Thursday, February 16, 2006

"Records Were Made To Be Broken" Dept

The inimitable Steve Martin has the scoop on Dick Cheney's latest hunting escapade.

HT: Instapundit

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"Whew, That's a Relief" Dept

Walter Williams eases my mind.

HT: The Corner

Monday, February 13, 2006

Time to reinforce my preexisting opinions

I've argued for a long time that what cripples Arabs most is their culture of hate -- for example, that the only thing Arabs have to unite them is the fact that they hate the same people, but the trouble is (a) hatred is evil; (b) hatred destroys your manhood, your intelligence, your strength, and anything else that would make it possible to win in the long term; (c) Arabs have historically hated other Arabs almost as much as they hate Jews. The worst thing you can do to a child is raise him up to hate other people...and the Wahabbis and Palestinians appear to specialize in it.

Now comes an Arab commentator who says I'm right. (Not in so many words since she has never heard of me, of course.)

I suppose we could both be wrong, but it's always nice to know somebody else doesn't think you're crazy.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

"Bush Has To Go" Dept

Randy Guidry has forwarded me a copy of a letter from a fellow who doesn't think much of Dubya:

During the Clinton Administration I had an extremely good and well paying job. I took numerous vacations and had several very expensive vacation homes. Life was easy … I had virtually everything I could dream of.

Since President Bush took office, I have watched my entire life change for the worse. I lost my job. I lost my two sons in that terrible Iraqi War. I lost my homes. I lost my health insurance.

As a matter of fact I lost virtually everything and became homeless.

Adding insult to injury, when the authorities found me living like an animal, instead of helping me, they arrested me.

I will do anything that Senator Kerry and Senator Kennedy want to insure that a Democrat is back in the White House come next year.

Bush has to go.

Saddam Hussein

I should note that I'm posting this as a joke, not as an actual political comment...that is, I'm posting it 'cause I think it's funny, not 'cause I think it's true. This is a general rule that holds true for any post labeled "..." Dept.

Friday, February 10, 2006

New-to-me blonde joke (not many of those left)

Julius Guillermo IM's me the following vignette:

A guy is sitting in a bar having a beer next to a blonde who is reading a newspaper, the front-page headline of which reads "Twelve Brazilian Skiers Killed in Avalanche."

Sobbing uncontrollably at the tragic news, the blonde turns to the guy and says,

"My gosh! How many is a brazilian?"

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Tribute to a good and wise man

Alexandra von Maltzan remembers her father, literary giant Borislav Pekic, who suffered greatly under the Communists in Yugoslavia:

My father used to say that you can never blame others for their cowardice. Everyone has different considerations and aspects to worry about. Some worry about their jobs, some their very lives, some their sponsors. One can only look to oneself and stand upright for what you believe in.

My father was betrayed many times by close friends, in a totalitarian regime, but he always forgave them. He said that they had considerations of their livelihood, which he did not have to worry about. They had considerations for their very lives, which my father had given to the cause of freedom long ago. They had considerations of their families' wellbeing, which my father did not have (when he married my mother he made his position clear, and she understood that, when I came along I simply was not asked. Heh.)

He forgave them, not because they know not what they do, but because they have the normal human weaknesses and survival instincts which my father gave up for the cause of freedom.
C. S. Lewis once said that the virtue of courage is a prerequisite for the practice of all other virtues, because otherwise one is virtuous only when virtue has no cost. There are times when something needs to be done, and yet we know that if we step up and do this needful thing, we will pay a heavy personal price. Courage is the virtue that makes us willing to pay that price; cowardice makes us say, “The price is too high; I will not pay it.”

But courage isn’t the only virtue. Prudence is a virtue as well. Sometimes the price really is too high. When we applaud somebody’s behavior as courageous, we implicitly affirm his prudence; we say that the cost was not disproportionate to the needfulness. When we accuse somebody of cowardice, we also, I think, are implying not just that he should have paid the price, but that he knew that he ought to. For if he sincerely believed that the cost outweighed the usefulness, then our true complaint is with his judgment, not his courage.

But how do we weigh another’s cost? I know a husband, for example, who for years vainly advised his wife to ignore criticism from silly people. He was himself the sort of person who had no particular emotional investment in what other people – especially stupid or ignorant people – thought or said of him; and he could not comprehend that his wife was wired for the “words of affirmation” love language. She couldn’t help but care what other people thought of her. And therefore he constantly underestimated the true cost, to her, of taking any action that would invite foolish criticism; and tended to be frustrated by her “cowardice.” Only when he came to understand the difference in temperament, did he realize that instead of pushing her to take the criticism in stride, he ought to be acting so as to make sure that if anybody was going to be criticised, it would be him, not her – not because he was braver, but because the cost was so much lower for him. What was called for was not bravery, but prudence.

It is always hard, when we ourselves are willing to make sacrifices for what is right, to see others who don’t take their place beside us because they are not willing to match our courage. The greater the sacrifice we ourselves have made, the harder it is not to feel that we have earned the right to demand sacrifices of others, for our cause – that they owe it to us to pay the price we ourselves have been willing to pay. But Borislav Pekic saw too deeply and clearly into the human heart, to be taken in by that temptation. On the Cross, Jesus famously forgave His tormentors, “for they know not what they do.” Pekic forgave those who failed him for a different reason: he forgave them because he knew, all too well, that, “I know not what I ask them to do.”

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

"For The Sake Of World Harmony" Dept

Thanks to an e-mail correspondent who (a) doesn't know the original source, thus making it impossible for me to provide a link, and (b) doesn't want Muslim nutjobs "protesting" by beheading her children with a dull saw, and therefore prefers to remain anonymous.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Isn't there a NYMEX contract for that?

A correspondent, speaking of a question of Texas state government currently under debate, gives his opinion and then observes:

"I have written these things exactly to my State Rep and Senator. I would do more, but I cannot afford to outright purchase or even rent State Reps and Senators yet. I am waiting to buy on the dip."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

On the excrescent folly that is the Space Shuttle

A great line from the New York Post today in re the Space Shuttle: "The Space Shuttle is a barely operational portable toilet strapped to several million pounds of high explosives."

Long before the Challenger disaster, persons of intelligence who were not blinded by bureaucratic partisanship, were complaining about the complete folly, in every respect, of the Space Shuttle. Even by the standards of insanity that tend to prevail whenever bureaucrats are shielded from responsibility for their folly by the government's powers of coercive taxation, the Space Shuttle was an egregious piece of stupidity that should have ended the careers of every person who endorsed it. In fact, way back in 1980, the prescient Gregg Easterbrook penned this all-too-on-target piece called "Beam Me Out of This Death Trap, Scotty!" -- a piece that not only outlined the obscene and utterly unacceptable level of risk involved in the engineering of the shuttle, but also exposed the Enronesque accounting dishonesties perpetrated by the NASA bureaucrats in their attempts to perpetuate their agency funding. I repeat that this article was published a year before Columbia's first flight.