Saturday, December 09, 2006

Comedies

I'm looking for good comedies to watch this winter. Whaddya think?

Some of my favorites in the past, in no particular order, have been

  • Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail

  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off

  • Better Off Dead

  • The Princess Bride

  • Time Bandits

  • A Christmas Story

  • Young Frankenstein

  • Good Morning, Vietnam

  • A Fish Called Wanda


Any others that I absolutely must see?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fun & Games After the Election

I'm not a regular over at Treacher's, but this deserves a look. Here's a brief taste (from the comments, no less - it's all good!):
I am pretty surprised myself. I thought we were supposed to be running a highly efficient fascist regime here. And now, we can't even win an election? I mean, I've read all the research. What happened with suspending the electoral process? Why is constitution still in effect? What about our plans to declare martial law? Suspend Congress? We are doing none of it. And I was looking forward to coronation, too. :( Bummer.


Then there's A Large Regular, where we get an interview with ol' Don Rumsfeld:
Rummy: I always have time for my friends Chris. As far as feeling bitter towards the President - goodness no. I serve at the pleasure of the President and have offered my resignation a number of times. If truth be told - I'm a little bit in awe. I mean I don't think I've seen such a fine piece of political Jujitsu in my whole time in public service.

ALR: Political Jujitsu? I'm sorry Mr. Secretary but I don't follow you.
(Read the rest, as they say.)

Ace of Spades has a thread with more than 1200 comments. Amazing. Here's how it starts:
I just bought a huge solar panel. Casey/Pisslousy/Kennedy promised 2 years of sunshine. Stock up on these now people, no clouds for two years ...
Lots of funny stuff, also lots of mediocre/bad/just plain foul stuff, but a good percentage of laughs. (Really, serious foul language alert.)

This is the right attitude after a loss, folks. No conspiracy theories, immediate recognition that our guys messed up, and lots of humor. As for my experience on November 8, well, I woke up to rainbows, bunny rabbits were playing in the yard, someone left a pot o' gold on the doorstep, I won a lifetime supply of Guinness, and that cute Korean girl I've had my eye on slipped me her phone number. Thanks, Nancy!

Update: And then, of course, we have ... Ted Rall:
As ugly secrets surface, Bushists will turn desperate. Democracy has failed their grand schemes; token resignations like Rumsfeld's come too little, too late. Only tyranny can save their skins. Will the beleaguered neocons led by Cheney and Bush, cornered like rats, unleash their brand-new police state on their political opponents? Or will they tough it out and suck up the fines and prison sentences to come? The next year or two could go either way.

The nightmare is not over.


Yep, the literary version of the suicide bomber. Stand back folks, auto-parody ain't pretty.

Reality, or Alternate Reality?

In contrast to my Nov. 4 post, Iraq vet Austin Bay states we've pretty much won in Iraq:
I know, the NY Times and John Kerry have told us Iraq is a disaster. No. The US has already gotten about 90 percent of what it needed on September 12, 2001. There’s a democratically elected government in the potentially most powerful (predominantly) Arab Muslim nation, a government trying to learn to crawl under the most trying conditions. It’s a government that is learning by doing — and learning often by failure. However, as long as the US and coalition remain around to coach, train, and respond to crisis, Iraqi failures will be controlled failures.

Yup. Fostering the development of choice in the Middle East — a choice other than tyranny or terror– is a tough process.


As I see it, we can win in two ways.

The quick way, which is obliterating cities or sections of cities where resistance is high -- Yes, carpetbomb them, take out everything, man-woman-and-child, in a manner reminiscent of Genghis Khan. I don't advocate choice number one. We don't need to do this to win, and doing it without it being a dire necessity is mass murder.

Or, number two, the long way. Outlast them, in the same way the British outlasted the IRA. It took 30+ years for the IRA to get tired of fighting and not getting anywhere before they negotiated a real peace. Iraq will work the same way.

The wild card is WMDs -- if the j-team nukes a US city while we're trying to outlast them, what do we do?

[Note: This post was edited for clarity after its initial posting.]

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

What About the Iraq War Now?

This is a lo-o-ong post, but one I need to do. It is more a gathering, a juxtaposition, than it is an analysis. If you want to know what I think ... I'm in grad school, and I haven't been paying attention to much beyond that. It's strange, feeling this disconnected. Many disturbing opinions, many changes ...

Zeyad, at Healing Iraq:
Monday, October 16, 2006
Another close friend of mine has been killed in Baghdad. We had lunch together in Baghdad just days before I left.

I can't concentrate on anything any more. I should not be here in New York running around a stupid neighbourhood, asking people about their 'issues'.

I now officially regret supporting this war back in 2003. The guilt is too much for me to handle.


New Sisyphus:
As a regular reader over at The Corner, one of the darker pleasures of the past year has been to watch how the regular commentators there have approached the obvious failure of our war policy in Iraq. It seems to me the responses there have divided the Cornerites into three distinct camps.

For the first camp, led by NR editor Rich Lowry, the response has been to argue the Administration's corner more loudly, though peppered with disclaimers like "if the idea here is to [insert highly improbable "secret" policy goal here] this may have the effect of stabilizing Baghdad, an important first step towards...." This ever more desperate posing is an outgrowth of the early years in the war when 85% of conservative commentators dismissed obvious signs of Bush's weakness in war matters by referring to a "secret plan," combined with an appeal to partisanship.

...

The second camp are the Second Thoughters, led by Jonah Goldberg. These are the Cornerites who supported the war from the beginning but now realize that it is objectively a failure. Thus, they are in favor of publicly saying so. However, goes the *brilliant* analysis, since we are already in theatre in force we have no choice but to see it though, for to do otherwise would be to admit defeat.

...

The third camp are the To Hell With Them Hawks, led by John Derbyshire. This group doesn't give a goddamn about Islamic democracy; they want to win. They know who the enemy is and the only response they have to him is to put him up against a wall and shoot him, preferably in full view of the cameras.

...

What is the significance of all this?

Precisely this: That was once a minority tendency in the conservative movement is now gaining more and more adherents, as the reality we face becomes ever more clear. As it dawns on more people that the very method by which we are fighting this war is fatally wrong-headed, those people will begin to demand a change in strategy.


And Mr. Sisyphus links to an interesting article by Ralph Peters in USA Today:
Iraq is failing. No honest observer can conclude otherwise. Even six months ago, there was hope. Now the chances for a democratic, unified Iraq are dwindling fast. The country's prime minister has thrown in his lot with al-Sadr, our mortal enemy. He has his eye on the future, and he's betting that we won't last. The police are less accountable than they were under Saddam. Our extensive investment in Iraqi law enforcement only produced death squads. Government ministers loot the country to strengthen their own factions. Even Iraq's elections — a worthy experiment — further divided Iraq along confessional and ethnic lines. Iraq still exists on the maps, but in reality it's gone. Only a military coup — which might come in the next few years — could hold the artificial country together.

