Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Hire a Hero".

There is some good news regarding the unemployment rate of US veterans between the ages of 20-24. According to the US Department of Labor, “the unemployment rate for veterans ages 20-24 fell to 10.4 percent in 2006 from 15.6 percent in the previous year, according to data released last week by the of the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The drop in the young veterans' unemployment rate is the largest decline in more than a decade. The unemployment rate for all veterans remained lower than that of non-veterans.”

“Hire A Hero” is a free program for both the job searching candidates and employers to use. Veterans, Guard members, Reservists and their families are provided with job assistance services.

The program is set up under the auspices of The Armed Forces Support Foundation (AFSF), a non-profit entity established in 1998. Although AFSF was officially noticed in Senate Bill S3833, it relies on public support.

Supporting “Hire A Hero” is one small way that we can all make a difference and give thanks to those men and women and their families who are protecting us minute by minute.

Let’s add our two-cents to help inform service men and women about “Hire a Hero”.

Thank you!
Pachyderm & Loxodonta


Anti-Americanism and the Germans: Der Spiegel's Berlin Bureau Chief says it is time to re-educate the Germans!

I always believed it was easy to be anti-Yankee around the world because it carries no heavy-handed consequences... There's nothing comparable to what the Swiss national is facing (up to 10 years in jail) for having insulted the King of Thailand.

Mr. Malzahn has some very insightful thoughts about the way Germans think and the current bout of anti-American feelings running high in his country.

Excerpts:

Bush-bashing is something of a national sport in Germany.

The Germans have believed in many things in the course of their recent history. They've believed in colonies in Africa and in the Kaiser. They even believed in the Kaiser when he told them that there would be no more political parties, only soldiers on the front.

Not too long afterwards, they believed that Jews should be placed into ghettos and concentration camps because they were the enemies of the people. Then they believed in the autobahn and that the Third Reich would ultimately be victorious. A few years later, they believed in the Deutsche mark. They believed that the Berlin Wall would be there forever and that their pensions were safe. They believed in recycling as well as in cheap jet travel. They even believed in a German victory at the soccer World Cup.

Now they believe that the United States is a greater threat to world peace than Iran.
...
The 19th-century German author Karl May taught us about the American Wild West, and Karl Marx warned us about unbridled capitalism. Besides, we've all been there at least once -- on vacation, of course. Be it in California or Florida (that's where you get the best deals on rental cars, you know), we can see right through the Americans.

For us Germans, the Americans are either too fat or too obsessed with exercise, too prudish or too pornographic, too religious or too nihilistic.
...
Worst of all, the Americans won the war in 1945. (Well, with German help, of course -- from Einstein and his ilk.) There are some Germans who will never forgive the Americans for VE Day, when they defeated Hitler. After all, Nazism was just an accident, whereas Americans are inherently evil. Just look at President Bush, the man who, as some of SPIEGEL ONLINE's readers steadfastly believe, "is worse than Hitler." Now that gives us a chance to kill two birds
with one stone. If Bush is the new Hitler, then we Germans have finally unloaded the Führer on to someone else. In fact, we won't even have to posthumously revoke his German citizenship, as politicians in Lower Saxony recently proposed. No one can hold a candle to our talent for symbolism!

Anti-Americanism is the wonder drug of German politics. If no one believes what you're saying, take a swing at the Yanks and you'll be shooting your way back up to the top of the opinion polls in no time.

Anti-Americanism is hypocrisy at its finest. You can spend your evening catching the latest episode of "24" and then complain about Guantanamo the next morning. You can claim that the Americans have themselves to blame for terrorism, while at the same time calling for tougher restrictions on Muslim immigration to Germany. You can call the American president a mass murderer and book a flight to New York the next day. You can lament the average American's supposed lack of culture and savvy and meanwhile send off for the documents for the Green Card lottery.

Not a day passes in Germany when someone isn't making the wildest claims, hurling the vilest insults or spreading the most outlandish conspiracy theories about the United States. But there's no risk involved and it all serves mainly to boost the German feeling of self-righteousness.
...

