Thought You'd Never Ask

Just mouthing off -- because I can.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

On vacation: Happy New Year!

I am thoroughly enjoying taking a break from daily blogging (and daily internet surfing). After blogging diligently and in a somewhat driven manner for over a year now, it feels like a novelty to let several days go by and not feel compelled to opine here. It's a good novelty, a good feeling. For a change I have let this obligation slip while I catch up on other things, and even sit down and enjoy reading a book for twenty minutes at a time. (What I'm reading: Robert Spencer's The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).) I have a big stack of yummy books still waiting for me to get to them, including a couple of humdingers I got for Christmas--written by friends.

Instead of running to the computer at the crack of dawn, there is something deliciously decadent and indulgent in crawling back into bed with a steaming cup of Starbucks' Ethiopia Sidamo, a chunk of panettone, and a good book. Can't do that when the kids are in school and alarm clocks go off all over the house.

Random blogworthy thoughts still constantly flit through my mind, but in vacation mode, I'm too crazed by sugar and too lazy to marshall them up into any form of coherence. So just click on the other blogs listed on the right-hand side of my page here, and visit some good writers who take blogging much more seriously than I.

Until my ambition returns and the holidays are over, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Some harsh words on Sandy Berger


I've been catching up on the latest Sandy Berger details; Texas Rainmaker wonders what was going on, but points out the official final report claims Berger wasn't handing off the info to others.

Roger L. Simon comes right out and calls him a traitor:

...The more you read of the file the more you realize that there are many unanswered questions about Berger's behavior that the government has not chosen to disclose (if they know). We cited some obvious ones with the PJ post, but so much of the file has been blacked out, there may be whole areas not yet imagined. What interests me here, however, are not the facts (I don't have the sources for that), nor even the nearly obscene leniency of his sentence. (After reading even the redacted version, I can't believe this man will have his security clearance back in three years. What judge allowed that?)

No, what interests me is Berger the man. What manner of moral reprobate could act they way he did after some three thousand people were murdered by Islamist terrorists. No doubt the inner Sandy has a raft of rationalizations, varied ways of justifying his criminal behavior to himself whether he was defending his own actions or Clinton's or both. (It would be interesting to know, wouldn't it?) Perhaps Berger is even sophisticated enough (though I suspect not) to reference EM Forster's famous dictum: "If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country." But the problem is - Berger wasn't just betraying his country, he was betraying real, living human beings, past and potential victims of terrorism. As we learned on 9-11, it doesn't matter what country they come from. It is a betrayal of humanity as much as it is a betrayal of our country (though of course it is that.)

So "Pants" Berger is a coward of a special kind - a character out of a novel, something for a modern Tolstoy perhaps, a refined species of modern narcissist. He can also be looked at as an example of another highly-reviled category - traitor. I don't use that word loosely at all either. I don't regard Cindy Sheehan, for example, as a traitor or Michael Moore or any of those people, much as I disagree with them. They have vigorously espoused their opinions in a free society. Sandy Berger smuggled top secret documents out of our National Archives. We may never know what that was about, what was in them (or in their notes) or why he did it. He is a traitor. They are not.

Power Line offers some additional commentary, including this from Kurt Hoglund:

Those documents belong to the People, not to any individual. Sandy Berger was destroying historical records and putting them into a "memory hole."

I too have put in a significant chunk of time doing historical research at the National Archives in the past. Though I never had or needed any security clearances, I too have handled irreplaceable, original documents at the Archives reading room. Sandy Berger's offenses of stealing and destroying whatever documents he took, for whatever reasons, incenses me as an ordinary American. No matter how lax or vigilant the National Archives staff or regulations may be, that lessens in no wit the crimes of Sandy Berger in deliberately and stealthily destroying America's archived documents.

All politics aside, I agree he appears to be not just a sneak-thief, but a traitor and that his case is nowhere near the point of being closed. And I think the judge who gave him such a lenient sentence should be investigated as well. Something is smelling worse and worse here in the Sandy Berger matter as time goes on. I want to know what and who is behind all of this strange and criminal behavior.

UPDATE: The Sandy Berger Song Contest.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Offended by Christmas?

