Tuesday, January 31, 2006

America's Fantastic Islamic Schools!

See them profiled at Private Schools Report:

Beth Rochel School of Monsey, New York
Jewish Primary School of Silver Spring
Bais Yaakov School for Girls of Los Angeles
Yavneh Academy of Dallas, Texas
Cheder Lubavitch of Skokie, Ill.
Beth Moshe Congregation of North Miami
Chalutzim Academy of Philadelphia

- and many, many more! [Hat tip: my wife!]

I note that Christian schools are carefully classed by denomination. Or maybe not so carefully. If James Lamb, the apparent creator of this site, considers the above-listed schools to be "Islamic", just imagine what sort of schools he may classify as "catholic"!

Update, 2/25/05

Private Schools Report has now "converted" many of these "Islamic" schools into "Jewish" ones. Incredible!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"What This War is Really About"

Jeff Harrell usually blogs at The Shape of Days, but yesterday he guest-blogged this worthy piece over at Wizbang:

The conflict with al-Qaida began not on 9/11 but on December 29, 1992, when an explosion ripped through the Gold Mihor Hotel in Aden, Yemen, killing a Yemeni and an Austrian national and injuring many others...

...we've got no choice at all but to radically change the rules governing a third of the world...The days of measured responses and Realpolitik are over. On September 11, 2001, we realized that tyranny anywhere poses a direct and immediate threat to freedom everywhere...

Tyranny anywhere is a threat to freedom everywhere. That's the war we're fighting. And it's bigger than al-Qaida. It's bigger than Iraq and it's bigger than Palestine, and it's sure as hell bigger than Osama bin Laden. It's a war to decide the fate of the entire world. And it's a war we mean to win.

Read it all. The perspective that the West has been in a slowly gathering war spanning decades is taking root, and soon the movement to destroy the ideological foundations of Islamic terrorism will take firm shape. Neither Islam nor the West will ever be the same, but their peoples may be happier and more mature in the end -- if we of the West maintain the will to tough it out.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Why G-d chose the Jews

THERE IS ONE good thing about anti-Semitism: It lets you know who the bad guys are...

If it were only a matter of hating Jews, we could say: "Feel free, hate everyone, knock yourself out." The trouble is the suffering, the slaughter of innocents and indeed the destruction of entire nations that seems inevitably to follow when anti-Semitism is allowed to spread beyond the cesspool of the mind that contains it.

Andrew Klavan's commentary is quite perceptive. Read it all.

Then ponder this question: Is the life of a Jew-hater to be valued the same as that of a Jew? Suppose I'm surrounded by twenty Jew-haters who want to kill me and all I've got is a machine gun: Am I entitled to gun them down?

If you say yes, then my question is, doesn't Israel have the right to do the same to its enemies? If you say no, then my question is, why do we keep violent criminals in prisons? If you support the prison system, then consider what Israel is doing by isolating the Palestinian Arabs: is it really different?

Why G-d chose the Jews. Do you recall Sodom and Gemorrah and how Abraham was tested?

Why G-d chose the Jews. Back then, only G-d possessed the ability to turn wicked cities into seas of ash. With mankind's increased power comes a communsurate increase in responsibility. The current Iranian régime will soon match its overmastering desire to wipe out Israel with the ability to do so. What is Israel supposed to do? [Nuke 'em?] What is the United States supposed to do? What is the world supposed to do?

Why G-d chose the Jews. From the Passover Haggadah: "Not one alone has arisen against us to destroy us. Rather in each generation, there are those that rise up against us to destroy us, in every generation we must seek our freedom."

Why G-d chose the Jews. It is this writer's conceit that the primary purpose of choosing the Jews to follow the Torah was to give them the ability - and set upon them the responsibility - to make and carry out difficult moral choices.

