Thursday, August 25, 2005

The rural scourge

Minor Clergy posts a heart-rending account of the effect of meth in his neck of the woods. Particularly anguishing is his observation that the meth addicts seem to be mostly women.

If you know why, he's collecting suppositions in his comments.

Mario Cuomo needs a civics lesson

Like a lot of people, Mario Cuomo seems not to understand the difference between the legislative and the judiciary branches of the government.

In a column for the LA Times about the prospective religious test for Judge Roberts, he writes:
For more than 20 years, some conservative clerics and politicians have bitterly criticized Catholic public officials for refusing to use their office to "correct" the law of the land. They demand that Catholic officials make political decisions reflecting their religious belief that abortion is tantamount to murder and work to overturn Roe vs. Wade and other laws that make abortion legal.
"Public officials" is a broad word -- it includes the president, state legislators, U.S. Senators, municipal judges and state superintendent of highways.

A quick review for Cuomo: the legislative branch makes the laws; the executive branch enforces the laws; and the judicial branch interprets the laws. It causes no end of confusion when "public officials" forget what they are supposed to be doing. It also makes a world of difference to the relationship between religion and which branch the public official works under.

For example, when, as Cuomo asserts, "most of the targeted officials have been Democrats such as Ted Kennedy, Gerry Ferraro and John Kerry," he is talking about two senators and a congresswoman. It's the job of the legislative branch to make and repeal laws and even to change the Constitution if they want to and can, and their constituents may rightly complain if legislators campaign on religious affiliations and then betray those affiliations in their legislating.

But Cuomo goes on:
But now that Judge John G. Roberts Jr. -- their candidate -- has been nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court, the shoe is on the other political foot. Conservatives are outraged that another Catholic public official might be considered deserving of the same criticism. They demand that Roberts not be asked about personal beliefs, including religious ones, because it would amount to a "religious test" prohibited by the Constitution.
Cuomo's use of the word "candidate" is misleading, though not incorrect, because, according to the spirit of the Constitution, people don't "run" for the Supreme Court. It's not a "political" office, although the judicial branch has taken to writing law over the past few decades. But according to the Constitution, what the judge does is to interpret the law, not to create laws or even to find them lurking in the emanations of the penumbra of the Constitution.

I think I'm fairly safe in saying that there's nothing in the text of the Constitution itself, as amended, that goes against the teachings of the Catholic Church. What the pro-abortion crowd, such as Cuomo, Kennedy, Kerry and Ferraro -- and that's what this is all about -- are concerned with is not whether a given Catholic justice will uphold the Constitution, but whether the justice will uphold prior Courts' legislative forays, such as Roe v. Wade.

Since the Catholic Church has recently become more uncomfortable with the death penalty, it might be a crisis of conscience for a Catholic Justice to rule that there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution banning the death penalty, but even there, it is simply a question of fact: the U.S. Constitution does not ban the death penalty. What a state does with that piece of information is not the responsibility of the Justices.

It's only when judges usurp the work of the other branches that religion becomes relevant. Judicial philosophy, respect for the words and ideas of the people who wrote the founding documents and for the people who are named in the preamble as the ultimate earthly authority, and judicial temperament (which I think is the ability to detach from the emotional and power-driven aspects of the case and look at the issues in light of the Constitution) are relevant. All the Democratic Senators want to know is how Roberts is going to legislate -- that is, whether he will build on the past legislation of Roe..

If Roberts is the Justice I hope he is, it's a meaningless question. But I also hope he has enough respect for the Constitution that he will be part of a future majority recognizing that Roe is a destructive aberration.

Then let the legislators, Catholic and otherwise, deal with the abortion question and face the wrath of the people -- their employers -- if they get it wrong.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Japanese "Schindler"

Fr. John Whiteford has a moving account of a Japanese ambassador who saved Jews from the Nazis in the 1940s.

We've got to get Roberts on the Court

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post has found John Roberts' celebrity memos in the Reagan Library.

