Saturday, October 07, 2006

Led Zeppelin - Dazed And Confused


The greatest of all time.


Let's Stop Whining And Win This War


I have been hearing an awful lot of pessimism and outright defeatism from people of late. These opinions are not being expressed by lefties. Lefties don't even acknowledge that we are in a war. No, instead this pessimism and defeatism is being expressed by people who understand what we are up against; a worldwide Jihad being waged by Muslim extremists.

Now, let's be honest, there are only two state actors in this war, Iran and Saudi Arabia. We may quibble and determine there are more, but, I think we can all agree, the state actors are not our concern. We are not worried that Iran is going to invade the United States, or any other Western country for that matter.

We are worried about two possibilities, 1) that Islamic terrorists are going to pull off a large scale terrorist attack (nuclear, chemical, or biological) which will cripple the West, and 2) that the West will be outbred and flooded with Muslims.

So, we are concerned that individuals (not states) are going to successfully destroy the Western world. Think about that. Think about how stupid that is. If individual idiots from the medieval world of Islamonazism have the potential to hurt the Western world badly, then why is it that we don't believe that individual infidels also have the ability to hurt the Muslim world badly?

In fact, when it comes right down to it, why is it that we don't acknowledge the fact that we, as individuals have the ability to completely obliterate the Muslim world?

The reason we don't acknowledge this fact is because we are waiting for our leaders to do it for us. And, thus far, our leaders are not showing the determination needed to actually win this war. But, how stupid is it that we are willing to live or die depending upon what our leaders decide to do for us?

The Western project (that is the history of the Western world) has been dedicated towards greater freedom and greater individuality. We have learned that we the people can determine our own will, our own lives, our own government. We are the boss.

We need to stop thinking about how others are going to take care of our problems for us. Such a mindset is not American, and it is not adult, and it is not individualist, and ultimately, it is not Western.

We need to determine what we will do to win this war, if we are left to do it ourselves.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Frank Sinatra - Stardust


Frank Sinatra was The Man in the early days. This is the Frank Sinatra everyone fell in love with. A beautiful tenor voice, the chiseled looks, the sheepish, boyish face. He had it all.

I still think his best work was the concept album (recorded about a decade later) In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning, but this video will show you Frank when his voice was at its purest.


Abbas Tells Condi, Palestinian Authority
Will Recognize Israel
Says Opposite On Palestinian Authority TV


This is the kind of duplicitous game the Palestinians have been playing for years now. They tell the West they want peace, but meanwhile they foment hatred and war in the hearts of their people.

They don't want peace. They want to destroy Israel. That's why the official charters of both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas both call for the destruction of Israel. They make it clear enough, why is it that the American government and the United Nations don't believe them when they say it? Why is it that the governments of the world believe the sweet silly songs of peace, when the anthems of war are so much more brutal and clear?

Well, check this out:


Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said this week he would ‘fire Hamas’ if the terror group won’t recognize Israel, but sang a different tune on PA TV.

Abbas convinced U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that he is sincere in his commitment to force the PA government to formally acknowledge the Jewish State’s right to exist, said the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) Thursday.

On PA TV, however, Abbas said “It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel.” Abbas is the head of the Fatah party and terror organization, which is currently the minority faction in the PA legislature.

“I do not demand of Hamas nor any other to recognize Israel,” said Abbas in Arabic, “but from the government that works with Israelis in day to day life, yes.”

Rice said she was impressed with the PA leader’s political acumen after their meeting this week. “We have great admiration for you and your leadership,” she said, and committed the U.S. to “redouble efforts” to help PA Arabs.


I don't believe Condoleeza Rice is so stupid as to not be hip to the game Abbas is playing. For God's sake, I got hip to it several years ago, and I have never taken a political science class in my life. How could I be more sophisticated than our Secretary of State?

The answer is, I'm not. The answer is, she is lying to herself, and thus, to us as well. She wants to believe that peace can be created through an open dialogue. That is not true, however, when the dialogue is as forked as a snakes tongue.

British Muslims
Are Angry
Because MP
Criticizes
Women
Wearing Veil


From Little Green Footballs:


Former British foreign secretary Jack Straw’s remark that he feels uncomfortable talking to women wearing masks has provoked a growing storm of seething from British Muslim advocacy groups: Straw walks into race row over Muslim women’s veil.

One of the radical front groups leading the seething is the “Islamic Human Rights Commission,” whose leader, Massoud Shadjareh, recently draped himself in a Hizballah flag and called on Muslims to support the terrorist group, asking for “financial, logistical and informational support.”

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Paradise


Everything about Sade says, "Less is more."



Muslims
Have Declared
War On Us,
Says French
Police Union


Wait, they called them Muslims, not "youths"? Things must be getting really bad.

Unfortunately, yes, they are.

As you read this article, remember the words of British Muslim, Abu Izzadeen, to Interior Secretary John Reid. He said, "How dare you come to a Muslim area."

It's no surprise the police in France are encountering the same attitude.From the London Telegraph:


Radical Muslims in France's housing estates are waging an undeclared "intifada" against the police, with violent clashes injuring an average of 14 officers each day.

As the interior ministry said that nearly 2,500 officers had been wounded this year, a police union declared that its members were "in a state of civil war" with Muslims in the most depressed "banlieue" estates which are heavily populated by unemployed youths of north African origin.

It said the situation was so grave that it had asked the government to provide police with armoured cars to protect officers in the estates, which are becoming no-go zones.

The number of attacks has risen by a third in two years. Police representatives told the newspaper Le Figaro that the "taboo" of attacking officers on patrol has been broken.

