April 30, 2010

Public Service Announcement

If you are tempted to buy the new Mac program, Quicken Essentials.... Just don't.

My guess is that Intuit came to the point of revising the Mac version of Quicken, and realized they'd larded it up with so many features (none of which I've ever wanted) that it would not be economical to upgrade for the smaller Mac market.

So they decided to make a new program out of it, so no one could compare its feature-set to the old one. And they got really cute. Quicken Essentials constantly guesses what you are trying to do, and does it for you, without any announcement. So it seems like nothing is stable; nothing is fixed. Just what you need for your financial records! Ugh.

And it doesn't export. Not even in the Quicken format, which is almost universal. Crazy.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:12 PM

Awesome! Arizona Legislature Passes Bill Banning Ethnic Studies Programs

FOXNews.com - Arizona Legislature Passes Bill Banning Ethnic Studies Programs:

After making national headlines for a new law on illegal immigrants, the Arizona Legislature sent Gov. Jan Brewer a bill Thursday that would ban ethnic studies programs in the state that critics say currently advocate separatism and racial preferences. 

The bill, which passed 32-26 in the state House, had been approved by the Senate a day earlier. It now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer for her signature.

The new bill would make it illegal for a school district to teach any courses that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or "advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."

The bill stipulates that courses can continue to be taught for Native American pupils in compliance with federal law and does not prohibit English as a second language classes. It also does not prohibit the teaching of the Holocaust or other cases of genocide.

Schools that fail to abide by the law would have state funds withheld...

Wow! I heartily approve.

Of course there will be a torrent of abuse and lefty protests and cries of "racism." But probably the important thing here is that the Left will be forced to defend "ethnic studies." The ground of debate is being shifted. The race-mongers never want to defend their positions in debate. they rely on the presumption that anything they support is somehow good for minorities, and and anyone who disagrees is "racist."

Posted by John Weidner at 9:49 AM

April 29, 2010

I was right about this one...

Bin Laden had 'no clue' about Sept. 11 retaliation:

... WASHINGTON - Osama bin Laden had no idea the U.S. would hit al-Qaida as hard as it has since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, a former bin Laden associate tells WTOP in an exclusive interview.

"I'm 100 percent sure they had no clue about what was going to happen," says Noman Benotman, who was head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the summer of 2000.

"What happened after the 11th of September was beyond their imagination, " says Benotman, who adds that al-Qaida thought the U.S. was a "paper tiger....

I don't have time to find my old posts, but I've written before that al-Qaeda expect one of two reactions to 9/11. Either that America would lash out wildly, or that we would flinch. Either one would have suited bin Laden's purposes.

What they did NOT expect was that we would cooly and methodically take apart two terror-supporting Islamic nations, and try to bring them freedom and democracy. That was a nightmare for them.

President Bush is the only world leader who has really been effective in fighting Islamic terrorism. Because he did what they didn't expect. It may have been unconscious on his part, but it was generalship of a high order.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:24 AM

April 26, 2010

Making big bucks is fine with us...

From a good debunking of a recent article about Sarah Palin,The Commercialization of False Narratives About Palin,

...[The Left is] trying to create the narrative that Palin is a hypocrite for making a lot of money. In the eyes of the radical left, her wealth contradicts the "hockey mom" image that she has conveyed to the public.

That the left believes in this narrative shows how poorly they understand how conservatives/Republicans view wealth/money as opposed to elitism. The left is conflating wealth/money with elitism. No populist-leaning conservative/Republicans has any issue with wealth or money that is earned through the free market. Governor Palin has never criticized anyone for making too much money through the free market. In fact, one reason why conservatives and Republicans so aggressively support tax cuts for even the wealthiest Americans is that those who have excelled through the free market should not be punished for their success.

What conservatives and Republicans like Governor Palin don't support is elitism, which is the idea that someone with a particular educational background or a person who comes from a high social class is inherently graced with superior ideas and qualifications. Liberals like Sherman fail to understand the distinction between money/wealth and elitism. The former is something that conservatives and Republicans like Palin applaud. The latter is something that we denounce.

In no way is it hypocritical for Governor Palin to work hard and earn as much wealth as she has. The fact that she has become rich does not run counter to her hockey mom narrative. Why doesn't it? Because the story of Sarah Palin has never been that she's just a hockey mom....the story of Sarah Palin has always been that she's a hockey mom who has succeeded in the political and economic arena. She's an ordinary American who has accomplished extraordinary things. ...

Well, that's the old idea. "Government of the people, by the people, for the people." Elitists of all stripes and parties don't get it. Europeans don't get it. Us ordinary folk often DO get it. And we love Sarah because she embodies our dream. We don't love her for her many successes, but because she vindicates the possibility that ordinary people like ourselves can potentially accomplish great things.

Elitists instinctively hate Sarah Palin. They started attacking her on the very first day she appeared in the McCain campaign. They hated her at first sight. Why? They knew! They saw immdiately that she was a threat to the notion that superior people who read the NYT and go MOMA should run the circus.


Posted by John Weidner at 11:54 AM

April 25, 2010

Nonetheless they want the gov to take over our health care...

New York Times:

...The nation's most important system for judging the clinical effectiveness of cancer treatments is approaching "a state of crisis." That is the disturbing verdict of experts assembled by the National Academy of Sciences to review the performance of clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute...

...The most shocking deficiency highlighted by the report, issued by the academy's Institute of Medicine, is that about 40 percent of all advanced clinical trials sponsored by the Cancer Institute are never completed. That is an incredible waste of effort and money, and a huge obstacle at a time when researchers are developing promising new therapies that must be rigorously tested....

...Yet a series of reviews in recent years found that the testing operation is mired in bureaucracy and poorly coordinated. A typical trial must navigate past dozens of overlapping reviews by different boards and agencies that must approve the original concept for the trial and then the protocol that will govern how it is conducted before the investigators can start enrolling any patients.

The average time between developing the concept for a study and getting it started is about 2.5 years. The longer a study takes to get started, the more likely it is to become scientifically out of date, and the less likely it is that doctors or patients will want to participate.

Other factors, including failure to pay investigators and their institutions the full costs of a trial, can also impede enrollment....

What really pisses me off is the tone of studied neutrality in this NYT editorial. As if it had nothing to do with them and they are merely detached observers. Actually they've been laboring tirelessly for all of my lifetime and longer to help erect the massive bureaucracies that are failing so conspicuously all around us. The Times supported Obama and "Obamacare" and Pelosi and Reid and all the rest of the caterpillars gong back to at least Stalin and FDR.... and now they report on their policies as if they had just sprang up like mushrooms, to the surprise of everyone.

