Thursday, July 30, 2009

Aaaaaargh. Okay. I'm convinced.

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal has finally and to my full satisfaction convinced me that the birth-certificate "scandal" is BS.

So why doesn’t Obama release the original certificate? The Advertiser says it is “unclear” whether the president “would even be allowed to see it if he asked.” ... But the real question is: Why should he? The demand has no basis in principle and would have no practical benefit. Obama has already provided a legal birth certificate demonstrating that he was born in Hawaii. No one has produced any serious evidence to the contrary. Absent such evidence, it is unreasonable to deny that Obama has met the burden of proof. We know that he was born in Honolulu as surely as we know that Bill Clinton was born in Hope, Ark., or George W. Bush in New Haven, Conn.
Taranto's status as a credible source is well established. While it still bothers me that Obama hasn't released the original, it is clear now that so many people would have to be involved in a cover up that it really can't be taken seriously that Obama was not born in Hawai'i and this is not a US Citizen.

A USC he is by birth on American soil. That's it. The end. Goodbye.

Add to this the following observation from FrontpageMag.com:

In addition to the birth certificate, the August 13, 1961 Honolulu Advertiser also carries an announcement of Obama's birth. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin also carries the same announcement. Both papers printed an identical list of birth announcements supplied to them by the Hawaii State Department of Health.


I will admit that I was giving the "birth certificate" theory serious consideration--after all, why DIDN'T Obama release the "original"? Well, cuz it turns out he never had access to it at all. Furthermore, if both Honolulu papers carried the announcement, it indicates pretty clearly that the birth must have been announced by the State of Hawai'i--and therefore occurred *in* the State of Hawai'i. It would require a conspiracy of hundreds to successfully fake that.

Therefore, I hereby announce my doubts answered, and I for one will expess no further opinion on the matter to the contrary.

BUT. If in the end it DOES turn out that he was not born in the US, I will be very, very, very ticked. As will a lot of other people.

AND: this does not alter my opposition to him one whit.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Soldier Calls for Senator to Apologize."



This soldier, back from Iraq (it is presumed), is lecturing a U.S. Senator about the contents of the U.S. Constitution.

He's one of those strict constructionists who thinks that the Government has no constitutional right, whatsoever, to pass laws other than those specifically outlined in Section 8, Article I. of the U.S. Constitution.

Unfortunately--and I'm speaking as a full throated and lifelong conservative here--the soldier doesn't know what he is talking about.

Government run health care could be on its own quite constitutional, under Article I, Section 8, Clause 3:

[The Congress shall have power] To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.
It is the Interstate Commerce clause which would, alas, empower Congress to enact government run healthcare.

The Interstate Commerce clause also empowers Congress to enact and enforce civil rights laws.

So if we accept our soldier's interpretation of the Constitution, not only does health care go out the window, so does the federal government's power to ban three bathrooms, segregated schools, hotels and buses, and "Negroes Need Not Apply" signs at factories.

I'm not implying this soldier is a racist!

BUT.

His constitutional interpretation leads us directly back to the dark ages.

It is perfectly OK to attack government run health care (a phrase I couldn't use with the franking privilege, BTW, but never mind)--in particular as it would likely violate the civil rights of the unborn. It is also perfectly OK to attack it on practical grounds.

But attacking it as "unconstitutional" due to some antedeluvian (read, pre-1865) reading of the Constitution is wrongheaded and achieves precisely squat.

The senator owes this soldier no apology. On these grounds at least... whether we like it or not.

P.S. There are those who would read me out of the conservative movement for making this obvious observation. Let me preemptively respond to those by respectfully saying this: If you think I'm not conservative enough, then frak you.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

For No Reason Whatsoever......

"They're taking the Hobbits to Isengard!"

("What did you say?")

Friday, July 24, 2009

St. Ri Hyon Ok, Ora Pro Nos

Associated Press, via Andrew Breitbart reports that

A Christian woman accused of distributing the Bible, a book banned in communist North Korea, was publicly executed last month for the crime, South Korean activists said Friday.

The 33-year-old mother of three, Ri Hyon Ok, also was accused of spying for South Korea and the United States, and of organizing dissidents, a rights group said in Seoul, citing documents obtained from the North.
It is an incident like this that reminds us that the Dear Leader is not a puppet singing "I'm so Ronery" but a genocidal monster who must be destroyed.

May the sacrifice of St. Ri Hyon Ok bring eternal life and knowledge to those living in the darkness of the Hell on Earth that we call North Korea.

And may the Dear Leader Kim Jong Il die a horrible death soon at the hands of his own slaves and may his country be freed forever of him and his minions. Anathema sit and ymech shemo. Amen.

(A very, very few people don't rate the other cheek. They rate a flame thrower.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Only in Detroit

Just when, after the great Bridge Collapse Fire of last week which saw zero deaths and only one serious injury, with the city having a new mayor, as well as a new ex-city-councilwoman named Conyers, we'd start seeing some improvements.

But not yet, it seems. The Detroit News reports:

Detroit Police officials said they couldn’t say how much the escort cost the city. The escort guided the hearses from the funeral procession through red lights.

Mourners had left the toys and other items at the Motown Historical Museum on West Grand Boulevard since the singer died June 25 at age 50. After sitting outside for three weeks, the toys were not safe to donate to a children’s museum or orphanage, museum Chief Operating Officer Audley Smith said.

”We have now concluded that it would be best to bury the items,” Smith said Friday morning.
Let me see if I have this straight. A police escort? For rain-sogged toys?!!?!??