Iran is a different story. The last time someone made a joke on German TV about an Iranian leader, the outcome was not pleasant.
Exactly 20 years ago, Dutch entertainer Rudi Carell produced a short TV sketch portraying Ayatollah Khomeini dressed in women's underwear. Carell received death threats. The piece, which lasted all of a few seconds, led to flights being cancelled and German diplomats being expelled from Tehran. Carell apologized. Jokes about fat Americans are just safer.

...
The Americans are more dangerous than the ayatollahs? Perhaps the Americans should take the Germans at their word for a change. It's high time for a new round of re-education. The last one obviously didn't do the job.



Beware of Croatia's gentlemen's clubs.

This just caught my eye after writing about Drubovnik below! A State Department warning on Croatia:

_"Be aware of drink prices" in Croatia's gentlemen's clubs, where tourists can "unknowingly run up exorbitant bar bills, sometimes in the thousands of dollars."

Vices can be costly. Read it here.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Dubrovnik: A place that was worth defending.

THE BELLS OF DUBROVNIK ring every hour and half hour, although they are silent throughout the night, when the local cats begin their hellish meows. From where I sat in the evening two summers ago, overlooking the city’s mosaic of pale-peach and red tiled roofs, I could admire a large sliver of Adriatic blue, sometimes speckled by imposing cruisers or elegant yachts that came and went.

Croatia is a special place… Its coast is magnificent. I kept comparing: gorgeous Italy vis-à-vis this incredibly beautiful, but more pristine version of a Mediterranean coast…

Isle of Lokrum ruin, circa 1995

One of the saddest things to see were the gaping holes, some large, some small, sometimes many, sometimes few, on the façades of regular-looking buildings along the way… These are the scars of war left by the many bullets and shells on apartment complexes, houses overlooking the Adriatic, clusters of village dwellings… These wounds, unfortunately, are so recent, it’s almost embarrassing to remember! I mentioned to my sons that all of their contemporaries in Croatia were exposed to the horrors of war in the heart of Europe, while they were playing soccer with their classmates in Rome, having a wonderful and peaceful childhood, so very near by. Hard to believe - except for the physical scars on buildings - that Croatia experienced such savagery just a few years ago!

We visited the island of Lokrum, where the Benedictine monks settled many centuries ago, and where a few mortar shells landed a few years ago… Does the world remember?

A beautiful island 15 minutes away from Dubrovnik, Lokrum’s water at the time was very refreshing, crystalline as can be, and snorkeling in it was unbelievable. Something out of National Geographic: the waters were magnificent in what they delivered: underground gorges, multi-colored fish, and schools of gray and black fish…

On a cursory trip to Cartvat, an old city about 16 kms from Dubrovnik, we didn’t find the right beach (it was too crowded for my taste) and we went back to the little one we discovered a few days earlier, which once held a big hotel and apartment complexes, and which are now boarded up because of the gunfire they withstood…modern monuments to modern disasters… I liked the guy who had the concession stand and sold us ice cream (50% cheaper than in Dubrovnik)…

The days we spent in Dubrovnik and its surroundings were beautiful and I know, for certain, that I shall remember this place forever: it is a gem. The white marble of the city’s buildings, staircases, and streets absorbed the heat, so that in the evening one could feel the warmth irradiating from the marble streets and the building walls.

To anyone who ever wants to begin to understand how we could have had such a savage war in the heart of Europe, I recommend reading The Bridge over the Drina. It is a beautiful story written by a Nobel Laureate, a former Yugoslav diplomat, Ivo Andric. With poignant melancholy, it recounts the traumas and tragedies, joys and woes, loves and hatreds of a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious multitude in a town in Bosnia, from the Middle Ages until the outbreak of World War I. It is a formidable epic, and the perfect book to read in Croatia!

I discovered Vinko Coce, in one of our trips to the island of Lokrum… He is a crooner, a balladeer. Croatian melodies are sad, gypsy-like and harmonious. We listened to Vinko as we drove out of the walled-city, a fitting way to end our stay. It was hard to depart… Maybe soon I will see that beautiful and melancholic Dubrovnik again.

The peach tiles of Dubrovnik…
68% of the rooftops were destroyed during the 1990’s war,
and the dark tiles are the new replacements…

Political Theater: Act I: The eyelash victories...in which the Lilliputians try to tie down an exhausted Gulliver.

