Joe Carter has a good series of posts on Ten Ways Darwinists Help Intelligent Design at Evangelical Outpost. If you're interested in the controversy go to the link and scroll down.RLC
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Nine days ago "Mookie" al Sadr threatened a third uprising unless coalition forces stopped forcing his Mahdi militiamen to obey the law. Since then 186 of those militiamen have died trying to kill Americans and Iraqis. Mookie better soon get on with the uprising or else he won't have anyone left to uprise with.RLC
If Reverend Jeremiah Wright was working for the Clinton campaign he probably wouldn't do anything differently than he has been over the last four days. His speeches seem to be deliberately designed to sabotage Obama's candidacy. There's speculation that Wright feels betrayed and embittered by Obama who dissed him by relegating him to the basement during the announcement of his candidacy and who has consistently tried to distance himself from Wright's views ever since.
When Wright opined that Obama is just saying that he disagrees with the Chicago preacher because as a politician he has to say that sort of thing, he effectively called the Illinois senator a liar and implied that Obama really does share his radical, racialist, paranoid views.
It's true that the simplest explanation for what Wright has been doing is that he's very angry at the treatment he's received from his protege and is resolved to make him pay for the lese majeste. I admit, though, that it is possible he's been turned by the Clinton machine. They're like that.
But my own opinion is that thirty years ago the perfidious Karl Rove foresaw this whole scenario unfolding and planted Reverend Wright as a GOP sleeper in Trinity Church to destroy the candidacy of any potential presidents that might emerge from that congregation. I wouldn't put it past him.
I can see lefty heads everywhere nodding knowingly in agreement.RLC
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Is Senator Obama more like George McGovern (1972) or Jimmy Carter (1976)? Andrew Busch at No Left Turns thinks it's Carter:
Like Carter, Obama is a substantively vacuous charmer with minimal big-time experience. Carter had four years in the Georgia governor's mansion; if he is elected, Obama will have had four years in the U.S. Senate.
Like Carter, Obama has based his campaign on a general promise of change and a general posture of piety.
Like Carter, Obama is devoted to "healing" the nation after a harsh period of divisiveness.
Like Carter, Obama has suffered gaffes, but has maintained a reservoir of support that refuses to desert him. Like Obama waxing eloquent about the benighted folks in small-town Pennsylvania, Carter uttered his comment about maintaining the "ethnic purity" of neighborhoods in the weeks leading up to the Pennsylvania primary. Carter won Pennsylvania; Obama lost but retained his national lead in delegates and polls.
And, like Carter, despite his flaws, he is still the odds-on favorite to win the presidency in November. Republicans have not gone into a presidential election facing such stiff headwinds since-well, 1976. On Election Day of that year, Carter squeaked by Gerald Ford after possessing a large set of objective advantages. Obama, should he go on to win the Democratic nomination, will go into the election with at least as large a set of objective advantages.
Busch sees other similarities which you can read at the link.RLC
My Philosophy of Religion class has been reading and critiquing David Hume's argument against miracles this past week. Those students and others may be interested in perusing this post at Uncommon Descent on that very subject. Some of the comments that follow are also worthwhile.RLC
There's been much written in the last day or two about Rev. Jeremiah Wright's recent speeches and his sundry and persistent offenses against reason and common sense, but with it all I haven't seen any comment on something he said at the NAACP speech Sunday night. The Reverend cited research in that speech which shows that whites tend to be left-brained, logical, and analytical while blacks are right-brained, intuitive, and feeling-oriented. The races differ, the preacher intoned, in both their learning styles and their dispositions toward particular modes of thought.
I expected that this disquisition on racial difference would set off a firestorm of protest, especially among African-Americans, because in his attempt to defend the different ways black children learn he tacitly acknowledged that blacks simply can't measure up to whites in the kind of thinking required for careers in engineering, math, physics, etc. The implicit corollary of this is that if there are different types of learning then there may be good reason to resurrect the old and discredited idea of "separate but equal" schools. If blacks and whites have different aptitudes then what works well for whites won't succeed with blacks and vice versa so why not educate them differently? In a single speech Rev. Wright catapulted the racial conversation all the way back to 1953, before Brown v. Board of Education, and inadvertently laid the premise for a return to racial segregation, at least in education.
If Jeremiah Wright is correct then we can never hope to see robust numbers of blacks in fields that require left-brained thinking, and if those fields are to be ceded to whites and Asians as their exclusive domain then how will blacks avoid being tagged with the stigma of intellectual inferiority? If a white speaker had made the point Wright made there would be howls of protest at the inherent racism of the claim, but Wright's NAACP audience appeared to receive the news of black inferiority with enthusiasm.
For the sake of African-Americans let's hope that those at the NAACP meeting didn't realize what they were applauding, and let's hope, too, that Rev. Wright is as wrong about this as he is about so much else.RLC
Monday, April 28, 2008
Demand for oil, fueled by increasing affluence in India, China, and Russia as well as the production of cheaper cars making it possible for millions of people in these countries to own their own vehicles, will push oil prices as high as $8.00 a gallon within just four years according to this forecast at Breitbart. This will happen, it's claimed, despite the fact that consumption in the U.S. will decline due to high pump prices and flatter economy.
The U.S. can partly mitigate the coming calamity by opening up the Alaskan North Slope and our offshore fields, building more refineries, and constructing nuclear power generating facilities (which even the founder of Greenpeace favors). The question is whether a Democratic congress, thick with people who are averse to nuclear power and who have been calling for years for high gas prices as an environmental and conservation measure, will now reverse themselves. It'll take some strong leadership in Washington, and I don't know who among the current political class has the credibility, talent and political power required to turn the supertanker of state in time to keep it from running aground.
We can also forestall the crisis by developing public transportation and rapid transit infrastructure in some of our fastest growing regions. The sun may be setting on the day of the daily one to two hour round trip highway commute.
Meanwhile, if this prognostication is correct say good-bye to your SUVs, Hummers, and pick-up trucks. Inflationary gas prices will be a major inconvenience to us, to be sure, and will doubtless radically change the way we live, but it will be a total disaster to much of the world's poor who will likely starve to death as a result. It will moreover be very likely to precipitate increased warfare, perhaps even WWIII, as some nations seek to secure an oil supply and others seek to use their oil resources as a weapon.
We can't afford to wait to increase the supply of oil on the world market, but the ball is in the Democrats' court.
Exit question: Why are not any of the presidential candidates being asked what they will do to prevent this looming catastrophe?RLC
Bill Dembski cleverly descries an irony in Yoko Ono's lawsuit against the producers of the recently released movie Expelled, featuring Ben Stein. She's suing because they used, presumably without permission, a clip from her husband's song Imagine which is copyrighted. The irony is in the lyrics of the song:
Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger, A brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people, sharing all the world.
Apparently, Yoko's not actually cool with John's dream.
Dembski also recalls Elvis Costello's query in The Other Side of Summer: "Was it a millionaire who said 'imagine no possessions'"?
The funny thing about this is that Yoko and others are trying to stifle a movie which documents the contemporary threat to academic and intellectual freedom. By trying to hamper the film they're unwittingly doing precisely what the movie says they do. You can't buy that kind of publicity.RLC
Saturday, April 26, 2008
This will certainly make the Israelis uneasy. A man by the name of Hatem El-Hady, formerly a big fund raiser for Hamas, an organization that specializes in blowing Israeli children to bits, has now devoted himself to raising money for the Barack Obama campaign. El-Hady was chairman of the Toledo-based Islamic charity Kindhearts, until it was closed down by the U.S. government in 2006 for terrorist fundraising.
El-Hady's web page listed three special friends, and one of the three turned out to be none other than Michelle Obama. One wonders what it feels like to be a "special friend" of a man who finances the murders of children. Since the story broke El-Hady has taken his web page down, but Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has the screen shots if you care to view them.
The FOBs (Friends of Barack) continue to make life difficult for the presidential candidate. One wonders if he has any associates at all who are neither under indictment (Tony Rezko), nor paranoid fabulists (Jeremiah Wright), nor terrorists (William and Bernadine Ayers and now El-Hady).
Senator Obama makes us hope - hope that we don't find out next that he's receiving contributions from Osama bin Laden.
By now you've probably heard that the CIA has reported to Congress that the Israeli air strike into Syria last September took out a plutonium reactor supplied by North Korea which would have been capable of eventually producing weapons grade fissile material had the Israelis not destroyed it. Once again the world owes Israel a debt of gratitude.
