Saturday, December 24, 2011

Food for Thought On this day in History

There was no room at the inn for Mary. Just as would happen today, the innkeeper didn’t announce, “Folks, we have a woman among us who is about to have a child, let’s a couple of families combine rooms so she can have a bed! Let us keep vigil! Let us fast, then feast!”

Just as would happen today, the other guests didn’t rise up and say, “O blessed night, O holy night that God has sent this woman among us.” They gave her a cursory glance, saw she was poor, said, “Oh – too bad,” and sent her to the barn.

Just as today, the clerk at the chain motel would say, “Sorry, fifty-nine dollars plus tax,” and the rest of us would likely watch Mary trail back to her broken-down van as we go on snacking, texting, and scrolling through our Dish listings.

And yet in our better moments, we carry our little prayer around with us as Mary carried Christ. Like Mary, we’re in solidarity with all the poor, all those in exile, all who are powerless, frightened, weak. Like Jesus in today’s Gospel, we rejoice that the kingdom is revealed to the childlike. And just as back then, that prayer moves the world. Just as back then, that prayer is seen by the stars.

Reflection based on
Luke 10: 21-24 by Heather King

When iPhoto's Faces App Gets It Wrong

To its credit, iPhoto's face recognition technology does get it right, most of the time.

Look who iPhoto confuses with an Arab Islamic extremist:

Look who iPhoto confuses with a Danish cartoonist:

(Jixie Juny is… my cat!)

Look who iPhoto confuses with (someone
wearing a mask depicting) Jacques Chirac:

Merry Christmas to all our readers and, for that matter, to everybody else…

Friday, December 23, 2011

Just Thinking Inside the Box, Here...

I’ve got an idea... let’s deindustrialize and impoverish western civilization on an unproven theory so that we can try to drop the worlds mean temperature by 0.6 degrees!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Little Stickers and Platitudes Insufficient

Dateline Tibet: Just when nobody could possibly need Chinese investment in shabby Eurozone bonds, the Dalai Lama is asking Catherine Ashton to keep asking China for EU diplomats to visit Tibet.
Zhu on Monday accused Western governments of funding the Dalai Lama's India-based movement to weaken China for strategic reasons.

He called the Dalai Lama a "savage" who gets young monks to set themselves on fire to provoke anti-Chinese feeling. He added that Chinese intelligence has evidence the head-in-exile of the Kirti monastery in Tibet, Kirti Rinpoche, organised three of the 12 recent self-immolations.
Regime change in China!, they demanded!
"Should the Chinese side reject the request, the EU could issue a strong statement of deep concern and raise the issue at international fora, such as the United Nations Human Rights Council."
To which the response will surely be “keep asking”, or “keep asking and...”
But China's man in charge of Tibet, vice-minister Zhu Weiqun, at a rare meeting with press in Brussels also on Monday, ruled out the possibility.

"China is an independent country and we have the full capacity to handle problems on our territory. So under no circumstances will we allow foreign fact-finding missions into the Tibetan autonomous region ... I don't believe that the interference of any foreign force could achieve anything constructive. Indeed it could very well lead to an escalation of the crisis and to wars," he told this website.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why Maximize Employment when you can Maximize Welfare ?

In addition to Krugmann’s suggestion that the tax rate on “the wealthy”, whichever half or third of earners he thinks that is, should be 70%, the figure is derived by the suggestion that this will “maximize welfare” for the lower and middle class.

Obsessiveness about non-existent social castes and class aside, the correct term is Low/ Middle/ High INCOME. Like this bunghole apologist for State-Command-Economics, it’s rather obvious that the identification is one they’re so fluid in, that they forgot that they’re supposed to hide their pointless society impoverishing agitprop.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thomas Sowell Endorses Newt Gingrich: "How much weight should we give to Newt's 'baggage' when we are talking about the future of a nation?"

If Newt Gingrich were being nominated for sainthood, many of us would vote very differently from the way we would vote if he were being nominated for a political office
writes Thomas Sowell as he endorsed Newt Gingrich over Mitt Romney today.
What the media call Gingrich's "baggage" concerns largely his personal life and the fact that he made a lot of money running a consulting firm after he left Congress.

… But how much weight should we give to this stuff when we are talking about the future of a nation?

This is not just another election and Barack Obama is not just another president whose policies we may not like. With all of President Obama's broken promises, glib demagoguery and cynical political moves, one promise he has kept all too well. That was his boast on the eve of the 2008 election: "We are going to change the United States of America."

Many Americans are already saying that they can hardly recognize the country they grew up in. We have already started down the path that has led Western European nations to the brink of financial disaster.

Internationally, it is worse. A president who has pulled the rug out from under our allies, whether in Eastern Europe or the Middle East, tried to cozy up to our enemies, and has bowed low from the waist to foreign leaders certainly has not represented either the values or the interests of America. If he continues to do nothing that is likely to stop terrorist-sponsoring Iran from getting nuclear weapons, the consequences can be beyond our worst imagining.

Against this background, how much does Newt Gingrich's personal life matter, whether we accept his claim that he has now matured or his critics' claim that he has not?

… Do we wish we had another Ronald Reagan? We could certainly use one. But we have to play the hand we were dealt. And the Reagan card is not in the deck.

