Category Archives: Culture

James Foley

140822 james foleyThe New York Times reported that ISIS wanted $130,000,000 ransom for James Foley. European countries have paid ransom in the past. It’s a major source of income for ISIS. The US policy is not to pay ransom for hostages, on the theory it encourages more hostage taking.

The same theory doesn’t seem to apply when it comes to swapping terrorists for American hostages. We gave up five of GITMO’s worst bad asses to bring home alleged deserter Private Bergdahl.

Bergdahl’s parents were flown in from Idaho to celebrate the joyous occasion with President Obama in the White House Rose Garden.

James Foley

James Foley met his grim fate with courage. His parents showed the source of that fortitude in their meeting with the media to discuss their son on the day of  his death.

Obama played golf.

National Guard in Ferguson

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Governor Nixon called in the National Guard to quell the violence in Ferguson, Missouri. The local police aren’t trusted by looters in Ferguson. It turns out the looters aren’t local either. Most of those arrested were not from Ferguson.

Why Ferguson?

Victor Davis Hanson wonders why some shootings spark violence and others don’t.

On average, more than 6,000 African Americans are killed by gun violence each year. That startling figure is nearly equal to all of the U.S. combat fatalities incurred in both Afghanistan and Iraq over some 13 years.

The violence usually begins with a white man killing an unarmed black man. In Trayvon Martin’s case the NYT described his killer as a “white hispanic”.

The media almost invariably distort the facts, sometimes deliberately seeking to incite tensions. In the Trayvon Martin case, journalists published photos of Martin as a diminutive adolescent, not more recent pictures of Martin as a 17-year-old who was much taller than (George) Zimmerman (Martin’s killer)… In the Brown case, the media has rushed to portray the victim as a “gentle giant” who was almost certainly gunned down by a racist, trigger-happy cop… NBC edited a recording of Zimmerman’s 911 call to police in a way that suggested Zimmerman was a racist.

Next up for blame are Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the New Black Panther party.

Almost immediately, they incite tensions by issuing wild, unfounded charges. Jackson said of the Martin shooting that “targeting, arresting, convicting blacks and ultimately killing us is big business.” Jackson just called the Brown shooting a “state execution.”

Then come the politicians cashing in for advantage.

…usually in ways that only make things worse. Libertarian senator Rand Paul, who is eyeing a 2016 presidential run, blamed the police for their overt military appearance and their crowd-control tactics. Yet street violence still persisted days after police in military-style riot gear were pulled from the scene — until finally there were requests for National Guard intervention.

Finally we get racial finger pointing.

Liberals acknowledge high black violent-crime rates but cite poverty, racism, and unfair police enforcement as the catalysts. Conservatives counter that high rates of single-parent families, dependence on government entitlements, and glorification of misogyny and violence in popular culture account for inordinate black violent-crime rates.

And the country becomes more divided.

Meanwhile, we might remember that the American experiment to unite various racial and ethnic groups into one culture is as noble as it is rare in history. When it has previously been tried in the modern world — Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Iraq, Rwanda, Syria, Congo — it usually has failed spectacularly.

 

Ebola Drug

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Two Americans suffering from the Ebola virus seem to be responding to a new serum that works on monkeys. It’s called ZMapp. The FDA hasn’t approved it for general use.

Over 1,700 people in western Africa are suffering from Ebola. It’s fatal in most cases.

Ebola Oracle

Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general at the World Health Organization says,”We need to ask the medical ethicists to give us guidance on what the responsible thing to do is.”

High Tech Execution

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There was another botched high tech execution last week in Arizona. It took two hours to kill Joseph Rudolph Wood III by lethal injection. Here’s Reason editor Nick Gillespie writing for Daily Beast.

Religious Freedom

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Religious freedom has been taking a beating.

A National Review editorial last week made the point that during the Clinton administration Democrats in Congress felt the Supreme Court had too narrow a view of religious liberty. As a result the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by President Clinton. 

Along comes the Affordable Care Act (ACA), …which empowered the Obama administration to issue regulations that burdened a religious liberty..

This leaves Democrats in a political pickle. They passed a law to protect religious freedom, but they do not desire to protect religious freedom when doing so interrupts their risible war-on-women soap opera.

Senator Udall, in his rhetoric, has been particularly dishonest about this, characterizing the Hobby Lobby decision as mandating that women “have to ask their bosses for a permission slip to access common forms of birth control.” In fact, the decision does no such thing: Hobby Lobby has nothing to do with the right to do anything, but rather with the right to not do something.

Elsewhere on the religious freedom front, the Islamic State of Iraq has ordered Christians to either  pay jizya (a religious tax), convert to Islam, or die.