Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Romney the Dolphin.... I mean Dauphin

Monday, January 30, 2012

Greg's Giggles on A Monday Moanin'




Ladeez 'n' germs, GREG SHANKIN!

* Politics: From the Greek word 'poly,' meaning 'many,' and 'tics,' meaning blood sucking parasites.

* Vice President Joe Biden mailed his family Christmas card which was signed with his dog Champ's paw print. The weird thing is, Biden actually does that with all his important documents.

* A new study found that children born in March are more likely to become pilots, while children that are supposed to be born in March but keep delaying their arrival become Delta pilots.

* One of President Obama’s speech writers quit his job to pursue his dream of writing comedy. So now, he’s a speech writer for Joe Biden.

* A company in Virginia has a new DNA test than can predict your child’s athletic skills. Here’s the test: If you’re a child and you know what DNA is, you’re not an athlete.

* There'll be two dates on your tombstone and all your friends will read 'em but all that's gonna matter is that little dash between 'em.

* America’s credit rating took a real hit recently. Last year the U.S. actually lost its AAA status. Joe Biden asked, “What happens if I get a flat tire?”

* A group of Florida grandmothers posed nude for a calendar to help raise money for charity. The charity was the “Wish We Were Blind Society.”

* Lady Gaga complained that the U.S. is allowing Iran and North Korea to get nukes and we have to stop them. Before the White House makes any decision, they’re waiting to hear from Britney Spears.

* Happy birthday to Arnold Schwarzenegger. He celebrated quietly with half his money.

* Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said if his country wants to make a nuclear bomb, they will. Then he said he’s getting his ears pierced, and there’s nothing you can do about it, Dad! Nothing!

* Happy birthday to Whole Foods, which is 31 years old. Before Whole Foods, if you wanted to pay $60 for a roasted chicken, you had to go to Zender's in Frankenmuth

* The woman who attempted to rob Alex Trebek’s hotel room may face 25 years in prison. Even worse, while she’s waiting for the judge’s decision, they’ll make her listen to the music from “Jeopardy.”

* I saw the Twilight movie and I’ll tell you something. For someone who can't see himself in the mirror, Edward’s hair looks amazing.

* L.A. Riot police arrested hundreds of people outside city hall, still less violent than Black Friday at every Walmart in America.

* Everybody in Detroit has been in a very festive mood. I even saw two strangers splitting a cab. One guy took the tires, one guy took the radio.

* Obama bought equipment to brew his own beer in the White House. That might explain some of those economic policies!

* Arnold Schwarzenegger was seen wearing a t-shirt that said, 'I Survived Maria.' Maria Shriver was seen wearing a shirt that said, 'I Survived 'Twins.' 'End of Days' and 'Jingle All the Way.'

* When the lion lies down with the lamb, generally it's lunch time.

* Congress has rejected raising the debt ceiling, so if China calls, let it go to voicemail!!!

...thththtat's all folks......

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Letter to The Queen Of Spain

In 1493, Christopher Columbus returned to Spain from the New World and told Queen Izabella about his wonderful discovery. However, it was not greeted with joy by everyone. Don Baracko Bama sent a private letter to the Queen where he commented about the recently returned expedition.....

Look. We've been there, done that.

We had all that wonderful money we took from the Jews, and instead of spending it on the army like we should have, sent those three worthless caravels to the West to look for a land route to Kitai. Did they find anything? No! Nothing they found bears the LEAST resemblance to Marco Polo's account. All they found were some sweet-smoking plants, some tasteless roots, and a yellow seed thing. And all the rumors about gold turned out to be nonsense.

We sent three ships and they landed, brought back some plants and some natives, and what else do we have to show for it? We shouldn't be any new expeditions to these so-called India lands. I don't think they're even India. No. We shouldn't be sending any more ships to the West.

I say, forget this Am-ur-rucka stuff. It's just a money hole. We got problems of our own right here in Spain.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Newt Sez: To The Moon, Alice!

Last year, Obama decided not to go to the moon again... not because it is hard but because it is easy.

Newt Gingrich, OTOH, thinks we should go back.

I agree. Completely.

I'm reviving this Tattered Remnant to remind us why.



TATTERED REMNANT #010: ZHENG HE (OR CHENG HO)


The great Chinese explorer Zheng He (or Cheng Ho).


They're reporting that the Moon rocket program has been axed.

Not enough money, they say.

Fine, then. They think it's better to spend our money on socialized medical insurance. Or to give to the banks. Hooo...kay. Elections have consequences.

But let me tell you a story.

When the Ming Dynasty (refounded by the Emperor Yongle) took over China after a period of chaos in the early 1400s, he discovered a source of great potential wealth: a huge swath of land that had been set aside as a hunting preserve for the old dynasty.

The Mings chose to sell the land to the peasants in small lots. This generated a huge surplus of money.

After some debate, the Mings decided to spend the cash on .... exploration ships. They chose a remarkable individual, Zheng He (also known as Cheng Ho), famously a eunuch, to command the ships.

This account (from Wikipedia, thank God for their free-use rule!) sums up his career very well.

Zheng He's first voyage consisted of a fleet of around 300 ships (other sources say 200) holding almost 28,000 crewmen. These were probably mainly large six-masted ships....Zheng He's fleets visited Arabia, East Africa, India, Indonesia and Thailand (at the time called Siam), dispensing and receiving goods along the way. Zheng He presented gifts of gold, silver, porcelain and silk; in return, China received such novelties as ostriches, zebras, camels, ivory and giraffes.

Zheng He ... ruthlessly suppressed pirates who had long plagued Chinese and southeast Asian waters. He also intervened in a civil disturbance in order to establish his authority in Ceylon, and he made displays of military force when local officials threatened his fleet in Arabia and East Africa. From his fourth voyage, he brought envoys from thirty states who traveled to China and paid their respects at the Ming court.

In 1424 [his primary sponsor] the Emperor Yongle died. His successor, Emperor Hongxi (reigned 1424–1425), decided to curb [Zheng He's] influence at court. Zheng He made one more voyage under Emperor Xuande (reigned 1426–1435), but after that Chinese treasure ship fleets ended. Zheng He died during the treasure fleet's last voyage. Although he has a tomb in China, it is empty: he was, like many great admirals, buried at sea.

Zheng He, on his seven voyages [1405-1433], successfully relocated large numbers of Chinese Muslims to the nascent Malacca, which became a large international trade center.


What is important about this story is that after Zheng He died and the fleet returned, the Chinese abandoned further naval exploration. Had they tried to travel due east, they likely would have discovered America through the back door--and America would be half Chinese today. As it was, the Ming Dynasty turned inward, abandoned naval exploration... and became a very sad second-best to the Europeans, who started to explore the seas just a few years after China abandoned them. As a result, China is still not even competitive with the European Union, much less ourselves.

We have the choice, and the chance, not to repeat their mistake.

I'm confident that Obamism and all its pomps and works will be destroyed and in four years the grown ups will be back in charge. All this decision means is that the landing has been delayed by four years.

I ask you to remember the last line from the great movie Apollo 13 (known in this household as 'Daddy's Movie'):

"When are we going back? And who will it be?"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Big Win in Court



We're calling this one a major win. (I was the attorney for the three children.)

You don't see my face in this story but if you look closely on the Motion you can see my name.

ADDENDUM: Macomb Daily story here.

And I get some face time! This from the video clip connected with the Macomb Daily story:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Boy Howdy!: On Mister Natural,
Little Hitchhikers...
and Robinson Crusoe
(Or: "Carbonated Life Forms! YAAAAAAY!"*)








When I was a lad in the 1970s, I had the most unhip Dad in the world.

Let me explain just how completely out of it he was.

