Sunday, December 18, 2005

Those wiley Jews!

I finally read Is Paris Burning? last week, at my parents' urging. They'd read it when it first came out and have told me about it my whole life. After seeing the movie version a couple of times, I finally got out the book. Wow! I couldn't put the thing down, and I had it finished in three days. I have a newfound respect for the French Resistance and even some understanding for de Gaulle.

So I went online tonight to look for pictures of Paris under the German occupation. There are photos of Hitler in front of the Eiffel Tower, for instance. It's such a surreal image--I hadn't thought about Paris under the occupation, back when it seemed like the Germans might actually pull it off.

Serves me right. One of the sites with photos of Hitler in Paris is some pro-Nazi web site, as I found out after scrolling down the page. Apparently, everything was hunky-dory in Paris under the Nazis. The French just loved Hitler. No Jews were harmed during the making of this occupation, etc.

With the sick fascination of wondering where this guy was going with it, I clicked on the links to his page on "The bloodlines of WW2 Leaders." Guess what? Everybody except Hitler was Jewish! Huh. Who would have thought? Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Churchill, and even Stalin. Oh, and the Poles started the war, bragging they'd conquer Germany within three days.

Going to the main page on the site, I was intrigued to find that the Jews, and more recently the Mossad, have been behind every major terrorist attack in the past century. Even Kristallnacht itself:

Kristallnacht
When government officials were away, Jewish-paid thugs went on a rampage in Berlin and some border towns.
Nazis were blamed, and world opinion favored Jews

Oh, and then there was that raid on Entebbe:

1976 ... Entebbe
Israel faked a hijacking to Kenya (Idi Imin was an Israeli puppet), and then pulled a rescue, portraying themselves as elite commandos.
Arabs looked like monsters and the Israelis, having suffered countless persecutions, have decided to fight back.

In basically all of the other attacks, even if it was Arabs who were caught, it was those wiley Jews who had put them up to it, just to make the rest of us pity them. Shame it didn't work, considering that Israel is still hated by the same enemies.

OK, back to reality now. I know I'm being naive here, not having encountered this kind of person before, but how can any sane person really believe that there's such a perfect, grand conspiracy that the Jews have managed to direct all of the events in history? And yet somehow failed to deceive this guy. This is not the work of a stable mind.

Incidentally, If I were Jewish, I'd be proud to claim Eisenhower, Roosevelt, and Churchill, if it were really true. Heck, I'm not Jewish, and I'm still proud that, for instance, the GOP nominated even a half-Jewish Presidential candidate in 1964.

I'm reminded of what one blogger wrote during the forged Texas Air National Guard memo fiasco last year. When the more fevered leftists were starting to claim that if the memos were fake, then Karl Rove was behind them. One conservative responded that if Rove was able to pull off a scheme this elaborate, then the Democrats should just give up and surrender now. He's clearly too much of an genius mastermind, and you'll simply never win.

In a similar vein, if the remaining Nazis in this world really believe that the Jews have been behind all of these elaborate schemes, and have successfully gotten everybody elese blamed for them, then you should just give up and die now. You'll never beat them.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Assassination Attempt on President of Iran?

Over at National Review's The Corner, Michael Ledeen says he's heard that the President of Iran is in the hospital after an assassination attempt killed some of his detail and injured him.

From a usually-reliable source, he says, but I haven't seen any confirmation elsewhere yet. This is the kind of thing I'd expect to see up on Drudge soon.

Douthat on Limbo

Ross Douthat has a well-thought-out article on Limbo in the Weekly Standard. He correctly (in my mind) takes on the excessive and overconfident speculation of the mediaeval theologians who wanted to fill in the details left out of the Bible. It's interesting to me that the name of Limbo is well-known among us Protestants (although we don't always understand what it's supposed to be), even though it's apparently not been an active concept among Roman Catholics for some time. As he says, few tears will be shed for its demise. Well, these kinds of speculations very often have a long life in the popular imagination. Just think of all the details people think they know about angels, most of which comes not from the canonical Bible but from apocryphal books, plus a bunch of later theology. Douthat points out the rampant speculations about the nature of Heaven as a further example.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Astronomers' adventure games

Stromlo: A Cosmological Mystery Or, Zork updated for scientists. Paul Francis, a planetary scientist at the Mount Stromlo Observatory in Australia, has an interesting-sounding game out. It's a text-based adventure game (you type in commands to find out things and move the plot forward). The premise is that you're a bright young astrophysicist at the Mount Stromlo Observatory in Australia, and you are trying to find out how the universe came to be.

You type in commands (like, "ask dr winkle about the telescope") to work your way through the game. As Francis' description states,

You will wander around Mt Stromlo, make observations with its telescopes, analyse the data, chat with other staff members over morning tea, read books in the Stromlo library and attend seminars. Slowly you will accumulate the clues which will allow you to solve the mystery and win the game.


At first, I wasn't sure if this was real or a tongue-in-cheek joke. It seemed like a parody of one of these adventure games. (This is basically an "adventure" game that simulates my day at the office!) But now that I've read the whole description, I see the value of this--he means it as a teaching tool for high school or college students, both to show them how astronomy is done (not just what the pictures look like, but the whole astronomy environment) and to teach them the material itself. It's really an ingenious idea.

Huh. I wonder if we could make one for quasar host galaxy research, too? The new character would be a bright, young astronomer (ahem!) newly arrived from NASA as a professor, and you type in commands to prepare your lectures, write observing proposals, analyze data, weasel out of serving on committees, try to convince the travel office that visits to your out-of-town girlfriend were really "observing runs," carry on long discussions on Star Wars at Tea Club when you should be researching, and fall asleep at theory seminars. Slowly you will accumulate clues that should allow you to solve the mystery and win fame, the girl, large research grants, and tenure, but which will probably sit in a growing pile on your desk without having all of the dots connected.

Ooh, I like this one!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Speaking of thinking of yourself as a liberal first...

Speaking of people who think of themselves as liberals first, there's this report by my overpoliticized Methodist bishops, criticising the war in Iraq and only briefly touching on actual genocide in the Sudan.

It's time for a full-scale revolt within my church. The kind of people who really want to become bishops are overwhelmingly the lefties who spend so much time spouting off on politics. That has to change. We're really a conservative denomination, but the church hierarchy is dominated by people who don't represent us laymen.

Thankfully, Methodism is traditionally not focused on doctrine, and as a result, our bishops don't go telling us what to believe on religion. With this bunch in charge, that's something to be thankful for.

Like the ADL and certain Jewish leaders who spend their efforts shooting their friends and ignoring their true enemies (see the previous post), the Methodist bishops shoot their wad on America's work in Iraq (which is bringing democracy and an end to mass-murder and tyrrany), and they've got hardly anything left to say about anti-Christian genocide in the Sudan. I don't think that our government should be immune from any criticism in principle, but this particular criticism is wrong-headed.

Julia Gorin on Abe Foxman

Julia Gorin comes down hard on Abe Foxman's anti-Christian comments. This is very strong stuff. You can tell she's peeved about the whole thing, with Foxman and this Yoffie guy slamming conservative Christians who are on the side of the Jews. As I've commented before on this site, Foxman et al. are shooting at their allies.

Well, maybe not. Considering us conservative Christians "allies" would require Foxman and Yoffie and the rest to think of themselves as Jews first, rather than as liberals first.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The American state of Guyana?

Huh. Here's a website devoted to getting Guyana to join the United States. (Link via Albion's Seedlings)

I don't know how Guayanan Representatives would vote in Congress, but I'm impressed that the website for the movement lists as advantages of statehood:

1) The people of Guyana would be fully self-governing with their rights secured under the United States Constitution, which would be the the supreme law and have the same force and effects as in other states of the Union;

2) The sovereign State of Guyana would be in permanent union with the United States, and powers not delegated to the Federal Government or prohibited to the States by the United States Constitution would be reserved to the people of Guyana or the State Government;


Interesting. I've got to admire their admiration for us!

The fun of being an academic

My day, now that school's out: Get up late and have a relaxing cup of coffee while watching Fox & Friends and then eat breakfast listening to Laura Ingraham. Get into the office and catch up on e-mail and surfing the web. Dinner with a couple of other professors (lunch dinner, not supper dinner), while discussing philosophy (well, that's going to be tomorrow). Do research and prepare a conference presentation while listening to Rush and Hannity. Interview with newspaper reporter. More research (a breakthrough--woohoo!) while listening to Mark Levin. Decide I'm hungry, so go home and fix supper. Watch TV while reading science books. Ahh, not a bad day! I can't complain about being paid for nine months of the year, when I get to spend the other three like this.

Eminent Domain

Some Florida mayor is on the phone with Sean Hannity right now, defending his move to seize private homes in order to build condos and a yacht club. Apparently last night on Hannity & Colmes, he called some of the poor victims of eminent domain "selfish" for wanting to keep their homes! ARRGGHH!

This issue and gun rights are two things that are guaranteed to bring out an anti-government streak in me. I cannot imagine the callous attitude it must take to be that cold-hearted to somebody wanting to keep his home and property.

TVA provides us with other good examples of this mindset, and for this it is widely hated by us East Tennesseeans, especially by us who live out in the country. Some years ago, when they flooded Tellico Lake, they seized the property of farmers who lived above the waterline. The reason? They didn't want these folks to profit by having a public lake adjoining their property. And then a few years later, TVA sold the land off to developers. At the time, we were absolutely astonished, but with the recent eminent domain fights in the press, we've been treated to countless examples of similar abuses.

