Saturday, December 08, 2007

A free market for housing and religion

Mark Steyn wrote in So now the government has stepped in and said that, if you fall into a particular category of adjustable-rate mortgage (ARMs, in the biz) and you're worried that it's getting way too adjustable, don't worry: The Nanny State is about to readjust it well inside your comfort zone. By fiat of the Treasury secretary, your adjustable-rate mortgage is henceforth an unadjustable adjustable-rate mortgage. These new UNARMs will spread their healing balm across the land until it's safe enough for the housing "market" to once again be exposed to market forces.
And what happens in five years? Will there be pressure to keep the cap on for another five years? And whether that happens or not, will money still flow as rapidly to the mortgage business, or will it go overseas where it can grow faster?
... As America demonstrates, faith thrives in a free market. In Europe, the established church, whether formal (the Church of England) or informal (as in Catholic Italy and Spain), killed religion as surely as state ownership killed the British car industry. When the Episcopal Church degenerates into wimpsville relativist milquetoast mush, Americans go elsewhere. When the Church of England undergoes similar institutional decline, Britons give up on religion entirely.
And Secular Europe is about to find itself Islamized from within, and when it is no longer available to them, just think how many will pray for the churches they lost.
Instead of a state church, Europe believes in the state as church – the all-powerful beneficent provider of cradle-to-grave welfare.
The funding of which is not created in Heaven, or freely donated in the collection plate, but taken unwillingly in the form of high taxes.
... in Europe big government has led naturally to small religion.... I would rather we talked less about religion in America (which can take care of itself) and more about government, which seems to be trending in an alarmingly European direction, Democrats and Republicans disagreeing merely on the speed at which we'll get there.
Yet the two are explicitly connected. Europe's religious decline derives in part from the state's usurpation and annexation of so many of the other supporting structures of society, including the church. I am in favor of a free market in religion and a free market in housing, but right now I'd like a conservative candidate with a clear-headed commitment to both.
I agree completely.


Thanking Our Troops

NBC has apparently declined to run ads thanking our troops because the ads mention Freedom Watch's Web site. I have certainly seen other ads on NBC that mention a web site, so I don't know why they object to Freedom Watch but here vis the ad they refused:

and the other ad is

Hat tip to PowerLine and Glenn Reynolds


Friday, December 07, 2007

Nuclear Power

Wired reported Former 'No Nukes' Protester: saidThe only way to rescue our plug-hungry planet from catastrophic global warming is to embrace nuclear power, and fast.

Hat tip to Bryan who said As the joke goes, more Americans have died in Ted Kennedy’s car than from nuclear accidents. Read the rest of the article. It’s interesting stuff.


Decorated Trucks

Oomsa has 7 pictures of (European) semi-trucks whose trailers are decorated to look like the sides are missing and the products they are hauling are painted on the sides and back. You have got to see this.


Islam’s Silent Moderates

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has a very good article in NYT. I urge you to read the entire article, and then ask yourself, are Islam's moderates just silent, or is it possible to believe in Islam and be modern and moderate.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Freedom of Speech

Mark Steyn wrote in The Corner One of the critical differences between America and the rest of the west is that America has a First Amendment and the rest don't. And a lot of them are far too comfortable with the notion that in free societies it is right and proper for the state to regulate speech. The response of the EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security to the Danish cartoons was to propose a press charter that would oblige newspapers to exercise "prudence" on, ah, certain controversial subjects. The response of Tony Blair's ministry to the problems of "Londonistan" was to propose a sweeping law dramatically constraining free discussion of religion. At the end of her life, Oriana Fallaci was being sued in France, Italy, Switzerland and sundry other jurisdictions by groups who believed her opinions were not merely disagreeable but criminal. In France, Michel Houellebecq was sued by Muslim and other "anti-racist" groups who believed opinions held by a fictional character in one of his novels were not merely disagreeable but criminal.
If you can't even talk about it, you better figure out some other way to address the problem, or all of Europe will find themselves wearing burkas and having women stoned for extramarital sex.


