Over 500 Christians slaughtered in Nigeria

Muslims in Nigeria have massacred over 500 Christians in a horrific outbreak of violence:

UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Washington led calls for restraint on Monday after the slaughter of more than 500 Christians in Nigeria, as survivors told how the killers chopped down their victims.Funerals took place for victims of the three-hour orgy of violence on Sunday in three Christian villages close to the northern city of Jos, blamed on members of the mainly Muslim Fulani ethnic group.

While troops were deployed to the villages to prevent new attacks, security forces detained 95 suspects but faced bitter criticism over how the killers were able to go on the rampage at a time when a curfew was meant to be in force.Media reported that Muslim residents of the villages in Plateau state had been warned by phone text message, two days prior to the attack, so they could make good their escape before the exit points were sealed off.

Survivors said the attackers were able to separate the Fulanis from members of the rival Berom group by chanting “nagge”, the Fulani word for cattle. Those who failed to respond in the same language were hacked to death.

One local paper said the gangs shouted Allah Akhbar God is Great before breaking into homes and setting them alight in the early hours of Sunday. Churches were among the buildings that were burned down.

via AFP: Appeals for calm after Nigerian sectarian slaughter.

Do we need a Protestant on the Supreme Court?

John Paul Stevens is the only Supreme Court Justice who is a Protestant.  He will soon turn 90.   There are six Catholics, some liberal and some conservative, and two Jews.   And yet 51% of Americans are Protestant.  Lately, there has been an effort to diversify the court, so that now women, African-Americans, and Latinos are represented.  Once Justice Stevens dies or resigns, should he be replaced with a token Protestant?

High Court: Does religion still matter? – washingtonpost.com.

UPDATE: Daniel Gorman in his comment gives the right answer. And yet, isn’t it strange that Protestants, despite constituting a majority of the population, are so under-represented in those halls of learning and power. Used to, the W.A.S.P.’s (white anglo-saxon Protestants) constituted the power elite in this country. I don’t think they do anymore. Why do you think that is?

Wanting it both ways

From Victor Davis Hanson:

We want all the dividends of industrial society, but an 18th century wilderness at the same time. . . .The redwood deck is beloved, not the falling coast redwood tree; kitchen granite counters are de rigueur, not the blasting at the top of the granite mountain; the Prius is a badge of honor, not the chemical plant that makes its batteries; we now like stainless steel frigs, but hate steel’s coke, and iron ore, and electricity lines; arugula is tasty, not the canal that brings water 400 miles to irrigate it; I support teacher unions and -studies courses in the public schools, but not with my Ivy-League bound children. . . .

The well-off like nice cars, tasteful homes, good food, and appropriate vacations — but not the oil, gas, coal, nuclear energy, transmission lines, timber, cement, farmland, water pumps, etc., that bring that to them.

“Hurt Locker” beats “Avatar”

“Hurt Locker,” the intense thriller about an American bomb squad in Iraq–a low budget film with a tiny audience–beat the 3-D anti-military environmentalist blockbuster “Avatar” in the Academy Awards.   “Avatar” won the cinematography and art direction, as was proper, but “Hurt Locker” won best picture and best director (to Kathy Bigelow, ex-wife of “Avatar’s” James Cameron), among others.

Sandra Bullock won best actress for the pro-Christian “The Blind Side.”   “Precious,” the heart-rending depiction of an abused, neglected, overweight African-American child took a number of awards.  On the whole, it was a good night for positive movies.

I didn’t think “Avatar” would win much, despite the record money it is making.  Actors make up a big percentage of the Academy voters, and they, on the whole, are scared of the prospect of being replaced with computer-animations.  (Yes, I know there were actors somewhere behind the elongated blue aliens, but it isn’t the same as old-school acting.)

Full list of Oscar winners – NYPOST.com.

Analogies

I love analogies.  Here is one from Charles Krauthammer on a conundrum in the health care reform bill:

Obama was reduced to suggesting that his health-care reform was indeed popular because when you ask people about individual items (for example, eliminating exclusions for preexisting conditions or capping individual out-of-pocket payments), they are in favor.

Yet mystifyingly they oppose the whole package. How can that be?

Allow me to demystify. Imagine a bill granting every American a free federally delivered ice cream every Sunday morning. Provision 2: steak on Monday, also home delivered. Provision 3: a dozen red roses every Tuesday. You get the idea. Would each individual provision be popular in the polls? Of course.

However (life is a vale of howevers) suppose these provisions were bundled into a bill that also spelled out how the goodies are to be paid for and managed — say, half a trillion dollars in new taxes, half a trillion in Medicare cuts (cuts not to keep Medicare solvent but to pay for the ice cream, steak and flowers), 118 new boards and commissions to administer the bounty-giving, and government regulation dictating, for example, how your steak is to be cooked. How do you think this would poll?

Perhaps something like 3 to 1 against, which is what the latest CNN poll shows is the citizenry’s feeling about the current Democratic health-care bills.

What are some other analogies that might help us understand current issues?

(This is not a thread about the health care bill, as such. Challenge the aptness of Krauthammer’s analogy, if you wish, but what I’d like to see are more analogies.)

Perceptions of the Pentagon shooter

The Washington Post on Saturday carried two front page stories, side by side, on John Patrick Bedell, the man who shot and wounded two guards at the Pentagon before he was killed.  The one story, Pentagon shooter, others strike symbols of ‘power for the powerless’, framed the attack in terms of anti-government groups, such as the Tea Party movement and right-wing militias.   “Researchers who track violent groups see Bedell’s rampage as a distorted manifestation of the anti-Washington view that has driven the rise of right-wing militias.”

And yet, the accompanying news article describes a marijuana activist whom friends described as a “peacenik” known for his 9/11 denial and his online rants against George W. Bush. In other words, this mentally-disturbed 36-year-old was a creature of the left rather than of the right, despite the impression created by the feature story.

Yes, Bedell believed in wild conspiracy theories–maintaining that the government was taken over by a “coup” when JFK was assassinated and that it has been run by a sinister non-democratic cabal ever since–but such fantasies are commonplace on the hard left as well as the hard right.