The North Koreans are embarrassed at being caught cooperating with Syria's pursuit of nuclear weapons and the Syrians are afraid there will be further reprisals by the U.S. So, one story has it, Syrian police took one of Saddam's most-wanted henchmen, Izzat Ibrahim, who had been hiding out in Syria, and pushed him across the border into Iraq as a good-will offering of sorts to the U.S.. There's been no U.S. confirmation of this story, but you can read about all of these developments at the DEBKAfile.RLC
Back on April 3rd I opined that if Hillary doesn't win the nomination this time around I expect her to do everything she can, sub rosa, to help McCain win in November. It's in her interest, if she wants to be president in 2012, to see Obama lose this election, but she must appear to be supportive even as she undermines his candidacy by leaking unflattering information about him to the media or to McCain's people.
So, I was interested in this comment by Rick Lowry at National Review:
If Hillary can't win the nomination - and it's clearly very, very hard for her - she's basically a stalking horse for McCain. She's preparing the demographic ground for McCain, by getting white working-class Democrats used to (if you will) not voting for Obama. And she's softening Obama up for McCain, prodding at and exposing her fellow Democrats' weaknesses.
One consequence of staying in the race is that it makes it much harder for Obama to win in November. Lowry doesn't say that she's doing this intentionally, but why wouldn't she? If she stays in the fray there's a remote chance she could win the nomination, but even if she doesn't, by continuing to fight she increases the likelihood that Obama will lose in November which would open the door for her in 2012.
If you wish to understand the Clintons' political thinking, just ask yourself what course of action would be most likely to get her to the White House. It's also helpful to read Machiavelli. I'm sure she does:
UPDATE: Dan Abrams at MSNBC was saying last night that this same thesis is being bandied about by several congresspersons in D.C. I must say that I'm flattered that members of Congress are reading Viewpoint.RLC
Friday, April 25, 2008
This is a clip from an early Nazi film seeking to justify forced sterilization on the basis of Darwin's theory of natural selection. Whatever the film says, though, don't fall for that anti-Darwinian humbug that there's any connection between Darwin's ideas and Nazi praxis. Gracious, no. That would be so uninformed of you:
No Left Turns asks a question that I've also wondered about:
Several blogs have linked to material about William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, noting that Dohrn and Ayers helped Obama start his political career in the 1990s.
The focus on Obama, and whether there is any significance to his connection (whatever it is) with Ayers, has obscured the real scandal here. Both Ayers and Dohrn are now faculty members in good standing at Universities in the Chicago area. Their views are virtually unchanged from those they held in their younger days. Moreover, their views are probably hard to distinguish from those held by a significant number of their colleagues. The scandal, in other words, is that no one has asked why that is the case, and how we might change it. Are our colleges and universities damaged beyond repair?
William Ayers teaches education courses to prospective teachers at University of Illinois at Chicago, a taxpayer funded school, by the way, and his wife teaches at Northwestern. Ayers was a self-confessed terrorist who bombed a number of buildings back in the sixties and tried to kill police. He would have gone to jail for attempted murder except for a technical mistake in the investigation which got him off. He has said recently that he wishes he had done more. His wife did go to jail for about a year for aiding and abetting the Weather Underground in a number of their crimes and according to Powerline has publicly and enthusiastically approved of the Charles Manson folks for their grisly murders of a pregnant movie actress and her companions. Today she teaches law at Northwestern.
One wonders whether the schools which employ Ayers and Dohrn would hire someone who bombed abortion clinics or the editorial offices of The New York Times. One wonders especially whether they would be permitted to teach education and law. I have a hard time picturing it.
Meanwhile, Guillermo Gonzalez, an astronomer who is by all accounts a fine man with a number of academic distinctions to his credit, was denied tenure by Iowa State University because he commited the grievous sin of thinking that the universe shows evidence of having been intentionally planned. So he's out of a job, and while he searches for a position through which he can make a positive contribution to society these two unrepentant psychopathic terrorists are being paid to teach our children to destroy their society, and the administrators and state legislators of Illinois are evidently fine with that.
What's more, this pair of violent felons is evidently chummy with the man who may well be the next president of the United States.
God help us.
Michelle Malkin has much more on Mr. and Mrs. Ayers and others who are connected to the man who promises us hope and change.RLC
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Senator Obama is being called an elitist by both Republicans and Democrats alike for his remarks concerning bitter Pennsylvanians who cling to guns, religion and xenophobia. I think this is a bit unfair, actually, because although it might be that he actually does think people who embrace religion, own firearms, and oppose illegal immigration are motivated by bitterness, one can not logically infer that from what he said. In other words, people who are bitter may do X,Y, and Z, but it doesn't follow that those who do X,Y, and Z are bitter.
Anyway, it's the assumption that elitism is somehow a bad thing that I'd like to consider in this post. Like prejudice and discrimination, whether elitism is an undesirable character trait depends a lot on the kind of elitism we're talking about. To explain what I mean I've dredged up a column I wrote for the local paper about ten years ago and which I've revised only slightly:
The current election campaign has spotlighted a rift between races in this country and sparked some agonizing over what should be done about it. Perhaps I'm naive, but I can't help wondering how much of the apparent gulf between Americans is a function of race and how much of it is actually a function of class. I'm willing to be proven wrong, but I suspect that for many people of all colors, the great social fault line in our society runs between classes; classes as defined not by one's income, but as defined by the moral principles which inform and govern an individual's life and conduct. And surely Americans of every hue populate both sides of this divide.
Unfortunately, use of the word class distresses some who complain that it is just an insidious code word for race, and that when people try to justify distinctions based on class they're really trying to rationalize old-fashioned racial bias. This criticism is valid, however, only in the unlikely event that all members of a given race hold identical moral convictions so that to mention their race is to identify their values. Failing that, the objection reduces to the rather disingenuous ploy of defining another's words to mean whatever one wants them to mean.
Other critics will point out that in our politically correct post-modern world "everyone knows" that no individual's values are any better than anyone else's and that to think otherwise is to be guilty of elitism; to which the appropriate response is: So what.
In The Moviegoer, novelist Walker Percy puts it somewhat differently, if no less bluntly, when he has a Louisiana matriarch named Aunt Edna address herself to this very issue. She says:
"I'll make a little confession. I am not ashamed to use the word class. I will also plead guilty to another charge. The charge is that people in my class think they're better than other people. You're damn right we're better. We're better because we do not shirk our obligations to ourselves or to others. We do not whine. We do not organize a group and blackmail the government. We do not prize mediocrity for mediocrity's sake....Ours is the only civilization in history which has enshrined mediocrity as its national ideal....They say out there that we think we're better. You're damn right we're better and don't think they don't know it."
This proud woman wasn't about to apologize for the obvious political incorrectness of her "elitist" sentiments. Neither should anyone else. Elitism based upon moral principle, so far from being some awful sin, is in fact a virtue, a salutary antidote to the infection of moral relativism currently metastasizing within our culture. This may scandalize those who feel that nobody should be so chauvinistic as to think his principles to be actually better than the next person's, but the irony needs to be noted that those who feel this way evidently believe their own moral egalitarianism to be preferable to my moral elitism.
Aside from those enumerated by Aunt Edna, though, what exactly are the virtues which distinguish her "better" class of people? Without attempting an exhaustive list, it's probably correct to say for starters that, no matter what their race, men and women of this class take a great deal of pride in their work, their property, and their character. They assume responsibility for their actions. They strive to be cordial, courteous, and considerate of others. They're dependable, trustworthy, and temperate, willing to defer short-term gratification for long-term benefit. They're frugal, faithful to their spouses, and committed to the well-being of their families. They're mindful of the fact that children do not raise themselves very well and that properly ushering a child into adulthood requires an enormous investment of time, energy, and self-sacrifice. They enjoy and appreciate excellence, especially in the arts and other forms of entertainment. They esteem education, especially for their children, and possess at least a modest appreciation for the life of the mind.
Why should anyone shrink from affirming the pre-eminence of these qualities and from regarding those who share them to be of superior moral timber to those who don't? And why should the social levelers among us be allowed to succeed in making people feel there is something wrong with choosing to avoid the society of those whose lives and habits are the very antithesis of these values?
It must be said again that this is not a matter of race or economics. People of all colors and incomes cherish these virtues and feel uncomfortable around those who don't. Indeed, it is perhaps true to say that many people who share them feel more comfortable in each other's company, regardless of their ethnicity, than they do in the company of members of their own race who don't share them.
