A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Going to the Rodent Droppings Farm

It`s supposed to rain pretty heavily this afternoon, and I`m heading down to the ``farm`` (what do I produce? Rocks, maybe, or mice droppings) to see if my roof actually performs that function or is merely ornamental. If ornamental I may be home earlier than planned.

I will most definitely post something tomorrow, but probably not until the afternoon.

Oh, by the way, Henta is level 4 biohazard passed by mice droppings; considering the volume left by my unwelcome houseguests in the ``Ozark Hilton``, and that I plan on doing some spring-cleaning down there, you may want to pray fervently for my health!

(By the way, that sounds like a Yiddish word-``what you`ve gotten a Henta again? Oy!`` It would be my luck to die of an illness that sounds like a cheap Jackie Mason quip!)

Nanny`s Iron Boot

Although most people are aware that real estate is an industry heavily regulated at all levels of government, most people are unaware of just how heavily regulated, and of the Byzantine maze that Realtors must navigate to accomplish their tasks. Racial matters, in particular, make virtually every action subject to government scrutiny, and one misstep can cost the poor real estate schlub his livelihood or worse-violations of the Fair Housing Act are actually matters of criminal law, and it is possible to go to jail!

As you are all aware, I work in the rental business, and not a day passes that I don`t have a prospective tenant ask ``what kind of neighborhood is this?`` or ``is this safe for a single female?`` Our orders from On High (meaning, ultimately, from the Commission) are to be evasive. If that fails, we are to formally state that, in the interest of the questioner`s own good, we can`t answer. When THAT fails we may then be more truthful and say it is a matter of law.

The point is, we are supposed to take the heat for government edicts. Not content with circumscribing our abilities to inform (I can`t tell you how many hours I`ve wasted showing a young professional a completely unsuitable property because I cannot tell her it`s Crack-land, and how much abuse I`ve had heaped on me by said professional for not ``doing my job`` by telling them) the wise regulators and administrators of Housing and Urban Development, of the Missouri Real Estate Commission, etc. make us hide their dirty work. THEY don`t want to take the heat for these crazy laws they create and enforce, so they want us to keep their secret while making fools of ourselves. When I am finally forced to tell people that I can`t answer their questions because of the Law, they are generally shocked, never having dreamed that the government could so restrict their freedom to information in this manner! We are prohibited about discussing race, crime rates, sexual makeup, if there are a lot of children in a building, the number of elderly, section 8 tenants, if there are churches of a certain denomination nearby, etc. We are supposed to lie to these people, and smile while doing so, to protect a bunch of sniveling bureaucrats. It chafes!

Often we find ourselves in a catch 22, trapped between contradictory laws and regulations. For example, when a tenant is set out of a property after an eviction, we have to give them access to their possessions for at least 48 hours by Missouri law. Now, the City of St. Louis didn`t like seeing debris strewn about the curb (which is where their property has to be set for them to have access without trespassing) so they passed an ordinance saying that no debris may be left on the curb. What are we to do? The State says we have to put the stuff on the curb, and the City says we can`t. As is generally the case, building inspectors usually do not enforce this provision, but the contradiction remains, enshrined into law and at the ready to be used against someone.

Now, we have encountered a maddening situation which illustrates my point perfectly; we had a four-family building with a Section 8 tenant who never paid her portion of the rent. With late fees she owed over $2000, and had no intention of ever paying. Furthermore, she had at least 10 people living in a property intended for four, and they were causing all sorts of trouble. We received a ``cease and desist`` order from the City Counselor`s Office, demanding we remove these problem tenants or the City would condemn the property and board the building. Now, when the City tells us to do something, we try our best to accommodate them, so we sent a notice to vacate to the tenant. She laughed at this, and went on her merry way, so we filed for eviction.

When a tenant is evicted they get kicked off of the Section 8 program, and this woman never believed we would carry out our threat. When the court issued their judgment, this woman vowed revenge to my coworker, and surprise, surprise, we received a complaint from the Missouri Human Rights Commission.

The Commission alleges that we evicted this woman because she is black. We were forced to waste time answering their complaint. The other tenants in the building are black, but that didn`t seem to matter. We sent this crusading do-gooder at the MHRC a rent-roll showing how far behind on rent the woman was. We sent a copy of the calls to service at that address by the police, and what they were for. We sent a copy of the cease-and-desist order from the City Counselor`s Office, and even had a personal note from the officer who had issued the order.

None of this apparently mattered to this enforcement agent who had swallowed our evictee`s tale of woe; he/she (this person has one of those gender neutral names) demanded that we provide a list of ALL tenants we have ever evicted under similar circumstances-and that we include the race of each evictee.

The Federal Fair-Housing Act does not allow us to take race into consideration in any manner, and we do not note the race of our tenants on any documents we generate in compliance with Federal Law. That fact seems lost on this crusader at the MHRC; he/she is demanding this information anyway. We cannot, and will not, comply with this request. Federal Law trumps State, but they can both beat us like a drum if they so desire.

So my company has had to waste time and money answering a clearly bogus charge, one we have already answered in a more than satisfactory manner. That one freeloader can cause all of this trouble by alleging racism illustrates perfectly the insanity that the Nanny State has created. (Of course, we will not be reimbursed for our time and trouble.) A sensible bureaucracy would understand the vacuity of the charge, and dismissed the matter out of hand.

But an agency like the Missouri Human Rights Commission doesn`t exist to use common sense-it exists to spend taxpayer`s money. They have to make a ``federal case`` out of even the most ridiculous allegations to justify their budget, lest it be cut next year. Also, a human rights commission is bound to attract moonbat lefties, people who ``want to make a difference``, people who think that ``the poor`` are always mistreated by evil capitalists, and must be protected. Of course, real estate is almost exclusively an industry of small entrepreneurs, people with few (or no) employees, but that doesn`t matter to those who have set changing the world as their life`s work; they will happily destroy innocent businessmen to institute what they think of as justice. The facts don`t enter into things!

So the wheels of the bureaucratic machine are running over my employer, and the outcome is in doubt. I would not be surprised if we lose this thing, and end up having to appeal to the courts. We`ll win in the end, but who will pay for all this?

Real estate and the Health-Care industry are in the same regulatory boat, and the answer the Democrats offer-especially Hillary-is even more of the same. Do we want somebody like this dimwit from the MHRC to be deciding our medical fate? That is what we will have if we further empower the government over health-care. Good people will tire of the B.S. and leave the health-care industry in droves, rather than suffer from the stupidity of bureaucratic dictatorship. What that will mean is that health care will have to be rationed, and it will take a year to get an appendictomy. Enjoy!

The only reason the Real-Estate industry puts up with all of this is that there are huge amounts of money involved (which is, of course, the justification used to regulate the industry in the first place). The money is still worth the aggravation. There will come a point, however, when the bubble will burst and it will no longer be worth doing. Then, if the regulators and do-gooders are true to form, they will try a Hillarycare move on the industry-and that will be the end of the U.S. economy. Real estate is one of the prime movers of our modern economy, and a collapse will mean depression. The government has been playing a very dangerous game for years; eventually they are going to pay the price.

At any rate, I`ll keep you, the wise and noble readers of Birdblog, posted as to what happens.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Good War

Wil Wirtanen forwards this gem to us:

Iraq War Guilt: Dems Get Lost In Afghanistan
By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER | Posted Thursday, March 29, 2007 4:30 PM PT

"Our bill calls for the redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq so that we can focus more fully on the real war on terror, which is in Afghanistan." Speaker Nancy Pelosi, March 8

The Senate and the House have both passed bills for ending the Iraq War, or at least liquidating the American involvement in it. The resolutions, approved by the barest majorities, were underpinned by one unmistakable theme: wrong war, wrong place, distracting us from the real war that is elsewhere.

Where? In Afghanistan. The emphasis on Afghanistan echoed across the Democratic aisle in Congress from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to former admiral and now Rep. Joe Sestak. It is a staple of the three leading Democratic candidates for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. It is the constant refrain of their last presidential candidate, John Kerry, and of their current party leader, Howard Dean, who complains 'we don't have enough troops in Afghanistan. That's where the real war on terror is.'

Of all the arguments for pulling out of Iraq, its comparative unimportance vis-a-vis Afghanistan is the least serious. And not just because this argument assumes that the world's one superpower, which spends more on defense every year than the rest of the world combined, does not have the capacity to fight an insurgency in Iraq as well as in Afghanistan. But because it assumes that Afghanistan is strategically more important than Iraq.

Thought experiment: Bring in a completely neutral observer a Martian and point out to him that the United States is involved in two hot wars against radical Islamic insurgents.

One is in Afghanistan, a geographically marginal backwater with no resources and no industrial or technological infrastructure. The other is in Iraq, one of the three principal Arab states, with untold oil wealth, an educated population, an advanced military and technological infrastructure which, though suffering decay in the later Saddam years, could easily be revived if it falls into the right (i.e. wrong) hands.

Add to that the fact that its strategic location would give its rulers inordinate influence over the entire Persian Gulf region, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Gulf states. Then ask your Martian: Which is the more important battle? He would not even understand why you are asking the question.

Al-Qaida has provided the answer many times. Osama bin Laden, the one whose presence in Afghanistan presumably makes it the central front in the war on terror, has been explicit that 'the most serious issue today for the whole world is this Third World War that is raging in Iraq.' Al-Qaida's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has declared that Iraq 'is now the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era.'

