Saturday, December 30, 2006

English Premier League Skinny

English Premier League Skinny

1. Manchester United, 53. } THE CHAM-PEEONS!
2. Chelsea, 47. }
3. Bolton, 39. }
4. Liverpool, 37. }
5. Arsenal, 36. }
6. Portsmouth, 35. } EUROPEAN DREAMIN'
7. Everton, 31. }
8. Tottenham, 31. }
9. Reading, 27. }
11. Fulham, 26. } MADE SO MANY OF 'EM
12. Aston Villa, 25. }
13. Newcastle, 25. }
14. Blackburn, 25. }
15. Sheffield United, 23. }
16. Wigan, 22. }
17. Middlesbrough, 21. }
18. West Ham United, 18. } CO-CA COLA!, CO-CA COLA!
19. Charlton, 16. }
20. Watford, 11. }

Thursday, December 21, 2006

On "A Christmas Story"

On A Christmas Story

I usually re-read what I write, at least occasionally. I first wrote A Christmas Story in 2003. I have never been able to re-read it. It is the saddest story that I've ever heard.

Rep. Virgil Goode's Letter on Muslims

Rep. Virgil Goode's Letter

on Muslims

This is the text of the letter with our comments in brackets.

"When i raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing in Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. [ All religions are divisive and therefore objectionable to us. Some religions are more divisive than others, Islam much more so than Rep. Goode's Baptist strain of protestantism.]

"I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way." [Neither do we but others do and should have the right to as long as it's not used for violent or treasonous reasons.]

"The Muslim Representative from Minnesota [Perhaps it was unintentional but this sounds depersonalizing. Rep.-elect Ellison should have been referred to by name.] was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran." [This is an ill-thought and ill-written sentence. There is no substantive link between Rep. Goode's position and the election of more Muslims to office. Rep.-elect Ellison is not an immigrant. His election had nothing to do with immigration policy. More Muslims will not be elected to office because of justifiable voter disapproval of Islam's totalitarian philosophy, regardless of when they came to the U.S. "Demanding the use of the Koran" is unclear. American people have and should have the right to READ the Koran. There is not and should not be any law prohibiting the "use" of the Koran in a Swearing in ceremony. There are laws against using any book, the Koran, Mein Kamph, The Communist Manifesto, for violent or treasonous ends.]

"We need to stop illegal immigration totally [beside the point, see above] and reduce legal immigration [beside the point but disagree] and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton [Don't know if this is wholly or partly true] and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country." [Perhaps unintentional again but as stated Rep. Goode would therefore be in favor of blocking Christian or Jewish emigrants from the Middle East. This page totally supports banning Muslims from immigrating to the United States because Islam, as it is preached and practiced today in the Islamic world, is warring against the United States. We would also end student visas and send home those who are here as visiting students. There is no or not sufficient evidence that American Muslims as a group preach or practice their faith in a way that makes them at war with America. Quite the contrary. If there is any model for a Muslim Reformation, for a non-violent Islam, it is in the way that it is preached and practiced in America. If individuals do advocate violence they should be prosecuted under law.]

"I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary [ We do not share this fear. We support banning the emigration of Muslims from the Islamic world] to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United states of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped." [ Nonsense, nativistic nonsense.]

"The Ten Commandments and "In God We Trust are on the wall in my office. [All religions divide]. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, "As long as i have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office. [The story sounds apocryphal but if true that is no way to treat a young visitor to a congressman's office. As stated here previously we should not be critical of our fellow Americans on this issue. As we would do with an adult we should ask them for their views and why they hold them and give them our thoughts. This is all the more true for young people.] Than you again for your email and thoughts."

We must not hate. This is Public Occurrences.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Fighting the Coming War with Islam

Fighting the Coming War with Islam

Iran is one of the major nations in the Islamic world. It is currently hosting a conference denying the Holocaust. Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has--again--proclaimed that Israel will soon be "wiped off the map." A New York Times article on the conference said this: "Across the Middle East, contempt for Jews and Zionism is widespread and utterly mainstream."

This is just the latest addition to the reams of evidence that the American people continue to ignore: The Muslim people are warring against us, not just al Qaeda, not just a few "rogue states."

By contrast during the Cold War polls and overwhelming anecdotal evidence consistently showed that the peoples of the United States and Soviet Union actually liked each other, even as their governments had nuclear missiles aimed at each other.

In the war with Islam it is the reverse. The U.S. government counts among its friends the governments of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan for example. The leaders get along fine but the people of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and the entire Muslim world, hate the American people. They have lustily butchered and burned our people and look forward to doing it again. They aim to destroy us.

Not since Neville Chamberlain, a good but naive man, has the West been so unprepared psychologically to recognize the nature of its enemy and what must be done. Not since before Pearl Harbor have Americans been so oblivious to the nature of the enemy and what must be done. At least after Pearl Harbor that generation of Americans united and responded with the merciless use of every weapon in its arsenal to obliterate its enemies. September 11 was this generation's Pearl Harbor, in fact we lost more people on 9/11 than on 12/07/41, but today's Americans have turned on each other, deny reality and can't think the unthinkable. They are afraid, some are cowards, but most are just afraid. They don't know what to do, some are paralyzed by analysis, but most just don't know. They just want peace, but so did Chamberlain, and like him they will be discredited and scorned by future generations. "What did you do during the war with Islam, mom?" "I was on the fat flush diet, honey," would be the honest response but they will just remain silent. "Dad, why didn't we use the atom bomb after 9/11 instead of waiting until after Islam detonated a dirty bomb in Manhattan?" We had our heads buried in the sand" would be the honest answer. "That damn Republican/Democratic president _____ was a coward!" will be the answer given.

The war is with Islam, with the Muslim people. We must acknowledge this fact. We are realists. We are also not vigilantes. We should not take violent action personally against Muslims in America, the Islamic world or anywhere else but we must elect a president and a government who say who we are at war with and what must be done. It is a war and must be prosecuted as such, not as a police action. A commentator recently acknowledged the above and said that he thought we were in store for a new One Hundred Years War. That is unacceptable. The war should be a one hundred days war. He said we must never split the atom. We believe (we would prefer conventional but similarly overwhelming force) that using atomic weapons will be necessary.

This is how the new one hundred days war with Islam should proceed:

We should take the opportunity of the Holocaust conference to bomb the gathering and thereby kill President Ahmadinejad and whichever number of his government colleagues are at the conference.

We should bomb and thereby decapitate the rest of the Iranian government in their offices or homes.

Those first two actions could be accomplished easily with conventional weapons.

We should also immediately bomb any suspected nuclear sites in Iran. We should err on the side of caution and bomb more rather than less. This will probably require the use of nuclear weapons. We should use them.

The entire Muslim world will then erupt because despite seventeen or so nations the Muslim world is essentially one. We will have chosen the time to fight our enemy, not have our enemy choose the time for general war to begin. We will have them on the defensive until, shortly, they will be as completely destroyed as were Germany and Japan.

As the war blows up--this will be in days--we must immediately decapitate the governments of our two greatest enemies, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. We should take out Pakistan's nuclear capability. We should decapitate the Saudi government. We should send the Rangers in to protect the Saudi oil wells from deliberate destruction by our Saudi enemies. That may not be possible. If not our economy will suffer a recession as we did during the Arab oil boycott of the 1970's, perhaps a depression. We will recover, we cannot recover the lives lost in 9/11 or those lost since, or those to be lost to future Islamic attacks.