Moreover, when people are made to feel guilty for believing their convictions to be more noble than their contraries, or when substantial numbers of people are persuaded that the precepts one lives by are merely arbitrary preferences, none of which is any better than any other, then, as with money, the worse will inevitably drive out the better. The lowest moral classes will eventually succeed in establishing the behavioral norms of the culture, and the principles, or lack of them, which govern their own lives and which are in large measure responsible for their being lower class in the first place, will eventually percolate upward, like some toxic gas, and permeate the rest of society.
The denouement will be a social unraveling, corruption and disintegration that will substantially diminish the quality of life of everyone.
Three cheers, therefore, for Aunt Edna.RLC
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The Darwinists are in high dudgeon over the implication in the documentary Expelled that the Nazis were among the intellectual heirs of Charles Darwin.
Nevertheless, if people believe that all morality is subjective; that humans are simply animals with no soul; that there's no imago Dei; that we are locked in a struggle for survival one species against another, one race against another; that some races are more gifted by nature than others, and others more debased; and that killing and extinction are part of nature's grand scheme - then it's easy to see how those people might come to see a genocidal holocaust as consistent with the way the world is and not at all "wrong" in any moral sense.
Darwin believed all of these things and though he himself would have doubtless recoiled from any genocidal implications, some of those who were influenced by him were prepared to follow the logic all the way to its grisly end. Darwin's ideas, as distinct from his own character, were completely compatible with the thinking of the Nazis. Given the truth of Darwinian materialism might makes right and there is simply no inconsistency in promoting the "final solution."
On the other hand, it's hard to see how the holocaust could ever come about in a world in which people believe that there is an objective, transcendent right and wrong; that man is created in the image of God and that all men are equally loved by God; who believe that there is no innate competition between races or species but all were created to live in harmony with each other; that death is an evil intrusion into the created order rather than part of the normal order of things and that deliberately killing innocent women and children is morally abhorrent.
Had the Nazis and the German people fervently held those convictions the holocaust would never have happened, and had that set of convictions prevailed anywhere else that there have been similar genocides before and since the German atrocities, none of them would have ever occured either.
Genocide, at least in the West, has almost always been carried out by people who hold to the same worldview as Charles Darwin did. Maybe there's something wrong with the worldview.RLC
Strategy Page brings us this news about the state of the battle against al Qaeda in Iraq:
April 22, 2008: Between mid-March and mid-April, al Qaeda suffered major losses in Iraq. American and Iraqi troops killed or captured 53 al Qaeda leaders. These include men in charge of entire cities (or portions of large cities like Mosul or Baghdad), as well as men in charge of various aspects of terror operations (making bombs, placing them or minding the bombers).
Most important, nine of the ten most senior men involved were captured, and interrogated. This led to locating more al Qaeda staff and assets. Hundreds of weapons and explosives caches have been discovered this year as a result of interrogating captured terrorists. The result has been a sharp fall in suicide bomber attacks, and the ones still carried out are against soft targets (civilians), including the recent funeral of two men earlier killed by terrorists. This was part of an al Qaeda campaign to force Sunni Arabs to switch sides again and support terrorism. But these attacks have the opposite effect, causing more hatred for al Qaeda.
This is pretty significant news, I should think, and I thought those readers concerned about the war would want to know it. I'm pretty sure you haven't heard it on CBS, ABC, NBC, or CNN or read about it in Newsweek, Time, U.S. News or in the major papers. For those media outlets the only significant news about Iraq, apparently, is news about setbacks and American casualties.RLC
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
A lot of Obama supporters were outraged that their man was asked in his last debate with Hillary Clintion about his associations with terrorist William Ayers and anti-American preacher Jeremiah Wright. Complaints in the MSM and blogosphere were loud and numerous that the debates should be about issues and that the matters dwelt upon by ABC's debate moderators are just distractions.
I don't think so. Debates, to the extent they're useful, which isn't often, should only be about issues if there's a clear difference between the candidates' positions. In the case of Senators Clinton and Obama there's not a sliver of ideological daylight between them, and, besides, whatever differences may exist won't matter anyway when the winner moves into the White House. Very few presidents do what they said they would do during those debates, George Bush being an exception.
The purpose of a debate in a campaign such as we have today between the two Democrats aspiring to the presidency should be to show the party faithful something of the character of the candidates and which of the two is most electable. In that case questions about Obama's friendship with Ayers and Wright are very relevant.
After all, if it transpired that John McCain was found to have been friendly with an abortion clinic bomber and that he had had as his pastor for twenty years a man who consorted with known anti-semites, despised his country and held bigoted views toward blacks, I doubt that Obama supporters would think those associations to be mere distractions.RLC
Here's an article that will interest everyone who owns a car. Car owners often hear conflicting advice as to how often one should change the oil in their automobiles. This piece explains why the old standard of every 3000 miles is no longer applicable:
For years the accepted oil change interval (as per the carmakers) has been every 3 months or 3 thousand miles, whichever comes first. Why? Because the oils of yesterday degraded and broke down when left in the crankcase environment for longer than the prescribed interval. The combination of heat, friction, and the oil oxidizing over time resulted in an unholy clothing of the engine's internal parts called sludge.
As an automotive machinist for a good part of my career, I can tell you that sludge is an engine killer. Sludge takes a greasy, cake-like oily form and plugs oil return passages and acts like a sponge and soaks up good oil to grow its grotesque form starving the engine of vital lubricants.
Once established, engine heat crystallizes it to a hardened rock of ughhhhhh, I have spent many an hour scraping and yes, sometimes chiseling established sludge from the inside of an engine before performing a machining operation on it! As the machinist prepares to perform a machine operation on a cylinder head, crankshaft, engine block or the likes he/she must clean their work meticulously before performing the prescribed operation. If the sludge is not cleaned properly, the result will be a failed engine.
Why this lesson about sludge? Because without clean good quality oil in your car's engine, it will develop sludge and cause premature engine failure.
Go to the link for the author's recommendation and his rationale for it.RLC
I need to visit the Huffington Post more often; there's some remarkable stuff there. Take Sunday's piece by novelist Nora Ephron, for example. What she reveals about the seamy truth of her party is just scandalous. She writes:
This is an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I don't mean people, I mean white men. How ironic is this?
Here's how ironic it is. The men she's talking about, the "white men" who'll be voting against either the woman or the black man in today's primary in Pennsylvania, are all Democrats. Liberal Democrats, for the most part. Ephron is revealing what she believes to be an ugly truth about white male liberals: They're racist, misogynist bigots.
According to Ms Ephron Democrat males who vote for Hillary are not doing so because they like her but rather because they hate blacks and those who vote for Obama are not doing so because they like him but because they hate women. This is a quite astonishing admission. The assumed repository of tolerance and righteousness in our polity, the Democratic party, is thoroughly infected with the bacillus of race hatred and sexism. Who'd have thought it?
She goes on:
To put it bluntly, the next president will be elected by them: the outcome of Tuesday's primary will depend on whether they go for Hillary or Obama, and the outcome of the general election will depend on whether enough of them vote for McCain. A lot of them will: white men cannot be relied on, as all of us know who have spent a lifetime dating them.
White men cannot be relied upon? I think you can pretty much rely upon conservative white men to vote for the most conservative candidate. Ms Ephron evidently means that liberal white men, as every woman knows, cannot be relied upon. Fascinating.
And McCain is a compelling candidate, particularly because of the Torture Thing. As for the Democratic hope that McCain's temper will be a problem, don't bet on it. A lot of white men have terrible tempers, and what's more, they think it's normal.
I wonder if a post that said similar things about blacks or women would be allowed at HuffPo. Perhaps the sacred categories of racism and sexism don't pertain when the object of ridicule and insult is white men. It is quite acceptable to smear them as much as one cares to. In the liberal universe racism and sexism are crimes of which only white men can be guilty so Ms Ephron is immunized against the charge that her post is perhaps one of the most bigoted pieces of writing ever to appear in the mainstream blogosphere.
Hillary's case is not an attractive one, because what she'll essentially be saying (and has been saying, although very carefully) is that she can attract more racist white male voters than Obama can.
Yes, and this is in the Democratic party, too. Who would have guessed that a Democrat of Ms Ephron's stature would so blatantly acknowledge that her party is chock-full of bigoted cretins? Next time a male of your acquaintance identifies himself as a Democrat ask him why he's such a racist pig.RLC
Monday, April 21, 2008
Which is the most odious regime on planet earth today, you wonder? Ed Morrisey makes a good case for it being Communist China. The ChiComs have just sent a shipment of weapons and ammo to Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe to help him prop up his faltering tyranny there. This follows their support for Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Myanmar and their brutal oppression of Tibet. That's quite a record of support for human depravity.
