Sunday, December 31, 2006

Tonight's music video

The Irish/American group Solas performs at the Grassroots festival in Ithaca, N.Y.

Cox & Forkum

Updated link to Saddam's execution

The limp wristed crowd at YouTube has removed the video of Saddam meeting his date with eternity but the google link is still active.

Go here to watch Saddam swing.

Pictures of Biltmore

I've been carrying my camera, but not taking too many pictures lately. When I have seen something worth photographing the light has been bad.

I did manage to snap a few photos at the Biltmore House before Christmas that are worth sharing.

This fellow is not a gargoyle. Gargoyles are rain spouts. When the monster is purely decorative it is called a grotesque.

At Christmas time the lions wear wreaths, and sometimes children.

If it had not been overcast I probably would not have been able to get these pictures. The sun would have been so low on the horizon that it would have washed everything out.

Did you ever notice. . .

From The Jerusalem Post:

While most Israelis were not sorry to hear about the death of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, MK Muhammad Barakei (Hadash) on Sunday denounced the Saturday execution, saying that the US had not acted appropriately regarding Saddam.

"If he did improper things and he's carrying a can of worms on his back, I think human society shouldn't use the same methods as legitimate against him," said Barakei in an interview with Army Radio. "From every side, this is a view that has no place."

Barakei was the second Arab MK to denounce the execution after Balad MK Ahmad Tibi on Saturday called it a "sadistic act and a mark of Cain on the American occupation [in Iraq]" and added that "even dictators deserve humanitarian treatment."

Saddam Hussein killed more Muslims than the IDF and US military combined. That fact is beyond debate, yet it seems to make no difference whatsoever to the average Arab/Muslim.

This attitude has always puzzled me. The death of a million Muslims at the hand of a Muslim tyrant goes with barely a comment, yet the death of a brutal tyrant or murderous terrorist at the hands of the Israelis or Americans brings on murderous rage.

Apparently to the Islamic masses Muslim life has no inherent value and achieves worth only to the extent that it gives one an excuse to vent fury at the Jews or the Great Satan.

I realize that one more example of Islamic pathology can hardly be expected to raise eyebrows in a world filled to overflowing with such examples, but I still find it interesting.

Looking forward

NRO contributors are running their predictions for the upcoming year:

Denis Boyles tries to be funny, with little success.

John Derbyshire makes some interesting predictions. Here are the best:

Iraqi Sunnis will become yet more reluctant to be ruled by Iraqi Shias; Iraqi Shias will become yet more reluctant to be ruled by Iraqi Sunnis; and partition will become the conventional wisdom, with Trianon-style guarantees to the Turks.

I hope this happens. I think that in the end it offers the best hope for the Iraqi people.

There will be at least one more “Larry Summers moment ” — i.e. an important, respectable, and intellectually significant public person will speak some obvious truth about human group differences, and be vilified for it.

This just about has to come true. Speaking the truth is ever more becoming the unpardonable sin.

The U.S. government and legislature will take no effective action on illegal immigration. There will, however, be more civil lawsuits by citizens whose jobs have been lost, or wages depressed, by companies that hire illegal labor.

I hope that this comes true. Since the most realistic alternative is an amnesty/open borders law.

Jonah Goldberg, who can be worthwhile when he scrunches up and tries really hard, has a few worth looking at:

Battlestar Galactica’s Gaius Baltar will not be revealed as a Cylon.

But it will be done in such a way as to leave room for Baltar to really be a Cylon after all.

The "Are Blogs Over?" debate will reach new heights in ‘07.

The debate will be carried out in the dead tree media where it will be heard by steadily shrinking numbers of people.

They’ll find more evidence of past life on Mars. For those who want to prove the non-existence of God, this will be relentlessly hyped as all the proof needed.

For people who want to prove the non-existence of God the fact that the Bible refers to "sunrise" and "sunset" constitute all the proof needed.

Kathryn Jean Lopez says:

George W. Bush will exceed expectations. (How could he not?)

True, but the left will not admit it when he does.

There will be Latter-Day backlash against “Can a Mormon be President?” stories.

But will anyone care?

The Dems will not escape Hillary Clinton.

In the end they will not even try, to their ultimate undoing.

Rudy will end his presidency exploration and won’t run.

We can only hope.

Castro’s death will give birth to a tyranny-chic revival. A double-whammy gift for Hugo Chavez.

I can already imagine how the New York Times will eulogize him (I just threw up a little in my mouth thinking about it).

Carrie Lukas has these:

The much discussed libertarian/conservative break-up will subside out of mutual loathing of big-spending, big-government liberal Democrats.

The libertarians are also smart enough to realize that there just aren't enough of them to realistically control either party. And because libertarians tend to be smart they will realize that Republicans at the worst are still much to be preferred to Democrats at their best.

All charges will be dropped in the Duke rape trial farce.

We can hope that it begins here and ends with Nifong behind the same bars he tried to put the innocent students he is trying to railroad.

There are more so if you are interested by all means go and read the rest.

Oh, and if anyone is interested here are Lemuel Calhoon's predictions for 2007:

The Duke rape case will sink Nifong's career.

The Democrat majority in congress will deadlock over the question of whether to go all out with left-liberalism in order to get as much done while they have power or to lay low and try to fool the public in order to win the White House in 2008. As a consequence they will get nothing done except to scare the sane part of the public with talk about socialized medicine and amnesty while enraging the loon part of the public by their inability to enact socialized medicine and amnesty. This will lead to a big Republican win in '08.

China will work with Middle Eastern nations to wage economic warfare against the United States.

The Science Fiction Channel will not air episodes of hit British TV series Torchwood because it is too raunchy for their standards, however the Dr. Who spinoff will find an American market on BBC America.

The Arab/Muslim whining begins

From Arab News:

JEDDAH, 31 December 2006 — The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) yesterday criticized the timing of the execution of Saddam Hussein. An analyst with the official SPA said the execution has drawn strong disapproval of observers because it took place during the holy month of Dul Hijjah, besides being on the first day of Eid Al-Adha. “It is an occasion which is respected by the entire Muslim population,” the analyst said.

He also found fault with the trial as its procedures underwent several replacement of judges and because it took place while the country was under a state of occupation and under the shadow of the ongoing sectarian violence and political strife. “Observers had expected that the trial of the former head of the Iraqi government who ruled for a considerable length of time would last longer with sophisticated legal and court procedures without politicization of the affair,” the analyst said.

Saddam’s execution struck a chord of sympathy in many Saudis, although they did not deny the crimes he committed. “We all know that Saddam was a dictator who led his country to one disaster after another,” said 47-year-old Saudi businessman Mohammad Al-Rashed, “but still his trial was illegal. What we saw on TV were more scenes of black comedy rather than objective trial.”

He said that the trial was based on the Dujail incident, in which Shiite villagers were executed for plotting against Saddam, and that it was neither enough nor convincing, as Saddam was not dealing with entirely innocent citizens. “What would any Arab leader do if he knew of an assassination plot? They would all do exactly what Saddam did, maybe more.”

