(These ideas are explicated in this sloppy manifesto)

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Because we have two missing dogs, Cameron and I are at the pound every other day. We saw this monster on the day he was apprehended as a stray, awaiting pick-up by his owners. It was love at first sight for me, so we kept an eye on his cage, in case the owners didn't come to get him. In fact they didn't, and he became 'adoptable' on Thursday. 'Adoptable' sounds like a palmy fate, but in reality it denotes a first-in-first-out queue to the crematorium, four days tops, less when kennel space is tight.

We're sensitive to the plight of big dogs. People get them as puppies because they're as cute as Easter chicks. But when the puppy grows out of being cute and grows into being loud, destructive, messy and boundlessly hungry, big dogs get abandoned. Like Easter chicks. That's ultimately what happened here: He's a purebred Bloodhound as far as we can tell. He's licensed and neutered. He has a HomeAgain subcutaneous ID chip. In other words, he was costly to acquire and costly to maintain. And yet his owners didn't come to pick him up.

So we adopted him Thursday. In part to keep him out of the crematorium, but mostly because he's an adoring and adorable behemoth. Ninety pounds. Taller than a typing desk at the shoulder. Canyon-deep jowls aflow with rivers of drool. He's a big dog. He's about two years old, and Bloodhounds don't stop growing until they're three, so he could end up being a good deal bigger.

He's very much a puppy, and he dominates by default--by size, not by disposition. My girl Shyly (45 pounds) is his special pet, and he plays with her by rolling right over her. Our English Coon Hound, Desdemona (65 pounds), hates change, and she is the ultimate Alpha Bitch, but as much as she howls and growls and tries to dominate the Blood, he doesn't even notice her. He walks right through her empty challenges.

He's an obedience school dropout, which may be why his first family abandoned him. Nothing horrible, just a conviction that cat food is a nice snack and going over the furniture is a convenient short-cut. But a dog this size doesn't have to have horrible habits to wreak horrible damage, so Cathy informs us that Cam and I are obliged to train this beast.

We call him Odysseus. Big, smart, sweet--and very smelly, so his nickname is Odoriferous. He doesn't replace the two dogs we lost, Charleigh and Peritas, the two dogs we hope every day to find. But he's a big, beautiful dog, and we love him very much.

Friday, March 14, 2003
Islam watch: What is at stake?

This is from The Cell, a manual for al-Qaeda operatives, as quoted at
"Islam does not co-exist or make a truce with unbelief, but rather confronts it. The confrontation that Islam calls for ... does not know Socratic debates, Platonic ideals, nor Aristotelian diplomacy. But it knows the dialogue of bullets, the ideals of assassination, bombing, and destruction, and the diplomacy of the cannon and machine gun."
It's right there in the clearest language: Their war is against reason. They will not stop until the human mind is eternally stultified.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Wacky Iraqi scavenger hunt party...

And you thought the French were tough! Here is the diabolically onerous list of tasks Saddam Hussein, Iraq's Dictator-For-Now, will have to undertake to placate the the implacable wrath of Great Britain:
1. Have your picture taken while sitting in a stranger's lap
2. Stand on top of a firetruck while wearing a fireman's helmet
3. Kiss a man or a cow, whichever is more disgusting to you
4. Dance in a fountain while singing the 'Friends' theme song
5. Order a restaurant meal while wearing a snorkel and a muumuu
6. Play a cheap, home-made guitar on the corner and take up a collection
To which the mighty Dragon of Saint George adds only this: Or else!

Spontaneity's mausoleum...

Surely you've seen this atrocity from the Whittier Daily News:
Antiwar protesters burned and ripped up flags, flowers and patriotic signs at a Sept. 11 memorial that residents erected on a fence along Whittier Boulevard days after the terrorist attacks in 2001 and have maintained ever since.

However, although officers witnessed the vandalism Saturday afternoon, police did not arrest three people seen damaging the display because they were "exercising the same freedom of speech that the people who put up the flags were,' La Habra Police Capt. John Rees said Monday.

