Thursday, June 30, 2005

What's Arabic For "Doh!"?

What goes up, must come down.*

BEIRUT, June 29 (Reuters) - Lebanon's top Shi'ite Muslim cleric issued a fatwa edict on Wednesday banning shooting in the air after three people were killed by gunfire celebrating the re-election of the Shi'ite parliament speaker.

Shooting in the air and setting off fireworks among people or on the streets, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah said, "is forbidden because of its major negative consequences and because it is intimidating and annoying".
Shooting in the air annoying? Who'd a thunk?

* Unless it achieves escape velocity. There's enough geeks on this site for me to know that one will call me on it.

Found at The Corner.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"Freedom Tower To Be Icon And Giant Middle Finger"



Freedom Tower To Be Icon And Giant Middle Finger

"Freedom Tower is a bold and simple icon that acts as a marker in the sky for the memorial below,'' Childs, said. "While the memorial, carved out of the earth, speaks of the past and of remembrance, Freedom Tower speaks of optimism and the future as it rises into the sky.''

And it's fine with this reporter if the tower serves as giant middle finger to the architects of death who sought its destruction. The skyline will be rebuilt, and built better, a symbol of the resolve of our compatriots, a promise that we will not be defeated. We're still mad about it. We won't forget.

A "Dead" Constitution

Jonah Goldberg today in National Review:
This is a battle between the forces of life and death, and, as inconvenient as it may be to the marketing efforts of abortion opponents, we are resolutely on the side of death. For we are those who believe the only good constitution is a dead constitution.

We’ve all heard about how great living constitutions are. The most extreme, but essentially representative, version of this “philosophy” can be found from the likes of Mary Frances Berry or the Los Angeles Times’s Robert Scheer. They matter-of-factly claim that without a “living” constitution, slavery and other such evils would still be constitutional. This is what leading constitutional legal theorists call “stupid.” The constitutionality of slavery, women’s suffrage and the like were decided by these things called the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. Also, contra feminists, women got the vote not through a living constitution but by the mere expansion of the dead one — via the 19th Amendment.
The reason I bring this up is to pick the brains of our own legal eagles. [That, and I like the line "This is what leading constitutional legal theorists call 'stupid.'"] I tend to agree with Mr. Goldberg, but then I don't have aspirations to law school or clerk for the Idaho Supreme Court. [Ahem.]

So - what say you?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"Can he take his own medicine?"

Freestar Media, LLC

Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter's land.

Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New London" decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.

On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.

Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

Speaking Of Zombies...

Anybody see this story? "Scientists Raise The Dead In Dog Experiments."

Zombie dogs. Just great. As Adam well knows, the creepiest part of the Resident Evil movies for me was the zombie dogs. Pass the shotgun.

All kidding aside, this is pretty cool. At the very least, this is short-term suspended animation, which could prove very halpful in handling trauma cases. Assuming the treatment could be simplified, triage of mass casualties could mean sticking some victims in the freezer instead of having to let them die. One thing I would like to know that wasn't really addressed here - is there any brain damage? That would be the big hitch.

Monday, June 27, 2005

View Number Two: Movie Review

George Romero's

Land of the Dead***




"In a world where the dead are returning to life, the word 'Trouble' loses much of its meaning."
--Kaufman, Land of the Dead


From the man who gave us Night of the Living Dead, and Dawn of the Dead, our view into a world invaded by the walking dead expands to show us Land of the Dead. This gory festival of severed limbs and groaning corpses is a delight to any fan of the zombie horror genre. As with the previous films made by George Romero, the story focuses on the characters who strive to survive, with their conflicts marinating in subtle messages of ethics and morality and final judgement.

In the land of the dead, we see that mankind has bunkered itself in a number of scattered outposts, raiding smaller towns for supplies. The zombies on the other hand have just begun to show signs of learning and cooperating. While the population of humans must deal with the outside threat of a world filled with zombies, they must also contend with the corruption of their own society.

This is a fun movie with interesting, archtypical characters and a series of cool frights. I like a good zombie flick, and this stands as a good one. The only real downside would be the extreme gore that might turn a few people off.

10 Commandments A-Okay

Court Splits on Ten Commandments Displays

A sharply divided Supreme Court on Monday upheld the constitutionality of displaying the Ten Commandments on government land, but drew the line on displays inside courthouses, saying they violated the doctrine of separation of church and state.

Ten Commandments displays are supported by a majority of Americans, according to an AP-Ipsos poll. The poll taken in late February found that 76 percent support it and 23 percent oppose it.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Friday Furo Questus

Well, the good news is that I'm not feeling especially angry today - which after last week, is probably a good thing.