When I was a very small munchkin when we moved into our house on Gladstone in St. Clair Shores, we were crammed, ten of us, into four bedrooms on the second floor: Mark and Jerry in one room, Raphaelle, Cecilia and Eileen in a second, Brian, John and myself in a third, and Mom & Dad of course in the master bedroom, all on the second floor of 28300. (There was only one staircase, and God have mercy on us if there had been a fire--no smoke detectors, remember!)

Bill had left home by the time we moved there, and Mark moved to his own place by about 1970 or so, and the process of the kids leaving home meant that we started to decompress.

By 1976, my brother John had gone to college, and, glorious day!, I inherited the larger bedroom that once belonged to Mark & Jerry. I cleaned the place out, repainted it a garish yellow and black, and moved in.

Anyway, during the process of cleaning that bedroom, I had found, buried in the back of the closet, an underground comic book by R. Crumb, featuring "Mister Natural" (seen above), obviously having been abandoned by Mark or Jerry years previously. The cover was missing, and the full page cartoon on the inside cover page showed Mister Natural with the logo: "Mr. Nacherel Sez...Keep On Truckin'".


((ADDENDUM: This is a picture of me, age 12, wearing that very image. Next to the Most Unhip Dad In The World, and my little sister. Legend is in my dad's handwriting.))
On this particular day--it must have been in September of '76 or so, but I remember the incident vividly--my dad came into my bedroom as I sat there reading it, took one look at it... and said "Nov Shmoz ka Pop!".... and walked out laughing.

I never realized what the hell he was talking about--sometimes my dad was just weird like that.

The day he died in April 1991, that incident popped into my head--and I asked my Mom just what in the hell was he talking about?

She told me with a chuckle--I think it was the only time she laughed that whole horrible week--that Dad was quoting a comic strip that had been popular in the 1930s--Gene Ahern's "The Squirrel Cage"--involving a character called The Little Hitchhiker, who wandered through hallucinigenic adventures speaking a nonsense language. His catchphrase, "Nov Shmoz ka Pop!", was apparently all the rage among kids in the Depression era.

But the core truth of why he laughed didn't become clear until I actually saw The Little Hitchhiker, which I found through the power of the Great God Google, thus:





And what I thought was my dad's unhipness became clear: the "new, cool, revolutionary" R. Crumb had stolen the entire schtick for Mister Natural from Gene Ahern. And in quoting a simple catchphrase, he discredited the entire claim of the 1960s by simply pointing out that there was nothing whatsoever new under the sun.

And I hadn't a clue as to what he was talking about.

Now, a few days ago, I posted something on Facebook; something particularly ill-fortuned occurred to one of my clients, and I kvetched about it. A dear friend of mine, Meredith, wife of my best friend Phil, responded thus: "Uh-oh, Chongo! Not good!"

Now THAT took me back.

Back in the day, in the late 1960s and early 70s, there was a kid's TV program produced by Hanna Barbera, with the set design by kiddy TV's version of R. Crumb--the Krofft brothers, Sid and Marty. The Banana Splits it was called. And that show--and it's drug-influenced followon, HR Pufnstuf--left nightmare images that haunt people to this day.

You had to see it to believe it.

Anyway, it had a particularly lame subsegment called "Danger Island", featuring a sort of a teenaged-wild-man-kid named "Chongo" who lived with a Robinson Crusoe kind of guy on an island in the Pacific. Very, very un-PC; it would NEVER get past the network censors today.

...and the catchphrase from Danger Island was... you guessed it.... "Uh oh, Chongo!"

I mentioned it to Meredith, and her response was, "Don't blame me, blame Phil! The Kroffts were before my time!"

It got me thinking--

So much of what we say is preprogrammed and habitual (hence the very phrase "Catch Phrase")--sometimes we just say the same thing over and over again and we forget what it means and where it came from. And sometimes the catchphrases we learn in our youths (in my case, 'Enough Comedy Jokes' or 'Yew Americas are Soooo Nayeeeve!' from Steve Martin, 'Nyever Mind' from Emily Litella, Seven Words You Can't Say on Television, Boy, Howdy!, and of course 'Beam Me Up Scotty' from somewhere-or-other). And our kids hear us saying them, maybe picking them up themselves. (Excepting, perhaps, the Seven Words You Can't Say on Television.)

And other people, who never saw Saturday Night Live, Classic Trek or heard a Steve Martin album, haven't got a freaking clue as to what we're talking about... leaving us like Robinson Crusoe...ahem, I mean like Chuck Noland on Castaway. Or those guys on Lost.

Yeah.

We're so unhip, yanno.

===
*That is from "Jimmy Neutron" and is my youngest son's favorite catchphrase. Go figure.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A moooving story

I didn't write this but I wish I did.

A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Montana when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"

Bud looks at the man, who obviously is a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany ....

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer, turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says Bud.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then Bud says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a Congressman for the U.S. Government.", says Bud.

"Wow! That's correct,", says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required.", answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about how working people make
a living - or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep. Now give me back my dog."

Monday, January 23, 2012

You can delay work a few minutes.
It's Time for Greg's Giggles.



Ladeez 'n' Germs, GREG SHANKIN!

* The economy is so bad, that a prostitute asked me if she could borrow $20 until she can get back on her back.

* It's so bad, a stripper was killed when her audience showered her with rolls of pennies while she danced.

* Department store Santas are apparently being trained to lower children’s expectations about toys because of the recession. Yeah, it’s weird when you ask Santa for a train set and he’s like, ‘Yeah, how ‘bout a bus token?’

* Ahmadinejad was in New York recently where he said publically that he hates Jews and gays. Man, is he in wrong town.

* I was in the supermarket today, and I saw some Occupy Wall Street protesters in the dairy department. They were protesting the 1 percent milk.

* FOX shows are usually just loud cartoon characters making fools of themselves. You know, like Homer Simpson, Family Guy, Simon Cowell.

* The rhetoric is heating up between Republicans Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. These two do not like each other. Newt has opposed many of Romney's positions – but to be fair, so has Romney.

* The movie that “Harry Potter” fans have been waiting for is finally here: “Winnie the Pooh.”

* Heavenly Father, / So far this past year, you have taken away my favorite singer, / Michael Jackson, my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze, / my favorite actress, Farrah Fawcett, my favorite comedian, / Soupy Sales, my favorite pitchman, Billy Mays and my favorite sidekick, Ed McMahon. / Just so you know, my favorite politicians are Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. / Thank you.

* It's my birthday, and I asked for a Rolex and got a Rolodex. Just damn.

* A man in Georgia was arrested for burglary after he left his Facebook account open on the victim’s computer. But this is nice: He’s only been in jail a few hours, and his status already says “In a Relationship!”

* Apparently, Mitt Romney is planning to build a huge addition onto his beach house in California. And here’s the cool part: They’re using the same wood that they used to build Mitt Romney.

* The economy's so bad, Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

* President Obama gave candy to trick-or-treaters at the White House. Obama wanted people to like his costume, so he went as himself from 2008.

* A couple got married in a Starbucks. Isn't that nice? What, Dunkin' Donuts not good enough?

* The season premiere of "Glee" was on Tuesday. Viewership dropped this year by 35 percent. Apparently a large number of "Glee" viewers were offended by the episode's controversial male-female kiss.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

On the American Kindermord:
Of the 39th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

There was a madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly, "I seek God! I seek God!" As many of those who do not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Why, did he get lost? said one. Did he lose his way like a child? said another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? Or emigrated? Thus they yelled and laughed.

The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his glances.

"Whither is God" he cried. "I shall tell you. We have killed him—you and I. All of us are his murderers.

"But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all the suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, foreward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as though an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breadth of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night and more night coming on all the while? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? ....