(((shaking head while making that wobblewobblewobble sound you hear after a cartoon character has been hit in the head by a falling anvil)))

Fear not, tho. Nobody senior made the decision to do this. And whoever did probably isn't senior any more.

Roach said the decision to provide the escort was not made by senior command staff and is an example of changes that need to be made within the department.


GEEEE! YATHINK?????

The Cure for the Common "I, Claudius"

You have to have a fetish for toga theater in order to appreciate the pure *genius* of the following.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Obama Meets With Creationist Theocrat!

We have word that the President of the United States met last week with a well known religious absolutist, theocrat and creationist who maintains total control over his country by religiously fundamentalist decree! A sex-hating dictator who forbids most people in his country having sex or even getting married! A forced-birther who denies women the right to protect themselves against cancer-like, invasive cell blobs! A crackpot who believes that snakes can talk and who thinks that the dead can come back to life!

Quick! Someone tell Charles Johnson!

No. Jury. Will. Ever. Convict.

It appears an Ohio man is facing prison for terroristic threats, after one of those auto-extended-warranty-scam barstids called him up to sell him something five days after he broke his wrist in a motorcycle accident.

An Ohio man, fed up with deceptive junk mail, made the mistake of losing his temper while on the phone with a St. Louis company pitching an extended auto-service contract. Now he finds himself behind bars, where he is charged with making a terrorist threat.

According to court documents, Charles W. Papenfus, 43, allegedly told a sales representative during a May 18 telephone call that he would burn down the building and kill the employees and their families. He was indicted for making a terrorist threat, a Class D felony; and he could be sentenced to up to four years in prison if convicted.

The key paragraph is here:

Court records don't name the firm that Papenfus allegedly threatened, but they say the business is located at 300 North Tucker Boulevard. The only firm in that building that sells service contracts — popularly known as "extended warranties" — is TXEN Partners, which does business as Service Protection Direct. The firm did not respond to requests for comment.
Huh. THOSE guys? I've gotten a zillion phone calls from those twits. I don't blame him. At ALL. Particularly since (a) he was hurtin' from his accident and (b) 'irritability' is listed as a side effect of at least one of the pain killers he was taking.

The guy should get a frakkin' medal. Or at least a firm "Don't do that again," a one way ticket home, and payment, by the state, for any lost wages and benefits.

No Quarter Will Be Given You!




[Executive Summary: This is the fifth part of an irregular series of essays about the United States Dollar--what it really is, and what the boys in Washington are doing with it and will do with it.]

This coin, to the left of the '64 Washington, is called a "Seated Liberty Quarter". It was made (you can just barely see the date) in 1853. No mint mark is visible, so we know that it was made in Philadelphia. It is worn so flat that the design has almost disappeared; it is so thin that it has almost ceased to be a "quarter" in any meaningful sense.

It’s just a little disk about an inch across.

It is so terribly worn that it can barely be recognized for what it is and weighs only about a half of its issuance weight.

I bought it for fifty cents from a coin shop’s junk-silver bin.

And yet this little piece of metal carries within itself the history of money in the United States. You can’t see it on this coin because of wear, but next to the date are arrows, thus: <-1853->.

These little arrows are roadsigns on the history of American money past... and future.

* * * *

From prehistoric times the metal of choice in trade was silver. This might surprise you, as we are trained to think of 'gold' as 'money'. But: silver has certain qualities that has always made it a better choice than gold for day to day commerce. It’s pretty, compared to most metals, when polished in a way that most metals are not. When you drop a silver coin onto a hard surface, it "rings" in a way that mere iron or copper or tin do not (the latter go “clunk” rather than ‘‘ding”). The shine made it attractive; its relatively common nature made it available, if not too much so, and the ding made it useful as a medium of exchange because anybody could authenticate a properly made coin just by dropping it on a hard surface.

Oh, sure, gold has always been used in trade also: but in general only by nobility for major exchanges, by cities paying tribute or taxes, and by kings who needed to pay armies. Gold was useful for paying armies with as, being much rarer and more valuable, it was also easier to haul large fortunes in small wagons. (An army’s paymaster could carry a season’s wages for an army could be carried on one or two wagons instead of 20 or 40.) But silver is what most people used to buy, sell, borrow and trade with on a day to day basis––as there simply was not enough gold to go around.

This is a key point. In ancient days, from the invention of the coin in 600 BC, those cities (such as Sardis in modern Turkey, Athens in Greece, and New Carthage in Spain) that had access to good silver mines (not necessarily to gold!) eventually rocked, then ruled, their worlds.

Take Greece. Following the victory of the Greeks over Persia at Salame in 470 BC* (yes, I know the PC version is “BCE”–sue me), the discovery of a rich vein of silver in Attica allowed the Athenians to build a great fleet, and through the fleet, the Athenian empire–the instrumentality of the downfall of Athens after they tried to subjugate their Greek neighbors.

By the time of the Roman Empire, silver was the hand that rocked their economic cradle. The conquest of Carthage by Rome gained for Rome access to the silver mines of Spain. Sure, again, gold was used, particularly by the army and by the imperial center. But silver is how the locals bought and sold commercial goods. A commoner could go years without ever seeing a gold coin. But silver was silver; more common and more freely available. The coin of choice was a denarius, from the Latin word for “day”; a silver coin about the size of a dime and perhaps 2/3 its weight. The full silver denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer––a unit of value that held its place for hundreds, even thousands, of years.