Of course, there's always the antics of Congress to get the blood pressure up. There's the comments of Dick Durbin; the mock impeachment trial Rep. Conyers put on; and the fact that Sen. Byrd will be the Senator from West Virginia until the day he dies, so the old coot can say anything he wants despite how deranged it is, and lecture you and me on proper race relations despite the fact he was an officer of the KKK - and no one calls the old [censored] on it. (Did I mention I don't like Byrd much?) And then there is this - the lead Democrat in the House, Nancy Pelosi, declared the war in Afghanistan over. Gee, I hadn't noticed. So does this mean you don't want us to get Bin Laden anymore?

This is what drives me nuts about the Dems - they have no idea how to prosecute the War on Terror. No suggestions on how to so it better. With all too few exceptions (Lieberman, Miller), they can't even agree we are at war. And they have no ideas.

Folks - anybody can b***h. It's coming up with solutions that's hard. So stop whining about Bush, and start coming up with ideas.

Of course, if you need a dose of me being angry, go here.

By the way, Bryan (e.gage) has turned up some good stuff this week - a story about a female suicide bomber and a sober reminder of the missing child problem in the U.S. Check them out if you have not already.

Some Recommended Reading:
Victor Davis Hanson, "The Politics of American Wars."

Rich Lowry on biometrics: "Fingering the Problem."

David Pryce-Jones, in NRO, writes of Napoleon's end.

Thought of the Week:
"Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand." - St. Augustine

Churchill Quote of the Week:
At the end of the war, before the election that he lost in 1945, The Times of London prepared an editorial suggesting that he campaign as a nonpartisan world leader and retire gracefully rather soon afterward. The editor first informed Churchill that he was going to make these two points. "Mr. Editor," Churchill said to the first point, "I fight for my corner." And, to the second: "Mr. Editor, I leave when the pub closes."

From
The Churchill Centre

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Bad news...

Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes - Yahoo! News

As a result, cities now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.

Writing for the court's majority in Thursday's ruling, Justice John Paul Stevens said local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community. States are within their rights to pass additional laws restricting condemnations if residents are overly burdened, he said.

"The city has carefully formulated an economic development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including — but by no means limited to — new jobs and increased tax revenue," Stevens wrote.

Stevens was joined in his opinion by other members of the court's liberal wing — David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer. The bloc typically has favored greater deference to cities, which historically have used the takings power for urban renewal projects that benefit the lower and middle class.

They were joined by Reagan appointee Justice Anthony Kennedy in rejecting the conservative principle of individual property rights. Critics had feared that would allow a small group of homeowners to stymie rebuilding efforts that benefit the city through added jobs and more tax revenue for social programs.

The Wasatch Front Top Movie Quotes

"Use enough dynamite there, Butch?"
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

"You wanna know how you do it? Here's how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way, and that's how you get Capone!"
- The Untouchables

"Assimilate this!"
- Star Trek: First Contact

"You two are just dumber than a bag of hammers."
- O Brother Where Art Thou

Pete: You miserable little snake! You stole from my kin!
Everett: Who was fixin' to betray us.
Pete: You didn't know that at the time.
Everett: So I borrowed it until I did know.
Pete: That don't make no sense!
Everett: Pete, it's a fool that looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.
- O Brother Where Art Thou

Sherif Ali: What is your name?
Lawrence: My name is for my friends.
- Lawrence of Arabia

Harry Lime: Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly."
- The Third Man

Red: [narrating] The first night's the toughest, no doubt about it. They march you in naked as the day you were born, skin burning and half blind from that delousing s**t they throw on you, and when they put you in that cell... and those bars slam home... that's when you know it's for real. A whole life blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it.
- The Shawshank Redemption

Andy Dufresne: [in letter to Red] Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
- The Shawshank Redemption

Arthur: Your arm is off!
Black Knight: It's just a flesh wound!
- Monte Python & the Holy Grail

Inigo: Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!
- The Princess Bride

"Colonel, find that chaplain. He stands in good with the Lord, and I want to decorate him!"
- Patton

"I'm your huckleberry."
- Tombstone

"Nonsense. I have not yet begun to defile myself."
- Tombstone

Wyatt Earp: What makes a man like Ringo, Doc? What makes him do the things he does?
Doc Holliday: A man like Ringo has got a great big hole, right in the middle of himself. And he can never kill enough, or steal enough, or inflict enough pain to ever fill it.
Wyatt: What does he want?
Doc: Revenge.
Wyatt: For what?
Doc: Bein' born.
- Tombstone

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Round Up The Usual Suspects

More movie quotes: this a link to a PDF document of the nominees.

