December 31, 2009

Happy New Year to all, from the Weidners!

Calvin and Hobbes on New Year's resolutions

Posted by John Weidner at 6:02 PM

Kill Americans and win valuable concessions...

Andy McCarthy , It's Not Yet Friday, But It Is New Year's Eve -- What Better Time to Release an Iran-Backed Terror Master Who Murdered American Troops?:

...Today, New Year's Eve, while everyone's attention is understandably on family and friends, we learn (thanks to the ever alert Bill Roggio, reporting on the Standard's blog) that the administration has now released Qais Qazali, Laith's brother, [released previously by Obama] who is the head of the Iran-backed terror network, in addition to a hundred other terrorists. In violation of the long-standing, commonsense policy against capitulating to kidnappers and terrorists because it just encourages more hostage-taking and murder, the terrorists were released in exchange for a British hostage and the remains of his three contract guards (whom the terrorists had murdered).

So, as the mullahs, America's incorrigible enemies, struggle to hang on, we're giving them accommodations and legitimacy. And the messages we send? Terrorize us and we'll negotiate with you. Kill American troops or kidnap civilians and win valuable concessions — including the release of an army of jihadists, and its leaders, who can now go back to targeting American troops....

He's on the other side.

Keep this outrage in mind when "moderates" deride us extremists for suggesting that Obama's not a loyal American, or not willing to fight the War on Terror.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:59 PM

Thank you, Mr C.

Mark Hemingway, White House takes four days to respond to terror attack, but responds to Cheney criticism in matter of hours?:

...But what I can't wrap my head around is that it took the President four days to acknowledge what he termed a "catastrophic" national security failure, but Cheney criticizes the administration's handling of the war on terror and they have a rapid response on the White House blog in a matter of hours? Priorities!

Then again, it took six days to respond to the riots in the streets of Tehran during their election, so four days seems about right for a barely averted domestic catastrophe.

Also, is the White House aware of how small they look when they are so obviously spooked by Cheney's every utterance? Remember when the President rescheduled a press conference earlier this year to deliberately conflict with a pre-planned Cheney speech?

We could really use a steady hand on the tiller while dealing with national security matters, but the White House is still in campaign mode, worried about what a private citizen -- who left office remarkably unpopular! -- thinks of them. ...

Abdulmutallab isn't on the "enemies list."

Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 AM

December 30, 2009

Is this a valid complaint?

President Obama takes the heat President Bush did not - -

Eight years ago, a terrorist bomber's attempt to blow up a transatlantic airliner was thwarted by a group of passengers, an incident that revealed some gaping holes in airline security just a few months after the attacks of Sept. 11. But it was six days before President George W. Bush, then on vacation, made any public remarks about the so-called "shoe bomber," Richard Reid, and there were virtually no complaints from the press or any opposition Democrats that his response was sluggish or inadequate.

That stands in sharp contrast to the withering criticism President Barack Obama has received from Republicans and some in the press for his reaction to Friday's incident on a Northwest Airlines flight heading for Detroit....

There's one big difference. President Bush, on September 11, 2001, had the moral clarity recognize, and to say, that we were at war. No one knows whether Mr Obama has the same moral clarity. (I strongly suspect that he has never given the underlying question serious thought.)

That's something the President has to say. It's not his job to lead in battles, other people do that. But seeing clearly and speaking clearly about what the deep problem is, is what a President does. That's what America is still waiting to hear from Obama, and why we are frustrated at his insipid response to Ft Hood, and now to the close call with the "knickerbomber."

Watch this video, if you've forgotten....

Posted by John Weidner at 8:19 AM

December 28, 2009

"horrible desiccated complacency"

Mark Steyn :

...Putting aside the stuff that was just plain wrong (this guy's an "isolated extremist" - oh, yeah?), the President's remarks had a horrible desiccated complacency. "Alleged..." "suspect..." "charged..." - because this is no different from a punk holding up a gas station, right? In all their alleged allegedness, this Administration has an allergy to the concept of war, and thus to the tools of war, including strategy and war aims. In essence, they've accepted a Fort Hood model for this challenge: every so often, something will happen and people will die, and we'll seal off the crime scene and take the alleged suspect into alleged custody. But it's reactive, and it cripples our ability to prevent the death of innocents.

There's a difference between an alleged suspect (which is what he is is the President's fantasy) and an enemy combatant (which is what he is in reality). If this were a war, we would question him about who he hooked up with in Yemen, who did he meet with in London, and maybe get a lead on attacks to come. Instead, the authorities, having issued the Knickerbomber a multi-entry visa, having permitted him to board the plane, and having failed to detect his incendiary underwear, now allow him to lawyer up and ensure that we'll never know who he knew in Yemen or anywhere else.

This would be a big enough gamble in the best of circumstances. Up against the broader background Derb discusses, it makes disaster inevitable....

"The Knickerbomber!" Perfect.

It's treasonous not to be water-boarding this guy right now. But they can't do so because that would be to admit that we are the good guys, at war with monsters. And most Leftists can't admit that, because they are self-worshippers, and it would be admitting that there are things more important than themselves.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:42 PM

Climategate... Plus Reportergate...

This is a good piece on how "journalists" bend the words of people they interview to make them imply exactly the opposite of what they said. Biased reporting on Climategate - Washington Times:

...To judge by recent coverage from Associated Press, the Fourth Estate watchdog has acted like a third-rate pocket pet. Case in point is an 1,800-word AP missive that appeared in hundreds of publications, many carrying it on the front page of their Sunday, Dec. 13 issue with the headline, "Science not faked, but not pretty." AP gave three scientists copies of the controversial e-mails and then asked them about their conclusions. The wire service portrayed the trio of scientists as dismissing or minimizing allegations of scientific fraud when, in fact, the scientists believe no such thing....
Posted by John Weidner at 10:54 AM

December 27, 2009

"Goodness becomes a value of no delight..."

A snippet from an intriguing book I've just started to read, The Beauty of Holiness and the Holiness of Beauty by John Saward...

...Hans Urs von Balthasar regarded the separation of theology from sanctity as the most tragic divorce in the history of the Church. In an essay written over forty years ago, he pointed out that, since the golden age of Scholasticism, the Curch has found few theologians in whom she recognizes heroic virtue. by contrast, in the Patristic centuries and during the Middle Ages (up to and including the greatb Schoolmen) the great theologians were saints: they practised what they preached and preached what the practised. Sacred leaning coincided with saintly living. The sanctity of the theologians gave the People of God a great confidence in their teaching. Their faith was vibrantly alive with charity, and their understanding of faith perfected by the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. They spoke with authority of the God whom they loved above all else.

Whenever the Patristic and medieval unity is lost, theology turns into ideology, and spirituality becomes psychology. In the heresy of Modernism, we find a vivid example of this disintegration: a vague 'mysticism', a cult of subjective experience, displaces the objective truth of Divine Revelation, leaving theology the degrading task of applauding worldly wisdom. something similar happens when theology is cut off from iconography. Without the holy images, we are in danger of forgetting the face, and thus the flesh of the Son of God. The mysteries of the life of Jesus fade from our minds. In the eighth and ninth and sixteenth centuries, and again in our own time, Iconoclasm always tends towards Docetism. Robbed of the beauty of sacred art, the Christian can become blind to the beauty of Divine Revelation. And that is disastrous, for, when sundered from beauty, truth becomes a correctness without splendor, and goodness a value of no delight. As Balthasar says:

Our situation shows that beauty demands for herself at least as much courage and decision as do truth and goodness, and she will not allow herself to be separated and banned from her two sisters without taking them along with herself in an act of mysterious vengeance. We can be sure that whoever sneers at ehr name as if she were the ornament of a bourgeois past—whether he admits it or not—can no longer pray, and soon will no longer be able to love...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:51 PM

The terrorist attempt was successful--it terrorized us...

Andy McCarthy :

...Apropos Mark's observations (here and here), I couldn't help but be struck by this ambiguous passage in the Washington Post's report this morning: "The incident marks the latest apparent attempt by terrorists to bring down a U.S. aircraft through the use of an improvised weapon, and set in motion urgent security measures that disrupted global air travel during the frenetic holiday weekend." No doubt the Post means that "the incident" has "set in motion urgent security measures," but it was just as clearly "an attempt by terrorists" — and a successful attempt, at that — to "set in motion urgent security measures." It sounds trite but it's worth repeating: The object of terrorism is to terrorize, and obviously the mission has been accomplished even if the plane was not brought down.

In Willful Blindness , I recount the debacle of repeated entries into the United States by, among others, the Blind Sheikh (Omar Abdel Rahman) and al Qaeda operative Ali Mohammed — the former permitted free entrance, egress and, finally, a green card (as a special religious worker) even though he was one of the world's most famous jihadists and was on the terror watch lists for having authorized the murder of Anwar Sadat; the latter permitted to immigrate from Egypt and join the U.S. army despite having been caught trying to infiltrate the CIA.

Now, nearly 20 years later — after 9/11, the 9/11 Commission, etc. — we have Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: He was in the terrorist "database" because we were warned by his own influential father of his radical ties and proclivities, and he was evidently notorious among associates in Africa and Europe for his jihadist leanings; yet, he was issued a multiple-entry visa. And he claims to have been trained in Yemen — the al Qaeda hub to which the administration has just sent a half-dozen trained jihadists previously detained in Gitmo, and where it hopes to send many more...

