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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

'Robin Of Berkeley' Goes To Church

'Robin Of Berkeley' -- who has been writing of late on 'American Thinker' about her conversion from "liberal" to conservative/traditionalist -- Goes To Church for Christmas

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Of Catses & Meeses

I wish to share with Gentle Reader an excerpt from a recent post by Deborah Gyapong --

Miss Gyapong's full post is here, and I found it via Kathy Shaidle (and, as usual, I commend the entirety of both posts to Gentle Reader). I think that even if Gentle Reader is unaware of the context or back-story of these posts, he can get something important from them. And, if Gentle Reader is not aware of the back-story, he really ought to make himself aware -- his liberty, and his very life, are at stake. Even if he's not a Canadian.

Catses & Meeses
OK– imagine: There is a big cat around, which most of the mice are afraid to mention, let alone ponder belling. Some of the mice are even into denying the existence or intent of said cat, and consider the concerned mice or pro-bell mice to be dangerous trouble-making catophobes (technically speaking, Ailurophobes). Even mentioning mice freshly eaten by the cat causes outrage and fear: better just blame those crazy cat-conspiracy mice for bringing it up.

The cats change, but the cowardly mice are always with us, seeking peace with the cat; cat-denial; blaming other mice; writing books about how all the cats are actually the best friends of mice, and are gravely misunderstood. The save-your-ass at the expense of others instinct; the feeding of other mice to the cat, hoping you might be last; the half-conscious denial of the whole cat-problem. Can you say “Peace In Our Time” with kindly Herr Hitler? Meanwhile, the dead mice pile ever up, lives needlessly sacrificed, in various ways and for various noble-sounding reasons, but no less dead.

This is another, and more "polite" way -- while still being more visceral -- to talk about the point of 'Noìli's Custom Ice Cream Shoppe'

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Similar to the distinction between knowledge and wisdon which I recently posted, I've just read an excellent contrasting of humility to what it is not, which I wish to share with my lone reader --
"The humble person does not think less of himself. He merely thinks of himself less."

This is followed by a CS Lewis qoutation which expands upon the idea expressed.

Also, I recommend to Gentle Reader the context in which that comment was made, Matteo's post called 'We Played The Flute For You, And You Did Not Dance; We Sang A Dirge, And You Did Not Mourn,' in which he discusses a recent foolishness of the fool, PZ Myers.

===== Bonus Post =====

Ah, I see that Gentle Reader misunderstands: when I call someone a 'fool,' I assuredly am not calling him 'stupid.' That is the schoolyard misunderstanding of the term -- to call someone a 'fool' is to make a moral assertion about him (as witness the anger with which those who incorrectly think that 'fool' is a synonym for 'stupid' spit out the accusation), specifically, that he lacks intellectual honesty.

A fool is a person who knowingly and willfully says or acts in a false manner, consistently.

A fool is a person who is intellectually dishonest; a fool is worse than a mere liar -- for the liar lies episodically, whereas the intellectually dishonest man, the fool, lies systemically. The liar lies about some specific thing, whereas the fool lies about the very nature of truth.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

It Always Gets Me

Almost every rendition of 'The Little Drummer Boy' I've ever heard causes me to choke up -- the love and the yearning the song expresses, and the wonder of having drawn a smile from the object of one's love, just gets to me; just thinking about it (as in, at this very moment) gets to me.

I probably ought not say this -- in case some atheist/secularist stumbles upon it -- but 'The Little Drummer Boy' is a very Christian song: we all are that boy, we all are poor and have nothing at all that is fit to give to The King, the Sovereign of the Universe, except ourselves.

Oddly enough, while I really like the group White Heart, I was able to get through this recording without choking up at all.

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Do They Really Want To Go There?

Do the "liberals" really want to compare Sarah Palin to a racist Democrat? ... and, really, when we get down to it, is there any other kind of Democrat?

Mitchell Hails Success of 'Obama Doctrine,' Palin's Wallace-Like Appeal 'Does Frighten Me'

Furthermore, as is their simple-minded wont, the "liberals" greatly misunderstand and misconstrue Wallace's appeal. Sure, Wallace was a racist (he was a Democrat, after all!); but, his racism was more a cynical pose-for-political-purposes than an in-his-heart-of-hearts erroneous belief ... thus, Wallace's racism was worse, morally, than that of most persons.

Still, Wallace's appeal was not due to his racism.

For instance … my parents wanted to vote for Wallace … but they also wanted to vote for Shirley Chisholm

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cross the river, burn the bridge

The great Mark Steyn, on "health" "care" "reform": Cross the river, burn the bridge

Gentle Reader will wish to read this.

Edit --

Here's a good essay from Reason Magazine (even libertarians can have moments of sanity, especially when money is involved): There Ain’t No Such Thing As a Free Lumpectomy

This week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared that his chamber’s health care bill “demands for the first time in American history that good health will not depend on great wealth.” Reid said the legislation “acknowledges, finally, that health care is a fundamental right—a human right—and not just a privilege for the most fortunate.”

Since more than four-fifths of Americans already have medical insurance, and even those without “great wealth” have been known to enjoy “good health,” Reid was laying it on a little thick. But his premise, which is shared by President Obama, explains the moral urgency felt by supporters of the health care overhaul that is making its way through Congress. It also reveals a radical assault on the traditional American understanding of rights.

The Framers believed the Constitution recognized pre-existing rights, protecting them from violation by the government. The common law likewise developed as a way of protecting people from wrongful interference by their neighbors. If people have rights simply by virtue of being human, those rights can be violated (by theft or murder, for example) even in the absence of government.

By contrast, notwithstanding Reid’s claim that government-subsidized health care is a fundamental human right, it does not make much sense to say that it exists in a country too poor to afford such subsidies or at a time before modern medicine, let alone in the state of nature. Did Paleolithic hunter-gatherers have a right to the “affordable, comprehensive and high-quality medical care” that the Congressional Progressive Caucus says is a right of “every person”? If so, who was violating that right?

During his second presidential debate with Republican nominee John McCain, Obama said health care “should be a right for every American.” Why? “There's something fundamentally wrong,” he said, “in a country as wealthy as ours, for us to have people who are going bankrupt because they can't pay their medical bills.”

According to the president, people have a right to health care because it is wrong to charge them for medical services they can’t afford. Which is another way of saying they have a right to health care.

That is, if you or I have a "right" to health care, then we have the "right" to force someone else to give it to us ... and any government which aspires to be considered moral has the "right" and and the duty to use force and violence to ensure that our "rights" are met. For, after all, is not the purpose of a morally grounded government to protect and enforce the rights of the human beings which are subject to it? Or, failing the protection and enforcement of those rights, to exact vengence upon the violators?

While liberty rights such as freedom of speech or freedom of contract require others to refrain from acting in certain ways, “welfare rights” such as the purported entitlement to health care (or to food, clothing, or shelter) require others to perform certain actions. They represent a legally enforceable claim on other people’s resources. Taxpayers must cover the cost of subsidies; insurers and medical professionals must provide their services on terms dictated by the government.

A right to health care thus requires the government to infringe on people’s liberty rights by commandeering their talents, labor, and earnings. And since new subsidies will only exacerbate the disconnect between payment and consumption that drives health care inflation, such interference is bound to increase as the government struggles to control ever-escalating spending. Rising costs will also encourage the government to repeatedly redefine the right to health care, deciding exactly which treatments it includes.

If The People are willing to swallow the lie that there exists a "right" to health care, then we all become slaves to The State ... which, after all, has all along been the "liberal" project.

If you will not see the truth that it is your very Liberty, and that of your children forever, being demanded of you by the damned "liberals," then see the problem in "selfish" terms -- it there exists a "right" to health care, irrespective of the wealth of either the individual or the nation, then all those poor people in Third World hell-holes (who are, after all, so poor and in such hell-holes because of their "liberal" governments) have the right to use governmental force and violence, unto death, to take what you have for themselves.