This chaos wasn't inevitable. While in Iraq late last winter, I remained soberly hopeful. Since then, the strength of will of our opponents — their readiness to pay any price and go to any length to win — has eclipsed our own. The valor of our enemies never surpassed that of our troops, but it far exceeded the fair-weather courage of the Bush administration.

Yet, for all our errors, we did give the Iraqis a unique chance to build a rule-of-law democracy. They preferred to indulge in old hatreds, confessional violence, ethnic bigotry and a culture of corruption. It appears that the cynics were right: Arab societies can't support democracy as we know it. And people get the government they deserve.


Omar, at Iraq the Model:
The situation is bad in Iraq, it's bad for both Iraqis and Americans alike and looking at the way the war is being managed right now makes me extremely worried about the future of our world. I am that worried that I feel I, or the next generations of my people, won't be safe in this world even if we were born and lived elsewhere.

It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Iraq might turn into a second Somalia within a year if the situation is allowed to keep descending the way it's doing now.
The Islamic Sharia courts are ruling now in Somalia while in Iraq they function undercover and it's still in our hands to stop them from extending their influence and from becoming the rule instead of the exception they are today.

Let's call the battle for middle east, and I think politicians do not need anyone to explain to them what this part of the world means…the outcome of war in Iraq does not affect Iraq alone, a victory means disrupting the ring of terror and extremism the enemies are trying to establish while failure would be equal to allowing them to establish that huge ring, or should I say that gigantic octopus of terrorists and terror-supporting regimes that would extend from Afghanistan in the east to Libya in the west and from Iraq in the north to Sudan and Somalia in the south.


Victor Davis Hanson:
Not long ago, abdication — from Rwanda or Haiti, or from the Balkans for a decade — not intervention, was the supposed sin. There were dozens of Darfurs in the 1990s, when charges flew of moral indifference. The supposition then — as now — was that those who called for boots on the ground to stop a genocide would not unlikely be the first to abdicate responsibility once the coffins came home and the military was left fighting an orphaned war.

Apparently all the high-minded talk of reform — Aristotle rightly scoffed about morality being easy in one’s sleep — was predicated only on cost-free war from 30,000 feet. Now the wisdom is that Colin Powell — the supposed sole sane and moral voice of the present administration — was drowned out by shrill neocon chicken hawks. But that was not the consensus of the 1990s. In both books and journalism, he was a Hamlet-like figure who paused before striking the needed blow, and so was pilloried by the likes of a Michael Gordon or Madeline Albright for not using the full force of the American military to intervene for moral purposes. That was then, and this is now, and in-between we have a costly war in Iraq that has taken the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans.


Finally, Dan Gordon tells us about our new, vicious pet:
I know you don’t like Bush. I don’t like Bush. Nobody likes Bush. Fair enough. He lied to you. He mangles the language. You can’t trust him. He’s in hock to Haliburton. He has some weird daddy complex. Whatever you want to believe about him, believe it. Fair enough. You win. No arguments.

And you don’t like the war. You were lied to. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Bush and the neocons made it all up. They duped us. They duped you. They duped me. They duped Hillary and Kerry. They duped us all. Dupe, dupe, dupe, dupe, dupe. Done deal. Not only did they dupe us, but they dicked it up, made every mistake in the book.

Pick whatever argument you like. They should have had more troops. They should have had less troops. They should have listend to Chalabi. They shouldn’t have listened to Chalibi. Bremer was right. Bremer was wrong. Rumsfeld’s a bozo. Bozo could have done a better job. I’ll sign on to any part of it you like. They said this is a part of the war on terror, and of course that’s a lie too.

Ooops.

What do you mean, oops?

Well, what I mean is that part is actually true.

What part?

The part about Iraq being a part of the war on terror.

You’ve got to be kidding. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11! There was no connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda!

Maybe not, but there is now.

Well, who’s fault is that?

Doesn’t matter.

What do you mean it doesn’t matter?

I mean, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how we got there. It doesn’t matter how you think you were lied to. It doesn’t matter if you think there was a connection between Sadam and Al-Qaeda. The only thing that matters now is that both Al-Qaeda and Iran and the terrorist groups they back and inspire believe that Iraq is their decisive battle. They have chosen it as the place where they will defeat America, and unlike the Viet Cong, they will not stay put. They will follow us home.

Shalash Al-Iraqi

Zeyad gives us some interesting stories from Shalash the Iraqi, who lives in Sadr City:
His columns first appeared on the Iraqi online opinion website Kitabat in December 2005. They were written from the perspective of an everyday Iraqi living in Sadr City - or Al-Thawra, as he calls it, using the pre-Saddam name of the district. Shalash’s style was gritty, streetwise, brutally honest but extremely humourous. He uses colloquial and slang terms in his writing, which appealed to a wide section of Iraqi readers who identified with him.

The characters of his short stories ranged from his opportunistic uncle, Haji Shnawa, who danced for both Saddam in the past and now Sadr; the former sergeant in the Iraqi army on his street who became a corrupt Sadrist cleric; Khanjar, the local troublemaker; Khadija, the young teacher that he often daydreams about her paying attention to his romantic moves; the old lady who sells groceries and campaigns for the Shi’ite electoral list; pickpockets; porters; Mahdi Army thugs; and so on.

No one is spared of his sharp criticism. He persistently jabs Iraqi governmental officials, revered clerics, insurgents, militias, Arab leaders and Americans. Even Madonna has been a subject for one of his recent stories, in which he asks her to adopt him so he can be saved from the Mahdi Army and instead become neighbours with Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz.


Translations of some of Shalash's stories follow that.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Quick Answer To Mideast Violence

Ban caffeinated beverages and require every adult male to have two stiff drinks before leaving work, or first thing in the morning for the unemployed.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Freedom Walk OKC and Luke Stricklin

Went to the Freedom Walk this evening. (Missed the entire speech at the Murrah Memorial, so can't say anything about that.) There were a guesstimated 150 troops marching, and probably two hundred or so civilians, though I'm no expert in crowd counting and wouldn't be too surprised to hear it was more or less.

The main reason I went was to see Luke Stricklin play the songs he wrote during his year in Baghdad with the Army National Guard.

Stricklin didn't give any speeches, just a little background on his own songs, and a thanks to the troops. He sang a little Merle, Waylon, and Willie, and two of his own songs written while in Iraq. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was good to see him live.

(PS His band was good, too, but seemed to be a pickup band, not a regular group.)

I guess for journalistic purposes I should mention that Great Divide, a rockin' country band, played next. They were good and played hard.

PS Photos will be forthcoming, but I'm having problems with my photo hosting service.

2006 October 18: Nope, no photos forthcoming. It seems I can't access my flicker account, and I don't have time to go through all the nonsense to get them posted right now.

Remember, or Never Forget?

