Tuesday, September 26, 2006

On Vacation

I'll be back October 7.

In the meantime, remember that God, the Holy Trinity, loves you, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit!

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Rev 3:20

"If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart." Ps 95:7

A Reflection From Father Fessio

Haven't read it all, looks good.


[I]t may be instructive to examine this "brusque" utterance of the Emperor and ask the question: Is it simply indefensible?

As a thought experiment, let's reverse the situation. Suppose a major spokesman for Islam publicly issued the challenge: "Show me just what Jesus brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman." What would be the Christian response? Not to burn a mosque or an effigy of the Muslim spokesman, or to shoot a Muslim nurse in the back in Somalia. It would rather be to reply with some examples of just what makes the New Covenant new: the revelation that God is a Father who has a co-equal Son and Holy Spirit; that Jesus is God's Son made flesh; the Sermon on the Mount; the Resurrection of the body; the list would be long. As Irenaeus put it: he brought all newness, bringing himself. Such a statement would not make dialogue impossible; it would be an occasion for dialogue.

Yup. Is the reasoning behind Islam so embarrassingly awful that it can't forthrightly answer a simple question?

Monday, September 25, 2006

You May Be A Fundamentalist Atheist If...

Uneven, but worth linking to.

Interesting Take

John Hawkins on Drudge's practice of not linking to blogs:

Over at Ace of Spades HQ, Ace hammers Matt Drudge for waiting until a story broken by a blogger was picked up by a local paper to link it:

"Drudge almost never links bloggers; it's just a thing with him. So he waited until a local Arizona paper basically just retyped espressopundit.com's posting and then interviewed him (with espressopundit.com "quoted" saying pretty much the same damn things on his website).

So why couldn't Drudge have just linked espressopundit? If he's such a big damn believer in the new media "Manifesto," why is it so important to him to get the Old Media's imprimatur on a story before running it?

Eh. Whatever. I guess he's struggling for respectability himself and can't risk linking those outlaw bloggers too often."

This is a common criticism of Drudge and who knows? Maybe he doesn't like bloggers. He certainly has loudly objected in the past when he has been called a blogger.

However, my guess is that there's a simpler reason that Drudge doesn't link blogs very often: he's so enormous that we can't handle the traffic he sends.

You're talking about a website that cracks 10 million hits a day M-F and the readers are there to click links. How many blogs out there can actually handle getting, let's say, 30k, 40k, or 50k hits in an hour from Drudge? The truth is that most of us can't. 95% of the blogs out there probably couldn't take 10 minutes of the sort of traffic a Drudge link provides before we'd be knocked offline. And let's face it: if you're Drudge, what's the point of linking somewhere that will be offline shortly after you link?

So, it's probably not personal, it's business. He's in the business of providing working links and because of that, it's understandable that he'd want to try to stick to bigger websites that can handle the load whenever possible.

Some Enchanted Evening

This is just plain weird. A smitten Canadian reporter explains that he once met Osama bin Laden at a bar, and..well..he had...this quality.

Dialogue With A 'Moderate'

Very intersting Burt Prelutsky column, containing excerpts from his dialogue with a man who considers himself a moderate Muslim, but who simply cannot be brought to categorically condemn Islamic terrorism.


I like the drawing in this one, especially Pelosi's eyes:

I like this one, too:

Reflections On Benedict's Words

Lee Harris has a good essay on the meaning of Benedict's Regensberg address over at the Weekly Standard website.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Found here:

Reminds me of the farmer who won the lottery. When asked what he would do with the money he replied: “I’ll keep farming until it’s all gone.”

Self-Sabotaging Idea

Hot Air has a post about the idea of an interstate compact (illegal under Article 1, Section 10 of the Constituion, BTW) to give participating state's electoral votes to the national popular vote winner, thereby bypassing the Electoral College, which is a liberal pipedream for disenfranchising Red America. I'd never seen the utterly self-defeating nature of this idea stated so succinctly as I did in this post and in one of the comments:

[S]ince most of the participants in this compact are likely to be solid blue states, why form a bloc at all? You’re only putting safe Democratic electoral votes in jeopardy.


These electoral college plans are only really popular with liberals. Which means these proposals will only get enough support in states that are likely to send all their electoral votes to the Democrats anyway. Which can only increase the risk of their electoral votes going to the opposite party. I am wholeheartedly in favor of their plan.

Good Q&A

Via Post-Darwinist, Paul Nelson answers Norwegian critics of ID. Nice job.

Clinton In Pure Paranoic VRWC Attack Mode

Vintage stuff. 10 minute clip of the Fox News interview on YouTube. Clinton has managed to keep a comparatively statesmanlike profile the last few years, but that's all pretty blown now. The feisty attack dog is back! Right wingers are out to shaft us! It's Clinton redux, as a crotchety old man!

Update: Chris Wallace tells what it was like to sit on the other side of the interview table.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Good stuff:

It seems to me ironic in this day that this debate [faith and works] is still going on. Ironic because we are approaching a point in our society when both our faith and our works will be forbidden - when we will be prevented from either speaking about or acting on our faith in Christ and His Church. A time may come very soon when our faith will be permitted us only in the privacy of our own homes and churches.

I say this because of the trend of recent events: Last week a woman in England was charged with the equivalent of a hate crime because she distributed a flyer that defended the traditional definition of marriage between a man and a woman, and dared to buttress her position with quotations from scripture. Earlier this year a bishop in Canada was threatened with prosecution and hauled before the Canadian human rights tribunal because he preached in defense of the Christian definition of marriage, and spoke against the so-called right to gay marriage.

If you think such things could not happen here, recall that a few months ago the Archdiocese of Boston was forced by the State of Massachusetts to stop doing adoptions, because the Archdiocese, in conformity with Catholic teaching, would not place children with gay couples. If that's not being prevented from exercising faith by good works, I don't know what is. Earlier this year, a conference of legal scholars debated the conflict between the right to free religious expression versus the "right" to gay marriage. They questioned whether, as such a right became established in law, churches could be compelled to recognize such marriages. They concluded that the right to freedom of religion and this so-called new right were "irreconcilable". What that means, in ordinary language, is that when push comes to shove between the rights of churches and this new "right", the churches will be the losers.

Last week, the Pope visited his native land of Germany, and he gave a lecture to university professors. Now, normally, most of us would think of an academic lecture as something rather dry and probably not very interesting, but this lecture has the whole in a storm of controversy. The pope quoted a 15th century Byzantine emperor who pointed out that in Islam, it is considered OK to convert people by force at the point of a sword, and that such a practice is evil. (By the way, this muslim practice of forcible conversions is not merely some historic aberration. Recall that just three weeks ago two American journalists were kidnapped and forced to convert at gunpoint.) The pope said that violence in the name of God is "unreasonable", that it is contrary to the nature of God and the nature of the human soul.

For pointing out these truths, for saying that violence in the name of religion is not pleasing to God, the Pope has been widely condemned as preaching "hate" for Islam. The Muslim world has erupted in violent protest against the pope, demanding retractions, demanding that the pope "keep in his place", calling for violence against Christians and making threats against the pope's life. Leaders of muslim nations have even joined in, whipping their people into greater fury. Churches have been burned and Christians have been attacked.

I tell you all of these things so that you can see that they are all different aspects of the same phenomenon. All of these things, from the attempt to silence a bishop in Canada to the threats against the pope, boil down to one thing: they are the powers of this world telling the Church, telling believers, to SHUT UP!!! "Shut Up!" they are saying. "We don't want to hear about this Christ! We don't want to hear about good and evil! We don't want to hear about right and wrong! Shut Up and keep your religion to yourselves!" The powers of this world do not want to be reminded of things besides lust, power, greed and domination.

This should not surprise us. For the powers of this world tried to tell Our Lord to Shut Up. They told Him to shut up and stop preaching the Good News, shut up about the Kingdom of God, shut up about righteousness. And they went so far to shut Him up as to put Him to death. They nailed him to a cross and bled Him to death to silence Him. In our Gospel today Jesus foresees his passion and death, and in our reading from Isaiah the prophet foretells of the sufferings of the Christ to come.

But we know how the story ends. We know that the powers of this world were unable to silence Christ. He rose again, and ushered in the Kingdom which will have no end. His word, His teaching, has rung out through the ages and have changed the world. Countless millions have heard and followed His call, even to the point of shedding their own blood in His name. And from the blood of those martyrs the Church has received the abundance of graces, and has grown stronger...

Excellent Principle

The Anchoress:

In our house, we have a rule: You have the right to disagree with and be annoyed by anything someone else says, just as soon as you can accurately repeat back to your opponent the thing they said.

I would say that holds true for these fundamentalist Muslims, too. Can they first repeat Benedict’s arguement back to him, accurately? It means reading the speech though, with an honest attempt to comprehend his meaning, and then saying, “this is what you said, Benedict - do we have the right of it?”

If they can do that, then yes..they have a right to be annoyed, if they like. Annoyed. Just like Catholics get “annoyed” when they feel they have been treated obnoxiously at the hands of, say, Hollywood. Annoyed does not mean killing, burning, calling for blood and death or converting people under a sword.

Those sound like okay rules to me. Anyone else?

