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Showing posts from February, 2006

Now THIS is a free speech issue!

Suddenly silent Saddam

Saddam Hussein suddenly has nothing to say as the prosecution begins presenting the evidence of the mass murders which he authorized.

I wonder whether the American media will report the evidence as enthusiastically as they have reported Saddam's own antics at the trial.

More Chicagoese

Here's another- less humorous, and more complete- Chicago lexicon.

First woman elected to baseball Hall of Fame

Cheney to quit?

Reports are circulating that Vice-President Cheney might resign following the mid-term elections.

If so, President Bush would get to nominate a new vice-president, who would immediately become the front-runner for the 2008 Republican nomination for the top job.

HT: Drudge

Moment of truth for Iraq

Alas, the answer to this question is all too clear at this point.

The attack on the Golden Mosque was aimed at Iraq. Its purpose was to set off a civil war between Sunni and Shi'ite. That the Sunnis cannot win, of course, is not the point. The point is that it would plunge Iraq into bloody chaos, from which it would be likely to eventually emerge as once again a totalitarian state- and quite possibly just the sort of theocracy al Quaeda would like.

But there is another possibility. Having been driven to the precipice by the attack on the Golden Mosque, perhaps the quarrelling factions in Iraq may be frightened by that very prospect into a larger degree of cooperation. National Review Online points out that there have, indeed, been indications that such a thing is happening.

Two things are certain. First, civil war benefits nobody but al Quaeda. And secondly, we're entering into a crucial phrase of the struggle. How this crisis is weathered may well tell us which way Iraq is go…

Deaconness Calder on 'Grizzly Man'

The Terrible Swede points out that Deaconness Emily Calder and her husband also watched "Grizzly Man" the other night (apparently the night before I did)- and that she both blogged on it (in a more deeply reflective and critical fashion than I did ), and submitted that entry to the most recent Lutheran Carnival.

Do I disagree with her? Not really. She makes the valid point that Tim Treadwell was not, in fact, a bear- however he might have wished to be- and that he seemed to have a problem with his vocation as a human being. Nor am I particularly into tree- hugging. But I can well understand Treadwell's fascination. It's just too bad that it couldn't have been channeled in a direction more profitable for both himself and the bears.

Wikipedia discusses Treadwell's life, death, and obsession here.

To each his own, I guess

George Clooney likes being called a traitor.

He says that it puts him on "the right side of history."

Need more be said?

Well, one thing, perhaps. Note the characterization Clooney's propaganda film in the last sentence. Not exactly objective journalism there. And I wonder whether the writer ever pondered the consequences of Clooney's own extremism...

HT: Drudge

ADDENDUM: It occurs to me, after reading Dan's contribution to the comments on this post, that the graphic on the right could be seen as a reference to one of Clooney's movie roles, as well as to his politics.

Think of it as the MoonBat Signal.

'Grizzly Man'

Just watched a documentary on the Discovery Channel about Timothy Treadwell, the "Grizzly Man," who was the subject of a documentary about bears in Alaska and his life among them.

Treadwell dedicated his life to the preservation of Alaska's grizzlies, and finally died, along with his girlfriend, when one of the bears turned on them.

Was he nuts? Probably. At least a little bit. But I find the guy strangely attractive- and his admiration for these wonderful animals equally admirable- even if his lifestyle was, well...

Rejoice! 'Dirty Harry' Callahan has his email address back!

The year of Gay Chic in Hollywood?

Propaganda film "Brokeback Mountain" is the odds-on favorite to clean up at the Academy Awards.

...But the mainstream media remain silent

In many places these days, all too true

Pyromaniacs, by way of Pastor Paul McCain'sCyberbrethren, shares with us the following very profound wisdom:

Ten Ways (Actually Twenty Six) in which Doing IT Support is Better than Being a Pastor

Unusually emphatic disclaimer: This is satire (săt'īr' -- "A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit"). One hopes that every item is ponderable; the only thing I don't mean at all is the title -- and I really, really don't mean the title. All clear? Tongues in cheek, then. Here goes:

For the most part:

1. People come to you for help -- instead of assuming that, if you really knew your job, you would intuitively know they needed help, and come to them without being asked.

