Tuesday, June 11, 2013

We Can’t Behave as If 9/11 Never Happened. By Thomas L. Friedman.

Blowing a Whistle. By Thomas L. Friedman. New York Times, June 11, 2013.

We are shocked, shocked . . .  By David Simon. The Audacity of Despair, June 7, 2013.

The Trouble Within Islam. By Tony Blair.

The Trouble Within Islam. By Tony Blair. Project Syndicate, June 10, 2013. Also at the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.


When I return to Jerusalem soon, it will be my 100th visit to the Middle East since leaving office, working to build a Palestinian state. I see first-hand what is happening in this region.

So I understand the desire to look at this world and explain it by reference to local grievances, economic alienation, and, of course, “crazy people.” But can we really find no common thread, nothing that connects the dots of conflict, no sense of an ideology driving or at least exacerbating it all?

There is not a problem with Islam. For those of us who have studied it, there is no doubt about its true and peaceful nature. There is not a problem with Muslims in general. Most in Britain are horrified at Rigby’s murder.

But there is a problem within Islam, and we have to put it on the table and be honest about it. There are, of course, Christian extremists and Jewish, Buddhist, and Hindu ones. But I am afraid that the problematic strain within Islam is not the province of a few extremists. It has at its heart a view of religion – and of the relationship between religion and politics – that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies. At the extreme end of the spectrum are terrorists, but the worldview goes deeper and wider than it is comfortable for us to admit. So, by and large, we don’t admit it.

This has two effects. First, those who hold extreme views believe that we are weak, and that gives them strength. Second, those Muslims – and the good news is that there are many – who know the problem exists, and want to do something about it, lose heart.

Throughout the Middle East and beyond, a struggle is playing out. On one side, there are Islamists and their exclusivist and reactionary worldview. They comprise a significant minority, loud and well organized. On the other side are the modern minded, those who hated the old oppression by corrupt dictators and despise the new oppression by religious fanatics. They are potentially the majority; unfortunately, they are badly organized.

The seeds of future fanaticism and terror – possibly even major conflict – are being sown. Our task is to help sow the seeds of reconciliation and peace. But clearing the ground for peace is not always peaceful.

The long and hard conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have made Western powers wary of foreign intervention. But we should never forget why these conflicts were long and hard: we allowed failed states to come into being.

Saddam Hussein was responsible for two major wars, in which hundreds of thousands died, many by chemical weapons. He killed similar numbers of his own people. The Taliban grew out of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and turned the country into a training ground for terror. Once these regimes were removed, both countries began to struggle against the same forces promoting violence and terror in the name of religion everywhere.

Not every engagement need be military, and not every military engagement must involve troops. But disengaging from this struggle won’t bring us peace.

Neither will security alone. While revolutionary communism was resisted by resoluteness on security, it was ultimately defeated by a better idea: freedom. The same can be done here. The better idea is a modern view of religion and its place in society and politics – a model based on respect and equality among people of different faiths. Religion may have a voice in the political system, but it must not govern it.

We have to start with children, here and abroad. That is why I established a foundation whose specific purpose is to educate children of different faiths around the world to learn about each other and live with each other. We are now in 20 countries, and the programs work. But it is a drop in the ocean compared with the flood of intolerance taught to so many.

Now, more than ever, we have to be strong, and we have to be strategic.

What Muslims Get Right. By Bill Cosby.

A plague called apathy. By Bill Cosby. New York Post, June 8, 2013.


I’m a Christian. But Muslims are misunderstood. Intentionally misunderstood. We should all be more like them. They make sense, especially with their children. There is no other group like the Black Muslims, who put so much effort into teaching children the right things, they don’t smoke, they don’t drink or overindulge in alcohol, they protect their women, they command respect. And what do these other people do?

They complain about them, they criticize them. We’d be a better world if we emulated them. We don’t have to become black Muslims, but we can embrace the things that work.

Bill Cosby: We Should All Be More Like Muslims. Breitbart, June 10, 2013.

Allen West on Bill Cosby’s pro-Muslim post: Are you crazy? By Cheryl K Chumley. Washington Times, June 11, 2013.

Allen West’s Blunt Response to Bill Cosby’s “We Should All Be More Like Muslims” Remark. By Jason Howerton. The Blaze, June 10, 2013.

Allen West:

2day in NY Post, Bill Cosby said we should b more like Muslims. U mean honor killings, beheadings, suicide bombings? Hope ur kidding sir.