In those first few days protests, riots and attacks on Americans and American interests will begin. We should systematically and overwhelmingly snuff them out with more bombing. We must acknowledge and accept moral responsibility for the tragic but necessary fact: Muslim civilians will be killed in overwhelming numbers, but it is they who we are at war with. In the first days of the coming war every time there is a gathering of protesting Muslims in the Islamic world calling for "Death to America!" we should bomb that gathering, in sorrow, but unhesitatingly, recognizing the necessity.

There are one and one half billion Muslims. We agree with Daniel Pipes that we are at war with a "significant minority" of those one and one half billion. Regrettably, many, many, many of those one and one half billion will have to die. We say that with the sincerest sorrow but with the conviction that it is necessary. Perhaps the Muslims will cut and run in a real war as they have done so many times before, in wars with Israel, with us in the Gulf War, with us again in the current Iraqi war. Maybe significant numbers will just surrender. We sincerely hope so but doubt it. For them this will not be a war on behalf of a mere state, like Egypt or Iraq or Syria. This will be a war on behalf of their ideology (it is much more than a religion), with the spiritual impetus of jihad from their sacred book. We must be psychologically prepared to kill millions of our Muslim brothers and sisters who are our brothers and sisters still even if they are our enemy. We must never hate. We must be prepared to kill as many Muslims as we did our Japanese and German brothers and sisters until there is unconditional surrender as there was by them.

The military phase of the war will then end quickly, with a substantial portion of Islam dead and the survivors bleeding. We should then outlaw the preaching and teaching of Islam as it is currently being done, just as the Nazi party and the advocacy of Nazism was outlawed. Thus Islam will go through the Reformation that Christianity experienced but which it never has.

We must fight this war in this manner because we must, not because we want to. Throughout it all we must never hate. This is Public Occurrences.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Greg Schiano to Stay at Rutgers

Greg Schiano to Stay at Rutgers

A couple of years ago the Big East college tackle football conference was eviscerated by the defections of perennial national champion contender Miami, recent and mid-term power Virginia Tech, and perennially respectable and big market Boston College. The Atlantic Coast Conference, the recipient of the defectors largesse, was supposed to become a "Super Conference," while the Big East, sarcastically dubbed the "Big Least" was expected to survive on a technicality or dissolve.

Then Larry Coker ran out of Butch Davis' recruits and his own career assistant coach's ability finally caught up with the program. Last year concluded with a humiliating bowl-game slaughter by L.S.U. and this year U.M. lurched to a 6-6 record and a birth in the Micron P.C. Bowl or something like that.

Virginia Tech has regressed since joining the A.C.C. and Boston College has merely maintained it's status as a top-20-25 team. So this year the A.C.C.'s automatic B.C.S. birth goes to the football factory of Wake Forest. Officials at the Orange Bowl have been observed drinking heavily.

Completely unpredictably, the Big Least has arisen Phoenix-like. The West Virginia "Products of Incestuous Relations" beat S.E.C. champion Georgia in last year's Sugar Bowl at UGA's Georgia Dome home away from home.

Rutgers had a miracle season and barely missed out on a B.C.S. bowl in a triple-overtime loss at Incestuous Relations stadium. Head Coach Greg Schiano won the Coach of the Year award. Since he had left the Miami program as an assistant to take the head job at the State University of New Jersey it was thought that Coach Schiano would naturally gravitate back to U.M. after the firing of Coach Coker. Instead Coach Schiano announced today that there's nowhere he'd rather be than Piscataway and took himself out of candidacy for the Miami job.

A program and ultimately a conference's success rides on the quality of its coaches. The Big East had already lost Cincinnati's Mark Dantonio to Michigan State of the Big Eleven. It could not afford to lose Schiano to a "better" job and cannot affort to lose U.S.F. coach Jim Leavitt to Miami or some other "better" job. If it does, it is in danger of becoming the Mid-American Conference, a minor league known only for its incubation of coaches such as Ara Parsegian, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and most recently Urban Meyer.

What a break for Rutgers, if it lasts. The latest report has it that Schiano shrewdly has bought time, money, and prestige for the job he really wants, as head coach of Penn State once Joe Paterno retires. If so, that is the next test of the Big East's credibility. I am Benjamin Harris.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

We and millions around the world were captivated by the apparent re-discovery of this spectacular bird in the Cache River area of Arkansas last year*. This month's issue of "National Geographic" has a follow-up article. Alas, it says here that the Lord God bird is gone forever, that the intensive efforts to provide conclusive proof of the bird's existence in the last year having come to naught, the most reasonable conclusion is that the 2004-5 sightings were in error, a product of hope and emotion, rather than fact. God damn it and God bless the Ivory-bill, now gone forever. This is Public Occurrences.

*Public Occurrences, August 5, 2005.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What a Wonderful World Department

What a Wonderful World Department

The best Bloody Mary's in the world are those made at the News Cafe. I am Benjamin Harris.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

On Song Binbin

On August 18, 1966 an ecstatic nineteen year old girl pinned a Red Guard armband onto an approving Mao Zedong. The occasion was the first mass rally of the Red Guards in Tienanmen Square. The pinning was Mao's imprimatur for the Cultural Revolution which lasted for ten years. Millions were to die.

The photograph of that moment is an icon of the twentieth century. The beaming girl with the Dentyne smile was Song Binbin, the daughter of an alternate Politburo member. She had already received the honor of being chosen to share the reviewing platform with Mao that day. The pinning made Song a part of history, an accidental historical figure, a (perhaps) insouciant participant in one of the most murderous movements of the incomparably murderous twentieth century. When Mao asked Song the meaning of her given name she replied "suave." Mao suggested that a name more fitting the times would mean "more martial." Song then changed her name to Yaowu, "want violence."

She got it. The Cultural Revolution almost destroyed China. There was a mini-war with the Soviet Union which threatened to go nuclear. The Chinese economy was devastated. All schools closed for a year. On the level of the individual--so unimportant to the Chinese--virtually no one was untouched. Those who weren't murdered were purged, those not purged were sent into internal exile. The families of those murdered, purged, or exiled were ostracized. At the end of it all, after Mao's death, the State held those, principally the "Gang of Four," responsible.

Somehow Song Yaowu survived this preternatural Chaos, the whole period and beyond. She immigrated to the United States in 1980, the same year that the trial of the Gang of Four began. She prospered. Having already secured an education at the elite Middle School for Girls Attached to Beijing Normal University, Song continued her career trajectory by earning a Ph.D in geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Reportedly she is living under an assumed name in Boston now and working as an environmental researcher.

In 2005 a film documentary was made of the Cultural Revolution and distributed in the West. In a rare interview on her past, Song, looking suave indeed in turtle-neck sweater and well-coifed hair, agreed to be interviewed for the film. Well..."interviewed" is such an..."interactive" word. More accurately, Song was allowed to state without follow-up questioning that she had been a victim of the Cultural Revolution, that her name had been exploited, that when she had learned of the violence of the Red Guards--whose emblem she had so proudly worn and so proudly pinned on one of the Big Three of twentieth century mass murderers--she had changed it back to "suave."

So then use thine real name, Song. So then don't insist, as thou did for Morning Sun, that thy face be blackened out as if thine were a Mafia informer.