Lobbyist to nowhere

Remember the "Bridge to Nowhere" that kept coming up? They have not given up. Now they want to pay a lobbyist $25,000 to $50,000 to get it slipped in as an earmark.
Don Surber blogged The bridge-to-nowhere people have a job opening. My Washington bureau chief is fit to be tied. He found a government job opening and he filed this report:
Alaska’s Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA) is soliciting “professional services” that include lobbying the federal government to support funding for Alaska ’s still remaining “bridge to nowhere” project, also know as the Knick Arm Bridge or Don Young’s Way. This controversial bridge would connect Anchorage with a nearly deserted port.


Obama’s wife supports gun rights — sometimes

Baltimore Sun reported Here was Obama's discussion of gun ownership and his wife's thoughts during a campaign stop at a middle school: "We should be able to combine respect for those traditions with our concern for kids who are being shot down. This is a classic example of us just applying some common sense, just being reasonable, right? And reasonable would say that lawful gun owners – I respect the Second Amendment. I think lawful gun owners should be able to hunt, be sportsmen, protect their families.
If they live in the country,
"And by the way, Michelle, my wife, she was traveling up, I think, in eastern Iowa, she was driving through this nice, beautiful area, going through all this farmland and hills and rivers and she said 'Boy, it's really pretty up here,' but she said, 'But you know, I can see why if I was living out here, I'd want a gun. Because, you know, 911 is going to take some time before somebody responds. You know what I mean? You know, it's like five miles between every house.'
And you think that in the city the police respond immediately, even in the rough neighborhoods?
"So the point is, though, we should be able to do that, and we should be able to enforce laws that keep guns off the streets in inner cities because some unscrupulous gun dealer is, you know, letting somebody load up a van with a bunch of cheap handguns or sawed-off shotguns and dumping them and selling them for a profit in the streets."
Do you object to them selling them on the street, or the fact that they make a profit doing it. If it is selling on the street, then crack down on that, not legal gun owners.


What has Congress done?

Republican Congressman Eric Cantor's team has put out this video to look back on the first year of the Democratic Congress.

Hat tip to Betsy Newmark


It's a big universe reported For years scientists have wrestled with a puzzling fact: The universe appears to be remarkably suited for life. Its physical properties are finely tuned to permit our existence. Stars, planets and the kind of sticky chemistry that produces fish, ferns and folks wouldn't be possible if some of the cosmic constants were only slightly different.
The "Intelligent Designer", a.k.a. God, does good work.
Well, there's another property of the universe that's equally noteworthy: It's set up in a way that keeps everyone isolated.
Obviously He wanted it that way. I can't wait to "Go Home" and learn why, and learn what He will be having us do for eternity.
We learned this relatively recently. The big discovery took place in 1838, when Friedrich Bessel beat out his telescope-wielding buddies to first measure the distance to a star other than the sun. 61 Cygni, a binary star in our own back yard, turned out to be about 11 light-years away. For those who, like Billy Joel, are fond of models, think of it this way: If you shrank the sun to a ping-pong ball and set it down in New York's Central Park, 61 Cygni would be a slightly smaller ball near Denver.


