Private competitors innovate or die. Government workers do what they did last year. That's why I want the private sector to provide my health care. Pursuit of profit will give us our best medicines and medical devices.
I'll pay you $1,000 if you can name one thing government does more efficiently than the private sector.
Moore laughed at me, saying, "You are, like, so Thirteenth Century," but he conceded that America's founding libertarian philosophy has made us a rich and innovative country.
That innovation would be directly threatened by more intrusive government intervention in health care.
Don't you think?
Former BBC producer Anthony Jay has a pamphlet out about the culture of the Beeb; an excerpt appeared in the Telegraph.
It applies as well to things here in the states - both to the media groupthink and to the overall pattern of thought in the prog-blog community as well.
Read the entire article. It's very informative and engrossing.
Foreign Policy: The List: The World’s Stupidest Fatwas.
I agree with OPFOR; this takes the cake:
Denouncing the lovable Japanese cartoon characters as having “possessed the minds” of Saudi youngsters, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority banned Pokémon video games and cards in the spring of 2001. Not only do Saudi scholars believe that Pokémon encourages gambling, which is forbidden in Islam, but it is apparently a front for Israel as well. The fatwa’s authors claimed that Pokémon games include, “the Star of David, which everyone knows is connected to international Zionism and is Israel’s national emblem.”
Satoshi Tajiri couldn't fool the Saudis with his nefarious propaganda.
The truth is out!
The secret ingredient.
Memo to the reality-based: God can do that: You can't.
Avi Lewis in an ignorant twit. See what Ayaan Hirsi Ali says to him at the end.
Small Dead Animals on the ugly comments at CBC:
It seems that having one's genitals sliced half off in the name of Muslim purity, a colleague murdered in broad daylight in the street for the crime of criticizing Islam, living in hiding under armed guard, and being forced from your home by court order because your neighbors fear the jihadists who have pledged to kill you is insufficient personal experience from which to draw conclusions about the relative merits of Islam and America.
Audio of Dennis Prager who comments on the Ali-Avi smackdown. What I found interesting was the call he got from a person who is engaged to a Somalian woman. It starts around 19:30 into the audio clip.
I have a non-Muslim friend who reads this blog sometimes. Currently, she is studying Islam and perhaps one day may want to accept the religion. She pointed out to some of the verses from the Quran and ahadith that define the role of women in Islam and particularly the destiny of women after death depending on how good she had been with her husband in life and how satisfied her husband had been with her.
Yeah. This friend asks a few questions, one of which is:
Do women have the right to banish their errant husbands from their beds and eventually punish them with a toothbrush?
I think Islam would be the perfect religion for her.
This time line makes the Pakistani political sphere look stable.
Recently, the Towelians asked me for a picture to display at their profiles page. I had picked an image over a year ago to display here at my blog but never got around to implementing it. (I had thought about using it in place of the second 'A' in ISAAC at the top.) Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the lambda:
This upper case version has quite a history.
What a peculiar creature.
Reason on John Edwards:
Really, no matter his politics, if a presidential candidate actually achieves the access to fairy dust and children's wishes that Edwards seems to have we'd need to take a hard look at him. If he loses, what if he decides to use the Avada Kedavra curse on us?
We'd be scarred for life.
A real plan:
Edwards told the gathered audience that the second half of his presidential term would be devoted to a $125 billion effort to supplant the abolished bad things with good things, such as flowers, the laughter of children, butterflies, sunny days, financial stability, Skittles, and medicine.
Oooh, I can already taste the rainbow!
The back and forth in the comments section here is spectacular. Near the end, Imran provides us this gem on July 16, 2007, 12:11 p.m.
