Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hiatus, of sorts

Blogging is likely to be light, in days to come.

For one thing, I've sort of, finally, landed a job. (Contingent on a "background check," which, alas, includes a credit check, and my skills at handling money can most charitably described as "abysmal." So it's entirely likely they'll diss me, despite being otherwise qualified ... but we'll see.)

The other thing is blogger burnout, which I don't want to succumb to. It's quite hard, even when creatively motivated with all the other variables, i.e., plenty of time, etc., to post daily.

So, to the very good friends I've made, I'll not disappear; but neither will I reliably post a lot of bloggy goodness for a while. I will remain engaged. Just not as interesting, perhaps ... ;)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

'Breck Girl' in the crosshairs

It's a shame when the British media publishes a story our own mainstream media won't touch.

Sure, the National Enquirer has a bad rep. But they've only ever been successfully sued very rarely. And, in this case, they did the legwork the lofty L.A. Times wouldn't. (Dig the part about L.A. Times editors telling their staff not to blog about the scandal.)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Where is the faith?

A discussion today at Covenant Zone centers around the decay of Britain.

Charles Henry says:

"Reading the news in the European press reminds me ever so much of being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, and being offered a glimpse into my, our, potential future... a world empty of hope, compassion and reason.

"The stories out of the UK speak of a decaying nation, and it's increasingly challenging to believe that the institutions designed to serve as a candle's light in the darkness will remain untouched by the fog of despair blanketing today's not-so-Great Britain, like a shroud."

**************

Yes. It's all too easy to despair, given PC gone wild. Morals, such as they are, don't seem to exist, in the climate of free passes given to criminals, while law-abiding citizens are made to adhere to ever-increasingly bizarre standards of conduct, along with spy cameras every 3 feet, increased taxation for an increasingly puerile bureaucracy, etc.

What keeps faith alive, in times like these?

Small gestures.

Like this one. A Welshman, following a dream.

Horse hockey

(image credit: flickr.com/photos/daniel_julier)

"Tourists love to view the Colosseum and other famous landmarks in Rome from the back of a horse-drawn carriage but animal rights activists said Tuesday it's time to ban the practice.

"Traffic, pollution, heat and heavy carriages expose the horses to health risks, the activists said, adding that the animals rest in dark and humid stables.

"'They are in disastrous condition, forced to work in an urban environment and exposed to a million dangers,' said Claudio Locuratolo, one of the 1,700 volunteers of ENPA, an association of activists who patrol the streets to monitor the horses' condition."

****************************

Okay. Disclosure. I'm a lifelong animal lover. I not-so-secretly encourage some of Greenpeace's zanier antics to try and preserve the lives of whales, harp seals, marine life in general, and efforts to save rhinoceroses, tigers, and any other animal endangered by the stupidity and greed of mankind.

But this is ridiculous.

Horses have been mankind's partner in life since the first indigenous populations learned each could benefit the other. Humans learned they could get around faster, and travel further, on horseback, while horses learned that they would have continuous access to food and care of their health, leading to a longer life. The superb musculature of horses could handle just about any demand -- hauling things, carrying things, traveling long distances. In fact, horses began living longer and longer, in service with humans.

Fast-forward to the Industrial Revolution. Could it have been achieved without horses? Witness the canals, on which crucial supplies on barges were dragged by horse and mule. Witness farms, who produced the food the Industrial Revolutionaries depended, in larger numbers. Witness any number of services in towns and cities, like delivery of milk, produce, dry goods and clothing, not to mention cab service.

Without horses, we would not be typing on the very computers we use today. And you don't hear them complaining.

Would horses prefer to gallivant around fields all day, without being harnessed and asked to use their splendid strength? Sure. So would anyone. But horses served a complementary function alongside man's evolution, and they've served us well. In turn, with few exceptions, we've served them well, and the world has advanced through this partnership.

Pollution, shmollution. These hand-wringers should have seen what 19th-century horses went through in, say, London, or New York. Pollution was far worse, in terms of coal-smoke output, lack of sewage, cobblestone streets (which damaged horses' hooves, had their human partners not paid blacksmiths a pretty penny to keep them in trim).

Today's carriage-pullers are well-equipped to handle man-made pathogens and other "indignities." Their stables are paradises, compared with what horses put up with as recently as the Great Depression. Just read anything by James Herriott, who wrote "All Creatures Great and Small."

Messing with tradition -- horse-drawn carriages -- is an exercise in PC stupidity.

We're not alone

Being an otherwise sane person, I believe in extraterrestrial beings, though I've never seen one, nor even a UFO.

I believe in them because of Jeannie E. And now, my belief is reinforced by former Apollo 14 astronaut and moonwalker Edgar Mitchell. Back to Jeannie in a bit -- but here's Mitchell in an interview with Irene Klotz of the Discovery Channel:

"My major knowledge comes from what I call the old-timers, people who were at Roswell and subsequent who wanted to clear the things up and tell somebody credible even though they were under severe threats and things -- this was back in the Roswell days. Having gone to the moon and being a local citizen out in the Roswell area some of them thought I would be a safe choice to tell their story to, which they did. Even though the government put real clamps on everybody, it got out anyhow.

"Subsequent to that, I did take my story to the Pentagon -- not NASA, but the Pentagon -- and asked for a meeting with the Intelligence Committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and got it. And told them my story and what I know and eventually had that confirmed by the admiral that I spoke with, that indeed what I was saying was true."


Read the whole thing.

Back to Jeannie. Jeannie is a woman I knew while living in central Virginia for a time. Her husband, Dean, was a laborer. She worked in a textile factory. Together, they scraped up enough money to buy the mobile home of their dreams, not to be placed in some park, but on 2 acres of beautiful forest near my home. Dean was a happy-go-lucky, nothing-bothers-me kind of guy, but Jeannie was strictly no-nonsense. She believed in a hard day's work, mandatory attendance in church on Sunday, and the one vice of her favorite soap opera, which she taped to watch at home after the chores were done.

I once tried to engage her in a conversation about evolution, but she was adamant. The world began just as the Bible said, some 6,000 years ago, and that's that. She didn't know anything about "those black hole things," and didn't want to know. The world existed in strictly defined boundaries, and that was fine with Jeannie.

One evening, she came by my house. This in itself was surprising, as she always called ahead to announce the rare visits she ever made to anyone. Unflappable Jeannie was clearly rattled.

"I just saw ..... something," she said. "What was it?" I asked. "I dunno," she said.

By my using gentle extracting questions, she was eventually able to tell me she was driving home (it was dark already, being November) when something "huge, silver and bright" hovered over her car. There was no one else on the road, so she quickly swerved off onto the shoulder.

The object was cigar-shaped, and the size of "maybe two football fields." There were no markings, nor additional lights -- the object itself emitted a bright light that illuminated it. It continued to hover over Jeannie's car, just ahead of it, and then "it just disappeared."

"It flew away?" I asked. "No," she said. "Just disappeared."

I remember feeling elated and jealous at the same time. I'd longed all my life to see something similar, if nothing else to prove they existed, as I'd half hoped, half believed. Jeannie cemented it for me once and for all.

I knew her for quite some years. Believe me, this is a woman who wouldn't believe in anything outside a very narrow mindset. Never did she exhibit any quirk or off-the-wall remark that would lead me to suspect otherwise. And so, I was, and remain, convinced.

I've read about, and seen footage of, Roswell residents who witnessed the crash (or came upon the debris) back in 1947. Their stories are compelling. I do not get the sense they were making things up for sensation. Still, though, for years I doubted. After Jeannie -- and now, after Mitchell -- I don't.

