I’ll be away from the computer for a few days, one of which is my one year blogiversary: March 4th! Horray for NoodleFood! To warm you up for the coming celebration, let me recommend this insane story about drug dealers crashing a party and working diligently to sell drugs to the crowd of cops.
I loved Tuesday’s Bleat on the meaning of marriage.
Paul and I have certain words that we characteristically mispronounce. “Suave” sounds like “swave.” Yosemite (a local street) sounds like “Yo, Semite.” “Chipotle’s” is pronounced “Chip-oat-lees.” I sometimes have trouble remembering which is the proper pronunciation and which is our silly pronunciation. I suspect that someday I will be deeply embarrassed by the confusion… but at least I’ll be able to point people to this blog entry.
But if I’m ever caught belting out one of my badly-rhyming, off-key, and wholly ridiculous odes to my husband in public, that’ll be another story!
Update: Paul just reminded me of one of his sillier pronunciations: “Palm Pilot” is pronounced with a French accent, like “Palm Pea-low.” Okay, so maybe you have to hear him use in casual conversation…
An announcement via Skip Olivia of Citizens for Voluntary Trade:
Today the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Nike v. Kasky, which involves protections for so-called “commercial” speech under the First Amendment. CAC supports eliminating the judicial mandate that holds speech can be afforded lesser constitutional protection based on the identity and economic motives of the speaker. The CAC brief was drafted by myself, CAC chairman Nicholas Provenzo, and attorney Thomas Bowden, who filed the brief with the Court on CAC’s behalf.
The full text of the brief can be found at the following link: http://www.capitalismcenter.org/Campaigns/Speech/CAC_Amicus_Nike_merits.pdf
Oh, and don’t miss his very funny snow alert.
While I was looking for information on Dana Berliner I found this interesting June 2002 article about Costco using eminent domain to get property on the cheap. Blech.
I’m thinking that the world needs a “Pretend Capitalists Hall of Shame” for all those businessmen using and supporting government intervention when it suits them… I’d be happy to welcome in Scott McNealy, not to mention the loons from Segway.
Dana Berliner, Senior Attorney for Institute for Justice and daughter of ARI bigwig Michael Berliner, has a nice article in NRO Online defending IJ’s amicus brief arguing that “Texas’s prohibition of same-sex sexual relations goes beyond the legitimate power of government.” It’s a clear defense of constitutions as primarily limitations on state power rather than enumerations of people’s rights.
One of the reasons I enjoy Jay Nordlinger’s Impromptus is his keen appreciation of the brutality of tyranny — and his appreciation for the deep courage of those fighting against it. Far too many on the left lack even a shred of such sensibilities, as Nordlinger is always amazed to point out. In this vein, I particularly appreciated his two comments on the recently-denigrated country of Albania.
In the Feb 20th Impromptus, Nordlinger wrote:
Many of us, I know, are sickened by the repeated denigration of the Eastern European states that have supported the U.S. in this confrontation. A prominent left-wing journalist, as Mark Steyn pointed out, described the former Iron Curtain countries as nations “you can buy on e-bay.” And Mark Shields of CNN said, sarcastically, “Everyone’s feeling better. Albania signed on.”
This struck a nerve with me, as I was in Albania in September. I had never been to that country before. (Few of us Westerners have.) I met with many intellectuals and journalists. I met men who had been in prison for years, because they had dared to dissent from the brutal totalitarian regime that was ruling them. I was terribly moved by their expressions of support for America — and by their gratitude for the American role in opposing Soviet Communism. One intellectual told me that some other Europeans sneered at Albania as “the Israel of the Balkans.” I said he ought to consider that an enormous honor.
I have an Albanian flag — the double-headed eagle — “flying” in my office right now. And I am thrilled by the support and the heart of such people, for they know — more than people in Paris — about tyranny, freedom, and appeasement. In a way, I regard the support of Eastern Europeans as more desirable than the support of comfortable Westerners.
Mark Shields smirked, “Everyone’s feeling better. Albania signed on.” Well, I am.
Nordlinger followed up in the Feb 24th Impromptus:
In my last Impromptus, I wrote of certain liberals’ denigration of Albania, and how, especially given my experience there, I was particularly pleased that the Bush administration had the support of that nation. Several people wrote to remind me that Albania is a majority-Muslim state — which should make their support all the sweeter.
One reader wrote, hilariously, “Does our media establishment belittle this small nation because they aren’t proper Muslims? Are Albanians a nation of Islamic Miguel Estradas?”
Check out this letter from an Albanian-American, typically moving:
“I wanted to say a couple of words about Mark Shields’s comments. For many, many years, I was shocked and surprised that in every election in Italy, the Communist party got 30-35 percent of the votes. That the French Communist party got 20 percent or more. Same in Spain and Portugal. In Greece, there were and still are two Communist parties, with 10 percent of the vote each.