British imam's daughter under police protection after converting to Christianity

Times Online reported A British imam's daughter is living in fear of her life under police protection after she received death threats from her family for converting to Christianity.
And this is not in a Muslim country, it is in Britian
The young woman, aged 32, whose father is a Muslim imam in the north of England, has moved house 45 times to escape detection by her family since she became a Christian 15 years ago. Hannah, who uses a pseudonym to hide her identity, told The Times how she became a Christian after she ran away from home at 16 to escape an arranged marriage.... The latest threat was a text message from one of her brothers, warning he could not be responsible for his actions if she did not return to Islam.
Isn't it wonderful to have a brother like that?
Hannah said she was looking forward to getting married so she could change her name and escape detection by her family. Not all Muslims in Britain are this extreme, she believes.
Or hopes
"It is representative of some Muslims. I know the Koran says that anyone who goes away from Islam should be killed as an apostate so in some ways my family are following the Koran.
You are right Surah 16:106 says Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief,- except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith - but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty. and "Whoever changes his religion, kill him" is called for in Bukhari, Abu Dawud, and many other Haddith that are not online, including Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, An-Nasai, the Muwatta of Imam Malik, Tayalisi, Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Hibban, the Sunan al-Kubraa, Bayhaqi, Abu Ya'laa, Humaidi, Abd al-Razzaq, and Ibn Abi Shaybah but is that the way Britain wants its residents to behave?
They are following Islam to the word. But I do not think every Muslim would actually act on that." Earlier this year, a Policy Exchange study found that 36 per cent of British Muslims aged between 16 and 24 believed those who converted to another religion should be punished by death.


You must be kidding

CNET News reported The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill saying that anyone offering an open Wi-Fi connection to the public must report illegal images including "obscene" cartoons and drawings--or face fines of up to $300,000.
I am glad they are doing something, but this is over broad. A library, coffee shop, etc providing free wifi can't monitor all of the images served up by the service, and call the cops when obscene cartoons or drawings are served up.
That broad definition would cover individuals, coffee shops, libraries, hotels, and even some government agencies that provide Wi-Fi. It also sweeps in social-networking sites, domain name registrars, Internet service providers, and e-mail service providers such as Hotmail and Gmail, and it may require that the complete contents of the user's account be retained for subsequent police inspection.

Redstate blogged The House just overwhelmingly passed the "Securing adolescents from online exploitation act," a stupid and obnoxious piece of lunacy.... This bill would require people with a wireless site to catalog all the people who use their site, and report anything anyone might call a lascivious site using photos of young people.

First off, it's an unfunded mandate, second, no hard drives exist big enough to do this, third, it is illegal for private citizens to spy on one another, and if the images are kept then the person with the wireless service is violating the law.
forth, you cannot get landlords to search the rooms of their renters as a roundabout way to violate the constitution, this is the same thing.

But only two members of congress voted against it. Ron Paul of course (he votes against everything), and Paul Broun, whom I assume is the only one who actually read the bill.

What a cheap way to pretend you care about children: Pass a blatantly unconstitutional piece of crap, force some poor businessmen to defend themselves in court, watch the bill get thrown out, and the public picks up the tab.

Is it any wonder the public is cynical and holds the government in utter contempt?


High income taxes in Denmark worsen a labor shortage

International Herald Tribune As a self-employed software engineer, Thomas Sorensen broadcasts his qualifications to potential employers across Europe and the Middle East. But to the ones in his native Denmark, he is simply unavailable. Settled in Frankfurt, where he handles computer security for a major Swiss corporation, Sorensen, 34, has no plans to return to the days of paying sky-high Danish taxes. Still, an unknowing headhunter does occasionally pass his name to Danish companies. "When I get an e-mail from them, I either respond negatively but politely," Sorensen said. "Or I don't respond at all." Born and trained at Denmark's expense, but working - and paying lower taxes - elsewhere in Europe, Sorensen is the stuff of nightmares for Danish companies and politicians searching for solutions to an increasingly desperate labor shortage.
I hope the Democrats, who are so interested in raising taxes, will take note of this.
People like Sorensen, and there are many, epitomize the challenges facing the small Nordic country, long viewed across Europe as an example of how to keep an economy thriving and a society equal.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Spiegel Online reported Former Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali is worshipped by foreign intellectuals, but not always welcome at home. Her opinions provoke Muslims as well as the European left, and she's been living in very public exile from the Netherlands for over a year. Even her clothing is provocative, though not at first glance. Ayaan Hirsi Ali wears a soft brown designer jacket with an embroidered floral pattern. When she takes off the jacket, though, there's a black T-shirt. A black T-shirt underneath reads, in several languages (including Arabic): "Neither Whore Nor Submissive." She smoothes the T-shirt, stretches and says: "It's a fantastic slogan, isn't it?"
Fantastic and provocative.
Who can be surprised that this woman polarizes people? That some consider her a kind of Joan of Arc, while others see her as an incorrigible radical? As someone who says that she wants to help oppressed Muslim women, and yet may do more damage to them than good?
In what way can bringing out what happens to a woman under Islam can it do them damage. It might result in her death, but she seems prepared for that.
The daughter of a Somali opposition politician who fled to the Netherlands to escape an arranged marriage, Hirsi Ali is an expert at offending others. A rebellious spirit lurks beneath her graceful exterior and designer clothing.... She's discovered, she now says, that even those who claim to be fighting outdated dogmas are quick to impose their restrictions on thought. From public life she's learned that minorities should not be rebuked; that there are also racists among non-whites; and that "tolerance of the intolerant is nothing but cowardice."


