Tuesday, February 28, 2006
My personal suspicion is that much of explorative (geographic exploration, that is) history should be rewritten. For instance, I think it's very probable that Christopher Columbus walked into a female discussion between his wife and her mother-in-law in the kitchen right before he decided to go find India. "I'll see you in a few years, honey," probably seemed like the best thing to say at the time. He was almost certainly hoping that his mother-in-law would have gone home by the time he got back. And the search for the Northwestern (edited) Passage? Come on - that's obvious! (It must be conceded that vagina-blogging offers extremely fertile territory for puns and double entendres. Admit it - you are jealous that you didn't think of this first.)
I'll admit to a crestfallen, appalled unhappiness with what the women's movement in academia has become. In my high school days I was looking forward happily to a future in which my vagina was going to be a purely private possession off limits as a topic of discussion in public life. We were promised that it would have nothing to do with our right to participate in public life or our careers. In fact, I had no idea whatsoever that my vagina was ever going to be presumed to be some sort of a goldmine outside of a brothel. But reality has to trump optimism if rationality is to reign. It is clear that post-modernist feminism bears a suspicious resemblance to a cult, and the vaginahabis are developing terroristic tendencies.
As Anniebird wrote in a comment to my last post, weak thinking is contagious. If (in The Anchoress' terms), the "barbaric yawps" of enraged vaginas are going to be allowed to run rampant and unassailable through universities, pausing in only to fling the odd university president out of office for daring to question the brilliance of the holders of those sacred vaginas, it is clear that women who are less awed by their nether regions are going to have to speak up. The thing about basing any discussion on the wisdom of a vagina's brain is that it immediately disqualifies men from participating (as Pedro notes)- which is exactly the goal of the vagina-worshippers. There is a method to this madness, and it is to get men out of the kitchen altogether. That leaves you and me in here, sister. It's time to clean out the refrigerator. There's clearly some degenerative process going on in there - the brain in my nose tells me so.
Vaginahabism should not be allowed to succeed in any way. Pedro cannot really counter this madness - he would be marked down as an enemy of the vaginahabis and debarred from future participation in academics. If Summers can be taken down in part for a purely scholarly discusson of an observable statistical phenomenon, than who is safe? All of western women's position in society is a function of the humanistic doctrines of western society. We can discuss the patriarchy all we like, but it seems unequivocally self-evident that the patriarchy has been the best friend of the matriarchy, possibly due to the patriarchy's genetic tendency to vagina-worship. Basically, they'll do what we tell them, as long as it means they have a reasonable chance of getting some some.
So we'd better start thinking more clearly than Eve Ensler, the author of the Vagina Monologues. As The Anchoress notes, she has now moved from world redemption based on vagina-worship to world redemption based on stomach-acceptance. Isn't that middle age in a nutshell? Believe me, we don't want to travel into old age with this particular Eve leading the way:
...I have bought into the idea that if my stomach were flat, then I would be good, and I would be safe. I would be protected. I would be accepted, admired, important, loved. Maybe because for most of my life I have felt wrong, dirty, guilty, and bad, and my stomach is the carrier, the pouch for all that self-hatred. Maybe because my stomach has become the repository for my sorrow, my childhood scars, my unfulfilled ambition, my unexpressed rage. Like a toxic dump, it is where the explosive trajectories collide—the Judeo- Christian imperative to be good; the patriarchal mandate that women be quiet, be less; the consumer-state imperative to be better, which is based on the assumption that you are born wrong and bad, and that being better always involves spending money, lots of money. Maybe because, as the world rapidly divides into fundamentalist camps, reductive sound bites, and polarizing platitudes, an exploration of my stomach and the life therein has the potential to shatter these dangerous constraints.Good God in heaven. Anyone who really believes that a non-critical admiration of Eve Ensler's middle-aged stomach can save us all should stop reading now. Narcissistic navel-gazing never advanced society or protected us from any danger. It's no basis for science. It's no basis for public policy. Can we please return to the idea of objective, external reality? Can we lose the tribalism? Can we stop the glorification of the trivial and inane and return to searching for a consensus based on what's important and what is universal?
In order to get out of this irrational abyss we will need to agree on a few basic rules. Lawrence Summers had the perfect right to ask for the debate. We are all free to debate with him, but we are not free to conduct a vaginahabi jihad against him for opening the topic. The rules are going to have to be the same for men and women and any individual who is not sure of his or her particular category. Every individual must be allowed to question statistics and propositions. Sexual harassment may not be defined as disagreeing with a woman. Being offended is no indicator of being victimized. Can we agree that women are, first and foremost, capable of being rational beings and that conducting oneself as a rational being is no betrayal of each other or of our vaginas?
Otherwise, it's burkas for you and me. Ultimately, western society will stand or fall based on its ability to recognize, adapt and cope with external, objective realities. And if western society falls, the vaginahabis are doomed. Vaginahibism is fixated on destroying its own life support system.
Monday, February 27, 2006
V-Day My Way
My alarm bells began to ring when I read the part about babies stretching out and therefore damaging the tonality of the vagina. I know how serious these folks are about their vaginas! They write to me - often - discussing the integrity of the vagina and the superiority of the vagina over any and all other sexual musculature/organs.This is vintage, classic Anchoress stuff. If you've never had to endure the glassy-eyed mass hysteria of the Vagina Monologues/scissors crowd you can't understand how many women feel about it. Several times my brother has called me after reading this blog and said solemnly "You seem really offended by the Vagina Monologues". Well, I'm tired of being told to worship the feminine mystique of my vagina. I'm tired of being told that the most important parts of me are my genitals. As far as I'm concerned, not having to worship my vagina is one of the best things about being a woman. That is a guy problem. Women naturally have more sense - or they should.
My vagina, dang it, does not need a community and a culture of other vaginas. I am not a walking, talking vagina! I flipping refuse to be in awe of my vagina! And don't - just don't - get me started on alternate Episcopalian liturgies. Don't. Your eyes would pop out of your skull and bang around the room.
SC&A joins the fray with a very nice mini-biography of Myra Blackwell, one of the first female lawyers in the nation. Go ahead and read about "marital disability", and then we can all contemplate how feminism used to be about allowing women to be persons. How is it that the Vagina Monologue crowd wants to put us back in the hot-pink ghetto of vaginadom?
