Wednesday, November 27, 2002
I'll be out of town until December 7th. I'm taking a laptop, but its modem has been unpredictable. I'll be blogging if and when I can. Have a great Thanksgiving and God bless.
Tuesday, November 26, 2002
Charles Johnson points out an apparent lie about the death of a UN official in during a fight between the Israelis and terrorists.
Bryan Preston posts a picture demonstrating the graphic differences between North and South Korea. Seeing that picture reminded me that several months ago President Bush spoke about that very difference. His words inspired some thoughts that I used when presiding over the Lord's Supper shortly thereafter. I posted those thoughts and I thought you might find them of interest now.
Here's an interesting story about Kurdish women who are receiving military training. They are training in anticipation of of being able to take revenge on Hussein's regime for the losses their families have suffered when the American army invades. I desperately hope we don't let these people down again.
The Bush administration has announced a new plan in which countries would compete for $5 billion dollars of additional American foreign aid. The idea of making countries prove themselves to get aid is a great idea. What I don't understand is why we need a whole new agency to administer this program? Why can't existing agencies handle this? For that matter, why don't we administer much more of our aid like this?
I'm not a parent. I'm note even close. I hope to be one someday, but the thought of raising children in a way they will be faithful is terrifying to me. Alan Cornett has a very interesting discussion of this issue.
Tacitus spots a lovely little note from our "allies".
Paul Marshall has a very good point. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, people continue to ignore the stated goals of al-Qaeda and other Islamist terror groups; they want to install Islamic law across the whole world. How can we expect to defeat the enemy if we ignore their goals?
Monday, November 25, 2002
I just got my copy of the Fellowship of the Rings: Extended Edition. Sheesh, it's four discs. That's part of the reason I haven't gotten around to posting very much today. If you don't have this, get it.
Susanna Cornett highlights a Democratic problem I'd never thought of.
Terror, Saddam. Saddam, Terror. Oh, you've already met? My bad.
Red Letter Edition
Matthew 17: 22-27 ESV As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.
When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the half-shekel tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”
Steve Den Beste looks at Iraq's latest protest letter.
Eugene Volokh looks at what should be done with discredited books. It's a tough question.
Sunday, November 24, 2002
Philip Chaston has some good comments about Osama's latest demands. (Assuming for the moment, which I am still far from granting, that bin Laden is alive. I'm still waiting for a video tape.)
No Red Letter Edition today. Instead I want to look at this passage.
We read this passage tonight during service. I was struck, as I always am, by the tremendous contrast Paul draws here between how the world sees the church and how things really are. The message is one of profound hope. He lists all the things that Christians of the time were having to endure and then counters that with his list of "weapons of righteousness" that have been provided to deal with these miseries with the clear implication.that with the Holy Spirit, the power of God and the weapons they provide we can overcome any hardship Then he lists a series of contrasts In each one he shows the church how the world perceives them and then counters that perception with their true condition. This passage is, among other things, a monument of hope. I get goose bumps every time I read it.
Princess Haifa al-Faisal issued an angry denial of any connection to terrorrism. Um...Princess, if it's all the same to you, I think we'll investigate this any way. Come to think of it, we'll investigate it whether it's all the same to you or not.
Donald Hensing at One Hand Clapping has a thoughtful piece on why the question of, "What Would Jesus Drive?" (and for that matter, "What Would Jesus Do?) is rather silly. (Link via InstaPundit.)
And Sweden wonders why no one takes their military seriously
Apparently enough Swedish soldiers are high, schizophrenic, clinically depressed, or some combination there of for scientists to be able to conduct a study of the relationship of marijuana to depression and schizophrenia using only Swedish soldiers as test subjects. I'm sure many people will decry this study as an effort to demonize drugs but I think the real story is the sample. This is pathetic.
Jane Galt has laid out a proposal for tax reform. It is very interesting and worth the read. I don't agree with it all, of course, but I've got to admit that she's given it a lot of thought. I don't feel like throwing in my two cents right now. I might come back to it later. Then again, probably not. Experience tells me that any time I think, I'd like to blog about that later that "later" ends up being "never".
One thing I do find fascinating about her plan is the idea of recessive tax brackets for lower income workers. The idea being that anyone below a certain income level would know that the less they worked, the more the government would take. I find this idea intriguing, but not as easy to implement as Jane thinks. For instance, this idea is very appealing for people who are out on their own, but I have trouble with the idea of taxing college students working part-time regressively.
As I say though, it is definitely worth the read.
Best laugh of the day
Steve Den Beste, after complaining about Chirac's latest idiocy, closes with this line.
I don't normally bother linking to InstaPundit (What's the point?) but I thought this post was worth mentioning. There, I mentioned it.
