Friday, May 26, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Related: My post, INTERVIEW WITH JOHN COX & ALLEN FORKUM.
Ego preparing for the radio podcast show. Photo from Blue Chip Café. The framed image is Cox & Forkum's editorial cartoon, Bar Codes, 12/22/01, p. 110, Black & White World.
Here is a link to the interview at Egoist.SolidVox.com and here is the MP3 audio file. Read Allen Forkum's comment. If you want to comment on the show, please go to Egoist.ThinkerToThinker.com.
Looking at last year's report I could tell you that I am not planning to take a break from blogging, but at the same time it could be times when I am not posting so much. It is all depending on what is going on at the moment with my start-up business. I am very glad to get assistance from a group of talented guest bloggers who could post now and then. Here are some highlights from the archives:
- GUEST BLOGGING AT SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS.
- POWERBLOG REVIEW BY EGO.
- POST ON PAJAMAS MEDIA.
- CARNIVAL OF THE DANISH RECIPES.
Today I have achieved another milestone. You could hear the result in a few days...
And now it is time for some trivia stats compared with the previous years:
Average visits per day / page views according to SiteMeter.
- May 25, 2006: 143 / 183.
- May 7, 2005: 122 / 186.
- May 7, 2004: 123 / 165.
- May 7, 2003: 50 / 90.
Ranking on BlogStreet:
- 2006: 2,080 of 102,480.
- 2005: 2,371 of 102,767.
- 2004: 7,344 of 144,065.
- 2003: 19,866 of 134,387.
Morris is resting after the annual "board meeting"...
Happy Birthday, Martin!
Today is Martin Lindeskog's birthday, and May 7 marked his fourth year of blogging at Ego.
And yesterday, he started an online store for his new business.
Book Review: They Made America
And while we're speaking of businessmen, Jennifer Snow reviews what sounds like an excellent book on the history of American innovation.
In great dramatic style, [Harold] Evans tells the stories of dozens of people that have truly turned America into what she is today. They are not all inventors, although some, like Edison, are renowned for their inventions, but they are all innovators: people that had a new idea and through courage, canniness, and sheer unadulterated drive, used their idea to rattle the nation.Jennifer is right to start off with the Ayn Rand quote about businesmen she did: Many in America take the great achievements of its innovators and the freedom that makes their achievements possible for granted. This places many of us in grave danger of not being sufficiently motivated to defend either.
An Interesting Idea
The Software Nerd goes for an oil change, and says, "There's a guy under my car!"
Strikes me that the job of the downstairs guy could easily be automated. The crux of his job is finding the right location for the nut that he unscrews. If a machine could do this -- with some positioning-help from the guy upstairs -- the rest of the automation would be simple enough.This post -- of someone's thoughts after an oil change -- may seem mundane, but it is a snapshot of something we Americans too easily take for granted: the creative approach to practical problems that so many of us take.
It is so common for people do this here that it seems normal or even inevitable, but it is not. This -- this willingness to take a critical look at long-established practices -- is how the phrase, "Yankee know-how" came about. And it would explain stories I've heard to the effect that American expatriates, reputed to have a highly practical bent, are often asked by their neighbors for help with things like plumbing and electrical problems.
Mikes Eyes like what they see.
Mike N. takes a look at Ellsworth Toohey's method of attacking the good and compares this with promoting the good.
To paraphrase Toohey:That is an excellent point, which was inspired by Mike's reading of the next post I mention in this week's roundup.Want to destroy the hero? Don't attack the hero. Enshrine the anti-hero, the zero, and you have destroyed hero. Want to destroy individual rights? Don't attack individual rights. Enshrine needs over rights (by moving the context of rights from the individual to the collective and declaring these needs to be group rights.) This process can be used to destroy any good.But this technique can be used in reverse. Want to destroy collectivism? Enshrine individualism. For example, want to destroy diversity? Enshrine peoples' similarities not their differences. But I don't want to be misleading. There is a difference. Toohey wanted to destroy the good not to enshrine any particular evil but to create a void which he would fill. The rational man doesn't seek to destroy anything. He creates the good which blocks the existence of evil. That is why Tara Smith and Gideon [Reich] are right is saying that it is more important to enshrine the good than to just oppose evil. [bold added]
Journal Review: The Objective Standard
Gideon Reich has been posting quite actively lately, and it has all been very good reading. But if you read nothing else of his, read this full review of the first issue of The Objective Standard.
