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Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor's Aftermath: American Payback Gathers Steam

The Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (14-15 November 1942)

From Wikipedia:

"From this close range, Washington opened fire and quickly hit Kirishima with at least nine main battery shells and almost forty secondary ones, causing heavy damage and setting her aflame. Kirishima was hit below the waterline and suffered a jammed rudder, causing her to circle uncontrollably to port."

Friday, November 16, 2012

David Petraeus - The Last of the Roman-Sounding Generals

Flavius Aetius was the 5th Century Roman general who finally stopped Attila the Hun's invasions of Roman territory.  He has been referred to as 'The Last of the Romans'.  Like all great Romans of the day he had many great enemies, not least of whom was his master, the emperor Valentinian III, who feared Aetius' ambitions and distrusted his loyalties.  Valentinian eventually assassinated Aetius, reportedly by his own hand, in the culmination of a plot carried out while Aetius was at court delivering some sort of financial report.

Heh, life is tough near the top.  Politics ain't beanbag, and it wasn't back then either.  Aetius was a general with a great reputation but as he - and more recently, David Petraeus - found out, being a famous general with a cool-sounding name doesn't protect you when the guy at the top believes he has reason to fear you.

The former Director of the CIA is right now testifying about what the White House knew, and when it knew it, about the attack on the consulate in Benghazi on 11 September.  His testimony will be impeachable no matter what he says because his character has been effectively assassinated.  Petraeus already briefed Congress and in that earlier briefing he supported the President's claims.  He is now in the unenviable position of informing Congress he lied in that earlier briefing in order to cover up lies the President was telling at the time.  Either way Petraeus is a liar.  Oh, and an adulterer.  There are good reasons not to trust people that are either and Petraeus is now certified to be both.  David Petraeus may have made the same mistake Aetius did 1600 years ago:  He thought he was still safe, that his boss wasn't ready to do him in.  That he was still useful enough to his master that his master would not move against him.  He misjudged his man.  David Petraeus could have rock-solid proof that Barack Obama was lying about Benghazi but his word will be discounted because he is himself a lying adulterer.

But here's the postscript to the Aetius assassination of 454 AD:  Within six months, the conspirators against Aetius had fallen out so badly one of them had the emperor himself assassinated.  There were a number of soldiers present whose duty of course it would have been to protect the emperor.  But they had been Aetius' men.  None lifted a hand.

If I were Barack Obama I would wonder who I could trust.  The men and women that had enough power to help the President destroy David Petraeus' reputation have no reason to expect any loyalty from Barack Obama.  They see how he is.  What happens when some of them start to worry about when Obama is going to stick it to them in public like he did to Petraeus?  Are some of them worrying already?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Was it "over" when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

Okay, I've had just about enough of this.  The country isn't what we thought it was.  Maybe we've hit the tipping point.  Maybe the republic can't be saved.  Decline is here, and it's unstoppable.  Blah, blah, blah.
Here's what happened:  we got smoked.  The eternal verities haven't changed.  Right is still right, wrong is wrong, and our government is still on an unsustainable path that will eventually lead us to ruin if it isn't checked.  The Democrats ran a better campaign.  They injected abortion into an argument about economic idiocy.  They successfully turned an election about the direction of this country into a discussion about "lady parts".  They ran a left-wing, ideologue, crony capitalist politician and managed to convince the electorate that our guy was the out-of-touch plutocrat.  While we sat around one-upping each other about how no one could possibly want to give this obvious fool another four years at the wheel, they, bit by bit, sliced off pieces of the voting public, and maintained enough control of the "narrative" that they managed to win the election.  They kicked our ass.

This is a disaster, but it's not a refutation of the idea that liberty is still better than slavery, or that a growing blob of a government is a bad thing.  Those things are still true.  The fool in the White House is still going to attempt to do foolish things, and our job is to attempt to stop him.  It just got harder, that's all.

What kind of conservatives would we be if we didn't already know that people are fickle, things go wrong, and life is and always has been a constant struggle?  Do I have to quote Kipling at you?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Zabeli - The Next Generation

Wesley Knight Zabeli.  Born 20 October 2012.  Mother and child are doing fine.