[...] for the one who embraced Islam and then disbelieved, he has committed by this act a major crime for which he should be killed unless he returns again to Islam after being a believer. Apostasy constitutes a form of frivolous play and immortality. So, an apostate becomes a vicious member in the Muslim society that should be cut off before spreading evil to others. Here, we state that killing such a wicked member can only be ordered by the Muslim ruler, and should not be done before using all possible means to make him return to Islam, i.e. he must be shown his errors, asked to repent and to re-embrace Islam. If he does not accept, then the ruler or his agent orders that he be killed as a way of establishing the retributive punishments of Shari'ah. This means that he is considered as a killer of himself because of his refusal to return to Islam.
Link sent in by Tambi Dude.
Jeff Jacoby writes about Howard Zinn and Old Glory:
"Put Away the Flags," his piece for The Progressive is titled. It begins: "On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed." For isn't devotion to the flag "one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?" To be sure, Zinn doesn't condemn devotion to *all* flags. He thinks national spirit is fine for countries that are small and passive, such as "Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica." It is only in "a nation like ours" that reverence for the flag becomes dangerous. He recites a litany of supposed American crimes -- against the Indians, the Mexicans, the Cubans, the Filipinos, the Japanese.
I have the flag of the United States of America for this reason:
Yes, of course, in 231 years of independence, the United States has often fallen short of its values and ideals. But those values and ideals are what the flag embodies, not the failure to live up to them. To salute the flag is not to proclaim that America can do no wrong. It is to believe in, and be committed to, its great capacity to do right.
The NHS is the biggest employer in Europe, and it's utterly dependent on imported staff such as Dr. Asha and Dr. Abdulla. In the West, we look on mass immigration as a testament to our generosity, to our multicultural bona fides. But it's not: A dependence on mass immigration is always a structural weakness and should be understood as such. In the socialized health systems of the Continent, aging, shrinking populations of native Europeans will spend their final years being cared for by young Muslim doctors and nurses.
A suicide car bomber attacked a convoy in northwestern Pakistan early Sunday, killing more than 10 security personnel a day after a blast killed dozens of Pakistani troops near the Afghan border, police said.
As long as Pakistani troops are in Iraq, these attacks will continue.
Hey, I would watch that movie!
Malaysia bans the blasphemous film Evan Almighty which features the kind of humor loved by many in the secular white West and their Asian flunkies.
That's interesting. He doesn't explicitly condone or condemn this behavior. It's one thing to say, "Hey, don't watch this movie, it's offensive" and another to actually have governments ban the film.
This might appear to be a small matter but it's not. If one doesn't stand up for freedom of speech -- yes, that includes movies one doesn't like -- then one day the tables can be turned and then guess who'll be on the receiving end of a ban.
Sheila in the comments says that the movie hasn't been banned in Malaysia. Though, many are clamoring for it. Let's see what happens.
- German cat in trouble.
- I SEE YOU, Frodo Baggins.
- Can you say "No"?
- Legolas has a mustache!?
- Awesome engineer.
- Two Jews walk into a bar in Saudi Arabia...LOL.
- Oh, noes!
- Mmm, soft.
- Not pet material.
- Bye Bye Birdy.
- Be mesmerized.
- "Dude, you don't have the Animal Channel."
- Will roar for food.
- I say, "It's a cat!"
I'm not kidding.
On July 8, the New York Times ran an historic editorial entitled “The Road Home,” demanding an immediate American withdrawal from Iraq. It is rare that an editorial gets almost everything wrong, but “The Road Home” pulls it off. Consider, point by point, its confused—and immoral—defeatism.
After the father selling his daughter, the practice of ferocious dog fights, and education with a rifle posts, here's something a bit light.
The Jan Pehechan Ho song from 1966 made me think of the famous Dil Se.. song Chaiyya Chaiyya (Singers: Sukhwinder Singh, Sapna Awasti) from 1998. They were released in different eras but both are bursting with fun and entertainment.
You Tube videos of other songs from Dil Se..
Earlier this week, some 150 Fatah gunmen stormed a number of schools in Nablus and drove out hundreds of students who were taking high school matriculation exams.
The gunmen were protesting against Abbas's refusal to allocate secret halls for them so that they, too, could sit for the exams, without risking being arrested or killed by the IDF. The gunmen were later allowed to sit for the exams in special halls.
One of the teachers said most of the gunmen cheated.
"They opened books and copied the answers word by word," he said. "We were afraid to stop them because they were carrying M-16 rifles."
Aren't these future Nobel Peace Prize winners so cute!
Link via Elder of Ziyon.
Dubai: Senior police officers have denied that ferocious dogs are being brought here for dog fights.
"Dog fights are not happening in the country. They are prohibited," said Lieutenant Colonel Khalil Ebrahim, Deputy Director of Criminal and Investigation Department (CID).
Secret Dubai Diary offers the perfect response:
Rape is prohibited. Murder is prohibited. Theft is prohibited. Yet they still all happen, which is presumably why we have the police force in the first place.
These dogs get stuffed with drugs and steroids, horribly maimed in fights, and are usually dumped somewhere in the desert when their fighting career is over. The lucky ones end up at K9 Friends and get re-homed into families. The rest die or are euthanised due to the seriousness of their condition. The new UAE anti-animal cruelty law cannot arrive too soon.
Unable to scrounge together the $165 he needed to repay a loan to buy sheep, Nazir Ahmad made good on his debt by selling his 16-year-old daughter to marry the lender's son.
And you thought your dad was old fashioned.
"He gave me nine sheep," Ahmad said, describing his family's woes since taking the loan. "Because of nine sheep, I gave away my daughter."
Seated beside him in the cramped compound, his daughter Malia's eyes filled with tears. She used a black scarf to wipe them away.
Link via Dhimmi Watch.
So apparently change isn't always so good. That's the best way to describe Katie Couric finally acknowledging in public that the move to CBS to anchor the "Evening News" after a stellar career hosting "The Today Show' may have been a mistake after all.
Katie finally went public in an in-depth interview with New York magazine. If you didn't know any better, you'd think Katie was criticizing the viewers and saying they just don't appreciate good TV because it isn't what they're familiar with.
What follows is a terrible, terrible scene of murder-in-action.
Listen to the "interview with Abu Saif" and his "views on Israel". It's vile and comical. Vile because of the content; comical because he sounds like a kid on coke.
Link via Protein Wisdom.
A Bahraini man has been badly injured in an attack by crows, which swooped on him outside his home. Hassan Isa Buhasan, aged 30, was still being treated for a severe eye injury at the BDF Hospital yesterday.
Link via Mahmood.
Armed Liberal offers commentary on the recent NYT article which called for surrender -- and admitted that this would lead to genocide.
The rifle for the ages.
A man has been stoned to death for adultery - and Iran has (for the first time in years) admitted it. Amnesty are rightly campaigning for the protection of his co-defendent. They have both been in prison for the past 11 years.
According to this report the couple were convicted under "Iran's Islamic Law". This is in fact revolutionary law, not Islamic law as laid down in authoritative texts - which set the standard of proof for Zina (adultery) almost impossibly high.
Of course, just another perversion of peaceful Islam. Odd how millions of Muslims aren't outraged about it.
The number of refugees worldwide increased by nearly 2 million last year, driving the total to nearly 14 million, the highest level since 2001, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants reported Wednesday.
Overall, the committee said, the situation for refugees worsened in all four categories it uses for measuring their well-being: physical protection, detention, freedom of movement and right to earn a livelihood.
The best grades went to Canada and Benin, on the west coast of Africa, each receiving three As and one B.
I'm very fortunate.
Lawrence Auster on Islam and Irshad Manji:
Islam is the religion that was formalized by interpretation of the Koran and the traditions of Muhammad into the Islamic law in the eighth and ninth centuries. The Islamic law IS Islam, and it hasn't changed in any essentials since then. For Manji's peaceful Islam to come into existence, actual Islam, defined by the sharia, would have to be dismantled. Can anyone imagine actual Muslims, whose ancestors have been following Islam for over a millennium, following a spiky-haired Canadian lesbian who wants to turn Islam into that which it has never been?
