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Quote Of The Day.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

As to His Holiness.

What contradiction? Maybe you ought not to post on matters of religion because you are starting to embarrass yourself. Both the Pope and Mark Steyn are entitled to their opinions. The Pope’s statements regarding the Israeli situation are wrong. I’m not on any hot coals for saying that. I am not contradicting myself by asserting this. My statement about the Pope weeding out loonies was an explanation of the theological attitudes of Muslims and Catholics. The statement occurred during a discussion of theology. The statement you quote above refers to politics, which to Catholics are different things.

You obviously misunderstand the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. The Pope is not infallible in all his statements. His Holiness only speaks with infallibility when speaking ex cathedra on matters of theology and dogma. That means he is infallible when speaking in his official capacity as the head of Christ’s Body on Earth, the Catholic Church, and as Christ’s Representative. His opinions on politics, movies, Hegel, or his favorite Iron Chef are all matters of opinion and can be disagreed with with impunity. I can disagree with the Pope’s geopolitical theories, but not with the Humanae Vitae. When the Pope enunciates a point of church doctrine, ex cathedra, it is binding on all Catholics. If he says that Haruki Murakami’s latest literary effort is sub-par, that is a personal opinion and is binding to nobody, not even the Vatican librarian.

For the record, the Pope’s history of resistance to the Nazis, Fascists, Communists, and other madmen of the 20th century has left him with a valuation of human life which is absolutist to the extreme. I don’t think even you are as far out morally absolutist on non-killing as His Holiness is. Life is sacred at its beginnings (no abortion) to its end (no euthanasia, capital punishment), no exceptions. His moral view is consistent and actually much stricter on capital punishment than is the Church Herself. He has dipped into moral relativism before, when that gunman murdered a couple of the Swiss Guards. He has long held the relatively pro-Palestinian ideas you cite, but is also one of Israel’s (and Judaism’s) strongest supporters. There are also the issues of the Church of the Nativity and the 50 hostages inside it to deal with. His Holiness would like to see both survive this present conflict.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 | link

Yup, The Internet is Great.

Your vaunted CMIP says (in 2001) that the Palestinians have not altered their attitudes towards Israel and that there is no sign of these Israel neutral textbooks. In fact, they say “After reviewing 58 textbooks being used in the Palestinian Authority school system for the years 2000-2002, the CMIP found no mention of Israel - which is perceived as a usurper or occupier - or its right to exist. Neither is there any mention of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, nor any reference to the land of Israel, its cities or villages, on maps, said CMIP vice chairman Yohanan Manor.” Seems your information is based on Arafat’s double talk, not on fact.

As for Search for Common Ground, those people are hilarious. Did you read how they are working with the “most influential journalists” from “Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen, London, France and the United States.” As if the government controlled mouthpieces of dictatorships like Iraq, Iran, Egypt, or Palestine were just as free and independent as the media in America or England. Journalists in the first three countries on that list can be killed for publishing anything considered to be even remotely critical of their respective dictators. The organization also appears to make no differentiation between free democracies and violently repressive “strongman” regimes.

Their funding seems to come from a lot of U.N. organizations. The U.N. is pretty famous for being strongly anti-Israel. Remember the Durban conference? Remember how the elected Syria to the Human Rights Commission? Many of their Foundation backers (i.e. the MacArthur, Rockefeller, Pew, Hewlett, etc.) are known for being quite leftist. The SFCG doesn’t seem to be all that disinterested a party.

You say Opinionjournal is biased and then cite the Nation!?! Yup, the Nation is known for its unbiased, Israel-neutral commentary. Your liberal position is correct because it was cited in a limousine liberal vanity rag. Trust-funder Katrina Vanden Heuvel’s Nation that is. That reminds me. I’ve been seeing a lot of Nation ads which feature Sam Waterston. That brings to mind an old Vanity Fair column on “culture vultures.” Culture vultures are those people who use “culture” the way the Victorians used olive forks, as a way to differentiate the worthy “us” from the uncouth “them." One of the culture vulture requirements was a love for anything that features Sam Waterston in a stove-pipe hat. That’s a reference to “Lincoln,” a deservedly forgotten snooze-fest starring ol’ Sam. Came to mind.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 | link


From the Infallible Mark Steyn

"Meanwhile, the Pope 'rejects unjust conditions and humiliations imposed on the Palestinian people as well as the reprisals and revenge attacks which do nothing but feed the sense of frustration.'"

Didn't someone I know say recently:

One of the benefits that Catholics enjoy, and most other religions (i.e. Islam, Protestantism, etc.) don’t, is a Pope and College of Cardinals. They weed out the loonies.

So either someone is wrong about the above statement, or someone needs to refer the Pope to Mr. Steyn with the phrase "Your Holiness, if you read one thing I post, read this." Oh, how to extricate oneself from the hot coals of contradiction.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 | link

French People Piss Me Off!

Hi, my name is Lee Ann and I hate France. These guys hate France too. My kinda guys. For all your Frog hating needs, see Francesucks.net. The site is hilarious, but be warned, these guys are in college and it shows. Especially check out the Urgent page. All the Froggie travel info you could ever need. Not that any sane person would want to visit a country where the natives eat snails or, worse, speak French.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 | link

This is Why the Internet Rocks

Prof. Nathan Brown wrote me back in regard to my query about the location of his study of Palestinian textbooks. Here's what he says:

You can look at my website ... for the material (including a link to CMIP's response to me and my counter-response to them).

You might also want to check out the Search for Common Ground News Service. They ran a recent column by Ruth Firer and Sami Adwan that had similar
conclusions to mine.  And Fouad Mughrabi had a piece in the Nation a year or so ago.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 | link

Phil of It.

This tears up ol’ Donahue good. It’s hilarious. Read it. You will not regret it. Trust me. Read it.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 | link

Textbook Deception.

1994, huh? After 8 years, you’d think those textbook would have materialized. If they ever existed that is. Arafat and his cronies have a tendency to tell the West what it wants to hear, while telling the Muslims (in Arabic) what they really mean. Where are these textbooks? How come nobody has seen them? How come no recognized Middle East experts have seen them?

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 09, 2002 | link

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Monday, April 08, 2002

Trouble in Textbook Land

Remember our discussion about Palestinian textbooks? I said the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace looked about as credible as a kangaroo in court, well lo and behold golly gee wow, it turns out sometimes a bit of suspicion pays. George Washington University Political Science professor Nathan Brown also looked at the Palestinian Authority textbooks. Here's some of what he had to say.

"Upon assuming responsibility over Palestinian education in 1994, the Palestinian Authority (PA) restored the Jordanian and Egyptian curriculum in their entirety as an interim measure.This included the use of books that contained sharply anti-Israeli and even anti-Semitic material. It is based on these books that the strongest charges have been levied. Criticisms of that decision are fair, but must be viewed in conjunction with the following facts:

* The PA determined from the beginning to replace these books and formed a curriculum development center to draft a new set of books. This decision came not as a response to international pressure but instead was a Palestinian initiative (though some international funding was available). The plan developed by that center has proceeded according to schedule.

* The PA issued a series of National Education books for grades 1-6 to supplement the Egyptian and Jordanian books while the new books were being written. Those books were devoid of any anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli material.

* Oddly, Israel allowed the offensive Jordanian books to be used in the East Jerusalem schools but barred the innocuous PA-authored books, probably fearful that use of the PA books would be an implicit recognition of sovereignty.

* The new curriculum is now going into effect. The first and sixth grade textbooks were introduced in 2000. The second and seventh grade books were introduced in 2001. Books for the remaining grades will be introduced two at a time until the entire school system has switched over.

In short, the PA should be credited with removing racist and anti-Semitic material from the curriculum, not for maintaining it. And international assistance has supported replacement of the offensive material, not its composition.
"

I haven't been able to find the full text of Brown's study, though I know it's somewhere out in cyber land and will link it when I find it. You can, however, read the CMIP's response to Brown, and Brown's response to the CMIP.


posted by Gena on Monday, April 08, 2002 | link

Red Light Scameras Revisited.

Fear not, devoted Spinsterians, I haven’t forgotten to complete my rant on the infamous red light Scameras. Stealing your privacy and your money, they could be coming to your town. Are you ready to feel safer? Read on.

Using statistics compiled by less than disinterested scientists, the red light Big Brother wannabes are teaming with insurance companies to ensure that both profit from your loss. The police make money off automated tickets, the camera companies make money off the police, and the insurance companies make money off the higher premiums you have to pay because of the points assessed to your license. Everybody wins. Except you, of course. What did you expect, serf?

The best part is that the cameras’ biggest booster, Richard Retting, has done little but prove how flawed his own premise is. “Retting has asserted that too little yellow time causes people to run red lights inadvertently, that nearly four-fifths of red-light runners do so less than a second after the light changes, that over one-third of red-light running incidents are alcohol related, and that one-fourth of the people cited by the cameras aren't driving during the infraction.” The only long-term study of camera effectiveness found that there was no decrease in accidents. In fact, just the opposite is true, as people braked to avoid getting ticketed and got rear-ended. Read the article to find out all the scientific chicanery Retting engages in to force reality to match his desired outcome. Of course, he’s not the only one. The cops ignore the evidence of dramatically increased rear-end collisions in their own studies in order to justify their new ATMs, oops, I mean, safety devices.

But none of that matters because we, the tax (and ticket) payers love the cameras. That must be why we keep voting for politicians who promise to remove them. Well, we should love them. We should also love a swift kick in the head, but for some reason we don’t. The cops love the cameras though. Not the cops who get ticketed while responding to emergency calls, but who needs quick a response to crime when we can have so much ever-lovin’ safety. Speaking of why we subjects, I mean, citizens ought to love the cameras, read this: “High Point contracts with Electronic Data Systems, which subcontracts with PEEK Traffic. A big, happy family, the three entities have formed SafeLight. If a High Point citizen wants to appeal a photo ticket, he first has to pay a $50 'bond' (presumption of innocence be damned). But when a motorist heads into traffic adjudication, he meets not a judge or even a lawyer, but rather a college professor, hired to appear disinterested in the outcome. The professors are paid from the funds generated by red-light camera tickets, and the hearings are held not in court, but at SafeLight's offices, a fact that even a disinterested professor might find interesting.”

