October 22, 2011
Now and then, God places us where we need to be. It's not always a welcome or happy thing, but upon reflection, it's right--of course.
As it has many times in a long and eventful life, it happened again to me on Thursday evening. I've written about it at my new blog. It may be worth your while.
October 10, 2011
Useful Idiots, Part II
"Yeah, like anarchy, man!"
"We're gonna take it back from the fat cats, man!"
"Power to the people!"
A bad LSB flashback to the 60s? Unfortunately, no. I refer to the "Occupy Wall Street" and similar protests that define "Astroturf" in a way never possible with the Tea Party. There are many parallels between the rebels without a clue of the 60s and these equally clueless children of privilege, including no understanding of the system they wish to overthrow or the horrors unleashed should they be successful.
As history has revealed, the protestors of the 60s really were "useful idiots," a derogatory term used by Marxists for their lackeys in democratic nations working toward the destruction of their own freedoms. Now, they're being manipulated by the same Marxist ideology, except this time the Marxists are in the White House and Congress.
For any member of Congress, or the President, circa 1965 to utter support for Marxist protesters would have been unimaginable. Now, it would be unimaginable only if people like Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama did not utter support, and they have not disappointed.
We live in irony-rich times indeed, yet never have so many been so irony-challenged. Witness the spectacle of protestors weighed down under the burden of the products of their oppressors: iPhones, video cameras, eyeglasses, iPads, designer jeans, laptops, Starbuck's coffees and all of the other hallmarks of industrialized society. Yet they argue for the destruction of all that they so witlessly take for granted, apparently unaware that food does not appear, neatly packaged, in the wild, nor do iPhones grow on trees.
Delightfully ironic is the fact that these contemporary rebels without a clue have unwittingly allied themselves with the ultimate manifestation of "The Man," the POTUS himself, the Marxist-in-Chief, Barack Hussein Obama. Such alliances drag along a great many bureaucracies, chief—and most potentially destructive—among them: The Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA.
According to Hot Air, the Institute for Energy Research has reported that as soon as January of 2012, EPA regulations tightly restricting coal-fired electric generating plants will almost instantly obliterate 28 gigawatts of America's electric capacity, or 8.9% of our total. The authors of the report call it "very conservative," and note that the estimates of others of a loss of up to 80 GW—app. 25% of our total capacity—is possible. In a democracy no president would allow this to happen. Losing even 5% of our capacity would be a catastrophe. Imposed upon us by a foreign power, it would surely be considered an act of war, yet Mr. Obama embraces it, fulfilling his pre-election promise to bankrupt the American coal industry. How can this be?
Mr. Obama, the POTUS, is a Marxist. Marxists care nothing for "the people," who are merely an abstraction, useful only in their temporary, situational utility to the state. Marxist leaders and their states have no conscience, recognize no limits on their power, and if history is any judge, inflict upon 'the people" terrible suffering such that it eventually destroy the very state they claim must be immortal, for Marxist theory can never be wrong, it can never be falsified even as the state crumbles around their ears.
Marxism is utterly incompatible with democracy. When these world views conflict, one must give way, which in our democracy causes Marxists to settle for varying degrees of Socialism just as leftist Bill Clinton was forced to settle for centrist policies. But Bill Clinton is not Barack Obama. Mr. Clinton was a conventional leftist American politician while Mr. Obama is an entirely different political animal.
The protestors want Revolution? Since the coronation of Mr. Obama, millions of patriotic Americans have been urgently motivated to return to the first principles of our Founders as embodied in Thomas Jefferson's 1787 aphorism:
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
What, such Americans wonder, would be sufficient cause for rebellion? What would cause Americans to rise against the federal government?
Obamites freely call patriots contemplating these profound questions terrorists, radicals and worse, but how can those contemplating our foundational principles be radical? Our Founders well understood that freedom, once gained, is not eternally secured. They knew that the threat of armed conflict to regain freedom lost would always be present. They knew that it would once again become necessary to preserve liberty and to secure the inalienable rights of men, among them, life, liberty and property.
Marxists recognize and honor no such rights. They admit only to state-bestowed privileges which may be altered or revoked without notice or concern for the welfare, health or the very lives of "the people," they rhetorically claim to love and represent.
Here are the seeds of Revolution, but not the safe, secure Revolution imagined by the pampered children of privilege. Weak, unschooled mentally and physically in the arts of survival, they would be among the first to perish in the kind of conditions they foolishly seek to create. What might be the triggers of the real kind of Revolution the Founders foresaw?
Colonial Americans were far from united on the specific usurpations, or their degree, which might spur them to armed conflict against their Government. So it is today. Marxists recognize only that Revolution which brings them to power and which maintains it. American patriots seek that bright line, that trigger, hoping it is never necessary to cross it.
What conditions might provoke real Revolution? Running thousands of guns to Mexican killers to provoke support for gun control policies is a good start (remember, Marxist states have no conscience). National economic collapse such as the kind now more and more possible certainly will. Wiping out from 8.9 to 25% of our electric generating capacity surely will. The blackouts in periods of peak demand, particularly in southern and northern states, would cause unprecedented suffering, plunging entire regions of the nation into the social conditions of the late 1800s. Hundreds of thousands, even millions, will die with the elderly, the very young, and the ill among the first to perish. As food spoils in unpowered refrigerators, as water cannot be pumped to homes, as sewers no longer function, as trucks can no longer deliver food which can't be refrigerated anyway, as all manner of communications we have come to depend upon vanish essentially overnight, Americans will be provoked to unimaginable despair, desperation and rage.
They will be particularly provoked by the fact that none of it was necessary, by the indisputable fact that Barack Obama chose to make it happen and the Congress did not stop him. Americans watching children, parents, spouses and friends dying on the altar of environmental and Marxist economic purity will not be moved to tolerance, moderation and accommodation. None responsible will be safe.
Americans will put up with a very great deal, but the Obamites and the rebels without a clue occupying Wall Street foolishly seek to implement policies that will inevitably unleash forces they are utterly unprepared to resist and which they will not survive.
Am I advocating armed rebellion? Certainly not, but even as staunch a liberal as Hubert H. Humphrey understood these issues:
"Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms. This is not to say that firearms should not be carefully used and that definite safety rules of precaution should not be taught and enforced. But the right of the citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government and one more safeguard against a tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible."
I pray that sufficient Americans will oppose, through democratic means, all of Mr. Obama's usurpations, and will correct our national mistake in 2012. To whatever degree Americans have been forced to contemplate rebellion, the fault rests on the doorstep of the White House.
We appreciate aphorisms because they not only remind us of our essential nature, but illuminate useful, universal truths. Obamites and faux-rebels would be wise to heed this one:
"Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it."
August 02, 2011
Captain America: The First Avenger, is an entertaining and inspiring movie. My wife and I usually wait for DVD, but this one was worth seeing, and so it will be for you. If you like movies that portray pride in America and American values and exceptionalism, this movie is for you. The good folks at Pajamas Media have been kind enough to publish my review of the film (here).
June 19, 2011
May 16, 2011
NAACP Beclowns Itself. Again.
Update: Never blog before coffee. Story was from last year.
A graduation card sold at local stores has been pulled from shelves after a civil rights group raised concerns about the content. The group claims the card's micro-speaker plays a greeting that's racist.
It is a graduation greeting from Hallmark that says, "Hey world, we are officially putting you on notice."
Members of the Los Angeles NAACP did take notice. As characters known as "Hoops" and "Yoyo" banter on, African American leaders hear offensive language.
"And you black holes, you are so ominous. Watch your back," the card vocalizes.
"That was very demeaning to African American women. When it made reference to African American women as whores and at the end, it says 'watch your back,'" said Leon Jenkins of the Los Angeles NAACP.
When Hallmark was reached by phone, they said the card is all a misunderstanding. The card's theme is the solar system and emphasizes the power of the grad to take over the universe, even energy-absorbing black holes.
The card company says the card speaks about the power the grad will wield.
"The intent here is to say that this graduate is not afraid of anything," explained Hallmark spokesman Steve Doyal.
But that's not what some people heard.
"You hear the 'r' in there. 'Whores,' not, 'holes.' The 'r' is in there," said Minnie Hatley of the Los Angeles NAACP.
Some have argued that NAACP outlived its usefulness after the victories of the Civil Rights era, and (literally) cartoonish manufactured outrage such as the protesting of a graduation card referring to the solar system only reinforces those inclined to buy that argument.
Andrew Brietbart and the Tea Party haven't yet been blamed for the Hallmark card, but it's early in the news cycle. Give it time.
In the meantime, I can hardly to wait to see what the NAACP has to say about Uranus.
May 11, 2011
College Student that Made $ on Bin Laden Death Tee Shirts Decides to Refund His Customers
I talked about it at the time and was amazed at how quickly he was able to capitalize on the opportunity.
Now I see via Ed Driscoll posting on Instapundit that he has had a change of heart, and has refunded all the money to his customers. Ed speculates that his very liberal professors had a come-to-Jesus moment with the young man, perhaps implying that his current and future success may be in jeopardy at NYU if he didn't change his tune. I think Ed's speculation may have merit.
I feel sorry for Mr. Harary if he felt compelled to relinquish his profits in order to remain in good standing at NYU.
Osama Bin Laden's death is worth celebrating, or at the very least, the accomplishments of the operators that took him down certainly are.
May 09, 2011
NYC Observations, Updated 051311
Well, I’m back! Sorry for the paucity of blogging over the last five days, but I’ve been away on...business. Actually, the choir with which I sing performed at Avery Fisher Hall of Lincoln Center in NYC on Sunday afternoon. We performed the world debut of an entirely new work for choir and orchestra and also performed the Mozart Requiem Mass in Dm (K.626). Surprisingly, the hall was nearly full--I’m told by MidAmerica Productions (the concert’s promoter--our director is their principal Associate Conductor) that NY Philharmonic performances in that hall aren’t always so well attended--and we actually got a standing ovation, which apparently isn’t something to be taken for granted with NY audiences. In any case, we were all pleased with the performance, which went very well. As I sat onstage, one of about 165 performers, I realized that only a tiny portion of the population of the world would ever have the opportunity I was about to experience. We really do need to be grateful for whatever opportunities we have to create beauty and to care for others.
A few random NYC observations (Keep in mind, please, that I stayed in the Grand Hyatt, which is directly above Grand Central station, so most of my observations are confined to the Manhattan experience):
People are as friendly, generally, in NYC as anywhere else. However, when walking--and everybody does a great deal of that--they tend to adopt the “sidewalk” stare and to shoot more or less straight ahead, never making eye contact with anyone else, but plowing through the mass of humanity swimming around them.
Despite the best efforts of Mayor Bloomberg and similarly RINO and/or Democrat busybodies, one can still ingest more than sufficient fats, salt and other food substances they deem bad for us. However, it is almost all more costly--often much more costly--than just about anywhere else.
The hotel room cost 4-5 times more than a comparable room in flyover country, was smaller than many flyover rooms, had only two twin beds, and was no better appointed or in any way superior.
The number of women wearing high heels--and I mean HIGH heels--on the sidewalks, subways and other treacherous portions of NYC (and that’s most of it) is truly amazing, and actually somewhat humorous. I’ve often been amused and amazed at the horrifying things women do to their feet in the name of fashion. NYC is surely a shoe and foot fetishist paradise.
Everyone in NYC smokes. I don’t mean actually, but if you walk anywhere, you’re going to be inhaling substantial smoke from the many who populate the sidewalks, standing around taking a smoke break and/or walking, who do. There seems to be always someone upwind of wherever you’re walking smoking like mad.
The city is an odd mixture of the old, dirty, decaying and decrepit and the new and shiny, constantly changing from storefront to storefront, block to block, subway station to subway station
Several of my compatriots and I went to one of the reputedly finest pizza joints in the city. Feh. $32.00 for a small pizza and a salad shared by three. Decent salad and pizza, but cheaper and easily as good can be had much more cheaply and in greater quantity elsewhere.
Did the Empire State Building. Great view, but the experience is annoying in the extreme. Huge numbers of people visit constantly, and they employ huge amounts of those annoying little people-cattle chutes to funnel you in the directions that seem good to them. I haven’t had so much hurry-up-and-wait since I was in the military.
Loads of police everywhere. In some areas, officers in tactical gear, replete with helmet, tactical vest, thigh holster, and AR carbine. The streets seem generally safe, but there are certainly the quaint and stereotypical characters one would expect to see.
Ground Zero remains more or less a hole in the ground with construction apparently underway, but barriers surrounding it, make viewing of, well, a hole in the ground, difficult or impossible. Sad, and an indictment of contemporary government that something three times as big and tall hasn’t already been erected in the place of the twin towers.
I didn’t realize that the Julliard School is right across the street from Lincoln Center. I also didn’t realize that Carnegie Hall looks so--relatively speaking--small and old--very old.
Like Mount Rushmore, the Statute of Liberty is endlessly impressive and emotion-inducing to the patriotic.
New Yorkers will stand or walk within millimeters of anyone else, whether they have to or not. Personal space seems to be an alien concept in Manhattan.
The Intrepid Museum is pretty cool but expensive. If you’re a veteran, it’s $17.00, but $24.00 otherwise. The Intrepid is a WWII Essex class aircraft carrier, and the hanger and flight decks hold a wide variety of aircraft from WWII to the present, including an SR71. Space on warships is always at a premium, but it’s quickly apparent that people from earlier generations were, on average, smaller than we are now. A Concorde is also present, but access is more expensive still and limited to guided tours. Also present is the Growler, a rare, circa 1958 nuclear cruise missile submarine. Diesel-electric, it has two enormous tubular hangers on the foredeck. Two Regulus cruise missiles (crude and big by contemporary standards) fit in each hanger. To fire, the sub had to surface, roll a missile back onto the launcher just in front of the sail, fire, lather and repeat as required. Only two such subs were ever built and were obsolete virtually the day they first set sail. I’ve toured the WWII U-boat at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. The Growler is much larger and more congenial for the crew in every way, but still pretty claustrophobic. Fascinating how quickly technology improves. The interior of the sub and its equipment looked very much like WWII tech, and of course, it wasn't very far removed from that era.
At one time, it was possible to identify Europeans by their dress. No longer. Everybody--except those who dress culturally--looks pretty American. Although, some of the women do give themselves away with things like black lace leggings under short-shorts, etc.
Driving in NYC must be one of the most blood pressure raising pursuits in the human experience. I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with it. Parking must be exponentially worse. No automotive accessory is likely used more frequently and with greater fervor than the horn.
McDonald’s is McDonald’s pretty much anywhere. A three story McDonald’s, not so much. You order on the ground floor, and march up several flights of stairs to the dining area.
I lived much of my adult life in Wyoming, a state with fewer than a half million people in the entire state. Bizarre to realize that there are that many people, and more, within a few blocks of wherever you’re standing in Manhattan (and probably multiples of stories above you). NYC is surely unique and interesting, but I’m much happier at home.
May 06, 2011
Guy makes $120K in Two Days on Osama Bin Laden Tee Shirts
I've got to give the kid credit. He saw the market opportunity, capitalized on it, and burned the midnight oil.
Maurice Harary, 23, set up his T-shirt website Osamadeadtees.com as soon as he heard that the former Al Qaeda leader had been shot by U.S. Navy Seals on Sunday night.
The New Yorker raced home to his apartment to work on building the website on Sunday night and it was ready to go live at 3.30am on Monday morning.
Making money: Maurice Harary, 23, from New York, made $120,000 from his Osama Bin Laden merchandise website in two days.
By Tuesday evening he had already sold more than 10,000 items at $12 a time.
T-shirts bearing slogans including 'Obama killed Osama', 'Osama's back - not!' and 'Just dead it' have been flying off his virtual shelves.
I rather like the fact that Harary is a New Yorker. My only complaint is that I wish more people would honor those who made Bin Laden a room-temperature commodity.
Something more like this.
March 13, 2011
An Ex-Listener's Open Letter to NPR
From what your board member, Sue Schardt (here), and your recently thrown-under-the-bus Senior Vice President for Development Ron Schiller (here), and your journalists (here), and even your ombudsman in 2003 (here) have had to say and have implied, I’m pretty much the listener--”predominantly white, liberal, highly educated, elite”--that you’ve “unwittingly cultivated” over the years. It would be all too easy to suggest that you’ve “witlessly cultivated” that audience, but I’m all about the new civility,” particularly as it’s being practiced by your “core audience” in Wisconsin.
I’m a teacher of English, a few credits short of a master’s degree (I’ll get around to it someday--when I have time), lauded by my state as an accomplished teacher of the humanities. I’m a classically trained singer who regularly performs with a well known symphony orchestra, a composer and arranger and a playwright. Unfortunately, I have several disfiguring marks: I’m a conservative who feels that anyone who even thinks they are “elite” is taking them self much, much too seriously. I own guns, not nearly as many as a great many folks I know, but more than enough to horrify you, and I’m a certified firearms instructor and life member of the NRA. I don’t hate anyone, and oh yes, I believe in God, though I won’t throw that in your face.
I have, over the years, like the tides, waxed and waned in my listening to your programming. The pattern is predictable: I listen until my liberal bias limit is exceeded and then I cut you off. In recent years, the cut off side of the scale has become much heaver than the listening side and has been reached more and more rapidly. To be absolutely fair, I know you’re not biased 100% of the time, but when you are, it’s always to the left, never to the right. If you really are fair and balanced, wouldn’t you, at least occasionally, be biased to the right? Just asking.
I know that your CEO Vivian Schiller (remember her? You threw her under the bus just the other day too) vigorously denied any liberal bias at NPR at the National Press Club just the day before that scamp James O’Keefe’s newest undercover video revealed Mr. Schiller representing NPR’s heart and soul in all it’s cruel, condescending, crude, anti-semitic and hateful “elite” glory. We, as the Queen of England might say, were not amused. By the way, the exquisite timing involved is an example of what we in English call “cosmic irony.” That’s the sort of thing that tends to make non-elite types like me think that when you profess to abhor liberal bias that you might be, well, lying.
Oh, but what about Fox News you ask? When you--and the rest of the media--are so overwhelmingly progressive, a network like Fox which is not blatantly hostile to conservatives and their views will appear, by comparison, to be right wing. That’s not an argument in your favor, but another indicator of your bias.
I know that you don’t sit down in editorial meetings every morning and plot how best to denigrate all those who haven’t reached your lofty pinnacle of eliteness. It just isn’t necessary when everyone in the room thinks alike. But I also know that in your board meetings and editorial meetings, and in your hearts, you look down on people like me, on half--even more--of the American public. You know you’re better than me, smarter, more humane, more caring. I know this because I’ve actually listened to your programming over the years. I know because Juan Williams (remember him? You threw him under the bus not long ago) tells us that Mr. Schiller’s thoughts and words are routinely expressed in your meetings and conversations. And I know through common sense. Who would say such things if they did not live and work in an insular world where such beliefs were not only ubiquitous, but expected and accepted?
“Oh yeah?” You demand. “Where’s your proof? Give me just one example.” In fact, Vivian Schiller bragged about demanding just that, claiming that no one could respond.
You lost me in October of 2003. Remember that? I’m referring to the Terry Gross interview of Bill O’Reilly. Surely you remember that interview, the interview that was so egregiously biased, so unprofessional that your ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin (link in the first paragraph) had to side with O’Reilly? By the way, I suspect that most Americans reading Dvorkin’s response would find it chock-full of progressive snark. Do you? I’m no sycophant of O’Reilly--I rarely watch his program--but that was my turning point.
Again, to be fair, you’ve sometimes produced worthy, unbiased programs, but because your bias is so encompassing, I’ve never donated a penny to you. And now, because your daily operating bias has been laid bare for all to see in a way that cannot be ignored, you’re on the verge of losing your taxpayer subsidy. Yet even your mea-culpas drip with bias; you just can’t help yourself. Ms. Schardt’s musings read like a “how could we be any more magnificent?” love letter to yourselves, and the NPR journalist’s letter (link in the first paragraph), while distancing them from Ron Schiller, shows no recognition of your pervasive institutional bias: “ We are determined to continue bringing you the daily journalism that you’ve come to expect and rely upon: fair, fact-based, in-depth reporting from at home and around the world.” Hmm. Not so much. By the way, how many conservatives work for you? Can they admit it?
The world of broadcasting has fundamentally, irrevocably changed, and you’re still asking “what’s the matter with Kansas?” The kind of reporting and analysis that once stood apart from the rest of the legacy media is now common on the Internet. Virtually everything you do can be had elsewhere and without the smug, “elite” condescension, progressive bias, and disdain toward hundreds of millions of Americans, Americans you regularly beg for money. If I didn’t know so well who you are and what you believe, individually and corporately, I’d probably listen from time to time and occasionally, donate. But that would be my choice; my tax dollars aren’t. You don't deserve them and we can't afford them.
For that day when the taxpayer no longer finances your cruelty and smug, self-imagined superiority over all of us who live in fly-over country, I have a bit of free advice: Don’t continue to emulate Newsweek. They proudly announced that they were becoming more than a mere news source; they were to be a journal of elite, liberal opinion. That elite liberal opinion, you may recall, turned out to be worth precisely one dollar--for the entire enterprise.
But I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt one last time. I’ll give you one more shot. But first, I’d better let you know just who you’re trying to serve and what they believe. I’ll speak for myself, but I suspect many will share my sentiments. Consider them a sort of top ten guide to the mysterious denizens of fly-over country.
(1) I do honor and serve God, because I recognize that there is One greater than me, greater than all of us. And no, I don’t mean Barack Obama (patron saint of the teleprompter), or Nancy Pelosi (patron saint of ridiculously lengthy and utterly incomprehensible legislation we have to pass to understand what’s in it) or Harry Reid (patron saint of cowboy poetry).
(2) I like guns. They’re fun, useful, develop responsibility, and the ability to concentrate. Thomas Jefferson also believed that--look it up. Above all, I appreciate them because I don’t expect anyone, or the government, to care for me or those I love. I believe in individual responsibility, and firearm ownership is only a small part of the expression of that belief.
(3) I have no hatred for those who aren’t like me. When I see Maria and Alejandro entering my classroom, I don’t see Hispanics, Latinos or members of a favored victim group, I see Maria and Alejandro, and I love them because they’re great kids, they’re my students and I’m their teacher. Tommy, on the other hand, is a bit of a wiener.
(4) I don’t care much for those who think themselves superior. As I’ve aged, I’ve learned how very much I don’t know, and I’ve also learned that there is always someone smarter, faster, stronger, better in every way, especially in fly-over country. In the real world, the practical world of daily accomplishment, “elites” aren’t worth a bucket of warm spit--just like the vice-presidency.
(5) I judge people on their abilities and the content of their character.
(6) I believe that no law should be passed to “make a statement.” I believe that the law should be enforced fairly and uniformly, and if it’s bad law, it should be repealed or changed.
(7) I believe in the Constitution--all of it. I believe that even though it was written hundreds of years ago, that I can understand its plain words and their plain meaning, be I ever so handicapped by my non-elite status.
(8) I believe in democracy and understand that when I’m in the minority, fleeing the state to bring democracy to a halt, trashing the state house, making death threats against my opponents and their families, and congratulating myself for protecting the very democracy I despise makes me look like a liar, thug and Marxist. When I behave so badly, I expect others to wonder if I was raised by wolves.
(9) I believe that Socialism and Communism are brutal, cruel and evil and absolutely incompatible with democracy and liberty. Tens of thousands of Americans have given their last, full measure of devotion to defeat these barbaric philosophies, and untold millions of others around the globe have been slaughtered in their name. I will, if necessary, give my last, full measure of devotion to put them, once and for all, on the ash heap of history.
(10) Three times in my life, I have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and to oppose all enemies, foreign and domestic (yes, I’m a veteran too). I know who all the enemies of America are and I will name them and fight them.
So. With any luck, you’ll soon be cut off from the great taxpayer borrowed money pipeline and left adrift in the free market. You’ll stay afloat or sink on the strength of your product, a product you’ll have to drastically alter to appeal to those you have, for so many years, egregiously insulted. I’ll still listen to Car Talk because there may be found good humor, wit and no bias. And I’ll probably drop by from time to time to see if you’ve changed--at all. As a beginning, you might start every editorial meeting from now on by intoning, over and over, “there’s nothing the matter with Kansas, but we’re a different story.” Good luck.
A Former Listener
March 11, 2011
"I Don't Cook Food. I Will It."
I'm starting to wonder if Charlie Sheen isn't insane. Maybe this is all a bizarre game for him...
March 08, 2011
I frankly dare you to read this story about the character of our troops and the faith and bravery of this family, and then tell me that these men and women are not among the very best America has to offer.
February 23, 2011
Home Invasion by William W. Johnstone with J.A. Johnstone. Pinnacle Books, paperback, $6.99.
“People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.”
Book review by Abraham Lincoln
William W. Johnstone, the author of more than 200 books, has previously written series of books relating to the mountain man experience and about the West. Recently, Johnstone has turned to what might be called an “invasion” series focusing on the threats posed by our wide open southern border and feckless politicians. Home Invasion is the most recent of that series.
Set in the fictional west Texas community of Home, the plot revolves around the female chief of Home’s four-officer police force. Johnstone has a feel for the ebb and flow of small town life and his Home characters will feel, well, at home for anyone who has ever lived in a small town. Other characters include a CIA team betrayed by the government, a socialist, egomaniacal President of the United States who hates America (no, that couldn’t sound familiar, could it?), a rogue general appointed to head an internal paramilitary police force, a sort of Praetorian Guard loyal to the POTUS, a secret weapons lab, a slimy defense attorney, Mexican drug gangs, corruption, double crosses, mass disarmament of American citizens, plucky, decent teenagers rising to the occasion, sacrifice and plenty of plot twists.
The 411 page paperback is engaging. Johnstone writes compelling characters, though many of the characters are mere stereotypes, such as the immoral, mercenary lawyer, the dim-wittedly leftist blonde female reporter with the manners and ethics of a rattlesnake, various evil criminals, and of course, a POTUS who bears an uncanny resemblance to the current occupant of the White House.
In many ways, this novel would not have been possible even two years ago. Mark Twain said “fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities, truth isn’t.” Prior to the Obama administration, a novel that took for granted a POTUS who hated Americans and America, who did nothing to protect the southern border, who ignored the Constitution would have been considered too far out to be possible. Now, most readers will find little remarkable about it, and even the evil plot at the heart of the action is barely a stretch. In that regard, some of the characters and some of the several plot twists may seem, particularly to the well informed, predictable, but Johnstone’s dialogue and characterization are obviously practiced, unforced and natural, encouraging the reader to easily and comfortably suspend disbelief.
While some of the characters in the book, particularly the female police chief and the CIA agent she seems destined to take as a love interest, could be spun into sequels, the book doesn’t have that feel. Based only on my reading of this book only--at the request of Mr. Johnstone’s publicist--it appears that contemporary, pertinent political issues are the driver of the series rather than an individual, engaging character such as Brad Thor’s Scot Harvath or Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt, but again, that’s my take based only on this novel.
“Home Invasion” is an enjoyable political thriller, though liberal readers would be well advised to avoid it. They’ll likely suffer near-fatal increases in blood pressure and righteous social justice outrage at situations and possibilities that anyone else would find to be, at the very least, plausible. They may also find themselves astonished at how easy it is to accept plot elements that only a short time ago would have been virtually unimaginable. There’s a lesson in that indeed.
February 22, 2011
Daily Show Tortures Camel for "Humor"
Jon Stewart's show decided that what the pro-union protesters in Madison, Wisconsin really needed was a camel (see, so that they could claim their protest was just like that of the Egyptians in Cairo).
The stress of forcing a desert creature to deal with Wisconsin's arctic weather was apparently worth it to Stewart (warning: language, animal cruelty).
Does it look funny to you? I find it about as funny as Wisconsin student test scores.
February 14, 2011
They Enjoy Being A Girl
Recently, one of my female students asked if any of her classmates had a calculator. Another female student averred that she did and lifting to her desktop a purse in which all of the missing or misspent stimulus funds might easily fit, began to prod, readjust, rearrange and delve into its unfathomable depths, producing a calculator--pink of course--in relatively short order. This otherwise unremarkable bit of classroom business reminded me of a question that goes to the very nature of mankind: Women routinely carry, in their purses, loads that no man would think of carrying, so why do we call them the “weaker sex?”
Answer: They’re not.
Happy Valentine’s Day to my wife, and to all of the women in our lives. May we live up to our responsibility to be the good, honorable men they deserve, and more.
January 06, 2011
Quick Takes, January 6, 2011
Welcome to the first edition of Quick Takes for 2011. Let's get right to the lunacy:
ITEM: Katie Couric thinks what America needs is a Muslim version of the Cosby Show. Presumably, this would teach all the gun and God clingers a thing or two about tolerance. What Ms. Couric, and those like her, cannot tolerate is that religious tolerance is written into the DNA of Americans. We tolerate those professing any religion so long as they are Americans first, for if they are Americans first, they’ll be tolerant. The problem is and always will be that there are too many Muslims who are Muslims first, last and always, and who will actively try to impose Islam on and/or kill those who aren’t. How do you add a laugh track to that?
ITEM: DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The topic: How to better police the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Well of course! She’s doing such a magnificent job of border enforcement, such as posting signs warning Americans that entire sections of Arizona are so infested with drug gangs and illegals that they’re not safe. It’s now official: So far has Napolitano sunk into self-parody, trying to parody anything she says or does is a lost cause.
ITEM: Chief White House economic advisor Austan Goolsbee has warned Congress that if they don’t raise the current 14.3 trillion dollar debt ceiling--we’re now at 13.9 trillion--an unprecedented economic crisis will occur and has further warned Congress not to “toy” with the issue. Let me see if I have this right: Goolsbee and his pals are largely responsible for the kind of economic theory that supports an absolutely unprecedented spending spree and are getting petulant when it appears that we won’t let them spend even more and raise the debt ceiling to hide their failure of intellect? And this is going to fix things? We’ve hired a group of particularly feckless foxes to guard our national chicken coop.
ITEM: Using his recess appointment powers, President Obama has appointed James Cole to the number two position at the Department of Justice. Cole was hung up in the Congress because of his blatantly public stance on the war on terror: Like Eric Holder and President Obama, he sees it as a law enforcement matter. In an 2002 op-ed, he compared 9-11 to rape, murder and child abuse. Some of our representatives inexplicably think that terrorists who have declared war on America should be handled like, well, terrorists who have declared war on America. While all presidents occasionally use the recess appointment power, some use it more wisely than others, President Bush’s appointment of John Bolton as Ambassador to the UN, for example. During his tenure, Bolton never failed to properly and forcefully work for American interests. Cole will arguably work against them. Heck of a job, Jimmy!
ITEM: In 2010, President Obama flew on Air Force One 172 times. That’s one flight every 2.1 days. The Air Force estimate of flight hours costs: $181,757. So for a trip with a flight time of eight hours, the cost would be $1,454,056. Mr. Obama also made 196 helicopter trips which also tend to be a bit pricey. Americans will be glad to know that Mr. Obama has recently announced that he plans to spend a great deal more time outside Washington, actually mixing and mingling with the great unwashed. He thinks his failure to do this during the last two years is the source of his difficulties. He also thinks we are involved in overseas contingency operations that there are 57 states and that Americans universally respect Joe Biden.
ITEM: Uh-oh. Looks like Mr. Goolsbee will have closure sooner than we thought. As of the last day of 2010, the national debt...wait for it...is officially over 14 trillion dollars! It’s the first time in world history a national debt has been so high! A new record! We’re number one! We’re number one! But it’s even better! It took Mr. Obama and the Congressional Dems a mere seven months to achieve that kind of greatness. And they want to raise the debt ceiling so they can go for a new record! Considering the current rate of increase, we’ll likely hit the current ceiling in, oh, 23 seconds? Nope. Twenty at best. Another new record! Yet another amazing accomplishment from the administration whose greatest accomplishment--according to VP Joe “The Sheriff” Biden--is winning the Iraq war. I mean, other than the fact that almost everyone in the administration has consistently opposed it...
SUB-ITEM: Galaxy-Class Hypocrisy Department: “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” Barack Obama in 2006--when Republicans were in charge--prior to voting against raising the debt ceiling. According to Robert Gibbs, Obama only said that because he knew no one would listen to him. Ah.
ITEM: According to The Weekly Standard, the Obama Administration, through HHS, is spending taxpayer money to direct Google searches to the Government’s website praising Obamacare as the slickest thing since sliced bread. So I googled “obamacare,” and a variety of variations and sure enough, the official government cheerleading site always come up first. Ben Smith of Polltico was able to get HHS to confirm the ad buy. Imagine the hue and cry if the Bush administration did that in support of any of its policies. Hope. Change. Transparency. Deception. Economic catastrophe.
ITEM: DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, during a recent trip to Israel, told Fox News that the Israeli system of screening air travelers--arguably the most effective in the world--was impossible in America because the Israeli system is “a very different model,” and because Israel is smaller and has less air traffic. The Israelis rely on well trained officers to actually look for the types of people and behaviors that are potentially dangerous rather than spending billions on poorly performing technological marvels and on body searching grandmothers and infants. Amazingly, many of those the Israelis watch most closely are young Islamic males from countries known to produce terrorists! But Secretary Napolitano is correct. The Israeli system could never work in America. It isn’t wasteful, requires intelligent, capable administrators whose primary concern is citizen safety rather than political correctness, focuses on the people most likely to be dangerous rather than “making statements about who we are,” recognizes that Israel is at war and clearly identifies the enemy and actually works. Can’t have that. We might be accused of failing to reach out to those who want to cut our heads off with dull knives on You Tube.
ITEM: Commentarymagazine.com has an article by Alana Goodman that is both fascinating and frightening. It seems that Brown University Alumni Matthew Reichel and Nick Young were worried about “one-sided” media coverage of North Korea, so they established a student visit program that has expanded to a semester-long study abroad excursion to the worker’s paradise. Now that I think of it, there is a surprising lack of media coverage of all the good North Korea is doing in the world. Of course, there's a surprising lack of media coverage of all the good Satan is doing in the world too, but...
Reichel says: “The US and North Korea don’t have established relations, and talks are indirect at best. And what we believe is that there is a need for a grassroots level of engagement that we haven’t seen yet between citizens. We feel that education is the best ice-breaker.”
Well of course. As most North Koreans outside of Pyongyang actually eat grass and tree bark daily in the often vain hope of prolonging their miserable, severely malnourished, growth-stunted lives, “grassroots” engagement is entirely appropriate. The good intentions of Leftists, combined with what they know about reality, combined with a dollar, will purchase a hamburger in any McDonalds--except in North Korea. Read the entire article (here) for the full version of leftist adventures in Wonderland.
ITEM: Presidential Press Secretary Robert Gibbs whose smug condescension and easy way with spin so blatant it has, upon occasion, nearly thrown the planet off its axis, will be stepping down immediately after the President’s upcoming State of the Union speech. However, for those who enjoy being looked down upon, having their intelligence insulted, lectured at, denigrated and lied to, Gibbs will continue to be in the public eye as he works to reelect Mr. Obama in 2012.
ITEM: It’s a pleasure to end this week’s Quick Takes with the news of Kathryn Gray, 10, of Canada, an amateur astronomer who recently discovered a previously unknown supernova. By painstaking work, she found the supernova in the galaxy UGC 3378. The galaxy is in the constellation of Camelopardalis, about 240 million light years away. Kathryn is reported to be “really excited” by her discovery. Well, yeah! Those darned kids these days, discovering supernovas and such... Congratulations Kathryn!
And congratulations to all of our readers who do their best in their busy lives to keep themselves informed, thereby helping to make a difference for us all.
January 05, 2011
Mark Twain Must Be Spinning Like A Lathe
As a teacher of high school English, I have the great pleasure to teach “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” every year. A part of teaching that indispensable work is discussing the issues that cause a great many people to try to censor it each and every year. I am always delighted to discover that my students--bless their little pointed heads--universally express surprise and outrage upon learning that people--on the left and right--want to censor the book. Yes, some of the kids have the vague feeling that they should feel uncomfortable with the word “nigger,” because it’s like, well, prejudiced or something, but they all understand that Twain was not using the word to denigrate blacks, but to help the people of his time see blacks through the eyes of Huck and Jim, as people equally worthy of respect and human dignity.
Comes now the equally indispensable Michelle Malkin (here) and Hot Air (here) to inform a public desperate for sanitized versions of literary classics of an outfit known as New South Books that is publishing a version of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” without the words “nigger” or “injun.” Both words will be replaced with “slave.”
It’s hard to know what Twain, arguably the greatest satirist America has ever produced, would have thought of this. On one hand, he delighted in stirring up controversy, so he doubtless would have enjoyed the fuss. But on the other hand, he worked for seven years on this book, agonizing over getting it right. He did, and the very words modern literary police find distressing are the very words that Twain used to change innumerable hearts and minds. I can think of no single book that has done more over a longer period of time to magnificently champion the cause of human rights without beating people over the head with outrage. Changing even a word is akin to a contemporary composer “improving” the works of Mozart or Bach to make them more “accessible” to contemporary listeners.
A related cautionary tale is the continuing saga over “niggardly,” a perfectly respectable adjective that means “cheap, closefisted or stingy.” The etymology of the word is probably Scandinavian, a part of the world not known for having anything to do with blackness. John Derbyshire of National Review Online wrote a delightful article about this, available here. In 2002 a North Carolina 4th grade teacher, Stephanie Bell, was reprimanded for using the word and condemned to “sensitivity training” when a parent declared herself offended. I had the displeasure of watching a “community activist,” if memory serves, on The O’Reily Factor soon after the incident. Said activist proudly proclaimed that even though she realized that the word actually had nothing to do with race, it sounded like “nigger,” or something, and therefore Ms. Bell ought to be fired. Since then, others have suffered for having similarly advanced vocabularies. Sigh.
As a writer of satire, Twain was more than aware of people who could not or would not “get it.” Arguably, an entire chapter of “Huck Finn” (be careful of accidental letter transposition) is devoted to this very topic. Considering the desecration of his masterpiece, Mr. Twain is doubtless spinning like a lathe. So should we all be.
December 28, 2010
I've always believed, and experience has born out, that the true test of character is not how one behaves when life is easy, but when life is hard, when choices have to be made, choices that pit personal comfort and security against what is best for others.