At least one other Internet wretch besides the undersigned has expressed dissatisfaction with the explanation for Song's anonymity, that she feared repercussions from the Chinese government. That is laughably preposterous. No subject could be more closed for the Chinese government than the inconvenient details of the Cultural Revolution.

This page does not engage in insinuation. It engages in bluntness. Song should be investigated by the United States authorities to see if she participated directly, as principal, or accessory in the deprivation of human rights during the Cultural Revolution.

You don't have to be Kenneth Starr to "connect the dots" here. Song was already a member of the Red Guards when she pinned Mao. The Red Guards were the shock troops of the Cultural Revolution. Before Song pinned Mao the Red Guards had engaged in violence. She was at the heart of the Cultural Revolution at the beginning, in the universities and schools of Beijing. She knew of the violence. After pinning Mao she changed her name to "want violence." Certainly nothing suspicious there! When did she have her epiphany and become "suave" again?

Song, how exactly were you a victim of the Cultural Revolution? Tell us. What was done to you? And what did you do?

Why did you leave China only in 1980? The Cultural Revolution was already dead four years when you left? The trial of the Gang of Four began in 1980. Was your decision to immigrate influenced by the commencement of that trial? Are those two events totally coincidental?

To the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, what investigation did YOU do into Song's background? M.I.T., you are so exclusive, your admissions policy is based so much on character because all of your applicants have such stellar academic credentials. Did you vet Song's character to your satisfaction, or not vet her at all? Tell us. What did you know and when did you know it, about this applicant who subsequently received one of the most coveted degrees in American higher education? To the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, who reportedly hired Song, did you know anything about her background? Did you care? Do you still employ her? Do you care now? This is Public Occurrences.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

On Song Binbin

China's Cultural Revolution, one of the 20th centuries greatest catostrophes, began in the late spring and summer of 1966. When Chairman Mao had the arm band of the Red Guards pinned on his arm at the first Red Guard rally in Tiananmen Square he symbolically conferred his imprimatur to the purges and violence that had just begun and would sweep the country for the next ten years until his death.

The photograph of that moment is the iconic image of the Cultural Revolution. The honor of pinning Mao was bestowed on a fervent Red Guard member, a pretty nineteen year old student and daughter of a prominent Party offical with the beautiful name of Song Binbin. Mao asked the girl the meaning of her name and when told it meant "gentle and polite" the forward-looking Mao suggested that she change it to something "more martial." So the girl did, to Song Yaowu ("want violence"). An idolatrous, impressionable young woman had been made cruelly an unknowing pawn in an enveloping catastrophe.

Or at least that's her story and she's sticking to it. Song has kept an extremely low profile since August 18, 1966. In 2004 an acclaimed documentary on the Cultural Revolution, Morning Sung, was filmed. In a "rare," perhaps unique, brief interview for the film Song emotionally related how she had quickly grown disillusioned with the carnage that she unwittingly had helped unleash and changed her name back to "gentle and polite." Curiously, and irksomely to some since she certainly had nothing to fear from the Chinese authorities at that late date she refused to have her face shown on the film.

Millions of Chinese were destroyed professionally, beaten, killed, or driven to suicide during the Cultural Revolution. Fortunately, Song escaped all of that. Although grown disillusioned she remained in China throughout and beyond the end of the Cultural Revolution. After Mao Zedong's death in 1976, the Cultural Revolution ended. Immediately the Old Guard began consolidating power and isolating those responsible for the catastrophe of the preceeding ten years. The Red Guards were turned on, disbanded purged, and in many cases killed. Luckily, Song, the very symbol of the Cultural Revolution, escaped unscathed. In October 1980 Premier Hua Guofong and other Central Committee members staged a military coup and arrested the "Gang of Four" officials who had been instrumental (with Mao's encouragement) for the start and continuation of the Cultural Revolution.

Continuing her seeming divine fortune Song emigrated to the United States at just this time. Here she made a new, and quite successful, life. She earned a PhD in geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The last we have been able to trace her she is living in Boston and working as an enviornmental engineer, possibly for the Commonwealth. Such an amazing success story.

It does not take the rabidity of a Kenneth Starr however to look with jaundiced eye on Song's spectacular story.

Today is November 22

Today is November 22

A very bad day and the start of a very bad weekend forty-three years ago.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Murder Case Photographs- #26

Murder Case Photographs- #26

This is the best quality photograph in this series. Enlarge it to see the detail. It is there both in the foreground and background. Crime scene techs now and then used really good cameras and film which is why these photographs are so good.

This is the inside of a bar or club. It was a particularly important photo in the trial because it was enlarged (the crease in the middle is from being folded to fit into a manilla envelope) and matted on cardboard. The red marks were made by the witness(es) to place where they and the other players were. It would be reasonable to assume that the murder happened in here but there's no body, no blood, no bullet holes. Maybe it started here and spread outside.

Curiously this photograph is from the same case as the one immediately below, the outside of a church. Not an impossible, but an unusual, juxtaposition. The church photo is also marked with a witness's X and the spot is further emphasized by the staring policeman. Seems like maybe that's where the deceased fell but again there's no blood, no clothes, etc.

Love the old-fashioned police car. Enlarge and check out the spelling of the church, "Triumpth."

Triumph Church of God 1955

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Murder Case Photographs- #25

Murder Case Photographs- #25


All that one knows about the cases from which these photographs are taken is what is in the Clerk's office file, which means only those items that were introduced into evidence at trial. One of the intriguing things about going through these old files is trying to piece together the whole from that part. Sometimes there is a confession which pretty much solves any mystery about the general outlines of the case. Even then there is occasionally a photograph that you can make no sense of whatsoever.

This is one of those. What the hell is this? It is some piece of heavy machinery but I can't make out anything beyond that. It doesn't look like any piece of farm or road-grading equipment that I've ever seen. It vaguely looks like the innards of a tank but it certainly is not that. There were some objects in the movie Alien that this reminds me of. That it's also a crummy photo doesn't help things. And why would it have been introduced into evidence in the murder case? Where's the deceased? Is there a gun hidden there somewhere? What possibly could have been the evidentiary value of this? LOVE this job.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Murder Case Photographs- #24

Murder Case Photographs-#24


This scene is the inside of an African-American bar (note the Joe Louis and the Caucasian-ified woman advertisements on the wall). Prohibition is Exhibit #1 for our society's attempt at "legislating morality." Fair enough but if we could have successfully outlawed booze there would be a lot--a LOT--more people alive today. I would estimate--and this is just off the top of my head now--that 75% of the murders that I have handled in the past twenty-one years had something to do with alcohol or drugs: using and getting buzzed or selling and getting killed, somehow. Or if we outlawed men. That I can recall right now I only have had one female murder defendant among hundreds that I've handled. Maybe there's a couple more I'm forgetting but murder--and violent crime generally--is a guy thing. It amuses me sometimes and infuriates me others when someone says violent crime is largely an African-American thing. If we're going to make generalizations let's use the most impressive one: if there weren't guys there would be virtually no violent crime. I am Benjamin Harris.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bo Schembechler Dies

Bo Schembechler Dies

If this minnow of a website can commemorate Milton Friedman's death, it is not too hooty-tooty to commemorate the death of a Leviathan in Sports, the Toy Department of Life, Bo Schembechler, the former coach of the University of Michigan "Wolverines," and on the eve of perhaps the biggest game in the history of Michigan-Ohio State college tackle football. For tonight only this is Public Occurrences.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Milton Friedman Died Today

Milton Friedman Died Today

Wednesday, November 15, 2006



Thought I would lighten up this page a little, filled as it is with all these morbid posts on morbid topics like crime and Islam and war. Yuck.

