These are all the Blogs posted on Wednesday, 24, 2010.
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
The Stuxnet worm turns off Iran's nuclear enrichment program
Giant Sandworm from Sci-Fi
cult film, "Dune"
After my last post about the Stuxnet Malworm, a friend in Connecticut, Fred Leder, wrote and asked, "Why haven't we seen any reports that Iran's nuclear enrichment program has been disrupted?"
"Wait", I replied in an email response.
Today's New York Times and other wire service reports have surfaced evidence that the Stuxnet Malware worm appears to have put a crimp in those whirling Centrifuges in Iran's nuclear program despite the 75 yards of protective concrete.
What is the expression, "the worm turns", meaning a reversal of fortune, for the arrogant paranoid Mahdist madmen in Tehran? With IAEA inspectors hovering around, even the Iranian nuclear power Jinns couldn't keep the facts hidden for long.
Atomic inspectors reported Tuesday that Iran mysteriously stopped feeding uranium into thousands of centrifuges at its main enrichment plant this month, and independent experts suggested that the computer worm suspected of being aimed at Iran's nuclear program had caused the spinning machines to break down.
Iran vehemently denied that assertion, and the experts said they had no proof that the unexplained shutdown resulted from the so-called Stuxnet worm - a malicious program detected this year on computers, primarily in Iran but also in India, Indonesia and other countries.
Cyberattackers "tried to infiltrate our country's nuclear sites" beginning a year ago, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the country's atomic program, told an Iranian news agency on Tuesday. But he added that "the country's young experts stopped the virus exactly at those points that enemies intended to infiltrate."
The report on Tuesday from the International Atomic Energy Agency said that its inspectors, when visiting the sprawling main enrichment plant at Natanz, in the Iranian desert, on Nov. 16, found that engineers had stopped feeding uranium into the long rows of centrifuges. Six days later, Iran said it had restarted the process.
The report alluded to another sign of possible trouble with the machines. The agency's inspectors said Iran had assigned 4,816 centrifuges to the process of enrichment at its main plant - 1,044 more than they identified nearly three months ago and close to last year's high of 4,920 machines. But the figures they provided showed that production efficiency had decreased.
Despite more than 1,000 additional machines, Iran was able to add only 837 pounds of enriched uranium to the overall supply produced at the main plant. That represents an increase of 14 percent. In the previous reporting period, the inspectors described an increase of 829 pounds, or a rise of 15 percent.
In other words, the plant's output had remained roughly the same despite Iran's putting many more resources into the job.
"The efficiency is down," said a European nuclear expert familiar with the report of the atomic inspectors, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivity.
Doubtless the suspected Israeli creators of the Stuxnet malworm should be smiling ever more broadly without so much as saying a word. Credit that to the talented young cadres in Unit 8200 and other specialized cyber warfare units of the IDF.
The US, South Korea, Japan and even China should take a leaf out of the Stuxnet malworm play book and bring the newly revealed North Korean enrichment facility to an abrupt halt. That would be partial payback for yesterday's North Korean artillery assault on Yeonpyeong Island, an offshore South Korean Island, and the sinking of a frigate last March with combined losses of over 50 lives. Some of us suspect that the North Korean enrichment plant may be serving dual purposes, creating more fissile materials for the military masters of the hermit kingdom and backup supply for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Being a devotee of good science fiction, I am reminded of the prominent role played by worms in Frank Herbert 1965 novel, Dune and the 1984 cult movie of the same name. There, a desert people, the Fremmens, on an arid planet Arrakis adopt a Messiah like figure, Paul Atreides and ride sandworms with Weirding Modules defeating the tyrannical Emperor stopping the production of spice that enables interstellar travel by folding space- an Einsteinian construct. Paul Atreides with his army of Fremmens riding giant sandworms takes on the Emperor and the Spacing Guild. The fictional character of Atreides remarks: "he who can destroy a thing controls it."
Is the Stuxnet Worm episode the reality version of Dune? Stay tuned for the next episode.
Posted on 11/24/2010 7:58 AM by Jerry Gordon
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Sydney, Australia: Muslim thugs try to rob pub, cops shoot thugs
I first came across this story in the ABC, where nothing was said of the cultural (ahem) identity of the would-be robbers; but something about the shape of the story led me to place it in my 'Australian Jihad' file, pending developments. I was not particularly surprised to encounter an update at the Australian Islamist Monitor website, featuring a report from Sydney's Daily Telegraph, filed by Katherine Danks and Rosemarie Lentini, which informed me that the dead thug was called 'Ali' and that his dad is named 'Mohammed'.