Kos Is No Dummy

Interesting take on things from Dean Barnett:

If you want to understand Markos Moulitsas, there are a few thing you need to know:

Number one, he’s a shrewd guy. Number two, he’s all about the politics of any and every situation. His book candidly acknowledges that he himself is agnostic on most every issue. The only unbreakable rule in his political canon is that he hates his opponent. And number three is that while he may be the owner of the Daily Kos and the chap that the community is named for, he doesn’t control it. Believe me, he wishes he could.

This has been an uncomfortable week for the left, and all their smart analysts know it. Two of America’ enemies came to American soil and insulted our president and insulted our country in terms that were strikingly familiar to those that the American left frequently employs.


But the left should have gazed into that mirror anyway just as a matter of politics. The fact that Osama bin Laden parroted their talking points was, to put it mildly, to their electoral detriment. A hard-headed look into the mirror would have suggested a dialing down of the rhetoric, lest they be hit with the same whammy again.

ALAS, MEMBERS OF THE DAILY KOS are incapable of dialing down the rhetoric. When America’s greatest enemy, Mahmoud Ahmadenijad, appeared on “60 Minutes,” they were won over by his charms because he hated George Bush as much as they did. They wrote gushing blog posts praising his keen wit and gentle demeanor. Again, this is another political loser. And I think Markos knows it.

Markos and I aren’t pen pals or phone buddies. We don’t text message each other with any regularity, and we’ve never broken bread together. In truth, we’ve never spoken or met. But having read every word that he’s publicly written the past two years, I think I understand at least a little bit how he thinks.

I’m sure Markos is appalled by the developments of this week. That’s not because he’s outraged by Chavez’s or Ahmadenijad’s comments; he considers making such analyses and reaching such conclusions either above or below his pay-grade. All he cares about is the politics of any situation and he surely knows that the events this week are bad news for the left.

Part of the reason he knows it’s bad politics is because the progressive blogosphere, which he putatively (but does not in actuality) lead, could not exercise any discipline when Chavez dangled red meat in front of it. Their knees jerked, and they wrote rubbish like how they preferred Chavez and Ahmadenijad to Bush. Any Americans paying attention would be appalled. More importantly, a lot of Americans who don’t really pay attention, i.e. the vast majority of the country, can’t help but notice that America’s enemies are insulting our nation on our soil. And they’re using the rhetoric of America’s left. In a crude equation, therefore, America’s left is the equivalent of America’s enemy.

And as Markos knows, politics is all about crude equations. Gas prices go down, the incumbent benefits. The stock market sags, the incumbent takes a hit. Etcetera. That’s how it goes.

BUT HERE’S WHERE MARKOS is truly screwed (to coin a phrase). There’s nothing that he can do to control his minions. Just as was the case during the Israel-Hezbollah war where the Daly Kos rank and file impoliticly took Hezbollah’s side, there’s nothing that Markos can do but write a brief blog post where he professes to be agnostic about the issue...

Barnett goes on to describe the agnostic repsonse given by Kos when invited by MSNBC to talk about Chavez.

I Find Your Candor Most Refreshing

Thomas Edsall makes some surprising and honest admissions while being interviewed by Hugh Hewitt. Transcript here.


Thomas Edsall spent 25 years at the Washington Post, retiring this year from his post as senior political correspondent.


What is unusual about this interview is that Edsall, having closed his career as the WaPo's top dog political reporter is finally free to admit just how far to the left he and his colleagues are. And though he is that far from the center, he still sees the fever swamp of the left side of the blogosphere as "pretty fruitball."

My favorite exchange:

HH: A proposition. The reason talk radio exploded, followed by Fox News, followed by the center-right blogosphere, is that because folks like you have been the dominant voice in American media for a long time, and you’re a pretty thoroughgoing, Democratic favoring, agenda journalist for the left, and you’ve been the senior political reporter of the Washington Post for a very long time. And people didn’t trust your news product…not you, personally, but the accumulation of you, throughout the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and they got sick and tired of being spoon fed liberal dross, and they went to the radio when an alternative product came along.

TE: To a certain degree, I agree with that.

It's Okay For Some People To Look Like A Chimp

So, what's my point?

1. The guy looks like more of a chimp than Bush.

2. So what? That fact hasn't been and shouldn't be used in arguments against the man and his policies.

3. If you're a leftist/liberal and you take offense, why? You haven't been shy at noting that Chimpy McHitlerburton looks like a chimp. Which he does. If it is not a general principle for you that a nation's leader looking like a chimp is a direct indicator of incompetence and a call for ridicule, then shut up about Bush. Otherwise start making some noise about Ahmadinejad!

If The World Hates And Disrespects America, It's Because Domestic Leftists Showed Them How

The Anchoress:

But maybe some on the left finally understand that while they’ve been having fun and laughing while calling President Bush every manner of ugly name and insult, dangerous people have been watching. And they have made a calculation: We can disrespect Bush and America will laugh with us. Bush is weak. America is once again the appeasing “weak horse” it was throughout the 1990’s and even before…when we could attack anything and be accountable to no one.

I’m sure Hugo, once he left the guffawing chamber of hyenas at the UN, was shocked to discover that most Americans were not laughing, that even some Democrats were not.

And I’m sure some Democrats were shocked to see just how ugly their words sounded, when coming out of the mouth of someone else, someone with “no right,” to spew hate for political expediency.

There are some on the left who are suggesting that Hugo Chavez’s remarks are simply an indicator that the world “disrespects” President Bush…well…I wonder who gave them the idea that they could? Was it John Kerry calling him a “fucking liar,” and not having to answer for that rudeness to anyone while the press shrugged it off? Good heavens, Bush calls terrorism “evil” and he was mocked and criticized for using that word, but the press never had a problem with “fucking liar, fucking crooks and thieves” or with adolescent musings about the president’s name and female genitalia. It was alllllll soooooo funnnnneeeeeee, newsreaders could hardly deliver the spite without grinning, themselves.


But if Bush is being disrespected, then the Democrats need to look to themselves and their actions and understand how complicit they have been in encouraging it. Dems like Charlie Rangel, who called President Bush “Bull Connor,” knowing full well how wrong, inaccurate, unfair and inflammatory that was, or like the idiots who called Bush “a genocidal racist” after Hurricane Katrina, or like the party (and the press) who spent years telling America about Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction only to later pretend they never said such things, and to pretend further that somehow Bush’s believing the same things they believed…made him a liar.

The Democrats alleged something that disingenuous - that what they believed was true was suddenly not only false but one man’s lie - and the press let them do it.

The press repeated it, ad nauseum, and the press and the Dems promoted films with that message, and books, until that damnable, transparent and nonsensical lie was repeated enough…because everyone knows that if you tell a big lie enough, it becomes “the truth.”

If tinpot tyrants and madmen now come to the United Nations and believe they can say anything they wish about The American President, it is because - as some of us have been warning, for some time - while all manner or irresponsible nonsense and hate has been directed at this president…the world has been watching.

And now, these tyrants and madmen sound eerily like the Democrats and the press and the left. One ideology, the world over, had completely lost its bearings, its self-control and its manners concerning one man who has never - not once -repaid them back in kind. Not in speeches. Not to the press. Not to “friendly audiences.” He came to town talking about “changing the tone,” and that’s what happened, in a perverse way. One side’s tone went rabid, the other side went nearly-silent, but this one man…kept his tone.

Cartoon update:

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Mark Shea does a good satire of a paranoid blurb on the dustjacket of Sam Harris's new anti-religion book.

Finally, Some Clever GOP Strategy


(2006-09-21) — The Republican National Committee (RNC) today offered to fund a coast-to-coast U.S. speaking tour featuring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in the weeks leading up to November’s Congressional elections.

The offer comes in the wake of two days of public remarks by the two foreign leaders before the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations and U.S. news media. Their diplomatic pronouncements included…

– denying the Holocaust,

– calling the U.S. president “the devil“,

– praying at the U.N. for the return of Islam’s fabled 12th Imam,

– praising Cuban dictator Fidel Castro,

– insisting any nation has the right to develop nuclear technology,

– portraying the United States as the locus of evil in the modern world, and

– plugging Noam Chomsky’s book “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance.”

“President Bush can talk about his national security plan and foreign policy all day long,” said an unnamed RNC spokesman, “But no one makes a more compelling case than the duo of Mahmoud and Hugo. We want to make sure every American has an opportunity to hear these important world leaders.”

The Republican source said sponsoring the pre-election Ahmadinejad-Chavez speaking tour was also a way of “reaching across the aisle to help our colleagues in the Democrat party to get their message out, so the American voter can make an informed decision.”

The MSM Brings Its A-Game

The Anchoress:

On to Hugo Chavez! Realizing his comedy act doesn’t play well outside of the unhallowed halls of the useless, money-sucking United Nations, he is cancelling further mad expositions and going home. There was a very big story here, but the press appears to be downplaying it or, as a pal wrote to me today:

“This is interesting for the print media…The NY TIMES, Wash Post, LA TIMES and NY Post do not have Chavez featured on the front page - at least not online. USA TODAY has it buried at the bottom of the page; its lead ‘WORLD’ story online is about the pope. Only the NY DAILY NEWS has Chavez displayed prominently on the front. Yahoo this morning doesn’t include him in its news summary.