"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

"How shall we, the murderers of all murderers, comfort ourselves? What was holiest and most powerful of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? What water is-there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed not too great for us? Must not we ourselves become gods simply to seem worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed...."

Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they too were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke and went out.

"I come too early," he said then; "my time has not come yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering—it has not yet reached the ears of man. Lightning and thunder require time, the light of the stars require time, deeds require time even after they are done, before they can be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than the most distant stars—and yet they have done it themselves."

It has been related further that on that same day the madman entered divers churches, and sang his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said to have replied each time, "What are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"

—Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Aphorism 125, 1886 (Tr. Walter Kaufmann)

This Twentieth Century, now ended, has been called the age of miracle and wonder. Yet, the written history of the twentieth century has been a catalogue of crime. No excess, no act of cruelty or hate, has been foregone. We have seen foul deeds on such a scale that words had to be invented to describe them: need we be reminded that the word "genocide" was not even found in the dictionary sixty years ago?

The seeds of all the atrocities of this twentieth century are seen in this parable which we have just read. The Death of God, which Nietzsche saw most clearly over a century ago, was indeed not the actual death of God Himself, for God is, of course, eternal, and cannot die. But it is clear that the death of God that he saw was the death of God in the hearts of the people and in the culture of what was once called Christendom. And all the horrors that have occurred in this accursed century, all the vile acts and cruel deeds, all the madness, have at their core the very cause that Nietzsche identified: the death of God, not in Heaven, but in our hearts and in our cultures. The death of God is truly the ejection of God from our lives.

God's Death left a cultural hole, a space, which longed to be filled, but was not. And the Evil One rode on a pale horse into the vacuum left by God's ejection, his name was Death, and Hell followed with him, a hell that has a name: Hemoclasm, the Flood of Blood.

We first saw the madness of the death of God here in the West in the mass hunger for colonies and conquest, which ended in waves of young men marching into bullets and shells and poison gas during the First World War: what was then called in Germany, das Kindermord, or "The Massacre of the Innocents." Children with rifles marched obediently to deaths of fire, steel and cannonry, leaving the civilized world for the seas of bloody mud that were the vasty fields of France, Russia, Italy and the Balkans.

The world gasped with relief at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of 1918, thinking the blood-flood was over: but it was not so.

In Russia, the new darkness took the name of Bolshevism, and later, Soviet Socialism. The crimes of that regime rang like a clarion through the world. They started with the brutal and vile killing of the Tsar's family, and carried over into waves of purges, civil war, and chaos. Then followed the idolatry of Lenin and then Stalin and his successors. The secret police. The show trials and purges. The destruction of the Church, both Orthodox and Catholic. The poverty. The informers. The Gulag. Even a new anti-Jewish progromism was contemplated immediately before the death of Stalin himself.

In China, the madness took the name of Maoism. First came the Civil War that followed the Japanese occupation; then, The Great Leap Forward. The Cultural Revolution and the rampage of the Red Guards. The one-child policy. The murder of orphans and the mass abortion of girl-children, leaving generations of men without wives. The tanks of Tienamen Square. And the lao-gai slave camps and child-labor factories where toys are made for American children by Chinese children.

In Nazi Germany, the madness wore the face of Adolf Hitler. From him sprang fountains of unholiness: a war of conquest and aggression, barbarism, the bombing of cities, the burning of nations, the massacre of the weak and sick, and, at last, the eternal stench of Holocaust.

Lesser countries saw evils according to their stature. Mussolini. Tojo. Pol Pot. Kim Il Sung. Death. Oppression. Torture. Desolation.

We in America thought ourselves free of the darkness that fell. We never knew the cold hand of a midnight arrest. We never stared out our doors at howling mobs screaming for blood or chanting Seig Heil. We never knew the tanks of an enemy power outside our cities, nor did we ever see bombers vomit fire and death onto our streets. When the atom split and cities melted beneath its angry heat, it was by our hand that it was done. We never knew ourselves the hot breath of the firestorm.

We knew not the terror seen by other nations, and we thought ourselves virtuous.

We defeated the Nazis and Communists, and thought ourselves powerful.

We abolished Jim Crow, and thought ourselves just.

We went to church and thought ourselves pious.

America! In the words of the poet, "Were that all thy children were kind and natural!" But America, "thy gilt hath thee found out—ah! Guilt indeed!" In our love of money, of toys, of comfort, of fun, we have sold ourselves into something akin to slavery. We have betrayed ourselves for a foreign purse, and sold our sovereign wills to death and treachery—the death and treachery of the Culture of Death. Despite our outward appearance of justice, ours are revealed to be nests of hollow bosoms, as empty of the light of God as are those of our late opponents, for we all share one fallen nature, a nature even our wealth cannot mask.

We looked upon the tyrannies of foreign governments and the atrocities they caused their people, and smugly gave ourselves the right to oppress and destroy those closest and most dependent on ourselves: the old, who now feel the cold wind of Dr. Kevorkian blowing through their hearts; the handicapped, who, though Not Dead Yet, are deemed worthy of precisely the same treatment given them by Hitler, and most profoundly, the unborn, the child, helpless and passive, awaiting birth.

Rome made a desert of Carthage, and called it peace. We have made a charnel house of the womb, and called it "choice."

Our Supreme Court, acting as a committee of prophets, decreed more than thirty-nine years ago, in Roe v. Wade--without basis in law, justice, or morality--that there was no need to determine if the unborn were human—even at the very instant that they decreed that they were to be treated as if they were not. They committed what Justice White called an act of "pure judicial power"--the filthiest words in any judicial vocabulary--and rendered a decree, an ukaze, that stripped away the protection of the abortion laws.

And when finally called to account in the famous Casey decision, they could find no basis to continue than the refusal to change. We decreed it so in 1973, we decree it again in 1992, they said, preserving the violent and foul heart of Roe while eliminating all the excuses and legal reasonong that justified it. Roe has become, indeed, a "Potemkin village" of a ruling that cannot justify itself except by its own inertia.

And now, America has reached a nadir beyond compare in its history: a President of the United States has solemnly declared that the butchery of a child even as it is being born is a necessity, a right, a just thing. Imagine! A president who says that the act of infanticide in the birthing process is a good that must be preserved at any cost. Even a living child newly born can be killed, if aborted: so decrees our President.

President Obama's abandonment of the helpless will be remembered: a "compassionate" indifference in the face of an obscene violence. God shall hold you to account, Mr. President. He is steadfast to the truth in a way you do not see. Please, in the name of the Almighty, repent! And save the children.

What has happened to this, the land of the free and the home of the brave? Such a thing--abortion unto the 40th week, or even later!--is legal nowhere else in the world, not even in the Netherlands, or even China. What has become of our nation?

Abortion has replaced slavery as America's peculiar institution. Like slavery, it only continues through the use of euphemism and cant. Like slavery, it has become engrained into our economy and our attitudes. Like slavery, it unjustly garners and preserves wealth on behalf of those who avail themselves of it. Like slavery, the alternative terrifies, and a conspiracy of silence envelops its enemies.

And like slavery, it is doomed to extinction. But at what price? At what price?

We would like to be optimistic of the future, as faithful as Ronald Reagan in the essential goodness of the American people. But as Daniel Webster learned from the Devil, America has always had a dark lining to her silver cloud, and the Devil no foreign prince to our nation. Abraham Lincoln knew this: in perhaps the darkest and most portentous words ever spoken by an American president, he spoke of the consequences of slavery at the close of his second inaugural address:
Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, is to be paid by one drawn with the sword, as was said more than 3000 years ago so it still must be said: 'The judgments of the Lord are good and righteous altogether.'
In light of that, let us also remember another American president, Thomas Jefferson: "I tremble for my nation when I reflect that God is just."

