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“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”
— Thucydides

“A civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”
— Jean-François Revel

Will Hollywood change its tune?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Will Hollywood change the political overtones of its creative products, in response to the 2010 Midterm Election results? Another very interesting and relevant Poliwood conversation with Roger L. Simon and Lionel Chetwynd on PJTV (9 min. video):

Poliwood: Tin Ears in Tinseltown: Will Hollywood Miss the Impact of the Election?

My prediction: Not a chance; the bulk of Hollywood’s creative and producer class seems too deeply entrenched and calcified to temper its sneering condescension toward Middle America (a.k.a. “Flyover Country”). Which should make the future very interesting, as alternative production companies like Declaration Entertainment potentially seize the opportunity to serve pent-up popular demand for America-positive content that formerly mainstream Hollywood seems content to leave unrequited.

Then again… Every time I feel I’m about to completely give up on Hollywood’s relationship with America, I seem to be greeted with one last glimmer of hope. Re-watching the spectacularly well done Iron Man followed by Iron Man 2 recently, I was delighted all over again by Robert Downey Jr.’s pitch-perfect portrayal of an unapologetic American inventor-entrepreneur-capitalist-hero-patriot. You see something beautiful, inspiring, and celebratory like that and can’t help but wonder, “Why not more like this?” But there it is nonetheless, even if it stands comparatively alone among recent movies, reminding us that there are still at least a few people in Hollywood who really get it about who we are and why many of us are so rightly proud of it.

Perhaps, as Simon and Chetwynd seem to conclude, the book isn’t closed on Hollywood just yet. It will be interesting indeed to see what comes out of Hollywood over the next few years, as ideas entering the production pipeline now start to reach audiences.

To Be Continued … ?

UPDATE 2010-11-25 (Happy Thanksgiving!): An interesting related article on the Washington Times website: “Hollywood Ending not in script for ‘Elites’”

Poliwood: Cultural Suicide Watch: Will Hollywood Embrace Islam?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I always enjoy Lionel Chetwynd & Roger Simon’s exchanges regarding moviemaking and Hollywood’s political culture. This episode is especially important:

Poliwood: Cultural Suicide Watch

Nose Back to Grindstone on the Flying Thing

Monday, October 18, 2010

There is so much more that I want to do and write about, and even as parenthood places tighter constraints on my time and energy than I have ever before experienced, I’m feeling renewed optimism and determination to do whatever I have to do to make the things I want most come to pass.

In the wake of recent inspiration that’s included reading about last month’s Reno Air Races, discovering some great aviation podcasts, and hearing about Scaled Composites’ latest achievement, I’ve put my nose back to the grindstone and started reading the FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook (via the Kindle app on my iPad). I started reading Eichenberger’s “Your Pilot’s License” a while ago, but found it frustratingly light on technical details. I know there’s a lot of highly technical stuff I’m going to need to learn and master, about piloting, radio protocol, aerodynamics, navigation, maintenance, etc. I engineer complex software for a living, and studied physics up through some early graduate-level quantum mechanics as an undergrad. I’m not afraid of hard-core math and science — in fact, I hunger for the stuff — by all means, please throw it at me! The FAA handbook might not be quite that, but it certainly seems like a step in the desired direction so far.

If anyone reading this is a pilot and there are other great introductory books you’d recommend, I’d love to hear about them! (Thank you!)

Flight Aboard a KC-135R Stratotanker

A rare and unique treat, thanks to Steve Tupper and the “Airspeed” podcast that I mentioned recently: Experience a training ride aboard a USAF KC-135R Stratotanker: 16min video

C-17 Globemaster sidling up to the mid-air watering hole

Awesomeness, all around.

SpaceShipTwo Hits Solo Glide Flight Milestone

Monday, October 11, 2010

Congratulations to visionary pioneers Burt Rutan, Richard Branson and team, on SpaceShipTwo’s latest milestone — a smooth and successful 11-minute solo glide flight yesterday, after being dropped from mothership Eve at 45,000 ft. Story here, and by all means watch the video highlights here.

Their achievement marks a significant step on the road to developing Rutan’s history-making SpaceShipOne prototype into a viable commercial space tourism platform.

landmark SpaceShipTwo flight - October 10, 2010

I think Johan Norberg is right: Entrepreneurs are the heroes of the world. Space is opening up for broader access, and it’s the efforts of can-do problem solvers like Rutan and Branson who will drive innovation and lead the way. My admiration for them, and gratitude that the human race can produce such people, is tremendous.

