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Thursday
Nov112004

Belgium Bans Democracy

Yet another strike against the European Union.



One begins to get the impression that Europeans horrified by the re-election of President Bush are not just horrified at the U.S. vote tally, but that George W. Bush was allowed to run for office at all.



Hat tip: The Sparse Matrix.



Addendum: It occurs to me that Belgium is one of the "good" nations in the United Nations. Food for thought.

Wednesday
Nov102004

Ronald Reagan Postage Stamp

Little Red Blog has a picture of the new Ronald Reagan commemorative postage stamp.

Wednesday
Nov102004

Most Charitable States -- Red or Blue?

Michelle Malkin has a chart.

Wednesday
Nov102004

Born Again Christians Shouldn't Vote and More

From Power Line: Garrison Keillor "jokes" that born-again Christians should not be allowed to vote, while the New York Times runs a piece ruminating on the implications of assassinating President Bush.



I know this is the silly season, but I truly expected less silliness from people/institutions who actually have (had?) reputations to protect.



Addendum: Keillor, writing on his website (viewed November 15, 2004) clarified his opinion somewhat in response to a letter. The following is the letter and that part of Keillor's response dealing with the subject of Christians voting:

Dear GK -



I listened this week to the post-election show and enjoyed your comment about wanting a Constitutional amendment to prevent born-again Christians from voting but would like to clarify a little. Born-again is a little imprecise, don't you think? I consider myself born again, that is born again of the Spirit (see John 3:5). But even as I laughed, I thought, no, he means post-millenialists. Those are the ones that think the sooner the world goes to hell in a handbasket, the sooner they get to the rapture. However, there are plenty of "born-agains" who care deeply about the world, would like to repair it, are even political activists. I really wasn't offended, because as an evangelical Christian I've gotten used to being lumped in with people whose application of their faith is abhorrent to me - I opine that they haven't read the Scriptures carefully and I venture to say that Mr. Bush has not really understood many things about Jesus very well at all. If I thought this dreadful situation was permanent, I'd not get out of bed in the morning. But I believe that somehow God wins, wins every battle and rights every wrong and wipes away every tear, and doesn't need the Constitution to do it. And I love you and your show - it's been part of my life for so long I can't remember not hearing your voice.
Caroline Sato

Long Beach
Caroline,



I grew up among post-millenialists and probably that's why I conflated them with born-agains in one big ball of wax and I apologize for my inaccuracy. However, I don't think that the term "post-millenialist" would instantly register with our public radio audience, so one is forced to use shorthand. Thanks for your thoughts...
Keillor then went on to another subject entirely, his memories of singing the Star Spangled Banner.



So, after reflection, Keillor says he does not advocate a constitutional amendment taking the vote away from all born-again Christians -- just some of them. Thanks for the clarification.



Addendum (11/20/04): I received the following e-mail regarding Ms. Sato's (and Garrison Keillor's) use of terms:
Caroline Sato is incorrect. It's dispensational premillennialists who believe the world is going to hell in a handbasket. They believe in an always imminent rapture. Postmillennialists believe that through the preaching of the gospel, the world can be transformed.



Gary DeMar

(For more on Mr. DeMar's views on this issue, go here.)

Tuesday
Nov092004

CodeBlueBlog: Did the French Kill Arafat?

CodeBlueBlog has more on the Arafat diagnosis mystery.

Tuesday
Nov092004

From Mrs Suha Arafat

From Mrs Suha Arafat



Good Day



I know that this mail might be a surpriseing to you but do consider it as an emergency. In a nut shell, My name is Mrs Suha Arafat, soon-to-be widow of the late leader of the Palestinian people, now seeking assistance in the matter of the urgent transfer of $1 billion (ONE BILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS).



Please accept my sincere apologies. In bringing this message of goodwill to you. In order to transfer out (ONE BILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) from our bank here I have the courage to look for a reliable and honest person who will be capable for this important transaction, believing that you will never let me down either now or in future.



I discovered that if i do not remit this money out urgently, it will revert to associates of my husband who want to bury my husband alive.



I want to transfer this money into a safe foreign account abroad but i don't know any foreigner, except people who live in France, i am only contacting you as a foreigner because this money can not be approved to any local bank here in France, without it being taken by most untrustworthy persons.



I selected your name from the Chamber of Commerce (CHAMBER OF COMMERCE) directory. I prayed over it and selected your name amoung two names reported to me as someone who would never grab power from an ailing leader.



I can do business with,and by their recommendations I must not hesitate to confide in you for this simple and sincere business. I want you to assist me in this transaction. My soon-to-be late husband does not want this money to go to France (FRANCE), he said they took enough already.



