soon and very soon

Friday, September 23, 2005

WOW, you're stupid.

After the Israelis' recent pullout from the Gaza Strip, chaos broke out. Greenhouses that had been purchased by international agencies for future Palestinian use were ransacked by the beneficiaries. Violent fights over looted equipment escalated among squatters, the government and terrorists.

Empty synagogues were burned. Gangs and criminals smuggled weapons and drugs across the unguarded Egyptian border. An apparent bomb-making factory in a Gaza building blew up. Warlords from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed victory over the Israelis and promised to set up rocket bases for envisioned new offensives against Israel. Gunmen immediately threw up their own new checkpoints to shake down and intimidate civilians.

Our politicians sound even more at odds over the future of both the West Bank and Gaza. Some conservatives — who believe that democracy will emerge in Iraq even amid suicide bombing and assassination — strangely seem to rule out any such optimism for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' elected government in a similarly violence-prone region. But are the Iraqis any more experienced in, or eager for, parliamentary politics than the Palestinians? And how can one be for the idea of democracy in the more pro-American Iraq, but not so in an apparently anti-American Palestine?

Some liberals are just as inconsistent. How can they argue that the American effort to build democracy in Iraq is either wrong, naive or doomed while they have confidence in the emerging Palestinian experiment in self-rule and wish to resume American aid to it? Why should we believe that Abbas is a legitimate leader while Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, the veteran Kurdish foe of Saddam Hussein, is not?

But here again is the key difference so far between Iraq and Palestine. Abbas' cabinet is not galvanizing popular support for fighting the terrorists, whose thuggery against Palestinians is tolerated as unfortunate blowback from their anti-Israeli jihad. Yet for Palestine to become a sovereign state that conducts normal relations with its friends and negotiates differences with the Israelis, the elected government, like Iraq's, must assume a monopoly on the use of force and put down warlords and gangs.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Is there a better epitaph than Nazi hunter?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sorry for the delay, I was busy moving from LA to DC. I'm still not completely set up here in our nation's capital, but rest assured once I am updates will resume in full. Until then:

Whining is un-American
by, Jennifer Roback Morse

It is bad enough that the Angry Left is blaming George Bush for the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. But it is really unseemly for the Governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans to be blaming the Federal government. After all, the state and local governments in America are supposed to have the authority and the responsibility to be the first responders to natural disasters in their jurisdictions.

When I heard Mayor Nagin whining, I thought to myself, this sounds positively French. Maybe this lame attitude is part of the French heritage of Louisiana and New Orleans and all that. And then I’m chiding myself for tasteless ethnic stereotyping. And it occurs to me, I think I can recall a certain famous Frenchman who made essentially the same point.

So I go to my shelf and pick up my old friend Alexis de Tocqueville. This French aristocrat wrote his famous book, Democracy in America, after his visit to America in 1831, but his descriptions of the contrasting types of American and European attitudes still ring true. He believes that the participating in the institutions of local self-government have shaped the American character, and created a type of person unlike any that Europeans have ever seen before.

He sets up this contrast by starting with a description of the European attitude toward self-government. In Chapter 5 of Part I of the first volume, he reminds his (mostly French) readers how they view themselves in relationship to their government:

“There are European nations where the inhabitant sees himself as a kind of settler, indifferent to the fate of the place he inhabits. Major changes happen there without his cooperation, he is even unaware of what precisely has happened; he is suspicious; he hears about events by chance. Worse still, the condition of his village, the policing of the roads, the fate of the churches and presbyteries scarcely bothers him; he thinks that everything is outside his concern and belongs to a powerful stranger called the government.”

Honestly, doesn’t that sound like the entitlement mentality? Down to and including the superstitious attitude toward anything they don’t see for themselves. But it gets better: Tocqueville identifies the righteous indignation of the victim:

“This detachment from his own fate becomes so extreme that, if his own safety or that of his children is threatened, instead of trying to ward off the danger, he folds his arms and waits for the entire nation to come to his rescue.”

Had Tocqueville time-traveled to meet the current Senator and Governor of Louisiana?

The Americans Tocqueville observed in the nineteenth century were a different kettle of crawfish stew. Tocqueville saw that Americans get up and DO something. We made things happen, even back in the nineteenth century. Tocqueville is quick to defend the American character, against the European charge that we had a certain hubris about us. Yes, they evidently thought that about us, even before we were a world “hyperpower”, strong enough to bail them out of two world wars.

“Thus, if he (an American) has an often exalted opinion of himself, it is at least salutary. He fearlessly trusts in his own powers, which appear to be sufficient for every eventuality. Suppose an individual thinks of some enterprise which might have some direct connection with the welfare of society. It does not occur to him to seek support from public authority. He publishes a plan, offers to carry it out, summons the help of other individuals and struggles personally against all obstacles. Doubtless, he often has less success than the state would have enjoyed in his stead, but in the longer term, the combined result of all these individual enterprises exceeds greatly what government could achieve.”

And isn’t this exactly what we saw on display in the last few weeks? The Red Cross, initially turned away from New Orleans by governmental officials, has been paying the hotel bills of evacuees. Children all across America are contributing their pennies to help the Red Cross. Internet services large and small, have set up bulletin boards to coordinate volunteer efforts and housing searches. One site is calling for guys with trailers to go down and rescue animals that are trapped in kennels. Another site is calling for tradesmen, carpenters and electricians. And Americans are responding to those calls. Anne Applebaum reported that a group of citizens organized a convoy of 92 relief boats to rescue people trapped on rooftops. It did not occur to them to seek public support. Or permission. These volunteers were ultimately turned away by FEMA, because they didn’t have life jackets.