Bob and I have been delighted and honored with the presence of our co-blogger, Brigid. She also blogs at her own blog, Home On The Range, which is very much worth your time on a regular basis. I recommend her most recent post which is not only intensely personal, but compelling and revealing of the kind of character of which I speak. It also proves that happy endings are still possible, even if they take a long time.
The story can be accessed here.
December 25, 2010
The greatest blessing of Christmas is giving; giving to those you love, to your community, to those whose lives you might touch in ways you can’t possibly imagine. We often forget that something as fleeting as a smile can make all the difference to those upon whom we bestow it.
One of the ways I give is through music. I’m a classically trained singer, a professional singer...but not really. I often sing on a professional level, yet I don’t make my living by singing--relatively few singers do that--but I’m sometimes paid for my talents which, after decades of training and practice, is satisfying. I write these observations after three Christmas Eve services at the wonderful church that employs me to sing, a church modeled after English country churches, wrought of stone and wood, with stone floors, high, vaulted ceilings and a cruciform shape.
As I sat there, in that beautiful building that reflects the hopes, labors, devotion and dreams of many generations, and sang in each service, I had occasion to reflect. Here are a few things that occurred to me:
One of our highest aspirations should be to be a part of something greater than ourselves.
It is often the simplest, daily blessings we take for granted, things like waking up next to our spouse; it is these many small blessings that make up our lives.
Too seldom do we tell those who enrich our lives that they do. Thanks, Bob and Brigid. You enrich my life and I’m proud to be your colleague and friend. It's a shame my first name doesn't begin with a "B."
We too often take for granted the almost miraculous technologies that make our work and lives more productive. I learned to type on a manual typewriter and didn’t own a personal computer until the late 1980’s. My first cell phone came in a package the size of a large Bible and was out of range of a cell tower at least as often as it was in. We live in a time of magic.
We also need to keep such little bits of magic from isolating us. Human communication is best done face to face.
We need to listen to our loved ones; really listen to what they want to tell us. William Shakespeare said it best: “Man, proud man. Dress’d in a little brief authority” (Measure For Measure). Our time is short, and tomorrow is never guaranteed.
We need to tell our loved ones that we love them at least once every day; we need to mean it, deeply, truly and sincerely, for them, but particularly for us.
We need to believe that America is truly unique, and that Americans are--by any measure--the most generous, caring people on Earth. We also need to know that America is more than worth defending and that a people who do not understand and value the majesty of the Constitution and the blessings of liberty are doomed to lose both.
I need to thank our readers for their time, attention, comments and suggestions, and hope that what I do is useful to them.
But above all, we need to pray that we may become useful servants of God. I suspect there is no higher calling, no matter our profession.
But above all, on this, of all days, we need to remember that our Christmas can be Merry because of a sacrifice on a lonely hill, more than two millennia ago. There lies true hope, hope that can be realized not through fallible, transient government, but from the kind of change that occurs within an open, willing heart. Merry Christmas!
December 24, 2010
It's Christmas Eve already?
Somehow the holiday season always seems to sneak up on me like a cat in the night. We typically host a Christmas Eve party, then have Christmas with the kids here, commute to my parents to have Christmas lunch with my brothers and their families, and then drive back to my in-laws for Christmas dinner and my father-in-law's birthday (he's a Christmas baby). At least that is what we do most years.
This year we're dealing with earaches, sinus infections, the flu, bronchitis, and other maladies throughout out extended family, so we're keeping it very low-key and staying home for Christmas. We'll miss the family fellowship, but will have a little less stress and time to heal.
Despite the illnesses, I have much to be thankful for this holiday season. I work for a wonderful company and with intelligent, friendly people.
I have two wonderful co-bloggers that have joined me here at Confederate Yankee that are very gifted writers and just good people who give of themselves in everything they do, in writing and in their chosen professions.
I have wonderful support at Pajamas Media, have had a low-key but successful debut of my gun blog, and offers to expand my writing to other publications in the New Year.
And of course, I have a wonderful, beautiful woman at my side who isn't just my wife, but who is my best and dearest friend and who has provided me with two wonderful, miraculous daughters.
I am truly blessed by God, and so it is always important to me to remember the reason for the season isn't crass commercialism, but the celebration of birth of Jesus Christ in a stable in Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago. My older daughter, a very thoughtful and introspective 10-year-old, suggested that we start a new Christmas tradition tomorrow morning, by singing "Happy Birthday" as we place baby Jesus in our family's Nativity scene.
It is my sincere hope for all of you that this Christmas that you find what will sustain you and warm your soul. Presents are nice, but His Presence is the greatest gift of all.
God Bless, and Merry Christmas.
November 17, 2010
Really... This is News?
It's hardly surprising that TMZ has jumped at the chance to embarrass Willow Palin for calling another teenager names. It is also tediously predictable that gay progressives immediately savaged her for using the exact same pejoratives and slurs that they themselves used at that age, and which many of them still utter now in their own fits of rage, or for other Very Important Reasons, like someone giving them a dirty look.
Human beings are imperfect. Hormone- and judgement-challenged teens (i.e., all of them) even more so. They use harsh language to attack one another.
Big effing deal.
The simple fact of the matter is that the legion of the easily offended who are now going after this teenager for, well, being a teenager, are generally far more offensive, hateful, and vicious than the child they attack. Teenagers use such language as they off-gas raw emotion without a filter. The savages who attack her, however, are calculating in their assaults, and more chronologically mature, if nothing else.
They revel their own intolerance and viscous evil, and then are dim enough to think it is intolerance of their sexuality that leads to them being shunned.
August 20, 2010
Yes, Obama Was a Muslim
I don't feel this is a big deal by any stretch of the imagination, but a lot of folks in the blogosphere and newsrooms seemed to freak out yesterday because of a poll that indicates a substantial and rising number of Americans think Barack Obama is a Muslim.
Apologists everywhere were quick to lash out and claim he is a Christian, and some claim he was never a Muslim.
As a boy in Indonesia, Barack Obama crisscrossed the religious divide. At the local primary school, he prayed in thanks to a Catholic saint. In the neighborhood mosque, he bowed to Allah.
Having a personal background in both Christianity and Islam might seem useful for an aspiring U.S. president in an age when Islamic nations and radical groups are key national security and foreign policy issues. But a connection with Islam is untrod territory for presidential politics...
...His former Roman Catholic and Muslim teachers, along with two people who were identified by Obama's grade-school teacher as childhood friends, say Obama was registered by his family as a Muslim at both of the schools he attended.
That registration meant that during the third and fourth grades, Obama learned about Islam for two hours each week in religion class.
The childhood friends say Obama sometimes went to Friday prayers at the local mosque. "We prayed but not really seriously, just following actions done by older people in the mosque. But as kids, we loved to meet our friends and went to the mosque together and played," said Zulfin Adi, who describes himself as among Obama's closest childhood friends.
The campaign's national press secretary, Bill Burton, said Wednesday that the friends were recalling events "that are 40 years old and subject to four decades of other information." Obama's younger sister, Maya Soetoro, said in a statement released by the campaign that the family attended the mosque only "for big communal events," not every Friday.
A little later in the same L.A. Times article:
Neighborhood Muslims worshiped in a nearby house, which has since been replaced by a larger mosque. Sometimes, when the muezzin sounded the call to prayer, Lolo and Barry would walk to the makeshift mosque together, Adi said.
"His mother often went to the church, but Barry was Muslim. He went to the mosque," Adi said. "I remember him wearing a sarong."
Barack Obama was born the son of a non-practicing Muslim father, and had a barely-practicing Muslim stepfather. Was a Barack Obama a devout Muslim? There is no evidence of that at all.
But Barack Obama was a Muslim as a child, and prayed (at least occasionally) at the local mosque in Indonesia, as confirmed by family and friends.
I don't think he is a Muslim now, any more than he is a Christian (the black liberation theology he exposed himself to at Trinity under Rev. Jeremiah Wright is hybrid of Marxist political beliefs and black nationalism cloaked in Christian trappings). If he were honest, Barack Obama would identify himself as non-religious.
But he lies when he claims he was never a Muslim.
August 11, 2010
The Ground Zero Mosque: Prevent It, Because the Want It
[The following essay is a guest post from CY commenter Mike McDaniel]
"The capitalists will sell us the rope which we will use to hang them!" Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was fond of saying. While there was a kernel of truth in his observation, not only did Lenin and his successors fail to understand their enemy, ultimately the Soviets couldn't afford to build the gallows. Cultural misunderstanding and self delusion have been the downfall of more than one nation.
And so we find ourselves contemplating the construction of a mosque overshadowing Ground Zero. Many Muslims and a great many leftists are speaking with one voice and using the same propaganda techniques. Foremost among them is a sort of constitutional Ju-Jitsu whereby the freedoms and tolerance inherent in the Constitution and the Judeo-Christian ethic are used against America.
"Tolerance demands that we allow Muslims to build a Mosque wherever they want but particularly here! Freedom of religion! Freedom of speech! Freedom of assembly and association! Tolerance! Muslims around the world will see that we like them and they in turn will like us! Muslims have legitimate grievances and building the mosque will address them! They want to build it there to establish a dialogue! It's a community center where we can all come together and build, you know, like, a bridge or a community or something!" They cry, boldly thrusting their receding chins fractions of an inch forward.
There is one reason to prevent the construction of this mosque that is compelling and self evident. It is the only reason we need: We should prevent it because they want it.
Among the primary concerns of any faith congregation building a house of worship is the cost of land. Location is an associated concern, of course, but we are to believe that the particular Muslim congregation (does such a congregation exist?) behind this mosque thinks it, first and foremost, a good idea to build on some of the most expensive real estate on the planet? Are NYC area Muslims forced to worship exposed to the cruel elements? Are there no other mosques in NYC? Are there no other landowners who would be delighted to sell land elsewhere in the area for millions, perhaps tens of millions less?
While we justly revere the First Amendment, Muslims cannot, not if they are strictly observant Muslims. The Constitution establishes no right to build a church wherever one wishes, nor does a church have any overarching moral claim (absent compelling historical issues) to a particular plot of land. Zoning laws can and do prevail. The democratic, secular law takes precedence.
Islam, which means "submission," makes no distinction between church and state. In fact, under Sharia, the church is the super state. Let us keep in mind that Islam is not, in fact, a religion of peace, but a violent, expansionist creed whose holy text spells out in substantial detail exactly how to conquer and treat the conquered who have the choice of converting to Islam, accepting slavery (dhimmitude), or death. In fact, when various islamist lunatics issue mandates, they commonly demand that the infidels (all non-Muslims) they wish to attack (that's us, folks) convert to Islam. Americans tend to think they're just engaging in silly rhetoric, but they are scrupulously following their scripture, which requires them to make that very offer. If the offer is rejected they may slaughter the infidels with Allah's blessing.
While it is undeniably true that most Muslims do practice cultural and religious tolerance and have no intention of undertaking Jihad against infidels, this speaks only to their individual humanity and/or lack of bloodlust. It certainly does not reflect the undeniable, historic dictates of their faith and the tens of millions of Muslims who have taken or will take the path of Jihad. In short, Islam, at its core, is not compatible with democracy, freedom of religion, or tolerance. It does require that all faithful Muslims labor to take over the world for Islam and to establish Sharia everywhere. And where Sharia rules, democracy and western civilization are, of necessity, obliterated. The self deluded may imagine that Sharia and individual freedom can peacefully coexist in mutually tolerant bliss, but Islamists have no such misapprehensions.
Ah, tolerance! Tolerance is a luxury that is affordable only in advanced, democratic civilizations that share the same political and cultural assumptions. We can be sure that the Methodist congregation building a new church down the street will not be plotting to kill Catholics, or anyone else for that matter. We can tolerate them because we know that they will play by the rules, and will, in return, tolerate us. Should one member of that church decide to reject all religion or to become a Lutheran, no religious hit will be issued by the Methodists because freedom of religion, in conscience and practice, is fundamental to America. And should a Baptist minister suspect that a member of his congregation is homosexual or having an affair, he will not order their torture, mutilation or death because he has no such power or inclination. All know that should they decide to visit another church, they will be welcomed.
Sadly, none of this is true with Islam, and this is where so many well intentioned Christians and Americans make a fundamental mistake: They assume that Muslims, that people raised in other nations and cultures, are just like us. They believe that our reasoning, our traditions, our arguments will be convincing to peoples who may as well be from another planet in their ability and inclination to accept American values and culture. They know, intellectually, that many Muslims murder their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters for real or imagined offenses against family honor. They know that many Muslim men consider it their religious, manly duty to beat women. They know that in many Muslim nations, livestock are treated better than women. They know that under Sharia, there is no such thing as due process, and punishments are medieval. They know that homosexuals are routinely slaughtered. They may even be willing to admit that Islam is murderously hostile to virtually every social and political cause they hold dear. They may even admit that tens of millions of Muslims are actively training and plotting to kill all infidels, and particularly Israelis and Americans. They know that the idea of a Muslim "community center" in a mosque is an oxymoron because no infidel is allowed to set foot in a mosque, where Muslim men and women are strictly segregated. Yet in the same breath, they earnestly say "but," and continue to believe that this time, this gesture, this appeasement, their individual force of personality, will prevail and magically turn Martians into Americans. If only the American president, The One, he of the Muslim middle name, which must never be spoken to or by infidels, only reaches out to the Muslim world from a Muslim capital, his rhetoric will transform Islam as it is attempting to transform America. As Sarah Palin might say, "how's that hope and change and outreach working out for you?"
Let us not forget too the power of symbolism for Muslims, specifically, the Bin Laden "strong horse" symbolism. For Americans, extending mercy and practicing tolerance are virtues, signs of strength, character and altruism. For traditional Muslims, mercy is extended only to other Muslims. Infidels who offer it during Jihad are weak horses. Historically, Muslims conquering other lands and faiths have razed the houses of worship of the conquered and erected mosques on their foundations. Could any symbolism be more obvious? Recall, if you will, how untold millions of Muslims around the world, most of whom will likely never undertake Jihad, danced in the streets with rapturous glee at the news of 9-11. Symbolism. Building a mosque on Ground Zero would be the ultimate expression of world wide jihadist triumphalism, akin to dancing on the grave of an enemy. That's not going to happen, so they're going for the next best thing. They believe that we will sell them the rope that they'll use to hang us, or in this case, the real estate.
Our Constitution does enshrine fundamental liberties such as the freedom to worship as conscience dictates, and that freedom is extended to any faith willing to reciprocate the liberty, the adherence to the rule of secular law and the tolerance that those freedoms promise and require. But the old axiom that the Constitution is not a suicide pact applies with unique strength here. Relatives of 9-11 victims opposing the mosque are not engaging in irrational expressions of emotion, but tapping into one of the fundamental truths of democracy: Allowing enemies to use our Constitution against us is itself un-American and undemocratic. This kind of cultural misunderstanding, this kind of conceit that places principle above reality can be deadly.
We should, we must, prevent the success of what is unmistakably vile propaganda in furtherance of a declared war against America and western civilization. Many leftists and their allies won't go so far as to admit that we are at war with Islamist forces determined to kill or enslave us all. They won't even speak the name of our enemy. The war proceeds apace nonetheless.
Denied a Ground Zero mosque, Muslims will not be in any way harmed. For a wide variety of reasons, plans to build churches are abandoned every day across the land. There are thousands of mosques wherein Muslims are free to worship, but not here, not on or near this hallowed ground, not now, not ever. This ultimate strong horse symbol, short of world Muslim domination, must be crushed, as Shakespeare put it in Julius Caesar, in the shell.
We should, we must, prevent it because they want it.
August 06, 2010
Howard Zinn, The Left's Darling Dead Propagandist
Howard Zinn has long been a darling of pseudo-intelligent leftists (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck come to mind) and his "People's History of the United States" has long been lauded by the progressive university. Because of his near rock star popularity and influence among the self-styled intelligensia it is a bit surprising that information recently declassified by the FBI showing that Zinn was an active communist has seen so little exposure.
Little, as in next to no media exposure at all.
While Google's search-bot is not the be-all, end-all of devices to ascertain whether or not a story has been buried, I think it is fair to say that the ruling class that suckled at Zinn's anti-American teat are more than a little embarrassed at his outing, and hope to keep his tale under wraps. Online news outlets such as Pajamas Media are publicizing the scandalous story, but you are seeing no reaction whatsoever to this discovery on cable or network news, in newspapers, or in political magazines like you would if it was discovered that a prominent conservative academic was a member of a radical right wing group that we were at ideological war with for half a century.
Why the silence?
It is simple, really.
Dead communist Zinn is still very much the hero for the left; they dare not tarnish his hallowed image. Further, his contemporaries still exist, and his students still carry great influence in the Democrat/Media complex... you may argue that thy are the Democrat/media complex. Rest assured, they are not silent to protect Zinn's legacy.
They are silent to protect themselves.
July 14, 2010
That's The Sound of Me Not Caring
July 07, 2010
Are You Not Entertained?
This past Saturday evening in Alton, Illinois, a 911 call was placed reporting a dumpster fire, and when firefighters arrived, they were attacked with bottle rockets and larger fireworks capable of serious injury or death. The attacks continued even after police arrived (to the apparent delight of the community's residents) The crowd's violent urges only seemed to fade when officers engaged the mob with pepper-balls, a form of the agent used in pepper-spray adapted for use in paintball guns.
Eventually the police ran out of ammunition and withdrew, but they and the fire department returned to engage in further combat later that night with the mob. They've returned to fight arson every day since.
To date, no one has been killed or seriously injured in this on-going crime spree in a sad little public housing complex in a town north of Saint Louis.
Nor has there been much media attention for what the Associated Press described as a mob luring police and fire units into an ambush "as entertainment for hundreds of people who gathered at the Oakwood Housing Complex to watch."
I thought we lived in a more civilized country.
Obviously, I was wrong.
June 29, 2010
Dodge Challenger "Freedom" Commercial
If the New York Times reviews this, they'll no doubt accuse Washington of animal cruelty and psychological abuse.
June 05, 2010
Baby Killer Kagan
I don't think any rational person was ever under the delusion that a President as radical as Barack Obama would nominate a moderate for the Supreme Court, so it is no surprise at all that documents have come out proving that Elena Kagan is a flaming liberal.
I just didn't expect Obama to be so out of touch that he would nominate an advocate of fetal murder:
A newly-produced document today from the Clinton archives is the second to show Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan defending ex-President Bill Clinton's veto of a bill to ban partial-birth abortions. The memo, and others, may increase Republican opposition to her nomination.
In one of the documents that comprises the 46,000 pages of material the William J. Clinton Presidential Library released today, Kagan opined on the ban for Clinton as an attorney with the administration's Office of Domestic Policy.
In a February 27, 1997 memo to top White House staff, Kagan referred to the startling admission from Ron Fitzsimmons, at the time the executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers.
The debate then had been on whether the partial-birth abortion procedure was done for health reasons for the mother or essentially on healthy unborn children for elective reasons only.
Leading pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL made claims that flew in the face of medical practice by saying the three-day-long abortion procedure would somehow be able to save a woman's life in a life-threatening medical circumstance.
Fitzsimmons signed on to that mantra but eventually relented, saying he "lied through my teeth" about the statistics and supposed reasons for the abortion procedure.
According to CNN, the new memo showed Kagan advising Clinton, saying it "it would be a great mistake to challenge" Fitzsimmons' statements given how embarrassing they were for abortion advocates...
Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee eventually told LifeNews.com the Kagan memo likely helped keep partial-birth abortions legal longer.
While it is a purely personal belief, I hold that partial birth abortion, in most cases, amounts to murder.
You cannot tell me this procedure is merely the removal of a mass of cells. It is the murder of an infant, performed by zealots as an act of political defiance and individual selfishness instead of medical necessity in most instances.
I feel a deep and abiding sorrow for the few women each year that must legitimately chose between their lives and the lives of their baby. But this bill was never really about them.
Elena Kagan embraces infanticide as a political statement. No one this radical should ever see the inside of the Supreme Court.
Except, perhaps, as a defendant.
June 04, 2010
Carradine's Widow Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit
She claims the French company handling the actor's last film ( the perfectly titled Stretch) "failed to provide proper services to protect him."
Which is what... bungie cord instead of rope?
I suspect the trial will end in a hung jury.
May 23, 2010
Oh My Word
If you use duct tape instead of paint to cover the entire exterior of your car...
you might be a redneck...
...a really, really disturbed redneck.
May 21, 2010
Know Your Pests
It is a small-minded, greedy and instinctive creature that survives on a scavenger's diet, but prefers to feast upon the succulent roots of of established growth, whittling away at the underlying base until it can no long support life, killing it from below.
May 20, 2010
Happy Everybody Draw Mohammed Day
I think all of one person bought the shirt, but that wasn't the point; having the freedom to create such an item was. Muslims are attempting to undermine that freedom as they do so many others. In our society, such challenges to free speech rights cannot stand (and yes, that includes the right of Comedy Central to create a show mocking Christianity).
You don't have to like such speech, but you do have to tolerate it. Over at Pajamas Media, Zombie puts considerable thought into discussing the importance of such blasphemy in The New Free Speech Movement.
At Reason, they're having a drawing contest.
May 13, 2010
Hawaii Shows Birthers The Door
They shall serve no whine:
The island state's Republican Gov. Linda Lingle signed into law on Wednesday a bill that would allow Hawaii to ignore repeated requests for President Obama's birth certificate.
Health Department officials say they still get 10 to 20 e-mails each week requesting verification that Obama was in fact born in Hawaii, which prompted the law.
Speculation about the President's birthplace has continued on the Internet for nearly two years, despite evidence that he was born in the nation's 50th state in 1961.
"I had my health director, who is a physician by background, go personally view the birth certificate in the birth records of the Department of Health," Lingle said during a recent interview on WABC Radio with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.
"The President was, in fact, born at Kapi'olani Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii," she said. "And that's just a fact."
May 11, 2010
Budda-Slayers of the Mojave
Just two weeks after winning protection from the Supreme Court, the simple Mojave Desert Memorial Cross was stolen in the night:
The 7-foot-tall metal cross in a 75-year-old war memorial that withstood the heat of the Mojave Desert and a blazing battle in the Supreme Court over its legality was ripped down and stolen Sunday night, according to federal officials.
"This is an outrage, akin to desecrating people's graves," said Kelly Shackelford, president of the Liberty Institute, which represents the caretakers of the Mojave Desert War Memorial. "It's a disgraceful attack on the selfless sacrifice of our veterans. We will not rest until this memorial is re-installed."
The National Park Service says someone cut the metal bolts holding the metal-pipe cross to the top of the memorial's Sunrise Rock and made off with it Sunday night or before dawn on Monday.
Authorities had no immediate motive for the theft but National Park Service officials are considering a range of ideas from scrap metal scavengers to people "with an interest in the case," said Park Service spokeswoman Linda Slater.
Let's be very frank: no thief would trudge to the cross' remote location to remove a vessel of metal filled with concrete that has little or no scrap value. The cross was removed by an individual or group that dimly thinks the cross represents a religious argument instead of of a moment in time where the dead of war were honored with such symbols as a sign of respect and remembrance.
The theft of the Mojave Desert Memorial Cross is a vengeful act committed by small minds that can only grasp their present anger and self-righteous rage. They lack empathy and respect for their fellow citizens who valued the cross as a respectful memorial, lack respect for our laws and system of justice, and are too dim to grasp the historical context of such a symbol.
Another cross will go up if this one is not recovered, and perhaps it will be erected in such a way to make it more difficult to desecrate.
That saddest part of this crime is that those simpletons that removed the Mojave Desert Memorial Cross probably think of themselves as enlightened and progressive in some way. The stark reality is that they harbor the same tolerance, intellectual heft, and sensitivity as the Taliban.
April 29, 2010
So, What Is Jaleel White Doing These Days?
April 21, 2010
So Dumb, Even a Caveman Wouldn't Do It
Let me pass along a bit of common sense that apparently never occurred to actor Lance Baxter: if your career hinges on the public liking you—or at least not being offended by you—it is probably best that you don't call them names:
Actor Lance Baxter, otherwise known as "D.C. Douglas," currently known as the man who informs you how much GEICO can save you on car insurance, left a message last month with FreedomWorks in which he asked the group how many "mentally retarded" people it had on staff and what it would do when a tea partyer "killed someone." On April 14, FreedomWorks put his voicemail online.
Let me explain this very clearly for the whining Mr. Baxter and his would-be defenders. As an American, you have the freedom of speech. You do not have the right to avoid entirely reasonable responses to the speech you decide to exercise.
Baxter chose to take actions that led to a response by the target of his ire, which was entirely within their rights. GEICO, likewise, was entirely within their rights to dump Mr. Baxter, who could not control himself and made an outburst that could cause the company financial losses.
Freedom isn't free, it requires responsibility and knowing that you may be required to pay a price for your convictions.
Mr. Baxter has now learned that lesson.
April 17, 2010
Don't Fire Up The Black Helicopters Just Yet...
It was several years ago—during the Bush Administration—that Ward Brewer was pitching the idea of reconfiguring a small fleet of retired naval vessels into long-term, heavy-lift emergency response vehicles that could provide food, water, shelter, power, medical care and emergency transportation in the event of a major national disaster or terrorist attack.
The idea had a lot going for it.
In the big scheme of things it is relatively inexpensive (remember, we're talking in government dollars) and could turn retiring Tarawa-class Amphibious Assault Ships into even more important national assets than they were as weapons. Loaded with first responders and equipment, such vessels would have been a godsend in the response to the recent earthquake in Haiti, not to mention the hurricane season.
For various reasons, plans for what I'd quickly dubbed the &qout;Salvation Navy" never came together, but that doesn't mean that Ward's ideas weren't good ones. His ideas found champions in various political and military leaders, along with similar plans already under discussion.
One of those ideas evolved into cross-training military units to perform roles in disasters, and plans were made to create both interim and long-term solutions.
Sadly, some of the same sort of conspiracy theorists that think 9/11 was an inside job to hide Barack Obama's Kenyan birth quickly assigned a sinister purpose to the unit in question, which observant blogger David Luckie noticed in a conspiratorial column in the Examiner.
In October of this year, one month prior to the November midterm elections, a special army unit known as 'Consequence Management Response Force' will be ready for deployment on American soil if so ordered by the President.
The special force, which is the new name being given to the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry, has been training at Fort Stewart, Georgia and is composed of 80,000 troops.
According to the Army Times,
They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.
The key phrase is 'may be called upon to help with civil unrest.'
This afternoon a local radio talk show host reported that he had been in contact with a member of the military. This military source stated that the armed forces have been alerted to the strong possibility that civil unrest may occur in the United States this summer, prior to the midterm elections of 2010.
The gist of the column was to gin up fears that Barack Obama was building a massive Gestapo-like force to be unleashed so that he could seize control of the government and declare himself Emperor... or something. Read the rest, if you want.
Mr. Luckie, who blogs at I Bleed Crimson Red, simply shreds the conspiratorial ranting of the Examiner columnist by actually talking with real, honest to God people-who-know-what-they're-talking-about.
It won't dissuade those poor souls that need conspiracies the way the rest of us need oxygen, but Luckie's demolition of this myth of Obama's secret Army should satisfy any questions most normal people have about the unit.
March 23, 2010
Ted Kennedy's Death Had Global Economic Impact
February 19, 2010
Love your mother, don't love your mother.
More therapy is exactly what you need.
February 09, 2010
Michelle Obama Channels John Kerry; Accidentally Describes Barack's Presidency
Only a select few individuals have the ability to contradict themselves in the length of a sentence. Former Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry was endlessly pilloried for his variation "I was before it before I was against it," and rest assured if Sarah Palin utters such a blunder we'll be hearing it blared on every cable news channel for weeks.
And yet this gaffe goes unremarked on:
"I think my husband has done a phenomenal job staying on course, looking his critics in the eye, coming up with clear solutions against staying the course," Michelle Obama told Robin Roberts in an exclusive morning television interview on "Good Morning America."
So according to Michelle, Barack has done a great job of staying the course, even as he come up with clear solutions no to do so.
Actually, that may not be a contradiction. That may simply be an accurate reflection of his policies.
January 29, 2010
Afghanis: Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Deny, Deny, Deny
Uh...this is news?
As if U.S. troops and diplomats didn't have enough to worry about in trying to understand Afghan culture, a new report suggests an entire region in the country is coping with a sexual identity crisis.
An unclassified study from a military research unit in southern Afghanistan details how homosexual behavior is unusually common among men in the large ethnic group known as Pashtuns -- though they seem to be in complete denial about it.
The study, obtained by Fox News, found that Pashtun men commonly have sex with other men, admire other men physically, have sexual relationships with boys and shun women both socially and sexually -- yet they completely reject the label of "homosexual." The research was conducted as part of a longstanding effort to better understand Afghan culture and improve Western interaction with the local people.
The research unit, which was attached to a Marine battalion in southern Afghanistan, acknowledged that the behavior of some Afghan men has left Western forces "frequently confused."
The Pushtuns seem convinced that as long as they don't love the men and boys they're having sex with, then they aren't gay. Anecdotes I've read over the years suggest that this is very common in both Sunni and Shia Muslim cultures, with the men in those cultures in equally deep denial about their homosexuality and pedophilia.
These same cultures routine murder gays or have them executed after sham trials... I'm not sure how they reconcile that, and it seems denial is their only mechanism for coping. Kinda makes you wonder the gender of the 72 virgins they dream about, doesn't it?
January 22, 2010
Are You Not Offended?!?!
I supposed that in a few days the newness of Senator Scott Brown will begin to wear off and we'll all go back to our normal routine of utterly ignoring the families of politicians when the aren't:
- doing something scandalous
- some combination of the above
In the mean time, though, it appears we'll have to deal with the faux outrage of left-wing bloggers who are going through the trash of the Brown family, attempting to find something, anything scandalous to diminish his current political rock star status.
As Meep notes at POWIP, it doesn't appear that anyone pushing these stories is actually offended by the unobjectionable actions and images of the Brown family, but instead seem to be hoping that independents and conservatives will be shocked and appalled by what they've found.
What these stories instead go to prove is that liberals are attempting to market to a caricature of conservatives and independents, and that the oppressive "Christian Taliban" strawman they've created only exists in their insular community-based realities. It's a flawed assumption, and an example of the kind of groupthink that may cost Democrats even more seats in the 2010 midterms.
January 20, 2010
I Don't Know Much About Basketball...
...but isn't it hard to shoot a jump shot when your hood keeps slipping down over your eyes?
I can see it now:
"What are you going to do tonight, Timmy?"
"I don't know, Billy. Maybe watch some basketball at the Civic Center. I hear the Grand Wizards are playing the Cross Blazers."
January 12, 2010
I'm still trying to determine how I feel about this:
James Cameron's completely immersive spectacle "Avatar" may have been a little too real for some fans who say they have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after seeing the film because they long to enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora...
A post by a user called Elequin expresses an almost obsessive relationship with the film.
"That's all I have been doing as of late, searching the Internet for more info about 'Avatar.' I guess that helps. It's so hard I can't force myself to think that it's just a movie, and to get over it, that living like the Na'vi will never happen. I think I need a rebound movie," Elequin posted.
A user named Mike wrote on the fan Web site "Naviblue" that he contemplated suicide after seeing the movie.
"Ever since I went to see 'Avatar' I have been depressed. Watching the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na'vi made me want to be one of them. I can't stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers I got from it," Mike posted. "I even contemplate suicide thinking that if I do it I will be rebirthed in a world similar to Pandora and the everything is the same as in 'Avatar.' "
Other fans have expressed feelings of disgust with the human race and disengagement with reality.
Okay—now I know how I feel. I feel disgust.
Listen up, cupcakes.
While it is as clichéd as Hell, the world really is what you make of it. Odds are that your life sucks because you enable the suck. You are responsible for it, and your negative attitude is the primary ingredient in the suck sandwich you love to gag yourself on.
I look at people CNN interviewed and the posting of these faceless drones and see people wallowing in woe-is-me mediocrity and co-dependency, waiting for someone else to give their lives meaning and purpose.
Life doesn't work like that.
Other people do not exist to give your miserable existence meaning or to give you edification. You and you alone are responsible for your actions, your thoughts, and how you deal with the circumstances of your life. You could be great, and make a great life, but you are terrified of doing anything worthwhile. You prefer to trap yourself into a pathetic, unhappy life. I feel no sorrow, only contempt for you.
Yes, some people are born with certain advantages, and some people are born with disadvantages. We all have strengths, and we all have flaws.
These—Avatards—live at the most prosperous time in the history of planet Earth, and have lives sufficiently comfortable that they can shell out more than some people in the world make in months, just to go blankly stare at a cartoon utopia. They then leave the theater, climb into their late model car and drive to their suburban home or apartment, grab a snack out of the fridge, and contemplate how much their lives suck.
These fools willing serve time in a solitary confinement of their own making, with lives not worth living because of the hell they create for themselves. They feel the world is better off without them.
They are probably right.
December 02, 2009
December 01, 2009
Adidas=All Day I Duck Aimed Shoes?
Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi who infamously threw his shoes at President Bush during a December 2008 press conference in Iraq, was himself the target of a shoe thrower today at a news conference in Paris.
Fittingly enough, al-Zeidi's brother chased today's show thrower, winging his shoes at him during the chase.
Socks to be them.
November 11, 2009
The monuments in Washington all seemed false in the cool morning mist. They were big and white and extravagant, yet the tourists cheapened them somehow as they gawked, took photos, and scurried to the next place on their list of things to see. Their attention seemed to focus on what things were rather than why they were. The scene was a poor example of Americana. Even Honest Abe seemed to frown from his throne. Of all the walls of stone only one seemed real.
This wall's long black marble slices into the ground. On it are engraved fifty-eight thousand American names from an undeclared war that no one wants to remember in the jungles of a country half a globe away. There are no ornate scrolls or stenciled directions, no fancy faded pieces of parchment, no self-serving sentiments, just names.
There's also a statue some distance away. Three bronze soldiers stare into the wall, waiting for word of their fellow soldiers, or perhaps morning their loss. The soldiers don't talk; they simply stare. They are all just boys, most of them only six years older than I was then: nineteen.
Under the statue-soldier's gaze, an elderly man lagged behind a tour at the wall. He caressed it and knelt to leave a single rose at its based. He sobbed. He had difficulty standing up. A nearby park attendant helped him and asked, "One of yours, sir?" The old man shook his head and replied, "Not just one of them. All of them."
I penned those words in the fall of 1989... 20 years ago.
They are an excerpt of a story I authored as an 18-year-old college freshman. It was based upon a trip to Washington D.C., and to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, simply known to all as The Wall. It is fictionalized, but only just. To this day it remains one of the most emotional places I've ever visited.
At the time, Vietnam was our most recent "major" conflict, though I know all wars are major are those who fight them. We were still several years away from the first Gulf War, and more than a decade from 9/11 and the wars that followed in Afghanistan and Iraq that we still fight today.
I'm met dozens of veterans since that time, from World War Two, Korea, Vietnam and our current wars. I've tried to thank them for their service, but mere words always feel inadequate to capture the gratitude I feel for all they have sacrificed so that I can live in a land of freedom and liberty.
I've tried to explain the sacrifices they've made as best I can to my older daughter. I've told her some of what I know about my Uncle Bobby's war in Korea, where he had the harrowing duty of splicing damaged communications lines for forward observers while in combat. I tried to tell her of how her grandfather—who we buried just before last Veteran's Day—stood guard against saboteurs in the wet salt spray as victory ships burned from to the torpedoes of German U-boats off the Carolina Coast.
I've told her what I know of some of our local heroes that I know she's heard of and seen, and of those who quietly walk among us with little recognition at all.
Today is the day we thank all veterans who have served this nation and who put their lives on the line to preserve our way of life.
Words are not enough, but all the same, thank you.
November 09, 2009
Bush Visits Hood Wounded, Families
I just wish that Fox News had embargoed the story of the visit and honored the former President's wishes of keeping the meeting secret.
I would imagine that visiting the families of servicemen killed and wounded is among the most emotional experiences that any President will encounter, and the fact that George and Laura Bush took the time to be with those impacted by Major Hasan's jihadist rampage says quite a bit about their character.
I hope the visit was able to provide the families and those wounded with some inspiration and comfort.
President and Mrs. Obama are due to make an appearance at a formal memorial service tomorrow. I suspect they will spend time with the troops as well.
November 02, 2009
Matrix Producer to Film Muhamad Flick
October 30, 2009
The Class of the Liberal Elite
Über liberal Gore Vidal takes the disgusting practice of blaming the victim to the extreme, outrageously calling the 13-year-old rape victim that Roman Polanski drugged and brutalized, "a hooker."
Quick, someone award him a Nobel Prize for Literature.
October 26, 2009
Conservatives Top Liberals, Moderates as Top Ideological Group
Conservatives continue to outnumber moderates and liberals in the American populace in 2009, confirming a finding that Gallup first noted in June. Forty percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 20% as liberal. This marks a shift from 2005 through 2008, when moderates were tied with conservatives as the most prevalent group.
Let's keep those percentages in mind the next time we see a heavily-slanted poll that significantly under-samples Republicans and over-samples Democrats.
October 24, 2009
Look closely, and you'll see James O'Keefe, the filmmaker who nailed ACORN for supporting child sex trafficking, wearing a pimp suit once again... and dancing.
October 16, 2009
I Don't Get the Controversy
October 12, 2009
Like E.F. Hutton Said... You Earned It.
Progressive bloggers pushing for the adoption of the LGBT agenda President Obama said he would implement on their behalf have now been given the cold shoulder by the White House. Once they complained that Obama failed to live up to his campaign promises, they were summarily dismissed by the Administration as part of "the internet left fringe" that needs to "take off their pajamas."
The reaction to the betrayal is as you would expect, with lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth.
I guess it isn't quite so funny when the real teabaggers are dismissed just as easily as those smeared as such.
October 10, 2009
Democrats in the media and in politics have so over-used cries to racism in an attempt to marginalize legitimate opposition that the word has rapidly lost the stigma attached to it. Indeed, in the context of the political blogosphere, bloggers on the center-right have been using the term self-referentially as a sarcastic bit of snark to the constant knee-jerk claims of racism they know will radiate from progressives.
It's a shame the left has decided to make such reckless use of the word in an attempt to stifle opposition, because when real racism occurs, calling it out with the level of derision it deserves becomes that much more difficult.
When you walk into the Georgia Peach Oyster Bar in Paulding County, you feel like you've walked into a different era.
