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Friday, November 22, 2002

Still Worth the Read

This Mark Steyn column struck me as a little overblown, a little manic, and a touch rambling. Still, it's got some good nuggets on fighting Islamic terrorists and dealing with the Muslim world.

This is the real war aim -- or it should be, if we're to have any chance of winning this thing: We have to change the hearts and minds of millions of Muslims, too many of whom are at best indifferent to great evil. "Changing" isn't the same as "winning the hearts and minds," which is multiculti codespeak for pre-emptively surrendering and agreeing not to disagree with them. For over a year now, nothing has been asked of Muslims, at home or abroad: you can be equivocal about bin Laden and an apologist for suicide bombers, and still get a photo-op with Dubya; you can be a member of a regime whose state TV stations and government-owned newspapers call for Muslims to kill all Jews and Christians, and you'll still get to kick your shoes off with George and Laura at the Crawford ranch.

This is not just wrong but self-defeating. As long as Dubya and Colin Powell and the rest are willing to prance around doing a month-long Islamic minstrel-show routine for the amusement of the A-list Arabs, Muslims will rightly see it for what it is: a sign of profound cultural weakness. Healthy relationships require at least some token reciprocity -- I said as much during the Monica business, and it never occurred to me the same problem would rear its ugly head during this Administration. But, hosting an iftaar (the end-of-day break-of-fast) for hundreds of head honchos from Muslim lobby groups, Colin Powell felt obliged to announce yet another burst of Islamic outreach. According to the Associated Press, he told his audience that "he is trying to expand programs to bring educators, journalists and political and religious leaders from Islamic countries to the United States."
Meanwhile, the whining twerp on that I Can't Believe It's Not Osama audio cassette has expanded the Islamists' list of grievances to include not only the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258 -- I forget where Canada stood on that: it was OK as long as the Mongols were part of a multilateral pillage force? -- but also the West's support for East Timor's independence. East Timor! The left's pet cause of the late Nineties! And yet it turns out to be just another "root cause" like Yankee imperialism and Zionist occupation. Will it cause any of the West's self-loathers to question their support for the Islamists? Don't hold your breath. The Canadian position on this war is sadly typical: Some reports indicate that the Indonesian group which killed hundreds in Bali used bombs delivered by Hezbollah operatives. Two Canadians were among their victims. But Messrs Chrétien and Graham refuse to act against Hezbollah because, aside from killing Canadians, these chaps run some useful community activities. Canada's more "moderate" approach is that as long as they kill just a few Canadians -- say, hold it under three figures annually -- we can, so to speak, live with them. And, given that several Hezbollah execs seem to be running around Gaza with Canadian passports, in terms of how many Canucks are murdered and how many are murderers, it's probably a wash. This is cultural sensitivity taken to its logical conclusion.


Pitt played Miami tough, but still lost 28-21. It was a tight, close game. Pitt was a 20.5 point underdog, but Miami held on to win. Damn. I wanted the upset.

Not much to say, except that next Saturday is the Backyard Brawl. It will decide second place in the Big East and who gets to go to the Gator Bowl.

Confusion and Sickness

Some of the major blogs have already covered the sick bastards who decided that merely giving a flippant response to WWMD (What Would Mohammad Do?) when faced with the Miss World Pageant was grounds for burning down a newspaper and general rioting in Nigeria. Now with over 50 dead, Islamists in Nigeria have used it as an excuse for other activities:

In Thursday's rioting, more than 50 people were stabbed, bludgeoned or burned to death and 200 were seriously injured, Ijewere [the president of the Nigerian Red Cross] told The Associated Press.

At least four churches were destroyed, he said.

Many of the bodies were taken by Red Cross workers and other volunteers to local mortuaries. Many people remained inside homes that were set afire by the demonstrators, Ijewere said.

Shehu Sani of the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress said he watched a crowd stab one young man, then force a tire filled with gasoline around his neck and burn him alive. Sani said he saw three other bodies elsewhere in the city.

Alsa Hassan, founder of another human rights group, Alsa Care, said he saw a commuter being dragged out of his car and beaten to death by protesters.

Schools and shops hurriedly closed as hordes of young men, shouting "Allahu Akhbar," or "God is great," ignited makeshift street barricades made of tires and garbage, sending plumes of black smoke rising above the city. Others were heard chanting, "Down with beauty" and "Miss World is sin."

Hundreds of police and soldiers were deployed to restore calm. Riding in pickup trucks, they fired tear gas at protesters marching through otherwise abandoned streets waving tree branches and palm fronds.