Islamic poobahs don't have much of a sense of humor when it comes to themselves. Tyrants never do. Fidel Castro reportedly has a wonderful, playful way of poking good-natured fun at his closest advisers. But he loses his sense of humor when he is the butt of the joke. So we will use humor against Islam (then we will destroy Tehran, Islamabad, Riyahd, Damascus. Huh-huh-huh, just kidding Islam!).

I have a theory. Employing the anthropologist's construct of hermeneutics and common anagrams my theory is that we can come to a deeper understanding of things.

Take Mohammed (please!), for example: Prophet, founder of the religion, yada yada yada. Everybody knows that. But if we rearrange the letters in Mohammed we can get,

"Oh, me mad"

Huh, how about that? Wouldn't we have fucking liked to have known that before 9/11!

And I have one other one for you. Taj aldin al hilali, Australia's top Islamic cleric who recently implied that if women don't want to be raped they should be locked up in the house and covered up head-to-toe in that Islamic thing they make women wear. If you rearrange that guy's name you can get,

"All tail in jail"

Damn straight you can and don't tell me that don't mean nothin'. Fuck you.

-I am Benjamin Harris.

On Sheik Taj Aldin al Hilali

Miss November

On Sheik Taj Aldin al Hilali

By now the entire world knows about Sheik al Hilali's comments that western-dressed women are like uncovered pieces of meat who invite rape. As was said here recently* it should be the strategy of those of us who believe that the threat we face today is Islam--not a radical, fringe interpretation of it, not a small band of terrorists, it is mainstream Islam as it is preached and practised today that is the threat--for those of us who believe this it should be our strategy to keep incidents like this in the minds of those who we have influence with--our family, our friends, our coworkers, our elected representatives--as long as possible.

We should not argue with other Americans who think differently, we should not get angry with them, we should not condescend to them. Those things make people dig in their heels and less likely to change their opinions. We should view them as...the pre-enlightened.

We should ask them their opinion and the basis for it. Sometimes we will have to let it go at that to avoid hard feelings. We have still accomplished something, we have gotten them to think. To the less defensive we can go a little further, quote the Koran or In the Shade of the Koran or the Islamic evil de jour. We can tell them about some of the Islamic states, like Syria and Iraq, who patterned their governments after that of Nazi Germany. We should ask them respectfully not to be beguiled that Islam is a religion. It is that but it is preached and practiced today as a fascist philosophy too.

We should not hate and as importantly not give other Americans the impression that we hate, especially not them. We do not hate Muslims or Sheik al Hilali either, but we must not prevaricate. We call this a war and we mean it. President Bush calls this a war but has prosecuted it as a police action on steroids with a warm and fuzzy nation-building final chapter. We believe that we should bomb out of existence the governments of, for example, Syria, Iran, and Pakistan. We should use conventional bombs if we can but nuclear and thermonuclear weapons if we must. That is hard even for us to swallow, and we should admit it. We are not callous and don't want anyone to think that we are. It is not something one even thinks without feelings of sorrow, so imagine the impact on people who hear this for the first time from us. We must tell them that we have an open mind--and mean it. We should ask them what they would do, and why. But we have to state clearly where we stand. We will be reasonable but firm, open-minded but decisive.

Today was a good day. Like Islam's attacks on the Pope, like Islam's reaction to the Danish cartoons, today gave worldwide publicity to the true face of Islam as it is preached and practised today: hateful, vile, medieval. Sheik al Hilali has changed some people's minds in our favor. Islam will do our work for us, if we just listen, and get others to listen. This was a good day. This is Public Occurrences.

*See For Verbal Provocation of Islam, Publocc, September 17, 2006.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What a Wonderful World Department

What a Wonderful World Department

Trident Green Apple Fusion gum.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Clfford Geertz Died Today

Clifford Geertz Died Today

The preeminent cultural anthrolpologist of his time, the erudite, humorous, and lyrical writer, a consummate American, is dead. He had such an effect on my intellectual life and on the lives of so many others so much more important. I am Benjamin Harris.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

This is Islam in its own words

This is Islam in its own words

"If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside...without proper cover and the cats come to eat it...whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat's? The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab no problem would have occurred." Sheik Taj Aldin al Hilali, top cleric at the largest Mosque in Sydney, Australia. This is Islam in its own words.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Murder Case Photographs- #23, Then and Now

Murder Case Photographs- #23, Then and Now

Murder Case Photographs -#23 Then and Now

Murder Case Photographs- #23, Then and Now

The photo at far left is looking at the exact spot in the same direction as in the 1955 photo. The other photo is the same location but looking in the opposite direction.
If you took a photograph of a murder scene in New York City, say Times Square, in 1955, and then took another one in 2006, you'd be able to recognize the location easily. Not here. New York is an old city with a lot of history. This is a city that people have moved to to make new history out of sandy roads and mom and pop landscaping shops.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Murder Case Photographs- #22


There was some trouble here at this homey-looking bar back in 1954. Big trouble, a murder. This photograph was actually marked by a witness at the trial. The X right in the middle of the picture is the witness's. (S)he is identifying someone with that mark, maybe the killer, maybe him/herself. And then there's the "LS", "LR" marks appended to a female.

As other photographs in this series have shown, there was a vibrant African-American community in this city during segregation. This looks like a respectable bar, not a dive.

One unexpected thing about having all of these photos from all of these different murders, the vast majority are African-American. Black on black killings too, then as now. I was under the impression that Black crime really took off in the 1960's. Maybe it did but not from the evidence of these 1950 murder files.

-I am Benjamin Harris.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Murder Case Photographs- #21 Then and Now

Murder Case Photographs- #21, Then and Now 1954

The house number here was 1384 which doesn't exist today (below). Today the numbers go from 1382 to 1386 so right in the middle of the two houses below is where this one once stood.

This homicide detective, whom I don't know, had to be one of the first African-American people to reach that elite level. That alone makes this photo noteworthy. However there are some other things to see here. Enlarge the picture and look at the detective's eyes. Do you see how he is staring at the blood stain? That is the look that everyone gets from time to time in this business when you have to look at a murder victim or what's left behind, the blood. It grips you. I have never gotten used to seeing a murder victim and if I don't have to I won't. We get used to the work--we can eat lunch with a spread of bloody photos on our desks--and so did this detective but there are always those moments when we're not engrossed in our jobs and we just look at what is around us. I have seen this look many times on others faces and you respect it. You don't kid the person about it--"What are you staring at? You never saw a little blood below?"--I never heard anyone say anything like that. You respect what has happened and the humanity in your fellow coworkers when they get this look and you love them and this work all the more.

The other noteworthy thing about this photograph is its locale. This side of the street is, and was then, a middle-class African-American neighborhood of single family homes. However right across the street from here, where the cameraman is standing to take the "now" shot is the most notorious government housing project in this city. "Was" is the better word. It is now a shell of row after row of two story apartment buildings, the windows all broken out, crumbling, home only to a few homeless crack addicts. Literally right across the street. We have failed so much. The people who lived there and turned to drugs and thefts, robberies and murders, they failed. We who built these grotesqueries failed to provide those residents with the job opportunities that produce pride in ownership as opposed to resentment at a handout that breeds contempt, contempt in the residents to the governmental officials who condescended to put them here, hoping that they will be quiet and be out of sight, contempt by those governmental officials and the rest of us for those lazy, don't-want-to-work freeloaders. Lot of failure here.