Goldblatt on Goldblatt

More from the article I just linked to:

I'm roughly Dowd's age and have never been married — a fact I account for not with an anthropological hypothesis but with the rather narrow observation that I've yet to find a supermodel PhD whose standards were low enough to have me.


Heh, heh! Perfect!

Incidentally, that being the goal of so many of us men, I feel extremely fortunate to have found someone who meets those sorts of standards.

Goldblatt on Maureen Dowd

I've never read any article by Maureen Dowd but only see the excerpts her critics enjoy quoting. If her own writing were half as good as her critics', when they're laying into her, she'd be well worth reading. In that vein is today's NRO article by Mark Goldblatt:

Maureen Dowd begins her book Are Men Necessary? with a confession: "I don't understand men." If only she'd left it at that, we could simply add "men" to the long list of subjects into which she has no particular insight: history, psychology, philosophy, religion, economics, literature, art, constitutional law, international diplomacy, and several other topics upon she comments in her twice weekly column for the New York Times.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Smack murder pride

Today I learned a new name for a collection of something: a group of jellyfish is a "smack." Wow--you can practically make an entire sentence out of unusual group names, as I halfheartedly tried to do in the subject line.

The thrust of the article is that there is an unusual rise in giant (and poisonous) jellyfish off Japan, and they're hurting the fishing industry. The odd little nomenclature tidbit is at the very end.

Interactive baby name ranking

This is really neat: a website that shows you a name's popularity over time. (Link via The Corner) Type in a name, and you see its popularity plotted since 1880. Interestingly, when I typed in my parents' names, both names were near their popularity peaks about the times my parents were born. What's also fun is to try putting in a name you think of as being annoyingly trendy for babies right now, and see just when it started to be used.

Start saving your frequent flier miles...

...and turn them into a suborbital space flight. Virgin Atlantic had already announced it was forming "Virgin Galactic" for space travel, and it looks like Richard Branson is stepping them forward towards the goal. Thanks to a NASA friend for the link.

I wonder when "SpaceShipTwo" will be built?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Oh my gosh! The Grand Unified Theory's been done!!!

Wow! It's like the scales have fallen from my eyes, and now I finally see the fundamental truths to the universe! Boy, I've gone back and forth from thinking the guy was an overambitious amateur, to a complete crackpot, to a really funny parody, to... well, I'm not sure right now. I'm torn between thinking that he's a crackpot and thinking he's an ingenious parodist with 'way too much time on his hands.

By the way, this reader's review totally convinced me:

"Brilliant! Having read this, I feel like a person who is aware that the Earth is round, walking among those who still believe it to be flat!"


A challenge for our readers: Check out the page on "Science Flaws" and see if you can, with say a freshman physics background, correct several of his discoveries of supposedly conventional-science-killing flaws. The meaning of "work" in physics comes into play, as well as motion in a gravitational field.

Chavez solidifies his political power

I have never thought that voter boycotts of elections were a good idea, unless you were in a regime like Hussein's where there wasn't the slightest point in "voting." In democracies and semi-democracies, where the votes are actually important (even if there's some fraud on the fringes), a boycott is really just cutting your own throat. Still, the poor turnout (hmm--a boycotted Venezuelan election has turnout not much below a normal American one!) might actually embarass Chavez.

These two reports, here and here, are worrying, though. It seems as though Chavez and his allies have completely taken over the congress. What's to stop him now?

Now, it's fair to ask why we are upset about a budding dictator in Venezuela, when we're able to work with more open dictators in certain other countries, like Pakistan. Good question. We'd like to have them become democratic, but while they're not, our relations are determined by whether they're on our side in this war. And even our dictator allies receive pressure from us, often quietly, to open up politically.

Pakistan and some of these other countries are helping us with intelligence on al-Qaeda. Venezuela is cozying up to Castro and other enemies of this country. (Including some in the Middle East.) He's spending money to fund leftist guerrilas to destabilize now-democratic Latin America. Like they need to go through that again!

We have been willing to sacrifice relations with some countries that have cracked down too much on domestic freedoms, like in Central Asia (I've forgotten which one). We can't do it in all cases; we need to take our own safety into account, after all.

"Dude, where's my country?!"

The perfect caption for this photo.




More Lileks quotes

This is what? the third I've quoted today? “What’s astrology, daddy?” “It’s a system of belief for people who cannot handle the intellectual demands of Scientology."

Heh, heh, heh...

Lileks on Limbo

Although I imagine Satan would enjoy watching the Limbo Community sue God; it would be like spring training for his next batch of middle managers. But I digress. ERROR –36!

It makes more sense in context, and it's just as funny. Actually, that's the same link as below. So be it.

Lileks visits the Apple store

Here's the funny quote: Apple stores never started stinking until iTunes went cross-platform!

Heh, heh...no he's saying it tongue in cheeck, don't worry. But it is kinda funny.

The rewriting of history

I'd known of this before, thanks to buying Biblical Archaeology Review, but it's always instructive to read it again. The Moslem countries in the Middle East are trying to deny the importance of Jerusalem to Judaism. You'd think the connection betwene the two would be pretty obvious to anybody who'd read his Bible, right? And even Islam places its ultimate origins in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. So they should know their Old Testament, right? Well, no--not if you're in a place like Saudi Arabia, which prohibits Bibles. (At least their importation--are Saudi Christians even allowed to own them?) And the Koran says that it has "corrected" Biblical history. You see, those devious Jews falsified much of the Biblical account to make themselves look better. For instance, no "prophet" (this term--at least its English translation--is applied by Islam to, say, David and Solomon as well) could never do anything bad. Therefore the accounts of David's sin with Bathsheba must have been made up by the Jewish writers later. That's just one example.

So all of those accounts of Jerusalem's importance to the Jews? The, you know, Temple? The building, destruction, rebuilding, and rebuilding of the Temple? Nah. Never that big a deal.

Now, as long as Israel has control over Jerusalem, we're OK. But watch out for any compromises with their neighbors over the city. The other side wants to deny even the archaeology. They want to destroy the physical record beneath the hill--there are plenty of photos of archeological debris being dumped, out from under the mosque there. Israel needs to put a stop to that destruction. It's a scene from 1984 put into action.

Iran to "end" Christianity in the country

Pamela at Atlas Shrugs has this sad report out of Iran. "I will stop Christianity in this country,” Ahmadinejad reportedly vowed. This was followed a few days later by the brutal murder of a Christian preacher, who was a Christian convert. Ten other Christians were tortured and released. According to the article, "house churches" are sprouting up across the country. Good for the Christians in Iran! They're braver than any of us need to be. I hope we in the West will give them support somehow.

Jewish carnival up

This is the first time I've heard of the Jewish blog carnival "Haveil Havalim" (Vanity of Vanities); it's a good one, and I've already clicked on a half-dozen of the links.

Incidentally, my Hebrew vocabulary is pretty rusty. At first, I was trying to make out that name as "The veil of the veils"! ("ha-" = "the")

Limbo and doctrine

Thanks for that last post, Figulus. I've just read (umm...parts, anyway) the Catholic Encyclopedia entry you linked to. It's interesting the details you mentioned--that it doesn't appear as an actual doctrine, although it's listed in an index. The Encyclopedia entry seems to say that the earlier Augustinian idea (that the souls of unbaptised babies go to Hell) was considered an article of faith. (Or at least that Augustine intended it to be.) So if (still a big "if") the Committee were to announce that the souls of unbaptised babies go to Heaven, as many expect, wouldn't that be a change of official doctrine?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Limbus Infantium

Do any definitive answers exist at all in cyberspace? Insofar as they may, the most definitive answer to the question of limbo can be found here.

As far as doctrinal definitions of Limbo go, apart from those listed in the above link, the closest to one that I know of is in paragraph 1261 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The above two links are about as comprehensive a central clearinghouse as you can get to the centuries-old theological war on limbo. But I completely agree with the comment that Jonah made that this blog could use more intrigue and gossip. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that any will be forthcoming, because I don't really think there is anything to the original story.

The story reports that an "international theological commission will advise Pope Benedict to eliminate the teaching about limbo from the Catholic catechism." The problem is, there is nothing to eliminate. Limbo is never mentioned in the text of the Catechism; it does not appear in the index of the English edition of it nor of the old Catechism of the Council of Trent. The word "Limbus" does appear in the index to the Latin edition of the Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae, which references paragraph 1261, but you won't find it in the actual text.

I suppose this commission could recommend that "Limbus" be dropped from the index of the Latin edition, since it doesn't appear in the text. A fly on the wall that overheard the merits and demerits of such a recommendation might die of boredom, and I wouldn't want our readers, or Jonah, to share its fate.

The reason that limbo is hardly mentioned in doctrinal documents is that limbo is not an actual doctrine that can be defended or refuted. It is simply a Latin word that means "on the fringe." There are many fringes to any decent body of knowledge, and the knowledge of who may or may not be saved is no exception. As is told in the first link above, there is the fringe of the pre-christian fathers, and the fringe of the infants, not to mention the fringe of virtuous pagans, the fringe of fools, and the lunatic fringe. The word "fringe" is an apt one, since it is by the fringe of a garment (Mk 6:56) that "we cannot but entrust [ourselves] to the mercy of God."

Oh, nuts.

Human-to-human transmission of H5N1?