Well, given the pop culture divas that number among us, time for own own list. In the comments leave your own favorite movie lines and what movie they are from.

I'll join you shortly, after I finish schooling Nate in the greatness that is Casablanca. [Pistols at dawn, Nate?]

Play It, Sam

Ilsa: Play it once, Sam. For old times' sake.
Sam: [lying] I don't know what you mean, Miss Elsa.
Ilsa: Play it, Sam. Play "As Time Goes By."
Sam: [lying] Oh, I can't remember it, Miss Elsa. I'm a little rusty on it.
Ilsa: I'll hum it for you. Da-dy-da-dy-da-dum, da-dy-da-dee-da-dum...
[Sam begins playing]
Ilsa: Sing it, Sam.
Sam: [singing] You must remember this / A kiss is still a kiss / A sigh is just a sigh / The fundamental things apply / As time goes by. / And when two lovers woo, / They still say, "I love you" / On that you can rely / No matter what the future brings-...
Rick: [rushing up] Sam, I thought I told you never to play-...
[Sees Ilsa. Sam closes the piano and rolls it away]
I had to beat Adam to this one: the American Film Institute has released its list of the top 100 best lines from American movies.

I think it is worth mentioning that only one movie has more than one or two lines on the list - and that movie has six lines making the list.

Casablanca. Probably the best movie the old Hollywood studio system ever made. Want to see some great lines? Click here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Boy Scout Found

Some good news. Brennan Hawkins, missing in the Uinta Mountains since last Friday night, was found about noon MDT.

Nice to have a happy ending.

"9/11 Is Being Buried"

American culture's curious reaction to 9/11 continues.

In case you missed it, the initial plans for the Ground Zero museum have been released - and there's not much room for remembering.

Debra Burlingame on the WTC plans in the Wall Street Journal:
"The public will be confused at first, and then feel hoodwinked and betrayed. Where, they will ask, do we go to see the September 11 Memorial? The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation will have erected a building whose only connection to September 11 is a strained, intellectual one. While the IFC is getting 300,000 square feet of space to teach us how to think about liberty, the actual Memorial Center on the opposite corner of the site will get a meager 50,000 square feet to exhibit its 9/11 artifacts, all out of sight and underground. Most of the cherished objects which were salvaged from Ground Zero in those first traumatic months will never return to the site. There is simply no room. But the International Freedom Center will have ample space to present us with exhibits about Chinese dissidents and Chilean refugees."

Only a seventh of the available space will be given for a museum for 9/11; the rest is given over to a "International Freedom Center," spearheaded by a group funded by our old friend, Mr. George Soros. Jeff Jarvis, of the blog Buzz Machine, details the whole sordid story.

Strangely enough, people aren't happy with devoting most of the museum space to parties which opposed going after Afghanistan and claim "America had it coming." They are speaking out, and they are organizing.

A "Take Back The Memorial" movement is starting to take shape and gather steam. More power to Ms. Burlingame and her efforts. You can sign the "Take Back The Memorial" Petition here.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Slideshow

Wanna see some weird stuff that'll make you go, "What the...!?"

WFTV.com - Slideshow

A Couple of News Items

Nuclear power is planning on a comeback. Increasingly seen as a way to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear power advocates stand to score a victory if a current energy bill passes.
My read: this is a good thing, chiefly because it is a more efficient way of generating (a lot less waste). But there are two big issues that need to be addressed, both having to do with waste. First, a permanent fuel waste storage site needs to be operational. Yucca Mountain is still not open for business. Second, we need to reconsider nuclear fuel reprocessing. Spent uranium fuel rods still contain 80%-90% fissionable uranium which could be recovered and reused, which has the added benefit of reducing the amount of radioactive waste to be stored. The practice is common in Europe but is not practiced in the United States.

Almost four years after September 11th, the United tates military and intelligence services are
still short on Arabic linguists.

More on the serial molester story from Friday. This monster is a real piece of work. Not surprisingly, this guy is a repeat offender, having been charged with child molestation-related crimes in six different states. I have to ask - I can see giving these guys a second chance, but do we need to give them third, fourth, and fifth chances when they clearly remain a danger to the public? Why can't we lock this guy away in prison or a mental ward for the rest of his life?

Durbin's Slander

There is more on Senator Durbin's stupid statements (see the last Furo Questus) in today's NRO.
“ It is a bit like comparing Leona Helmsley to Stalin on the grounds that both had rough social manners, all the while conceding that Stalin was somewhat worse on the question of forced starvation.”
He has apologized, in a half-hearted way, for his words. But the apology shows he believes what he said, even if he no longer stands by it.

