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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

On this Point, I Differ with Dawkins...

UPDATED: On this third anniversary of "Mission Accomplished," I challenge the good people of Clark County, Ohio not to be ashamed of their precedent and to sleep well tonight in Bush's America. Here, for all to see, is a sampling of their eloquence. And by the way, no more tea jokes.

Meanwhile, dingleberry Bush exorts us to pray that there are no more hurricanes. (Yeah, read my lips, Mr. Man Upstairs: No New Hurricanes! God, go directly to your room and stay there until I call you! There you are, Mr. President; that is how it is done.)
Truly, I am going to disagree with Richard Dawkins on a small point regarding the importance and the significance of the choice of believing in creationism versus accepting the theory of evolution, as he states his position in an interview with Bill Moyers.

MOYERS: To what extent is this important? I remember the story of the professor who was talking about evolution in class, and the student raises his hand and says, "Professor what difference does it make if some distant grandfather of mine was an ape?" And the professor said, "Well, it would make a difference to your grandmother." But other than that, what is the practical consequence of presuming this?

DAWKINS: Well, I'm not sure about practical consequence. I take a rather more poetic view that when you're in the world, and you're only in the world for a matter of some decades, to have the privilege of understanding where you came from, what your antecedents are, what the reason for your existence is, is such a magnificent privilege. That not to have that, even if it doesn't actually help you in practice, even if the knowledge and understanding of evolution doesn't actually help you to do whatever you do, and you play football, or be a businessman, or whatever it might be.

I am going to argue (and I do think that Dawkins would agree with me) that there are, indeed, very practical reasons for why it matters what one chooses to accept as true. The reason, as it applies to evolution, is not unlike the old adage, "Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it." Well, those who would write our past for us, in direct defiance of scientific fact, are in fact interested in controlling our future.

I am not a scientist, and I grew up quite differently than Richard Dawkins, although it seems that we arrived at atheism via a similar path. My childhood was engulfed by religion and as a result I was exposed to creationism from day one and am less surprised than Dawkins by what is happening in America today (though not less appalled, I'm sure, than he is), and because of this I think I can see the immanent danger more clearly than would he.

Creationism is not mere ignorance, although well-meaning people buy into it due to ignorance. Creationism is, however, a profoundly political idea. Its purpose is to limit and direct the human imagination toward that which serves those who stand above the flock and have ambitions for controlling our jobs, our money, our efforts, and even our private lives. Creationism extends its tentacles into every aspect of one's existence, even into one's thoughts, even controlling the kind of horrific nightmares that a nine-year-old girl can have (or the scary dreams sometimes still experienced by the forty-one-year-old woman that that girl has become).

Creationism does this and, like Judas, it does it with a kiss! Creationism has wide appeal precisely because it sounds so "nice," because it is a superficially "beautiful" idea to those who inexplicably find the fact of our being related to every other living being on earth to be repugnant. Having grown up around people who do shun the theory of evolution with such a visceral disgust, I think that I see creationism's real-world education of the American people in--rather than just as a result of--fascism, more clearly than does Dawkins.

At this point, I need to say something about myself. I do not consider myself to have been well served by the schools that I attended; I am largely self-educated. Unable to stand the other kids with their violence and their noise (I saw drug use in school, and violence, and teen pregnancy, and was the target of bullying), I shut myself away at a young age and read everything that I could get my hands on. That high level of self-motivation, and a certain street-wise cynicism--remember that I do not have a car and thus must take the bus or walk alone at night--has given me the remarkable ability to know when I am being sold a bill of goods, or when I am in danger, even if I don't know exactly how I can know.

And when I hear or read what creationists say, that alarm bell goes off long and loudly. I know they are not telling the truth, even if I cannot figure out if they are outright lying, or are simply and genuinely mistaken. I know that they are telling people what they want to hear not to help people, but to control them, even if I cannot parry their every assertion with facts about evolution from memory. I know that I am in danger, even if I do not know precisely what that danger is.

However, I can speculate as to what this danger is: Creationism breeds incuriosity. If "God did it," then that's it. End of story. Also, creationism breeds a certain fatalism: "It's God's will that my child died, or else it's my fault." In addition, and this is the most important point, creationism makes the human mind extremely malleable. Creationist arguments confuse rather than persuade, and therefore, one's thought process develops a high tolerance for rationalization, for contradiction, and for compartmentalization--all of which, by the way, are common coping mechanisms of those who commit heinous acts (like serial killers, or mass murderers, say).