Behind the pool tables stands a mannequin in a Klu Klux Klan costume, but it's what's outside of the Patrick Lanzo's restaurant that has some people angry.
Lanzo put up a sign that reads "Obama's plan for health-care: N*&%*r rig it."
Keep that link bookmarked, lefties. The next time you feel the urge to tar someone as a racist as a catch-all smear, you can use that as a touchstone.
Sadly, labeling people such as Lanzo as a racist simply isn't the pejorative it once was, thanks to those who have turned the label into a joke.
Update: Another Black Conservative is on the same wavelength.
October 08, 2009
Fake Mais Précis
Apparently, the Obama's questionable taste in art includes a penchant for frauds.
Alma Thomas' 1963 "Watusi (Hard Edge)" is unmistakably a knock-off of Henrí Matisse's 1953 "L'Escargot." No, I'm not an art buff, the symmetry is uncanny, and forms a near-perfect overlay.
RDU Acclaimed as #1 in Daily Beast America's Smartest Cities Ranking
I've been working in the Research Triangle Park most of my adult life and have worked with and for some brilliant companies (including my current employer), and advanced degrees are commonplace. Combine that with the overall culture and climate, and it's a tough place to bet against.
That said, their methodology is questionable, even as it is flattering.
October 07, 2009
In Chicago, Blameshifting on Youth Violence Continues
Loyal Bloomberg employee John McCormick certainly knows who signs his paycheck. McCormick's article Chicago Violence Haunts Obama as Gun-Control Backers Left Cold laments the fact that when U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder meet with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley today, they won't be able to blame Chicago's most recent and high profile youth death on firearms.
Honor student Derrion Albert was beaten to death with splinted railroad ties on September 24 by other youths in a crime that was captured on cell phone video and broadcast around the world.
Gun control vultures are predictably dismayed that they cannot use Albert's young corpse as a prop:
Some gun-control advocates question the administration's timing as Duncan and Holder arrive after a highly publicized beating that didn't involve a gun.
"Where there have been opportunities for the president to speak out about the issue of firearm violence, he has missed any number of opportunities," said Thom Mannard, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.
Doing so in the Albert case "provides the cover" to address youth violence without confronting the gun lobby, said Mannard, whose group's board of directors included Duncan until he left for his current post.
Groups like the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, the Violence Policy Center and the Brady Campaign have a structural flaw in their basic underlying philosophy. They have deluded themselves into thinking that a banning a device (a firearm) will somehow mitigate the cultural problem of violence in certain groups. It doesn't work that way, as Derrion Albert's death at the hands of an angry mob of his peers so readily proved.
A subculture that accepts, embraces, and glorifies violence in their entertainment (music, video games, television shows, movies, etc) unsurprisingly develops and nurtures individuals and groups that accept, embrace, and glorifies violence in the real world. Individuals so desensitized to violence find it socially acceptable—in many instances expected—to affect violence upon others with found objects, homemade weaponry, or their fists and feet.
Put bluntly, most pay lip service to the idea of quelling violence, but none are willing to face the fierce opposition that will arise when the offending subcultures are named, nor are they willing to face the economic backlash of taking on industries that make billions profiteering off the glorification of this lifestyle.
Such reflection is necessary for change, but interests that thrive of the status quo—Hollywood, record companies, clothing manufacturers, professional victims advocates, politicians, lobbyists, etc.—have no motivation to cut their own profits merely because urban youth are killing themselves in neighborhoods they will never visit.
October 05, 2009
She's the One
Ann Althouse saw Michael Moore's new movie.
September 28, 2009
Silence! Do Not Speak Ill of Chicago!
A Chicago television station has been forced to pull a story that many of Chicago's residents don't want the 2016 Olympics in their city. I'd be more worried about Chicago's residents if I was an Olympic athlete or spectator.
From 2000-2008 there were 4,855 homicides in Chicago, though there have been just 285 so far this year.
Hope and Change! And a more fitting logo:
"We'll send one of ours to the podium. We'll send one of yours to the morgue."
September 17, 2009
Screwing over El Salvadoran girls and America's poor
at the same time, on your dime.
September 11, 2009
A re-linking of Popular Mechanics' Debunking the 9/11 Myths: Special Report.
Because sadly, Van Jones isn't the only left-wing idiot that signed that infamous petition, and most of his peers are still convinced the Bush Administration let 9/11 happen.
August 05, 2009
How You, Too, Can Meet a Member of the Secret Service
As John Hawkins notes over at Right Wing News, the Obama Joker poster meme is spreading like wildfire, and variations are being posted across the country, with people hoping to cash in with tee shirts, bumper stickers, and even ties.
Knowing the universal desire to turn a quick buck, I imagine that it won't be too long before someone comes up with the idea to PhotoShop President Obama as other movie villains.
Just be care which villain you decide to use.
While Two-Face is a logic choice (and an extension of the Batman-related theme), other selections might just earn you a visit from people who don't smile much.
July 23, 2009
A woman sees a man she thinks is attempting to break into a neighbor's home, and calls the police.
An officer arrives, and finds a man in the foyer of the home, and begins to question him. The man acts belligerently, and initially refuses to provide identification, while screaming the cop was prejudiced. The man inside the home was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct, even though he later provided identification showing he he was and proving that it was his home.
People get arrested all the time for acting like an ass and refusing to work with police responding to a call, and the officer could have just as easily charged the suspect with obstruction of justice and he would have been well justified.
But because the man who was arrested is a prominent African-American professor crying racism, and the officer is white, the cries immediately began that the arrest was racist, when it very plainly was not.
Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr was non-compliant with a police officer merely doing his job of trying to protect Gates' home. In fact, he was abusive towards the officer. And the officer's the bad guy?
Give me an effin' break.
Gates could have easily diffused this situation at the very beginning by showing Sgt. James Crowley his identification as requested. Crowley would have seen that the home was indeed Gates', would have wished him a good day, and been on his way. A normal person may have even thanked the officer for responding to the call (which was, after all, to protect his property), and the neighbor who was trying to looking out for him.
But Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr is more than a scholar. He's also an asshole... and more than likely a racist himself.
By his own admission he immediately escalated a simple matter of identification into a confrontation, and then had the temerity to play the victim.
Further—and amazingly—a hopelessly lockstep and well-conditioned liberal media immediately joined in echoing the hue and cry, though all the evidence points towards a good cop simply attempting to do his job and a self-important jerk acting belligerently, thinking that he is above the law.
Sgt. Crowley is no racist. He's done his best to serve his community, and did everything in his power to attempt to save the life of another famous African-American.
But Gates and his supporters can't see that, blinded by knee-jerk rage and hobbled by minds firmly rooted in the past.
Likewise, our President, Barack Obama, showed his character and intellect to be paper thin, accusing Sgt. Crowley of acting "stupidly," even as he admitted that he didn't know the facts of the case.
Here are the facts, provided by another officer in the arrest report:
Henry Louis Gates Jr, of his own accord, needlessly escalated what should have been a very simple and cordial interaction with a law enforcement officer into a situation that the officer felt necessitated his arrest.
Upon his release from jail, Gates needlessly escalated the situation further, making public and repeated unsupported charges of racism against an officer who seems to have an exemplary record in an attempt to justify his own shameful behavior.
And now, as if if Gates foolish behavior wasn't bad enough, we have our neophyte President ignorantly weighing in, giving this incident more credence than it deserves, and assigning blame without knowing any of the facts, automatically assuming the white officer was wrong.
So much for a post-racial America.
All hail the Racist-in-Chief.
Update: Added the arrest report screen capture and link.
July 06, 2009
An Ode to Michael Jackson
Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
Let's bury the freak
And get on the bus
Yeah, I borrowed that from something I read somewhere years ago, but it fits.
June 16, 2009
Brits Debut "Stab-Proof" Knives
According to the industrial designer who created them, he did so because saw a documentary where British doctors advocated a ban on traditional kitchen knives because they had the potential to be used as stabbing weapons in crime.
I have no idea if the design of the knife will prevent it from being used as a stabbing weapon, but it is apparently sharp enough to geld an entire nation.
June 13, 2009
National Organization for
Talk show host David Letterman won't apologize for suggesting the statutory rape of Sarah Palin's 14-year-old daughter Willow, beyond a half-ass attempt to claim that the rape of 18-year-old Bristol Palin was his actual intention.
I have peers in the blogosphere that would like to see the aging hack boycotted and fired for his comments... I don't see the effort being worthwhile. Letterman's sagging rating would only be buoyed by continuing to low-boil the saga, and his fellow liberals—the real problem—would only support him more in political solidarity by assigning more relevance to him than a late night talk show host with a worn-out and increasingly bitter schtick is worth.
But the biggest argument against boycotting Letterman is that he simply isn't that big a fish. If people who are disgusted by Letterman's misogyny really want to make a difference, they'll target those that do the most in allowing the degradation of women.
They can do no worse than starting with the National Organization for Women.
NOW was silent about Letterman's advocacy of statutory rape until they were forced to speak. Ignoring women's issues that are not politically advantageous for the organization has been NOW's most defining characteristic since the Clinton era. If women are abused by Democrats—especially liberal Democrats—then NOW has little or nothing to say unless pushed out on stage like a recalcitrant four-grader. Even then, ideologically battered, they never take a more forceful stand than they absolutely must, and then they quickly retreat.
Like liberal abusers of women, Muslims don't exist in NOW's universe. Though their women have few if any rights, and can be beaten or slaughtered under sharia law for vague offenses to the honor of a savage and often primitive culture, NOW simply prefers to pretend the problem doesn't exist. The fierce urgency of NOW no longer even pretends to represent all women. It protects only the ideology of liberal women... and only when they aren't being attacked by useful liberal men.
No, it seems that the primary goal of NOW—and other left wing organizations—is to demand conformity from those they claim to represent, not liberty or independence. They exist to best serve themselves, like the government they champion.
This world would be a lot better off if there actually was an organization that cared about the rights of all women, and who had the courage to stand against brutally and abuse, and for equality, no matter where it originated.
But it certainly isn't NOW, who can't even stand up against a bitter old comedian that thinks that the public statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl makes for a great punchline.
June 04, 2009
May 31, 2009
A Monster is Murdered, and Nothing is Gained
"Two wrongs don't make a right."
That childhood admonition stuck with me over the years, and was the first thought to pop into my head when I read that an infanticide practitioner by the name of George Tiller was gunned down in a Wichita, KS church this morning, and that a suspect was in custody.
I'm finding it harder than normal to find sympathy for this murder victim, but with reason.
He was a man who killed babies the age my daughter Kate was when she came into this world. To me putting a baby to death is simply unimaginable and tragic, and it makes him a monster. I cannot imagine the kind of man who would do such a thing, or easily imagine the circumstances in which such an act could be justified if the baby wasn't an immediate and life-threatening medical risk to the mother, but I do try to remind myself that it isn't my place to judge what happens to him, or his soul.
If you believe in God, you know that either Tiller is forgiven for his sins, or he is damned for eternity.
Sadly, there are some small-minded people who find a bit of satisfaction in the thought of an abortion doctor burning in Hell, and think that the only think wrong with this scenario is that the other few doctors nationwide that still practice this barbarity aren't also in morgues.
I don't think they grasp that the murder of this physician is merely the last tragedy of a life tragically led, and that politically-motivated murders rarely accomplish anything more than throwing away two more lives (that of the the victim and the murderer) without coming a single step closer to resolving the underlying disconnect that leaves the sides so far apart.
George Tiller was a monster. So is his killer. Neither should be made into martyrs or heroes, as it is quite clear that neither man was.
Simply pray they both find forgiveness, and hope that when our final day arrives, we find forgiveness as well.
May 18, 2009
Blackfive Introduces the Warrior Legacy Foundation
Non-partisan, and designed to honor those who have honored us with their sacrifices.
May 11, 2009
Tomorrow Belongs to Meh
In the interest of "going Galt" I've done away with my spellchecker. From now on, all typos are to now to be considered subversive activities.
Someone infomr DHS.
April 22, 2009
6 people, presumably students, have been arrested protesting Virgil Goode's speech against illegal immigration at UNC-Chapel Hill. They seem to be every bit as tolerant as the Carolina blue fascists that violently ended Tom Tancredo's attempted speech last week.
The Daily Tarheel covered the speech via Twitter, and described juvenile protesters that simply don't understand that the freedom of speech hinges on the free exchange of ideas, not drowning out those that oppose your own.
It's a sad commentary on the state of education and intellectual discourse at Chapel Hill, but sadly a kind of intellectual bullying that has become a favored tactic on the political left.
A protestor at the Tancredo event sums up the thuggish behavior with daring honesty when she admitted, "I don't believe a lot of change in this country have come through debating and being happy and talking to people."
Presumably one day in the future this protestor or another one like her will brag about having the university with the cleanest-burning ovens.
Happy Poisoned Piven Day
Pseudo-environmentalists are celebrating Earth Day today, a day "a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment."
My company is celebrating Earth Day by passing out compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) light bulbs to all employees. As you may imagine, I am absolutely thrilled that they are attempting to introduce fragile glass tubes containing poisonous heavy metals into my home. After all, mercury worked so well for Jeremy.
Like Doctor Sanity, I see Earth Day for what it is, a political machination more than an environmental one, and so I'm hardly surprised to see President Obama burn thousands of gallons of jet fuel to take a junket to give a short speech in Iowa supporting his plan to wreck capitalism with a so-called "green economy" that will cost American jobs and cause fuel prices to soar for all Americans during a down market without actually benefiting the biosphere.
Today is Earth Day, they tell me. Today I should appreciate the environment.
Maybe it's simply a sign of how I was raised, but pretty much every day is Earth Day. We cut off the lights when we leave a room. With the exception of the baby, we take showers instead of baths. We grow some of our own vegetables and spices, and hand weed and use organic remedies to minimize pests instead of using chemicals. Given more time, I'd even provide more "green" meat for my family, hunting and fishing to harvest those other meaty emitters of greenhouse gasses and biowaste for the children!
But Earth Day isn't about protecting the Earth for many of those involved. It's about regulating and controlling people, especially people that they find objectionable.
Thanks, but I'll pass.
March 20, 2009
Raleigh, NC Tax Day Tea Party
I guess late is better than never, so here's notice that there will be a tea party protest at the State Capitol in Raleigh, NC on Saturday, March 21.
Raleigh will also be one of the sites for a nationwide tea party on April 15.
You can find out more about both events at RaleighTeaParty.com
December 31, 2008
December 25, 2008
December 11, 2008
manbearpig barada nikto
Keanu Reeves come back from wherever he's been since the Matrix and Speed movies to turn a classic 1951 warning about the perils of nuclear armageddon into a tribute to the climate change cult in tomorrow's release of The Day The Earth Stood Still.
The movie's plot on Wikipedia is less than inspiring:
The film opens in the future San Dimas, California, with Rufus (George Carlin) preparing to use a time machine disguised as a phone booth to travel back to 1988 to make sure that Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter) and Theodore "Ted" Logan (Keanu Reeves) remain together as the band "Wyld Stallyns", as their music is the core of the future's Utopian society.
Wait a minute. That's the more realistic plot from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
Here is the plot for Keanu's latest turkey:
A representative of an alien race that went through drastic evolution to survive its own climate change, Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) comes to Earth to assess whether humanity can prevent the environmental damage they have inflicted on their own planet. Klaatu himself already has a negative opinion of humans, and when barred from speaking to the United Nations, he decides they shall be exterminated so the planet – with its rare ability to sustain complex life – can survive. It is up to Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) and her stepson Jacob (Jaden Smith) to convince Klaatu humans are worth saving: but it may already be too late.
Oh, it's too late all right—650 scientists from around the world have slammed the climate change cult, saying that there is no scientific evidence of manmade global warning.
Real science shows that the world gets warmer, and then it gets cooler. Then it gets warmer again, and then—wait for it—it gets cooler again. It's like a cycle or something. And it's been this way for hundreds of millions of years, well before bipeds with opposable thumbs moved to the coast, took up yoga, and decided to declare the world was about to end.
If you'd like to know the real cause of global warming and cooling, stick your head outside sometime during daylight hours and search the sky. See that big, flaming ball of hydrogen? That's the sun, or if you're feeling familiar, Sol.
Sol has weather, too.
Sometimes Sol burns hotter and sends out solar flares. During these periods, it pumps out tremendous, near incomprehensible amounts of energy, and the world warms up. Other times, Sol burns a bit cooler, solar flares die down, and the amount of energy it releases into space dies down a bit, and the world cools down. This we know. This is fact.
Climate change? It happens. In fact, one thing we know for absolute, irrefutable certainty is that climate change is constant, and it is going to happen no matter what we do.
By all means, do your best to practice conservation and protect the environment. But don't be so arrogantly clueless to think you are significant enough to change our climate as the suggest in this inconvenient spoof.
The best you can do is make sure when it gets cooler or warmer that it does so over lands and seas that aren't choked with our garbage and waste.
That's a big enough challenge of it's own, I think, even if it doesn't make as good a movie.
November 28, 2008
Greatest Thanksgiving Parade Stunt Ever?
September 30, 2008
Help Soldier's Angels
Squidoo is giving away money to charity. The company has $80,000 to give away and they're letting people vote on what charities to give the money to.
Please scroll down and choose "Soldier's Angels." Each click = $2.
If you haven't heard about them before, check out Soldier's Angels and what they try to do. It's a good cause.
(Thanks to Rusty Shackleford for pointing this out).
September 24, 2008
Why We're Having an Economic Meltdown
Because Americans will piss away their money on anything, as long as they find it amusing.
Keep on bidding, folks. Can't we enthusiastically get behind this this empty, useless trash, and push it far higher than it deserves to be based on merit, for no reason at all?
Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!
Oh, wait a minute...
August 13, 2008
This Is Interesting...
Our buddy Jules Crittenden married up quite well, but did you know she could write, too?
"Tethered " is her new novel, and it appears to be attracting some buzz.
Proud husband Jules gushes here.
August 12, 2008
Sam Jackson... Be Very Afraid
If he's superstitious about the old wives tale of deaths coming in threes, Samuel L. Jackson should be very afraid. Jackon's movie Soul Men is in post-production. Also starring in Soul Men?
August 04, 2008
The Compassion of the Progressive Left
That saddest thing about reader reaction to Raw Story's article about Bob Novak's retirement due to a "dire" brain tumor diagnosis?
These are their moderated comments.
July 29, 2008
Lynching, Lynching Everywhere...
Just when you thought the Huffington Post couldn't become any more self-parodying, someone comes along to make it even more laughable:
Despite his background as a comedian, Stephen Colbert is known by many of the authors who have appeared on his show as one of the toughest interviewers in the business. But on July 28, when country music superstar Toby Keith stepped on the set of the Colbert Report to promote his movie, Beer For My Horses, he was greeted by his host with nothing less than reverential admiration. After a jovial, back-slapping sit-down with Keith, Colbert turned the stage over to his guest for a performance of the song that inspired the title and theme of his forthcoming "Southern comedy."
While Keith belted out "Beer For My Horses," Colbert's studio audience clapped to the beat, blithely unaware that they were swaying to a racially tinged, explicitly pro-lynching anthem that calls for the vigilante-style hanging of car thieves, "gangsters doing dirty deeds...crime in the streets," and other assorted evildoers.
Or perhaps Colbert, his audience, and the millions of people who have heard this song since it first hit number 1 in 2003 are simply far more grounded in reality than Mr. Max Blumenthal, who apparently sees a chance to scream "oppression!" behind every rock, tree, and country-western movie and music lyric.
After listing the lyrics to what was until now the uncontroversial lyrics of a song
about a "thirst for justice," Blumenthal whines that:
During the days when Toby Keith's "Grandpappy" stalked the Jim Crow South, lynching was an institutional method of terror employed against blacks to maintain white supremacy.
Though it will doubtlessly come as a shock to Mr. Blumenthal, this song, co-written by Scotty Emerick, is not autobiographical, any more than Keith's "I Love This Bar" is an ode to an illicit man-on-mahogany affair.
The song is entirely fictional and rhetorically set in the Old West, as the imagery of horses, whiskey, saloons, gun smoke, outlaws, and the "long arm of the law" clearly evoked for anyone reasonably grounded in this reality.
Conveniently,Blumenthal glosses over that the lyrics of Keith's song include the all-important words "It's time the long arm of the law put a few more in the ground." This singularly expressed and culturally understood idea of the Old West deputized posse, led by sheriffs and marshalls operating under the color of law and made famous in hundreds of western movies and television shows over decades as part of our shared cultural heritage that Keith is drawing on utterly undermines Blumenthal's creation.
It is a delusion undone, revealing far more about Blumenthal's tortured psychology than Keith's lyrics, Colbert's insightfulness, or America's past.
Mr. Keith has every right to whimsically sing about whiskey for his men and beer for his horses, even as he might suggest that Mr. Blumenthal can (and probably should) take a nice tranquilizer with his merlot.
Perhaps for tomorrow's amusement Arianna Huffington can find a delusion even more spectacular than Blumental's latest—with Naomi Wolf lurking in the background, that is always a possibility—it's that prospect of ever more unintentionally funny, lethally-refined insanity that keep us coming back, time and again.
08/08/08 Update: Toby Keith himself hears about Blumenthal's moronic lynching claims, and tees off:
"It's about the old west and horses and sheriffs and posses and going and getting the bad guys. It's not a racist thing or about lynching. The song was a hit and the words lynch and racism has never come up until this moron wrote this blog."
May 26, 2008
April 22, 2008
Glenn Reynolds is giving J.D. Johannes' Iraq War documentary trilogy Outside the Wire a big push this morning, noting that Amazon is bundling the film with Michael Yon's Moment of Truth in Iraq, which Glenn dubs the "Iraq War Honesty Pack."
It is probably worth adding Congressional Medal of Honor nominee David Bellavia's House to House, and My Men Are Heros, a book about Navy Cross nominee Brad Kasal to that list, but those are only scratching the surface of the material out there about the conflict and the men fighting it that you won't often see reported in the larger media.
January 18, 2008
Chicago Lawyer Jay R. Grodner's Day in Court
The anti-war lawyer that defaced a Marine's car had his day in court.
January 15, 2008
Murderous Marine's Vehicle Found
Morrisville police are at a Microtel hotel were they believe they have found the vehicle belonging to the killer of a pregnant Marine.
A nationwide manhunt is under way for Marine Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean, who is wanted for killing Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, 20. She was 8 ˝ months pregnant at the time.
Video shows that license plates on the truck at the hotel matched those on a black Dodge pick up that police said belonged to Laurean. The hotel is off Airport Boulevard near Interstate 40.
Though near RDU International Airport, there is no indication he attempted to get a flight out of North Carolina, and the last suspected sighting of Laurean placed him in Louisiana.
December 31, 2007
Jay R. Grodner, A Chicago Lawyer You Should Know
Jay R. Grodner is a Chicago lawyer who apparently believes it is perfectly acceptable to vandalize a deploying Marine's car because of his own anti-war political beliefs.
Of course, the best way to handle the situation is by letting the authorities do their jobs, and commenter "Mo" at Blackfive has the excellent idea of contacting the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission:
One Prudential Plaza
130 East Randolph Drive
Chicago, IL 60601-6219
(312) 565-2600 or, within
Illinois, (800) 826-8625
Fax (312) 565-2320
One North Old Capitol Plaza
Springfield, IL 62701-1625
(217) 522-6838 or, within
Illinois, (800) 252-8048
Fax (217) 522-2417
It would seem that committing felony vandalism is a decent reason to have his license to practice law revoked.
The post also cites a police report that Grodner also apparently tried to state that the Marine only accosted him because he's Jewish (implying the Marine is a bigot).
Stay classy, Jay R. Grodner, Chicago attorney.
Bonus: He's already a big hit on Google.
I hope he enjoys the free advertising. He's earned it.
December 24, 2007
1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.Luke 2:1-7
November 22, 2007
of off the computer and spend some time with your family, will you?
November 05, 2007
As you are probably aware, were on our second week of raising funds to buy voice-controlled laptop computers for our wounded soldiers, in an online competition called Project Valour-IT.
More about the program, from Soldier's Angels:
Every cent raised for Project Valour-IT goes directly to the purchase and shipment of laptops for severely wounded service members. As of October 2007, Valour-IT has distributed over 1500 laptops to severely wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines across the country.
Valour-IT accepts donations in any amount to support the purchase and distribution of laptops, but also offers a sponsorship option. An individual or organization may sponsor a wounded soldier by completely funding the cost of a laptop and continuing to provide that soldier with personal support and encouragement throughout recovery. This has proved to be an excellent project for churches, groups of coworkers or friends, and members of community organizations such Boy Scouts.
Originally Valour-IT provided the voice-controlled software, but now works closely with the Department of Defense Computer/electronic Accommodations Program (CAP): CAP supplies the adaptive software and Valour-IT provides the laptop. In addition, DoD caseworkers serve as Valour-IT’s “eyes and ears” at several medical centers, identifying possible laptop recipients. Wounded military personnel can also directly request a laptop through the sign-up form or through the Valour-IT/Soldiers' Angels representatives at the following medical centers:
* Balboa Naval Hospital
* Brooke Army Medical Center
* Madigan Regional Medical Center
* National Naval Medical Center (Bethesda Naval Hospital)
* Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton
* Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital (29 Palms)
* Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Thanks to the efforts of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Valour-IT is also able to reach patients in VA hospitals who would benefit from a Valour-IT laptop.
So here is what I'm asking of you, Confederate Yankee readers.
As was noted with unerring accuracy on a whiteboard somewhere in Iraq, "America is not at war. The Marines are at war. America is at the mall."
In addition to our Marines, of course, are tens of thousands of soldiers, sailors, and airmen, all putting their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan, and sometimes, those lives get shattered.
But there is something you can do. As part of "Team Air Force" I'd like to ask for Confederate Yankee readers to donate five dollars to Project Valour-IT. That's it. Just five bucks.
So many times I've caught myself almost donating to a worthy cause, and then I didn't, because our budget was tight that month. I wanted to donate a "worthwhile" amount, and was ashamed to offer the small amount I could possibly afford. Sound familiar?
But even on my worst day, I could squeeze five bucks out of my thin wallet for a worthy cause, even if I wish I had $50 or $500 to give. And so that's what I'm asking of you: five bucks.
Five bucks from every CY reader would be able to buy a voice-activated laptops for one of our brave wounded soldiers so that he can communicate with loved ones.
So please, donate just five bucks via the button below. Because they deserve it.
Because everything matters.
October 12, 2007
And to think, I wasn't even aware that they had a Nobel Prize for deceptive rhetoric.
I'm now selling "smug offsets" via Paypal.
October 11, 2007
Think back to your college days, and imagine this scenario:
You wake up on morning to discover that flyers speaking of hatred towards a minority group are plastered all over campus, and written at the bottom of the flyer is information that frames a group you belong to as the authors.
Sadly, this is not a hypothetical situation.
What should happen to the group of radicals that attempted to frame a student group with what most rational people would construe as hate speech?
The student group targeted has an idea, buased upon commits first posited by the Student Association Executive Vice President. Only time will tell if the university has the integrity to act swiftly and justly in dealing with this slanderous attack.
October 08, 2007
Retard Released From Jail
Don't shoot the messenger for the choice of words, guys...
I would have simply called him "reality-based," whereas his prosecution seemed retarded.
September 17, 2007
Violating Her Sybil Rights?
The words "honesty" and "Hollywood" don't belong in the same sentence for a very good reason. Sally Field, bungling her Emmy acceptance speech and being played off-stage as she went over her allotted time, had her closing comment cut off when she utter "g-d d-mn" on tape-delayed "live" television.
Normally, this would be hardly worth mentioning, as profanity is routinely edited out on these kinds of shows (as it was on at least two other occasions last night) and babbling stars are often played off the stage (as also occurred last night) as they prattle on past their allotted time.
Field, professional that she is, timed a mild anti-war comment to come out prefaced by profanity as she was being played off the stage. According to a quite dishonest L.A. Times Tom O'Neil:
Producers of Sunday's Emmy telecast bleeped best drama actress winner Sally Field in the midst of a controversial acceptance speech attacking U.S. involvement in Iraq.
"If mothers ruled the world, there wouldn't be any god -" she said when the sound went dead and the camera suddenly turned away from the stage so viewers would be distracted. Chopped off were the words "god-damned wars in the first place."
Filed was not "in the midst" as O'Neil reported, but already over her allotted time as the music came up and she was being played off the stage. Likewise, as Don Surber notes, she was far from being the only celebrity to have their profanity edited out of the show.
Predictably, blogs in the community-based reality such as Think Progress and the aptly-named Crooks and Liars are quick to make the unsupported accusation that this was the result of "censorship" by Fox , and left out the pertinent details that Field was using profanity and already over time when she made her rote comment.
Obviously, these troubling facts aren't relevant to the story they would prefer to tell.
September 02, 2007
The Truther Behind the Traitor
Former Hollywood agent, Pat Dollard gets to the bottom line.
August 31, 2007
Brian De Palma is tediously consistent if nothing else.
His Vietnam war fiction "Casualties of War" portrayed American soldiers as rapist thugs merely bidding their time for the opportunity to commit inhuman acts against a bucolic population.
Unlike "Casualties," which was filmed decades after the war in Southeast Asia, De Palma's new film, "Redacted" is an admitted attempt by De Palma to sway world opinion against Americans soldiers while they are actively engaged in combat.
A new film about the real-life rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers who also murdered her family stunned the Venice festival, with shocking images that left some viewers in tears.
"Redacted," by U.S. director Brian De Palma, is one of at least eight American films on the war in Iraq due for release in the next few months and the first of two movies on the conflict screening in Venice's main competition.
Inspired by one of the most serious crimes committed by American soldiers in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, it is a harrowing indictment of the conflict and spares the audience no brutality to get its message across.
De Palma, 66, whose "Casualties of War" in 1989 told a similar tale of abuse by American soldiers in Vietnam, makes no secret of the goal he is hoping to achieve with the film's images, all based on real material he found on the Internet.
"The movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people," he told reporters after a press screening.
"The pictures are what will stop the war. One only hopes that these images will get the public incensed enough to motivate their Congressmen to vote against this war," he said.
As noted above, De Palma's film is propaganda to which he proudly admits:
"The pictures are what will stop the war. One only hopes that these images will get the public incensed enough to motivate their Congressmen to vote against this war," he said.
I wonder how this country would have responded if Director John Ford had released a film showing American servicemen raping and killing an innocent Japanese girl in 1943 and murdering her family, instead of the propaganda film December 7.
In 1944, Ford was a commander in the USNR, and watched the June 6, 1944 invasion of Normandy from the USS Plunkett as the destroyer screened troop transports off Omaha Beach, and later landed on sands tinged red with the blood of American soldiers. To this day, most of the film Ford's team of combat cameramen shot on "Bloody Omaha" has never been seen. One may wonder how De Palma would have reacted in such a setting. Would his reaction have been to have noted the sacrifice of America's soldiers, or to vilify them for shooting fair-haired soldiers of the Wehrmacht as their lines collapsed and were overrun?
It seems almost certain that if De Palma covered the battle for Okinawa in 1945, his predilection for vilifying the American military would no doubt have led him to tell the story of the noble schoolteacher who led her classroom of children over the cliffs to their deaths at Humeyuri-no-to, and the bloodthirsty Marines they escaped from into death.
Of course, De Palma isn't making movies during World War Two vilifying America’s soldiers; he's making movies during a current war vilifying Americans soldiers.
What would once have been quickly identified as treasonous or seditious in past conflicts is now something that appears to be quite fashionable among certain aspects of our society.
De Palma and like-minded souls in Venice, Cannes, and Santa Barbara, of course, feel brave for making a film that portrays the young Midwestern privates and southern specialists and street-smart second lieutenants from Jersey on the frontlines as savages, capable and yearning to unleash unbearable cruelty.
As sweat drips in the eyes of soldiers and Marines as they attempt to bring peace to a land that has rarely known it, their enemies will be watching pirated and crudely-dubbed bootlegs of Redacted in training camps in Syria, in mosques in Saudi Arabia, and in homes throughout the Arab world, who already take a suspicious view of the American soldier in Iraq.
We will not see the pictures that would actually win the war, of an Iraqi father wrapping his arms around a suicide bomber to keep him from entering a mosque, or of the Iraqi interpreter who proudly dreams of becoming an American Marine. We won't see American ssaving Iraqi lives, or Iraqis saving American lives, or the brutality of those we fight.
Those, you see, are the pictures that Brian de Palma has redacted.
August 17, 2007
I guess this answers the question of what happens "When the Sun Goes Down."
June 27, 2007
Ah... The Good Life
Yesterday, while scanning Memeorandum.com to see what other bloggers were discussing, I was amused to find a post called "Starting a War" that shows the vast disconnect between reality and fantasy as it relates to ever-changing situation in the Middle East, and with Iran in particular.
Let's see what Cernig has to say:
In an email this morning, Mr M at Comments From Left Field asked me "What happens if Iran DOES make an overt war act on the US?" Of course, the rightwing meme is that Iran has been carrying out both covert and overt acts of war for some time now - but any time someone who doesn't really want a war with iran looks at their evidence it ends up looking contrived, conspiratorial and, in essence, fabricated.
I know a "little something" about debunking questionable claims of Iranian involvement, having (as thoroughly as one can) debunked a claim by the U.K. Sun tabloid yesterday that Iranian Revolutionary Guards were helicoptering into Iraq to kill British soldiers. This was not the first claim of Iranian interference I debunked either; just 11 days ago, I proved that a February 12 claim made in the U.K. Telegraph that "more than 100" precision long-range .50 BMG rifles purchased by the Iranian government had been captured in Iraq by American forces, was unsubstantiated.
A liberal blogger acquaintance of mine, upon reading the second post, quipped to me via email, "Is George Soros sending you checks? I need to now if Soros is paying you more than he pays me."
I am an "honest dealer" on the subject of Iran.
Cernig, in my opinion, is not correct in implying that all the evidence "ends up looking contrived, conspiratorial and, in essence, fabricated."
It is true that many are ideologically opposed to accepting charges that Iran is involved in supplying ordnance, training, and even personnel to anti-government forces within Iraq.
The claims made, however, are as solid as one could possibly make without actually capturing uniformed Iranian soldiers firing weapons at American forces within Iraq.
We know, for example, that Iran has been supplying EFPs--explosively-formed penetrators--to Shia militias. EFPs are not a new technology, having been used for decades by militaries around the world. These are not, in theory, difficult weapons to build, and we have indeed captured indigenously-made EFPs and even captured facilities within Iraq where EFPs were being assembled. Making them effective against heavily-armored vehicles, however, is not a skill Iraqi machinists have the capability to replicate.
Iraqi fighters have been making their own versions of the weapons, but so far none has been effective against U.S. forces, Odierno said. The Iraqi-made projectiles, using brass and copper melted on stoves, have failed to fully penetrate U.S. armor and are more likely to be used against Iraqi forces, whose vehicles often have thinner armored protection than U.S. vehicles, U.S. military officials said.
"We have not seen a homemade one yet that's executed properly," Odierno said, adding that such weapons are not a major concern "as of yet."
Correctly machining to precise tolerances the copper disk that becomes the projectile is not a skill Iraqi elements have, and recovered projectiles--and in many instances, captured intact EFPs that failed to go off--have provided strong, finger-print-like clues as to the kind of machinery used to produce the more effective copper disks. The machining marks are said to indicate Iranian manufacture, as does chemical analysis of the C4 explosives used to form the projectile, and the specific construction of the passive infrared (IR) electronic triggers that detonate the weapons.
In addition to EFPs, Iranian-manufactured mortar shells of recent manufacture have been recovered, as well as Fajr-3 medium-range rockets, developed in and manufactured exclusively by Iran, that have been fired into Baghdad's Green Zone. Some even bear markings of the Iranian military:
In Iraq, Iranian 240mm rockets, which have a range of up to 30 miles and could significantly change the battlefield, have been used recently by Shiite extremists against U.S. and British targets in Basra and Baghdad, the officials said. Three of the rockets have targeted U.S. facilities in Baghdad's Green Zone, and one came very close to hitting the U.S. Embassy in the Iraqi capital, according to the U.S. officials.
The 240mm rocket is the biggest and longest-range weapon in the hands of Shiite extremist groups, U.S. officials said. Remnants of the rockets bear the markings of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and are dated 2007, those sources said. The Tehran government has supplied the same weapon, known as the Fajr-3, to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia.
We also know Iran has been training anti-government insurgent groups in Iraq, as captured Shia militiamen have readily confessed, and as have their commanders, who freely confirmed that information to the Associated Press:
Commanders of a group inside the Shiite Mahdi Army militia told the Associated Press that there are as many as 4,000 members of their militia who were trained in Iran and they have stockpiles of EFPs. The commanders spoke to AP on the condition of anonymity because the U.S. military considers their group illegal and giving their names would likely lead to their arrest and imprisonment.
Further, we have captured Iranian military personnel in Iraq, including senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officer Mohsen Chizari in Baghdad on December 21, 2006. Also captured in Iraq--and still in U.S. custody, along with four other Iranian operatives--was Baqer Qabshavi, a colonel in the IRGC.
Contrived? Conspiratorial? Fabricated?
To someone with an apparent interest in denial at almost any cost, certainly, but not to anyone who retains objectivity, especially at a time when Iranian weapons shipments and training are not only on-going, but apparently increasing.
But Cernig's disconnect goes beyond questioning Iranian ordnance, training, and personnel, to an almost delusional of view of life within Iraq that echoes communist claims of just how great life was inside the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
My first reaction was "why the f**k would the do that? They may be theocrats but mostly they have a rational wish to keep their good lives intact and ongoing." Its undoubtably true that a war on Iran would be a disaster for the U.S. and its allies - it would accomplish none of the warmongers objectives except revenge for a decades-old insult at an embassy and would be highly counter-productive to U.S. and allied interests globally.
Somehow, I think their rioters may disagree:
Motorists set fire to petrol stations in Tehran today in an angry backlash against the Iranian government's decision to impose rationing.
One station in Pounak, a poor area of the capital, was set alight while another in eastern Tehran was partially burnt and two of its pumps were completely destroyed.
"Last night, there were a lot of fights, people were furious due to the sudden decision," a 55-year-old pump attendant told Reuters.
The scenes of disorder put further political pressure on the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is already under fire for failing to deliver on promises to improve the economy after his election in 2005.