And just for your information, Sen. Durbin is the second-most senior Democrat in the Senate.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Only Thing to Resolve...

...with this guy is whether we shoot him, hang him, or tie a millstone to his neck and throw him into the sea.

If anyone doubts there is evil in this world, read that story and see if you still believe that.

I Did Not Know That

God and the Universe:
Most of us have heard Einstein's supposed line expressing skepticism about quantum mechanics: "God doesn't play dice with the universe."


I never had heard this before, though. Niels Bohr's supposed response: "Einstein, don't tell God what to do."

From the Volokoh Conspiracy

The Friday Furo Questus

Yes, it's time for another of my weekly angry rants.

There has been no shortage of subjects this week. I could discuss the travails of modern air travel; the death of Corporal Carrie French and the uninvited "guests" at her funeral; the continued poor judgement of Amnesty International's leadership; or whine about the fact I'm still hopelessly single.

Today, however, I have decided to talk about something else: a US Senator comparing the actions of American soldiers to the Nazis. Senator "Dick" Durbin, D-Illinois, has behaved in such a way as to demonstrate why the name "Dick" has taken on the pejorative meaning it now possesses. Senator Dick,
in his own words:

"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings.
The terrible things done? Oh, the prisoners had to endure too much air conditioning or 100 degree plus tempertures as part of their interrogations. Since you are apparently unclear on the concept, let me spell it out, Dick: making a terrorist wannabe stand in the corner is not - IS NOT - equivalent to a national policy of murdering all members of unwanted ethnic groups. It is not equivalent to hooking up electrodes to genitals, dripping nitric acid on naked prisoners, or imprisoning children. And it demeans the suffering of those who died and those few who survived to make such asinine comparisons. These prisoners are not POWs, Dick, they are terrorists. Men who volunteered because they thought war would be fun. Men who deliberately target civilians because they cannot shoot back. Admit it, Dick - this is about politics, not prisoners.

Elsewhere on the web:

VDH has new column, discussing growing American impatience with the Middle East.

Jonah Goldberg discusses stem-cell research and federalism.

The latest Impromptu from Jay Nordlinger.

Remember Leon Askin, the actor who played Gen. Albert Burkhalter on Hogan’s Heroes? He died the other day, at 97. (An obit is here.) He was really Leo Aschkenasy, a Viennese, and, yes, his parents were killed in a Nazi concentration camp. Somehow, he made it out. In 1994, he re-established residence in Vienna, and kept working in cabaret there.

The actor who played a Nazi general in a sitcom, the son of Holocaust victims . . . The stories of life are not uninteresting.

And California has had four significant earthquakes in less than a week. The big question is - what does that mean? Is it just a coincidence, or a run-up to The Big One? Odds are, this is just a coincidence. Two of the quakes happened off the coast near Eureka, and are related (one was an aftershock of the other); and the other two were in Southern California. But Californians are understandably nervous right now. Heck, I would be. Anyone remember the Cape Mendocino earthquakes of 1992? That quake series spawned three major quakes in two days. Truth is, we know all too little about how quakes work, especially in the complex fault zones of the San Andreas Fault and the Juan de Fuca plate.

Thought of the Week:

"Truth is the cry of all, but the game of few." - George Bishop Berkeley

Churchill Quote of the Week:

"What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'"

Prime Minister Winston Churchill, to the House of Commons, June 18, 1940

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Batman Begins

"You traveled the world... Now you must journey inwards... to what you really fear... it's inside you... there is no turning back. Your parents' death was not your fault. Your training is nothing. The will is everything. If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely. Are you ready to begin?"

"What will I become?"

"A legend."

Batman Begins is all that was promised. It delivered.

Acting? Fantastic. Christian Bale is great, and the supporting cast is fantastic. Story? Also great.

But one of the things that blew me away is the cityscape that Batman inhabits. Previously, there was always a deliberate cartoonish touch to Gotham City, an exaggerated harshness. Not here. The city is very, very real, a place that you know you could visit, one that you have seen somewhere.

This is one I'll be seeing again.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Best. Batman. EVER.

And I am *NOT* exaggerating. I would pay full price to see this again. Possibly twice. And then again at the dollar theater. This was a very solid, well-put-together piece of film-making.