I checked my site meter and found a site I'd never heard of before. Apparently my post about the complaints of the Malaysian Prime Minister drew some interest by a Malaysian blogger. She went on to post her own thoughts about the interactions of Malaysia and the west.
Emperor Misha I makes this excellent point:
I like President Bush and, for the most part, support his policies. However, when I read that the ambassador to Mexico had reintroduced the idea of granting amnesty to illegal aliens from Mexico I just wanted to scream. This is a horrible idea. Why on earth should we reward people for breaking the law?
I don't know what to make of this.
I've seen several bloggers say that the Bush administration, the FBI, the CIA, or some combination thereof was trying to obscure or hide the possible connection to 9/11 by a certain Saudi Princess. I'm not going to mention any names because it's pretty widespread and I don't really have anyone in particular in mind. My problem with this is that none of the bloggers I've seen make this statement have made an argument to back it up. Sorry, but so far, I just don't see any evidence to support this view.
I'll readily admit the Bush administration has inexcusably gone to great lengths to stay friends with the Saudis, but so far, I just don't see any evidence that that this particular investigation isn't being given the attention it deserves. Certainly the administration is urging people not to jump to any conclusions, but, as this article I linked to yesterday indicates, they haven't been able to prove anything yet.
This does indicate a problem for the President though. Most of the people I've seen making these accusations generally vote Republican. A lot of them have supported the President in the past. Whatever else is going on, I think there is a growing sense of frustration among Republican circles. This frustration is caused by Bush's apparent lack of focus on al Qaeda and Iraq. Bush's popularity is still high, but if we don't start seeing some resolve he'll begin to have more and more problems like this.
Update-I altered the 2nd paragraph slightly to improve readability.
Lythe and listen ye merry men,
Thus read a poem about Robin Hood in my eighth grade history book in a section on medieval legendary history. (I am virtually certain of the words, but the period spelling may need work.) I used this poem because I wanted to make a point about the legend of Robin Hood.
The oft used line about Robin Hood is that, "He robs from the rich and gives to the poor." This was not, strictly speaking true. While I have not made a study of all the different Robin Hood legends, I know that in every version of the story I have seen 1 or read Robin was stealing from men such as Prince John and Sir Guy of Gisborn. While it's true that these men were rich, things are a little more complicated than that.
The thing that must be remembered is that in medieval England, the King (or in Prince John's case, the regent) and the feudal lords were the government. In America today we say that we are a nation of laws, not of men. In medieval England, no such distinction was made. Further, no distinction was made between the King or lord's coffers and that of his government. So, when a king or lord taxed his people that money went directly into the treasury of the man who levied the taxes.
Why were the people in the Robin Hood story poor? Because men such as Prince John and Sir Guy were taxing them into poverty. When Robin stole money from Prince John or Sir Guy he was seizing money that had been taken from the people through immoral taxation and returning it to the people from whom it was taken.
Did Robin Hood, "rob from the rich and give to the poor"? Actually, no. Robin Hood robbed from an a government levying oppressive taxes and gave the people back the money that rightfully belonged to them.
Just a thought.
1 With the exception of Robin Hood Men: Men in Tights in which Robin never actually got around to doing any robbing from Prince John. Great movie though. I'm still waiting for Robin Hood II.
If his lips are moving...
I found this at Rodent Regatta:
Tom Daschle is one of those "consider-the-source" types. If he says it, I consider the source and discount it 100% or know the opposite to be true.
Saturday, November 23, 2002
Red Letter Edition
The Indepundit has laid out the apparent connection between a Saudi princess and the 9/11 attack.
More on the Possible Saudi Funding of 9/11 Terrorists
Um... The House of Saud needs to untear themselves real quick. If this investigation pans out, then we've to the wife of a senior government official sponsoring a terrorist attack against the United States. I'm not sure the Saudi entity understands how bad this could be. If we find out senior Saudi officials were involved in the 9/11 attacks, then the road to Baghdad might go end up going through Riyadh.
Update-Cato has some interesting observations about this. I'm afraid he's overly optimistic. I like the scenario though.
The Malaysian Government is Pissed Off (And thinks we care)
First off, the Malaysians are angry at Australia for being an American ally.
Isn't that a lovely definition of belligerence? If a country doesn't stand up to the big bad Americans, then they're being belligerent. This must be some strange definition of belligerence of which I was not previously aware.
In related news, the Prime Minister of Malaysia has also implied that the United States purpose in warning its citizens of possible terrorist attacks in Malaysia was to sabotage the Malaysian tourist industry.