What they are, who they are, we may never know. But they're there.

(link via boingboing.net)

A rose by any other name ....

"Some names are so weird they constitute child abuse, according to a court in New Zealand.

"The family court judge reached that conclusion after hearing evidence in the case of a girl named 'Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii.'"

The names at the end are a hoot.

Friday, July 25, 2008

No. NOT Bletchley Park.

"A call to save Bletchley Park has gone out from the UK's computer scientists.

"More than 100 academics have signed a letter to The Times saying the code-cracking centre and crucible of the UK computer industry deserves better."

(via The Anger of a Quiet Man)

*************

Okay. Not a lot of people may be aware of it, but Bletchley Park pretty much won World War II. Britain rounded up a bunch of math professors, puzzle enthusiasts, people who liked numbers in general, and this bunch solved the Germans' formidable Enigma Code.

So it might be esoteric history. But it turned the tide of the war.

Now Bletchley Park is being consigned to oblivion.

We can put stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but we can't preserve world-changing history?

(Once again -- I urge all visitors here to visit the blogburst of neoconstant, originally organized in support of a lawsuit against Harry's Place blog.

(Click on some of the blogs. Good stuff.)

'Sue the Internet!'

Harry's Place links to this gawker.com piece:

"For the wealthy and famous, suing people on the Internet is like the new Kabbalah, not just in terms of trendiness but also geographical focus. Britain is the hot destination if you want to take a blogger’s house away because our cousins across the way have got the same draconian libel laws that did in Oscar Wilde. People don’t like to read unpleasant things about themselves on the Internet (and where would the NYT Magazine be if they did?). But even where the targets of bloggy exposure or lampoon do have a legitimate grievance, must they head straight to the courts to settle it?"

The neoconstant blogburst is touched on.

While you're at it -- check out the really impressive list neoconstant managed to corral. Click on some of the links. Probably some bloggy goodness there.

Man steals buses; drives routes


"If James L. Harris really did what police say he did, then I would like to award him a Happy Mutant Criminal Award certificate.

"The 18-year-old is accused of stealing at least three Miami-Dade Transist buses, and driving them on their routes.

"Poilice say Harris wore a Miami-Dade Transit employee uniform, did not steal the fares, and returned the buses to the depot each night."

**********************

If all crimes were like these, it'd be a better place.

(image and credit: boingboing.net)

Bloggy goodness from ...

* Blazing Cat Fur and Covenant Zone, who introduce us to Frankly Speaking, a new blog from a B'nai B'rith perspective taking a stand against free speech abuse;

* An Advocate of the Republic, who notes Obama posters have been shamelessly posted at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall;

* The Blog of Walker notes a potentially sinister scanner experiment by the University of Bath in England to monitor Blutooth users;

* And The Macho Response eviscerates Shirley McLaine's toxic brew.

Meanwhile, U.S. cops target bloggers

A Memphis, Tenn. blog critical of the Memphis police department and its director is the target of court action.

"The lawsuit asks AOL to produce all information related to the identity of an e-mail address linked to MPD Enforcer 2.0, a blog popular with police officers that has been extremely critical of police leadership at 201 Poplar.

"'In what could be a landmark case of privacy and the 1st Amendment,' the anonymous bloggers write on the site, 'Godwin has illegally used his position and the City of Memphis as a ram to ruin the Constitution of the United States.

"Some members of the Enforcer 2.0 have contacted their attorneys and we are in the process of filing a lawsuit against Larry and the City of Memphis. What's wrong Larry? The truth hurt?"

(via The Drudge Report)

'Not bloody likely.'

Yikes -- take a couple of days off from blogging, and look what happens. Ezra Levant's been slapped with yet another lawsuit threat, this time from "serene" CHRC staffer Giacomo Vigna:

"It's a strategy. It's called "lawfare", and it's an attempt to smother me under so many hassles and costs that I abandon my criticism of Canada's HRCs and their abuse of real human rights, like freedom of speech.

"They're not even subtle about it. Warman calls his strategy "maximum disruption". He boasts he files legal actions against his enemies just to cause them a hassle. Kinsella calls it “Kicking Ass”. Now you'll understand why I'm putting "human rights" in quotation marks when talking about them.

"Instead of rebutting my criticisms, these folks think that if they just throw enough nuisance suits at me I'll pack up and leave.

"Not bloody likely.

"And not as long as I have the support of the blogosphere to cover my legal fees. I know that support frustrates my antagonists. See, this is the part in their fantasy where I'm supposed to crumple under the weight of their lawsuits, and beg for their forgiveness -- like so many of their previous targets have done."

************

It's the HRCs and their thugs who are going to say Uncle, not Ezra. But remember, we're part of the blogosphere. We need to step in and help our brethren, no matter how long and tedious the fight may seem. In fact, the longer and more tedious, the more expensive.

He's posted an address to send donations non-PayPal, if preferred. So do consider lending a hand.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

In the shadow of Spock


(image credit: www.riskybusinessblog.com)

Adam Nimoy, son of you-guessed-him, has written an "anti-memoir" about his turbulent life as both the son of an icon and a recovering drug abuser. Amazon.com describes his new book thusly:

"Last week, Adam Nimoy woke up in his beautiful house with his wife and kids in West Los Angeles. Today, he's waking up in a sleeping bag on an air mattress in a two-bedroom apartment with no furniture thinking, "How the hell did I get here?"

"A thirty-year battle with drug addiction, three career changes, one divorce, a major mid-life crisis, and countless AA meetings later, he tells his cautionary -- and very funny -- tale."

***************************

Being as I'm a big Star Trek fan, and a Mr. Spock fan in particular, I'm probably going to order this one, as soon as possible. I remain fascinated by the cast and their lives post-Trek, including their children.

When I was an undergraduate student at the University of New Mexico, Nimoy père visited for a speaking engagement. Expecting juicy sneak peeks behind the scenes of the show's production, we were instead treated to some (really not very good) poetry readings. I forgave him, though, because I can never forget his flawless portrayal of the truly unique Mr. Spock.

My very favorite episode of Star Trek is also my favorite Spock episode -- "Mirror, Mirror."

This was Spock beyond Spock. Spock as Machiavelli's prince. Spock as a master of logic in service to no one but himself. Awesome.


(image credit: ianbrill.com)

I wish Nimoy fils all the best, and applaud his courageous success in the battle against demons. I like to think his dad's alter ego perhaps helps him sort out the insane from the mundane when it all seems to get too buggy. In short, I hope he really does live long and prosper. May we all.

Light blogging today

... on account of lots to do. But Terminator-like, I'll be back!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Conservatives, take note

I spent a lot of time composing a comment on a post at Red Tory.

Some rabid yahoo named Wally Keeler made a lot of unproductive (to say the least) comments to RT's post. This ticked me off. But as the post had to do with issues of free speech, I sounded off in the comments myself.

Here is the text of my comment:

(Commenter Kali:) “I didn’t sense that you were defending the BCHRC. Unlike some others, you were just looking at the other side instead of blindly calling “free speech, free speech, free speech!” It’s nice to see a little balance of views on this subject. I have been on the other side of Guy’s anger-I know why those girls were incensed enough to file a complaint about him, justified or not.”

(Me:) I agree. Wally misread RT’s observations from the beginning.

But I take issue with “justified or not.” Whether Earle’s actions justified retribution should be for a court of law to determine, not a quasi-judiciary like the human rights tribunals. While I believe the tribunals work, more or less, to assist people fighting discrimination in housing or employment who otherwise couldn’t afford expensive legal recourse, I also believe they have no business regulating free speech. Defamation, libel and slander are highly subjective issues, and must be subject to strict and rigorous legal examination. This involves rules of evidence, discovery and the right to call witnesses and cross-examine.