It Begins Tonight

Synthetic Blood Substitue...coming to a hospital near you

Since the majority of you live on the Wasatch Front, you should be aware of a new clinical trial involving a synthetic blood substitute, because you may become part of the study. (Washington Post Article) A wonderful new product called PolyHeme(R) has shown great promise as a synthetic blood for trauma situations. The FDA has cleared it for clinical trials in trauma patients under an informed-consent waiver. This means that since they are informing the public before the trial begins, you have the option to identify yourself as not wanting to participate by wearing a blue bracelet, or by displaying/hanging this bracelet in your car (e.g. hang from rear-view mirror). Otherwise, if you are in an emergency situation where you need blood, you may end up receiving the PolyHeme(R) whether you want to or not. Also, two public meetings will be held at the following venues:

Tuesday, June 21, 4:30-6 p.m. at the Sandy Library, 10100 S. 1300 East, Sandy.

Wednesday, June 29, 6:30-8 p.m. at the West Valley Family Fitness Center, 5415 W. 3100 South, West Valley City.

If you would like more information, please see the following links: Deseret Morning News Article, or the manufacturer's website. If you want my opinion, I think that PolyHeme(R) looks safe and will end up being an amazing product. It can be given to any person regardless of bloodtype, it carries oxygen, and it can be sterilized to prevent accidental infection. If it proves to be as good as the company claims, it could save a lot of lives.

Holographic DNA

Another step up in security in an effort to beat counterfeiters. Now plant DNA is being incorporated into holographic security labeling to provide added protection. It will conclusively distinguish genuine products from fakes.

"06/14/2005 - Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. announced the completion of a 6-month R&D program to develop a DNA-embedded hologram. The announcement follows the successful testing of the new DNA-embedded holographic security product by the Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory. The holograms were developed under an agreement with Holomex, a leading security hologram supplier, who provided the latest advancements in holographic technology for this project. The goal of the program was to design a multi-layered security product that has both the convenience and speed of optical readability and the absolute certainty of DNA forensic authentication.

The DNA holograms are the first of several product configurations planned under the business alliance with Holomex. APDN and Holomex will target several industry sectors with the new security labels. The pharmaceutical, beauty product, automotive and entertainment industries are the primary targets." (Article)

Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. website

Overheard

On Glenn Beck just now:

"So what did the Senate do yesterday? War on Terror? Spending? Illegal immigration?

"No, they decided to apologize, for lynching. Apologize for a practice that ended decades ago. And people say government is inefficient. Can't see why."

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Flag Day

Monday, June 13, 2005

View Number Two: 98% Pure

JUDGE: "Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury... what say you?"
JURY: "We find the Defendant... Creepy... but Entertaining."


Is the world sighing in relief? Are there people gasping in horror? For months we have struggled with questions. What has happened to our favorite child-like superstar? What is the verdict on our modern-day Peter Pan?

NOT GUILTY

Innocence. In a way we all value it. We all cling to it. We look around ourselves, and watch it melt away. Britney Spears was once a virgin. The Olsen Twins were once babies on Full House. Macauly Culkin was once "Home Alone." Paul Reubens was once Pee-Wee Herman.
Secretly we have watched our own corruption, and we have seen the world fall, and deep within our hearts we look for some verification that good exists - that nobility is not dead. So does the boy Michael Jackson in some strange social mockery of our personal worries represent a child-like innocence that we have watched erode away over two decades? Is a verdict against him a verdict against ourselves? If we find that the boy who lives in Neverland has completed his turn to the dark side (like so many before him), do we then lose all hope in ourselves?
For some, he was guilty of losing his innocence long ago. For some there is only darkness, tragedy, and suffering -- we all lose in the end. For others, the glimmer of hope fades each day, losing against the corruption of the world. For others, they must ask who is left to stand.
So do we cheer for Wacko Jacko, or do we sneer at Wack Jacko? Does the system work, or has it failed us? Does it really matter what twelve people think, or do we condemn him individually?

In Case You Missed Them...

The latest column by VDH:
"As nations come to know the Chinese, and as a ripe Europe increasingly cannot or will not defend itself, the old maligned United States will begin to look pretty good again. More important, America will not be the world’s easily caricatured sole power, but more likely the sole democratic superpower that factors in morality in addition to national interest in its treatment of others. China is strong without morality; Europe is impotent in its ethical smugness. The buffer United States, in contrast, believes morality is not mere good intentions but the willingness and ability to translate easy idealism into hard and messy practice."

Atoning for the sins of others: an interesting piece by Peter Wood at NRO.