Scott's Project today

Sunday, October 22, 2006

On Iraq and Bush

On Irag and Bush

This started as a war blog and probably half of the articles here are on the war and related issues. However we have not assessed the war and the president in total. Thus this post.

The United States should have, as it did, effect regime change in Iraq.

The United States should get out of Iraq today.

It should have gotten out of Iraq the day that Saddam Hussein was captured.

We should not have attempted nation-building in Iraq one, because that should not be the mission of our armed forces and two because this was particularly infertile soil in which to attempt to plan the seeds of democracy.

The military plan to oust Hussein's regime was brilliantly executed.

The president and his foreign policy team deserve all credit for that military plan.

There should not have been a "post-end-of-major-hostilities" place for American troops in Iraq. After capturing Hussein we should have thrown a copy of The Federalist Papers at that and left.

We believe that the president was motivated by pure motives in attempting to establish a democratic Iraq. There were some signs, such as the first national election, that the transformation could happen. That possibility has long disappeared and whenever that long ago point was reached the blood of American soldiers stained the president's hands, tragically.

We judge the president a failure for the nation-building effort but we do not condemn him so harshly because he tried to do a noble thing. This is Public Occurrences.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"This blog gives me a headache."

This is Public Occurrences.

"This blog gives me
a headache."
An entry by the webmaster of another site on this site.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

On North Korea

On North Korea

The proximate cause of the current crisis is President Bush's inclusion of the DPRK in his Axis of Evil speech,* now discredited and forgotten by all save the North Koreans. That the fault is ours obviously does not get us out of the responsibility to act if we must.

Must we? This page has argued for a scaling back of America's presence abroad, particularly when that presence was created by diplomatic structures that are irrelevant today.** Thus, we should end our protective agreement over Taiwan; that is a cold war relic. Similarly with our alliance with South Korea. North Korea does not threaten us. The communist threat to America is gone, so should be alliances whose purpose was to "contain" communism.

However the alliance cannot be ended in the middle of a crisis. There are thousands of American troops in the South; the South Koreans have relied on them for protection. Ending the alliance must be done with enough time for the South to build its defenses so that it can stand on its own.
All of the above also applies to the American protectorate over Japan, another country being threatened by the DPRK.

So we must act. What should we do? Give in. Those are not words that have ever been written here before. We should give the DPRK. what it wants: face to face negotiations with us, and aid.

We should do it because (1) it has a good chance of ending the crisis, and (2) because the alternative is a conflict that would kill thousands and perhaps would be fought with nuclear weapons.

Giving in would hold out the hope of returning the peninsula to the status quo ante, which was a pretty good ante looking back on it. North Korea was being controlled before the Axis of Evil speech. Like a floridly psychotic person it was being kept in a straitjacket in a quiet, padded room and administered medication.

Giving in would give the DPRK the attention and respect it craves. What skin is it off our nose? It defuses the present crisis. There are two possible future outcomes: one, the DPRK. collapses of its own weight, in which event we would have avoided the thousands of deaths that a military conflict would have brought. Two, the DPRK. violates new agreements before it has a chance to collapse. Even if that's only a couple of years from now it would give the South and Japan some time to build up their defenses, and if American firepower would be deemed necessary we would be in no worse a position to use it than we are today. Give in. This is Public Occurrences.

* "All We Are Saying...", Publocc May 11, 2003.
** For a Foreign Policy Influenced by Principles of Federalism, June 30, 2002.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Often Wrong, Always Certain

Often Wrong, Always Certain

In college tackle football next weekend the University of Pittsburgh "Panthers" will defeat the Rutgers "Scarlet Knights."

Monday, October 09, 2006

Murder Case Photographs- #20

Murder Case Photographs- #20


Is it impossible to take an ugly photograph in black and white? Consider the subject matter of this photograph. It is wearyingly pedestrian: a crime scene technician holds the murder gun with a pencil insert to preserve any latent fingerprints.

Pedestrian--and goofy--which is the reason why this photograph was chosen for this series rather than hundreds of others. God bless this guy but I hope none of his grandkids ever see this photo. His eyeglass frames are archaic and boring, he wears a dweebie bow-tie (were those things ever in?), and his EYES ARE CLOSED. Oh god.

What good did this photograph do for the prosecution who introduced it into evidence at the trial for the jury to see? They had the gun to introduce. Why this photo? What was the reaction of the jurors? "Hey, Ralph look at this one. Pretty impressive, huh? The defendant must be guilty with earnest public servants like this guy working on his case."??? Or, "Ooh, Betty look at this one! Isn't he gorgeous? There's just something about a cop." ???

But however pedestrian and goofy, aesthetically this is an awesome photograph. The background is a dramatic matte black. It looks like deep-field space and the white in the photograph stands out like stars against iT, even if it's Technician Dweeb's ears that are the twinkle-twinkles. The camera's flash bleaches out the shirt fabric, the flash explodes off the gun metal and back at the viewer. This photograph is gorgeous even if Technician Dweeb is not.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

This is Islam in its own words

"Since the objective of Islam is a decisive declaration of man's freedom, not merely on the philosophical plane but also in the actual life, it must employ jihad. It is immaterial whether the homeland of Islam--in the true Islamic sense, dar al-Islam--is in a condition of peace or whether it is threatened by its neighbors. When Islam calls for peace, its objective is not a superficial peace requiring only that part of the earth where the followers of Islam are residing remain secure. The peace of Islam means that din [the law of society] be purified for Allah, that all people should obey Allah alone, and every system that permits some people to rule over others be abolished."

Sayyid Qutb, Milestones, p.51. This is Islam in its own words.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Murder Case Photographs- #19, The Rockland Palace, Then and Now

Murder Case Photographs- #19, The Rockland Palace, Then and Now.


There was a vibrant African-American cultural life here in 1952 even in the midst of segregation. Then the Interstate Highway was put through this politically most expendable part of town (see #17 in this series below, September 12, 2006). That killed the residential areas and without residents there wasn't any social life to cater to. Below, a vacant lot is all that marks this spot, a ghostly footprint of The Rockland Palace.

Murder Case Photographs- #19 The Rockland Palace, Then and Now.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

To the Nations of the World

To the Nations of the World

Please rename yourselves in a more distinctive manner. What is the difference between Slovenia and Slovakia? Between them and Serbia and Montenegro? Why does S&M have two names, like Trinidad and Tobago? It's very cumbersome and busy. If you want separate countries, fine! The Serbs can have theirs and the...other people can have theirs too. But if you choose to have ONE country then you have to have ONE name. That's the rules. Just combine your two names into a new one, "Serbnegro," for example.

Also do something with the flags. Are there no graphic designers in your countries? The U.S. should sue Malaysia for copyright infringement.

All these damn bars--India, France, Belgium, Egypt, Mexico. That's grade school level creativity. If there was a war between any combination of Romania, Belgium and Moldova there would be mass confusion. Belgium: black, yellow, and red vertical stripes; Moldova: blue, yellow, and red, with a little crest thing on the yellow; Romania: blue, yellow (sans crest) and red.