"For this to be vandalism, there had to be an ill-will intent,' he said.
It's a curse of the blowflysphere that certain kinds of stories are impossible to miss. Here's an atrocity I expect you haven't heard about, though:
In reaction to the events of September 11, items honoring the heroes of New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. were spontaneously placed by visitors at the front of [New York-New York in Las Vegas] the New York City-themed resort-casino.

The majority of these personal articles include T-shirts pinned with handwritten notes, flowers, flags, poems and pictures of family and friends lost in the tragic events of September 11.

In response to the overwhelming outpouring of emotion by so many visitors, New York-New York is committed to respectfully preserving the thousands of articles and to honoring the spirit in which they were offered.

The permanent tribute is located at the base of the Statue of the Liberty replica in front of New York-New York Hotel & Casino.

The tribute is a granite structure base with shadow boxes encasing some of the artifacts and items left by visitors at New York-New York Hotel & Casino. Situated at the front of the hotel-casino, the tribute is a prominent architectural element of New York-New York, providing the opportunity for people all over the world to reflect on this moment in history.
Do you understand? There was a massive, spontaneous display of genuine, heartfelt grief, honor and outrage--and it has been destroyed and replaced by a granite mausoleum. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot...

It was an amazing thing, while it was there. Mostly shirts from firehouses and police stations around the country, but it started with candles lit by people who were stuck in Las Vegas in the days immediately following 9/11. They were grounded, and they needed a way to express their sorrow and their outrage, and they did it along the wrought iron fence surrounding the replica New York Harbor, by the replica Statue of Liberty, at New York-New York.

It lasted for more than a year, thousands of items left by thousands of people, grieving for the people who had died and celebrating the heroes who ran to their rescue, some of whom ran to their own deaths. It was an actual instance of spontaneity, a quality ever more rare in the scripted and televised performance we have made of our world. Not a presidential press conference. Not a star-studded Madison Square Garden extravaganza. Not a tendentious PR package put out by the National Education Association or the Junior Chamber of Commerce. This was actual real-life America, the kind of thing most Americans are by now embarrassed to undertake even when they are not being ridiculed and regimented by the elites into a faked greeting-card insincerity.

So what happened? A chunky, horse-faced woman dressed in a pastel skirt suit and armed with an overbite and a clipboard and a whistle on a lanyard, she or someone just like her, took the real, the actual, the genuine, the heartfelt, the spontaneous--and turned it into another tribute to faked greeting-card insincerity. The Communists in Whittier ripped up and burned flags, behaving like savages because they are savages. But Ms. Clipboard--or, better yet, a committee of Ms. and Mr. Clipboards--destroyed the real memorial and replaced it with the fake because they loathe the reality of messy human will. Which atrocity is worse? And which, in the end, is the greater peril to human freedom?

Surely New York-New York owns its fence and can do what it chooses with chattels abandoned on that fence. But they have destroyed something very beautiful, replacing it with a monument to the steady--and voluntary--Nazification of the once-free American people.

Cain's world: All the 'shock and awe' of a nuke without the opprobrium

Mackubin Thomas Owens in the National Review on the MOAB--the Mother Of All Bombs--a 21,000 pound satellite-guided incendiary weapon that is being very publicly tested by the Pentagon:
Defense officials reportedly describe the purpose of the weapon as primarily "psychological." The daisy cutter was employed in such a role during the 1991 Gulf War. DoD has certainly made no effort to keep the effects of this weapon secret. This lack of secrecy meshes with another recent news report claiming that a centerpiece of a campaign of shock and awe would be the purposeful destruction of an Iraqi Republican Guard unit as an incentive to others to surrender. A fuel-air explosion of the magnitude generated by a MOAB resembles a small nuclear detonation.
'All Saddam has to do is dis-arm.' Or, 'All Saddam has to do is go into exile. This war can still be avoided.' These claims are false. The United States intends to demonstrate in the demolition of Iraq that it can do more damage with conventional weapons than any potential enemies can do with the nukes they don't dare use. Visualize every dam in China crumbling all at the same instant. The Chinese will, when they see the mushroom cloud of dust over Baghdad. There is no way the United States will cancel this demonstration...

