Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sometimes I'm No Man At All

Last night I was faced with a dilemma. I was in the mood for a cocktail but we were completely out of gin. It also didn't help that we had no lemons or limes in the house either. It was my own fault. I'd been in more of a beer (homebrewed English style mild ale) and Irish whiskey (Powers-regular label) mood of late, so I'd let my bar supplies lapse. So I put away my Vintage Cocktail guide and opened my trusty Bartenders Bible and looked for something I could make with the ingredients I had at hand.

To my surprise I found a simple recipe I hadn't tried before, so I gave it a whirl. All it called for was 1 and 1/2 oz. light rum and 1 oz. sweet vermouth. Stir it with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. It had a nice golden brown color and it was absolutely delicious. The herbal qualities of the vermouth were pronounced without being too much, and the bite of the alcohol was just right. In fact, this was exactly the sort of cocktail I have been looking for. Something interesting enough that I could turn to it again and again, AND simple enough that I would never forget how to make it if I came upon a less than knowledgeable bartender. It was perfect.

Except for one thing. The name of the drink is a bit of a problem. It is called A Little Princess, and no matter how hard I try I just cannot imagine myself walking up to the bar and proudly calling out, "Give me a Little Princess my good man!" I do not think of myself as someone drowning in his sense of machismo...but there it is all the same.

So it looks like I will have to drink my Little Princesses in the privacy of my own home.

Guilt By Statistical Sampling

From the Des Moines Register: 'Arrest near' in case of missing Crawford County park fees

Crawford County officials say they’re close to making an arrest in the suspected theft of at least $32,598 in camping fees.

County officials called in state auditors last year after raising concerns about the camping fees that had been collected at Yellow Smoke Park. Those concerns surfaced after the retirement of Alan Disburg, the park ranger at Yellow Smoke for the previous 16 years.

Auditor of State David Vaudt issued a written report on his office’s findings today. The report notes that Disburg’s duties included collection of the camping fees, oversight of the camping-registration ledger and preparation of the bank deposits.

...

Using checks or cash, campers at the park pay fees of roughly $15 per night. The campers place their payments in envelopes that are deposited in locked boxes on the campgrounds. Those payments are then collected by park employees, recorded in a camping-registration ledger, and eventually deposited in the bank.

In 2006, during the first full season of camping after Disburg’s retirement, the park collected and deposited $78,758 in camping fees – a 14 percent increase from 2005. At the same time, the percentage of all recorded fees that campers paid in cash, rather than checks, increased from 10 percent to 22 percent.

As a result, the amount of fees paid in cash that were deposited in the bank during 2006 was two and a half times greater than the amount deposited in 2005.

Using the 2006 data as a benchmark, state auditors calculated the expected amount of cash the park would have collected in camping fees between 2002 and 2005. They determined that at least $32,598 was collected during those three years but never deposited in the bank.

Now, barring a complete confession from the retired park ranger, I would have some trouble with the prosecutions case were I a juror. For starters, I would consider using a single year's worth of data woefully insufficient to establish guilt, let alone the severity of the rangers crime. There would be just too many unanswered or unanswerable questions. How much does attendance in the park vary over the years? How much does the ratio of checks-to-cash vary in customer payments? Did the relatively high price of gas cause more people to vacation closer to home and lead 2006 to be an unusually busy year? Even if it can be shown that the park ranger was indeed stealing, is it safe to assume that he stole at an even rate over several years worth of employment?

Basically, the county is claiming that the ranger stole an amount of money that may, or may not, have actually existed. I know that is the nature of "cash" businesses and they should have some way of dealing with the thieves in their midst. But it seems to me they should need to work harder to make this kind of case. Otherwise we will all be at risk of being incarcerated because of a statistical outlier.

A New Low In British Cuisine?

From the AP: Artist eats dog to protest alleged animal cruelty

A British performance artist has eaten part of a corgi -- the breed of dog Queen Elizabeth II favors as pets -- to protest the alleged mistreatment of animals by the royal family.

Mark McGowan dined on corgi meatballs Tuesday at a table set up on a London street in hopes of drawing attention to media reports that Prince Philip, the queen's husband, had beaten a fox to death during a hunt. The event was broadcast over a live radio program.

Yoko Ono, featured on the same radio program, also tasted a bit of the dog, McGowan said.

To make the corgi more palatable, it was minced with apple, onion and seasoning, turned into meatballs and served with salad.

It's an abomination. Corgi meatballs and SALAD? Corgi meatballs in a nice Hungarian goulash maybe, but salad?? Never with salad.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

This Has It Exactly Right


It is sad to see just how many people in this country will not stand up for the fundamental values of a liberal society.

It is heartening to see the courage of so many Venezuelans willing to stand up to Chavez and his neo-brown shirts.

(Gleaned from Gateway Pundit, via Jim Rose)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

An Oldie But Not So Goodie

Oh joy, the pretend Indian Ward Churchill is back in the news.

University president recommends firing professor:

The president of the University of Colorado has recommended that a professor who likened some September 11 victims to a Nazi should be fired, according to the professor and the school.

Ward Churchill, a tenured professor of ethnic studies, has denied the allegations and threatened a lawsuit if he is dismissed.

CU President Hank Brown made the recommendation in a 10-page letter sent to the chair of the committee that handles tenure issues. University spokeswoman Michele McKinney confirmed published reports about the recommendation Monday but said the school would not make the letter public.

The university's governing Board of Regents would have the final say on whether Churchill is fired or disciplined. It could be several weeks before the case ends up in its hands; the tenure panel must review it first.

Churchill touched off a firestorm with an essay likening some victims in the World Trade Center to Adolf Eichmann, who helped carry out the Holocaust.

University officials concluded he could not be fired for his comments because they were protected by the First Amendment, but they launched an investigation into allegations that he fabricated or falsified his research and plagiarized.

The interim chancellor of the university's Boulder campus and another faculty committee have also recommended Churchill be fired. At Churchill's request, the Privilege and Tenure Committee also reviewed the case and recommended a one-year suspension without pay and a demotion.

Churchill said Monday the university process was biased against him and that he believes he will get a fairer hearing in the courts.

Unbelievably I have to go back to a post I wrote in March of 2005 to properly deal with this rather moronic article of the AP's.

#1 - Any article or statement you read to the effect that Churchill is being "persecuted" because of his article saying 9/11 victims were "little Eichmann's" is a lie pure and simple. Any discussion that ignores the facts that (as this article outlines):[ed. This refers to a Rocky Mountain News Story that has long ago been removed to the archives.]

Churchill stands credibly accused of ethnic fraud, grade retribution, falsification of the nature of his military service, academic fraud, plagiarism, selling other artists' creations as his own and falsely accusing Denver Post columnist Diane Carman of inventing incendiary quotations.

This doesn't even include Churchill's repeated advocation of violence against those he disagrees with.

#2 - Academia is right, there is a question of academic freedom at stake here. However, it isn't the question they are asking. The inability of academia to honestly look at the record of Ward Churchill and exert even the barest minimum of professional standards upon him bodes ill. The entire premise of academic freedom is predicated upon the principle that the academic disciplines can be self regulating. The Ward Churchill episode is pointing out that this is simply untrue. If academics are unable to appropriately handle as "no-brainer" a case as this, how can anyone have the slightest confidence in academics ability to govern themselves? I don't think you can. This invites the interference of legislatures, which is not a good thing. But academia is, to all intents and purposes, abdicating their responsibilities. If you cannot hold Ward Churchill to even minimum academic standards, like firing him for the numerous frauds he has committed, then you have fewer arguments when the legislature decides to intervene.

For those who haven't yet had the opportunity to see Churchill's fraudulent "academic" work up close, you can still find the best dissection of it here.

The fact that the AP has framed this story to read as if Churchill is being fired because of his despicable statements is reprehensible. Churchill is being fired, we hope, because he is a fraud, who lied about his ethnicity in order to benefit from affirmative actions programs he was not entitled to, who produced "scholarship" that could only be called bogus, and who advocated deadly force be applied to his political "enemies."

Why is all of this beyond the capacity of the AP to understand?

Another Sign Of Growing Incivility In This Country

From the Des Moines Register: Badger on DM bridge 'wasn't very friendly'

A badger found on the Walnut Street Bridge in downtown Des Moines on Tuesday morning was stubborn, strong and determined not to be captured.

Police directed pedestrians around the west end of the bridge and when someone would ask about the detour, officers would say: "Badger."

Mike VanScoyk said he got a surprise as he walked back to the Polk County Administration Building after his morning break.