And it's not just what al-Qaida says, it's what al-Qaida does. Where are they funneling the worldwide recruits for jihad? Where do all the deranged suicidists who want to die for Allah gravitate? It's no longer Afghanistan, but Iraq. That's because they recognize the greater prize.

The Democratic insistence on the primacy of Afghanistan makes no strategic sense. Instead, it reflects a sensibility. They would rather support the Afghan War because its origins are cleaner, the casus belli clearer, the moral texture of the enterprise more comfortable. Afghanistan is a war of righteous revenge and restitution, law enforcement on the grandest of scales.

As senator and presidential candidate Joe Biden put it, 'If there was a totally just war since World War II, it is the war in Afghanistan.'

If our resources are so stretched that we have to choose one front, the Martian would choose Iraq. But that is because, unlike a majority of Democratic senators, he did not vote four years earlier to authorize the war in Iraq, a vote for which many have a guilty conscience to be now soothed retroactively by pulling out and fighting the 'totally just war.'

But you do not decide where to fight on the basis of history; you decide on the basis of strategic realities of the ground. You can argue about our role in creating this new front and question whether it was worth taking that risk in order to topple Saddam Hussein. But you cannot reasonably argue that in 2007 Iraq is not the most critical strategic front in the war on terror. There's no escaping its centrality.

Nostalgia for the 'good war' in Afghanistan is perhaps useful in encouraging anti-war Democrats to increase funding that is really needed there. But it is not an argument for abandoning Iraq.

Changing Pace of Evolution

I`ve always said that Evolution does not work the way that Darwinists say it does, that the conventional wisdom is distorted by the religious agenda (or, more precisely, their a-religious agenda) and political philosophy of Darwin`s proponents. I`ve long put out the call for a more open-minded look at the subject, for an end to the slavish, dogmatic approach taken towards ``the origin of species``. After all, Charles Darwin`s own falsification suggestions have failed, in that Darwin believed the fossil record would be overflowing with clear, complete records of the evolution from one species to another. He himself was very disappointed with the failure in his own lifetime of science to find the fossils he believed were there, and the situation has not dramatically improved since; the fossil records touted by pro-Darwin people are still very meager, and open to considerable interpretation. The Darwinists have yet (after over 130 years) to find the smoking gun.

That failure would doom any other scientific theory, but the religious implications to atheists has produced a cadre of furious defenders who will allow no deviation from this, the cornerstone of their belief system. As a result, efforts by open-minded scientists are generally met with belittlement, disgrace, and abuse. Few are willing to suffer the slings and arrows (and the cutting off of research funds) so Darwin reigns supreme, a naked king who parades about proudly in his invisible clothes.

David of Ultima Thule sent me this piece from World Science about the apparent variability in the rate of evolution. Classic Darwinism says that evolution proceeds are a more or less steady rate from one species to another. Since this never agreed with the fossil record, neo-Darwinists came up with such ideas as ``punctuated equilibrium`` to explain the sudden, dramatic change from one species to another (or the lack of any defensible fossil record showing this change had occured.) This article suggests, like Stephan J. Gould, that evolution may move at changing rates. It also makes the case that humans are still in the process of evolution-something that should be obvious since the environment is always changing and genes still mutate.

The problem is, it calls into question the basic premise of Darwin-that random mutations survive because the competition dies out. If this is the case, then there is no reason for modern man to evolve in any meaningful way because medical science and the assistance of civilization should stop this dying out of the ``unfit``. If, in an era of radically decreasing mortality, one that has been ongoing for several thousand years, we are witnessing an acceleration of evolution one must question Darwin`s Natural Selection.

I understand; Man`s enemies have changed from nature and predators to himself, and the Neolithic brought a great revolution in nutrition and other health-related issues, freeing greedy men to steal from and kill others. Perhaps it can be argued that this has brought a change in the environment which encourages evolutionary change. Perhaps. But that should have made us all into mighty warriors, into people incapable of pity, or mercy, or gentleness. That we have gone in the opposite direction in many ways, that we have banned the warrior culture (at least in the West), encouraged such non-military pursuits as literature, art, science, etc., that a non-producing homosexual culture should thrive in modernity, care for women, infants, children, the elderly all suggest that we are NOT seeing evolution being driving by military pursuits. The mystery deepens.

I apply the principle of Occam`s Razor, and suggest we simply eliminate Darwin`s basic concept. We have no proof of Natural Selection, we can make no predictions with it, can answer no questions with it. Just as Einstein eliminated the idea of the Ether (something that all physicists of his day clung to) because it didn`t have any evidence despite being an attractive theory, so too scientists cling to Darwin despite a dearth of evidence that Natural Selection is correct. It`s an attractive theory, but is not born out of physical evidence.

If we are to truly advance our understanding of reality we need to eliminate the illusions we cling to as science. Darwin`s particular theory of how evolution works is treasured by those with a particular ax to grind, and is holding back our knowledge of the Universe. It is a 19th century theory, a good try, but isn`t it time to move on? Let`s start fresh, shall we!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

`70`s Redux

I`m startled at how much our current era resembles the 1970`s; we`re dealing with Iranian hostage-taking, alternative fuels, a Democrat Congress, anti-war protestors,Latin-American communism, etc. Now we have the return of an old `70`s favorite, the Equal Rights Amendment!

The ERA went down in blazing defeat thanks to Phyllis Schlafley, but it has come for an encore with the new Democrats. It seeks to enshrine sexual discrimination (against men) and abortion into the Constitution of these United States. It was a bad idea then, and a terrible idea now that we know better. But, when has a bad idea stopped the hippie left?

All we need is for Disco and bell-bottoms to return! Start the Revolution, man!

Solutions in Violence

This from the Federalist:

At once the most preposterous and the most dangerous of contemporary beliefs is ‘nothing was ever settled by violence.’ A cursory reading of history makes it clear that virtually every important development in the history of mankind has been, for good or ill, a product of violence.

Jack Kelly

One of the most amazing characteristics of liberals is their ability to tell a lie to themselves and actually believe it. Liberal pacifism is a classic example; many of them truly believe that violence doesn`t solve anything. Really? I suppose the Confederacy is still holding slaves? Hitler`s Third Reich still occupies France? Napoleon did not die on St. Helena, but lead his Greater France to Imperial conquest?

This notion, often taught to unfortunate smaller children in grammar school to the mirth of bullies everywhere, is demonstrably false on almost every level, yet many in the moonbat left-especially those misguided souls in the Religious Left-slavishly follow this doctrine as Gospel (literally in the case of the religious left, who misunderstand what Jesus was trying to say).

Of course, the inner core of the Left, the planners and plotters of revolution, know full well the silliness of this concept; they mean it to apply to their enemies-Conservatives, Christians and Jews, and the United States in general. But they have, with the aid of their ever-loyal allies in the media and academia, succeeded in filtering thiridiculousos proposition down to the general public where it has become the accepted wisdom. Too many people in the Western World want to apply this insanity to the clash of civilizations in which we are currently engaged.

This pacifism is a recipe for being overrun by the barbarians who are currently at our gates. There is no way we can negotiate with Iran, for example, since the Iranians fear neither Death nor Hell, and laugh at our obvious weakness. It is going to take force exercised in some capacity to deal with Iran-and Iran is at the epicenter of the terrorism problem, and has been since the Ayatollah Khomeini seized power (thanks, Jimmy!)

Now, force doesn`t necessarily mean all-out war, although it could come to that. It could mean surgical strikes, or blockade, or any number of other options. But it will come down to that.

We clearly haven`t learned our lesson, despite ``America held hostage``, despite the innumerable terrorist attacks against us through the years, despite the ``insurgency`` in Iraq now; you cannot convert such an enemy into a friend if they do not gain the ultimate respect for you, and that enemy needs pay a high price to gain that respect.

That respect must be enforced in blood if we are to end this continual aggression against us. They attack because they think us weak, and what we see as enlightened and tolerant they despise as cowardly and timid. They don`t respect our power and restraint, but see us as fools too weak and stupid to use the power we possess. Our current course of action is guaranteed to bring out the very worst in our enemies and ourselves. Our options are narrowing as we let matters drift.Adolphlf Hitler admitted that he would have been finished had the French showed any courage and stopped him in the Sudatenland. Their unwillingness to act in a small way then lead to the greatest war in history, the most bloodshed. We are dancing merrily down the same path.

We do that because we have come to accept the belief that ``violence never solves anything`` in spite of all the teaching of history. The Left has done a fine job of confusing the teachings of the Bible-Old Testament admonitions to charity and kindness, Jesus` teaching to ``turn the other cheek`` from personal admonitions to matters of state policy. Jesus, for example, was quite harsh when it came to certain matters-the Pharisees, the money changers, etc. The Bible states quite clearly that the King was given ``the power of the sword to punish evildoers`` and what can you call Jihadist murderers BUT evildoers? What does the power of the sword mean? It doesn`t mean jail, chum! It means the power to KILL bad men. Soldiers defending the innocent are doing the work of the Lord!

But Liberals have tricked people into believing that WWJD, if applied here, means we allow our enemies to overrun us, since we have to turn the other cheek. His use of force on the money-changers in the Temple was a meraberrationon; Jesus NEVER excused violence! Too many people, some of them good, decent folks, have fallen for this hook-line-and sinker.

