Oh well, so much for that….

Just when I was starting to feel all warm and fuzzy (see previous post) I encounter this crap from Teddy Kennedy:

“Top officials in the Administration have endorsed interrogation methods that we’ve condemned in other countries, including binding prisoners in painful ‘stress’ positions, threatening them with dogs, extended sleep deprivation, and simulated drownings.”

And this killer response (pun intended) from Arthur Chrenkoff:

Ironically, Senator Kennedy himself drowned more people than American interrogators. As James Taranto would write, “Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment”.

Ok, someone tell me again why mainstream Democrats like this are worthy of any respect. Thank God the American people had the good sense to keep Kennedy Klone Kerry out of office. Oh wait, KKK is already taken by Democratic Senator Byrd from West Virginia.

And the Dems wonder why they can’t win elections?

Ain’t that sweet….

Florida Cracker has a nice story about the budding friendship of Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush:

It’s kind of late in the game, but Mr. Clinton finally has the father he always wanted:

Family and friends who say the improbable love fest between George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton is totally genuine still can’t refrain from occasionally rolling their eyes.

Barbara Bush, the 41st president’s tart-tongued wife, calls them the Odd Couple. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush now refers to the Democrat who ended his father’s political career as “Bro.”

A close friend of the Bush family spoke for many partisans on both sides of the political divide last week by musing, “It’s a good development for the country – but it sure is a strange development. I’m a little speechless.”

And President George W. Bush, who created this tag-team mismatch by naming his immediate predecessors joint envoys for U.S. tsunami relief efforts, brought down the house at Washington’s A-list Gridiron Club dinner last month by mentioning Clinton’s recent surgery.

“When he woke up he was surrounded by his loved ones: Hillary, Chelsea and my Dad,” Bush deadpanned.

It’s a sweet story- don’t pick at it; just enjoy it.

The emerging warm friendship between the Oscar and Felix of American politics, who now call themselves Bill and George and have even begun telephoning one another for advice, is that rarest of commodities: a good-news story amid the partisan rancor of an increasingly polarized capital city.

“I’m enjoying the relationship, and to be honest with you I didn’t think I would,” Bush recently told the New York Daily News.

Once bitter political foes with minimal regard for each other, the 80-year-old Bush and 58-year-old Clinton have forged surprisingly close ties, a who-would-have-thought development helped along by a parallel thaw between Clinton and the current President Bush.

“This is definitely for real,” a top aide to one of the exes said. “We thought the relationship would come to an end with the tsunami. It certainly didn’t.”

That’s an understatement. Clinton has rearranged a busy West Coast schedule to appear with the elder Bush in Houston next month, and more joint events are in the works. The two talk regularly, and their staffs are in almost daily contact. They’ve golfed together, sat side by side at the Super Bowl, and cut TV spots appealing for tsunami contributions.

The News also has learned that Clinton will speak at the Bush library at Texas A&M University this fall. A reciprocal visit to the Clinton library will surely follow, and last week Clinton told The News he’s looking forward to golfing with Bush in Maine this summer.

“They really have been having a great time together,” Sen. Hillary Clinton told The News.

Aides and friends to both admit being confounded by the relationship. Except for graduating from Yale and sharing a secret fondness for ribald humor, there is little in their DNA to suggest such chumminess.

A former Clinton assistant thinks their membership in the country’s most exclusive all-male club is at the core of the thaw. “This is a fraternity even more exclusive than Skull and Bones,” the aide noted, referring to the mysterious Yale society that counts both Presidents Bush among its members.

It’s a sign of their mutual affection that the elder Bush has resorted to what he usually derides as “psychobabble” to try to explain the relationship.

“Maybe I’m the father he never had,” Bush recently speculated, referring to the fact that Clinton’s father died in an automobile accident before the future president was born.

Advisers to both men scoff at cynics who allege the relationship is politically motivated, yet concede that the former leaders – as well as President Bush and Hillary Clinton – benefit from their detente.

“They’re trying to move Hillary to the center for 2008, and this helps de-demonize her and her husband,” a longtime Bush confidant said.

Similarly, a veteran of the Clinton White House argued that reaching out to Clinton helps the current President Bush by softening the perception his policies have divided the country.

“It gives Clinton back some legitimacy,” the source said, “but Bush knows Clinton is still popular and has a lot of international goodwill that can be helpful to Bush. It’s good all-around PR.”

Several sources say this mutual-inoculation society began building below the political radar last June, when the younger Bush – who ended every 2000 campaign speech by vowing to restore dignity to a scandal-tarnished Oval Office – made extremely gracious remarks when Clinton’s portrait was unveiled at the White House.

