The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

On martyrdom

PapayaSF @ESR:

For a long time I thought that the racial grievance industry was just running out of good martyrs to promote, and making mistakes by choosing the wrong ones, but now I wonder: maybe the celebration of violent criminals like Rodney King, Trayvon Martin, and Mike Brown is intentional. After all, if your goal is not simply “justice” but to intimidate whites (and Hispanics and Asians), then it makes perfect sense to promote and defend violent criminals, and to object to anything bad that happens to them.

It's been going on long before that. Go look up Mumia, and Assata Shakur - hell, even Tookie. It's just now become so much more obvious.


posted by Zimri on 21:39 | link | 0 comments

Sunday, November 23, 2014

CAIR designated as terrorist

It's no news to me, nor to anyone else on this beat. But... it's... interesting, that the United Arab Emirates have called out CAIR. WTF? as the kids might put it these days.


posted by Zimri on 20:29 | link | 0 comments

Those 1990s plantation metaphors again

Those stupid 1990s-era "liberal plantation" tropes just cost someone his job.

Despite what I think of those metaphors - which metaphors, I'll say once more, are stupid - it was obvious what Nevada Assemblyman Walter White Ira Hansen meant. He was putting himself in the shoes of a cynical liberal leftist. Hansen was not stating his own opinions on The Negro (his term).

And we're not having that public debate on how appropriate such metaphors are. Instead the NAACP made a power-play. It was enough to associate Hansen with the phrase simple minded darkies - not just from two decades ago but also, as aforenoted, out of context.

Those Republicans who coveted Hansen's authority (the governor) and his job (everyone else in the Assembly) naturally stood by him and explained to the media how to read a clearly-stated comment BAHAHAAHHAAH! Nah. The other Nevada Republicans were publicly even more offended on the Black Man's behalf. Hansen could perhaps have said, that back in the 1990s such comments were de rigueur like "soft bigotry of low expectations", and that he's mostly sorry just for falling into lazy cliche; and anyway that those comments're less offensive than, say, slanders against neighbourhood-watch and law-enforcement, and much less so than threats of riot and votes for Obama. Hansen also should have demanded the GOP hold a vote on his leadership, with the comment that if he WAS voted out he'd re-register under the Constitution Party label.

Instead the Nevada GOP can look forward to constant probes into who Hansen's allies are, "troubling racial comments", and on and on. As for the governor Sandoval - yeah, screw him. If he wants a Senate seat, as signs point, then I hope Hansen challenges him in the primary. Better yet the general.


posted by Zimri on 16:46 | link | 0 comments

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pro-choice means Medea

In the Hellenic legendarium, Medea was the wife or concubine of the hero or pirate Jason. ("Hero" and "pirate" are both Greek words in origin; in the legends, I've never been able to tell them apart. As for "wife" and "concubine", there the legends make a distinction; they're just not clear about Madea's status.) Jason, being the cad he was, betrayed Medea and so Medea cooked up the children they'd had together. Om nom nom.

Medea believed that the woman holds an inherent sovereignty over what she has conceived; trumping whatever the biological father holds. As part of that, she believed that it is up to the sovereign when to enforce that right.

I'll say this for the Colchian Bride. She had the courage of her convixions.


posted by Zimri on 22:12 | link | 0 comments

Friday, November 21, 2014

How Ibn al-Qasim motivated his ghazis

Back in August Kashi N. Pandita trolled an Anglophone Pakistani and anti-Hindi board, found a hadith-bundle, and dumped the result at "Ghazavatu’l-Hind: A matter of Faith". This essay overall is a fascinating look at how Muslim commanders motivated mujahidun to fight in India. I have posted a commentary at Jihadwatch; the main points are worth reposting here.

Whoever was spreading these traditions, was saying - go conquer India, and in return Jesus will bless you back in Syria and Jerusalem. Islam today, by contrast, is or so we assume focused not on Syria and Jerusalem, and not on Jesus but on the Hijaz and Mecca, and on Muhammad. It turns out, from other contemporary sources, that the earliest Islam was close to apocalyptic and gnostic Jewish-Christianity (seriously, this is barely even disputed anymore). This biases me to suspect that these ahadith are VERY early.