'No choice but to shoot the armed robbers, police say'
'Senior police yesterday defended the shooting of two would-be robbers, saying officers had "no choice" but to open fire despite having shadowed the men for hours.
'Ali Antoni El Hafiane, 19, of Condell Park, was killed and his alleged accomplice was injured when shot by two police officers in the beer garden of Condell Park's High Flyer Hotel on Monday.
'Just seconds earlier, the balaclava-clad men, one allegedly wielding a machete, had been confronted by an undercover officer inside the pub.
'Five shots were discharged by at least two officers and "in my opinion, the officers had no choice other than to act in the way that they did", Acting Assistant Commissioner Geoff Beresford said. "In my opinion, it was an extremely brave act. They were confronted with a life-threatening situation and they did everything they could to protect members or patrons of the hotel and themselves."
(My guess is that police could not exclude the possibility that besides the machete already being used one or both of the robbers may have been carrying concealed firearms, and therefore the police chose to take the crooks down hard and fast, before any firearm could be brought into play - CM).
'Police said at least one other man was waiting in a black Toyota Yaris in front of the hotel, but he drove off when the shots were fired, colliding with a police car. Police raided a Condell Park home yesterday, but the man has not been arrested.
'Mr Beresford said the men were being tracked throughout Monday afternoon by five Robbery and Serious Crime Squad detectives investigating a string of robberies in Sydney's southwest.
(The people at the Islamist Monitor blog observed that this is by no means the first time that a liquor outlet has been targeted by Muslim criminals in western Sydney. Now, an attack on a pub by non-Muslim crooks would be common-or-garden crime. But given that a high proportion of these attacks, of late, are being carried out by Muslims, there may be something more going on. For repeated attacks by Muslims upon bottle shops, pubs and hotels in a given area are likely to cause these businesses - which are selling a sharia-proscribed substance - to shut down or move away, thus increasing the extent of what one might call 'visibly sharia-compliant' territory. - CM).
'The officers did not know of the robbery plot until they pulled up outside the High Flyer Hotel about 8.30 pm.
'Mr Beresford said events "escalated unexpectedly" and very quickly. One of the plainclothes officers ran inside the hotel to warn patrons.
(Hm. This means that there should be lots of non-Muslim witnesses to testify to what then transpired. So long as they are not silenced by threats, any inquiry ought to vindicate the police.
But off go the reporters to the mother of the poor little dead robber. She attempts to play dumb and play the victim card. - CM)
'El Hafiane's mother Mary (or should that be "Mariam"? - CM) said her son, who was studying carpentry "on and off" at TAFE, didn't have a history of criminal activity but admitted she didn't know the circles he moved in. (She is a Muslim mother. Her son can do no wrong - and the non-Muslims are fair game - CM). "He's just a kid, running around being crazy, and the next thing we know he's caught up in this", Mrs El Hafiane said. ('He's caught up in this' - observe the turn of phrase - as if her son had no control over what he was doing - CM). "We got told through the grapevine. It's all just gossip at the moment and things people have heard on TV". (Note that by the reference to 'gossip' and 'things people have heard on TV' she is casting doubt on the non-Muslim version of events. I suspect she may, in the near future, claim adamantly that the police and the infidel witnesses are all lying about what her darling boy was up to. - CM).
'The devastated mother of four boys said police hadn't contacted her at lunchtime yesterday. She said she waited two hours at Bankstown Police Station on Monday night, but was ignored by police. (And the reporters believe her pathetic sob story. I am not so sure that I believe her, given what I now know about the Muslim propensity for lying, and for playing the victim card - CM).
'Mr Beresford said senior homicide and Bankstown detectives told the boy's father Mohammed of the shooting at 5.30 am yesterday, after he attended the police station.
'The second man was in a stable condition in Liverpool Hospital yesterday.
'A police critical incident investigation team is investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting".
One hopes that the decisions and actions of the police concerned will be publicly vindicated. I am inclined to write to Mr Beresford to commend him upon the despatch with which his officers proceeded. Perhaps I will throw in a couple of articles by Nicolai Sennels, for Mr Beresford's further instruction, and so that he knows why the use and display of deadly force was justified and effective.
