Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dangerous thinking

The debate over Geert Wilders 10-minute film, "Fitna" exposes the futility and silliness of the the European mentality. "'Freedom must always be accompanied by social responsibility,' remarked one critic of the film. But this sentiment is a recipe for tyranny. This inherent anti-libertarianism usually found in continental Europe is pulled from the turgid pages of Herbert Marcuse, who preached a repressive tolerance.

Of course the socialist left, which no doubt led today's protest against the film, remains delusional. The left maintains that radical Islam can indeed stand side-by-side with a Western construct such as scientific socialism and even the Enlightment. They are grossly misguided. The fellow in the picture who throws up the term fascist in his placard is simply representative. Is Wilders over the top? Most definitely. But does a man who fights for the rights of women, gays and Jews really a fascist? Why is Wilders the problem when radical Islam, unassimilated in Europe, fails to accept the parameters of a tolerant society. The fascist canard has no caloric value. It has long been a the favorite European epithet for one's political opponent. One ought to remind the pithy protester that the spectre of fascism is always dangling over the United States but almost every time lands with much fanfare, gusto and little regret in Europe. Yes the gentile Europeans who gave us the great Holocaust will revulse once the Islamists push the envelope too far on a trivial issue such as sharia law. If history is any guide their ways of dealing with the problem will make Gitmo look like a pleasure island.

Reason magazine offers an admirable defense of Geert Wilders here.

Hollywood doesn't get it as fools rush for an antiwar narrative

It's clear Hollywood fools are rushing to make the definitive anti-Iraq-war movie but the public isn't buying. The script is is very tired. The truth is we don't know the outcome of the war and we won't for some time.

Putting it much better than Rev. Wright ever could, Sec. Rice hits U.S. 'birth defect'

Rice is more convincing dealing with America's original sin than the hucksters. Some hard truths need a honest messanger, not a demogogue.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Simply audacious! Sowell nails Obama

Our greatest contemporary philosopher Thomas Sowell takes on the sainted Obama.
The irony is that Obama's sudden rise politically to the level of being the leading contender for his party's presidential nomination has required him to project an entirely different persona, that of a post-racial leader who can heal divisiveness and bring us all together.

The ease with which he has accomplished this chameleon-like change, and entranced both white and black Democrats, is a tribute to the man's talent and a warning about his reliability.

There is no evidence that Obama ever sought to educate himself on the views of people on the other end of the political spectrum, much less reach out to them. He reached out from the left to the far left. That's bringing us all together?

Is "divisiveness" defined as disagreeing with the agenda of the left? Who on the left was ever called divisive by Obama before that became politically necessary in order to respond to revelations about Jeremiah Wright?

One sign of Obama's verbal virtuosity was his equating a passing comment by his grandmother -- "a typical white person," he says -- with an organized campaign of public vilification of America in general and white America in particular, by Jeremiah Wright.

Since all things are the same, except for the differences, and different except for the similarities, it is always possible to make things look similar verbally, however different they are in the real world.

Among the many desperate gambits by defenders of Senator Obama and Jeremiah Wright is to say that Wright's words have a "resonance" in the black community.

There was a time when the Ku Klux Klan's words had a resonance among whites, not only in the South but in other states. Some people joined the KKK in order to advance their political careers. Did that make it OK? Is it all just a matter of whose ox is gored?
Remember Obama's just another liberal. Read the whole article.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Peeking at the FrontLine

It's Bush's War not the War on Terror. And yet Frontline isn't really Bush-bashing?I can't wait to see how President Obama handles a tough crisis. The refrain from the audacious ones, the amatuer cultists and bright novices is that the savior from Illinois can't do any worse. He most definitely can.

Rankings that border on the ridiculous

Which is the more dynamic nation, the United States or the Vatican? This ranking puts little nations at the top, which is rather ridiculous, if you ask me.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Platinum Blond, Wilders, following Van Gogh, is bold.

The antagonist, "extreme" as he may deserve his right to speech, no matter what the Islamists in his midst say. They doth protest too much feigning their multicultural rights. But this is Denmark, a pinnacle of liberal democracy and the welfare state where the modernists should know better. In light of Danish ignorance, the Islamists waiting game is deft -- by sheer numbers know they know they can unravel an open liberal society both by refusing to assimilate into European mores and then by exploiting precious liberties. American liberals should know that the future of the West, as this post-World II generation knows it, faces a serious identity challenge. The Danes are the canaries. Will Europe sleep once again? Give Mr. Wilders his due. He's raising the right questions.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Every day we pray for HIllary

Why interfere when your enemies are destroying themselves

1968: The year of the posturing rebel - Times Online

It's refreshing to hear a dissent in the cultural community deviate from the predicable politics of his guild.Tom Stoppard has the right stuff on and off stage.

I sing the body electric: Bobby Orr

The great one turned 60 the other day. In East Boston, he was our idol. No hockey player electrified the game the way Bobby Orr did. That's indisputable and few people would be foolish enough to even contest the idea.