Instead, officers – especially those patrolling in pairs or small groups – faced attacks as soon as they tried to arrest locals.

Michel Thoomis, the secretary general of the hardline Action Police trade union, has written to Mr Sarkozy warning of an "intifada" on the estates and demanding that officers be given armoured cars in the most dangerous areas.

He said yesterday: "We are in a state of civil war, orchestrated by radical Islamists. This is not a question of urban violence any more, it is an intifada, with stones and Molotov cocktails.

"You no longer see two or three youths confronting police, you see whole tower blocks emptying into the streets to set their 'comrades' free when they are arrested."


My friend Blueslord from Actual Jihad has translated an article on this subject from the French paper Le Figaro. Here's a short snippet:


"Violent acts are rising in an exponential proportion", says a speaker from the Police. "If this tendency continues, we will have 15% of the policemen hurt in a year".


They are suffering a higher number of casualties than Americans are in Iraq. The total number of casualties in Iraq per year is approximately 6,800, which represents about 4.5% of total American forces.

These statistics show that it isn't much of an exaggeration to say this is a "war".

Go read the rest and see the picture over at Actual Jihad.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ocean Wave Remix


A little European Jazz here, featuring John Surman on Saxophone and Jack DeJohnette on Drums. A rather beautiful video as well.


I'll Follow You Into The Dark


Here's a chilling video by a band called Death Cab For Cutie. The song is called I'll Follow You Into The Dark, which is an expression of profound love in the face of death. The video has an existential dread reminiscent of the best of David Lynch. This is an example of the popular art form of the music video ascending into the realm of great art.



Europe
Rejects
Its
Own
Enlightenment


Europe, the cradle of modern civilization is turning its back on Voltaire and John Locke:


The new enemies of Reason are not the enraged democrats who executed Socrates, the Christian zealots who persecuted philosophers of heliocentricity, or the Nazis who burned books. No, they are a pampered and scared Western public that caves to barbarism — dwarves who sit on the shoulders of dead giants, and believe that their present exalted position is somehow related to their own cowardly sense of accommodation.

What would a Socrates, Galileo, Descartes, or Locke believe of the present decay in Europe — that all their bold and courageous thinking, won at such a great cost, would have devolved into such cheap surrender to fanaticism? Just think: Put on an opera in today’s Germany, and have it shut down, not by Nazis, Communists, or kings, but by the simple fear of Islamic fanatics.

Write a novel deemed critical of the Prophet Mohammed, as did Salman Rushdie, and face years of ostracism and death threats — in the heart of Europe no less. Compose a film, as did Theo Van Gogh, and find your throat cut in “liberal” Holland. Or better yet, sketch a cartoon in postmodern Denmark, and then go into hiding. Quote an ancient treatise, as did the pope, and learn your entire Church may come under assault, and the magnificent stones of the Vatican offer no refuge.

There are three lessons to be drawn from these examples. In almost every case, the criticism of the artist or intellectual was based either on his supposed lack of sensitivity or of artistic excellence. Van Gogh was, of course, obnoxious and his films puerile. The pope was woefully ignorant of public relations. The cartoons in Denmark were amateurish and unnecessary. Rushdie was an overrated novelist, whose chickens of trashing the West he sought refuge in finally came home to roost. The latest Hans Neuenfels adaptation of Mozart’s Idomeneo was silly.

But isn’t that precisely the point?

It is easy to defend artists when they produce works of genius that do not offend popular sensibilities — Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws — but not so when an artist offends with neither taste nor talent.

Note also the constant subtext in this new self-censorship: fear of radical Islam and its gruesome appendages of beheadings, suicide bombings, improvised explosive devices, barbaric fatwas, riotous youth, petrodollar-acquired nuclear weapons, oil boycotts and price hikes, and fist-chanting mobs. In contrast, almost daily in Europe, “brave” artists caricature Christians and Americans with impunity. Why? For a long list of reasons, among them most surely the assurance that they can do this without being killed.

Such cowards puff out their chests when trashing an ill Oriana Fallaci or Ariel Sharon or beleaguered George W. Bush in the most demonic of tones, but prove sunken and sullen when threatened by a Dr Zawahri or a grand mufti of some obscure mosque.


There are several very powerful institutions in modern society. There is the media, there is big business, there is the government, and there is religion.

Can you imagine how stupid a person would sound if they were to say, "We need to be more sensitive to those in big business, so let's tone down the criticism."

That would be absurd, right? And, ultimately, it would be very dangerous, because if we were not allowed to criticize big business, then big business would be able to run amok, using and abusing natural and human resources unchecked.

Same thing with the government. We must be allowed to criticize those who govern us. The national political debate which takes place on talk radio, in the blogs, and other media, is an integral part of enacting policy. We get to vote every few years, but our leaders here our voice and come to know our will through the daily political debate.

So, how is it that we, even for a second, would entertain the notion that we must be sensitive and refrain from criticizing religion?

It is arguable that religion actually exerts more power and influence across the world, and the United States, than does any other institution. How could we possibly allow such power to go unchecked by public criticism?

The answer is, we can't.

Sometimes You Just Gotta Love Your Enemies


Fatah member, Abu Ahmed, says Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' ultimate goal is to destroy the state of Israel. How? Read on:


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' stated recognition of Israel's right to exist is part of a "political calculation" aimed at ultimately destroying the Jewish state, a terror group leader and member of Abbas' Fatah party told WND in an interview.