(link via Riehl World View, via Instapundit)

House to investigate college bowl system

WHAT are they thinking?!! Seriously!

1) We have a war on, idiots! There are about a thousand things more important on any government official's list of things to be worried about than college football.

2) (And most importantly) It is unconstitutional for Congress to say anything about the operation of college sports. Go. Right now. Read your copy of the United States Constitution and tell me, chapter and verse, where it says you can go screwing around with college sports. I said go read it! Is it in there? No? Then shut up about it!

"Republicans," you should be ashamed of yourselves. The quotation marks are intentional. Part of conservative ideology is a respect for the Constitution, and you're trashing it by sticking your nose into things that aren't any of the government's business. "A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, charged with regulating America's sports industry, announced Friday..." Really? The Constitution gives Congress power to regulate sports? Find it! Now, I know, you're going to whine, "but it crosses state lines!" The Constitution doesn't say you can regulate any aspect of any sport (or business in general, for that matter), just because one part of it crosses state lines. Here's exactly what it says:

Article I, Sec. 8. Congress shall have Power [...] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes...

Is the decision on who makes it to the Orange Bowl "commerce"? No. If there's a sale--an exchange of money--made across state lines, then yes, you have the power to regulate it. But that's basically it.

Am I mad about this? Yes, I am. It should be a small thing to get so worked up about, but it's unconstitutional and therefore none of Congress' @#*! business, and anytime Congress goes and sticks its nose into unconstitutional areas, it ticks me off!

Plus? It's a sport, for crying out loud! Get on with killing the terrorists, like we pay you for! Leave the BCS for colleges to work out on their own. ...grumblemumble...%$!)$...stupidpoliticians...(%)!$^...

(Link via Instapundit.)

Honored son of Tennessee has passed away

Vice Admiral William Porter Lawrence, aged 75. He was a naval aviator, and, as James Michener wrote in Space, "perhaps the ablest flyer, all things considered, that Pax River was to produce." (A heart condition kept him from the astronaut corps. Nuts.)

From Thomas Smith's post on The Corner (linked above), I read that he was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967 and held as a POW for six years. During that time, he wrote what is now the state poem of Tennessee (quoted in part):

Beauty and hospitality

are the hallmarks of Tennessee;

and o'er the world as I may roam

no place exceeds my boyhood home.

And oh how much I long to see

my native land, my Tennessee."


Rest in peace, Admiral.

More on Limbo

Amy Welborn, at open book, has a more detailed account of what's really going on on the question of Limbo. Actually, she excerpts an article from the National Catholic Reporter, but it gives the procedural context I've been wondering about. It turns out that it's the International Theological Commission (the primary advisors to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Roman Catholic Church's organization for doctrine) which is working on this question, and they're expected to recommend to the Congregation that limbo "not be revived." I'm not sure what that "revived" means, here. I have heard that the doctrine has languished in recent years, but I would assume that it's still on the books, in some sense, and merely passed over in practice.

Incidentally, a recommendation by the International Theological Commission doesn't necessarily get rubber-stamped by the Congregation. The CDF has passed on these before, or issued decisions with different approaches than the ITC recommended.

UPDATE: Lots of interesting discussion in the comments section at Amy's site. Some of it frustrating, some of it illuminating (well, even some of the frustrating entries can be illuminating).

Coddled union grad students get self-indulgent

Good item at the Wall Street Journal on a graduate student strike at New York University. When I was a grad student at Pitt (quite recently), some of the lefties over in some humanities department wanted us all to unionize, but it never took. Grad students, at least in physics, get a full ride on tuition, plus a stipend that's enough for one to live on. In return, we're expected to work 20 hours a week teaching or grading papers (the details often depend on which professor you're TA'ing for). It's a great deal, and while it's a hectic time, we've got an education, teaching experience, and a stipend, with no debts to worry about once we're out! My medical school friends would love to start their careers that way.

The self-indulgence it takes to go on strike under those conditions is astounding. I almost wish Pitt grad students had unionized and struck, just so I could publicly refuse to. After all, I did manage to wear out one of the four members of the Campus Socialists one day. They were handing out fliers, and I decided I had the time for a debate, so I took her up. 45 minutes later, she started making excuses that she had to go somewhere. I offered to take back up where we left off, but she said no, that was OK. Ahh, that felt satisfying.

WHO rejects hiring smokers

The World Health Organization has decided they will no longer hire smokers. I agree that the WHO has the right not to hire a smoker. I also think this is an obnoxious intrusion into their employees' private lives outside the office, and they should not do this.

There's plenty of debate on this today, and most of it centers on the slippery slope argument. I think there's a lot of merit to this--will they refuse to hire people who do X next? After all, once this has been in place for a while, people no longer think much about it, and then it's on to the next step.

The WHO says their decision is based on health concerns. One thing about the health arguments on banning smoking is that smoking is a fairly long-term health problem. Drinking alcohol, on the other hand, has an immediate effect on self-control, as well as long-term effects on health. I'm disgusted by smoking (except a pipe, for some reason; pipe smoke, from a distance, doesn't smell so bad) and have never done it myself, but I think that alcohol is a bigger problem.

While cancer or emphysema caused by smoking can kill you after decades, alcohol can lead to your death very quickly, if you get behind the wheel while under the influence. I'm not one for lowering the legal blood alcohol level to these ridiculously low fractions that so many states are doing, but in general, alcohol should be considered a more serious problem than smoking.

Proving that no government organization ever dies

Fox News is just reporting that the September 11th Commission, which created the 9/11 Commission Report, has decided not to ride off into the sunset. Why should they? People might stop paying attention to them.

Instead, they have reorganized themselves into an advocacy group. Not a big surprise here. I've forgotten their new name already, though.

Now, I think that's not a bad thing in principle, but I've heard enough form these people already, and I think a lot of this is just ego. There's nothing special about them, aside from their experience in having been on the commission, and some of them were (partly) responsible for various problems we had before 2001 (Mrs. Gorelick, ahem!). Commission Chairman Tom Kean didn't impress me in the least. His reaction to criticisms of Gorelick's membership was one of sheer arrogance. He actually told the public it was none of our business!

Dad has often said that you never get rid of a tax. I think that the 9/11 Commission is hoping to establish a new rule: you never get rid of a government commission, either.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Great lecture at Rhodes

Nuts! I find out about this a day late. My alma mater, Rhodes, had a lecture by historian Wilfred McClay on "The Moral Complexity of Foundings: Israel, Rome, and America." Sounds like it was great topic. Wish I could have been there. Thanks to Michael Debow at Southern Appeal for publicizing this.

The Speculist on Bigfoot

Here's a good little article on a giant ape from Southeast Asia that coexisted with Man 100,000 years ago. (That was a big sucker--look at the drawing!) Stephen Gordon wonders if these might have been an ancient (very ancient!) inspiration for what became the bigfoot, yeti, and sasquatch legends. It's a thoughful article; he presents both sides and tries to work out the problems with this, as well.

Like one of the commentators below the post, I have often wondered if these were leftover tribal memories of coexistence with the Neanderthal. They survived in what is modern Israel until about 35,000 years ago, if I remember right. Trouble with this idea is that the Neanderthal weren't all that big. But what about "wildman" legends, as the commentator also mentions?

If Noah's flood is a story passed down from the inundation of the Black Sea, 10,000 or more years ago (that's still a big "if," but it seems plausible), then could some other events or creatures also have been memorialized from a bit farther back?

New Space Blogroll

I've just added a new Space blogroll to our template. You should see it (with its own scrollbar) on the right side of the screen now.

Thanks a lot to Ed Minchau at "Robot Guy" for making the list and linking to us here! I've already noticed the traffic bumping up.

More on Barrett firearms

I forgot to link to this response (in PDF) to the biased & error-prone AP article. It's there on the Barrett homepage.

Rules for gunfights

Listening to Liddy on the radio right now. He's just read the purported "Rules for Gunfights" for each of the branches of the armed forces. It's partial to the Marines, of course. My favorite:

Everything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Remember--ammo is cheap, and life is expensive.

Of course, if you've got a .50 Barrett, you might not need that second shot! (See previous post.)

The AP falsifies a firearms story (big surprise)

Worse, they lied in a story about a Tennessee firearms company. Oh, now you've done it, sister!
My fellow Rocky Top Brigade blogger Say Uncle has the details.

AP reporter Rose French contacted Barrett Rifles, a Middle Tennessee company, about doing a "business feature" (her words) about the company. That was the first lie. Her article, which I read over the Thanksgiving weekend, was mostly an anti-gun piece. "Controversy," or similar language, about whether we puny private citizens should ever be allowed to own such a powerful war machine as a .50-caliber rifle! Heavens to Betsy!
A large part of the article is apparently stale anti-gun material from the so-called "Violence Policy Center."

Well, it was a lie to Barrett, not to the readers, so that makes it OK, right?

But on top of it, French made a lot of factual mistakes within the article. Say Uncle (linked above) has an email from Barrett's Media Relations guy to the AP, correcting them. Typical. I doubt avid reporter French knows her way around a firearm to begin with. Barrett's media guy says she seemed very confused about the equipment.

What should we citizens do as a result of all of this? One thing would be getting the AP to issue a real correction. They issued a partial one (also at Say Uncle). Wanna bet it gets even half the publicity the original story did? Right. The second thing would be to go out and buy a Barrett rifle for yourself. They're expensive, though, but if you shop now, you might be able to get it in time for Christmas!

