Saturday, March 31, 2007
Apparently, there is a well-oiled revolution underway to thoroughly undermine American Idol, by the likes of Howard Stern, and Andrew Sullivan. It all revolves around the controversial frontrunner Sanjaya Malakar. I have a hard time continuing to pretend that I care about this show, but Ann Althouse is kinda pissed, and makes a serious appeal for Sanjaya's survival.
Oh, and in related stuff involving Ms. Althouse, there is still a bit of a firestorm over something of a spat she had with Garance Franke-Ruta, in a Bloggingheads diavlog. It had something to do with comments she made about a woman named Jessica Valenti, and breasts. I still haven't figured all this out yet, but many have their opinions, like Ezra Klein, who doesn't much care for Ann Althouse at all. Of course, one really should hear Ann's side as well to get a balanced picture. I must say though, that I watched the diavlog, and based on the context I've been able to gather, I think Ann was being entirely unfair to Garance. A lot of other interesting topics were discussed though, such as the general ugliness of some on the blogosphere. It's darn exciting, no matter what your persepective.
In other news, I feel the need to reiterate how awesome the movie 300 is. A consumate masterpiece. I plan on writing a lengthy piece on why this movie is so good, but I'll just reflect a bit on the unjustified heat this movie is getting from the Iranian government, and some short-sighted lefties. As for Iran, their silly and baseless beef seems to be that the movie is trying to provoke a war with Iran. This movie doesn't promote war with Persia per se, but it does include a lesson in the importance of free people having the courage to stand against those who would subjugate and destroy them. Not to mention it's just a damn-good epic about heroism and valor.
Besides, if the leadership in Iran is really worried about provoking a war, perhaps they shouldn't continually defy UN sanctions, or capture British sailors? Just sayin'.
Damn, this post was longer than I thought. Oh, well. Again, Palm Sunday tomorrow, and Wrestlemania.
Oh, and Georgetown just lost. The crunching sound you just heard was a million tourney brackets exploding into flames.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
If this bill that sets an August 2008 deadline for troop withdrawal is so solid, why not let it pass cleanly? Why do votes have to be extorted? Could it be that many of the leadership know that this bill will not, and should not pass otherwise?
This is not what I had in mind, when they talked about a new direction. This crap needs to stop now.
Hat tip: Centerfield
Monday, March 19, 2007
I mean, it's the Dukes of Hazzard, for God's sake.
Friday, March 16, 2007
It is crucial to remember that, for all the conservative criticism of The Enemy at Home, this argument is just as central to the base of the current Republican Party as it is to this book. In this respect, The Enemy at Home is an utterly unremarkable exploration of what theoconservatism really requires. It demands that individual autonomy be sacrificed for obedience to the external moral order. Theoconservatism refuses to accept the notion that government can ever aspire to be neutral with respect to competing visions of morality
You really do need to read the whole thing. D'Souza's thesis almost reads like a cartoonish parody of the far-right, but his argument is hardly unserious, profoundly dangerous, and poses a fundamental threat to the fabric of Western thought.
Not to mention it's just out and out crazy.
Hat tip: Red Letter Day
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
Via Adult Swim, and James Urbaniak's (the voice of Dr. Venture for the Venture Bros.) LiveJournal, comes an interesting link to an interesting look at the CPAC 2007, from Nation columnist Max Blumenthal. OK, I know he's a unabashed lefty, but I'm telling you, you've got to see this. Some highlights include the Anti-Romney Dolphin, a brief discourse on "Leftist Cultural Imperialism" by Dinesh D'Souza, David Horowitz, Ann Coulter, and others. I'm amazed that the guy who made the most sense on the whole clip was Grover Norquist. Grover Norquist!!
Oh, and I do feel the need to point out that Max probably did handle his confrontation with Michelle Malkin poorly. Did he really think she was going to sign that picture? Oh well.
UPDATE: Here's the direct link to the clip.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Here's how it works.
At the beginning of the book, we are shown a Palestinian during the 1948 war over the creation of the state of Israel. The scene is about how this Palestinian has been torturing a man he captured in order to find out what he is doing; then he kills him. But the torture is not treated in the fiction as anything other than a regrettable necessity; later, the character does in fact regret his actions that day.
That's not what makes this book evil. No, it's the fact that Berry sets this scene against a background in which Israelis are systematically driving all the Palestinians out of Israel; the Israelis are heavily armed by the British while the Palestinians have no weapons to counter them; and the Israelis have rounded up whole villages of Palestinians and slaughtered them, men and women alike.
These things are not what the scene is about. They are slipped in as background; they are treated as if they were the sort of thing that was really going on in Palestine in 1948.