I have commented on the new journal The Objective Standard (TOS) briefly on a previous occasion but it deserves a more thorough review. So following in the footsteps of Mike of The Primacy of the Awesome blog, here are my comments on the premiere issue of TOS. I will begin by repeating my earlier comment that "the issue clearly represents a new milestone in Objectivist publications in every aspect." The professional look of journal deserves high praise -- finally an Objectivist publication that does not look like a pamphlet or newsletter. But let me focus on content as that is what's most important. Here there are five excellent essays and I'll take them each in turn.If you're on the fence at all about subscribing to The Objective Standard, then you will find yourself with two thngs to do today. (1) Read Gideon's review. (2) Subscribe.
(Tangentially-related note: When I read the VanDamme article on education, I became curious about a children's story she mentioned, Frances Hodgson Burnett's "The Secret Garden", because it made me think of something from my past. The entire story is available online.)
Gideon also points out a fascinating discussion of the book The Victory of Reason by Rodney Stark over at The Forum for Ayn Rand Fans.
Film Capsule: Goal! The Dream Begins
I recently mentioned a Scott Holloran review of this soccer movie and concluded that it was probably good, but not quite up there with Bend it Like Beckham. Alex Nunez gives it a positive review.
And you know what? None of it [i.e., the usual sports movie cliches] detracts from the film. It's an absolute blast, even though you kind of feel like you've been there before.I suspect I will still come away liking Bend it Like Beckham better, but now I'm a lot more likely to see it at the theater.
The cast is top-notch, and largely made up of actors who won't be familiar to American audiences. I think that this helps immensely, because that lack of familiarity makes the characters feel more authentic. You look at the actors faces and think only of their characters' names.
As I said, the storyline pretty much follows the standard sports movie formula. You know what the film is working toward, and on the way, director Danny Cannon (CSI) does an excellent job of keeping you interested with some fun little side plots that keep things moving and add some good humor to the proceedings.
As has become customary, I'll end the week's roundup on a light note. Paul Hsieh recently uncovered the ruminations of someone who asked, "Ever wondered what happens when you play a film backwards?" and ran. The best of these was Star Wars.
A rather large moon-sized spaceship suddenly appears in the vast depths of space and, to prevent it from disappearing again, a nice young man called Luke extracts a bomb from its central chambers. The space station re-assembles a disintegrated planet, saving its occupants, and slowly begins to dismantle itself as a group of rebels become more and more disorganised. The young man goes home to his farm.-- CAV
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
- Blue Chip Café Lanyard.
- Blue Chip Café Button.
- Blue Chip Café Clock.
- Blue Chip Café Mug.
- Blue Chip Café Mouse Pad.
- Blue Chip Café Cap.
- Blue Chip Café T-shirt.
- Blue Chip Café Bag (version 1 and 2).
Please tell me if you want me to add a particular product to the store.
Monday, May 22, 2006
In a city still emerging from the floods of Hurricane Katrina, a ship has begun to rise from the ashes of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Bringing together the US's two great calamities of the 21st century, the USS New York is being built in New Orleans with 24 tonnes of steel from the collapsed World Trade Centre. (TheAustralian.news.com.au, 05/23/06.)
Read TigerHawk's post, The USS New York. [Via Pajamas Media.] Related: Roland Horvath's post with the same title.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Friday, May 19, 2006
For more animal pictures, check out Friday Ark #87 at the Modulator.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
I'll kick off this week's roundup with a post over at The Primacy of Awesome that caused me to google my own blog for an entry on Troi "Star" Torain, only to come up empty....
Mike posts the following on "Star the Hater".
[T]he new nut job [to misrepresent Objectivism] is Star the Hater, a radio shock jock who was just arrested for saying (on air) that he was going to piss all over the four year old kid of a rival radio host. Star preaches "Objective Hate," which really just means "Rationalization for Star's Insanity." He even posts on the Rebirth of Reason forum! [link dropped]"Star the Hater? Didn't I post on that idiot before?" I thought upon reading this.