If health care is a fundamental right, equality under the law would seem to require that everyone have the same level of care, regardless of their resources. That principle was illustrated by the case of Debbie Hirst, a British woman with metastasized breast cancer who in 2007 was denied access to a commonly used drug on the grounds that it was too expensive.

When Hirst decided to raise money to pay for the drug on her own, she was told that doing so would make her ineligible for further treatment by the National Health Service. According to The New York Times, “Officials said that allowing Mrs. Hirst and others like her to pay for extra drugs to supplement government care would violate the philosophy of the health service by giving richer patients an unfair advantage over poorer ones.” The right to health care is so important, it seems, that it can nullify itself.

The "liberals" don't give a damn about improving your life; they simply want power over you.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Knowledge vs Wisdom

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.

Wisdom is knowing to not put a tomato in the fruit salad.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

On Auto-genocide

Deogolwulf ('The Joy of Curmudgeonry' blog): How to Commit Genocide

Deogolwulf makes an interesting observation about "liberal" nihilism and the "positive" racism which comes from it:
Some of these glimpses of reality may have pained you; for you had fancied, damned and beloved creatures of wickedness that you are, that the great sin of racial antagonism and aggression had somehow departed the world — except, we may curiously observe, in the case of your own European race, which you believe has remained deeply stained with it. But how are we to find our redemption, we sinful ones? Why, we seek our redemption through the destruction of our own race! Do we not believe that the racial aggression of blacks, for instance, or the seeking of the self-determination thereof, is but a struggle for justice, a healthy expression of their identity, whereas the same of whites is a fight for darkness and barbarity, even despite — no, because of! — the civilisation they have brought, and do we not meet the most pathetic, the most heartfelt, and even the most just cry of a white man — our own fellow — with contempt? But of course we do! Our race and our peoples are for us the repository of sin, whereas other races and peoples are the means of our redemption; for, through them we can destroy our own, and thereby rid the world of sin, and that is the only redemption that is available to us godless men. That is why “the other” is holy to us - it is not us, the sinful ones. Nevertheless it must be understood that it is not we as particular individuals who believe ourselves sinful as particular individuals; on the contrary, as such, we believe ourselves to be close to godliness, cleansed by our embrace of “the other”, enough to deem ourselves morally fit to bring outrage down upon the unclean; - it is our own peoples which are sinful, the very existence of them a dark stain on the world. That is why they must be destroyed and why we must be pitiless in our drive to that end. For us, in our sunken world, it is a war of sinlessness against sin, good against evil, justice against injustice, right against wrong, and it would be dreadful for us to give quarter or sympathy to sin, evil, injustice, and wrong.

It's a very long essay, but well worth Gentle Reader's time to read it.

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How Like a 'Liberal'

How Like a "liberal" Lawrence Auster so frequently is in his thinking and published opinions.

Lydia McGrew asserts that I am one "who appears to have a "thing" about the subjects of Lawrence Auster and race." This rather echoes Mr Auster's typical response to valid criticism of his positions, which is to accuse the critic of having "Auster derangement syndrome" -- I know this from personal experience, for I used to try to communicate with the man, and that is how he "answered" my objections to some very inaccurate claims he'd published about the position of someone else.

In truth, I have a "thing" about injustice and about invalid reasoning -- and Auster, for all the clarity of thinking he is able to bring to bear (when he wants to do so), is also much given to invalid and unjust "reasoning ."

Consider a recent post by Mr Auster, The latest wiping out of a defenseless white by a black predator, in which he beats that "racialist" (as distinct from "racist") drum he's forever pounding.

Now, I am not at all saying that we conservatives should behave as "liberals" do and pretend that there is not an "epidemic" of black-on-white crime -- much as there is an even greater "epidemic" of black-on-black crime. Or worse, I am not saying the we should behave as "liberals" do and excoriate as "racists" those who have the "rudeness" to bring the matter to public attention.

BUT, it does no good if we who call ourselves conservatives, much less call ourselves Christians, behave as "liberals" do and refuse to think correctly about the problem. It does no good if we who call ourselves conservatives (and Christians) refuse to free our minds from the prevailing "liberalism" of the wider society.

The on-going existential problem we Westerners are having with Moslems-in-our-midst is not about where they or their grandparents came from. The problem is the spiritual and ideological baggage which Moslems must always cart around with them -- for, if they drop the baggage, they cease to be Slaves-of-Allah -- the problem with Moslems is Islam itself.

Moslems, as Moslems, have a deep and abiding sense of personal inferiority. And, following their collective dealings with the West (over the past couple of centuries, after the internal dynamics of our Christianized cultures had finally got ahead of the terrible drag that a thousand plus years of Moslem raiding into Europe had imposed upon our ancestors), they have a deep and abiding sense of cultural inferiority; as indeed, their cultures, and societies, are deeply inferior to ours, even as willingly degraded as ours are in these recent times.

At the same time, their supremacist ideology-disguised-as-a-religion tells them that they are "the best of peoples" -- simply because and to the degree that they are Slaves-of-Allah. The amazing thing is not that incidents like the recent Fort Hood murders happen, but that vastly more have not.

In similar wise, the on-going American problems related to race are not about the ancestry of American blacks.

Rather, the problem is spiritual and ideological; the problem is "liberalism" -- much as Islam teaches Moslems that they are personally worthless, yet corporately superior to "Infidels," so "liberalism" teaches blacks (and whites) that they are personally worthless in comparison to an individual white yet corporately superior to whites-as-a-group.

It is not helpful, it does not address the actual problem, it is not sound and honest reasoning, to adopt a position, as Auster does, which echoes the "liberal" cant. Note, I did not say that he mirrors the "liberals" ... in some regards, he's not nearly as bad, in others he's worse.

Now, the leading lights of "liberalism" tend to be Jews. Or, to be more precise, they tend to be Christ-haters -- atheists-with-a-mission -- whose grandparents were Jews.

Should I "reason" in a manner similar to Auster's? Should I blame the on-going societal and cultural destruction which is logically following from "liberalism" on the Jews?

Or, perhaps I should try to be a bit more nuanced, and lay the blame not on "the Jews," but rather on persons whose grandparents were Jews. You know, persons such as Mr Auster ... and myself (provided that one does not insist upon a literal reading of "grandparents"), both of whom call upon the name of Christ.

No; that would be foolish, that would be sinful. The problem is not "the Jews;" the problem is not "the bagel Jews" (that's what I call the irreligious and anti-religious persons whose grandparents were Jews). The problem is "liberalism" -- and the problem cannot be solved until we honestly appraise it and from that appraisal disentangle from our thinking all the little tendrils of "liberal" "thought" in which we were all so well trained in the public indoctrination centers it pleases us to so quaintly call 'schools.'

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Bent or Warped?

Lawrence Auster, in his post What liberals desire, said --

[As usual, Gentle Reader may want to read the entire post I've linked.]

In a speech to a group of Iowa Democrats last weekend Vice President Biden said:
I believe with every fiber in my being with President Barack Obama's leadership and capacity, we have a chance--we have a chance to bend history.
Gosh, I thought that American left-liberals were progressives who want to advance history toward its true fulfillment in a naturally ever-improving realm of equality, freedom, and peace. Now it turns out that they want to bend history. Maybe instead of calling themselves progressivists they should call themselves bendists.
And, as an aide to discussion, perhaps the rest of us could (finally!) just admit that "liberals" are simply bent?

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

'Bioethics' and the Houben Case

'Bioethics' and the Houben Case ... and asking the deeper question: "Is the 'harvesting' of vital organs for transplant morally permissible ... or is this 'harvesting' tantamount to murder?"

I presume that Gentle Reader has at least heard of the Rom Houben case, that of a (now 46-year-old) Belgian man who, until about three years ago, had been diagnosed for the previous 23 years as being in a "persistent vegetative state" but is said by some to have been conscious the whole time, and in an apparent "medical miracle" is now able to communicate via technology and the help of a caretaker.

And, perhaps Gentle Reader is also aware that "the usual suspects" in "the bioethics community" -- one is featured prominently in the AP/Yahoo news item I linked -- are pooh-poohing this apparent "medical miracle" as merely an example of "facilitated communication" -- which is controversial ... and perhaps as disreputable as the "recovered memories" craze of several years back.