The leader said the Fatah party does not recognize Israel and that any final accord that doesn't include flooding the Jewish state with millions of Palestinians will not be supported by the Fatah party and will lead to Palestinian civil war.

"The base of our Fatah movement keeps dreaming of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jaffa and Akko," said Abu Ahmed, Fatah member and leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip. "There is no change in our position. Abbas recognizes Israel because of pressure that the Zionists and the Americans are exercising on him. We understand this is part of his obligations and political calculations."

The Brigades is the declared "military wing" of Abbas' Fatah party. Together with the Islamic Jihad terror group, the Brigades has taken responsibility for every suicide bombing inside Israel the past two years, including an attack in Tel Aviv this past April that killed an American teenager and nine Israelis. The Brigades also has carried out scores of deadly shooting and rocket attacks against Israeli civilians in recent months.

Brigades leaders are members of Fatah. The terror group's founder, Marwan Barghouti, is an elected Fatah official and is largely considered one of the most popular Fatah figures. Several top Brigades members serve in Abbas' Force 17 personal security detail.

Abu Ahmed explained Fatah itself has never officially recognized Israel.

"It is the PLO, which is a separate entity, that recognized Israel,and this was a step, a tactical step that had as its goal to bring the resistance and the revolution closer to the lands of Palestine," Abu Ahmed said.

The PLO was the official governing body of the Palestinians until the A was formed following the Oslo Accords. Subsequent Israeli-Palestinian agreements were signed officially by the Fatah-led PA but not by Fatah as a party.

Still, Fatah leaders, including Abbas, have made scores of statements recognizing the Jewish state.

But Abu Ahmed commented, "There is an opportunistic class at the head of the Fatah leadership that for personal and political interests says it accepts the existence of Israel. There is no change in our official position. Fatah as a movement never recognized Israel. It is the PLO who did so for the reasons I mentioned."

The US State Department considers the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades a terror organization.

A State Department spokesman yesterday told WND the Brigades is "separate" from Abbas' Fatah party. But Abu Ahmed explained his Brigades group is "one and the same" with the Fatah party.


"We are members of Fatah, and there are normal organic relations between us and the Fatah. We are in the Al Aqsa Brigades because we are Fatah members. We participate in all political decisions making of the Fatah movement."

Abu Ahmed said Brigades members consider Abbas their legitimate leader and answer ultimately to the PA president.

"Of course we are loyal to Abbas. He is our elected leader. We would of course prefer if his policy toward Israel was different, but we understand his obligations and calculations, and we do not consider ourselves limited by these calculations," the terror leader said.

Abu Ahmed explained the difference between Hamas and Fatah is that the Fatah party "is ready to discuss a political arrangement for the Jews."

But he said any arrangement must include the "right of return" of millions of Palestinians to Israel.

"We demand (any agreement with Israel) be based upon the principles that the great majority of our people support and first of all the right of return to the refugees, which mean that there cannot be any recognition of the Zionist entity.

"If any Palestinian government will dare sign a deal without this it means that this government has decided to throw away the fate and destiny of more than four million Palestinian refugees, and we cannot accept this."


The "right of return" is widely seen by Israelis as a ploy to flood Israel with millions of Palestinians, thus threatening the country's Jewish character.

Israel has a population of about 6.9 million; about 5.3 million are Jewish; nearly 1.3 million are Arab. The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank claim a population of 3.8, but recent studies found the current Palestinian population may be inflated by up to 50 percent, with some major cities even being counted twice.

Abu Ahmed pointed to recent opinion polls showing upwards of 70 percent of the Palestinian public does not support Israel's right to exist.

He warned if the PA concludes an agreement with Israel that does not include the "right of return," it will result in civil war.

"We will fight such a government that would make an agreement (without the 'right of return'), even if this may lead to a civil war. We are of course not interested in such a war but we want to ensure that any political process does not give up any of our holy principles," Abu Ahmed said.



You gotta love your enemies when they tell the truth. So, thank you very much, Abu.

Abu is right to say that Fatah has never recognized Israel's right to exist. In fact, the official United Nations web page of the Palestinian Authority still, to this day, contains the PLO Charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel.

It's only through the work of the media that anyone in this world has the idea that there is a real "partner for peace" at work in the Palestinian government.

Why does the media not tell the truth on this subject? The best I can guess is they must operate by the belief that we must not give up. We must always keep channels of communication open. That we must always continue "dialoguing." Well, that's fine, unless, your enemy repeatedly tells you he wants to kill you. At that point, it's probably time to step away from the negotiation table, and you know, maybe go get a gun, or something.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fire On The Moon
The BellRays



In my ongoing attempt to prove that the BellRays are one of the best bands in rock n' roll history, I bring you the video for Fire On The Moon.


Supreme Court Says
It's Ok
To Have
Children Recite
Islamic
Prayers
In School


The hell it is! I can tell you that if my children are ever asked to do this, I will yank them out of class so fast the Principal's head will spin right off her body.

Isn't it bizarre that the Supreme Court is bound and determined that children are not allowed to pray in school when there is the possibility that those prayers may be Christian prayers, but if they are Islamic prayers, then it is a-ok?

It appears that Justice is a crap shoot in our country at this point.

Here's the article from the San Francisco Chronicle:


The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday by evangelical Christian students and their parents who said a Contra Costa County school district engaged in unconstitutional religious indoctrination when it taught students about Islam by having them recite language from prayers.

The court, without comment, left intact a ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco last November in favor of the Byron Union School District in eastern Contra Costa.