And then there's Italy: green, white, and red vertical bars; Mexico green, white (with a crest), and red. India: orange, white (with a Green crest), and green horizontal stripes; Iran: green, white (with a RED crest), and red horizontals.

The coolest flags are the simplest and most distinctive: Finland's horizontal blue cross on a white field, Canada's red maple leaf, Israel's Star of David. Could we make a suggestion to Muslims? We know you're all just one country. Don't think you're fooling us with those 57 varieties of "stans." So adopt a universal flag, one that instantly identifies who you are:

Turbanbombistan! On an Islamic-green field of course. And, if you want, surrounded by a circle of flaming sticks of dynamite each representing a Muslim state. You're welcome. This is Public Occurrences.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sometimes the current venomous political atmosphere produces humor. Saw two bumperstickers recently that brought a laugh for their florid over-the-topness:


Jesus was a Liberal
Hitler was a Conservative

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Know Islam, No Peace

Know Islam, No Peace. This is Public Occurrences.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Where We Stand.

Where We Stand:

(1) The war is with Islam.
(2) We will spread that message.
(3) We will never compromise or negotiate with Islam.
(4) We will defeat Islam.
(5) We will never be disagreeable with our countrymen who disagree with us.
(6) We will never advocate or engage in extra-governmental violence.
(7) We will never hate.
This is Public Occurrences.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

This is Islam in its own words

This is Islam in its own words

"If you could see the angels when they carry off the souls of the unbelievers!" They shall strike them in their faces and their backs, saying: 'taste the torment of the conflagration." The Koran, sura 8:50. This is Islam in its own words.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Hugo Chavez and Citgo: Boycott

Hugo Chavez & Citgo: Boycott

USAToday: 7-Eleven, the estimable American retailer has discontinued its partnership with Citgo which gets its gas from Venezuela. the personal le republic de banana of Hugo Chavez whose anagramatic name is "Chug Cerveza." Who knew? What's good for 7-Eleven is good for America. Boycott Citgo. This is Public Occurrences.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

This is Islam as it is practiced and preached today.

"Do not have mercy or compassion toward the Jews. Their women are yours to take, legitimately. God made them yours."
-Sheik Saad Al-Buraik in a sermon given at a mosque in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in April, 2002. That same month Sheik Al-Buraid was part of the official Saudi delegation that visited President Bush in Crawford, Texas. (The New York Times, November 8, 2002, p. b41).

(first published 9/26/06)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sam Harris' Op-ed Piece: One Reaction

Sam Harris' Op-ed Piece: One Reaction

I thought it was a thrilling article, which one is going to think if one has written the same thing previously. I even share Mr. Harris' political views on the other issues he mentioned as well as the accursed ideological label.

I did not like the criticism of our fellow-kind though. As was asserted here recently* on that bastion of the accursed The New York Times, there is way too much political anger in the air. We have a common enemy, Islam, we ought not divide ourselves in facing it. I almost wrote all of this in the previous post on Mr. Harris' article but wanted its exciting, pure essence to be imbibed without additives.

I sent the article to a friend of the liberal persuasion. And he was pissed.
"Sorry, this is one of the dumbest articles if not THE dumbest article you have ever sent me."
"Truth is there are many liberals like me who see the dangers posed by the Islamic world. We just don't think that attacking a secular country, that had no wmd's and did not support terrorism was the way to deal with the problem."
"Iran is a true threat--they have wmd's and support terror all over the world and [Bush] hasn't done a fucking thing about this and will not do a fucking thing about this."

The problem with Mr. Harris' article is that it makes other Americans, like my friend, defensive and because of that, unable to be thoughtful and change their minds. Nobody likes to be called an idiot and calling them an idiot is likely going make them defend their positions all the more strongly and make them dismissive of the views of those who are calling them idiots. No mas. This is Public Occurrences.

*New York Times: Pope Should Apologize September 16, 2006.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

This is Islam in its own words

This is Islam in its own words

"The basest creatures in the sight of God are the faithless who will not believe." The Koran, sura 8:51. This is Islam in its own words.

Friday, September 22, 2006

This is Islam in its own words

This is Islam in its own words

"Give Us Victory Over The Unbelievers." The Koran, sura 3:148.
This is Islam in its own words.

The Clash With Islam: Progress This Week

The Clash With Islam: Progress This Week

Pakistan's parliament unanimously denounced Pope Benedict XVI. Turkey's government wondered outloud if the Pope should cancel his planned visit. One photograph showed a Muslim man-on-the-street holding a sign that read "Conquering Rome Is The Answer." These are the faces of Islam.

Here are some writings from the mainstream American press this week.

"The game is now clear: any dispute between Christianity and Islam must follow rules set by political Islamism. Obey them or risk violence and death." This is from one of the headline writers for Arts & Letters Daily.

"A cult of death is forming in the Muslim world--for reasons that are perfectly explicable in terms of the Islamic doctrines of martyrdom and jihad. The truth is that we are not fighting a 'war on terror.' We are fighting a pestilential theology and a longing for paradise."

"This is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims." Sam Harris, op-ed, Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2006.

Sam Harris' op-ed piece in the L.A. Times

Sam Harris' op-ed piece in the L.A. Times*

"A cult of death is forming in the Muslim world...The truth is that we are not fighting a 'war on terror.' We are fighting a pestilential theology...This is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims." Mr. Harris is the author of one book on contemporary religion and terrorism and another is to be published this week according to the Times.

These are the words--almost word-for-word--that have been written here repeatedly for over four years now. There are so many more people now who are writing them, and in mass-circulation media like the Times.

In the early days a piece titled While America Sleeps** was published here. She did and does still but she is stirring. She hears the alarm bells, they are still distant but she hears now. They are more numerous and louder. Soon she will startle awake and destroy her enemy with a hundred suns, and then she will mourn her enemy dead and heal her enemy wounded and love them. The War is with Islam. This is Public Occurrences.

*September 18, 2006.
**May 25, 2002

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Word Museum, continued

A very elaborate knevel.

The Word Museum*, continued.

knevel-"The moustache. The hair on the upper lip was worn for ages before the modern, and now the only, name for the thing was borrowed from the Spanish. The word is now entirely obsolete, but pure English."

curtain-lecture- "A reproof given by a wife to her husband in bed. What endless brawls by wives are bred! The curtain-lecture makes a mournful bed."

liplabour-"Action of the lips without concurrence of the mind."

married all over-"Said of women who, after their marriages, fall off in their appearance and become poor and miserable-looking."

* The title of Jeffrey Kacirk's wonderful little book, from which all entries here are taken. See also August 25, 2006.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

True Crime Stories: Coping in Prison-One Approach

True Crime Stories: Coping in Prison-One Approach

A lawyer did a cousin a favor. He agreed to see if he could get his cousin's son, the black sheep of the family, out of prison. Bobby had committed a string of minor felonies in his teens and early twenties, to the great annoyance of the town's population. Finally he got launched, sentenced to twenty years for breaking into a store and stealing a soda.

The lawyer went to see Bobby in prison. He checked Bobby's jail records to see when his release date was. He saw that all of Bobby's good behavior time had been taken away.