No. But a search through drafts of posts shows that I almost posted about him way back in February. (And you thought I just slapped everything that came to my mind down here on my blog!)
Before I add more to the Star story, I have to point out a problem with Mike's wording. He says, "Don't support loony Objectivists and if you encounter one run away, fast." The sentiment is right, but none of the birds he wrote about is, in fact an Objectivist. They just say or strongly imply that they are.
For more on Star, here's what I wrote in February pretty much unchanged. The links all work, except that the one leading to Star's web site points only to a construction notice, which isn't much less useful than what had been there before.
Via Randex, I have learned of a shock jock who, except for a little twist, would deserve no mention because he is merely the latest idiot to grossly misrepresent Ayn Rand's philosophy and get lots of publicity in the process.
[Troi "Star"] Torain hates everyone, though not equally. A disciple of Ayn Rand, the former record company exec spouts a creed of self-interest he calls "Objective Hate." By attacking all the "losers" around you, says Torain, one can find personal fulfillment, and much wealth. Among Torain's biggest losers are black people, especially black women. Torain, who disavows his own African-American heritage, dismisses black identity as "modern-day tribalism." [bold added]When I first encountered this, I figured this was just another article by a liberal wanting to smear Rand by gratuitously labeling someone as being a fan of Rand. So I did some digging around.
Torain's web site is useless, but I found a couple of other things that show that if Torain ever read Rand, he didn't absorb much of what she had to say.
From a New York entertainment site, I read again (scroll down) that Torain espouses something he calls "Objective hate".
Armed with an Ayn Rand-like philosophy he dubs "objective hate," Star pontificates daily on race relations, religion and sexual politics -- wielding a quick-witted, acidic style that leaves his guests and cohosts scrambling for air time.This review is more positive than the other, but both imply that the program is little more than air time filled with expletives.
And what does Torain offer besides expletives? How 'bout insults and complete ignorance about capitalism? A blogger at Sepia Mutiny reports that Torain prank-called India in a demonstration of total ignorance of the law of comparative advantage and of the rules of etiquette.
STAR (morning DJ on Power 99): I was surprised when I got somebody on the line in East India... [on phone] This call has been outsourced to India?
TINA: That's right.
STAR: Well, ma'am, what the eff would you know about an American white girl's -- uh, uh -- hair? And quick beads.
TINA: Just to inform you, ma'am, we're a national chain services company. And we're just taking calls on the opposite--
STAR: Listen, bitch! Don't get slick with the mouth! Don't you get slick with me, bitch!
TINA: Now if you continue to speak this language, I will disconnect the call.
STAR: Listen to me, you dirty rat eater. I'll come out there and choke the eff out of you. (laughter) You're a filthy rat eater. I'm calling about my American six-year-old white girl [Star is black]. How dare you outsource my call? Get off the line, bitch! (laughter, applause)
And at that point, I guess I ran out of gas, or got busy, or decided that Star Torain wasn't worth thinking that much about. Since he's even more famous now, what I wrote has become blog-worthy.
In sum. Star Torain is not an Objectivist. He's an undereducated, spiteful, very little man, whose use of the term "objective" is about as meaningful as the various profanities he peppers his language with all the time.
Furthermore, Star the Hater's disgraceful behavior is not only not Objectivism in action, it lives up to many of the worst stereotypes of ignorance held by Southern rednecks about blacks that I had the misfortune to grow up quite familiar with. Get a dictionary, a copy of Atlas Shrugged, and a shred of dignity, Mr. Torain. You are an embarrassment.
Comparative Advantage: View from the Third World
One of the few regrets I've had about switching to a job at which I am away from my desk much more often is that I haven't gotten to follow Isaac Schroedinger as much as I used to.
For example, he has an excellent posting about what comparative advantage (and child labor) mean in the Third World. Schroedinger takes a conversation with some Western friends as his point of departure, and draws upon his experience having been raised in Pakistan.
