Anne Wilson



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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

"Braveheart with a bra:" That's what The New Scotsman is calling Mel Gibson's proposed flik on the ancient British warrior queen Boudicca. I can't wait - especially if he films it with good historical realism. This is how one Roman described the Queen of the Iceni:
She was huge of frame, terrifying of aspect, and with a harsh voice. A great mass of bright red hair fell to her knees: she wore a twisted torc, and a tunic of many colours, over which was a thick mantle, fastened by a brooch. Now she grasped a spear, to strike fear into all who watched her."
Mr. Gibson: please, please, please do not let some skinny little Alex-Kingston-type play Boudicca. It has to be someone like Queen Latifah, but white - an actress who is large, strong, has great physical presence and isn't "glamorous."

Please keep it historical: no "magick" mirrors, no wiccans, no spooky druids, no lapse into dumbed-down fantasy.

Oh, also, please have the characters speak Old English and Latin. That would be word-geek nirvana.

Monday, April 26, 2004

If our Commander in Chief during the Civil War was as delicate as the Commander in Chief making decisions about Fallujah, we'd still have slavery.

Brave men should not be dying because we are too considerate of tender Arab sensibilities. Fight to *gain the day.*

Time for a Civil War song, Prairie Grove:

Come all you sons of Ioway and listen to my song.
If you will pay attention, I'll not detain you long.
It was of a gallant charge that we made at Prairie Grove
Against the Southern forces, where every member strove.

Our officers being brave, they led us with good will.
And though we were outnumbered, we charged them up the hill.
And volley after volley we made our shots to tell,
Till our brave Lieutenant Colonel and Sergeant Major fell.

Through fields of blood we waded, then cannon loud did roar.
And many a brave commander lay bleeding in his gore.
And heaps of mangled soldiers lay o'er the field that day
That were the killed or wounded, of the 19th Ioway.

They had us so outnumbered that we thought they'd gain the day;
But then old Blunt's artillery over them began to play,
Which caused such dreadful horror, it put them all to flight,
And they withdrew their forces under cover of the night.

Next morning we were sorry to see the Rebels' wives
Hunting their dead husbands, with melancholy cries,
And sisters finding brothers, they wrung their hands and cried,
Saying, “Dear dead bloody brothers, for Southern rights you died.”

Now the battle is all over and our soldiers rest from toil.
So carefully we placed our dead beneath the Southern soil.
We placed them all in order, as formed on dress parade,
And placed a board at each man's head to mark where he was laid.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

"Terror on the dole:" Young London Islamonazis spout hate and sedition freely as they suckle the generous tit of UK taxpayers. Why are these men still running around loose?
Fatheaded idiocy in Ontario was averted as a proposed "cheap meal" tax was scrapped.

Initially it wasn't even a "fat tax," really. Meals under $4 were originally exempted from an 8% tax back in 1987. The cash-strapped government now wants to remove that exception, and is using fat people as an excuse. "You stupid fat git - I have to pay more for my fast food meal, and it's all your fault!" Yes, that will really cut down on the incidence of Type 2 diabetes in Canada.

I'm just waiting for taxes to be levied on butter, cheese, and whole milk. It will be like wine: you'll only get to make so much of it at home, and only for your own consumption, before having to pay a federal excise tax on the butterfat.

Hunting, fishing, and trapping may become a state-constitutionally protected right in Louisiana, if an amendment passed by the state senate is approved by LA voters in November 2004.

This is just *right.* One of the worst aspects of monarchial dictatorship was that the king owned all the animals, and could hang you if you took one without his permission. That's exactly how environmentalists like to style themselves: the kingly Platonic "guardians" forbidding all hunting.
There will always be an England: A whopping 97% of British readers of The Sun *rejected* Tony Blair's plan to lead them into the embrace of the European Union constitution. Yes, it's one of those goofy phone-in polls. But I hope it means something were the EUC to come up for a real referendum in the UK.
Number 2 Pencil added to blogroll: She's interested in testing and education reform, and so am I.
Blogger hates me. Did you all see the ads for "Islamic clothing" in the ad banner? It's enough to make me consider a paid account...

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Can anyone spell b-o-y-c-o-t-t? China plans to flood the US market with cheap, serf-made clothing as import quotas expire.

There *is* US-made clothing out there. No, it's not as cheap, and probably not as fashionable. So offer it up for the serfs and slaves that make up China's labor force.

Check out the goth stuff at Hot Topic and its plus-size sister company, Torrid;

Lightweight loose cotton clothing (think St. Louis in the summer) at Drawstrings;

Medieval / Renaissance-y cotton clothing at House of Dra;

Sweats at Sweatshirt USA;

Some USA-made larger clothes for big folk at Big and Tall World;

Classic American jeans and overalls at Pointer Jeans.

Buying USA-made clothing requires some self-deprogramming. First, we need to retrain ourselves to think *quality* and *durability* instead of fashion. That $35 heavy cotton sweatshirt is going to last you many more years than the cheap made-in-China one that you pick up for $8 at the big-box store.

Second, we need to retrain ourselves to think of some clothing, at least, as *craft* rather than throwaway items. So it might be worth it to buy a special hand-made cape or special dress, than the cheapest knock-off possible. The work the craftswoman put into it is more than simply the amount of money that exchanges hands.

Other alternatives: sew your own (yes, it's more expensive, but again, think of it as craftsmanship); go vintage (most older clothing is made in USA); hit the yard sales and resale shops and check the labels.

So what are the British pro-abortionists afraid of? That someone might actually see the results of an abortion on the telly and come to think it's not such a great idea after all?
Get these lying sacks of dung out of the country:I don't normally agree with Democrats, but this one makes sense.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, asked Bush on Monday to send [Saudi ambassador] Bandar home.