So the bitching from the Arab/Muslim community begins. I like the last line where the "Saudi businessman" notes that any Arab leader would have acted like a rabid dog under the circumstances. That is probably true, but I doubt that the "businessman" would be willing to take that to its logical conclusion.

Saddam swings

Here is the Saddam execution video. It is presented as a camera phone recording of the execution. I don't know for sure that it is genuine, however it is being treated as such by major media.

I may vomit

From The New York Times:

BAGHDAD, Dec. 30 — Saddam Hussein never bowed his head, until his neck snapped.

His last words were equally defiant.

“Down with the traitors, the Americans, the spies and the Persians.”

The political left lives by the credo, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". Since the left regards the United States as enemy number one they are naturally drawn to anyone else who hates America.

This leads them inexorably to admire Saddam Hussein since Saddam was a hater of the United States and never passed up an opportunity to hurl his defiance at America.

It didn't take long for that natural affinity for the late tyrant to show itself in the pages of the premier left-wing fish-wrapper. Note the way the writer continues to fawn on Hussein:

When he rose to be led back to the execution room at 6 a.m., he looked strong, confident and calm. Whatever apprehension he may have had only minutes earlier had faded.

[. . .]

Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq’s national security adviser, asked Mr. Hussein if he had any remorse or fear.

“No,” he said bluntly. “I am a militant and I have no fear for myself. I have spent my life in jihad and fighting aggression. Anyone who takes this route should not be afraid.”

[. . .]

Mr. Hussein was led up to the gallows without a struggle. His hands were unbound, put behind his back, then fastened again. He showed no remorse. He held his head high.

[. . .]

He said a last prayer. Then, with his eyes wide open, no stutter or choke in his throat, he said his final words cursing the Americans and the Persians.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tonight's video

OK, I know that Sinead O'Connor pushes the envlope on "Celtic", but she is 100% Irish and it is a great song. I also like what the person who posted the video on YouTube said about it:

Sinead O'Connor "Mandinka"...before she became an insufferable whacko. Good song though.

Now for a bit of fun

From Edinburgh Festivals website:

Hogmanay is the Scottish New Year, celebrated on 31st December every year. Never being slow to spot a good excuse for a party, the night involves a celebratory drink or two, fireworks and the kissing of complete strangers – not necessarily in that order.

Edinburgh's Hogmany is a four day free for all celebrating the new year. Visitors enjoy 4 days of fabulous events throughout the city including well loved favourites such as the Torchlight Procession and the world famous Royal Bank Street Party, as well as many new events.

The Scots do love a party.

Here's a link to a webcam so you can look in on what's left of the celebration.

More on Saddam's execution

If you are at all interested in looking at the international reaction to the hanging of Saddam The Scotsman has a very good account. Considering that they are a UK newspaper I find their coverage remarkable fair and balanced.

They even printed a brief biography of Saddam under the heading "A life dedicated to evil"

Of course the moonbats came out in force in the comments section.

See you in a bit

I'm off now to a party. I'll post some odds and ends when I get home.

Till then happy New Year everybody!

Economics for (Euro) Dummies

From The Brussels Journal:

On January 1 2007, Europe celebrates the fifth anniversary of the launch of euro notes and coins by welcoming a 13th member of the eurozone – Slovenia, the tiny former Yugoslav republic. But the eurozone’s geographical expansion is modest in comparison with the rapid growth in euro notes in circulation within the region and beyond. Earlier this month the value of euro notes pushed through the €600bn (£402bn, $787bn) level – roughly double the value of the then-national currencies in circulation at the end of 2001. The signs are that in December the currency came of age by overtaking the US dollar in terms of the value of notes in circulation.

Pay attention to the part where it says that the value of euro notes is now twice the value of the national currencies that they replaced. We should point out here that by "value" they mean the face value, not purchasing power. Now here's the first test question:

Do you believe that the productivity of the European member states has doubled in the past five years?

If you've been paying attention to the stagnant European economic situation with its anemic growth rates the answer will be an obvious no.

This leads us to the second test question:

If you double the amount of currency in circulation without doubling the economic strength backing that currency what will happen to the purchasing power of that currency?

If you said that it will fall by nearly half then you get the gold star. Twice as many bank notes chasing the same amount of goods will each buy half as much. This is called inflation and it is caused more than anything else by governments issuing currency which is unbacked by reserves of precious metal and then turning on the printing press and growing the money supply.

If you doubt this then study the history of the Weimar Republic, which sought to pay striking workers and pay off war debt by turning on the printing press. The result had people burning money because it was cheaper than firewood.

The fact that the inflation rate in Europe has not been nearly 100% (there has been some growth in the European economies after all) means that there is a very large and heavy "other shoe" getting ready to drop in Europe.

I'm afraid that the "thump" when it hits the ground somewhere between Paris and Berlin will send out vibrations that will be felt in North America and Asia as well.

As the Chinese said, interesting times.

Saddam Death roundup

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Saddam Hussein struggled briefly after American military guards handed him over to Iraqi executioners. But as his final moments approached, he grew calm.

He clutched a Quran as he was led to the gallows, and in one final moment of defiance, refused to have a hood pulled over his head before facing the same fate he was accused of inflicting on countless thousands during a quarter-century of ruthless power.

A man whose testimony helped lead to Saddam's conviction and execution before sunrise said he was shown the body because "everybody wanted to make sure that he was really executed."

"Now, he is in the garbage of history," said Jawad Abdul-Aziz, who lost his father, three brothers and 22 cousins in the reprisal killings that followed a botched 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam in the Shiite town of Dujail.

Even in this fallen world sometimes justice still gets done.

Yahoo! News has a slideshow of Saddam's execution with Iraqis reacting here.

Here's the New York Times' take on the execution:

BAGHDAD, Saturday, Dec. 30 — Saddam Hussein, the dictator who led Iraq through three decades of brutality, war and bombast before American forces chased him from his capital city and captured him in a filthy pit near his hometown, was hanged just before dawn Saturday during the morning call to prayer.

The final stages for Mr. Hussein, 69, came with terrible swiftness after he lost the appeal, five days ago, of his death sentence for the killings of 148 men and boys in the northern town of Dujail in 1982. He had received the sentence less than two months before from a special court set up to judge his reign as the almost unchallenged dictator of Iraq.

His execution at 6:10 a.m. was announced on state-run Iraqiya television. Witnesses said 14 Iraqi officials had attended the hanging, at the former military intelligence building in northern Baghdad, now part of an American base. Those in the room said that Mr. Hussein was dressed entirely in black and carrying a Koran and that he was compliant as the noose was draped around his neck.

“He just gave up,” said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq’s national security adviser. “We were astonished. It was strange. He just gave up.”

He added: “Saddam Hussein is gone. All Iraqis will look to the future after the end of this era.”

Here is a link to the NYT's obituary as well as a sample:

The despot, known as Saddam, had oppressed Iraq for more than 30 years, unleashing devastating regional wars and reducing his once promising, oil-rich nation to a claustrophobic police state.

Here is the Washington Post's take on the execution:

BAGHDAD, Dec. 30 -- Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was hanged in the predawn hours of Saturday for crimes against humanity in the mass murder of Shiite men and boys in the 1980s, sent to the gallows by a government backed by the United States and led by Shiite Muslims who had been oppressed during his rule, Iraqi and American officials said.