Pandita has even helpfully suggested the conqueror Ibn al-Qasim as the ahadiths' source. That man was working for the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I and maybe for his brother and heir Sulayman too. That would explain their emphasis on al-Sham: for that read, the land of the New Testament, from Damascus to Jerusalem. Both caliphs were adorning holy sites there; and Sulayman held court in Jerusalem. Any later than, oh, 745 AD and Muslim politics simply migrates away - with the tiniest exceptions in al-Ma'mun and the antiCrusaders. (Hazra Niamatullah and other such later scholars are just recycling that material; these men had no real interest in spending the booty on Syria.)

I don't know if these ahadith are worth me writing a whole new essay - Pandita pretty much wrote that essay already - but they are worth a mention. For readers of Throne of Glass, feel free to jot Pandita's essay as a footnote to what I'd mentioned of Ibn al-Qasim in that last chapter. Do this with my apologies that, when I was writing it, I hadn't read Pandita's essay (or other non-Islamic Indian-authored essays).

APPENDIX: I have often wondered why there exist so many traditions that Jesus sojourned in India or was buried there. Nothing of this is mooted in early Christian tradition - of Saint Thomas, sure, but not of Jesus himself. But once Ibn al-Qasim was dead, and the Umayyad caliphate restricted to Spain, and southwest Syria held in suspicion... these ahadith became unmoored. At that point would-be plunderers of India required other rationales to handle these Jesus traditions. At the same time Muslims already "knew" that Jesus didn't die on the cross, freeing up the qussas to imagine all manner of later secret peregrinations.


posted by Zimri on 17:30 | link | 0 comments

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's treason, then

The Executive has called bullshit on the Legislative. It took a long time coming.

Despite the snark from certain jerkballs on Twitter (which is, again, fine for on-site reporting; terrible for analysis), Obama has acted as a tyrant since before he even entered the Oval Office. The number of overt executive orders don't matter. It's enough to let Eric Holder prosecute whom he wants, and not to prosecute others; to let the IRS audit some, and not others; to let the printing-presses fly. Obama's muse has - up to now - been Henry II, asking who will rid him of this turbulent priest.

Anyway now Obama is more officially an Emperor. We'll see how well he keeps his station.


posted by Zimri on 18:08 | link | 0 comments

If you bought 1177 BC, you got took

Was the Bronze Age Collapse a result of climate-change? If you've bought 1177 BC, you probably think so. NPR has made a big deal of it.

NPR's gushing should have tipped us off. I hadn't bought this book myself and now, I'm glad I didn't. The University of Bradford has looked into the full era from 1200 to 500 BC; mainly looking for climate-change dealing with the (800s) European Bronze Age collapse. For the Mitteleuropeans, it was dislocation of trade-networks and population movements that did it. Brought on by a technological revolution.

This seems familiar. These processes are... what Robert Drews was teaching us about in the early 1990s, concerning the fall of the Mediterranean empires of the 1200s BC. Drews didn't credit the iron trade, where the Bradfordites do - but again, Drews was dealing with an earlier time when proper steelwork wasn't in play yet. Anyway. The point is: Bradford's University has shown there was some significant climate-change during these centuries - but not until a few generations after the European collapse (their statistics turn up the middle 700s). Maybe along the way a few bad winters and/or dry summers came along; but we're all agreed that's not climate; that's weather.

I'm not saying climate doesn't matter. But technology shifts and trade networks often matter more. This is what mattered in the 800s BC and, I have to say, this is what mattered in the 1100s.

UPDATE 11/22: Some valuable (if anonymous) feedback in the comments has forced a clarification of this post. I'd goofed, a little bit, on the focus of the Bradford study - which dealt with a later event to the north. But rereading the study or at least its press-release... it looks like there weren't any climate disruptions earlier, either.


posted by Zimri on 17:52 | link | 2 comments

L'affaire(s) Cosby

I'm aware that this is a monumental SQUIRREL, but a halfassed story serves well for a halfassed post on this halfassed blog, so why not. Ahem. Bill Cosby.

