Gits

Well, my cousins in Scotland are now voting on whether they remain in the United Kingdom. The arguments for separation seem to boil down to Scottish ethnic pride. Period.

Not being one of them, I can’t know how prideful the Scots ought to be about the mere fact of being Scottish. But I do know that cold, hard economic facts are a far better basis for a long-lasting and successful nation. And Scotland is not going to be another Norway, with everybody on the dole forever and ever due to the North Sea’s oil bounty.

“Persistently disappointing revenues” is how The Telegraph describes that bounty. The problem is that the SNP wants to spread all the wealth around in a complete welfare state. And Scotland, if it casts itself adrift from Britain, simply is not economically up to that kind of socialist folly.

As far as Scottish pride goes, seems they are letting those who are not Scots vote. Specifically, citizens of any EU nation or Commonwealth nation who live in Scotland are eligible to vote. Which is hardly “Scottish” nationalism. They will also be letting 16- and 17-year olds vote. Good luck with that project: with too-few exceptions, those children don’t know much and are, shall we say, subject to hormonal swings. Look, I know: I was 16 once, and it wasn’t a pretty picture for logic and rational thought. And I’m pretty smart, at that: I knew everything that needed knowing when I was 16…(this is sarcasm; just can’t find the html tag for it).

All in all, if Scotland votes to secede from Britain, the gits, led by the SNP, will have their moment in the sun. Boy, will Scotland live to regret it.

Silly idea

Dan Neil, the car guy for the Wall Street Journal, writes that he expects his teen-age daughters (some pity, I know) will not really need to own a car. Why? Because

Ride sharing and autonomous-driving technologies together will transform mobility and the private-ownership model, and not a minute too soon.

Well, it would be many, many minutes too soon for anyone who thinks it through for just a minute. Let’s just say that this state of progressive bliss won’t happen any time soon.

Ride sharing for young women is problematical right from the start. Unless, of course, they live in an area with no sexual predators. Which I would tend to think would be in areas of such low population density as to rule out ride sharing as a practical mode of transportation.

As for autonomous technologies, as an engineer I can tell you that technology of sufficient sophistication to drive safety in anything except a straight-line deserted highway isn’t coming anytime soon. If you think otherwise, then perhaps you haven’t been paying attention to the development of computer operating systems: highly sophisticated pieces of technology that are still prone to failure, some fifty years after their first development.

The point is that the more sophisticated technology becomes, the greater the chances it will be glitchy. And these glitches won’t just cause the Blue Screen of Death, but actual death and dismemberment.

Evil

Jonah Goldberg has a worthwhile piece up at NRO on the politically correct aversion of the media and of politicians to avoid the word “evil.”   This, as applied to the evil group known as ISIS.

Well, in simplest terms, any group that attempts genocide, ethnic cleansing, crucifies some of its victims, kills women, children, and unarmed civilians in cold blood is evil. The question open for discussion should be on the source of that evil. Is it Islam itself? I.e., has ISIS “hijacked” Islam, or are they merely one of many legitimate variants?

A subsidiary but important question is: If ISIS is a “hijacked” version of Islam, why haven’t the 1.6 billion or so non-ISIS Muslims eliminated it?

I know full well that organized Christianity is not without sin. We have committed evil in the name of our faith in the past. But with modern times has come the recognition of that evil, and a great deal of effort towards its elimination.

We Christians are hardly perfect, and none of us is without sin.  From Pope Francis to any cleric, to any one of us who sit in the pews of a Sunday.  But know this:  we know what is right, and what is wrong.  When we don’t do what is right, we confess our sins to God and at least attempt to repent.  And we’ve got a pretty good handbook in the form of Scripture.

Where are the Islamic gospels that teach them to love the stranger in their midst?

“Homegrown”

How to deal with ISIS and other Islamic terror groups? There are some basic remedies that are simple in concept but in today’s politically correct world almost impossible to implement.

The first remedy is to know our enemy.

They are rooted in Islam. Islam, that is, as practiced by a significant minority of the world’s Muslims. Open for later discussion is whether Islamic terrorists have “hijacked” Islam, or some other variant of excuses for the “Religion of Peace.” The point is that even a very small percentage of 1.6 billion Muslims world-wide is a large number of jihadists. “Hijacked” or not, before we can deal with them effectively, we need to acknowledge the root cause.

This is preparatory to the shock-headline, “British-born rapper is main suspect in search for ISIS jihadist who beheaded James Foley.” “British-born.” A “homegrown” terrorist. Oh, my.

Which makes no substantial difference. He is a Muslim, and, according to the news reports, went to join his co-coreligionists in carrying out violent jihad. It is as simple as that.

Take no comfort in that “homegrown” label. He does not look like those of us of British, Irish, or other Northern European backgrounds. He looks like who he is: a person of Egyptian heritage. He is a British citizen only because of how squishy and politically correct Britain has become.

Are there jihadists who look like I do, which is to say fair skin, red-blonde hair, and blue eyes? Possibly. But such individuals are, so far, extremely rare. In the black swan, man-bites-dog category.

Which leads to the second obvious remedy: profile. Profile, and examine behaviors with extra special scrutiny.

Look extra hard and anyone entering Britain or America who happens to appear to be from the Middle East or South Asia. Or from places like Nigeria or other Muslim-infested hellholes. Examine their behavior; vet them as much as possible before allowing them in. If those who travel from the Middle East already hold an American, UK, or EU passport, track them once they enter our country.