More recently, the elder Bush has told friends he appreciates that Clinton refrained from blasting his son’s Social Security reform plan and strongly supported U.S.-backed elections in Iraq.

By all accounts, the friendship blossomed on their whirlwind March visit to Asian nations hammered by the tsunami. Clinton insisted the octogenarian Bush take the stateroom, with its full-sized bed, on their 757 government jet.

Touched by Clinton’s deference, Bush stretched out while Clinton slept on the floor – on a comfy Tempur-Pedic mattress Bush brought along for his younger predecessor.

“President Bush’s energy and stamina really impressed me during our travels together,” Clinton reminisced to The News. “Thanks to my own health problems, I was the tired one after a long day of work! Now that I’ve had my surgery, maybe I stand a better chance of being able to keep up with him.”

Since the Asian trip, the two former leaders of the free world have often seemed joined at the hip. Only the most rabid Bush and Clinton haters could object.

“Here we are in one of the ugliest times in American politics, and something good like this happens,” a former senior government official said. “It sends an awfully positive signal.”

Well, I’m not going to mock or make fun. I think it would be nice to see more of this kind of thing. Although I voted for Bill Clinton 4 times*, he turned out to be a pretty big disappointment. I don’t so much care about the Monica fiasco, but letting Bin Laden get away was inexcusable. Well, nothing to be done about that now, so if we can stop the dehumanization of political opponents that’s progress towards finally achieving a level of debate where the issues, not the personalities are what matter.

Which is not to say that extremists who hate America (Michael Moore comes to mind) are worthy of respect. But as a person who has remained married to a sometimes scary liberal I like to think that somewhere in the vital middle we can find some common ground.

Maybe.

* Twice for President, twice as Governor of Arkansas.

Easy on the mind

I ran Long Time Gone through a readability check and got the following results:

Readability Results for http://johnmccrarey.com
Readability ResultsSummary Value
Total sentences 674
Total words 7,889
Average words per Sentence 11.70
Words with 1 Syllable 5,304
Words with 2 Syllables 1,526
Words with 3 Syllables 751
Words with 4 or more Syllables 308
Percentage of word with three or more syllables 13.42%
Average Syllables per Word 1.50
Gunning Fog Index 10.05
Flesch Reading Ease 67.97
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 6.69
Interpreting the Results

Philip Chalmers of Benefit from IT provided the following typical Fog Index scores, to help ascertain the readability of documents.
Typical Fog Index Scores Fog Index Resources
6 TV guides, The Bible, Mark Twain
8 Reader’s Digest
8 – 10 Most popular novels
10 Time, Newsweek
11 Wall Street Journal
14 The Times, The Guardian
15 – 20 Academic papers
Over 20 Only government sites can get away with this, because you can’t ignore them.
Over 30 The government is covering something up

Ok, apparently I didn’t get docked for bad spelling. And I guess writing at the level of Time and Newsweek works for me. Especially since LTG is free from liberal bias!

Of course, I ought to be writing something profound instead of taking these tests, but then again, filler qualifies as content. And a post is a post, no?

Alright, y’all deserve better. It’s coming. I can feel it.

UPDATE: Hmm, I just realized that when I had LTG scanned, it would have included the quoted portions from other sources. Maybe I just dumbed them down with my own words. Well, as long as you as you keep coming back, who cares if I write at a TV Guide level….

Still here

Sorry I have not been posting like I should. I have been busier than usual at work this week and just haven’t had the energy at night to get fired up enough to post on current events. Bear with me…..

I did catch some of the Dodgers-Diamondbacks game last night. Again, having a Korean on the roster will get some television coverage. Sadly, Mr. Choi struck out in a key situation.

I’m hearing thunder outside this morning so it looks like my plan to walk in to work today is in jeopardy.

I am very excited about the pending arrival of the person I hired to fill a key vacancy on my staff. She’s a person I have know for several years and in addition to being highly qualified she is good people. I’m looking forward to introducing her to the Korea experience and her enthusiasm this adventure is very refreshing.

That’s my news this morning.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

I ventured out to a new part of town yesterday and took a stroll through grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace. Well, the rebuilt palace. The Japanese destroyed it the first time in the 1500s, and again during thier occupation of Korea circa 1910-45. Still, you could get a sense of how glorious it once was. I was amazed at the size, courtyard after courtyard. And it always seems strange to find an oasis in the urban sprawl that is Seoul.

Anyway, I got a few pics before my camera batteries died:

The point is the place is huge. I’m not sure this captures that, but its the best I could do.

This is where I came in. I liked how the backdrop is mountains, when I just walked in from a skyscraper jungle.

As I arrived there was a traditional Palace guard reenactment going on….