Like every other child living in America in the early-to-mid-1980s, I grew up on Cosby - first through the Cosby Kids and Electric Company, then through the Thursday night ritual which was The Cosby Show. (By 1987 I'd pretty much stopped watching TV, for other reasons.) Cosby was, like Winfrey, a Great Black Hope for integrationists and liberal-to-moderate-conservative whites. He wasn't only that of course; he was genuinely funny and seemed like a wholesome guy.

Cosby's recent politics have made me wonder. Cosby is fully on the narrative of "voter suppression"; he was also uncoincidentally an Obama supporter (like Winfrey).

Now we know that the man was a phony all along. I'm not going to entertain the worst of the charges; partly, I don't want to be sued, but mainly I personally don't like charges that get raised decades after the fact. What we do know is that Cosby effectively pled the Fifth on air. This means Cosby wasn't confident enough in his innocence to go down the alphabet and end up "I never saw X, never touched Y and Z was consensual". That means the Cos was, at the least, a dawg. By that I mean, a cad.

And since the Cos has, in recent years, made a BIG DEAL about how other blacks shouldn't be dawgs - the Cos is a dirty dawg. I'd actually wondered why other blacks hate his guts; now I suspect they'd heard stuff that hadn't percolated out of the black rumour-mill.

EPILOGUE: I have to circle back to that earlier paragraph, on the allegations; I think I do have to address them, a small bit. I'll be very careful here because, again, lawyers: cads by nature sleep around a lot. "A lot" means, numbers. The thing with quantity is that, then, statistics come into play. Some of those encounters are likely to be what the woman will remember as - again, at the least - "a lousy lay", maybe not entirely what the woman wanted. And Hollywood being what it is, it'll be interesting to see how old (or not) some of these women were.

UPDATE 11/22: Well THAT didn't take long. [h/t Octopus @ Daedalus.]


posted by Zimri on 17:42 | link | 0 comments

Monday, November 17, 2014

Just wondering

Given that we can't trust about, oh, 50k ballots coming outta the Boulder Valley; and given that the asterisked governor Hickenlooper is engaged in kicking hundreds of thousands of dollars to Gruber's fraudulent analysis; given his acceptance of sanctuary-city status to criminal invaders; and given that Hickenlooper has signed off on gun "control" bills which deny American citizens our Constitutional rights in his state -

-can this tyrant just be impeached already? is that how this works in governorships? Because I can't see how even Morley was this bad.


posted by Zimri on 22:20 | link | 0 comments

Thanks for telling us

It's been simmering for awhile at Ace's HQ, but now GRUBER-GATE HITS COLORADO (and Instapundit).

We in Colorado weren't told. The whistleblower, Weinstein, tried for months to get this into the media but failed. He tried to get this into the Right media and failed. Personally, I think that revelations about Gruber and his bilking of Colorado taxpayers would have got Beauprez elected as governor in Colorado. And I've been saying for months here, that the governorships are a greater prize than is the fonybalony Senate.

You know whom this silence benefited? Mitt Romney.

At the time Romney was stumping for GOPe candidates like Roberts in KS. Romney of course had run Massachusetts as the test-bed for Gruber's analyses. If Romney had been tainted it would have made Roberts look bad; it would potentially even have cost Mitch McConnell his fonybalony job.

So the East Coast media scotched the story. They only let the story out now.


posted by Zimri on 22:10 | link | 0 comments

Friday, November 14, 2014

Vindication

Slightly over two years ago I asserted here that, while it was important not to vote for Obama in 2012 - it was at least as important not to vote for Romney.

The morons didn't see it at the time, but that may be changing.


posted by Zimri on 18:32 | link | 0 comments

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Twitter: #junk

The structural model of Twitter is revolutionary. Its business model - not so much.

Maybe because it's banning people for badthink. Ask Mozilla how that's workin' out.


posted by Zimri on 19:29 | link | 0 comments

Monday, November 10, 2014

Glenn Reynolds gets silly

Six bills. Most of them are stupid.