As I understand it, in the Canadian human rights tribunals, the only standard of proof is that something is likely to cause a climate of hatred. To me, this is bogus. Any number of things people say on a daily basis would fit under this umbrella. The burden of proof should be something did cause it — and should include here’s the evidence to show why, and here’s where legal precedent says so.

In Guy Earle’s case, had the proprietor of the club forbidden entry to the women in question because they were lesbians, that would have better fit a discrimination model; but as it was, it’s my opinion that these women, angry though they may have been, resorted to the wrong venue for redress. It was a comedy club contretemps got out of hand, in my opinion, and should have been treated as such. Instead, it stands to put a chilling effect on what comics dare to say about whom, which is a scary state of affairs. Having said that, it still remains for the facts — such as a lack of rules of evidence permits to emerge — to ascertain whether these women’s claims are justified, or not.

(Apologies for length, here, RT, but I guess you can tell I feel pretty strongly about this issue.)

Disclosure: I happen to think what Guy Earle said was sleazy. I’d never heard of him before, and I hope not to again, after this case is settled. But I do support him, albeit backhandedly, in this case, as I do Ezra Levant, Stephen Boissoin, Mark Steyn, Marc Lemire, Harry’s Place blog and any others, left, right, extremist or mild-mannered, against the attempt to restrict their speech in the name of “likelihood” to cause a climate of hate. I say prove it, under proper legal standard.

I agree that reaction to cases like these among conservatives often borders on hysteria. But the reason is — and I’m only speaking for myself — that even the hint of an encroachment on free speech is worth being alert to. Restrictions on other kinds of social behavior — violence, theft, and, yes, defamation — are rightly imposed. That is because they involve overt, provable acts. (In a court of law.) But speech, in itself, is simply that. The standards by which we prove speech has actually incited hatred should be high. Was Mark Steyn dramatizing his own paranoia in his book and the article in Maclean’s? Perhaps. Did mobs of people start attacking Muslims because of what he wrote? No.

If he’s wrong, the public debate allows a more convincing rebuttal to be put forward. (Frankly, I’d love to see it. Tarring all Muslims with the same brush simply begs for some good, biting polemic.) The point is, let the speech be heard, and then judged — by the public — on its merits. If it’s defamatory, go to (real) court. Otherwise, let it out there.

Once you put a chilling effect on speech, it’s my belief it can never be reclaimed. And that’s what’s so scary. Scary enough to account for the hysteria. To many conservatives, it’s better to err on the side of paranoia than to wake up one day to discover you can’t say anything offensive about anyone without having to cough up a lot of cash and wear a scarlet letter — and not having been able to properly defend yourself.

And now, a word to our friend Wally.

You really need to put your patella back in line with your femur and tibia. Anger is no excuse to let your emotions run away with you. It’s people like you that (rightly) earn many conservatives a lot of scorn.

Let me tell you a little story. Not too long ago, regular commenter KEvron and I engaged in discussion on my blog about a couple of points of fact. I had commented here on an issue that I had not bothered to properly research, and he called me on it. Over the course of many days, he managed to make me see where my thinking was astray — and I’ll never forget it. Sure, he was blunt about it — as he should have been. [And since.] That doesn’t mean I can have a free pass to tar him as a [fill in your favorite expletive] liberal, nor does it mean I can throw angry ad hominems back at him with a clean conscience. The fact is, he was right. And so is RT.

Far from wishing to protect my own worldview, reflexive and easy though it may seem, I chose to learn, and I did. (The lesson is still being learned, but at least I’m on the road.)

So stop — and THINK. You’ll only make yourself look like an idiot, otherwise. And I, for one, don’t want to be associated with that.

(Anyone interested can read KEvron’s and my exchange here — http://tinyurl.com/55h735. It was a wakeup call that has changed my thinking.)

Whew … sorry again about the length, RT.

**************

Two things: I'd like to know how other conservatives think about what I said; and, what other conservatives think about people like Wally (on BOTH sides of the political fence).

Muslims, beware the killer kangaroos

Jonathan Kay:

"Human rights mandarins haven’t gone after mosques and mullahs — yet. But that will change once Muslims have exhausted their usefulness as front men in the battle against Christians and conservatives. If Leviticus is now hate speech, how long before the Koran gets the same treatment?"

Read the whole excellent speech, given before a panel discussion at Toronto’s Noor Centre — a cultural organization for liberal Muslims — on the question of whether the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) is justified in bringing human-rights complaints against Maclean’s magazine for publishing Mark Steyn’s "The Future Belongs To Islam."

I liked what commenter Jacques3 said:

"The problem is that mouthy minority, the aggressive haters, the intolerant subset, who have given a black eye to an entire group by pretending to represent them.

"But to pretend this is just an "optics" problem that should be ignored by the larger community in the hope that it will go away would be to ignore what has happened elsewhere. Muslims who care about their community's future in Canada need to take charge, and stop having the wrong people speak on their behalf."

(once again, bloggy goodness from BCF)

Afghan woman rebuts another's 'oppression' claims

"The reality is that the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was not about peace, security and development or women's liberation and democracy. The Western hegemonic alliance rationalized a system of governance in Afghanistan to facilitate the West's desire to control Central Asia. (p.44, "Afghan Women: Identity and Invasion," by Elaheh Rostami-Povey)

"I dare say that 'the reality' is that Elaheh Rostami-Povey wrote this book to give voice not to Afghan women, but to her own contempt for the United States, George W. Bush, neo-liberalism, neo-conservatism, Christian fundamentalism, free-market economy and Zionism. Afghan Women is based on one fundamental principle: Everything that is wrong in Afghanistan today is to blame on the 'invading forces', among which she generously counts the military, UN agencies, international financial institutions, embassies, NGOs and humanitarian organisations."

Anja Havedal is an editor with the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, a policy research institute based in Kabul, and was previously on the editorial staff of the Journal of Democracy. She basically, with a metaphorical rapier, slashes this leftist crybaby to ribbons.

It's true much of Afghanistan is still barbaric. But as Ms. Havedal shows, there are many women working hard toward equality and helping get the fledgling democracy on its way.

An excellent piece -- many thanks to Blazing Cat Fur.

Ezra ready to take off gloves

Everyone but Ezra Levant has filed defenses against Richard Warman's nuisance suit.

Ezra sez: "There's not much for me to add by way of commentary here that I didn't say when the previous four defendants filed their statements of defence. Ashby's style is efficient -- just pleading the key points. He'll be interesting to watch at trial.

"I'll wait until it's filed before discussing my approach to my statement of defence. Let's just say I'm going to be a little bit more loquacious about the reputation that the plaintiff claims has been damaged." (emphasis mine)

You go, man.

The new Chevy Camaro


(image credit: autoblog)

Glenn Reynolds wants to know: "Is it just me, or does it look a lot like a Dodge Charger?"

I dunno -- to me, muscle cars started losing their muscle back in the '80s. When I was in high school, I could count on at least two hands the number of guys I knew who drove Chargers, Camaros, Chevelles, etc. that they had tricked out and beefed up. There's no such thing as a motorhead, anymore.

Monday, July 21, 2008

'I'm ignored. My skin is brown."

How about, "I'm ignored because U.S. law trumps Canadian law in my particular case??"

(via Blazing Cat Fur)

The media will get Obama elected

"The idea that reporters are trying to help Obama win in November has grown by five percentage points over the past month. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey, taken just before the new controversy involving the Times erupted, found that 49% of voters believe most reporters will try to help the Democrat with their coverage, up from 44% a month ago.

