Saturday, December 22, 2007

Touchy Muslims

Yet another example of Muslim legal intimidation -- from Italy this time -- and the London Times. A Turkish man was offended by a cross on the jerseys of a soccer team from Milan. He files a lawsuit and wants the game forfeited and money damages.

Get over it! This would be funny if it weren't part of a growing trend.

h/t: Roger Kimball

Free Mark Steyn!

Mark Steyn is one of my favorite -- if not my favorite political/cultural writer -- "columnist to the world" as Hugh Hewitt calls him. He is being hauled before some Orwellian creation called the Canadian Human Rights Commission by a bunch of militant or whiny Muslim namby-pambies because of articles he's written about radical Islamofascists and his book "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It. The book is a devastating and eye-opening look at the demographic time bomb awaiting Europe and its possible Islamicization through declining birth rates of Europeans and massive immigration and increasing birth rates of Muslims. He is no bomb thrower and is not one to spout or believe (from all that I've read of his writings) that all Muslims are bad, etc. But a group called the Canadian Islamic Congress apparently doesn't think so and so they have sued him and one his employers --- Maclean's Magazine in Canada before this "Human Rights" Commission.

There is a new blog out called Free Mark Steyn! to keep us all abreast of his travails and to protect free speech from these radical Islamic fear mongering identity politics playing fascists. PC qualifier -- of course most Muslims are not this way, but an awful lot of their Western mouthpieces seem to play this most dangerous game with minimal peeps out of moderate Muslims.

Is this the type of fascistic intimidation that is to come? Let's hope not. Free speech brings with it a lot of trouble no doubt -- but those troubles pale into comparison to the limitation of basic free speech rights related to political and religious opinions and ideas. Free Mark Steyn!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Death of the philistine

One of the books I'm currently reading is called From Dawn to Decadence 1500 to the Present: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life by Jacques Barzun. It is breathtaking in its scope and Barzun's writing crackles with wisdom, perspective and panache.

Anyway, I was "doing the elliptical" this morning and reading about WWI and the end of the Cubist period and the beginnings of Dada and the "Wasteland" period of the 1920s. He noted one unsung death of WWI -- the philistine. He writes that they "disappeared into the trenches" with everybody else in that war. He then writes four sentences that sum up much of post modern culture:
"By 1920 any [philistines] that survived had been miraculously transformed, not into aesthetes but into but into trimmers and cowards. To this new breed anything offered as art merited automatic respect and grave scrutiny. If a new work or style was not easy to like, if it was painful to behold, revolting, even, it was nonetheless 'interesting'. Half a century later unless the reviewer finds it 'unsettling,' 'disturbing,' 'cruel,' 'perverse,' it is written off as 'academic,' not merely uninteresting, but contemptible." p. 713 of the 2001 Perennial Ed.
This lack of seemingly any standard goes back to the war on the Truth underway in post modern society. The lowest common denominator is the gold standard today. It's not that there's anything "wrong" with pop music, rock music, etc. I grew up on MTV and my iPod is filled with The White Stripes, U2, Radiohead, etc. But I know the difference. The White Stripes are not Bach -- they're not John Coltrane either. They're great at what they do. Many (most?) either don't know or don't care about the difference between art and throwing stuff on a canvas or any of the other junk (sometimes quite literally) that passes for art. The lack of a standard cuts across a lot of different areas -- legal, cultural, educational, etc. I don't think this is a slight complaint either. I think it is a symptom of a serious sickness in our culture -- beginning with the loosening of standards begun in the 19th century that picked up a full head of steam in the 20th.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Nihilism of LA gang life

Here's a great piece from the LA Weekly on LA gangs and the nihilism that defines their existence.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Past is a Foreign Country

I love this article from Mark Steyn from Macleans on rudeness and lawlessness in modern society. He writes about the UK and Canada, but the same is obviously true here in the U.S. and in Southern California to be sure. I teach this idea every semester in my Criminal Law course: that illegal acts are illegal because they are wrong -- not wrong because they are illegal. Malum in se vs. malum prohibitum as they are called in common law. Obviously we criminalize some otherwise neutral behaviors -- curfews, speed laws, etc., but I would be worried if murder were removed from the Penal Code tomorrow. Some -- not even nearly most -- would see that as making murder OK. An extreme example to be sure, but not too far off the mark I fear. A handful can do quite a bit of damage.

