Archive for August, 2007

Newspapers finally report on the new cartoon protests, a month after Gates of Vienna

Friday, August 31st, 2007

The Telegraph has a story today on the current cartoon protests:

Fears grew of a new confrontation over images deemed blasphemous by Muslims as Pakistan joined Iran in protest over a sketch by a Swedish artist portraying the prophet Mohammed as a dog.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said it had summoned the Swedish charge d’affaires to condemn “in the strongest terms, the publication of an offensive and blasphemous sketch of the Holy Prophet”.

The move adds to a chorus of criticism over the series of drawings, by artist Lars Vilks, one of which was published earlier this month by a regional Swedish newspaper.

Lars Vilks‘s website (link in Swedish) has all the offensive and blasphemous drawings.

What I find interesting is not the protests, which of course are expected, but that it’s taken this long for the papers to get around to it.

Gates of Vienna has been covering the Moondoggie story since July 23, including the cartoons, more recently here.

Baron Bodissey and Dymphna were my podcast guests last Monday. Next Monday at noon Siggy and I will be talking about work in the USA and in the EU. Don’t miss it.

On the Princess Diana memorial service

Friday, August 31st, 2007


When I got up this morning they were playing on TV the Princess Diana memorial service.

While Princess Diana undoubtely was a very beautiful woman and charismatic figure I never quite understood the obsession with her when she was alive, was rather embarrased over the extreme mourning in the days following her death, and am rather appalled over the conspiracy theories over the cause of her death.

Apparently this morning the only person to give a speech about Princess Diana was her son Harry. Why not her friends or the rest of her family remains open to speculation but doesn’t matter to me. As far as I’m concerned it’s a family matter that is unfortunately played as kabuki for all the world to watch.

And that may be where the appeal of Princess Diana lies.

On the surface she was extraordinarily well suited for her role as princess. She was not a shabby princess with drug scandals, disco nights, raunchy boyfriends and movie-star mother like the Monaco princesses. Instead, her lineage extended further than her husband’s, she was “raised proper”, and was virtuous and lovely. Like a pricess from a fairy tale she didn’t struggle to get a graduate degree in anything, or to become a concert pianist or great tennis player; she didn’t do much other than just be. She lived a charmed life of privilege, had two beautiful children, and grew to become an elegant woman of substance.

Just the kind of stuff envy is made of.

But once the horrible truth about how the man who most likely was the love of her life betrayed her from the start and set her up for a farce of a marriage became public, no woman in her right mind felt that envy would have been justified.

I remember a summer twelve years ago or so when I had been helping a friend who was trying to strip wallpaper from her kitchen walls. The wallpaper wasn’t budging. I took my steamer to her house and we steamed until our pores couldn’t take it anymore, and in the middle of this we stopped for a break to have some lemonade. My friend said, “I bet Princess Diana never has to do this”, to which I answered, “No, but she had to sleep with Prince Charles.”

Neither one of us complained about stripping kitchen wallpaper after that. For all of us see all celebrities through the mirror of our own lives, and steamed as the mirror might have been, Prince Charles was no prince.

So this morning I kept the TV on because it was a very rare chance to listen to exellent music that is at the root of Christianity. The selections were particularly lovely and the sound quality, even through the little old TV set in the kitchen, was very good.

And I thanked God for the kindness of sons.

Campaigns, and defining diplomacy down

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Campaign Finance Reform: A Fable For Modern Times

in a land far, far away, the majority of Democrats began harping about “big money” influencing votes. They whined, cried, said the poor little man had no influence because big money bought face time, perverted the “democratic process,” influenced votes, and other nefarious plots against we little fellows. Of course, what really counted were votes, but that too was fairly perverted because congress-critters consistently did everything they possibly could to make sure they got re-elected. And, you know what? It didn’t matter which party got re-elected, even if the two houses switched from time to time because they all knew that they would switch back sooner or later. Of course, the spineless republicans assisted in this move towards campaign finance reform this massive re-election gambit because they didn’t want to appear to be beholden to big money either.

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Defining diplomacy down:
Finally, George W. Bush has secured the support of the “traditional ally” most favored by the American left. You would think the New York Times would be delighted. You would be wrong.

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Siggy has a very interesting discussion on The Discomfort Of Southern Insight. Read the post, and follow the comment thread.

The most valuable advice you’ll ever get, no matter your size

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Aussie Catholics rioting over Osama-Jesus?

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

No, of course they aren’t.

It’s the time of year for the Blake Prize in the land down under, but it’s always season for taking potshots at us Catholics, so here we have what passes for art these days:

Artist defends Osama-as-Jesus


Priscilla Joyce Bracks’ Bearded Orientals, Making the Empire Cross is a lenticular image in which the viewer can flip between portraits of Jesus and Osama bin Laden, by shifting slightly from side to side.

Isn’t that precious: Bearded Orientals, Making the Empire Cross. Because you know, you gotta include references to empire (be it British, or whatever) and the Cross, since the image itself wasn’t laying on the offensive stuff thick enough.

Of course anyone who awards a prize for this “religious art” is morally bankrupt, and it shows: Reverend Rod Pattenden, who awarded the $15,000 prize to the competition winner says about Bearded Orientals, Making the Empire Cross that

the artist was questioning “the idea that you can have absolute good and absolute evil. Life’s a bit more complicated than that”.

Ponder that for a moment: A clergyman who does not believe in absolute good.

