The Long War

John Robb says we’ve entered the age of the “facile, agile, enemy.” He uses the situation in Iraq to make his several points. The first idea is concerned with the decentralized and autonomous groups of “zealots, patriots, and criminals”:

Unlike previous insurgencies, the one in Iraq is comprised of 75 to 100 small, diverse, and autonomous groups of zealots, patriots, and criminals alike. These groups, of course, have access to the same tools we do–from satellite phones to engineering degrees–and use them every bit as well. But their single most important asset is their organizational structure, an open-source community network very similar to what we now see in the software industry. It is an extremely innovative structure…


Indeed, because the insurgents in Iraq lack a recognizable center of gravity–a leadership structure or an ideology–they are nearly immune to the application of conventional military force. Like Microsoft, the software superpower, the United States hasn’t found its match in a competitor similar to itself, but rather in a loose, self-tuning network.

This he calls “open source warfare,” and offers information on funding: the “terrorist-criminal symbiosis.” Certainly we can see that in Iraq, where much of the mayhem can be traced back to the release from jails in Iraq — along with political prisoners — a large cohort of opprotunistic criminals.

Illicit by Moises NaimMr. Robb’s second point details how the symbiosis fuels terrorism. For example, he says that Al Qaeda’s attack on Madrid was funded by the sale of Ecstasy. He quotes Moises Naim’s book Illicit to explain how globalization has fostered a huge network of criminal endeavor with a “technologically leveraged global supply chain” similar to Walmart (just another example of how the far Left is in the right book, on the wrong page — ed)

The tandem operations of terrorism and criminally acquired funding have permitted terrorists to fight large nation-states on the cheap and on an equal footing. The strategy is “systems disruption” — something we have discussed on this blog in the past. A country’s infrastructure is a fragile thing. Much of it relies on trust, prosperity, and the competency of those who maintain it. Terrorists, for very little money and few personnel, can disrupt this arrangement in a chronic way, destroying the alliance and loyalty of citizens who rely on the infrastructure which undergirds everyday life. Here’s how it plays out in Iraq, and may do elsewhere in the near future:

Over the past two years, attacks on the oil and electricity networks in Iraq have reduced and held delivery of these critical services below prewar levels, with a disastrous effect on the country, its people, and its economy.

The early examples of systems disruption in Iraq and elsewhere are ominous. If these techniques are even lightly applied to the fragile electrical and oil-gas systems in Russia, Saudi Arabia, or anywhere in the target-rich West, we could see a rapid onset of economic and political chaos unmatched since the advent of blitzkrieg. (India’s January arrest of militants with explosives in Hyderabad suggests that the country’s high-tech industry could be a new target.) It’s even worse when we consider the asymmetry of the economics involved: One small attack on an oil pipeline in southeast Iraq, conducted for an estimated $2,000, cost the Iraqi government more than $500 million in lost oil revenues. That is a return on investment of 25,000,000%.

The tipping point for this kind of warfare and turmoil has been reached, according to Mr. Robb:

Now that the tipping point has been reached, the rise of global virtual states–with their thriving criminal economies, innovative networks, and hyperefficient war craft–will rapidly undermine public confidence in our national-security systems. In fact, this process has already begun. We’ve seen disruption of our oil supply in Iraq, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Colombia; the market’s fear of more contributes mightily to the current high prices. But as those disruptions continue, the damage will spill over into the very structure of our society. Our profligate Defense Department, reeling from its inability to defend our borders on September 11 or to pacify even a small country like Iraq, will increasingly be seen as obsolete. The myth of the American superpower will be exposed as such.

What he proposes for the future is both agonizing and exciting. As he says, with the next “wave of adaptive innovation” taking hold:

…all of these changes may prove to be exactly the kind of creative destruction we need to move beyond the current, failed state of affairs. By 2016 and beyond, real long-term solutions will emerge.

I have omitted his middle term, a long and detailed scenario of what may happen. It is not anything you might put together on your own, though no doubt pieces of these ideas are floating around in your head even now.

Meanwhile, Nelson Ascher describes what he calls “the parasitic mindset” of the terrorists who undermine us by using things we have perceived as an integral part of our civilization — airplanes and skyscrapers, just to name two.

He thinks if we use the lessons learned in World War II — lessons the Israelis put to good use in 1967 — namely, that the enemy’s defenses must be taken out before we can begin to achieve our objectives, we can prevail.

In both those situations, the German and the Arab air forces, respectively, had to be destroyed in order to prevent them from being turned against us. We didn’t learn that tactical lesson until we got a toehold in “fortress Europe,” and that didn’t happen until 1944. Before that, RAF and US bomber crews had a high mortality rate. After we changed tactics — destroying the enemy’s aircraft on the ground, rather than attempting to hit their infrastructure — the tide of war changed.

Before September 11th we could not have perceived the parasitic nature of our enemy — or, in some of the more hardended cases on the Left — that we even had an enemy. Ascher takes up the metaphors of biology to describe the relationship between the West (really, just the Anglosphere) and those bent on our destruction as an opportunistic parasite on a formerly healthy host.

He says it began with oil, but then spread to everything else; that whatever we create, they in turn exploit, including our political corrrectness, surely one of the most poisonous ideologies — right up there with miltant Islam — since the rise of Communism. In fact, it could not exist without a socialist foundation. Socialist and self-hating.

Ascher warns us — we aren’t dealing with idiots:

We’re dealing with a very intelligent foe whose mindset we haven’t yet fully began to appreciate. And, besides being at war, we’re also competing with them. They are quick minded and so we have to be even quicker. Unfortunately, they are the ones who are acting, while we are but reacting to them.

That’s the key: we’re still in reactive mode. Our military is smart, valiant and adaptive. But they need those in charge to change the tactics in order to achieve victory.

How to do that? Go back and read Mr. Robb’s “Open Source Warfare.” This is a battle on many fronts, but one of the most important is ingenuity, and we have that in abundance, if someone could just muzzle the politicians long enough.

Or, perhaps, as one could infer from Mr. Robb’s forecast of things to come, politicans will simply become impotent. And perhaps gradually move on, as the centers of power become decentralized and open-source.

We can only hope.

March For Free Expression

MarchForFreeExpressionA reminder for readers in or near London: the March For Free Expression is this coming Saturday, March 25th, from 2 to 4 p.m. in Trafalgar Square.

This is not just about the Danish cartoon affair; it’s about the universal right to freedom of speech. If you’re nearby, I recommend that you come over and show your solidarity with the Danes and free people everywhere.

For more information, visit the website, or email the organizers at

There will be a sister rally in Copenhagen City Square on March 25th between 2 and 4 p.m.

I’ve heard that there might be similar solidarity marches scheduled in other parts of Europe. If you have any information about them, please put it in a comment or email it to us, and I’ll do an update to include the details.

I wish there were a sister march here in the USA so that I could go to it. I suppose our collective arse would have to be in the fire like Europe’s is now, before we could manage such an effort.

