Sunday, November 20, 2005
Over the years I've gone through several phases in how I think about God and His creation, but I've never been able to see what all the conflict is about. Science is about the How, the What, and the When. Religion is about the Who and the Why. There is no logical intersection that I've ever been able to detect. The main difference I see between the religionists and the non-religionists is that the non-religionists are more likely to answer the "Who" and "Why" with "Nobody" and "No Reason", or maybe "who cares?" while the religionists have more specific ideas about those answers and their importance.
Non-religionists tend, like most debators try at times, to caricature their opponents using Pat Robertson and friends and smear that over the rest of us. Pat and friends tend to want to drag the Who and the Why into the observable universe and bend the meaning of science.
Pat Robertson and his ilk should try to understand that when they spout this nonsense, they hurt not only their own cause, but that of all conservatives including the ones that try to leave religion mostly out of it (except as a set of guiding moral principles, of course).
This also hurts the Left, but in a more subtle way. Do Kos, Atrios, and the rest of those guys even realize how stupid they look when their main argument is "well, you're a conservative, and look at Pat Robertson, he's a conservative too. He's a moron." My only response to this can be "why, yes. Yes, Pat Robertson is indeed a fine example of what I would call an extremely unintelligent man. Your point?" Can you say "straw man"?
If I pointed to a guy like Kos and said "see, Ben, your fellow inhabitant of the liberal side of the political spectrum is a moron. Therefore, your entire political view is shite and you probably are too," he'd absolutely skewer me, and rightly so. He'd also probably do it in a way that only he understood how clever and witty it was, but by now you're probably used to that.
I even have family and friends who cling tightly to literal Creationism, and they tend to look at me blankly when I try to get them to point out exactly where the conflict even is, too. I love them and want to give them every benefit of every doubt, but COME ON.
Apparently this disease afflicts both sides of the equation in roughly equal proportions.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Mind you, I'm not arguing that mistakes haven't been made, especially in postwar planning. They clearly were...and I'm still waiting for an example of a war that was ever fought by anybody where huge mistakes WEREN'T made. But the silly things people are saying now make my jaw drop.
As per my earlier post, it's like NOBODY seems to know what google is or how to use it, or that it's recording their words for playback when they change their story. I don't argue that people can't change their minds about things, but they sure can't say they believed something in 2001 or 2003 when they clearly did not by their own writing or spoken words at the time.
Honestly, these people should google themselves once in awhile for a look in the mirror. Of all people, you'd think Gore would understand the internet, since he created it and all.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
As much as I loathe and despise the chickenhawk bastards who started this war, they really aren't unusual in abandoning the troops that created their success. Aside from Harry S Truman, who signed the GI Bill after WWII, it's been pretty common for governments throughout history to stick it to the soldiers who provided the only honor and dignity with which the politicians draped themselves. Jerry Pournelle asked, "if we can afford a trailer and payments to people whose only justification is that they were in the path of a hurricane, why cannot we afford benefits for those who put themselves in harm's way at the call of their country?" Rudyard Kipling put the sentiment to verse.
There were thirty million English who talked of England's might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.
They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four !
They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, "Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites."
They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant's order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.
They strove to stand to attention, to straighen the toil-bowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.
The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and "Beggin' your pardon," he said,
"You wrote o' the Light Brigade, sir. Here's all that isn't dead.
An' it's all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin' the mouth of hell;
For we're all of us nigh to the workhouse, an' we thought we'd call an' tell.
"No, thank you, we don't want food, sir; but couldn't you take an' write
A sort of 'to be continued' and 'see next page' o' the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an' couldn't you tell 'em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now."
The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with "the scorn of scorn."
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.
O thirty million English that babble of England's might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children's children are lisping to "honour the charge they made - "
And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Friday, November 11, 2005
Well, three daughters, really, but then we wouldn't have the allusion to the Dickensian twist to the story.
Anyway, for those of you in the US or France, whose Mainstream Media have declined to provide coverages of the events, there are many suburbs of Paris (and Belgium and Denmark, but that will be next month) that are in reality ghettoes of the children and grandchildren of Islamic immigrants from North Africa who have never fit into European society. These communities hit 50% unemployment and survive on socialist welfare payments and the dregs of organized crime. In a situation that has declined over the last several decades the police power of the state has evaporated, until the point was reached where police refused to enter the immigrant ghettoes, and law was not enforced.
For the last week, there have been race riots raging around Paris. Massive gangs of Islamic immigrants have been laying waste to churches and automobiles, and anything they perceive as European. The French press, politically correct and swinging liberal socialist, refer to the mobsters as "youth." No mention of the fact that they are Muslim is allowed, as that might be criticized as racist. Which brings us to our story.
On Friday, November 4th, the mob of rioting Arabs stopped a bus that had the misfortune of being routed through an area taken over by the rioters, and they threw molotov cocktails through the windows of the bus. The majority of passengers fled the bus, save for the bus driver and one disabled female passenger. The "youths" then entered the bus, and poured gasoline over the disabled woman, and set her alight. The bus driver, in an action worthy of the Croix du Guerre, carried the woman off the bus and put out the fire. Now for the fun part.
