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February 23, 2005

Bush's Visit to Europe

But, in the broader sense vis-a-vis Europe, the administration is changing the tone precisely because it understands there can be no substance. And, if there's no substance that can be changed, what's to quarrel about? International relations are like ex-girlfriends: if you're still deluding yourself you can get her back, every encounter will perforce be fraught and turbulent; once you realise that's never gonna happen, you can meet for a quick decaf latte every six - make that 10 - months and do the whole hey-isn't-it-terrific-the-way-we're-able-to-be-such-great-friends routine because you couldn't care less. You can even make a few pleasant noises about her new romance (the so-called European Constitution) secure in the knowledge he's a total loser.

I love the way Mark Steyn writes.

Posted by Jeff at 04:57 AM | Comments (2)

February 21, 2005

Ayn Rand Avatar

Ayn Rand Avatar.gif

Who was Ayn Rand?

Ayn Rand is a major intellectual of the twentieth century. Born in Russia in 1905 and educated there, she immigrated to the United States after graduating from university. Upon becoming proficient in English and establishing herself as a writer in the U.S., she became well-known as a passionate advocate of her philosophy, Objectivism. Rand's philosophy is in the Aristotelian tradition, with that tradition's emphasis upon metaphysical naturalism, empirical reason in epistemology, and self-realization in ethics. Her political philosophy is in the classical liberal tradition, with that tradition's emphasis upon individualism, the constitutional protection of individual rights to life, liberty, and property, and limited government. She wrote both technical and popular works of philosophy, and she presented her philosophy in both fictional and non-fictional forms. Her philosophy has influenced several generations of academics and public intellectuals, as well as having had widespread popular appeal.

What is an avatar

An avatar, in terms of the Internet, is the "face" that you show to the world commonly on bulletin boards and within messenger windows. If you use an avatar, people see it any time they view your message. Your avatar can be your real picture, one of the generic choices often available on bulletin boards or within messenger software, or any custom image you may choose (within the appropriate size and file size constraints).

Personally, I like fairly simple ones, so I've created this one to annoy the socialists with.

Ayn Rand Avatar.gif

If you'd like the avatar, just right click on it and save.

Here is more on Ayn Rand which is well worth reading, and the site is well worth an entry in your favorites or bookmarks: Ayn Rand Centenary

Posted by Jeff at 02:46 PM | Comments (1)

February 17, 2005

Blame Bush

Okay, here's an interesting weblog I just found:

Blame Bush

Give that one a shot.

Posted by Jeff at 07:58 PM | Comments (1)

February 13, 2005

California: Affecting America

Sclerosis Meets the Terminator

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austria's gift to American politics and other entertainments, cannot be president because he is not a "natural born citizen," but that does not mean his political power is confined to California. This state is so big -- the economy of Los Angeles County is almost as large as Russia's -- that the continent can reverberate from what happens here, and Schwarzenegger expects much to happen in the next 10 months....

His libertarianism extends beyond the theory of political economy he encountered as a young man in the writings of Milton Friedman and beyond the exuberant entrepreneurialism of his life, to social issues. He favors abortion rights, does not care if any state's voters endorse gay marriage and has "no use" for a constitutional amendment barring that. Hence some Republicans consider him useful but not a proper communicant in the church of true conservatism. However, his conservatism, more than theirs, is the point of the spear in conservatism's primary political challenge -- defeating liberalism's attempt to Europeanize America.

Well, there's someone to watch. Secular Republicans and Libertarians are uneasy about the direction of the Republican party, even when most of them are on board because of foreign policy and domestic fiscal issues, and that's a large number of people. Most of us in the center tend to think of the religious right as being at least as nutty as the angry left. It's interesting to finally have a prominent and powerful hero in American politics.

Posted by Jeff at 12:54 AM | Comments (5)

February 11, 2005

Lynne F. Stewart Found Guilty. Her Defense?

Lawyer is Guilty of Aiding Terror

In a startlingly sweeping verdict, Ms. Stewart was convicted on all five counts of providing material aid to terrorism and of lying to the government when she pledged to obey federal rules that barred her client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, from communicating with his followers. Her co-defendants, Ahmed Abdel Sattar and Mohamed Yousry, were also convicted of all the charges against them....

After a trial that lasted more than seven months, the jurors announced their verdict after 12 days of deliberations that spanned four weeks. In a case watched by lawyers nationwide, the jurors were persuaded that Ms. Stewart had crossed a professional line, from vigorously representing her client to conspiring in his followers' plans to launch violence in Egypt....