Penny of "Ethelred the Unready" ("Ethelred the Ill-Advised"), ca AD 1009 (Source: Wikipedia)

At the time of Charlemagne, a denarius was defined as 1/240 of a pound of pure silver, or 1.86 grams; twelve of these coins (denarii) were equal to a "solidus", which was 1/20 of a pound, or 22.36 grams. This became the basis of European and British money for over a thousand years. In England, over the years, the words became corrupted, a "solidus" became known as a "shilling" and a "denarius" became a penny. (And a pound became a “quid,” as in “quid pro quo” - ‘this for that’.)

But here is the problem. By the time of Charlemagne, the great mines of Spain and Turkey and Greece had become played out. All the ore therein was gone. Much of the silver previously in circulation had evaporated through wear, hoarding and other loss. And without new coins, the great commerce of the Empire eventually died. Every deal became barter, except among the nobility. And that choked out economic development for hundreds of years.

(Now, this was not the sole cause of the decline of Rome–the great migrations and decline of the Roman military played a major part in this as well–but it played a major role.)

Money is the blood of the body politic: without money the economy cannot grow. As the supply of money remains the same size, or shrinks, so does the economy. The term of art for this period of history is "the Dark Ages," but frankly, the term should have been "the Broke Ages" for that was its real problem.

Notice again how thin that coin is? It gets that way from being handled. Every person who handles a coin in circulation takes a few silver atoms off of the surface through the friction of handling it. Eventually, the coin loses weight and is no longer worth what it is said to be worth. So every generation or so the kings would call in the silver and recoin them anew. This is not, however, something kings liked to do, since––due to wear––they would always wind up with fewer new coins coming out than they had old coins going in. They often needed to supplement the coinage with more silver from other sources.

The first steps out of the Dark, then Middle, Ages were taken when two things occurred. First, alas, half the population up and died from The Black Plague. While a terrible event, however, it DID have the effect of making the survivors richer––there were now half as many people to own the same amount of stuff. The survivors, in essence, doubled their wealth overnight. Particularly of coin. Result: inflation, the first in recorded Western history, followed by the first labor strife in recorded annals. (Peasants discovered that they could get ten silver coins for a week’s work instead of five.... which made them very eager to NOT have to live on five.)

At about the same time, in a small town in what is now the Czech Republic, new and rich silver veins were discovered, the first in a thousand years. In a little place now called Jakimov (pron. "yackimof"), in the Valley of Saint Joachim, moneyers started making new coins, each worth about five shillings–much bigger than any previously made. These coins were very, very popular, and suddenly everyone started making them. They were called “Joachimthalers”, or "Thalers" for short.

(Note the name Jakimov. It’s in the “Sudentenland” territories. More on that below.)

Fast-forward to the early 1500s. America has just been discovered. Europe is in turmoil as the Reformation tears the Church in two. A Dutchman named Karl, or, in Spanish, Carlos, winds up, through strategic birth, a good marriage, blind luck, and heavily bribed elections, king of about a third of Europe and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. He owns Western Europe, but it’s mortgaged to the hilt. He is known to history as "Charles V", or "Carlos I of Spain and V of the Empire." We'll call him "Carlos V".

At about the same time, in Cuba, a lower-nobility-derived adventurer known to us as Hernando Cortez got a local Spanish girl, the sister of the governor, pregnant. This girl turned out to be a real harridan, and this Hernando Cortez character -- think of him as the Harcourt Fenton Mudd of his day -- decided to go adventuring just to get shut of her.

He convinced a hundred or so mercenaries to join him in a little trip from Cuba to Mexico, telling them that they’re just going exploring. And thereby hangs an incredible tale (one that I won’t repeat here).

Needless to say that when it is over, Cortez, whose harridan wife was still waiting for him in Cuba, was now called "La Conquistador" and he was sitting on a pile of gold and silver artwork the likes of which would make the eyes melt, as well as sleeping with his traitorous Aztec mistress.

It certainly made the art itself melt. The Aztecs––the (let's not forget, the not-very-nice, human-sacrificing barbarian) people Cortez had conquered––had used their culture’s inheritance of gold and silver, not for trade and coining, but for art. As he conquered the lands, Cortez melted this measureless craft and beauty into bricks, and put the bricks on ships. He then sent the ships to Emperor Carlos, and managed thereby to become his friend (as people who give fortunes to kings are wont to do).

Carlos turned out to be not too much of a friend, however; Emperor Carlos gave Cortez a fancy title and fired him as governor of Spanish Mexico. That’s okay, though–Cortez went on to live a long and pleasant life, a much more pleasant life, in particular, after his wife mysteriously committed “suicide”. (Like I said. Nice guy.)

Anyway, Carlos V then used this money to fight a series of nasty religious and political wars against both the Protestants (who have just appeared in history) as well as the Turks who are trying to invade the West. Results: The Aztec's gold and silver wound up saving the West from Turkish conquest, as well as holding the Protestant tide to a stalemate. In short, the “confiscated” Aztec gold and silver probably saved the Faith of Christ.

Go figure.

Shortly thereafter the Incas fell to Pizarro, who managed to defeat yet a second civilization with even fewer Spanish resources than it took to crush the Aztecs. And it was the Inca's gold and silver that really killed Spain.



A Spanish Milled Dollar from the reign of Philip V, 1739 (Source; Wikipedia)


At first it didn't look like poison; it seemed riches beyond belief. But when the Spanish gold and silver made it to Spain in quantity, something happened that had never happened in Europe before, save after the Black Death: that was, inflation. There simply was too much money in the economy for the resources available. Prices doubled and doubled again: nobody understood why.

