I got an interesting hit just now, for someone from Mongo, Indiana, looking for stuff on the Hampster Dance. Odd timing, since Alex Karras, who played Mongo in Blazing Saddles, just passed on earlier this week.
Malala Yousufzai, 14,
remains in critical condition a day after surgeons removed a bullet
lodged in her neck. Taliban militants shot Malala and two other girls
Tuesday as the girls headed home from school in Pakistan's conservative
Swat Valley. The two other girls were not seriously injured.
The Taliban have claimed
responsibility for targeting Malala, who enraged the militant group by
writing about her daily battle with the extremists who used fear and
intimidation to force girls to stay at home instead of going to school.
Malala's online writing earned her Pakistan's first National Peace Prize
An irony here is that Taliban means students in Arabic; students of the Koran by implication, but they are gunning down a coed talib (that's the singular form) for wanting to be educated.
Educated in something other than 24/7 Koran. That might be the craw-sticker. Over in Nigeria, the jihadist group Boko Haram declares western-style education to be non-halal and harasses Christians and folks who don't oppose a secular approach to things. There might be a bit of that here.
However, since the Taliban come from the barefoot and pregnant school of culture (not so much religion; you'd be hard pressed to quote Muhammad sura and verse to back illiterate girls), a teenaged girl treating herself as their peer, if not their superior, is double-trouble.
It's one thing to send a prank 911 call to send a SWAT team to an offending blogger's house, it's another to send a Swat Valley team of hit men to kill a juice-boxer blogger. It shows something of the desperation of the Taliban to terrorize Pakistani culture to a point where the only thing you can do is survive and have your nose in a Koran when you're not doing the minimum to survive.
The Swedish Academy praised his work which "with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary".
Those two might overlap (Magic Mushroom Realism?), but Mo would have been hard-pressed to be reading a lot of western avaunt-guard lit while being in the PLA, so he might have stumbled into that style on his own.
Interestingly, Mo's been able to do his work without running afoul of the authorities by and large. Setting stories in the past has allowed him to write without being directly critical of the Communist government, only getting into trouble when things got too sexy.
Before we put him six feet under after last night, let's look a moment at where A-Rod is. He had, by his standards, an off 2012, hitting .272 with 18 homers in 122 games. That's not shabby, but not where he usually is. His batting/onbase/slugging line is .272/.353/.430 when he's .300/.384/.560 career. That takes him from an all-star caliber third baseman to a merely good third baseman.
"I just went to him and said, 'You're scuffling a little bit right
now,'" is how the manager recounted his conversation with the man who
has hit more home runs than all but four other men in baseball history.
"Raul has been a good pinch hitter for us," Girardi said he told A-Rod. "And I'm just going to take a shot."
Don't write A-Rod off quite yet, as the media seem to be doing. He'll still be a solid third baseman for quite a bit, even if he's not quite earning his superstar salary, but that's the risk you take in signing a star to a contract taking him into his late 30s.
Derek Jeter might be a cautionary tale for not writing folks off too soon. Two years ago, Jeter slumped down to .270 when he was chasing his 3000th hit. He's back up to .316, above his career average, albeit with slightly reduced power.
I remember a Ron Silver story from the Clinton innaugual in 1993; as a good liberal, he had a bit of disdain towards the military after 12 years of GOP rule and military build-ups. When some planes flew over Washington in a salute, he stated that "they're our planes now."
Pity the Syrian people. They had been given to believe that fighter
jets in the arsenal of the state - those Russian-made MIGs they once
viewed with pride - were there for the stand-off with Israel.
Now they know better. The runs over Aleppo, the bombings of
Idlib, have laid bare the truth. It is no accident that the founder of
this regime, Hafez al-Assad, emerged from the ranks of the air force,
which is not often an incubator of coup-makers. There would come a day,
the masters of this minority regime doubtless knew, when fighter jets
would be used at home.
The planes seemed to be "theirs" when the threat was an assertive Israel making sure they stayed put on their southwestern border. However, government power doesn't just extend to external enimies, especially when it is a dictatorship unbounded by consitutions and elections.
That use of force brings to mind the libertarian disdain of the military, knowing that all that hardware and training could be turned on them if they were on the wrong side of a power-hungry government who was willing to play nasty. That's where the checks and balances of American government come into play, along with a long-standing standard against using the military in a domestic setting, whether it be border mainanance or disaster-relief.
News of Alex Karras' kidney failure was in the Detroit papers yesterday; before I got a chance to do a pre-obit, he would up dying on me. He was a bit ahead of my time as a Lions lineman famous for terrorizing Bart Starr in the 1962 Thanksgiving day game that handed the Packers their only loss of that year.
To non-football fans, he'd be noted as an actor, playing Webster's adopted dad and playing Mongo in Blazing Saddles. Sad to see him go; if you don't get the title, watch the clip.
Music can lend itself to a Pollyanna attitude at times; I recall Howard Jones' Things Can Only Get Better showing up on the car radio the other day and I have John Legend's Each Day Gets Better in my MP3 mix.
One problem; things do get worse from time to time. Even if things are generally on the upslope, you have down days.