Yes, I'm now a grandfather.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Brokeback Jihad

Did you hear about the goatherd from the boonies that wanted to be a martyr for Jihad?  He didn't know what a 'martyr for Jihad' was but he heard he'd get to have sex with young virgins.  So he goes to town and by mistake walks into a gay bar.  He says "Can anyone here tell me how to be a martyr for Jihad"?  This old queen of a mullah sitting at the bar turns around, looks him up and down, and says…

That's as far as I've gotten.  But when I finish, the punch line will surely include the name Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri, the 'underwear bomber' that tried to blow up an airplane over Detroit on a recent Christmas Day.  Word is Mr. al-Asiri's Jihadi 'training' included repeated sodomizing by fellow jihadis.  

Apparently the underwear bomb was a complex contraption and part of the, uh, package extended into the jihadi's rectum.  To stretch his rectum sufficiently to accommodate the payload, it was decided to use the pre-AIDS, San Francisco Turkish Bath method:  sort of a friends-with-benefits, al Qaida style.  If you  thought you understood the Religion of Peace's position on sodomy, you might have believed this type of behavior was forbidden.  But don't worry, it seems the plan was endorsed by a real-live mullah, one Abu al-Dema al-Qasab, who ruled:  "(T)o undertake this jihadi approach you must agree to be sodomized for a while to widen your anus so it can hold the explosives."

Right, then.  It's all copasetic.  I know this next part will also be hard to believe but some of these terrorist clowns were still concerned about the propriety of it all, so they asked this mullah fellow to put it in writing as an official fatwa. I guess in a culture that usually kills homosexuals, you want to make sure the paperwork is, er, straight before your pals commence to joy riding up your Hershey Highway.   You got to cross all the T's before you start dotting the old brown-eye, you know?  So the mullah put it in writing:  "(J)ihad comes first, for it is the pinnacle of Islam, and if the pinnacle of Islam can only be achieved through sodomy, then there is no wrong in it."  There you go.  The pinnacle.  The juju man has spoken.  If you can't commit mass-murder without first taking it in the shorts a few times, then bend over because your band of brothers is forming a line. 

These guys never heard of sex toys?  The 'martyr' can't take a fake penis into the privacy of his own room and train solo?  What's the problem, latex allergy?  They have no produce markets in North Africa?  Only a real-live butt-rogering by a 'brother' terrorist will do?  And what's with this 'brothers' stuff anyway?  Being a mass-murderer isn't enough, being a homo mass-murderer isn't enough, you got to be a full-frontal, incestuous, homo mass-murderer in order to get to Paradise?  What would Henry V say about this particular pansy-ass band of brothers?  "We few, we happy few!  Once more into the breach!"

Is it only me, or does anyone else think maybe, just maybe, there's something queer going on?  Am I the only one that wonders is this sheikh and his inner circle getting more out of this deal than just infidel-slaying? Maybe they kind of really enjoy training new martyrs?  Is it possible these terrorist big-wigs are just a bunch of poofs, covering their inner Village People with the cloak of macho, mass-murdering, religious zealotry?  And, come to think of it, didn't they find bin-Laden holed up like some hermit crazy uncle, with nothing but an old TV and a few retro VHS porn tapes?  Guy's got four wives in the other room and he's sitting in the dark, spanking the monkey over some grainy Vivid Pictures classics from 1987?   The question occurs, was bin-Laden breathing heavy over the girls on those tapes?  Or could it have been the boys that he was focusing on?  Who would know?  I'm just asking.

The more you hear about these jihadis the more you realize how flat-out crazy they are.  Vicious, cunning, depraved, and 'Fargo'-kidnapper stupid.  How is it possible we allow anyone - and I mean anyone - to suggest these guys hate us because of anything we did?  That maybe it's kind of our fault?  Unadulterated nonsense.  The Jihad isn't about the Crusades 800 years ago.  It's not about Western colonialism or imperialism or anything else to do with us.  The Jihad is about guys like this crew:  barbaric savages, whose wiring was already wrong to start with, letting some gay pimp of a holy man start re-typing their control code to make them even weirder.  The sooner we kill the lot of them, the better.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Saw Prometheus last night...

