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Monday, June 27, 2005

One Positive Note


Among all the crap flying around out there today. Ronald Reagan is (once again) Number One, winning Discovery Channel's Greatest American voting. AbrahamLincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and George W. Bush round out the top six.

Perhaps there's some hope for us yet.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Bend Over


You have been Borked. The whole country has been Borked.

"Stevens was joined in his opinion by other members of the court's liberal wing - David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer. The bloc typically has favored greater deference to cities, which historically have used the takings power for urban renewal projects that benefit the lower and middle class.

They were joined by Reagan appointee Justice Anthony Kennedy in rejecting the conservative principle of individual property rights". [Emphasis mine.]

And just how did "Reagan appointee" Justice Kennedy get on the Supreme Court? Hmmmm? Anyone remember? Kennedy (and that name alone should have set off every alarm you can imagine) was a dismally poor compromise second choice to…

Robert Bork.

The man whose name was transformed into a verb long before anyone thought of "fisking."

And a man with Watergate ties. Bork was Nixon's solicitor general who became acting attorney general during the "Saturday Night Massacre" of then-Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus, both of whom resigned rather than fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Bork stepped into the job and carred out Nixon's wishes.

They say elephants never forget. Perhaps. But Asses never stop taking revenge.

Robert Bork believes the courts should interpret the law, not create new ones, and he vocally objected to the Supreme Court's "discovery" of a new "right to privacy" in the Roe v. Wade decision. As he writes: "We are increasingly governed not by law or elected representatives but by an unelected, unrepresentative, unaccountable committee of lawyers applying no will but their own."

In 1987 Presient Ronald Reagan nominated U.S. Appeals Court Judge Robert Bork for the Supreme Court. His disagreement with the court-ordered "right to privacy" was enough to disqualify him in liberal minds. The usual suspects--Judicial Committee Chair Joe Biden and senior member Ted Kennedy, at that time part of the Democrat majority--showed the below-the-belt tactics for which they have become so infamous.

So instead of originalist Robert Bork, we have Anthony Kennedy merrily amputating bits and pieces of the Constituion and Bill of Rights as he sees fit.

"At issue was the scope of the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property through eminent domain if the land is for "public use."

"Susette Kelo and several other homeowners in a working-class neighborhood in New London, Conn., filed suit after city officials announced plans to raze their homes for a riverfront hotel, health club and offices."

This most recent ruling ignores the difference between public use and public purpose. The public will not have free use of the hotel, health club, and offices New London intends to build on their homesteads. The public will pay through the nose and the private owner/developer will reap the benefits of an almost free gift.

"Critics had feared that would allow a small group of homeowners to stymie rebuilding efforts that benefit the city through added jobs and more tax revenue for social programs."

Oh my. I forgot about the benefits of all those "social programs." Pardon me if I don't believe any of those displaced property owners will benefit one iota.

"New London officials countered that the private development plans served a public purpose of boosting economic growth that outweighed the homeowners' property rights..."

The Framers of the Constitution understood there was nothing  more important than property rights. They, their fathers and grandfathers had come from Old Europe, where kings had a "divine right" to snatch property whenever it suited them and use it to reward loyal followers. In fact, the framers felt so strongly about property rights, they restricted the right to vote in elections to property owners.

Now we are the subjects of five black-robed "kings" who have given their legal blessing to the rich truly stealing from the poor.

All because, nearly twenty years ago, a Democrat majority refused to confirm Robert Bork.


Friday, June 03, 2005

Dan Rather on Larry King


In the midst of all the lefties' rosy remembrances of their stunning success with Watergate, Dan Rather continues to cling to the Titanic's smokestacks.

"RATHER: […] But the documents were part of a fairly wide array of information we had, that the facts that we presented as -- and some of it new information -- was supported by all kind of things other than the documents. […]

KING: Are you saying the story might be correct?

RATHER: Well, I'm saying a prudent person might take that view.

KING: Do you have that view?

RATHER: Well, I'm saying a prudent person might take that view."

(From the CNN transcript. Scroll half-way down, immediately after the first recorded break.)


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

No Hero


Thirty-five years ago the course of this entire country was irrevocably altered, and the face of journalism twisted, by a petty little man who had been passed over for promotion.

