I just came across this piece by Jonah Goldberg on Jewish World Review as I was about to sign off and get my things packed up for the trip. Mr. Goldberg, I do believe you've nailed it:
The George Bush interview was watched by 11 million people, mostly older. The Paris Hilton reality show, "The Simple Life," was watched by 11.8 million viewers, mostly younger. Perhaps more astonishing, "The Simple Life's" ratings were fairly typical for such drek. The Diane Sawyer interview with President Bush received the highest ratings of any presidential interview all year, including Tom Brokaw's plum interview after the end of the Iraq war.Read the whole thing. (I'll see ya on the flip side!)
Now you might think this might be a good reason for Howard Dean to pick Paris Hilton as his running, uh, mate. But that's not my point.
I bring it up for another reason: Americans have a tendency to think the problem with politics lies with their candidates and not themselves. The truth is Americans deserve the blame for the state of our politics and the state of our media. I know it's not savvy to criticize the customers, but perhaps especially at Christmastime, we should still have a few scrooges left.
Goodbye one and all. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!
I know I've got to make A LOT of new year resolutions, what about you guys?
I, Austin's little sister, shall be traveling to Texas with My mom, dad, Austin and Evan. I can't say that it's a family road trip because Eric, my youngest brother, will not be coming because he has to work at Furture Shop.
I am greatful he works there because i got lots of discounts for Christmas presents, but I will miss him while we are away. Hopefully he won't be staging parties every night.
I also must say that my birthday was December 17 and I turned 12. My brother Austin took me to go see Return of the King for my birthday present. It is by far the best movie I have ever seen.
That was the first birthday of mine that Austin has attended to ever since we moved to Canada. That was my best birthday present ever!!
Anyways, hopefully you all got what you wanted for Christmas and are content...for the time being.
Well, Merry Christmas, everyone - hope you all have a fantastic holiday. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time to devote to the Internet of late, as my family and I are preparing to travel to Texas (we leave early tomorrow). As a result, there will be little to no posting, and very little e-communication in general until January. Have a great New Year, and I hope talk to everyone in 2004!
Mark Steyn examines the lack of European procreation through a Biblical lens:
Confronted with all the begetting in the Old Testament, the modern mind says, "Well, naturally, these primitive societies were concerned with children. They needed someone to provide for them in their old age." In our advanced society, we don't have to worry about that; we automatically have someone to provide for us in our old age: the state.
But the state - at least in its modern European welfare incarnation - needs children as least as much as those old-time Jews did. And the problem with the European state is that, like Elisabeth, it's barren. Collectively barren, I hasten to add. Individually, it's made up of millions of fertile women, who voluntarily opt for no children at all or one designer kid at 39. In Italy, the home of the Church, the birthrate's down to 1.2 children per couple - or about half "replacement rate". You can't buck that kind of arithmetic.
Rabbi James L. Mirel has written a fantastic piece on rhetoric and tone in modern discourse:
My message today is a plea -- a plea for a new civility in a world where the ratings and book sales seem to belong to the one who is most combative, negative and downright nasty. No, I am not arguing for any curtailment in our freedom of speech or press, simply expressing the hope that we might use those important civil rights wisely and judiciously.As my parents have long instructed me, an understatement is much a more powerful tool than an overstatement; and those who you would convince first need to realize that you care. While I may disagree with Rabbi Mirel on most every other issue, I step forward and admit that I have not succeeded in attaining his standards for civility. Here, sir, we agree - I will renew and redouble my efforts.
Though it may fall on ears and eyes unwilling to hear or to see, here is what I look for from the columnists and letter writers, from the commentators and talking heads on the left and the right. In place of the O'Reillys and the Frankens with their shrill rhetoric, unveiled sarcasm and undisguised rudeness, I seek a gentler but no less impassioned voice -- a voice that will command my attention without earning my contempt.
Well, folks, I have some wonderful news to report (from my own standpoint, at least): The Guardian's Nick Cohen has produced a critique of Noam Chomsky's latest book that recognizes exactly what the master manipulator is trying to do.