In May, the government reduced subsidies for petrol, causing a 25% jump in prices.
The government had been planning to implement rationing for weeks. It was supposed to begin on May 21 but was repeatedly put off amid fears that Iranians would react badly as they are used to cheap and plentiful petrol.
"This man, Ahmadinejad, has damaged all things. The timing of the rationing is just one case," said Reza Khorrami, a 27-year-old teacher who was queuing at one Tehran petrol station last night.
You'll note that the rioting was proximately caused by government-imposed mandatory fuel rationing, but an underlying cause of this rationing is Iran's stagnating economy, and no doubt the massive crackdown against anti-regime groups:
Iran is in the throes of one of its most ferocious crackdowns on dissent in years, analysts say. with the government focusing on labor leaders, universities, the press, women's rights advocates, a former nuclear negotiator and Iranian-Americans, three of whom have been in prison for more than six weeks.
The hard-line administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the analysts said, faces rising pressure for failing to deliver on promises of greater prosperity from soaring oil revenue. It has been using U.S. support for a change in government as well as a possible military attack as the pretext to hound his opposition and its sympathizers.
If this is the "good life," I'll pass.
But the blissfully unaware description of Iran's domestic situation is no more disconnected than are Cernig's thoughts on why the United States may have cause to take action against Iran:
Its undoubtably true that a war on Iran would be a disaster for the U.S. and its allies - it would accomplish none of the warmongers objectives except revenge for a decades-old insult at an embassy and would be highly counter-productive to U.S. and allied interests globally.
Unless Cernig can compose a hasty rationalization to explain away these sentiments, it appears that he or she is firmly convinced that our current crisis with Iran is based solely upon "revenge" for the 1979-81 hostage crisis.
The fact that Iran is supplying weaponry and training that the U.S. military claims has killed more than 170 American soldiers, and seems to be escalating their pace of doing so, might just be seen as more proximate cause to most rational people, as would Iran's continued eliminationist rhetoric toward the United States and U.S allies.
The continuing development of a suspected nuclear weapons program, and the proven and even bragged about development of intercontinental ballistic missiles and MIRV warheads is also a very real concern. While technically being capable of launching conventional warheads, in practice, almost all MIRVs mounted on ICBMs in the world's arsenal are nuclear in nature, and so it is irrational to assume Iran has developed these weapons systems for any other purpose.
While no doubt comforting to Cernig, these rationalizations fail to address either actual present reality or the concerns of the immediate and near-term future.
I'll skip past Cernig's next paragraph, which merely reiterates the laughable Iranian "good life" claim, and studiously seeks to deny any possible Iranian nuclear threat... actually, I'll skip the rest of the post entirely (though you might find Cernig's explanation of how we economically forced the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbor somewhat amusing).
The rest of the post merely continues down a path built upon a shoddy foundation.
Sadly, we knew Cernig is probably not alone on the left or right, in attempting to create a docile, "artificial reality" Iran to ignore. Sadly, the inabilty of some to deal with actual reality versus a preferred reality may yet lead us into a far more lethal future.
June 12, 2007
June 06, 2007
New RAF Nose Art Approved
Because you never want to offend anyone before you kill them.
May 18, 2007
Perhaps its just my perception, but perhaps the reason that there are so few men taking wine-tasting and tennis classes in New York City is not that they are uninterested in the subject, but that the men who have these interests are already dating each other.
I'm kidding. Mostly.
Ann Althouse takes another stab at answering the question:
Men prefer to look at something they have decided to do and figure it out on their own. They like to observe, analyze, and discover. They accept the risks and enjoy the excitement of trial and error. They don't like sitting around having someone tell them what to do, and they aren't intrigued by the prospect of meeting women who spend so much time doing something they loathe.
Now, I just made that up, but it was no more made up than the explanation in the article.
Althouse is a lot closer to reality than the loopy NY Times reporter.
I don't know any of my male friends who would sign up for a class to learn how to do anything; typically if they're interested in a subject, they'll ask a buddy for pointers or just dive right in. The trial and error is part of what makes new experiences worthwhile.
Of course, the choice of activity matters a great deal as well.
Look at the list of classes chosen by these desperate women: "tennis, running, sailing, horseback riding, fitness boot camp and scuba diving classes" and "golf, cooking or music class," and "Thai kickboxing or jazz appreciation."
Now honestly... how men of these activities are of interest to most single straight men in the age groups these women are targeting? Cooking and music classes? Thai kickboxing and jazz appreciation? These might appeal to men when they get older, but most younger single men have very little interest in these subjects, and even if they did, as Althouse correctly observed, they'd just do it.
If these women wanted to meet men, they'll find out what men like and where they hang out, and go there.
Somehow, I doubt that advice will lead them back to a jazz appreciation class.
May 17, 2007
Back to the Grassy Knoll
Take this for what it's worth:
In a collision of 21st-century science and decades-old conspiracy theories, a research team that includes a former top FBI scientist is challenging the bullet analysis used by the government to conclude that Lee Harvey Oswald alone shot the two bullets that struck and killed President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
The "evidence used to rule out a second assassin is fundamentally flawed," concludes a new article in the Annals of Applied Statistics written by former FBI lab metallurgist William A. Tobin and Texas A&M University researchers Cliff Spiegelman and William D. James.
The researchers' re-analysis involved new statistical calculations and a modern chemical analysis of bullets from the same batch Oswald is purported to have used. They reached no conclusion about whether more than one gunman was involved, but urged that authorities conduct a new and complete forensic re-analysis of the five bullet fragments left from the assassination in Dallas.
Tobin, Spiegelman and James said they bought the same brand and lot of bullets used by Oswald and analyzed their lead using the new standards. The bullets from that batch are still on the market as collectors' items.
They found that the scientific and statistical assumptions Guinn used -- and the government accepted at the time -- to conclude that the fragments came from just two bullets fired from Oswald's gun were wrong.
"This finding means that the bullet fragments from the assassination that match could have come from three or more separate bullets," the researchers said. "If the assassination fragments are derived from three or more separate bullets, then a second assassin is likely," the researchers said. If the five fragments came from three or more bullets, that would mean a second gunman's bullet would have had to strike the president, the researchers explained.
If I'm reading this right, there is no new evidence of a second shooter, just a criticism of the bullet analysis used at the time.
How they can jump from questioning the methodology, to postulating that there may have been three or more bullets and a second gunman, should be a red flag. They have no data to support their third bullet/second gunman theories.
Retro-Trutherism. How chic.
May 14, 2007
A question for parents: how would you feel if your child's teacher terrorized your child?
Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables.
The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip.
"We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation," he said.
But parents of the sixth-grade students were outraged.
"The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them," said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip.
The children in this incident emerged physically unscathed, but that outcome was not guaranteed. The students could have just as easily panicked and attempted to escape, at which point the 69 student could have trampled one another, causing serious injuries.
The school principal, Catherine Stephens, in a hidious understatement, said that the staff members involved exhibited "poor judgment." The school Web site says the teachers involved considered the act of edu-terrorism a "prank."
Poor judgement? A prank? A teacher berating a child in front of their class for getting an answer wrong exhibits poor judgment. A camp prank is "short-sheeting" a bed.
The staff and teachers of Scales Elementary School premeditated and carried out a plot in which almost six dozen children were purposefully convinced they might die. In any other situation, such a threat, serious or not, would and should be viewed as a criminal act.
A real example of poor judgment in this instance would be the continued employment of these sadists as teachers. I hope that Murfreesboro City Schools has better judgement than that.
May 04, 2007
France Once Again Threatened By Vague Violence, People
On the last day of official campaigning, opinion polls showed Sarkozy enjoyed a commanding lead over Royal, who accused the former interior minister of lying and polarizing France.
"Choosing Nicolas Sarkozy would be a dangerous choice," Royal told RTL radio.
"It is my responsibility today to alert people to the risk of (his) candidature with regards to the violence and brutality that would be unleashed in the country (if he won)," she said.
Pressed on whether there would be actual violence, Royal said: "I think so, I think so," referring specifically to France's volatile suburbs hit by widespread rioting in 2005.
At the start of her campaign, Royal refused to refer to her opponent, but with time running against her she has changed tactics and has relentlessly lambasted him this past week.
On Friday she said he had exacerbated social tensions during his time as interior minister and added that he was unable to enter some neighborhoods for fear of provoking violence. The suburbs were hit by widespread riots in 2005.
Wouldn't it help if we knew which groups Royal thought might riot, and the nature of the social tensions that would cause them to do so?
If they can't confront the problem enough to even mention who was rioting (primarily poorly assimilated North African Muslim youths) and why (economic hopelessness, cultural divides, among others), then they will never solve the underlying problems leading to this kind of behavior.
Get used to the idea of vague people starting riots for vague reasons in France for many years to come.
May 01, 2007
Illusions of Safety
As many of you know, I work part-time at a sporting goods store behind the gun counter. This past Saturday, a rather frail couple I'd estimate to be in their early fifties--a local man, and his sister visiting from Florida, they said--stopped me to ask where they could find a whistle.
An orange whistle; they were very adamant about that.
We didn't happen to have any orange whistles in stock, and I inquired as to why they were so intent on getting a whistle in that particular color. The brother informed me that they had had a rash of recent muggings in the community in Florida where the sister lived, and they thought that whistle was the best way to protect her against a possible mugging.
My eyebrows went up with that. I asked where she intended to keep the whistle, and she stated quickly, as if I was daft, that she'd keep it in her purse.
I just looked at them for a few seconds, hoping they'd make the connection.
"You mean the same purse that a mugger would likely grab?" I offered, trying to point out their obviously flawed logic. Instead of realizing their Carlos Mencia "dee dee dee!" moment, they shifted gears.
"What about pepper spray?"
"And where would you keep that?"
She started to answer, "In my pu-"
The brother, starting to get agitated, cut her off.
"Do you have it, or not?" he said tersely.
I replied that we didn't, and then I took the conversation where they didn't want to go.
"Ma'am, you live in Florida, correct?"
"You are aware that Florida have one of the most liberal concealed carry laws in the United States?"
I may as well have suggested raping a chicken. The looks of horror and disgust should have been comical, but all I felt was sad.
At that point I gave up and directed them to the closest place that I was aware of that had pepper spray for sale. They left, very quickly. I never did find out why they were so adamant about having an orange whistle. Perhaps they thought muggers were afraid of that particular color.
A whistle has not, as far as I am aware, stopped a determined assailant, as often as I've heard them recommended as a form of self defense by one un-serious group or another. All an assailant has to do it pluck it from your lips, or more likely, attempt to use his fist to smash it down your throat.
Whistles only provide the illusion of safety, which is all these people and others like them actually want. They want to think they're taking steps to protect themselves or others, even when they aren't.
I almost never have to time to take these customers down the logical path, as they typically eject themselves from the conversation once their illusion is challenged.
I'd love to ask them what they expect to happen if they are able to actually blow their whistle, but rarely get the chance.
Do they expect that a police officer will just happen to be within the hundred-yard or so range of such a whistle, with his radio off and his squad car windows down so that he can hear their single, brief bleat?
Do they expect other citizens to come running to their rescue and potentially place their lives in jeopardy, when the victims themselves would not?
Whistlers, however you cut it, are sheep... and self-important, arrogant sheep at that.
Whatever their physical gifts, they are psychologically unwilling to defend themselves, and yet expect others to come running to their rescue when things get predatory. They don't want the responsibility of protecting their own lives, and expect others to do it for them.
Bring on more unarmed victim zones. Buy more whistles. Expect others to come to your defense, even though you wouldn't come to theirs.
I hope orange whistle lady wises up, but I'm rather sadly confident that she won't. Some illusions are just too comforting for some people to let go of them, not matter how useless and stupid they are.
April 13, 2007
Not Quite Innocent
Terry Moran is sure to be creamed for this contrarian opinion, but I tend to think he's right:
So as we rightly cover the vindication of these young men and focus on the genuine ordeal they have endured, let us also remember a few other things:
They were part of a team that collected $800 to purchase the time of two strippers.
Their team specifically requested at least one white stripper.
During the incident, racial epithets were hurled at the strippers.
Colin Finnerty was charged with assault in Washington, DC, in 2005.
The "Duke Three" are without a doubt innocent of the crimes of rape and kidnapping levied by a mentally-disturbed stripper and a dishonest district attorney, but they are not innocents. There is a huge distinction between being innocent of a crime, and some of the comments made during the defense lawyer's press conference that painted these three young men as almost being ripe for canonization.
They are part of a group that deserves criticism for their actions. These three young men are not criminals, but nor should they or their teammates be made into heroes. We should be able to redress the travesty of justice committed against them without making them into idols or figureheads of purity, when they clearly are not.
Black Panther Calls Malkin a Prostitute
Ah, leftists in action.
On the show she apparently creamed him, according to Don Surber:
You could almost feel the delight in her as she knew she had him. She stuck to her guns while he sputtered and locked into the name-calling mode. He is so stuck in the '60s (although he is far too young to have lived much then) that he could not understand that women really are the equal of men and that they can think for themselves — and mature into the same conservatives that educated men become.
Malkin's response to Malik Shabazz's name-calling is here.
It's rather sad in this day and age that women and minorities, especially women who are minorities, are treated so horribly if they have political opinions that stray from what some people think that their skin color should believe.
April 12, 2007
Because Unfair Charges are Wrong
One day after normally cautious North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper blasted the handling of the Duke Lacrosse rape case and took the extraordinary step of declaring the charged players innocent of all counts, disgraced Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong has issued a trite semi-apology:
Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong acknowledged today that three former Duke University lacrosse players were "wrongfully accused" of sexual assault.
Nifong released a statement one day after N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed the charges against the lacrosse players and declared them "innocent" and the victims of an "unchecked" prosecutor who rushed to judgment.
"It is and has always been the goal of our criminal justice system to see that the guilty are punished and that the innocent are set free," Nifong wrote. "No system based on human judgment can ever work perfectly.
"Those of us who work within that system can only make the best judgments we can," Nifong continued. "To the extent that I made judgments that utimately [sic] proved to be incorrect, I apologize to the three suspects that were wrongly accused. ... It is my sincere desire that the actions of Attorney General Cooper will serve to remedy any remaining injury that has resulted from these cases."
But Nifong disputed Cooper's assessment of him as a "rogue" prosecutor.
"The fact that I instead chose to seek that review should in and of itself call into question the characterizations of this prosecution as 'rogue' and 'unchecked,'" he wrote.
Shorter Mike Nifong: "I'll accept that charges shouldn't have been brought, but don't call me a "rogue" just because I conspired to hide evidence that would have exonerated the accused and used a mentally-disturbed girl's inconsistent stories as a battering ram to bludgeon my way into an elected office I promised to the governor himself I would not run for.
"Why, it is horrible to stigmatize someone with an inaccurate description.
'Cause that would, you know, be wrong."
Nifong faces a hearing at the North Carolina State Bar's Disciplinary Hearing Committee tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 PM, which will determine if he will be stripped of his law license.
March 28, 2007
I've admired the job former N.C. State star Sidney Lowe has done as the coach of State's basketball team in his first year. He's simply a classy person.
The 21-year-old son of North Carolina State basketball coach Sidney Lowe faces charges in two armed incidents, including one in which a UNC-Greensboro student from Raleigh was shot in the back.
Police at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro said Sidney R. Lowe II surrendered to authorities Tuesday and was charged with eight counts, including felony aiding and abetting attempted armed robbery, in connection with Saturday's shooting and attempted robbery inside Weil Residence Hall.
Greensboro city police filed 14 additonal charges, including felony assault, in connection with a home invasion that took place on March 16.
March 22, 2007
The editor of a French satire magazine has been acquitted of insulting Muslims by re-publishing cartoons of Mohammed.
Paris will begin burning this evening.
March 14, 2007
When You Care Enough to Scrape Out the Very Best
Abortion e-cards. Great.
Allah asked a good question... What about all the upbeat cards?
Jimmy Can't Read
It appears that James Cameron's claim to have found the tomb and ossuaries of Jesus Christ and his family, which were never taken seriously by biblical scholars, may have resulted from an inabilty to properly read and translate the Greek writing on at least one ossuary.
The film and book suggest that a first-century ossuary found in a south Jerusalem cave in 1980 contained the remains of Jesus, contradicting the Christian belief that he was resurrected and ascended to heaven. Ossuaries are stone boxes used at the time to store the bones of the dead.
The filmmakers also suggest that Mary Magdalene was buried in the tomb, that she and Jesus were married, and that an ossuary labeled "Judah son of Jesus" belonged to their son.
The scholars who analyzed the Greek inscription on one of the ossuaries after its discovery read it as "Mariamene e Mara," meaning "Mary the teacher" or "Mary the master."
Before the movie was screened, Jacobovici said that particular inscription provided crucial support for his claim. The name Mariamene is rare, and in some early Christian texts it is believed to refer to Mary Magdalene.
But having analyzed the inscription, Pfann published a detailed article on his university's Web site asserting that it doesn't read "Mariamene" at all.
The inscription, Pfann said, is made up of two names inscribed by two different hands: the first, "Mariame," was inscribed in a formal Greek script, and later, when the bones of another woman were added to the box, another scribe using a different cursive script added the words "kai Mara," meaning "and Mara." Mara is a different form of the name Martha.
According to Pfann's reading, the ossuary did not house the bones of "Mary the teacher," but rather of two women, "Mary and Martha."
"In view of the above, there is no longer any reason to be tempted to link this ossuary ... to Mary Magdalene or any other person in biblical, non-biblical or church tradition," Pfann wrote.
In the interest of telling a good story, Pfann said, the documentary engaged in some "fudging" of the facts.
Okay, an inability to read and an apparent willingness to deceive.
Somehow, I doubt anyone is all that surprised.
March 13, 2007
Duke Lacrosse Rape Case: A Year Later, Coach K Speaks Out
It was a year ago tonight that a stripper in Durham alleged that she was gang-raped at a Duke Lacrosse team party. Today, Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks out:
"The one thing that I wish we would have done is just out, publicly say, 'Look, those are our kids. And we're gonna support 'em, because they're still our kids.' That's what I wish we would have done," Krzyzewski told Bob Costas, a sports commentator who has a television show on HBO. "And I'm not sure that we did -- I don't think we did a good job of that."
For months, bloggers and others have criticized Duke, accusing the university of not standing behind the players as the judicial process unfolded.
Since the spring, defense lawyers have poked gaping holes in the prosecution's case against three former lacrosse players -- David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann. District Attorney Mike Nifong, the prosecutor who led the investigation, has resigned from the case and is in a battle to save his law license.
One segment of "Costas Now," an hour-long sports program that airs tonight at 10, will be a one-on-one interview with Krzyzewski, according to Kris Goddard with HBO Sports media relations. According to excerpts from the transcript, Krzyzewski criticizes Duke professors for their criticisms of big-time sports at the university.
"We had almost 100 professors come out publicly against certain things in athletics," Krzyzewski told Costas, "and I was a little bit shocked at that. But it shows that there's a latent hostility or whatever you want to say towards sports on campus. I thought it was inappropriate, to be quite frank with you."
Krzyzewski did not speak on the case as it began last year at the specific request of Duke University President Richard Brodhead. Brodhead seems to have had little problem with the "Gang of 88," a group of Duek Professors that were quick to condemn the players.
Rape charges have since been dropped against the players after teh accuser offered multiple and inconsitent stories, and DNA evidence showed that the accuser had sex with several men at the time DNA was collected, but none of them were Duke Lacrosse players.
Sexual assualt and kidnapping charges are still levied against the players, but those charges may be dropped. State prosecutors took over the case after Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong stepped down from the case in disgrace, after allegedly withholding DNA evidence that exonerated the players.
March 09, 2007
This Dana's No Plato
When I first heard that they were making a movie out of the Greek's epic last stand at Thermopylae. In 480 BC, a few thousands Greeks--Thespians, Thebians,and Spartans--held the narrow mountain pass for three days against a Persian forces estimated to be composed of 250,000-2 million men to secure a retreat for the rest of the Greek army.
I was a little disappointed to find out that the movie was based on a Frank Miller comic book 300 ("graphic novel," whatever) instead of the actual battle itself, and not being a fan of the last Miller-based movie I saw (Sin City, (which I cut off in disgust after 15-20 minutes because it was more cheesy than a bag of Cheetos), and I planned not to watch it. I still probably won't, but might consider it, if the reviews aren't too bad.
Ace has read a review of the movie, and wasn't too pleased. Not with the movie, but with the whining of the Slate critic, Dana Stevens.
Here's a taste of Ace's opening salvo on poor Stevens:
Ah, the twitty little snots at Slate, all trying so hard to ape Michael Kinsley's snideness without having the deftness or talent to carry it off charmingly. Where every book, tv show, and movie is evaluated entirely according to how it flatters, or discomfits, their left-liberal mocha-marxist politics.
Please. Grow up, and stop being such an insipid, screechy girl for Christ's sakes.
From there, Ace really let's you know what he thinks of her blinders-on review, in no uncertain terms.
Content warning for language, but then, you knew that.
Update: A non-wussy review from
across the Pond Canada.
February 14, 2007
Duke's Incredible Disappearing Rape Case
No, this has nothing to do with the collapsing case brought by a stripper against members of the Duke lacrosse team, but instead, a newly alleged rape of a white Duke student by a black male during a party in the fraternity house of Phi Beta Sigma, an African-American fraternity at Duke.
If you haven't heard of it, it may be because the same media, university administrators and Duke faculty that pre-judged the lacrosse players guilty seem to have be purposefully silent, and perhaps for all the wrong reasons.
While I can hope that those who attacked the Lacrosse team have simply learned a lesson on prejudging a case in which the details are far from known, the fact that local media purposefully sanitized accounts of the alleged crime to remove the race of the attacker leads me to beleive we may simply be witnessing a shameful double standard.
February 05, 2007
Ace of Spades found an interesting article at Slate over the weekend about a series of online bias tests called the Implicit Association Test, or IAT, with the most popular one being the race IAT, to judges your biases (prejudices) based upon timed responses to paired words and images.
It works like this:
In the test's most popular version, the Race IAT, subjects are shown a computer screen and asked to match positive words (love, wonderful, peace) or negative words (evil, horrible, failure) with faces of African-Americans or whites. Their responses are timed. If you tend to associate African-Americans with "bad" concepts, it will take you longer to group black faces with "good" concepts because you perceive them as incompatible. If you're consistently quicker at connecting positive words with whites and slower at connecting positive words with blacks—or quicker at connecting negative words with blacks and slower at connecting negative words with whites—you have an implicit bias for white faces over those of African-Americans. In other words, the time it takes you to pair the faces and words yields an empirical measure of your attitudes. (Click here for a more detailed description of the test.)
The elegance of Banaji's test is that it doesn't let you lie. What's being measured is merely the speed of each response. You might hate the idea of having a bias against African-Americans, but if it takes you significantly longer to group black faces with good concepts, there's no way you can hide it. You can't pretend to connect words and images faster any more than a sprinter can pretend to run faster. And you won't significantly change your score if you deliberately try to slow down your white = good and black = bad pairings.
Banaji, now a social psychologist at Harvard, has found that 88 percent of the white subjects who take her test show some bias against blacks. The majority of all subjects also test anti-gay, anti-elderly, and anti-Arab Muslim. Many people also exhibit bias against their own group: About half of blacks test anti-black; 36 percent of Arab Muslims test anti-Arab Muslim; and 38 percent of gays show an automatic preference for heterosexuals.
Sounds interesting, no? A test that won't let you lie, even to yourself. I'd like to see how CY readers fare on this, so if you have the time (about 10-15 minutes), take the test at this link (follow the link on this page to the "Race IAT."
Then post your age, race, and state where you grew up, along with your results in the comments. I've already taken it, and I'll post a screen capture of my results page tonight.
Also tell me if your results surprised you, or if they were about what you thought they would be.
As promised, a screen capture of my results for the Race IAT:
The results mark me as part of a fairly rare group, part of the 12-percent of whites that have no bias against blacks, and part of a smaller sub-group of whites that is actually biased in favor of blacks.
I'm sure this probably surprises some people, and I must admit that I am a bit amused that, statistically speaking, I'm probably less biased than quite a few of the liberal bloggers and their commenters that pitch hysterical hissy fits because of the name of this blog.
I'd invite them to also take this specific Race IAT and post their results, but I have a sneaking suspicion that many wouldn't like their results known.
February 02, 2007
It takes a Rodent to Know a Rodent
January 23, 2007
Neigh Means Neigh
From Robert Redford's upcoming film, The Horse Whisperer: Saddled by Love*
TOM: You see how he keeps pointing his hindquarters in at me? Well, I'd guess the reason he seems reluctant to move out is because when he does, he gets in trouble for it.
THE WOMAN: He's not good at transitions, you know? When I want him to move from a trot to a lope, say...
TOM: (smiles) Well, I'm sure that's what you think but that's not what I'm seeing. You may think you're asking for a lope, but your body may be saying something else altogether. You might be putting too many conditions on him. For instance, you might be saying "GO, but, hey, don't go too fast." He can tell that from the way you feel. Your body can't lie.You ever give him a kick to make him move out?
THE WOMAN: He won't go unless I do.
TOM: And then he goes and you feel like he's going too fast, so you yank him back? (she nods) And next thing you know, he's bucking. (she nods again) Well, if someone told you to go, stop, go, stop -- you'd buck too.
The people laugh. The Woman smiles self-consciously.
TOM: It's a dance, see... Somebody has to lead and somebody has to follow.
TOM: Oh, Baby...somebody's gotta lead. Now bring me that bag of fermented oats, and leave us alone for a while.
January 22, 2007
Redford's Next Film: "The Deer Humper?"
This is depraved:
"Zoo" is a documentary about what director Robinson Devor accurately characterizes as "the last taboo, on the boundary of something comprehensible." But remarkably, an elegant, eerily lyrical film has resulted.
"Zoo," premiering before a rapt audience Saturday night at Sundance, manages to be a poetic film about a forbidden subject, a perfect marriage between a cool and contemplative director (the little-seen "Police Beat") and potentially incendiary subject matter: sex between men and animals.
We're real proud of ya there, Sundance. Now take off the saddle.
Up next for Devor: Big Fish, Twelve Monkeys, The Silence of the Lambs, Raging Bull, and of course, Groundhog Day.
January 16, 2007
Live The Flavor
A bit off-topic from the regular fare here at CY I know, but a couple of local guys (how local? They sat two rows in front of me in church this past Sunday) have a shot at getting a commercial they shot for a grand total of $12.79 run during the Super Bowl, providing they win a contest run by Doritos.
Watch the commerical, and if you think this home-grown advertising agency deserves their shot at the majors, please consider voting for them.
January 12, 2007
Does Tony Snow Read CY?
HH: All right, yesterday, the President also mentioned that there will be lots of carnage on television screens. Is the administration, and especially the Pentagon, prepared to fight the new media war when that starts to happen, Tony Snow?
TS: We'e been fighting it. I mean, it's not that it has started to happen, it's been going on for some time. What is interesting, Hugh, and you know this as well as anybody else, you're also starting to see little glimmers of guys like Michael Yon and others who get over there and they basically embed themselves in Iraq, and Michelle Malkin's over there now.
HH: Bill Roggio, you bet. They go over and do first hand reporting.
TS: And what ends up…I think what’s likely to happen over time is that people there, and you and I have both seen forces come back completely disheartened and disgusted by the kind of reporting that goes on here, I would not be surprised to see some of those people not going out in the field, but maybe back at barracks, turning on the video camera, shooting a picture, and saying you know what? Let me tell you what's really going on here, and why, and how I see it. That sort of stuff gets on a Youtube, or a Livelink, or any of these other things. It'soing to get out. I mean, there are many different ways now for people to get a glimpse of what' actually happening. And the new media war can take many different fronts, and while Al Jazeera or Al Arabia, or even Al Houra, which is financed by the U.S. Government, they all have cable presence there. But you know, in this day and age, it' exploding more rapidly, and more people are just pulling their news and pulling their video off the internet.
HH: As we saw during the summer war between Hezbollah and Israel, Tony Snow, Hezbollah went to such lengths as to stage atrocities, buildings blown up, and victims left in there.
HH: Are you, as the head of the White House communications operation, prepared to immediately get out there and quarrel with that and stop those sorts of stories from metastasizing?
TS: Yeah, I am looking forward to meeting Captain Jumil Hussein, but other than that, yes. You'e seen the latest on that, right?
HH: No, I haven't I haven't read today. Is he back and not existing again?
TS: He’s back to non-existence.
HH: (laughing) But that’s the new media war…
Was Snow's comment, "He's back to non-existence," a reference to posts put up by Curt and myself yesterday that "Jamil Hussein" is a apparently a pseudonym used by the Associated Press in what appears to be a direct breach of their own code of ethics?
January 10, 2007
As if having Mike Nifong as the District Attorney in neighboring Durham wasn't bad enough:
A Cary High School student has been released on bond after allegedly spiking a science teacher's water bottle with acid.
Zachary Midgette, 17, was arrested Monday on a charge of assault on a government official. The misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of 150 days in jail.
Police said Midgette admitted putting hydrochloric acid and zinc chloride from the school science lab in his teacher's water bottle last Friday.
You heard it here, folks: try to kill your teacher with two potentially fatal poisons in Wake County, and all you will be charged with is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum of 150 days in jail.
I think it's time for the North Carolina Bar to lay off the hard stuff.
December 15, 2006
She's a Ho Ho Ho
Via Fox News:
The exotic dancer who accused three former Duke lacrosse players of raping her at a house party has given birth to a baby, FOX News has confirmed.
None of the 45 Duke lacrosse players had their DNA liked to genetic material recovered from the dancer, though DNA of five other men was recovered at that time.
It is not yet know if embattled Durham district attorney Mike Nifong will order all the men in North Carolina tested from a match.
November 24, 2006
Bloody Gun Day
Black Friday... what a wonderful day to pull a nine-hour shift behind the gun counter at my local sporting goods store!
Just remember kids, I have the right to refuse service to anyone, at any time, for any reason, so be nice. I will not sell any of my merchandise to anyone who appears they may be of a mindset to use to expedite their shopping elsewhere.
Form a line to the right, smile, and have a nice day.
October 31, 2006
October 06, 2006
Ground Zero Cross Finds New Home
Via yesterday's Washington Times:
A cross-shaped steel beam that survived the 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attack to become a symbol of hope amid the ruins was moved Thursday from ground zero to a nearby church, accompanied by a procession of victims' families, clergy and construction workers.
The 2-ton, 20-foot-high cross was placed on a flatbed truck for the three-block trip to its new home, St. Peter's Church, which had served as a sanctuary for rescue workers searching for human remains from the Sept. 11 attack.
"This piece of steel meant more to many people than any piece of steel ever," said Richard Sheirer, head of the city Office of Emergency Management five years ago. "It goes beyond any religion."
Ironworkers sang "God Bless America" as hundreds of people walked behind the cross to its temporary home facing ground zero outside the 18th-century church, the city's oldest Roman Catholic parish.
"This cross is a sign of consolation and inspiration to workers who served at ground zero for the 10 months of recovery," said the Rev. Brian Jordan, a Franciscan priest who had blessed the T-beam days after it was pulled from the wreckage. "Some interpret it as a cross. Others see it as an artifact that has historical and architectural importance, a reminder that is also a sign of closure."
The Ground Zero Cross will one day likely be part of the Formal Ground Zero Memorial or the September 11 Museum.
Johann Christoph Arnold wrote a touching article about the hope inspired by the Ground Zero Cross on Catholic Planet.
October 02, 2006
A School Shooting In Amish Country
This verges on the surreal:
Six people were killed by a gunman at a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster County Monday, according to the county coroner.
Earlier, state police Cpl. Ralph Striebig said "there are a number of people dead. ... The exact number I do not know yet."
The police told FOX News that it was in fact a hostage situation and that the shooter is now killed. There were at least 12 people injured, along with the deaths, police said. Not motive is yet known.
The anti-individualist philosophy and emphasis on humility in the Amish faith makes one of their schools an odd venue for a school shooting, a crime that seems most often linked to those completely immersed in their own selfishness to a homicidal degree.
I'm not sure that anyone can precisely state what the motivations for this shooter or the others in the recent rash of school shootings may be, but I'll go ahead and argue that a society that teaches non-competitiveness on one hand and mindless recreational violence on the other is to blame as the root cause.
Not sure of what I'm talking about?
Check out the youth sports programs in your area schools and parks & recreation departments, and see if they keep score during games, or if they emphasis noncompetitive games. I know some communities where this is the case, because parents don't want children to want to deal with the "trauma" of loosing a tee ball or soccer game. Instead of learning to confront and push through losing to learn from it (which we used to call developing "character"), today's kids are often taught to avoid taking part in situations where they might lose and hurt their all-important self esteem, even if their highly regarded self esteem is unwarranted.
While these examples apply to sports, you can also look to school systems that socially promote children even though they cannot do grade-level work, or even worse, school systems that dumb-down passing grades to such a low level that passing is inevitable. Some tests for some school systems now consider "passing" to be only getting 30%-40% of questions on standardized tests correct.
Our education systems are overrun by teachers who can't teach rote facts, and more importantly, they can't teach our children to think. We are matriculating millions of American children who are completely unprepared to overcome challenges and failures in their lives.
At the same time that these same children are taught that the stupid and arrogant (Bam Margera, Natalie Maines, Paris Hilton, etc) can triumph but they can't, they ae also exposed to a media machine that cranks out slasher movies and extremely violent music lyrics and video games one after another.
We end up with children ill-equipped for success, unable to deal with failure, and programmed to see immediate violence as an acceptable answer to their short-term problems.
We shouldn't question why we've had so many school shootings lately. We should question why we've have had so few.
Update: The shooter has been identified as 32-year old delivery driver who carried out the attack in retaliation for something that happened "decades ago."
As you sow...
September 01, 2006
Gabriel Range's Clone War
The blogosphere is quite abuzz over a British-made mock documentary that envisions a world in the wake of the assassination of U.S. President George W. Bush, where an Emporer Palpatine-like President Dick Cheney institutes a totalitarian government in the United States that instigates a cascading series of wars against Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba.
While I think that filmmaker Gabriel Range made a film that he hopes is supposed to be taken quite seriously, this dark historical fantasy seems to be more of an exploration of the psychology of the darker, more twisted depths of paranoid agi-prop than an attempt to define a realistic alternative future in the event of an assassination.
Is Range truly convinced that the American people would spasmodically accept the nationality of a presidential assassin as a justifiable pretense for war? Americans have certainly had the opportunity, and yet did not try to invade Italy when Giuseppe Zangara tried to kill FDR, nor did we stage a knee-jerk invasion of Iraq in the wake of the 1993 attempt on President H.W. Bush's life by agents of Saddam Hussein.
No, Range assaults the intelligence and the individuality of all Americans, assuming we would embrace the imposition of his fictional totalitarianism and an ever-escalating series of wars without having any mechanisms, or even an inclination, to stop them from occurring. He lumps liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican, into one stereotype of a bloodthirsty kill-anyone-we-can-because-we-can cartoonish monolith that has never existed in this or any other American lifetime.
We are not clones, Mr. Range.
More than any other, this country is naturally inclined to entertain radically different ideas at the same time, making this war-loving future United States of Death laughably sophomoric, and in the end, next to impossible to believe for anyone who knows the American psychology at all.
We'll learned nothing about an alternate American future from what I've read of this film, but I think we have learned quite a bit about what Gabriel Range thinks of Americans.
July 30, 2006
Mel's Apocalyptic Statement
July 04, 2006
"What July Fourth Means to Me"
For one who was born and grew up in the small towns of the Midwest, there is a special kind of nostalgia about the Fourth of July.
I remember it as a day almost as long-anticipated as Christmas. This was helped along by the appearance in store windows of all kinds of fireworks and colorful posters advertising them with vivid pictures.
No later than the third of July â€“ sometimes earlier â€“ Dad would bring home what he felt he could afford to see go up in smoke and flame. We'd count and recount the number of firecrackers, display pieces and other things and go to bed determined to be up with the sun so as to offer the first, thunderous notice of the Fourth of July.
I'm afraid we didn't give too much thought to the meaning of the day. And, yes, there were tragic accidents to mar it, resulting from careless handling of the fireworks. I'm sure we're better off today with fireworks largely handled by professionals. Yet there was a thrill never to be forgotten in seeing a tin can blown 30 feet in the air by a giant "cracker" â€“ giant meaning it was about 4 inches long.
But enough of nostalgia. Somewhere in our growing up we began to be aware of the meaning of days and with that awareness came the birth of patriotism. July Fourth is the birthday of our nation. I believed as a boy, and believe even more today, that it is the birthday of the greatest nation on earth.
There is a legend about the day of our nation's birth in the little hall in Philadelphia, a day on which debate had raged for hours. The men gathered there were honorable men hard-pressed by a king who had flouted the very laws they were willing to obey. Even so, to sign the Declaration of Independence was such an irretrievable act that the walls resounded with the words "treason, the gallows, the headsman's axe," and the issue remained in doubt.
The legend says that at that point a man rose and spoke. He is described as not a young man, but one who had to summon all his energy for an impassioned plea. He cited the grievances that had brought them to this moment and finally, his voice falling, he said, "They may turn every tree into a gallows, every hole into a grave, and yet the words of that parchment can never die. To the mechanic in the workshop, they will speak hope; to the slave in the mines, freedom. Sign that parchment. Sign if the next moment the noose is around your neck, for that parchment will be the textbook of freedom, the Bible of the rights of man forever."
He fell back exhausted. The 56 delegates, swept up by his eloquence, rushed forward and signed that document destined to be as immortal as a work of man can be. When they turned to thank him for his timely oratory, he was not to be found, nor could any be found who knew who he was or how he had come in or gone out through the locked and guarded doors.
Well, that is the legend. But we do know for certain that 56 men, a little band so unique we have never seen their like since, had pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Some gave their lives in the war that followed, most gave their fortunes, and all preserved their sacred honor.
What manner of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, 11 were merchants and tradesmen, and nine were farmers. They were soft-spoken men of means and education; they were not an unwashed rabble. They had achieved security but valued freedom more. Their stories have not been told nearly enough.
John Hart was driven from the side of his desperately ill wife. For more than a year he lived in the forest and in caves before he returned to find his wife dead, his children vanished, his property destroyed. He died of exhaustion and a broken heart.
