ANDREW BOSTOM: AMERICANS UNDERSTAND THE ISLAMIC WORLD BETTER THAN GEORGE BUSH Wednesday, former President George W. Bush delivered a speech in Washington, D.C. at an event entitled “Celebration of Human Freedom,” sponsored by his presidential foundation, the George W. Bush Institute. The former president observed astutely that “freedom is a powerful force but it does not advance on wheels of historical inevitability.” But then Mr. […]

ROGER KIMBALL: THE NUMBERS….MUST SEE THESE CHARTS A friend sent me the following graphs. I’d seen, indeed posted here, some of them already; some were new to me. Taken together they tell a sorry story of failure. Advertisement      


The Death of the Hockey Stick?

People who have been following the climate debate closely know that one of the most controversial and key elements of the controversy is the so-called “hockey stick” — a graph of supposed global temperature over the past centuries that ostensibly shows a dramatic increase in average temperature in the last century or so (the upward swoop of the graph at that point is the business end of the stick, with regard to the puck). It vaulted its inventor, Michael Mann of Penn State University, to climate stardom, with associated acclaim and government grants, when he first presented it in the late ’90s. It was the visual basis of much of the hysteria in recent years, from Al Gore’s Oscar-winning crockumentary [1] to bogus reports [2] from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Unfortunately for those promoting the theory (and the potentially economically catastrophic policy recommendations supposedly supported by it), recent events indicate that the last basis of scientific support for the hockey stick may be crumbling. But to understand this, a little background is necessary.

Ultimately, in addition to Mann’s claim for the dramatic recent uptick (which we are supposed to presume was a result of the late industrial revolution and equally dramatic increase in carbon monoxide into the atmosphere as a result of the liberation of carbon from burning long-buried fossil fuels), Keith Briffa of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in England controversially declared, based on Eurasian data, that the well-documented Medieval Warm Period (MWP), from around 950 to 1250 CE — the European Middle Ages — didn’t actually exist.


53,000 Dead Voters Found in Florida

I have learned that Florida election officials are set to announce that the secretary of state has discovered and purged up to 53,000 dead voters from the voter rolls in Florida.

How could 53,000 dead voters have sat on the polls for so long? Simple. Because Florida hadn’t been using the best available data revealing which voters have died. Florida is now using the nationwide Social Security Death Index for determining which voters should be purged because they have died.

Here is the bad news. Most states aren’t using the same database that Florida is. In fact, I have heard reports that some election officials won’t even remove voters even when they are presented with a death certificate. That means that voter rolls across the nation still are filled with dead voters, even if Florida is leading the way in detecting and removing them.

But surely people aren’t voting in the names of dead voters, the voter fraud deniers argue. Wrong.


Consider the case of Lafayette Keaton. Keaton not only voted for a dead person in Oregon, he voted for his dead son. Making Keaton’s fraud easier was Oregon’s vote by mail scheme, which has opened up gaping holes in the integrity of elections. The incident in Oregon just scratches the surface of the problem. Massachusetts and Mississippi are but two other examples of the dead rising on election day.

Florida should be applauded for taking the problem seriously, even if Eric Holder’s Justice Department and many state election officials don’t.

Related: League of Women Voters Aren’t Nonpartisan.


The young man who applied to medical school in the spring of 1933 had graduated from Dartmouth College with good grades, a keen interest in medicine and, according to the university official who interviewed him, a nice sense of humor.The application did not ask about religion, but the interviewer surmised it. “Probably Jewish,” he wrote in a scribbled evaluation, “but no unpleasant evidence of it.”

The handwritten note was found in the admissions files of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. After the implementation of quotas, the proportion of Jews in the student body fell to less than 5 percent in 1938 from nearly half in 1920.

The note is displayed in an exhibition called “Trail of the Magic Bullet: The Jewish Encounter With Modern Medicine, 1860-1960,” on view at Yeshiva University Museum in Manhattan. The exhibition offers a rare look at a topic few patients ever stop to consider: the emergence of European and American Jews as innovators in medicine, despite their status as outsiders frequently scorned by the medical establishment.

While some religions place ultimate responsibility for healing in divine hands, “Jews don’t see a conflict between faith and medicine,” said Alan M. Kraut, a professor of history at American University who helped put together the exhibition and has written extensively about immigration and health.


The year 1880 saw the publication of a book that ranks as the single most important study of Islam ever. Written in German by a young Jewish Hungarian scholar, Ignaz Goldziher, and bearing the nondescript title Muslim Studies (Muhammedanische Studien), it argued that the hadith, the vast body of sayings and actions attributed to the Islamic prophet Mohammed, lacked historical validity. Rather than provide reliable details about Mohammed’s life, the hadith, Goldziher established, emerged from debates two or three centuries later about the nature of Islam.

(This is like today’s Americans debating the Constitution’s much-disputed Second Amendment, concerning the right to bear arms, by claiming newly discovered oral transmissions going back to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Obviously, their quotations would inform us not what was said 225 years ago but about current views.)