"I urge you to take immediate action to safeguard the integrity of the American electoral process by deporting Prince Bandar and canceling his diplomatic visa," said Schumer, in a letter to Bush.
Might as well - it's not like we're doing anything to rescue US citizens held hostage in Saudi Arabia anyway. It would probably be a win for Bush, as many of those who voted for him in 2000 are wondering why he's been kissing up to Saudi Arabia all these years, even after September 11.

Would it make oil prices go up? Most assuredly. But I don't think the Saudis can afford to take a 25% hit out of their oil revenues right now; they're hurting badly enough as it is, with a 50% drop or more in per capita income.

Cato calls it right in Doug Bandow's article, Friends Like These:
SOME OCCUPATION ENTHUSIASTS want to respond with greater repression. Stop "conducting a campaign that is hopelessly apologetic and appeasing," argues Peter Schwartz, chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand institute, in a column for Just impose the constitution and leaders we favor and kill anyone who objects.

That's one strategy but we don't have the stomach for such a brutal approach. And even if we did, it likely would not bring nationalistic Iraqis to heel. It would merely ensure a longer and more intense guerrilla campaign.

We should all hope that Iraq eventually makes its way towards liberal democracy. But we should have no illusions about being able to impose that model upon a people who are growing increasingly restive under the U.S. occupation.

"I still believe that most Iraqis are with us," says Secretary of State Colin Powell and he may be correct. Certainly the Kurds back us but they would prefer to be out of, not in, a united Iraq. As for the rest of the population, if the majority won't fight for us they might as well be against us.

Instead of attempting to live out its unrealistic democratic dream, the administration must face reality. As it turns over sovereignty to Iraqis, it should begin planning for the full withdrawal of U.S. forces in months, not years.
"Liberal democracy" is not something you can either "give" to people, or force at the barrel of a gun. In 1776 our 13 colonies hosted the only collection of *free* men on the face of the planet. The aliens from Mars didn't land and impose freedom on us. It developed here because we *chose* it, and because it was the result of a long millenial process, beginning with the primitive representative government developed by the Anglo-Saxons. Englishmen fought against kings and religious dictators alike over many centuries, often with no help from anyone.

As America developed, the ideal of freedom was extended to people of all nations. It wasn't intrinsic to those of English ancestry any longer. But until recently becoming an American meant you agreed and cooperated with the ideal of freedom.

The people of Iraq do *not* want freedom in any shape or form. The vote to them is a way to vote in Islamic dictatorship Iran-style. We accomplished our objectives - Saddam Hussein has been removed from power (although we didn't kill him - a mistake that will probably come back to haunt us later big-time) and no "weapons of mass destruction" were found. Fine. Time to bring our valiant men home. Time to start tuckpointing the walls of the fortress.
Scientists studying brain mutations which cause abnormalities focus on research populations in the Middle East, according to today's New York Times:
Brain malformations are rare, making it hard for researchers like Dr. Walsh, who are trying to pinpoint the genes responsible for them, to find enough cases to study.

Dr. Walsh's success is partly a result of his research strategy: he has focused on populations and regions, like the Middle East, where the deformities are more easily found because families are large, marriage among close relatives is common and the people stay in the same villages or cities for generations.

In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for example, 58 percent of women marry blood relatives, Dr. Walsh said, so researchers need to find only 10 affected families to have enough cases to study instead of the thousands of families that would otherwise be required.
Could this possibly explain wahhabi Islam?

Can I have one? Seriously, these babies should be legal and for sale in the US. Never know when you might need one.

Monday, April 19, 2004

The neo-Puritans of Hartsville, TN better not ever go to Europe, or they'll all have strokes. They're putting diapers on statues now. Ugh. What's next, britches on the horses?
Capitalism Magazine apparently doesn't like President Bush's No Child Left Behind education law, either.

Well, good for them, even though I don't agree with them on the points made about dropping out. I'm all for it when the student absolutely does not want to be in school & is getting nothing out of it. Why would these radical capitalists complain when too many students are leaving school? I thought the abolition of public education was a "libertarian" goal. It seems to me that when students make use of their right to leave (after they reach the age at which mandatory attendance no longer applies) they're actually fulfilling that goal.

I also disagree with them on homeschooling. It's *not* a panacea. It's *not* going to "save American education" as this author thinks it will.

Yes, homeschooling parents are heroic and sacrificial and noble and sainted - yadda yadda. That's not the point. Homeschooling requires one parent at home and a particular combination of mother-child temperament. I don't see it ever rising more than count-on-one-hand percentage points. Most parents *want* their children in school, which is why they're willing to work three jobs between two parents, pay outrageous house prices and/or outrageous tuitions.

Why are these people still living in the UK? British Muslims stir up sedition:
Two weeks ago, a group of al-Muhajiroun supporters attracted widespread condemnation in the press after publicly burning a British flag outside the country's most important mosque, opposite to Regent's Park in central London, after Friday prayers.

Seif al-Islam said he fully backed this destruction of his own country's flag.

"It's a symbol, which means that we must reject the British and Western values, especially the allegiance to the queen," he explained.
Where is King Arthur when you need him? He'd have their heads on pikes.

You knew this was coming: John Kerry takes his opponent to task on Pres. Bush's "sweetheart relationship" with the Magic Kingdom (aka that sewer of a country; the world's worst dictatorship, or Saudi Arabia.) This may be a dicey deal for the President, because his track record on kowtowing to the Saudis has not exactly been the best.

The President ill-advisedly proclaim that "Islam is a religion of peace" the day after the deadly attacks. He also permitted high-level Saudi citizens to fly out of the US on that day, when US airspace was supposed to be closed tighter than a drum. Instead, we should have held them for interrogation and frozen their US assets.

The Bush State Department has resolutely refused to force the Saudis to budge from keeping female US citizens *hostage* in Saudi Arabia, where they were taken by their Saudi fathers.