In the early morning, Hussein, 69, was escorted from his U.S. military prison cell at Camp Cropper, near the Baghdad airport, and handed over to Iraqi officials. He was executed on the day Sunni Muslims, of which he was one, were to begin celebrating the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser, described on state television Hussein's last moments. The execution took place in the headquarters of Hussein's former military intelligence service in Baghdad's Kadhimiyah neighborhood.

"He was frightened. It was clear in his face, but he turned his face at me and said, 'Don't be afraid,' " Rubaie said. "It was just like he was talking about himself."

He added that Hussein did not resist. "It was unbelievable. He just surrendered himself."

Mother Calhoon used to say that you should only speak good of the dead. So Saddam is dead - good!

Tonight's music video

Michael McGoldrick, Sharon Shannon and Frankie Gavin doing some traditional Irish tunes.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Good by

Ding Dong! Saddam is dead. Which Saddam? Saddam Hussein!
Ding Dong! Saddam Hussein is dead.
Wake up - sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, Saddam Hussein is dead. He's gone where the tyrants go,
Below - below - below. Yo-ho, let's open up and sing and ring the bells out.
Ding Dong' the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them know Saddam Hussein is dead!

It’s official: He's not only merely dead, he's really most sincerely dead.

Another Second Amendment post

Sir Walter Scott wrote what most consider to be his greatest novel, Redgauntlet, in the year 1824. It was what we would call a work of alternate history today. In it Scott postulated a third Jacobite rising in the year 1765.

Note that the year in which the novel was written and the year in which the novel was set nicely bracket the time of the American War of Independence and the writing of the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. Note that Walter Scott was a highly educated man, a lawyer by training, and was famed as a novelist for his masterful use of language.

In other words he was a man who could be expected to know the meaning and usage of words in the English language.

Now I draw your attention to this passage:

. . . Jacobites were looked on in society as men who had proved their sincerity by sacrificing their interests to their principles; and in well-regulated companies, it was held a piece of ill-breeding to injure their feelings or ridicule the compromises by which they endeavored to keep themselves abreast of the current of the day.
I have highlighted the phrase which I wish to discuss. Does anyone believe that the "companies" of which Sir Walter is writing refer to social groupings whose speech is subject to some extraordinary level of government control?

Obviously what Walter Scott is referring to is polite company. The message he is clearly imparting is that persons in polite society did not ridicule veterans of the 1745 Jacobite uprising.

Now consider the meaning of the phrase "well regulated" in the context of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

It should also be noted that in times past (and times current, from the perspective of the Framers) an army of irregulars (non professional soldiers) could easily wind up posing as great a threat to the lives and property of the land that they were supposed to be defending as an army of foreign invaders.

Of course an army of professional soldiers (a standing army) was a threat to the freedom of a nation (remember what Cromwell's New Model Army was able to do in England, Ireland and Scotland). The Founding Fathers attempted to balance the various needs and threats by entrusting the nation's defense to a small core of professional soldiers (the Continental Army) which would be supplemented by "well regulated militia" which they would lead into battle in the event of invasion or insurrection.

In addition to the meaning of well behaved, well regulated also carried the connotation of well equipped and well trained. This is why many states had laws on their books requiring the population of adult males to own and maintain a musket in good working order along with a supply of powder and shot and to submit to militia call-ups and mandatory drill.

The key to the understanding of the meaning of the language used in the Second Amendment (and it cannot mean anything different today than it meant on the day it was written) was that the "arms" were to be personal infantry weapons of a type in common use by military forces of the day. The "arms" were also to be purchased by, and remain the personal property of, the individual citizen.

Thus it would seem that the Second Amendment was written to protect select-fire military assault rifles and not hunting arms, unless they are set up in such a way as to make them suitable for use by a sniper.

Let's hope we're not jumping the gun

Courtsy of SevenStripes

Hat Tip: Texas Fred


CBS news is reporting that Saddam Hussein has been executed.

The blind leading the blind

Nicole Russell has an essay on The American Thinker about Barack Obama's courting of evangelical Christians:

. . .Senator Barack Obama has begun courting the evangelical right, and some are already waltzing along in perfect time.

With his attendance at Rick Warren‘s church, Saddleback Valley Community, a mega-church in California for a large conference about AIDS, Obama has begun to align himself with an important base of voters to gain what conservatives lost this last year. Already lauded by some prominent evangelical publications for his outstanding "Christian faith" and a person Rick Warren called a "good friend" and a someone he'd like to work with on important issues, Obama is in perfect position, if he can keep the momentum, to use an unusual strategy for political gain.

I believe that Ms. Russell errs in an important point. While Rick Warren calls himself an evangelical and pastors a large church he does not speak for or represent the great majority of evangelicals.

Rich Warren is the inventor and chief proponent of the "seeker friendly" church movement. In a nutshell what this comprises is redesigning the "church experience" in such a way that it will be enjoyable to people who do not like church.

If this causes you to stop and picture what Carmen would look like if it were rewritten for people who prefer DMX to Bizet you have the gist of it.

Taken to its inevitable end this philosophy winds up breeding "churches" which have been described as "christian nightclubs".

The bottom line is that Rick Warren is no more an indication of what evangelicals think than Tony Campolo (you know Bill Clinton's theological enabler).

Rick Warren's association with Barack Obama will do nothing more than hasten Warren's slide into irrevelance. And it won't come a minute too soon.

Know the enemy

Kicking over the "wet rock" of an Islamic fanatic's mind is never pleasant and often truly disgusting, but knowing the enemy is always helpful. Jamie Glazon contributes to that knowledge once again in an essay on Front Page Magazine:

Just recently, the Taliban issued a new set of 30 rules to its fighters.

Many of the instructions were to be expected: rule No. 25 commands the murder of teachers if a warning and a beating does not dissuade them from teaching. No. 26 outlines the exquisite delicacy of burning schools and destroying anything that aid organizations might undertake -- such as the building of a new road, school or clinic. The essence of the other rules are easily left to the imagination, basically involving what militant Islam is about: vile hate, death and destruction.

But there is a curious rule that the Western media has typically ignored. Rule No. 19 instructs that Taliban fighters must not take young boys without facial hair into their private quarters.


(Cough and clearing of the throat).

Aside from the question of what is permitted if a young boy does happen to have facial hair, this new Taliban commandment brings light to a taboo pathology that underlies the structures of militant Islam. And it is crucial to deconstruct the meaning of this rule -- and the horrid reality that it represents -- because it serves as a gateway to understanding the primary causes of Islamic rage and terror.

Rule No. 19 obviously indicates that the sexual abuse of young boys is a prevalent and institutionalized phenomenon among the Taliban and that, for one reason or another, its widespread practice has become a problem.

The fact that Taliban militants’ spare time involves sodomizing young boys should by no means be any kind of surprise or eyebrow raiser. That a mass pathology such as this occurs in a culture which demonizes the female and her sexuality -- and puts her out of mind and sight -- is only to be expected. To be sure, it is a simple given that the religious male fanatic who flies into a violent rage even at
the thought of an exposed woman’s ankle will also be, in some other dysfunctional and dark secret compartment of his fractured life, the person who leads some poor helpless young boy into his private chambers.

