Tofu Tidbits* 12/6/11

  1. Small favors.
  2. Turkey.
  3. Eat more kale.
  4. Potential oil spots on tank treads take note.
  5. Let’s not work the poor man so hard again, okay?
  6. Do as we say or we’ll bring democracy to your land.
  7. Heading off worrying conflict.
  8. You can’t say that!

* Temporarily renamed in honor of the Nativity Fast, about which Mystagogy has some more information.


Bad news:

One in 10 children ages 10 to 17 has used a cellphone to send or receive sexually suggestive images, …

Good news:

… but only 1 in 100 has sent images considered graphic enough to violate child pornography laws, a new study found.

Sending of Sexual Images by Minors Isn’t as Prevalent as Expected, Study Finds. (From the New York Times, so it may count toward your freebies.)

The other foot drops: the really explicit stuff is 18 and 19 year olds, so it’s not illegal. So there’s nothing to worry about, right?


No, this isn’t about Thankgiving or Christmas dinners. It’s about a certain geopolitical outlier on the Bosporus. It’s prompted by two things:

As economic contagion tarnishes the European Union, a newly assertive Turkey is increasingly looking east instead of west, and asking a vexing question: Should Turkey reject Europe before Europe rejects Turkey?

For Turkey, Lure of Tie to Europe is Fading. (From the New York Times, so it may count toward your freebies.)

The second thing is an (older – pre 9/11, I believe) Mars Hill Audio interview with the scholar of Islamdom, Bernard Lewis. Asked how Turkey’s approach to Islam (the religion) is viewed by Islamdom (the polity of most of the world where Islam-the-religion predominates), Lewis says it varies.

Some consider it the route to modernization and thus the recovered glory of Islam(dom), lost in conventional thought at the decisively-failed second siege of Vienna in the late 17th century. Others consider it apostate – a betrayal of the faith.

My Orthodox Patriarch sits besieged in Constantinople Istanbul, the Patriarchate’s renowned Seminary not even allowed to operate, with the knowledge that the Turks demand that his successor be a Turk though suppression of Christians has driven most of them to emigrate.

It that’s apostasy from the Islamic faith, then I fear the wars, literal or metaphoric, between Christendom and Islamdom are far from ended.

Human rights advocates say that without the viable prospect of European Union membership to motivate restraint, the Turkish government’s authoritarian streak is growing unchecked. A report by the European Commission in November said that 64 journalists were in jail in Turkey, and one prominent media group that has criticized the ruling party was hit with a $2.5 billion tax fine.

(For Turkey, Lure of Tie to Europe is Fading) See item 6, too.


From a big corporation, unconventional enough to close chainwide every Sunday, comes some very conventional, plodding, unimaginative, ugly (have I left anything out?) corporate bullying. (From the New York Times, so it may count toward your freebies. HT Rod Dreher)


There are reports that a sort of covert leadership is emerging within the ostensibly radically democratic Occupy movement. Scott Adams seems to have heard about it.


“There’s no question that at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard, and that things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”

For the sake of argument, let’s completely check our brains at the door and believe this disgusting excuse for his double treason toward his family.  What conclusion should we draw from it?  My conclusion is, “For the sake of his soul, never let this man near power again just as I would never reassign a pedophile priest to work with children again.”

Why I Will No More Vote for Gingrich Than Obama. That reason is only one of many.


  • 54 Christian churches bombed
  • At least 905 Christians killed in sectarian violence
  • Christian population down to 500,000 from an estimated 800,000 to 1.4 million in 2003
  • Many Christians have fled

This is Iraq. Boy, ain’t pacification and democratization great?!

With the Arab Spring now bringing political turbulence to many other countries in the region, Christians throughout the Middle East are worried that what happened in Iraq may be a harbinger of misfortune to come in their own communities. While many remain supporters of the uprisings, others fear that the toppling of their autocratic rulers could uncork sectarian violence against Christians and other minority groups in their own nations.

Ibid, quoting An “Arab Winter” Chills Christians (pay wall).


Mugger: “Your iPad has a worrying potential for conflict, sir. I’d suggest you give it up.” (HT Rod Dreher)


Spengler at the Asia Times reports that an Israeli ministry cancelled ads discouraging Jews from emigrating to the U.S. lest they assimilate too much and lose their identity.

The message that Jewish life in America is deficient is “outrageous” and “insulting”, to be sure, but it has a single redeeming quality, namely truth. The vehemence of the official Jewish response to the Israeli advertisements betrays a guilty conscience: Jewish life in America is dying, as the same Jewish organizations warn in ever-gloomier studies of Jewish demographics. It seems inconsistent of the Jewish organizations to bewail the inexorable decline of American Jewish life on one hand, and condemn the Israelis for pointing to their manifest achievements in sustaining Jewish life.

Rod Dreher then generalizes:

There are lessons in this for traditional-minded Christians as well. There is a real and hard to navigate tension between universalist ideals that most of us moderns — conservative and liberal — share, and the pre-modern, indeed anti-modern, convictions necessary to sustain traditional religious and cultural identities in contemporary life.

As an adherent of a pre-modern religious tradition, who frequently has paroxysms of anti-modernity, I think they’re onto something.

* * * * *

Bon appetit!

Having become tedious even to myself, I’m Tweeting more, blogging less. View this in a browser instead of an RSS feeder to see Tweets at upper right.

I also have some succinct standing advice on recurring themes. Maybe if I link to it, I’ll blog less obsessively about it.