Monday, October 31, 2005

The "official" Web site for Samuel J. Alito, Jr., maintained by Progress for America.

WorldNetDaily: The prince and the yawpers

My blog entry on the impending visit by the Prince of Wales is not even a day old, when out comes a syndicated column basically agreeing with me and shedding more light on HRH's disgraceful--and frankly unaccountable--politics. Basically, Doug Powers chides HRH for being hypocritical, peculiarly selective in where he assesses blame, and profoundly ignorant of human nature and the nature of bellicose nation-states. Powers' comparison to World War Two is spot-on and as deadly accurate as were the daylight precision bombers in the early stages of the conflict. Read for yourselves.

For my part, I was thinking of taking the trains into the new WTC station that the Port Authority Trans-Hudson system rebuilt after September 11, just to see the Prince. Now--I don't think so.

Bush Picks Alito for Supreme Court - Yahoo! News

That's right: it's Sam Alito, often called "Scalito" because his reasoning leads him to conclusions so similar to those of Antonin Scalia.

Sorry, Joseph L. Farah. Bush fooled you . He did not, as you predicted, nominate Maureen Mahoney, fixer extraordinaire from the Ken Starr circle. He picked a man, according to Bush, with the most judicial experience of any nominee sent to the court in the last seventy years.

So who is Sam Alito, really? Well, here's his listing in the Federal Judicial Circuits Web site. Not much, as I'll readily admit. His Wikipedia entry tells us much more, and with detailed case citations. Also, check out this article about him in US News and World Report back in July. He had a "buzz" going on about him as soon as Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her intention to retire. And let me give my Hat Tip of the Day to my fellow BlogSpot blogger, who started a blog on Alito two days ago, before the Bush announcement. I warn you, this is parody. I don't think for one picosecond that this is Sam Alito talking. But somebody out there was dead-on-target prescient about today's announcement.

All kidding aside, all accounts show Sam Alito to be a deep thinker--a "judge's judge." In short, he's the kind of judge that the Founders had in mind for the Supreme Court. He's not bombastic, either--and though he often concludes the same way Scalia does, he's not prone to badger witnesses. You may, if you wish, imagine Alito and Scalia playing the Good Cop and Bad Cop during oral argument.

Even the liberals predicted that someone like Alito would get the nod. Check out these remarks from Ellen Ratner:

Red-state red meat for the Supreme Court. I don't know who Bush will nominate to fill the Court's open slot, but I know this – it won't be some mumbly-bumbly hackette or a tactful smooth talker whose IQ exceeds the combined brains of the Senate Judiciary Committee. No, Bush needs to rally his base, and that means picking a fight with Democrats. So expect a real right-wing brawler for nominee, some Bible-toting guy or gal who says-it-like-it-is, who writes an opinion on speeding tickets and includes dicta opposing abortion and gay rights. In short, somebody to rally the base.
Actually, Ellen, you didn't call it quite right. Alito combines the thinking of Scalia with the demeanor of John Roberts. (Which brings up another thing: he and Roberts ought to get along just fine. To paraphrase King Herod Agrippa II, almost they might persuade Anthony Kennedy to be the conservative that Reagan thought he was. Stranger things have happened, on the Court and off.

The liberals are, of course, screaming bloody murder. Harry Reid's rant alone is worth the price of admission--that price being all the aggravation we suffered until Harriet Miers sensibly withdrew her name. And this is what he was saying the day before, on ABC's This Week with George Stuff-in-ollapaloosa. Basically, he said that he wanted a middle-of-the-roader to replace O'Connor. He didn't get it. I can hear his howl of outrage from here. And Bob Beckel, spewing forth on the Fox News Channel, looked fit to be tied.

All right, you liberals. You have challenged us to fight, and we accept the challenge. To paraphrase MacBeth, as quoted by Shakespeare: come into the lists and champion us to the utterance.

OpinionJournal - Baggage Claim: The Myth of Suitcase Nukes

That's right, sportsfans: nuclear devices that can fit inside a suitcase are indeed a myth--a tall tale for scaring little children.

Richard Miniter is my kind of journalist--a guy willing to pound the pavement, track people down, and ask them straight-out, "Did you really say such-a-thing to such-a-one?"--and likely get answers of "No" and "Who?" These are the techniques he brought to bear in his investigation of the claim that as many as a hundred suitcase-sized special nuclear devices were now missing, and that any one of them could still detonate and make a big flash, fire, and blast--not to mention radiation and fallout. He demonstrates conclusively that the situation was never as certain people--including the usual suspect, CBS' 60 Minutes--luridly described it, and in fact the situation is far less dire today than it originally was.

The bottom-line reasons are as follows:

  1. The smallest such device that anyone has ever seen is at least the size of three steamer trunks and requires a good-sized squad to detonate it. That's because the required super-critical mass of enriched uranium needed to build any nuclear device is about 35 pounds. Moreover, this stuff is so radioactive that it would fry your bone marrow in about a minute--and because it is so radioacative, half of it would decay to harmless, or at least non-fissile elements (and ultimately to lead) in about half a year! So consequently, you have to transport it under heavy lead shielding--and that makes it all the easier to detect and all the harder to move about. Furthermore, you have to get that device in place before half a year is out--because beyond that, the fissile materials would decay to the point where even after you set off the explosion required to compress the fissiles into a tight ball, you still don't have that critical mass required to split atoms.