Carter Braxton of Virginia lost all his ships, sold his home to pay his debts, and died in rags. And so it was with Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Rutledge, Morris, Livingston and Middleton.
Nelson personally urged Washington to fire on his home and destroy it when it became the headquarters for General Cornwallis. Nelson died bankrupt.
But they sired a nation that grew from sea to shining sea. Five million farms, quiet villages, cities that never sleep, 3 million square miles of forest, field, mountain and desert, 227 million people with a pedigree that includes the bloodlines of all the world.
In recent years, however, I've come to think of that day as more than just the birthday of a nation.
It also commemorates the only true philosophical revolution in all history.
Oh, there have been revolutions before and since ours. But those revolutions simply exchanged one set of rules for another. Ours was a revolution that changed the very concept of government.
Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.
We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should.
Happy Fourth of July.
President of the United States
June 26, 2006
Punking Rosemary's Brother's Baby
Normally I'd leave gossip sheets such as the New York Post's infamous Page Six alone, but as this particular edition features pro-military filmmaker tearing anti-war pretty war George Clooney it was hard to resist:
June 26, 2006 -- GEORGE Clooney may be Steven Soderbergh's muse, but the director's ex-agent sure doesn't seem to be a fan of the outspoken Oscar winner.
Pat Dollard was Soderbergh's 10- percenter until he ditched his lucrative Tinseltown career to make a pro-war documentary about U.S. Marines fighting insurgents in Iraq. Last year, his Humvee convoy was blown up in Ramadi, killing two Marines and sending Dollard to the hospital with a concussion and shrapnel wounds.
So it's understandable that Dollard might have been annoyed when Clooney chastised Democrats last year for not having the guts to condemn the war. While Dollard was careful not to name names, he told Page Six that he went into "a black rage" while in Iraq after reading a certain movie star's pompous pronouncements online.
"I read something on the Internet in which someone was patting himself on the back for having the courage to oppose the war," Dollard recalled. In an obvious reference to Clooney, who owns a villa in Italy, he said, "They actually equate bravery with speaking out against the president because [losing fans] might cost them one less servant at their Italian villa . . . It put me into a black rage and made me sick to my stomach."
Squeamish viewers of Dollard's "Young Americans" will likewise be reaching for their Tums. "It's the most graphic real-war documentary ever made," Dollard says. "It has the spirit and experience of the grunts, absolutely unfettered. I never had an officer standing over my shoulder supervising what I was doing. But I also have the president of Iraq, the prime minister, the generals - so it's not just a grunt's-eye view."
Dollard says his enthusiasm for the war has left some of his former showbiz colleagues cold. "Being a Republican in Hollywood today is not much different than being a communist in Hollywood in the 1950s," he said. "I'm not trying to overstate the case, but the reality is there is a blacklist in Hollywood. It's very McCarthy-like. It just shows the hypocrisy of the left."
And what does left-leaning Soderbergh think of "Young Americans"? "He loved the footage," Dollard says. "He's seen a lot of it, and he has given me some advice."
Dollard says he's in talks with HBO and Showtime about airing "Young Americans" but may end up releasing it as a DVD. "Given the sort of grass-roots support and cult status that it's been getting, it's going to come out somehow," he said. The trailer can be viewed on patdollard.com.
As many of you know, I found out about Pat Dollard several weeks ago and I've been promoting "Young Americans" as new trailers come online. I thinkâ€”based upon the trailers I've seen so farâ€”that the project may develop into the definitive documentary about the U.S. Marines in the Iraq War.
As alluded to above, Dollard is a Hollywood rebel for making this documentary. He isn't being backed by any major producers or studios. Everything he filmed was paid for out of his own funds, which are now running short. If you want to support the completion of "Young Americans" and show the rest of America what our Marines are really doing, instead of listing to George Clooney opine from his lakeside Italian villa, simply go to Pat's Web site and drop a couple of bucks (say, a ten-spot?) via the Paypal link. You can help produce a movie, and you don't have to be a millionaire.
Consider it as film-making via an Army of Davids.
May 29, 2006
The monuments in Washington all seemed false in the cool morning mist. They were big and white and extravagant, yet the tourists cheapened them somehow as they gawked, took photos, an scurried to the next place on their list of things to see. Their attention seemed to focus on what things were rather than why they were. The scene was a poor sample of Americana. Even Honest Abe seemed to frown from his throne. Of all the walls of stone only on seemed real.
This wall's long black marbles slices into the ground. On it are engraved fifty-eight thousand American names from an undeclared war that no one wants to remember in the jungles of a country half a globe away. There are no ornate scrolls or stenciled directions, no fancy faded pieces of parchment, no self-serving sentiments, just names.
There's also a statue some distance away. Three bronze soldiers stare into the wall, waiting for word of their fellow soldiers or perhaps mourning their loss. The soldier's don't talk; they simply stare. They were all just boys, most only six years than I was then: nineteen.
Under the statue-soldier's gaze, and elderly man lagged behind a tour group at the wall. He caressed it and knelt to leave a single rose at the base. He sobbed. He had difficulty standing up. A nearby park attendant helped him up and asked, "One of yours, sir?" The man shook his head and replied, "Not one of them. All of them."
Memorial Day Weekend, 2006
As we stand here looking
At the flags upon these graves
Know these flags represent
A few of the true American brave
They fought for their Country
As man has through all of time
Except that these soldiers lying here
Fought for your country and mine
As we all are gathered here
To pay them our respect
Let's pass this word to others
It's what they would expect
I'm sure that they would do it
If it were me or you
To show we did not die in vein
But for the red, white and blue.
Let's pass on to our children
And to those who never knew
What these soldiers died for
It's the least we can do
Let's not forget their families
Great pain they had to bear
Losing a son, father or husband
They need to know we still care
No matter which war was fought
On the day that they died
I stand here looking at these flags
Filled with American pride.
So as the bugler plays out Taps
With its sweet and eerie sound
Pray for these soldiers lying here
In this sacred, hallowed ground.
Take home with you a sense of pride
You were here Memorial Day.
Celebrating the way Americans should
On this solemnest of days.
Michelle R. Christman
USMC 1987 - 1991
Desert Storm Veteran
Update: Bumped to top
April 16, 2006
March 16, 2006
No Greater Joy Than Murdering a Child
Here in North Carolina, a sick story has been developing about a woman that murdered her adopted 4-year-old son last month and beat two others with lengths of plumbing pipe. Most of us would prefer to think of the murder of Sean Paddock as the depraved act of an isolated psychopath. But Lynn Paddock, now charged with first-degree murder and possibly facing the death penalty, did not come to such acts of brutality without guidance.
No, Lynn Paddock got her ideas on how to discipline her children from the web site and books of an evangelical minister and his wife that advocate something that certainly sounds like child abuse.
From the Raleigh News & Observer:
Paddock -- a Johnston County mother accused of murdering Sean, her 4-year-old adopted son, and beating two other adopted children -- surfed the Internet, said her attorney, Michael Reece. She found literature by an evangelical minister and his wife who recommended using plumbing supply lines to spank misbehaving children.
Paddock ordered Michael and Debi Pearl's books and started spanking her adopted children as suggested. After Sean, the youngest of Paddock's six adopted children, died last month, his older sister and brother told investigators about Paddock's spankings.
Sean's 9-year-old brother was beaten so badly he limped, a prosecutor said. Bruises marred Sean's backside, too, doctors found.
Sean died after being wrapped so tightly in blankets he suffocated. That, too, was a form of punishment, Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said.
The Pearls' advice from their Web site: A swift whack with the plastic tubing would sting but not bruise. Give 10 licks at a time, more if the child resists. Be careful about using it in front of others -- even at church; nosy neighbors might call social workers. Save hands for nurturing, not disciplining. Heed the warning, taken from Proverbs in the Old Testament, that sparing the rod will spoil the child.
The Pearls' website No GreaterJoy.org does indeed condone the "advice" such as that above, which most sane people would consider not only outright child abuse, but an acknowledgement that is could invite investigation if used "in front of others." Of "ÂĽ inch supply line" they state, "It's a real attention-getter."
I am no opponent of corporal punishment. I got spankings as a kid when I deserved them, I earned every one, and avoided a few I deserved. But there is no "fine line" between discipline and beatings worse than we'd allow any al Qaeda POW to suffer.
Michael and Debi Pearl seem to be advocates of outright child abuse, calling on parents to hit children with PVC pipe no less than ten times, and "more if the child resists", as the News & Observer reports.
The Pearls have a Contact page on their web site. I suggest you use it, and politely tell them you do not condone the beating of children with construction products.
Better yet, contact:
Honorable Ronald L. Davis
District Attorney General
Williamson County Courthouse, G-8
P.O. Box 937
Franklin, TN 37065-0937
Phone: (615) 794-7275
Fax: (615) 794-7299
Mr. Davis is up for re-election in the Williamson County Republican Primary Election for the 21st District on May 2, 2006. While Mr. Pearl is running unopposed in the primary, I'm sure that his electorate would like to know why the Pearls have been allowed to sell more than 400,00 copies of a book advocating what sounds like child abuse under his very nose.
Also contact the newsroom at the Nashville Tennessean , at email@example.com and ask them why this has been allowed to go on in Williamson County.
"Suffer the little children," no more.
March 11, 2006
We went to my hometown today to meet the newest member of my family today, and I was tickled at not only how cute he was, but how quickly Phin adapted to the "Mr. Mom" role as the new mom recovered from her ordeal. He looked like he'd been raising kids all his life. Color me impressed.
We also found out that my new nephew willl only be the newest baby in the family for about seven months. My other brother and his wife revealed tonight they are expecting in early October.
It's all part of a Rovian plot, of course.
We don't only out-think liberals, we out-breed them as well.
That's strategery, baby.
March 03, 2006
Is someone is taking tomorrow night's Duke-Carolina basketball game just a bit too seriously?
Shocked UNC students watched in disbelief around noon Friday as an SUV plowed through a crowd at The Pit, the central gathering place, injuring at least two students.
Several students said the driver was young and wearing a dark suit and tie and they said he intentionally swerved to hit people.
The driver fled but was arrested soon after by Chapel Hill Police. His name was not immediately available.
Classes had just changed and The Pit was crowded. Witnesses said the SUV was going at least 40 miles per hour as it passed Lenoir Dining Hall. The condition of those injured was not immediately available.
All kidding about the intense Duke-Carolina rivalry aside, I have it on expert authority that the SUV was a rental vehicle picked up last night from a central North Carolina rental car company. If it was picked up for use as a weapon, atttepted murder charges would seem plausible.
Update: The 23-year-old driver has been identified as Mohammed Reza Taheriazar, which the News and Observer identifies as being a UNC-Chapel Hill student as late as last year.
In what could be an unrelated event, the Daily Tar Heel joined the Cartoon Wars, running this editorial cartoon February 9:
None of the staff of the Daily Tar Heel were among the injured, however, and a motive had not been announced.
Update 2:Terrorism confirmed
The driver of an SUV that plowed into a group of pedestrians at UNC-Chapel Hill on Friday told police it was retribution for the treatment of Muslims around the world, according to ABC News.
It appears to be an isolated incident. Also, the Duke-Carolina game is Saturday night, not tonight.
February 23, 2006
Prayers for the Assassin
Last night marks the first time in a long time that I didn't hop on the computer to either read or blog, and I blame it all on Robert Ferrigno.
Instead, I churned through the firt twelve chapters of my advance copy of Prayers for the Assassin. The pacing is excellent in this novel set in a future America divided between the Islamic Republic in the North, and a Christian Bible Belt South.
I won't ruin it for anyone, but Ferrigno (who has a blog) has written a book that holds the reader's attention. You know you've got a good one when you keep promising yourself that you'll read "just one more" chapter before you put the book down for the night.
The 2036 edition of the online news portal Republic World News is an interesting companion site.
I'm hoping to finish it up this evening.
2/23 Update: While my blogging may have suffered a bit in the past 24 hours, I think it was worth it. Ferrigno did a nice job of storytelling, leaving just enough hanging that you might think a follow-up book must be somewhere on the horizon.
February 10, 2006
MoGoBang: Sportswear for Infidels
Because real freedom means the freedom to be offended.
February 08, 2006
Spears Challenges Jackson For BPoY Award
It's only February, I know, but I figured Michael Jackson had already won the Bad Parent of the Year Award for moving his kids to an oppressive Arab country and starting to cross-dressing professionally.
I never should have counted out Britney Spears.
February 04, 2006
I've been sitting back and watching the Danish cartoon flap with great interest, but I've refrained from commenting on it thus far because I haven't decided how to best articulate my feelings on the subject. I'm still letting my thoughts percolate on the subject, and perhaps I'll hold forth in a few days.
Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom, other other hand, has his own observations online and they are well worth a read. I invite you to take a look at his most recent post, Identity Politics, Free Speech, and the Future of worldwide Liberalism, 2: a follow-up.
December 24, 2005
The Reason for the Season
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Happy birthday, Jesus, and a Merry Christmas to all.
I'll see you all again on the 26th.
December 21, 2005
Thank a Soldier Week
In case you haven't heard, December 19-25 is Thank a Soldier Week.
December 12, 2005
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay the execution Monday of convicted killer Stanley Tookie Williams, clearing the way for him to die by injection shortly after midnight.
The high court was the former gang leader's last chance to avoid death by injection after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denied him clemency earlier Monday and a federal appeals court panel rejected a request to stay his execution.
On the upside, all those death row push-ups gave Tookie great veins.
Update: Apparently that wasn't even true. According to ABC News, it took more than 20 minutes to insert the needles. In any event, at 12:35 AM he became an ex-Tookie.
November 25, 2005
Goodbye, Mr. Miyagi
Pat Morita, a sickly child who was told he would never walk (and didn't until he was eleven), later became the most famous fictional karate sensei in history as Mr. Miyagi. He died of natural causes on Thanksgiving at his Los Angeles home. He was 73.
He will be missed.
November 24, 2005
Think Progress Warns of Thanksgiving "Chemical Attack" by US Forces
PAAUZFH1 RUEOCSA6054 3252031-UUUU--RHMFIUU.
ZNR UUUUU ZOV RUEOCSA6054 RELAY OF RUEOMCE1058 3252025
P 211800Z NOV 05 PSN 250821H18
FM CJCS WASHINGTON DC
INFO ZEN/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
SUBJ: CJCS-ALMILACT MESSAGE 15-05, THANKSGIVING 2005 UNCLASSIFIED// UNCLAS
UNCLASSIFIED DTG 211800Z NOV 05
SUBJ/CJCS-ALMILACT MESSAGE 15-05, THANKSGIVING 2005//
THIS THANKSGIVING WE JOIN AMERICANS EVERYWHERE IN GIVING THANKS FOR THE MANY BLESSINGS WE ENJOY AS CITIZENS OF THIS GREAT NATION. THOSE FREEDOMS FOR WHICH WE GIVE THANKS, HOWEVER, CAME ABOUT ONLY THROUGH TREMENDOUS SACRIFICE.
NEARLY 400 YEARS AGO, THE PILGRIMS INAUGURATED THANKSGIVING AFTER SURVIVING THE FIRST HARSH WINTER AT PLYMOUTH. GEORGE WASHINGTON PROCLAIMED THE FIRST NATIONAL DAY OF THANKSGIVING DURING THE EARLY STRUGGLES OF THE REPUBLIC, AND ABRAHAM LINCOLN LATER REVIVED THE TRADITION FOLLOWING THE DARK DAYS OF THE CIVIL WAR. ON THIS THANKSGIVING DAY, WE ARE AGAIN ENGAGED IN A GREAT STRUGGLE, THIS TIME AGAINST TERRORISTS WHO THREATEN THE VALUES WE HOLD SO DEAR. LIKE THOSE BEFORE YOU, A NEW GENERATION OF COURAGEOUS SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AIRMEN, MARINES, COAST GUARDSMEN AND MERCHANT MARINES CONTINUES THE NOBLE TRADITION OF SERVICE TO THE NATION. TO EACH OF YOU IN UNIFORM, WE ARE THANKFUL FOR YOUR DEDICATION AND SELFLESSNESS.
MANY WILL PAUSE ON THIS SPECIAL DAY, AND GIVE THANKS FOR THE FREEDOM YOUR SERVICE MAKES POSSIBLE.
ON THIS SPECIAL HOLIDAY, A DAY WHEN DUTY WILL KEEP MANY OF YOU AWAY FROM HOME AND LOVED ONES, THE JOINT CHIEFS JOIN ME IN SENDING YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES OUR BEST WISHES FOR A HAPPY THANKSGIVING.
SIGNED: PETER PACE, GENERAL, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF//
Happy Thanksgiving to all Americans, no matter where in the world you may be.
Note: N.Z. Bear has a Thanksgiving-related topic page up.
October 19, 2005
Syracuse Prof Compares Gang Riot to Boston Tea Party
It was the first time in recent memory that both Hannity & Colmes seemed to think that their guest was an idiot.
As Drudge might say, "Developing..."
A partial transcript, picking up at the 2:00 mark:
Sean Hannity: But I don't understand the few people here... How do you.. you can't say poverty caused people to throw rocks at ambulances.
Boyce Watkins: I'm not saying that poverty causes peope to do anything, but the fact is that if you just look at the symptoms and you don't look at the cause, then you're always going to wonder,well What in the world's making people behave that way? You don't have the right to judge people who are in situations you don't understand...
Sean Hannity: Yes we do, yes we do...
Boyce Watkins: No, No...
Sean Hannity:.. we, we have the right to discern. sir, you are rationalizing -- hang on a second, I'll let you talk -- we have a right to discern
right and wrong, and people, good people, don't like those people who were marching [neo-nazis in a parade. --ed] and good people find it repulsive that people who are there in a community to help save lives have their windsheilds pelted out with rocks. Good people can discern right and wrong, you don't throw rocks at police cars sir--
Boyce Watkins: But good people will support programs that will give the angry youth opportunities so that they don't feel angry. You think this riot is because of... *crosstalk* This riot wasn't due to the neo-Nazis...
Alan Colmes: Boyce, hold on... Boyce this is Alan Colmes in New York. you can't make any excuses for this behavior, and the best thing that could have happened *crosstalk* -- hold on, and I'll give you a full chance to respond -- the best thing that could have happened to these neo-Nazis when they came to Toledo would be ignore them, and unfortunately, that's not what happened.
Boyce Watkins: I agree with you. I agree with you, but the thing is that if you simply look at the actions and you don't try to understand what is really going on, you're going to wonder why they're behaving this way. If you look at the Boston Tea Party for example--
Alan Colmes: You compare this to the Boston Tea Party?
Boyce Watkins: Yes, yes, becuase the fact is that you can look at the Boston Tea Party and say oh, well those thugs they're stealing tea, what wrong with them? But the fact is that there was a reason they were doing this--
Alan Colmes: A movement like the Boston Tea Party? You can't make that analogy!
Boyce Watkins: No-no-no-no. You don't define it as a movement, but the fact is that those peope who ae suffering do. And I'm not saying that all this was justified--
Alan Colmes: You're making excuses for them!
Boyce Watkins: No, I don't judge... I believe in a safer America, but if you want a safer America, you must have a fair and equitable America, in which everyone is given access to the same american Dream that you--
Alan Colmes: You're making it sound, Dr. Watkins, as if poverty somehow excuses the kind of behavior we're showing on our screen.
Boyce Watkins: Poverty, Poverty is not an excuse, but it s partly an explanation. And there's a diffrence between being poor and being trapped in poverty. And so until we as a country fully address the poverty issue, we're going to have another Katrina situation, we'e going to have another Toledo situation, we're going to have another Rodney King sitation...
Alan Colmes: That's a fine line between excuse and explanation.
Yeah, gangbangers throwing bricks at squad cars is the exact same thing as colonists protesting excessive taxation without representation.
October 17, 2005
The Mouse as Judas
[please note: this post is about the marketing of the film, not the film itself, which I have not seen.]
Quick: What movie does this describe?
"This story is about four kids, disempowered by the war in their own world, World War II, who enter this land where they're not only empowered, but they're ultimately the only solution to war in that land. And it's only through betrayal and forgiveness and finally, unity as a family, that they can overcome those odds... We're taking the story of a family, and exaggerating it to the level of the battle between good and evil. But at its heart, it's still a very personal story."
"This story" of Andrew Adamson is not one I would easily recognize, even though I've read it through several times as a child, and later as an adult.
Adamson's quote comes from the Educator's Guide, to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a 15-page PDF that literally misses the point of the source material entirely. There is not one reference to Lewis' background as one of the greatest Christian writers and apologists of all time, nor of the importance and power of the story as Christian myth.
Adamson, devotes quite a bit of his time and quite a bit of Walt Disney's money to ignoring the fact that this series by C.S. Lewis is one of the greatest Christian stories told in the 20th century.
When I heard that they were having a go at the C.S. classic Chronicles of Narnia I was both excited and filled with trepidation. I was worried they would botch the script, and that they would rip the Christian not-quite-an-allegory (Lewis called it a "supposal") that is The Lion... to shreds in an attempt to be politically correct.
To be honest, we still don't know how or what they did with the actual film, but their marketing of the film so far is chilling...
Last week, I attended a â€śsneak peekâ€ť of the new Chronicles of Narnia movie, put on by Disney for local pastors. The purpose of the event was to encourage pastors both to encourage their congregations to see the movie, and to the release as an outreach opportunity.
But what are they getting at?
This is all an attempt to replicate some of the success of The Passion of the Christ, which has made something like 600 million dollars primarily by marketing to church groups.
As I said yesterday, I think this is going to be a great movie, and I look forward to seeing it. But I have two main concerns about the marketing effort:
1) The people that are making and marketing the movie are non-Christians who have no concern whatsoever for the promotion of the gospel, except that they have now realized that there is a lot of money to be tapped into in the church...
Disney is willing to sell out Christ for coins. That sounds familiar.
You should click over to FoolishBlog to read Eric's full concerns about some of the things surrounding film, which are troubling, and to my mind, justified.
Mel Gibson had wonderful success with a movie about Jesus Christ. Andrew Adamson and Disney would appear to deny Christ's role in this series, despite author Lewis's own clear intent:
In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the fifth book of the series, Aslan tells the children that although they must return to their own world, they can find him there also (Hooper 123). Aslan says, "There I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there" (Hooper 123). Some of Lewis' readers wonder what the significance of this statement is and begin to search for Aslan here on earth. Hila, an eleven year old girl from the United States asked Lewis what Aslan's name is in this world (Dorsett 31-32). His response was this:As to Aslan's other name, well I want you to guess. Has there never been anyone in this world who (1.) Arrived at the same time as Father Christmas. (2.) Said he was the son of the great Emperor. (3.) gave himself up for someone else's fault to be jeered at and killed by wicked people. (4.) Came to life again. (5.) Is sometimes spoken of as a Lamb.... Don't you really know His name in this world. Think it over and let me know your answer! (Dorsett 32)
When Lewis' readers find Aslan in the real world, they will find out that his true name is Jesus Christ. And when this occurs, Lewis is successful at opening a person's heart to accepting Christianity.
The Mouse seems more than willing to take Christian money, but not before betraying the essential Christianity that runs in, around, and through this series of books.
Disney had a wonderful opportunity to share a wonderful story with the world, and if the director's all-too-P.C. slant in the marketing materials is any indication of the slant of this movie, then they have failed their audience and the intent of the author by half.
I had great hopes for this film, but right now those hopes are only running on faith.
September 07, 2005
Disaster Porn, I & II
- and -
I've got to say I'm a little disappointed, though.
I was kinda hoping for a little Kiran Chetry action, you know?
September 06, 2005
So Long, Maynard
You might remember him from what many might consider the original version of Survivor (above,left). He will be missed.
September 05, 2005
Pink and Gray
I was wrong, and I freely, and proudly admit the error of my ways. I'd been indoctrinated like the vast majority of you that race and ethnicity mattered. But September 11, 2001 wasn't about ethnicity, and neither was Hurricane Katrina.
It wasn't about black and white, it was about pink and gray.
Skin color doesn't matter. It is about the tribes we choose to belong to.
Go read the single best essay I have ever read.
I do have one, very minor, disagreement with Bill Whittle, however. Afther the battle, even sheepdogs are allowed to cry.
Note: Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for pointing these links out.
August 27, 2005
Contact Me ASAP
Letters, we get letters...
Al salaam, My name is Haja mashed from Brunei I am a 23 years old and a british citizen who was taken to Brunei by my father 10 years ago. He deceived me that I was going there on vacation and later married me out to a wealthy Prince in Brunei who is 30 years older than me. I was thus forced into marriage and when I objected I was beaten and raped by this Prince. I was locked up in a house for six months after which I submitted and decided to accept my faith, knowing that was the only way out. After I got my freedom back I have been allowed by my husband to have access to his account and businesses.
With the help of a loyal aide I have been able to divert $4.500.000.00 (four million five hundred thousand dollars)as bonds into a private finance house without his knowledge. Right now I have mapped out a plan of escape out of Brunei,thou I have tried escaping several times and its been fruitless. first of all I have been able to move the fund out of Brunei. This is where I need your assistance,to help me secure the fund from the finance house before I get out of Brunei if I am lucky enough. If you know you are capable of handling such a huge amount of money respond to me and I will compensate you by giving you $1.000.000.00 (one million dollars) of the total fund
Note also that you must keep this transaction secret as my life is at stake if my husband or any of his relatives hear of this transaction they will stone me to death or hang me. Please reply me here :
[Address witheld for her safety-- Ed.]
Alas, I am unable to help poor Haja. Perhaps you can, dear reader.
Simply prove your truthworthiness by depositing $500,000 in either the PayPal or Amazon Honor System accounts located in column to the right.
I know you'll do the right thing.
August 10, 2005
Because Cancer Sucks
Cartoonist Chris Muir of Day by Day is asking for help. Please visit his site to see why, or simply click the banner below.
And say a prayer, will you? (h/t: MVRWC)
August 04, 2005
PSA: ICE, ICE Baby
London Paramedics have come up with a simple, but brilliant bit of practical advice; include ICEâ€”In Case of Emergencyâ€”contact numbers in your cell phone address book:
Cell-phone users often have entries for just about everything on their phones' contact lists -- spouses, parents, children, the hairdresser.
But some emergency workers are asking cell-phone users to add one more contact to that address book -- an "In Case of Emergency" or ICE contact.
Originally conceived by paramedics in London, the ICE concept has spread internationally, mostly through e-mail messages and a handful of reports in the national media. According to The Washington Post, at least a couple of police departments in the United States have encouraged the idea in their jurisdictions.
Paramedics, police and firefighters often waste valuable time trying to figure out which name in a victim's cell phone to call in the case of an emergency. Most people often identify spouses or other kin by their first names on their contact lists, which makes them indistinguishable from the entries for the dentist or babysitter.
For more on the concept, go to http://www.icecontact.com/.
August 02, 2005
Bush, Trout, and Intelligent Design
Many of these intelligent folks are of the opinion that Bush said Intelligent Design was as valid a theory as evolution. I don't read it that way. Here is the Q&A in context:
Q I wanted to ask you about the -- what seems to be a growing debate over evolution versus intelligent design. What are your personal views on that, and do you think both should be taught in public schools?
THE PRESIDENT: I think -- as I said, harking back to my days as my governor -- both you and Herman are doing a fine job of dragging me back to the past. (Laughter.) Then, I said that, first of all, that decision should be made to local school districts, but I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught.
Q Both sides should be properly taught?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, people -- so people can understand what the debate is about.
Q So the answer accepts the validity of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution?
THE PRESIDENT: I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought, and I'm not suggesting -- you're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes.
So what did you hear? In this conversation I didn't hear anything sinister. I did not hear of a plan to depose evolution, or teach creationism, but instead a simple call to hear all sides of the debate. I don't pretend to be a scientist or a theologian, but there seems to me to be enough room for both theories.
The earth is 4.6 billion years old, and we know this as a geological fact that astrophysics supports. We know for a fact life evolves, and we can see generational changes in lower species within our lifetimes. Evolution is a fact. Life evolves...
But where did life come from? For things to evolve, they have to start somewhere. Despite all the wonderful work provided to us by dedicated scientists, they still cannot provide a theory of The Beginning any more reasonable than the metaphor of Genesis I.
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was [a] formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morningâ€”the first day.
6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morningâ€”the second day.
9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morningâ€”the third day.
14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. 16 God made two great lightsâ€”the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morningâ€”the fourth day.
20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." 23 And there was evening, and there was morningâ€”the fifth day.
24 And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the groundâ€”everything that has the breath of life in itâ€”I give every green plant for food." And it was so.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morningâ€”the sixth day
From an origination context, ID has as much right to discussion as any other theory. If this is Bush's argument, I think everyone is getting overheated over nothing, and I suspect this is the case.
I do, however, get a kick out of imagining an omnipotent, all powerful God trying to dumb-down the complicated (and to us, still mostly unknown) physics that bind this reality together into a metaphor that a Bronze Age scribe could understand and pass along. It must have felt as futile as trying to teach calculus to a trout.
God asks us through religion to rely on faith. I'd argue that is because he knows our brains can't handle the cosmic truths any better today than we could a few thousand years ago.
Of course, I may very well be wrong, and if I am, I have but one thing to say in my defense:
July 30, 2005
A Few Words From Russ
Russ Vaugn sent me the following original poem. I'll let it speak for itself.
Handmaidens of Terror?
Michelle Malkin notes, I believe with some error,
The politically correct are handmaidens of terror.
But handmaiden may be a too-mild appellation
For the worms at the core of the threat to our nation,
Who are far more concerned with our socialist purity,
Than commonsense measures for our nation's security.
They'll insist we don't need anti-terrorist powers,
Till terror bombs blow down their own ivory towers.
More than mere handmaids in true servile sense,
They're concubines of correctness in Jihadist tents,
Plying socialist sweetmeats to death-dealing masters,
Naively abetting more future disasters.
Respect our dark brothers say these houris beguiling,
No need for your paranoid, racist profiling.
Forget swarthy males from the East caused our losses,
We must share their pain, understand their root causes.
These handmaids ignore their own reasoning powers,
Like no grannies flew planes into those twin towers;
Or why we're not shown after a terror event,
Any mug shots of men of Caucasian descent.
They insist we ignore facts as plain as their faces,
Like Islamo-fascists tend to be certain races.
No, Michelle, dear, I fear that handmaiden's in error,
Simply too mild a term for these true whores for terror.
Inspired by a Michelle Malkin column.
My One and Only Post About Natalee Holloway
Dan Riehl of Riehl World View emailed this morning about an upsetting result in a Google Search for Natalee Holloway, the teenager that has gone missing in Aruba. Dan has become the "go-to" guy in the blogosphere for information about Ms. Holloway, her disappearance, and the ongoing investigation.
You can see the offensive search results for yourself if you'd like. The title of the top-ranked post is, to put it mildly, disgusting to most people. As a result, Dan is asking people to contact Google and let it have a peace of their minds.
Personally, I don't "get" the MSM's fascination with Natalee Holloway, and chalk it up in large part to Pretty Blonde Girl Syndrome. Perhaps I'd be a bit less cynical about the media's motives if they were covering the disappearance of a girl in a far less tropical clime... say, Philadelphia.
That aside, I understand Dan's frustration, and if that post retains its top position solely as a result of a human editor's bias, Google may indeed have something to account for, as they already do for their apparent Google News bias.
I guess only time will tell. In any event, if you'd care to help Dan out, please go right on over. I'm sure he'd appreciate the support.
July 29, 2005
The Advocate: "God hates Boy Scouts."
According to Karel at The Advocate, the electricution deaths of four Scout leaders at the beginning of this week, the 300 cases of heat-related illnesses mid-week, and the lightning strike that killed a scoutmaster and rendered a teenaged scout brain dead are acts of revenge by God against the Boy Scouts for discriminating against gays.
It couldn't be clearer. God hates the Scouts' policy of discrimination against gays. That's right, God is pro-gay, and he/she/it is letting that be known, beginning with some good ol' fashioned smiting of those who are blatantly going against his laws and discriminating against his creation, gay men.
Karel seems old enough to have heard the bitter viciousness of AIDS jokes back during the early 1980s. Do you remember those Karel? I do.
As bad as those were, AIDS jokes were a nervous defensive reaction against an unseen killer we didn't understand. It was a coping mechanism, as crude and crass as they come, but at least it had a purpose.
I've yet to find anything especially witty or incisive in this hatefest by Charles Karel Bouley who mocks the deaths of six people and the pain of hundreds more. Sometimes, poor sarcasm is just a thin veneer for hate. Karel simply proves that hate and biogtry isn't monopolized by one sexual orientation.
Update: You-know-who is quick to jump on the bandwagon.
Oliver Stone is NEVER WRONG
The U.S. economy grew at a 3.4 percent annual pace from April through June, the ninth straight quarter exceeding 3 percent, as booming sales allowed companies to pare bloated inventories.
The government's first estimate of second-quarter gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S., compares with a 3.8 percent gain in the year's first three months, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. Not since January 1983 through March 1986 has growth exceeded 3 percent in as many quarters.
Wait. Just. One. Minute.
That can't be right, because the economy is going bust. Oliver Stone said so.
And OLIVER STONE IS NEVER WRONG.
I'd like to add that his new 9/11 movie will be greatâ€”and his rumored casting choice for the eccentric, devoutly Christian, and brave Marine rescuer Dave Karnes is nothing short of inspired.
July 28, 2005
"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case."
Maybe Democrats really are the experts on prison abuse!
July 26, 2005
"I guess hiring a prostitute and beating her to recover the money you just paid is OK, as long as you don't see her naughty bits."
July 20, 2005
Not Hephaistion's Thighs
Colin Farrell is suing to stop the release of a homemade sex tape he made with Playboy playmate Nicole Narain. I can't understand why.
It was sure to be better than than Alexander.
July 18, 2005
That's One Old Fish
Fellow blogger, designer of this site, and real-life younger brother phin of phin's blog is 30 today.
Be sure to drop in and harrass him.
July 16, 2005
Old Fish Never Die...
...they just smell that way.
Phin is turning 30 this weekend (well close, enough, the 18th). Be sure to drop by his site and harrass him.
July 15, 2005
Supply & Demand
It's funny how every time that liberals get louder and more shrill over their outrage -of-the-day, the better this sells.
I wonder what that is?
July 14, 2005
You would think think Eminem would be smart enough not to hire Stan as a bus driver with his track record, wouldn't you?
July 12, 2005
What the NC ACLU should know about Taqiyya
Legislators may be asked to decide if the Quran and other religious texts can be used for courtroom oaths, said a spokesman for the agency that manages state courts, as the ACLU pressed for a response on the texts' use.
The legal foundation of the ACLU of North Carolina has called on the state Administrative Office of the Courts to adopt a policy allowing the Quran and other religious texts for oath-taking in North Carolina courtrooms.
The request came after Guilford County's two top judges decided that Muslims could not legally take an oath on the Quran.
"We think they are dragging their feet," said Jennifer Rudinger, the state ACLU's executive director.
In addition, a Washington-based Islamic civil rights organization and Greensboro-area religious leaders have called on the AOC to act. The ACLU wrote a formal letter to the state agency June 28 but has not received a response.
Would you really like a response, Ms. Rudinger? I can provide a one-word response as to why the courts and legislature should prevent using the Quran for courtroom oaths.
Taqiyya, as defined by the Islamic scholars at the digital Islamic Library Project al-Islam.org, shows that:
The word "al-Taqiyya" literally means: "Concealing or disguising one's beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies at a time of eminent danger, whether now or later in time, to save oneself from physical and/or mental injury." A one-word translation would be "Dissimulation."
The above definition must be elaborated upon before any undertaking of this topic is to ensue. Although correct, the definition suffers from an apparent generalization, and lacks some fundamental details that should be construed:
First, the CONCEALMENT of one's beliefs does NOT necessitate an ABANDONMENT of these beliefs. The distinction between "concealment" and "abandonment" MUST be noted here.
Second, there are numerous exceptions to the above definition, and they MUST be judged according to the situation that one is placed in. As such, one should NOT make a narrow-minded generalization that encompasses all situations, thereby failing to fully absorb the spirit of the definition.
Third, the word "beliefs" and/or "convictions" does NOT necessarily mean "religious" beliefs and/or convictions.
This Muslim scholars at al-Islam.org then go on to reference 14 Islamic sources proving that Islamic holy texts allow Muslims to lie under an oath on the Quran, and that the lie does not have to be religious in nature. As a matter of specific fact, in the second reference, the single most noted Islamic scholar in history, Abdullah Ibn Abbas said:
"al-Taqiyya is the uttering of the tongue, while the heart is comfortable with faith."
al-Islam notes that this means that a Muslim can lie about anything in a time of need, so long that he feels he is being truth in his heart to his faith.
An oath made on a religious text is symbolic of a person's desire to tell the truth while in a court of law. As the single most eminent of Muslims scholars hold that the Quran has no requirement to tell the truth while under oath, an oath sworn upon it is a meaningless exercise.
Someone should contact the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts to inform them of these facts.
NC AOCContact Page or call (919) 733-7107.
July 07, 2005
Enter the Asylum
I had hoped not to discuss domestic politics today in the wake of today's terrorist attacks in London. Sadly, paranoia and delusional behavior from some corners has poured forth, showing that they are not capable of leadership in times of crisis, nor of basic humanity.
The sickening "reality-based" community of the Democratic Underground thinks President George W. Bush is behind the attacks:
...I'm praying for those hurt and injured just as hard as I prayed here on 9/11/01. They are truly innocent and undeserving of this.
But I believe Bush and his PNAC pack were involved in 9/11 and I can't help thinking they're in on this as well. [emphasis added -- ed.] Another Pearl Harbor to help the cause.
Michelle Malkin has far more than you will probably be able to stand of this kind of behavior, as does John Hawkins.
This is a day to lend support to those were were injured and killed, and rally around their families. This is a day to rally around a nation, a longtime ally, that was attacked out of hate.
This is not a day for the usual comments from the chronically unserious and unreliable members of the conspiracy brigade. They unmask themselves as sad examples of humanity.
June 22, 2005
Abusing the DeadMany, many heated words were exchanged in years of legal battles over Terri Schiavo, who finally died March 31 of this year after Michael Schiavo won the legal right to have her feeding tube removed.