Incidentally, Barrett is not one of those wimpy firearms companies that's been bought out by foreigners and then buckles under to every two-bit anti-gun politician to spout off on the floor of Congress. Check out their website--they're proud defenders of the right to keep and bear arms.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Umberto Eco on superstition and religion

It's not what you think. I'd always pegged Eco as anti-religious. I'm not sure that this was anything more than a vague impression, but I'd picked it up from somewhere. So I was happily surprised to read this. Eco says that he has left the Church himself (I don't know if he means Catholicism or Christianity in general, but he implies the latter), but he shows a respect for organized religion. Furthermore, his article mostly talks about superstition. I've long been averse to this topic, because so many who proclaim themselves enemies of "superstition" lump Christianity, or even all religions, in with superstitions. Eco doesn't do this. In fact, he approvingly quotes Chesterton that, "When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn't believe in nothing. He believes in anything." Further comments:

The "death of God", or at least the dying of the Christian God, has been accompanied by the birth of a plethora of new idols. They have multiplied like bacteria on the corpse of the Christian Church -- from strange pagan cults and sects to the silly, sub-Christian superstitions of The Da Vinci Code.
...
The existing religions just aren't big enough: we demand something more from God than the existing depictions in the Christian faith can provide. So we revert to the occult.

These are some strong words. You don't often see columnists decrying occultism, except in "my, those kids today!" joking terms. It's like when the preacher gave a sermon against idolatry a few months ago--he meant real idolatry, not "we make idols of money, power, fame, ..." Worshipping rocks and graven images and the like; things we tend to belive have fallen away in the modern age. It was refreshing. The sermons against figurative "idols" are important, but every now and then we need to be reminded of what they are figurative references to.

Hanged by a Mobius loop

Scroll down to the bottom of Lilek's Bleat today.

Limbo Central

Jonah Goldberg has asked who will set up a "Limbo Central" of sorts, to keep track of the various arguments that might fly around on the subject. Well, we might as well start that here, as best we can. Figulus, care to chime in? You certainly know about the theological side of these things. I'm really looking in on it as an outsider. We need to get a Catholic perspective on the record.

As far as other opinions flying around the web, I haven't seen much commentary, yet. Surprising.

The Universe, a Catholic newspaper out of Great Britain and Ireland, just reprints The Scotsman's article I linked to below.

Kathy, at Relapsed Catholic, links to The Universe's story and adds (to the statement that the new teaching will be that unbaptised babies will go to Heaven): Which 99% of Catholics believed all along, since limbo was never officially part of Catholic teaching.

Nothing yet at Quenta Nârwenion.

Old Oligarch has been silent for a couple of months. Can't wait 'til he's finished with the dissertation and gets back to blogging.

Also nothing at Eve's site.


Well, we're off to a slow start. But like Goldberg, I'm interested to see how this whole process goes, so we'll be keeping track of it, here.

Abandonment of Limbo?

UPDATE: Welcome Corner readers! Thanks to Jonah Goldberg for linking to us here. Since this entry, we have posted more on the topic here and here, and because we'll be following this for a while, I recommend you go to our main page here. In fact, just keep clicking on the update button like a monkey in a psychology experiment. You'll thank me for it later. (Sorry for mangling Goldberg's analogy.)

...


There are reports out this week that the Roman Catholic Church is planning to abandon the concept of "limbo," the idea of a place where the souls of unbaptised babies go if they die.

I'd never been clear on what limbo was supposed to be, and I reckon many or most of us Protestants confuse it with the idea of purgatory. I always did--I thought they were two names for the same thing.

It will be interesting to see how the actual decision and announcement are made, assuming this is actually in the works. For some reason, I've gotten interested in studying the bureaucratic aspects of institutions like churches, so I'm curious to see how all of this works, in the technicalities.

Since this is not an idea with scriptural origins, I'm glad to see that it might be done away with. Of course, the question it attempts to answer is a fair one--what does happen to such souls? I'd have to look up the actual passage, but I think one of Paul's letters goes into this and says or implies that being born into a Christian family is enough for a baby--the parents' faith takes care of the child until the child can really think for himself.

Of course, Paul himself often seems to go beyond what Jesus actually said, but his letter is probably the most direct answer you're going to get.

One more thing on the actual theology--the Scotsman article I linked to, above, says that Thomas Aquinas, the major Christian theologian of the 13th century, was the first to come up with the concept in its modern form. I've never read much of Aquinas, but I'm often in disagreement with the bits of him I have read. Maybe it's that he's an Aristotelian, while I favor Plato (at least, out of these two choices). But from things like this, he seems to exemplify the tendency of philosophically-oriented theologians to extrapolate waaaaaay too far from shaky foundations. Kind of like anchoring a cantilever construction to mud. There's a natural human desire to find systems and patterns to the world, and theologians aren't exempt from it. And sure enough, there are patterns to nature and this physical universe. Science and mathematics rely on their existence. God has made us a relatively comprehensible universe, as Isaac Newton so famously found. There are rules He laid down for its operation.

But it's risky to take the strict, rule-based operation of the natural world and try to apply it to the supernatural. Sometimes this leads to Man trying to constrain God Himself. As if, while God might like to act in different ways, hey--His hands are tied. To be sure, there are some religious rules God has laid down. But these are things He's laid down for us, not Him. (Actually, though, the Covenants with Israel do show that God is willing to promise us what he will do in certain areas--so there is a positive self-constraint, there.) My problem is with Man trying to extrapolate from what's actually there in Scripture and "discover" other rules. Especially those rules that make it seem like God is something to be conjured up and ordered about by magic formulae, as if He cannot tell what we actually think and feel in our hearts.

This is not a criticism of one denomination's theologians, by the way. While I started out talking about limbo and Thomas Aquinas, I mean this as a criticism of many theologians, Protestant as well as Roman Catholic (and not all of these). The desire to fashion doctrines out of thin material is wide-spread. (And I should add here that the future pope said in 1984 that, "Limbo has never been a defined truth of faith.")

Now, I'm not saying that all doctrines are bad to have. While I prefer fewer official doctrines, you can go too far the other way (attention, Bishop Spong!). And to be considered even Christian at all requires some basic doctrines (Jesus as the Messiah, for instance). I remember reading somewhere that Emerson left the Unitarians because he thought they were too doctrinare! That's a group about as doctrineless as you can possibly get. And note I didn't say the Unitarian Church. I think they no longer regard themselves as Christian.

Dean Barnett on Abe Foxman

Over at Soxblog, Dean Barnett also jumps onto Abe Foxman's case, making a much more thorough job of it than I ever could. He also mentions a certain Rabbi Eric Yoffie, who is head of the Union for Reform Judaism (itself liberal group), and who makes similarly wild statements against conservative Christians. Yoffie compares our views of homosexuality with (can you see this coming?)...Adolf Hitler's!

The terrorist war has fostered a rising alliance between Jews and conservative Christians (some of this was already there, of course, but the war has husbanded its growth). One liberal Jewish friend of mine in particular has changed her political views to a great extent. I think that this is the sort of effect that Foxman and Yoffie are alarmed about.

Shame on them. We have greater enemies abroad than at home these days, and these men, of all people, ought to be aware of it.

Conservative superhero comics

I've never read comic books, but from this article in NRO, it sounds like this would be fun to get: Liberality for All. It's an over-the-top conservative fantasy (maybe "anti-fantasy" would be more appropriate) of the world of 2021, in which the hard Left has taken over America and imposed its top-down style of government over the country. Underground conservative heros G. Gordon Liddy, Oliver North, and Sean Hannity battle the oppressors in usual comic-book hero style, bionic arms and all. Over the top, like I said, but it seems like a fun read!

I heard interviews with the creator, Mike Mackey, on both Liddy's and Hannity's shows, some time back. This is the first time I've checked out the website, which has a 5-frame preview of the first installment available. In a similar vein, take a look at this fantasy-art depiction of Rush Limbaugh protecting ladies Justice and Liberty from a Democratic hydra.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Don Feder defends Christians (and Jews!) against Abe Foxman

I'd been waiting for this! Don Feder strikes back against the Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman, who has recently blasted conservative Christians for wanting to "Christianize" America. (Don't all of us want our religion, morals, and values to spread? Is this a shocking revelation? And, incidentally, hasn't America always been majority-Christian anyway? What's to "Christianize"?) Along the way, he implied that the Ten Commandments are specifically Christian. Interesting, that. Wouldn't you hope that Foxman would recognize the core of the Jewish Law as...well, Jewish?

As Feder points out, Foxman has implicitly slammed conservative Jews as "Christianizers." Of course, really Foxman's just mad at religious conservatives in general. Christian, Jewish--whomever. He's a liberal and probably wants to drive a wedge between Christians and Jews. Maybe he sees some hints of a political realignment there--religiously conservative (lower-case "c") Jews hopefully being drawn towards conservative politics in general and the Republican party in particular (at least where the party has earned it--it often disappoints us conservatives).

I expect Dennis Prager will also have a few words to say about this, too.

If you want to see a shining example of religiously conservative Judaism allied with conservative Christianity in its desire to see America return to a higher morality in public and private life, check out Jewish World Review. They're always worth reading. Founder/editor-in-chief Binyamin Jolkovsky has done a great job with this web publication, and he's done it on a shoestring. I'm especially happy at how his magazine has regarded us rural, Southern, conservative Christians.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Interesting debate over addressing doctors

What started off as a Volokh Conspiracy debate over James Lilek's comments on Kurt Vonnegut's comments on terrorists, has turned into a discussion of forms of address for Ph.D.s, J.D.s, M.D.s, and so forth. It's in the comments section here.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Geronimo and Methodism

This post isn't as deep as the title might lead you to think. It's just that I happened to find that Geronimo was a fellow Methodist. Very cool.

