The Jade Monkey

I didn't have a superiority complex until inferior people gave me one.

Name:
Location: San Antonio, Texas, United States

12.29.2004

I'm such a sellout

I'm so ashamed. I broke down and bought my first DVDs today. Some may say "get with the times, man!" but to them I say "pthbthbthbth!" The one useful thing about DVDs is the ability to jump to a specific place in the film more easily, but the claim that they are higher quality is bunk - I have never noticed an iota of difference between a loathsome DVD and a trusty VHS. Add that to the fact that DVDs are just a conspiracy by Hollywood to steal your money, and well, I think my case is made, right?

But yes, I sold out nonetheless when today I went to redeem a gift card given me by my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas (or winter gift-giving festival, so as not to offend the Idiot-Americans in our midst). The main problem is that it's just so hard to find VHS anymore these days with the stupid stores carrying only their precious DVDs, and although I almost went with the Indiana Jones trilogy on VHS (which I'll probably still go back and get), I really wanted Spider-Man 2, which I only saw on DVD (it may be I just wasn't looking hard enough, but some of the features look kinda nifty, although they're usually only so much junk). I lessened the shame though by, in addition to Spidey 2, making an old movie only released relatively recently on DVD, The 300 Spartans, about the battle at Thermopylae, part of my purchase. Pretty good film, and pretty accurate, although the battle scenes especially pale by today's standards. All the more reason to get a film version of Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire to the screen, eh? :)

Also on the movie front, my brother finally got around to delivering me the tape of Earthsea, and the first half is good! A few minor quibbles over accuracy and condensing of events (despite not having read the books in probably 6 or 8 years or more) and several major chunks left out (in favor of adding in a new plotline that sets up events for the second book/ part of the miniseries), but all these things work out pretty well. Will watch part 2 tomorrow and give a fuller review.

12.28.2004

unreal

is the only word i can think of to describe the tsunami that has now claimed over 52,000 lives from Indonesia to Africa. it makes you reflect on how precious and fleeting life is, how powerful Nature is, and how blessed we are here in America, to be full of so many people and resources to rebuild from wildfires, floods, and hurricanes, and still be able to help those outside our borders. please consider giving to the relief efforts (WorldVision is the organization Hugh Hewitt recommends, so i will too; N.B. the site is VERY slow, due to the massive response they are getting - something to make you smile in the midst of such tragedy).

it seems almost petty at such a time to rail against those seeking to gain from unprecedented devastation, but not so petty as those seeking to gain in the first place, so let's open both barrels on two such classes (which may share many common members): 1. those who want higher taxes/communism and say the rich (i.e. the United States) are stingy, when in fact we rightly believe that charity should be not the province of governments that are at best inefficient and wasteful and at worst insidiously desirous of its people's dependency, but of the people who are generous and kind; and 2. the global warming/environmentalist wackos that can't grasp the concept of Mother Nature being a cruel and capricious host at times without the egotistical conceit that we humans must be causing it all. considering this happened in Asia, you think they'll consider bugging China about Kyoto now?

see Captain's Quarters for a good response to an example of the former (which would happen to come from a U.N. idiot, big surprise), and PowerLine for a response to a partial example of the latter (i thought i saw another response to a better example of the wacko mentality somewhere while perusing the blogs this afternoon, but i can't find it now (maybe i heard it on the radio), and Powerline is of course always a good read too)

12.27.2004

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas

Mine was good. Mom's still having good and bad days, but Christmas Day itself was fortunately one of her best so far.

My own share of the loot was embarassingly larger than I expected or wanted - among which was some cool artwork and a boxed Narnia set - woohoo! Shamefully, for such a big fantasy fan as myself, I had previously only read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and even that not until just a few years ago, as one of my college roomies also had a boxed set. Finished The Magician's Nephew last night, and am now debating whether I should reread Wardrobe or skip to #3 (fortunately these are quick enough reads that adding them on top of the multiple books I have in queue - I'll have to formalize and post that list sometime, it might be interesting - doesn't look to create a burden). Gotta love C.S. Lewis. Such good quotes in a "children's" book; I especially liked "what you see depends on where you stand and who you are" and "the problem with intentionally trying to make yourself stupider is that you very often succeed" (paraphrased), both in reference to Uncle Andrew.

Call him Martin Luther

Glenn Reynolds on Hugh Hewitt's new book, Blog.

I can't say Hugh was exactly my sole inspiration in starting a blog, as technically I started it back in like June, before I became a reader of blogs, or a regular listener to his show; but since my first real post on Nov. 6, he has certainly been my biggest influence and led to a bigger political bent than I originally intended. He's also clearly among the blogosphere's biggest proponents and cheerleaders, and knows more about it and it's power than virtually anyone else. So Blog is now officially on my "To Get" list now, although I may not get around to reading it for a month or two at the rate I'm going (I finally finished Sharansky's book tonight, so everything moves up a spot. Again, I recommend it heartily).

12.23.2004

Look where you're going!

I don't know the legalities of copying a picture from a magazine, so...

If you bought TIME magazine's Person of the Year issue featuring President George W. Bush, turn with me to page 105. That's right, the cartoonish introduction to their story on Mel Gibson and Michael Moore, of a Gibson in shepherd's dress leading one column of followers out of the wilderness while a bulbous, baseball-cap-bearing, basketball-bellied buffoon leads his team into it. I certainly doubt it was intentional, but there is a subtle message here. Note the first man in the file behind Moore. His glasses are completely opaque. Does it surprise anyone that a man who has so blinded himself would follow Moore into his iniquitous den of deceit (that is, were Moore's ample backside alone not enough to block the view of where he led)?