You can see why this topic would hit SC&A hard. SC&A has a brilliant daughter who is in her first year of college. It's not a pleasant reflection to know that you are sending your pride and joy out into a culture in which some people are going to try to propagandize her into sewing vagina quilts (if you click, you deserve it - the featured quilt looks frighteningly like that big space amoeba in the original Star Trek that ate entire planets) and sending professors emails about her upset vagina. Picture the enraged vagina making a Betty Boop pouty face. How could you offend her cute li'l vagina?
These are the only people I know who can make wearing a burka seem like a dignified life option.
Seriously, read Jade Powers' story about her performance of "My Short Skirt" with the "Vulva Choir":
Eve Ensler hugged and kissed me and said how fun it was that I was there. She gave me a good look up and down, I might add. ... The staff was all women, very kind and loving and welcoming. I really stopped being nervous as soon as I walked into this glowing red cave of busy vaginas running about. ... Sitting on that stage, looking at the women around me, feeling the vibrations of the audience, everyone buzzing, really exploding with the desire, the visceral need, to end all violence against women and children. It was tremendous. It was a force. This is what activism can create, how changes can be made. ... As women, we cannot change the men, or whoever is perpetrating the abuse, but we can change ourselves. We can say "No!" as a collective force of women around the world.This is an exercise in learned futility. Getting a degree and joining Doctors Without Borders would not be.
Honey, it's not about your short skirts or your feelings. It's about what you do with your life. Eve Ensler looking you up and down approvingly is not an achievement any more than Bill Clinton offering you a cigar would be. Life isn't meant to be a glowing red cave with lots of busy vaginas scurrying about. Perhaps you should discuss some Freudian return-to-the-womb issues with Dr. Sanity. Start here.
Now go back and read about Myra Blackwell. That's a woman who stood up for herself and for other women. With so many smart, dedicated and successful women around today - women who do things - how is it that the hot-pink tutu types are featured even in Catholic universities? I don't think that walking around sucking on vagina lollipops and waving scissors is all that much of a enabling and conscious-raising experience. I think it's teaching women to behave and think like hyper-sexual, neurotic sub-teens. Must we pimp out our children to shore up our own psyches?
So many of these women seem like frightened kids looking for their mommy. That's rather pathetic when you are in your forties. And the short skirts don't look that hot at that stage of life either, because there aren't many Tina Turners. Remember that story about building your house on sand?
I leave you with these two quotes from the Vagina Monologues, which should go down in history as one of the most successful scams ever:
"What's special about your vagina? Somewhere deep inside it has a really, really smart brain...."What kind of idiot has young girls on a stage reading this type of sexual/political propagandistic pap? And what is the purpose of it? It's a flight from responsibility and adulthood. No matter how long you rummage around in there, you will never find a brain.
"My vagina reminds me of a pretty dark peach. Or a diamond I found from a treasure and it's mine."
Absolutely Crying With Laughter
Wow, let’s go storm the Dean’s office at Columbia! We’re going to put daisies in our genitals and levitate the Pentagon, too, because it is always 1968 in our world!
And Pedro The Quietist stumbled onto the latest meme in LaLa Leftist Land - any pregnancy is an opportunistic parasitical infection! And, as Pedro discovered via a dangerous journey into the alternate Kos Universe, the Kosites seem to believe pregnancy is an anti-female final solution type of conspiracy:
All of these complications can be exacerbated by a pre-existing condition. Some of these complications can be life-altering and last a lifetime. Appearance - It is tough, if not impossible, for a woman's body to be as tight and firm as it was prior to the pregnancy. This is true of her abs, her butt, her breasts and her vagina. On top of that,she may also have hair loss, acne, stretch marks, rashes, varicose veins, and a scar from a c-section.
Death - According to the CDC, there are between 300 - 500 pregnancy-related deaths per year in the US.
After reading this, Pedro thought:
My choice for Constitutional Amendment #28: the State should preserve the woman's right to have a hot, tight, and firm body forever.
And he sagely pointed out that we should apparently be more worried about the pregnancy plague than H5N1. Stepping back for a moment of horrified contemplation, Pedro writes on:
...the leftist position is so fundamentally at odds with the natural laws governing nature. The first woman is pissed off that women are the ones that get pregnant. The second guy is pissed off because he doesn't understand that pregnancy is not a random and unpredictable event.This is why leftists are so damn angry all the time. The world offends them. They have a vision of how things should be that is simply impossible given the fundamental constitution of existence. This is not along the lines of "there should be more regulation" or "women should be given more time off after pregnancy", but rather of how the natural world functions: they are actually pissed off that females give birth and that pregnancy results from sex. I feel sorry for them; imagine if the fact that the sky is blue was deeply offensive to you; how angry would you be all day every day?
I can answer that question. Very, very angry. Working for a living can do all of the above things to a person's body as well. It causes stress diseases, wrinkles and grumpiness. So should we outlaw work next? I have met and read many la-la leftists who want to do exactly that. I ran into one on Howard Dean's website that claimed that having to work for a living was unconstitutional - it restricted his freedom. No lie.
I hope these types of hysterics won't control any debate. I doubt that it is easy for the state to regulate abortion well and rationally, because forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy that will probably kill her is not going to become law, and it is very, very difficult medically to know what will happen in many circumstances. From a woman's point of view, it is quite impressive if there are only 500 pregnancy-related deaths a year. Something is working incredibly well in our health system.
I am sorry. Life always was and always will be a risky proposition. There is a place for allowing freedom and controlling risks, but when one pushes that to the point of claiming that stretch marks are a fundamental violation of human rights, we have left the galaxy and are voyaging where no sane man has ever voyaged before. Or woman.
As a woman I think South Dakota is pretty much deranged. But darn it, the other side of the debate is more deranged. Because what it comes down to is that a baby is more of a life-altering hassle than a fetus. And that's where dear, dear Peter Singer steps in. Kid irritating you? Whack 'em!