So we are to do the noble thing, settle our affairs, and vanish into that good night, according to our leftie friends. (The more fools, they; Islam will cut their jugulars far more quickly than their age-old enemies in Christendom.)

We had better wake up to the fact that sometimes ONLY violence can solve a problem. Bullies don`t reform because of the decency of their prey; they usually learn by having their teeth knocked down their throats by a stronger adversary they misjudged. Islamic Jihad is bullie writ large; it`s time we, the stronger adversary misjudged, knock their teeth down their throats!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Flushing with Pride

The Left has been at war with the flush toilet for years.

Their hatred for the intellectual brainchild of Sir John Harrington and the famous Thomas Crapper has a long and venerable history, going back to the 1970`s at least; they hate it because it uses too much water (a situation they ``remedied``by having Congress pass laws reducing the amount of water consumed by the privy to a meager 1.6 gallons from 6 gallons and guaranteeing a visit from the plumber at least once a year), it stops people from composting their waste (as Ann Coulter pointed out, most people want to get their defecation OUT of their houses, not play with it!), it uses paper products, and encourages an unnatural, slothful manner of living (``you can walk to the privy in the rain and never wet your feet, they`ve gone about as fer as they can go, yessir!``)

I would take this even further, and say that, while not often considered because of a lack of glamour, the flush toilet is, in a number of ways, responsible for the civilization we now enjoy. Before the flush toilet people had to walk outside to perform their natural function, in rain, sleet, snow, and hail. (Let me tell you; my cabin offers such amenities, and there have been winter nights where I have had to go desperately but chose to stay awake all night and suffer rather than tramp out into the cold and dark.) Diarrhea was a nightmare, in the old days! Cities were limited in how large they could grow without adequate lighting and toilet facilities; outhouses were smelly, insect infested places ripe for disease. The quality of life suffered in pre-toilet cities (as it does in some Third World cities today) and one wonders if it would even be possible to have cities like New York without a modern flush toilet and sewer system. (In the old days tank trucks came through alleys to pump out the sewage from the ``convenience``.) Cholera was a party favor back in these ``good old days``.

I would put the flush toilet on a par with Edison`s incandescent light bulb-something under attack by environmentalists today as well!

The Left, ever eager to turn their backs on advancement, have started a movement to return to a more ``natural`` er, movement; among other things, they are trying to bring back the outhouse under a new name (composting toilet). Now, I travel all over St. Louis, and have seen any number of pre-flush toilet houses. Each and every one of them has an add-on bathroom; nobody wanted to live with an outhouse. Yet here we have the regressive liberals actively working to bring back pre-indoor plumbing!

(I once had an argument with a liberal, and demanded to know why Congress should make it illegal to purchase or possess a 6 gallon toilet; he began yammering about water shortages and the need to conserve. Now, I lived through TWO of the worst floods in American history, and our problem here in `the Lou` is too much water, not too little! Low flow toilets are about as useful as a mule`s testicles, and every bit as convenient. This point seemed to go right over my liberal interlocutor`s head.)

In fact, they have called the flush toilet an environmental disaster by allowing people to have guilt-free eliminations. How dare we flush and go, while polluting the Planet? We should feel remorse for heeding the call of nature! We should cherish our feces, nurture and coddle them for the greater good!

One wonders if that isn`t at the heart of the artwork Christians have found so offensive; is ``Piss Christ`` or the Blessed Virgin covered in Elephant dung really a sign of liberal veneration? Perhaps we have misunderstood, perhaps these are not attempts at insult, but heaping piles of the highest praise? Perhaps we should thank a liberal for their honoring us when they call us pieces of you-know-what? It may mean they are saying we are a valuable and important resource!

I intend to return the favor, and go out of my way to so compliment my many liberal friends in the future! I think they`ll be thrilled that I ``get it``!

Despite my newfound comity, I still do not intend to adopt a return to bygone days, and will continue to honor that noblest of mankind`s creations, just as these people have made it a practice. Without the toilet our lives would suffer a serious dearth of quality while being overfull in other ways. Rudy Giuliani argued that New York City suffered from ``quality of life`` problems, and he cleaned up that great toilet of a city by fixing broken windows, cleaning up vacant lots, etc. Imagine if we all were forced to endure the flies, the stench, the inconvenience of ``dry toilets``? One wonders if cities such as Nairobi aren`t full of poverty and squalor because of a lack of proper sanitation? Giuliani`s success illustrates the old adage that cleanliness is next to Godliness, and it must be remembered that America`s cities used to be dirty and poverty ridden until the spread of the flush toilet. I suspect the toilet has done far more than we realize.

Anyone who calls the Left ``progressive`` should consider the meaning of the term. I suggest they ponder it the next time they labor in their thinking rooms.

(Hat tip to SEPP for the toilet links.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Conversation with Eagles

American Thinker contributor Jack Kemp (not the politician) had e-mailed me an article he wrote about his conversation with Major Erick Egland at the Gathering of Eagles rally in Washington. Mr. Kemp (one of my favorite AT contributors) feared that this piece would be bypassed, since those bastions of freedom of expression in the Left saw fit to launch a cyber-attack on Thomas Lifson`s site, and he rightly believed it was too important to vanish into ignominity. I decided to hold off on publishing it for a few days, to see if the American Thinker would be able to get it posted.

They did; it`s right here.

I realize I`m a couple of days late getting this up, but I have had a full plate lately and blog time has dropped precipitously (sorry about that, folks!) Don`t miss this piece; it is outstanding!

Evil, Munich, and Gingrich

Newt Gingrich discusses evil and the inability to grasp the reality of it:

The Reality of Evil and the Men and Women of Munich

The news report came about mid-week. Maybe you saw it.

The Associated Press reported that terrorists in Iraq have passed an unthinkable threshold: They used two children to disguise a car bomb.

The car was waved through a checkpoint by American soldiers who could not imagine that children would be in a car filled with explosives. When the terrorists got to their target, they got out of the car and ran. They left the children behind in the car, and then blew it up.

There is a word for people who put children in a car to be blown up. The word is evil.

It's Important That We Say It: Our Enemies Are Evil

When I travel around the country speaking to groups of Americans, I often tell the story of a couple arrested last year in Great Britain. They were arrested on the suspicion that they were going to use their eight-month-old baby to smuggle a bomb onto an airplane. They were apparently going to disguise the bomb as baby food. And they were perfectly happy to kill their baby just as long as they killed some Americans in the process.

There is a word for people like this. The word is evil.

It's important that we say this out loud and that we render this moral judgment. Because if we fail to understand that our enemy is evil, we have failed to understand what we are fighting.

We are not used to adversaries who will kill young children -- even their own children -- just to get a chance to kill us. But we had better get used to it, because this is the level of seriousness in the threat we face -- this is the level of its ferocity.

And yet I wonder if some of us are still not prepared to recognize and confront the evil of our enemies.

Suicidal Inability to Come to Grips With Evil

I grew very worried last week watching America's elite, who seem to be literally afraid to face the fact that we are at war.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the leading captured terrorist from al Qaeda, offered a startling confession. He was almost certainly embellishing what he had done, but still, he told a chilling tale. He spoke unapologetically of the terrorist acts he had committed and those he had wished to commit.

He took responsibility for killing almost 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001. He said he had cut off a reporter's head, held it in his hand, and had his picture taken with it. And what was the reaction of two United States senators?

They were worried that we had mistreated Khalid Sheik Mohammed in captivity.

They didn't walk out of the room and say this is a frightening example of how serious our enemies are. They worried that we were dealing incorrectly with the man who had just finished saying how much he wanted to slaughter us.

This is a suicidal inability to come to grips with evil.

History Repeating Itself

It reminds me of something the great historian William Manchester once said of the elites in the years leading up to World War II.

It was the spring of 1939, after the Munich agreement had failed, after Hitler had absorbed the rest of Czechoslovakia, and after it was obvious that all the deals the democracies had made with Nazi Germany -- all the appeasement -- had failed. As Europe moved toward war, Winston Churchill tried to create a Ministry of Supply in Great Britain for the terrible war he knew was coming.

The public supported him and even the newspapers supported him. But the people Manchester called "the men of Munich" -- the elite, those who could not bring themselves to believe that Hitler was evil, that he meant what he said -- blocked Churchill at every turn. They would rather risk defeat than admit that they had been wrong.

Today's Men and Women of Munich

Today, we have the Men and Women of Munich. Just as before, these are elites who are afraid to face evil, afraid to recognize what our enemies are doing, and afraid to put partisanship aside and put America first so we can join together to defeat those who would destroy us.

The Men and Women of Munich have just scored a victory in Congress. They passed a bill that they have been enthusiastically telling their leftwing allies is designed to end the war in Iraq by crippling the military's ability to achieve victory.

Think about what that means. They haven't stood up courageously to vote to cut off funding for the war and take responsibility. No, they have avoided responsibility and sent the President a bill that is designed to fail and leave young Americans in uniform to pay the price.

This Is Not Just America's Problem

This inability to recognize the evil of our enemy isn't just in our government. Remember the story I told you, about the terrorists who used two children to disguise a car bomb in Iraq? Do you know how the editors at the Associated Press chose to headline that story? Not "Terrorists Slaughter Children, Save Themselves." Incredibly, the headline was "U.S. Destroys Bomb Factory in Iraq."

Talk about burying the lead.