Even in death, the battle still continued between Michael Schiavo and Terri's parents Bob and Mary Schindler, as Michael wanted Terri cremated and her ashes interred in a family plot in Pennsylvania, while the Schindlers wanted her body buried in Florida. Once again, Schiavo won in court, and most suspected that her ashes would be interred in Pennsylvania.
When I saw yesterday that Michael Schiavo seemed to relent somewhat and decided to inter Terri Schiavo's ashes in Florida as her parents had requested, I thought he'd decided to compromise. I had a bit of hope that this was a small gesture of goodwill and reconciliation towards the Shindler family.
That bit of hope was all too brief.
To backtrack for a moment, I don't think any of us are in an empirical state where we can categorically claim with absolute certainty which side was right and which side was wrong in this case. If Michael Schiavo truly believed that her was carrying out Terri's wishes, I can completely understand that at least in his mind, he was carrying out his promise. I would hope that under similar circumstances, that my wife would fight for me if she really felt that is what I wanted.
At the same time, I cam sympathize with the Schindler family, who felt that they were doing what they thought Terri would want. I am both a husband and a father. I see both sides, and I am torn between the two. While it is irrelevant here, my biggest gripe was the manner of Terri's death once it had been decided that she would die; but that is a subject for a different day.
At this point, only two things are certain.
Terri Schiavo is dead.
Michael Schiavo is an ass.
Michael Schiavo firmly ensconced himself as a first class heel as he went for the literal â€ślast wordâ€ť in against the Schindler family, using Terri Schiavo's bronze grave marker to strike out at her family one last time.
The marker lists February 25, 1990 as the date his wife â€śDeparted this Earth,â€ť and March 31, 2005 as the date she was â€śAt Peace.â€ť The obvious implication of this was that the Schindler's prolonged legal battle to keep Terri alive kept her soul in limbo from the time Michael claims she â€śdeparted this Earthâ€ť to her physical death fifteen years later.
Whatever their disagreements, using a dead woman's grave as a final insult to her family is unusually petty and cruel.
It may very well be true that Michael Schiavo never abused Terri Schiavo while she was alive, but he certainly abused her in death.
International Freedom Center Lies AgainThe International Freedom Center, the left-leaning â€śblame-America-firstâ€ť desecration of Ground Zero, has an â€śIFC Facts and Mythsâ€ť page rife with misrepresentations misinformation ripe for a thorough fisking.
Take Back the Memorial offers it. Here's a sample of the outrageous deception currently engaged in by the IFC and countered by Take Back the Memorial.
From the IFC:
Myth:The TBTM Fisking:
The IFC is inconsistent with what 9/11 families want to see at the World Trade Center Memorial.
The Mission Statement for the Memorial, which was crafted in 2003 and was the product of very substantial input from many family members, calls on us, through the Memorial, to â€śstrengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance, and intolerance.â€ť That is what the IFC is about. A clear majority of family members on the WTC Memorial Foundation Board support the IFC and this Mission Statement.
Truth:Read the whole thing at Take Back the Memorial. If it doesn't get your blood boiling then you don't have a pulse.
The WTC Memorial mission statement appears in full on the TakeBacktheMemorial home page. IFC cherry-picked from this quote, â€śMay the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance.â€ť See anything in there about â€śFreedom's Failures?â€ť.
Three family members on the WTC Memorial Foundation Board are adamantly opposed to the IFC at the Memorial site. Here are the remaining four:
- a board member of the LMDC, which voted to bring the IFC onto the Memorial site and to give it $300 million federal dollars
- a personal family friend of the LMDC chairman; the only family member selected to be a Memorial design juror and who is now a Vice Chair, board member and salaried employee of the IFC
- a Vice President of Gilbane Building Co, which was awarded a $45 million contract at Ground Zero by the LMDC
- a former aide to Gov. George Pataki who now works for the LMDC
Make sure you sign the petition.
Contact the IFC and let them know exactly what you think of their project. Tell them Ground Zero is about 9/11, not their transparent political agenda which even IFC President Richard Tofel admits, â€świll host debates and note points of view with which youâ€“and Iâ€“will disagree.â€ť
A Ground Zero memorial isn't about debate, it is about honoring the fallen.
Tell Richard Tofel and the IFC that Ground Zero is no place for politics: theirs, ours, or anyone else's. Fight for those who can no long speak.
International Freedom Center
120 Broadway, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10271
June 20, 2005
Does it Matter?Matt Drudge is reporting once again on allegations in the new Edward Klein book â€śThe Truth About Hillary,â€ť this time focusing on allegations that former President Bill Clinton is flagrantly cheating on Senator Hillary Clinton.
"Hillary's aides noticed that Bill seemed to grow even more reckless after his memoir MY LIFE became a big bestseller. Thanks to his record-shattering $12 million book advance plus another $10 million in speaking fees, he was rolling in money -- and hubris," Klein writes.And there is indeed a picture of a man that appears to be the former Commander in Chief kissing a woman who is definitely not Hillary, though there is no context for the photo.
"Throwing caution to the wind, he started a torrid affair with a stunning divorcee in her early forties, who lived near the Clintons in Chappaqua. There was nothing discreet about the way he conducted this illicit relationship; he often spent the night at his lover's home, while his Secret Service agents waited in a car parked at the end of her driveway."
"It's one thing to go out to California with his wild buddies and stuff there,' said someone with intimate knowledge of the former president's philandering. 'But being indiscreet with a woman in Chappaqua steps over the line. That's the place Hillary calls home.'"
The book presents a photo of the former president 'mouth-kissing' an unidentified woman.
I have one question: does it matter?
I have no love for either Clinton. Bill is a philanderer, was in my opinion a weak if popular president, with few ethics and fewer lasting accomplishments. Hillary is a shrewd socialist hunting for a presidency of her own, and her ethical past is checkered, to say the least.
But isn't that enough?
Is there really a need to attack Hillary for being an enabler of a serial womanizer? Even if it does paint Hillary as an enabler of a sexual predator, does this really tell us anything we didn't already know about Hillary that we didn't know after the Lewinsky affair?
I don't see anything to gain from focussing on her personal failings, when her political failing are so much greater. We should focus on the failure of TennCare, the very real failing of her first foray into socialized medicine, and the recent flu vaccine shortage that was another direct result of her flawed socialist policy ideas. We should look at her radical political past, and her current refusal to condemn a fellow politician for comparing our military to the greatest genocidal regimes of the past century. Refusing to support our troops over such outrageous charges is reason enough to deny her the title of Commander in Chief. We should make these things our focus, not her personal weaknesses.
Her willingness to be a doormat for Bill's sexual conquests is irrelevant, except in that they serve to underscore her already well-known failures as a person of character. Hillary, almost certain to run for the White House in 2008, should be pilloried for her political failings, not her personal failures.
There are certainly enough thingsâ€”Whitewater, the Rose Law Firm billing records scandal, Travelgate, and a lifetime of radical socialism far out of the American mainstreamâ€”to keep Hillary out of the White House.
Let's focus on keeping the debate in the public arena, where her long record of failure really matters.
Durbin-Inspired ClothingThanks, Dick.
Update: I forgot the picture of the spokesman:
June 16, 2005
Schiavo Postmortem Offers Data, Few AnswersAn autopsy report on the body of Terri Schiavo released today confirmed that her husband Michael did not physically abuse her before he obtained a court order to have her killed.
The postmortem also concluded that Terri Schiavo suffered irreversible brain damage and could not hope to recover, regardless of therapy. Her physical condition was also more deteriorated than most people though, with the autopsy concluding that Terri was blind and suffering from severe osteoporosis Medical examiners were unable to find any signs of an eating disorder, meaning that the cause of Terri's 1990 collapse will likely never be known.
The autopsy of Terri Schiavo provides us only with data, not answers.
Based upon what we knew at the time, it would not have hurt anyone if Michael Schiavo relinquished control of his wife to her family. Terri would probably have not known one way or the other, but at least Bob and Mary Schindler would have had hope, if only for a while. Likewise, we'll never know for sure if Michael was carrying out Terri's wishes as he always claimed.
In any event, the long series of legal challenges seems to be an unsettling victory for those who desire for the euthanasia of the inconvenient, and the moral battles remain unresolved.
If nothing else, it comforts me somewhat to think it that Terri is in a better place now.
I'm not so sure about the rest of us.
June 15, 2005
Words, Words, WordsVia ABC News:
To the victims of lynching 4,743 people killed between 1882 and 1968, three out of four of them black, the Senate issued an apology Monday night for not standing against the violence.Two words come to mind. â€śBullâ€ť is one. You can guess the other.
"The apology, while late, is very necessary," Doria Dee Johnson, an expert on the subject of lynching and the great-great-granddaughter of a victim. "People suffered. When the United States government could have done something about it, it did not."
The same article later continues:
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., the Senate's only black member, said, "I do hope that this chamber also spends some time â€¦ doing something concrete and tangible to heal the long shadow of slavery and the legacy of discrimination so that 100 years from now we can look back and be proud and not have to apologize once again."Let me respond to Senator Obama (Or as Uncle Teddy likes to call him, â€śOsama bin Obamaâ€ť) by saying that the chamber did do â€śsomething concrete and tangible to heal the long shadow of slavery.â€ť In fact, it did quite a few things:
- The 13th Amendment abolished slavery and was ratified on December 6, 1865.
- The 14th Amendment gave automatic citizenship to all former slaves, and was ratified July 9, 1868.
- The 15th Amendment ratified February 3, 1870, ensured that a person's race, color, or prior history as a slave could not be used to bar that person from voting.
- The 24th Amendment eliminated the poll tax, was ratified on January 23, 1964, eliminating one of the last legal vestiges of segregation.
It might be of some historical note to Senator Obama that all four of these constitutional Amendments were necessary to counter the tendency of southern Democrats and their Ku Klux Klan confederates to try to marginalize blacksâ€”often violentlyâ€”something that still continues today.
The ABC News article continues in the very next paragraph:
Simeon Wright said, "Good men did nothing" as his cousin, Emmett Till, was dragged from his uncle's Mississippi home and murdered, reportedly for whistling at a white woman. Wright, who was there the night Till was abducted in 1955, said that if there had been a federal anti-lynching law, "there was no way men would have come into my house and taken him out and killed him."Mr. Wright, do you care to run that by me once again?
The abduction and murder of your cousin Emmitt Till is shocking and tragic, just like the abduction and murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, the three young men murdered by Klansmen in the summer of 1964 for helping blacks in Mississippi register to vote. Both of these cases were lynching, and a federal lynching law wouldn't have averted either one of these cases, nor the 579 other lynchings that happened in Mississippi between 1882 and 1968.
Not a single one.
While the rhetorical flourishes are nice, the Senate apology means nothing. It is political grandstanding, three decades too late. The legislation the Senate filibustered would have meant nothing to the ignorant racist thugs that carried out these attacks and the thousands more just like them.
Both of these assaults, and probably the vast majority of other lynchings, were planned with malice aforethought. A civil rights law not would dissuade single-minded, bigoted predators already willing to commit premeditated murder and kidnapping.
A senate confirmation of anti-lynching legislation, whether passed 105 years ago or in 1963, would have changed nothing. Mr. Wright's words are wistful and full of emotion, but they have no bearing on reality.
This Senate apology is a resolution of words, not substance. At least one other person seems to feel the same way.
"If you hit someone with your car, but you apologize, he's still hurt. It's (the apology) a good idea, but it's too late."His name is James Cameron, and he should know. Now 91, he is the only known survivor of a lynching.
The practice of lynching came from intolerance and hatred, two things of which the Senate and politics in general are never in short supply. While Robert Byrd's favorite tool of the filibuster stalled federal legislation about lynchings, it was only changes in the greater society itself that led to the near disappearance of lynchings in American life.
The American people have long since passed the time of race-motivated public lynchings.
It is time the Senate does the same.
June 13, 2005
A Man Without DecencyAccording to Drudge, Edward Klein's new book The Truth About Hillary makes the claim via an anonymous source that former President Bill Clinton made the incredible claim, "I'm going back to my cottage to rape my wife,â€ť while on a Bermuda vacation in 1979.
The anonymous source then claimed that the Clinton's room, "looked like World War III. There are pillows and busted-up furniture all over the place," implying that a very violent rape did indeed occur. The same source also claimed Bill Clinton only found out about Hillary's resulting pregnancy by reading about it in the Arkansas Gazette, and that President Clinton was completely unfazed that he found out about the pregnancy in the newspaper instead of from his wife, instead boasting:
'Do you know what night that happened?"I have some hope that these allegations Drudge attributes to Klein's book are untrue, but if Klein does in fact make these incendiary charges in his book, then Klein has stooped to a low I've not yet seen in covering the lives of political figures.
"'No,' I say. 'When?"
"'It was Bermuda,' he says, 'And you were there!'"
Klein's unnamed source is most likely lying, and even on the off chance that the story turned out to be true, it still does not bear repeating. Just when you thought the caliber of person the NY Times would hire has hit rock bottom, the former NY Times Magazine and former Newsweek foreign editor Klein tunnels feverishly toward the earth's molten core.
This is triple character assassination, pure and simple.
Neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton nor their daughter Chelsea should be smeared in such an irresponsible manner. Bill Clinton has a history as a womanizer dating back decades, and Hillary has been criticized for sticking around for it, but neither deserves this unprecedented, unprincipled assault upon their characters. Most assuredly, this scurrilous attack most deeply affects the very being of Chelsea Clinton, and this unnerving and unwarranted assault against her is completely unforgivable.
I can only hope that one day Edward Klein will discover that â€śfistâ€ť can be a verbâ€”and Hillary will write a book about it. As that is highly unlikely, Klein deserves to be suedâ€”hopefully into bankruptcyâ€”should the story prove to be without merit. Even if the story does turn out to be true, it still did not warrant publication.
Some things you simply don't do out of a basic respect for innocent people. Apparently all those years working for the liberal Times and Newsweek stripped away any vestiges of decency Klein may have once had.
June 11, 2005
Shooter ControlFrom CNN:
More than a dozen Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies will be disciplined for their roles in a controversial shooting incident in which more than 120 rounds were fired at a vehicle driven by an unarmed suspect, Sheriff Lee Baca announced Thursday. The 13 deputies will face punishments ranging from written reprimands to 15-day suspensions, Baca said.Um, yeah.
During the May 9 incident, a suspect led police on a 12-minute chase through Compton, considered one of the more dangerous cities in Southern California.
The chase ended when officers surrounded the vehicle and opened fire. The driver, 44-year-old Winston Hayes, was hit four times but survived.
One deputy was also wounded, Baca has said, possibly by so-called friendly fire...
â€¦Baca said the department has changed its policies on firing at moving vehicles, requiring that deputies independently decide whether to shoot, rather than all firing at a single command.
I watched the video several times, and the things that amazed me most about this incident were (a) the shoddy marksmanship of the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept., and (b) a complete and utter disregard for fire discipline by the deputies on-scene.
Part of the problem involves policy.
As noted above, deputies were told to fire at a single command. While the details of the shooting policy in place at the time are not explicitly detailed, the implication is that deputies were compelled to fire at a verbal command, regardless of how advantageous their firing position was at the time. This means that a deputy at the right rear of the vehicle (and there was more than one shown on the video) or other position without a clear line of site to the target (or anything else behind the target) was expected to discharge his weapon.
This is a patently dangerous policy.
Obscured by the mass of the SUV driven by the suspect, these deputies were quite literally firing blind, and had little chance of hitting the suspect. In addition, the bulk of the vehicle blocking their line of site also meant that they had little indication of where the rounds they fired might end up. Where these rounds did end up was obviousâ€”in one deputy, and in the walls of houses in the area in addition to the suspect vehicle. With 120 rounds fired in a circular firing squad (men in a circle, firing at a target in the middle), it is a minor miracle that no one died.
Luckily, this â€śspray and prayâ€ť policy has been abandoned in favor of a policy relying on the independent judgement of individual officers. This is a move in the right direction, but it only will work if training is sufficient, both in terms of combat marksmanship and in terms of teaching proper shoot/no shoot situations.
It may be a surprise to many, but most police officers are not â€śgun people.â€ť
They are people who have dedicated their lives to public service, and more often than not in law enforcement, a handgun (and occasionally shotguns, carbines, and true assault weapons for SWAT or ESU teams) is just another piece of their gear. Many officers never fired a gun before joining law enforcement, and many officers never take their guns out of their holsters except to maintain a department-mandated level of basic proficiency. Herein lies the problem.
Law enforcement officers generally only deploy their handguns in high-risk situations when they perceive a threat to themselves or others. In these situations their pulse rate quickens and as a result, the fine motor skills needed to accurately shoot a handgun diminish significantly. At this point, their training completely fails them.
Firearms training for many officers around the country still follows an archaic system of shooting at un-obscured static (non-moving) paper targets from a fixed position in the known and usually well-lit environment of indoor and outdoor shooting ranges.
These situations are completely divorced from the reality of a world where the â€śtargetâ€ť is often at least partially hidden, prone to quick, often erratic movements, and quite capable of returning fire. In addition, instead of occurring in a range where downrange safety is assumed and almost a given, most officer-involved shootings occur in populated areas where there is a significant risk of downrange targets being hit be the officer's bullet.
What's more, it is quite possible and even likely that with the kind of ammunition used by most departments (zero-expansion â€śballâ€ť and controlled-expansion hollowpoint bullets), that even a direct hit on the target can overpenetrate, going completely thorough the suspect and killing or maiming innocent bystanders.
Because of this unrealistic training environment, officers are all but doomed to fail in the real world, as this example by the L.A. Sheriff's Dept. shows.
In an ideal world, police officer's would be trained in the high-stress and varying â€śshoot houseâ€ť environments common to emergency services and SWAT team personnel, where officers are forced into unknown situations with â€śno shootâ€ť civilians, and physical barriers controlling the tone for the engagement.
Unfortunately, these live-fire â€śshoot housesâ€ť are themselves hazardous for officers without significant levels of training, and are prohibitively expensive to maintain.
A compromise can be struck between these two extremes that while still not ideal, is significantly better than the â€śold schoolâ€ť range training too many departments still use. Departments can build less expensive â€śshoot houseâ€ť environments and officers can be training using so-called â€śsimunitions,â€ť which are special training cartridges that function in the officer's duty weapon (thus better familiarizing officer's with their weapon in high-stress environments) while not posing lethal risk.
Until these more realistic training environments become standard, you can continue to expect more situations where officers put themselves and others at risk due to antiquated training and policies.
June 10, 2005
Shortell's Case Not About Academic FreedomFrom the NY Sun:
A Brooklyn College professor who described religious people as "moral retards" said he is dropping his bid to become chairman of the department of sociology after the college's president expressed outrage over his views.As my father has been known to say, â€śYou made that bed, now lie in it.â€ť
Timothy Shortell, an associate professor in the sociology department at the CUNY senior college, sent a bitter e-mail on Monday to several departmental heads saying he had decided to step down as chairman-elect and claiming he was a victim of a political attack.
â€¦In his e-mail, Mr. Shortell expressed anger at the treatment he received from some members of his department and at what he called the administration's "inadequate" defense of his academic freedom.
"After witnessing the amount of venom directed at me by some members of the department during the last two weeks," he wrote, "I have come to doubt the possibility of any amicable solution."
Mr. Shortell engaged in a brutal, fact-challenged rant with little intellectual merit that vilified people of faith as uneducated fanatics and escapist liars that were incapable of moral action and prone to reveling in bigotry and violence. Interestingly enough, his essay was a perfect example of the kind of narrow-minded hatred and intolerance he ascribed to others.
Sadly, Professor Shortell seems to know as little about the limits of academic freedom as he does about the merits of religion.
The gold stand of academic freedom, the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, states:
A. Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.Let's look at these three principles as they apply to Professor Shortell's current situation.
B. Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.
Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.
C. College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.
A. Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.Professor Shortell's essay was not the research and publication of academic findings, but a polemic. This principle clearly does not apply, as this essay was in no way an academic work.
B. Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject. Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.Shortell's rant did not occur in a classroom setting, and was clearly a controversial essay targeting religion. Furthermore, depending upon the stated aims of CUNY Brooklyn College, Shortell quite possibly could have faced dismissal if he had introduced his essay in a classroom setting. This second principle of academic freedom emphatically does not apply to this case.
C. College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.Shortell would be within bounds in writing an essay or even an academic work condemning religion if he followed these guidelines, but the essay he created was neither accurate, nor exercising appropriate restraint, nor showing respect for the opinions of others. It flies explicitly in the face of the kind of work that would be protected by academic freedom.
Shortell can whine about the â€śinadequateâ€ť defense of his academic freedom all he wants, but academic freedom does not apply to his version of a sociological Mein Kampf. Academic freedom cannot shield people from their own stupidity, an lesson Mr. Shortell is now learning.
Furthermore, from a legal perspective, academic freedom in not a guaranteed right, but merely a quasi-legal concept. It is not precisely defined nor well-justified by legal principles. In short, it is merely empty rhetoric.
Much like the vile anti-religious holdings-forth of one Timothy Shortell.
June 09, 2005
Former ACLU Lawyer Reveals Their Hidden Agenda
"...The ACLU played a helpful role in the civil rights movement defending these people, and I can't turn my back on that. I have to give credit where credit is due."Who said that? Mr. Reese Lloyd, former ACLU lawyer.
"But....that being said, what they have done in the past is completely eviscerated by what they do in the present. The ACLU has become a fanatical anti-faith Taliban of American religious secularism."
Read the rest of this fascinating and disturbing portrait of what the ACLU really hopes to accomplish at Stop The ACLU.
June 03, 2005
Shortell Proves His Ignorance With EloquenceI once told a friend of mine that the only difference between the average person and one with a PhD is that the PhD may have the ability to express his stupidity more eloquently. Brooklyn College's Professor Timothy Shortell seems intent on proving the point.
Shortell is deep in controversy over online comments he made in an essay called â€śReligion & Morality: A Contradiction Explainedâ€ť. The basic premise of Shortell's essay is that religion is irrational, inherently violent, creates immorality, and that the human condition will only improve with the eventual shunning of religion in favor of pleasure-seeking rationalism.
Shortell has just won an election to become the department chair of the Brooklyn College sociology department, but has not yet been confirmed to the position. Students began protesting Shortell's election as department chair once his essay became public, and now his chairman ship seems in doubt.
According to Fox News:
The school president must still approve the vote and has convened a committee to examine Shortell's qualifications. Members of the board of trustees at the publicly funded school are anxious to see the committee's report.Mr. Weisenfeld is correct.
Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, who is a member of the board of trustees, said, "He hasn't done anything within the classroom, at least as far we know and as yet that would amount to what might be called ... an impeachable offense."
The topic of the essay, while very controversial and confrontational, should not disqualify Professor Shortell from his duly elected chairmanship. Intellectual freedom to discuss controversial topics must be protected if higher education is to develop and encourage a new generation of thinkers.
The excretable quality of his essay, rife with contradictions in logic, unsupported accusations, and often unintentional comedy, is another matter entirely. If this essay's quality of writing is indicative of Shortell's academic prowess, I can only hope that the Brooklyn College facilities maintenance department has tenure-track positions.
Shortell's essay begins:
French Sociologist Ă‰mile Durkheim observed that religion was the root of science. Religion, he said, was the first human attempt to systematically explain the world. Durkheim thought that religious rationality would wither away in modern times (for him, the early twentieth century) because scientific rationality would replace it, by virtue of its superior explanatory power. Alas, he seems to have gotten this one wrong.Scientific thinking is indeed superior for many purposes, but it is smug arrogance to proclaim that a scientific approach is applicable to all situations. Someone should remind Shortell that Durkheim's revered scientific rationality was insufficient to deal with the emotional loss of his son in World War I. Durkheim withdrew within himself and could not even bear to have his son's name mentioned in his presence, a patently emotional, decidedly non-scientific response.
But Durkheim was right about the genealogy of thought. Modern religion is an elaboration of a belief in magic. In the absence of a scientific explanation of events and institutions, faith in magical powers, fetishization of nature, and overinterpretation of random variation are inevitable. Durkheim expected religion to fall out of fashion as the outright belief in magic had, for the same reason. For anyone with the least education, the superior power of scientific thinking is obvious. Only a willful ignorance could lead to any other conclusion.
Professor Shortell further evangelizes:
Religions have persisted, despite their inability to explain the modern world. Here, in fact, we have a stunning reversal: religions play up the "essential mystery" of modern life. Since the world is too complex to understand all at once, in its entiretyâ€”even for the scientistâ€”all of us will sometimes shake our heads in wonder at the turn of events in which we find ourselves. Many will find this uncertainty anxiety-provoking, and will look around for a convenient escape.Once could presumably reverse the argument and also make the valid point that science still exists despite its inability to explain the modern world.
Despite research going back well past the time of Archimedes, mathematicians still cannot fully compute pi, the mathematical constant that is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. Should we not believe in mathematics or circles until pi is proven?
As social organizations, religions have a dramatic power that hides their essential irrationality. They persist today because they are so effective at constructing group identities and at setting up conflict between the in- and out-groups. For all religions, there is an "us" and a "them." All the ritual and the fellowship associated with religious practice is just a means of continually emphasizing group boundaries and hostility. It is no accident that the history of world religions is a history of violence, hatred and intolerance. The in-group has exclusive access to the truth, so the out-group need notâ€”indeed, should notâ€”be listened to; they can only deceive. And, being liars, and thus, evil, they forfeit their rights as equal members of the community. This is the poisonous logic of religious irrationality.Shortell selectively targets religions as having a history of violence and intolerance, while ignoring that the greatest mass murderers of the past century were secularists. Stalin and Mao shared the good professor's dislike of religion, and Shortell seems unable to reconcile his cherry picking of the historical record with actual reality, and so proselytizes onward once more.
All modern religions are ideological: they insist on a total, though contradictory, system of beliefs and evaluations. Complete acceptance is the only way to escape the uncertainty of modernity. For this reason, religion without fanaticism is impossible. Anyone whose mind is trapped inside such a mental prison will be susceptible to extreme forms of behavior. All religions foment their own kind of holy war.
The reader might point out that some believers are more bland and mild than fire and brimstone. Those whose devotion is moderate are, perhaps, only cowardly fanatics. They want the fellowship and the security but ignore the logic of the system to which they grudgingly adhere. They may be more numerous than the overt fanatics, but they will always have less influence. This is simply the operation of the rule of the lowest common denominator; in response to uncertainty, the exaggerated sense of confidence of the zealot will win over the crowd. If you doubt that this is true, consider modern politics. The same dynamic applies. This is why our political system has given birth to the "war on drugs" and "family values."Shortell preaches that anyone faithful to the tenets of their faithâ€”no matter which faithâ€”is a fanatic, while those who are less adamant in their religion are cowardly fanatics. Once again, Shortell shows a cultish divisiveness of his own, insisting that you must believe fully as he does or face being labeled an infidel.
One might also be amused to note that Shortell seems to be counting on his own zealotry to â€świn over the crowdâ€ť that he rails against.
Faith is by definition not rationalâ€”that is, it is belief in the absence of verification. (If you do not think this is a fair definition of faith, look it up. I got this from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, item 2b.)Perhaps not surprisingly considering his track record thus far, Shortell "accurately misquotes" Merriam-Webster's item 2b, which defines faith as a â€śfirm belief in something for which there is no proof .â€ť
I find it every much as interesting that he chose that particular definition, as faith is also defined as an allegiance to duty or to a person, and also as loyalty, fidelity, and a sincerity of intentions.
Shortell seems against loyalty and suspicious of fidelity, and it isn't hard to see this in disturbing detail. In addition to the text of this essay, Shortell also includes a collection of original artwork he created.
In the majority of these pictures, we see the same solitary, dark, limbless human silhouette about to be crushed by elements of his environment.
In one image the figure is in the path of giant dominoes about to fall; in another, it sits helplessly in front of boulders careening down a hillside. Yet a third shows the torso about to be overrun by an oncoming pair of headlights. Shortell seems obsessed with stark loneliness, feelings of abandonment, helplessness, and impending death.
To put it mildly, he's got "issues.â€ť
If every assertion were subject to question, the faithful would have to admit that they hold their beliefs without rational basis. If the public sphere were to promote the free contest of ideas, religious belief would wither under the scrutiny of scientific rationality, just as Durkheim expected. As with nationalism, faith is secured by appeals to emotion, not critical thinking. Emotion in crowds tends toward panic or violence.While I'm sure the good professor finds it infuriating, the marketplace of ideas has been around for quite sometime, and scientific rationality seems to have done religion no harm. Faith isn't based on science, or pseudo-science, but upon a core human desire for something greater than this plane of existence, which is found in the vast majority of cultures in human history.
Shortell seems hell-bent on stripping us of humanity in a mad pursuit of cold objectivity. Perhaps he has spent a bit too much time imagining life as a Vulcan.
His comments about the tendency of crowds may or may not have a degree of merit, but I would think that if his theory is correct, then there should be bloodbaths during every NASCAR race, Broadway show, and PTA meeting. I remain unconvinced.
In order to be protected from the harsh light of rational argument, the faithful want to make religion a taboo subject. Orthodoxy is supposed to be beyond question. Just like in totalitarian states, where criticism of the government is a capital offense, the faithful would like to enforce an intellectual gag-order so that the barbarity of their regime goes unchallenged.Professor Shortell does not desire a rational discourse. He dismisses the merits of religion out of hand. Nobody has censored him nor put him in prison for his views, but neither has he the courage to stand up for his accusations. He claims, "we should be able to debate the issue in the public sphere without fear of retribution," but refuses to debate. He hits and runs, making me suspect he does not desire the rational argument he claims, but instead simply wishes to stand alone on his soap box inside an echo chamber.
This only addresses roughly the first half of Shortell's essay, and the rest is as agonizingly tiresome. He bloviates on, making one unsubstantiated statement after another. Feel free to read the rest, but you won' t miss much other than more projections of Shortell's apparent insensitivity and insecurity.
His thesis is simply this, â€śCan there be any doubt that humanity would be better off without religion?â€ť
I think we can answer quite honestly that, "Yes sir, after thousands of years finding comfort in religion in every corner of this world, and on others, there is obviously quite a bit of doubt."
Religions are well established worldwide, and the bulk of humanity seems to think we are better off with them as an intrinsic part of our collective social fabric. What is not so readily apparent is the value of Professor Shortell's relatively new cult of scientific rationality.
June 01, 2005
The Illinois House passed aThe Illinois House passed a bill Tuesday banning the sale of violent or sexually explicit video games to minors. The bill passed with an overwhelming 106-6 vote in favor of the ban. The bill now goes to Governor Rod Blogojevich, who proposed the ban last year after hearing of a game called JFK Reloaded which allows players to play the role of Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The bill passed the Illinois Senate earlier this month.
Other states and municipalities have tried similar bills, but they have repeatedly been struck down on First Amendment grounds. Under the impending law, clerks that knowingly sell adult video games to minors face a $1,000 fine, but the bill leaves it to the stores to determine which games are too violent or too sexually explicit for minors.
The proposed law has almost no chance of standing up to federal scrutiny. Not only does it place an undue burden upon stores to determine which games contain inappropriate content; it also fails to provide a significantly narrow definition of what constitutes violent or sexually explicit behavior, placing an undue burden upon store owners to make that determination without sufficient guidelines.
Two thoughts came to mind as I read of this proposed bill:
â€˘ That there are some similar problems between this bill and the practical failure of the â€śAssault Weapons Banâ€ť embedded in the 1994 Crime Control and Prevention Act ( more commonly known as the â€śAssault Weapons Banâ€ť) that expired last year, and;
â€˘ Illinois lawmakers must have known that this bill would not pass federal scrutiny based upon similar laws previously defeatedâ€¦ so why did they pass a bill that will almost certainly be challenged and struck down by federal courts once it becomes a law?
The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban signed into law by President Bill Clinton banned some specific firearms, but also attempted to ban similar weapons by banning certain features they felt were common to assault weapons. A partial list of these features included flash-hiders, pistol grips, and bayonet lugs.
The ban, while legal, was a practical failure. Firearm manufacturers simply removed the offending features and were then able to sell the exact same firearm type with only minor cosmetic changes.
It is a battle between the specific and the vague. The AW Ban failed because it tried to limit firearm access using specific but vague criteria, and the Illinois ban follows a similar path.
In the former, the 1994 Crime Bill was an attempt to get the desired result while ignoring the basic engineering truth that these firearm operating systems were identical to those of sporting guns. The lawmakers knew they could not pass a law that was a direct assault on the Second Amendment, and attempted a work-around that failed.
In the latter case , Illinois is attempting to get a desired result by while ignoring a basic truth that free speech, even speech we don't like, cannot be unreasonably constricted without just cause. They only compound their problems by unfairly placing an undue burden upon stores to determine what constitutes inappropriate content in an attempt to bypass the First Amendment.
So why are Illinois lawmakers so enthusiastically supporting a law that is destined to fail?
I have no easy answers, but suspect that it is a combination of some lawmakers trying to seriously address what they feel is a serious problem in our society, and others that calculated an immediate political gain from supporting such legislation with little or no political downside.
In any event, it will be interesting to see what Illinois lawmakers decide to once the law is signed and then almost certainly struck down. Will they go back to the proverbial drawing board and try to draft a constitutionally sound proposal, or will they simply throw their hands up and say, â€śwe tried.â€ť
Their response to a torpedoed law will go a long way towards telling us just how serious they really are.
Note: The bill that passed the House seems to be different that the version of the bill I discussed here in December.
May 27, 2005
Larks and PoppiesIn Flanders Fields Lt. Col. John McCrae, 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
May 26, 2005
And Finally, They Came For Our SporksThe English, long since too cowardly to trust their citizenry with firearms, have determined that in the interest of safety, citizens should also give up their kitchen knives:
A team from West Middlesex University Hospital said violent crime is on the increase - and kitchen knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings.So now the English are going to be forced to do without melons?
They argued many assaults are committed impulsively, prompted by alcohol and drugs, and a kitchen knife often makes an all too available weapon.
The research is published in the British Medical Journal.
The researchers said there was no reason for long pointed knives to be publicly available at all.
They consulted 10 top chefs from around the UK, and found such knives have little practical value in the kitchen.
None of the chefs felt such knives were essential, since the point of a short blade was just as useful when a sharp end was needed.
The researchers said a short pointed knife may cause a substantial superficial wound if used in an assault - but is unlikely to penetrate to inner organs.
In contrast, a pointed long blade pierces the body like "cutting into a ripe melon".
that may not be much of a change...
Confirming A SuspicionJust one more bit of evidence proving that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms shouldn't be responsible for anything more threatening than recommending what kind of wine goes with well with a nice Cuban cigar after a nice day in the field with your L.C. Smith.
At least Laurence didn't end up like some of their victims.
This is an archive post. Please visit the main page for more.
May 22, 2005
I'm Not Dead Yet...A lame Python reference is better than none right?
It is official: Confederate Yankee is now (though it always sort of was) a red-state blog. North Carolina is now my official base of operations, and you know what that means... live hurricane blogging! And a whole new crop of politicians to harrass... life is good.
After a relaxing 1,220 mile round trip over the weekend from NC, to NY, and finally back to NC, I'm home. Or as close to "home" as it will be until my daughter finishes school and she and my wife can finally follow me down in six weeks. Without them, no place is home. Once they get here for good and we're finally moved in to our new place 4th of July weekend, life indeed will be good. Until then, life will be exhausting, and a bit of an unknown.
Madre y padre have let me bunk up in a spare room until my new place is ready, and so I'll have nice 168-mile round-trip commute five days a week until July 1.
I should have been a trucker.
The commute, as you may imagine, is to my new job. I start tomorrow. I won't blog about that much, if at all. Blogging about work tends to get people in trouble, as I've seen on more than one occasion.
Anyhoo, while I adjust to my new schedule, blogging will be sporadic and light. I'm not dead yet, but getting used to dancing to a new tune.
May 20, 2005
Un-UnemployedNow I have the honor of saying, with sadistic glee, the scariest sentence in the English language:
"I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."
May 19, 2005
Give Them EqualityVia CNN:
...In a nearly 15-hourlong committee hearing, the most contentious issue was the role of women in combat.The Democrats are right in opposing this bill, but more than likely for the wrong reasons.
The language would put into law a Pentagon policy from 1994 that prohibits female troops in all four service branches from serving in units below brigade level whose primary mission is direct ground combat.
"Many Americans feel that women in combat or combat support positions is not a bridge we want to cross at this point," said Rep. John McHugh, R-New York, who sponsored the amendment.
It also allows the Pentagon to further exclude women from units in other instances, while requiring defense officials to notify Congress when opening up positions to women. The amendment replaced narrower language in the bill that applied only to the Army and banned women from some combat support positions.
The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps currently operate under a 10-year-old policy that prohibits women from "direct combat on the ground" but allows the services discretion to open some jobs to women in combat as needed.
"We're not taking away a single prerogative that the services now have," McHugh said.
Democrats opposed the amendment, saying it would tie the hands of commanders who need flexibility during wartime. They accused Republicans of rushing through legislation without knowing the consequences or getting input from the military.
"We are changing the dynamic of what has been the policy of this country for the last 10 years," said Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Arkansas.
Added Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, the committee's leading Democrat: "There seems to be a solution in search of a problem."
Democrats rightly highlight that this could limit military flexibility, but I'd opine that their real reason for opposition to this bill is the inability of some of the American public to handle female losses in a combat zone. Republicans want women out of the combat zone for exactly that reason, as Rep. McHugh notes. It's about PR, not competency.
Nobody wants women coming home in body bags (or men, for that matter), but Democrats and Republicans alike are simply using this bill as a weapon in political infighting. Cynical anti-war Democrats want women in combat, because their deaths (and assured overblown media hype surrounding the same) can be used as political pressure against the war effort.
Republicans in Congress know this, and, being just as cynical as their foes across the aisle, seek to limit enemy contact so that women in the military so that can't be used as political pawns against them. The American public doesn't like the thought of women being wounded or killed in combat. Perhaps more importantly, we saw with the Jessica Lynch incident that the American public cannot stomach the depraved treatment that women face if captured alive.
Gang rape, sexual torture... these are some of the horrors that people do not want to directly mention by name, but flow through the dark recesses of our minds when we think of women in combat--and it is a risk. Yet while we prefer not to think of it, many of these same dangers are also faced by male American combat forces.