There are those who would call this warning a form of social terrorism. I say, nay: to warn a man that he is to walk into a minefield is not the same as placing the mines. To warn a man that he is driving toward the edge of a chasm is not to dig it. The minefield, or the chasm, are there, willy-nilly.

Nor do I say that one should take up arms or willingly participate in the sad and dark events to come: indeed, violence must be shunned by all people of good will. Nevertheless, given the astoundingly wide reach of the evil upon us -- fifty million dead unborn Americans, and another milliion or more per year, one baby in four -- it is inevitable that the God of History will one day sweep this wrongdoing from our culture.

But that sweep shall not be kindly, any more than the World Wars or the Civil War were kindly to those who saw them. Grand violence begets grand violence, and the clean sweep to come shall engulf the righteous and the unrighteous alike. History teaches that He is kindly, but He is just, and the grapes of His wrath are a bitter draft to the good and evil alike, the innocent and the guilty, the cynical aged and the bewildered young.

Let us take these as great and mighty warnings of the coming "grievous inquest of history." Let us repent and reform ourselves before it is too late. Let us reflect on these words—and tremble.

May the God who Lives bless—and save—America.

Richard L. Kent
Founding Editor, Eutopia: A Lay Journal of Catholic Thought (1997-1998)
Former Deputy Political Advisor to the Commanding General, Multinational Division North, Tuzla, Bosnia (2000-2002)

= = = = = = = = =

This editorial was first published in 1998. It has been very lightly updated, as, alas, President Obama and President Clinton's stances on the subject vary almost not at all.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

REPOST: Tattered Remnants #024:
Titanic Heroes




I was going to save rerunning this essay for April 14, 2012, when everyone in the world will engage in a disgusting orgy of Titanic-anniversary-mania. It will no doubt at that time be ignored.

But after reading Mark Steyn's brilliant dissection of the
Costa Concordia disaster, I thought it might do a little bit more good now.

And to Captain Schettino, of the good ship
Costa Concordia, all I can say is: this Tattered Remnant essay is dedicated to you, you bastard.




WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST: HEROES OF THE TITANIC

(Read all about the Tattered Remnants by clicking {here}.)

Dance band on the Titanic
Sing "Nearer, my God, to Thee"
The iceberg's on the starboard bow
Won't you dance with me

- Harry Chapin

It is in time of horrible disasters that the hidden virtues of the Tattered Remnant are often revealed. Some in steadfastness and strength keep order so that those who can save themselves do so. Some simply withhold themselves from rescue so that the young, the weak, and the ladies may survive. And some deliberately sacrifice themselves so that others may live.

The sinking of HMS Titanic forms the left-hand bookend of the catalogue of horrors we call the Twentieth Century, with the 9/11 atrocities forming the right. On this bitter and terrible night remembered, that of April 14-15, 1912, when a shipload of over two thousand people went from sleep to wakefulness to alertness to panic to horror to death in the course of three hours, some 1500 people lost their lives in the cruel, cold North Atlantic.

Now, three paragraphs into this retelling of an oft-told tale, I'm going to mention James Cameron's 1995 film "Titanic" just to get it out of the way. I have a love-hate relationship with this movie. The plot for the first half of the flick is lifted directly from the 1980 classic weepy Somewhere in Time: all of the plot elements are there, including the setting of a luxurious castle in the middle of great waters (the Grand Hotel is on Mackinac Island in northern Lake Huron), the old lady actress recalling her young love, the Iconic Object From The Past, the traveling-back-in-time to Spring 1912, the young man dying for his lady, the again-youthful lovers reunited in the next world, etc etc. The main difference, of course, is that the Grand Hotel doesn't sink into the Great Lakes at the end. (And a good thing, too.)

Anyway. The movie has become so embedded into the popular consciousness that "Titanic" is the gold standard of Titanic memory. But this is not about fictional turnip ghosts -- but true heroes.


THE WALLACE HARTLEY BAND

Well, they soon used up all of the lifeboats
But there were a lot of us left on board
I heard the drummer sayin' "Boys, just keep playin'"
"Now we're doin' this gig for the Lord"

-Harry Chapin

Their names, clockwise from the top left:

John Clarke
Percy Taylor
Theodore Brailey
Roger Bricoux
Jock Hume
Georges Krins
John Woodward (not pictured).

And in the center, band leader Wallace Hartley.

There is much to tell of the Titanic band members; Bill Whittle has done a marvelous job here; I cannot better his version.

But I join with him in saying: Remember these men.

They were, essentially, "deadheaders." The ship didn't employ them as crew; they were entertainers hired at dirt wages by some subcontractor for the privilege of entertaining the rich of First Class as they dined. They weren't paid by the contracting company, either; the assumption was that their tips would serve as their pay.

The Captain asked them to play happy and hopeful music as the ship began to go down.

So, they stayed and they played.

They played waltzes. They played ragtime. They played hymns of hope and hymns beseeching.

They played their lives away.

They were under no obligation to do so. They weren't under the Captain's command. As first class inhabitants (if not passengers) they had the best chance of any aboard the ship to survive.

But they remained.

They didn't play because they were ordered to. They played because music was their life. And in playing, they earned eternal memory by the human race, who look to them even now, a century later, as among the very the best to whom their people ever gave birth.

There are those who argue, perhaps rightly, that the stand of Englishmen against the Nazis were their finest hour. Perhaps. But the hour of music these men provided must surely rank as equal to the valor of their nephews of 1940.

Wallace Hartley.

John Clarke.

Percy Taylor.

Theodore Brailey.

Roger Bricoux.

Jock Hume.

Georges Krins.

John Woodward.

None of them survived.

A contemporary news account stated that "the part played by the orchestra on board the Titanic in her last dreadful moments will rank among the noblest in the annals of heroism at sea."

Indeed.

Shut off, shut off the ragtime ! The lights are falling low !
The deck is buckling under us ! She's sinking by the bow !
One hymn of hope from dying hands on dying ears to fall-
Gently the music fades away — and so, God rest us all !

- Arthur Conan-Doyle


FATHER THOMAS BYLES


"There's no way that this could happen"
I could hear the old captain curse
He ordered lifeboats away, that's when I heard the chaplain say
"Women and children and chaplains first"


I love Harry Chapin, but Father Thomas Byles, a priest of Christ, surely gave lie to that last line.

Thomas Byles


....was born Roussel Davids Byles in Leeds, Yorkshire, the eldest of seven children of the Reverend Dr. Alfred Holden Byles, a congregationalist minister, and his wife Louisa Davids. He attended Leamington College and Rossall School, Fleetwood, Lancashire, between 1885 and 1889, then went to Balliol College, Oxford in 1889 to study theology, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1894. While at Oxford, Byles converted to the Roman Catholic faith, taking the name Thomas. In 1899, he went to the Beda College in Rome to study for the priesthood, and was ordained in 1902. He was assigned to St. Helen's Parish in Ongar, Essex in 1905.
Father Byles was walking the deck, reciting his breviary, when the iceberg struck. As the ship descended into chaos, he held his place, guiding women and children to the boats, and is credited to getting Margaret Brown to hers. He was said to have refused a lifeboat at least twice.

He gave his last moments in offering confession, absolution and perhaps even eternal life to those who turned to him their final minutes. He too chose to go down with the ship rather than turn his back on his calling. While he was neither a saint nor a martyr in the strict sense, it is clear that his actions in his last minute showed that he had the makings of both.

Father Boyle did not say "...and chaplains first." He died at his ultimate duty station, and if there is any truth to Catholic theology at all, it is entirely possible that his death bought the salvation of the souls of many. There is no finer way for any Christian to end his life; for no greater love hath a man.....