The suit challenged the content of a seventh-grade history course at Excelsior Middle School in Byron in the fall of 2001. The teacher, using an instructional guide, told students they would adopt roles as Muslims for three weeks to help them learn what Muslims believe.

She encouraged them to use Muslim names, recited prayers in class, had them memorize and recite a passage from the Quran
and made them give up something for a day, such as television or candy, to simulate fasting during the month of Ramadan. The final exam asked students for a critique of elements of Muslim culture.


Here's my critique of Muslim culture. It is an evil, death worshipping culture. They brag about how they hate life, while we love it. Check out this post from my buddy Reliapundit:


“All those who hate me love death” – [YHVH], Proverbs 8:36“We love death. The US loves life. That is the difference between us two.” – Osama bin Laden, November 2001

I think Osama's quote - especially juxtaposed with the quote fro the Bible - proves that the jihadists are - in their own words, and in comparison with the essence of Judeo-Christian/Western ethos - the essence of evil. Pure, unadulterated, diabolical evil. Utterly false prophets.
Poole at TAT has more; RTWT. The New Testament has more, too:

Jesus spoke about creeds - false creeds and false prophets. What he said is very instructional:
You will know them by their fruits.

"Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits." - Matthew 7:6-20


Meanwhile a 12 year old girl named Amber Magnusson, at a school
in Prince George's County, was told by her Principal that she is not allowed to read the Bible under a tree at recess. From the Washington Post:


Amber Mangum was a frequent reader during lunch breaks at her Prince George's County middle school, silently soaking up the adventures of Harry Potter and other tales in the spare minutes before afternoon classes. The habit was never viewed as a problem -- not, a lawsuit alleges, until the book she was reading was the Bible.

A vice principal at Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School in Laurel last month ordered Amber, then 12, to stop reading the Bible or face punishment, according to a lawsuit filed Friday by Amber's mother. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, alleges that the vice principal's actions violated the girl's civil rights.

"Amber's a new Christian, and she's trying to learn all she can," said Maryann Mangum, the girl's mother. "She reads her Bible and she goes to Sunday school. . . . It really upset me when she was not allowed to read it on her own time."

Mangum said her daughter was reading her Bible on Sept. 14 when Vice Principal Jeanetta Rainey approached. According to Mangum and the lawsuit, Rainey told Amber that reading the Bible violated school policy and that she would face discipline if she continued to do so.


I wonder how the Supreme Court will rule on that.

What is going on in our country?

I'm telling you, the Christian Church is going to have to start getting real serious about protecting the traditional freedoms and rights of Western Civilization. There is a creeping Islamification and Leftist ideological assault on that which we believe in.

The Seething And Gnashing Of Teeth
Islam Confronts The Modern World


Heaven forbid, someone threw a paperback copy of the Koran in a toilet at a college in Manhattan. Of course, that means the whole world comes to a crashing halt, and everyone looks around, breatlessly, wondering if and when Muslims are going to starting rioting and burning things to the ground.

CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations, what relations, by the way?) is hopping mad:


NEW YORK (AP) - A lower Manhattan college is investigating how a paperback copy of the Quran from the campus library ended up in a public toilet, school officials said Tuesday.
The discovery at Pace University was among three separate incidents in the past two weeks involving vandalism with racial or religious overtones. In the other two, racial slurs were scrawled on a student’s car parked at a satellite campus in Westchester County and on a bathroom wall at the downtown campus.


University President David A. Caputo said the incidents did not appear to be related. But he called them “deeply disturbing” and invited faculty and students to discuss them Tuesday afternoon at a meeting.

“One of our university’s greatest strengths is its diversity,” Caputo wrote in a letter describing the incidents. “However, when speech is hurtful towards a class of people or incites violence, we must condemn it and take measures to stop it.” The school’s security force was trying to identify the vandals so they could be disciplined, Caputo said.


Charles, at Little Green Footballs, notes:


The Council on American Islamic Relations, before any facts are known, is already screaming “Islamophobia!” and demanding that the incident be treated as a crime.


Here's the CAIR press release:


CAIR-NY TO TAKE PART IN MTG ON QURAN DESECRATION
(NEW YORK, NY, 10/3/06) - On Tuesday, October 3, the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) will participate in a town hall meeting at Pace University to discuss a recent incident in which a Quran, Islam’s revealed text, was found in the toilet in a campus men’s room. CAIR-NY is calling on the university to treat the incident as a possible hate crime.


WHAT: Town Hall Meeting at Pace University WHEN: Tuesday, October 3, 2006, 3:30 p.m. WHERE: Schimmel Center, Pace University (NYC campus)
CAIR-NY sees this incident as evidence of the growing phenomenon of Islamophobia in the United States and will encourage Pace University to hold more town hall meetings for the student population in order to create a better understanding of Islam.
CONTACT: Afsheen Shamsi, CAIR-NY Communications Director



So, some uncowed Infidel wrote CAIR a letter telling them what he thinks of their "Town Hall Meeting"


This has got to be some kind of satire.

You’re actually organizing a town hall meeting to discuss this incident?

You guys are waaaay too thin-skinned. Only pinheads, dhimmis and your acolytes will attend this meeting voluntarily.

Wait a minute, I take that back. I would attend for the entertainment value alone! The whining and moaning and seething and gnashing of teeth should be well worth the price of admission!!

Someone say “Hey” to Doug for me.


Michael James
South Forty, Texas


An Atlas reader has a point about CAIR's agenda:



I am starting to believe, and you may keep an eye on this, that CAIR is using these events to proselytize, preach, and deliver Islam to the public. They are using these events to become the Jehovah's Witnesses of ‘diversity.’ The may even be creating the events, who knows.

