December 30, 2004

Religion and the Common People

Note to the ACLU and other leftists:

“That wise Men have in all Ages thought Government necessary for the Good of Mankind; and, that wise Governments have always thought Religion necessary for the well ordering and well-being of Society, and accordingly have been ever careful to encourage and protect the Ministers of it, paying them the highest publick Honours, that their Doctrines might thereby meet with the greater Respect among the common People.” —Benjamin Franklin

posted by retrophisch at 08:17 AM
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Armor Geddon

God, I love tankers:

K-K-K-R-R-R-U-U-N-N-C-H. The sound was unreal. Imagine someone taking a huge skyscraper. Lifting it up way high in the sky. And then dropping it on its side. Thatís the only thing I could imagine sounding like that. It was not a boom or a clap. It was God slapping a building into the ground in a fit of rage.


The best part of my day is hearing that turbine engine wind up. The jet engine starts out deep and low. It builds up slowly as it whines higher and higher. If you listen closely, you can hear the rise of new low pitches, winding up at different points in the engine-start. The power pack gets to its peak screaming and then settles back down to a lower pitch. If youíre obsessed like me, you get the sensation that this 68-ton beast just stood up slowly and dramatically. Took a deep breath, mass rising and then settled into her armor, drinking 8 gallons of JP8 in 30 seconds just to wake up. And by obsessed, I mean a big dork.

Red Six is First Lieutenant Neil Prakash, and he is a tank platoon commander in the U.S. Army, currently serving in Iraq. His blog is well worth your time.

posted by retrophisch at 12:05 AM
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December 29, 2004

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement

Yeah, let’s hope more leftists get in on this.

posted by retrophisch at 11:50 PM
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U.N. Regime Change

Claudia Rosett:

If all this starts to sound a bit dizzying, a bit amorphous, a bit too complicated after a while even to bother about anymore, that, dear reader, is precisely the problem. The Secretariat has had a year of gagging contractors, threatening the jobs of whistle-blowers, and pounding out letters to the editor explaining that the Secretariat should not be blamed for anything because it is in fact responsible for nothing—though somehow more money, especially from the U.S., is always wanted. A few senior officials are now due to depart. Several thick reports on various fronts are due to be filed, and perhaps here or there a head will roll.

But to suppose that the United Nations will reform itself from within is to miss the eerie unreality of the place. It is not simply changes in some of the staffing that are needed, or U.N. commissioned reports recommending that the U.N. “reform” by way of doing even more of whatever it does already. What’s needed is something that among sovereign states we have come to call regime change—the basic alteration of a system that in its privileges, immunities and practices resembles rather too closely some of the dictatorships that still pack its ranks.

posted by retrophisch at 11:05 PM
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December 28, 2004

A pro-Christian rabbi on the ACLU

Rabbi Aryeh Spero:

It should be obvious by now that the Bill of Rights forbade only Congress from making national laws establishing a religion, not however local communities and their majorities from voting to express their religious ethos. Unique to America is the ideal that what may be forbidden to the “Feds” is permitted on a local level. The term for this special American legal and social concept is: local control.

But even if some wish to extrapolate Jefferson’s metaphor of a “wall of separation” between church and state onto local communities, how does the display in winter of a sparkling Christmas tree, or a freely-chosen Grace before meals, or the acknowledgement of the Ten Commandments as the basis of the American legal system, and the existence of a God-believing, heterosexual Boy Scout troop “establish” a national religion?


Would Americans allow their home-town sports teams to be exiled by the whim of a few loud contrarians? Never! Why so, then, their courthouses, boy scouts, village squares and parades?

Perhaps Americans all over are allowing this to happen to their civic culture because they have been brainwashed into believing that their beliefs, values, and institutions are “chauvinistic” and exclusive; that the majority must self-immolate in the name of minority rule.

Our innate goodwill has been exploited. The ACLU-clique is relying on our continued confusion and timidity as well as our apparent lack of will to fight back.

posted by retrophisch at 09:45 PM
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Respect vs Tolerance

Lionel Shriver nails it:

Freedom of speech that does not embrace the right to offend is a farce. The stipulation that you may say whatever you like so long as you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings canonizes the milquetoast homily, “If you can’t say anything nice. .†.†.” Since rare is the sentiment that does not incense someone, rest assured that in that instance you don’t say anything at all.

The concept of religious “tolerance” seems to be warping apace these days, and we appear to forget that commonly one tolerates through gritted teeth. It is rapidly becoming accepted social cant that to “tolerate” other people’s religions is to accord them respect. In fact, respect for one’s beliefs is gradually achieving the status of a hallowed “human right.”