After purchasing a ticket for 3000 Won (US $3.), I entered through this main gate…..

….and into this courtyard….

Looking back towards the main gate you can get a sense of the size of the courtyard and the urban setting.

You could only go inside one building, but there was not much to see. I think the first shot is of a sleeping area. And then I tried to capture the ornately painted ceiling…oh well. Hardly worth taking my shoes off for.

Moving on to the next courtyard was this little garden area…

And this pond….

and this cute child….

and these birds. Cahchee or Cagee or something like that. I want to get a better picture because they caught my interest my first day here. Pretty large for a songbird. I understand if you hear them in the moring they are bringing luck…

I was getting thirsty. The concession stand didn’t have diet coke, so I settled for an ice cold Pocari Sweat. Tasted like Gatorade.

This is the Korean folk musuem. I didn’t make it inside. Just too nice out.

A statue garden. These are found on Jeju island, off the southern tip of Korea. I hope to visit there later this year.

And that’s as far as my batteries took me. After I left the palace, I walked over to a shopping district called Insa-dong. They had some sort of festival going on, streets closed to cars and music and vendors. It was pretty nice, especially after tawdry Itaewon.

So there you have my Sunday in Seoul.

The Grand Ole Opry

Right here in Itaewon. Yes, tonight I ventured up the infamous “alley” and visited a country bar called, yep, the Grand Ole Opry.

It was a dive in the fine country bar traditon. Antlers and all. It reminded me of some of the honky tonks I would frequent when I lived in Oklahoma. It was bad, but in a weird kind of way it felt good to be there. A taste of home.

Beers are cheap too (2500 Won, most places are 4-5000). And the bar girls are the fattest, most disgusting looking Koreans I’ve seen since I’ve been here. Yep, it was pure country in the truest sense.

Tell you what though, I saw a couple of Koreans doing some pretty impressive Country Swing dancing. I think I’m pretty fair at it, but these people rocked. And you had your American cowboys (or wanna be’s), hat, boots, and all. Pretty interesting crowd. I just sat there and soaked up the atmosphere, watched the people, and drank cheap beer. Hey, I’ve had worse nights.

God Bless America. Even in the dingy outposts of Korea.

Winning the war

Victor Davis Hanson has a great article at National Review Online discussing our progress (and set backs) in the GWOT. Please go have a read. Here’s just a taste:

The worst attitude toward the Europeans and the U.N. is publicly to deprecate their impotent machinations while enlisting their aid in extremis. After being slurred by both, we then asked for their military help, peace-keepers, and political intervention — winning no aid of consequence except contempt in addition to inaction.

Praise the U.N. and Europe to the skies. Yet under no circumstances pressure them to do what they really don’t want to, which only leads to their gratuitous embarrassment and the logical need to get even in the most petty and superficial ways. The U.N. efforts to retard the American removal of Saddam interrupted the timetable of invasion. Its immediate flight after having its headquarters bombed emboldened the terrorists. And a viable U.S. coalition was caricatured by its failed obsequious efforts to lure in France and Germany. We should look to the U.N. and Old Europe only in times of post-bellum calm when it is in the national interest of the United States to give credit for the favorable results of our own daring to opportunistic others — occasions that are not as rare as we might think.

Geez, I don’t know. How can you help but bash Europe and the UN? They are such easy patsies. Well, I will try and go easy on the Euroweenies, but the incompetence and thievery at the UN is criminal, and we should never cut that bunch one inch of slack. Oh yeah, I won’t shut up about the French either. F*** the French.

Anyway, Hanson sums up this way (how come you haven’t hit that link are read the whole thing yet?):

The events that followed September 11 are the most complex in our history since the end of World War II, and require far more skill and intuition than even what American diplomats needed in the Cold War, when they contained a nuclear but far more predictable enemy. Since 9/11 we have endured a baffling array of shifting and expedient pronouncements and political alliances, both at home and abroad. So we now expect that most who profess support for democratization abroad do so only to the degree that — and as long as — the latest hourly news from Iraq is not too bad.

One of the most disheartening things about this war is the realization that on any given day, a number of once-stalwart supporters will suddenly hedge, demand someone’s resignation, or bail, citing all sorts of legitimate grievances without explaining that none of their complaints compares to past disappointments in prior successful wars — and without worry that the only war in which America was defeated was lost more at home than abroad.

Yet if we get through all this with the extinction of Islamic-fascist terrorism and an end to the Middle East autocracy that spawned and nurtured it — and I think we are making very good progress in doing just that and in less than four years — it will only be because of the superb quality of the American military and the skilful diplomacy of those who have so temperately unleashed it.

Yeah, what he said.

Via Instapundit

Senate Showdown?

