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Friday, June 30, 2006

 
Today's Offering From Opinion Journal

Paulette Chu Miniter has an interesting story on Arab-American Christians.



 
That's No Ordinary Rabbit

Run away!



 
Just Curious

Are our intelligence agencies keeping an eye on those 16 FALN terrorists that Bill Clinton pardoned almost seven years ago? If I were head of the CIA, I'd be looking into the possibility that al-Qaeda might consider outsourcing to other terrorist organizations that have a beef with the US.



 
Karl Rove Channels Teddy Roosevelt

NewsMax reports a Time magazine article in which Rove cites seven points of inspiration he takes from the 26th president:

It is every American’s responsibility to be active in our civic life. "The first duty of an American citizen," Roosevelt said, "is that he shall work in politics."

Politics should be animated by large, important ideas. Roosevelt "wanted to grapple with big issues like America’s role in the world, social justice and fairness in competition," Rove writes.

The U.S., while not flawless, is a profound force for good in the world. "Our flag is a proud flag, and it stands for liberty and civilization," Roosevelt said. "Where is has once floated, there must be no return to tyranny."Leadership matters. Roosevelt believed in "immediate and rigorous executive action" in times of crisis, Rove notes.

A spirited clash of ideas is not only inevitable in politics, but helpful. The "healthy combativeness" of politics clarified differences and choices, according to Roosevelt.

There can be great joy in politics. Roosevelt "relished the thrust and parry of politics, its give and take, the highs and lows," Rove writes in his Time essay. "Aggressive fighting for the right," Roosevelt said, "is the noblest sport the world affords."

Character matters. Roosevelt was a man "of extraordinary self-will," Rove declared, "a loyal friend and faithful husband." Rove concludes: "[Roosevelt] strived with all his considerable power to conserve, strengthen, direct and ennoble" the U.S. "He did all that and more, which is why Theodore Roosevelt holds a special place in the American imagination."

I would add to the second point that social justice - liberty - is the largest and most important of ideas.



Wednesday, June 28, 2006

 
Everything Except For The Superpowers And The Cute Redhead

You are Spider-Man

You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.




Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz



Tuesday, June 27, 2006

 
Why Tyrants Should Think Twice About Government-Issued ID Cards

Because those cards can serve as evidence:

Forensics experts unearthing the skeletons of Saddam Hussein's alleged victims have found an unexpected wealth of identification cards in the mass graves, investigators said Monday.

As Saddam's first trial winds down, the investigators say discovery of the ID cards marks a pivotal development in a new case against him -- the 1980s military campaign that killed an estimated 100,000 Kurds.

The IDs show that the bodies are those of Kurds and give the investigators other crucial information such as hometowns, where follow-up interviews can be conducted with survivors, they said.



 
Junk Science Du Jour

A Canadian study grasps at straws in the latest attempt to "prove" that homosexuality is innate:

Professor Anthony Bogaert from Brock University in Ontario, Canada, studied 944 heterosexual and homosexual men with either "biological" brothers, in this case those who share the same mother, or "non-biological" brothers, that is, adopted, step or half siblings.

He found the link between the number of older brothers and homosexuality only existed when the siblings shared the same mother.

The amount of time the individual spent being raised with older brothers did not affect their sexual orientation.

Clayton Cramer addresses some problems with the methodology, in addition to some of Bogaert's past research.

Researchers such as Bogaert seem unwilling to address the fact that each of the twin studies has found sets of identical twins who have the same genes and the same prenatal physical environment but different sexual orientations.

Update: Clayton Cramer has more on twin studies. He mentions the 1952 Kallman study that found a 100% concordance rate among monozygotic (identical) twins. That and other twin studies are cited here. Kallman involved 85 sets of twins, 45 fraternal and 40 identical. Of the latter, the sexual orientations of three cotwins were unknown and were not counted in the study. But was this a representative sample?

The exact method of recruitment is unclear from the report, but it is stated that "the search for potential index cases was organized not only with the aid of psychiatric, correctional, and charitable agencies, but also through direct contacts with the clandestine homosexual world."

Given the mores of the time, one wonders if getting a representative sample to participate in a sex survey was even possible in the 1950s - much less 1947, when Kinsey published the first of his reports.

