Thursday, July 07, 2011

For "na"

na, if you are still dropping by the blog, you might enjoy this interview of Ruth Wisse on the nature of antisemitism and the failure of the academy and many Jews to understand it.
Watch: Harvard professor assails 'kill-the-Jews flotilla'

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Jew sues Israel haters: are the Canadian courts capable of enforcing just reciprocity?

The Israel-Palestinian "peace process" is perhaps the world's longest-standing act of cynicism.  Countless have professed themselves to the cause, but too often in ways that actually avoid the possibility of any resolution.  As Blazing Cat Fur notes in his post on the lawsuit of one Cherna Rosenberg, the Gazans today enjoy the trappings of modern consumer culture: Blazing Cat Fur: Sea Hitler Lawsuit - Canada's Gaza Boat Sued For A Cool Million.  However, there is no economic basis in Gaza for this consumption other than the inflows of foreign "aid" in various forms. Essentially, the Gazans are paid to hate and fight the Jews, and as David Goldman has shown their warfare economy has earned them a standard of living considerably higher than that of their neighbors in Egypt.  The world pays the Palestinians because the world doesn't really want a resolution to the conflict, because such a resolution would require the world to admit it either wants another Holocaust or wants the Jews to be a sovereign nation like all the rest (and not a pathetic figure in whose apparent failures one can take religious comfort), a self-interested nation with the ability to guarantee its security by controlling, if only militarily, the lands from which the local Arabs have professed, since at least the 1920s, their will to launch endless attacks until the Zionist presence is wiped off the map.  The world doesn't want either of those outcomes as much as it wants a ready scapegoat on which all the resentments churned up by the modern global economy, and the failure of large swaths of humanity to adapt to this economy,  can be directed. Countless organizations around the world gain their credibility among the resentful by participating in what is, effectively, a death cult that positively requires blood and suffering that people may find identification with a victim of supposedly "aggressive", world-destabilizing, Jews. Money is paid for blood, as the latest parade of self-sacrificing Arab youth to tresspass the Syria-Israel border has once again shown.

So one wonders, now that much of  the Canadian and world left has returned to its antisemitic roots - i.e. to the Marxist identification of "the Jew" with the evil invisible hand of bourgeois capitalism - will a Canadian court with, likely, a centre-left judge, allow a Jewish plaintiff to sue successfully the Canadian organizers of the Canadian "Sea Hitler" boat to Gaza? In other words, will the Ontario courts allow for some reciprocity that a Jew, who has suffered under the rocket attacks from Gaza, get a share of the money the world directs towards the Palestinian cause of blaming and hating Israel for all the woes of the Middle East and beyond? Via Scaramouche:
A lawsuit filed in Toronto is seeking to block Canadian participation in the second international "Freedom Flotilla" to Gaza.

Cherna Rosenberg, a 68-year-old citizen of both Canada and Israel, filed her case June 2 in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice inToronto against the Canadian Boat to Gaza and Alternatives International. The complaint charges these groups with raising funds for and providing material support to Hamas, which governs Gaza and which was declared a terrorist group by Canada in 2002.

Under Canadian law, it is illegal to help or support "a designated terror group," said Rosenberg's lawyers, Neil Sher of New York and Ed Morgan of Toronto, in a statement.

Rosenberg, who divides her time between Israel and Canada, is seeking an interim and permanent injunction prohibiting the defendants "from continuing to raise funds, purchasing equipment or supplies, and purchasing or renting a vessel for the purpose of delivering goods or funds to the Gaza Strip."

According to a statement of claim, which outlines a plaintiff's cause for action, the suit also seeks to block the defendants "from sending goods, funds or any other material support, directly or indirectly, to Hamas or any of its representatives, and/or from aiding and abetting Hamas by assisting in bringing imports and exports to and from the Gaza Strip."...

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Rapture

I saw a couple of people on the street today waving signs declaring that the world ends tomorrow (which begins here in about ninety minutes). I didn't stop to enquire further. But apparently this is part of a widespread belief drummed up by some American evangelical who is getting much attention notwithstanding that he is but the latest in a long line of people who have thought they could predict the (start, end of?) the end times. If I recall correcty, the early Christian church made frequent predictions about an imminent return of the Messiah, a habit it gave up at some medieval point, recognizing that serial declarations of the end were costing the Church credibility.

Indeed it seems to me that the truest spirit of Judeo-Christian, or Abrahamic religion is the development of a faith that can allow one to live confidently in the possibility of an ongoing creativity and growth in human civilization, with no guarantees of an imminent end of history, a faith that survives all doubts whether life is still meaningful if it is deeply open-ended, with no final judgment day any time soon.

It was this book which introduced me to a memorable Franz Kafka aphorism, one I think speaks to a true faith in our humanity able to live without belief that either we or the divinity must soon bring things to an end. Faith in humanity is faith in our ability ever to defer the violence that must destroy our world. Keeping in mind that in Judaism (in contrast to Christianity), the promised Messiah is not thought to be God, but a human, we may in any case still ask whether our faith in God should be any different than our faith in humanity. Kafka articulates the question thus:
The Messiah will come only when he is no longer necessary; he will come only on the day after his arrival; he will come, not on the last day, but on the very last day

Variant translation: The Messiah will come only when he is no longer necessary; he will come only on the day after his arrival; he will come, not on the last day, but at the very last.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

If the new Parliament is to get a clean start...

We must not forget that when the chips were down, Jack Layton did not have the courage to ask for forgiveness but told a bald lie to the Canadian people (and quite possibly to his own wife).
Massaging the truth about Jack Layton - The Globe and Mail

HT: Scaramouche

Thursday, April 21, 2011

First thoughts on news of the Lorna Pardy- Guy Earle- Zesty's decision from the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal

The decision on the Lorna Pardy, Guy Earle, Zesty's restaurant case before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has just come down.  For links to early reactions and a copy of the decision see Blazing Cat Fur: Comic Guy Earle Fined 15K For Offending Heckling Dyke By BCHRT

Lorna Pardy has been awarded over 22 thousand dollars from Earle and the owner of Zesty's/Zawa restaurant. I have not yet had time to read the decision, but I will have more to say about this attack on all Canadians' freedom later. For now, just a few preliminary thoughts, based on my attendance at the hearing (as reported here - see reports in our March and April 2010 archives in this blog's sidebar. Yes, it has taken a whole year for the "human rights" tribunal to present its "justice").