Roberts was refreshingly unimpressed by John Wayne, Bing Crosby, James Bond, and all their charity efforts. (Milbank thinks "James Bond" was a misstatement; I suspect it was a joke.)

And then there are these prescient words about Michael Jackson:
"If one wants the youth of America and the world sashaying around in garish sequined costumes, hair dripping with pomade, body shot full of female hormones to prevent voice change, mono-gloved, well, then, I suppose 'Michael,' as he is affectionately known in the trade, is in fact a good example. Quite apart from the problem of appearing to endorse Jackson's androgynous life style, a Presidential award would be perceived as a shallow effort by the President to share in the constant publicity surrounding Jackson. . . . The whole episode would, in my view, be demeaning to the President."
I bet it's no accident that his kids never went to Neverland.

I can't wait to read his Supreme Court opinions.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The NYT excuse: choosing incompetence over bias

On Aug. 7, I wrote an exceedingly polite e-mail to the editors of the New York Times, the Associated Press and Editor & Publisher, asking them to explain the news judgment that went into ignoring the Air America story. I called them "esteemed editors" and I didn't call them names or speculate about their motivation, but I did, literally, question their news judgment.

At that time, the scandal was more than two weeks old.

Ten days later, an answer, of sorts, comes from the NYT's "public editor."

Byron Calame admits that the NYT screwed up. He characterizes the lack of coverage as "slowness," not sitting on the story in hopes that it will go away.

He appropriately points out that the Times was all over the starry-eyed beginnings of the Air America boondoggle.

The problem, Calames says, is that the story naturally fell to three different desks in the newsroom: metropolitan, business and culture. It sounded as if he were describing three Little Leaguers in the outfield bumping into each other and dropping the ball.

But that would be more like the way I played softball when I was in elementary school: sitting in the grass looking for four-leaf clovers when the ball came bouncing my way and while the runners rounded the bases. Overeager Little Leaguers would be fighting to cover the scandal from all three desks.

With its vast staff and resources, the NYT was scooped by the bloggers and the New York Post, and the institution apparently doesn't even have the initiative to be embarrassed.

Calames insists that left-wing bias has nothing to do with it. I would think an admission left-wing bias would be less humiliating than the kind of sedentary bureaucracy that can't rise to report on a criminal investigation of an alleged fraud of a charitable organization.

How long will anybody care what the Times has to say?

Sen. Frist, call your office

A new discovery in stem cell research may provide the capabilities of embryonic cells without the dead embryos.
"CBEs are a viable human alternative from embryonic stem cells for stem cell research, without ethical constraint and with potential for clinical applications," study leader Dr Colin McGuckin said in the medical journal Cell Proliferation.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A Chesterton warning about the unappreciated street

Here's a Podcasts site of classic stories well read.

This one is a G.K. Chesterton tale about what happens when people both overwork and ignore inanimate objects.

The Religious Policeman is back

And he has an "interview" with the Saudi Minister for Tourism.

(Apparently, Alhamedi is living in the United Kingdom for now -- one Moslem who has no sympathy for the jihadist suicide cult.)

UPDATE: I should have mentioned that it's a very funny interview with the Saudi Minister for Tourism and that I'm really glad the Religious Policemen is back in the blogosphere. It's why I kept his blog on my blogroll all this time.

A speculation on Transfiguration

I want to tell you about another speculation I had, about Transfiguration. The problem is, it starts with a metaphor and ends with "What if" and meanders through time, literature, heaven and earth and the Communion of the Saints to arrive at the meeting of Christ, Moses and Elijah on Mount Tabor. I don't know if I can do it all in one day, and I think it may be long. But here goes.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man reading a book.

Time in the book marches according to its own inexorable rhythm, and the reader may experience it sequentially, page by page, in his imagination coming to the events one by one as the characters do. But when he closes the book, all of the book time is contained between the two covers. The reader exists on the same plane as the Author of the book, but the reader is not the author, and the author knows the book and the characters and the backstory and the motivations in ways that the reader can only begin to appreciate.