It's distressing how many folks think that if the law allows it it must not be wrong -- as if the California legislature or Congress are the final arbiters of right and wrong. The word "wrong" is hardly even used it seems. Things are "mistaken" "accidental" or "incorrect".

Steyn rightly sees customs and traditions as the frontline of this coarsening of modern society. How to enforce that? One parent and one real man in public at a time I guess. A danger of course, is overkill, if people see the need to enforce these rules themselves and then take unreasonable and excessive action. It (meaning action -- not excessive -- who defines? -- reasonable people) might be necessary to protect the 96-year old men and pregnant women out in public.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Religious Liberty and Christianity

I was reading this post on religious liberty over at Opinio Juris (h/t Roger Alford). Paul Marshall, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute has done a ton of work on religious persecution and liberty. The long and the short of the post was Marshall's presentation at an international conference on religious asylum at Pepperdine. Traditionally Christian countries have the most free, richest, and most tolerant societies in the world.

That's not groundbreaking news to me, but it highlights some things I tell my students. Scripture is the source of much of what makes our system of justice and government the best: due process, liberty, right to life and property, pursue happiness, etc. all find their beginnings in the Bible. Even if Christianity did not provide such great societies it would still be true of course. But the fact that a society influenced by the ideas and institutions Christianity inspires is likely to be one of the best places to live on earth gives it credence.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Religious Liberty and Institutionalized Disabled People

I was just awarded a research grant to study and write on the issue of religious liberty of institutionalized disabled people. Anybody who strolls through this little blog and has some anecdotes on this issue please comment. I'll mostly focus on the state of the law and the rights and liabilities of both the disabled people living in institutions and also the managers and staff at these facilities. I intuit that often these folks do not get their needs met -- either through visiting the churches they wish to or having access to ministers, friends, etc. from church. Anway, I'm excited and hope to be posting some preliinary results here in any case.

Again, if anyone out there comes across something pertinent and comes here please leave a comment.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A bit more Bono

Here's a new "The Rolling Stone Interview" with Bono. He is a liberal without the Bush hatred. Imagin -- understanding and a willingness to compromise -- why it's alomost um... er... "Christian". He's a bit naive I believe when he (Bono) thinks we can compromise with al-Qaeda. These guys are not Provisional IRA. Provisional IRA was not -- as far as I know -- recruiting suicide bombers or using its ideology to use WMD in London.

I respect him for is reasonability even if I don't always agree with my man Bono. If only public discourse was this reasonable even half the time.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bono's faith

Here's a 2005 interview of Bono from Christianity Today music site where he gives the most explicit witness of his belief in Jesus Christ I've ever heard from him.

Also check out my colleague and friend Jeff Mooney's blog at SoCalTheologica h/t to him for the link.

Robert Spencer at Dartmouth

Here's a video of Robert Spencer speaking at Dartmouth College. Apparently Google video has blocked it since he speaks the truth on radical Islam and its fellow travelers. Any time I can circumvent corporate censorship of the truth I'm on board. Here are Spencer's websites also -- invaluable info on radical Islam and its treatment of infidels. Jihad Watch and Dhimmi Watch.

I think he does an incredible service.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Reason 1,769,045 showing the Bush Administration ...

is not what the hysterical Left believes it to be. A couple was awarded $80K for being arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts at a Bush speech in West Virginia. Hat Tip to BoingBoing for the link. They post it without comment, but the obvious tone of the blog and the story is that "of course they were arrested -- that's what Bushhitler does." (ed. To be fair, they don't blame Bush, but it has the whiff this is the atmosphere created by Bush as opposed to federal thugs sent out by Bush -- unlike Clinton's IRS.)

Of course -- the proper perspective is that the system worked. These folks -- though rude and stupid -- have First Amendment rights and they were wrongly arrested for Trespassing. They were rightly awarded money (though we can quibble on the amount -- the decision is clearly the right one). The system works. Cop does something unconstitutional and wronged party is compensated.