2. Everyone immediately tells you, to the best of his ability, what his or her actual issue is.

3. Everyone who asks you a question really wants to hear the answer.

4. Everyone who asks you for help really wants to he helped.

5. Everyone who calls you really…

Hans Blix has no clothes

RichardFest gives his take on the story I recently mentioned about one of the most significant news stories of the past five years- and one completely ignored by the mainstream media: those tapes of conversations among Saddam Hussein and his key advisors which prove conclusively that President Bush was right about Iraqi WMD's- and Hans Blix, the UN, John Kerry, Al Gore, liberals generally, and the media wrong.

And there aren't even any eighteen-minute gaps.

It's worth pointing out once again, incidentally, that Blix and his fellow UN inspectors were never tasked with concluding as the result of an exhaustive search that Saddam Hussein either had or did not have weapons of mass destruction. He admitted having them on several occasions; what was required both by the peace treaty that ended the first Gulf War and seventeen subsequent UN Security Council resolutions was that he produce the WMD he admitted having, and destroy them under the auspices of the UN inspectors.

Of course…

Here we go!

Chicagoese/English Dictionary

Frank Szewzyck, a member of my Blackhawks email group, posted this partial list of common Chicago slang terms and their translation. It sort of makes me homesick for the Greatest City in the World:

1. Grachki (grach'-key): Chicagoese for "garage
key" as in, "Yo, Theresa, waja do wit da grachki?
Howmy supposta cut da grass if I don't git intada

2. Sammich: Chicagoese for sandwich. When made
with sausage, it's a sassage sammich; when made
with marinated beef, it's an Italian Beef sammich,
a local delicacy consisting of piles of almost absurdly
delicious meat in a perilously soggy bun (also known
as simply "a beef-" and available "dry" as well-
meaning with a less soggy bun- REW)

3. Da: The definite article, a key part of Chicago
speech, as in "Da Bears" or "Da Mare" -- the latter
denoting the Hon. Richard M. Daley, or Richie, as he's
often called.

4. Jewels: Not family heirlooms or a t…

It's to laugh

Iran is threatening to attack the Israeli nuclear site at Dimona if the U.S. takes out any Iranian nuclear sites.

Sidney, our orange-winged amazon, has recently taken to challenging our macaw, Magoo, to fight. Sidney is perhaps a third of Magoo's size, and would fare in this battle about as well as Iran would if it got involved in a scrap with Israel.

This is not to minimize either Iran's military capacity or the difficulties of fighting a war on Iranian soil. It's just to point out that when picking people to push around, there are wiser choices than the Israelis- especially because they have more nuclear weapons than the Iranians will for a while, and are not apt to hesitate to use them where they will do the most good if they think it good for their nation's chances of survival.

HT: Drudge

In case you missed it...

May the best piece of socially Leftist propaganda win

This year's Oscars will be a battle of the politically correct films.

Isn't it amazing that even with Hollywood and the networks ramming a steady diet of propaganda down the throats of the American people, we still manage to think for ourselves on such matters?

HT: Drudge

A question

If- as the Islamic world and so much of the Western Left assure us- it is the insurgents who are on the side of the people of Iraq, and not the American-backed government, just who was the terrorist attack on one of the holiest of Shi'ite shrines, the "Golden Mosque,"aimed at, anyway?

Remember, the overwhelming majority of Iraq's people are Shi'ites- and even the Sunni leadership condemns the attack.

It would certainly seem that those responsible for the attack are in the minority.

HT: Drudge

Feeling lucky? Punk?

This sounds like a joke.

It is. But it's true, and utterly unfunny.

HT: Rev. Mike Zamzow

Papers in Muslim countries publish some of those cartoons

Muslim newspapers in Jordan and Saudi Arabia have published some of those cartoons of Mohammed.

The Saudi paper suddenly ceased publication; the Jordanian one merely faced severe criticism from King Abdullah and his government.