What also shouldn't surprise anyone is the deceptive false comparisons and moral ambiguity prevalent in the article, although I think they're mostly from trying to fit a (not altogether untrue, and certainly not uninteresting) predetermined premise in the comparison of two filmmakers and their works. The end result is for the most part fair, however, so my issue is not so much with Richard Lacayo, but with the common leftist tactics his piece may unwittingly - but instructively - mirror.

That said, let's look at some of the side-splittig hilarity:

Both seem like guys who maintain a clear channel, albeit from different locations, into that enigmatic, shape-shifting thing, the American mainstream.


Mainstream? Michael Moore and his myrmidons wouldn't know mainstream if it bit him on his aforementioned ample backside. But more on mainstream or not-mainstream and the ever fluid Newspeak of the Left in a moment.

These were filmmakers operating in the very largest realms - the longing for faith, the demand for truth - in a world that can be patronizing to the first and indifferent to the second.

While I don't at all dispute the second part of the statement, the dichotomy implied here - that Gibson sought faith, and Moore, that Overlord of Obfuscation, truth, is nothing short of laughable. Then again, I guess Moore, like Jim McGreevy, could just be seeking his own truth.

...Moore's acrobatic wit...

Somehow I doubt his wit is any more acrobatic than he is. Okay, so that was a cheap shot. Moving on (even though he and his champions won't).

There were times last summer and fall when [Moore] was a virtual one-man opposition party,

Must... not... make joke... about Moore being big enough to be a one-man party...

... the guy who went regularly and brazenly where the Democratic standard bearers feared to tread,

You mean to an even farther outpost in the land of outrageous lies and vicious smears?

... the one unafraid to roughhouse with George W. Bush over his family's links to the Saudis or his slow-motion response on the morning the planes hit the towers.

Yep, looks like that's where he meant. And here we see surface the meme that has achieved legendary status as a mantra in the leftist echo-chambers: "If only we had been tougher!" As if for 4 years their party had not put on the most shameful and reckless display of dirty politics to ever disgrace our country. It is the same mindset that lies to itself about not addressing the swift vets more, well, swiftly, even though their media appendage had suppressed the story until it could no longer do so, and then aided it as it immediately sent its surrogates to defame and assassinate the character of men who had already suffered far too much of that after serving their country with honor, and that decried any attempt to point out Kerry's less-than-stellar record or his endless stream of flip-flops (now there's acrobatic) as personal attacks while ignoring the infinitely worse examples they routinely committed themselves. It is entirely consistent with their lack of clarity regarding each side's attack dogs, to wit:

In fact, one key to the success of Fahrenheit 9/11 was its willingness to humiliate, belittle and demistify a President with a fierceness not seen since, well, Sean Hannity, the Fox News conservative fang barer, last glared in the direction of Bill Clinton.

It is this type of ridiculous false comparison that the left is most fond of, as if there was the slightest similarity to the denouncement of actual moral failings of a leader and the politicization of war and national security based largely on spin if not outright falsehood, and always sprinkled liberally with hate. I do not doubt that some commentators may have gone overboard in attacking Clinton (I personally cannot say either way regarding Hannity, as I didn't even know who he was then, though it wouldn't entirely surprise me), but how can anyone claim that, on the whole, in either depth of hatred or the consequences, the actions of the opposition are anything alike in any respect other than that they were opposition?

I have routinely argued with liberals who at once want to claim Moore is not the Democrat mainstream "so don't blame us," despite the same rhetoric coming from the mouths of their leaders: Al Gore, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, Al Sharpton, Nancy Palosi, et al., all the while patting him on the back with a wink and a nod as he does the large part of the heavy work of filling the public with hate and misinformation. They also want to give Moore and his ilk the same absolute value as solid, but nowhere near as extreme, right-wingers like Rush Limbaugh on the political number line, thus trying to make themselves appear more moderate and shift the center of the spectrum further to the left.

I suspect the reason they are able to get away with this is, in part, that the Right shuns their true extremists (only to have themselves associated with them anyway), while the Left invites theirs to sit in Jimmy Carter's Presidential box. Thus, the "extreme" side of the Republican mainstream is far more moderate than the extreme side of the Democrat "mainstream," allowing the Left to point to the ends and call them equal.

Fortunately, with the demise of the mainstream media's monopoly on news and opinion, the public is beginning to see it. But the Democrats remain convinced that if they get tougher and move further left (and commit enough fraud while charging it of their opposition) they can win elections (when they're not convinced that wrapping their package nicer with changed language and honeyed words and pretending to share common values, a.k.a. lying, won't do the trick, anyway). The Democrat party is starting to remind me of that Calvin and Hobbes strip in which Calvin is playing baseball and, no athlete, has been exiled to the depths of left field where he picks dandelions until he is awakened by the urgent calls of the fielders that a long fly ball is headed to his position. He catches it much to his amazement, and then to his dread, as he realizes that the inning has switched sides and that it had been his team up to bat, his team he had just deprived of a hit. Just so the Loony Left is destroying Team Democrat. The rational members of the party must wrest control of it back from the extremists if they want it, and our country, to survive.

So, some free advice to our Democrat friends: look where you're going! Or for God's sake (if you aren't too offended by the mention of His name), at least let Moore's plummet off the cliff unblock your view enough that you don't follow him to your lemming-like deaths.

Yay Commercialization!

I'm with Dennis Prager in his recent article "In defence of the 'commercialism' of Christmas."

People who don't buy Christmas or Chanukah gifts aren't particularly noble; they are usually particularly cheap.

Snort. Prager is right on - while many people who make these complaints are well intentioned, they are throwing the baby out with the bath water here (and as Prager makes a strong argument for, it is not even altogether clear that the bath water is bad to begin with). Of course, I think many who make these complaints do so for far more sinister motives as well - as another prong in the attack against Christmas in particular, and faith in general, which seems every year to get louder and more obnoxious. To them, I'll quote Laura Ingraham: Shut up and sing (Christmas carols, that is).