For the most interesting aspect of this story, especially when compared with what has attended the deaths of Muslim criminals in France on at least two occasions, is this - there seem to have been no riot/s. Three Muslim thugs attacked a pub with a view to committing armed robbery: one got shot dead by the Infidel cops, one got badly wounded, one ran away. The one who ran away presumably did not summon reinforcements. And - despite one very dead Muslim and one carted away on a stretcher - there seems to have been no swarm of rioters rushing to attack the police station or stake out the hospital. I wonder whether the Muslims feared that if they did riot, the Aussie police would merely turn more live street jihadists into dead or wounded ones?
So long as the non-Muslim citizenry and judiciary come out strongly in support of the actions of the police, this incident may have a dampening effect upon the de facto street jihad in the Islamified suburbs of Western Sydney - CM.
Posted on 11/24/2010 1:24 AM by Christina McIntosh
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Pak religious parties say pardoning blasphemy accused Christian woman 'unIslamic'
Lahore, Nov 24 (ANI): Religious parties in Pakistan have come down heavily on the PPP-led government, especially Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, for their 'anti-Islamic' attempts to pardon and exile blasphemy convict Asia Bibi to the United States, and demanded Taseer be immediately dismissed as governor, and punished in accordance with the law.
Various religious organisations held protest demonstrations and meetings condemning the PPP government and the secular lobby in the country, particularly Taseer, holding him part of the international conspiracy to amend the Blasphemy Law in Pakistan,
Addressing a meeting, Jamaat e Islami Ameer Syed Munawar Hasan said that the PPP government and Taseer were trying to release the death convict Christian woman, Asia Bibi, and send her abroad in violation of the Islamic laws and the law of the land, in connivance with some foreign powers and secular NGOs, instead of adopting the legal procedure by filing an appeal against her death sentence.
He condemned the campaign by Taseer and the country's secular lobby for the release and exile of Asia, and said that it would prove to be the final nail in Zardari government's coffin, as the country would foil every conspiracy to abolish the Blasphemy (of the Holy Prophet) Law.
Besides some foreign powers, the secular lobby and the foreign funded NGOs having an anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan agenda are pressurising the Pakistan government for the release of the convicted woman, in a blatant interference in the country's judicial system and its internal affairs, Munawar said.
He argued why none of the human rights or women's rights bodies had made such moves to release Dr Aafia Siddiqui sentenced by a US court to 86 years for crimes she never committed.
Aalmi Tanzim Ahle Sunnat (ATAS) staged a demonstration outside the Lahore Press Club, condemning what they called a conspiracy to amend the Blasphemy Law and exile a blasphemy convict, saying that Taseer had committed a crime by flouting the Islamic punishment for blasphemy.
Posted on 11/24/2010 2:30 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Great Australians, VI - The Scientist: Frank John 'Bunny' Fenner, AC, CMG, MBE - Brilliant Microbiologist Who Contributed to the Campaign Against Smallpox
On 22 November 2010 one of Australia's greatest scientists, who has been called a 'national treasure', died at the grand old age of 95.
The obituaries I have consulted, from the ABC and from 'The Age' newspaper, testify to a long life well lived for the good of his country and the world. I leave it to you to deduce how and why he acquired the nickname 'Bunny'.
From the ABC:
'Scientist Fenner dies aged 95'
'One of Australia's most renowned scientists, Frank Fenner, has died aged 95.
'Professor Fenner is best known for his work in eradicating smallpox and the control of Australia's rabbit plague. He and his fellow researchers famously injected themselves with the myxomatosis virus to show it would not harm humans while devastating rabbit populations.
'During World War II he served in Egypt and Papua New Guinea in the Army Medical Corps, where he carried out research on the malarial parasite.
'Professor Fenner won numerous awards including the Albert Einstein World Award for Science in 2000 and the Prime Minister's Science Prize in 2002.
'He was a foundational fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and Director of the John Curtin School of Medical Research [at the Australian National University - CM] from 1967 to 1973.
'Professor Fenner was also among those who joined the great scientist Macfarlane Burnet in his pioneering work on antibodies for which he was later awarded the Nobel Prize.