"Just 14% believe most reporters will try to help McCain win, little changed from 13% a month ago. Just one voter in four (24%) believes that most reporters will try to offer unbiased coverage."

Ugh.

The MSM is doomed. Tick-tock, tick-tock ... watch it implode.

Thank God I climbed out of the press rabbit hole while there was still time.

(via instapundit)

The dogs of war

Continuing a jaunt around the Anglosphere, there's this totally cool item:

"Dogs will lead the way in SAS raids after being parachuted in to spy out rebels for troops, The Sun can reveal.

"Fearless German Shepherds are being trained to jump from aircraft at 25,000ft wearing their own oxygen masks and strapped to special forces assault teams.

"Once down in hostile terrain in Iraq or Afghanistan, the dogs will be sent in first to seek out insurgents’ hideouts with tiny cameras fixed to their heads.

"The cameras will beam live TV pictures back to the troops, warning of ambushes or showing enemy leaders’ locations."

Check out the awesome photo! (copyright-protected)

(via The Drudge Report)

As a side note: It's nice to see exclusives -- good job, Sun.

'Australians overwhelmed'

Tim Blair:

"The Age‘s Michelle Grattan:

"Australians overwhelmingly say they are willing to pay more for goods and services to help reduce emissions, in an Age/Nielsen poll that also shows [Prime Minister] Kevin Rudd has popular support for how he is handling climate change.

"The national poll of 1400 found 68% willing to bear extra costs to deal with climate change ..."


"Yet ...

"Pollster John Stirton said while the results suggested clear support for the Government’s climate policy, people wanted federal intervention on petrol prices and were dissatisfied with Mr. Rudd’s handling of that issue .."

"Australians are willing to pay for climate change ... but they also want cheaper petrol. Interesting. Grattan declines to include any figures on the latter, so we turn to her fellow Fairfaxer Phil Coorey in the SMH:

"Last month’s poll showed 78 per cent wanted the Government to intervene over petrol prices and Mr. Stirton said this gave 'food for thought about the real depth of support for a tough policy on climate change'.

"So 68 per cent are prepared to pay more — but 78 per cent want to pay less. Which number is more 'overwhelming'?

Canadians 'just don't get it'

Ezra Levant received a report from a reader about comedian Guy Earle's Sunday benefit:

"I had a nice chat with Guy and one other comic: I mentioned both you and Mark Steyn and they both seemed to have very little idea of your importance in all of this. E.g., I said to Guy what an honour it is to be linked to your and Steyn’s blogs where thousands of people have been made aware of his plight. He was polite but not at all excited: I honestly felt, including my discussion with him, that he doesn’t really get it. I explained that, as an observant Christian, I’d been unhappily aware of the HRCs for a couple of decades. I noted that we’re unlikely allies but that it was good that we’re fighting the illegitimate power of the state together. He was very grateful for the support, but I feel, in talking to him, another comic, at length, and watching the show, that these people don’t understand who the enemy is or how deadly serious this issue is.

"The show, itself? Unimpressive, I’m afraid. Almost no dealing with the topic of the gulag. There was loads of smut and very unsavoury references to various bodily parts, orifices, and fluids, in the bluntest language. I found it juvenile and unfunny. I wasn’t offended, per se. It’s just that a golden opportunity to educate people—but one has to know what the ISSUE is—and to ridicule our political masters was almost entirely squandered."

And then there's this report, via Blazing Cat Fur, that doesn't mention the human rights issue at all.

************************************

Ezra notes: My correspondent made some good points about the apathy of the crowd. But as I mentioned in reply, most Canadians are closer to those fellow comedians than to the revved up blogosphere. My estimate is that, seven months ago, 99% of Canadians hadn't even heard of human rights commissions, and that now the figure was down to 90%. That's a spectacular success, by the way, since most people don't care about politics of any sort, even during an election campaign. The key is getting normal people to care, not just the political die-hards."

Good point. We who are passionate about this issue think everyone should be (and they should), but awareness takes time. As Ezra noted, it's actually a good thing, in a way, when high-profile people are persecuted by "human rights" tribunals, as it helps raise the issue in the public consciousness faster.

I confess I AM disappointed in the Guy Earle thing, though.

Uh-oh ...

Britain brings soccer hooliganism to the U.S.

(via The Drudge Report)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Well, duhhhhh

"Russian critics of the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for cuts in CO2 emissions, say that the theory underlying the pact lacks scientific basis. Under the Theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming, it is human-generated greenhouse gases, and mainly CO2, that cause climate change. 'The Kyoto theorists have put the cart before the horse,' says renowned Russian geographer Andrei Kapitsa. 'It is global warming that triggers higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not the other way round.'"

So where's my money back for all the stupid programs?

(via Andrew Bolt)

Retro math

"On an occasional evening at the kitchen table in Brooklyn, New York, Victoria Morey has been known to sit down with her 9-year-old son and do something she's not supposed to.

"I am a rebel," confessed this mother of two.

And just what is this subversive act in which Morey engages -- with a child, yet?

Long division."

Golden girl



I haven't paid too much attention to the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing -- probably because I don't have TV. I'll be sure to check out some of the live-stream stuff, though, when the time comes.

Thinking about the Olympics reminded me of Kerri Strug in 1996, and her heroic win for the team.

Ezra's been threatened

Some nut job has made a death threat on Ezra Levant's blog. Ezra's offering $1,000 to anyone who can track the guy down.

Anyone with tech knowledge, please see if you can help.

Us and them

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Quite possibly, the 2nd best cartoon ever

Vitamins soon to be 'toxins'



... while really, really bad toxins ease back into common use.

Disclosure: I'm a hater of Big Pharma. Ditto government takeover of nutrition.

(via karmasurfer, who has some pretty choice words for people who don't believe this stuff is going on)

Rex Murphy's excellent essay

"This is one of the less-noticed glories of the Canadian human-rights insanity. Complainants float unburdened like puffballs in a summer breeze – blowing whither they list. Targets – Catholic bishops, Catholic magazines, fundamentalist pastors, genital surgeons, heckled comedians, school boards, fast-food joints, school-prom nights, Maclean's magazine – empty bank machines and call in lawyers while the “leisurely” process unfurls in an eerie, Kafkaesque slow motion."

I think, quite possibly, this is the very best take yet on the "human rights" nonsense.

Oh, and check out the comments. I loved this one:

"David Gibson from Canada writes: 'Human rights' legislation is the toilet paper of philosophy."

(via Instapundit, Blazing Cat Fur, Covenant Zone and others)

Brave pooch saves woman from killer kangaroo

They don't call them "man's best friend" for nothing!

Now, if we only had a few more like him in Canada ... those "human rights" obscenities would be history.

The liberal brain



I had to chuckle when I saw this at Red Tory.

(S)corn on the niqab


(image credit: my.algeria.com)

In the wake of the story of a woman being denied citizenship in France because she wears a niqab, I had to ask myself why those things are so offensive.

Disclosure: I'm a feminist. A real one, not one of your man-bashers. In fact, I'm also a masculinist. No one should be discriminated against due to their gender. But enough with the guys-are-the-root-of-all-evil stuff.

Most Muslim women who wear those silly tents say they don't feel oppressed by men. In the case of the would-be française, she says she "doesn't like being looked at by men."

I submit that they get looked at MORE, and not for the right reasons.

What's wrong with getting looked at? As a woman, I enjoy being complimented by guys, if I happen to look nice some particular day; or, yes, looked at. Why not? I look at other people, and sometimes admire them. It's human nature.