Now I can understand that a country might be concerned that a terrorism warning might hurt their tourism industry, but let's get a grip okay! The implication that the U.S. issued this warning to poison the Malaysian economy instead of, oh I don't know, trying to protect its citizens is outright ludicrous. Furthermore, since when does a warning that terrorism could happen in a country constitute a judgement of that country. The U.S. government has repeatedly warned its citizens about possible attacks on its own soil. Was the government passing judgement on its self. Finally, if you don't like it, do a better job policing your own country. Our government's job is to protect its citizens, not to make other governments happy.
They say no news is good news. For a blogger, no news means, "I'm bored out of my mind!" Surely somebody can say or do something interesting today.
Pressure is mounting in Israel to expel Arafat. Inexplicably, the Bush administration continues to demand that the Sharon's government leave Arafat alone. When will the President wake up the fact that the Israelis are fighting the same war we are?
Would some explain to me why newspapers have started using scare quotes when murderers and terrorists confess?
Edward Said has some insane rantings about America and war. Did you know that almost all neocons are Jews and that there are 60 million fanatical Christians beating the drums of war? Misha gives him an Imperial Misting.
Last Wednesday in San Antonio three cousins were relaxing and watching TV in the house they share. Suddenly someone shot up there patio door, somebody threw in a concussion grenade, and men came charging threw the door punching and kicking. It was the police. They were supposed to be serving a search warrant. THEY WERE AT THE WRONG HOUSE!
A couple of things that seriously bother me here. The first is obviously the idea of people who failed this test serving search warrants.
My other problem is the method the police used here. The cops say they stormed the house in this manner because they, "thought the suspect inside the house might have a gun tucked inside his waistband." While I'm all for protecting officers from dangerous criminals, there has got to be better way to serve a search warrant than shooting up the house and tossing in concussion grenades. While concussion grenades are, in theory, non-lethal weapons, they can do damage. The cops certainly managed to damage the home of the Huerta cousins.
If the cops go in with guns blazing and grenades flying every time the suspect, "might have a gun tucked inside his waistband," there are going to be an awful lot of damaged houses and people in the hospital in cases where no real danger was posed. I want to say again that I understand the need to protect the officers, but somebody totally lost their sense of proportion here.
I found this post on Norwegian politics by Bjorn Staerk positively fascinating.
Friday, November 22, 2002
I think this may be one of the most telling things about Clinton that I have ever heard. In response to be called a liar, he tells a lie! It wasn't your everyday lie either. It was a boldfaced lie which was totally absurd on its face and easily disproved. What on earth motivates this man?
Red Letter Edition
There are several interesting things about this passage. The first involves Peter. This event clearly had a significant influence on Peter. It was one of the most profound events (to this point) establishing Jesus's identity as the Messiah. It was so phenomenal that Peter wanted to mark the event permanently. (Some commentators go farther and interpret Peter's remark to mean that he never wanted to leave the mountain again. That he found this event to be, in essence, "Heaven on earth," and was seeking to prolong it indefinitely.) In fact, later in his life, when making the point that Peter and the other apostles were talking about real events, not clever stories, Peter talks not about the Resurrection, but about the Transfiguration.
Some people seem to attribute the appearance of Moses and Elijah as strictly a means to inspire awe and perseverance in the apostles. I have trouble with this view. If that was the case, why not include all the apostles. Not only were the other nine not included, but Jesus ordered the three who witnessed the event not to speak of it yet. No, it seem clear to me that when we are told that they spoke that this means they had something to say. What could that be? What kind of counsel could even Moses and Elijah offer to the Son of God? I have no idea. Clearly though, even it if was not necessary for us to know it, there must have been more to this appearance than just to be seen. If they had nothing important to discuss, why did they talk? If the mere appearance was all that was important, why do more? These are, of course, just my own observations on that issue and of no great doctrinal import.
Of more interest to me is the question, "Then why do the scribes say that Elijah must come?" There were many prophecies that spoke of a Voice, or a Prophet, or Elijah preceding the promised Messiah. To me, it is one of the most interesting parts of Messianic prophecy. This is the point that has always made it difficult for false messiahs to get any traction; they had no Elijah. I have read of a few instances in which a man set out to convince the Jewish people that he was the Messiah. Many of these men realized that they would never be accepted unless they had an Elijah. This is where the plot falls apart. These men would try to convince someone to be their Elijah. In each case the flaw in their plan was built into its inception. Because there had to be one other person besides themselves that knew the whole thing was staged, the chances of working a large scale deception were drastically reduced. As they say, "If two people know it, it's not secret." That is why, to my mind, the promise of Elijah is the most telling parts of Messianic prophecy when you compare those prophecies to the life of Jesus.