... with my daughter.  I was going to write a review but this morning I noticed Kurt Schlichter had already done it for me.  He even took the trouble to do a much better job than I would have:

'Prometheus Shows Hollywood's Religious Ignorance
"Prometheus" is a hot mess with good visuals and good performances in the service of an incoherent plot and an even less coherent message. It wants to ask those Big Questions, but the vocabulary that its stunted sense of spirituality provides is simply too limited to do so. The answer to “Where did we come from?” turns out to be some guys who are marginally taller than us and who have the complexion of a back-up singer for The Cure. And we, the audience, are sorry we asked.
I'm personally glad I saw the movie but can't think of a single disagreement with Mr. Schichter's review.  If you gotta see each and every 'Alien' movie then you have to see this one.  If you don't have some  non-rational need to do so save your money.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

US Military Checkmated in the Mid-East?

If you're not depressed enough about our options in the Mid-East, Richard Fernandez can hook you up:

But those catastrophes is now distinctly within the realm of possibility and palpably nearer. The bulk of America’s forces are in landlocked Afghanistan, dispatched by a genius policy that sought to ‘end the war where it began’. Those forces have scant means of resupply through Pakistan, which has finally manifested its open hatred for the United States. Nor can American forces be withdrawn from Afghanistan except through Russian controlled territory — the same Russia which Hillary Clinton must now face off against in Syria.
The administration has checkmated in such an epic manner as to beggar the imagination. Ordinary stupidity could hardly have effected such a comprehensive disaster. Mere imbecility would have been insufficient to the task. Only an arrogance that mistook ignorance and incompetence for “smart diplomacy” could have achieved such a train wreck.
I hadn't thought about things that way, and it's stunning to think about.  Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Layman 'splains it to the Bishop of Exeter

At the Telegraph Blogs, James Delingpole absolutely brutalizes the hapless bishop:
Bishop, you are no doubt a very busy man, what with all the sustainability workshops you have to attend and all the junk-science books by Mark Lynas and George Monbiot you have to read in order to keep abreast of the latest weapons-grade drivel about "climate change." 
Apparently the Bishop of Exeter thought to build some wind turbines or something without getting the community's buy-in.  When the laity found out about it, they kind of hurt his feelings.  Which caused him to whine in public.  Which got Mr. Delingpole's attention.  Which the churchman shouldn't have done.

The beating is merciless but as the Proverbs say:  "A whip for the horse, a bridal for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools."

To say the the whole thing is worth reading doesn't do it justice.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Noonan on Obama in the Wall Street Journal

Peggy Noonan supported Obama back in the day but, like many, apparently woke up:
The president was deliberately using a misleading argument to paint a false picture! But you know, why would he go out there waving an article that could immediately be debunked? Maybe because he thought it was true. That's more alarming, isn't it, the idea that he knows so little about the effects of his own economic program that he thinks he really is a low spender.
That's gotta hurt.  Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fordham Described Elizabeth Warren as Its ‘First Woman of Color’

Brian Preston at PJ Media discussing the work that cites Warren's supposed Cherokee nationhood:
Who on earth would ever read something titled “Intersectionality and positionality: Situating women of color in the affirmative action dialogue”? How can any sane person get past the title? Two of the three words in its opening clause are not, in point of fact, real words. They are hybrids made up to sound smart. They sound like poison gas to anyone not initiated in radical feminism. Which is what they are.
I clicked on the link based on the title but the passage above really got to me.  As per Preston, who on earth talks like this?  I guess if you throw out enough semantic smoke it can be harder for people to notice you're burning intellectual dung.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Belief That CO2 Can Regulate Climate Is “Sheer Absurdity”

From Powerline:

"Klaus-Eckart Puls is a German physicist and meteorologist who investigated the underpinnings of global warming hysteria and was horrified at how unscientific the global warming advocates are."

My problem with warming alarmism is not that I don't believe in science, it's that science is a methodology.  It's a formalized way to investigate the physical world and to determine - to the extent possible - how things work.  Conclusions that are scientific can be checked, double-checked, and verified.  The current global warming debate on the other hand is political advocacy, carried out using scientific sounding language.  That's a different thing.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Non-Inevitability of 'Gay' Marriage

Rich Lowery at The Corner:
History is littered with the wreckage of causes pronounced inevitable by all right-thinking people. The failed Equal Rights Amendment looked inevitable when it passed Congress in 1972 and immediately 30 states ratified it. Opposition to abortion that was supposed to inevitably wither away is as robust as ever. The forces favoring gun control seemed unstoppably on the march when Congress passed the Brady Bill and the assault-weapons ban in the 1990s, but there are more protections for gun rights now than two decades ago.
This sounds about right to me.  Gay Marriage may someday be the law of the land but it is not inevitable.  It is currently fashionable but the longer the idea percolates, the more people will realize how bad an idea it is.  There is more support for the idea among young people - especially the college educated - and I think the lefty/relativist brainwashing that goes on in colleges frequently wears off as youth grows into maturity.

