Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mid-Week Post

Late in the game but still just nice.

All thirty-three miners have been rescued:

The last of the Chilean miners, the foreman who held them together when they were feared lost, was raised from the depths of the earth Wednesday night — a joyous ending to a 69-day ordeal that riveted the world. No one has ever been trapped so long and survived.

Luis Urzua ascended smoothly through 2,000 feet of rock, completing a 22½-hour rescue operation that unfolded with remarkable speed and flawless execution. Before a jubilant crowd of about 2,000 people, he became the 33rd miner to be rescued.

"We have done what the entire world was waiting for," he told Chilean President Sebastian Pinera immediately after his rescue. "The 70 days that we fought so hard were not in vain. We had strength, we had spirit, we wanted to fight, we wanted to fight for our families, and that was the greatest thing."

The president told him: "You are not the same, and the country is not the same after this. You were an inspiration. Go hug your wife and your daughter." With Urzua by his side, he led the crowd in singing the national anthem.

The rescue exceeded expectations every step of the way. Officials first said it might be four months before they could get the men out; it turned out to be 69 days and about 8 hours.

Once the escape tunnel was finished, they estimated it would take 36 to 48 hours to get all the miners to the surface. That got faster as the operation went along, and all the men were safely above ground in 22 hours, 37 minutes.

God love the engineers and everyone else who helped these men. It was quite a feat.

Japan takes the high road:

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan called Thursday for the release of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last week.

"From the viewpoint that universal human rights should be protected across national borders, it is desirable" that Liu be released, Kan told parliament.

"Japan-China relations are getting back to the basics of a mutually beneficial strategic partnership which I confirmed with President Hu Jintao in June" when Kan took office, he added.

Liu Xiaobo was sentenced in December to 11 years in jail on subversion charges but international calls for his release have mounted since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, triggering Chinese fury.

Kan's comments came as Japan and China are seeking to put their relationship back on track after the worst diplomatic row in years between the Asian economic giants.

The Beneficence of Kan.

China- naengmyeon is a dish best served cold.

The love is gone:

College students, who were a key to President Barack Obama's 2008 sweep into the White House, have cooled in their support as they confront a miserable job market and anemic economic recovery, according to an Associated Press-mtvU poll.

The poll results appear to compound the bad news confronting Obama and his Democrats as the president battles to rekindle enthusiasm among the newest voters with only three weeks left before congressional elections. Obama does not face voters again until 2012.

The U.S. economic malaise and stubbornly high unemployment — nearly 10 per cent — have considerably curbed Obama's popularity among all voters, taking a sharp bite out of his support on the nation's college campuses, where graduating seniors are facing truly dismal employment prospects.


I guess when you campaign on hype, it just forces people to grow up quickly, especially when they realise their cultural studies degrees definitely won't help them in a stunted economy.


When Arkansas Democratic Rep. Marion Berry complained that healthcare reform felt like a replay of the Hillarycare debacle, Obama explained that the big difference between then and now was "me." In other words, the White House's plan for making everything work out was an unyielding confidence in the power of Obama's own cult of personality. That's why that cult's high priest, David Axelrod, pursued a strategy of greeting every problem as if it were an excuse for Obama to give another big speech.

Now that the strategy has proved catastrophic, the self-pity is pouring out. Joe Biden, in a rare interregnum of lucidity, assailed his own base as whiners. Rahm Emanuel, as he was fleeing for the healthier and more civic-minded political environment of Chicago's backrooms, said, "I want to thank you for being the toughest leader any country could ask for in the toughest times any president has ever faced."

Really? The times have been rough, we can all agree, but if memory serves, the Civil War was no cakewalk. And that Pearl Harbor thing — not to mention 9/11 — might compete with the miserable economy Obama inherited and then ignored as he pursued his own vanity projects.

This sounds interesting:

Yellowknife RCMP are investigating what the city's Muslims consider to be a hate crime after a picture of the Prophet Muhammad was found at their place of worship.

Nur Ali told CBC News that he went to the Yellowknife Islamic Centre to pray early Monday morning when he saw the picture glued to the door women use to enter the centre.

Ali said the picture showed the face of a bearded man wearing a turban and having eyes "like a crazy person." The name of Muhammad, the founding prophet of Islam, was shown under the diagram.

Islam forbids visual depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. In some countries, it is an offence punishable by death.

"It's very serious," Ali said. "If you remember a few years back, one publisher in Denmark, he did something like this and all over the world there was a demonstration, and people even died for that."

In September 2005, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten printed a series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, describing the feature as a challenge to many artists' perceived self-censorship regarding Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.

Some Muslims believe any depiction of the Prophet whether in a positive or negative light is blasphemous because it could inspire idolatry.

The cartoons sparked international outrage when other newspapers across Europe and then around the globe reprinted the cartoons in 2006. Demonstrations against the cartoons grew violent in some locations, with protesters killed and various embassies attacked.

Yellowknife RCMP told CBC News on Tuesday that they are investigating the situation with officers analyzing the picture and asking neighbours if they have seen anything suspicious.