"But... but what about going to school!?"Read it all. He makes some excellent points and paints a fascinating picture besides. He ends with this: "These kids, and often adults, don't have good choices in their lives. The have bad and worse options."
It was this question that made me realize that he, like many Westerners, had little knowledge about the brutal nature of life in the Third World. That guy actually assumed that these young laborers would go to school and later become respected professionals were it not for the sweat shops.
Opposition to child labor is considered to be an all-wise position. I'll offer my thoughts on two experiences to counter this mindset.
Child labor is not intrinsically bad. In fact, under some circumstances, it is a good thing.
Keeping Bad Options Bad
And, as if preventing child labor in the Third World -- which is in some respects merely repeating the same transition to capitalism the West made long ago -- weren't bad enough, what of sending money to aid the children there only to free up the money of the very people who would strap bombs to them?
Gavriel, an Israeli who writes at AbbaGav, has some interesting thoughts on our new norm of "threats as diplomacy", as seen by the Hamastani reaction to the West's recent temporary reduction in its tribute payments to the Arabs living near Israel.
And it's even questionable how fiscally bankrupt the Palestinian regime really is. From the same article:This post is worth reading in full. As to the point Gavriel raises about the moral status of cutting off all aid to the Hamastanis, I would point out that if that were necessary -- and I am afraid it is -- that the consequences of anything done to defend Israel lie squarely on the shoulders of the barbarians who have made it necessary in the first place."We will plan and carry out more martyrdom attacks inside the Green Line regardless of the price and effort," he warned. "Those who are imposing the sanctions on the Palestinians will soon regret their decision."So they have no money and everyone is starving, but they can afford to mount serious military attacks against a neighboring state without any worry about the price. I was under the impression they were dead broke and without any further funding would be unable to do so much as lob unflavored biscuits over the border.
Bureaucrat Effectively Admits: "Me Moron."
Cox and Forkum post a very good roundup on the recent threat by a functionary of the Dutch government to revoke the citizenship of one of her nation's bravest citizens, Somalian refugee and former member of parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Here, they quote from an AP report.
Minister Rita Verdonk said she acted on the basis of a television program that aired last week in which Ayaan Hirsi Ali admitted lying about her name and age on her asylum application when she fled to the Netherlands in 1992 to escape an arranged marriage.Idiot! Perhaps Verdonk could have set aside a regulatory sub-sub-sub-clause or two and considered this lie within the broader context of Ms. Ali's age and the inhuman situation she was attempting to escape.
Be that as it may I am happy to see that the roundup includes what passes for good news -- this backing-off -- in this day and age. This official should have been sacked already, as far as I'm concerned.
And at least -- unless we're talking about Elian Gonzalez -- America is still willing to take a deserving immigrant or two. "U.S. Ambassador Roland Arnall had met with Hirsi Ali to tell her the United States will accept her regardless of her Dutch immigration status."
The fact that this story reached the point it did is yet another serious indication that freedom is in serious trouble in the West.
Veiled Attacks on Freedom?
Daniel Pipes notes that, based on its past behavior, CAIR may be trying to use the movie Flight 93 as an excuse to accuse people of "hate crimes", or at least campaign for more "hate crime" legislation.
Pipes follows with a pertinent roundup.
According to a CAIR press release issued today, the office manager for its Arizona chapter, Bushra Khan, was shopping along with two other head-scarved young Muslim women on April 29 at the Desert Ridge Marketplace in Scottsdale when a middle-aged couple approached them calmly and asked if they were Muslim. After an affirmative reply, the couple indicated they had just watched the film United 93, became enraged, and told the women, "Take off your f**king burqas and get the f**k out of this country. We don't want you in this country. Go home."
Now, I was not present at the Desert Ridge Marketplace when the alleged incident took place, but I do have my doubts about Bushra Khan's reliability, for CAIR's staff has a history of making claims about "hate crimes" and "Islamophobia" that do not stand up to scrutiny. It has also played loose with the facts in other ways.
I personally find Moslem headgear about as offensive as swastika armbands since Islam is the motivation for so much terrorism. While I have never before volunteered this opinion, the fact that CAIR apparently wants to use "hate crime" legislation to force me not to volunteer it basically requires me to voice that opinion now.
The Cartoon Jihad Continues
And if what I just said about Moslem headgear puts a bee in anyone's bonnet, that individual should compare my words to the threats the Danish cartoonists now live under.
[S]everal European secret services are on the lookout for special Islamist commandos allegedly trying to kill the 12 Danish cartoonists involved in the Jyllands Posten Muhammad cartoons. Most probably, a European sleeper cell could be activated for that mission. Nonetheless, an entrance of dangerous Pakistani elements thru Turkey is envisioned.May 3? Why have we heard so little about the attempted murder of this newspaper editor.
In fact, a couple of Al Qaeda messages are warning of targeting the cartoonists along with some European countries. [elaboration and other incidents omitted] ...
All this is happening while a Pakistani student who tried to kill the editor in chief of the German daily Die Welt for publishing the cartoons, was found dead in his German cell on May 3. The cause of death was suicide but the Pakistani press and opinion think differently and anger is brewing.
And the "Code Crusade" Simmers
Via Illustrated Ideas, I have learned of an excellent editorial by Debi Ghate on the recent attacks on our freedom to criticize religion that have been made by the Catholic Church leading up to the impending release of The da Vinci Code.
By suggesting that there is a "right to respect," the bishops are clamoring that we owe them respect regardless of whether we think their beliefs are true or false, worthy of our admiration or denunciation. Many people, of course, do respect the Catholic Church, but others agree with Enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire, who concluded: "Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world." Respect can only be granted willingly, where we judge it to be due, not demanded by those whose ideas we conclude to be false or despicable. There can be no "right" to be respected.We can demand either that our beliefs or our rights be respected. The choices are mutually exclusive.
A Worthy Cause
Noodle Food is out for a week?!?! If you somehow didn't know that, then you are probably also unaware that group blog has solicited your help for the Colorado Books Project.
And if you did know that, maybe you want a reminder!
Ceely on Usage
I like to end my roundups on a light note, and for this purpose, I turn to Craig Ceely, who shares a pet peeve of mine: He notices the misuse of the word "everyday" every day.
[A]ll of these headlines contain the word "everyday," and its use is wrong in every single case. Every one.And if you like this sort of thing, he has co-founded a blog on usage.
The offender is Kathryn Jean Lopez, an educated and intelligent woman who has, we are informed, "been praised for her 'editorial daring,'" and who "stands athwart history," in William F. Buckley, Jr.'s immortal words, at National Review and at National Review Online.
How can she be so wrong, then? Isn't "everyday" a word?
Why yes, it is.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Sunday, May 14, 2006
From Iran With Hate
Related: My post, PERSIAN LIME MARTIN(I).
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Photo from the library at Blue Chip Café. The framed image is Cox & Forkum's editorial cartoon, Wright Brothers 2003.
I have some other announcements to make, but I will hold on to them until some details are covered.
Jennifer Snow on Writing
Jennifer Snow explains why literate people write.
... You can't just have input. Healthy, sane people cannot tolerate living their lives as a sponge soaking up input: at some point they reach "critical mass" and they have to take what they've learned, thought, or realized and turn it into some sort of output. I read like an alcoholic drinks. I think if I didn't write I might very well explode from the unrelieved pressure.That last line made me laugh, but not because I have ever winced when visiting Literatrix.
My only problem is working on the quality of my writing so that I don't have to endure winces when I invariably inflict my efforts on other people.
And speaking of writing, Toiler has a "birth announcement" up over at his blog, Acid Free Paper!
Two on The Da Vinci Code
Alexander Marriott comments on Dan Brown's work as a novel and in the process offers his take on its religious aspects.
The book is an affirmation of everything of any import to Christianity. It does not question Christian ethics, divinity, origins, death, etc., etc., etc. Also, goofy organizations like Opus Dei deserve ridicule even if they don't send out psychotic albinos to perpetuate elaborate coverups. Certainly this is not a moment for Atheists and friends of reason to rejoice, not for this book and movie.Amen. For precisely these reasons I find it absurd -- on first glance -- that this book has the Catholic Church in such a tizzy.