Gosh, I feel so safe now. Just knowing how our police and politicians are protecting my rights and my person is just inspiring. I’d show my gratitude, but those cameras are in bullet-proof cases.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 08, 2002 | link

I Wish I Could Write Like This.

Here is Mark Steyn laying down the law on pro-Palestinian idiocy. He points out the hypocrisy and bigotry, the pretentiousness and the shallowness. As I can’t improve on a word he says, I’ll just give some choice out-takes.

“All civilized people can agree that killing Jews is wrong. Well, killing six million of them 60 years ago is wrong. Killing a couple of dozen every 48 hours or so, that's a different matter.”

“There won't be a Second Holocaust in Europe, if only because they did such a thorough job last time round.”

"The problem now for the Arabs is that they cannot rid themselves of the Jews by conventional military means: They have tanks, missiles, aircraft, but every time they use them against Israel, they lose. So their chosen weapon is the Palestinians: Effectively, they've designated the West Bank as one big suicide bomb to take out the Jews. Either it'll wear them down by attrition -- there are already signs that young Israelis are drifting into a 'post-Zionist' fatalism -- or it will hold them until the finishing touches are put to that eagerly awaited Muslim nuke: Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of those famous Iranian moderates, has already said that on that fast approaching day when the Muslim world gets nuclear weapons the Jewish question will be settled forever."

“The interesting thing about ‘Palestinians’ is that so few of the West Bank Arabs thought of themselves as such before 1967. It post-dates the founding of the PLO: Palestine had a national liberation movement before it had a nationality.”

“To those who always complain that I weep for Jewish children but not Muslim ones, let me say I weep for Ayat Mohammed al-Akhras, the straight-A high-school student who blew herself up in a supermarket last week. She spent eight years in a toxic education system run by Yasser Arafat, she grew up in a culture that glorifies human sacrifice promoted by Yasser Arafat, she was recruited by subordinates of Yasser Arafat, supplied with explosives paid for by Yasser Arafat, and dispatched as a human bomb with the blessing of Yasser Arafat. I weep for every Arab child so perverted by a contemptible cowardly old man.”

"There are two sides in this struggle: One is prepared to offer land, the other is prepared to offer 'the right to exist.' That argument should have been settled six decades ago. As it says on the wall at Dachau, 'Never Again.' "

Gena, if you read one thing I post, read this.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 08, 2002 | link

Sowell Patrol.

Thomas Sowell, intellectual god, is here defending those poor, unpopular economists. Seems economists are always reminding people of things they don’t want to hear. Things like: Everything that politicians and voters say we “ought” to have carries a price – a price which has to be paid whether you like it or not, and possibly in ways you never intended. Sowell provides the economic rain that needs to fall on every politician’s parade.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 08, 2002 | link

Saddam Screws Up.

Saddam Hussein has cut off oil exports to show solidarity with the Palestinians. Oh no, we’re doomed! Gas lines like in the 70’s! Suffering! Poverty! Wait, what’s that I hear? Is that you Vladimir? You say that Russia can increase production to meet any demand? Ask about great deals on bulk purchases you say? I guess Saddam forgot that America gets most of its imported oil from elsewhere. We can buy from Russia, the Caucasus, or South America. We could even drill out those silted up wells in Texas. Heck, there’s always ANWR. Even if the entire Middle East cuts production, we can get plenty of oil. They need the oil revenues far more than we need their oil. What this does do, however, is give Bush yet another reason to topple this madman. Bad move, Sad-dumb.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 08, 2002 | link

Arafat Round-Up.

Oh look! Yasser Arafat has been counterfeiting money. I thought only criminal organizations or nations at war did that. Counterfeit money undermines the economy of the nation whose money is faked. Is Yasser a gangster or a man at war? If he’s a gangster, send him to prison. If he’s a leader of a nation at war, the Israelis have every right to launch a military campaign against him.

Actually, the raid on Ramallah has done exactly what the Israelis hoped it would do, i.e. unearth incontrovertible evidence of Arafat’s continued terrorism. The Israelis have uncovered documents in Arafat’s handwriting ordering the funds for bombers. There are invoices for weapons banned at Oslo. There are even publicity materials to celebrate the “martyred” suicide bombers.

Arafat has also forbidden the gunmen holed up in the Church of the Nativity to negotiate or surrender. About 240 terrorists are holding 40-50 priests and nuns hostage along with the place of Christ’s birth. The gunmen continue to fire on Israeli troops and have killed the church’s bell-ringer. The Israelis are offering to let anyone to leave the church unharmed, but the terrorists keep shooting. What do the Israelis do in response? Here’s what they do: “ ‘We in the IDF understand the symbolism of Bethlehem to the people of the world,’ said Col. Miri Eisen, a senior IDF intelligence officer. ‘That is why the chief of General Staff has given a direct order to the forces fighting in Bethlehem to hold fire on religious structures.’ " Arafat has no such scruples. Do you seriously expect this terrorist chieftan to make peace?

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 08, 2002 | link

This is Getting Monotonous.

How many times can you be wrong in the same way on the same issues? Let’s examine the case of “Gena.” Just when I think you have attained a modicum of sanity, you flip out again.

“Just because a religion says something does not mean that you have to accept or act upon it, in order to be a believer in that religion.” Yes it does. That’s the point of having a religion, believing something definite, not making it up as you go along. If it’s in the Scriptures, it tends to be a non-negotiable point. Scripture can be misinterpreted, which is why we have theologians and other experts who can help differentiate between the godly and the psycho. One of the benefits that Catholics enjoy, and most other religions (i.e. Islam, Protestantism, etc.) don’t, is a Pope and College of Cardinals. They weed out the loonies. Don’t look Gena, your atheism is showing.

“But what if the Muslims controlled Italy, and there were a ‘distinct minority’ of them who wanted to tear down the Vatican?” There are. They also want to destroy frescoes depicting L’Inferno because it shows Mohammed in one of the lower circles of hell. The carabiniere keeps them under control. Muslims in Italy have found it to rather unwise to mess with the carabiniere. Bad analogy all around. You can’t rebuild what was never there, and when Catholics are under Muslim control, they don’t live long enough to have refugee camps. Destroying places of worship and replacing them with your own has been far more characteristic of Islam than of any other religion. You might want to look into Muslim activity in Europe, it’s chillingly Medieval.

I don’t agree with the Mitchell Report version, but let’s assume it’s accurate. If Arafat can use holy sites for political purposes, why can’t Sharon? If you think its OK for Arafat to do it, why are you condemning Sharon? Sharon made the political statement that Jews should be able to visit the Temple Mount whenever they want. He reasserted the Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. What is wrong with that? No previous Arab rulers or people denied that reality. Even when the Muslims had their periodic pogroms, they never denied the history of the Temple Mount. By the way, have you ever heard of Hebron? It’s the town where the Tomb of the Patriarchs is. The site is holy to both Jews and Muslims, but Jews never seem to go there any more. That’s because they are forbidden from entering their own sacred sites. The Palestinians won’t allow it. The Palestinians are reported to be destroying the parts of the Tomb of the Patriarchs that are “too Jewish.” Maybe Sharon was right to call attention to the Palestinians abuse of the holiest sites in the Holy Land.

By the way, the West Bank has been under Palestinian control for ten years! Israel hasn’t occupied the West Bank in a decade. The suffering of the West Bank Palestinians is 100% Arafat’s fault. If the Palestinians are in a lousy spot, maybe that is the fault of the guy who has been in charge of their lands. By the way, Arafat’s term in office ran out a couple of years ago. He decided to “extend” his term in office. Never bothered with those pesky elections either.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 08, 2002 | link

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Sunday, April 07, 2002

The Blairing Bush

Tony Blair has indicated he'll join Bush in an attack on Iraq. Sadam for his part said that he would fight back by any means possible - including airplanes.


posted by Gena on Sunday, April 07, 2002 | link

The Great Big Israeli/ Palestinian Grab Bag

Just so we can keep on givin' all you folks who drifted in here lookin' for a fight what you want, welcome to round 68. As always it's the Israelis on the right, the Palestinians on the left, and the civilians in the middle.

As for Hitler, he was a PAGAN.

You're right; that was sloppy of me. So Hitler ist das Heidentum, und das Heidentum ist Hitler? The point I was trying to make  is still valid. Just because a religion says something does not mean that you have to accept or act upon it, in order to be a believer in that religion. So even if the Koran does say that about Jews, Muslims could still take it with, well, a grainof salt.

The Israelis who want to tear down the Al Aqsa mosque are in a distinct minority in Israel.

True. But what if the Muslims controlled Italy, and there were a "distinct minority" of them who wanted to tear down the Vatican? I'd wager most Catholics would be worried, especially if most Catholics lived in refugee camps under Muslim control., and especially if the Catholics knew that rebuilding
a mosque on the site of the Vatican was one of the central dreams of Muslims - whether most of them would act on it or not. Maybe I'm way off here, but I have a nasty feeling that under those circumstances the Vatican would quickly become a bone of contention.

Why shouldn’t Sharon visit the Temple Mount?

Well, he didn't exactly go up there with a camera and a Torah. Sharon visited the Temple Mount in order to make a political statement, and that's how both the Israelis and the Palestinians took it. From the Mitchell Report:

"In late September 2000, Israeli, Palestinian, and other officials received reports that Member of the Knesset (now Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon was planning a visit to the Haram al-Sharif/TempleMount in Jerusalem. Palestinian and U.S. officials urged then Prime Minister Ehud Barak to prohibit the visit. Mr. Barak told us that he believed the visit was intended to be an internal political act directed against himby a political opponent, and he declined to prohibit it.