12.22.2004

Doth My Ears Decieve Me?

Did Hugh just say he's having on THE Steven Pressfield (author of the fantastic Gates of Fire) after the break??? Turn on your radios now (or 3 hours ago, if you are fortunate enough to get Hugh in real time, unlike me)! I absolutely love this book (though it took me a long time to get into, and at least one failed start; the same has happened with Pressfield's Tides of War, which I have no doubt I will love just as much once I have the ability to devote my full attention to it (of course, I'm reading 3 books at the same time currently, as I mentioned last week, so that may be a few weeks in coming)). Thermopylae has long been one of the most inspiring stories in history for me (I have even used the screennames of Dienekes and Leonidas in various online forums), and I was also impressed at how well Pressfield's English prose style seemed to mirror the Greek (or at least how my classmates and I were fond of bringing the Greek into English). Pressfield has also written a couple other classical historical fiction novels (I believe one about Alexander the Great and another set in Rome) which I hope to get to very soon (will probably spend some Christmas Cash on one).

Simonides! Booyah, eat your heart out Ken Jennings (ok, that probably makes no sense, as I'm 'live-blogging' to a tape-delayed radio show...Hugh just quoted a famous epitaph, I supplied the author).

Also on Hugh's show, he's been discussing the Democrats' apparent theft of the Washington governorship. Like the Salvation Army story, this isn't one I've commented on, for a host of reasons, although I've kept one eye on it. I don't know whether to be outraged, sad, or just sadly amused by the outrage. The silver lining, as Hugh pointed out, is that Dino Rossi could well follow in the footsteps of John Thune and batter the Dems right after being cheated out of victory by their fraud. This is an issue, like Rathergate and others, that we must not let die, must not let the Left sweep under the rug. As long as their treachery is exposed to the light, they will continue to advance their own destruction.

ETA: here's Hugh on his interview with Pressfield (it's like seeing into the future)

ETA2: on the subject of Greek homosexuality - I missed the beginning of this part of the discussion, but this topic is always brought up by misinformed liberals. In point of fact, anyone citing the ancient Greeks in support of the advance of homosexuality does so at the peril of their own argument - what they are really advocating is pederasty. Homosexuality in ancient Greece was almost entirely part of their pedagogy, and continued relations into the boy's adulthood were strongly frowned upon. I don't really think connecting themselves with NAMBLA serves their purposes.


12.21.2004

Blair Visits Baghdad

Via Power Line. I love this guy almost as much as I love Bush. His politics may be relatively left-wing, but he and Bush share a grand vision and he has consistently been our strongest of allies (his recent vote of confidence in Kofi Annan notwithstanding), and I sure hope that he, like Bush and Australia's John Howard, gets his well-earned re-election to see this through.

Roosevelt and Churchill, Reagan and Thatcher, Bush and Blair. Praise God that at such critical times in history we have always had such strong and visionary leaders anchoring our respective sides of the pond (and of course no less credit to the likes of John Howard, Silvio Berlusconi, and Alexander Kwasnieski who, like Blair, brave great pressure from their populaces and political foes to do right).

Red Kettle, Without the Bells

I know that for a month or so many, led by Hugh, have decried Target's (among others) decision to banish the Salvation Army from their stoops. It's not something I've commented on, partly because I didn't really have anything to add, and partly because the incessant bell ringing can get annoying (j/k). But I thought I'd make a plug for HEB, my local grocery store, which has little donation coupons for $1, $3, or $5 at the register that you can tear off and add to your purchase. During the year they have done this in conjunction with the local food bank, but during the holidays, it has been for the Salvation Army. I almost always pull off a ticket when I'm checking out (although I admittedly don't do most of the shopping and so my trips aren't great in number; but were I to frequent HEB more often, I'd probably continue to do so, but more often of the $1 variety), and encourage you to do so as well if your store provides a similar opportunity. Although I haven't shopped at Target this Christmas, it's not so much from boycotting them as just having found what I needed elsewhere; but the point is just to remind that it is usually easy enough with a little effort to give your business to businesses that care about giving.

Up with Christmas, up with the Salvation Army, and up with businesses that support them both!

12.20.2004

Favorite Christmas Carols

Hugh played several versions of "Mary Did You Know?" on his show tonight (some better than others), which is one of my favorites (and I'll never forget my shock at having learned that goofball Mark Lowry had authored it - it's something akin to the shock of Jim Carrey in a dramatic role), and since I'd already been planning on posting favorite Christmas Carols, this seemed like a good time. My other modern favorite is Chris Rice's "Welcome To Our World," another extremely beautiful and moving song (I also have a soft spot for Rich Mullin's "You Gotta Get Up" both because it makes me smile, and because Rich is the greatest, may he rest in peace). The lyrics, for those unfamiliar with these two songs:

Welcome To Our World by Chris Rice

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting
Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at home

Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven's silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

You Gotta Get Up (Christmas Song) by Rich Mullins

I thought Christmas Day would never come
But it's here at last, so mom and dad, the waiting's finally done
And you gotta get up, you gotta get up, you gotta get up
It's Christmas morning

Last night I heard reindeers on my roof
Well you may think I'm exaggerating but I swear I'm tellin' you the truth
And you gotta get up, you gotta get up, you gotta get up
It's Christmas morning

Did my sister get a baby doll? Did my brother get his bike?
Did I get that red wagon, the kind that makes you fly?
Oh, I hope there'll be peace on earth
I know there's good will toward men
On account of that Baby born in Bethlehem

Did my sister get her baby doll? Did my brother get his bike?
Did I get that red wagon, the kind that makes you fly?
Oh, I hope there'll be peace on earth
I know there's good will toward men
On account of that Baby born in Bethlehem

Mom and Daddy stayed up too late last night
Oh, I guess they got carried away in the Christmas candlelight
And you gotta get up, you gotta get up, you gotta get up
It's Christmas morning

And you gotta get up, you gotta get up, you gotta get up






For traditional favorites, I'll have to go with the 3 O's:

1. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
2. O Holy Night
3. O Little Town of Bethlehem

I'll take it for granted that everyone either knows these 3 (and, perhaps a bit more risky an assumption, "Mary Did You Know?" as well) or can easily find them, and not post lyrics for them.