Ms. Stewart was convicted on two counts of conspiring to provide material aid to terrorists, by making the views and instructions of Mr. Abdel Rahman available to his followers in the Islamic Group, an organization in Egypt with a history of terrorist violence. She was also convicted of three counts of perjury and defrauding the government for flouting federal prison rules that barred Mr. Abdel Rahman, a blind Islamic cleric, from communicating with anyone outside his federal prison in Minnesota except his lawyers and his wife....

Ms. Stewart's troubles arose from her work over a decade to defend Mr. Abdel Rahman, who is serving a life sentence for inspiring a thwarted 1993 plot to bomb the United Nations, the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels and other New York landmarks....

The jury appeared to have focused on the evidence that clearly showed that Ms. Stewart had knowingly violated the legal letter of prison rules aimed at silencing the sheik. "She thought she could blow off the rules that apply to everyone else because she's a lawyer," said Anthony Barkow, the assistant United States attorney who made the government's final argument to the jury....

There was little dispute about the central facts in the case. After Mr. Abdel Rahman was sentenced in 1996 to life in prison, his followers issued a series of threats against the United States demanding his release. Prosecutors imposed rules, known as special administrative measures, that barred the sheik, already held in solitary confinement, from communicating with anyone outside prison but his lawyers and his wife.

Ms. Stewart repeatedly signed documents in which she agreed to uphold the rules.

She brought a letter containing messages from Islamic Group members to a meeting with the sheik in the prison in Rochester, Minn., in May 2000. She received a statement from the sheik and on June 14 called a reporter in Cairo and read him the statement. The sheik said he was withdrawing support for a cease-fire the Islamic Group had observed for three years in Egypt. The group never canceled the cease-fire.

Testifying on her own behalf, Ms. Stewart said the press release was part of a legal strategy that involved provoking the government if necessary in order to keep the sheik in the public eye. Ms. Stewart said she was acting within an unwritten lawyer's "bubble" in the prison rules that allowed her to defend her client as she thought best.

So her defense is that she's bound by "unwritten rules" which contradict actual written rules. Well, that clears that up.

Posted by Jeff at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2005

Ward Churchill: Digging Deep on the Incompetent Professor

It seems that the incompetent one has cleverly abused the affirmative action ideals to his advantage:

The Truth is Tricky for Churchill

Consider: Churchill has constructed his entire academic career around the claim that he is a Native American, yet it turns out there is no evidence, other than his own statements, that this is the case.

Churchill has said at various times that he is either one-sixteenth or three-sixteenths Cherokee, yet genealogical reporting by the Rocky Mountain News and others has failed to turn up any Cherokee ancestors - or any other Native Americans - in Churchill's family tree.

Why should we care one way or another? We should care because Churchill has used his supposed Indian heritage to bully his way into academia. Indeed Churchill lacks what are normally considered the minimum requirements for a tenure-track job at a research university: he never earned a doctorate, and his only degrees are a bachelor's and a master's from a then-obscure Illinois college.

Churchill's lack of conventional academic credentials was apparently compensated for, at least in part in the eyes of those who hired him at the University of Colorado, by the "fact" that he contributed to the ethnic diversity of the school's tenure-track faculty.

His fraud gets even worse:

Thomas Brown, a professor of sociology at Lamar University, has written a paper that outlines what looks like a more conventional form of academic fraud on Churchill's part. According to Brown, Churchill fabricated a story about the U.S. Army intentionally creating a smallpox epidemic among the Mandan tribe in 1837, by simply inventing almost all of the story's most crucial facts, and then attributing these "facts" to sources that say nothing of the kind.

"One has only to read the sources that Churchill cites to realize the magnitude of his fraudulent claims for them," Brown writes. "We are not dealing with a few minor errors here. We are dealing with a story that Churchill has fabricated almost entirely from scratch. The lack of rationality on Churchill's part is mind-boggling." (Brown's essay: Ward Churchill)

But he espouses leftist ideals. That makes him smart enough and qualified enough for the job, right?

Um...right? (I mean, left?)

Posted by Jeff at 02:39 PM | Comments (1)

February 05, 2005

"Some People Push Back": On the justice of roosting chickens

When queried by reporters concerning his views on the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963, Malcolm X infamously replied that it was merely a case of "chickens coming home to roost."

In the early months of the year 2005, a few more chickens - along with outraged families of victims of the September 11th attacks and millions of Americans and good people around the world - are coming home to roost in a very big way within the life of University of Colorado professor, Ward Churchill. It would seem that the hateful professor is not only at risk of losing his job, but is actually receiving death threats.

Could a proponent of Churchill's "justice of roosting chickens" argue against that justice when the chickens roost on Churchill himself?

I wonder.

Posted by Jeff at 01:52 PM | Comments (2)

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