But my husband a beautiful flower, surrounded by weeds was poisoned to death or had AIDS (AIDS) or a mystery disease I do not know what I only know that $1 billion (ONE BILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS) is not too much for me in my position as wife of the leader of the Palestinian people as it is a position that is difficult and entails much suffering.



Presently, I am saddled with the problem of securing a trust worthy foriegn personality to help me. I will map out 15% for you if you will Stand on my behalf as the beneficiary for the claim of the inheritance from the many many foreign accounts since the management of the bank adviced that the money was stolen by my husband and they will not release it to his poor widow (SOON TO BE) and I have suspicion they want to try it for themselves.



i need your co-operation to make this work fine, because the management is ready to approve this payment to any foreigner who has the correct information to this account, and living on $100,000 per month (ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) is painful to me greatly.



Conclusively I wish you send me a reply immediately you recieve this proposal.Email If you are interested, please reply immediately to my private email address and when you replying this mail kindly include your Telephone and Fax number for better communication. Or you can callme



Awaiting for your urgent reply.



Best Regards



Mrs Suha Arafat (MRS SUHA ARAFAT )



P.S. My late husband won the Nobel Peace prize in 1994.

(Yes, this is a parody. So far.)

Monday
Nov082004

The Sparse Matrix: Ridenour Monday

Thanks, David! I'm extremely flattered!

Monday
Nov082004

Macedonia: A Rose By Any Other Name

I've said before on this blog that I believe the creation of the European Union was unwise: "...a continent full of nations that have spent hundreds of years killing each other's citizens on the slightest of pretexts cannot repair their discord by vastly increasing the number and significance of the issues on which they are forced to agree."



Well, perhaps I shouldn't have used the word significance.



I recommend the EuroPundits blog for a review of Europe's latest silly, yet divisive, controversy: Greece is scared of Macedonia, but only if it is called Macedonia. And now Greece is mad at us because we intend to call Macedonia -- you guessed it -- Macedonia.



Greece actually has threatened "many negative effects" for the U.S. because of this. (What are they going to do, spit in our olives?)



Greece has summoned the U.S. ambassador to Greece in order to give him a formal protest. (I could never be an ambassador. In a situation like this I'd burst out laughing at the moment of sternest complaint.)



It is a good thing the British don't share the Greek attitude of wariness against anyone who uses a name after they've used it first. Given the number of faux-British housing complexes we have, not to mention little things like New York City, they could never be friends with us if they did.

Sunday
Nov072004

CodeBlueBlog: Arafat and AIDS

Does Arafat have AIDS? CodeBlueBlog examines the evidence.



Hat tip: Kevin, M.D.

Sunday
Nov072004

Mychal Massie: There's Still Racism

Project 21's Mychal Massie says: "You bet there's still racism."



(But maybe not the kind you expect.)

Sunday
Nov072004

Dr. Brian Moench, Anesthesiologist: No, Thanks  

Would you let the author of this piece put you under?



Addendum: The article referred to in this entry, "Young Rove's Dreams Became Everyone Else's Nightmare," by Dr. Brian Moench, appeared in the Salt Lake (UT) Tribune on October 24, 2004. The link above no longer takes readers directly to the piece, but access can be purchased for a fee from the Tribune.



In addition, various blogs and websites have reprinted it in whole or in part, including The Smirking Chimp, Corrente, Running Scared, Free Republic, and Hot Blava. I have no idea how long these links will remain useful.

Sunday
Nov072004

BlameBush! Suggests a Wonderful Gesture of Goodwill

Very funny, Larry.



Hat tip: What If?

Sunday
Nov072004

Blackfive: Someone You Should Know

Blackfive regrets that this story isn't likely to told by the mainstream media. Me, too.



I find it very refreshing to read about Americans like this. It is good to be reminded that Jane Smiley types are the exception, not the rule.



Blackfive has other stories like this here.

Sunday
Nov072004

Jane Smiley: A Thousand Slurs

After reading this essay on Who Moved My Truth? about an article posted on Slate by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jane Smiley, I checked out Smiley's piece.



Wow. She really, really hates conservatives.



According to Smiley, we conservatives are evil. ("They are full of original sin and they have a taste for violence.") Ignorant and stupid. ("Red state types... are virtually unteachable.") And powerful. (Smiley blames us for atrocities that occurred before we were born.)



That's when Smiley's being consistent. She doesn't make a habit of that.



She writes an essay calling conservatives stupid and evil that condemns her GOP relatives for their "classic Republican feelings of superiority." (Projection, Jane?)



Her hatred for the right leaps off the page in an essay containing the words "blue state citizens make the Rousseauvian mistake of thinking humans are essentially good." (Yep, Jane, that's your problem, all right.)