Short-sighted utilitarianism is no more rational than Jonestown turned out to be. The "greatest good for the greatest number" depends on who you include in the "greatest number". Those nasty opportunistic parasitical infections we used to call "babies" might be included as well, if we were rational. But we're not.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Ya wanna talk speaking truth to power? Read it here. Far and away the best post about the port flap I've read. Plus the man includes actual links by which you can learn something:
The ports decision was made by unelected officials behind closed doors, as is usual with this tone deaf administration. Nobody thought about anything in the real world. ... Nobody among our best and brightest considered that somebody with an axe to grind would leak to a port city mayor and thus bring the entire deal to its knees. Nobody in the Bush Administration thinks about anything past tomorrow until it's five minutes before midnight.
We are left with the catastrophic prospect of kicking out a company only because they are Arabs and Muslims, an act of bigotry that will cause more than just cartoon riots among Muslims world wide. Our troops are in serious danger. I refer you again to the James Robbins piece in the NRO yesterday for the enumeration of the favors the UAE has done for us since 2002. Add to that the
fact that Dubai is the most westernized of all Arab countries; the women wear dresses, the press is relatively free, it is about to become the Las Vegas of the Middle East and even worse for us, they are about to control banking in the entire Muslim world because they have gotten around Shiria Law prohibiting interest; their banks will be financing all growth in the Middle East with interest rates set by a government and not any markets.
UAE is the Switzerland of the ME. We have an incredible stake in maintaining a strong relationship with them. Incredible. We need them more than we need Pakistan.
And Howard is dead, dead right in pointing out that the administration should bear the blame for mismanaging this. Yes, public unease was exacerbated by the wave of violence about cartoons and bad press reporting on the ME generally. Can you blame someone living around one of these ports for worrying based on what we read in our newspapers? A mayor? There is absolutely no press coverage of the reform movements in the ME. All we read in the press is stories about people running amok over fake cartoons. The press doesn't cover anti-terror demonstrations by Muslims. Try reading two weeks of Big Pharoah. And think.
Now Bush needs to come out and really explain. Explanations are not his strong point. We are screwed. I understand the uneasiness. If I only read American newspapers I would share it. But there is a group of very progressive-minded people in the ME who are fighting a wave of violent know-nothings intent upon taking power and cloaking themselves with religious rhetoric. The worst of these groups are already falling out of favor in the ME.
The worst risk to the west comes from Muslims raised or educated in western countries, especially if they can get aid and weapons from dictators abroad. It's no joke and no lie that many ME journalists question Hamas more strongly than the Western European journalists. This is the movement you want to feed.
I want you to read Howard; Howard wants you to think and read Air Cargo. If you want to create a religious war you can. But will you like the result? You'll have to live or die with it.
Try reading about the Thirty Year War. If we're not careful that's what we'll create. Religion will be used as the fly-wheel for power-jockeying in the ME. That is exactly what Al-Qaeda was trying to create.
Only a fool treats those who treat him well badly. Fools do not win. Before 9-11 some of the suicide-jackers were identified in a cell in Hamburg, Germany (including the eventual leader, Mohamed Atta). Should we boycott Germany because of that?
If you can't think then try praying for wisdom. Declare someone an untrustworthy suspect and you will make him an enemy. We need to treat our friends, or at least our allies, well and continually strike at our enemies. May God give us the wisdom to know the difference between the two groups.
Although Bin Ladin, Atef, and KSM initially contemplated using established al Qaeda members to execute the planes operation, the late 1999 arrival in Kandahar of four aspiring jihadists from Germany suddenly presented a more attractive alternative. The Hamburg group shared the anti-U.S. fervor of the other candidates for the operation, but added the enormous advantages of fluency in English and familiarity with life in the West, based on years that each member of the group had spent living in Germany. Not surprisingly, Mohamed Atta, Ramzi Binalshibh, Marwan al Shehhi, and Ziad Jarrah would all become key players in the 9/11 conspiracy.
He became particularly friendly with Binalshibh after meeting him at the Quds mosque in Hamburg, which Jarrah began attending regularly in late 1997.The worshippers at this mosque featured an outspoken, flamboyant Islamist named Mohammed Haydar Zammar. A well-known figure in the
Muslim community (and to German and U.S. intelligence agencies by the late 1990s), Zammar had fought in Afghanistan and relished any opportunity to extol the virtues of violent jihad. Indeed, a witness has reported hearing Zammar press Binalshibh to fulfill his duty to wage jihad.
How To Cook Danish
Via the inestimable and inimitable Florida Cracker, Coalition Of The Swilling is here to help. Now we just need a kosher menu.
Don't say blogging doesn't have its practical side. Just be sure to buy some Danish for Sunday morning, and have a few Freedom Fries for dinner.
Human beings are incredibly silly. The food wars could replace the World Cup. Admit it, this could be cool.
TN Suspends Illegal Alien Driver's Certificates
Predictably, the ACLU thinks this is a terrible thing:
"This program was a good idea in theory, but there have been issues with implementation," Nicely said. The certificates, which are stamped "not valid for identification," were meant to improve driving safety by making sure immigrants living in the state knew traffic rules. Recent federal investigations found that illegal immigrants were traveling hundreds of miles from other states to get the certificates illegally.
Two major federal arrests in recent months exposed shuttles bringing South and Central American immigrants from as far away as New Jersey to state licensing centers in Knoxville, where the immigrants got certificates using fake residency papers.
Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, said suspending the program "endangers everyone traveling the roads in Tennessee." "The certificate program, while discriminatory to begin with, at least ensured that drivers were trained and had insurance," Weinberg said. The ACLU had favored the full driver's licenses.
Had insurance? I doubt it. Are insurance companies writing auto insurance for illegal aliens living in NJ? As most states tighten the rules on issuing driver's licenses, this sort of thing is inevitable.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Suddenly, In Florida
Suddenly, for-sale signs are everywhere.The Orlando Regional Realtor Association
reported Monday that the record 12,015 existing homes for sale in January in the core Orlando market was nearly four times the number available a year earlier. And most of those homes hit the market in January, when members entered 6,172 homes with the Mid-Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service, compared with 2,970 in January 2005.
The article lists offsetting factors, such as more sellers listing with realtors in a less favorable market, but:
The Florida RE market has been very hot. In southwest Florida:
Jerry Smith, 58, a retiree in Lake County, has had his former home in north Apopka on the market for about five months and has cut the asking price from $400,000 to $320,000. Smith, who built the 1,570-square-foot house in the 1970s, and has added a new kitchen, concedes "it's your average home." The competition for sales is heating up, he said, with two other homes on his road sporting for-sale signs."
The signs are popping up everywhere," Smith said.
"684 price reductions in Cape Coral alone in the last 24 hours," said Mishelle Montgomery. Montgomery is selling her salt water canal home. Last year, it may have sold in days, now she's waiting.
"October - the very beginning of October and we had no idea we'd still be sitting here today having not sold our home," said Montgomery.
"We've lowered our price $70,000 and we will probably have to lower it even more," said Montgomery.
Take a look at this San Jose Mercury News, CA advertisement. It lists reductions on new development homes of over 20%. Some people who have bought on these low-payment ARMS or interest-only mortgages and have put little down are going to be wiped right out. There are a shocking number of first-time homebuyers who put very little down. Nationally, about 1/3 of mortgages in recent years have been ARMs. In the very pricy areas, as many as 30% of the new mortgages last year were interest-only.
Human Bird Flu Cases In India
If so, it's significant, because that man was said to have been exposed to poultry in another area. The family aren't involved with poultry. This would indicate human to human transmission with the same delay pattern between the index case and subsequent family cases observed in Indonesia.
In 2002, tests done on three Indian poultry workers showed that they had been exposed to H5N1.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Human Nature I
I am pretty awed by the latest bird flu news. Flu Clinic has a country thread here. I guess I've been reading too much of this, because I burst out laughing when India suddenly discovered H5N1 10 days after they had a suspected human case admitted to the hospital (who died). Now they are saying that the human case died from a bacterial infection. Uh-huh. I bet his heart stopped too. Northern India seems to be to have been the source for the Qinghai strain of H5N1; the bar-headed geese fly over the Himalayas to China from India and Tibet.
Neither the US nor Canada have released the full results of the surveillance tests done last year.
Stuff like Richard Cohen's inability to deal with percentages explains an awful lot about political insanity and public policy insanity:
I confess to be one of those people who hate math. I can do my basic arithmetic all right (although not percentages) but I flunked algebra (once), barely passed it the second time -- the only proof I've ever seen of divine intervention -- somehow passed geometry and resolved, with a grateful exhale of breath, that I would never go near math again. ...Is there a correlation between innumeracy and certain strains of political thought? The thing is, I use fractions, percentages and other types of arithematic constantly even when I am reading the news. This may be why Richard Cohen and many journalists don't seem aware of some things which jump out at me - such as the problem with Social Security and the hilarious Al Gore prophecies of CO2-induced global disaster. See Pharyngula on Cohen's column.
Here's the thing, Gabriela: You will never need to know algebra. I have never once used it and never once even rued that I could not use it.
Cohen goes on:
Gabriela, sooner or later someone's going to tell you that algebra teaches reasoning. propagated by, among others, algebra teachers. This is a lie. Writing is the highest form of reasoning.See, Cohen's blind, deaf and dumb to what he does not understand. Any fool can blather on in writing. Many fools do, including this one. Just because I write something doesn't mean that it is reasonable. Forming an idea and writing it down can be an exercise in pure fantasy. Algebra and those frightening percentages are necessary analytical tools to understand the basics of our world.
When Chief No-Nag read Cohen's article he laughed for 20 minutes. Then he sobered up and told me that this explained a great deal about some Democratic proposals. He said they couldn't understand numbers at all, so they can't understand economics and other public policy issues. This could explain quite a bit.
Update: Tommy did not pull his punches on the Richard Cohen. He offended one commenter, thus upholding our free speech rights.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Two Political Plagues
This is not the spring migration, which is still to come - this is 'fessing up after increased monitoring. You won't find what you won't seek. Since any country that found H5N1 was going to get quarantined, every country had a very good reason not to seek. The whole thing has been purely political. There was no way to stop an infection spread by migrating birds, so there was no reason at all to step forward and invite economic distress before it was unavoidable.
And don't think that if these birds made it to Europe in the fall that they didn't make the much shorter hop to NA. The Qinghai strain was far closer to Alaska in the fall than to the Baltic. The US poultry industry quietly instituted an H5N1 sampling program for poultry sent to market in January. Ask yourselves why. I watch the hawks disappear around here and I know what I think. I don't think the Qinghai strain made it to south GA last fall, but I think a milder strain did. I think the Qinghai strain made it into NA last fall, and will spread this year as the weather warms. We're going to find out in a few months if I'm right.
If you eat eggs, hardboil them. Ten minutes boiling. Don't fry them. They might not get hot enough during frying to kill the virus. Don't prepare chicken for cooking without gloves and wash your hands after you have touched eggs. Bleach is by far your best friend. Stock up and use it. Get used to not touching your face unless you have just washed your hands. Get used to taking off your shoes at the door when you come home. Wash the doorknobs and taps at home down once a day with bleach.
You can be (and testing demonstrates that people have been) exposed to even the most virulent strain of flu without getting sick. A high initial dose of the virus gives it the jump on your body's immune system. A low dose will be overcome by your natural defenses. When you have never been exposed to a particular flu virus before, your body is slower to gear up to fight it. Don't be afraid of exposure - just make sure that you avoid a high exposure.
The second political plague is anti-Semitism. Pedro the Quietist makes an interesting observation in this post. Darcey of Dust My Broom has spent some time documenting it in Canada. Several main-line Protestant churches in the US have announced "disinvestment drives" against Israel. The Anglican church has been a leader in this effort. They don't just want to quit doing business with Israel - they want to disinvest from every business doing business with Israel. The AUT blockade of Israeli academics gained wide support in American universities. Many American universities harbor anti-Semites.
Incredible numbers of bloggers have excoriated networks with the policy of never describing terrorist suicide bombers as terrorists who are suicide bombers, but ask yourself why this "media guide to covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" was published by a Christian organization in 2002? Read it and weep:
The following Code of Fair Practices was developed during a conference called "Megaphones and Muffled Voices" on what constitutes full and fair media coverage of Israeli-Palestinian issues. The conference, held in New York City, April 17-18, 2002, was sponsored by the World Association for Christian Communication, its North American Regional Association, and the Communication Commission of the National Council of Churches, U.S.A.Why? What is the reason for all of this "nuance"? The people who are promulgating this fall into two camps:
# Balance of coverage is not achieved only in providing equal space or time to each side. There is no balance when an articulate, moderate and charismatic person is asked to represent one side and an uncompromising, militant, fiery and inarticulate ideologist is offered as a representative of the other side.
# Headlines should reflect the content of the story. Photographs should give a fair and accurate image of an event and not exaggerate an incident simply because the photograph is exceptionally dramatic.
# As much as possible, journalists should understand the language, the history and the culture of the people they cover. They should not totally rely on interpreters provided by particular causes or governments.
# Covering such a sensitive, nuance-ridden subject as the Arab-Israeli conflict, journalists should be careful in using such loaded words and cliches as "terrorists" "gunmen," "Islamic bombers" and "fatalistic" Muslims.
- Weak-minded hysterics shoring up their own self-esteem by joining in a public campaign to throw rocks at other people they believe can't fight back, and
- Spineless weaseling cowards who are trying to escape the bear by throwing Israel and Jews and general toward the bear.
SC&A has written often about the situation. Most Muslims are not terrorists. We do not declare a religious war against Islam when we refuse to submit to thuggery. Unlike H5N1, we can avoid this danger by refusing to feed the bear. The safest course is to cause the bear pain every time he tries to take a bite out of civilization. Anti-Semitism is no escape from Islamic theo-fascists. Anti-Semitism is a symptom of surrender to Islamic theo-fascists.
An Unfortunate Accident
What can I say? The weather on Mars is probably George Bush's fault, and that's the reason I'm not going to listen to the news while driving any more.
I give up. People aren't sane any more. Liberal Larry pretty much sums it up. DU is extremely excited, because KKKlearly there's a KKKonspiracy.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Vox Day Hits It Home
As anyone who has met more than two or three journalists can testify, the grand illusion of journalism is the belief that having heard about something is equivalent to knowing it well.The American constitutional guarantee of free speech is unique. Vox Day is correct in observing that Muslims protesting the Danish cartoons do have a reasonable legal claim under the law in many of those countries. This should be a warning to us all of why we do not want Supreme Court judges looking at international law to interpret our Constitution. It's a good column; read it. Canada doesn't have free speech either. As I wrote yesterday, when societies have certain groups that may not criticized, other groups mount a struggle to get into the list of protected groups. This is the goal for which European Muslims are now agitating.
Only Patrick Buchanan has seen fit to notice that Europe is not America, that American constitutional rights do not apply in European countries and that all discussions which assume they do render themselves irrelevant on that score.
"Of course they should have been published," is the opinion of those who are complacently innocent of European law. "The Sacred Freedom of the Press demands it!" argue those who are clearly unaware of the jailing of revisionist historian David Irving, of the fact that in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Slovakia it is against the law to question the historical accuracy of the claim that 6 million Jews were killed by Germany's National Socialists, and of the Bundesrepublik's announcement last week that World Cup fans – especially the English– who by word or by gesture should remind Germans of their most recent defeat at their national sport would be arrested and face a punishment of up to three years in jail.
The Toon Wars Expand
The new controversial cartoon shows the Iranian national team standing in a World Cup stadium with bombs strapped to their jerseys has caused anger in Iran.And according to Iowahawk, the Midwest has experienced rampaging hordes of Lutherans terrorizing Denny's and IHOPs in response to a disrespectful Vince Lombardi cartoon:
The cartoon, which was printed in the Friday edition of Berlin's Tagesspiegel, also depicts German soldiers standing in the stadium with a caption saying, "Why at the World Cup of all places does the German army have to be on duty?"
The Iranian newspaper 90 has called the cartoon "shameless" and called on the Iranian football federation to lodge an official protest.
"It is now clear that the Germans are under the influence of the Zionists (Israel) and have lowered themselves to become their scarecrows," wrote 90.
Also, a Philadelphia paper republished one of the Danish cartoons (Muhammed with a bomb in his turban) along with an article about the controversy, and Muslims picketed the paper this weekend. Peacefully. The editor went out and talked to them. In the meantime, the UK government is launching a "respect" drive.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
The Free Speech Issue At The UN
I don't think there is any way a society can ban some forms of speech while claiming to still respect free speech. One can ban speech that is criminal. For example, I don't have a right to call up someone and tell them I'm going to kill them unless they send me $1000. One can ban speech that is situationally dangerous, such as the classic yelling "fire" in a crowded theater when there is no fire. (But that too is dangerous, see Ledux on the issue and the case.) But you can't ban entire topics of speech or ban speech disrespectful of certain groups or beliefs without instituting a brawl for "no-criticism" status in a society.
So it's hardly a surprise that Muslims want to be included in that select "no criticism allowed" group, is it? People are being quite hypocritical about this. US-style all-you-can-brawl free speech doesn't exist in Muslim countries and doesn't exist in Europe or Canada. It seems to me that only the US has any valid retort to the Muslim claim.
This Chicago Tribune article lays the issue out neatly:
The growing number of Muslims, it is argued, will eventually lead to the repression of anything critical of Islam. Journalist Mark Steyn speculated recently in The Wall Street Journal's online Opinion Journal that the continent could be under Sharia (Islamic religious law) by 2040. "We're already seeing a drift in that direction," he argued.Well, it turns out that some parts of Europe already ban the sort of blasphemy at issue here--under laws written to protect Christian sensibilities. Denmark, as it happens, provides up to 4 months in jail for anyone "who publicly offends or insults a religion." In Germany, reports the broadcast outlet Deutsche Welle, one magazine has been sued eight times under an anti-blasphemy law enacted in 1871.
There are also laws which ban the selling of Nazi regalia or tracts and laws which ban Holocaust deniers. France doesn't even have freedom of religion - if it regards a particular religion as a cult (like Scientology or the Raelians), people don't have freedom to follow it. Nor is it just blasphemy that's forbidden. Speaking against homosexuals is a crime in several European states and in Canada. Big groups of DU'rs want to make it a crime here in the US. I don't want the UN rights body to include blasphemy in its list of human-rights offenses, but DU is being hypocritical when it sees the Muslim request as some sort of aberrant and unique effort.
I'd hope that the US would keep its principles of free speech alive, because we are a rare, rare oasis in an increasingly coercive international society. And I don't think there's any hope of saving the UN. It, like the Concert of Europe, has become a means for dictators and elites to institute repression. Any human rights body created under the auspices of the UN will also be used to suppress popular struggles for reform.
Bird Flu Flies In Political Circles
Supposedly H5 was confirmed in falcons in Saudi Arabia. There have been multiple reports of die-offs in Yemen. It looks to be in at least three countries in Africa (Chad, Mali and Nigeria). It soon will be all over Africa and Europe, if it isn't already. In the next two - six months, the infection will spread in wild birds and become more apparent.
Whether a country reports H5N1 or not has more to do with politics and economics than whether birds in that country are dying from H5N1. This will not change.
There is no possibility of containing this, because a very virulent strain of H5N1 is being spread in the wild bird population. If H5N1 is not already in NA it soon will be. I think it is already in NA, but hasn't made it to South America yet. When it does make it to SA, havoc will ensue after two or three months, because there are plenty of rural populations which raise livestock and domestic fowl. There are some in North America, too! Biosecurity measures at most large poultry raising operations in NA are already in place, but many smaller production operations will be hit hard. All backyard or free-range poultry will be infected eventually. The commercial distribution of such poultry or eggs from such poultry in the US should be made illegal, but for political reasons this will not be done.
H5N1 infects pigeons, crows and starlings. It's time to poison the birds in the big cities to limit human exposure. You can bet the PETA types will fight viciously against this. The bird defenders are still insisting that H5N1 is not being spread by migrating birds, flying in the face of all evidence. WHO was pushing this doctrine for quite a while too, but has recently conceded to reality.
Recent reports from Turkey, possibly south Iraq and definitely Indonesia show an increasing pattern of infections in clusters. At the very minimum, this indicates that the virus has become far, far more efficient at infecting mammals. Quite a few of the clusters showed a series of delayed onset dates, so that onset of illness dates varied by 4 to 10 days, and in at least one cluster in Indonesia this appeared to have happened twice. If the viral level in the environment were so high as to keep infecting people three weeks after all the birds were dead, more than just one family would be getting ill and dying. A combination of very sporadic infection combined with this type of onset pattern means that inefficient human to human transmission must be occurring. This was confirmed in Turkey, which actually did do enough testing to detect sub-clinical infections.
The implications of all this are staggering. I guess for a while this blog will mainly be concentrated on trying to explain what will probably happen and what, if anything, you can do about it, because the press appears unwilling or unable to cover this story. One inevitable result of all this will be the rumor in the ME that the US spread this virus as a weapon. That rumor already was circulating in Russia after the first large poultry-processing and raising plants were shut down or embargoed due to H5N1. They had instituted biosecurity measures but those measures were not effective against H5N1.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Let A Lady Say It
Coretta Scott King was a woman commited to her causes, and yes, she spoke her mind, and that is how it should be. But she was also a woman of social sensibility, and she was a gracious person. For that matter, so was Dr. King.
Anyway, we’re being told that this crassness is all appropriate and that we’d better get used to it - particularly if theworstpersonintheworld, George W. Bush, is around. Get used to it, you say?
If, let’s just say, someday we’re watching the funeral of a former Democrat president, fer instance - and a conservative gets up and moves away from tribute and into politically charged speech…makes sneering remarks about 17% mortgage rates, or Iranian hostages, or bombing aspirin factories, or talking for years and years about WMD’s, or ignoring Rwanda, or lying under oath, or accessing FBI files, or whatever - that will be okay, right?
Of course it wouldn't be okay. One lady is pointing out disrespect to another lady.
What bothers me the most is that an occasion which should have celebrated the life and recognized the essence of a dignified and brave woman was diverted from that purpose. Coretta Scott King deserved to be the star of the occasion for our edification and the peace of her children.
She had been part of an immense social struggle for change in this country, and when her husband was shot, she had to pick up the burden of raising their children alone. That would have been hard enough, but no one can ever convince me that she didn't struggle with an additional burden of raising the children of Martin Luther King, Jr, and all the efforts to make her and them be the symbol of what other people wanted them to be. Some of the events at her funeral seemed like the final reiteration of that painful and difficult position.
Look at the Kennedy family or Cindy Sheehan, and then look at Coretta's children, and perhaps we can all get an inkling of how great a lady Coretta Scott King really was.
H5N1 Bird Flu Confirmed In Azerbaijan
The Health Ministry said on Friday that a British laboratory has confirmed the presence of the H5N1 strain of avian flu in dead birds from Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea coast.This is not a surprise, but it indicates how incredibly underreported the virus has been. Since it's generally difficult to distinguish one flu virus in humans from another, WHO's list of human cases can't be considered reliable.
The first case of mass deaths among birds was registered in the autumn in the Nakhichivan region, bordering Turkey. More deaths occurred in December and January, but health authorities insisted that the birds had not been infected with avian flu and said there was no cause for concern.
According to local media, within just two to four days at the beginning of this month, the carcasses of thousands of dead migratory birds were found floating along the sea coast near the northern Khachmas and Devechi districts.
Mass bird deaths have also been registered in southern and western districts. The dead birds include crows and swans.
Muslims To File Charges Against Norwegian Editor
The Muslim Al-Jinnah Foundation will charge the editor of the Christian weekly Magazinet, the journal that published the controversial caricatures of the prophet Mohammed in Norway, with endangering Norwegian lives.
The organization delivered charges to Moss police station at noon on Thursday.
"But this is really also treason," Khalid Mohammad said. "He has damaged Norway abroad. Not least, the publication has resulted in Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan being injured. We feel for them," Mohammad said, and also noted that innocent Muslims in Norway now feel unsafe, and that they face greater danger.
You might also see this report of a request to institute a blasphemy law in Norway:
Norway needs anti-blasphemy regulations to protect minorities against derisive and hateful expression, says lawyer Abid Q Raja.Note that such a law would only protect "minorities".
"The point is not to restrict freedom of speech but to give it direction so that weak groups do not feel insulted or mocked. If we do nothing the differences within Norwegian society will increase in the future," Raja told newspaper Dagsavisen.
"I would like a new blasphemy regulation that defines limits for what type of offensive expression shall be allowed towards society's minorities," Raja said. Professor of Public Law Eivind Smith at the University of Oslo is skeptical but believes it is high time to discuss views of blasphemy.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
The Tipping Point
On Wednesday, 20 high school seniors and their parents sued the state Department of Education and school Superintendent Jack O'Connell, claiming the exam is illegal and discriminatory. They worry the test may prevent the students from graduating.So all that's really required of these kids is that they learn the material. If this lawsuit succeeds, they'll have no incentive to do that, will they? And as it turns out, not having these basic skills will really hurt them in later life - because reading, writing and arithematic are even more important skills in the 21st century than they were in the 20th century. "Just showing up" doesn't get you a job or that promotion.
"Many students in California have not been given a fair opportunity to learn the material on the exam," Gonzalez said. "These are good kids who have worked hard for 13 years to pass their courses."
O'Connell has said that students who fail the exam can take another year of high school, get extra tutoring, enroll in summer school or attend community college until they pass. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger included $40 million for tutorial programs in his budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Setting standards like this is not discriminatory. Passing kids through school who haven't learned what they need to learn is discriminatory.
Pork Barrels Galore
Here's hoping that Congress grows up a bit and gets serious soon. I'd be happy if they were monitoring such programs as long as they go to jail if they misuse the information. Quite of few of the more obnoxious ones would then be in prison, which would benefit the country greatly.
Anyway, here's a more worthy endeavor. QandO has an excellent post up about the anti-earmarks anti-pork proposal. NZ Bear has a new page up so you can track whether your bunch of Congressional Swine have promised their support. I need to contact my particular public servants. More info about the Act here.
A Stake Through The Heart Of The Food Nazis?
Are food obsessions the magic amulets of our culture? Because if you are going to ignore this type of study, how can you claim a rational basis for your behavior (or preaching)?
Admit It - Jimmy Carter ...
And to think that Carl Rove was still in his early twenties when he got Jimmy to start running for President in 1974.... What is awesome foresight.
You know why Jimmy's son Jack is running in Nevada? He couldn't get more than a few hundred Georgians to vote for him.
Randy's youngest brother in a family of five kids, Chris McCloy, 20, says Randy grabbed his hand and rubbed it on his face during one particularly emotional moment. "I was thanking him for
Sunday night, when Anna and Rick were in Randy's room, Rick asked for some hand lotion.
Anna found some and joked, as she handed it to him, that it was "butt cream."
"Randy started laughing really hard," she recounts.
Randy's mother, Tambra Flint, 43, says he can drink from a straw. "He's trying real
hard," Flint says. "You see emotion on his face. There's times when he's there and times when he's not."
always being there for me, and that we had our whole lives together to do fun things," Chris
He's still trying, so why not send in a few bucks? If you read the whole article, you'll see that the doctors are quite guarded in their assessment:
Once Randy is able to speak or otherwise express himself, doctors and his family will have a better
sense of his "cognitive abilities, his memories, his emotions," the doctor says."Communication allows us to peek into his inside," Biundo explains. "Communication is the link."
Nope, love is.
Bird Flu In Nigeria Covers Hundreds Of Miles
International inspectors arrived in three Nigerian states hit by the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus on Thursday as authorities tried to persuade people to avoid contact with sick fowl.IC Publications:
Thousands of chicken have died in northern Nigeria over the past few weeks and the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health confirmed on Wednesday that the deadly H5N1 strain had arrived in Africa for the first time.
"Food and Agriculture Organisation inspectors are already in Kaduna, Kano and Jos, " said an official of the World Health Organisation in the Nigerian capital Abuja.
Identified earlier this week as "fowl cholera", the disease was spreading rapidly through farms in Kano State, killing tens of thousands of chickens, Auwalu Haruna, secretary of the Kano State poultry farmers' association, said.Thread post:
Nigeria announced Wednesday that Africa's first confirmed case of the H5N1 strain of bird flu -- which can be fatal to humans -- had been found in Sambawa Farm in Kaduna State, 300 kilometres (185 miles) north of Abuja.
The disease in Kano "is spreading like wildfire," Haruna told AFP.
"We have 20,000 new infections reported today, bringing the figure for infected birds to 80,000. What worsens the situation is the movement of infected poultry, in a frantic effort to minimise losses," he said.
Furthermore, Kano is near the Hadejia-Nguru inland river delta, which is a major wintering location for Northern pintail and garganey ducks. They summer in breeding grounds across Siberia, where there were numerous outbreaks of H5N1 in poultry and wild birds last summer. Birds of those species that winter in Turkey and around the Black Sea also summered in the same places in Siberia and migrants are thought to have carried H5N1 there.The Qinghai H5N1 strain has wreaked havoc everywhere it has been seeded. This happens on bodies of water like river deltas and lakes. The migrating birds bring it in and shed the virus, where it is picked up by the rest of the wild bird population.
The authoritative 1996 Atlas of Anatidae [ducks, geese and swans] Populations of Africa and Western Europe says the Northern pintail wintering in the Black Sea and Mediterranean basins “are lumped with those wintering in West Africa as a single large population”. On average, 18,000 pintails winter each year at Hadejia-Nguru. Similar numbers of garganey ducks follow the same migration and 500,000 of each species winter at nearby Lake Chad.
Some of the Northern pintail wintering now in Britain and along Europe’s North Sea and Atlantic coasts also spent last summer on the same breeding grounds as the pintail that subsequently flew to the Black Sea, Turkey and West Africa.
There were sporadic reports of H5N1 in Mongolia last year, and some birds from Mongolia fly over to Alaska. Europe and the US are next. Proposals to try to innoculate chickens in Africa will help there, but cannot possibly cover all the ground.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Nigerian H5N1 Confirmed.
The deadly H5N1 bird flu virus has been detected on a large commercial chicken farm in Nigeria -- the first reported outbreak in Africa, the World Organization for Animal Health said Wednesday.
Nigeria said the outbreak was on a farm in Jaji, a village in the northern state of Kaduna. Agriculture Minister Adamu Bello told reporters in Abuja that the deadly strain of the virus was detected in samples taken Jan. 16 from birds on the farm.
But birds are dying elsewhere in Nigeria, and sick birds are being rushed to the market. According to Dr. Niman, the Italian lab said it looks like the Qinghai strain. FluClinic has a thread with a map, if you are interested.
Thread Of The Month
Now the news of burned churches in Santa Cruz, CA has inspired DU. It is a Rovian plot to make liberals look bad:
Vandals struck five Santa Cruz churches, a Christian bookstore and the historic Santa Cruz Mission Adobe on Saturday night in what police are calling a hate crime.Get that? Burning down a Christian church is not a hate crime. Believe me, it is gospel at DU that arguing against gay marriage is a hate crime. You really have to read this thread:
The vandals used a stencil to leave specially crafted messages and images about a half-foot across. One depicted a cross with an equal sign followed by a swastika. Church leaders said another stated "Abort Christ," a message one minister called "stunning and distressing."
4. Yeah, this is getting spookier and spookier - are they trying todemonize us further to make our arguements null when we speak out against war with Iran or Shrub's criminal wiretaps?
35. I guarantee you it's white punks on dope what did it, but I blame society.
Typical graffiti but targeting the churches has elevated this to a "hate crime" I suppose... NOT. Hate Crimes charges are for Violence against HUMANS not property.
1. the MSM will blame liberals and gaysresponding to the previous:
29. lol you have never been to SCBwahahaaaa! Burning churches is okay, but burning historic buildings is not!
I probably know the type of person who did this and I can tell you that you are likely not far off the mark. Not that I condone such an act nor would I paint all SC radicals with such a broad brush...
5. The mission is a historic building.
It has value beyond any religious significance that may belong to it. It can even be seen as a monument to the cruelty to the Native Americans on the part of the padres.
So this just seems wrong to me.
22. anyone getting suspicious about this?You've got to read the thread. DU is constantly comparing Christians to Nazis. Constantly.
with the run up of the war drums against Iran,
would it not be Rovian to do an anthrax attack on "the American way of life" by attacking religions?
Doesn't that play into the hands of an uber-government to protect our churches?
Isn't that a perfect way to sneak in even more authoritarian control over our lives?
It stinks. 5 churches in Alabama, another 5 in california.
This stinks of Karl Rove and neocon operatives.
Haleigh: 8 Days And A Request To Kill Her
The legal brief filed by the state Department of Social Services also showed that the agency sought an order to remove the Westfield girl from life support five days after gaining custody of her on Sept. 13.What's even more significant than this is that the initial request asked for permission to remove Haleigh from ventilation and to withdraw the feeding tube. Out of two doctors consulted, one did not agree with the withdrawal of the feeding tube. Obviously they knew she might be able to breathe on her own. This decision does appear to have been made under the theory that Haleigh had major brain damage and should be shuffled off as quickly as possible.
In the brief, DSS referred to Poutre as having "the least amount of brain function that a person can have and still be considered alive." The agency further stated that, within a week of her hospitalization on Sept. 11, the girl was diagnosed as having a stroke of "the entire right side and most of the left side of her brain. As a result of both brain injuries, the child has no hope of any meaningful recovery," according to the brief filed by DSS General Counsel Virginia A. Peel.
The press is still calling Haleigh "vegetative", even though she has been reported as following people with her eyes and following commands. That's what the head of DSS said he observed when he visited her, according to Spence she could see him and was able to pick up specified toys with her hand. That is clearly not a vegetative child.
See the Mass Supreme Court ruling. This is a description of the testimony provided at a September 30th evidentiary hearing (only caused by Strickland's attempt to stop the death order):
The physician testified that, "short of developing the technique for a complete brain transplant, there is no hope that medical treatment will be discovered in the foreseeable future which could reverse [Sharlene's] condition." Sharlene's treating physician, the associate director of Baystate's PICU, testified that Sharlene's brain is operating at a primitive level, and that the child cannot see, hear, feel, or respond.(13)What's so odd about this is that they knew back in September that Haleigh could breathe somewhat on her own - that was the reason for asking for the feeding tube to be withdrawn. They knew the brain stem injury was partial and the doctors even testified that she might live for several months breathing on her own in the September 30th hearing. The MA SC wrote in their decision:
Both physicians supported the issuance of an order that Sharlene not be resuscitated on the occurrence of cardiac or respiratory failure. With respect to the withdrawal of her life support, however, their opinions differed. Sharlene's treating physician recommended both the removal of the ventilator and her feeding tube. The director of the PICU, on the other hand, recommended removal of the ventilator only and expressed opposition to the removal of her feeding tube. The physicians agreed that, with the feeding tube, Sharlene's death would likely occur anytime from several weeks up to two months. Without the feeding tube, Sharlene's death would likely occur in a substantially shorter period of time. The director of the PICU testified that the removal of life support in this case would not be contrary to prevailing medical ethics.
On October 5, the judge entered a written decision, in which he made findings of fact and concluded that "[Sharlene's] dignity and quality of life would be most respected by withdrawing both the ventilator and the feeding tube along with the issuance of a [DNR] order, with great sadness I so issue this day." The judge also ordered that his written decision not be released to anyone except Sharlene's counsel, her GAL, the department, and Baystate.
The order is the product of careful consideration by an experienced judge who heard from all interested parties, who received a comprehensive and thoughtful GAL report, and who entered specific findings on the appropriate factors he considered. See Guardianship of Doe, supra at 524.(16) Counsel for Sharlene did not oppose the order, nor did Sharlene's existing family members. The medical evidence is incontrovertible -- the child is in a persistent vegetative state and there is no medical treatment in the foreseeable future that can restore her cognitive abilities. No provision of medical ethics is violated by the order. As the GAL report notes: "To all extent and purpose [Sharlene] has already left this world consciously and subconsciously and the only real remaining question is under what circumstances she'll be allowed to leave it physically."Except for one small detail. This order was handed down on the 17th, and the birth mother had already noticed that Haleigh was moving and responding after she had been weaned off the ventilator and probably withdrawn from sedation. Haleigh arrived at the hospital almost dead on September 11th. DSS filed asking that she be dehydrated to death within 8 or 9 days. Four months passed, and no attempt at medical reevaluation was made.
Legally, Haleigh's position is highly equivocal. DSS still has the authority to dehydrate her to death.