Within the book, the characters experience their own day-to-day reality. In post-modern novels, characters may speculate about the author, and even about readers, but even in those explorations of the boundary between the book world and the reader's world, the protagonist can never turn and look the reader in the eye.

That's the book as we know it, in our feeble and childish attempts to imitate the work of our own Author.

The cosmos is an unimaginably enormous book, and time exists within the book, from the big bang to black holes. (I almost said the "universe is an unimaginably enormous book," but I changed it to "the cosmos," because I think the universe is the raw material, and the cosmos is the story, but that's a diversion.)

Our reality, as characters, is as limited and insubstantial as is the reality of David Copperfield compared to the living, breathing, suffering, learning human being reading about him. The difference is that, unlike Dickens, our Author was able to give us free will and complexity far beyond what writers can give their characters (although novelists will insist that their characters frequently surprise them), and our Author was able to make the boundary between the reader and the book crossable.

The Christian Bible is the story of those boundary crossings. Enoch, Moses and Elijah are among those of the Old Testament who disappeared from the earth after a lifetime of "walking with God." They left the book.

Other prophets received communication from God, messages from the Author to His characters, telling them what was required to survive the book. What it takes, basically, is that we act in the knowledge that the book is not all there is. "Character is what you do when nobody's looking," goes the old saw; but the reader knows the protagonist's agonizing decision, and it matters whether the protagonist chooses right or wrong. Someone is always watching.

And then ("then" in book time), the Author did an extraordinary thing. He became subject to the rules of his own book. Not as king and commander -- "Hmm, I think I'll write in a couple of legions of angels to get me out of this mess" -- but subject to the conditions his characters face. In the Garden of Gesthemene, we see a divine crisis and what a lovely irony, what a dazzling nested narrative that 2,000 years later (in book time) we "watch" Christ's agony in the garden, preserved in a book. Another rabbit trail. I'll go on.

The Communion of the Saints, the "great cloud of witnesses," is made up of those who have survived the book -- past, present and future in book time. I don't know how or even if time operates outside the book, but I'm quite sure that it's not the same. They pray for us, within the book, because they experience our agonizing crises with us. We pray for them -- that is for those within the book -- because even though we are within the book, we understand that there is a reality outside the book, and so we can agonize in the crisis of our grandparents 80 years ago. And of course, the Author generates the book, and the characters experience it, but don't know how many drafts it has gone through -- or is going through now -- to arrive at the proper form.

OK, I think I've arrived at the Feast of Transfiguration. The story is that Jesus took his disciples Peter, James and John up Mount Tabor, where they saw him clothed in light, and they saw Elijah and Moses talking with him. Luke says they were talking about his death, "which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem."

Now at the vespers for the Feast of Transfiguration, there are three appointed Old Testament readings: Exodus 24:12-18; Exodus 33:11-23, 34:4-6, 8; and 1 Kings 19:3-9, 11-13, 15-16. They are accounts of Moses' and Elijah's face-to-face encounters with God. In the first reading, God calls Moses to Mount Sinai to receive the Tablets of the Law. There's a huge brightness on the mountain, like a devouring fire, and Moses is in the midst of it. In the second reading, Moses asks to see God's face, and God hides him in the cleft of a rock and shows him his back, because no one can see God's face and live. In the third reading, Elijah goes to Mount Horeb, and there's a wind and an earthquake and a fire and a still small voice, and the Lord was in the still, small voice.

At last I'm arriving at my speculation: What if the disciples were witnessing the conversations between God and Moses and between God and Elijah that were recorded in the Old Testament. What if, in both of those events, the prophets went outside time, outside the book and met Christ, who had also crossed the boundary of the book.

The Lord was about to lead the Israelites into their new land, and Moses wonders if they should go on. It was a time of crisis. God responds by saying "I will make all My goodness pass before thee."

Elijah has just destroyed the prophets of Baal, and Jezebel has him in the crosshairs. He wonders if he should go on. We're not told what the still, small voice said, but it was enough to strengthen Elijah.

Luke says they talked about Christ's death that "he was to accomplish," which means they talked about it not as a defeat but as a victory. What better way to encourage the faint-hearted prophets than to show them how their struggle fits into the grand scale of things?