Watching CNN International last night I wondered whether my government back in Washington, DC really understands how the “image” it portrays is perceived abroad. We look as if we were involved in a perpetually petty fight that hangs ominously over all of us…some of us worry, others wait in gleeful anticipation of disaster.

Far away from the US, this image seems surreal, and hard to understand. What comes to mind is that famous saying… “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. But maybe, maybe this may be more a case of much ado about nothing. Who knows.

Well, reading this morning the editorial from Opinion Journal, it all made sense. Thanks to this editorial it is easier for me to explain to others what’s going on back home.

I hope my foreign friends will take note that in the deadline for withdrawal from Iraq, what is called the "Iraq Accountability Act,"

… the key word in that construction is the last one. This is all an act. This week the Senate joined the House in passing a "deadline" for Iraq withdrawal that Members know has no chance of becoming law. President Bush has promised a veto, and the eyelash victories in both houses show that his veto will be sustained with ease.

Mr. Bush has been warning about his veto for weeks, but Democrats have moved ahead anyway because the vote is really about political theater. Democrats need to appease their antiwar base… None of this is real "accountability," however, because Democrats lack the nerve to truly stop the war by defunding it. Having criticized the bill at first, MoveOn.org and the antiwar caucus turned around and endorsed this theatrical fallback once they realized they lacked the votes to stop the war.

This vote allows Democrats to claim they opposed General David Petraeus's plan to stabilize Baghdad, even as they let him fight.

The spectacle qualifies as a textbook example of why Congress can't be trusted to micromanage, much less lead, a war. It's a committee of Lilliputians whose main contribution is to tie down the President so that his policy fails. ...Congress [ought to] fulfill the one war power it does have, which is to appropriate enough money so [the] troops can accomplish their mission.




Thursday, March 29, 2007

"Death to America..."

Watch this explicit video, courtesy of MEMRI. The masses can easily be whipped into a frenzy... All of us ought to be paying close attention to the sheer number of the chanters.


Missile defense shield.

The European Left does not want a missile defense shield (MDS) in Polish and Czech soil, or at least, according to Reuters, Europe's left-leaning parties want the US to have more consultations with its allies about it.

Background consultations have ensued, and official ones will soon begin. Many well-read Poles (and other Europeans) are under the mistaken belief that the MDS will only protect the US. This is incorrect. MDS is meant to cover most of Europe.

The European Union is not necessarily against MDS. In fact NATO supports the idea.


Contrary to conventional wisdom, Russia has neither been ignored nor side-stepped, and the US has engaged the leadership even to the extent as to propose to Russia to become involved in the MDS, which could protect Russia's European portion, including St. Petersburg and Moscow, against an attack from Iran or North Korea.

More information on MDS can be found here and here (in Polish).


Where indiscriminateness (or fear?) lead...to dhimmitude.

Just this week, Il Giornale reports that the president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Fausto Bertinotti (a communist), removed the painting that shows a scene from the Battle of Lepanto (1571) from the Knights' Hall in Montecitorio, the Italian Parliament. This was done -apparently- so as not to offend Muslims.

The Battle of Lepanto (1571) resulted in a triumph for Christianity over the Ottoman Turks. It is in this battle that Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, of Don Quijote fame, becomes "el manco de Lepanto", having lost a hand during the battle.

What's next? How about changing the name of the Lepanto underground station in Rome?

Go here for G.K. Chesterton's poem on Lepanto.



Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Thank you, Power Line, for bringing to your readers the story of Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, and welcome Power Line readers!



Wladyslaw Bartoszewski: member of the "decent" race.

There are few of us who can truly be categorized as heroically unique, an inspiration to others, a person to emulate, an example that righteous actions, in the long run, triumph over evil ones.

Last night, the US Embassy in Warsaw honored Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, a disarmingly charming Polish octogenarian, whose story once would have been brought to the silver screen and written in boys' and girls' magazines.

By the time he was 17 years old, Mr. Bartoszewski had survived being imprisoned in Auschwitz-Birkenau for 8 months. He was a co-founder of the Zegota movement, that saved thousands of Jews, was a member of the Underground Army (resistance movement), acted as a courier, and fought in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.

If this were not enough, after the war was over, he was twice imprisoned by the Communist regimes in Poland, one time such imprisonment lasting more than 6 years. He worked for Radio Free Europe for 18 years, became Foreign Minister of Poland twice, was made an honorary citizen of Israel and is a member of the Righteous Among the Nations of the World. He writes books and tells stories.

