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July 25, 2014

Our Amazing Array of Food


By Bruce Chapman

Grand Central Bakery 2.jpg

Raw, vegan, gluten-free, paleo. In Seattle, where elimination diets abound, I'm a convinced and happy omnivore. I gladly eat fresh melons from Mexico (it helps the Mexican economy and consoles me on a rainy day) and I also shop at the farmer's market for anything local they have on offer -- maybe somebody's artisanal chèvre cheese or heritage tomatoes.

Our food supply is arguably the most complicated, wholesome and imaginative of any in history. Ancient Roman aristocrats dining on hummingbird wings did not have the choices we do, and eating hummingbirds sounds disgusting anyhow.

Continue reading "Our Amazing Array of Food" »

Don't Fall into "Impeachment" Trap

The Administration is pretending to be concerned about the possibility that Republicans will try to impeach President Obama. This is bait for catching conservative hot-heads. To the extent they take the bait, they create a prize fund-raising argument for Democrats.

First, there isn't going to be any impeachment in the timetable of politics ahead. The evidence of bad government and of political corruption abounds, but an actual impeachment would take years, not months, to develop. Recall that the Watergate break-in happened in the summer of 1972, but Richard Nixon did not resign (which he did under the threat of likely impeachment) until mid-1974. So, even if provable scandals were much further along than they are, an impeachment process would not make serious headway in the months ahead, though an attempt at it would be used by Democrats to mobilize their base in advance of the mid-term elections.

Second, impeachable offenses have to raise to the level of demonstrable felonies, not just incompetence and alleged corruption. Bill Clinton lied under oath, but still was not impeached. The bar is very high.

Third, the Senate, in case you hadn't noticed, is Democratic. There is almost no chance under the current circumstances of convicting a Democratic President, even if a Republican House were to pass a bill of impeachment.

Continue reading "Don't Fall into "Impeachment" Trap" »

July 24, 2014

Mosul Atrocities of Epic Nature

The ISIS atrocities in Mosul, Iraq are not getting a fraction of the attention of the conflict in Gaza, but that is mostly because Western reporters dare not go there. Christianity in the region goes back almost 2000 years. Yet Christians, under threat of death, have been forced to flee, an exodus of hundreds of thousands. Churches have been desecrated and turned into mosques, virgin girls are being rounded up to become brides for jihadis, younger girls are being forced into genital mutilation. The UN is being urged to get involved. But so many catastrophes are happening in the world that this one is barely noticed.

July 23, 2014

Obama Imposes Sanctions on....Israel!

UPDATE: FAA lifts ban.

The U.S. Government, with full White House approval and perhaps encouragement, has closed off air flights by U.S. carriers to Israel. Supposedly the result of a Hamas rocket landing a mile from Ben Gurion Airport, the FAA-ruling has the result of imposing a U.S. sanction on Israel. Hamas certainly sees it that way, pronouncing the policy a "victory".

Meanwhile, the Administration simultaneously is rewarding Hamas by sending $47 million of humanitarian aid through UNRWA (the U.N. agency serving the Palestinians) and the Palestinian Authority. Please remember that the U.N. good will has been violated several times by Hamas, by, among other things, placing rockets in UNRWA designated schools.

Continue reading "Obama Imposes Sanctions on....Israel!" »

July 22, 2014

All You Can Eat--Just be Grateful today carries my thoughts about the quiet food revolution--improved quantity, variety and quality--available to the contemporary American.

July 21, 2014

Maybe Pedophilia Confers an Evolutionary Advantage?

Richard Dawkins, probably the world's leading Darwin defender, is also a defender of "mild pedophilia", it appears. A recent interview has him rationalizing the dear old teacher who liked to molest little boys from time to time. Nothing too wrong with that, right?

This is the moral universe of Richard Dawkins.

"War On Humans" Video Released Today

The radical edge of the environmental movement somehow always identifies people as a curse on the planet, and they aren't kidding.
Today a film, The War on Humans, has been released by Dr. John West of Discovery Institute, based on the work of Wesley J. Smith, director of Discovery's Center on Human Exceptionalism.

So are humans just another animal in the forest--the bad boy of the forest, indeed? Or something exceptional in nature? What a difference that makes!

The 30 minute video can be opened directly from the link above.