State government officials declared a curfew of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Previous riots in Kaduna, a largely Muslim city with a sizable Christian minority, have escalated into religious battles that killed hundreds since civilian government replaced military rule in 1999.

Sick. They used the "offensive" comment as an excuse to act like animals and attack those of a different religion. Yeah, I look for the strongest possible condemnations from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, along with the groundswell of support on colleges for a Nigerian divestment campaign against such brutality towards a minority.

As an aside, one part of the article made no sense to me, and if anyone can successfully explain it, I'd appreciate it.

The pageant has also drawn protests from other parts of the world.

Contestants from five countries - Costa Rica, Denmark, Switzerland, South Africa and Panama - are boycotting the event because Islamic courts in Nigeria have sentenced several unmarried women to death by stoning for conceiving babies outside wedlock. Nigeria's government insists none of the judgments will be carried out, although it has refused to intervene directly.

Connection? Relation? Coherence?

UPDATE: It is now over 100 dead. While not in the story, as this story makes clear, the relation is that the Miss World Pageant is taking place in Nigeria's capital, Abuja. What are these Muslim protestors doing? Don't they understand that it is Ramadan. How can they be acting in violence during such holy time?

Thursday, November 21, 2002

It wasn't that big a win

Dang, but them Hoopies get riled up when they can win a game:

West Virginia students set fires on campus and hundreds tore down the goal posts at Mountaineer Field after the football team's road upset of No. 13 Virginia Tech on Wednesday night.

Emergency dispatchers reported that at one point there were fires burning throughout the city. Flames from one reached about 10-feet high as fans threw couches, mattresses, doors, clothes, carpets, firecrackers and anything else they could find into the blaze.

Three people were arrested, but police did not disclose the charges. A dispatcher said the department would issue no more information Thursday morning.

"We do not condone the type of destructive behavior that occurred last night," West Virginia president David Hardesty said Thursday. "Celebrating a great victory is one thing, but doing it irresponsibly is another. We regret the actions of a few are reflecting poorly on others."

They rioted over a regular season win against an 8-2 team, that gives them a chance at a share of the Big East championship. My god, what happens if they actually get that share. Morgantown will burn to the ground -- not that many would miss it. Besides Senator Byrd will get federal money to rebuild it. -- provided it is renamed Byrd U.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Always on His Terms

St. Joe is at it again:

It's rivalry week across the country this weekend. Michigan-Ohio State. USC-UCLA. Auburn-Alabama.

And Penn State fans get. ... Michigan State.

The final weekend of the regular season used to feature another great college rivalry. Penn State and Pitt played on the final weekend of the regular season 75 times from 1904-92.

When Penn State joined the Big Ten Conference in 1993, the series was interrupted and has been played only four times since and is not scheduled to resume within the next six years at least.

Penn State Coach Joe Paterno said he didn't know if Pitt would ever return to the schedule, but he said the best way for the series to resume would be for the Big Ten to add a 12th team.

Yesterday, Paterno lobbied for the Panthers to be the 12th team that the conference coaches so desperately covet.

Nevemind that other rivalries from in different conferences don't have this problem: Florida and Florida State can play each other every year; USC, despite the PAC-10 commitments, somehow finds a way to fit Notre Dame onto its schedule every year; and Virginia and Virginia Tech play each other. Not JoePA and Penn State though. Once PSU went to the Big Ten, suddenly Pitt couldn't be squeezed onto the schedule, ending one of the great intrastate college football rivalries. I know, I've mentioned this before, but it would be such a f**king good game this year.

Paterno can spin it anyway he wants, but it was all about his petty vengeance for Pitt refusing to leave the Big East in the mid-eighties to join his conceptualized East Coast Conference. If you grew up in Pennsylvania, this was the game every year. Everyone was geared up and watching. Records were meaningless, and upsets common. Since then, Paterno has faced growing criticism for ending the rivalry, even from his own alumni and fans. When two schools dislike each other like that, the game should be bigger than even "coaching legends." I speak as a Pitt grad and the son of Penn Staters.

Now, for some reason, Paterno thinks Pitt would leave the Big East for the Big 10 11. Yeah, that would make sense. In the Big East, Pitt gets to recruit and play up and down the East Coast. for football and basketball. From Miami to D.C. to NYC to Boston. In the Big 11, it would be more limited by its opponents to the midwest, and face more entrenched recruiting machines in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

Once again, Paterno wants things his way, and in a way that makes him look good. He'd be happy to resume the Pitt-Penn State rivalry if Pitt were in the Big 11. And if Pitt is invited and rejects the overture, then it is no longer his fault. Pitt was the one who decided to refuse the chance (which was also his hollow claim when he ended the rivalry in the first place -- that it was Pitt's fault for refusing to join his concept conference and pushed him to join the Big 11).