Wherever peoples are oppressed these days, two constants appear. One is the inevitable chorus of apologists with ready excuses for the oppressors, blaming colonialism from a century ago or Crusades from a millenium past. The other is the Chinese government.
In Iran, the Chinese refuse to meaningfully support the sanctions regime intended on both ending nuclear proliferation and the reign of the mullahcracy. In Sudan, Beijing props up the government that conducts genocides against its own people and allied with Arab Janjaweeds to conduct a parallel Islamic ethnic cleansing. They have kept Kim Jong-Il in power for decades while North Koreans starve to death. Now they want to prop up Robert Mugabe while Zimbabwe melts from a self-sufficient nation to a failed state of starving masses.
Why do the Chinese seem so insistent on subsidizing oppression? It's not just oil. That could certainly be the reason in Iran and Sudan, but not in North Korea or Zimbabwe. Rather, it seems to be a deliberate policy to support regimes that murder, starve, and oppress people. There is a word for that - evil.
After this latest proof of Chinese policy, the International Olympic Committee has even more reason to hide their heads in shame this summer when they supply Beijing with its propaganda platform.
Indeed. After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in the 1970s we boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980. We should do the same thing to the Chinese whose support for Mugabe and the others is contemptible.RLC
The media has suddenly lost their voice with regard to the fighting in Basrah in the south of Iraq. You'll recall that three weeks ago Basrah was being portrayed as the Waterloo of the Iraqi army (IA) which had been halted in its tracks, suffering casualties, numerous defections and ignominious defeat at the hands of Muqtada al Sadr's powerful Mahdi army.
The media at the time were at full volume crowing about the IA's inadequacies, but sage observers cautioned against concluding too much from just one phase of the battle. This turns out to have been good advice. The IA seems to have surrounded the Mahdi fighters in Basrah and, with U.S. logistical and air support, are decimating them in Baghdad. Perhaps because it's good news you probably haven't heard about this from the MSM, but if you go to Long War Journal, Bill Roggio will fill you in on what's been happening.
Here's a key paragraph:
Iraqi and Coalition forces have inflicted serious casualties on the Mahdi Army since launching Operation Knights' Assault. Four hundred Mahdi Army fighters have been killed since March 25, while Iraqi soldiers have lost 15 killed in fighting and have had another 400 wounded. More than 400 Mahdi Army fighters were captured and 1,000 wounded in the clashes in Basrah alone.
Somebody please explain to the folks at the New York Times that a mortality ratio of 7:1 is a disaster for the Mahdi army, not a decisive victory.RLC
If you have been keeping up with the media churn over the recently released documentary Expelled you will have noticed that there have been some critical reviews, particularly in the more liberal media outlets. Perhaps these have you wondering about the trustworthiness of either the movie or the review. Before you decide which you should place your confidence in you might wish to read a very helpful review of the reviews. If that one's a little too lengthy you might settle for a shorter chortle at the New York Times' silly assessment of the film.
It should be kept in mind that this is not a movie about creationism, nor is it really primarily about the intelligent design/Darwinism debate. It's really about academic freedom and the suppression of a free exchange of ideas by the Darwinian power structure.
It opened this past weekend and scored the second highest opening box for a political documentary ever. Only Fahrenheit 9/11 did better and that was on a topic of broader interest and had much more favorable media buzz prior to its release.RLC
Saturday, April 19, 2008
A student of mine, a former Marine who served in Iraq during the early period of the war, responds to the video of Democratic leaders prior to 2003 pronouncing their conviction that Saddam Hussein had WMD and that he must be dealt with.
His reply is on the Feedback page.RLC
George Will avers that modern liberal elitism got its start not so much with FDR but with Adlai Stevenson back in the 1950s. Barack Obama, Will writes, is actually Stevenson's successor:
Obama may be the fulfillment of modern liberalism. Explaining why many working class voters are "bitter," he said they "cling" to guns, religion and "antipathy to people who aren't like them" because of "frustrations." His implication was that their primitivism, superstition and bigotry are balm for resentments they feel because of America's grinding injustice.
By so speaking, Obama does fulfill liberalism's transformation since Franklin Roosevelt. What had been under FDR a celebration of America and the values of its working people has become a doctrine of condescension toward those people and the supposedly coarse and vulgar country that pleases them.
When a supporter told Adlai Stevenson, the losing Democratic presidential nominee in 1952 and 1956, that thinking people supported him, Stevenson said, "Yes, but I need to win a majority." When another supporter told Stevenson, "You educated the people through your campaign," Stevenson replied, "But a lot of people flunked the course." Michael Barone, in "Our Country: The Shaping of America From Roosevelt to Reagan," wrote: "It is unthinkable that Roosevelt would ever have said those things or that such thoughts ever would have crossed his mind." Barone added: "Stevenson was the first leading Democratic politician to become a critic rather than a celebrator of middle-class American culture -- the prototype of the liberal Democrat who would judge ordinary Americans by an abstract standard and find them wanting."
Will explains how the progressive elite bypasses the people to implement its goals and objectives. The people, progressives believe, are literally too dull to know what's best for them. They have a "false consciousness," that misleads and blinds them to the nature of their true good:
... Because the manipulable masses are easily given a "false consciousness" (another category, like religion as the "opiate" of the suffering masses, that liberalism appropriated from Marxism), four things follow:
First, the consent of the governed, when their behavior is governed by their false consciousnesses, is unimportant. Second, the public requires the supervision of a progressive elite which, somehow emancipated from false consciousness, can engineer true consciousness. Third, because consciousness is a reflection of social conditions, true consciousness is engineered by progressive social reforms. Fourth, because people in the grip of false consciousness cannot be expected to demand or even consent to such reforms, those reforms usually must be imposed, for example, by judicial fiats.
Read the rest of Will's essay to see how this relates to Senator Obama and his analysis of the "bitter" American.
If you've ever wondered why President Bush thought Saddam Hussein was a terror threat to the U.S. and was working on weapons of mass destruction, this video very clearly explains it. He was listening to the Democrats.
Watch this and you'll have to wonder whether, if Bush lied us into the war, all these Democrats were lying as well. You'll also have to wonder how these same people can possibly keep a straight face while accusing Bush of going into Iraq under false pretenses.RLC
Friday, April 18, 2008
The movie Expelled being released this weekend has the Darwinists in a swivet because it draws a link between Darwinian evolution and Nazism. This, the modern day Darwinists protest, is simply beyond the pale. Richard Weikert, author of From Darwin to Hitler, rejoins that indeed the connection is historically demonstrable. He offers for our consideration six key elements of Darwin's thought that were enthusiastically embraced by the Nazis:
1. Darwin argued that humans were not qualitatively different from animals. The leading Darwinist in Germany, Ernst Haeckel, attacked the "anthropocentric" view that humans are unique and special.
2. Darwin denied that humans had an immaterial soul. He and other Darwinists believed that all aspects of the human psyche, including reason, morality, aesthetics, and even religion, originated through completely natural processes.
3. Darwin and other Darwinists recognized that if morality was the product of mindless evolution, then there is no objective, fixed morality and thus no objective human rights. Darwin stated in his Autobiography that one "can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones."
4. Since evolution requires variation, Darwin and other early Darwinists believed in human inequality. Haeckel emphasized inequality to such an extent that he even classified human races as twelve distinct species and claimed that the lowest humans were closer to primates than to the highest humans.
5. Darwin and most Darwinists believe that humans are locked in an ineluctable struggle for existence. Darwin claimed in The Descent of Man that because of this struggle, "[a]t some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races."
6. Darwinism overturned the Judeo-Christian view of death as an enemy, construing it instead as a beneficial engine of progress. Darwin remarked in The Origin of Species, "Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows."
These six ideas were promoted by many prominent Darwinian biologists and Darwin-inspired social thinkers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. All six were enthusiastically embraced by Hitler and many other leading Nazis. Hitler thought that killing "inferior" humans would bring about evolutionary progress. Most historians who specialize in the Nazi era recognize the Darwinian underpinnings of many aspects of Hitler's ideology. . . .