    A number of years ago, Actor/Producer Dick Van Dyke dramatized a nightmare scenario for his crime comedy-drama, Diagnosis: Murder. It began with a 747 crashing into a general-aviation airfield--with everyone on board already dead. It continued with fissile material being taken from the crash-investigation site, with two men trying to escape from a makeshift laboratory in an automobile that crashed into a tree--at thirty-five miles per hour--with both men dead by the time Lieutenant Steve Sloan of the LAPD caught up with it. (Dr. Mark Sloan, of course, diagnosed radiation poisoning.) It ended with a very slender girl, who couldn't have weighed more than 110 pounds, sitting on a park bench with a suitcase-sized device at her feet! I think about that now and I have to laugh. Dick Van Dyke should have known better. Not one thing about that scenario could ever have come to pass.

  2. Both the USA and the USSR did build special nuclear devices, the smallest ever built. These are the ones the size of three steamer trunks. And they are all dismantled and accounted for.
  3. As Miniter makes abundantly clear, you can't simply detonate a nuclear missile by punching in a code. It has to go up to the stratosphere and come back down before it so much as arms. That's to keep some idiot from detonating it in its silo. (Sorry, Stanley Chase. Your movie Colossus: The Forbin Project is all wet, too. No way could even an out-of-control computer simply detonated a nuclear warhead in situ.)
  4. Several times in the past, men have tried to steal fissile material. They've always been caught before they could transfer it. And even the combined weight of all the thefts amounts to less than a third of an ounce of fissile material--and remember, you need thirty-five pounds of the stuff.
Bottom line: the suitcase nuke is a figment of several overheated imaginations.

That said, a portable nuclear device is theoretically possible. It would fit, not in a suitcase, but in a freight container--the kind you see on 18-wheeled "Big Rigs." Fortunately, our seaports will soon get new radiation screening devices sufficient to scan every single container that gets unloaded from every ship--and that's even assuming that Al-Qaeda has any nuclear weaponists on its payroll that aren't already assisting either General Pervez Musharraf or President Bush in their respective inquiries! Impossible? No--and we might have to get the Navy involved in surveying container ships at sea. We need to get cracking on this. But we probably have a lot more time than we at first supposed.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Telegraph | News | Prince Charles to plead Islam's cause to Bush

That's right: HRH the Prince of Wales is going to come to this country and actually tell the President that the Western world is entirely too prejudiced against Muslims and don't appreciate the "strength" of Islam.

With all due respect--sir--you could not be more wrong.

First, I could wish that President Bush really understood what needed to be done about Islam, and what Islam really preaches.

And second, HRH clearly does not understand Islam nearly as well as he pretends.

Maybe he can't afford to. Maybe he knows that Muslims are so numerous in his kingdom that they could set up a satrapy for the New Baghdad Caliph any time they wanted to. Or maybe he is simply suffused with what I can only call the "New British Disease." Winston Churchill would be positively shocked--as, very likely, would be HRH's grandfather, King George VI.

Regardless, we must decline HRH's advice and start prosecuting the War of Civilizations that Osama bin Laden--and al-Wahhab before him, and Suleyman the Magnificent before him--started.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

WorldNetDaily: College doctors photograph of gun-toting Ward Churchill

And just when you thought you'd seen everything...

We all remember Ward Churchill, plagiarist and all-around moonbat. But as bad as he is, the antics of certain other career academics is worse. He is scheduled to deliver his controversial "roosting chickens" speech at Shoreline Community College (Seattle, WA) on November 8. On Shoreline's Web site, they chose to show one of Ward Churchill's publicity photos. Except that they took a photo of him that originally showed him carrying an AK-47 rifle, and electronically erased the rifle and the portion of his arm with which he was holding it.

When WorldNetDaily caught the alteration and inquired about it, Shoreline took the photo off their site--but not before WND had captured a screenshot of the Web page.

Ironically, the college officials now say that they erased the gun from the Churchill photograph, not because they wanted to spare him the embarrassment of using a photograph suggesting that he is a traitor, but because they don't endorse the private ownership of firearms. Apparently they didn't want to endorse smoking, either--so they couldn't use the publicity shot of him holding a cigarette. But instead of simply asking for another publicity photograph, they took it upon themselves to alter one of the photographs they had. That was a disservice, not so much to Churchill as to the rest of us.

What will such people do next? Alter a conservative's photograph to show him carrying a gun when he wasn't? Or maybe they'll doctor a photograph to create a sexual compromise.