Instead of clearly pointing out that Saudi Arabia has been exporting terror across the globe in the form of wahhabi (salafiyah) Islam, the administration put forth a ridiculous "buying drugs funds terrorism" ad campaign - ignoring that *buying Saudi oil is what funds terrorism.*

Personally, I have never felt that Saddam Hussein was anywhere near a threat to the safety and stability of our country, compared to Saudi Arabia. It wasn't Iraqis who flew those jets on 9/11/01.

Kerry is also claiming:
"Last night ... it was reported that in the Oval Office discussion around whether to invade Iraq that the president, the vice president (Dick Cheney), the secretary of defense (Donald Rumsfeld) made a deal with Saudi Arabia that would deliver lower gas prices," Kerry told a town hall meeting in Lake Worth. ...

I don't know if this is true or not, but it sounds plausible. The Saudis have been playing our puppetmasters ever since the early 1970s, when they brought our economy to its knees with the Arab oil embargo.
Journalist Bob Woodward, author of a new book titled, "Plan of Attack," also said in a CBS' "60 Minutes" interview that Bush gave national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Cheney and Rumsfeld permission to tell Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan of his decision to go to war in Iraq before informing Secretary of State Colin Powell.
This wouldn't surprise me either, although I don't think Colin Powell would mind, since he seems to have never met a Saudi shill for whome he didn't bend his State Department over.

Is President Bush *trying* to lose this election? I don't want Kerry - believe me - but of all the bilge Kerry's poured out in this campaign so far, these charges do have truth to them.

The Canadians are obviously intent on wiping themselves out, as their fertility rate (number of children per woman of childbearing age) fell to 1.5 per woman, and their birth rate to 10.5 per 1,000, a 25% decrease since 1992.

Keep in mind that Canada's fertility rate *includes* its Muslim subpopulation, which is known for its high fertility rates. The actual Euro-ancestry Canadian fertility rate is probably far lower.

(By contrast, the US fertility rates by subgroup are as follows: 1.4 for whites; 2.5 for blacks, and 3.0 for Hispanics, with an overall fertility rate of 2.1, which is just precisely what's needed in a modern technological society for replacement.)

Harping at Americans, Canadians, and Europeans to just "throw away the birth control and have more babies" misses the point. Fertility rates are abnormally low because socialist government policies make it increasingly difficult to live at a middle-class level *and* have four or five children.

Middle-class families with young children are literally being sacrificed on the altar of endless entitlements for the elderly, the extremely poor, and illegal immigrants. For a good example, look at legislation sponsored by the Republican senator from Indiana, Richard Lugar. It would give in-state college tuition rates to high school students who are illegal immigrants. Of course these special breaks come on the backs of middle-class families taxed at an effective 50% rate already - many of whom cannot even afford to send their own children to the state universities they paid taxes to support.

And people wonder why middle-class families are so small.
The environmentalist dilemma: Trees, or the view? To quote wicked witch Ursula from Disney's Little Mermaid, "Life's full of tough choices."
Here comes the "disposable car:" More expensive cars are getting too expensive to fix these days, especially with the phenomonal costs of airbags (usually two in front and two on either side) and on-board electronics. (Most of these expensive devices are required by federal safety and environmental regulations.) So insurance companies are writing them off. Who'dve thunk it?

Another cost factor involves the "shortage" of trained mechanics. Helpfully we are informed that former IT workers should serve well retraining as mechanics - if they have $40,000 for tools and training, that is. But no need to worry: mechanics' manuals are now appearing in Spanish, so presumably this can be written off as yet "another job that Americans won't do."
Cordoba's Muslims get all caring and sharing as they ask the Vatican for permission to pray in the local cathedral.

The Moors defeated the Visigoths at Cordoba and replaced their cathedral with a mosque. After the Moors were thrown out of Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella's armies, it became a Catholic cathedral. Now the Muslims want to "share."

What I love is how well-versed the Muslim groups are at using the language of "tolerance" and "diversity:"
"We hope the Vatican will give a signal that it has a vision of openness and dialogue.

"It would be good if there were a gesture of tolerance on their part.

"Córdoba has been a symbol of the union of three cultures for centuries. Even now, Jews and Muslims live together with Christians in the neighbourhood around the mosque."

"[But] ... the church council doesn't seem to be open to dialogue."
So how much "openness" is there toward Christians in majority-Muslim countries? What kinds of "gestures of tolerance" get extended toward Christians in, let's say, Saudi Arabia?

Can we have Hagia Sophia back, then?

Sunday, April 18, 2004

We *don't* need illegal immigrants, no matter what the Palm Beach Post opines.

According to them, the sky is going to fall amidst uncleaned hotel rooms and unpicked citrus fruit. Nonsense. Truly enforce the immigration laws; deport illegal aliens, and Americans will take those jobs. Who do they think waits tables or cleans hotel rooms or works in agriculture in regions without hordes of illegals? Americans, that's who - many of them in minority groups.

Where I live, you can see the housecleaners every morning get dispatched in their little company cars from the main office. They're mostly young white girls, with a few blacks. Young people white and black are mowing and edging lawns, planting shrubs, working on street crews, bussing tables in restaurants. Teenagers are babysitting their neighbors' kids, not some illegal nanny.

Yes, there is the occasional contractor or tree cutting service that comes in with a crew of *obviously* just-out-of-the-desert illegals. I personally pay attention to who they are, and make it a point not to call them myself. There is the occasional restaurant with all Mexicans in the back, and the American kids up front. I know it's going to get worse, even in my largely illegal-free community.

These are the kinds of jobs young people need to do, to build work experience (and in some cases be convinced that more education is a good idea.) When we allow illegals to come in unimpeded, we are robbing young Americans not only of jobs, but of job *experience.*
Involuntary servitude for high school students would become New Jersey state law if Democratic State Senator Richard Codey has his way.

Princeton, NJ high school students are already forced to do 50 hours of "community service" for high school graduation. They have to pick from a list of 30 approved "volunteering" projects.

