Thursday, March 30, 2006

Today's Immigration Post

Courtesy of National Review.

Tales from people on the front lines of the border wars.

A look at American Dhimmitude. An excerpt:

What we’re seeing in the streets is a naked assertion of power by outsiders against the American nation. They demand that we comply with their wishes and submit our immigration policies for their approval, and implicitly threaten violence if their demands are not met. Far from being a discussion among Americans about the best way to regulate immigration, the illegal-alien marches have been marked by the will to power: ubiquitous Mexican flags, burning and other forms of contempt for the American flag, and widespread displays of blatant racial chauvinism and irredentism.

And finally, asking the question of economics in granting amnesty. An excerpt:

Given that Democratic Leader Harry Reid has threatened to filibuster any immigration bill that does not include amnesty for illegal aliens, someone should ask him a basic question: What happens to state budgets when twelve million illegal aliens become eligible for Medicaid and food stamps?

A good question.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Lowry on Illegal Immigration

Rich Lowry discusses the recent protests of illegal immigrants against enforcement of the laws here at National Review. It's worth a read.

Personally, I'm starting become annoyed with some of the rhetoric people keep using in this. Pay attention to who is saying it when someone uses the argument that these illegals will "take jobs that Americans won't." If you're a blue collar worker (whether native born or a legal immigrant), you should be insulted by that statement. From what I've read, the influx of ready labor has been driving down the wages in those fields as well, so you'd have even more reason to be upset about it.

This whole "debate" stinks. There aren't enough people willing to talk reasonably about it, and the media mugwumps aren't helping.

The Real Story of Abdul Rahman

One of my favorite (though rarely linked) Christian blogs is "and his ministers a flame of fire." centuri0n [sic] has a few posts right now on Abdul Rahman's predicament (who doesn't?), and he makes some points that I wish I would have said when I was thinking them.

To summarize his point, a lot of people have jumped on this bandwagon and have talked about the political implications of this and the human rights disaster that it is for Afghanistan. Not that those are bad. It's horrible that people consider leaving Islam for Christianity a crime, in Afghanistan or anywhere.

The problem is that with all the focus on politics, the true message of what is happening is being lost. Cent sums it up best:
Abdul Rahman is not willing to die for democracy or republican government: he is willing to die for the sake of Christ. That is the story. Do not miss that story. Do not fail to tell that story.
Can do, centuri0n. Can do.

Monday, March 27, 2006

More Comicky Goodness

Glenn McCoy taking on Rod Blagojevich (D-Dreamland)

Some fun with abortiobn from Snafu Comics.

Advocating Plagiarism?

Until now, I've avoided the Huffington Post like the drunk girl at a party, pretty much because the snippets I see others posting from it have told me everything I needed to know about it. However, Captain Ed points out this post by Larisa Alexandrovna that led me to actually go there.

It seems that someone from AP stole some of her work, and their response was that she wasn't worthy of being credited for the work because she wrote for a blog:
We contacted an AP senior editor and ombudsmen both and both admitted to having had the article passed on to them, and both stated that they viewed us as a blog and because we were a blog, they did not need to credit us. What we are or are not is frankly irrelevant. What is relevant is that by using a term like blog to somehow excuse plagiarism, the mainstream press continues to lower the bar for acceptable behavior. It need not matter where the AP got the information, research, and actual wording from. What matters is that if they use it in part or in whole, they must attribute properly. A blog or a small press publication or grads students working in the corner of a library all equally deserve credit for their work, period.

Unfortunately this is far too common and has happened to me and to other writers and bloggers far too frequently. This time, however, we made a point of tape recording the AP apparatchiks admitting to taking our work and using it without attribution, stating "we do not credit blogs".

Ouch. But I guess it puts Ben Domenech's situation in perspective, huh?

People often get flak for criticizing the media, because it always becomes a "you don't like it because you're partisan" kind of thing when they screw up or get a story wrong. But can we agree, on any side of the aisle, that this is just plain bad for everyone?

Not that I'm expecting anyone to plagiarize my crappy writing.

See? It is biased!

From Digital Purgatory

When the MSM was . . . better

Do you think they'd run this issue today?