I was surprised to discover not long ago that Geronimo lived into the twentieth century, and in fact, his life overlapped with my grandfather's, who himself overlapped with me. That has a way of bringing the past closer to you. The world of the later Indian Wars seems so remote from today, but the most famous leader of any of these fights was still alive after my grandfather was born. Granddaddy lived from Geronimo's era right up into my own. Huh!

My church in Baltimore, Lovely Lane Methodist, the first Methodist church in the United States, has stained-glass windows decorated with the complete list of the church's preachers, from the beginning up to today. And Francis Asbury is the first name on the list. It's such an impressive feeling to see yourself as part of a congregation that stretches back to that generation. And now to think that Geronimo would have been at home in the same church (well, except that it's in more urban a setting than he would have been used to)...

Incidentally, although I knew President Bush is a Methodist, I didn't realize the same was true of Vice President Cheney (see above link). Wow-we've got an all-Methodist Executive Branch!

The French, North African immigration, and prejudice

A late thought on the recent French riots. William, over at Southern Appeal, quotes an article that puts those of North African origin at 10% of the French population. That's pretty comparable to the 13-14% of the American population that is black.

Now, it is often noted that in the early 20th century, racial prejudice in the United States (by the way, it wasn't just in the South--prejudice existed up North, too) drove some famous black singers and actors to move to France, supposedly a more tolerant place. Now, it apparently was true that the French were more accepting of blacks back then than we were. Good for them, and shame on us.

But now that the North African population in France has grown to proportions similar to the American black population, we hear reports that the young men of this group have trouble finding jobs--that French employers see the name on the application and simply trash it. On top of this kind of quiet prejudice, French Jews face overt threats--synagogues burned, physical threats against individual Jews, and the like. Admittedly, much of this may be coming from the aforementioned group, but not all of it. Many Jews are leaving France for more hospitable, tolerant countries. Like the United States.

One French Jewish friend of mine who lives in the US says she's actually afraid of visiting France.

Speculation on Armitage in Plame Case

Over at JustOneMinute. I have found myself disagreeing with some of Armitage's policy preferences over the past few years, but I've met him, and he's a nice guy. Really impressive, too. He's a big, burly, barrel-chested guy; looks like an ex-football player, and he has an enthusiastic, personable manner. I met him at the State Department, when a relative of mine there was getting sworn in for a new position. Armitage did the swearing in himself and talked with us for a good while.

Anyway, I agree with JustOneMinute that if Armitage was the original source on Plame's identity, then it should be clear it wasn't from malicious intent. I don't know if Woodward's revelation actually helps Libby on the specific crimes he's charged with. I don't think that the perjury charge would be changed at all if Libby wasn't the original leaker.

On the other hand, it might undermine the political criticisms. Honestly, I think Wilson's claims (that his wife's CIA affiliation was leaked in order to damage her career or safety and punish him) are obviously false. If Plame were not a classified employee of the CIA, then telling reporters her affiliation, with the implication that Wilson got his CIA assignment only because his wife pushed the idea, and therefore that he is not as credible an investigator as he claims, would be perfectly justified. In fact, it should have been done. But if her employment were covert or classified, then, of course, it shouldn't have been revealed. That should be obvious to people.

TV-show abortions

Abortion isn't my biggest issue. I'm against it, but it isn't a motivating concern of mine, although I certainly know why it is for many others. A lot of the people who are "pro-choice" say that they're not in favor of abortion, or they don't want to encourage it; rather, they just want it not to be outlawed. A choice of last resort. I can understand that reasoning. There are plenty of things that are bad but are still legal. The morality is not in the legality of a particular action, but in the commission of the act by someone. (Incidentally, though I understand this, I think it is a valid area for legislation, since it involves killing.)

Well, the old call of "Keep abortion safe, legal, and rare" [emphasis mine] is being undercut by Rebecca Raber, writing in the Village Voice. I haven't read the original article, but in the quotations in Beliefnet's Loose Canon column, she's actually disappointed that TV shows don't portray pregnant characters as ever having an abortion.

Now, I don't know if Raber was ever one of the "safe, legal, and rare" advocates. They at least could claim to be against the commission of the act ("rare") and would presumably encourage a woman not to have one. But what conclusion can we draw from Raber's disgust at not portraying abortions on TV? I don't know what her thinking is, so maybe I should read the whole article.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Murtha vs. Murtha

Huh. (I'm using that as an intro a lot, lately.) Funny how after a whole night of watching the House on C-SPAN, I didn't pick up on this important detail.

The boys at Powerline, with a little help from their friends, have come up with some important documents and quotations. All through the Congressional debate last night, I kept hearing Republicans and Democrats alike saying that they were not voting on Murtha's resolution, itself. True, enough. But in fact, I kept hearing even Republicans imply that the Hunter resolution of immediate withdrawal wasn't really what Murtha was calling for. That the newspapers had twisted his words.

That, and offhand references I kept hearing elsewhere in the press made me think that Murtha had proposed, not "immediate withdrawal," but something on the timescale of 1-3 months. Then I heard 6 months. I was about to update or correct my earlier posts, in fact.

But now the Powerline guys have unearthed this:

"The United States will immediately redeploy — immediately redeploy. No schedule which can be changed, nothing that’s controlled by the Iraqis, this is an immediate redeployment of our American forces because they have become the target." And: "My plan calls for immediate redeployment of U.S. troops (consistent with the safety of U.S. forces)."

The above is from Murtha's own press conference. "Immediate" sounds a lot like "immediate" to me. "Consistent with the safety of US forces" could be interpreted more leniently--as something like "as soon as possible," but if we're not all thinking that "immediate" means this exact second, then we'd probably figured it might mean "as soon as possible," anyway.

So Murtha himself said "immediate." Then there's this:

Section 1. The deployment of United States forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date.

Section 2. A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S Marines shall be deployed in the region.

Section 3 The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy.

These are the relevant portions of Murtha's resolution, stripped of his interminable "whereases." Yep. The resolution says "as soon as possible"! That's not fundamentally different from "immediately," as I read it. Now, you could argue that how soon possible is is a matter for debate. Sure--those of us who want to continue the fight say we should have the troops leave as soon as it's possible, but our standards for what is possible are very different. We require a safe, stable, and secure Iraq, able to stand on its own, before we'll consider withdrawing the troops. Murtha, from his public statements, seems to think of "possible" as being just a matter of logistics and clearing a safe way for them to leave.

I think the House should have voted on Murtha's bill itself, just to make it clear that even what is unambiguously the Democrats' own proposal didn't have a chance. But voting on the Hunter resolution did have the advantage of stripping the argument to its essentials. In addition to the all-around fun of making a public embarassment for the Democrats (which they deserve), the vote was much more valuable in countering the previous days' headlines ("Congressman calls for immediate withdrawal from Iraq," etc.) and sending a clear message to the soldiers in Iraq that we're not going to pull the mission out from under them.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

More problems with that anti-religion study

I came across a good blog that discusses the same anti-religion study by Gregory Paul I've discussed on this site. The blogger is a statistcian from Canada, and he does a better dissection of Paul's questionable use of the statistics than I did.

I'm happy to say, though, that I still identified some of the big problems on my own. Check Gilbreath's list of related and referring links to his post. Lots of good stuff, there.

The biggest problems Gilbreath identifies, aside from the inherent limitations of a two-variable plot, are the constantly-changing sample selection and the poorly-defined time range. I picked up on the former, myself, and taken together, Gilbreath notes that this would make it very easy for Paul to cook the books without being detected.

By changing the sample of countries with each parameter being studied, it would be possible to remove any countries that countered Paul's premise that unreligious societies are better-off. Or rather, the changing sample might result from having removed such problematic data points. Same goes for the vaguely-defined time range covered.

In astronomy, we have to use a lot of statistics, too. Let's say I'm claiming a certain trend among the properties of quasars, for instance (my field of study), and I have a certain sample of quasars I'm using. Then when I plot one parameter against another, I should keep the same quasars when I'm plotting the next parameter. If I keep changing the list of quasars in the study with each new plot, people are going to ask me why. I need some physical justification for changing the list of quasars. Otherwise, I might just pick and choose the quasars that do what I want them to and ignore those that disprove my thesis.
[...I don't think I've explained this too well. Hopefully the reader still gets my point.]

Paul hasn't justified his ever-changing sample of countries. I don't know that he has faked the results, but it is easy to do so this way.

One other thing--Gilbreath notes that Paul excludes some more Catholic (I presume specifically more church-going?) European countries that have "especially low rates" of homocide. Claims those are just statistical noise. Yearly fluctuations, you know. Huh. Right. Sounds to me like cherry-picking the data. If you are comparing all of the countries over the same range of years, then this shouldn't matter much. All of the countries would be subject to random noise, and if some fluctuate up, well, you'll have some likely to fluctuate down. But if you eliminate those that you claim have randomly gone down, but you don't eliminate those that have randomly gone up, then you have just biased your results. Furthermore, if a mere random downward fluctuation is so large that it would hurt an honest study, then the homocide rates in these countries must have been very low to begin with. Again, this seems to be evidence of a biased sample.