The key issue here is that the demented sickness that underlies Rule No. 19 is by no means exclusive to the Taliban; it is a widespread phenomenon throughout Islamic-Arab culture and it lies, among other factors, at the root of that culture’s addiction to rage and its lust for violence, terror and suicide.

There is a basic and common sense empirical human reality: wherever humans construct and perpetuate an environment in which females and their sexuality are demonized and are pushed into invisibility, homosexual behaviour among men and the sexual abuse of young boys by older men always increases. Islamic-Arab culture serves as a perfect example of this paradigm, seeing that gender apartheid, fear of female sexuality and
a vicious misogyny are the structures on which the whole society functions.

This isn't nearly all of it so go and read the rest, then take a long hot shower.

A good point

Paul Hollander has written an excellent essay on today's Front Page Magazine comparing the current Duke rape case to the Twana Brawley incident in New York:

The recent case of the lacrosse players at Duke University accused of raping a young black woman brings to mind the case of Tawana Brawley, the black teenager who in 1988 made similar charges against a group of white men in Wappinger Falls , NY.

In both cases, what turned out to be unfounded charges were widely given credit and generated immense publicity; celebrities and politicians rallied to the cause of the alleged victims, lengthy and costly legal investigations followed, and at last it emerged that the accusations were groundless. In both incidents, the charges were seized upon as self-evident, incontrovertible proof of the incorrigible and ineradicable racism that continues to permeate and infect every pore of American society.

The comparison is valid. One thing I will say, though, is that the long-term consequences of the Duke affair will not be as destructive as the Tawana Brawley business.

The reason is that Nifong is White. The worst outcome of the Brawley business was that it catapulted odious race-pimp Al Sharpton onto the national stage. Because Sharpton is Black there were no real negative consequences for his wretched behavior. Nifong is not so fortunate. He is facing the real possibility of disbarment and law suit and even prison.

Where there is the will there is a way

Backing up the point which I made yesterday today's New York Times is reporting that the forces of the legitimate Somali government have re-taken the capital city:

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec. 28 — Just hours after Islamist fighters abandoned Mogadishu, the capital from which they ruled much of Somalia, thousands of troops of the transitional government marched into the city on Thursday in a stunning reversal of fortune.

The government soldiers and the Ethiopian infantrymen who have been backing them poured in from the outskirts, residents said. The only gunshots fired were long celebratory bursts into the air.

In a country with such a troubled recent history, including famine, anarchy, isolation and war, a potentially viable government has suddenly emerged.

In a matter of five days, the internationally recognized government, a fledging authority that had been so weak it was marooned in a provincial market town, captured the formidable capital and most of Somalia — with more than a little help from Ethiopia.

As I said yesterday, the Ethiopian government had the means to defeat the Islamofascists and the will to do so.

The American military in Iraq has vastly superior means to the Ethiopians, however we lack the will to use them. Our enemies, not just Islamists but bad guys the world over, think that we will ultimately be defeated because of our unwillingness to get our hands dirty.

If the president and congress want to win in Iraq then let them kick out the reporters, pardon every serviceman accused of a "war crime" who was just doing his job, like the Marines in Haditha, and tell the men on the ground over there to do what needs doing, that their government has their back.

Let the Democrats echo this message even more strongly than Mr. Bush and you will see the "insurgency" in Iraq melt away like a snowball in a Baghdad summer.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tonight's music

An Irish music session recorded in Lyon.

They should sell tickets to this freak show

December 28, 2006 -- THE holiday cease-fire between Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump ended with new bombs dropped yesterday.

O'Donnell, who'd been quiet since her nasty spat began with Trump last week, called him "the comb over" on her blog yesterday - and suggested he was acting like a "pimp" for Miss USA, Tara Conner.

O'Donnell is simply too stupid to know when to shut up. Most of the people who are even paying attention highly approve of Trump's handling of the Tara Conner situation.

O'Donnell's point is that a Miss USA, who is under contract to the pageant to maintain a certain standard of behavior while holding the crown, should be able to go about town drinking underage, snorting cocaine and flouting promiscuous behavior.

I guess the world looks different if yoiu are an insane, rage-filled, hyper left-wing barking moonbat.

What you can do if you're willing

From The New York Times:

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec. 27 — The Islamist forces who have controlled much of Somalia in recent months suddenly vanished from the streets of the capital, Mogadishu, residents said Wednesday night, just as thousands of rival troops massed 15 miles away.

In the past few days, Ethiopian-backed forces, with tacit approval from the United States, have unleashed tanks, helicopter gunships and jet fighters on the Islamists, decimating their military and paving the way for the internationally recognized transitional government of Somalia to assert control.

Even so, the Islamists, who have been regarded as a regional menace by Ethiopia and the United States, had repeatedly vowed to fight to the death for their religion and their land, making their disappearance that much more unexpected.

Want to know why the Ethiopians are having much less trouble in Somalia than the US is having in Iraq, even though the Ethiopian military is vastly less capable than the US military?

The answer is that the Islamofascists in Somalia do not doubt the resolve of the Ethiopians. The Ethiopian government does not have an equilivent of the American Democrat Party to invading it like a cancerous tumor sucking all the strength and vitality out of the nation.

Therefore the Ethiopians have the will do do what must be done. The militant Islamic forces know it and so they are running for the tall grass.

A new Blog Joines Up!

Great news! Scooter, Peace Moonbeam's hapless sidekick, has started his own blog, The Scooter Report.

Scooter has a raw and edgy style which is untamed by any of the social graces and/or intelligence which Peace sometimes brings to her writing.

If you like Peace Moonbeam you'll love Scooter so go over and check him out. Here's a sample:

Now its time to get down and talk about serious stuff. I cant think of anything more serious than how President Bush has ruined this country. I couldnt sleep very good last night so I got up and made a list of 10 reasons he needs to be arrested and possibly tortured:

1. Hes HORRABLE with words and says stupid things.

2. He tried to drown all my black bruthas and sistas in New Orleens by having the army mess up the levys. He knew they couldnt swim worth a damn.

3. Just because some of our Muslim bruthas flew some planes into buildings he went to war and has killed about a billion of them. Also hes stoled pretty much all the oil from Iraq - rumor has it the white house basement and Cheneys garage is full of the stuff.

4. Global warming. Enough said about that.

5. He made his daughters snobs. I tried to grope one of them at a club last year and was hit by secret service men hired by George Bush. The daughter said nothing in my defence.

6. Im still working on this one

7. Im still working on this one

8. Im still working on this one

9. He looks stupid

10. I hate him.

Today's belly-laugh

From Breitbart:

Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards is running for president for a second time, his campaign said Wednesday.

The former North Carolina senator plans to formally announce his candidacy Thursday from New Orleans' 9th Ward, which was hard hit by Hurricane Katrina. But his campaign got a little ahead of itself Wednesday and announced his intentions online.