Three of those six - a full half - deal with liberalising booze, drugs and sex. I don't think making these more available to under-21s (well, maybe booze, if the kids don't drive) will help our mental-health or STD problems very much. Also, getting in front of these won't help the GOP with the youth vote - the activists will just move on to something else. What exactly happened to the electorate after the Republicans got in front of "civil rights"?

We are sort-of agreed on DMCA and very much agreed on copyright law; we are also agreed that public employees shouldn't unionise. But at the end, there's that surtax on ex-politicians who become lobbyists. Hmm. Seems that might encourage the politicos to defect to Russia and to take THEIR money.

Anyway, if I were advising the GOP, which I am not, I would suggest they propose an amendment restricting the Commerce Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment - a "neo-Tenth Amendment" if you will. Then those libertarian bills which Reynolds proposes will go back to the states because they have to go back to the states.


posted by Zimri on 21:53 | link | 0 comments

Diversity and the progress of SF/F

Vox Day: If Diversity led to better stories, then SF/F would be better than the SF/F of 30 years ago. It's not. It is considerably worse, by virtually every standard.

There are several assertions packed inside this short quote. The first is that science-fiction and fantasy are more diverse today than they were in the middle 1980s; everyone concedes this, and this much I'm not going to dispute. The second claim is that SF/F is now worse by most metrics. The synthesis is that diversity is to blame.

It is certainly true that there is a lot of crap out there now; but it's not all that hard to wander into a used-book store and to see what was being put out in the 1980s. I've been buying up several of these books lately. Yanno what I found? It was crap then too. Take Vardeman and Proctor, as a representative sample of 1980s swords-and-sorcery. In fact, don't even take it from me - take it from Nick Lowe (good and hard). Lowe was writing at the time. He knew. He also knew that the awards weren't helping; the Nebula was useless as far back as 1982.

So Vox Day is overstating the case. He could have stated that SF/F today hasn't got any better, and that the mainstream publishers and awards have been rewarding the worst. Vox Day could also have stated that Diversity hasn't helped improve SF/F. In both cases, he'd be on firmer ground, since he's got plenty of blogposts in his own back-catalogue to help him out here.

For the quality differential: I would just say the crap out there is not representative of SF/F today, that's just the crap on the shelf. And on the SF/F shelf at that; the young-adult shelf has been doing pretty darn well.

For Diversity: I'd argue that Diversity is helping in epic fantasy. I'd argue that Durham's Acacia series makes some trenchant observations about majority / minority relations and about compromises made to hold together a kingdom; both themes are clearly vital to the black experience in the Anglosphere. Note that Acacia doesn't say that life gets any better when "bottom rung up, boss". The Tribe is, admittedly, still lagging on the fantasy front; Grossman's Magicians desperately wants to be "the Jewish Narnia", but in my opinion fell short. Still. It is a riveting read and it treats Narnia - if not Lewis, with respect - if not with justice. (I hope this makes sense to somebody.)

I suspect that Vox Day's perspective has been fogged, or blinkered. Vox Day doesn't have to deal with Durham and Grossman, who are genuinely thoughtful people who don't get in fights; he has to deal with Jemisin and Scalzi, who are insecure and unthinking people who can't get attention unless they do get in fights.


posted by Zimri on 21:00 | link | 0 comments

How to avoid getting censored - don't sign up on censored platforms

Truthy reports conservative accounts. Twitter bans the conservatives. The GOP is outraged, sorta. (Deep down the Republicans're a vain lot, and are pissed less on principle - they were AWOL on the IRS targetting Tea-Party groups - and more on the notion that mainstream GOP voices got censored. And Twitter are just staffed by cowards. Side issues though.)

The [x] Hat offers a way out:

Twitter consoring incorrect views?
This is the problem with reducing your entire online impact to a few closed and privately held platforms that could censor you and thus separate you from others.
I know people who only use Facebook and don't even use e-mail anymore.
This is why we should support platforms with open standards that anyone could use.
I may be a heavy twitter user, but I don't limit myself to that and prefer stuff like the HQ or other blog platforms that can be independently hostted, or e-mail, or IRC, &c.