I like BoingBoing. It is an interesting blog with some cool posts (some not so cool and often anti-Christian (or at least anti-evangelical) and strident reactionary lefty) on graphic arts, comics, steampunk, etc. However, they embody that snarky left attitude that is annoying at best and dangerous at worst. The other day they posted a 1994 interview with Dick Cheney (to the liveleak video) where he said Iraq should not be invaded and then the poster commented about a link between Saddam flying the planes on 9/11 as if Cheney thinks Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 or used that idea to push the war. He did not -- never has. 9/11 did change the way he looks at the world. Only an idiot -- or one safely ensconced in LA, SF, NYC, or Austin -- does not see the world any differently.

I recommend BoingBoing highly. When they stick to what they know -- copyright, art, comics, and cool stuff -- they are right on. Politically and on religious matters... biased to the point of muddleheadedness and unfairness. A healthy suspicion of government is necessary. A paranoid delusion that the government is out to get us all is weird.

Ironic that they excoriate Bush at many turns and yet they continue to operate and work out in the open? Hmmm... I bet they make above average salaries too. Amazing!

Oh well. How dare they not be perfect! Mark F very nicely and timely responded to a couple of my e-mails so as usual -- some is lost in translation on the Net that would not appear to be so snarky in person. The Cheney link and this one just got my goat and since they don't have comments and I don't want to pester them with e-mails....

Monday, June 25, 2007

Comrade Diaz

Poor Cameron Diaz! Breitbart reports that Cameron Diaz was in Peru and while out and about she was photographed carrying a bag with Chinese Communist symbols and the (in)famous Mao slogan "Serve the People". The bag was missing the understood follow up words "or else".

Peru was terrorized by the Maoist group Shining Path back in the 1980s and 90s and is still in an uneasy truce with the group I believe. Needless to say Peruvians are uneasy with Maoist "wisdom" since thousands have been slaughtered there in pursuit of service to "the people". Local papers pilloried Diaz since the locals were rightly outraged.

Diaz's apology stated,
"I sincerely apologise to anyone I may have inadvertently offended," Diaz said in a statement. "The bag was a purchase I made as a tourist in China and I did not realise the potentially hurtful nature of the slogan printed on it."
That's not much of an apology. I know she didn't "mean" to hurt anyone. The main issue is the appalling ignorance of this woman. Would she wear a Hitler bag? Many on the chic left have no problems wearing gear with the images of such real and wannabe mass murderers as Mao, Che Guevara, or even "Uncle Joe" Stalin. Mao makes Hitler look like a petty criminal. RJ Rummel of the University of Hawaii estimates Mao's death toll to be 73,000,000. That number will probably rise. Does Diaz support mass democide? Most likely not. Does she inadvertently give cover to murderers through her ignorance and pious liberalism? Yes. I assume if she were to read up on the issues she would recant and perhaps change her mind.

Her main problem is typical liberal irrationalism. Perhaps she thought Mao was harmless -- after all they're selling his stuff in China. It's illegal to buy Hitler gear in Germany because Hitler was evil. Not just "evil", but dangerous to a civil society and world peace. If Mao were evil China would outlaw him right? Earth to Cameron -- China is still a COMMUNIST state. Let's try a little historical perspective and good old-fashioned logic. Perhaps Mao looks like a nice harmless smiling Chinese peasant while Hitler is always glaring and yelling and waving his arms with wild-eyed abandon. Whatever her reason for this ignorance; I suggest Rummel's Death by Government.

Jesus the Progressive

Barack Obama gave a speech in CT last week -- as reported in the New York Times". Obama thinks the right has "hijacked" religion for conservative political reasons thereby "dividing" the nation on abortion, same sex marriage, etc.

Where to begin? Here are his exact words, “But somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together,” Mr. Obama said. “Faith started being used to drive us apart. Faith got hijacked.”