Somehow I don't think this correction would help. (It's more accurate though.)
Tony Parkinson has a very interesting article about the successes and difficulties in the war against al Qaeda.
Michael Tanner argues that the 3rd rail of American politics has lost its charge. He makes a great case that the time has come to reform Social Security. He's absolutely right. The program has huge problems that will only get worse as time progresses. We must reform the program. Personally, I believe that privatization, or at least partial privatization, must be part of the answer.
On the other hand, as Tanner points out, most Democrats have so far offered nothing to the debate. Throughout the Clinton years they did nothing. Then in 2000 Al Gore had nothing more to offer on the subject than to opine that Bush's plan was a "risky scheme". He never offered a plan of his own. Again in this last election Democrats blasted Republicans for their position on Social Security but offered no plan of their own.
The time has most certainly come to make a change. The Democrats have a choice. They can engage in principled debate and point out legitimate problems with the Republican plan, thus making the final solution stronger, or they can scream and fear monger and be left in the ash heap of history. The choice is theirs.
The organizers of the Miss World pageant finally gave up and moved the whole contest to London. While reading this, I thought about commenting. In the end I decided that Alan Cornett had pretty well summarized my thoughts.
David Adesnik blasts The New York Times about some inane comments regarding Brazilian politics.
Stuart Banner has some interesting observations about death penalty opponents
It's good to know there's no hard feelings amongst friends.
OpinionJournal.Com weighs in on Daschles silly rant.
Here's a story that makes me sick.
I found this at Best of the Web. Am American woman, Bonnie Penner, working as a missionary and a nurse in Lebanon has been murdered. Some people seem to think it's her fault. After all, she was trying to teach Muslims the Gospel:
"We told her she might be vulnerable to insults or even being hit and she answered that she would consider it an honor," said Bishop George Kwaiter, the archbishop for the Roman Catholic diocese, speaking at a gathering of Christian and Muslim religious leaders who condemned the shooting. "We don't accept this kind of preaching, we reject it totally."
Bishop Kwaiter, perhaps you're not familiar with the words of someone very important to Christianity. His name is Jesus:
"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Bishop Kwaiter, it looks to me like Mrs. Penner had her priorities pretty well in order. He's not the only person in this story with screwed up priorities:
The organization was threatened in recent months after a group of religious leaders learned that it was handing out literature and talking to groups of young Muslims about Jesus. Some Muslim clerics had denounced them from the pulpit.
Excuse me! "Senior members" of "Christian sects" asked this group to stop teaching the Gospel? Was the Great Commission repealed and someone forgot to tell me? Was there a codicil added that says, "Unless other religions get mad, in which case you're excused."? Let's see,
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Hmmm. Go, check. Make disciples, check. All the nations, check. Baptize them, check. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, check. Teach them to obey all of Christ's commands, check. That's funny. I didn't find any exceptions for times that people get mad at you or threaten kill you. Do these "Christian leaders" even read the Bible anymore or are they to busy trying to get the world to like them?
Note to the Australian Broadcasting Company: In a story about a guy confessing, it's okay to drop the words "allegedly" and "alleged".
Hans Blix: Idiot
It seems that the UN weapons inspectors have stumbled upon what they believe to be a fool proof plan to avoid finding any WMDs. There going to look only in places they've looked before.
Great plan guys.
The rioting in Nigeria is spreading.
This is very troubling. I especially find it disturbing that people who are thought to be Christians are being targeted. I am, however, a little confused by this. What are they doing? Are they walking down the street yelling, "He looks like a Christian. Get him!"? It's not as if Christians generally have distinguishing facial characteristics or anything.
On a completely different subject, I was amazed at the number of one sentence paragraphs in this story. You'd think that an major news organization would have better writing.
Paul Cella has an excellent post on poor voter turnout and poor education:
There's more. Cella broaches many of the concerns that I've felt myself. It's well worth the read.
Lileks had something in his bleat that I thought was a great family tale:
Here's some interesting comments about terrorism on the web.
Sgt. Mom has some interesting stories from WWII as told by members of the 94th Bomb Group.
Jane Galt regales us with an English lesson.
NewsMax is reporting an investigation into whether the Democratic Party of Kansas was urging people to vote illegally.
Would someone explain why this shouldn't make me furious.
Lovely. Just lovely.
The Ayatollah Khameni has spoken out against student protests:
There's quite a bit more, but what I see here are implications that the leaders of these students are corrupt (an interesting charge considering the problems of the Iranian government), a suggestion that the demands of these students are mere "pretexts" and not heartfelt beliefs, and a threat to put them down by force.