This clown comes to the United Nations, calls the American President a “devil,” (not that the religion-hating folks minded that - the irony!) and the other clowns in the room (whom we fund much-too-much) laugh and applaud, and it’s not a leading story the next day? Well. I guess we can quickly figure out that the “mediating intelligences” who determine what we will and will not see have decided that - for some reason - we’re better off not seeing the behavior of a pack of mad jackals…we might not want to continue funding them, or rushing to their aid when disaster strikes, you know? Or maybe, they figure the American public would look at yesterday’s very telling absurdities and say, “you don’t come to America and say that about her president…” Oh, no, what a freakin’ nightmare! It might even reflect well on Bush in the all-important, holy writ polls!

So, the press is trying to go as quiet as possible on Hugo and the UN gigglers and Ahmadinejad - so beloved of Mike Wallace - didn’t come off too well, either. I said yesterday that a “smart” press “would bury” the Chavez and Ahmadinejad stories…but I never said they “should.” Scrappleface understands.

Even worse, even the “increasingly unpopular war in Iraq” seems to be becoming “increasingly popular”. What a bummer of a week for the press! And by extension for their political party.

Yeah, that’s probably why the press has gone missing on a rather big story. They seem distracted, those “mediating intelligences,” and perhaps that’s why they missed the 35,000 people protesting Ahmadinejad’s visit to the UN, a protest which included speakers such as John Bolton, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, New York Gov. George Pataki and Alan Dershowitz. That’s a pretty luminous bunch of speakers and a lot of people, but the intelligent ones mediated that we did not need to know about it. Meryl Yourish points out that the only paper to mention this large protest was the NY Sun.

The ummm…approximately 2,000, who showed up to protest President Bush and the Increasingly Popular Iraq War, though, they got plenty of headlines. Note that all of those headlines read “thousands,”of protesters, not “only 2,000.”

As I’ve said before, headlines have a powerful effect on the world. Busy or incurious people rarely read past them. For some, the headline tells them all they will ever know about a thing. And the press knows it.

What's All This Talk I Hear About "Violins On Television"?

The Minneapolis Star Tribune seems to be having an Emily Litella moment. Detailed here.

Upcoming Attraction

Ace Of Spades:

Redneck Rampage Vs. Zombies

A new microbudget film that postulates a zombie rising down south when (hee) a cracker's meth lab blows up and, presumably, fires up corpses with enough speed to reanimate them.

It's called The South Shall Rise Again.

It looks just stupid and cheap enough to be worth watching.

YouTube trailer here.

The Second Time As Farce


A Smidgeon Of Honest-To-God Actual Patriotism

I'm sure this will be blogged about and talked about in numerous places today, but I thought I'd put this up after seeing it on Drudge.

Charlie Rangel:

RANGEL: AN ATTACK ON BUSH IS AN ATTACK ON ALL AMERICANS... 'You do not come into my country, my congressional district, and you do not condemn my president. If there is any criticism of President Bush, it should be restricted to Americans, whether they voted for him or not. I just want to make it abundantly clear to Hugo Chavez or any other president, do not come to the United States and think because we have problems with our president that any foreigner can come to our country and not think that Americans do not feel offended when you offend our Chief of State'...

Nancy Pelosi:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One of President George W. Bush's fiercest political opponents at home took his side on Thursday, calling Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a "thug" for his remark that Bush is like the devil.

"Hugo Chavez fancies himself a modern day Simon Bolivar but all he is an everyday thug," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference, referring to Chavez' comments in a U.N. General Assembly speech on Wednesday.

"Hugo Chavez abused the privilege that he had, speaking at the United Nations," said Pelosi, a frequent Bush critic. "He demeaned himself and he demeaned Venezuela."

Simon Bolivar led the fight for independence against Spanish rule in several South American countries in the early 19th century and is cited by Chavez as a political model.

Chavez, a vociferous critic of Bush and the United States, has allied himself with U.S. opponents Cuba and Iran and has led a resurgence of left-wing populism in Latin America.

"The devil himself is right in the house. And the devil came here yesterday. Right here," Chavez said as he stood at the U.N. podium where Bush spoke the day before.

"It smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of," Chavez said.

His remarks drew applause from many of the delegates.

The Anchoress has more, including Bill Clinton's "nuanced" response to Chavez.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Everyone Knows How To Be Pope But The Pope

Excellent piece by Carl Olson (H/T Amy Welborn). See also this Amy Welborn post that highlights a former Vatican censor who explains why the offensive material should have been stripped out to yield a bland speech which would have been in no danger of widespread discussion. I mean, everyone knows that religion's function is to be irrelevant. I left this comment to the Welborn post:

Doesn't anyone understand that the number one job of the Vicar of Christ, as given by The Lord Himself, is to not make waves? The Pope's job is certainly not to say anything provocative that will get people to think and discuss matters of religious import. No, everything the Pope says is supposed to be relegated to the back pages of obscure theological journals. Doesn't the Pope understand his place in global society? To be a kindly, harmless old man that would never offend anybody? That's what Jesus wants, right?

Five Arguments Against Conciliation

Outstanding post at Gates Of Vienna expounds on the following arguments against conciliating Islam:

1. It’s wrong.
2. It’s a strategic blunder.
3. It will never achieve its objective.
4. It’s a one-way ratchet.
5. We harm ourselves when we do it.

Better Know A Couple More Districts!

Two new ones from Colbert.


An all-around great and wide-ranging Bleat today. Seriosuness mixed with humor.


An angry man on the radio yesterday insisted that talk radio was part of the “fascist control” of the media. He was, of course, a barking lunatic, as nuts as the people who were certain Clinton would use Y2K to appoint himself Bubba the First and suspend the Constitution. But if you dial down the rhetoric a little, you find the same overheated sentiments in more mainstream quarters. It reminded me of Keith Olbermann, who, by his own words, is the first person to criticize the current Administration, all other voices of dissent having willingly stifled themselves in accordance with Archie Bunker Act of 2002. The other day he birthed this rich observation:

. . .That flash of lightning freezes at the distant horizon, and we can just make out a world in which authority can actually suggest it has become unacceptable to think. Thus the lightning flash reveals not merely a President we have already seen, the one who believes he has a monopoly on current truth. It now shows us a President who has decided that of all our commanders-in-chief, ever, he alone has had the knowledge necessary to alter and re-shape our inalienable rights.

Yes, indeed. Well, having just read what actual altering and reshaping rights looks like, I am disinclined to panic over the thing made out in the distant horizon via lightning, even if it reveals “a world” – presumably Manhattan, below 150th street – in which “authority” – presumably Drinky W. Flyboy, the Resident-in-Chief – actually suggests that thinking is unacceptable, and we must hereby rely on our autonomous nervous system.

Hear ye: if ever I announce that the lightning is sending me messages about how the government seeks to control what I think, please have me commited for paranoid schizophrenia.

Then again, it’s no ordinary lightning flash. It simultaneously “reveals not merely a President we have already seen,” but one who is preparing to revoke Keith Olbermann’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of a job on a network a lot of people actually watch. Fine; it’s good red meat, and there’s always a market for that. (Insert obligatory Ann Coulter denunciation!) Mr. O has his furrow, and he will spend the next two years shoving the blade in the dirt. He will have fans and nice write-ups and profiles and the rest of the perks that follow when you stake out a particular niche. Just like Art Bell. And just like Art Bell, he will instantly become a footnote the moment something horrible and significant happens, and his nonsense is swamped by things that actually happen, instead of things he believes are actually suggested.

One of the constant rhetorical ticks in my email concerns my incontinence when it comes to “terrorism.” Apparently people of my ilk are constantly pissing or piddling ourselves when the government plays the ol’ booga-booga card. We drop our Big Gulps and shout “oh, protect me from the scary Mooselmen, Great Father!” I think it was Woocott who first dribbled this particular riposte, and it’s caught on. A day doesn’t go by in which someone doesn’t point out a direct connection between ginned-up scare-news and the retentive abilities of my urethra.

Perhaps it’s so; perhaps there’s a reason I sit in the dark at night making cold calls to Pakistan, hoping the government taps my phone and maybe, just maybe, finds a terrorist on the other end.

But there’s a certain dark jot of damp trouser-front to Olbermann’s rhetoric as well, no?

Today two important speeches were made at the UN: one was a sack of lies dumped out by a religious simpleton bent on heralding the apocalypse, and the other was by the President of Iran. At least that’s how a Fark headline might put it, depending on the IQ level of the submitter...

We Believe That Terrorism Should Be Safe, Legal, And Rare!

John Hawkins has a good article about the Dems 'can-do' attitude in fighting the terrorists.

[T]he Democrats have no strategy at all. Of course, they would deny that, but undercutting every effort to fight terrorism and then planning to blame any terrorist attacks that happen as a result on George Bush isn't a strategy.

Sadly, you have to go all the way back to their vote for the war in Afghanistan, way back in 2001, to find the Democratic Party making themselves of use in the War on Terror...well, wait, that's not exactly true. The Democratic Party has, in an act of unparalleled moral courage akin to coming out against child molestation, endorsed capturing Osama Bin Laden. Clap. Clap. Clap. Great job, guys.

Aside from those two meager contributions to the War on Terror, the majority of Democrats in Washington have been nothing but a hindrance to Republicans who want to stop another 9/11 from occurring on American soil.