Now, I'm all for a proper skepticism about any claim. But there is such a thing as improper "hyper-skepticism;" there is such a thing as *refusing* to admit the truth which is right in front of your face. And I think that an improper hyper-skepticism is exactly what is going on here with the 'ethicists' (*).

The blogger "Neo-neocon" has a post in which she lays out some thoughtful skepticism about some of the claims being made about Mr Houben's recovery, specifically about whether he really is communicating.

And -- being that I am inherently a highly skeptical person -- I would tend to agree with her on the "facilitated communication" angle. At the same time, one of Neo-neocon's commenters has provided a link to a First Things-hosted
blog post by Wesley J. Smith in which he points out that one of the AP news stories about Mr Houben's apparent recovery answers that very question:
One of the checks Laureys applied to verify Houben was really communicating was to send the speech therapist away before showing his patient different objects. When the aide came back and Houben was asked to say what he saw, that same hand held by the aide punched in the right information, he said.
So: are Dr Laureys and the others directly involved in Mr Houben's case lying, or are the 'bioethicists' engaging in an improper hyper-skepticism?

And, if the 'bioethicists' are engaging in an improper hyper-skepticism -- which is to say, intellectual dishonestly -- what might be the reason for that?

Further, there is nothing in principle to invalidate "facilitated communication" as a concept -- does not the famous scientist Stephen Hawking communicate via "facilitated communication?" Does it matter, in principle, that Hawking's facilitator is a machine, whereas Houben's facilitator is a (presumably) highly-trained human being?
The therapist, Linda Wouters, told APTN that she can feel Houben guiding her hand with gentle pressure from his fingers, and that she feels him objecting when she moves his hand toward an incorrect letter.
Is she mistaken, being mislead by false hope? Does she desire so much to help him communicate that she sees what isn't there? Or, worse, is she lying?

Or do some 'bioethicists' have a vested interest in dismissing (without good reason) the claims being made about Mr Houben's recovery and his after-three-years-of-therapy ability to communicate via "facilitated communication" that they will not see what is in front of their faces?

Is there any rational, non-question-begging, reason to believe that Linda Wouters is mistaken (or worse, lying) about her ability or skill helping Mr Houben communicate? One of the commentors on the Wesley J Smith blog-item raises the objection that Miss Wouters, and no one else, is able to "facilitate" Mr Houben's communication. This sounds like it might be a reasonable objection ... but I don't believe it is. Consider: is it not reasonable to believe that over a long period of therapy, Mr Houben and Miss Wouters have both trained one another such that they are able to cooperate to get his thoughts out? How is it surprising that someone who has not spent so much time working with him may not be able to perceive the queues he makes?

When Anne Sullivan taught Helen Keller to communicate, was *everyone* at once able to communicate with her, or did those who wished to communicate with her directly, without going through Anne Sullivan, have to learn how to do so? Mr Houben's disability is far greater than Helen Keller's was; does it not stand to reason that if he is indeed communicating that it will take great patience and skill-learned-over-time to effectively communicate with him?

And that brings me to another, and critical, point -- the apparent "medical miracle" here is not really that Mr Houben may be able to communicate via "facilitated communication," but rather that he is not, in fact, a "vegetable" after all. Look, at the two pictures which accompany the two AP articles I've linked: Mr Houben certainly *seems* to be consciously attending what his "facilitator" is doing with his hand. Are these photos (unintentionally) misleading? Are they intentionally deceptive? Or, do they show what they appear to show -- a disabled, but conscious, man?

The "miracle" is being misframed. And I believe that most 'bioethicists' have no incentive nor inclination to notice, much less correct, that error.

I am reminded of the videos that Terri Schiavo's family made public when they were trying to save her life from the horrible death-by-dehydration which we, as a society, allowed to be inflicted upon her by her husband and the anti-life and anti-morality 'bioethicists.' In those videos, I saw a severely disabled, but conscious, woman, not a "vegetable."

Gentle Reader may recall that I'd once linked to some interesting comments and moral assertions about my character, which were made in reference to a skunk, a mere animal, about which (until I screwed up my courage to get close enough to it to shoot it) I saw no option but to let it die in exactly the same manner that Terri Schiavo was murdered. Interestingly enough, *most* of those persons, so "morally" concerned about a mere and verminous animal, didn't, and don't, give a damn that an actual human being was judicially murdered in a horrific manner.

And now the deeper question: "Is the 'harvesting' of vital organs for transplant morally permissible ... or is this 'harvesting' tantamount to murder?"

I present two cases which occurred in 2008, one from France and one from the US, which ought to lead to serious reconsideration about the morality of "organ harvesting" in all morally serious persons.

First, the French case (as reported in the UK press, for instance: 'Dead' patient comes around as organs are about to be removed [there were other UK news articles at the time, which I've been unable to find now, which went into more detail about some aspects of this; for instance, more detail about the rule change and comparison to the rules in teh UK] ) -- A "dead" man lives!

The incident happened in January of 2008, but wasn't reported to the public until about six months later: a 45-yead-old man collapsed of a heart attack, was eventually pronounced dead -- and "woke up" as so-called doctors were about to remove his organs for transplant (and, as of that article in June of 2008, the man himself hadn't yet been informed how close he came to being junked for parts).

Apparently, this particular man's life was spared due to the inefficiencies of socialized medicine. There wasn't a (so-called) doctor available at the time he was pronounced "dead" who was qualified to remove his organs; had they gotten to him at once, he likely wouldn't have awakened. OR, had they injected him with certain anesthetic drugs, as is sometimes done (even in the US) for the express, though unadmitted, purpose of preventing things like this occurring, then barring an act of God, he certainly would not have awakened.

At the same time, the fact that he was slated for organ harvesting in the first place is also due to socialized medicine, and the moral laxity which must eventually accompany any form of socialism -- the "determination" that he was "dead" was made pursuant to new guidelines (i.e. a more lax “definition” of when death occurs) which the French government and medical establishments had put in place for the express purpose of procuring an increased supply of vital organs for transplant.

Here are the last three paragraphs of that article --
Other doctors have seen similar incidents, according to the ethics committee report. "During the meeting, other reanimators ... spoke of situations in which a person whom everyone was sure had died in fact survived after reanimation efforts that went on much longer than usual," the report said. "Participants conceded that these were exceptional cases, but ones that were nevertheless seen in the course of a career."

Le Monde said doctors had feared the new transplant rules would confront them with cases of this kind. They believe the existing rules are imprecise and could undermine public support for the removal of organs for transplant. They are pushing for the issue to be discussed as part of a consultation next year on a proposed, new law on medical ethics.

Professor Alain Tenaillon, the organ transplant specialist at the French government's agency of bio-medicine, told Le Monde: "All the specialist literature suggests that anyone whose heart has stopped and has been massaged correctly for more than 30 minutes, is probably brain dead. But we have to accept that there are exceptions.... There are no absolute rules in this area."
Note that bureaucratic non-concern with the actual morality involved. Note that it's more important to keep the public on-board with respect to organ harvesting than it is to get the morality right. Note that bureaucratic CYA by reference to the "suggestions" of "all the specialist literature."

Note that frank admission that "There are no absolute rules in this area" -- which, in context, translated, means, "We don't really have a good and objective metric for determining when a heart-stop patient really is "brain dead," so we're just going to treat those who have not revived after 30 minutes of correct heart-massage as though we know they are dead. Besides, think of all other the lives we can save be pretending we know that this one is lost!" And, after all, the longer the (so-called) doctors wait to begin chopping up the erstwhile "patient" for parts, the greater the probability that his organs will begin to suffer oxygen deprivation, and thus cellular damage.

Under the rule change, even more so than previously, the "medical professionals" in France are working under a perverse incentive to give up on their actual patient and send him to the chop-shop while he's still "fresh" ... all for the greater good of mankind, of course!