And another news report surfaced this week displaying how Western society is failing to confront the true nature of our enemies because of the insane demands of political correctness.

In Germany, a judge refused to grant a Moroccan-born German woman a divorce on the grounds that the Koran allows husbands to beat their wives.

The woman had filed for divorce because her husband regularly beat her and had threatened to kill her. She had police reports to back her up. But the judge set aside the German constitution in favor of "respecting" religious fanaticism.

As for what it means for the future of Germany -- and Western civilization for that matter -- one German elected official put it best: "When the Koran takes precedence over basic German law, than I can only say: 'Goodnight, Germany.'"

Never Underestimate the Determination of Your Fellow Americans

We are living in serious times -- a time when all of us need to think of the needs of our country and its future rather than our own personal or party interest.

And despite the somber tone of my message to you today, I'm hopeful about our future.

In the years before World War II, the people of Great Britain and America eventually saw what the elites refused to see. They saw their futures, their families' futures, and the great civilization they had built threatened. And so they acted to defend them.

Everywhere I travel across this country I am approached by those of you who have this same understanding. You're not out to score cheap political points. You're not blinded by political correctness. You're demanding that your families and your nation be defended. You're demanding something more serious and more substantive from your leaders.

And if I know you, I have a feeling you're going to get it.

Newt Gingrich

Thanks, Brian!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Roofing a Nominal Success (I Didn`t Get Killed)

It seems I survived my cabin-roofing experiment. The steel sheets went up fairly easily, although I could only tack them down where I could reach so the top portions aren`t exactly secure. The big problem was the ridge cap; the cabin was build on posts, with foundations as deep as I could dig in that pile of rock I call my land, and one end of the cabin has, unfortunately, sunk. Also, my carpentry skills leave something to be desired, and so the panels don`t square up at the ridge. I thought the ridge cap would cover this adequately, but it doesn`t sit very well at all and I can`t think of any way to secure the stupid thing without breaking my neck. Perhaps a taller ladder?

We had a fair amount of rain, and it was clear the cabin withstood several good showers without leaking despite only having half a roof. The panels will keep it that much dryer. I threw rope over the ridge cap and tied the cap down as a stopgap measure. I may have to put tarps back up over the roof! It doesn`t matter; it still looks better than many of the full-time residences in those thar parts.

It`s amazing I didn`t fall off the ladder and break my neck! I said a Hail Mary every time I climbed to the top, and it worked; I didn`t fall once!

Unfortunately, removing the old tarps exposed lots of gaps, and wasps were taking a keen interest on Sunday. I fear they may settle in permanently, which would be quite a bother. We have a pretty good relationship; they don`t bother me and I don`t bother them. In fact, one of them once got rather friendly with me, sitting next to me on the couch like a cat or dog. I don`t mind them, but I really don`t want them taking over, either.

What would happen if the yellow-jackets that had gotten after me were to settle in the cabin? Those little SOB`s chased me clear off my property the last time I tangled with them!

At any rate, things are proceeding at a glacial pace, but they are proceeding. My next plan is to put up gutters, and to harvest the rainwater so I won`t have to tote so much from home. I don`t intend on drinking any, but it will be handy to have some washwater. It will also help keep foundation poles from rotting...

Now, if I can just keep the mice from chewing up everything I bring down!

The Pale Horse

My friend The Beerman Dave e-mailed this scary bit of news to me this morning, and I thought it would be a good time to rehash my Island of Doctor Moreau and last year`s companion pieceMoreau Revisited. This story out of the U.K. about a University of Nevada project to produce sheep with human genes should be cause for great concern, not out of fear that we will somehow produce a sheep with a human mind (the neural complexity needed just won`t be there) but because the very utility sought by blending human genes with animals could give us catastrophic species jumps by disease organisms as a result.

I have spoken of Kuru, the dreaded ``laughing sickness`` of New Guinea in a past post. Kuru is a fatal illness caused by something called a Prion, which is a protein-based agent that is neither a virus nor a bacterium. It turns out that Kuru is one of the few Prions which can infect human beings (it infects people through mortuary cannibalism) and it is a terrible death from neurological breakdown including trembling and shaking, trouble swallowing, walking, breathing, madness and eventual death.

But there are other prions which do not affect us-mad cow disease, for example, or ``scrapies`` which infects (you guessed it) sheep. Notice the quote from the USDA article;

``In the laboratory, the scrapie agent has been transmitted to hamsters, mice, rats, voles, gerbils, mink, cattle, and some species of monkeys by inoculation. There is no scientific evidence to indicate that scrapie poses a risk to human health. There is no epidemiologic evidence that scrapie of sheep and goats is transmitted to humans, such as through contact on the farm, at slaughter plants, or butcher shops.``

Now what do you suppose will happen if a scrapies agent infects one of these chimera that the mad scientists in Nevada have spawned? Disease organisms mutate, and they do it regularly to get a leg up on the ``competition``-on their host life forms. Biologists believe that sexual reproduction is Nature`s way of keeping the larger creatures from being overwhelmed by micro-organisms, since the next generation contains a different genetic combination to which the organisms must adapt. Asexual reproduction leaves the same genetic sequence in tact, and the disease factors quickly ``learn`` to pick the immune response lock.

But there are diseases, millions of them, which are benign in one species while lethal in others, or which simply have never ``acquired a taste`` as it were for another species. By mixing human and animal DNA we are introducing micro-organisms which have adapted to certain species to an all-you-can-eat human genetic buffet, offering them the unprecedented opportunity to mutate. Because they are still infecting their favorite prey, they should still flourish. In the process, the unfamiliar human DNA acts as no barrier, and the diseases have the means to adapt to human conditions.

How long before a mutated form of scrapies finds a home inside a human being? Chances are very low as long as we only have one or two animals being so adjusted, but the benefits from this experimentation are too great; harmones, transplantable organs, bone marrow, stem-cells could all, theoretically, be grown in animals and transplanted into humans. Think of it! No organ shortages, no embryonic stem-cell debates, whatever medical needs we have being filled by these mutant animals!

But the price could be higher; possibly much higher.

Everyone is worried about the Bird Flu mutating, breaking out in the human population. That is just one illness, one which is finding it difficult to cross species. Now, imagine every illness a sheep is subject to being capable of crossing species easily, thanks to this genetic experimentation. It gives me the willies!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Another Roofing Attempt

I won`t be posting until late tomorrow, if at all, folks; I have to take advantage of the beautiful weather to finish my roof job on the so-called cabin aka the shack. I won`t be able to get there today until after dark, and so will have to spend most of Sunday on the project. If I don`t break a leg/neck/back/ or any other orthodpedically necessary body part, I`ll post something late or will see you on Monday!

Double Edged Swords

Yesterday I was going into the grocery store and passed a car plastered with offensive left-wing bumper stickers. Now, ordinarily I would have kept walking and ignored this jackass, but a thought passed through my mind and I stopped and glared at the driver (who had just gotten into the car). What made me stop was the thought that I very rarely see anything comparable by conservatives. Oh, they put Bush/Cheney stickers on their cars, and I`ve seen a few Impeach Clinton stickers, but I`ve never encountered the in-your-face vitriol with which the Left assaults casual bystanders. ``Bush Lied and People Died`` is often the gentlest phrase appearing on one of these stickers, with accusations ranging from war crimes to 911 was an inside job to Bush wants to rape your daughters and then hand them over to Mary Cheney.

Quite frankly, these constitute ``fighting words`` in my view, and the Left is poking their fingers in our collective eyeballs. They do this because they know that, unlike themselves, conservatives WONT attack them, or even challenge them. This stupid fellow with the offensive bumper stickers rests secure in the knowledge that the inherent decency of traditional Americans, the sense of law and order, the willingness to tolerate will protect their freedom of speech, allow them to be as offensive as they wish. They can have their ``Baby Killer`` bumper stickers which defame our troops because those troops are fighting and dying to allow these clowns to be jackasses, and the police likewise are forced to defend these jerks. But good conservatives, myself included, rarely confront people like this.

THEY are the ones who chose to pick a fight; why shouldn`t we say something, make them uncomfortable? If your goal is to offend, you should not be surprised when you succeed. But liberals believe in freedom of speech for their views while work diligently to suppress the views of those with whom they disagree.

Here is a case in point; Chicago schools are observing a moment of silence in ``unity with oppressed gay people`` and students are encouraged to wear pro-homosexual t-shirts. One student, whom the Suntimes slandered as ``anti-gay``, wore a shirt saying ``be happy, not gay`` and this has caused an uproar with this girl being suspended from school.

So, liberals are free to offend traditional Americans by promoting homosexuality on their shirts, but someone who disagrees with them must be silenced, despite the mildness of her disagreement. It`s good to see that, at least in this instance, the student is fighting back.

But too often we don`t fight back-we walk on by as these creepy people insult and abuse our beliefs. I`m as guilty of this as anybody. I know the arguments; we shouldn`t stoop to their level, we should be the bigger people, we should show the world we are above this. It has been my observation that aggression grows when it is not responded to, and that a bully will beat someone who doesn`t resist far worse than one who does. Why should we tolerate this sort of thing? It`s time we fight back!

That is why I stopped, glared, and shook my head at that driver in the grocery store lot; he should be challenged. He wants to pick a fight, so let him come out of his car and pick one! He should be shamed wherever he goes, because that is what he deserves. That was the traditional enforcement mechanism for rude behavior in bygone eras, and we need a return to it.