Eventually the Spanish nobility totally threw away their wealth: all that was left was fancy palaces and literal "castles in Spain." The money melted into the general European economy and Spain became a poor country again.

(It should be noted that Spain *could* have become a permanent world power by investing its newfound riches in itself rather than in luxuries for its nobles. Problem is, almost all of Spain's brilliant financiers and money men who might have done so had been driven out, along with the rest of Spain's Jewish population, by Ferdinand and Isabella.) (Ooops.)

Evan after this, however, the American silver and gold resources were not completely played out. Mines in Peru, particularly at the mountain fastness at Potosi, still pulled new silver out of the ground, enough to provide the monetary needs for the entire Western Hemisphere. They started putting out "Spanish Milled Dollars," Carlos V's answer to the above-mentioned "Thalers."

And it was these coins that (as I have mentioned in earlier articles in this series) that became the model for the United States dollar.

Now, back to our coin--what is it about this quarter that makes it so special?

To answer that, we need to discuss "bimetallism," which ranks up there with "colonoscopy", "hypotenuse," "depreciation" and "Canadian" in terms of being among the least interesting words in the English language. Nevertheless, it's an important concept that an intelligent citizen needs to understand. And it turns out that it is also fairly easy to explain.

Starting in the 1790s, Alexander Hamilton, a first class brain, a top financier, and the only whole-souled aristocrat-monarchist found among the Founding Fathers, came to the conclusion that the United States of America should issue coins of all types: gold, silver and copper. The latter were to be used for small change and could be safely ignored. Gold and silver, however, had (according to every economic model that was understood at the time) to be issued in a fixed ratio, estimated at 15:1. That is, for every ounce of gold released in coin form, fifteen ounces of silver could also be released. This "bimetallic standard" was America's nominal way of doing business for its first 100 years.

There was a problem, though. While the ratio of 15:1 was actually an inspired guess, it was imperfect, and the price of gold and the price of silver fluctuated constantly based on a world market that was poorly understood. It all boiled down to how much metal was available for coining, and in how large a population it was intended to circulate. This varied from year to year, based on the playing out of old gold and silver mines and the discovery of new ones.

When a major new source of silver increased the silver supply, or a gold mine would play out, decreasing the gold supply, gold would be driven out of circulation as gold coins would be worth more than their face value in terms of silver. (Gresham’s law: “Bad” money drives out the “good.”) As new gold mines would appear and/or old sources of silver were depleted and ceased to increase the silver supply, silver would become relatively more scarce; silver would disappear instead. It was a constant see-saw; the United States, in its early years, was plagued by disappearing coins: now silver would disappear, now gold. No matter how many the U.S. Mint created, the coins (this year gold, next year silver) would just disappear, being sold overseas and/or melted. This because of "bimetallism."

By the decade before the Civil War, there was approximately one American coin in circulation per living American: an absurd situation.

Which brings us back to our quarter and the < -1853- > date.


An Uncirculated 1853 Quarter. (Source: Wikipedia)

About this time, silver was suddenly scarcer than before; our silver coins were worth more than their face value, hence they were being melted. So the Mint started making a new kind of coin. Starting that year, the size of the quarter was slightly reduced by weight. Not much–only a few grains–but still, light enough to make it not worth while to melt the coin. In other words, there were only about 22c worth of silver in a 25c piece. (They did this also on the dime and fifty cent piece.)

That made the 1853 coins not worth melting, and in other words, not worth what they said they were worth.

It was our first step away from bimetallism, and ultimately toward modern money. Because this was when we first started to grasp the idea that you could issue money that said it was worth something that it wasn’t, and people would still use it.

The quarters were accepted–and spent–just as easily as before, even though the new ones claimed to be worth three cents more than they actually were. And, since they were overvalued in terms of their content, they didn’t disappear from circulation, either.

And someone in the Government discovered–hey! The yokels are going along with the gag!

That got the money boys thinkin’. Is it possible to have money that just says it’s money–without actually being worth what it was claimed?

This seemed a prescription to prove that Federal paper money could safely be tried.

If so, this had all the makings of the Rumpelstiltskin fable, or that of Faust: the making of gold out of straw.

How America made gold out of straw, however, will have to await.... our next episode.

This was followed, in less than ten years, by America’s first large scale experiment in paper money since the Revolution. But not the last.

By 1873, after America had a tumult of currencies--private bank notes, Federal "greenbacks," gold coins and silver coins--the decision was made to abandon silver altogether as a money standard. Hereafter, gold, alone, would define the Dollar; and silver would be issued very strictly at a 16:1 ratio. The money supply would hereafter grow only as the gold supply grew.

This led to many difficulties, as the population and the economy both outgrew the gold supply of the time, leading to many strange new consequences: the Free Silver movement, the "Cross of Gold" speech, and The Wizard of Oz, inter alia. (Of which more presently).

So this badly worn quarter is actually an important bit of history: it was the beginning of the abandonment of the ancient ways of money making and the first step into the modern world. Its little arrows pointed the way--to today.

*By the way, Joachimthal, which is Jachymov, was also the source of a black, heavy ore that couldn’t be refined in the middle ages. They called it pitchblende, i.e., “black-heavy-waste-ore”. Pitchblende didn’t contain silver: it contained uranium. Which might explain the Nazi’s interest in the Sudeten territories in 1938.