By the way – as far as I can make out, the Danish flag in the background of the poster is built of Lego. A nice touch, don’t you think?

MarchForFreeExpressionUpdate: Here’s a smaller graphic that fits in most sidebars, for those who would like to use it on their own blog.

Trouble in Trinidad

TrinidadWhen you imagine Trinidad, do you picture lush tropical vegetation and pristine beaches, or do you think about beheading by cutlass?

Last Friday LGF drew my attention to a story in The Trinidad & Tobago Express concerning the murder of a Muslim man name Rasheed Ali:

The slaying of Rasheed Ali was the sixth murder in three days and the most brutal of all.

The murder toll is now 73 for the year. Ali, 24, was beheaded in the home he shared with his mother and stepfather.

His head and body were found several feet apart in the living-room of the home at Second Corial Road, Iere Village, Princes Town.

His mother Indra Harrinath could give no reason yesterday why someone would kill him.

Nasty stuff. But is it jihad?

When I want the latest information about Trinidad, I check out Eleven North. Unfortunately, Uncle Pavian’s blog is on hiatus, due to trouble with his ISP [Update: he says he’s back now].

So instead I emailed him to ask his opinion about the murder of Rasheed Ali, and here is his response:

My first impression from reading the story is that this is an “ordinary” crime that went over the top, rather than a religiously-motivated killing. Exactly what the motivation was remains unclear, but things are pretty disorganized over there, romance-wise and I would be surprised if there wasn’t some kind of gang connection.

I don’t know any more about the facts of the case than you do, but a couple of things stand out. For one thing, there have been 73 murders so far this year in the Republic. Dismemberment of the victim’s remains is uncommon but not unheard of, and cutlasses (what we call machetes) are ubiquitous.

It doesn’t look to me as if there was any political message attached to the murder of Mr. Ali. If there had been, we would have expected a video, or at least a written statement to have surfaced, linking the murder with some kind of Islamic greivance. This doesn’t seem to have happened this time. This is not to say that, when the killer is found, he will not turn out to be a member of the same mosque as Mr. Ali attended. But I’d be more inclined to think drugs, women, money, or another of the usual incitements to homicide were involved, based on what we know now.

There are a number of reported facts that don’t track with the jihad as we’ve come to understand it. Religiously-motivated murderers seem to prefer victims who don’t struggle, and there are usually several assailants. Moreover, Muslim on Muslim killings, while not unknown, would suggest some kind of internal power struggle for control of the Jamaat, the most notorious of the Republic’s Islamic organizations. As it happens, their imam, Sheikh Abu Bakr is now languishing in durance vile on a variety of charges relating to the operations of the Jamaat and is reported to be in declining health. Personally, I think Abu Bakr is more in the mold of Adolph Hitler than Mullah Omar . That is, he is more interested in establishing himself as Maximum Supreme Leader than he is in being Caliph. He’s simply latched onto militant Islam as a convenient cover for his criminal activities.

Bottom line is, no, I don’t think this shows a new aspect of the global jihad as much as it does an unusually violent but non-sectarian crime.

Incidentally, in looking over the comments to the lgf post, I am amazed at the level of ignorance on display (voodoo, tiny minority of Muslims, yada yada).

Lizardoids, do you hear what he’s saying to you? It’s time to buckle down, hit the books, and educate yourselves about Trinidad!

I don’t know what a”tiny” minority of Muslims would be, but according to my data, the population of Trinidad and Tobago is 6% Muslim, two or three times the percentage in the USA, and more than most European countries.

And, as a matter of interest, this particular statistic will not be appearing on future Bloody Borders Project maps. I checked with The Religion of Peace, and he’s not going to include it in his database. We’re both trying to restrict our figures to violence waged explicitly on behalf of Islam, and the case of Rasheed Ali does not seem to fit the profile.

But keep an eye on Trinidad, anyway…

The New York Times’ Moody Blues…umm, make that Purples

Oh, joy. The gentle rain is falling on the unjust and those poor boys haven’t got an umbrella.

Power Line has a great picture from a recent New York Times cover on its Sunday magazine. It’s a photo of Mark Warner, recently the governor of Virginia and now a beginning runner in the long slog to the presidential primaries in 2008.

The Governor’s Maroon MakeoverThe picture makes former Governor Warner look like he’s laid out in his coffin. In what is reminiscent of Rathergate’s memo, this Warnergate photo has the experts arguing about whether this ghoulish shot of the Guv is deliberate or simply a technical mistake. Be sure to read the discussion at Power Line, including the Times’ explanation, and the differing opinions by photo experts. Given the circumstances, one could give the old gray doxy the benefit of the doubt — though you learn in reading the comments that the Times, lovely lady that she is, pays substandard rates to the photographers she hires.

Meanwhile, back at the tower, Moody’s is considering a downgrade of the Times’ credit rating:

Credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service said Friday it is reviewing the New York Times Co.’s A2 debt for a possible downgrade.

Moody’s said it has growing concerns about the company’s high financial leverage, deteriorating operating margins and weak free cash flow available for reducing debt.

In addition, Moody’s said it is concerned about intensifying cross media competition, including the Internet…

To: The New York Times
From: The World

Hubris and mendacity will getcha every time.

Note: For a real dissection of an increasingly ugly creature, visit Bizzy Blog. They have names, dates, and crimes listed in detail – look at their post on what the Times did to the coal mine story. Biz also includes this cheery image, which — to my mind — is directly connected to the picture of Governor Warner. But that’s just my editorial spin on things.
Down and down we go, in a spin

You decide.

The Elephant on Campus

The elephant at the College of William and Mary
This post is about political correctness, about how it it confines its adherents and blinds them to reality. Eventually it erodes the integrity of those caught in its net.

The plague of political correctness is endemic in colleges and universities. The further up the academic food chain you go, the more the atmosphere is pervaded with cant and orthodoxy. Larry Summers, the now-former president of Harvard, is merely the most public example of an ex-communicant so offensive that no matter how much he apologized or how many re-education camps he instituted, his status as unshriven sinner could not be changed. His very being now inhabited a space beyond the pale.

In today’s academe there are many such unforgivable trespasses beyond Mr. Summer’s mortal sin of suggesting possible gender differences in spheres of learning. These transgressions most often occur along gender or racial lines, but they can be widened to cover any designated victim group. They are drawn in lines of black and white; there are no shades of grey and no ambiguity.

The theory and practice of victimology is now so widespread that it has become a lucrative career for its practitioners, “expert” consultants called in to “educate” the ignorant about the various kinds of harassment and misconduct of which they are either guilty or inherently inclined toward, or have been held captive by. The first time I saw that term – “victimology” – in reference to an academic paper, the bells began to toll for me: this was a perverse and dangerous mindset. It was then that I knew I was destined to stay as far away from the ivy halls and towers as possible.