Dirty Trick???

Crooks and Liars says It is not every day that something from a blog post ends up in the CBS Evening News, but then again using children with cancer to try and steal the White House is pretty egregious. A diarist at Daily Kos noticed that the dirty tricksters, who are advancing an initiative that would switch 20 of California’s electoral college votes to the Republicans were using children’s cancer as a bait-and-switch to get people to sign the initiative and place it on the ballot.

It sounds to me that the signature gathers are just trying to get several petitions signed at the same time. Why is that a dirty trick? And if 20/55's of the state really support the Republicans, why is it not a dirty trick for the Dems to get their electorial votes? And all that would happen, if the Republicans get enough signatures, is that the subject would then be put on the ballot. The Dems must be pretty worried that the voters would pass it. Maybe the name of the blog, Crooks and Liars, says it all.


Death Tax

NewsBusters reported Opponents of the Death Tax may have found a very unlikely celebrity spokesperson, "View" moderator Whoopi Goldberg.
The only ones that support it are rich people that have put most of their fortune where the Death Tax will not hit them, or who don't like their children. Anyone on good terms with their heirs should hate it, whether they have millions to leave to them, or just thousands.
On the December 4 edition, guest co-host Kate Walsh noted all of the programs Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul wishes to abolish. Goldberg then stepped in proclaiming "I’d like somebody to get rid of the death tax...If I have to give something to my kid I already paid the tax, why do I have to pay it again because I died?"
A very good question.
Video (0:55): Real Player (1.48 MB) and Windows Media Player (1.70 MB), plus MP3 audio (424 kB)

After a strong applause from the audience, Joy Behar retorted "only people with a lot of money say that." Whoopi strongly disagreed and added this comment against the death tax.
"It’s horrible. It doesn’t matter if you have or you don’t have money. Once you paid your taxes, it should be a done deal. You shouldn’t have to pay twice. No taxation without representation! Sorry."


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Candidate Calculator

Find Your Candidate for the 2008 Election
Which 2008 Presidential Candidate Agrees With You?

Answer the questions below to find the 2008 presidential candidate that best aligns with your beliefs. More than 1.5 million people have already filled it out. Give it a try!

Not sure about this. It says I am a 100% match with Romney, but I am 95% match with Huckabee and Thompson, 85% with Rudy, 70% with McCain, 40% with Richardson, 45% with Obama, 40% with Edwards, and 35% with Hillary. For the nut cases in the two parties, I m 60% with Ron Paul and 15% with Dennis Kucinich.


Hold the ice

Chicago Sun Times reported In a test of ice cubes from 49 fast-food and casual-dining restaurants and hotel bars in the city and suburbs, the Chicago Sun-Times found that more than one of every five samples contained high levels of bacteria. Samples taken at three of the restaurants contained an undetermined amount of fecal coliform, according to the findings of a government-certified laboratory that performed tests on the samples for the newspaper. By comparison, a water sample taken from a toilet in a men's room at the Sun-Times tested cleaner than the ice obtained at 21 of the restaurants and bars.
I would not want to drink that, but if I ever end up in Chicago I want my Coke in a can, no ice.


