Thursday, March 30, 2006

Venezuela Watch 3/30/06

From Network 54: Dutch MPs fear Venezuelan invasion of the Antilles
Members of parliament in the Netherlands have urged the Minister of Defence to re-evaluate the defensive capabilities around the Netherlands Antilles. According to the government parties CDA and VVD, there is a growing threat coming from Venezuela, which has made several claims on the islands. The Minister of Defence, Henk Kamp, attempted to reassure the parliament by claiming that the Venezuelan armed forces would pose no threat. However, parliament members do not shore the minister’s optimistic view and claim that the forces currently present would not be sufficient in case of an invasion attempt by Venezuela and have therefore asked for a new strategic analysis of the region. Depending on its outcome, they have also asked the minister to re-evaluate the forces currently present and, if necessary, strengthen the capacity.
This should be taken seriously because there is precedent for this type of behavior on the part of Hugo Chavez.

(Hat tip to Barcepundit.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Eavesdropping On The Crunchy Con-versation

What are the Crunchy Cons talking about? Follow the conversation going on here.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Our Brother From Another Mother

CaNN has a comprehensive aggregation of information and opinion about the plight of Abdur Rahman, the Afghan Christian facing execution for the crime of conversion. I often ask myself if I could be convicted of "converting to Christianity". Too often the conclusion is that the case against me would be dropped for lack of evidence. Mr. Rahman has my deepest respect. (Hat tip to a relapsed catholic.)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Revolution Must Be Fought On All Fronts

Venezuelans bend over en masse for Hugo Chavez. Just kidding! This is art - no, really it is. Just ask the artist. (Hat tip to The Latin Americanist.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

On The Eastern Front

The Beatroot celebrates victory in Poland and looks at defeat in Belarus: Politics: the art of the nearly impossible
Twenty five years ago this week the Solidarity trade union called for a four hour warning strike, with a general strike threatened to follow four days later. Participation in the warning strike was 100 percent. Maybe the Belarusian opposition should take note..?
Read the rest of the article.

News and commentary about the Belarusian election and its aftermath:

The Chavistas Are Serious Revolutionaries

But enough of suppressing free speech, allowing the Cuban secret police to operate with impunity, and destroying your economy, it's time to get serious about the Revolution!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Modern McDonald's Math For Mental Midgets

Lou Minatti does the math for someone who can't:
Sarah's parents are 100% European. Sarah is ready to vomit because she hates America so much and wants to move to the UK.
I bet you get insulted from a lot of people for saying that Americans are stupid, but let's be honest! The truth is your right!!! Americans are pretty stupid. Especially our fabulous leader Bush.....God......he's got as much common sense as a five year old. I sometimes ashamed to be an American....because I know what the rest of the world thinks of us. My parents are 100% European. They were born and raised in Britain. What country are you from? I'm moving to the UK soon. Good, because if I see another McDonald's sign I'm going to throw up......You're right about American tourists. You can definitely whose a tourist from America. I go to the UK every summer to visit my grandparens
Unfortunately for Sarah, there are at least 1,200 McDonald's restaurants in the UK. So let's do the math.
  • The UK is 244,820 sq km in size. With 1,200 McDonald's restaurants, there is one McDonald's restaurant per 204 sq km.
  • The US is 9,631,418 sq km in size. With 13,000 McDonald's restaurants, there is one McDonald's restaurant per 741 sq km.
So the McDonald's Density Ratio (MDR) in the UK is far higher than in the US. This means that Sarah is much more likely to spot a McDonald's in Old Blighty and vomit than if she stays in the US.
Now, "Old Blighty" is not an acceptable characterization of the country where my ancestors were burned at the stake for asserting freedom of conscience, and it must be pointed out that Sarah, having been born here, is at least as American as Howard Dean; but other than that, Lou is a certifiable genius. Read the rest of the article for links and more analysis of similar stupidity.

While we are on the topic of McDonald's, I would like to point out that I consider their food to be a health risk. This is a company that needed to do research to figure out that "taste" was considered an important factor relevant to food buying decisions. That said, and as every other red-blooded American male with a four-year old grandson in their life will confess, I am occasionally forced to eat there. The little rascal really likes McDonald's Playland. This argument cannot be made for the success of McDonald's in France, where we know that beleaguered grandparents take their second generation offspring to the Louvre instead. Given the success of MacDonald's in Europe must be due to European consumption, I find it somewhat confusing that Europeans would consider it to be emblematic of America. I don't even know anyone personally who likes MacDonald's. Somehow it just doesn't fit into "Mom, baseball and apple pie". I do, however, understand the response of the author of The Night I Became An American. (Hat tip to relapsed catholic.)
Suddenly I realized that to my young Austrian companion, it made no difference whether I knew Bruckner's symphonies backwards and forwards; it mattered not in the slightest that I could appreciate the poetry of Grillparzer in the original German. I was an American, and, therefore, I had to be the kind of person who, when in a strange land, would make a bee-line to the closest McDonald's, out of fear of tasting the food of foreigners.
Would you respond as he did?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

