Archive for April, 2008
30 Apr 2008

Thinnest Notebook Rejoinder Ad

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MacBook Air ad 0:30 video

And Lenovo replies in favor of its X300 with 1:17 video

From Fake Steve via Karen L. Myers.

30 Apr 2008

Obama’s Pastor and Black Liberation Theology

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Baldilocks, unlike myself, is religious, and has produced an impressive rant from her own genuinely Christian perspective.

Guys like Jeremiah Wright care about self-centric totems of race, culture and vengeance more than they care about leading their flocks down the straight and narrow path. They need these totems to fill the void of self-doubt and that need is filled by navel-gazing religions like Black Liberation Theology and one of its parents, the Nation of Islam. Yes, BLT is a progeny of the NOI, Christianity and Marxism—a bastard child, to be sure. It’s an I-deology all right and Wright has sacrificed the eternal souls of those who believe his lies and are grateful for his good works. He has sacrificed these upon the altar of race and culture. (My own pastor says that God has special plans for shepherds—pastors—who mislead their flocks.)

Wright’s megalomania is such that he couldn’t even bring himself to hold his peace for Obama’s sake—that’s one of problems inherent in allying oneself with narcissists—and even had the nerve to be guarded by the Fruit of Islam, Daddy’s the Nation of Islam’s security force.

The most infuriating thing about Wright is his attempt to cover himself using other black people, black Christians, by saying that attacks on him weren’t really about him but about the ‘black church.’ And then he wants to fling around epithets like “Uncle Tom.”

Let’s be clear. Neither blackness, African, American or European origin, American nationality or American allegiance need a defense because such a defense would inherently be just as erroneously-focused as Jeremiah Wright’s jeremiad. Ethnic origins aren’t things to be defended, denigrated or repudiated or sworn allegiance to–my own heritage stems from this continent and two other continents–these things simply are; these facts are existential. Nationality is special: it’s existential but can also be voluntarily retained or released. And allegiance to any entity is entirely voluntary, but no one has to prove his/her allegiance to this country as part and parcel of a repudiation of an ethnicity or heritage. Those days went out with FDR.

Here’s what I do come to defend, to stand in defense of: Christianity and Christians who are black. Jeremiah Wright defames both and speaks for neither and little obscure me will not let him use either as fig leaf. Yes, our ancestors in this country and our kinsmen across the water fought to be just as Christian as other Christians—as Christian as our brothers who are white. And many of the latter stood for us and side-by-side with us—not because of us primarily but because of the One Who is Primary. Has that particular battle been won? I say yes, though the war continues. But Wright not only continues to fight the battle, he willfully misunderstands the nature of the War and identity of the Enemy. And by doing that, he becomes the tool of the Enemy. That’s his choice, but not mine and not that of those who focus on the Redemption offered by Christ instead of getting upon the Cross themselves.

To quote myself, there is no “black church.” There is only the Church.

Word to Obama: thanks a lot, “brotha.” Nice pastor you have there.

30 Apr 2008

Why Did Obama Join Wright’s Church Anyway?

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Noam Scheiber, in New Republic, delves into the question of the hour.

The question is worth revisiting now that his ex-pastor is threatening his entire campaign.

I’ve heard two basic theories since the Wright tapes first surfaced in March. The first is cynical: Obama was a black politician in Chicago with an exotic background and intimidating credentials. He needed a home in a black church to gain credibility with his less educated, less affluent, more parochial-minded constituents. Trinity offered him the requisite cred.

The second, not entirely unrelated, theory is psychoanalytical: Obama, as the product of a racially-mixed marriage, in which the black father was almost entirely absent, had spent his whole life groping for an authentic identity. Wright offered Obama both the father and the identity he never had.

The problem with both theories is that they don’t answer the question of why this particular church, this particular pastor. Yes, Wright was a prominent figure with a large congregation. But surely there were other pastors and churches that fit that profile. And, in retrospect, probably distinctly less controversial ones.

Which is where this fascinating passage from David Mendell’s Obama biography comes in:

    Wright earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sacred music from Howard University and initially pursued a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago Divinity School before interrupting his studies to minister full-time. His intellectualism and black militancy put him at odds with some Baptist ministers around Chicago, with whom he often sparred publicly, and he finally accepted a position at Trinity. …

    Wright remains a maverick among Chicago’s vast assortment of black preachers. He will question Scripture when he feels it forsakes common sense; he is an ardent foe of mandatory school prayer; and he is a staunch advocate for homosexual rights, which is almost unheard-of among African-American ministers. Gay and lesbian couples, with hands clasped, can be spotted in Trinity’s pews each Sunday. Even if some blacks consider Wright’s church serving only the bourgeois set, his ministry attracts a broad cross section of Chicago’s black community. Obama first noticed the church because Wright had placed a “Free Africa” sign out front to protest continuing apartheid. The liberal, Columbia-educated Obama was attracted to Wright’s cerebral and inclusive nature, as opposed to the more socially conservative and less educated ministers around Chicago. Wright developed into a counselor and mentor to Obama as Obama sought to understand the power of Christianity in the lives of black Americans, and as he grappled with the complex vagaries of Chicago’s black political scene. “Trying to hold a conversation with a guy like Barack, and him trying to hold a conversation with some ministers, it’s like you are dating someone and she wants to talk to you about Rosie and what she saw on Oprah, and that’s it,” Wright explained. “But here I was, able to stay with him lockstep as we moved from topic to topic. . . . He felt comfortable asking me questions that were postmodern, post-Enlightenment and that college-educated and graduate school-trained people wrestle with when it comes to the faith. We talked about race and politics. I was not threatened by those questions.” …

    But more than that, Trinity’s less doctrinal approach to the Bible intrigued and attracted Obama. “Faith to him is how he sees the human condition,” Wright said. “Faith to him is not . . . litmus test, mouth-spouting, quoting Scripture. It’s what you do with your life, how you live your life. That’s far more important than beating someone over the head with Scripture that says women shouldn’t wear pants or if you drink, you’re going to hell. That’s just not who Barack is.”

So, if you buy Wright’s account–and it rings pretty true to me–it was his intellectualism and social progressivism that won Obama over. Certainly it’s hard to imagine that someone like Obama, who came from a progressive, secular background, would have felt genuinely comfortable in a socially conservative, anti-intellectual church. The problem for Obama is that the flip-side of these virtues was a minister with a radical worldview and a penchant for advertising it loudly.

Which, put another way, means that Obama’s decision to join Trinity was probably the opposite of cynical. Trinity was the place where, despite the potential pitfalls–and he must have noticed them early on–Obama felt most true to himself.

30 Apr 2008

Dear Barry

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Iowahawk imagines what Barack Obama’s advice column for the lovelorn might look like.

Sample inquiries:

Dear Barry,

I’ve been married to the same wonderful man — Let’s call him “Jeremiah” — for 20 years. He’s a great provider and we live in a beautiful home. He dotes on me and treats me like a queen; even after twenty years he still brings me little gifts and opens doors for me. Best yet, our sex life is fantastic! Jeremiah enjoys spicing things up with role-play, such as “Adolf and Eva,” and we host weekly swinger get-togethers for like-minded couples. I know it probably must sound kind of kinky, but trust me – it keeps things interesting in “the boudoir.”

That’s where the trouble comes in. Lately it’s been hard for Jeremiah to step out of his bedroom character, even when we have company over. For example, the other night I was hosting bunco night for the neighborhood girls and Jeremiah came goose-stepping into the rec room in his black leather swastika thong and riding crop, screaming “Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer!!”

Frankly, it was somewhat embarrassing. I’ve asked Jeremiah to “tone it down” and save the Nuremberg speeches for the privacy of swinger’s night, but he refuses. Also, I think he may be clinically insane. I’m worried that if word gets out it may hurt our chances of getting membership in the country club. What should I do?

Confused in Hyde Park

———————————————
Dear Barry,

I am a graduate student at a large Midwestern university. Last semester I was seduced by an older female professor and we have been having a secret affair ever since. I know this is probably a “no-no,” but despite our age gap we share many common ideas and values, and she has been very helpful in lining up grants and scholarships for me. The trouble is I recently discovered that she is also a fugitive bomb maker from a radical neo-Maoist terrorist splinter cell affiliated with the Manson family. My conscience tells me I ought to break things off, but I’m worried how it might affect my GPA. Please help!

Torn in Evanston

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Dear Barry:

As a widow with three beautiful teenage daughters, life can sometimes be a lonely struggle. Luckily my friends recently set me up on a blind date with a Syrian immigrant gentleman whom I will call “Tony.” Although Tony is not particularly handsome, and is living in the U.S. illegally, and is facing 36 federal indictments, and has terrible body odor, he has been very kind and generous to me and my girls.

Lately, I think our relationship has gone to the next level. Yesterday Tony offered to buy a beautiful spacious $1 million house for us. I told him I was flattered but I just couldn’t accept a gift like that from someone I had only known a few weeks. He told me not to consider it a gift, but a loan that I could pay back in small installments, such as having my girls dance at a local club he owns. Not only would I be getting back a return for all those expensive after-school ballet lessons, Tony says the girls will get to meet many important businessmen from Syria, Iran, Cicero, etc.

My question — do you think this might be Tony’s prelude to a proposal?

Curious in Chicago

Read the whole thing.

29 Apr 2008

Democrat Party’s Anti-McCain Ad

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The most striking image is just a little over a second long, the blast of an IED beginning to impact two soldiers in American battle dress.

Campaign strategists of the democrat party are clearly the kind of people who see nothing wrong in using the image of a successful enemy attack on US forces for partisan political advantage.

It would never occur to these people that the image (taken from Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), which can be found around 1:35 into the trailer*) they are using is exploiting the pain and suffering (and possibly the deaths) of their fellow citizens incurred in the course of defending them.

* Hat tip to LGF Commenter MacGregor

This precise image could just as easily appear in an al Qaeda propaganda video accompanied by howls of Allahu Akbar!

0: 35 video

The cowards will certainly pull this one when the storm of outrage breaks over their heads, so here’s a link to a copy on YouTube.

Maybe it’s time to change the symbol of the democrat party from the jackass to something even more appropriate:

29 Apr 2008

Canine Freestyle

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Gin, a dancing border collie, wows the judges on the Britain’s Got Talent television program.

4:08 video

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

29 Apr 2008

Exposing a Small-Scale Racket

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Things are different in Utah. Out there, rather than peddling the usual leftwing sob stories about the homeless, CBS News investigative reporting investigates one of them, revealing a professional panhandler who makes good money pretending to be stranded and in need of the necessary funds to buy a bus ticket home to Seattle.

8:38 video

29 Apr 2008

The Godfather (1972) and Foreign Policy

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In Nora Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail (1998), Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) explains to Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) the divinatory capabilities of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (1972):

Kathleen Kelley: What is it with men and the Godfather?

Joe Fox: Hello? Hello?

The Godfather is the I Ching.

The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom.

The Godfather is the answer to any question!

What should I take on my vacation? “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”

What day is it? “Mawnday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday.”

The answer to your question is “Go to the mattresses.”

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John C. Hulsman and A. Wess Mitchell agree with Joe Fox, and proceed to view US Foreign Policy post-9/11 as a kind of re-enactment of The Godfather.

9/11 is the shooting of Vito Corleone at the fruit stand. Different members of the Corleone crime family propose different responses to the crisis. Consigliere Tom Hagen, the Liberal Institutionalist, insists on a policy of negotiation. Santino Corleone, the Neocon Hardliner, overrules him and implements a unilateralist policy of armed force with unfortunate results for Santino.

Our authors think the US should reject the extreme policies of Tom and Sonny, and rely instead upon the Pragmatism and Realism of Michael Corleone, and conclude with a certain smug note of triumph at having pulled off their extended cinematic metaphor.

It seems to this reader, though, that these moderates must have left the theater a bit too early. Michael’s moderation is actually only a pretense, a pose of weakness intended to induce the Corleone family’s enemies to drop their guard. Michael proceeds not only to “hit” all the heads of the Five Families, he even eliminates a family member, his own brother-in-law, who betrayed the family by acting as an informer to the enemy.

If George W. Bush were to have behaved like Michael, he would have given some conciliatory speeches, negotiated a deal with Iran, and then arranged –while the inauguration ceremony for his second term was underway– to nuke Pyongyang, Teheran, Riyadh, Moscow, and Beijing, while also taking care to have the editors of the New York Times and Washington Post taken for a ride.

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Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

28 Apr 2008

Memphis Blues — The Obama Variations

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Bob Dylan parody titled Obama Pastorale

6:38 video

Via Lisa Schiffren and Ann Althouse.

28 Apr 2008

The Wisdom of Reverend Wright

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The Reverend Jeremiah Wright made another of those colorful speeches that he is so noted for in an address to the Detroit chapter of the NAACP. Explaining some of those controversial comments made in the course of his sermons, Wright explained:

“The black religious tradition is different. We do it a different way.”