My son sent me an email and said I should blog this. He's right!

Ben Stein on being offended by Christmas:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

Read the rest, as it's Ben Stein's usual dry and funny wit.

And to all such people of good will, I say: Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Best news of the week

That abomination known as McCain-Feingold is being dismantled (via Power Line).

Who knows? Maybe in the New Year total freedom of political speech will be restored to us (no thanks to would-be Presidential-contender-who-will-never-get-my-vote John McCain).

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

"Which European country will be the first to institute shari'a?"

...quoting Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs, Mark Steyn some time ago asked the question and ruminated on unassimilating Muslims in Europe (but this is still essential reading).

Today, Bookworm Room says what needs saying about increasing rapes in Europe.

Robert Spencer explains "The Rape Jihad" and shows how those who follow the Prophet Muhammed, "the perfect man," can and do use his model as justification for rape.

There's another roundup of shocking incidents at
Pan European Arab Muslim Gang Rape Epidemic.

And there's "Muslim Rape, Feminist Silence" at Frontpage magazine.

But not all women are silent. Read
"The Veil is Islamism's Symbol" at Gates of Vienna: Chahdorrt Djavann, author of Toss the Veil, intends to change Muslim minds by changing what Muslim women wear, and says (read the whole thing):

For me, the veil is pornographic. When a women is veiled, the relationship between the man and woman is reduced to a bestial sexuality of the same obscene types of the worst pornography....

Is it not an assault to say to a little girl that your body is a source of shame, that is shameful to be a woman, and that you must therefore wear this veil of shame everywhere you go? That, to me, is a psychologically debilitating assault and infinitely worse than a slap in the face.

It's clear something is spectacularly wrong in the way many Muslim men view women, all women, Western women, and even Muslim women. It's time to look at and talk about these wrongs and what's to be done about them.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

They don't think of how the children will feel

Katrina Clark writes a riveting and saddening article in the Washington Post, entitled "My Father Was an Anonymous Sperm Donor" (via Neal Boortz). As the product of purposely anonymous reproduction, the author tells her story and highlights what I've said before. The crux of it:

It seemed to me that most of the mothers and donors give little thought to the feelings of the children who would result from their actions. It's not so much that they're coldhearted as that they don't consider what the children might think once they grow up.

Those of us created with donated sperm won't stay bubbly babies forever. We're all going to grow into adults and form opinions about the decision to bring us into the world in a way that deprives us of the basic right to know where we came from, what our history is and who both our parents are.

Her own story demonstrates that "anonymous sperm donors" are actually far from anonymous in this age of the internet, too. Yet I would imagine few of them would care to be contacted 20 years after the fact by a stranger and suddenly linked to their flesh-and-blood children as fathers (and why should they, at this late date, having been previously sold the idea of "anonymity" in this relationship as being both feasible and acceptable?).

What kind of science is this that makes possible a situation of exploitation of human beings by their supposed "parents," purposely turned into mere biological agents? It's a purposely-designed tragedy in the making, as science enables and normalizes men to operate as literal "sperm donors" instead of fathers--while feminist ideology (and government welfare) supports and normalizes women to become purposely single mothers. This cabal of adults all work hand-in-hand together to elevate their own needs and gratification over the interests of the resulting children.

My interest in highlighting this is to help those contemplating doing it to really think it over from the child's view, not their own.

Think about it. It seems these adults rarely do think seriously about how the children will feel. And yet that ability to think with empathy, compassion, and maturity about the interests of a resultant child is the one thing a man or woman should be able to manage before embarking on the adventure of having sex--let alone purposely becoming a parent.

Dr. Laura has it right when she labels any "hit and run" "dad" as a "sperm donor," not a father, and definitely not a "man." And she has been reminding people for years of the obvious fact that it is NOT in the child's best interest to be raised in anything but a loving, two-parent (man and wife), intact family. "Oopsies," as she calls inadvertent pregnancies, can be unfortunate for everyone involved, but for the child it all depends on how the mother and the father then stand up to their responsibilities after the pregnancy, doesn't it? But for a male and female to purposely create a child without a father--that should be recognized for what it is: selfish exploitation, certainly, and perhaps even indicative of some screws loose in somebody's head--or heart.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Global warming: a lively debate is there, if you can find it

I have a dear friend who relies on Factcheck.org to ferret out and give her the truth without bias about current events in the media, since it takes so much time to read all the various positions on current events herself (and although she is keenly interested in politics and news, she has to devote her time to making a living). She was also impressed and persuaded by Al Gore's movie on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," and wanted to know what I thought about it and how I would counter the "facts" supplied by that bastion of objectivity, Al Gore, who has evidently become an authority on global warming by immersing himself in the study of environmentalist issues for so many years.