"It was growling at me and showing his teeth," said VanScoyk. "He wasn't very friendly at all."
Maybe the badger attended one too many Presidential campaign "Meet & Greet" and just snapped.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Forgotten

The DK tries to make their annual political point concerning casualties on Memorial Day here. They use the following chart:

Major Wars---------US K.I.A.---US Wounded
Revolutionary War--Est 5,000---Est 6,000
War of 1812---------Est 2500----Est 5,000
Civil War------------215,000----Est 400,000
World War 1--------53,402------64,000
World War 2--------291,557-----671,846
Korean War---------33,741------103,284
Vietnam War-------47,424------153,303
Iraq War------------3,454-------24,417
Afghanistan---------390---------1393

I have to point out that calling Iraq or Afghanistan a "major war" seems like a bit of stretch if we are using casualty figures as the sole factor. Now, it may not be, and you could certainly count, for example, length of deployment in theater to the criteria.

But, whatever criteria they are using, if Iraq and Afghanistan are on the list how do you keep the Philippine Insurrection (now often inaccurately referred to as, PC style, the Philippine-American War) off the list? Or the Spanish-American war?

The Philippine Insurrection accounted for at least 4,234 dead and 2,818 wounded, although that would not account for those who died of disease while on foreign duty. If you look at the ratio of KIA to death from disease in the Spanish-American war among the US Volunteers where 90% of the 4260 deaths came from disease, it indicates that the total death toll in the Philippines was more on the order of Vietnam or Korea than Iraq.

So if you raise a glass today to all of those serving around the world, raise a second glass afterwards for all of the fallen who don't normally get remembered.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

There Are Not Enough Quotation Marks In The World

Here is the BBC with some advocacy "journalism": Canada Catholics "ordain" women

An ordination ceremony that openly defies Roman Catholic doctrine has taken place in Toronto.

Five women and a married man, all Roman Catholics, have been ordained as priests and deacons by a female Catholic bishop.

However, the Vatican says it will not recognise either the ordinations or the group carrying them out.

The ordination ceremony was held at a Protestant church on the outskirts of Toronto known for its liberal views.

Priestly 'sacrament'

The building was packed with an enthusiastic congregation.

They watched as Bishop Patricia Fresen, one of the most well-known figures in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement, led the five women and one married man through a number of rituals to mark their ordination.

Bishop Fresen was herself ordained in a secret ceremony in Spain in 2003.

But the archdiocese of Toronto said that the organisation responsible for the ordinations has no affiliation or any dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church.

It said that ordaining men into the priesthood is a sacrament that cannot be changed.

But the bishops in the Womenpriests movement claim they are part of the church's valid apostolic succession, because Catholic bishops in good standing ordained them secretly.

First of all, the title of the piece should have been:

Canada "Catholics" "ordain" women


That is if we believe that the Vatican has more right to decide who is and who isn't a Catholic than a British news organization.

Inserting the appropriate punctuation the story should read:

An "ordination ceremony" that openly defies Roman Catholic doctrine has taken place in Toronto.

Five women and a married man, all "Roman Catholics," have been "ordained" as "priests" and "deacons" by a female "Catholic" "bishop."

But, of course, by that time any normal person would have hit the delete button and gone on to stories involving less delusional people...like the folks trying to put Bigfoot on the endangered species list.

This Will Make Some Folks Salivate

From the BBC: Caracas rallies over TV closure

Supporters and critics of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are rallying in Caracas, hours ahead of the closure of an opposition-aligned TV station.

Mr Chavez refused to renew Radio Caracas TV's (RCTV) licence, saying it had tried to undermine his government.

RCTV and rights groups say Mr Chavez is limiting freedom of expression.

Employees of RCTV, Venezuela's most watched channel, embraced and chanted "freedom" as they prepared for a final night of programmes.

Some employees were vowing to occupy the station studios overnight, possibly to hinder the government takeover, the AFP news agency reported.

Thousands of supporters of the station took to the streets, banging pots and pans to show their anger at the decision.

Pro-Chavez supporters held a party outside the ministry of communication, celebrating the end of the station's national reach.

This scenario gives many of the left in this country sweaty palms and heart palpitations as they gleefully imagine doing the same to Fox News.

Not that they don't believe in freedom of the press mind you. They support the freedom of the press....just not for everyone.

My Brain Hurts

See if you can follow the logic in this short piece from US News:

Swing voters are exhibiting a nuanced view of the situation in Iraq — and that isn't good news for antiwar Democrats.

They want the United States to get out, but they don't want a hasty retreat — and they want American involvement there not to have been in vain, according to focus groups and other survey research conducted for the Democrats.

"Swing voters are torn," says a Democratic strategist with close ties to the national party. "They aren't sure immediate withdrawal is a good idea" — and, as President Bush says, they don't want the sacrifices of U.S. troops to go to waste.

Even so, many Americans recognize how complex the situation in Iraq is, and they want their political leaders to make their positions clear, even if those positions are controversial. On the day after the congressional vote to fund the war and not impose timetables for removing U.S. troops, party insiders are very worried about the political effect of it all.

"It works into a negative narrative that the Democrats are not standing up and fighting for what they believe in," says the strategist. And many voters are linking that perception to their longtime concern that the Democrats are weak on national security. "A lot of people think, if you won't stand up and fight for what you believe in" — pulling out the troops — "then you won't stand up and defend us."

Someone is delusional here, either the US News reporter or the Democratic strategist. There is no logical way to get from:

They want the United States to get out, but they don't want a hasty retreat — and they want American involvement there not to have been in vain
to,

"A lot of people think, if you won't stand up and fight for what you believe in" — pulling out the troops — "then you won't stand up and defend us."

So which is it? Are swing voters really displaying "nuanced" thinking on the war, or are they pissed that Democrats are not acting categorically enough?

Really folks, those positions are mutually exclusive.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Every Crazy Person Believes They Are Lucid

That is all I could think of when I read the following:

This week has been a tough one for a concept that's been dear to the Daily Kos community over these last five years: realism. We've prided ourselves on being realistic, on not trying to candy-coat ugly truths and not lining up to swallow attractive lies.
As a Peircean Pragmaticist I am forced to offer this response:

I have known realism all my adult life. Realism is the byword of my political, ethical and epistemological values. Realism is a friend of mine.

You, and your whole community, are not realists. You are ideologues: People who believe "reality" is determined by having the will to blindly hang onto a preordained ideological vision. As a matter of method, you are exactly like Bush and Company, and reality plays no role whatsoever in your vision for this country.

The very least you can do is not lie about being ideologues.

Someone Please Put The Paul Campaign Out Of Our Misery

Luckily CQ is doing their part:

Folks, real conservatives don't propose to create special distinctions of criminals based on the color of their skin. (Neither do real libertarians, for that matter.) Here's the entire text of Ron Paul's newsletter, and another snippet (emphasis mine):

Regardless of what the media tell us, most white Americans are not going to believe that they are at fault for what blacks have done to cities across America. The professional blacks may have cowed the elites, but good sense survives at the grass roots. Many more are going to have difficultly avoiding the belief that our country is being destroyed by a group of actual and potential terrorists -- and they can be identified by the color of their skin. This conclusion may not be entirely fair, but it is, for many, entirely unavoidable.
Anyone who thinks that a man with this in his past can get elected President (as opposed to, say, the Senate seat from West Virginia) is as deluded as Ron Paul. Anyone defending these statements marginalizes himself.

Having Paul around for the debates discredits the Republican party every bit as much as the Democrats discredited their party by allowing Al Sharpton to share their highest platform.

Paul supporters need to get a life.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Your Musical Interlude, Part II

This time it's from Billy Bragg. It is a flashback to the days of AIDS hypersensitivity, and as such a bit of a museum piece. But it is a toe tapping number that features the late, great Kirsty MacColl.

Another Question

Is this valid trenchant criticism or unforgivable apostasy?

Chevy Chase's Fletch is abominably bad.

A Question

If Ron Paul is worthy of this much attention from the media, why don't they cover Lydon LaRouche's every statement when he runs for the Presidency as a Democrat?

They are both bigoted loons, so why is one covered and the other shunned?

More Bees In The News

I wonder when the media fascination with bees will come to a skreeching halt? Swarm of bees forces passenger plane to land

A passenger plane was forced to land after flying into a swarm of British bees Thursday.

The Palmair Boeing 737, with 90 passengers on board, had to return to Bournemouth Airport in southern England shortly after take-off following an engine surge.

The pilot decided to abort the flight to Faro in Portugal and returned for safety checks. The plane's engine was thought to have become clogged with bees, the company said Friday.

