Swords for Peace

Swordfighters for Peace:

It's not so outrageous. After all, the Prince of Peace said, "[I]f you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."

Crows Fly Backwards

Crows Fly Backwards:

...to keep the dust out of their eyes.

Unfortunately, this is a terrible version of this song, which is otherwise delightful. You can hear a good version on Pandora (h/t for that to Cass, who introduced me to it years ago). It's worth the pain of digging around for it.

Rush to Heap

Rush to Heap:

I have never seen a man for whom so many rushed to heap honors at his feet. In readings of history, I can think of only one parallel, which is when the children of imperial lineages would receive high honors simply for having been born the child of a great man. Few of them amounted to much, and that with a lifetime's training and experience, because the greatness for which they were honored was not their own.

"Rather than recognizing concrete achievement, the 2009 prize appeared intended to support initiatives that have yet to bear fruit..."

Indeed, neither fruit nor seed, nor first leaf, nor early shoot.


Photo of the Year:

At BlackFive, via McQ.

UK Writer Loves Kilts

Another Way:

Apropos of our last discussion on modern women and manly men, a former British ambassador responds to a troll. The subject of the dispute is whether or not the British government was willing to obtain CIA evidence obtained using what the ambassador considers to be torture -- a fairly serious matter all the way around, from the question of what constitutes torture to the question of whether the government of the UK was willing to be complict in it. So, of course, it drew a serious response.

Precisely 38 minutes after I posted a blog entry pointing to definite proof of Jack Straw's complicity in torture, one Helen Wright added this comment, which I thought deserved a wider audience:
Apparently you enjoy sex with a kilt on and like to smack womens arses while singing Scottish songs. You are a man of questionable morals and brough shame on our country. Crawl back under your rock, you slimeball.
I am shocked. You mean there's another way to have sex?
Obviously, it is possible to dispense with the kilt. Not necessary, of course -- that's one of the beauties of the kilt.

By the way, the Stone Mountain Scottish Highland Games are the weekend after next. If any of you mean to be there, let me know.

Mystery Solved

Mystery Solved?

You know why we're having a financial crisis now -- Social Security, Medicare, Federal pensions? Why Europe is falling apart? It's because people stopped having kids. Birth rates have fallen across the Western world.

Why? A new study says: because the pill doesn't just block fertility: it makes women want something other than a real man. Even when women are wanting children, the altered hormones have turned them aside from the natural markers that would point to a strong man of great virility. Birth control was the problem all along.

If that is right, two lessons:

Lesson one: Mess with your hormones at peril.

Lesson two: The Church was right again.

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck:

This guy is something else.

I've only watched one episode of his work, so I don't know that much about him. He is not what we've come to expect from the media, or the world. "They were talking at people, they weren't listening. They don't understand that people actually care about things -- can actually believe in things. Can be genuine, can weep for their country, can love something so much that they're willing to set everything aside for that: that the country and the Constitution mean something deeply to a lot of people."

The guy is dangerous.

"Dangerous!" cried Gandalf. "And so am I, very dangerous... and Aragorn is dangerous, and Legolas is dangerous. You are beset with dangers, Gimli son of Glóin, for you are dangerous yourself[.]
"Dangerous" is not a negative quality. Dangerous merely means that you are serious, that there are things you will not let go. The question is whether you are benevolent, or malevolent.
That key is being turned. And I fear an event. I fear a Reichstag moment, God forbid, another 9/11, something that will turn this thing on: power will be seized and voices will be silenced. God help us all.

Q: And if it happens, what should Americans do to fight it?

Read the Constitution. Act Constitutionally. Protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
But that is no more than my oath. Indeed, many of us have sworn that oath. What will matter most is how we interpret the Constitution, and how we define its enemies.

Blue Stonehenge

Blue Stonehenge:

Earthquakes seem to come regularly, these days:

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of what they believe was a second Stonehenge located a little more than a mile away from the world-famous prehistoric monument.

