Friday, March 31, 2006

Don't Swat That One. He's Cool.

Yes, it's not a photoshop. Those are miniature glasses. Via Ace Of Spades.

Nicely Played, WFB

As quoted at the Media Research Center's DisHonors Awards Dinner here:

I'll close with William F. Buckley's commentary on Alec Baldwin's nomination for the "I'm Not a Political Genius But I Play One on TV Award," because it's so delightfully Buckleyan. Baldwin lost to Rosie O'Donnell and Buckley explains exactly why. Here's Baldwin's quote:

"Most Republicans who are registered Republicans are decent, honest good people who you have a difference of opinion with. The leadership of the Republican Party are a bunch of sociopathic maniacs who have their lips super-glued to the ass of the conservative right."

Here is Buckley's assessment:

"The image is vivid, but polemically unsatisfying. Glued, perhaps. But super-glued? The hyperbole offends."

Hee. Buckley = the man.

Berlinski Amuses

Part 3 of an "interview" with him here (I use double quotes because I think it probable the Berlinski is having a lark and writing both sides of the interview). And look, I said I found it amusing, I didn't say it was gospel, so leaving comments "disproving" what he has to say, or illustrating that he is a jerk would be a waste of time.


[G]etting back to the point at issue, if you are not persuaded that opposition to design arguments is sincerely based on anxiety about fundamentalism, on what is it based?...

I wish I knew; I wish I understood it better. And I’ve tried. There is, in fact, a good deal of heterodoxy on the margins of the scientific world. You look at Tom van Flandern’s web page and the blog that he’s got up and running, it’s just full of attacks on relativity, reports of forgotten experiments, clever little thought experiments, that sort of thing; and oddly enough, a lot of it is quite plausible. Note what I am not saying. I’m not saying it’s true. Just plausible.

… And thus? …

But no one pays it any attention. And this is so of a good many other scientific issues. Two very smart mathematicians have gotten themselves interested in Krishna, a lot of weird stuff, and have published an immense book on forbidden archeology. Extraordinarily interesting claims, lots of data. I would not have the slightest idea whether there’s anything there. But ditto for attacks on Big Bang cosmology, and these are sometimes undertaken by physicists with terrific credentials. In all these cases, and you can just multiply them endlessly, the queer point is that no one cares. You get a high-school physics teacher arguing that Big Bang cosmology is seriously flawed, no one says boo, certainly not the ACLU. Why have attacks on Darwinian theories become a flash point?

… Are you saying, then, that you have no idea? Surely not …

I don’t think the issue can be analyzed in terms of its manifest content. For a better sense of what’s going on, you really must go to the blogs, and not the newspapers. The newspaper columnists do little more than express prevailing pieties of thought, and most of them are too busy sniffling at Brokeback Mountain to have anything interesting to say about Darwin. The blogs are another matter. I follow two of them: Talk Reason and The Panda’s Thumb, and I must say, I find them fascinating. Talk Reason is upscale and sober, and it gets good people to write for it: Mark Perakh, for example, or Andreas Bottrero. They make an effort to be fair. And yet the overwhelming impression conveyed by Talk Reason is a kind of insecure disgruntlement. It is the impression conveyed by men who suspect that the opinions they reject might just prove persuasive to men less intelligent than themselves, rather like a group of cigarette company executives complaining to one another about the irresponsible allegations that smoking is involved in the onset of various diseases. One of their listings is entitled The Art of ID Stuntmen. An interesting title, don’t you think? A stunt is, after all, something requiring a certain skill, and stunts are designed to fool those who view them. These five words convey an entire system of anxiety.

The Panda’s Thumb, on the other hand, is entirely low-market; the men who contribute to the blog all have some vague technical background – computer sales, sound mixing, low-level programming, print-shops or copy centers; they are semi-literate; their posts convey that characteristic combination of pustules and gonorrhea that one would otherwise associate with high-school toughs, with even the names – Sir Toejam, The Reverend Lenny Flank – suggesting nothing so much as a group of guys spending a great deal of time hanging around their basements running video games, eating pizzas, and jeering at various leggy but inaccessible young women.

Now if Talk Reason conveys an attitude of insecure and even worried superiority, The Panda’s Thumb conveys something quite different, and that is a deep, almost incoherent anger.

When you look at Talk Reason, you see a lot of smart but lazy and shallow people defending what they take to be important issues of principle in a way guaranteed to make their defense a perfect irrelevance. When you look at the Panda’s Thumb, you see an entire overlooked class demanding its right to be heard, and when given that right by the blog itself, having nothing whatsoever to say beyond a very touching demand that that right be accommodated.

I don’t have any trouble understanding Talk Reason; but why Darwinism has been able to provoke this new class into existence is something more interesting, and probably more troubling.
So I come back to my original point: Why ID and why Darwinism?

… Yes, why? …

My guess it that ID has become a flashpoint as a form of what Marxists used to call left deviationism. I’ll explain in a minute, but you’ve got to remember that there is also something taking place that could be called right deviationism. Figures like Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins are profoundly embarrassing the scientific establishment, and by that I mean the top biology departments, the editors of Nature and Science, the senior bureaucrats at the NSF and NIH, by going on and on about atheism, selfish genes, evolutionary psychology, stuff that everyone with their heads screwed on tight knows has absolutely nothing to do with any of the serious sciences. And I do mean absolutely, and I do mean nothing. And yet no one much cares. The ACLU is not up in arms about anything these guys say. Put Dawkins on a high school reading list with his claims about being a fulfilled atheist – that’s fine, no problems there. Everyone quite understands that Daniel Dennett is lacking a little in the top story, but he makes the most of his handicap, God Bless. And, again, no one cares what he says.

On the other hand, there is creationism and especially Young Earth Creationism. It might not exist for all the real criticism it provokes. A few years ago, I got some sharp intelligent comments from someone writing to Talk Reason. I’ll call him Mr. X, to preserve his privacy. We corresponded and by and by he showed me a manuscript on which he had been working. It comprised the most detailed, thorough, intelligent and striking critique of old-fashioned creationist ideas that I had ever seen, just tore into Henry Morris, Duane Gish, young earth creationists, Philip Johnson. I tried to get it published. I did my best. I wrote to people at Talk Reason, telling them that this is one of your own. No response, not even from Paul Gross. I sent the manuscript to the MIT press – I’m an MIT author after all. Nothing. The Princeton University Press – nothing. In the end I finally understood. The creationists did not count. The moment that anyone plumped for biblical inerrancy, he was regarded by the scientific establishment like a Czarist in Lenin’s Russia.

Ah, but ID, now that is a different matter. What makes the challenge so potent is that the ID movement has been shrewd enough to discover that it has a natural ally beyond the scientific establishment itself in the American – no the world – public at large. So what you have is a massively potent form of left-deviationism, and just as one might have expected, the prospect scares the daylights out of the biologists. It is intolerable.

The ID movement in its attack on Darwinism has simply articulated what many people instinctively feel. Darwin’s theory is plain nuts. It is not supported by the evidence; it has no organizing principles; it is incoherent on its face; it flies against all common experience, and it is poisonous in its implications.

And another thing. It is easy to understand. Anyone can become an evolutionary biologist in an afternoon. Just read a book. Most of them are half illustrations anyway. It’s not like studying mathematics or physics, lot of head splitting stuff there.

It is thus infinitely droll to see evolutionary biologists restrain themselves from debating the issue on the grounds that the public is apt to get confused. And God Knows, there’s no need to confuse the public so long as they keep those swell funding checks coming.

It won’t work, it can’t work and it shouldn’t work.

Derbyshire's Cool Fort

Good pictures of his attic conversion here, complete with explanations, a link to the original National Review article where he described the project, and a link to 'before' pictures.

Anti-Christian Hatred On The Rise

Good Don Feder article. Rejoice! As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

It is indeed good to have clear, rather than blurred lines. For people to be hot or cold, rather than lukewarm...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Fun Vacation From History Is Over

We thought history was over, and now we've been plunged back into it. Excellent essay at American Digest.


IN THE DAYS AFTER THE TOWERS FELL, in the ash that covered the Brooklyn street where I lived at that time, in the smoke that rose for months from that spot across the river, when rising up in the skyscraper I worked in, or riding deep beneath the river in the subway, or passing the thousand small shrines of puddled candle wax below the walls with the hundreds of photographs of "The Missing," it was not too much to say that you could feel the doors of history open all about you.