Vox Day offers a counter-opinion: that Truthy's ban campaign means that Twitter works, and that the answer to a Truthy-like ban campaign is to band together and fight.


posted by Zimri on 19:23 | link | 0 comments

So, Nature posted this...

... in May 2008; or as some like to call it, Year One Before Obama (pbuh). It won't last long since Ace noticed it...


posted by Zimri on 19:18 | link | 0 comments

Saturday, November 08, 2014

The Church of Harry Reid's latter-day saints

Let's see if I got this right: some politically-powerful "Mormon" fails to follow the LDS canon. This attracts the notice of a random true-believing LDS member (it's "bishop" on his card, but that == priest, translating to Catholicism). Said member then pipes up about it. The hierarchy then angrily comes down on... the guy who noticed.

The LDS gets most attention by the media for its Right Flank; whilst the media is chasing that squirrel, Reid is leading the Left Flank. Reid is leading the charge against Federal marriage law. That is Reid's purpose. Shame on that lowly bishop, for noticing.


posted by Zimri on 20:45 | link | 0 comments

Second-order dissimilarity

Dissimilarity, in the context of a Prophet or Messiah, means the preservation of a tradition which makes that figure look bad. I've posted here before about a dissimilarity in accounts of Jesus's life; I usually refer to a triad, if you'll pardon the blasphemy, of the Virgin Birth, the Baptism, and the Crucifixion. In short, we believe it because it is unhelpful (ineptus). Let's consider a religious tradition whose focus isn't on the religion's focus, but on that one's disciples. What does dissimilarity mean in that context?

Dissimilarity here, I think, would make the disciples look like morons. If the disciples have failed to understand their teacher, that calls the teacher into question as well.

The Gospels frequently have the disciples bickering amongst each other (John) or completely getting it wrong (Mark) - in both cases, focusing on Simeon the Rock. Peter is especially controversial for having pretended, when the pressure was on, that he had nothing to do with the Christ. This doesn't make Peter's church look good in the slightest. This event is generally considered accurate as an event in Peter's career.

I was considering that when I read Krisztina Szilágyi today. Szilágyi brings together Christian and (some) Muslim traditions, and shows that these are in parallel where they say that Muhammad died and wasn't buried until three days later - because the Muslims thought that Muhammad would rise from the dead. She concludes: In view of the general implausibility of anyone in the Arabian Peninsula not being buried on the day of his death or at the latest on the day following it, it is improbable that traditions about Muhammad’s late burial were invented.

I would count this as another second-order dissimilarity. Muslims today are upfront that of course Muhammad did not rise again. A prophet is after all just a man. Allah alone is God. BUT - Muslims would ALSO assume that the Prophet's successors were wiser than they themselves were, on account of proximity to the Prophet's teachings all this time. So the Prophet would be buried according to Islamic law on that day or the next. Certainly not three days after.

The Islamophobic kuffar might of course just make something up; to point and to laugh at the Believers. But this account of the Companions' ignorance is rampant among the Muslims as well. If the Christians had made it up, the Muslims would only have to deny it - like, when the Christians said that the Prophet was eaten by dogs or pigs, the Muslims were able to deny this (well, okay, Szilágyi reports they chose to ignore it, or else to execute whatever troll what said it). In the case of the Companions' misunderstanding, though, the Muslims couldn't deny that unequivocally.

So Szilágyi seems correct that, yes, Muhammad wasn't buried according to the custom.

To compare the two religions' second-orders: Peter's disavowal that he had much to do with Christ might, arguably, be construed as a denial that he had much to do with the Christ-as-real notion. So Peter does not actually get us to the historical Jesus, in the way of that "dissimilarity triad". With the controversy over Muhammad's burial, there's the physical stiff right there on the slab, even giving off a stench by some accounts. Clearly someone here used to exist. Advantage Islam.


posted by Zimri on 18:10 | link | 0 comments

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