My overall impression of the trial was that Lorna Pardy was genuinely hurt by the Earle-Pardy event, but that she and the culture in which she thinks of herself as a victim is much to blame for this injury.

Since I ultimately see this as an instance of human sacrifice, in which a "victim" has willingly (though with much instititutional encouragement) hurt herself for the cause of her society, let's begin with a few quick thoughts on the the human nature of events and sacrifice.

All human reality stems from events. It is how we act in, try to shape, and remember events that allows us to construct our shared cultural reality.  When an event happens, at the very moment it begins (though it's always carrying baggage from previous events) its meaning is up for grabs: it is not  a given in the nature of things that we must see any event one way or another. This is because what makes an event, what makes it stand out as noticeable in the flow of time, is its inherent unpredictability, its creation of some difference that we can't fully explain in terms of previous experience.  Because humans have freedom, we have events.

This uncertainty in all human experience of events is a humbling mystery, at least it should be for us. But most of us do not have the good faith to remain humbled. We generally want some guarantee that event X means what we might like it to mean.  (It's cold this year, that means the theory of global warming is.... he insulted me because he is an...)  All religion, ritual, and secular institutions try to provide some such guarantee.

In hunter-gatherer societies, people made animal offerings to the gods or spirit world in attempts to guarantee some meaning or outcome (the outcome was important not simply for pragmatic reasons but as a sign that would either sustain or threaten the group's shared understanding of the human and spirit worlds, and this understanding was the bond that kept one's group together).  When human societies moved beyond hunter-gatherer subsistence and developed, usually through agriculture, the potential for some bankable surplus of wealth, they became hierarchical as "big men" evolved to develop the capacity to control the ritual or institutional means by which this (potential) surplus could be accumulated, stored, and divided.  One aspect of the new ritual order witnessed in many places around the world was the proliferation of cults of human sacrifice. Often it was the big men themselves, the most esteemed figures, who ended up as the sacrificial victims.  Not only was the king the most obvious one to blame when things went wrong, when the gods were not smiling on the human community,  but over time resentment of his social difference, the big man's break with the primitive and more equalitarian world, and the inability of the big man, sooner or later, to mediate all the of the group's collected resentments, made him the most obvious figure for scapegoating.  This tendency to make victims of our most "worthy" has been well-documented at least since James George Frazer's groundbreaking ethnographic work, The Golden Bough.
Perhaps we still do it today.

But once a culture discovers the arts of human sacrifice and discovers that, in the context of a simple agrarian society that knows no other way, human sacrifice really does have some positive benefits in mediating (often irrational) resentments, in reducing group tensions, and sometimes controlling population growth that cannot be sustained by the prevailing economic methods, all kinds of people can become targeted as scapegoats.  And sometimes, or so I think we must conclude from the ability of some cultures, like the Aztecs, to organize regular festivals with thousands of victims, these were at least somewhat willing victims who went along with the ideas of their culture.

The West would come to renounce its pagan cults of human sacrifice under the influence of Judeo-Chritian religion and the secular "enlightened" modernity to which it later gave rise.

And, all too quickly, this brings us to the postmodern "human rights" worlview, now insititutionalized in Canada in various "Human Rights" Comissions and Tribunals.  To the proponents of the "human rights" worldview,  the postmodern culture continues in the tradition of redeeming victims and denouncing human sacrificial violence.  The vulgar "comedy" act of a Guy Earle thus becomes the target of a Human Rights Tribunal acting in the name of countering "homophobia" and redeeming one particular victim of Earle's verbal abuse.

However, those of us who have come to think that the postmodern "victimary" world view is not a genuine continuation of our most liberal traditions, do so because we have come to see that our present-day cult of "redeeming" victimhood  is actually one that positively needs to create victims and harms lives to do so, so that it will always have a "victim" to wave about as a guarantee of its own righteousness and institutional justification. In the victimary world view, every human relationship must ideally (at least in the thinking of today's academy)  be "deconstructed" to find the unequal or oppressive relationship inherent within.  This becomes an impossibly Utopian project of never accepting human reality, with all its asymmetries and differences, as anything other than the conpsiracy du jour of the supposedly powerful against the supposedly weak (I say supposedly, because we are already, in having this Utopian thought, beginning to turn the tables and letting the "victim" get something back from the "oppressor").

In the postmodern world, the differences by which any human order or society might be constructed - and social differences are always necessary to any conceivable society - are put under permanent suspicion.  Anyone who takes a historical lead in creating a difference is suspect. At its logical extreme, this means the left devolves into antisemitism and anti-Americanism and mindless apologetics for the violence of the supposedly "oppressed" third world, especially when that violence is targeted against the (once) historically exceptional West and its Judeo-Christian exemplars.  If you are a psychotic Hamashole intent on killing Jews, the Western left will hear your pain and rail against my unsympathetic language; if you are an Egyptian Copt, facing murder and assault form the local Islamic mob, probably not.

In the case of Guy Earle and Lorna Pardy, we must ask whether our culture and "human rights" institutions have positively encouraged Lorna Pardy to publicly present herself as a "victim" of Earle.  We can argue over the event - just what happened at Zesty restaurant's comedy night - all we want. But we are naive if we don't understand that even before the two parties went into the restaurant that evening their minds and conduct were already shaped by, and attempting to shape the next of, a countless series of events battling over the meaning of our postmodern "human rights" worldview.  It may be worth noting at this point that the hallways of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal featured (at the time of the hearing last year) a feminist poster championing a series of "great women" in the narrative of a certain redemptive "human rights" worldview.  This was not an institution trying to appear neutral but one that positively wanted Pardy to present herself as a victim, which she did in what I took to be a rather pitiable manner. 

I think Pardy hurt herself (however many thousands of dollars she may receive in compensation will not be sufficient compensation) by publicly presenting herself, in the way she did, as a great victim of some idiot's bad words, as a victim who could not simply pay back Earle in his own currency. She has been widely belittled on the internet and in the media for seeking out the arms of the nanny state. And so I think that in the end she did, by her own actions, and with the help of our legal system, become a victim.  I think she is evidence for the argument that the "human rights" world view positively encourages and creates victims, and truly scars them. I think our "human rights" tribunals are often engaged in a cult of human sacrifice, having forgotten the best means to mediate the human desire for sacrificial violence lies in the codes of personal responsibility, and more decentralized mediation of differences, that once were central to Western culture.