At some level, even if Brown's theories within the novel, which have been published in other books of non-fiction, were true it's irrelevant. Religious people are not at their core concerned with evidence. People who buy into religions believe (depending on the variety) that dead people can come back to life, that the dead will be reborn (perhaps as a different species), that one man can carry an unmovable boulder a hundred miles, that a person can leave their body if they empty their heads for long enough, that they are eating human flesh and drinking human blood but not cannibals, that forgiving those who injure them makes them superior, that mutilating male genitalia is a sign of a compact with an invisible menace in the sky, that worshipping dead relatives will have an impact on the present, that every object has a spirit, that one can effect reality through wishes and hopes alone, etc. etc. The point here is that if evidence and reason actually meant anything fundamental to those who belong to religions there would not be any religions to plague mankind's existence.
On that point, a Capitalism Magazine column by Nick Provenzo explains what the hubbub is really about: a desire to control what is said about religion.
[Francis Cardinal] Arinze is not calling for religious liberty--he is not calling for his right to argue for his philosophy free from coercion. Instead, he holds that his faith gives him the right to silence others. So much for the oft-repeated notion that Christianity begat freedom. Arinze, just like the Islamists who demand that no one blaspheme their prophet, is calling for nothing less than the (re)instillation of religious tyranny.Read it all.
Also, Nick is to be congratulated for his Rule of Reason, one of my favorite blogs, recently joining the 100,000 Club!
Reich on Religion
Gideon Reich posted on the same Dennis Prager column I briefly discussed yesterday. He's more generous to Prager than I was, but made some excellent points nevertheless.
In another post, Reich points to an excellent book review in the New York Times which discusses the religious views of some of the founding fathers. Here's a teaser.
"Were George Washington living today," [Tim] LaHaye [co-author of the "Left Behind" series] has said, "he would freely identify with the Bible-believing branch of evangelical Christianity that is having such a positive influence on our nation." Yet as Peter R. Henriques documents in "Realistic Visionary," Washington never referred to Jesus in any of his letters. Not once during his death ordeal did he call for a minister, ask for forgiveness or express belief in an afterlife. Washington "is better understood as a man of honor than as a man of religion," Henriques concludes.I agree with Gideon. Read it all.
Thanks to Diana Hsieh, I have learned that The Objective Standard has just launched its blog with a post by John Lewis on "The Social Worker and the President"! Somehow, I suspect that I'll be stopping by there regularly, even if the name is boring. Perhaps a "name that blog" contest might generate some fanfare and a well-deserved increase in readership for the parent publication.
And I congratulate the Hsiehs on their seventh year of wedded bliss!
Leave the U.N., Parts 8,001 and 8,002
The Commissar reports that Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and China are all on the United Nations "human rights" council. But then, what can one really expect when a valid concept like "individual rights" is package-dealt with socialism under the rubric of "human rights"? I suppose that if you want people to buy into the concept of the fox guarding the henhouse, it does help to rename the henhouse first.
And "Captain" Ed Morrissey notes yet another delay in the United Nations with regards to Iran. I'm glad he pointed this out, but I beg to disagree very strongly with his last line. Iran has never been serious about negotiations, except as a stalling tactic, and will not be until it is convinced via overwhelming American firepower to negotiate an unconditional surrender and a complete renunciation of jihad.
The United Nations is failing to perform its alleged mission of promoting peace. It has instead plainly become little more than a way for tyrants to buy time and the veneer of respectability for their evil plans. We should end this farce by quitting it permanently. Now.
Mike's Eyes on Rupert Murdoch
I, too, noticed this story (scroll down) yesterday....
I see via DRUDGE that Rupert Murdoch will be holding a fund raiser for Hillary this summer. Why am I not surprised? I never had Mr. Murdoch pegged as a conservative anyway. IMO, he backs Fox because it is a money maker, not because it has conservative leanings. If Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly stop making money, they'll be gone faster than his previous disdain for Hillary. As far as Hillary is concerned, she is a power luster extraordinaire. She stayed with Bill through the Monica scandal to play the "stand by your man" theme to the hilt. (Where was the outrage from the feminists?) Now she is trying to tell conservatives and moderates whatever they want to hear. Some are falling for it.In light of the fervent desire in some quarters to shut down conservative media outlets -- like Fox News -- this is a classic case of a businessman aiding his own destruction.