It could have happened that way. It's certainly recorded that God breached the barrier between the cosmos and the greater world beyond the book. So what if the accounts could be three views of the same encounter?

What if?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Some reading for pleasure instead of polemics

My favorite naturalist Chuck Bolsinger writes about scorpions in Oregon and elsewhere in the East County Gazette.

Babas have taken over the Onion Dome and even managed to update it.

Eric Scheske has a great meditation on noise titled The Eighth Capital Sin.

Kosovo hearings on Capitol Hill

Maybe somebody's starting to pay attention to the jihadists who have taken over Kosovo, under the watchful and largely benevolent eye of the UN "peace"-keepers. (That's their own private peace they're keeping, not anybody else's.)

About films of church destruction shot during last March's attacks on Kosovo's Christian heritage, French and German troops said their mandate was to protect lives, not property. Protecting lives means walking nuns to out of their convent to get water, so they won't be shot.

The implications for French and German soon-to-be minorities in France and Germany have not yet begun to sink in.
Defense analyst Frederick Peterson said the media around the globe are ignoring the issue of Saudi Arabian and other sources flooding the economically depressed region with money to pay for new mosques as the churches are being destroyed.

In the war against an expanding radical Islam, Peterson said, "We have three choices: convert, submit or die. But there's a fourth choice and that's to fight.

"What is going on in Kosovo today is the future of Europe tomorrow," he added.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Big kudos to Washington Post

For its editorial condemning the NARAL ad smearing (their word) Judge Roberts.

Way to raise the quality of the debate, folks.

UPDATE: The New York Times puts the editorial into perspective:
The advertisement had prompted intense criticism from Republicans, a handful of Democrats, an independent watchdog group called, and even some supporters of abortion rights, who said they felt it was hurting their cause. Mr. Specter made that argument in his letter to Ms. Keenan.

The senator wrote, "When Naral puts on such an advertisement, in my opinion it undercuts its credibility and injures the pro-choice cause."

Some prominent Democrats said they agreed with Mr. Specter. Lanny Davis, a top official in the Clinton administration, said in an interview Thursday that he had been making phone calls to liberal advocacy groups urging them to denounce the advertisement, which he called "inaccurate, filled with innuendo and shameless."

NARAL's ad was so extreme, and the alternative media were so on top of it, that it was undermining the credibility of the pro-abortion cause.

I still say good on the Washington Post, but I'm waiting see whether principle indeed rules over partisanship in the mainstream media.

Islamist fund-raising video

Everybody who goes to church has had a chance to hear from the missionaries. They come back from -- or they're getting ready to go to -- some faraway place, and they've got photos of water projects, other missionaries, the people in church, kids smiling. They tell you about what they plan to do -- fight alcoholism, build water projects, build a clinic, start a school, house orphans, tell people about Jesus and so forth. That's what we've been doing, they say, and with your assistance, we can keep doing it.

Then they pass the hat.

Now imagine that you belong to an terrorist group in Germany, Austria, Norway, Sweden and North America. The "missionaries" show up with their video from Bosnia, 1995. Get out the popcorn, break out your wallets, and tell the kids to gather round. We're going to see a Serb war prisoner killed, piles of bodies lying beside the road, a tractor dragging the body of a civilian through a village, and this clip of Bosnian soldiers mugging for the camera as they rip down icons and shoot at the cross in an empty church. (The news site decided that the rest of the video was too graphic to put on the web.)

That's what we've done in the past, they say, and with your help, we'll do more of it.

And then they invite the viewers to join the cult.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I'm down with this one, too

Quite the week for me, what with joining one thing and another.

Today, it's Conservative Bloggers Who Support The Gay Judge Roberts.

Here's their statement of purpose:
Now we want to be perfectly clear: we aren't saying that Judge Roberts is gay. But if he is, we still support him. We hope you will too.
As I understand it, he was part of a case arguing that the State of Colorado had the right to modify its laws to ensure that gays have equal rights. I wouldn't vote for such a law, because I'm not persuaded that gays are lacking any guaranteed rights.