Powerline has some great info and insights on the two judges who will be brought for confirmation before the Senate.

So it will be interesting to see if the Democrats play the filibuster game again. There is no reason these judges should not be confirmed. The lies the Dems and media are spreading don’t hold up, and the debunking by Powerline of the CSM article is but the latest example.

No one has shown me one shred of evidence that these judges are not qualified to serve on the courts as desired by President.

Economic weaklings

I love it when the only response Europeans can make to the weakness of their own society is to say “oh yeah, well America sucks worse”. No one denies that we have our own issues to deal with here, but I don’t see the same kind of emigration statistics like the brain drain occuring in the old world. What is really hilarious is the mantra that the European economy is stronger than ours. I guess if you keeep telling yourself that long enough you might actually start to believe it.

Of course, that does not make it true. No less authority than that liberal bastion called the New York Times has an article dispelling the myth of a higher standard of living standard of living in Europe.

All this was illuminated last year in a study by a Swedish research organization, Timbro, which compared the gross domestic products of the 15 European Union members (before the 2004 expansion) with those of the 50 American states and the District of Columbia. (Norway, not being a member of the union, was not included.)

After adjusting the figures for the different purchasing powers of the dollar and euro, the only European country whose economic output per person was greater than the United States average was the tiny tax haven of Luxembourg, which ranked third, just behind Delaware and slightly ahead of Connecticut.

The next European country on the list was Ireland, down at 41st place out of 66; Sweden was 14th from the bottom (after Alabama), followed by Oklahoma, and then Britain, France, Finland, Germany and Italy. The bottom three spots on the list went to Spain, Portugal and Greece.

Alternatively, the study found, if the E.U. was treated as a single American state, it would rank fifth from the bottom, topping only Arkansas, Montana, West Virginia and Mississippi. In short, while Scandinavians are constantly told how much better they have it than Americans, Timbro’s statistics suggest otherwise. So did a paper by a Swedish economics writer, Johan Norberg.

Contrasting “the American dream” with “the European daydream,” Mr. Norberg described the difference: “Economic growth in the last 25 years has been 3 percent per annum in the U.S., compared to 2.2 percent in the E.U. That means that the American economy has almost doubled, whereas the E.U. economy has grown by slightly more than half. The purchasing power in the U.S. is $36,100 per capita, and in the E.U. $26,000 – and the gap is constantly widening.”

Can you imagine how bad it would be if the Euros actually paid for their own defense? Whatever. I stand by the assertion that Europe as we have known it is unlikely to survive the 21st century. If they weren’t so damn arrogant I might even feel some pity as their pathetic society goes the way of the dinosaur. Godless socialism, declining birthrates, staggering Muslim immigration, and an economy in the toilet. All hail the brilliance of our betters for creating a perfect storm of destruction.

Meanwhile, as we watch the former powers of Europe fade into oblivion, the Chinese are making noises. China will be America’s challenge in the coming years. I expect we will prevail but we won’t have the time or resources to bail out our feckless former allies for a third time.

Oh well.

Reverse Colonialism

A fascinating post over at Belmont Club on the decline of Europe is a recommended read, especially for the naysaying commenters on my earlier post on this subject.

Here’s a small sample:

Europe if not now then soon must accept that enlargement by itself can never fully compensate for the fundamental weakness of its demographics and economy. Even a ship as large as the Titanic eventually fills with water. French EU Foreign Minister Michel Barnier could not have spoken more eloquently of the dead-end French policy had become when he said the EU had no contingency plan in the event of a rejection [of the EU constitution]. “We have no plan B. You cannot have a plan B. It is ‘Yes’ and that’s the only way to discuss this item, so we go 100 percent for that outcome”. If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.

After sixty years of retreat from its colonial heyday, Europe is an idea whose back is to the wall. What it needs now is a new vision and leadership, which with some American help, may address the core of its weakness: suicidal demographics; cultural self-loathing; its oppressive socialist economies. The hour is late and the ship captained by fools but hope still remains.

There are some outstanding comments on the Belmont Club post, don’t miss them. A couple of my favorites:

Other factors to look at in Europe are:

1. The demographic disaster is continent-wide, meaning the influx of Muslims is the crucial, defining political issue.

2. The best and brightest continue to try to escape to Australia or Canada, leaving the elites at home even more ossified, inflexible, and incompetent.

See “One-third of Dutch people want to emigrate”: “A survey has indicated that 32 percent of Dutch people want to emigrate abroad and that just 51 percent are proud of the Netherlands.”

