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Thursday, August 03, 2006

No Fake Quake

Last night, a 4.4 earthquake occurred 17 miles due east of my northern California home. I was in my home office reading online news; my 7-year-old son Skyler was playing a computer game downstairs. I felt the tremor and flew down the stairs, fearing maybe the Big One had come again. “Sky, that was an earthquake,” I told him. My boy knows I have a penchant for practical jokes. He says, “Dad, is this one of your pranks?” I nearly bust a gut laughing, which only convinced him I had caused the house to shake as a way as part of some elaborate charade. So I said, “I’ll turn on the TV and prove it,” but there was no news coverage yet. So I turned on the AM radio, and we listened as the San Francisco host talked about how the skyscraper had just shaken, and callers began to phone in with local reports. At that point Sky believed me and began to cry. “Are we safe?” he asked. I held him and said the quake was over. “Will there be another one?” I responded, “Some day, probably, yes. How about some ice cream for now?” Thus the crisis ended and Dad’s credibility was restored. (When the earth trembles, Rocky Road's good to have on hand.) In 1989, I was living 1.1 miles from the very epicenter of the Loma Prieta temblor. Oh, do I have earthquake stories to tell...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Two Men of England and a Weasel Named Leahy

Sen. Patrick Leahy's got the Middle East crisis all figured out. Send in more envoys! Actually, Leahy's advice is redundant because the word "envoy" is from Old French envoi, from envoyer ‘send.’ So what Leahy and other accomodationists favor is sending as an end in itself. But we need to be precise, and fortunately we have two basic models for what to send and why. The Leahy paradigm: Bush must send "a special envoy with the stature and the authority to work on a continual basis to help broker an immediate ceasefire and long term solutions to Israel’s conflicts with Hamas and Hezbollah – someone who wakes up every single day with the challenge, the portfolio and especially the authority to help resolve this conflict." In the world of Patrick Leahy, it's "Israel's conflicts with Hamas and Hezbollah" that represent the fundamental problem. This is gibberish of the highest order. Disarm Hamas and Hezbollah and the people of Lebanon will have peace with Israel. But if Israel is disarmed, Hamas and Hezbollah — acting as proxies for Iran and Syria — will make good on their promise to push Israel into the sea. It's really that simple. There's a second "sending" paradigm. It's the one Israel is now employing to ensure their survival as a nation and their survival as a people. Israel's envoys (aka "soldiers") are using the weaponry necessary to secure true peace, which of necessity requires the destruction of Hamas, Hezbollah, and every other group that shares their genocidal quest. Israeli soldiers are the genuine "peacekeepers" on the ground, and what they are demonstrating is that peacekeeping ain't always pretty. Yes, there are "prettier" solutions. Neville Chamberlain cut such a dashing figure, didn't he; bowler and umbrella in hand as he proudly held aloft a piece of paper containing his signature and that of Adolf Hilter, "symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again." We know where that exercise in self delusion led then. Today that exercise leads to the podium in the United States Senate where Patrick Leahy stupidly, recklessly, moronically declares that the solution to the Middle East crisis lies with "direct talks with those with whom we strongly disagree, like Syria and Iran." A far better Briton than Chamberlain had a far better idea about how to deal with the scourge of Nazism and Japanese imperialism, which today reincarnates as radical Islamic jihad and hides in the West behind the socially suicidal doctrine of multiculturalism. Winston Churchill knew that the fight against nihilism had to be unrelenting, and the only signature that finally matters is that of superior firepower informed by the unmitigated will of free people to survive as free people:
We shall not flag nor fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France and on the seas and oceans; we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender and even if, which I do not for the moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, will carry on the struggle until in God's good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old.
Don't get me wrong. I really do favor conflict resolution — but the kind that eradicates the world of really bad actors, rather than the kind that confuses genocidal dictators about whether Western culture has the doggedness and strength of character necessary to survive. I favor the type of conflict resolution that Ronald Reagan had in mind when he famously answered the reporter's question about how he saw the Cold War ending. "America winning," Reagan said, or something very similar. Patrick Leahy, if you want detante with Hezbollah and Hamas, may I suggest getting your sorry ass to Lebanon and negotiating with these butchers your very own self. Bring along a few of your peers from France, Russia, and China, so you can make the "talks" truly multilaterial. But watch your head, Senator: these people would like nothing more than to add your shiny skull to their trophy collection.

E-mail of the Day

You missed one important point. If states allow named fathers to escape paternity via DNA testing, that leaves some children without a father who owes child support -- and then it becomes up to the state to assume financial responsibility, usually via welfare. In a contest between whether the state assumes financial responsibility or some poor sap gets screwed, guess which one most legislators will choose.
I agree that the responsibility not exercised by the father generally falls to the state. And that is not an admirable outcome. But the specter of expanding the welfare state cannot be grounds for holding responsible men who are proved not to be the biological father. In that regard, it doesn't seem to me quite accurate to say DNA testing allows named fathers to "escape" paternity. Seems to me the attempted escapees are the known biological parents who fail to step up to the plate and raise their kids. But there's no doubt that most legislators will choose to "screw the poor sap" rather than assume financial responsibility, not least because three decades of feminist agitprop on these issues has pretty much poisoned the well for males as a group.