Mr. Sharon made the visit on September 28 accompanied by over 1,000 Israeli police officers. Although Israelis viewed the visit in an internal political context, Palestinians saw it as highly provocative to them. On the following day, in the same place, a large number of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators and a large Israeli police contingent confronted each other."

So why shouldn't Sharon visit the Temple Mount? Because he should have recognized the effect his "political act" would have. I don't dispute that Jews should be able to visit the Temple Mount. On the other hand, you don't light the Fourth of July sparklers while standing on TNT - lovely as they are. If you do, even after everyone has told you what the consequences of that action will be, well you're a moron. Sharon the incendiary? Sharon the idiot? Sharon the responsible. Blame Arafat? Fine. Put Arafat on trial? Why not? Just try Sharon along with him. And dude. Let Israel build the Palestinian state? Well, asmy grandpappy used to say: All nuts don't grow on trees.


posted by Gena on Sunday, April 07, 2002 | link

Our Fearless Leader

George W. Bush is coming to Knoxville. You see. Knoxville is important. Knoxville is special. We're being visited by Elmer Fudd.


posted by Gena on Sunday, April 07, 2002 | link

Gena Gets It.

Finally! Yes, we are going to have to do a full bore nation building plan if we are going to drag the Palestinians kicking and screaming into reality. After ten years of Arafat, it won’t be easy. Arafat and his henchmen will have to be put on trial and likely executed. The current Palestinian political and social structures will have to be gutted and rebuilt the way we want them. Imperialist? Yes. Nasty? Yes. Necessary? Hell yes. We did it to Germany and Japan. Either Israel or the U.S. is going to have to do it now. Put Arafat on the road to hell, and the Palestinian people on the long, hard, sometimes humiliating road to civilization.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, April 07, 2002 | link

Proof that There Is Intelligent Life

In the UNC universe after all, UNC Poly Sci major Kyle Still has a great blog, and proves, Lee Ann, that we have in fact been assimilated.


posted by Gena on Sunday, April 07, 2002 | link

Jeepers Whitaker, Communist Shrubbery!

Run for your lives, the red kudzu is attacking! Flee! Flee! The communist vines will destroy us all!

Click here to see some seriously stupid public art. Got any public art that needs insulting, let me know.

NOTE: The link has been disabled. The Seattle Times took down the story and picture. The picture was of a giant vine. It was red. Seriously, that's it. That's what the people of Seattle coughed up good money for. A big, red vine. Commie Kudzu. I swear to God, that's what it looked like.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, April 07, 2002 | link

Post-Modernism Redux.

Spinster reader Walt P. sent in a correction on my understanding of the Uncertainty Principle. Apparently, Bohr may be more at fault than Heisenberg for the rise of the post-mods. Let Walt explain:

“The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is not under any serious attack in the physics world. The person Dave Kopel refers to in his column, Carver Mead, is not a theoretical physicist. While he is certainly welcome to try to reformulate quantum mechanics, but doing some searching on the web his viewpoint doesn't seem like it has a lot of adherents within the theoretical physics community . . . Anyway, if anything in physics deserves credit/blame for influencing postmodernism, it would be Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle says that there are physical quantities, such as position and momentum, that cannot be simultaneously assigned a definite numeric value. When a particle has a definite position, it momemtum can be thought of taking on a continuous range of values. Weird, but not of any obvious political significance. It's Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation that emphasizes the subjectivity of the act of observing.”

Thus saith Walt. Apparently we should all be cursing the memory of Niels Bohr, not Heisenberg. However, my main theory still stands. In the end it doesn’t matter if Heisenberg is right or not or even understood or not, what matters is that the post-mods can’t be proven wrong. Either way, thank you Walt P. for the correction.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, April 07, 2002 | link

Could It Be, We Agree

On this point, anyway.

We are at a  point where we can stop them and get them on the track tocivilized nationhood. I think it’s a good idea to do so. We did it to the Germans, and look where they are now. We did it to the Japanese, look at them. They are healthy, prosperous,  and free peoples. The Palestinians can be too.

Actually I don't think that's a bad idea. Honestly I couldn't understand why Bush sailed into office astride the "no nation building" charger. No one builds nations better than than we do, and the proof of that is the two nations we've built. Doing the same for the Palestinians would be fine by me. More than fine actually. Although I still emphatically disagree that the Palestinians are staunch, intransigent anti-Semites, I do think they have been radicalized to the point where any state they autonomously built would be a danger to itself and others. And that radicalization cuts both ways. From what I've seen and what I've read, I don't think most Israelis believe any more that the Palestinians - all Palestinians - are not terrorists who are out to destroy them. There are no doubt some; but with every suicide bombing that number shrinks. Perhaps I'm paternalistic and cynical but I don't think the two sides are capable any longer of solving the conflict themselves. If we go in there, separate the two sides, control the Palestinian territories, and shape them into a functioning democracy, then I say go us. Unfortunately, that proposal is not on the table.


posted by Gena on Sunday, April 07, 2002 | link

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Saturday, April 06, 2002

Witty, Yet Wrong.

I’ll deal with your points sequentially, yet randomly. First, the issue of spillover violence: yeah, but when the Greeks were attacking American policies, the Americans did not go around beating, shooting, or blowing up Greeks. Big difference.

“People in Alabama are die hard racists. (Wanna make something of it?) They may live peacefully with blacks but that's only temporary. (Dammit she’s on to us!) . . . What lies beneath is the diabolical will to enslave the whole continent, (Just one continent? Heck we want ‘em all!) to smear African leaders (with oil, for rasslin’!) and prove them murderously sub-human (See they ain’t so different), incapable of just governance (Just like them Africans to be Democrats ain’t it?), and thus in need of Western domination.” You say that like it’s a bad thing. No I’m not pissed or offended. I’m amused. Your Alabama example is not a parallel to the Middle East, because Alabamians have not publicly and repeatedly dedicated themselves to the extermination of blacks. We have not stockpiled weapons, brainwashed our children into racism, or provided funding and munitions to terrorists. The Palestinians have. Read some of Hamas', Hezbollah's, Al Fatah's, or Arafat's (Arabic) speeches. They have repeatedly vowed to continue their terror campaigns until every Jew is either dead or exiled. Alabama has not done anything like this. There is a difference between paranoid fantasy and preparations for war. However, do not take this as evidence that Alabama will not soon take over the world.

Harping on Arab Anti-Semitism. The purpose of constantly reminding you of the widespread anti-Semitism of the Muslim world is to make you keep in mind that we are not dealing with reasonable people. They have been brainwashed into a virulent, murderous hatred and it may not be possible to make them listen to reason without force. The Germans were fairly anti-Semitic for quite a long time without any major pogroms or widespread violence. It was only when a charismatic demagogue took control of the country, of all information sources, and began his propaganda campaigns did the Germans become an anti-Semitic killing machine. Arafat is the demagogue of the Palestinian people and they are following the same path as the Germans. We are at a point where we can stop them and get them on the track to civilized nationhood. I think it’s a good idea to do so. We did it to the Germans, and look where they are now. We did it to the Japanese, look at them. They are healthy, prosperous, and free peoples. The Palestinians can be too.

“How civilized are you likely to act, if you're convinced that people want you dead?” That depends on if those people really do want you dead. As for the tanks, don’t declare war on a people if you don’t want to fight them. If you don’t want a foreign army rolling their tanks through your village, don’t declare war on them.

Christian Ani-Semitism. As for Christ killers, yeah, we did believe that once. We don’t anymore; we progressed beyond that barbarity. It was a misinterpretation of the Bible. When the Jews, directed by the Pharisees, demanded Jesus be put to death, they said “let his blood be on us and our children.” We conveniently forgot the part a bit later where Jesus says “forgive them, they know not what they do.” Jesus absolved them from any guilt because His death was God’s will. We let ignorant hatred blind us to truth. We don’t anymore. Christians have fully recognized their sins against the Jews and, in the case of Catholicism, have apologized. By the way, anti-Semitism is non-Biblical. No part of the Bible advocates the killing of Jews. The Koran is a bit different. As for Hitler, he was a PAGAN. He was born Catholic, but left the faith and hated it ever after. He rejected Christianity as a religion for the weak. They just released huge caches of documents detailing Hitler’s plans to destroy Christianity, and the Catholic Church in particular. Shirer covers the subject well in the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. You had a good point on Christian anti-Semitism, but blew it on the Hitler thing. Every time the anti-Christian leftists try to make Hitler into a Christian, the Jews go ballistic. Look at the Jewish response to the Holocaust Museum’s attempt to portray the Nazis as “Christians” instead of as the neo-pagans they really were. Why do think they were so big on Wagner? Hitler dug Wotan, not Jesus.

Jerusalem. Technically, Jerusalem was a Jebusite city captured by King David (a major jerk IMHO). There is a mosque on the Temple Mount because the conquering Arabs put one there. Most Jews have no problem with that. The Israelis who want to tear down the Al Aqsa mosque are in a distinct minority in Israel and are equivalent to Flat Earthers at a scientist’s convention. Sure, they’d like their Temple back, but they don’t feel it would be right to desecrate a mosque. Even when the Israelis controlled the Temple Mount, they always allowed Muslims full access to their mosque. The Israelis want to live in peace alongside the Palestinians. That’s why they offered Arafat a Palestinian state at Oslo. It’s the Palestinians that want the Jews gone. I used the word Judenrein for a specific purpose. Judenrein is a German word meaning “free from Jews” and is associated with Hitler and his rabid anti-Semitism. Arafat has the same feelings towards Jews as Hitler did, and he’s spent nearly 10 years brainwashing the youth of Palestine into sharing that hatred.