No other twin study reports a 100% concordance rate, unless you count individual case studies.

The twin studies show that some homosexuality could be biological in origin, and that some is definitely not. The activist community cannot tolerate such heresy; its fellow travelers in the research community looks only for a biological explanation.



Monday, June 26, 2006

 
Warren Buffet Cheats Death Tax

James Taranto places the multibillionaire's recent generosity in context:

You can see why Buffett would want to give his billions to charity. The federal death tax is currently being phased out, but it will reappear in 2011 unless Congress acts--which means that if Buffett lives that long, the government will confiscate 55% of his assets upon his death.

But wait. Buffett is, as a New York Sun editorial notes, "an avowed supporter of the estate tax." As we noted in 2001, so is Bill Gates Sr., the Microsoft founder's old man, who is an executive of the Bill and Melinda Foundation.

The Sun article notes that some of Buffet's charitable donations are staying in the family:

The Gates Foundation isn't the only recipient of his largesse--three foundations headed by Mr. Buffett's three children, Susan, Howard, and Peter, will get hundreds of millions of dollars. Tax documents show that in 2004, Peter Buffett and his wife Jennifer each took a $40,000 a year salary for what they reported was 30 hours a week each of work on the foundation.

The super-rich can avoid the estate tax by setting up trust funds for their next-of-kin, as in the case of Joseph Kennedy, or, as in this case, by funding tax-exempt charities which serve in part as de facto trust funds for family members who draw salaries from them. The small business owner does not have such maneuvering room; his or her death often means the death of the business, whose assets must be sold to pay the tax.

For once, I'd like to see a rich guy leave his largesse to fund business formation. Charities are nice, but they don't create jobs (outside of their own paid staff) and grow economies.



Friday, June 23, 2006

 
Rush Limbaugh Sees The Light

Earlier this week I heard Rush state that he had given up on neckties. His exact words went something like this: "I got tired of going through life being choked."

The man who invented the phrase "symbolism over substance" finally sees the substance of the necktie: it is a noose disguised as a fashion accessory.

There is also a religious objection to neckties, which was once the topic of discussion on the Good News BBS, a Christian bulletin board system. It was one of the more memorable threads on the BBS, which I saved on my hard drive for posterity. So without any further ado...

--

TOPIC: Anticravatarianism

Anticravatarianism is a religion that is based on the belief that when we die the soul leaves the body through the top of the head. This is the highest area of the body in a physical sense, and in a moral/cognitive sense, and is, therefore, closer to heaven in both senses. If you are wearing something constricting around your neck, the narrowest portion of the "exit path" for the soul, then the soul can not get out and you go to hell --or just get stuck on earth (which amounts to about the same thing).

Since it is uncertain that you will be able to predict your death in advance it is never a good idea to be wearing something tight around your neck. The name of the religion is derived from this (in case you are not familiar with the word, "cravat" means "necktie"). There appears to be an instinct in people to loosen anything tight around the neck in times of stress --or to do so for others when they appear to be close to death. Consider also the long-standing method of execution for common criminals designed specifically to prevent the soul from escaping. It is variously called "hanging," "lynching," "necktie party," and in its lowest form, "garroting."

A fundamentalist schism of the Anticravatarians have taken the premise to an unpopular extreme as they are somewhat against the wearing of *any* cloting (unless required for protection from environmental intrusions; i.e. cold, heat, thorns, poison ivy, misquitoes, etc.) for the same reason that the orthodox ACs refuse to wear neckties, but since other clothing does not actually *prevent* the egress of the soul, the mainstream members reject (howbeit, mildly) their position. They point out that there was no clothing in the Garden of Eden; and Adam and Eve were evicted shortly after they invented it. They also remind us that to this day people are created without clothing, and if the Almighty intended us to wear clothing, we would be born that way and not keep trying to grow out of the things for the first 20 years of life. In any case, since it doesn't prevent the soul excaping the body, it is generally tolerated by the more liberal, dominent element of the cult.

Anticravatarianism is not an evangelical religion. They do not go from door to door pestering people with it, or wildly confront necktie adorned people in airports to turn from their wicked ways. A very simple belief system, many have found it compatible with Judiasm, Christianity, Mohamadism, etc. Even some Agnostics have embraced the belief mumbling, "why take a chance if you don't have to?"...There are no regular meeting places (anti church-goers take notice); chance meetings on the street are about it. And, they are not recognized by the I.R.S., having never asked for such recognition (probably because there being no central treasury anyway, what would be the point?).