Having said that, I support both France's stand on this issue AND the right for people to dress how they please. In order for both to be satisfied, this woman is going to have to go back to Morocco. If it were me, I'd take the veil off and be done with it.

I'm sorry, but that getup just makes women look like freaks.

Investor rage

Irate Pakistani investors riot in the streets after a market plunge.

"Youths," I can see. But now, with even lawyers getting into the act, protesting has gone upscale.

Canadians making a difference

"Canadians concerned about the mission to Afghanistan should meet Haji Baran Khaksar, the government leader of one of the most violent places in Afghanistan: the Panjwaii district west of Kandahar City.

"Hardly a day goes by without the crack of gunfire or the muffled boom of a roadside bomb either here or in the neighbouring district of Zhari.

"Yet, Mr. Khaksar says life is getting better for Afghans -- and he gives a lot of the credit to Canadian soldiers stationed here."



And thank you, Cpl. Arnal, for making the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. May God be with you and your family.

(story and image from The National Post)

Big Bro: No more fast food for you

Where else but California?

"In a proposal that is stunning in both its ignorance and arrogance, a South Central Los Angeles politician wants to place a moratorium on the construction of new fast food restaurants in her area.

"What is unfortunately not nearly as surprising is how Washington Post reporter Karl Vick let some huge, uh, whoppers go by without challenge when he covered this development."

So, in effect, the existing franchisees stand to make a great deal more money. Sweetheart deal, perchance?

The councilwoman in question says children are obese from eating too much fast food. Is some evil cabal forcing them? The Illuminati? Karl Rove? She says there are not enough choices to find nutritious food. As commenters pointed out, there are several supermarkets in the area. Cooking? What a novel concept! Besides, fast-food restaurants DO serve some nutritious food (salad, yogurt, etc.). She wants to take away choice so that there will be more choice available? Ouch -- I need a Band-Aid for my brain.

What a twit.

(via Pajamas Media)

Quite possibly, the best cartoon ever

Friday, July 18, 2008

'Hang them from the yard arm, Mr Jackson!'

Col. Neville -- who always dresses for dinner -- is nothing, if not outspoken. In his latest post, he argues we should go after radical Islamists with anti-piracy tactics.

Well ... he'd probably widen the net to include more than just the radicals. But that's a debate for another day.

But what prose! I found myself laughing out loud in sheer appreciation. Just get this, as an example:

"So dear sports, I went to this great site, A Jacksonian Blogspot, and after a long absence, and it occurred to me. The kind of Left and Islamist freaks and their Western enablers, that Australia's Michael Burd, Mark Steyn, Bob Spencer, Bruce Bawer, Walid Shoebat and Wafa Sultan etc, has been exposing, are defined clearly as pirates by the US and International Piracy laws. God, it’s beautiful. Really.

"That would mean eager asshat wearers like Antony Lowenstein, lying bogan trained child killer David Hicks, every chum of every pro-Islamist shit club and Hell, any of the thousands of MSM spastics and Islamist loons infesting our naïve land and thus proxy seas."

Wow!

I mean, "Walid Shoebat." Ha! And I thought "I'm A Dinner Jacket" was good :) And that's just one excerpt from his essay.

We got yer red-meat conservatism right here!


UPDATE:


And check out this gem from Red Tory (on the left):

"Forever dumb as a box of old rocks, Blogging Tory “dr. roy” blubbers over the “atrocity” at Ekaterinburg in 1918."

I dunno about you ... but I love it. I completely, and totally, groove on it.

Polemics! Hyperbole! YEAH!

Gitmo lawyer depants himself

No word on what the judge thought.

(via The Drudge Report)

Light blogging today

... on account of visiting elderly mom, who's not in such good shape.

Is you is, or is you ain't my baby?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Woof you, cabbies


(image credit: joelucas2007)

"Some Muslim taxi drivers are refusing to carry blind and disabled passengers with guide dogs - because their religion tells them the animals are 'unclean'.

"Brisbane's Yellow Cab Company has been forced to sack drivers over their conduct towards passengers with assistance dogs.

"Bill Parker, general manager of the firm, said the behaviour would not be tolerated and penalties will be imposed if drivers disobeyed."

"Unclean," are they? These wonderful, selfless creatures who give so much joy and independence to their owners?

Good on ya, Mr. Parker.

(via Tim Blair)

Well, you don't say ....

"The price of European emission permits is rising so rapidly that German companies are threatening to leave the country. Thousands of jobs could be lost. And the environment may, in the end, be no better off."

Oh, those krazy green kidz! I can just hear 'em now: "It's not going to cost THAT much, really!" or, "We didn't know it was going to cost that much!"

Either way ... thanks for ruining the global economy, nimrods.

(via Andrew Bolt)

UPDATE:

Get this, warmenistas (link and image via The Macho Response):

"The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming."



Now -- how about our money back?

Sharper than a serpent's tooth

Neoconstant updates the Harry's Place blogburst:

"Harry’s Place has given a somewhat tepid “thank you” to my efforts at rallying the blogs around him. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the really, really hateful anti-Islamic sites either, but I think Harry could have been just a bit more gracious.

'Much of the backing comes as a result of an item posted by Glenn Reynolds at the very popular right-of-center blog Instapundit, who linked to a “Support Harry’s Place Blogburst” set up by the conservative blog NeoConstant. Although I haven’t done a thorough review of all the blogs that have signed up, at a glance they appear to be overwhelmingly on the political right. In most cases, I have no problem with this– for the most part I welcome the support of anyone who opposes the BMI’s dishonest efforts to suggest that we deliberately misconstrued the meaning of what Al-Jazeera originally reported Sawalha as saying about the Jews in London celebrating Israel’s 60th anniversary. (I hope they would all be equally supportive if, for some reason, we were being unfairly sued by Mark Steyn or Rush Limbaugh, but I live in the real world.)'

Hmph.

'Much of the backing comes as a result of an item posted by Glenn Reynolds at the very popular right-of-center blog Instapundit(.)

And WHO alerted Instapundit? That's right, yours truly. E.D. Kain gave me full credit and thanks, and I guess it's unfair to expect Harry's Place to know that. But still. Had to carp about it anyway.

Although I haven’t done a thorough review of all the blogs that have signed up, at a glance they appear to be overwhelmingly on the political right.

There's something wrong with that? I think it's pretty telling, actually, that so many conservatives would jump in to help someone on the other side of the political fence. How often does that happen the other way around?

Okay, //rant off. I just think E.D. Kain deserved more generous and heartfelt thanks.

New JibJab's up!



(hat tip: Red Tory)

Help!

Aarrgh ... I'm trying to add Chris Muir's Day By Day cartoon to the blog as a regular feature. It's horizontal, so I want it to appear right under the Shooting Star header and on top of both the blog posts and my photo. But when I try and drag the "Add Page Element" box up and place it, it will only let me place it over the blog posts, and NOT my photo.

Can anyone who knows about these things suggest anything?

Homeward bound!


(image credit: theantrevolution)

The above is one of many gorgeous shots my Dana has taken in her sojourn through Mongolia these past few weeks. She posted that one and others on her trip blog.

Proud? Me? Her mom? Naaah. *big grin*

Now she's on her way home -- I can't wait to see all of her photos, some of which I hope to post here!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

'In 2008, common sense is ... arcane as a powdered wig.'

-- Bernard Chapin, responding to Barack Obama's statement that he finds Americans "embarrassing" because "all we can say is 'Merci beaucoup.'