Teddy Bear named Jesus

Hot Air reported The View wonders, wouldn’t Christians be freaking out if a teddy bear was named Jesus? The burning question on Barbara’s mind is whether the outrage of the Sudanese lynch mob is really all that different in principle from that of religious people in the U.S.

If a teacher in the US allowed a child to name a teddy bear Jesus, there might be an out cry, but it would not be from Christians, but from the Secular Humanists that would object to the use of Jesus's name in public school. They would scream Separation of Church and State.


The CAIR Bears are here!

This is very funny. The Rude News has posted a number of CAIR Bears. Check them all out

Hat tip to Robert Spencer. And check out Robert's article in Human Events about implications of the Muhammad Teddy Bear Madness.


International Islamophobia Conference

Jihad Watch reported Some of the world's leading lights on Islam, both Muslim and non-Muslim, are gathering at the Grand Cevahir Hotel in Istanbul December 8-9 for the International Islamophobia Conference.... But if one wants to understand why it is happening, and what can be done to end it, no two-day star-studded conference is needed -- unless, of course, that conference is meant to highlight the victim status of Muslims and divert attention from jihad terror activity. if Muslims want to end "Islamophobia" instantaneously, here's how they can do it:

  1. Focus their indignation on Muslims committing violent acts in the name of Islam, not on non-Muslims reporting on those acts.
    There have been 10, 128 since 9/11, according to the box in my side bar.
  2. Renounce definitively not just "terrorism," but any intention to replace the U.S. Constitution (or the constitutions of any non-Muslim state) with Sharia even by peaceful means.
  3. Teach Muslims the imperative of coexisting peacefully as equals with non-Muslims on an indefinite basis.
    This will be a hard lesson for them to learn.
  4. Begin comprehensive international programs in mosques all over the world to teach against the ideas of violent jihad and Islamic supremacism.
  5. Actively work with Western law enforcement officials to identify and apprehend jihadists within Western Muslim communities.
If Muslims do those five things, voila! "Islamophobia" will vanish.

Tariq, Karen, John, Louay, Recep: don't thank me. If you want me to come to Constantinople and explain this in more depth, just contact me at
I would not book any air fare just yet, or hold my breath.



Richard Cohen wrote in WaPo What could be called "The Huckabee Moment" occurred Sunday morning when ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked the former Arkansas governor, suddenly and ominously the front-runner in Iowa's GOP contest, whether Mitt Romney is a Christian. Mike Huckabee knew precisely what was being asked of him,
He was challenged by a Secular Humanist to say someone is not a Christian.
and he also knew, because he is a preacher, what the right -- not the clever, mind you -- answer should be. But Huckabee merely smiled that wonderful smile of his and punted.
In other words he was smart enough not to fall in Stephanopolis's trap.
This, with apologies to George W. Bush, is the soft demagoguery of low expectations. Until just recently, the expectations have indeed been low for Huckabee. He is more famous for losing more than 100 pounds than for any towering political accomplishment. But he is an ordained Baptist minister, and Romney is a Mormon -- a member of a church that some conservative Christians consider heretical.
And if some think that way, Richard thinks all must.
Huckabee has presented himself as the un-Mormon. Pardon me for saying so, but that is the chief difference between the two. On about all the social issues you can name -- abortion, stem cells, gun control -- Huckabee and Romney are in sync. So their religious differences are not about morality.
Does Richard Cohen think that a man's belief should control how he would govern?
They are about belief -- religious belief, precisely the issue that is not supposed to matter in this country. Huckabee, though, clearly thinks it ought to.
But he did not fall in Stephanopolis's trap.


Monday, December 03, 2007

We are good friends!

