Friday, September 29, 2006

Foley - Forest for the Trees

We’ve all heard the saying, “Can’t see the forest because of the trees.”  This whole Foley thing is generating oodles of copy, and internet posts, I’m sure, of which this is but one.

I think all the copy you need to read is contained in the following paragraph.

His resignation further complicates the political landscape for Republicans, who are fighting to retain control of Congress. Democrats need to win a net of 15 Republican seats to regain the power they lost in 1994.

Control and power is what this is all about.

Paragraph above taken from the following piece at My Way News.

Foley Resigns From Congress Over E-Mails

Posted by John Venlet on 09/29 at 09:06 PM
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It’s Private Property

On August 30 of this year, I posted about the the travails of Dina Babbitt, who has been attempting to regain some art pieces she created while incarcerated in a concentration camp run by the Nazis in WWII.

In a similar vein, The Wall Street Journal today brings us the story of Maria Altmann, who, unlike Ms. Babbitt, has had restored to her possession five (5) extremely valuable Klimt paintings that had been confiscated from her family, by the Nazis.  After the war, the paintings ended up in the possession of various Austrian museums.  But, in the early part of 2006, the paintings were returned to Ms. Altmann and she has opted to market four (4) of them to the highest bidder via Christies.  The fifth has already been sold to Ronald Lauder for the sum of 135 million.

The fact that Ms. Altmann is selling the Klimt paintings has raised the ire of certain members of the art world, including the NYT’s chief art critic, Michael Kimmelman, who had this to say about the pending auction,

New York Times chief art critic Michael Kimmelman inveighed against the sale. Ms. Altmann and her relatives, he declared, were “cashing in,” turning a “story about justice and redemption after the Holocaust” into “yet another tale of the crazy, intoxicating art market.” The family should give the works away, donating “one or more” to a public institution, or negotiate “a private sale to a museum at a price below the auction house estimates.” He even came close to stating that Ms. Altmann’s museum loans weren’t a sign of her generosity but a kind of profiteering, since “the museums provided presale publicity of a sort that no auction house could organize.”

My, what breast beating from Mr. Kimmelman.  As if he has any right, what-so-ever, to set the rules for what Ms. Altmann decides to with her private property.

Mr. Kimmelman is not the only individual barking at Ms. Altmann, but that is not surprising since barking dogs tend to get other dogs barking.

The Wall Street Journal writer, Eric Gibson, gets it right, regardless of his invoking the “long-denied heirs” line, as the ending of his piece illustrates.

But there is a principle at stake bigger than cash flow, namely: Long-denied heirs like Ms. Altmann should be allowed to do as they please with their property once they have recovered it. Isn’t that, so to speak, the whole point? The “story about justice and redemption after the Holocaust,” to borrow Mr. Kimmelman’s phrase, surely includes the right of the descendants of Nazi-era victims to exercise the freedom their families were denied.

The WSJ piece is titled With Klimt Comes Condemnation

Posted by John Venlet on 09/29 at 10:37 AM
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Nature Sh*ts Itself

The Washington Post reports the following this morning,

Scientists have run high-tech tests on harmful bacteria in local rivers and streams and found that many of the germs—and in the Potomac and Anacostia rivers, a majority of them—come from wildlife dung. The strange proposition that nature is apparently polluting itself has created a serious conundrum for government officials charged with cleaning up the rivers.

Of course Nature’s problem with soiling herself, if indeed she is of the female persuasion, stems not from her brood of wild creatures, but from the government’s attempts to regulate the wild creatures’ populations through their horribly managed conservation policies.

Naturally, this does not mean that the government, in their oh so infinite wisdom, will not attempt to further regulate the wild creatures residing in the bosom of Nature.  I’m fairly certain that there will be attempts to set up porto potties, or some such designated defecation zone, designed for the wild creatures’ use, complete with Cottonelle, which is of course the tp preferred by bears.

Wildlife Waste Is Major Water Polluter, Studies Say

Posted by John Venlet on 09/29 at 09:10 AM
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Terrorists Flooding Into Michigan?

The U.S. Coast Guard has begun patrolling the Great Lakes surrounding the State of Michigan armed with mounted machine guns, rather than their traditional small arms and rifles.  According to Toronto Globe and Mail reporter, Margaret Philp, the reason for this show of arms is the following,

The U.S. Coast Guard has started to patrol the Great Lakes with machine guns mounted on their vessels and are conducting live-ammunition training drills on the American side to prepare officers to combat terrorists flooding across the border from Canada by boat.

I’m curious to know if this flood of terrorists is a larger threat to the Great Lakes than zebra mussels, or the Canadian themselves.

It’s also curious to note that this terrorist flood does not seem to emanate from Dearborn, Michigan, which appears to maintain the largest population of Muslims in the United States.

Personally, I think that if a terrorist flood begins to overwhelm the shores of Michigan, it will not be the U.S. Coast Guard which stems the tide.  Rather, the terrorists will probably run directly into one of the largest militias in the United States, the Michigan Militia, and they’ll get their clocks cleaned.

Margaret Philp’s story is titled Coast Guard’s live-ammo drills on Great Lakes raise ire, and was linked via Scripps Howard News Service.

Posted by John Venlet on 09/29 at 08:33 AM
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Thursday, September 28, 2006

What the Heil?

Colby Cosh points us to a story, out of Germany, where a young German man is being prosecuted for marketing the Nazi swastika, which is illegal under German law.  The problem is, the Nazi swastika which the young man is marketing, is an anti-Nazi symbol.  Go figure.

German Goes to Trial for Selling Anti-Nazi Symbols

Posted by John Venlet on 09/28 at 04:01 PM
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Freedom of Speech, Denied

Karen Fletcher, a 54 year old woman, who runs a prurient website which runs stories, published words mind you not photos, which describe the sexual and physical abuse of children, has been charged by the federal government with obscenity.

This action, based on the supposed infinite wisdom of the federal government, simply tramples each and every individuals’ First Amendment rights directly into the ground, not simply Ms. Fletcher’s.

Now, is there any redeeming value to Ms. Fletcher’s publishing of such revolting rot?  I would say not, well except for the likes of such sick fucks as possibly John Karr.  But that is not what is at issue here. 

What is at issue, here, is the denial of freedom of speech, plain and simple.  The speech being protected may be disturbing, it may be down right disgusting, and may appeal to the lowest form of humankind which can walk upright and supposedly think, but it is still the denial of freedom of speech.

The crap Ms. Fletcher publishes, and it is crap, still deserves the same protections you and I have to speak freely.

If you think Ms. Fletcher deserves to be charged with obscenity, if you think Ms. Fletcher should be denied the freedom to publish this shit, you are no different than the Muslims rampaging through the streets because the Pope quoted some old Byzantine emperor’s jibe at a Persian while discussing Islam.

Web Site Operator Charged With Obscenity

Posted by John Venlet on 09/28 at 07:24 AM
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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cat’s Out of the Bag Already

The Washington Times has an article up this morning, written by Bill Gertz, titled Iran close to nuclear suspension.  Fine.

It’s the very first paragraph, though, that made me laugh.

Iran is close to an agreement that would include a suspension of uranium enrichment but wants the deal to include a provision that the temporary halt be kept secret, according to Bush administration officials.

So much for the secret.

Posted by John Venlet on 09/26 at 08:16 AM
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Guns, Rhetoric, Pot Kettle Black

The New York Times has an editorial up, today, titled Where Congress Is Soft on Criminals, wherein the editorial writers decry a proposal upcoming before the House that, in the editorial writers’ eyes, will “hobble” the federal government’s power to control the sellers of firearms.  Specifically, the licensing of said firearms dealers.

The second paragraph of the linked editorial, referencing the House’s upcoming discussion on the subject, begins this way,

The rhetoric of the approaching debate…

and then slides, unabashedly, into the grandiloquent proclamations which the editorial writers wring their hands over will be occuring in the House.

...will undoubtedly invoke sportsmen’s rights, but the real issue is the rights of sociopaths and terrorists to make future purchases at their friendly local AK-47 dealer. The House proposal, in fact, would have stopped federal agents from ever revoking the license of Lou’s Loans, the Pennsylvania dealer that sold battlefield weapons to one of the co-conspirators in the 1993 assault on the World Trade Center.

I’m wondering if the NYT editorial writers are suffering from hysteria?  Which, just by coincedence, is also written about today in the NYT in an article titled Is Hysteria Real? Brain Images Say Yes

Posted by John Venlet on 09/26 at 07:48 AM
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Monday, September 25, 2006

Yep, That’ll Work

In another attempt to ensure that Muslim’s feelings don’t get hurt by accusations of terrorist leanings within their ranks, the British have decided that prior to conducting any future raids against those Muslims who are suspected of conspiring to conduct terrorist acts, they will vet their data with a panel of Muslim leaders to determine if the suspected terrorists are actually terrorists, or simply mis-understood Muslims voicing vehement denunciations of Western culture.  In the name of community of course.

Police to brief Muslims before terror raids

Via The Corner

Posted by John Venlet on 09/25 at 08:34 AM
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“Atlas Shrugged” - The Movie?

The idea of producing a movie based on Ayn Rand’s book “Atlas Shrugged” has been kicked around for years, and still is, evidently, being kicked around.

The most recent scuttlebutt on this project, if it would actually go into production, is that the character Dagny Taggart could be played by Angelina Jolie.

Jolie shoulders ‘Atlas’

Via Wendy McElroy

Posted by John Venlet on 09/25 at 08:04 AM
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The Clinton Legacy

Bill Clinton, and his democratic cronies, want to construct a Clinton legacy.  Unfortunately, the construction of the legacy has been mismanaged by blowjobs in the White House, re-defining of the word “is,” and lawsuits.

Clinton’s most recent lawsuit travails involves a Hollywood producer, Peter F. Paul, who accuses the Clintons of “looting.”  Which isn’t that surprising of a charge considering the Clintons are professional job seekers.

Producer accuses Clintons of ‘looting’

Posted by John Venlet on 09/25 at 07:31 AM
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Testing for AIDS, Too Late

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a recommendation for routine AIDS testing for individuals between their teen years to the age of 64.  This recommendation is perceived by The New York Times as

...the best hope to reduce the stubborn persistence of H.I.V. infections in the American population.

This is a patently absurd statement.  If an individual is being tested for the H.I.V. virus, and is found to have the virus, it is too late.  Routine testing only makes known whether you have the H.I.V. virus, or you do not have the virus.  Testing can in no measurable way reduce H.I.V. infections.

Is not the best hope to reduce the persistence of H.I.V. infections in the American population safer sex between individuals?  Prevention beats a pound of cure.

Routine Testing for the AIDS Virus

Posted by John Venlet on 09/25 at 06:59 AM
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Friday, September 22, 2006

A Gun in the Home

An ordinance under consideration, in Greenleaf, Idaho, would require each homeowner to keep a firearm in their home.

All Americans have the right to bear arms.  Some towns have even gone as far as to require each household to have a gun.  Now a small Idaho town is contemplating a similar idea—it’s called the Civil Emergencies Ordinance. And although gun ownership is just one piece of this ordinance, it’s the part that’s getting the most attention.

While I am all for every homeowner to own a firearm, kept loaded and near at hand, this should not require the coercion of the government.

Proposed Ordinance asks Each Household to Have a Firearm

Posted by John Venlet on 09/22 at 10:17 AM
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Thursday, September 21, 2006

There is Nothing New in Islam

The repurcussions and apologies, concerning the speech the Pope made at the University of Regensburg, which I first noted here, are still whirling around the world. 

As I noted in my previous post on this subject, the Muslim world’s temper tantrums were spurred by the following handful of words.

Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.

Let’s consider those words a moment, which the Pope simply quoted, as reasoning individuals, which is exactly what the Pope was driving at in his speech.

What is new in Islam?  Nothing.

The religion of Islam was founded in the year 610, when Muhammad received a revelation on Mount Hira that he was to be a prophet.  In that year, Christianity had already been around for over 600 years.  That’s not new.

The religion Muhammad founded was monotheistic.  The Jewish people had established a monotheistic religion thousands of years ago.  That’s not new.

Islam subjugates its women.  Subjugation of women has been going on since civilizations arose.  That is definitely not new.

Islam hopes to increase the number of their believers via conversion, or, failing that, the sword.  Christianity went through the same phase.  That’s not new.

Is there anything new in Islam?  I think not.  Islam is the same as every other organized religion out there, hoping only to control individuals through fear and intimidation.  That’s not new.

Posted by John Venlet on 09/21 at 06:19 AM
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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Only the Shadow Knows

The title to this post comes from an old time, 1930’s, radio show.  Though the show aired quite some time before my time, it’s a well known line.

I utilized the title because it is the first thought that came to my mind after reading this.

The young woman went to doctors to have them probe her brain, to root out where her seizures came from. But unexpectedly, their investigations and the procedure they performed led her to experience the creepy illusion of a person standing behind her, where nobody was actually present.

The patient described the illusory person as young and of indeterminate sex, a “shadow” who did not speak or move. “He is behind me, almost at my body, but I do not feel it,” she reported.

I just thought it was interesting.

If you’re interested, the article which the above quote is taken from is titled Brain stimulation creates a ‘shadow person’

Posted by John Venlet on 09/20 at 08:05 PM
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