Today’s universities are warrens of infighting and guild-thinking. Imitating the work ethic of, say, France or Germany, once tenured you may do as you wish. Ward Churchill is merely the currently most infamous of these charlatans. He could not exist in his present state in the real world, and make no mistake: academia, from kindergarten through graduate school is not the real world. It is France, only worse: tenured positions mean high salaries, job security, long vacations, sabbaticals, lucrative “consulting” work, and eager indentured servants in the form of graduate students acting as teaching assistants — all of which guarantee that the soft, cushioned existence of academic mandarins is far removed from anything resembling real life.

One of the tenets of correct academic thinking is that education is supposed to change some entrenched behavior or characterological predilections. Instead of providing intellectual knowledge and stimulation, it is the job of the academy to form a particular kind of thinking. Diversity exists in appearances – race and gender – but not in philosophy or varieties of critical thinking. There are victims and there are perpetrators, there are good guys and there are bad guys. The lines are clear.

In a politically correct environment there are many areas of non-free speech. In fact, the more a group of people extols a particular virtue, the more you can intuit the black holes of “what may not be spoken.” And one of the most troublesome no-go areas in college administrations (at least for public consumption) is the rate of alcoholism, of alcohol bingeing, and of groups of young people drowning in their own inebriation.

This does not mean being drunk cannot be mentioned; it means it cannot be aggressively addressed and stopped because its seriousness is too fearful to the administrators trying to attract money and support.

However, one has only to look around at the things you may not do as a college student that are permitted as a normal citizen to know that schools have the power to stop behavior that threatens them in some way. For example, dissident political voices have been most effectively squelched. Talk to a few college students and you find out they sing whatever the choir is singing and simply wait until they are away from school to freely speak their own minds. As they’ll tell you, speaking out is a good way to damage your grades and your academic future.

I know one group of students who have chosen to room together because they are all conservatives of some sort – though most of them would balk at such a designation. They want one small island in a Leftist Kingdom where they may speak freely without having a spittle-drenched “Bushitler” tirade directed at them.

As undergraduate life has become increasingly soaked in alcohol and students have become subject to the problems associated with frequent and severe inebriation, colleges have increased their emphasis on education – but not on education about the physical, legal, moral, or spiritual aspects of chronic or intermittent drunkenness. Instead, colleges narrowly focus on the after-effects. This makes it look as though they are doing something without actually accomplishing anything except spending more money on special “experts” they truck in to address “issues.”

As anyone who has experienced or witnessed the effects of inebriation can testify, the main symptom appears to be disinhibition. Apparently this is due to alcohol’s effect on the frontal lobe of the brain (a part of the brain that is undergoing rapid change during adolescence and early adulthood — thus the hard-wired tendency to impulsive behavior in this age group is exacerbated by alcohol).

Studies have shown that these effects are much more deleterious to women than to men. This is just another gender difference that can’t be mentioned within academia’s confines. Because of the differences between the way men and women metabolize alcohol, women, on average, get drunk – by the legal definition of inebriation – more quickly than men and on smaller amounts of alcohol. They also suffer more damage to their liver and other organs from frequent and chronic over-indulgence than do men (yes, it’s not fair but this a reality-based discussion). The current recommendation for adult women is that they limit alcohol consumption to several glasses of wine or ounces of spirits over the course of a week, in order to avoid organ damage.

One of the biggest failures of colleges is their inability to change or even openly address undergraduate behavior when it comes to alcohol consumption. As a result, they have students dying of alcohol toxicity, or sexual encounters which end either in character destruction, intense shame, or cries of rape, just to mention the most extreme examples. And this is aside from the property damage, lost productivity of students, and the drop-out rate due to substance abuse. One could also wonder if the suicide rate in colleges is at all connected to alcohol. How many kids go out of windows while drunk?

Which brings me finally to an actual incident which will serve as an example. As told to me by several students at the College of William and Mary, and adding what I was able to glean from the news media, this is what happened:

Beginning one evening last October, an evening which included long hours of drinking, several lives began a steep descent from which they will be years recovering… if ever. What happened is important, but what transpired after that night is even more important. The stance of the administrators of the College, the actions they took, the words they printed and said, are much more significant — and much more irresponsible than anything which occurred that night. If you have a child in college, this story ought to worry you. If you have a child at the College of William and Mary, it ought to alarm you mightily.

There are links to the newspaper accounts at the bottom of this post. These are the bare outlines. The students I talked to gave their versions of what they “think” happened. More importantly, I have their opinions of the administration’s response. The students have lost faith in the integrity of personnel at the school that they formerly admired. They had a ringside seat to what they perceived as CYA behavior all the way down the line. When I asked them if they were still happy they had chosen William and Mary, there was reluctant assent. “After all, how can you go back on a decision you made a couple of years ago when you thought this was a good place?” said one student. Another is deeply angry but doesn’t want the cost that would be involved in switching schools. Another wants to avoid girls at all costs. He thinks they aren’t trustworthy, based on this incident.

Last October 28th, a member of the College’s Board of Visitors hosted a party at his home for a sorority to which his daughter belonged. The drunken behavior of the guests was so out of control – girls were vomiting, glasses were broken, and some sorority members were unable to speak coherently – that after an hour the host shut down the party and sent the students back to the campus by bus. No, they didn’t get falling down drunk in an hour. In the research for this post, I learned a new term: “pre-gaming.” That means having a lot of booze before an event. This is a new term for old alcoholic behavior: one gets drunk before going out. Thus, these students “pre-gamed” the party and arrived having already consumed a large quantity of alcohol.

On October 30th, a senior at the College was charged with rape and arrested. He was accused of having raped one of the girls while they were at the party. He remained in jail until November 2nd, when he was released on $25,000.00 bond. Two months later, on January 4th, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Charles City County (the legal jurisdiction of the above-mentioned party and the scene of the alleged crime) dropped the charges against the senior for lack of evidence. This man immediately filed a defamation suit for five million dollars against his accuser.

Meanwhile, however, he was tried in absentia at the College’s judicial proceedings, found guilty of sexual misconduct by the school, and forced to leave a semester before his graduation. He will be allowed to apply for re-admission after his accuser graduates in 2007.

What is even more bizarre is that a second student accused of rape by the same girl, though not charged by the Commonwealth’s Attorney with any crime, was also processed by the judicial branch of the College. He was cleared of charges by the College judicial system – but then he didn’t have state criminal proceedings to face so he was not at risk in appearing at the College to defend himself.

It gets crazier still: a third man stepped up to say that he had had a sexual liaison with the accuser after her alleged rape by the accused. This man was neither accused nor had charges brought against him, though the sorority sisters of this woman, the accuser, say she was definitely intoxicated when this particular act of sexual congress transpired. Sexual intercourse with an intoxicated woman is sufficient grounds to file charges of rape in Virginia. However, none were filed by either the college or the Commonwealth based on the man’s story or the sorority sisters’ claims that she was very drunk at the time of this third encounter that evening in October.