Well, I've often explained why they are "willfully blind; no need to repeat myself...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:22 PM

December 26, 2009

Awesomely awesome, if true!

My opinion of Canadians is not terribly high. I suspect that the men of Vimy are gone for good. But this piece is at least a small counter-indicator... Jonathan Kay on the triumph of conservative values in Canada: This is how we got our country back:

...It's odd being a Canadian conservative these days. Because the Liberals were in power for so long, and because Stephen Harper still doesn't have a majority, we spend our days in silent fear that all the Tories' reforms comprise a kind of mirage - that we'll wake up tomorrow with the Liberals back to power, and everything reversed in an instant. Most of us haven't allowed ourselves to sit back and appreciate the very real changes that have taken place since Jean Chrétien left the stage.

My big idea as the decade comes to an end ... well, it's more of a commendation: Take a bow, Canadian conservatives. You got your country back.

The roll of honour starts, of course, with Stephen Harper. I wrote a column five years ago arguing that Harper was too cranky to lead Canada's conservative movement. (Scott Brison, I argued in a separate piece, was the man for the job. This explains why I don't write about politics much.) Which is to say, I massively underestimated our current prime minister — just as everyone else did.

We can argue all day about the extent of Harper's fidelity to small-c conservative values. But overall, he provided the conservative movement with something absolutely indispensable: ruthless professionalism. Without that, nothing else matters. As the Reform Party demonstrated, voters can smell amateurism.

The supporting-actor award goes to Jason Kenney. If you told me 10 years ago that a religious, unapologetic, hardcore conservative like our current Citizenship Minister would have a prominent role in government, I wouldn't have believed you. But there he is, doing his thing. And in today's Canada, he gets away with it.

Last month, Kenney released a new citizenship guide for immigrants — a document that symbolizes, more than anything else, how much Ottawa has changed over the last decade. It contained this line: "Canada's openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, 'honour killings,' female genital mutilation or other gender-based violence. Those guilty of these crimes are severely punished under Canada's criminal laws."...
Posted by John Weidner at 1:31 PM

Drag queen theatrics...


...Well, Muslims are the ones blowing up airplanes. Until they stop doing that, profile the living s*** out of them. Make them fly totally naked, with no carry-on bags allowed, or don't let them fly at all. Inconveniencing members of "The Religion of Peace" is a small price to pay for permanently preventing these animals from bringing down any more airplanes.

What's going to happen is this: Liberals will guarantee Muslims will continue to have the ability to kill Americans in airplanes. Muslims will effectively bully the TSA and airlines, with Liberals' aid and comfort, to lower the security levels enough so that they are able to sneak the next generation of liquid and powder explosive combinations onto flights. With love of theatrics greater than any drag queen we've ever known, Muslims will use the current administration's fondness for Islam to stage either another round of hijackings/crashes into buildings or will just pick a day in the future and detonate bombs on a dozen or so planes all at once, putting fireballs over major cities. The Liberal MSM will then puzzle and wonder how this happened, and will of course try to blame the Bush Administration in some way.

It sure feels like Al Queda's back in the air terror business after successfully being shut down during the Bush years. But, with the Lightbringer in office, and Eric Holder in the Justice Department, it sure feels like Muslims are once again comfortable with taking down airplanes.

This appears to be coordinated efforts to test our systems, in advance of another big attack.

Which is all ridiculous, of course, if you believe Islam really is "the religion of peace" — because how could Muslims, if they really do love peace so much, sit quietly on their butts all over this country when their fellow Muslims plot and scheme to bring down planes like this?

That's a question we never can find a very good answer for....

Actually someone pointed out the answer recently. It's perfectly possible to interpret Islam as a "religion of peace." BUT, those Muslims who do so are in much the same position as pro-abortion Christians. They can never win the intellectual battles. They can never be a winning movement that changes the religion as a whole.

Even if most Muslims are peaceful (whatever that may mean to them), "peaceful Islam" is a fringe movement, and will continue to be so until we have pounded on war-loving Islam with murderous violence for a century or two. That's just the way it is.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:39 AM

Thought for the day...

Hugh Hewitt:

...We are 45 weeks from the chance to begin to repair the damage that has flowed from marrying high school rhetoric and plans with power. We had another close call yesterday. Pray we keep being lucky for a while longer until we can start to be smart again.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:04 AM

December 25, 2009

Podcast project...

I and a few others in our parish, St Dominic's San Francisco, have been working on getting podcasts of homilies (sermons) up on the parish web-site. It has not been easy to get the ball rolling! But at last there is progress...

You can see them here. Just click on the "Homilies Podcasts" button on the left. They are all good so far (the Dominicans are not called the "Order of Preachers" for nothing) but I especially recommend anything by Fr. Xavier Lavagetto, our pastor.

I assembled most of those. (Feel free to criticize.) I've been using the Apple program Garageband, which is quite astonishin', and very easy to use...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:20 PM

A happy and holy Christmas to all of you...

From The Pope's Christmas Eve Homily, 2008:

Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down upon the heavens and the earth?" This is what Israel sings in one of the Psalms (113 [112], 5ff.), praising God's grandeur as well as his loving closeness to humanity. God dwells on high, yet he stoops down to us! God is infinitely great, and far, far above us. This is our first experience of him. The distance seems infinite. The Creator of the universe, the one who guides all things, is very far from us: or so he seems at the beginning.

But then comes the surprising realization: The One who has no equal, who "is seated on high", looks down upon us. He stoops down. He sees us, and he sees me. God's looking down is much more than simply seeing from above. God's looking is active. The fact that he sees me, that he looks at me, transforms me and the world around me. The Psalm tells us this in the following verse: "He raises the poor from the dust." In looking down, he raises me up, he takes me gently by the hand and helps me to rise from depths towards the heights. "God stoops down". This is a prophetic word. That night in Bethlehem, it took on a completely new meaning.

God's stooping down became real in a way previously inconceivable. He stoops down: he himself comes down as a child to the lowly stable, the symbol of all humanity's neediness and forsakenness. God truly comes down. He becomes a child and puts himself in the state of complete dependence typical of a newborn child. The Creator who holds all things in his hands, on whom we all depend, makes himself small and in need of human love. God is in the stable. In the Old Testament the Temple was considered almost as God's footstool; the sacred ark was the place in which he was mysteriously present in the midst of men and women. Above the temple, hidden, stood the cloud of God's glory. Now it stands above the stable. God is in the cloud of the poverty of a homeless child: an impenetrable cloud, and yet a cloud of glory!...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:07 AM

December 24, 2009

The trouble with Midnight Mass... that it leaves a sort of empty space in the evening ahead of time... Which is likely to be filled not with constructive activities—too late for that—but with mischievous flurryings such as ... blogging...

You'll like this one!

(Thanks to Hillbuzz)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:46 PM

Even on Christmas Eve, we should not overlook the evils of our time....

Charlene recommends this from Joshua Pundit:

I was hoping to keep today light, but I feel this needs attention.

Rabbi Meir Chai HY"D was murdered near Shavei Shomron in Samaria (AKA The northern part of the West Bank) yesterday afternoon.

He was a teacher at the local Talmud Torah School,who left a wife and seven children ranging from a two months-old to an 18 year-old. He was only 45.

He was murdered by automatic weapons fire as he was driving along Route 57, between the Samaria communities of Shavei Shomron and Einav.

According to the Jordanian news agency Ma'an,'credit' for his murder was taken by a group affiliated with Fatah's al-Aksa Martyr's know, the Obama Administration's preferred terrorists.

It would be interesting to do a ballistic study and determine if the shots came from one of those shiny new M-16's General Keith Dayton is using to arm the Palestinian army he's training.

A key part in the assassin's being able to get in and out easily was the removal of two IDF checkpoints last week, which was done as a gesture to President Obama and the Palestinians even though the residents begged them not to...

A—wait for it—A gesture!. What a brainstorm. Gee, why hasn't anyone thought of that before our wonder-working president? Just make a "gesture" to Palestinian terrorists, and their soft hearts will just melt, and peace will surely be coming down the pike.

As far as I'm concerned, the Palestinian terrorists are enemy terror groups we need to exterminate in the WoT. And it would be just as just and moral for American troops to kill them as any other bunch of deranged murderers. And, Obama and his fellow Leftists are on the other side from America and all good people, and if there were any justice they'd all be getting Caribbean tans at a much-expanded Gitmo.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:38 PM

On Freedom's Wall...

Our thanks and prayers this Christmas go to all those Americans and Anglosphere cousins who serve on the distant ramparts of the world so others in many many lands may sleep safely. God bless you!

Chinook lands on roof, Afghanistan

I first blogged this picture here. Details of the operation by Company B, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, here.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:29 PM

You see them walking around... Zombies...

Thanks to my son Rob for this...

Posted by John Weidner at 1:46 PM

"American blood is not worth more than the blood of others..."