If you believe that it makes sense and choose to practice its major restriction, then you are automatically a member of these "called out ones." Hedonism must hide in the shadows compared to such an awsome and attractive movement of this. I feel it drawing even me into its warm and inviting embrace as I see with wonderment and amazement the esclation of converts now that warmer weather draws near.

Joe Pike

--

TOPIC: Answer this then...

What happens if you die upside down? Maybe we shouldn't wear our shoes or socks either. Never know when one might be hanging upside down. :-)

Or if one sleeps on one's stomach should he/she were flannel footy pajamas with the flap in the back open in case of sudden death durning sleep? :-)

What if you are lying down watching TV? Is it then my pot belly that is closest to heaven? :-)

Of course, if it got me out of wearing a necktie I guess I would join up too.

Eddie Dake

--

TOPIC: Anticravatism

Needless to say this is a totally ridiculous religion and comes close to actually battling head-to-head with The Church of Bob the Subgenius in its stupidity. What is even more ridiculous, if not shocking, is that there is actually a "fundamentalist group" within it.

Mike Williams

The preceding commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of Good News or its agencies.

--

TOPIC: New sect

Joe, does this mean that a hatless bald headed person that dies standing up with his boots on has a pretty good chance at salvation? Somehow this idea has more appeal than the $300 admission price that was charged by another group discussed here, although I have some rather severe reservations about both groups.

Ray

--

TOPIC: Anticravatarianism

Eddie Dake and Ray Jatton have brought up salient points which I suspect will have to be addressed by the next session of the the Council of Doctrinal Perfection, which I understand is slated for the year 2025. WHEN they meet, and IF I hear of their Dictum Appropos, I will immediately get back here with their decision.

It would appear, Ray, that although you may have come close to attaining the most potentially successful formula....But being a mere observer of the movement I really couldn't say. They probably would object to use of the terms "hatless" and "boots;" since the thrust is directed toward neck constrictive devices, most expecially neckties. Having been turned out in black-tie formal for an occasion last evening, I suspect I would probably be censured --maybe excommunicated, were I a fully accredited member of the sect. Now I can put away my black tux and see if I can wear the white one for one more summer --if I can find it.

jlp



Tuesday, June 20, 2006

 
Fashion Trend Aids Law Enforcement

NewsMax reports:

Those low-slung, baggy pants worn by many teens and young men may appall fashion purists, but police love them – because it’s hard to flee from cops in falling trousers.

Jim Matheny, a police lieutenant in Stamford, Conn., says he gets into foot chases with young men just about every other week, and it’s getting easier to nab them because they can’t run fast in loose pants.

Ironically, the fad originated from our penal system. Inmates are not allowed to wear belts; many ex-cons kept up the habit after their release, and the rest is history.



 
Womens Rights Protesters In Tehran Assaulted By Female Police Officers

Free Thoughts On Iran has the story. Derafsh.org has photos from several Iranian civil rights protests - see second set for images of the Tehran protests in question (link via Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi email). The website reports 1 injured protester and 60 arrests.



Monday, June 19, 2006

 
Elitism = Paternalism

Rand Simberg links to this MArsblog post, which remarks on American media attitudes toward the general public (emphasis added to this and all following excerpted material):
Bluntly put, there is an elitist expectation [among the media] that the intolerant and easily-led dupes in flyover country might rise up in violence if told the whole truth...that -- like children -- the ignorant public at large must be protected from the unpleasant facts, since they cannot be trusted to integrate such information rationally and formulate a response which these elitists would approve of as sensible and reasonable. The press must therefore act as a gatekeeper, concealing the truth lest the redneck mob draw the "wrong" conclusions and be roused by some jingoistic demogogue to the pogroms and crusades which are its nature.
I was reminded of an incident during the 1992 presidential debate in Richmond, which I quoted in a recent comment thread at Samizdata:

The most notorious example of this [debate] format lending a platform for people who seek to be pampered by the nanny state was that pony-tailed guy from the 1992 presidential debate in Richmond who got up and asked then President George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot: "[H]ow can we, symbolically the children of the future president, expect the two of you – the three of you – to meet our needs."
I also recalled something I once read in a tale told by John Fund, which fortunately I was able to find documented here. He describes an encounter with several teenage girls in a department store during a 1984 trip to East Germany:

"We [Fund and his traveling companion(s), unnamed in the article] showed them our passports; they showed us their identity papers and told us a little about what it was like to live in a small town in East Germany. One of the girls told us, for example, the economy was so run-down that, when she lost an air valve on a bicycle tire, there was no way to replace it. People didn't have much money, but what was worse, there was nothing on which to spend it.

"Our travel visas expired at midnight, so by dusk we were on our way back to the glittering lights of West Berlin. The girls came along to the train station to bid us farewell. They had never seen the Berlin Wall, but they knew it was close. They gradually slowed their pace and stopped on a street corner just before we reached the railyard. One said, "You know, we really shouldn't go any further. We are not Berliners. If we are stopped, the guards will ask us why we are so close to the border zone.

"As we stood in the growing darkness, a feeling of incredible sadness came over me. here I was, in my mid-twenties, free as a bird. I wasn't rich, but I could go anywhere in the world from that street corner. They could not go another one hundred yards. Their world ended at the Wall. They could not go any further.

"... I asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. One said a beautician, one said a nurse, and one said a teacher. But the oldest and wisest, whose name was Monica, looked up at me with the most sorrowful face I have ever seen and said very slowly, 'It doesn't matter what we become when we grow up. They will always treat us like children.'

"... That sentence really defines Soviet communism in its waning years. There were very few knocks in the dead of night; people were rarely taken away to the gulag. There were very few summary executions. Instead, there was an insufferable and widespread paternalism. It was a dark cloud hanging over citizens. It weighed down their spirits and prevented them from maturing. Worse of all, it kept them from becoming that which was best within them.

"We parted almost tearfully. Monica and I exchanged addresses, and every year or so a postcard would come from her, and I would send some little trinket in the mail. She wrote that she had applied to a university, but she was rejected for her unacceptable views. She managed to get a job in a veterinarian's office."

Monica eventually came to the US, and Fund arranged for her to speak to some high schoolers:

"I swallowed my doubts and arranged a talk for Monica. It was a disaster. The students weren't openly disrespectful, but they whispered constantly during her remarks and now and then a spitwad would rocket across the room. Even the quiet students were simply uninterested.

"Finally, Monica opened the session up to questions. A girl asked, 'Why in the world would someone want to build a wall in the middle of a city?' She clearly had no understanding why this had happened or what historical forces were at work, even after Monica had told her story.

"As we walked out of the classroom, I tried to explain to Monica that not all young Americans were like this. She looked at me, and once again I saw that same sad, pensive face I remembered from a street corner in East Berlin. She said, 'John, please don't explain anymore. I've been in America for three weeks now, and I've learned that this is a great and wonderful country. But because you have never lost your freedom, because you have never been conquered, because you have never had all your possessions taken from you, you are now willing to surrender your freedom, independence, and autonomy by inches. You simply don't notice it, but, one inch at a time, it slips away.' She continued, 'Those students in there -- I feel sorry for them. No matter what they do when they grow up, many of them will always be acting like children.'"

Labels: ,



 
Islam And Capitalism

Mustafa Akyol's Tech Central Station column explains succinctly that the two are indeed compatible.

That doesn't mean that the governments of Islamic-majority nations are compatible with capitalism. The Index of Economic Freedom shows that the "mostly unfree" Muslim nations have a modest lead over the "mostly free" nations, that none are in the "free" category, and that three (Turkmenistan, Libya, Iran) are "repressed."

Interestingly, with the exception of Jordan all the "mostly free" Muslim countries border the Persian Gulf: Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates. The only other Gulf states besides Iraq (which is currently unrated) and Iran are Oman and Qatar, both of which are within striking distance of "mostly free" status. Only Bahrain is in the upper half of that category (2.01-3.00) with a score of 2.23.

These nations tend to score worst in the subcategory of government intervention, in part due to nationalization of the oil industry - big surprise. Barriers to foreign investment are especially high in Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar.