Before those days, history happened elsewhere, elsewhen, to others. History did not happen to you. In your world, until that day, you lived in the time after history. There were no more doors in front of you, all history lay behind you. It was a given.


History was behind us. It was something our parents entered for a while during the war but they emerged into what was, essentially, the long peace. They'd had enough history, didn't want any more, and did what they could to keep history from happening. In general, the history of the Cold War is the history of what didn't happen punctuated by a few things every now and then such as Korea and Vietnam. But all in all, for over 50 years, history didn't happen.

With the end of the Soviet Union in a whimper and not a bang brighter than the sun on earth, history was officially over. The moment even got its own book, "The End of History," which stimulated an argument that even more than the book emphasized that history was over.

Most sensible people liked it that way. In fact, a lot of people really liked it that way. Because if history for the world was over, these people could get on making the history that really mattered to them: The History of Me.


Then on one bright and unusually fine New York September morning History came back with a vengeance we'd never seen before in the history of America. It came back and it stayed and stayed and stayed. The doors of history swung open again and we were all propelled through them into... what?

Nobody knows. Not the President, not his opponents, not the right, left, center, or just plain unhinged and now in low-earth orbit. We know how it began, but we don't know how it will end. We don't really know what's next. Indeed, we never know.

It was better when we lived in The History of Me. We knew how Me would end -- birth, fun, school, fun, job, fun, family, fun, age, fun, death and then ... probably fun, who knew, who cared? The meaning of this history was not deep but was to be found in the world "fun." Mini-Mes love fun. You could almost say it is their religion, a religion of fun. A funny concept, fun. Fills the space between birth and death. "He was a fun guy" could be a generic epitaph for the era.

Now we find ourselves back in history as it has always been and it is not fun. Not fun at all. The history of history has little to do with fun, almost nothing at all.


History as it will now unfold will require little from Me but much from Us. I'd like to say that this country's going one way or another tomorrow will be the ruin of the nation. If I could I would be able to get my Me into the Punditocracy. But that is false. One result or another will not be the ruin of the nation for there is, as one of the founding fathers once remarked, "A lot of ruin in a nation."

Should the nation choose to continue in the elections of this year to move forward, to stay the course and continue the offensive, our encounter with history will move forward at much the same pace as it has these past four years, perhaps a bit accelerated. Should the nation choose to step back, to retreat, it will simply retard the process that grips it a bit more than otherwise might be the case. Neither result wil place us back in the History of Me no matter how many yearn for it.

History, having returned, will continue to happen, not to Me, but to Us.

We will have war whether we wish it or not. It will continue to be brought to us as it was brought for many years before we could see it in a pillar of flame by day and a pillar of smoke by night. We will be long in this wilderness, perhaps as long as forty years, and it will take a terrible toll from us, soldier and civilian alike; a toll we have not yet begun to see. Like all global wars in the past century, the war upon us will rise in violence until such time as we either capitulate, or find the will to kill our enemies wholesale. This is not what we would choose, but it is what we shall have.

We could, if we wished, withdraw every soldier from every inch of soil that is not American territory and leave them here inside our borders rusting for a decade. War will still come because war is already upon us, and wars do not end in staged withdrawals, but in either defeat or victory. The lessons of Vietnam and the Cold War teach this to us if we have the eyes to see and the ears to hear.

In this First Terrorist War, the character of our leadership will make a difference to some degree, but it will not decide. It is who we are and who we shall become as a people that will decide. How that will be in the end, I do not know. What I do know is that history, no matter what they tell you, never comes to an end. And because of that, the one small thing that I have the power to do is to decide that I shall no longer vote for Me. I shall vote for Us.

Darned Clever Photoshopping

Some folks have been having a little fun with Hewitt's latest book.

Some good ones:

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

There Is Nothing Unconstitutional About 'Bad Science' Or 'Not Science'

Interesting take on a First Things article (article not yet online) about the Dover decision.

It begins thusly:

This is a letter I sent to First Things today.

Dear Editors of First Things:

Robert T. Miller argues that Judge Jones’ decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District was correct even though Miller admits that Intelligent Design (ID) is not religion (Darwin in Dover, PA, April 2006). Miller’s conclusion is plainly a non sequitur. The Establishment Clause has one and only one purpose – to prevent the establishment of religion. If Miller is correct and ID is not a religion, a policy promoting the teaching of ID does not, by definition, operate to establish religion. Therefore, such a policy cannot violate the Establishment Clause. The inescapable conclusion given Miller’s own premises? Judge Jones erred when he ruled that teaching ID violates the Establishment Clause.

Miller argues that Jones’ decision was nevertheless correct – not because ID is a religion, but because “Intelligent Design does not belong in a science class.” (emphasis in the original) This conclusion is also wrong. Judges – especially federal judges – have a limited role in our constitutional democracy. They do not have a roving warrant to run around setting perceived errors in judgment aright. Judge Jones was entitled to strike down the Dover policy only if it established religion. Miller admits that it did not, because ID is not a religion. Therefore, Jones was wrong even if we grant Miller’s aesthetic judgment about the unseemliness of combining the teaching of two non-religious subjects (assuming arguendo that ID and science are different subjects) during the same class time. This becomes clear if we posit the combination of science and another academic subject that is not as emotionally charged as ID. For example, if the Dover school board had enacted a policy requiring all science teachers in the district to use the last ten minutes of each of their classes to teach music, the policy would have been stupid, but it would not have been unconstitutional. The citizens of Dover’s remedy would have been to throw the rascals out at the next election and hope the new school board would repeal the policy. Their remedy would not be going to court to have the “science and music” policy struck down as unconstitutional...

Sharia Online Dating

Ace of Spades has discovered an Islamic matchmaking website.

Thanks, MSM. Thanks, Democrats. Thanks, Traitors. Because Of You, The Bad Guys Think They Only Need To 'Wait Until Bush Is Gone'.

From OpinionJournal, first the bad news:

Hassan Abbasi has a dream--a helicopter doing an arabesque in cloudy skies to avoid being shot at from the ground. On board are the last of the "fleeing Americans," forced out of the Dar al-Islam (The Abode of Islam) by "the Army of Muhammad." Presented by his friends as "The Dr. Kissinger of Islam," Mr. Abbasi is "professor of strategy" at the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guard Corps University and, according to Tehran sources, the principal foreign policy voice in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's new radical administration.

For the past several weeks Mr. Abbasi has been addressing crowds of Guard and Baseej Mustadafin (Mobilization of the Dispossessed) officers in Tehran with a simple theme: The U.S. does not have the stomach for a long conflict and will soon revert to its traditional policy of "running away," leaving Afghanistan and Iraq, indeed the whole of the Middle East, to be reshaped by Iran and its regional allies.

To hear Mr. Abbasi tell it the entire recent history of the U.S. could be narrated with the help of the image of "the last helicopter." It was that image in Saigon that concluded the Vietnam War under Gerald Ford. Jimmy Carter had five helicopters fleeing from the Iranian desert, leaving behind the charred corpses of eight American soldiers. Under Ronald Reagan the helicopters carried the corpses of 241 Marines murdered in their sleep in a Hezbollah suicide attack. Under the first President Bush, the helicopter flew from Safwan, in southern Iraq, with Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf aboard, leaving behind Saddam Hussein's generals, who could not believe why they had been allowed live to fight their domestic foes, and America, another day. Bill Clinton's helicopter was a Black Hawk, downed in Mogadishu and delivering 16 American soldiers into the hands of a murderous crowd.


It is not only in Tehran and Damascus that the game of "waiting Bush out" is played with determination. In recent visits to several regional capitals, this writer was struck by the popularity of this new game from Islamabad to Rabat. The general assumption is that Mr. Bush's plan to help democratize the heartland of Islam is fading under an avalanche of partisan attacks inside the U.S. The effect of this assumption can be witnessed everywhere.

In Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf has shelved his plan, forged under pressure from Washington, to foster a popular front to fight terrorism by lifting restrictions against the country's major political parties and allowing their exiled leaders to return. There is every indication that next year's elections will be choreographed to prevent the emergence of an effective opposition. In Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, arguably the most pro-American leader in the region, is cautiously shaping his post-Bush strategy by courting Tehran and playing the Pushtun ethnic card against his rivals.

In Turkey, the "moderate" Islamist government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is slowly but surely putting the democratization process into reverse gear. With the post-Bush era in mind, Mr. Erdogan has started a purge of the judiciary and a transfer of religious endowments to sections of the private sector controlled by his party's supporters. There are fears that next year's general election would not take place on a level playing field.

Even in Iraq the sentiment that the U.S. will not remain as committed as it has been under Mr. Bush is producing strange results. While Shiite politicians are rushing to Tehran to seek a reinsurance policy, some Sunni leaders are having second thoughts about their decision to join the democratization process. "What happens after Bush?" demands Salih al-Mutlak, a rising star of Iraqi Sunni leaders. The Iraqi Kurds have clearly decided to slow down all measures that would bind them closer to the Iraqi state. Again, they claim that they have to "take precautions in case the Americans run away."

There are more signs that the initial excitement created by Mr. Bush's democratization project may be on the wane. Saudi Arabia has put its national dialogue program on hold and has decided to focus on economic rather than political reform. In Bahrain, too, the political reform machine has been put into rear-gear, while in Qatar all talk of a new democratic constitution to set up a constitutional monarchy has subsided. In Jordan the security services are making a spectacular comeback, putting an end to a brief moment of hopes for reform. As for Egypt, Hosni Mubarak has decided to indefinitely postpone local elections, a clear sign that the Bush-inspired scenario is in trouble. Tunisia and Morocco, too, have joined the game by stopping much-advertised reform projects while Islamist radicals are regrouping and testing the waters at all levels.

And, just maybe, some good news:

While Mr. Bush's approval ratings, now in free fall, and the increasingly bitter American debate on Iraq may lend some credence to the "helicopter" theory, I found no evidence that anyone in the American leadership elite supported a cut-and-run strategy.

The reason was that almost all realized that the 9/11 attacks have changed the way most Americans see the world and their own place in it. Running away from Saigon, the Iranian desert, Beirut, Safwan and Mogadishu was not hard to sell to the average American, because he was sure that the story would end there; the enemies left behind would not pursue their campaign within the U.S. itself. The enemies that America is now facing in the jihadist archipelago, however, are dedicated to the destruction of the U.S. as the world knows it today.

Those who have based their strategy on waiting Mr. Bush out may find to their cost that they have, once again, misread not only American politics but the realities of a world far more complex than it was even a decade ago. Mr. Bush may be a uniquely decisive, some might say reckless, leader. But a visitor to the U.S. soon finds out that he represents the American mood much more than the polls suggest.

I'm not wildly optimistic.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Democrats Can Act Religious, Quote Scripture, And Say They Aim To Apply The Teachings Of Jesus To Politics All They Want.

It's okay with the MSM if they do it, because no one believes they really mean it. David Limbaugh looks at the glaring double standard.


Can someone please explain why Hillary and Bill Clinton always get a pass from the secular left when they invoke God in their public discourse? Why is Dan Quayle ridiculed for championing family values while Hillary is glorified as a dutiful disciple of evangelist John Wesley?

Do the God-mocking among us doubt the Clintons' sincerity and thus not perceive them to be a threat to their sacred church-state separation doctrine? Or could there be some other reason we don't see hysterical editorials when the power couple mention Jesus Christ, as when Hillary recently dragged Him and the Good Samaritan into the immigration debate?

Why is no one calling Hillary an "American Taliban"? Why don't the media pillory Hillary like they did John Ashcroft for saying, "We have no king but Jesus?" Shouldn't someone step forward and ask, "Can a deeply religious person be president?" like Tony Mauro, then of USA Today, inquired concerning Ashcroft: "Can a deeply religious person be attorney general?"

In 1992, Bill Clinton likened his Republican opponents to the Pharisees and the "sanctimonious money-changers" of the New Testament. In 1996, he received a glowing tribute from the media for ranking "near the top of the list of presidents who have talked comfortably about religion" -- as if, all of a sudden, they deemed that a good thing. That same year, Hillary received kudos for urging her party to reclaim the mantle of family values. (Memo to the short-term memory challenged: The libs' nose-holding scramble to reconnect with "values voters" didn't begin with their soul-searching group therapy in the aftermath of the 2004 election presidential election.)

Of course, the journalists praising the Clintons were the same ones who defended Hillary against those lampooning her quasi-seances with Eleanor Roosevelt and her dabbling in other New Age concepts, such as Michael Lerner's "Politics of Meaning."


[Hillary has] said, "I've always been a praying person."

Why didn't anyone skewer her for that like they did President Bush for reportedly saying that when he was contemplating attacking Iraq he prayed "for the strength to do the Lord's will?" Do these now-silent critics presume Hillary means something else by "praying"?


[Bill Clinton has said] in a post-presidential sermon to his former fellow congregants at the Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. that, 'You cannot imagine the peace, the comfort, the strength I have drawn from my Sundays here." Hum, could he have been talking about the same kind of "strength" President Bush had in mind in his prayer concerning Iraq? Surely not, right? Liberals don't cross that hallowed line.


The next time the secular media crucifies a conservative politician for openly professing the relevance of faith in his public life, try to remember their refusal to inflict the same rhetorical punishment on those in their ideological camp -- and ask yourself, "Why?"

This Threat Is Bigger

But, thankfully, weaker. Dennis Prager compares the Islamic threat to the threats of Nazism and Communism. The Soviets could have destroyed us, but had a basic sanity that prevented them from doing so. Islam, however, is insane. It threatens to destroy only itself, assuming it finally pushes us hard enough (presumably through nuclear terrorism) to strike out against it with righteous, devastating, relentless fury. Of course, such a thing would be a worldwide upheaval that would be much bigger than WWII and the Cold War. The Islamic countries would lose all sovereignty, and we would undertake the forceful occupation of their lands (and seizing of their oil) that all the morons, cowards, and suicidal leftists accuse us of already doing (ironically, their sedition and treason against our efforts to fix things in a comparatively easy, and gentle way only adds to the likelihood). If the delusional lefties think America is a bunch of violent, xenophobic, racist, imperialistic, dissent quashing, oil stealing, uninclusive meanies now, well, they ain't seen nothing yet, assuming Islam doesn't find some way to learn to settle down, and stop being a threat to the rest of us. Of course, if we do end up facing acts of nuclear terrorism, the left is finished, for good. At that point, sedition and treason will be taken quite seriously. My hope is that we are successful in preventing all of this, and if we are, it will be with no thanks to the left.


[T]here are two unique aspects to the evil emanating from the Islamic world that render this latest threat to humanity particularly difficult to overcome.

One is the number of people who believe in it. This is a new phenomenon among organized evils. Far fewer people believed in Nazism or in communism than believe in Islam generally or in authoritarian Islam specifically. There are one billion Muslims in the world. If just 10 percent believe in the Islam of Hamas, the Taliban, the Sudanese regime, Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism, bin Ladin, Islamic Jihad, the Finley Park Mosque in London or Hizbollah -- and it is inconceivable that only one of 10 Muslims supports any of these groups' ideologies -- that means a true believing enemy of at least 100 million people. Outside of Germany, how many people believed in Nazism? Outside of Japan, who believed in Japanese imperialism and militarism? And outside of universities, the arts world or Hollywood, how many people believed in Soviet-style totalitarianism?

A far larger number of people believe in Islamic authoritarianism than ever believed in Marxism. Virtually no one living in Marxist countries believed in Marxism or communism. Likewise, far fewer people believed in Nazism, an ideology confined largely to one country for less than one generation. This is one enormous difference between the radical Islamic threat to our civilization and the two previous ones.

But there is yet a second difference that is at least as significant and at least as frightening: Nazis and Communists wanted to live and feared death; Islamic authoritarians love death and loathe life.

That is why MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) worked with the Soviet Union. Communist leaders love life -- they loved their money, their power, their dachas, their mistresses, their fine wines -- and were hardly prepared to give all that up for Marx. But Iran's current leaders celebrate dying, and MAD may not work, because from our perspective, they are indeed mad. MAD only works with the sane.

There is much less you can do against people who value dying more than living.

The existence of an unprecedentedly large number of people wishing to destroy decent civilization as we know it -- and who celebrate their own deaths -- poses a threat the likes of which no civilization in history has had to confront.

The evils committed by Nazism and Communism were, of course, greater than those committed by radical Islam. There has been no Muslim Gulag and no Muslim Auschwitz.

But the threat is far more serious.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

One Of History's Great Quotes

Highlighted by Ace of Spades (from a Mark Steyn column about the Abdul Rahman case in Afghanistan):

In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" - the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Outstanding Review

Ace of Spades is a seriously talented writer. Check out his review of "V For Vendetta".

Wailing And Gnashing Of Teeth At The Citadel Of Tech Mediocrity

The schedule for Microsoft's next probable fraud of an operating system (I mean let's be honest) slips yet again. Via Peeve Farm, here are some lamentations from inside the company.

Here's one comment:

What's the difference between Mac OS X and Vista? Microsoft employees are excited about Mac OS X.

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

Very cute Sunday school quiz answers at The Anchoress.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Quip Of The Day

A throwaway in a DJ Drummond post at Polipundit:

Yeah, the MSM is in touch — with the rotting corpse of V.I. Lenin, apparently.

Hewitt Is On Fire

Good stuff from Hugh Hewitt. He interviews VDH (two separate MP3's, second is midway down the transcript), Reynolds and Kaus, and Mark Steyn. I downloaded the MP3's and queued 'em in WinAmp, yielding an excellent commercial free interview show. Main topic was the growing backlash against the seditious MSM. I liked this quote from Glenn Reynolds:

One thing I've noticed about the press, by the way, the defensiveness I've seen in the last week or two illustrates a couple of things. I think first it shows that even they realize that they've gone too far and overplayed their hand, and it's likely to come back to bite them. The other thing I think they've figured out is imagine that in fact, what they're doing succeeds, that we do lose the war, that it is seen as another Vietnam. A substantial portion of the American public, 30, 40%, at least, is going to blame them and hold a grudge that will last decades. Now is that a position they want to be in? Because that's what's going to happen, and they will have earned it.

Yes, filling a huge part of your potential customer base with seething, enduring resentment would definitely be an asinine move.

Fun Test

A little quiz. Think carefully before answering each question. I got 10/11. H/T Ace.

Test is interactive, but I think the questions are cool, so just in case the page changes, I'm including them here:

Do they have a 4th of July in England?

How many birthdays does the average man have?

Some months have 31 days; how many have 28?

How many outs are there in an inning?

Is it legal for a man in California to marry his widow's sister?

Divide 30 by 1/2 and add 10. What is the answer?

If there are 3 apples and you take away 2, how many do you have?

A doctor gives you three pills telling you to take one every half hour. How many minutes would the pills last?

A farmer has 17 sheep, and all but 9 die. How many are left?

How many animals of each sex did Moses take on the ark?

How many two cent stamps are there in a dozen?

Dragging Themselves Through The Negro Streets At Dawn Looking For An Angry Fix

And seeing Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated

Title of post and above line are by Alan Ginsberg (in the poem "Howl", of course).

Van der Leun profers his own version which begins thusly:

I SAW the second-best minds of my not-so-Great Generation destroyed by Bush Derangement Syndrome, pasty, paunchy, tenured, unelectable, and not looking too sharp naked,

bullsh------ themselves through the African-American streets at cocktail hour looking for a Prozac refill,

aging hair-plugged hipsters burning for their ancient political connection to the White House through the machinations of moonbats,

who warred on poverty and Halliburton's Wal-Mart and bulbous-eyed and still high from some bad acid in 1968 set up no-smoking zones on tobacco farms in the unnatural darkness of Darwinistic delusions floating a few more half-baked secular notions like "Let's all worship zero!",

who bared their withered breasts and, he or she, bleated their v-----s' mawkish monologues to John Kennedy's ghost under the capitol dome and french-kissed Mohammedan agents in the gore-drenched redrum rooms of Guantanamo,

who passed gas and on into universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating President Al Gore and Vice-President Noam Chomsky envisioning world peace among the masters of war and stayed on and stayed on and stayed on sucking off the great teat of academe in upaid student loans and over-paid professorial positions the better to molest the minds of children for decades with every third year off for bad behavior,

For some reason, after reading Van der Leun's version I got to thinking. I'm sure I've read this somewhere or other, but it seems to me that the Vietnam generation wants us badly to lose this war because they've staked their self-respect on the principle "War Is Never The Answer". Now, did they originally embrace this principle for noble, or for ignoble reasons? Was embracing this principle and rallying to cause American defeat in Vietnam simply a coverup for cowardice? How awful it would be for the consciences of these aging hippies if it turned out that sometimes, "War Is The Answer". If this were the case, then their general principle and creed crumbles into dust. With the facade gone, the question is out in the open, under a blinding light: were their motives 40 years ago base, self-seeking, and dishonorable? Is there anything different now in their hearts, than there was 40 years ago? Best to rally and maneuver for American defeat now, so the question needn't be faced at all.

For they are the best minds,

who in humorless protest overturned only one symbolic pingpong table, resting briefly in catatonia,

returning years later truly bald except for a wig of blood, and tears and fingers, to the visible madman doom of the wards of the madtowns of the East...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fun With Church Signs

Latest fun thing is a Church Sign Generator. WuzzaDem makes amusing use of it here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Den Bestianesque

Darned good geopolitical strategic analysis here. Also be sure to check out part one. This is like something from the glory days of U.S.S. Clueless.

Sturm Und Drang

Good beer commercial.

Fighting Like Girls

Great piece.

It begins thusly:

Anyone who has ever been in a schoolyard can see that boys and girls deal with conflict in diametrically different ways. When boys have a problem with each other, the cause of the feud is usually well known to both parties, and they tend to confront one another directly, often physically. The worst insult a boy can endure is to be told that he fights like a girl. While such battles can be violent, they are also short-lived. The victor often offers his hand and helps the defeated boy from the ground. More often then not, the fight is forgotten within days and the boys resume their friendship as if nothing had ever happened.

Girls, on the other hand, fight more subversive battles. Instead of confronting one another directly, they will wage a covert war by spreading rumors and ostracizing the object of their current anger. Very often, one party has no idea what caused the rift and may not even know that there is a war until she is blindsided by an unexpected attack, usually coming from another girl claiming to be her friend. Girls also tend to hold grudges and feuds can last for an interminable length of time. The attacks are often personal and aimed at emotional vulnerabilities as opposed to physical ones. Any parent of a middle-school age daughter can tell you that the focus of girls in grades 5-8 is to make each other miserable, and they are very good at it.

The Western way of war is rooted in the male style of fighting and is very much the way the United States has dealt with defeated enemies in the past. Confront them directly, hit them hard, and then give them the helping hand to rebuild and become an ally. Warfare has a set of rules, both written and unwritten, and there is the unspoken understanding that both sides will fight “like gentlemen.” An enemy who refuses to fight that way is often viewed as weak and too scared to “come out and fight like men.” In other words, they fight around the edges like girls.

The Global War on Terrorism is just such a war...

Quite Completely Insane

Another one for the political psychosis file. The piece is not a rant, but one of the most spurious pieces of analysis that I've seen. Hewitt comments:

Need cheering up? Then spend some time with MyDD's Chris Bower's assessment of the demise of the Right Wing Blogopshere.

The inability of the left to deal with reality is the inherent weakness of the left. Exhibit A in the case proving this wilfull ignorance is Bowers'assertion that "[t]he right-wing is not building new institutions online anymore."

Soxblog, you must now stop blogging. Ed Morrissey, cease. ConfirmThem, RedState, the blog row at --shutter the windows and lock the door behind you. You too, RealUglyAmerican,KennedyvMachine, Kelly, Yon, and Roggio. Chris says it is over. Everybody, go on home.

Not you, T.F. Boggs. Keep fighting the war, but Mr. Bowers prefers you not blog about it anymore.

In fact the blogging movement remains vibrant and far more productive on the right than on the left, where the leading blogs continue to spread venom and habits of expression and thought that are ruinous to the short-, medium- and long-term interests of the Democratic Party. Not only is the center-right blogopshere stronger and deeper than it was even a year ago, its counterpart is falling deeper and deeper into an abyss wherein very little in the way of logic or fact penetrate.

Rocket Science It Ain't

Good TCS column on the very simple steps that the newspaper industry needs to take (and will take; the only question is how deep a hole they'll put themselves in before they do) to reform itself. Speaking for myself, I'd be perfectly willing and eager to read a newspaper if it weren't an illiterate leftist propaganda sheet put out by pack-running third-rate intellects.


Unlike, I suppose, a few bloggers I'm not cheering the demise of newspapers. I do think that the newspaper industry has dug its own grave through bias, disrespect for its audience, and simpleminded costcutting efforts that have seriously damaged its core competency (and killer app) -- actual gathering and reporting of truthful, accurate, hard news. But I don't think it's too late for imaginative newspapers to save themselves.

What would a new-era newspaper look like?