Unfortunately, the House passed the Senate version of the Homeland Security Bill by unanimous consent. I say unfortunately because this means that "Total Information Awareness" is still in the bill. I don't suppose there's much chance Bush will veto the bill.
The database is still in its experimental stage and does not yet use real consumer information. This tells me there is still a chance to do something about this part of the bill. When the next Congress convenes, we need to try to find something to do about this atrocious idea.
Martin Devon aptly describes Al Gore's problem:
Vladimir Putin says the U.S. shouldn't attack Iraq alone. It's a good thing that we don't plan to I guess.
Steve Den Beste reminds us that those who say we can't attack Iraq because of the harm it will do to civilians forget the peril those people are already in.
William F. Buckley says we must still pursue Osama, not because it will destroy his movement (it won't), but because we must destroy the myth growing around him.
Thursday, November 21, 2002
Look, I'm not saying he doesn't have some points, but somebody needs to buy Bill some Prozac.
Read this. You'll know what to do.
The Arafat News Run Down
An Israeli bus company, tired of Arafat's goons blowing up their buses, has decided to sue him.
Worried that Israelis don't know who to vote for, Arafat has made glowing remarks about the new leader of the Labor Party. Note to the Israelis: Arafat ain't on your side. (By the way, if the "Peace of the Brave" rhetoric sounds familiar, he's been talking about it four 8 years, at least.
In a news flash, Shimon Peres announced that Arafat is not trustworthy. He was on a role, but then he blew it when he claimed that the "Quartet" (US, UN, Europe, and Russia) can replace the presence of a trustworthy "partner for peace". Note to Shimon: A bunch of people from other parts of the world are not a substitute for the enemy having a leader who is willing to tell is people to stop shooting and make sure they do it.
Red Letter Edition
Jesus tells us here that if we want eternal life, we must be willing to give up the one we have. In short, we must sacrifice. This is hard for us to do. Our instinct is to horde everything we want. Jesus tells us to give it all up. Of course, there is a corollary. Our instinct is to try to get to heaven on our own. Paul told us that we must not rely on our own works, but on God. These two concepts are related. They are both about our ability to recognize that we are not in control and trust God.
Philippe de Croy offers this bit of wisdom in relation to "Total Information Awareness":
Well, he's got a point.
Radley Balko has some harsh words (and good points) for President Bush.
Mark Byron trashes the idea of "Total Information" that is in the current version of of the Homeland Security bill. Now let me say up front that this is an absolutely horrible idea. However, I do have some trouble understanding where Mark got his idea of how this would work.
Mark describes a system in which every person would need an ID card that would be required to make all purchases. He also assumes the need to create a large system in which all businesses would have to be set up to broadcast all this information to the government. My problem with this part of his analysis is that I've heard nothing that indicates a national ID card or requiring businesses to gather additional data is in the cards.here. It was my understanding that the purpose of this database was to be a central depository for the types of data that are already collected by governments and business. If Mark's understanding of the concept is correct, then the idea is more insidious than I realized, but I have yet to see anything that makes me think anything near the scope of what Mark describes is being considered.
On the other hand, if Mark is correct, then there are some additional costs to this that he hasn't considered. Under the scenario Mark describes, no one will be able to buy anything without a card. What will we do about tourists and other temporary visitors? Every temporary visitor would have to be issued a temporary ID card with their VISA. Administering that will add to the cost of the program as well.
Additionally, since these cards will be necessary to make purchases, we're going to have to deal with the illegal alien issue. Presumably a straight forgery of an ID card wouldn't work in a system that Mark describes because the purchase wouldn't be allowed to take place until the validity of the card had been confirmed. However, illegal aliens are still going to be here (unless somebody fixed the INS and I didn't notice) and they are going to need to buy stuff. The need of illegal aliens to make purchases would probably lead to two different problems. The first would be the temptation of employees of the new program to sell illegal cards and use their positions to find ways to make these "official" forgeries work. A lot of resources are going to have to be devoted to policing the employees. This program is going to have to have an independent investigative arm to prevent corruption. (This anti-corruption group would probably also have to work to prevent employees from stealing data from the database.)
The other problem the cards could lead to in relation to illegal aliens would be the development of a huge black market. This is not a hypothetical. If there are people who have to buy stuff and can't do it legally, then they will find someone who will sell it illegally. Enormous resources will have to be devoted to policing the black market because this is where the terrorist will make any purchase they possibly can. (No brainer here.)
Furthermore, whether Mark is right about the method of collection are not, the government is talking about setting up an enormous database that would look like Christmas for identity thieves. Large amounts of resources will have to be devoted to prevent theft of this data. (Either by hackers or by employees.)
If you read nothing else this week, read this.
