Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Tattered Remnant: A New Introduction


Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us:

The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning ... that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported...

Noah was found perfect and righteous; in the time of wrath he was taken in exchange for the world; therefore was he left as a remnant unto the earth, when the flood came.

- Sirach ("Ecclesiasticus"), ch. 44, verses 1, 2, 8, 11

An extraordinary 2007 essay in Bill Whittle's excellent blog “Eject! Eject! Eject!” made reference to what are essentially invisible heroes: heroes whom you never see, never notice, and whom the earth may never even note are even present. But these silent, hard working few -- these one in a thousand or fewer - are referred to both in the writings of Plato and in the writings of the Old Testament as “The Remnant.“

The idea of the "Remnant" is that these are what are left when the storm passes, or those few natives who remain in a land after it has been ethnically cleansed; but even when there is no obvious storm, it still remains to them to keep civilization going, and receive neither kudoes nor recognition for their work in this world.

But the storm does not have to be actual, like an arriving Babylonian (or German, or Serb, or whatever) army scraping the land clean. Sometimes the storm is metaphorical: an overwhelming wind of social injustice, or gross evil. Sometimes, the threat is not obvious to the vast majority, who cheerfully and unknowingly go on with their lives not knowing that they are in the middle of a storm, while a few brave souls, like Frodo with the Ring in the heart of the Shire, struggle with the power of an unseen Mordor.

It is these folks who are the true heroes of life. It is these folks who struggle whom I call The Tattered Remnant; the individuals themselves I give the title of Tattered Remnants.

The archetypal Tattered Remnant is the fictional George Bailey of Bedford Falls, New York: a man who silently, but with full effort, devotes himself to building his city and his community, and in his case, not knowing the good he has done until he is at the furthest edge of despair and is ready to throw his life away.

Occasionally these individuals are remembered but often, indeed usually, they are not.

But the Tattered Remnant is not a pleasant occupation. Neither is it something that one would desire to do. It is a call to duty, a requirement to endure an enormous burden, perhaps to one's own destruction.

As Mr. Whittle put it in his essay:
I have been, and remain, a staunchly anti-elitist individual. I find the idea of belonging to a special group the most dangerous philosophical ground you can stand on. But what is remarkable about this Remnant is that the people that compose it seem to be drawn completely at random. It is not a philosophy. It is a frequency. You are on it or you are not. And this is not a million-dollar lottery win, either: it is a call to face unpleasant facts and impending hardship. It is a quiet summons to duty. It often makes one uncomfortable, and, most often, this unfocused, vague desire – this need – to do something useful most often makes one feel very much alone.

What’s remarkable about the Remnant — to me, anyway – is the sheer unpredictability of its composition. Perhaps that homeless drug addict, panhandling under the overpass… perhaps he will be the one to run into a burning building while other decent and good people stand idle, waiting for something to happen.

Waiting for someone to happen.

- You Are Not Alone, Part 1
The Tattered Remnant is not made up of superheroes. I must say I am not fond of the concept of the "superhero." Superheroes are literary constructs, tin gods for us to fantasize about, not real people. The stories of the heroic that go back to the ancient past are about individuals of enormous strength, enormous power, sometimes enormous beauty or perhaps enormous wealth, who use those extraordinary attributes to accomplish extraordinary things. They are heroic not because they are brave as such; they are brave because they are powerful. It's easy to be magnificent with your wealth if you have hit big on the lottery; it is easy to be a superhero if you have been granted the power to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Achilles, perhaps, is the archetype of this sort of hero: untouchable because of his mother's dipping him in a magic river, invulnerable in all but one spot, where his mother held him by the ankle. But literature since then show similar characters: Samson, or Hercules; and later on, Superman, Spiderman, Batman, V of V for Vendetta, or even Harry Potter.

But these are in fact not real heroes at all.

When I was a peacekeeper in Bosnia, the movie actor Arnold Schwartzenegger came to see us at Eagle Base on a USO tour in the aftermath of 9/11. There were two things about that visit that I remember with remarkabe clarity. The first was how short the man is in real life–he's only 5'4"–and for all his muscularity, he is far less prepossessing in the flesh than he is on the big screen carrying a weapon of unusual size. But the other thing I remember him saying was this: "I am not a hero. I am an actor. I pretend to be a hero. You guys are the real heroes." It's hard to explain the impact of hearing that--from Ah-nult!--on a bunch of nineteen year old kids six thousand miles away from home in wartime, but believe me, it's significant.

I believe that heroes are, in fact, although rare creatures, are still around us today in great numbers, and that they are generally nothing like those portrayed in most movies. These heroes are the quiet ones, much closer in spirit to the Little Dutch Boy than they are to some cartoon-drawn caped crusader. And yet it is the Little Dutch Boy, with finger in the dike, saving the city from destruction while forever wondering if and when he will be relieved, that is the true archetype of the real heroes today.

My heroes are not saints! I have gone out of my way, in fact, to exclude saints and great men and women from my story. There are no Gandhis here, no Churchills, no Roosevelts, no Lincolns (although these men were all surely had the Tattered Remnant nature). Neither are there any of the canonized; none here have been raised to the altar. Some of my Tattered Remnants--in particular Richard Sorge, Oskar Schindler, James Poillion, Ignaz Semmelweis--can be seen as despicable in a lot of ways. But their acts mark them as being in the club. It is not their greatness or extraordinary talent that necessarily marks the Tattered Remnant but their extraordinary courage.

The metaphor of the Tattered Remnant can be found throughout history and in all cultures. Perhaps the earliest noted in literature is found in the Mahabharata, in the section called the Bhagavad Gita, the Song of God. In it--boiling a very long story to a couple sentences--a very reluctant hero named Ajuna is facing a terrible decision: in order to save his family and his brothers from extinction, he must make war on his evil cousins. He trembles before his charge as he does not wish to shed the blood of his own kin. The god Krshna speaks to him and encourages him that when duty calls, one must step up and take action that makes the soul tremble. And so Ajuna does, emerging victorious.

Now, this is a song of military valor in the face of family obligation and is, perhaps, the most primitive form of recorded Tattered Remnant behavior. Every culture has its great military heroes who choose to step up and act. Arthur drawing his sword from the stone against the Sachsennen; Serbia's Tsar Lazar choosing a heavenly kingdom through defeat by the Turks; Roland facing Islamic invaders; Spain's La Galana with her cudgel, battling Napoleon's cavalry; Skanderbeg driving out his imperial masters from Albania.

But the Tattered Remnant means far more than the drawing of a sword (although it can mean that as well).

Imperial China has its own tradition of wandering, unknown heroes: the Youxia. As Wikipedia puts it:

Youxia literally means ‘wandering force’, but is commonly translated as ‘knight-errant’ or less commonly as ‘cavalier’, ‘adventurer’, ‘soldier of fortune’, and ‘underworld stalwart’. The term ‘wandering force’ refers to the way these men solely traveled the land using force (or influence through association with powerful people) to right the wrongs done to the common people and the monarchy if need be. Youxia did not come from any social class in particular. Various historical documents, wuxia novels, and folktales describe them as being princes, government officials, poets, musicians, physicians, professional soldiers, merchants, and butchers. Some were just as handy with a calligraphy brush as others were with swords and spears.

According to Dr. James J.Y. Liu (1926–1986), a professor of Chinese and comparative literature at Stanford University, it was a person's temperament and need for freedom, and not their social status, that caused them to roam the land and help those in need. Dr. Liu believes this is because a very large majority of these knights came from northern China, which borders the territory of "northern nomadic tribes, whose way of life stressed freedom of movement and military virtues." Many knights seem to have come from Hebei and Henan provinces. A large majority of the characters from the Water Margin, which is considered one of China's best examples of knight-errant literature, come from these provinces. One good example of knight-errant poetry is
The Swordsman by Jia Dao:

For ten years I have been polishing this sword;
Its frosty edge has never been put to the test.
Now I am holding it and showing it to you, sir:
Is there anyone suffering from injustice?

According to Dr. Liu, Jia’s poem " sum up the spirit of knight-errantry in four lines. At the same time, one can also take it as a reflection of the desire of all those who have prepared themselves for years to put their abilities to the test for some justice."
In Cabbalistic Jewish thought, there is a similar tradition, those of the Tzadikim Nistarim, the Hidden Righteous Ones, also called the Lamadvavniks: the "Thirty-Sixers," secret just men who preserve the Jewish people, and through them the world, through their inherent decency and righteousness. These men are so righteous that they preserve the world, and yet they are so inherently humble that they cannot reveal themselves as that would be to commit the sin of pride. In some traditions, in fact, they do not even know who and what they are: if they even realize that they are one of the Thirty Six, God brings them to heaven and replaces them with another, to preserve them from pride.