First, I think I'd skip the "paper" part. I've visited a lot of newspaper offices, and many of them proudly display the printing presses that produce their product, just as older newsmen often glory in the title of "ink-stained wretch." But their product isn't paper (in fact, for those of us who recycle, the paper is a drawback, not a plus, at least until it's time to pack things for a move). Their product is information. Paper is just an increasingly obsolete delivery platform. It's expensive, and on the way out. Get rid of it, or start a new "paper" without it.

Second, I'd put some of the money I saved by abandoning delivery trucks, printing presses, and the like into hiring reporters and writers, who have been the object of a lot of cost-cutting over the past couple of decades. And I'd expect a broader range of competency: My reporters would also all be photographers, equipped with digital cameras, and videographers, shooting clips of video that could be placed on the website along with their stories. This isn't asking too much, really. The world is full of people who can write and take pictures. I've heard editors at existing newspapers who doubt that their reporters could do this sort of thing, but if so, they need better reporters. I'd tell them to learn, or seek employment elsewhere. It's not that hard. This sort of approach might create union problems, which often forbid reporters from doing the job of photographers or vice versa; I'd tell the unions to go visit the Buggy Whip Museum and ponder the fate of work rules in that industry...

Third, I'd stop insulting readers. As Malone notes, many newspapers lean left; they're out of touch, as numerous surveys demonstrate, with the attitudes of most Americans. Often, like George Clooney (spokesman for another declining industry), they celebrate this disconnect. They shouldn't. People don't like being preached to, or manipulated, and they are increasingly unwilling to pay for that now that they have alternatives. So stop; give them the news, with as little bias as possible.


The bottom line is that there's plenty of market space for the news business, so long as it sticks to its core competencies of actually, you know, reporting news accurately and well. But the Daily Planet model of newspapers -- or, worse yet, the model shown in today's New York Times or San Francisco Chronicle, places where behavior that Perry White would never have tolerated is, sadly, routine -- is on its last legs. There's no reason that newspapers can't remain competitive -- no reason, at least, outside their own management.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Great Conversion Story

Here. It's excellently written and expressed.

Here's a bit that jumped out at me:

Meanwhile, I was doing a lot of online reading. I’ve always been interested in theology, and there is plenty of theological deliberation to be found on the internet. One forum in particular was simultaneously vexing and intriguing to me because of the large number of Catholics that posted there. Their arrogance astounded me, and yet the depth and substance of their arguments were hard to ignore. At one point, someone posted an article in which the author compared the Catholic Church to Jesus and described protestants as a bit like Pharisees -- so scandalized by the audacity of an entity that would call itself the One True Way that they wailed and rent their garments. All I could think was “Ouch.”

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Let The Sunshine In

Well said:

DaveScot recently offered a post entitled “Biologists Are Not Design Experts” in which he commented about Darwinian (i.e., blind-watchmaker) evolution apologists who propose that those in other disciplines should keep their noses out of Darwinian evolutionary theory, presumably because these would-be naysayers are not experts in blind or (as Phillip Johnson so eloquently puts it) comatose watchmaking.

In reply to a commenter, DaveScot retorts: “Keep in mind this [Dave’s original post] is a response to a Panda’s Thumb article saying scientists ought to stay within their expertise. They of course are directing it specifically at mathematicians like Dembski and Berlinski telling them to butt out of biology, plus non-specifically to any of the scientists on the Dissent from Darwinism list that aren’t biologists. I’m just giving them a taste of their own medicine.”

The problem is that Darwinian evolutionary theorists (and their spinoff cohorts in evolutionary sociology and psychology, who really should seek medical or other counseling to put them back in touch with reality) have lost touch with the rest of the scientific community.

Darwinian evolutionary biologists have enjoyed a privileged position of authority, especially in academia, because anyone who questions their theses, whether on the grounds of theoretical principle or evidence, is immediately labeled an enemy of science. Never mind that the hypotheses are built on a foundation of wishful speculation, and that contradictory evidence is consistently ignored or dismissed with ridicule.

The essence of the Darwinian evolutionary hypothesis can be comprehended with little effort by almost anyone: Vary stuff randomly, and keep the stuff that works the best. The stuff that works the best will make copies of itself. This explains everything!

But an interesting turn of events has occurred in the last 30 or so years.

Scientists in other fields have started to question the “vary stuff” part of the hypothesis. Engineers, mathematicians, computer programmers and information theorists understand the statistical problems presented by the phenomenon of combinatoric explosion, which evolutionary biologists ignore as being surmountable with time and probabilistic resources, with no hard analysis of the probabilities involved.

Paleontologists have always known that the overall evidence of the fossil record is one of stasis and sudden appearance, not incremental change. Evolutionary biologists tell paleontologists, and the rest of us, that we all should ignore the Himalayan-sized mountains of contrary evidence, and accept imaginative stories about incremental change where the fossil record is most incomplete.

The bottom line is that Darwinian hypothesizers are finally being exposed to scrutiny by those outside the field, who have a better understanding about how things really are, and about how things really work.

The resultant panic and fear-mongering by Darwinists is clear evidence that they don’t have the goods, and they know it.

This is all perfectly clear to those who deign to read the primary ID literature, rather than content themselves with second or third hand internet hearsay and misrepresentations. If you don't know, it's because you don't want to know.

Friday, March 17, 2006


Image Hosted by

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Darned Impressive

Created and filmed just a couple of miles from where I sit. Amateur lightsaber duel. I've never seen one remotely as well done as this one. (H/T Ace of Spades)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

We Will Bury You

The consequences to politics of the liberals failing to reproduce. (H/T Mark Shea). In introducing the article, Shea says:

The Self-Sterilizing Nature of Liberalism

It turns out you can't pass your liberal values on to non-existent children.

Blessed are the fertile, for they shall inherit the earth.


What's the difference between Seattle and Salt Lake City? There are many differences, of course, but here's one you might not know. In Seattle, there are nearly 45% more dogs than children. In Salt Lake City, there are nearly 19% more kids than dogs.

This curious fact might at first seem trivial, but it reflects a much broader and little-noticed demographic trend that has deep implications for the future of global culture and politics. It's not that people in a progressive city such as Seattle are so much fonder of dogs than are people in a conservative city such as Salt Lake City. It's that progressives are so much less likely to have children.

It's a pattern found throughout the world, and it augers a far more conservative future - one in which patriarchy and other traditional values make a comeback, if only by default. Childlessness and small families are increasingly the norm today among progressive secularists. As a consequence, an increasing share of all children born into the world are descended from a share of the population whose conservative values have led them to raise large families.

Today, fertility correlates strongly with a wide range of political, cultural and religious attitudes. In the USA, for example, 47% of people who attend church weekly say their ideal family size is three or more children. By contrast, 27% of those who seldom attend church want that many kids.

In Utah, where more than two-thirds of residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 92 children are born each year for every 1,000 women, the highest fertility rate in the nation. By contrast Vermont - the first to embrace gay unions - has the nation's lowest rate, producing 51 children per 1,000 women.

Similarly, in Europe today, the people least likely to have children are those most likely to hold progressive views of the world. For instance, do you distrust the army and other institutions and are you prone to demonstrate against them? Then, according to polling data assembled by demographers Ron Lesthaeghe and Johan Surkyn, you are less likely to be married and have kids or ever to get married and have kids. Do you find soft drugs, homosexuality and euthanasia acceptable? Do you seldom, if ever, attend church? Europeans who answer affirmatively to such questions are far more likely to live alone or be in childless, cohabiting unions than are those who answer negatively.

This correlation between secularism, individualism and low fertility portends a vast change in modern societies. In the USA, for example, nearly 20% of women born in the late 1950s are reaching the end of their reproductive lives without having children. The greatly expanded childless segment of contemporary society, whose members are drawn disproportionately from the feminist and countercultural movements of the 1960s and '70s, will leave no genetic legacy. Nor will their emotional or psychological influence on the next generation compare with that of people who did raise children.


Why couldn't tomorrow's Americans and Europeans, even if they are disproportionately raised in patriarchal, religiously minded households, turn out to be another generation of '68? The key difference is that during the post-World War II era, nearly all segments of society married and had children. Some had more than others, but there was much more conformity in family size between the religious and the secular. Meanwhile, thanks mostly to improvements in social conditions, there is no longer much difference in survival rates for children born into large families and those who have few if any siblings.