Sharon on the Temple Mount. Why shouldn’t Sharon visit the Temple Mount? It’s the site of the Great Temple of Jerusalem, is open to non-Muslims, and many Jews and Israelis had visited it before. Why shouldn’t Sharon? It’s not like he marched in at the head of a column of tanks or tried to hold services there. He, like many other Jews and non-Muslims, wanted to visit the holiest site in Judaism. Why can’t Jews visit their own holy sites? Muslims aren’t kept out of their holy sites by Israelis, why sould Jews be kept from theirs? The Israelis fired into a violent mob threatening a prominent politician, not a bunch of T-shirt wearing hippies. By the way, the Intifada started after the Palestinians were offered a separate state and everything else they wanted at Oslo.

It’s Arafat, Stupid! While you are blaming people, why aren’t you blaming Arafat? He was offered everything the Palestinians had wanted at Oslo. He refused it and went home to start the Intifada. Arafat funds the Al Aqsa Brigades. He supplies explosives to suicide bombers and pays their families a reward for their “martyrdom.” He has brainwashed Palestinian schoolchildren into anti-Semitism and violence. He imports weapons from Iran (remember the Karine A?) that he agreed to ban at Oslo. He ‘s the one destroying the Temple Mount and the mosque on top of it. The Palestinians were much worse off in the 70’s and 80’s than now, yet it is only after a decade of Arafat’s rule that we have suicide bombers. That’s not a coincidence. Arafat is the Palestinians’ main problem, not Sharon.

Flying Rats and Their Asses. I’m glad you appreciate my magisterial command of the English language. I was going to say “flying monkey’s butt” but feared the NRO-niks might attack.

Cranky Euros. Americans dislike one another just as much if not more than the Euros dislike each other. Somehow we have managed to avoid Holocausts. We’ve had atrocities, yes. No Holocausts though. We manage to deal with each other, why can’t they?

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, April 06, 2002 | link

Long, So Long

One good diatribe deserves another, it seems. Just so I can trick myself into thinking that I'm not really rattling on and on, I've split this post in two. Welcome to the second part.

The Koran encourages Muslims to kill Jews where you find them. The Muslims havebeen anti-Semites since the Jews refused to convert to Islam during the time of Mohammed. The “Israeli” issue is a red herring.

What???!!! I haven't read the Koran, but maybe it does say that. Your book however accuses the Jews of killing God for Christ's sake. Does this mean you're an anti-Semite too? That it's impossible to be a Christian without identifying Jews as God killers? Lot's of Christians have thought that in the past. Some Christians probably still think it. And lot's of Jews have died because of it. Does it therefore apply to every Christian? To every Christian country? Who was Hitler anyway? Not a Muslim, I can tell you that. C'mon Lee Ann. You don't believe that nonsenseof yourself. Why believe it of someone else?

Why can’t Jews live in their own historical lands, the capital city they built, and the lands where they have lived for 5 millennia?

And why is there a big mosque siting on top of the ruins of the temple? Because Arabs have been living in Jerusalem too. Because the city wasn't built just by the Jews. And although the Jews may certainly live there, they certainly don't have any more claim to live there than the Arabs. As far as I am concerned both of them can jolly well learn to live there together.

Why must the Holy Land be Judenrein?

Judenrein?! Um, dude. That's a German word. You're implicitly holding the Palestinians responsible for a history they had nothing to do with, and that isn't fair.

The Palestinians were offered everything they wanted at Oslo, and responded by launching the Intafada.

Quatsch! The Palestinians launched the Intifada after Sharon marched up onto the Temple Mount. Why was this provocative? Because the Al Aqsa mosque sits on the site of the original Temple. If you're going to rebuild
the temple, as some Israelis want to do, and you want it to be "authentic," you have to tear down the mosque to do so. This is why it's a "disputed" site. Sharon marched up there to criticize Barak's policies toward the Palestinians, and to assert Israel's hegemony. That at least is how the Palestinians took it, and if he didn't intend his little stunt as a deliberate provocation, then he's one of the world's bigger idiots. When the Palestinians protested, the Israelis fired live bullets into the crowd. How would this look to you, if you were a Palestinian? That was when the Second Intifada was launched.

Want someone to blame, blame Sharon. Blame the soldiers who fired into the crowd. Blame Clinton for not working harder to get the two parties back to the negotiating table, and most certainly blame Bush for thinking if he just ignored the situation, it would go away. Want to blame the Palestinians? Blame them for choosing violence. Blame them for fighting their side of the conflict by the most disgusting means possible. Blame them, if it's true, for destroying priceless antiquities. Don't however say that they
launched the Intifada in response to "getting everything they wanted at Oslo." That just isn't true.

Jews have always lived in the Holy Land, even after the Diaspora.

Duh. I never said Jews weren't living there. I said in the 19th century "Jews began immigrating to the Middle East in relatively large numbers." Think Theodor Herzl.

So you can hate people but only for the right reason?

No. I said hating people was wrong. There is no right reason to hate somebody, but there are different types of hate, some more eliminable than others. If you hate someone for political reasons, it is likely you will stop hating them once the political situation changes. Irrational hatred is more pernicious, however.

flying rat’s ass

Pause. Intermission. I have to say that totally rocks. I've heard of a rat's ass, but never of a flying one. Rock on. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Nobody, but nobody, gives a flying rat’s ass that Europe’s ethnics are not on the best of terms.

Yes, but maybe if they had, things like the Holocaust wouldn't have happened.


posted by Gena on Saturday, April 06, 2002 | link

Wrong, So Wrong

Dude, that's a substantial punch. Unfortunately the bag's over here. Let me explain.

When I said:

Yet, the issue would not be blind hatred of Americans, but rather blind hatred of Americans provoked by the policies of the American government.

I was giving an example and the example I gave was of my mother's experiences in Greece during the Vietnam War. So in answer to your question:

Which American policies?

American policies in Vietnam during the 1970s.

Moving on. You say the attacks in France and Belgium are anti-Semitic not anti-Israeli. Don't you think it's a trifle coincidental that all of these attacks are happening at exactly the time the violence in the Middle East is escalating. Doesn't that imply that there's a connection. Doesn't this quote from the Washington Post  (found I might add through your own google search) at least sound reasonable:

But the attacks continue, causing concerns that Europe could become the site of an escalating spillover conflict.

Notice the key words: escalating spillover conflict. Exactly my original point, and it would seem at least a partial refutation of yours, because if the acts of violence are a "spillover" conflict, then they are tied to the Middle East and not simply to some diabolical hatred of Jews. I said "partial refutation," however, because when it comes right down to it, neither of us can refute the other. Yousay the Arabs diabolically hate the Jews. I say they don't. But since we can't peer into every Arab's soul, we can't prove the point one way or the other. Just try to disprove this for instance:

People in Alabama are die hard racists. They may live peacefully with blacks but that's only temporary. They're just biding their time until the opportunity arises when they can hang them all from the nearest tree. Whatever white Alabamians say about tolerance and integration is just a ruse to buy time and trick black folks into letting down their guard. At heart they want to kill blacks. They've killed them in the past, and they will kill them in the future. Lot's of Alabamians have criticized Zimbabwe. They talk about human rights and genocide but this is just a cover for their own racist, imperialist agenda. What lies beneath is the diabolical will to enslave the whole continent, to smear African leaders and prove them murderously sub-human, incapable of just governance, and thus in need of Western domination. Alabama whites want to murder blacks. Period. There can be no argument on this point.

Well, now if I heard that, I'd say HOG WASH!!!!! But just try to prove it wrong. Sure you can offer evidence to the contrary, but maybe the contrary evidence really does hide a malevolent agenda. Can you prove beyond all reasonable doubt that it doesn't? Now I'll just bet though that the above statement about white Alabamians is offensive to you, and that you'd deny it. And I'll also bet that you'd be able to discern the presence of something rather ugly beneath it.

Well.??!!.. What is the consequence of saying that the Arabs are diabolically anti-Semitic. What purpose does that serve? What consequence would it have? I know what my reaction would be if I were absolutely convinced a bunch of people would not stop until they had killed me and everyone they identified as being like me. I'd kill them first. I wouldn't be stupid enough to negotiate with them, to let them buy time until they could kill me better than they could right now. No, I'd eliminate them. I'd wipe them off the face of the earth before they could do the same to me. What other choice would I have? And now just imagine that you're the Palestinian civilian watching the tank cruise through the refugee camp. Wouldn't the thought that the Israelis in the tank thought you were Hitler reincarnate scare the living day lights out of you? C'mon. How civilized are you likely to act, if you're convinced that people want you dead?


posted by Gena on Saturday, April 06, 2002 | link

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Friday, April 05, 2002

Stephen Hawking

Talks about Marilyn Monroe and the universe among other things - not necessarily in that order.


posted by Gena on Friday, April 05, 2002 | link

Alternative History

What would have happened had there been no 9/11. Where would George Bush et al be? Nowhere good most likely. Michael Berube takes on the far left, the right, the New Republic, and George Bush. Idiots for every taste.


posted by Gena on Friday, April 05, 2002 | link

Pierre Bourdieu is Dead

In memorium the New Left Review republishes a conversation Bourdieu had with Guenter Grass in 1999 about France, Germany, and the effects of neoliberalism


posted by Gena on Friday, April 05, 2002 | link

Another of the Detainees in Cuba

Claims US citizenship. There's an interesting little side note about how Bush may attempt to configure the tribunals to try American citizens.


posted by Gena on Friday, April 05, 2002 | link

More on the Middle East

Fighting continues. Israelis more or less ignore Bush. Zinni meets with Arafat. More people die. Same old same old.


posted by Gena on Friday, April 05, 2002 | link

Croix de Grits Award.