On the other hand, it seems a good Constitutional reading that Colorado can make such a law without the U.S. government stepping in and saying, "No, no, no."

Besides, it's such a chic hat.

H/T: Best of the Web Today.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

An odd notion about the Liturgy

I've been assigned to read The Da Vinci Code for an upcoming writers' workshop. Fortunately, I've already read it and don't intend to inflict it on myself again.

But curious conjunctions bring out even curiouser connections.

The Code was in many ways exceedingly awful, but it managed to hold the attention and interest of many, many readers long enough to get them to recommend it to their friends. No book sells that many copies -- whatever the timeliness of the topic, the efficacy of the marketing, or the questionable taste of the readership -- without doing something right.

On further reflection, though, I noticed a characteristic it shares with a lot of paranoid conspiracy literature -- and others as well: a long explanation of What's Really Going On somewhere in the second act.

There was another Da Vinci Code knockoff whose name I can't remember, but the secret society was some other variety of gnostic, and it had a big sermon in the middle to explain to the reader What It's All About. My friend who has read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged tells me that the hero gives a 60-page radio address in the middle of that book. In Foucault's Pendulum, my own favorite paranoid conspiracy book, there is massive explanation in the middle, though it's handled with a defter hand than some. And in a YA podcast I listened to recently, titled The Pocket and the Pendant, there is also a chapter of explanation before the climax.

These chunks of telling narrative are not info-dumps, per se, because although they're exposition, they're not introducing the story -- they're a means of pushing forward the "philosophical" aspect of the story. In every one of these books (well, I haven't read Atlas Shrugged, so I won't make a pronouncement on that one), you can skim or skip the sermon and not miss out on the plot -- theme maybe, "message" certainly. I wonder how many of the millions who read Da Vinci skipped the message.

What's so odd about all that?

Glad you asked.

This plot structure parallels the Divine Liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church (I've got to justify my "speculation" blog title occasionally).

The Liturgy already follows the general pattern of the Hero's Journey: At the beginning the priest announced the destination -- "Blessed is the Kingdom . . ." -- the Call to Adventure.

The three antiphons are processional -- the acceptance of the call and road of trials.

Troparia and kontakia and readings -- meeting of various mentors.


Anaphora -- belly of the whale.

Communion -- return with the boon.

Dismissal -- return to ordinary world with protagonist renewed and transformed.

In the Orthodox Church, it's possible to move or even dispense with the sermon. Some priests put it at the end -- in the narrative structure, it would be the equivalent of having a character explain the point at the end of the story. Or, like the fiction examples I named above, the sermon often goes into the second act, to give a sense of where the "story" is going in the middle of it.

I believe that the story described by the Hero's Journey and the other nomenclature (inciting incident, conflict, crisis, climax, resolution) is ingrained at the very core of our being, that it is our story -- personally, corporately, and throughout history. The Bible contains a cycle of Hero's Journeys -- pre-eminently the life and death of Christ -- in the form of an overarching Hero's Journey. Other mythologies as well. So it's no surprise that the Liturgy and best-sellers share this structure.

What's ironic is finding the element of the sermon in the best-sellers, especially those best-sellers, several of them being actively opposed to religion, others actively opposed to any religion that might express itself in a sermon.

But just as there's no way to escape having fundamental beliefs about how the universe is organized, there is also no way to escape an urge to explain how that organization ought to affect the here and now.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I signed it

I don't usually sign Internet petitions. I don't believe they can make a difference.

On the other hand, I don't seriously believe this one will make a difference anyway, but I signed it anyway.

The Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople was built in 532-37 by the Emperor Justinian. Its massive dome of 33 meters diamater seems to float 62 meters above the floor. In a feat of 6th-century engineering, the architects hung the weight of the dome on four pillars each 100 meters square at the base, and the church is constructed to give the illusion that the dome hangs from above, rather than being rooted below.