It is an echo of this tradition that the commission at Yad Vashem commemorates those of the Nations who helped the Jewish people in peril during the Holocaust, awarding certain individuals as Righteous Persons Among The Nations. (You will read the stories of some of these individuals herein.)

One of my dearest friends, a convert to the Jewish faith, explained to me the metaphor of the Tikkun Olam, mending-of-the-world: that it is the task of the righteous man to make pottery, and to make more pottery than he breaks.

And of course Christianity has its own long tradition of doing good in anonymity. For a hundred generations or more various orders of women have taken to the habit, abandoning their old names and their families while devoting themselves to teaching, nursing and healing of the sick. In the same way, men have devoted themselves to preserving knowledge, culture and history in monasteries. Priests have heard the words of the dying and provided both hope and healing to those who suffer.

Missionaries like Cyril and Methodious to Dr. David Livingston, to the more recent Dr. Albert Schweitzer, have gone forth to remote places at great personal risk to bring the light of both civilization and of Christ where it never before had been known. Some two miles from my office stands a church in memory of one such, Isaac Jogues, who with a companion was killed as a sorcerer for his efforts. These too were of the Tattered Remnant.

Often the Tattered Remnant act knowing the strategic futility of what they do. This is illustrated in the famous Parable of the Starfish. In it, a little boy walks a beach where a million starfish have been thrown ashore by a storm. He wanders up and down the shore, throwing random starfish back in the water. An old man, observing, asks: "Son, why do you do that? There are millions of them. You can't possibly make a difference. It doesn't matter." The boy holds up a starfish and says, "It matters to this one," and throws it back into the sea.

Author Peggy Noonan has also touched on the concept of the Tattered Remnant in her writings. First and foremost of course is her felicitous phrase 'A Thousand Points of Light,' taken perhaps from C.S. Lewis's Narnia series, and used by George H.W. Bush in his 1989 inaugural address:
I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good. We will work hand in hand, encouraging, sometimes leading, sometimes being led, rewarding. We will work on this in the White House, in the Cabinet agencies. I will go to the people and the programs that are the brighter points of light, and I will ask every member of my government to become involved. The old ideas are new again because they are not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in.
However, this is of course a bit suspect, as we have a political figure using the concept for political ends, which might well violate the concept of the hidden nature of the Tattered Remnant. But this is not the only place where she makes use of the concept (if not the exact phrase).

In an essay entitled "There Is No Time, There Will Be Time," first published in Forbes ASAP, November 30, 1998, that I regard as her most prophetic and brilliant work, she spoke of her feeling that the old world–those happy days we now think of as "September Tenth"–was coming to an end. There is much in that essay and I strongly urge you to read the entire thing, for it is possibly the most purely prophetic warning of 9/11 ever written. However, there is one section toward the end of the essay where she writes of those she previously called her Thousand Points of Light--that is, the Tattered Remnant, in the sense I am thinking:

I once talked to a man who had a friend who'd done something that took his breath away. She was single, middle-aged and middle class, and wanted to find a child to love. She searched the orphanages of South America and took the child who was in the most trouble, sick and emotionally unwell. She took the little girl home and loved her hard, and in time the little girl grew and became strong, became in fact the kind of person who could and did help others. Twelve years later, at the girl's high school graduation, she won the award for best all-around student. She played the piano for the recessional. Now she's at college.

The man's eyes grew moist. He had just been to the graduation. "These are the things that stay God's hand," he told me. I didn't know what that meant. He explained: These are the things that keep God from letting us kill us all.
That adoptive mother was surely one of the Tattered Remnant.

And this book is about people like her.



You will find that for many of these stories I provide information derived word for word from Wikipedia. I do not apologize for this. Wikipedia, for its great faults (such as its ability to be hacked by anyone) is not lacking in value for certain matters, including its provision of biographical details for individuals who are not considered controversial by contemporary standards. Furthermore, its ‘copy left’ provides the researcher the ability to provide essential details on a subject freely (with attribution) without having to rewrite pedestrian details available to anybody.

You will also find that I often fall into the first person singular when telling the stories you are about to read, injecting in them an occasional personal anecdote or aside (as here: to quote one of my favorite bad movies, The Knight's Tale, "I'm a writer! I give the truth SCOPE!"). You may also find that I engage in, shall we say, certain very minor literary embellishments as I tell these tales. I've tried to make each of these essays as historically accurate as possible. But these stories are not strictly historical accounts. I do claim the right, by way of my ancient Irish ancestors, to invoke the privilege of the bearer-of-memory, the seanchaidhe, to tell these stories my way.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

DISCOVERY! Cats Adore, Manipulate Women

A recent study found that "Cats attach to humans, and particularly women, as social partners, and it's not just for the sake of obtaining food."

The bond between cats and their owners turns out to be far more intense than imagined, especially for cat aficionado women and their affection reciprocating felines, suggests a new study.

Cats attach to humans, and particularly women, as social partners, and it's not just for the sake of obtaining food, according to the new research, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Behavioural Processes.

The study is the first to show in detail that the dynamics underlying cat-human relationships are nearly identical to human-only bonds, with cats sometimes even becoming a furry "child" in nurturing homes.

This is not news... to some of us!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Jerry Springer GETS IT!

From The Daily Caller:
“I think where liberals may be doing the wrong thing is when they try to make fun of her because they’re making fun of a large section of America that has those fundamental beliefs that she has,” he continued. “And I think that’s dangerous. I don’t think that’s right to do. So I can honestly disagree with her, but I would never say anything disrespectful of her.”

Read more:


When Telling The Truth....
Is Like Farting In Public

My friend the Mighty Favog nails it.

“The ad violates the values of New Yorkers and is grossly offensive to women and minorities,”the city's public advocate, Bill de Blasio, tells The New York Times. That's because, in the big city, telling minorities that we're eradicating most of them before they can emerge from the womb to become a "social problem" for white people is much more "offensive" than the actual eradication of most minorities before they can pop out of Mama's belly and start troubling Caucasian advocates of tolerance and open-mindedness.


ADDENDUM 2011-02-25: "Shut up," they explained.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Anonymous" Attacks The "God Hates Fags" Westboro "Church"

One hardly knows who to root for. It's kind of like the war between Saddam Hussein and Ayatollah Khomeini. One simply wishes that it would continue.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Message from Zawahiri (An Oldie But Goodie)

(Yes I know it's not Christmas....)

Now They Are Coming for Us
- David C. Stolinsky, M.D.

Today I turn over the Silverback for a guest editorial by David C. Stolinsky, M.D.

Obamacare 101: Now They Are Coming for Us - Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 23:15

First they came for the communists, but I was not a communist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the socialists and the trade unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
- Pastor Martin Niemoller

Martin Niemoeller (also spelled Niemöller) was a hero. He was a hero in World War I, when he commanded a German submarine and was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class. He then became a Lutheran pastor. At first he approved of the Nazis' anti-communist stance, so he didn't speak out against them.

Niemoeller was a hero again when he recognized the Nazis' murderous intentions and did speak out. But by then it was too late to stop World War II and the Holocaust. He was sent to a concentration camp, and barely escaped execution when he was rescued by American troops.

I respect Niemoeller and place his famous quotation at the top of my home page. When I am confused and troubled, I go back to his wise words. What can Niemoeller teach us about our current argument regarding government-controlled health care?

First they came for early fetuses, but we don't look much like early fetuses, so we didn't speak out. We forgot that 'fetus' is Latin for 'offspring,' not for 'worthless blob of jelly.'

● Then they came for late-term fetuses. We do look like late-term fetuses, but even so, liberal judges convinced us that they are not 'persons,' so again we didn’t speak out.

● Then they came for babies born alive after 'failed' abortions. State Senator Obama voted three times against requiring medical care for these innocents. But we were so enthralled by his charisma that we elected him president. We forgot that 'enthralled' has two meanings: (1) fascinated; (2) reduced to a state of mental or moral servitude. And again, we didn't speak out.