I am under no obligation to respect your beliefs. Respect is earned; it is not an entitlement. I may regard creationists as plain wrong, which would make holding their beliefs in high regard nonsensical. In kind, if I proclaim on a street corner that a certain Japanese beetle in my back garden is the new Messiah, you are also within your rights to ridicule me as a fruitcake.

This is part of the cultural battle currently being waged: the Left would have us believe that tolerance equates to respect, when one has nothing to do with the other. We must tolerate the white supremacists among us—provided they do not resort to violence or other criminal activity—but that does not mean we have to respect what they stand for.

Christians are getting battered about in this country in many cultural arenas, and that’s okay from a freedom of speech standpoint. The problem is when the Christian’s freedom of speech is squelched by these very same leftists slamming the Christian, accusing him of being the “intolerant” one.

posted by retrophisch at 06:00 PM
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A Very Good Year

Pete Du Pont:

Boston Red Sox fans celebrated a World Series victory for the first time in 86 years. Weekly Reader grade school students can celebrate being better pollsters than Zogby, Fox and CBS: in October, as in 11 of the previous 12 elections, they correctly picked the winner of the presidential campaign. And SpaceShipOne became the first private craft ever to reach space—71 miles above the earth. So 2004 was a very good year in America.

It was a good year too in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Iraq. On the other hand, it was a very bad year for the United Nations, Russia, establishment American media and the liberal Democratic Party.

posted by retrophisch at 02:13 PM
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Pit Bull or Poodle?

Doug Giles has a note on looking back over the past year and making resolutions for the next. He handily provides the Pit Bull or Poodle test, so you can determine what kind of mutt you are—or want to be—in this dog-eat-dog world. Hope you have a Pit Bull year in 2005!

posted by retrophisch at 11:07 AM
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December 26, 2004

Saban going to Miami

LSU football coach Nick Saban is taking the head coaching job with the Miami Dolphins. Coaching the Tigers in the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day will be the last time he sets foot on the field as LSU’s head football coach. Saban has done a tremendous job in his five years at LSU, rebuilding the football program, delivering two SEC championships, and a national championship. My fear is that it may be another forty-something years before LSU sees another national title, as the school goes through coach after coach after coach. Let’s hope the search committee can deliver in the same way it did with Saban.

We are sad to see him go, but understand that opportunities like coaching a premier NFL team do not come along every day. If Saban can rebuild a struggling Dolphin franchise the way he rebuilt LSU’s program, expect to see Miami in the Super Bowl before 2010. Our best to Coach Saban and his family, and our thanks for making it fun to be Tigers fans.

posted by retrophisch at 09:00 AM
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December 24, 2004

Contempt for the electorate

Tony Blankley:

It’s not that the Democrats lost an election; obviously both parties have lost numerous elections. But never before in my memory — which goes back faintly to 1956 — has either party in its loss reacted with such venomous contempt for the American people.

When we conservatives got shellacked in 1964 — with Goldwater losing 61 percent-39 percent to Lyndon Johnson — we knew we had a lot of work ahead if we were going to educate the public to our views. But I can honestly say that although I remember thinking that the public was misguided in its judgment, I never hated or felt contemptuous of the majority electorate — of my fellow countrymen.

This dominant sentiment of the Democratic Party elite — that scores of millions of Americans are categorically unacceptable as fellow countrymen — is evidence of a cancer in the soul of that party. These Democrats, quite expressly, are asserting that “Christers,” people who believe in the teachings of Jesus as described in the inerrant words of the Bible, are un-American, almost subhuman. Some of these Democrats would rather secede than stay in the same country with such people. If they were in the majority with no need to secede, what would they do? Their bigoted and absolutist view of religious people is at least a second cousin to the Nazi view of the Jews.

posted by retrophisch at 04:52 PM
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Explanation + research = vilifcation in Australia

Robert Spencer:

There are some hints that the outcome of the case was virtually predetermined. When during the trial Scot began to read Qur’anic verses that discriminate against women, a lawyer for the Islamic Council of Victoria, the organization that brought the suit, stopped him: reading the verses aloud, she said, would in itself be religious vilification. Dismayed, Scot replied: “How can it be vilifying to Muslims in the room when I am just reading from the Qur’an?”