Why are we not supposed to forget 9/11? Is it so that the victims will never be forgotten? And maybe a few heroes as well? A DJ on the radio today said, "It's been five years since nine eleven, but we're still proud to be Americans."

What the heck does that mean? Ya know, I was proud to be an American before it was the "in" thing, before we could classify ourselves as a victim group. But we're STILL proud. Was that pride supposed to go away? Oh, but we're still hanging on, stretching this out as lo-o-o-ng as we can! Is that the sentiment?

I got into a brief argument with a friend over seeing United 93. He refused to see it.

"Yeah, it's all about 'oh, we can't ever forget the poor victims, waaaa waaaa waaaa.' The crybabies," was his basic argument.

"No," I replied, "It's not that at all. It's 'Remember Pearl Harbor!'"

We restated our positions a few times, glared at each other, dropped it, and carried on with a pleasant evening.

So which is it? Never forget, waaa waaa waaa? Or Remember!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Just One More on Illegals?

We-ellllllllll, I had just about decided that Bush probably mostly knew what he was doing on this immigration thing, ya know, since Fox is the best bet we have for a Mexican president and we want him to get re-elected; we need an economically strong Mexico right now and their second-biggest source of income is remittances from the US; we need Mexican help / cooperation on a range of issues such as terrorism, illegal drugs, etc.; and 12 million illegals could do a lot of damage on their way out; when I read One More Essay on Immigration*.

Oh, heck. He's right that this isn't a crisis, and there's no need to pass legislation right now. We can afford to take our time and do it right. He may be right about the rest of it, too, which is kinda scary. Go see what you folks think.

###



*I also had a conversation this afternoon that made me rethink a bit, but this essay smacked me upside the head.

(Mug tip to Consul-at-Arms.)

Michael Yon Plagiarized by SHOCK Magazine

One of his photos was used without permission for the cover of their premier issue.

SHOCK is owned by HFM, which also publishes American Photo, Boating, Car and Driver, Cycle World, ELLE, ELLE Decor, ELLEgirl, Flying, For Me, Home, Metropolitan Home, Popular Photography & Imaging, Premiere, Road & Track, Road & Track Road Gear, Road & Track Speed, Sound & Vision, Woman’s Day and Woman’s Day Special Interest Publications.

Outright theft.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Illegal Immigration Roundup

I picked these out because they bring something new and interesting to the debate. Each link is followed by a brief excerpt.

Will Mexico Turn Against the US?, Carlos Alberto Montaner
Dick Morris, a former aide to President Bill Clinton, fears that the Mexicans will elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador as their next president on July 2.

AMLO, as he is popularly known, is a left-wing neopopulist, and he leads in all the polls in his country despite his mediocre performance as governor of the Federal District. Morris is concerned that AMLO might make common cause with Hugo Chávez to bring the United States to its knees on the matter of energy. Mexico and Venezuela supply about one third the amount of crude oil the U.S. imports daily.


Mexico's Addiction to Remittances from Illegals In US, Victor Davis Hanson
It may be counterintuitive to think that checks from hard-working expatriates are pernicious. But for a developing nation, remittances can prove as problematic as the proverbial plight of the lottery winner - sudden winnings that were not earned. In short, remittances, along with oil and tourism - not agriculture, engineering, education, manufacturing or finance - prop up an otherwise ailing Mexican economy. This helps explain why half of the country's 106 million citizens still live in poverty.


Force Mexico to Face Its Failings, Froma Harrop
The border debate has spawned feverish mumbling about the "reconquista" -- the idea that Mexico plans to take back territory lost to the United States by first filling it with Mexican immigrants and their children. One can't see them going along. If any country needs reconquering, it is Mexico. Now there's a movement these immigrants might want to join.


The "L" Word, Dr. Demarche
If the President and his advisors are adamant about fixing the immigration issue here are my suggestions for several concrete steps they can take immediately:


Mexico Works to Bar Non-Natives From Jobs, Mark Stevenson
Foreign-born Mexicans can't hold seats in either house of the congress. They're also banned from state legislatures, the Supreme Court and all governorships. Many states ban foreign-born Mexicans from spots on town councils. And Mexico's Constitution reserves almost all federal posts, and any position in the military and merchant marine, for "native-born Mexicans."

Recently the Mexican government has gone even further. Since at least it has encouraged cities to ban non-natives from such local jobs as firefighters, police and judges.

Mexico's Interior Department _ which recommended the bans as part of "model" city statutes it distributed to local officials _ could cite no basis for extending the bans to local posts.


Mexico Threatens Lawsuits Over Guard, AP
Mexico warned Tuesday it would file lawsuits in U.S. courts if National Guard troops detain migrants on the border and some officials said they fear the crackdown will force illegal crossers into more perilous areas to avoid detection.


###



My own answer, should you be curious, was explained in Illegal Two-Steppin'

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Conservative Battle Fatigue?

Mark Tapscott talks about why it's hit and what to do about it.

Good stuff that I mostly agree with, particularly that it's the GOP in Congress that I'm tired of (except my own Senator Coburn is excellent, and my other two reps are pretty good). I'm also tired of fighting the same ideological battles over and over and over.

Any comments?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

News? Well ...

Victor Davis Hanson covers WWII like much of the media is covering Iraq today. Here's a sample graph:
As we see thousands of Americans dying and our enemies still in power after four years of war, it is also legitimate to question the stewardship of Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshall. The Sherman tank tragedy, the daylight bombing fiasco, the absence of even minimally suitable anti-tank weapons and torpedoes — all these lapses came on his watch, and the man at the top must take full responsibility for mistakes that have now cost thousands of American lives. Indeed, it is not just that America has worse tanks and guns than our German enemies, but they are inferior even to the rockets and armor of our Soviet allies. The recent publication of “The Sherman Tank Scandal” follows other revelations published in “Asleep at the Philippines,” “The Flight of Gen. MacArthur,” “Gen. Patton and the Atrocities on Sicily,” “Do Americans Execute P.O.Ws?” “Torture on Guadalcanal,” “Incinerating Women and Children?” and “Civilian Massacres in Germany” — publications in their totality that suggest a military out of control as often as it is incompetent.


Meanwhile, Gaijin Biker reports that:
NEW YORK (Rooters) Popular political comedian Steven Colbert, who delivered a biting critique of President Bush at April's White House Correspondents Dinner, has been seized by US government agents.

According to a highly-placed State Department source, Mr. Colbert is believed to have been rendered to Uzbekistan ...


Yep.

Remember, folks, you read it here second ...

They're All Ugly, And Not

Jim Geraghty (in Turkey) let's it rip about the 'ugly American' myth.

I lived overseas for seven years; every nationality I've dealt with has its uglies, and the US is not the worst of them by far.