And I think the savvier supporters of gay marriage realize this.  Which is why they're shrieking like harpies to get it enshrined in the law now, before everybody wakes up and says:  wait a minute, we want to do what?!
UPDATE: Turns out this post got me unfriended on Facebook by someone I consider a friend. It doesn't seem that harsh to me but I guess opinions do vary.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The New Holocaust Deniers

At PJ Media, Robert Zubrin writes about his book tour:
Indeed, the entire environmentalist movement consists of holocaust deniers, who continue to refuse to look at or admit the existence of the carnage they have created and continue to perpetuate worldwide. 
His new book is Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism.

There is a bizarre, self-loathing current in the environmental movement and the political left in general.  The Puritans had nothing on these guys.  I'm a Calvinist that believes in the radical depravity of man but, compared to these knuckleheads, I'm a squishy Pollyanna about humanity.  I think it was C.S. Lewis that was credited with saying the problem with an atheist is not that he believes in nothing, but rather that you can get him to believe in anything.

Maybe, maybe not.  But it does look like you can get a lot of people to hate the whole human race in the abstract, and to support things that provably cause a lot of death and suffering.

Obama's Fundraisers Way Gayer than Romney's

From the Washington Post:

"About one in six of Obama’s top campaign “bundlers” are gay, according to a Washington Post review of donor lists(.)"

So, if about 2% of the population is gay, and over 16% of the President's campaign bundlers are gay, doesn't that make the President's donors about eight times gayer than normal people?

(HT Katrina Trinko/The Corner)

Strikes, Indians, and Englishmen

The Times of India reports on a strike that is beginning at Kingfisher Airlines in India.  The airline's pilots have begun to call in sick.  Here's why:
Said an airline source: "The pilots are calling in sick, saying that the delay in salary payments has been a cause of stress." In the last few days, the resentment among pilots grew as the management again went back on its promise to pay their pending salary. "The management has been blatantly lying to us. They told us that they have deposited the money for our salaries in the bank," said a pilot. "However, when we checked with the banks, they revealed that not a cent has been deposited towards our salary payments," he added. The pilots had earlier planned to agitate from Monday onwards. But the airline chairman Vijay Mallya wrote a letter saying that the salary for the month of January will be paid on May 9. With the deadline gone and no payment done, the agitation began from midnight.
Fair enough.  These guys haven't been paid since - if I've got this right - last year.   Can't blame them.  Meanwhile, in Britain, the Telegraph reports:  "Prison officers have staged a surprise walkout over pension reform, on the day that 400,000 other public sector workers hold a planned strike."

So, in India, private workers keep on carrying on, giving their employer months to come up with a way to pay them the money they have already earned, while in Great Britain, so-called public servants leave criminals unguarded, and jam up the court system (no one to escort prisoners to trial) in order to send a message of solidarity with other so-called public servants that refuse to consider the possibility they may have to do with less money at some point in the future.

What a pathetic display by the British.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

CIA unraveled bomb plot from within

Is it just me, or does it seem stupid to anyone else that we are bragging we have people inside Al Qaeda?

From the Washington Post:
Of dozens of AQAP fighters with Saudi backgrounds, “at least five or eight of them are undercover” working for the Saudi service at any point, said a Middle Eastern official. “The Saudis have always had a network” of sources in Yemen, the official said. “Now they are expanding its objectives.”
Should work just fine as long as the jihadis don't read the papers.

Monday, May 7, 2012

BBC's Sherlock


Last night my daughter and I finally got to watch episode 1 of the second season of BBC's Sherlock.  We were excited because we enjoyed the first season so much.  We were disappointed.

The first season was a lot of fun and I'm a tough grader.  I consider myself a Sherlock Holmes purist.  My counsel to anyone writing a new treatment of Sherlock Holmes would be:  Arthur Conan Doyle was a lot better at this than you are or ever will be.  Treat the material with respect.  In the first season the BBC writers managed to charm me.  The stories were witty.  They managed to create a Holmes and Watson that were true to the originals but at the same time were also true twenty-first century men.  They succeeded.  They managed to sell Sherlock Holmes in modern London.

This first episode in the new season on the other hand was just plain limp.  Too cute by half; forced and obvious sexual allusions; outlandish crime solutions.  If the writers for the first season are the same guys that wrote last night's episode, they have run out of gas.

King of the Khyber Rifles

Just posted a review at Amazon for King of the Khyber Rifles, a free Kindle book I finished last night.  I'm still going through my British Empire phase of easy adventure reading.  It's mostly India stuff, but some Sudan stories by Arthur Conan Doyle as well.

It's probably not hard to figure out I'm a hard sell on the idea that British colonialism was all bad.  It wasn't.  Not even close.  I'm an anglophile from way back (with a brief interlude between 1775 and 1815).  As I once said to some Indian friends in a bar in Hyderabad:  "Eventually everybody's got to grow up and kick the British out, but you're a moron if you don't realize the joint is a better place because they were here."

I said something like that anyway.  I quote from memory and that memory involved a few pints of Sandpiper.  But I remember general agreement from the company.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wikipedia doesn't want you to know Obama eats dog

Report is here.  (HT Instapundit)

People will actually cast votes based on stuff like this.  And as long as that's true, to report the story about Romney securing his dog in a travel kennel on top of his car in the 1980's, and at the same time censor the fact Obama ate dog meat once when he was a child, is to actively work for the reelection of Barack Obama.

That's okay, of course.  Unless one is pretending to be an unbiased information provider.  Then it's not okay.  Then it's exactly the left-wing media bias conservatives complain about and progressives deny the existence of.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Less Brains than Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner

Apparently seeking to prove beyond doubt that Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner really is the pinnacle of Norwegian brainpower, Johan Galtung, a Norwegian “sociologist nicknamed the father of peace studies,” sees fit to blame the Jews for the massacre of a bunch of young socialist Norwegians that was carried out by another Norwegian lunatic who describes himself as a “cultural Christian” and who doesn’t really believe there is a God.  

Must have been the Jews.  It naturally follows, no?  QED.  The sickening details are here.

Fun was been made of medieval religious scholars that speculated on the number of angels that could fit on the head of a pin.  I personally wonder if anyone – ever - seriously debated this question without the aid of recreational drugs, no matter how long ago, or how bored the scholastic.  But the modern secular leftist version of this question is taken seriously and it seems to be:  How many Jews can we blame for anything that goes wrong (that we cannot practicably blame on George Bush or Global Warming)?

Victims of Communism Day

Remembered by Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy:

"May Day began as a holiday for socialists and labor union activists, not just communists. But over time, the date was taken over by the Soviet Union and other communist regimes and used as a propaganda tool to prop up their regimes. I suggest that we instead use it as a day to commemorate those regimes’ millions of victims."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Dunning-Kruger Effect on Barack Obama?

Over at PJMedia Rand Simberg posted a piece called The Asymmetry of Ideology.  It’s interesting and worth the read but one of the things that really caught my attention is his mention of something called the Dunning-Kruger Effect.  Apparently it’s well known, but I never heard of it before.  

In a nutshell, Kruger and Dunning “proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:  tend to overestimate their own level of skill; fail to recognize genuine skill in others; (and) fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy".  They will however "recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they can be trained to substantially improve".

I looked it up at Wikipedia and a couple aspects are really interesting.  First of all, this effect seems to be an American thing.  Apparently the Chinese don’t suffer from it.  Interesting, no?  Second, this effect was isolated in studies conducted in the late 1990’s among American college students.  I wonder whether the Dunning Kruger Effect is simply the result of a generation of ‘self-esteem’ foolishness that we’ve been instilling in people?  If you continually tell people – no matter how poorly they’re doing – that they are doing well, isn’t it likely the less self-aware among them (or the more stupid) will be more apt to believe you?  Hey, if everybody gets a trophy for playing soccer, the kid that doesn’t know how bad he sucks at soccer may think he’s doing just fine.

I wonder if this explains Barack Obama’s otherwise inexplicable confidence in his own competence?  It’s been a mystery to me.  I can understand that he thinks he’s right and other people are wrong.  I can even understand he may believe that opposition to his righteousness is the main reason for everything that’s wrong with our political and economic scenes.  I happen to disagree on both counts but they are understandable positions.  What I can’t understand is Obama’s seeming sincere belief that he’s really doing great as President of the United States when all available evidence shows he is screwing the pooch.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Taliban commander turns self in... for reward on ‘Wanted’ poster

From the Washington Post:  “Clearly,” one U.S. official said, “the man is an imbecile.”

