Thursday, June 30, 2005

Stupid Lawyers???

I share Mona Charen's outrage at some of the ridiculous lawsuits and awards people get for sheer stupidity (or cupidity) but I can't say that I blame the lawyers.

In her essay Stupid Lawyer Tricks she lists some of the outrageous compensations people receive for their own mistakes.

My beef is that it's the JURY who awards them! Sure, the lawyers who pursue these sorts of cases are ambulance chasers and sharks (e.g. John Edwards) but I blame the dumb jury for awarding them.

Her last one is a real shocker, but it's from our friends across the pond, the UK:

"Carl Murphy, 18, of Merseyside, England, has received 567,000 pounds for injuries sustained while criminally trespassing on the roof of a private warehouse in 1996, from which he fell 40 feet, sustaining multiple injuries. Murphy, who has convictions for robbery, burglary and assault, 'received his compensation after suing the company that owned the warehouse. He claimed that if the perimeter fence had not been in disrepair, he would not have been able to gain entry and suffer his injuries.' Although groups representing victims of crime expressed anger at his getting a sum 50 times higher than a murder victim's family could expect to receive from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, Murphy was unapologetic about his windfall, saying he planned to buy 'a few houses and a flash car' and [adding] 'this money is mine now and I'll do what I want.' Murphy 'was expelled from two schools in just over two years after his recovery, and his family blamed the fall for his bad behavior. His mother, Diane, and her partner, Kevin Parsons, both 36, are currently serving three years in prison for setting up a heroin and crack cocaine business from their council house.'"

I'm not sure if a jury or judges awarded the scum, but if it is the latter then I can rest easy that we are not the only country in the world with moronic judges.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Lost Liberty Hotel and The Just Desserts Cafe

Irony at its best here where we see that already one of the Supreme Court Justices, David Souter, will suffer the repercussions for the unfair expansion of the Eminent Domain ruling.

Logan Darrow Clements has begun the process seeking an application to take Justice Souter's home in New Hampshire and build a hotel and cafe there. He has named the building project "The Lost Liberty Hotel" and "The Just Desserts Cafe".

He was on Hannity and Colmes tonight and reported that he already has sufficient financial support from many who are outraged by the controversial ruling.

When asked why he chose Souter's home and not the other justices (Baden Ginsberg, Kennedy, Stevens and Breyer) Clements replied that there is such a thing as "hotel chains".

Which One Would You Choose?

Town Hall has a cute video of clips from DNC Howard Dean and RNC Ken Mehlman. Stark contrast!

The Greenhouse Effect

This isn't about the environment. It's about a different syndrome. I call it the "Greenhouse Effect" because it's about people who live in a greenhouse. They are sheltered from any ill effects of the outside world. They live in a climate-controlled, comfortable place so that they can grow and live with as little inconvenience or discomfort as possible. They do not go outside of their comfort zone and have little or no knowledge of what outside the greenhouse consists. They use devices which convey information about events of the outside world though those sources of news may or may not be accurate.

As a result of this Greenhouse Effect they have no concept of what it's like to fight a war in the desert, or hunt down and arrest criminals. Their little myopic world cannot imagine what it's like to guard a detainment camp and have the detainees spit at you, throw feces at you, or threaten to kill your family. They do not or cannot picture themselves perhaps facing a situation where the enemy does not dress as a combatant and who cowardly hides behind a civilian facade in order to kill indiscriminately, yet having to abide by codes of conduct in warfare which puts you at a disadavantage.

The Greenhouse Effect People love to pretend that they take the high road by defending the "rights" of barbaric murderers, yet they are quick to condemn and vilify those who protect them from those murderers. They call policemen "pigs" yet who do they call when an intruder breaks into their homes or steals their SUVs?

The Greenhouse Effect People love protests. They love to carry signs and call the President a "butcher", yet they say nothing about Saddam Hussein, who murdered tens of thousands of his own people. They stage "peace protests" at which they peacefully throw rocks and bottles at the police. They despise Christians and think nothing of insulting them when a crucifix is put in a toilet as "art" but cry "foul play" when a (phoney) story about the Koran being flushed down the toilet might offend the sensibilities of Muslims.

The Greenhouse Effect People decry the liberation of Iraq, yet sport bumperstickers which say "Free Tibet". They despise military veterans and support the burning of the Flag as "freedom of expression" yet they won't allow prayer in public places.

The Greenhouse Effect People support killing the unborn, the brain-damaged, the elderly and the seriously ill. But they want to protect insects, owls, and trees. They consider capital punishment of hardened criminals as "cruel", but the insertion of a sharp object into the brain of a partially born human baby in order to kill him is permissable.

The Greenhouse Effect People are so removed from objectivity, so insulated from the real world, so deluded by the narrowness of their own lives that they have become diseased in their minds and souls. They can no longer distinguish right from wrong, good from evil, reality from illusion.