Guy Earle's atrocious "humour" is itself, in my mind, a reaction to "political correctness". In a youth culture today where kids at school are taught to think in terms of identifying themselves or others as real or potential victims of power, and are taught little else in the way of human self-knowledge - everything is now reduced to victim/oppressor revelations -  it is not uncommon to see young people taunting each other with incredibly vulgar but puerile language, taunting to see who is willing or able to play "the victim".  And you're a "douchebag", etc. etc., if you disagree.

Now, before further comment, it's time to digest the decision that on its face seems outrageous, a chill on the freedom of our comedy scene and our freedom and financial ability to operate small businesses. I will be interested to see if it confirms my first impression is that this is the "human rights" regime just paying off a woman who served herself up as a very public victim to give the "human rights" institutions fodder for their suppression of freedom in the name of some impossibly Utopian project of deconstructing and redeeming each and every unequal human relationship.  It's time for the Canadian people to give back to the regime, the truly victimizing power, some of its own medicine.

Real diversity stems from the unity of human truth, faithfully pursued

Wally Keeler

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Praying For Japan

I've now heard from all my Japanese friends, and thank God they and their families are safe. Five bits of good news, to weigh against the tide of bad news.

Looking at this "before-and-after" slideshow from the NY Times, it seems a miracle that anybody in that part of the country could have survived at all. (Click on the slider bar in the middle of each picture, and then drag the slider back and forth, like a curtain, to compare and contrast each image in the series)

It's as if a giant scythe swept across the face of the country, shaving the soil of its humanity, a ghastly harvest of death.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

"War Is War"

“[W]ar is war, and not popularity-seeking. If they want peace, they and their relatives must stop the war.”
__ General William Tecumseh Sherman
Controversial in his day, equally so in our own time, General William Tecumseh Sherman put quill pen to paper in the aftermath of the US Civil War to write an autobiography and chronicle his side of the story, in voluminous detail.

Thanks to the marvels of e-book technology his 1875 one thousand-page multi-volume memoirs can be carried effortlessly in a modern reader’s coat pocket. The technology may allow us to delete the file from an e-reader’s storage, but the stories Sherman relates are not so easily dismissed from the human reader’s memory.

Sherman can teach modern-day readers much about the people and the period in which their story took place, and through them, make us see something about our own time. His was a life of constant upheaval, of drama always lurking over the horizon. His recounting of the early days of the 1849 Gold Rush, which erupted during his California mission, were especially stimulating; hundreds of sailing ships would arrive with cargo and prospectors, but never leave, because all their crews would desert for the gold fields. Bank presidents and other wealthy managers of wealth found themselves starving and ill-clothed, as servant after imported servant would desert their households so routinely that their families had a hard time eating regular meals. The lure of gold proved so seductive that few people kept their word; trustworthyness became such a valuable commodity that those possessing the rare virtue sought each other out, formed business partnerships together (as well as doing each other's laundry..!), and made far more lasting fortunes than those dredged up by the get-rich-quick gold-seekers in their muddy rivers and fields.

Death is always close at hand in this book, even before the advent of the War Between The States. The deadly perils of mid-19th Century transportation, for example, are brought to light early on: while Sherman is west-bound to serve at his early post in California, he is shipwrecked twice in one day! No wonder everyone seemed to always do anything they did with such gusto.

The vengeful Union General, the scourge of the South, offered such generous terms of peace to the forces of General Johnston, the Confederate opponent who finally surrendered to him in April 1865, that many in the North charged that he who had marched so resolutely to the sea was now guilty of treason. Yet that same Union General had written a blunt letter in 1862, following the capture of Memphis, leaving no doubt the price he felt was necessary for peace:
“I will write plainly and slowly, because I know you have no time to listen to trifles. This is no trifle; when one nation is at war with another, all of the people of the one are enemies of the other: then the rules are plain and easy of understanding. Most unfortunately, the war in which we are now engaged has been complicated with the belief on the one hand that all on the other are not enemies. It would have been better if, at the outset, this mistake had not been made; and it is wrong longer to be misled by it. The Government of the United Statesmay now safely proceed on the proper rule that all in the south are enemies of all in the North; and not only are they unfriendly, but all who can procure arms now bear them as organized regiments, or as guerillas.”
__Sherman’s letter to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P Chase

There were many stories that at once set my mind to wandering, and wondering; but none more so than Sherman’s casual meetings with his wartime opponents after the war, in social settings. "It's a small world", then as today. By chance he once found himself sharing a long train ride with former Confederate General Joe Johnston, the erstwhile defender of Atlanta, the forlorn protector of the Carolinas, the thorn in Sherman’s side for month after month of a year’s worth of gruesome fighting. What a meeting that must have been… how much suffering and misery had each conversationalist brought upon the other, just a few short years before; yet there they were, able to put such painful conflicts behind them, to find common ground for civil talk, despite their previous civil war.

It says a lot about the greatness of the United States of America, that such men were capable of such reconciliation, despite all that they had seen, and done. And lost. Today the drumbeat is sounded to never forgive, else victims lose their idealized status as heroes. Once upon a time, the heroes were those who could forgive, who allowed for atonement. Despite even losses as grievous as that of their own son.

Sherman has been accused of many vile deeds (his solution to how to clear a mine-filled road: have Confederate prisoners of war march ahead of his own troops, to set off the waiting mines), and he catalogs many of them in his memoirs, defending or deflecting where he feels necessary. There is one civilian casualty, however, whose death he never denied responsibility: the death of his favorite son, 'Willie' Sherman. A letter to a captain C.C. Smith is included in his memoirs, "as exhibiting our intense feeling" about the tragedy:

"Consistent with a sense of duty to my profession and office, I could not leave my post, and sent for the family to come to me in that fatal climate, and in that sickly period of the year, and behold the result! The child that bore my name, and in whose future I reposed with more confidence than I did in my own plan of life, now floats a mere corpse, seeking a grave in a distant land, with a weeping mother, brother and sisters, clustered about him. For myself, I ask no sympathy. On, on I must go, to meet a soldier's fate, or live to see our country rise superior to all factions, till its flag is adored and respected by ourselves and by all the powers of the earth.

But Willie was, or thought he was, a sergeant in the Thirteenth. I have seen his eye brighten, his heart beat, as he beheld the battalion under arms, and asked me if they were not real soldiers. Child as he was, he had the enthusiasm, the pure love of truth, honor and love of country, which should animate all soldiers.

God only knows why he should die this young. He is dead, but will not be forgotten till those who knew him in life have followed him to that same mysterious end.