… Those who want to concentrate on the baggage in Newt Gingrich's past, rather than on the nation's future, should remember what Winston Churchill said: "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost."
All the Newt Gingrich posts on No Pasarán…

Arrogantly Saving the Planet with Bumper Stickers

Selfishly mounted on NON-ELECTRIC VEHICLES for that matter!

Monday, December 19, 2011

For Fans of the Deliciously Grim

No-one told the operators that the USSR ever really went away.

Then somebody took pictures, recorded audio, and mashed up a remix out of the scraps left behind by a paranoid and repressive state.

Another One Bites the Dust

Kim Jong-il, 1941-2011

Writes Julie Anna: It's only fair that after Hitchens and Havel, the dark side also lost a fellow comrade — Kim Jong II

Update: Josh Trevino’s tweet of the year:
I’d like to think God let Havel and Hitchens pick the third.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Berlinski on America

Her message works well with those who have known nothing but irrational criticism for it, and anything and everything about it. You know the type. The ones at home and worldwide who emit a Pavlovian response to any subject eliciting a through on the United States. If you’re lucky, you might get some partially rephrased variation on the canned argument that you will hear used again a block away wherever you happen to find yourself.

America is like no other place on earth. For all the talk of pessimism, recession, decline and fall, this remains--so clearly!--a country of mad, nutty, innocence and optimism; it is a place where everything works; it is a place where every man feels in the depth of his soul that he is the equal of every other man, and it is a country so free, in so many ways, that I doubt I will ever be able to convince anyone who hasn't seen it with his own eyes that this kind of freedom really exists.
That’s the quality of life thing like no other – the one that relates to life itself. It’s normally accompanied by a tut-tutting retort related to anything the critic thinks their nation does well, such as high-speed trains. Trains being a suitable retort to someone, somewhere being happy about the feeling that they have in the depth of their soul which the critic for no particular reason feels a need to retort. I hear engineering can do that for ya.

She does have words with something in the US that doesn’t work, though:
And this brings me to the First Law of Journalism. For some reason, American journalism's just not working. I figure we'll solve this problem; that's what we do. But as of now, it's broken. Exhibit A: Time Magazine's US Story of the Year. The Occupy Wall Street Protests Spread. Well, here I am on Wall Street, or very close to it, anyway, and if this is someone's idea of the top story--or even a major story--he's crazy as an outhouse rat. The top story? In a year, say, in which the United States, for the first time in 62 years, has become a net energy exporter?

So here's my advice. You know what you hear in the news? If you haven't seen it with your own eyes, don't believe it. And don't worry so much about America, it will probably be fine.
It’s worth noting some of the characteristic features of this non-operative piece of gear: its willfully developed its’ disingenuousness through a political ideology that has specific motives and largely looks to two general areas for affirmation: within its own ideological echo chamber, and to specific societies outside of the US that are conspicuously hostile to any outlook that hints at the curtailment of the power of the state or the crowding out of the individuals’ opinion by socially favored castes and ideologies.
But the most astonishing thing about America is this. I know full well that I can go on television, with millions of people watching, and say anything I please about the American government--anything--and even if for some malignant reason I feel like saying something false, gratuitously insulting, bad for the stock market, ruinous to a politician's happy marriage, or frankly seditious, I can just say it, and when I walk out of the studio, whatever I said will be between me and my conscience. It won't even occur to me that I may have exposed myself to an unpleasant risk of a pre-dawn police raid and a show trial. Possibly I'll get a few indignant e-mails.
The color coded-public-conveniences, the high-speed trains, and the stylized buzz of generic modernity are nice, but that isn’t the least bit meaningful where the dominant theme of the information set and public intellectuals is that of the demonizer or the bully.

The stylized buzz of generic modernity does not actually indicate that you’re in civilization.

1961: "the German public, and many German government officials, have regarded the Eichmann trial primarily as an irritating event"

…observers could see only limited signs that the [Eichmann] proceedings in Jerusalem occasioned a sympathetic reaction [in Germany] toward the Jews
we learn from the International Herald Tribune's In Our Pages 50 Years Ago department (also of interest: Bin Laden and Eichmann).
1961 Few Germans Back Eichmann Verdict

West Germany’s ambiguous reaction today [Dec. 15, 1961] to the death sentence conferred in Israel on Adolf Eichmann reflected the equivocal attitude which the German public has displayed toward his trial from the outset. There was relatively little indication this afternoon of a belief among the German people that justice triumphed in the Israeli courtroom. From the start, observers here have been aware that the German public, and many German government officials, have regarded the trial primarily as an irritating event which could damage West Germany’s present-day interests. Although there has been extensive coverage of the Eichmann story by German newspapers and television stations, observers could see only limited signs that the proceedings in Jerusalem occasioned a sympathetic reaction toward the Jews.

Good-Bye, Friend

Václav Havel, 1936-2011

Děkuji to Instapundit!
If you have a few minutes, you might want to reminisce about the time when Havel criticized Obama (in an affair involving three Nobel Prize winners) and how, when a member of the European élite became involved in Obama criticism, suddenly American liberals like Maureen Dowd found it much harder to accuse the Obama critic of being a clueless racistUpdate: just learned that Havel never did receive the Nobel Prize (thanks to Instapundit again); well, as Rand Simberg remarks, he certainly deserved it more than Obama or Arafat, for that matter…