(via The Macho Response)

The Bard, banned from Britain

From the Daily Mail, July 11:

"Shakespeare will be ditched from secondary school tests under plans being considered by ministers, it emerged yesterday.

"Teenagers would no longer sit formal tests on the country's most renowned playwright under a shake-up of English Sats for 14-year-olds.

"They would instead be assessed by their teachers on their understanding of the plays after performing them and studying their 'wider cultural context'."

***********************

Okay. The Daily Mail loves to cherry-pick issues, sometimes, and even more loves to headline stories that probably don't deserve as much hysterical attention as they're given.

But read the whole thing.

"New-style Sats tests being trialled in 400 schools with a view to nationwide introduction from 2010 do not include a Shakespeare section.

"Instead, the Government has produced new materials to help teachers assess pupils' understanding of the Bard without the use of tests.

Read this again: "(Teenagers) would instead be assessed by their teachers on their understanding of the plays after performing them and studying their 'wider cultural context'."

************************

@#$% "wider cultural context." This is a synonym for "How we want you to see it."

"Lively discussion" my @$$.

Shakespearean studies involve a deep search into many levels of human truth. The complexity of Shakespeare's observations defies some "teacher" assessing adolescent "understanding."

I'm so angry about this I want to go out and hurt someone. But I won't.

The Bard said: "I like not fair terms and a villain's mind." ("The Merchant of Venice")

Neither do I.

(via A Missourian at An Advocate for the Republic)

Hollyweird partisanship ruining movies?

Andrew Breitbart observes:

"(L)os Angeles is a one-company town. And because of bullying (or what Democrats would call blacklisting or “political discrimination” if the shoe were on the other foot), Hollywood has become a one-party town. History will show this dynamic hurt both the creative and the political processes."

(via neoconstant)

Irish to Sarkozy: '@#$% off'

"Irish politicians reacted angrily Wednesday after French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested Ireland should hold a second referendum on the EU's new treaty, after rejecting it last month.

"Irish voters dealt a blow to the European Union last month by rejecting the Lisbon Treaty in the only popular vote on the text anywhere in the 27-nation bloc.

"According to deputies who attended a meeting with Sarkozy Tuesday, he said that the Irish would 'have to re-vote', despite 53 percent opposition."

**********************

Nick. DUDE. What part of "no" don't you understand?

(via The Drudge Report)

The Manolo and the Pope's shoes


(image via Manolo at shoeblogs.com)

"Manolo says, after all of the discussion about the Pope Benedict’s magnificent red shoes, the Manolo has finally located the close-up photograph of these wonders, the product of the Roman cobbler Adriano Stefanelli.

"The Manolo now takes this opportunity to remind you that cobbling is one of the most sanctified of all the manual arts."

**************************

Red shoes ... who knew?

Cars of the future -- at least till 2009

Karmasurfer laments the dearth of flying cars yet to be offered on the market, despite this being the 21st century. So he's Invented a few of his own:

Smokers, get religion!


(image credit: Covenant Zone)

Dutch pub and cafe owners have found a way to end-run around punitive new anti-smoking laws -- start a church for smokers.

Charles Henry at Covenant Zone translates from 7sur7:

"The holy trinity venerated in the church will be 'smoke, fire, and ash', explained Cor Bush, the owner of the "Le Tilleul" cafe, who said he wanted to defend 'religious freedom' as stated in the Netherlands' constitution for the mostly protestant country consisting of many 'churches'. The faithful that join the church will received a card and would be authorized to light a cigarette, while those without a card would have to respect the smoking ban, he added.

"A dozen cafes have come forward to join his 'church', Mr. Bush said; he plans to hang a certicate to the front of these establishments, explaining that 'the community of the church of smokers are free to smoke so that they may honor the Good Lord in peace'. ..."

Hey, whatever works!

As a smoker, I've long been of the opinion that given proper ventilation in an establishment, there's no reason smokers and non-smokers can't co-exist. I can (almost) see eating establishments banning it; but pubs and cafes should be sacrosanct.

Way to go Dutch!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Islamic 'cannabilism'

"We learn from the annals of Islamic history that Islam is not that powerful, and that it is actually very vulnerable. Much evidence suggests that it may very well die under its own weight."

(via Atlas Shrugs)

Comic heads for kangaroo court

And right on cue, more "human rights" madness:

"It sounds insane, but at the end of the day it's completely conceivable that Guy Earle could be banned for life from ever making a joke not pre-approved by the Human Rights Tribunal."

(via Blazing Cat Fur)

UPDATE:


Ezra Levant has details on a comedy gig on behalf of Earle to help with his legal costs.

Latest British outrage

"The daughter of a Second World War RAF pilot who reprimanded a teenager who she accused of vandalising a war memorial has been convicted of assault.

"Julie Lake, 50, believed the 15-year-old was one of a number of youths who had damaged the remembrance garden in her village dedicated to those killed fighting for Britain. ...

"When the 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was questioned in court about the war memorial, he replied: ''It means nothing to me, I guess it's for some people who died in the war.'"

Un-.

Frikken.

-Believable.

Clash of the iced-coffee titans

Blogger Jeff Simmermon wanted ice in his espresso. The barista wouldn't give it to him. A showdown ensued.

The barista's boss was not amused.

UPDATE: An eyewitness weighs in.

(via boingboing)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Colon cleansers, beware ...

... the Macho Response has his eye on your claims.

Thinks me: Instead of cleansing your colon, shouldn't you be cleansing your brain? Just askin'.

Jour Bastille Heureux



Mes frères et soeurs français - je dis merci pour nous aider dans notre propre Révolution. Je vous applaudis pour renverser la tyrannie dans votre propre pays, bien que je déplore vos méthodes. Et je remercie vos citoyens de Normandie d'honorer les tombes des soldats américains qui sont morts pour vous aider à reconquérir votre pays.

(Translation: My French brothers and sisters -- I thank you for helping us in our own Revolution. I applaud you for overthrowing tyranny in your own country, even though I deplore your methods. And I thank your Normandy citizens for honoring the graves of the American soldiers who died to help you reclaim your country.)

Don't you just want to hug them?


Three rare white lion cubs born in the Schloss Holte-Stukenbrock safari park in West Germany were shown to the public and the media for the first time.

(via Red Tory)

Bin Ladens bid on soccer team


Fans outraged.

Heh -- "This is getting ridiculous, I didn't mind Americans buying us out, but now terrorists are going to buy the club!" one said.

And this, from the comments: "Bin Laden was unavailable for comment."

(image and link via Covenant Zone)

A real journalist


(Photo by Michael Yon, via southdakotapolitics.blogs.com)

Independent journalist Michael Yon, describing the above photo he shot while embedded with the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment (Deuce Four) in Mosul, Iraq:

"I shot that photo on a day when a suicide or homicide car bomber ran into one of our Stryker vehicles, injured a couple of our soldiers, and, unfortunately, there were a lot of children who had crowded around to wave at our people.

"And the attackers had every opportunity to just wait a couple of blocks and attack our guys later, without the children being around, but instead chose to attack straight through the children.

"And Major [Mark] Bieger, who is in the photo, found the little girl -- her name is Farah -- and decided he wanted to get her to the hospital as quickly as possible. And so he picked her up, wrapped her in a blanket, and loaded her into one of our vehicles and started to take her to the hospital as fast as possible. And unfortunately, little Farah died en route.

"We went back to that neighborhood the next day, and the people there actually welcomed us with open arms. They welcomed us into their homes."

(from an interview on Fox News, via southdakotapolitics.blogs.com)

****************************

This is one amazing man.