Completing the dhimmitude and complete moral equivalence of the bien pensant, a statue of the Virgin Mary shrouded by a Muslim burqa was also a Blake Prize entry.

If you haven’t heard of the Blake Prize, it’s a $15,000 prize awarded for religious art,

The Reverend Rod Pattenden, who awarded the $15,000 prize to the competition winner in Sydney yesterday, said his mission was to spark debate about spirituality in a world that was “cynical, degraded and in crisis”.

With competition like this, it ought to be.

As if the anti-Catholic imagery is not insulting enough, Reverend Rod manages to fling yet one more insult while he’s at it,

Mr Pattenden said he did not expect controversy to result from the exhibition at the National Art School Gallery “because the Christian community doesn’t look at art a great deal”.

With crap like this being called prize-winning “art”, why would it want to?

Meanwhile, over in Sweden, Lars Vilks is receiving death threats.

Captain Ed wants to know, When Exactly Did Art Die?

Update:
Aussie Islamic Leader: Mary in a Burqa is ‘Not At All Offensive’

Update, Friday 31 August:
Don’t take offense, shut the gate, via Janette.

Slight delay this morning due to work reasons

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Regular posting will resume shortly.

Thank you for your patience

By the way, "Castro" didn’t endorse Clinton Obama

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

As I explain in my article today, while in his latest article “Castro” refers to Clinton/Obama “the seemingly invincible ticket” he did not endorse them, contrary to what you may interpret from reading this.

In my article I have a link to the original Granma article from “Castro”, and I even bothered to read it in the original Spanish.

The reason? Both Hillary & Obama want democracy for Cuba.

Jimmy Carter, on the other hand, goes over big with “Fidel”.

Hagrid, ca. 1977

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

A little known fact: Hagrid, before taking a job as Hogwarts’s gamekeeper, had a gig with Kansas playing the violin and singing

Cubazuela today: The "seemingly invincible Clinton-Obama", and Buckely on Hugo

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

“Fidel” has written another article for Granma, and he damns “the seemingly invincible ticket of Clinton-Obama” for asking for a democratic government in Cuba. However, he heaps praise on Jimmy Carter, that friend of Hugo.

Apart from the usual stuff one expects from the invisible dictator who writes newspaper articles from an undisclosed location, “Castro” also mentions that he and Che used to play golf together and that Che had caddied in his younger days.

Who’d have thun it!

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William F.Buckley notices that Hugo Chavez is an Annoyance (what took you so long, Bill?)
The thing about Hugo Chavez is that he is not crazy. He just acts crazy.

On the foreign-policy front, he endears himself, or seeks to do so, to every tyrant on Earth. He went to Iran and intended to visit North Korea, but there, Venezuela’s National Assembly drew the line. He is abject in his praise of Fidel Castro, and unequivocal in his hatred of American institutions.

It is a pity; but we need to remind ourselves that every now and then democracy simply spits in one’s face. The people who voted in 1933 for Adolf Hitler were driven by that dangerous temptation.

In Latin America, the demagogue has a great natural advantage. The reason for this is that the United States represents, to the angry Latin American voter, the hothouse of hateful institutions. Hugo Chavez is head of a country of 27 million people. They are mostly poor. And with poverty there often comes pain from observing those who do not share in it.

We all know where this is leading them.

Expect it to get worse for a long time.

Hillary’s Paws

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Six members of a low income family have donated $200,000 to Hillary and other Democrats’ campaigns since 2005, making them the #3 donor family to Hillary’s campaign says the Wall Street Journal: Big Source of Clinton’s Cash Is an Unlikely Address.

But look at this,

The Paws’ political donations closely track donations made by Norman Hsu, a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry who once listed the Paw home as his address, according to public records. Mr. Hsu is one of the top fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign. He has hosted or co-hosted some of her most prominent money-raising events.

According to public documents, Mr. Hsu once listed his address at the Paw home in Daly City, though it isn’t clear if he ever lived there. He now lives in New York, according to campaign-finance records, on which he also lists a half-dozen apparel companies as his employer. In the campaign-finance forms, Mr. Hsu lists his companies as Next Components, Dilini Management, Because Men’s Clothes and others.

Mr. Hsu is also a major fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton and other Democrats. When Democrats won control of Congress in November, he threw a party at New York City hot spot Buddakan with many prominent party leaders. Press reports said that toward the end of the night, he grabbed the microphone from the deejay and shouted: “If you are supporters of Hillary for President 2008, you can stay. Otherwise, get out.”

Mr. Hsu has pledged to raise $100,000 or more for Mrs. Clinton, earning the title of “HillRaiser” along with a few hundred other top financial backers of her campaign. Earlier this year, he co-hosted a fund-raiser that raised $1 million for Mrs. Clinton at the Beverly Hills, Calif., home of billionaire Ron Burkle. He is listed as a co-host for another Clinton fund-raiser next month in northern California.

The Paw family is just one set of donors whose political donations are similar to Mr. Hsu’s. Several business associates of Mr. Hsu in New York have made donations to the same candidates, on the same dates for similar amounts as Mr. Hsu.

The WSJ says, “No one in the Paw family had ever given a campaign contribution before the 2004 presidential election, according to campaign-finance reports.”

Coincidence? Laundering? Or really judicious budgeting on the part of the Paws?

Update, Wednesday 29 August
Fron the genius of Doug Ross, Hillary Clinton’s A-List Donors
Hillary’s Hsu a wanted man