Note how this gets the RCMP's undivided attention. Vandalise a synogogue or church, tough luck. Render an image of a seventh century war-monger and watch the sparks fly.

Should the guilty party be apprehended (or beheaded), evidence of this "crime" will have to be presented. Is the alleged image going to be disallowed? If so, there is no proof. No proof, no case. I'm sure something will be rigged up. One can't offend a special-interest group, can one?

What this guy said:

We've replaced our sense of outrage with a vast wardrobe of pins and clothes.

Instead of being pissed off, we're a generation of silent supporters in polyurethane bracelets who wear little ribbons on our hearts instead of actually fighting for what we believe in....

Let me be clear: I'm all for activism. I'm saying we need more people who are willing to actually stand up for what they believe in, instead of the hordes of spineless ribbon-wearers orgasming over "making a difference."

A. Men. 

I do not doubt there are good, well-meaning people who have been affected by cancer. What bugs me is how "trendy" it has become to have a cause with a ribbon to show for it. If you care, fine. Do what you can. Wearing a ribbon only serves to give you the attention and it's not about you.

Maybe not getting into the UN's "good graces" isn't such a bad thing:

Steven Edwards, at the UN, reported that Canada had written promises of support from 135 countries, more than enough to ensure victory. It also had 15 verbal pledges, yet in the end polled just 114 votes. That tells you a lot about the integrity of the body Stephen Harper was inexplicably trying to win the backing of.
Like Ivison, Edwards reports that Canada suffered for its refusal to back off its support for Israel and pay fealty to the Islamic countries that regularly argue Israel has no right to exist.

The Harper government’s shift toward support for Israel compared to positions held by previous Liberal governments had not gone down well with members of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Conference, officials based at the UN revealed Tuesday.
One senior Islamic official also signaled that OIC members felt snubbed after Canada did not follow Portugal’s example of addressing the increasingly influential bloc as a group – even though Canadian officials say there were ministerial and other meetings with many individual Islamic states.

That it refused to do so is commendable. Getting rejected by this lot is no embarrassment; if anything it’s something to be proud of. It illustrates exactly how the UN works: You start with a set of beliefs, and then you compromise them over time, currying favour with other countries. The mystery remains why the Conservatives took such a belated interest in the council in the first place. Its most recent display of international leadership was … uh … well, I’m sure we’ll think of something. Given the anti-Israel bias that pervades the UN, campaigning for a seat on the Security Council — if it requires the OIC’s approval — is the international equivalent of applying for membership at a club that bans Jews.

What do we care what a bunch of Free Masons think about our country?


The point being that the Islamophobes are clearly not those who publicly defy Islam's threats and attacks and who just go ahead and publicly criticise it anyway and publicly mock it anyway. Where's the "phobia" in that? No, the phobia - the fear - is being shown by those who refrain from such criticism and such mockery, because they are afraid, and are afraid even to admit that they are afraid (because that too might be interpreted as an implied criticism of the thuggishness of that which they are refraining from criticising or mocking).

Indeed. Who are the real "Islamophobes"- those whose criticisms are legitimate or those who deny and deflect those criticisms? One had a moral duty to decry violence. When an imam declares Jews and Christians to be apes and pigs, why would someone not challenge that? When a dictator orders the arrest and death of his own citizens and declares the Holocaust to be a lie, how can someone not find that disturbing and just plain wrong? When so-called homegrown terrorists attempt to carry out domestic acts of terrorism, how can someone not feel ill at ease? These aren't isolated incidences or a handful of crackpots spewing out nonsense on the street. These are evil people who make it clear that because you do not share their values or identity, you are nothing and deserve contempt and death. There are no roving bands of Lutherans, Mormons, Catholics or Buddhists committing these monstrous deeds.

Yet, if you ask a sympathetic dhimmi (a non-Muslim), don't be surprised to get a mouthful of deflection or denial. For the dhimmi, there is violence or (if they can no longer deny the overwhelming evidence to the contrary) there is but it's rare and spread out. Then expect to hear fantasies of persecution and blame from parties other than those responsible. Let us suppose, for example, that there is yet another violent bombing in Pakistan (which no doubt killed Muslims and burned Korans). Feeling indignant, one cries out that Islamic violence must stop. How do you respond to this: "Maybe there is violence but Christians are violent all the time and they persecute gays!" Did you say that the violence stemmed from the always unsettled Christian region in Pakistan or make reference to the persecution of homosexuals? No, you didn't because that is a fantasy. Christians are persecuted in Pakistan and homosexuals are tolerated in the West. Indeed, crimes against them are not tolerated. However, that doesn't matter if you are a dhimmi. The fantasies of overblown and unrealistic Christian violence and persecution of a sexual minority are things to cling onto. This kind of delusion is like a security blanket. It won't, however, protect the dhimmi if sharia law was ever in effect. Just as the dhimmi is unlikely to admit the enormity (if not the existence) of Islamic violence, he is also as unlikely to thank his lucky stars that he lives in a part of the world where he is tolerated by the same people he despises and accuses of wrong-doings.

And that's where the tranquilisers come in.

In closing, a tribute to the Red Shirts whose untimely deaths are as memorable as they are numerous.

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