Interestingly, the pictures were published in the Saudi paper along side an article critical of the cartoons. The motivation of the Jordanian paper was expressed by its publisher to the New York Tiimes thus:" I am telling my people, 'Be rational, think before you go into the streets. Who harms Islam more? This European guy who paints Muhammad or the real Muslim guy who cuts a hostage's head off and says, 'Allah-u akbar?' Who insults our religion, this guy or the European guy?"

It should be said that King Abdullah- a strong moderate and staunch U.S. ally- was put in a difficult position by the publication of the cartoons in his country given the recent victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections. But despite the inclination of many Wes…

Very interesting

It seems that those audio recordings of conversations with top officials in Saddam Hussein's regime may turn the entire discussion of his WMD's on its head.

Their portrait of gullible, ignorant UN inspectors and an Iraqi regime contemplating terrorist attacks on the United States really needs to be viewed by the American public.

Of course, the American media will present that portrait when pigs fly.

"He who sows the wind..."

During the 1980 Presidential campaign on the campus of my alma mater, Concordia College (now University) in River Forest, Illinois, I was involved in a group called Voters Organized to Elect Somebody, or Project VOTES. The idea was to combat student apathy regarding the election, and supporters of all three major candidates pooled their efforts to that end.

One of our professors gave a presentation at one of our weekly events outlining what, in his view, was "really going on" in the world, and giving his critique of the foreign policy of the candidates. One of his observations was that "the Arab world is enjoying a temporary ascendancy" because of oil.

I remember thinking at the time that he was right about the ephemeral nature of that oil-based influence on world affairs. A nation with the technological history and resources of the United States would not forever consent to be subject to energy blackmail. Sooner or later-especially if OPEC and its member states pla…

100 accidents in less than an inch of snow

When I lived in Virginia, I was told that schools closed if they had one inch of snow. I was amused- having grown up in Chicago, and having lived in Iowa about half my life- not only by that, but also by the way drivers on the Beltway would slow down if there was even a little white on the sides of the pavement; I took to referring to them as the "Virginia creepers."

But I hadn't realized snow was this big a problem on the Commonwealth's roadways.

HT: Drudge

Pretty lame

Herein Danish publisher Flemming Rose tries to defend the indefensible: the deliberately provocative cartoons of Mohammed he published.

It won't work.

If attempts were being made to intimidate publishers into taking a more favorable view of Islam, and being less critical of it, and it was desired to defy the would- be intimidators, the logical thing would be to be more pointedly critical of Islam- in other words, to refuse to be intimidated. If Rose had chosen to engage in civil free speech, his actions might be defended on simple free speech grounds. In fact, he would have had an air-tight case.

But the moment he chose, instead, to do something outside the bounds of civil speech, two things happened.

First, the very point he was trying to make was obscured. His incivility, rather than Muslim intimidation, became the issue not only for Muslims, but also for any Westerners (and there are apparently all too few) not too blinded by legitimate revulsion at Islam's bullying, totalitar…

Oh, dear

It seems that Enthusiasm (the expectation that God will speak to us outside of the external Word) has more uses than simply misleading souls and bringing Christianity into public disrepute (alaPat Robertson).

It's also "useful" in providing grounds for ridiculing the Administration and the war effort.

When it comes to shooting onesself in the foot, there may be no phrase that provides better ammunition than "God told me."

HT: Rev. Mike Zamzow

It's a puzzlement

Count on the media never to miss a change to trash a GOP administration

Look for another week of Buckshotmania! (c)

And the strange thing is... a goodly proportion of the mainstream media seems to understand that they're going the Vice President one better- and shooting themselves in the foot!

HT: Drudge

One picture is, indeed, worth a thousand words

Many readers of my entries on the Mohammed cartoon fiasco have made the mistake of thinking that I sympathize with the rioters' obscenely disproportionate response to the deliberate, intolerant and childish provocation the cartoons represented. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nor am I under any illusions about Islam's history or nature.