Weikert's book, despite being assiduously ignored by Darwinists, is a thoroughly documented elaboration of the connection between Darwin's ideas and the attitudes toward racial purity and eugenics that were widespread among German intellectuals in the early twentieth century and which were carried to their logical conclusion by the Nazis in the 1930s and early 1940s. His book should be read by anyone who wishes to know more about the Darwinism/Nazism nexus. Ideas really do have consequences.RLC
Here's an irony. College students at George Washington University, who would presumably not hesitate to sign a declaration demanding an end to our engagement in Iraq, nevertheless refuse to sign a declaration against genocide. Even the Young Republican organization on campus came down with a sudden case of writer's cramp when asked to append their signatures to the declaration:
When George Washington University senior Sergio Gor tried to get campus student groups to sign a Declaration Against Genocide last week, he thought it would be a no-brainer. Who, after all, wouldn't support a statement endorsing such uncontroversial tenets as the "right of all people to live in freedom and dignity," the equal dignity of men and women, and the freedom of conscience?
All too many, as it turned out. Having approached all the largest student groups at the school to support the declaration, Gor, the president of the George Washington chapter of the Young America's Foundation, was refused time and again. For most students, the message of the declaration, which is a central component of the Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week sponsored by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, was simply too "controversial to support."
Read the rest of the article here.
I once watched a hawk swoop down and seize a chipmunk. The chipmunk, once secured in the hawk's talons, didn't even twitch. There was no struggle, no fight, just resignation to its fate.
Apparently there are a lot of chipmunks at George Washington. The University's namesake must be spinning in his grave down the road at Mt. Vernon.RLC
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Bill Maher continues his quest to become the world's most odious man with his recent attack on Pope Benedict. Having already expressed his wish for the death of Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh, Maher now calls the Pope a Nazi, the leader of a cult of pedophiles, and his supine audience exults in the hilarity of it all.
Maher's "humor" is as craven as it is sick since he knows he'll get nothing but kudos from all the beautiful people, and he'll anger only those yokels in the Catholic Church. He's been hammering Catholicism in particular, and American religion in general, for years but has not yet found the time to do likewise to Islam. I'm sure, though, that ridicule of Islam is in the pipeline. His writers are no doubt working even now on a few wisecracks about Mohammed and his nine year-old wife.
We'll let you know when Maher delivers the lines. His audience will certainly be rolling in the aisles, or at least part of them will.RLC
NewsMax reports that signs continue to point to an imminent war with Iran:
Contrary to some claims that the Bush administration will allow diplomacy to handle Iran's nuclear weapons program, a leading member of America's Jewish community tells Newsmax that a military strike is not only on the table - but likely.
"Israel is preparing for heavy casualties," the source said, suggesting that although Israel will not take part in the strike, it is expecting to be the target of Iranian retribution.
"Look at Dick Cheney's recent trip through the Middle East as preparation for the U.S. attack," the source said.
Cheney's hastily arranged 9-day visit to the region, which began on March 16, included stops in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman, Turkey, and the Palestinian territories.
Read the rest of the article. It may be that war is not on the near horizon, but much of the Middle East appears to be acting as if it were.RLC
My friend Byron is a bookseller and probably knows as much or more about the Christian book market as anyone in the country. He was therefore especially interested in the post (Easy Way Out) on the study by David Kinnaman titled Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity.
He shares his thoughts on our Feedback page. Along the way he gently chides me for not being more sympathetic to the opinions expressed by the respondents in Kinnaman's study. He makes several worthy points, but in my defense I have to say that I'm just a wee bit weary of hearing the complaints that Kinnaman's research turned up. There is so much good taking place in most American churches and most of the people in those churches are such good and decent people that I suspect that anyone who offers up the complaints that Kinnaman's respondents did simply hasn't taken the trouble to look into the matter very deeply or is looking to rationalize their rejection of the church.
Sure, there are problems and embarrassments (I'm doubtless one of them), but compared to the good that is being done in our communities by our churches it seems almost churlish for outsiders to dwell on them. Here's a short list off the top of my head of good organizations and good things being done in the city and county where I live that probably wouldn't exist or get done were it not for Christians: Food Banks, soup kitchens, homeless and abuse victim shelters, food and clothing drives, disaster relief such as missions to rebuild Katrina-ravaged areas, crisis pregnancy counselling, homes for the elderly, medical facilities, private schools staffed by volunteers, immigrant resettlement programs, Salvation Army, Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, prison ministry, child care programs, and on it goes. I'm sure you can think of even more.
Thus, when I hear people disparage Christianity because Christians are "too judgmental" or "too political" or "too hypocritical," I just have to think that these people simply don't know what they're talking about. They remind me of the man who was asked after visiting Yosemite National Park for his impressions, and his only comment was that the road going in had potholes in it.
Byron tells me I sound grumpy, but the fact is that the people who sound grumpy are the people who overlook the enormous good the church is doing to focus on the relatively negligible negatives.RLC
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Scientists used to think that the first animal on earth was something very simple like a sponge, but that assessment has recently been revised. The new thinking is that the oldest animals were comb jellies. This is quite significant since unlike sponges, comb jellies have connective tissues and a nervous system, and are more complex. This means that the earliest animals in the evolutionary tree were already highly developed creatures. This is not what one would expect given the evolutionary view of things, and it's yet another example of nature's propensity for sticking its thumb in the eye of Darwinists' expectations.
The Darwinists are not without explanations for this anomaly, of course, because evolution is a rubbery theory that can be flexed to cover every conceivable observation. Contrary to what one might think, though, this flexibility is not an asset because a theory which can explain everything really explains nothing. It is not falsifiable and is, therefore, not a scientific hypothesis.
Intelligent design is disallowed in public schools on the grounds that it's not falsifiable, but Darwinism, which also seems impervious to empirical falsification, is considered mainstream science. It's very puzzling, to say the least.
At any rate, in honor of the comb jellies' newly-bestowed exalted status we feature this video:
HT: Telic ThoughtsRLC
In Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity, David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, has done research among non-Christians and has, according to Christianity Today magazine, "learned that their perception of Christians is that they are too often identified by what they stand against, rather than the hope which they stand for. According to the research, believers are seen as too judgmental, too political, and often hypocritical."
Huh. Let's unpack this. First, it's pretty hard to stand for something like, say, traditional marriage, without being against those innovations like gay marriage which threaten it. It's hard to be for peaceful resolution of conflict without being opposed to violence. So I don't know how Christians can avoid giving the perception that they're against things rather than for things when to be one means you have to be the other also.
Kinnaman finds that believers are seen as being too judgmental, but what does that mean, and what should we do about it? Does it mean that Christians are prone to making moral judgments? If so, why is that bad? Should Christians join the rest of society and abandon the idea that some things are right and others wrong? Of course, if there is no right or wrong, then making moral judgments can't be wrong and one wonders then why the critics even bring it up.
He also learns that believers are too political. Evidently, non-Christians must think it is somehow unChristian to have an opinion on political matters and to vote. Are Christians supposed to suspend their citizenship as long as they remain Christians? Perhaps the non-Christian is made uncomfortable by the fact that Christians sometimes vote as a block, but why is this offensive? Are blacks, gays, women, Democrats and Republicans, Jews, men, the wealthy, the poor, the middle class, union members, teachers, lawyers, and others who frequently vote their common interests also too political?
Kinnaman reports, finally, that Christians are perceived as being hypocritical. No surprise there. Ask 100 people why they resist the gospel, and 99 of them will say that Christians are hypocritical. I don't know how many of them could actually name something they witnessed someone doing that was hypocritical, but it's an article of faith among the unchurched that churches are chock full of people who do hypocritical stuff.
This seems, like the others, to be an odd complaint. If the critic means merely that churches are full of sinners then who would disagree, since that's what churches are for. If he means that Christians fall short of what they claim to be their moral ideal then most of them are surely guilty as charged. But why is this a complaint properly lodged against the church? It's like criticizing a rescue mission because there are too many wretches there.
I wonder how many of those interviewed by Kennaman are really just trying to rationalize the fact that the reason they are put off by Christianity has nothing really to do with the reasons they gave him and everything to do with the fact that they just don't want to acknowledge that Christianity might be true. The reasons they offered are designed, perhaps, to cover themselves with a patina of moral righteousness that enables them to indulge their wish not to submit to the authority of the Gospel without having to do any serious thinking about whether or not their refusal is really wise or intellectually warranted. They give those who invoke them an easy way out.RLC
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Fighting continues in Baghdad as Maliki's Iraqi army (IA) battles Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi army for control of the precinct of Iraq's capital known as Sadr City. Earlier media reports that the Mahdi army had battled the government forces to a standstill seem to have been premature since the IA seems to have the initiative everywhere it chooses to press the battle. Bill Roggio has details as does Hot Air.