What's it going to take to wake up? Will we need another catastrophe, greater than 9/11, to shake them from their complacency? What's going to shatter the glass house in which they live?

Monday, June 27, 2005

Hitler Mania

VDH has posted a new essay, Hitler, Hitler Everywhere on the rampant use of comparing American officials, detainment camps, war, soldiers, fast food chains (just kidding) to Nazism.

Good point, here:

An official of the Red Cross lectured that American guards at Guantanamo were "no better than and no different than the Nazi concentration camp guards." Left unsaid was the logical sick corollary: If the perpetrators of the Holocaust were really no worse than American guards at Guantanamo, then, as is the case at Guantanamo where not one death has been reported, did no one really perish at Belsen or Treblinka, either?

These accusations and comparisons trivialize what really happened in gulags and concentration camps. Discrimination has become an ugly word nowadays. Unfortunately the ability to discriminate is a lost function in the minds of some of these folks.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

What is Liberalism?

Our friend New Victorian has posted something about Liberalism:

"Liberalism as we knew it no longer exists. What we have now are are holographs of liberalism in the form of spectres like Chris Dodd and Joseph Biden. Nothing is really there."

It reminded me of TS Eliot. Yes, the poet, who was also a Christian and wrote a slim book "Idea of a Christian Society" and there are some brilliant and prescient observations in it. Among them are the weaknesses found in Liberalism and Democracy without Christianity.

"...That Liberalism may be a tendency towards something very different from itself, is a possibility in its nature. For it is something which tends to release energy rather than accumulate it, to relax, rather than to fortify. It is a movement not so much defined by its end, as by its starting point; away from, rather than towards, something definite. Our point of departure is more real to us than our destination; and the destination is likely to present a very different picture when arrived at, from the vaguer image formed in imagination."

Is this not what we are seeing in the Democratic Party? What do they offer? Have they any new ideas? Is not their clamoring just a negation of what the Republicans say and offer? Furthermore he characterizes religious liberalism:

"...Liberalism may be characterized as a progressive discarding of elements in historical Christianity which appear superfluous, obsolete, confounded with practices and abuses which are legitimate objects of attack. But as its movement is controlled rather by its origin than by any goal, it loses force after a series of rejections, and with nothing to destroy is left with nothing to uphold and with nowhere to go."

Indeed, Howard Dean's rantings are a perfect example.

He then gives this dire conclusion:

"...By destroying traditional social habits of the people, by dissolving their natural collective consciousness into individual constituents, by licensing the opinions of the most foolish, by substituting instruction for education, by encouraging cleverness rather than wisdom, the upstart rather than the qualified, by fostering a notion of "getting on" to which the alternative is a hopeless apathy, Liberalism can prepare the way for that which is its own negation: the artificial, mechanised or brutalised control which is a desperate remedy for its chaos."

Enter Totalitarianism.

Eliot also sees de-Christianized Democracy as inadequate to withstand the forces of totalitarianism. He believes that:

"The term democracy, as I have said again and again, does not contain enough positive content to stand alone against the forces that you dislike - it can be easily be transformed by them. If you will not have God (and He is a jealous God) you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin."

Without the Good News which is Christianity, without its vision of the supernatural life, without a goal which is the Beatific Vision, there is nowhere to go in society but materialistic well being coupled with industrialism (and then a hole in the ground):

"And the tendency of unlimited industrialism is to create bodies of men and women - of all classes - detached from tradition, alienated from religion, and susceptible to mass suggestion: in other words, a mob. And a mob will be no less a mob if it is well fed, well clothed, well housed, and well disciplined."

What are the alternatives?

"A Christian society only becomes acceptable after you have fairly examined the alternatives. We might, of course, merely sink into an apathetic decline: without faith, and therefore without faith in ourselves; without a philosophy of life, either Christian or pagan; and without art. Or we might get a "totalitarian democracy", different but having much in common with other pagan societies, because we shall have changed step by step in order to keep pace with them: a state of affairs in which we shall have regimentation and conformity, without respect for the needs of the individual soul; the puritanism of a hygienic morality in the interests of efficiency; uniformity of opinion through propaganda, and art only encouraged when it flatters the official doctrines of the time. To those who can imagine, and are therefore repelled by, such a prospect, one can assert that the only possibility of control and balance is a religious control and balance; that the only hopeful course for a society which would thrive and continue its creative activity in the arts of civilization is to become Christian. That prospect involves, at least, discipline, inconvenience and discomfort; but here as hereafter the alternative to hell is purgatory."