At the height of its use as the preeminent church of Byzantine Christianity -- indeed, at the time, of the entire world -- 600 people served liturgical functions: 80 priests, 150 deacons, 40 deaconesses, 60 subdeacons, 160 readers, 25 chanters and 75 doorkeepers.

Its beauty is what so impressed the emissaries of Prince Vladimir of Kiev that he chose Eastern Christianity for his kingdom, engendering 1,000 years of Russian Christianity and the spiritual and cultural legacy that has entailed.

After the Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks in 1453, the Church of the Holy Wisdom became a mosque. The iconoclastic Muslims either smashed or plastered over the stunning mosaics, put up the four minarets around the outside, replaced the cross with the crescent and pulled out the altar for the furnishings of Islamic worship.

In 1935, the Great Cathedral became a museum.

But now Turkey wants to become a member of the European Union. Europeans, by and large, don't seem to care much about Christianity any more, not even enough to show up for church on Sunday, but some of them seem uncomfortable with Turkey joining their little European club. There's the whole Armenian genocide thing, and the closing of the Halki Greek Orthodox Seminary in Constantinople (OK, Istanbul), and the strictures that remain in place on the Patriarch of Constantinople, and a troubling strain of Islamic fanaticism even though the government is officially secular, and then there's the Church of Hagia Sophia. I wonder how much of the Europeans' squeamishness is really about race and geography, but it's a long way off, and I don't have any basis to understand why anybody would want to join the European Union, much less why anybody would care who else joins or doesn't.

My ignorance about Europe aside, there's a petition to Turkey to allow Hagia Sophia to be used as a church again. I recommend taking a look at the Dhimmi Watch post, because the commenters point out some of the complications of the issue.

I also recommend a tour of the petition site, whether you decide to sign or not, because the photographs give a glimpse of what an awesome (literally) building it still is.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

It's not a clash of civilizations

It's a clash between civilization and nihilists.

A recent illustration comes from Mecca, where Wahabbists are destroying their own cultural and architectural heritage.
Almost all of the rich and multi-layered history of the holy city is gone. The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates that 95 per cent of millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades.

Now the actual birthplace of the Prophet Mohamed is facing the bulldozers, with the connivance of Saudi religious authorities whose hardline interpretation of Islam is compelling them to wipe out their own heritage.

The destruction of the massive statues of the Buddha in Afghanistan was not an anomaly. What these people want is to destroy every vestige of history and culture, even their own, in the name of stamping out idolatry -- present or potential.

The rift is widening between people who happen to be Muslim and want to participate in the world's civilization and those who are members of today's suicide cult and want to destroy every good and pleasant thing.

No wonder Muslim nihilists find natural allies among Western anarchists, and no wonerthat the spoiled, alienated and disaffected youth of these seemingly opposite groups find themselves on the same side.

If it's important to New Yorkers --

you'll find it in the Oregonian.

The Air America scandal has been burbling along for a couple of weeks now, with daily revelations of escaped inside traders, rising sums of money taken from poor kids and old people, and last week the beginning of a state criminal investigation.

You'd think it would be red meat for the New York Times, but no. While the New York Post scoops its behemoth competitor, the Times spends its resources investigating the adoption records of the most recent Supreme Court nominee.

The first line of this post came from a bumper sticker that appeared in Oregon soon after the Packwood scandal broke in the Washington Post.

As the New York Times slowly devolves into irrelevance, it's good to know that there are newspapers, as well as bloggers, out there to take its place.

Oh, and Oregonians won't get the Air American scandal on the news pages either but from its designated "right-wing" columnist -- as is the case around the country. The Associated Press hasn't considered it worthy of coverage either.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Open letter to Mansour El-Kikhia

Mansour El-Kikhia, who seems to be the designated Muslim at the San Antonio Express-News. He says he got a lot of hateful e-mails after his former column (I wish people would stop that).

I sent the following e-mail to him. Since he probably won't read it, I'm posting it here, because I hate to put all that work into it for no reason.

