Monday, July 16, 2007

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Jolly Islamic Innkeepers

The Times of London reports that BBC reporter Alan Johnston's kidnappers are annoyed that he hasn't been more grateful for their hospitality:

THE mastermind behind the kidnapping of Alan Johnston, the BBC correspondent, is an experienced terrorist who fought with Al-Qaeda alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan.
“We used to give him everything he wanted,” Abu Zobayer, an aide to Dagmoush, said.

“We spent £70 on his food every week. The Matouk restaurant [one of the best eateries in Gaza] got rich because we had to feed him ... We had people with him all the time to try to help him to relax”

I'm no expert, but I imagine that Muslims believe that lying is a sin, like murder and suicide, so I guess Mr. Abu is telling the truth. Otherwise, one might suppose there was some other reason why they had someone with Alan Johnston all the time.

Betsy from Betsy's Page commiserates with the Palestinians:

How rude of him not to appreciate all that the kindnappers were doing for him.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Man arrested for giving away Bibles near school

In Key West, authorities have prohibited a man "from peacefully handing out Bibles on a public sidewalk within 500 feet of any school in the entire State."

He and his co-conspirator are member's of the Gideon society, and are being defended by the Alliance Defense Fund. Here are the facts according to their lawyers:
Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Friday on behalf of a member of Gideons International threatened with arrest for distributing Bibles on a public sidewalk. A Monroe County sheriff’s officer told Thomas Gray, along with several other members of the Gideons, that he had “no right” to be within 500 feet of a public school’s property.
So, at the same time that we apparently have al-Quaeda doctors trying to get into the United States in order to kill infidels, in Democrat-controlled cities authorities are trying to suppress ... the Gideons. Just a few years ago, when al-Quaeda was sneaking terror cells into the United States for the Sept 11 attacks, the Democrats in New Jersey and California were busy trying bring the full machinery of the state against .... the Boy Scouts!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Halloween comes early this year

Never mind the work of Alfred Hitchcock. Never mind "An American Werewolf in London". Never mind the fiction of my partial namesake Edgar Allan Poe. If you feel like being terrified tonight, read this one-paragraph classified email from an FBI intelligence analyst; and remember that your government is what stands between you and Al-Quaeda.

Paris Hilton and the progression of western art

I sent the following story to a friend, and told her that politics couldn't get any sillier:
When Barack Obama arrived this week for a campaign fundraiser at a Virginia art gallery, one large painting was covered by a curtain and another had been removed entirely before the Democrat's arrival. Obama's staff apparently was concerned that the paintings--both by artist Jamie Boling--would somehow embarrass the Illinois senator, who spoke Tuesday night to a crowd of 500 supporters at Richmond's Plant Zero gallery.
My friend, a deep and thoughtful art historian, cut through the irrelevant politics and got right to the heart of the matter:

Forget about politics; what about art? If silly is the word.

She's right on-target! The market for vapid contemporary art is mostly people who want to buy a reputation for intelligence without having to do any actual thinking. Why else would Sen. Obama have a fundraiser in an art gallery? But then his advisors realized that a fundraiser in an art gallery runs the risk of being seen with the artwork for sale in that gallery.

So, summing up:
  • Paris Hilton is famous because she is famous.
  • The paparazzi become famous by photographing Paris Hilton, who is famous because she is famous.
  • Jamie Boling is trying to be famous by imitating the paparazzi who become famous by photographing Miss Hilton, who is famous because she is famous.
  • Sen. Obama's handlers try to project a cultivated image by holding an event in the Plant Zero gallery, which in turn projects a hip image by showing the artwork of James Boling, who is trying to be famous by imitating the paparazzi who become famous themselves by photographing Paris Hilton, who is famous by being famous.

JFK started this all, so I guess that this is the house that Jack built.

I wish I liked Dunkin Donuts coffee

Like a lot of people, I imagine that I prefer to deal with ethical companies. Dunkin Donuts has always struck me as a very ethical company: it encourages investment in deprived areas. I just wish that their donuts and pastries weren't so unpleasantly greasy.

It actively seeks out immigrants and single mothers for franchises and employment. Thousands of future Americans have gotten their leg-up by owning a Dunkin Donuts franshise. I just wish that every Dunkin Donuts didn't have a kazillion noisy refrigerators near the tables making conversation or eating impossible.

Its stores are always clean and well-lit. But there are only a few seats and table in each store.

Finally, Dunkin Donuts is one of the few large companies that actually refuses to hire illegal immigrants. I wish that I found their coffee drinkable.

When I want a quick coffee and snack in the morning, I go to McDonalds. And yet I still delude myself that I am the sort of person who prefers to deal with ethical companies.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


I'm awfully fond of Mel Gibson's Hamlet, but if you want a 7-minute version of the play then you can't do better than this:

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Embedded Lawyers

A letter in the Wall Street Journal this morning:

With regard to "Deadly Double Standards" by David G. Bolgiano, editorial page, July 3, the Department of Defense could clarify the matter as follows: The leading airplane, the leading infantry platoon, and especially the leading vehicle in a convoy should each contain a lawyer. When the lawyer is shot at, wounded, or killed -- take your pick -- then it is OK to engage the enemy. As we have such a large surplus of legal talent in the U.S., we could then draft a few patriotic lawyers to uphold the rights of the enemy combatants.

Don Sims
Northridge, Calif.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Thompson

From a BBC "Talking Points" thread about anti-Americanism:

"Their values are screwed, with their gun laws their people are screwed. They show arrogant capitalism to the point of disgust allowing all types of immorlity, caring more about money than life."
Andrew Knight, Leeds

Then please teach us Oh, Enlightened one!, how us misguided souls can reach your level of holiness and be free of all earthly desires. We are eagerly awaiting for your inspiring wisdom.

Richard Thompson, Cape Coral, United States