What Codey and the Princeton educrats fail to understand is that involuntary "community service" completely defeats the point. "Volunteering" to "help the needy" cannot be forced. If it is, it's largely useless.

Further, there is the religious issue. How can a public school system identify, record, and evaluate service work done by a student through their church? But allowing students only to accumulate hours at *secular* institutions while not allowing students to do the same through their churches means substantial discrimination against religious students.

Last but not least - after all, this *is* America - there's the liability issue. Let's say the child helps build houses for the poor and a beam falls on their head, or gets TB from some homeless person at the shelter. What parent in their right mind would sign a waiver, saying they hold the school district *and* the not-for-profit agency "harmless" in the event their child is injured while racking up the hours? Not me, baby.

Friday, April 16, 2004

The enemy of my enemy is *not* my friend dept.: Islamic family values at work in supposedly "liberated" Afghanistan.
As many as 1 million girls between 7 and 13 do not attend school, the United Nations' Children's Fund reports. Parents continue to sell their daughters, often as young as 8, into marriages that often resemble imprisonment, turning girls into housewives who rarely, if ever, are allowed to step outside their husbands' mud-brick compounds ...

Women rarely seek divorces, because typically it would leave them homeless. There virtually is no place for them as single workers in Afghanistan's devastated economy.

"Afghan women have two problems: children and husbands."

Desperate to get out of abusive marriages, women are increasingly turning to suicide, an unspeakable sin in the Muslim faith.

Human rights groups say that between 50 and 80 women have set themselves ablaze in the past year in the western city of Herat. Most of them were married or engaged; one was a 13-year-old bride.
Apparently bombing Afghanistan into submission wasn't enough to change their poisonous culture.

See why some of us are worried about a majority-Muslim Europistan?

Where's Cato when you need him? Fallujah delenda est.
Gay Bigots on the Loose: Many school districts, including the one I live in (Webster Groves, Missouri) are being pressured to change their school anti-discrimination policies to include "sexual orientation."

Curiously, one never seems to hear any concern about straight students being discriminated against (as in the case at University of North Carolina where a straight Christian student was ridiculed by his teacher over e-mail sent to the entire class, prompting a federal Department of Education civil rights investigation.)

Expressing any concern about "hate speech" being directed to straights (i.e. calling them "breeders"), or worrying about the religious freedom of expression of those students morally opposed to homosexuality are often met with the retort, "But they're not oppressed. They're not the victims. They're the oppressors."

Well, discrimination does cut both ways, as three heterosexual couples found out when they attempted to rent rooms at Big Ruby's guesthouse on Appelrouth Lane in Key West, FL. The gay couple in their party would have been permitted to stay.
After getting settled in their rooms, manager Terry Williams told the straight couples they would have to leave, claiming their policy was not to allow heterosexuals on the property, Pirih said.

"He said he had to appeal to the majority, and the majority of guests wouldn't want straight people there," Pirih said.

Williams said he would allow the six to stay the night, but said they had to be out by Thursday morning and refused to compensate them for the inconvenience, Pirih said ...

"I've dealt with discrimination a lot as a Hispanic man who grew up in Houston, Texas," said Carlos Ramirez. "But never based on my sexual orientation."

Get used to it, Mr. Ramirez.

"What DO they teach them in these schools?" That's what the Professor in C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe wanted to know when he pondered the illogicality of most English students' educations.

We might well ask the same along with Ed Lasky of The American Thinker, who points out that one school social studies textbook claims that Muslim explorers came to the New World before Columbus, and took up with Algonquin tribes.

It was a Canadian Indian tribe that blew the whistle on Audrey Shabbas's "Arab World Studies Notebook," distributed by the Middle East Policy Council, a Washington DC advocacy group.

Lasky also helpfully links to the American Textbook Council, which has blown the whistle on Arab-whitewashed textbooks commonly used in American schools.

Curiously, one textbook published by Houghton-Mifflin called Across the Centuries is also used by a popular home school curriculum, Calvert of Baltimore, Maryland. If you go to Calvert's main curriculum page, click on "Curriculum by Grade" on the upper left sidebar, then click "Seventh grade" on the next page. On the Seventh Grade page, look on the left sidebar called "Inside your box..." you will see Across the Centuries named. If you click the link above the photo on the top left, entitled "A closer look," you can see the top half of the Across the Centuries textbook in the center right portion of the enlarged photograph.

I have no idea why a homeschool curriculum, of all people, would use this book in the seventh grade. Perhaps some homeschoolers who use Calvert can ask them.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Isn't it amazing that this nice article on how the CIA knew about a possible Al Qaeda threat as far back as 1995 never once mentions the words "Bill Clinton?"
Take out the essential diplomats, too: The State Department is telling "non-essential diplomatic personnel" and families of diplomats to get out of Saudi Arabia now, do not pass "Go," do not collect $200 in baksheesh. For that matter, why not pull *all* the US diplomats out of that sorry sewer of a country, and send all the Saudis here home on the next plane? Freeze their US assets while we're at it, too, and use them to pay for the war in Iraq - and pay extra survivors' benefits to our fallen soldiers' families.
Where's the Secret Service when you need it? A Florida Democratic group (completely independent of the state Democratic organization mother ship, of course) took out an ad that advocated assassinating Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. It said in part:
"They're Iraqi patriots who want us the hell out of their country, and we should get the hell out of their country now!"

"And then there's Rumsfeld who said of Iraq, 'We have our good days and our bad days,' " the ad continues. "We should put this S.O.B. up against the wall and say 'This is one of our bad days,' and pull the trigger."

The people who put this ad in the paper ought to be arrested. The ad was withdrawn, but that's not the point. You know if someone said it about John Kerrey, liberals would be screaming for their blood. Cabinet members last I looked got Secret Service protection too. So where's the outrage, and better yet, the arrests?