Hat tip Pundit Review.

Currently reading: Swift's "Battle of the Books"

Revisiting the ongoing culture wars, I dusted off none other than Jonathan Swift's allegorical Battle of the Books set between a cast of characters who take the whimsical form of books, ancients and modern. In this economical tale, Swift draws his sword for most of the story but my reading suggests a tilt toward the ancients. Despite the hubris of the post-modernists, we will always stand on the giant soldiers of the antients. Who studies Cicero or a Seneca for guidance? What have the modernists offered to improve both the questions and the answers first tumbled upon by the "antients". For all the hubris of science and discovery, in his time and ours, Swift says we still stand on the shoulders of the giants, who are not forever young but forever wise.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

RIP Ivan Dixon, trailblazer for African-American actors

God bless one of the coolest Hogan's Hero, Ivan Dixon, known to us as fondly Kichloe. May all of those who came after him in Hollywood remember the hardship he endured.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Actor Ivan Dixon, who brought the problems and promise of contemporary blacks to life in the film "Nothing But a Man" and portrayed the levelheaded POW Kinchloe in TV’s "Hogan’s Heroes," has died. He was 76.

Dixon died Sunday at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte after a hemorrhage, said his daughter, Doris Nomathande Dixon of Charlotte. He had suffered complications from kidney failure, she said.

Dixon, who also directed scores of television shows, began his acting career in the late 1950s. He appeared on Broadway in William Saroyan’s 1957 "The Cave Dwellers" and in playwright Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking 1959 drama of black life, "A Raisin in the Sun." In the latter, he played a Nigerian student visiting the United States, a role he repeated in the film version.

While not a hit, the 1964 "Nothing But a Man," in which Dixon co-starred with Abbey Lincoln, also drew praise as a rare, early effort to bring the lives of black Americans to the big screen.

Other film credits included "Something of Value," ”A Patch of Blue" and the cult favorite "Car Wash."

"As an actor, you had to be careful," said Sidney Poitier, star of "Patch of Blue" and a longtime friend. "He was quite likely to walk off with the scene."

In 1967, Dixon starred in a CBS Playhouse drama, "The Final War of Olly Winter," about a veteran of World War II and Korea who decided that Vietnam would be his final war. The role brought Dixon an Emmy nomination for best single performance by an actor.

He was probably best known for the role of Staff Sgt. James Kinchloe on "Hogan’s Heroes," the hit 1960s sitcom set in a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II.

The technically adept Kinchloe was in charge of electronic communications and could mimic German officers on the radio or phone.

Dixon was active in efforts to get better parts for blacks

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Techincal advice; how to get a blog to notice

Cory Doctorow blogs at Boing Boing, and is also a journalist and Internet activist. He offers some tips on how to get noticed in the blogosphere. My favorite:
Linking policies are ridiculous. There is no legal right to control who gets to link your Website (no more than you have the right to control who gets to hand out driving directions to your office). The lawyer who advised you to put up a "linking policy" describing the "terms and conditions" under which the world is allowed to link to your site is an idiot who owes you your money back. Standing on your lawn, shaking your fist at the airplane flying overhead and shouting "Get out of my sky" makes you look like a dork -- so does threatening text about linking to you. At best, you'll make bloggers snort derisively and then go link to someone else.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The convert

It really shouldn't be so hard to disavow post-modern liberalism in favor of classical liberalism (or mild libertarianism).First Mamet, next Vermont!
I began reading not only the economics of Thomas Sowell (our greatest contemporary philosopher) but Milton Friedman, Paul Johnson, and Shelby Steele, and a host of conservative writers, and found that I agreed with them: a free-market understanding of the world meshes more perfectly with my experience than that idealistic vision I called liberalism.

The media as Spitzer's enabler

The boosters in the media should have caught the signals. The Wall Street Journal did for years. But the New York Times was busy building its ideal candidate, the scourge of Wall Street. Oh how the mighty have fallen!
Getting leaks is a reporter's dream - yet the media wound up ignoring not only the countervailing evidence in Spitzer's cases, but even the prosecutor's own shortcomings.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Slide by slide into the subprime mortgage slide!

The Subprime Mortgage Mess explained in pictures. It's a basic lesson in economics. The slide show posits another lesson, in my humble opinion: don't trust the "quants" on Wall Street.

Hat tip: Greg Mankiw

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The painful lesson of a devalued dollar: we must suffer Brits with greenbacks

How was it ever the Mother country
Drawn by a plummeting dollar, the British are arriving en masse on American shores. In the streets of Manhattan, pale-skinned men in Manchester United shirts marvel loudly at what all these iPods, “trainers,” and Nike track suits would cost them back home. While generously pumping much-needed money into the U.S. economy, the feral packs of lager louts are, one hopes, helping correct America’s long-held misperception that the English are a nation of Inspector Morse bit players—sophisticated, fastidious, snobby—especially when compared to us rubes.