She certainly has small pockets of Muslim support but I don't think she'll get the approval of the majority in Western nations, let alone the umma.
Why am I not surprised. Hey, we gotta deal with the effects of soft socialism. (Not me, personally. I draw the line at caffeine.)
Link via Celestial Junk.
Umar Lee talks about the Lal Masjid in Pakistan and then drops this:
One of the major problems that we have in the Muslim ummah and one of the reasons that we need a khalifah and that people such as the British government should not be fighting this but rather should see its return as a force that can bring moderation is that with no central authoity in Sunni Islam any group of Muslim vigilantes can get togehter and proclaim themselves to be an Islamic Party and force their teachings on others without a supreme authority.
Ah, I see. The problem isn't the religious oppression per se; it's the fact that religious rules are being imposed by a bunch of two-bit thugs. It would be so much better if a totalitarian, Islamic super-state could enforce the barbaric sharia on the entire umma.
China's Ambassador to Pakistan, Luo Zhaohui, has condemned the killing of three Chinese nationals, and the wounding of another near Peshawar, the capital of the country's North West Frontier Province (NWFP).
A local witness tells the story:
While police maintained it was a robbery attempt, a local witness said the attackers with their faces covered were shouting religious slogans when they opened fire on the four Chinese nationals in a three-wheel auto-rickshaw factory at Khazana, a town some eight kilometers from Peshawar.
Link via Gateway Pundit.
The trial is a waste of money anyway -- just behead the guy. Really, there's no point in paying any attention.
Rashad Mohammed Saeed, who was in Afghanistan and got back to Yemen after September 11, is one of the young men who use their religion to justify his version [of] Jihad. He said that the Jihadist movement doesn’t belong to a specific school in Islam. It was rather formed by events in general that have happened to Muslims. This movement takes legality from the Shari’ah in its origins, Quran and Hadeth, said Saeed. It gives him motive to fight oppression.
It is the US’ oppression and wrong policy with Muslims that makes room for suiciders and Jihadists, said Saeed. “The US is the reason behind all the tension that is prevailing in the world these days. The policy of the US also made a lot of people believe that people like Osama bin Laden and his followers are the saviors from the oppression on the Islamic world. The UK was targeted when it entered the war with the US in Iraq, Spain as well. Arabian countries that support and are allies with the US are also targeted.”
Link via Armies of Liberation.
Farah’s brother Saddaqat Ali Shah borrowed money from Farah many a times. A couple of days ago, Farah and Saddaqat got into a spat for some reason and Farah asked her brother to pay back the money he had borrowed, but he did not take her seriously. Farah incessantly demanded her money back. Sadaqat was infuriated and shot her. Neighbours ran to Farah’s house after hearing the gunshot and she was rushed to Mayo Hospital where she died.
The post-spin is not surprising:
When ASP Abdul Jabbar of Islapura police station was contacted, he said Saddaqat had killed his sister in the name of honour. He said Saddaqat was suspicious that Farah had extra marital affairs and had tried to stop her from doing so, but she did not obey, which was why he killed her.
Killing over money: not cool. Murdering an adulterous whore: Alright!
James Berardinelli got an advanced screening of the fifth Harry Potter movie. The review is already up:
With The Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter has truly come into his own, fulfilling the promise of The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire. These are no longer cute stories of wizards and magic and things that go bump in the night. They are dark tales where the themes and creature become increasingly distorted as the frames whiz by. The Order of the Phoenix is the best on offer to-date from the Harry Potter cinematic franchise, and one of the few reasons during the summer of 2007 to venture out to a multiplex.
Excellent. Though, the one thing that grated me in the last two movies was the portrayal of Dumbledore by Gambon. The late Richard Harris showcased the wizard as wise and latently powerful. However, Gambon's Dumbledore comes off as an old, bumbling fool. I hope that has changed in this latest Potter entry.