Everytime something happens CAIR is there to condemn, and then say we need to come into and on campus, school, workforce and teach ‘diversity’ and let people be aware of what ‘Islam’ is.

Their ‘diversity’ training has nothing about diversity in it.

This is the PC way of preaching for Islam. I pointed out recently CAIRS Islamic sermon called ‘Educators Guide, Understanding Your Muslim Student’ here. It is a sermon and is being delivered everywhere, after every time CAIR has it's feelings hurt. If someone went through this same ‘Guide’ and substituted the words ‘Jesus’ instead of Mohammed the ACLU would be all over it.


Yeah, and that's a sermon I don't need, and honestly, I don't think we need anymore Muslims in the world than we already have. If you think about it, there isn't an Islamic country in the world that has freedom of religion, or a real idea of freedom of speech. Non-Islamic countries run the gamut from being free and productive to totalitarian and abusive. But, there is no variance when it comes to Islamic countries. They are all abusive.

The Economist discusses the United Nations Human Devolopment Report on the Arab World:


The barrier to better Arab performance is not a lack of resources, concludes the report, but the lamentable shortage of three essentials: freedom, knowledge and womanpower. Not having enough of these amounts to what the authors call the region's three “deficits”. It is these deficits, they argue, that hold the frustrated Arabs back from reaching their potential—and allow the rest of the world both to despise and to fear a deadly combination of wealth and backwardness.

•Freedom. This deficit, in the UNDP's interpretation, explains many of the fundamental things that are wrong with the Arab world: the survival of absolute autocracies; the holding of bogus elections; confusion between the executive and the judiciary (the report points out the close linguistic link between the two in Arabic); constraints on the media and on civil society; and a patriarchal, intolerant, sometimes suffocating social environment.

The area is rich in all the outward trappings of democracy. Elections are held and human-rights conventions are signed. But the great wave of democratisation that has opened up so much of the world over the past 15 years seems to have left the Arabs untouched. Democracy is occasionally offered, but as a concession, not as a right.

Freedom of expression and freedom of association are both sharply limited. The report quotes Freedom House, an American-based monitor of political and civil rights, in recording that no Arab country has genuinely free media, and only three have “partly free”. The rest are not free.

The most delicate issue of all, again carefully skirted by the authors of the report, is the part that Islam plays in delaying and impeding the Arab world's advance towards the ever-receding renaissance that its intellectuals crave. One of the report's signed articles explains Islam's support for justice, peace, tolerance, equilibrium and all good things besides. But most secularists believe that the pervasive Islamisation of society, which in several Arab countries has largely replaced the frightening militancy of the 1980s and early 1990s, has played a significant part in stifling constructive Arab thought.

From their schooldays onwards, Arabs are instructed that they should not defy tradition, that they should respect authority, that truth should be sought in the text and not in experience. Fear of fawda (chaos) and fitna (schism) are deeply engrained in much Arab-Islamic teaching. “The role of thought”, wrote a Syrian intellectual “is to explain and transmit...and not to search and question.”


Why would we want more of such in our world. We need to work to lesson the influence of Islam wherever it is found.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Words Just Get In The Way


Here's a video by Richard Ashcroft, one of my favorite singer/songwriters, and a Brit who gets it.

Check out where he goes in the middle of the song.

He ain't da' man, but he know da' Man.


The Bellrays


I'm going to try to prove to you, in the coming days, that The Bellrays are the greatest unsung rock band of our generation.

Check out this video from some dumb latenight TV show.


Kiss Me


An absolutely adorable video from Sixpence None The Richer.


Two Americans
Win Nobel Prize
For Learning
How To
Shut Off
The Genes
That Kill


Americans, Andrew Fire and Craig Mello, win the Nobel for their work in RNA Interference:


Americans Andrew Z. Fire and Craig C. Mello won the Nobel Prize in medicine Monday for discovering a powerful way to turn off the effect of specific genes, opening a potential new avenue for fighting diseases as diverse as cancer and AIDS.

The process, called RNA interference, also is being studied for treating such conditions as hepatitis virus infection and heart disease. It already widely used in basic science as a method to study the function of genes.

RNA interference occurs naturally in plants, animals and humans. The Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, which awarded the $1.4 million prize, said it is important for regulating the activity of genes and helps defend against viral infection.

"This year's Nobel laureates have discovered a fundamental mechanism for controlling the flow of genetic information," the institute said.

Erna Moller, a member of the Nobel committee, said their research helped shed new light on a complicated process that had confused researchers for years.

"It was like opening the blinds in the morning," she said. "Suddenly you can see everything clearly."

Genes produce their effect by sending molecules called messenger RNA to the protein-making machinery of a cell. In RNA interference, certain molecules trigger the destruction of RNA from a particular gene, so that no protein is produced. Thus the gene is effectively silenced.

For instance, a gene causing high blood cholesterol levels was recently shown to be silenced in animals through RNA interference.


Can you imagine what human life will be like when most negative physical conditions can be treated this way. Put this kind of discovery together with the already burgeoning future of bionic limbs and chip implants, and human beings may become close to indestructible.


No More
Exploding
Mohammeds


In the early 700's A.D., the Muslims (known as the Moors) invaded the Iberian Peninsula, an area that included Portugal and Spain (which were then under Christian rule), and conquered the territory, renaming it al-Andalusia. The area was under Islamic control from that time, until 1492, when the Spaniards finally expelled the Moors, an event known to history as La Reconquista.

