As we head into the holiday, the opinion bunny can’t force herself to hop off for the weekend without calling to your attention several not-to-be-missed articles:

Has Western Civilization Laid an Egg?

Journalist Oriana Fallaci believes it has. In her new book “The Strength of Reason” (“La Forza della Ragione” in Italian) the superstar journalist argues that a weak-willed Europe has become Islam’s newest province, Eurabia. Ms. Fallaci is especially tough on the Roman Catholic Church. The AP says that Fellaci charges that it “keeps silent even when its symbols are offended by Muslims and before such practices as polygamy and torture.”

Is the 9/11 Commission turning out to be a rotten egg? Yes, and it’s beginning to smell bad. “The liberals and Democrats on the 9/11 commission are using the public hearings to develop a plotline about the months leading up to the attacks — a plotline whose purpose is to harm George W. Bush’s chances for reelection, help John Kerry’s chances and whitewash the Clinton administration’s failures,” writes John Podhoretz of the New York Post.

“The liberal plotline was on display yesterday in the questioning of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, whose refusal to capitulate to the partisan goals of her Democratic cross-examiners resulted in some shockingly inappropriate behavior on their part.”

Why was the 9/11 commission almost certain to lay an egg? Writing in the New York Times, Nassim Taleb notes that the commission’s mandate sounds “uncontroversial, reasonable, even admirable, yet it contains at least three flaws that are common to most such inquiries into past events. To recognize those flaws, it is necessary to understand the concept of the “black swan.”

“A black swan is an outlier, an event that lies beyond the realm of normal expectations. Most people expect all swans to be white because that’s what their experience tells them; a black swan is by definition a surprise. Nevertheless, people tend to concoct explanations for them after the fact, which makes them appear more predictable, and less random, than they are. Our minds are designed to retain, for efficient storage, past information that fits into a compressed narrative. This distortion, called the hindsight bias, prevents us from adequately learning from the past….

“A vicious black swan has an additional elusive property: its very unexpectedness helps create the conditions for it to occur. Had a terrorist attack been a conceivable risk on Sept. 10, 2001, it would likely not have happened. Jet fighters would have been on alert to intercept hijacked planes, airplanes would have had locks on their cockpit doors, airports would have carefully checked all passenger luggage. None of that happened, of course, until after 9/11.”