His life stories can't help some of us wonder, what would we have done under similar circumstances? What made a teen-ager rise up to the cause and fight so hard to preserve sanity in a world gone insane? What made the young man keep on fighting despite the demoralizing post-World War II events that catapulted Poland into 50 years of Communism?

He was once asked whether he regards his life as a success. Wladyslaw Bartoszewski answered, “I have been very fully rewarded, and that is no illusion. Beyond anything I deserve. Heroism? I did indeed take part in aiding the Jews, but I was also damned frightened. Terribly frightened. No one knows that, because I would have been ashamed to admit it. Other people did equally splendid things. They ran with grenades and shot at Gestapo colonels. They too, surely, were afraid. I was afraid in a different way. However, the fact that I was able to help someone to some degree, minimal in regard to my willingness, turned out in the end to make sense.”

If only more of us would learn about the heroic deeds of people like Mr. Bartoszewski, our world would be a better place.

Update: Power Line was kind enough to share this great story!

Mindless indiscriminateness of thought leads to rejection of rational thought as a hate crime.

Thanks to Power Line, Evan Sayet give us an easy way to understand what's going on in the Western world. Would that high school and college kids could listen to Mr. Sayet's no-nonsense talk.





Monday, March 26, 2007

On Zionists and hating Israel.

There are interesting excerpts of an interview of Victor Davis Hanson on the Middle East.

I can relate to a couple of Hanson's comments

...for Europeans and Arabs, hating "Zionists" and "Israel" has become an acceptable way to hate Jews without the stigma of anti-Semitism.

Israel serves today as the ethical barometer in the western collective mind. Support for it brings no oil, no ingratiation with terrorists, no psychological lift of the usual easy bullying of a small democracy, but it does reveal respect for democracy, confidence in the history of the West, and respect for a humane culture and an accomplished people under terrible assault. So, I confess, as I age I sort of judge Westerners I meet now by their degree of fairness toward Israel. I've gotten to the point when I hear
a rabid Leftist or a creepy Right-wing nut rant on Israel, I just pack it up and walk away. Life is too short for such nonsense.




An act of war: Iran and the taking of British hostages.

Some sobering thoughts at OpinionJournal:

...the world should keep in mind that Iran has undertaken this latest military aggression while it is still a conventional military power. That means that Britain and the U.S. can still respond today with the confidence that they maintain military superiority. That confidence will vanish the minute Iran achieves its goal of becoming a nuclear power. Who knows what the revolutionaries in Tehran will then be capable of.


The European Union: a peculiar form of apostasy.

Pope Benedict XVI had very strong warnings against a continent that consistently seems to be discarding its Christian roots and denying any moral absolutes.

His speech to the bishops this past week-end was in Italian, and beautifully expressive. For example, the following paragraph, where he posits that the Christian identity of the contintent is historical, cultural and moral, and that it cannot be hidden from the people. Rather, Christian values make up the Continent's soul and must remain in the third millenium as the ferment of civiliation.

Da tutto ciò emerge chiaramente che non si può pensare di edificare un’autentica “casa comune” europea trascurando l’identità propria dei popoli di questo nostro Continente. Si tratta infatti di un’identità storica, culturale e morale, prima ancora che geografica, economica o politica; un’identità costituita da un insieme di valori universali, che il Cristianesimo ha contribuito a forgiare, acquisendo così un ruolo non soltanto storico, ma fondativo nei confronti dell’Europa. Tali valori, che costituiscono l’anima del Continente, devono restare nell’Europa del terzo millennio come “fermento” di civiltà.
You can read the whole speech here.


Iran and the Jews.

A Must-See video of an Iranian scholar lecturing students on the Jewish conspiracy behind the cartoon Tom & Jerry. Check it out here, at MEMRI.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Carnal relations between Argentina and USA????