PM Blair And The Sociology Of Faith

My post, PM Blair Comes Out Of The Closet!, announces to the world (my readers, at least) that Prime Minister Blair has used the G#d word in public. Peter Gentle comments on this faux pas. Mr. Gentle's views on this are validated as the view of the British public at large in this post from openDemocracy: "Best not to take it too far": how the British cut religion down to size.
When Britain's prime minister mentions God on primetime TV, millions of citizens are puzzled or outraged. Is this Tony Blair's problem, or theirs? Callum Brown traces the long withdrawing whimper of "Christian Britain".
The land of my ancestors and spiritual forefathers now receives missionaries from third-world countries who confront a paganism, while more often than not urbane, is still very real. Read the article to find out how this situation developed.

(Hat tip to OrthodoxyToday Blog.)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Roundhead Or Cavalier?

Peter Gentle asks what is evidently the British version of the age-old question: "Helmet or Ant-eater?" Now that it is clear that we are not discussing the English Civil War of 1642, let's take a look at a relevant quote:
Roundhead or Cavalier? It may not be of any interest to you (at least, I hope it isn't) but to Jacek Kurski - one of the ruling Law and Justice's (PiS) key strategists - it's a matter of political credibility.

This week's Polish version of Newsweek is carrying a story claiming that a key government politician is a bit of an exhibitionist. Two years ago, Kurski (known to his friends as 'the Pit-bull') was so worried about rumours going around members of the rival catholic-nationalist party, League of Polish Families (LPR), how he was a bit short in the foreskin department, that he got on a chair, took down his trousers and undies and proceeded to show a room full of LPR members his…member!

Kurksi has denied the gossip as 'lies' and is assuring anyone who will listen, he does, in fact, still have all that he was born with below the waist.

But why all the fuss about the ownership, or not, of a few milligrams of flesh?
Mr. Kurski is not the most prominent political operative who has felt the need to share with others the condition of the shrouding on his unit, but then President Clinton preferred an audience of one. I must admit that I have come out of the closet myself on this exact question and did so for very much the opposite reason of Mr. Kurski. (My announcement was hopefully more tasteful than that of "The Pitbull". Doug of Mobange! and Crossword Bebop would have given me notice if it had not been.) The obvious anti-Semitism of Mr. Kurski is reprehensible on its face. It is time for the Catholic Church of Poland to make a statement against anti-Semitism, and for proper decorum, by calling for the dismissal of Mr. Kurski.

(Hat tip to the Impish One for the snark about Wild Bill.)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Living In The Past To Hide The Present

From The Viking Observer: How the moslem(sic) inventors changed the world - or did they?

This is an educational program in England to promote good relationships between members of English society. Not only do they need to appeal to Antiquity to find content, they also need to engage in the theft of intellectual property. Read this article for links and analysis.

Technorati Search on this topic.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Answering The Last Amazon


I have given some thought to the questions raised in your post"High time for the Reformation to come of age in Hollywood. You asked,
. . . . . While watching the movie what struck me as odd is that all these demon/devil films pit Catholics against the Devil/demons types.

Just why is it that Catholics are perceived by Hollywood as the last bastion of hope against the Dark? Where are the Baptists, Lutherans or the Pentecostals? I can understand there being no Presbyterians as the upper echelon of leadership of the USA Presbyterian Church seems to be on a mission to sanctify a number of very human monsters but really where are the other Protestants? Every notice that the devil/demon character types get a real hard on for either fallen or ex-priests? I have yet to see a demon/devil in a movie get very excited about the prospecting of receiving the soul of a United Church pastor.
1) "Just why is it that Catholics are perceived by Hollywood as the last bastion of hope against the Dark?" There are a variety of reasons for this, including some which deny the very premise upon which your question is based. It is not so much that Hollywood sees Catholics as the last bastion of hope as much as they see them as readily identified with one side of a necessary plot conflict. The evidence for this is found in their preoccupation with the Geneva Convention. Although this is often ignored by George Clooney in other contexts, Hollywood writers are well aware that the articles of the Geneva Convention require combatants to be in the uniform of the state they represent. This works out well because the Catholic priest's "uniform" is readily recognizable in most cultures. Although this is simply a different take on the "black hat - white hat" stereotypes of the old westerns, it does help avoid the need for character development in the movie and makes more room for crucifix-shaped shotguns.

This also helps Hollywood deal with the growing ignorance of Christianity, both in Hollywood and in the general populace. (One must remember that these movies are also shown in Europe, where Christianity is hardly even a fleeting memory. Most Europeans, however, do know that the Pope is in Rome - from whence, in times very past, he ruled Europe.) Thus while most people would be unaware of Jesus' use of exorcism, they are aware that the Catholic Church has a well known history of exorcism - a history which extends at least as far back as "The Exorcist".

