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Showing posts from March, 2006

Uh-oh!

Tank Johnson may miss the 2006 season.

I've thought all along that the Bears needed help on the defensive line.

Now it becomes a necessity.

Sonuvagun!

The Blackhawks have won two in a row!

And this one against the best team in the league!

Learn something new every day!

The lawyer for Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga), who punched a Capitol Police officer who stopped her when he didn't recognize her as a Member of Congress, says that she's guilty only of"being in Congress while black."

From which I deduce that white congressmen routinely punch Capitol policemen with impunity, eh?

By contrast, Rep. McKinney's own comment is about exactly right. She blew it, and she knows it- and she, herself, seems willing to face up to that fact.

Guess it's a case of the person who doesn't represent herself having a fool for a lawyer.

Notice, BTW, who come out in the third from last paragraph of this blatently biased AP article as the bad guys.

Oh, swell.

Iran says it's successfully tested a stealthy missile with multiple-warhead capability.

This, apparently, is their response to the UN resolution asking them to stop enriching uranium.

I think muhajamoonbats in Tehran may have hired the same PR firm that is advising all those illegal immigrants and their supporters to fly the Mexican flag over public buildings and claim that the whole continent really belongs to them just when Congress is considering immigration reform legislation.

Meanwhile, speaking of hate speech...

Howard Dean is at it again.

The Republican secret weapon has accused President Bush of being anti-Hispanic, blaming the Chief Executive for an anti-immigration bill which Mr. Bush does not, in fact, even support.

But then, Dean was never one to let facts get in the way of a chance to slander the President.

He's a real scream, Dean is.

HT: Drudge

"Little Eichmanns"

What can you say about a college professor who calls the victims of 9/11- the victims, mind you, not Mohammed Atta and company- "little Eichmanns?"

I am not qualified to analyze Ward Churchill's psychological condition. Nor do I necessarily think that absurd and even bizarre political opinions need necessarily be symptoms of mental illness. But this sort of comment- made while knowing full well that the people who lost utterly innocent family members at the World Trade Center or the Pentagon or in that Pennsylvania field would read it- goes beyond the realm of the merely eccentric or even asinine. There has to be something wrong with someone twisted enough to make such a statement. Maybe his disorder isn't mental, but it is surely moral insanity of the first order.

"Hate speech" is a much-abused concept, and one that generally causes my eyebrow to rise. I do not necessarily advocate the silencing even of people whose opinions I find crude or ignorant or bigo…

More on the Chinese death camp

Here's more on the Sujiatun death camp where the Chinese government is reportedly exterminating members of the Falun Gong cult and harvesting their organs for international sale.

Report: Blair will be gone by Christmas

The British Prime Minister's closest friends reportedly say that the decision has already been made.

Despite his unpopularity in his own party and in Britain generally right now, Tony Blair will go down in history as one of England's greatest prime ministers.

HT: Drudge

The cross of death is the tree of life

King David and the Final Four: a tale of two shots

While it's a bit moralistic, here's a fun piece on George Mason Patriots and the Final Four.

HT: Rev. Mike Zamzow

Sujiatun: the Chinese Treblinka?

Rumors- and perhaps more than rumors- are sweeping the world of a concentration camp at Sujiatun in northeastern China where followers of the outlawed and persecutedFalun Gong cult are forced to serve as living organ donors for the international market, while others are killed in order to harvest their vital organs.

The story of the Sujiatun death camp originates with Chinese human rights activists, some of whom claim to be eye-witnesses.

The current Discover Magazine's cover story features a gruesome exhibit of partially-dissected, plasticized human bodies currently touring the West- and disturbing evidence that they may be those of executed Chinese prisoners.

One corpse, Discovery reports, was found to have a bullet hole in its head.

The practice of selling the organs of executed prisoners is a well-established one in China. Chinese authorties, however, deny the Suijiatun story.

The Chinese regime operates a human body processing plant in Dalien, where the organs of prisoners are ha…

People not clear on the concept may get a little clearer because of this

Drudge and Reuters apparently think it newsworthy that a new study fails to show a positive impact for intercessory prayer on outcomes for surgery patients.

Personally, I find the study's result refreshing.

First, "prayer" as such has no particular virtue. Praying to Allah, for example, would figure to be about as effective as praying to a paper clip (sorry, Daystar). Less effective, even. At least a paper clip exists. The object of prayer is a rather significant datum here. So are the terms on which the prayer is offered (see John 14:6, among other passages).

As it happens, in this particular prayer, only Christians- a team of Catholics, and a team of unidentified Protestants- were involved in the praying part. The prayers were standardized, and written out ahead of time. The result: no difference in outcomes between the prayed-for patients and the control group, except that the prayed-for patients had a greater incidence of complications.

Why should I find a study which fa…

The Herald won't give up

The Boston Heraldis still insisting that gesture Justice Scalia made Sunday was obscene.

Their evidence: two comments a photographer claims Scalia made at the time. Scalia denies it, and nobody else heard them. That, and lukewarm support from the cast of "The Sopranos."

The Herald claims that the gesture Scalia made was not the one he described. So why investigate it?

On the other hand, when the Herald polled Italian American members of the cast of "The Sopranos" (which Scalia had said members of the Herald staff watched too much), they were divided. The consensus: it was a crude gesture, but not a grossly crude one- "not as bad as the middle finger," but "not something I'd do to my mother." One specified that it could, indeed, be interpreted as meaning exactly what Scalia said.

Since no cultural anthropologist was located to explain exactly what the gesture means in Sicily (though several authorities provided diverse meanings from other parts …

A tactical mistake

This and this do not help those who are arguing for liberalized laws concerning illegal aliens. And frankly, it's a bit amazing to me that anybody might think otherwise.

No gesture, in fact, could be better calculated to alienate anybody sitting on the fence.

HT: Drudge

I hope Dubyah reads it, in fact

G.Tracy Mehan III has written a sensible article on the Rahman mess and its relationship to our mission in Afghanistan.

I very much recommend it.

HT: Rev. Mike Zamzow

Saddam comment a hoax

Thanks to solarbloggerfor pointing out that the piece I linked to on Saddam Hussein's supposed remark that he would be happy if Iraq turned to dust is a hoax.

Looks like Matt Drudge and I both fell for the same piece- which is odd, because it's clearly labeled as a hoax on the page we both linked to. Somehow, we both apparently missed it.

Rahman safe in Italy

Unbelievable!

Babou and I had dinner at a sports bar tonight. The Blackhawks were on, and we got to watch them.

And they won.

What are the odds?!

Is that where they got the idea of the 'hit piece?'

When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia flicked his fingers under his chin after Mass on Monday in response to a question about media comments concerning his impartiality in matters concerning the relationship between church and state, he explained to reporters, "That's Sicilian."

The BostonHerald leapt to the conclusion that it was therefore an obscene gesture, and reported it as such.

Scalia responded by citing Luigi Barzi's book The Italians, wherein the author explains that "the extended fingers of one's hand moving slowly back and forth under the raised chin means 'I couldn't care less. It's no concern of mine. Count me out."

The article referred to Scalia as "an Italian-American jurist." Scalia replied, "From watching too many episodes of The Sopranos, your staff seems to have acquired the belief that any Sicilian gesture is obscene- especially when made by an 'Italian jurist.' (I am, by the way, an American juri…

Cat terrorizes Connecticut town- and brings back memories

Remember what I said below about Islam and dogs?

Well, cats would be a different matter.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't actually hate cats, and I certainly don't approve of abusing them. But as I read about Lewis and his victims in Fairfield, I find myself thinking back to my household companion when I was in the ministry. You see, I myself was terrorized by a cat for eight years.

It's not that she inflicted bodily harm on me very often. She wasn't abusive or anything. And she only drew blood when she thought the offense truly deserved it. The major problem, rather, was that she was unclear on the distinction between the concepts "litter box" and "parsonage rug." This did not endear her to the congregation, and she ended her days as a farm cat.

Cassie and I because roommates when the woman I was dating at the time- Cassie's previous owner- called me after church one Sunday in tears, and told me that she had taken Cassie to the shelter the pre…

You're just as dead either way

A while back, I reported on a thirteen year old girl stoned to death in Iran for "adultery," and a sixteen year rape victim hanged there (though not for being raped per se, it turns out; rather, for her "sharp tongue" in defending herself in court while on trial for her life for having been raped. Glad we cleared that up!).

