Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Run Dog Run!

I knew my dad should have patented his design. It was so perfect for small dogs with limited space to run. When our Westie was a pup my dad built a hamster-like wheel for him. Bogart (our beloved dog) LOVED that wheel. He'd get frustrated and jump on the wheel running furiously for ten minutes or so until he exercised away his frustration. Doing that several times a day gave him great exercise. I'll post a picture if I can find it of that wheel.

Yet the idea of exercising your fat Chow Chow on a treadmill in public seems so frivolous in my conception of Chinese life. I still think of that country in terms of Mao's cultural revolution. They propably would've eaten the dog not exercised it during Mao's reign since so many were starving from his cruelty.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Hypocrisy of Hate-Crime Reporting

How many rural southern churches have to burn before any of the major news outlets report it as something serious and as a cause for concern? Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe gets to the nub of the problem (in my opinion) here.

SUPPOSE THAT in 2005 unknown hoodlums had firebombed 10 gay bookstores and bars in San Francisco, reducing several of them to smoking rubble. It takes no
effort to imagine the alarm that would have spread through the Bay Area's gay
community or the manhunt that would have been launched to find the attackers.
The blasts would have been described everywhere as ''hate crimes," editorial
pages would have thundered with condemnation, and public officials would have
vowed to crack down on crimes against gays with unprecedented severity.

Suppose that vandals last month had attacked 10 Detroit-area mosques and
halal restaurants, leaving behind shattered windows, wrecked furniture, and
walls defaced with graffiti. The violence would be national front-page news. On
blogs and talk radio, the horrifying outbreak of anti-Muslim bigotry would be
Topic No. 1. Bills would be introduced in Congress to increase the penalties for
violent ''hate crimes" -- no one would hesitate to call them by that term -- and
millions of Americans would rally in solidarity with Detroit's Islamic

Fortunately, those sickening scenarios are only hypothetical. Here is one
that is not:

Ten arson attacks against 10 churches -- all of them Baptist, all in small
Alabama towns, all in the space of eight days: If anything is a hate crime,
obviously this is.

Or is it? ''We're looking to make sure this is not a hate crime and that we
do everything that we need to do," FBI Special Agent Charles Regantold reporters in Birmingham.
Make sure this is not a hate crime? If 10 Brooklyn synagogues went up in flames
in a little over a week, wouldn't investigators start from the assumption that
the arson was motivated by hatred of Jews? If 10 Cuban-American shops and
restaurants in Miami were deliberately burned to the ground, wouldn't the
obvious presumption be that anti-Cuban animus was involved?

Apparently Baptist churches are different.

Jacoby ends with this:

But real progress will come only when we abandon the whole misguided notion of ''hate crimes," which deems certain crimes more deserving of outrage and punishment not because of what the criminal did, but because of the group to which the victim belonged. The burning of a church is a hateful act regardless of the congregants' skin color. That some people bend over backward not to say so is a disgrace. (emphasis mine)


Tuesday, February 14, 2006


“Idealism is the noble toga that political gentlemen drape over their will to power.”
--Aldous Huxley

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Compare and Contrast

The brouhaha over the publishing of cartoons "offensive" to Muslim sensibilities is a joke. I can't take seriously those Muslims who claim they're shocked, shocked by the portrayals of Mohammed in the Danish newspaper, but then have no problem with cartoons like these published regularly in Middle East newspapers. If these outraged Muslims want respect for their religion, perhaps they should encourage their own Muslim governments to respect the religious sensibilities of other religions like Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism. The Taliban destroyed ancient Buddhist statues in Bamiyan. I don't remember any Buddhists burning down Afghan embassies or responding in violence as a result. Christians and other minority religious folk are regularly persecuted in Muslim countries. Call me unimpressed with the current outrage for poorly drawn cartoons of Mohammed. Above are several of the cartoons that supposedly started the outrage. However, I read recently that these cartoons were published in an EGYPTIAN newspaper months ago without any violent reaction on the part of their readers. So my question is, why the violence now?