"Wachovia was responding to pressure from the City of Chicago, which required it to “disclose any historic ties to slavery,” in order to continue its involvement in an affordable housing project. The executives of Wachovia, it seems, are making a public confession. Between 1836 and 1842, the Georgia Railroad Company 'owned or authorized to be purchased' 162 slaves. "

"...The current executives of Wachovia have responded to these findings with touching humility. Here is Stan Kelly, president of Wachovia Wealth Management, in a message to his colleagues: 'As a white man, I’m working to get personally connected to this chapter in our company’s and our country’s history…' It sounds to me like poor Stan has been to one too many diversity-training workshops. Let me help, Stan. First, don’t try to respond to this “as a white man.” See if you can respond just as a serious person. In that light, neither you nor the company you work for bear any particular responsibility for antebellum slavery. You didn’t trade railroad stock for an enslaved blacksmith. You didn’t take slaves as collateral for loans. You have not traded in human souls. Nor has your company. Offering, as you do, 'heartfelt apologies on behalf of Wachovia' is, at best, an empty formality. You cannot apologize for that for which you bear no responsibility. Doing so “on behalf of Wachovia” demeans your colleagues who are guiltless of holding anyone in bondage."

And here Wood cuts to the core of the matter - these "apologies" are pointless and meaningless, because they are made by men and corporations who bear no direct resposibility for the actions that caused the harm. In this case, the apologies are being made to the decendents of survivors - for acts that occurred 180 years ago.

I realize these apologies give a few warm fuzzies - but they mean nothing and do even less. So why insist upon them? If we mean what we say when we try to claim the past is behind us. then let's do so. Stop fighting the Civil War, and realize the abolitionists won.

And as far as reparations go - that price was paid in blood. If you continue to insist on money - go to the Wilderness and tell those men buried there that their lives were not enough.

I Hate Illinois Nazis

"It's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses."
"Hit it."



Well, so much for that plan. Let's just say this was a trip, as opposed to a vacation.

I'm glad I went - the gesture was appreciated - but I didn't enjoy the trip a whole lot. Did get to see some sights - Navy Pier, Field Museum, the Miracle Mile - but not Sears Tower, unfortunately. (Going to a big city with acrophobics is not the best idea.)

So Tyler did the Windy City, and I'm back home.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Cats use fax as toilet, spark Japan house fire

Well, no other posts from anyone today. I figured, why not one from myself? Saw this on Yahoo, couldn't resist sharing.

Cats use fax as toilet, spark Japan house fire - Yahoo! News

"If you have a cat, or a dog for that matter, be careful where they urinate," Oyabu said. "Especially keep them away from electrical appliances and wires."

Words to live by.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Ay Caramba! "Simpsons" Movie Going

Ay Caramba! "Simpsons" Movie Going - Yahoo! News

Same Old DC

Well as I am sure you have seen or heard things are still crazy arround here. The judicial Filibusters have ended, but now they are filibustering Bolton as US ambassabdor to the UN. Its all about the finger pointing arround here. I suggest if you want to know the truth about things that you investigate it for yourself. The media of course never gives it to you straight and always puts a little partisan slant on whatever they are reporting. Also at times niether side of the isle is always giving it to you straight they are always puting a few half truths in there to get you to agree with them. For example most of the constituents that I have talked to on the phone since the filibuster deal had no idea what they were talking about. They were speaking from there a**. They thought that the rebuplicans were trying to change everything and put an end to filibusters all together. That is so far from truth its not even funny.

Beyond that I am hopefully starting to see this girl. We hang out all the time and I am trying to push it a little to the next level. The main issue standing in my way is that she ahs a boyfriend. But he is on a mission right now so he does not really count. I will continue to keep you informed of the ongoing saga of DC and of the girl situation. I would write more right now but I am at work and need to get back to it.

Peace,
Matt

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

One More Thing...

Listening to the radio, heard about this story.

And customs let this guy proceed across the border and into the US. Just look at the picture. Is anybody besides me scared?

See you next week.

The Friday Furo Questus

Wednesday Edition!

Headed to the Windy City, so it'll be brief. [Spontaneous applause breaks out all over.]

Mark Steyn rhaposdizes on the past glories of air travel. "Catch Me If You Can...does a grand job of evoking that era — the jet-age glamour of the air terminals with the flying-saucer shapes; Sinatra singing “Come Fly with Me” with that marvelous Billy May intro that sounds like an orchestral Boeing taxi-ing down the runway and taking off into the blue; and, of course, the gals. . ." I just want to know something - why in the sixties, you guys got to have Elvis, James Bond, Pan Am, and cute stewardesses dressed up nice, while we got stuck with Eminem, Jack Bauer, Southwest, and flight attendants who treat you with more politness but less regard than cattle. Not that I don't like Jack Bauer and Southwest - but urbanity, class and the meaning of being debonair all disappeared when men stopped wearing hats.