I do not have proof of this at the moment, but I would go so far as to say that the creationist movement in America is a deliberate and ingenious effort on various fronts (be it Young Earth Creationism or Intelligent [sic] Design) to train Americans to rationalize in such a manner as will be needed in the future to support a mass movement, just as the Brown-Shirt style of the verbal abuse of guests on Fox News trains Fox viewers how to dehumanize and excoriate others in the service of this same mass movement. Yes, we are being groomed, ladies and gentlemen, for a mass movement in this country, one that very well could require us to do violence against each other. Don't believe me? Consider the Iraq War. Who hungered for that? Who beat the drum so vociferously for that? Was it just the President of the United States, just the miliary, just the genuflecting media, or wasn't it really the American people themselves, and aren't the majority of American citizens, the ones who did not oppose this war from the beginning, truly to blame?

I am not gratified that the war is so unpopular in America now, being that I sense that it springs not from a suddenly acquired ability to think critically, but from popular disappointment that we did not kick Iraqi ass hard enough. The same people who are now willing to accuse the President of lying about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (which he did and still is lying about) are not willing to accuse the President of lying about science (which he did and still is lying about) when Bush advocated the teaching of Intelligent Design! So, so much for the "betrayed" American people playing Hop on Bush; George W. Bush is the idiot that we chose, against Dawkins' reasonable advice, to order us around a second time!

Poor Richard Dawkins was good enough to be surprised by the response, by the “sheer naked hatred” in the letters and the e-mails that he received from the good citizens of Clark County, Ohio, who subsequently voted for Bush out of sheer spite. (And are they sorry now? Have they apologized to Dawkins for their shameful and cowardly threats? No, they blame Bush, now! It’s never our fault.) I submit this as one early manifestation of the burgeoning mass movement that I mentioned: this constant antagonism that we Americans routinely carry in our hearts, day in and day out. We are the most violent nation on earth, and yet we subscribe to beliefs of such yucky sentimentality! We believe in such sickeningly maudlin things as angels, miracles, a personal Jesus who helps us with our morning workout, puppies that can talk, penguins that can dance, etc., and then we shoot guns at each other, run each other down on the street, beat each other up on the playground, and send threatening missives to a guileless scientist as if he were Einstein and we were the Third Reich! Is this not a good example of how ordinary Americans are becoming inured to our own totalitarianist leanings?

Dawkins is correct, of course, in everything that he tells Bill Moyers. He goes on to say:

Yet, you die impoverished. You die having not had a proper life if you have failed to understand what's on offer. And what's on offer today, in the 21st century, is a huge amount, far more than any of our predecessors in previous centuries had. And so I think it's rather like saying, "What's the use of music? What's the use of poetry?" They may not be useful, but what's the point of living at all if you don't have them. To me, that is firmly planted in the real world. The real world is so wonderful that I don't want more than that. And I think there is no more than that. But anybody who thinks they want more than that, I'm inclined to say, "How could you possibly want more than the real world? If you only you could understand how grand and beautiful and immense, and yet still incomprehensible the real world is. How can you want more than that?"

Obviously, my quibbling with his answer is on a small point--but an important one, I think. The struggle about evolution is a life and death struggle, I think. It is really a fight about the future, just as the struggle about abortion is really a fight not for the "unborn" but for the distant goal of being able to dictate who can have children at all, and for the right of elites to prevent certain women from bearing children (for proof I refer you to the bill introduced in the Indiana legislature by Republican Senator Patricia Miller requiring women to file a "petition for parentage" to guard against "unauthorized reproduction").

Dawkins hosted "Root of All Evil?" a two-part television show that was too short for the amount of material that it attempted to cover. In it, he attacked "the process of nonthinking called faith," and for his courage I applaud him. He is so close to the answer--and yet I must add this caveat: There is a lot of thinking behind the nonthinking of faith. It is not rational thinking, but plotting; the participant in fascism, who willingly surrenders his or her individuality, paradoxically does so for purely individual and selfish reasons, in order to fulfill unacknowledged needs that are neither spiritual nor beautiful.