Great song, but the catcher is having to track that pitch down at the backstop as it sailed wide right.
I recall one of those Murphy's Law days in my early days at Sullivan U, where I dinged up the side of my new Vibe and realized I left my flash drive on campus after my night class as I was almost home already. After a 20-minute round-trip back to campus, the Lakewood crew were crooning Sweeter on the radio as I was closing in on home... I don't think so, Cindy.
Let’s come straight out and say it. Every day with Jesus is not
sweeter than the day before. Let’s forget that nonsense about the
victorious Christian life, whatever that means. Life by law is theology
of glory. Life by grace is theology of the cross. That’s what set me
free when I was going through my own crucible. I felt like, okay, I can
say this is awful. I’m not being super-spiritual, pretending it isn’t
awful. It creates honesty, which creates faith, which creates freedom.
Even the Bible heroes had their bad days. David was the world's biggest kvetcher, moaning about his bad days in the Psalms. Everyday folks like us aren't going to be like Apollo Creed before he faced Rocky, knocking everyone out and never finding the canvas himself. Eventually, you have a foe that has you muttering "no rematch."
Being real with that is important. Striving for a better, "victorious" life is good, but knowing that God's still there when you have bad days (or bad years) is critical. The Sermon on the Mount was addressed to the losers more than the winners, for All of the Losers Win in the long term if they lean into Jesus.
In a twist, a group of armed men stole Lazcano's body from a funeral
home, though authorities had already taken fingerprints and photographs
to confirm his identity.
Unfortunately, there is a second in command to take over for the bloody cartel which started as the hit men for another cartel but decided to run the whole show themselves. You don't want to cheer any death, but death is the Zeta's stock in trade; dying in a hail of bullets is the natural end for them.
John Green, a senior research adviser at Pew, breaks the religiously
unaffiliated into three groups. First, he says, are those who were
raised totally outside organized religion.
Second are groups of people who were unhappy with their religions and left.
The third group, Green says, comprises Americans who were never
really engaged with religion in the first place, even though they were
raised in religious households.
“In the past, we would describe those people as nominally affiliated.
They might say, 'I am Catholic; I am a Baptist,' but they never went"
to services, Green says of this last group. “Now, they feel a lot more
comfortable just saying, ‘You know, I am really nothing.’ ”
I would have been in that last block as a college kid; nominally Methodist but more a God-fearing agnostic who stopped going to church in high school. It was still edgy to be non-affiliated in the early 80s, especially in smaller towns.
Not so much anymore. The person who only darkens the door of a church for wedding and funerals is more inclined to say they aren't a practicing Christian.
That might actually be a blessing in disguise for evangelism. The nominal Christian of old might have leaned upon his baptism as a tyke and some Sunday School as a claim on eternity, but the modern none might be more honest in their free-agency. If a more winsome vision of Jesus is presented then they got growing up, they might decide to give things a second look, or a first look if all they got were Old Testament miracle stories without a Lord and Savior behind the miracles.
Early last week the rial was trading around
37,500 to the dollar, having lost about a third of its value in 10 days
and two thirds in 15 months.
The level of government control is design to ration the available hard currency for things the government really needs. That rationing means that consumer imports will be hard to get through legit avenues and smuggling goods into a black market is a likely outcome.
That creates an interesting dilemma. If the government is reeling and might be ditched in favor of a different regime if things get much worse, might it be worth holding off on a preemptive strike at their nuke facilities in the hope that a more reasonable and less interested in forcing the Mahdi out of hiding by starting WW3 will come into power.
On the flipside, an Ahmadinejad regime on its last leg could try to play to the last refuge of a scoundrel and start a war with Israel and the US in order to gin up support. There's enough going on where making an informed decision is hard since there is a lot of information flowing in at once.
Actually, that's the original Cesar Chavez (not Hugo "Caesar" Chavez of Bolivarian fame), the farm worker organizer. That's worth noting, for migrant workers were getting treated like dirt when I was a kid and needed to band together to get something resembling a fair deal. The big farmers out in California didn't like it, but it was a classic case of businesses getting unionized when they deserve it (as my MSU HR prof would say) by mistreating workers.
It's a nice political play for Obama to tip the hat to a secular saint in Mexican-American circles, but one that should get its due despite that.
He had to work for it, but Hugo Chavez won a third term, beating back a center-left challenger, Henrique Capriles, 54-46; the CNN article casts Capriles as a conservative, but just about anyone would look conservative versus Chavez's "Bolivarian" socialism. Capriles was envisioning a Lula-style market-friendly social democracy that seems to have worked fairly well for Brazil, compared with the underperforming Venezuelan economy.
Praying for a sound mind for Chavez would make more sense than playing the vulture here. Chavez's MO seems to double-down on centralization when he faces a problem, but he might be able to loosen the strings if it is needed.
Code Pink members donned giant vagina costumes at the Republican
National Convention in August, but according to two group members
contacted by U.S. News, participants will be modestly dressed in the
conservative Muslim area.
Odd coalition of over-the-top left-feminists and sharia-lovers; the latter would be happy to kill the former as infidel scum except that they have a common foe in the US millitary. The ladies are modest only when it is expedient to do so.