Friday, June 24, 2005

Major Blow to Freedom

From the Cato Institute a condemnation of the recent appalling rulings from the Supreme Court (aka the Government's Court):

"The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that local governments may force property owners to sell out and make way for private economic development when officials decide it would benefit the public, even if the property is not blighted and the new project's success is not guaranteed," according to the Washington Post. "The 5 to 4 ruling provided the strong affirmation that state and local governments had sought for their increasing use of eminent domain for urban revitalization, especially in the Northeast, where many city centers have decayed and the suburban land supply is dwindling."

"With [this] decision, no one's property is safe," says Roger Pilon, director of Cato's Center for Constitutional Studies. "Since any time a government official thinks someone else can make better use of your property than you're doing, he can order it condemned and transferred. [Yesterday's] decision, the third loss for property owners this term, together with other recent decisions from this Court, marks this as 'The Government's Court,'" Pilon added.

Mark Moller, a Cato senior fellow in constitutional studies, says, "Property rights are the foundation of a free society. Securing those rights is among the most important goals of our Constitution. Unfortunately, [this] ruling breaks faith with the Constitution, by holding that local bureaucrats have the power to take your property and give it to someone they hope will generate more revenue for city coffers. That leaves every property owner and small business person with more reason to fear that their homes and businesses will be confiscated for the benefit of someone wealthier or better connected. That's the very opposite of the system of stable private property our Founders meant to secure."

The decision was favored 5-4 by the LIBERAL justices in the Court. It'll be interesting to hear (or will they be silent?) what the leftys have to say about this.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

"Only Fools Would Rely on Schools"

Great article at New Victorian on how history is no longer being taught at schools.

Being that we live in a Republic where everyone votes, that's a scary thought.

"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see."

-Winston Churchill

Give me the Latin Mass!

Good news for traditional liturgy lovers in this news story:

VATICAN CITY, June 18 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI wants to restore the traditional ceremonial Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, with Latin instead of the vernacular and Gregorian chants.

Vatican expert Sandro Magister reported in his weekly newsletter Saturday that the pope is expected to replace Archbishop Pietro Marini, his predecessor Pope John Paul II's master of liturgical ceremonies.

Whoever follows Marini will have orders to restore the traditional style and choreography of papal ceremonies in St. Peter's.

Out will go the "international" Masses so dear to Pope John Paul II's heart, with such innovations as Latin American and African rhythms and even dancing, multi-lingual readings and children in national costumes bringing gifts to the altar.

Pope Benedict wants to return to the Sistine Chapel choirs singing Gregorian chant and the church music of such composers as Claudio Monteverdi from the 17th century. He also wants to revive the Latin Mass.

Archbishop Marini always planned the ceremonies with television in mind, Magister said, and that emphasis will remain. A decade ago the Vatican set up a system for transmitting papal ceremonies world wide via multiple satellites.

I'm with the Holy Father on this one! I love Latin Masses with Gregorian Chant and the smells and bells...

Hoping this may help reform liturgy here in the States.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

...And the Lion Will Lay Down with the Lamb...

Strange story from Ethiopia. A twelve year old girl was kidnapped and beaten by men because she refused to marry one of them and the assailants were driven off by lions who heard the girl crying.

The girl, missing for a week, had been taken by seven men who wanted to force her to marry one of them, said Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo, speaking by telephone from the provincial capital of Bita Genet, about 350 miles southwest of Addis Ababa.

She was beaten repeatedly before she was found June 9 by police and relatives on the outskirts of Bita Genet, Wondimu said. She had been guarded by the lions for about half a day, he said.

"They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest," Wondimu said.

Maybe there is something about calling the lion the "King of Beasts".

No Accounting for Tastes

Peggy Noonan argues that PBS should be refunded but under certain conditions.

Why, then, doesn't Congress continue to fund PBS at current levels but tell them they must stick to what they are good at, and stop being the TV funhouse of the Democratic Party? Nobody needs their investigative unit pieces on how Iran-contra was very, very wicked; nobody needs another Bill Moyers show; nobody needs a conservative counter to Bill Moyers's show. Our children are being raised in a culture of argument. They can get left-right-pop-pop-bang anywhere, everywhere.
PBS exists to do what the commercial networks should and won't. And just one of those things is bringing to Americans who have not and probably will not be exposed to it the great treasury of American art, from the work of Eugene O'Neill (again, ABC won't be producing "Long Day's Journey" anytime soon), outward to Western art (Shakespeare) and outward to world art.

And science. And history. But real history, meaning something that happened in the past as opposed to the recent present, with which PBS, alas, cannot be trusted.

Art and science and history. That's where PBS's programming should be. And Americans would not resent funding it.

PBS producers would rebel, claiming such programming would rock with age. What they would mean is, There's little personal status in art, and much in controversy. You don't get any particular respect for mounting a great play or a producing a great symphony: their excellence is already known. Respect and status come from controversy. But too bad. The point of PBS is not to employ clever producers.

I agree with the arts bit. I do enjoy it when they broadcast Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto, and I love Masterpiece Theatre. But...