La Reconquista is still celebrated to this day in cities across Spain. Many of these cities burn Mohammed in effigy, or stuff a likeness of Mohammed with fireworks, which make him "explode" when set off.

This year, however, things are different. Why? Well, because the Moors are back, and the Spaniards are afraid:


MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish villages are toning down traditional fiestas in which revelers blow up dummies representing the Prophet Mohammed for fear of offending Muslims, the newspaper El Pais reported on Monday.

One eastern Spanish village, Bocairent, decided to abandon the custom of packing the head of a dummy representing Mohammed with fireworks after seeing the angry response by Muslims to a Danish newspaper’s publication last year of cartoons of him.

El Pais found that several other villages in the Valencia region had also modified similar fiestas this year. It carried out the investigation after a Berlin opera house decided last week to cancel performances of Mozart’s “Idomeneo” because the production included a scene depicting Mohammed’s severed head.

Bocairent’s mayor, Antonio Valdes, said blowing up the Mohammed dummy was offensive. “It just wasn’t necessary, and, as it could hurt some people’s feelings, we decided not to do it,” he said.


This is one of the saddest examples of the creeping Muslim re-colonialization of Europe. The Spanish may tell themselves they are merely being considerate of the feelings of their Islamic brothers, but their is no reciprocal consideration for the feelings of Spaniards.

In our modern era, the Moors don't have to enter our countries with swords and horses. They can come over on commercial airliners, get citizenship, and outbreed us, threatening us the whole time, and making it clear they intend to turn our countries into Islamic states.

And, we allow it.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

River Man


Song by Nick Drake



Muslims
Don't
Surf


Drawing by
Mrs. Pastorius
The Everhot.

Well, I'm sure some do, but probably not the guys who want to kill us. Those guys just don't have any groove, let's face it.

This post actually has nothing to do with Muslims, but I couldn't help think of the famous line from Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, "Charlie don't surf."

I have always admired surfers because, having been an avid boogie boarder throughout a good deal of my life, I recognize the level of danger involved, the level of fear that needs to be overcome, the sanctified air of man and wave, the peacefulness and the terror ...

Anyway, I was reading an old Roger Ebert review of the 2003 movie, Riding Giants, and it was so cool I just had to post it here:


For 15 years, Jeff Clark surfed alone. He paddled through 45 minutes of wave and chop to reach Mavericks, "a veritable graveyard of jagged rocks" in the Pacific off San Francisco. There he found the most challenging surfing he had ever seen or heard about. For all those years other surfers didn't join him; the area was too remote, and they were focused on Southern California and Hawaii.

Well, you wonder, how dangerous could the "graveyard" be if Clark survived it solo for 15 years? Then word of Mavericks gets around, and legendary surfers from Hawaii's North Shore come to visit. One of the sport's champions, Mark Foo, is killed after wiping out on a medium wave. One theory is that the tether to his board got caught on rocks and he drowned. Another surfer thinks he felt or sensed somebody under the water who shouldn't have been there. Exactly one year later, during a memorial to Foo, another surfer is drowned.

The documentary "Riding Giants" shows surfers gathered to discuss and mourn the lost men. It does not show Jeff Clark during those previous 15 years because, of course, he was alone. And what a species of aloneness it was, to plunge into the cold ocean and swim out 45 minutes for a few seconds of exhilaration at the risk of your life. Clark and his kind live at the intersection of courage, madness, skill and obsession.

Consider Laird Hamilton, the current golden boy of the sport, who has cashed in with endorsement contracts, modeling assignments and magazine covers. But no, I am not comparing him unfavorably to Clark, because Hamilton is also a superb athlete and a driven man. Hanging around as a kid with Hawaii's big wave riders of the 1960s, he introduced his divorced mom to one of them, who became his stepfather and tutor; Laird grew up to become surfing's first superstar.

What Hamilton has done is go farther from land than any rider had thought to go, seeking "remote offshore reefs capable of producing unimaginable waves." At first this involved paddling two hours and then waiting up to two hours for a wave. Then Hamilton invents "towing surfing," in which a jet ski tows him out to the far reefs, and slingshots him onto waves moving so fast it is impossible to access them any other way.

The jet ski driver's other job is to pick up Hamilton again after the ride, or be prepared to rescue him. The current thriller "Open Water" shows a couple lost at sea after being left behind on a scuba-diving tour. For Hamilton, being lost at sea is a possibility several times a day. "Riding Giants" was directed by Stacy Peralta, whose "Dogtown and Z-Boys" (2002) documented the invention and culture of Southern California skateboarding. In both films his archival work is the key; he seems to have access to limitless historical footage, sometimes in home movie form; we see Hamilton at the dawn of towing surfing, when at first it was scorned and then embraced by the sport's champions.

In August 2000, Hamilton goes to Tahiti in search of a legendary wave so big it is "a freak of hydroponics." He finds it and rides it, and we see him precariously balanced on its terrifying immensity in what the movie calls "the most significant ride in surfing history." Other surfers, providing voiceover commentary, say the wave's characteristics were so different from ordinary waves that Hamilton had to improvise new techniques, some of them violating years of surfing theory and instinct, right there on the wave.

What a long time it seems since that summer of 1967, when I sat in a Chicago beer garden with the suntanned and cheerful Bruce Brown. He'd just made a documentary named "Endless Summer," and was touring the country with it, at the moment when surfing was exploding (there were 5,000 surfers in 1959, 2 million today). For Brown, surfing was a lark. With a $50,000 budget, he followed two surfers on an odyssey that led to Senegal, Ghana, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti and Hawaii. They were searching for the "perfect wave," and found it off Durban, South Africa: "A 4-foot curl that gave rides of 15 minutes and came in so steadily it looked like it was made by a machine."