He then proceeded to explain that people of color just naturally think differently, because they function with a different rhythm and use different portions of their brain.

Wright discussed how different groups have seen other groups as “deficient.” After saying English-speakers saw Arabic-speakers as “being deficient,” Wright mentioned Obama almost as an aside. …

The bulk of his remarks addressed… different groups seeing each other as deficient. He acted out the differences between marching bands at predominantly black and predominantly white colleges. “Africans have a different meter, and Africans have a different tonality,” he said. Europeans have seven tones, Africans have five. White people clap differently than black people. “Africans and African-Americans are right-brained, subject-oriented in their learning style,” he said. “They have a different way of learning.” And so on.

For some inexplicable reason he skipped the portion of the same traditional analysis which talks about it being impossible to injure them by hitting them in the head.

Can you imagine the reaction if someone not of the Reverend Wright’s ethnic background indulged in these kind of characterizations of racial differences?

4 10:00 videos

28 Apr 2008

Anatomy of the West’s Surrender to Islam

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Bruce Bawrer has a fine article in City Journal identifying the principle of Free Speech as the first to go in the Left intelligentsia’s orchestration of Western societies’ surrender to Islam.

Islam divides the world into two parts. The part governed by sharia, or Islamic law, is called the Dar al-Islam, or House of Submission. Everything else is the Dar al-Harb, or House of War, so called because it will take war—holy war, jihad—to bring it into the House of Submission. Over the centuries, this jihad has taken a variety of forms. Two centuries ago, for instance, Muslim pirates from North Africa captured ships and enslaved their crews, leading the U.S. to fight the Barbary Wars of 1801–05 and 1815. In recent decades, the jihadists’ weapon of choice has usually been the terrorist’s bomb; the use of planes as missiles on 9/11 was a variant of this method.

What has not been widely recognized is that the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa against Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie introduced a new kind of jihad. Instead of assaulting Western ships or buildings, Kho­meini took aim at a fundamental Western freedom: freedom of speech. In recent years, other Islamists have joined this crusade, seeking to undermine Western societies’ basic liberties and extend sharia within those societies.

The cultural jihadists have enjoyed disturbing success. Two events in particular—the 2004 assassination in Amsterdam of Theo van Gogh in retaliation for his film about Islam’s oppression of women, and the global wave of riots, murders, and vandalism that followed a Danish newspaper’s 2005 publication of cartoons satirizing Mohammed—have had a massive ripple effect throughout the West. Motivated variously, and doubtless sometimes simultaneously, by fear, misguided sympathy, and multicultural ideology—which teaches us to belittle our freedoms and to genuflect to non-Western cultures, however repressive—people at every level of Western society, but especially elites, have allowed concerns about what fundamentalist Muslims will feel, think, or do to influence their actions and expressions. These Westerners have begun, in other words, to internalize the strictures of sharia, and thus implicitly to accept the deferential status of dhimmis—infidels living in Muslim societies.

Call it a cultural surrender. The House of War is slowly—or not so slowly, in Europe’s case—being absorbed into the House of Submission.

The Western media are in the driver’s seat on this road to sharia.

Read the whole thing.

26 Apr 2008

St. George’s Day Gift

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The Manche (“the channel” or “the sleeve”)

European Union bureaucrats eliminate England from the map.

Telegraph

From Kate via the News Junkie.

26 Apr 2008

Pour Oil on a Duck

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This was made by some liberal bed-wetters as satire, but I pretty much agree with 99% of it, so what the heck! I’m posting it entirely in earnest.

1:55 video

If cities full of liberals get flooded, that’s just too bad. And we won’t have to eat rocks, we’ll have all those tasty fish who’ve been mopping up the drowned liberals.

26 Apr 2008

Why “Bitter” Blue-Collar Ethnics Will Never Support Obama

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Not even the Lithuanian ones who went to Yale.

Mary Grabar answers him back on behalf of Polacks everywhere.

We know who you’re talking about, Barack Obama, when you talk about Pennsylvania and the Midwest, about small towns where the jobs have left. We know who you’re talking about when you talk about those who “get bitter” and “cling to guns or religion.”

You’re talking about “those people.”

You’re talking about white people who have neither the family connections nor the racial credentials to gain entrance to the world that you inhabit. Many of the people you’re talking about are those whose parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe who came to these places to work in steel mills, coal mines, and factories. We know the code words.