Monday, March 10, 2003
BurqaLib: Bearing up to anti-Muslim oppression on Long Island

From a BurqaLib event on Long Island, Newsday reports that Muslim women really don't have it all that bad--provided they live in non-Muslim countries. But even in palmy America, Muslims face vile oppression:
While many of the women said attacks against Muslims have not been widespread on Long Island, relations haven't been completely cordial, either.
We are provided with an example, which is contrary to policy for these kinds of stories. Normally newspaper accounts of Muslim oppression speak in broad terms of attacks, but they don't actually specify any particulars. Not so with Newsday. They practice journalism there. So what do you suppose is the nature of the attack cited? A brick through a window? A burning cross on a manicured lawn? A mosque blown up? A grisly massacre of modestly giggling schoolgirls? Well, sort of...
Nazli Chaudhry said one boy in her son's first-grade class kept taunting him by saying, "Your father is Osama bin Laden," prompting a fistfight between the two.
The horror...

Islam-o-whopper: American Muslims enslaved at internment camps!

At a Harvard symposium, "Three civil rights leaders urged Muslim Americans and others to speak out against government encroachment on civil liberties." This much from the Harvard Crimson Online:
Cohen, who has represented members of Native-American communities in the past, compared present treatment of some Muslim Americans to black slavery and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. He criticized the government for hiding its activities from the public eye.

"It's like Korematsu never happened. Slavery never happened," he said.
All the frisked grannies down at the airport understand that American Muslims have no rational basis for comparing themselves to enslaved blacks or interred Japanese. But surely Muslims can complain that they feel a wary suspicion emanating from their fellow Americans.

Why should that be so?

My son's violin teacher is an Israeli, an actual born-there Israeli, not a transplant. She came to the U.S. to study at Julliard, and she stayed here when she finished. Now she's an American. Not just an American citizen, but an American-of-the-heart, a patriot in the best sense of the word. After 9/11 she put a gaudy foil American-flag-shield-thing in her front window, making a demonstration, just like all the other Americans.

It would be entirely reasonable, when America is attacked, to expect American Muslims to make the same sorts of patriotic displays as other Americans. I'm not saying none have, but we know it's not common, since, if it were, between the Council on American Islamic Relations and the breathless television news, we'd never hear the end of it.

But it would be even more reasonable to expect American Muslims--if they are Americans-of-the-heart and not just sworn-in, rubber-stamped 'citizens'--to run down to the local FBI office and tell everything they know about every criminal in their local mosque. Most of the terrorist cells unearthed in the U.S. have been mosque-affiliated, and it is impossible to believe that no one around those terrorists knew what they were up to.

Are most American Muslims peaceful, law-abiding people, as the president and all his minions insist? Surely. Have they denounced terrorism? A few, but an underwhelming few. Have they implicated the terrorists in their midst? By that measure, the Pakistanis are better Americans than American Muslims.

Why should it be so that American Muslims are sometimes viewed with suspicion by other Americans? Suspicion is an ugly thing, and people can only be judged as individuals. But ugly as it might be, that suspicion is not without basis or cause.

Sunday, March 09, 2003
Islam watch: Another job for Nick and Norm

From The Miami Herald:
Latin America is becoming a major fundraising base for radical Islamic groups in the Middle East, which are getting between $300 million and $500 million a year from various criminal networks in the region, a top U.S. military commander told The Herald.

Gen. James T. Hill, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, which oversees U.S. military relations in Latin America, said much of this money comes from drug trafficking, arms dealing and other illegal activities. He said the funds are sent abroad from several Latin American areas with large Middle Eastern populations, such as the triple frontier between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, and Margarita island off the coast of Venezuela.

''The fastest-growing religion in Latin America today is Islam,'' Gen. Hill said during an interview at his office. ``We think that there are between 3 and 6 million people of Middle Eastern descent in Latin America. There are radical Islamic groups associated with that population that are using it to create lots of money for their organizations.''

Hill said that about ``$300 million to $500 million a year, easily, goes [from Latin America] to groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al Gamaat.''