If you can't trust a photograph now, what can you trust?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

WorldNetDaily: USA Today gives Condi 'demon eyes,' pulls photo

I have waited until now to comment on this, because I wanted to see how everyone else would react to this. Now I can report that Michelle Malkin, one of the first to report this outrage, is either under "Distributed Denial-of-service Attack," or, as seems more likely, swamped with honest requests for information. I'll go ahead and link to her site, but it will be awhile before you'll be able to get through.

But in the meantime, here is WorldNetDaily's article, containing thumbnails of Condi Rice's photograph, before and after that disgraceful alteration. Here also is the link to The Pen, a less-well-known blog who actually got in first.

So what did USA Today do? Basically, they took a photograph which, they said, was too dark to go on their Web site. I will not vouch for this. Go see the original AP photograph and judge for yourself whether it needed any alteration at all.

The accompanying caption says that Secretary Rice was "looking on" at a diplomatic transaction in Moscow. So USA Today said that they brightened up the photograph. They didn't just "brighten it up" all over. They artifically brightened the whites of her eyes, to the point where they appear to shine with an otherworldly light that recalls Actress Kate Nelligan as Lucy Seward in the 1979 version of Dracula. Worse yet, they narrowed her pupils to vertical slits, to make them look like those of a cat--or perhaps Bast, the catlike goddess of ancient Egypt.

USA Today tries to deny that this was deliberate. Tellingly, they yanked the photograph from their own site--but not before The Pen and WND picked it up. They then said that they tried to brighten it up, but the result was "not up to our editorial standards"--but why, then, did they publish it in the first place? No less than three professional graphic artists have all said that this was no accident--because they could not duplicate the effect with any innocent adjustment of the brightness setting in Adobe Photoshop, the favorite digital photo-retouch program among all the media.

The Democratic Party and their Fishwrap Axis of willing accomplices in the media must be pretty desperate. If that is how they really and truly see Condi Rice, I pity them. But I wouldn't give two cents for their "editorial standards" after this.

World Magazine AP News - Some Possible Supreme Court Nominees

Or: who could be next after Harriet Miers? This comprehensive list gives as much detail as you can expect to find on a single Web page. A must-read.

WorldNetDaily: Guaranteed: Miers to withdraw

This actually is Joseph Farah's column of two weeks ago, predicting that Harriet Miers would never appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Farah predicted that she just plain knew too much that could embarrass Bush--things that she knew from her days as a Texas Lottery Commissioner, that had to do with whether Bush did or did not receive preferential placement in the Texas Air National Guard.

I never believed that overblown TANG story for a second, and still don't. If Dan Rather did not engineer the Killian forgeries, then he certainly created a climate of desire for such forgeries that the actual forger was only too willing to operate in. In any case, the TANG story began and ended with Dan Rather and the CBS Evening News--and if I were a judge, I would exercise judicial discretion and reject any evidence to the contrary, on the basis that someone lied about a material point.

In any event, I don't believe that the Texas Lottery affair sank the nomination. I believe that the continued outcry against Miers on conservative principle prompted two Republican Senators to make a request for documents that no President could ever in good conscience provide, as a way of giving Miers an excuse to withdraw. She took the excuse, and I am more than satisfied with that.

All the same, Farah was right about one thing: she is gone, and before the hearings even began.

Conservatives Pleased; Liberals Worried -- 10/27/2005

From Cybercast News Service (Hat Tip: Tim Thornton at C-POL).

I reiterate: I also am pleased to see the nomination withdrawn. And I see that many of my fellow conservatives are just as pleased. They include American Values (Gary Bauer), Concerned Women for America, and the National Pro-Life Action Center.

The usual suspects on the left are howling in outrage. Rush Limbaugh must be correct, as he reports on his radio program that the left is very afraid of the type of nominee whom Bush will next send to the Senate. Harry Reid (D-NV) has expressed his own "hope" that Bush "won't reward the bad behavior of his right-wing base." Excuse me, Senator, but I'll take no instruction from you or any of your allies about how to behave in public. Not after one of them (Donald Sutherland of the TV show Commander in Chief) openly sobs on camera, and another one (Al Franken) makes a skit in which he physically assaults someone who disagrees with him and incites another person to do the same. I'm still waiting to see Al Franken arrested for his "bad behavior." (Not to mention Sandy Berger for stealing and maliciously destroying US government documents that probably embarrass him to death.)

Ralph Neas over at People for the (Anti-)American Way is no better--but then again, he is not a United States Senator. Harry Reid is. Why the worthies in Nevada re-elected him the last time he came up, I'll never know. I'd like to address one thing:

The unelected power-brokers of the far right have forced the withdrawal of President Bush's own Supreme Court nominee, before a confirmation hearing has even been held.
Mr. Neas, that we are not elected is true enough. We are, however, the President's ultimate electors. We are, in a word, the bosses--or in three words, the board of directors. Or rather, we constitute the majority of that board called the American electorate who prevailed over you and your tire-slashing, vehicular-assailing, and riotous friends to re-elect George Bush and prevent the election of a man guilty of desertion of his post and having a yellow streak a mile wide. So, as we look forward to our Thanksgiving dinner, we say to you: stuff it.