Bill Cosby’s pro-Muslim post causes a stir. Video with Allen West. Hannity. Fox News, June 11, 2013. At YouTube here, here, here, here.

Paul Fronczack, Reunited With the Wrong Parents As a Baby 49 Years Ago, Discovers the Truth.

Heartbreak and shock of man who believed he was baby kidnapped from hospital in 1964 – only to be told 50 years later he is NOT related to the parents to whom he was returned. By Michael Zennie. Daily Mail, June 2, 2013.

Twice disappeared: Paul Joseph Fronczakrealizes he’s NOT kidnapped baby claimed by parents. By Nina Golgowski. New York Daily News, June 3, 2013.

Baby Reunited With Wrong Parents 50 Years Ago Discovers Truth. Video. AOL On.

Paralyzed Bride Rachelle Friedman on How to Rise Above the Challenges of Change.

Paralyzed bride Rachelle Friedman Chapman with husband Chris Chapman

“Paralyzed Bride”: How to Rise Above the Challenges of Change. By Rachelle Friedman. The Mobility Resource, June 10, 2013. Also at The Huffington Post.

Bride-to-Be Rachelle Friedman Is Paralyzed After a Bachelorette Party Joke Went Wrong. By Emily Friedman. ABC News, November 17, 2010.

Paralyzed bride-to-be determined to beself-reliant, get married. By Phil Gast. CNN, November 22, 2010.

Paralyzed bride: “You can be sexy in a wheelchair.” By Scott Stump. Today. NBC News, March 30, 2012.

“The Paralyzed Bride” Talks Life & Sex as a 27-Year-Old Quadriplegic. The Daily Beast, February 27, 2013. Full Q&A at Reddit.

Rachelle Friedman website.

Prank leaves bride-to-be Rachelle Friedman paralyzed. Video. HLN, November 19, 2010. YouTube.

Rachelle Friedman and Chris Chapman Wedding Video. 1800registryvideo, April 3, 2012. YouTube.

Rachelle Friedman and Chris Chapman Return from Fiji. Video. 1800registryvideo, April 3, 2012. YouTube. Also at Today. NBC, August 5, 2011.

Paralyzed bride’s “big step to independence.” Video. Today. NBC, March 30, 2012.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Ozymandias. By Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Shelley's vision of Ozymandias.  David Roberts, Fragments of the Great Colossi (of Rameses II), at the Memnonium (Ramesseum), 1838.

Ozymandias. By Percy Bysshe Shelley. The Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley in Verse and Prose. Vol. 1. Edited by Harry Buxton Forman. London: Reeves and Turner, 1880. Originally published in The Examiner, January 11, 1818, p. 24. Also here. (Horace Smith’s version on p. 74).


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s haunting sonnet “Ozymandias” is one of the most powerful poems ever written. Shelley, inspired by travelers’ descriptions of Egypt’s fallen grandeur, wrote a poetic meditation on the death of civilizations and the hubris of autocrats and kings; how even the greatest monuments to their megalomania and vanity are destined to crumble into the dust. The Ozymandias of the poem was of Rameses II (r. 1279-1213 BC), often considered the Pharaoh of the Exodus. The name Ozymandias is a Greek transliteration of the first part of Rameses’s throne name Usermaatre Setepenre, “Ra’s mighty truth, chosen of Ra.” The statue in the poem may have been based on descriptions of the fallen statue of Rameses at the Ramesseum in Thebes, which would be drawn by the Scottish artist David Roberts in 1838, twenty years after Shelley wrote his poem.

The Library of History, Book I, Chap. 47. By Diodorus Siculus. Written c. 60 BC.

Diodorus’s description of the Ozymandias statue:

Ten stades from the first tombs, he says, in which, according to tradition, are buried the concubines of Zeus, stands a monument of the king known as Osymandyas. At its entrance there is a pylon, constructed of variegated stone, two plethra in breadth and forty-five cubits high; passing through this one enters a rectangular peristyle, built of stone, four plethra long on each side; it is supported, in place of pillars, by monolithic figures sixteen cubits high, wrought in the ancient manner as to shape; and the entire ceiling, which is two fathoms wide, consists of a single stone, which is highly decorated with stars on a blue field. Beyond this peristyle there is yet another entrance and pylon, in every respect like the one mentioned before, save that it is more richly wrought with every manner of relief; beside the entrance are three statues, each of a single block of black stone from Syene, of which one, that is seated, is the largest of any in Egypt, the foot measuring over seven cubits, while the other two at the knees of this, the one on the right and the other on the left, daughter and mother respectively, are smaller than the one first mentioned. And it is not merely for its size that this work merits approbation, but it is also marvellous by reason of its artistic quality and excellent because of the nature of the stone, since in a block of so great a size there is not a single crack or blemish to be seen. The inscription upon it runs: “King of Kings am I, Osymandyas. If anyone would know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works.” There is also another statue of his mother standing alone, a monolith twenty cubits high, and it has three diadems on its head, signifying that she was both daughter and wife and mother of a king.