We’re not quite free of our inferiority complex just yet. After a 2005 stint playing on London’s West End, former Top Gun actor Val Kilmer enthused that English audiences were “smarter” than their American counterparts because “they read books.” (This is true, though if the current British bestseller list is any indication, our bibliophilic cousins are feeding their heads with diet guides and biographies of topless models.) The American blogger Matt Janovic, enraged by his intellectual isolation in the Midwest, summed up the prevailing confusion nicely: “Face it: an English schoolgirl sounds more authoritative than the voice of most American politicians…we sound like the cavemen that many around the world (rightly) think we are.”

And the filmmaker Michael Moore, always eager to play suck-up abroad, told one English audience in 2003 that the “dumbest Brit here is smarter than the smartest American.” In other words, theirs is a nation of abeyant Evelyn Waughs.

Waugh himself bristled at such stereotypes—insisting, for instance, that in etiquette “Americans are immensely the superiors of the English.” When Esquire asked the curmudgeonly novelist to write of the “crudeness” of America’s literary milieu, Waugh demurred, arguing that the Yanks were far more “literate” than his London-based contemporaries.

It’s high time that self-hating, pusillanimous Americans everywhere revisit Waugh’s assessment. And there is no better educational tool than extended encounters with that breed of Britons known colloquially as the chav, a pejorative recently added to the Collins English Dictionary to describe “a young working class person who dresses in casual sports clothing.” (Also added, incidentally, was asbo, an acronym for youths racking up violations of the “anti-social behavior order,” a malady which midwifed the British reality show ASBO Teen to Beauty Queen.)

While Britain is fast catching up to America—and leading Europe—in illiteracy, obesity, and violent crime (despite ubiquitous surveillance cameras and an ineffective ban on handguns), the Wittgenstein references in Monty Python still shape our assumptions of British cultural supremacy. But as the English social critic Theodore Dalyrymple observed in 2004, to profess an interest in high culture in today’s Britain is to be met with accusations of homosexuality.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Do as I say not as I do: Pinch is a tax-sensitive penny pincher!

No surprise the publisher of the New York Times is a hypocrite! I bet you he doesn't even send his kids to public schools.
It's not every day that one finds a tax policy argument in the world-famous gossip column of the New York Post, but there it was yesterday in "Page Six": The news was that the publisher of the New York Times, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., had sold his Upper West Side apartment to his wife for $3.25 million for what a Times spokeswoman described as "estate-planning purposes." The editors of Page Six have their wits about them; they noted the irony that the Times, as they put it, "is always for higher taxes." Sure enough, the Times editorialized on April 15, 2005, that "The only thing driving the push for repealing the estate tax is ideology. It sure isn't sound tax policy." We look forward to reading an editorial in the Times about what's "sound" in a tax law that drives a man to sell the apartment he lives in to his wife just to minimize taxes. Its editorial from 2005 went on, "most Americans never even have to think about the estate tax." Looks like the owner of the newspaper that issued the editorial is one American who did have to think about it — and took some action to minimize the amount he had to pay. We wish Mr. Sulzberger the best of luck in minimizing his family's death-tax liability. Maybe the exercise will force a reassessment.
Hat tip: Donald Luskin.

Can there be atheists in foxholes?

Do atheists have rights in an Army dominated by Christians?

A soldier claimed Wednesday that his promotion was blocked because he had claimed in a lawsuit that the Army was violating his right to be an atheist.

Attorneys for Spc. Jeremy Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation refiled the federal lawsuit Wednesday in Kansas City, Kan., and added a complaint alleging that the blocked promotion was in response to the legal action.

The suit was filed in September but dropped last month so the new allegations could be included. Among the defendants are Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Hall alleges he was denied his constitutional right to hold a meeting to discuss atheism while he was deployed in Iraq with his military police unit. He says in the new complaint that his promotion was blocked after the commander of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley sent an e-mail post-wide saying Hall had sued.

Fort Riley spokeswoman Alison Kohler said the post "can't comment on ongoing legal matters" and offered no further statement.

She certainly is alive: Hillary as Eli Manning

I'm stunned at the abysmal state of opinion journalism surrounding this campaign. How can any journalist in his or her right mind speculate that Senator Clinton would have to leave the race? As far as I'm concerned, none of that speculation had any merit. The run-up to yesterday's Super Tuesday II once again showed the resiliency of the Clinton campaign or as my cyncial self says; Never underestimate the power of the dark side. Two points: 1) Negative campaigning still works from the inneundo of Garb'gate to the 3 a.m. Moyeresque ads. 2) The lazy press is finally waking up to the question: Who is Obama and what of his milieu of Chicago politics (see Rezko.). Yes we know Hillary's not likeable. But she's tough. This may prove to be the Great Escape of Campaign 2008 akin to Eli Manning's dramatic scramble in the last seconds of the Super Bowl. I think Seth Gitell is on target: Yesterday was a make-or break day for Obama. That's how history should tag it.