Huge clouds of bees have been seen around Bournemouth over the past few days, a spokeswoman said.

I love how the bees have been granted nationality. The plane didn't just hit bees, it hit British bees.

Maybe it would have been more accurate to say British hooligan bees.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Has The ACLU Jumped The Shark?

I know, I know...probably 15 years ago, but work with me!!! I'm blogging here!!

From Winds Of Change:


A very important article by Declan McCullagh at Politech about the direction the ACLU is taking:

Does the ACLU still believe in free speech? Maybe not any more
Wendy Kaminer, who co-authors thefreeforall.net with longtime Politech subscriber Harvey Silverglate, has a provocative and well-argued op-ed in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal. Wendy asks whether the ACLU still broadly supports free speech, and answers the question in the negative.

Wendy points out that the ACLU has been silent on a key free speech case involving anti-homosexual statements that set an important (and awful) precedent before the 9th Circuit and was AWOL on the Muhammad "hate speech" cartoons. The ACLU has supported legislative restrictions on speech of pro-life groups offering abortion counseling. The New York Civil Liberties Union failed to criticize a New York City Council resolution condemning use of the "n-word." And so on.

He raises some extremely serious issues.
This is not exactly a new phenomenon. Liberals and progressives have long been split between their totalitarian-minded leftist wing that loves to enforce political correctness through "hate speech" laws and campus speech codes -- and those who recognize the social and political dangers inherent in banning speech that someone dislikes, and believe the answer to objectionable speech is more speech.

I've talked about this in the context of speech as discourse vs. speech as a manifestation of power, and cite Stephen Hicks:
What we have then are two positions about the nature of speech. The postmodernists say: Speech is a weapon in the conflict between groups that are unequal. And that is diametrically opposed to the liberal view of speech, which says: Speech is a tool of cognition and communication for individuals who are free.

If we adopt the first statement, then the solution is going to be some form of enforced altruism, under which we redistribute speech in order to protect the harmed, weaker groups. If the stronger, white males have speech tools they can use to the detriment of the other groups, then don't let them use those speech tools.

I hate to say it, but it does seem that this is exactly what is going on. The belief that, for example, Republican or conservative students are being targeted because the faculty or administration is unsympathetic to their views is simply not strong enough to capture the reality. It is much too systematic in its approach to be the result of mere callousness. The intent in many cases is to dismantle the speech protections of the 1st amendment.

This is the only way to explain the rather silly statements made by critics of F.I.R.E. (an organization actually defending the rights the ACLU used to protect.) To them speech is not a right we have as members of this polity, but a privilege we are allowed to exercise as long as we kow-tow to a pre-ordained set of "appropriate" beliefs. In fact, the procedures of a free society interest such people not at all. What they want is the content of their ideological vision (whatever that may be), at any cost, via any means necessary. So, while they will complain if their own speech rights are violated, they will actively engage in denying those very same rights without so much as a twinge of conscience. They are ideological sociopaths, which really isn't all that unusual for folks who hold ideological ways of thinking. They view the "rules of the game" as being a tool to use when it benefits them, but as an obstacle to be overcome when the "opposition" is involved.

The impulse such thinking reveals is undemocratic, illiberal and most certainly tyrannical in inspiration. It is a sad day when an organization dedicated to American Civil Liberties has no negative opinion to offer on such a world view.

Substituting Dogma For Science Is A Really Bad Idea: Example #447

From Reuters (via CNN): Study: Killer hurricanes thrived in cooler seas

Hurricanes over the past 5,000 years appear to have been controlled more by El Nino and an African monsoon than warm sea surface temperatures, such as those caused by global warming, researchers said Wednesday.

The study, published in the journal Nature, adds to the debate on whether seas warmed by greenhouse gas emissions lead to more hurricanes, such as those that bashed the Gulf of Mexico in 2005.

Some researchers say warmer seas appear to have contributed to more intense hurricanes, while others disagree. The U.N. International Panel on Climate Change said this year it was more likely than not that humans contribute to a trend of increasingly intense hurricanes.
[emphasis added]

This simply underscores how the claims of the IPCC on hurricanes were in no way based upon the actual state of the scientific evidence. To claim the IPCC report represent the "consensus" of scientific opinion is so far from the truth it isn't even worthy of discussion.

The sad fact is the politicians of the IPCC needed to make these sorts of false hurricane claims to bolster their political contentions that the world was in mortal danger. It was a scare tactic, and a knowingly cynical one at that.

Frequent strong hurricanes thrived in the Western Atlantic during times of weak El Ninos, or warming of surface waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, and strong West African monsoons even when local seas were cooler than now, the study said.

"Tropical sea surface temperatures as warm as at present are apparently not a requisite condition for increased intense hurricane activity," Jeffrey Donnelly, the lead author and researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said in the study.

Intense hurricanes made landfall during the latter half of the Little Ice Age, a period of cooling that occurred approximately from the 14th to mid-19th centuries, he said.

...

Intense hurricanes hit when local sea surface temperatures were warm or cool. In fact, "the Caribbean experienced a relatively active interval of intense hurricanes for more than a millennium when local sea surface temperatures were on average cooler than modern," the study said.

I'm not particularly surprised at these findings. Look at the picture of a cyclonic storm below:



This is a picture of what is known as a "polar low." This photograph is of a storm just off of the coast of Iceland. Polar lows don't just look like tropical hurricanes, they have been known to reach hurricane force winds as well. These storms take place in the coldest waters on earth, so it has always seemed obvious that the warmth of the waters couldn't have been the determining factor on the development of cyclonic storms generally speaking.

So the IPCC is not selling science when they speak of hurricanes, they are selling a morality tale. "See the big bad people make the water warmer by their greed. See the warm water create hurricanes. See the hurricanes destroy the big bad greedy people."

One might think that some media members might catch on to this overwhelmingly simplistic reasoning about such a massively complex scientific problem as hurricane genesis.

Unfortunately, the media loves a good morality tale more than science.

Cross posted at The Typhoon Times.

CNN Is Still Flummoxed By Econ 101

New home prices plunge, sales soar

A big drop in the price of the typical new home sold in April spurred much better than expected sales

"You mean," says a puzzeled CNN staffer, "when prices drop people will be more disposed to buy?"

Yes, that's it exactly.

"Hmm....I still don't get it."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Iran Back In The Hostage Taking Business?

From the BBC:

The Soros Foundation has expressed concern for the safety of a US-Iranian scholar whom it says was detained in Iran earlier this month.

The foundation called for the immediate release of Kian Tajbakhsh.

It said he had been working as its consultant to facilitate public health and humanitarian assistance with the knowledge of the Iranian government.

There has been no confirmation of Mr Tajbakhsh's detention from the authorities in Tehran.

The Iranian intelligence ministry has accused the Soros Foundation - a private organisation that promotes democratic governance and human rights - of issuing propaganda against Iran.

Mr Tajbakhsh is the second Iranian-American national reported to be detained by Iran.

It looks like we are quickly developing a pattern here.

I've Said It Once, I'll Say It Again...

...God Bless Iowahawk:

Midwest Lutherans Largely Reject Violence

By an almost two-to-one margin, Midwest Lutherans voiced solid opposition to decapitation, suicide bombing, and chemical warfare in a new comprehensive survey of their social attitudes.

The Pew Research survey, conducted May 13-19, queried nearly 2,500 randomly selected Lutherans at flea markets and convenience stores across the Midwest. Interviews were conducted in High Plains Twang, Great Lakes Nasal and Flat Ohio Valley Bland.

"If there is one headline here, it's how remarkably moderate the Lutheran community is," said Pew director Andrew Kohut of the survey, which was co-sponsored by the Council on American-Yooper Relations. "It really paints a picture of a dynamic culture in or somewhere near the American mainstream."

Kohut pointed to one of the study's key findings that only 29% of all respondents agreed that "bloody, random violence against infidels" was "always" or "frequently" justified, versus 56% who said such violence was "seldom" or "never" justified. The approval of violence rose slightly among younger Lutherans and when the hypothetical violence was targeted against Presbyterians, but still fell well short of a majority.

"The only demographic cohort we saw where murderous random violence had a majority support was among 18-35 year old male followers of the Wisconsin Synod," said Kohut. "And that was barely above the margin of error. Even then, fewer than half (41% to 46%) said they would personally volunteer to carry out the violence themselves."

Further bolstering the findings, Kohut noted that fewer than 6% of respondents physically attacked field interviewers during the survey.