"He died a martyr of charity, performing the most perfect act of love of his God and of his neighbor." - The Vicar General, Society of Jesus, 1912




THOMAS ANDREWS

Mama stood cryin' at the dockside
Sayin' "Please son, don't take this trip"
I said "Mama, sweet Mama, don't you worry none"
"Even God couldn't sink this ship"

- Harry Chapin

The man who built Titanic, he took full and total responsibility for its failures and its design flaws, the exact nature of which was unknown to him at the time of the sinking, but ultimately revealed to be a short rudder and, possibly, bad steel and rivets that went into the hull.

He was seen below decks during the evacuation, making a last check to be sure that as many people from the lower levels of the ship as possible had a life jacket and an opportunity to survive.

He was last seen in life staring into a painting in the clubroom, waiting for the last call, contemplating in melancholy the painting of Southampton port.

Like the Captain, he chose to go down with his ship. The accident that occurred could not be attributed fully to him -- excessive speed was problem number one, followed by the choice of White Star Line not to put enough boats on board -- but he still took responsibility for whatever contribution to the loss he had made by choosing to stay until the end with those who died as a result of the catastrophe.

One might question whether this makes him one of the Tattered Remnant, for suicide is forbidden. But he recognized that he shared responsibility for the disaster, and withheld himself from rescue, allowing others to take his place: which is more than you can say for the owner of the White Star Line, who was rescued, but whose name I cannot recall at this instant.


WILLIAM MURDOCH

Well, the whistle blew and they turned the screws
It turned the water into foam
Destination sweet salvation
Goodbye home sweet home
-Harry Chapin

Of all the distortions of the movie "Titanic" the denigration of William Murdoch was possibly the most outrageous.

He was First Officer, on duty on the bridge when the ship struck the berg. He it was who desperately attempted to port around it; he it was whose hand was at the conn when the accident occurred. But in no way did he shoot any passengers and certainly he did not take his own life like a coward, as portrayed in the film.


After the collision Murdoch was put in charge of the starboard evacuation, during which he launched 10 lifeboats, containing almost 75 percent of the total number who survived. He was last seen attempting to launch Collapsible Lifeboat A. He was never seen again after Titanic disappeared into the Atlantic Ocean on the morning of 15 April 1912. His body, if recovered, was never identified. .... Several members of the crew, including the ship's lamp trimmer, Samuel Hemming, and Second Officer Charles Lightoller said they saw Murdoch attempting to free Collapsible A from the falls on the Boat Deck just before the bridge submerged in the final stages of the sinking, when a huge wave washed him overboard into the sea. Surviving wireless operator Harold Bride later stated that he saw Murdoch near Collapsible Lifeboat "B," but that he died in the water.
A great memorial fund was established in his memory in his home town: a fund that was much enhanced when an executive from the movie studios responsible for the film flew to Scotland and made a public apology and a GBP 5000 donation to the fund was made [As Steyn noted, "converted into Hollywood dollars, equals rather less than what Cameron and his family paid for dinner after the Oscars."].



MARGARET BROWN

They were burnin' all the flares for candles
In the banquet they were throwin' in first class
And we were blowin' waltzes in the barroom
When the universe went CRASH!

- Harry Chapin

"The Unsinkable Molly Brown" of course is most famous for having received that most American of tributes, a musical comedy written in her honor.

In spite of that, her actual achievements, and not just those on the night of the sinking, deserve to be remembered. First, Wikipedia:

Margaret helped others board the lifeboats but was finally convinced to leave the ship in Lifeboat No. 6. She would come to be regarded as a heroine for her efforts to get lifeboat 6 to go back to look for survivors. After the Titanic sank, she and several other women passengers took control of Boat 6, rowing "to keep warm" but headed back, against the demands of the head crewman, to find survivors in the water ... However, some sources report that no survivors were found, except by Lifeboat No. 12. Onboard the rescue ship R.M.S. Carpathia, Margaret Brown took a leadership role among the women passengers.
When the Carpathia reached dockside, Margaret went to considerable expense to have made a silver loving cup to be given to the crew of the Carpathia; furthermore, she had commemorative medals made for the individuals who crewed the rescue ship.

Her heroism and strength showed itself again after the event. Almost exactly two years later, in the town of Ludlow, Colorado, some 20 people were killed when the Colorado National Guard assaulted a tent colony of striking coal miners. Wikipedia reports that two women, eleven children, six miners and union officials and one National Guardsman were killed.


On the morning of April 20, [1914,] the day after Easter was celebrated by the
many Greek immigrants at Ludlow, three Guardsmen appeared at the camp ordering the release of a man they claimed was being held against his will. This request prompted the camp leader, Louis Tikas, to meet with a local militia commander at the train station in Ludlow village, a half mile (0.8 km) from the colony. While this meeting was progressing, two companies of militia installed a machine gun on a ridge near the camp and took a position along a rail route about half a mile south of Ludlow. Anticipating trouble, Tikas ran back to the camp. The miners, fearing for the safety of their families, set out to flank the militia positions. A firefight soon broke out.

The fighting raged for the entire day. The militia was reinforced by non-uniformed mine guards later in the afternoon. At dusk, a passing freight train stopped on the tracks in front of the Guards' machine gun placements, allowing many of the miners and their families to escape to an outcrop of hills to the east called the "Black Hills." By 7:00 p.m., the camp was in flames, and the militia descended on it and began to search and loot the camp. ...

[Three] captured miners were later found shot dead. ... During the battle, four women and eleven children had been hiding in a pit beneath one tent, where they were trapped when the tent above them was set on fire. Two of the women and all of the children suffocated.

Molly Brown's connections to the Colorado mining industry -- which had given her and her husband their riches -- combined with her fame from the Titanic disaster, gave her "good offices" to serve as an intermediary and a badly needed moderating influence between management and labor.


Margaret, who had connections in both the West and the East, went to Ludlow, in answer to urgent appeals for help from both sides, each seeing her as an ally. Margaret struggled to maintain a middle ground, refusing to join radicals calling for the resignation of the governor, while also challenging Rockefeller on his harsh business practices. As the two sides became further entrenched, Margaret spoke out about miners’ rights and pressured Rockefeller with the resulting negative media. Rockefeller eventually softened his stance and agreed to make concessions. The conflict at Ludlow was ultimately resolved and, in many ways, marked the end of the radical wing of the workers’ movement in America as the new PR savvy of industrialists like Rockefeller grew more and more effective.
She also went on to work in France providing war relief before American entry.

She died in 1932 at the age of 65, her money almost all spent.




KINGS OF THE WORLD: THE MEN OF THE TITANIC


Dance band on the Titanic
Sing "Nearer, my God, to Thee"
The iceberg's on the starboard bow
Won't you dance with me

- Harry Chapin

"Thank you, no; we are dressed in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen. But we would like a brandy!"
- attr. Benjamin Guggenheim, April 15, 1912, 12:30 AM

In the Waterfront section of Southwest Washington, DC, not far from the now-bitterly poor neighborhood called "Anacostia," there is a battered memorial. In one of those strange rituals that only a capital city can long support, there has been a tradition that, at midnight or so of April 14 of every year, a society of men gather at this monument and, as the clock strikes twelve, they raise a toast in commemoration of the men who chose to follow the ancient custom of "Women and Children First."

Those numbers were very great. Wikipedia reports that, for instance, of those men in Second Class on the Titanic, some 92% died, giving their places to the women and children on board. All but one child in first and second class survived; only 20% of the men survived, compared to nearly 75% of the women.

It is unknown if this rule would still be respected in this bitter era of sexual equality-as-battlefield. I think it would be, for I think it is one of those eternal rules of human decency that is written in every human heart (even if it is disregarded by many).

