Thursday, June 17, 2004

Andrew Sullivan Comes Out Against Bush

What would I do without LittleGreenFootballs? Once again, they've given me the scoop. This time the scoop is "What's up with Andrew Sullivan?" Andrew has been increasingly critical of the George Bush Administration recently. Much of his criticism is beyond reproach and yet, at the same time given context, exaggerated, in my opinion. For instance, who wouldn't agree that what happened at Abu Ghirab is wrong, but it isn't a reason to doubt the war effort. Likewise, the issue of Rumsfeld and torture.

If people on our side do stupid things it does not follow that the war is wrong.

The war would not be wrong unless, or until, the United States offers Iraq a worse situation than they had before.

Or, until the United States makes a change in itself that makes it's priniciples not worth fighting for.

And it is on such an issue that Andrew Sullivan is actually turning. It isn't Abu Ghirab. It isn't the torture issue. It's the gay marriage issue.

From Jonah Goldberg, via LittleGreenFootballs, comes this:

As even moderate readers of Sullivan's site can attest, his positions of late have been something of a moving target. I get lots of conjecture from our mutual audiences about "what's going on" with Sullivan and it varies in persuasiveness. Whatever his motivations, no one who reads his stuff can deny that he's moved increasingly into the anti-Bush camp, often for reasons that don't seem powerful or at least persuasive enough to match his pro-Bush conviction from, say, this time last year (See my "everyone into the pool" post below).

But I must say I was surprised to discover this link from the gay magazine The Advocate. It seems that Andrew had been unequivocal about his opinions on Bush in that publication but not in his blog. In his advocate essay he writes:

But it’s time to say something very clearly: Bush’s endorsement of antigay discrimination in the U.S. Constitution itself is a deal-breaker. I can’t endorse him this fall. Like many other gay men and women who have supported him, despite serious disagreements, I feel betrayed, abused, attacked.

I am very sympathetic to Andrew's concern here. I have, on this site, expressed my profound concern at the Bush Administration's positions on Freedom of Speech. Michael Powell and John Ashcroft, in my opinion, have said and done some horrifying things with regards to that issue. Michael Powell's statement that he would be interested in getting Congressional approval for the FCC to regulate Satellite Radio and Television is absolutely frightening to me. If Congress granted the FCC such power I would cease to believe that the United States would be worth fighting for.

Likewise, as I said, I am sypathetic to Andrew Sullivan's position on Bush and the Marriage Admendment. I, unlike many of my fellow Christians, do not believe that gay people always make a choice to be gay. I am a musician, thus I fall under the class of people called a "performer." I have known many gay people in my life. I don't feel uncomfortable with them. In fact, I am thankful for their contributions to society. And my exposure to gay people has led me to believe there are most gay people are born gay.

If gay people are born gay then I find nothing wrong with them sexually partnering with other gay people. I think promiscuity is wrong and hurtful to the individual. But, I believe having a lifemate is good. I'm a married. I know the benefits. My wife is more than just a sexual partner. She is a continual force by which I can measure myself. She keeps me in line and helps me to grow. I believe God ordained marriage and family as a growth initiative for humans. When you are forced to deal with one set of people for you whole life, then you are forced to grow.

I am less sympathetic to the notion of gay people adopting. When I say less sypathetic, I do not mean vehemently, or absolutely opposed. It's just that I don't know how to split the baby in the Solomonic tradition. I recognize that many gay couples would make, and already are, good parents. However, those are individual cases. And I believe that the pioneers of a movement are usually braver, and more committed to success, than the average people who follow. Therefore, as a society-wide principle, I am less inclined to believe that two mommies or two daddies is as good as a mommy and a daddy.

I believe that God made us male and female for a good reason. There is a balance created by having both a mother and father and this balance is necessary to society. Obviously, that balance is also upeset by infidelity, divorce, the death of a spouse, working too much, etc., but i have a hard time with the idea of adding one more problem to the list.

For this reason alone, I have not made up my mind on how I feel about gay marriage. I am for legal gay partnerships that grant all rights except that of adoption. Whether or not society chooses to call these partnerships marriage makes no difference to me.