And it gets even worse. Remember that the accused had been jailed on October 29th and was not released on bond until November 4th. On November 2nd, when this senior was arraigned in court and remanded to jail until he could be bonded out, the Vice President of Student Affairs sent out an email to the whole College community, naming the accused student. Students, faculty, and staff were informed of the charges. The student’s name became instantly infamous across the campus.

Date: Wed, 2 Nov 2005 20:58:24 -0500
From: “Sam Sadler”
Subject: [students] A Message to the Community
To: students, faculty, staff

I regret to inform you that a William and Mary senior, [name redacted], was charged with rape on October 30, 2005, and arraigned today in Charles City County Court. Because the alleged incident occurred in Charles City County, it is under investigation by the Charles City County Sheriff’s Department. The victim was another student at the college.

On such an occasion, our first thoughts are for the alleged victim. As you would expect, we are doing all that we can to ensure that her immediate needs are being met and that she is given proper support.

It is important for everyone to remember that [name redacted] has only been charged with this crime. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

This is an occasion of extraordinary sadness for everyone involved. It is also a time of sadness for our entire community because I sincerely believe that what happens to one of us at William and Mary does affect us all.

Sam Sadler

That was his first email. On February 23, he sent a densely worded, three page email – this time only to the students – attempting to explain his behavior in having sent the first email, and trying (though in my estimate, sadly failing) to explain why the College could find a student guilty even when the Commonwealth had withdrawn their charges. The email is far too long to put in this post, but there is a link to it below.

A libertarian campus paper, The Remnant, invited Dr. Sadler to attend a forum on the issues raised by this affair:

The Remnant welcomes Mr. Sadler to defend the judicial system in a public forum. We have scheduled such a forum for March 20. Mr. Sadler, if you think this system is so fair, please come out from the cloak of school-wide emails you hide behind. Defend your position. We also embrace the opportunity to engage every administrator and student involved in the judicial process to do likewise. The students need answers to these questions, Mr. Sadler, and the College needs to answer to what it has done.

The Remnant’s request for Dr. Sadler’s presence is reasonable. At no time has the College dealt openly with the severe problem underlying everything: the whole mess was fueled and driven by alcohol, copious and extreme amounts of it.

Do you know what their focus is instead? You guessed it: rape. Rape is a big problem at the College of William and Mary. There have been four reported rapes this year at the college – in all four cases the parties already knew one another. I’d bet next month’s grocery money that in each case lots of alcohol consumption preceded these incidents. There was also one real sexual assault: the apartment of a student who lived off-campus was broken into and she was raped by a man wielding a knife. That was, without any doubt at all, a horrible crime.

But those other four “rapes”? Sorry, folks, but what we have here is not a sexual assault problem. We do have a stuck-on-stupid deliberate blindness to the real problem.

And why is that, you say? Because the College reacted to the consequences of drunk and disorderly behavior by choosing victims to defend instead of holding all parties responsible for their licentiousness. No matter how you cut it, sex with three men in one evening is evidence of a deeply troubled woman. If she was intoxicated, as some claim, then she needs help with alcohol counseling or AA. If she was sober, she needs intensive therapy to address behavior that is either deeply compulsive or extraordinarily impulsive. We can see the behavior in someone so young and be alarmed for her safety and judgment. Once outside the realm of college life, she could be in mortal danger.

Let me give you an example: remember the recent case of the graduate student in New York City who was brutally raped and murdered? This is a terrible tragedy; a life cut short and a family left to mourn a young woman who had so much to live for. But this woman did two dangerous things: she got very drunk and she “closed the bar”, that is she stayed beyond closing time rather than have the bartender call a cab well before closing so she could leave safely. Impaired judgment means poor decisions. We cannot know if this young woman was accustomed to getting drunk while an undergraduate, but if she was she probably did so in a fairly safe environment. New York City bars at closing time are not safe places for a single woman who has had enough alcohol to impair her judgment.

Note: THIS IS NOT BLAME. She did not in any way “deserve” what happened to her. This is reality. Don’t go swimming without a buddy, and don’t go drinking without several of them. Especially if you are female and in a large city.

But the College is not preparing its young women for the real world. Or if they are, it is certainly under wraps – while accusations against its men leave them bitter, confused and also unprepared to assume integrated relationships on leaving school. In response to this sad affair, William and Mary has asked students to “help think of creative ways to decrease sexual assault.”

That’s right: we will have peer assessments and suggestions, not moral leadership by the administration. Any competent business CEO – and college presidents are essentially CEOs and are paid accordingly – would be contemptuous of an organization that wanted customers to find solutions to their problems. And don’t forget, at $11,000.00 a year, students are customers.

So far these executives have come up with slogans and correct thinking. They have created programs such as “One in Four” and “Every Two Minutes” to address the mess. Somehow I intuit that these are purported rape statistics: say, one in four women is sexually assaulted or that every two minutes some woman is being raped. Something like that. Victim talk, victim slogans, victim thinking… I could be wrong: perhaps “One in Four” really means one alcoholic beverage for every four hours at a party. Somehow I doubt it, though. How do you make a victim out of that?

And the community has stepped in to help by providing a plethora of sexual assault awareness and self-defense training. Even the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church is offering a series of free Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) classes through the semester.

The politicians can’t be left out either: the local delegate to the State Assembly has proposed House Bill 910, which would “prevent anyone charged with rape from attending or working at state schools.” Notice that his bill does not say “found guilty”; now one has only to be charged to be ineligible for state schooling. This is obviously political grandstanding since it is obscenely unconstitutional. The school is merely blind, the politician is either ignorant of constitutional law or grandstanding… or both.

So there you have it: a drunken party with lots of witnesses to testify to lewd behavior, a lot – oh, dear Lord what profuse amounts – of bloviation by those in charge. Meanwhile, student drinking continues, non-stop. When – not “if”, but “when” – a drunken sexual encounter ends badly, another tick will go down in the sexual assault column. Nothing about the blood alcohol levels of those involved, that is unless the girl immediately files sexual assault charges and is found to be incompetent to actually provide consent for sexual congress due to inebriation. Doesn’t matter how drunk the boy is, or how impaired his judgment. If you’re female, you’re the victim; if you’re male, you’re wrong. If you’re a college administrator, you start another group for “victims.”

If you’re a college administrator the one thing you never, ever do is publicly mention the elephant on the campus. The big gray one staggering across the campus holding a beer in his trunk.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Links used for this post:

Dr. Sadler’s email, 11/2/2005

“W&M to propose programs to deal with sexual assault”, The Virginian-Pilot, 1/20/2006

“First Rape Case Thrown Out of Court”, Dog Street Journal, 1/20/2006

“Charges dropped against student”, The Flat Hat, 1/20/2006

“W&M student renews rape allegation”, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/28/2006

“Rape Case Blown Open”, The Remnant, 2/14/2006

Dr. Sadler’s email, 2/23/2006

The Remnant Responds to Dr. Sadler’s email, 2/24/2006

“Subpoena of College judicial records quashed”, Virginia Informer, 3/13/2006

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; No. 46

A Chain Fatwa

How come we’re not on the B-List?