(Think about it--why do people join these repulsive mega-churches in order to have a "personal" relationship with God? They don't want a personal relationship, with anyone; members of a mass movement rarely care about each other. They want to have an impersonal relationship. They want to disappear to themselves, to join some amorphous mass in which, no matter what the group does, nothing is ever anyone's fault!)

Fascism doesn't just happen. I don't agree that the various creationist movements that have sprung up in America are simply grassroots efforts--that is a part of the myth being sold to us along with creationism. Participants in fascism always believe that they participate freely, and they are always wrong, for in fact they indulge themselves in their need to be controlled by an authority, which obligingly absolves them of their personal responsibility. No matter how many soccer moms there are jumping around to pop tunes in American mega-churches, and who will tell you how "liberated" they feel, it is the few at the top who control, direct, and will ultimately benefit from the future that they have already written for us.

And while I have the greatest admiration for and gratitute to Richard Dawkins, I think that he has a certain naïveté about human motivations, and in this innocence--which arises out of his natural honesty and decency, and which does him credit--he does not see how truly evil the intentions of certain people can be.

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Boycott on Monday

I suggested this idea last year, of a general strike by illegal immigrants, and I'm gratified to see that immigrants all over America are boycotting tomorrow! Bravo!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Send Poor Me to the Galapagos!

UPDATED: I just got accepted into grad school. Now I'm really going to need money! ;-)

Okay, I am hesitant to publicize this excursion, for fear that hoards of people with more money than I have will register before I do and thus deprive me of my chance, so I won’t link to it. But the Center for Inquiry is hosting a cruise to the Galapagos Islands in 2007, and I want to go!

I really, really, really want to go. I’ll just be heartbroken if I cannot go! I’ve been gazing longingly at those Smithsonian tour offers that come through my office, but Richard Dawkins is going on this one, and Paul Kurtz will also be there. I’d love to meet them and other members of the CFI community, but I just can’t cough up a lot of money right now. It’s not funny how poor I am. I have debts (and no takers for my bets).

So I am offering these skills to any Evo-Daddies (or Evo-Mommies, I guess) out there, who need these services and want to help me out:

-I can type like a banshee. I can type up written notes or transcribe audio, and e-mail it to you to dump right into your document or blog.

-I can format text and images in PowerPoint, in Word, or in Excel.

-I can manage Access databases, can create forms in Access, and am a total data entry genie.

-As long as it’s not too complicated, I can translate French (but if it’s a scientific/technical text, forget it).

-I can do library and online research and fact checking.

-I have a witty, punchy, and largely unpublished prose style. (At least I’m honest.)

And of course:

-I can belly dance!*

So, if you are interested, e-mail me at with the words WORK REQUEST in the subject field, and we’ll discuss rates. (Only serious offers, please.)

*As long as this is understood: Raqs al-Sharqi (as it is known in Egypt) is an ancient and delicate art, like ballet, and meant as family entertainment. I do not give lap dances, take my clothes off, or burst out of a cake. If you want a stripper, hire a stripper. (Would I even need to make this appeal, if I were a stripper?)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

‘Tis Pity She’s So Horrid…

Dammit, Wild Bill. How could you go gyrating off with Ann Coulter? Leave the insipid blond Cher clone alone. Belly dancers have more fun.

I’d love to recruit Disco Bill Dembski into belly dancing, being that he’s such a grand contortionist in the apologetics area.

The Divine, Designed Banana

UPDATED: How to handle a wild banana, compliments of Jesus General.

Once again, for old times' sake: this video had me laughing for one half-hour straight!

Really, though, this is about as pathetic as it gets.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Salman Rushdie: "Creation Myths are Rubbish"

UPDATED: This Chinese journalist took Rushdie's advice, pushed the boundaries, and called for an end to Chinese oppression. How does George "They Hate Our Freedom" Bush feel about that? He's pissed.

Salman Rushdie spoke at Northrop Auditorium at the University of Minnesota tonight.

Gems from Rushdie: "All creation myths are rubbish. The universe was not created in six days plus one day for rest... The cosmos was not created by the sparks caused by two udders rubbed together by cosmic cows..." I can't remember the rest. It was hilarious, and I applauded loudly, as did some others.