Does all this sound rarefied, a ratings loser? PBS is supposed to be rarefied. As for ratings, let's imagine this. PBS mounts a production of "Hamlet." No one will watch it? What if Brad Pitt takes the role? He'd be happy to do it; he gets a high-class venue in which to show he can actually act, and in return he earns the gratitude of those who care about culture or say they care, which is most Americans. He'd get points for doing it for scale, which of course he'd have to. Young people would watch. They would thus imbibe Shakespeare, still the jewel in the crown of Western culture. PBS would be thanked for doing a public service. Conservative congressmen would find themselves in the unexpected and delightful position of being called friends of the arts, and liberal congressmen would be able to say "I told you PBS is worthwhile."
And so on. Symphonies. A study of the work of George Bellows. A productions of "Spoon River Anthology." David McCullough on George Washington. A history of the Second Amendment--why is it in that old Constitution? Angelina Jolie as Juliet, Kathleen Turner as Lady Macbeth, Alec Baldwin as Big Daddy when you get around to Tennessee Williams. It will keep him away from politics. Sean Penn as Hickey in "The Iceman Cometh." There are far more great actors than there is great material. Mine the classics, all of them, of the theater and arts and music and history.

Brad Pitt in Hamlet? Angelina Jolie as Juliet? No, no, no! Peggy, what in the world are you saying??? Shall we dilute Shakespeare with mediocrity to make it more palatable to the plebs sordide? And I don't believe that there are "far more great actors than there is great material"! I can count "great" actors alive in Hollywood with one hand (and I'm hard pressed). The reason why I watch Masterpiece Theatre is because people like Pitt and Penn are NOT in it, not to mention that it's always much better script.

Peggy, stick to politics!

The Friend of My Friend...

Dr. Hanson's observes that what makes a friend to the US is based on the proximity of threatened security here.


Why, then, is Japan suddenly warm while Europe is so cool? Is the Bush administration clumsy in Berlin and adept in Tokyo?

No. Rather, the answer is the rise of China and the collapse of the Soviet Union. For the Japanese government, China and its nuclear protégé, North Korea, are not abstract threats. Indeed, they are within tactical missile range.

If Europeans dream Chinese break-neck capitalism means only lucrative business, the Japanese fear such dynamism will more likely lead to a new bully in their own backyard.

If Japan once had bouts of anti-Americanism when its neighbor China was asleep, Europe was relatively friendly to us when we kept 300 Soviet divisions from its borders.

The moral? Trashing the United States can be a sport for some when one nearby communist enemy disappears but not so for others when another such enemy ascends close by.

Of course, domestic politics, trade issues and clumsy American diplomacy also help fashion the U.S. image abroad. Still, a government's anti-American rhetoric is often predicated on its perceived self-interest.

Nations always act out of self-interest. That's a given. All the more reason to see why our relationship with the UK is considered "special".

Hanson predicts:

The world changes as we speak. With new economic powerhouses like China and India, universal concerns about terrorism and Muslim fundamentalism and recognition of how weak both the E.U. and the United Nations are in a real pinch, expect easy, fashionable anti-Americanism to recede.

Indeed, it already has. Just ask a warm Japan — and look soon for the same change of mood in a once cool but now increasingly vulnerable and worried Europe.

That I'd love to see: France and Germany, squirming, hat in hand, under the rise of a new Ottoman Empire...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pope Benedict's New Book

Today the Pope's new book has been published. "The Example of Benedict in the Crisis of Cultures" is released in Italy today. I imagine that it will be released to the rest of the world later. According to Catholic News Agency it has been published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana and is 144 pages long.

The Holy Father started this book while he was a Cardinal. The Benedict he refers to is the St. Benedict who founded the order.

According to excerpts published by the newspaper, the Pope maintains that “the extreme attempt to shape things without considering the presence of God leads us more and more to the edge of the abyss.” The axiom of the enlightenment should be turned on its head, writes the Pontiff: “Even if one cannot find the way to belief in God, one ought to live as if God existed anyway.” The live in such a way poses no threat to man’s freedom, he states.

Likewise, he challenges readers with the question, “Who is threatened or offended if a call to the Christian roots of Europe is put forth?” to which he responds, “Muslims do not feel threatened by our Christian moral foundation, but rather by the cynicism of a secularized culture that denies its own foundation (…) It is not the mention of God that offends the faithful of other religions, but rather the attempt to build a human community without God.”

This seems to confirm that the Holy Father took the name Benedict as a symbol of the man who helped save Western Civilization after the fall of the Roman Empire. The subject of his first book published while Pope addresses the myriad problems which face Europe today.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Western Pathology

VDH has another essay on the dangers we face from the Western Left:

Our own fundamentalist Left is in lockstep with Wahhabist reductionism — in its similar instinctive distrust of Western culture. Both blame the United States and excuse culpability on the part of Islamists. The more left-wing the Westerner, the more tolerant he is of right-wing Islamic extremism; the more liberal the Arab, the more likely he is to agree with conservative Westerners about the real source of Middle Eastern pathology.