To any who missed the making of history the first time around, when in 2004 Scaled CompositesSpaceShipOne won the Ansari X Prize for manned commercial space flight, I heartily recommend the Discovery Channel’s superbly done “Black Sky: ‘The Race for Space’ and ‘Winning the X Prize’ documentary. If it doesn’t get you all fired up about the future of space travel, nothing will. As Rutan said of a milestone on the road to that earlier achievement:

This is the first time that a small company, without being supported by the government, has developed and flown a supersonic airplane. Now you would think that the first private supersonic airplane would just barely go supersonic in level flight. This morning we went supersonic going almost straight up. [laughs] That was cool!

Clearly there is an enormous pent-up hunger to fly in space, and not just dream about it. We do want our children to go to the planets. We are willing to seek breakthroughs by taking risks. And if the business-as-usual space developers continue their decades-long pace, they will be gazing from the slow lane as we speed into the new space age.

Thanks to dreamers and doers like Rutan and Branson, the pace of development is accelerating, we are on our way to a promising and exciting future in space.

UPDATE 2010-10-13: Fixed the “Black Sky” documentary link and enclosing paragraph. (It’s easy to overlook a missing closing quote in a Markdown link title, but the result should have been more apparent to me in proofreading — text gobbled up until the next quote!)

Great Aviation Podcasts Newly Discovered

Friday, October 8, 2010

Having long hungered to learn to fly, I’m surprised I waited until now to go hunting for aviation-enthusiast podcasts. I don’t think the thought even occurred to me that something in that genre might exist — which, in hindsight, was completely silly.

I don’t remember what prompted me to look yesterday, but the iTunes search I did immediately turned up three absolute gems that I have to recommend to anyone interested in this stuff:

First, check out this 14-minute Airspeed video episode, shot from 3 angles, of pilot Steve Tupper practicing recovery from stalls and spins with instructor Barry Sutton providing guidance from the back seat. It’s educational, inspiring, and made of awesome. As I tweeted this morning: Why waste time watching TV when I can sit in the cockpit with a pilot practicing stalls & spins?

picture of Steve and Barry in cockpit

Next, I had the great pleasure of listening to Steve’s 2007 “Why I Fly” episode, which is beautiful, inspired, true to everything I’ve felt compels me to seek to become a pilot, and something I’m sure Bill Whittle would delight in too. (For me it’s reminiscent of — and, impressively, on par with — Bill’s great & inspired writing on the subject. — See, for example, Bill’s unmissable 2003 essay “Courage”.)

Finally, I wrapped up last night’s bout of insomnia with an Uncontrolled Airspace interview, in which pilot and instructor Amy Laboda recounted the 2001 experience of having to ditch her Cessna 210, following total engine failure in a turn at 1500 ft., in the water off Key West. Again, amazing and deeply educational, and an invaluable opportunity to learn from another pilot’s experience and wisdom.

After being rewarded with such great content on my first foray into aviation podcasts, I’m sure to continue listening and looking for more podcasts to try. And I’m feeling newly inspired to pick up the books and do all the learning I can in the moments I can make for it. I’ve more or less put the dream on hold since becoming a parent a year and a half ago, but I’m determined I’m going to get there someday. I will not give up!

Americans: A Thought for the Day

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Don’t want this to just disappear into my tweet stream:

Americans head West in search of Wide Open Spaces, Risk, Opportunity, and Freedom; not Left in search of Safety and Dependency.

That one manages to sum up a lot of what matters for me.

9/11: Two Songs

Friday, September 10, 2010

I have loved and enjoyed music all my life, but have never before or since experienced anything like the two weeks or so after 9/11, when, for the first time, I found it impossible to listen to any music at all. Music I had treasured all my life, with which I had felt a deep emotional connection, and in which I had sought refuge through many crises, fell flat on my ears, and seemed a distant artifact of another life that I could never return to.

I don’t remember any particular moment when I was first able to break out of that isolated silence. I think it was a gradual and tentative process. Thankfully, the human mind has a remarkable ability to adapt and recover, to put tragedy and horror behind and get on with the necessities of day-to-day life in the present. Eventually my ability to enjoy music somehow found a way to coexist with the gloom in the back of my mind, with daily thoughts of that terrible day and its consequences, of the fight we’re now in and how ill-equipped we seem to be as a culture to prevail.