Thought of the Week:

"Moral intuition has had a bad press in recent years. It is felt to be an unsure and variable guide. But is total reliance on rational criticism any safer? A society that seeks to root all its laws in consciously derived rational-critical principles, and to ignore the promptings of moral intuition, will soon find itself wandering down the blind alley of nihilism. ...necrophilia (and cannibalism) are vile, horrible and wrong. We ought to be able to take this truth for granted and to meet these vices with disgust, contempt and at times ridicule. Unless we recover this ability, we will find ourselves terribly satisfied at our own clever debating as we walk into a trackless swamp, starting nervously at the cackling sounds of the night." -- John O'Sullivan

Churchill Quote of the Week:

A two-fer!

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute talk with the average voter."
WSC (attributed)

"Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
WSC, From a speech in the House of Commons on November 11, 1947.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Here's To When Men Wore Hats!





To understand this post at all, check out the comments to this post.

UPDATE:
Have no fear. Competent mental professionals have been dispatched to Tyler's home, and disabled his network access. Nothing to see here.

Cinderella Man



I, along with Tyler Lees, Brett Josie, and our friend Aubrey, went and saw Cinderella Man last night. I have been anticipating this one for a while. Russell Crowe stars, with a great supporting cast. I was also looking forward to the reuniting of Ron Howard and Crowe. I really enjoyed their last movie, and I can't recall the last time I walked out of either a Russell Crowe or Ron Howard film and thought, "Boy! That was crap!" I think both of these individuals are masters of their craft, and so I had high hopes. Paul Giamatti was also great, and I'm looking forward to seeing him in more upcoming movies.

I overheard someone say "Oh, that just looks like a feel-good movie." I don't know about you... but i like feeling good...

In the end, I gave it 3/4 stars. The cinematography was great. The actors did a great job. The music was just right. A solid act, all around. And though therew as some cheese, it wasn't over the top. It felt a little flat at places, and like it was trying too hard, but in the end I enjoyed it. I would recommend seeing this one in theaters. Those boxing scenes just won't have the same effect on a small screen.

And that's my 24 cents on the subject.

Rambing 'Round The Web

Suggested for your perusal this morning:

Zimbabwe is getting worse. Not content with destroying his economy, Mugabe has decided to start bulldozing homes and factories in order to "encourage" his people to go back to the farms. Pol Pot and Joseph Stalin make room for him at their table in Hell. The international press is too busy to notice, as they enter Week 75 of Abu Grahib Watch.

Jay Nordlinger speaks of a man we should all get to know, Vaclav Havel, and of blind Bush hatred:
...there’s nothing like coming back with Bush-hatred! That is the passion that can survive anything.

Kind of a shame.
James Lileks takes a look at where we are in the War on Terror:
Stories like these must be told, of course, if only to show what the media finds important, and remind us how good things are going. I can imagine in late 2001 asking a question of myself in 2005:
What’s the main story? The smallpox quarantine? Fallout from the Iranian – Israeli exchange contaminating Indian crops? A series of bombings in heartland malls?
"Well, no – the big story today has to do with soldiers mishandling terrorists' holy texts at a detention center."
Mishandling? How? Like, you mean, they opened it up without first checking to see if it was ticking, and it blew up –
"No, they handled it in a way that disrespected it. Infidels are supposed to use gloves."
Oh. So we lost, then.
And one more - a tale of political intrigue and media blindness, at National Review.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Spoof - NBC to Shoot Mormon Version of the Bachelor

The Spoof - NBC to Shoot Mormon Version of the Bachelor

I have no idea if this is legit or not. I'm hoping it's not. Mainly because I'm not a fan of reality TV... and the last thing I want to hear about every morning wherever I go was last night's episode of local TV hero on a reality show...

Normandy

Omaha

D-Day. So that others might live free.

Lest we forget.

Thanks to
Argghhh!

Two interesting articles...

No! Apple's going to the dark side! (sort of...)
Hell Froze Over--Again
BusinessWeek - 48 minutes ago
Call it "Hell Froze Over--The Sequel" Apple just announced the not-so-secret fact that it is dropping IBM's PowerPC chip architecture and going with Intel beginning next year. First, Steve Jobs decided to make the iPod compatible with Windows computers. ...


IBM, EPFL join forces to study cognitive intelligence
Xinhua - 33 minutes ago
LOS ANGELES, June 6 (Xinhuanet) -- IBM said on Monday that it is teaming with a European institute in a research initiative to uncover the secrets of human cognitive intelligence.