The voting places have closed, the election is over, and Al Gore has demanded a recount. The vaunted Croix de Grits has been awarded to Condoleeza Rice. Ms. Rice was judged to possess all the qualities most admired in a Southern Lady: intelligence, beauty, charm, and the ability to nuke foreigners. A better candidate could not have been found. We web-critters salute you, Ms. Rice, for your service above and beyond the call of duty to the South and especially to Alabama.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 05, 2002 | link

Stupid Europeans Alert!

The Nobel Prize committee has declared that they want to revoke the Peace Prize they gave to . . . Shimon Peres! That’s right, not Arafat. Arafat, whose handwritten notes ordering the purchase of explosives for suicide bombers were found in his Ramallah headquarters, who has close ties to the Al Aqsa Brigades, who runs the Fatah terrorist organization. He’s OK by them. No, all those violent massacres must have been caused by the Jew Peres. Yup, Stockholm’s finest hour.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 05, 2002 | link

All Wrong, All the Time.

Gena, your ability to be wrong in such sophisticated and creative ways is truly inspirational. Now I guess it’s time to go through your post and reveal the wonders of wrongness. (This has wound up being a rather sizable screed. It is broken up into nice, bite-sized paragraphs, so stay with me.)

“Another is the conflation of a people with a state: something which unfortunately is often the case.” The anti-Semitic attacks in France are just that. Anti-Semitic, not anti-Israeli. They conflate the people with the state because they want to exterminate both. They want Israel and its citizens swept into the sea. Why do you think the Israelis have taken such care to protect their Embassy? Might it be that they are refusing to be sitting ducks for der Fuehrer’s Arab minions? Are attacks on Jews OK because they have been conflated with someone else? If I conflate you with someone I hate, can I beat you up?

“Yet, the issue would not be blind hatred of Americans, but rather blind hatred of Americans provoked by the policies of the American government.” Anti-Americanism is the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals. Which American policies? You mean they object to the billions of dollars in foreign aid that the U.S. gives to the Muslim states of the Middle East? To the millions that America gives the Palestinian Authority for education and humanitarian aid? To the U.S. brokered Oslo Accords that guaranteed the Palestinians an independent state, financial support, and a capital in Jerusalem? Do they object to the U.S. constantly pressuring the Israelis to negotiate with (and thus reward) terrorists like Arafat? Is it really so bad that the U.S. demand that Arafat stop the suicide bombers? Terrorism is never justified. Blaming the victim is a disgusting tactic. Since when is the “she was asking for it” defense acceptable by civilized human beings?

“Historically, Europeans have hated Jews as a despised ethnic and religious minority who made a convenient scapegoat. European anti-Semitism was not triggered by anything the Jews had done, but was simply targeted at the Jews for who they were.” How is this different than Muslim anti-Semitism? The Middle East has made Israel the scapegoat for their own social, political, and cultural deficiencies. “It’s not our vicious, corrupt leaders, radical misogyny, social stagnation, and rejection of education that are condemning us to poverty and oppression, it’s the Jews!” You know, I couldn’t find my keys yesterday; the Jews must have broke in and hid ‘em. Mean old Jews. The Muslims hate the Jews because they are Jews, not because of any actions the Israelis have taken. The Koran encourages Muslims to kill Jews where you find them. The Muslims have been anti-Semites since the Jews refused to convert to Islam during the time of Mohammed. The “Israeli” issue is a red herring. Why can’t Israel exist alongside a Palestinian state? That’s all the Israelis want. Why can’t Jews live in their own historical lands, the capital city they built, and the lands where they have lived for 5 millennia? Why must the Holy Land be Judenrein? The Palestinians were offered everything they wanted at Oslo, and responded by launching the Intafada. The Palestinians hate all Jews, just because they are Jews. You don’t accuse Jews of killing gentile babies and baking pastries with their blood because you object to Israel’s immigration policies. They are plain old run of the mill anti-Semites.

“I don't dispute that some Muslims are also anti-Semitic, but they haven't been so historically. In fact Jews and Muslims lived peacefully together in the Middle East for over a thousand years.” Conversion by Sword, anyone? Your history is way off. The Islamic world is one of extreme imperialism, oppression, and persecution. It always has been. While some Islamic leaders have been tolerant, most have not. The history of Jews and Christians in Islamic lands is one of slaughter. When the Muslims captured the Holy Land in the 600s, they slaughtered their way through Jerusalem. They offered conversion or death. No country in the world has accepted Islam voluntarily. If Muslims are so tolerant, why did the Spanish fight for 700 years to free themselves from Islamic occupation? Have you never heard of “dhimmitude?” Non-Muslims are referred to as “dhimmi”, which means infidel or vermin, something subhuman. Non-Muslims were economically oppressed, subject to persecutions and slaughter, and could have their women and children stolen from them at any time. Recall the Janissaries? Islamic rule is well worth fighting and dying to avoid.

“Things started to change in the nineteenth century when Jews began immigrating to the Middle East in relatively large numbers.” Jews have always lived in the Holy Land, even after the Diaspora. Jews have lived in the Holy Land continuously from the Exodus (the reign of the Ramessides) through the Babylonian Captivity through the Roman Occupation until now. They have been alternately tolerated and persecuted by their Islamic overlords since the Muslims captured Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the holiest site in Judaism. Why shouldn’t Jews live in the city they built? Despite Islamic attempts to exterminate the Jews of Jerusalem (remember the massacres of WWII by Hitler’s Arab allies?) the Jews have not abandoned their holiest sites. Why should they? Why aren’t Jews allowed to visit Jewish holy sites in PA controlled territories? The Israelis always allowed Muslims access to the Al Aqsa mosque. If the Jews were expelled from Israel (which is the plan for those who survive the Palestinian “return”) all Jewish holy sites will be razed and destroyed. Don’t think so? Arafat has been hell bent on destroying all evidence of a Jewish presence in the Holy Land. He has desecrated cemeteries, destroyed archaeological sites, and done his best to erase evidence of the Jews in their own ancient lands. Did you know that the Al Aqsa mosque is in danger of collapse, as is the entire Temple Mount? Are the Jews destroying the (recently declared) third holiest site in Islam? Nope, Arafat is. Underneath the Temple Mount, there is an archaeological treasure called “Solomon’s Stables.” It is part of the Great Temple built by Herod Antipas on the site of the Temple built by Solomon to house the Ark of the Covenant. Some of the most beautiful artifacts of the Ancient Near East come from the Great Temple of Jerusalem. Arafat, however, doesn’t like any history that includes the existence of Jews, and certainly won’t tolerate archaeological evidence of their 5,000 year continual presence in the Holy Land. So every night you can watch dump truck haul away tons of “debris”, actually frescoes, carvings, Temple structures, and other ancient artifacts, out of “Solomon’s Stables.” This effort at destroying evidence of Jewish presence at the Jewish Temple has fundamentally weakened the Temple Mount platform that supports the Al Aqsa mosque. When the whole thing comes crashing down, how much do you want to bet that the Palestinians blame the Jews instead of themselves?

“I think hating people is wrong, period, but I also think there is a difference between hating someone simply because they're a member of a group, and hating that person because they're a member of a state you disagree with. One is racist; the other is political.” So you can hate people but only for the right reason? Firebombing an Israeli Embassy is OK, blowing up a synagogue full of Zionist Jews would be OK, but calling a secular Jew bad names would be wrong. Thanks for clearing that up. To be honest, if you want to hate somebody, go right ahead. I’m no candidate for the Tolerance Hall of Fame. I hate the French. I’m not Fonda Hanoi Jane. Let’s not get started on the Mormons. It’s when you decide to exterminate an entire religion or people that I get all fussy.

“The point I was trying to make about Europe, however, was that you have a whole bunch of ethnic groups living there who don't like each other all that much.” What the hell do you think America is you nimrod! What are we, a shiny happy racial paradise? You live in The South for Christ’s sake! Not only do ethnic groups have problems, everybody does. The individual states don’t like each other, cities have waged tourism wars, and regional rivalries are as strong as ever. It took Islamofascists slaughtering 3,000 people to make the rest of the country temporarily stop hating New York City. Here in Alabama, we hate the entire state of Georgia (especially Hotlanta), ain’t too fond of Yankees, and are required by law to make fun of Mississippi at every opportunity. Nobody, but nobody, gives a flying rat’s ass that Europe’s ethnics are not on the best of terms. Somehow America has managed to be a multiracial, multiethnic, and multifaith country for 225 years with only one War Between the States, one peaceful Civil Rights Movement, and almost nothing in terms of internal terrorism. American Indians have a ton of grievances against white America, yet they manage to refrain from suicide bombings, massacres, and other acts of terrorism. Blacks managed to achieve full Civil Rights without detonating themselves at debutante balls. The Euros can shape up or shut up.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 05, 2002 | link

About Those Journalists . . .

“And if the Israelis were really so concerned about whether or not the journalists were legit, they could have simply checked their credentials. The Israelis banned the journalists because they didn't want pictures of what was happening in Ramallah splashed across the evening news.” There seem to be a ton of pictures coming out of Ramallah and Bethlehem, so that's out. In case you haven’t noticed, it has taken the FBI and the U.S. military about 6 months to identify the prisoners at Gitmo, and they're not even done yet. Are you seriously asking combat troops to check some cub reporter’s i.d. while dodging sniper fire? Quite a number of journalists in that region are members of Hamas and Hezbollah. Even if the reporter’s i.d. checks out, he might be smuggling weapons, information, and extra terrorists (in the persons of himself and camera crew) into a combat zone to strengthen terrorist forces.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 05, 2002 | link

The Decline and Fall of the Post-Modernist Empire.