Personally, I have no problem with self-styled or self-educated authorities without academic credentials, since I'm an average American and thus a born democrat more impressed by character, virtue, merit, and the truth than by diplomas or pedigrees. That's why I think so highly, to offer just one example, of Robert Spencer as an authority on Islam. Here in America, we are used to and rightfully proud of our fellow countryfolk who exert their freedoms to educate themselves in the fields of their own choosing, with the marketplace of ideas open to their work and validating its worth.

But submitting your thesis to the free marketplace of ideas means you will encounter criticism. And rightfully so.

Today I found the Competitive Enterprise Institute's website, which seems to devote a lot of attention to rebutting Al Gore's thesis and challenging his "facts."

Here's its page rebutting Factcheck.org's review of their ads challenging global warming. Interesting to note that Factcheck.org is not infallible. I think the CEI has valid points.

The CEI website also links to the the Wall Street Journal's December 11 Editorial Report discussing global warming and the two Senators, Snowe and Rockefeller, who wrote a threatening letter to ExxonMobile, demanding that it "publicly acknowledge both the reality of climate change and the role of humans in causing or exacerbating it"--a new low in wielding political power to bully others into conforming with how certain politicians believe people should think:

...they've made up their mind about global warming. And they're going to make sure nobody else disagrees with them anymore.

ExxonMobil has been a big thorn in their side, because they have been funding groups that have been asking probing questions about global warming. You would think we would like that down in Washington, but not the senators.

Now, what's scary about this is these are people who have the ability to institute windfall profits tax on oil companies, hold hearings and drag these people, public companies with share prices, in and embarrass them. So, I mean, there's some ethical issues about what they've been doing here too....

Because one of the things that people like Snowe and Rockefeller will say is that there is a consensus here. So anyone who rejects it isn't simply a skeptic, is a denier, as if they're Holocaust deniers, or some kind of category like that.

But there is clearly a sense of real insecurity. Because the letter--the real objection is to a relatively small, very effective think tank, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has been one of the very few voices which has been consistently pointing out the flaws in some of the political conclusions that have been reached here.

If there were such a consensus and, if it were only CEI that was rejecting it, why would they have to bully ExxonMobil? Why would they be so afraid of what little CEI has to say?...

They don't want any debate on this.

...they've turned global warming into essentially a fundamentalist religion. They're the ones who worry about evangelicals. But this has become the same thing on the left.

And you know what? I have--I know scientists on the margin of this who are beginning to become very concerned about the credibility of science as they get drawn deeper into these political fights.

Science is becoming extremely politicized. And I think it's posing dangers to the credibility of science with the American public.
[my bold]

Read the whole thing. Then check the CEI website for other critiques of Al Gore's global warming thesis: Gore Gored; a review of Gore's book, An Inconvenient Truth; and A Skeptic's Guide to An Inconvenient Truth.

As Marlo Lewis, Jr., Senior Fellow of the Competitive Enterprise Institute states,

In fact, nearly every significant statement Gore makes regarding climate science and climate policy is either one sided, misleading, exaggerated, speculative, or wrong.

Find out why someone would say this, and why there is no consensus on global warming.

I would urge anyone persuaded by Al Gore to be concerned about this issue to consider it imporant enough to delve deeper and gather all the viewpoints and evidence from all sides, as--contrary to what the leftist politicians seem eager for us to believe, even to the point of exerting unseemly and bullying political pressure--there is no scientific consensus about global warming or about what might be causing it--and there never has been.