"Blame Canada ... blame Canada..." Lefties in Ithaca, NY (home of Cornell University, bastion of rampant liberalism) are whining about how they want to leave the repressive old USA for Canada. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Those who like Internet quizzes might want to see if they qualify to emigrate to Canada. My score: 69 out of a minimum of 67. It's the lack of a working knowledge of French that really wiped me out. Don't know whether to feel flattered or insulted. Supposedly Western Canada (except for Vancouver) is more conservative, so maybe I'll be mildly flattered.
The grotesque face of "transgender rights" shows up in Australia as the Howard government contemplates fighting a court order which permits the first phase of "sex change" for a thirteen-year old girl currently in state custody.

The girl supposedly was "raised as a boy" and wants to "change her sex." While the Australian child welfare agency supervising her cannot consent to her surgery, thus preventing it until she is legally an adult (18), the child protective services petitioned the court on her behalf to allow her to start hormonal treatments.

Hopefully the government can stop the mutilation of this girl's body with male sex hormones. It's bad enough that people do this to themselves when they're adults; for a child of 13 it's beyond reprehensible. No matter how screwed up her childhood, she's not in any position to make a permanent and irrevocable decision. Hormones will alter her growth pattern and possibly destroy her fertility, all as a sacrifice on the altar of "transgender rights."

How stupid can the anti-gun people get? Tech design company Verichip is so proud of its little embedded system products that can "match" an officer's gun to his chip imbedded in his hand, so the gun supposedly won't fire for anyone else. Is this brainless or what? Like one officer may never need to pick up the weapon of a fellow policeman? Like the officer's hand might not be smashed, and he might need to fire with the other hand?

New Jersey has already mandated that "smart guns" with this type of technology be the only ones sold - when they're available. Talk about the proverbial "Mark of the Beast" - so in the state of New Jersey people will have to get computerized implants before they can own a weapon?
It's Tax Day ... Do you know where your money is? Some of it no doubt is in the pockets of University of California at Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian. Under the watchful eye of a Little Green Footballs reader, Bazian was filmed on April 10, 2004 calling for an "intifada" in the United States as he riled up Berkeley Palestinian students.

From the mouth of the tax-supported schoolmaster himself:
“Are you angry? [Yeah!] Are you angry? [Yeah!] Are you angry? [Yeah!] Well, we’ve been watching intifada in Palestine, we’ve been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don’t have an intifada in this country? Because it seem[s] to me, that we are comfortable in where we are, watching CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox, and all these mainstream... giving us a window to the world while the world is being managed from Washington, from New York, from every other place in here in San Francisco: Chevron, Bechtel, [Carlyle?] Group, Halliburton; every one of those lying, cheating, stealing, deceiving individuals are in our country and we’re sitting here and watching the world pass by, people being bombed, and it’s about time that we have an intifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics in here. And we know every— They’re gonna say some Palestinian being too radical — well, you haven’t seen radicalism yet!”

Bring it on, baby. But you know he wouldn't be running off his mouth if the taxpayers of CA weren't providing the oxygen.

I have an idea: how about removing all federal funds - research money, Pell Grants, etc. - from universities public and private who harbor terrorist inciters like this?

On the coattails of The Passion: Leonardo DeFilippi hopes the wave of success of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ will lift his film about Catholic saint Therese of Lisieux in its wake, but that depends.

The Passion was successful not only because it appealed to religious audiences, but because it was a really good movie, regardless of one's religious beliefs. It "worked" cinematically, was highly visually interesting, and most of all *took risks* - Unfortunately, risk-taking is what many "pious" movies do not do. If DeFilippi's film is simply pastel holy-card hagiography, it's going to be boring.

Since I'm having a sort of Orson Scott Card day, I think I'll let him say it best. Card made the following comments in an interview:
Question: You make no mystery of your personal religious beliefs. How do you choose whether or not to inject them into a story?

Card:I never consciously inject my own beliefs into a story. Rather, I let my characters express what they believe. People keep thinking that I'm preaching my own religion when I have a character speak about his or her beliefs, but it just ain't so. Instead, I trust that my own deepest beliefs will emerge in my fiction without my being aware of it at the time. Sometimes I find out what I really think by re-reading what I wrote and seeing how a story took shape and realizing what was important to me, unconsciously, while I was writing it.

I think when a writer consciously inserts his own ideology—about religion or politics—into a story, then it will be consciously received by the reader, and probably limit his readership only to those who already agree with him. Whereas a writer who trusts his own unconscious mind to express his deepest beliefs will end up with stories where the belief system is only subtly interwoven ... and thus has a much greater chance of influencing readers. However, of course, the writer runs the risk of having his books influence people toward what he really believes rather than toward what he believes that he believes—and, trust me, there is usually a wide gap between those two things in most people.
That's the challenge for directors like DeFilippi, who want to make an explicitly "religious" movie. Not that The Passion isn't "explicitly religious" - but it's so obvious that Gibson is really filming by what Stephen King calls "The Boys in the Basement;" i.e. by tapping into that subliminally conscious stream that's the matrix of really good art. I hope DeFilippi can do it, but anyone who attempts to make a deliberately dogmatic work that's fueled only by the will and not the unconscious will probably not have the same artistic success.
"He died a hero." The Italian hostage recently murdered by Iraqis reportedly attempted to pull off his hood and look his killers in the eye before they shot him in the head. Oil-pipeline security guard Fabrizio Quattrocchi supposedly said, "Now I'm going to show you how an Italian dies."
Girl chimps are faster learners than boy chimps but less creative, say animal behaviorists. They watched mother chimps teach their young how to "fish" for termites with a stick or blade of grass. The females learned more quickly, but tended to imitate their mothers exactly. The males took longer to learn, but didn't necessarily imitate mom's way, instead inventing their own.