This is the kind of thing that readers -- especially ones who don't know anything about history -- are likely to assume the writer has researched, so that it can be trusted. The book is fiction, so we know this particular character did not torture and kill the other guy -- that part is obviously made up. But the background is assumed to be real. And readers often come out of books like this thinking they now know something about the real world.
In fact, what Berry is providing is pure propaganda -- the propaganda created by terrorists and murderers to "prove" that Jews "deserve" to be blown up by suicidebombers. It is exactly as reliable as the widely-believed propaganda lie that either President Bush or the state of Israel -- or both -- actually carried out the 9/11 attacks in order to provide a pretext for invading innocent Muslim countries.
It really is crucial to the survival of free societies to learn that ideas have consequences. This book advances hideous blood libels, and subtly wraps them in the form of bad fiction. The book is evil in the way Valley of the Wolves Iraq is evil. The way the DaVinci Code is evil. It is the most sinister form of lie. Card gives us a solid history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a sound defense of Israel, and a thorough rebuke of the so-called intellectuals who through their moral cowardice, justify all manner of evil.
My problem with this piece is this one interesting statement he makes:
Naturally, the book also loathes the Bush administration -- that's a
requirement in fiction today. (When I wrote a thriller in which American soldiers actually approved of the war against Terrorist nations and groups, and actually respected President Bush, I was attacked by Leftists as if I had created a piece of intolerable propaganda -- never mind that the real American military is full of people with those views, and the point of the novel, if it had one, was to deplore extremism on either side. Actual tolerance toward conservative views is regarded as a crime by America's "tolerant" and "freedom loving" intellectuals today.")
Now I haven't read Empire, but if the word on the street is correct, and unless I've missed something, his book is about a lot more than soldiers favoring war against terrorists. I could be wrong, but the description reads like a clunky bit of partisan tripe, in which the Left is this evil force that sells out to the terrorists, and all those humble right-wingers are America's only hope. It smacks of something Rush would pen. Hardly a work trying to counter partisanship on both sides.
The fact is, Card just travels waay too much into Bush Worship Land. His arguments everywhere else are solid, but I swear, I think he has BDS in reverse.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Look, I’m not saying that wars are always justified, nor even that every war that ends a genocide or takes out a genocidal madman is necessarily justified; if non-military means can accomplish the same end in the same time frame, of course they should be used (unless there’s some other compelling reason why force is necessary). Nor am I suggesting that leaders who seek to justify wars on the basis of stopping or preventing genocide are necessarily interested purely in the humanitarian rationale. That would be naive to the point of idiocy; of course other reasons generally take priority (regardless of what might be said in public), and when those other reasons don’t exist, we don’t usually get involved. And it’s perfectly reasonable to criticize our leaders for that.
What isn’t reasonable, in my view — and I’d love to hear a coherent argument for why I’m wrong — is to state that you are “anti-war in principle” while at the time demanding that all genocides can and must be stopped. The reality is that some genocides — not necessarily all, but certainly at least some, and probably most — cannot be stopped without military action. And moreover, even among those that can be stopped without military action, the plausible threat of military action is generally a prerequisite to successfully putting any sort of diplomatic pressure on genocidal regimes. It may be an oversimplification to say that “the only language they understand is force,” but certainly when we’re talking about the sort of people who would commit genocide, it’s a concept that can’t be blithely ignored. Simply put, genocidal regimes are not generally run by nice people, and they’re unlikely to stop just because you ask nicely. All the rock concerts, earnest petitions, U.N. resolutions, State Department missives and even economic sanctions in the world won’t make an iota of difference if there’s nothing to back them up. If you’re unwilling to put your money where your mouth is, no one will care what you think.
Agreed. The fact is, there really isn't a coherent reason I can think of why Brendan is wrong on this. It's not that those who want to end genocide, yet remain "anti-war on principle" don't want to end genocide, it's that to hold such a position forces one to smack up against the reality that the latter (war), is sometimes required to end the former. It was war that stopped the Holocaust. It was war that stopped Saddam's reign, as well as Slobo's reign. Diplomacy's good, but to paraphrase Orwell, sometimes moral force isn't enough. Sometimes you need physical force.
Hat tip: Centerfield
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Advocates of keeping the cross in Wren Chapel pointed to the school's founding 300 years ago as an institution of the Anglican Church. The cross, they argued, should be displayed not only as a symbol of faith but as an acknowledgment of history and tradition.
Agreed. This has nothing to do with church-state separation. This is about the traditions of the school. I'm perfectly fine with allowing other faiths to worship there, as this is proper and just. Why can't they just put up their symbols alongside the cross? Why must they take the cross down to accomodate other faiths? The traditions of the school shouldn't be undermined in an attempt to appease the overly-PC.
Hat tip: Centerfield