WorldNetDaily: Harriet Miers withdraws

There it is. Just after Concerned Women for America declared themselves against her nomination, and after Americans for Better Justice spent a quarter of a million dollars buying time to run a TV ad against her, Harriet Miers withdrew her name this morning from consideration as a Justice of the Supreme Court.

The ostensible reason for her withdrawal was that the Senate kept insisting on requesting privileged documents that she had had a hand in writing or otherwise creating. Absolutely any attorney must protect his correspondence with his clients--and moreover, the doctrine of executive privilege goes clear back to the Presidency of George Washington. This might mean that a White House counsel can never be a Justice of the Supreme Court--and that might not be such a bad idea after all, seeing that for someone who worked for the President to become a Justice of the Supreme Court might violate separation of powers. (Except that this country has had at least one Chief Justice who was President before he got on the Court: William Howard Taft.)

But let's not kid ourselves, nor permit Harriet Miers to kid us: she withdrew because conservatives wouldn't stand for her being on the Court. As a conservative myself, I say the above without shame. I say that she was singularly unqualified to serve on that Court because:

  1. She was not ready. She had never even been a judge, nor argued any cases before the Court. The contrast between her and John Roberts could not have been more striking.
  2. Her judicial philosophy remained unknown to the very end. Moreover, I found it disturbingly malleable during her career. Yes, a person has the right to change her mind. But if you change your mind, you should declare forthrightly that you are changing your mind, and why.
Add to it that her involvement with the Texas Lottery Commission was raising far more questions than she seemed willing to answer.

Now, perhaps, the President can send to the Senate the sort of candidate he ought to have sent in the first place: Edith Jones, Janice Rogers Brown, Matthew Luttig, or any of a number of similar appellate Justices from several powerhouse Federal Circuits.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Grand Jury Adjourns in CIA Leak Case

From the Associated Press, through As I write this, the radio announcers are scrambling to suggest that maybe Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will seek an extension of the grand jury's term. Huh? This was supposed to be The Day when Fitzgerald would indict Karl Rove, "Scooter" Libby, and God knows whom else. Instead the grand jury adjourned for the day after a scant three hours.

The note from the AP is unusually terse for them, and to me that speaks volumes. It also makes me glad that I withheld comment on all the breathless stories that broke on a number of Web sites when I got up this morning.

The Great Stem Sell and Other Mistakes - Christianity Today Magazine

The big mistake that the mainstream media have made, according to CT, is thinking that they have successfully sold the country on the notion of embryonic stem cell (ESC) research. They have done no such thing. The new VCU Life Sciences Survey run by Virginia Commonwealth University's Center for Public Policy presents evidence that is, at best, ambivalent. They show a few more people than before believing in ESC's, but even so, only 14 percent of respondents believe that ESC's show the greatest promise. 37 percent see greater promise in umbilical cord blood stem cells or stem cells from other, similar sources. (Surprisingly, only 7 percent recognize the promise--and the fulfillments--of adult stem cells.)

What ought to make more scientists take notice is some clear evidence that the American public are not willing to trust them implicitly, if they ever were. More than half of all respondents believe that scientists pay too little attention to moral and ethical issues.

In the Golden Age of the Movies, and especially in the 1930's and 1940's, the studios cranked out many, many films showing scientists going too far, with results that would make any honest man (or especially an honest woman) shudder. These movies, in turn, had their basis in some true Victorian-era classics. Two of my favorites in this regard are Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, and The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. The former dealt with an ill-advised scheme to "bestow animation on lifeless matter," which resulted in the creation of a murdering thug who ended up attempting suicide by fleeing to the Arctic. The latter dealt with an equally ill-advised (and totally unfounded) attempt by another foolish scientist to release his "inner demon" by pharmaco-chemical means.

Neither did they change their minds about their murders, their drug abuses, their mutual prostitutions, or their thefts.

Revelation 9:21, paraphrased from the Greek

No, the American people don't imagine that someone is creating a monster, or negligently making himself non compos mentis in order to get away with rape and murder and blame it on his alter ego. But people are clearly regarding the profession of science with a jaundiced eye. The insistence on ESC's, in the face of the widespread popularity of obstetrical ultrasonography that lets pregnant women see the life growing within themselves, is directly responsible for this change.

And for those of you who insist that science is all about finding the truth, and that no one can disagree with that--well, I offer you Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel and their goofy "directed panspermia" theory that we all descend from a missile laden with bacteria and blue-green algae. Tell me another one, white coats.

OpinionJournal - The Real Lottery Scandal

Holman W. Jenkins lays it on the line. The real scandal involving Harriet Miers' work as a Texas Lottery Commissioner isn't any sweetheart deal to which she was a party. The real scandal is the lottery itself, and the very concept of using a government lottery to pay the government's bills.

Any serious student of the Bible could have told him that. In plain, non-Latinized (or Hellenized) English, a Christian's advice is simple: Don't bet on it. Gambling, by its very nature, substitutes blind chance for Divine planning--or, as in this case, for the making of hard calls about what a government ought, and ought not, fund.

