Thursday, December 25, 2014

AWAD: [Conspiracy] Theory

You often hear the word "theory" connected to a conspiratorial explanation for a newsworthy event. Such theory barely rises to the level of hypothesis, typically, which is where the "speculation" sense of the word comes into play. Not that such quibbles matter to conspiracy theorists. 

They fancy themselves power-elite analysts. Cockamamie mainstream explanations for, inter alia, the assassination of President Kennedy or the September 11, 2001 collapse of World Trade Center 7 cannot help but meet with skepticism. This in turn spurs the positing of alternative interpretations. 

Conspiracy theorists will stop theorizing when the Party Line starts exhibiting some tie to reality. It's as simple as that. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Xenophobia and Human Nature

This is from AWAD, "gentlemen's agreement," the week's best as of 12/21/2014.

Dear Mr. Stine:

The incidents you relate are unfortunate. In fairness, though, it is only human nature to be kind to our own kind, however defined. Xenophobia characterizes us as a species. You can see it in a baby's separation anxiety. How does the little one react when mom hands him over even to a friendly stranger?

Surely, the standoffishness and self-segregation you describe is not peculiar to white Protestant America. (Full disclosure: I am not a WASP.) I dare say it's fairly universal. Yet somehow, when it comes to welcoming outsiders, it is only the Christian West's failures that receive any publicity. Indeed, in many cases those failures are taken out of context and blown out of proportion. You'd almost think Western political, entertainment and media elites harbor a particular anti-Christian, anti-Western animus.

You may be interested to read the articles linked below. Insofar as victimhood confers status, I look forward to the day when brave Western journalists and Hollywood directors start publicizing accounts like these. (Full disclosure: I am a Christian and a Westerner.)


Tony Pivetta
Royal Oak, Michigan

From: Steven Stine (scstine1672

Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--gentleman’s agreement

Your article neglected to mention the sinister undertone to this seemingly benign expression. Not so many years ago, there was a gentleman’s agreement among the power elite to limit or even exclude access to the best colleges and jobs to women, people of color, Eastern & Southern Europeans, and non-Protestants. (I’ve probably left some out.)

In 1947, the year I was born, Gregory Peck starred in a movie titled A Gentleman’s Agreement about a journalist who had returned from World War II in Europe where he had been horrified by the Nazi atrocities against the Jews. Disclaimer: I am Jewish.

Peck’s character decided to pretend to be Jewish. His name was the conveniently ambiguous Green. He was deeply disturbed to discover that the same attitudes he had fought against in Europe were running rampant at home in America. It was a brave movie to produce at that time.

On a personal note (only one generation removed), when my father returned from his own World War II service in Europe, he and my mother went on an extended, long-overdue honeymoon by automobile. Much to their chagrin, but not surprise, many hotels politely but firmly turned them away, and refused to provide them shelter. The desk clerk would say something like, “I’m sorry, sir, but this hotel is restricted. There is a nice place down the road for your kind.”

If I have gone on too long, I apologize. However, seeing this figure of speech in “print” touched a nerve that ran far deeper than I could have anticipated.

Steven Stine, Highland Park, Illinois

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Western Secular Imperialism vs. Islam vs. Christianity

I do agree Muslims were persecuting Christians long before the era of Western imperialism and U.S. support for Israel. 

I don't agree Muslims don't harbor legitimate grievances against the (secular) West for its imperialism and support for Israel.  

I do agree the (aggressively secular) mainstream media refuse to regard Christians as anything other than persecutors, in the Middle East or anywhere else, notwithstanding the historical record. 

I don't agree (secular) Western imperialism and support for Israel have nothing to do with Muslim grievances against the West. 

I do agree some Muslims have conflated (secular) Western imperialism with Christian religious fervor.

I don't agree the mainstream media have exaggerated the role Western imperialism and support for Israel have played in inciting Muslim grievances. (In fact, the mainstream media have downplayed the intervention-blowback connection.) 

One Percentage Point Increase, Not One Percent!

Don't let the politicians and mainstream media fool you, fellow Michiganders. If the sales tax goes from 6 percent to 7 percent, that's a one *percentage point* increase, not a one percent increase.
A one percent increase means the sales tax goes from 6 percent to 6.01 percent. In other words, if you make $10,000 in taxable purchases, your tax bill increases by a paltry six dollars, from $600 to $606. Whereas under the proposed 7 percent sales tax, your tax bill increases to $700. That's almost a *17 percent* increase, folks.
Don't let the bastards do it. If the State of Michigan is rich enough to drop $170 million in welfare for Mike Ilitch, even as it pays cops to harass pot smokers, prostitutes, and 19-year-old beer drinkers, it's rich enough to fix the roads.
While we're at it, maybe we can get the feds to stop bombing roads and bridges in the Middle East only to turn around and build them back up. Haven't you had your fill of this racket yet?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cobb & Kaline

Today is Detroit Tigers great and Hall of Famer Al Kaline's 80th birthday. Kaline is the youngest player to win the batting title, with a .340 average in 1955. He didn't turn 21 until December 19th of that year.
Tigers great and Hall of Famer Ty Cobb likewise won the batting title as a 20-year-old, hitting .350 in 1907. Cobb was born December 18, 1886.
So Kaline has the record by one day. 'Twere good I let you know.