Part of the reason "the world" is down on Americans, instead of just our government, is the re-election of Bush. That's just the way it is, folks. Being nice isn't going to help because, frankly, most of them don't really care about Americans (we were stupid before, now we're stupid and evil), and if we were all killed by bovine flu or mad chicken disease tomorrow, there would be a collective snort and a 'well, it's a tragedy, but certainly if any nation deserved it ...' Followed, of course, by a mad scramble to see who could get what of our stuff.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Illegal Two-Steppin’

Step 1: Document the Undocumented; Stop the Inflow of Illegals

Pass legislation that:
1. Gets the wall between the US and Mexico built.

2. Makes it a felony to enter the US illegally from the date the legislation takes effect, and to be in the US illegally from 31 days after the legislation takes effect. Also makes it a felony to assist an illegal in avoiding law enforcement and immigration agencies, gives all police the jurisdiction to enforce this law, and, regardless of whether they enforce it or not, requires all law enforcement officers to report any contact with illegal aliens within 24 hours. Finally, make it prohibitively expensive, and a possible felony, to knowingly employ illegal aliens from 31 days after the law takes effect.

3. Gives all current illegal immigrants 30 days (count ‘em: three-zero) to:
a. Get the paperwork from their employer or a family member for sponsorship,
b. Get registered at their closest consulate,
c. Apply for and receive a special temporary worker visa from the US (issued automatically after a US criminal background check and two phone calls to check sponsorship and registration at their consulate).

4. Makes these special visas non-renewable (but see Step 2).

5. Requires employers to check every employee on the Social Security Administration database. The database software will be set up to issue receipts for valid matches, and those receipts must be placed in the employees’ files and copies submitted with tax documentation. Since handling all the special visas will take a huge amount of time, give employers six months to get all current employees registered, however, new employees must be checked from the date the legislation goes into effect.

6. Sets up a generous guest worker program that requires application from the country of origin, a sponsor / employer, and for which it is impossible to apply while on the special temporary worker visa (though see Step 2).

Step 2: Reciprocity and Normalization

1. Over the year after passage of the above legislation, have a congressional study group that will study immigration laws and economics in the countries that have large blocks of immigrants on these special temporary visas.

2. Make any further concession to the immigrants of these nations based on their home nation’s laws, make this policy explicit from the beginning, and take into account any change each individual nation takes towards immigration liberalization for Americans and economic improvement. For example, if, during that year, Mexico were to liberalize its immigration laws and allow Americans easy immigration, the same property and business ownership rights as Mexican citizens, and take steps to improve economic opportunities for the poor, then Mexican immigrants on special temporary visas in the US would most likely get an automatic year extension to their visas, and the restriction that they could not apply for guest worker visas while on special temporary visas would be removed. Of course, if Mexico didn’t change, well, fair’s fair. Our laws would still be more free and open than Mexico’s, and anytime anyone complained about the US deporting millions of Mexicans, we’d point that out and the great opportunity for its citizens on both sides of the border that the Mexican government chose to ignore.

In both steps, there would have to be exceptions made, for example, for refugees, or for nations with very few immigrants in the US on special visas (so threatening their deportation wouldn’t be a significant stimulus), etc.

I've left a lot out, but Dr. Demarche made some more good proposals that would complement mine well.

Update 5/17: It seems that Glenn Reynolds agrees with me.

###



Previous posts on this topic:
Mexican Immigration Law
Undocumented Migrants In Mexico Brutalized
Random Illegal Thoughts
Well, Heck
Illegal Immigration 1

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Beautiful Month of May ...

... begins with sorrow, terror and injustice. Catallarchy presents his annual 'Day of Remembrance' for the victims of communism with several articles on the topic.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

New Terrorist Cell Must Be Factored In

Over at Sir Humphreys we find out about the dreaded Al-Gebra organization:
At New York's Kennedy Airport today, an individual later discovered to be a NYC public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, protractor, set square, slide rule and calculator.

At a morning press conference, a White House spokesman said authorities believe the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement. The man is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of maths instruction.


Go learn more about this dreaded terrorist group.

Eeeww! Every Liberal's Dream ...

Every conservative's nightmare.

Most disturbing.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Mexican Immigration Law

Pardon My English sends us to a Center for Security Policy paper (in PDF), Mexico's Glass House, which is a good rundown on Mexican immigration policy and a recommendation that we reciprocate by asking Mexico to change its immigration laws, or changing our own to reflect Mexico's.

Some of those points are:
• Immigrants and foreign visitors are banned from public political discourse. [I.e., no demonstrations - PJ]
• Immigrants and foreigners are denied certain basic property rights. (Limitations on the type of real estate and the percentage of certain types of companies non-citizens can own.)
• Immigrants are denied equal employment rights. (Hiring preferences for citizens.)
• Immigrants and naturalized citizens will never be treated as real Mexican citizens.
• Immigrants and naturalized citizens are not to be trusted in public service. (Non-citizens can't serve in the military, police forces, and even naturalized citizens are barred from serving in the legislature, supreme court, or as president -- for president, even your parents have to be native-born Mexican.)
• Immigrants and naturalized citizens may never become members of the clergy.
• Private citizens may make citizens arrests of lawbreakers (i.e., illegal immigrants)
and hand them to the authorities.
• Immigrants may be expelled from Mexico for any reason and without due process.

http://www.directory.com.mx/immigration/ is webpage, maintained by pro-Mexico individuals, that details disparities in Mexican and US immigration law, and advocates Mexico change its immigration laws. What I find most interesting are some fairly clear indications of racism enshrined in Mexican law. Here are some interesting points:
Mexicans, and people of Mexican parentage can become dual citizens of Mexico and the USA. Nevertheless, U.S. citizens who are NOT of Mexican descent are still prohibited from becoming citizens of Mexico, unless they are willing to formally ... represent that they have renounced their U.S. citizenship. ... By the way, Article 20 I c) is an example of how Mexico gives preferential treatment to folks from Latin American nations or the Spanish peninsula when awarding nationality status versus their "gringo" competitors, despite the existence of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

We are not aware that Mexico allows foreign-born citizens to hold truly significant governmental posts, especially not if they are of non-Mexican ancestry and if they want to maintain dual citizenship elsewhere. In contrast, the U.S.A. has allowed various foreigners to hold truly prominent federal and gubernatorial offices without requiring that they renounce their citizenship abroad. Among them are Madeleine Albright, Henry Kissinger and Arnold Schwarzenegger. ...

Wouldn't our governents' finally addressing the abovementioned legal differences help elevate Mexico's $9,000 annual GDP per capita to more closely resemble the USA's $38,000 figure? We would like nothing better for our beloved friends in the USA's neighboring trading partner of Mexico than to see them get to leave their country only when they truly want to, instead of out of economic desperation. Is Mexico's current governmental administration doing nearly enough to help Mexico's people though?