I should also note one of the many women among those who stayed behind: Ida Strauss, husband of former Congressman Isadore Strauss. Although a first class passenger, she refused a place in the boat, choosing to honor her vows to her husband and stay with him to the bitter end. "Not I—I will not leave my husband. All these years we've traveled together, and shall we part now? No, our fate is one."

(And of course we also remember the mothers who had small children that they protected as best they could as the waters came to enclose them.)

But that said, let us not forget those men who chose not to step on a lifeboat so that others might live, for it is this selfless act that made them all "Kings of the World."

For they are the truest embodiments of the Tattered Remnant that could be.

All societies are based on rules to protect pregnant women and young children. All else is surplusage, excrescence, adornment, luxury, or folly, which can — and must — be dumped in emergency to preserve this prime function. ... Attempts to formulate a "perfect society" on any foundation other than "Women and children first!" is not only witless, it is automatically genocidal....
- Lazarus Long (Robert A. Heinlein), Time Enough for Love



ADDENDUM I - ROSE DEWITT BUKATER

I've always loathed "Titanic's" lead character. Rose Dewitt Bukater -– portrayed at the age of 17 by Kate Winslett and her two best friends, Port and Starboard -– is most decidedly not one of the Tattered Remnant, but is a self centered rhymes-with-witch who stops at nothing to get her way. She humiliates her family in public at every opportunity. She later makes her unmarried granddaughter wait in her hand and foot.

She deliberately tosses a zillion-dollar blue diamond that belongs to the insurance company (or should be left to the granddaughter) into the drink. The alternate ending on the CD -- where Rose throws the rock into the sea in full view of her hosts on the Russian research vessel -- needs to be seen (once).

(But, either way... didn't she realize how many billable hours in litigation she prevented? Doesn't she know there are starving lawyers in Ethiopia?!)

It could be argued that the sinking of HMS Titanic was her fault--since she was on the deck smooching with Jack, distracting the first officer and the seamen in the crow's nest from paying proper attention to their jobs.

More seriously, she was remarkably cruel, in that she let her own mother believe, for the rest of her (the mother's) life, she was dead in the sinking, which if you think about it is about a 9.5 on a logarithmic Nastymeter.

Really, I always figure that the alternate universe in which Cameron's "Titanic" takes place would probably have been better off if somebody else had gotten to the floating bedstead.... but that would not have made a very good movie, would it?

ADDENDUM II - ELBERT HUBBARD


Mr. and Mrs. Straus, I envy you that legacy of love and loyalty left to your children and grandchildren. The calm courage that was yours all your long and useful career was your possession in death. You knew how to do three great things—you knew how to live, how to love and how to die. One thing sure, there are just two respectable ways to die. One is of old age, and the other is by accident. All disease is indecent. Suicide is atrocious. But to pass out, as did Mr and Mrs Isador Strauss, is glorious. Few have such privilege. Happy lovers, both. In life they were never separated, and in death they are not divided.
- Artist Elbert Hubbard, 1912

On May 7. 1915, Elbert Hubbard and his wife Alice perished in the sinking of the Lusitania.

PS: Special thanks to my Facebook friend Betsy Gorisch, who brought my attention to the Steyn essay cited above.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday. Time for some Greg's Giggles.....


Ladies 'n' Germs.... GREG'S GIGGLES with GREG SCHANKIN!

* Ford engineers are working on technology to let your car communicate with the cars around you. The new technology is called “a horn.”

* Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he'll be publishing a memoir. It will be available in hardcover, paperback, and a book on tape that's impossible to understand.

* Justin Bieber was on "Dancing With the Stars." He wanted to check out the floor he'll be dancing on in four or five years.

* VMA may stand for “Video Music Awards,” but I feel like it stands for “Vulgar-Mouthed Adolescents." The first time I watched the VMAs, the best new artist was Beethoven.

* A law signed by Arnold Schwarzenegger will soon release thousands of female prisoners. The man’s a genius. Soon thousands of women who haven’t been with a man for years will be free and thinking they owe Arnold a favor.

* Rod Blagojevich, former governor of Illinois, stood under some mistletoe last December and kissed 14 years goodbye.

* Pope Benedict lit a Christmas tree in Italy using a Sony tablet. Yes, a Sony tablet. That's how you know Europe’s in trouble, when even the Pope can't afford an iPad.

* President Obama’s staff got raises of 8 percent, more than double the average for regular Americans, which is 3 percent. But to be fair, many of them will be unemployed next November.

* While chasing a burglar, Alex Trebek injured his Achilles tendon, or as he calls it, “the tendon named for this hero of Greek mythology.”

* Occupy L.A. encampment is over and with it, the world's longest hacky sack game comes to an end.

* President Obama came home after a 9-day trip to Asia. Well, he got to see some stuff he never sees at home, like jobs.

* A woman in Oklahoma was arrested for making meth inside a Wal-Mart. Or as Wal-Mart put it, “Told you we had everything!” (We’re glad SOMETHING available at Wal-Mart is made in America these days....)

* Michelle Obama has convinced the owners of the Olive Garden to cut calories and sodium by 20 percent. They took the first lady’s advice because Michelle Obama is more Italian than anybody that works at the Olive Garden.

* Ford is building a new plant that will create 5,000 jobs in India. Or maybe it's a plastic surgery clinic... they're making Tatas.

* Vice President Joe Biden has been in China meeting with the Chinese Vice President. One embarrassing moment during the trip when he met the Chinese Vice President's children, he said, 'What factory do you work in? Those are nice sneakers, did you make those?'

* The economy is so bad, my niece told me she wants to dress up as a 401-K next Halloween so that she can turn invisible.

* There’s a move to divide California into two states: the state of poverty and the state of bankruptcy.

* Authorities have discovered what they call the most sophisticated tunnel ever found underneath the U.S.-Mexican border, being built by a Mexican drug cartel. And Gov. Rick Perry asked the question we're all asking: “Why can't these tunnels be dug by hard-working American drug cartels?”

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The results are in....and clear.

PIPA?

No.

Pippa?

YES.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

NO SOPA FOR YOU!



There is no post today in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act, which will ultimately be the Stop Online Privacy Act. We join WIKIPEDIA in protesting same by not posting anything today.

(Of course, the effect would be much lessened if I admitted I'm too busy to post anything with substance, so I won't say that's what going on.....)

Monday, January 16, 2012

South Sudan: Bad Moon Rising

"Good God! Don't jump!"
A boy sat on the ledge.
An old man who had fainted was revived.
And everyone agreed it would be a miracle indeed
If the boy survived....

- Paul Simon, Save the Life of My Child, 1967


I read today in the New York Times a story.... Page A1.... news to make one tremble, if you really think about it.

It's about a horror that happened last week in a country you probably never even heard of. But it presages a horror that will be on all the front pages in only weeks.

The place is called South Sudan, a newly independent republic made up of the non-Islamic tribes of former Sudan, which was split into two nations just a few months ago. This new country was formed in order to stop a near genocide of the Christian and Animist South Sudanese by the Islamist government at Khartoum.

Now, instead of Islamists preying on the southerners, the southerners are preying on one another.

In the central part of the country, one people--or tribe if you prefer--called the Nuer, have publicly announced that they intend to wipe out their neighbors, the Murle, with whom they have had an ongoing cattle-raid rivalry since time immemorial. Shortly after the new year, forces of the Nuer carried out a widespread attack which wiped out hundreds of villages--and villagers--without mercy and without respect to age or sex.

Formerly the two peoples have been raiding each other's cattle since time immemorial.

Now, however, they're not raiding cattle but destroying each other.

Cattle raids between tribes are an ancient phenomenon. One remembers the Irish, in a similar state of primitive tribalism, created one of the earliest epic poems, Táin Cúailnge, The Cattle Raid of Cooley, in remembrance of a similar raid.