No commentary is necessary.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tonight's music

This was the only other Steve McDonald video I could find on YouTube. It is a slideshow of the Highlands set to McDonald's rendition of Scotland the Brave.

If the blood of Walace and The Bruce runs in your veins it can't help but bring a tear to your eye.


Ben Stein reviews the movie Borat. Here are a few of the points he raises:

2.) Much of the movie is about Borat making fun of people who have been completely kind to him. This is just infantile and narcissistic oppositional disorder. It's also rude, and it's not very funny. Maybe it is if you are five.

3.) Much of the story is mocking and belittling Southerners as a group. When I watched it, I thought, "How unoriginal can you possibly get? This is standard Hollywood fare and has been for fifty years. What is at all creative or new about this?" Plus, I like Southerners. Love them. They are great brave people who fought like demons to beat the Nazis who were killing us Jews. How ungrateful can you get?

[. . .]

5.) Worst of all, it has acute mockery of Christians. There is a long scene mocking Christian fundamentalists, in which Borat makes cruel fun of the idea of Jesus as Savior. He makes fun of Christians who take him in and save his life. Why isn't anyone noticing this? Are Christians just so used to getting kicked around that they don't notice anymore? It makes me very uneasy for a Jew like Sacha Cohen to explicitly mock Christ. It's sacrilege to the great majority of people in this country, for one thing. For another, it's insulting to the great majority of the people in this country who have made us Jews feel so welcome -- unlike people almost anywhere else. When did mocking Christians become the business of Hollywood? Was I out of town when that happened? I don't like it.

The first point, which I did not reproduce, conserned the anti-Semitism of the movie. I point out the Mr. Stein is Jewish as well as being a Hollywood insider.

In the interests of full disclosure I have not seen Borat and have no plans to see it in the future.

Tony Blair, dhimmi

From The Brussels Journal:

A quote from Tony Blair in Foreign Affairs, January/February 2007

To me, the most remarkable thing about the Koran is how progressive it is. I write with great humility as a member of another faith. As an outsider, the Koran strikes me as a reforming book, trying to return Judaism and Christianity to their origins, much as reformers attempted to do with the Christian church centuries later. The Koran is inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes toward marriage, women, and governance.

Under its guidance, the spread of Islam and its dominance over previously Christian or pagan lands were breathtaking. Over centuries, Islam founded an empire and led the world in discovery, art, and culture. The standard-bearers of tolerance in the early Middle Ages were far more likely to be found in Muslim lands than in Christian ones.

Tony Blair is proving to his Islamic masters that he is a good dhimmi. The next step will be for the name Mohammad to always be followed by PBUH (peace be upon him) in all official British government documents.

A New Blog in the Ecosystem!

The blog Sand in the Hourglass has joined the Hillbilly Ecosystem. They make 76 blogs on the blogroll.

Go on over and pay them a visit. Set a spell, take your shoes off. . .

Sorry that's the Beverly Hillbillies.

Seriously, go over and take a look. This is a smart conservative blog that isn't afraid to tell the truth.

The Freedom Project

The Minuteman has a project he would like to start and he needs our help to get it off the ground. I think it sounds like a damn fine idea.

It's called the Freedom Project. Go read about it and help if you can.

A warning!

Dr. Figg, chaplain of the Hillbilly Ecosystem, has discovered a new tool of Satan:

Brothers and sisters I must come before you to denounce a great evil which Satan has sent forth his demonic minions to inflict upon the faithful. May of you have already guessed what I am talking about. I mean the evil nectar of hell itself.

Hint: It starts with "E".

The price of amnesty

I posted about the coming push to bring about an amnesty for illegal aliens which is coming now that Democrats are in control of the House and Senate yesterday. I said that the temper tantrum which was thrown by the "Reagan Democrats" where they threw the Republicans out for abandoning their conservative principles could well turn out to be very expensive indeed.

Patrick Kelly left a comment which was summed up with this statement:

". . .when it comes time to vote between two screw ups, the only realistic option is to vote against the ones in power, and hope they both learn something from it."

I want to be as clear here as humanly possible. This issue, amnesty and open borders, is not just another issue to be hashed out in the give and take of politics.

This is not like a tax increase or a minimum wage hike or some other mere "bad idea" which can be corrected with the next election. The decision to grant amnesty and fast track citizenship to the 20 to 30 million illegal, mostly Mexican, aliens is as significant in its own way as the decision of the German people to make the Nazi Party the largest party in the German legislature. When the Nazis gained a plurality of seats in the legislature it made Hitler's elevation to Chancellor a virtual certainty and once Hitler held that power he would not surrender it until he lay dead and Germany lay in ruins under foreign occupation.

I am not saying that the Democrats or the Mexicans are Nazis. What I am saying is that the changes which will be brought to America by amnesty are of the same magnitude as the changes that the Nazis brought to Germany.

If the United States gains 20 to 30 million new citizens who will overwhelmingly vote for the most left-wing Democrats that they can find will bring about an irreversible change in the character of the nation.

If you like the European Union in all its hyper-bureaucratic, non-democratic, high tax, economically stagnant, decaying and ultimately doomed socialist glory then you will love the new America which the political left, freed from any worry of ever losing control of congress or the White House ever again, will build.

This is not hyperbole. Let me repeat. THIS IS NOT HYPERBOLE. This is what will happen if amnesty/open borders becomes law.

Even if the Republicans win a massive victory in 2008 it will not matter. Citizenship once granted cannot be revoked without a constitutional amendment, which would have to be ratified by state governments newly dominated by newly legal Mexicans.

All is not lost - yet. Remember how HilleryCare could not make it past a Democrat congress? A massive outcry from the public could sink this.

Let us pray that it does.

A New Blog in the Ecosystem!

A new blog, Random and Politically Incorrect Thoughts, has joined the Hillbilly Ecosystem. This looks like an interesting read and I recomend that everyone go over and say howdie.

Gerald R Ford - RIP

From The Washington Post:

Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr., 93, who became the 38th president of the United States as a result of some of the most extraordinary events in U.S. history and sought to restore the nation's confidence in the basic institutions of government, has died. His wife, Betty, reported the death in a statement last night.

"My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age," Betty Ford said in a brief statement issued from her husband's office in Rancho Mirage, Calif. "His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country."

The statement did not say where Ford died or give a cause of death. Ford had battled pneumonia in January and underwent two heart treatments -- including an angioplasty -- in August at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Gerald Ford was a decent man who was, unfortunately, a member of the pre-Goldwater/Reagan class of "country club Republicans" whose style of governance was little different from Democrats (except in that era they were less likely to support segregation than Democrats were).

Ford was chosen by President Richard Nixon to fill the role of Vice President after the resignation of Sipro Agnew and then ascended to the Oval Office upon the resignation of President Nixon, making him the only president in the nation's history to have not been elected to either office.

In his inaugural address Ford said, "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. . ." and then proceeded to put that "nightmare" (of Watergate) to rest through what was the most controversial decision of his short presidency - the decision to pardon Richard Nixon.

Fair or not the Nixon pardon and all of its consequences (including the disastrous Carter Administration) is the chief legacy of Ford's tenure as president.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tonight's music

Christmas is past so tonight we are back to Celtic music.

