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Saturday, April 06, 2002

Interesting thought from reader George Beckworth:

"You state the fundamental answer to the question well. It is manifested in the way the Muslims treat any successful minority in the Arab world. Ask any Coptic Christian in Egypt about this.

When the Russians made their move to destabilize Lebanon in 1958, they used envy of the prosperous Maronite Christians as a propaganda tool (my Army unit was send there in June 1958 along with the Marines). If a degree of stability is maintained in Lebanon, the Christians and Druze will become as prosperous as the Israelis and the same hatred and violence will be directed toward them."
You can look farther and farther back with your time-telescope, and still see the same problems in the Arab world. If things are ever to change it will be the result of drastic measures.

Glenn mentioned my post on the peace activists who hate Israel and the US alike. And he also linked to this article: Among the Bourgeoisophobes, by David Brooks. It's very worth reading. It has the ideas I was groping towards laid out with X-Ray clarity.

... Of all the great creeds of the 19th century, pretty much the only one still thriving is this one, bourgeoisophobia. Marxism is dead. Freudianism is dead. Social Darwinism is dead, along with all those theories about racial purity that grew up around it. But the emotions and reactions that Flaubert, Stendhal, and all the others articulated in the 1830s are still with us, bigger than ever. In fact, bourgeoisophobia, which has flowered variously and spread to places as diverse as Baghdad, Ramallah, and Beijing, is the major reactionary creed of our age ...

... And once the bourgeoisophobes had experienced the basic spasm of reaction, they soon settled on the Americans and Jews as two of the chief objects of their ire. Because, as Henry Steele Commager once noted, no country in the world ever succeeded like America, and everybody knew it. And no people in the European experience ever achieved such sustained success as the Jews ...

... In the 20th century the Americans' aggressive commercialism was symbolized by the unstoppable spread of jeans, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Disney, and Microsoft. America, in the bourgeoisophobes' eyes, is the land of Bart Simpson, boy bands, boob jobs, and "Baywatch." The land of money and guns. Of insincere smiles and love handles. So by the time Osama bin Laden came along, hatred of America was well rehearsed, a finished product just waiting for him to pick it up. In 1998 bin Laden declared war on "the crusader-Jewish alliance, led by the United States and Israel." He added, "Since I was a boy I have been at war with and harboring hatred towards the Americans." He was only echoing Toynbee, who 30 years earlier said, "The United States and Israel must be today the two most dangerous of the 125 sovereign states among which the land surface of this planet is at present partitioned." ...
... the major reactionary creed of our age ... Precisely!

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Pentagon burning
Pentagon minutes after being hit

I encountered this picture at the DOD photo site I mentioned below. The Pentagon was built right at the beginning of World War Two. The project was led by General Leslie Groves, a human bulldozer who ate red tape for breakfast. It was completed in about 6 months! General Marshall had promised him, as a reward for success, a combat command.

Alas, his success was his undoing. There was another project that needed an unstoppable object for a leader. It was called MANHATTAN.
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Friday, April 05, 2002

Via Fevered Rants: Missile factory blows up in Syria

An explosion has been reported at a leading Syrian weapons factory, killing 35 people ... The Homs complex produces Scud C and D missiles as well as nonconventional weapons, according to Middle East Newsline....

... The Homs explosion is said to be the latest in a series of accidents that have taken place during Syria's missile and nonconventional weapons programs. In 1991, the Syrian Health Ministry closed down five pharmaceuticals plants, including one in Homs, during what Western intelligence agencies determined were tests of chemical weapons.
Gee whiz, sounds like those guys are having a run of bad luck! Amazin how the cards fall some times.
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As for this creature Arafat, I will only say, as they say in Manila, Isang bala ka lang.
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Steve at Happy Fun Pundit brings up good points about those activists who are in Ramallah to be human shields or something. Here's one:

What's wrong with this picture?

* How the hell did they get there so fast?