But only similar to a certain degree. For thousands of years cattle raids were carried out with spears, bows, arrows, and swords.

These days, Kalashnikovs are freely available. And even paid for by Americans.

One member of the Nuer tribe here in the United States--one who has raised money for the 'relief' of his people--released a statement at the time of the attacks: “We have decided to invade Murleland and wipe out the entire Murle tribe on the face of the earth".

Think about that.
The attack was presaged by a fund-raising drive for the Nuer militia in the United States — a troubling sign that behind the raiders toting Kalashnikovs and singing war songs was an active back office half a world away. Gai Bol Thong, a Nuer refugee in Seattle who helped write the militia’s statement, said he had led an effort to cobble together about $45,000 from South Sudanese living abroad for the warriors’ food and medicine.

“We mean what we say,” he said in an interview. “We kill everybody. We are tired of them.” (He later scaled back and said he meant they would kill Murle warriors, not civilians.)

We've seen this movie before. And we didn't like how it ended the last time we saw it.

The last time, the cast was European, not African.

And it started with words of warning: genocide is coming and we're going to wipe you out!

The words were those of Radovan Karadžić speaking on the floor of the former Yugoslav Bosnian parliament, on the night of 14–15 October 1991, the very last day it met:
"You want to take Bosnia and Herzegovina down the same highway to hell and suffering that Slovenia and Croatia are travelling. Do not think that you will not lead Bosnia and Herzegovina into hell, and do not think that you will not perhaps lead the Muslim people into annihilation, because the Muslims cannot defend themselves if there is war – How will you prevent everyone from being killed in Bosnia and Herzegovina?"

For know that genocide never just happens. It always starts with someone actually saying that they're going to do it.

In Germany, it started with a crazed anti-semitic corporal ranting in a beer bar in Munich. In Bosnia, a psychotic psychiatrist ranting on the floor of Parliament. And here, some fundraiser with a big mouth.

Already we are seeing parallels: in South Sudan, there was a series of ethnic massacres by Nuer "militia" against the Murle.

The Times reported that hundreds died, including many women, children, and elderly.

And what did the UN Peacekeepers in South Sudan do?

Nothing. Not a damned thing. From the Times:
The United Nations, which has 3,000 combat-ready peacekeepers in South Sudan, tracked the advancing fighters from helicopters for days before the massacre and rushed in about 400 soldiers. But the peacekeepers did not fire a single shot, saying they were greatly outnumbered and could have easily been massacred themselves.

We've seen this movie before as well. At Srebrenica, in 1995, a group of cowardly onlookers pretending to be soldiers called DUTCHBAT ("Dutch Battallion") sat on their duffs and let the Bosnian Serb V Army massacre eight thousand unarmed men and to ethnically cleanse 25,000 women and children.

Now, certain comments on the Times story make clear the contempt of many for the worthlessness of "Peacekeepers." And history has shown they *are* worthless--if they are United Nations peacekeepers. In Bosnia, when *real* Peacekeepers showed up--the NATO commanded force known as IFOR and, later, SFOR--peace came and was kept.

There are those who probably wonder why I keep beating on the Srebrenica drum.

It's simple: Srebrenica proved to the world that Auschwitz was not just some one-off event, a mere historical abberation. It was, and remains, a possible model for the future. Srebrenica showed us that genocide is not a horror, but a viable policy choice.

Srebrenica proved to the world that when it said Never Again, it didn't mean it!

But what next?

If the tribes of South Sudan start committing full scale genocide against one another, how long before we, the United States, get sent there to babysit? Or do we get to watch genocide on our TV sets again?

And again?

And again?

"Hello Darkness, my old friend, I've come to talk to you again...." - Paul Simon, The Sounds of Silence, 1967

Friday, January 13, 2012

REPOST: A WWII Poster for Today


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Political Cause To Unite All Americans


Every man has to believe in something.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Where Are The Liberals?" -
You Don't Want to Know.

David Brooks at the NY Times asks a stunningly stupid question:

Why aren’t there more liberals in America?

It’s not because liberalism lacks cultural power. Many polls suggest that a majority of college professors and national journalists vote Democratic. The movie, TV, music and publishing industries are dominated by liberals.

It’s not because recent events have disproved the liberal worldview. On the contrary, we’re still recovering from a financial crisis caused, in large measure, by Wall Street excess. Corporate profits are zooming while worker salaries are flat.

It’s not because liberalism’s opponents are going from strength to strength. The Republican Party is unpopular and sometimes embarrassing.

Given the circumstances, this should be a golden age of liberalism. Yet the percentage of Americans who call themselves liberals is either flat or in decline. There are now two conservatives in this country for every liberal. Over the past 40 years, liberalism has been astonishingly incapable at expanding its market share.


Why, you silly man, there is an obvious answer, right before your nose.

Where are the liberals?

They are dead. Or at least enough of them to prevent an Obama from ever happening again.

This has been known for years. Democrats abort far more often than Republicans do. It is as simple as that.

Abort at a 3:2 Dem:GOP ratio for 35 years, and it makes a difference. Every Presidential election there are about 1.5 million fewer Democrat voters than the one previous. And that number will not change.

Genocide doth not prosper: for where it prospers, none dare call it genocide.

Next question?

Here we go again.....

My nameless site pest sent me a comment on the Greg's thread below that consisted of a long single paragraph--about the US Citizen Kosovar Muslim arrested yesterday in Florida on terrorism charges.

(I didn't reprint it because it's an AP story under copyright.) (Besides, I'm certain he'll respond to this post by barfing all over the comments section of THIS post.)

Hokay. It was a sting. He was a Muslim. He wanted to blow up a lot of helpless people. He was a swine, and got caught before he could do anything.

Let him be tried. And if guilty, let him go to prison for as long as the law allows.

'K?

It should be noted that other Muslims turned him in. Well done, guys.

Now, Site Pest, will you please refrain from engaging in any further onanistic fantasies about Muslims going to prison or worse? It's unbecoming. Besides, the casualty ratio between Srebrenica and Muslim terrorism in the United States still remains at, oh, about 3:1, so kindly don't lecture us about how much of a threat Muslims are.

PS. The above Fox News story referred to has his arrest documents which can be downloadable with a click. The name of the file is, I kid you not, "091101.pdf". Nice.

ADDENDUM 1/10/2011:

Right on cue.

haha you are a jihadist and your pockets of dirty jihad money is your soul being handed over to the devil. you just keep repeating srebrenica like a good muslim parrot... my friend your agenda has been exposed...bosnian muslims and kosovo muslims are just that muslims that no matter how much they try and pretend they are moderate - have you read the Koran read it buddy. you're terrorism is finding its end...and the 500 years of islamic slavery over the Christian Serb has been broken. Serbia is free and you are on the losing side, just like hitler was and his best friends in the balkans bosniak handzar and albanian skandenberg and croatian ustasha. these are your heroes . YOU LOSE.

Why don't you take a flying fork at a rolling doughnut? Seriesly.

PS. If my pockets were full of dirty jihad money I'd be living a hell of a lot better than I do.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mondays are for Greg's Giggles....



And heeeeeeeeeeere's GREG SHANKIN!

* "Twilight" is for young people, but that's why I don't like it. It sends a bad message. It teaches young people that vampires have feelings and werewolves are sexy. I hate the fact that the "Twilight" vampires don't turn into bats. That's so unrealistic. Everyone knows in real life, vampires turn into bats.

* The post office is down sizing and closing many facilities. And I thought that, on the one hand that's awful. On the other hand, it will take the sting out of my hate mail.

* Isn't having a smoking section in a restaurant like having a peeing section in a swimming pool?