What's that, you say? Democrats want to stop terrorism from occurring, too? That's fantastic, but what have they actually done about it? From where most Americans are sitting, Democrats seem to oppose terrorism about the same way that they oppose abortion. They may say that they want abortion to be safe, rare and legal, but in practice, they oppose any and every policy that might actually cut into the number of abortions. When it comes to terrorism, they say that they're serious about fighting it, but they oppose almost every policy that might actually make it easier for us to kill the terrorists or prevent them from murdering Americans.


It's almost impossible to overstate how bad the Democratic Party is on national security issues. In fact, if the entire Democratic Party in Congress were on al Qaeda's payroll, the only way you could tell the difference would be that the terrorist-controlled senators would vote in favor of national security issues more often than Dems like Ted Kennedy so that people wouldn't figure out that they were ringers.


Quite frankly, that is an unforgivable flaw in a political party. Paraphrasing something that Denis Healey once said, if "our security is imperiled, we have no houses, we have no hospitals, we have no schools. We have a heap of cinders." So, saying that the Democrats are a fine party except that they're weak on national defense is like saying that you have a great car, but it explodes in a cataclysmic fireball if it goes over 55 MPH...

Catholic In-Joke


Lightbulb Jokes For Catholics [Jonah Goldberg]

From a reader:

During a Eucharistic Congress, a number of priests from different orders are gathered in a church for Vespers. While they are praying, a fuse blows and all the lights go out. The Benedictines continue praying from memory, without missing a beat. The Jesuits begin to discuss whether the blown fuse means they are dispensed from the obligation to pray Vespers. The Franciscans compose a song of praise for God's gift of darkness. The Dominicans revisit their ongoing debate on light as a signification of the transmission of divine knowledge. The Carmelites fall into silence and slow, steady breathing. The parish priest, who is hosting the others, goes to the basement and replaces the fuse.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Look Out Below

From the blog "Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis":

I have it on great authority that there will not be a hard landing in real estate.
Who told me that? It was none other than Mike Morgan at MorganFlorida. Please listen in to what Morgan has to say.

Mike Morgan:

Will there be a hard landing? No!
Will there be a crash landing? Absolutely!

Despite September’s short covering of home builders and value buyers trying to cash in on low P/Es and stocks selling at or below book value, a hard landing is now out of the question. We’re in for a market crash. Read between the lines, or read actual comments for content.

Here’s what Robert Toll, CEO of Toll Brothers said at the Credit Suisse conference. “The market got ahead of itself in recent years, citing "greed on the part of buyers and sellers, and that the current level of speculative inventory is probably the largest ever.”

And how about Don Tomnitz, CEO of D.R. Horton. “We have never seen housing prices and demand slow as quickly as they have during this down cycle."

Take it a step further and look at the statistics. Never before have we seen inventories at these levels. Recently NAR finally admitted home price are coming down. Never before have we seen home prices fall. And RealtyTrac just announced that foreclosures are up 53% from a year ago.

For those “value investors” buying the home builders because the P/Es are so low, I ask, “What happens when there are no earnings?” And for those “value investors” buying for the book value, I ask, “What happens when the builders take massive write downs to land, and burn up cash with carrying costs of unsold inventory?”

But that’s not even the heart of the current problems. For the last two weeks I’ve been receiving daily calls from desperate mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, insurance brokers, title companies and subcontractors looking for deals and work. This week I spoke with a real estate attorney closing his office and returning to the corporate world. And several of the smaller builders have called me offering triple commissions to entice sales of their inventory. It doesn’t end there.

Who will the housing crash effect? Everyone. Real estate agents will be first. As a group, they’ve made a ton of money during the housing boom, and they’ve spent millions on new cars, vacations, restaurants, clothes, and everything else that comes with excessive discretionary income. That’s over now. Agents are not buying the luxury items that helped feed the economic boom, and they are cutting back on business spending like advertising and marketing. That hits the vendors and newspapers revenues.

Take it a step further. With sales off 50% and more, all of the industries that have benefited from the boom, will suffer loss of revenue and jobs at accelerated rates and massive proportions. Home builders and condo developers have been announcing cancellations of projects and cut backs in spec building. The flippers fed the housing boom, and they’re washed up right now. In fact, they are making the crash much worse than it should have been.

Many flippers bought multiple properties. When in the history of the world have we ever seen the housing industry conduct business like a stock exchange. We had bidding wars. We had lotteries on new developments, just like we had allocations for new tech offerings during the late 90’s. And just like the tech boom, the buyers were not making decisions based on fundamentals. Take a look at the recent Vonage offering, where buyers don’t want to pay for their stock, because the price dropped after the public offering. The same thing is happening in the housing market, with thousands of buyers walking away from deposits, refusing to close on homes. That adds to the woes of the builders.

And just like we saw a tech crash with everyone rushing to sell, we’re now just starting to see flippers dump properties for 200-400% losses on their deposits. Add to the woes, the fact that interest rates are up and most flippers bought using creative financing and low rate ARMs.

But this is all old news for us. The other shoe is dropping now. Loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs created from housing will act like a virus and spread throughout our economy. As real estate agents, attorneys and mortgage brokers reign in their spending, it will affect restaurants, car dealers, advertising companies, jewelers, remodeling contractors, furniture manufacturers, bank profits, electronic retailers, clothing and the list goes on and on and on.

As the primary players are affected, and they cut back on spending, so will the secondary players in this market. These companies will be forced to lay off employees, and the cycle will grow like a virus. Is that it? Not a chance.

The housing market benefits most when rates are low and jobs are being created. With rates rising and job loss skyrocketing, the affordability index for homes drops in step. The buyers that are still in the market can not afford the same home they could a year ago. On average, with the rise in interest rates, the buyer that could afford a $500,000 home a year ago, can now only afford a $425,000 home. But with the loss of jobs growing, there are fewer buyers that can afford the $425,000 home and many existing homeowners that can no longer afford to make their monthly mortgage payments.

So now we have a third group of sellers scrambling for the ever dwindling buyers’
market. You’ve got the flippers desperate to sell. You’ve got the builders stuck with inventory of unsold homes, and now you have the group of sellers that are being foreclosed or simply decide to sell because they can no longer swing the monthly mortgage payments after losing their jobs.

Nonsense? Hardly. I spoke with a real estate agent the other day that has not sold a home in three months. His wife works for a title company and was just laid off. He’s now sending out applications for a job in his former field of banking. Lots of luck. He’s been out of the field for five years, and he’s 54 years old. They have two kids in college and a hefty mortgage. Oh, by the way, did I mention they own three flip properties that they can’t sell.

How about the attorney that is closing his office and returning to the corporate world. He’s laying off six people in his office. And how about the builder that called me this week. He employs about a dozen people, as well as a small army of subcontractors. He’s closing up, and he has unsold inventory that he cannot sell at a profit. That means the dozen employees are out of work, and his army of subcontractors are out of work for the first time in four years.

And how about my office. I’ve decided to lay off one of my team members. She’s a single Mom, but as much as it hurts to break the news to her, I have no choice. If things don’t pick up within the next 30 days, I will be forced to lay off a second team member. When you do the math, the choice is survival. It doesn’t end there. Realistically, if things do not pick up within 90 days, I will close my office and concentrate on my other businesses. This is reality, and you’re hearing it from the horse’s mouth.

Multiply these four scenarios by thousands and you have a crash. A hard landing is out of the question at this point. The economists should be talking about how devastating the crash will be.

Dhimmitude Not Just An Islamic Concept

Good insights:

That was when the scales fell off my eyes. What’s all the fuss?

In fact, we have the same system here in the United States. Call it liberal dhimmitude. Every conservative lives under its oppressive yoke.

Disagree with the liberal line and you better expect to be attacked and humiliated. That’s how the system works.

The “progressive” left stirs up a conflict and blames the international middle class. Maybe it’s Marx blaming the bourgeoisie for the subsistence wages of the industrial working class. Maybe it’s Lenin claiming that every European is an imperialist. Maybe it’s liberals dividing black and white in the United States with racial quotas, or declaring upper-middle-class women the victim of the male of the species.

Now liberals are united in protecting Muslims from insult and tossing away our tradition of free speech. The only thing that matters is to make westerners—or Christians, or Americans—take the blame, to make them into dhimmi, second-class citizens afraid to stand up for the Christian God, the rule of law, and the bounty of the market.

If you read the Pope’s speech at Regensburg carefully you can appreciate the radicalism of the Christian message. The idea that God is a rational God, who invites us to discover His nature through an exploration of reason, is radical. It makes the claim that, in the end, we will find out that the universe makes sense.

It is the same claim that western science makes, that we can understand the universe by discovering its laws. Both Christianity and science are grounded in the same faith, that there are indeed laws that describe the universe.

But Islam and western postmodernism make a different claim. For them there is no “In the beginning was the Word,” the logos of reason.

There is only power: divine power or secular power.

The Chinese have a different take on the modern world. According to David Aikman in the book Jesus in Beijing, the Chinese have been wondering for generations what it is about the west that makes it so powerful. Now “Dr. Wu” of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences says that they have found us out.

“In the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West has been so powerful.”

That is also what Pope Benedict XVI is saying in different words.

Modified Interrogation Techniques

Ace, Blue Crab Boulevard, and Jim Treacher are thinking about ways to get around McCain-imposed interrogation restrictions (there is a small amount of mild off-color language). Some amusing stuff.

We Need To Hear 'The Other'

Ace of Spades as quoted by John Hawkins:

"There's a great amount of odious liberal condescension at work here. No matter how many times Jihadists say "We are killing you because Allah commands it," liberals keep saying back, "Oh, pish-posh. We know what's really driving you -- a need for more day-care and infrastructure development."

Don't liberals believe in actually listening to the diverse narratives of oppressed peoples? Or is that just a cover for making up their own one-size-fits-all narrative and hegemonically imposing it on the world's repressed?

Monday, September 18, 2006

"We Have Become The Barbarians Of The Modern World"

I've stumbled across a pretty good blog post by a moderate Muslim, who is responded to by moderate Muslim commenters.


We cannot afford to be silent anymore. True, our protests have succeeded in getting the Pope to apologize and recant, and before that, we did manage to punish the Danes over the cartoon controversy, but that is not because we manage to earn any understanding or appreciation for our point of view, but because we have found a way to terrify the world. We have become the barbarians of the modern world. People will fear us, but they will never respect us, or accept us as equals, or appreciate the legitimacy of many of our grievances, no matter how far and wide we spread our terror.

Moreover, our barbarism will give the civilized peoples of the world more excuses to dabble in our lives, ignore our just demands and needs, and impose their will upon us. For, as history has repeatedly shown, when barbarians are not able to be the destroyers of civilizations, either because they are not powerful enough yet or civilization weak enough yet to allow for that to happen, as indeed is the case at this point in time, then, they become the ultimate and unsympathetic victims thereof. Indeed, there is a high price to pay for the foolish pride we continue to harbor within us, because we have nothing to show for it anymore.

Read the whole piece. Just based on the text of the conclusion quoted above, it seems that perhaps this moderate would be okay with things if his barbarian compatriots were able to "be the destroyers of civilizations...at this point in time".

Like A Dog Returning To Its Own Vomit

Is the leftist. Here we have some D.U. brilliance quoted by Flopping Aces. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without George Bush being responsible.

Okay, so Il Papum pisses off all of Islam. A nun gets offed. Effigies of the popester get burned. Lotsa talk about the crusades and infidels and hatred and killings and conquest. Its like its the 1400s all over again.

And let’s not forget that ol’ Pope Ratzy endorsed Caligula in the last go-round.

Anyway, so the pontificating pontif sets the world aflame. This makes the Islamist extremists and even the more sane followers of Abraham look all wild eyed and hateful and crazy and …. scary.

This in turn fires up our own internal religiously insane. Soon enough even sane Catholics get involved in the scare (what else can a fatwah on popiepoo cause, yanno?). Soon enough, even the antipope guys like the evangelicals get all bent out of shape …. he’s another Christian, after all.

And voila ….. the populace of sheeple get all stirred up and go vote for the ‘guys that’ll keep ya safe and not appease the terrorists’.

Am I off my rocker?






What do you think?

I think you're a freakin' moron. That's what I think.

The Previous Crusades Ultimately Failed. The Next One Won't.

Confederate Yankee (H/T Anchoress):

Once upon a time, I was under the belief that Islam was a rational faith, and that those that carried out violent attacks in the name of Islam misunderstood their own faith. It was both presumptuous and ignorant for me to make that assumption, as I see it now reflected in response to a call for reason from a man of God.

The violent acts carried out by Islamists—and the near-total silence from what we like to think is a majority of moderate Muslims—has ended the last illusions about Islam for many around the world. Our eyes are opening to see that Muslims seek not dialogue, but domination. Pope Benedict seeks reciprocity and respect between faiths, and Muslims are responding with attempts at intimidation. We see now that these calls for violence are not a minority viewpoint, but a sincere and troubling part of their core beliefs.

Islam means "submission," and one billion people who practice the faith seem intent on making the other five billion people on this plant submit to their views. Their desire for domination of the world by their increasingly irrational faith shows that it is they, not the West, that seeks to engage in a Holy War. They would be wise to reconsider their views.

The original Crusades saw Christian and Muslim armies that were technologically equals. That equality no longer exists today, and the military superiority of the West over the Islamic world is pronounced. To date, Western reason shaped by Judeo-Christian compassion has prevented us from using our military supremacy to forcefully thwart Islamist plans for world domination with our full might, but our decision to hold that power in check is not without limits.

If practitioners of the Muslim faith think that they can exert their will unchecked through the most violent of means without facing an earthly reckoning beyond their comprehension, they are sadly mistaken. Our rational beliefs have had us regarding Islam as a possible threat to be dealt with surgically, but not one yet worth acting against generally with our full military might.

One act of sufficient scope and horror would change the calculus of the equation. Islamists seem to sincerely believe that nations shaped by Judeo-Christian beliefs are soft, and that we will fall quickly if they act with sufficient aggression and callousness against those they see as infidels.

Islamic leaders should reconsider the ramifications of the widespread Jihad they call for against the West. If they provoke us sufficiently, the same reason that has had us hold ourselves in check to date will dictate that that restraint we have practiced is counterproductive to our continued existence, and Islam will not see another century.

We are not weak, but reasoned, and the Muslims of the world crying for violent Jihad against would be wise to note the difference.

Bellicose, But Probably More True Than Not

Very uncompromising words in this American Thinker piece called "Know Your Enemy". It is probably best read in conjunction with this other American Thinker piece called "23 Questions". Also see this LA Times editorial in which a liberal worries that other liberals are so unserious that they threaten to cede the whole battle to the other lunatics threatening Western Civ (Christians of course). Very bellicose stuff against Islamofascism coming from a liberal.


Somehow the “moderate” Muslims who are supposed to counterbalance the “radical extremists” never stand up to be counted in any great numbers. There is no reason to believe that any significant number of Muslims are appalled by terrorism and stand ready to help us purge their faith of the few dangerous extremists who are responsible for it. Nevertheless many of our best and brightest do believe exactly that. This is the sort of wishful thinking that makes a mockery of military planning and gets people killed.

As Samuel Huntington famously observed, Islam has “bloody borders.” In our interconnected world those borders are everywhere. History fades seamlessly into current events leaving no doubt that, among modern religions, Islam is uniquely violent because it is uniquely prone to violence. We are reaping exactly what Mohammed sowed.


Ever since September 11 all our Muslim enemies have had the recipe for striking us without fear of retaliation. Get a terrorist group to front for you and avoid leaving proof beyond reasonable doubt of your involvement. If America responds at all it will flail away at the puppet while the puppeteer laughs.

Now that we have taught our enemies this lesson we can’t deter them. If they can melt our cities with nuclear bombs disguised as a yachts, freighters or truckloads of cargo from Mexico, they will. If they can infect a dozen jihadis with smallpox and set off an epidemic that kills millions, they will. If they can bring the horror of Beslan to our shores over and over again, they will.

Whatever they do, they will expect us to continue chasing shadowy terrorists leaving the terror masters free to sponsor more attacks. We have given them every reason to believe that they can safely pummel us into oblivion while we bicker about how to craft a proportional, narrowly-tailored response.


Winning our war means nothing less than separating the Muslim world from one of the central tenets of its faith. We have to teach a proud culture a bitter lesson. We have to convince it that Islam can only survive in the modern world by adapting to the reality that the infidel calls the shots. Muslims have to accept that our culture is dominant over theirs and, however much this offends their religious sensibilities, no amount of brutality and barbarism will change that.

They need to understand that sending terrorists to wage war against us is self-destructive lunacy, not a low risk way to soothe a well-earned inferiority complex.

To defend ourselves effectively we have lessons of our own to learn. We have to understand that millions of Muslims who are not active terrorists are nonetheless our enemies. We also have to understand that while we may have Muslim allies of convenience we have very few friends in the Muslim world.

Acknowledging all this is not bigotry. It’s realism. If we are going to survive we need a lot more realism.

A Double Barreled Blast Of Atheism

Sam Harris knows that atheism is the world's only hope. Read all about it here, in his anti-Benedict screed. According to Harris,

The world is still talking about the pope's recent speech--a speech so boring, convoluted and oblique to the real concerns of humanity that it could well have been intended as a weapon of war. It might start a war, in fact, given that it contained a stupendously derogatory appraisal of Islam.

Harris then launches into a stupendously derogatory appraisal of Catholicism. Catholics are irrational cannibals, you see, but just don't know it.

There's a short fisking here.

Esprit de Corps

Some carrier-based Navy squadron music video infectious fun.

The Sound Of Silence


Dr. Adams Makes A Peace Offer


Last Friday night, I went for a jog to relieve some stress after I found out my department denied my application for full professor. There’s something about being turned down by a diverse committee made up entirely of Democrats that causes a young Republican to search his soul for answers. And, thanks to Muhammad and Abdul, I found them.

I really wasn’t looking for these two proponents of the religion of peace but – all praise to Allah! - they sure found me. Of course, when I saw them riding up on their bicycles, I immediately assumed they were Mormons and picked up the pace. But, as they got nearer, I noticed they were too dark and brawny to be from Utah. So I slowed down to chat for awhile.

Their pitch to me was different from the one I got as a Baptist. Rather than asking me what I planned to do with Jesus, they suddenly pointed their pistols at my head and demanded that I drop to my knees. Fearing a scene reminiscent of the one in Deliverance, I quickly gave my life to Allah. I’ve been a Muslim for nearly three days now. A happier and more peaceful man I’ve never been.

But, alas, my happiness turned to sorrow when I learned of your remarks regarding the great prophet Muhammad, founder of our religion of peace. Your quotation of an ancient text suggesting he was – and Islam is - “evil and inhuman” cannot be ignored. And the Vatican’s weak suggestion that you regret Muslims were offended by the remarks is no apology. Clearly, likeminded Muslims everywhere must respond immediately and disproportionately.

We are beginning our response by appealing directly to you. Our appeal takes the form of a demand that you apologize immediately - not through a spokesperson, but directly and publicly from the floor of the United Nations. If you do not follow our orders, we will hijack planes and fly them into the U.N. Headquarters in New York. You had better take us seriously. After all, we’ve done it before.

In the event that we must attack the U.N., you will be given another week to apologize. If you do not, we will storm the Vatican and take you hostage. You had better take us seriously. After all, we’ve done it before.

[more threats]

I know that some will say it is irrational to threaten such acts in response to the accusation that we are “evil and inhuman.” Some will say we are playing into the hands of our accusers. But those who say such things are ignoring the fact that our disproportionate responses to such insults are richly rewarded.

I predict that you will capitulate eventually and, in so doing, teach our young Muslim brothers that widespread violence is indeed rational under the circumstances. While we are not inclined to admit it, we thank American homosexual activists for teaching us how to act like crazed sociopaths to effect social change.

I look forward to your apology, Pope Benedict. And if anyone quotes your offensive quotations, I will slit his throat in the name of Islam. Praise to almighty Allah and death to those who deem us evil and inhuman.

Update: After Pope Benedict offered a public apology, Dr. Adams (now Dr. Abdul Muhammad Adams) threatened the UNCW administration with Jihad unless it reversed the decision to deny his promotion to full professor. Shortly afterwards, he threatened to flush copies of The Vagina Monologues and the Communist Manifesto (both sacred and holy texts at his university) down the toilet of the Women’s Resource Center. The communists and feminists who denied his promotion reversed themselves immediately. Adams is now the Director of Middle Eastern Studies and a Jonathan Swift Distinguished Professor of Islamic Fundamentalist Satire.

Often Overlooked Strength Of Character

Intersting blog post by Michael Medved, who, along with other talk radio personalities, participated in a small private meeting with the President.


In addition to his exploration of world affairs, the president also spoke about gas prices in the US (lamenting the fact that he's much easier to blame when they go up than to credit when they go down), the ongoing religious revival, or awakening, and the upcoming Congressional elections (about which he maintains complete confidence, despite "stupid moves" by a few speicific Republican candidates which he discussed). Asked about the possibility of immigration reform before the election, he expressed passionate concern for establishing better security at the border, but indicated an unwillingness to change his "core principles." He made the important point that if he abandoned his well-known commitments on this or other domestic issues, the nation's enemies (and the rest of the world) would take away the belief that the President could be bullied, prodded, overwhelmed and initimidated -- harming the war effort for which young Americans risk their lives. He deeply believes in the importance of resolution, determination, and consistency in world affairs-- and emphasized several times that he refuses to govern according to trends, polls, or public opinion.

There's nothing grim about this commitment to remain unbending and unafraid in pursuit of his purposes. This President doesn't grit his teeth, or feel beleaguered or forlorn over low opinion ratings, or the angry demonstrators who wait outside the White House fence every day. When I visited the executive mansion, one protestor dressed as the grim reapear, in a black robe with a skeleton mask and scythe, carrying a sign thanking President Bush for the help. Others deployed larger-than-life puppets of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, dressed in striped prison suits, with manacles on their legs. I looked for some angry demonstators carrying signs equating the President to Hitler; they weren't there this trip, but I've seen them before, and so has Mr. Bush. In view of the poisonous nature of the opposition to his leadership, one might expect the President to sink into a self-pitying, paranoid funk, like so many of his predecessors (Wilson, Hoover, Lyndon Johnson, Nixon, Carter) who faced a hostile public during the last years or their terms.

This President, however, feels in no way cowed or discouraged or overwhemed, and that's the most encouraging lesson I took away from my hour-and-a-half in the Oval Office. He looks and sounds energized, and said several times how much he enjoys the Presidency, likes making decisions, and remembers what a privilege and an honor it is to be where he is. He even indicated a determination to go back to an effort to save Social Security after the election --- despite the crushing opposition the last time he tried to perform this public service. The President clearly loves his job and relishes the opportunities it affords him to change the country. He doesn't feel sorry for himself, and with his savvy resolution to make the most of the two years remaining to him after the mid-term elections, he doesn't want anybody else's pity.


And one more thing: twice during his meandering conversation, the President deployed the word "nuclear." Both times, he pronounced it flawlessly --- as "new- clee-ar," not "nuke-cule-ar." Considering the huge press attention on the mis-pronounciation of this single word, nothing shocked me more about meeting the president than hearing him, in private conservation, avoid a mistake for which he's become celebrated in public.

If he can say "nu-clee-ar" in private, why does he still say, "nuke-cule-ar" when he speaks on camera? Could it be possible that there's some mischievous intent here-- that the President deliberately gives his own spin to the word just to provoke pompous pundits into paroxysms of supercilious rage? It seems like a far-fetched explanation, I'll admit, but after seeing the President's infectiously feisty mood this Friday, I wouldn't put it past him.

Islam Has Jumped The Shark

Just sayin'.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

14 Ominous Signs Of The Arrival Of Fascism

Gagdad Bob brilliantly turns the tables on paranoid leftists.

Interesting Parallel

From a Little Green Footballs comment thread:

The "logic" of the Pope's attackers is to humiliate and punish with the threat and use of violence anyone who dares to suggest a link between Islam and violence, while still insisting that Islam is a religion of peace.

It's a similar technique to the one used in Communist states. Theodore Dalrymple wrote:

In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.

Benedict Roundup Part II

Best I've found today:

American Thinker

Roger L. Simon

David Warren

Gates Of Vienna

Saturday, September 16, 2006


The original plea for Dhimmitude from the New York Times:

There is more than enough religious anger in the world. So it is particularly disturbing that Pope Benedict XVI has insulted Muslims, quoting a 14th-century description of Islam as “evil and inhuman.”

In the most provocative part of a speech this week on “faith and reason,” the pontiff recounted a conversation between an “erudite” Byzantine Christian emperor and a “learned” Muslim Persian circa 1391. The pope quoted the emperor saying, “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

Muslim leaders the world over have demanded apologies and threatened to recall their ambassadors from the Vatican, warning that the pope’s words dangerously reinforce a false and biased view of Islam. For many Muslims, holy war — jihad — is a spiritual struggle, and not a call to violence. And they denounce its perversion by extremists, who use jihad to justify murder and terrorism.

The Vatican issued a statement saying that Benedict meant no offense and in fact desired dialogue. But this is not the first time the pope has fomented discord between Christians and Muslims.

In 2004 when he was still the Vatican’s top theologian, he spoke out against Turkey’s joining the European Union, because Turkey, as a Muslim country was “in permanent contrast to Europe.”

A doctrinal conservative, his greatest fear appears to be the loss of a uniform Catholic identity, not exactly the best jumping-off point for tolerance or interfaith dialogue.

The world listens carefully to the words of any pope. And it is tragic and dangerous when one sows pain, either deliberately or carelessly. He needs to offer a deep and persuasive apology, demonstrating that words can also heal.

Stanley Kurtz has a response:

There is more than enough religious anger in the world. So it is particularly disturbing that the New York Times, the leading voice of secular liberalism (America's fasted growing religion), has insulted Catholics by falsely accusing the Pope of fomenting religious discord.

In the most provocative part of today's editorial, The New York Times uses the Pope's opposition to Turkey's entry into the European Union as proof that the Pope did in fact mean to offend Muslims, despite his protestations to the contrary. Of course, the conviction that national or regional boundaries ought to take account of significant cultural differences cannot and should not be stigmatized as offensive and bigoted. Yet the Times expanded this already provocative line of argument by implying that traditional Catholics are intolerant, and incapable of interfaith dialogue. The Times also intentionally confused the boundary between deliberate offense and unintentional offense based on carelessness or misunderstanding.

The New York Times therefore needs to offer a deep and persuasive apology to the Pope, and to Catholics everywhere, thereby demonstrating that editorialists and secular liberals can heal as well as offend. The future of comity between secular liberals and our nation's religious Christians depends upon it.

Benedict Roundup

A quick, terse roundup of good posts about the Benedict brouhaha (some of these posts are roundups themselves).

Mary Katherine Ham

Glenn Reynolds

Very hard-hitting (against crazed Muslims and the NYT) TigerHawk post.

Ace of Spades

The Anchoress

Amy Welborn

Welborn righteously fisks the dhimmis of the NYT here.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Good Quote

Mark Shea:

It is fascinating to see [people in effect] pretend that all of Northern Africa, Spain, the whole of the Christian East to the gates of Vienna, and the Mediterranean as far as Lepanto were conquered by a small number of extreme elements.

Assyria, The Hammer. Faith, The Anvil.

Bravura Mark Shea post. Do read it all. He expounds much more eloquently on the theme I mentioned here.


The Post-Modern Relativist West is slowly awakening to the fact that jihadis have a reason to die while we cannot give a coherent reason to live. The Islamosphere has a God it fears, but not a God it loves. We neither fear nor love God, and find it impossible to mount a public argument for the West that holds water. So we rely on mood, image, bombast, and, in many of highest spheres of culture, a sort of Andrew Sullivanesque celebration of depravity that shouts "We're decadent and proud of it!" None of this is substantial enough to persuade a people to suffer and die in a civilizational struggle, much less to put cracks in the enemy's will to win. Everything that motivates a people to war--love of family, love of country, love of sacred things, a sense that there is something holy that is being guarded--is what our culture has laboring to extirpate for at least forty years. Family? With no fault divorce and Roe rhetoric and gay marriage reminding us that family is just a socio-economic construct with no intrinsic importance? Love of country? Please! That went out with Watergate! Everything is about power. Love is for suckers who get manipulated by players! Sacred things? What are you? One of those radical Christians bent on importing your religious enthusiasms into my life? And so on. As we have pissed away every last trace of our religious heritage, we have likewise pissed away our ability to find any basis for a common good. In antiquity, that commonality could be found in ties of blood and language: the ethnos, the tribe. In the US and the West, such ties don't exist. We are nation founded on an idea. And when the idea, rooted in even older religious ideas like "the equality of man before God" and "the unity of the human race in Adam" breaks up because the older religious ideas are wantonly rejected, then the branch cut from the tree inevitably withers.

And so we find ourselves, like ancient Israel, facing the Assyrian, the rod of judgment, and scrambling to figure out some way to oppose him. The message of the prophets was quite clear: Israel stood or fell by its fidelity to God, not by chariot and horse. As long as they cast around looking for something else to save them--an alliance with Egypt, better sacrifices to Baal, technological advances, slicker advertising and sloganeering, etc.--they were doomed. Because, at the end of the day, none of these things could supply a reason for living. They could not answer the question, "Why shouldn't the Assyrian just take your land, if you believe as much as he does that it's all about power?" The only way out was through the death of returning to reliance on God, humbling themselves, and giving up the project of trying to create a heaven-haven on earth where they could simultaneously be safe and at total liberty to ignore God.

We've been attempting the same project. The result is that we have disintegrated in our ability to reply to Radical Islam. They worship power and we call it "evil". But our most sophisticated public discourse then tells us, "Of course, they worship power! Everybody does! That's all there is! All of human history is nothing but the struggle for power! All that crap about 'good' and 'evil' is the emotional manipulation used by the power brokers to get suckers to fight for them." And we are stunned when people find it difficult to fight for a society that believes this in its heart.

I propose a different path, ultimately the only path there is: return to God.


I mean (as I have been saying for several years now) that only a healthy spirituality can heal a diseased spirituality. The inflamation of Radical Islam cannot be healed by the equal disease of postmodern relativism (which believes just as much as Radical Islam that might makes right).

Benedict's point in his much-maligned speech at Regensburg is that reason and faith are not enemies: a point as much contested in Islam as it is in the post-modern West. For Christians, the Logos is the Word of Wisdom by which God spoke the universe into being. For this reason, nature cannot be the enemy of faith because the same God who created nature also entered that nature when the Word became flesh in Christ. So, though some Christians have sinned against their own tradition by forcibly demanding conversions, nonetheless this is not at the heart of the Tradition. Christianity demands a radical respect for the freedom of the human person, since conversion must always take place freely.

But neither post-modern relativism nor Radical Islam take seriously anything but power. For post-modern relativism, appeals to the dignity of the human person made in the image of God are simply masks on the struggle for power. After all, there is no God, says the post-modernist, so this is simply a plea by the weak in the hope of gaining sympathy or appealing to piety. And the purpose of that is to gain allies in the struggle for power. Meanwhile, Radical Islam, following one (but not the only) line of thought from the founding premisses of Islam, sees a God who is bound by nothing, including reason, and who can therefore contradict himself if he sees fit, in his inscrutable supreme Power. This, combined with several Quranic texts which nakedly advocate violence to spread the faith have created a potent brew which have served to make Islam increasing tenuous as an intellectual project and increasingly reliant on mere violence as the means of achieving its ends. Hence we find the weird spectacle of Muslims burning down Europe to protest the suggestion that Islam is violent and spokemen like Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam saying, "Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence".


The point is simply this: Catholic faith really believes it can stand up to scrutiny, so it is not brittle like Islam. Islam is the hammer. It advances, in no small part, by threatening violence and it holds its ground by the same tactics. The Christian faith began, and remain to this day, as the anvil. It gets continually pounded and winds up wearing out the hammers. The reason there was a Pope giving a talk at a university in Regensburg is because the Catholic faith had such faith in reason as a creature of God that the medieval Church invented the university. The faith of Benedict and the Church is that the human heart hungers for truth: both the truth of revelation and the truth of reason. The fear in the brittle soul of Islam, as in the fading soul of the West is that there is no truth but power. Only the Risen Christ, who conquered the raw killing power of Hell with truth and love, can lead both sides of our current civilizational clash past that nihlistic faith and back to their senses as human beings.

Canine Costumes

Here ya go. Dogs are pretty good sports, mostly.

It Would Be Great, If Just Once, Bush Did This

David Limbaugh:

Can you imagine what would happen if President Bush truly had delivered a partisan speech on the evening of September 11? We would never hear the end of it.


The president's Democratic war critics have been up in arms over his speech because he mentioned the war on terror and Iraq and defended his policies to the American people.


It must be, because they have reacted hysterically to his speech, suggesting that just by virtue of outlining his policies President Bush was being unacceptably political -- even partisan.

[Well here's a real partisan speech he could have given:]

"We are implementing a multi-pronged strategy to fight this war, but I'm sad to inform you that every step of the way, the once great Democratic Party is obstructing our efforts. This is mystifying to me, and I hate to point fingers, but unless I do our chances of succeeding will be greatly reduced because the only way we can lose is if you, the American people, decide we must terminate the mission before its successful completion.

"Let me outline the specific ways the Democrats have been obstructing our prosecution of the war. They have not only opposed every single terrorist tracking tool I referenced before, but they have persisted in wrongfully accusing me -- before the entire world community, whose favorable opinion of America they profess to value above all else -- of lying about Iraqi WMD, about a relationship between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, about conducting a unilateral foreign policy and about describing Iraq as an 'imminent threat.' They have misled the American people into believing we 'outsourced' the capture of Osama to Afghan warlords, all so that we could divert our military resources toward dethroning the unthreatening, benign regime of Saddam Hussein.

"They have also been inexplicably sympathetic to murderous terrorists held in our prisons in Guantanamo Bay, fraudulently alleging that we have authorized and conducted their systematic torture. They want to provide full constitutional rights and Geneva protections to our enemies. And they have the audacity to lecture us about harming America's image in the world, and causing Muslims to hate us and join the global jihad against us?

"I've tried not to respond in kind, but, folks, it is becoming increasingly difficult to prosecute this war with the barrage of self-serving distortions emanating from Democrats. So please do the responsible thing, honor the victims of September 11, help me to protect America, and throw these bums out in November."

As you know, President Bush didn't come close to such rhetoric. He merely defended his prosecution of the war. But the Democrats' response was little different than if he had delivered such a speech.

The Democrats' position, in essence, is that President Bush should not defend his war policy to the American people -- even though such defense is critical to the national interest -- if in any way it could be construed as criticizing Democrats. No, President Bush must not make his case to the American people because it might work to the Democrats' political detriment.

In short, President Bush should -- like the Democrats -- put the Democrats' partisan interests above the nation's best interests. He should let them continue to slander him, undermine the war effort, damage the national interest, regain control of congress and virtually surrender in the war.

Not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent.

Whacky Cartoon

This cartoon just cracks me up for some reason.


James Taranto solicited humorous conceptions of God from readers. Here are some good ones:

We called yesterday for new conceptions of God, to add to the four cited in a Baylor University study, and you did not disappoint. Here's a full list. The first four are Baylor's, the next three are ours from yesterday, and the rest are new:

Authoritarian God. Angry at earthly sin and willing to inflict divine retribution.

Distant God. A faceless, cosmic force that launched the world but leaves it alone.

Benevolent God. Sets absolute standards for man, but is also forgiving--engaged but not so angry.

Critical God. The classic bearded old man, judgmental but not going to intervene or punish.

Totalitarian God. He is everywhere, and he is watching you.

Multitasking God. Answers prayers by phone, fax and BlackBerry, all at the same time.

Noncommittal God. Loves his children, but isn't "in love" with them.

Passive-aggressive God. "Go ahead, sin if you want to. Don't worry about my wrath."

Obsessive-compulsive God. Washes his hands of us hundreds of times a day.

Codependent God. Enables us to sin so that we'll need him.

Jewish mother God. "My children--I gave them life, but do they pray?"

Unitarian God. Nice enough guy, but doesn't really seem to believe in himself.

Progressive God. Has outgrown the simplistic belief in his own literal existence, considers himself spiritual but not religious.

Liberal God. Commands man to "be fruitless and divide"; is completely self-absorbed yet doesn't believe in himself; wants you to stop sinning but doesn't have an alternative; can't stop yelling, "Satan lied, people died!"

Peace activist God. He's sending you to hell, but he supports the sinners!

Cindy Sheehan God. Wants George W. Bush to tell him what "noble cause" his Son died for.

Darwinian God. Possessed of an exquisite set of irony, he has divided mankind into two groups: those who believe that the most powerful biological force is the tendency of a population to be dominated by its most quickly reproducing members, and those who are actually reproducing.

New York Times God. Is angry only when people question the accuracy of his publication or his wisdom in divulging secret plans devised in the hearts of men.

Rush Limbaugh God. "Talent on loan from me."

Hippie God. Must have been on something when he created the world.

United Nations God. Reaffirming that you are a sinner, he calls upon you to repent and decides to remain actively seized of this matter. If you ignore his call to repent, he will call upon you to repent again.

CIA God. Knows everything, but lacks the resources to process and analyze it.

George W. Bush God. Responsible only for evil.

Sports God. Similar to Distant God, but occasionally intervenes when a big play is needed.

Windows God. Plug and pray.

Google God. For those who are always searching.

Frugal God. Jesus saves.

Chairman God. Sets the agenda, but doesn't get involved in day-to-day operations.

Micromanager God. Not a sparrow falls but he needs a report on why, with guidance on what to do about it.

Soccer God. How about a pray date with his Son?

Sounds Like Wholesome Fun

Six Flags in New Jersey is having a "Christians only" day where secularists and people of other faiths will be denied admission. It's about time. See the flyer here, and read more details here.

Stay Tuned

A couple of predictions:

First the good news. In the next decade, Hollywood will finally clean up its act, in terms of sex, violence, and profanity in movies and on television.

Now the bad news. It will be because most of the Beautiful People embrace Islam as a chic and rebellious thing to do. Then they will incessantly hector and denounce us about our relative immorality.

Are Unreasonable Bloodthirsty Savages Preparing To Rampage In Response To Pope Saying That Being An Unreasonable Bloodthirsty Savage Is Unreasonable?

The initial signs detailed here and here.

Info on the Pope's recent address which is now raising the ire of the Religion of Peace is here.

If the Jihadis don't like what Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus had to say about Islam 600 years ago, then maybe they ought to conquer Constantinople or something, but why take it out on the Pope?

If the Jihadis want to go seriously and openly anti-Catholic on the world, then it will just bring the tipping point that much closer...

Some reader feedback from the Daily Mail article:

People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

- Russell, Slough ,UK

The Pope says that jihad violence is against God's nature and officials fear that in response, Muslims enraged by this insult will commit... jihad violence.

It's time the non-Islamic world demanded an apology from Muslim nations for insults to their religions.

- N. Simon, London, UK

How over-sensitive would you have to be to be offended by the Pope's words? I think that anyone who is enraged by these words should seek anger management as a matter of priority.

- Grace James, Reading

When are they ever not furious with anyone and everyone?

- Mjf, Liverpool

If Islam is such a "peace loving" religion why do its adherents react with such outrage to any perceived criticism - real of otherwise? Scarcely a day goes by without some Muslim cleric or politician in the name of Jihad calling for the killing of unbelievers, but we are expected to take it all lying down for the sake of promoting cultural harmony. Freedom of speach is rapidly becoming a one-way street. No doubt we will get the usual knee jerk reactions from apologists for Islamic fundamentalism in the UK. Perhaps they can explain why it is forbidden to practice Christianity in Saudi Arabia?

- Mike, Appleby, Cumbria

Would you ever see Christians burning flags, rioting, and calling for holy war when offended? These people need to grow up.

- Crockett, Knoxville, USA

Sounds to me like nothing much has changed in the 700 years since this enlightened Emperor made his statement.

- Owen Kenny, London

Strange how something said over 600 years ago should create such a hysterical reaction from people trying to convince us that it is not true.

- John Ball, Bristol

So it's OK for the president of Iran to constantly spout anti-semitic and anti-Christian rhetoric, but as soon as the Pope quotes someone else's rather dodgy views on Islam, Muslims of the world are outraged.

- N. Simon, London, UK

Pope Benedict made it quite clear that he was quoting from an existing 14th century text. The Muslim world jump on anyone who would appear to criticise their religion to stifle any debate regarding this and we must really ask the question why?

- P. Houghton, Huddersfield, UK

I fear for the future of Islam in a western world given its inability to compromise and accept dialogue. The UK has accepted 1.5 million poor muslims all we seek is for them to embrace our culture of liberal values and freedom. The latter includes free speech. This is a difficult time for Islam and I feel for the many peaceful followers who are presented as radical by those that deny free speach and those that threaten us all.

- Adrian Scott, Weymouth Dorset UK

It strikes me that Muslims are rather too quick to take offence. It is this almost fanatical devotion and defensive reaction that makes many of us so suspicious.

- Bob Charles, Pldham

I dont get it, we are told on one hand Islam is a peace loving religion, but at the same time we are also told that the Pope's speech could cause violence. How do we square those two contradictory statements? You can't use violence to make your point and then call yourself peace loving.

- Kevin Law, Dundee

Apologise... are you kidding me? For What?

- Deb, Ont

The truth hurts doesn't it?

God bless the Holy Father.

- Dl, Florida, USA

Lightening fast reaction from muslim leaders to something that portrays Islam in a bad light.

Can we expect the same speed of light reaction the next time their extremists commit atrocities that portray Islam in a bad light?

I'm not holding my breath!

- David, Chelmsford, UK

The statement quoted by the Pope is a matter of historical record. What's the problem? Because it relates unfavourably to Islam, is no one allowed to mention it? Mobs in Islamic countries can rant and rave at Christian countries and burn the flags of other countries and that's alright?

- Terence, Hereford, UK

Frankly I'm getting sick and tired listening to constant Muslim ranting about how much injustice they allegedly suffer. If they want to understand why they face such criticism they should take a good look in the mirror. When they start addressing some of the issues that put them at odds with the West they may find a more sympathetic ear. Muslims in western countries are made to feel like outsiders because that is what they choose to be.

- Keith Lonsdale, Doncaster

We need to read the Pope's lecture given in a university: it is an argument for the reasonableness of faith but the unreasonableness of blood shedding, hence jihad as warfare. The Pope quotes a ruler of Constantinople dialoguing with a Muslim, asking what good Mohammed had brought into religion. In other words, this was a footnote in a wider speech. The trouble, like the obscure Danish Cartoons, has been artificially whipped up again by the Islamic world, seeking to shut up any conceivable critism. Muslim scholars should reply with arguments, not with talk of 'offence' and veiled threats.

- Chesterton, Banbury

What the Pope said is completely true and I am sure he meant no offence. On the other hand how can the Muslims claim to be peace loving people when they are spreading hatred and blowing people up all over the world? How are we to know the difference?

- Joan Delany, Pontefract, England

The Pope was in no way denigrating Islam, only raising criticism of the more extreme priciples in Islam - which most of us agree with wholeheartedly.

Regarding the Pope's strict adherance to Catholic doctrine may not be to everyone's liking, but he is true to his beliefs and convictions, which I respect. If some Catholics don't like Church dogma, they are free to practice another faith that is more comfortable for them.

- Sandi, Edinburgh

To be honest I am getting sick of hearing about Muslims being offended at this and that, there is nothing more offensive than placards reading behead those that insult islam, we do not have to accept that. I am glad the Pope is speaking out where others haven't got the bottle.

- Nina, Notts

Here we go again. Any excuse. Muslims need to lighten-up and stop losing their rags so much. I don't always agree with things, but I don't go setting fire to stuff in the streets. Get a grip for goodness sake!

- Barb, Southport

I am no catholic, but I support the Pontiff 100% in his quote. For a supposedly 'peaceful' religion, followers of Islam are some of the most angry and violent adherents of any religion. Does Islam allow 'live and let live' at all? If not, why should anyone else give the slightest amount of repect to them?

- Ken Hall, Barrow, UK

And the muslims are behaving exactly as the pope's quotation said. They are truly living up to their peaceful doctrine. Will they never learn? It is this kind of reaction which makes the world look unfavourably on the muslim faith, not the fact that they are muslims.

- Elaine Grant, Herts, UK

It strikes me that Islam could well do with overhauling it`s level of sensitivity.

- John, UK

Everybody wants to be a Muslim. That's why there's mass migration from non-Muslim countries into their countries.

- Frank, Wolverhampton

The barbarians are at the gates!

- Fairfax, NY,NY

So Islam is a peace loving religion?

- Paul, Wilnecote

The angry mob is proving the Pope's point by their actions. If everybody went around causing a ruckus every time something they didn't agree with was said, the world would be in chaos.

- R. Hollander, Missouri, USA

Muslim's reactions to mere comments tells us something about their commitment to peace. Actions have always spoken louder than words.

- Mark S., Manitou springs, USA

So much for the "peaceful" religion of Islam.

- Andy, Atlanta, GA USA

Amy Welborn has a couple of good posts on this. The last two pictures in the second post say it all.

Update: Mary Katherine Ham has a roundup.

Update: Excellent Anchoress posts here and here.

Update: Very good analysis post here. The logic of what Benedict has done is a real masterstroke. Its effect reminds me of an exorcist commanding a demon to state its true name.