The Spectacle Blog

‘Europe Won’t Fight’

By on 2.7.06 | 9:51AM

The prevailing wisdom, backed up at the United Nations, in the streets of Paris, and by popular perception, is that when push comes to shove in the clash of civilizations, Europe will not fight. And Europe will lose.

I have shared this fear -- fear because a weak Europe that allows itself to be overrun and brought to heel is a bad outcome for the United States and Western civilization. Not by a long shot am I adequately convinced that a round of terror bombings won't send Europe into a "we deserve it" spiral of preemptive surrender.

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Poor Parallel

By on 2.7.06 | 9:45AM

An Iranian newspaper is planning a Holocaust newspaper contest in retaliation for the Danish Muhammad cartoons. Go for it. The contrast will be all too striking: while those with good taste (if not well-formed consciences) condemn them, they won't resort to burning Iranians in effigy or other acts of violence.

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The Laura Ingraham Show

By on 2.7.06 | 8:29AM

I've been drafted. Laura Ingraham is in Baghdad, doing radio interviews for her show, so I'm sitting in at the DC studio. Tune in this morning. We're hearing from Laura in Iraq and I'll be interviewing State Department spokesman Sean McCormack about the cartoon intifada later in the show. Lots from Laura. See ya on the radio.

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Mohammed, the Man, the Cartoon

By on 2.7.06 | 12:34AM

Report that it is nowhere written in the Koran that it is blasphemous or heretical or forbidden to draw or paint or represent an image of Mohammed. Also, it is impossible in Islam to misrepresent or distort a representation of God, because the Koran teaches that God is unseeable, unknowable, inconceivable in a human way.

More, Mohammed is human, a prophet, not divine or semi-divine in any fashion. To represent him is to represent a human being who was born of a woman, lived as a merchant and husband, died a mortal death in his day. This is not similar to provocative vulgarity about Jesus Christ, or about Yahweh or Jehovah or the Lord God Almighty. Mohammed was a man, two arms, two eyes, one brain. The only reluctance to be found in Islam about drawing Mohammed is the teaching of various characters that to picture Mohammed is to encourage idolatry. However, the rioting over Mohammed's image is a direct result of such dimwitted and proscribed idolatry.

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Nepal Falling In

By on 2.6.06 | 11:08PM

Report from Kathmandu that the Maoist guerrillas grow bolder on the third day of the general strike they have called to last seven days. On the second day, two Maoist terrorists got into a taxi in greater Kathmandu, in front of a hospital, and shot to death the young driver because he was working on a general strike day. Clashes between Maoists and the police and army are now routine.

The complication in this tidy anti-terrorist scenario is that the government is a one-man tyranny: it is one year since Gyanendra seized total control of the capital city; since then he has become the mayor of the palace and a few streets of Kathmandu. He calls himself the king. The Chinese favor him; the Indians oppose him; the Nepalese favor money and services and tourists, all of which are now rare.

Nepal is the roof of the world, and the roof is falling in. China and India, giants of the 21st century, will battle ceaselessly on this surrogate battlefield. The U.S. position so far is to support India: watch for duplicity later in the decade.

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Red Sea Titanic and the Moslem Brothers

By on 2.6.06 | 9:47PM

Report from Cairo that the Mubarak regime has failed in the episode of the Red Sea Titanic so badly that there is no repair. Mubarak is hiding from the relatives; and Mubarak has not even sent his son and intended successor Gamal to meet with the families.

Who is looking to profit from the catastrophe is the Moslem Brothers in Cairo. The Moslem Brothers are not leading street protests; instead the Moslem Brothers are demanding a full explanation not only as to why the ferry sank (a most suspect craft) but also as to why there was no Egyptian rescue effort launched.

The Moslem Brothers are learning to build a popular base that is decidedly anti-regime. The future is the likelihood of a popularly elected jihad for the 75 millions of Egypt. Democracy, Ummah style.

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Always a Starr

By on 2.6.06 | 2:44PM

Let me associate myself with the earlier posts about Bart Starr. As it so happens, one of the several books I am reading right now is a biography of sorts about Bart Starr. It's called "When Leadership Mattered," or something like that. Anyway, it is great to see such a class act remembered and honored. Frankly, I wish Bart Starr had been open to what once were frequent entreaties for him to run for Senate from Alabama as a Republican. I think Starr is incorruptible, and he's clearly a very smart man with great values -- and a terrific leader. He is everything that is good about sports, and my hat is always off to him.

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By on 2.6.06 | 2:17PM

Well, all seems to have blown over, with the inevitable misinformation: it didn't involve Grand Central, but only a suspicious package in one building that someone called in. Oh well ... better than the alternatives.

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‘Death to Traitors’

By on 2.6.06 | 2:10PM

The Supreme Court Building is constructed on the very ground of the Old Capitol buidling that became the emegency Old Capitol Prison for traitors in the Spring of 1861.

For the next four years, Lincoln, Seward, Stanton and the Secret Service Chief Lafayette Baker grabbed whomever they wanted without a warrant, threw them into Old Capitol's dreary rooms, and forgot about habeas coprus, indictments, trials for as long as was useful.

Lafayette Baker's motto on his badge was "Death to Traitors."

When some several of those very same traitors conspired to murder Lincoln and Seward in April, 1865, Baker assigned his cousin to track them down and bring them to the noose. Booth likely shot himself, or was shot; but the Bakers bagged anyone they could argue was attached to the plot and threw them into a hastily constructed court in May, 1865, where the Attorney General and Provost Marshall General engineered a speedy conviction. Some few of the culprits were hanged at Old Capitol Prison.

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NYC Scare?

By on 2.6.06 | 2:00PM

The building in which one of my brothers works, across the street from Grand Central Station, has been evacuated, along with other buildings in the area. He says Park Avenue is snarled with people, and that an NYPD told him it was because of a bomb threat in Grand Central. Could be nothing, but he told me he hasn't seen this kind of muscle on the streets in a long while. We'll see .... is this the beginning of the cartoon's escalation to our shores, I wonder.

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