Allow me to state this bluntly: If the doctors do not *know* that a person is dead, then it is immoral -- it is wicked -- to "harvest" his organs. It does not matter in the least that a cute little child will certainly die unless "we" take the vital organs of this "dead" adult to transplant into the child. It does not matter in the least that ten, or even one thousand, other persons may benefit if "we" take the vital organs of this one "dead" person -- if "we" do not know that he is, in fact, dead, then we are murdering him if we take his organs.

Reason is not soft-and-fuzzy; reason does not bow to sentimentality: reason does not fudge truth -- and there is always a horrendous social (and personal) price to pay for fudging such an important truth as the one above.

Now, the American case ( Woman Wakes Up After Family Says Goodbye, Tubes Pulled and 'Dead' woman returns to life ) -- A dead (or "dead") woman lives!

Val Thomas, a 59-year-old West Virginia woman, had died (or "died") of a heart attack, and subsequently had been "clinically brain-dead" for 17 hours, in May of 2008 -- except that she didn't stay dead (or hadn't actually died). She "woke up" as the nurses were disconnecting her "corpse" from the life-support machinery -- to which she'd been hooked up that long only in order to keep her organs "fresh" until her family could be convinced that she was dead so that they would authorize organ harvesting.

Now, either she really was dead -- in which case the fact that she came back to life is a very important thing -- OR she was not really dead -- in which case we have no objective way to know that the persons whose organs are being harvested are really dead ... which means that the harvesting of vital organs for transplant is always immoral.

In the US, we supposedly use the more objective and measurable "brain-death" metric to determine that a person has indeed died. This is in contrast to France (with the newly relaxed rules), and much of Europe, were "brain-death" is assumed ... but, apparently, not generally verified.

So, was Val Thomas really dead? Or are the US "medical professionals" behaving as perversely and as immorally as those in France?

But, even if Val Thomas was not really dead, there goes materialism/naturalism, don't you think? Materialism/naturalism posits (for it must) that the human mind is "just a buzz in the brain" ... yet, for seventeen hours, there was no buzz in Val Thomas' brain. Yet, there she is.

(*) 'Ethicists,' especially 'bioethicists,' seem frequently to be more concerned with explaining away moral obligations -- with justifying rank immorality -- than with helping us, as a society, to think properly and more clearly about 'ethics.'

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ladies, Please!

Ladies (and I use the term advisedly), please! You probably *don't* have the figure to successfully pull off dressing like a 7-year-old girl. And you most certainly do not have the attributes for going out about without underwear

My favorite comment was:
"I see London, I see France ... Damn! I wish I'd seen her underpants!"

My second favorite comment was:
"I’m beginning to think that the ONLY time anyone wears underwear to Wal-Mart is when that’s all they’re wearing."

Seriously, now (whichever your sex). You're not seven years old. Stop acting like you are.

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How Many Times?

How many times has this played out, already?

How many times have we already seen this movie? How many more times will we see it while that interloper occupies the Office of the Presidency of the United States?

Kevin D. Williamson (in 'The Corner' blog at NRO): Why Thank You, Your Lordship

President Obama welcomed Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the White House with words that have inspired snickers in New Delhi:
"Yours is the first official state visit of my presidency, its fitting that you and India be so recognised," 48-year-old Obama told the 77-year-old Indian leader.

The general reaction in India has been: Who the heck does this guy think he is? Note to the Great Diplomat: When you do a head of state an honor, you don't remind him, in public, of the fact that you have done him an honor, particularly in self-aggrandizing terms of this sort.

I cannot imagine Dr. Singh responding to Obama: "I am the first state visitor of your presidency, and it is fitting that you and the United States be so recognized. Especially considering that I have the guts to stand up to the Chinese from time to time, while you're basically groveling and praying that they don't decide to divest their dollar holdings. Did I mention our 7 percent economic growth, compared to your ... 3 percent, 3.5? Now, what did you want to talk about?"

How many allies and non-enemies will this fool insult? How many enemies and not-possible-allies will he kow-tow to?

Edit (2009/12/10): Nobel peace prize: Norwegians incensed over Barack Obama's snubs

Is it the plan of Our Zero, The Won, to insult all our allies and potential allies … while sucking up to and bowing down to our adversaries and actual enemies.

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The Gandhi No One Knows

Richard Grenier (1983): The Gandhi Nobody Knows

Edit 2012/10/27:
The former link no longer works, this one does - Richard Grenier: The Gandhi Nobody Knows

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

'Climatequiddick,' Anyone?

Already, following news that the computers of the Warm-mongers at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit were "hacked" (and allegedly some of the emails and other info they’d prefer stay hidden made public), the ubiquitous "-gate" suffix is in use, rendering this to-do as “Climategate” (even in the UK, I see).

How about, for once, we conservatives and other sensible persons insist upon using the “-quiddick” suffix, thusly: “Climatequiddick?” (Or, to make it easier to pronounce, “Climaquiddick” )

And, after all, have not the Global Warm-mongers been assuring us for years that we'd all soon be under water if we did not immediately turn over control of our economies (and of our lives) to them?

edit (h/t Cathy Shaidle): Another reason to call it “Climaquiddick is that the Legacy Media can be expected to ignore or whitewash it.

Hide The Decline (a short, and amusing, video)

Iowahawk: Iowahawk Geographic: The Secret Life of Climate Researchers

James Delingpole (The Telegraph): Climategate: this is our Berlin Wall moment!

edit (2009/11/29) -- Elis Washington: Climate myth: 4 corners of deceit
Just as 150 years ago the academic world replaced scientific skepticism with cult devotion, holding naturalist Charles Darwin's work as the greatest scientific discovery since Newton, and deified his suppositions as beyond questioning, so have we in modern times through the New World Order and socialism worshiped at the pagan altar of global warming ("climate change").
Indeed, the path of the modern-day positivistic corruption of 'moderm science' (i.e. 'natural philosophy') into 'Science!' runs through Darwin.

Here is an an amusing cartoon dealing with this matter.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bob Parks: Video of the day # 58

This is an amusing and enjoyable video hosted on Bob Parks' Video of the day

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And Sadly

It's a real shame that this is the first post I've written in some time for my own very minor blog. It's a double shame about the content and the context which prompts it.

The saying, "he doesn't suffer fools gladly," doesn't begin to express the lack of patience I have for foolishness. And, sadly, I have concluded that Lydia McGrew is a fool.

Now, assuming that my single reader cares to understand what I'm on about, I'll have to extract the pertinent posts; it would be most unfair to expect you to read the whole thing (interesting though it is) to pick out what I mean here.

Recently, on the "What's Wrong With the World" blog, in a thread about the recent Fort Hood jihadist massacre, someone posting as "Suburban Yahoo" said:
Equality and non-discrimination are attack weapons against the white Christian West. Any weapon will work, as long as the attack is pressed. One day it is "free speech", another day it is "freedom", another day, "equality". There may be a day where the remnant of Christian European Civilization will be best attacked by embracing a violent totalitarian religion. The cultural Marxists will do it in a New York minute, because like Satan they hate God and Christ.

This is all well and fine ... except for that "white Christian West" bit. I commented:
Culture does not depend upon, and certainly does not equal, race.

Sure, the multiculturalists hate "the white race," but it ain't really the race they're hating, it's the culture you've inherited which they hate.

I am not entirely "white," though casual observation would not reveal it to most (and I have relatives even less white than I), but I am a member of the culture and society you and I are wanting to preserve from the leftists.

Also, I'm a sight more intelligent than the average "pure white" person. Should I think myself better because my intelligence is greater than the average of you "pure-breds?"

This annoyed Mrs McGrew, who said:
Break 'er up, boys. No threadjacking to arguments about race.

Now, of course, there's no reason that anyone else ought to know, or perhaps even particularly care, what sorts of comments or attitudes get my dander up. Nevertheless, the sort of "evenhandedness" or moral equivalency exemplified here is just the sort of thing to do it. I replied (to Mrs McGrew):
Odd that you only *now* (now that I've said, "This is wrong," meaning both morally and factually) notice the race-talk. How "evenhanded."
and expanded (to her and to the general reader):
There is no such thing as "white Christian culture" -- Christianity is not *about* either race or ethnicity.