Life in the Metal Cigar
It is a common joke among those in the submarine service to compare life on a submarine to life in prison. Submarine blogger Vigilis compares this "lifestyle" to a Colorado's ADX SuperMax prison. And Bothenook discusses how men keep their sanity while underway.
Andy tells us where to get the scoop on John Kenneth Galbraith over at The Charlotte Capitalist. Money quote from George Reisman:
What is Galbraith saying? Stripped of the veneer of pseudo-scientific disinterestedness, he is blatantly arguing for the institution of a modern brand of Prussian feudalism!--CAV
Sunday, May 7, 2006
Thursday, May 4, 2006
In the process of adjusting to a new weekly routine, I have moved my weekly "big roundup" to Thursday....
Islam vs. Humanity, Part I
Via Isaac Schroedinger is an account that illustrates just how successfully Islam attacks the very humanity of its followers.
Like many people around the world since 9/11, I too have wondered what it is that inspires Muslims to become such utterly bloodthirsty terrorists. At first, I would insist that the problem lay with Islamic extremists, the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia in particular. When people challenged me on this, arguing that the problem was the moral backwardness inherent in Islam itself, I would dismiss their accusations on the grounds that I personally knew practicing Muslims who were as peaceful and inoffensive as any people on the planet. That latter bit I still know to be true, but the former part of my reasoning -- namely, that the decency of some Muslims exonerated Islam itself -- is not an opinion that I have the energy or the inclination to defend anymore. I just don't feel in my heart that this statement is true. Every ounce of my common sense demands that I stop kidding myself. [bold added]This comes from the son of Iranian immigrants whose family has been Moslem for hundreds of years. His story has to be read fully to be appreciated, but the following is essential.
My grandmother was delighted to see me when I rang my uncle's door bell. My sister and my brother-in-law were with me on that occasion, and there was a lot of good cheer to go around. As my grandmother became increasingly acquainted with my brother-in-law she clearly liked him. I remember that unmistakably. He was definitely welcome in her home. And yet, she would not physically touch him, either to embrace him as a family member, or even to shake his hand. The reason for this was simple: He was not a Muslim, therefore, he was najass. The word means "dirty" -- not dirty in the sense of physically grimy -- but rather spiritually tainted, filthy in a deeper sense, something akin to an "Untouchable" in Hindu society. People who submit to the teachings of Islam are taught that non-Muslims can no more be touched than pork or alcohol. My grandmother truly bore him no ill will, but because she had submitted to Islam, she felt she had to accept its dictates with respect to the treatment of non-Muslims. It was less an act of hostility to my brother-in-law than an act of surrender to her religion. This is what strikes me so forcefully today. As kindly and gentle a person as she was, her kindness had nothing to do with her being Muslim, as I had previously thought. She was kind and decent in spite of being a Muslim, for the only thing she learned from Islam was an arrogant disdain for different faiths and those who practice them. [bold added]I think that it is very important that we in the West understand this about Islam. Moslems accept their religion in an unquestioning way that most of us (even the religious) cannot even being to comprehend. That this religion causes people to simply shut their brains off so thoroughly should give us great pause.
Islam vs. Humanity, Part II
And Schroedinger himself has a fascinating series at his blog (It starts here and its contents are listed here.) which he describes as follows.
The following four essays detail my personal and ideological journey through four countries: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the US, and Canada. If I could recommend only one essay, it would be the third one.From the fourth one comes the following account of a conversation.
I described the various atrocities committed by Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Iranian regime to my friend. One of his Muslim friends was present as well.Note the serious conflict the question of stoning for adultery set up for this man and be glad that most Christians would almost instantly shrug off as beneath consideration similarly inhuman dictates from the Bible.
"What should be the punishment for adultery?" I asked my friend.
He didn't have an answer.
"Should women be stoned to death for adultery like they are in Iran?"
"NO," he said quickly.
That's when his friend pounced on him.
"The Quran sanctions the punishment! Do you disagree with the Quran?"
"Of course not," he said.
"So, you agree with stoning?"