Alan Wall, an American legally living and working in Mexico, tells the story of 18 Americans deported from Mexico for participating in a demonstration:
The Americans’ offense was to participate in May Day marches in Mexico City and Guadalajara. The ones in Mexico City were college students, visiting with their professor from Washington State. They had joined a group protesting the expropriation of land near Mexico City for a new airport and were waving machetes with the other protestors. They might have gotten away with it, except that some of them were heard on the TV news shouting protest slogans in broken Spanish, which in turn caused Mexican journalists to express outrage.

The INM wasted no time. The offenses were committed on May 1st, and by the evening of May 2nd, the offending gringos were on their way back to the U.S.A., their Mexican visas revoked.


Wall then goes on to show the heavy influence the Mexican government is exerting in the US through its 47 consulates and President Fox.

###



Apparently, Rush Limbaugh beat me to the punch on this one. I would link the article on his website, but it's members-only.

It seems to be going around. This is a well-written article!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

'Undocumented Migrants' in Mexico Brutalized, Robbed by Officials

AP writer Mark Stevenson reports:

Undocumented Central American migrants complain much more about how they are treated by Mexican officials than about authorities on the U.S. side of the border, where migrants may resent being caught but often praise the professionalism of the agents scouring the desert for their trail. ...

Jose Ramos, 18, of
El Salvador, said the extortion occurs at every stop in Mexico, until migrants are left penniless and begging for food.

"If you're on a bus, they pull you off and search your pockets and if you have any money, they keep it and say, 'Get out of here,'" Ramos said.

Maria Elena Gonzalez, who lives near the tracks, said female migrants often complain about abusive police.

"They force them to strip, supposedly to search them, but the purpose is to sexually abuse them," she said.

Others said they had seen migrants beaten to death by police, their bodies left near the railway tracks to make it look as if they had fallen from a train.

The Mexican government acknowledges that many federal, state and local officials are on the take from the people-smugglers who move hundreds of thousands of Central Americans north, and that migrants are particularly vulnerable to abuse by corrupt police. ...

In the United States, mostly Mexican immigrants have staged rallies pressuring Congress to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants rather than making them felons and deputizing police to deport them. The Mexican government has spoken out in support of the immigrants' cause.

While Interior Secretary Carlos Abascal said Monday that "Mexico is a country with a clear, defined and generous policy toward migrants," the nation of 105 million has legalized only 15,000 immigrants in the past five years, and many undocumented migrants who are detained are deported.

Although Mexico objects to U.S. authorities detaining Mexican immigrants, police and soldiers usually cause the most trouble for migrants in Mexico, even though they aren't technically authorized to enforce immigration laws.

And while Mexicans denounce the criminalization of their citizens living without papers in the United States, Mexican law classifies undocumented immigration as a felony punishable by up to two years in prison, although deportation is more common.


(Mug tip to Wizbang.)

###



Related: My Mexican Immigration Law post and Some Random Illegal Thoughts.

Monday, April 17, 2006

45th Anniversary: La Brigada Asalto 2506

And the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

Val Prieto & co. at Babalu Blog (where else?) has it covered:
My father in law was a member of La Brigada 2506 and fought in the Bay of Pigs in what was called Operation Mongoose by the US Government. He has a million stories to tell, everything from the moment he decided to join La Brigada and fight for the freedom of Cuba, to the training, the embarcation, the invasion, the battle on the beaches, his capture and incarceration and the subsequent torture -- physical and mental -- at the hands of fidel castro, to his release and reunification with his wife and daughter here in the States. My words can do his story no justice, but someday it will be told. Until then, Edgar, Happy Birthday. The following articles are for you and your brothers and sisters in arms to assure you that this generation, our generation, has not and will not forget your sacrifice and love for una Cuba libre.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Mark Steyn on Iran

A perfect metaphor:

You know what's great fun to do if you're on, say, a flight from Chicago to New York and you're getting a little bored? Why not play being President Ahmadinejad? Stand up and yell in a loud voice, "I've got a bomb!" Next thing you know the air marshal will be telling people, "It's OK, folks. Nothing to worry about. He hasn't got a bomb." And then the second marshal would say, "And even if he did have a bomb it's highly unlikely he'd ever use it." And then you threaten to kill the two Jews in row 12 and the stewardess says, "Relax, everyone. That's just a harmless rhetorical flourish." And then a group of passengers in rows 4 to 7 point out, "Yes, but it's entirely reasonable of him to have a bomb given the threatening behavior of the marshals and the cabin crew."

Friday, April 14, 2006

Random Illegal Thoughts

Visiting Permanently and Other Things I Don't Understand, a good post on immigration issues by the good doctor, Dr. Demarche.

I agree that we should secure the border first, then decide what to do about the illegal aliens already here. Why is securing the border controversial?

I have a retired Japanese-born friend who became a naturalized US citizen and made his career here in the US. His oldest son is Japanese, but grew up here, then decided to try Japan out for a while. He wasn't able to fit in there, and so is trying to move back to the US. But since he left the US, he hasn't been able to get a visa to come back. They have applied, and have waited three years already. No telling when his visa will be approved. His entire life is pretty much on hold. But had he just come on a tourist visa and stayed illegally, well, that would be fine, apparently. I'm thinking of counseling him to do so, actually. Why not?

Why can the latino & immigrant communities stage demonstrations with tens of thousands, but there's no group that is organizing counter-demonstrations with tens of thousands? Could such a group be started, and what would it look like? In fact, every interest group out there has an organization or ten, but there's not one for your basic American citizen. At least, not one I know of. Organization counts; a small, strident group can have more impact than a large, quiet one. I'm tired of being in a quiet group.

Signs and slogans for a good border security / anti-illegal immigration rally:

Why are YOU above the law? (maybe written over an image of the Mexican flag?)

Amnesty = Injustice

Justice for Law-Abiding People

Say 'NO!' to the Reconquistadores!

I (heart) *LEGAL* Immigrants!

Thank You *LEGAL* Immigrants!

What's wrong with illegal immigrants? What's wrong with vigilantes?

*Border Security
*Easier Immigration
*NO Amnesty

Don't break into my home at night, then ask me to feed you breakfast.

Want more crime? Reward it!

We Are Either
A Nation of Laws
- Or -
A Lawless Nation

A quiet, law-abiding group of links:

Protesting, A Job for Immigrants?
Reconquistadores
A little bit of agitation at Michelle Malkin's
Why so many US flags?
Big Instapundit roundup

Feel free to add your own slogans and links, and comments of course, in the comments.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Reading about the Iraq Invasion

I'm doing a little research on the war in Iraq and I'm interested in reading the best factual work I can find, as well as the best arguments for and against the invasion of Iraq.

I'm specifically looking for books, articles, papers, etc., whether online or off.

Any suggestions?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Happy March 10th!

Why? Oh, I guess because it's Friday, and since my last class for the week was yesterday, my spring break starts today, and, er, my, aren't the pear blossoms pretty?