When asked the question, "Who gets to tell our stories, and who decides who gets to tell them?" Rushdie replied, "Well, you're talking about religion, aren't you? Religion is some people deciding to tell stories for the rest of us, to us."

When asked what spiritual practice he used in his writing, if any: "I have no spiritual practice. The word spirituality should be banned from the English language for at least 50 years... Talk about a word that has lost its meaning! You can't walk your dog without doing it in a 'spiritual 'manner, you can't cook without talking about spirituality!"

I needed to hear this, because working at my museum, at my job which I love, I am called upon to show tolerance for all creation myths, but I believe that I can do this without buying into those beliefs. And the truth is, I do not buy into these beliefs, not even Native American beliefs, or Buddhist or Taoist myths. I cannot. There has to be a fact of the matter.

As we walked from Northrop Auditorium and toward dinner, my boyfriend John, who adores Rushdie, said, "That was such a courageous thing to say!" about creation myths. I squeezed his arm and teased back, "Well, that's just what I was trying to tell you about Dawkins!" John had told me after we both saw "Root of All Evil?" that he found Dawkins to be "strident." Yet here was his hero (and mine), Salman Rushdie, saying the same thing and being the same wry, witty, and somewhat grumpy foil of religion as well.

Yes, strident. Rushdie's speech was a celebraton of crossing borders, both physical and political, of pushing the boundaries, of the writer (and presumably the scientist, the poet, the artist, and the dancer) of going "too far." Let's all be strident, then.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

How the Perpetrator of a 9-Hour Standoff Pays Back the Community

UPDATED: Okay, here’s what I have so far: He was released (not on bail as I incorrectly stated earlier, but because the investigator did not turn in the victim’s statement with the other paperwork!), at 12:46 p.m. on Tuesday, without charge. However, charges are pending, and the investigator may pursue the mental health route. That’s the way that I want this to go, although I must confess that I find it ironic that they have to wait so long. (The cops are pissed, too.)

Gee, I hope that the police canine that bit him doesn’t get rabies.

Anyway, I promised to bake cookies for the cops on Friday, and I am following through. (The first cop I spoke to at our precinct said to me, “Russell! Oh, that guy! What a pain in the butt!”)

If you live in Hennepin County, you can check recent arrests/releases on the Sheriff’s Jail Roster.
My nutball neighbor is out. (See "Violence in My Life" below.) He just waltzed out of jail at noon today. One of the clerks at our neighborhood grocery, Sentyrz, saw him. She told me that she didn't need to see that guy again. Hoo, yeah, well at least he doesn't hate her guts--she didn't get him kicked out of his rental housing.

One thing for sure--I know what's going to happen if this guy sees me again, now that's he's emboldened by pulling a stunt like that (they had the bomb squad out here! They had a sniper at the ready! They shot one of the pit bulls! The SWAT team staged a take-down from Shaw's Bar on the corner!) and skipping out like he just got sent home from school. I'm sure now he thinks he's invincible.

You know what? Considering how seriously nobody takes him, he's right. He is invincible. This whole incident on Friday night started because he called two little 10-year-old girls "sluts," and their parents called the police. Then he pulled his girlfriend into that house and told the police he had a gun. Who the hell calls a 10-year-old girl a "slut?"

I mean, shit. Shit, shit, shit. One of destiny's merry pranks. That's what I get for not wishing him dead. Whatever. I'm back to watching my own back again. What can I say? I'm a block leader, and I tried.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

But Was It a Random Resurrection?

Pope Benedictator borrows the language of evolution to talk about Jesus's "mutation."

"If we may borrow the language of the theory of evolution, it is the greatest 'mutation,' absolutely the most crucial leap into a totally new dimension that there has ever been in the long history of life and its development: a leap into a completely new order which does concern us, and concerns the whole of history."

Gag. I didn't need to read that.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Violence In My Life

SECOND UPDATE: Both Russell and his girlfriend came out alive. He is in jail. Her house is riddled with purple tear gas stains and bullet holes. I heard the shots early this morning and became upset, thinking that I was hearing the death of a man I can't even stand. I never truly wanted him dead, but he's not, and despite all the hatred I've felt for him I am profoundly relieved that he's alive. His girlfriend is practically destitute and has chemical dependency issues as well, and now she doesn't have her home. Will Russell Ferguson receive mental help treatment or, like most felons, get thrown in prison for awhile, endure violence there, and come out angrier and even more dangerous?