● Then they came for the severely disabled or brain-damaged. But we didn't identify with Terri Schiavo. We said, 'I wouldn't want to live like that.' So what? I wouldn't want to live like homeless people, either. Does that give me the right to drive to a freeway underpass and shoot them? My fear of disability is my problem − it doesn't authorize me to murder you if you become disabled. But we felt relief, not despair, when Terri died after 13 days without water or food, or even a wet cloth to moisten her cracked lips. We didn’t have to see her on TV anymore. So we didn't speak out.

● Then they want to come for disabled or merely unwanted babies up to a month old, later increased to up to three years old. Nevertheless, we appointed a leading proponent of this culture of death, Peter Singer, to be professor of “bioethics” at the Center for Human Values at Princeton. But would a Center for Inhuman Values look any different?

Singer's beliefs mirror those of the father of Baby Knauer, the first disabled child who was murdered in the Nazi euthanasia program. The loving papa declared, 'Later we could have other children, healthy and strong, of whom the Reich could be proud.' But Singer continues to preach the gospel of death, which is gaining acceptance in this era of 'cost-containment.' Again, we don't speak out. Again, the Reich could be proud.

But now, as Niemoeller warned, they are coming for us.

● President Obama proposed to cut $1.4 billion annually from Medicare payments to cardiologists and oncologists. Since heart disease and cancer are our biggest killers, this clearly means a shorter life span for Americans, especially for seniors. How's that for 'cost-containment'?

● When asked about hip replacements for seniors, Obama replied, 'Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.' How's that for 'compassion'?

● When asked about cardiac pacemakers for seniors, Obama replied, 'If we've got experts that are advising doctors across the board that the pacemaker will save money...' This makes things perfectly clear. It will cost money to implant a pacemaker. It will save money to let the patient die, and stop collecting Social Security and using Medicare. How's that for 'taking the profit motive out of health care'?

● ObamaCare includes about a half trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare. Only a fool could believe that this will not result in severe restrictions of care for seniors, which in turn will inevitably result in increased suffering and decreased life spans. How's that for a 'liberal' policy?

● ObamaCare promises 'free' preventive care for seniors. But the small print reveals that the preventive care allowed will be decided by a government panel. New guidelines already 'suggest' no mammograms before age 50 or after age 74. My friend's mother had breast cancer at age 39. Should my friend not have gotten mammograms in her forties, and should she stop having them at 74? How's that for a 'pro-woman' administration?

● Another friend had annual PSAs starting in his fifties. Prostate cancer was discovered at 66, but he received radiation and is fine 10 years later. Yet the guidelines cast doubt on the value of PSAs at any age. How's that for 'preventive care'? It sounds more like preventing care.

No more Hippocratic Oath ("I will give no deadly medicine"). No more individual patients cared for by individual doctors. Just rote, mechanical, unfeeling, government-run 'algorithmic medicine.' 'Algorithm' is a fancy name for a cookbook − good for preparing a dead fish, not so good for keeping a human being alive. Note Obama's answer to the pacemaker question: Experts will advise doctors across the board if it will save money. No individual patients with individual needs, just a homogeneous mass.

● The sanctity of human life is forgotten. Who is a human being deserving of care becomes a matter of opinion. Death is no longer a biologic event but a choice. And the only opinions and choices that count are those of inaccessible bureaucrats.

● Sarah Palin was ridiculed for using the term 'death panels.' But what would you call unelected, unaccountable, faceless bureaucrats who will decide which treatments you or your loved ones can receive − and which you cannot receive − on the basis of their notion of "cost-effectiveness"? You can call them Klingons, for all I care.

The problem is not the name. The problem is that non-medical government bureaucrats will step between us and our doctors, and impose their decisions on medical care − of which they know little or nothing. The problem is that paper-shufflers, bean counters, and 16,500 new Internal Revenue agents will make decisions that affect the lives and well-being of our loved ones and ourselves. Shouldn't we be apprehensive when the Internal Revenue Service becomes involved in health care?

Yes, now they are coming for us. But who is left to speak out for us? If we object to ObamaCare, we must speak out now, while there is still a chance to repeal it, or defund it, or at least amend it.

Pastor Niemoeller didn't speak out until it was too late, then wound up in a concentration camp, scheduled for execution. At the last moment, he was rescued by American troops. But there is no outside force to rescue us. If we hope to be rescued, we must rescue ourselves.

We arrogantly assumed that we have the right to treat some human beings as less than human. But why did we assume that others would not do the same to us? Why did we think that others would not declare us to be 'useless eaters' who were a 'drain on the Fatherland'?

In order to deserve to be rescued, we must reject the culture of death.

Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Anti-Semitism in Action in San Francisco

There is an effort to get a measure on the ballot banning circumcision for anyone under the age of 18.


Particularly how it essentially renders it impossible for Jews in San Francisco to transmit their Jewish heritage to their sons on the eighth day as commanded by God.

In the mid-1990s, when I lived inside the Beltway, there was an evil and crazy homeless guy who lived in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House. He used to put black swastikas in magic marker on street signs all over the city, and had a big one on cardboard over his tent, under the phrase "Death to Circumcisors!" (Apparently he didn't have the balls to say 'Jews'.)

Eventually someone in law enforcement checked his background and found he was an illegal alien from Canada. Home he went.

I find it curious that Friscoids would line up for the opportunity to put this guy's agenda on their ballot, but hey.... one must never forget that the Nazis were leftists.

Happy B-Day, George

279 years young.

Bernard Nathanson, RIP (1926-2011)

Former abortionist and NARAL founder turned staunch abolitionist Bernard Nathanson died yesterday in New York City at the age of 86.

I don't have time to do the man justice, but he it was who produced the revolutionary 1986 movie The Silent Scream, and who more forcefully than anyone turned the tables on the pro abortion movement. He was converted to Catholicism in 1996. His conversion to the prolife side remains one of the great victories of the life movement.

May God grant him mercy. His story shows that the spirit of the Apostle Paul lives still in the faith.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day.....

Today we don't celebrate the memory of the guy with the wooden teeth anymore, but ALL the Presidents: like Martin Van Buren, James Buchannan, Benjamin Harrison, Warren Harding, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter... men who all proved that, indeed, in America, *anyone* can grow up to be President.

But sometimes it works out OK anyway.

Space is Big. Really Big. Still.

I ran this video in August '09. It is so freaking awesome I need to run it again.

"The one thing any sentient being cannot afford is a true sense of proportion." - D. Addams

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Frances Kissling Blinks!

The almost universally loathesome Frances Kissling, formerly of Catholics for a Free Choice, now Associate Barnacle for Democide at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, has actually managed to shock me.


In an article in the WashPost today, she...

admits her side is terribly wrong.

She admits that the pro aborts are losing the argument.

She admits that the younger generation is more and more strongly pro life.

She admits that scientific advance has proved what prolifers have been saying since 1973: that the 'trimester' scheme is bullshit and that the extermination of the unborn is indefensible--

--SO indefensible that she calls on the prochoice movement to concede on restrictions on later term abortions, less the whole structure be banned.

As as an abolitionist absolutist, I must say that I am utterly delighted by what I read here. Normally I would not pollute our discourse with a lengthy discussion of rantings from this criminal-against-humanity but this is too, too, too important to miss.

Over the course of the last 20 years there have been three major defections from abortuary orthodoxy: Naomi Wolf's admission in 1995 that abortion is deliberate killing of a person; Norma McCorvey's defection to the prolife movement in 1997, and... this.

It's unmistakable.

We're winning.

And Ms. Quisling just blinked.

(PS. Let me note that one of the reasons why the next generation is prolife is that the prochoicers are the ones aborting themselves off. The article is called "The Empty Cradle Will Rock" by Larry Eastland and is probably THE single most important article run in the history of the Wall Street Journal. And it is the other reason why abortion will be abolished in the United States in our lifetime.)

History of the USSR To The Tune of TETRIS


Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Place So Far Out--It Can Only Be AL!

It sez here that they've MAYBE discovered a huge new planet called "Tyche" in the Oort Cloud--it would be 4x the size of Jupiter, be 15,000 as far from the sun as is Earth, and be responsible for knocking comets toward the Sun.

Think about that. 15,000 Astronomical Units is a distance so huge that light from the Sun would take on the order of 34.7 hours to reach it from the Sun (it takes light eight minutes to hit us once it leaves the solar surface). The temperature of the planet would be -100 degrees C; its heat would be internally generated rather than received from the Sun, which would be but a very bright star in the sky.