She says this, meaning it to be about other people, yet not quite convincing the reader she's not talking about herself: "If you are sufficiently ignorant, you won't even know how dangerous your policies are until they have destroyed you, and then you can always blame others."



Her lack of self-awareness looks positively introspective, however, compared to her ignorance of the country whose voters she spits upon.



Here's her take on the 1980 Carter-Reagan matchup: "Jimmy Carter... asked Americans to take responsibility for their profligate ways, and promptly lost to Ronald Reagan, who told them once again that they could do anything they wanted."



Anyone else remember the 1980 election as a contest between a budget cutting Carter and a "let's bust the bank" Reagan?



Even Carter, no stranger to the deep end himself, probably doesn't believe that one.



She blames red-staters living in 2004 for Quantrill's Raid, a Civil War-era plunder/massacre that took place in Lawrence, Kansas: "The red forces, known then as the slave-power, pulled 265 unarmed men from their beds on a Sunday morning and slaughtered them in front of their wives and children."



The actual death toll was far less, she cited the wrong year, and many of the victims died in other ways, but these are minor quibbles compared to the injustice of blaming the modern GOP for a raid by a Confederate cavalry officer that took place 141 years ago -- when the Republican Party was fighting the Confederacy. (As Who Moved My Truth? observed: "I Suppose Abraham Lincoln Was REALLY Stupid.")



Smiley keeps strange company: "...most important, when life grows difficult or fearsome, they (politicians, preachers, pundits) encourage you to cling to your ignorance with even more fervor..." Okay, I can accept that she probably voted for Kerry and most likely reads the New York Times, but what church can she possibly be going to?



I'd tell you that Smiley's essay has to be read to be believed, but I'd be lying. You can't believe it even if you do read it.



P.S.: If you think I'm harsh on her, read the reviews on the Amazon.com page for her book that won the Pulitizer Prize, A Thousand Acres. (Apparently, she morphed Shakespeare's King Lear into a red-stater who abused his daughters -- doubly unoriginal.) Some of the reviews on that page make this look like a love letter.



Addendum: Doing my evening blog reading, I see that other bloggers have discussed Smiley's essay. In an excellent piece, Sean at Everything I Know Is Wrong, for example, says: "It fisks itself as you read it." (Good line, Sean!) Daly Thoughts has a good critique, too, as does The Paragraph Farmer.

Saturday
Nov062004

MoveOn or Move Out?

Robert Novak says support from MoveOn PAC (sister organization to MoveOn.org) hurt some Democratic candidates.

Friday
Nov052004

But They Are Very Busy

BelowStreetLevel says there are just six liberals living in the United States.

Friday
Nov052004

Chirac Snubs Iraq Democracy

I have to agree with Jeff at StarkTruth.com on this one.



Addendum: A Heritage Foundation Policy Weblog November 5 post says Kofi Annan is no better than Chirac.

Friday
Nov052004

Putin and Kyoto

He did it.



Putin made Russia's ratification of the Kyoto global warming treaty final today.



The Kyoto Treaty now takes effect worldwide among nations that have ratified it. Thankfully, this does not include the U.S.



We'll now sit back and watch to see which European nations live up to their treaty obligations -- and if any of those that don't are among those that have criticized us for not joining in this folly.



Oh, lest I forget: Don't expect the world to get any cooler just because Kyoto has been ratified. This treaty is hot air -- expensive hot air, but hot air nonetheless. Just as well. Warm air and CO2 helps plants grow.



Nature comes first.

Friday
Nov052004

Nation Not So Divided

Sean at Everything I Know Is Wrong has written a top-notch election post-mortem.



It is too good to excerpt, so I recommend the whole thing.



I also recommend Sean's thanks to Viet Nam Vets.

Friday
Nov052004

Ancient Cosmetics

This BBC article describes the discovery of an ancient Roman tin of cosmetic cream, and expresses appreciation for the complicated recipe the Romans used. (The tin was found in an archeological excavation in London inhabited by the Romans during the Roman occupation of Britain.)



It is interesting that a culture that didn't use soap, and washed clothes in urine, would go to such effort to create cosmetics.



The European preference for cosmetics over soap apparently started early.



The London Telegraph had a funny comment about this:

[Analysis of the cream] shows that British [read: Roman] women led the way when it came to "green" cosmetics: the cream relied on tin oxide as a whitener, a much healthier and more environmentally sound alternative to the toxic lead acetate used by their high society peers in Rome.
Healthier, yes. But do we really believe that the ancient Romans, who held slaves and murdered people as a form of organized sport, cared about the environmental impact of their cosmetics?