The hanged girl is thought to have been mentally retarded.

It turns out that the "crime" of the thirteen year old was that she was a victim of incest, impregnated by her older brother.

And another Iranian girl fought back, and successfully defended herself and her young niece from rapists. But they decided to hang her, too.

It seems that in defending herself, she accidentally killed one of her would-be rapists.

Resist either the sexual assault or the legal one by the kangaroo court, and they hang you. Don't resist, and they stone you.

Rapists are the lowest form of life on Earth. Iranian judges aren't much higher, in my book.

Schrödinger's dogs

Isaac Schrödinger will probably be alive whether or not you read his blog. But he sheds some light on what in my book is no trivial indictment of Islamic society: the problem it has with dogs, which are among the noblest creatures on Earth.

Not to beat a dead horse, but in my experience a person's attitude toward dogs (and even more, their evaluation of that person) says a great deal about him or her. And religiously- based cruelty to animals- and dogs in particular- does not say very much that is good about the religion that inspires it.

HT: PajamasMedia

Kadima wins

Prime Minister Olmert is willing to trade land for peace.

Regrettably, I doubt that Hamas will be as reasonable.

HT: Drudge

Can we even use Yahoo in good conscience?

Yahoo's co-founder is defending China's censorship of the web- and Yahoo's cooperation in ratting out dissidents.

Where is the outrage?

HT: Drudge

ADDENDUM: Google, owner of Blogspot and Blogger, also cooperates in supplying China with the technology to operate the "Great Firewall of China," preventing web searches for disturbing notions like "free speech" and "human rights," or websites dealing with such anti-social topics.

The mistakes have been fixed

I received an email last night from from Lee Duigon of the Chalcedon Institute (again, an organization whose theology I by no means necessarily endorse).

He wanted to make sure that he had the mistakes I'd told him about in the interview I gave him on my experiences in the ELCA right so that he could correct them.

Sure enough, the mistakes have been fixed. Thank you, Lee.

It should be noted, BTW, that Letty Russell and Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza were all the rage at Wartburg Seminary when I went there.

The travail of Abdul Rahman

There is a legend about a frog and a scorpion marooned on a rapidly-shrinking island of dry land in the midst of a flood.

The scorpion proposed that he crawl onto the frog's back, and that the frog carry them both to safety. But the frog, at first refused. "You'll sting me!," he protested.

"No, I won't!," the scorpion assured him. "It would be contrary to my own interest. Were I to sting you, we would both drown!"

Thus reassured, the frog let the scorpion climb on his back. But halfway to dry land, he felt a sudden, sharp pain in his back. His muscles were paralyzed, and the began to sink.

"Why did you sting me?," the frog asked. "Now both of us will drown!"

"Yes," the doomed insect replied. "But I'm a scorpion; it's my nature to sting. And besides- you knew what I was when you let me crawl up on your back."

Richard Cohen speaks for all of us in this article (how I shudder as I type those words!).

But t…

In case you needed more reason to wonder about Islam...

The dog is a most faithful animal, and would be highly prized if less common.
--Martin Luther, Table Talk
Any theology which condones this is a theology for barbarians- and any angel who dislikes dogs is clearly a fallen one.

I cannot personally imagine anyone looking upon torturing and killing dogs, much less sexually abusing them, as a religious duty.


HT: Rev. Mike Zamzow

I'll have to check him out. Or someone will.

Apparently a Drake University student is going on Letterman because he's decided to spend spring break at Wal-Mart.

Why is this significant? It's not. It's not even particularly amusing. It's just that I shop at that particular Wal-Mart a lot, and I'll have to see whether I can spot him.

Iowa actually isn't that boring. Really.

There are better things to do in Des Moines on spring break. We even have four malls!

HT: Drudge

Rahman seeks asylum

Afghani Christian Convert Abdul Rahman has applied for political asylum outside Afghanistan.

Demonstrations against his release underscore the fact that his life would be in danger were he to remain in Afghanistan.

The basic facts remain: the Taliban shielded bin Laden. We had to take out the Taliban. Having taken out the Taliban, somebody else had to be put in their place, or they'd come back and play ball with bin Laden again. Having put somebody in their place, they still have to run Afghanistan. And if they're going to run Afghanistan, they're going to have to survive.