Now, they might be able to prove it exists, but they haven't, yet.

But... who said they can name it? First you discover it THEN you name it. Until it's actually discovered it gets some NASAesque designator like "Oort Cloud Anomaly #1/OCA1" or some such. No fair coming up with a name before it's found. First, catch thee thy rabbit....

Besides, "Tyche" is too close to "Tycho," which is both an astronomical feature already (Lunar crater) and the name of a major toy company.

If I find it first, I'm going to name it Algore: it's gaseous, cold, icy, way out there, and given the potential damage it could do to Earth through unforeseen consequences, it would be better if it didn't have any actual power to affect its local environment.....

Friday, February 18, 2011

Johnny Walker, Red

It Sez Here that Johnny Walker Lindh, the American Taliban, has "adjusted well to prison."


I was in Bosnia the day they arrested that guy. My translator, a very cynical former Muslim atheist -- he'd seen too much war to be a believer in anything -- read to me the account of how Mr. Lindh wanted to marry four women.

"And how," he asked with a wicked grin, "is that any different from anyone else in Orange County?"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jack Daniels Explains the Deficit

After seeing this, I need a drink.

Slavery Organization Decries Abolitionists, Funding Cuts

News Item: LifeNews reports that Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards struck back against an attempt to deprive the abortion promoters of Planned Parenthood of Federal tax dollars in the aftermath of Lila Rose's expose of their assistance of sex traffickers in the past weeks.

February 15, 1861 (AbolitioNews) - In a desperate attempt to rally pro-slavery forces to head-off proposed defunding and allegations of illegal activity at Union of Labor Owners, CEO Cecil Richards sent out a letter by post on February 14 with the title “the worst attack – ever.” Richards said that the “anti-choice House leadership is forcing a vote on the most dangerous legislative assault on the Southern economy in Union of Labor Owners’s 95-year history.”

“They want to shut down every Union of Labor Owners auction house in America,” Richards declared.

Richards was referring to the Slavery Provider Prohibition Act, a measure introduced by U.S. Congressman Salmon B. Chase (R-IN) on January 7, 1861. The bill, which was just approved by the House Labor Committee today, would strip Union of Labor Owners, the largest provider of slavery auctions in America, of federal funds. These funds were earmarked for providing "comprehensive plantation support" and related services.

Pence stated, "The largest forced labor provider in America should not also be the largest recipient of federal funding."

Union of Labor Owners receives over $360 million a year in federal funding.

Pence said the new legislation would prevent any slavery-support organization, including Union of Labor Owners, from receiving federal funds. However, the bill would not reduce the total amount of funds and would free more federal monies to groups that do not support slavery.

In his letter, Richards observed, “This attack ... is not an isolated incident. It’s part of a coordinated campaign meant to shut down Union of Labor Owners ...”

Along with the proposed defunding legislation, recent revelations made in a series of fictional novels released by the abolitionist organization Live Action have shown numerous Union of Labor Owners facilities willing to aid and abet sex traffickers by helping them obtain medical support for their underage “proprietary workers.”

The accounts, most vividly found in the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, have brought into question Union of Labor Owners’s credibility as a self-professed provider of care for slave women.

Mrs. Stowe's latest novel has also resulted in calls for law enforcement investigations into Union of Labor Owners’s activities.

Mrs. Stowe said accounts of Union of Labor Owners staff in Delaware and Richmond, VA, coaching a purported pimp and his slave-prostitute on how to cover up their sex trafficking operation is evidence of the endemic problem of Union of Labor Owners’s willingness to aid and abet in the sexual exploitation of slave children and young women.

“We are sharing the full Richmond footage and transcripts with Virginia law enforcement officials and we are formally asking Attorney General Seward to conduct a statewide investigation of these heinous practices, just as the Delaware Attorney General is opening his own investigation into Union of Labor Owners’s compliance with the law in his state. Union of Labor Owners needs to be held accountable,” Stowe said.

On another front, a coalition of many of the country’s most prominent abolitionist organizations, united under the name “Expose Union of Labor Owners,” held a “vigil for victims of underage sex trafficking” February 14 in front of Union of Labor Owners facilities across the country.

The website of the Expose Union of Labor Owners coalition says that the vigils focused on three major ideas: that Union of Labor Owners is aiding & abetting underage sex trafficking, that it is unsafe for women and girls, and that it should not be receiving tax dollars.

“Enough is enough,” says the coalition. “We must act swiftly and take a public stand against Union of Labor Owners’s harmful agenda - raising awareness in the communities where we live, and calling upon Congress to IMMEDIATELY strip the slavery chain of all tax funding.”

Susan B. Anthony, president of the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) slammed Union of Labor Owners Federation of America (ULOFoA) for its attempt to smear Mrs. Stowe and cover up “its protracted pattern of illicit activities.”

“Out of fear and desperation, Union of Labor Owners and its president, Cecil Richards, have unleashed their attack dogs to distract from their unsafe and exploitive practices,” Anthony said in a press release. “Mr. Richards has no concern about the organization’s documented and systemic willingness to aid and abet sex trafficking of minor slaves, which tells us much about Union of Labor Owners and their real agenda.”

“At its core, Union of Labor Owners and its auction houses are not safe for women, for children and for the public at large. American taxpayers should not be funding this organization that engages in potential criminal activity,” Anthony said.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy 2nd B-Day, Infinite/Silverback!

Today marks two years to the day from the posting of my first entry in this blog (via its predecessor, The Infinite Monkey (At The Keyboard). This is also the 800th blog entry in that two year period, meaning I've managed (somehow) to better one entry a day for 730 days straight.

Some of them have been pointless (like the entries below featuring bad Muppets routines).

Some have been written in my own blood (such as the Srebrenica and Bosnia series).

And some I've regretted posting. (No, I'm not gonna say which ones they were.)

Blogging is risky. I've gotten a certain amount of hate mail. I've lost some friends, even very old ones, for saying the truth as I see it on this forum. And I've certainly lost jobs and perhaps even clients over what I've posted here.

Nobody said it would be easy. But these last two years have been a delight, in spite of the cost. And the growth in the number of daily visitors has been gratifying as well. When I started monitoring the number of visitors, they reached the astronomical level of three a day. Sometimes. I certainly thought I was shouting into a rain barrel at times.

But my near-autistic persistence has not been unrewarded. The number of visitors since I started out has increased manyfold (no, I won't say how many, either). Just let it stand that I seem to be gaining an audience....some of whom have actually said nice things. (Of course, other times the reaction has been mixed--with tomatoes and eggs predominating.)

Here's hoping that next year we will see things improve even more.

And in the meantime: thank YOU, dear reader. I'm doing this for you. I'm hoping you have enjoyed it so far.

Richard L. Kent, Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Blog

PS: In celebration of our second anniversary, we present the following concise philosophical statement of our core beliefs.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Space Alien Ethnic Humor

Xcngaxdr: "How many xycdraq does it take to change a blfnrrz?"
Xycdraq: "That's not funny!"

(thankyou, I'll be here all week)

Monday, February 14, 2011

To My Beloved Wife:
A Blogger's Valentine

"In your eyes... I am complete....

"...I want to touch the light, the heat I see in your eyes."

Terri Shiavo, Six Years Later

Terry Schiavo will be commemorated next month in a memorial mass on the sixth anniversary of her state mandated extermination. I am taking the liberty of running the entirety of a press release from Catholic News Agency on this event:

A Mass commemorating “Terri’s Day,” the sixth anniversary of Terri Schiavo’s death, will take place on March 31 at the chapel of Ave Maria University in Florida.

Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, will be the main celebrant for the Mass. His organization and the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, formerly known as the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation, established the commemorative day in 2007. The event’s full name is the International Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Terri Schindler Schiavo, and All of Our Vulnerable Brothers and Sisters.

The day is intended to foster education, prayer and activism concerning discrimination against the cognitively disabled. It also encourages advocacy for those in situations similar to Terri Schiavo, a severely disabled woman who died after a court order allowed her husband to have her nutrition and hydration removed.

“We must continue to raise the awareness of the potential threat of hospital 'ethics committees' across the country that are seeking to remove basic care, food and water even from those who are not terminally ill,” commented Bobby Schindler, Terri’s brother.

