Monday, October 27, 2003
PELTIER-MUMIA IN '04?
Commiewatch picked up a hint that Leftist pop icons and convicted murderers Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal might be the presidential ticket for the Peace & Freedom Party in 2004. Yardley goes on to speculate what this move might mean for the Liliputian parties of the extreme Left. Hey, why not run these guys? It's a natural fit -- murderous ideologies and murderous candidates!
While you are at Commiewatch, be sure to check out Yardley's photos of the recent anti-war protest in San Francisco too.
Friday, October 24, 2003
STRIPPING LAURELS FROM A STALINIST SHILL
It looks as if Walter Duranty may soon be losing his Pulitzer Prize over his mendacious reporting of the Soviet Union during the 1930s:
The Pulitzer Board is still in the process of rendering its judgment, but this report might give it the push it needs. It's about damned time Duranty loses it, I say. Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of The Times, seems to see it differently, fretting that
Oh, bullshit. The fact that he was awarded the Prize at one time will still be in the history books -- that's hardly Stalinist airbrushing.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
SCANDALS WITHIN SCANDALS?
The CounterRevolutionary has discovered an intriguing possible explanation for the Niger yellowcake papers of Wilson/Plame infamy: Were they forged by disgruntled retired CIA agents?
Just be sure to evaluate this cautiously -- turning into this guy is easier than you might think!
Monday, October 20, 2003
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
A short time ago Mrs. Besant, in an interesting essay, announced that there was only one religion in the world... [which] is simply the universal self. It is the doctrine that we are really all one person; that there are no real walls of individuality between man and man. If I may put it so, she does not tell us to love our neighbours; she tells us to be our neighbours. That is Mrs. Besant's thoughtful and suggestive description of the religion in which all men must find themselves in agreement. And I never heard of any suggestion in my life with which I more violently disagree. I want to love my neighbour not because he is I, but precisely because he is not I. I want to adore the world, not as one likes a looking-glass, because it is one's self, but as one loves a woman, because she is entirely different. If souls are separate love is possible. If souls are united love is obviously impossible. A man may be said loosely to love himself, but he can hardly fall in love with himself, or, if he does, it must be a monotonous courtship. If the world is full of real selves, they can be really unselfish selves. But upon Mrs. Besant's principle the whole cosmos is only one enormously selfish person.
It is just here that Buddhism is on the side of modern pantheism and immanence. And it is just here that Christianity is on the side of humanity and liberty and love. Love desires personality; therefore love desires division. It is the instinct of Christianity to be glad that God has broken the universe into little pieces, because they are living pieces. It is her instinct to say "little children love one another" rather than to tell one large person to love himself. This is the intellectual abyss between Buddhism and Christianity; that for the Buddhist or Theosophist personality is the fall of man, for the Christian it is the purpose of God, the whole point of his cosmic idea. The world-soul of the Theosophists asks man to love it only in order that man may throw himself into it. But the divine centre of Christianity actually threw man out of it in order that he might love it. The oriental deity is like a giant who should have lost his leg or hand and be always seeking to find it; but the Christian power is like some giant who in a strange generosity should cut off his right hand, so that it might of its own accord shake hands with him.... No other philosophy makes God actually rejoice in the separation of the universe into living souls. But according to orthodox Christianity this separation between God and man is sacred, because this is eternal. That a man may love God it is necessary that there should be not only a God to be loved, but a man to love him.
--- G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
Friday, October 17, 2003
FROM THE POLITICAL "WELL, DUH" FILES
Writing in Opinion Journal, Daniel Henninger discovers that the Democratic Party is increasingly home for the irreligious:
The hard numbers are new, of course, but nothing here should surprise anyone. Knowing the intellectual currents of the last 200 years helps in expecting this, but that is far more than needed to catch on to it -- simply looking around and listening is enough. In the people I encounter and the media I come across, I find irreligiousity correlating overwhelmingly with a Leftist political slant (and vice versa) and no reason to suspect this is not true in general.
SCHWARTZ ON REFORMING ISLAM
The Atlantic Monthly has an interesting interview with Stephen Schwartz on his book The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'ud from Tradition to Terror. The focus is mainly on the role of Wahhabism in Islamic extremism, but along the way Schwartz touches on the topic of reforming Islam with some points that mesh nicely with my past comments on the issue. Schwartz makes the unusual claim that the type of reform Islam needs is not that of the Reformation, but rather the Counter-Reformation:
Schwartz clearly agrees that there are traditions nurturing of civilization in Islam, and that the key to its future is a return to and a revival of those traditions.
COLUMBUS DA PLAYA
Seen newly written underneath the anti-Columbus graffiti I mentioned previously:
Not a bad comeback, but not exactly raising the level of discourse either. :)
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
VISIT THE KUNSTBAR
Kunstbar (German for "art bar") is a bizarre little animated romp through art history that's the most creative Web cartoon I've seen in a long time. Don't miss it!
(Via The Leibman Theory)
Monday, October 13, 2003
COLUMBUS: NO PIONEER IN SCATOLOGY!
Some Columbus Vilification Day graffiti spotted on campus today:
Absolutely correct, O Brilliant One! Columbus didn't discover shit, he discovered America!
WILSON THE UCSB HIPPIE
OK, OK, just one more Joseph Wilson post from me: So one of Mark Steyn's latest is his take on the significance of the Plame/Wilson affair. Steyn sees it as an indictment of the CIA's poor human intel abilities -- a worthy point, but I want to focus instead on this minor passage from the column:
That's overdoing it a bit, of course, but Steyn's description fueled something that's been on my mind recently: the significance of Joseph Wilson's college years. Wilson is a 1972 graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Assuming that he spent the standard 4 years at our fine institution, the timespan was 1968-1972, the high point of student radicalism. Though today most think of UC Berkeley almost exclusively when considering that phenomenon in California, UCSB gave the Cal campus some stiff competition and became notorious in the minds of other Californians (such as my parents) as perhaps even a worse hotbed for troublemakers. The primary reason occurred right smack in the middle of Wilson's college career: The 1970 Isla Vista Student Riots.
Isla Vista is a sleazy, high-density student slum immediately adjacent to campus. Inhabited by such wryly amusing specimens as these and these, the town boasts all the beer joints and crappy food places one could ever want. Just don't go looking for a bank -- there isn't one, thanks to the Assholes of 1970.
The IV Riots were an extended affair, the full breadth of which you can read about here and see in photos here. The most infamous incident, however, and the reason for the missing bank was what occurred on February 25:
Given this incident and a later attempt to burn down the bank's temporary office, the Bank of America ultimately relocated several miles away. No other bank has ever dared to replace it.
Those who were involved seem rather pleased today with their past mayhem. An example:
See, we weren't just common vandals, but revolutionaries with ideals and strategic planning! Note to any and all who were involved in this: Your actions utterly disgust and sicken me, and show what spoiled, pretentious, narcissistic little brats you were and probably still are.
But I digress.
Back to Wilson. I submit that the events of his college years help to explain why, amid otherwise reasonable statements, he exhibits an anti-conservative animus of a kneejerk variety, and provide another reason for caution when evaluating his claims. Based on my personal experience of him, I doubt that Wilson was in the leadership of the student radicals, or outstandingly extreme during these years for that matter. Given his current-day Leftist views, however, it's unlikely he wasn't significantly shaped by the time. That mentality certainly peeks out of his statements now and then, such as with the hostility expressed in his now-infamous quote:
Hey Joe, I'll let you in on something: It isn't 1970 any more.
Friday, October 10, 2003
So you, my last few straggling readers, have no doubt been thinking, "What's up with that Varenius dude? All he's been posting has been, like, one line entries 'n stuff. Where are the way-cool essay thingies he used to do once in a while, man?" Well I'm glad you asked, my hip little surfer buddy. It turns out I'm knee-deep in my dissertation work (as in Piling it high and Deep) this term and thus not very available for dispensing lengthier bits of blogospheric wisdom. So while I still intend to post several times a week, it will be some time before I can do more than brief entries during my breaks.
Coming soon, though: My socialism reading list.
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE KAY REPORT
The Buggy Professor brings together several sources to explore the true significance of David Kay's Iraqi WMD report.
Friday, October 03, 2003
THE WORST JOBS IN SCIENCE
Hate your job? Lighten up, it could be much worse! Popular Science brings you a little perspective with its list of The Worst Jobs in Science.
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
WILSON'S POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS
It seems we now have some truly concrete evidence to back up the assertions of Joseph Wilson's political bias: Priorities & Frivolities has researched Wison's political contribution history, and, not surprisingly, the majority of his support has gone to Democrats. (And what Democrats!! Teddy Kennedy and Charlie Rangel?! Wilson, I expected better from you than that!)
Neither this nor what I stated in the previous post provides a justification for shrugging off the charges being made, however. No matter how much of a partisan Wilson may be, the facts of the case will stand apart from this. His bias is significant, though, when it comes to evaluating the trustworthiness of his own statements about the issue.