Noam Chomsky is the master of looking-glass politics. His writing exemplifies the ability of the Western Left to criticise everything from the West - except itself. He is immensely popular; but his popularity is mystifying on the first reading. His work is dense and filled with non sequiturs (here he seeks to use the Cuban missile crisis to explain the Iraq war, which is a little like using the first Moon landing to explain the dotcom boom). He claims to confront the comfortable with uncomfortable facts they don't want to face. Yet his audience is primarily a comfortable Western audience.Bravo, Guardian, and may you prove me wrong again!
The appeal lies in the simple argument that underlies the convoluted prose. Capitalism, particularly American capitalism, is responsible for the world's problems, it runs. Resistance, however perverted, is inevitable. If the resistance is barbaric the barbarism is the fault of capitalism.
Well, folks, I'm laughing my head off again! Apparently George Monbiot (who writes for that 'great' rag the Guardian - why am I not surprised?) thinks that the sole function of an airplane is to rain down death, and thus we shouldn't be celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Wright Brothers' flight today. (Note: the term 'moonbat' apparently comes from a manipulation of Monbiot's last name - again, not surprising).
For those of you interested in a rebuttle from the ever-hilarious Australian Tim Blair, it may be found here, with further commentary from Warren Smith of Wilbur's Blog located here.
Oh, and there's even more 'battiness'! The Daily Ablution examines the Guardian nut's take on oil.
[Wide range of HatTips to Iain and Kris Murray, Instapundit, and Tim Blair.]
Remember the piece I linked yesterday? Well, Jeff Jarvis has reported that the Independent's Robert Fisk has it all wrong, again.
The more I read by Fisk (who infamously reported that the 'lying' Coalition Forces were nowhere near Baghdad International Airport, even as embedded journalists were reporting from the site), the more convinced I am that he lives in the same kind of fantasy world as the former Iraqi Information Minister.
In the blog comments on the story, Glenn of HipperCritical asks: "How and why does the Independent continue to allow this man to report the news?"
Indeed. The problem is, he's not the only 'journalist' doing this.
I was going to post as soon as I got home last night, but I arrived to discover that Rogers Cable was having server/router troubles, and we had no connection to the Internet until this morning. Anyway, here's what I came up with last night:
Anything I say will be inadequate, so I won't try very hard. I didn't think it was possible for a film to be this good. I knew everything that was going to happen (aside from a few departures from the text), and still I was on the edge of my seat. At the end of the movie, there was not a dry eye in the house, and we had a standing ovation for Peter Jackson's opus. Just thinking about it now, 9 hours later, I still get shivers.
I was, by turns, stunned, terrified, crushed, breathless, sobbing, terrified again, grinning like a madman, rejoicing, and terrified some more. [Laurie, when we see it tonight, you will be frightened. -- Ed.] The film did what I thought was impossible. It lived up to its hype. After disappointment in The Matrix trilogy, after disappointment in Star Wars prequels, this is like an oasis of perfection in a desert of failure.
Did I have quibbles? Mmmm...perhaps. But they were all about what was not included, and I'm absolutely certain those concerns will be addressed when they put the 50 minutes removed from the original 4 hour cut back into the Extended Edition DVD.
I told Art and James (housemates) last night: "If you do not see this movie, your life is hollow and meaningless." Sure, that was superlative and exaggeration (movies can't give your life meaning)...but not by much! As I watched the climaxes (one after another after another), I whispered to myself, "Peter Jackson, you are brilliant!" It's true. There is now officially no excuse for the Academy to award anyone else Best Director, and there's absolutely no reason to even nominate any other film for Best Picture. Lord of the Rings wins in a walk.
Saddam's control over the terrorists that continue to harass US patrols and kill Iraqi citizens seems more and more in doubt (though this is not a new development). The 'insurgency' (read: attempts at terror) continues rather unabated after the apprehension of the former dictator. The thing is, though, that twice now we've heard stories coming out of Iraq of ambushes laid for US forces that end badly for the ambushers. 54 killed in one instance, and now 11 more would-be attackers perish at the hands of Coalition forces.