Schindler said that in all but 10 states, doctors and hospitals have been empowered to disregard advance directives even in cases when they call for treatment with food and water.

“With the growing concern of health care rationing and the government wanting to get involved in our health care decisions, this issue will get much worse,” he predicted.

Terri’s Network has supported more than 1,000 families in its efforts to help protect the rights of people with cognitive disabilities.

More information about the event and about the defense of the medically vulnerable is available at the organization’s website,

May we not forget her, the first casualty of the next barbarism. Unlike the first child killed after Roe v. Wade at least we know her name.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Joshua Goldberg, RIP

I am deeply saddened to hear that Joshua Goldberg, brother of Jonah, son of Lucianne, and editor-in-chief at Lucianne.Com, passed away this week in the aftermath of an accident. He was 43.

My only interaction with him came a few months ago, before the election, when I (rather stridently) objected to a cartoon on the "9/11 site mosque" that I thought crossed the line into bigotry. Other sites would have deleted my account for saying so; he sent me a very polite note saying that my objections were noted. He was kind and I'm still able to post there.

We've lost one of our Tattered Remnant. God rest you, Joshua, and my condolences to the Goldberg family and to all those who were privileged to know him personally. His loss is a bitter blow.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Apollo 14, 40 Years Later

Let's not forget Apollo 14's big day was 40 years ago today.

The Houston Press remembers with an interesting article on 'Six Odd Things' about that mission--including how the famous golf ball strike nearly sank Apollo.

"Houston we have a bogie!"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kermit, Fozzie, Piggie:
An Eternal Golden Braid

Camera test from the making of "The Muppet Movie" (1979). Dialogue is entirely improvised and is just. hilarious.

And just for the halibut, here's my favorite song from that movie:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Asteroids of Europe: A Guide To the Nations of Yugoslavia

(Before beginning, please play Dr. Tom Lehrer’s classic song ‘National Brotherhood Week’, which should put you in the proper mood for the following short essay on an essential subject.)

First 'twas the Hatfields, and first 'twas the McCoys.
Or p'haps 'twas the other way around.
Traditional Beginning of Folk Tale

Can't we all get along?
- Rodney King, American philosopher, 1992

My first introduction to Yugoslav politics came in the late seventies when a girl appeared in my classes at Ottawa Junior High School. She was a raven haired beauty and in my lameo way I tried to introduce myself. Turns out she was an immigrant from Yugoslavia. When I tried my best opening line to the girl, "Hey, I hear you're a Yugoslavian?" she tartly replied: "I'm Croatian. There's no such thing as a Yugoslavian." Needless to say my attempt to secure a date went nowhere. (That's okay; they usually did, but never mind.)

Later on, in the early 1980s, I got my second lesson. Detroit (a city with its own tradition of ethnic hatreds lemmetellya) used to hold "Ethnic Festivals" in the Plaza in Downtown Detroit. (They don't any more, but never mind.) On freeway abutments all over the city, someone spraypainted: "DOWN YUGO FESTIVAL!" Apparently someone didn't like the fact that the Yugoslav Ethnic Festival was called that instead of being held separately on different weekends for Serbs, Croats, Albanians, etc. Apparently the lesson of ethnic comraderie and a mutual party atmosphere was lost on them. (That's okay, it was eventually lost on everyone, but never mind.)

My third lesson came in a small Army Reserve outpost somewhere in the Midwest in the mid 1980s. Some Warrant Officer was briefing us on the approaching breakup of the Communist empire (this was perhaps eight or so years before the actual event so this was all cutting edge stuff--of course, nobody on high believed it). "Yugoslavia is about to have one nasty ass civil war," he warned. Little did I know that that war would transform, if not transmorgrify, my life.

Many have little to no understanding of those ethnic struggles arising in the former Yugoslavia, or why the US has had to spend more than a decade babysitting--and we do still in the little land of Kosovo... or Kosova... or whateverthehellit'scalledlately. I have therefore endeavoured to write a short essay discussing the history of the region, the differences between each of the nations and their dominant ethnic groups, and terminology best used to describe them.

As an Irish-German-Polish-Alsatian-French American married to a Rusyn with no family background connection to the region (the closest I come is a Kashoupian great grandmother who is said to have come from Gdansk; my wife's people are from what is now Ukraine) I hope I can offer a bit of insight into the politics of the region without offending anybody.... no, scratch that.

Let me try again.

I trust I can offer of bit of insight into the politics of the region while offending everybody equally.

And the fact that I needed to give a national pedigree should indicate just how insane Yugoslavia really is because it is only by doing so that I can show I don't have any agenda....


Yugoslavia (now a regional term) is kind of the Asteroid Belt of Europe. Just as the Asteroid Belt in the Solar System is a planet that wasn't allowed to form because of the presence of Jupiter and Mars, so the peoples making up Yugoslavia weren't able to quite form a nation due to the competing 'gravitation' of nearby empires: Austria, Hungary, Turkey, and to a lesser extent Russia, Germany, and France. Each of its regions got tugged this way and that and they were unable to truly form a single nation. They came close--but not close enough.

Once upon a time, before Yugoslavia was formed, Serbia and its neighbors were badly ruled by the Turks and/or Austrians for hundreds of years. One by one each of these nations endeavored to throw off their imperial rulers so that they could have the privilege of badly misruling themselves. And so they did, for many many decades--decades that came to an end on a side street in Sarajevo on a hot day in June, 1914.

After the Serbian secret police accidentally-on-purpose shot the Crown Prince of Austria and his wife in an open car on that sunny afternoon, Serbia was invaded by Austria--causing Serbia to spend the war wondering why they were being so put upon.

The shooting, though famously carried out by Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nobody, was plotted by the head of a Serbian secret police unit: one Dragutin Dimitrijević, also known as 'Apis': a man who managed the feat of being the rarest of criminals, a quadruple-regicide. Before he arranged for his patsy to kill the Archduke and his wife, he'd helped kill his own king and queen, Alexander I Obrenović and Queen Draga, in 1903.

This shooting led to millions of deaths in World War I and, indirectly, World War II: wars that can be said to have resulted from the fact that the Serbian intelligence service had really lousy consequence analysts. Oopsie.

Eventually everybody lost World War I (except the Americans) and all the lands in the area broke away from their ruling colonial powers; Serbia entusiastically took up that role almost immediately. The Serbs were more than happy to supply their neighbors with their royal house, army, and national police force, income tax service, bureaucracy, constitution, and so on, and they weren't really keen about sharing power with the other nationalities. This was the core problem ever after.

The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was thus formed out of the shards of surrounding empires in 1918. The country changed its name to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia ("South Slavia") in 1929 when its leaders found that they couldn't fit the old name on their country's bank notes.

The problem with the Kingdom of the Serb, Croats and Slovenes is that it turned very quickly in practice into the Kingdom of the Serbs And Everybody Else Whether They Liked It Or Not, a kind of mini-Serb colonial empire. Serbia found they liked the new country just fine. On the other hand, The Everybody Else in question didn't like it very much. The king, Alexander I Karadjordjević, tried to eliminate nationalist feelings by redrawing the internal map at random, like some Democrat redistricter. It didn't work. Eventually, dissatisfied customers shot King Alexander--Kings named "Alexander I" seem to have a poor track record of survival in that country--and he was succeeded by his son, a small child, instead of by some who merely acted like one. The late king's brother, Prince Pavel, ruled as regent, for all the good it did. Things had deteriorated in the country to the point where by late 1940 the country was about to blow up into civil war.

Yugoslavia was an Axis ally until it became allied to the Allies. Then the Axis gave it the ax. The country was invaded in 1941 by the Nazis and carved like a Christmas turkey by its neighbors; this invasion had the effect of patriotically uniting Yugoslavia for about an hour and a half and delaying the civil war in question by maybe a week.

At the start of the civil war that followed, the Serbs were on the Allied side, Croats were on the German side, and the Communists were on the Communist side. By the end of the war, Croats were on the German side, the Serbs were also on the German side (kinda), and the Communists were on the British side (sorta), although the Serbs and Croats somehow still managed to be at one anothers' throats.

The Croats ran a concentration camp of their very own and did unto others (particularly the Serbs and Jews) so enthusiastically that even the German SS was disgusted. The numbers killed at the camp at Jasanovac are widely disputed. The Serbs believe that some 70 zillion Serbs died there. The Croats pretend that nobody whatsoever died there and that the place never existed. Both sides are wrong (and both sides disrespect the dead through exaggeration).