The guards brought Bobby down to the interview room. The lawyer introduced himself and told Bobby of the family connection and said he'd try to get his sentence reduced. "What happened to your good behavior time?" "I'm a white guy. I heard what is done to you in prison when you're young and white. I was so scared, I ran out the courtroom on my sentencing date. I got convicted of escape on top of my burglary. I was not gonna get fucked in the ass. So I got into a fight as soon as I got off the bus! And I got into a fight every day I've been here. And I haven't wiped my ass in eight years! That's why I've never been raped."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Murder Case Photographs- #18, Then and Now, (1955)

Murder Case Photographs-#18, Then and Now, 1955

This was the scene of a rape not a murder and the remote, rural location typical for the crime. The crime scene photographer's equipment box is the object at bottom-center. The photographer went on to be the main polygrapher for the police department. He passed away just a few years ago.

Murder Case Photographs- #18A, Then and Now (2006)

Murder Case Photographs-#18A ,Then and Now, (2006)

This is the same scene today.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

For Verbal Provocation of Islam

For Verbal Provocation of Islam

The Danish cartoon incident earlier this year and the speech by Pope Benedict XVI this week allowed the world to see the reality of Islam as it is preached and practiced today: violent, hateful, intolerant, irrational, and pre-modern. Unlike interviews where Islam's Ministers of Propaganda and Disinformation can blow-dry, button-up and package their views for optimum effect, these two incidents were unrehearsed and unchoreographed. They have done more to disabuse Americans of the thought that Islam is a religion just like theirs and that the problem is not with Islam but with a small psychotic cell, than any speech or article has ever done.

As important as these incidents were however they were not intended to have their effect. In the Pope's case, just the opposite. America needs to see more incidents like this. Most everyone says that we are at "war" with something-or-other. More incidents like this will make the public know that we are at war with Islam.

These two incidents also illustrate how easy it is to get Islam to show its true face. Muslims have a Pavlovian reaction to the slightest provocation. They can't help it. So let's do more of it. Let's let Islam do the arguing for us. Several years ago a member of the Anti-Defamation League with a tape-recorder attended a lecture on a college campus by one of the spokesmen for The Nation of Islam. He put his tape-recorder on the lectern and just let it run. It was a brilliant move. The hate and violence in the speech was stunning. The whole world could read it because the ADL took out a full-page ad in The New York Times and published the transcript. That took care of that Minister of Hate.

That hatred is written or broadcast by Islam every day.* Publicize the Koran: How many Americans have read it? It is shocking. Start with the first sura and keep on going, each day a new sura. When Americans actually hear what the Koran says they will see Islam for what it is.

Re-broadcast Al Jezeera in English. During the Cold War there was an English edition of Pravda that was published weekly. It was always the comedic highlight of the week.

Publicize the content of mainstream Muslim websites.

Islam is going to reform. Maybe it can be made to reform bloodlessly in this way. If not at least we will have prepared public opinion for what we do not want to do but then will have to do, the thermonuclear bombing of the capital cities of the Terror Crescent. This is Public Occurrences.

*See Public Occurrences, Jews are Pigs and Snakes, June 23, 2002; The Koran in its Own Words, November 15, 2002 and May 17, 2003; In the Shadow of the Koran, March 28, 2003.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

New York Times: Pope Should Apologize

New York Times: Pope Should Apologize

That's their editorial this morning and they appear to say that the apology should be made by Benedict personally: "HE needs to offer a deep and persuasive apology (emphasis added)." That is important language because it is also exactly what The Muslim Brotherhood has said.* The Times editorial board knows this. That was not accidental usage. To paraphrase the editorial, "The world listens carefully to the words of any New York Times editorial."

The Times begins its editorial with the sentence, "There is more than enough religious anger in the world," thus conflating all religions: all religions deserve respect, all religions have angry adherents, and all religious anger is bad. That conflation is wrong. Islam is alone in the extent, prominence, and virulence of hateful religious teaching. It is also alone in the extent to which that hate is translated into murder and war on other religions.

The Times says that the Pope should apologize for quoting a person who said in the 14th century that Islam is alone in sanctioning proselytization by the sword: "For many Muslims, holy war--jihad--is a spiritual struggle, and not a call to violence." That is wrong, as any casual follower of the news for the last forty years knows. For most Muslims as they practice their "religion" today and in our time, jihad means murderous, earthly, war.

Islam will get its apology because the Catholic church has no divisions, because like all impotents --e.g. the United Nations--its only source of influence is being friendly with those who are potent, and because, as its statements during the Danish cartoon controversy showed, it sees itself, as does The New York Times, as part of a unitary Religion that includes Islam and as such should be exempt from "insulting" free speech. That is too bad because the truth is that Benedict is a good person who never should be conflated with Islam's hateful mullahs. Neither should Catholicism as it is practiced today be conflated with Islam as it is practiced today.

Islam's war against America is different from anything we've ever experienced. For five years thinkers have struggled to define and understand it: Is it like an organized crime issue (the Democrats)? Something called "Terrorism?" Define that. Is the enemy a McVeigh-like small, nutty group? By now most people have come off those conceptualizations. It is now recognized that the problem is with some part of Islam. Is it with a mutant, psychotic strain of Islam (the Times view)? Is it with a "significant minority" of Muslims (Daniel Pipes), or is it substantially with the whole of Islam (the view here and of increasing numbers of others)?

The New York Times is struggling mightily with this issue. Its factual reports conflict with its editorials. Its columnists reflect a range of opinion, if only about 1-3 on the 1-10 scale. The paper was embarrassed by the work of some of its own reporters in the run-up to the Iraq war and furious that it unwittingly gave support to the Administration's case for w.m.d. Its attempt to make up for that, its cooing endorsement of John Kerry, produced snickers from observers. It then had to suffer through election night. It has been besieged even by other members of the Fourth Estate club. The Wall Street Journal has literally accused it of playing into the hands of the enemy. Its shrill, faux-macho responses produced winces that time.

The sum of all that the Times has been through is the exasperating realization of its temporary loss of influence. The pen is mightier than the sword only when it can influence people and events (The pen of this website for example is mightier than no sword on earth). The Times has not been able to do that since the attacks in its own home town on 9/11. To paraphrase today's editorial again, "There is more than enough political anger in the United States today." Like the rest of us, the writers for The New York Times want peace. They are wrong and much more than half of Americans have already concluded that they are wrong, but they should not be hated for being wrong.

Incidents like the Pope's speech and the Danish cartoon controversy are wonderful because they let the world see the reality of Islam and hear Islam in its own words. That is far more important than anything that the Pope or The New York Times says. This is Public Occurrences.

*And no, the implication is not that The New York Times and The Muslim Brotherhood are similar.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Pope's Comments on Islam

The Pope's Comments on Islam

Pope Benedict XVI's speech this week at the University of Regensburg has caused a minor discordance within the larger clash with Islam. The Pope quoted a 14th Century Byzantine Emperor in the latter's debate with "an educated Persian." The emperor said that Islam has brought "things only evil and inhuman such as his [the Prophet's] command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." The entire speech is available online on The New York Times website. The quote does seem to single out Islam. Good for the Pope, especially if he wrote the speech himself as he frequently does. We should seek to clash with Islam on every front: theological, political, especially military.

Islam has reacted with predictability which should be confidence-inspiring to us. The Turks (which want to be part of the E.U.) have wondered out loud why someone with the Pope's views would want to visit their country, as the Pope intended to do. Pakistan's legislature voted unanimously to condemn the speech. The leader of, The Muslim Brotherhood I think it was, called for no less than a personal apology from Benedict, not one through his spokespeople. All over the world Islam has reacted as one.