For how many years have we been told that rape is about power and domination more than sex? Women are perceived as being more at risk for this kind of treatment, and with just cause, but the fact remains that all of our soldiers know that this is a risk if they are captured, and yet they still lace up their boots, armor up, and do their duty.
And never, ever forget, women can fight.
On a Sunday afternoon in March, a convoy of 30 civilian tractor trailers ran into an ambush by an estimated 40-50 heavily-armed insurgents at Salman Pak, Iraq. Three armored HMMWVs of MPs from the Kentucky National Guard that had been shadowing the convoy, charged into the kill zone, upset the ambush, and turned the tables on the Iraqi forces despite intense return fire.
Seven Americans (three of them wounded) killed a total of 24 insurgents and captured 7 others. The ambush was completely routed; the vast majority of the attackers wiped out. Of the 7 members of Raven 42 who walked away, two are Caucasian Women, the rest men-one is Mexican-American, the medic is African-American, and the other two are Caucasian.
One female E5 claimed four killed terrorists killed directly with aimed shots, and the other sergeant claimed she killed another with an aimed M-203 grenade. Who wants to be the one to tell her that she did, "all right... for a girl." Not I.
And it isn't as if American women in combat are a brand-new phenomenon. They've been there, from the beginning. And women have ably served well in other countries, in other wars, both in support roles and on the front lines.
Large numbers of women served in the Soviet Army during World War II--nearly one million-- to great effect. Most did not see front line combat duty, but many did. They flew bombers, performed as snipers, and fought a guerilla war behind German lines. They served, and they served well.
But this isn't about other countries. This is about America.
American women want to serve. Some have died. More will die, whether we want them to, or not. If we've learned anything, it is that there is no frontline in modern warfare, and the enemy can strike a brigade-level base with mortar and rocket fire, as easily as they can a support convoy, or an infantry combat patrol.
My advice to Congress? Let them fight. America's female soldiers earned that right, even if you don't have the stomach for it.
May 18, 2005
Trump Must BuildWhen Daniel Libeskind's Freedom Tower design was accepted as a replacement for the World Trade Center, I felt a kick to the pit of my stomach. It was an impressive piece of architecture, but could not contain what the World Trade Center was, and should be again. The Libeskind design, though sincere, lacked even it's own soul. It was an empty shell, a skeleton, nothing more. If the WTC site has anything, it is souls--thousands of them.
Only one profile deserves to occupy the hallowed ground in lower Manhattan. No substitute, no matter how impressive, could ever be appropriate for all that was won and lost that day.
Thousands died that bright blue September morning, many of those because they simply got up, kissed their children goodbye, and went to work. Other's died in the most noble of human efforts, placing their very lives on the line in a gamble to help those who could not help themselves. For those victims that never had a chance, and for those brave men and women who turned toward the fire and ran into the inferno, there is only one fitting monument. There has only ever been one fitting monument.
The people of New York and America at large, all wounded to some extent that day deserve, no demand, than a new Twin Towers rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the old; bigger, stronger, and better than it was before. The City That Never Sleeps should be home to nothing less than the Towers Than Would Not Die.
Manhattan can never move forward with a lesser skyline. Trump must build.
Update: Father Jim Chern also has a moving argument for rebuilding the Twin Towers.
Update: More details of the Twin Towers II design.
Further Update: Lawhawk has lots more.
Off The Deep EndSome people seem to think that I'm a bit hard and a bit unfair on liberals, but as Ace informs us, liberals tend to bend over backwards to make stupid and arrogant statements without any grounding in fact.
At present, I have a few thoughts I can certainly not prove, but the gaffe over the Michael Isikoff story in Newsweek concerning the Koran and the toilet is redolent with bad odor. Who, indeed, was Isikoff's supposedly reliable Pentagon source? One's counter-espionage hackles rise. If you want to discredit a Dan Rather or a Newsweek crew, just feed them false information from a hitherto reliable source. You learn that in Intelligence 101A.I have a strong suspicion that Mailer spends his afternoons servicing blind syphilitic Filipino dwarves with a patched and worn Love Ewe while drinking Miracle-Gro cocktails to feed the potted geraniums growing out of his rectum while listening to Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute, though obviously, I can offer no proof to any of the above.
Counter-espionage often depends on building "reliable sources." You construct such reliability item by secret item, all accurate. That is seen by the intelligence artists as a necessary expenditure. It gains the source his credibility. Then, you spring the trap.
As for the riots at the other end, on this occasion, they, too, could have been orchestrated. We do have agents in Pakistan, after all, not to mention Afghanistan.Obviously, I can offer no proof of any of the above.
Update: This Norman Mailer is probably more reliable, and accurate.
Defending Robert SpencerVia a link from Instapundit, I find a post titled "Tiananmen, Uzbekistan?" from Bidisha Banerjee, which a Slate roundup of today's blog news with the inspired title of "today's blogs: The latest chatter in cyberspace."
Uzbekistan has been in crisis since protestors raided a prison and government offices over the arrest of 23 men in Andijan, and the government apparently responded with Stalinist tactics, shooting hundred of people, seemingly at random according to some reports. If you noticed, I've provided very few links, as truly credible information is very, very difficult to come by due to a near press blackout.
Among the bloggers mentioned in the report is Robert Spencer, a Muslim scholar and founder of Jihadwatch.org, a site dedicated to:
...bringing public attention to the role that jihad theology and ideology play in the modern world and to correcting popular misconceptions about the role of jihad and religion in modern-day conflicts. By shedding as much light as possible on these matters, we hope to alert people of good will to the true nature of the present global conflict.Robert gets ripped by blogger Serdar Kaya at Socioeconomics for this post, in which Mr. Spencer opines:
Learned analysts have long insisted that Uzbekistan was a bastion of Islamic moderation. I have responded the way I always do: by asking how these moderates counter jihadist recruitment. The response: silence or abuse. But it looks as if the answer these learned analysts did not want to give was: they don't, and they can't -- except by force of arms.Kaya states:
Robert Spencer (of Jihadwatch.com), who devoted his site to the loathing of Muslims in every possible way, preferred to call this a 'Muslim riot'.
Because, to him, a Muslim, first of all, is a Muslim; and Muslims are people who do only wrong; and if a Muslim is involved in a violent incident, then he must definitely be the one who is responsible for it - since Muslims never suffer; they exist only to make others suffer.
This is quite an analogy to run a web site.
It would be... if Kaya's description of Spencer or Jihadwatch was true. But these descriptions are false, verging on outright lies.
Jihad takes many forms. On a personal level, jihad is a struggle within the self to live a devout Muslim life, and is in many ways analogous to the personal struggle within many faiths to lead a more pure life. The another type of jihad has become synonymous with the word "jihad" in western eyes, and that is the militant struggle for Islamic domination of the world at the expense of all other world religions and secular governments.
This theofascist jihad is Spencer's chief complaint, which has been thoroughly documented in a substantial body of articles and books in addition to his web site that would , if Kaya took the time to read them, clearly show Spencer is against the radical Islam of terrorists and tyrants, and clearly for an Islamic moderate Reformation.
Spencer has not "devoted his site to the loathing of Muslims in every possible way;" quite the contrary, Spencer's family has roots in Islamic countries, and Spencer's first book Islam Unveiled was written to counter some of the misconceptions about the religion after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America.
Does Spencer hate Islam, as Kaya intones? Spencer's FAQ answers that question directly:
Q: Do you hate Muslims? A: Of course not. Islam is not a monolith, and never have I said or written anything that characterizes all Muslims as terrorist or given to violence. I am only calling attention to the roots and goals of jihad violence. Any Muslim who renounces violent jihad and dhimmitude is welcome to join in our anti-jihadist efforts. Any hate in my books comes from Muslim sources I quote, not from me. Cries of "hatred" and "bigotry" are effectively used by American Muslim advocacy groups to try to stifle the debate about the terrorist threat. But there is no substance to them. It is not an act of hatred against Muslims to point out the depredations of jihad ideology. It is a peculiar species of displacement and projection to accuse someone who exposes the hatred of one group of hatred himself: I believe in the equality of rights and dignity of all people, and that is why I oppose the global jihad. And I think that those who make the charge know better in any case: they use the charge as a tool to frighten the credulous and politically correct away from the truth.Spencer's comment in the disputed article, is entirely correct, in context:
Q: Do you think all Muslims are terrorists? A: See above.Q: Are you trying to incite anti-Muslim hatred? A: Certainly not. I am trying to point out the depth and extent of the hatred that is directed against the United States, because I believe that the efforts to downplay its depth and extent leave us less equipped to defend ourselves. As I said above, the focus here is on jihad; any Muslim who renounces the ideologies of jihad and dhimmitude is most welcome to join forces with us.
Learned analysts have long insisted that Uzbekistan was a bastion of Islamic moderation. I have responded the way I always do: by asking how these moderates counter jihadist recruitment. The response: silence or abuse. But it looks as if the answer these learned analysts did not want to give was: they don't, and they can't -- except by force of arms.But Kaya prefers to take Spencer's statement out of context in order to practice a bit of taqiya.
Spencer does clarify his point in an update:
The presence of jihadists in Uzbekistan, which is still disputed by some, does not justify the brutal and bloody response of the Karimov regime. Uzbeks are between a rock and a hard place. My condolences to the victims.Perhaps Spencer is unclear and imprecise in his skepticism towards a situation with decidedly uncertain facts and unclear press coverage, but for Kaya to says Spencer, "looks quite OK with the Muslims being indiscriminately killed when all they want is a better life," is not only intellectually dishonest, but a full and willing misrepresentation of Spenser's body of work and the educational goals of Jihadwatch.org.
Note: I'd further add that Mr. Spencer's educated hunch about a militant Islamic jihad arising in Uzbekistan appears to be correct on some level.
Update: Serdar Kaya has now linked in with a response (via trackback) on his/her blog that is anything but an actual targeted response to the points I made in this article about his criticism of Spencer, specifically refusing to support Kaya's five contentions that:
- Spencer devoted his site to the loathing of Muslims in every possible way;
- Spencer thinks Muslims are people who do only wrong;
- Spencer thinks if a Muslim is involved in a violent incident, he triggered it;
- Spencer thinks that Muslims exist only to make others suffer;
- Spencer is okay with Muslims being killed when all tehy want is a better life.
Kaya's defense for his apparent libel of Spencer is a series of emails he says he sent to Spencer--though he never explains why his opinion of Spencer, expressed to Spencer, matters. At best, this would establish a nonsensical, "You're guilty becuase I sent you a letter saying your guilty" defense of his accusations.
Kaya never establishes any sort of credible defense for any of his five claims.
When someone makes a claim such as those above, he has a duty to provide evidence to support his claim. Kaya provides no factual support of the five key claims he made above.
This is an archive post. Please visit the main page for more.
May 17, 2005
Fox Squeals When TrappedI don't care what you say Vincente, this is still an excellent idea.
And despite what you might have heard from Newsweek, while Fox did make comments saying American blacks were lazy, he did not try to flush them down toilets.
May 16, 2005
A Comment on the "Religion of Peace"When I hat-tipped Austin Bay's article yesterday as the inspiration for my Michael Isikoff/Lyndie England comparison, I did so after writing a comment that later I deleted before publication.
That comment was in response to comments such as these that Austin compiled from Muslim comments around the web:
â€śIf the report proved true, it would become important that an apology be
issued and addressed to Muslims all over the world to avoid increasing the
hatred between nations and followers of religious faiths as well,â€ť the Shoura
said in a statement.
The Shoura said it considered the incident an attack on Muslims all
over the world. â€śThe council considers it as an attack on the feelings of
Muslims and their sanctityâ€¦ and a violation of international law and human
customs,â€ť said the statement carried by the Saudi Press Agencyâ€¦
In Afghanistan, a group of clerics threatened to call for a holy war
against the United States in three days unless it handed over military
interrogators who are reported to have desecrated the Qur'an.
â€śThe American soldiers are known for disrespect to other religions. They do
not take care of the sanctity of other religions,â€ť Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the
Pakistani chief of a coalition of radical Islamic groups, said Sunday.
So Muslim leaders are worried about religious tolerance and disrespect?
Quite frankly, let them go to hell.
Islam is responsible for some of the largest human slaughters in human history, precisely for reasons of religious intolerance. Islam is the only religion that has proudly named a mountain range after one of their more serious crimes against humanity, and is responsible for more religious-based genocide that any other single religion that has ever existed on Planet Earth, genocide that continues to this very second in conflicts around this planet.
Perhaps I might have a bit more sympathy for a religion that didn't codify lying as a religious duty and often boasts about a 1,400 year track record of murdering those that had different ideas. Islam may be a lot of things and it may have some peaceful adherents, but if there is one thing Islam that can be said with absolute authority about Islam, it is that Islam is not now, nor has it ever been, a "religion of peace."
The Indepedent's Incredible Self-Fisking Mr. BuncombeThe UK-based Independent (Robert Fisk's employer) is running an Andrew Buncombe story reporting an "AWOL crisis" as a result of the War on Terror, with this lede:
As the death toll of troops mounts in Iraq and Afghanistan, America's military recruiting figures have plummeted to an all-time low. Thousands of US servicemen and women are now refusing to serve their country.The problem is, the Independent don't have any figures to support that contention, and the one set of hard numbers the author provides at the end of the article suggests just the opposite; a significant reduction in desertions since 9/11.
Welcome to the self-Fisking of Andrew Buncombe.
Instead of interviewing credible expert witnesses, the Independent reporter stoops to using unsupported these third-party anecdotes:
Staff who run a volunteer hotline to help desperate soldiers and recruitsIn other words, the author is relying upon uncorroborated information from biased sources that readily admit to providing services for which they are not qualified (other than Congress).
who want to get out, say the number of calls has increased by 50 per cent since
9/11. Last year alone, the GI Rights Hotline took more than 30,000 calls. At
present, the hotline gets 3,000 calls a month and the volunteers say that by the
time a soldier or recruit dials the help-line they have almost always made up
their mind to get out by one means or another.
"People are calling us because there is a real problem," said Robert
Dove, a Quaker who works in the Boston office of the American Friends Service
Committee, one of several volunteer groups that have operated the hotline since
1995. "We do not profess to be lawyers or therapists but we do provide both
types of support."
In addition to collecting hearsay evidence from these amateur therapists, the Independent author also interviewed three soldiers who went AWOL:
- Jeremiah Adler: who admitted to lying about being homosexual to get out of boot camp;
- Jeremy Hinzman: a Fort Brag paratrooper who's application for amnesty was rejected by Canada;
- Kevin Benderman: a Bradley IFV mechanic that claims to have seen acts that would constitute war crimes... if they turn out to be real.
These three soldiers were the only ones interviewed, but what about the growing thousands of other soldiers that are deserting according to the Independent? They don't exist. The preceding 20 paragraphs of Buncombe's thesis were completely undone by his final three lines.
It turns out that the number of soldiers deserting is on a significant decline:
The Pentagon says it does not keep records of how many try to desert each year. A spokeswoman, Lieutenant Colonel Ellen Krenke, said the running rally[sic] had declined since 9/11 from 8,396 to the present total of 5,133.[emphasis added --ed.] She added: "The vast majority of those who desert do so because they have committed some criminal act, not for political or conscientious objector purposes."
I think I'm going to become of conscientious objector myself, at least as it relates to Mr. Buncombe's shoddy and eventually self-defeating brand of journalism.
May 14, 2005
Banning BooksWhen books are banned, only criminals will have books (h/t: Instapundit).
A Letter to His Sons On the WarThis was written by a retired attorney, to his sons, May 19, 2004. My father forwarded it to me earlier this year, and it bears re-reading.
Dear Tom, Kevin, Kirby and Ted,
As your father, I believe I owe it to you to share some thoughts on the present world situation. We have over the years discussed a lot of important things, like going to college, jobs and so forth. But this really takes precedence over any of those discussions. I hope this might give you a longer term perspective that fewer and fewer of my generation are left to speak to. To be sure you understand that this is not politically flavored, I will tell you that since Franklin D. Roosevelt, who led us through pre and WWII (1933 - 1945) up to and including our present President, I have without exception, supported our presidents on all matters of international conflict. This would include just naming a few in addition to President
Roosevelt - WWII:
President Truman - Korean War 1950;
President Kennedy - Bay of Pigs (1961);
President Kennedy - Vietnam (1961);
eight presidents (5 Republican & 4 Democrat) during the cold war (1945 -1991);
President Clinton's strikes on Bosnia (1995) and on Iraq (1998).
So be sure you read this as completely non-political or otherwise you will miss the point. Our country is now facing the most serious threat to its existence, as we know it, that we have faced in your lifetime and mine (which includes WWII).
The deadly seriousness is greatly compounded by the fact that there are very few of us who think we can possibly lose this war and even fewer who realize what losing really means.
First, let's examine a few basics:
1. When did the threat to us start?
Many will say September 11th, 2001.
The answer as far as the United States is concerned is 1979, 22 years prior to September 2001, with the following attacks on us:
- Iran Embassy Hostages, 1979;
- Beirut, Lebanon Embassy 1983;
- Beirut, Lebanon Marine Barracks 1983;
- Lockerbie, Scotland Pan-Am flight to New York 1988;
- First New York World Trade Center attack 1993;
- Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers Military complex 1996;
- Nairobi, Kenya US Embassy 1998;
- Dar es Salaam, Tanzania US Embassy 1998;
- Aden, Yemen USS Cole 2000;
- New York World Trade Center 2001;
- Pentagon 2001.
2. Why were we attacked?
Envy of our position, our success, and our freedoms. The attacks happened during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2. We cannot fault either the Republicans or Democrats as there were no provocations by any of the presidents or their immediate predecessors, Presidents Ford or Carter.
4. Who were the attackers?
In each case, the attacks on the US were carried out by Muslims.
5. What is the Muslim population of the World?
6. Isn't the Muslim Religion peaceful?
Hopefully, but that is really not material. There is no doubt that the predominately Christian population of Germany was peaceful, but under the dictatorial leadership of Hitler (who was also Christian), that made no difference. You either went along with the administration or you were eliminated. There were 5 to 6 million Christians killed by the Nazis for political reasons (including 7,000 Polish priests).
Thus, almost the same number of Christians were killed by the Nazis, as the 6 million holocaust Jews who were killed by them, and we seldom heard of anything other than the Jewish atrocities. Although Hitler kept the world focused on the Jews, he had no hesitancy about killing anyone who got in his way of exterminating the Jews or of taking over the world - German, Christian or any others. Same with the Muslim terrorists. They focus the world on the US, but kill all in the way - their own people or the Spanish, French or anyone else..
The point here is that just like the peaceful Germans were of no protection to anyone from the Nazis, no matter how many peaceful Muslims there may be, they are no protection for us from the terrorist Muslim leaders and what they are fanatically bent on doing - by their own pronouncements -killing all of us infidels.
I don't blame the peaceful Muslims. What would you do if the choice was shut up or die?
6. So who are we at war with?
There is no way we can honestly respond that it is anyone other than the Muslim terrorists. Trying to be politically correct and avoid verbalizing this conclusion can well be fatal. There is no way to win if you don't clearly recognize and articulate who you are fighting.
So with that background, now to the two major questions:
1. Can we lose this war?
2. What does losing really mean?
If we are to win, we must clearly answer these two pivotal questions.
We can definitely lose this war, and as anomalous as it may sound, the major reason we can lose is that so many of us simply do not fathom the answer to the second question - What does losing mean? It would appear that a great many of us think that losing the war means hanging our heads, bringing the troops home and going on about our business, like post-Vietnam.
This is as far from the truth as one can get. What losing really means is:
We would no longer be the premier country in the world. The attacks will not subside, but rather will steadily increase. Remember, they want us dead, not just quiet. If they had just wanted us quiet, they would not have produced an increasing series of attacks against us over the past 18 years.
The plan was clearly to terrorist attack us until we were neutered and submissive to them.
We would of course have no future support from other nations for fear of reprisals and for the reason that they would see we are impotent and cannot help them.
They will pick off the other non-Muslim nations, one at a time. It will be increasingly easier for them. They already hold Spain hostage. It doesn't matter whether it was right or wrong for Spain to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Spain did it because the Muslim terrorists bombed
their train and told them to withdraw the troops. Anything else they want Spain to do, will be done. Spain is finished.
The next will probably be France. Our one hope on France is that they might see the light and realize that if we don't win, they are finished too, in that they can't resist the Muslim terrorists without us. However, it may already be too late for France. France is already 20% Muslim and fading fast.
If we lose the war, our production, income, exports and way of life will all vanish as we know it. After losing, who would trade or deal with us if they were threatened by the Muslims. If we can't stop the Muslims, how could anyone else? The Muslims fully know what is riding on this war and therefore are completely committed to winning at any cost. We better know it too and be likewise committed to winning at any cost.
Why do I go on at such lengths about the results of losing? Simple. Until we recognize the costs of losing, we cannot unite and really put 100% of our thoughts and efforts into winning. And it is going to take that 100% effort to win.
So, how can we lose the war? Again, the answer is simple. We can lose the war by imploding. That is, defeating ourselves by refusing to recognize the enemy and their purpose and really digging in and lending full support to the war effort. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. If we continue to be divided, there is no way that we can win.
Let me give you a few examples of how we simply don't comprehend the life and death seriousness of this situation.
- President Bush selects Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation.
Although all of the terrorist attacks were committed by Muslim men between 17 and 40 years of age, Secretary Mineta refuses to allow profiling. Does that sound like we are taking this thing seriously? This is war.
For the duration we are going to have to give up some of the civil rights we have become accustomed to. We had better be prepared to lose some of our civil rights temporarily or we will most certainly lose all of them permanently.
And don't worry that it is a slippery slope. We gave up plenty of civil rights during WWII and immediately restored them after the victory and in fact added many more since then. Do I blame President Bush or President Clinton before him? No, I blame us for blithely assuming we can maintain all of our Political Correctness and all of our civil rights during this conflict and have a clean, lawful, honorable war. None of those words apply to war. Get them out of your head.
- Some have gone so far in their criticism of the war and/or the Administration that it almost seems they would literally like to see us lose. I hasten to add that this isn't because they are disloyal. It is because they just don't recognize what losing means. Nevertheless, that
conduct gives the impression to the enemy that we are divided and weakening, it concerns our friends, and it does great damage to our cause.
- Of more recent vintage, the uproar fueled by the politicians and media regarding the treatment of some prisoners of war perhaps exemplifies best what I am saying. We have recently had an issue involving the treatment of a few Muslim prisoners of war by a small group of our military police.
These are the type prisoners who just a few months ago were throwing their own people off buildings, cutting off their hands, cutting out their tongues and otherwise murdering their own people just for disagreeing with Saddam Hussein. And just a few years ago these same type prisoners chemically killed 400,000 of their own people for the same reason. They are also the same type enemy fighters who recently were burning Americans and dragging their charred corpses through the streets of Iraq. And still more recently the same type enemy that was and is providing videos to all news sources internationally, of the beheading of an American prisoner they held.
Compare this with some of our press and politicians who for several days have thought and talked about nothing else but the "humiliating" of some Muslim prisoners - not burning them, not dragging their charred corpses through the streets, not beheading them, but "humiliating" them. Can this be for real?
The politicians and pundits have even talked of impeachment of the Secretary of Defense. If this doesn't show the complete lack of comprehension and understanding of the seriousness of the enemy we are fighting, the life and death struggle we are in and the disastrous results of losing this war, nothing can. To bring our country to a virtual political standstill over this prisoner issue makes us look like Nero playing his fiddle as Rome burned - totally oblivious to what is going on in the real world.
Neither we, nor any other country, can survive this internal strife. Again I say, this does not mean that some of our politicians or media people are disloyal. It simply means that they absolutely oblivious to the magnitude of the situation we are in and into which the Muslim terrorists have been pushing us for many years. Remember, the Muslim terrorists stated goal is to kill all infidels. That translates into all non-Muslims - not just in the United States, but throughout the world. We are the last bastion of defense.
- We have been criticized for many years as being 'arrogant.' That charge is valid in at least one respect. We are arrogant in that we believe that we are so good, powerful and smart, that we can win the hearts and minds of all those who attack us, and that with both hands tied behind our back, we can defeat anything bad in the world. We can't. If we don't recognize this, our nation as we know it will not survive, and no other free country in the World will survive if we are defeated. And finally, name any Muslim countries throughout the world that allow freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of the Press, equal rights for anyone - let alone everyone, equal status or any status for women, or that have been productive in one single way that contributes to the good of the World.
This has been a long way of saying that we must be united on this war or we will be equated in the history books to the self-inflicted fall of the Roman Empire. If, that is, the Muslim leaders will allow history books to be written or read.
If we don't win this war right now, keep a close eye on how the Muslims take over France in the next 5 years or less. They will continue to increase the Muslim population of France and continue to encroach little by little on the established French traditions. The French will be fighting among themselves over what should or should not be done, which will continue to weaken them and keep them from any united resolve. Doesn't that sound eerily familiar?
Democracies don't have their freedoms taken away from them by some external military force. Instead, they give their freedoms away, politically correct piece by politically correct piece. And they are giving those freedoms away to those who have shown, worldwide, that they abhor freedom and will not apply it to you or even to themselves, once they are in power.
They have universally shown that when they have taken over, they then start brutally killing each other over who will be the few who control the masses.
Will we ever stop hearing from the politically correct, about the "peaceful Muslims"?
I close on a hopeful note, by repeating what I said above. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. I believe that after the election, the factions in our country will begin to focus on the critical situation we are in and will unite to save our country. It is your future we are talking about. Do whatever you can to preserve it.
May 12, 2005
Democrats Claim Political Balance on PBS is ILLEGAL?According to Rep. David Obey, D-Wisconsin, and Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Michigan, attempting to have political balance on PBS should be illegal. Obey and Dingell are accusing Center for Public Broadcasting Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson of "pushing a Republican agenda."
Tomlinson has taken the "disturbing" and "extremely troubling" steps of trying to add balance to PBS programming, such as when he added Journal Editorial Report to counterbalance Now With Bill Moyers, a show with a notoriously biased liberal bent.
From an Tomlinson in On the Media:
"I don't want to achieve balance by taking programs that are the favorites of good liberals off the air. I want to make sure that when you have programs that tilt left, we also have some programs that tilt right so the viewer can make up his or her own mind...Tomlinson was an appointee of President Bill Clinton to the Center for Public Broadcasting board, after serving as the Director of the Voice of America from 1982-84 under President Reagan, and was confirmed as a member of the CPB Board in September 2000.
"...I am for good investigative journalism in the tradition of "Frontline" and "60 Minutes." I have no objection to politically tilted programs. Will there be times when reporting supersedes the issue of balance? Absolutely. The public understands what it is. People here in Washington understand what it is. They can see the tilt. And what I want to do is, I want people not to regard public broadcasting as the voice of one particular ideological side in this country. I want them to hear the voices of America, the diverse voices of America on the public television." [ed.--emphasis added]
This is not the first time Democrats have looked to restrict free speech in recent memory.
I'm rather certain it will not be the last attempt, either.
Update: The LA Times now has an article up on the subject.
May 11, 2005
Roger & Me (and the United Nations)Poor Roger L. Simon.
Screen writer, blogger, and one of the founders of Pajamas Media (full disclosure: I've signed on to PJ Media as well), Roger is being attacked by a United Nations blog run by a couple of John Kerry fanboys.
They then go on to list a bunch of issues that that think build the case for how successful the United Nations is, apparently in an attempt to show that Roger is unfair. Let's look at some of these, shall we? I'll use their links of "successes" from their blog, and then comment as it seems appropriate.
20% of Roger L. Simon's blog entries during the month of April make reference to the Oil-for-Food controversy.
0% of Roger L. Simon's blog entries during April make reference to the following UN-related issues:
Tackling the threat of transnational organized crimeAfter reading of the massive amounts of corruption I've read about involving the Oil-For-Food scandal and kickbacks involving the French, the Russians, and various UN diplomats and hangers-on including the UN chairman's own family, I think the UN could rightly be defined as "trasnational organized crime" itself, couldn' it?
Are they trying to debunk Simon's claim, or are they piling-on themselves?
Shipping supplies to millions of Iraqi schoolchildrenThis was instead of shipping freedom to Iraq, which the United States eventually did (against UN wishes). Unfortunately, the delay left more than a few Iraqi schoolchildren in mass graves still being discovered.
Controlling the Marburg virusIf UN peacekeeping was worth a damn, perhaps Angola wouldn't have been at war for decades and their hospitals might have been better prepared to handle a disease easily contained by basic protective measures. Through apathy, the UN helped create conditions that made the outbreak so severe.
Again fanboys, you aren't helping your cause too much...
Building thousands of homes for tsunami victimsThe UN contributed $36 million to build (they haven't actually built them mind you, but they will) 9,000 homes. That is nice, but the victims are still homeless five months later while UN officials live in air-conditioned hotels and drink imported wine with local teen hookers. Doubt that? Read The Diplomad, blogged by men who we actually there to see the UN's ineffectiveness and corruption among the deaths of hundreds of thousands.
BTW, how much do you want to bet that the bulk of that $36 million was part of the more than $500 billion contributed by the people of the United States?
I didn't actually read this link, but it sounds like it could be describing more UN sexual abuse of children. I can see Pierre crying out, "Hey Lay-deez... I'll give you twenty francs and a food voucher if you'll let me borrow your daughter to satisfy the "humanitarian needs" of my "private sector."
Again, didn't read the link, but the answer is simple.
Keep children away from AIDS-infested UN pedophiles.
Of course, it might also have been nice if the UN stepped in in Rwanda, or Darfur, or Bosnia, or... well you get the picture. Stopping genocide (which involves children) is a pretty effective way to combat child mortality rates. Perhaps they should try it sometime.
Yep, just as soon as they dig up all those Kurds that Saddam gassed, shot, and bombed while the UN turned a blind eye, the marshes can return to its pristine natural state.
There are more examples provided by the fanboys, but you get the picture. You can splash all the perfume you want on a turd, but it doesn't change it's basic composition.
U.N.-Loved Update: The UN stooges actually decided to spoonfeed this gem of a story to more established bloggers via email. Can you believe their stupidity? I had to find out about it on my own. I guess I need to get more famouser.
And yes I was an English major... why do you ask?
Update: They just keep coming back for more.
This is an archive post. Please visit the main page for more.
May 09, 2005
America's Weakest Terrorist TargetsThe TSA keeps us safe from breasts, corkscrews and old Methodists in wheel chairs when we fly. Government databases hassle those trying to rent moving trucks. The Department of Homeland Security keeps a close watch on the bord--well, let's not go there.
But if you want to infect 100,000 or more with chemical or biological weapons, take your WMD-armed RV to America's #1 spectator sport, and you can pay for VIP parking to the slaughter without any significant hassle at all.
Welcome to super-terrorism, NASCAR-style.
NASCAR is America's fastest-growing spectator sport, and the massive, high-banked superspeedways are the largest sporting events in the United States. Crowds far in excess of 100,000 screaming fans fill many of the larger venues. Many of these venues also encourage speciality vehicle parking: RVs and colorful, customized buses of hardcore NASCAR fans willing to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars in passes and tickets to park either close outside the track, or even in the track infield (area enclosed by the race course).
From Daytona to Charlotte and eventually Staten Island, NASCAR encourages fan attendance, and tracks profit handsomely off infield parking access for RVs and buses, with such speciality vehicle parking spaces garnering $750-$900 each at some venues.
But there seems to be little or nothing done to screen these infield vehicles for hazardous materials, even though they are large enough to easily hide enough chemical or biological agents to infect hundred of thousands, if not millions of people. Ever heard one bit about this potential threat from the TSA or Homeland Security? Me neither. I doubt they've even considered the possibility. Sadly, these infield vehicles are far from the only threat.
One or more RVs and buses parked outside of the track and upwind of the facility stand a chance of exposing far more people than an infield device, with a much smaller chance of the terrorists getting caught. With the incubation period of many biological threats being measured in days, millions of people could be exposed to bioweapons released at a NASCAR race and dispersed throughout the country by a hundred-thousand infected carriers before anyone really knew what was going on.
Homeland Security is doing a wonderful job of guarding us against minor threats. Too bad Bubba bin Laden isn't even on the government's radar.
May 01, 2005
Jennifer Wilbanks: Political Threat?Jennifer "Runaway Bride" Wilbanks may be crazy... crazy like a political fox.
"This is one of the most selfish and self-centered acts I've ever seen," said Ryan Kelly*, owner of Park Cafe. "Obviously, she has the character to run for political office."
"I'm glad that she's alive and OK, but it was a dirty trick," said Louise McCoy*, waiting in line at the Duluth post office on the day Wilbanks was supposed to be married in a lavish ceremony that included 14 bridesmaids and 14 groomsmen. When asked about a possible political run, McCoy continued," You know, Jennifer has proven that she can waste huge amounts of money on a neurotic whim, so maybe she should be in Washington."
"I hear that kind of crazy has worked real well for Nancy Pelosi."
* Quotes creatively embellished.
April 29, 2005
Breaking The Code
"Duty, honor, country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn."So said General Douglas MacArthur in his unforgettable farewell speech to the cadets of the U.S Military Academy at West Point on May 12, 1962.
Duty. Honor. Country.
The Code. These are the words the Long Gray Line has lived by in blue and grey, khaki, and camoflage, for over two hundred years. That code is in jeopardy now, as the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, never defeated in battle, is poised to surrender the Code to the selfish desires of men playing children's games.
Cadets join the academy for an excellent education, and in return commit to serve five years in uniform for their country, though many stay far longer. The USMA now would cheapen that commitment by making a rule change for athletic recruiting purposes, cutting short a cadet's commitment to his country if he commits instead to the self-aggrandizing world of professional sports. The selfish individualism of this proposal is against the core beliefs the cadets at West Point are taught to believe in.
Cadets join--or should join-- the U.S. Military Academy to serve their country and become leaders of men. There are literally dozens if not hundreds of universities that serve the more puerile needs of sports fanatics; few of them have national service as their heart, nor duty part of their soul. Yet, the Army seems willing to compromise Duty for the base edification of the selfish individual desires of boys who want to play games for money.
The tearing away of West Point's core ideology of "Duty. Honor. Country." would service the greed of a few vainglorious individuals at the expense of the selfless Corps.
A few athletes each decade might succeed for several meager seasons as a pro athlete after betraying the core values of West Point, while thousands of real cadets who joined the Corps for the right reasons graduate, live and die honorably serving out their commitments, sacrificing themselves for our freedoms on distant hostile shores.
Some say this betrayal of values is a winner for the Black Knights of West Point. They see this as a "groundbreaking rule to improve Black Knights football." They are wrong to trample on the soul of West Point in hopes of recruiting a few athletes to add a few victories to meaningless win columns. We need more people like Pat Tillman, people willing to serve their country instead of themselves. We don't need to tear these values away from one of the few institutions that still hold them in their proper place.
There are much more important victories to be gained that require far more sacrifice. West Point used to know this. It is not too late to remind them.
April 28, 2005
Make Money, Screw Your FriendsWe get letters, we get letters, we get lots and lots of...
Well, we don't actually gets lots of letters, but we do get more than you'd expect for a "B" list blog, including this gem on behalf of the California GOP.
To Whom It May Concern:Isn't it delicious?
My name is [name withheld] and I work for a company called Mohre Communications [sic] we have been hired by the Republican Party to get out there new rewards Credit Card. You can read more about the program at www.cagop.org <http://www.cagop.org>. The GOP needs the help of conservative bloggers to place advertisements on their sites. You can read more information and get link to sign people up at <http://posse.mohre.com/>.
Republicans just pushed through a pro-shareholder bill which strips away bankruptcy protection from most Americans in favor of a predatory industry, and then asks bloggers such as myself to shill for them to apply for more credit card debit.
Yes, nothing says lovin' like putting you in a hole and pulling away the ladder.... at least according to Buffalo Bill.
Sorry, California GOP, but I'm not buying (or selling) this one.
A Parent's Right to KnowYou've got to give it to the NY Times and the Associated Press; they don't waste any time going for spin in an early version of the lede of this story:
The House passed a bill Wednesday that would make it illegal to dodge parental-consent laws by taking minors across state lines for abortions, the latest effort to chip away at abortion rights (emphasis added) after Republican gains in the November elections.Perhaps this is just the reaction of a father, but I viewed this bill (and apparently so did the House by a 270-157 vote) as an issue of parental rights, not so much a strike against Roe v. Wade. It really is that simple: if my minor child is having surgery, any surgery, it is my right as a parent to know about it.
Perhaps what we should be asking is why 145 Democrats, 11 Republicans and 1 Independent feel that it should be acceptable for strangers to smuggle our minor children over state lines to perform elective surgical procedures.
The House passed a bill on Wednesday making it a federal crime for any adult to transport an under-age girl across state lines to have an abortion without the consent of her parents. A vote on a similar bill is expected in the Senate later this spring or early this summer, and backers says its chances are good.Perhaps they were concerned they were exposing their bias a bit too early?
Update 2: The AP has followed the NY Times in dumping the original lede. Apparently, AP writer Laurie Kellman's original lede was too biased for both the AP and the NY Times. I wonder how often that happens?
April 26, 2005
Northern Culture on the SkidsAs the Census Bureau notes and Kathleen Parker laments, the South is an increasingly better proposition for most folks. The reasons are simple: better job opportunities, better schools, lower taxes, and much lower real estate costs among other factors.
My wife's family is planning its own southern flight, and offers several case studies for example.
After 9/11, property prices skyrocketed in our community an hour north of NYC as people fled the city for the suburbs, a migration that still continues. Houses appraised at $150,000 in 2001 are appraised at $300,000 or more in 2005. This is great for sellers, but those already in these homes and hoping to stay are challenged with excessive (and rising) property and schools taxes they could not have expected when they budgeted for their homes just a few short years ago.
My wife's brother (We'll call him John) and sister (we'll call her Sue) each have families of their own with children not yet old enough for school. Her parents (We'll call them Bill and Helen) are closing in on retirement. We make four families altogether, living with five miles of one another. These are our stories as they are, and as they may be.
John is in a mid-level white collar career, commutes an hour or more each way, every day, and has seen the price of condos in his neighborhood almost double in approximately two years. His taxes have gone up as well. His wife stays home with my infant nephew during the day and works part-time at night. They are getting by, but just barely. There is a distinct chance that if they stay in the area, that both of them will have to work fulltime jobs just to make ends meet, and they will rarely see each other or their new son, who will suddenly add significant childcare costs into the equation (because of necessary fulltime employment), almost negating the second income. It will become increasingly difficult to keep up with the pace of taxes if they stay here, and all but impossible for them to move into a house or afford another child.