The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity.
-- President George W Bush, 2004

The Most Neo-Con Movie Ever Made -

...James Cameron's new sci-fi film Avatar is exhilarating fun in the darkest days at the end of a depressing year, but it also says quite a lot, in an inchoate, American way, about the cultural moment. You should see it especially if you are "right of center" or conservative. Forget the sneering reviews--this is the most neo-con movie of 2009, or perhaps ever, because it illustrates, rather than argues, the point we neo-cons made in Iraq: that American blood is not worth more than the blood of others, and that others' freedom is not worth less than American freedom.

How universal are the values we Americans cherish? Avatar says they are completely universal--extending to another planet called Pandora. What is the responsibility of an American and how far does it reach? Avatar says, again, across the universe. Are we all brothers and sisters under the skin? Avatar answers yes, in the most concrete way, when protagonist Jake Sully decides to enter his Na'vi body permanently and stay on Pandora rather than returning to Earth...

I think there's a lot of truth in this. On the surface of course it is full of horrid wicked ideas. Pantheism, obviously, which is a spiritual toxin. Fluff-brained Hollywood Rousseauism (the movie's a sort of Pocahontus with blue redskins), anti-Americanism, blah blah blah...

But it may be, that, on a deeper level, it says something quite the opposite. A rebuke to the fake-liberals and fake-pacifists who think that Arabs and Afghans and Iranians are just sand-niggers who are incapable of enjoying freedom and democracy, and should be left under the heels of tyrants, so the rest of us need not be bothered with them. (Or worse, with the idea that there's anything worth fighting for.)

...Like the election of a black man as president of the United States, and like its great precursor Bladerunner, Avatar presents a physical answer to a philosophical question. Barack Obama's election was seen by many, both Democrat and Republican, as a way of bringing the American conflict over race to an end. (Of course it couldn't do this, no matter what you think of Obama--and I think very little.) Bladerunner was an attempt to cover some of the same ground, asking who is human in the context of an "ersatz" race hounded by bounty hunters...

....Avatar is actually both pro- and anti-military, but in an insider's way. Even the scenes that raise some reviewers' hackles as the most gooey, where the Na'vi gather in circles around a sacred tree and plug their braids into its roots, read to me as a metaphor for the networked military. Speaking of which, Avatar gets the look and mood of military environments just right. Everything from the unapologetically claustrophobic space travel and Avatar-driving pods to the laconically witty banter rings true to what I've seen on five embeds in Afghanistan and various bases here....
Posted by John Weidner at 1:25 PM

December 23, 2009

Our insanity is a thing of dream-like beauty, #2

'Huge rise' in number of women seeking help for alcohol addiction | News (Thanks to Orrin Judd):

Soaring numbers of women are seeking help for drink addiction in the run-up to Christmas....

So, Englishmen, how's that post-Christian thing working out?

Didja ever notice something odd about "feminism?" That it was always about encouraging women to mimic the worst characteristics of men? No "feminist" leaders have ever suggested that women adopt honor, chivalry, nobility, stout-heartedness, or defense of the innocent. But pub-crawling, swearing, smoking, careerism, tattoos, casual sex, and a general hardness of heart.... Hey, you've made progress, baby! Just avoid babies, and the sky's the limit.

And how's this for being suicidally stupid:

...Supermarkets are accused of encouraging binge drinking by selling alcohol more cheaply than bottled water. Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury's are among those selling beer at just over 5p per 100ml.

Addictions expert Professor Ian Gilmore, head of the Royal College of Physicians, warned: "Voluntary partnerships with the industry aren't working. They must be backed up with measures from the Government to tackle heavily discounted alcohol this Christmas."...

Oh right. It's purely an economic problem. There's nothing that exists except materialism, which is the answer to every problem. "Experts" will tweak prices, and behavior will be adjusted thereby. The British problem is lack of government regulations!

Pay no attention to those primitivos who suggest that there can be spiritual problems. The science is SETTLED!

Posted by John Weidner at 7:33 AM

So many horrid things, you can't even keep track of them all, much less oppose them...

Andy McCarthy, Why Does Interpol Need Immunity from American Law?:

...Interpol is the shorthand for the International Criminal Police Organization. It was established in 1923 and operates in about 188 countries. By executive order 12425, issued in 1983, President Reagan recognized Interpol as an international organization and gave it some of the privileges and immunities customarily extended to foreign diplomats. Interpol, however, is also an active law-enforcement agency, so critical privileges and immunities (set forth in Section 2(c) of the International Organizations Immunities Act) were withheld. Specifically, Interpol's property and assets remained subject to search and seizure, and its archived records remained subject to public scrutiny under provisions like the Freedom of Information Act. Being constrained by the Fourth Amendment, FOIA, and other limitations of the Constitution and federal law that protect the liberty and privacy of Americans is what prevents law-enforcement and its controlling government authority from becoming tyrannical.

On Wednesday, however, for no apparent reason, President Obama issued an executive order removing the Reagan limitations. That is, Interpol's property and assets are no longer subject to search and confiscation, and its archives are now considered inviolable. This international police force (whose U.S. headquarters is in the Justice Department in Washington) will be unrestrained by the U.S. Constitution and American law while it operates in the United States and affects both Americans and American interests outside the United States.

Interpol works closely with international tribunals (such as the International Criminal Court — which the United States has refused to join because of its sovereignty surrendering provisions, though top Obama officials want us in it). It also works closely with foreign courts and law-enforcement authorities (such as those in Europe that are investigating former Bush administration officials for purported war crimes — i.e., for actions taken in America's defense).

Why would we elevate an international police force above American law? Why would we immunize an international police force from the limitations that constrain the FBI and other American law-enforcement agencies? Why is it suddenly necessary to have, within the Justice Department, a repository for stashing government files which, therefore, will be beyond the ability of Congress, American law-enforcement, the media, and the American people to scrutinize? [My emphasis]....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:45 AM

December 22, 2009

A little Christmas info for your files...

If some black-hearted secularist ever hits you with that old chestnut about Christmas being celebrated on December 25 because it was a Christian take-over of pagan solstice celebrations, or some such... well, there's not a shred of historical evidence for it. However, there IS good reason to believe in an entirely different explanation...

How December 25 Became Christmas - Biblical Archaeology Review:

...Around 200 C.E. Tertullian of Carthage reported the calculation that the 14th of Nisan (the day of the crucifixion according to the Gospel of John) in the year Jesus died was equivalent to March 25 in the Roman (solar) calendar. March 25 is, of course, nine months before December 25; it was later recognized as the Feast of the Annunciation—the commemoration of Jesus' conception. Thus, Jesus was believed to have been conceived and crucified on the same day of the year. Exactly nine months later, Jesus was born, on December 25.

This idea appears in an anonymous Christian treatise titled On Solstices and Equinoxes, which appears to come from fourth-century North Africa. The treatise states: "Therefore our Lord was conceived on the eighth of the kalends of April in the month of March [March 25], which is the day of the passion of the Lord and of his conception. For on that day he was conceived on the same he suffered." Based on this, the treatise dates Jesus' birth to the winter solstice.

Augustine, too, was familiar with this association. In On the Trinity (c. 399–419) he writes: "For he [Jesus] is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also he suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which he was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which he was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before him nor since. But he was born, according to tradition, upon December the 25th."

In the East, too, the dates of Jesus' conception and death were linked. But instead of working from the 14th of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, the easterners used the 14th of the first spring month (Artemisios) in their local Greek calendar—April 6 to us. April 6 is, of course, exactly nine months before January 6—the eastern date for Christmas. In the East too, we have evidence that April was associated with Jesus' conception and crucifixion. Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis writes that on April 6, "The lamb was shut up in the spotless womb of the holy virgin, he who took away and takes away in perpetual sacrifice the sins of the world." Even today, the Armenian Church celebrates the Annunciation in early April (on the 7th, not the 6th) and Christmas on January 6.

Thus, we have Christians in two parts of the world calculating Jesus' birth on the basis that his death and conception took place on the same day (March 25 or April 6) and coming up with two close but different results (December 25 and January 6)....
Posted by John Weidner at 9:19 PM

December 21, 2009

It's in Wikipedia, it must be true....

This story is appalling and sick, but I had to smile because it reminded me of how, when I was much younger, people used to say that something was true because "it's in Webster's!" I was a bookseller, and was well aware the name "Webster's" had become a generic and public-domain term, and all sorts of rubbish books were cranked out with names like "Webster's New Standard Revised Dictionary and Encyclopedia."

But boy, these guys, like so many Lefties, are just tireless ant-workers...

Lawrence Solomon: Wikipedia's climate doctor:

...The Climategate Emails reveal something else, too: the enlistment of the most widely read source of information in the world — Wikipedia — in the wholesale rewriting of this history....
...Connolley took control of all things climate in the most used information source the world has ever known – Wikipedia. Starting in February 2003, just when opposition to the claims of the band members were beginning to gel, Connolley set to work on the Wikipedia site. He rewrote Wikipedia's articles on global warming, on the greenhouse effect, on the instrumental temperature record, on the urban heat island, on climate models, on global cooling. On Feb. 14, he began to erase the Little Ice Age; on Aug.11, the Medieval Warm Period. In October, he turned his attention to the hockey stick graph. He rewrote articles on the politics of global warming and on the scientists who were skeptical of the band. Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, two of the world's most distinguished climate scientists, were among his early targets, followed by others that the band especially hated, such as Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, authorities on the Medieval Warm Period.