Mariano Grondona explains Argentina's anti-yankee position... The US has always known where Argentina "stood"... on the wrong side of history. While Brazil and Mexico may not love the northern colossus, they have always "been there" when the time was right. What's Argentina's option now? An excerpt:

Hoy, el presidente Kirchner parece seguir un juego de "gambetas" con Venezuela y los Estados Unidos. En las barricadas, sigue a Chávez. Cuando el desafío chavista a Bush se vuelve inquietante, como en las relaciones con Irán y con el pueblo judío, Kirchner, discretamente, retrocede. La pregunta entonces es ésta: la "gambeta" de Kirchner, corresponde a "la inteligencia de nuestros intereses"?

Algunos dirán que sí, porque de Chávez estamos recibiendo concesiones económicas que no nos ofrecen los Estados Unidos. Pero la Argentina que se obstinó tanto tiempo en una política de neutralidad, ¿tiene ahora la misma gravitación que antes? Maquiavelo analizó si la neutralidad les conviene a las naciones menores. No, dijo, porque el neutral, para evitar el castigo de los perdedores, se queda sin el premio de los ganadores. La Argentina pudo estar de pleno derecho, por ejemplo, en el gran convenio brasileño-norteamericano de los biocombustibles. No lo estuvo porque Kirchner cedió una y otra vez a la tentación de la retórica antinorteamericana. La Argentina no era pro norteamericana porque se consideraba europea. La Argentina que sobrelleva, a la inversa de Brasil, siete décadas de pérdidas de posiciones, ¿puede resignarse ahora a no ser pro norteamericana porque se considera venezolana?



Journalists, kidnappings, beheadings.

Thanks to the Timesonline:

An Italian journalist who was held hostage by the Taleban for two weeks described how he was forced to watch as his captors beheaded his Afghan driver.

Daniele Mastrogiacomo, who was released yesterday, told how he feared that he would also be killed after seeing the brutal execution.

“I can still see it now," he wrote in La Repubblica. “The [Taleban] commander issued his death sentence in the name of Islam. He said we were all spies and we had to die. [The translator] is crying. I don’t understand. I ask him what they said and he, in tears, says ’they are going to kill us’.

“I get off my knees. Four young men grab the driver and shove his face into the sand. They cut his throat and continue until they have cut his whole head.

“He is not able to make a gasp. They clean the knife on his tunic. They tie his severed head to his body. They bring it [the body and head] to the river and let it go,” he wrote.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

The moral case for stopping Iran.

...Europe's vast superstructure of collective atonement for the Holocaust has been hollowed out from within. The calumny that Israel--the most liberal and egalitarian country in the Middle East--is an "apartheid state" has hardened into a conviction. The mud has stuck.

Yet if Israel is attacked and--God forbid--destroyed by Iranian nuclear bombs, then European civilization will have perished, too. The destruction of Israel would signal the demise of the Judeo-Christian morality that ennobled Greco-Roman culture to create the only Europe that was ever worth preserving. I for one could not live in a society that could even contemplate such a second Shoah. I would turn my back on such a Europe, shake the dust from my feet, never to return.


Read the rest of it here.

Reagan's Star Wars lead to the missile defense shield of today...

Wonder how the missile defense shield will work? Check this out. Everything you need to know about the threat the shield will thwart is here.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wise words from Senator Lieberman:

I understand the anger about Iraq, but I am deeply troubled by how this anger, and the feelings of animosity that many people have for President Bush, have begun to affect the way we talk and think about what is happening in the world beyond Iraq and America's role in it.

There is something profoundly wrong when opposition to the war in Iraq seems to inspire greater passion than opposition to Islamist extremism.

There is something profoundly wrong when there is so much distrust of our intelligence community that some Americans doubt the plain and ominous facts about the threat to us posed by Iran.

And there is something profoundly wrong when, in the face of attacks by radical Islam, we think we can find safety and stability by pulling back, by talking to and accommodating our enemies, and abandoning our friends and allies.

Some of this wrong-headed thinking about the world is happening because we're in a political climate where, for many people, when George Bush says "yes," their reflex reaction is to say "no."

That is unacceptable.

It's time to step back and start thinking together about our national interest again, to say "yes" when we agree and "no" when we don't, and to find ways to disagree without dividing ourselves from one another.

It's time to step back and remember that there is a real enemy out there—an enemy violently opposed to human rights and women's rights and gay rights and the basic political rights of each one of us.

It's time to step back and see that America's interests lie with the interests of free people everywhere, and that the response to radical Islam is not to abandon them but to stand with them—whether they are in Baghdad or Teheran or Jerusalem.
...
You know that the struggle for freedom is indivisible. You know that freedom itself is indivisible.