“I was wondering why these people voted for Communism. We were a country of 3 million inhabitants with 30,000 political prisoners, 100,000 in reeducation camps and forced labor, and 10,000 executed. Churches and mosques were destroyed in the cultural revolution of 1968, and listening to rock ‘n’ roll was punishable by jail. A family of four was entitled in a month to two pounds of beef, 24 eggs, half a pound of butter, 100 grams of coffee, half a liter of oil, and a pound of feta cheese. If police heard you complain about conditions, you got seven years in jail. In the meantime, millions of Western Europeans voted for Communism, over and over again.
“Four years ago, I bought a house and since then have been flying two flags at the entrance, an American flag and an Albanian flag. Both of them had been flying in my heart for many years, even in middle of a Communist dictatorship. (The Albanian flag, in my heart, was without the Communist star on top.)
“So, 3 million Albanians should mean something to Mark Shields. But, of course, they do not.
“P.S. Six months ago, I went to see a Rolling Stones concert with my brother. A dream came true, and my brother and I left the concert crying. It reminded us that not too long ago, listening to them was punishable by jail. When are people going to know about Communism? When?”
I think that Dean Kamen (the inventor of Segway) must be an advocate of “free markets” like college students are advocates of “free beer.” According to the Washington Post article:
The inventor, a proponent of free markets, also wants Congress to help him sell more Segways to consumers by funding projects that would create paths for the scooters in cities, and by providing environmental tax credits to people who buy them.
“One of the reasons Dean moved to New Hampshire was he loved the ‘live free or die’ motto. Keep government out,” said Brian Toohey, a vice president at Kamen’s company. “But to make this technology widely available, we need government help.”
Well now, that just blew apart my standard model of how much contradiction people can tolerate in their beliefs. Wow. Oh, and isn’t it just rich that the VP is named “Toohey”? (Thanks to Quare for the link and quotes.)
Nick Gillespie’s recent article on the success of Marvel comic cinema adaptations has a nice discussion of why Marvel was failing until recently. But he misses the boat in explaining why the movies are now so popular. He writes:
To engage the Marvel Universe, then, is to contemplate an existentialist koan, an insoluble riddle about individual identity, community, and self-transformation. How does a person, much less a society, balance these things? To engage the Marvel Universe is also to engage our contemporary world, which anthropologist Grant McCracken has convincingly argued is characterized by “plenitude,” or “the quickening speciation of social types.” Pick any category of humans–seniors, say, or teens, or goths, or gays, or straights–and there are more identities available to individuals than ever before, and, says McCracken, generally more acceptance of that choice. As important, this transformation process is never fully under our control, even as we strive to direct it through ever-varied patterns of culture-making and operations small and large, figurative and literal.
Spider-Man, The Hulk, the X-Men, Daredevil–that’s us on the big screen. No wonder we’re packing the theaters to watch.
Well, I remain unconvinced by that convoluted and quivering mass of postmodern multiculturalist gobbledygook. The more plausible explanation for the success of Marvel-based movies is that 9/11 shifted many people back into a deeply moral frame of mind. Good and evil — and the ever-so-significant difference between them — took on a reality that had faded into a gray morass for many.
The universe of Marvel comics is one which affirms the distinction between good and evil in the sharpest terms — even while acknowledging that heroes may have personal demons of their own to fight. (Superman is completely uninteresting as a superhero precisely because he has no such demons, because he seems to lack an inner life at all. Perhaps he should be called SuperZOMBIE rather than SuperMAN.) We love Marvel heroes because they live in an exaggerated version of our own dangerous world — and instead of asking “Why do they hate us?” and worrying about the dangers of unilateral action, they fight and forebear and generally do whatever is necessary to serve justice.
Lileks saw the same horribly disturbing broadcast of Friday’s sermon from Iraq that I saw on Brit Hume last night. Lileks writes:
I just saw a video of one of the sermons, carried on prime-time TV in Iraq. Same old same old, with a twist: Usually the text says that the very trees will cry out there is a Jew behind me, kill him. This video had a new version: even the stone will say “a Jew is hiding behind me. Come and cut off his head.”
And then the mullah pulled out a sword. That’s the detail you don’t get in the transcripts: these men of God are packing heat – granted, it’s medieval-style slicy heat, but heat nonetheless.
“And we shall cut off his head!” he shouted, waving the sword. “By Allah, we shall cut it off! Oh Jews! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Jihad for the sake of Allah! Jihad for the sake of Allah!”
In listening and watching this spew of hatred, I could almost smell the gas chambers of Auschwitz bellowing out smoke again. Then again, I’m not sure that Islamic Jew-haters would be quite so neat and orderly about their genocide of the Jews; a plain old bloodbath would do quite nicely for them, I suspect. Such thoughts make me ill.
The video did have one interesting oddity: Many listeners were clearly visibly excited and cheering, but many were also completely still and silent. Let’s hope that means something.