Click here to see some cute "animal friend" pictures like this one


Hague museum pulls offensive Muslim art

TheAge reported The city museum of The Hague has decided not to include in an exhibition a work of art that may offend Muslims, it was reported on Monday.
Will the museum be equally considerate of offending the sensibilities of Christians, or Jews, or Buddists, or Hindus, or .....
The picture, made by Iranian artist Sooreh Hera, is entitled Adam and Ewald and shows two gay men wearing masks of the Muslim prophet Mohammed and his son-in-law Ali.... However, he added he will not exhibit Adam and Ewald in the next few years because "certain people in our society might perceive it as offensive".

Hera responded she was "disappointed" and added "apparently a Muslim minority decides what will be on display in the museum".
It is a stupid picture, and one obviously done to offend, but "art work" drawn to offend Christians has been exhibited.
Liberal-rightist Freedom Party (PVV) leader Geert Wilders, condemned the museum's decision, adding it was "based on fear".


Finally a little sanity in Sudan

WaPo reported A British school teacher jailed in Sudan for two weeks after allowing her students to name a teddy bear Muhammad was freed Monday following a pardon by the Sudanese president.
This whole thing was stupid. I just hope they get her out of the country safely before the mob gets her.
President Omar al-Bashir's pardon of Gillian Gibbons allowed her to leave prison before the end of her 15-day sentence, and ended a diplomatic tangle, resulting in what British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called a victory for common sense.


Iowa and New Hampshire are no longer first

Los Angeles Times reported Thanks to quiet changes in how busy Americans choose to vote -- namely the explosion of early absentee voting as a convenience, not a necessity caused by travel -- Florida's absentee voters will actually be the first Americans to start voting in the primary process for the 2008 election. They can start casting their ballots on Christmas Day, 23 days from now and a full nine days before Iowa's caucus-goers thought they'd be first in the nation.
And at least for the Dems it won't count, because of what their party did to penalize Florida for moving their primary up.
This means that voting in the 2008 presidential election process actually begins in 2007.
For a president that will not take office until 2009.
... Additionally, Gronke's documents show that a strong trend toward early absentee voting all over the West is also quietly undercutting the “first in the nation” primacy of the Hawkeye and Granite states. By this measure, for instance, Iowa is merely tied for second in voting order. On Jan. 3, the night of the Iowa caucuses (and the Fiesta Bowl that might tempt some to stay home by the TV), Arizona voters can begin voting absentee.
I wish Arizona could have started a day earlier and made Iowa third.
Californians may begin voting -- either absentee or in person at select locations -- as early as Jan. 7, a day before the once-inviolate primary primary in New Hampshire now set for Jan. 8. New Mexico voters also start voting absentee before the N.H. primary, starting on Jan. 5.

Oh, and for that matter, here's an even earlier note: overseas and military voters from California have a right to get a ballot starting in five days, on this coming Friday, Dec. 7.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Iowa could be interesting on Jan 3

The Des Moines Register has a poll out which says Huckabee new GOP leader in Iowa Poll

Mike Huckabee has leaped ahead of Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney in Iowa, seizing first place in a new Des Moines Register poll of likely Republican caucus participants. Huckabee wins the support of 29 percent of Iowans who say they definitely or probably will attend the Republican Party's caucuses on Jan. 3. That's a gain of 17 percentage points since the last Iowa Poll was taken in early October, when Huckabee trailed both Romney and Fred Thompson.
and Obama pulls ahead for Democrats in Iowa Poll
Barack Obama has pulled ahead in the race for Iowa's Democratic presidential caucuses, while the party's national frontrunner Hillary Clinton has slipped to second in the leadoff nominating state, according to The Des Moines Register's new Iowa Poll. Despite the movement, the race for 2008's opening nominating contest remains very competitive about a month before the Jan. 3 caucuses, just over half of likely caucusgoers who favor a candidate saying they could change their minds.