Amazing.  (HT Drudge)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tacitus could have been talking about Obama

"(H)e was quoting Tacitus on the Emperor Galba: "capax imperii nisi imperasset" – everybody would have thought him capable of being emperor if he had never been emperor.
That really does describe "The One":  Everybody would have thought him capable of being President if he had never been President.

(Borrowed from Allan Massie's blog  at the Telegraph Online.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

There's danger to blacks, and then there's danger to blacks...

Jonah Goldberg at the Corner:
"The richest and most successful African-Americans spend a lot more time in elite “white” America than they do in Compton or East St. Louis. And, my hunch is, they’re more understandably more worried about white men with guns than they are about guns in their kids’ private schools."
Interesting, if I understand it correctly:  Al Sharpton, because he is rich & famous, doesn't have to worry about his grandchildren being shot by black thugs in the ghetto because Al Sharpton would never allow his grandchildren anywhere near either black thugs or the ghetto.  Therefore black-on-black violence, which causes the greatest mayhem among other blacks, does not personally effect Sharpton or his family.  The potential of white-on-black violence, however rare, is of more concern to him because Al Sharpton's grandchildren are more likely to hang out with rich whites than with poor blacks.

Maybe I'm reading too much into what Goldberg is writing.  The post is here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Only Thing That's Changed is the Englishmen

Just posted a review of  The Tragedy of the Korosko at Amazon.  Reprinted here:

Light stuff but worth reading. I'm happy I spent my time with this (I read the free Kindle version) rather than anything I might have picked up from the paperback bestseller rack at the grocery store. I don't suffer from Western self-loathing, nor do I have any trouble recognizing the good side of Victoria's British Empire, so I enjoyed the action, the dialog, and the satisfying finish you expect in this sort of thing. This is a standard-model Victorian adventure melodrama. That's not a bad thing, especially in the hands of a writer like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who knew his trade.

The plot won't surprise you: a group of European tourists (inexplicably) take a boat trip up the Nile and are taken prisoner by Muslim raiders of the Khalifa's army in the Sudan. Will the jihadis kill them if they refuse to convert to Islam? Will the jihadis kill them regardless? What will happen to the women? Can a rescue force reach them before they get to Khartoum and will it even be strong enough if it does catch up? The tension just keeps building! Lots of fun.

Doyle doesn't specify the year the action takes place but he first published the story in serialized form for the Strand Magazine in 1897. The British were still fighting the Sudan Campaign so this would have seemed like an adventure `ripped from the headlines'. The characters are the usual. There's the retired British colonel, the parson, the lawyer, the Irish couple, a spinster from Boston travelling with her beautiful young niece, etc. There's even a Frenchman around to bitch about British imperialism. The Frenchman sounds like your average Western academic of today, and probably the only difference between the jihadis in this story and the modern ones in the Sudan is that today's jihadis have automatic rifles. It's a shame the one thing that's changed is that today they don't seem to make Englishmen like they used to.

If Sherlock Holmes is the only thing you've read by Doyle, spend a couple hours with this.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Martin Shooting

The interracial shooting death of young Trayvon Martin in Florida is one of those tragic  incidents that quickly becomes a focal point of public outrage.  Naturally this draws race-baiters, ideological opportunists, self-promoting news mediocrities and other assorted carrion eaters like a road-kill whitetail draws turkey buzzards.  The facts of the case are clear in broad strokes:  a young black man was shot dead by a less young Hispanic white man.  They are less clear in the legally important ways, such as, did the shooter, one George Zimmerman, actually commit a crime by shooting the late Mr. Martin?  If not, should what he did be a crime?  Some have already decided the answers are obvious, but Jack Dunphy suggests caution:

"Trayvon Martin’s death was tragic, but it is a tragedy that will not find a neat resolution in the criminal courts. The only certainty is that the tragedy will be rendered into farce by the cast of characters who will use it to raise their own questionable profiles."