Remember back when, immediately after 9/11, Bill Maher said on his show 'Politically Incorrect' that these terrorists were being described as cowardly, but were (in his eyes) displaying bravery by hurtling themselves into the twin towers? Here's another example of that stunning 'courage:'
In the ambush Monday afternoon in the town of Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, guerrilla scouts released a flock of pigeons as the U.S. patrol approached, apparently as a signal to other fighters, a military statement said.Get that? These guys are so brave, so upright in their behavior as 'freedom fighters,' that they take it upon themselves to use school children as human shields against return fire from the soldiers they (unsuccessfully) attacked.
Two gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on the vehicles, and then took cover among children leaving school. [Emphasis added -- Ed.]
My final Final is complete, my ticket to Lord Of The Rings Trilogy Tuesday is in my hand, and my future is looking bright!
I'm done with school for the semester (until January 5, 2004), and now I get to start work in earnest on my various literary projects. Christmas (for the first time in my life) is coming early this year, as we are heading to Texas afterwards and want to preserve as much time as possible, so I've got to get moving on gifts and writing in general. As such, there may be a bit of a lull (as I warned before).
Ah well - Saddam's in prison, finals are over, and I'm feeling good (tired, but good). Merry Christmas, y'all!
Eight months after the fall of his government, Saddam Hussein has been captured by coalition forces in Iraq, the United States confirmed on Sunday. The arrest was a major victory for the coalition that has been battling an insurgency for months.As usual, Jeff Jarvis has a full roundup on the various stories. I have no time to comment this morning, but I'm feelin' oh so good!
"Ladies and gentlemen, we got him," L. Paul Bremer, the head of the U.S. administration in Iraq told a news conference.
Bremer described the arrest as a great day for Iraq. "The tyrant is a prisoner."
Remember yesterday, when I posted that Big Media was ignoring the Iraqi anti-Terrorism protest? Well, Jeff Jarvis (from whom I found the story in the first place) points out that it's worse than Big Media 'not knowing about it:'
Zeyad tells us that there were reporters all over the anti-terrorism demonstrations in Baghdad. So why wasn't the story all over our media?Get that? With photographic proof, Zeyad (of Healing Iraq) has chronicled the presence of Big Media reporters at the protest. They deliberately decided not to run this story. Move that 'Journalistic Bias' tally higher, please.
In other words, even though there were so few civilian casualties, and even though HRW doesn't know how many there were, it knows that we committed war crimes because HRW thinks it could have been even fewer.
The distinction between "extraordinary efforts" and "everything feasible" doesn't just sound small, it sounds like sophistry. It's word games.
[T]he logic of this report seems to be that if anything bad happened, which could conceivably be interpreted as a war crime, then responsibility for it must be born by the US and UK.
Is it a war crime to detonate a carbomb with the deliberate intention of killing civilians? You bet it is. Whose crime is it? Logic would suggest that the insurgency should be held responsible, but HRW blames it on the US and UK, or so the BBC reports.As is his wont, Den Beste goes on at length - and as per usual, he makes excellent points:
If HRW had written a report as comprehensive as this one which tried to even-handedly evaluate both sides, and which applied wordcount proportional to the severity of violations by each side, then it would have concentrated almost exclusively on Iraqi atrocities. That's because virtually every atrocity and war crime which happened in Iraq was committed by Saddam's forces.Does this strike anyone else as an Orwellian situation? One in which language is changed to be the opposite of what it is? Human Rights Watch is, in effect, supporting those who destroy human lives (and rights), by refusing to lay blame and responsibility where it belongs.
But if HRW had done that, their contribution receipt rate would have dropped like a stone. (That's assuming anyone at HRW might even be motivated to do such a thing, which appears doubtful.)
That's what Gregg Easterbrook says:
All in all, Bush's announcement sounds progressive and important. So how did the media play it? The New York Times, which has had the incredible, super-ultra menace of Midwest power plants on page one perhaps a dozen times since Bush took office, put the plan to end the problem on page A24.So hands up, who does this surprise? Anyone? Anyone at all?
