Archive for October, 2006
29 Oct 2006

William and Mary Removes the Cross From its Chapel

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The Flat Hat student newspaper reports:

The cross from the altar area of the Wren Chapel has been removed to ensure that the space is seen as a nondenominational area, Melissa Engimann, assistant director for Historic Campus, said in an e-mail to Wren building employees.

“In order to make the Wren Chapel less of a faith-specific space, and to make it more welcoming to students, faculty, staff and visitors of all faiths, the cross has been removed from the altar area,” Engimann said.

The cross will be returned to the altar for those who wish to use it for events, services or private prayer. Student tour guides have been directed to pass any questions or complaints about the change on to administrators

On the lighter side, Chuck at YARGB, thinks he knows who is responsible:

You know who fears the cross? Right, vampires. William and Mary has been infested by vampires. Hidden stairways in the faculty lounges lead to the crypts beneath the campus of America’s second oldest university; there the administration and tenured faculty spend their “break time” resting on a thin layer of rich soil lining the bottom of comfortable coffins. Soon garlic will be banned from the cafeteria because some find its odor “offensive.” Mirrors will be removed from the restrooms. There will be more night classes for “non-traditional students.” The town’s people had better lay in a stock of wooden stakes and torches, they are going to need them.

Calling Buffy. Where are you Vampire Slayer?

29 Oct 2006

News From Melton Mowbray: Another British Fox Hunt Turns to Falconry

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Neil Everley of the Quorn with Golden Eagle/Steppe Eagle cross

As we noted last December, the infamous February 2005 Hunt Ban, enacted by Britain’s Labour Party as a gesture of class animosity and urban spite, banned hunting par force du chien (i.e., the traditional pursuit and reduction to possession of the quarry by a pack of hounds), but included certain loopholes: drag hunts (i.e., hunts in which the pack hunts an artificially created line of scent) are lawful; and hounds can be used to follow a scent and to flush out a fox, which may then be pursued by no more than two dogs, and ultimately shot or taken by means of falconry.

The strange consequence of this vile legislation has been a curious revival of falconry employing large raptors by several enterprising hunts. Last year, the Cheshire Hunt was seen taking to the field accompanied by a European Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo).

This year, the illustrious Quorn is training a huge Eurasian Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos chrysaetos) and Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) cross.

Melton Today

Hat tip to Steve Bodio. I’m less pessimistic than Steve’s correspondent Patrick, who evidently accompanied the link he sent Steve with prognostications of havoc.

Let’s see — amped up hounds, lots of people, a couple hundred horses, a panicked fox, and someone in a coat and tie handling a massive Golden Eagle cross in the middle of it all. Madness on stilts if you ask me! When the eagle is injured or killed, it will be described as an “accident” rather than planned stupidity.”

I’m sure some very interesting misadventures (and ones worth writing about!) will inevitably occur, but it’s all part of the game in the sporting field. And I’m rather pleased myself at the irony of the same detestable English Puritanism which nearly extinguished the ancient sport of falconry in the British Isles in the 17th century, inadvertently ushering it back in in the 21th century, and in a particularly colorful and grandiose form to boot.

29 Oct 2006

And Then They Went Over And Laid Some Wreaths at the German War Memorial

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Charles Johnson was stunned.

You think you’ve seen French appeasement at its worst. Then they go and do something like this.

Last year’s French riots were triggered by the deaths of two “youths,” who fled a police ID check, broke into an electrical substation to hide, and were electrocuted when they touched something they shouldn’t have.

Last Friday officials and residents of Clichy-sous-Bois, scene of some of the worst rioting, dedicated a monument to these two disenchanted fleeing criminals.

What would Godfrey of Bouillon have done?

29 Oct 2006

Write a Novel in November

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There’s still time to sign up.

link

All this is not as crazy at it sounds. There is a book associated with this annual event by Chris Baty, titled: No Plot? No Problem!

The whole affair (book and annual contest) is really an exercise in learning how to write, by building confidence that obstacles can be overcome, and by establishing firm and productive work habits.

Look at it this way: the November writing project does demonstrate annually that it really is possible to produce some kind of novel by only a month of determined and persistent effort. So if it really would take most of us a few more months to produce anything worthwhile, it is still good to realize that the work is really finite and well within the capabilities of a great many of us.

Hat tip to Steve Bodio.

29 Oct 2006

Ant City

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A giant with a magnifying glass is destroying the city.

game

29 Oct 2006

Making It Up

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Paul Mulshine, in the Star-Ledger, notes, as we did ourselves, that if you try to find the reference to “equal protection” in the Article 1, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey State Constitution (mentioned as the basis of its ruling requiring Gay Marriage by the New Jersey Supreme Court), you will seek in vain. And he adds:

You will note that the words “equal protection” do not appear in it. They couldn’t have. That article first appeared in the New Jersey Constitution of 1844. But it wasn’t until 1868 that the concept of equal protection came into being, and that was in the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The 14th amendment doesn’t apply here, but if it did, the state Supreme Court would almost certainly be re versed in the federal courts. That was the case with the court’s last ruling on the question of gay rights. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed a New Jersey ruling in which our high court ordered the Boy Scouts to accept a gay scoutmaster. That decision was also based on the nonexistent “equal protection” clause in Article 1, Paragraph 1 of the state constitution.

The seven justices of the New Jersey Supreme Court have a habit of putting words into the Constitution — and of taking them out.