To my mind this is the money quote from both Sen. Obama and the NY Times:
“My faith teaches me that I can sit in church and pray all I want, but I won’t be fulfilling God’s will unless I go out and do the Lord’s work,” he said, speaking before more than 9,000 people at the Hartford Civic Center in front of a red and black backdrop with the church’s marketing slogan: “God is still speaking.”


This highlights Obama's bad theology and the bad theology of the religious Left in general. I have no doubts that those in liberal churches want to ease the suffering of the sick, the poor, the inmate, etc. I'm sure the left thinks the same of those of us on the right. Stop laughing.

This is the problem with the Socialist or Progressive Jesus. He doesn't exist and never did exist. Where is there even the hint of a political message in any of His words? Slavery, poverty, disease, political corruption (which obviously had a religious bent in 1st century Judea) get many mentions but only the most oblique political references, if even that. Individuals are called to follow Christ and pick up His cross. Individuals are "called" -- not coerced -- to give of their lives, material, etc. to care for the needy of the world.

Would Jesus denounce a social program to feed the poor? Probably not -- on moral grounds -- but I think he would question the efficacy of such programs in healing the ultimate issues of poverty (and a host of other consequences of living in a fallen world).
Would the individual get "credit" for merely paying taxes as opposed to Paul's "cheerful giver"? Christ paid our debts so there is no "credit" to earn of course, but there are general principles to be drawn that can redeem our politics. Means matter -- not merely ends. It is good to care for AIDS patients and feed the hungry and care for the forgotten prisoner. How we go about doing so matters greatly and that is where I believe conservative principles most jibe with Christianity.

I want to feed the hungry just as much as Barack Obama -- I just think that promoting individual responsibility among the poor, cultivating ongoing voluntary donations of money and in-kind contributions from like-minded folks works better than a huge government bureaucracy raising money by confiscatory taxes from the many, while spending much of that money on the bureaucracy, and which excludes any meaningful communication of the root causes of poverty or the means to ameliorate the internal suffering.

The left has always accused conservatives of not caring for the needy of the world because we don't favor government programs. The church is the best vehicle for helping these people. Christ was many things, but he was no enabler or rationalizer of bad behavior. He felt compassion for individuals, healed and helped many and told most of them... "Go and sin no more." What government program tells any of its clients that? They can't under the Constitution and perhaps shouldn't in any case because that is not government's mission.

Can our politics be redeemed? Undoubtedly so if each individual is redeemed -- otherwise it will be rife with ego, graft, etc. from both sides. Neither Conservatism nor Liberalism, especially in their post modern formulations, are redeemed ab initio, but conservatism most closely aligns with the basic tenets of Christianity. Those on the left -- seeking to ameliorate the consequences of sin (if they even recognize the concept) -- then fail to address the real causes of the problem. Those on the right -- while often getting it wrong too -- recognize generally that humans are flawed and while soothing people's pain is important -- encouraging and equipping them to address the fundamental issues (sin) is important. This individual responsibility cuts both ways. It is my responsibility to help others as much as possible. It is also my responsibility -- as much as it is within my control -- to refrain from behavior that might land me in need.

Obama is half right. Religion has been hijacked -- by those on the left -- to justify huge byzantine social programs that adequately deal with the ultimate issue of sin and thereby inadequately deal with the consequences of living in a fallen world.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Partial-birth abortion

SCOTUS today allowed the federal ban on partial-birth abortion (D&X procedure) to stand. Hallelujah. It's small, but I'll take it.

Relax abortionists. Even if Roe is overturned (and I'm not holding my breath for that) you'll still be able to continue the slaughter in the majority of states that will allow it. And again -- babies will only be dismembered now -- not skull-crushed.

VA Tech

I'm sick of Cho's face on TV. This whack-job should neither be glorified in the media, seen as a "victim" or seen as a product of a sick American culture. FOXNEws actually shows his face while their sorrowful bumper music plays out to commercial. Sickening.

There are 32 victims in this massacre and one suicide. If only he had killed himself three hours earlier.... Cho might have been "depressed" -- certainly mentally ill, but nothing excuses this.