The constant? A global distrust of Western-style liberalism and preference for deductive absolutism. So burn down a mosque in Zimbabwe, murder innocent Palestinians in Bethlehem in 2002, arrest Christians in Saudi Arabia, or slaughter Africans in Darfur, and both the Western Left and the Middle East's hard Right won't say a word. No such violence resonates with America's diverse critics as much as a false story of a flushed Koran — precisely because the gripe is not about the lives of real people, but the psychological hurts, angst, and warped ideology of those who in their various ways don't like the United States

It doesn't help our cause when we pretend that Saudi Arabia is our ally when we know damn well that they fund terrorist activities. What can be done?

Dr. Hanson notes the growing problems at home:

...the American public is tiring of the Middle East, its hypocrisy and whiny logic — and to such a degree that it sometimes unfortunately doesn't make distinctions for the Iraqi democratic government or other Arab reformers, but rather is slowly coming to believe the entire region is ungracious, hopeless, and not worth another American soldier or dollar.

He's right. I'm feeling the ennui and frustration of it too. Worn down by the constant barrage of lies and treachery of the leftwing media, the wacko lefties of the West, and by the inscrutable mind of the Middle East, I wonder if it's worth it at all... Yet for the sake of the troops there, I still believe that they are making a sacrifice for the good of the world and possible hope in that troubled region.

The Right Kind of Cutback

From CNS News, some good news:

In a vote of 221-184, the House Friday approved a measure designed to withhold half of U.S. dues to the United Nations unless the world body changes the way it operates.

The bill, proposed by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), would allow the U.S. to pressure the U.N. to crack down on members that engage in acts like genocide or crimes against humanity, for example, by threatening that country's U.N. membership and impose arms and trade embargoes

Go here to read the complete story.

If things don't change, we ought to kick them out of New York.

(H/T to A Certain Slant of Light for the heads up.)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

PUETA (People for the UnEthical Treatment of Animals)

Two PETA Workers were arrested on charges of animal cruelty in North Carolina.

Two employees of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were arrested on animal cruelty charges in Ahoskie, N.C., after investigators saw dead dogs being thrown into a grocery store garbage container Wednesday, according to the Ahoskie Police Department.

Ahoskie police conducting surveillance as part of a monthlong investigation reported finding 18 dead dogs in the container and 13 animal carcasses in a van registered to PETA and seized by authorities.

The cats and dogs were taken Wednesday from animal shelters in Northampton and Bertie counties, police said. Animals had been collected every Wednesday for four weeks, and carcasses had been found dumped in Ahoskie every Wednesday for about a month, Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh said.

You can read the article here

Physician, heal thyself.

The Heart of Darkness

From the BBC News here is a story which is too dreadful to water...

Children are being trafficked into the UK from Africa and used for human sacrifices, a confidential report for the Metropolitan Police suggests.
Children are being beaten and even murdered after being labelled as witches by pastors, the report leaked to BBC Radio 4's Today programme said.

Police face a "wall of silence" in investigations because of fear and mistrust among the groups involved.

It follows the case of a girl tortured by her guardians for being a witch.

Three people, including the girl's aunt, were convicted of trying to "beat the devil out of" the un-named 10-year-old - originally from Angola.

The report was commissioned by the Met after the death of Victoria Climbie in February 2000 and because of concerns over so-called faith crimes.

Are all religions alike? Are some better or worse than others? For those who are rabid egalitarians, I submit this terrible report.

(H/T to Eternity Road for the break in the story.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

How in the World Did We Ever Win?

Enjoyed this from The Free Republic.

January 13, 1945

MINNEAPOLIS (Routers) The Roosevelt administration reeled today from new revelations of atrocities at German and Italian POW camps in America's heartland, where prisoners have been worked to exhaustion, and many have died. The international community has expressed shock at news of the harsh treatment of the Axis prisoners, eliminating any pretense at moral underpinnings for our war efforts in the Pacific and western Europe.

Produce Farms of Death

For many, the lachrymose terror begins when the prisoners first arrive, as they are housed in an onion-drying shed on the Odegard Farm in Isanti County. Many deaths have been reported, as some of the new arrivals are killed by the veteran prisoners, perhaps while camp guards simply look the other way.

But if they survive the first few days, new horrors are in store for them. There have been reports that prisoners were forced to toil in the fields for eleven-hour days, from seven in the early morning, until the late evening at 6 PM. For this, they get only three dollars a day, with no overtime pay. Thus, the local farmers are benefiting from this cruel war in what many say is tantamount to slave labor. Harvesting potatoes and onions in the fields of despair, many came back to their harsh camps each evening, in tears from the onion fumes (a chemical weapon precursor), dirt and "tater" skins under their fingernails, their lives an unending slog of spud-infested misery.