Jenkins lays the blame on transfers of wealth--by federal taxation and largesse--from one region of the country to another. But that's only part of it. The other part concerns government trying to do things that are beyond its sphere and belong properly to the individual citizen, householder, parent, and so on. Such programs undermine the very fabric of our republic and turn us into a nation of thieves--an outcome against which Alexis de Tocqueville warned us.

So to all you who live in states that don't have government lotteries, and are thinking of using them as some kind of cure-all: Don't bet on it. Chances are, it won't work anyway--and even to the extent that it did, it could never solve the basic problem.

OpinionJournal - 'Witness' by Shelby Steele

Shelby Steele is always good for an insightful, responsible observation on the state of race relations in the USA. Today, on the occasion of the passing of Rosa Parks, he bears "witness" to what he considers the worst failing of blacks everywhere: the failure to lift themselves out of poverty when they got the opportunity. As evidence he offers the spectacles of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It's not just the colossal failures of leadership, like row upon row of school buses not moved out until they were flooded out. It's the looks on people's faces--a look of despair, surrender--and wanting somebody else to help them.

He writes:

[I]n the immediate aftermath of Katrina,... so many black people were plunged into misery that it seemed the hurricane itself had held a racial animus. I felt a consuming empathy but also another, more atavistic impulse. I did not like my people being seen this way. Beyond the human mess one expects to see after a storm like this, another kind of human wretchedness was on display. In the people traversing waist-deep water and languishing on rooftops were the markers of a deep and static poverty. The despair over the storm that was so evident in people's faces seemed to come out of an older despair, one that had always been there. Here--40 years after the great civil rights victories and 50 years after Rosa Parks's great refusal--was a poverty that oppression could no longer entirely explain. Here was poverty with an element of surrender in it that seemed to confirm the worst charges against blacks: that we are inferior, that nothing really helps us, that the modern world is beyond our reach.
Needless to say, Shelby, I don't accept that, and I never have. I see a bunch of overgrown, wayward, untrained, undisciplined youth who never learned to act like adults. But I do not see inherent inferiority. If I did...well, you wouldn't want to know.

Fortunately, Steele identifies the great error of public policy that made the New Orleans spectacle all too likely: that whites, beginning with President Lyndon Baines Johnson, agreed to try to lift blacks out of poverty and did not require blacks to do any of the lifting themselves. Today, as Steele readily acknowledges, racism is no longer the fact of life it once was. (Witness President Bush's unprecedented level of appointments of blacks and other minorities to ranking, even sensitive, positions in his administration--where most of them have performed excellently.) He now gives his fellow blacks this message: if they don't want anyone to look down on them, then they need to stop looking down on themselves. Because no one can lift another man out of poverty--he must lift himself out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Telegraph | News | Reclaim Hallowe'en as Lite-Nite, says bishop

Specifically, the Right Reverend David Gillett, Bishop of Bolton (Church of England), has recommended that Christians make a point of observing Halloween in a different way. Unfortunately, his interview comes off as incoherent. In one paragraph the bishop insists that Halloween was not originally an occult holiday--and then at the end he says that Halloween has reverted to its pre-Christian origins. Well, which is it?

I can answer that. Halloween is the Festival of Samhain, Lord of Death. The Roman Catholic Church tried to subsume it, and the Church of England continued that experiment after Henry VIII broke it away from the RCC. The experiment has failed. The bishop knows this, but will need to articulate his message far better than he has done to have any hope of success today.

WorldNetDaily: Senators plan push to end income tax

Why am I even surprised? This bold proposal comes from Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), one of several Senators who extended the Republican majority in the Senate in the 2004 Federal election. Incumbent Senators don't usually propose something this bold--or this outrageous, as, sadly, I expect the Senate to find it.

The idea is simple enough: instead of taxing the earnings of individuals and businesses, tax their transactions. That way, people can save money and build equity without worrying about the taxman eating away at their gains.

Senator DeMint proposes an 8.5 percent federal sales and business-transfer tax, in order to keep his proposal "revenue neutral." Actually, his proposal will leave even more money in people's hands--money they otherwise have to send, not to the IRS, but to firms offering tax-preparation services, not to mention large accountants and software designers who shall remain nameless. Aside from the money, people will realize savings of time--and time is money in today's economy, even to an individual.

So I couldn't be happier with this proposal--even if all it does is spur the Senate to acting more boldly than the Mack-and-Breaux commission has recommended.

WorldNetDaily: Franken 'attacks' right-wing critic

Specifically, he made a skit, under the sponsorship of, in which he kicks a man in the groin, smashed a stool on his back, and then stood by while another person cracks a bottle over the man's head. And how had this man offended? By giving Al Franken's book one star instead of five in Amazon's rating system.

Excuse me, but I always thought that physical violence was out-of-bounds in public discourse. What kind of author uses physical violence to sell his work? What kind of store makes itself an accessory to such an appalling suggestion?

This isn't about Al Franken anymore. This isn't even about his failing radio network stealing vast sums of money from a charity.

