All posts by Rand Simberg

Calling the ACLU

Apparently, prayer in NY public schools is OK, as long as you’re Muslim. Now, I’m not real big on praying myself, and in fact think that the best way to resolve this issue would be to simply abolish public schools, but given that that’s not going to happen any time soon, can someone from the ACLU explain to me why you can pray to Allah, but not to Christ, in a public school? Why a generic prayer (or even a moment of silence) is “government establishment of religion,” but an explicitly Islamic prayer on school grounds, during school hours, is not? My email address can be found to the left, for any who wish to take up the challenge…

A New Afghan Concept–Death-Free Soccer

According to this story from Reuters, via Bayarea.com, Kabul residents are enjoying watching and playing soccer in their stadium without having the games interrupted by executions (often the family of the victim was forced to carry them out). They also get to play in shorts, and to actually applaud (you know, clap your hands together) the rare (it is soccer, after all) score, instead of chanting “Allahu Akbar!”

O tempora, o mores! Sounds like anarchy. Just give them a few millennia–they’ll be begging for the Taliban to come back.

Hot Air From Omar

The BBC interviewed Fearless Leader the other day. For those of morbid curiousity who wish to get a view into the mind of a pathetic (but homicidal) loon, I found a transcript at the English edition of Ha’aretz. Now that he’s lost his country, his soldiers are deserting him by the hundreds, we’re supposed to be quaking in our mothers’ army boots. Apparently, he is still going to destroy America, though he’s not real clear on the concept of, well, how.

BBC: What do you mean by the destruction of America? Do you have a concrete plan to implement this?

Omar: The plan is going ahead and, God willing, it is being implemented. But it is a huge task, which is beyond the will and comprehension of human beings. If God’s help is with us, this will happen within a short period of time; keep in mind this prediction.

I think you’ve been hanging out with Osama too long, Omar. Translation: “America will be destroyed, but we’re too feeble minded to figure out how to do it ourselves (just as we’re too idiotic and incompetent to learn to fly airplanes into buildings), so we’ll just trust to Allah.”

Short period of time, or no, my free advice is to not hold your breath, Omar. And, by the way, speaking of short periods of time, I wouldn’t be buying any green bananas either, if I were you…

Girls (and Boys) Just Wanna Have Freedom

Apparently, if we’re to go by the reaction in Kabul, while, as the old song goes, “girls just wanna have fun,” what they really want is freedom. So do boys.

Opinion Journal’s Claudia Rossett has a good follow up to Michael Ledeen’s piece yesterday on the US as fomenter of revolution. We are also (often, unfortunately, with inadequate justification as of late) still a symbol of liberty worldwide, as becomes clear whenever and whereever the boot of oppression is lifted from silent throats, and people can speak their minds and hearts.

As we wonder what lies ahead most prominently in Iraq, but also across the rest of the Islamic world, what we must keep in mind is this universal human cry. America is a land that stands for liberty, and in this we have allies–however silent they may now be–among repressed people everywhere. We can debate how best to get our message out. In waging war we need not only faith in our own values, but strategy on the ground. But in understanding what lies locked up in the tyrannies of the world, it will be important to remember the shouts in Kabul this week: “America, America!”

The images from liberated Afghanistan shows that America is much more than a place–it is still an idea–one of the most powerful ideas ever conceived–that calls to people all over the planet. I hope that we can continue to live up to the reputation, perhaps even better than we have in the past, at least the recent past. For much of the world (particularly the Muslim world), the status quo is not liberty. It’s past time for the folks at Foggy Bottom to end their mindless worship of stability, and once again orient our policy in support of the values on which this country was founded.

More Darwin Awards

Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Hofer are having trouble dredging up any sympathy for these fools. Me too.

Normally, the Darwin Award is an individual achievement, honoring that person who has eliminated him or herself from the gene pool in the stupidest possible way. I think that this year, it should be a special group award, and perhaps even retired. No one is going to ever top this bunch. Or at least, if someone does, I want to be warned if ever they come within a couple hundred miles of me.

And yes, allow them to be martyrs if they are too stupid to surrender (they must be getting down to the dregs in the virgin supply along about now), but allow a few to return to Pakistan, Arabia, Egypt, and New York to spread the word about what happens to those who throw in their lot with murdering fundamentalist monsters.

Curiouser and Curiouser

My theory that this was sabotage was complicated (but not necessarily invalidated) by the most recent findings.

According to the story in the New York Times,

The tail was torn off, leaving the attachment points, which are made of the same composite, still bolted to the plane’s metal frame, investigators said. They have not found any evidence that an explosion or contact with another object in flight caused the damage.

So much for the loose fastener theory…

Ultimate University Survival Tool

Someone clued me in to this invaluable web page. If you happen to end up with a nutty deconstructionist professor (an all-too-frequent occurrence at any post-modern university, or even small college), it will allow you to spew semiotic nonsense without having to twist your brain coming up with it yourself. The nice thing about it is that it is randomly generated, so each paper is unique, and can’t be found on the web by profs looking for plagiarists. If you need a longer paper, just run it several times and splice the outputs together via cut’n’paste. Don’t worry–doing so won’t accidentally inject any semantic content–it may even reduce it, if that’s possible. But it will read like an “A” paper in Lacanian analysis.

They’re Still At It

A few weeks ago, I asked the rhetorical question–since 911, are Democrats still calling some members of the opposite party “Taliban Republicans,” as Julian Bond did at the NAACP convention last summer?

Question answered. Apparently, according to US News and World Report:

Democratic lawmakers have adopted the language of the antiterror war to mock Republican conservatives, especially Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, House Majority Leader Dick Armey and House Majority Whip Tom DeLay.

Says a prominent Democrat: “They’re the Republican Taliban.”

I wonder how that prominent Democrat would feel if he (or she) and colleagues were called “the Stalinist wing of the Democratic party”? It would be equally odious, and equally accurate.

They’re Still At It

A few weeks ago, I asked the rhetorical question–since 911, are Democrats still calling some members of the opposite party “Taliban Republicans,” as Julian Bond did at the NAACP convention last summer?

Question answered. Apparently, according to US News and World Report:

Democratic lawmakers have adopted the language of the antiterror war to mock Republican conservatives, especially Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, House Majority Leader Dick Armey and House Majority Whip Tom DeLay.

Says a prominent Democrat: “They’re the Republican Taliban.”

I wonder how that prominent Democrat would feel if he (or she) and colleagues were called “the Stalinist wing of the Democratic party”? It would be equally odious, and equally accurate.