I just love reading stories about the massive losses of subscribers and money by the NYT. They richly deserve far worse.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:33 PM

April 24, 2010

"post-modern de-humanizers."

David Warren, Word of mouth:

...Which takes us down another layer, into an argument that seems crazy to people I characterize as "post-modern de-humanizers." (De-humanizers at least in the sense that they can read something addressed with burning sincerity to their heart and mind and soul, as if it were merely printed on an advertising flyer.)

What if the events described actually happened? What if the testimony of a dozen apostles, and many others -- who ran and hid at Christ's impending Crucifixion, but became faithful quite literally unto death after the "Resurrection" -- was given for some better reason than to "formalize" an abstract, modern, bloodless "perception" of a "quasi-event"?

As even some contemporary Biblical scholars are prepared to argue, the most likely explanation of an event, as counter-intuitive to the ancient world as to the modern -- yet insisted upon repeatedly by numerous witnesses through mockery, torture, and execution -- is that it actually happened the way they said it did. And that they thought this truth important. I mentioned last Easter, for instance, the extraordinary forensic synthesis of sources both Christian and non-Christian, by the Anglican scholar, N.T. Wright -- utterly vindicating the "received" account of the first Easter.

Finally, and most subtly, let us suppose Wright right, and the balance of the evidence -- as might be upheld in any solid court of law -- holds for the defendant. In other words, let us suppose Christ actually Resurrected, and -- "behold I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of hell and of death."

Well, that would overturn a number of our modern assumptions....

(Here's an interesting explication of Wright's book)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:36 PM

Hate-filled Tea P... er, no, tolerant liberals...

Too too funny.

I know these nasty little animals well; I live among them. And I despise them, not for being poisonous, but for not thinking, for destroying their own brains. I'd be willing to bet money that little Miss Hate-Free sees nothing odd about the company she's keeping. She hates Sarah, and simultaneously considers herself "Hate-Free."

Protestors,

(Photo from AP, Thanks to Ed Morrissey)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:54 AM

April 22, 2010

A brutal detail about Waco I didn't know...

Remember this the next time you hear liberal Dems sniveling about Bush "torturing" terrorists, or preening themselves on how "they are doing it for the children." Or when you are told the Hillary Clinton is a kindly and caring soul...

From The Volokh Conspiracy :

...But the FBI knew beforehand that adults in the compound had gas masks; the gas therefore would not put pressure on them. On whom, then? If the FBI knew that the adults had gas masks, but went ahead with the gas attack anyway, it is plain that this "pressure" was brought directly against the children because, as the FBI knew, they could not fit into adult– size gas masks. "Maternal feelings", the FBI hoped, would be unleashed in the mothers by watching their children choking, gasping and blistering from the gas.

The plan Reno approved and took to President Clinton for approval contemplated the children choking in the gas unprotected for forty-eight hours if necessary, to produce the requisite "maternal feelings". By taking aim at the children with potentially lethal gas, their mothers would be compelled, according to the FBI plan repeatedly defended by the Clinton administration afterwards as "rational" planning, to flee with them into the arms of those trying to gas them. [Emphasis added.]

An independent report on Waco written by the Harvard Professor of Law and Psychiatry, Alan A. Stone, for the then Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann, says it "is difficult to believe that the US government would deliberately plan to expose twenty-five children, most of them infants and toddlers, to CS gas for forty-eight hours". Unfortunately, however, that appears to have been exactly the plan.

The effect of CS gas on an unprotected infant exposed for only two to three hours is discussed in the report; in that case report, dating from the early 1970s, the child's symptoms during the first twenty-four hours were upper respiratory; but, within forty-eight hours his face showed evidence of first degree burns, and he was in severe respiratory distress typical of chemical pneumonia. The infant had cyanosis, required urgent positive pressure pulmonary care, and was hospitalized for twenty– eight days. Other signs of toxicity appeared, including an enlarged liver....

Kinda puts a new gloss of credibility on Linda Tripp's story...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:15 PM

Who Needs Apartheid?

Mark Steyn:

This is a question that should be asked more often:
Moshe Ya'alon, a former Israel Defense Forces general who now serves as Benjamin Netanyahu's strategic affairs minister, posed the following query in an interview published in the Jerusalem Post: "If we are talking about coexistence and peace, why the [Palestinian] insistence that the territory they receive be ethnically cleansed of Jews? Why do those areas have to be Judenrein? Don't Arabs live here, in the Negev and the Galilee? Why isn't that part of our public discussion? Why doesn't that scream to the heavens?"
As Jonathan Tobin points out, the official goal of the Middle East "peace process" is a "two-state solution", in one of which Muslims live alongside Jews and have voting rights and representation in the legislature, while in the other there are no Jews at all and, as in "moderate" Jordan, to sell your house to a Jew is a crime punishable by death. There goes the neighborhood, right? When the western campus left holds its annual "Israeli Apartheid Week", presumably it's in philosophical support of the notion that you don't need to run an "apartheid" system if you just get rid of everyone who's not like you....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:49 PM

April 20, 2010

Quinque anni ut Papam est....

Five years already. It doesn't seem so long. This is the best anniversary piece I've noticed...

Planting the Seeds of Reform:

...Contrary to today's conventional wisdom, Pope Benedict did not create a "Church in crisis"; he inherited one. But instead of throwing up his hands and succumbing to doctrinal and disciplinary drift, he has been planting seeds of reform that will germinate and produce great fruit in the decades to come.

To the dismay of those largely responsible for the abuse scandal in the Church, he restored the long-neglected ban on the ordination of homosexuals to the priesthood, which is the single most important reform in eliminating the scandal.

To address catechetical collapse and the scandal of unchallenged heresy, he has issued a steady stream of important speeches, encyclicals, and clarifications, such as the CDF's Doctrinal Note on Evangelization, and repeatedly urged bishops to confront Catholic public figures who defy and distort Church teaching.

To address laxity and chaos within dioceses, he has called for a revival of canon law and used the occasion of the retirement of derelict and dissenting bishops like Roger Mahony to name orthodox replacements.

To arrest secularization of the liturgy and end a poisonous atmosphere of contempt for tradition within ecclesiastical circles, he issued Summorum Pontificum, which authorizes wider use of the Traditional Latin Mass and makes clear to all Catholics that the old Mass and the new Mass express the same changeless theology.