If the Dean Doctrine of Preemption requires the United States to act only when it [has] diplomatic certainty of an attack, then the best that can be said about it is that it would have been a wonderful doctrine in the world that ceased to exist on 9/11; but in today's world it is as out of place as the therapeutic use of leeches.Seems the good doctor has been found severly lacking. Perhaps a Common Sense IV drip is in order?
Real certainty is no longer available to our leaders in the post 9/11 world The next threat can come at any time, without any warning, and without any certainty as to its magnitude; it may be a car bomb or an atomic bomb -- and this is a simple fact that those who aspire to be our leaders must master as quickly as possible; and preferably before they are called upon to make decisions on which our survival will depend.
This has to be one of the most disturbing things I've seen in quite some time. From the campaign for the Student Government Council at Bir Zeit University near Ramallah, in the West Bank:
"At a debate, the Hamas candidate asked the Fatah candidate: 'Hamas activists in this university killed 135 Zionists. How many did Fatah activists from Bir Zeit kill?'Read the whole thing, but note - it is not for the faint of heart. (HatTip to Best Of The Web Today, and James Taranto, who asked: "...remind us again why these people ought to have their own state?").
The Fatah candidate refused to answer, suggesting his rival 'look at the paper, go to the archives and see for yourself. Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades have not stopped fighting the occupation.'
Fatah set up models of Jewish settlements and then blew them up with fireworks."
I just searched "Iraq" on the NYT website. Not only did I find absolutely no reference to the anti-terror protests in Iraq, the search results brought home to me just how relentlessly negative the spin is on the stories that they do report. This is an absolute embarrassment to the American media -- even Reuters and Al Jazeera are doing a better job! -- but I don't know if they'll even notice.Tack it up on the 'Journalistic Bias' tallyboard.
Well, well, well...looks like the term 'Loony Left' has something to it after all! According to Dr. Krauthammer:
It has been 25 years since I discovered a psychiatric syndrome (for the record: "Secondary Mania," Archives of General Psychiatry, November 1978), and in the interim I haven't been looking for new ones. But it's time to don the white coat again. A plague is abroad in the land.Interestingly, this was the exact same 'theory' foisted on me by a delusional former friend a few days after the two year anniversary of 9/11 - so now there's an actual doctor saying that this kind of thinking represents a mental defect? Wow. That's what you call 'argument ammunition!'
Bush Derangement Syndrome: the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush.
After some particularly vicious bombings of the UN and others, the NGOs mostly fled Iraq in late summer. 'It would be rather sobering,' I wrote in August, 'were Iraq to demonstrate it can get along without them.' And what do you know? It's remarkable how quickly a problem goes away once the people with a vested interest in there being a problem go away.
It was probably the largest demonstration in Baghdad for months. It wasn't just against terrorism. It was against Arab media, against the interference of neighbouring countries, against dictatorships, against Wahhabism, against oppression, and of course against the Ba'ath and Saddam.Feel that, folks? That's what it feels like to stretch freedom's wings.
Al-Jazeera estimated the size of the crowd as over ten thousand people.
One of the more difficult things about this whole blogging venture is deciding on which issues and news stories to share my views. The pace of the Internet and the Media dictates that one person cannot parse and 'opinionize' all the information that's unveiled every day (unless you are Glenn Reynolds - and even he doesn't get it all). It's just impossible. So a blogger, if he or she is in the business of commenting on the political and social, must make a decision or two about what to post.
I'm the type of person, however, that doesn't like to leave things unsaid. So this leaves me in a peculiar situation. I post on what I feel should be said immediately, or what is at the forefront of my mind, but I also am loathe to allow everything I read to go by without any sort of acknowledgement. As a direct result, I have a list two pages long of topics to cover in the 'Musings On Truth' category that I keep delaying in favor of other stuff I deem more immediate. I also have a bookmark folder full of links to various stories that I haven't used yet, because (again), I found other topics to be more important, or more concerning.
So, like my post below on Michael Moore, all this information starts churning up inside (not to mention that it bugs me having a cluttered bookmarks folder) until it just explodes. Then one of two things happens. Either 1) I post all the links I have and let you sort them out, or 2) I shut down and don't post anything for a while. At the current impasse, I'm not sure which will happen. I have so much to write about (including an idea about 'lying' and 'listening' that's been bouncing around in my head for about two months now) that I hate to leave it all to mere linking, but I don't see how I can possibly get it all done, unless I just devote a solid day to posting (which I also cannot do).