It took years for our creative culture to begin to make sense of 9/11 and its world-changing aftermath, and for songwriters to grapple successfully with this extraordinarily difficult subject. The two superb songs that are especially on my mind this year are relatively recent.


John Ondrasik, who records and tours under the the band name “Five for Fighting”, wrote a remarkably stirring song about 9/11 and its psychological aftermath called “Tuesday”. Released on the 2009 album “Slice” (Amazon, iTunes), and given a fitting intro by John on his “Live in Boston” album (iTunes, “Tuesday” reflects on the ordinary day that became anything but, on the helpless sense of loss, of uncertainty whether further attacks would come, and our inexorable tendency to gradually forget, as even the most awful of memories slowly recede into our increasingly foggy recollections of the past.

John spoke briefly about “Tuesday” in this Big Hollywood interview, and was kind enough to confirm the lyrics for this post. I can’t do this deeply moving song justice in prose. — Go and have a listen…


One year like any old other year
in a week like any week
Monday lying down,
half asleep
People doing what people do,
loving, working and getting through
No portraits on the walls
of Seventh Avenue

Then Tuesday came and went
like a helicopter overhead
The letter that she left,
cold addressed in red
Tuesday came and went
one, one September when
Will she come again?

The thing about memories
they’re sure and bound to fade
Except for the stolen souls
left upon her blade
Is Monday coming back?
Well, that’s what Mondays do
They turn and turn around
afraid to see it through

Tuesday came and went
like a helicopter overhead
The letter that she left
cold addressed in red
Tuesday came and went
one, one September when
Will she come again?

Tuesday came and went
one, one September when
Cold and dressed in red, how could I forget? Tuesday came and went
like a helicopter overhead
Will she come again?

Remember (9-12)

I found Jeremy Hoop’s “Remember (9-12)” just a couple of weeks ago, and it has replayed in my head ever since. More directly than any other song I’ve heard about 9/11, it addresses the West’s willful blindness and perilously persistent state of denial regarding what we’re up against.

“Peace, prosperity, pride. Our wizards said there’d be no ebb to this tide,” the song begins, conjuring the Fukuyama-esque belief that seemed to prevail through the 1990s — the belief that we had reached an “end of history”, that the future from there on held not the familiar historic cycles of conflict and the periodic return of tragedy, but an unprecedented deviation from all human history to date, in which liberty’s light would expand inexorably to illuminate the world and raise up all of humanity. To be sure, we had willfully shut our eyes to the threat of Jihadist warfare that had clearly announced its intentions (c.f. Osama Bin Laden’s 1988 declaration of holy war against the United States, and the subsequent bombings of the USS Cole, US embassies, and, in 1993, the World Trade Center). Together with their nearly 3,000 victims, the 9/11 Jihadist attacks on the United States irrevocably killed this naïve delusion that we had somehow escaped history’s grasp.

“And the sages did not see the spaces to hide, or the cracks in the footings, termites inside…” A dual reference, perhaps — to the 19 al Qaeda “termites” who had concealed themselves in plain sight among us, training for their horrible task in our flight schools, and living in our neighborhoods — and also to the damage of our own doing that had crept into our culture’s foundations, leaving us vulnerable to such an attack and only weakly able to respond to it. The lyric instantly brought to mind the opening of Bill Whittle’s superb 2005 essay “Sanctuary”, which I’ve quoted before:

What’s worse than crawling under your beloved house and seeing the foundation’s rotten with decades of termite damage?

NOT crawling under your beloved house and seeing the foundation’s rotten with decades of termite damage.

(Sadly “Sanctuary” is no longer online, but it can be found in print as part of Bill’s “Silent America” essay collection. I’ll keep an eye out for its return, and update the link in my Bill Whittle essay index when it surfaces.)

Jeremy goes on with uncommon songwriting grace, recalling our brief unity (or perception thereof?) in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, our determination to remember that day and understand its implications, and our subsequent withdrawal into an even more willful blindness, an insistence on doing the impossible, on retreating to the “9/10” mindset that had allowed the attacks to happen. “Just seven short years, oops! we’ve blown it again. The bubbles this time around are bigger times ten” We stand on the precipice overlooking an abyss, it seems — one that threatens to swallow us as surely as other civilizations before that have abandoned their own defense. If 9/11 wasn’t enough to wake us up, to snap us out of our willful denial, what will it take? Is there any hope that we, as a civilization, will avoid passively free-falling to our demise? Some of us still struggle to sound the alarm loudly and clearly enough so that our countrymen will hear and take heed, but it often seems a futile endeavor … as if no one is listening.