 
Swan Song

Connie Chung signs off of MSNBC - see the video.

Hey, it's not as bad as that "Pass, pass, pass the Coors Light" radio commercial that's running these days. Those people need to be slapped.



Friday, June 16, 2006

 
I Don't Always Disagree With Andrew Sullivan

Sully defends the right of government appointees to disagree with his views on homosexuality.



 
"Blood For Odin!"

This story is hilarious. (And I'd heard other SCA members tell it.)



 
Did We Read The Same Column?

Andrew Sullivan calls this article on the Love Won Out conference by Eve Tushnet "excellent." He snags one quote about individual who is dissatisfied with the annual conference's topic, ex-gay ministries, but he doesn't say anything about this portion of the article (emphasis added):

Even some who consider themselves "ex-ex-gays" acknowledge that the programs help some people. Joe Riddle, who spent five years in the Mormon ex-gay group Evergreen, told me, "I definitely think the ex-gay choice is valid, and for some people it truly [works]." But, he added, "I think those people tend to drop out of the ex-gay groups and fly solo. The people who make it work are the people who do it on their own and depoliticize it." And in his experience, such people were few: "I only met two people who shared convincing stories of [change of sexual orientation]."

Anyone who reads Sullivan knows that he thinks that ex-gay ministries is 100% bad - indeed, he likens Love Won Out to "detach[ing] gay people from God's love" in the post linked above. You'd think he'd go nuts over any suggestion that anyone could change homosexual orientation.

As for Mr. Riddle's remarks, one guy's opinion doesn't tell us anything about the number of ex-gays or the success rate of changing sexual orientation with or without the help of ex-gay ministries, any more than my own observations say about the number of Scientologists, HIV sufferers, American Idol contestants, or Azerbaijani; to the best of my knowledge I have never met such people. But his claim that former homosexuals exist at all can't be ignored, especially since a lot of people are making such claims. Ask Dennis Jernigan.



Thursday, June 15, 2006

 
War On Homeschooling

Read this tale of a Belgian blogger whose homeschooling efforts have attracted potential prosecution.

(Link via Kim du Toit)



Wednesday, June 14, 2006

 
Everything's Bigger In Texas - Including Disaster Relief Fraud?

Local man allegedly does bad:

Like thousands of Americans, Kenneth McClain got personally involved after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. But not in volunteering or rebuilding.
Instead, federal prosecutors say, he became part of a continuing aftershock of the costliest natural disaster in the nation's history: fraud.

The 33-year-old Texan, safely living hundreds of miles from Katrina's wreckage, is charged in an elaborate conspiracy that allegedly scammed more than $10,000 in relief checks from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

McClain is among roughly 150 criminal defendants charged by federal prosecutors since Katrina struck on Aug. 29, a USA TODAY review of court and Justice Department records shows. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) review set for release today concluded that FEMA's disaster aid program is riddled with fraud, a finding that suggests prosecutors could eventually file thousands of additional cases.

The article links the GAO report on the overall fraud investigation (3MB PDF file). The Washington Herald reports that the cost of Katrina-related fraud approaches $1.4 billion.

But don't think for a minute that that accounts for all the waste associated with government Katrina relief. Let me remind you of all the legitimate disaster fund that were spent on frivolous stuff:

In Los Angeles, recipients bought furniture and jewelry, residents said. Women spent FEMA money on their hair and nails.

In Baton Rouge, residents said they knew of people gambling their disaster assistance at casinos on the Mississippi River.

In Cedric Finley's northeast Cleveland neighborhood, "Everybody was getting checks," he recalled.

"They bought cars. They bought TVs. They bought wine. They bought weed," said Finley, a 32-year-old day laborer.

(I am not certain if all these examples stem from Katrina assistance alone or from multiple FEMA disaster relief missions.)

There are two lessons here. First, charity must go directly to the source and in the form of whatever goods and services are needed. Those who need food get food, not cash. Those who need post-disaster home repairs get building materials and repairs, not cash. Those who need rent assistance get a check payable to their landlord sent directly to their landlord.

The second lesson is that the government is far too vulnerable to fraud and misuse for welfare assistance to ever be efficient. Every welfare program gets scammed, because bureaucrats are too distant from the end use of the welfare funds to tell whether they're being used effectively or if they're needed at all. No private-sector charity drive will ever get conned into funding a sex change operation like FEMA has.