An Archipelago Of Torture

There is no relief for the POWs when they return to barracks. There have been claims, so far unsubstantiated, that some prisoners have been cruelly tortured, often kept awake at night by camp guards playing the Andrews Sisters on the radio. One poor wretch was reportedly given repeated wedgies by the camp staff until he would reveal the words to all of the verses of "Lili Marlene."

But sadly, in many cases, this goes beyond physical deprivation and hardship--the prisoners' spirituality has often been attacked as well. In many cases, the Germans' beliefs have been ridiculed by their unfeeling captors, with one man's copy of "Mein Kampf" reportedly torn up by an angry prison guard. Some claim that Adolf Hitler's picture is used as a dart board at some of the camps, in plain view of the prisoners.

The situation at the Odegard "Death Farm" isn't unique--such conditions reputedly apply across many camps throughout the upper midwest. Olivia, Owatonna, all the way out to Algona, Iowa--like Manzanar, the formerly bucolic names may now go down in history as a vast network of brutal work camps that will shame America for the rest of its existence.

Good Hamburgers

The administration, of course, attempts to defend the camps.

The commanding officer claimed that "...the Italian POWs in Princeton drew illustrations, carved wood and played sports, including baseball and soccer. The POWs cooked their own meals and some visitors sampling the POWs’ hamburger patties pronounced them the 'best hamburger sandwiches they had ever eaten.'"

"Some of them even were allowed to occasionally sneak out to a county fair, and even mix with some of the local women. And a little more than hugging was going on, if you know what I mean," he said.

But even if true, some say that this just raises even more the issue of cultural sensitivity, with Italian mens' aversion to women being well established.

"Besides," said the head of the ICRC, which has been investigating the situation, "many of these men were irresponsibly allowed access to alcohol and cigarettes with their earnings. Who will take responsibility for the long-term effects on their health?"

Some defenders of the administration claim that the POWs in the US are treated better than any in the world, citing death marches and beheadings in the Pacific, and poor conditions in German camps, in which Jewish prisoners are separated out and shipped off to work camps or worse. But critics say that this is no excuse for our own behavior, and that we must set the highest possible standard.

A World Aghast

The German government expressed outrage at the reported treatment of its prisoners, and their ideology. "National Socialism is an ideology of peace, regardless of all of the warfare and murder perpetrated in its name," sputtered the German ambassador. "We demand that our prisoners be treated in full compliance with the Geneva Conventions, and that the Fuehrer's book be given the appropriate respect." There have been rumors, unsubtantiated so far, that when news of the atrocities reached Berlin and Dusseldorf, there were massive riots, with many deaths.

Senior staffers at the State Department, on background, said that this couldn't help in our efforts to maintain our vital alliances, or in the effort to gain new ones. "This is the kind of thing that makes it necessary for us to go it alone against Germany and Japan, with no allies except for second-rate countries like England, Australia, and Canada," he said. "No decent country, like Soviet Russia, will want to stay on the same side as us when we behave like this."

"We're losing the hearts and minds of the Axis countries, and the war effort is doomed to failure unless we can reverse this."

(Copyright 2005 by Rand Simberg)

Monday, June 13, 2005

I'm Najis

Diana West at Townhall criticized the military's scrupulousness in handling the Koran at Gitmo.

Then the insanity really begins. The guard is directed to don "clean gloves ... in full view of the detainees prior to handling." He must use "two hands ... at all times when handling the Quran in manner signaling respect and reverence." Why "respect" alone isn't abundantly sufficient isn't mentioned. While signaling two-handed respect and reverence, however, the guard must be mindful that "care should be used so that the right hand is the primary one used to manipulate any part of the Quran due to the cultural association with the left hand."
It goes on. There's more "reverent manner," more instructions for conveying the book inside a "clean, dry detainee towel." The cockeyed picture is clear. But it doesn't explain what's going on.

She goes on to explain what a "najis" is. If that's the case, then why the hell is the military bending over in acquiescence to their sick beliefs???

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Back to the Drawing Board

Cal Thomas writes about some changes in England's educational system at Townhall.

Here we see that 200 years ago English children spent 11 hours a day, 5.5 days a week at school. They didn't have classes on sex education but learned how to read and write English, Latin and Greek, math, and oh yes, civility. His favorite (and mine) is about the proper etiquette towards ladies:

There are instructions on how to respect and treat women, often referred to as "ladies." My personal favorite teaches the "proper" way to greet ladies: "It is not becoming a Person of quality, when in the Company of Ladies, to handle them roughly; to put his hand in their necks, or bosoms; to kiss them by surprise; to tear their fans; to snatch away their Handkerchiefs."

What England plans on doing now is to teach their children how to read via phonics instead of the strange and worthless "look and say" techniques which are taught today.