The Banned-In-Pakistan List, that is. How come Phibian is on it, and Gates of Vienna isn’t?

It’s not fair!

Look closely, and you’ll see that Cdr. Salamander’s side-blog, Draw Mohammed Week, made the cut, in the image below (I highlighted it to help the presbyopic among you):

The Phibian is banned!

As the great CDR himself says:

Oh happy day! I always wanted a fatwa, but being banned in Pakistan….why THAT IS JUST TOO COOL! My off-the-cuff DrawMohammedWeek has no-shit-Shirlock been banned by the Pakistan government.

What are we at Gates of Vienna, chopped liver?

We’re card-carrying Islamophobes. We’re professional denigrators of the Prophet. We post original Mohammed-insulting cartoons. We’re charter members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, for crying out loud!

Why didn’t we make the list?

Say… that list looks like it was typed on an old Selectric typewriter, but maybe it wasn’t. Maybe this is Mary Mapes and the Texas Air National Guard all over again! Fake but accurate! And this time Dymphna and I are victims of the cruel fraud!

Or maybe not…

I’ve got a better idea: a chain fatwa.

Every time a blogger receives the list, he issues a fatwa against the blog on the top of the list. Then he crosses it off, adds his own blog’s name to the bottom, and sends the list off to ten other infidel bloggers.

A chain fatwa

By the time the Twelfth Imam returns, we’ll all be up to our clavicles in fatwas! Won’t that be cool?

Now I have to think of ten other bloggers who are ripe for the scimitar…

The Umma’s Involuted Border

The Bloody Borders ProjectA Bloody Borders Update

After my initial post on The Bloody Borders Project, a4g and other commenters suggested that I develop maps to illustrate the density of Muslim population as well as the terrorist attacks.

Since then I’ve been working on the Umma Maps, based on Muslim population data supplied by The results are represented in the series of maps shown below.

All Islamic terror attacks since September 11, 2001
The Bloody Borders Project

The nature of the “bloody border” is astonishingly clear in this map. With the exceptions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the highest concentrations of terrorist attacks occur along the edges of the Umma, where it meets the areas of lower (but significant) Muslim population.

And now compare this map:

Islamic terror attacks in 2002
The Bloody Borders Project

With this map:

Islamic terror attacks in 2005
The Bloody Borders Project

You can see that the Coalition interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have, from a systemic point of view, caused the border of the Umma to involute, to form fractal boundaries extending into what had been the heart of Islam.

It’s not just the American troops that bring this about — the arrival of new ideas and new political systems brings its own instability and generates the “bloody border” response. The political and social concepts introduced by the Coalition into the Umma are an extreme violation of fundamentalist Islamic tenets. Thus the hardcore zealots of the Umma are drawn in to oppose the introduction of what they see as dangerous and deadly memes.

Once again, the exceptions are interesting. China, Burma, Turkey, and the former Soviet republics in Central Asia seem to be exempt from the “bloody borders” principle.

The relative calm and Burma, China and the “Stans” may have one or more of these causes:

1. Repressive dictatorial governments that maintain a monopoly on violence, or

2. Official control of information flow so that news of attacks is lacking.

Turkey is a different matter. Has its military helped to keep a lid on Islamism? Has it exported its worst troublemakers to the Muslim ghettos of Eurabia? Commenters are invited to weigh in on this topic.

In fact, the relative calm in the center of the Umma may result more from the repressive nature of the governments of Islamic countries than in a peaceful utopian political culture based on the Shari’ah. The events in Iraq suggest that the different sects and subgroups of Islam would, if given the chance, have at each other until the last throat was cut.

In any case, Samuel Huntington was not making it up: there is a border and it is bloody. The border has lately become a fractal, and the unfolding events of the next few years should prove interesting indeed.

See the complete range of maps and information, including a new (smaller) animation, at The Bloody Borders Project.

A full table of information on Muslim populations is listed below.

Note: I am well aware that the differential regional breakdown of Muslim populations within countries, especially India, Russia, and China, is significant. I have in hand a database of Muslim population statistics within Indian states, but have not had time to utilize it yet in order to make a map.

If anybody can point me to reliable and complete data (i.e., every administrative district in the country must have a separate statistic) for other countries, please put the URL in the comments or send me an email, and I will collect data to use in future updates.