Although a majority 87% of respondents agreed that "The world should be brought to submission under global Lutheran conquest and eternal perfect rule," there was a great deal of disagreement on the means to accomplish it. More than 95% supported "pancake breakfasts" "popcorn fundraisers," but support dropped to less than 80% for "cow tipping" and "T-P'ing infidel houses." Support dropped even more dramatically for more violent means of conquest, such as "suicide bombing" (28%), "decapitation" (24%), and "running over Presbyterians with my Ski-Doo" (23%).

"Taken as a whole, the results show that Midwest Lutherans emphatically support a moderate, mainstream path to world domination," said Kohut. "These folks are well-assimilated into the broad fabric of American society, and unless you are Presbyterian, there is probably very little here to cause concern."

Kohut said that optimism about the results should be tempered by the grim economic realities faced by many in the Lutheran community. Nearly 65% of female survey respondents said they lived more than 30 minutes from the nearest outlet mall, while a strong majority of males said they were "often" or "sometimes" worried about having enough money for green fees and Leinenkugel.

Equally disturbing, many respondents reported experiencing discrimination at the hands of non-Lutherans. Frequently cases of non-Lutheran bigotry included "Got all nose-in-the-air like" (48%), "Made personal remarks about my hot dish" (37%), "Wouldn't let me borrow their combine head" (36%), and "Wouldn't stand still so I could kill them" (22%).

"I think it's important for all of us to remain vigilant against this kind of virulent anti-Lutheran backlash, and make sure they feel a welcome part of our society," said Kohut.

Ted Jarvenpaa, spokesman for CAYR, agreed.

"Ya, we're done doin' dat assimilatin' eh?" said Jarvenpaa. "Now it's your turn."

Begging For Billionaire$

Here is a film on the abuse of eminent domain in Missouri that everyone should put on their short "must see" lists.

The "official" trailer:



Here is a teaser as well:



I will definitely have more to add on this soon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What Do You Say When You Can't Blame The Jews?

Nothing it seems.

Be Whose Guest Exactly?

Measure to remove guest worker program from bill fails

The Senate on Tuesday defeated a measure that would have eliminated the guest worker program from the bipartisan immigration legislation announced last week.

The amendment, introduced by North Dakota Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan, was rejected with a 64-31 vote.

The immigration bill is the result of a deal struck after nearly three months of bipartisan talks and endorsed by the White House last week. It would offer the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants now in the United States a path to citizenship, boost border controls and establish a guest-worker program that would grant two-year residency for up to 400,000 people.

The Senate still has to debate and vote on an amendment being offered by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-New Mexico. His proposal would cut the guest worker program in half.

Many Democrats don't like the program because they think it drives down wages for American workers and creates a permanent underclass of immigrant workers.

Republicans generally favor a strong guest worker program because businesses say they need the labor.

I must say I'm with the disaffected Democrats on this one. If the bill was strictly limited to seasonal agricultural work I'd be OK with it, but you know it will not be used that way. For example, it is well known that slaughterhouses like to use cheaper illegal labor NOT because they couldn't find Americans willing to do the work, but because they cannot find Americans willing to do the work for minimum wage. However, if you have an ever rotating series of "temporary" workers who would probably work for under the minimum wage, you are permanently removing those jobs from the American worker. You are definitely suppressing the wages of American workers as well.

Additionally, given the problems we already have with other types of "guests" over staying their visas, isn't it likely that all this guest worker program will accomplish is to make it easier for 400,000 people a year to illegally immigrate to the United States?

I know that sounded rhetorical, but the answer is "yes".

More Hurricane Alarmism

I sort of wish the media would stop covering these stories since they seem incapable of understanding them correctly: Experts predict 'active' hurricane season

Story Highlights• Forecasters predict seven to 10 hurricanes this season
• Expert: Florida 4 times as likely to be hit, Texas twice as likely
• El Nino over, making way for more storms on East, Gulf coasts
• Last year, there were 10 named storms in the Atlantic

...

Government forecasters called for a busier than normal hurricane season Tuesday.

National Weather Service forecasters said they expect 13 to 17 tropical storms, with seven to 10 of them becoming hurricanes.


OK, lets look at this. Since 1967 the percentage of tropical storms that have made landfall in Florida is a little over 13%. On average, also from 1967, 1.45 tropical storms make landfall in Florida every year. Since storms hit in full integers lets say, one or two a year.

Now, given the range of 13 to 17 tropical storms predicted, we would expect Florida landfalls in the 1.69 to 2.21 range, or one to three this year.

Sure it could be more or it could be less, but if you are in the media you are probably better off giving people an idea of what they can expect on average. Presenting it as if Floridians are facing a 400% greater risk is simply fear mongering.

Plus, the claim is simply false. For example, Florida has been hit by at least one tropical system in 16 of the last 17 hurricane seasons (or 94%). Given such a track record, saying that in this year they are 4 times as likely to be hit is utter nonsense.

NFL: National Felons League



If this is any judge the NFL has a long way to go to gain control of their league again: Skins Portis, Samuels ridicule dog fighting as crime

Washington Redskins players Clinton Portis and Chris Samuels defended Michael Vick on Monday by ridiculing the notion that dog fighting is considered a crime.

In an interview with WAVY-TV, Portis said that if the Atlanta Falcons quarterback is charged and convicted of being involved in a dog fighting operation, then authorities would be "putting him behind bars for no reason."

"I don't know if he was fighting dogs or not," Portis said. "But it's his property; it's his dogs. If that's what he wants to do, do it."

Portis said dog fighting is a "prevalent" part of life.

Portis, a native of Laurel, Mississippi, added: "I know a lot of back roads that got a dog fight if you want to go see it. But they're not bothering those people because those people are not big names. I'm sure there's some police got some dogs that are fighting them, some judges got dogs and everything else."

"Politicians," added Samuels, who found it hard to keep from giggling while Portis was talking.

"Presidents," added Portis with a laugh.

Vick has been under investigation since April 25 when police conducting a drug investigation raided the house owned by the quarterback in rural Surry County and found dozens of dogs. They also found items associated with dog fighting, including a "pry bar" used to pry apart a dog's jaws. No charges have been filed.

Dog fighting is a felony in Virginia, but Portis said that if Vick is charged and convicted, "Then I think he got cheated. ... You're putting him behind bars for no reason -- over a dog fight."

"Haven't you seen Animal Planet?" Samuels added with a giggle.


These guys sicken me.

I have seen the results when these sociopaths who fight dogs get hold of a stray or steal people's pets to use as "practice" for their animals. It is a felony for a damn good reason.

Now, I do not know if Michael Vick had any personal knowledge of what was going on on his property or not, but if the law requires penalties to be assessed to a landowner on whose land such activities take place, so be it. However, the crass attitude displayed by Portis and Samuels seems to indicate that dog fighting is accepted as part of their "culture," so it becomes harder for Vick to claim he had no idea what was going on.

If the "culture" of the NFL is to condone such behavior I for one want to have nothing to do with the league.

(Dis)Order In The House

From Reuters: Gay U.S. bishop snubbed by Anglican conference

The archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual head of 77 million Anglicans worldwide, has not invited two wayward bishops to a major conference next year, a move likely to stir controversy in the deeply divided communion.

Archbishop Rowan Williams has sent invitations to more than 800 Anglican bishops asking them to attend the Lambeth Conference in London in July and August 2008, but has not invited two American bishops -- Gene Robinson and Martyn Minns.

Robinson has caused division since he was consecrated as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, becoming the Anglican Church's first openly gay bishop.

Minns, a deeply conservative Episcopalian, was installed last year as the head of a new Nigerian-based church branch in the United States designed as a refuge for orthodox believers. The Anglican Communion does not recognize his position.

"I have to reserve the right to withhold or withdraw invitations from bishops whose appointment, actions or manner of life have caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the Communion," Williams wrote in his invitations, which were sent out on Tuesday.

"I do not say this lightly, but I believe that we need to know as we meet that each participant recognizes and honors the task set before us and that there is an adequate level of mutual trust between us about this."

It is possible that others will either not be invited or will have their invitations withdrawn before the conference takes place if anything "untoward or unacceptable" occurs between now and then, an Anglican spokesman said.

There seems to be a couple of different aspects to this situation. The most obvious is the desire of Williams that the bishops behave themselves. By removing the most obvious sources of rancor, bishops Robinson and Minns, Williams is hoping to restore some collegiality to the Lambeth proceedings. And, really, who could blame him for that?