****

Any colonization effort which involves the usage of the indigenous people as low-level work force will eventually fail. The colonizers may initially beat the native people with better arms and technology, but over time the native people will assimulate the technology and weapons knowledge of the colonizers and use it against them. The French discovered that in Algeria, in IndoChina, and elsewhere.

The mistake that France made in its colonization effort, is that it wanted to export a gentry class, who would make the natives do the work while the gentry lived in leisure.

Now France (and Europe) is being colonized by foreign powers. The immigrant gentry (who the French call welfare recipients) have little interest in work or in assimulating, and grow in numbers rapidly. The people who do the work to hold it all up are decreasing as childless people retire and are not replaced.

****

If I summarize Wretchard’s thesis as tersely as possible, it comes out as: “Goodbye Europe—Hello Eurabia”

****

I’m not sure exactly what the hope is here. I can imagine terrorist outrages producing a ferocious turn to the right in Europe, Muslims becoming the enemy that justifies rapid rearmament, strict immigration controls, and a radical reform of the social welfare system. But even if European economies boomed overnight, who would be manning those enterprises? The demographic problem cannot be solved in any short run, and meanwhile Europe’s choices are few and bad. Birth rates in the old East Bloc countries are even worse than in Western Europe, so East-West migration only rearranges the deck chairs. I have no doubt that Europe would dearly love to have a Mexico across its southern border, instead of what they do have.

****

As Wretchard notes, the French currently seem to fear the Polish plumber more than they fear the Arab wilders. The French pols pimping of the EU (always with a wink and a nod to let the proles know who really would be running things) is not overcoming the reality that half of every Frenchman’s potential income is going to support either a bureaucrat or a wastrel. Perhaps some Frenchmen are even realizing that taxing those nasty capitalistic companies results in higher prices.

Whether the EU constitution passes or fails is a matter of indifference to me. I doubt that passage will speed up or slow down the economic collapse that only a change in demographic trend can cure. In a democracy, the people fully deserve the government that they get. Europe has been eating seed corn for forty years, the granaries are empty and winter is coming.

****
And my favorite, which captures my sentiments on Europe exactly:

I am not at all persuaded that America should help in the coming European meltdown. It seems to me that since Europe — and especially France and Germany — have tried their damndest to implode twice in the past century, (taking the whole rest of the world lemming-like with them over the cliff), that from a Darwinian standpoint, that should be allowed this coming iteration.

If the European model is a failure, then it should be allowed to fail every bit as much a the Russian model is being allowed to fail. Granted there is that little Muslim problem they’re having, but it seems to me that we need to be focusing on Canada’s little Muslim problem first, and secondly, on Mexico’s desperate determination to over-run the United States and to take enough of our wealth to send back home to keep the home enchilada’s cooking.

We should support our allies the Brits, of course, always. And on an individual basis, any of the other countries that wake up and smell the coffee beans, such as Queen Margarethe in Denmark. But to support a “Europe” entity like we would support the nation of Australia just doesn’t make sense, neither from a psychological, a social, an evolutionary, nor an economic point of view.

Because quite frankly, saving them has not worked. We have spent enormous sums of both blood and money on saving and rebuilding Europe … twice. And have been rewarded for it with smug arrogance, uninformed stupidity, and backbiting perfidy. To me, this coming time will be three strikes, and it’s time to try something different.

****

So, I understand that I am just a backwoods American hick, too unsophisticated to have an opinion on issues of such great importance as those involving the superior and enlightened beings who reside on the European continent (and a federal employee to boot [have I no shame?]), but is it possible that just maybe their is a slight chance, that in their blind arrogance, our European betters have failed to see the wolf at their doorstep?

Nah, forget it. It couldn’t happen. Forget I said anything.

A walk in the park

Yesterday I ventured out to Yeouido park for the cherry blossom festival. It was quite interesting. Seoul has nearly 13 million inhabitants, and at times is seemed like the majority of them joined me at Yeouido. The blossoms were already a couple of days past peak, but they were still beautiful of course. The setting was not as pretty as the tidal basin in DC, but it still reminded me of springtime back home.

Another thing that was different was that out of the thousands of people that were there, I saw maybe two foriegners. It was a strange feeling as I have grown accustomed to seeing western faces in the crowd in Itaewon. No one bothered me of course, although it seemed like I was being stared at sometimes (or maybe I’m just a little paranoid). Anyway, it was a good day to be out and walking about. Plenty warm, although a little overcast. Last night we had a big thunderstorm. Loudest thunder I’ve heard in quite sometime, it woke me from a deep sleep. I was disoriented at first, and thought it was an explosion. Didn’t know if the NORKs had decided on a pre-emptive strike or what, so I was relieved when I saw the next flash of lightning.