Please convey to the battalion my heart-felt thanks, and assure each and
all that if in after-years they call on me or mine, and mention that they were of the Thirteenth Regulars when Willie was a sergeant, they will have a key to the affections of my family that will open all it has; that we will share with them our last blanket, our last crust! Your friend,
W.T. Sherman, Major-General

To see Sherman in today's cultural memory is to see a scowling face plotting some calculated cruelty, a furrowed brow framing a pair of merciless eyes. Reading his memoirs, reading about the loss of his son, I see these wartime portraits, much to my surprise, with new eyes.

William Tecumseh Sherman is no longer the brute I thought him to be; now I see a saddened father looking to shorten, not increase, the suffering of others, a man seeing others as fellow men, a soldier seeking to wage war as the necessary shortcut to winning a lasting peace.

Friday, February 11, 2011

One Thing Jimmy Carter Got Right

Let's face it, when the old son-of-a-gun is right, he's right. Back in 1980, Carter's speech at the Democratic convention contained this undeniable truth: the former commander of the Atropos and the Hotspur would, indeed, have been a good president.

If I was at that convention I would be cheering too.

Monday, February 07, 2011



Dutch White Guilt has another run-around with Geert Wilders

If you ever thought there was something compulsive about the modern left, as if they were trapped in a cultic thinking that just knows it can't be wrong, the Dutch plaintiffs and politicians who seemingly can't let go of their persecution of Geert Wilders, are back in court today to support your intuition, notwithstanding the utter farce of their earlier courtroom miscarriages of justice.

The International Free Press Society - Canada writes:
From the beginning, the plaintiffs were not pleased that the Dutch prosecutors felt the criminal case against Geert Wilders should not proceed. Remarkably, the Court of Appeal chose to ignore the recommendations of the prosecutors and proceed with the trial.

The trial was suspended in October 2010 as it was determined that the Chief Judge had acted in a manner which could be prejudicial. Subsequently, another instance of interference surfaced. In response to this turn of events, yet another Judge inappropriately made public comments about the suspension of the trial.

The zeal and determination with which the court is pursuing Geert Wilders even in the face of so many opportunities to put a halt to this farce, bespeaks the application of a kind of law that is foreign to western principles of justice. We should all be alarmed that Shariah law appears to have taken hold in our courtrooms and in the social fabric of western nations against the wishes and unbeknownst to the majority of citizens.

It is imperative that the citizens of free nations fully understand the implications of the actions of unelected officials in courtrooms across the Western world and stand with Geert Wilders and other victims of the Thought Police and reject this stealth movement towards removing our fundamental liberties.
Geert Wilders Speech at court in Amsterdam today :: IFPS-Canada

The IFPS then provides us with an English text of Wilders' speech today at the Amsterdam court:
The lights are going out all over Europe. All over the continent where our culture flourished and where man created freedom, prosperity and civilization. Everywhere the foundation of the West is under attack.

All over Europe the elites are acting as the protectors of an ideology that has been bent on destroying us since the fourteenth century. An ideology that has sprung from the desert and that can produce only deserts because it does not give people freedom. The Islamic Mozart, the Islamic Gerard Reve [a Dutch author], the Islamic Bill Gates; they do not exist because without freedom there is no creativity. The ideology of Islam is especially noted for killing and oppression and can only produce societies that are backward and impoverished. Surprisingly, the elites do not want to hear any criticism of this ideology.

My trial is not an isolated incident. Only fools believe it is. All over Europe multicultural elites are waging total war against their populations. Their goal is to continue the strategy of mass-immigration, which will ultimately result in an islamic Europe – a Europe without freedom: Eurabia.

The lights are going out all over Europe. Anyone who thinks or speaks individually is at risk. Freedom loving citizens who criticize islam, or even merely suggest that there is a relationship between islam and crime or honour killing, must suffer and are threatened or criminalized. Those who speak the truth are in danger.

The lights are going out all over Europe. Everywhere the Orwellian thought police are at work, on the lookout for thought crimes everywhere, casting the populace back within the confines where it is allowed to think.

This trial is not about me. It is about something much greater. Freedom of speech is not the property of those who happen to belong to the elites of a country. It is an inalienable right, the birthright of our people. For centuries battles have been fought for it, and now it is being sacrificed to please a totalitarian ideology.

Future generations will look back at this trial and wonder who was right. Who defended freedom and who wanted to get rid of it.

The lights are going out all over Europe. Our freedom is being restricted everywhere, so I repeat what I said here last year:

It is not only the privilege, but also the duty of free people – and hence also my duty as a member of the Dutch Parliament – to speak out against any ideology that threatens freedom. Hence it is a right and a duty to speak the truth about the evil ideology that is called islam. I hope that freedom of speech will emerge triumphant from this trial. I hope not only that I shall be acquitted, but especially that freedom of speech will continue to exist in the Netherlands and in Europe.
But why do the "multicultural elites" need to persecute Wilders and his free speech and contribute generally to the suicide of freedom, the suicide of the ongoing creativity that defines the West in comparison to pretty much any other, relatively unfree, civilizational order? Why has the left become a cult of control freaks?

We will perhaps find our answer in a debate over the nature of White Guilt. In this debate, I agree with Adam Katz that White Guilt is ultimately the fear of what we will become (mass murderers) if we refuse the blackmail of those who threaten us with terrorism or totalitarian law (essentially, the Sharia), e.g. with demands for expansion of the Islamic culture and state. This is why, to counter the underlying fear of our cultic left, the defenders of freedom must become much more active in thinking about how our freedom and any reformed immigration policy need not entail a genocidal threat to the "third-world" that is full of resentment at being, in the present world order, marginalized economic and political losers whose culture is not readily-suited to productivity in a now single global marketplace.

Can that resentment be mediated, can it be turned into productive energy, with anything less than a step-by-step liberalization of the cultures of the present outcasts? And do we have the courage, and humility, to help lead that process? Or will we commit suicide? Or will we try to put up a wall around those who hate us and want to kill us, thinking that we will only have to keep them in check with occasional military strikes, and that a heavy hand will diminish and not increase their fury to destroy us, so that the situation will never escalate into the possibility that drives White Guilt: the possibility that we will wipe them out in some fury of escalating rivalry?