There is a Christianized culture, to which most persons in these shores belong; but that culture is, and will always be, a distinct thing from Christianity.

While I didn't *explicitly* say this at that time, my criticism is about an non-Christian (indeed, anti-Christian) attitude -- and, as "What's Wrong With the World" is an explicitly Chistian blog, one would think such criticism is almost always on topic.

Mrs McGrew said:
I'm an equal opportunity thread monitor on this, Ilion, believe it or not. (And, no, that isn't an invitation to you to start arguing with me about my putative fairness.) Suburban Yahoo is also required to heed my warning. I'm trying to give him a temporary break for posting at 2:17, as it was only three minutes after mine, and perhaps he didn't see it. But to _both_ of you, I say again, I will not have this thread turned into an argument about race. Can it, or have your irrelevant comments deleted.

I replied (to her):
You insult me (personally), and when I point out the insult, you insult me again. How odd.

I replied (to Steve Burton, whose post I haven't duplicated here):
I don't want to argue about race (what is there to argue about, anyway?).

Suburban Yahoo made some good points - and tainted his whole post by making it about “the white Christian West.” Let us call his post an exemplar of “Austerism” (whether or not Suburban Yahoo has ever actually read the VfR blog).

Fifty-five minutes later, I offered a pointed criticism of that specific invalid, false, and anti-Christian view exemplified in the phrase “the white Christian West.”

Four minutes after that, Mrs McGrew played an analogue to the moral equivalency card.

Would Mrs McGrew have said *anything* had I not said what I said? I, for one, do not believe she would have - I’m not talking about her sensitivity to thread-jacking, I’m talking about her insensitivity to “Austerism.”

Mrs McGrew replied (to those two posts):
Ilion, bag it. I haven't insulted you. I usually like your comments. I've liked nearly every comment you've ever made here at W4. Call me an anti-thread-jacking fanatic if you want.

Passing comments are one thing, arguments are another. Arguments become sub-arguments and sub-threads. I made my warning in response to you not because of some sort of bias against your position (actually, you don't have any idea what I think about any of these issues), but precisely because you offered a "pointed criticism" of a view that came out merely in passing in another comment and that has nothing to do with the topic of this post or thread. "Pointed criticisms" are the stuff of discussion and debate on a particular topic. I don't want that particular topic debated on this thread. My blog colleagues can attest that I am _very_ sensitive about thread-jacking and that I try _very_ hard to run a tight ship. This has nothing to do with moral equivalency. I haven't made any claim of moral equivalency. I don't even know what you could be talking about. I have told you and S. Y. not to have a debate about the topic of race on a thread that isn't about race. Heck, if anything, it's usually the "racialists," the people on the other side from you, who are obsessed and want to argue about the topic at every turn, even when it is off-topic. I've run into that problem elsewhere and, yes, I have demanded that the thread-jacking stop from that side. Now it's you doing it. Stop it. I've made my request clear. I like you as a commentator, but when you're on my threads, you play by my rules. Don't act like a kid arguing about whether you're arguing or not. Please.

And while we're at it, I'm not going to debate whether I have insulted you or been fair to you or engaged in moral equivalency or whatever. That's just more childishness. I don't know what you are upset about, because all I did was to make a simple and reasonable request. But I do have access to a delete key, and I will enforce my rules here from here on out, so be warned. Please rein in your desire to argue every point and meta-point, because I'm not going to allow it.

I don't wish to call her "an anti-thread-jacking fanatic" ... and while I don't wish to, I conclude that I must, call her a fool.

My last comments to her will not be found in that thread, as she deleted them:
(actually, you don't have any idea what I think about any of these issues)

I know that you are very reticent about criticizing Lawrence Auster ... or "Austerism."

Please rein in your desire to argue every point and meta-point, because I'm not going to allow it.

There is so much I could criticize, everywhere, and I let so much pass … because I don’t, after all, have a “desire to argue every point and meta-point.”

For instance, I noticed your silence on Auster’s defense of Norman
[sic] Polansky [sic] and his attempted savaging of the “stupid” (that was at least one of his words) conservatives who were outraged at the “liberal” defense of Polanski. I noticed that not long after that deal died down, you said in passing something to the effect that you didn’t want to criticize Auster (but I, for one, already knew that).

Have I ever before said anything about that? I suppose that my comment which played on the rhyme about the girl with the curl could be taken as a vary
[sic!] indirect criticism of that.

As I said above, "What's Wrong With the World" is an explicitly Christian blog. Also, that "white Christian West" bit is not just an example of bad reasoning, but also reflects a very anti-Christian attitude; one which it has long seemed to me that Mrs McGrew shares.

Now, Mrs McGrew's object in starting that thread was not to discuss the jihadist massacre at Fort Hood, itself. Rather, her objective was to criticize -- from a distinctly and explicitly Christian perspective -- the damned-of-God and suicidal-to-our-society "liberal" response (may I be forgive for so misusing the word) to the atrocity.

Therefore -- as the perspective from which to criticize the "liberal" response is meant to be distinctly and explicitly Christian -- how can it really be "thread-jacking" to criticize a distinctly anti-Christian attitude which crept into the thread?

Furthermore, anyone who is going to get her (or his) panties in that great a twist over "thread-jacking" really has no business writing on a blog which allows comments. Going off on tangents is just the way human beings are and the way we discuss things; there isn't much to do about about except to be patient. A face-to-face converstaion between only two persons rarely follows a linear track; why would anyone expect that conversation between multiple persons and taking place over many days would stick to a single narrow topic?

It seems to me that Mrs McGrew's real objection was not to the "thread-jacking," but rather to my criticism of (for lack of better term in this particular context) "Austerism." Lawrence Auster (and it has long seemed to me, Lydia McGrew), is like a mirror-image of "liberals," being fixated on race. But note: I didn't say I think that either he or she is a racist.

My sole reader may notice that I have long had Lawrence Auster's "View From The Right" blog on my blogroll. On certain topics, Auster is fool, but he's not stupid; when he's not being a fool, he says much that is good and thought-provoking; I presume that you don't need me to police your thoughts, nor which blogs you read.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It wasn't just about Limbaugh

What the Limbaugh Quote Hoax Really Tells Us

Gentle Reader will want to read it all, rather than only what I've excerpted --

Listening to the contemporary American left’s views of the rest of us is increasingly like listening to a paranoid schizophrenic slip farther into delusions that they are surrounded by malevolent people. Just as we have to worry that the schizophrenic might act on their delusional beliefs and strike out violently against the evils they imagine, we have to be increasingly worried that leftists will strike out against the rest of us based on their delusional fantasies about what we non-leftists believe.

And make no mistake about it, leftists do harbor dark delusions about non-leftists. The fact that so many leftists fell completely for the Limbaugh quote hoax proves it.


Only someone seriously immersed in a deep fantasy about Limbaugh’s beliefs would swallow such quotes without checking them or thinking about the practical possibility of Limbaugh making such statements without every person in the world knowing about it within the hour. More troubling, not only would they have to believe that Limbaugh thinks that way but that his audience does as well.

They fell for the hoax because their fantasy about the evil of non-leftists tells them that most non-leftists think this way. They didn’t need to check on the provenance of the quotes any more than the rest of us need to check an assertion that the sun came up in the East this morning. It was just that obvious to them.

So, we come back to the main question: What methods could these deluded leftists justify using against the rest of us if they really believe we hold such beliefs and values as are inherent in the fake quotes? What couldn’t they justify doing to drive such people from politics or even the nation itself? We even have to ask, what level of violence could they justify using against us?

This isn’t about Limbaugh. They clearly view Limbaugh as just the most visible manifestation of tens of millions of Americans pining for the good old days of slavery. Make no mistake. They aren’t just targeting Limbaugh as someone so evil that they can justify any extremity in fighting him.

They are targeting the rest of us as well.