Reports indicate that American forces are supporting the IA with M1A2 Abrams tanks and Predator unmanned aerial vehicles which are capable of firing hellfire missiles.
This video shows two Predator attacks. The first is on some mortar or rocket batteries from which explosives were launched that killed civilians in Baghdad. The second is against a force of about ten "criminals" (as the Iraqi government is now calling Mahdi militiamen). It's not pretty, and you shouldn't watch it if you'd rather not think about what's happening on the streets of Baghdad.
Monday, April 14, 2008
The Politico lists twelve reasons why Sen. Obama's assertion that bitter Pennsylvanians are clinging to guns, religion, and bigotry to compensate for their dismal economic circumstances is going to be a considerable problem for him going into the last round of primaries. Some of the twelve are pretty insightful.
Hillary, of course, is trying to separate herself from what she alleges to be Obama's elitist views on gun control and faith, portraying herself as something of a pious Annie Oakley, according to the New York Times blog.
As with so many things Mrs. Clinton claims about herself, however, this portrayal is misleading. In 1999, for instance, she supported a number of gun control measures that would have raised the age limit for possessing a handgun to 21 from 18 while still allowing exemptions for hunting, employment and ranching; extended background checks to those who buy guns at gun shows, provided that the records are eventually expunged; banned juveniles who are convicted of violent felonies from ever owning a gun; make parents subject to prosecution if they recklessly or negligently allow a gun to fall into the hands of children who use it to commit a crime, and expanded the government's gun tracing program, underway in 35 cities, to 75 cities.
As it happens, each of these strikes me as a sensible proposal, but none were popular with many second amendment supporters, including the National Rifle Association. In fact, there's probably no significant difference between Senator Clinton and Senator Obama on guns or religion. The question is whether either is willing to say exactly what she/he believes about gun control and second amendment rights clearly and unambiguously in the states whose primaries will be held over the next forty five days. My guess is that neither will.RLC
Justin sends along this story of how things are sometimes portrayed by the media. Fortunately, there are many fine people in journalism who hold themselves to high professional standards and do great work. Unfortunately, this story may sound a little too familiar to some who have dealt with the minority who don't:
A man is walking by the zoo when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion's cage. Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the cuff of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to devour her right in front the little girl's screaming parents.
The man runs to the cage, hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch. Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back, letting go of the girl, and the man brings her to her terrified parents, who thank him profusely.
A reporter has seen the whole episode and, addressing the man, says: "Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I've ever witnessed a man do in my whole life."
"It was nothing," said the man. "Really, the lion was behind bars, and I knew God would protect me just as He did Daniel in the lions' den long ago. I just saw this little kid in danger, and did what I felt was right."
"I noticed a Bible in your pocket." said the journalist.
"Yes, I was on my way to a Bible study" the man replies.
"Well, I'll make sure this won't go unnoticed. I'm a journalist with the New York Times, you know, and tomorrow's paper will have this on the front page."
The following morning the man buys the Times to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads on the front page.....
"Right Wing Christian Fundamentalist Assaults African Immigrant and Steals His Lunch."
Notwithstanding what I wrote in the first paragraph about how most people in any profession have high standards, for some reason this story reminds me of the line that 99% of politicians give the rest a bad name.RLC
Sunday, April 13, 2008
In one short little essay Michael Egnor manages the noteworthy feat of exploding two Darwinist myths about intelligent design. The first myth is that design can be produced by natural forces like mutation and natural selection. Design, as Egnor argues, requires intelligent direction ab defino.
The second myth is that intelligent design is not falsifiable. Understand that a theory that is falsifiable is not necessarily false. Rather to be falsifiable means that we can imagine some observation that, were we to make it, would show the theory to be false. It may be that that observation never occurs because the theory is in fact true. For example, a theory that holds there to be only nine planets in the solar system may be true, but we can imagine an observation that would falsify it, namely the observation of a tenth planet. On the other hand, try to imagine an observation that would falsify the belief that ghosts exist.
Since falsification (or testability) is a standard criterion for what constitutes good science, the critic of intelligent design seeks to have ID ruled out of bounds because, he alleges, there is no imaginable observation or state of affairs that would show that biological structures were not designed by an intelligent designer, and therefore the theory cannot be falsified. This, however, is a peculiar criticism for the simple reason that ID is the denial of Darwinism and therefore Darwinism, if it were true as its votaries believe it to be, would itself constitute the falsification of ID.
As we have argued elsewhere on Viewpoint, Darwinism states that natural mechanisms alone are sufficient to account for all that we see in the biological realm. intelligent design denies this claim and states that natural mechanisms by themselves are not sufficient to explain at least some biological phenomena. The two claims are mirror images of each other. They have the same logical character. If Darwinism is true, as the Darwinian believes it is, then ID must be false, but if ID is not falsifiable then neither is Darwinism. Thus ID and Darwinism either both qualify as science or they both fail.
Egnor concludes his essay by noting that, "The truth is that Darwinists aren't concerned that intelligent design isn't falsifiable. They're concerned that it isn't false."
Read the whole thing at the link.RLC
Saturday, April 12, 2008
"It's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." Barack Obama talking about Pennsylvanians embittered by job losses.
I'm not sure what to make of this, but it sounds like he might be suggesting that Pennsylvanians who support the second amendment, who are personally devout, who oppose open borders and are uneasy about the Mexification of the American west and southwest and the economic burden illegal immigration is placing on people are bitter folks looking for both crutches and scapegoats.
Maybe he meant something different, I don't know, but what it sounded like he said is not going to endear him to voters in Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, or West Virginia where primaries are looming. It seems lately that whenever Sen. Obama opens his mouth he risks alienating more people who were formerly sympathetic to his candidacy. After his controversial remarks about what white people really believe about blacks this comment about economically stressed whites being a bunch of stereotypical rednecks has given Mrs. Clinton a splendid opportunity to start pounding away with questions about what Obama's deepest beliefs about white people really are.
I'll be a bit surprised if she hasn't started to exploit this opening even before I get this posted.RLC
Minnesota's KSTP reports that a Minnesota charter school funded by tax dollars has been accused by a substitute teacher of violating the law by teaching Islam:
[S]ubstitute teacher Amanda Getz taught at Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, or TIZA last month and told the Star Tribune about things she observed that day that shocked her.
"I've been in a lot of schools and I've never been in a school where they had washing rituals, or they had prayer, or where they had a room where you had to take your shoes off," Getz said.
"It is most likely that this substitute teacher was sadly mistaken," said TIZA Executive Director Azad Zaman.
He said the school follows state and federal guidelines when it comes to religion.
"We're required under the federal guidelines to allow students to pray when they wish to do so. And as Muslim students, they're allowed to pray around 1:30 p.m., so we allow them to do that," Zaman explained.
TIZA requires all students to learn Arabic as a second language to English.
State law requires the school to fly an American flag during school hours, however no flag flies outside of TIZA Academy.
Zaman told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he didn't know how to work the flagpole.
One wonders how much the students are learning if the director of the school can't even be taught to work a flagpole.
The Star tribune has a more complete follow-up article here.
Ann Coulter has read Barack Obama's autobiography and wonders if anyone else has, and, if so, how it is that Obama is still a potential president of the United States.
Well, I haven't read his book, so I can't tell whether her assessment of it is fair or not, but if it is, then Senator Obama doesn't sound like the right guy to talk about "transcending race."
If anyone who has read the book has some insight into Obama's thinking please let us know your thoughts. If anyone who reads this post is planning on voting for Obama please do us all a favor and read the book first.
Meanwhile, check out Coulter's column. Compared to some of what she writes this one is relatively low on snark.RLC
In light of the recent news about cell-phones causing brain cancer this report is especially relevant: Scientists have made a remarkable discovery in the treatment of cancers, specifically, but not solely, brain cancer.
It had been thought that all the cells in a tumor were identical, but it has been discovered that the tumor is actually fed by stem cells that reside in the tumor near blood vessels from which they derive their nourishment. Drugs that attack the blood vessels cause the stem cells to die off which, it is thought, cause the tumor to whither.