White Guilt seeks the suicide of the West so that we need never face that day when we lose all trust and faith in the civilizing mission of Western Judeo-Greco-Christian culture. White Guilt has already imagined that day and lost faith. And that's why Wilders, according to the guilty, must be ceaselessly pursued. While I detest their faithlessness, I think the white guilty do have one real insight: the likelihood that genocide will emerge from any strategy to lock up and contain the resentful, unfree populations of the third world. I don't see this as an argument not to fight the Islamization (Shariafication) of Europe, or at least parts of it, by changing immigration, among other, policies. But maybe that's a topic for the comments section, if anyone wants to take it up.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Least Of Egypt's Problems: Virtual Looting

As we watch and wait for any signs of a hopeful outcome to the news from Egypt, here's a story that was shared with me this morning, with an angle that probably won't make the headlines any time soon...:

A friend of mine plays in one of those "real-time" internet games where each player faces off against other human players from around the world, rather than against a computer. Not everyone may be aware of this newer trend in online games, so permit me the following basic description: The gameplay involves each player managing medieval-styled villages scattered across a virtual landscape, inter-acting with neighboring players' villages, either through peaceful trade or strategic conquest. There are shifting alliances of players/villages that compete or co-exist, with the whole saga playing out in "real-time", rather than in "turn-based" gameplay, like chess; if you stop playing this game for a while, your neighbors can't help but notice, and that influences how they choose to co-exist with you...

When Egypt unplugged itself from the internet a few days ago, one of the minor results was an online assault upon self-identified Egyptian players' villages, as they stood suddenly helpless before online looters. You see, players have the option to include some biographical information about themselves, as part of their player profile, much as we bloggers have the option to "reveal" ourselves through our blog profiles. Players are usually circumspect about their identities, although my friend reports that gamers claiming to be from the Middle East are rarely shy about declaring where they live and who they are, when compared to the rest of the average players of these games.

In recent weeks, current events have been tipping off the players in this online world as to which specific villages/players are not likely to be able to defend themselves if attacked, because of the real-world difficulties happening in their real-life homeland. When Egypt disconnected itself from the internet, it left all their players' online communities unsupervised... and therefore, unprotected.

The online response in the game has been two-fold; on the one hand, a few charitable players have banded together to try and co-manage, and ultimately defend, these properties on behalf of their real owners, knowing as they do the real reason behind the sudden silence of their Egyptian absentee landlords. The game mechanics apparently allow for certain mutual assistance to take place without the actual owner of a village being online to supervise the transaction; consequently, several sympathetic players here and there had taken the initiative to shield their colleagues' virtual possessions during their enforced absence, in the hope that soon enough there can be more of a level playing field once again.

Unfortunately the far more common response has been the systematic looting of Egyptian players' virtual villages by rapacious competitors, who see these real-world events as a golden opportunity for easy pickings.

My friend shared a message she received this morning from an Egyptian player of her acquaintance, back online today after an understandably long absence. He thanked her for her recent help, as well as requesting their team's continued support for keeping his online virtual possessions safe and secure until he can become more involved again himself.

Now, putting aside the obvious point ("Why in the world do you still care about this online fantasyland when your real world, filled with real friends and family, is in such peril??"), isn't it interesting how human behavior in the real world is spontaneously repeating itself in this online, parallel, reality?

In real-world Egypt, some citizens are banding together for mutual protection from looters, while others see the tumultuous times as occasion for pillage and plunder. And here it is occuring again, in imaginary worlds. There are countless games like hers nowadays; is the story repeating itself in all of them, I wonder?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Lars Hedegaard acquitted, without winning the right to speak freely in public about Muslim violence

Apparently, the Danish court has acquitted Lars Hedegaard on hate speech charges, stemming from Hedegaard pointing out that Muslim girls face sexual violence from their own families. But this acquittal was not because the court found that a Dane has the right to discuss such things in public, but because the court found Hedegaard did not know that his private comments would be publicized.

Yo, Danish judiciary, prosecutors, and politicians! right now, I'm flipping you the bird, in private!  More and more, one comes to think, well, maybe the rumours of the Hells Angels taking over Denmark in a coming collapse of the rule of law have something to them!
Scaramouche!: Breaking News: Lars Hedegaard Acquitted!

Statement by Lars Hedegaard on his acquittal :: IFPS-Canada:
Copenhagen, January 31, 2011

As my ancient forefathers, the vikings, would have said: It is always good to fight. It is better to win.

My detractors – the foes of free speech and the enablers of an Islamic ascendancy in the West – will claim that I was acquitted on a technicality, namely that the judge in the Court of Frederiksberg resolved that my supposedly offensive comments on the violations against little Muslim girls were not intended for public dissemination.

That is absolutely true. The judge chose the way out provided by my capable counsel.

However, the public prosecutor has been privy to the circumstances surrounding my case for a year – and yet he chose to prosecute me. Obviously in the hope that he could secure a conviction given the Islamophile sentiment among our ruling classes.

My acquittal is therefore a major victory for free speech.

I have no doubt that the massive support I have received from freedom fighters around the world has been instrumental in securing my acquittal.

This outcome will encourage people all over the West and beyond to speak up.

The battle for freedom is far from lost.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Barry Rubin on the Palestine Papers Fraud and Blood Libel

(Updated below)
Whether or not you think Barry Rubin evidences a previous naivete in announcing that the recent al-Jazeera/Guardian "revelation" of (obviously fraudulent) papers (ostensibly the undoctored notes of Palestinian "peace" negotiators) means the end of hopes for any peace agreement, for at least a generation, his explanation of why these are obviously fraudulent is worth reading. Also, of interest to friends of Covenant Zone will be Rubin's concluding thoughts on the the often asked question - what can we do? - in face of a massively corrupt or deluded mainstream media:
"[A person I know] gets almost all his news from CNN. So today he gave the important news that he received from CNN that the "Palestinians said they were willing to give up most of Jerusalem for peace." I tried to explain to him that the story was completely false. He just gave me a blank stare back. His mind could not comprehend how such an authority as Wolf Blitzer and CNN could report something as fact but that is in fact completely false.

"Do you ever just want to scream? I do. What can we do? What can the average person do? Does it have any effect at all if we write to the media, expressing our outrage. Does the truth matter if the official truth is all that people believe?"

Do I ever want to scream? What do you think! Does it have any effect when we complain to the media? No.

Does the truth matter if the official truth is all that people believe? Well, that's different. Roughly two-thirds of the American people do not accept what the media tells them on this issue. In fact, support for Israel in the United States went up during the Gaza flotilla crisis. Every day, more people are waking up. New sources of information are expanding.