Alright, here’s some photos from the day:

As I said it was crowded (not unlike DC at cherry blossom time). I don’t do well in crowds, so I moved off this sidewalk after a very short time.

I liked the contrast of the gaenalee flowers with the cherry blossoms.

I had to escape the crowded sidewalk, and found this little park-like area. It was nice to see regular Koreans enjoying a Sunday afternoon.

I sat on a bench for awhile and saw this cute little girl running around. When she finally stopped for a minute I snuck taking this picture. Made me think of my little granddaughter Gracyn who is going to be born in about 3 weeks.

Moving on, I encountered this Magnolia tree (called monjoun here). Again, a few days past peak blooms, but still quite impressive.

I spent a few minutes listening to some Korean music. I was pretty far from the stage and in the midst of a large crowd, so I moved on pretty quick. I don’t like crowds generally, and it was just so strange to be the only person who looked and talked like me. Still, I was able to see over everyone’s head, so that was an advantage.

I believe this is the ROK National Assembly building. I thought it looked pretty cool from this perspective.

So, I moseyed on down to the riverside. Bought a couple of boiled eggs, a bag of chips, and a soft drink and sat by the river to enjoy my snack.

I bought the eggs because I at least recognized what they were. If I am not mistaken, this local delicacy is silkworms. Yum! (not).

So I walked along the river for quite awhile, then crossed the bridge and headed home. It was a good day all in all. Certainly better than sitting at a bar….

The long goodbye

George Will has an excellent column noting that Europe may well be in a death spiral. While Mr. Will’s contention that this can be traced to Europe’s embrace of secularism may or may not be entirely correct, there is no denying these demographics:

Europe itself is withering. On the day of John Paul II’s funeral, the European Union’s statistics agency reported that the decline of birthrates means that within five years deaths will exceed births in the European Union. By 2013 Italy’s population will begin to decline; the next year Germany’s will begin to drop. After 2010 Europe’s population growth will be entirely from immigration. By 2025 not even immigration will prevent declining fertility from accelerating what one historian calls the largest “sustained reduction in European population since the Black Death of the 14th century.”

In his new book “The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God,” George Weigel, biographer of John Paul II, argues that Europe’s “demographic suicide” will cause its welfare states to buckle and is creating a “vacuum into which Islamic immigrants are flowing.” Since 1970 the 20 million legal Islamic immigrants equal the combined populations of Ireland, Denmark and Belgium.

“What,” Weigel asks, “is happening when an entire continent, wealthier and healthier than ever before, declines to create the human future in the most elemental sense, by creating a next generation?” His diagnosis is that Europe’s deepening anemia is a consequence of living on what he considers the thin gruel of secular humanism that excludes transcendent reference points for cultural and political life. Such reference points are, he thinks, prerequisites for freedom understood as “the capacity to choose wisely and act well as a matter of habit.”

The sad thing is, the Euros think they are perfectly healthy. And they delight in feeling superior to us ignorant Americans. Hmm, maybe being delusional is but one symptom of their illness. Still, since they appear clueless as to their peril it is unlikely they will wake up and take some much needed medicine before its too late. No doubt when the Islmofascists take control, they will expect us to come riding to the rescue (again). But I expect we are going to have our hands full with China.

Well, thanks for the memories Europe. Before you all became pussies and wimps, you had some glory days. Perhaps we can take lessons from your coming demise and avoid your self-inflicted fate. As I recently told someone who was talking about the useless French: “No nation is entirely worthless. It can always serve as a bad example.”

Via The Anchoress

Unfit?

Why?

This transcript from Brit Hume’s Wednesday night interview with law professor Jonathan Turley confirm how dishonest the Democrats are being when it comes to explaining their efforts to deny an up-or-down vote on ten of the president’s judicial nominees. The Democrats claim that these nominees are extremists, outside the “conservative mainstream,” as Senator Schumer has said. However, Hume asked Turley, who is a moderate to liberal, to assess the four most prominent judges being blocked.

With respect to Janice Brown, Turley was “a little bit mystified as to why [she] has attracted so much criticism.” He does not consider her an extremist, and he commended her for rooting her decision in a philosophy of the law.

Next up was William Pryor. Turley knows Pryor personally from their days as appeals court law clerks, though they are not friends. Turley’s view — “I think he’s gotten a raw deal, quite frankly.” Turley explained that (as we have pointed out), though Pryor is conservative he ignores his own views when necessary to follow the law. Maybe the Democrats have become so addicted to the unprincipled rulings of their favorite liberal judges that they cannot give credit to principled conservative jurists.

As to Priscilla Owen, Turley stated, “My view is that she was interpreting things like the parental notification law in a way that was plausible. I don’t agree with it. But she’s not some wild-eyed extremist.”