Why not present the data and let the reader judge?

Link for Air & Space Museum schedule

Here's the link for the museum's schedule today. This goes with the previous post.

Event for "SpaceShipOne"--and hear "Naked Singularity"!

There's an event at the National Air & Space Museum (the one on the Mall) for Burt Rutan's "Space Ship One" today. I don't know if the craft itself will be there, but NASM is having a "Family Day Event" for it.

Plus, a local D.C.-area band, Naked Singularity, will be performing in the museum's "Air Transportation Section" at noon and again at two o'clock today. As you might have guessed from the band's name, they're a bunch of astrophysicists. For those who don't get the reference, a singularity is the central point of a black hole, where all of the mass is; a "naked" one would be a singularity without the gravitational field. Very theoretical. These are friends of mine from NASA. I've heard them perform, and they're good! Come see them.

Americans rescue Sunni prisoners

NRO's Media Blog comments on this story, which I'd seen briefly somewhere before but passed over. Honestly, when I saw it a few days ago, I got the impression from the headline that some human-rights group had discovered Americans holding malnourished Sunni Arabs in some squalid dungeon. It would have fit perfectly with the impression already given by the press about our conduct of the Iraqi occupation.

How wonderful, then, to discover the reality is in line with my impression of our occupation! And even better that we're making at least one good impression on the Sunni Arabs.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Vote on the actual Hunter resolution

Hmmm... Time's a-wastin' on the final vote. 3 yea, 403 nay, and 6 present, with 22 not yet voting. The 3 yea's and 6 presents are all Democrats. I wonder if some of the presents really want to pull out now, but they don't want to give the GOP a political statement. And I wonder who it is who voted yea.

"Letters, we've got letters..."

Now Murtha's back to reading letters from anti-war soldiers and their families.

A Republican gets up and says how most soldiers are in favor of the war, and they disagree with this. Boos, etc. from the Democrats. I note that the GOP did not do this to Murtha's anti-war soldiers.

J.D. Hayworth pointed out that while Murtha didn't technically call for "immediate" withdrawal, that the Washington Post(?), the New York Times, and "most importantly, Al-Jazeera" have all written "immediate withdrawal" in their headlines. Therefore, it is important to send a strong message that the Congress will not support any immediate withdrawal of the troops.

Makes sense to me.

Goodness sakes!!

Wow!!! There are shouts, cries, and yelling from the Democratic side!

A Republican speaker remarked that "now is not the time for [Murtha's] resolution." End of speech. Tom Lantos (D-California) rose to ask a point of order--which resolution is being debated, Murtha's or Hunter's? The speaker pro tem gave the number of Hunter's resolution. The Republican said, "That's a matter for debate." Meaning, I suppose, that the differences between Murtha's pull out in 1-3 months proposal and Hunter's pull out now proposal are minor.

Then all heck broke loose.

What the heck?!!!

What in the world is this guy claiming?! He just said (forcefully, I'll add) that the war cannot be won militarily, but politically.

OK: So does he realize that his grandstanding this week is liable to make us lose this war politically?! Is he that addle-headed??!

He says that "they are united against us!" Who? Our enemies? Well, DUH! They're the enemies. Germany, Italy, and Japan were united against us in WWII! Stupidity, stupidity, stupidity!

I was going to sign off for tonight, but this level of thoughtlessness is just astounding. He says that our declaration of "Run away! Run away!" would make the Sunni Arabs stop supporting the Baathist fascist terrorists and relax, chill out, and join their happy place in a democratic Iraq. Does anybody really believe that? That if we leave while Iraq is still not ready to stand on its own, that the Sunni Arabs will sit down and accept their place in the minority? No.

Murtha rises in his own defense

I was interested today to hear that not only was Murtha's supposedly sudden turnaround on Iraq no surprise at all (he'd suggested that the war was unwinnable a year and half ago, unless we did X, Y, and Z), but in fact he was one of the fringies who'd suggested firing all of Bush's defense advisors (or however he'd worded that) some time ago.

Now he's digging the whole deeper, as far as I'm concerned. He's recounting how he's proposed reinstating the draft. That was just a fringe effort to make young men scared of the war and oppose it.

And he read his resolution in detail, which includes a bunch of "whereas"es, including that opinion polls in Iraq show 40 some odd percent see the insurgent attacks on us as justified. Etc., etc. Now he's completely lost any credibility with me. That is getting us to run chicken! That is declaring defeat. Shame on him.

Now he's brought out the steam shovel to help excavate the hole: he's accusing the administration of screwing with the WMD intelligence before the war. So this resolution of his wasn't about declaring victory and going on to the next job, it was an attack on the administration.

Ugh. I used to think he was one of the reasonable Democrats. No longer.

But I still wonder why the news paid so much attention to him this week! Some Democrat blasts President Bush on Iraq every day. Plenty who voted for the war have turned on it now. Political calculation then, political calculation now. So what? What makes him so special? He has been an administration critic for some time. This isn't worth more than one evening news article. Not the attention he's gotten. I do hope he gets embarassed by this.

Enough of this. I'm tired of it.

Hyde recognizes Murtha's service

Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Illinois) just honored Murtha and his military service, to standing applause by both sides of the House. He said that while he respects him for this, his judgement is not infallable. Recognizes another veteran who's on the side of continuing our fight in Iraq. More applause.

Tom Lantos (D-California) rises to recognize Murtha's service again. Again, more standing ovation from both sides.

This just goes to show how carefully the GOP is handling Murtha's stupid idea. Murtha can be a good and honorable man, but this is as I have put it: a stupid idea. Murtha is not being attacked personally by the GOP. His wisdom sure is.

The other side is a very different matter. Democrats have said some things dangerously close to the idea that if you haven't served in the military, then you have no right to speak out on the war, either in favor or in opposition. They have certainly said that Murtha has "earned his right" to speak out.

Curt Weldon (R-Penna.) is speaking now. Says how much he likes his fellow Pennsylvanian. They're from neighboring districts, I think (I was in Pittsburgh for grad school--these are both familiar names to me). Weldon makes an excellent point: although Weldon opposed our action in Bosnia and Kosovo, he didn't call on Clinton to produce an artificial timetable for withdrawal from those wars in which we had no national interest [the national interest part is my addition]. Instead, while we were told by Clinton they'd be home by this date, and later by that date, and later still by some other date...and they're still there today [Did Clinton lie to us there?], Weldon still voted to keep them supplied and continue their fight. Good, strong comparison, there. Weldon ends with praise for Murtha and hopes that Murtha will get answers to his concerns.

Procedural vote passes

210-202. Interesting--someone (at least one) changed his vote to "aye."

Now we have one hour of debate. Thirty minutes for each side.

An hour ago, two officials arrived from the Senate with a bill for the House. There was a quick little ceremony recognizing them on the floor, and of them reading the Senate bill's title (a concurrent resolution recognizing Rosa Parks). Maybe it's just me, but I'm fascinated with these little details. Sending a bill from one house to the other isn't a matter of dropping it in the intracapitol mail. It is formally recognized, even if a debate is going on. I like that.

Oddities in voting

Huh, again. They allotted 11 minutes (I think) for the vote, but the clock ran out and they kept voting. I don't know just how their rules work on this. Apparently it's not like the clock in a football game. Right now it's tied at 203 vs. 203, with 28 members not yet voted. I would have thought that was the end of it, but C-SPAN just broke back in to give the rest of the night's schedule, and they said, "Assuming it passes, there will be one more hour of debate..." Okaaay...

Side note on TV

Huh. While they're voting in the House, I flipped over to the WB, and the guy who played Larry in "Perfect Strangers" is back in a TV series! I always liked him. Whatever this show is also has the younger daughter from "Roseanne," and at least in this episode, one of the ladies from the early Saturday Night Live. Forgot her name. She was in Feds.

Curious what show this is.

Procedural vote

They're voting right now. Party-line, except for a stray Republican or two voting with the Democrats. The vote is on "agreeing to the resolution," but I don't think it's a vote on the call to withdraw the troops. I think it's a procedural vote on whether to vote at all on the call to withdraw the troops. I'm a tad confused.

UPDATE: C-SPAN just cleared it up for me. It's a vote on whether to proceed with debate on this ultimate vote. Gotta keep up with these details!

One more on Pelosi

She led with with this comment she's made before about how her district (or California in general? I missed a word.) has more veterans per capita than any other part of the country. As if that makes her a pro-war hawk?!

If it's true at all, I've got to think it has to be just because there are a lot of sailors and airmen who were stationed in California and just stayed put after they retired. I'm really sure that soldiers, marines, and airmen are not more likely to be natives of California. I think they're generally Southerners. At least, I've always assumed so.

Stretch is up

Nancy Pelosi is up now. Bad recitation of movie lines: "You can't handle the truth" (this to the GOP). Work on your delivery and your Jack imitation.

Calls Murtha one of the most distinguished Congressmen ever to serve in the House. Oh, please. I'm sure he's basically fine, except for nutty ideas like this, but come on. How many outside of Pennsylvania had ever heard of the man before this week? Is he in a league with, say, Davy Crockett and the giants of Congressional history?