The new find on the west bank of the river Avon has been called "Bluestonehenge", after the colour of the 25 Welsh stones of which it was once made up.

Excavations at the site have suggested there was once a stone circle 10 metres in diameter and surrounded by a henge – a ditch with an external bank, according to the project director, Professor Mike Parker Pearson, of the University of Sheffield.

The stones at the site were removed thousands of years ago but the sizes of the holes in which they stood indicate that this was a circle of bluestones, brought from the Preseli mountains of Wales, 150 miles away.

The standing stones marked the end of the avenue that leads from the river Avon to Stonehenge, a 1¾-mile long processional route constructed at the end of the Stone Age....

"I think we have found incontrovertible proof that the river was very important to the people who used Stonehenge. I believe that the river formed a conduit between the living and the dead and this is the point where you leave the realm of the living at the river and enter the one of the dead at Stonehenge."
That's the big question. What did they believe, and so strongly that they found a way to transport megaliths hundreds of miles to erect in these monuments? What a gift it would be to know.

For My Sister

For My Sister:

...who has been spending a lot of time out Jackson way:

Bomb the Moon


NASA prepares to bomb the moon.

Close, but no cigar, boys.

Free Speech

Free Speech:

The administration has declared against free speech at the UN:

The new resolution, championed by the Obama administration, has a number of disturbing elements. It emphasizes that "the exercise of the right to freedom of expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities . . ." which include taking action against anything meeting the description of "negative racial and religious stereotyping." It also purports to "recognize . . . the moral and social responsibilities of the media" and supports "the media's elaboration of voluntary codes of professional ethical conduct" in relation to "combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance."
Quite a statement, given the regularity with which the President's critics are said to be racist. The media is hereby charged with a "responsibility" to produce a "voluntary code" to "[combat] racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance."

Oh, bloggers' free speech will now also be regulated. This first entry into the field is mild, just the camel's nose probing its way into the tent.

Those actions by the Obama administration are almost certainly unrelated. This is not a conspiracy to undermine free speech. It's just the result of a commonly-felt hostility to it among the kind of people that Obama appears to appoint to important positions. There may also be some top-down pressure in certain cases, but I doubt it's being done in a coordinated way. It's just a reflection of who he is, and what kind of people he employs to do his work.

Things Have Changed

Things Have Changed Back Home:

A story from Forsyth County, Georgia, where I grew up:

An effort to crack down on prostitution in Forsyth County’s massage parlors has resulted in the arrests of three women, including one who faced the same charge last year.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office charged Mi Suk Yang, 47, of Marietta and Kil Cha Hurst, 65, of Jonesboro with prostitution on Wednesday....
There were probably prostitutes in the old days, but I don't recall having heard of any such arrests. Everybody knew each other then, before the explosion of the Atlanta suburbs caused the county I knew to cease to exist. Apparently prostitution arrests are now a regular thing.

(H/t FARK, who was amused by the lady's name. In general, it's always depressing to see your hometown mentioned in FARK.)

Mack the Knife

Mack the Knife:

My taste doesn't run to jazz, but I still enjoy Mark Steyn's writings on the history of 20th century music. The story of 'Mack the Knife' is unusually interesting even by his standard. Apparently the original was a 1728 London opera...

A Good Article

A Good Article:

National Affairs has a short, comprehensive look at the problems facing America's middle class. Indeed, the problems listed are a good definition of "middle class," one of the most difficult to understand concepts in American politics. If you share these problems, being neither too wretched to participate in the troubled institutions, nor too rich to have to worry about them, you're somewhere in the broad middle class.

It's a good frame for discussing the business before us: the collapse of Federal entitlements, the collapse of employer-provided entitlements, the demographic dangers, and so forth. In a seven-page article, there isn't much by way of solutions, but the sketches do offer some helpful advice: for example, that the worst way to deal with the entitlement crisis is with new taxes, but rather to use the government to encourage fertility rates and ease the raising of children.