However, I also get the sense that Williams is secretly hoping these sorts of problems will just go away on their own. In light of this the Reuters headline misses the point. The "snub" of Robinson is not the important thing here, especially as the article points out that Robinson will probably be invited to the conference as a "guest." The real point seems to be that Williams will accept whatever the American Church decides. Williams just wants them to stop squabbling. Fundamentally, this signals that Williams has no desire to get involved with the concerns of traditional minded Episcopalian in the United States, even if he sympathizes with them.

The real question is if the rest of the Anglican communion will go along with this approach, or if further fractures will appear as a result. The strong stand taken by the traditionalists in the African churches signals there may be more troubles ahead.

Williams may just want everybody to get along, but what he might get is a wider schism.

To Ron Paul: Don't Let The Door Hit You In The Ass On The Way Out

Ron Paul is unacceptable and should be "uninvited" to main stream Republican gatherings. Banish him to the LaRouchey circuit where he belongs. Follow the link to CQ for details.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Real Face Of The Iranian "Revolution"




I'd have hope for Iran if I could state that the "men" who did this looked ten times worse after the bystanders got hold of them.

Sadly, Iran is still hopeless.

(Gleaned from Kamangir)

Slow News Day?

All I can say is Thank God the world wide news resources of the AP and CNN have been brought to bear:

A swarm of honeybees temporarily disrupted a charity fundraising event, but no one reported being stung.

But, I crave more detail!!!

The bees landed on a large umbrella shading the campsite

God bless you AP. *sniff*

Some Required Reading

Josie Appleton has a very nice essay on Anthropogenic Global Warming as subconsious projection: Measuring the political temperature

Environmentalist writer Mark Lynas’ new book about global warming takes for its metaphor Dante’s descent through the circles of hell. But while Dante was guided by the poetics of Virgil, Lynas follows the research findings of scientists; and while Dante plotted a route down through the unbaptised, gluttonous, slothful and treacherous, Lynas descends through one, two, three or even six degrees rise in global warming (we’re spared Dante’s final three circles of hell because the Intergovernmental Planet on Climate Change (IPCC) only estimated a rise in temperature of up to six degrees).

Dante dealt in moral failings such as betrayal and faithlessness; Lynas deals with the more anodyne stuff of car journeys to work and buying tropical fruit at the supermarket. Regardless, we will be visited with the results of our sinful actions, as daily energy usage is repaid in the rising of the planet’s mercury.

...

As a rule of thumb, the more self-critical the science, and the more it tests itself against reality, the more accurate it will be. If all theories draw their metaphors from society, some do so justifiably – in a way that grasps nature’s real operation – and some do in a way that merely distorts and mystifies. So, as it happens, Darwin was right and the ‘good of the species’ theorists were wrong: their theory was based merely on wishful thinking, on how they wanted nature to behave rather than how it really did. The thing that separated Darwin from others was his systematic testing: he spent years closely scrutinising species, measuring his ideas against the evidence before his eyes. Even in his Origin of Species he raised all the facts that did not fit into his theory, and sought to adapt his ideas in order to explain them.

The less self-reflective the science, and the more it is founded on political and moral campaigns, the less reliable it is likely to be. And in Lynas, we see how global warming science has become a foil for a whole series of political and moral agendas, a way of discussing everything from the sins of consumerism to human arrogance. Outlining the effects of a four degrees rise in temperature, Lynas writes: ‘Poseidon [God of the sea] is angered by arrogant affronts from mere mortals like us. We have woken him from a thousand-year slumber, and this time his wrath will know no bounds.’ Not only Poseidon and Gaia but also terms such as ‘Mother Nature’ and ‘nature’s revenge’ have slipped into everyday discussion about climate change. Darwin did not, so far as we know, give names of Gods to his finches. When scientific concepts start to be discussed in such emotional terms, it suggests that they say more about wish than reality.

There is a lot more to Appleton's cogent analysis so please go read it all.

Why Didn't He Say This Earlier?

Here is a quote from Jimmy Carter that I can finally get behind:

I don’t claim to have any relevancy.

Thank God for small favors.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Your Musical Interlude

"But It's Way The Hell Down In Mexico!"

Tully over at Stubborn Facts asks about the war our media cannot be bothered to cover:

A caravan of fifty heavily armed men encounters two policemen, beats them and leaves them lying in the road. A short while later five more officers respond. Four are later found dead, no word on the fifth. Military units catch up to the caravan and a pitched gun battle ensues, leaving 20 more dead.

It's the latest incident in a running conflict that has produced a thousand or more casualties in just the last few months. Police stations have been attacked, newspapers bombed, soldiers and police and civilians kidnapped and decapitated. Government officials and the military can't seem to get it under control, or even slow down the carnage. Corruption among both local police and federal military seems to be playing a major role. Pleas for a local troop "surge" have gone unanswered. Many citizens have fled to neighboring countries--10% or more of the nation's population is gone, living over the borders.

Just another day in Iraq, you say? WRONG.

It's Mexico, and the gun battle took place two days ago near Arizpe, Sonora, less than a hundred miles from the Arizona border. Drug gangs are slugging it out for turf, and our porous southern border is the prize. You'd think all this should rate some air time on American media, now in the middle of the immigration debate.

Well, shouldn't it?

Well, it should, but it won't. The sad fact is it doesn't matter to the media even if it is important for U.S. public policy, foreign policy and immigration reform.

Besides, such a story does not fit into the pre-ordained story lines the media has mapped out concerning Mexico. Some might claim that were we not in Iraq such a story would get media coverage in the states, but I doubt it. I believe there are many in the MSM who would view following this story as being inherently racist. It could possibly lead more Americans to cast a leery eye over open immigration efforts, and the media can't have that!

Americans are ignorant enough of the wider world around them without the media "helping" matters by deciding what we should or shouldn't be told.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The All Spin Zone

Here is the DK take on the defeat of the Feingold-Reid Amendment to defund the war effort:

The Feingold-Reid Amendment failed this morning, 29-67. Twenty-nine of our Democratic Senators does comprise a majority of the majority party, and is a significant bump from the 11 senators who are actual cosponsors of the bill.

It's hard to type from laughing so hard.

Remember you heard it here first. To garner a full 18 votes in the Senate more than the actual sponsors of a bill is a sign of success, and not abject humiliation and failure.

Who knew?

Side note:

As folks can see the computer problems have been solved. (At least for the moment.)

No One Expects The Islamic Inquisition?

From the BBC: Pakistan Christians demand help

Christians in north-west Pakistan are demanding government protection following threats of bomb attacks if they do not become Muslims.

An unsigned letter received 10 days ago said they had to convert by Thursday.

Militants have been carrying out a sustained campaign to prevent "anti-Islamic" activities in North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Last week they blew up a number of music and video shops in the towns of Charsadda and Tangi.

Living in fear

The Christian community, a tiny minority, received an anonymous letter demanding they convert or face the consequences.

The BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says that while a few families have left, the rest live in fear.

Police say they have stepped up security at churches but Christians complain that not enough has been done to protect them.

Of course when you are dealing with so few families there is no need to attack the church buildings as such. The fear of every Christian family in Pakistan must be that the medieval Islamists know where they, and their families, live.

Light Posting

There are some computer difficulties in the Iconic Midwest, so it may be a couple of days before posting resumes its normal schedule.

Please continue to talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, May 14, 2007

People This Stupid Shouldn't Be Teachers

From the BBC:

Teachers at a US school have been criticised after staging a fake gun attack during a class trip, telling children it was not a drill.

Many of the 69 pupils, aged about 11, were reduced to tears when they were told to hide under tables and keep quiet as a gunman was on the loose.

Parents of the children, who attended Scales Elementary school in Tennessee, were said to be furious at the "stunt".

The school spoke of "poor judgment" but did not comment on disciplinary action.

...

The incident lasted about five minutes and was intended to be a learning experience, said the school's assistant principal, Don Bartch, who led the trip.

Oh, it was a learning experience alright. We learned Mr. Bartch is an idiot who should not be allowed near children.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Bitching In Unexpected Places?

Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I found this interesting. From a statement from the National Hurricane Center:

SPECIAL TROPICAL DISTURBANCE STATEMENT
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1135 AM EDT SAT MAY 12 2007

A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE...THE REMNANT OF SUBTROPICAL STORM
ANDREA...IS CENTERED ABOUT 170 MILES EAST OF DAYTONA BEACH FLORIDA.
SATELLITE IMAGERY AND SURFACE OBSERVATIONS INDICATE THE SYSTEM HAS
BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED...AND IT COULD BECOME A TROPICAL DEPRESSION
DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS AS IT MOVES SLOWLY TOWARD THE NORTHEAST.
AN AIR FORCE RESERVE RECONNAISSANCE MISSION THAT WAS SCHEDULED
FOR THIS AFTERNOON HAS BEEN CANCELED DUE TO RESOURCE ISSUES
.