(h/t Cartago Delenda Est)

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

People who argue this way are not scientists, but lawyers with a bad case

Jonathan David Carson on the 'American Thinker' site: Excuses for Lack of Global Warming

"What Happened to Global Warming?" asks Science, the flagship publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in its October 2, 2009, issue, before immediately answering, "Scientists Say Just Wait a Bit." By a "bit," AAAS means a "few years."

The "blogosphere," it seems, "has been having a field day with global-warming's apparent decade-long stagnation." The world is supposed to sign a global warming agreement in a few years less than a bit, in Copenhagen in December, to be exact, but "What's the point, bloggers ask?"

So global warming skeptics are "bloggers." ...


"Climate researchers" do not deign to answer back in the blogosphere, according to AAAS, preferring instead to reply "in their preferred venue, the peer-reviewed literature": "The pause in warming is real enough, but it's just temporary, they are argue from their analyses. A natural swing in climate to the cool side has been holding greenhouse warming back, and such swings don't last forever."

After pretending that global warming skeptics are bloggers, not scientists, and that their home is the blogosphere, not the peer-reviewed literature, AAAS attributes the more-than-decade-long failure of the globe to warm to a "natural swing in climate." In other words, when the climate warms, it is as a result of anthropogenic causes, but when it cools or fails to warm, it is as a result of natural causes. Increases of temperature are human-caused. Decreases are nature-caused.

Skeptics have been saying for decades that the warming from about 1978 to 1998, which was after all only 0.40C, was probably due to natural causes; now AAAS says that the flat or downward trend since 1998 is due to natural causes, which had nothing to do with the rise between 1978 and 1998. They told us that the temperature of the earth would continue to rise, and when it did not, they said, see, our critics were wrong.

People who argue this way are not scientists, but lawyers with a bad case.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

So, the alleged-President has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace?

So, the alleged-President of these United States has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace?

But ... and aside from the humor factor of the award, since he has done nothing; and aside from the amusingly blatant attempt to meddle in US politics ... was it not unConstitutional for him to accept it?

US Constitution, Article 1, Section 9:
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

Now, alleged-President Obama is indeed a “Person holding [an] Office of Profit or Trust under them.” And the Nobel Peace Prize *is* a present, and it *is* officially and technically a gift from a foreign State, for officially and technically it is awarded by the King and Parliament of Norway.

I understand that this is a “surprise” award.

Therefore, I do not see how it can be the case that alleged-President Obama has the prior Consent of Congress to accept the amusing award.

Kind of makes ya' wonder: Just what does this fool have to do to so embarrass (and/or disgust) the "liberals" who voted for him that they finally stop covering their eyes about what he is?

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

'Liberals' Do Not Believe in Constitutional Government

Via Lawrence Auster: Yet another new frontier of liberalism opens up

The real issue is not "gay marriage" --

Here's the referenced news item -- San Francisco Chronicle: Judge to Prop. 8 backers: Turn over your papers
(10-02) 18:10 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge has ordered sponsors of California's Proposition 8 to release campaign strategy documents that opponents believe could show that backers of the same-sex marriage ban were motivated by prejudice against gays.

Plaintiffs in a federal suit seeking to overturn Prop. 8 - two same-sex couples, a gay-rights organization and the city of San Francisco - contend that the measure's real purpose was to strip a historically persecuted minority group of rights held by the majority.

If the courts find that the ballot measure was motivated by discrimination, they could strike it down without having to decide whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry.

Proposition 8 was the legal and constitutional ballot measure by which the voters of California amended their Constitution to overturn the ruling of some fool judge who had decreed that the California Constitution *requires* "gay marriage."

Take-home lesson: "Liberals" do not believe in constitutional government ("liberals" are also constitutionally dishonest, in general).

Mind you, at this point, the issue and battle is not "gay marriage," but rather the question of who shall rule: the People, via written (and thus, *dead*) constitutions, or the Judges, via their "living constitutions". Now, that's been the issue for at least the past fifty years (thus the original ruling to which Proposition 8 was the response), but it's really out in the open now.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Atheism is a feeble ideology

Michael Egnor: Godless Theodicy
"... Atheism is a feeble ideology. Atheists don’t have answers; they don’t even have their own questions."

You'll want to read the whole thing, Gentle Reader.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Ken Brown on 'The Time Traveler's Wife'

Ken Brown: Love Has Gravity – A Review of The Time Traveler’s Wife

For what it's worth, I thought it was a good movie. I have logical quibbles with it, but I recommend it.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Douglas Wilson on the ACORN Stings

Douglas Wilson: We Need a Control Group

Well, the San Bernadino sting video is now out, and ACORN has got to be reeling. But before we stick a fork in this brand of community organizing and call it done, we still have to apply the scientific method. As fascinating as these journalistic methods are, we still need a control group. We have to get a guy and a girl to play the same roles, and make the same number of visits, with the same kind of request, to randomly selected H&R Block offices. See what happens.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Now is not the time for civility

This is an open letter to the newly (in)famous Rep. Joe Wilson, of "You lie!" fame.

I've never heard of Mr Wilson, and it goes without saying that he has never hard of me. So, naturally, I have no expectations of him seeing this post.

Dear Mr. Wilson,

I read [Speaker Pelosi agrees to plan to scold Rep. Wilson for 'You lie' outburst] that the Democrats (and, doubtless, the RINOS) have agreed to a plan to scold you for your so-called outburst in "speaking truth to power," unless you humiliate yourself on the House floor.

My advice, for what it's worth, is to tell them all to go to Hell: you spoke the truth; that they don't want that truth spoken is their moral failure, not yours. Having spoken the truth, it would be a severe moral failure on your part to deny it -- apparently, you've already started down that path by personally apologizing to That Man, the alleged-President.

So, you had an "outburst." Big hairy deal. Are you a man or are you a passive-aggressive pussy-man? Men tend to be blunt -- even though bluntness tends to distresses the passive-aggressive pussies in our midst. On the other hand, passive-aggressive pussy-men scheme in the corners and stab in the back.

This is, in fact, no time for "civil discourse" -- as defined and controlled by the Democrats and other "progressives." These people are set to destroy the nation, and many of them *know* what they're up to.

Of what use to you or to your descendants or to anyone else will it be to have gotten a patronizing pat on the head from those lying "liberals" once they've destroyed the country?

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Well, don't that stink!

I'd mentioned that I suspect there are skunks living around my house (even though I live in the center of a city of 50,000). Well, a few days later, I got proof.

I'd set this big live-trap I have, hoping to catch a raccoon -- if my house ever burns down, it will be because some damned raccoon has shorted out some electrical wiring. And, for instance, the wired-in fire alarm system is already pretty much useless because they've chewed its wiring.

Imagine my surprise one morning when (expecting the trap was still empty, since the raccoons are pretty adept at taking the bait without springing the trap) I opened the basement door ... to be greated by a skunk!

What to do! How does one deal at close range with an animal (even if it is trapped and thus cannot bite one?) which employs chemical warfare?

[If Gentle Reader can deal with the ignorance and vituperation, here are some interesting comments and moral assertions about my character, made by folk who tend to deny actual morality ... this link being the reason I've classified this post under "liberalism" and "morality." And, for instance, one of the at least civil suggestions was that I drown the animal. Let's see, my issue was how to get near the animal, and the suggestion was to chuck cage and all into water to drown it because that would be more humane than just letting it slowly die.]

In the end, I used a friend's gun to shoot the skunk. So, I'm technically a criminal, since it's illegal to discharge a firearm within the city limits. Also, I'm guilty of the crime of "public indecency," as I'd removed all my clothes (except for goggles to protect my eyes) before I opened the basement door.

As I said, I shot the skunk, and from within three feet ... I was right down there at ground level. I saw it spasm, so I was sure I'd hit it with at least one of the two shots I took. Then, within minutes, the entire house was enveloped with skunk stench, at an almost unbearable level, and the stench was strong for hours; at times, I could still smell it the next day. The area around the basement door stank for days.

I'd shot it first thing in the morning, and I knew I'd hit it (and from within very close range). So, (once again) imagine my surprise when I went down that afternoon to dispose of the carcass and found that the animal was still alive! Now, on the one hand, the gun is a .22 caliber, so the bullets are small; but on the other hand, this was a small animal, no bigger than a half-grown cat.