To redirect vague and feckless ecumenism and interreligous dialogue toward more fruitful and serious ends, he has undertaken historic initiatives such as Anglicanorum Coetibus and launched important talks with the Eastern Orthodox.

But perhaps his most lasting contribution to reform, apart from any one reform or initiative, will come from the progress he makes in removing the wedge dissenters have driven between the pre-Vatican II Church and the post-Vatican II Church. Therein lies the fundamental source of much of the confusion and crisis in the Church, as Pope Benedict is keenly aware. ...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:21 PM

April 19, 2010

Planning for a future that isn't there...

Richard Fernandez (Thanks to Tex)

...The point Bill Clinton is missing is that the danger doesn't come from right wing 'anger.' The anger is just a byproduct. The voices he hears from the Tea Party crowds aren't threats; they're warnings. The real peril is coming from somewhere else: the demographic decline in industrial world working populations, the increasing cost of energy and the international movement in the factors of production. A whole generation of failed policy from both parties is coming to a head and it probably means that the welfare state, the European Union and by consequence the Chinese economy are heading for a cliff.

What's driving the Tea Parties isn't amorphous hate. It is concrete fear: worry that pensions have been devalued; medical care will become unaffordable; taxes are too high and jobs are gone, never to return. And a look around the world shows there's no place to hide. When the wave hits it will be global. In the UK membership in political parties is at near historic lows. In America Congress's popularity is lower than whales**t. The Eurozone is cracking up under its weight of debt. First Greece, now Portugal are being ripped off the cliff face like a zipper – and all the climbers are roped together. Japan is like a kamikaze sub heading for the depths and tapping out a sayonara. Russia was history long ago. And China, when it has used up its flowering moment, will face the consequences of its one-child policy. And Middle Eastern potentates, stuck in the same old, same old, are warning about a Summer War. The Tea Parties aren't about putting some country club Republican in the White House, though Bill can't help hearing it like that.

The cheese-paring scene at the White House Press Corps is just as indicative of the coming storm as the Tea Parties. It is yet one more sign that the old institutions are making plans for a future that isn't there; moving trillions of dollars in projected revenues around a five year plan like Hitler's fictive armies were moved around a map in 1945. When you hear Gordon Brown describe the billions he's going to spend to save the world and heal the planet; when you read news about the proposed legislation on "cap and trade"– the issue isn't the "right wing hate" but where's the money going to come from? The most telling fact about Bill Clinton's speech is that 2010 reminds him of 1994. If he – or the political establishment – can't tell the difference between the decades, that's your problem right there.

But the average Joe can. His pocketbook talks to him as loud as his cell phone; he has to live in a world where five bucks is a lot of money. So the man in the street can see things that are invisible from Olympian Washington....

My suspicion is that the money is in existence, but that it is fleeing from the "large stable entities" that were the building blocks of the Industrial Age. (I wrote about this here.) What's happening to governments (and unions, universities, newspapers, TV networks) is what happened to big "blue chip" businesses a couple of decades ago. Pan Am, GM, AT&T, IBM, NCR, DEC, GE.... They've all had to morph, change, downsize, become more nimble... or die. No one even talks about "safe investments in blue chips" anymore. The idea has become absurd.

The "large stable entities" that have not been forced by the market to become nimble are now deprived of their Industrial Age "ecosystem," of a world where they made sense to everyone, and were held in check by the common sense of that age. Now they have grown cancerous, and are killing their hosts. (See for example: How public-sector unions broke California, by Steven Malanga)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 PM

April 18, 2010

"The natural constituency for the culture of dependence"

Michael Barone, Tea parties fight Obama's culture of dependence:

...And, invoking the language of the Founding Fathers, they [Tea Partiers] believe that this will destroy the culture of independence that has enabled Americans over the past two centuries to make this the most productive and prosperous -- and the most charitably generous -- nation in the world. Seeing our political divisions as a battle between the culture of dependence and the culture of independence helps to make sense of the divisions seen in the 2008 election.

Barack Obama carried voters with incomes under $50,000 and those with incomes over $200,000 and lost those with incomes in between. He won large margins from those who never graduated from high school and from those with graduate school degrees and barely exceeded 50 percent among those in between. The top-and-bottom Obama coalition was in effect a coalition of those dependent on government transfers and benefits and those in what David Brooks calls "the educated class" who administer or believe that their kind of people administer those transactions. They are the natural constituency for the culture of dependence.

Interestingly, in the Massachusetts special Senate election the purported beneficiaries of the culture of dependence -- low-income and low-education voters -- did not turn out in large numbers. In contrast, the administrators of that culture -- affluent secular professionals, public employees, university personnel -- were the one group that turned out in force and voted for the hapless Democratic candidate. The in-between people on the income and education ladders, it turns out, are a constituency for the culture of independence. ...

This is a bit of a video I took when Charlene and I were at the recent SF Tea Party. Philosophically speaking I'm not precisely a Tea Partier myself, but close enough, and it's the sort of effort we like to lend support to (among other reasons, there will never be a rally of people like me, so I take what I can get)...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:08 PM

April 17, 2010

"The halo of hatred around the Church of God."

...The life of the great civilization went on with dreary industry and even with dreary festivity. It was the end of the world, and the worst of it was that it need never end. A convenient compromise had been made between all the multitudinous myths and religions of the Empire; that each group should worship freely and merely live a sort of official flourish of thanks to the tolerant Emperor, by tossing a little incense to him under his official title of Divus. Naturally there was no difficulty about that; or rather it was a long time before the world realized that there ever had been even a trivial difficulty anywhere. The members of some Eastern sect or secret society or other seemed to have made a scene somewhere; nobody could imagine why. The incident occurred once or twice again and began to arouse irritation out of proportion to its insignificance. It was not exactly what these provincials said; though of course it sounded queer enough.

They seemed to be saying that God was dead and that they themselves had seen him die. This might be one of the many manias produced by the despair of the age; only they did not seem particularly despairing. They seem quite unnaturally joyful about it, and gave the reason that the death of God had allowed them to eat him and drink his blood. According to other accounts God was not exactly dead after all; there trailed through the bewildered imagination some sort of fantastic procession of the funeral of God, at which the sun turned black, but which ended with the dead omnipotence breaking out of the tomb and rising again like the sun.

But it was not the strange story to which anybody paid any particular attention; people in that world had seen queer religions enough to fill a madhouse. It was something in the tone of the madmen and their type of formation. They were a scratch company of barbarians and slaves and poor and unimportant people; but their formation was military; they moved together and were very absolute about who and what was really a part of their little system; and about what they said. However mildly, there was a ring like iron. Men used to many mythologies and moralities could make no analysis of the mystery, except the curious conjecture that they meant what they said. All attempts to make them see reason in the perfectly simple matter of the Emperor's statue seemed to be spoken to deaf men. It was as if a new meteoric metal had fallen on the earth; it was a difference of substance to the touch. Those who touched their foundation fancied they had struck a rock.

With a strange rapidity, like the changes of a dream, the proportions of things seemed to change in their presence. Before most men knew what had happened, these few men were palpably present. They were important enough to be ignored. People became suddenly silent about them and walked stiffly past them. We see a new scene, in which the world has drawn its skirts away from these men and women and they stand in the centre of a great space like lepers. The scene changes again and the great space where they stand is overhung on every side with a cloud of witnesses, interminable terraces full of faces looking down towards them intently; for strange things are happening to them. New tortures have been invented for the madmen who have brought good news. That sad and weary society seems almost to find a new energy in establishing its first religious persecution.

Nobody yet knows very clearly why that level world has thus lost its balance about the people in its midst; but they stand unnaturally still while the arena and the world seem to revolve round them. And there shone on them in that dark hour a light that has never been darkened; a white fire clinging to that group like an unearthly phosphorescence, blazing its track through the twilights of history and confounding every effort to confound it with the mists of mythology and theory; that shaft of light or lightning by which the world itself has struck and isolated and crowned it; by which its own enemies have made it more illustrious and its own critics have made it more inexplicable; the halo of hatred around the Church of God.

      – GK Chesterton, The Everlasting Man (1925).[link]

Posted by John Weidner at 9:05 PM

April 16, 2010

Ticking time-bombs...

Those Party-Flippers Almost Always Disappear, Don't They? - Jim Geraghty:

... bit by bit, Crist seems to be caught in the same gravitational pull that summoned Jim Jeffords, Arlen Specter, Dede Scozzafava, the phenomenon that makes the "RINO" label mean not just a wishy-washy high-maintenance pain, but a ticking time-bomb ready to pull a Benedict Arnold.

The moment a not-quite-conservative-enough Republican starts losing to a more-conservative one, they start hearing the siren's call from the Democratic-media industrial complex about how they can suddenly transform from just another guy who lost a primary to a tragic symbol of conservative intolerance, a beloved open-minded moderate who was martyred by a closed-minded party. The Newsweek cover, book deal, Sunday morning show interview, and semester teaching at Harvard are all pretty much assured....
Posted by John Weidner at 4:01 PM

April 15, 2010

War is like that...

Chuck Colson is a man I generally admire, but I think he is off-base in this piece, Guts and Principles.

* Update: The real problem with this is that this piece itself, and the thinking behind it, rewards al-Awlaki for committing war crimes. It is a crime to wage war from among civilians, and from within a country that is not itself at war. It is a war crime to act in a way that makes assassinations necessary. Colson is suggesting that we should modify our behavior because of these crimes. al-Awlaki is in fact committing crimes precisely because he can rely on us to reward them.

* Update: Our reader in India comments: "That he is a US citizen is irrelevant to Just War considerations. That he is called an American is beyond crazy. And that pundits are mixing up Geneva Convention and Just War theory is tells of the hopeless corner that US has positioned itself."

Colson:

The Obama administration has targeted Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric, for assassination. Al-Awlaki has been linked to both the "underpants bomber" and the shootings at Fort Hood.

There's no doubt that Americans would be safer in a world without al-Awlaki, but that's not the only question we should be asking ourselves.

Al-Awlaki was placed on the "kill or capture" list after the White House concluded that he had gone beyond inciting attacks to actually participating in them.

Since al-Awlaki is currently in Yemen, the "kill" option is the most likely. And the most likely way of killing him is using a Predator drone, the kind used in Pakistan and Afghanistan against Al Qaeda and Taliban targets.

As one official told the New York Times, "None of this should surprise anyone."

Well, my gut reaction is to applaud this resolution—kill the bad guys. But my gut instincts, like everyone else's, are fallen. That's why we need to ask what principles are involved in this kind of assassination.

For starters, al-Awlaki is an American citizen. We're talking about executing an American citizen on the basis of evidence that has never been presented in open court, or any court for that matter. [This is totally irrelevant! al-Awlaki has taken up arms against this country. Killing him is as proper as killing some American who was fighting for the Germans in WWII.]

Killing him would be satisfying, and it may make us safer, but it also sets a troubling precedent about the due process every citizen is guaranteed. There's nothing in the reasoning being employed here that limits extra-judicial executions to people outside the United States—the next time those suspected of participating in alleged terrorist activities might be in Michigan or Idaho. [It's in fact rather unlikely that that would happen. But in 4th Generation Warfare, the battlefield can be anywhere. It's not our fault; our enemies have decided that. So if the battlefield is in Michigan, we may have to kill al-Qaeda there. And the world of combat is DIFFERENT from the world of crime prevention. Often you must hit targets without knowing exactly what's there. War is like that.]
Then there are the just war implications of targeting al-Awlaki. The legal justification for the assassination is the September 12, 2001, congressional authorization of force against al Qaeda. This makes going after him an act of war and, to Christians at least, something that must be judged by just war criteria.

While this case clearly meets the "just cause" requirement, there are other considerations. Historically, the just war tradition has looked askance on assassination. Among other things, it has viewed assassination as treacherous and even cowardly because it doesn't give the target a chance to defend himself. [Colson, you blockhead, we would LOVE to fight al-Qaeda openly and honorably. America would happily pay a trillion dollars for the privilege. But you fight the war that life hands you. And if Just War Doctrine is not some dead letter, it must, like all Church teachings, be adapted to new circumstances. That's what YOU should be helping with; you have the brains and knowledge. Historically there was no NEED for assassination. Now there is.]

It has also been concerned about what today is called the "collateral damage." Drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan have not only killed the bad guys but also their families and neighbors, a violation of non-combatant immunity. [Uh, Chuck, if you would check you would see that it is a WAR CRIME for combatants to mingle with non-combatants, or to fail to wear uniforms and make themselves distinguishable. THEY are violating "non-combatant immunity," not us. You are falling into the Leftist mindset of thinking that only America is capable of doing anything, and everything else is purely passive.]

Then there's the way that assassinations can devolve into a kind of "tit-for-tat" that undermines order. A world where warfare is increasingly irregular is a world without meaningful limits on the way we conduct war. [Colson, warfare has become TOTALLY irregular. There IS no "order" anymore, and that is not in the slightest the responsibility of the US. We didn't do it, we didn't want it. We would LOVE to have "limits on the way we conduct war," as long as the limits were observed by the other side.]