This is exactly what we want and our reaction should be to follow the adage, "never interrupt your enemy when he is making a fool of himself." The Islam that the world sees today is the one we want the world to see: the intolerant Islam, the violent Islam, the irrational, psychotic Islam, the Islam that has control of whole nations, at least one of them with nuclear weapons, the real present-day Islam. Who cares what was said in the 14th century? The Catholic Church was a reactionary, authoritarian, mystic power then too. The difference is that Christianity went through a Reformation, Islam has not. Why quote a Byzantine emperor's remarks about Islam when you can quote modern-day Islam, the Koran, its clerics, and political leaders who preach hatred, slavery and murder every day?

On talk-shows and in op-ed articles Islam's Ministers of Propoganda and Disinformation can carefully prepare the image that they want the world to see. They can spread their lies of moderation and peace to an audience that wants to believe in the better angels of mankind's soul, and has a soft spot for all religions. However on days like this there is the reality of Islam's visceral hatred, intolerance and violence and it is Islam's political and religious leaders and bodies who are speaking. They can't help it, it is who they really are.

Good for the Pope but already there is back-tracking. It was not the Pope's intent to offend, say his spokespeople. Islam will get its apology if not from Benedict himself, because with the impotence that followed the Reformation came appeasement. The Church has no divisions and so has to smooth things over and get along. It did it with Hitler, it did it in Eastern Europe under the yoke of godless Communism. It has done so before with Islam during the Danish cartoon tragi-comedy. Already tonight, a spokesperson has repeated the Vatican's statement on the Danish cartoon incident, that freeom of speech should not mean freedom to denigrate religion, any religion. There will be more of this in the next days.

The growing number who see Islam for what it is should not be dismayed at the Vatican's coming triangulation, neither were we at Spain's surrender and prompt change of government to appease after Islam's attacks on its commuter train civilians. For over half a century Old Europe has appeased when threatened and surrendered when attacked. It will be up to America and Israel , and maybe Britain to fight this fight.

For those of us who see the reality of Islam as it is preached and practiced today, days like this make us nod our heads in confidence that Islam will be reformed. The hope is that it will reform from within because life is so dear to us. We do not hate Mohammad. However, we know Mohammad. He and his sons will attack and we are ready. The Islamic Reformation will then come from without, delivered by us from the sky in the flash of the nuclear fireballs over Tehran, Islamabad, Riyadh, Damascus. This is Public Occurrences.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

True Crime Stories: Blanket Party

True Crime Stories*: Blanket Party

Ernesto Sanchez had been in and out of prison in Mexico all of his adult life. He killed two people there. When he got arrested again the Mexican authorities took advantage of their proximity to the U.S. border. Ernesto was not a huge guy. He was only 5'6" and though he weighed a hefty 180 lbs three members of the Mexican gendarme were able to pick him up easily. They crossed an umonitored section of the Rio Grande and literally dumped Ernesto on the American side where he joined that endless stream of others who came to these shores yearning to breathe free.

Ernesto moved north and settled in this city. He promptly got arrested and kept getting arrested. Then he killed another person. He was sentenced to life in prison.

There are social strata in prison. Everyone knows that child predators are targeted for special attention by other prisoners. At the upper strata are those with particularly impressive criminal resumes. Sometimes these elites will advertise their credentials. A teardrop tattooed under the eye means you've killed a person. That's helpful if you're in for something petty like armed robbery. Some guys get their eyelids tattooed because...that must really hurt, and it's dangerous.

Ernesto was not the ostentatious type. His resume spoke for itself. Plus he was a killer from the big city. How bad are the bad guys in Springfield? Try being a bad guy in Chicago.

So Ernesto had a swagger to his walk when he entered his new home. He was housed in typical fashion, in a big cell--it's called a "pod"--with eleven other inmates. He and the others introduced themselves.

That night after Ernesto was asleep his brethren through him a blanket party. A couple of them put a blanket over his head and pinned him down while some others...made love to him. After each of Ernesto's partners had finished they crawled back in their own beds and pretended to be asleep. Their facilitators removed the blanket and did the same before Ernesto could see any of them.

Ernesto had never been so mad. Truly yearning to breathe free now that the suffocating blanket had been removed, Ernesto immediately jumped out of bed, pulled his pants up and looked around but everyone was in his own cot. Between breaths, Ernesto loudly demanded to know who his abusers were but got only faux groggy responses. He couldn't kill all eleven but the honor of the Sanchez name demanded a riposte. He had to identify the culprits somehow.

Ernesto eschewed the certain penis-smell test as unbecoming to himself and turned to someone he could trust to solve a crime and correctly identify the perpetrator. He called the detective who had arrested him. He told Mike that he had information on another homicide. Mike flew upstate to Ernesto's facility to interview him.

Ernesto told Mike of the ignominy he had suffered and told him he wanted Mike to investigate and find out who his tormentors were so he could kill them. Mike had no intention of carrying out this investigative assignment but kept that to himself and told Ernesto to tell him about the murder he knew about and he'd check that out and depending on the quality of the information he'd see what he could do. Ernesto told Mike the details of the crime and said that HE had done it.

The whole episode turned out badly for everyone. Mike investigated the murder and determined that Ernesto was not the perpetrator; he had an iron-clad alibi in a Mexican prison; Ernesto had confessed to a murder he didn't do in a desperate attempt to get the names of his rapists. Mike wasted investigative time, did not get a chance to put Ernesto on death row. Ernesto lost the opportunity to be moved to the safer confines of the one-man cells on death row and didn't get to avenge his dishonor. This is Public Occurrences.

*No real names used.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Murder Case Photographs #16.

Murder Case Photographs #16.


Keep young boys away from #1.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Murder Case Photographs #17, Then and Now.

Murder Case Photographs #17, Then and Now.

The top and bottom photgraphs were taken in 1955, the middle of the same site this past Sunday.

The intersection, shown at the bottom, shows modesty, and pride. This African-American section of town had functioning neighborhoods and a vibrant cultural life, as will be seen in later photographs.

That life ended when the Interstate highway was put in (middle photo). The Interstate was a knife that ripped open this community from the navel to the neck. The highway even looks like a scar when seen from the air.

Sometimes the camera's flash captures more than a ramdom instant. In previous photos it captured aspects of the soul--grief, strength, dejection. There is great tension in this photograph. If you look closely at the two groups of people, especially in enlargement, you see the racial dynamic that was the reality of segregation. The African-American family--two maybe three generations appear to be present--is obviously poor but look at their body language. They are huddled together in fear, in the instinct of safety that comes in groups. They feel the presence of danger and they all look in its direction.

Although the police officer in the hat has his body turned away from the family, he has his head turned and looks back at them. It is a posture that communicates that at any moment he could spring onto the porch and attack. His facial expression says power, and aggression. The bow-tied officer to his side has a look of wariness, and of curiosity. Both groups of people are in the presence of aliens. Everyone in this photograph will be relieved when this encounter ends. The family will sit back in their chairs and relax, or go inside, thankful that they emerged unscathed. The officer in the hat will be glad to be out of this alien enviornment, albeit maybe with a second thought that things would be better generally if he had lept onto the porch. The officer in the bow tie will be relieved to go back to his race's area of town too but wonder a little at what a conversation with the family would be like, how it is that they live their lives. Both will welcome the decision to disembowel this area with the Interstate. This is Public Occurrences.