Americans, in the interest of politically correct non-judgementalism, have disposed of this traditional way of enforcing courtesy and restraint, and the coarsening of behavior has resulted. America needs a return to shaming, and these idiots driving around with the intent to offend deserve what is coming to them.

Of course, the Left has never given up on this technique, but merely has applied it to those who disagree with them. It`s time to teach them the meaning of double-edged sword!

Friday, March 23, 2007

New Views of the Old Sun

The Sun reveals hidden complexity.

The Japanese are making monumental discoveries with their new space telescope-the Hinode (Sunrise). It appears that the chromosphere is seething with activity, and the corona is actually very hot. Also, magnetic fields appear to spike and then fall back onto the Sun-something believed to be impossible!

The more we learn, the less we seem to know!


Wil Wirtanen makes an important observation:


Take notice the reaction of conservatives to the news on Elizabeth Edward’s cancer announcement and the libs reaction to Cheney’s health issues.

These are the people with so much compassion. Sarcasm off.

Wil Wirtanen

Uh, why do we need Mr. Bush`s adjective ``compassionate`` in front of Conservative? The evidence strongly suggests it is the Liberal who is in short supply of this commodity.

Darwin, the Bible, and LIberal Hypocrisy

Here is an interesting piece about a biology teacher who was fired for deviating from his lesson plans while teaching Darwinism to students. The article makes it unclear exactly what he did, although it appears he used some passages from the Bible. He states that at no point did he teach Creationism or I.D.

The kicker comes with this comment from some leftie parent at the end;

"How many minds did he pollute?" Dan Harrison, the father of a student in Helphinstine's class, said at the meeting. "It's a thinly veiled attempt to hide his own agenda."

You have to admire the bravado in that statement; just 30 years ago calling the Bible ``pollution`` was unthinkable, and this jackass would have been ostricized by the community at large. It is amazing how things have changed!

That said, given the information at hand, this particular schoolboard was probably right in firing the teacher, since he was a part-timer and clearly not following the lesson plan for which he was employed. Scopes was canned for the exact same thing-a willful refusal to obey the rules set down by the local schoolboard (and the State in Scope`s case.) Parents have the right to approve the agenda being taught in schools (and it is an agenda, despite silly romantic notions to the contrary) and a non-tenured teacher simply can`t buck the system in any credible way. (For that matter, far too many tenured people have far too much leeway to editorialize in their classes. One wonders why anti-Bush rants aren`t disciplined as vigorously as Biblical ``pollution``.) When taking a job, the employee is duty-bound to obey the rules and procedures of his employer, whether he agrees with them or not. Of course, he is not compelled to do something he feels is immoral or dishonest, but he must be prepared to face the consequences, as this fellow apparently was willing to do.

My point here is that the culture wars are being lost in the important places-in homes, in school boards, at the grassroots. If Sisters, Oregon had been willing to come out for this teacher, the school board would have never had the nerve to fire him. Oregon is a nice blue state, and Sisters is probably a blue community, a place welcoming of Darwin, gay marriage, socialism, and the rest. It could be argued that this teacher did the community a service by bringing the issue to the public forum, but it was the wrong approach, one that played into the hands of the ``persecuted`` Darwinian theorists.

Then again, what material was being distributed to the students? I`ve always argued that the Bible is indeed relevant as a matter of the history of science, as is Greek philosophy, Arab mathematics and science, even the early Celtic culture and Mesoamerican Indian astronomy. If this teacher was discussing early biological beliefs as part of a history lesson, he was right to do so and his firing a despicable act of overreaction by a cowardly board. The teacher DID state unequivocally that he at no time taught Creationism.

Where is the ACLU? The ACLU claims to defend civil liberties, and is quick to mobilize when a liberal is prevented from teaching any sort of rubbish, yet is strangely silent when someone else has an ox being gored. If they were true to their principles they would be fighting for this guy, demanding he be reinstated, since his freedom of speech is being violated, as is ``academic freedom``. Why, it could be argued that this is intellectual fascism, demanding that teachers kowtow to a central committee! If this man were teaching that homosexuality were a natural biological drive and that, therefore, we should have gay marriage the brave champions of Liberty would have descended en-masse to rage against the Man. Their silence here is deafening-not because they are necessarily wrong in this instance, but because it violates their own principles. Their hypocrisy is showing.

But then, when did we come to expect even-handedness from liberals?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Beginning of the End

Defacto gay marriage may be coming to Illinois in the near future.

If homosexuals can have civil unions, why can`t polygamists?

This is the beginning of the end for marriage as we know it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Agenda Science

Here`s a good one:

Melanie Phillips, 14 March 2007

From the horse’s mouth — climate change theory has nothing to do with the truth. In a remarkable column in today’s Guardian, Mike Hulme, professor in the school of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia and the founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research — a key figure in the promulgation of climate change theory but who a short while ago warned that exaggerated forecasts of global apocalypse were in danger of destroying the case altogether — writes that scientific truth is the wrong tool to establish the, er, truth of global warming. Instead, we need a perspective of what he calls “post-normal” science:
"Philosophers and practitioners of science have identified this particular mode of scientific activity as one that occurs where the stakes are high, uncertainties large and decisions urgent, and where values are embedded in the way science is done and spoken. It has been labelled “post-normal” science…The danger of a “normal” reading of science is that it assumes science can first find truth, then speak truth to power, and that truth-based policy will then follow."
Indeed! Facts first, conclusions afterwards is the very basis of scientific inquiry. But not any more, it seems, where the religion of global warming is concerned. Here facts have to fit the theory. Hulme goes on:
"Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking, although science will gain some insights into the question if it recognises the socially contingent dimensions of a post-normal science. But to proffer such insights, scientists - and politicians - must trade (normal) truth for influence. If scientists want to remain listened to, to bear influence on policy, they must recognise the social limits of their truth seeking and reveal fully the values and beliefs they bring to their scientific activity."

What an admission! Let’s read that one again. "Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking." Of course not. The facts don’t support it. It’s not true. So, says Hulme, let’s abolish the need to establish the facts and the truth and impose the theory on the basis of — what’s that again — “values and beliefs.” In other words, climate change science has got to be anti-science. It’s got to be anti-truth. It’s got to be nothing more than an ideology.

Post-modernism long ago deconstructed truth. Now in similar vein, “post-normal” science deconstructs scientific empiricism and rationalism and detaches science from truth. In other words, where science fails to support an ideology, the absolute and overriding imperative of putting that ideology into practice means that science has to suspend its very essence as a truth-seeking activity and instead perpetrate lies. That is the inescapable implication of Hulme’s position. To support the bogus claim that we face the imminent collapse of civilisation from global warming, science itself has to be reconceptualised as an instrument of propaganda and justified by mendacious and obfuscatory post-modernist jargon. Hulme concludes:
"Climate change is too important to be left to scientists - least of all the normal ones."
So the true battleground has now been illuminated for us. The real fight is between scientists who believe in empirical observation and the truth, and “post-normal” scientists who believe in ideology and lies. It’s a battle between Enlightenment values of rationality and those who wish to return us to a pre-rational era where thought was controlled and truth was a heresy. The stakes could not have been delineated more clearly.

Institutionalizing Incompetence

A point on bureaucracy:

Democrats have leapt on reports of mold, rats and bureaucratic hurdles at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as further proof of President George Bush’s failed war policies. To the contrary, the problems at Walter Reed are further proof of the Democrats’ failed domestic policies to wit, the civil service rules that prevent government employees from ever being fired. (A policy that also may account for Robert Byrd’s longevity as a U.S. senator.) Thanks to the Democrats, government employees have the world’s most complicated set of job protection rules outside of the old East Germany. Oddly enough, this has not led to a dynamic workforce in the nation’s capital. Noticeably, the problems at Walter Reed are not with the doctors or medical care. The problems are with basic maintenance at the facility. Unless U.S. Army generals are supposed to be spraying fungicide on the walls and crawling under beds to set rattraps, the slovenly conditions at Walter Reed are not their fault. The military is nominally in charge of Walter Reed, but because of civil service rules put into place by Democrats the maintenance crew can’t be fired. If the general ‘in charge’ can’t fire the people not doing their jobs, I don’t know why he is being held responsible for them not doing their jobs. You will find the exact same problems anyplace market forces have been artificially removed by the government and there is a total absence of incentives, competition, effective oversight, cost controls and so on. It’s almost like a cause-and-effect thing.

Ann Coulter

Courtesy of the Federalist Patriot

Walter Reed epitomizes what happens when you have an entrenched bureaucracy. Long ago the Democrats cemented government employees as one of their most loyal voting blocks by guaranteeing them employment-no matter how incompetent or corrupt. We shouldn`t be surprised that a staff insulated from the pink slip would do their jobs in a slipshod manner.

As has been pointed out, Walter Reed is what we are going to get with Hillarycare; health care will be universal, all right; universally bad. We may end up with barbers returning to their ancient role of non-emergency health care providers, since going to a Hillary Reed is apt to be bad for one`s health.

Of course, the Democrats have tried to make their folly the Republican`s fault, and they are trying to do it again with airport security; they are again pushing to unionize airport screeners. It was bad enough that President Bush caved in to their demands and made screening a cushy government job, but at least the President had the good sense to keep the positions non-union, lest he be prevented from firing incompetent help. The Democrats, always viewing things through the prism of their political fortunes, are again demanding that their corrupt friends in mafia-infested unions be given these employees to plunder for the Democrat Party coffers.