Merry Christmas all.

(P.S. a surgery update: Mom is coming home from the hospital tomorrow. She got a new roommate for tonight, and by a strange it's-a-small-world coincidence it was my brother's guidance counsellor from high school! Thanks again for the prayers and please keep them coming!)

12.17.2004

Time's Man of the Year

Is George W. Bush, according to Betsy at Betsy's Page.

No surprise (well, no surprise excepting who it's coming from) here. Is there really even any competition? Anyone else would be a joke. Not that I think Time nece$$arily did it ungrudgingly; thi$ will probably be their be$t $elling i$$ue ever, or clo$e to it. I know I'll be buying it, and whatever their reasons, I'm glad to see it.

Surgery Update

Thanks to any and all who have read and prayed for my mother, and please continue for the next few weeks as she continues her recovery.

Yesterday was an exhausting day. We (well, I - my mom, dad, and grandma were up a bit earlier) got up between 4:00 and 4:30 to be at the hospital at 5:00 am. We were there until 8:00 pm, when visiting hours ended (except for my grandma who stayed overnight and is doing so again tonight), with a brief excursion for lunch after the surgery was over and they had taken her to recovery. Our Music Minister and another church friend were also there from early in the morning (I think after they had taken her back, but they also were able to see her with us before surgery). The music minister left after the surgery was complete, and our pastor came soon afterwards, but although he stayed for several hours, the long time they kept her in recovery meant he wasn't able to do much but wave before he had to leave. The chaplain is also a church member and was able to procure a recliner for my grandmother to sleep in when he and his wife stopped in that evening (after the rest of us had already left), hehe. It's good to have friends in high places.

Anyway, although they said to be there at 5, there wasn't anyone there to check her in for at least another half hour, and then it was a couple hours before they finally got her into prep, and then several hours of surgery (probably around 4, but maybe as many as 5). The doctor said the surgery went well, but her nerves had been pretty much crushed, and will take time to heal before the full extent of pain relief is felt (she may never be *completely* pain-free, but it should be a dramatic improvement). She had (I think) 2 verterbrae fused, a couple rods and 6 screws inserted.

Yesterday she was in pretty bad pain (she couldn't hardly turn over in bed - she still needs some help, especially with rearranging the pads and linens, but with a lot less pain), but today showed a lot of improvement. She was able to sit up/in a chair a 2 or 3 times during the day (in fact my grandmother was able to help her alone, right before I arrived after work, and the three of us were able to get her into bed, which apparently had been more difficult and painful earlier in the day even with the nurses and/or physical therapists doing it). The last session was a good length. Hopefully tomorrow will bring some standing, and maybe even some walking. We're very happy and proud of the progress she's made so far!

12.15.2004

Rats

My blogging blackout apparently caused me to miss Hugh Hewitt's latest Vox Blogoli: "What does Newsweek's story on Christmas tell us about the MSM?" It looks like I have a lot more reading to do in the next few days to catch up on everything I've missed. It looks like a very interesting discussion (even if the answer is pretty much intuitively obvious, even only from having heard in the most general terms about the story from the small sampling of internet and talk radio I've had this week, an in-depth exploration of the subject seems worthwhile, and inextricably linked to the other attacks on Christmas perpetrated by the Left this year), and that just from skimming Hugh's post and not yet any of the texts or responses from other bloggers.

But that catching up will have to commence tomorrow, and so good night. Again, prayer requests for my mom.

Prayers, please

(and this is the previously mentioned "other reason for which blogging may be limited")

My mother is having major (though I don't suppose there is any other kind) back surgery in the morning (it was supposed to be today, but got pushed back a day), so your thoughts and prayers would be greatly appreciated. Thanks much, and I'll keep you updated.

The Week of the Non-blog

or, "On the 7th day, he blogged." (yeah, technically it's the 8th, so sue me)*

Apologies for my shameful lack of activity this past week. I haven't been on the internet much, or even keeping up with the news, which seems to consist mainly of the blasting of Donald Rumsfeld and the Linda Chavezing of Bernard Kerik. Both disappoint me, though I've long ceased to be surprised by the likes of the former (it is of course a Natural Law that the more sensical a comment or position, the greater the hysteria and opposition on the Left).

So last Wednesday I headed on Houston-way to visit two of my old college roommates and my grandmother. My visit with my grandma was nice, and I may soon have an amusing picture to post of my dog, myself, and a player piano (which same dog spent most of the drive home in my lap; I don't know which is more pathetic, the fact that the dog is so needy or that I'm such a pushover as to allow it to commit what is surely a crime ("Honest, Officer, it was the dog's fault!")). My vistit with my roommates was also nice, and from it I came away with the sense that I am not nearly geeky enough and must seriously consider upgrading to a PS2 and getting cool new video games, among them an uber-cool Star Wars "capture the flag"/war type game (also, the new Prince of Persia game is out, drool). I also introduced them to my blog, so we'll see if they stop by and say hi (one of them already did about a month ago).