Apart from some voices on the left, coverage of this story seems to assume the legality and rightness of the policy. But I make no such assumption, nor should you.

I don't really know how I come out on this. The "kill or capture" decision may pass muster or it might not. But I do know that the rule of law and the just war tradition are two of Christianity's great contributions to Western civilization. And I know also that, in a fallen world, a ruthless leader might rely on this precedent to kill Americans for the wrong reasons. This is a tough—yes, dubious—call. No matter what our gut tells us. [EVERY wartime slaughter MIGHT be a precedent for killing for the wrong reasons. So what? That's why we have our political decision-making process. A "ruthless leader" doesn't refrain from ruthless action because there is no precedent; there's always something you can claim is a precedent. He refrains because he's worried about losing elections, or losing Congressional support for his war.

War, of necessity, must involve strong—often ruthless—executive power. Wars cannot be fought by legislatures or committees. And frequently the rules must be made up as you go along, since every war is different. The Founders intended the president to have great powers during emergencies, [Link, Link] but to have to face the voters afterwards.]
Posted by John Weidner at 9:44 PM

April 13, 2010

What are the Romney types DOING now when we need them?

I agree totally with this piece, Despite Latest Narrative, Governor Palin is Presidential Now.

It mentions a certain "prominent Republican strategist" who declared that Sara Palin "has not yet transitioned herself into a presidential candidate." Poppycock. What we want in a presidential candidate is not cleverness or big egos, what we want is wisdom. And as far as I can see, the only Republican on the talked-about list for presidential runs who is doing what wisdom would command right now is... Sarah. What is she doing? She focusing on 2010, and doing what will help Republicans take back Congress and make a start on de-Obamafying America.

She's a true leader, not worrying about herself, but what's best for the country.

Sorry Karl, but you are 'transitioning yourself" into a washed-up has-been who does not deserve to be called a strategist. Get out in the trenches and fight for Republican candidates if you want to earn your supposed "senior statesman" status.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:01 PM

April 11, 2010

We need a phrase to articulate this subtle concept...

James Taranto, writing on this piece in the NYT...

...Still, patients' voluntarily forgoing treatments whose costs outweigh the benefits may not be enough. Having taken on, over the objections of the public, the responsibility for everyone's medical care, the federal government may not be able to keep its promise: "Eventually, we may well have to decide against paying for expensive treatments with only modest benefits."

Oops, sorry about that, Gramps!

It seems as though this is a pretty strong argument against ObamaCare. But we need to encapsulate it in a pithy phrase. What would you call governmental institutions that empower bureaucrats to decide when to deny medical treatment--panels, as it were, that have the authority to determine when a patient's death is necessary for the health of the fisc?

Coming up with a suitable term is a high-powered intellectual challenge. Our thinking cap is on, and we'll get back to you as soon as something dawns on us...
(Thanks to Monsieur Hoy.)

Sarah sure nailed that one! I think the claims that she is not intelligent are ludicrous, but even if she is, it's better to be wise than smart. Far better, especially for a president.

And there's a more subtle point here, which i have little doubt Sarah "gets," even if she doesn't articulate it. Imagine a person is made a slave because our law allows it. And another person is made a slave because he's kidnapped by someone who is breaking the law. Are these two things equivalent? No, clearly not. An indvidual criminal act is not the same as a wrong sanctioned by our laws and our government.

Or, imagine that one woman loses her unborn baby because she can't afford medical treatments. And another woman gets a legal abortion. Are these two things equivalent? If the Christian view of abortion is true, then, no. The second is far worse, spiritually, for our society, because we all become complicit in the crime.

The same thing is true of health care. A utilitarian might say that a person dying because he could not afford care is no different than a person dying because a bureaucratic committee has decided not to purchase some piece of medical equipment. I say, not at all. The latter is far worse, because our government is cold-bloodedly deciding that some people are expendable.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:57 PM

April 10, 2010

"Swords will be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer."

...Truths turn into dogmas the instant that they are disputed. Thus every man who utters a doubt defines a religion. And the scepticism of our time does not really destroy the beliefs, rather it creates them; gives them their limits and their plain and defiant shape. We who are Liberals once held Liberalism lightly as a truism. Now it has been disputed, and we hold it fiercely as a faith. We who believe in patriotism once thought patriotism to be reasonable, and thought little more about it. Now we know it to be unreasonable, and know it to be right. We who are Christians never knew the great philosophic common sense which inheres in that mystery until the anti-Christian writers pointed it out to us.

The great march of mental destruction will go on. Everything will be denied. Everything will become a creed. It is a reasonable position to deny the stones in the street; it will be a religious dogma to assert them. It is a rational thesis that we are all in a dream; it will be a mystical sanity to say that we are all awake. Fires will be kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer. We shall be left defending, not only the incredible virtues and sanities of human life, but something more incredible still, this huge impossible universe which stares us in the face. We shall fight for visible prodigies as if they were invisible. We shall look on the impossible grass and the skies with a strange courage. We shall be of those who have seen and yet have believed.

    -- GK Chesterton, Heretics (1905).

Posted by John Weidner at 6:59 PM

April 8, 2010

Closing the gap...

Remember this post from last week, with the video of my Mom? Well, she's now in second place, only 70 votes behind the leader.

SO, if you just happen to have a wierd impulse to cast a vote for someone named Weidner, you can go here and do so! (She's on the bottom of the third page. The deadline is tomorrow (Friday) the 9th at 9:00 pm.)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:22 PM

Judenrein... any day now

Eeeew, how sick I am of Lefty Jew-haters. How long oh Lord, how long... until President Palin puts things back in place?

Roger L. Simon, Obama Administration Denies Visas to Israeli Nuclear Scientists:

The Obama administration is now denying U.S. visas to Israeli scientists who work at that nation's Dimona nuclear reactor. This startling reversal of traditional policy was reported April 7, 2010, in the Israeli website/newspaper NRG/Maariv (link to the original Hebrew here and to an exclusive Pajamas Media translation here).

This could be yet another flashpoint in the increasingly sensitive relations between the administration, the American Jewish community, and Israel. The revelation in Maariv came only a day before the arrival in New York of Tariq Ramadan — controversial grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al Banna — whose visa was reportedly championed by Secretary of State Clinton. Yesterday as well, new rules disavowing the term "Islamic radicalism" were announced by Secretary of Defense Gates.