Has anyone else noticed that the Japanese put a lot more meaning into blossoms than we in the West seem to? For example, plum blossoms are the first of the year and represent first love. We put more meaning into flowers, I think, like what different colors of roses mean. Anyone have an angle on that?

Also, just out of curiosity, what would represent first love / young love in the West? Anyone know of a flower / blossom / other symbol that fits?

Well, off to work. See ya 'round, and enjoy the day!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Moderate Muslims?

I posted about the Free Muslims Coalition earlier, noting a moderate Muslim group. Interestingly, a Washington Post article by Fleming Rose, the Jyllands-Posten editor who commissioned and published the 12 cartoons, points out some moderate Muslim victories in Denmark:
Since the Sept. 30 publication of the cartoons, we have had a constructive debate in Denmark and Europe about freedom of expression, freedom of religion and respect for immigrants and people's beliefs. Never before have so many Danish Muslims participated in a public dialogue -- in town hall meetings, letters to editors, opinion columns and debates on radio and TV. We have had no anti-Muslim riots, no Muslims fleeing the country and no Muslims committing violence. The radical imams who misinformed their counterparts in the Middle East about the situation for Muslims in Denmark have been marginalized. They no longer speak for the Muslim community in Denmark because moderate Muslims have had the courage to speak out against them.

In January, Jyllands-Posten ran three full pages of interviews and photos of moderate Muslims saying no to being represented by the imams. They insist that their faith is compatible with a modern secular democracy. A network of moderate Muslims committed to the constitution has been established, and the anti-immigration People's Party called on its members to differentiate between radical and moderate Muslims, i.e. between Muslims propagating sharia law and Muslims accepting the rule of secular law. The Muslim face of Denmark has changed, and it is becoming clear that this is not a debate between "them" and "us," but between those committed to democracy in Denmark and those who are not.

Still, I think the cartoons now have a place in two separate narratives, one in Europe and one in the Middle East. In the words of the Somali-born Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the integration of Muslims into European societies has been sped up by 300 years due to the cartoons; perhaps we do not need to fight the battle for the Enlightenment all over again in Europe. The narrative in the Middle East is more complex, but that has very little to do with the cartoons.


This is good to know, and it is good to know the moderates seem to have won some battles in Denmark. What will the net effect be? I don't know, but I do think this cycle of events has kicked a few more Westerners awake, particularly Europeans. I hope it leads them to address the real issues, with moderate Muslims where they can be found, instead of burying their heads in the sands of submission (aka, tolerance). I also have to agree that the narrative in the Middle East has little to do with the cartoons.

On the other hand, Muslim commentator Mansoor Ijaz tells us in the LA Times:
The first truth is that most Muslim ideologues are hypocrites. What has Osama bin Laden done for the victims of the 2004 tsunami or the shattered families who lost everything in the Pakistani earthquake last year? He did not build one school, offer one loaf of bread or pay for one vaccination. And yet he, not the devout Muslim doctors from California and Iowa who repair broken limbs and lives in the snowy peaks of Kashmir, speaks the loudest for what Muslims allegedly stand for. He has succeeded in presenting himself as the defender of Islam's poor, and the Western media has taken his jihadist message all the way to the bank.

...

The second truth — one that the West needs to come to grips with — is that there is no such human persona as a "moderate Muslim." You either believe in the oneness of God or you don't. You either believe in the teachings of his prophet or you don't. You either learn those teachings and apply them to the circumstances of life in the country you have chosen to live in, or you shouldn't live there.

...

But to look at angry Islam's reaction on television each night forces the question of what might be possible if all the lost energy of thousands of rioting Muslims went into the villages of Aceh to rebuild lost homes or into Kashmir to construct schools.

In fact, the most glaring truth is that Islam's mobsters fear the West has it right: that we have perfected the very system Islam's holy scriptures urged them to learn and practice. And having failed in their mission to lead their masses, they seek any excuse to demonize those of us in the West and to try to bring us down. They know they are losing the ideological struggle for hearts and minds, for life in all its different dimensions, and so they prepare themselves, and us, for Armageddon by starting fires everywhere in a display of Islamic unity intended to galvanize the masses they cannot feed, clothe, educate or house.


On moderate Muslims, specifically, I don't think Ijaz understands what we mean by 'moderate Muslims,' so I guess I should explain what I mean: tolerant Muslims. Since he is advocating Muslim tolerance, I think his definition is different. I think he means 'half-way Muslims,' which is not what I mean at all.

Still, that last paragraph is excellent: Islam's mobsters and terrorists are terrified that the West has it right, so terrified that they must, at all costs, prove to themselves that they are still relevant by destroying the West, first by humbling it into submission, then gradually by taking over. I don't know if the West has 'perfected the very system that Islam's holy scriptures urged them to learn' or not. I don't know enough to comment on that part, but I agree with the rest. The terrorists themselves are acting out of the all-consuming fear that the West has made them irrelevant.

If Rose is to be believed, some Muslims, like the moderates in Denmark, see this and are taking action to become relevant to the West not through violence, but through assimilating to it and practicing their religion within the boundaries of liberal democracy. This inspires hope that peaceful resolutions can work, hope that we are winning over some Muslim hearts and minds, but the rest of the world right now leaves me very uneasy about the foundations of that hope. Is it silly to say that I hope my hope is well-founded?

Well, anyway, here's hoping ...

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Free Muslims Coalition

This looks like a promising organization. Here's what seems to be their manifesto:
Taking our religion back one Muslim at a time

We believe in the re-interpretation of Islam for the 21st century where terrorism is not justified under any circumstances.

We believe in the separation of religion and state.

We believe that democracy is the best form of government.

We believe in the promotion of secularism in all forms of political activity.

We believe that equality for women is an inalienable right.

We believe that religion is a personal relationship between the individual and his or her God and is not to be forced on anyone.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Rent-a-mobs, Eh? Oh, and, Yes, Egypt Too

Instapundit links an Amir Taheri article on the Cartoon Wars:
The Muslim Brotherhood's position, put by one of its younger militants, Tariq Ramadan--who is, strangely enough, also an adviser to the British home secretary--can be summed up as follows: It is against Islamic principles to represent by imagery not only Muhammad but all the prophets of Islam; and the Muslim world is not used to laughing at religion. Both claims, however, are false.
...
The claim that the ban on depicting Muhammad and other prophets is an absolute principle of Islam is also refuted by history. Many portraits of Muhammad have been drawn by Muslim artists, often commissioned by Muslim rulers. There is no space here to provide an exhaustive list, but these are some of the most famous ...
...
Now to the second claim, that the Muslim world is not used to laughing at religion. That is true if we restrict the Muslim world to the Brotherhood and its siblings in the Salafist movement, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda. But these are all political organizations masquerading as religious ones.

Well, that's pretty interesting. He calls the rioters 'rent-a-mobs,' which makes sense to me. I've heard of the same thing in China, where the government buses show up at the schools, the students are told to get on, they head to the US embassy & are issued protest signs as they step off. The students have a field day; government sanctioned anarchy! Sweet! If you look at the photos of some of the Chinese protests last year, a lot of the 'angry protesters' are grinning and really seem to be having fun.