As unjust and repulsive as this outcome is, it's the best one available.

Yes!

I still have a rooting interest in The Dance after all!

Go, George Mason! Go!

The Patriots are my former neighbors. George Mason is located in Fairfax, Virginia, not far from my former digs in Springfield.

Wow!

Channel surfing of an early Monday morning, I have come upon Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close on the Hallmark Channel, reprising Kate Hepburn and Peter O'Toole's triumph in one of my all-time favorite movies: "The Lion in Winter."

Close, surprisingly, is closer (so to speak) to being an satisfactory Eleanor of Aquitaine than Stewart a satisfactory Henry II- as much as I love Stewart.

Regrettably, I am too late to see how Close renders one of my favorite Hepburn lines: "Of course he has a knife! We all have knives! It's the Eleventh Century; we're barbarians!"

Quite a compliment. Thanks!

I'm deeply honored to have had nine of my posts submitted forLutheran Carnival XX- a kind of "highlight reel" of the Lutheran blogosphere during the time the Carnival has been up and running- even if, as is apparently the case, they all came from the same person!

Anyway, lots of good stuff here in the "oldies but goodies" edition of the Carnival.

A public disavowal

Some time ago, I gave an interview to Lee Duigon of The Chalcedon Institute about my experiences with the fudging that goes on with God's Name and self-predication in the ELCA, and the games that are played there with goddess-worship and out-and-out idolatry.

That interview issued in this article, in which some of the things I said are misquoted in significant ways. I am anxious that the record be set straight.

I realize how easy it is for a reporter not conversant with the details of a specific matter to confuse them; I've been there myself. I do not mean to suggest that Mr. Duigon intentionally misrepresented what I said, but I made the distinctions to which I want to call attention plain at the time of the interview. I fully recognize that I, myself, may not have been as clear on some of these points as I thought I was. In any case, concern for the Eighth Commandment requires that I disavow those misquotations, among other places, specifically in this blog, since the arti…

Eyes open to the future

NASA is quietly pursuing plans to parallel China's plan to send a manned mission to the Moon.

This time, we'll build a permanent base there- and prepare for the inevitable next step: Mars.

It's going to happen. Our future is out there- and that includes the solution to a lot of problems down here.

Helium-3, for example, here we come! (A square foot of the stuff- rare on Earth, but abundant on the Moon- could meet the energy needs of the United States for a whole year).

Make quite a dent in China's, too. And if you think relying on OPEC is bad...

HT: Drudge

TIME: The sky is falling!

Or rather, "The icecaps are melting!"

Several years ago, the publisher of TIME said in so many words that envirnomental issues were too important for the magazine to even attempt objectivity.

He deserves credit for his honesty. Not many in the Left-leaning media have been nearly so honest about their biases- even with themselves. But even so, after that statement- and given TIME's track record since- how can it expect anyone to take what it publishes on the subject seriously?

Current global temperature trends are well within historic cyclical parameters. And sinceTIME has long since ceased even pretend to be a purveyor of unbiased scientific information on environmental matters, it might be well to look elsewhere for one's information on the topic.

This will give you some perspective on the whole matter of natural vs. anthropogenic origins for greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere.

It's a place to start, anyway.

HT: Drudge

Afghan court dismisses case against Christian convert

Although allegedly for "lack of evidence" and "a lot of gaps in the prosecution's case," and although the matter has been remanded to the prosecutor for further investigation, the case against Afghani Christian convert Abdul Rahman has reportedly been dismissed.

It will now be the responsibility of the government of President Hamid Karzai to see to it that he gets out of the country safely.

Since it was his family who apparently turned him in, there doesn't seem to be much of a question of their going with him.

Bring it on!

At least there are a few smart Democrats.

Lots of moonbats in that party, though.

Yes, Saddam did have those WMD's. He admitted having them. He was required by seventeen UN Security Council resolutions to destroy them under UN supervision. He was required by the peace treaty that ended the first Gulf War to do the same thing.

He hemmed, he hawed. He shaked, he baked. He even kicked the inspectors out of the country once for an extended period. Those inspectors, BTW, never had a brief from the UN to go searching for WMD and to satisfy themselves that Saddam didn't have them anymore. Their brief was to supervise their destruction.

Never happened.

The case that Saddam had an active and threatening WMD program at the time of the Iraq invasion is a strong enough one that it is simply not possible for any honest and informed person to account for our failure to find more of them (and yes, we have found WMD's in Iraq!) by whining that "BUSH L-I-I-E-E-D!" Lest we forget, th…

'Mexico! Mexico!'

So let them go back to "Mexico! Mexico!"

It's not that I lack compassion for these poor people who flood across our border in search of a better life. But defying our laws to do so just isn't cool. Neither is it all that compatible with our national security.

It's perfectly true that we are a nation of immigrants. It's also true that these folks take jobs nobody else would want. But if they want to be a part of our society, they need to become a part of our society- and playing by the rules is a good start.

So is learning the language- not necessarily immediately, mind you. Adjusting to a new culture takes time, and plenty of immigrants in the past have had a generation go by before English became the language of the home- and were no less good Americans for all that.

But on the other hand, during my time in the Washington, D.C. area, I learned what it's like not to be able to go into a McDonald's in one's own country and order a carton of skim milk w…

Same old Doctor!

Just watched my first two episodes of the new Doctor Who, on the SciFi Channel.

The Doctor is in! Like the original series, the writing- and therefore, the quality of the episodes- is uneven in the extreme. The second of tonight's doubleheader- co-starring Charles Dickens- was far superior to the earlier homage to Douglas Adams'The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

As a whole, though, it's great to have an old friend back. Sad to learn, though, that Gallifrey was destroyed in an interstellar war, and that the Doctor is the last surviving Time Lord.

As petty and self-important as that race was, the sci-fi universe is poorer for their passing. Though they live on, of course, in their most worthy example.

Kinda says it all

So what didLuther believe about the question of whether Muslims worship the True God?

Or, for that matter (to ask a question which seems to be an afterthought in this whole conversation the Missouri Synod is having right now), what did (does) Jesus think?

One of the most basic rules of hermaneutics is that if there is some question about the meaning of a text, and you want to understand the writer's intent, you look at what he has written elsewhere on the same subject. What he says in the same document about that subject is generally held to be especially helpful.

Seems to me to be a matter any honest inquiry into the meaning of that disputed passage in the Large Catechism would investigate rather early in the process- certainly before issuing accusations of false teaching against those with whose interpretation they disagree.

Afghani official: Rahman will soon be free

A high-ranking official in the Afghani government has told French journalists that Christian convert Abdul Rahman would be released form jail 'soon.'

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has let it be known that, like German Chancellor Angela Merkel (see previous post), he hs been personally assured by Afghani President Hamid Karzai that Rahman will not be executed.

HT: Drudge

Angie: Karzai says convert will be spared

Earth to Dubyah!

For six years, we've listened to people with demonstrably lower IQ's than George W. Bush's pretend that this Ivy League MBA is dumb. It's been as infuriating has it has been sad. Well, and a little funny, in a pathetic sort of way.

But this move is dumb.

No. Make that really dumb.

And a far greater potential threat to our national security than the Dubai deal ever was.

Oh, this is real nice!

People who work for the media ought to be literate

The rising tide of illiteracy in America has dismayed me for years. But nowhere is it more dismaying than in the news media.

Consider the headline on this AP story: Teen Beated to Death at Milwaukee Bus Stop.

Sigh.

ADDENDA: First, they seem to have fixed the headline. And second, this young man's death is obviously more important than the grammar used in the headline announcing it. I apologize if my use of this example to illustrate my concern about the state of the language among professional journalists seemed to trivialize this tragedy.

Cavemen and apes

For a long time, liberals have portrayed conservatives as cavemen, Neanderthals, and troglodytes.

Fine. But given the characteristics of cavemen, Neanderthals, and troglodytes....well, let's put it this way: as evolutionists figure such things, liberals don't exactly turn out to be Cro-Magnons themselves.

HT: Rev. Mike Zamzow

I may vomit

A press release from the sponsors of the kidnapped Christian peace advocates liberated yesteday by coalition forces blame their rescuers for their captivity and for the murder of fellow "peacemaker" Tom Fox, and takes the side of the kidnappers- who tortured and murdered Fox.

And would doubtless have done the same to the others had not the evil imperialistic invaders saved their sorry....

Well. If they hadn't rescued them from the consequences of their own folly.

If I had completed the sentence above, it wouldn't have been nearly as obscene as the ingratitude and distorted values of these people.

HT: Drudge

Daystar is consumed with a burning zeal for confessional fidelity.

Uh-huh.

The Aardvark shares an interesting intercept from the ultra-secret Daystar network mailing list from someone who is apparently unaware that the official language of the Lutheran Confessions is German, not English.

Its concern for confessional fidelity is touching. Interesting, though, that this moving paean to the importance of the Confessions refers to those who disagree with its author and support the Readers' Edition, apparently without even a second thought, as "the confessionalists."

What does that make the Daystar crowd, and the Readers Edition's critics, hmmm? And does anybody buy this "concern for the confessional fidelity" business for even a moment? Aren't the Daystar folks the ones who think it's misguided to be too concerned about Lutheran confessional identity?

The Daystar crowd is criticizing what by all accounts is at the very least a grammatically valid alternate translation of the text- one characterized by a former EKiD pastor …

Good guys save remaining peace activists

Coalition forces have rescued those three remaining Western peace activists.

The Islamofascists only had time to torture and kill one of them.

I hope the remaining three are suitably grateful- and do a lot of thinking (and praying) on the way home.

Rice calls Karzai on apostasy case

No, Abdul Rahman is not out of his noodle. And neither is this Afghani Christian, who converted from Islam sixteen years ago, going to be executed for doing so.

Yes, Afghani clerics are indeed calling for his head- literally- and it's doubtful whether he could survive his release in what is still a primitive and backward society where the Taliban are a lot closer to mainstream than we can readily appreciate in the West.

But Secretary of State Condi Rice personally telephoned Afghani President Hamid Karzai today to add her voice to that of President Bush in calling for the Karzai's government to ensure Rahman's freedom and safety.

Rice pointed out that despite its lip service to Sharia (Islamic religious law), the Afghani Constitution specifically guarantees freedom of religion.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist put it well: "It is fair to say that the United States has not spent the last four plus years liberating, defending, rebuilding and assisting Afghanistan's d…

ABC: Bin Laden and Saddam aides discussed 'operational partnership'

Speaking of those captured tapes and documents, it's to the credit of ABC News that it is reporting the release of five captured documents throwing significant light on issues surrounding the origin of the Iraq war and relations between Saddam Hussein's regime and al Quaeda- including an account of a meeting between Osama bin Laden and emissaries from Saddam to discuss an "operational partnership" against "foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia.

The meeting, according to the documents, was personally approved by Saddam.

The documents also discuss measures to deceive Hans Blix and his UN inspectors, who were searching for Saddam's weapons of mass destruction despite the requirement of seventeen UN Security Council resolutions and the truce ending the first Gulf War that Saddam to destroy the WMD under their supervision.

Also discussed are Saddam's awareness of, and interest in, an al Quaeda presence in Iraq, French campaign laws (several French politicians …

And meanwhile...

This email from a top ABC News producer speaks volumes.

The author is said to be "mortified-" and rightly so.

HT: Drudge

Lampshades next?

Collegen from executed prisoners and aborted fetuses apparently is being used by a Chinese cosmetics firm to develop products for export to Europe.

It is not yet clear whether any of the human remains were used in actual production, or whether they were only employed in research and development.

HT: Drudge

Dispensible men

Fathers are more than providers of spermatazoa.

Our culture is in the process of forgetting that.

This is not a good thing. Especially for our kids.

To foam at the mouth, or not to foam at the mouth?

I think this guy is wrong about Saddam Hussein's WMD. I strongly suspect that they remain intact to this very day in various locations in Syria and Lebanon- just as Mossad insisted when those satellite photographs showed those caravans of trucks moving across the border in the days immediately prior to the invasion.

But in a more important sense, Jonathan Gurwitz, is right: those captured tapes, documents, and other materials the media seem so determined to give such short shrift leave no rational person the option of screeching "Bush L-I-I-E-E-D!"

The case that Saddam retained his WMD- right or wrong- was, at the time, an eminently reasonable one. Only a person motivated by partisanship and irrational hate could conclude otherwise.