It’s no secret that I hate post-modernism. So I would certainly rejoice at its ultimate demise. Dave Kopel gives his take on why the post-mod is over. Hs take is, in essence, that post-mod is heavily derived from non-literary theories of knowledge, mainly Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. The Uncertainty Principle states that you can never really know everything about what you are studying, i.e. you can know the location of an electron or it’s velocity, but not both at once. This theory has been co-opted by the post-mods to support their contentions that there is no objective truth and that all knowledge is subjective and based on power. Now that Heisenberg and his Uncertainty Principle are under serious attack, the underpinnings of post-modernism are crumbling and taking the whole stupid theory with it.

Just savor that thought a minute. It’s beautiful but it’s not necessarily so. Like a slasher movie monster, just when you thought it was dead . . . Aaargh! It's back! While the fall of Heisenberg weakens post-modernism, the Uncertainty Principle is not the only misused and misunderstood theory that shores up the post-mod. Even the complete debunking of Heisenberg won’t be enough, on its own, to kill the post-mod beast. Kopel may highlight a silver bullet that has wounded the ideological ogre, but I don’t see where anyone has come up with the stake through the heart that will be needed to kill the beast and keep it dead.

I am not going to go into the quantum physics that debunks the Uncertainty Principle, because my area of scientific interest is in bio-sciences (i.e. biology, zoology, genetics, etc.) and not anything that relies so heavily on math. Essentially, scientists have found that the Uncertainty Principle is off base because it is based on a limited understanding of quantum physics that has since been overcome. It’s a factual thing, basically. Unfortunately, you can prove that the Uncertainty Principle is as phony as Fat Teddy’s Harvard degree, and it won’t matter to the post-mods. If the humiliating Sokal hoax didn’t sway them, mere reality hasn’t got a chance. The U. Principle is not the only theory imported wholesale from an unrelated discipline and abused to support the intellectual pretensions of the post-mods.

The second critique of Heisenberg is over the fact that he was a Nazi. Well, that’s no hindrance to becoming a big time post-mod. In fact, it seems to be a requirement. Paul de Man was a Nazi. Heidegger (a favorite post-mod philosopher) was a Nazi. Neither of those two have suffered because of their affiliation with Hitler, so why should Heisenberg? The sins of the academy’s ideological pets will get whitewashed, tut-tutted, and swept under the rug. The issue is not the intellectual or moral value of the players involved, it’s how those players can be used as currency in academic power games.

I’ll let you in on a little secret that the Academy doesn’t want you to know: Post-Modernism is a fraud. A fake, a crock, a mental illusion, in a word: bunk. The entire theory is thus: All knowledge is subjective, therefore I am always right. There are no objective standards, thus, without a framework for debate or rules of evidence, you cannot prove me wrong. If you attempt to prove me wrong, you are participating in a subjective discourse, thus proving me right. The corollary to the theory goes like this: All knowledge systems are based on power. All power is used to repress those without power. Those without power (women, minorities, gays, etc.) are morally superior to those with power. As I identify myself with the powerless, I am virtuous and therefore right. If you argue this point, you are working to preserve your place in the power structure, proving me right.

Does the phrase “educated beyond your intelligence” come to mind? It should. The Lions of the English Department are overgrown, overeducated ten-year-olds. They are middle aged women with pink hair. AARP age men with pony-tails and earrings. They are deeply threatened by any achievement or greatness which is not their own. They view the life of the mind as a zero sum game. If someone else is great, they must be diminished. That’s really why they can’t bear to teach the Great Books, Shakespeare, or any truly magnificent work of literature. They have embraced the idea that, for anyone to be good, they must steal that degree of goodness from someone else. Unable to achieve anything of real meaning, they must destroy the idea of “meaning” in order to preserve their all-powerful egos.

posted by Lee Ann on Friday, April 05, 2002 | link

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Thursday, April 04, 2002

Senator Studboy.

More on Patriots QB Tom Brady’s political chances. It’s a long way away, but it would be nice for Massachusetts to have a senator without a body count. Unless, of course, killing your mistress is a requirement up there.

Note: There is a nice item on Drew Crudsoe at the end of the article. Seems Drew was on a plane and got recognized . . . as Brady, by lovelorn ladies. Drew was very gracious and posed for photos and autographs. As much as I don’t like him on the field, he is a stand-up guy. He stayed on the bench and sucked it up for the team. He totally supported Brady all season. Great guy, bad QB.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, April 04, 2002 | link

It’s the End of the World!

Change your wicked ways, Gena! The Earth is set to be hit by an asteroid in only 878 years. Accept Jesus and get saved while there’s still time! Repent, the end is near!

878 years? Why tell us now? Couldn’t this wait a couple of centuries?

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, April 04, 2002 | link

Anti-Semitism in Europe.

Just a short wrap up on anti-semitism in Europe. Here’s the story that broke biggest, the Barbara Amiel salon war, where a French Ambassador referred to Israel as a “shitty little country.” Note that he doesn’t deny the remark, he’s just mad that it got publicized. Here are two random news stories covering the subject. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has a good round-up of recent events. Let’s cut this short and just give a link to Google News on a search of “anti-semitism”. It’s not pretty. The violence in Europe has nothing to do with the conflict in Israel. It is Islamofascism, pure and simple. It has been going on for a couple of years. It is being tolerated by governments unwilling to take a hard line against thugs. They coddle the Jew haters, and give a clear signal that it is open season on Jews. By the way, Mein Kampf not only sells in Palestine, it sells well in London mosques.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, April 04, 2002 | link

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Wednesday, April 03, 2002

From Our Marvelous Supreme Court

Thanks to the Court you now have the right to be represented by your victim's lawyer. I don't know, but this just screams fairness to me.


posted by Gena on Wednesday, April 03, 2002 | link

Lee Ann's "Wronger" the Sequel: This Time on Everyone's Favorite Subject

The Middle East. Yes, the Israelis and the Palestinians - the gift that keeps on giving.

Gena, the violence in Europe is not an outgrowth of the violence in the Middle East. It is a result of the virulent anti-semitism that has taken hold in Europe. White Europeans have taken to denouncing Jews at chic parties. More synagogues were burned last year than in any year since Kristallnacht. The issue is not Israel, it is Jews. The Muslims of Europe hate Jews. The Muslims of the Middle East hate Jews. The European elites have taken to hating Jews. . If this recent French synagogue attack was about Israel, why didn’t they firebomb the Israeli Embassy?

I have no idea whether what you say about the number of synagogues burning or white Europeans denouncing jews at parties is true. If you'd care to provide a link, I'll look into it. I can say, however, that the people who burned the synagogues in France and Belgium were not white Europeans. They were Muslims, as were the men who assaulted the two Jewish tourists in Berlin. As for why the attackers didn't bomb the Israeli Embassy, I really have no idea. One excellent reason a group of thugs would target a synagogue instead of an Embassy is that an Embassy would have tighter security. Another is the conflation of a people with a state: something which unfortunately is often the case. For instance, when my mom was living in Greece, the Greeks held her personally responsible for the Vietnam War, even though my mom had nothing to do with it. Had they been so pissed off about it they were willing to start killing people, my mom might have been a target. Yet, the issue would not be blind hatred of Americans, but rather blind hatred of Americans provoked by the policies of the American government. There is a difference, and it's one which you might pay attention to, since you seem to be conflating two types of anti-semitism. Historically, Europeans have hated Jews as a despised ethnic and religious minority who made a convenient scapegoat. European anti-semitism was not triggered by anything the Jews had done, but was simply targeted at the Jews for who they were. I don't dispute that some Muslims are also anti-Semitic, but they haven't been so historically. In fact Jews and Muslims lived peacefully together in the Middle East for over a thousand years. Things started to change in the nineteenth century when Jews began immigrating to the Middle East in relatively large numbers. The Arabs thought the Jews were going to try to establish a state and exclude them, and that's when the ball started rolling. The point is that Arabs may hate Jews, but they hate them because they identify them with Israel. I think hating people is wrong, period, but I also think there is a difference between hating someone simply because they're a member of a group, and hating that person because they're a member of a state you disagree with. One is racist; the other is political. For Hitler it was about the Jews; for the Arabs it's about the Israelis. As for the white European elites, I have no idea. The white Europeans I know however are not anti-Semitic - or at least don't seem to be.

The point I was trying to make about Europe, however, was that you have a whole bunch of ethnic groups living there who don't like each other all that much. I don't know for sure about other European countries, but I do know that the Germans by in large dislike the Muslims and Eastern Europeans, who in return feel highly resentful toward the Germans. Add in the Africans and the Jews and you have a great big cauldron of repressed resentments and hostilities. Yes, they're all living together, but they don't seem all that happy about it and for that reason Europe impressed me as a great big box of semi-dried tinder. The situation in the Middle East could inflame all those preexisting hostilities and that strikes me as a highly unstable dangerous situation.

The Israelis can’t be sure that the “journalists” are who they say they are.

But that holds true for all journalists everywhere. One tends to assume Barbara Walters is not an evil agent of bin Laden for the simple reason that not making that assumption would mean the annihilation of freedom of the press. No one would ever have access to anything. And if the Israelis were reallyso concerned about whether or not the journalists were legit, they could have simply checked their credentials. The Israelis banned the journalists because they didn't want pictures of what was happening in Ramallah splashed across the evening news. Period. Let it never be said Sharon can't learn from Donald.

Just kidding Secret Service Agents. Unless you’re single and really good looking.

And you have a good looking partner. I like guys in dark glasses too.


posted by Gena on Wednesday, April 03, 2002 | link

Give Me Back My Privacy, You Jerks!