What I also found interesting was the speculation that these sex-related differences are evolutionarily *very* old - probably showing up first at the time in chimps' and humans' common ancestor (around 6 million years ago.)
Another phony-baloney "persecution?" Twelve year old Muslim girl's story of "religious persecution" at school begins to unravel...
Reason for US to stay in UN? I've long been all in favor of the US quitting the UN, booting the organization out of NY, and selling the building to Donald Trump to turn into a combination condo/theater complex, but US Senator Jack Harper (AZ, R) points out that it's basically only our veto power on the Security Council that's protecting Israel. Good point, Senator.
How to obtain the best university education: Orson Scott Card is one of my favorite science fiction authors, and quite rare in that genre for his religioius devotion (Latter Day Saints) and using science fiction as a stage for raising profound moral questions.

I've been paging through some of his political writings, and came across these words of wisdom on university education. So much angst goes into finding "the best education" for young people, without any critical examination of what that might really be.

Card makes a good argument against obsessing about "the best colleges," and also against conservative parents raising their children as isolationist "bubble boys and girls" completely out of touch with the wider world:
Meanwhile, as you send your kids off to college -- and as you help them prepare for college through their primary and secondary education at home -- remember that if you want them to remain true to the beliefs you raised them with, the best method is to encourage them to be rigorously skeptical.

The students who are most at the mercy of politically correct propaganda in the university are the young people who have been trained not to think for themselves and to believe everything that authority figures have taught them. It's a piece of cake for experienced faculty members to leave their previously unquestioned beliefs in tatters.

But if you have raised your children to be skeptical, to find evidences for their beliefs, to be critical of the evidence as well, and to demand that others do the same, then they are not going to believe every word that comes out of the mouth of charismatic professors.

They are far less likely to be disillusioned, because you haven't let them be illusioned in the first place.

And if your own beliefs are demonstrably true or beneficial, your children will come back from college reaffirmed in their beliefs, not because they have "resisted" the propaganda, but because they have subjected the propaganda to the fair test of rigorous skepticism and thoroughgoing inquiry and found it wanting.

In other words, you don't make your kids P.C.-proof by keeping them ignorant, you do it by helping them learn how to educate themselves.

And if you've taught them that, it won't matter a whit whether they go to Harvard or University of North Carolina at Greensboro -- they'll come out of college very well educated, having found the best professors and the best books and scrutinized them under the bright light of an honest scholarly mind.

But if you have left your children's education up to others, and therefore not taught them to take charge of it for themselves, then your kids will be far more likely to be captured by a strange and hostile ideology whose avowed goal is to destroy most of the traditional beliefs and cultural practices of America.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Oh, the delicious irony: Wouldn't it be a perfect example of divine Providence if these University of Illinois scientists really *do* figure out how to turn pig scheiss into gold - black gold, that is? Somehow the thought of the US actually achieving oil independence over the jihadi terrorist nations by means of pig refuse is just too delightful. My mouth to God's ears...

Saturday, April 10, 2004

The crown prince of Spain and his fiancee were frisked at a Miami airport, and didn't like it.

If their lawyers sue, one of the questions I'd ask in deposition is how often Saudis are searched.
WTF??? Identity-thieves apparently made these "traps" designed to fit exactly over the street corner US Postal Service boxes in Indiana. They took the mail and opened it, taking checks and personal material.

Don't put your letters in the corner boxes, boys and girls. Hand it to the nice postman or take it to the post office itself. This is just too weird.

Who *are* these guys, anyway? More Nigerian princes, or terrorists?
What a mensch: Arnold (there is only *one* Arnold) saves a stranded man while swimming off the coast of Maui. That's just so cool.
Sending boys to die when carpet bombing is called for: Bob Lonsberry of the New York Post reminds us that so many fighting in Iraq are just that:
They have lived virtually all of their lives as children. Many don't have cars, most haven't made love to a woman, few are married, even fewer are fathers. They don't own homes or property, they typically don't have a pot to pee in. Their possessions are CDs and their memories are of the 10th grade.... [They are] just six months past their senior prom, and even less time had passed since their high school graduation.
Lonsberry's not calling for a withdrawal from Iraq, but instead wants us to flatten it and spare the lives of the young men fighting it.
I think we're pussyfooting around in this Iraqi war, and I think it's costing us young men's lives. I think we care more about playing nice and currying the world's favor than we do about protecting these fine young Americans.

I think we are making the mistake of expecting our enemy to respect the value of our servicemen's lives when we don't appear to value them ourselves.

We have complete air supremacy in Iraq. We need to use it. If it's a matter of Iraqi civilian lives over our own soldiers, I know which ones I'd pick.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Funding terrorists: It's just their culture: Saudi ambassador to the US Bandar bin Sultan has a lot of explaining to do: like where $27 million funnelled into various "Islamic charities" in the US and suspicious locales overseas has gotten to. On the auditing of the suspicious transactions:
"It's not fair to apply American standards to this. They're not General Motors," said Nancy Dutton, a lawyer for the Saudi Embassy.
What kind of lowlife actually works as a *lawyer* for the Saudi embassy? Talk about defending the indefensible.

So what has the prince (shown in the MSNBC article hobnobbing with President Bush) been up to?
Among the payments that have drawn scrutiny, documents show, were $19,200 in checks between December 2000 and January 2003 from the Saudi Embassy to an Islamic cleric, Gulshair Muhammad al-Shukrijumah. The Florida-based imam has been on the FBI's radar screen for some time: he once testified on behalf of convicted terrorist Clement Hampton-El. The imam's son, Adnan G. al-Shukrijumah, also known as "Jafar the Pilot," is a suspected Qaeda operative who is the subject of a worldwide FBI manhunt. A Saudi spokesman said Gulshair al-Shukrijumah was a Saudi-funded "missionary" whose payments were terminated last year.

