases, history is still being made because some are still being used today.

It's hard to believe that some of these theatres are close to 3,000 years old, and it's amazing that they're even still standing. The amount of engineering knowledge that our ancient ancestors had developed is just as mesmerising especially when some of these auditoria rival present-day outdoor theatres in terms of acoustic properties. That's amazing for a 2,000 year old theatre that is large enough to seat 25,000 people or more.

Faulkner in Hollywood.

As told by biographer Joseph Blotner, Faulkner's first days in Hollywood were portentous. He arrived on a Saturday, not long before quitting time. His boss, Sam Marx, noticed that he had been drinking, and that he had a bleeding cut on his head. Faulkner said he had been hit by a cab while changing trains -- in New Orleans -- but that he was fine and wanted to get right to work:

"We're going to put you on a Wallace Beery picture," Marx told him."Who's he?" asked Faulkner. "I've got an idea for Mickey Mouse."

After explaining that Mickey Mouse films were made at Disney Studios, Marx had his office boy take Faulkner to the screening room to see Beery as a prizefighter in The Champ, as the new film, Flesh, was to feature Beery as a wrestler. Faulkner did not want to watch, preferring to talk to the office boy:

"Do you own a dog?" he asked the boy, who said no. Faulkner said, "Every boy should have a dog." He should be ashamed not to own a dog, and so should everybody else who didn't own a dog.