Friday, August 31, 2007

That’s One Small Step for Allah

I’m sort of fascinated by contemporaryArab culture. On the one hand you have state-of-the-art electronic broadcasting equipment and competent direction from the control room . . . yet the content of the broadcast is bizarre medieval superstition.

How can it be that complex technology can so effortlessly coexist with such irrational rubbish? “The radiation from Mecca is infinite.” Jeez, I’m embarrassed for these guys.

One clue, Arabs are ignorant. I don't mean that in a bad way. They can't help but be ignorant. They have very few opportunities to be informed.

According to the UNDP Arab Human Development Report of 2003, the total number of books translated into Arabic during the past 1,000 years is less than those translated in Spain in one year.

I’m all for greater understanding between cultures, but the Arab world has a long way to go before it has even a hazy understanding of western culture and values . . . or even science.

The day some American billionaire writes a check to establish an institute for the study of Judeo/Christian culture in Saudi Arabia will be the day we begin to make some progress toward mutual understanding.

The first big lesson will be the reaction of our Saudi friends.

And yet, there is still hope that rational people can rise up and prevail against ignorance.

To believe otherwise is simple bigotry.

More Money For the Big Sleazy?

While we’re all remembering Katrina for a moment let’s think briefly about New Orleans’ real tragedy. It’s a dysfunctional city. It was before the hurricane and it still is.

Remember the famous video of the looting in New Orleans? Remember also, this was before the levees breached and the city flooded. Here we see New Orleans’ finest taking part in the fun.

A few hours later, the city began to fill with water and police were nowhere to be found. Nor were the buses that could have helped evacuate residents. Nor were any local authorities.

New Orleans is about the most dangerous city in the country when the weather is good. When there is flooding and chaos, it gets extra spicy down there.

The city has been “cleaning up” now for two years. According to the federal government (via Larry Kudlow’s article in The Sun) more than $127 billion has been spent on the city’s recovery. That would be nearly half a million dollars for every man, woman, and child in the city.

Hell, the GDP of the entire state of Louisiana is $152 billion.

Where is all that money going? Not sure but it’s certainly doesn’t seem to be helping New Orleans become a normal city again. According to City Journal's Nicolas Gelinas, crime is worse now in New Orleans even will half the population.
In fact, since Katrina, New Orleans’s murder rate has been higher than that of
any first-world city. Depending on fluctuating estimates of the city’s returning
population, it’s perhaps 40 percent higher than before Katrina and twice as high
as the rate in other dangerous cities like Detroit, Newark, and Washington.

The usual suspects are pleading for even more money to spend on what was always a seedy, theme park for anti-social behavior.

Rather than restoring the city to it’s traditional steamy squalor, a better goal would be to remake the city as a safe place to live and a productive place to work. President Bush made a baby step in that direction by replacing the failing public school system with a series of competitive charter schools.

But he could have gone much further.

As Kudlow says, if the Administration had declared New Orleans a tax-free enterprise zone in the aftermath of Katrina, it would not only have recovered by now, it would also be a fundamentally different place. And a far better place for the people who live there.

Friday, August 10, 2007


People who complain about America being a racist society have a point. We’re far too race conscious in this country, in my opinion (which is the only one that counts on this website).

But you have to go to Europe to know what a really blanco-centric society feels like. And there’s no place more Caucasian (outside of the Caucasuses) than Finland.

I give to you, the whitest people on earth:

See, it could be a lot worse.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hope in Iraq?

Stand by for the vigorous smearing of Pollack and O’Hanlon and The Brookings Institute and CNN and anyone who wears a lavender necktie.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Changing Opinions . . . Hmmm

A New York Times poll finds that more Americans support the war in Iraq today than they did two months ago. The Times was so alarmed by this development that they redid their poll just to make sure. The results were the same. About 10% more people think, in retrospect, that military action in Iraq was a good idea and about 10% fewer think it was a bad idea compared to two months ago.

Of course, the majority of people polled still think intervening in Iraq was a bad idea, but if that majority is shrinking, The New York Times can’t figure out why. It’s “counterintuitive” says the Times. It “could not be easily explained.” But explain it they tried on Sunday.

“Once is a while a poll finding doesn’t make sense.” In other words, how could The People be so stupid? I mean, surely they’ve read the uniformly dismal news in the Times. They’ve been told endlessly that Operation Iraqi Freedom is the catastrophically quagmirishly misleadingly Bushitlerburtonesque worst war ever! Are The People slipping off the wagon again and rejecting the truth we’ve spoonfed them?

The first explanation the Times grabs for is that The People, in their devotion to Hillary Clinton, must have been confused by references earlier in the poll to Clinton’s original support of the war. “It was just a hunch,” says the Times breathlessly, “but it was all there was.” Frankly, only the Times could see this as a plausible explanation.

Not until the 12th paragraph, the third to last in the article, does the Times offer up another baffling finding: “there was also a drop in the number of people who said the war is going badly.”

Hmmm . . . perhaps, and I’m only speculating here, but just maybe The People don’t want to lose the war and are encouraged by the remarkable success the coalition forces have had in the past two months stabilizing Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala? Maybe they’ve read deeper and learned that the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) has recently been revealed to be a front organization set up by foreign Al Qaeda fascists to give the insurgency an Iraqi face? Perhaps they’ve also heard that coalition casualties are the lowest they’ve been in seven months?

UPDATE: This Gallup poll shows the most outspoken Iraq war hawks, McCain and Giuliani, are also the candidates most trusted by Americans polled to handle the Iraq war. That means, to my untrained eye, that most people don't mind the war as long as we're in it to win it.

My humble opinion is that no rational patriotic American wants to see the United States defeated in Iraq. Moreover, I’d say that most Americans would consider the mission in Iraq to be a noble one that’s consistent with American ideals.

That mission: to remove the despotic Hussein dynasty from power in accord with U.S. policy established during the Clinton Administration, to ensure that the weapons of mass destruction that the regime reported having to the United Nations in 1991 have been destroyed or otherwise accounted for in accord with a dozen U.N. resolutions, to establish a democratic foothold in the most politically backward and strategically important region of the world, and thereby undermine the region’s illiberal, intolerant, militarily expansionist regimes by providing a an alternative model to oppression . . . that mission is still worthy even after years of mismanagement.

Succeeding in that mission would be a good thing for Iraq, for the millions of people living in that region and for the United States. So, what’s the trouble with that? Well, it would also be good for George Bush.

And for some people who may or may not work at the Times, genocide is better outcome.