French channel 3 carried an interview with the two daughters of the woman, who expressed admiration for the bus driver and horror that their mother had been put through this by the Muslim terrorists. Well. Can't have that sort of racist reportage in France, now can we.
The next day, on French channel 2, a correction went out in the form of an interview with the womans daugher, now a Muslim woman by the name of Fadella, who told the world that the noble Islamic freedom fighters had in fact pulled her mother out of the burning bus.
The story is on Islamisation médiatique d'une victime des racailles (+ nouveau clip bonus), with clips to the news videos, with of course the wonderful translation of Babelfish here.
So, for those of you who've been wondering what Dan Rather has been up to since his retirement, there you are.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Well, today is the 230th anniversary of the United States Marine Corps, of which two battalions were formed in 1776 to fight the British in the Revolutionary War. We have mentions at Voice of America, Leatherneck Magazine, (which has reprints of Commandant Hagee's birthday message, along with a copy of Commandant Lejeune's birthday message of 1921,) the official USMC Birthday Ball web page, which doesn't seem to be loading at the moment, and a nice summary in the Marine Heritage section of USMC-press on the first birthday ball.
I met General Robert Barrow, when he was Commandant of the Marine Corps, back at the birthday ball for Marine Barracks, Bermuda, in 1982. He's a tall man, 6'4" or 6'5", and spoke with a deep southern accent. I'd heard he was from Louisiana. He made sure to shake hands with every Marine there that night, and I wish I could find the picture of us together to put up here.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Monday, November 07, 2005
As Irwin Stelzer pointed out last July when discussing the British reaction to the London bombings: In a war, use the army, rather than police. The latter, however, is unlikely to happen. If the politicians bring in the army they are acknowledging what the policemen, the fire fighters and the ambulance drivers know but what the political and media establishment wants to hide from the people: that there is civil war brewing and that Europe is in for a long period of armed conflict.
Hmpf. A military friend just pointed out that France's army is one quarter Musselmans, second or third generation Algerian, who like the pay and the uniform but are already pretty shitty at following orders. French law doesn't allow them to be disciplined, as that would be racist. I can't imagine a twenty year veteran top sergeant (who enlisted at a time when a French soldier could be beaten to death if he were stupid enough to lip off to a top sergeant) would be happy with the current state of his army. I guess now I know why the French sent so few troops to Iraq for PGW1. Now they can't trust their own army to protect them in a civil war...
Sunday, November 06, 2005
When we start seeing more gestures like this and less of the steady stream of hatred out of the usual Palestinian and Arab media organs, I will most definitely be ready to support my government leaning on Israel to make more concessions.
Thing is, I have a strong feeling that if this was a more common attitude among Palestinians, there would be far fewer boys being used as tools by the terror gangs to attack Israel and far less need to shoot a boy with a gun that may or may not be real. There would be no need to pressure Israel to ease checkpoints, carry out fewer raids and so on because Israel would recognize that strong-arm tactics are no longer necessary for their survival.
Israel-haters should try, just once, to understand what Israel has been up against. Look at a map showing the size and positioning of Israel versus the size of the surrounding Arab world that is sworn to its destruction for no real reason other than that it is Jewish. Read something other than Democratic Underground, Daily Kos or the Yellow Times. Read the firsthand reports that are all over the web. Find out what the Palis are doing that is provoking those Israeli responses they so detest. Advocate for a "right of return" of Jewish refugees to their former homes in Arab countries with the same vigor you use in advocating that right for the Palestinians in Israel. The Palis weren't the only ones displaced when Israel was created, you know.
I hope that if I'm ever unlucky enough to be in a similar position, that I would exhibit as much true class as this Pali family is showing.
Does THAT make me a racist too?
Friday, November 04, 2005
I think the four horsemen of the apocalyse must be swinging up into their saddle about now, and the fat lady is running through her warmups. This is something I never, ever, EVER thought I would see. Good sense out of anybody official in a major metropolitan area in California.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
I think it's time for the Chirac administration to step back, take a deep breath, and be honest with itself about whether its ill-considered occupation of France has been worth it. They've suppressed the rightful expression of the French people long enough! How can they expect a downtrodden people to simply accept the hegemony of such an arrogant administration?
The best thing the imperialist colonial "French" government can do at this point is to admit they've made a mistake and immediately begin a strategic withdrawal from France, and let the French people decide what's best for themselves. They don't need these "elected" "leaders" to tell them how best to govern themselves.
Speak truth to power! Power to the People! Flower Power! All those other stupid Leftist slogans!
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
UPDATE: It seems that the picures linked above were from a staged photo shoot. I think. English must be someone's second language. Whatever the case, stuff like this goes on in Iran, it's just not often that we get the pictures. I should have known.