Update-If you decide to read something else this week, this ought to be it.
In his newest column about Iran, Michael Ledeen says that the Voice of America is going to end its Farsi language programming. They're going to replace the VOA with pop music. Now let me get this straight, the people of Iran are very close to fomenting a revolt against their tyrannical government, but at this very important time in Iranian history we're going to stop substantive radio broadcasts into that country?
This is stupid. This is beyond stupid. If anyone has any ideas about how to convince the government to reverse this idiotic decision, please let me know.
Martin Devon has a different angle on Jumpin' Jim's latest hit.
Alan Cornett has an excellent post about keeping the proper focus in corporate worship.
The North Koreans say they're treaty with the U.S. where they agree not to build nuclear weapons and we agree to give them all sorts of stuff that their pathetic country is incapable of producing or buying because they spend all their money on their military is now dead. They say that the treaty died when the U.S. in "wanton violation" of the treaty, decided to stop giving them oil.
Funny, I thought the treaty died when they, in "wanton violation" of the treaty, started building nuclear weapons!
Two American soldiers have been shot in Kuwait by a Kuwaiti cop.
French to Iraq: Go ahead and lie, we don't mind
United Nation Resolution 1441 reads in part:
However, the French say that despite the fact that the resolution calls lying on the report a "material breach", i.e., justification for war, that President Bush was just blowing smoke when he warned Hussein that lying on the report would cause him to enter his "final stage". Would someone tell me what the French think the point of this report is if they're going to turn around and tell Saddam that there will be no consequences if he lies?
I take it back. I hate the French. (And I was doing so well. Now they have to go and make me relapse.)
Question: Why is the Energy Department funding this?
TalG tells us about some modern day myths. They're not pretty.
Reader Guy writes in with this excellent point:
What can I say? When the man's right, he's right.
Wednesday, November 20, 2002
Collins: Gore should shut up.
Would someone tell me why it's a news story every time Gore opens his mouth. I'd be willing to bet Dan Quayle has made a few speeches in the last six months, but I haven't heard about them. Do you know why? BECAUSE IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT DAN QUAYLE THINKS ANYMORE. HE'S THE EX-VICE-PRESIDENT! Coincidentally, that is the exact same post currently held by Al Gore. They both hold the exact same amount of authority right now. They both have the exact same actual relevance to policy decisions. Why does the press report every word one of them says and ignore the other? I know that Gore is aggressively promoting himself. What I don't understand is why anyone is buying?
Let's hear it for the Aussies.
Although, it occurs to me that even if we allowed them to fight the entire Iraqi war (please, no e-mail about the logistics of that), the war would still be decried as American unilateral, imperial, hegemonism.
There's more. (Caution:profanity)
Here's something odd. Twice in the last week I've gotten a hit on my tracker from AndrewSullivan.Com. Both times I thought, "That's odd." I find it odd because I rarely read Sullivan and I'd be shocked if he'd ever been to this site. Furthermore, both times, I've gone to his site and tried to find a link the person followed. Finally, if Sullivan had linked me, I'd expect my counter to be going berserk, not just one here or there.
Red Letter Edition
Matthew 16:13-23 ESV Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
It is easy for me to feel a kinship to Peter here. One moment he is strongly confessing Christ and receiving great praise. Soon after, he openly confronts his Lord and is justly put down. I know that I find this swing of the pendulum very hard to break out of. Some times I am strongly standing up for the faith. At other times I find myself consumed by my own selfish desires. It is helpful for me to remember that the apostles were not perfect men. They were just like the rest of us. They made mistakes; sometimes they made rather large mistakes. Regardless of their faults, they clung to their Lord and he forgave their many faults. Fortunately, he makes the same offer to us.
Update-Junkyard Blog has a few comments too. OK. A lot of comments.
Steve Den Beste points out that sometimes the most important thing you can do when you have important knowledge is to shut up.
Ah, run for your lifes, here comes the Ashcroft Dissent Squashing BrigadesTM. They come bringing horrors such as this:
An efficient method of getting court orders! We're doomed!
While some people are laughing at Jim Jeffords for his pathetic attempts to crawl back to GOP fold, Michael Kieschnick is begging Republican "moderates" to folow in Jimbos footsteps and leave the party. He thinks it is the only sensible thing to do to save us from the evil that accompanies Trent Lott as majority leader.
There is one point I can actually agree on here. We both think Trent Lott in control of the Senate is a disaster. Of course, Kieshnick thinks Lott wants to destroy the environment. I just think he's selfish, pedantic, and wimpish.
Today's best laugh of the day is from Howard Bashman:
The Independent, is it news, or is it an Iraqi press release?