Last up was Terrence Boyle, who has served for years as a United States district judge. Turley does not consider Boyle an extremist, but he noted that Boyle is often reversed by his appeals court (which is conservative) for “plain error.” In other words, the Democrats stated reason for opposing Boyle lacks merit, but there may be a case that he’s simply not a good judge. The Democrats should make that case and then let the Senate vote.

Turley was back on Fox last night to discuss the other six stalled nominees. The transcript isn’t up yet, but it was basically more of the same. Turley thought that two of the six (Haynes and Myers)arguably had taken extreme positions in their capacity as Bush administration lawyers. As to the other four (Neilson, Saad, McKeague, and Griffin), Turley could not even get Democratic staffers to give him a basis for finding them to be extremists, and Turley knew of none. His view was that the Dems have no substantive arguments against these four, and that they are being blocked by the two Democratic Senators from Michigan as some form of retribution.

So, let’s have a vote. It’s the American way.

Via PowerLine

Our legacy, our history, our obligation, our birthright

Reading this speech from the great historian David McCullough was very moving. Sometimes we need to be reminded of just what it means to be an American. How we got here. What sets us apart. The legacy of our past is no less great than the challenges we face as nation to honor the spirit of our founders by continuing this “grand experiment” in the 21st century and beyond. Our freedom and liberty were not gifts bestowed upon us by providence, there were bought in blood and toil. To forget our obligations to those who went before, or to fail in upholding the values and traits that make us uniquely American, is the surest way to lose all that we cherish and revere.

As McCullough said so well:

We all know, in our own lives, who those people are who’ve opened a window, given us an idea, given us encouragement, given us a sense of direction, self-approval, self-worth, or who have straightened us out when we were on the wrong path. Most often they have been parents. Almost as often they have been teachers. Stop and think about those teachers who changed your life, maybe with one sentence, maybe with one lecture, maybe by just taking an interest in your struggle. Family, teachers, friends, rivals, competitors – they’ve all shaped us. And so too have people we’ve never met, never known, because they lived long before us. They have shaped us too – the people who composed the symphonies that move us, the painters, the poets, those who have written the great literature in our language. We walk around everyday, everyone of us, quoting Shakespeare, Cervantes, Pope. We don’t know it, but we are, all the time. We think this is our way of speaking. It isn’t our way of speaking – it’s what we have been given. The laws we live by, the freedoms we enjoy, the institutions that we take for granted – as we should never take for granted – are all the work of other people who went before us. And to be indifferent to that isn’t just to be ignorant, it’s to be rude. And ingratitude is a shabby failing. How can we not want to know about the people who have made it possible for us to live as we live, to have the freedoms we have, to be citizens of this greatest of countries in all time? It’s not just a birthright, it is something that others struggled for, strived for, often suffered for, often were defeated for and died for, for us, for the next generation.

Nothing fills me with as much pride and honor than to be called an American. I pray that I prove to be worthy.

Via PowerLine

God and Politics

As we move into the final stages of the power play to end Senate filibusters on judicial nominees, it is interesting to note that rather than attempt to defend the indefensible, Democrats instead seek to silence the opposition through demonization and disrespect of beliefs they cannot comprehend.

I am not a particularly religious person, but I strongly believe that people of faith have as much right to be heard as anyone else in this debate. When did holding religious values become something to be feared and mocked? Why shouldn’t people have the right to have their moral convictions represented through the democratic process?

Ann Althouse has a great post that makes this point much better than I can. Please go have a read. Here’s a taste:

Religious advocacy groups have as much right to engage in political speech as anyone else, and religious people have plenty of reason to be concerned about who gets onto the courts and who is kept off. Here, they profess concern that the filibuster is being used to discriminate based on religious beliefs.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is contributing a 4-minute videotape to the program. Is it wrong for a politician to associate with religious leaders who are advocating a political position? I can see worrying that a particular group has a lot of political influence, but that is ordinary politics, not a reason to silence people who are speaking out on matters of public concern and who identify with or are motivated by a particular religion. And Frist agrees with them in opposing filibustering judicial nominees. He’s not obligated to shun them because of their religious affiliation.

So what is the response from Democrats?

“Our debate over the rules of the Senate and the use of the filibuster has nothing to do with whether one is religious or not,” Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, said at a news conference with Senator Harry Reid, the minority leader from Nevada. “I cannot imagine that God – with everything he has or she has to worry about – is going to take the time to debate the filibuster in heaven.”

The first sentence of that statement is simple disagreement about the basis for opposing the nominees, and of course, one would expect people like Durbin to say they are not discriminating on a religious ground. That second sentence subtracts from the credibility of the denial, however, because it’s little more than a mockery of religion.