With religious vilification laws now coming to Britain and no doubt soon also elsewhere in the West, Scot’s question rings out with global implications, and must be answered. If it is inciting hatred for Muslims simply when non-Muslims explore what Islam and the Qur’an actually teach, then there will be a chill on reasonable public discussion of Islam — a public discussion that is crucial to hold in this age of global jihad terrorism. Such laws actually make Muslims a protected class, beyond criticism, precisely at the moment when the Western republics need to examine the implications of having admitted into their countries people with greater allegiance to Islamic law than to the pluralist societies in which they’ve settled.

To criticize is not to incite. The courageous ex-Muslim Ibn Warraq calls upon Muslims to “admit the role of the Qur’an in the propagation of violence.” If they do not do this, what end can there possibly be to the jihad terrorism that is inspired, according to the terrorists themselves, by the Qur’an? What will keep jihadists from continuing to use the Qur’an to recruit more terrorists, right under the noses of fatuous Westerners like Judge Higgins who would prefer to pretend that what they use in the book isn’t really in there?

posted by retrophisch at 10:46 AM
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December 21, 2004

Widows and Orphans

I rediscovered two writing terms this evening: “widows” and “orphans.” A “widow” is that last line of a paragraph that strays to the next page. An “orphan” is the opposite: the first line of a paragaph left stranded at the bottom of a page, while the rest is on the next page. Both usually require adjustments to one’s margin settings in one’s word processing application.

I rediscovered these terms while reading Nancy Carroll Gravley’s review of Mariner Write, which has a function to automatically fix these problems without the user having to futz with margin settings.

posted by retrophisch at 11:18 PM
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December 20, 2004

Go Sooners, Longhorns, and Tigers (both of them)

Note to Texas Longhorn fans: Get over your rivalry with Oklahoma and root for the Sooners on January 4th.

That is what I will be doing. Having grown up in Baton Rouge, I don’t have a dog in the UT-OU hunt. Living in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, I do root for the state school, and will be doing so when they go up against Michigan in the Rose Bowl. When it comes to the rest of the Big 12, however, well, yeah, I’d like to see them do well against their bowl opponents. Just as I like to see SEC teams win in their respective bowls. If your team isn’t in the game, can you not put your intraconference rivalries aside and root for your fellow conference members?

The reason I will be rooting against USC on January 4th is that I don’t believe they deserve to be there. The great and all-powerful computer averaging systems of the BCS simply cannot overcome the incredibly flawed, glitter-eyed voters of the ESPN/Coaches’ and AP polls. Despite these pollsters, if you used the rest of the BCS’s criteria, Auburn is the number one team in the country. You want to talk strength of schedule? Auburn beat three Top 10 teams during the season. Oklahoma and USC: one each. I think margin of victory is a bogus statistic; of course you’re going to have a higher margin of victory against lesser, lower- or unranked teams. That only stands to reason. This is why OU deserved a poll jump last year when it blew out Texas. USC doesn’t deserve that kind of poll jump when they beat the likes of Colorado State.

USC deserved its title shot last year against LSU. Oklahoma did not deserve to play in the Sugar Bowl, due to the fact they lost their conference championship game. The BCS fixed that particular idiom, but too late for the Trojans and the 2003 season. It sucks for USC and its fans, but there it is.

This does not entitle USC, pollsters, to an automatic bid to the championship game this year. Auburn deserves that shot, and Oklahoma does, too. I will put a 9-2 SEC or Big 12 team up against an undefeated PAC 10 team any day of the week. Your conference is weak, Trojan fans, just as the opponents of Florida State and Miami have been weak in the past when they won their many undeserved (in my mind) national championships.

I’m sure many of you are wondering, perhaps even aloud, Who the hell does this guy think he is? He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. This is just an opinion. What do you think the votes by the pollsters are? Those are merely opinions by those individuals on who should be ranked what. Granted, they have certain criteria they use, and I feel I’ve been trying to play by their rules in my own analysis. USC fans simply don’t want to face up to the reality I’ve pontificated on, because they feel they’re getting their due from last year. And the pollsters have made sure to give that due, despite Auburn’s clear superiority on the gridiron.

So the Trojans don’t think I’m picking on them, I’m still wondering why an undefeated Utah team is ranked in the Top 10. Do you see another Mountain West conference team in the Top 25? No, you do not. Utah gets a pass because of their record, not because of their strength of schedule, margin of victory, etc. Likewise with Boise State—you won’t see another WAC team in the Top 25, and while Louisville also falls in to the Top 10, you won’t see another Conference USA team in the Top 25. These two teams are keeping worthy teams like LSU (yes, I’m very biased) and Iowa, the Tigers’ Capital One Bowl opponent, out of the Top 10. Either of these contenders would wipe the floor with the Broncos or Cardinals. The fact that LSU and Iowa are 9-2 speaks to the conferences they play in. The fact that BSU and Louisville are 11-0 and 10-1 equally speaks to the conferences they play in, and they don’t compare.