It's the most sensible thing I have seen written about the event.  I therefore doubt anyone will pay attention to it.  The second most sensible thing I’ve seen is Geraldo Rivera’s editorial at Fox:

"(A)fter listening to the 911 tapes and hearing the witness' testimonials, I believe Trayvon Martin would be alive today but for his hoodie."

Neither of these two sensible views will hold much attention. Nor is it likely anyone will bother pointing out that, however this particular case turns out, the most dangerous natural predator of young black men in America today is other young black men. It is not and never will be Hispanic white neighborhood watch members with licenses to carry firearms. So there will be great rage expressed over this homicide. Professional African-Americans will engage in vicious stereotyping of others in the name of opposing stereotypes. Professional gun-haters will take the opportunity to express their hatred of gun owners. News readers will breathlessly bray shallow and inane reports into the camera, their faces rigid with their trained ‘empathy’ looks. And (this just in) our current president can be counted on to think of something to say that will make matters worse.

But after this killing fades from public memory, young black men will continue to wander the streets, covering their faces with hoods and emulating thuggishness. And they will continue to die violently – mostly at each others’ hands. And the vile likes of Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, and Louis Farrakhan will likely have done nothing to save a single one of them.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Winston Churchill: The Story of the Malakand Field Force

Recently finished Story of the Malakand Field Force; An Episode of Frontier War and put up this review at Amazon.
1897: The Northwest Frontier of British India, the infamous `tribal areas' of Pakistan that still vex the news today, is in one of its periodic eruptions. The Empire reacts and local events get interesting for a time. The modern technology of the telegraph brings the proceedings into the drawing rooms of London and for a (very) short while this bloody episode engages the attention of the world. Winston Churchill - some aristocratic young cavalry officer, contracted as a war correspondent - records it in detail for posterity in the workmanlike and literary style which will become the trademark of his writing. Churchill wrote this book at an age when, if he were an American alive today, he would still be covered by his parents health insurance.

This book (I read the free Kindle edition) is well worth the read for anyone that wants a quick, well-written immersion in the British Empire of the late 19th Century. Among all the jewels of period detail that abound, for instance, the brief biography of the officer commanding the British force is not to be missed. You will think it must have been made up, and it's hard to imagine any modern author or Hollywood screenwriter daring to create such a figure, let alone giving him his ancestry and then naming him: Brigadier-General Sir Bindon Blood, K.C.B.

Churchill's enthusiastic love of Queen and country certainly shines through. But this book is written by a thoughtful, perceptive, and intelligent man, unashamed (in fact, proud) to set his own views to paper, but well aware of the fact that many people disagree with him.

Monday, March 19, 2012

No more Gurkhas in India, UK Armies

"Indian and British Armies may no longer be able to employ Gurkhas, known for their valour, following a Nepalese government decision to eventually stop their recruitment in foreign countries."

Full story here in the Deccan Chronicle.

It seems the old ways are truly passing.

What would James Q Wilson tell Mexico?

Spengler talks hard things in the Asia Times:

(I)f it is to break the hold of criminal gangs on many of its cities, Mexico has no choice but to take a page from James Q Wilson's book. To undertake the Herculean labor of suppressing criminality from the bottom will have terrible consequences, as in Enrique Krauze's chilling analogy to the 1910 Revolution. The only thing worse is the alternative. It is not enough to arrest the drug lords; it is also necessary to attrite the ranks of their gunmen. How much will it cost? If you have to ask what it costs, you can't afford to be a country.
Whole thing is here.

White Tweeter's Burden

John Derbyshire at his gloomy and sensible best:

"These Kony 2012 folk are, as Dickens said, absurd in their conceit. At one point in the video, Russell says, quote, “If we succeed, we change the course of human history,” end quote. I can think of several things that might change the course of human history, but none of them is located in Central Africa. In fact, I can’t think of any aspect in which Central Africa has made any contribution to civilized human history at all."

The whole thing is well worth reading.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Obama shows his customary judgement - decides to trust North Korea

From the the Oh Please Give Me a Break DepartmentNorth Korea agrees to stop nuclear tests.

From the Are You Smoking Crack? Department:  "Welcoming the progress, President Barack Obama's administration said it would move ahead on a long-mulled plan to deliver 240,000 metric tons of food aid(.)"

Monday, February 27, 2012

Klavan on Islam...

" it’s a religion, a metaphysical philosophy of life, and has to be open to question, debate, ridicule and attack like every other."