Even worse, his family encouraged him to reveal his identity only to cash in, although I can see why they feel they might as well grab some of the millions Woodward and Bernstein have raked in over the years.

"His motive for tipping off Woodward and Bernstein remains unknown, but the Post suggested in a story Tuesday night that anger over Nixon's decision to pass him over for FBI director after the death of J. Edgar Hoover could have been a factor.

"Felt had expressed reservations in the past about revealing his identity, and about whether his actions were appropriate for an FBI man, his grandson said. His family members thought otherwise. His daughter, Joan, argued that he could "make enough money to pay some bills, like the debt I've run up for the children's education."

No hero--merely a whiny functionary with thwarted ambitions who left us with a bloody legacy.

"If there is such a thing as kharma, if there is such a thing as justice in this life of the next, Mark Felt has bought himself the worst future of any man on this earth. And Bob Woodward is right behind him, with Ben Bradlee bringing up the rear." -- Ben Stein, The American Spectator .

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Eddie Albert



Albert was a consumate film actor. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Roman Holiday  (notable for introducing Audry Hepburn to filmgoers) and The Heartbreak Kid , and co-starred in the original Longest Yard  with Burt Reynolds.

Some might remember him in the '75-'78 TV series Switch  with Robert Wagner, but he was most famous for playing Oliver Wendell Douglas in TVs Green Acres .

What you might not  know was that Green Acres  actually started life as a summer radio show in 1950 titled Granby's Green Acres, and the scripts were transferred almost verbatim to TV.

"Cast: Gale Gordon and Bea Benaderet as John and Martha Granby, ex-bank teller and wife who moved to the country to become farmers. Louise Erickson as Janice, their daughter. Parley Baer as Eb, the [old] hired hand. Announcer: Bob LeMond; Music: Opie Cates; Writer-Producer-Director: Jay Sommers. Granby's Green Acres  grew out of characters played by Gale Gordon and Bea Benadaret on the Lucille Ball series "My Favorite Husband ."

You can listen to four of the programs at the link.

Over the past few weeks I've been rediscovering the old radio shows my parents talked about--everything from Father Knows Best  to Abbot and Costello's classic "Who's on First?" As a member of the TV generation, I'm amazed at the number of great shows out there--many of them transferred to television to become equally as popular.

Considering the success of Nick at Night  and TVLand , I've been wondering… Why hasn't some enterprising radio programmer started a regular evening line up with a collection of these old shows? It would give "Talk Radio" a whole new meaning.

See--er--listen for yourself.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

R.I.P. SW:ROTS


I deliberately delayed writing about Star Wars: Revenge of The Sith  because, well, frankly, there have been enough tragedies to deal with over the past twelve months. As a rabid fan (some might say "geek") of the original who lined up to see Phantom Menace , I feel as if I've watched a dear friend die an agonizing death of a long, wasting disease.

My reluctance also stemmed from having actually been a movie critic during the 80's and 90's (yes, I got paid), making it difficult to see any movie without breaking it down into its component parts. When I first saw Phantom Menace , I was appalled--hated it on the spot. But everyone around me was raving, so I decided perhaps the wee hours viewing plus a very bad cold was affecting my opinion. Two viewings later I decided neither had influenced my original opinion which generally boiled down to something like suffering through the longest video game in history.

I was wrong. In a video game you would have had the option to take out Jar Jar Binks on Level One.

The Star Wars  saga is an example of how technological advancement is not always a good thing. The original dazzled because, after a decade of being inundated by naval-gazing films lecturing on the gray area of morality, or the gory glorification of murderous mafioso, we were suddenly being treated to a movie that said there was, after all, an absolute right and wrong. Whatever Lucas' religious beliefs, with the Force he tapped into the simple fact there is a supernatural element in every religion that we had all discarded and forgotten. Whether I agreed with the idea of accessing the Universal Consciousness certainly didn't matter. Lucas seemed to grasp the duality of the human spirit--the simple truth that we will fall into the Dark Side without the influence of a Greater Power of Good.

And he did it within the flimsiest of frameworks.