Tomorrow's children, therefore, unlike members of the postwar baby boom generation, will be for the most part descendants of a comparatively narrow and culturally conservative segment of society. To be sure, some members of the rising generation may reject their parents' values, as often happens. But when they look for fellow secularists with whom to make common cause, they will find that most of their would-be fellow travelers were quite literally never born.

We're Moral Because We Don't Spike The Dead Baby In The Endzone

A Leginonaries of Christ priest writes in NRO about the Democratic Party's wholly disingenuous "Catholic Statement of Principles".


Late last month, 55 Catholic Democrats from the House of Representatives released what they termed a “historic” Catholic Statement of Principles. In substance the statement seeks to reconcile the support for abortion embraced by the Democratic Party with Catholic social teaching and a “consistent moral framework for life.”


All the typical rhetoric is in the "Statement": talk of a “safety net” for those who are “most in need,” a commitment to advance “respect for life” and the “dignity of every human being,” and of course, protection for “the most vulnerable among us.” Unfortunately it is precisely the most vulnerable among us — voiceless unborn children — whom the Catholics of the party have sacrificed on the altar of Moloch. If the party would only take its own rhetoric seriously, then the most important social-justice issue of our day would command center stage. There is no indication of that happening any time soon. As a result, Catholics who would otherwise be sympathetic to the Democratic Party reluctantly find themselves obliged to abandon it.


The statement makes a feeble attempt at defending the claim that the “big tent” of Catholicism can cover abortion.

That is a tough case to make. Just as you don’t have the polytheistic wing of Islam or the seal-clubbing wing of Greenpeace, you don’t have the pro-abortion wing of the Catholic Church. Certain non-negotiable moral standards define Catholicism just as surely as doctrinal beliefs do. We all advocate a big tent, but it can stretch only so far until it rips asunder.

Moral teaching is just as essential to Christianity as its doctrinal beliefs are. The earliest Christian writings, such as the Didache and the Letter of Barnabas speak of the “two ways,” one of which leads to life and the other to death. Both texts (and this is in the first and second centuries of the Christian era) speak explicitly of abortion as an element of the second way — that of death — and as directly opposed to the Christian spirit. Since its beginnings, Christianity has viewed abortion as an abhorrent crime against God and man.

To justify their position, the authors of the statement appeal to the so-called “primacy of conscience.” Yet conscience is not a pass to excuse wrongdoing. Would it make any difference if a serial killer claimed he was following his conscience when he murdered his victims? Even if the politicians are following their conscience, Catholic morality makes an important distinction between good conscience and bad conscience, and a conscience that sees nothing wrong with killing the innocent falls decidedly in the second category. Our first duty concerning conscience is to form it according to the moral law, and especially for a Catholic, no doubt can exist regarding the objective evil of abortion.

True, the statement acknowledges the “undesirability” of abortion, and the signers hasten to assure their constituencies that they do not “celebrate its practice.” That they do not “celebrate” the greatest social ill of our time may prove cold comfort to those who spend much of their free time actively campaigning for its abolition. And as regards its “undesirability,” this poorly chosen term will likely provoke only indignation. Hangnails are undesirable; under-seasoned salads are undesirable; lines at the cash register are undesirable. Abortion is repugnant and evil. Can you imagine a politician stepping forward and (with much hand-wringing) asserting that he finds rape “undesirable” and that he does not “celebrate” its practice, but that he will not stop defending legislation that permits it? Such a politician would rightly be ridden out of town on a rail.

Cutting Through The Nonsense

Thomas Sowell, like a hot knife through butter:

Governor Bill Owens of Colorado has cut through the cant about "free speech" and come to the defense of a 16-year-old high school student who tape-recorded his geography teacher using class time to rant against President Bush and compare him to Hitler.

The teacher's lawyer talks about First Amendment rights to free speech but free speech has never meant speech free of consequences. Even aside from laws against libel or extortion, you can insult your boss or your spouse only at your own risk.

Unfortunately, there is much confusion about both free speech and academic freedom. At too many schools and colleges across the country, teachers feel free to use a captive audience to vent their politics when they are supposed to be teaching geography or math or other subjects.

While the public occasionally hears about weird rantings by some teacher or professor, what seldom gets any media attention is the far more pervasive classroom brainwashing by people whose views may not be so extreme, but are no less irrelevant to what they are being paid to teach. Some say teachers should give "both sides" -- but they should give neither side if it is off the subject.

Academic freedom is the freedom to do academic things -- teach chemistry or accounting the way you think chemistry or accounting should be taught. It is also freedom to engage in the political activities of other citizens -- on their own time, outside the classroom -- without being fired.

Nowhere else do people think that it is OK to engage in politics instead of doing the job for which they are being paid. When you hire a plumber to fix a leak, you don't want to find your home being flooded while he whiles away the hours talking about Congressional elections or foreign policy.

It doesn't matter whether his political opinions are good, bad, or indifferent if he is being paid to do a different job.

Only among "educators" is there such confusion that merely exposing what they are doing behind the backs of parents and taxpayers is regarded as a violation of their rights.
Tenure is apparently supposed to confer carte blanche.

The Colorado geography teacher is not unique. A professor at UCLA wrote an indignant article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, denouncing organized efforts of students to record lectures of professors who impose their politics in class instead of teaching the subject they were hired to teach.

All across the country, from the elementary schools to the universities, students report being propagandized. That the propaganda is almost invariably from the political left is secondary. The fact that it is political propaganda instead of the subject matter of the class is what is crucial.

The lopsided imbalance among college professors in their political parties is a symptom of the problem, rather than the fundamental problem itself.

If physicists taught physics and economists taught economics, what they did on their own time politically would be no more relevant than whether they go swimming or sky diving on their days off.

Monday, March 13, 2006

ID'ists Are After Our Precious Bodily Fluids

Frightening details here:

Some of you have yet to grasp just how dangerous ID is. Barbara Forrest will set you straight:

More is at stake in the ID issue than science education, though that’s important enough by itself. ID creationists must not be viewed in a vacuum. The insidious feature of ID is not only its attack on public education, but the fact that ID creationism is another column in the Religious Right’s decades-old attack on secular, constitutional democracy. And ID proponents are plugged into the conservative political and Religious Right power structure. As most people now know, their supporters include the president of the United States. They also include U.S. senators (Rick Santorum, Bill Frist, John McCain, Judd Gregg, and Sam Brownback) and congressmen (e.g., House Majority Leader John Boehner). Three state governors, Ernie Fletcher of Kentucky, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, and Rick Perry of Texas, have announced their support for teaching ID in public school science classes. The Discovery Institute creationists are the most politically well-connected creationists with whom we have had to deal. This is what makes ID a significant and dangerous phase in the history of American creationism. Their attack on evolution symbolizes their contempt for public education, modern science, and ultimately the Enlightenment ideals on which American constitutional democracy is based. The Wedge Document clearly shows that ID creationists want to overthrow secular culture and public policy, to which the only alternative is some type of theocracy.

According to Forrest, if you are a proponent of ID, that makes you a creationist, which makes you part of a column in the Religious Right, which makes you an enemy of public education, modern science, and ultimately the Enlightenment ideals, which means you are opposed to American constitutional democracy, which means you want to set up some type of theocracy.

Of course, only you, dear reader, really know whether it is true that you are part of a column in the Religious Right that opposes public education, modern science, and ultimately the Enlightenment ideals, because you want to replace our American constitutional democracy with some type of theocracy. If you do, then Forrest has your number.

If you don’t, well, just think about the fact that Forrest is considered the premier expert on the ID crowd.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Good post entitled " Why Non-Scientists are Skeptical of Scientist's Findings on Evolution".


Often times I hear evolutionists become frustrated with the idea that non-scientists are criticizing scientists on a scientific theory. I share with part of their frustration. Honestly, if someone wants to take part in a debate, they should take the time to learn as much as they can on the subject. However, I thought I would also share the basic reasons why non-scientists (especially religious people) are skeptical of scientific claims of evolution.

The first thing to look at is Philip Johnson's examination of this issue in The Unravelling of Scientific Materialism.

When scientists acknowledge the fact that they cannot even consider the idea of God working, and then somehow claim that they have found evidence of God not working, it is obvious to those listening that there is an error in judgment. Any time I write a paper (although I am not in research, I do write technical tutorials) I try to have someone examine it who is not technical, for the simple reason that I am too close to the subject to see my own biases and distortions. In fact, I usually let my Dad read them, who has not done programming since college, to look over them, precisely because he is not part of the whole rigamorole.