As for British support of the Commies, well, when someone protested to Churchill about the fact that British were supporting Communists, Churchill, plainly having had one too many whiskeys, responded: "Look, are you going to live in Yugoslavia after the war? No? Neither shall I." True story. Not one of Winnie's finest hours.

After everybody (but the Americans) lost WW2 and everybody (but the Communists) lost the civil war, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) was founded at gunpoint by Tito in 1945, in spite of the fact that the name was even longer than that of the "Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes." The Commies proceeded to reassemble the shards of Yugoslavia using the blood of nationalists as a sort of Elmer's glue while simultaneously issuing larger bank notes.

In the thirty five years that followed, while everybody pretended to love each other in unity and brotherhood, the SFRY truly only had exactly one 'Yugoslav' ethnic: Tito himself. Everyone spent decades enjoying the fruits of his diplomacy (i.e., US and Soviet bribes), and waited patiently for him to kick the bucket, which he did in 1980(!); they kept their mouths shut because they didn't want to go to prison.

The problem with socialism, as Maggie Thatcher so famously pointed out, was that you eventually run out of other people's money. In this case, Yugoslavia ran out of American money. When it was plain that the US no longer needed the SFRY to counterweight the Warsaw Pact, the loans, which managed to maintain the SFRY a good decade longer than necessary, finally dried up. The SFRY dried up with them.

The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia died the death in 1991-1995 after Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Macedonia bailed out; the remaining two countries of the old federation, Serbia and Montenegro, took the name Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in 1995, for a while.

FRY died in 2003 when Serbia and Montenegro changed the name of their common country to, oddly enough, Serbia and Montenegro--an example of truth-in-advertising most welcome in the Balkans. Eventually "Serbia and Montenegro" got an amicable (by Yugoslav standards) divorce and changed their names to "Serbia" and "Montenegro" respectively. Later on Serbia fissioned again (at gunpoint) into "Serbia" and "Kosovo."

If the process continues to its logical conclusion, by the time the process is completed the former SFRY will transmorgrify itself into a region consisting of one republic per citizen. Or more.

After the Serbians, Croats and Bosniacs all lost the Balkan wars of 91-95, the US showed up and decided to peacekeep. Their philosophy was very strange. The ancient Romans were said to have 'made a desert and called it peace.' The Americans made a shopping center and called it peacekeeping.

Let us now move on to a discussion of the different nationalities of Yugoslavia.


In US Army parlance, a Serbian is a Serb who lives in Serbia.

A Serb is a Serbian who does not live in Serbia.

A "Croatian Serb" is a non-Serbian term for a Serb living in Croatia. Serbs prefer the term “Serbian” (see above for the precise definition of the term “Serbian”). Once this makes sense you will see why there was a little catfight over the control of certain areas in Croatia.

A “Bosnian Serb” is a non-Serbian term for a Serb living in Bosnia. Serbs prefer the term “Serbian” (see above for the precise definition of the term “Serbian”). Once this makes sense you will see why there was a little catfight over the control of Bosnia.

Serbia was once the dominant power in old (pre-WW2) Yugoslavia as the country had a Serb king and a Serb military; their misrule alienated all the other nationalities.

A Chetnik is (a) a historical term designating Serb-national irregulars who fought originally against the Turks or (b) a term of opprobrium used against all Serbs generally; the Serbian equivalent of the “N-Word.”

The Serbs hate everybody; everybody hates the Serbs; the Serbs spend an inordinate time feeling put upon.


In US Army parlance, a Croatian is a Croat who lives in Croatia.

A Croat is a Croatian who does not live in Croatia.

A “Serbian Croat” is a non-Croatian term for a Croat living in Serbia. Croats prefer the term “Croatian” (see above for the precise definition of the term “Croatian”). Once this makes sense you will see why there was a little catfight over the control of western Serbia.

A “Bosnian Croat” is a non-Croatian term for a Croat living in Bosnia. Croats prefer the term “Croatian” (see above for the precise definition of the term “Croatian”). Once this makes sense you will see why there was a little catfight over the control of Bosnia.

An Ustashe is (a) a historical term designating Croatian Nazis from WW2 or (b) a term of opprobrium used against all Croats generally; the Croatian equivalent of the “N-Word.”

Croatia was once the dominant power in Yugoslavia during WW2, as the country had a German-client dictator; their misrule alienated all the other nationalities.

The Croats hate everybody; everybody hates the Croats; they spend an inordinate amount of time feeling put upon.


A Bosniac (post 1995) is a term to describe "Bosnian Muslims." "Bosnian Muslims" are Bosnian by nationality (and sometimes Muslim by religion, more commonly not, or barely recognizable as such). A Bosniac who becomes a Christian does NOT thereby turn into a Croat or a Serb. (Most Bosniacs I met were essentially amiable agnostics; among the younger women, you could generally gauge the depth of their Muslim belief as being in inverse proportion to the depth of their necklines.)

A Bosnian is a person who lives in Bosnia. Bosniacs who live in Bosnia think of themselves as Bosnians. Serbs who live in Bosnia prefer "Serbian". (See above for definition of Serbian.) Croats who live in Bosnia prefer "Croatian". (See above for definition of "Croatian"). In spite of the fact that the war is 15 years over they still have a long way to go figuring out what and who they are.

There are some Bosniacs who live outside of Bosnia (there are some 300K or so in the mountains of southern Serbia, known as “Sanjaks”); they consider themselves Serbian Bosniacs, not Albanians; they are ethnically and linguistically unrelated to the Albanians, who are also often (but not always) Muslims.

A Bosniac is NOT a Muslim by any other Islamic standard. Ask any Muslim from anywhere else in the world; you’ll get an earful on this subject. Hell, ask a Bosniac; you'll get an earful on this subject. (Come to think of it, ask a Bosniac ANYTHING and you'll get an earful on this subject.)

A Bosniac is also NOT a Turk. Originally Bosnians who practiced Islam called themselves "Turc" (Turks) and referred to the people of Turkey as "Turcic". These days, “Turk” is a historical term for the people constituting the imperial power that controlled Bosnia until 1878. Today "Turc" is ALSO a term of opprobrium used against all Bosniacs generally; the Bosniac equivalent of the “N-Word.” The term 'balije' -- the j taking a 'y' sound--means something like a combination of 'Dirty Muslim' and 'dumbshit' and serves this same purpose. (One can gauge the status of any nationality in the former Yugoslavia by the number of slurs that other nations apply to them.)

Turkey was once the the dominant power in OLD old (pre-World War I) Yugoslavia; their misrule alienated all the other nationalities and their sins attributed to all presently living Bosniacs.

Bosnia is an interesting country. After three years of random violence, civil disorder, horror, genocide, and CNN news stories, It was cobbled together with Scotch tape and magic marker and three old maps of Bosnia over a three week period in November 1995 in Dayton, Ohio, while American soldiers held guns to the heads of Slobodan Milosevic, Franjo Tudjman, and Alije Izetbegovic. Its basic law was presented for ratification as part of the peace process; only later did we find out that the constitution used was whipped up over a weekend at Michigan State University's Model United Nations undergraduate seminar final.

Bosnia has three Presidents, one Croat, one Serb, one Bosniac; one king (the pretender to the Serb throne); and one imperial satrap (the U.N. High Representative to Bosnia) who lets the Bosnians pretend to have a working government, and then rules by decree when they don't. Its flag was created by being drawn on the back of a napkin in a Sarajevo coffeeshop, the artist a deputy State Department functionary who had to fill in at the last minute for the ambassador one New Years' Eve.

In the former Yugoslavia, one friend of mine said, there are three stereotypes; the Serbs are evil and mean; the Croats are mean and greedy; the Bosnian Muslims are good but kinda dumb. I would agree ONLY to this extent: it seemed to take the Bosniacs an inordinate amount of time to figure out that when Karadzic said he wanted to wipe the Bosnian Muslims from the earth, he meant it.

The Serbs and the Croats both hate the Bosniacs. The Bosniacs don't really seem to hate anybody, but they do spend an inordinate amount of time feeling put upon.


A Mujaheddin (or moozh in Army slang) is a non-Bosnian, usually North African, jihadist of whom about 1500 came to Bosnia during the war to fight for the Bosnian government, and about half married and settled down without leaving.