This lack of knowledge is also problematic because Hollywood has been left without a "go-to" Catholic to act as a translator with the departure of "Vichy" Jack Valenti. This leaves Hollywood with a rather awkward choice of sources for information on Catholicism between the likes of Paticia Heaton and Mel Gibson (disqualified because they actually believe that stuff) and, on the other hand, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, who, while not officially actors, will act the part of being Catholic if it is expedient to do so. Their utility as actual spokesmen for Catholicism is lessened by their failure to remain current in the subject matter. I must admit that I am puzzled by the failure of Andrew Greeley to ascend to the Holy See of Hollywood as he would seem to be the heir apparent. Perhaps there is some lurking Catholicism which disqualifies him.

2) "Where are the Baptists, Lutherans or the Pentecostals / where are the other Protestants?" The problem with the Protestants goes back to their lack of a "uniform". There are too many different Protestants to have a stereotype represent them all. While your typical Lutheran minister might have some nifty vestments for use on Sunday, they are largely undifferentiated from the rest of us on other days of the week. Let's face it, the ministerial collar looks more like a fashion accessory to a Nehru jacket rather than a uniform. This is especially true when worn with love beads (be sure to tuck the Cross into your pocket - wouldn't want to offend anyone). Baptists and Pentecostals have a larger problem: pompadour hairdos, white belts and white shoes do not a uniform make. While an army of Benny Hinns might be in bad taste, it hardly is scary - although it did feature prominently in one of my nightmares. This is simply a case where no one, except and the Kos Kids, would expect the Spanish Inquisition.

This is not to say, however, that Baptists and Pentecostals do not show up in these movies. Where do you think Hollywood finds their demons? There are many movies which would have been unthinkable without these Bible-Belt Beelzebubbas. Baptists virtually created Kevin Bacon ex nihilo. A Lutheran may or may not qualify as a demon. This is true of members of other Protestant denominations as well. Those who don't show up as demons are quite likely to show up as extras. Their uses are varied: the feckless minister with no answer, a National Council of Churches spokesman courageously speaking out against Zionism and the looming American Theocracy at a meeting of CAIR, or Gene Robinson shepherding the flock on Brokeback Mountain. These latter examples all "speak truth to power" and are considered to be acceptable spokesmen for Protestant Christianity. It should also be noted that it is entirely possible for an Evangelical to be allowed to work in the main house as long as they remember their place and "mind their p's and q's".

3) "Every(sic) notice that the devil/demon character types get a real hard on for either fallen or ex-priests? I have yet to see a demon/devil in a movie get very excited about the prospecting of receiving the soul of a United Church pastor." One must establish a context to properly frame the answer to this question. One need only consider the body of vampire literature to understand the appropriate application of the phrase "hard on". Many of the Vampire tales capture the absolutely seductive nature of evil. On the other hand, that most accomplished writer of seductive vampire literature and pornography, Anne Rice, has found Christ even more "seductive". This, however, is not the context to which I refer. One must consult the story of the Prodigal Son to answer your question. Although this parable is considered to be an allegory to show God's joy in our return to fellowship with Him, it also works to explain those who return to fellowship with other "fathers". It may escape notice in all of this that the brother who remained seems to receive short shrift in the celebration.

In closing, I must note the contributions by a friend who suggested "hiding the Cross in your pocket" and felt this whole thing could be summed up in the phrase: "PLOT DEVICE". Where is the poetry in that? I would also like to suggest two movies which show Christians fighting a different battle against demons. The first is a Canadian film, Black Robe, which is available for rent. The second is a story of an event which occurred in my lifetime, End of the Spear, which you may still find in the theater.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Ontology And Chuck Norris

The Big Finger at The Impudent Finger insisted that I read this. I find the arguments completely convincing, which is to say that I find it as reasonable to believe that Chuck Norris exists as it is to believe that you exist. (Sometimes I feel so alone in this "possible" world.) At a younger age, I had the quality of "round-kickedness". Do you have that quality?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Mobange! on the Anti-Jihadist Manifesto

Doug at Mobange! delivers a thorough analysis in Reflections on "Together Facing the New Totalitarianism". My original post of links to other commentators can be found here.

Monday, March 06, 2006

PM Blair Comes Out Of The Closet!

Read about it at The Dossing Times. (Not that there is anything wrong with that.)

Friday, March 03, 2006

re: The EUSSR

From The Brussels Journal: Former Soviet Dissident Warns For EU Dictatorship
Vladimir Bukovksy, the 63-year old former Soviet dissident, fears that the European Union is on its way to becoming another Soviet Union. In a speech he delivered in Brussels last week Mr Bukovsky called the EU a “monster” that must be destroyed, the sooner the better, before it develops into a fullfledged totalitarian state.
Follow the link to read (or listen to) the interview and speech.

CaribPundit Thanks Poland

From CaribPundit:
The Poles (the peace of Christ be with them), having suffered terribly under oppressive communism, have no desire to see Islamofascism prevail; neither are they afraid or ashamed to confess their Christianity. Therefore, "[t]he Polish Foundation of St. Benedictus introduces its "Martyrs of our Time" ad campaign this week."
Read the rest of her post.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

re: Facing The New Totalitarianism