What do my readers say to that?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

On the Rediscovery of "Killer Trees"

Methane is the greenhouse gas which has the second greatest effect on climate, after carbon dioxide. The concentration of methane in the atmosphere has almost tripled in the last 150 years...Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics have now discovered that plants themselves produce methane and emit it into the atmosphere, even in completely normal, oxygen-rich surroundings. The researchers made the surprising discovery during an investigation of which gases are emitted by dead and fresh leaves....why would such a seemingly obvious discovery only come about now, 20 years after hundreds of scientists around the globe started investigating the global methane cycle?

Solomon2 has a partial answer to that question. Twenty years ago, when I felt far wiser than I feel now, Solomon2 was an engineering undergrad at a major university. One of the professors in the department, we heard, was actually working on research to prove that pollution came from plants.

Oh, how we undergrads made fun of this professor! "Killer Trees" is how we referred to his industry-funded project. It was so obviously wrong!

This professor also had a graduate student working with him on the project. The grad student felt that he was being pushed to produce research beyond what was necessary to write his Ph.D. thesis and appealed to higher authority.

Amazingly, the graduate student won his appeal and was awarded his doctorate. Whereupon the newly-degreed doctor of engineering wiped all information about the project from his former professor's computer files.

Ah, the joys of academia! Did one act of vindictive revenge set back methane pollution research for a generation? I cannot say. A number of us undergraduate engineering students were employed to re-code what information could be retrieved, but I don't doubt that much data was lost. Lost to the professor, lost to the world, and lost to history.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A Rusty Nail

- à la Solomon2:

1 Tbs Drambuie
3 Tbs Woodford Reserve Bourbon
3 Ice cubes

Stir. Delicious!

Drambuie is too sweet for me, yet the Woodford Reserve just isn't sweet enough. This drink "nailed" me. Sipping slowly permits your mouth to warm up the spirit and experience its full sensuousness. Ahhh!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Moral Superiority Redux

A very busy week. A good time to review last year's discussion of Western moral superiority, and the concept of moral superiority in general. I'll add more of my thoughts quite soon.

1) Western Moral Superiority?

2) Proof of Moral Superiority

3) Moral Superiority, Part II

Monday, January 09, 2006

Pressure the Post? Why Bother?

Worthy Bill Roggio of The Fourth Rail is upset at The Washington Post for the inaccuracies in its article on milbloggers last month. Amazingly, the Post ran a correction, but even that isn't enough for Bill.

My opinion:

I think the problem is that we expect too much from the Washington Post. They are probably the best MSM newspaper in the country, and if they describe a person's function accurately, attribute a quote properly, and spell a name correctly I consider it unreasonable to expect much more from them.

How many times have I seen an incorrect phone # in their classified ads? Merchants and citizens who actually PAY to be in the paper? ("Oh, we'll run it for you again next week for free." "But by then, the sale/event/deadline will be over!")

Bad headline? The editor writes that, not the reporter, and it may have no real connection with the article. Compared to some, Roggio has nothing to complain about; Natan Sharansky believes that an inaccurate Washington Post headline sent him to the Soviet Gulag for thirteen years!

No, the Post's standards just aren't that high. The correct posture is not to accept anything they print too seriously, and to doubt anything even slightly complicated until, from double-checking, you can gauge the reliability of individual reporters yourself.

As for whether they are pro-this or pro-that: the newspaper has a way to go before I'd want the endorsement of their opinion.

If they want to change, they should get the facts straight first, and write the opinion/spin separately afterwards. Nothing wrong with that approach. If it uses more column-inches the deadlines of other reporters can be stretched a little.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Capture the Penguin!

As Mudville Gazette reminds me, before there were Not-One-Cent tokens, the U.S. Congress itself minted worthy medals:

This one commemorates the capture of the HMS Penguin by the USS Hornet after the War of 1812 was over, but before such news could be transmitted to the respective navies. As America fought this war in part to protest against the forcible impressment of Americans into the British Navy, the naval battles were especially fierce.

The original, cast in gold, was awarded to Captain James Biddle, commander of the Hornet. Who was Captain Biddle? Biddle was one of those Americans who had been taken prisoner by the Barbary pirates but was liberated as a result of America's war against them!

