Before beginning this week's linkfest, I will note that I finally got a chance to tackle some blog template issues last night. I am pretty sure thanks in part to Myron (and a bit of plain, dumb luck) that I have finally licked a small but annoying display problem that would crop up only in Firefox. Since recently setting up a home network, I can now very easily make sure things look right on Windows (which my wife and about 75% of my visitors use) and Linux (which I use). But we don't do Macs here in the Van Horn household....
So if you're a Mac user and my blog suddenly looks goofy, please write me and let me know. (And if you're reading this at Martin Lindeskog's, please do stop by my blog and take a look.) Of course, if you're using Windows and things are askew, maybe I have a weird computer configuration at home and need to know there's a problem....
I'll be making other edits -- mainly updating and rearranging the blogroll -- over the next few days. But last night's efforts are the only ones that really risk breaking the CSS template. And then I'll be done wrestling with Blogger's unwieldy template editor for the next few months. Yipee!
Help Isaac Schrodinger
Isaac Schrodinger is a citizen of Pakistan and an apostate Moslem who presently resides in Canada, where he is refugee claimant. As Michael van der Galien recently pointed out (via Glenn Reynolds), he is fighting for his life.
As all of you who have read (some of) his articles will know, Isaac is very critical about radical Islam. He witnessed the results of a culture of radical Islam, he saw the effects of this ideology of hatred and ignorance, how people are forced to live, first-hand. As a result, he understands that Muslim extremists do not just pose a threat to the West, but also to every single person living in 'Muslim countries'.I hardly have the reach of Instapundit, but you never know when the right pair of ears will hear something. If anyone who happens by can relay to Isaac news accounts of Pakistan's persecution of apostate Moslems (as evidence in his favor), would like to donate so he can hire an attorney, has any familiarity with Canada's immigration process, or would simply like to offer a word of encouragement, please stop by Isaac's blog.
As a result, it should be obvious to anyone with any basic knowledge about this subject, it is not exactly safe for him, an apostate, to live in a country in which Muslim extremists have quite some power. He came from Pakistan, was educated in Saudi Arabia, later in the United States and now lives in Canada.
He is currently involved in the battle of his life: in January 2007 one judge will decide whether he should be granted refugee status in Canada or be deported to Pakistan.
He met with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada yesterday. You can read his account of how it all went here. [bold added]
From reading rather extensively over time from his blog, I have no doubt that this is a good man. I think he deserves to stay in the West. He has my support and I hope he will have yours.
A Pakistani Truce with the Taliban
With "allies" like these ...
As the Asia Times reports, the recent decision by Pakistan to negotiate a truce with the Taliban in several provinces has helped faciliate this by unblocking the flow of money to bin Laden and his network. While the Taliban may not be militarily active in those regions, in technical compliance with the terms of the agreement, the cessation of hostilities has made it far easier for bin Laden to regain his financial footing and project control further than he has been able to in some time. In fact, this consolidation has been going on for several months, taking advantage of the easing of Pakistani pressure during the negotiating process.... who needs a nuclear Iran?
Presidential Signing Statements
Yesterday, I decried an "escape clause" in California's recently-signed emissions legislation.
Before you heave a sigh of relief that the measure has an "escape clause", consider what this means: All parties involved knew going in that this measure is a body-blow to California's economy. Rather than spare their state even the possibility of such a blow -- by simply not passing the bill -- they have decided to place more arbitrary power in the hands of an executive, who will then use that power to buy votes at election time.This reminds me of what I recall from the time as being a tendency by President Clinton to over-use executive orders. But until I visited Separation of State and Superstition by chance yesterday, I had never heard of Presidential Signing Statements (a type of executive order), in which the Chief Executive ...
... issues a legal document , known as a signing statement, to go into the federal register along with the bill. In the signing statement Bush issues executive orders declaring which parts of the bill he disagrees with and intends NOT to follow.Blogger David and a lengthy article I haven't finished yet explain how such statements can be more powerful than vetoes, permitting the President to avoid protracted fights with Congress over pending legislation -- and yet still pretty much get his way. For example, we have the following from a list of some of Bush's signing statements:
Dec. 23, 2004: Forbids US troops in Colombia from participating in any combat against rebels, except in cases of self-defense. Caps the number of US troops allowed in Colombia at 800.So the President can sign a bill and then more or less retroactively line-item veto parts of it. Aside from perhaps explaining why Bush has chosen to veto only one bill over his entire term so far, doesn't this sound just like what some conniving southern governor would do behind the public's back? Oh wait a minute! This man was a southern governor at one time!