You’re talking about people whose culture is little known. We have been pretty quiet. We never tried to impose our culture on everyone. We never insisted on putting pictures of ourselves in our native dress into schoolbooks or mandating that our stories and songs be part of the curriculums.

We tried to maintain our culture without government aid, by forming our own churches and groups, and building Polish, Ukrainian, and Slovenian halls.

We never wore buttons declaring “Slav Power” or grouped together for purposes of intimidation or violence.

The power we asked for was the power of the paycheck which we earned in factories, steel mills, coal mines, or by cleaning houses. Yet, we were taken aside and told that because of affirmative action it was no use trying to advance off the assembly line; we were told in “diversity workshops” that people of color had to be promoted over more qualified white people. …

We paid cash for our houses and kept impeccable yards, yet saw the value of our homes plummet after marauding hoodlums came into our neighborhoods in riots that were celebrated by the intelligentsia in Manhattan penthouses, who saw such violence as justified expressions of outrage over past discrimination.

We went to public schools in those same neighborhoods only to be accosted for our skin color and the presumed “privilege” that teachers said we had. Rather than teach us what was good and beautiful about Western Civilization and the country to which our parents had fled, teachers gave us Marxist nonsense, if they bothered to teach at all. Our schoolmates saw the evening news, mimicked their elders by wearing “Black Power” buttons and felt justified in roughing the white kid who didn’t seem tough. Because we were “privileged”—despite washing our fathers’ sooty work clothes while our mothers went off to clean offices and houses in the suburbs—we were not eligible for scholarships, not even to the Catholic schools. Teachers never cut us any slack. Guidance counselors told us to be secretaries or work in the factory, despite our volunteering and demonstration of academic abilities. Our brothers, cousins, and uncles went off to fight in Vietnam, while those from your class took up arms against their campus administrators.

True, we had our problems, as all people do, with such things as alcoholism and family violence, but we handled those ourselves, and never blamed “society” or a history of oppression. Still, many of us did carry legacies from the old country, of hunger and persecution, of watching family members and villagers murdered by atheistic regimes. So we were grateful for the opportunity to work and buy our own little patches of the American Dream.

We were happy to use a welding torch, shovel, or broom to get them. We didn’t insist that we should all get college degrees. We didn’t have our documents translated for us or get bilingual instruction. If we didn’t know English we made sure our children did and we relied on them.

Your white friends in San Francisco, Barack, probably had cleaning women like my mother (and me when I accompanied her and then had my own cleaning jobs from age 12). As white people from a certain class and with certain connections, your donors knew that their futures would be secure because of their inheritances and the connections they could make in the media, politics, and business. In fact, it would benefit them in the world of “radical chic” to hang around those like you and support your policies. (Great opportunity to be photographed next to a black person!)

Your black friends there, like your wife, see no end to the amount that this country owes them because of what happened to their ancestors. It makes no difference that many of the whites in previous generations also had experienced persecution and hunger and worked in dangerous, dirty, and degrading jobs. Or that blacks and Native Americans were among the slave owners.

In fact, you and those wealthy donors sneer at white people who have had to do manual labor and who have paid for tuition at community colleges with the money earned that way, while our classmates received special scholarships and government grants—from our taxes.

You sneer at those like us who put our faith in God and not in those like you who would presume to know what’s good for us and tell us what to do with our money and our children, and leave us with no ability to defend ourselves.

Well, Barack, coming from your Ivy League world, you would not know much about us. You would not have learned that because we come from people who, rather than letting their communist benefactors redistribute the food, burned the crops in their little fields before they were forcibly “collectivized.” In Slovenia, they fought Tito’s Partisans from the woods and held mass at night when the Communists banned church services. They remember what it’s like to be hungry, ill, and living in little more than huts, while Marshall Tito and his communist cronies lived in villas. Now you live in a Chicago mansion and sneer at those like us who simply want to keep and defend our little three-bedroom ranches. You don’t know what it’s like to have family members die for the right to attend mass.

I know your liberal cronies, Barack; they make me check off my skin color on job applications and ask me during job interviews of how I teach multiculturalism, yet don’t know where Slovenia is on the world map. They couldn’t care less about my culture, nor about Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, or Lithuanian culture. Your supporters often feel free to mock my Slovenian heritage in letters and comments on the Internet when they disagree with me. I guess it’s like being called a “dumb Polack”—something that has never gained quite the opprobrium of other ethnic epithets.

See, Barack, we know the system: Some are more “equal” than others.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Steve Bodio.

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