* Recently we celebrated National Talk like a Pirate Day. "Now hit Copy to DVD, and as soon as it's done replace it with a blank disk and do it again. I'll be back in an hour. You should have a dozen or so finished by then."

* The following from Don W, in response to a story about a woman who called her ex 1000 times in 3 weeks. "A guy I worked with divorced his wife. She got blind drunk and went over to his new house (a duplex), broke in and trashed the place. Broke appliances, smashed holes in the walls, destroyed every movable object in the home. This fellow returned home as the police were hauling her off in restraints. She had broken into the wrong half of the duplex."

* “I want to die quietly in my sleep like my Granpa. Not screaming in terror like his passengers.”

* Parents in a Connecticut town are upset because their children's' bus driver told the kids that Santa Claus is not real and that Jesus wasn't born on Christmas. Then the kids got really upset when the driver told them, “And I don't have a driver's license.”

* People say Herman Cain was rambling and embarrassed himself while trying to answer a question about Libya. Some say it proves he’s not qualified to be president. But the good news is, rambling and embarrassing himself does qualify him to be vice president.

* Obama will give a speech on job growth. I don’t think it will be a big speech.

* Over Christmas President Obama took his daughters to a bookstore. Barack bought Malia “The Phantom Tollbooth,” while Malia bought Barack “Economics for Dummies.”

* Bank of America announced that it lost $9 billion in the second quarter. It’s not good. In fact, when I put my card in the ATM, it said, “Do you mind if I borrow this for a while?”

* Yesterday, the Dow skyrocketed 400 points. Which just shows that on a day that President Obama doesn’t talk, Congress doesn’t act, and the experts are on vacation, we’ll be fine. Today he spoke and were down 520!

* Someone said President Obama was wrong for telling the American people to call their representatives about the debt ceiling. If there’s one thing that congressmen and the President hate, it’s being told what to do by the people that put them there.

* The east coast is still cleaning up after the earthquake. Experts say this only happens once a century. It’s Larry King’s third.

* My kid's new Gameboy 3D can open any file on Google without my knowing about it. What wrong with this, er, picture?

* In the run up to Christmas, shipping companies are doing twice as many shipments as normal. So today is the best day to send drugs through the mail and not get caught.

* A report says that a growing number of Americans are worth $1 million. The bad news: last year they were worth $5 million.

* A new survey revealed that being an IT guy is the most hated job in the country. President Obama thinking, “Wanna bet?”

* Being charged with racketeering doesn’t sound so bad. It sounds like you were cheating in a tennis game.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Newt Hits One Out Of The Park

The only words for it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Eugene Robinson? One word. Despicable.

In 2008, the Left gleefully mocked Sarah Palin's live baby. It was only a matter of time before they moved on to a dead one. - Mark Steyn

Day before yesterday I thought that Alan Combes' spew on the death of the Santorums' newborn child reached the lowest of the low.

I should have known that someone would try to outdue him in pure vileness.

And that someone.... is The Washington ComPost's own Eugene Robinson.... who called Santorum's and his family's mourning "really wierd."

Here. You watch it. I hardly can stand to:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



I should warn you, however, that before you even get to hear Eugene, you have to watch Rachael Maddow recite pure unadulterated evil--evil so profound that only Eugene's can top it.

At least we get to see Eugene snivel an almost-apology this morning:



Not enough. The man needs to resign. Better yet, his boss needs to borrow the Delorean with the flux capacitor, go back in time, and fire him retroactively so that we never hear of him. (And Alan Combes, too.)

And for Senator Santorum, only this.

It's Friday. Rich is Too Busy to Post.
Time for....Greg's Giggles!



That's the CN Tower in Toronto in the background.


With your host, Greg Schankin!

* If they're serious about cutting back on spending, how about not holding these G/20 summits in the world's most expensive places like the South of France? What's wrong with the function room at Denny’s or the Waffle House?

* President Obama says his new jobs bill will create over 1.9 million jobs — and up to 50 of them will be right here in America.

* Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, where we celebrate the arrival of the three kings to Bethlehem. This happened in Bethlehem because you can't find a virgin or three wise men in Washington.

* Don't worry about if people like you, the most important thing in life is: DO YOU LIKE YOU? If the answer is yes, congratulations, if the answer is no, take a long hard look at why you feel that way. If you don't like you, it's likely the folks around you don't either. Fix YOU and you will find the whole world is a better place.

* The Toronto Zoo is planning to split up a pair of gay penguins. You know how they're going to split them up? By giving the penguins just one ticket to see “Mamma Mia.”

* Sources are reporting that Ryan Seacrest is being considered as a replacement for Matt Lauer. Earlier this month, he was informed there was a show on TV that he doesn't host and he became very angry. How many jobs can a person do? Forget Wall Street. These protesters should be occupying Ryan Seacrest.

* Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.

* According to the latest poll, a record 73 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. But the good news: Gas is so expensive that we’ll never get there.

* Rupert Murdoch said that he was embarrassed and that testifying before parliament was the most humbling day in his life. That’s mostly because he spends every other day swimming in a bathtub full of money like Scrooge McDuck.

* Iran is now in possession of an American drone. When I heard that I thought, "Oh, my god, they captured Joe Biden?"

* The final 'Harry Potter' movie made a record-breaking $476 million worldwide. Yeah, 'Harry Potter' made so much money that weekend, President Obama just asked him for a loan.

* Ron Paul. America's simple, easy to understand wrong answer.

* Our national credit rating was downgraded and it caused a nosedive on Wall Street. If I had any understanding of any of this, I’d be very nervous right now, but fortunately I don’t.

* The White House held its annual Hanukkah celebration. It was a traditional Jewish ceremony, except for the part where it was hosted by a black man from Hawaii.

* In a new interview, President Obama said Ben Franklin is the Founding Father he would most like to meet. Meanwhile, Joe Biden said that Panthro is the ThunderCat he would most like to meet.

* We owe China more than a trillion dollars. Why don’t we just give them Puerto Rico ? (A: We already gave them Hong Kong!)

* The Egyptian military is asking people who they want to be the next president by using a Facebook poll. So congratulations to Egypt’s new leader, President Betty White.

* Barack Obama has reportedly started holding a weekly séance in the Oval Office. So far, he has only managed to channel Jimmy Carter.

* The government is just a few days from running out of money to pay their bills. The latest plan is to see how much cash they can get for John McCain on “Antiques Roadshow.”

* According to reports, one of Moammar Gadhafi’s sons had an elaborate plan to sneak into Mexico. Authorities broke up the plan before it took place. Believe me, if there's one thing Mexico will not stand for, it’s people sneaking over their border.

* It sez here that a woman rubbed her tochis on a modern art painting. Looking at the painting I'm not sure how, or even if, she damaged it.....

* Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

In Memory of Sonny Bono, M.C.....


My facebook friend Geri Gillespie notes that today is the 14th anniversary of the sad and sudden death of the great Sonny Bono.

The M.C. above refers to two of his three great roles in life: both Member of Congress, and prior to that, Master of Ceremonies of the Sonny and Cher show in the early 1970s. (The third being successful business entrepreneur, restauranteur, and capitalist.)

I was working on Capitol Hill when he died. He was mourned on both sides of the aisle. Had he been alive just a year later (when the whole Monica scandal, er, went down) he might have changed history and avoided a costly mistake by the GOP. (I would have *loved* to have heard him question Clinton on the scandal!....)



A memorial park was built to his memory--across the street from my first law office in DC. The building you see in the background, 1330 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036, contains the office of Irena Karpinski, Esq., my first mentor.

Anyway. He is missed.

Picture source: http://glittarazzi.onsugar.com/s-Sonny-Bono-park-DC-Yes-maam-11675742