So, I put four bullets into it, fired in quick succession. I've fired this gun before, and I fully expected it to jam (which was another component of my initial conundrum), but for once it worked properly.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

My 2 Cents

I noticed some few weeks ago that the Maverick Philosopher had had a discussion -- so to speak -- concerning his recent decision (which I hadn't known of until then) to disallow comments on his blog -- Maverick Philisopher: Allow Comments or Not.

Here is my 2 ¢ on the matter:

Disallowing blog-comments is a good idea -- for Mr Vallicella -- as he doesn't play well with others.

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'Compassion' and Justice

I mean someday to post an essay on the relationship -- and inevitable tension -- between 'justice' and 'mercy.'

While that is not his focus, in the 'Grave injustice' essay, David Warren makes some good points in that regard. And, specifically, he draws attention to the (modern "liberal") project to substitute 'compassion' for both justice and mercy, which project must always pervert both justice and mercy and increase injustice.

Concerning the release of the Lockerbie terrorist --
David Warren: Grave injustice
David Warren: Sophistications

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This is what 'Blood For Oil' really looks like.

KairosFocus: Matt 24 watch, 88: REAL blood for oil deals

I'd read about the deal for the release of the Lockerbie bomber, but I failed to make the "blood for oil" connection.

Here are a couple of recent news items on this --
Times Online: Secret letters reveal Labour’s Libyan deal
Times Online: Lockerbie bomber 'set free for oil'

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Off The Beaten Path

My house is off the beaten path. And, somewhat paradoxically, it may not be far enough from the beaten path. It's also close to the center -- I mean that quite literally -- of a city of about 50,000. I'll explain this seeming paradox in a bit.

Just to give you some idea of what I started with, these first two images were taken in late December of 1986, about a month and a half before I bought the place. I bought it on a Friday the 13th; and I paid off the mortgage on the same date ... though, I'd have needed to wait for the next anniversary to get another Friday the 13th.

To be blunt, I bought the place for the land -- two and a half isolated and wooded acres on a hill overlooking the city center -- rather than for the house. I didn't particularly like the house when I bought it (you should have seen what it was like on the inside), and I'd never done any construction or re-construction -- my attitude was "Well, if this doesn't work out with me trying to rebuild this place, I can always have the house pushed over the hill and another built by people who know what they're doing."

As you're doubtless happy to know, the house does look much differently these days.

And for the past month I've been making (yet another) addition to it; that's one of the reasons I haven't blogged all month.

What I've been doing is building a roof over the patio located beside the far window on the left (the window is now a pseudo-French door, as perhaps may be seen in the image below). I'd have preferred to leave the patio open to the sky; among other things, it will reduce the light coming into the livingroom and the "great room." But the roof is necessary: in the winter, the water held in the gravel and sand beneath the patio's paving is freezing and the weight and pressure is pushing out the retaining-wall. If I don't do something to keep water out of the substrata, within a few years the whole thing will come tumbling down.

Though, now that the patio has a roof, that's good too; it's an area of about 13x21 feet, which ought to be a nice area for being outside even when it's raining.

This picture was taken at night (I'm sorry about the terrible quality) around Christmas of, I think, 1992. At any rate, that's the very latest it can have been taken. This picture doesn't show the additions, which were made after that. I include it because I really like how the house looked at that time.

It was with a view similar to this, though further to the left with respect to this image (and a couple of hundred feet farther away), perhaps a year and a half after I bought the place that I suddenly began to see the house as an attractive building and not just a monstrosity of a dump I'd saddled myself with. I was walking up out of the woods past the far side yard. Due to the lay of the land, the house wasn't visible at first, but as I climbed, it coyly presented itself to me, and I was hooked.

These next three images were taken one April morning in 2001.

This is pretty much what the front of the house looks like today, except that the plantings just on the other side of the car are more mature -- or, depending on your point of view, over-grown. To the left of the front door, you can just see the corner of one addition (which even today I haven't finished). I suppose you could call it a "great room," when I do complete it.

In this image, the "great room" and the "sun room" additions are (just barely) visible. The pile of dirt is from an excavation I'd just had done so that I could put in a foundation on which to eventually build an attached garage.

If you'd like to see a larger version, click on the image.

This image was taken directly to the east of the house, showing the "great room" and the "sun room" additions, along with the east side of the patio's retaining wall. The roof I'm building over the patio basically extends the roof which juts out on the south side of the "great room."

One last picture, from December of 1997, with a better view of where I'm currently working. Much of the area where the "great room" sits was originally going to be part of the patio. That is, the patio was originally going to be two to three times the size it is.

Now, about that seeming paradox of being both off the beaten path and yet not far enough off it --

As I mentioned above, I live near the city-center. But, due to the lay-of-the-land, most people don't even know that the property is here. And, due the property's size and isolation -- on all sides, I have the back-sides of other people's properties between mine and the public streets -- it's almost like being out in the country. In the summer, after the trees leaf-out, I can't easily see any other houses. Though, I still can sometimes hear the traffic from a main street nearby. And I can hear the dogs from many blocks around, some of which are allowed to mindlessly barks for hours at a time. Or, perhaps I ought to have said, "... some of which mindlessly are allowed to barks for hours at a time."

So, I'm in the middle of a city ... and sometimes I see deer in my yard or hiding in the woods. Always before, they've been young ones, I presume trying to find a place to live. The other day, just a day or two after I'd started the latest construction, I was outside early and saw a fully grown deer running through the yard. A neighbor from down the hill came up later that day, I suppose to check out the noise (and also to ask for permission for his son-in-law to drive a bobcat through my yard so he could get to the backside of his property to haul out some lumber), and mentioned that he'd seen both a grown dear and a young one together. Also, I think they ate his garden (which is half-way up the hill from his house), despite the fence around it.

There a woodchucks living here. And opossums. And raccoons. 'Possums are ugly, but they leave you alone. Woodchucks are nasty, and they stink, and they like to eat your garden -- they're the reason the neighbor's is fenced and why I gave up. And the raccoons are always trying to get into my attic. I think (knock on wood) that I've finally got them blocked from doing so.

There are squirrels, of course; both red and grey. In the past year or two, I've been seeing the black variety of the eastern grey squirrel. Squirrels also like to try to get into the house; I call 'em "fuzzy-tailed tree-rats."

There is always at least one pair of crows around here. In the early spring, they almost always discover an owl or hawk roosting in a tree here. They always chase it off.

In the winter, crows like to congregate by the thousands in the local trees -- it's a real mess when they choose the ones around the driveway. I've generally been able to discourage them -- what you do is wait until they're settled-in for the night, then startle them with loud and abrupt noise; the more it sounds like gunfire, the better, I think. Do that for a couple of evenings and they generally decide to find a less disturbing place.

But, they always seem to try again the next year -- apparently, from something I read in the local paper, they've been congregating in this area for as long as there are records. This was mentioned in an article explaining why there was a man firing off a noise-cannon ... at city expense. But, it was being done during the day, when most of the crows are out looking for food. It was also in the fall, rather than in the winter. It wasn't too effective and was tried only the once.

Also, I'm starting to fear that some skunks have taken up residence. For the past year or two, I'll sometimes be awakened in the middle of the night by the stench of skunk.

Pretty countrified, huh? Pretty much what you'd expect of a place off the beaten path, right? And yet ...

The only *easy* way to get onto the property is via the driveway. All the other ways involve climbing steep slopes (frequently, long steep slopes), and generally involve trespassing on someone else's property before the trespasser can get onto mine.

When I have materials delivered ... or when I ask the police to come out ... the person almost always says, "Wow! I didn't even know this place was here!"

And yet ... there are still people trespassing from time to time; the house was even broken into once (this doesn't include the neighbor kids who tried to break in after I'd first closed the place back up after I bought it).

For instance, a couple of days after I saw the deer running across the yard, I was out working on the construction (which is on the far back side of the house), and what should I see but some total stranger walking right past where I'm working. When I mentioned that this was private property, he held up his hands as though I were pointing a gun at him ... and he kept going. Then, just a minute or two later, a cop walks by and asks whether I'd seen some guy walking through.