This is Steve McDonald performing Southern Gael.

A new blog in the Ecosystem

Traction Control, a fine pro gun blog has joined the Hillbilly Ecosystem as blog number 74. Go over and pay them a visit and say howdie.

James Brown passes away

ATLANTA (AP) - "Godfather of Soul" James Brown remained the hardest-working man in show business to the end, telling friends from his hospital bed that he'd be in Times Square on New Year's Eve, even though he had pneumonia. His heart gave out a few hours later, on Christmas morning.

All Christmas day, famous fans from Mick Jagger to Snoop Dogg to the Rev. Al Sharpton shared memories of their mentor and idol, while lesser-known fans left candles on Brown's Hollywood Walk of Fame star in Los Angeles and streamed to his statue in his boyhood hometown of Augusta, piling mementos and flowers at its base.

James Brown was a great entertainer who pleased many people with his music and his stage performances, however he was also a drug abuser, a criminal and a man who savagely beat his wives.

It should not be a problem for an adult to hold both ideas in his mind at the same time: great entertainer/bad person. However the majority of his fans will not be able to perform that bit of mental juggling. To the average person it seems that any actor or singer or athlete or writer who pleases them can be guilty of no wrong. No matter what the actual facts might be.

This is a tragic flaw in the human personality which is nowhere more on display than in California where a celebrity cannot get convicted of any crime in any court of law.

Look at OJ, who left a blood trail from the murder scene to his house. Then there's Robert Blake who leaves a restaurant with his estranged wife then comes in a few minutes later red faced and sweating bullets, telling anyone who will listen that he left his gun in the restaurant - so if anyone should, oh I don't know, shoot his wife - it couldn't possibly be him. Then comes back into the restaurant again a minute later shouting that someone had just happened to shoot his wife. But it couldn't have been him because he had left his gun in the restaurant.

In both cases California juries failed to convict. On the other hand Scott Peterson, a nobody, was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to death and there wasn't one piece of physical evidence tying him to the crime (not that I doubt for a second that he did it).

The culture, or cult, of celebrity worship is going to be on display for the next few days as James Brown is eulogized everywhere from talk radio and television to the halls of congress. We don't worship auto mechanics who do a really good job of rebuilding carburetors but we certainly take our cars to them for repair. Perhaps it is time we stopped idolizing entertainers and sports figures who are really good at their jobs. We can still watch their movies, read their books, listen to their music or cheer their teams, but just not think of them as anything more than that really good mechanic.


Sometimes you make a prediction and it turns out to be wrong. When what you predicted is bad and you have any integrity you are happy to be wrong.

Back before the election I predicted that if the Democrats won control of the House or Senate that the Iraqi appeals court would hedge its bet by overturning Saddam's death sentence.

I was wrong, thank goodness.

Of course he ain't dead yet and a lot can happen in 30 days, but it looks bad for the old butcher.

The Washington Times has the whole story.

Paying the piper

Robert Stacy McCain makes this observation in an article on Front Page Magazine:

If defeated Republicans like Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine and Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee want to know why “Reagan Democrats” turned against them in 2006, they ought to think back to May 25.

That’s the day DeWine, Chafee and 21 other Republican senators voted yes for S. 2611, the “comprehensive” immigration reform bill. The message was loud and clear: The Republican Party did not give a damn about the American worker.

It was hardly surprising, then, that when Election Day rolled around, the American worker declared he did not give a damn about the Republican Party.

On May 25, a few brave souls tried to talk sense to the fanatics who rammed S. 2611 through the Senate. “We will never solve the problem of illegal immigration by rewarding those who break our laws,” said Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina .

The fanatics would not listen, as Texas Sen. John Cornyn observed.

"There seems to me to be a sense of surreality here, where people in the Senate just are not listening to what the American people are telling us," said Mr. Cornyn, another Republican who voted against the bill.

The results of the 2006 election have been interpreted many ways by different analysts since Nov. 7, but it could be argued that May 25 was the day the Republican Party doomed itself to defeat.

He is correct and it is deeply unfortunate that the working class "Reagan Democrats" forgot that it was only Republican control of the House that prevented the Senate's amnesty bill from becoming law. Now that the House is in the hands of pro-amnesty Democrats who will step up to save the nation?

The last November's elections could well turn out to be the most expensive temper tantrum in the history of the world.

More on the Duke Rape Case

Subtitle: Get the fork ready to stick in Nifong cause he's just about done.

Jamie Glazov has a fascinating interview up on today's Front Page Magazine website about the Duke rape case:

Frontpage Interview's guest today is KC Johnson, a professor of history at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. With a B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, he specializes in 20th century U.S. political, constitutional, and diplomatic history. He writes a blog, Durham-in-Wonderland, which offers comments and analysis about the Duke/Nifong case.

Here some of the more interesting bits:

In a word, no prosecutor with any integrity would continue with this case—but if we have learned nothing else over the past nine months, Mike Nifong is not a man of integrity.

At this point, no pretense exists that anything but self-preservation motivates Nifong. By dropping the rape charges, Nifong effectively impeached his only witness. On April 4, the accuser was shown photographs of the 46 white players on the Duke lacrosse team. In that lineup, the accuser made multiple errors (for starters: claiming to have seen two players who could prove they weren't at the party and incorrectly identifying the player who made the broomstick comment). But she identified four people as possible attackers, and Nifong chose three to indict.

She did more than identify, however: she described what each of the alleged attackers did to her. By offering a new version of events 282 days after the party, Nifong argues for disbelieving the accuser's on-tape descriptions of acts from the April 4 ID session.

But Nifong needed to impeach the accuser to help his own cause. In a December 15 court session, Dr. Brian Meehan, head of a private DNA lab, stated under oath that he and Nifong entered into an agreement to intentionally withhold exculpatory DNA evidence. This move violated North Carolina's Open Discovery Law and contradicted the principle of the Brady decision, which requires turning over any potentially exculpatory material to the defense.

Like a
prospective defendant in an ethics or possibly even criminal case, Nifong needed to find ways to minimize the significance of the exculpatory evidence he and Meehan conspired to prevent the defense from seeing.

The bizarre decision to drop the rape charges but retain the others can only be explained by looking at Nifong's legal needs. By claiming that no rape occurred, Nifong can, perhaps, rationalize the decision reached by Meehan and him that the DNA from five, unidentified males was irrelevant to the case, and therefore should be excluded in Meehan's report.

This is very interesting. It seems that Nifong is manipulating a criminal case which he is prosecuting in order to better position himself as a defendant in a civil (or even criminal) case which he anticipates being involved in. The DA manipulating a case fro personal gain had to be right up there at the top of corrupt practices that would form grounds for impeachment and disbarment.

But it doesn't stop here. Other of the left-wing "usual suspects" are indited as well:

Before this incident, the North Carolina NAACP had a recent record of aggressively demanding procedural changes that would ensure fairness for criminal defendants. For instance, the state NAACP backed a 2004 law mandating that prosecutors turn over their entire files to the defense; and also had championed new eyewitness ID procedures calling for use of seven filler photos for every suspect and other due process-friendly changes.

In this case, Nifong created a lineup confined to suspects (the lacrosse players), while on December 15, the head of a private DNA lab admitted under oath that he and Nifong agreed to withhold exculpatory DNA evidence.

Yet not only has the state NAACP not protested the prosecutor's actions, it has
consistently defended Nifong. A defense motion requesting a change of venue laid out the extent of the NAACP's actions, which included a posting on the organization's website containing demonstrably false statements about the lacrosse players. Meanwhile, the group designated a case "monitor,' NCCU professor Irving Joyner, who has aggressively bolstered Nifong's case in interviews, falling back on the argument that the prosecutor "must have something" that hasn't been revealed and wholly ignoring the procedural misconduct.

In light of its behavior in this case, it would be difficult to take seriously anything we hear in the future from the NAACP about the civil liberties of criminal defendants.


In June, NOW issued a statement condemning the defense attorneys and the media in the case, suggesting that any criticism of the accuser's veracity (this in a case where the accuser gave at least ten different versions of events, and never told a police officer the same story twice) constituted an assault on her privacy.

Ironically, most criticism (from attorneys and from both the mainstream media and the blogosphere) has focused on Nifong, not the accuser. The impression that many feminists have left—whether intentional or not—is that any criticism of a rape case prosecution, even of a prosecutor who's behaving in an unethical fashion, constitutes unacceptable attacks on the accuser. That isn't a tenable position.

Go read the rest. I didn't even include what he says about the Duke faculty hypocrites.

Mother Calhoon has a saying fro when some bigshot has a well deserved fall. She says they "go down like a big fat hog".

It's going to be fun watching Nifong go down like a big fat hog.

An so it begins. . .

From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 25 — Counting on the support of the new Democratic majority in Congress, Democratic lawmakers and their Republican allies are working on measures that could place millions of illegal immigrants on a more direct path to citizenship than would a bill that the Senate passed in the spring.

The lawmakers are considering abandoning a requirement in the Senate bill that would compel several million illegal immigrants to leave the United States before becoming eligible to apply for citizenship.

The lawmakers are also considering denying financing for 700 miles of fencing along the border with Mexico, a law championed by Republicans that passed with significant Democratic support.

This is why voting Republican in the last election was the right thing to do despite all the disappointments and betrayals inflicted upon us by the Republican majority.

This bill, if it passes, will literally mean the end of the United States as the nation created by our founding fathers. If you want to know what America will become with a generation or two of legalizing anywhere from 12 to 20 million illegal aliens and opening our borders to virtually unlimited immigration from the south just scroll down and read the post about the deadbeat in Belgium with three wives and 30 children who is drawing nearly $10,000.00 per month in taxpayer financed welfare payments.

All one need do is spend an hour or two studying conditions in Mexico to realize that the Mexican people do not know how to govern themselves. People in the United States who have no idea how a nation should be governed to produce liberty, prosperity and stability will, as sure as there's a Devil in Hell, vote Democrat.

The more things change the more they stay the same

Also from The Washington Post:

Winchester and its neighbors along Interstate 81 in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley have much to recommend themselves to potential employers, including a low cost of living, access to a major highway and views of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains.

More recently, though, the area has been successfully trumpeting another attribute: It is just outside the "blast zone."

In a little-noticed migration with implications for both greater Washington and the valley, several federal agencies, including the FBI, are relocating operations to the I-81 corridor. Helping drive the shift is the government's emphasis on security in a post-Sept. 11 world, which turns Winchester's location 75 miles from Washington into a geographic ideal. It is far enough from the capital to escape the fallout of a nuclear explosion -- a distance often estimated at 50 miles -- but still close enough so that employees can get to the District relatively easily when they need to.

"There's a certain distance they need to be out from the strike zone -- and Winchester is outside of that," said Jim Deskins, economic redevelopment chief for the 26,000-person city.

How many of you remember the Cuban Missile Crisis? How many of you had a fallout shelter? How many of you read the late Mel Tappan's survivalist columns in Guns and Ammo? How many of you had a bug-out kit with weapons, ammo, food, water, a first aid kit and a plan on where to go to escape the fallout?

After the Soviet Union blew up its first nuclear bomb and especially after they launched the world's first artificial satellite the American people realized that the oceans would no longer protect us and began to take civil defense seriously. For at least a little while.

It didn't take all that long for the well stocked fallout shelters that were put in urban buildings to deteoriate from neglect and the companies that installed fallout shelters in the backyards of private homes to switch over to swimming pools, but for a little while acted like grownups and took our personal safety seriously.

Then the whole "after a nuclear war the living will envy the dead" propaganda started up and people at first just averted their eyes from the possibilities of what could happen and then a younger generation got tired of living under a nuclear Sword of Damocles and, led by the Pied Pipers of the left - who were supported by generous grants from the Soviet KGB, and flocked wholesale to movements like nuclear freeze and unilateral disarmament (things that would have been national suicide if implemented).

Then Ronald Reagan stepped up and saved us from ourselves.

The question is will the new consciousness of security in the age of Islamic terrorism and man-portable nuclear devises, as well as dirty bombs and chemical and biological weapons, erode as quickley as our will to take affirmative steps to ensure the survival of our population in the event of a nuclear war did?

I hope the answer is NO because as hard as I look out toward the horizon I can't seem to see another Ronald Reagan who will step up and save us from ourselves - again.

Now if American Democrats would only step up

From The Washington Post:

LONDON, Dec. 25 -- Ethiopian warplanes attacked the airport in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, on Monday in another major escalation of fighting between the Ethiopian-backed Somali government and the Islamic Courts movement that in recent months has taken over much of the country.

Who knew that Ethiopia had warplanes? I guess that the Soviets were giving away hardware to anyone who would at least pretend to play on their team. This is a testimony to how robust that old Russian stuff is that it can still fly with maintenance that must give the word minimal a new meaning.

Still and all this is a good thing. If you want to know what the "Islamic Courts" movement is all about just think Taliban.

Also, notice that were there is a trouble spot with people suffering and rivers of blood being spilled you find Islam at the root of it.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas night double music videos

This is Trans-Siberian Orchestra's video of Christmas Cannon from the DVD, The Ghosts of Christmas Eve.

This is a live performance of the song Promises to Keep.

Time's gifts

While chatting with my dentist yesterday while waiting for my mouth to numb up he remarked that he and his partners frequently had female patients who told him that they would rather give birth than endure a dental procedure. He said that he couldn’t understand how anyone would choose hours of labor over an hour or so in the dentist’s chair after seeing what his wife went through giving birth to their daughter. It seems that she was in labor for nearly 24 hours before her doctor finally saw that natural birth wasn’t going to happen and gave her a C-section.

This started me thinking. A hundred and fifty years ago both she and the child would probably have died. Through the first 30 years of the 20th Century my broken tooth would have only been treatable by going to some barber with a pair of pliers and having it pulled with no other anesthesia than a few shots of corn liquor, at least in the rural area where I live. If I had I lived on the frontier I might have had to endure months of agony while it rotted out and then possibly died from infection.

When we think of the passage of time we usually think in terms of how fast time seems to pass and of the losses time inflicts upon us. We grieve for our own lost youth and the sense of emptiness we feel when our children grow up and begin lives separate from us. The sadness we feel at seeing our parents grow old and feeble and eventually die. As we grow older with the passage of time the changes in our culture can sometimes make us feel like aliens in our own homeland and we know that time is passing us by.

However time also brings us wonderful gifts. When I met my friend the dentist more than 10 years ago he was still in college and had not even started dental school. His lovely wife was only his lovely fiancée in nursing school and their beautiful daughter was only a vague plan to “have kids sometime after the dental practice was established”.

Time brought him through school and into one of the fastest growing practices in the region. It brought them to the altar and delivered their child to them. The forward march of science and technology through time allowed her and the child to survive childbirth and allowed me to survive having my hand crushed in my mid-twenties. Survive with my hand intact rather than having it sawed off without anesthetic or antiseptic and having it cauterized with a red hot iron.

My other friend’s two wonderful daughters who I first met when they were 9 and 13 and I was their Sunday School teacher have been gifted by time and are now grown women with fine husbands and children of their own (a son to one and a daughter to the other with another son and daughter on the way – let’s also hear it for married White women reproducing).

The passage of time brought us central heating and air conditioning and chemotherapy and eyeglasses and laser surgery so that we don’t need eyeglasses any more. It gave us automobiles so inexpensive that virtually all of us who want one can afford one so that we don’t have to live our lives within walking distance of everything we need.

Time gave us radio so that we can know what is happening on the other side of the world before it is old news and television beamed around the world by satellites so that we can know what is happening on the other side of the world while it is actually going on. Then time gave us the Internet so that we no longer have to believe everything we see on television.

As we experience the passage of time we gain wisdom from experience and come to truly understand the old saying that youth is wasted on the young.

As time passes it does take away things we would rather keep, but it also washes away things that are badly in need of getting rid of. Think of it; the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter have rendered little more than bad memories by the passage of time.

Time does both give and take away, but on balance it gives much more than it takes. If this were not so then each generation would be less than the one before it. Life would grow worse rather than better as the generations pass and every generation would view the past with envy as the Europeans mired in the chaos and misery of the Dark Ages looked back on Rome as a golden age.

It is only human to lament the things we lose to the march of the clock and calendar, but always remember to give thanks for what they bring as well.

A community beyond shame indeed

To all the people who think that things are about as bad as they can get in America I present you with this story from Belgium. Courtesy of The Brussels Journal:

Serge Régnier (as some readers may remember) is a 47-year old Belgian with three wives and thirty children. In 1986 Régnier married Christine Wuest (who is now 38). They have fifteen children, between 19 years and 11 months old. A couple of years later, Christine’s homeless sister Karine Wuest (now 35 years old) came to live with the couple. Soon she fell in love with Serge. Christine consented in her husband taking her sister as a second wife. Serge and Karine have six children, between 10 years and 10 months old.

All that time, Serge had been meeting his former girlfriend Judith De Leenheer (now 38 years old). When Judith’s marriage broke up – which was not altogether surprising since all her children were Serge’s rather than her husband’s – Serge asked his two wives whether they would mind taking her in. They did not mind. Serge and Judith have nine children, between 18 years and 10 months old. They all live together in Serge’s house in Marcinelle, a town in Wallonia, the French-speaking South of Belgium.

The Belgians call Régnier, a stocky, balding man with a fringe of beard, the “Marcinelle bull.” Non-Belgians wonder perhaps how he provides for his large family. Here is the answer.

Régnier applied for and received the status of an invalid from Wallonia's generous welfare authorities. He consequently receives a welfare check of over €1,000 a month. His three wives are all unemployed. Hence, they each get €800 in unemployment benefits. On top of this the family receives €4,000 in child allowances. This makes a grand total of more than €7,400 a month ($9,700 or £4,960) – all of it provided by Belgium’s taxpayers. All the money matters in the household are taken care of by Serge. His wives are only interested in children. They have told the press that they each hope to have another baby in 2007.

[. . .]

Indeed, last Tuesday the Belgian paper Gazet van Antwerpen wrote that there are marital problems in the Régnier household. His three wives complain that their husband is often away from home, while they do not know where he is. They suspect there is a fourth woman. “We are partners, friends. There is no jealousy here, at least not between us three,” they told the paper. But while four is a marriage, five is a crowd. The wives are also increasingly frustrated because Serge does not seem prepared to give them another baby yet. “Judith, Karine and I each want three more children,” says Christine. “So did Serge a few months ago, but suddenly no more. What must we make of that?” she asks. Régnier, however, denies he is cheating on his wives. “They will get their children, but not for the moment,” he says.

The wives are also cross because Régnier often withdraws into his room, locking the door. He is the only one to have a room of his own in the house. There he has a television set and a small fridge. The women complain he sits there watching football and drinking beer, while they cook, wash and iron and take care of the children. Régnier ignores their complaints, and tells the journalist: “I do not know whether you are married but if you have one wife you can imagine what it is like to have three.”

A story like Régnier’s is probably only possible in the south of Belgium, where a man can spend his life in idleness while the taxpayers provide him with enough income to sustain three women and thirty children. Wallonia is a Socialist stronghold which is subsidized by Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern half of the country. Belgium is a country in which any major government decision requires approval in both Flanders and Wallonia. The Constitution stipulates that every major change requires a majority in both parts of the country. This has doomed the country to inertia and it has inevitably led to the corruption of Wallonia.

[. . .]

In Flanders, which has a strong freemarket culture, there is a large political majority to change the present welfare system. The Flemish want to lower taxes and to reform social security to reduce abuse. But Wallonia blocks all reforms and the Walloon Socialist party guarantees voters that, as long as they support the Socialists, money from Flemish taxpayers will keep flowing to the nearly 50% of the Walloons who are employed or subsidized by the government, including “invalids” like Serge Régnier.

In 2006 the 6 million Flemings subsidized the 4 million Walloons at a rate of €11.5 billion (an enormous amount of money compared to the €14 billion which is the U.S.’s annual spending on foreign aid). Among the frustrated Flemings there is a growing call for secession from Belgium. This has begun to worry the Belgian establishment. This became particularly apparent after a hoax television news item last week in which the end of Belgium was announced.

When Caroline De Gruyter, a journalist from the Netherlands, visited Wallonia five years ago she was amazed to meet several families that had been on the dole for three generations and did not have a single relative who was officially employed. The families liked it that way. They all voted for the Socialist Party, because it guaranteed that Flemish money would keep flowing to Wallonia. They described the attitude of Flemish nationalists “who do not want to pay taxes to support the Walloon jobless” as “unsocial behaviour!” One of the things that struck De Gruyter was that they admitted to having no shame. It prompted her to call them “a Community beyond Shame.”

See, it can always get worse.

And make no mistake American leftists are reading stories like this out of Europe and growing enraged at how "backward" the US is because we don't have a welfare system as generous as Belgium's.

Now that their party controls congress rest assured that they will try to "fix" that.

Merry Christmas.