NEXT: In-Continental Currency.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

In Memoriam: Frank McCourt

The Washington Post reports:

Frank McCourt, who melted the hearts of millions of readers with "Angela's Ashes," a lyrically poignant memoir of his poverty-stricken Irish childhood, died of melanoma July 19 in New York. He was 78.

Mr. McCourt was a retired teacher in his mid-60s when he wrote "Angela's Ashes," an unflinching and unforgettable account of his family's misery in Limerick, Ireland, in the 1930s and 1940s. It was his first book, published in 1996, and immediately won critical acclaim and a vast readership.

The memoir received the Pulitzer Prize and stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 117 weeks, including 23 at No. 1. In a review, Washington Post book editor Nina King wrote, "This memoir is an instant classic of the genre."


Indeed. He is missed...but he rejoices now with Angela, and with his father.

ADDENDUM, JULY 20, 2009

I note that I've received private Emails--from people whom I love and respect--expressing their disapproval of the writings of Frank McCourt, in particular his open hostility toward the institutional Catholic Church. They also believe that his accounts of his childhood suffering are, shall we say, "Irish storytelling", exaggerated for effect.

Well, with three dead siblings, I could hardly blame him for that; poetic license is, let us say, the privilege of the true poet. And I'll leave to God whether his dissent rose to the level of culpable heresy.

But there's an important story about Mr. McCourt that needs to be told.

At the end of his book "Angela's Ashes," he relates his return to the United States. He had been born in New York City, so he was a citizen by birth; however, he had been raised on the mean streets of Dublin. It was 1951 or so, and he had just turned 21. He came off of a ship in New York harbor, in the company of a shipmate, who invited him to a party.

There, on his first night on American soil, he engaged in an act of, ahem, sexual congress with a woman who he had just met and who, he knew, was already long married to someone else. His shipmate spent the evening with her friend.

As they walked home, his friend looked to him and said: "Ah, America, 'tis a marvelous country!" To which McCourt replied, "'Tis!" (Thus giving the title to his next work, his American autobiography.)

Compare this to Sayyed Qutb, the godfather of the Islamist movement, the executed revolutionist shot (for very good reason) by the Gamel Nasser regime in Egypt, and the intellectual guiding star of Osama Bin Laden and Mohammad Atta.

He, too, about this time--late 1940s or so--arrived in America on a ship, coming from his native Egypt to live among us and study. His first night in America he too was offered a night of sexual pleasure in the arms of a married woman--a Jewish woman, at that! He quite righteously recoiled.... then eventually went home and wrote fanatical treatises on the superiority of an inhuman, unbending Islam, over American decadence. He then went on to take part in a plot to murder Nasser; Nasser took a rather dim view of this and had him shot.

His pupils were the teachers of Osama Bin Laden and the Al Qaida network.

I daresay that the universe may well have turned out much better (and 3000 dead Americans wouldn't be) had Qutb committed adultery instead of intellectual auto-eroticism.

Some sins are far worse than others. "It is better to be a prostitute," C.S. Lewis once said in Mere Christianity, "than a prig."

("It is of course better still to be neither", Lewis added.)

Be that as it may, I'd rather be Frank McCourt than Sayyed Qutb.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

"For I Am The Lord And Not a Conjuror"


The Dem-centric web site Politico, no friend, of Sarah Palin, today ran an editorial by Gary Bauer, Trig Palin has divided America.

Mr. Bauer observes that Trig Palin, a Down's child of less than two years of age, has become a symbol of the evil in the heart of the Left.

Money grafs:
A Paliban Daily article titled “Sarah Palin’s Retarded Platform: More Trigs!” interpreted Palin’s outspokenness on disability rights as a political ploy to win votes. Other articles contained subtle but unmistakable eugenic overtones.

Those reactions echoed the hateful response that met Palin when she introduced Trig on the campaign trail last fall. Nicholas Provenzo of the libertarian Center for the Advancement of Capitalism discussed being “troubled” by Trig’s existence because “it is crucial to reaffirm the morality of aborting a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome.”

Sadly, such hatred reflects a broader societal bias against disability. Polls suggest public support for abortion is highest when the child is likely to have a deformity or a genetic condition.
Yes, yes, and yes. Trig Palin is an in-your-face reminder to those advocating the extermination of the weak through abortion that they are inexcusably, hideously, and cruelly wrong. Trig is a stumbling block to those, particularly on the Left (and the atheist Right) who think that children like Trig should be flushed down an abortionist's toilet and quietly forgotten. (I use the term 'Left' because I refuse to call anyone who wants to kill the retarded a 'liberal'.)

I find Trig-bashing deeply and personally offensive. I have three special needs kids at home: all of whom are autistic--which the doctors (particularly, ahem, the vaccine-producing doctors) are all insisting is entirely a genetic condition, that is, a defect-from-conception like that of Trig. So those who think that Trig should cease to be simply because of a DNA defect, in effect, hold a gun to the face of my children.

I don't like that.

Now, what I find interesting is the level of insideousness of those who think he should be eliminated and his mother silenced. One sarcastic poster at Politico, one Pray4Trig, advocates the following:

I've been so disgusted by the bashing of poor little Trig for all this time, that I finally decided to do something concrete about it instead of just complaining online. On Trig's next birthday (April 18, 2010), there will be a worldwide day of prayer, joining congregations across the globe asking God to make Trig whole. If such a documented miracle doesn't demonstrate God's Majesty to the masses, I don't know what will! A friend agreed to host a website, www.pray4trig.com for me.

Nice, Pray4Trig. You know as well as I do that Trig will not be "healed." That is not God's way.

After it's over, Pray4Trig will then no doubt trumpet God's refusal to heal him as an example of the fact that there is no God and the universe doesn't care if we kill weaklings among us.

But I can also say this: an 'imperfect' child indeed has a role to play in this world, and is no 'useless eater' to be consumed by the State.

And those of us who are raising these special children know that God's ways are not our ways.

This is best illustrated in a novel from the 1990s, Morris West's The Clowns of God. In the final chapter of the book, the risen-and-returned Christ holds a "mongoloid" child in his lap, and speaks as follows:

"I know what you are thinking. You need a sign. What better one could I give you than to make this little one whole and new? I could do it; but I will not. I am the Lord and not a conjuror. I gave this mite a gift I denied all of you – eternal innocence. To you, the child looks imperfect: but to Me the child is flawless; like the bud that dies unopened or the fledging that falls from the nest to be devoured by the ants. This child will never offend Me, as all of you have done. This child will never pervert or destroy the work of My Father's hands. This child is necessary to you. This child will evoke the kindness that will keep you human. His infirmity will prompt you to gratitude for your own good fortune. More! She will remind you everyday that I am who I am, that My ways are not yours, and that the smallest dust mote whirled in the darkest space does not fall out of My hand. I have chosen you. You have not chosen Me. This little one is My sign to you. Treasure her!"
Indeed. Treasure them all. And kill none of them.

Now and forever. Amen.

ADDENDUM 12:30 AM

I've gotten some comments from one "Shirlee", who claims to be Pray4Trig, whom I mentioned above--posted on another thread, as I'd taken this one out long enough to edit it a little bit.

His/her/its comments are worthy of reposting in full with my answer. To wit:

Shirlee said...

I see your little post accusing me of being "sarcastic" has been removed.

Clearly, you are an atheist, who hates God and pretends He doesn't exist. However, the pray4trig website is quite serious.

Jesus promised He would answer the prayers of the faithful. So, why do you think He would not answer a prayer to heal Trig Palin?

This miracle will demonstrate to the world that God is the One True God.

[July 17, 2009 11:17 PM EDT]


Richard L. Kent, Esq. (rkentesqva at yahoo.com) said...

It hasn't been removed. I just wanted to edit it before reposting it.

And I'm not buying your faithfulness for an instant.

My experience--one that has brought me through fields of mass murder victims, to face down His genocidal enemies face to face, to raise children which He has decreed must be 'lessened' by imperfection, to live in a town simmering in hatreds--is that God's way is not to remove suffering but to teach us to be our whole selves through that suffering.

Your advocacy of Trig's "healing" is a mockery. I don't buy it for a nickel (and you know how little a nickel is worth these days).

No, Shirlee, I don't buy you as serious at all. I can smell sarcasm from a furlong away.

BTW, before you call me an 'atheist' (at which I laugh) read this blog -- hey, read this post! -- in its entirety.

[July 18, 2009 12:15 AM EDT]

PS. Dear Shirlee: Christian don't mean 'stupid.'

PPS. "Thou shalt not put the Lord thy God to the test."

ADDENDUM

I have noted that the quote from The Clowns of God above had pronouns changed (this is what I get for going to Google instead of the source text). I have restored the original.

Friday, July 17, 2009

"It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words."

Amazon's Kindle service has revoked ownership of Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm.

Apparently, all copies of Orwell's works on Kindle, everywhere, have evaporated. Gone into the memory hole. Been disappeared. 1984 does not exist, it has never existed. Apparently it's a consequence of the war with EastAsia... I mean, Eurasia. Outer Party members of the Ministry of Truth has replaced it with a picture of the Hero of the Revolution.

This unusual maneuver, which Amazon says occurred because Orwell's publisher changed its mind about offering the electronic version of these titles, is all the more unsettling simply because readers already purchased the books and had their ownership of the item revoked. In the Orwell book case, the item was simply no longer there-it was as if those Kindle users never owned it.
That may be so. My theory? Simple: the ghost of Orwell must have posted something at Little Green Footballs that Charles Johnson didn't like, so Johnson banned him, really really hard. But that's just me.

Eric Blair laughs at us, wherever he is.

ADDENDUM JULY 19 2009 8:00 AM

Over at the article cited above, one "Mearsfan42" makes the following comment:

Something needs to be corrected about this article... The writer stated that the books publisher simply changed it's mind about offering an ebook, when it actuality its totally different...

Here's a direct quote from engadget.com that has a comment from Amazon:
"Drew Herdener, Amazon.com's Director of Communications: "These books were added to our catalog using our self-service platform by a third-party who did not have the rights to the books. When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers' devices, and refunded customers. We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers' devices in these circumstances."

If this is the case I have no problem with Amazon being able to do this..
Well, yeah. But it points up to a real problem. We no longer need huge numbers of droids at the Miinistry of Truth to disappear information. All we need is the Net: for he who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the hard drive controls the past.

As another commenter, "Chasrome," observed: "It's ironic - at a supernatural level - that Orwell's works would figure in this!" Indeed.

And "JohnU" adds: "I suppose the horror of one click censorship is offest by the environemental gains. After all, when there are no more books, we won't have to have huge bonfires to [burn] them. Maybe that is what "Kindle" really means."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Alternate Route Advised



CREDIT: WXYZ TV

News reports that a hideous accident has occurred on I-75 at 9 Mile Road in Hazel Park just north of Detroit. At least one, possibly more, trucks were destroyed--including the tanker trust that caused the crash--and the bridge has collapsed. Casualties unknown.

Prayers to all. This is the last thing the city needed.


BREAKING: Massive Fire in Hazel Park

Last Update: 9:33 pm


Slideshow HAZEL PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) - A tanker truck--and possibly two or three semi trucks--has exploded in the vacinity of northbound I-75/I-696/Nine Mile Road in Hazel Park, causing a massive fire and explosion. Eyewitnesses say the tanker tried to make it under the Nine Mile overpass but the top of the tanker hit the bridge, causing the explosion. It is not known what the tanker was carrying. A Michigan State Police officer told Action News reporter Cheryl Chodun that there were "two or three" trucks involved in the explosion.

I-75 has been shut down in both directions from the center of the fire. Response teams from Hazel Park, Madison Heights and Ferndale are at the scene.

Multiple sources have told Action News that the overpass has collapsed at the center of the fire. The explosion, according to witnesses, occurred around 8:15 p.m.

Action News crews are on the way to the scene.


PS. I was going to drive this precise route tomorrow morning to go to Court. Guess not.

ADDENDUM: 10:10 PM EDT

I-75 has been closed, north to south, at Mile Marker 48 (Ambassador Bridge) for the last year and a half--they were reconstructing the approaches to Canada. They just reopened that chokepoint only ten days ago or so.

Now this (Mile Marker 56 or so).

It's always one damned thing or another here in Detroit. Christ help us.

ADDENDUM 10:15 PM EDT



Credit: "Yo-Yo" at Free Republic

This is the route in better days. The church is St. Josephat's*, a very-Trad Catholic parish. As you approach it, you see the cross at the top PERFECTLY ALIGNED with the Renaissance Center (now GM Headquarters) in the background.

ADDENDUM 10:33 PM EDT

Over at www.freerepublic.com, some SOBs are already blaming this on Muslims.

We've come a long way since the 70s, when they would have blamed the blacks. Or the Polacks.**


To: just me

Lots of Islamics in Michigan.

Just sayin'.


posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 9:24:16 PM by Lazamataz

* * *

To: MikefromOhio
And in the very week that
some nutzo blogger tried to frame this entire forum as racist. Way to go.

On the other hand, Islam is not a race.

Situation looks pretty bad - I hope that everyone survived.

34 posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 9:43:00 PM by meyer



To: just me
I can’t understand how a tanker would hit
an overpass. Most gasoline tankers are under 12 feet tall and all overpasses, unless marked otherwise, are supposed to be 13 ft 6 inches.
Being in the United States Radical Islamic headquarters area, I would bet that some terrorist put bombs into the hose tubes on the truck and exploded by cell phone. (all sarcasm of course, but you never know).

37 posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 9:45:04 PM by antiunion person (PALIN/JINDAL 2012)
* * *

To: MikefromOhio
And in the very week that some nutzo blogger tried to frame this entire forum as racist. Way to go.


Islam is an intolerant 'religion' that worships a black rock, has a pedophile for a prophet, and who's many extremist members commit numerous acts of terrorism.

Just sayin'.


47 posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 9:54:23 PM by Lazamataz

To: Lazamataz
Watch this.....
Just saying..........

www.answeringmuslims.com/2009/07/special-report-sharia-comes-to-dearborn.html


79 posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 10:19:51 PM by sweetiepiezer



PS. To FREEPERS Sweetiepiezer, meyer, antiunion person, and especially Lazmataz: Screw you. Shut your mouths until you know what is going on.

ADDENDUM 7-16-09 0630

Excellent pix here: http://multimedia.detnews.com/pix/photogalleries/newsgallery/i75fire/

Reports are that there was only one person hurt: the driver of the tanker--broken legs only. Nontrivial but burn free, thank God. Reports are that he cel phoned his wife from an ambulance.

The bridge is hard down, tho. THAT'S gonna take months to fix.

ADDENDUM July 17, 2009

Word is that the bridge will not be replaced until November. No word on how long before the freeway is reopened.

A story in today's Detroit News says that the crash was caused by a new driver who plowed into the tanker accidentally when taking the 9 Mile Curve too fast on I-75. The News identified one Saied Haidarian-Shahri, 27, of Clawson, as the driver. He's a graduate student of computer science at Wayne State and just got his driver's license in May.

And he's from Iran.

Now THAT'S gonna give the racist swine at FreeRepublic paroxyms of joy.

ADDENDUM JULY 21

The freeway is now reopened. A veritable miracle. They say the bridge won't be rebuilt for another five months, tho.

Video of the explosion here. Unbelievable!

http://apps.detnews.com/apps/multimedia/player/index.php?id=3681

________________________
*St. Josephat's ("St. Jo's"), not St. Jehosephat's. My bad.

**I can say Polacks; I'm 1/8 Polish (Kashoupian, to be precise).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Top 12 Bad Economic Indicators

(Endlessly forwarded; source unknown; posted from Free Republic) (#11 is my favorite)

Top twelve indicators the economy is bad

12. CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

11. I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

10. I went to buy a toaster oven and they gave me a bank.

9. Hotwheels and Matchbox car companies are now trading higher than GM in the stock market.

8. Obama met with small businesses - GE, Pfizer, Chrysler, Citigroup and GM, to discuss the Stimulus Package.

7. McDonalds is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

6 People in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and are learning their children's names.

5. The most highly-paid job is now jury duty.

4. Mothers in Ethiopia are telling their kids, "finish your plate; do you know how many kids are starving in America?"

3. Motel Six won't leave the lights on.

2. The Mafia is laying off judges.

And my most favorite indicator of all:

1. If the bank returns your check marked as "insufficient funds," you have to call them and ask if they meant you... or them?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fridge Pic No. #014: Jedi Oba-ma Kenobi



"These are not the droids you're looking for."

"Tax credits will do fine."

"If you will not be turned then you will be DEEE-STROYYYYEEEEDDDD!!!!"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cue "Hail to the Chief"

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!!




ADDENDUM: My wife insists that I point out that the picture is deceiving.

OTOH, If that were me, I'D certainly check out her caboose....

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Say It Ain't So, Sarah!

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!!!!!!"
- Charlie Brown, after attempting to kick Lucy's football

What do you do or say when someone you love and respect (politically, from a distance) commits self-immolation in public?

My heart is broken. But here it is.

Sarah Palin's lawyer has shot across the bow of the MSM and the blogosphere by warning them that if they repeat certain allegations of wrongdoing by the Governor, that they will be sued for defamation.

A law firm sent out a four page letter warning anyone repeating a specified allegation as fact then they will be sued. (I don't want to get sued so I'm not going to quote the letter in full; go and read it yourself.)

Money graf:

To the extent several websites, most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as “fact” that Governor Palin resigned because [of specific allegations of] criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation. This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law. The Alaska Constitution protects the right of free speech, while simultaneously holding those “responsible for the abuse of that right.” Alaska Constitution Art. I, Sec. 5. These falsehoods abuse the right to free speech; continuing to publish these falsehoods of criminal activity is reckless, done without any egard for the truth, and is actionable.
Thomas Van Flein, for Governor Sarah Palin
To which I can only say: what UTTER FRAKKING STUPIDITY.

Doesn't she realize that she is a "public persona" and as such, the laws protecting against libel and slander, for all intents and purposes, DO NOT APPLY TO HER? The Alaska Constitution is trumped by the U.S. Constitution. Under New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), it is a matter of free speech rights to write anything about anybody who is a public figure without any practical restriction. (Why do we see National Enquirer informing us about the states of the internal organs and/or private sex lives of celebrities? THAT is why; celebrities pay for their fame by having their weenies described or misdescribed on the front page.)

If it weren't for Sullivan, governors and other politicos would be suing for defamation (or silencing speech through threat of lawsuits) every single day.

The fact that the Governor has resigned doesn't allow her to start suing. The protection is absolute. Which any first-year con-law law student could have told her.

Threatening to sue people for lying about her, when she is world-famous as a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, is an act of utter, brain-waggling foolishness. Not only because it won't work, but ALSO because it makes her look like she's using the courts to silence freedom of speech (which only applies, of course, to leftist liberators and not to "right wing neanderthal nazis who insist in giving birth to defectives" (Do I really need to add "(/sarcasm)"?).

Furthermore, sending out this letter gives the MSM the 'cover' they need to repeat the allegations while pretending that they're discussing the letter.

Finally, WHAT SHE IS TALKING ABOUT IS THREATENING A "SLAPP" SUIT - "Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation." Which is a form of political evil, a way of the politically strong and rich to silence the poor and politicaly weak. SLAPP suits are a dangerous threat to our First Amendment rights, and she should not, not, not, go there, ever.

SLAPP suits are .... evil.

I am sorry, Sarah my love, but you are WRONG WRONG WRONG to be going here. Truly.

I admire you, Sarah. I had you picked as the VP candidate in April of 2008. I think your political career has been an amazing testiment to our political heritage. We have needed you.

But here, on this issue, we part company.

And I leave with tears in my eyes.

Truly.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

In Congress Assembled, July 4, 1776.....



And, if you liked the above, click here for something just as cool.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sarah Palin Resigns as Governor

On a Friday afternoon before the 4th of July. Either symbolic brilliance or bury-it-on-a-Friday downplay methodology. Take your pick. We'll see that this is brilliant if it knocks Jacko off of the front page.

IMHO: If this is to prepare a run for the Presidency, my first impression is that it's premature and unfortunate. But it's for some good reason we can't see yet.

OTOH, if it is an admission she's not up to the challenge and a withdrawal from politics, I grieve.

On the gripping hand, given the timing, I'm willing to bet it is the former. She must be REALLY pissed at the treatment she's getting. I know that I would be.

Pitbull? We'll see.

If she has stepped out of politics completely, however.... all I can say is that the GOP is *seriously, seriously* frakked. Even more so than it was last week.

ADDENDUM JULY 4, 2009

One individual, "Reply 30", commented at Lucianne.com:

Stop projecting.

She quit.

She quit her job, her pulpit, and by quitting told us that if she's ever heard from again, she just might be wrong.

Vote for David Letterman - she just did.


I grieve--but in the day since, I have come to the conclusion that I must agree.

Sarah Palin has self-immolated, probably for some reason that will come to light later--and now Sarah is a candidate for no further political office of any sort.

It will not save her, however. I believe that the hard left now in the driver's seat has decided that this woman who abjectly refused to have her "defective" child murdered by an abortionist must now be destroyed. I predict that Letterman and the nazis of the left will not relent until she is imprisoned... or worse.

God Save Our American States!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Count Pointercount

On his web site tonight Charles Johnson posts the following quote:

Which statement seems more true: (1) I have a brain. (2) I am a brain.

— Douglas Hofstadter


To which I reply:

"You don't have a soul, Doctor. You are a soul. You have a body. Temporarily."

- Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Liebowitz