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.

Monday, September 11, 2006

This is September 11

This is September 11.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Murder Scene Photographs- #15

Murder Scene Photographs-#15
Triple murders are newsworthy in 2006 even in say, New York City or Los Angeles. This was a small-town city in 1956 yet there were two epic, tragic triples that year. This is the first*. Look at this small, wonderful room: a piano, dining room table proudly augmented with floral centerpiece, three chairs arranged for visiting and conversation. Look at the coffee table and the family pictures under the glass top. This was a promising, prosperous middle-class family. It was the prosperous, middle-class home of an African-American family in 1956 with high-hopes for the future. The daughter of this family had married a courageous young man who was a military veteran. Something went wrong, the young woman broke it off with the veteran and he couldn't take it. She moved back in with her parents in this protective space. He went over to get her back. When she refused he killed her and then her parents. You can see the blood spots on the carpet. This family had come so far, overcoming the legacy of slavery and the reality of American apartheid. They had Made It, but in the time it took to discharge a rifle three times, it all ended.

The actors in this tragedy are forgotten and a small, promising branch of the Afro-American tree died and fell to the ground with them. This is Public Occurrences.

*The other was The Saddest Case That Ever Was, the Christmas Day triple murder of the O'Malley family, the account of which was last published here on December 13, 2004.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Art and the Murder Case Photograph Series, Take Two

Art and the Murder Case Photograph Series, Take Two*

We make one addition to our definition of art. Art must be an artifact, it must be the creation of (wo)man. There must be some manipulation of existing materials to produce something different. Therefore one is not an artist when pointing out to some friends a beautiful and soul-stirring moonrise.

This codicil seems to be reasonable. A definition of art should include as much of what most people think of as art while providing some clarity on the parameters. Happily, this codicil excludes the crime scene photographs published here because we did not create anything by publishing them. We simply pointed to the moon.

Unhappily, the codicil would exclude DuChamp's Fountain and Warhol's Brillo Boxes which-- loved or loathed--are considered by the art cognescenti to be art. We have weighed this dissonance and our hubris in excluding these works against our sincere consideration of an appropriate definition of art and have decided in favor of sincere consideration. Fountain and Brillo Boxes, be gone.

-Benjamin Harris

*Art and the Murder Case Photograph Series, August 5, 2006.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tony Blair to Resign

Tony Blair to Resign

The British Prime Minister had announced last year that he would not seek another term so today's announcement was not surprising but it's still too bad. Greatness is Tony Blair's legacy. He has served an unprecedented three terms as P.M., fulfilling predictions that he was Britain's equivalent of President Clinton, whose advisers helped Blair, in being a "New" kind of left-of-center leader not beholden to the rusty thinking and policies that had made both the Democrats and Labourites near unelectable in national elections. Both Clinton and Blair turned their electorates around, making their party the favorite in "normal" times. In 1996 it was the Republicans who had the tired, unappealing candidate, and who got trounced. Likewise Britain's Tories never have had anyone who could compete with Blair.

The Clinton transformation began accidentally though, through the political deus ex machina of Ross Perot. There was no asterisk attached to Blair's first election. Clinton (to his disappointment) never got 50% of the vote. Lyndon Johnson remains the last Democrat to get it. Tony Blair decimated and demoralized the Tories. Shockingly, the party that looked invincible under Margaret Thatcher had to thrash about to try to find someone willing to run for P.M. in the Blair years.

The Clinton transformation lasted only eight years. Tony Blair outlasted his American counterpart and forged a new partnership with George Bush. Of course that partnership has caused Blair nothing but problems at home. When the attack on Baghdad began news correspondent Arthur Kent famously predicted that Blair "might be the first casualty of the Iraq war." He wasn't. He trounced the Conservative candidate in the post-war election. Blair has been in more danger from within his own party.

A year ago in these pages we wrote enthusiastically of the strength of the Bush-Blair-Ariel Sharon leadership front in the clash with Islam. A year later Prime Minister Sharon lies all but dead and his successor already has botched a military crisis. President Bush is increasingly a lame duck, and Tony Blair now has announced that he is too. These are dangerous times. Needed from whomever the new leaders will be is a clear strategic vision of the clash with Islam, a vision begun to be articulated by Blair in his August 1 speech in Los Angeles and by Bush in his "Islamic Fascism" comments on August 10 --and immediate military action to defeat the Islamic enemy. This is Public Occurrences.