All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles. His control over Wikipedia was greater still, however, through the role he obtained at Wikipedia as a website administrator, which allowed him to act with virtual impunity. When Connolley didn't like the subject of a certain article, he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions. Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley's global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia's blessings. In these ways, Connolley turned Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement.

The Medieval Warm Period disappeared, as did criticism of the global warming orthodoxy. With the release of the Climategate Emails, the disappearing trick has been exposed. The glorious Medieval Warm Period will remain in the history books, perhaps with an asterisk to describe how a band of zealots once tried to make it disappear.
Posted by John Weidner at 5:58 PM

December 20, 2009

Our insanity is a thing of dream-like beauty...Failures can be repeated endlessly, effortlessly...

Police expect Mumbai-style terror attack on City of London - Times Online:

Scotland Yard has warned businesses in London to expect a Mumbai-style attack on the capital. ["Expect." But don't you dare DO anything]

In a briefing in the City of London 12 days ago, a senior detective from SO15, the Metropolitan police counter-terrorism command, said: "Mumbai is coming to London." [And we will work really hard at being as sappy and shit-stupid as the Indians.]

The detective said companies should anticipate a shooting and hostage-taking raid "involving a small number of gunmen with handguns and improvised explosive devices". [But shooting back will be punished by long prison terms.]

The warning — the bluntest issued by police — has underlined an assessment that a terrorist cell may be preparing an attack on London early next year

It was issued by the Met through its network of “security forums”, which provide business leaders, local government and the emergency services with counter-terrorism advice. ["Advice." Oh. And what, pray, IS THE ADVICE? Hmm? What COULD it be? How about: "In Case Of Attack, Cower."] ...

Perhaps this, from the same piece, will shed light...

...Earlier this year, police, military and intelligence services held an exercise in Kent to see whether they could defeat a commando raid in London by terrorists.

"The exercise brought out to those taking part that the capability doesn't exist to deal with that situation should it arise," said a military source....
What's the old new saying? "When seconds count, the police will be there in minutes"...
...The Met is understood to be struggling to draw up effective plans to deal with the challenge of mass shootings followed by a prolonged siege with terrorists prepared to kill their hostages and themselves.

In Mumbai, many victims were killed in the first half hour of the attack. The Met is concerned that it will be much longer before the SAS, which has traditionally dealt with terrorist sieges in London, would arrive from its base at Regent's Park barracks...

Of course it must be longer. The laws of physics can't be repealed, even by those Lefty geniuses who would no doubt find it easy to create the "New Soviet Man." Even if SAS commandos were sitting, fully armed, in their helicopters, it would STILL take at least a half hour to get to the scene and get into action. And that's assuming the attackers stay put, instead of fanning out in different directions in the confusion and attacking at random points.

There's only ONE possible answer. I posted this on November 12, 2001!   (My very first week as a blogger. I was telling the TRUTH then, I'm still telling the same truth. And what have I gained? Just a certain personal satisfaction.):
InstaPundit mentions that John Lott has written an exceedingly interesting piece in the New York Post on the Israeli view of concealed handguns.

"Israelis realize that the police and military simply can't be there all the time to protect people when terrorists attack: There are simply too many vulnerable targets. (When the police or military are nearby, terrorists wait until they leave.) And when terrorists strike, their first targets include anyone openly carrying a gun.

What Israel has found helpful in thwarting terrorist attacks is allowing law-abiding, trained citizens to carry concealed handguns. About 10 percent of Jewish adults there now have permits to carry concealed handguns."

I feel quite confident is asserting that the general run of British (and American) Leftists would happily accept tens-of-thousands of deaths rather than adopt the obvious counter-measure, which is an armed citizenry. Leftism is murder. Pacifism is murder. Leftism and pacifism are anti-Christian. They are diabolic.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:59 AM

December 19, 2009

What you learn from being a Dad... (or Mom)

From a piece titled The Gift of Authority, by Matt Teel, a former Episcopal priest, now a Catholic...

...Now, up until that point, I was not very happy with the lack of authority in the Episcopal Church. It seemed to me that anyone could do anything and call it legitimate. No one was really 'in charge.' The buck didn't stop anywhere.

With the Catholics, the buck stopped with the pope.

With the Baptists, the buck stopped with the Bible.

But we just muddled through and came to our own conclusions.

I remember one of my professors in seminary telling us, with some pride in his voice, that Anglicanism is 'Christianity for adults'—the implication being, of course, that we weren't like those 'children' in the other churches who needed to believe that they could get all the answers from someone. Only very weak people need to believe that the pope is infallible. Only very childish people need to believe that the Bible is infallible. We Anglicans don't need anything to be infallible: we are responsible for ourselves. Don't take your answers from some guy in Rome, we'd say, or some book (no matter how holy): forge your own path. Find your own way. Figure things out for yourself. This is Christianity for adults!

And as I said, I wasn't too enthusiastic about that, but I bought into it and I thought I could live with it. For a while.

And then I had my first child.
And it was the experience of having a child that forced me to the conclusion that that is a very sad way of exercising one's authority. Parents have a RIGHT to tell their child how to act, they have a DUTY to raise them right and tell them the truth, and they have a RESPONSIBILITY to give them direction.

Have you ever known a man or a woman who refused to take responsibility for raising their children? They don't want to tell the child to stop jumping on the couch because they don't want to be perceived as mean or grumpy. They don't want to tell the child to do his chores because they don't want to be perceived as a buzz-kill. They want to be the cool dad, the friend dad, the buddy dad. And what happens to those children? They generally act like brats and run roughshod all over everybody else and bring the whole family down around them. Which is basically what we see going on in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

It was the experience of having children and being a father that told me that NOT exercising the authority you've been given is actually very CRUEL.

Here's what I have learned in being a dad for twelve years: When you are speaking to your child, especially about something very important, you give them very clear and simple directions, so that they can understand what you're saying. And you tell them what the results will be if they decide not to follow through. And sometimes, that doesn't even require coming up with some elaborate punishment for them; sometimes, the results of their actions will be enough.

"Abby, don't stand on the coffee table or you'll fall and hurt yourself."

"Abby don't stand on the coffee table or you'll fall and hurt yourself."

"Abby don't—okay, see? What did I tell you? I told you you'd fall and hurt yourself and you did. Yes, I know it hurts. Yes, I still love you. But now you know, don't you?"

A good parent says, "This is what you need to do, and this is what will happen if you don't do it." Or he says, "Don't do that. And if you do, here are the consequences."

And it seemed to me that, no matter how much I loved Anglicanism—and she was a good mother to me in many ways—she had to do more than let me parent myself.

Here's another:

A good parent does not say something that can be interpreted in a variety of ways, unless it doesn't MATTER if it's interpreted a variety of ways.

My oldest daughter is a little Jesuit. We tell her all the time: she needs to go into the law as a profession: she will find the loophole in whatever direction you give her.

"I told you not to eat cookies before dinner."

"Yes, but you didn't say I couldn't eat a SANDWICH before dinner."

A good parent will frame his directions in such a way that he will catch the loopholes. Do you do that because you're the tyrant your children always say you are? No, you do it for their own good, even if they don't understand that.

Let me ask you: would you leave a morally ambiguous babysitter in charge of your children? Of course not. Would you leave NO babysitter in charge of your children? Of course not. But that's what I, as an Anglican, was asked to believe about Jesus: he left no one in charge. And if he did, the directions are so ambiguous they can be interpreted in a thousand different ways. Only a cruel or neglectful parent would do that...

Given the corrosiveness of human imagination and creativity and restlessness, it is simply not possible that Jesus could have left us without some rock-like infallible guide to conserve his message. Without that, the whole enterprise would be pointless.

People change things, sometimes out of sheer fidgetiness. And then they change the changes. And change the changes to the changes. And the people immersed in the changes become self-referential. The endlessly-mutated realm becomes the only reality they know, and they forget totally the original ideas. Reality drifts, and those inside the system don't even know it, unless they have some reference point outside.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:06 PM

I haven't blogged much about the "health-care" bills...

...Because just thinking about them makes me want to vomit.

I did today make a donation to the National Republican Congressional Committee's fund which is aimed at the 24 House Democrats who voted for Screwtapecare but who are vulnerable to well-funded GOP challengers in 2010.

If a few of those people see the light because they see donations piling up against them, this monstrosity might be stopped...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:46 PM


Charlene and Betsy just got back from seeing Avatar, and they give it a very high recommendation. They said it was gorgeous, and that they thought they had been in the theater for perhaps 1 1/ 2 hours, and upon emerging checked the time, and found they had been watching for three hours!

Posted by John Weidner at 4:04 PM

If I were giving a lecture on global warming, this might be my outline...

E.M.Smith is a climate blogger (Musings from the Chiefio) who tends to be a bit too abstruse and technical for the casual reader. But here's a good summary he's written of what's bogus about AGW (anthropogenic global warming) theory, AGW: Basics of What's Wrong. (Also good is his summary of the problems with GIStemp)

...8. They simply can not model what they do not know. ANY computer model can only tell you things in the domain of your present understanding. If your understanding is broken, so is your model. They "know" that CO2 is causal (despite the data) and that is what they model, ergo what they find. The truth is that we really don't know how weather and climate work completely, so any 'model' can at best be used to show places to do more research, not to make policy. They don't predict, they inform of our ignorance.

9) The thing they are trying to model, 30 year weather, is chaotic. (That does not mean random, it means that the state jumps all over from trivial input changes.) Chaotic models are, at the present state of the art, worse than guessing (and may always be, the math behind it leads me to think maybe so...) The input data are very flawed.

10) Based on these models saying the world will end Real Soon Now, many other folks run off to show that they ought to get funding for their grant because it is related to this hot topic of global warming. When you look into the 'thousands and thousands' of papers endorsing the global warming thesis you find the vast majority are of the form "If we assume that the model run by [foo] is right, this is the bad thing that will happen in MY field." There are in fact only a few centers doing the modeling (a half dozen?) and their ideas are very inbred. We are really basing world decisions on the work of about a half dozen.

11) Dissent is to be crushed, ruthlessly. Frankly, this is what got me started down the "What the..." trail. I've worked in forensics and law enforcement from time to time. Sets off my Madoff Alarm. (Used to be Ponzi...) If you're so sure you are right, demonstrate (share) your data, models, et. al. and we'll have a nice debate. No? OK, WHAT ARE YOU HIDING? One of the hallmarks of a shared delusion is the ruthless attack of anything that would threaten the delusion. It just smells of cult. And there are plenty of alternative theories, including the established one of 'it is natural variation'. The science is not settled and the debate is not over, even if one side is paranoid about being challenged.

12) The major drivers of the process are not scientists, but political bodies with agendas for control and a history of corruption and deception. UN? You want me to trust a UN Political Committee? The IPCC is NOT a bunch of scientists, it's a bunch of politicians. They consult scientists. They have at times re-written scientists work (without notice). Many scientists have now begun speaking out against the IPCC. See #11 for how they are treated.

13) Mr. Albert Gore. His 'inconvenient truth' is a nice propaganda piece. It is decidedly not science. Polar bears are aquatic, they swim hundreds of miles sometimes (one swam from Greenland to Iceland). He shows them drowning... Their numbers are rising, he shows them near extinction. The list goes on. When a politician starts blatantly propagandizing for central power and authority my 'peace in our time' buzzer goes off...

14) The 'cure'. The proposed cure will result in terrible death and poverty. It will misallocate trillions of dollars (that would be much better spent improving other things: education world wide, malaria, cooking stoves in the 3rd world, food supplies, etc.)...
Posted by John Weidner at 1:02 PM

December 18, 2009

Some recent work...

I built this for a couple who like to sit side by side in the kitchen in the morning with coffee and their laptops. What looks like a lower drawer is actually a slide-out printer platform, and its "drawer-front" folds forward to let the printer work....

desk for a kitchen

Below is a rendering of an earlier version of the plan, but it shows how the printer-drawer works...

desk for a kitchen

Posted by John Weidner at 8:48 AM

"The low-fat diet seems to be unhealthy"

Philosopher Martin Cohen has an interesting piece on the "madness of crowds," with particular reference to Climategate. Worth reading, and this excerpt is pretty interesting also!

Times Higher Education - Beyond debate?:

...One of the best examples of cascade theory is that of the entirely false consensus that built up in the 1970s around the danger of "fatty foods". In fact, this consensus still exists, even though it has never had any scientific basis.

The theory can be traced back to a single researcher, Ancel Keys, who published a paper saying that Americans were suffering from "an epidemic" of heart disease because their diet was more fatty than their bodies were used to after thousands of years of evolution.

In 1953, Keys added additional evidence from a comparative study of the US, Japan and four other countries. Country by country, this showed that a high-fat diet coincided with high rates of heart disease.

Unfortunately for this theory, it turned out that prehistoric "traditional diets" were not especially low-fat after all - indeed, even the hunter-gatherers of yore, if they relied on eating their prey, would have had more fat in their diet than most people do today. As Science magazine pointed out, in the most relevant period of 100 years before the supposed "epidemic" of heart disease, Americans were actually consuming large amounts of fatty meat, so the epidemic followed a reduction in the amount of dietary fat Americans consumed - not an increase...

(continues below)

...Keys' country-by-country comparison had also been skewed, with countries that did not fit the theory (such as France and Italy with their oily, fatty cuisines) being excluded. The American Heart Association (AHA), considered to be the voice of experts, issued a report in 1957 stating plainly that the fats-cause-heart-disease claims did not "stand up to critical examination". The case for there being any such epidemic was dubious, too - the obvious cause of higher rates of heart disease was that people were living longer, long enough to develop heart disease. But it was too late: the cascade had started.

Three years later, the AHA issued a new statement, reversing its view. It had no new evidence but it did have some new members writing the report, in the form of Keys himself and one of his friends. The new report made the cover of Time magazine and was picked up by non-specialists at the US Department of Agriculture, who then asked a supporter of the theory to draw up "health guidelines" for them. Soon, scarcely a doctor could be found prepared to speak out against such an overwhelming "consensus", even if a few specialized researchers still protested. And all this was good enough for the highest medical officer in the US, the Surgeon General, in 1988 to issue a doom-laden warning about fat in foods, and claiming that ice-cream was a health menace on a par with tobacco smoking.

It was a pretty silly theory, and certainly not one based on good evidence. In fact, in recent years, in large-scale studies in which comparable groups have been put on controlled diets (low fat and high fat) a correlation has at last been found. It turns out that the low-fat diet seems to be unhealthy. But no one is quite sure why....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:04 AM

December 17, 2009

She was right all along...

Senator Tom Coburn, The Health Bill Is Scary -

I recently suggested that seniors will die sooner if Congress actually implements the Medicare cuts in the health-care bill put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. My colleagues who defend the bill—none of whom have practiced medicine—predictably dismissed my concern as a scare tactic. They are wrong. Every American, not just seniors, should know that the rationing provisions in the Reid bill will not only reduce their quality of life, but their life spans as well.

My 25 years as a practicing physician have shown me what happens when government attempts to practice medicine: Doctors respond to government coercion instead of patient cues, and patients die prematurely. Even if the public option is eliminated from the bill, these onerous rationing provisions will remain intact....

Read it if you still have a hankering for government health care--it's plenty ugly. And remember who was first onto the front lines when most Republicans were quivering with fear that attacking the Obam might damage their precious careers. Who coined the term—dare I mention it?—"death panels"...

small b-w image of Sara Palin

Posted by John Weidner at 7:45 AM

December 16, 2009

Ha ha! Biter bit!

Greenism is just another form of soul-destroying Leftism, so it's nice to see those self-righteous creeps of "Greenpeace" get a bit of payback...

CFACT drops the banner on Greenpeace ships in daring land and sea raids:

(Copenhagen, Denmark, December 16, 2009) Global warming skeptics from CFACT yesterday pulled off an international climate caper using GPS triangulation from Greenpeace's own on-board camera photos to locate and sail up long-side of the infamous Greenpeace vessel, Rainbow Warrior. Then in Greenpeace-like fashion, the CFACT activists unfurled a banner reading "Propaganda Warrior" which underscored how the radical green group's policies and agenda are based on myths, lies, and exaggerations.

Earlier in the day the activists daringly boarded Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise with neither stealth nor force, but by baffling the crew with doughnuts, and unfurled a banner that read "Ship of Lies" off the starboard side.

"Greenpeace has been using these kinds of tactics for decades, and now they can find out what it's like to have a little taste of their own medicine," said CFACT executive director Craig Rucker who masterminded the operation.

CFACT unfurled the banners for two reasons, CFACT president David Rothbard explained. "Greenpeace ships, like the Rainbow Warrior and Arctic Sunrise, have become global symbols for radical environmentalism, and we wanted to call attention to the harm these groups are causing. And second, it seemed appropriate to use one of Greenpeace's favorite tactics to make this point."

Greenpeace protesters frequently hang banners from factories and office buildings, paint slogans on smokestacks, and employ other publicity stunts. Some are relatively harmless, but others reflect a willingness to lie or even destroy property to make a point...
Posted by John Weidner at 5:52 PM

December 15, 2009

Contendite intrare per angustam portam....

This will embolden me for next year when I buy our Christmas tree...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:47 PM

I've written off Canada, but there's hope for Australia...

Adam Brickley, at the Weekly Standard Blog...

It turns out that insurgent, populist Conservatives are scoring victories Down Under as well as in America -- and Tea Partiers and Palinistas here in the States would do well to watch conservative Aussie leader Tony Abbott very closely.

Abbott became leader of the right-wing Liberal party two weeks ago after the party's parliamentary representatives turfed ex-leader Malcolm Turnbull in the wake of Climategate. Turnbull had announced that the party would support Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's cap-and-trade legislation, causing a rebellion in his caucus, and he was tossed in favor of Abbott -- a right winger and climate change skeptic.

The media labeled Abbott's elevation a disaster. After all, they said, the public was fully behind Rudd's climate schemes -- and a blunt-talking "extremist" like Abbott would force moderates out of the Liberal party and cause the vote to collapse. Turnbull supposedly proved them right by "going rogue," posting a blog that labelled Abbott's climate stands "bulls**t". He further declared that any future Liberal climate plan would be "a con."

Abbott's goose was cooked before he even found his feet.

Or was it? Polls last week showed that 23 percent of Australians think Abbott would be a better Prime Minister than Rudd -- 9 percent higher than Turnbull's dismal 14 percent showing the previous week -- and the Liberal party has picked up 4 percent in general election polls. Today, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports the Abbott is trying to reclaim the working-class voters who put Liberal John Howard in the Prime Minister's office and then deserted him to install Rudd -- and he has the message to do it....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:52 AM

December 14, 2009

What you see is fear...

The question no one seems to ask is, "If people are really worried about man-made global warming, WHY don't they want to hear any of possibility that the theory might be wrong?" You would think that they would be happy to hear that the seas are perhaps not going to rise and inundate them? Right? Or, if not happy, and least slightly open to the idea.

This is from an interesting story by a meteorologist who makes school presentations on weather, to which he has been adding a soupcon of warming skepticism. Art Horn: Climategate in the Classroom? (PJM Exclusive):

... A school told me I would not be able to return this year because of my global warming comments. When I visited the school last year, I told the students that the polar bears were not drowning and that their numbers have been increasing. I also showed them reasons to believe that nature has changed climate in the past and would likely continue to do so in the future.

One of the students then went home and told the parents. Apparently this did not fit the parents' understanding of what is going on in the Arctic. I was told the student was upset; I tend to believe it was the parents that were upset.

A phone complaint was made to the teacher who had invited me. Also, a complaint was made to the superintendent. The teacher who invited me actually had to do a special project about global warming to set the parents minds at ease. I have no idea what the teacher told the parents. The teacher then asked the district science coordinator if I could tone down my comments about global warming if I were to return.

The principal of the school said my information was educational, but very one-sided. I found this rather odd, since the principal also said in the email that:
It is our obligation as a public school to present both sides of an argument. In the area of science this is extremely important.
Since the kids are constantly bombarded with the alarmist point of view, I figured the realist side was just getting equal time.

The school has agreed to have me back — but there is to be absolutely no mention of global warming at all....

Anyone who follows this blog knows that I think that many people are in deep spiritual trouble, and the natural consequence is fear. [Link] And I suspect, though it seems paradoxical, that the possibility of warming catastrophe is a kind of antidote to that fear. Why? Because an imminent catastrophe over-rides all sorts of other worries and problems. It gives a kind of meaning to life.

I've read accounts of people who felt deep relief at the outbreaks of the two world wars. All the nagging problems and doubts of life were suddenly replaced by one big simple problem. And the duty to help solve that problem gave meaning and purpose to their lives.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 AM

December 13, 2009

"And Baghdad darken and the bridge, Across the silent river gone ..."

The title of this poem by Archibald Macleish will make sense to anyone familiar with Andrew Marvell's poem "To His Coy Mistress," with its cadences of devouring time. (You can read it below the fold.)


And here face down beneath the sun
And here upon earth's noonward height
To feel the always coming on
The always rising of the night:

To feel creep up the curving east
The earthly chill of dusk and slow
Upon those under lands the vast
And ever-climbing shadow grow

And strange at Ecbatan the trees
Take leaf by leaf the evening strange
The flooding dark about their knees
The mountains over Persia change

And now at Kermanshah the gate
Dark empty and the withered grass
And through the twilight now the late
Few travelers in the westward pass

And Baghdad darken and the bridge
Across the silent river gone
And through Arabia the edge
Of evening widen and steal on

And deepen on Palmyra's street
The wheel rut in the ruined stone
And Lebanon fade out and Crete
High through the clouds and overblown

And over Sicily the air
Still flashing with the landward gulls
And loom and slowly disappear
The sails above the shadowy hulls

And Spain go under and the shore
Of Africa the gilded sand
And evening vanish and no more
The low pale light across that land

Nor now the long light on the sea:

And here face downward in the sun
To feel how swift how secretly
The shadow of the night comes on . . .

    -- Archibald Macleish


by Andrew Marvell

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day;
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

        But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv'd virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.

        Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:11 PM

December 12, 2009

Poor Hitchins.... Straining so hard to be an atheist...

I started out to mock and fisk this piece by Ebenezer Scrooge Hitchens, Christopher Hitchens: Merry Christmas. Now, about that public display...

But I gave it up. It's a parody in itself. Poor Hitch, a fine fellow, I like him, but working so hard at the atheist schtick, and looking like something else altogether. You can run, daddy-o, but hide? And his fantasizing about America being a "secular republic." Ha ha. You'll be long in your grave before that happens, Mr H.

American troops pray before action in Iraq.Jpg
David Furst / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images
Soldiers from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division gather together to pray moments before setting off on a patrol of western Baghdad on Thursday.
Army Times 11/8/05

Posted by John Weidner at 3:47 PM

Each year we have an opportunity... But most of the time we miss it...

A sweet Advent video...

Posted by John Weidner at 2:46 PM

December 11, 2009

"Totalitarian in the strict sense"

From a talk by Fr. Michael Sweeney, O.P., President of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Expressing the Good

...A second example: That everyone should have access to health care would seem to be –and is– a very good thing. However, we must keep in mind that universal health care is not a good, but an ideal. Therefore, there has been little discernment of why it is a good thing, and little clarity concerning what we are attempting to achieve. There is no consensus concerning what we might mean by "universal" (should the health of all children be included, even those of illegal immigrants?) and no consensus concerning what we might mean by "health" (does health involve access to abortion?).

The role of government is regarded as one that proposes new social possibilities –posits ideals– and therefore the government has the task of legislating the ends, along with the means to fulfilling the ends. Therefore there is an urgency that "universal" and "health" must not be too closely defined; they must have the character of an ideal that we are striving for, so that everyone remains free to insert his or her private notions, founded upon previous social constructions, of what that ideal might look like in realization.

I do not suggest that government is bent upon tyranny or that those who govern are not attempting to seek good things; I do suggest that, willy-nilly, this process is totalitarian in the strict sense, in that it must relativize the particular communities that were once subsidiary societies –families and churches, for example– in order to create consensus around an ideal. I do hold that a totalitarian state is one that admits of no subsidiary societies, and that a government that presumes to define what is a family is precisely totalitarian....

I think that the way Catholic opposition to the healthcare bills has focused on abortion is a grievous mistake. Abortion is just one particular outcome of the much deeper problem of letting government define and control ever-increasing amounts of what we do and what we are. Tomorrow abortion may go out of fashion, and government-controlled health-care may be implanting genes to make us more healthy and..... cooperative. Or the court may decide that our "right to privacy" lets us kill red-headed stepchildren. Or any number of helpful things, with "helpful" decided not by us, but by the the "helping bureaucracies." Or the popular fad of the moment.

I'd guess that if the Founding Fathers had dreamed that in the future people would be re-defining morality by whim, or re-defining who is human and who is not, they would have instantly and firmly enshrined in the Constitution traditional Judeo-Christian moral beliefs. All of them in fact just assumed that those beliefs would continue as part of normal culture, even if individuals did not have any Christian faith.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:40 AM

December 10, 2009

Take a look at the ice...

Watts Up With That? has a cool piece by J. Storrs Hall, Hockey stick observed in NOAA ice core data:

...One thing that Climategate does is give us an opportunity to step back from the details of the AGW argument and say, maybe these are heat-of-the-moment stuff, and in the long run will look as silly as the Durants' allergy to Eisenhower. And perhaps, if we can put climate arguments in perspective, it will allow us to put the much smaller nano arguments (pun intended) into perspective too.

So let's look at some ice.

I'm looking at the temperature record as read from this central Greenland ice core. It gives us about as close as we can come to a direct, experimental measurement of temperature at that one spot for the past 50,000 years. As far as I know, the data are not adjusted according to any fancy computer climate model or anything else like that.

So what does it tell us about, say, the past 500 years? (the youngest datum is age=0.0951409 (thousand years before present) — perhaps younger snow doesn't work so well?) [Shows a graph from 1400 to present, with noticeable rise after 1850]

Well, whaddaya know — a hockey stick. In fact, the "blade" continues up in the 20th century at least another half a degree. But how long is the handle? How unprecedented is the current warming trend?...

Then the author "pulls the camera back," and shows us the same temperature graph from AD 800 to the present... Most interestin'...

And then a broader view, 3,000 BC to present..... then 9,000.... then 50,000...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:47 PM

December 9, 2009

"Exchanging real for fake emotion"

I highly recommend a new piece by Roger Scruton in The American Spectator, Totalitarian Sentimentality:

...As the state takes charge of our needs, and relieves people of the burdens that should rightly be theirs -- the burdens that come from charity and neighborliness -- serious feeling retreats. In place of it comes an aggressive sentimentality that seeks to dominate the public square. I call this sentimentality "totalitarian" since -- like totalitarian government -- it seeks out opposition and carefully extinguishes it, in all the places where opposition might form. Its goal is to "solve" our social problems, by imposing burdens on responsible citizens, and lifting burdens from the "victims," who have a "right" to state support.

The result is to replace old social problems, which might have been relieved by private charity, with the new and intransigent problems fostered by the state: for example, mass illegitimacy, the decline of the indigenous birthrate, and the emergence of the gang culture among the fatherless youth. We have seen this everywhere in Europe, whose situation is made worse by the pressure of mass immigration, subsidized by the state. The citizens whose taxes pay for the flood of incoming "victims" cannot protest, since the sentimentalists have succeeded in passing "hate speech" laws and in inventing crimes like "Islamophobia" which place their actions beyond discussion. This is just one example of a legislative tendency that can be observed in every area of social life: family, school, sexual relations, social initiatives, even the military -- all are being deprived of their authority and brought under the control of the "soft power" that rules from above.

This is how we should understand the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama. To his credit he has made clear that he does not deserve it -- though I assume he deserves it every bit as much as Al Gore. The prize is an endorsement from the European elite, a sigh of collective relief that America has at last taken the decisive step toward the modern consensus, by exchanging real for fake emotion, hard power for soft power, and truth for lies. What matters in Europe is the great fiction that things will stay in place forever, that peace will be permanent and society stable, just so long as everybody is "nice." Under President Bush (who was, of course, no exemplary president, and certainly not nice) America maintained its old image, of national self-confidence and belligerent assertion of the right to be successful. Bush was the voice of a property-owning democracy, in which hard work and family values still achieved a public endorsement. As a result he was hated by the European elites, and hated all the more because Europe needs America and knows that, without America, it will die. Obama is welcomed as a savior: the American president for whom the Europeans have been hoping -- the one who will rescue them from the truth.

How America itself will respond to this, however, remains doubtful. I suspect, from my neighbors in rural Virginia, that totalitarian sentimentality has no great appeal to them, and that they will be prepared to resist a government that seeks to destroy their savings and their social capital, for the sake of a compassion that it does not really feel.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:23 AM

December 8, 2009

Every day, some charming dead fish floats to the surface...

Anybody who is not following Climategate must be brain-dead. It's a feast of revelations. A daily banquet. Here's a taste from a good one by Willis Eschenbach, from Watts Up With That?, The Smoking Gun At Darwin Zero:

...Figure 8 Darwin Zero Homogeneity Adjustments. Black line shows amount and timing of adjustments.

Yikes again, double yikes! What on earth justifies that adjustment? How can they do that? We have five different records covering Darwin from 1941 on. They all agree almost exactly. Why adjust them at all? They've just added a huge artificial totally imaginary trend to the last half of the raw data! Now it looks like the IPCC diagram in Figure 1, all right ... but a six degree per century trend? And in the shape of a regular stepped pyramid climbing to heaven? What's up with that?

Those, dear friends, are the clumsy fingerprints of someone messing with the data Egyptian style ... they are indisputable evidence that the "homogenized" data has been changed to fit someone's preconceptions about whether the earth is warming.

One thing is clear from this. People who say that "Climategate was only about scientists behaving badly, but the data is OK" are wrong. At least one part of the data is bad, too. The Smoking Gun for that statement is at Darwin Zero.

So once again, I'm left with an unsolved mystery. How and why did the GHCN "adjust" Darwin's historical temperature to show radical warming? Why did they adjust it stepwise? Do Phil Jones and the CRU folks use the "adjusted" or the raw GHCN dataset? My guess is the adjusted one since it shows warming, but of course we still don't know … because despite all of this, the CRU still hasn't released the list of data that they actually use, just the station list.

Another odd fact, the GHCN adjusted Station 1 to match Darwin Zero's strange adjustment, but they left Station 2 (which covers much of the same period, and as per Fig. 5 is in excellent agreement with Station Zero and Station 1) totally untouched. They only homogenized two of the three. Then they averaged them....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:08 AM

December 7, 2009

The banality of evil...

Steven Hayward, another point about Climategate...

...This raises another small but perhaps significant point that I didn't have room to comment on in my Weekly Standard article: How is it possible for a group of smart people to write over 1,000 e-mails over the course of a decade without a single shred of wit or humor in any of them? There isn't the tiniest hint anywhere that any of these guys ever grin. It jives with my experience of environmentalists for 20 years now that they are the single most humorless slice of humanity on the planet....

How is it possible? Imagine a minor Soviet commissar sending some kulaks to the Gulag...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:18 AM

December 6, 2009

Knavish tricks...

If you've paid any attention at all to Climategte, you've heard the damning phrase "hide the decline." But most people don't know what the decline was, or assume, incorrectly that it refers to the decline in measured temps since 1998. Turns out, not so.

Here's a very good piece that explains what was going on, American Thinker: Understanding Climategate's Hidden Decline .These are just a couple of snippets; do do read the whole thing...

...In fact, the decline Jones so urgently sought to hide was not one of measured temperatures at all, but rather figures infinitely more important to climate alarmists – those determined by proxy reconstructions. As this scandal has attracted new readers to the subject, I ask climate savvy readers to indulge me while I briefly explain climate proxies, as they are an essential ingredient of this contemptible conspiracy.

Truth be told — even reasonably reliable instrumental readings are a relatively modern convenience, limiting CRU's global measured temperature database to a start date somewhere in the mid-19th century. That's why global temperature charts based on actual readings typically use a base year of 1850 or somewhere thereabouts.

And yet — most historical temperature charts, including the one Al Gore preached before in An Inconvenient Truth, go way back to 1000 AD. That's where proxies come in.

While historical documents (e,g, ship's logs, diaries, court and church records, tax rolls, and even classic literature) certainly provide a glimpse into past temperature trends, such information is far too limited and generalized to be of any statistical value. So climate scientists have devised means to measure variations in such ubiquitous materials as lake sediments, boreholes, ice cores, and tree rings to evaluate past temperature trends.

They then employ complex computer programs to combine such "proxy" data sampled throughout a region to plot that area's annual relative changes in temperature hundreds or even thousands of years prior. By then combining the datasets, they believe they can accurately reproduce hemispheric and global temperature trends of the previous millennia.

And while reconstructions — as past temperature interpretations from proxy data are called — can differ greatly from one source to another, those generated by the CRU have often been accepted as the de facto temperatures of the past...

...So not only did conspirators cherry-pick the one series of the four that approximated measured temperatures the longest, they also terminated that series at the point that it too, began to trend down. They then joined it to the actual 1980-1999 temperatures to "hide the decline" in the final product, as that decline created an inexplicable divergence between the reconstructed and measured temperatures. The existence of which challenges the entire series dating back to 1000 AD.

Remember, all of the temperatures prior to 1850 were estimated by computer algorithms and no actual readings exist to prove or disprove those figures. So a relatively short window of opportunity exists to test the programs against observations. Had 20th century measured temperatures continued to align with those recreated as smoothly after 1960 as they did previously, then the programmers could declare their code and hence their millennial temperatures sound. But the divergence, if allowed to stand, instead revealed serious design flaws in the proxy reconstructions. Which suggests that just as the decline was dealt with through trickery, so was the MWP.

And it seems that each time the trick was used, its involvement would be more deeply concealed.

Every multi-volume IPCC Assessment has been accompanied by a relatively brief and highly-politicized Summary for Policymakers (SPM). This synopsis invariably commands the bulk of the media and political attention. Here's the version of the graph depicted prominently on page 3 of the 2001 TAR SPM [PDF], the only version of the report most policymakers and reporters would ever actually see. Notice how they further obscured their chicanery by omitting the series defining legend and the "1988 instrumental value" declaration...
Posted by John Weidner at 2:10 PM

Light to walk by

...What the Apostle says of Abraham is a description of all true faith; it goes out not knowing whither it goes. It does not crave or bargain to see the end of the journey; it does not argue with St. Thomas, in the days of his ignorance, "we know not whither, and how can we know the way?" it is persuaded that it has quite enough light to walk by, far more than sinful man has a right to expect, if it sees one step in advance; and it leaves all knowledge of the country over which it is journeying, to Him who calls it on...

    -- John Henry Newman (more here.)

(The words of St Thomas are in John 14)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:48 AM

Stop me if you've heard this one before...

Read a couple of sentences from this NYT article and try to guess what's going on....

...In his statement, Mr. Mollen said there was "no indication of religious or ethnic motivation" in the killing...

...It was followed by an e-mail message from Lois B. DeFleur, the university president, who called the killing, "an act of senseless violence."...

(More below the fold, if you haven't already guessed the essentials.)

Here's something from the local press... Binghamton University killing: Apartment-mates say man accused of killing professor was confrontational and 'acted like a terrorist'——Press & Sun-Bulletin:

...The two apartment-mates of the man charged with stabbing a Binghamton University professor to death on Friday said Abdulsalam Al-Zahrani was confrontational, argumentative and "acted like a terrorist."

The three men lived together for the past three weeks in a first-floor unit on Main Street in Binghamton. The men were brought together by a landlord, who rented a vacant room to Al-Zahrani, a 46-year-old Saudi national who was working on his doctorate at BU.

Souleyman Sukho, a Senegalese doctoral student at BU, said during the three weeks the men lived together, Al-Zahrani "came at me with a knife."

"He asked me if I was afraid of dying," Sukho said. "Then he went into his room. I told him, 'don't ask me the question if you don't want to hear my answer.'

"He behaved like a terrorist," Sukho said. "He would open his door and would be screaming on the phone."...

Amazing. Who would have guessed?

Posted by John Weidner at 8:29 AM

December 5, 2009

A wee quote for you...

Jimmy Akin:

...I know there are some who are calling for the hacker(s) or whistle-blower(s) who exposed the data to be prosecuted, but whoever did this is one of the great heroes of science. They should be awarded a Nobel Prize (if nothing else, the peace price for all the lives that stand to be saved). The Roman Senate should vote them a full triumph (not just triumphal ornaments). And they should be given a lifetime supply of carbon.
Posted by John Weidner at 11:19 AM

December 4, 2009


Reels the mind... The Met Office! The Heart of Darkness is going to re-think. I can't cope, this is just too strange to deal with. Maybe I'm dreaming...

Met Office to re-examine 160 years of climate data - Times Online:

The Met Office plans to re-examine 160 years of temperature data after admitting that public confidence in the science on man-made global warming has been shattered by leaked e-mails.

The new analysis of the data will take three years, meaning that the Met Office will not be able to state with absolute confidence the extent of the warming trend until the end of 2012.

The Met Office database is one of three main sources of temperature data analysis on which the UN's main climate change science body relies for its assessment that global warming is a serious danger to the world. This assessment is the basis for next week's climate change talks in Copenhagen aimed at cutting CO2 emissions.

The Government is attempting to stop the Met Office from carrying out the re-examination, arguing that it would be seized upon by climate change sceptics. [Gee, do you think?]

The Met Office works closely with the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), which is being investigated after e-mails written by its director, Phil Jones, appeared to show an attempt to manipulate temperature data and block alternative scientific views.

The Met Office's published data showing a warming trend draws heavily on CRU analysis. CRU supplied all the land temperature data to the Met Office, which added this to its own analysis of sea temperature data....

If you follow climate "science," you will over and over see the acronym "HADCRU," or "HADCRUT." That's the biggie of global temperature data-sets. CRU for Climatic Research Center of the University of East Anglia—those are the guys whose e-mails were whistle-blowed into public shame recently—and "Had" for the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, part of the... Met Office.

When pomposos say about man-made global warming that "the science is settled" (of course science is NEVER settled) there is nothing closer to what they mean than the stuff labeled "HADCRU." and now "HAD" is tossing "CRU" under the bus!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:34 PM

December 3, 2009

Cheer up...

Jim Geraghty, Tough Year, Mr. President, Tough Year:

If you think you've had a rough year, think of how our friends on the left must feel. On January 1 of this year, they probably thought...

A stimulus bill would create jobs and lower the unemployment rate.

ACORN was a noble and trustworthy organization.

The data proving climate change was reliable (and could be found!).

Reaching out to Iran could yield dividends.

Less than 115,000 U.S. troops would be in Iraq, ten months after Obama took office.

An executive order requiring the closure of Guantanamo Bay within one year couldn't just be ignored.

The Republican party was dead in places like Virginia, and was long since irrelevant in places like New Jersey.

Gay marriage would be voted into law in New York and Maine....

You could add: "Sarah Palin is a washed-up has-been." And, "We can just ignore those promises about Afghanistan."

And how about, "The Cheney family won't be bothering us any more." Ha ha...

Obama poster

Posted by John Weidner at 6:54 AM

December 2, 2009

I'm not a big David Frum fan,

...But he's right on this

Obama Passed His Test, Now Republicans Face Ours:

...Having urged the president to honor his commitment to the Afghan war, we Republicans must honor our commitment to support him as he fights it. Given the public unenthusiasm for the conflict, there will be political temptations to "go rogue" on the president, if not now, then in the summer of 2010. That will be our test, for us to pass as the president has passed his. I know many Republicans and conservatives will say: "Hey — the Democrats did not give President Bush support when he most needed it." Correct. They didn't. And the country suffered for it. The right way to react to that dereliction of duty is not by emulating it, but by repudiating it. "For it before I was against it" has deservedly become an epithet for shameful wavering. Let's not inflict it upon ourselves.

Politics would not be politics if Republicans did not exact some price for their support. For sure Republican leaders are entitled to close consultation on war policy and the larger national security strategy — and to more attention and respect generally than they have received from this administration to date, and not only Senate leaders, but House leaders too.

At the same time, demanding an extortionate price for support is tantamount to withdrawing support....
There have been few more beastly things in the last decade than the way Leftists have referred to "Bush's War." Congress sent our forces into battle, and that makes the struggle America's war. And while constructive criticism is aways acceptable, no American has the right to stand aside and sneer as if the struggle has nothing to do with them. And no, you don't get off the hook by pretending to be a "pacifist" or a Quaker or a Buddhist or an "artist," or whatever trendy cover for nihilism is going around. Our troops are fighting for all of us, and they deserve warm-hearted support and love. Not ice-hearted sneers.

(And yes, I noted the Frumskyian snark about "going rogue." Stupid, since Governor Palin is obviously on the same wave-length as Frum on this. He should be a man and thank her.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:39 AM

If you prefer spoken to written...

This video is good on how consumer-driven health care can reduce costs is pretty good. To their examples of falling prices and improved quality in laser eye surgery and hair-transplants (not covered by insurance, and thus paid for out-of-pocket) I would add optometry, which you can now get at Costco!

I'd guess that if a hundred million people were paying for routine health care out of their own HSA's, we would quickly see the advent of the medical equivalent of the personal computer. Machines that could take and analyze tiny blood samples and analyze urine samples, and check blood-pressure and heart-beat. Then give rapid feedback on possible problems, or recommend dosage changes for medications. And send the info to your physician, along with alerts if anything is out of the ordinary. Maybe include video-conferencing with your doc...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:24 AM

Quote of the day...

Rich Lowry on Obam's speech:

...Yes, it would've been better if Obama hadn't sounded at times like a premature Nobel Peace Prize winner shoved uncomfortably into a role of wartime leader. But, as Don Rumsfeld might say, you go to war with the president you have.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:48 AM

December 1, 2009

It's because of what America IS...

You've probably already seen this piece by Byron York, Obama keeps his Afghan promise, but Dems crumble. It's worth a read.

The dilemma the Democrats are in is exquisite. Not just because they are now stuck with campaign promises that were in fact lies. On a deeper level, America simply does not abandon allies. We believe we should be trustworthy. The one occasion when we did abandon an ally, South Vietnam, is still a point of extreme sensitivity. And that wasn't "America's" action, it was the Democrat Party which had suddenly been handed power ofter a Republican scandal. And which immediately used that power for evil, handing an ally who had trusted us over to communist tyranny and mass-murder.

Now the electoral fluke of 2008 has again handed them great power, and the chance to express the nothingness in their hearts. But they gained that power by promising to do what America has always believed in, keeping faith with our friends! (Although the promise was packaged as an excuse to betray another ally, the democratically elected government of Iraq—ironies within ironies!.)

...And yet, in the 2008 presidential season, from the Democratic primaries to the general election, Democrats felt required to promise to step up the war in Afghanistan. Was it because the Democratic base that now opposes escalation supported it back then? No. A Gallup poll in August 2007 — in the midst of the Democratic primary race — found that just 41 percent of Democrats supported sending more U.S. troops to fight in Afghanistan.

If the base didn't support it, then why did candidates promise it? Because Democratic voters and candidates were playing a complex game. Nearly all of them hated the war in Iraq and wanted to pull Americans out of that country. But they were afraid to appear soft on national security, so they pronounced the smaller conflict in Afghanistan one they could support. Many of them didn't, really, but for political expediency they supported candidates who said they did. Thus the party base signed on to a good war-bad war strategy.

"One of the things that I think is critical, as the next president, is to make absolutely certain that we not only phase out the Iraq war but we also focus on the critical battle that we have in Afghanistan and root out al Qaeda," Obama said at a Democratic candidates' debate in New Hampshire in June 2007. The war in Iraq, Obama continued, "is an enormous distraction from the battle that does have to be waged in Afghanistan."

"There isn't any doubt that Afghanistan has been neglected," said chief Obama rival — and now Secretary of State — Hillary Clinton at a debate in April 2008. "It has not gotten the resources that it needs."
. Other top Democrats adopted the get-tough approach, at least when it came time to campaign.  In September 2006, as she was leading the effort that would result in Democrats taking over the House and her becoming speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi said George W. Bush "took his eye off the ball" in Afghanistan. "We had a presence over there the past few years, but not to the extent that we needed to get the job done," Pelosi said. The phrase "took his eye off the ball" became a Democratic mantra about the supposed neglect of Afghanistan — a situation that would be remedied by electing ready-to-fight Democrats.

But now, with Democrats in charge of the entire U.S. government and George Bush nowhere to be found, Pelosi and others in her party are suddenly very, very worried about U.S. escalation in Afghanistan.  "There is serious unrest in our caucus," the speaker said recently.  There is so much unrest that Democrats who show little concern about the tripling of already-large budget deficits say they're worried about the rising cost of the war.

It is in that atmosphere that Obama makes his West Point speech.  He had to make certain promises to get elected.  Unlike some of his supporters, he has to remember those promises now that he is in office.  So he is sending more troops.  But he still can't tell the truth about so many Democratic pledges to support the war in Afghanistan: They didn't mean it....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:57 AM