Since Goldziher’s day, scholars have been actively pursuing his approach, deepening and developing it into a full-scale account of early Islamic history, one that disputes nearly every detail of Mohammed’s life as conventionally understood — born in a.d. 570, first revelation in 610, flight to Medina in 622, death in 632. But this revisionist history has remained a virtual secret among specialists. For example, Patricia Crone and Michael Cook, authors of the synoptic Hagarism (Cambridge University Press, 1977), deliberately wrote obliquely, thereby hiding their message.

Now, however, two scholars have separately ended this secrecy: Tom Holland with In the Shadow of the Sword, and Robert Spencer with Did Muhammad Exist? As their titles suggest, Spencer is the bolder author, and so is my focus here.


Writing about Israel is a booming field. No news agency, be it ever so humble, can avoid embedding a few correspondents and a dog’s tail of stringers into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, to sit in cafes clicking away on their laptops, meeting up with leftist NGO’s and the oppressed Muslim of the week
At a time when international desks are being cut to the bone, this is the one bone that the newshounds won’t give up. Wars can be covered from thousands of miles away, genocide can go to the back page, but, when a rock flies in the West Bank, there had better be a correspondent with a fake continental accent and a khaki shirt to cover it.

Writing about Israel isn’t hard. Anyone who has consumed a steady diet of media over the years already knows all the bullet points. The trick is arranging them artistically, like so many wilted flowers, in the story of this week’s outrage.

Israel is hot, even in the winter, with the suggestion of violence brimming under the surface. It should be described as a “troubled land.” Throw in occasional ironic biblical references and end every article or broadcast by emphasizing that peace is still far away.

It has two types of people; the Israelis who live in posh houses stocked with all the latest appliances and the Arabs who live in crumbling shacks that are always in danger of being bulldozed. The Israelis are fanatical, the Arabs are passionate. The Israelis are hate-filled, while the Arabs are embittered. The Israelis have everything while the Arabs have nothing.


I have a novel idea. Let’s just let the Middle East stew in its own Islamic juices. Along with the Maghreb, the northern tier nations of Africa, down into Nigeria, wherever you find an Islamic regime, you find millions of very unhappy people.
I am not the only one who feels that way, a Monday, May 14 Rasmussen Reports poll found that 63% “believe there is a conflict in the world today between Western civilization and Islamic nations, but most also think the United States should leave the Islamic world alone.”

Will the Muslims ever practice tolerance or accept peace with the West or anywhere else for that matter? No, never. The Koran-which Obama always refer to as the “holy Koran”-is replete with directives to fight for “Allah’s cause” (Koran: 9.88), to “fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them” (Koran: 9:5) and twenty other calls to war and murder. There is a reason why their weapon of choice is a Muslim man or woman who is willing to kill themselves in order to kill you.

It is just my opinion, but I believe the present “war on global terrorism” will best be fought covertly with a well-funded, covert intelligence and a counter-terrorism program, not by a massed army followed by a decade of “nation building.”

In the recent past, people throughout the Middle East forced out Tunisia’s despot, killed Libya’s despot, removed Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak from office, and are fighting and dying to get rid of Syria’s despot, Bashar Assad. Both Yemen and Somalia are basket cases with tribal warfare the order of the day. Even the Iranians have demonstrated their unhappiness, taking away Amadinejad’s majority in their parliament. He recently abandoned his usual bellicose talk of wiping Israel off the map.

You cannot point to a single Islamic nation from Morocco to Bahrain that has not had demonstrations intended to pressure their monarchs into granting greater freedom and what we would call democratic reform. As long as Sharia law is in the mix, that’s not a likely outcome.

It took just over seventy years from 1917 to 1991 to bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union, but Islam’s grip on the Middle East goes back to the seventh century. The region is not going to change any time soon and those in power, like Assad, are going to be ruthless in their means to retain it.

The only reason that Saddam Hussein is not in control of Iraq is because the United States and its allies invaded in 2003 and brought his brutal regime to an end. Thank you, George W. Bush, but we should have left right after accomplishing that. Americans are tired of lengthy, inconclusive wars. We have been understandably unhappy with all the conflicts since Vietnam.

Afghanistan has been invaded many times since the days of Alexander the Great and the results have always been a disaster for those who did. Next door is Pakistan which like so many nations in the Middle East has never done anything but take our military and economic aid, and betray us at every opportunity. Egypt’s new leaders are getting ready to throw us overboard.

GOP DEMANDS ANSWERS ON TERROR LEADERS RELEASE Read more: Republicans on Capitol Hill are furious over the Obama administration’s handling of a purported Hezbollah commander, who was connected to the killing of five U.S. soldiers in 2007 and now is set for release by an Iraqi court. The most recent GOP lawmaker to express frustration and to demand answers from […]

MICHAEL CUTLER: BORDER REALITY OF SPILLOVER VIOLENCE Whenever the issue of immigration is raised, almost invariably the discussion focuses on the border that is supposed to separate the United States from Mexico. Of course, the issue of the southern border of the United States is a serious matter. It has been said that this border is the only place on our […]