Nothing really explains it satisfactorily either. It's a mystery -- and we're not comfortable with mysteries. The problem of evil has been around since the beginning and will continue to rear its brutally ugly head from time to time. No, that does not foreclose post mortems on what happened, why it happened, prevention, etc. But it does keep things in proper perspective. Bad things happen. Period. I believe they happen for reasons though I do not claim to know what those reasons are. I have ideas on them -- wisdom, dependence on God, etc., but I would not claim to know th specifics -- especially lacking the perspective of time -- this just happened -- it's fresh. The older I get the more I accept the mystery of it "all" (as if my lack of acceptance of it could somehow change it).

American culture producing sickos.... I don't think we're there yet. Parts of our culture are disgusting, but I don't think most of it is. Americans are resilient and mostly honorable. Many will use this as an oportunity to bash us -- from without and within. My culture produced freedom, liberty, justice and honor, courage and commitment -- and on and on. Just because some of us wallow in filth and degradation does not taint all of us. Cho is a product of his own sick mind.

I won't even get into the gun control issues because they will come up shortly. Suffice to say -- it is my responsibility to protect my family and myself. No one loves cops more than I do -- I've dedicated my career to educating law enforcement, but I do not rely on them to protect me. They can't -- it's not really what they do. They catch offenders -- they don't regularly stop offenders before the fact.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hatred...

of a brother can take so many forms. Denying him life-saving bone marrow is especially heinous.

I don't know the backstory on their relationship, but there's not much, if anything, that justifies this cruelty. This is the whirlwind we've reaped in our post-Christian post-modern Nietzschean society. There is no fear of the ramifications -- earthly or eternally -- for this act. She will pay for this -- here or in the hereafter. No fear of anything is just as dangerous as abject fear of everything. Sickening.

Friday, March 23, 2007

It's Official...

The Democrats are both foolish and cowardly. Notice -- I did not say traitorous. Treason requires some measure of courage -- the hint of danger. It's not admirable, but it's not the coward's way out either.

It is a short road to defunding the Iraq war. 218-212... Is there not one Democrat in the House who has the balls to vote for at least keeping the exit strategy somewhat secret? Is Joe Lieberman the only one who will not turn tail and run? This is potentially dangerous in the long term, not just in Iraq in the near term (which it undoubtedly is). Scoop Jackson, FDR, JFK, and Harry Truman must be spinning in their graves.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Huntington Library Constable Exhibit

The Huntington Library has a showing of John Constable works through April. All of his "6 Footers" are there -- together for the first time. I saw them last week. Awesome, though if you want to enjoy them thoroughly leave the little kids at home. I plan to go back before they leave. Constable's works were some of my favorite when I'd only seen them in books. Viewing them up close and personal has not diminished them. He is a fine example of 19th century Romanticism.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Tuesday Night Light dimmed

Earlier I gave props to Friday Night Lights as a realistic portrayal of Texas football and mid-size Texas culture. No mas. The racial storyline recently is both laughable and insulting. In Tuesday's episode, the county sheriff's department of the town who lost the playoff game to Dillon chased down the Dillon Panther's football bus to arrest "Smash" Williams for an onfield brawl that had broken out. They were going to arrest him for aggravated assault -- a first degree felony in Texas carrying up to 99 years in prison. Williams is Black -- natch. Besides being insulting it is idiotic. It would NEVER happen -- especially in 1990s and later. Assuming all small-twon Texas law enforcement are racists -- which Hollyweird writers seem to -- they still don't like being sued.

Also a Dillon assistant coach made the usual asinine emarks about Black quarterbacks and white QBs, etc. Obviously some still hold those views, but it awakwardly written and acted. I will say they painted the assistant coach as a more complex character, but racial politics is idiotic in any case.

Democrats are for Defeat

The House Democrats have proven beyond any shadow of doubt that they are for appeasement and ultimately for defeat. Today's House Resolution against Bush's troop surge in Iraq can be spun no other way. I pray to God this spells their defeat in '08. The Republicans deserve no love either, but at least they are not -- for the most part -- dangerous fools -- just fools in general.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Joe Biden

Poor Joe Biden. I doubt he meant the quote the way it sounds, but if he were a Republican he would be in a pickle.