Now, I read a lot of these statements and little asides are not exactly unknown, but there is something being implied here. It just sounds like there may be a squabble over money.

Cross posted at The Typhoon Times.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The French Are On A Common Sense Roll

From Reuters: Sarkozy's flirt with the rich leaves French unmoved

Nicolas Sarkozy's Mediterranean holiday on a luxurious private yacht marks a departure from the unwritten French rule that you should be discreet about money and wealth, but voters do not seem to mind.

Barely 24 hours after being elected president on Sunday, Sarkozy and his family took a private jet to Malta for a break aboard the 70-metre (230-foot) yacht of a billionaire friend, which media said would cost some 200,000 euros ($269,500) a week to hire.

"It's the first time that someone who has only just been elected is associating himself so openly with the rich," said historian Odon Vallet, adding the trip was clumsily chosen for a leader who will have to defend the need to cut public debt.

"If I was him, I would have gone to a small inn in rural France and would have sent my wife to pay a visit to a pensioners' home," he said, adding he felt that was what former president Charles de Gaulle would have done.

Yeah, but maybe Sarkozy didn't feel like taking a mistress along on the trip.

Left-wing opposition leaders said Sarkozy's stay on media mogul Vincent Bollore's yacht was ironic, given his pledges to do more for poor workers, but voters seemed unconcerned.

Fifty-eight percent said they did not think his holiday was shocking, according to an OpinionWay survey for Le Figaro daily published on Friday.

Thank God the hubris of the left is so often good for a few laughs.

Good Dogs Doing Good Work

Indiana has all the good news about Man's Best Friend.

Pit bull credited for fire rescue

KOKOMO, Ind. -- A pit bull named Kadense saved a 70-year-old man from an apartment fire when she started barking, howling and jumping to alert people to the blaze.

Jason McKoon said he saw the dog "flipping out" early Tuesday morning near a door and he knew something wasn't right. The 19-year-old walked outside to find the whole side of a nearby apartment and shed on fire.

"My buddy called 911, and I went and pounded on my uncle's door," McKoon said.
He then managed to lead his uncle, Bruce Price, safely down the apartment stairs.

...

"One of the firefighters I talked to said if it wasn't for that dog, my uncle wouldn't have made it," Carroll McKoon said. "She dearly loves Uncle Bruce. He brings her treats all the time."

She called Kadense a sweetheart and noted that pit bulls could use some good publicity.

"She loves everybody," McKoon said. "They say a lot of bad things about pit bulls, here's one that did so good."

And:

Wounded police dog kept up job before dying
Though shot in the chest and bleeding, Bo, an 8-year-old Indianapolis metropolitan police dog, continued to do his job Thursday to subdue a suspected burglar.

He then died at the feet of officer Scott Johnson, his partner of six years.

Clinton Drew Hernandez, 21, was arrested after Johnson shot him twice in the leg and buttocks. Hernandez was being held at Wishard Memorial Hospital and faces preliminary charges of attempted murder, fleeing, burglary, theft and battery on a law enforcement animal, a charge that could lead to a formal felony charge against Hernandez, according to the Marion County prosecutor's office.

"The dog apparently engaged him (Hernandez), and then the suspect fired a shot at the dog, who continued to chase him," said Paul Thompson, IMPD spokesman.

Johnson returned fire and wounded Hernandez, but Bo's injury was too severe to be treated.

Thompson said Johnson was not ready to speak publicly about the incident.

Thursday morning's shooting was the second time in two years that an Indianapolis police dog has been shot and killed in the line of duty.

A No Evangelizing Zone

There have been way too many of these types of stories. From the Des Moines Register, Vet: Chaplains tried to convert me

U.S. Navy veteran David Miller said that when he checked into the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City, he didn't realize he would get a hard sell for Christian fundamentalism along with treatment for his kidney stones.

Miller, 46, an Orthodox Jew, said he was repeatedly proselytized by hospital chaplains and staff in attempts to convert him to Christianity during three hospitalizations over the past two years.

He said he went hungry each time because the hospital wouldn't serve him kosher food, and the staff refused to contact his rabbi, who could have brought him something to eat.

Miller, an Iowa City resident and former petty officer third class who spent four years in the Navy, outlined his complaints at a news conference in Des Moines on Thursday.

...

The hospital's chaplains and staff, Miller said, have the attitude that you either accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior and you are saved, or you are damned.

He said he has tried to resolve the problems with the hospital's administration without success.

"I am not trying to get rid of the chaplain corps," Miller said. "When I was in the Navy, I was a religious program specialist. I worked with Christian chaplains, and I believe in the value of the chaplain corps, but not using it to bludgeon people, for heaven's sake."

I'm sorry but military chaplain should not engage in active ministry if they believe that requires them to evangelize. Chaplain should be a resource that military member can CHOOSE of their own free will. If you can't abide by those standards then do us all a favor and get the hell out of the military.

Way Too Typical

Welcome to the death of academic freedom, this time at Hamline.

In the wake of the VT shootings:

Hamline stood ready to treat its entire student body as victims, offering all sorts of free and presumably anonymous counseling and "coping" assistance. When one of them challenged that status, they use the same mechanism to humiliate and punish him. Either Stern has never read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, or he has only done so as a do-it-yourself guide to political correctness and punishment for its violators.

It is all too true. Too often today so called liberals are demanding "re-education" for any who oppose them. They will admit to no rational ground to stand against their wishes. To oppose their agenda is, they feel, evidence of an "unbalanced" mind.

It is a short step from here to the psychopharmalogical "neutralization" of dissent.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Actual Honest To God Censorship

One of my pet peeves is when the word "censorship" is used in situations where it no way can be used accurately. If a library in a Catholic school removes a pro-choice book from it shelves that is not "censorship." Anyone is free to go get the book from a public library, buy it from a bookstore, or order it from Amazon. The point is, if you really want to read it, it is available to you. Now, these types of situations may or may not be good policy, but they are in no way censorship; i.e. the government is not coming in and keeping you from viewing the material.

In the case of PBS and the suppressed documentary on radical Islam (Islam vs. the Islamists), given the special connection PBS has with the government of the United States and with us citizens, it is potentially much fairer to use the term censorship. The reasons PBS gives for not showing the film are troubling to say the least. They claim the film is "unfair" and "unprofessional...not up to PBS standards." Considering that I have seen Roger & Me and Bowling For Columbine on PBS stations (not to mention anything produced by Bill Moyers), the notion that they are forever trying to be "fair" is laughable. Besides, as in so many other artistic works, filmmakers (or at least good ones) will always bring their own subjective point of view to every project. If that is really a problem than nothing could be shown on PBS. Besides, the cry of "this is unfair" is in itself a subjective pronouncement by the PBS administrators, and one that in the end should be given very little sway.

The claim that something is "unprofessional and not up to standards" is something that might also be in the eye of the beholder. However, by all accounts the film in question is a very well made piece of work that is in many ways superior to the usual "American Crossroads" fare.

This is how Academy Award nominee Roger L. Simon saw the film after a screening:

Burke’s doc is a riveting and creatively made film about the most important subject of our time: what to do about radical Islam? It confronts this dilemma in a sly, novelistic manner, inter-weaving the stories of good, moderate Muslims with the Imams and supposedly “true Muslims” who, not surprisingly, accuse the moderate Muslims of not being Muslims at all. Soon enough we learn these Imams are apologists for terrorism and for the worst kind of medieval religious sadism. (One of them enthusiastically endorses the stoning to death of adulterers by holding up a Koran. “I didn’t make this up,” he says proudly. “It is written here.”) The mostly mild-mannered moderate Muslims are shown to be at risk for the lives, some of them accompanied everywhere by bodyguards.

All this is done with the people talking about themselves and revealing themselves (including the Imam responsible for the bloody Danish Cartoons riots). There are no so-called “terrorism experts” or other talking heads interpreting reality for us. In other words, this is a film, not another one of those didactic docs referred to above.

But it does have a strong point of view – and therein lies the rub. PBS, clearly, does not like what this movie says. And I suspect it likes it less because the film is well made (the reverse of what the network originally claimed).

PBS’ views seem particularly troglodytic today in light of recent events at Fort Dix. But that is the least of it. What is far more important to our country is that our Public Broadcasting network, an organization supported by taxpayer money, is practicing the most obvious censorship. PBS is operating here in the manner of similar institutions in the former Soviet Union and in modern day Iran – financing artists and then withholding distribution of their work when it is not deemed ideologically “correct”. It’s a form of thought-control and it’s unconscionable.