Data Source for Muslim Population Statistics

 Country Population 
 Afghanistan 29,928,987  99.0 29,629,697 
 Albania 3,563,112  70.0 2,494,178 
 Algeria 32,531,853  99.0 32,206,534 
 Angola 11,190,786  1.0 111,907 
 Argentina 39,537,943  1.5 593,069 
 Armenia 2,982,904  2.0 59,658 
 Australia 20,090,437  1.5 301,356 
 Austria 8,184,691  4.7 384,680 
 Azerbaijan 7,911,974  93.4 7,389,783 
 Bahrain 688,345  85.0 585,093 
 Bangladesh 144,319,628  88.0 127,001,272 
 Belarus 10,300,483  0.5 51,502 
 Belgium 10,364,388  3.5 362,753 
 Belize 279,457  1.0 2,794 
 Benin 7,460,025  20.0 1,492,005 
 Bhutan 2,232,291  1.0 22,322 
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 4,025,476  40.0 1,610,190 
 Botswana 1,640,115  1.0 16,401 
 Brunei 372,361  67.0 249,481 
 Bulgaria 7,450,349  12.2 908,942 
 Burkina Faso 13,925,313  55.0 7,658,922 
 Burundi 6,370,609  10.0 637,060 
 Cambodia 13,607,069  3.5 476,247 
 Cameroon 16,380,005  20.0 3,276,001 
 Canada 32,805,041  2.0 656,100 
 Central African Republic 3,799,897  15.0 569,984 
 Chad 9,826,419  54.0 5,306,266 
 China 1,306,313,812  3.0 39,189,414 
 Comoros 671,247  99.0 664,534 
 Congo (Brazzaville) 3,039,126  2.0 60,782 
 Congo (Kinshasa) 60,085,004  10.0 6,008,500 
 Côte d’Ivoire 17,298,040  38.6 6,677,043 
 Croatia 4,495,904  1.3 58,446 
 Cyprus 780,133  18.0 140,423 
 Denmark 5,432,335  3.0 162,970 
 Djibouti 476,703  99.0 471,935 
 East Timor 1,040,880  4.0 41,635 
 Egypt 77,505,756  91.0 70,530,237 
 Eritrea 4,561,599  50.0 2,280,799 
 Estonia 1,332,893  0.8 10,000 
 Ethiopia 73,053,286  47.5 34,700,310 
 Fiji 893,354  7.0 62,534 
 France 60,656,178  7.5 4,549,213 
 Gabon 1,389,201  1.0 13,892 
 Gambia 1,593,256  90.0 1,433,930 
 Georgia 4,677,401  9.9 463,062 
 Germany 82,431,390  3.7 3,049,961 
 Ghana 21,029,853  16.0 3,364,776 
 Greece 10,668,354  2.8 300,000 
 Guinea 9,467,866  85.0 8,047,686 
 Guinea-Bissau 1,416,027  38.0 538,090 
 Guyana 765,283  10.0 76,528 
 Hungary 10,006,835  0.6 60,041 
 India 1,028,610,388  13.4 138,188,726 
 Indonesia 241,973,879  88.2 213,469,356 
 Iran 68,017,860  99.0 67,337,681 
 Iraq 26,074,906  97.0 25,292,658 
 Ireland 4,015,676  0.5 19,676 
 Israel 6,276,883  14.6 916,424 
 Italy 58,103,033  1.7 987,751 
 Jordan 5,759,732  95.0 5,471,745 
 Kazakhstan 15,185,844  47.0 7,137,346 
 Kenya 33,829,590  7.0 2,368,071 
 Kuwait 2,335,648  85.0 1,985,300 
 Kyrgyzstan 5,146,281  80.0 4,117,024 
 Laos 6,217,141  1.0 62,171 
 Lebanon 3,826,018  70.0 2,678,212 
 Lesotho 1,867,035  2.0 37,340 
 Liberia 3,482,211  20.0 696,442 
 Libya 5,765,563  97.0 5,592,596 
 Lithuania 3,596,617  0.6 21,579 
 Luxembourg 468,571  2.0 9,371 
 Macedonia 2,045,262  30.0 613,578 
 Madagascar 18,040,341  7.0 1,262,823 
 Malawi 12,158,924  20.0 2,431,784 
 Malaysia 23,953,136  60.4 14,467,694 
 Maldives 349,106  99.9 348,756 
 Mali 12,291,529  90.0 11,062,376 
 Mauritania 3,086,859  99.9 3,083,772 
 Mauritius 1,230,602  16.6 204,279 
 Mongolia 2,791,272  4.0 111,650 
 Morocco 32,725,847  98.7 32,300,410 
 Mozambique 19,406,703  20.0 3,881,340 
 Myanmar 42,909,464  4.0 1,716,378 
 Namibia 2,030,692  3.0 60,920 
 Nepal 27,676,547  4.2 1,162,414 
 Netherlands 16,407,491  6.0 984,449 
 Niger 11,665,937  90.0 10,499,343 
 Nigeria 128,771,988  50.0 64,385,994 
 Norway 4,593,041  1.6 73,488 
 Oman 3,001,583  99.0 2,971,567 
 Pakistan 162,419,946  96.3 156,491,617 
 Palestinian Territories 3,761,904  84.0 3,159,999 
 Philippines 87,857,473  5.0 4,392,873 
 Portugal 10,566,212  0.3 36,981 
 Qatar 863,051  95.0 819,898 
 Russia 143,420,309  15.0 21,513,046 
 Rwanda 8,440,820  4.6 388,277 
 Saudi Arabia 26,417,599  100.0 26,417,599 
 Senegal 11,126,832  94.0 10,459,222 
 Serbia and Montenegro 10,829,175  21.0 2,274,126 
 Seychelles 81,188  1.1 894 
 Sierra Leone 6,017,643  60.0 3,610,585 
 Singapore 4,425,720  16.0 708,115 
 Slovenia 2,011,070  2.5 50,276 
 Somalia 8,591,629  100.0 8,591,629 
 Somaliland 7,591,629  100.0 7,591,629 
 South Africa 44,344,136  1.5 665,162 
 Spain 40,341,462  2.5 1,008,536 
 Sri Lanka 20,064,776  7.0 1,404,534 
 Sudan 40,187,486  65.0 26,121,865 
 Suriname 438,144  22.0 96,391 
 Swaziland 1,173,900  1.0 11,739 
 Sweden 9,001,774  4.0 360,070 
 Switzerland 7,489,370  4.4 329,532 
 Syria 18,448,752  88.0 16,234,901 
 Taiwan 22,894,384  0.7 160,260 
 Tajikistan 7,163,506  95.0 6,805,330 
 Tanzania 36,766,356  35.0 12,868,224 
 Thailand 65,444,371  5.0 3,272,218 
 Togo 5,681,519  13.7 778,368 
 Trinidad and Tobago 1,088,644  6.0 65,318 
 Tunisia 10,074,951  99.0 9,974,201 
 Turkey 69,660,559  99.0 68,963,953 
 Turkmenistan 4,952,081  89.0 4,407,352 
 Uganda 27,269,482  15.0 4,090,422 
 Ukraine 47,425,336  0.5 237,126 
 United Arab Emirates 2,563,212  76.0 1,948,041 
 United Kingdom 60,441,457  2.7 1,631,919 
 United States 295,734,134  1.4 4,140,277 
 Uzbekistan 26,851,195  89.0 23,897,563 
 Venezuela 25,375,281  0.5 126,876 
 Vietnam 83,535,576  0.8 710,052 
 Western Sahara 273,008  99.8 272,461 
 Yemen 20,727,063  99.0 20,519,792 
 Zambia 11,261,795  1.1 123,879 
 Zimbabwe 12,746,990  1.0 127,469 
 Other 784,410,076  0.1 892,881 
 All Countries 6,386,793,850   

Note: Some figures are estimates, and
Muslim population figures are unavailable
for some countries.


Saudi Bubble Bursts, Oil Gushes Out

Update: A knowledgeable comment from Future Uncertain:

…rationality holds out two possibilities for explaining the Arab crash, if we take for granted that much of what goes on economically in these countries is oil-driven. Some of these countries are awash in oil money because of surging prices in the last few years, and so either investors are betting that the oil windfall is over (although oil futures prices don’t suggest that as far as I know), or these countries have spent some of their money foolishly, and investors are suddenly passing a judgment on that. (Egypt, a non-exporter of oil, is admittedly harder to explain using this approach, although the economy is perhaps tremendously dependent on remittances from the Gulf states.)

In addition, see Starling David Hunter in the comments for an amusing Saudi stock market tale. And also visit his blog. Interesting business stories, posts from his students there (he teaches in the UAE) and besides, look at his photo… what a hunk.

Saudi stocks’ downward march

Larry Kudlow is reporting some intriguing figures for stock markets in the Middle East. They are in big trouble:

Shares in Dubai were off close to 12 percent yesterday [on March14], while Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All-Shares index returned almost 5 percent of its gains. The Saudi index closed trading at 14,900, shedding almost a quarter of its value since reaching a record high of 20,635 in late February. Egypt’s index hasn’t fared any better. It is down 22 percent from its February peak. Similar plunges were felt by a slew of other markets in the region, including Kuwait, Morocco and Jordan.

So what does this mean? Probably a bubble burst that will leave the region less arrogant about its dominance in what is a commodities market — and the only thing they have of value. Since commodities are always volatile — as are offended Muslims in the Middle East — there is a potential for problems here. Despite what the MSM says, we’re currently awash in oil… though nature can take care of that in a hurry, as it did with Katrina.