Can we put them back, pull the slack, right the track
But it’s business as usual, we’re playing the fool
Though no bodies falling to the ground, no smell of jet fuel
The carnage lying round the bend’s as real and as cruel

Much like the equally absurd notion of airliners full of passengers and fuel being turned into weapons and flown into buildings full of people, the idea of a devastating biological attack, or of a radioactive crater where a major city once stood, will continue to be nothing but a figment of far-fetched, scare-mongering fiction. Until it isn’t.

Many realms gone before have marched to their December
While the crowds cried “all is well!”
That fate will be ours if we don’t remember
Those days after, days after
The towers fell
… Remember, Remember, Remember…

Jeremy Hoop can be found on Twitter as @jeremyhoop.

Remember (9-12)

Peace, prosperity, pride
Our wizards said there’d be no ebb to this tide
And the sages did not see the spaces to hide
Or the cracks in the footings, the termites inside

Then darkness broke through that clear morn in September
When our land saw the blackest hell
I swore what I’d be, and I would remember
Those days after…

When what to my wondering worry worn eyes
Mere strangers at once turn near kindred with binding ties
City to city to wide open country skies
No left or right, black or white, hands on hearts, all please arise!

The light that shone through those dark days like an ember
Lit the fires of the citadel
And we swore what we’d be, we would remember
Those days after the towers fell

Short memories, of braveries, of slaveries,
Prone to retreat
And walk through the door, like Rome before, forevermore
Known in defeat
The remedy, no mystery: know history
Or be doomed to repeat it.

Just seven short years, oops! we’ve blown it again
The bubbles this time around are bigger times ten
The Animal spirits broke loose from the pen
Can we put them back, pull the slack, right the track
But it’s business as usual, we’re playing the fool
Though no bodies falling to the ground, no smell of jet fuel
The carnage lying round the bend’s as real and as cruel

Many realms gone before have marched to their December
While the crowds cried “all is well!”
That fate will be ours if we don’t remember
Those days after, days after
The towers fell

Remember the days after
Remember the day after
Remember the day after
Remember, Remember, Remember

Independence Day 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

In last year’s Independence Day post, I offered a playlist of my favorite Liberty-themed songs. This year, it’s going to be a brief, issue-focused post for me, as what I want most is to direct readers’ attention to a very important but uncertain new initiative:

Bill Whittle, PJTV commentator who first gained admiration and notoriety for his brilliant and eminently worthwhile “Silent America” Essays, has chosen July 4th, 2010 to launch “Declaration Entertainment”. By all means, watch this 4½-minute welcome video that explains what it’s all about:

See Bill’s 3-minute “Pioneers” video for more.

Pipe dream? Perhaps. Can it work? I honestly don’t know. But Bill has a plan, and he’s doing something, and while I hold out great hope that his idea will succeed tremendously, I greatly admire his initiative independent of the result. Because to me, this really matters.

Many of us have watched with increasing despair over the years, as the Hollywood we thought we knew growing up — one whose craft once promoted and unabashedly celebrated classically American values such as optimism, confidence, self-reliance, entrepreneurship, and heroism (including the heroism of American soldiers who risked everything fighting for the freedom of others) — has gradually transformed into the preeminent domestic broadcaster of anti-Americanism, social criticism, ambivalence, nihilism, and ennui. From the content it now produces to the invective its glitterati deliver from the pulpits of self-congratulatory awards ceremonies, Hollywood has mainstreamed the culture of shame, cynicism, social criticism, and self-loathing that was once largely the preoccupation of a small, bitter niche of radical-left academia.

Those of us who’ve felt this despair have realized that today’s Hollywood does not speak for us, our values, or our outlook. We’ve felt helpless to do anything but stop buying a product that routinely insults and vilifies us. Yet, for reasons that Declaration Entertainment’s introductory video explains, this strategy of passive withdrawal exerts no significant economic influence on the content that a now internationally-funded Hollywood produces, for what has become first and foremost a worldwide audience. I believe we’ll learn that it’s not enough to economically reject repellent content and its Hollywood creators. We ultimately need to find other ways of getting our own movies made, of producing and promoting alternative content that positively reflects our values and confidence in our culture.