'In a 2002 interview with ABC Radio National
(which interview is a great read; it may be found here -
Professor Fenner said he felt most proud about his work on eradicating smallpox. "The single one that stands out was the day I stood at the World Health Assembly on May 8, 1980, and gave the short address declaring that smallpox had been eradicated globally, meaning that transmission from human to human had been stopped", he said...
'JCSMR head of immunology Professor Chris Parish says Professor Fenner was one of the world's greatest experts on virology. "He was a national treasure, no question of it," he said. "He was very keen on translating his science into a better understanding of treatment of disease. He had a medical background, so a major emphasis of his work was to try and understand the relationship between a host and a pathogen and then try and translate that information into a better treatment of disease".
'Professor Parish joined the JCSMR in 1969 while Professor Fenner was head of the school. He says Professor Fenner was an unassuming man with a generous spirit. "He was not the sort of person that trumpeted his excellence anywhere", he said. "He was always the same personality, very friendly, willing to talk to anyone about science - the most junior technician or scientist could come up to him and ask him questions about science and he would treat them just the same as a Nobel laureate."
'Sir Gustav Nossal, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Melbourne, also paid tribute to a fellow protege of Burnet. "What a life, what a career, what generosity of spirit with his many contributions to the Australian Academy of Science", he said, "We shall not see his like again".
'Professor Fenner was born in Ballarat [in Victoria - CM] in 1914, and was one of five children. His family moved to Rose Park in South Australia when he was two. His parents were teachers, and Professor Fenner said his science genes may have come from his father, who had a degree in biology and geology...
'Professor Fenner went on to study medicine at the University of Adelaide, before enlisting in the Army in 1940 and being posted to Palestine. He said his training in tropical medicine proved invaluable at that time. 'I'd got transferred to an advance hospital called a casualty clearing station, which was based in Nazareth. It was looking after troops coming back from the Syrian campaign", he said. "A lot of them had malaria and virtually nobody knew anything about malaria except me".
'Professor Fenner married nurse Ellen 'Bobby' Roberts in 1944, and they went on to work together on several projects. She died of cancer in 1995, but he said his marriage was one of the most important parts of his life.
'He said he is lucky to have been able to spend his life doing work he loved. "That's the kind of life I've had. I've spent a life doing what I like doing more than anything else", he said.
And now for his obituary in 'The Age', written by Gerry Carman:
'No "bunny" in terms of science: Frank John "Bunny" Fenner, AC, CMG, MBE, Microbiologist, 21.12.1914 - 22.11.2010.
'Emeritus Professor Frank Fenner, widely regarded as one of Australia's greatest scientists, who led the way in the most successful medical eradication program of the 20th century, has died in Canberra after a brief illness. He was 95.
'Fenner played a key role in combating malaria and other tropical diseases under battlefield conditions in the 1940s, but was best known for his work in ridding the world of the variola virus that causes smallpox, as well as [for] the myxoma virus that helped control Australia's rabbit plague in the early 1950s.
'A modest and generous man who not only excelled in his work but passed on his knowledge to generations of students, he won numerous national and international awards and was considered unlucky not to have been awarded a Nobel prize. A foundation fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, his many awards...included the Japan prize for preventive medicine, as well as the World Health Organisation Medal...the Royal Society's Copley Medal in 1995 [and] the Albert Einstein World Award for Science in 2000...
'Fenner, one of five siblings, was born in Ballarat to Emma [nee Hirt] and Charles, a school teacher who specialised in geology and went on to be the direction of education in South Australia...[Fenner senior] encouraged his children's interest in science; young Fenner soon had an impressive fossil collection.
'After primary school at Rose Park, he attended Thebarton Technical School and wanted to follow in his father's footsteps in geology but was urged to study science. He gained bachelors of medicine and surgery at Adelaide University in 1938, followed by a doctor of medicine in 1942. Earlier, before he enlisted in the Australian Army's medical corps, Fenner took a diploma of tropical medicine from Sydney University in 1940...
'He was a field doctor in Palestine and Egypt before being transferred - as part of key elements of an Australian division to defend the approaches to Australia - to New Guinea and later Borneo.
'His medical work in New Guinea was considered vital to Australia's war effort because it ensured more troops were able to fight rather than succumbing to malaria and other tropical diseases that were decimating their ranks more than Japanese bullets. His efforts earned him a military MBE. Fenner also scored on a personal level: in 1944 he married one of the army nurses he worked with, Ellen 'Bobbie' Roberts.