Other notes from the week:

~ Dissenter-in-Chief: I am currently reading 3 books, probably because I am crazy: 1. Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov; 2. a book on Norse mythology; and 3. The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom To Overcome Tyranny and Terror by Natan Sharansky, a Jew who spent 9 years in a Soviet gulag. This book came to my attention a few weeks ago (via Free Republic and, I believe, Powerline, among others) with the story that President Bush had read the book and invited Mr. Sharansky to the White House. In their meeting, Sharansky told the President "You are now the world's chief dissenter" (or something very close to that). Most inspiring. It is eminently readable, and worth every penny. Highly recommended.

~ "Back to reality reality" (Twila, in Sunday's Survivor finale): Almost nailed the final 6 on Survivor (the actual outcome would have been my pick if I hadn't been sticking to my earlier and outdated prediction that Eliza would be the last woman standing - instead she finished 4th (3rd among the women). But boy am I glad I was wrong, as she quite ably reminded me why I couldn't stand her in the first episode). Chris did win, as I predicted, also fulfilling my prediction from the beginning that a man would win. Scout and Ami improved themselves in my eyes the most of all in the finale. Bring on season 10!

In other reality show news, after nearly 2 half episodes of surprisingly almost liking Jonathan on TAR, the final half of Tuesday's episode was the most excruciating and excreable display by a human being not named Michael Moore that I have ever seen. The abuse he leveled on his wife may actually be worse than Colin vs. Christie from last season - I don't recall Colin ever physically striking her (true, Jonathan's was a "shove" not a "strike" technically, but it was still frightening). Phil looked ready to eliminate them both on the spot for chronic dumbassery.

~ National Treasure rocks: no, really. Loved the movie, a great time was had by all. Going to see the Phantom of the Opera movie with my sister-in-law (and, I assume, my brother as well) later this month or next, which should be fun since I've never seen the musical or anything.

~ Earthsea: yes, I've run out of creative subtitles. But I can't wait to see this mini-series based on the fantasy book series by the same name by Ursula LeGuin, which ran over the last two days on the SciFi channel (which I don't get, so I had to have my brother tape it). I finally remembered to change my quote of the day, and the Einstein quote above was one I found at scifi.com on the mini-series page, so isn't that cool? Yes, it is.


Finally, though I hope to resume blogging much more frequently again, the remainder of this month may be off and on, partly because of the holidays, and partly for a reason I shall post on momentarily.

And that is the week that was.

* offer not valid to the ACLU, as they really might

12.07.2004

How long before he's on their dollar bill?

Hamid Karzai was sworn in today as Afghanistan's first democratically-elected president. It's as proud a day for this American as I'm sure it is for the Afghan people. Less than 2 months before Iraq follows suit with their own elections. Let freedom ring.

I didn't watch the news today, but I wonder if it got as little coverage as the elections did?

-----
Aside: I'm going out of town tomorrow, so I may not (but then again, I may) post again until Friday. Until next time (whenever that may be), God bless. Jade Monkey out.

Americans have known wars...

Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy.

Powerline reproduces FDR's speech and, as always, it seems to me impossible not to hear President Bush's address to Congress of 21 September, 2001 playing side by side with Roosevelt's (I hold a special liking for Bush's, partly because I hold a special liking for the man, but also because I had to translate parts of it into Latin). I am sure every December 7 since 2001 has seen people better than I mark the similarities in message and mission; nevertheless, I will do so as well as tribute to the fallen and the fighting.

Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars, but for the past 136 years they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941. Americans have known the casualties of war, but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning.

Americans have known surprise attacks, but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day, and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack.

We have seen their kind before. They're the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way to where it ends in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.

Even grief recedes with time and grace. But our resolve must not pass. Each of us will remember what happened that day and to whom it happened. We will remember the moment the news came, where we were and what we were doing.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

Fellow citizens, we'll meet violence with patient justice, assured of the rightness of our cause and confident of the victories to come.

In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom and may he watch over the United States of America. Thank you.

Bush's speech in particular remains one of the finest I have ever heard, and it reminds us that we have indeed known wars, seen our enemy before. On this day of remembrance, may we never forget that our challenge is no less grave, that our response, and the outcome, must be the same.

May we also never forget our soldiers. Today's a good day to give (thanks to Keaukina for the list - today also seems a good day to plug a Hawaiian name).


12.06.2004

Tis the Season

Two excellent articles by bloggers today dealing with the Christmas season. Thanks to Captain's Quarters for calling attention to the first, to Hugh Hewitt for the second, but most especially to The Anchoress and John Mark Reynolds for these beautiful works.

First, The Anchoress tangles with Maureen Dowd. I must admit when I heard Rush reading Dowd's op-ed today, I had to change the station because I couldn't stand such miserliness, bitterness, cold-heartedness and spiritual deadness (I guess it's a good thing I don't read Dowd as I understand that is the general character of her work). My initial, one word reaction: oof.

Second, John Mark Reynolds calls us to reflect on the Christmas ladies.

I am better today for having been reminded of what matters by both of these columns, even if I wouldn't consider myself to have forgotten.

12.05.2004

Spirit of America

I've finally gotten around to making my (admittedly modest) donation to Spirit of America's Friends of Iraq Blogger Challenge, thanks to the re-reminders of several members of the Northern Alliance team. If I (unlikely as it may be) have any readers who are not already familiar with this great organization through one or more of the prominent blogs on the team, I urge you to give something if you can.


Support freedom, democracy and peace in Iraq
Leading bloggers are competing to raise funds to benefit the people of Iraq. 100% of all donations go to needs selected by these bloggers. Many of our projects support requests made by Americans serving in Iraq (Marines, Army, SeaBees) for goods that help the Iraqi people. Other projects directly support Iraqis who are on the front lines of building a better future for Iraq.