Anyway, remember the claim that an Egyptian newspaper had printed the cartoons back in October 2005? Well, Belmont Club links to scans of it at Egyptian Sandmonkey, an Egyptian blog. Very cool find.

In the comments to that post, a gentleman by the name of Mohamed charges Jyllands-Posten with hypocrisy:
By the way, hypocricy goes both ways, the guardian published an article on Monday about the same paper (yes the same exact hysterical defender of free speech) refusing to publish some cartoons three years ago citing they'd be insulting to christians and would be considered as unneccessary provocation.

Completely different situation. First, the Christians weren't threatening free speech, so what would be the point? The Jyllands-Posten editor made it very clear the Muhammed cartoons were published to test the boundaries, to see if, after the murder of Theo van Gogh for making a film that attacked Islam, Denmark was still free.

Second, a great many newspapers and magazines in the West have already published cartoons lampooning and insulting Jesus, Christianity and Christians. It's been done; it is, in fact, cliche, which is about the same in the publishing world as not being halal, eh?

This Is Evil ...

The People's First Suidaetic Aviation Regiment test pilot

'Anti-Cartoon Criminal Attacks Go Online'

Or so the BBC headline should have read. According to the article, more than 1600 Western websites have been defaced by hacker groups operating out of Muslim countries. The defacements have included many calls for a violent response to the cartoons' publication.

Defacing a website is not 'protest,' it's a crime.

###



Previous posts on this topic:
Following the Cartoon Wars
Questions for Mo
A Caricature of Islam (link roundup)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Following the Cartoon Wars

Instapundit Notes:

1. The New York Press editorial staff shows what they're made of:
The editorial staff of the alternative weekly New York Press walked out today, en masse, after the paper's publishers backed down from printing the Danish cartoons that have become the center of a global free-speech fight.
Hooah!

2. Iraqi blogger Alaa reacts to the cartoons:
In this respect I would like to draw attention to the statement issued by the venerable Al-Sistani, who while deprecating the blasphemous sacrilege, nevertheless clearly lays the blame on the extremists and Takfiris for the harm done to the image of Islam in the World, and need I remind you of the religious status of Al-Sistani. The rage of the Islamic world would be far more appropriate if it is directed against those who blow up mosques during prayer time, kidnap murder and torture innocent travelers, and all the other repertoire of atrocities committed in the name of Islam, It is this that is the real blasphemy and real affront to the name and reputation of our religion and its great founder the Prohpet (PBU), and not some silly cartoons in an obscure Danish paper that nobody would have noticed were it not for this artificial uproar of which the real agenda and purpose is all too apparent .


Both are worth reading in their entirety.

In related blogging, Gateway Pundit has been bloggin' up a storm on this. Please note I have not checked the accuracy of these, but they seem legit.
Gateway Pundit links to a Freedom for Egyptians post claiming the Danish cartoons were published in Egypt five months ago, resulting in no riots.
He then points us to evidence that
[t]he organisation Islamic Society in Denmark toured the Middle-East to create awareness about the cartoons, bringing 3 additional images, which HAD NEVER been published in any media source. Evidently, the originals were not offensive enough for the trip so they had to add these three...
He had scans of the three additional cartoons and has more information on the activities of this group.

While I haven't checked out Gateway Pundit's story, The Belmont Club has verified one of the additional cartoons, and that it was shown by the BBC who mistakenly claimed it was one of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. The BBC regrets the error, I'm sure.

Belmont Club also gives a very interesting analysis that you'll have to read nearly all of to get to this:
I think this time the terror puppet masters have miscalculated. They should have remembered that the key to every successful protection racket is keeping your own muscle from making independent demands and maintaining the rate of extortion low enough to make it less trouble to pay than to fight.


So maybe this is about a little more than just 12 cartoons of Muhammed. Obviously, in dictatorships, the government has to aquiesce to any public demonstrations. What are the political goals being pursued in this fight? Hmmm ...

For some very interesting thoughts, I've been following the intriguing blog All Things Beautiful. Her posts, Is There Any Difference Between Exquisitely Refined Multicultural Sensitivity And Shari'a:
But upon reflection, perhaps we as a nation can for once sit back during the predominantly European contest of who are the courageous and who are the cowards. Because, as The Telegraph affirms, "for let us not delude ourselves: it is organized violence, or the threat of violence, that has driven the decisions that have been made in the past week".

We as a nation are far beyond the point of rhetoric in proving our resolve to protect and defend our secular democracy and our civil liberties, and, may I remind you all, those of our allies too!
and Is Western Liberalism Modifying Its Core Beliefs:
At the core are the implicit flaws inherent in the dictum of both Multiculturalism and Political Correctness, best summarized by the brilliant, but fatally academic (I'll get to the 'fatally' in a moment) Professor Stanley Fish essay, 'Boutique Multiculturalism, or Why Liberals Are Incapable of Thinking about Hate Speech'.
are particularly insightful, I thought.

Anyway, over at Captain's Quarters, Captain Ed posts:
A few people have already reminded backers of the cartoonists of Christian outrage over Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ", a picture of a crucifix dunked into a beaker of urine. Other artistic depictions of Christian iconography have also gathered vitriol from religious and conservative circles, such as Chris Ofili's "Holy Virgin Mary".

However, the two issues differ in one important aspect. The exhibitions of the two artists mentioned received federal funds for staging these pieces of "art", and the reaction to their poor taste came from the support of the National Endowment for the Arts. No one disputed the right of the artists to create their offensive displays, but what really rankled most was that their money went into funding their exhibitions.


Actually, the two issues differ in one important aspect: Christians didn't threaten to kill the artists or bomb the museums, nor did they burn down an embassy, or even anyone's flag. The other aspects are of far lesser importance.

Finally, sorry to give you even more of what you've probably already read at Instapundit, but this had to be linked. Jewish Street Explodes:
April 1, 2006. New York -- In response to a series of offensive cartoons published in an Iranian newspaper and subsequently printed in every newspaper around the globe, including many which had refused to publish the now-forgotten "anti-Muslim" cartoons last winter, the "Jewish street" erupted. At Brandeis University, a course on Lesbian motifs in Yiddish literature was briefly interrupted as students asked their professor what he thought about the controversy ...


###



Previous post on this topic: Questions for Mo

Questions for Mo

A blogger by the name of mo visited my link roundup, A Caricature of Islam, and left a message:
I really was upset about the cartoons. Why make such cartoons when they are infactual and false?
If people really read about the prophet peace be upon him they would realise he was a mercy to mankind.
Moreover, as Muslims we aren't allowed to draw pictures of Prophets, furthermore, we aren't meant to disrespect someone elses religion. We respect all prophets, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, so why not respect our dear Prophet


Frankly, I understand if Muslims are offended by some of the cartoons published by Jyllands-Posten. I have been offended by other cartoons published about causes I care deeply about.

