Thursday, September 18, 2014

Still United?

Time reports:

"Results in Scotland’s independence referendum are distinctly leaning towards the No campaign, with declared local authority areas so far choosing by to stay within the U.K. by 21 to 4."

This probably affects me not at all,
but I'm hoping that the union doesn't fall
mostly because I rather strongly suspect
that the Scot's economy will get wrecked.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Gossipy insults
hurled at Wasserman Schwartz...

Politico has a long piece on how the Democrats are turning on DNC leader, Debbie Wasserman Schwartz, who many seem to feel has outstayed her welcome.

"One example that sources point to as particularly troubling: Wasserman Schultz repeatedly trying to get the DNC to cover the costs of her wardrobe."

Also, the boss in the White House reportedly doesn't care for her.

Shortly after becoming chairwoman, she pushed hard for a meeting with the president that she kicked off by complaining that she had been blocked from hiring the daughter of a donor — who’d been on staff in her congressional office — as a junior staffer to be the DNC’s Jewish community liaison.

Are they trying to portray her as pushy and greedy, while making a point of mentioning Jewishness? Are they pushing a subliminal stereotype here?

I've never been a real admirer,
but I'll feel bad if they fire her.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Heard Walking Home

Honking! Traffic jam?
Nope. It's geese on the lam,
fleeing in a swarm
to where it's warm.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Scot Free

On Thursday, residents of Scotland get to vote on whether it should be a separate country.

Wikipedia specifically says it's residents, not citizens, who get to vote.

Of course it's true
that technically there's not
a citizenship called "Scot"
until the divorce goes through.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Plus and Minus

I saw the last of the low-budget Atlas Shrugged trilogy movies last night.

On the plus side, Ayn Rand didn't live to see this trilogy. On the minus side, we don't get to hear her denounce it.

On the plus side, the philosophical statements in the trilogy are all Rand-compatible. On the minus side, her controversial views sometimes come across blandly.

I think of this last film as having 3 main sections: the valley, the speech, and the torture. Of these, by some reverse alchemy, the torture scene, which is tense and cinematic in the book, somehow became the least dramatic scene in the movie.

I do want to give a shout-out to Greg Germann who played Jim Taggart. As far as I'm concerned, he steals every scene he's in. He's a one-man drama machine of internal conflict.

I have to say, I actually enjoyed the film, but I went in with accurate expectations.

Here's the minus: the movie is not well done.
Here's the plus: it won't be seen by much of... anyone.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Killing Christians

Peggy Noonan has an article today in the WSJ that focuses on the ongoing effort to eradicate Christians in the Middle East. The WSJ hides a lot of stuff behind paywalls, but for now the whole article is here.

I'm glad to see someone talking about it. It has been going on a long time, for decades really, but it seems to be accelerating and seems to have finally come to public attention here.

"In roughly the past 18 months, all this has broken through in Christian communities, largely by way of Christian media, including Catholic news services and the Baptist press. The story has been all over social media. Pope Francis has denounced what is happening; the Vatican is talking about just-war theory."

The story has not really been covered by the establishment media. The genocide has not really been exposed by the foreign policy wonks or the U.N.

I originally grasped the scope of what was happening from reading a 1999 book by William Dalrymple: From the Holy Mountain: A Journey among the Christians of the Middle East. He visits monastery after monastery, and over and over the Christian population around the monasteries has dwindled significantly. Kirkus Reviews describes the book as "an evensong for a dying civilization". And why is that civilization dying? Dalrymple says it's due to resurgent Islamic fundamentalism.

I don't know that we can solve this problem. But we should at least begin by admitting that this is a great evil happening now.

Noonan is pretty good at reading the mood of the American people. I think she's correct that there's no current appetite for nation-building. But I think she's also correct that there's plenty of appetite for killing off a lot of these murderous Islamic State thugs, who are riding around in the open and waving flags and killing American journalists, and, generally, just begging to be killed.

Send in the drones.
Blast their bones.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Literacy vs. Numeracy

The Wall St. Journal had an article saying it's harder to learn math if you're an English speaker. Well, harder than if you're a Chinese speaker.

The argument, which I've seen before, is that the way we say the numbers from 11 to 19 is inconsistent with the rest of the system.

You know, instead of saying seventeen, we should say tenty-seven. Instead of saying twelve, we should say tenty-two. Or something like that. Apparently Chinese does something like that.

What I tentatively like about "tenty"
is that it rhymes with twenty.

Alas, who could have foreseen
that kids would be undone by "fourteen"?