If a court made up of liberals was working on the basis of a Constitution whose only text was the Second Amendment’s provision That the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed, I have no doubt they could find Equal Protection, a Right to Abortion, Gay Marriage, Affirmation Action, Forced Busing to Achieve Racial Integration, and Confiscation of Private Firearms all mandated by the same text.

29 Oct 2006

One Year Anniversary

The Never Yet Melted Blog was started October 29, 2005. Current statistics are: a total of 1800 posts, visitors from 176 countries, more than 26,000 unique visitors this month, and 800 blog links (by Technorati’s count). Our thanks to the many generous bloggers who linked our new and obscure effort, and to all our readers around the world.

28 Oct 2006

Wim Demeere Demonstrating Wushu

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A short 3:32 demonstration of Wushu (Chinese Kung Fu) by Wim Demeere for Belgian television (in Flemish).

video

28 Oct 2006

The Cremation of Sam McGee

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A video reading of the famous Robert W. Service poem. Very well done.

28 Oct 2006

Dick Armey Explains Why Congressional Republicans Are in Trouble

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When Bill Clinton out-maneuvered House Republicans in the 1995 budget battle, and they found themselves under fire for “shutting down the government,” wholesale incumbency timidity returned.

In 1989, Newt Gingrich rose to the number two leadership position in the House after a contentious three-way race pitting young backbench conservatives such as myself, Bob Walker, Joe Barton and others against old bulls such as Minority Leader Bob Michel and other ranking members. We thought they suffered from a minority party mindset and were too accommodating of the Democrats. Out of congressional power for nearly two generations, Republicans had become complacent. Senior members of the party were happy to accept the crumbs afforded by Democratic chairmen. Life was comfortable in the minority as long as you did not rock the boat. Members received their perks — such as travel abroad and special banking privileges — and enough pork projects for reelection. The entire Congress lived by the rule of parochial politics.

Gingrich and I and a handful of true believers in Ronald Reagan’s conservative vision set the goal of retaking the House. The “Contract With America” outlined our platform of limited government. This vision appealed to both the social and economic wings of the conservative movement; equally important, it included institutional reforms for a Congress that had grown increasingly arrogant and corrupt. The contract nationalized the vision of the Republican Party in a way that unified our base and appealed to independents. We championed national issues, not local pork projects or the creature comforts of high office.

In 1994, this vision was validated when Republicans took 54 seats in the House, eight seats in the Senate and control of both houses of Congress.

Welfare reform in 1996 only affirmed the revolution. Bureaucrats, special interests and the White House all claimed that the sky would fall if we touched this failed Great Society program, but we held firm. When you take on a sacred cow, you must kill it completely — tinkering on the margins is ineffective. In the end, the reform proved so successful and popular that President Bill Clinton (who rejected the original bill twice) considers it one of the best ideas his administration ever had.

At one point during the welfare reform debates, a member approached me and said, “Dick, I know this is the right thing to do, but my constituents just won’t understand.” I told him, “So you’re telling me they are smart enough to vote for you but not smart enough to understand this?” He ended up voting to pass the bill.

Yet despite such successes, we didn’t learn the right political lessons. A few months before the victory on welfare, we lost the battle over the federal government shutdown of 1995, when we were outmaneuvered by Clinton, a masterful political operator. After that fight, too many Republicans apparently concluded that America wanted bigger government. This misreading was the first step on the road away from the Reagan legacy.

We emerged as a wounded party; we stopped trusting the public; and we internalized the wrong lesson. Since the party won the majority in 1994, the GOP Conference had been consistent in requiring offsetting spending cuts for any new spending initiatives. (In fact, during the aftermath of a large Mississippi River flood, Rep. Jim Nussle even waited to find and approve offsets before moving the relief legislation for his own state of Iowa.) But by the summer of 1997, the appropriators — rightly called the “third party” of Congress — had begun to pass spending bills with Democrats. As soon as politics superseded policy and principle, the avalanche of earmarks that is crushing the party began.

Read the whole article.

I noticed that Dick Armey failed to discuss how in 1997, with Newt Gingrich under fire from ethics charges trumped up by democrats, House Republicans led by Armey himself attempted to remove Gingrich as Speaker. Consequently the following year, after unexpected electoral setbacks (Republicans lost five House seats), Gingrich was blamed. He resigned the Speakership and left the House, rather than face another rebellion. It’s impossible to avoid comparing the quality of Republican leadership, and ideological commitment, before and after Gingrich’s departure.

28 Oct 2006

Potato Cannon

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Build the ultimate potato cannon.

Instruction file

Caution: large .pdf file.

27 Oct 2006

DOD Will Seek Corrections

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Jim Dunnigan’s Strategy Page reports that the Department of Defense is turning to the Internet and the Blogosphere to hold the MSM’s feet to the fire, and force them to correct mistakes and inaccuracies.

The U.S. Department of Defense is now taking its requests for corrections public through a website known as For the Record. Here, the Department of Defense is openly calling for corrections from major media outlets, and even noting when they refuse to publish letters to the editor.

The most recent was this past Tuesday, when the DOD published a letter, that the New York Times refused to run, which contained quotes from five generals (former CENTCOM commander Tommy Franks, current CENTCOM commander John Abizaid, MNF Commander George Casey, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers, as well as his successor, Peter Pace) that rebutted a New York Times editorial. This has been picked up by a number of bloggers who have been able to spread the Pentagon’s rebuttal — and the efforts of the New York Times to sweep it under the rug — across the country.

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