Another area of FBI inquiry involves $70,000 in wire transfers on July 10, 2001, to two Saudis in Massachusetts. One of the Saudis wrote a $20,000 check that same day to a third Saudi who had listed the same address as Aafia Siddiqui, a microbiologist who is believed to have been a U.S. operative for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. A Saudi spokesman said the wire transfers had no connection to Siddiqui and were used to pay educational and medical expenses for Saudi families in the United States. But bureau officials say the matter remains under active investigation; a government document shows the bulk of the funds were wired to an account in Saudi Arabia.

Pay no attention to that little prince behind the curtain...
Big Baby Waaah! Update: Some Mexicans are upset that the Disney movie The Alamo ends not with the US defeat at the eponymous site, but with the Battle of San Jacinto one month later. Mexico lost not only that engagement but the territory of Texas as well. That's OK - La Voz de Atzlan will get it back for them...
Somebody in the administration needs to listen to Dale Franks of Tech Central Station in his recent article, Ignore the Critics:
[During World War II,] opinion was divided between "doves" who merely wanted to raze our enemies' countries to the ground, and "hawks" who wanted to raze them to the ground and make the rubble bounce. In that kind of environment, had Roosevelt openly announced a plan to carpet-bomb enemy cities, the response of his opponents would have most likely been, "Are you sure you have enough planes to do that?"

The conclusion of that war saw the peaceful, constructive occupation of two beaten peoples. To be blunt, the reason this was so was because the allied powers waged war until most potential postwar troublemakers had been killed. Those that weren't already dead were immediately rounded up, and provided with fair trials before their hangings. Both occupations were, in the fullness of time, judged completely successful.

Now *that's*how to run an occupation.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Colin Powell calls the recent rash of US casualties in Iraq "disquieting." He needs to read this article.
Jesus is coming, and He's *mad* in the latest installment of the immensely popular (but excrecrably written) "Left Behind" series. From the new Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins book Glorious Appearing:
"Men and women, soldiers and horses seemed to explode where they stood," LaHaye and Jenkins write. "It was as if the very words of the Lord had superheated their blood, causing it to burst through their veins and skin." The authors add: "Even as they struggled, their own flesh dissolved, their eyes melted and their tongues disintegrated."
This masculine, butt-kicking Jesus was probably what turned so many liberal reviewers both in and out of Christianity "off" to Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.
"When you see him [Christ] stand up at the end of the movie, he reminds you of Schwarzenegger," says Stephen Prothero, a religion professor at Boston University and author of American Jesus: how the Son of God became a national icon. , "I think that movie shows more of a macho Jesus, who, in this case, is brutalised instead of brutalising."

He adds: "I definitely think the pendulum is swinging towards a darker, more martial, macho concept of the Messiah."
Schwarzenegger? James Caviezel hasn't had *that* many steroids. But the point is well-taken: Caviezel's creation of Christ in the film is definitely manly - he has muscles; he could definitely haul big logs around, and when he teases his mom he, well, teases like a guy.

Of course, when you have a real man, you also have the potential of a Terrible Swift Sword, and that's what the Kumbayah crowd can't stand.

Oh, the irony when the "victims" become the "oppressors:" But wait? Is that possible? I thought that no one who was a genuine bona fide certified "victim" could ever be an "oppressor."

Guess they can, though, as labor protestors complain that American Indian-owned casinos exploit them at the Agua Caliente tribe's Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs, CA. Best yet - the casinos don't come under federal labor laws because they're considered "sovereign." But wasn't that the whole point, to preserve the cultural sovereignity of the American Indian?

I love it when liberals auto-cannibalize.
Insufferable parents won't take "No" for an answer when little Janey Superstar is turned down by the Ivy League college she wanted to go to "since she was in diapers." (Read it here by typing "username" and "password" in the registration fields.)

They revile, they cuss, they try to bribe. What good examples they are for their children - if you don't get what you want, stamp your feet, scream, threaten, and ultimately get out the checkbook.

As if true success in life has anything to do with a perfect SAT and $100,000 in debt to some bastion of liberal indoctrination assembly line.
The "umma" discovers sexology but doesn't seem to be equipped to do much with it.

Two Muslim women, one a former Wall Street Journal reporter and the other a University of Arkansas literature professor, will launch their sex-advice column in an online "progressive" Muslim magazine.

A sample of the questions, this one relating to the traditionalist Muslim belief that those men who go to Paradise receive the attentions of seventy-two "virgins" (actually houris, djinn-like beings who come with all the advantages of women but none of the physical disadvantages):
"Do women get to have sex in paradise, too?"

In today's installment, an Islamic scholar at a New Jersey mosque says dryly: "Any woman who wants such a thing is not likely to make it to paradise."
So men can lust after the seventy-two houris and "make it to Paradise," but women are supposed to just sit there and watch their men boff them?

I read somewhere on some on-line "Ask the Imam" site (sorry, no link) that for women, their reward in Paradise was to *not* have to be married and have sex. That says a lot for "traditionalist" Muslim marriage...

Will the Japanese make Koizumi another Aznar? It's up to them. In the upcoming parliamentary elections, the Japanese have some choices. They can vote to appease the Iraqi terrorists who've kidnapped three Japanese civilians and withdraw their Self-Defense Force troops entirely, thus showing that Islamic militants *do* run their country (as they've shown they run Spain.) They can keep their Self-Defense Forces in Iraq under the continuing modus operandi of "humanitarianism." Or they can go for the revenge, with the same implacable fury they turned on their subway poisoners of the Aum Shinriyko sect.

Of course, that raises the question of what our occupation would do - try to talk them out of it and "let us handle it," as we said to the Israelis during Gulf War I as Saddam rained missiles down on them?

Unleash them, I say - Israelis and Japanese alike. Perhaps we didn't do ourselves and the rest of the civilized world that much of a favor when we brainwashed the Japanese into becoming a nation of anti-militarists and pacifists.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

The coming of EUropistan: Niall Ferguson mulls it over:
n the 52nd chapter of his ''Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,'' Edward Gibbon posed one of the great counterfactual questions of history. If the French had failed to defeat an invading Muslim army at the Battle of Poitiers in A.D. 732, would all of Western Europe have succumbed to Islam?