Killer Ice! Killer Ice!

Killer Ice! Killer Ice!

FIRST there were flatulent bovines, THEN there was the leaking Amazon, NOW (dramatic pause with Al Gore screaming in background) there's Seeping Siberia!

AOL's most emailed news article today is the shocking story out of Nature magazine that scientists have found that melting Siberia is releasing massive quantities of the greenhouse gas methane, hitherto safely trapped in permafrost, into the atmosphere. In Malthusian horror the methane will trap more heat which will cause more melting which will release more methane which will necessitate everyone moving to Kansas or some similar far-from-the-encroaching coastline locale.

This report follows one in Nature about a year ago that flummoxed scientists had found massive quantities of methane in the air over, of all places, the good old Amazon. There decomposing plant material was the culprit.

And before that (we are not making this up), cows passing gas was identified as a major source of methane.

So forget buying that Prius, cancel that order for solar panels, our real enemy is mother, MOTHER NATURE!

Our solution (admittedly very think-outside-the-boxy) is parking lots. That's right, PARKING LOTS. Turn the Amazon into a CONCRETE jungle, pave over Seeping Siberia (get all the oil out first). That place has been useless forever anyway. This is Public Occurrences.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Murder Case Photographs - #14, Then and Now

Murder Case Photographs-#14, Then and Now

There was a little dyslexia around here in 1956 even among the most elite businessmen. Apparently this establishment was of such renown that it needed no name. "BEER AND WINE" (with the "N" written backwards) was all that needed to be said. Like "Sally's Do Drop Inn" in photo #13 the location of this bar is no longer remote but is a vacant lot in the middle of an African-American residential neighborhood. Unlike some other of the "Now" photographs that will be posted here, the "footprint" of this scene hasn't changed much. The street intersection is still there. Like a visible ghost the vacant lot is exactly where "BEER AND WINE" was. Therefore the 2006 photograph was shot from the same spot as was the 1956 photo. The same tall, spreading tree is present in the top left of both photographs as are the whispier, more narrow-limbed trees toward the center. The corner of the building on the right in the 2006 the photo is a church that was not there in 1956.

-Benjamin Harris

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Twenty-Thousand Feet Under the Sea

Today's announcement of the major oil find in the Gulf of Mexico was at the top of all of the news in all of the media outlets, most importantly because it is the largest domestic oil find since that in Alaska's North Slope a generation ago. If this and the other new prospects in the Gulf produce as expected, U.S. oil reserves will increase by an astonishing 50%.

Second, because the find is the product of an engineering marvel by Chevron and its partners. The massive oil pool was found (1) 7,000 feet under water and (2) 20,000 feet of earth under that. Chevron, et al broke half a dozen engineering records in the drill according to reports.

Third, because of the glimpse into the unfamiliar, romantic and quintessentially American oil finding (not the technical term) bidness that is as much a part of America as the Wild West. We (I anyway) now know what "prospect" means when used in the mining context. "Prospectors," like the California 49'ers, were those who looked for a vein--I don't know, I guess a "significant source"--of gold, or in this case black gold.

Finally, the name of this site (probably not the technical term) is "Jack 2."  I can't explain why but that's cool.

So congratulations to Chevron, engineers, and namers of "prospects." You're the Big Story.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin Was Killed Today

Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin Was Killed Today

...when he unknowlingly snorkled over and cornered a "bull" stingray which instinctively thrust its barbed, venomous tail under his ribcage and into his heart.

What joy this quirky, joyful man brought to so many people who were attracted to his antics as to a high-wire acrobat. He loved the unloved and made many love them too. He loved his wife and children. Google-Image him and see him with his beautiful, angelic wife Terri and his beautiful, angelic, little girl Bindi, and a stuffed alligator. He loved life. He loved. So many of us don't love. When we see someone who loved like he did we smile and love too.

-Benjamin Harris