Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jesse Causie

Jesse Bidstrup Causie

Hitchens reports how Democrats punish Americans for foreign terror attack

The simple fact is that a Muslim terrorist from Nigeria attempted to detonate an explosive device that was strapped to his person (under his clothes) and attached to his underwear. I want to call him the Knicker-Bomber but Underwear Bomber may work too. The act would have murdered over 300 people in Detroit, MI.

He would have succeeded if not for the partial failure in the device's construction, and that a Dutch film director named Jasper tackled the villain without hesitation.

In response to an attack that was thwarted not by any American law enforcement or safety agency (the attack was thwarted by a private individual and then by other private citizens)... the American government has been working to remove various freedoms from traveling Americans in general. The attack was not attempted by an American.

These government folk are morons or tyrants or worse. They make life more stringent to make people less safe while making them feel more safe because making idiots feel safe gets more votes. Christopher Hitchens reports.

Womens basketball - Spartans versus Wolverines

Who cares?

the United States harms Iraqi Christians?

This is horrible.
While the Iraqi government has belatedly taken some modest steps to ease the suffering of Iraqi Christians, the U.S. government’s consistent policy of studied and shameful indifference forms rare common ground between the Bush and Obama administrations. It is an indelible stain on American honor that two administrations did nothing to assist, much less protect, a beleaguered religious minority. Such was not the case in the Balkans a decade ago, when the Clinton administration came to the aid of embattled Muslim minorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo with decisive military force in similar circumstances. In Iraq, however, America’s unmet moral obligations were and are the direct consequence of the security vacuum arising from the American-led destruction of Saddam’s Republic of Fear.
I wish I was surprised. Here are some origins.
This policy of malign neglect helps explain why so few Americans are even aware that Iraq still remains a rich ethnic and religious mosaic beyond the simple tripartite division of all Iraqis into three warring tribes: Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds. Fewer still are aware that Christianity in Mesopotamia dates from the mid-first century, when local tradition holds that the Apostle Thomas (the same doubting Thomas who appears in John’s Gospel) founded what became the Church of the East, the only enduring Christian community formed outside the borders of the Roman empire during apostolic times. Thomas’s mission predates the arrival of Islam by six centuries and serves as a needed reminder that early Christianity was an essentially Eastern phenomenon.

Today, the vast majority of Iraqi Christians share common roots in the Church of the East, which split into two branches in the 16th century, one Roman Catholic (Chaldean) and the other essentially Orthodox (Assyrian). Both churches worship partly in Arabic and partly in Aramaic, the same language that Jesus spoke. Smaller Christian denominations include Syriac Christians (mainly Roman Catholic, but also Orthodox), Latin Rite Roman Catholics and other historic Middle Eastern churches (mainly Orthodox and Armenian), and some Protestants (mostly Anglicans) and Evangelicals.

It was not so long ago that Iraqi Christians belonging to all these churches played a unique and vital role in the common life of modern Iraq. Their contributions, both institutional and individual, once formed an irreplaceable part of the fabric of Iraqi life. And their contributions in turn played a wholly disproportionate role in relation to their actual numbers in an overwhelmingly Muslim society.

On the one hand, there was a web of church institutions — schools, hospitals, clinics, and orphanages — that served all Iraqis regardless of faith. Of these, none was more prominent than Baghdad College, a remarkable Jesuit preparatory school for boys that turned out a disproportionate share of Iraq’s political and cultural elite between 1931 and 1968. As with most other church schools, fully half the student body were Muslim. Even today, 40 years after the American priests and seminarians were expelled and all private schools nationalized in the wake of the Six-Day War, Baghdad College’s legacy endures. In the December 2005 parliamentary elections, three of the four leading candidates for prime minister (all Muslims, of course) were former students. So too are many other distinguished Iraqis, such as Kanan Makiya, whose 1989 classic Republic of Fear shattered the wall of silence around the Baathist dictatorship. Yet this one school’s splendid example is by no means a strictly Iraqi or purely historical phenomenon, as Christian schools continue to educate an outsized share of local Muslim elites in places as diverse as Egypt (Gamal Mubarak) or Pakistan (the late Benazir Bhutto).

On the other hand, there was and remains individual Christian witness to values that are in notably short supply in Iraq nowadays, especially respect for one’s neighbor regardless of faith and willingness to resolve disputes without recourse to violence. These particular values are ones their Muslim neighbors most often acknowledge and admire, as I learned while living and working as a Catholic seminarian in Jordan a decade ago. And they are precisely the same ideals Pope Benedict XVI cited in his annual Christmas message on Saturday:

How can we forget the troubled situation in Iraq and the little flock of Christians which lives in the region? At times it is subject to violence and injustice, but it remains determined to make its own contribution to the building of a society opposed to the logic of conflict and the rejection of one's neighbor.

Yet these same values have made Iraqi Christians easy targets for Sunni and Shiite extremists and common criminals in the utter collapse of law and order that followed the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Unlike their Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish neighbors, Iraqi Christians have no private militias, no powerful foreign patrons — and no fighting ideology like the political Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood or its Shiite counterparts. They are thus the only group in Iraq without blood on their hands, holy innocents caught up in an unholy war.