Unsolicited Testimonial: "Donating to Spirit of America and helping the people of Iraq makes you feel good!" - guest (The Jade Monkey, blogosphere)


UPDATE: (12/6 4:40 pm) SoA has raised nearly $50,000 in this challenge! ($48,771.05 as of last check, and the Northern Alliance has contributed a whopping $9,359 of that, by far leading the pack (although LGF, entered as an individual rather than a team, has topped 12K)). Put your money where your mouth is - help our troops help Iraq!

(I'm not sure where that nickel came from, as scanning the list every entry seems to have a whole dollar total, but it's kind of amusing)


12.04.2004

Rematch Denied!

Sadly, both my ((San Antonio) Taft Raiders) and one of my college roommate's (Katy Tigers (I think that's right)) high school alma maters lost today in the Texas High School Football playoff quarterfinals, denying them a rematch of the semifinals game in 1998 (the year we were both high school seniors, and more than a year before we ever knew each other), which Katy won.

So what if I've never watched a high school football game in my life? It's all about the rivalry, man! Even if that rivalry only exists between two people. Now I'll have even less reason to care, boohoo. Of course, I almost had to reach back to my high school team due to my pro and college teams' total ineptness (49ers and Baylor Bears - although we did beat A&M, woohoo!!! The Niners probably couldn't have done it...)

I wanna be a star!

Or a group of them.

Hugh is having some fun, claiming Orion as his constellation in mockery of the Strib's attack on us right-wing nuts.

If little ol' me is eligible to play, I humbly claim Ursa Minor - the Little Bear.

My qualifications for this post in the heavens:

* New Blogger (little)

* Baylor alum (bear)

* being home to the North Star is just a bonus! (and lest you claim a Texan blogger can't be North anything, I point to our state's hockey team, the Dallas Stars - formerly the Minnesota North Stars. So I'm an Avs fan, not a Stars fan. Whatcha gonna do about it? Also, I intend to make a donation to Spirit of America under the Northern Alliance team of blogs - will point you toward this worthy cause with appropriate linkage when I get that done, maybe tonight, but probably tomorrow) .

ETA * It's transit date (Nov. 7) is almsot identical to the first post of The Jade Monkey (Nov. 6). Close counts in horse shoes, hand grenades, and stargazing, right?

Whee, this is fun!

12.03.2004

Follow the (Oil) Money

Bear with me - this post is going to cover a lot of topics, but they're all linked by two things: oil and corruption.

Powerline re-raises suspicion about oil prices being driven up by enemies of President Bush. I thought at the time I first heard of it (not long after Kerry’s asinine allegations that Bush had a secret deal with the Saudis to keep the price of oil down, what a scandal! I had it out with a liberal idiot at the time who actually admitted he blamed Bush for high or low oil prices, just one more example of how the left in their psychopathy tries to frame every event in such a way that they can blame Bush if X happens or if the exact opposite happens) that it made a lot of sense, and the rapid decline post-election only strengthens that opinion. In fact, it mirrors the MSM’s complete amnesia about explosivegate on November 3 after they had lost.

Combine that with the No-war for Oil scandal among France, Russia, Germany, and the U.N. and Kofi Annan, I say the quicker we develop alternative fuel sources the better – not so much from an environmental perspective as a political one. It is clearer than ever that oil is the lifeblood of the world, and we simply cannot have people manipulating oil prices to influence an election, or oppose liberating an oppressed people because they’re being bribed to do so.

Isn't it strange how Europe supports democracy in Ukraine, but not Iraq? I'd go a step further than Charles Krauthammer does in this excellent article, however, and say it is not just elitism, but the self-interest and greed their (and many of our) ignorant "No War for Oil" protesters accuse us of (perhaps he was just too polite to explicitly say so).

If you had said 20 years ago that Ukraine would today be on the threshold of joining a democratic Europe, you, too, would have been called a hopeless utopian. Yes, Iraq has no democratic tradition and deep ethnic divisions. But Ukrainian democracy is all of 13 years old, much of it dominated by a corrupt, authoritarian regime with close ties to an even more corrupt and authoritarian Russia. And with a civilizational split right down the middle, Ukraine has profound, and potentially catastrophic, divisions.


Might as well join some humor to this melting po(s)t of Oil conspiracies, Oil-for-Food scandals, and Ukraine and point you towards Frank J.'s latest Know Thy Enemy: The United Nations. I'll excerpt a few fun facts about the United Nations, but you'll have to click the link for the whole list.

* The U.S. created the United Nation in 1945 in an effort to centralize pointless squabbling.

* While the U.N. never actually stops massacres and genocide, they do have endless debate about them. And isn't that better than nothing?

* No, it is not.

* In a fight between U.N. and Aquaman, the U.N. would endlessly talk about deploying peacekeepers against Aquaman but never actually do it. Thus Aquaman would win by default. Yes, there is at least one entity in this world more impotent than Aquaman.


Heh. If you had any doubt this was all connected, note how Aquaman wears orange just like the revolutionaries in the Ukraine. Coincidence? I think not!

And The Vote That Really Matters

Forget about Ukraine! It's the 2004 Weblog Awards!

The Jade Monkey recommends:

* Hugh Hewitt for Best Overall Blog!

Powerline gets our 2nd place vote, and would get the vote for Best Group Blog were it eligible in multiple categories. NRO's The Corner got my vote for Best Group Blog yesterday, but it has since been removed, as it too is in the Best Overall category, so I guess I have no recommendation here. I'm also disappointed Dales isn't in the running for Best Election Coverage, so I guess RCP gets the nod as my second stop to check on the polls. Although The Corner and Powerline are both eligible here too, weird.

* IMAO for Best Humor Blog!

And, uh, basically that's it. I'm still too new not only to blogging but also to reading blogs to know more of them, so I'm making just the two recomendations - do what else you will.