I hereby call on my fellow Motion Picture Academy members, whatever their political leanings, to protest this cowardly and un-American act of censorship. As artists, we should be appalled by such blatant disregard of our First Amendment rights. Public funding of PBS should be reconsidered if such reactionary behavior continues.

I agree with Roger. PBS should be held to a much higher standard because of who they are and what they are supposed to represent, the American people. As such, they should not interfere with an artists work because they dislike his or her viewpoint.

There is a word for that type of behavior. Censorship.

If you haven't done so yet, you can sign a petition protesting this act of PBS here.

Finally, Something Important

What does the musical taste of the Presidential candidates say about them? Well let us see: From the AP (gleaned from Reality Chaeck '08).

What was your last music purchase?

Democrats:

Delaware Sen. Joe Biden: ''My sister's playlist.''


A cop out. An attempt to be "hip and up to date," but not actually telling us what sort of music his sister has on her playlist (Gilbert & Sullivan? Korn?) presents difficulties. What are you hiding Senator?

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Carly Simon's ''Into White.''

Ugh. Terrible musically, BUT an honest to goodness music lovers answer. This smacks of authenticity.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd: Soundtrack to 'Jersey Boys.''

Picking a soundtrack album is only slightly better than Biden's answer.

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards: U2.

u2, OK that's fine...but which one!!?!?? The latest? War? Come'on! It leaves open the likelihood that he couldn't actually come up with the title.

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Likes Willie Nelson.

Answer the question Congressman!! What a weaselly little answer!

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama: ''The latest music purchase would probably be 'Ray' -- the soundtrack from the Ray Charles movie.''

Fails because of the Soundtrack aspect, plus, if you were gonna get a Ray Charles retrospective you can do better.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson: George Strait, ''50 Number Ones.''

Ugh. "Greatest Hits" are only slightly better than soundtracks. It says to the world, I like this music because a lot of other people like this music.

Republicans:

Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback: Christian artist Michael W. Smith.


AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani: Verdi's ''Macbeth.''

Classy, but a little snooty, don't ya think? Where is the "man of the people"?

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: Evanescence, the goth rock group from Little Rock, Ark.

This fails because, 1) He doesn't name an actual album, 2) He looks like he is pandering to the folks back home, and 3) I get real annoying spam from someone offering me a free Evanescence ring tone for the cell phone I do not own.

California Rep. Duncan Hunter: Favors country and gospel.

Answer the question Congressman!!!!!!! What is with the guys in the House??? Take a real stand!!

Arizona Sen. John McCain: Likes ''Sounds Of Summer - The Very Best Of The Beach Boys.''

Fails the "Greatest Hits" rule, AND because Pet Sounds and All Summer Long should be owned in their entirety, at least for a real music fan.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: ''Selection of Roy Orbison songs from iTunes.''

Alright, the Orbison is terrific, the iTunes not so much. These folks are supposed to be Baby Boomer! If they cannot support the Album as art form, who can?

Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo: ''Frank Sinatra duet combo.''

Isn't the name of this album Duets? You really couldn't come up with the title? Really?

Well, Clinton wins followed by Giuliani.

A very disappointing performance by the candidates as a group.

Next up: Their Netflix queues.

"To These Aged Eyes, Boy, That's What Winning Looks Like"

Here is the DK take:

Bush is too stubborn and too removed from reality to recognize the damage hanging on to his pal Fredo is doing to his administration.

Oh I don't know. I'm not sure how much political capital this administration has anyway, and as this second term winds down there will be less chance to spend it in any event. This battle over the AG is a symbolic affair, an attempt to put an exclamation point upon the President's weaknesses. And despite all the pressure that was brought to bear, and despite the attempts of Slate to melt my scientific calculator, Gonzalez is still sitting as his desk.

It ain't much of a victory, but the President won this one.

Which brought to mind this exchange from Lion In Winter:


Henry: It's been most satisfactory.

Phillip: What's so satisfactory?

Henry: Winning is. I did just win. Surely you noticed.

I'm pretty sure the DK never will notice.

This Post Is The Blog Equivalent Of Me Rolling My Eyes

From a story about a Rhode Island University making Al Gore's movie a graduation requirement comes this quote from an assistant dean:

"Penguins, polar bears and your unborn children have no vote in this. They must live with decisions we make today," the assistant dean said.

Oh. My. God.

Remember, every time you drive to the pharmacy to fill a prescription Chilly Willy dies.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Alright Johnny Boy, Explain This



Australian PM John Howard got lots of media play castigating the United States for its "violent gun culture" after the Virginia Tech shootings, but in some ways our lone psychotic is less chilling than the tale of two Aussie teenage girls: Perth girls get life for murder

Two teenage girls in Western Australia have been sentenced to life in prison for killing a friend to see whether they would feel remorse at the deed.

The girls, aged 16 at the time of the murder, strangled Eliza Jane Davis then buried her under a house.

They told police they knew it was wrong to kill but it "felt right", and they did not regret Davis's death.

Perth Children's Court president Denis Reynolds said the murder was "gruesome and merciless in the extreme".

Shallow grave

The pair, who cannot be named because of their age, killed 15-year-old Davis while the three were staying at the same house in the coal-mining town of Collie, south of Perth, on 18 June 2006.

They had been discussing how neither would feel bad about committing murder when they decided to kill Davis, who was sleeping in another room, a court heard in April.

They dressed in old clothes then strangled Davis with speaker wire and buried her body under the house, the court heard.

The girls confessed to police after deciding the grave was too shallow and that they would inevitably be caught.

Earlier, they had reported Davis as missing and pretended to help with the search for her body.

Their lawyers said experts were baffled as to the motivation behind the attack.

The girls were jailed for life, with a minimum sentence of 15 years.


And from another news report:

...one of the girls had described watching Eliza's reactions change from anger, to fear, to the realisation that she was going to die, but did nothing to stop the murder.

So they decided to kill their "friend" to see if they felt remorse and they discovered they did not. In fact they only discovered that strangling her with wire and burying her in a shallow grave "felt right."

Alright John, you tell me, what part of Australian culture is to blame for the creation of these monsters?

On Being Off By 83,000%

From the BBC:

In a campaign slip-up, US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama dramatically overstated the number killed by recent tornadoes in Kansas.

"In case you missed it, this week there was a tragedy in Kansas," he said, adding that 10,000 people had died.

The true number of people killed was 12. Mr Obama later appeared to blame tiredness for the gaffe.

Note to self: Remember to take Nyquil after final campaign stop of the day.

This Is Instructive

From the BBC: Sarkozy drifts into controversy

French President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy has sailed into a political storm by holidaying on a luxury yacht straight after his election triumph on Sunday.
The opposition Socialist Party and media across the political spectrum say the cruise is too ostentatious.

A defiant Mr Sarkozy said he would not apologise for the break and it should not be cause for controversy.

The attacks came as rioters torched cars in a third night of protests against Mr Sarkozy's victory.

Monastic retreat?

Mr Sarkozy is on a three-day cruise in Malta with his wife Cecilia and son Louis, 10, to celebrate his victory and relax before officially taking over from Jacques Chirac on 16 May.

Former Socialist Justice Minister Elisabeth Guigou called the holiday "ostentatious" and "scandalous".

"All this money when he pretends to be the... president of all French [people]," she said on French TV station iTele.

The British-registered 60m (200-foot) yacht Paloma belongs to a friend of Mr Sarkozy, French billionaire tycoon Vincent Bollore, and costs up to 200,000 euros ($270,000) to rent for a week.

Here is the modern left in a nut shell. They simply want to control every aspect of human existence, including how much money we are allowed to spend and even what sort of vacation we should be allowed to take.

Sadly typical.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Curious

Notice anything unusual about this story: Greensburg focuses on rebuilding

Federal officials arrived Monday in ravaged Greensburg to survey the damage caused by the weekend's tornado-packed storms.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius expressed concern that rescue and recovery efforts were being strained because much of the needed equipment has been sent to Iraq.

"When the troops get deployed, the equipment goes with them. So here in Kansas about 50 percent of our trucks are gone. We need trucks. We are missing Humvees, we're missing all kinds of equipment that could help us respond in this kind of emergency," she said.

The weekend's storms killed 11 people in Kansas -- including nine deaths in Greensburg, one in Stafford County to the northeast and one in a separate storm in Ottawa, Kansas.