Monday, June 12, 2006

 
Lights Out

Breitbart reports the latest story in US-Cuba relations:

The United States said the Cuban government had cut off electricity to its diplomatic mission in Havana, accusing it of engaging in "bullying tactics."

"On Monday, June 5, at approximately 3:00 am, electricity to the main building of the US interests section in Havana was cut off," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told a press conference.

"The US interests section building is the only building in the neighborhood without electricity," he said, adding: "I wonder how that happened."

Or why that happened:

Cuban President Fidel Castro has been irked by a huge electronic billboard on the US mission's facade, which runs messages promoting democracy and human rights.



 
Fire Up The Grill

New Shark Discovered In US Waters



 
Quagmire

Hot off the presses:

FBI statistics Monday confirmed what big cities like Philadelphia, Houston, Cleveland and Las Vegas have seen on the streets: Violent crime in the U.S. is on the rise, posting its biggest one-year increase since 1991.

Maybe it's time to pull out the troops.



Friday, June 09, 2006

 
I Have An Idea

Since Scientology is now a NASCAR sponsor, maybe the American Psychiatric Association should get together with a few antidepressant manufacturers and sponsor a car proudly displaying the name of Xenu.



Thursday, June 08, 2006

 
This Day In History

On this day in 632 AD, Mohammed, the founder of Islam, died in the city of Medina.



 
Not Pining For The Fjords

Iraqi insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is an ex-terrorist.

(Reference)



Wednesday, June 07, 2006

 
Blind As A Moonbat

The Toronto Star reports the arrest of 17 terror suspects, and writes:

And still, says a source, it is difficult to find a common denominator.

FrontPage Magazine's Robert Spencer reports some facts that are known about the case:

The suspects met in a mosque. They discussed their plot in the context of religion. Their fellow students and mosquegoers knew they were preaching and studying violent jihad, and did nothing to stop them.



 
Heh

Antiwar protest slogans for an earlier generation.

(Link via The Corner)



 
The Medina Code?

Ann Coulter is probably not popular among Muslims:

Finally, we asked what her next book was going to be about. "I'm working on a Muslim version of ‘The Da Vinci Code' in which the prophet is a big phony, he leads a double life, his whole religion is based on a lie, etc., etc. That won't be offensive to anybody, will it?

"Think I'll have any trouble finding a publisher or a Hollywood production company to buy the movie rights?"



Tuesday, June 06, 2006

 
Life Imitates Doonesbury

Longtime readers may recall a GHW Bush-era storyline in which the title character blasted lame pop music from his apartment window to make his neighborhood less aesthetically pleasing to urban thugs, and won an award from the Points of Light Foundation for his efforts. Well by golly, somebody in Britain tried something similar in real life - and it worked.

(Link via Andrew Sullivan)



 
In Honor Of 06/06/06

Check out the Wikipedia articles on 666 and the Number of the Beast.

It's also birthday time for the Chrysler Corporation (1925) and Robert Englund (1949) of Freddy Krueger fame.

And 06/06/44 was an unlucky number for Hitler.



Monday, June 05, 2006

 
Blogiversary

The blog is four years old today.



Friday, June 02, 2006

 
This Is Hilarious

TV Squad has unearthed ancient TV ads for Wilkins Coffee, starring a couple of Jim Henson's early puppet creations. I like the one with the guillotine.

(Link via Daimnation)



 
"I've Fallen, And I Can't Get Up"

An alleged attempt at burglary goes awry:

Fort Worth police on Thursday released surveillance video of the so-called Bouncing Burglar.

Lt. Dean Sullivan said Larry Curtis Bynum was attempting to rob Paul's Liquor Store on Meadowbrook Drive at about 1:30 a.m. Monday when he fell through the ceiling and crashed to the floor.

The video shows that the 30-year-old was knocked unconscious for about five minutes.

When he came to, Bynum sat down on a beer keg inside the store, smoked a cigarette and waited for the store owner to unlock the door for police.

Bynum is now in jail facing one count of burglary of a business.

The news story has surveillance video - check it out.