This is about a movement effectively declaring itself bankrupt in the marketplace of ideas, and now using physical threats to make their point. Just reading the description of the skit is bad enough; actually playing it is another. (I warn you: the linked video contains images of three counts of assault and battery and two counts of assault with deadly weapons. Parental judgment and discretion are advised.)

I ask you: why hasn't someone arrested Al Franken for the making of terroristic threats and incitement to riot? What does this say of the type of person who would actually respond positively to "advertising campaigns" of this kind? To paraphrase Fox News, I just make the links available. You decide.

WorldNetDaily Poll: Life--or Something Like It

The poll question of the day on WorldNetDaily is deceptively simple: "What is the origin of human beings on earth?"

The options in the daily poll might be called, in this order:

  1. Creationism: God created human beings in their present form. Actually, the more accurate position would be: God created man to be perfect, but man fell and thus assumed his present form.
  2. Non-theistic Intelligent Design. This is for those who accept Intelligent Design but aren't willing to go so far as to call the Design-er by the Name of God. All that Intelligent Design says is that certain evidence--including the "irreducible complexity" of cells and the incredible intricacy of various life forms and their inter-relationships--bespeaks design, and not accident. Even a single cell is orders-of-magnitude more complex than a pocket watch--and yet no one would ever claim that a pocket watch assembled itself out of nothing, with a fully functioning movement. But Intelligent Design does not speculate on the nature or motives of the Designer. It's just that where you have design, you must have a Designer--which is why atheistic modernists are so afraid of it.
  3. Theistic evolution--that God guided a process that took millions of years to run. This is a most unsatisfactory compromise of Scripture with the oft-repeated aphorism that "the earth and the cosmos are billions of years old." Multiple sources clearly indicate that this is not and indeed cannot be the case. And if the earth is indeed young, then evolution is impossible--and thus no case remains for mixing biblical truth with "scientific" conjecture that turns out to be unfounded and unwarranted.
  4. Atheistic evolution. I'll say this for this position: at least its proponents are honest. They want nothing to do with God, and never did. A number of them have admitted why: because admitting the existence of God makes the liable for their sexual and other peccadillos. But the arguments against atheistic evolution are as telling as those against theistic evolution: that the earth just flatly isn't that old, and that "intermediate stages" would never have functioned, given irreducible complexity (see Intelligent Design above).
  5. Directed panspermia. The most celebrated proponents of this theory are Francis Crick of DNA fame, and his colleague, Leslie Orgel. Crick knew perfectly well that DNA was too complex to have "evolved." But the man who once snidely told Winston Churchill that a campus brothel would be less objectionable to him than a chapel was not likely to give God the glory. So instead he said that an advanced civilization, presumably in another galaxy, fired a brace of missiles every whilch way, each laden with bacteria and blue-green algae. One crashed on earth, and we are its descendants. (Perhaps another such missile crashed on Mars, with less promising results, if the Mars Society is right and life might exist on Mars.) Of course, neither Crick nor Orgel are willing to comment on the origins, nature, or motives of this alien launch authority. We could speculate endlessly, but probably to no very high purpose. The chief strike against directed panspermia is this: where did those aliens come from? Directed panspermia is an "infinitely regressive" concept, one that assumes that you have to go back further, and further, and further in time to explain the origins of any civilization, advanced or retarded, if you are not willing to allow for a Creator. In short, infinite regression is a fancy phrase for begging the question.
Enjoy the poll for what it is--but at least vote in it with your eyes wide open.

Friday, October 21, 2005

WorldNetDaily: Church's anti-Halloween flier upsets family

In fact, we hear that this family is so upset that they've filed a complaint with the Elletsville (IN) police department!

Now I don't know the law in Elletsville, so I don't know whether a church that puts up fliers on people's doors can get run in by the police. Nor have I read the flier, and I think WorldNetDaily put up an incomplete story when they failed to include that flier's image, or at least a link to it. So I don't know whether this family has as much reason to fear vandalism as they seem to be displaying--the story says that they installed an alarm system on their home after they got the flier.

Several points:

  1. Having an alarm system for the home is a wise decision, anyway.
  2. Frankly, if anyone is going to commit vandalism, it's more likely to be Halloween celebrants than Halloween protesters. That family should stay for a Halloween season in Shillington, Pennsylvania, where neighborhood kids throw corn on people's front doors--or at least they did forty years ago when I lived there. Nor is Shillington the only burg noted for the frequency, the lack of subtlety, and often the severity of Halloween pranks.
  3. Absolutely any message from the church, that pricks the conscience about dabblings in evil, is going to offend somebody. But last I checked, people did not have a Constitutional right not to be offended. As long as that flier did not threaten direct physical retaliation on behalf of the pastor or the board of deacons, I see no reason why such a flier ought to be unlawful or legally actionable.
  4. Nor would it hurt to think about Halloween and its origins. Halloween is a real, current high holy day for the practitioners of Wicca--which is a poor man's (or poor woman's) version of the direct worship of Satan. The original name is the Festival of Samhain--and Samhain is the Lord of Death in the Druidic faith from which modern Wicca borrows heavily. Bottom line: Samhain is Satan, and Halloween is about Satanism.
The Roman Catholic Church gave Halloween its current name by promulgating "All Saints' Day" for the very next day. The RCC is famous for co-opting pagan holidays. Consider Valentine's Day (Roman Lupercalia), Easter (Babylonian Ishtar), and Christmas (Roman Saturnalia; Druidic Yule). Halloween literally means "All Hallows' Eve."