In fact, it seems to me that this picture from the demonstrations in Pakistan pretty much says all that needs to be said on the subject.

HT: Jihad Watch and the Rev. Mike Zamzow

When Big Brother is really, really cute

Jingjing and Chacha, two cute cartoon cops appearing all over the internet in China, are actually the face of China's crackdown on internet dissent.

HT: Drudge

Flying Rodents from Outer Space

Alec Baldwin: Cheney is a Terrorist

Richard Dreyfuss: Bush should be Impeached

Bob Waters: Alec Baldwin and Richard Dreyfuss Need to Do Some Breathing Exercises and Center Themselves

The Cubs, Steve Goodman, and hope

Pitchers and catchers have reported.

I do a magazine rack survey every spring for my Cubs email group, The Cubhouse, of the baseball annuals' opinions of our team's prospects.

I am not optimistic this year. There is enough talent on the team to go far- if everybody stays healthy all season, and performs up to potential. But alas, such things don't happen to the Cubs- and even when the Cubs are loaded, other teams usually get much more done with much less.

They're down on me in the group for my pessimism. But after nearly half a century of following the Cubs, I think I'm entitled.

Thus far, I had come up with one prediction that the Cubs would finish fourth, one that they would finish third, and one that they would finish second. But today I came acrossLindy's- which, through a process of logic unknown to me, picked the Cubs not only to beat out the Cardinals and win the NL Central, but to go on to win the World Series.

Any of these predictions could easily come tru…

Nestingen retires

Poetic justice?

Joel Kayser laughed at Vice President Cheney's accidental shooting of a fellow hunter.

What happened hours later serves as a cautionary tale.

HT: Rev. Mike Zamzow

Now it's CSI

Tonight it was CSI's turn to provide America with its dose of bad theology and socially Leftist propaganda.

The plot involved a group with the obviously absurd conviction that life begins at conception. Catherine Eddowes pointed out to the head of the group (a charlatan who posed as a doctor, though she had no medical degree) that throughout a major part of its history the Western church (including at least one pope) held that life began when the mother felt the movement of the fetus (aka "quickening"). Her ignorant antagonist responded that this was merely "her opinion."

Which Catherine, of course, immediately establishes is not the case. Which, of course, it is not. Neither does it reflect the application of Scripture or Christian theology to a modern, scientific understanding of what actually happens at conception- an understanding Eddowes, of course, avoids discussing.

Later, Grissom gets in his licks, suggesting that dating life no earlier than the appearance…

Gumbel: Lack of blacks makes Olympics "look like a GOP convention"

This time, even the French aren't fooled

Despite all the Islamic Republic's denials, France's foreign minister has stated baldly that Iran's nuclear program is military in nature.

China: We're innocent- and so is Yahoo

Free speech and responsibility

First things first. Pastor Stiegemeyer's response to a previous post alerts me to the possibility that what I have written about the affair of the cartoons might be taken to imply that the Islamic rioters are somehow not responsible for their own actions- that the blame for their behavior lies with that publisher and those cartoonists instead. Nothing could be further from the truth. Of course the rioters are responsible for their own behavior, and in no sense are those cartoons an excuse.

But the point remains that that publisher and those cartoonists deliberately incited them. They, too, bear moral responsibility. One cannot deliberately goad homocidal maniacs- having no other intention but to 'pull their corks,' and knowing their likely response to having those corks pulled- and then claim total innocence when they react precisely in that way!

I have maintained throughout this affair that this is just not a free speech issue. I have well-established constitutional precede…

"Boston Legal's" straw man of the week

ABC's "Boston Legal" handed out its weekly dose of socially Leftist propaganda tonight.

The message this time: Catholic hospitals have no right to refrain from violating Catholic teaching by not administering emergency birth control to rape victims. In support of this view, Candice Bergen cited the Third Commandment as evidence that a doctor who works on Sunday doesn't interpret the Bible "literally-" and so Catholic teaching shouldn't be interpreted "literally," either.