The Scimitar of Damocles

Andrew Bostom on where Abdul Rahman's fate is coming from, and why we should take the words of the Qu'ran seriously.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Violent Protests

Or should I say, counter-protests.

Groups protesting the presence of illegal aliens get attacked; see it here at Freedom Folks.

Y'know guys, you don't make much of a case for remaining in the country when you pull stuff like this . . .

Hilarious T-Shirts

Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Lazy Saturday Blogging

Given this is my last day of vacation before I must return to Evanston, I'm not much for a long, drawn out post. In lieu of that, I present to you yet another installment of Linkfest:

Russia Gave US Battle Plans in Iraq to Saddam?

Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus - always a good read.

Mark Steyn on Rahman and Islam - I may comment on this later.

Michelle Malkin on Raham.

Dr. Mohler on Rahman - Read it all, he's provided some interesting stuff.

Church Sign Generator - Because it's just good fun.

Ace's Multiple Reviews of "V for Vendetta."

Yes to Taliban, No to Afghani Women at Yale.

There you go. Enjoy your reading, and enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Chutzpah, noun

Senator Hillary Clinton yesterday:

Accusing Republicans of betraying family values, Senator Clinton said a House immigration bill would turn "probably even Jesus himself" into a criminal.

A relative latecomer to the charged immigration debate, Mrs. Clinton yesterday spoke passionately to a gathering of a broad spectrum of New York's immigrant leaders. Her comments come amid a local groundswell of activity in preparation for a Senate vote Monday that is expected to determine the nature of immigration reform. ...

Mrs. Clinton, who previously said the bill would move America toward a "police state," also invoked biblical language yesterday. "It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scriptures," Mrs. Clinton said, "because this bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan."

You know what I find ironic? I constantly hear people complaining about the "religious right," how we want to establish a theocracy, how we keep dragging religion into politics, where it doesn't belong.

Yet here you have Hillary using the Bible (however poor her understanding of it) as justification for political strategy. I recall many an instance of her and her husband preaching the gospel of the DNC from the pulpits of churches during election cycles. Where is their condemnation? Or is religion only forbidden to the conservatives?

Hat tip to Captain's Quarters and the Church Sign Generator.

On Abdul Rahman

Abdul Rahman is a Christian in Afghanistan currently on trial for the crime of having left the Islamic faith behind. The prosecution is saying that he may be mentally unfit for trial (under the premise that you'd have to be insane to be a Christian or to leave Islam . . . more or less).

While the media is getting their weight behind this just now, I've actually heard about this for a few days. Michelle Malkin is awesome about such matters, and she's had a series of great posts about this, including one that links to video of Rahman. See her posts here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

I'm glad the media is covering it, though I suspect many will use it as a club against the administrations involvement in Afghanistan. "See? You haven't changed those stupid savages with democracy at all! Ha ha ha!" Something like that.

I've been mulling my thoughts around about this since I heard about it. Of course, there's nothing more that we can really do along the official channels. Everyone in the seats of power who need to know about it, do. It's just a matter of what actions, if any, they'll take to stop this. The editors of National Review wrote a very good account of what this should look like here.

So really, I don't have much helpful to add, except this: Abdul Rahman has received a lot of coverage of his plight, and that's not a bad thing. Though dying for your faith is certainly not the worst fate in the world, the coverage drastically increases his odds of surviving this, and hopefully he'll live to share his faith another day.

But the fact of the matter is that for every case like his that we hear about, there are hundreds, maybe thousands out there that we'll never know about. In countries all over Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, people are killed because they are the "wrong" faith. Sometimes it's Christians who are killed, sometimes it's not. But whether we're talking about China or Saudi Arabia, freedom of religion is a rare thing outside the western world.

So what should we walk away from with this?

Christians: Pray for Abdul, but pray also for all of your persecuted brethren in the world. These are dangerous times, and they need all the help they can get.

Non-Christians: Realize that religious persecution is real, and it's happening all over the world. If you are a westerner, the rights that allow you to practice your religion (or lack thereof) simply don't exist elsewhere. As bad as you may think you have it, you may practice openly without the threat of death. Whatever your feelings are on the religious beliefs of others, have pity on those who are forced to choose between their faith and their life, and realize that there aren't many ideas that people are willing to die for.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Press Corps vs. Bush

You see the most amazing things when you're on vacation and watching TV at 9AM.