The Serbs, the Croats and the Bosniacs all hate the Moozh. The Serbs hate them because they take their Islam seriously and seemed to have commited a lot of war crimes (i.e., they beat the Serbs in combat). The Croats hate them because they take their Islam seriously and seemed to have committed a lot of war crimes (i.e., they beat the Croats in combat). The Bosniacs hate them because they take their Islam seriously and the Bosniacs are too busy not taking their Islam seriously to take their Islam seriously.


Montenegro (Crnogorje, or “Black Mountain”) is a little land, more than a province of Serbia but slightly less than a fully independent state until it declared its independence. It’s a largely Serbian speaking land that was so poor and mountainous that even the Turks never bothered to try to conquer it. The Montenegrins tend to act as Serbian allies, except when they don’t. If you don’t understand this, don’t worry, neither does anyone else. They still, however, spend an inordinate amount of time feeling put upon.


Macedonia is a region south of Serbia. The Macedonians call it Makedonia. The Serbians who live to the north call it South Serbia. The Bulgarians who live to the east call it Western Bulgaria. The Albanians to the west call it some word that nobody else can pronounce. The Greeks to the south don’t call it Macedonia because they have a province that they already have that they already call Macedonia and they can’t stand the thought of some Slavic-speaking country claiming the same nationality of a psychopathic megalomaniac homosexual with boundary issues who died of a hangover 2400 years ago; they’ll likely come up with some other name if and when they ever incorporate it into Greater Greece. (Like that's gonna happen.)

The US calls it FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) if and until the Greeks give them permission to call it something else.

Most of Macedonia is Macedonian, except for those provinces which have a lot of Albanians. As the Albanians are having babies and the Macedonians aren’t (thanks to liberal Macedonian abortion/birth control laws) this does not portend well for the future for Macedonians in Albanian-majority regions of Macedonia.


Slovenia is the upper left hand corner of the old Yugoslavia, formerly ruled by the Austrians. There's not much to say about them except that they're the only country in Europe (outside of France) with a statute of Napoleon in their capital city--in remembrance of his being the first to actually recognize that there was such a place, and granting it his own Code Napoleon.


An Albanian is a member of the Illyrian people who originally controlled the whole of what is now the Adriatic coast from the Roman times until the arrival of the Serbo-Croatian Slavic tribes in the 6th century; they were pressed into a smaller and smaller area, finally being confined to what is today Albania and the lands surrounding.

“Shqipjar” is the Albanian word for an Albanian. When a non-Albanian uses the term, it is a term of opprobrium used against all Albanians generally; the Albanian equivalent of the “N-Word.”

Albanians are about 50-50 Christian/Muslim, although many Serbs will be pleased to tell you that they are 100% Muslim in an attempt to connect some little old lady in Prstina with Osama Bin Laden.

Albanians were once the dominant power in old old old old (pre-Roman) Yugoslavia, but that was so long ago everyone has forgotten precisely why everyone else hated them, but the fact that they can't remember why doesn't stop them from hating them anyway.

The Serbs, the Croats, the Bosnians and the Moozh pretty much all hate the Albanians. And only the Albanians know what they think of everyone else, except that they spend an inordinate amount of time thinking that they're put upon.


A Kosovar is an Albanian living in the formerly Serbian province of Kosovo and now known as the Republic of Kosova. (The Albanians call it Kosova; the Serbs call it "Kosovo" or more pretentiously “Kosovo and Metohija,” and American troops stationed there call it something unprintable with the appellation “when can I go home?”)

The Serbs have an unholy attachment to Holy Kosovo, thinking that the semimythical site of their 1389 defeat by the Turks is more important than, oh, getting on with life and not being considered a military threat by everyone in the neighborhood. Some actually (and blasphemously) compare Serbia's "right" to Kosovo of that of Jewish people to Israel.

As the Albanians are having babies and the Serbs aren’t (thanks to liberal Serbian abortion/birth control laws) this does not portend well for the future of Serbians in Kosovo. Add to that the uncomfortable precedent of East Prussia--a former 99% German territory, the Prussian homeland, that is now 99% Russian and renamed Kaliningrad Oblast--and I think that the Serbs are going to have to get used to the fact that Holy Kosovo is now wholly Albanian and will remain so whether they have old empty monasteries there or not.

The “KLA” is an Albanian armed movement and organized crime underground, often cited for crimes against the few remaining Serbs in Kosov{a/o}. The Kosovo Government may or may not be the legislative branch of the KLA. Whether it is or not depends on who you talk to (ask a Serb, yes; ask a Kosovar, no; ask a US soldier stationed there, they'll shake their heads in dismay and refuse to answer; ask a US diplomat and they'll artfully change the subject to something soccer-related).

The Serbs really, really hate the Kosovars. The Kosovars aren't really fond of the Serbs, either. And both sides spend a great deal of time feeling put upon.


UN personnel in the former Yugoslavia come in two flavors: the "humanitarians" and the "UN peacekeepers." Humanitarians are looked on with fondness. First, they actually help people, but (much more importantly) they are also a steady source of money. The degree to which they are loved is in direct proportion to the international aid they distribute.

"UN Peacekeepers" are looked upon with contempt due to their uselessness in the Bosnian war. The UN peacekeepers are derided to this day as "Smurfs," due to the similarity in color between the cartoon characters and the baby blue helmets they wore. The cowardice of the UN "Dutchbat" at Srebrenica--the battalion that heroically left a cloud of heel dust behind it as the Serbs advanced with popguns-- are not forgotten.


An amiable if somewhat bemused but heavily armed babysitter, often a National Guardsman from Iowa who would prefer sitting in Eagle Base in Bosnia or (these days) Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo to some god forsaken hole in Khandahar Province. Once he begins to get a clue as to what is going on in what is left of the former Yugoslavia, the US Government ships him out to Iraq and replaces him with a National Guardsman from Maine. Or vice versa.

American peacekeepers are respected in a way that the UN wasn't, simply because everyone is convinced that the Americans are a bunch of crazy-assed cowboys who would shoot up the neighborhood like a drunken marine in Full Metal Jacket if they're looked at crosseyed. And the Americans, generally made up of fat middle aged cops and bureaucrats (all the youngsters are sent elsewhere to fight) are perfectly happy to maintain that illusion.

American peacekeepers do wonder, however, why it was necessary to interrupt their regularly scheduled lives to babysit a bunch of ethnic bigots who they think should have been left to their own devices, and they do spend an inordinate amount of time feeling put upon.


Vlaches are people who speak Romanian ("Wallachia" is an old term for Romania). Romanian is Romanian for Latin. People who speak Latin who are not Romanian in the former Yugoslavia are generally Roman Catholic liturgists or entymologists.


"Roma" is a Gypsy term for a the Gypsies. “Gypsy” is a non-Roma word for Roma.

When ANYONE uses the term “Gypsy” it is a term of opprobrium used against all Gypsies generally. When anyone uses the term "Roma" they're trying to change the subject.

My introduction to the, er, Roma was my first road trip into Tuzla in 2001. I saw a five year old Roma girl STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF AN AUTOBAHN TYPE LIMITED ACCESS FREEWAY holding out her left hand begging for tips from drivers. She used her left hand because her right hand was holding an infant in swaddling clothes. We called the Tuzla police on our cel phones but the kids were still out there six hours later; we saw them on our way home that night.

The Serbs, the Croats, the Bosniacs, the Albanians, the Moozh, the Montenegrins, the Macedonians, the Slovenians, the Vlaches, the UN, the Americans, and just about everyone else hate the Roma; it is the only thing on which all other ethnic groups in Yugoslavia are agreed. They would no doubt feel put upon if they stopped to think about it, but that appears to be unlikely.


There are almost no Jews in Yugoslavia any more--having been well and truly put upon in the last war but one. Perhaps, after reading this last sentence, and contemplating on why it is true, the reader will begin to appreciate why the author thinks that genocide is a bad thing regardless of who the victim is and regardless of whether the perpetrators understand what they did or not.


The key to understanding the former Yugoslavia is that everybody there hates everybody else for some reason or another--which is a joke because from the POV of an outsider they're all the same nationality, dammit. The differences between a Serb, a Croat, a Bosniac, a Macedonian, a Montenegrin, a Slovenian, a Vlach, a Gypsy pretty much don't matter a tinker's dam.

The differences in language are only slightly greater than the difference between a Cockney and a Liverpudlian or a New Yawker from Tennessee mountain folk and arise from the insistence on multiple alphabets when only one is needed for everybody.

Religion is held up as some sort of all rulling differing principle, but (to quote P.J. O'Rourke) the last war was fought between Catholics who never went to mass, Orthodox who never went to liturgy, and Muslims who never went to Friday prayers. Nevertheless, the sort of berzerk hatred of each other's religion--Serb for Moslem, Croat for Orthodox, Islamist for Christian--is the real wedge. It's no so much their own faith they're fighting for but the other guy's faith they're fighting against. Witness the naked bigotry on the genocide cheerleader sites (, and behold: Yugoslavia writ small. Their drink of choice is not rakia or slivovic, but fine old vintage pharisee.

Everybody wants to be on top; unfortunately, every time each group gets on top they make a bloody bollocks of the situation. The Serbs did that in the last war. The Croats did that in the previous one. The Serbs did that before WW2, and before they took over they'd provoked the Austrians into doing that in the war before that. And the Turks did that prior to that.

The other problem is that of dates. Nobody knows each other's history but every one knows their own history well enough to get a Ph.D. at most major universities. Half the time people don't know what century they're in and given the chance they settle scores from wars long forgotten--like Serb General Ratko Mladic who used a sixteenth century Turkish massacre to justify Srebrenica. Nobody seems to understand that the perpetrators of past crimes are dead and the worms have eaten them and that nobody living is the least bit responsible for the crimes of the long dead.

It is often said that we Americans have no history. All I can say after looking at Yugoslavia and its component parts is this: if this is what 'history' means then thanks be to the risen Christ that we don't.

I trust that the reader now understands the former Yugoslavia with ... crystal clarity.

[PS: This one is dedicated to all my dear friends at You know who you are.]

Monday, February 7, 2011

We Like This. A Lot.

Think different. But remember that the price of originality may include a long walk down a public street hauling a sizable cross.

- Salute: Dan G.

This. is. hilarious.

As the proud father of Darth Philip, all I can say is: FREAKING BRILLIANT!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tweet of the Week

From Coffeeonswing, via The Other McCain....

"#tcot RT @CoffeeonSwing Dear Egyptian demonstrators, Please do not damage the pyramids. We will not rebuild them. Sincerely yours, The Jews"

President. Of the United States.

Never forget.

One hundred years.

Ronald Reagan 1911-2011.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bryant Gumbel, 1994: "What is This Internet Thing?"

I just showed this to my almost-15-year-old-son. It's from two years before he was born: 1994. It shows Bryant Gumbel, Katie Couric in her pre-humiliating-Sarah-Palin days, and co. all trying to wrap their noggins around the concept of this new Internet thingie.

Unfortunately the poor schlob who posted this thing to Youtube from NBC just got canned. Alas.

Friday, February 4, 2011

We got mail!

This one was in response to my posting a few weeks back on Srebrenica.

"Though I am quite sure that they could be kind and were nice to their dogs and grandkids." did you really write this? are you SERIOUS? you wrote this and expect us to take you seriously, hahahahhahaha omg what a joke you are. hahahah i can't believe anyone takes you seriously - we will expose very soon, we are filing a lawsuit against you very soon, enjoy the silence you are enjoying right now...we are preparing. I am still waiting for you to respond to your freedom fighting muslims that slaughtered serbian innocents for their kidneys, livers, eyeballs, they are quite good at that their grandfathers taught them that when they did the same to Serbs 60 years ago... check out what your Your Hero Mujahadeen's were awesome at, you must be so PROUD tough proud - you wont check it because people like you have no spine do you think that everyone is so dumb to eat your Islamic Agenda, you will be exposed. and i am sure you have no guts to print anything thats what a man of "honor and integrity" you are hahahahahaaahahahaa

You won't print this because you are a coward but i want to write it to you anyway... There you go again with your accusations do you ever get tired of that boring talk...We will SUE you, we will EXPOSE you. We have money, we are organized we have been waiting many years for this moment...and now the time is right. Have you ever heard of FALSE ACCUSATORY ATTACKS? It is well known in all psychological circles - covering the truth through accusation after accusation. That is all you and the Islamic agenda and the Nazi Croatians have no SCIENTIFIC DATA NO TRUTH. Tell me something tough guy, if Milosevic was such a butcher why are there countless Muslims living in Serbia proper that have lived there for centuries and decades without a hair touched on their heads? Even though they fought with every oppressive empire the Turks, the Austrain/Hungarians, the Nazi's. If you can find me one racist, hateful speech that Milosevic or Karadzic or any OTHER Serbian leader/general made - I will write you a blank check and with my resources you would be retired immediately. Go ahead search and find one statement surely if they are the butchers you constantly accuse them of and repeat the same boring story over and over again there would be some evidence. Your story is tired and old and has no truth, no evidence...would you in live under Sharia Law? Would you? haha you probably would! What would your government do if Muslims were killing your people, bombing your institutions forming a parallel army? What you would you write then? Would you write they are freedom fighters then? Did your people live under 600 years of Islamic rape and slavery like the Serbs did under the Ottoman Turks? Tell me something have you written about the 200 churches in Kosovo that have been erased from existence under NATO's "democratic" eyes? Have you written that Sarajevo used to have 200,000 Serbs and now have less then 5,000? Have you written how Croatia is an ethnically pure state when it used to have 30% Serbs and now has 2%? Have you gone to Kosovo and see how the Christian Serbs live there? Am I an apologist or is it the truth? All you have are accusations, come on all knowing Westerner, democratic wise man, go to Serbia yourself and see the Truth. See that 400,000 Serbs were cleansed out of Kosovo and live in Shipping in containers today while you get your cafe latte at starbucks in the 21st century, in Europe there are over 700,000 IDP's and refugees living in Serbia, oh wait just like Jewish lives didn't matter a short time ago Serbs lives don't matter now. Read the Muslim leader from Bosnia's "Islamic Declaration" and then come back and start writing. If Serbs were such aggressors why did the Croats fight the Muslims for much of the war and why did the Muslims from Kosovo fight Macedonia in a war? Do you think that the world is going to listen to your lies just because your name is Richard. That time my friend is done, here is FAIR warning prepare with some real evidence because we will NOT give up until we expose you and your accusations that mean nothing without scientific evidence. I can go on and on but for people like you it is useless...Serbs don't need you or anyone else in time the Islamic agenda in Bosnia and Kosovo and the neo Nazi Croatians will be exposed. You still haven't responded to the PACE European Council report about your poor victim Muslim Albanians from Kosovo that murdered Serbs for their organs - why so quiet big guy? Why are so quiet that thousands of Mujahadeen Jihadists cut the heads of hundrends of Serbian peasents across Bosnia? WHy are you so quiet that Osama Bin Laden traveled for years with a Bosnian passport? These are scientific facts - where are your facts oh wait you don't have any... R. Van Koppen

Hey Coward why are you so quiet now that your beloved Muslims the Albanians in Kosovo killed countless Serbs for their kidneys and organs? Why are you so quiet? Come on coward, let's hear it? Why are you so quiet that over 80 Dutchbat soldiers are going to testify about the TRUTH. We are going to sue you we are going to expose you like the truth has been exposed, we have been quietly waiting for the truth to come out... it is out. There are one million Serbian refugees and internally displaced people in Serbia, have you written about one? You coward, you lost, read the truth, read how your hero Albanians robbed Serbian children and innocent of their internal organs and that is just the surface of what the Muslims did to Serbs in Kosovo, Bosnia and what the nazi croats did in croatia. YOU LOST. How does it feel to sell your soul to the devil? Ralph Van Koppen

To which I can only suggest: Abilify, Mr. Van Koppen. Works wonders.

PS: "We will SUE you, we will EXPOSE you...." Bring it.



PSS: Additional analysis reveals: (1) overuse of the word "Coward." (2) Overuse of the phrase "I will EXPOSE you." (3) Overuse of the word "Islamic". (4) Projectionist attribution to the recipient of psychological phenomena engaged in by the sender. (5) The fact that the name "Ralph Van Koppen" does not appear anywhere on the Internet and cannot be found in Google or Bing and is therefore a pseud.

Add to this: there is someone who used to send me hatemail whose last interaction with me included the above phrases (1) through (3) and attribute (4).

Upshot: Rodan, AKA Rick Martinez, is that YOU? Not certain it is, but it sure seems that way.