And I think this is what has happened with evolutionary science. They get caught up in this whole way of thinking, and then cannot look back in an objective way and examine what they are doing. They don't see that by excluding an entire method of causality (intelligent causation) they have unnecessarily restricted themselves in what kinds of explanations are allowed.


The question is, can God's action be allowed to be considered by science? I don't claim to know the answer to this question definitively, but we should look at the consequences of answering the question either way.

If "yes", then we need to have explanations of why the similarities of organisms are the result of common descent rather than common design. We need to know why the idea of non-interventionistic abiogenesis makes more sense than the nearly global idea that life came from God. We need to have an open dialog as to why happenstance changes make better sense of life than design. In fact, this has happened once in recent history. Of course, the creationists did too well, and since then Dawkins now has a policy of not debating creationists, the AAAS reported inaccurately the outcome of the debate, and the Oxford Union misplaced all records of the debate. The creationists did not win, mind you, but they did very well considering that the debate was held at Oxford, not exactly a bastion of creationism (the vote was 115 to 198 -- the AAAS reported it as 15 to 198). So, if it is "yes", then we need to have more open debates, and there is no reason they shouldn't be nationalized. (by the way, if anyone would like a copy of the audio of the debate, post your email address here and we can arrange it -- I have an agreement with the copyright holder to do this)

Let's now consider the "no" answer. If science has a methodological predisposition saying that it can't consider God, then theologians have a right and responsibility to say that it therefore cannot say anything remotely definitive about what happened in the past. They are flying blind, purposefully ignorant of an entire area of causation, attempting to come up with explanations that simply ignore what theology tells us. It would be the same as trying to construct chemistry without thermodynamics.

This is why the public doesn't trust science in this area. Science is making bold claims resting on unproved presuppositions. Certainly the scientists know more than the public about their area, but the scientists are also claiming to know more about God's actions than the theologians! Why is one alright and not the other? If science wants to methodologically exclude a method of causation, why should anyone take it seriously in how accurately it depicts past events? I can try, as an exercise, to create a view of the past that ignores certain parts of reality, but I can't then take that to be a true history of the earth. It would simply be an interesting, yet counterfactual, view of history.

I Always Wondered How Such Tasty, Delicious Sausage Is Made

Now I know. (H/T Mark Shea)

This is also pretty good.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Noonan Diagnoses Hollywood

Good column.

Excerpts: to look at movie stars. So many of them are physically perfect, which is kind of fascinating, or at least startling. Most of us don't spend our lives surrounded by physical perfection. Once in Los Angeles I met a young actor who was so beautiful I thought, So that's what God meant. Even if you see such perfection as only freakish, it's still interesting.


We all like Jack Nicholson not because he's classically beautiful--he's not--but because somehow he signals, in the way he lives his life, in the way he walks into the world, at least as seen through newspapers and magazines, that on some level or to some unusual degree he . . . gets the joke. It is odd to think, as a moviegoer, that you know Jack Nicholson, and yet in a way you do. We watch the young ones coming up. Will Charlize turn into someone who gets the joke, or someone who is the joke?


If a lot of the American audience, certainly the red-state audience, assumes Hollywood hates them, they won't go as often to the movies as they used to. If you thought Wal-Mart hated you, would you shop there?


Orson Welles was an artist. George Clooney is a fellow who read an article and now wants to tell us the truth, if we can handle it.

More important, Orson Welles had a canny respect for the audience while maintaining a difficult relationship with studio executives, whom he approached as if they were his intellectual and artistic inferiors. George Clooney has a canny respect for the Hollywood establishment, for its executives and agents, and treats his audience as if it were composed of his intellectual and artistic inferiors. (He is not alone in this. He is only this year's example.)

And because they are his inferiors, he must teach them. He must teach them about racial tolerance and speaking truth to power, etc. He must teach them to be brave. And so in his acceptance speech for best supporting actor the other night he instructed the audience about Hollywood's courage in making movies about AIDS, and recognizing the work of Hattie McDaniel with an Oscar.


But Mr. Clooney's remarks were also part of the tinniness of the age, and of modern Hollywood. I don't think he was being disingenuous in suggesting he was himself somewhat heroic. He doesn't even know he's not heroic. He thinks making a movie in 2005 that said McCarthyism was bad is heroic.

How could he think this? Maybe part of the answer is in this: The Clooney generation in Hollywood is not writing and directing movies about life as if they've experienced it, with all its mysteries and complexity and variety. In an odd way they haven't experienced life; they've experienced media. Their films seem more an elaboration and meditation on media than an elaboration and meditation on life. This is how he could take such an unnuanced, unsophisticated, unknowing gloss on the 1950s and the McCarthy era. He just absorbed media about it. And that media itself came from certain assumptions and understandings, and myths.

Most Americans aren't leading media, they're leading lives.

Lies, Damned Lies, And Liberal Statistics

Excellent example of spurious liberal economic analysis discussed here. Worth checking out to understand why any economic figures spouted by leftists need to be handled with extreme skepticism.

A Brutal Takedown

Mark Steyn has a masterpiece which deconstructs the "brave" pretensions of Hollywood. A great read.

Some teasers:

Hollywood prefers to make “controversial” films about controversies that are settled, rousing itself to fight battles long won. Go back to USA Today’s approving list of Hollywood’s willingness to “broach tough issues”: “Brokeback and Capote for their portrayal of gay characters; Crash for its examination of racial tension…” That might have been “bold” “courageous” movie-making half-a-century ago.


These films are “transgressive” mostly in the sense that Transamerica is transsexual. I like Felicity Huffman and all, and I’m not up to speed with the latest strictures on identity-group casting but isn’t it a bit condescending to get a lifelong woman (or whatever the expression is) to play a transsexual? If Hollywood announced Al Jolson would be playing Martin Luther King, I’m sure Denzel Washington and co would have something to say about it.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Seeker After The Lost Sheep

In the comment section to the Mark Shea post I linked to here, I found this moving story:

I guess now would be as appropriate a time as any to tell the true story of my "gay" cousin, Rocky, and his path back into the Church.

Rocky's dad was a World War II hero who liberated one of the concentration camps in Nazi Germany. He was not amused when his only son began to arrange drapes into costumes for our family Christmas plays. Rocky was egregiously effeminate. By the time he was in college he was heavily involved in the "gay" scene - the whole nine yards - promiscuity, search for "Mr. Right", etc., etc. Finally, he settled down with a man who became his "partner." When the charismatic prayer group that he occasionally attended discovered his orientation and practice, he was told he was no longer welcome. Then began a long period of searching for the meaning of life in Eastern religions and esoteric and spurious forms of "spirituality." He was a very successful buyer for a major department store who often travelled to India and the Far East. He made scads of money, bought his widowed mother a fine home, and finally, contracted AIDS.

During one of his hospitalizations for an opportunistic infection in a Catholic hospital in New England, the head nurse said to the priest chaplain - "Father, you really need to visit Rocky ..... . He's very sick, you know." "I don't know, I really feel very uncomfortable around those people." An octogenarian nun in traditional habit overheard the chaplain. She walked up to "Father", shook her cane in his face and said "Get your butt in their and do your job, Father, or take off that collar and quit pretending to be a priest!"

My cousin Rocky overheard all this and didn't want to talk to "Father", but wanted to speak with this ancient nun.

This very conservative, traditionalist nun, walked in the room and said - "Hi, Rocky. I'm Sister Bonita! I hear you're "gay". Is that right?" "You've got it, Sister." "That means you groove on guys, right?" (This was the early eighties). "Boy, Sister, for a nun, you've been around the block!" "And, I'll bet you've had loads of lovers, right?" "Bingo, Sister."

"Well, have I got the One for you, Rocky! You'd just love Him. He's big and strong (did a lot of carpentry work with His Dad) and ever so kind and understanding. But He's really the jealous type! He wants to be Number One. But He'd never leave you, Rocky, and would support you in all your worst afflictions."

Rocky, by this point was in tears. To make a short story even shorter - he made a general confession (not to the chaplain), became a daily communicant, and died fortified by the sacraments. His former partner entered reparative therapy and is now happily married (to a woman).

Let's pray that Andrew Sullivan can find a Sister Bonita.

Proper Science Would Be Unthinkable Without It

Highlighted here:

In the Scopes trial appellate opinion, Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Chambliss noted that Scopes’ lawyers prominently featured this statement from Prof. E. N. Reinke of Vanderbilt University: “The theory of evolution is altogether essential to the teaching of biology. . . . To deny the teacher of biology the use of [evolution] would make his teaching as chaotic as an attempt to teach . . . physics without assuming the existence of the ether.”