At least I can walk down that block past his house again for the first time in almost two years. It's amazing to see children playing outside on that block now, too.

UPDATED: I just poured out my frustration about my nutball former neighbor to WCCO News. I'm hearing that if he comes out of this alive he could go free, and I want him locked up. If I end up being on the news, I'll link to it. Things should have been done long ago, before it went this far; people have been terrorized and this man never received the help that he needs.

I used to have a next-door neighbor whom I finally got kicked out due to his incessant, foul-mouthed harassment. (He was not the first renter that I had removed, but he was definitely the worst.) This nutball moved in with a vulnerable woman who subsequently signed her home over to him. A few weeks ago I called the police on my former neighbor when he emerged from a bar and threatened me as I was walking home from my bus stop. In talking to the police officer I learned that all of his current neighbors have restraining orders against him, and that this guy has threatened their children.

At this very moment (9:18 p.m on Friday, April 14), the nutball is holed up in his girlfriend's house with a gun and an unidentified female hostage! The incident apparently started before I came home from work, for on my way from my bus stop I saw an officer carrying a twelve-gauge shot gun approach his door! Now, we have the bomb squad, animal control (because of his three pit bulls), about 10 squad cars, hostage negotiators, a SWAT team, and a sniper--a fucking sniper--standing by (along with all of the local news crews).

I consider myself to be a good citizen, and many other people do, too. We are block club captains. Both my boyfriend and I have been on the neighborhood board. Our neighborhood is considered relatively safe. Yet I was unable to do anything more about this bully than move him around a bit. The officer that I spoke to, who knows this dude, assured me that Nutball wouldn't become violent--and look what's happened. I always knew that he would come to a violent end. I just knew it. He's mentally ill, but no one did anything.

I was stalked for three years by a born-again Christian former boyfriend back in the 1980s, when women were getting killed by their former boyfriends practically every week. (He became obsessed with the idea of not seeing me in Heaven after we both died.) When I learned that he had attacked another woman, I went to the Sexual Violence Unit to attempt to get a restraining order. They told me that because I didn't live with him, never had a child with him, and because his residence was now in another state, they couldn't do anything. When I asked why his crossing state lines to harass me didn't make it a federal crime, I got a disbelieving stare. (A lot has changed since then.)

By the way, my nutball neighbor with the gun and the hostage, is a Southern Baptist. My ex-boyfriend was an evangelical charismatic who spoke in tongues. (I tolerated his beliefs.) No moral. No real conclusion that I can reach, but I can't help but ask this: I'm an atheist. I don't believe in violence. I don't believe in hating someone for what they believe, or in killing anyone for God. And America is scared of me?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Tiktaalik Clock Goes Tock, Tock, Tock!

This is a cute cartoon in which Tiktaalik counts down, via successive steps, the ultimate evolutionary demise of the Republicans, much like that croc that pursued Captain Hook.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Persinger and Dawkins!

UPDATED: Now, to me, this is spirituality itself.

Two of my favorite scientists in one article:

Horizon introduced Dr. Persinger to one of Britain's most renowned atheists, Prof Richard Dawkins. He agreed to try his techniques on Dawkins to see if he could give him a moment of religious feeling. During a session that lasted 40 minutes, Dawkins found that the magnetic fields around his temporal lobes affected his breathing and his limbs. He did not find god.

I'm familiar with Persinger's intriguing work with plasma and the possibility of electromagnetic phenomena in the environment stimulating the temporal lobes, producing awe-inspiring hallucinations (miracles, visions, alien abductions, merging with the Godhead, etc.).

I am very sympathetic to the idea that a religious sense is in some respects genetic, rather than being strictly cultural. The University of Minnesota conducted such a study.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Only Thing "Piddling" is Michael Behe...

...all over himself, and in the New York Times ("Study, in a First, Explains Evolution's Molecular Advance").

Dr. Behe described the results as "piddling." He wondered whether the receptors with the intermediate mutations would be harmful to the survival of the organisms and said a two-component hormone-receptor pair was too simple to be considered irreducibly complex.