Stem Cells Without the Embryos

I'll leave it for our resident bioengineer to anlyze, but this looks interesting:
"Stem Cell Advances May Make Moral Issue Moot."

"In recent months, a number of researchers have begun to assemble intriguing evidence that it is possible to generate embryonic stem cells without having to create or destroy new human embryos.

"The research is still young and largely unpublished, and in some cases it is limited to animal cells...Yet the gathering consensus among biologists is that embryonic stem cells are made, not born -- and that embryos are not an essential ingredient. That means that today's heated debates over embryo rights could fade in the aftermath of technical advances allowing scientists to convert ordinary cells into embryonic stem cells."

From a political standpoint, this offers an way around the current and bitter embryonic stem cell debate. In my own amateur opinion, politicians and activists on all sides should get behind this and push hard. There's still a ways to go - but it could unlock the potential of stem cell research while eliminating the ethical problems that a significant portion of Americans have with the technology. Wouldn't that be easier for everybody?

In Case You Missed Them...

A couple of pieces I missed while I was on my Idaho sojurn. (And before you ask - yes, I did eat a baked potato before I left. Bryan, you may want to check - I think it is a requirement to eat at least one before you are allowed to leave the state.)

Victor Davis Hanson has a new piece - "Our Strange War."

And Jay Nordlinger brings some smack down on a richly deserving target - Sen. Robert Byrd. When Jay's good, he's very, very good; and when he's bad he's magnificent. He also has a reminder for us.

And today is the 61st anniversary of D-Day.

I'm headed out of town again Wednesday, to Chicago this time. So my blogging will be light.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Friday Furo Questus

Idaho Edition!

Yes, I'm in Boise. I think I have come up with the perfect way to stop the folks in Berkeley from whining about everything. Make them live two weeks in Bliss, Idaho (pop. 12, trees 2, coffee shop 1, if you count the truck stop). They will then realize just how good they have it.

I also think southern Idaho should tell northern Idaho to stop hogging all the trees.

Boise itself is rather pretty, nestled down in the Boise River valley full of trees. I may post a bit of a travelogue next week - southern Idaho can be pretty, in a denuded sort of way. (Ed. - especially when going through the Raft River mountains and the Snake River valley.) The view is pretty nice - while the mountains have no trees, they are still spring green.

As for political stuff - the most interesting is the "Is 2008 Mormon in America?" article. The key quote, in my opinion, is this paragraph:
"Most Mormons would be thrilled at the prospect of a Romney candidacy, and not just because Romney is a Republican and Mormons overwhelmingly vote Republican (they went 95 to 5 percent for Bush in 2004, up from 88 to 12 percent in 2000). While Mormons are dispersed throughout America and engage in the same professions and activities as non-Mormons, they by no means have forgotten their history and would tend to see Romney's election as a sign that they are accepted as full participants in the American experiment."
Mormons are prone to a bit of a complex about this - possibly due to being chased out of every decent spot they tried to settle. And I think that quote is dead-on right, and Romney would bring a legitimacy to such a candidacy that Hatch could not. (Sorry, Matt.)

Thought of the Week:
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)

Churchill Quote of the Week (and see the rest of the story at The Pacific Slope):
"We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old."

Thursday, June 02, 2005

4 - 8 - 15 - 16 - 23 - 42

--The Numbers, Lost



I just finished watching the season finale of ABC's LOST, easily one of the best shows currently on television. I will probably post more about this intriguing drama in the future. However, it's been really busy at work this week, so my post my be delayed. Until then check out...

Oceanic Airlines

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

In 2008, Will It Be Mormon in America?

In 2008, Will It Be Mormon in America?

From the June 6, 2005 issue: Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney ponders a presidential bid.

My Own Private Idaho



No posting from me for a while - I head out tomorrow to Boise on a business trip. I decided to drive - hopefully I'll get this road trip bug satisfied for a while.

So if the blog is overly quiet tomorrow - it's not my fault. I'll be in Idaho.

Randoms

Seen on the Web:

Item 1: Nuclear Material Headed For Iran Intercepted

Item 2: Seen at The Corner:
I'LL SEE YOUR FLUSH AND RAZE YOU A MOSQUE [Andy McCarthy]
So, if you're an Islamic militant, an infidel flushing a Koran down a toilet is grounds for rioting and killing, but your own bombing of a mosque--killing at least 17 Muslims and obliterating who knows how many Korans--is fine. Just want to make sure I have that straight. And we should care what they think about us because ... why?

Our Enemies Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves

Amnesty International and the New York Times. Nice work guys.

How are we going to win this war when we work against ourselves like this?

For explanation:
They Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves
They Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves, Part Two