According to Maariv: "…. workers at the Dimona reactor who submitted VISA requests to visit the United States for ongoing university education in Physics, Chemistry and Nuclear Engineering — have all been rejected, specifically because of their association with the Dimona reactor. This is a new policy decision of the Obama administration, since there never used to be an issue with the reactor’s workers from study in the USA, and till recently, they received VISAs and studied in the USA."

Israeli defense officials are stating these workers have no criminal records in the U.S. or Israel and have been singled out purely because of their place of employment. Moreover, nuclear materials for the Dimona reactor apparently do not come from the U.S. Zeev Alfasi — head of nuclear engineering at Israel’s Ben Gurion University — states that "the United States doesn’t sell anything nuclear-related to the Dimona reactor, and that means absolutely nothing. Radiation detectors, for example, have to be purchased now in France because the USA refuses to sell these to Israel."...

Of course I loathe even more the self-hating American Jews who put up with this, just for the privilege of pretending they are not part of the Chosen People, and can shirk their obligations.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:14 PM

April 7, 2010

Freeloaders...

What Am I?, By John Stossel

I used to be a Kennedy-style "liberal." Then I wised up. Now I'm a libertarian.

But what does that mean?

When I asked people on the street, half had no clue.

We know that conservatives want government to conserve traditional values. They say they're for limited government, but they're pro-drug war, pro-immigration restriction and anti-abortion, and they often support "nation-building." [I won't get into the drug war (needs its own essay) but on the other two Mr Stossel is confused. He can be "libertarian" on immigration only because he is depending on others to stem the flow. If a billion people were moving to the US next month he'd change his mind in a hurry.

And abortion SEEMS libertarian only because of a failure of vision. Suppose we put it this way: "A powerful government entity, unaccountable to voters, can declare that a particular sub-set of humanity is 'not-human,' and can now be killed with impunity. And the power of the State will protect the killers." How's that sound, Mr Libertarian?Or suppose that the Supreme Court declared that women had a "right" to kill their husbands? You're cool with that? As a libertarian, I mean? Only those stuffy conservatives will complain?]

And so-called liberals? They tend to be anti-gun and pro-choice on abortion. They favor big, powerful government -- they say -- to make life kinder for people.

By contrast, libertarians want government to leave people alone -- in both the economic and personal spheres. Leave us free to pursue our hopes and dreams, as long as we don't hurt anybody else. [What's the problem with that last phrase? The question to ask is, "Who defines 'hurt?' And who defines 'anybody else?'" One does it for oneself I assume. Suppose I define 'hurt" to not include poking Mr Stossel in the eye with my eye-poking stick? Does that make it OK to poke you, Mr Libertarian? Of course not. Stossel is in fact relying on TRADITION and RELIGION to define the terms, and not admitting it. And if the definition changes in a way that hurts HIM, he'll come begging Conservatives to help him fix things.]

Ironically, that used to be called "liberal," which has the same root as "liberty." Several hundred years ago, liberalism was a reaction against the stifling rules imposed by aristocracy and established religion.

I wish I could call myself "liberal" now. But the word has been turned on its head. It now means health police, high taxes, speech codes and so forth.

So I can't call myself a "liberal." I'm stuck with "libertarian." If you have a better word, please let me know.

I say that the real libertarian is the Christian conservative.

Why? Trouble is, freedom sometimes has to be fought for. And freedom requires morality. And those only come from something beyond libertarianism. People don't fight or sacrifice for a nothing, they fight for a positive philosophy, something bigger than the self. Something more important than ME. And libertarianism has never offered that, and never will. Libertarians are coasting on the virtues inherited from past generations, mostly Christian and Jewish. These have created a culture that is very moral and law-abiding, and so the Libertarian can just take a lot of basic decency for granted, and pretend that people will always act that way when government "leaves them alone."

Mr Stossel, I would guess that you assume that firemen will rush into a burning building to save you. Why would they do that? What Libertarian idea would cause people to act that way?

Also, there will always arise conflicts that can't be resolved by "live and let live." Before 1860 Southerners made libertarian arguments in favor of government not interfering with private property in the form of slaves. Do you agree? If not, what principle rules? Is there something bigger than libertarianism? Something that, maybe maybe maybe, you OWE allegiance to?

Libertarians are freeloading—sponging—on virtues inherited from the people who built this country, and those were Christian conservatives. (Almost every American before, say, 1950 was what we now call "conservative." The word really just means "normal American." JFK was in many ways what we think of as conservative; tax cutter, anti-communist, patriotic.)

But those virtues are in decline. You are living off a shrinking capital, and not re-investing anything. To the extant that you are really a "libertarian," you are a parasite.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:55 PM

Kick the little guy, bow to the bully...

In reference to this:

...April 4 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner delayed a scheduled April 15 report to Congress on exchange-rate policies, sidestepping a decision on whether to accuse China of manipulating the value of the yuan....

Charlene passes this on to you...

cartoon of Obama knuckling under to China, bashing Israel

(Thanks to Hope n' Change Cartoons)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:40 AM

April 5, 2010

Pacifism Kills, #340. (Thank you for the tip, AOG)

AOG writes,

...I want to touch on this comment by Hey Skipper
The common strategy prior to 9/11 was to accede to hijacker demands in order to ensure passenger safety.

How do I know? I was flying for a passenger airline then.

You will, of course, remember hijackings where airplanes flew all over heck and gone, and had hijackers in the cockpit all the while.

After 9/11, the common strategy changed completely. No matter how many pax are getting killed in back, the crew will take the airplane to the closest suitable airport where it will be met with armed force.
Has anyone else noticed how many fewer hijackings have occurred since this change? Another one for the pacifism kills files....

I remember the first airplane hijacking. (Or at least the first one that was famous.) When I was a boy some guy hijacked a plane to Cuba, to the consternation of the country. Of course the authorities did nothing, lest the passengers be endangered. The result was....... a spate of hijackings Cuba-ward, and that hijackings have been a plague ever since.

And I have often thought in recent decades of how history might have been different if those in power had just said "NO." "No, You are not going to Cuba, even if we have to shoot down the plane and kill ALL the passengers." Think of the hundreds—maybe thousands—of hijackings—many ending in bloodshed and loss of life—that might have been prevented. Think of the billions of dollars and millions of man-hours that would not have been squandered on airport security if hijackings weren't a worry. Think of the millions of lives that might have been saved or enriched or improved if that treasure had been put to constructive uses. Oh, and there's the little matter of 9/11. That form of attack would have never even been thought of if we had stood resolutely against hijacking

The "pacifism" (I'm obviously using the word in a broad-brush way) of not fighting back against the first hijacking was MURDER. Pacifism Kills.