Lucas claims now it was all in response to Vietnam and the Cold War. Well, fine--he can rewrite his own history if he wants. But the original Star Wars  owed much more to the adventures of the late 30's and 40's, when the world was battling the Nazi juggernaut. Sure, the characters were central casting stereotypes. Fortunately they were fleshed out by actors who actually managed to act --and who rioted through the film with a gleam in their eyes that said "we know this is a totally unbelievable space fantasy, but what the hell--we're having fun!"

When The Empire Strikes Back  was released, I was writing reviews. I recall taking heat for insisting Vader was lying when he told Luke he was his father (not to mention being royally pissed off at Han Solo being left frozen in cryptonite). To this day I wonder about Lucas' claims that he had the entire story outlined from the beginning. I firmly believed Vader was merely being a manipulative bastard to serve his own--and the Emperor's--ends.

By Return of the Jedi , I decided Lucas was making it up as he went along. He had painted himself into a corner with the "father" line and was in the process of desperately trying to work his way out. The whole story arc felt less like it had been designed from the get-go and more like a jigsaw puzzle Lucas was assembling by pounding round pieces into square slots. As for the Ewoks, their appearance firmly cemented my opinion Lucas had sold out to the Dark Side of Making Millions With Market Tie-Ins.

I was disappointed, yet it didn't stop me from enjoying the film. How could you not  enjoy the opening hour at Jabba's palace and the subsequent battle? Yes, at the end Vader's "conversion" was hackneyed, and Luke was a bit too sappy, but it was acceptable within the happily-ever-after framework.

There is no way one can compare the current crop of "Star Wars" films--pandering, preachy, and ponderous in spite of the brilliantly beautiful special effects--with the original trilogy. If Vader's reversion to the Light Side in ROTJ was formulaic, Anakin's descent into the Dark Side is shallow and selfish.

Every artist knows there is a point during creation that you have to stop, step away, and let everything alone. One more word, one more note, one more brushstroke--one more computer-generated light saber battle--and the masterpiece is ruined.

Sadly George Lucas never learned that lesson.


Friday, May 20, 2005

The Email - Part IV - The Fanatics


Part I. Part II. Part III.

You knew it would eventually come down to…the Jews , didn't you? Oh, it takes her a while--and she begins with Christian-bashing as a smoke-screen--but you know if a certain type of person talks long enough, they eventually sink to the bottom.

Look seriously you can say there are fanatical muslims but what about fanatical christians.

When was the last time "fanatical" Christians (or Jews) rioted and murdered because it was rumored someone threw the Bible or the Torah down a toilet? In fact, when Palestinian terriorists holed up in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, it was "rumored" they used the Bible as toilet paper. Where was the rioting/burning/killing across the American Bible Belt over that incident?

there used to be plenty though now there are considerably less and though they do not commit terrorist acts they aren't any better.

Are you actually attempting to claim that Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell saying something really, really, really  stupid on television is the same as Islamic terrorists beheading someone on television? And please--please---detail the "plenty" of murderous, "fanatical" Christians who bludgeon, behead, and burn at the drop of a headscarf.

I mean look at the amish, thre was poor girl in her teens repeatdly raped by her brothers her parents having full knowledge but doing nothing about it saying God will punish him when his DEAD.Not much use to the girl don't you think.

No, it isn't. Since I grew up very near various Amish communities, I also understand the various "orders" within that religion. The abuses have occurred in those considered Old Order--extremely insular--dare I say inbred--communities. It is, in fact, a prime example of what happens to religious sects that cut themselves off from--or attempt to insulate themselves from--general society. Exactly what far too many Muslims themselves do, which is why I could cite the same type of stories from those communities. But they carry it one step further. The strict Islamist father would kill the girl, claiming it was her fault she was molested/raped by her brother.

And don't forget the Jews. They have their fanatics as well who are just as bad as the muslim fanatics. Its just you don't hear much them because their not controversial, not news worthy.

You're kidding, right?

It always comes down to the Jews. That's your real problem, isn't it? What's the matter--did your mother choke on a matzah ball while you were in vitro ?

As far as not being "news worthy"… Do you live in a cave? Not a day passes without the nation of Israel--or Jews of any nationality--being blamed for something . Check that--blamed for everything . Jews (and Christians) are routinely castigated for every ill that befalls the world--including being blamed for nineteen Arab Muslims flying three airplanes into the WTC and Pentagon (and trying with a fourth).

Start reading this blog and follow all the various links if you're really interested in learning.