This is where I am at the current moment: hoping something comes along to break up the logjam that is my brain. Look for another post later.
In October I wrote about the Communist Chinese government's plan to excavate the moon's "riches for the benefit of humanity" (National Post has rotated the story off of the Web). I questioned the sanity of such a proposal.
President Bush wants to send Americans back to the moon - and may leave a permanent presence there - in a bold new vision for space exploration, administration officials said yesterday.Peeve Farm and TMLutas' Flit have already made some humorous and interesting points (respectively) about the idea. And I'd like to point out that the U.S. has no plans to reduce the moon's density (whew!).
Last month, I wrote about a Mark Steyn piece on the widening rifts between Europe and America, and made reference (as Steyn also mentioned) to the fact that the European populations are becoming more and more demographically Muslim as immigrants flood into the continent. I worried about the fundamentalist movement taking hold in Europe and enforcing Islamic Sharia laws upon the populace, in, say, two or three decades from now.
Well, there's more: here are Lorenzo Vidino & Erick Stakelbeck on Sharia and Europe. It seems the problem is worse than I had previously feared.
I was in Indigo this afternoon after class, picking up the latest issue of MacAddict (yes, I'm a Macintosh man), and as I was in line waiting for the checkout, I realized that I was in the middle of a bookstore that was very much geared toward Southern Ontario. Take, for instance, the books that were arrayed to greet visitors as they entered from the street:
Michael Moore's Dude, Where's My Country?
Michael Moore's Stupid White Men
Al Franken's Lying Liars...
And several displays of Canadiana, and staff picks.
Funny, no? The first thing that greets you as you walk into the largest Canadian bookstore are displays of Americans disparaging the country they are from. I was actually behind a guy purchasing Stupid White Men, and wanted to lean over and whisper a warning to him. "Make sure you go and look up all the sources that Moore uses yourself...I've heard he tends to stretch the truth."
But I didn't. Why? Heck, because I'm not going to change that guy's mind. And besides, it's rather rude. He wasn't asking me to comment on his purchase, just as I'm not asking him to comment on mine. If we were in a discussion group, or a classroom, or anywhere else that normal conversation takes place, then sure, I would've chatted with him about Mr. Moore's indiscretions.
But as a result of bottling this up inside, I've got a fomenting unease about this whole issue. I've written before on what I think of Mr. Moore's tendency to "speak for all Americans." But there's more to it than just his presumption. There's also the fact that, quite frequently, he's wrong. And not only is he frequently wrong in his opinions (for what can you be if you disagree with me, but wrong?), he is even more frequently wrong about his facts.
I don't speak this out of a vacuum. I have done quite a bit of research into this issue (put so eloquently by Al Franken: "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them"). I don't want it to go for naught, so I'll drop a few links here for you to follow. Just to ease my own mind, understand. I don't really expect things to change - they won't. But at least this way, I can feel better because I told someone about what I've seen.
So without further ado:
There are several sites that 'watch' Mr. Moore, trying to follow his tracks and clean up after he makes a mess of the facts: MooreWatch, MooreLies and Bowling For Truth are three that I find enlightening.
There are also a quite a number of sites that aren't devoted solely to the correction of Mr. Moore, but do run pieces on him from time to time. Spinsanity has several essays (here, here, here, here, and here), as does David T. Harvey (here and here), and heck, even Salon (a left-wing publication) has written on the issue.
Some take a more humorous approach. But he's even been taken apart by the more traditional (ie. magazine rack) publications. City Journal, American Prospect, and Front Page Magazine have all done spots criticizing him.
I've got more in my list of links, but I think that's enough for the moment. Certainly enough for me to have reasonable doubt about his accuracy and motives. Certainly enough for me to avoid his material, as I do that by Noam Chomsky (which is a whole OTHER issue, along with a whole other list of links!).