Travelers from an Antique Land: Shelley’s Inspiration for “Ozymandias.” By John Rodenbeck. Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, No. 24 (2004).

Exploring Exodus: The Oppression. By Nahum M. Sarna. The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 49, No. 2 (June 1986).

Shelley’s “Ozymandias.” By Johnstone Parr. Keats-Shelley Journal, Vol. 6 (Winter 1957).

Ozymandias and the Travelers. By H.M. Richmond. Keats-Shelley Journal, Vol. 11 (Winter 1962).

Shelley’s “Ozymandias” and Diodorus Siculus. By J. Gwyn Griffiths. The Modern Language Review, Vol. 43, No. 1 (January 1948).

Ozymandias: Shelley, Horace Smith, and Denon. By Eugene M. Waith. Keats-Shelley Journal, Vol. 44 (1995).

Travels in Upper and Lower Egypt During the Campaigns of General Bonaparte in that Country. Vol. 2. By Vivant Denon. New York: Heard and Forman, 1803. Reference to Osymandias on p. 252.

Denon’s description of the Ozymandias statue:

At the north of these temples we found the ruins of two figures of granite, overthrown and broken. They might have been about thirty-six feet in height: their attitude was the usual one, of the right foot advanced, and the arms hanging down beside the body; and they doubtless adorned the gate of some large edifices, the ruins of which are now buried under the soil. I then went to the two colossi, supposed to be those of Memnon, and took an accurate drawing of their actual state of preservation. These two pieces of art, which are without grace, expression, or action, have nothing which seduces the judgment; but their proportions are faultless, and this simplicity of attitude, and want of decided expression, has something of majesty and seriousness, which cannot fail to strike the beholder. If the limbs of these figures had been distorted in order to express some violent passion, the harmony of their outline would have been lost, and they would be less conspicuous at the distance at which they begin to strike the eye, and produce their effect on the mind of the spectator, for they may be distinguished as far as four leagues off. To pronounce upon the character of these statues, it is necessary to have seen them at several intervals, and to have long reflected on them; and after this it often happens, that what is at first considered as the work of the infancy of art, becomes assigned to its maturer age. If the group of the Laocoon, which speaks to the soul as well as to the eyes, were executed in a proportion of sixty feet, it would lose all its beauty, and would not present so striking a mass of workmanship as this; in short, if these statues were more agreeable, they would be less beautiful, as they would then cease to be (what they now are) eminently monumental, a character which should belong peculiarly to that outdoor sculpture, which is intended to harmonize with architecture, a style of sculpture which the Egyptians have carried to the highest pitch of perfection.

I have no hesitation in appealing for the truth of this system, to the happy result which has always attended the use of this severe style by the moderns, and the partiality which all the artists in our Egyptian expedition have acquired for the grave and simple, a partiality which is a most decisive proof that its beauty is not merely an idea.

I again examined the block of granite, which lies between these two statues, and I am still more convinced that it is the ruins of the famous colossal statue of Osymandias, who, on the inscription, braved both the ravages of time and the pride of men; and that the two figures which are left standing, are those of his wife and daughter. I am likewise persuaded, that in a much later period, travellers have chosen to suppose one of the latter statues to be that of Memnon, that they might not be supposed to have come away from Egypt without seeing it, and according to the usual progress of enthusiasm, that they have fancied they heard the sound which it was famed for uttering at the rising of the sun.

Photograph of the Ozymandias colossus at the Ramesseum

Lt. Col. Ralph Peters: “Bring Back the Death Penalty” for Edward Snowden.

Making treason cool. By Ralph Peters. New York Post, June 10, 2013.

Leaker loving his celebrity.  The Jacksonian perspective on Snowden and Manning.

NSA Leaker Is No Hero. By Max Boot. Commentary, June 9, 2013.

Edward Snowden’s Parallel Universe. By Max Boot. Commentary, June 11, 2013.

Snowden’s Quest Isn’t About Civil Liberties. By Max Boot. Commentary, June 12, 2013.

NSA secrets leaker: Hero or traitor? Video. The Five. Fox News, June 10, 2013. YouTube.