''Perhaps,'' speculated Gibbon with his inimitable irony, ''the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.''

When those words were published in 1788, the idea of a Muslim Oxford could scarcely have seemed more fanciful.

Not any more.

David Brooks sort of gets it when it comes to the move from the "old-line" suburbs out to the farthest reaches of exurbia. It's a book excerpt, so he may have more to say about it and I give him the benefit of the doubt. However, I don't think this piece shows a full understanding of why people have moved in droves first from the cities and then from the "inner ring" suburbs.

Largely, it's the schools. If an inner-ring suburb has great schools, its real estate prices are going to soar, because it's most likely landlocked. When an inner-ring suburb's schools go bad, most people don't move to a neighboring inner suburb with good schools; it's too expensive. They move way out, where the cost per square foot for housing is less and the schools are generally good.

Most people will not pay $500,000 for a small three bedroom, 1 1/2 bath Arts and Crafts bungalow of 1500 square feet, even with excellent schools. They'll pay $375,000 for four bedrooms, three baths, a big family room, and 3000 square feet of McMansion.

It's not that they don't like a picturesque neighborhood with shops, stores, schools, library, galleries, etc. in walking distance. It's that they simply don't think they're worth $125,000 and so much less space, or they don't have the money.

I'm a big fan of more urban density, renovation, rehabbing, restoration, the whole nine yards. But empty-nesters aren't going to do it alone. Until the public schools in poorer inner-ring suburbs and inner cities improve, people with children will continue to move farther and farther out.

Robot Stories a must-see: We had the privilege of not only seeing Robot Stories in St. Louis last night, but also the pleasure of hearing writer/director Greg Pak talk for awhile afterwards about his work.

The short list of "intelligent science fiction" just got longer. Robot Stories (inspired by Pak's childhood love of "bot" toys, Twilight Zone, and Marvel comics) consists of four short self-contained episodes.

"My Robot Baby" serves up a bizarre twist on all the "take care of the egg / sack of flour" exercises imposed on high schoolers in sex education classes. High-power careerist executive Marcia (Tamlyn Tomita) and her husband have to prove their "readiness" to care for an adopted baby by first caring for a robot one.

"The Robot Fixer" tells of a remote and obsessed mother trying to deal with the tragic accident that has left her son comatose. She finds his collection of broken plastic robot action figures, and tries desperately to fix these symbols of her son's terribly broken body.

There's a scene where the mother recalls yelling at her son for the action figure toy mess on the floor, and then vacuums up one of the pieces. At this point the story turned into a handkerchief fest for me. I've vacuumed up toy parts, seen them go down the toilet, dug them up out of the back yard. These little bits of one's child's soul, so to speak, go so unremarked and unnoticed - until you realize that these little bits of plastic show more clearly than anything that children grow, children change, children leave.

In "Robot Love," the filmmaker plays a programming 'bot named Archie. Robot programmers crank out code like machines until one day they decide that they have other ideas.

While "The Robot Fixer" provoked the deepest visceral response in me, "Clay" with John Lee (Sab Shimono) as a dying sculptor was the most profound of the quartet. Interestingly, each one of the stories serves as a step in a sequence that defines the stages in the life of man: infancy, childhood/young adulthood, sexual awakening and "maturity," and lastly the end of life itself. Lee lives in a world where the contents of a human mind can be digitized and uploaded into some kind of computerized "Oversoul." Lee doesn't want that, however - he wants to die a natural death, even though that's considered immorally selfish in this utilitarian future.

If you're tired of babes and blasters, find this movie and see it.
I, Robot trailer: Take a look. From what I see, it looks like another post-modern mutilation of a classic science fiction story. The same thing happened to Starship Troopers: a good solid story on the ethical basis of military service and manhood got turned into a babes and blasters bugaboo fest.

I think there should be at least a one year moratorium on all obvious CGI creatures in sci-fi and fantasy (the redoubtable Gollum in Lord of the Rings notwithstanding.) CGI creatures lack weight, feel, and don't seem to provoke emotional reactions from live actors. Or maybe it's just the directors - those that rely on CGI tend to make science fiction that has neither the delightful science/math geekiness of the classic age, nor the deep emotional sensitivity of A.I. or Robot Stories.
Bill her: So it turns out that University of Wisconsin student Audrey Seiler apparently faked her own abduction. It cost the county $70,000 to go searching for her - not to mention the terror and anxiety paid by her parents and the community.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

So what now? My vote for Fallujah: burn it down. Take the oil.

Then forget this peacekeeper crapola. To hell with "nation building." Either fight to win, or not at all.

Yesterday on the radio I heard this caller, a Korean war veteran who commented, "You notice that before we rebuilt Japan, we dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki first. That's what we are going to have to do in Iraq."

How did we get to be such a naive, nattering, nanny-clutching, titty-sucking "oh, please love me" society?

The Iraqis do not like us. They do not want our chocolate, our cigarettes, and our nylon stockings (except maybe to wrap around our necks to hang us from a bridge.)

By the way, whatever happened to "Leave no one behind?" The NY Times said:
More than 4,000 marines are stationed near the restive town in the Sunni Triangle but when the violence broke out on Wednesday and the streets of Falluja exploded in mayhem, Marine commanders decided not to intervene.

"Should we have sent in a tank so we could have gotten, with all due respect, four dead bodies back?" said Col. Michael Walker, a civil affairs commander. "What good would that have done? A mob is a mob. We would have just provoked them. The smart play was to let this thing fade out."
Does this stink like Mogadishu? It does to me. I don't blame the Marine commanders; they probably had their orders directly from the top. But does no one recall the words of General George Patton?

"Now, I want you to remember that no son of a bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor son of a bitch die for his country."

Burn Fallujah down. Let the cheering mobs die for the greater glory of jihadi Iraq. Take the oil.