The Court Rules

Yay for more voting! From Yahoo:

KIEV, Ukraine - The Supreme Court declared the results of Ukraine's disputed presidential run-off election invalid Friday and ordered a new run-off be held on Dec. 26, sparking a burst of cheers and fireworks from tens of thousands of opposition supporters rejoicing in Kiev's main square.

and said opposition leader Yushchenko in a profoundly simple praise of democracy:

"Today Ukraine has turned to justice, democracy and freedom," Yushchenko told the throng of supporters who have packed the capital's Independence Square for 12 days. "It happened thanks to you."

I love the smell of freedom.

One More Farewell

to add to Tom Brokaw, Kofi Annan, and Billy Graham:

Tom Ridge. Like John Ashcroft (though unlike him, not demonized) he has given tireless effort to a thankless job, and the two of them can claim a large part of the thanks that we have not suffered a terrorist attack since 9/11.

Ridge's apparent successor, Bernard Kirek, the former Chief of the NYPD seems like a great choice (indeed Bush's new team is every bit as impressive as the original). Powerline quotes some interesting biographical information from the Times.

12.02.2004

One Final Thought For the Night

In melding today's two prominent themes, catching up on old news and bidding farewell...

It is with a touch of sadness that I pay tribute to Billy Graham in wake of what was his final revival recently. I was fortunate enough to attend one of his revivals while in high school (even getting to sit up front on the floor!), and will never forget how powerful he made simple words. While my impressions no doubt are flavored by hearing him in the last decade of his career when he had some slight problems with his speech, his sermons resonated with a depth and power greater than the man himself, and I imagine it must have been something similar to listening to Moses.

With the Reverend and Pope John Paul II both nearing the ends of their careers, and indeed their lives, who will replace these giants of the faith? We must pray without ceasing that the leaders who succeed them are made of just as strong stuff as they, or else we face an even more precipitous slide into darkness than that which threatens us presently.

God bless your faithful servant Billy Graham, and grant that you give him many more fruitful years to enjoy "retirement" and his family.

If those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it...

what are those who have never even heard of the past to do?

little green footballs reports that half of Britons have never even heard of Auschwitz. This is stunning and depressing. My doctor says I shouldn't rant about the conspiracy of holocaust denial and rewriting history in general, though, so I'll leave with an injunction that is appropriate from the Alamo to 9/11 with only slight variation in wording and purpose - "Never Forget."

And this on the heels of Groningen, or vice-versa as the case may be. Scary.

Don't Let the Door Hit You On the Way Out, Kofi

I forgot to add this to the "Unpublished Business" post earlier, but that dealt with Congress. Of course this could fall under that category too, with Sen. Norm Coleman's call for Kofi Annan to resign.

I was just going to post the title and "Nuff said," but I guess I'll talk some about kicking this inept, corrupt clown out of the U.N. by linking to today's story from Yahoo mentioning Coleman's statement and more Oil-For-Food hilarity (was it Heinlein who said "we laugh because it hurts"?). The thought of Vaclav Havel as Annan's successor, as some bloggers put forth a couple weeks ago is intriguing (I think Glenn Reynolds, in this post about the Ukrainian elections, may have been the first person I saw making the suggestion), but even Bill Clinton couldn't be as bad as the current Sec. Gen. (plus do you really think that America would vote for Hilary and let the same family rule both the country and the U.N.? Bonus!)

The Oil For Food investigation is one I'm going to have to start paying more attention to. But for now I remain resolved in the simple fact that "Kofi bad." Since I've been playing Six Degrees of Separation in this post with Clinton/U.N. and also obliquely referenced Ukraine, I'll go even further afield and mention the senile Nelson Mandela's accusations back at the beginning of the war that Bush and Blair only invaded Iraq because Annan is black (guess he thought Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Ron Paige, et al. were all Uncle Toms too). Of course, when the U.S. of A. decides to go its merry own way against the wishes of the "first-black-president-to-be-united-nations-secretary-general," Mandela's likely to say the same thing. Oh well, you can't win 'em all. Sorry, I'll try and stay more in the present from now on, I think it's just a symptom of only having been blogging for a little less than month now that I want to comment on some older things.

The Groningen Protocol

One small step for man, one giant leap down the slippery slope for mankind.

Hugh Hewitt has been posting for several days about this horrific story. You can find many informative and thoughtful links through Hugh's blog and further all the blogs he links to in the initial and subsequent posts, especially from Mark D. Roberts. I've read many of these links, but still have much more to go, as I haven't been online much the past few days.

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - A hospital in the Netherlands - the first nation to permit euthanasia - recently proposed guidelines for mercy killings of terminally ill newborns, and then made a startling revelation: It has already begun carrying out such procedures, which include administering a lethal dose of sedatives.

The announcement by the Groningen Academic Hospital came amid a growing discussion in Holland on whether to legalize euthanasia on people incapable of deciding for themselves whether they want to end their lives - a prospect viewed with horror by euthanasia opponents and as a natural evolution by advocates.



I just don't know what to say. There is not a thing in this world that horrifies me, and angers me, and saddens me, as much as abortion. And it is not the act itself that disturbs me so, although that is bad enough, but the philosophy behind it, the intellectually lazy and selfish moral relativism, the devaluation of human life and the embrace of a culture of death.

But this goes far beyond abortion in just these respects, all the way into the realms of eugenics and übermensch. Apparently from the first paragraph of the story, such killings aren’t (yet) legal, but don’t hold your breath waiting for any action against these doctors. Others have commented on the legal, moral, and political implications more completely and more originally than I could, have made the comparisons with Nazi Germany and lamented the complicity of socialized medicine in the process; I can only say again to go read all the links that Hugh and others have provided.