Here's my personal favorite part:
Assuming for the moment that the UN resolution didn't include this phrase:
which is the provision the US is complaining that the Iraqis have violated, and assuming that the US and British planes weren't enforcing UN resolutions, most people could still have figured out that, "No shooting at us!" is generally a precondition for avoiding war.
Merde in France tries counting in French.
Jonah Goldberg really tears into the "new" Al Gore:
For those of you who were interested in my banter with Joshua Claybourn about abortion and the 14th amendment (Josh summarized the links to this discussion here), you should read Josh Chafetz's post. Chafetz doesn't believe a fetus is a person, but says that if he did, he'd feel constrained to argue that the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment prohibits abortion.
I got the newest Nigerian scam e-mail today. This one has got a Christian twist. The woman in this one is supposedly the widow of sheik who died during the Gulf War. (Don't remember any sheiks dying, do you? Me neither.) Supposedly, she converted to Christianity, moved to Nigeria, and is now dying of cancer. Lucky me, the dying woman found my website and decided to give me 100,000 million dollars to spread the gospel. Um, yeah.
Insert your own jokes here
Well, you would be the expert on that, now wouldn't you.
As far as I can tell, Daschle's comments have two basics points. 1) It is bad for regular people to become interested and emotionally involved in politics. 2) Everything bad that happens to Tom Daschle is Rush Limbaugh's fault.
Hey, Tom: GET A GRIP!
Hans Blix says Iraq will cooperate fully. Oh good. I feel better now.
Tuesday, November 19, 2002
This would be funnier if it weren't so true.
Jason Steffens has a good point that I neglected to mention about the Doug Bandow article I linked to earlier.
Read this headline and see if you don't want to puke.
I've got to disagree with Glenn on this one. Despite my misgivings, if ballistic "fingerprinting" could yield 99% (or even 95%) I think it would probably be useful to set up a database. It might not be wise to use the database in court at that level, but such a degree of accuracy might be very useful as an aid to the police. However, 38% is just plain worthless.
Suneal Chandran thinks the Democratic party has become a bunch of Luddites.
And those, I'm afraid, are their good qualities.
Susanna Cornett has some excellent comments on the morality of war. I'd take some excerpts, but there's no point. It's all good.
Ohio State to Fans: Please don't be barbarians.
It Just Gets Better
Yeah. You read that right.
Yup, Good old Hans urged the Iraqis to search their stores of WMDs, which they swear they don't have, to make sure they haven't forgotten anything. Sheesh.
Update- Josh Chafetz weighs in on this as well:
Well, this is interesting
Hang on, this will be a weird ride.
What is there to smooth out Hans? Here's the deal: They do whatever you say whenever you say, or we go to war. No smoothing required.
Note how the Independent says that the Iraqis were "bemused" and takes at face value what Saddam's boys say these factories are being used for. Surely Saddam wouldn't lie to us.
By the way, Hans doesn't understand the idea of "surprise" does he? Why on earth would you tell the guy who's been hiding his weapons from us for 11 years where we're going to look?
Huh? The report due on December 8th does not have anything to do (as I read the resolution) with the places the inspectors want to look at. That report is supposed to be a detailed report of all weapons of mass destruction that the Iraqi government owns. They've been saying for years that they don't have any, haven't had any, and wouldn't dream of getting any. Their letter accepting the Security Council resolution reiterated that position. If they haven't been lying, the report should be real easy to prepare. It could be four words, "We don't have any." I suspect that's pretty much what the statement will say, in fact. It will be a lie, but hey, we knew that.
Am I reading this right? Was Hans playing bad cop/good cop? (Hint, we're the bad cop.)
I'll believe that when I see it.
OK. You give us a detailed list of all you're WMDs. If there is anything on the list, you're in violation of treaty obligations and we will invade. If we find out the list was a lie, you're in violation of treaty obligations and we invade. You let the inspectors go wherever they want, whenever they want, and do whatever they want. If you don't, you will be in violation of treaty obligations and we will invade. If you attack us or the inspectors, we invade. Any funny business and we invade.
Are we clear now? Good.
That's right chumps. This time we want to actually look where the weapons are.
That's right. It's all our fault. Has absolutely nothing to do with the people shooting at the planes in clear violation of the newest resolution. None at all.
Oh my. Where to start. The US wants to attack Iraq under the excuse of the banned weapons and their alleged danger. Darn Darn-tootin. Although, to paraphrase the reporter in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, "For my money, you can drop 'allegedly'."
It is inspectors who find hidden weapons, not bombs. Let me clear something up. Our primary concern is not finding weapons. It is making sure those weapons aren't used. For those purposes, bombs frequently work just fine.
Inspectors have destroyed more weapons here than the bombs have. Wait a minute. Everyone keeps telling me that they never had these weapons. How did the inspectors destroy these nonexistent weapons? 1
So let me get this straight. If the inspectors walk into a mattress factory and find 3 nukes, serin gas, and stashes of weaponized smallpox and anthrax, that wouldn't be justification to attack. Nice. Ladies and gentleman, I give you the UN weapons inspectors: A Profile in Insanity.
I think I just fisked a "news" story. How sad.
1 Clarification: Yes, I know the inspectors did find and destroy weapons in the previous round of inspections. My point is that you'd never know that from a lot of the anti-war rhetoric.
Juan Gato says that judges often legislate from the bench because they have no choice. I can't say that I agree with that entirely, but he does make some interesting points.
For anyone who was interested in my recent banter with Joshua Clabourn on abortion, you really ought to read this article by Doug Bandow.
One of the inanities of the idiotarian movement is attempts to get universities to divest from Israel. One such movement is under way at Yale. Josh Chafetz at Oxblog is calling attention to an anti-divestment petition. If anyone is or knows a Yale alumnus, they might want to follow the link for more information.
More on Ten Commandments in the public sphere:
I certainly hope there was to substance, in the end, to the ruling than that. The way this story reports the decision, it sounds as if the judge decided the issue of whether the monument was permissible based on how it made him feel.
One other comment. This story says the chief judgement secretly erected the monument. Will someone explain to me how you erect a 21 1/2 ton granite monument in secret?
It is not surprising, but apparently, Kofi Annan can't read.
Monday, November 18, 2002
Exactly what are the Palestinian Preventative Forces supposed to prevent?
From the Guardian. I know you're shocked.
Is it just me, or is there something strange about this. The Guardian says that the Palestinians accuse the Israelis of "decimating official forces" with raids like this. On the other hand, the Palestinians also say the building has been vacant for a year. Exactly how are the Israelis "decimating official forces" by raiding empty buildings?
It gets better. Later in the same story, there is this:
First off, is it just maybe possible that the Israelis thinks the PSS is using their garages to manufacture weapons because, oh I don't know, THEY ARE! Second, remember how the Palestinians said the building was abandoned? Why, then, did Shabak refer get indignant about the attack on "[his] headquarters"?
You know, it would be nice if the Palestinians would keep their lies straight. It would be nice if the Guardian would call them on it when they tell inconsistent stories too, but I know that's asking too much.
Red Letter Edition
Jesus warns his disciples to be wear of the "leaven" of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They finally realized that he was warning them to avoid the teachings of the Sadducees and Pharisees.
Why was that so important. Well, to begin with, their teachings were wrong. The comparison to leaven is an interesting one and is used in the New Testament in a variety of purposes. In each case, the point is that even a small amount of leaven changes the entire loaf. This is why we should beware of false teachings. They can easily change our entire belief system. They can even harm large portions of the church permanently.
Cut on the . . . ? Hey, didn't there used to be more in that title?
Isn't it a little early to be talking about this?
The Wall Street Journal examines why Max Cleland lost. Hint: The answer isn't what you'll here from Democrats. They also have a few things to say about Democrats who scream, "You can't challenge my patriotism!"
Students in Iran continue to protest. One of their demands ought to strike a chord:
Martin Roth has some interesting comments on the state of Christian education in Australia.
Australian police have arrested a British man who was plotting to bomb the "diplomatic premises" (which I assume means an embassy or consulate) of the Israeli government.
Eugene Volokh asks why the University of Oregon faculty senate would bother expressing an opinion on the war:
Can't argue that point.
Charles Krauthammer analyzes liberal fantasies.
David Frum calls for Colin Powell to be sacked. This isn't the first time some one has said that. It probably won't be the last. I still can't decide what I think.
Sunday, November 17, 2002
In America, this is the inevitable result when the government fails to do its job.
Here's an article you ought to read about Just War Theory.
Here's a Sydney Morning Herald report on the confession of an al-Qaeda operative being held in Kuwait that he helped plan the attack on a French tanker. Strangely, despite the fact that nothing in the story would lead you to doubt that he actually confessed, the headline reads:
Yes, those are scare quotes around the word confessed. As I say, nothing in the story would make you doubt the guy actually confessed, but somebody is not convinced.
Red Letter Edition
There are some people who never accept Christ, no matter how much evidence they see. By this point, Jesus had done many great works, yet still some people demanded signs. To those who were willing to believe Jesus would provide evidence, but those who were unwilling to believe under any situation were unworthy of receiving signs. Still, Jesus would give everyone one sign: The Resurrection.