Remember when School House Rock distilled the essence of the American Idea into educational and genuinely celebratory Saturday morning shorts such as “No More Kings”, “The Shot Heard Round the World”, “Elbow Room”, “The Preamble”, “Sufferin’ ‘til Suffrage”, and “Fireworks”? Watch them again (or most anything else of that era), with the eyes of 2010, and think long and hard about the tremendous change that’s occurred in our popular culture. Can you imagine educational shorts like these being produced and broadcast today? Why not? Would you ever, back in those days, have predicted such a transformation of attitudes?

It’s not supposed to be like this.

We have a choice.

If we care enough, we can usher in a new Renaissance of the American Idea.

Bill’s ambitious plan for “Declaration Entertainment” could, I sincerely hope, be the start of that.

Remember when we believed in us:

ps - Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed you: Go enjoy some uplifting music!

Memorial Day 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Last Year, I posted a collection of quotes and musical selections. I still treasure these as among the most fitting and moving I have encountered, so I’ve copied them again below.

My new discovery for this year: The Arlington Ladies. Never heard of them? I hadn’t either. You can, and by all means should, read all about them here. (Thanks to Twitter friends Allahpundit and Cubanita for pointing out this story.) May the moving example of the Arlington Ladies’ respect and devotion stir each of us to do what we can.

I live each day in the humbling knowledge that I am made and kept free by the exertions of better men and women than myself, a debt I will never be able to fully repay. Let us give due regard this Memorial Day to those who gave the last full measure of devotion, that we might live the lives of the free.


from Oscar Peterson, Night Train: “Hymn to Freedom”

from Dave Brubeck, Private Brubeck Remembers: “Don’t Worry ‘bout Me”, “We Crossed the Rhine”, “For All We Know”

from Five for Fighting, Two Lights: “Two Lights”


“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” — General George S. Patton, Jr.

“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” — Sir Winston Churchill / George Orwell †

“We fight wars not to have peace, but to have a peace worth having. Slavery is peace. Tyranny is peace. For that matter, genocide is peace when you get right down to it. The historical consequences of a philosophy predicated on the notion of no war at any cost are families flying to the Super Bowl accompanied by three or four trusted slaves and a Europe devoid of a single living Jew.” — Bill Whittle, “History”

“To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” — George Washington

“War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” — John Stuart Mill

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” — John F. Kennedy

“We can’t share the earth with pure evil anymore than we can share the earth with smallpox.” — David Gelernter

“Evil must be confronted in its womb and, if it can’t be done otherwise, then it has to be dealt with by the use of force.” — Vaclav Havel

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” — Edmund Burke

“The front line now, at this critical time, is in the hearts and minds of our own people. That’s where the real battle is now. That is our weakest point, our breach, our point of failure. We have not made the case to enough people and time is running out.

So maybe now, at this absurd point in this new kind of war, we’re the crack troops, we old and useless pajama patriots reduced to printing up pamphlets to sell war bonds to the weary, to make the case for holding on to an unglamorous, uninspiring, relentless grind because that — not Normandy and Midway — is the face of war in this gilded age of luxury and safety and plenty.” — Bill Whittle, “Deterrence”

“We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down.” — Sir Winston Churchill

† The “rough men stand ready” quote is frequently attributed to both Winston Churchill and George Orwell in various forms. It is a beautifully focused statement, whatever its true origin.

Index of Bill Whittle's "Silent America" Essays

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

UPDATE 2012-05-25:Fantastic news! “Eject! Eject! Eject!” is back on the air — and, with it, every single one of Bill’s superb “Silent America” essays, including the long-lost (except in print form) History, Victory, Magic, Responsibility, Strength (including Part 2), Deterrence (complete with its Part 2), Sanctuary (yes indeed, dear readers, there’s a Part 2 too!), and Power!

Here’s an updated list. Please disregard the list further below that I’ve crossed out.

(ps - Try setting your browser to ISO Latin 1 encoding If, like me, you see ‘?’ placeholder characters where much of the punctuation should be when viewing some of Bill’s essays. For Safari, this is “View” -> “Text Encoding” -> “Western (ISO Latin 1)”. Bill’s site is mis-declaring the content as UTF-8. Oh well. You can’t have everything.)

