17 April 2007

Best comment on a hero

Liviu Librescu was a professor of of engineering at Virginia Tech.
Librescu, an Israeli engineering and math lecturer who survived the Nazi killings and later escaped from Communist Romania, was one of several foreign victims of Monday's shootings, which coincided with Israel's Holocaust remembrance day." type="hidden"> Israel's Holocaust remembrance day.
He blocked the door and told his students to flee when he knew that there was a gunman in the hall killing people in VT's Norris Hall.

Shephard Smith of Fox News commented today on air (close paraphrase):
How many life lessons had this Holocaust survivor already given his students? And then he gave them one more, laying down his life so that they could escape this horror.

Best Comment on Duke case ...

Saturday Night Live on 4/14 ran a blurb on Weekend Update. Seth Meyers sat before a screen showing the three accused and now exonerated Duke lacrosse players under a picture of Mike Nifong. Said Meyers (close paraphrase):

It's official: Three Duke lacrosse players were raped by district attorney Mike Nifong.


Best comment on Imus etc

In today's Wall Street Journal, Jim Fusilli comments:
Ask any young woman who's been called a "ho" by some dimwit who heard it on shock radio or a rap record and thought it a fact of modern life. Whether the speaker was trying to emulate Don Imus, Young Buck [apparently a rapper] or an executive profiting from hate speech , the intention was the same: to degrade our daughters and sisters.

And moms and friends. Amen.

16 April 2007

An Armed Society is a Polite Society

One wonders about this shooting in Virginia. I am awaiting the press conference that will hopefully clarify some of the questions and maybe give some answers.

But it will not be long, I guarentee that some will be saying that there were two too many guns at VT today.

But I am starting to come to be of a mind that maybe the problem is that there were 500 guns too few.


James Taranto of Opinionjournal.com makes the smae point, always more eloquently than I.

Massacre at a Gun-Free School
Predictably, opponents of Second Amendment rights seized opportunistically on the Virginia Tech massacre. "It is long overdue for us to take some common-sense actions to prevent tragedies like this from continuing to occur," said a statement from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino got questions like this one in yesterday's press briefing:

Columbine, Amish school shooting, now this, and a whole host of other gun issues brought into schools--that's not including guns on the streets and in many urban areas and rural areas. Does [sic] there need to be some more restrictions? Does there need to be gun control in this country?

And of course the New York Times, while noted that "it is premature to draw too many lessons from this tragedy," draws one anyway:

What is needed, urgently, is stronger controls over the lethal weapons that cause such wasteful carnage and such unbearable loss.

But there is another side to this argument. Longtime readers may recall the lead item in our Jan. 18, 2002, column, which concerned a shooting spree at another Virginia institution of higher learning, the Appalachian School of Law. The gunman, Peter Odighizuwa, killed three, and probably would have killed more but for another student's gun:

Students ended the rampage by confronting and then tackling the gunman, officials said.

"We saw the shooter, stopped at my vehicle and got out my handgun and started to approach Peter," Tracy Bridges, who helped subdue the shooter with other students, said Thursday on NBC's "Today" show. "At that time, Peter threw up his hands and threw his weapon down. Ted was the first person to have contact with Peter, and Peter hit him one time in the face, so there was a little bit of a struggle there."

Appalachian is a private institution, Virginia Tech a public one; and Virginia law prohibits guns on campus. Early last year there was an effort in the state Legislature to change that law, but it died in committee. As the Roanoke Times reported at the time:

Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was defeated. "I'm sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly's actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus."

There are reasons one may be wary of arming academia. College students spend a lot of time drinking and carousing, and so perhaps they're better off without firearms. Academic disputes can get vicious; we wouldn't want them to get bloody. But it does not seem a stretch to think that if Cho Seung-hui had encountered someone else with a gun, fewer people would lie dead at Virginia Tech.


Watching the Fox News coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings.

Am a little troubled by description of this as the "worst shooting in American history."

I guess that depends on how you define "shooting," but for my money you kind of need to think Wounded Knee at some point.

10 April 2007

What conspiracy theories reveal about liberals

During the early years of the internet, one of my colleagues in ministry was discussing the benefits of the PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) program, an encryption program being given away as shareware and reportedly considered a risk by some departments of the federal government, because it allowed the transfer of email and data between parties in what is deemed by some to be uncrackable code.

My colleague, from a more conservative denomination, was concerned about the government snooping into his private affairs. I asked, "What have we got to hide?" He responded, "It is the principle."

Now I always thought that a little crackpot, and have never bothered with PGP or anything else aside from transacting my business on-line on reliable websites.

But now I look at the conspiracy theories of the left, from the Rosie ODonnell and the 9/11 conspiracy nuts on up to the most recent, that a professor who has ben critical of the Bush Administration is singled out for screening at the airport (James Taranto has the story, a rebuttal and also a number of choice comments from the left side of blogoshpere).

Excurses: I hate the term Blogosphere. Why did I use it?

What these conspiracies reveal to me is that the Left really thinks that government is the answer. Why? Because they clearly believe that government is capable of all sorts of complex, nefarious which it will pull off in near total secrecy!

Only someone who believes in the efficaciousness of government would want to endow it with the authority that the left wants to in areas of economic control, taxation, medical care, etc.

When the Right wanted to do something really sneaky, Bill Casey sought to set up a parallel, off-book, non-governmental covert action agency, if Oliver North is to be believed.

The right knows how inept government is and tries to shrink it. The left believe government all-capable, and so blames it for everything.

Why do they hate us?

Zbigniew Brzezinski appeared at Duke University last week. He made some truly amazing statements.

The former Carter adviser made it clear he thought the country's three most recent presidents had handled things [in the Middle East] "badly."

And then he went on to make the following strikingly inaccurate statement about Southeast Asia in the 1970's, while commenting on what should be the US's Iraq policy:
As for Iraq, he argued that a "jointly set date of departure" for U.S. forces, agreed to by the American and Iraqi governments, would put pressure on Iraq's various factions to reach an accommodation. U.S. diplomats should also try to pull Iraq's neighbors into a discussion about that country's security, as they all would be harmed if the situation there explodes.

Brzezinski said there's no reason to think a bloodbath would necessarily follow a U.S. withdrawal.

"We expected that the U.S. leaving Vietnam would result in massive killings and genocide and so forth, and collapse of the dominoes in Southeast Asia," he said. "It didn't happen. How certain are we of the horror scenarios that have been mentioned in what will take place in Iraq?" [Emphasis added.]
The reporter at least has the wherewithal to correct that last statement.
History does record that a bloodbath that claimed millions of lives occurred in neighboring Cambodia, the so-called "killing fields," and that millions more people left Vietnam as refugees after the two countries fell in 1975.
"How certain are we of the horror scenarios that have been mentioned in what will take place in Iraq?" he asks? I am as certain of them as I am that he has blatantly lied about the mass murders that followed the US retreat (oh, I mean phased withdrawal) from Southeast Asia.

Why do they hate us? In part because we do not treat them like human beings. Those few million lives lost in the 70's? Only Asians, Zbiggy seems to feel.

3. And to think I used to respect that man and his boss.

Hat tip: Best of the Web Today

06 April 2007

James Taranto: Children's author

I post this from BOTWT without additional comment, except to say that it works for me.

Obama-Piper '08
Chug, chug, chug. Puff, puff, puff. Ding-dong, ding-dong. The little train rumbled over the tracks. Her cars were full of good things for boys and girls.

Then all of a sudden she stopped with a jerk. She simply could not go another inch. She tried and she tried, but her wheels would not turn.

"Here comes a shiny new engine," said the funny little clown who jumped out of the train. "Let us ask him to help us." But the Shiny New Engine snorted: "I am a Passenger Engine. My train has parlor cars in which people sit in soft arm-chairs and look out of big plate-glass windows. I pull the likes of you? Indeed not!"

The Rusty Old Engine sighed: "I am so tired. I must rest my weary wheels. I cannot pull even so little a train as yours over the mountain. I can not. I can not. I can not."

"Oh, Little Blue Engine," cried the dolls and toys. "Will you pull us over the mountain?" Then she said, "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." She tugged and pulled and pulled and tugged and slowly, slowly, slowly they started off.

Too slowly to keep up with the Shiny New Engine, as the Associated Press reports:

With a stunning $25 million fundraising haul for his presidential campaign, Democrat Barack Obama affirmed his status Wednesday as Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief rival. . . .

[Mrs.] Clinton was at home in New York Wednesday and had no comment on Obama's announcement. But her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, issued a statement congratulating Obama and said the fundraising of all the Democratic contenders "demonstrates the overwhelming desire for chug in our country."

Chug, chug, chug. Puff, puff, puff. We didn't think she could.

01 April 2007

Back to blogging

Lots of things I have wanted to blog on, but the season - Lent - plus my inability to sit at the computer for long periods mean that I will not be writing any long, brilliantly worded essays. Looks like this is a time for some quick hits. So that is what I will be blogging for at least a while.

A New Routine

For the second time in six months, I have wrenched my back out of place. The chiropractor told me that 90% of men aged 20-50 have at least one drop to your knees, tears in your eyes , debilitating episode of lower back pain.

I said, what do the other 10% do, sit on the couch all day?

No. They are the guys with their shirts off when not at the beach with the six-pack abs.

So, there is little sitting around and watching tv anymore. Now it is laying on the floor, stretching and crunching and watching tv.

Not as relaxing, but if I can avoid another episode like this one, it is worth it.