What he said.  Whole post is here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

America continues to reap what the Baby Boomers sowed

"No one wants to be uncool, but the end result of the Tyranny of Hip is tyranny."

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Oliver Stone's son converts to Islam in Iran

He seems to have a theologically interesting view of the matter:  "The conversion to Islam is not abandoning Christianity or Judaism, which I was born with."

Good luck with that at the blasphemy trial, Ali.

The Telegraph article here.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fear of Islamic Violence Spreads

Hamas leadership is moving to Qatar:

"Hamas leaders no longer felt safe as the violence spread to Damascus."

Why am I smiling?  Radical depravity, I suppose.

From the Jerusalem Post.

Feeding people to wild animals.

What kind of society requires humans to request permission to defend themselves from a ferocious animal that is eating their women and children alive? What kind of society refuses that permission?

From London's Telegraph:  Leopard Kills Fifth Girl in Nepal.
In the latest attack, the unnamed teenager was cutting grass in the forest near her home in Baitadi district, on the border with India, when she was attacked by the animal, said Bishnu Bahadur Karki, a local deputy superintendent of police.
"The locals found the body torn into pieces and eaten below the neck at the forest area yesterday," he told AFP.
Fifth girl.  Not including the three victims the same leopard has eaten across the border in India. 

And it gets better (emphasis added):
"We requested the district forest office to allow us to kill it but they refused, saying that the law does not provide such permission," Karki told AFP.
"Our request to have the leopard handed over to a zoo has also been rejected."

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spengler on American Education's Systematic Child Abuse

In the Asia Times Online:

"The grand result of a generation's worth of brain-science application is a generation of schoolchildren who are disproportionately illiterate, innumerate, anxious, angry, and unhappy."

Read the whole thing.  And weep if you trusted your children to these fools and charlatans.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Grey - Movie Review - Nasty, Brutish, and Shoulda Been Shorter

The Grey stars Liam Neeson as a nihilistic old codger with a rifle and no good reason he can think of not to stick it in his own mouth. And a bunch of CGI super-wolves. The story is set in Alaska, but I understand the breathtaking shooting location is actually Canada. Good actors, good cinematography, good location, okay CGI effects, and an audience ready to see Liam Neeson do some more of his reluctant-but-super-capable-action-hero thing. This movie should satisfy. But it doesn't. By the time it's all over, you can't help but think the nihilistic old codger should have pulled the trigger and saved us all a couple hours. Long before it's over, on the other hand, you realize the movie-makers are selling you something funky, and they only promised you an action movie to sucker you into the theater.

I read that some animal rights activist objects to The Grey because wolves don't act in real life the way they are portrayed in the movie. It's sensible to ignore opinions of animal rights activists, but the fellow has a minor point. I imagine wolves do not, in fact, act the way the wolves act in this movie. But he should relax and look at the bright side. If he wants people to think animals are as good as people, this movie can work for his cause. Not because the wolves are nice; they aren't. But in this movie neither are the people. And the guy whose job it is to protect the rest of the oil crew refers to himself as a "hired killer" because he shoots dangerous animals that are attacking his fellow-man. If that isn't laying philosophical ground work for PETA, nothing is.

I've never been to a remote oil field but I have a hard time believing a company would hire these men, or run this kind of canteen, in a multi-billion dollar, high-tech facility. The workers are all dead-enders - drunks, ex-cons, broken men, the scum of the earth. And the company bar where these desperate men drink and fight looks like a cross between a Hells Angels clubhouse and the joint where Han Solo shot that alien under the table. In this economy you should be able to find a better crew for $150K blue collar jobs, but I suppose if the company recruiters did a better job this movie couldn't keep beating you over the head with its vile message. The fake wolves aren't evil, you see, they're just man's alter-ego. And unlike the men in this movie the wolves actually have a purpose in this bitter, wind-swept panorama. They're there to prove nothing men do will keep them from being eaten alive in an ice-cold and merciless, malevolent universe. Naturally and by the way, the major message here is that there is no God, and also he really hates you. This could go without saying but, just in case the audience is slow on the uptake, the characters spout all sorts of materialistic fatalism. Repeatedly. Even after there aren't any other characters left to spout it to.

Are you a self-absorbed baby boomer? Have things have gone so poorly for you, you've decided the universe sucks? Do you roll your eyes when simple-minded religious types talk about things like "faith"? This is the action flick for you.