According to Mr. Kudlow:

The chief catalyst contributing to the seismic corrections was the growing concern that share prices had gotten way ahead of themselves following a three-year bull run. The failure of the Dubai ports deal certainly did not help investor psychology either. And, perhaps, there has been some discounting going on due to the possibility of lower energy prices in the future. Lower oil prices will certainly lead to lower government and corporate income in the Gulf region.

Methinks that Hamas will be on a budget real soon. Which of course, will not prevent them from stirring up the street, shooting off guns and their mouths with those tired old slogans about Joos.

You know that those money-grubbing, powerful Zionists are behind this, don’t you? With Egypt’s stock market going down the tube, they will need our aid more than ever, and will continue to back organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood. At least the man in the Egypt street will do so. The Egyptian government is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

So what do you think?

The Battle of Jericho

Joshua fit de battle ob Jericho
an’ de walls cam’ a tumblin’ down…

14th Century Icelandic art: Battle of Jericho

If you knew the details, you could have guessed the outcome.

The Beginning, Questions

1.   Remember back in 2002, when Yasser Arafat was living under siege?
2.   Remember the reason for the Israeli siege of Arafat’s compound?
3.   Remember the deal brokered by Bush — Arafat’s “get out of jail free card” — otherwise known as the Ramallah Agreement?

The Beginning, Answers

1.   In March, 2002, a total of 125 Israeli civilians were killed by a variety of Palestinian terrorist groups, culminating in the “Passover Massacre” of elderly Jews in the Park Hotel on March 27th. Many of those killed and injured were Holocaust survivors. Hamas claimed responsibility for this, and while English versions of the story from the Palestinian Authority decried the violence, the Arabic taqiyya version glorified the “shahid” — the witness the killers bore for Islam.

This gruesome and sadistic attack triggered an Israeli response, Operation Defensive Shield. By the beginning of April, Israel had mobilized twenty thousand soldiers and began incursions into Palestine to round up terrorists. By May 10th, the IDF had moved back into Israel.

2.   At the time, Yasser Arafat’s compound in Ramallah was placed under siege. Inside the compound with Arafat were six “militants” wanted by the Israelis for the killing of civilians and particularly wanted was Ahmed Sadaat, who they claimed ordered the assassination of the Israeli minister of Tourism, Rehavam Zeevi. Sadaat, one of the leaders of The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was considered the brains behind the operation.
3.   And then came the famous “Ramallah Agreement.” This arrangement, brokered by the U.S., arranged for the six men to be transferred from Arafat’s compound to a Palestinian Authority prison in Jericho. Their continuing incarceration was to be monitored by American and British personnel.

The Middle, Questions

1.   Remember the Hamas victory in the elections in Palestine in January, 2006 — a victory which included three seats for Sadaat’s PFLP?
2.   Remember Hamas’ immediate pronouncements that Sadaat and his fellow prisoners should be freed, and Abbas’ refusal to stand in their way?
3.   Remember the nervous letter from the British and Americans in Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority?

The Middle, Answers

1.   Sadaat’s win in the Hamas victory was seen as a wedge that could serve to have him removed from the Jericho prison and released. Of course, “prison” for Sadaat included his own quarters where guards were not permitted. These quarters included his own kitchen and access to cell phones and visitors.
2.   Abbas knew better than to go head-to-head with Hamas on the matter of Sadaat’s release.
3.   After Hamas’ victory, any monitoring by outside authorities became more and more tenuous as due process continued to deteriorate in Palestine. Neither the British nor the Americans were willing to go on with a situation that was being flouted by Hamas and the PA. However, the monitors couldn’t announce they were leaving — or they might not have gotten out alive themselves.

The End, Questions

1.   Did the Palestinian Authority “know” that the Jericho prison would be attacked by the IDF?
2.   Is there a pay-off for Palestine?
3.   Is there a downside for Israel?

The End, Answers

1.   If the PA or Hamas was not aware of the gathering IDF forces, then they are surely idiots. It is hard to credit such “ignorance.” They probably couldn’t time the attack, but they probably knew it was coming as Sadaat’s “imprisonment” became increasingly de jure.
2.   The payoff for Palestine has several facets. First, the favorite circuses of the Arab Street: immediately grab hostages and threaten strikes… since they’re all government employees in Palestine, strikes are a joke. And obviously Hamas has this one by the reins, since all the useful idiots hostages were released. Cries of “humiliation” echoed through the Territories because pragmatic IDF soldiers made prisoners strip to their underwear to prevent any suicide attacks. Being a Palestinian means living in constant humiliation.

This also relieves both the PA and Hamas of a headache, which is what Sadaat had become. It is easier to have him out of their jurisdiction, though they never could have allowed themselves to actually “permit” his removal by Israel. They are now rid of their headache and freer to ratchet up the terror attacks against Israel in revenge.

3.   The downside for Israel is the usual take-it-on-the-chin criticism from the EU and other civilized entities. However, Blair and Bush had washed their hands of the shenanigans at Jericho some time ago. The Israeli Left will complain, but whether or not it hurts the up-coming elections is another matter.

So the wall came tumbling down. And Israel has its assassins, Sadaat, and the man responsible for the Karin-A, a ship full of arms meant for Palestine. Everyone will go on trial eventually, but at least Sadaat is in a real prison, rather than his apartment in the Jericho jail.

For a man who vowed not to be taken alive, he seems to be breathing still.

Watcher’s Winners for March 10, 2005

Watcher's CouncilGates of Vienna placed first for The Bloody Borders Project. It was a long, hard slog — thanks for the votes, guys.

Second place, Glittering Eye’s “From Way Up Here,” is not a post to be summarized, but an essay to be pondered. Here is the opening:

One of the many things I love about my country is the way that historical arguments have a way of raising their heads, projecting themselves into the public discourse, being challenged, tried, and proven in the crucible of that discourse and finally emerging as a policy that amazingly, miraculously reveals for us the way ahead. It isn’t merely by the accidents of geography or the good luck of vast natural resources or even divine intervention viz. the remark attributed to 19th century German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck “The Lord God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America”, that has made America the pre-eminent world power. It is all of those things and the emergent force of many voices on American foreign policy.

Go and read the rest. Dave Schuler is a first rate essayist and this look at us is perceptive and well worth your time:

America is very different from the rest of the world—even the putative democracies. Our expectations of the proper roles of government and the individual and our notions in the area of freedom of expression and property are quite different from those of even those cultures which resemble ours the most. Regardless of the acrimony between them, our liberals and conservatives continue to resemble each other in their views more closely than they do their corresponding numbers in other countries (much to the confusion and dismay of foreign observers).

In the non-council section, Neo neocon took first place with “Ex-Taliban at Yale: Another Changed Mind?”