Military Recruiting Supreme Court Case Distilled Into A Webchat

Via Ace Of Spades, from a thread:

Welcome to #lawschool.
lawadmin govt students lawprofs cashmoney
rotc ( has entered #lawschool.
<rotc> join teh army!
<students> yuo sux0r
<lawprofs> this room isn't for you
lawadmin has set mode +b for rotc!**.mil for #lawschool
rotc has been kicked out of #lawschool by lawadmin (dont ask dont tell is g4y)
<govt> hey that's a friend of mine
<lawadmin> stfu
<students> lol
<govt> seriusly du0d let him in
<lawadmin> no wai
<govt> yes wai
<lawadmin> he sux0rz
<govt> fine
govt has set mode +b for cashmoney!**.gov for #lawschool
cashmoney has been kicked out of #lawschool by govt (yuo don't need this then lol)
<students> !O*(#
<lawadmin> OMGWTFBBQ!
<lawprofs> 1st amendment oh noes!
<lawadmin> that bot make sure we have ops in channel
<govt> liek i care its my bot
<lawadmin> yuo are so sued!
<lawprofs> 1st amendment oh noes!
<lawprofs> 1st amendment oh noes!
<lawprofs> 1st amendment oh noes!
<lawprofs> 1st amendment oh noes!
<students> rotc wants us to become drones!
Welcome to #supcourt.
CJRobertS stev0wnd TheScalia kennedy s0ut3r
clarence gin-burg breyr 0-c0n lawadmin
<clarence> I be strokin! Dat's what I be doin'!
<breyr> rofl
<stev0wnd> stfu clarence
<CJRobertS> sup lawadmin
<lawadmin> du0dz govt sux0rz
<kennedy> govt can be pretty cool la
<gin-burg> we play CS:CTF on tues nites
<0-c0n> goin afk
<TheScalia> man he sux at CTF
<TheScalia> hes a campr
<s0ut3r> wats wrong with camp?
<TheScalia> stfu mistar imminent domains!
<CJRobertS> whatd govt do?
<TheScalia> lol
<lawadmin> he kicked out his bot from channel
<s0ut3r> lol
govt ( has entered #supcourt.
<TheScalia> wtf are u doin in this chan govt? where is teh chex + balancez?
<govt> i checked and balanced your mom last night
<clarence> LOL
<gin-burg> LMAO
<govt> she was awesome
<TheScalia> yuo sux
<govt> lol whatev
<govt> if they want my bot, they gotta let rotc in
<lawadmin> man rotc sux
<0-c0n> i gotta go l8r
<s0ut3r> cya
<TheScalia> bye
<stev0ned> bye
<clarence> l8r
o-c0n has left irc (retired).
<gin-burg> call me k?
l33t0 ( has joined #supcourt.
<l33t0> whatd i miss!
<CJRobertS> nothin rofl!
CJRobertS has set mode +o for l33t0!
<l33t0> xlnt
<CJRobertS> np
<CJRobertS> so what should we do about teh problem in #lawschool?
<l33t0> i dunno wasn't here
<kennedy> let in rotc
<clarence> rotc is TEH BOMB
<TheScalia> rotc || !cashmoney
<gin-burg> rotc kix ass CTF so rotc
<s0ut3r> rotc should be in
<breyr> rotc
<stev0wnd> just /ignore rotc if yuo dont like him
<CJRobertS> so its UNAN1MOUS
<govt> xlnt
<gin-burg> that shows gonna suk
<kennedy> no wai itll rawk
<lawadmin> u guyz sux
<clarence> i hope that one du0d goes crazy and starts stabbin ppl
<CJRobertS> yuo just wanna be us
lawadmin has been kicked out of #supcourt by CJRobertS (WAPNERED!)
govt has been kicked out of #supcourt by CJRobertS (stop camping yuo fggt)
<l33t0> rofl
<gin-burg> stfu n00b

MSM: Your Propagandizing Is Not Just Immoral, It Wastes My Time

Hard hitting post here.


Let me tell you a story.

I grew up in Simi Valley.

My wife grew up in LA.

My wife has been beat up by the LAPD. Simi Valley was where the Rodney King trial was held (though none of the jurors were from there, FYI).

Remember that.

I was in LA the day of the Rodney King verdict.

All day, I saw the media run retrospectives of the Watts riots. “Look, everyone! The darkies might riot!” Then, after the verdict came in, I same them, for 4 hours asking black people:

Are you going to riot?

Are you going to riot?

Are you going to riot?

Are you going to riot?

Are you going to riot?

Are you going to riot?

After goading for hours, they found something somewhere! Some people pulled Reginald Denny from his truck at the intersection of Florence and Normandie. Instantly, they broadcast the beating on all the channels. The message was:

The riot is on!

And sadly, it was.

Prior to the Iraq War coverage, the local television coverage was the most despicable thing I had ever seen the media do. Does the LAPD bear some blame for the riots? Yes. Does Rodney King? Yes.

But for me, the lion's share of the blame falls on the local television stations in LA. The behavior of both Rodney King and the LAPD was terrible, and the verdict, well, it was the verdict. But I truly don't think there would have been riots if the media hadn't intentionally fanned the flames. 50-60 people died in those riots. I lay those deaths to a large extent at the door of the LA media, yes.

Last week, I saw the media chant:

Is there going to be a civil war?

Is there going to be a civil war?

Is there going to be a civil war?

Is there going to be a civil war?

Is there going to be a civil war?

They could have just as easily asked:

So, when are you guys going to work it out?

To quote SpiderMan of all things, with great power comes great responsibility. It matters how you ask the question, and it matters how you tell the story. I understand the pressure the media is under. They have to feed the beast 24/7. I've been there, and my column is only once/month.

But are they reporting the news, or making the news?

More often then not, it seems to me that they're either making the news, sexing up the news, or just making [stuff] up.

You know, I get comments a lot from those against the war talking about our butcher's bill in Iraq. I usually counter with the point that not going into Iraq would have caused people in Iraq to die as well (20,000/month, search the blog to find out how I get that number). There are moral consequences to standing at the sidelines as well as moral cost of taking action.

There are also moral consequences to cheerleading violence. I see the media cheerleading failure, cheerleading terrorism, and cheerleading civil war. It disgusts me.

That's how I blame the media. Do they get 100% of the blame? No. What percentage of the blame do they get? Frankly, that question doesn't interest me. I really don't want to allocate blame, I want the media to change their actions.

I want to be able to read the New York Times or watch CNN, or listen to NPR and be able to trust what they're telling me. Since I can't do that, since the media is no longer fulfilling their basic function, I have to blog, and I have to read blogs. It pisses me off, because I had better things to do this decade than be my own news service. I don't like having to read transcripts of press conferences because I can't trust the media to even write down what was said correctly. I don't like having to spend hours finding real experts on the web to analyze how this or that media expert has distorted the facts. I don't like having to pore through the blogs of journalists, soldiers and Iraqi citizens so I can get some inkling of how things are really going, without the hype. Even though I do it, I don't even like having to download the Brookings report once/month in order to see what the numbers say about how the war is going.

But I have to do all that, because its the only way I can truly be an informed citizen.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that most of all, I blame the media for being incompetent.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Sullivan Summarized

Mark Shea has an extremely well-written short post examining Andrew Sullivan and his increasing penchant to denounce the Catholicism he claims to adhere to as mere theocratic fundamentalism. It's sad, really, but that's what you get when you elevate your own pet sin to be your highest principle.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

On Vacation

Back Tuesday, March 7.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

'Peaceful Majority' Utterly Irrelevant

Sobering article:

I used to know a man whose family were German aristocracy prior to World War Two. They owned a number of large industries and estates. I asked him how many German people were true Nazis, and the answer he gave has stuck with me and guided my attitude toward fanaticism ever since.

"Very few people were true Nazis" he said,

"but, many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories."

We are told again and again by "experts" and "talking heads" that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace.

Although this unquantified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is, that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars world wide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard quantifiable fact is, that the "peaceful majority" is the "silent majority" and it is cowed and extraneous.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

The Average Japanese individual prior to World War 2 was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of Killing that included the systematic killing of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet. And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were "peace loving".

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by the fanatics. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awake one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun. Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, [Serbs], Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others, have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.