Friday, January 03, 2003

So the West may really have brought 9/11 on itself, by discovering and developing oil reserves in a country ruled by the Saudis, who are from the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula, where the inhabitants were largely bedouins, desert warriors, who conquered most of the peninsula and drove the ruling family out, into Jordan where they now rule. The Saudis were and are adherents of the Jalafi or Wahabi sect of Islam and they have used their oil wealth to spread their fundamentalism throughout the Muslim world. If we continue this appeasement of them, we will never be rid of people like bin Laden. Maybe we should have allowed Saddam to overthrow them in 1990, and THEN defeated him. Without the Saudis calling the shots in the coalition, we might have have gone on to eliminate all of Iraq's ability to make war, including his WMDs, but I doubt it. Bush I's advisors thought that Saddam couldn't survive after losing the war so decisively. They were hideously wrong, and one of them is now Secretary of State.

The Democrats' Next Big Thing. At least, we'll have more time to evaluate him than we did Bill Clinton, I hope we've learned from that experience. They have shown a tendency to nominate people nobody has ever heard about before and two of them have been elected. Fortunately, however, Edwards or Kerry or whoever they nominate won't have Ross Perot to help him this time.

This from Best of the Web:
What's an Arab Life Worth?

Last April a Palestinian woman was brutally murdered, stabbed more than 25 times. On Tuesday her killer went free after a court sentenced him to six months, time he'd already served.

An Israeli outrage? No. It happened in Jordan. The killer, Hussein Ahmad, was the father of the 18-year-old victim, Amal. They lived in the Hiteen refugee camp. The Jordan Times describes what happened:

On April 21, the day of the murder, the governor contacted the defendant and informed him that his daughter was in government custody. The father went and signed a guarantee that he would not harm or kill his daughter, the court said.

Shortly after arriving home, however, the defendant took his daughter to a room and closed the door behind him, the court record said. The defendant began questioning his daughter about her disappearance, preaching to her to be a good girl, the record continued, but she replied: "It is my life. I am free to do what I want." . . .

The court said Ahmad drew a knife he carried due to the nature of his job as the employee of a junkyard, stabbed his daughter all over her body, and then went out and told his family he had killed her.

The court went easy on Ahmad "because he killed his daughter in a 'fit of rage.' " The paper adds: "In an earlier story reported by The Jordan Times in April, when the woman was first reported killed, medical officials who examined her said they proved she had not been involved in any sexual activities and that her hymen was intact." Presumably had she not been a virgin, her murderer would have gotten an even lighter sentence.

I've wondered where those 72 virgins come from. I guess this explains it. For every martyr Islamic culture produces, it also has to produce 72 dark eyed virgins to service him. But that would imply that a young girl's murder is 72 times less heinous than the loss of a young man, and that doesn't include murder-suicide bombers which are the basis of family pride.

I'd hate to be the P.R. guy trying to improve Saudi Arabia's public image with stuff like this coming in all the time.

Let this be a lesson to you!

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Jeff Jarvis offers "advice for Democrat pundits." I don't think it will work, otherwise Alan Combs would be in O'Reilly's spot.

Secondly, liberals already have their own cable news channels. They're called CNN and MSNBC, in addition to ABC, NBC and CBS. They are chockablock with "telegenic, intelligent, entertaining, funny, self-assured and outspoken" pundits. OK, most of them aren't funny, and their intelligence is suspect or they wouldn't be liberals, but they do have some youngish pundits in training.

If Phil Donahue isn't liberal enough, I don't know who would be--oops, he won't do because of his "oozing superiority." I thought that was part of the definition of liberal.

Come to think of it, why would anybody with a brain want to encourage liberal punditry anyway? The real reason for FNC's success is that it offers different points of view from the rest of the media. I don't know how you could achieve that with more liberals.

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Virginia Postrel covers the current state of the cloning debate in a nutshell. I don't think this Raelian thing has helped the pro-cloning side.

Maybe this will be the only way to bring the birthrate in some developed countries back up to maintenance levels, but it's pretty sad that these children would be born into homes as weird and self-obsessed as these people appear to be.

The kids are supposed to be the ticket to eternal life for the true believers, but I wonder how they'll be treated when it becomes obvious that they are not the same people as their parent/twins or that they are not perfect, but subject to premature aging, as is Dolly the sheep, or some other defect that isn't immediately apparent. It's not like you could perform post-partum abortions. If aliens are behind this thing, it would be a good idea for them to speak to the U.N. before their disciples are rounded up and institutionalized. More likely, though, we'll be treated to another Heaven's Gate type fiasco.

Since everybody else is doing it, I predict that in 2003:

That the North Korean unpleasantness will be discovered to be part of a secret pact with Iraq to provide N.K. with oil in exchange for creating a diversion from the impending war with Saddam.

There will be more atrocities by Muslim terrorists, and the "moderates" will remain silent or blame the victims.

Evangelical "Christians" will continue to claim that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not Christian, that "God hates fags!" and that everyone else will go to hell.

James Lileks will tell us all about potty training.

Glenn Reynolds will hit the big time as a rock star and give up his professorship for life as a glam rocker.

Saddam Hussein will flee Iraq and live in France in opulence.

I will turn 55, unless I die first.

Blogging will replace the nightly news on three of the four broadcast networks.

New York will unveil plans to replace the WTC towers with an enlarged version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Pisa will sue.

Instapundit calls this article "good news about booze."
Being a Mormon and a teetotaler, I find this a little disturbing. In ages past, a little alcohol was what one might call Mother Nature's safe drinking water solution. But the Word of Wisdom, a revelation received by Joseph Smith in 1833, is introduced as follows:
To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days´┐Ż

Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.

Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation´┐Ż

This revelation admonishs total abstinence from alcoholic drinks, tobacco and hot drinks, which are limited to coffee and black tea. The LDS Church has never added colas or other caffeinated drinks, however. All members are expected to follow these rules and one cannot obtain a temple recommend, which is the approval to receive the highest ordinances of the church including marriage for time and eternity.

I first note that the article is somewhat ambiguous as to whether the medical research establishs alcohol itself or the various drinks that contain it as being beneficial. I know that wine contains anti-oxidants that can help keep the arteries healthy, but I don't know about beer or hard liquor. I wonder if any studies have ever been done on Everclear.

Next, I notice that the article emphasizes that the benefits extend only to moderate drinking, no more than two glasses of wine per day. Societies that show the benefit are quite intolerant of drunkenness. Part of the warning above is based on the evils and designs of conspiring men, men like those tobacco executives who testified under oath that they didn't believe tobacco was harmful. It is the nature of modern business and advertising to urge maximum consumption, the recent notes about drinking responsibly, notwithstanding. Most of these comments are along the lines of making sure you won't drive drunk, not telling you not to get drunk. Alcohol is a mind and mood altering drug. After a certain threshold, the user loses all judgment and self-control. And I needn't go into all the statistics about drunken driving, broken families and fetal alcohol syndrome. So, even though I have coronary artery disease, I also have some alcoholism in my ancestry, and I'm not interested in finding out whether I'm a candidate. Over all, I think that people should take little comfort in the health benefits of moderate drinking of, say, wine with dinner, unless they really live that way.

Monday, December 30, 2002

At last, a clear explication of the term "neocon".