Unlike a lot of Texas fans out there, I have no such hang-ups on conference rivalries. I don’t believe in “I root for LSU and any team that plays Ole Miss.” That’s bunk. I’ll root for LSU when they play Ole Miss. I’ll root for the team that plays against Ole Miss so long as it helps LSU in the rankings. If that’s not at stake—if Ole Miss is ahead of LSU, or if Ole Miss is in a bowl game—then I’m rooting for my fellow SEC team. It’s that simple. You should want the rest of your conference to do well, because it makes your team look good, too. Your conference rivals winning in the post-season boosts your own team, especially when next year comes around.

So stomp those Trojans, Sooners! Hook those Wolverines, ‘Horns! Dine on some Hokie, War Eagles! And Geaux Tigers!!

posted by retrophisch at 09:30 PM
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December 19, 2004

Zero tolerance equals zero intelligence

James Taranto:

Zero-Tolerance Watch

Chloe Smith, a 14-year-old eighth-grader in Mustang, Okla., was “kicked out of school after drugs were found in her locker,” reports the Enid News:

Smith wasn’t in possession of marijuana or cocaine, but prescription hormones she takes for a chronic condition, polycystic ovarian disease.

During a routine sweep of the school, a drug dog “hit” on her locker. Administrators checked and found the prescription hormones in her purse.

Technically Chloe did violate the rules, which require that students taking prescription drugs surrender them to the school office, which supervises their administration. But the News says it was an honest mistake: “She forgot to take the pills out of her purse after a family outing the evening before.”

The paper reports that “the district has agreed to reduce Chloe’s suspension to 10 days if she agrees to eight hours of mandatory drug counseling and monthly urinalysis screening.” Her parents, quite understandably, say no dice.

I hope Chloe’s parents rip the school district to shreds for this stupidity. I suppose people aren’t allowed to make mistakes except when an intern happens to fall on their crotch.

posted by retrophisch at 09:18 PM
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December 13, 2004

Links Links Links

I have removed some of the off-site links from the side bar, and placed them on the new Links page. I have also taken the links from Ludichris and Forty Caliber and deposited them there. The page will be updated as needed, and you can get to it from any page on the site by way of the handy navigation menu in the top right of the page.

I owe Lee some phisch phood for his help with the table setup. Apparently, I’ve gone table-stupid some where along the way…

posted by retrophisch at 11:47 PM
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The Return of the Categories

Categories have returned to digitalpembroke. If you must know why, there are reasons.

posted by retrophisch at 10:03 PM
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December 03, 2004

A good birthday

Number thirty-four today. It was a good day.

My good friend FranX, who had the day off, decided to spend it with me. We hung out at the house, caught up on one another’s lives, and watched a little Blue Collar Comedy Tour. I was treated to lunch at Chipotle, where I had my favorite, a chicken Burrito Bol. After a couple of errands, we headed back to the house, wherein FranX became fascinated by the Collection software and the IntelliScanner. Within forty minutes, every movie in the house, DVD and VHS, was cataloged, a back-burner project brought to the fore. FranX promptly checked out The Matrix Revolutions and Minority Report, which will be easy to track in Collection’s Lending Manager.

Missus Phisch and the little phisch took me to Abuelo’s for dinner. Yes, Tex-Mex for the entire day! W00t!! Afterwards, a Target run was made, where I scored the Daredevil Director’s Cut for a mere thirteen bucks. (On sale through tomorrow.)

Yessiree, bob, a good birthday indeed.

posted by retrophisch at 09:38 PM
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December 01, 2004

Choose wisely

So I get this card in the mail from Barnes & Noble. It contains a sticker that gives me an additional 15 percent off any item in the store. This is on top of any other discounts already available on the item, and in addition to the usual member’s discount. So I figured I would go browse and find something that was on sale for 20-30 percent off, then take advantage with my new coupon and end up getting the item for 45-55 percent off.

In the end, I got The Complete Peanuts 1950-1954 Boxed Set for about $6 cheaper than I would have gotten it on Amazon. Sure, there’s the free shipping option and no sales tax advantage by purchasing from Amazon, but getting the boxed set, normally $49.95, for 45 percent off and being able to come home and enjoy it immediately, was worth it. Not to mention it all working out as an early birthday present from me to me.

So, fellow B&N members, choose wisely with regard to your 15 percent-off purchase, and be sure to price compare with what’s available online.

posted by retrophisch at 10:30 PM
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