If you read Neo with any regularity, you know her interest is in how people change. With that focus, she writes across a breadth of subjects (both the human and the intellectual variety). In this one, it’s best to begin at the end of her post, where she presents her reasoning:

[NOTE: I’m fully aware that some may quarrel with affording Rahmatullah the opportunity to study at Yale and to be in this country at all, considering his background. And I’m likewise aware, as I said in the article, that he may be dissembling about his actual point of view, both then and now. In fact, much of the talk around the blogosphere about Rahmatullah is universally against his being at Yale. The point of this post is not to take a position on that one way or the other–I myself have some doubts about the whole endeavor.

I found, on a quick perusal of posts about this subject throughout the blogosphere, that none of their authors seem to have taken the time to carefully read the original article and to analyze what might have gone on with Rahmatullah himself. Because my particular interest is different–understanding political change–I’ve written this post from that perspective. And so I’ve decided to take the article at face value, because if it does in fact represent what actually happened, I believe it’s another fascinating case of change. At this moment, my personal opinion is that it has the ring of truth. Either that, or Rahmatullah is an excellent spin doctor indeed–which is certainly possible, in which case the change would be no change at all.]

Varifrank placed a close second with Just a Passing Thought, his ruminations on Iran:

I spend alot of time thinking about Iran. Because for me, it all started with Iran. Some of us even think it all started long ago, back when they called it “Persia”, and we of “the west” were just Greeks.
I had a dream awhile back that I was standing in Athens listening to some half crocked citizen speaking out about why “we greeks really didnt need to fight the persians”, that they could be reasoned with if only we would take the time.
And while he talked, a small group of us in the back of the crowd quietly listened, and just as quietly, gathered our tools and sharpened our spears.

I won’t spoil it after that introduction. Finish reading his passing thought for yourself.

And don’t forget the rest of the Watcher’s posts for this time around.

This Week’s Homeschooling Carnival

It has been nine years now since the future Baron left his home school and went off to a local private middle school to begin his secondary education.

I was dreading trying to get him through high school level in my weak subjects – Chemistry, Physics, and any language but English, just to name a few – so, when the scholarship opportunity came up, we were glad to take it.

Back then we had just started using the internet, and the rich collective and connective world that we take for granted now was only just beginning. We were not totally isolated – we joined a homeschoolers’ group, our son was in Scouts, and there were drama groups and other activities with fellow homeschoolers – but the resources available now are so much more plentiful and accessible.

Take, for example, this week’s Homeschooling Carnival, hosted by The Common Room. There are too many entries for me to detail here, so I’ll just give you a selection at random:

Dad’s Corner talks about the difficulties of being a one-income family in a dual-income culture in It’s Not About the What-If’s, writing from a father’s point of view. Formerly in the ministry, he focuses on the unfolding events in terms of his connection with God:

We have two opportunities for my profession in front of us, and either one looks shaky at best. I want to do what God is calling me to do. Pursuing both is also an option, but I’m really not sure how they will fit together. That’s not my main concern, however. What concerns me the most is the timing. What if this doesn’t work out? What if I can’t make my mortgage or utilities? What if our credit rating gets trashed? What if–what if–whatif-whatif-whatif???

My wife was driving to pick the kids up from their weekly activity today and she got the impression, “People spend too much time thinking about the what-if’s and not about the I-AM.”

Principled Discovery is teaching writing to her child, and in Writing Lessons…Descriptive Writing she presents scanned images of her child’s writing pages as well as a written account. I couldn’t do justice to it without the images, so I recommend that you go over and take a look.

Nerd Family explores the internet touring opportunities for homeschoolers in Tour the World for Free! The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station plant tour sounded like the most interesting to me – but that might be because I’m a nerd, too.

There’s much more, but you’ll have to go look for yourself. And if you’re one of those people who equates homeschoolers with chinless wild-eyed fundamentalists, you’ll be disabused of that notion by the Headmistress and her fellow participants at The Homeschooling Carnival.

The Counter-Jihad in Poland

We got a note this morning from a fellow in Poland who is the site administrator for, which he described as a “Polish portal about islamofascism.” He had noticed the image of John Sobieski on the “Islamophobic” button and wanted to let me know that “we are also proud of this guy.”

And now we’re getting site referrals from this post in their forum, where our button is on display. It’s all in Polish, so I can’t tell you much about it.

However, by careful examination of the post, I’ve determined that “Bramy Wiednia” is Polish for “Gates of Vienna”, and “Jestem islamofobem i jestem z tego dumny” seems to be “Islamophobic and proud of it.” Also, from their main page, I gloss “Solidarni z Danią” as “Solidarity with Denmark.”

I wrote him back to let him know that Gates of Vienna considers John Sobieski to be the hero of the West.

Welcome, readers from Poland! I hope your English is better than my Polish…

Anyone who can read and write Polish might want to wander over to and see what you can find.

Excellent Advice for the President

JoshuaPundit has a plan to help President Bush climb out of the hole he’s dug for himself:

The biggest plus you have, Mr. President, is your image with the average American as a regular guy, and not one of the elites. People perceived this as an inside deal that was cooked up for the benefit of your Arab pals at the expense of America’s security. And I don’t think many people bought the line that you were unaware of it until it was a done deal.

Neither did they agree with you that the UAE is a loyal ally against Islamic terrorism. Or our ‘eternal friends’ the Saudis, for that matter. Most Americans get a foul taste in their mouths every time you utter that turgid little phrase. The Saudis and the other Sunni autocracies might be useful at keeping the oil taps turned on at record high prices, or reassuring allies like India that the oil flow will continue no matter what happens with Iran, but friends? Uh uh.

Let’s not confuse a relationship of convenience with friendship, Mr. President. Real alliances come out of shared values, not convenience.

This is an ideological war as much as anything else, and you owe the American people some candor in that regard.

The Saudis have been exporting hardline Wahabi-style Islam with its jihadist rhetoric to the US for years through the co-opting of America’s mosques, madrassahs and mideast studies departments in our universities, and do it to this day. The roster of ex-US legislators and diplomats on the Arab payroll as lobbyists is astounding and pervasive. And virtually every radical Islamic group in the USA receives funding from these people.


I would also advise you to figure out what you’re planning on doing about Iran, if you haven’t already. Iran was not problem of your making, but it popped its ugly head out two years ago, during your watch, and thus far the only action you seem to have taken has been to let the EU3 muddle around in useless negotiations and to push for the referral of Iran to the UN for sanctions that would be meaningless even if you managed to get past a Russian veto. This is not the kind of problem that can be deferred to the next administration without a major risk to America’s security.

This is advice the President would do well to heed, but anyone who has his ear is unlikely to say anything of the kind. I wish that hardliners like JoshuaPundit could get his attention the way Cindy Sheehan can.

It’s incisive and important commentary. Go over and read the whole thing: “What Bush needs to do to come back”.

Islamophobe Update

John Sobieski, hero of the WestThe squeaky wheels have gotten the grease.

In response to popular demand, I made a sidebar-sized (154 x 154) version of the “Islamophobic” button. Other sizes are possible, too. Squeak some more if this one doesn’t work for you.