"No, I don't," my friend replied.
"You disagree with the Quran!"
"No," my friend replied.
I watched in silence as my friend couldn't possibly disagree with the words of Allah. Yet, his humanity wouldn't allow him to support the stoning of women. I didn't have to deal with such cognitive dissonance since I'm an ex-Muslim. Stoning women to death is vile and deprave regardless of what the Quran says.
Islam vs. Humanity, Part III
Now, consider how you might react to the following, if you were trained to turn your mind off any time something is demanded by Islam. The heretics in question are Arab reformist intellectuals.
Indeed, this is our Prophet's law regarding anyone who mocks him, and belittles Islam and scorns it... They should be killed... Take an example from Muhammad ibn Maslama and his companions [who assassinated the poet Ka'b ibn Al-Ashraf]. It is intolerable and outrageous that the heretics are among us, scorning our religion and our Prophet.And, if you think Osama bin Laden a villain, would it matter to you that he said this? And, if you disagreed with this, how comfortable -- knowing that you are in the minority and that your opinion might label you a heretic -- would you be in saying so?
Therefore, you must fear Allah and do His will. Do not consult anyone about the killing of these heretics. Be secretive in carrying out that which is required of you.
This is the kind of society we are up against in the current war.
From 1994 to 2006
Wow! In only a dozen years, the Republicans have gone from sweeping into control of the House and promising to dismantle the welfare state "brick by brick" -- to being immensely unpopular and acting like their Democrat predecessors when it comes to energy policy, amid whispers that they are "in trouble". Andy asks, of a $100.00 fuel tax rebate that Senator Frist has backed down from, "How is a $100 tax rebate going to produce more oil?"
And I wonder why they're timidly discussing rebates instead deciding which programs to cut so we can have repeals.
However, I don't see the Republicans getting what they richly deserve in November -- a resounding defeat, -- either.
Taliban Man Ups Ante
"Captain" Ed Morrissey notes that the controversial Yale student who served as an official in the Taliban regime of Afghanistan is now considering applying for a degree-granting program.
The Yale admissions office now has a clear choice, and can no longer hide behind the facade of Hashemi's non-degree status. If they grant Hashemi access to the full range of Yale student privileges, they will send an unmistakable signal that celebrity matters more to Yale than principle, political correctness more than academics, and terrorists more than our own military. This is not an issue of tolerance, a laughable supposition on a campus that makes military service as inconvenient as possible while celebrating the "diversity" of admitting a key member of one of the most intolerant governments in the past fifty years. It's an issue of values -- and whether Yale actually has any at all. [bold added]And, in the meantime, blogger and future Yale faculty member Juan Cole recently came unhinged!
We are not going to let you have a war against Iran.So is Juan Cole supposed to distract us all from Hashemi or is it supposed to be the other way around? Hee hee hee!
So sit down and shut up, American Enterprise Institute, and Hudson Institute, and Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and American Heritage Institute, and institutetitue and that institute, and cable "news", and government "spokesmen", and all the pundit-ferrets you pay millions to make business for the American military-industrial complex and Big Oil.
We don't give a rat's ass what Ahmadinejad thinks about European history or what pissant speech the little shit gives.
Air America: Less Popular than Bush
City Journal's blog reports on the moribund health of the liberal "answer to Rush Limbaugh".
Winter 2006 Arbitron ratings ... show Air America registering a weak 1.0 share in Los Angeles, an even tinier share in Chicago, and a catastrophic drop in New York City, where flagship station WLIB hemorrhaged nearly half its listenership over the last ratings period, falling from a mediocre 1.4 to a pathetic 0.8 share. That's smaller than the all-Caribbean format the network replaced when it first launched in New York and nowhere near the ratings of conservative heavyweights like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity in the city. Air America's Gotham numbers are so dismal that WLIB is booting the network off the station later this summer, industry publication Mediaweek has just announced. [links omitted]So a bunch of strident, brainless, boring Bush-bashing replaced an all-Caribbean format in New York! I'm not exactly thrilled with Bush, but now I really hate Air America! Good riddance!
5-5-06: Corrected a typo. Added cross-posting notice.