Is there anything they can't do!?
Tambi Dude emails this link:
One of the more vivid voices marking the second anniversary of London's July 7 attacks is that of Hassan Butt. He's calling on Muslims to renounce terror, and he speaks from experience: Butt spent years inside what he calls "Britain's jihadi network."
On two occasions, he met with Mohammed Sidique Khan, the leader of the July 7 bombings, who, like Hassan Butt, was born and raised in Britain. Now in his 20s, Hassan Butt was recruited in the late 1990s, while still a teenager, joining radical Islamist groups that were then little known in Britain.
It's a 20-minute interview. Just click on the "Listen" icon.
Speech and Q&A by Bat Ye'or:
Q: You talked about multiculturalism in Europe and critics of multiculturalism of being accused of Islamophobia. How do you defend your own views if one was to say that your views are Islamophobic.
A: Well I will say that when I go for instance to India, I enjoy seeing the culture, the Indian culture in India. I think it is very good, very nice, very colorful. And I am very grateful to the Indians or to the Buddhists to have added their own culture to world cultures. In the same way, I am very happy to see European culture. I don’t think that European culture should disappear and I think that when Indians come and ask to live in Europe, they have to be grateful to the state that welcomes them and they have to respect the culture of this country. And I spoke about the Indians, the Indians are doing that without any problems, but the problems come from other populations — mainly Muslim populations but not all, who have in their historical traditions and their religious text also the tradition of fighting Jews and Christians. And also, to refuse to have contacts or to link with Jews and Christians as friends, so there it is a difficulty. This is in Koranic verses so there are two or three Koranic verses that say: don’t become friends to Jews and Christians — make friends with your own (5:56-65).
So we have to know that there are these aspects in the Muslim religious texts which don’t exist in Hindu or Buddhist or other religions. So there is a difficulty there for integration. On the other hand also, we have to know (sorry for being a little long), that Islamic civilization was created by Jihad; that means by the conquest of Christian lands, in Asia it was Buddhist and Hindu lands - but the Christian lands that Muslims took over were from Hungary to Nubia, from Portugal to Iraq. And all over this enormous territory, over three continents, there were Christian populations living there with Jews. So when those lands were conquered by Jihadist armies, the Muslim theologians and jurists established special regulations concerning Jews and Christians. Those regulations were oppressive; they recognized them the right to live as non-Muslims but on the condition that they would be humiliated and totally inferior to Muslims. So there is this tradition in the Islamic history and we have to take this into account and we must, in order to establish friendly relations with Muslims, discuss these problems. It is extremely important otherwise we will not be able to eliminate the problems between us.
The Apostate: American Honesty.
In a heavy duty class-based society like Pakistan, the lying can get out of control. Everyone attempts to puff up their close relatives. When someone tells you that their son is a mechanical engineer in Britain, there's a high possibility that he's a cab driver. (The point isn't that driving taxis is somehow bad. The point is that there is tremendous need to lie, again and again.)
I've never really understood this mentality -- largely because lying takes effort and sooner or later it comes back to bite you in the ass. Sometimes, there isn't even any reason to lie but people do it out of habit.
Case in point: A person who knew my dad wanted to send his son to an American school. He got information about the school that I attended and got his son admitted. Some time later, I found out that his son was telling some interesting stories. For instance, he was telling his colleagues and teachers about his older sister who was a renowned doctor.
This was news to me because he didn't have an older sister. This kid, who grew up within the Pakistani culture, thought that Americans actually gave a fig about his sister -- that somehow he would accrue prestige by talking about his high-status relatives, rather than mentioning his own accomplishments.
A person in America could be a professor and his brother a hardcore criminal. The thug doesn't get any privileges because he has a professor as a brother. Similarly the professor doesn't lose face or is publicly dishonored because he has a goon for a brother.
One is judged on personal merit. Honesty and individuality are linked.