I do not doubt that Captain Biddle knew, due to his captivity in the Pirates' den, the importance of the struggle for liberty, freedom, and the United States of America.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Nuke Iran? Syria? Lebanon?

Iranian American children look on during a demonstration near Capitol Hill, calling for a referral of Iran's nuclear program to the United Nations Security Council, in Washington November 19, 2004. REUTERS/Shaun Heasley

Over at Democratic Peace, Dr. Rummel reviews the case of WWII Japan, and ponders upon exactly when such a "Just Democide" (Democide = an explicitly genocidal attack) may actually be warranted. He states, uneasily, that it was moral to "murder hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians versus ending the war quickly with the millions of lives thus saved."

But what

if I'm surrounded by five armed thugs who want to murder me, a peaceful productive citizen, for my money and my wife I should just let them do so, because their five lives are worth more than one?

[Rummel:] The thugs are combatants, and killing them is an act of self-defense and not democide, or in civil law, murder. However, Solomon2 points up the need to tightly define when a Just Democide is appropriate.

Mark said: I think democide (murder by government) is different from personal self-defense.

My response:

Are "tight" definitions really the solution? And at what point does a robber baron and his followers become a "government"?

A practical present-day dilemma is almost upon us: I imagine that Israel will soon have to decide whether or not to attack Iranian and Arab nuclear installations with Israel's own nuclear weapons. If not, Israel's eventual destruction is assured. If so, then at a minimum tens of thousands of civilians will be killed, as production facilities and weapons depots are deliberately located in heavily populated areas.

What will Israel do? It is my opionion that the correct moral judgment is to proceed with the attack. The Holocaust showed that the human condition is not improved when a few million Jews are mercilessly slaughtered or enslaved for the pleasure of warlike and racist thugs.

The Jews are just the first victims; once they are gone, everyone else may be next. Is it not better to see the Jew as "the canary in the coalmine" and advocate eliminating the threat now, rather than wait?

Unless, of course, deep-down you feel that "the Israelis deserve it". For Iran's principal European supporter is Germany, and I suspect that for many Germans, and for other Europeans of anti-Jewish bent, either the destruction of Israel OR the mass civilian casualties Israel's defense will entail can be represented, deep in their secret hearts, as a kind of "justification" for their nation's past conduct: "See, we did the right thing, the Jews are bad for the world, everybody hates them, it would be best that they are no more, our grandfathers were doing the right thing, and we can be proud to be Germans/Lithuanians/Poles/(etc.) again."

That such people helped to achieve such ends by essentially doing nothing to halt the mullahs and dictators from advancing such ends makes little impression upon anyone. After all, the world could whine piteously about dead Jews and still smash (or slap lightly upon the wrist) perpetrators of a Second Holocaust afterwards. A nation wants to feel proud of itself, so the Jews must therefore suffer.

It's an old story. What is new is that substituting America for Israel serves much the same purpose.

Addendum (Hat tip, Pamela). Not even a slap on the wrist: Germany opposes banning Iran from the World Cup.

1/2/06: Jesus' General Goes Nuclear - or is it poison gas? - over this post.

Iran to Resume Nuclear Fuel Research The Europeans create little impression that their threat to take Iran to the U.N. Security Council might be serious:

A European diplomat...said it was too early to [determine] whether it would scuttle talks planned for later this months between Iran and French, British and German negotiators. The EU has previously said that any decision by Iran to resume work on its uranium enrichment program would be "the red line" that would end European attempts to negotiate...

The Hindustan Times (Thanks again, Pamela!) quotes Iran's "top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani" as saying Israel would "suffer greatly" if it launched an attack and adds - speaking about Iran's nuclear fuel program, but perhaps really voicing his thoughts about Israel from the previous question:

"It's not logical for a country to put the fate of its nation at the disposal of another country even if it's a friend."

i assumed the zionist above was a soft zionist. but perusal of his blog shows that he calls for nuclear attack against syria and iran, and that he’s an extremist neo-con. I don’t have fascists of any variety here. he won’t be commenting again.