A 4-foot curl? Hamilton and his contemporaries challenge waves of 60 or 70 feet. "Endless Summer" charts a world of beaches and babes, brews and Beach Boys songs, and surfers who live to "get stoked." In "Riding Giants" the sport is more like an endless winter -- solitary and dangerous. Even as Brown was making "Endless Summer," modern surfing was being invented by pioneers like Greg Noll of Hawaii, who ventured 15 miles up the coast from Honolulu to Waimea Bay. It was thought to be unsurfable; a surfer asks himself, "can the human body survive the wipeout?" It could. The discovery of the North Shore of Oahu, the movie says, "was surfing's equivalent of Columbus discovering the New World."

More vintage footage. The "storm of the century" descends upon Hawaii, and Noll, known as "The Bull," determines to surf it. His chances of surviving are rated at 50/50 by the movie, at zero by any reasonable person watching it. He survived. It was "the biggest wave ever ridden" -- until, perhaps, the monster that Hamilton found off Tahiti, too big to be measured.After Bruce Brown finds his Perfect Wave in "Endless Summer," he marvels: "The odds against a wave like this are 20 million to one!" The odds that Laird Hamilton could get stoked on a 4-foot curl are higher than that. Before seeing "Riding Giants," my ideas about surfing were formed by the Gidget movies, "Endless Summer," the Beach Boys, Elvis and lots of TV commercials. "Surfin' Safari" was actually running through my head on the way into the screening.

"Riding Giants" is about altogether another reality. The overarching fact about these surfers is the degree of their obsession. They live to ride, and grow depressed when there are no waves. They haunt the edge of the sea like the mariners Melville describes on the first pages of Moby Dick. They seek the rush of those moments when they balance on top of a wave's fury and feel themselves in precarious harmony with the ungovernable force of the ocean. They are cold and tired, battered by waves, thrown against rocks, visited by sharks, held under so long they believe they are drowning -- and over and over, year after year, they go back into the sea to do it again.

The Secret Of The Scarlet Thread


A little Talmudic mysticism for you, here on a Sunday evening, and, of course, the beginning of Yom Kippur (Thanks to Olivia for sending this over to me):


The Talmud, a gigantic library of ancient Rabbinic commentary, is composed of the Mishnah, a legal commentary on the Torah codified around 120 AD, and the Gemara, a commentary on the Mishnah, which was finalized around 400 - 500AD. A multitude, if not a majority, of the traditions recorded in these texts, however, existed in the time of Yeshua, and represent major influential currents in the theology of Judaism in the Second Temple period. As such, the Talmud is absolutely indispensable to the study of the New Testament. In recent years, a flurry of modern scholarship, both Jewish and Christian, has rapidly developed in this field, and numerous articles and books have been published on the subject. Contained within the Talmud, and even throughout the entire scope of Rabbinic literature, a large number of striking parallels to the New Testament emerge, illuminating the ancient understanding of the teachings of Yeshua of Nazareth, and opening a window into the text of the Gospels and writings of Shaul of Tarsus. In the midst of this connection between the Talmud and the New Testament, a scarlet thread has ignited a new facet of an ancient debate.

The controversial scarlet thread figures prominently in the center of miraculous events that took place in the Second Temple. The Talmud records the Yom Kippur Temple ritual concerning the thread, and the miracles surrounding it:

"R. Nahman b. Isaac said it was the tongue of scarlet’, as it has been taught: ‘Originally they used to fasten the thread of scarlet on the door of the [Temple] court on the outside.28 If it turned white the people used to rejoice,29 and if it did not turn white they were sad. They therefore made a rule that it should be fastened to the door of the court on the inside. People, however, still peeped in and saw, and if it turned white they rejoiced and if it did not turn white they were sad. They therefore made a rule that half of it should be fastened to the rock and half between the horns of the goat that was sent [to the wilderness]’. . . . If you assume It was R. Johanan b. Zaccai [who made the rule], was there in the days of R. Johanan b. Zaccai a thread of scarlet [which turned white]? Has it not been taught: ‘R. Johanan b. Zaccai lived altogether a hundred and twenty years. For forty years he was in business, forty years he studied, and forty years he taught’, and it has further been taught: ‘For forty years before the destruction of the Temple the thread of scarlet never turned white but it remained red’. Further, the statement of the Mishnah is, ‘After the destruction of the Temple R. Johanan b. Zaccai made a rule’. [What says] the other [to this]? — During those forty years that he studied his status was that of a disciple sitting before his teacher, and he would offer a suggestion and make good his reasons."

Footnotes:
(28) After the High Priest had performed the service on the Day of Atonement. V. Yoma, 67a.(29) This being a sign that their sins had been forgiven.Rosh HaShanah 31b, Babylonian Talmud, Soncino Press Edition

Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day in all of Judaism, and was central to the kapparah (covering) of the sins of Israel. The scarlet thread, as explained in the above passage, miraculously turned white if Adonai accepted the sacrifice, thus indicating that He forgave the sins of the people. If the thread did not turn white, then they were sad, as their sins were not forgiven.