A lot of average people have common sense. A lot of government officials (not enough, for sure), have to deal with reality and sooner or later see through the illusions. Polls on media credibility show it to be quite low. Student sit through indoctrinating classes and don't accept what they are told.

Basically, we have to wait it out. Meanwhile, we need to tell the truth, educate as many people as possible, help build an alternate elite to replace and repair the diseased segments of society.

Rabbi Tarfon said "It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task, but neither are you free to abstain from it." Pirkei Avot, Chapter 2, Paragraph 16.

Or here is the Enlightenment version of that principle from Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

RubinReports: Coming Soon, From Those Wonderful People Who Brought You The “Palestine Papers

RubinReports: PS On Palestine Papers

UPDATE: See also the analysis of Pinhas Inbari who suggests that the way to propagate lies is to wrap them in truths:
After reading many of the documents, it appears that most of them are genuine and reflected the course of negotiations with Israel's previous Kadima government. The problem is that because al-Jazeera has a point to prove - that the PLO negotiators betrayed Arafat's legacy and hurried to cross red lines, with their gestures unreciprocated - Israel is portrayed as a hard-line interlocutor that did not respond to PLO "moderation." This results in damage to both sides - to the "traitorous" PLO and to "unresponsive" Israel.

Yet there appears to be a clear gap between the substance of these documents and the way they were presented. Besides a readiness to accept the principle of land swaps - from the Clinton parameters - there were no further Palestinian concessions. Nor was there agreement on the size and location of these land swaps. The PLO team was adamant in refusing to agree to Israeli demands to keep the settlement blocs. For example, the Palestinians demanded the dismantling of the city of Ariel (pop. 17,559), and they were ready to consider leaving Israelis living in Ma'ale Adumim (pop. 34,324) only if the Jewish city adjacent to Jerusalem was under Palestinian sovereignty.

While Erekat mentioned "creative ideas" to solve the issue of the al-Aqsa/Temple Mount compound, they have nothing to do with sharing the site with Israel, but rather to establishing an Arab and Muslim consortium to supervise the holy site.

Questions on the Refugee Offer

While the figure of 100,000 refugees to be allowed into Israel is mentioned for the first time in Palestinian sources, it is unclear which side offered this figure. According to previous reports, it was Olmert's offer that was rejected by Abbas. Abbas himself referred to these documents as a "mixture" of Israeli and PLO positions.
Al-Jazeera is now under the management of Wadah Khanfar, a radical Palestinian from Nablus. For years the Arab satellite channel has sought to advance the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood against the Arab regimes. The problem it faces is that the sources of the current wave of Arab unrest are actually local and have nothing to do with pan-Arab ideals or with the Palestinian problem. Nevertheless, al-Jazeera is trying to link the local grievances in every Arab country to a pan-Arab revolution triggered by the Palestinian problem.

Another motivation is to preserve Hamas' interests. Erekat was right when he said the leaks cut short the PLO's diplomatic campaign to isolate Israel and gain international recognition of a Palestinian state. The PA success in gathering support for statehood recognition was turning Hamas rule in Gaza into a liability. Once Ramallah is recognized as representing a state, the international community might turn against the separate entity in Gaza and seek to end the problem.

Some encouragement for the PA leadership may be found in the popular reactions among the Palestinians in the West Bank. They did not "revolt" as a result of the leaks, which may indicate that the West Bank Palestinians are ready to compromise as a result of fatigue after the generation-long struggle with Israel. If there is popular rage, it is against al-Jazeera, as seen in attacks on its property in Ramallah and in Tripoli, Lebanon.

Now, after al-Jazeera has brainwashed Arab minds with charges of PLO treason, no declaration of statehood can be expected. Neither will there be a resumption of negotiations with Israel since the Palestinian team will stick to the most hard-line positions possible.

To sum up, al-Jazeera is serving Qatari policy to deepen unrest in the Arab world and link the current local upheavals to the Palestinian problem. In its presentation of the Palestine Papers, al-Jazeera distorted the contents in order to delegitimize the PLO and present Israel as a hard-line non-partner. There is also reason to suspect forgery in the documents referring to refugees since the person suspected of the leaks is the same person who wrote them.
[Full article]

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The self-mutilation of Europe continues, now even Denmark lives in shame...

The following message from the Canadian Branch of the International Free Press Society and the linked page must serve to motivate us to carry the fight to the enemies of freedom everywhere:

As it has become known that the Danish public prosecutor is actually going ahead with his trial of Free Press Society President Lars Hedegaard, (set to begin on January 24, 2011), protests against the trial have arrived in great numbers.

A common theme in many of these protests and declarations of support for Lars Hedegaard is an awareness that the trial does not only have significance for free speech in Denmark but will have repercussions throughout the West.

We are asking for assistance in spreading the expressions of support from several noteworthy defenders of freedom of speech from around the world, complete article here: Massive International Support for Lars Hedegaard.
Massive International Support for Lars Hedegaard :: IFPS-Canada

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Flying The Silver Lining

The bad news: grandparents learn that their daughter's live-in boyfriend has allegedly murdered their three-year old grandson. The brain-dead child is soon to be taken off life-support, and the grandfather is booked on a flight to be at his daughter's side, to help her shoulder the tragedy of her son's final moments.

The worse news: The grandfather is racing against the clock to make his flight from Los Angeles to Denver. TSA and airline employees in both the security and bag check lines at Los Angeles airport are indifferent to his pleas for sympathetic (and speedy) treatment through the long lines; they offer him no help whatsover in speeding up the process. Despite arriving at the airport two hours before his flight, he ends up ten minutes late for his plane; the desperate grandfather makes a final scramble without shoes, and fleeting hope, down to the terminal.

The surprising good news waiting for him there, as told by his grateful wife:

When he got [to the terminal], the pilot of his plane and the ticketing agent both said, “Are you Mark? We held the plane for you and we’re so sorry about the loss of your grandson.”
The pilot held the plane that was supposed to take off at 11:50 until 12:02 when my husband got there.
As my husband walked down the Jetway with the pilot, he said, “I can’t thank you enough for this.”
The pilot responded with, “They can’t go anywhere without me and I wasn’t going anywhere without you. Now relax. We’ll get you there. And again, I’m so sorry.”

My husband was able to take his first deep breath of the day.
Consumer advocate and journalist Christopher Elliot, an acquaintance of the grandmother, contacted Southwest Airlines to get a comment on their staff's decision to break the rules for the sake of a grieving passenger:

[A] representative said the airline was “proud” of the way the pilot had held the flight. Again, most airlines would punish an employee who holds up the line for any reason.