Previously, officials said 10 people died in Greensburg, but authorities said they had apparently counted someone twice, according to City Administrator Steve Hewitt.

Hewitt also said a man reported to be a survivor found in the rubble had actually returned to the town to retrieve some papers and was not rescued.

Storm destroys resources needed for recovery

Search and rescue efforts were continuing after Friday's mile-wide twister with winds of 205 mph leveled most of the town.

Sebelius said city and county trucks were destroyed in the storm.

"National Guard are our first responders. They don't have the equipment they need to come in, and it'll just make it that much slower," she said.

The National Guard has said for years that it is short of equipment at home because of deployments to Iraq.

"We weren't fully equipped with all the resources we need before the war started," said Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting of the Kansas National Guard, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan "further depleted us."

Lt. Col. Eric Peck of the Kansas National Guard said in addition to being short transportation equipment, they also are short of front-end loaders and other heavy vehicles that can move debris.

He said the Guard troops are providing security, generators and water. They're also moving debris, but not as fast as they could if they had a full complement of equipment.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Monday the National Guard has stockpiles of equipment stashed around country for emergencies. "The administration is doing whatever it can. If there's a need for equipment, it will arrive."

Feds pledge to help

U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, said the area was "a total disaster."

"It is a difficult thing to see and I'm sure a much more difficult thing to live through," he said. (Watch as town tries to cope after tornado )

Brownback, Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator David Paulison and congressmen from the area joined Sebelius and local officials in Greensburg to pledge as much federal assistance as needed.

Paulison said FEMA has trailers ready to come into the area for temporary housing as soon as locations are found to put them.

"It's horrendous," Paulison said of the devastation, "some of the worst I've ever seen. It's pretty much total destruction."

FEMA, he said, will "assist the state and assist the local community to get this community back on its feet."

Bunting said in some ways the damage is worse than Hurricane Katrina, because the entire city is in ruins.

"There's no place to go to stage to rebuild," said Bunting, a nearly 30-year veteran of the Guard. "We'll have to create that."

Gov.: Kansans are resilient

Despite the stretched resources, Sebelius was confident Greensburg would rebuild. (Watch treetops sheared off amid a flying American flag )

"Kansans are resilient," she said, echoing a depiction of Midwesterners offered by other state and federal officials in the wake of the devastation.

"We have an opportunity to rebuild an entire rural community," Sebelius said, adding that the "eyes of America are on us."

The city should have a plan to get water and power restored within 24 hours, making trailer hook-ups feasible, according to Sebelius, a Democrat.

I find it interesting that they give Sebelius' claims complaining about the Iraq war in the second paragraph of the story, and fail to identify her as a Democrat until paragraph number 26.

When a Republican is mentioned is it thusly:

U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, said the area was "a total disaster."

One might start to think that the writer didn't want readers to consider if the Governor was using this tragedy to score other political points. Maybe she was, maybe she wasn't. Either way it should be up to readers to decide.

UPDATE:

I'm not the only one picking up on this. Kansas Guard can’t respond to tornado emergency?

Au contrair says the DoD:

More than 300 members of the Kansas National Guard have been activated in response to a powerful tornado that almost destroyed the town of Greensburg, Kan., May 4.

Guard members are assisting in search-and-rescue efforts in the wake of the tornado, which was classified as an F-5, the highest rating given by the National Weather Service.

The tornado wiped out much of the small town, knocking out power, water, natural gas and communications. To date, 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries have been reported.

The Kansas National Guard's 278th Sustainment Brigade has established a joint task force near the incident site. In addition to search-and-rescue efforts, the troops are working on power generation, logistical support, debris clearing, support to law enforcement, supporting establishment of shelters and distribution of food and water.

Currently, the Kansas National Guard has 88 percent of its forces available, 60 percent of its Army Guard dual-use equipment on hand, and more than 85 percent of its Air Guard equipment on hand, said Randal Noller, public affairs officer for the National Guard Bureau. Under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which is a national partnership agreement that allows state-to-state assistance during governor or federally declared emergencies, Kansas has more than 400,000 Guardsmen available to it, he pointed out. However, Kansas has not yet requested assistance from other states.

"Has not yet been requested ...". Where have we heard that before (calling Gov. Blanco)? I mean, if it were that dire, what would you do first?

And a point here ... we're talking about a town of 1500, not millions, so to pretend that a Guard force with 60 percent of its equipment available isn't enough (and that doesn't include the 85% of its Air Guard equipment) is simply baloney.

But here's the real question?

Who, in this case, politicized the tragedy?

Also see this from Stubborn Facts.

More Mile High Madness

From the good folks who cheerfully returned Ward Churchill to academic life, here is more academic tom-foolery unsurprisingly committed by the University of Colorado: Firing casts shadow on CU diversity

A couple of years back, the University of Colorado forged a nonbinding agreement with legislators, promising to protect and nurture ideological diversity on campus.

In fact, it was only last month that CU president Hank Brown expressed his apprehension to regents about the lack of movement on this front.

Well, if Brown is serious about this endeavor, he should make it a priority to investigate the firing of social conservative CU instructor Phil Mitchell - and not for the reasons you may suspect.

Mitchell, whose plight I first wrote about two years ago, believes that publicity surrounding CU's initial attempt to fire him saved his job.

But now, CU is giving Mitchell the boot after more than 20 years on the job in Boulder. And the university isn't backing down.

Mitchell, a father of nine, is a sharp, pleasant and generous man.

It's hard not to like him.

He's also a devout Christian who alleges that CU's actions are a transparent case of political and religious discrimination against a social conservative.

For a school still in the process of rehabilitating a somewhat rickety image, these charges should be taken seriously.

Sure, if CU featured more political flavors on the faculty, few would have any reason to wonder why administrators fired one of the few right-wing faculty members on campus.

Then again, Mitchell could very easily hold social conservative values, be a wonderful person and deserve to be let go.

So conservatives should resist the lure of crusading (excuse the term) - even if their underlying point regarding the ideologically one-sidedness of university facilities remains true.

Mitchell taught in the Sewall Academic Program, a seminar-style program, where the charge is "to promote critical thinking within the framework of a liberal arts curriculum that emphasizes the study of the American West."

From all indications, his students believe Mitchell is the cat's meow.

Between 2002 and 2005, Mitchell claims, there were around 190

freshman-level classes at CU, with 14 receiving an A+ rating from students. Mitchell says he was the recipient of 11 of those. Last spring, students gave him nearly all A's.

Mitchell, who holds a doctorate in American social history from CU and began teaching history here in 1984, also won the SOAR Award for teacher of the year in 1998.

...

The university claims that Mitchell did not meet fundamental standards on his recent faculty evaluations. And because Mitchell is not tenured, his at-will status means the university can say ciao without much of a fuss.

Mitchell argues that he's been set up by antagonistic liberal colleagues.

"There has been absolutely no due process," Mitchell explains. "I have had my reputation destroyed without any chance to defend myself. ... Instructors have no academic freedom here. Tenured faculty deny others what they hold tenaciously for themselves."


Actually, according to the AAUP, Prof. Mitchell should have been granted tenure 13 years ago. Colorado's refusal to do so is a very clear violation of AAUP standards that have been "on the books" since 1940.

After the expiration of a probationary period, teachers or investigators should have permanent or continuous tenure, and their service should be terminated only for adequate cause, except in the case of retirement for age, or under extraordinary circumstances because of financial exigencies.

...

1. The precise terms and conditions of every appointment should be stated in writing and be in the possession of both institution and teacher before the appointment is consummated.

2. Beginning with appointment to the rank of full-time instructor or a higher rank,[5] the probationary period should not exceed seven years, including within this period full-time service in all institutions of higher education; but subject to the proviso that when, after a term of probationary service of more than three years in one or more institutions, a teacher is called to another institution, it may be agreed in writing that the new appointment is for a probationary period of not more than four years, even though thereby the person’s total probationary period in the academic profession is extended beyond the normal maximum of seven years.[6] Notice should be given at least one year prior to the expiration of the probationary period if the teacher is not to be continued in service after the expiration of that period.[7]


The AAUP has placed other institutions on the Academic Freedom Censure list for the denial of tenure at an institution that offered tenure to no one (Tiffin University), so this certainly qualifies. In fact this is even more egregious given the length of time Colorado had employed Prof. Mitchell (20 years.) That being said, I would be shocked to see the AAUP even investigate the matter, as they are not exactly against viewpoint discrimination as long as the viewpoint being discriminated against is conservative.

On the other hand, maybe this is a blessing in disguise for Prof. Mitchell. The University of Colorado sounds like a nightmare.