'After the war, Macfarlane Burnet (who went on to win the 1960 Nobel prize and was knighted) recruited Fenner with a research fellowship to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne. Fenner shrewdly declined Burnet's urging to focus on the influenza virus...Instead, he worked on mouse-pox, a disease in mice caused by the ectromelia virus, as a model to investigate the incubation period of infections such as smallpox, measles and chickenpox. His findings were published in The Lancet in 1948 and are still quoted today.
'His ground-brekaing work led to a fellowship in 1949 at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York, where he worked on the microbacterium that causes the Buruli ulcer, the third-most important microbacterial disease after tuberculosis and leprosy.
'This work drew the attention of Howard Florey, the Australian who developed penicillin, and he offered Fenner the chair in microbiology at the newly-created Institute of Advanced Studies at the Australian National University's John Curtin School of Medical Research. Fenner was aged 34. Both Burnet and Florey were to describe Fenner as a researcher without peer.
'It was at the ANU that Fenner launched his study into the myxoma virus, and famously, along with Macfarlane Burnet and Ian Clunies-Ross, injected themselves with enough virus to kill up to 1000 rabbits to prove that it was not dangerous to humans. They suffered no ill effects, and the public was reassured. The virus was developed to cull the exploding rabbit population that was causing huge damage to crops. In the 1950s, Australia's rabbit population fell from an estimated 600 million to 100 milliion...
'Fenner was appointed director of the John Curtin School in 1967, and in 1973 he set up and became director of the ANU's Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, a post he held until retirement in 1979.
'Meanwhile, from 1969 he had also worked as an adviser to the World Health Organisation on the eradication of smallpox; in 1977 he was appointed chairman of the organisation's global commission on the matter. Fenner made several field trips to affected countries in Asia to advise local health officials, and on May 8 1980 he announced that smallpox had been eradicated...
'Ever humble, when he was awarded the Royal Society's Copley Medal, an award whose recipients since 1731 have included such distinguished scientists as Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Priestly, Howard Florey, and Sir Macfarlane Burnet, Fenner said, "I've been put there, but I'm not sure I'm in the same ball park".
'His studies at the ANU's Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies Research made him pessimistic about the future. He first expressed public concern about population growth in 1967 and maintained his warnings over the years. Earlier this year he predicted that as a result of the population explosion, "unbridled consumption", and international failure to curb greenhouse gas emissions, Homo sapiens "will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years". (Let us hope that in this he was wrong - CM).
'Fenner wrote or co-wrote 22 books and published hundreds of papers. Besides his foundation membership of the Australian Academy of Science he was a fellow of the Royal Society, and a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Science.
'He was appointed CMG (that is, a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George - CM) in 1976, and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1989, both for his services to medical science.
'In the words of Melbourne University's Sir Gustav Nossal: "He is the prince of Australian virologists...he's a household name wherever infectious disease people meet".
'Bobbie died in 1995, and Fenner is survived by his daughter Marilyn, a number of grandchildren, and one great-grandchild."
(Of all the many honours heaped upon this great Australian, I think that his appointment as a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George was perhaps the most wonderfully evocative. What better place for a man who did battle with malaria and smallpox, than in the company of those doughty fighters of dragons? - CM).
Posted on 11/24/2010 5:06 AM by Christina McIntosh
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Hope for British education
After decades of relentless dumbing down, this is a good start. Toby Young in The Telegraph:
Mortar boards off to Michael Gove. What a smorgasbord of delights today's education White Paper is. Just about everything in it is sensible, but for me the highlights are:
* Ofsted inspectors will be instructed to judge schools according to four key criteria: teaching standards, leadership, pupil behaviour and attainment. That means schools will no longer be marked down for failing to promote "community cohesion" - a prime example of politically correct, New Labour mumbo jumbo - or failing to subscribe to various equality rules. In addition, inspectors will no longer be required to assess pupils' "wellbeing" - another leftwing gobbledegook word. (What are inspectors supposed to do? Look into pupils' souls?) Hopefully, this will mean an end to such absurdities as Ofsted failing schools like Christ's Hospital for - and I'm not making this up - neglecting to make parents aware that they can request sight of a copy of the school's plan to meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 2002.