Continued liveblogging of the House

Jack Kingston (R-Georgia) just brought up Al-Jazeera's trumpeting of Murtha's pronouncement. He says that Murtha did not, of course, propose an immediate withdrawal (but rather over the next 1-3 months, I think). But, as he noted, the press, importantly including Al-Jazeera, twisted Murtha's words to say he was calling for an immediate withdrawal. Kingston said "it's not his proposal, but it is his headline." Boos from the Democrats.

Fun on C-SPAN

I raced home tonight to tune in to C-SPAN. (How often do you hear that?) Mark Levin, on his radio show, clued me in that there was a nearly knock-down, drag-out fight brewing on the House floor, debating Rep. Murtha's (D-Penna.) resolution to withdraw from Iraq within a few months.

I'm a little late into the debate to be liveblogging, but I'll comment on what's going on now, anyway. Gene Green (D-Texas) just said that "with every death in Iraq, we know that something is wrong," (or very close to that). That's pretty clearly incorrect. You don't fight real wars without deaths on your side. Yes, we carried out some limited fights under Clinton without deaths, but those were airstrikes only. No ground troops. The casualty rate is remarkably low in our current war.

George Miller (D-Calif.) just finished a long harrangue. He actually refused to shut up after several seconds of the Speaker pro tem gavelling him, telling him his time was up. I haven't heard anybody run on that long after being told his time was up. He got a round of applause from the Democrats, of course. The Republicans are, by and large, staying within their allotted times, or finishing up their sentences when gavelled. Most Democrats, too. But there are a few on the Democratic side who just refuse to follow the time restrictions. It ought to be embarassing.

A lot of the heated arguments out of the Democrats are that Murtha's character, honor, and dignity are being impugned. In fact, one Democrat said from the floor that even bringing this issue to a vote is itself a direct attack on Murtha! What blowhards. Yes, Murtha is going to be embarassed by this, and he should be. But I have heard not one Republican insult Murtha's character. I have heard plenty of Democrats insult the character of the Republicans on the other side of this particular issue. Murtha himself insulted Dick Cheney flat out, throwing in attacks on his not serving in Vietnam into his call to pull the troops out. The Republicans, in stark contrast, are avoiding any such personal insults. They have certainly questioned Murtha's judgement. They've said this is a very bad idea. And it is.

Need spare parts for your aging B-25 Liberator?

Then you might want to check out Hawkins & Powers Aviation's liquidation sale. Also for sale are some complete C-130 Hercules's and a Douglas A-26. Among others.

Me, I'm still holding out for a B-52. Or a B-17. Those things are beautiful.

Incidentally, this is my first time linking to the new, blog-driven Open Source Media (OSM) resource, formerly (or still informally?) "Pajamas Media."

New Testament in Gullah

Interesting linguistics/religion article on the AP today, via yesterday's Best of the Web. The New Testament has finally been translated into Gullah, ending a 26-year project. Gullah, for those of you outside the Southeast, is a black creole language of the islands off the South Carolina coast. The AP provides an example, John 1:1--

Fo God mek de wol, de Wod been dey. De Wod been dey wid God, an de Wod been God.


Now, from this excerpt, if you didn't know much about Gullah, you might think it was merely poorly-pronounced, ungrammatical English. In fact, it is a creole language derived in part from English.

This reminds me of a story I heard on NPR a few months ago, about translating the Bible into other languages. I think it was in a remote locale, where missionaries had first arrived only a few decades ago. They were working on a Bible for the locals in their own language, but there were debates over just how certain things ought to be translated to preserve the correct meaning. This is, of course, the perennial problem in translation, especially in Biblical translation. But what took me by surprise was the insistence of some that it would take a long, long time (decades more? a century? longer? I don't remember exactly) to really understand the local language well enough to put the Bible into it, so they shouldn't try now.

So...what, should the locals of this generation, and the next, and their grandchildren, simply do without the Word of God, until we clear up the subtle meanings of "logos" or "ra'ah"? Come on. The problem of expressing such concepts (I mean, better examples than the trivial ones I came up with) in a language that might not have them already is a problem that exists, even when you understand the language perfectly. Think of the long fights involved in English translations of the Bible, and that was by native English speakers who were schooled in either Latin, or the original languages of the Bible, or all of these. As a result, we wound up with new words being coined to express tricky concepts, and, especially in the King James version and its predecessors, Hebrew idioms were often translated literally into English. These have become so ingrained in our common speech now, that we are rarely aware of their ancient origins, instead thinking of them as native English. So I say, go ahead! Translate it as best you can now, and work out difficult concepts in Sunday school. They'll get it.

Anyway, this Gullah translation is a good project, and I wish them well on the Old Testament, which they might try next.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

They really don't learn, do they?

Wow. I'm listening to Sean Hannity interview Dennis Kucinich on the radio right now. Dennis, he of the brilliant "let's create a Department of Peace" proposal, is running his mouth non-stop (Sheesh! The guy will not shut up!) about how Bush lied Bush lied Bush lied...etc. on Iraq. So Hannity reads him a pre-war statement he claims is from George W. Bush, declaring how bad Hussein is, how his nonconventional weapons are a threat, and how we can't trust him to sit quietly in Iraq and not collaborate with terrorists now that we're in a global terrorist war, and therefore we must invade.

Hannity has to repeat himself incessantly to get the former boy genius of Cleveland to close his mouth for five seconds, but he finally gets Kucinich to say that yes, Bush lied there. Of course, as Hannity quickly revealed, these were not Bush's words, but Hillary Clinton's. So did she lie, then?

Oh, noooo, of course not! You see, it doesn't matter if she said the same thing Bush was, because we didn't go to war on her word! [Side note: but wasn't it the Senate that declared the war? Even in the vague ways it's done today, they still did it. --ed.] Plus, she was misled by the evil dictator Bush, you see. Incidentally, he, Kucinich, was miraculously unmesmerized by Bush's hypno-ray that turned the rest of Congress into pro-war drones. [Sorry--been staying up too late at night with the Cartoon Network on. Lots of weird cartoons on at that hour, and hypno-rays seem par for the course.]

But to pull in my post title: don't these anti-war leftists ever learn? Even now, over the months and years that we've been pulling this little trick on them, why don't they figure out that the quote being read to them is by one of their own? Are they not paying attention to their pacifist brethren who have already been snookered? Or do they just lack the common sense to see this coming? Doesn't say much for Kucinich, at any rate.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

San Francisco votes to crush Constitutional right

San Francisco passed a ballot proposition yesterday that takes away its citizens' right to keep handguns in the city. Absolutely outrageous. Armed citizens will be required by their friendly local jackbooted thugs (or whomever that city employs for such things) to surrender their handguns to the city next Spring:


Measure H prohibits the manufacture and sale of all firearms and ammunition in the city, and make it illegal for residents to keep handguns in their homes or businesses.
...
Although law enforcement, security guards and others who require weapons for work are exempt from the measure, current handgun owners would have to surrender their firearms by April.


Thankfully, the NRA's going to take the city to court, as California law prohibits her cities from passing such restrictions. Good for the NRA. More reason that people should join.

The Sage of Searchlight

Look, I know I'm coming late to fuming about Harry Reid, but would the guy please shut up? He's been all over the news, lying about Bush and the war and intelligence, and it's getting on my nerves. The Democratic leadership in the Senate is made up of hypocrites who back then called for Hussein's removal and who proclaimed that his development of weapons of mass destruction was intolerable. Now? They want to pretend they were always against removing Hussein, and they never believed he had or was developing nonconventional weapons, and Bush is Hitler for doing so on both counts! Hypocrites, hypocrites, hypocrites.

The Republicans in the Senate need to publicize this deception. The Intelligence Committee (I think that's the correct one) has been proposing to cover prewar statements on Iraq without labelling the speaker! I love this idea. The Democrats have absolutely blanched at the idea they could be caught in their deception. Go for it, GOP. Push them--make them admit they're being a bunch of lying opportunists.

Yes, I'm ticked off. I'm fuming over this. Impugning my side's--and especially the President's--honesty on an issue on which they acted honestly makes me mad, and the GOP had better stand up for themselves.

So is Copernicus.

On a similar note, Copernicus is still dead, too. No, this is interesting--they've probably found his grave. He's buried underneath the altar of a Polish cathedral.

I was just teaching about Copernicus a couple of weeks ago. I'll have to tell my students about this.

And in other news, Generalissimo Francisco Franco...is still dead!

The New York Times reports that the Mars Polar Lander (NASA's failed probe of six years ago) is still missing.

Actually, it's not exactly like the Saturday Night Live joke; apparently they'd thought they found it a while back, but it turns out the white blob they thought was its parachute isn't.

Venus Express is on its way

The European Space Agency's (ESA) "Venus Express" is on its way to Venus. Interestingly, they launched it on top of a Russian Soyuz rocket (that's what Space.com calls it; I'm not sure that that's the rocket's name, but probably only the name of the manned space capsule the Russians often put on top of this rocket. Not sure.

Anyway, ESA didn't use one of their own rockets--the Arianne, for instance--and chose a Russian launch instead. Wonder why? I think the Arianne's kinks have been worked out, after all.

The probe is ESA's first to Venus. It will orbit the planet; I haven't seen any reference to a lander. Venusian landers don't last too long--think minutes or seconds. The Soviets sent the Venera lander to the surface decades ago. I believe it is still the only probe to send back pictures from the surface.

E's coming?!

Hey, E! I just saw your post below, that you'll be heading back East next year. It's been a while since you've posted--glad to hear from you again. E-mail me at the NASA account; there's news to catch up on!