Last time I checked, international travel didn't really cater to the spontaneity-minded public nuisance... you need to arrange visas and buy tickets and pack and all that good stuff. It's been, what, 40 hours since the Netanya attack and these guys are already on the scene? Do they keep a bag packed with ten day's worth of clothes and a Pete Seeger cassette? Did they jump into a yellow school bus and sing "99 bottles of culturally neutral beverage on the wall, 99 bottles of culturally neutral beverage" while driving across several less-than-stable-and-not-awfully-fond-of-pale-folk countries?
Steve also asks the pertinent question, why are none of these people interested in protecting Israelis?

I'll tell you why.

Leftizoid "activists" hate Israel for the very same reason that Islamic thugs hate Israel. And what's more, both groups hate the US for the that same reason.

Israel started out as a Socialist we-are-all-workers- living -together-on-the-Kibbutz place. But they weren't fooling anybody. From the beginning it was a country that people are trying to get into, not out of. That's a dead givaway. Maybe they didn't wear neckties in the Knesset, but Jews were working hard, getting ahead, inventing things, prospering, thinking for themselves. The more European welfare states stagnate and the more the Islamic dictatorships stagnate, the more they both hate Israel. And the USA.

We make their program look bad. And it's the same program! An elite in the glossy halls of government will issue orders, and all will be happy and prosperous and stable. Same concept in Brussels and Bagdad. Same thing that Hillary and her crew have in mind for us.

If Israel was an improverished Third-World command economy, they could probably grind up Palestinians to make Purina Pig Chow, and none of the activists or Arab brothers would say a word. Didn't Syria wipe a whole city off the map to get rid of some troublemakers, and where-oh-where were our activists then ? ...

Thursday, April 04, 2002

NOTE. If you use any Yahoo services (such a Yahoo Groups or E-Mail): Yahoo has added a new list to its account information page. A list of all sorts of special offers and marketing communications . Guess what -- they are so sure will like these things that the default setting for all of them is YES. You may want to go here to change them to NO.

They also feel so warm and friendly towards you that of course you won't mind them using your postal address and phone number! If you are a persnickity person like me may want to also change that those to NO.
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I've been looking at a great Department of Defense Picture site (Via Andrea Harris).

There are a lot of photos -- I've only had time to look at a few of them. I liked
this one especially. Here are the notes of Chief Photographer's Mate Johnny Bivera, USN:

"Another great reason to be a Navy photographer is the documentation of unsung heroes. The Navy Seabees are one of those rare types that go above and beyond normal conditions. In the beginning, they repaired the runway at Kandahar every day because all the ingredients to make good concrete had not yet arrived. When they had everything they needed, the day shift was so excited about the repair project that they refused to quit for the day. … So the day and night shift worked throughout the night, with planes coming and going, until the job was complete. I have never been around such an industrious group, and I feel great being able to record them for history."[ Naval Mobile Construction Battalion-133 of Gulfport, Miss ]

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Peace is not the absence of war, but a virtue based on
strength of character. --Spinoza

I'm posting too many quotes and not enought thoughts. I don't HAVE any thoughts; the brain is petrified or ossified or calcified ... needs to be steam-cleaned or brain-washed or deconstructed or something. And if I could collect any thoughts they would be bittermost rants about working harder and harder only to pay more and more taxes and go deeper and deeper into ...

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Indoors or out, no one relaxes,
In March, that month of wind and taxes,
The wind will presently disappear,
The taxes last us all the year
-- Ogden Nash

April, April,
laugh thy girlish laughter;
Then, the moment after,
weep thy girlish tears!
-- William Watson

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Books seem to me to be pestilent things, and infect all that trade in them ... with something very perverse and brutal. Printers, binders, sellers and others that make a trade and gain out of them have universally so odd a turn and corruption of mind that they have a way of dealing peculiar to themselves, and not conformed to the good of society and that general fairness which cements mankind. -- John Locke

(As a former bookseller, I'm allowed to post this.)