* In GCSEs and A-levels, children will be marked down for poor spelling, grammar and punctuation. Hallelujah! It's about time English schools taught children how to write properly in the English language. To give you an example of how low standards are, the West London Free School has just advertised for a head and the number of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in the CVs and accompanying letters we've been sent is shocking. And most of the applicants are headteachers. As I leafed through them I couldn't help thinking, "If this is an example of the headteacher's grasp of English, what hope do the children at his/her school have?"
* The GCSE league tables will be reformed so that "equivalent" qualifications like BTECs are disregarded. These are the so-called "vocational" subjects that comprehensives strong-arm their less able pupils into doing in order to boost their rankings in the league tables. A single BTEC can be worth up to four GCSEs at grade C, meaning a pupil doing a BTEC only has to get a C in one additional GCSE to achieve the magic five GCSEs at grade C or above. A recent report by Civitas found that 311,000 children took Vocationally-Related Qualifications in 2008, learning such indispensable skills as "Serving Food and Drink". The scandal of these "equivalent" subjects is that children from poor backgrounds are much more likely to be encouraged by schools to do them, thereby depriving them of the opportunity to enter Sixth Forms, let alone go on to universities. A research team from the LSE found that schools with the most disadvantaged intakes were five or six times more likely to field candidates for these sorts of exams.
Posted on 11/24/2010 8:48 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
David Bentley Hart writes at First Things (hat tip: Arts & Letters):
The only thing I know that J.R.R. Tolkien and Salvador Dalí had in common-or rather, I suppose I should say, the only significant or unexpected thing, since they obviously had all sorts of other things in common: they were male, bipedal, human, rough contemporaries, celebrities, and so on-was that each man on at least one occasion said he was drawn simultaneously towards anarchism and monarchism.
In the case of Dalí it was probably a meaningless remark, since almost everything he ever said was; whenever he got past the point of "Please pass the butter" or "That will cost you a great deal of money," he generally gave up any pretense of trying to communicate with other people.
But Tolkien was, in his choleric way, giving voice to his deepest convictions regarding the ideal form of human society-albeit fleeting voice. The text of his sole anarcho-monarchist manifesto, such as it is, comes from a letter he wrote to his son Christopher in 1943 (forgive me for quoting at such length):
My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning the abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs)-or to 'unconstitutional' Monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word State (in any sense other than the inanimate real of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights nor mind); and after a chance of recantation, execute them if they remained obstinate! If we could go back to personal names, it would do a lot of good. Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so to refer to people. . . .
And anyway, he continues, "the proper study of Man is anything but Man; and the most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men":
Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity. At least it is done only to a small group of men who know who their master is. The mediaevals were only too right in taking nolo episcopari as the best reason a man could give to others for making him a bishop. Grant me a king whose chief interest in life is stamps, railways, or race-horses; and who has the power to sack his Vizier (or whatever you dare call him) if he does not like the cut of his trousers. And so on down the line. But, of course, the fatal weakness of all that-after all only the fatal weakness of all good natural things in a bad corrupt unnatural world-is that it works and has only worked when all the world is messing along in the same good old inefficient human way. . . . There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as 'patriotism', may remain a habit! But it won't do any good, if it is not universal.
Last week, as I watched the waves of the Republican electoral counterinsurgency washing across the heartland, and falling back only at the high littoral shelves of the Pacific coast and the Northeast, I found myself reflecting on what a devil's bargain electoral democracy is. These occasional bloodless bloodbaths are deeply satisfying at some emotional level, whatever one's party affiliations, because they remind us of what a rare luxury it is to have the right and the power periodically to evict politicians from office.
But, as is always the case here below in the regio dissimilitudinis, the pleasure is accompanied by an inevitable quantum of pain. The sweetest wine quaffed from the cup of bliss comes mingled with a bitter draft of sorrow (alas, alack). Tragically-tragically-we can remove one politician only by replacing him or her with another. And then, of course, our choices are excruciatingly circumscribed, since the whole process is dominated by two large and self-interested political conglomerates that are far better at gaining power than at exercising it wisely...
Continue reading here.
Posted on 11/24/2010 12:57 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: I'm On A Diet Of Love (Marjorie White)
Posted on 11/24/2010 4:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald