Thursday, June 1, 2006


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn

Germany 2006

I'm getting excited about the World Cup, which will be starting in just over a week in Germany. Having followed America's national team since 1998, I have been pleased with the general trend. Our team continues to improve and America is slowly gaining respect around the soccer world as a force to be reckoned with. I agree with Rick Moran that this year's squad is the best we have ever sent to the World Cup. However, I also I share his concern that we may yet still go home after the first round!
The jaw dropping skills of several of our younger players -- some of whom didn't make this year's team -- promises that the future of soccer in America is bright indeed and that the center of gravity of the sport may be shifting slowly from overseas toward the United States as far as the talent pool is concerned.

But for this team, the future is now. Featuring an offense with blazing speed and proven scorers, Team USA will be able to outrun almost any opponent they are likely to face. A solid, if unspectacular defense is anchored by one of the finest keepers in the world. And with a mixture of youth and experience, the chemistry of the team may help in overcoming a brutal draw that features games against the 2nd ranked Czechs and 11th ranked Italians as well as the relatively unknown team from Ghana.
If you're a soccer fan, read the whole thing. (HT: The Commissar)

"Sign from God" Missed

I just love how the very people who claim that their God meddles in our daily affairs are also the first to give what they'd ordinarily claim to be a sign of His wrath a strong positive spin. (HT: Rob Tarr)
Worried about the safety of her family during a stormy Memorial Day trip to the beach, Clara Jean Brown stood in her kitchen and prayed for their safe return as a strong thunderstorm raged through Baldwin County.

Suddenly, lightning exploded, blowing through the linoleum and leaving a pockmarked area on the concrete. Brown wound up on the floor, dazed and disoriented by the blast but otherwise uninjured.

"I said, 'Amen,' and the room was engulfed in a huge ball of fire," she said. "I'm blessed to be alive."
Hmmm. So why weren't Pat Robertson and Hal Lindsey talking about how "blessed" America was after the landfall of Hurricane Katrina? The ingrates!

Of course, "signs from God" are really "ordinary events" packaged with "orders from mystics", which is why they never seem to tell their "readers" to change their ways.

Media Silent on Protests in Iran

Over at Chapomatic, Chap sez, of the recent very underreported civil unrest in Iran:
You see any news of the spectacular, huge, big, not inconsequential protests in Iran that have been going on for at least a week now?


Do you remember the last Iranian revolution swept that country partly because the embassy takeover was covered nonstop in the news?

It's an information war there, too. How can a people become free when their information is suppressed? It's a lot harder, like spreading a fire when the oxygen's being pumped out of the room. Belarus almost made it four months ago, and didn't, partially because nobody brought the news to the rest of the world. Oh, there are reporters out there; it's just on page A-14 below the trouser ads.

Note to press types who like to Squeak Truth To Power: If you want to avoid war with Iran, then here's a chance.
The deafening silence says a few things to me. Foremost, it says the following, in the context of other general trends during the war.

The anti-war posture of the press, nearly all leftists, is just that, a posture. War is not "good for absolutely nothing" as the song goes. It can further the cause of freedom. The media and the left in general are not categorically against war. They get behind "humanitarian" missions that sap our nation's resources, remain silent when an oppressive regime like Iran's takes clear steps in preparation for war, and actively campaign against anything that might end tyranny, like the invasion of Iraq. Taken together, it is a pretty safe bet that the press will more likely cover anything that might harm the cause of freedom and more likely spike anything that will aid the cause, if such coverage might alter the outcome.

We are quite fortunate to have alternative media, like the blogosphere, and should do all we can to protect it. Speaking of which, Chap also provided a great link to an excellent roundup on the discontent in Iran among its citizens.

It is reassuring to know that the regime over there might be in trouble. After all, the Bush Administration certainly seems to be in no hurry to show it the door.

Michael Moore Sued

I have my doubts about whether the huge damages sought against Michael Moore stand any chance of being awarded, but a G.I. he implied was anti-war in his "documentary" is suing him big time.
A veteran who lost both arms in the war in Iraq is suing filmmaker Michael Moore for $85 million, alleging that Moore used snippets of a television interview without his permission to falsely portray him as anti-war in "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Sgt. Peter Damon, a National Guardsman from Middleborough, is asking for damages because of "loss of reputation, emotional distress, embarrassment, and personal humiliation," according to the lawsuit filed in Suffolk Superior Court last week.

Damon, 33, claims that Moore never asked for his consent to use a clip from an interview Damon did with NBC's "Nightly News."
As much as I despise Moore, I think that these damages would be excessive, and I would much rather see our tort system reformed than a court victory like this.

But then, aren't lefties like Moore big fans of "empowering" the "little guy" by lawsuit abuse anyway? Failing real justice here, I'll settle, so to speak, for the poetic variety.

Where's the popcorn?

Blogging Alternatives to Google

I was recently dismayed by Google's apparent willingness to place Moslem "sensibilities" over the objectivity of its news search results. Not only does such a move compromise what has been the best search engine around, it potentially bodes ill for the future of this blog, which is hosted by a Google subsidiary, Blogger. There would be no point in blogging if I had to walk on eggshells about Islam, or any other subject, were Google to start "policing" its blogs.

Since then, I have given my mind a standing order to be on the lookout for viable alternatives to the various blog-related services I obtain from Google. This morning, I learned about one and was reminded of another.

First, via Instapundit, it seems that has finally rolled out a long-promised blog search engine. Users of Bloglines may or may not recognize this as the search engine they know and love, but under the hood, it is, according to this technology review.

Second, Bruno has reminded me of one possible alternative for blog hosting by moving his blog, The Simplest Thing, to the site. Note to self: Also, at least play with Wordpress. It appears that importing archives from Blogger might be less of a headache than I thought it might....

"Sign Pollution" through Government Funds

David Veksler writes about and illustrates yet another example of government-funded idiocy.
This is what happens when you accept government funds to build a park: this intersection of two trails in a Ft Worth park has no less than eight caution signs. That peaceful-looking path must be some death trap. [link dropped]
I don't know whether Veksler intended to allude to anti-billboard ordinances with his title, but it reminds me that here in Houston, billboards are regulated to cut down on "sign pollution".

One of them isn't work safe in the Bible Belt....

Myron has an posted enormously helpful list of the "Top Ten Things Men Know for Sure about Women".

-- CAV


6-3-06: Corrected credit for lightning bolt story from Amit Ghate to Rob Tarr.