There's a story and video here.RLC
Friday, April 11, 2008
Dr. Paul Kengor, noted biographer of Ronald Reagan, pens a fascinating article about George Bush's leadership, derived from his Christian faith, in mitigating the miseries of Africans. The fascinating thing about what Bush has done is how quiet the left has been about it. Much of Kengor's column recounts the history behind Bush's initiative in the course of which he writes this:
If a Democratic president had done what Bush has done for Africa, the New York Times would recommend a 100-foot bronze statue on the Mall. Instead, there is utter silence concerning this stunning, expensive act of human charity-one certainly beyond what American presidents would ever be expected to do. Liberal college professors and Hollywood types would be walking around with special little ribbons on their lapels representing the president's Africa initiative.
Then Kengor says:
George W. Bush, devout Christian, in the role of Good Samaritan, was doing what no leader of any country had ever done for Africa.
I wrote on this in an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle in September 2004. The opinion editor of the Chronicle was, like Bob Geldof, a fair liberal; he happily ran the piece, thinking it would enlighten his readership, especially the faith component-a bracing revelation to an angry left that insists Bush's "born-again faith" makes him a narrow-minded troglodyte.
What was the response? I received hateful e-mails telling me that not only was Bush - and myself as well - a "moron," but the entire Africa AIDS thing was a ruse, a sham, and the money wasn't even being spent. Bush was a "liar," and so was I. One e-mailer acted like a child with his hands over his ears screaming, "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" Facts made no difference whatsoever.
Likewise, there is denial or disinterest by liberals who dominate America culture and shape perception: Hollywood, academia, media. The left so detests this president that it will not give him credit for anything. He is a new kind of Frankenstein's monster: half Torquemada and half Boris Karloff.
I'm not surprised by the lack of credit Bush has received on this from the right. Conservatives don't like how this president spends money like a drunken sailor, and his action toward Africa is viewed as another such manifestation - a raft of do-gooder poppycock that isn't the job of the federal government.
The big story is why the left isn't thrilled, and then, beyond that, the deeper silence that refuses to acknowledge the link between this work of Bush benevolence and his Christian faith. For George W. Bush, this is simply a reward he will need to receive much later - much like the Good Samaritan.
The fact is that many on the left are not as fair-minded as Geldof or Bono. Their hatred for Bush is personal, not just political. The New York Times won't be erecting any monuments, but I'll bet a few go up in Africa someday, which is where it counts, anyway. I'll bet a few also go up in Afghanistan and Iraq as well. I wonder how many monuments there are in foreign countries to any other American president.RLC
Speaking of Africa, let's have a show of hands - How many think we should use force to rescue the Sudanese? More than 200,000 people have died, and 5.4 million have been driven from their homes as the devastating war continues in Darfur, Sudan. Suffering children and families urgently need food, water, and medical care to survive according to World Vision.
This tragedy is little different than the one in Rwanda in 1994 when the nation's of the world stood around twiddling their collective thumbs while a million Tutsis were savagely butchered by the Hutus. The pace of the genocide in Sudan is somewhat slower, but it's just as deadly.
Diplomacy seems to have little effect on the thugs in Khartoum. The only way to save these wretched people from the ravages of the militias who are murdering, maiming, raping and enslaving them appears to be to use military force. Let's take a stand. Should we rescue them or should we not? Should we send in troops and pacify the countryside and topple the brutes who hold power in Khartoum or should we sit around the air-conditioned United Nations, wining, dining and generally talking the problem to death while the Sudanese starve in the oppressive heat? These seem to be our options, so which do you support?
I think our answer to that question says a lot about what kind of people we are, don't you?RLC
Rich Lowery illustrates in just a few short paragraphs why liberalism is a terrible philosophy by which to govern. Many of our major cities are disaster areas, like New Orleans but without the hurricane, and almost every one of them is managed by liberal Democrats. Lowery focusses on just one particularly egregious example, Detroit.
Detroit suffers from every possible malady except a plague of locusts, and that's only because they find urban living uncongenial. The city has a revitalized downtown, but all around it, the city rots. Forbes magazine declared Detroit "America's Most Miserable City," on the basis of its unemployment and crime rates, among other things. The unemployment rate of 8.2 percent is the highest of any major urban area in the nation, and its homicide rate is higher than New York's in the bad old days of the early 1990s.
The city has lost 1 million residents since 1950. It was hit by the decline of the auto industry and white flight, fueled partly by racism. These trends would have rocked the city no matter what. Detroit compounded them with disastrous governance, personified by Mayor Coleman Young, who held office for 20 years beginning in 1974.
His record raises the question why, if it wanted to engage in a nefarious plot to hurt blacks, the federal government would invent the AIDS virus when it could simply emplace mayors like Coleman Young instead. "Imagine a Rev. Jeremiah Wright with real power," says urban expert Fred Siegel. Coleman taunted suburbanites, accusing them of "pillaging the city," while his scandal-plagued administration managed the city into the ground.
Read the rest at the link for which thanks are due to Jason for passing it along.
To Lowery's column we might add the recent news that seventeen of the nation's 50 largest cities had high school graduation rates less than 50 percent, with the lowest rates reported in Detroit, Indianapolis and Cleveland.
Nevertheless, the people of these cities keep electing the same party to run the schools despite their abject and catastrophic failure. It would be amusing were it not so tragic.RLC
Thursday, April 10, 2008
How many of our sons and daughters will have to be killed by illegal immigrants either in automobile accidents or by violent crime before our leaders experience a little electoral fear and trembling? Jamiel Shaw is the latest of a long list of people who would be alive today were our borders properly defended against the tidal wave of criminal and otherwise irresponsible aliens that has flooded this country in the last fifteen years:
It's been some time since I've seen anything quite so embarrassingly absurd as this column by Robert Scheer. The reader can't get past the first two paragraphs without wondering whether Mr. Scheer needs to be tethered to earth to keep from floating away:
General Betray Us? Of course he has. MoveOn.org can hardly be expected to recycle its slogan from last September, when Gen. David Petraeus testified in support of escalating the U.S. war in Iraq, given the hysterical denunciations that worthy group received at the time. But it was right then -- as it would be to repeat the charge now.
This is a libel and although he wouldn't do it, Petraeus should sue Scheer down to his Birkingstocks. Listen to Scheer's reason for his slander:
By undercutting the widespread support for getting out of Iraq, Petraeus did indeed betray the American public, siding with an enormously unpopular president who wants to stay the course in Iraq for personal and political reasons that run contrary to genuine national security interests.
It's almost demeaning to respond to this sort of flapdoodle. In Scheer's mind it's an act of treason to hold a minority view on the war, if indeed it even is a minority view. It is furthermore an act of treason, Scheer declaims, for a military officer to support his commander-in-chief.
Never mind whether what Petraeus said was actually true or not, that evidently is of no concern to Scheer. What Petraeus said was a betrayal because it was not what Mr. Scheer, no doubt himself a highly acclaimed expert on Iraq and the military, wanted to hear.
Mr. Scheer also, mirabile dictu, has a fiber optic tube running right into George Bush's brain enabling him to discern exactly what the President's motives are, and he's here to tell us that they're not pretty. They're "personal" and "political," don't you know. Scheer is certain of this despite the fact that it defies all common sense since Bush has paid an enormous political price for his steadfastness in the war and his personal grievance with Saddam, who tried to kill Bush's father, was satisfied when Saddam was captured. Nevertheless, when the denizens of the paranoid fever swamps start popping their hallucinogens, common sense and rationality are rendered irrelevant.
Scheer goes on to embarrass himself further:
Once again, the president is passing the buck to the uniformed military to justify continuing a ludicrous imperial adventure, and the good general has dutifully performed.
This is gratuitously insulting, a not uncommon resort among the President's critics. How is the President passing the buck to the general? Congress called Petraeus to appear before them. What was he supposed to do? Refuse?
There's more to Scheer's column, but don't waste your time. You can probably find more thoughtful commentary in the student newspaper of your local high school.RLC
In terms of consistently good content few columnists are the equal of Dennis Prager. His recent column got me to thinking...
Palestine is at least 1,400 years old, is one of the world's oldest nations, has its own language, its own religion and even its own ethnicity. Over 1 million of its people have been killed by the Israelis, its culture has been systematically obliterated, 6,000 of its 6,200 mosques have been looted and destroyed, and most of its leaders have been tortured, murdered or exiled.
It seems there should be far more outrage about this than there is. It seems that the U.N. should be doing more than it is to condemn Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians. It seems that the U.S. should be distancing itself from the Israeli government instead of drawing ever closer to it. Why isn't Israel a pariah among civilized nations? Why does anyone have anything, commercial or diplomatic, to do with it?