If only they can teach kids nowadays not to hit pregnant girlfriends with baseball bats in order to kill the baby.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Oedipus Rhetoric?

Larry Elder at Townhall provides some interesting thoughts about Howard Dean:

"Howard Dean's father was known as "Big Howard." Big Howard was a conservative Republican who supported Barry Goldwater in 1964. Does Dean consider his late father "brain dead"? Did he "hate" his Republican father? Indeed, according to Steven Thomma and James Kuhnhenn of the Detroit Free Press, Dean himself called his relationship with his father "complicated." "His father, Dean said, . . . was 'an enormous personality' who 'could suck the oxygen' out of a room," wrote Thomma and Kuhnhenn. "'He and I had as complicated a relationship as he had had with his own father, another magnetic and well-regarded individual who was a hard act to follow.'"

Dean opposes President George W. Bush's plan to allow optional private savings accounts. Bush's plan would allow younger workers to invest part of their Social Security contribution in a diversified account that could include stocks. But guess what "Big Howard" did for a living? Dad was a successful -- and apparently honest -- stockbroker. Dean's dad did quite well -- successful enough to live in the exclusive oceanside community of East Hampton on Long Island and on Park Avenue, and to send young Howard to pricey private schools like St. George's, a small Episcopal boarding school in Newport, Rhode Island, plus a postgraduate year at an English boarding school.

There's more. Dean's brother, Charlie, who was traveling in Laos in 1974, was captured and killed by communists. The family had predicted Charlie, not Howard, would be the future family politician. Charlie demonstrated both the interest and the necessary debating skills. About his brother, Dean said, had Charlie lived, "he'd be the one running for president and not me." Did Republican Big Howard prefer Charlie?

So Howard Dean says he "hates Republicans," although his dad was one. He believes the option of allowing workers to invest their money in stocks is irresponsible, even though his dad made a successful living as a stockbroker. And it turns out the family saw a political future for Dean's brother Charlie, but not for him."

A Different Nine...

Looking forward to seeing this filmThe Ninth Day after reading the review at Decent Films. Unfortunately it's a limited release and will probably only be played in smaller theatres.

The Nine...

From Reuters we have nine renegade women - let's call them the Nazgul - who plan on being ordained Roman Catholic priests. You can read about it here.

In the middle of a river... hmmmm, let's see if they'll get swept away...

Europa, Europa...

The Cafeteria is Closed links an article by George Weigel on the impending demise of Europe, demographically and culturally.

In a previous post here I linked Bruce Thornton's essay on western civilization's increasing passivity towards aggressors like Islam.

Somehow these two syndromes seem related. Weigel calles it a decrease in "civilizational morale" - especially in light of Europe's alarming decline in its birthrate. He also attributes this drop in morale as an "acid" which is eating away at America too. I agree.

Thornton's article compares the West's softness to the Eloi of HG Well's The Time Machine. They are beautiful, healthy, passive and peaceful people. They are provided for by an unseen "benefactor" without question. They are also preyed upon by the sinister Morlocks and they do not resist. When one of their own accidentally falls into a rushing river none of them attempt to save her - they just passively watch her drown.

Parallel to this submissiveness is Europe's inability to face aggressors. When Saddam Hussein repeatedly violated UN Resolutions Europe failed to administer any consequence or punishment for his obdurance. Europe is facing increasing violence by its Muslim population, whose numbers will surpass the Europeans in less than 50 years.

Europe is not having babies. They are not replacing themselves. They choose death in euthanasia and abortion and birth control. Why this form of suicide?

Is it exhaustion from two World Wars and the Cold War? I think of some prose by a novelist I like, Ian McEwan, who wrote of post WWII Europe in his novel, Black Dogs:

"...he was struck by the recently concluded war not as a historical, geopolitical fact but as a multiplicity, a near infinity of private sorrows, as a boundless grief minutely subdivided without diminishment among individuals who covered the continent like dust, like spores whose totality showed more sadness than any one could ever begin to comprehend; a weight borne in silence by hundreds of thousands, millions, like the woman in black for a husband and two brothers, each grief a particular, intricate, keening love story that might have been otherwise... For the first time he sensed the scale of the catastrophe in terms of feeling - all those unique and solitary deaths, all that consequent sorrow, unique and solitary too, which had no place in conferences, headlines, history, and which had quietly retired to houses, kitchens, unshared beds, and anguished memories... [This came] not as an observation he could share with June but as a deep apprehension, a recognition of a truth that dismayed him into silence and, later, a question: what possible good could come of a Europe covered in this dust, these spores, when forgetting would be inhuman and dangerous, and remembering a constant torture?"

Is Europe trying to forget her past, which is inhuman and dangerous?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Troll Policy

Like I said I don't mind a good debate, but when some troll comes around and posts insults and irrelevant remarks I will delete them. They are not worth the energy nor the space.

Some other sites tolerate them and allow them to spew their poison with impunity. I won't.

Delenda est Trollus!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Enough Grovelling

Says one of my favorite pundits, Charles Krauthammer. In this article he correctly assesses that it's time to get over Koran mea culpas as well as expose the the left's double standard:

Even greater hypocrisy is to be found here at home. Civil libertarians, who have been dogged in making sure that FBI-collected Guantanamo allegations are released to the world, seem exquisitely sensitive to mistreatment of the Koran. A rather selective scrupulousness. When an American puts a crucifix in a jar of urine and places it in a museum, civil libertarians rise immediately to defend it as free speech. And when someone makes a painting of the Virgin Mary, smears it with elephant dung and adorns it with porn, not only is that free speech, it is art -- deserving of taxpayer funding and an ACLU brief supporting the Brooklyn Museum when the mayor freezes its taxpayer subsidy.

Amen to that, Mr. Krauthammer, who is always the voice of reason and good judgment.

I Hope, I Hope...

Dr. Victor Davis Hanson has posted a hopeful article on the "death throes" of many socialist, communist and tyrannical regimes. Is Western Democracy going to be the only one left standing?

Let's all hope so.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Understating The Obvious....

I had to chuckle at the headline for this article on the Michael Jackson trial.

Jurors "very" different from the pop star??? Is there ANYONE in the world like Michael Jackson? If they tried to find jurors LIKE him, we'd still be in the process of jury selection wouldn't we?

I'm sick of the trial, and I am not paying much attention to it. Naturally, if he is guilty I want him to be convicted of his crimes. Other than that, I think the media is paying far too much attention to it.

But this article's headline did catch my attention and make me laugh at the media's silliness.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Deep Throat a Hero?

Peggy Noonan, ever on target, puts the perspective on the revelation of Deep Throat's identity and actions:

"Was Mr. Felt a hero? No one wants to be hard on an ailing 91-year-old man. Mr. Felt no doubt operated in some perceived jeopardy and judged himself brave. He had every right to disapprove of and wish to stop what he saw as new moves to politicize the FBI. But a hero would have come forward, resigned his position, declared his reasons, and exposed himself to public scrutiny. He would have taken the blows and the kudos. (Knowing both Nixon and the media, there would have been plenty of both.) Heroes pay the price. Mr. Felt simply leaked information gained from his position in government to damage those who were doing what he didn't want done. Then he retired with a government pension. This does not appear to have been heroism, and he appears to have known it. Thus, perhaps, the great silence."

Until his family decides they want to cash in on his identity.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Hotel Rwanda

I finally watched this film.

Paul Rusesabagina is like an Oskar Schindler in this movie. He manages a posh hotel in Rwanda and eventually it becomes a refugee camp for over 1000 Tutsis who were being massacred by rival Hutu tribes. He uses every bit of personal clout, bribes, and owed favors to keep these people alive.

I was overwhelmed by it. It made me feel ashamed that this atrocity happened and the whole world did nothing. We abandoned them.

A much better review of this film can be read here.

It is certainly an indictment of the indifference of the West towards our brothers and sisters suffering in Africa. I wonder if those who opposed the war to liberate Iraq would feel differently if they watched this film...


Our parish is getting a new pastor at the end of this month. We have been blessed with many wonderful, faithful, orthodox priests for over 20 years but now we are worried about the new priest.

He is a member of Voice of the Faithful. From what else I can discern he is a typical "progressive" Jesuit.

Already there has been a meeting with a rep from the Chancery asking us to "liturgically" welcome the new pastor. By that she meant that on his first Sunday here, he is to knock on the doors and we are to throw the doors wide open to let him in. *YAWN*. Our parish is called The Little Vatican in our Archdiocese, and when she made that suggestion she hit a brick wall. Everyone in the meeting balked. "Liturgy is liturgy", one parishioner politely reminded her. "We will welcome Father by having a dinner or something after Mass, but we won't change the liturgy to some kind of theatrics." That said, the Chancery Rep scurried back to Seattle.

We are all praying for our new priest. But we are also resolute. If he tries to remove the kneelers, or the statues, or the holy water, he is going to be in for a fight. If he preaches pro ordination for women (as he has done in the past to other parishes) he will meet up with polite but firm rebukes in letters to him and to the Archbishop. If he takes away Eucharistic Adoration every Friday we will still come there to pray. If he moves the Tabernacle to some closet or room we will move it back. If he changes the liturgy to some weird drama with dancers and clowns, well, we'll probably start going elsewhere for Mass and stop giving at the Offertory.

It may sound mean, but I'm so tired of these leftover 60's radicals hijacking the Church. He is due to retire in a few years and I hope his stay here won't be long. Unless he has had a metanoia and serves faithfully.