Monday, April 01, 2002

I enjoy Science Fiction, but I'm very picky. It's been quite a while since I read anything that I would consider worthy of mention in RJ. But I'm re-reading a book that came out a few years ago, SOULS IN THE GREAT MACHINE, by Sean McMullen. I just love it. It is set in Australia some 2,000 years from now. Civilization has regrouped after the Great Winter, but many technologies have been lost or proscribed. New machines and customs have developed along strange and delightful lines.

...The galley train was about the height of an average man and built of waxcloth over a wooden frame. It was shaped like a steamlined, articulated worm on wheels, and had a walkway with a light railing along the roof. Being human-powered, it accelerated slowly ... as the train rolled out among the houses of Rutherglen, the conductor showed Lemorel to a cell, and she entered through the hatch in the roof. She settled into the seat, and he zeroed the counter beside her pedals with a key.
"Know the rules?" He asked.
"Two hours pushing and an hour to rest, for as long as the train is moving."
"And any extra will be credited. Likewise you will be debited if you decide not to pedal..."

The story centers on the creation of the Calculor, an attempt to duplicate certain legendary devices called computers. But the Calculor has human components. Thousands of people have been shanghaied into service, doing calculations on abaci, while data moves about on wires and levers.

"...the Calculor made a whirring, bustling mixture of sounds when working at full capacity, and there was nothing else in the world that was even remotely like it. The hiss and click of tens of thousands of abacus beads underlaid the soft rattle and clatter of gears and register levers, while the many banks of transfer wires hummed weird chords that were sometimes strung into unsettling melodies..."

I won't attempt to describe the intricacies of the plot. It's complex book of great verve and panache, and very funny. It crackles and fizzes with the energy of young people ruthlessly (for good reasons) pushing new technologies forward and bumping indignant traditionalists out of the way.
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To sit back hoping that some day, some way, someone will make things
right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping that he will eat you
last -- but eat you he will." --Ronald Reagan

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Charlene just told me to read Andrew Sullivan. He's right on today ...

... Secondly, this is indeed a war, as prime minister Sharon has said. Yassir Arafat is part of a nexus of terror that has links to Baghdad, is armed by the Iranian dictators, fomented by the Syrians, and financed by the Saudis. Tom Friedman is absolutely right that if the strategy of suicide bombing is allowed to work in Israel, it is only a matter of time before it is deployed in America. And, as Friedman notes, it is not some ad hoc strategy concocted by the Palestinians. It is a conscious, premeditated war-plan devised and supported by almost every Arab state...
Charlene also eagerly told me about some amazing news at Instapundit, but for once I was ahead of her; I just replied What day is this?
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Coral Bark MapleMore of our Japanese Maples are leafing out.
This one is a Coral Bark Maple,
Acer palmatum "Sango kaku."

My picture doesn't do it justice,
the coral color of the bark is brilliant,
almost fluorescent. The color is also
brightest in the winter, when the tree is
without leaves. I would love to
see one in the snow.

Sunday, March 31, 2002

Sometimes words just aren't enough. That's why you need Powerpoint. For a good example I am linking you to the GETTYSBURG POWERPOINT PRESENTATION. (Via Dan Pink)

...Uh, good morning. Just a second while I get this connection to work. Do I press this button here? Function-F7? No, that's not right. Hmmm. Maybe I'll have to reboot. Hold on a minute. Um, my name is Abe Lincoln and I'm your president. While we're waiting, I want to thank Judge David Wills, chairman of the committee supervising the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery. It's great to be here, Dave, and you and the committee are doing a great job. Gee, sometimes this new technology does have glitches, but we couldn't live without it, could we? Oh - is it ready? OK, here we go: Click here to start

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I had a bad link on my earlier post about Peter Pribik's weblog, you can find it here. Also, several people complained that they couldn't link to my posts. I was afflicted with that common Blogger problem of disappearing archives. (The solution is to go to archives from the post window, then hit republish all.)
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For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers
appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of
the turtledove is heard in our land.

The Song of Solomon 2:11-12