Matt Labash of the Weekly Standard has a week long series on D.C.’s red light radar cameras. These cameras take a picture of a car that is speeding, running, a red light, or not clearing an intersection right and then mail the driver the ticket. Well, the ticket-getter was the driver a whopping 72% of the time. (From the article: “The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it must be noted, is one of the staunchest advocates of automated enforcement, and views the 72 percent figure as a triumph. To which any reasonable person might ask, what other law enforcement tool snags the wrong guy over one-fourth of the time, and is still considered a success?") Everyone needs to read this series. The police are giving private companies the right to levy traffic citations, all in return for a share of the spoils. The cops do less work, bring in more cash, and a private company gets full access to your DMV records. Boy, we can all rest assured knowing that no private company would ever misuse that snooping power. If you thought the DMV people were bad . . .

The cops allege that this assault on our privacy is necessary to save lives. How? They don’t know either. Usually they say the cameras reduce red light running. Well, so does extending the length of the yellow light, but that won’t give the cops a reason to slurp 200 bucks from your wallet. Most red light runners enter an intersection just as, or just a split second after, the light changes. If the scameras are supposed to prevent accidents, why aren’t they placed at high-accident intersections? Must not be any money there.

It’s not that I’m not overjoyed at the many high-tech ways that police bureaucrats come up with to assert their petty whims. I can appreciate a profitable power-grab as much as the next peon.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 03, 2002 | link

Super Brady.

Here’s a much better story on the White House reception for the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. God I love typing that. The thrill of victory beats the snot out of the agony of defeat. Drudge has Brady praising Bush and thinking about public service himself. Heck, Gena, just look at the picture and drool.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 03, 2002 | link

Gena, Still Wrong.

The Serbian people were familiar with the political workings of Western Europe. When push came to shove, they opted to reject genocide and totalitarianism and overthrow Slobo. While Slobo did do a dandy job of ethnic cleansing and genocide, the total number of his casualties is a bit lower than was previously estimated. There hasn’t yet been an accurate count and NATO has admitted being wrong in some of its accusations. Which does not excuse or minimize Slobo’s, or the Serbs’, guilt. However, the Rwandans could outkill him in their sleep. Genocidally speaking, Slobo’s second rate. He’s evil, but not really world-class evil. The Serbs had access to Western media and their opposition could count on the support of the major world powers. It was outside support and losing control of his army that toppled Slobo. The Serbs had a culture in place that was willing to reject the violence and genocide it had been countenancing. The Arabs do not have such a culture. The rejection of Slobo’s madness required the presence of moderates and (classical) liberals. There are not many such people in the Middle East. The Serbs were going to put Slobo on trial for his actions, before the International Tribunal violated their sovereignty and blackmailed them into handing him over. Technically, Serbia should have been able to try him, with international courts as a back up.

Saddam, on the other hand, has killed far more than thirty thousand people. Conservative estimates are over 100,000 in Kurdistan alone. He has waged a decades long war to exterminate the Kurds and the southern marsh Arabs. He regularly drops chemical weapons on villages and towns that he thinks disloyal. Have you read the New Yorker articles on this? Just Google the “Al Anfal” campaign or “Iraq poison gas.” Slobo never used chemical weapons on his own people, because it wasn’t in his mentality. He never thought of it. He never considered it a legitimate option. For the record, Hitler had both means and opportunity to use chemical weapons against his Allied enemies. Even Hitler refused to do it. Saddam would gas Baghdad in a heartbeat; he has numerous country palaces where he can hide out until the gas dissipates. The Iraqi people do not have the international support necessary to underpin a peaceful democracy movement. The Indians did, thus they are free. The Iraqis didn’t, thus their attempts to oust Saddam failed. The U.S. has a habit of talking a good game of supporting the overthrow of dictators, but we tend to leave people in the lurch. The U.N. actively works against peaceful democratic opposition movements. Just look at East Timor. The tanks will roll before the T-shirts are printed. By the way, T-shirts are made of cotton, not Kevlar.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, April 03, 2002 | link

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Tuesday, April 02, 2002

The Lee Ann's "Wronger" Round-Up: Part One

However, Slobo had a population that had western expectations

What, genocide? Ok, if genocide is a Western expectation, then I guess Slobo's population had them - in spades. Somehow I don't think that's what you mean by "Western expectations," although I'mnot sure what exactly you do mean. Communism? Well, yes, Marx was German, which I guess qualifies his theory as a "Western Expectation;" though the value to democracy of a good old fashioned five yearplan somehow strikes me as questionable.

had a social structure that was conducive to peaceful change.

The corpses will be glad to hear that, I'm sure. Pushing thirty thousand people into a river with their hands tied is certainly a social structure conducive to change. Whether or not it's peaceful has to do I guess with whether or not you're the one doing the pushing.

Oh yeah, they also had NATO forces bombing the hell out of the Serbian army.

True, but OTPOR came after the final NATO bombing, which I'll concede did a lot to piss the Serbian people off at Slobo, but by no means incapacitated the army.

Slobo wasn’t nearly as good at the whole “bloodthirsty, iron-fisted dictator” thing as Saddam is.

Absolutely right. He was better.

Slobo was also unwilling to dump nerve gas on Belgrade.

Probably for the same reason Sadam has been reluctant to dump it on Baghdad - he would have been dumping it on himself.

Again, tee-shirt trumps tank.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 02, 2002 | link

The “Gena’s Wrong” Round-Up.

I admit I’m not as up on Slobo as I should be. I tend to avoid him. Can’t imagine why. However, Slobo had a population that had western expectations and had a social structure that was conducive to peaceful change. Oh yeah, they also had NATO forces bombing the hell out of the Serbian army. Slobo wasn’t nearly as good at the whole “bloodthirsty, iron-fisted dictator” thing as Saddam is. Slobo was also unwilling to dump nerve gas on Belgrade. Saddam has no such scruples. Again, tank trumps T-shirt.

Gena, the violence in Europe is not an outgrowth of the violence in the Middle East. It is a result of the virulent anti-semitism that has taken hold in Europe. White Europeans have taken to denouncing Jews at chic parties. More synagogues were burned last year than in any year since Kristallnacht. The issue is not Israel, it is Jews. The Muslims of Europe hate Jews. The Muslims of the Middle East hate Jews. The European elites have taken to hating Jews. If this recent French synagogue attack was about Israel, why didn’t they firebomb the Israeli Embassy? Why attack a synagogue with no relation to Israel? Because they hate Jews. Repeat after me: they hate Jews. This is about hating Jews. This is about Mein Kampf reading, Protocals of the Elders of Zion watching, bomb building Jew haters.

By the way, according to the news twelve alleged journalists entered a Palestinian building where a large number of terrorists were holed up. When they left, their number was significantly larger than 12. They were helping to smuggle terrorists out of town. Terrorists often pose as journalists to be able to travel across the borders. The men who assassinated Afghan rebel leader Masood just before 9/11 posed as journalists. The Israelis can’t be sure that the “journalists” are who they say they are. Maybe that’s why they won’t let journalists in. That and the fact that the Palestinians have been known to aim at journalists. As to Bush’s inconsistent policy, you are right. It’s foolish for him to go after some terrorists and not others. He’s letting Foggy Bottom influence his policies too much. He needs to back Israel all the way. I do like your idea of sending Clinton. Then we can bomb. Just kidding Secret Service Agents. Unless you’re single and really good looking.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 02, 2002 | link

Sowell Patrol.

This time Sowell takes down those who complain that Bush’s energy task force didn’t include many environmental or consumer “advocates.” Maybe because those “advocates” know jack about the energy industry? Maybe because these “advocates” have no qualifications, never earned their positions, and are self-appointed media junkies?

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 02, 2002 | link

PATRIOTS WIN!!!

OK, so they did that in January. Today those amazing Patriots were honored at the White House by President Bush. I am a blood fan of the Patriots. The Patsies are in my blood. My father and grandfather were fans since the team’s founding. The Notorious G.U.P. held season tickets until he moved down South to the Promised Land. One of my earliest memories is racing to the phone after every game, calling my Grampa, and screaming “Grogan! Grogan! Grogan!” I bitterly recall their slaughter by Da Bears. I remember their excruciating loss to the Pack. I can recite book and chapter on how the refs screwed the Pats, starting with Sugar Bear Hamilton’s head slap penalty in 1976. They haven’t called that penalty before or since. I watched New Englan’ for years. Why the odd spelling? ‘Cause the Patsies had no “D.” I suffered years of Drew Crudsoe’s overrated arm and lead feet. But this year was different. This year St. Mo of Lewis took Crudsoe out for the season and gave us Tom Brady. When Brady took the field, the whole team changed. The offensive line held, the receivers played every down, and there were defensive stands, by God, defensive stands! The team gelled; they became a team. When I heard that the Super Bowl was in the Super Dome, I knew the Pats were in. The very overrated Rams would have been put away in the third, if the refs hadn’t intervened, calling penalties that had been ignored all game. Make that calling BS penalties on the Patsies, while ignoring blatant penalties by the Rams. Still, the Patriots marched down the field and Vinatieri drilled the winning field goal. And today those miraculous Patriots were at the White House to be honored by our beloved President. Tom Brady and George W. Bush, can there be any more sexiness in one room?