That is why we stand united—as Americans, as Israelis, as children of God, as children of freedom.

The esteemed historian of the Middle East, Bernard Lewis, was in Washington this past week. He said that, when he looks at the world today and the threats we face, it reminds him of the 1930s—and that he hears far more voices that sound like Chamberlain than like Churchill.

And so I challenge each of you to find the voice of Churchill inside yourself, and let it be heard this week on Capitol Hill and throughout the nation in the days and years ahead.

Stand up for your arguments. Stand up for your principles. Stand up for your values.

Stand up for America. Stand up for Israel. Stand up for freedom. And have confidence that in the end, our cause will, with God's help, prevail.
Read it all here.


Monday, March 12, 2007

European anti-Americanism.

Interesting article on the foundations and the premise of European anti-Americanism at The American Thinker. Here are excerpts:

The groundwork for moral equivalence between democracy and murderous tyranny was laid over two generations of willful post-modern obfuscation of the difference between "the fire and the fire brigade," as Churchill aptly called it. Unsurprisingly, the intellectual paragons of such ethical primitivism included Nazi admirers like Paul de Man, Martin Heidegger and Francois Mitterand, and Stalin worshippers like Jean-Paul Sartre. Many Sixties radicals in Europe were totalitarians in spirit, taking their cues from fascist as well as Leftist forerunners. Just as before the war, "les extrêmes se touchent (the extremes converge)." When the violent past of famous Green politician Joschka Fischer was exposed, he simply explained that, yes, "we (radicals) were drawn to the totalitarian temptation."

That's a nice way of putting it. As late as the 1970s the people of Cambodia were subject to the gentle ministrations of a French-trained Leftist intellectual who gave in to the "totalitarian temptation," someone named Pol Pot. Perhaps three million Khmer people never survived to tell the tale. Mao Zedong killed tens of millions of Chinese in the 1960s, even while American college airheads were parading with Mao's "Little Red Book." In recent memory two million North Koreans were starved of food by another Stalin-Mao devotee, Kim Jong Il, and nobody in the West really knows if the starvation has ended yet.

Europe is now being subjected to daft "Third Way Socialism" by a new ruling class that is trying to recreate a Soviet Lite version of the same old political con-job, using the same old scapegoating propaganda that worked so well for Bismarck in the nineteenth century. The goal, of course, is to serve themselves while proclaiming ever-lasting compassion for others.

Hence German hectoring against "the Anglo-Saxons" --- a phony racialist term from the 19th century --- and its implicit reversion to the dark, rejected past. Throw some really scary Islamic-fascist head-choppers into the mix, lubricate the whole mess with billions of euros in Saudi money, and you have today's witches' brew in European politics.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Pobre Argentina... tomar parte en este "charade"...

Courtesy of Investors Business Daily:

As Bush prepares a milestone visit to five Latin American democracies, expected to draw a warm welcome from their leaders, a left-wing clown show is getting ready in the wings, courtesy of the regional bully.

...

Note that the Chavez rally will not be held in any of the five countries that are hosting the president — Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico — but in probably the only country whose state-paid protesters, known as piqueteros, can fill a stadium with anti-Bush protesters.

For the countries Bush is visiting, something much better than fist-waving rallies will be offered.



More on global warming...

It seems that there is universal consensus of opinion among scientists about the horrors of climate change. But, a meteoroligst at MIT, Professor Richard Linzen, writes that this is a lie: there is no such unanimity among scientists.

America-bashing from a German perspective...

A fascinating insight into Germany's views of the US. Worth reading, not only James Lewis piece:

A neurotic obsession is like a bone stuck in your throat. You can't swallow it and you can't spit it out. That is how the German media are hooked on America. It doesn't look quite sane. For Americans, the best web guide to the German media is davids medienkritik. (David's media critique).
but also the German website, which is written in English.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Israel may be ranked the country with the worst image abroad (as per BBC poll), but it has good friends.

Which European country is said to be one of the most favorably inclined toward Israel? Which has students organizing Israel Days at major universities? Whose president made the first visit by a head of state to Israel immediately after the war with Hezbollah?

Amazingly, that country is Poland.