But, of course, this argument of mine is completely moot because the genie is already out of the bottle. Gay people are already legally allowed to adopt.

So, as the not so great Kurt Cobain once said,

"Oh well, whatever, nevermind."

Getting back to the point, now we know Andrew's real issue with the Bush Administration. And, I must say, I think it is perfectly understandable.

Mystery solved.

The University Caliphate at Irvine and both posted articles this morning about the Muslim Students Union victorious jihad at University of California at Irvine:

Muslim members of the University of California, Irvine's graduating class will wear green sashes emblazoned with the word "shahada" in Arabic along with their commencement robes in tomorrow's ceremony – a reference some say is an incitement to violence that should not be allowed.

"Shahada" can be translated several ways, including as a declaration of faith in Islam, but it often is used in reference to "martyrdom" – especially martyrdom attained by suicide bombers.

Sally Peterson, dean of students at UCI, defended the university against critics who say the school shouldn't allow such a display.

Peterson admits the word "shahada," besides being a reference to Islam, "has also taken on many other meanings depending on where you sit. For some it is seen as 'kill all Jews' or it is seen as a reference to suicide bombers," she said.

Despite different meanings applied to the Arabic word, the administrator said UCI is not permitted to limit the Muslim Student Union members' freedom to wear the sashes.

"This is a public university, and we are not permitted – no matter how offensive the speech – not to allow it or we are violating the First Amendment,"
Peterson said, emphasizing, "Just because we support [the students'] free speech does not mean we support the content."

"It's clearly a violation of free speech if we do not permit it," Peterson said. "There has been significant case law to back this up."

This isn’t the first time anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism have reared their ugly heads at UC-Irvine. Many Christian and Jewish students at UC-Irvine say that they have been threatened and harassed by members of the MSU. UC-Irvine allowed the MSU to bring Amir Abdemalik Ali to its campus to provide a racist, hate-laced presentation called “America Under Siege: The Zionist Hidden Agenda.” He has made the outrageous claim that Jews staged September 11 in order to promote a universal war against Muslims. Not coincidentally, Amir also praises Hamas and Hezbollah, which have both been named terrorist organizations by the United States. Hamas also offers financial rewards to the families of “shahid.”

FPM contributor Arnold Steinberg points out the MSU has worn green armbands before, in support of Hamas. “The MSU also has displayed posters on campus that equate the Star of David with the Swastika,” he explained.

“Leaders of Hillel and other Jewish groups on campus have requested the administration record the speakers MSU and SAS bring to campus. The administration refused their request, even though the guests of MSU and SAS have reportedly called for an Islamic revolution in America and for supporting Hamas in its war against ‘Zionists’ -- and Western civilization,” he said.

Alkalima, UC Irvine’s Muslim student newspaper, once published a special report called “Zionism: The Forgotten Apartheid.” The report glorified Hamas and Hezbollah as noble warriors against Israeli oppression. FPM’s David Horowitz quoted the author’s intent behind the report:

“As the Zionists continue to colonize, torture and ethnically-cleanse in the name of the ‘peace process’ and the Americans continue to fund them, the respective staffs of Al-Talib (UCLA’s muslim magazine) and Alkalima feel it to be their basic duty to expose Zionism, its evils and its effects…Zionist-controlled world media has been purposefully distorting and misconstruing world events too long.”

UC-Irvine itself has contributed to the problem, hosting Imam Muhammad al-Asi in February, 2001, at the invitation of Irvine’s Muslim students. He told his audience, “The Zionist-Israeli lobby, referred to by the Jews themselves as the Jewish lobby in this country, is taking the United States government and the United States people to the abyss. We have a psychosis in the Jewish community that is unable to co-exist equally and brotherly with other human beings. You can take a Jew out of the ghetto, but you cannot take the ghetto out of the Jew.”

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Thank You to Pierre Lellouche - French Member of Parliament

Thanks to No Pasaran for making me aware of Pierre Lellouch - French MP - and his article about Grandma Europa's spring-cleaning techniques, published in Le Monde. Here's an excerpt:

Over the last five years in France we have witnessed not only a banalization of anti-Semitic insults, including in the schools, but, what is more serious, an explosion of violence against our fellow citizens of the Jewish persuasion.

The level of violence of this nature recorded by the National Advisory Committee on Human Rights (CNCDH) was 743 acts in 2000, 216 in 2001, 932 in 2002 and 558 in 2003. There have been 180 since the start of this year! Not a day goes by, in our Republic, that one of our fellow citizens isn't assaulted, sometimes seriously, for the sole reason that he is Jewish.

All observers agree that this situation, which arose with the start of the second Intifada in the Occupied Territories, is directly related to the Arab-Israeli conflict and to the failure of integration in our country. Nevertheless, this completely insufferable state of affairs is literally unprecedented in our country.

Even in the 1930s, when the anti-Semitic press was particularly ferocious, Jewish children were not attacked and beaten in the Republic's schools. Students were not stabbed. School busses were not attacked. Synagogues were not burned. In brief, we were not witness to this sort of latent pogrom that is complacently "understood" if not justified by a certain elite and a certain press, not in the name of anti-Drefyfusism or of fascism but this time in the name of the rights of the Palestinian people and the of Arab "humiliation."

In sum, one can be pleasantly anti-Semitic in the France of 2004, with the added bonus of a clear conscience, resulting from the struggle for human rights! How can we fail to see that, in such a climate, some youths in search of their identity will take vengeance against the "feuj,"* a priori an accomplice, and therefore guilty, in the "massacres" imputed to the Israeli army in the Palestinian territories?

Because I feel that it is essential to react to this entirely unbearable and disgraceful state of our Republic, I took the initiative, as long ago as 2002, of drafting a parliamentary text seeking to stiffen the penalties for violence with anti-Semitic or racist intent visited on persons or property. This bill, personally supported by the president of the Republic and by the prime minister, was passed — and this is rare enough for me to emphasize it — unanimously by all of my colleagues, MPs and Senators like, on the right of the left. I would like to thank them again.


The only problem — but it is a sizable one — is that this law is quite simply not enforced. Not only is violence of an anti-Semitic nature continuing at an incredibly high pace in France, but, according to the information at my disposal, the law passed in the beginning of 2003 was used to bring criminal prosecutions only 20 times last year and led to convictions in only six cases out of 588. In 2004, prosecutors have so far pressed such charges in only seven cases...

This situation is at the very least preoccupying and results in a deep feeling of unease among many people in France. An unease worsened by other recent law-enforcement decisions that, contrary to their stated aim, seem to demonstrate what we'll call a certain tolerance, if not a thinly veiled complacency for certain statements that qualify as incitation to racial hatred or for certain violent, anti-Semitic acts in a given Paris institution of learning. As Alain Finkielkraut has said, "when they fall victim to anti-Semitic violence, France's Jews are quite firmly, and with dreasing courtesy, advised to address their grievances to Sharon."

How can one fail to understand that many French people, threatened, insulted, attacked everyday for being Jews, feel they have been abandoned by the Republic? That some are planning to leave their country or, as I have seen in my constituency in Paris, are leaving for the United States, Canada or Israel?

From many French citizens of Jewish persuasion I receive letters in which they express their astonishment that "the five assailants of the son of the rabbi in Boulogne-sur-Seine were released (for one of them, this was his second assault against a young Jew). Does this mean that our children and grand children can be struck for the sole reason that they are Jews and that their aggressors won't be pursued by the police? I don't know very well the words in the act you passed in Parliament but I thought it dealt with these assaults." Indeed...

Let us be clear: I have no intention of serving as a good-conscience alibi or as support, neither with my name nor with the legislation I introduced, for a situation in which, far from retreating, anti-Semitism is every day taking stronger hold of our country.

The first urgent measure that is required is to begin a precise evaluation of the conditions under which the law, both in police reporting and in the magistrates' decision-making, can be applied. Such a system exists for other laws (I am thinking of the law on household indebtedness, of which the follow-up has been entrusted to the presiding judge at the appellate court). The same must quickly be done for the law of February 3, 2003.

Accepting anti-Semitism in school in the name of the supposed ignorance of students who indulge in racism is not acceptable.

Once, there were yellow stars. Seeing swastikas affixed to France's Jews or their cemeteries is not tolerable.

Pierre Lellouche clearly has been blessed with an impressive endowment. His is a voice which will be cited in future generations as having been prescient and brave. Of course, for now he will ignored and/or castigated.

In fact, what is that I hear coming from over in Grandma Europa's direction? It sounds like one big collective,

"I wonder if he's a Jew?"

More On Grandma Europa's Spring Cleaning

The American Thinker posted an article, by Olivier Guitta, entitled "French Justice Rewards Anti-Semitism." Here's an excerpt:

About three months ago, the French Jewish singer Shirel was performing at a gala attended by, among others, France’s First Lady Mrs. Bernadette Chirac. Upon entering the stage and during her song, Shirel was welcomed by young Muslims sitting in the first rows yelling, “Dirty Jew. Death to the Jews. We’ll kill you.”

If this were not disgusting enough, the loud silence of Mrs Chirac speaks volumes about the condition of French Jews today. It is not then surprising that recent Court decisions confirm this increasing trend of official hostility to Jews.

Two judicial cases vividly symbolize this trend.

First: during a very popular program on State TV, on December 1, 2003, a famous stand-up comedian called Dieudonne decided it was time for a virulent anti-Semitic act. He came on stage disguised as a religious Jew wearing Army fatigues, saluting the Nazi way, and yelling ” Israel, Heil “. He was then, of course, sued, because France has tough laws, perhaps a vestigial remnant of an earlier era, against anti-Semitism.

But last week the verdict came in: ACQUITTED!

Second: a young Jewish kid was regularly beaten-up and insulted inside his school for months, by two Arab kids employing the ever so common epithet nowadays: ”Dirty Jew.” The two aggressors never denied the facts, and were expelled.

But in response, the two miscreants filed a lawsuit against the school.

And last week, the verdict came in, stunning those French citizens with residual decency once more. The Paris tribunal condemned the school, ordering it to reinstate the two Muslim kids, and pay each of their families 1,000 Euros (around 1,200 USD).

In another similar incident, Muslim students persecuted a young Jewish girl at school.

Her family sued the oppressors, and, in the bizarre world of French justice, got condemned to pay a fine of 4,000 Euros (about 5,000 USD). So, they decided to appeal the decision and the Court of Appeals deemed that a 8,000 Euros (about 10,000 USD) fine was more appropriate.

Being a Jewish victim turns out to be very costly in France: not only physically and morally, but also financially. Perpetrating anti-Semitic acts, on the other hand, can be very lucrative. So, what kind of message does this send?

A few months ago, at an ice rink in the Paris suburb of Boulogne, a group of Muslim teenagers beat up a Jewish kid. The police arrested them, but the judge decided to release them, ordering one of them, a 14 year-old, to write an essay about anti-Semitism. What a severe sentence!!!

The young Israel’s father, deciding he had enough of France, went to the US Embassy in Paris to ask for political asylum.

Alain Finkielkraut, one of the leading French philosophers, interviewed on June 7, 2004 by the radio station RTL declared that: “The pogrom for the Jews" appears today in France like "a possible future.”

There might come a time not far distant where French Jews might have no choice but to leave the country of their birth, in search of liberty, equality, and fraternity.

I wish to God this article told us the response of the U.S. embassy to the father's request for asylum. I'm guessing it was denied, because it would cause a major international incident if the U.S. accepted a French citizens requests for political asylum.

I wonder if the French embassy would grant me political asylum because Bush is Hitler?

Somebody ought to try that. That would be a great stunt.

"I'm Not Anti-Jew. I'm Just Anti-Zionist"

Once again, big thanks to Little Green Footballs for making me aware of this article from Rabbi David Wolpe:

Because They Are Jews
Enemies of Israel insist their hatred has nothing to do with Israel being a Jewish state. Can this be true?

By Rabbi David Wolpe
Recently I scrolled through a website devoted to discussion of contemporary literature. Suddenly dropped into the discussion, for no apparent reason, was the following remark: "And today the Israeli army shot a child, which is their favorite thing to do."

I felt a sickening roiling in my stomach. It was a familiar feeling composed of anger, frustration, fear, hurt. Could someone really believe this?

I read a good deal of news, much of it on the Internet, and see little discussion of the depredations of Syria, or Zimbabwe. I read nothing of India's 1 billion dollar fence, shutting off most of the desperately poor Muslims in Bangladesh. I know that there are 188 nations in the United Nations. Among them are North Korea, a slave state, and an assortment of despots and tyrants. The only state among the 188 that may not serve on the security council is Israel.

It is hard to credit all this to geopolitics. How can Israel be the one state that bears the brunt of such rage? Why is the vandalism in France, the community center burning in Argentina, the defacement of synagogues throughout Europe, all tied to the policy of this one small nation?

Where would all those who wish Israel to disappear want the Jews to go?

Back to Europe? Should every Jew live in America? Does anyone think that the Jews could simply live in peace next to Arabs in an Islamic state, when the Arab countries have never, in thousands of years, granted Jews equal rights?

Where were the vituperative voices were when the Jordanians controlled Jerusalem and turned the Western Wall into a garbage dump? For that matter, where were those voices when Assad killed thousands of his own people, or when the late King Hussein of Jordan slaughtered thousands of Palestinians?

It is no excuse for brutality to point out that others have been far more brutal. Yet when people write such inane bigotry as I found in the literature discussion, or call for the end of Israel like the British intellectual A.N. Wilson, one wonders what they must have made of Iraq under Hussein, or of Syria under Hafez Assad. I have heard calls for the end of this or that government but never for the end of the state. No one said Germany after two world wars should cease being a state. The world did not agitate for the end of Uganda under Amin. Only Israel. Only the state populated by and run by Jews. Remarkable coincidence, is it not?

It may be happenstance that people who live in countries where Jews were hated for millennia are saying that only Jews should not have a country, or criticize that country exclusively, or ignore atrocities perpetrated by other countries, or have deep understanding of those who are moved to murder Jews. It may show nothing but a sensitivity bordering on paranoia to be troubled at the juncture of ancient, enduring hatreds with modern censure. Criticism of Israel across Europe surely has nothing to do with the searing observation by David Cesarani in London's Guardian that "Indeed, the 'final solution of the Jewish question' was probably the only genuine pan-European enterprise of the 20th century." The last thing all Europe agreed upon was the elimination of Jews, and now it agrees on the unredeemable savagery of Israel. To assume a relation between the hatred that was and the vilification that is risks being called "a Zionist propagandist" one of those phrases designed not to describe, but to strangle discussion.

I know people in Israel whose children have been killed. Not because someone else was the intended target, not because of clumsiness or the heedless use of great force, but because the children were deliberately targeted. After all, the murderers last month of the Hatuel family stopped a pregnant woman and four children in a Jeep, and systematically shot each of them. Neither the mother nor the little children were armed. They were merely Jews. Imagine if it were done on the streets of a major American city. Here such a person is called Charles Manson; in the halls of the Hague, they are fighters for freedom.

Ouch, that hurts, doesn't it Europe? How could that mean, mean man say such mean, mean stuff?

Time For Spring Cleaning, Grandma Europa?

Thanks be to Allah and Dhimmi Watch for making us aware of this:

Jerusalem - The Jewish Agency is bracing itself for the immigration of tens of thousands French Jews into Israel as a result of a growing anti-Semitism in France, a spokesperson for the organisation said on Sunday. ...
Vatikai said that a report compiled by the agency had found 30 000 out of France's 575 000-strong Jewish community were considering immigrating to Israel. ...

French Justice Minister Dominique Perben said last week that 180 anti-Jewish acts had been recorded so far this year, including cases of assault, arson and verbal insults. ...

Vatikai said the situation for French Jews was becoming increasingly "difficult".

I wonder if Grandma is rueing the fact that there isn't an efficient train system to take care of the problem.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

We Run Away From Iran

The Wall Street Journal posted this article, regarding Iran's nuclear program and the world's lack of will to do anything about the situation:

If Iran goes nuclear within the next year or two, don't blame the inspectors at the International Atomic Energy Agency. Earlier this month Mohammed ElBaradei's U.N. team issued yet another damning report on the mullahs, describing a pattern of deception and non-cooperation that all but screams "bomb program." But the international community, with the apparent acquiescence of the Bush Administration, is treating it all as a matter of indifference.
OK, that's a mild overstatement. IAEA member states have been going through the motions required by their inspection process. But when they meet today in Vienna the consuming issue will be whether to "deplore" Iran's deceptions or note them with "serious concern." The Iranians are protesting that they consider even those words as all but a casus belli, but they are reported to be privately pleased as punch that the IAEA will yet again fail to refer them to the U.N. Security Council for sanction.

For the record, here's a sample of what the latest IAEA report says:

• "The information provided to date by Iran has not been adequate" to explain the origin of traces of near-weapons-grade uranium found by inspectors.

• "Important information about the P-2 centrifuge [uranium enrichment] program has frequently required repeated requests, and in some cases continues to involve changing or contradictory information"; and

• "Iran's postponement until mid-April of the visits originally scheduled for mid-March . . . resulted in a delay in the taking of environmental sample and their analysis."

Or to put that all in context, inspectors had found multiple traces of 36% enriched uranium, which has no civilian use. Iran has not offered a satisfactory explanation. Iran had also lied about having a sophisticated P-2 uranium enrichment program of the kind peddled by Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan. It turns out the Iranians have sought magnets for thousands of such centrifuges. Iran has not been able to explain experiments with polonium-210, a radioactive element primarily useful as a bomb trigger. Most incriminating of all, the Iranians barred access to sites for a month while they almost certainly sanitized them.

Remember that Iran is a petroleum-rich country that doesn't need nuclear power and whose former president has declared that "the world of Islam" should acquire the bomb so it can threaten the existence of Israel and thwart American "colonialism" in the Middle East. On Saturday, AP quoted Iran's foreign minister as declaring that Iran "has to be recognized by the international community as a member of the nuclear club. This is an irreversible path." All of this has finally provoked even the U.S. State Department to declare that Iran's nuclear activities "are in no way peaceful" and "specifically designed to create weapons."

As I've been saying, Israel to the rescue

Monday, June 14, 2004

And Now For Something Completely Different ...

Yahoo posted this article from the LA Times this morning on "Pre-Death Experience." Here's an excerpt:

PHILADELPHIA — My brother took more trains, planes and automobiles in the last week of his life than he had taken in months, perhaps years. Those journeys were all the more surprising because they occurred in an intensive-care unit at the end of his three-year battle with bone marrow cancer.

Bedridden after being rushed to the hospital for what would be the final eight days of his life, Kenny casually mentioned that he was visiting Detroit. It was a rather odd place for him to be traveling — even if only in his imagination — because the hospital was near home in suburban Philadelphia and he didn't have any ties to the Motor City.

But it was near a border, a border he seemed intent on crossing, be it real or metaphoric.

"How far is it to Canada?" he wanted to know. "Where's the map?"

Though very weak, Kenny, 45, intermittently recognized and chatted lucidly with family gathered by his bedside. But he would drop in news of his varied travels: He had gone skiing one afternoon in Australia, he told us, stopped by North Carolina another day, and more than once had been "stuck in passport control."

At first, our family dismissed these journeys as confusion; we would laugh through our tears about the various places and modes of transport he had been taking. It must be the painkillers, we thought. Or maybe hypoxia, the oxygen deprivation in the blood that often contributes to delirium in sick people. Or that the cancer now was destroying his mind, just as it had racked his body.

But then our cousin Lynne mentioned that her parents had done a lot of similar traveling in the last days of their cancer battles. Uncle Larry (Lynne's father) had insisted that his passport and fanny pack be kept by his bedside; he was intent on keeping an imaginary 3 p.m. appointment with the emperor of Japan, where I was living then and where he had hoped to visit. He too had asked for a map — of Japan. Aunt Lois, who had died four years before, had talked about needing to catch a train, asking Lynne to buy her a ticket.

There seemed to be a pattern. A nearby bookstore turned up a 1992 title that offered some clues: "Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs and Communications of the Dying."

Its chapter titles were uncanny: "Where's the Map?" and "I'm Getting Ready To Leave." Authors Patricia Kelley and Maggie Callanan, longtime Washington, D.C.-area hospice nurses, had heard similar talk so often from their dying patients — conveying this sense of moving from one place to another, of being in transition — that they concluded it must be a special language the dying have to communicate what is happening to them.

"It would be easy to say it's just coincidence, but when you see it over and over, there has to be something there," Kelley said in a telephone interview. "I do think people experience something we can't describe."

The authors termed the phenomenon "nearing death awareness" — a state they think reveals what dying might be like and what a person needs to die peacefully.

It has some similarities with the more widely known near-death experiences reported by some patients who are resuscitated on operating tables or at the scenes of accidents. They report seeing a bright light at the end of a tunnel, with people and events of their lives flashing as if in a kaleidoscope.

In contrast, however, those dying slowly often talk of preparing for a trip or of trying to finish something, Kelley and Callanan found, perhaps using language pertaining to their professions or hobbies. One dying man who liked to sail, for instance, talked about the ebbing of the tides; a watchmaker mentioned that the clock was not ticking fast enough; a carpenter described details of completing an imaginary house.

This article brought tears to my eyes. There is something so childlike about even the oldest, most experienced of us, when we are confronted with the overwhelming reality of our mortality. The Bible eloquently notes Jesus response to the death of his friend Lazarus:

"Jesus wept."

Now, of course, Jesus knew that he could, as he proceeded to do, bring Lazarus back to life. But, that doesn't really do away with the pathetic rot of the human condition. The fact is, as long as we are in these bodies, we are flailing away at life, seeing through a glass darkly. We are musicians with inferior instruments. We are handicapped ballet dancers. We are Michael Jordan with polio.

And one day, we will all be in this position, unless our end is very sudden, where we will be in between, faced with something completely out of our control, like jumping into the deepest, darkest ocean. The mind scrambles to come up with ways of understanding.

In the words of the old bluesmaster,

"Meet me Jesus, please meet me on the other side."

Anti-Semitism and "The War On Terror"

Victor David Hanson, of National Review, posted on a great article this morning assessing our situation in the "War On Terror," including some thoughts on the role of anti-Semitism:

It was hard for the Islamic fascists to find ideological support in the West, given their agenda of gender apartheid, homophobia, religious persecution, racial hatred, fundamentalism, polygamy, and primordial barbarism. But they sensed that there has always been a current of self-loathing among the comfortable Western elite, a perennial search for victims of racism, economic oppression, colonialism, and Christianity. Bin Laden's followers weren't white; they were sometimes poor; they inhabited of former British and French colonies; and they weren't exactly followers of the no-nonsense Pope or Jerry Falwell. If anyone doubts the nexus between right-wing Middle Eastern fascism and left-wing academic faddishness, go to booths in the Free Speech area at Berkeley or see what European elites have said and done for Hamas. Middle Eastern fascist killers enshrined as victims alongside our own oppressed? That has been gospel in our universities for the last three decades.

Like Hitler, bin Ladenism grasped the advantages of hating the Jews. It has been 60 years since the Holocaust; memories dim. Israel is not poor and invaded but strong, prosperous, and unapologetic. It is high time, in other words, to unleash the old anti-Semitic infectious bacillus. Thus Zionists caused the latest Saudi bombings, just as they have poisoned Arab-American relations, just as neo-conservatives hijacked American policy, just as Feith, Perle, and Wolfowitz cooked up this war.

Mr. Hanson has a unique talent for putting things into perspective.

The Peace Movement

Click here for pictures of recent peace rallies.