ABC News has a video report on the story, with the last word given to the grandfather:

Dickinson says he never got the pilot's name and couldn't find him after the flight to thank him properly, and now just wants to shake his hand.
"I can't tell him how grateful I am that he did that for me," he said.
In this post-compassionate age of rampant cynicism and crass opportunism, it's refreshing to read this story of corporate compassion; if anything can be of solace to grieving families at a time like that in their lives, and to renew their faith in the potential for human goodness, surely it's the sterling example offered by Southwest Airlines, a company that dares to care.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Being Kind Without A License In Houston

Feed A Friend's mission, in Houston Texas:

Every day around 6:30 p.m., on the corner of San Jacinto and Commerce, volunteers serve a warm meal and a loving smile to the poor and destitute. Currently, all meals are prepared by caring people at their homes and delivered personally by them…
... until now. Bobby and Amanda Herring have been forced to stop their tradition of feeding several dozen of Houston's homeless every night, until they get the proper certification for food preparation:

"We don't really know what they want, we just think that they don't want us down there feeding people," said Bobby Herring...
Anyone serving food for public consumption, whether for the homeless or for sale, must have a permit, said Kathy Barton, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Department. To get that permit, the food must be prepared in a certified kitchen with a certified food manager.
Bobby Herring said those rules would preclude them from continuing to feed the 60 to 120 people they assisted nightly for more than a year. The food had been donated from area businesses and prepared in various kitchens by volunteers or by his wife.
He and his wife became involved in the effort several years ago, when she would take leftover food from work to the homeless downtown. From there, it expanded into a full-time effort for her working through Eyes on Me, the Herrings' nonprofit organization that focuses on Christian-themed youth outreach efforts.
Nearly every day last year, they distributed food prepared or donated by volunteers or local stores at 6 p.m. at the corner of Commerce and San Jacinto, near the Harris County Jail, Bobby Herring said.
Some city councillors have said they are trying to amend the city ordinances that currently prevent people from sharing their food with Houston's less privileged, but meanwhile...:

Herring said he was told his operation would have to pay $17 a day for a permit, similar to event vendors.
"They (the homeless) are hungry. It’s freezing in Houston now, and the city doesn’t have to deal with it," he said.

The Health Department's recipe of red tape notwithstanding, the Good Samaritans at Eyes On Me are carrying on as best they can:

In the meantime, we are going to be delivering over 60 sleeping bags to our less fortunate friends within the next couple of days. We will also pursue a temporary daily permit from the Health Department. From our understanding, the Health Department issues these permits for special events such as city festivals. With the donations we have already received, we have enough money to cover the next two months.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Love Israel, win an iPad

It seems you have a week to put together a post on why you love Israel, so as to enter Dave IsraellyCool's contest whose winner will have an apple in his eyes.

2011 Pro-Israel Blog-Off : Israellycool

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Praying For The Victims Of The Arizona Massacre

Praying today for many people in the aftermath of yesterday's senseless carnage in Arizona, but especially for the family of that poor 9-year old girl who died at the hospital. Her uncle describes her as "real special and real sweet":

"The next thing you know this happened. How do you prepare for something like this. My little niece got killed-took one on the chest and she is dead," Segalini said outside the girl's house."

Pray for her parents who now have the shadow of two tragedies over their life... for, as we learned yesterday, young Christina-Taylor Green was born on September 11, 2001:

Christina-Taylor had just been elected to the student council at Mesa Verde Elementary School and had been interested in politics from a young age, her father, John Green, said Saturday night.
"She was a good speaker. I could have easily seen her as a politician," her father said.
The brown-eyed athletic girl had one sibling, an 11-year-old brother named Dallas, and the two loved to go swimming together.
[...] "She kept up with everyone, she was a strong girl, a very good athlete and a strong swimmer," said her mother, Roxanna Green. "She was interested in everything. She got a guitar for Christmas so her next thing was learning to play guitar."
[...] Christina-Taylor also enjoyed singing in a church choir at St. Odilia's Catholic Church, where she had received her first Holy Communion in the spring.
Already aware of inequalities in the world around her, Christina-Taylor often repeated the same phrase to her mother:
"We are so blessed. We have the best life."
[...] "She was born back east and Sept. 11 affected everyone there, and Christina-Taylor was always very aware of it. She was very patriotic and wearing red, white and blue was really special to her," her mother said.

Pray for her well-intentioned neighbor, who must be beside himself with guilt; knowing of her interest in politics, the neighbor invited little Christina-Taylor along with him to see Congresswoman Giffords' "Congress On Your Corner" event at the local Safeway. Pray for her neighbor's family, as he was shot four times during the rampage, and is now recovering in hospital.

Prayers of gratitude are in order for the three brave souls who stopped the crazed gunman from murdering even more victims in the attack. On a day when the news is filled with villainy, thank God we may also learn of acts of such heroism:

Sheriff Clarence Dupnik also said three people, included one of the shooting victims, jumped to action, preventing the attack from being worse.
Although he didn’t identify the heroes, he said when the shooter ran out of bullets and attempted to reload a magazine into the gun, a woman grabbed the magazine and “tore it away from him.”
“She was trying to get the gun away from them,” Dupnik said.
Then as the shooter sought to load yet another magazine into the Glock 9 millimeter pistol, the spring in the magazine failed. The magazine holds 31 bullets.
At that point two men were able to tear the gun away.

The family of another hero that day, need prayers of a special kind. 76 year-old retired construction worker Dorwin Stoddard was waiting in line with his wife to meet Congresswoman Giffords when the massacre began. Stoddard instinctively tried to shield his wife, and was shot in the head. He fell onto his wife, who ended up only being shot three times in the legs. His sacrifice spared his wife's life, as CNN reports that the bullets were removed and she is expected to make a full recovery.

Pray for the families of the other murdered victims: 76-year-old Dorothy Morris, 79-year-old Phyllis Scheck, congressional aide Gabe Zimmerman, who was engaged to be married, and Chief Judge John Roll of the U.S. District Court for Arizona, who was stopping off on his way home from church to say hello to his friend, Congresswoman Giffords.

And pray for the family of Gabrielle Giffords; may they, and all those whose lives were changed yesterday, some day come to know peace.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


My New Year's Resolution to do more blogging will take a hit, I can see already, from a competing Resolution inspired by the new toy my wife and I were lucky enough to get for ourselves for Christmas:
an E-Reader!