Last year, I wrote about how practically every Christian neighborhood, parish, or family was repeatedly forced to pay protection money (jizya) to avoid exile, murder, or forced conversion to Islam. These evils were universally justified by their perpetrators on the basis of the same Koranic verses dealing with subject peoples, but they were seldom if ever publicly denounced as a perversion of Muslim faith by Iraq’s influential Muslim clergy.

This year, Iraq’s dwindling Christian communities are still being targeted on the basis of their faith. That is especially the case in Mosul, long the most lawless and violent place in Iraq. By an unhappy coincidence, Mosul is also located in the ancestral heartland of Iraqi Christianity, and is thus the last refuge (short of exile) for Christians fleeing targeted violence in Baghdad, Basra, and other places.

Mosul is therefore a target-rich environment.
There is sadly more. This should not be left up to historians yet this is a blog and I copied it from a more famous blog. Nothing will be done and lives will be lost. There is one thing left we can do:
Spare a thought — and perhaps also a prayer — for Iraq’s beleaguered Christians, who yesterday observed the somber Feast of the Holy Innocents.

Jasper Schuringa never hesitated

He fought the Christmas Day Underwear Bomber.

He took terrorist threats more seriously than the President or his supposed Department of Homeland Security. Imagine that.

Monday, December 21, 2009

an Anne Norlander Christmas message

In 2009, the NORLANDER Family is making a conscious effort to
wish everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS! It is our way of saying that
we are celebrating the birth of Christ.

We are asking our friends, if you agree with us, to please do the same.
This is part of our effort to prevent one more tradition from being lost
in the sea of political correctness.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Jim and Anne Norlander

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A government ought to contain in itself every power requisite to the full accomplishment of the objects committed to its care, and to the complete execution of the trusts for which it is responsible, free from every other control but a regard to the public good and to the sense of the people.

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 31, January 1, 1788

Good constitutions are formed upon a comparison of the liberty of the individual with the strength of government: If the tone of either be too high, the other will be weakened too much. It is the happiest possible mode of conciliating these objects, to institute one branch peculiarly endowed with sensibility, another with knowledge and firmness. Through the opposition and mutual control of these bodies, the government will reach, in its regular operations, the perfect balance between liberty and power.

Alexander Hamilton, speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, June 25, 1788
Founding Fathers Quotes

Government implies the power of making laws. It is essential to the idea of a law, that it be attended with a sanction; or, in other words, a penalty or punishment for disobedience.

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 15, 1787
Founding Fathers Quotes

Here sir, the people govern.

Alexander Hamilton, speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, June 17, 1788

A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired.

Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, February 23, 1775

Responsibility, in order to be reasonable, must be limited to objects within the power of the responsible party, and in order to be effectual, must relate to operations of that power, of which a ready and proper judgment can be formed by the constituents.

Alexander Hamilton and Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 63, 1788

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Let me tell you something apparently universal...

if she loses interest in you, e.g. "I'm not interested" then you don't get to know her any better.

Wanting to get to know someone better is one of the worst desires you can have because it makes you vulnerable to the whims of one person and if that one person is female she will cut you off for the dumbest of whims

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

anything can be a weapon so trust me with one

If one is smart enough or devious enough just about anything the airport security lets through can destroy an airplane or harm its passengers (naturally doing one likely does the other). Just about everything they confiscate cannot or simply would not be used to betray the common public trust.

The common public trust is that sort of faith that your average American has that the person walking behind him will not suddenly speed up, back-stab, and lift the Wallet of the Dying. We believe that our fellows are not Out To Get Us, by and large, which is why the people who suspect other human beings of acting true to nature are called "paranoid" by nearly everyone else. I suspect the paranoid are less prone to suffer from identity theft but I doubt they live as long.

I never knew that you could do this with a laptop battery but xkcd knows more than I.
So what if a laptop battery (maybe not mine) has the same amount of potential energy as a hand grenade? The common man does not know how to weaponize it and the common man would not consider weaponizing it for use against his fellow citizens, or in any case, innocent people.

But naturally any thing that can be brought onto an airplane, or an office, or a home, or a public gathering place can be used as a weapon (and I will not call that a "misuse"). It is not a great idea to institute the common faith in humanity in every social situation yet it is still incredibly stupid to level suspicion against everyone. For one reason it creates a false sense of security; it also riles the populace against institutions and authorities it need not rebel against, or should not feel the need to rebel against. It does not help to create or foster blind resentment of the common folk towards authority figures. I believe the best attitude to create is one where we do trust people not to make bombs out of computers, knives out of nail clippers, incapacitants out of fluids; most importantly I trust most Americans, but not all, to be able to judge when we can use these weapons and when should we these use these weapons.

Obviously trusting everyone is like sending a nudist down a "rape trail"... it is an invitation for really bad things. However I do not see the point of allowing people to board the plane if we do not trust them. We disallow their accoutrement yet if they are really out to get us they likely are not thwarted by losing something obvious. Should we simply limit the passenger manifest to those people we trust and then those we've searched to an ugly extreme?

welcome to the future

xkcd tells that killer robot assassins roam the skies. We were looking forward to that in 1984 and now they are here
The question remains: who controls these hunter-killers, or who will?

weapons for the Pure of Heart

"To the Pure of Heart, everything is a weapon."
- from a Police Academy personal combat instructor

I love golf and I love beautiful women

But I don't think I can combine the two this way: there is a combination system in Japan consisting of lingerie that can be removed to be a putting course. That is your secretary can wear putting course lingerie.

My swing is bad enough as it is; I cannot see myself performing well with a naked woman constantly drawing my attention.

some 1960s Chipmunks animation history

As a habit-enslaved child I watched the old Ruby-Spears Alvin and the Chipmunks in/of the 1980s and while I enjoyed a bulk of them I did not enjoy most of them; I think I hated 60% of them. I will not go back and check.

In the late 1960s the creator of the original concept created a show called The Alvin Show. David Seville really is the stage name of the creator (and the animated vision of David Seville is a reasonable vision of the real man). 26 episodes for just one season but it looks good to me.

Monday, December 07, 2009

a more modern Soundwave

Soundwave is one of the most famous and appreciated of the Transformers characters and is quite a classic. As Botch the Crab notes
There's so much that's novel embodied in the concept. A larger robot carrying passengers (subordinates, agents, underlings, companions)! The introduction of sound as a weapon, music as a disguise, communications as a tactical element! I remember the very first time I saw the commercial for Soundwave on television and witnessed him transform from cassette player to robot, open his chest case, withdraw a cassette and throw it at the Autobots, only to see the cassette transform into a robot condor -- and it was like a million cool things all collided at once. (Soundwave's eerily synthetic voice didn't hurt, either.)
Of course his "vehicle mode" is not a vehicle. As such the "alternate mode is practically defenseless and utterly immobile. Plus, if the G1 Autobots ever took him out before he ejected his minions, the G1 Decepticons would have lost over half their forces."

I am certain that a lot of the character's appeal is that he was voiced by Frank Welker, processed/modified, in the classic cartoon. As a toy however he is cool because his play interacts with other, smaller toys. As a toy in his alt-mode he was scaled 1:1, which means that when he was not a robot the toy was the same size as the item he was mimmicking. That is the last time I explain what 1:1 scale is, I hope. There is an irony in that scale, I am certain.
Though Soundwave's toy is a microcassette recorder, his fictional appearances depict him as a stereo cassette deck or Walkman. (Likewise, his microcassette tapes are depicted as regular audio cassettes.)
Soundwave's Autobot counterpart, Blaster, transforms from robot to a ghetto-blaster, a boombox. His tapes are the same size as Soundwave's and they fit into Blaster just right, meaning that his alt-mode is out-of-scale. Of course Transformers toys were never that great on scale in the sense of the robot mode, and the vehicular Transformers were not good on relative scale in either mode. It is just a little odd that of the Transformers that transform into role-playing toys, the two that essentially convert into the counterparts of the other do not keep scale with one another.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

science and politics do not always overlap, but there are still fools

Mike Huckabee & the Seattle Cop Killings

Many years ago the governor of Arkansas granted clemency to someone, not quite a legal adult, who was not a murderer. Closer to present day that someone, who is now an adult and was when he became a murderer, became a murderer. Daniel Foster provides a rundown of Mike Huckabee's level of responsibility and admission of the extent of his responsibility.

day five of the Advent season

Twenty days until Christmas?

How is my math.

Day of the Ninja

I don't know why it's trying to encourage people to do stuff at work; today is Saturday.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

a Thanksgiving letter from Christopher Ewald

Christopher Ewald is a local Republican politician. He ran for County Commissioner in Ingham County and is a voting citizen in the Michigan 8th Congressional District. His letter to the Lansing State Journal was published Thursday November 26th, 2009.

Rogers trusted

If Michigan has the worst unemployment in the nation, how is it going to help us to pay higher taxes for a big government health-care plan?

That is exactly the plan that Democrats in Washington are pushing on us.

A job-killing, bureaucratic health-care system is a horrible Christmas present from the government. Who's to say that one day the government won't take it away - much like the Michigan Promise Scholarship that just disappeared?

Thanks, but no thanks.

I will take the approach of leaders like Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Howell, who are working to lower health-care costs and make it available to more citizens.

Christopher Ewald
East Lansing
I could not tell you when it was written.

Mr. Ewald, who originally hails from Detroit, is correct that granting the government certain rights, responsibilities, and therefore power, can be dangerous as that same power enables the government to yank stuff from us, as is their right.... that we had given them.

Does anyone have a copy of the Thanksgiving Lansing State Journal? He forgot to pick up his and I did not think to keep mine.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Mortal Kombat - "there is supposed to be brackets"

XKCD Two-Party System

Christ is faithful

No separation

Romans 8:35-39 (New International Version)

35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."a]">[a] 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,b]">[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  1. Romans 8:36 Psalm 44:22
  2. Romans 8:38 Or nor heavenly rulers

If we confess...

1 John 1:9 (New International Version)

9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Gotta read this eventually -