Prison Fellowship Ministries have brought help for the displaced prison population of New Orleans, temporarily housed near Baton Rouge. Volunteers are bringing toiletry items, socks and blankets from North Carolina to these prisoners. And Angel Tree is already planning ahead for how they will locate the children of prisoners in time to get them their Christmas presents. After all, the volunteers who have spent years developing these ministries to help the children of prisoners aren’t about to let a little thing like Hurricane Katrina disappoint the kids at Christmas.

Meanwhile, our French friends, I mean our Louisiana politicians, are still standing there with their arms folded, tapping their feet and waiting for federal funds to rebuild the city. Whining: it’s un-American. Tocqueville would not have been surprised.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse is a Senior Fellow in Economics at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty and the author of Smart Sex: Finding Life-long Love in a Hook-up World, available from Spence Publishing.

Friday, September 09, 2005


Today's sign that Hollywood is out of ideas...Police Academy 8

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

At least someone respects the will of the voters in the People's Republic of California

I found it amusing that a lot of my liberal friends were very quick to lay blame for the failure to get appropriate aide to the people of New Orleans at the foot of President Bush. It really is funny, liberals are the only people in the country praying that people starve, live in horrid conditions, loot stores for survival, etc., all so they could blame a president. It really is true that what's bad for America is good for Liberals, can we really question why they openly root for the terrorists in Iraq or for high unemployment rates or that they constant depict Republicans as fascist, sexist, racist, bigot, homophobes?

I mean really is everything George's Bush's fault? Doom and Gloom Democrats, gotta love em. It certainly isn't the party of FDR/Truman and JFK.

Thank God for Ben Stein, at least someone in higher academia has some common sense.


UN report says Iran has basic stock for 1 nuclear weapon...Iranian Supreme Leader calls for Jihad against Israel ...Duh, why else does Iran need Nuclear Power?

Reason no. 529 why terrorism might be a bad idea: Explosives used to kill infidels might blow up prematurely

Quote of the Day
We are dealing with people who have a tendency to blow themselves up...
~ Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki

Slowly slowly the water is receding and power is returning to New Orleans, check out this eerie pic from last night:

as Guiliani warns
not to second guess the government's response.

Notre Dame is Irrelevant in College Football

I hate him but...Scottie Bowman did stop by to give some words of encouragement to the Irish as they face UM this weekend. I bet all the Red Wing fans cheering for UM loved that.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Israel to donate 80 tons of equipment and material on an IDF transport plane either Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning

Saturday, September 03, 2005



Friday, September 02, 2005

A Rare Peak inside a Closed Society
British filmmaker Daniel Gordon's documentary follows two girls, 13-year-old Pak Hyon Sun and 11-year-old Kim Song Yun, as they train for the Mass Games, huge choreographed celebrations held periodically to commemorate significant anniversaries in North Korea's history.

"Even if you studiously follow world news, you're unlikely to have seen this much of the day-to-day lives of North Koreans, which are riddled with contradictions. The girls' families, one from the intellectual class, the other working class, live in Pyongyang, where all are equal under the Communist system. The state-provided apartments, though small and spartan, appear to be comfortable. However, we are told that the capital city is considered the nation's showcase and people are reminded how lucky they are to live there, implying conditions in other areas are not as good.

Even in Pyongyang, food is rationed. One family celebrates a child's birthday by giving her a full bowl of rice while her siblings get half. State-run radio is piped into every kitchen (though the volume can be turned down), and the country's one television station (if you are fortunate enough to have received one) airs propaganda, movies and entertainment for five hours each day."

The following is an email to my dad from family friend and Catholic priest Fr. Tom Hoffman, who lives and works in New Orleans:

I waited until the last minute and then went down to the Hilton downtown for protection. I was supposed to say mass for those in the Hilton that day (Sunday) but it never came off. We were all right the first night, then the storm came. Lost power and were on generators; then the generators went out. Lots of wind, but the building was safe - nothing compared to the hyatt as shown on TV. On Tuesday morning I asked a police officer if there was any way I could get out of the city. He gave me directions (west) and I drove to Dallas to meet up with some of my parishoners. Am staying in a hotel downtown which has free internet connection (I grabbed my laptop at the last minute before leaving my rectory at the University). Tuesday night I finally got hooked up and tried to email as many as possible. On the drive from N.O. to Dallas I listened to WWL radio (870) which gave lots of info as to what was going on without the hype for the networks. Am safe and sound. Tonight I finally saw some satellite images of my building and it looks like I lost half of the roof, but it's hard to tell. I don't know how long I will be stranded and how long the $$$ will hold out. New Orleans is a mess with looting, etc. Power will not be restored for at least a month due to the power transmitters being totally wiped out (they can rewire everything in the city, but there's no way of transmitting the power). At the moment I'm in Dallas at a hotel with friends. I don't know how long I will be here. It's been a horrible experience for N.O. and it will take some time to rebuild. The problems that are occuring at the moment in the city are incredible due to the selfishness of some people. Once the National Guard gets in, perhaps tomorrow, some kind of order should be restored. The rebuilding will take a while. I don't know what else to say. Anyone who wants to help me for the future, $$$ will be the best - just collect it and hold it if you can until I get a better picture on the future. the whole thing is beginning to hit me hard, yet I feel very fortunate compared to so many people who have lost everything. When all is said and done, I still believe that God will only allow us to handle what we are able to handle. We'll survive. At this point in time, I wish I were in california for a while. Hope all is well. Thank you so much for writing. At the moment i have email capabilities. Pray for us, especially those with nothing left. God bless, Tom,sj

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Much like President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq paying dividends with Ghadaffi in Libya as well as in the hope of spreading democracy through out Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Jordan and Lebanon, so too has Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan began to pay dividends today as well, as the first public meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries took place today in Jerusalem.

So who's really looking out for Israel? Sharon or Bibi?