And the politicalization of scientific inquiry and debate is alarming and dangerous. To me, that is the really scary story beneath and besides this decade's sideshow fad-scare of "global warming" (as once the academic and political classes were faddishly scared by "global cooling," the global "population bomb," and countless other faux-fears). Politicians as politicians should stay out of scientific discussion until free inquiry and debate among knowledgeable scientists exploring evidence and facts, not policy, have determined what's going on. In the case of global warming, the debate is nowhere near ended, and is evidently not as free as it should be.


You can also read my previous rant about this.

The Art of the Blog has a nice collection of anti-consensus stuff.

A new documentary challenging Al Gore's view is in the works (via Ace).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Update on the flying imams and the bigger plot

Katherine Kersten shows "the real purpose behind the imam publicity blitz" (via Power Line).

I repeat: don't let them get away with it.


Speaking of the bigger plot, I was surprised and pleased to see CNN doing a spot this afternoon on the new award-winning documentary movie, "Obsession," which focuses on radical Islam. The CNN anchor seemed genuinely appalled at how little children in Islamic madrassas are being taught to hate, and amazed and shocked by the many parallels the movie draws between Nazism and radical Islam.

It's about time. One anchor at a time, one news feature at a time, and maybe the tide can turn.

As the movie's creators say:

We need to stand up for what we believe. ... These guys are very committed to what what they stand for, and they’re slowly railroading us. There are many beautiful ideals in our world. Many incredible things we’ve learned, over the centuries, about how to get along. And we want to preserve them, and see them flourish. But, if we don’t stand up for what we believe, in the face of a group of people who are very committed to what they believe, we’ll lose them. Hitler almost succeeded. Imagine what the world would look like today if the Nazis had won. Really think about that for a minute. These guys are well on their way. We hope the film will inspire people to spend some time thinking about their beliefs, and commit to them, and fight for them.
UPDATE: Newt has it right.

The kids are all right

I just came across the blog of "Emil Levin," the nom de plume of a 13-year-old "hostage of the Boston area public education system," who runs a blog called Republican Voices. His take on Mark Haddon's novel (written for adults but marketed toward kids) being assigned in public schools is similar to my own. This kid shows more sense (and better rhetorical and critical skills) than many adults.


I've also been poking around the Students For Academic Freedom website, reading some interesting commentary. Following the link from there to the website PSAF: Parents and Students for Academic Freedom K-12, I found a couple of fascinating stories about kids not afraid to stand up to leftist indoctrination in their high schools.

Here's one by a self-described Protest Warrior.

Here's another story by Steve Miller entitled "How I Changed My Left-Wing High School." Evidently Santa Monica High never knew what hit it. I wonder if the changes brought about by Steve Miller persisted after he graduated and went on to Duke University, where he was not afraid to stand up and start asking pointed questions as well, from Day One at "Orientation:"

When the time came for questions I started off with some generic inquiries, but then I began to quietly, politely, question some of the troubling things I had observed during our orientation. For instance, during our schedule on one day our lunch was from 12-2. The itinerary read as follows:

"Noon-2pm: Lunch-grab lunch at the Marketplace or any one of the campus eateries.

"Noon-2pm: Students of Color Luncheon."

One lunch for whites. One for students of color. How wonderfully progressive.

In response to my question the dean remarked in the past Duke had been segregated and the faculty was (rightly) ashamed of this. He explained that Duke had an obligation to create as inclusive an environment as possible. He did not explain how we are to compensate for past segregation with more segregation; maybe that's one of the things I am supposed to learn at Duke.

The Dean praised the separate activities for black students, arguing that simply having a racially diverse environment was not enough, because we kids would not automatically accept each other. Instead, we had to be taught to be more inclusive. I find it more difficult to be inclusive when students of color are being whisked away to separate activities rather than being included in activities where we are supposed to meet one another. Again, perhaps Duke can educate me on the error of my ways.

In all, the university sponsors four official activities specifically for black or other minority students, including the African American Mentoring Program. This program seeks to "assist first year students in easing their transition to a predominately white campus [and] to enhance the experience of African American students." They also planned a cultural extravaganza for orientation. There is also a Center for Black culture, which seeks to increase the self-esteem of black students. Amid this pantheon of diversity, though, Duke has erected nothing to celebrate the one culture we all hold in common: the American culture.