However, Muslims threatening to kill the cartoonists and bomb the newspaper, and actually burning the Danish and Norwegian embassies, only make me think the cartoons were accurate. Mo, what do you say about the violent response of Muslims? Are threats and violence an appropriate response? If so, if Muslims do not condemn such acts, or if they make excuses ("but these people were very angry when they did these things ..."), then the cartoons were quite right.

Also, whether or not you respect the prophet Jesus is meaningless, because he is a Muslim figure. A Muslim respecting the prophet Jesus is not tolerance, it is merely following Islam. Real tolerance would be respecting the Christian divine Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior of humanity, one part of the Holy Trinity, when you don't believe he is any of that. Because that's what you are asking; you are asking Westerners to respect your religion, a religion most of us consider utterly false.

So what do you say, Mo? Do you only respect your own Muslim prophet Jesus, or do you respect Christianity and Christian beliefs and symbols? And given that many in the West are atheists, do you respect them? Do they have a right to not believe in any religion and to express their beliefs openly in articles and cartoons? There are several Buddhist temples in my hometown; do you also respect Buddhism and Buddhists?

Basically, what I'm asking, Mo, is are Muslims tolerant, or are they simply demanding we all become Muslims?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Caricature of Islam

I was just mentioning how the opposition are making clowns out of themselves, and now we have the Cartoon Muhammed Outrage. How's a blogger gonna get a laugh when reality is using up his punch lines?

Update: Mo, a Muslim blogger, posts a comment, and I reply.
Update 2: More coverage and deeper analysis of the situation at Following the Cartoon Wars.
Update 3 (Feb. 19): Moderate Muslims?

Roundup of Roundups Updated Below:

Update:

  • All Things Beautiful posts "The Cartoon War," which has a lot of great information and a link roundup three times as big as this one, with little overlap.

  • Protein Wisdom addresses the philosophy of it all in "Identity Politics".*

  • FrontPage has an excellent article covering the reactions to the cartoons.

  • Belmont Club has a brief but excellent post.

  • The Moderate Voice has an alternative view and interesting series of comments below.


Did I miss any good ones?

(Mug tip to Inaka Yabanjin for the link to Face of Muhammed. All the new links are from The Gates of Vienna, All Things Beautiful, and Protein Wisdom roundups.)

*Does anyone else find the term 'will to power' tremendously grating?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Advice Needed

Thanks!

The deadline passed, the decision was made, & I thought the post a bit too personal to leave up. Anne & Jean, thank you very much for your thoughts.

I'll post something in the comments on the results.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Was I the Only One ...

... who expected Hamas to win the Palestinian elections?

Well? Was I?

After the SOTU Address last night, I heard one commentator talk about how surprised the administration was that Hamas won. If that's true, then the State Department has been shoveling bovine solid waste at them hard and heavy on this.

Really, the Palestinian education system indoctrinates them that the area called Israel is stolen Palestinian territory, that the Israelis are evil, genocidal terrorists, and that they must destroy Israel and retake this land. We've seen the photos of small, Palestinian children dressed up like suicide bombers. The Arab world reinforces this, the UN (along with additional money from the Arabs, Europe, and the US) pays for it, and the only party promising to make good on all this was Hamas. What else could have happened?

Or am I just cynical?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Happy Tet!

The Vietnamese community here in Oklahoma celebrated their new year's eve Saturday night, and we all woke up in the year of the dog yesterday.

Speaking of which, the Sunday Oklahoman had a front-page article on how the state budget is spent. More than half of it goes to education. This comes out after the local branch of the NEA teachers' union filed a lawsuit this month to increase education's share of the state budget. (Original is registration only: Google cache here.) The Oklahoman notes:

The Oklahoma Education Association wants $4 billion more to educate students and upgrade school facilities statewide. The lawsuit supposedly reveals vast funding problems in the state's school finance system but we've yet to hear a plausible solution as to how to pay for what it deems an "adequate" education.

The entire budget of the Great State of Oklahoma is $6.2 billion. $3.1 billion already goes to education, so the OEA is actually suing for a total education budget that exceeds the entire state budget.

One reason it's not so much fun blogging politics anymore is that our honorable opponents have turned themselves into clowns recently. Galloway in a leotard, Kerry rushing home from Davos to lead a filibuster, the teachers' union here ...

Anyway, the Republicans aren't doing so well themselves -- more lobbying corruption? Man, and after McCain-Feingold, I thought they all went honest. (cough)

Yeah, welcome to the year of the dog.

Monday, January 23, 2006

George Galloway Leotarded!?

This is utterly unbelievable. It has to be a joke, but I can't see anything to suggest it is. Anyone else? Please, someone show me this is satire.

Sample:
First he shocked TV viewers and his colleagues by pretending to be a cat and lapping milk from Rula Lenska's hand.

Now George Galloway is set to attract further derision after performing a dance routine on Celebrity Big Brother - in a tight-fitting, red leotard.

The Respect MP, already under fire for taking part in the show instead of representing his constituents, ad-libbed a dance routine for his latest stunt.


(Mug tip to Right Thinking People in the appropriately-titled post, "Gaaah! My Eyes!")

Update: No, apparently it's real. Here's a Times Online report on it:
Mr Galloway, a left-winger who was expelled from the Labour Party over his attacks on Tony Blair and the decision to commit British troops to the invasion of Iraq, inflicted a shock defeat on his former party when he narrowly captured the Bethnal Green seat from Ms King, a Blair loyalist, in May's general election.

Last night, he sauntered along the red carpet into the Big Brother house to a chorus of boos from the crowd, before pausing to make a victory sign and shout "Stop the war!".

Once inside the house he introduced himself to the others, accompanying each handshake with the words: "I’m a Member of Parliament".


Update 2: Pajamas Media is on the case with a better, er, worse, photo, and interesting links.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Pressing On Towards the Chocolate Cookies

Well, I've started a new class, taken the GRE, am preparing to apply for grad school, have been asked to read at a poetry reading & have been preparing for that (crikey! poetry is hard after so long!). I have started some part-time work, and am looking for more. If all goes well, next fall I'll be a happy grad assistant, torturing undergrads and living the freewheeling life on campus.

As a concerned man, I have to say that the typical 57% female, 43% male ratio seems to hold on campus, and I am very concerned that our educational system seems to be failing boys. As a single man, however, I have to say there is an up side ...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Monday, January 09, 2006

"More Blogging Soon ..."

Did I actually write that? I don't think so; it must be aliens. (Speaking of which, saw a sign today outside a local restaurant that said "Earth is full, go home.")

Anyway, lots is happening in my non-blog life right now, though whether any of it will be productive or not is still up in the air. So, I'm hiatusing for a bit.

Catch ya later!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006