From previous incarnations of this post:

Bill Whittle’s incisive “Afterburner” PJTV editorials have brought his sharp thinking to a whole new audience, but it was Bill’s brilliant and uplifting writing on the history, character, and spirit of America that I and many others first encountered. Bill’s superb essays — which he published first online at, and later in print under the title “Silent America” — lifted me up when I needed it most, and are far and away some of the very best writing about this precious American civilization of ours that I have had the good fortune of encountering.

Since I often find myself recommending Bill’s “Silent America” essays, and since attempts to do so are bedeviled by the fact that many did not survive Bill’s move from to intact, I’ve compiled a list of them, with links to the ones that made it over. Thankfully, Bill has begun republishing them one by one at his new Pajamas Media address, and I’ve linked to the newly published copies where available. The “Silent America” essays are, in order:

Unfortunately “(broken)” means there’s almost nothing there to read. Most of these essays are truncated after the first few sentences or words. I’ll come back and update these links as each essay is, hopefully, republished. Meanwhile, the previous, “(broken)” links are just for reference.

There is, however, hope! You can buy the complete set of essays in book form on Amazon, which I can almost guarantee you’ll want to do after sampling Bill’s unparalleled wares.

Bill, by the way, can be found on Twitter as @BillWhittle.

Also, here’s a link to all the blog posts where I’ve quoted or mentioned Bill’s writing.


Previous updates to this post:

UPDATE 2010-09-06: I’m delighted to report that one of Bill’s very finest essays, “Trinity”, is now back online. Don’t miss it. Thanks to reader David B. for sending the updated links!

UPDATE 2010-09-09: Freedom is back up too! (Thanks again to David B.!)

UPDATE 2011-04-30: Sadly, started returning blank pages recently. I have an email inquiry out to the site admins about whether the Eject! Eject! Eject! archives can be brought back. Meanwhile, all of the following links are currently non-functional. I’ll try to keep on top of the situation and update this post when it hopefully improves. Thanks for visiting!

UPDATE 2011-08-13: I just noticed is back online, and the above Silent America essay links appear to be working again!

Published a New "Quotes" Page

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I’ve made a habit, for some years now, of collecting quotes that strike me as profoundly insightful or interesting, probably for all the same reasons that others do — for the keenly focused insight and concise expression of ideas they offer, as well as the inspiration and distilled wisdom they can call to mind on a moment’s notice.

Having recently sifted through the assortment of text files where I’ve been gradually stashing these hand-selected quotes away, I’ve assembled the best of them into a new “Quotes” page that I invite you all to visit.

The topics include Liberty & Economics, Cultural Confidence, War, and keeping Perspective. I hope my readers will draw as much enjoyment from them as I have.

UPDATE 2010-02-08: I’ve added several more selected gems, dug out of a handwritten journal I’ve kept off and on since September 2002. Enjoy!

Tyrants Heart Our Useful Idiots

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Foreign enemy sworn to our total destruction, or unhinged domestic-Left social critic inveighing that we deserve the same? Who can tell any difference in the rhetoric these days?

At Digital Journal, via Instapundit:

In Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s most recent televised speech on Iran State TV, the Iranian President upped the ante on his promised February 11 “telling blow against global arrogance” with his prediction of the “end of American civilization.”

“This means the end of a civilization, the end of a thought, and the end of a system.” That is how Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad qualified his statement regarding the “end of American civilization” that he referred to in his most recent televised speech in homage to the ‘Ten Day Dawn’ anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Events will culminate on February 11th with “a telling blow against global arrogance,” according to the Iranian President’s previous speech marking the opening of ceremonies for the anniversary. During this most recent speech, Ahmadinejad claimed that the West, the United States in particular, had been the biggest historical impediment to the worldwide Islamic Revolution:

“The arrogant and hegemonic powers, which mankind experienced in the past 300 years – and past 60 years in particular – have been the biggest historical impediment in the face of fulfillment of this goal (worldwide Islamic revolution),” he said, according to the BBC.

Ahmadinejad went on to declare that the “materialistic and hegemonic (American) system” was dead, and that slogans about freedom, human rights and democracy had misled the world, further declaring that America “has no thoughts or means other than the use of arms to prove themselves.” As with his cryptic allusion to the ‘telling blow’ on February 11, the Iranian president provided no specifics on what would bring about America’s end and focused more on polemics, perhaps to rally his domestic Islamist audience. Calls of “Death to America” and the burning of US flags have been political staples in Iran for thirty years.