Do you have one yet? What do you think? Now that we finally have one, I can't imagine not having one, they are simply awesome.

After shopping around, we got the Sony PRS-650 model. The size felt comfortably portable, not too bulky, not too small. I like the page turning speed, it's appreciably faster than, for example, the Kobo E-reader, the device offered by Chapters up here in Canada. I can "turn" a page with my e-reader, by tapping the screen, and the next page appears as fast as if I was turning a page in a real book. I can shut it off, and when I turn it on again it goes right back to the last page I left it open at. I can abandon one book for another, and when I return to the first one it picks up where I last left off.

I'm offered a range of sizes to choose, in the event that the type of a given book is too small.

A very welcome feature is that it comes with a dictionary; you get to look up puzzling words in the books you're reading on the device. How cool is that??

It also comes with a stylus, that emerges James Bond-style from the top corner of the device, which you can use to make quick notes.

The Sony reader doesn't limit you to only reading e-books in proprietary formats that only a Sony reader would recognize. The e-books themselves don't take up much file space, which was a pleasant surprise; I can't see myself needing to ever enhance the basic memory capacity that we got included with the model.

At the risk of my co-bloggers considering me even more eccentric than they already do, I have to admit something: for me, the enduring attraction of these e-readers, what really sets my heart a-pounding, is how I've been granted comfortable access to the scores of free, archived old books online nowadays at sites like Project Gutenberg, Google Books and Bookworms have been busy scouring the world's libraries, to scan each and every out of copyright book to be found, but it's proven rather frustrating, not to mention impractical, to try and read a whole book off of a computer monitor...

Leading to a dream come true, for this history buff: as a lifelong lover of history and biography, I can't count the times I've skimmed through bibliographies, aching to have access to the old books I'd see referenced there. How could I ever hope to someday hold in my hands a book from, say, 1869, or 1847. How likely would it be that I could read a book from the 1700s...

Well, I've now lived long enough that this daydream has become a reality. I can simply download these antique treasures onto my e-reader, in seconds, and enjoy them all to my hearts content, whether in bed, on the bus, at a coffee shop, with the additional bonus that there's little worry it will crumble into dust in my hands. Their contents, the memory of their experiences, can be retained, for yet one more generation.

And just in time, it seems; we are being granted an unprecedented amount of back-door access to old memories from an older age, one step ahead of modern publishers determined to transform classic texts into "texts with a message for moderns, made accessible to moderns."

Republican Dumbth

The late comedian Steve Allen wrote one book that was more likely to bring tears of sorrow than of laughter: Dumbth, self-described as a catalogue "of a host of hilarious and sometimes alarming personal encounters with shoddy workmanship, bad service, failures to communicate, and the general breakdown in the capacity to reason".

Had he lived long enough to update his 1999 book, Steverino would have loved the following question-and-answer segment from the recent Republican National Committee debate, undertaken to find a new chairman. Current RNC chairman Michael Steele gives a less-than-impressive answer to the simple question: What is your favorite book?
“Probably my kitchen table,” said Ms. Wagner, misunderstanding the question as “favorite bar.” She corrected that to say: “I like George W. Bush’s new book.”
Ms. Cino chimed in with “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
After which Mr. Steele said, “War and Peace.” He then dashed off the opening line from, well, a different book: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

Monday, January 03, 2011

Last Time For The First Team

My Saturday morning started off with a groan, as I stumbled onto the computer after my late night New Year's fun... only to discover that one of my favorite radio shows was coming to a sudden and unexpected end.

Thanks to the internet this Canadian political junkie has spent the last decade tuned in to radio stations from around the world, freed at last from having to settle for only my local provincial fare.

I particularly liked to spend my Saturday morning waking up and working at my desk while listening to 1580 AM The Patriot, out of Minnesota. Every Saturday since 2004 The Patriot had featured a lively line-up of several programs hosted by Minnesota bloggers; the format evolved over the years, but lately had cemented into two sequential two-hour programs: "The Headliners", with Ed Morrissey and Mitch Berg, and "The First Team", consisting of Powerline blogger John Hinderaker and Fraters Libertas' Brian Ward.

This Saturday, as it turned out, was to be The First Team's final appearance. To our horror, faithful listeners were told that the boys would be unceremoniously replaced... by infomercials! Apparently the station can make more money running infomercials in their broadcasting time slot, over the money they were making from the commercial sponsors buying time during that two-hour block. Yet, I wonder: what regular listener will forgive and forget this loss long enough to buy whatever product or service is stepping into that time slot??

When political blogging emerged as a media phenomenon in the wake of the 9-11 attacks, new media maven Hugh Hewitt quickly headlined several of the more effective conservative bloggers in blue-state Minnesota, and jokingly began referring to them as "The Northern Alliance". National exposure from both Hugh's radio show and high-profile blog led to these Minnesota bloggers to adapt the name into the Northern Alliance Radio Network, as they made a successful bridgehead into local Minnesota radio.

Now the NARN, as they have taken to calling themselves, are to be one team short.

It's been my pleasure to have been a listener from the beginning, and Saturday's finale, with its solid wall of callers expressing their gratitude for so many hours of insightful commentary and thought-provoking interviews, brought six years of memories crashing out of my brain like an avalanche.

The First Team introduced me to many worthy authors, and in turn to their books:

Each hour would end with either the Loon Of The Week, spotlighting some crackpot comment from the cracked left, or, my favorite, This Week In Gatekeeping, as the familiar musical theme of "This Week In Baseball" would accompany an increasingly unbelievable degree of shoddy journalism and reporting that the boys had spotted that week in the mainstream press. (Many of their choices were inevitably featured at Regret The Error, an online collector of such stories.)

Radio reaches us in ways that reading can't, and certainly television never will. John, and especially Brian, with his quick wit and sense of humor, feel like friends I've never met, to borrow a phrase I recently heard over another show on the Patriot.

Sorting out my recollections of all the First Team's political coverage, I'm hard-pressed to settle on my favorite guests (probably Father Neuhaus), or funniest wisecracks (maybe Brian's dissing John over his age)... I find myself drifting instead to memories of the annoucement of Brian's wedding, former co-host Chad's becoming a father for the first time, and many other personal stories the First Team hosts shared with their listeners.

Each week it felt like catching up with what some friends had been up to... and that's a feeling that reading their individual blogs can't match.

Thanks, guys, for some wonderful radio memories.

[Now it's a race against the clock to download and stockpile my favorite episodes from the online First Team archive, currently still available here, back to 2006...!]