Cartoon by Michael Ramirez
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
I heard Paul Harvey tell this story on the radio at Christmas time a few years ago. I liked it then, and it's only grown on me since. But my attempts to find a copy of the story were unsuccessful until earlier this year, when I found a similar (but different) story. That enabled me to find the one I remembered, at last. It's still worth sharing.
As read on the radio
Unable to trace its proper parentage, I have designated this as my Christmas story of "The Man and the Birds." You know the Christmas story, the God born a man in a manger, and all that escapes some moderns mostly, I think, because they seek complex answers to their questions, and this one's so utterly simple. So for the cynics and the skeptics and the unconvinced, I submit a modern parable:
Now, the man to whom I'm going to introduce you was not a Scrooge; he was a kind, descent, mostly good man, generous to his family, upright in his dealings with other men. But he just didn't believe all that incarnation stuff which the churches proclaim at Christmastime. It just didn't make sense, and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just couldn't swallow the Jesus story about God coming to earth as a man.
"I'm truly sorry to distress you," he told his wife, "but I'm not going with you to church this Christmas Eve." He said he'd feel like a hypocrite, that he'd much rather just stay at home, but that he would wait up for them. And so he stayed, and they went to the midnight service.
Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier, and then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound, then another, and then another, sort of a thump or a thud. At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window; but when he went to the front door to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They'd been caught in the storm, and in a desperate search for shelter had tried to fly through his large landscape window.
Well, he couldn't let the poor creatures lie there and freeze, so he remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would provide a warm shelter, if he could direct the birds to it.
Quickly he put on a coat, galoshes, tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on a light, but the birds did not come in. He figured food would entice them in, so he hurried back to the house, fetched breadcrumbs, sprinkled them on the snow, making a trail to the yellow-lighted, wide-opened doorway of the stable. But to his dismay the birds ignored the breadcrumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow. He tried catching them; he tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms. Instead, they scattered in every direction, except into the warm, lighted barn.
And then he realized that they were afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature. If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me, that I'm not trying to hurt them, but to help them. But how? Because any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them. They just would not follow; they would not be led or shooed, because they feared him.
If only I could be a bird, he thought to himself, and mingle with them and speak their language! Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I could show them the way to the safe, warm . . . to the safe warm barn . . . but I would have to be one of them, so they could see and hear and understand. At that moment, the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears above the sound of the wind, and he stood there listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. . . . And he sank to his knees in the snow.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
As a African-American convert to Islam, a soldier, and as someone who actually can read, I would have to say that anyone who thinks what Steyn has said is either racist or objectionable is a complete douchebag. The Canadian Muslim groups that have complained are essentially terrorist front organizations and Steyn should wear there offense as a badge of honor.
I am sick and tired of white liberals apologizing for the subhuman filth that has degraded my beautiful religion. The Islam that I practice stresses self-discipline and tolerance for one’s neighbors. I have fought the Wahhabi scum in both Afghanistan and Iraq and will be going back to Iraq soon to finish the job. I personally find it pathetic to find that I am fighting in Iraq to give Iraqis a right to free speech, while Canada seeks to chill legitimate political discourse.
Comment by Ty Shareef to an attack on writer Mark Steyn.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
“Freedom of expression” did not develop in the West from purely idealistic motives. Nor is it necessarily a pretty thing. Like so much in civil society, we put up with it because the alternative is worse, and we'd rather cope with free speech, than with the free intimidation that results from its suppression.
David Warren is exactly right. That's why, in this country, no one has a right not to be offended. I, myself, am frequently offended especially by those who insult my intelligence with their stupid propaganda. But, ....
The proper response to offensive speech and to stupid speech is more free speech, not less. Let them talk, and they will demonstrate conclusively the stupidity of their position. Censor them, and you make martyrs of people who don't merit being listened to and you make it possible for other idiots to build support for them without having to admit what they actually said.
In the case of the David Warren column, some members of the Religion of Perpetual OutrageTM are offended that Maclean's published an excerpt of a Mark Steyn book, and have filed complaints with the national and provincial "Human Rights Commissions" in Canada. On this, David Warren says
I'm with him.
My hope is that this case against Mark Steyn and Maclean's will be fruitful. It will be, if it inspires enough people -- especially journalists, of all political persuasions -- to express outrage at what has been done; and inspires Canada's free citizens into the necessary political action to put an end to the human rights commissions themselves. The worst possible result, is if the case fails to produce this response.
The House of Representatives has passed a patch to the IRS code to prevent the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) from hitting millions of taxpayers this year, but raising $80 million in new taxes to "pay for" this "tax reduction." The Senate has passed a similar bill but, thanks to the Senate Republicans, without the attached tax increase.