But mere co-optation is a poor substitute--and falls wide of the mark, anyway. Worship of the saints is a holdover from the deification of Roman emperors.

Better to promulgate a truly new holiday, in celebration of the harvest. In that way, that old standby, the pumpkin, still has its place--but not with a face wearing a silly grin, that actually represents a captured and tormented soul.

People really need to think about what they're doing--especially when continuing to observe a "holiday" dedicated to scaring people half to death.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

WorldNetDaily: Sheehan thrashing 'war hawk' Hillary

Well, what's this? More dissension in the ranks? And I thought all those Democrats were fully united.

Well, they are united in their resentment of their being out of power. But they are clearly not united in their thoughts about how to get that power back.

Frankly, my own reaction to Hillary saying that the time is not right to withdraw our troops is one of monumental skepticism. Yes, she says the right thing. But I don't think she believes that for one picosecond. Rather, she knows that the American people know that now is not the time to withdraw. And she is smart enough to realize that to talk of withdrawal now is to antagonize an American voting public that is beginning to remember, once again, how the Democrats snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Vietnam in the Seventies.

But Cindy Sheehan, who doesn't have the sense God gave a nanny goat, doesn't realize that. She has never realized that. She probably told her son Casey that she would disown him as a son when he enlisted. Now that he's dead, she is pretending to grieve for him. Lies, lies, and more lies. And nothing hurts worse than to see someone pretend to grieve when she does not.

Rush Limbaugh has said--and I heard him say it on the radio today--that Cindy Sheehan is asking for trouble. And she will find it--from Hillary Clinton. Hillary never tolerates any questioning of her authority or her status. And she will definitely not tolerate Cindy Sheehan telling her that she sounds just like Rush Limbaugh!

The drama that will surely unfold will be very interesting to watch.

Monday, October 17, 2005

WorldNetDaily: Shots in the dark

At issue in Barbara Simpson's column today: pediatricians who will refuse to see entire families when parents refuse vaccinations for their children for common (and not-so-common) childhood diseases.

Vaccination policy has not changed since the first vaccines became available. The threats in those days were read: diphtheria, pertussis ("whooping cough"), tetanus, poliomyelitis, mumps, chicken pox, and the two varieties of measles. (The threat also included smallpox, but after the World Health Organization declared smallpox eradicated from the human population, routine vaccination stopped.) The last four diseases remain as real threats--things you don't want to fool around with. (Chicken pox might sound harmless, but whoever gets it as a child is then set up to get the painful disease called shingles at the age of 60 and older.) Tetanus still presents a problem if you step on the proverbial rusty nail. But the other diseases I mentioned have all but disappeared. And in their place has come some unresolved questions about the safety of the vaccines themselves.

So suddenly the decision to vaccinate or not is no longer the no-brainer that it once was. Especially when children are now asked to be vaccinated against Hepatitis B and other diseases that are not environmental threats but spread by bad, usually adult, behavior.

So how can a doctor refuse to see a family if they try to be selective about vaccines? Part of the reason might be their fear of medical malpractice actions. Certain anti-vaccine activists, who insist that vaccination ought to be abandoned completely, would probably say, "If you don't want to be sued, then don't recommend the vaccine to anyone!" But most people still want the vaccines, because if some patients now question their safety, most don't, and they still fear the disease more than the vaccine. So why doesn't any doctor, faced with a parent who refuses vaccination, have the parents sign a waiver? More to the point, why doesn't the law make such waivers inarguable?

The issue, then, is whether a doctor can disclaim responsibility if something goes wrong with some medical strategy that the patient insisted upon, against medical advice, and whether such disclaimers will hold up. Too often, silver-tongued lawyers argue, "Well, the doctor should have known better than even to allow such a waiver." Trouble is, those same lawyers are likely to be the first to scream for the scalps of doctors who are now refusing to treat people who put patient and doctor both at some risk.

Bottom line: to solve the problem, re-establish the concept of individual responsibility.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

WorldNetDaily: NYC 'threat' was a hoax?

Apparently the original informant was pulling our chain all along--or so the FBI now says.

Yet if this was a hoax, it brought some curious results--specifically, the capture of a number of terrorist "enemy combatants."

To those who suggest that the City of New York overreacted to the threat, I say: You just had a decent drill, and maybe you've learned something. Why not take it in that spirit?

Oh, but you want peace again. Well, let me repeat Robert A. Heinlein's definition of the word peace:

"Peace" is a condition in which no civilian every pays attention to military casualties that do not achieve page-one, lead-story prominence, unless said civilian is a relative of one of the casualties. But if there has ever been a time in history when "peace" meant that there was no fighting going on, I have not been able to find it.
That last is from Heinlein's early novel, Starship Troopers, and is the POV of a soldier.