Whew! I still feel the need to rant, but that helped ease the immediate need to spout off. I'll keep doing more research and grabbing more links, but at least now someone knows about it.
I have gone the people say.
They do not believe that I am here.
I am unseen
invisible to you but I am there.
You can't touch me but i am there.
Do you hear the wind? That is me.
I am whispering in the trees,
I'm racing the wind;
I howl a long, lonely cry for you.
I miss you because you won't talk or listen to me.
I rustle the leaves with impatience
I give some air to keep you there.
Altough I'm impatient, I know it isn't time for you to come to me.
It will be a long time until you're ready to come,
So I wait.
My spirit will soar when you join me.
I am not patient but i will try.
For now I'll protect you,
I'll be there.
You won't see or hear me
But you'll know
ps.was that a little more normal?
Well...that was rather dark and brooding. How about something a bit less so?
I'm trapped inside my skin,
Locked in a cell in my mind.
No one to free me,
No one to hear my screams.
I'm a virus
needing to spread my disease.
I'm a danger to the world around me,
but i don't care.
Too long have I waited,
Too long I've controlled myself.
Set me free
and watch your world fall apart.
The present administration in Washington has been invariably supportive of Israel and the well-being of the Palestinian people has been ignored or relegated to secondary importance...There is no doubt that the lack of real effort to resolve the Palestinian issue is a primary source of anti-American sentiment throughout the Middle East and a major incentive for terrorist activity.So let me get this straight...when Arafat rejected the American-sponsored Oslo Peace Accords (which were jaw-dropping in their acquiescence to Palestinian demands); when Arafat ushered in his current reign of terror, human bombs, and anti-Jewism; when he used his own people (and allowed them to be used by others) to further his political agenda - when Arafat did all of that, America was to blame? And not just America, but the Bush Administration specifically? That's where we are today, after all - Israel and the Palestinians are suffering the terror inflicted by Arafat's PLO that was directly brought about by his rejecting our offer of everything we thought he wanted. And then, at Camp David, we offered peace to him again, and still he refused and reneged. This is a despicable man, at the head of a despicable and corrupt 'government.' Why is he accorded the support of former American Presidents? Shameful!
Reminded that the former president is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and as a result enjoys wide spread international recognition and standing, the [Israeli] official said, "Arafat also received the prize, what does it mean?"'Nuff said.
One final post, and then we'll move on, okay?
At home, I do several things. First, and foremost, I vent all my frustrations that have accumulated from the past week. Second, I air new ideas I've been tossing around, run them through the family filter, and find out what I really think. And thirdly, I use a dry and sarcastic humor that those in listening range know is just that - humor. So what you hear at home isn't really what my positions are.
See, Mom and Dad are really very intelligent. (Heck, Dad went to MIT and UTexas, and Mom taught us all in school for years - subjects including Calculus!). They can spot holes in arguments from a mile away. So when I come home with some new idea, I want to discuss and debate it with them, to see if the concept 'holds water.' Usually it doesn't, or requires some modifications, so I make those changes, and keep working out the kinks. But because my mind works the way it does (and Mom says Dad is like this, too), I have to speak before I really understand what it is that I think. Understandably, this has led to some rather large problems and embarassing situations, so I've learned to first run things by those people I trust, and who understand what I'm doing.
So now that that's aside, what does all this mean? It means, dear sister, that what I say at home, in private, isn't what I truly and finally think. Rather, it's what raw emotion, or rudimentary consideration, has brought to the front of my mind at the moment, and so I play with it for a while until it resolves into a reasonable whole. Then, and only then, do I talk about it outside my 'safe zone.' Yes, this means that you can ignore what I say at home (unless I'm babysitting), because most likely, I don't believe it.
So now...what about some of that poetry?
Well Austin I'm not talking about just on this. I'm talking about at home. You come home with complaints about canadians (eg. canadian reporters, canadian newspaper, etc.) so you are right I won't be able to find a lot on you bashing canadians, BUT I can say that you do complain about them at home. Even ask Evan or Eric.
So i do admit that you don't do it a lot on this website but i will not say that you still don't bash them, as you put it.
ps. So is my writing better than you thought before? Like with periods and capitals?
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