If John moves his family to either Charlotte or the Triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) in North Carolina as he has discussed, he could get a comparable job at the same or only slightly less pay, and afford not just a condo, but a much larger home of his own with a nice yard in a good school district while paying far less in taxes, and cutting an hour or more off his total commute every day, while enabling his wife to be a full-time stay-at-home mom for their exsting child and any they may have in the future.
Sue is a stay-at-home mom with a three-year-old and an infant. Her husband bought a small but nice house several years ago and put a lot of time into making it a wonderful home. He manages a body shop, a recession-proof job that is secure, but one that doesn't have lots of room for rapid vertical growth to keep up with NY taxes. He works six, sometimes seven days a week so that Sue can stay home with their kids, and they are just scraping by.
At the moment, they are looking to move to Florida. His pay won't change much, but he has family there, will make a killing on the sale of his home, and the cost of living is much more affordable if they can learn to adapt to the climate and the possibility of hurricanes. By moving south, he thinks he can continue to provide for his family at the same level of comfort (or better) that they presently enjoy, while cutting back on his hours.
Bill and Helen
Bill is an extraordinary salesman in his field, and Helen was mostly a stay-at-home mom over their bulk of their marriage. They are able to retire, though Bill will probably continue to work for several more years because he truly enjoys what he does. Like their children John and Sue, they own a home that has doubled in value in just a few years, which has made their tax burden oppressive.
They are also tired of New York winters, and have expressed an interest in retiring to North Carolina for years, ever since Bill's parent retired to Pinehurst several decades ago on their own. They could make a handsome profit on their current four-bedroom home in New York, and afford a custom home built for their new retirement lifestyle with plenty left over for a substantial nest egg in a Carolina golf community. Another huge draw would be being nearer their children and grandchildren, and their favorite son-in-law, of course.
Me and the Missus
I'm a North Carolina native, and while I came to really love a lot about New York while I've been here, I can't afford to stay. We were new to the area and renting before 9/11/01, and the rise of housing costs afterward made the possibility of getting a decent home increasingly more remote. Add the fact that my tech-sector focused employment required the bare minimum of an hour commute to Westchester or New York City each way, each day. Compound that with now-sluggish prospects in my field up here in New York, and the Research Triangle Park starts looking really good. I've worked there before and know my commuting times will be halved while my prospects for a nice home in our price range go up astronomically. And pork barbeque. Real BBQ. Enough said.
We are Not Alone
I don't think our cases are out of the ordinary. My daughter's school administrator confirmed she is losing a substantial amount of kids to southern relocation each semester, and mostly for reasons like those cited above.
Increasingly, the middle class is bugging out of tax-hungry northern states for more favorable southern and western climes, and the middle class that remains seems to be coming under increasing stresses from above and below. The truly wealthy know how to shelter their earnings and are more resistant to ever-encroaching tax demands, while the poor tend to contribute very little, if anything at all. That is an untenable long-term situation.
Add to these tax burdens the demands of growing illegal immigrant populations in many of these northern (and western) states with their more liberal public assistance programs, and we see the almost unavoidable possibility of a northern culture in decline, while the best and brightest of the formerly northern middle class head to Atlanta, Charlotte, Birmingham, and Dallas.
I saw a comment scrawled in the dust on the back of an I-95 Southbound New Jersey-registered moving truck a few years ago, and it seemed to sum up the situation perfectly:
"Will the last person out of New York please remember to turn out the light."
I think I can promise you that the last person won't be me.
05/26/05 Update: Confederate Yankee has moved out of New York. Sue's husband has a standing job offer near Miami, and they're planning to move south at the end of the summer. John and his wife are staying put...for now. Bill and Helen are as well.
April 22, 2005
Celebrate Earthday!Personally, I'm going to celebrate by driving a couple hundred miles over smog-choked roads paved through woodlands, to interview for a job with a company that puts heavy metals into the environment.
April 20, 2005
Dumbest. College. Major. Ever. Except for That One...You thought underwater basketweaving was stupid? Try getting a Master's in Activism & Social Change, via a thread in The New Editor.
I'm thinking of turning my existing MA into a New College MFA in Creative Inquiry. That way, I can sit around with the Great Unwashed and say, "Dude, WTF?" as a professional.
I don't see "The Donald" picking these guys for The Apprentice, but a future with "The Ronald" seems all but certain.
April 13, 2005
Shiavo and Pope are Not Real News for the American Left
You can always count on the Democratic Underground to be consistently out standing in a field, especially if a caretaker isn't there to usher them back inside the home. Mary Shaw's April 12 op-ed "Mind Control and the American Media" is a wonderful case in point.
Shaw wants us to consider the fact that the Terri Shiavo case occupied the media for a significant segment in March, and then the media transitioned rapidly into near 24-hour coverage of the last days, death, and burial of Pope John Paul II. This was apparently an unacceptable use of media time for Shaw:
"...the media has had very little to say about Iraq, where several more U.S. soldiers have been killed, the Abu Ghraib prison was attacked by insurgents, and a Belgian soldier died from "friendly fire" by U.S. troops.Cleary, Shaw's opinion of what constitutes "events that more closely impact the lives of the average American citizen" is the real topic of this article.
"While the Schiavo case and the papal passing were certainly interesting and poignant stories, did they really merit 23 hours of coverage per day on the cable news channels, while other events that more closely impact the lives of the average American citizen went unreported?"
Shaw would apparently like to have more focus on events in Iraq. She calls for more media coverage of solider deaths, the Abu Ghraib prison attack, and a friendly fire event that killed a Belgian soldier. Do you notice a theme?
Shaw seems focused only on the negative events in Iraq, and apparently would waste no words on the successful capture of high-ranking Baathists and terrorist leaders, the increasingly rapid pace, scale, and success of raids by Iraqi forces against criminals and terrorists, nor would she mention the truly historic appointment of a former dissident Kurd to the Iraqi Presidency. No, Shaw is focused on dead soldiers, terrorist attacks, and U.S. troops killing a Belgian soldier.
There are a few problems with her proposition, starting with the simple fact that there are no Belgian troops stationed in Iraq.
One can only assume that she must have been speaking about the March 7 death of a Jr. Sgt. Gardev, a Bulgarian soldier tragically shot by U.S. forces in a friendly-fire incident while on patrol southeast of Diwaniya, Iraq.
Shaw fails to mention that just an hour after Gardev's death, a communist journalist by the name of Guiliana Sgrena was wounded, and a Italian security officer killed, when their driver ran an American checkpoint in Baghdad. That incident dominated the media for days, until physical evidence started contradicting Sgrena's hysterical claims, at which point the story quickly fizzled out in the liberal media.
The other two incidents, while tragic, don't measure up to the immediacy standard that Shaw herself wants to impose with her "events that more closely impact the lives of the average American citizen" criteria.
Sadly, over 1,500 brave men and women have died in combat in Iraq, but after two full years of combat, these loses are viewed by the media and American public as a routine, if tragic, fact of war. There are only so many ways to say that an American soldier was killed in combat, and these deaths are mentioned consistently and dutifully across all media, even if the MSM doesn't linger on these deaths as long as Shaw would apparently like. The Shiavo case, half a world closer than Iraq, was also much more immediate; as any American may one day be forced to rely on another to determine whether they should live or die. It does not get any more immediate or personal that contemplating your own demise, so by Shaw's own standards, the Schiavo case was more newsworthy for most Americans than any event in Iraq over the past month.
Which brings us to the final event Shaw would drum up airplay for, the Abu Ghraib prison attack. This was a complete tactical defeat for the terrorists, freeing not one prisoner, nor killing a single Coalition or Iraqi soldier, while heavy casualties were inflicted upon the attacking terrorist forces. This was not overlooked in the media, but with no American losses, the liberal MSM was more than willing to allow this story to become a footnote instead of a defining event. The death of the nearly three-decade leader of a religious group that has a billion followers worldwide and millions of followers in the U.S. is far more immediate and newsworthy than any event in Iraq of the past year. Once again, Shaw fails her own test.
These events are also have more immediacy than the other events Shaw would have the media focus more time on, specifically inquiries into Tom Delay's ethics, and lawsuits against Donald Rumsfeld. Both of these events are long-horizon, which could drag on far into the foreseeable future (or as long as they have merit).
Shaw says further:
"The media are in business to make money. Sensational stories like the Schiavo case and the death of the pope can easily be spun into headlines that sell papers. But the media have a moral responsibility to give us all the news of the day, even if the truth hurts."Did Mary Shaw find out about military deaths in Iraq, the Abu Ghraib attack, and the friendly-fire death of a Bulgarian (not Belgian) soldier thorough her own private news sources? I suspect not. She obtained this information from news media, or from sources who interact with the news media. Obviously, Mary Shaw is getting the news she seeks, just not with the spin or in the amount she desires.
Perhaps she should be more straightforward and admit that what disturbs her is insufficient amounts of negative news about the Iraqi War, though I can think of better uses of Mary Shaw's time.
I'd suggest she start by learning the subtle differences between Bulgaria and Belgium.
April 12, 2005
An Interesting Life
I happen to be in the middle of a fascinating book called Right Turns, an autobiography by former 60s student leftist Michael Medved and his eventual transition to becoming a conservative cultural critic. So far I've read from his childhood up to his marriage at 23, and it is amazing not only what he had done by that age, but who he met along the way. He's quite an interesting character, and I'm not quite halfway through.
This book is worth a look if you get a chance.
April 08, 2005
A Few More Good Men
At a time when enlistment is low and the military has been forced to open up age restrictions, Army Sgt. Robert Stout, a Purple Heart recipient and veteran of the Iraq war wants to continue to serve his country, but a Pentagon trapped in the past may not let him. Why?
This brings him into direct conflict with the antiquated "don't ask, don't tell" policy still in use by the Pentagon, even though the bulk of our allies--Great Britain, Australia, Israel, etc--have had openly gay soldiers in their ranks for years. There are an estimated 65,000 gays currently serving in the U.S. military.
I'm rather disappointed in our Petagon leadership both for the obvious discrimination against a minority group willing to serve this country, and in their underlying belief that our soliders are so immature and homophobic that they cannot function with openly gay soldiers in their units. American soldiers are among the best trained, most disciplined, and professional military forces in the world. To think that they cannot cope with homosexuality when they can cope with the vastly more intense emotions of combat is assinine, and selling our soldiers short.
We've seen this kind of discrimination before from our military, but it is past time for it to stop. Our soldiers are better than that. It is time for their leadership to catch up.
Chickenhawks and Vultures
Thanks to Charles, we know that Pittsburgh IndyMedia will be meeting this weekend in Pittsburgh. Their topic is:
How can the U.S. be stopped? Lessons from the Vietnam warI found the concept of "stopping the U.S. slaughter" very interesting, as even if you agreed with the idea in theory at one time, the facts show that the supermajority of offensive actions killing civilians are being conducted by the insurgency, not by coalition forces.
Mass protests, GI refusals and a powerful "insurgent" movement - the same things that led to the end of the war in Vietnam are what can stop the U.S. slaughter in Iraq today...
Saddam's conventional military forces have long since been defeated, and Saddam himself just watched a Kurd elected to his former position from his prison cell. The insurgency itself has failed prevent free elections, and it's recent behavior is far more criminal than revolutionary. By trying to "stop the U.S." by supporting a powerful insurgency, these "peace activists" actually advocate extending an insurgency that only currently exists as a terrorist and criminal force.
In other words, these "peace activists" are actually encouraging far more continued slaughter by supporting the insurgency.
I've accused liberals in the past of so blindly hating President Bush that they don't seem to care who gets hurt; these people hate our president, one man, so much that they would sell tens of millions down the river hoping to cause him to fail.
When you combine this blind hatred of Bush with the complete lack of any sort of changeover plan by the left, or even an acknowledgement of the fact that the immediate withdrawal they favor would plunge an fledgling democracy into chaos and potential civil war, then you see that IndyMedia and their far left supporters are long on rhetoric and hatred, and short on well-reasoned or even remotely strategic long term planning.
IndyMedia and other liberals are against George Bush beyond logical constraints. Their heated rhetoric and short-sighted ideologies shows that they don't care who dies, American soldier or Iraqi civilian, as long as they get their desired result of an diminished George W. Bush.
Liberals have taken to calling conservatives "chickenhawks."
In return, liberals have given us vultures.
Update: Donald Sensing happens to have a post up this morning about how the liberal's hoped for powerful insurgency is giving us lessons on how not to conduct guerrilla warfare (via Instapundit). Sensing in turn, points to must-read articles by Austin Bay, Bill Roggio and Wretchard.
On a separate but related note, "Hanoi Jane" Fonda is still widely viewed as a traitor by many Americans for supporting the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. It will be very interesting to looks back to the present from 5, 10, or 20 years in the future at today's crop of pro-insurgency leftists and see if they earn an even more tainted legacy than Fonda for supporting an enemy who are fighting against the common dream of the Iraqi people.
Update 2: Allen at Cox & Forkum reminds me that they've covered this ground before.
April 07, 2005
I'm really glad I decided not to post on the so-called Shiavo memo. It was just gut instinct not to blog it, but it just didn't feel right. Michelle Malkin made a similar choice as well, not that it kept stupid liberals from sending her e-mail saying she was wrong for something she never wrote.
But the real blame goes to the MSM/DNC for blowing the reporting of this story in the first place (which they have yet to account for to the best of my knowledge), and to bloggers too willing to consider this on par with the forged TANG documents far too early without sufficient evidence.
Reasons for Fear
I've been mentioning the "high end" problems with illegal immigration, mostly in the terms of economic impact and national security. Thousands of miles from the border, I can't feel what the illegal invasion feels like, nor can I imagine feeling the need to arm my spouse when I leave home.
Unfortunately, this feeling is a fact of life for some Americans who live the Mexican border. Country Store finds this odd and unsettling example in this Christian Science Monitor coverage of border life for a Naco, Arizona family:
The Garner family on Purdy Lane doesn't know exactly how many chickens, roosters, Guinea hens, or geese they own on their 5-acre farm in this dusty town on the US-Mexico border. But they know the number is smaller than the number of illegal immigrants who can be seen daily in groups of three, 10, 40, 60, and more on their property. They are often huddled in centipede form (hands on the hips of the person in front), kneeling under windows, crouched behind trees, and sleeping in their egg house.
Mr. Garner, a carpenter, his wife, and three daughters (age 10, 12, and 15) tell countless stories that are as alarming to outsiders as they are matter-of-fact to them. Theirs is a life dominated by self-defense lessons, family practice drills to huddle in the master bedroom, obligatory two-way radios for kids who walk to school, and a handgun on the hip for mom.
Although violent encounters are relatively rare, their stories tell a narrative of how surreal - and spooky - life can be for families that straddle the 1,400-mile Maginot Line known as the US-Mexican border. "You'll be weeding in your garden and turn around to see 20 of them standing in front of you, demanding water and food," says Dawn Garner, the mother.
"I come out to go to school, and they are changing their clothes under my bedroom window," says daughter Shayne.
"They leave backpacks filled with drugs on the lawn," says sister Ciara. "It's scary and creepy."
This is their daily existence, thanks to a federal government that doesn't feel that our border, or this family's lives, is worth their effort or resolve.
Update: A Mexican radio reporter was shot nine times in front of her radio station in Nuevo Laredo, a city on the Texas/Mexico border known for drug smuggling related violence. Dolores Guadalupe GarcĂa Escamilla was the fourth journalist shot by Mexican drug gangs in the past year; more than 30 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Nuevo Laredo so far this year.
Update 2: Two illegal aliens in New York City were just arrested for plotting to turn themselves into suicide bombers. Is the threat illegal aliens pose starting to sink in yet?
Observations on Micheal Shiavo
I've been getting a large and consistent amount of traffic from search engines looking for information on "shiavo" or "michael shiavo." Obviously, even though Terri Shiavo is dead and cremated and soon to undergo burial, people still want to know about her life and her death, and the former husband entangled in both.
Michael Shiavo claims that his wife had a heart attack as the result of an eating disorder. Her body chemistry, enzyme levels and EKGs in the hospital emergency room never supported this claim. If experts are correct, Terri Shiavo's recently completed but as yet unreleased autopsy should be able to explain whether Terri Shiavo's brain damage was the result of a heart attack or some other means.
Michael Shiavo then sued in 1992, and won a court judgment for $300,000 for himself and $700,000 for Terri's rehabilitation. Instead of getting Terri Shiavo rehabilitation, however, he stuck her in a nursing home and denied her treatment. It was at this point, only after winning a million-dollar settlement and putting Terri into a nursing home instead of a rehabilitation facility that Michael Shiavo suddenly "remembered" Terri wanted to die.
For seven years Michael Shiavo spent Terri's rehabilitation funds trying to have her taken off her feeding tube instead of trying to get her therapy. Once successful in getting legal permission to commit the homicide of his wife, he made no known efforts to find a shorter, more humane ways to end Terri Shiavo's life than letting her starve to death.
Once Terri Shiavo was dead, Michael Shiavo would not let her parents bury her body nearby in Florida where both the Shiavo and Shindler families live. Instead, he had Terri Shiavo cremated instead of buried as her family desired, would not let the Shindler family have access to Terri's body or ashes for their daughter's memorial service.
In addition, if widely available accounts can be believed, Michael Shiavo did not want to even let the Shindler family know where or when their daughter's ashes would be buried, only providing that information under court order.
That is what we know of Michael Shiavo. Make of it what you will.
April 02, 2005
A Well-Deserved Promotion
Karol J. Wojtyla, a field representative extraordinaire for the Almighty, took a well-deserved promotion to the head office at 9:37 PM (2:37 PM EST). His presence will be greatly missed by the millions he touched around the world.
Pope's choose their names, and this one choose to be called John Paul II.
So who was Pope John Paul ?
Choosing the Next Pope (From Riehl World View)
A list of possible candidates to be the next Pope.
April 01, 2005
I Knew Nominating Hillary Was A Bad Idea...
From the Jerusalem Post:
A thorough analysis of the Koran reveals that the US will cease to exist in the year 2007, according to research published by Palestinian scholar Ziad Silwadi.If they would only nominate Joe Lieberman instead in 2007, this wouldn't happen.
The study, which has caught the attention of millions of Muslims worldwide, is based on in-depth interpretations of various verses in the Koran. It predicts that the US will be hit by a tsunami larger than that which recently struck southeast Asia.
"The tsunami waves are a minor rehearsal in comparison with what awaits the US in 2007," the researcher concluded in his study. "The Holy Koran warns against the Omnipotent Allah's force. A great sin will cause a huge flood in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans."
March 31, 2005
Rest in Peace
Terri Shiavo's torturous starvation is over. She passed within the past hour. If you are a religious person, please say a prayer for Mrs. Shiavo and her surviving family members.
Update: According to David Gibbs, the Shindler attorney, Terri Shiavo died at 9:05 AM. Bob Shindler, her father, will make a statement this afternoon. Members of her family were with her until ten minutes before her death, when they were asked to leave for an assessment of her condition prior to Michael Shiavo's entrance to her room.
At this time, it is not known who was with her at her time of death.
I'll update this thread (live-blogging, as I originally thoughtlessly mentioned, is just the wrong word) as information becomes available.
Update: Fox News television is reporting that President Bush will make a statement sometime around noon regarding Mrs. Shiavo's death... 11:40 AM Eastern.
Update: I'm flipping back and forth between CNN and Fox News, and perhaps not surprisingly, each seems to be taking highly partisan viewpoints. CNN is using recent pictures of a hospice-bound Shiavo and reiterating that they want to get out the Shiavo viewpoint when it becomes available (Neither Michael Schiavo or his lawyer have released a statement).
Fox is showing old pictures of a healthy, active, much younger Terri Shiavo, and focusing their attention on the viewpoints of the Shindler family and pro-life clergy and medical experts, making much of the fact that Michael Shiavo did not want the Shindler family in the room at the time of death.
Update: Florida Governor Jeb Bush is making a statement on CNN saying that the issue transcends politics, and that he wishes he could have done more. He also said that we need to examine these issues and come up with solutions so that we don't have to go through situations like this again. Jesse Jackson was on next, pushing healthcare reform...
A white van with a police motorcycle escort has pulled away from the hospice, presumably with Terri Shiavo inside. Media helicopters (shown on CNN, Fox) are following it like O.J. Simpson's infamous Bronco chase. I'm nauseated with the tastelessness of the pursuit.
Update: Bush: (roughly) on Shiavo, "the essense of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak." He also said we need to promote a culture of life. The bulk of Bush's press conference was on the U.S. intelligence report.
Update: Michael Shiavo was with his wife when she died. CNN is interviewing the brother of Michael Shiavo's girlfriend, and he says Michael is taking this very hard. He (the girlfriend's brother) offers up some perspectives I haven't heard about Michael's side of the story. Terri was his wife, and if Michael honestly thinks he was doing what Terri would have wanted, he deserves sympathy as well, doesn't he?
Update: Terri Shiavo's body has been delivered to the medical examiner's office for autopsy. According to experts, her autopsy will likely start today and be completed tomorrow.
Update: George Felos, attorney for Michael Shiavo, is supposed to make an announcement this afternoon, 2:30 Eastern.
Update: Randall Terry is on Fox News saying their will be a memorial services in local churchs this afternoon, and the Shindler family will make a statement at 4:30 Eastern.
Despite the wishes of the Shiavo family for a Florida burial, Terri will be cremated and her remains interred in a Shiavo family plot in Pennsylvania. Thankfully, this disagreement is fairly clear-cut legally, and should not mean another 15 years of lawsuits.
Update: County coroner to speak at 3:30 PM Eastern.
Barring any major announcements, I am done with this topic for the day.
Update: I thought I was done, but I just saw George Felos speak of how "cruel" this process was for Michael Shiavo, and how it was "disquieting" it was for a pro-life priest to speak against his client's position. He came back to this several times. He then complimented the hospice staff for their compassion and professionalism, calling them "angels of mercy." Felos said that Michael Shiavo was cradling Terri as she died.
When questioned by an obviously partisan (pro-life) reporter as to how this could have been "a death with dignity" when she was starved to death, Felos denied that she starved to death. Please tell me I heard that wrong. He then went on to say that they were only carrying out Terri's wishes.
Theresa Shiavo, Rest in Peace.
March 30, 2005
From Hero to Whore
I'm getting more than a little confused.
When black senator Barack Obama endorses former Klansman Robert Byrd, a man who denounced the Rev. Martin Luther King as a "self-seeking rabble rouser," Democrats trumpet this as an example of their diversity and inclusiveness.
When Rev. Jesse Jackson (surely another "self-seeking rabble rouser") reaches out to conservative Christians over the Shiavo case in Florida, on just one issue on a near spotless record as a Democrat, he is immediately denounced as an Uncle Tom and a whore.
I don't think you can still refer to Democrats as the "big tent" party, but at least they are resourceful enough to find other uses for their sheets.
Shiavo Thought of the Day
Every time I hear how Terri Shiavo's death by starvation and dehydration is "what she would have wanted," the more I wonder how those sentiments would have sounded in the original German.
March 29, 2005
Right Up There With Pickle Stem Research
They're LIBERAL? You don't say...
College faculties, long assumed to be a liberal bastion, lean further to the left than even the most conspiratorial conservatives might have imagined, a new study says.Robert Lichter, a professor at George Mason University and a co-author of the study, will next author a study determining the political leanings of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.
The disparity is even more pronounced at the most elite schools, where, according to the study, 87 percent of faculty are liberal and 13 percent are conservative.
March 28, 2005
Yet Another Reason to Close the Mexican Border
Tom Elia at The New Editor brings us this delightful news.
An Angry God, a Stupid Liberal
One day after Easter, Sumatra has experienced another major earthquake today, a shallow (19 miles deep) 8.2 (update: 8.7) magnitude event roughly in the same area hit by the December 26 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that killed 150,000 and left another 100,000 missing.
Perhaps not surprisingly, liberals at the Democratic Underground have wasted no time blaming President Bush.
Note: Hello to all my visitors from Ace of Spades HQ, Michelle Malkin, Outside the Beltway, Say Anything, and Grapevine's Ramblings. Please be sure to visit the main page.
Update: Democratic Underground change the link, and so it is now updated. In case they decide to disable or remove the post at a later time, I have a screen capture.
March 27, 2005
Perhaps Dr. Jack was Right
I think reading some of the comments attacking Rev. Donald Sensing finally woke me up from my holier-than-thou, Shiavo-based stupor. Sadly, we've reached a point where Terri Shiavo the symbol has far overshadowed Terri Shiavo the person.
I'm backing away, and hopefully recapturing some perspective in the process.
One thing I'm taking away from this sad affair is that Dr. Jack Kevorkian was likely correct in some of his theories regarding the right to die, a stance that has led to his incarceration in a Michigan prison. He was sentenced on March 26, 1999 for second-degree murder by administering a video-taped lethal injection of ALS sufferer Thomas Youk and will not be eligible for parole until 2007.
I'm not going to try to guess what Terri Shiavo would have wanted--far too many people are involved in that already--but if we take away something from her over week-long death process it should be that we must, as a society, revisit end of life issues head-on and acknowledge that their must be far more palatable ways to die than by slow starvation.
To borrow from Rev. Sensing, who has far more experience with such issues than I shall ever want:
...the idea that the only truly Christian position is to keep someone alive by artificial means against his/her will when every medical opinion is that there is no hope for recovery is repugnant...We should find a more palatable way to transition between this world and what lies beyond. I hope we can at least find some agreement on that.
...At bottom, all these cases in all their sorrows come to be matters of faith - faith that the doctors are skilled and truthful, faith that there is a hope for the stricken even if death comes, and faith that for those who love the dying that life will continue worthwhile come what may.
March 25, 2005
In the Shiavo Case, Even the Doctors Are Having Cerebral Issues
Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan states:
"While we at American Council on Science and Health have been determined to remain on the sidelines of the raging national debate about the fate of Terri Schiavo (this is largely a legal and ethical issue, not a scientific one), we cannot remain silent about the outrageous misrepresentation of scientific facts about this case that has been occurring in the past ten days.
"The medical reality of Ms. Schiavo's case is this: She has been in what is medically referred to as a "permanent vegetative state" for the past 15 years, ever since her heart temporarily stopped (probably due to the severe effects of an eating disorder), depriving her brain of oxygen. Brain scans indicate that her cerebral cortex ceased functioning -- probably just after she experienced cardiac arrest in 1990. Ms. Schiavo's CAT scan shows massive shrinking of the brain, and her EEG is flat. Physicians confirm that there is no electrical activity coming from her brain. While the family video repeatedly shown on television suggests otherwise, her non-functioning cortex precludes cognition, including any ability to interact or communicate with people or show any signs of awareness. Dozens of experts over the years who have examined Ms. Schiavo agree that there is no hope of her recovering -- even though her body, face and eyes (if she is given food and hydration) might continue to move for decades to come.
"Those are the harsh facts."
Some more "harsh facts" seem to indicate that Dr. Whelan might need a refresher course at the closest available medical school. The part of Dr. Whelan's statement above in bold(my bold, not the author's) simply isn't true.
EEGs--electroencephalograms--measure electrical activity on the surface of the brain only. She cannot categorically state there is no deeper brain function because of EEG results, as EEGs do not measure such.
In addition, without any electrical activity coming from any part of her brain, Terri Shaivo's body would not have a heartbeat, or know to breathe. In layman's terms, she'd be brain dead. The very fact that Terri Shaivo has been breathing without the aid of a ventilator for the past 15 years proves that she has some electrical activity in her brain, even if the amount or quality of activity is debatable.
If Dr. Whelan is going to throw around charges of misrepresentations, perhaps she should start by correcting her own.
Update: As Ed noted in the comments, Dr. Whelan is a Sc.D... a Doctor of Science. She isn't a medical doctor. he Evangelical Outpost adds that Dr. Whelan is quite a dubious character in her own right.
Note: Posted at the Blogger News Network
March 24, 2005
Rusty sums it up perfectly for me:
"...federalism is an abstraction. Life is not."Home
"... the instructional correspondence between a senior demon, Screwtape, and his wannabe diabolical nephew Wormwood. As mentor, Screwtape coaches Wormwood in the finer points, tempting his "patient" away from God.Meghan Cox Gurdon has an excellent adaptation of this story in National Review Online called Screwtape Revisited that reminds us that the powerful aren't always right.
"Each letter is a masterpiece of reverse theology, giving the reader an inside look at the thinking and means of temptation. Tempters, according to Lewis, have two motives: the first is fear of punishment, the second a hunger to consume or dominate other beings."
March 23, 2005
In many cultures, the wisdom of King Solomon was legendary. One case in particular stands out as the most famous example of his brilliance as a judge.
Two women came to his court with a baby whom both women claimed as their own. Solomon threatened to split the baby in half. One woman was prepared to accept the decision, but the other begged the King to give the live baby to the other woman. Solomon then knew the second woman was the mother because of her concern for the life of the child.
The wisdom of Solomon is sorely lacking today.
Update: John Hawkins of Right Wing News seized upon this same idea, and ran it to its not-so-logical conclusion.
An Inability to Speak the Truth
One thing I have noticed about the Terri Shiavo case so far is the apparent inability from either side to speak honestly about Mrs. Shiavo's case, specifically in regards to her health.
Typical misinformation is readily apparent in this sample quote:
"In its crazed campaign to keep a brain-dead woman alive against the will of her husband, Congress has now passed a law..."The author, an apparent libertarian, has his facts wrong. Shiavo is brain-damaged, not brain dead. It's the difference between Barbara Boxer and Mary Jo Kopechne. Many liberals make the same or similar misstatements.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some conservatives make it sound like Terri could almost get up and dance a jig, if only she had rehabilitation.
The facts of Terri Shiavo's mental state lie somewhere in between these two extremes. Let's try to keep that in mind.
Update: An MD I know who posts on this site forwarded this to me, a description of extreme water deprivation as experienced by a man who barely survived seven days without it. As I write this, Terri Shiavo is on day six.
March 22, 2005
I just sent the following letter to Google Adsense Support via their "Send us your question" form:
This is not a question, but a statement.The point, of course, is journalistic integrity. I understand perfectly that the Adsense and News divisions of Google probably have very little to do with one another, but I also understand the basics of business. News departments don't make money, but advertising departments do.
Google News has now added neo-Nazis (National Vanguard) to their index of approved news sources. I, and hopefully other bloggers have tired of an arcane and apparently senseless news source approval process from Google News, that refuses to carry nationally-recognized columnists such as Michelle Malkin, or top bloggers like Instapundit, but that appears more than willing to carry a hotbed of conspiracy theories such as the Democratic Underground.
Quite simply, it doesn't make sense, and verges on the intellectually dishonest.
I am behind Jeff Jarvis' call for transparency, and therefore, I am dropping Google Ads from my blog until this much-needed transparency is provided. I know the few hits I provide will not be missed by your advertisers, but that really isn't the point, is it?
In the end, who do you think gets heard?
January 31, 2005
A Book You Might Like
I listen to a lot of talk radio.
Five nights a week I listen to a local New York host by the name of Mark Levin, who in addition to being a talk radio host, happens to be a rather astute legal mind, as a constitutional lawyer and contributor to National Review Online.
It so happens that he has just published what I think is his first book, called Men In Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America. I haven't had a chance to pick it up yet, but I've heard nothing but great things from his reviewers and feel that if you like this site, you'll probably like what Levin has to say.
Let me know what you think of it, okay?
December 25, 2004
I got a new laptop case, some PJs, and sausage sizzling on the stove. Kid made out like a bandit (like she should), and the wife seemed happy with her new ironing board (jus' kiddin').
Now go spend time with those you love, and I'll be back posting tomorrow as my regular obnoxious self.
Happy Birthday, J.C.
December 24, 2004
Happy Birthday, Jesus
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Merry Christmas to all.
December 23, 2004
Festivus Does Not Impress Us
I don't "get" Festivus.
And I don't care that I don't get it.
I'm sorry that you aren't a Jew to celebrate Hanukah, or a Christian to celebrate Christmas. Deal with it. The vacuum of faith in your life does not mean that I should celebrate the inadequacies of your spirituality with a made-up holiday.
Have fun griping about inadequacies real and perceived if that is what mimics Confession for you. Enjoy the weak reflectivity of a stark aluminum pole, while I snuggle with my wife in the soft warm glow of lights on the Christmas tree.
Just don't expect me to help you celebrate a hollow, soulless holiday inspired by a a show about nothing.
December 22, 2004
Tasteless Formalwear Is Not Hate Speech
One potential downside of have the name Confederate Yankee for your blog is that you feel obligated to comment when someone does something stupid with the Confederate Navy Jack, the flag now most associated with the Confederacy becuase of the War of Northern Aggression.
And so people have asked me to comment on the young woman in Lexington, Kentucky who was kicked out of her senior prom for wearing a dress she designed that was patterned after the more popular cousin of the Stars and Bars.
Well, what exactly do you expect me to say?
It is a sequined dress folks, and I have a hard time associating formalwear with hate speech, even if her taste is questionable. Quite frankly I think the dress itself is ugly, but she has every right to sue on First Amendment grounds for being denied the right to be mocked and ridiculed by her classmates for her horrible fashion sense. Strapless with sequins? My date knew better in the late '80s.
I'm much more offended that citizens of a half-breed state like Kentucky think they're legitimately Southern, though I'll give them the benefit of the doubt based upon some of their cultural contributions.
Let's just hope that some of the scholarships that she claims she lost weren't for fashion.
December 20, 2004
Earnhardt Fans are Smarter
According to the Monday morning edition of Paul Harvey News, an organization called the American Institute for Intelligence Testing has released a study claiming that NASCAR fans are ten-percent smarter than the average person.
All it takes is listening to one disingenuous anti-American Noam Chomsky rant to figure out that his fans aren't as bright as they like to think they are. Hell, they voted for Kerry, cry for dead terrorists, and still think the media doesn't have liberal bias.
Luckily, it looks like the intelligence is spreading northward. There may be hope of turning New York into a Red state after all, once DEI, Richard Childress, Robert Yates, Roush Racing, etc help educate the unwashed blue masses.
December 15, 2004
The following was culled from a series of emails sent back and forth between "R" at a small Southern software company and "J", one of their ornery Northern clients, after a software upgrade.
I've taken care of item the issues please send in the latest executables. In regards to item b) there isn't a way for me to have this carry over. With the old transfer routine that was causing problems the Duplicate Value Entry Error the Customer PO Transfer was a part of the problem; thus it had to be done away with.
What does this mean to me?
It probably doesn't mean much to you, except that you'll have to hear D. bitch, moan, whine and complain about the Customer's PO Number in Other Order Entry not Defaulting to the Purchase Order Number for the Purchase Order when you transfer the items to it.
But as we all know, some things must be sacrificed in the name of progress; and I truly feel sorry that your sanity is part of what is being sacrificed.
If you want I could send up some ear plugs so you won't have to hear D. bitch, moan, whine and complain.
And just in case you're wondering yes I'm in a fabulous mood.
It's just another fabulous day in paradise down here.
Is this what they call Southern Hospitality?
I think it would be closer to southern hostility caused by the war of northern aggression; you guys call it the civil war. Maybe I'll coin a new psychological disorder SHPWNAS (Southern Hostility due to Post War of Northern Aggression Syndrome). You know if the damn liberals can claim Post Election Selection Syndrome and the ACLU / NAACP can claim that people of color my age have been directly affected by slavery, maybe the War of Northern Aggression is the cause of my mental instability.
It has come to my attention that you have lost your friggin mind and have started some new hostile grass roots organizations of hostility towards the northern (and smarter) section of this fine country we live in. You lost the damn war - it's over - now stop whining like hillbilly and get back to work.
Of course, J. is supposed to think that the war is over. We're just in an extended phase of lulling you Yankees into a false sense of security.
November 25, 2004
Dubya's Thanksgiving 2004 Proclaimation
From the White House:
All across America, we gather this week with the people we love to give thanks to God for the blessings in our lives. We are grateful for our freedom, grateful for our families and friends, and grateful for the many gifts of America. On Thanksgiving Day, we acknowledge that all of these things, and life itself, come from the Almighty God.
Almost four centuries ago, the Pilgrims celebrated a harvest feast to thank God after suffering through a brutal winter. President George Washington proclaimed the first National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789, and President Lincoln revived the tradition during the Civil War, asking Americans to give thanks with "one heart and one voice." Since then, in times of war and in times of peace, Americans have gathered with family and friends and given thanks to God for our blessings.
Thanksgiving is also a time to share our blessings with those who are less fortunate. Americans this week will gather food and clothing for neighbors in need. Many young people will give part of their holiday to volunteer at homeless shelters and food pantries. On Thanksgiving, we remember that the true strength of America lies in the hearts and souls of the American people. By seeking out those who are hurting and by lending a hand, Americans touch the lives of their fellow citizens and help make our Nation and the world a better place.
This Thanksgiving, we express our gratitude to our dedicated firefighters and police officers who help keep our homeland safe. We are grateful to the homeland security and intelligence personnel who spend long hours on faithful watch. And we give thanks for the Americans in our Armed Forces who are serving around the world to secure our country and advance the cause of freedom. These brave men and women make our entire Nation proud, and we thank them and their families for their sacrifice.
On this Thanksgiving Day, we thank God for His blessings and ask Him to continue to guide and watch over our Nation.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 25, 2004, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all Americans to gather together in their homes and places of worship to reinforce the ties of family and community and to express gratitude for the many blessings we enjoy.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-ninth.
GEORGE W. BUSH
November 19, 2004
Madison, put down those matches
Not content to make assinine comments in this moron-a-thon that were largely (and perhaps overzealously) debunked here, another Cheese-stater has shown his bigoted hatred by calling Dr. Condoleezza Rice an "Aunt Jemima" and Colin Powell an "Uncle Tom" who wasn't a competent Secretary of State.
How "white" of him.
For some reason, parts of the country want to believe that the bigot is alive and well and isolated to those more temperate regions of the country. They think of Sins of the Father and Mississippi Burning when they think of those "backward" red staters, and tend to think that where they live is right as rain.Well, I have news for you, folks. It isn't like that.
Southerners areburying our past and moving on. It's time the rest of you, from the idiots above to this guy, try to do the same.