The implication of Duke's emphasis on preparing black students to live in the presence of white students is that the white students are intrinsically racist, cruel, and prone to damage the self-esteem of their black peers. I see no evidence of any such problem, and indeed, I have seen much evidence to demonstrate the exact opposite. Indeed, I have perceived a discernable and sincere desire among white students to get to know the other members of the freshmen class, irrespective of ethnicity.

Unfortunately, the school's neo-segregationist efforts hamper the natural inclination of many students to disregard race and congregate freely. Indeed, after the segregated events, blacks and whites could be seen hanging out separately, following the direction the school had set-this could further be seen at the student activities fair with the plethora of campus-sponsored, race-based minority student organizations.

While I believe the differences between the races is only skin deep, the administrators of Duke University buy the Confederate myth that the races are fundamentally different and one's "culture" is inexorably tied to your skin color.

I wonder how Steve Miller and Duke are getting along today.

I'm amazed at how smart and gutsy some of today's kids are. Items like these remind me there's hope for the upcoming generation after all.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Don't let them get away with it

Michelle Malkin has the latest roundup on "the flying imams" who now want to play the race 'n' religion card and file suit against U.S. Airways (they are shakedown artists, a la Jesse Jackson)--or, as Michelle calls them, "flying extortionists":

The extortionists have been emboldened by government bureaucrats stupid enough to give in. Why not press their luck with US Airways?

Check out her link to an article by Katherine Kersten at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, connecting the dots on these imams and terrorism. Then contact U.S. Airways with your thoughts.

Betsy has a few words about the situation as well.

It seems to me that U.S. Airways has been right so far to back its pilot and personnel in their evaluation of the situation, and shouldn't cave in now or anytime in the future to intimidation attempts (on the ground or in court) from these bullies (and CAIR is a bully organization as well). Otherwise the word will be out and ordinary people like me won't set foot on any U.S. Airways plane anytime in the future.

I like to fly with people who know and believe it's better to be politically incorrect than dead. In fact, I really want to fly with people who are downright comfortable with that outlook. That means get these kinds of jokers (whether they are imams, rabbis, or secular crazies) off any and every plane. These bozos obviously didn't get the memo about how to get along with ordinary Americans. It's they who've got some 'splainin' to do, not U.S. Airways. Stick it to 'em and don't let them get away with it.

UPDATE: Powerline points out "a harmonic convergence of dubious forces."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What to do when the computer and TV are down?

A handy list offered as a public service for restless youngsters and/or computer-addicted adults:

  • Read books
  • Write books
  • Listen to music
  • Compose music
  • Practice/play an instrument
  • Write a letter
  • Read a magazine or newspaper
  • Garden
  • Play outside
  • Go for a walk/run/skate/scooter ride/bike ride
  • Nature watch/hike
  • Play tennis, shoot baskets, or do some other athletic activity
  • Dance
  • Pull out and rediscover old toys
  • Clean out and give away outgrown toys, clothes, possessions
  • Organize your room/closet/files/clothes/dresser/bookshelves
  • Organize, update, or give away a collection (stamps, photos, Legos, etc.)
  • Cook or bake something
  • Play with a pet, sibling or friend
  • Write your memoirs, diary or journal entry
  • Write a poem
  • Write a letter to your future self and hide it where your future self will find it
  • Dust, clean, or redecorate your room
  • Sew or knit something
  • Draw/paint something
  • Design something and then create it
  • String beads
  • Sort buttons, rubber bands, etc.
  • Clean out a drawer
  • Make a movie or take photos
  • Telephone somebody
  • Put on a play
  • Learn to juggle
  • Play board games
  • Jump rope
  • Play cards
  • Reflect on/organize your life (make lists, set goals)
  • Write your will
  • Look at old photos
  • Practice a foreign language
  • Vacuum a room
  • Wash and clean a car inside and out
  • Think up acts of kindness and do them
  • Iron a shirt
  • Read the encyclopedia
  • Make up your own games or inventions
  • Earn extra money (think how and what to do, then do it)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Blogging is low on the list

I am currently stuck in family matters, Christmas prep, and housework. If I ever find any "free" time for blogging again, I'll be back.