But what is more infuriating to me than the waste of human lives is that there was no debate. Nobody made the case for appeasing hijackers; they just drifted along with the conventional wisdom. And while I'm very glad that the newer policy seems to have ended the scourge of hijacking, I don't think anyone is making the case for that either!

[**pause while I kick and pummel and slap some liberals because I am so aggravated by their intellectual pusillanimity** Ah! There, I feel better now...]

And think of this. Probably most of our squashy-brained mushy-thinking pacifist types would agree that it would have been a good idea for the first African tribesmen to have been enslaved to have fought back against capture by slave traders, even if many died in the attempt. Yet anyone who is hijacked or taken hostage is a temporary slave. Or perhaps long-term; many hostages are held for years. Surely the same logic should apply?

Posted by John Weidner at 6:14 PM

April 4, 2010

Winner: Most awesome Easter Vigil experience!

Loyal reader SGT Ethan e-mailed me about his attending Easter Vigil Mass at St. Elijah Monastery, near Mosul, Iraq. The church is in semi-ruinous condition, and US forces have been trying to preserve it. you can read more about it here and here.

St. Elijah Monastery, Mosul, Iraq

He writes...

Very cool site, and a wonderful mass. Mass was first offered on this site somewhere between 1400 and 1700 years ago, depending on whom you ask. This structure is Byzantine construction from the 1600's, built on top of the old site. The mass was humble, very much unadorned, open air, occasional sound of automatic gunfire from the test fire pit not far away...two soldiers and one contractor were baptized, confirmed and received their first communion, and we had folks from everywhere - lots of Assyrians who work as linguists, then a lot of Indians and some Ugandans who work here, and a good number of soldiers.

It was awfully cool - if for no other reason than how often do you go to mass with an assault rifle on your back and a knife on your hip? The open air, the monastery – yeah, it was a stunning night. Honestly, now I don't want to go on the tour they offer – I want to keep that place in my mind exactly as it was...
Posted by John Weidner at 2:57 PM

April 3, 2010

Easter 2010

cross, St Mary's, Krakow

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI

Easter Vigil, Saint Peter's Basilica, Holy Saturday, 3 April 2010 [Link]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

An ancient Jewish legend from the apocryphal book "The life of Adam and Eve" recounts that, in his final illness, Adam sent his son Seth together with Eve into the region of Paradise to fetch the oil of mercy, so that he could be anointed with it and healed. The two of them went in search of the tree of life, and after much praying and weeping on their part, the Archangel Michael appeared to them, and told them they would not obtain the oil of the tree of mercy and that Adam would have to die. Subsequently, Christian readers added a word of consolation to the Archangel's message, to the effect that after 5,500 years the loving King, Christ, would come, the Son of God who would anoint all those who believe in him with the oil of his mercy. "The oil of mercy from eternity to eternity will be given to those who are reborn of water and the Holy Spirit. Then the Son of God, Christ, abounding in love, will descend into the depths of the earth and will lead your father into Paradise, to the tree of mercy." This legend lays bare the whole of humanity's anguish at the destiny of illness, pain and death that has been imposed upon us. Man's resistance to death becomes evident: somewhere – people have constantly thought – there must be some cure for death. Sooner or later it should be possible to find the remedy not only for this or that illness, but for our ultimate destiny – for death itself. Surely the medicine of immortality must exist. Today too, the search for a source of healing continues. Modern medical science strives, if not exactly to exclude death, at least to eliminate as many as possible of its causes, to postpone it further and further, to prolong life more and more.

But let us reflect for a moment: what would it really be like if we were to succeed, perhaps not in excluding death totally, but in postponing it indefinitely, in reaching an age of several hundred years? Would that be a good thing? Humanity would become extraordinarily old, there would be no more room for youth. Capacity for innovation would die, and endless life would be no paradise, if anything a condemnation. The true cure for death must be different. It cannot lead simply to an indefinite prolongation of this current life. It would have to transform our lives from within. It would need to create a new life within us, truly fit for eternity: it would need to transform us in such a way as not to come to an end with death, but only then to begin in fullness. What is new and exciting in the Christian message, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, was and is that we are told: yes indeed, this cure for death, this true medicine of immortality, does exist. It has been found. It is within our reach. In baptism, this medicine is given to us. A new life begins in us, a life that matures in faith and is not extinguished by the death of the old life, but is only then fully revealed.
To this some, perhaps many, will respond: I certainly hear the message, but I lack faith. And even those who want to believe will ask: but is it really so? How are we to picture it to ourselves? How does this transformation of the old life come about, so as to give birth to the new life that knows no death? Once again, an ancient Jewish text can help us form an idea of the mysterious process that begins in us at baptism. There it is recounted how the patriarch Enoch was taken up to the throne of God. But he was filled with fear in the presence of the glorious angelic powers, and in his human weakness he could not contemplate the face of God. "Then God said to Michael," to quote from the book of Enoch, "‘Take Enoch and remove his earthly clothing. Anoint him with sweet oil and vest him in the robes of glory!' And Michael took off my garments, anointed me with sweet oil, and this oil was more than a radiant light … its splendour was like the rays of the sun. When I looked at myself, I saw that I was like one of the glorious beings" (Ph. Rech, Inbild des Kosmos, II 524). Precisely this – being reclothed in the new garment of God – is what happens in baptism, so the Christian faith tells us. To be sure, this changing of garments is something that continues for the whole of life. What happens in baptism is the beginning of a process that embraces the whole of our life – it makes us fit for eternity, in such a way that, robed in the garment of light of Jesus Christ, we can appear before the face of God and live with him for ever.

In the rite of baptism there are two elements in which this event is expressed and made visible in a way that demands commitment for the rest of our lives. There is first of all the rite of renunciation and the promises. In the early Church, the one to be baptized turned towards the west, the symbol of darkness, sunset, death and hence the dominion of sin. The one to be baptized turned in that direction and pronounced a threefold "no": to the devil, to his pomp and to sin. The strange word "pomp", that is to say the devil's glamour, referred to the splendour of the ancient cult of the gods and of the ancient theatre, in which it was considered entertaining to watch people being torn limb from limb by wild beasts. What was being renounced was a type of culture that ensnared man in the adoration of power, in the world of greed, in lies, in cruelty. It was an act of liberation from the imposition of a form of life that was presented as pleasure and yet hastened the destruction of all that was best in man. This renunciation – albeit in less dramatic form – remains an essential part of baptism today. We remove the "old garments", which we cannot wear in God's presence. Or better put: we begin to remove them. This renunciation is actually a promise in which we hold out our hand to Christ, so that he may guide us and reclothe us. What these "garments" are that we take off, what the promise is that we make, becomes clear when we see in the fifth chapter of the Letter to the Galatians what Paul calls "works of the flesh" – a term that refers precisely to the old garments that we remove. Paul designates them thus: "fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing and the like" (Gal 5:19ff.). These are the garments that we remove: the garments of death.