Distributing Bibles lands Chinese in jail

The Washington Times has a disturbing article on the three-year prison term China imposed on Cai Zhuohua for distributing Bibles.

I am not really surprised, of course, but I hadn't realized they were being this blatant about it. I remember in the '80s, that my church had collected Bibles to be sent to the Soviet Union, I think. We should see about something like that for China now. If there are Christians being persecuted there and willing to risk jail for distributing them, there's somebody willing to receive them.

I'll look up the organization, but my preacher did tell me about one place that smuggles Bibles into places like this. I'll post its name once I find it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Hey Hey

Just a note to say I'm coming to Ohio! (May '06)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Another good article on Pluto's two additional moons

Space.com has a good, detailed write-up on the discovery of two more moons of Pluto. It adds details that aren't in the STScI press release I linked to yesterday. Still, though, it repeats this assertion that bugs the dickens out of me--the false claim that "Pluto isn't really a planet." No astronomer would ever say that Pluto isn't a planet. There are some who don't want to call it a "major planet," but any body that orbits the sun, even an asteroid, is considered planet of some class, even if only a "minor planet."

A friend who is a planetary astronomer argues with me over this point. He says Pluto should be considered just a big minor planet, because its orbit is more elliptical than the other eight major planets, and its orbital plane is the most unaligned with the others.

Point taken, but those are the only two criteria that make any sense. Others have tried arguing that Pluto is a minor planet because it's the smallest of the nine and because it probably has an ice composition, rather than rock (like Earth) or gas (like Jupiter). Neither of these are logical criteria. Pluto is the smallest of the nine major planets, but it is nearly as big as Mercury. Distinguishing between them in size would be arbitrary. (Furthermore, you'll always have one planet that's the smallest of any group. If Pluto were kicked out of the club, then Mercury would be smaller than any of the others. And would it then be kicked out? Then you'd have to proceed on to Mars, and then Venus, and so on. You could never stop.)

The other proposed criterion makes no more sense than that. We have the terrestrial (rocky) planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. We have jovian (gaseous) planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Why not a third category, that of ice planets? It's a solid surface, like that of Earth and Mars. Planets' compositions have only been understood within the last century or two (I guess), anyway, while since the beginning of history we have recognized Jupiter and Saturn as true planets, even though they're "just" big balls of gas.

Saying that Pluto is a member of the Kuiper Belt does not exclude it from major planethood. It is likely both. So what?

Ronnie Earle's logic on currupting influences

NRO's Stephen Spruiell has an insightful comment on the Tom Delay prosecution in Austin. Remember that the presiding judge in the case has just been told to recuse himself, because his political contributions to the Democrats and (more radically) MoveOn.org show a political bias that might work against Mr. Delay. Here's Spruiell:

What's even more ironic about Earle's opposition to recusing Perkins is that this whole case revolves around Earle's deep-seated conviction that campaign contributions have a corrupting influence on politics. Apparently, Earle wants us to believe that corporate contributions have a corrupt influence on politicians, but that a judge's campaign contributions to a politician's opponents do not affect his ability to judge that politician impartially.


Huh--I never thought of that before. Now, there is a difference here, in that Earle argues that the campaign contributions corrupt the people to whom they are given, not the giver. And in the judge's case, it is his contributions that are in question, not his receipt of money. But this is still an argument worth working on.

The Arab League's standards

Interesting article here on a scuttled offer of exile & sanctuary to Hussein in 2003. I honestly can't make much sense out of the timeline and who offered or rejected what (both sides involve the Arab League), but it's still interesting.

One telling bit of information about the Arab League's principles, though, comes at the throwaway line that ends the article:

Almost all the Arab League's member states are Sunni Muslim-majority countries and the pan-Arab body has kept Iraq at arm's length since the U.S.-led invasion, which most of its members opposed.

Hmmm...so, brutal, bloodthirsty. barbarous dictatorship? OK, you're a member in good standing in the Arab League. Increasingly democratic and free government with close ties to the United States, who freed you in the first place? Woah, buster! We don't serve your kind around here. Got to keep you "at arm's length," so we don't catch those democratic cooties.

Let's hope that after Lebanon cleans up their house, that Syria's next. Then Egypt, and on down the list...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A second and third moon for Pluto?

Space Telescope has a press release out, showing what appear to be two more moons about Pluto! A direct link to the picture is here.

The key is not that there are three (including Charon) little dots surrounding Pluto. On the basis of one image alone, you couldn't say that those weren't background stars. But in the second image, taken three days later, all three have clearly moved. If we get a few more images, taken at similar (or even closer) intervals, you'd be able to plot the orbits and tell for sure. I think three points can define an ellipse (orbits are ellipses, regardless of what angle they're viewed from). So you'd want at least four points plotted, to make sure. That means four images. We're half-way there!

Harry Reid comes out for discrimination

National Review's Bench Memos has a rather blunt quote from Harry Reid on Judge Alito:

For the third time, he has declined to make history by nominating the first Hispanic to the Court. And he has chosen yet another federal appellate judge to join a court that already has eight justices with that narrow background. President Bush would leave the Supreme Court looking less like America and more like an old boys club.


Did you pick up on that? Bush is to be condemned because he didn't pick a nominee from one particular ethnic group! If Alito were Oriental, would Reid have been satisfied? What about black? Australian Aboriginee? American Indian? No--Reid complains specifically that Alito is non-hispanic. Alito's parents (as I understand) immigrated from Italy. Apparently, he'd be acceptable if only they'd arrived from Spain, Mexico, or Ecuador. Bigot.

And this whole "looking [...] like America" line is an old retread from the Clinton days. Remember that his Cabinet was supposed to "look like America"? Didn't happen, of course. Not a conservative amongst them! Yet I've noticed there are a number of us conservatives in America. Even taking him to mean purely the racial, ethnic, and sex makeup of the Cabinet (how superficial!), it didn't happen.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers withdraws

Fox News is just now reporting that Harriet Miers has withdrawn her own
nomination for the Court. She did this soon after submitting her revised
answers to the Judiciary Committee. The President also released a
statement, referring to the Senate's desire for private documents of the
White House--what would fall under attorney/client privilige. The Senate
needed them to make a decision; the White House needed to keep them
private to protect legal advice.

It makes for an honorable way out for all involved. In fact, I think
this follows Krauthammer's proposed script from last week--using the
privacy of these documents, combined with her faint paper trail outside of
these, to give a pretext.

Bush isn't going to be in a chipper mood right now, so I don't expect him to be bending over backward to make us happy immediately. But I think he'll still do the wise thing in the next pick, going for somebody with the experience and philosophy to do a good job on the Court and to stand up for the written Constitution.

Incidentally, I think that one thing that dramatically hurt Miers in the last few days was the revelation of her speech of a few years back, in which she defended judicial activism. She actually said that it was excused when the legislature doesn't do what some wish it would...well, then it's up to a judge to do it anyway. That's the kind of philosophy we're trying to eliminate on the courts.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Fitzgerald's grand jury

For some reason, every time I see a blog refer to the Left's desire for Fitzgerald to issue indictments against Rove or Libby as "Fitzmas," I keep thinking of "Festivus" from Seinfeld.

Hmmm...Fitztivus??

So can the Telegraph get a refund?

Austin Bay covers the latest on George Galloway.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The trouble with Wilson

Here's a surprising article from the Washington Post, describing the problems with Joseph Wilson in the Niger uranium case and the revelations of his wife's CIA employment. It addresses his misstating the facts, and his egocentric, publicity-hound attitude. Surprisingly, it's co-written by Dana Milbank, no friend of the Bush administration. I tend to take an article like this more seriously when it comes from an administration critic, because the reporter has no interest in simply trying to make Bush look good.

I still have (or had) some regard for Wilson, as a result of his work in sheltering people during the Persian Gulf War, but he's pretty much blown it with me for his arrogance and lying or deception in all of this recent mess. What a blowhard.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Object lesson on why the ICJ would be a Bad Thing:

This article is Exhibit A. A judge in Spain has issued an "international arrest warrant" for three American soldiers. This comes from the incident in the Iraqi War (April 8, 2003) in which an American tank in Baghdad, thinking it was under fire, shot at a building that turned out to be the Palestine Hotel, where many reporters were staying. Three reporters were killed, including one Spaniard.

I think I saw this live on Fox News. I remember a rooftop camera watching one of our tanks moving through the city. The reporter narrating was saying something like, "Hey, here's one of our tanks--let's watch..." Eventually, you saw its gun barrel turn towards the camera (here I remember thinking, "You idiot cameraman! Get out of the way, stupid!"), but the cameraman didn't leave that spot. The tank fired, and there was a lot of shaking of the camera. I don't think the picture went blank, but rather it fell. The shell hit below the roof, as I remember.

The US Army wisely did not press charges against the soldiers. It said the use of force was warranted in that situation, where they thought they were under fire from the building. The Spanish judge, frustrated by what he calls a lack of judicial cooperation from the United States (No, really?! And thank goodness for it!) has decided to reach outside his country's jurisdiction and move on his own.

I'm sorry the reporters were killed. But it was an accident. It was in the enemy capital...during a shooting war. Does that mean nothing to these people? Can you imagine the reaction if this happened during World War II? A reporter sitting around in his hotel in Berlin in 1945, and is killed by a bomb or tank shell... Can you possibly imagine any judge outside the Axis countries issuing an arrest warrant for the men who fired the shot? Stupidity.