They've admitted to 4, and the number may indeed be "small" (as if even one isn't the most disgusting of tragedies!), but if they are willing to admit to 4, how many more are there? They say they expect the protocol to be applicable only in 10-15 cases a year, and that there hasn't been a large increase in general euthanasia since it became legal, but over time? How long before this practice spreads, in geography and in scope? It’s an Orwellian world out there, folks.

Another story on the matter says:

Under the Groningen protocol, if doctors at the hospital think a child is suffering unbearably from a terminal condition, they have the authority to end the child's life. The protocol is likely to be used primarily for newborns, but it covers any child up to age 12.

and

A parent's role is limited under the protocol. While experts and critics familiar with the policy said a parent's wishes to let a child live or die naturally most likely would be considered, they note that the decision must be professional, so rests with doctors.


And lest you think it's just the Netherlands and couldn't happen to us, the recently re-elected Senator Barbra Boxer, among other prominent people, has said similar things in the past about how the killing of children up to a certain age should be permissible (I will try to find a link, although my own computer, along with the research for a position paper I did in college a few years back, is in storage). And the Supreme Court has become disturbingly more and more comfortable in citing foreign law as the basis for decisions.

The Greeks may have left unwanted children on a hill to die, but even then they at least had the chance of coming back and killing their fathers and marrying their mothers...maybe that's not the best example; let's take the proto-Romans, who may have left their children to die, but at least they had the chance of being raised by wolves, and founding the greatest empire in the history of the world. Perhaps humor, even black humor, is not appropriate in regards to such a story, but without it I might start cursing, this makes me so mad. And I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the motif is so frequent in mythology and folk tale. Stories are pedagogical, but it is clear some haven’t learned the lesson.

And Hugh's right, the very name is creepy. It makes a great title for a story. I think I'm inspired...

Although I'm not a Catholic, I suggest December 28 as a protest day for Groningen - The Holy Innocents. Mark D. Roberts and others have also made this connection. I've already been kicking around the idea for an anti-abortion short story, perhaps in the form of a diary and perhaps simply called "December 28," and more recently one dealing with stem-cell harvesting, and this outrage I think has finally inspired me to write them, and more.

Sometimes I despair over whether the culture war can be won, whether we can only slow the inevitable death spiral and not reverse it. Liberals have (quite deliberately, I think) made careers in and taken over the fields of education, the arts, journalism and politics over the last generation or two, by which they have pressed their evil agenda to dangerous lengths while conservatives have for too long been relatively quiet. It is on these battlefields that we must push back if we ever hope to save the world.

So for my part in this fight, at least for now, I think it’s time to dust off the old pen (or keyboard, or something) and see where it leads me, as I feel I'm better at expressing myself through "fiction" (would that it were so) than papers or opinion pieces.

Happy Trails

Tom Brokaw. Since I was rather harsh in my last post about him (probably too much so, since it was a retrospective more than hard news, and so some bias could only but creep in, and if the worst I could complain about was some spin, perhaps I'm being too picky), I thought I'd balance that out with some nice words. As I began by saying then, I do like Brokaw and think he was infinitely superior to his colleagues. Network news is losing a lot of what little credibility it had by losing him. Although I've never been a frequent viewer of network news, on the occasions that I did watch, I'd say rather conservatively that Brokaw probably got my business 75% of the time, and last night for his final show was no different.

Good on ya, Tom, and enjoy a well-deserved retirement.

Unpublished Business

Thought I'd start today by (briefly) addressing 2 items, both about happenings in Congress, that I wanted to talk about but never got around to, one already rather out of date, the other still relevant, if a bit late.

1. Sensenbrenner, Hunter, and the Intelligence Czar:

First, I must admit some level of bias against the 9-11 commission, as I felt (rightly, I think) that it was doomed to become political, not to mention largely unnecessary, as it was easy to tell what went wrong and what needed to be fixed. It was, in short, a laughable, pathetic sideshow. I never had a problem with Jamie Gorelick as many pundits on the right did. She never seemed to me to be the partisan hack that Bob Kerrey and Richard Benveniste were, taking outrageous adversarial tones in their questioning. I felt it was as wrong to try and blame Bush as it was for some on the right to play CYA and blame Clinton. While he surely made some mistakes in hindsight that may have been contributing factors, I don't think they were necessarily unreasonable moves given the situations at the time, and at any rate that way solves nothing.

Nor do I think their word and recommendation ought be taken for Gospel. I don't think they should be adopted just so Congress is seen to be doing something. I think the debate over the details is healthy, and I think Sensenbrenner and Hunter's concerns are fairly legitimate. That said (and I know I'll take heat for even appearing to side with a RINO), I think both Susan Collins and Duncan Hunter made valid points this Sunday morning in their "debate," and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Debate and tinkering is a good thing, but I think the bill passing in large part, with a few minor modifications, is probably also a good thing. I don't think the President would be for it if it posed a serious threat of endangering the troops (that said, the one issue I do take some issue with the President on - immigration, although upon some consideration I've come a lot closer to his position than I ever thought I would - is the one on which Sensenbrenner's objections largely seem to hinge. Nevertheless, I'm not sure this bill is the appropriate place for that debate).

2. Tom DeLay Bends the Rules:

This one's the one that's already out of date (and so I'll be even briefer), but much like #1, I find myself somewhere in the middle. Even creating the appearance of inpropriety, of a compromise in principle, is something I simply can't take lightly. It's yet another thing, like the Specter debacle, that can only be used against us. That said, I can completely understand the motivations behind it, too. The partisan attacks of the Democrats must be thwarted, and if the move prevents unserious charges from being brought in the first place because the prosecuter realizes he won't bring down the leader, well that can only be a good thing too. But I still hope they change the rules back immediately once this nonsense is over.