Instead, this is the "rivalry" game for PSU:

Michigan State and Penn State play every year, and the Spartans have been Penn State's opponent on the final weekend of the regular season since '93.

Penn State holds a 7-2 edge in games played since '93. The two teams played 10 times from 1914-66, and Michigan State won seven of those games.

"It's going to take a while to achieve a rivalry," Paterno said. "The thing with Pitt was something I grew up with when I came here. It was 40 years I coached against Pitt at the end of the year. We're just starting to get into some of our rivalries with the teams in the Big Ten. Right now, it would not be for the fans in the state, maybe not quite what it would have been [with Pitt], but I think it is developing into that.

"Michigan State has a great football tradition. Eventually, it will be that same kind of rivalry. But right now it's not as old and the geography is not quite the same. ... We have to get on with what we're doing."

In order to add some teeth to the rivalry, Penn State and Michigan State created a trophy that goes to the winner of the game. But somehow the Land Grant Trophy doesn't have the same appeal as the Little Brown Jug, Old Oaken Bucket or Paul Bunyan's Axe.

"The only thing we know about the trophy is that it leaves a big empty space in our trophy case when we don't win," Penn State senior offensive lineman Matt Schmitt said. "Michigan State gives us a tough game every time we play them."

Yeah, the Land Grant Trophy. I'm sure Mich. State views that as their big game. Not against U of Michigan or something.

This Rivalry has been recommended for renewal in the Sporting News:

The fabric and tradition of this series is as thick as a plume of smoke belching from the smokestack of an eastern Pennsylvania steel mill. Except for three years in the 1930s and four in the 1990s, these schools met every season from 1900-2000. For the record, Penn State holds a 50-42-4 edge in the series.

Penn State has found a way to schedule non-conference games with the likes of Temple, Boston College, Kent State, Akron, Central Michigan and Alabama in coming years. But there's no room for Pitt? (Yes, I said Pitt, which is how the school should refer to itself instead of being so formal and breaking for its great tradition and heritage.) Meanwhile, the Panthers have dates with the likes of Notre Dame, Ohio, South Florida, Nebraska, Ball State, Kent State and Toledo, among others. For the sake of the football gods, Pitt and Penn State need to meet.

How high on the "eewwwww" scale?

Well, that's Michael Jackson in general. The wife came stroming into the study last night, pissed off, after seeing a news piece about Jackos Adventures in Child Dangling. What could I say? The man is a freak and is terrifying to behold, if you can actually stand to look at him. Personally, I find my eyes wandering everywhere but to his face when his image appears. Lileks says it best.

Moral Support

I almost feel like I should watch it now.

Two women's groups and a media watchdog organization on Tuesday asked CBS not to air the Victoria's Secret fashion show, calling it a "soft-core porn infomercial."

CBS said it was moving ahead with the broadcast of supermodels in lingerie on Wednesday night.

Concerned Women for America, the National Organization for Women and the Parents Television Council were among several groups protesting the televised fashion show, which was taped in New York City last week.

UPDATE: The wife e-mailed me from work to tell me we are not going to be watching.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

I understand

In an otherwise forgettable Water Cooler column, this resonated:

Sitting in "Characters," the La Jolla Marriott bar, watching the salsa lessons, the TV behind the bar showed the highlights from the USC-Arizona State game, an outcome of which I was not aware. Slowly, my hopes rose. Then, as each successive highlight showed more and more snaps of Southern Cal on offense, my hopes slowly sank. Do you have a team out there that you dislike to the point that you follow its outcome, just hoping for something negative? The team doesn't necessarily make or break your day, it's just that if that team -- in my case, 'SC -- loses, you get a little smile, sit up a little straighter, and your beer tastes a little colder. Or, as was the case Saturday, if that team wins, you frown for a half-second, you slump down for a bit, and then you order another beer. That's 'SC. That was my Highlight Experience at "Characters" ...

I understand. Especially when it comes to college football. Oh, yes, I have those teams.

Lessons of History

Delivered by David Pryce-Jones

The United States’ involvement in the Middle East began as colonialism was ending. Its realpolitik interest lay in securing oil supplies through the “twin pillars” of Iran and Saudi Arabia. The United States had no objection to Arab nationalism or socialism—and at the time no real understanding of the movements. Nasser and his equivalents in Syria and Iraq were initially seen with approval as “officers in a hurry,” the assumption being that they were getting on with the necessary job of modernizing somehow “after the manner of Western society.”