 
Another Reason Not To Trust Hugo Chavez

He has good things to say about international terrorist Carlos the Jackal.



 
I Report, You Decide

Stanley Kurtz offers evidence straight from the Netherlands that gay marriage leads to skyrocketing out-of-wedlock births. This sums up his thesis:

Gay-marriage advocates rejected the idea that marriage is intrinsically connected to parenthood, and the Dutch public bought that argument. Once marriage stops being about binding mothers and fathers together for the sake of the children they create, the need to get married gradually disappears.



 
He's Tanned, He's Ready...

Daniel Ortega, who for reasons unknown to me has not faced prosecution in his country, is running for president of Nicaragua again. At FrontPage Magazine, Lloyd Billingsley has a little history lesson about Ortega and his FSLN (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional) party.

Update: This map, as the title says, shows the destruction of Indian communities and areas fo forced relocation under the jackboot of the FSLN.



Thursday, June 01, 2006

 
Lost Season Finale

I taped the show, watched it twice, and still can't tell that the Elizabeth who gave Desmond his boat is Flight 815's Libby. It's amazing what a "Desperate Housewives" wig can do. Her backstory will be revealed next season through others' flashbacks, according to Wikipedia. There's gotta be a reason why she keeps changing her hair style and color - one for her air trip and unscheduled island stay, one for her meeting with Des, and one for her stay at the institution where Hurley also stayed.

The show leaves us with multiple cliffhangers:

  • Who survives. I went through a dozen pages or so of this message board, and nobody seems to have noticed something: we never saw an actual explosion at the Swan station. What Kelvin told Des about the failsafe might not have been true (and Kelvin himself might not know the truth). We did see the hatch door get tossed into the air, but who knows how it got tossed. Explosion is the most likely explanation, but this island defies likely explanations. My theory is that only a portion of the station got blown away, and that Eko, Locke and Desmond are safe.
  • Will Michael and Walt make their escape from the island? There are five possibilities: the Others will double cross them, Jack and company will pull some miraculous stunt that will stop them, Sayid and the Kwons will intercept them at sea, the Swan incident will screw up the compass headings given to Michael and he won't be able to navigate properly to get away, and Michael will for whatever reasons change his mind. My prediction: they're gonna get away, there'll be a DHARMA agent waiting who will arrange new identities for them, Michael will so some snooping on DHARMA, and in the process will eventually encounter
  • Will Jack, Kate and Sawyer get away? Of course they will. But not necessarily soon. Maybe not even for the first half of Season Three. I predict that they're gonna do some scheming with Alex Rousseau, maybe involving a long con to be pulled on the Others by Sawyer.
  • Why Penelope Widmore is looking for an electromagntic anomaly at a certain part of the globe. A populat theory is that by some means she knows at least a little something about DHARMA's electromagnetism experiment and has enough clues to somehow link Desmond's disappearance with it.

The finale also leaves us with some curiosities, aside from Libby's multiple makeovers:

  • The origin and nature of the statue discovered by Sayid and the Kwons.
  • Why did "Henry Gale" lie to Locke about the Swan countdown display? Due to the chain of events in the season finale, it seems impossible that "Henry" did not enter the code - and it's highly unlikely that that was the very first time he ever saw the hieroglyphs. I suspect reverse psychology: betting that he'd eventually escape, he'd tell Locke and the others something that Locke would assume to be a lie. "Henry" looked angry when the electromagnetic discharge bathed the island. Could be that the Swan station was critical to the Others' mysterious agenda.
  • Whether the Swan event will get rid of the island's healing properties.
  • That freaky bird. (Not to mention the island's other anomalous fauna.)
  • Whether Kelvin's name is a reference to Lord Kelvin, who was famous for "important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and thermodynamics, and did much to unify the emerging discipline of physics in its modern form."
  • Whether Dave the deceased husband of Libby is the same guy that Hurley was hallucinating. One theory: Libby lied to Des about his fate - he may have died from the platform collapse that Hurley blamed himself for, and not from illness. Which leads us to...
  • ...whether Libby ever told the truth about her life before the island. If not, what was her reason?
  • What Desmond did to get sent to a military prison.
  • What that medicine really does.

I have some other thoughts in comments at Lintefiniel Musing (which provided the link to the previously mentioned message board).

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