This section in the Talmud divides this time into three periods of 40 years, coinciding with the life of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai. A similar division of years is applied to Moshe, and Rabbi Akiva. Leading up to the last set of forty years when the scarlet thread ceased altogether, the miracle only sporadically occurred. What is extremely significant, or "coincidental", is that the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Yeshua of Nazareth, whom a first-century apocalyptic sect of Judaism believed was the Messiah, was crucified circa 30 AD. The "coincidence" and controversy is now obvious, the scarlet thread finally ceased turning white around the time Yeshua was crucified.

Rabbi Tovia Singer, of Outreach Judaism, an anti-missionary group, has attempted to refute this understanding of the text. He attempts to make a point about hypocrisy of "Hebrew Christians" who disparage the Oral Torah, and then change positions when it fits their agenda.

In regard to the importance, or "coincidence" regarding the scarlet thread, Rabbi Singer, argues against the connection to Yeshua's crucifixion noting how Christians have "misused" this Talmud quote, and taken it out of context. Recounting a story of a pastor who "excitedly" expounded this section of the Talmud to his congregation, who were so "spellbound" their faces turned pale, he asserts,

"Had any one of the parishioners in the audience gone to the local library and examined this entire section of the Talmud, they would have quickly realized that this quote had been misapplied and misused."Tovia Singer, Outreach Judaism, "Why Did the Red Ribbon on the Head of the Scapegoat turn White in 30 C.E.?"

Years ago, when I first became aware of this text, I was aware of this possibility, so I actually looked Rosh HaShanah 31b up in a local Jewish temple. I then purchased Tractate Sanhedrin, and then eventually the entire Talmud. Rabbi Singer's statement is totally inaccurate. There is NOTHING in the surrounding areas of this texts that indicate it has in any way been misused. As we did to Rosh HaShanah 31b above, we will quote the entire section relevant to the scarlet thread, and then let the reader decide:

"Our Rabbis taught: Throughout the forty years that Simeon the Righteous ministered, the lot [‘For the Lord’] would always come up in the right hand; from that time on, it would come up now in the right hand, now in the left. And [during the same time] the crimson-coloured strap12 would become white. From that time on it would at times become white, at others not. Also: Throughout those forty years the westernmost light13 was shining, from that time on, it was now shining, now failing; also the fire of the pile of wood kept burning strong,14 so that the priests did not have to bring to the pile any other wood besides the two logs,15 in order to fulfill the command about providing the wood unintermittently; from that time on, it would occasionally keep burning strongly, at other times not, so that the priests could not do without bringing throughout the day wood for the pile [on the altar]. . . . Our Rabbis taught: During the last forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot [‘For the Lord’] did not come up in the right hand; nor did the crimson-coloured strap become white; nor did the westernmost light shine; and the doors of the Hekal would open by themselves, until R. Johanan b. Zakkai rebuked them, saying: Hekal, Hekal, why wilt thou be the alarmer thyself?5 I know about thee that thou wilt be destroyed, for Zechariah ben Ido has already prophesied concerning thee:6 Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.7

12) Which was tied between the horns of the bullock. If that became white, it signified that the Holy One, blessed be He, had forgiven Israel's sin. Cf. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow (Isa. I, 18, Rashi).
Yoma 39b, Babylonian Talmud, Soncino Press Edition

Contrary to Singer's assertion, there is nothing in the above selection that would lead any of the "parishioners" to think differently about the way their pastor "excitedly expounded" it. It is important to note that the miracle of the thread turning white was a sporadic occurrence, yet something still happened to cause the miracle to cease completely 40 years before the destruction of the Temple.


There is more, much, much more. Go read it for yourself.

I often wonder why Jews and Christians are so convinced that we practice a different religion, and then, I read things like this, and I recognize that until the Last Days when the blinders are taken off both the Jews, and my fellow Christians, none of us are going to be able to resolve these differences.

Until then, I'm going to sit here and tell you, I know for sure that we worship the same God, and that He is simply working His plan for our separate groups, in separate ways. Too bad the result of us not understanding His plan is that we too often condemn each other.

Today, being Yom Kippur the day when we are supposed to confess our sins to the Lord, and ask for His forgiveness, I propose we ask to be forgiven for condemning each other at times when we simply don't understand each other.

Now, in our world, more than ever, we Christians need the Jews, and the Jews need us Christians. I hope we will work together.

I know it's the wrong Holiday to say this, but, what have such considerations ever stopped me before? Next year, in Jerusalem.


And, let me leave you with some words from George Bush (via Atlas Shrugs):


"Yom Kippur is a solemn time to express thanksgiving that the Almighty remembers the names of all His children," said a White House statement issued in the name of the president and First Lady.

"During this blessed Day of Atonement, Jewish people gather in synagogues, consider their deeds and actions and celebrate as the sound of the Shofar proclaims the forgiveness and mercy shown by the Creator of life.

"As the High Holy Days come to an end, the Jewish people in America and around the world remind us of the gift of religious freedom and the blessings of God's steadfast love. On Yom Kippur and throughout the year, your deep commitment to faith helps make the world a more hopeful and peaceful place."


The Chicken
Or
The Egg?


I think my nine year old daughter has solved the age old conundrum.

"Dad, which came first the chicken or the egg?" she asked.

I rolled my eyes inwardly thinking, "Or no, now I have to play some sort of meaningless word game with her, or maybe this is gonna be some dumb joke, or something."

"The chicken," I answered, deciding to bravely plunge ahead anyway.

"Right," she exclaimed. "I thought about it. It has to be the chicken, because if it was the egg, it would have died, because it wouldn't have had anyone to keep it warm."

There you go. There is definately both logic and wisdom in that answer.

Problem solved.