In his early days, boldly going to Iraq on his own, he relied on reader donations from his blog. Indeed, he still does, but he has since made some influential (and, fortunately, well-heeled and generous) friends.

On his website, he recounts what one of them has gotten up to in Myanmar, post-Cyclone Nargis, trying to get aid to the suffering people. It's real cloak-and-dagger stuff; a riveting read:

"At the arranged time, on 10 June, the first coded message pinged out from the American [Yon's friend], whom I will call Charlie Marlow. 'Charlie' was in Yangon when he sent the message to 'Translator', who contacted 'Manager', who contacted 'Cook', as well as the four other crew members. At about 10:30 p.m., all had assembled in the darkness on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. The Burmese Navy was patrolling the Irrawaddy further downstream, and a number of foreign journalists had been recently deported after broadcasting embarrassing stories from the delta. There were stern warnings to the locals not to facilitate entry or movement of foreigners to the region. There was talk that the military had stationed at least one soldier in nearly every village to report on any contact with outsiders."

(Scroll down to read The River Part 1 first, then back up to 2)

He's recently written a best-seller, "Moment of Truth in Iraq: How a New 'Greatest Generation' of American Soldiers is Turning Defeat and Disaster into Victory and Hope."

I wish there were more like him.

World's oldest blogger dies


(image credit: imagineomit.blogspot.com)

Olive Riley, the world's oldest blogger at 108, has died. Here's her blog -- or as she put it, her "blob."

What a wonderful lady.

She loved to sing. "If you're feeling blue, sing a happy song out loud. People might think you're going round the bend, but don't let that worry you," she wrote.

And thanks to her amazing longevity, readers are treated to stories of her life at the turn of the last century, like this one:

"You 21st century people live a different life than the one I lived as a youngster in the early 1900s. Take Washing Day, for instance. These days you just toss your dirty clothes into a washing machine, press a few switches, and it's done.

"I remember scratching around to find a few pieces of wood to fire the copper for Mum. Sometimes I'd find a broken wooden fruit box that I'd split with a tommyhawk. Sometimes I'd gather some twigs and dead branches, and use them for firewood.

"When the water in the copper began to boil, Mum would add a cupful of soap chips, and throw in a cube of Reckitt's Blue wrapped in a muslin bag to whiten the clothes. Then she put in all the dirty clothes, first rubbing out the stains with a bar of Sunlight soap. She used a corrugated washing board for that. .

"Some time later, when the fire had gone out, Mum would haul the clothes, dripping wet, out of the hot water with a strong wooden copperstick, and that was jolly hard work. The clothes weighed a lot more sopping wet than when they were dry.

"Then she would feed the wet washing into a machine called a mangle. It had two large rollers with a narrow gap between them, and a big metal wheel that had to be turned by hand. That was my job - and it was real hard work for a small kid.

"We hung the clothes out to dry on a line strung between two trees and held up with a prop made from a forked branch. Sometimes a crow or a magpie would leave a visiting card on a clean sheet, which would have to be washed again.

"Mum used to starch the collars and cuffs of Dad's shirts to make them stiff and neat. He was a big man, and she was proud of the way he looked in his Sunday best, with his freshly ironed shirt."

How I wish I had known about her before her passing. I would love to have left her comments and links. But I celebrate her life, and am thankful I did find out about her.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

More, please

A Mr. Akbar Hussein writes in The Ottawa Citizen:

"When the non-Muslim world says with clear conviction that Islam propagates extremism, Muslims all around the world, even the terrorists, cry foul and declare that they are maligning Islam.

"But is there a loophole some where in this faith that can make a follower an extremist? How can the so-called religion of peace be twisted in such a way that it becomes a weapon of murder?"

(via littlegreenfootballs)

We got yer IEDs right here

Omar at Iraq the Model (scroll down a few posts) notes Iran is supplying an increasingly marginalized insurgency in Iraq with updates on the traditional IED (improvised explosive device). These newer IEDs include "flying" and "sticky."

"Sticky" in this context means magnetically attached, as to cars, with remote detonation. They're seen as more efficient since a lone person can attach one, whereas traditional IED emplacement requires teams.

And people wonder why everyone's yelling at Iran?

Omar: "Whether you're looking for 2,000km rockets, 150 meter flying IEDs, or palm-sized sticky IEDs...Iran is the one-stop-shop for all sorts of terrorist gear."

Losing Tony Snow


(image credit: www.komonews.com)

I've held off on posting about journalist Tony Snow's passing, because I felt there simply weren't enough superlatives to describe him, and didn't quite know how to approach it. Along with Tim Russert, another bright light in journalism is extinguished.

Susan Estrich, a stellar journalist on the left and friend of Tony's, had this to say, better than I could:

"He was so earnest, so dear, he liked everyone and assumed the same about everyone else; he was honorable and honest, and assumed it about others. You are so naive, I used to say to him. He would shake his head.

"But he wasn't really naive. He just knew what mattered and what didn't, what was worth caring about and what wasn't."

Also, blogger Dodgeblogium:

"It's very sad to hear of the death of Tony Snow. He was a great man.

"It is much poignant for me as I just completed chemo for colon cancer (I was diagnosed at 39) and wait for my next colonscopy to get the all clear. Let's hope that his death will be viewed by many as a good reason to get themselves checked for colon/bowel cancer. 53 is too damn young to die in this day and age. Remember Tony and get yourself checked if you are over 30!"

Well said.

Prayers go out to Tony's family.

The blogburst ... well, bursts!

Those familiar with the Harry's Place lawsuit will be heartened to know the blogburst has grown to quite a few bloggers, some of them real heavyweights.

If you're a blogger and haven't signed on yet, please do.

Cool physics

This guy mixed up some cornstarch and water, put it on a cookie sheet, and placed the sheet on top of a booming subwoofer:


(via boingboing)

Friday, July 11, 2008

'We few, we happy few'


(image credit: www.heroesforever.nl)


"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."

***********

I got Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.com to mention something on his blog today. Specifically, Harry's Place's fight against creeping censorship.

It's not something that happens every day. The stakes are high. Glenn gets zillions of requests per minute to plug any number of causes. That he chose the cause of Harry's Place -- and, more specifically, the blogburst movement in support of it -- is big.

Am I going over the top with the St. Crispin's Day analogy? Probably. But no other suffices.

I love placing hyperbole in the service of an immediate need. And I like to think The Bard would approve.

******************

FLASH!


Here's the text of an e-mail Glenn himself sent me just tonight:

"Thanks! Please keep up the good fight."

(On Fri, Jul 11, 2008 at 10:16 PM, (eowyn) wrote:

Glenn,

A great many people are thrilled that you mentioned the Harry's Place blogburst.

Well, perhaps not a "great" many, in the scheme of things -- but enough passionate believers in free speech that it makes a big difference. By such small dominoes do a great injustice fall, they (and I) hope.

A small thing for you, as one of the Internet's influencers, to drop a casual link -- but a huge thing to ordinary folks everywhere, who know you share what they think, and hope your audience resonates.

You're aces. Thanks, thanks, thanks."

*****************

So grooving :o) Yes, indeed :o)

Sauce for the goose ... right?

A Canadian Catholic has tried to file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The response when he telephoned in, wishing to speak with a lawyer? He was mocked.

Commenter Jana wonders: "Could this be the beginning of CBC-gate?" I certainly hope so.

(via blazing cat fur)

Missile fauxtography!


(Illustration by The New York Times; photo via Agence France-Presse)

Oh, those crazy Iranian mullahs. Someone buy them some Photoshop classes.

