1. For those of you who don't believe something until you see a graph, here is a map of the NBA. It looks accurate to me. You can see why San Antonio dominated Cleveland in the finals. The other maps, about fouling, speed and so on, are also interesting.
By the way, it's August 7 as I write, baseball is heading toward an exciting September of scoreboard watching and football is about to start preseason games. So what was LA sports talk radio talking about when I turned it on today? You guessed it. The Lakers. The latest rumors and speculation involve Jermaine O'Neal being traded to LA. The Dodgers and Angels are both good this year, but people would still rather talk about the Lakers. (It might be different if we had a football team.)
2. The web site for a movie coming out on August 10th, Stardust, says, "A philosopher once asked, are we human because we gaze at the stars or do we gaze at them because we are human?" The answer is the latter. Gazing at the stars I take to be a woozy metaphor for having ideals. Humans need morality because they have a conceptual consciousness that is fallible, therefore they lack an automatic guide to action. So human nature comes first, then gazing at the stars.
3. Good piece on why most terrorist attacks have failed since 9-11. The ultimate WMD is money, which right now is being spent in Iraq. But this reminds me how outrageous it is that money still flows from Saudi Arabia to terrorists. That is money from our "friends" meant to kill us. It's time to get serious with those sleazy bastards.
4. Religious conservative Michael Medved disagrees with Congressman Tancredo about the possible use of nuclear weapons against Muslim holy cities:
In a desperate effort to revive his floundering presidential campaign, Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo has returned to his unhinged and wildly irresponsible discussion of punitive bombing of Muslim holy sites in Saudi Arabia.
On “This Week” on ABC, he suggested that such threats against Mecca and Medina could serve to deter Islamic terrorists from staging nuclear attacks on the United States. In the Republican debate of August 5th, Representative Tancredo portentously intoned: “I read the national intelligence estimate. I see what they are planning. And I’m telling you right now that anybody that would suggest that we should take anything like this off the table in order to deter that kind of event in the United States isn’t fit to be president of the United States.”
I see nothing wrong with Tancredo's "portentously intoned" statement. If we're to fight a war seriously, nothing should be off the table, as nothing was in WWII.
I don't think bombing Mecca will be necessary; bombing Tehran might suffice. But if it is necessary, then it's necessary. Medved's argument boils down to: if we bomb Mecca, then we'll make all Muslims angry at us. To which I say, if our survival is at stake, I can live with that.
Medved's confusion seems to come from the fact that we are at war with one of the world's great religions, a mythology that has some billion adherents. Totalitarian Islam has its roots in the Koran itself, a reprehensible product of the Dark Ages. You can say we're fighting terrorism, you can say Islam is a religion of peace, you can whine "can't we all get along" but none of this changes the fact that we are in a war with Islam. It's Islam against the world. This does not mean all Muslims are evil; only the ones who take their religion seriously.
(Gus Van Horn beat me to this one.)
5. Ann C. of Creative Life is the new Artistic Director of the Austin Shakespeare Festival.
6. Elizabeth Edwards is in trouble because she said,
We can't make John black, we can't make him a woman...
She committed a postmodern faux pas: she told the truth. Multiculturalism has created a new Victorianism -- there are things polite people simply do not say. This has a lot to do with why leftists cannot succeed in talk radio.