Democrats seized on Dr. Frist’s participation in an effort to portray Republicans as intolerant extremists. “In America, we are in a democracy, not a theocracy,” Mr. Reid said, urging Dr. Frist to back out of the event. “God does not take part in partisan politics.”

I don’t see the sense of this statement. Religious people fighting for a cause they believe in do not make the government a theocracy. Many prominent and highly respected political activists — notably Martin Luther King, Jr. — have operated from a religious foundation. It’s nothing new, and it doesn’t deserve to be demonized. There’s a tone of mockery toward religion in what Durbin and Reid are saying, as they twist the Council’s political activity into the idea that God is somehow debating about or participating in partisan politics. I’m sure that draws easy laughs and gasps from people who scoff at religion, but it’s quite unhelpful.

There’s an important and serious argument going on now about who should be on the federal courts. The Senate Democrats are using the filibuster to block a small number of the nominees, ones they consider way too deeply embedded in social conservatism and thus at odds with the moral values they represent. The socially conservative Christians want these people on the courts because they want their moral values expressed through courts. It’s a very important stand-off, but making it all about religion is a distraction. A person’s fundamental moral beliefs play a role in his or her decisionmaking, even if that person is a judge and is trying mightily to follow orthodox interpretive methodology. So the Senators are right to fight about the nominees the way they do, and they will have to work out this issue of majority rule and the filibuster device. But these recent comments by Durbin and Reid are offensive, inflammatory, and manipulative.

You know, I see liberal commenters expressing great fear of an American theocracy, complete with comparisons of conservative Christians to the Taliban. While I certainly would not care to have someone else’s religious beliefs imposed on me, it seems the greater danger is the blatant attempts of the left to silence those voices to which they disagree. I see this as a clear and present danger to the freedoms we most cherish. For if the views of the Christians are unworthy of being heard, who will be next?

I do not believe that in the marketplace of ideas any extreme view will survive. Let the Senate vote on the President’s judicial nominees as the Constitution intended. Then hold the elected leaders accountable for those votes. There’s a name for that. It’s called democracy.

Cross posted at The Wide Awakes

Talkin’ baseball

Carol went to the Washington Nationals home opener this week. Saw the Prez throw out the first pitch and watched the Nats defeat the Diamondbacks. It is ironic that for years I anxiously awaited the return of baseball to our nation’s capital city, and the year it finally does I move to Korea. Alas. Well, I am glad that Carol was able to attend in my place.

Over at Powerline, Paul Mirengoff offers this bit of DC baseball tivia:

Question: What city has had the best ex-ballplayers manage its baseball team back-to-back? Answer: Washington, D.C. — Ted Williams and Frank Robinson.

It’s a trick question, of course, because the two managed different franchises 34 years apart. But that was just a technicality tonight, as Washington celebrated its first regular season home game since 1971. President Bush threw the first pitch, renewing a tradition that goes back to William Howard Taft, but had ended due to circumstances beyond our control, with Richard Nixon in 1969. (I should note that the president didn’t always throw the pitch — at the one home opener I attended, in 1967, Vice President Humphrey did the honors). Tonight, President Bush used the last baseball thrown in the Washington Senator’s final home game. It was presented to him by the pitcher who hurled it, Joe Grzenda, a journeyman left-handed reliever who kept it all these years (Joe could sometimes get lefties out — today he’d probably make, what, about $2 million a year?).

In the first inning a kid in the stands caught a foul ball. He and his mom started jumping up and down deliriously. It reminded me of how much joy has been absent from this city for the past 34 years.

Ah, there is much that I miss about my homeland, but baseball is right up there. I caught a bit of the Yankees-Red Sox game on TV last night (commentary in Korean, which was no worse that what you usually get from the Americans–both ununderstandable (hmm, is that a word? I don’t think I’ve ever had occasion to say ununderstandable, but that’s pretty much how I feel when I am out and about in Korea–the street signs, the store signs, the people talking–all ununderstandable).

Anyway, I have watched some of the Korean “major leagues” on TV too. It appears to be the minor league equivalent of AA (at best) in the States. Still, there are some good players, and baseball is baseball. I plan on catching some games in person this summer. It’s funny, the teams here are all corporate owned, so you have the Hyundai Unicorns, the SK Tigers, the Kia Dragons (I might have the nicknames wrong, I’m still learning the teams). Koreans are really proud of their countrymen who make the majors. And as I learned from another American bloggers’ experience, it does not pay to be critical of Koreans playing in the US, even if their talents are suspect. Read this post from Ruminations in Korea for a good laugh. For the record, Kim, Byung Hyun, does suck, he single handedly killed my fantasy team one year.