Friday, December 16, 2005

Pali moaning
On Captain's Quarters, Palestinians come in for ritual condemnation on the occasion of their voting for Hamas:
Besides, the Palestinians have made themselves clear in their reasonably free and open elections: they want war and support terrorism. Not only have they consistently voted in favor of the most reliably anti-Israel faction, the lack of a counterbalancing "peace" party makes it clear that Palestinians have no interest in peaceful co-existence with Israel. They have repeatedly chosen the no-negotiation platform of Hamas over that of the Abbas approach, which at least keeps the door open to a negotiated end to hostilities.

So I couldn't resist jumping in with both feet:
So one might say it's not Hamas stirring up the Palestinians, but the Palestinians stirring up Hamas. Now that Arafat's not around to put a "moderate, peace-loving face"(!!??) on Palestinian "nationalism", maybe its true death-cult nature will shine through. Wish I had a little more faith in Netanyahu's insight and leadership ability. Oh well, at least it looks like the accommodationist Sharon is out of the picture.
Interesting how the views of Sharon and Arafat have changed so quickly, for those who couldn't see straight to begin with!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Now THIS is a judge!

He is so NOT Harriet Miers:
What counts in mixology is the "original understanding" of the martini's essence by those who first consumed it. The essence remains unaltered but allows proportions to evolve as circumstances change.

I would trust Scalia and Bork with a cocktail shaker. Roberts ... ? And don't let Souter anywhere near it. Some NewHampshireman he is! (HT: vodkapundit)
I'm in love

I've been reading for quite a while now. I've always admired Verity's plucky, articulate comments. But on this post she outdoes herself:

"ineluctably plump and corrupt". An excellent phrase, which I am going to apply to Cherie Blair.

I wonder whether she's ever paid all the Customs duty she owes from having walked through the Green Channel with gifts worth thousands of pounds? Probably not. Paying duty is for the little people.

Posted by Verity at December 14, 2005 03:58 PM

Be still my heart! When's the next plane leave Tallahassee for Britain?

Indeed he has, Ron Brick. But when is blow-back time for Blair? I find it astounding that he has got away with this pandering dhimmitude for so long. Of course, he is very frightened and he is a coward. But surely at some point, even the passive British are going to call him on it. He's not even as bold as France's Sarkov, who shouted at the rioters that they are the "scum of the earth". And Bliar, supposedly a leader, can't bring himself to condemn mass murderers of his countrymen.

Anyway, Bliar is not a real leader. He is an actor playing the role. He's contemptible.
"Bliar"! Ha!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Winter noon in Tallahassee

Beautiful cold blue day downtown. It's hot and muggy for so much of the year that I love to try and tuck these days away in my memory and unpack them in the summer. The Capitol building is in a plaza that always channels the wind. So it feels like Boston for at least a few weeks. I used to walk around the Common and over to Faneuil Hall on my lunch hour when I worked in Boston, so I have some coldness to compare this to! The sky is wonderfully blue here though, which you couldn't be sure of in Boston. There's really nothing like Florida in winter. It's a bit disconcerting to come around a corner with the wind blowing and your hands freezing and see a palm tree.
Apple - my eye!
I got a Mac mini a bit ago. Thought I was going to be able to get dial-up service for it, then discovered - because I bought the HIGHER-priced model - that it didn't come with a dial-up modem. So, I thought, no problem. Just get this, right? Well, it's on order but I'm not very good at waiting patiently for things to arrive, especially at Christmas, so I'm a bit sore at Apple - would like to chew them out, so to speak! Seems like forever. It would be nice to be able to blog from my new extremely small high-tech computer. And I will NOT deal with Comcast. I've read more books since I started relying entirely on over-the-air broadcast TV. Luckily it's the football season. I can overdose on TV on Sunday and Monday and coast through the week. This is the magic week when they start having NFL games on Saturday as well, since the college regular season is over and the bowls haven't quite started yet. I will watch golf, but that's about the limit of my TV watching. I have two seasons of Rumpole of the Bailey on DVD, so that's how my idiot box is going to be employed for a while. Say, I wonder - in all those surveys that show how many hours a week people watch TV - does that count recorded TV as well as broadcast? What if I just watched Rumpole on my Mac mini? Does that count? Get some use out of it while waiting for my modem.
Tookie de-funked

Finally, justice after 26 years of dubbing around:

Despite persistent pleas for mercy from around the globe, the governor earlier in the day had said Williams was unworthy of clemency because he had not admitted his brutal shotgun murders of four people during two robberies 26 years ago.
After the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request for a last-minute stay Monday evening, the co-founder of the infamous Crips street gang — who insisted he was innocent of the murders — became the 12th man executed by the state of California since voters reinstated capital punishment in 1978.

Also, note to Joan Baez: you were thrilling in 1964. Now shut up. We don't need no stinking multiple personalities neither.
Talking Turkey
Perry de Havilland went to Turkey. So he just had to pontificate about the EU question:
Spending a few days in Turkey and reading their newspapers makes it very clear that the Kemal Ataturk's vision of a modernising, secular Turkish republic is still very much an ongoing battle. It should also be noted that very few secular Turks seem to be anti-Muslim, they are just pro-secular and as the overwhelming majority of people in Turkey are indeed Muslim (at least nominally), that the whole structure of politics are avowedly secular makes Turkey the front-line on the struggle against Islamist governance.