Fox News analyst Ralph Peters: “Bring back the death penalty” for NSA leaker. With Video. By David Edwards. The Raw Story, June 10, 2013. Also at NewsHounds. The Huffington Post. Real Clear PoliticsYouTube.

Edward Snowden: The Whistleblower Behind the NSA Surveillance Revelations. By Glenn Greenwald. NJBR, June 10, 2013.


Forget skinny ties and retro hats: The surest way to attain super-cool status (and fame) today is to betray your country.

The impossibly self-important NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, who “exposed” two vital intelligence programs, isn’t a leftie Paul Revere. He’s Kim Kardashian with stubble.

He revealed very highly classified programs, alerting our enemies about our most sophisticated intelligence-collection capabilities (programs designed to keep us safe, not spy on us).He broke his oath to protect the information with which we entrusted him, lied about who we target and aided those who want to kill Americans. And he hints he could do more damage.

To this old-fashioned American, that’s plain treason.

It’s always been a hipster thing to trash government, but the left’s generations-long effort to destroy the positive image of patriotism has made betraying our country a fashion statement. Snowden is a copycat who “admires” Pfc. Bradley Manning, another now-famous young man who knew better than those who serve dutifully for decades. He’s also enamored of Julian Assange, the left’s favorite accused rapist.

There’s nothing brave about his brag that he was the source of the NSA leaks (especially since he fled the country first). This is clearly about the desire to be a star.

To get a sense of Snowden’s phenomenal vanity, check out the 12-minute film (all over the Internet) in which he justifies his deed. The high-school dropout may have a flair for tech, but he knows nothing about our history, trade relations, international affairs or even the conditions in Hong Kong (where he says he now fears assassination by CIA-backed Triad gangsters).

Claiming that he only wants to make government accountable, Snowden then brags that he could expose CIA stations around the world. He wants “asylum from any countries that believe in free speech.” So he went to China? Hope you enjoy your stay, Mr. Snowden.

In his I-love-me interview, he further opines that the American people, not the government, should decide about programs such as those he revealed. He should have stayed in school until he got to the Civics block on democracy. The American public does vote on these programs — through their representatives in Congress. That’s why we have regular elections.

And to my leftist friends: Do you really want a 29-year-old high-school dropout, rather than Congress, deciding which intelligence programs should be authorized? Really? Sounds like a dictatorship to me.

Snowden, not the NSA, subverted democracy.

It may disappoint conservatives, but I’m a fan of Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.). I don’t agree with all of her positions, but I respect her integrity. Protective of civil liberties, she’s an excellent litmus test on intelligence matters. And Feinstein believes the NSA programs in question help keep us safe.

Again to my leftist friends: Do you really think Snowden or Manning or Assange care more about your freedom than Sen. Feinstein?

There is a scandal here, though, one that’s overdue for serious attention: the out-of-control use of contractors to perform vital government services.

This is a mess for which Republicans bear the chief blame. For a generation, they’ve insisted that the private sector can perform all government work cheaper and better — even when it comes to national security. But as I’ve seen myself, from the Pentagon to Iraq, it ain’t cheaper and it’s rarely better.

This spoiled-brat, dropout Benedict Arnold claims he was pulling down a $200,000 salary for his NSA contract work. A direct NSA employee on the government payroll might get between $75,000 and $90,000 for the same work. And the contractor adds on exorbitant overhead, so Snowden probably cost us at least $500,000 per year. Wonder why we’ve seen the defense and intelligence budgets soar?

Obviously, Snowden’s employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, failed in its oversight duty. But contractors are desperate for techies with security clearances, and Snowden already was cleared above top secret. There was no incentive to look too closely at him: The company needed a warm body in Hawaii.

And Booz Allen Hamilton is actually one of the better contracting outfits.

So: We have a fame-hungry traitor, a compromise of vital security programs, a turncoat who’s put himself at China’s mercy, the left-leaning media making the creep a hero and contractors desperate to cover up their greed.

Coming to a TV near you: “Real Spies of DC.”

Fixing the Digital Economy. By Jaron Lanier.

Fixing the Digital Economy. By Jaron Lanier. New York Times, June 8, 2013.

The Meta Question. By Jaron Lanier. The Nation, June 12, 2013.

Israel Prods Ultra-Orthodox to “Share Burden.” By Jodi Rudoren.

Israel Prods Ultra-Orthodox to “Share Burden.” By Jodi Rudoren. New York Times, June 6, 2013.