Surprised? Even if a Google search on ``Poland and Israel'' generates 177 million hits, the news highlighted above is not what you find when you open your morning paper. More often, you are likely to read that a Polish member of the EU Parliament published an anti-Semitic pamphlet -- but it is seldom mentioned that the Polish president and other government representatives condemned him. Bad news travels fast -- especially if it is bad news we have been conditioned to hearing. And Poland has seldom been the beneficiary of good news.
Read the rest of the story here.

Monday, March 05, 2007

On death and dying.

An excerpt of Charles Krauthammer's piece:

No one grasps more greedily--and cruelly--the need for agency in death as does the greatest moral monster of our time: the suicide bomber. By choosing not only the time and place but the blood-soaked story that will accompany his death, he seeks to transcend and redeem an otherwise meaningless life. One day you are the alienated and insignificant Mohamed Atta; the next day, Sept. 11, 2001, you join the annals of infamy with all the glory that brings in the darker precincts of humanity. It is the ultimate perversion of the "good death," done for the worst of motives--self-creation through the annihilation of others. People often denounce such suicide attacks as "senseless." On the contrary, they make all too much malevolent sense. There is great power in owning your own death--and even greater power in forever dispossessing your infidel victims of theirs.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Global warming, carbon offsets and the boy from Ipanema.

Tall and tan and young and lovely, the boy with carbon offsets goes walking and when he passes each one he passes goes aaaiiieeeeeeeee!
Mark Steyn at his usual!


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Man's intoxicating vanity.

From Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park:

You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity! Let me tell you about our planet. Earth is four-and-a-half-billion-years-old. There's been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea, on the land. Then finally the great sweeping ages of animals, the amphibians, the dinosaurs, at last the mammals, each one enduring millions on millions of years, great dynasties of creatures rising, flourishing, dying away -- all this against a background of continuous and violent upheaval. Mountain ranges thrust up, eroded away, cometary impacts, volcano eruptions, oceans rising and falling, whole continents moving, an endless, constant, violent change, colliding, buckling to make mountains over millions of years. Earth has survived everything in its time.

It will certainly survive us. If all the nuclear weapons in the world went off at once and all the plants, all the animals died and the earth was sizzling hot for a hundred thousand years, life would survive, somewhere: under the soil, frozen in arctic ice. Sooner or later, when the planet was no longer inhospitable, life would spread again. The evolutionary process would begin again. Might take a few billion years for life to regain its present variety. Of course, it would be very different from what it is now, but the earth would survive our folly, only we would not. If the ozone layer gets thinner, ultraviolet radiation sears earth, so what? Ultraviolet radiation is good for life. It's powerful energy. It promotes mutation, change. Many forms of life will thrive with more UV radiation. Many others will die out. You think this is the first time that's happened? Think about oxygen. Necessary for life now, but oxygen is actually a metabolic poison, a corrosive glass, like fluorine.

When oxygen was first produced as a waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago, it created a crisis for all other life on earth. Those plants were polluting the environment, exhaling a lethal gas. Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time. Hundred years ago we didn't have cars, airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can't imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven't got the humility to try. We've been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we're gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.

Friday, March 02, 2007

UFOs to the rescue of planet Earth...

News24.com reports that

A former Canadian defense minister is demanding governments worldwide disclose and use secret alien technologies obtained in alleged UFO crashes to stem climate change, a local paper said on Wednesday.

"I would like to see what (alien) technology there might be that could eliminate the burning of fossil fuels within a generation ... that could be a way to save our planet," Paul Hellyer, 83, told the Ottawa Citizen.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Are there any success stories in Iraq?

I never see any photos in either newspapers, magazines or on TV that point to anything positive going on in Iraq. Here's a collection of pics that sheds some light as to what really is going on beyond the bombs.


Democracy: what's so great about majority rule?

James Madison, the father of our Constitution, said that in a pure democracy, "there is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual." At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Edmund Randolph said, " . . . that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy." John Adams said, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." Chief Justice John Marshall observed, "Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos."

Walter Williams says that
...one of the primary dangers of majority rule is that it confers an aura of legitimacy and respectability on acts that would otherwise be deemed tyrannical. Liberty and democracy are not synonymous and could actually be opposites.
Go here to read the rest.