Perhaps because none of the above is true of the Israelis and their treatment of the Palestinians. It is all true, though, mutatis mutandis, of China and Tibet.
Prager's column is about the differences between how the world treats the Israeli/Palestinian problem and how it reacts to the Chinese repression of Tibet:
Palestinians have none of the characteristics [of the Tibetans]. There has never been a Palestinian country, never been a Palestinian language, never been a Palestinian ethnicity, never been a Palestinian religion in any way distinct from Islam elsewhere. Indeed, "Palestinian" had always meant any individual living in the geographic area called Palestine. For most of the first half of the 20th century, "Palestinian" and "Palestine" almost always referred to the Jews of Palestine. The United Jewish Appeal, the worldwide Jewish charity that provided the nascent Jewish state with much of its money, was actually known as the United Palestine Appeal. Compared to Tibetans, few Palestinians have been killed, its culture has not been destroyed nor its mosques looted or plundered, and Palestinians have received billions of dollars from the international community. Unlike the dying Tibetan nation, there are far more Palestinians today than when Israel was created.
....of all the causes the world could have adopted, the Palestinians' deserved to be near the bottom and the Tibetans' near the top. This is especially so since the Palestinians could have had a state of their own from 1947 on, and they have caused great suffering in the world, while the far more persecuted Tibetans have been characterized by a morally rigorous doctrine of nonviolence.
Prager points out that despite almost perennial U.N. condemnations of Israel there has never once been a condemnation of China. Indeed, China was voted onto the Security Council and enjoys considerable prestige as it continues its genocide against Tibet and offers its support to murderous regimes like the Sudanese, the Burmese, and the North Koreans.
You'll have to read his column to find out why he thinks this is, but here's a thought to tide you over: Yesterday's protests in San Francisco notwithstanding, being on the ideological left too often means never having to say you're sorry whereas being an ally of the U.S. too often means nothing you do to protect yourself is ever justifiable.
For many in the United Nations and on the secular left justice is merely a word that's used to surround oneself with a cachet of moral righteousness, but it doesn't actually mean anything.RLC
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Perhaps the proceeds they'll no doubt receive from suing the parents of the eight individuals involved will enable them to hire full-time tutors or send their daughter to a private school.
The victim suffered a concussion and damage to her eye and hearing. The girls and two boys who were involved in this sickening episode are facing felony charges. They should also be facing a massive financial judgment that'll take them many years to pay off.
HT: Hot AirRLC
Jason calls our attention to an article in NRO by Arthur C. Brooks on Mr. and Mrs. Obama's charitable giving habits. It turns out that the Obamas managed to free themselves of a whopping 1% of their income between 2000 and 2004 despite earnings of about $245,000. Their explanation for their niggardliness (look it up) was that they just couldn't afford to give more.
You'd think that the only Americans with the nerve to use such an excuse for not giving would be the poor. But in fact, it is the poor - specifically the working poor - who can most teach upper-class misers a charity lesson. The working poor are America's most generous givers when we measure giving as a percentage of income. Most studies have shown that the working poor tend to give away between four and five percent of their incomes, on average, while the rich give away between three and four percent. (Both groups give away significantly more than the middle class.)
The Obamas got rich in 2005. Their income increased sevenfold from 2004 to 2005, mostly because of Mr. Obama's book royalties, and stayed very high in 2006 for the same reason. In 2006, another wealthy political couple with significant book royalties was Mr. and Mrs. Cheney, who had a combined income of $8.8 million, largely due to Mrs. Cheney's books and the couple's investment income. Just how much did the Cheneys give to charity from their bonanza? A measly 78 percent of their income, or $6.9 million. (No, that is not a misprint.)
The Obamas' penny-pinching would not be at all offensive if it weren't for their eagerness to raise the taxes the rest of us pay to essentially fund programs that would help the same people that much charitable giving helps.
Brooks goes on to note another astonishing fact:
In 1996, the General Social Survey asked a large sample of Americans whether they agreed that, "The government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality." Those who "disagreed strongly" with this statement gave an amazing twelve times more money to charity per year, on average, than those who "agreed strongly." People disagreeing strongly also gave nine times more to secular causes than those agreeing strongly, and even gave more to traditionally progressive causes, such as the environment and the arts.
When the government becomes anything more than a last resort for people who are struggling it does several things. It discourages the development of the virtue of charitable giving, it generally does little to help the people who receive the taxpayers' largesse, and it impoverishes you by taking more money out of your wallet and filtering it through several layers of bureaucracy before it gets to its intended recipient.
I read once that out of every dollar taxed for welfare, only twenty seven cents makes it to the person in need. No wonder people don't want the government doing welfare.RLC
There are lots of reasons why the worst off among the world's people are mired in poverty. Some of it is due to forces beyond their control, as Paul Collier points out in his excellent book titled The Bottom Billion, but as he also points out a lot of it is not.
This e-mail from a missionary friend of mine in Haiti suggests that there is an ingrained self-destructiveness and stupidity afflicting at least some of the poor that just traps them in perpetual poverty and wretchedness:
Prices have been rising here (as everywhere, apparently). The problem here is that people always seem to think that taking to the street and breaking up stuff will bring a solution. SO, the last week has been marked with riots and road-blocks all over the island. In the name of protesting against high prices, rioting crowds have burned vehicles, broken into food-storage buildings, burned houses, and blocked major roads. It's one more episode of shooting at your own feet.
Sadly, the president here has been making jokes about the situation. That only seems to send the crowds toward greater mischief. We're not sure where this is headed. Prices are high. No supplies will be coming in our way. I'm already out of cash. We're not sure when we'll be able to move around again, and even if the roads open up that doesn't mean that businesses will be back on line right away. So, we can say it's getting worse quickly.
Pray for peace here in this crazy place. The UN has been under attack as part of the riots. They're eating well and driving nice vehicles while no one is able to really determine what good they are actually doing here. That makes them a target.
We'll be in touch. Andy
I don't know which is more pathetic, the behavior of the mobs or the fecklessness of the U.N. Given the history of the last sixty years neither is very surprising.
If anyone would like to help Andy, let me know, and I'll put you in touch with him.RLC
"We need more white people." At least that's what the Obama people were saying as they tried hard to manufacture the appearance of diversity at a campaign rally. Can you imagine a Republican operative saying something like that? The media would attack him like a swarm of bees until the unfortunate fellow was forced to flee his post.
Don't expect journalists in the liberal media to point out hypocrisy in the Obama camp, though. They're hip-deep in it themselves. Sam Alito was almost denied an appointment to the Supreme Court because when he was in college he held nominal membership in an all-male, all-white organization. Barack Obama belongs for twenty years to a church whose pastor is a bigoted fabulist, and the media quietly tip-toes away from the implications of his association, as though they were leaving the bedroom of a sleeping child.
Obama is, moreover, an acquaintance, and possibly a friend, of a man named William Ayers who in the sixties was responsible for bombing several government buildings and who recently averred that he wished he'd done more damage than he did and wouldn't rule out doing it again. You probably haven't heard about this if you get your news from the MSM, but if a GOP candidate had had such an association that'd be all you'd be hearing about. Ayers has contributed to Obama's campaign and the two of them have been neighbors and associates for years. At the very least Obama should explain the nature of the relationship, it being a little awkward to have a president who consorts with unrepentant terrorists, but don't count on the media to force the issue.
Obama also has ties that go back 17 years to an indicted political financier by the name of Tony Rezko, a Chicago slumlord, currently under indictment for demanding kickbacks from companies with which he had business relationships. Obama worked for the law firm that Rezko employed during the nineties.
Rezko's housing units in Chicago lacked heat from December 1996 to February 1997 because Rezko claimed he didn't have the money to get the heat turned on, but during that span he came up with $1000 for Obama's campaign for the state senate. Since then he's raised over $50,000 for Obama and worked out a sweetheart sale of a house and lot to Obama, selling him a home for $300,000 less than the asking price.
The irony of this is that Obama was a community advocate for affordable housing for the poor, and here he was being mentored by a man who was a typical slumlord. The association certainly has the odor of political and ethical sleaze about it, but the media seems unable to catch the scent. Their noses are attuned only to sleaze that bears the smell of GOP corruption.
Nor is Hillary in a position to press Obama on matters of ethics, so it's doubtful that she'll bring it up except as a last ditch attempt to wrest the nomination from Obama. It'll be interesting, though, to see the extent to which Republicans in the general campaign will demand answers to the questions raised by Obama's coziness with Wright, Ayers, and Rezko.RLC