I suspect that the fellow who burgled me ten years ago was a similar case. One of the cops who came out to see whether there was any evidence (I pretty much had to insist that they come over and *try* to find some evidence) just happened to mention that he'd hadn't known the place was here until he'd chased some guy through just a few days prior. These cops had just a few minutes before asked me whether I knew any one who'd have broken into my house -- I understand that's a standard question, but it was still offensive -- so, I'm thinking, "OK. What about that fellow you chased a few days ago? You have the car he was driving when you pulled him over for that routine traffic stop; unless the car was stolen, you ought to have a pretty good idea who he is. Should he not be a prime suspect?"

And there are always kids trespassing, generally just being kids, which is to say, getting into things and sometimes appropriating things. Yet, let them hurt themselves and you just know the parent(s) will try to make it my fault, despite that I've probably chased that same kid off at least once already.

On the other hand, a few years ago, quite by chance, I happened to find three kids, aged about ten to twelve, up on the roof of the double garage (there used to be another house up here, that garage was for that house) -- ripping up the aluminum drip-edge to sell as scrap!

Update (2010/06/01):
I got within about 10 feet of this little fellow before he spooked the second time (his first spooking alerted me that he even existed). So, his Momma and elder sister(?) took up residence in my neighborhood last summer, and now there is him.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Drink the Kool Aid

Hey There Obama (Drink the Kool Aid) (this is a 3:39 video mocking Obama-worship)

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

SOME NAZI POSTERS: from the 1930s

John Ray (of "Dissecting Leftism" blog): SOME NAZI POSTERS: from the 1930s

John Ray: Hitler Was a Socialist

That Naziism (and Fascism, too) was "of the left" should not be news to those who have been paying attention.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Politician's Stone

Rick Darby: "... Stimulus has become the Politician's Stone, key element in an alchemical process for turning debt into gold. ..."

In case Gentle Reader is unfamiliar with the terminology, the phrase "Politician's Stone" is a play on "Philosopher's stone."

Demonomics: Joe Biden: ‘We Have to Go Spend Money to Keep From Going Bankrupt’

Some are temppted, of course, to call this "Obamanomics," but it's not simply Biden and Obama who think like this; such irrationality is endemic to the Democrat Party, and to "liberals" in general.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Divine Providence for the secularists

here: "[Progressivism supplies] all the delights of believing in Divine Providence without the nuisance of believing in God."

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Their Frenzies and Crusades

Gentle Reader may have noticed that I've linked to a few posts by Douglas Wilson. Gentle Reader will not be aware that I've considered linking to more than I have.

In this case, I'm both linking to the post and duplicating its content here.

Douglas Wilson: Their Frenzies and Crusades

Here is the text of the post:
One area of secular blindness (one of many) is their inability to see how religious they are being. Having defined religion quite narrowly as church buildings and altars, they are utterly incapable of seeing the all-pervasive and quite religious nature of their frenzies and crusades. The problem with invisible religions like this is that one cannot watch them to see if they are going bad. And so they don't.

They do not see Tetzel in carbon offsets. They do not see shuning in the treatment the neighborhood gives the guy who doesn't sort his garbage according to the dictates of the regulatory bishops. They don't see a fierce imposition of morality in their crusades for the sake of saving us all from climate change. They do not see blasphemy laws in thought crimes legislation. They do not see their religion in everthing they do, and this is because idolaters are blind.

There is less excuse for Christians -- who are not blind in this way -- for going along with any of it. If you have ever wondered how an ancient Israelite, who had been fed by manna from the sky, could possibly have been attracted to one of the Canaanite groves and high places, just look at the pressure you feel to flush the toilet less, to take shorter showers, to get a smaller car, and to go through any number of other gyrations to reduce your carbon footprint. This is what syncretism always feels like. The gravitational pull is always this strong. And this is not being said in order to make you empathize with that ancient Israelite who was going native. This is being said to stir you up enough to make a name for yourself the way Phineas did.

Here is a second and related post --
Douglas Wilson: Stewardship Schmoowardship

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

An Interesting Choice of Words

April, the Hyacinth Girl, has a little item about something Justice Ruth Bader Ginsgurg said recently: Excuse me?

Here is Ed Whelan's post on NRO's "the corner" blog, about which April is commenting: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sotomayor and Abortion for Undesired 'Populations':
2. Speaking of something that maybe “didn’t get out quite right” (but maybe did): As part of her broad-ranging discussion of abortion, Ginsburg offers this, er, interesting comment why the Court’s 1980 decision in Harris v. McRae, which ruled that the Hyde Amendment’s exclusion of nontherapeutic abortions from Medicaid reimbursement was constitutionally permissible, “surprised” her:
Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.
Gee, Justice Ginsburg, would you like to tell us more about your views on those populations that “we don’t want to have too many of”?

Here is the New York Times Magazine article in which Ginsburg's interesting comment is reported: The Place of Women on the Court

Now, of course, none of this is *news;* none of this is something which we just didn't happen to know previously about the abortion regime. What's newsworthy is that Ginsburg slipped up and admitted the truth which we all knew. That's a serious "gaffe" in politics.

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Web Site Story

By way of John C. Wright: Web Site Story

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Huddle Up a Little Closer

One of the things I like about Mark Steyn is that he can lead me to consider thoughts which I haven't yet considered. Another thing I like about him is that he can express thoughts and convictions I may already hold better than I can express them.

For instance, I despise that poem (or, to be more precise, I despise the mindset it engenders) which has become attached, both figuratively and literally, to the Statue of Liberty.

Here is a recent comment by Steyn on that: Huddle Up a Little Closer
Mark (Krikorian), thank you for pointing me to that Roberto Suro column about Emma Lazarus's stinkeroo of a poem. Mr. Suro neglected to mention that Irving Berlin set "The New Collossus" to music: My kids had to sing it as part of the grade-school summer concert a couple of weeks back, and, although I was momentarily relieved that we'd be getting a three-minute break from all the generic sub-Disney power-ballad Obama Youth Corps pap about celebrating the circle of the power of the hope of changing the world together as one in uniteeeeeee that seems to function as a secular hymnal for today's educators, my heart sank. "Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor" is one of the dreariest tunes Berlin ever composed. From the guy who wrote "White Christmas," "God Bless America," and "There's No Business Like Show Business," it's bizarrely formal and stilted — as if he read through Emma Lazarus's words and couldn't hear any music in them.

It was written for a 1949 Broadway musical called Miss Liberty, a fictionalized romance set around an approximation of the historical events. The show ends with the dedication of the statue, and the full company rising and singing "Give Me Your Tired . . . " — which, of course, never actually happened.

But it is striking to me how effective it's been as an act of cultural appropriation. The poem is used to invert precisely the meaning of the statue. The actual sculpture is called "Liberty Enlightening The World" and shows her holding a tablet marked "1776." In other words, it's not about importing people but about exporting American ideas. And, if you did that effectively, you wouldn't need to import huddled masses — or, at any rate, not on such a scale. Emma Lazarus has been used to subvert the Statue of Liberty.

By the way, Berlin thought he had another "God Bless America" on his hands with "Give Me Your Tired . . ." and was planning to set up a big foundation to direct all its royalties to charity. "This is the greatest goddamn idea anyone's ever had," he'd say to his friends, and then he'd sing the song, and they'd sit there not quite getting it. He blew it. He should have written one about liberty enlightening the world.

Give me your tired and your poor, but please, no Emma Lazarus poems.
Kathy Shaidle (of the "Five feet of fury" blog) summarized Steyn's comment as: "A bad poem on an old French statue is not an immigration policy."

On a related note, here is Steyn's essay on the song "America the Beautiful."

By the way, I hate that song ... though, it may be that I hate it mostly due to the tune. The lyrics seem to me to be sappy sentimental pap, and the tune vapid and insipid. Put them together and it generally comes across as both boring and whiney; it takes a really talented singer to make that song into something I want to hear.

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