Coming into existence in 1948, the state of Israel has defied regular attempts by its Arab neighbors to destroy it. Arab nationalist rulers from Nasser onwards were willing to become Soviet proxies, if that was the price to be paid for the destruction of Israel. The Middle East therefore became a prime arena of the cold war. The United States shared Israel’s human and democratic values. Without American support, Israel would still have won its wars, but at a higher cost. Victorious round after round, Israel exposed the pretensions of Arab nationalism and socialism to be maximizing power in a new glorious age. The Arab world is in an uncomfortable bind, obliging Israel to fight for survival, and then having to accept defeat on the battlefield. Centuries of Muslim stereotyping affirm that the despised and numerically insignificant Jews could never achieve such a thing on their own. To explain away the unbearable humiliation of it, a view has taken hold of the Arab and Muslim imagination that there is a malign American-Israeli imperialist nexus, nothing less than a conspiracy which represents everything to be hated and feared about the West.

The failure of Arab nationalism and socialism opened the way to political Islam. In the past, charismatic leaders have often arisen with a mission to redeem or purify Islam. In Egypt in 1928 Hassan al-Banna, a schoolmaster, founded the Muslim Brotherhood. According to the official account, some Egyptians said to him, “We are weary of this life of humiliation and restriction. Lo, we see that the Arabs and the Muslims have no status and no dignity.” Islam was the solution. The Western way of life, al-Banna asserted, might be founded on practical and technical knowledge but it “has remained incapable of offering to men’s minds a flicker of light, a ray of hope, a grain of faith.” More dire still, the West, or as he called it, “religious and cultural imperialism,” deliberately conspired to destroy Islam. Political idiom drawn from current European ideologies fused with stereotypes set in place in the long-ago battles against Crusaders.

Monday, November 18, 2002

If you were a City?

The wife forwarded this one to me. She came out NYC.

Congratulations, you're Los Angeles, the City of Angels.
What US city are you? Take the quiz by Girlwithagun.

Once again, we are on opposite ends.

We're All Friends Now

Do you get the feeling that Senator Leahy and the rest of the Democrats who sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee are quickly trying to make nice after bottling up Bush's federal court nominees for the last year and a half? How else to explain this sudden decision to approve Utah professor Michael McConnell for the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver and District Court Judge Dennis Shedd (a former aide to Sen. Strom Thurmond) to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals by voice vote (i.e., so there is no record of which Dems. "betrayed" the liberal interest groups that opposed the nominations).

The actions upset liberal activist groups.

"We are very disappointed that senators who voted for Judge Shedd were unable to put the interests of the American people, whom they were elected to serve, over their personal affection for a retiring colleague," said Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice.

Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, said: "Senators who voted to confirm Dennis Shedd and Michael McConnell sent a clear signal to women, racial minorities, workers and consumers across America that their voices will not be heard."

Such bitterness.

The nominees now go to the full Senate for approval. It would be a shock if either one was not approved.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

It depends on your definition of "massive"

Sorry to run an old joke into the ground (That is soooo 1998), but the story from the local tv station website blared: "Massive Anti-War Protest Converges Downtown". This struck me as odd since I had seen nothing on the front page of the local paper that I had picked up. The cover stories were on the tornados last weekend and obese children. Digging deeper, the story was, indeed on page one... of section B (metro) "Many Voices, 1 Message: Avoid War." To be fair, the PD photographs showed only banners and signs opposing the war -- no "Free Mumia" and Anti-Israel signs -- meaning they at least stayed mostly on message. So what was the estimated number of this throng of protestors? Oh, roughly 1,000 by 1 pm. For the record, Cleveland has a population of roughly 2 million. This was on a Saturday, 2 1/2 hours before Ohio State played. Apparently a crowd larger than would show up for a Case Western Reserve Spartans-U of Chicago Maroons (but less than for a John Carroll U) football game is a massive turnout. Surprisingly, bigtime pacifist/appeaser, Congressman Dennis Kucinich couldn't bother to show up to this one. This, to me is the best part from the Plain Dealer story:

Protesters included graybeard veterans of the anti-war movement of the 1960s as well as fresh-faced high school and college students.

It was a mix that pleased Ray Gonzalez of Cleveland Heights, a veteran peace activist who brought his two young sons, Noah, 4, and Lucas, 7.

“We want to see this passed along to the next generation,” he said.

"Veteran peace activist?"


(Copyright © 2002-2005 Chas Rich All rights Reserved.);
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