Do we really want to extend the problems of Walter Reed to our airports? Some people may die from poor conditions in a hospital, but a LOT of people will die from negligent baggage screening. Ask the good people of New York, if you don`t believe that.

Unions, by their monopolistic nature, are corrupt, and that is why organized crime has always had a hand in them. Is it wise to make organized crime the guardians of our safety in a post-911 world? How much bribe money will it take to convince a mafiosa union thug to look the other way?

But none of this matters to the Democrats. They care for neither country nor kin, but merely for power and the trappings which accompany that. America will suffer dearly for those new Democrat donors if this scheme comes to fruition.

Slaughter of Innocents

(Hat tip-Wil Wirtanen)

Al Qaida may be planning to murder U.S. schoolchildren, yet Congress still plays politics with the Plame Game and U.S. Attorneys:

An American Beslan?
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2007 4:20 PM PT

Homeland Security: As Democrats hold more silly hearings to embarrass Republicans, the FBI is warning local police to be alert for Muslim extremists hijacking school buses. Reality check, please.

We wonder if any of the grandstanding politicians on Capitol Hill are thinking in terms of one of these nuts driving a fertilizer-filled yellow bus up to a government building — or, easier yet, a school. Of course not. They're too busy swooning over Valerie Plame to even notice we're still under threat from the Islamic terrorists they say we shouldn't be spying on.

The FBI and Homeland Security Department last week sent out a bulletin to law enforcement across the country warning that Muslims with "ties to extremist groups" are signing up to be school bus drivers. They also noted "recent suspicious activity" by foreigners who drive school buses or are licensed to drive them.

Recent events come on top of several other school bus-related incidents involving Mideast men that raise suspicion of terror activity.

They include last year's surprise boarding of a school bus in Florida by two Saudi men dressed in trench coats. Authorities suspect they were making a dry run to see how easy it would be to hijack or blow up a school bus filled with American children.

Previously, an Arab man from Detroit was caught trying to obtain a job as a school bus driver in New York using fake Social Security documents.

Authorities fear the school massacre that took place in Beslan, Russia, in 2004 may be a dress rehearsal for what al-Qaida plans to do here. Chechen terrorists tied to al-Qaida seized a building in Beslan on the first day of school and slaughtered 338, including 172 kids.

Three years later, schools and local police in this country are still unprepared to deal with such an assault. Most don't have response plans for handling a single active shooter, let alone a cell of trained terrorists.

Yet terror cells secreted inside America may be planning to use buses as a Trojan horse to infiltrate school campuses and murder students and teachers. Floor plans for schools in Virginia, Texas and New Jersey have been recovered from terrorist hands in Iraq. Videotapes confiscated in Afghanistan show al-Qaida terrorists practicing the takeover of a school.

Simultaneous attacks on schools in multiple states would follow Osama bin Laden's goal of crippling the U.S. economy. If multiple schools were hit, parents would drop out of the work force en masse to protect their children.

A prolonged labor disruption would cost businesses billions of dollars in lost revenue.

It's a grim picture. But don't think for a moment that al-Qaida is above targeting school children. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said in his Gitmo confession that while he may not like killing kids, they're fair game in jihad. He claims U.S. forces bombed and killed the children of bin Laden's top deputy, Ayman Zawahiri, and arrested and "abused" his own children.

These people have nothing better to do than sit around and think of ways to kill us and our most precious resource, our children. They have many helpers placed inside U.S. cities who canvass targets and perform other logistics for such attacks. And these people will stop at nothing to pull them off. They're just waiting for the right time, when our guard is down.

Are we witnessing with Muslim men trying to obtain bus licenses what some alert (but ignored) agents witnessed before 9/11 when they noticed a number of Muslim men training to obtain pilot's licenses? Are schools and children the target of the next wave of terror attacks?

Parents should be outraged that Washington would continue to play politics with national security. Instead of using hearings to score partisan points, Congress would best serve constituents by using that power to investigate the terror threat to schools and how best to protect our children from attack.

© Copyright 2007 Investor's Business Daily. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hot Air and Empty Suit

Our old friend the Paragraph Farmer, Patrick O`Hannigan, takes aim at that empty suite full of hot air (Barack Obama) in the American Thinker. Great piece!

The Will to Win

David from Ultima Thule sends this excellent (though lengthy) piece by John Lewis comparing the manner in which we fought the Japanese during WWII compared with how we fight radical Islam today. It should come as no surprise that we are losing the current misnamed ``War on Terror``; we are fighting a kinder, gentler war. We made it clear to the Japanese that we had one goal, and one goal only, and we pursued it with singleness of purpose.

War isn`t kind. Until we realize this seemingly simple proposition, we will find success elude us. Our fiddling around will cost more lives by dragging this thing out far longer. We had better get tough.

Opening the Djihn Bottle

Freedom of speech is increasingly under attack by the forces of Liberalism, and the situation is becoming increasingly dangerous as new speech codes are being adopted to stifle dissent from liberal orthodoxy. For example, Brazil is considering banning ``homophobia`` which may mean that priests can no longer tell people that homosexuality is a sin:

Brazilian Priests Could Face Jail-time for Saying that Homosexuality is A Sin
If new legislation passes, even seminaries would not be allowed to disqualify active homosexuals

By Meg Jalsevac

BRAZIL, March 19, 2007 (

Brazil’s Senate is currently engaged in a debate over proposed legislation that would criminalize anything deemed a condemnation of homosexuality. The new legislation, labeled the ‘homophobia law’ would demand jail time for violations of the law and would not provide for any religious exception.

The proposed legislation has already passed through the House and was debated last Thursday in the Senate. The Senate members refused to vote on the matter, in part due to the number of civilians who contacted government officials to voice their concerns about the proposed law. Instead, a study group was established to further investigate and acquire professional input on the issue.

The legislation includes wording that would prevent any type of supposed discrimination due to sexual orientation. According to ZENIT, priests who preached against homosexuality could face 3 to 5 years in jail and seminaries would not be permitted to reject applicants based on their sexual orientation.

Some have condemned the proposed law saying that it is religious discrimination. A ZENIT source said, ``In addition to the rights established in the constitution for all people, the homosexual, by the simple fact of being homosexual, would gain privileges.``

Exodus Brazil, the Brazilian branch of the international ex-homosexual ministry, has expressed grave concern about the law saying, ``It will extinguish ex-gay ministry in Brazil for all practical purposes.``

Brazil has been a recent leader in pushing for gay rights and trumping traditional family values. In 2005, Brazil legalized homosexual adoption. As previously reported by, Brazilian ambassadors have been the driving force behind a 2006 proposal to the Organization of American States to designate sexual orientation an ``inalienable right`` with full human-rights protection.

Liberals are quick to demand free speech when it engenders hatred for Christianity or Judaism, or facilitates in the destruction of traditional beliefs or views, but are very quick to stifle any dissent from their own agenda. We are told that tossing condoms at the Pope, or desecrating a church with shouting members of ACTUP, or putting elephant dung on a picture of the Blessed Virgin is a matter of free speech, but a priest should be forbidden to try to save souls because it is somehow ``hateful``. I`m sorry, but trying to save someone`s immortal soul by warning them that their behavior will lead to their destruction is a far cry from hateful, and to use the force of law to silence those who wish to perpetrate this act of kindness is the real hatred. It`s not enough for liberals to damn themselves, they have to drag others down with them; they are the true bigots.

If Brazil does this thing, they will have made Christianity illegal for all intents and purposes. Christianity is based on a code of morals, and a nation which exiles those morals exiles the Faith in general. That is, of course, the purpose intended by those stalwarts of freedom on the Left.

But Man does not live by bread alone, and there will be terrible consequences for such an act down the road. The crazed post-modernists keep tugging threads from the tapestry of our culture, all the while thinking they can build something better. The problem is that they have nothing to offer that is better, and the spiritual vacuum they are creating will be filled by something terrible-Islamic despotism, Fascism, Marxism, whatever; any way it works out, the beast lurking in the wings will be unrestrained because the chains which held Mankind`s collective demons imprisoned will have been removed. We`ve witnessed this time after time, yet the lunatic left keeps repeating the same pattern. We have savagery and bestiality barely below the surface of our humanity, and it does not take much to bring forth the monster. That monster has been controlled by morality, by honor, by religion-all things hated by the iconoclastic left, who are very good at destroying such things babysmallylly bad at providing any real alternatives. They always seem surprised when their little social experiments turn into titanic evils.

This is just one more attempt to deconstruct social architecture which has been put in place for an important reason. If you take too many bricks from your foundation, it should come as no surprise that your structure falls.

How many bricks have been removed from the foundation of Western Civilization? How long before the fall?

Something Worth Dying For

(I had a brilliant commentary following this piece, but my Byzantine computer system decided to take the morning off! Oh, well...)

Here is a thought-provoking piece from the Art of War blog, courtesy of Wil Wirtanen:

Philosophies Worth Dying For
Posted by Gary Gagliardi

Sun Tzu makes the key factor of philosophy the core of his model for analyzing a strategic position. In my work with scores of large organizations over the years, a clear, meaningful philosophy of purpose is usually the clearest dividing line between the great organizations and the rest.

In organizations, Sun Tzu defines weakness as arising from a philosophical division. America today is much weaker country than the America of fifty years ago because of such a division is growing among the population. I generally describe this as a division between the elites and the common people because that particular division goes back almost to the beginning of recorded history, but it is more than this. It is a division between people about what constitutes ``morality.`` The larger part of America supports the traditional moral values of the common man, but a very vocal percentage of the population espouses a ``more modern`` morality. (This article from Pajama Media’s Oleg Atbashian analyzes that philosophy as articulated by John Lennon and Yoko Ono from an outsider’s viewpoint of someone who grew up in the Soviet Union. Another take on the ``anti-war`` aspects of this new morality from New America here. My recent work on the worldview behind this philosophy is here. )

The purveyors of the new morality prefer not to get specific about what they really believe. Instead, they refer to their morality as a ``kinder, gentler, more caring`` view of human society. One of the ``virtues`` of this new morality is complete tolerance for behavior that is immoral by tradition values. Another ``virtue`` is a complete intolerance for those who support traditional values (see this article about General Pace expressing his opinions about homosexual behavior) because such opinions are intolerant. Another of the new morality’s ``virtues`` is to express disdain for our materialistic free enterprise system which focuses on making money (that is, producing things that other people find valuable) and creates more wealth for everyone. Simultaneous, another virtue is to express an equal or greater disdain for belief a higher non-material power that guides and gives purpose to human life. The fact that these moral values are self-contradictory is at least part of the reason that those that subscribe to this ``new morality`` prefer not to discuss their beliefs in detail.

I hate to get all Darwinian here, but history has a test for all philosophies. That test isn’t how ``popular`` a morality is among society’s elites. The test is how many common people are willing to die for that philosophy.

Wars exist because people are willing to die for their philosophy. Millions have died to sustain traditional American values. If push comes to shove, I expect that millions more are willing to die to preserve its traditional morality.

The problem with the new morality is that it holds that no one should be willing to die for their beliefs. It goes further. It teaches that war would not exist if everyone shared the new morality’s lack of devotion. It espouses this particular cynicism as a virtue. While that sounds reasonable, since wars exist because people are willing to die for their beliefs, there is a logical flaw. Just because one group believes that morality consists of not dying or, to put it more positively, not killing for your values, the vast majority of people on the planet do not and will never share that view. More to the point, a certain percentage of people will always believe that their self-interest trumps the self-interest of others and will, if not restrained, kill for their belief. So, what happens, in the end, to people who believe that nothing is worth dying for? They can look forward only to either death or enslavement by those who are willing to kill for their beliefs.

When I was young, Gandhi was a hero because of his devotion to non-violence. Now, I realize that there is something that I call the ``Gandhi fallacy.`` Non-violence works only against thoroughly Christian nations. It says more about the affect of Christianity upon state than it does the value of Gandhi’s ideas. All strategies arise from their environment. While Gandhi’s approach (and the morality of the new elites) ``works`` within a Christian environment, it does not work within a non-Christian environment. Gandhi would have found an early death if he had attempted his campaign in almost any less Christian country in history. Despite his own immense popularity, it didn’t work in India after its liberation from England where Gandhi wages a long campaign to stop Hindu’s and Moslems from separating and killing each other. Nor would it have worked against countries such as Nazi Germany, where Gandhi basically suggested that England should surrender and that the Jews should die gladly.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Great Oxymoron

Wil Wirtanen sends his thoughts on ``progressive`` Liberalism:

The Great Oxymoron

As I listen to the progressive democrat solutions for the myriad of problems of this country, I have to come to the conclusion that they are neither progressive nor democratic. Their solutions conjure up Yogi Berra, “It’s de jevu all over again”
Let’s look at some of their solutions for some of our pressing problems.
The biggest problem on the table is obviously Iraq. What do they want us to do, cut and run (oops, redeploy). Let’s think about this strategy a second. Sounds like Vietnam, as most of the libs rant on endlessly.

What was the result of this strategy? Two million dead in Cambodia, hundreds of thousands if not a million people boat people. Not to mention the million that went to education camps of which approximately 165,000 died. Some victory strategy. It took a decade for the US to regain its confidence and prestige, with no help from our Nobel Prize boob, Jimmy Carter.

Did the US during setback at the Battle of Bulge redeploy to England? No, we had people like Patton that went in and kicked ass. He was not concerned about hurt feelings, just killing the enemy.

If you listen to the libs global warming is either the first or second largest problem confronting mankind.

One of their solutions is to shut down the debate on the validity of their hypothesis, and it is only a hypothesis. They threaten private enterprises for their funding of more investigations to reach an answer. We have death threats to people that disagree with their religious zeal. It harkens back to the Inquisition.
Then they want us to use windmills, how quaint, how 19th centuryish. The US did not become an industrial giant by depending on an unreliable power source. What are next, waterwheels to power our computers?

The development of a cheap reliable source of energy is one of the cornerstones of our manufacturing greatness.

Another GW solution comes from the feudal lord Al Gore telling us how we should live. As he sits in his castle sucking up 20 times the resources of the average person, we commoners have to sacrifice and pay higher energy prices.
If you look at their economic solutions, they are no better. They want to take us back to Depression Era regulations, in a time of unprecedented time of growth for this country.

Universal healthcare. We have Medicare bankrupting the US government and yet they want the government to pay for everyone’s healthcare. Even a child knows enough not to touch a hot stove after getting burnt.
You want to show a program that explains the run-up to 9/11? Then Reid and company will overtly threaten the broadcast company. It harkens back to the Stalinist era.
The democrats would be more aptly called the regressive totalitarians. At least, it would be honest.

You finally have to ask how can the US move to into the future, when so many have regressive thinking?

Wil Wirtanen

Global Warming Pot Pouri

Some Global Warming news, courtesy of my Father-in-Law:

Daniel Clark of the New Media Alliance thinks Global Warming is just another ploy to emasculate men.

There is an increasingly vocal minority in the scientific community opposed to the concept of Anthropogenic Global Warming. Concensus my a, er, foot.

Noaa argues that January was the warmest on record worldwide, but points to El Nino as the culprit. It should be noted that these records only go back to the 1880`s, so the hysterical ``worst ever`` should be taken with a grain of salt. The United States temperatures were exactly normal (gasp!) for this time of year.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Paddy`s Day!

Top O` the mourning to you (and the rest of the day for myself)! It`s St. Patrick`s Day, and I, being perhaps half-Irish (me middle name is Kennedy, so named after me sainted mother`s family who are, alas, distantly related to a certain scoundrel family with bad driving habits in Massachussetts) I will be attending the St. Patrick`s day parade and celebrating me Irish half into the wee hours (well, probably until late afternoon, at any rate). I`ll try to post something tomorrow, but don`t come a-looking until later in the day!

Of course, most people haven`t but the foggiest idea of who St. Patrick is, and what we celebrate on this day. Most think the ``wearin` O` the green`` is cause enough to party, which is what this day has become, but St. Patrick was a real saint, and a hero to boot! As a boy he was enslaved by the Irish, escaped back to Britain, but returned to Ireland and the Divine calling to attempt to Christianize a then-barbaric people. His amazing results had enormous consequences in his time and ever since, and he is a man who should be revered as one of the truly great men of history! Go here to read his story.

Essay at Intellectual Conservative


Mr. Alexander, Editor of the outstanding e-zine Intellectual Conservative, has kindly published my musings on President Bush`s ethanol initiative.

I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to him, and a hearty welcome to IC regulars! Although this is primarily a political blog, I do delve into science and history quite a bit. There is a wide range of topics, and I`m sure you will find something that interests you! You may want to read through my archives a bit; I have a considerable number of posts on Global Warming, for those interested in debunking that bit of liberal tripe. I also have a number of pure history posts, including a piece about the Battle of Hastings and the Missouri-Kansas Border War (I`m very proud of those two).

Thanks for visiting!

By The Company They Keep

I have been saying that we are in a new Cold War with Russia, although most Americans (perhaps not even our own President) do not realize it. Here is an article detailing the most recent example of this; Moscow has been courting Hamas, inviting the terror organization`s leaders to red-carpet meetings and removing them from the official Russian terror-watch list.

President Bush made several things abundantly clear:
1.Terrorist groups with international reach are considered the enemies of the United States.
2.If you are not with us, you are with the terrorists.

Russia has been thwarting our entire Mideast policy for years, up to and including supplying weapons to the insurgents fighting our troops in Iraq. The only reason Russia has for fornicating with Hamas thugs is to use them as a prophylactic for sodomizing Uncle Sam. Russia ultimately considers us their enemies, and they are, as in the old Soviet era, propping up the bad guys to hurt and exhaust the United States.

This is a very dangerous game they are playing, since Islamic Jihad has the corrupt non-Muslim Russia as much in it`s sights as the West. Does Putin think that they will be left alone, after the problems in Chechnya? Does he believe he can control the beast after he has let it out of it`s cage? He should read the story of the Gingerbread Man!

President Bush has blundered badly in his reliance on Putin. Bush has a terribly naive belief that he can extend the hand of friendship, turn the other cheek when slapped, and that this will bring about a change of heart in his enemies. It works sometimes on a personal level, but it is as ridiculous a policy for national and international relations as Jimmy Carter`s emphasis on human rights as a determinating principle in foreign affairs; both rely on the goodness of the human spirit, something which is simply not realistic when dealing with evil and aggressive men. Putin is the new boss, same as the old boss, and Bush fell into a trap as surely as Jimmy Carter did with the Ayatollah Khomeini. Khomeini and Putin are cut from the same tyrannical cloth.

Had we made the proper moves Russia could have been liberated from the Tsarist/Bolshevik/Plutocrat yoke, but we have failed miserably. President Bush, who seems so determined to impose Democracy in the Middle-East, was unusually reticent to push for it in Russia, where, after the fall of Communism, it had a much better chance of success. His loving gaze into Putin`s eyes meant a pro-Putin policy, allowing the KGB thug to consolidate power. Now we are reaping the fruits of a weak policy based on personal friendship and hollow assurances. Russia has clearly become our enemy.

President Bush let Comrade Putin and his Dancing Teeth off the hook for their duplicity in the runup to the Iraq War, and he should never have let them get away with that! They were eyeball-deep with Saddam in violating the U.N. embargo, in arms sales, in just about every other dirty trick which has made it so difficult to straighten out the mess in the Mideast. Bush didn`t want to embarrass his ``friends``, so he has gone so far as to take terrible political bludgeoning over missing weapons (many of which we have actually found) rather than expose his dear chums to their own political pressures. (As I have pointed out, the French and Russians virtually ran into Lebanon after the recent cessation of hostilities, and I have no doubt it was to further hide or dispose of the weapons Syria stashed there for Saddam.) This has allowed Putin to begin a campaign of poisoning his enemies. There will be no equivalent of an Orange Revolution, because we have been carrying the Russian government`s water.

Russia will be gone in 50 years, but I draw little satisfaction from that knowledge because She can do enormous damage in her death-throes. Putin wants to play at being a Great Tsar, but his kingdom will be taken from him and given to another in due course, and he will end a footnote in the history of Mankind. We in the United States can have a far greater impact on this world, and can be blessed by future generations, if we awaken to the dangers posed by this petty Ivan the Great pretender and take action.

We cannot keep hiding from the dangers posed by our enemies. Putin has made it abundantly clear he is not with us. We should follow the Bush Doctrine!

French say ``No Oui`` to Gay Marriage

The French high court has declared gay marriage unlawful, according to the U.K. Guardian.

One wonders if David Souter and the other liberal proponents of using foreign precedent to decide American law will be eager to embrace this ruling from the Left`s favorite nation?

The Weekly Standard had an article a month or so ago about the return of Christianity to Holland, can the same be happening in France?

Perhaps the Islamic threat has put the Europeans on the road to recovery from their particular brand of post-modernism and socialist dreams? One may hope.

(Hat tip: Steve Ranking)

Friday, March 16, 2007

The New Hell

Meet the New Hell, same as the old Hell!

This piece will be something of a reprisal of ``The Road to Hell``; I visited another lost place, a hell-hole of filth and decay in the midst of plenty, and I thought I should share it with you, my loyal readers. It would be wise for you to wait at least two hours after eating before plunging into this.

For new readers of Birdblog, my day job is with a ``scattered site`` property management company. It is called scattered site because we manage small buildings-even single family homes-in all areas and price ranges, and that includes some of the worst neighborhoods in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. I often visit the seemiest of seamy underbellies, and get to see up close and personal those forsaken places which ordinary Americans know are there but have never seen. In a way, I am a modern Marco Polo, or a Coronado seeking the Lost Cities of Cibolo (except my lost cities are most definitely not paved with gold.) I`ve seen some of the worst places in America.

Dan Quayle said poverty is a matter of a poverty of values, and he is correct in this; the place I visited yesterday bears this out! We had just picked up management on a four-family flat in what had been a tolerably decent part of South St. Louis (St. Louis is like a collection of small towns, or used to be, with very well defined areas.) A year or two ago someone had completely gut-rehabbed this building, and everything that was left was new. The second floor north was in tolerable shape-just some debris, filth, and holes in the walls, but the first floor...

The first floor was a crackhouse. We saw probably 100 pieces of cellophane on the kitchen counter, clearly used to hold crack rocks. There was rotting food on the floors, numerous used condoms (I am always fearful of that), trash, and debris. Someone had dragged tree limbs inside, and was using a cooking pot to burn it in. There were cuts made in the carpet; little squares which could be replaced, the purpose being to hide drugs in case the police made a night bust. The screens in all the windows were cut, offering our ``tenants`` a quick escape hatch. Since the water was off, the crackheads first filled the toilet, then began defecating in the bathtub, filling it halfway full with their excrement. Oh, and they had dismantled the air conditioner units outside to sell for parts.

The south side of the building had tenants, and this was, if anything, even worse! The upstairs tenant`s apartment was filthy and disgusting with holes in the walls and debris strewn throughout, but was not completely uninhabitable. They had probably 15 people crammed into a three bedroom apartment, and hadn`t paid rent since last July, but they represented our ``good tenant``. The first floor was equally overcrowded, but it was far more foul; they left spilled food lay where it fell, one had to find a trail through the buildup of trash and debris in every room, bugs and mice were everywhere-including at least four of them frolicking among the children`s toys in plain site. The sewer had backed up (because someone had filled the sewer clean out in the yard with trash) and they had taken no steps to have this addressed, so there was a sewage backup in the basement at least a foot deep and the outhouse smell inside the apartment was overpowering. The tenants admitted it had been like that for a while...

(One of the things I fear is bringing home a `souvenir` from one of these places-roaches or other bugs, or some horrible disease on the soles of my shoes. I fear poking myself with a needle. I fear catching malaria, or lames Disease...)

Mind you, this building had been rehabbed less than two years ago. The investors, fooled by late night informercials and a booming rental market, thought they could sink large amounts of money into a neighborhoods that did not justify the investment, and they probably tried to manage it themselves. You have to know what you are doing; even professionals have trouble when a neighborhood changes for the worse. These owner probably could not find qualifiable tenants, and they became desperate to put bodies into their building, so took in the first people who brought the cash. That is the fastest route to bankruptcy in the rental market!

My associate is from a family of police officers, and his brother was involved in a fatal shooting of a 17 year old gang member not two blocks from this building. The youths had been congregating at a vacant building, obviously dealing drugs. The officers approached them and they ran. They were able to cut one of the scoundrels off, and he pulled a gun out and fired at them, so they drew their revolvers and, unfortunately, killed him. Of course, there was a major inquest, but the evidence was clear that the boy had shot at them first and they were completely justified in using lethal force.

This neighborhood had been rough, but had not been like THAT! The closing of McCree Town by the City to proceed with redevelopment scattered the criminals in that worst-of-neighborhoods to the four winds (thank you, Mayor Slay!) and a good many settled in this area called ``Dutchtown`` (since it had been a German neighborhood years before-my own grandmother had lived there.) It has become a hellhole on the par with the neighborhoods on the north side of St. Louis of which I have spoken in the past.

At least the children in this building attended school. Also, there were clearly good people on this block, people who simply could not afford to move away yet. I imagine that will change in the near future.

I had to stand guard while our maintenance department boarded up the vacant apartments and the basement. Fortunately, the copper pipes in the basement had been replaced with plastic, so we didn`t have to replumb the property. Maintenance had to secure every conceivable opening, because the crackheads would, like rats or cockroaches, find a way in if you left so much as a crack. (I`ve seen them tunnel through brick walls!) People kept walking by our vehicles and looking to see what would be worth stealing all the while; if I hadn`t been on guard we would have had our trucks broken into.

It will take at least 6 months to straighten this building out, and it will cost the owners a fortune to accomplish it. We will have to evict these barbarians from the landlord`s little fiefdom, and keep them away until we can make the necessary repairs and find new occupants. It will be a long, hard slog, and it may not be possible at all!

It really is hard to believe that such places exist, and not but a couple of miles from my own home. We had a tenant who represented a sizable portion of our people who actually had a fairly popular cable television show ``The Low Life`` in which he explored the seamy underbelly of St. Louis-including the lives of prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, transvestite etc. He was a cockroach of a man, a guy who enjoyed dwelling among the filth and decay of modern society. I suspect people didn`t believe his tales of disgust and rot, yet I see it on a regular basis. (Oh, the man died shortly after moving out of our property.)

Once again, I blame the kind-hearted, soft-headed approach of Liberalism; their belief in the inherent goodness of Man means that they think you can take people who are unable or unwilling to care for themselves and their families and throw them into the general public, expecting them to succeed. They believe that giving them a clean home and helping them pay bills will turn them around, but it is not the case. The lowest drag down, not the other way around; a neighborhood collapses when you put drug dealers, prostitutes, and asundry criminals in with decent people. Welfare has created enormous families such as the ones overoccupying our property, and the kids join gangs as a matter of course. A small problem becomes a huge one thanks to Liberal do-gooder meddling.

At any rate, I hope you all kept your breakfast down after reading this. I can give a mental picture to you, but the reality is much, uh, graphic-especially the smells of these places. I can`t begin to describe it! It`s important for everyone to know about these places, about the existence of such despair and squalor here in the land of plenty. The children crammed in among the mice and roaches didn`t ask to be born, didn`t ask to suffer from ignorance, criminality, and hopelessness as they have been sentenced to do. Something must be done for them, but that something cannot be the same failed policies which created these hell-holes in the first place. We have to find a new way.

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