No mention of Colossians 2:16, of course. Or Galatians 4:10-11 . No indication that the Christian Scriptures do not regard the Old Testament Sabbath as binding, or that there is no biblical basis whatsoever for the notion that the Sabbath was ever transferred to Sunday.

The outcome: Pro-life rape victim has an abortion, because "she has no choice." "It's always been about power," Candice smugly observes.

No, Candace. It's always been about license. Th…

This much needs to be said

Denmark isn't to blame for the cartoon fiasco.

Thoughtless Danish cartoonists and and a childish Danish publisher are to blame.

ADDENDUM: Without, of course, in any way diminishing the responsibility of the rioters themselves.

Now it's the funerals of soldiers

Fred Phelps (I decline to use the honorific "Reverend") and his "flock" from the Westburo Baptist Church in Kansas have been picketing the funerals of people who die of AIDS for years, carrying signs proclaiming God's supposed hatred of homosexuals.

Well, it seems that now Phelps has decided that American soldiers dying in Iraq is God's judgment on America for its increasing tolerance of homosexuality. So now he and the Hate Squad from his "church" are picketing the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq.

One need not disagree that our culture's increasing acceptance of homosexual behavior is a bad thing to be revolted by this sort of thing, whether at the funeral of an AIDS victim or a soldier. And I really don't think the First Amendment means that grieving families have to put up with it.

I wonder where Phelps thinks he's going when he dies. Absent repentance, he may be in for a nasty surprise (I John 3:15).

Krauthammer weighs in

Charles Krauthammer weighs in on the cartoons and the violence.

As much as I admire Krauthammer, I must dissent. Something begun in sophomoric insensititity simply cannot be rescued and transformed into a free speech issue. Its origins spoil the argument.

So much for John of Gamala

Both sides of the coin

Uwe Siemon-Netto, writing for the blog of the Concordia Seminary Institute on Lay Vocation, should be congratulated for this balanced, even-handed view of the affair of the Danish cartoons.

Steele shouldn't have backed down

Maryland Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Senate candidate Michael Steele has apologized for remarks equating fetal stem cell research with the medical experiments of the Nazis.

He shouldn't have. While his sensitivity to Holocaust survivers and to the Jewish people is commendable, and while Josef Mengele and his collegues performed their experiments on a unique scale and, for the most part, on people who could walk and talk, the point of Steele's comparison remains apt: when we start performing bizarre medical experiments to cannibalize living members of our own species for the benefit of others, the essential line has already been crossed. The dignity and sanctity of human life has already been compromised- and they can't be compromised to a degree any more than a woman can be a little bit pregnant.

Steele's remarks put the fetal stem cell debate in exactly the terms in which it needs to be discussed. It simply cannot be debated with intelligence or integrity without ta…

Simply clueless

Can these guys truly not see that to portray Mohammed in a cartoon- a violation of one of the most basic strictures of Islam- is an insult extended, not only to terrorists and rioters, but to every single Muslim in the world- even the most benign, polite, peaceful, law-abiding, and fair-minded?

I continue to be stunned that anybody can defend a mean-spirited mortal insult directed against an entire religion as somehow a gesture in behalf of free speech, just because some members of that religion- even a large percentage- are homocidal and totalitarian maniacs!

Even if one suggests that Islam as such has a tendency in that direction, does one deliberately and mortally insult an entire world religion on the ground of a tendency?

I'm sorry, but I'm at a loss to see how any grown-up can defend those cartoons. What we're dealing with here is Serrano'sPiss Christ- except somebody else's religion is the target this time.

And they deserve it

Now, in this case...

Bravo, Father! Now about the Council of Trent...

The preacher of the papal household, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preached one heaven of a sermon to Pope Benedict and his closest aides on December 16.

If only Fr. Cantalamessa's sermon reflected the unambiguous confession of the Catholic church...

But alas, the Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent anathamatize the sacred truths the papal chaplain proclaimed in that sermon. And sadly, the very page on Catholic Online which features the story has a link to a story headed, "Pope OKs indulgences for caring for ill."

HT: Lisa Stapp

What do you have to say for yourself, Yahoo?