I of course have strong opinions about the Armenian genocide and the dilemmas of democratic delusion:
The many European delusions about Turkey, including the Armenian "genocide" questions and the pure innocence of the Kurdish terrorists and the peace-loving orientation of the Greeks with respect to Cyprus, do not bode well for easy or even possible Turkish entry into the EU. And that may not be a bad thing. Security and secular Ataturkism are more important than suicidal democracy, at least right now. And what is the actual benefit to Turkey of jumping aboard the sinking European ship? In ten years this will be even more obvious. Taiwan, South Korea, Kuwait, even Singapore, have managed to move toward civil or at least economic freedom while dominated by dictators. I believe Turkey will increasingly look toward the US rather than Europe.

Of course it would be better if Turkey could become democratic and capitalist and secular overnight. Hey, I really need to go there and check out the possibilities. But the way my Istanbul fund is going it may be a few years. Perhaps just in time to see the ceremonies celebrating admission into the EU. E-uwww!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Tookie apparently will shortly be an ex-Tookie. The sad part is that he lived so long after his crimes deprived four other people of their full lives. But at least his death will expose the liberal morons who don't think murder is important enough to deal with:
The impending execution has mobilized death penalty opponents and drew pleas for his life from prominent figures such as South Africa's Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and rapper Snoop Dogg.
Funny Winnie ex-Mandela and murder coming up in the same connection. Wasn't there a connection before, about Stompie Seipei, a child she had murdered? That's the problem with the left. They have no sense of history. And that's also sad.
Christian equality?

Interesting article here stimulated me to think a bit. Rodney Stark attempts to explode the myth that science and capitalism arose only with the Renaissance and Reformation:
It was during the so-called Dark Ages that European technology and science overtook and surpassed the rest of the world. Some of that involved original inventions and discoveries; some of it came from Asia. But what was so remarkable was the way that the full capacities of new technologies were recognized and widely adopted. By the 10th century Europe already was far ahead in terms of farming equipment and techniques, had unmatched capacities in the use of water and wind power, and possessed superior military equipment and tactics. Not to be overlooked in all that medieval progress was the invention of a whole new way to organize and operate commerce and industry: capitalism.

...But, if one digs deeper, it becomes clear that the truly fundamental basis not only for capitalism, but for the rise of the West, was an extraordinary faith in reason.

The church, according to Stark, allowed entrepreneurial capitalism to develop when secular despotism would not have tolerated it. Why was that, though? Not having read Stark's book, I can only guess what he would say. But it strikes me that Church hierarchies were generally not based on blood inheritance, despite the Borgias. Could it be they were based on intelligence? Innovative scholarly interpretations of the Scriptures would perhaps have been a good way to rise in the hierarchy of the Church, at least in some environments. And the leaders who were good at theology may also have been good businessmen. In short, they may have been more intelligent. So perhaps the Church system selected for IQ. An emphasis on reason and self-help might be very useful in keeping capitalism alive in a time of serfdom and constant war. The international Church organization would also be able, to some degree, to protect its members from suffering from the constant warfare characteristic of the medieval world. Of course, too much tolerance of intelligent speculation could also lead to problems, such as heresies and men like, oh, Martin Luther. I may even be interested enough in this topic to buy Stark's book. I wonder if he says anything about the Jews, speaking of intelligence

Realized yesterday, watching all the ridiculous commercials on the football games, that people were always trying to make me feel a certain way. That's how they sell food and cars and beer. Eat this, you'll feel better. Drive this car. You'll feel like an astronaut chick-magnet. Drink this beer. All your troubles will disappear. Hey, it's not true. I've got my pickup in the driveway (and my non-functional Peugeot 505) and some Beefeaters left in the freezer. But finally, at the age of 57, I've realized that the truck, even the Peugeot or, more surprisingly, the Beefeaters won't really make me feel better. Not reliably. In fact, I have no way, none at all of changing the way I feel to a better way. I am completely dependent on chance. And you know what? That's OK. I'll just go on in my usual way, going to work, cleaning the house, visiting my family, watching football. Whatever happens will happen.
Things can make me feel worse. Too much Beefeaters or too little sleep will, reliably, make me feel awful. But I no longer confuse myself by thinking that by my own efforts I can make things better for me. And you know what? It's an enormous relief.
It's over!

Powerline says it:

...the Iraq war most likely will turn out to be a big victory for the U.S. and the Bush administration.

so it must be true. I've been thinking this way for quite a while now. So just what will the Dems use for an issue in 2006? Not to mention 2008? Hint: it ain't this:
"There is a hunger in America, a hunger for a sense of national community, a hunger for something big and important and inspirational that they all can be involved in," [Senator John] Edwards, the party's 2004 vice presidential nominee, told delegates at a weekend convention of Florida Democrats.

"Americans don't want to believe that they are out there on an island all alone," the former North Carolina senator said.

Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean has commissioned confidential polling and analysis that suggest candidates in 2006 and 2008 should frame their policies — and attacks on Republicans — around the context of community.

It seems to be the emerging message from a party that has been bereft of one."
Yep. That's just what Americans want to hear. "You can be part of something bigger than yourself. You don't really count for anything by yourself, anyway, do you, punk?!! So join us or die." Real winner, that.

Can Dems somehow sneak around to the other side of the immigration issue? Donald Collins on VDARE thinks not:
But Dean then goes on to say

"’In 2006, it's going to be immigration; that's who he's (Bush) going to scapegoat next.’ He said Democrats must favor tougher enforcement of existing immigration laws and provide tighter border security, but said a balanced immigration policy would provide a way to give many of the 11 million illegal immigrants a path to legal status."

And that runs into the iron law of political life that has emerged recently: Howard Dean is ALWAYS WRONG!