For more Photoshop fun, check out littlegreenfootballs.com:


(image credit: Buuuuurrrrning Hot)

Blogger needs our help

Harry's Place, a UK blog, is being sued by by Mohammed Sawalha, the President of the British Muslim Initiative, which has ties with Hamas and the Islamic Brotherhood.

Help show your support by going here and helping get a blogburst going.

(via blazing cat fur)

Nozzle rage



(via karmasurfer)

Some good news on the 'net neutrality' front

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said Comcast blocked access to the internet, and recommends the company be punished for it.

Note this: "The action was in response to a complaint filed by Free Press and Public Knowledge, nonprofit groups that advocate for 'network neutrality,' the idea that all Internet content should be treated equally."

See? We can do it, people. Constant vigilance!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I love my wife, but oh, you kid ...


(image credit: theantrevolution)

"Like most mining towns, Erdenet has a mood of grit and poverty. Decaying Soviet-era tenements huddle together in the center of town intermixed with piles of rubble, shabby internet cafes and brightly painted bus stops. In the distance, one can see neighborhoods of wooden shacks with corrugated metal roofs. Bilingual graffiti is everywhere, as are shops selling American-style HipHop clothing. ...

"As we drove along, we passed a great number of herders migrating to their summer pastures. All of their belongings were packed on the back of horses, camels or yaks and they usually traveled with large herds of animals such as sheep, goats, camels, horses, cattle or yaks."

******************************

(background to this post)

*puffed-up with pride*

That's MY DANA, recounting an experience of a lifetime.

She is, perhaps, one of the last of us to chronicle simpler lifestyles. This fills me with happiness ... and sadness.

Bare-nekkid Christians!

Flash! From Covenant Zone:

"The Christian nudist site – Gan Eden (the Netherlands) – and the nudist park Flevo-Natuur in Zeewolde are planning a nudist church service for 28 September. This is a result of the great success of an earlier such service at the end of June in which 80 nude people participated. Only the pastor, who came from the Roman Catholic diocese of Utrecht, was clothed."

(There's a link, but it's in Dutch, alas)

(But still ... hahahahahahaha!)

Obama: Shame on English

Advocate for the Republic sez:

"Why is English overwhelmingly used on the internet? Because America invented it. Why do so many people in foreign lands learn English? Because it makes their lives easier. They can trade with us. They can understand the new American or British pop hit. They can watch Star Wars without voices dubbed over. People learn English because it is practical for them to do so seeing as Britain and then America have been the driving force of history for so long."

Personally, I speak a smattering of a few languages, because I enjoy it. Languages are cool. But English is the lingua franca (to borrow from Gaul and Latin), and you have to have one. Should we educate ourselves in other languages? Of course. Languages are wonderful things, full of interesting treasures and discoveries. Any education that does not insist on at least exposure to them is lacking.

But for Sen. Obama to lecture us on our "embarrassing" ignorance of languages is pretty specious. When it comes down to it, we really only need to understand English.

Laura Bush's sleazy sex life revealed!

Or not.

I can't imagine which is more tawdry: serial womanizer Bill Clinton, the range and number of whose exploits we'll never know, or this attempt to make normal (and monogamous) sex between the president and his wife salacious.

Jeeze.

(via The Macho Response)

Pelosi seeks to muzzle Dem lawmakers


(image credit: blog.oregonlive.com/pdxgreen/2007/09/what_pel...)

Zenpundit at ChicagoBoyz:

"Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who would like very much to reimpose the old, so-called, “Fairness Doctrine” that once censored conservative opinion on television and radio broadcasting, is scheming to impose rules barring any member of Congress from posting opinions on any internet site without first obtaining prior approval from the Democratic leadership of Congress. No blogs, twitter, online forums - nothing."

Black holes now racist

But so are white holes.

(via The Drudge Report)

The website that controls U.S. news

Well, maybe The Drudge Report doesn't "control" the news -- but it certainly influences it.

Matt Drudge broke the Monica Lewinsky scandal back in the day. Since then, he's increasingly becoming required reading for newspeople and politicians of all descriptions. Just yesterday, he turned a chance remark by the Rev. Jesse Jackson into a full-blown media firestorm.

I find myself checking the site more than once a day.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ask an Iraqi about the future of his country

Guess what?

While we've all been blathering about what WE think should happen in Iraq, an Iraqi actually gives us a credible analysis of how things stand on the ground.

Who'd 'a thunk.

Why are we still driving Tinker Toys?

Karmasurfer wants to know:

"Why the hell don't we have free energy flying cars by now, like the Jetsons?"

'Dehumanizing our opponents'

From The Macho Response:

"'The Iranian regime epitomizes evil,' you say. While we may rightly abhor and condemn the archconservative social policies of that regime, surely we should reserve extreme terms like "evil" for the genuine monsters of history, like Nero, Vlad the Impaler or Hitler. Calling every petty regional dictator 'evil' is ultimately counterproductive by coarsening our political discourse and dehumanizing our opponents."

-- Camille Paglia, being extremely relativist - as a way to defend herself against the charge of being a relativist - for Salon.com"

***************************

Heh.

I wish relativist types could explain a few things to me, though.

Feminists: You're okay with that whole virtue police thing? You know, stopping women on the street who don't dress in baggy stuff? How about that whole wives-must-submit-to-their-husbands thing? You hated that in Christianity; how 'bout Shi'a?

Free-speech-claimers: You're okay with "Let's assassinate Bush," and not "let's wipe Israel off the map?"

Ms. Paglia sez: "Calling every petty regional dictator 'evil' is ultimately counterproductive by coarsening our political discourse and dehumanizing our opponents."

You don't think enriching uranium to create a weapon to wipe out an entire country is evil? You don't think Iran could possibly be "dehumanizing (its) opponents?"
No, I guess not. "Coarsening our political discourse" is a far greater crime. Sorry. I must have missed my last Newspeak class.

Sheesh.

Magic in British Columbia


(image credit: Charles Henry)

Charles Henry, of Covenant Zone:

"I took a friend to hike with me in this park last summer; there was so much to look at, every corner would reveal some new wonder... as we approached this vantage point he stopped in his tracks, and exclaimed: 'it's like an Art Gallery up here..!'

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; sometimes it's beautiful to watch them beholding it."

I would say country like that would be beautiful to any beholder; but it's lovely to enjoy someone else's wonder. It magnifies one's own a thousand times.

To me, this is part of the incredible magic all around us, if we only open our eyes.

Thanks, Charles Henry.

Taking a stand

There are few issues in modern culture more divisive than abortion. The pro-choice "consensus," however, is illusory. While legalizing abortion may be the status quo, the pro-life side refuses to abandon its position, and there are too many adherents to ignore.

Ignored they are, though. Worse, vilified -- for the "crime" of trying to save lives. They're not advocating totalitarian control; they're simply trying to persuade women to let their children live. One pro-life advocate, Seraphic Single, speaks eloquently about the hard road pro-life advocates walk in trying to get their message across. (She also, as a bonus, discusses the vilification Catholics get, in general and over the abortion issue specifically. Really fascinating discussion in her comments section.)

Her words wouldn't have gotten attention in the National Post had Blazing Cat Fur not taken a hand, and I think that was a totally cool thing to do.

However you feel on the issue, it's important to realize the "other side" feels just as passionately, and their arguments have merit. We shouldn't be so complacent in our mental template that we can't thoroughly examine the opposing view.

Personally? Abortion is murder. Having said that, though, I can't judge women who get them too harshly. They're almost always young and either scared or selfish; either way, pitiable to me. But I don't see the legalization of abortion being repealed until enough hearts and minds are changed -- and that's going to take time.