If this guy is a scientist then I'm Virginia Woolf. Hello, torts fans! The real story is elegance, not "complexity!"

Intelligent Design is dead. But was it ever alive, really?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

All That We See or Seem Is But a Meme Within a Meme...

Last Sunday night I dreamed that Eugenie Scott, Richard Dawkins, and a man who may have been Ernst Mayr were in the Ice Capades (no, really, I’m not kidding). My mother and I were astounded at how well everyone performed on the ice. (Actually, I don’t remember anybody doing much of anything on the ice.) I used to figure skate, myself.

Afterward, there was a massive book signing by all participants involved, and Eugenie Scott said to me, “You'd better get to Dawkins while you can, he's probably going to bolt soon,” so I was frantic to have Dawkins sign my copy of The Ancestor's Tale before he, fatigued and wanting to withdraw, left with Lalla in tow. My mother said that we had to get a copy of The Ancestor’s Tale for my sister, but I told my mother to go downstairs to the bookstore and buy it, and I would run upstairs to “hold a place in line.” Actually, as I, mercenary that I am, ran pell-mell up the stairs, I could see that there was no longer any line in front of Dawkins, who was capping his pen with a smile at his manager. (This was one of those dreams in which I feared that I could not get there in time.)

Everyone seated behind their small desks for their book signings was chatting casually amongst themselves, as the room was nearly empty of admirers, and suddenly Eugenie Scott, just as I reached the table in front of Dawkins, asked the manager, a funny-looking, bald, squat man, to tell a story about their rehearsals for the show. The manager rolled his eyes as if he’d heard this before and inexplicably flushed, while everyone leaned toward him in anticipation. I had no idea why the man was so embarrassed but people giggled, including Dawkins, who as I waited held up a finger at me, and I nodded to him. We smiled at each other, and we both turned to the manager who was shaking his head. Without knowing the reason for the manager's hesitation, I joined in the smothered guffaws. In an effort to rush things along, and also perhaps to be witty in front of Dawkins, I quipped, “Something tells me that there is only one story left!” and the manager turned beet red while everyone laughed.

At this point, my mother arrived and deposited my sister's book on top of mine, and also gave me my hardcopy first edition of Climbing Mount Improbable [this part is true--I found one last week at Booksmart in Uptown for eight dollars!] and said to me, “I found this as well.” My helpful mom. Dawkins blinked at the pile, and I warned the manager, “For every moment that you delay telling your story, we will add another book!” The room burst into laughter, and I woke up laughing.

I guess that's what happens when you start writing poetry again.

Monday, April 03, 2006

“Evolution Dead in Ten Years!”

UPDATED: Since the link no longer points to the article, here's another source.

And don’t forget his “death of molecular darwinism in five years” prediction (whatever “darwinism” means—let’s assume it’s what Dawkins means when he speaks of Darwinian evolution).

It’s a date!
News Flash! William Dembski has made it official!

Oh, Amused Muse is very amused at this reckless statement. Let’s all set our watches. The countdown has begun! (Interested in our bet, Wild Bill? No? I think that the Lexington Herald-Leader might be.)

UPDATED: You’d think the guy would have had his fill of $1000 bets! (Hey, Bill—I thought that a gap in the evidence proved that it didn’t happen.) I certainly hope that when Dembski went traipsing to the Department of Homeland Security, he didn't report Eric Pianka to this guy. Talk about a danger to humanity!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Quoth the Condi: Forever War!

Amused Muse is not amused:

[Condoleeza Rice] was heckled by protesters and faced criticism from Muslim leaders hand-selected to meet with her by the Foreign Office during a visit here, the district Mr. Straw represents in Parliament. He visited Ms. Rice's hometown, Birmingham, Ala., in October. About 250 protesters ringing Blackburn's City Hall shouted "Shame on you" as the two arrived. Through the din, Ms. Rice looked off into the distance and spotted a handful of people, many holding shopping bags, who had stopped to gawk.

She pointed them out to Mr. Straw, and the two of them waved enthusiastically. Later, Mr. Straw said this gathering of "people who agree with the visit" was "at least as large as the protesters."

No doubt about it--this war against reality is going to be a long one. Well, at least we have these brave souls to make us proud and give us hope. And a big thank you to the good people of England. Donny George is my hero, too.