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 02, 2002 | link

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

The Palestinian terrorist scum have some nerve. After persecuting and driving out most of the Christian population of the Holy Land, after waging a disgusting campaign of religious repression, after forming rape gangs that target Christian girls, the gutless wonders of the Al Aqsa Brigades have taken refuge in a Christian church. Which church you ask? The Church of the Nativity, where Christ was born. One of the holiest sites in Christendom. The brave warriors of Islam are holding the birthplace of Christ hostage in hopes that they can safely gun down Jews from within its holy walls. Arafat’s bloodthirsty barbarians figure that they can hide in the church and shoot at Israelis and that the Israelis won’t return fire for fear of damaging the church. The Israelis, unlike the Palestinians, have respect for the religious rights of others. Did you notice that Israel held off on invading Bethlehem all weekend, despite the terrorists that use the town as a base. Why? Because the Israelis didn’t want to attack on Easter, a holy day for the Palestinian Christians who have yet to be driven into exile or murdered by their Muslim neighbors. The Palestinians, however, made sure to attack a synagogue and a seder during Passover. Any last vestige of sympathy I had for the Palestinian people is gone. If Sharon wants to give Arafat a one way ticket out of Israel, the trip’s destination better be Hell.

posted by Lee Ann on Tuesday, April 02, 2002 | link

Um no

Actually Slobo and co. were old style East Bloc Communists who were trying to conduct business as usual under Western guises. I don't think the fall of the Iron Curtain suddenly suffused them with democratic ideals or respect for the will of the people. What Slobo cared about is the same thing Sadam cares about: principally himself and his own power. And we are in the case of Slobo talking about the man on trial for war crimes, the man responsible for one of the worst genocides in contemporary history. One time on the way back from Germany I sat next to a National Guard officer who had been stationed in Kosovo. He told me of how the ground was literally teeming with corpses, as well as some of the gruesome details of the massacres Milosovic had perpetrated. It made an impression, namely that Milosovic was every bit as evil as Hitler or Stalin. And had Milosovic thought he could maintain power by massacring large numbers of people, he would have. What prevented him from doing so was in part the decentralization of the democracy movement, which didn't have leaders per se, and which didn't
concentrate itself in one area as the Tiennamen Square students did. This made it hard to quash since the government didn't know who to arrest in order to stop it. Also OTPOR, the democracy movement, quickly spread into the provinces; so that its following became national. A decentralized, national movement is something any dictator would have to reckon with; because no military and no government can stand against an entire population. If the people of a country no longer want their government, and if they assert themselves, then no matter what sort of government they have, that government will be gone. If they do so by peaceful and democratic means, they will lay the foundations for a peaceful and democratic state. I didn't say every democracy movement was successful, and there are certainly ways
for a movement to succeed and ways for it to fail, but when a movement is successful, the tee shirt is mightier than the sword.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 02, 2002 | link

Don't Just Stand There

Do nothing! Remember the good old days. You know the good old days, the early days of the Bush Administration when Republicans and conservatives were fond of accusing Clinton of inconsistency in his foreign policy. Um, guys. Part of the reason the situation in the Middle East has deteriorated to such an extent has been due to Bush's lack of leadership. Bush says one thing, then another, then another. The Administration's policy is inconsistent, ineffectual, and perhaps ultimately disastrous. Bush needs a clue, and more than that he needs a policy. I agree with Charlie Rose: send Clinton. It is more than clear that Bush is not up to the job.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 02, 2002 | link

Yet Another Sign

The Mideast conflict is spreading: synagogues have been burned by Muslims in France and Belgium. This is not only outrageous, it also shows how dangerous the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis could become. People in America don't realize how great the number of Muslims living in Europe is. Having lived in Germany, however, I can tell you that the number is substantial. Should the Mideast conflict get out of hand, the situation could destabilize Europe by igniting already existing tensions between the groups that live there.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 02, 2002 | link

Censorship

Ah, yes. Free press in Israel. But not unfortunately in Ramallah where journalists have been forbidden by the Israeli armyto go - for their own safety, of course.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 02, 2002 | link

Spinsters is a Multicultural Web site

Both Lee Ann and I speak German as well as several other languages. I've lived in Germany, Greece, and Russia and have seen that our site attracts people from the UK, Australia, and several other foreign places. With that in mind, I've been on the look out for a concise yet definitive introduction to the United States and its customs. I finally found one.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 02, 2002 | link

We've Been Having Some Freaky Weather

In Knoxville. According to this article from Newsweek, it's not just here. The Earth's temperature is falling, and this could lead to massive decreases in food productivity in as little as ten years.


posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 02, 2002 | link

I Was Surprised

By a Beautiful Mind - surprised that I liked it. From the clips it seemed a sappy movie staring a bumbling and stuttering Russell Crowe. This isn't the case, but the film does play the actual content of Nash's theories relatively short shrift. This
posted by Gena on Tuesday, April 02, 2002 |
link

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Monday, April 01, 2002

Reader Ron Hall

Writes that I've been had - about Instapundit's being bought by AOL. He's right. This is what I get for not checking my calendar. Fortunately, I'm not alone.


posted by Gena on Monday, April 01, 2002 | link

In Vino, Veritas.

I like to drink. It’s a relaxing and enjoyable activity. Wine softens my sharper edges and gives my thoughts a languid air. A cold beer on a hot day is truly divine. Not for nothing did Charles Bukowski describe poetry as being “like a cold beer when you need it.” I rarely drink to excess, having gotten over that in grad school. The brewer’s art is akin to the sculptor’s, the vintner’s to the composer’s. A cold Heineken or chilled Columbia Crest Sauvignon Blanc is as pleasing to me as a good poem. Which is why the new temperance movement sweeping America is so loathsome to me. Disguised as “health” campaigns, the schemes of the imperious neopuritans are really attempts to remold society into their own joyless image. The fact that alcohol can be abused is no reason to suppress its healthy enjoyment. Abusing food can make you obese (or anorexic), shall we ban dinner? Demonizing booze only serves to make it more attractive to those who would abuse it, i.e. the young and irresponsible. A sane society would introduce young people to alcohol in a natural and controlled manner. The Notorious G.U.P. has been drinking wine since he was 6, when his grandparents gave him a bit of wine in a glass of water. Modern-day Carrie Nations want to bring back “Demon Rum” and the prohibitionist attitudes that lead to defiant binge drinking. That benefits neither the health of the body or soul. A healthy love of drink can be such a blessing in life, especially to the life of the mind. It would be a shame to lose those blessings to gustatory prudes.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 01, 2002 | link

Close, But No Cigar.

The article you posted from PBS is interesting, Gena, but it doesn’t quite apply to the War on Terror. I am all in favor of peaceful democracy movements. They freed India and shredded the Iron Curtain. That doesn’t mean they will work in every instance. Slobo was overthrown by a peaceful democracy movement because he operated, at least nominally, within a parliamentary framework. He had a western European parliamentary mentality. His regime depended on the support of the people, and when he lost that he couldn’t control his parliament and army. However, believing that the same dynamic is at work in the Middle East is foolish. It is not comparing apples to oranges; rather it’s comparing apples to moldering toadstools. Saddam Hussein and the other dictators of the Arab world are not dependent on popular support, but on popular terror. Saddam keeps power because of the terror he inflicts on his people. He rules through his army, which is loyal to him alone.

“Perhaps we should be subverting dictatorial regimes not with guns but with money and ideas.” A lovely concept, but unfortunately it is an entirely Western concept. Money and ideas cannot stand up to nerve gas, which is how Saddam gets rid of unruly populations. The Middle East is a region that does not tolerate dissent of any kind. They operate on the “Big Man” theory of government: whoever can wrest absolute power from the current dictator gets to be the new dictator. The internal democracy movement that freed India was based on Western European ideals of freedom that had been inculcated into the people of India by the British. Ghandi was able to free India by demanding that the British live up to their own ideals. The War on Terror is being fought against people who see peaceful opposition as nothing other than decadence and weakness.

“Wars create physical and economic chaos, but an internal non-violent democracy movement relies upon the very things which make democracies work: the peaceful prosecution of change, the implementation of ideas and ideals into action.” Ideals in action are no match for tanks in action. Remember Tiennamen Square? I do, in fact that massacre is what set me off down the road to conservatism. The Chinese democracy movement was up to their eyeballs in ideals and was eager to peacefully prosecute change. Unfortunately, the dictatorial regime in question had armored infantry units. Internal non-violent dissent (and my nascent liberalism) got squashed.

“Maybe the best way to work toward change in the world is to work toward it not fight for it. Maybe the tee-shirt is mightier than the sword.” Somebody better fight for freedom, because a whole lot of people are quite eager to fight against it. Working towards change requires a social, political, and psychological framework to support such a change. Here’s a hint: if “iron fisted dictator” or “president-for-life” are an apt description of your political system, non-violent dissent will be met with a full military crackdown. It’s hard to work for change when you are dead. A dictator who thinks chemical weapons are an acceptable reaction to dissent is unlikely to be swayed by T-shirts.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 01, 2002 | link

Dueling Property Rights, Redux.

The more I think about the Virginia story below, the more it irks me. Woe betide those who irk me. While a law regulating how many cars can be parked on a single property may seem trivial, it is, in fact, quite significant. It is a mark of how much petty tyranny people have become adjusted to both taking and dishing out. This is like those Homeowners Associations that want to tell you which shade of white to paint your fence. This cavalier intrusion upon the rights of property owners should never be tolerated. What I do on my property is nobody’s business. This same Virginia area wanted to make it illegal for anyone to use rooms other than the bedroom to sleep in. So if I fall asleep on my couch, are the cops going to take me to the hoosegow for nuisance napping? “Hey buddy, what are you in for?” “Murder. And you?” “Napping, with Malice Aforethought.” What ever happened to “a man’s home is his castle?” What happened to property rights? If you can’t nap on your own couch, exactly what rights do you have? If I want to pave half my lawn and park my family’s cars there, you better butt out. The erosion of our property rights is a blatant erosion of our most basic freedoms. The essence of freedom is that I can tell anybody up to and including the President of the USA to “get the hell of my land!” While I’m not going to say that every pink flamingo is manning the barricades of personal freedom, I’m going to come pretty close. If an external power can regulate the basic running of your very home, what aspect of your life is really yours?

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, April 01, 2002 | link

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Contact Spinster Lee Ann at calhounista_at_hotmail

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Two Babes and a Bob! Opinion, insight, commentary, sarcasm, scathing polemic, and wit by Lee Ann, Carol, and Robert. Featuring the spectral presence of Gena.
Contact the Spinsters at: brodskii@yahoo.com (Gena) calhounista@hotmail.com (Lee Ann)

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