In fact, we now know that for only two hundred eighteen years of recorded human history has "peace" in the sense of no fighting going on ever obtained--and those 218 years were never consecutive. We're not going to have a continuous period of peace until Jesus sets up His Millennial Kingdom--and that will come only after we really fight a "war to end all wars."

So we're not going to have "peace." Get over it. And quit talking about over-reaction. You cannot over-react to a thing like this. Frankly, we'll have to re-think all of our commuting and travel plans, and maybe major retailers will have to offer delivery to compete with the on-line retailers, so that people won't have to carry packages in the subway. Why, just two days ago, I returned home, not on the subway, but on New Jersey Transit's Morris and Essex Line--and a fellow passenger asked me to watch his bags while he went back into the station to buy a bottle of water. Not that he was afraid of a fellow passenger stealing his stuff--but because "I don't want anybody freaking out because of unattended bags." In short, he wanted me to vouch for his bags to the conductor if need be--something I was glad to do.

Maybe part of the problem is that our society--and society means "fellowship" after all--has lost some of the "fellow-feeling" that makes a society run well. We'll have to rediscover that, and watch out for one another in subtle ways.

Now if we can learn that sort of valuable lesson from the NYC subway experience, then we need not really care whether this incident was a hoax, or a deliberate drill.

Monday, October 10, 2005

OpinionJournal - Born in the USSR

Julia Gorin performs a rare public service: telling ignorant anti-war peaceniks what life was really like for the rest of the people in the Soviet Union--which is to say, other than Party apparatchiks and their friends, relatives, and associates--also known as the nomenklatura, or the Big Names with Pull. The story of her own birth (which she barely survived) and of the way things are done today in North Korea (infants stuffed into a box and buried alive because North Korea can't feed its own people) ought to give anyone pause who really thinks that the American military is all that is wrong with the world today.

WorldNetDaily: Media 'malpractice' exposed in Schiavo coverage

The exposure comes in a soon-to-release book, Terri's Story, that finally lays out the full particulars of the story of Terri Schindler Schiavo.

And the facts are not friendly, either to Michael Schiavo, or that ghoulish lawyer of his, or the equally ghoulish judge--or to the media.

Everybody has an agenda, sportsfans. Bill O'Reilly could tell you that. And here are/were the agendae of the four players above:

  • Michael Schiavo wanted to be with his Sweet Patootie, Jodi "One-eleven" Centonze, on whom he sired two children while his lawful wife was languishing in hospice.
  • George Felos, Counsellor-at-law, wanted publicity and, from that, more clients like Michael who wanted to do away with inconvenient wives and other relatives.
  • The (Dis)Honorable George Greer wanted to advance the cause of death, and he wanted--and has gotten--recognition for his efforts from advocates of the culture of death.
  • The media want to advance everything inimical to the good, because that's what most of their personnel believe in.
With the result that this nation got a distorted picture of the story, with the further result that a cheating husband and a ghoulish lawyer, judge, and media all got away with murder in the first degree and conspiracy to commit murder.

Among other interesting facts: did any of you know that, a scant three years after Terri's collapse, Michael had her wedding and engagement rings melted down to make another ring for himself? What kind of behavior is that for a loving husband? Tell me again, then, that I'm crazy, as someone did when I laid it on the line about Michael Schiavo and his Sweet Patootie. Not that I expect anyone to apologize to me--for I have learned to expect no better from the proponents of liberal agendae that just happen to agree with highly dishonorable personal agendae.

The only advice I can give to anyone reading this is:

  • To Jodi Centonze, I repeat: Think about what sort of partnership-in-crime you have made. You may be next. Because a husband who cold-bloodedly hounds his wife to death as Michael Schiavo did is not likely to form any permanent, lasting attachment to anyone. From such devaluing of human life, there's usually no turning back.
  • And for everyone else: As the Bible says, if you're saved, don't marry someone who's unsaved. And if this is the kind of world we live in, we must separate from it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

MEMRI: Retired Egyptian General Charges that 9/11 was an Inside Job

Worse yet, he quote Vice-President Cheney as having told this to President Bush.

In typical Arab fashion, retired General Muhammad Khalaf of the Egyptian Army says that every President, beginning with Bush Senior, has desired to cement America's place, not just as the dominant superpower of the world, but the only superpower. To that end, he says that the United States Air Force destroyed the Twin Towers and slammed a plane into the Pentagon.

Leave aside, for the moment, the testimony of Lisa Beamer, whose husband, Todd, definitely identified Arabs as having hijacked his plane before he led an ultimately futile effort to regain possession of the cockpit. An Arab would think of a plot like this. An Arab would carry out a plot like this. But an Arab will never understand that the openness of our government makes such a plot impossible.

Then again, neither will overly imaginative filmmakers, from John Frankenheimer (Seven Days in May) to Oliver Stone (JFK) to Michael Moore (Fahrenheit 9/11).