July 18, 2014

Window Into Russian Propaganda

Repeatedly this blog has tried (without much success) to call attention to the propaganda campaigns waged within America by the Russian government and the Chinese government. I don't have a problem with their government's making their views known, even while they suppress the accurate representation in their countries of our government's views. What is galling is the failure of American major media to call attention to these organized information (and disinformation) campaigns.

The same goes for Al-Jazzera TV, sponsored by the Emir of Qatar, who has a definite anti-Western agenda on a number of issues.

Now we have a reporter quitting Russia Today news in protest over the editorial censorship. It deserves more play. Imagine if a reporter quit Fox News claiming it was censoring the news; the other major media would be all over it.

Gaza Tunnels Warrant Israeli Attack


Notable for their relative scarcity are international denunciations of Israel's incursion into Gaza. The reasons are clear. Hamas is known for treachery, even by Middle East standards. For example, Hamas' request Wednesday for a five hour truce for the U.N.'s humanitarian purposes was exploited immediately (once granted by Israel) for new Hamas attacks from a major tunnel under the border and for more rocket attacks. Obviously, there is no honor in Hamas, no reliability under any circumstances.

Regarding the tunnels, the Times of Israel explains their extent and seriousness:

"Israel could have woken up Thursday to an entire kibbutz under siege. Haim Yellin, the head of the Eshkol Regional Council recently told the Times of Israel, standing outside a tunnel discovered several months ago, that many residents in the region are so scarred by the prospect of a tunnel attack that they hear the phantom scratching of shovels when they close their eyes at night...

"Some of the offensive tunnels take more than a year to build. They are re-enforced with several hundred tons of concrete. The digging, a former Southern Command geologist said when examining the 1700-meter tunnel discovered last October, entailed the removal of 3,400 cubic meters of earth. Israel has uncovered five major tunnels recently; reports suggest there are dozens.

"Finding the entrances to these tunnels - often within houses - and charting their alignment and geology, allows the army to neutralize the threat and, at least, set back the timer on these strategic attacks."

Continue reading "Gaza Tunnels Warrant Israeli Attack" »

July 15, 2014

How to Relive the Fifties (and the 40s, and 30's, Etc.)

Charles Atlas.jpg

AImost nothing was "before your time" if you let history bring it to life for you. Living only in the present and its enthusiasms robs you of the experiences of the past that you can enjoy vicariously. Some of those experiences literally can give you the feel and tastes that preceding generations knew. That's why I am thrilled to see tweeds come back into style, for example, and frozen custard stands re-invented. These reactionary fashions follow the return of salsa music about 20 years ago and the martini before that. My family's vinyl collection and rickety phonograph player is more popular now with the younger generation than with the older. ("Awesome," one remarked to me, listening to Cole Porter. "You can understand the lyrics!") Thanks to the much-reviled Tea Party, more people actually are studying and discussing the Constitution again, as once happened regularly in Civics Class--when there still were civics classes.

Howard Chapman, Discovery's Midwest Philosopher, sends a YouTube link of a Diamond Films nostalgia trip through the 1950s. I can add some recollections: John Wayne, school crossing guards, Estes Kefauver and his coon-skin hat, "Art Houses" showing foreign films, Dairy Queen, the Korean War, slow dancing, Red China gets the bomb, girls' crinolines skirts, C. Wright Mills' "The Power Elite", Bill Buckley's "God and Man at Yale," Gina Lolllobrigida, blue suede shoes, Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White (the mambo and the cha-cha), Newsreeels ("Time Marches On"), Green Rivers and chocolate Cokes, "You Are There" (with Walter Cronkite), pink shirts and charcoal gray slacks, The Hungarian Revolution, Charles Atlas ads, Hawaiian themed restaurants and bars, ties with hand painted hula dancers or palm trees, barn roofs advertising "Lookout Mountain, 40 miles", Boys State, Chicken a la King for company at home, Steak Diane and Baked Alaska at night clubs, blue jeans rolled up at the bottom, Kick the Can...or am I getting back to the 40s now? In which case: collecting tin foil balls, "free cone" paper slips in the bottom of some ice cream cones, running through sprinklers, hot rods, "Who Lost China?", Schwinn bikes, "How to Win Friends and Influence People," men's bathing "trunks" with belts, canvas awnings in summer.. ETC!

Continue reading "How to Relive the Fifties (and the 40s, and 30's, Etc.)" »

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