If that whole “wiping Israel off the map” and installing a global caliphate thing doesn’t work out, I’m sure Ahmadinejad could easily land an honored position lecturing at an American university. No doubt he’d delight faculty lounge and commencement audiences alike with his incisive takedowns of Western decadence, “arrogance”, and “imperialism”.

A man of his stature and worldly experience (facing down those mythical Western “imperialists”) would probably be spared the tedium of having to teach the pedestrian “Why America Is Uniquely Evil 101” intro course, proceeding directly to coaching graduate students in their independent investigations into Western sins. Granted, he’s not a Marxist (totalitarians of competing stripes are never too keen on shared world domination, but can make cozy if strange bedfellows in the short term) — but I think A-jad will fit in just fine.

Does it ever dawn on our culture’s self-appointed domestic critics, when they witness the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Hugo Chavez parroting their indictments of America and the West and playing to their credulous sympathies with great virtuosity, that they’ve been handing ideological ammo to implacable enemies who want them dead or subservient too? Or that our enemies hear, and will gleefully repeat to their rhetorical advantage, every self-recrimination we speak in our public squares? No, they probably take it as independent validation and pat themselves on the back. “Great minds think alike.”

Useful idiots all the way.

The phrase “aid and comfort” comes to mind…

Chavez holding Chomsky aloft

Chavez holding Chomsky aloft while delivering his own anti-U.S. invective at the U.N. in September 2006. (He wouldn’t hesitate a moment, of course, to imprison an anti-Chavez Venezuelan “Chomsky”.)

One Year Gone: Reflections on the Bush Years

Friday, January 22, 2010

Following are links to several worthwhile articles on the first anniversary of George W. Bush’s departure from office — most of which appeared as part of a “One Year Gone” collection at Big Hollywood. I’m in agreement regarding the unhinged viciousness with which President Bush was vilified, as well as his accomplishments and faults. Do read at least the first few — they’re well worth it.

“Hope and Change – Miss Bush Yet?” by Pam Meister (especially excellent!)

“America Betrayed President Bush” by Jeffrey Scott Shapiro

“President George W. Bush Answered the Calling of Our Time” by Adam Baldwin

“Welcome to the Obama Era of Awesomeness” by Kurt Schlichter (hilarious!)

“George W. Bush…Idiot.” by Leigh Scott

“The Death of Class” by Gary Graham

“The George W. Bush Era In Movies” by Ben Shapiro

More to Come Here

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I’m no big fan of meta-posts, so I promise not to make a habit of this. Just feeling the need to affirm that this project is far from over, and despite my apparent shift over to Twitter I intend to post more in-depth writing here as soon as I can find a way to do so.

Blogging has been a hard project to make time for (given my apparently inadequate time-management skills, at least), and becoming a Dad nearly a year ago has ratcheted the difficulty level up another major notch. By the time my wife and I get home from our jobs at the end of a half-hour commute, do the evening dinner, bath time & bedtime routine with our “little guy”, get the kitchen back under control, deal with mail and bills, etc., it’s usually around 9pm and we’re good for little more than collapsing in a heap for an hour or so before bed. Repeat 5x and add 2 days of full-time parenting and it’s a typical week. My best bet seems to be squeezing a bit of writing in before bedtime when possible (like I’m doing now), or during occasional bouts of insomnia, but that approach hardly seems likely to produce my best work. I’m in awe of others, parents among them, who manage to make time to blog with any frequency, let alone on topics that require substantial research and thought. I really have no idea how they do it (but I’m eager to learn!).

In short: It may take a while longer for me to work the logistics out. But the passage of time has only strengthened my conviction that writing here is an important project that I need to make time for somehow. I will trust, as I have many times before in my life, that where there’s a will there’s a way, necessity is the mother of invention, and all that good stuff, and hope that through persistence I can eventually find a way to translate constantly thinking about things into action on writing about them.

Hope there’ll be more to see here soon. ‘Til then…

Haiti: Where to Give

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The situation for survivors of Haiti’s horrific earthquake is desperate, and getting worse. Please give what you can.

Here’s a list of organizations that are providing aid. I gave to the American Red Cross. You can too.