The point I'm trying to make before you critise the so called enemies look at your friends, they are not any better. The only difference is they'er not as news worhty.Every religion and culture has to go through the cycle of violence. Give it a few more hundred years and it will pass. [Emphasis mine.]

That last is the most idiotic statement I have ever read.

Muslims have been in a cycle of violence since 622 AD--that's one thousand three hundred eight-three years --the longest case of pubescent angst in the history of the universe.

Look at Judaism and Christianity. Though of course you will never fully eliminate fanatics but you shouldn't be so harsh on them it isn't like muslims are the only one with fanatics. Besides fighting doesn't solve anything just keeps the cycle going. There really are no enemies only delusion and misinterpretation. Open your mind. Tunnel vision kills people.

Okay, snuff out the weed, get clean, get sober, and break the damn Joan Baez CD. That meme was old back in the 60's, and I've already lived through that crap.

All you have to do is look through history it is what it's there for to teach people. Just no one wants to learn.

I’m a teacher. I've been a teacher for thirty years. Don't try to lecture me on history, little girl--at least not until you've actually grown up and learned how to read and write properly.


The Email - Part III - Moral Relativism aka "The Inquisition"


Part I. Part II.

I will never understand why debaters (?) always try to use this argument--as if they think Christians believe the inquisitions were a good thing.

Besides you could say fanatical muslims have caused many problems through the world but what exactly did the inquisition do in the middle ages? I don't think they were very nice people.

This argument is called "moral relativism," in case you were wondering.

Before I go any further, I'd like to offer a free history lesson. Long before the current War on Terror, Winston Churchill described Islam as "that religion which above all others, was founded and propagated by the sword - the tenets and principles of which are incentives to slaughter and which in three continents had produced fighting breeds of men (and) stimulates a wild and merciless fanaticism."

As far as inquisitions--well--today they're called "ethnic cleansing," and the Muslims have turned it into an art form. Look at Kosovo where Muslim mobs have burned down about 300 churches and religious facilities aiming to establish an Islamic Theocratic dictatorship. Or perhaps you should visit Sudan and see what Islamic government troops have done to African Christians in Darfur. After that you can move on to Nigeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Armenia, Macedonia, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Russia, the Kashmir, Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Technically Muslims caused  the infamous Spanish Inquisition--which began almost immediately after they were driven out of Spain. Ferdinand and Isabella (yes, the same who commissioned Christopher Columbus) decided to unify Spain under Catholicism after all the wars, division, and strife of the previous centuries. Their way of creating a "strong" country was to drive out all non-Catholics one way or the other. Not a good idea, but they stuck to it.

An "inquisition" was as much a political tool as a religious one. The Romans used it as their empire began to crumble, so it was certainly not the sole province of "Christians." There was a whole shopping list of medieval "inquisitions" from The Knights Templar to Joan of Arc and beyond. Torquemada of Spain, however, was the most infamous Inquisitor and, to their credit, the Catholic Church and the Pope tried to intervene. Unfortunately, having found a convenient political bludgeon, the Spanish rulers ignored them.

So… The Spanish Inquisition lasted from 1478 to 1834. Muslim ethnic-cleansing of anyone who is not Muslim started in 622 and continues to this day. Christians learn from their mistakes. Muslims won't even admit they make any.

And to use Cheneya [I think she means Chechnya] as an example, I think you should know most of those people don't have a choice. Many are forced to partake in these acts of terrorism else their families are killed by the fanatics.

A note about Chechnya. It was long a part of the Muslim empire of Central Asia including Turkey, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. In 1858 Chechen leader Imam Shamil and his troops (primarily Sunni Muslims) attempted to establish an Islamic state, only to be defeated by Imperial Russia. During WWII the Chechens whole-heartedly joined Hitler's attack against Russia, enthusiastically killing Jews, Gypsies, and other "undesirables" right along with Red Army troops. So the Chechen people have a long history of hatred for Russia and certainly do not need to be "forced" to fight against those they consider their long-term, historic enemies.

However, every  human being with a working brain has a choice. Those without a working conscience  are another story.

I can't say, at this moment, what I'd do. But as a Christian, I certainly hope if I had to choose between saving hundreds of innocent children or my family…I hope I'd have the guts to save the the kids.