Bush's signing statement: Only the president, as commander in chief, can place restrictions on the use of US armed forces, so the executive branch will construe the law ''as advisory in nature."
I am less suspicious of Bush's motives than that blogger is, but the precedent this sets, if I understand it correctly based on the limited information I have so far, is a very bad one for the same basic reasons I objected to California's "escape clause".
Quote of the Day
I'm currently reading Ayn Rand Answers, which is a selection of answers given by Rand during Q&A sessions following her speaking engagements. Not only is it fascinating to observe a great thinker in action, but exchanges like this also show that it can sometimes be a riot.
Q As an opponent of welfare, what do you propose to do with welfare recipients?When you're done laughing, think carefully about this answer. It is just as profoundly on the mark as it is funny.
A They're not my property to dispose of.
Inspecting the Traffic Mess
Via The Charlotte Capitalist, I got wind of an article on mass transit over at The Intellectual Watchman.
Every time you sit in a traffic jam, it is important to remind yourself: It does not have to be this way. This is the fault of men who could have chosen otherwise; New Urbanists and Environmentalists have made it this way.Fantasy Meets Reality
A short time after I started blogging, I said of the politics of much or the left:
It could be that Dr. Kool-Aid doesn't regard himself as liberal at all. In discussing media bias, Bernard Goldberg makes an interesting observation: "Conservatives must be identified because the audience needs to know these are people with axes to grind. But liberals don't need to be identified because their views on all the big social issues ... aren't liberal views at all. They're simply reasonable views, [emphasis added] shared by all the reasonable people the media elites mingle with at all their reasonable dinner parties in Manhattan and Georgetown." If this is true, Dr. Kool-Aid sure feels the need to warn a lot of people about a whole slew of uncontroversial issues. If that were the case and I were in his shoes, I'd head for the hills. [bold added]Evan Kirchoff similarly notes a discrepancy between leftist words and leftist actions on a day-to-day basis.
So if the "useful left" doesn't really believe its own propaganda on one level, how might one explain this (HT: Isaac Schrodinger)?
Put another way: Is it more depraved to be a suicide bomber or one who is so evasive of reality that he will party with his executioner as if his remaining alive and free so far is "evidence" enough that his executioner is really his friend? I think the latter is far more dishonest, and far worse.
I will not submit.
Michelle Malkin supplies us with a nice list of definitions (HT: TIA Daily) pertinent to the current war. Among them:
- Sharia. This is the set of Islamic legal principles and traditions that our enemies seek to impose on us. It's a path that leads inexorably to the subjugation of women, stoning of adulterers, "honor killings" of rape victims, bans on beauty pageants, cinema, and the viewing of soccer matches, death threats against authors, filmmakers, cartoonists, and apostates who renounce Islam, and calls for beheadings of all who insult their faith.
- Dhimmitude. The official state of inferiority of non-Muslims under Islam; the bowing and scraping of vanquished infidels to their intellectual and military conquerors. You saw it in the immediate post-9/11 appeasement of Muslims angered by the name "Operation Infinite Justice" (it was an insult to Mohammed). You saw it in the cowards of the mainstream media unwilling to defend free speech during the Mohammed cartoon rage. You saw it in the mau-mauing over the faked Koran-flushings at Camp Delta. You see it in our government's persistent pandering to grievance-mongering groups yelling "Islamophobia" and filing lawsuits at every turn.
And I'm not a tee shirt guy (except on summer weekends), but I do plan to order a couple of these nifty tee shirts, just because I'm so sick of seeing savages prance around in headscarves and unkempt beards and being unable to counter-offend with the same degree of ease. (HT: Michelle Malkin, who says that, "All proceeds will be donated to the Families of Freedom scholarship fund for children and spouses of those murdered on September 11[, 2001].")
Pulling the Plug
Myron makes me laugh out loud:
During the course of the conversation I told her that I never wanted to exist in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and taking fluids from a bottle. She got up, unplugged the TV and threw out all my beer.Good thing my wife doesn't follow blogs too much!