President Bush was giving a press conference, and the White House press corps was given a chance to ask questions. The first one out of the gate? Helen Thomas asks the President (and I paraphrase),

"Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has killed thousands of servicemen and Iraqi civilians, yet all of the reaons you gave publicly for the invasion have been shown to be untrue. What was your real reason for invading Iraq? You say it wasn't to control the oil, or for Israel, so what was your real reason?"

Wow. The press corps has complained that the White House of this administration is rather cool with them. When you ask questions of such "high caliber," do you have any wonder why?


A Cruel Hoax

Among the many tragedies in life, one of the greater includes the continued production of new Simpsons episodes, while the far superior Futurama met an untimely end after only 4 seasons.

But lo and behold, could the hand of fate have undone this cruel injustice?
Our friend Billy West has once again spilled the beans. According to a post he made on his message board, Futurama is going to be renewed for television with 26 episodes. No word as to what station it will be on, who will rejoin the cast, or whether it'll be two seasons that would consist of 13 episodes each or one HUGE season of 26 episodes. Please keep in mind though, all this information is still very unofficial. Nothing is down on paper. No contracts signed. Nada. NOTHING. But, it's still pretty awesome.

Of course you realize, I did wet my pants in the manner of an overstimulated puppy at this point. But alas, when you read to the bottom of the post, you discover that it was just a hoax, a rumor spread by the misinformed.

*Sniff* Why, Groening? Why do you toy with us so?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Blogger Weirdness

Fixed whatever problem was eating the frontpage's HTML. I'm really tired of Blogger wigging out on me. Oh well, I guess the price is right.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Regulatory Post

The last few weeks have been interesting.

The absence of posts has been due to graduate school, or as I like to refer to it, the 7th Circle of Hell. Too much work, not enough time. My last final was today (final final?), but my work is not over just yet. Yesterday, my research advisor "reminded" me that he wants a 15 page paper by Sunday. When I tried to explain to him that I had neither the time nor the content for 15 pages, he simply ignored the laws of physics and told me to get it done.

While I'm sure that I actually can get this done, he'll have quite a bit to critique about it.

In any case, once I'm past Sunday, I'm on vacation. Then I might actually be able to blog about something interesting for a while.

Also, now that I'm no longer the kitty kibble for the day, traffic seems to have stablized. For you non-regulars, you're more than welcome to post here, but I won't get dragged into a conversation that won't go anywhere, and I reserve the right to delete posts. (Seriously, Rodney, how long did you think I'd let that remain?)

So, that's the schedule and the other errata. As you were.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Take THAT, Dr. Atkins

Science to the rescue! Again!
Pasta, bread, crackers: Supermarket shelves are lined with products made from wheat. And that's not necessarily a good thing. When wheat is highly processed, the body converts its starches into sugar, potentially contributing to obesity and diabetes. Now a team of researchers has engineered a new variety of the grain that avoids those drawbacks by holding onto its starch as fiber.

Starch consists of a mix of two kinds of molecules: amylopectin and amylose. Amylopectin is a branched molecule that remains fairly soluble in the digestive tract, allowing enzymes to break it down quickly into sugar. The long chains of glucose that make up amylose, in contrast, form clumps that resist digestion. Plant breeders have successfully created corn with less amylopectin and more amylose, which has been marketed as health foods because the body is less able to turn it into sugar.

The starch level of wheat has been tougher to manipulate. But recently, a team led by Matthew Morell of CSIRO Plant Industry in Canberra, Australia, has discovered which genes impact starch formation in an experimental variety of wheat. When they damped down the expression of two of these genes, called SBEIIa and SBEIIb, the relative amount of indigestible amylose in the starch rose to almost 75%, compared to 25% in typical grain. "We were pretty excited," says Morell.

Cool. But can they do it for Oreos?

I guess it just goes to show that whatever problem lazy, indulgent Americans come up with, science will always bring a solution.