Sound harsh? Perhaps. Would you rather have some hurt feelings among the innocent, or prevent another 9/11 or worse?

We can have a safe society, or we can have an open-borders society. We can’t have both.

Rabid

In case you missed this story, it seems some of the more aggressive proponents of the Religion of Peace have beheaded yet another innocent.   ISIS is a terrorist organization, and despite what you might have heard, they are not qualitatively different than Hamas, al-qaeda, or any other Islamic “militant” group.   Their goal remains: cleansing the Middle East, if not the entire world, of anyone who does not believe exactly what they profess to believe.

Heartfelt condolences to the family of James Foley, and to all those others who have been murdered, tortured, raped, sold into slavery, or otherwise had their basic human rights trampled.  All in the name of Islam, of course.

How to respond?  Well, ISIS are like unto rabid dogs.  One is not able to negotiate, reason, cajole, or otherwise negate the threat from such animals.  Only brute force, lethal force, will do the job.  Put ISIS down by as much lethal force as we may be able to muster.  And don’t worry overmuch about “collateral damage.” 

ISIS, Hamas, al-quaeda, and all the rest of the rabid dog brigades won’t worry, I can assure you.  And the sooner all of these animals are put down, the lower will be the total body count.

As for the “moderate ” Muslims, the noise they are making about how bad these animals are is positively deafening.  I’m almost unable to hear the crickets.

Christian values

As a Baptist, I’ve never understood anyone who considers themselves to be Christian yet denies our Jewish heritage. Or, worse yet, applies an egregious double standard to the State of Israel, where its enemies may commit any atrocity and be blameless, while Israel must be perfect.

Stated differently, we commonly refer in our nation to our Judeo-Christian heritage. This comes rather naturally from the fact that what we call the Old Testament has the same books, is the same canon, as the Tanach used by Jews.

There are quite a few in America who simply don’t get this, who somehow think that we Christians are a totally new breed, that all of Scripture’s lessons may be forgotten, that we have no connection to the Jewish people or Israel.

One man who does get the direct connection between Judaism and Christianity is Rick Perry, who recently had this to say about Israel (via Jennifer Rubin):

“The Jewish values that have transcended time guide Israel and America today, informing our law, our morality and conduct between people of every tribe and tongue. Our forefathers drew inspiration from the ancient Israelites as they sought a new Promised Land, free from the bondage of their oppressors. We live in a land of promise today and we helped re-establish Israel as the Promised Land that millions of Jews could newly call home free from oppression. It is these timeless values that we champion today and it is these timeless values that compel us to speak out for the dignity, security and safety for the free State of Israel.”

Israel, and Christians, have many enemies in today’s world. Some are purely evil, such as Hamas. Others are merely confused or morally blank, such as Obama and many other so-called liberals.

Regardless, I stand with Rick Perry and many others who know the difference. Who don’t prevaricate when it comes to moral clarity. I can’t speak for Governor Perry, but I suspect the source of his clarity is the same as mine: Scripture.

For those who believe, there are few verses stronger than those in Psalm 121:4

Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

There has to be some reason that Israel has survived, given that it is in a sea of enemies. As a Christian, I am with John the Evangelist, who wrote (John 4:22) “…salvation is of the Jews.” It is as simple as that.

But, in today’s world, so-called liberals, seem only to care for Jews who are victims. Jews with guns? Horrors.

“Absolutely unacceptable”

These are the ringing words of the Montgomery County, Maryland Superintendent of schools, Joshua P. Starr. What is the apparently non-negotiable educational problem in Montgomery County? Why, according to this story in the Washington Post, “disproportionality.”

In English, this means that all racial and (presumably) identifiable ethnic groups (but only the right sort of ethnic groups) must perform in all aspects of school in direct proportion to their presence in the student population.

That is, if a school is 15 percent black, then no more than 15 percent of disciplinary actions may be handed out to blacks. I don’t know if the bien pensants of Montgomery County would be incensed or even care if blacks were disciplined at a rate lower than their presence in the population. But if more than that magic percentage are disciplined, then there is a major, major problem.

According to the great minds who run MoCo’s schools, as it is (un)affectionately called, this can only be the result of racism. And, in classic lefty fashion, the reductio ad absurdum racism of the Bull Connor, KKK variety. Jim Crow is in full force, there in upscale and progressive MoCo in the 21st century.

Look, we all know that some students get picked on. And there’s no doubt in my mind that there is some racism. But perhaps the MoCo worthies could step back, take a deep breath, and perhaps, just perhaps, acknowledge that race is no longer a controlling factor.

What may be controlling is socio-economic status. In simplest terms, children from poor homes, from homes without two parents, from homes that don’t provide safety and comfort, are going to be much more likely to get into trouble. White, black, or any color or creed.

Thus it was when I went to school; thus it will always be. To say that an unequal result in “absolutely unacceptable” is to proclaim that the schools will do anything to eliminate it. Right now, it appears the MoCo’s actions are to simply reduce punishment across the board. And then to declare victory if the “suspension gap” is narrowed. Nevermind that there is still a gap, and that it got smaller only by changing some disciplinary actions.

Akin to making standard tests easier if the wrong people fail them, I would suggest. Also, although I’ve no direct evidence, common sense tells me that certain students more leeway than others. Based solely on their race.

Such is it always with those who are offended by the fact that we are not all equal in every aspect of life. That root causes may not lie in racism for every perceived or actual wrong.