Then, in the practice of the early Church, the one to be baptized turned towards the east – the symbol of light, the symbol of the newly rising sun of history, the symbol of Christ. The candidate for baptism determines the new direction of his life: faith in the Trinitarian God to whom he entrusts himself. Thus it is God who clothes us in the garment of light, the garment of life. Paul calls these new "garments" "fruits of the spirit", and he describes them as follows: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal 5:22).

In the early Church, the candidate for baptism was then truly stripped of his garments. He descended into the baptismal font and was immersed three times – a symbol of death that expresses all the radicality of this removal and change of garments. His former death-bound life the candidate consigns to death with Christ, and he lets himself be drawn up by and with Christ into the new life that transforms him for eternity. Then, emerging from the waters of baptism the neophytes were clothed in the white garment, the garment of God's light, and they received the lighted candle as a sign of the new life in the light that God himself had lit within them. They knew that they had received the medicine of immortality, which was fully realized at the moment of receiving holy communion. In this sacrament we receive the body of the risen Lord and we ourselves are drawn into this body, firmly held by the One who has conquered death and who carries us through death.

In the course of the centuries, the symbols were simplified, but the essential content of baptism has remained the same. It is no mere cleansing, still less is it a somewhat complicated initiation into a new association. It is death and resurrection, rebirth to new life.

Indeed, the cure for death does exist. Christ is the tree of life, once more within our reach. If we remain close to him, then we have life. Hence, during this night of resurrection, with all our hearts we shall sing the alleluia, the song of joy that has no need of words. Hence, Paul can say to the Philippians: "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice!" (Phil 4:4). Joy cannot be commanded. It can only be given. The risen Lord gives us joy: true life. We are already held for ever in the love of the One to whom all power in heaven and on earth has been given (cf. Mt 28:18). In this way, confident of being heard, we make our own the Church's Prayer over the Gifts from the liturgy of this night: Accept the prayers and offerings of your people. With your help may this Easter mystery of our redemption bring to perfection the saving work you have begun in us. Amen.
Posted by John Weidner at 4:00 PM

April 2, 2010

Such paltry achievements...

This piece by Tunku Varadarajan, Why Palin Drives Us All Mad, has some good stuff, but is also revalatory of a certain odd anti-Sarah mindset in the author...

...On the right, by contrast, there are commentators who err in the opposite direction—partly in reaction, no doubt, to all the Palin-abuse of the last 20 months (who can forget Andrew Sullivan's foul ravings, for instance). In an op-ed that was one part treacle and two parts overreach, Norman Podhoretz—conservative —likened Palin to a rough-diamond version of Ronald Reagan and declared that he would "rather have Sarah Palin sitting in the Oval Office than Barack Obama." Bill Kristol has, at earlier times, espoused Palin with a corresponding vigor—a vigor that was, like Podhoretz's paean, strikingly at odds with Palin's apparent abilities and achievements. [Achievements: Success as wife, mother, councilwoman, mayor, Oil and Gas Board member, state governor, hunter, commercial fishing business operator, author, speaker, TV personality, supporter of conservative candidates, pro-life advocate, people-with-disabilities advocate, new-media pioneer, fundraiser, gadfly against the administration. And the best at connecting with ordinary Americans since...Reagan? .... yeah, you're right Tunku; that's a verrry thin resume.]

So we have, on the one hand, a rejection of Palin by liberal intellectuals that can border on the hysterical, and, on the other, a clearly overblown evaluation of her by her proponents on the right. Both sides, I reckon, are quite wrong. (A question for Podhoretz: What should one do if one wants neither Obama nor Palin in the White House?)...

That last bleat is really odd. (What do you do? Support another candidate. Duh.) It has the sound of someone who feels trapped. Well, he is trapped in a way. He's hoping it will be "anyone but Sarah," and therefore he's desperately wishing the Republican nominee will be any one of what Hillbuzz calls "cucumber-and-mayonnaise-on-white-bread-sandwich" Republicans. Hey, pick any of them; they all look alike!

Sorry, Tunku. Won't happen. Your guys are..... boring. Bland. Anemic. We didn't know they were insipid until 8-29-08. Then Sarah walked onstage, and all those other guys, including Mr McCain, suddenly looked sort of like department store mannequins. The contrast was devastating.

And it has just gotten worse. This is a time that aches for passionate and even flamboyant Republican leadership. For leaders who can call on us to die on the last barricades of freedom. So who do you got, Mr V.? C'mon, if you don't like Sarah, put forth a better alternative! You can't do it, can you. You have no cards in your hand.

My guess is that he loathes Sarah because she stands—both symbolically and actually—for the notion of government by the people. That is to say, people who have never heard of der Herr Geheimrat Varadarajan, and wouldn't be much impressed if they did.

Sara Palin with dead caribou

Posted by John Weidner at 12:56 PM

April 1, 2010

What's a little carnage to a Chicago politician?

Michael Medved, Honor for a Terrorist Draws No Objection:

During Joe Biden's Middle East visit, American media focused on Israeli plans to build 1,600 housing units in a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem but a simultaneous Palestinian provocation received no attention. In its administrative center of Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority dedicated a traffic circle, and promised an heroic statue, to honor Dalal Mughrabi—a notorious terrorist. In 1978, this nineteen-year-old militant led a gang of eleven in the "Coastal Road Massacre"—seizing two passenger buses and a taxi, and butchering 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children. Mughrabi died in a gun battle with police, but she's revered as a Palestinian heroine.

A decision by America's ally to build new homes in its own capital city drew Washington's condemnation, but Americans made little complaint about formal honors for a killer who slaughtered more than three dozen innocent Jews some thirty years ago.

One of the several causes of the War on Terror is the widespread Leftist idea that it's not terrorism if you are killing Jews. All the savageries of the terrorist scum have been tried out on Jews first—Ma'alot was a warm-up for Beslan. Then, when the Western powers shrug over the deaths of a few Yids, or the "pacifists" are just fine with armed violence along as it is killing Jews,the terrorists take it as a wink and a nudge to do more.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:43 AM