Mr. Mansour El-Kikhia --

You say,
In all my years, I have rarely seen Islamic publications condemning or belittling Jesus Christ, his mother or his apostles. Nor have I seen any belittling Judaism, Moses or David. Indeed, to go further, I have never seen a mainstream publication in Arab or Muslim states condemning Christianity or Judaism. Even the majority of fundamentalist publications do not touch either negatively. However, a few do, but these remain on the fringes and many can only publish their diatribe outside the Arab world.

Since your life seems to have been fairly short and sheltered, and since your experience seems rather limited, allow me to send a few links to information you may have missed:
I'll stop now. With Google and an atlas, you can find these things for yourself.

The point is that there is a debate raging within Islam today about whether it is truly a religion of peace or a cult of psychotic murderers. I can't be sure about the numbers, but I suspect that the majority of the murderers' victims are other Muslims. There have been other psychotic-murderer cults in the past that were not Muslim, and there will be again in the future that again will not be Muslim, but today's psychotic-murderer cult is Muslim. Because so many governments, of both predominantly Muslim countries and non-Muslim countries, have been so inclined to dismiss the danger or pretend it's something else or pretend it doesn't exist, it has gotten larger and worse and more virulent.

I don't need "apologies" from Muslims who haven't supported the murderous cult. On the other hand, it seems to me that otherwise peaceful Muslims are caught between two conflicting loyalties -- the "brotherhood" of Islam and "citizenship" in a world that honors law over blood. To restore my trust (speaking only for myself), I need to hear Muslims claiming loyalty to law over loyalty to "kin." I understand the danger of standing on that loyalty, so in the meantime, stop telling me "Islam is a religion of peace," when the Islamic community hasn't quite decided for itself whether that's true or not.

In the meantime, no, all Muslims don't look alike. But it's a waste of security resources to give the same level of scrutiny to frail elderly men, middle-aged women, blonde young mothers with three kids in tow, and red-haired toddlers as to swarthy, black-haired males, ages 15-40, carrying backpacks.

I wish you life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and I hope you and those who share your views don't get us all killed or enslaved.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Finally, an explanation -- and a new word

If, like me, you've been wondering what's going on with the Jerusalem Patriarchate, you'll be as happy as I am that the American Chronicle has explained it all:
Greek Orthodox Church: Region complicitates choice
"Complicitates," what a useful word.

The Gang of 14 complicitated the process of approving judicial nominees in the Senate.

Sen. Frist complicitated the stem cell debate with his oxymoronic speech.

Roe v. Wade complicitated the U.S. abortion debate.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

And Frist, too, for that matter

Tim Cavanaugh examines Hillary's chances to make it to the presidency in '08 and finds them miniscule.

For one thing, she's not likeable. As he says, it's not the "Hillary" or the "Clinton" that's the problem (though it probably still is for a substantial minority), but it's that whole Gladys Kravitz manner and her voice like a concrete saw. If the crazies are still in charge of the Democratic Party by 2008, she might get through the convention, but then the voters will look at each other and say, "Do we really want to listen to this for at least the next four years?"

I don't think so.

But that's after another problem that Cavanaugh points out:
But for Senator Hillary Clinton, the White House trouble isn't the "Hillary" part or the "Clinton" part; it's the "Senator" part. The United States Senate isn't just the world's greatest deliberative body and car wash; it's also one of the most prominent and reliable roads to nowhere in American politics.
The clincher is that, unlike her husband, she also has no Elvis.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Fear the wrath of the little old white ladies

The brouhaha about racial profiling reveals one important thing: the multiculturists are more afraid of young Asian dudes than they are of little old white ladies.

Which is evidence either of excessive suspicion against the young Asian dudes --

Or of a dangerous oblivion to the pent-up wrath of little old white ladies.

Think about it.

UPDATE: See what I mean?

Monday, August 01, 2005

All they had to do was vote against him

Bolton will be the new UN ambassador until 2007, and the Dems and RINOs are whining about it.

Of course, the only reason we're having this conversation is because the Democrats didn't have the votes to defeat him, only to stop the process.

Democracy stinks, doesn't it.