Saturday, July 31, 2004
The Medium is the Massage
Massaging the clueless into compliance, that is.
When was the last time you watched a movie or a TV show that did not have obvious left-leaning message tucked somewhere within? Even sitcoms can't resist the regular dig. Comedians and late night show hosts have always found politicians fair game--the original Saturday Night Live raised President-bashing to an art form--and soon thinly-veiled sneers at primarily conservative and/or Republican leaders/policies were appearing with nauseating regularity. I had forgotten about the pervasiveness of these "messages" until I happened to wander over to TVLand the other night--trying to find a respite from the Democrat Convention--and heard any number of snide references to Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" drug message--usually delivered by a child.
It's so common today, I wonder if the majority of the public even recognizes what's happening, or is it so set in stone that Republicans want to destroy the forests, pollute the water, steal the oil, stiff the working man, and kill the poor, the subliminal messages are accepted as fact?
Fortunately some critics, such as Lou Lumenik at the NY Post, regularly comment on the now-obvious heavy-handedness.
"[W]ith "The Village," Shyamalan depicts a late 19th-century society of language and behavior that are way more stilted than required by the conventions of the period.
"Worse, the scares are very strictly rationed in what amounts to a heavy-handed political allegory about leaders who - without getting into any details - stir up fear (and restrict freedoms) to further their agenda.
"In case anyone misses Shyamalan's target, the chief leader's name is Walker - and the director goes to extraordinary lengths to mention the name, which also happens to be the middle name of a contemporary politician.
"All of which is pretty ironic for a would-be summer blockbuster from the hit-hungry Disney, which went to such lengths to distance itself from the Bush-bashing "Fahrenheit 9/11."
"The Village" pours on creepy atmosphere, but this dud is too intent on delivering its liberal "message" to actually deliver the kinds of scares it promises in the terrific trailer."
Disney is having a rough summer. Maybe they'll figure it out before they go totally down the tubes.
Also appearing this weekend is a remake of "The Manchurian Candidate" in which Meryl Streep does or doesn't channel Hillary Clinton. (Streep herself claims she was trying to emulate Karen Hughes and/or Peggy Noonan, but she's hampered by a remarkable resemblance to the junior Senator from New York.) Critics are gushing, but having just seen the John Frankenheimer original with Angela Lansberry, I can't imagine the fireworks special effects seen the the modern trailers can compete with the frightening "ordinariness" of the black and white mind game played out in the 1962 edition.
And why do we need "The Manchurian Candidate" showing celluloid eeevviiillll Republicans brainwashing honorable soldiers when we can just open our eyes and see real liberals brainwashing generations of American children!
Months ago I posted about how liberal/radical/Democrat supporters intended to use documentaries to sway undecided voters. And, according to Laurence Jarvik, they're making sure the "other side" is not heard from.
"Remember Elian Gonzalez? His deportation to Cuba was probably the "tipping point" that gave Republicans control of the White House in the 2000 elections,…
"Now Agustin Blazquez says the American Film Institute is blacklisting is new documentary film Covering Cube 3:Elian, after a successful showing at the Miami Film Festival. Blazquez produced and directed o the documentaries "Covering Cuba", (which premiered at the American Film Institute cinema in the Kennedy Center); "Cuba: The Pearl of the Antilles"; "Covering Cuba 2: The Next Generation" and "Covering Cuba 3: Elian". You can watch a clip at this website."
Critics agree, although they can't see the bias themselves as evidenced in this article:
"The people who make documentaries very often come from the left," agreed LA Weekly critic Ella Taylor, "mostly because conservatives are not particularly socially conscious people looking to change the world."
"Conservatives, of course, might differ with that assessment. And while it might be hard to imagine a captivating 90-minute treatment of, say, the need for a capital-gains tax cut, why couldn't there be, for example, a documentary about the rise of political correctness on American campuses?"
Of course as I just pointed out, who would air such a documentary? Conservatives can make as many movies as they like, but critics, as well as distributors, are primarily liberal, so it's pretty much a given the "conservative" movie won't make the grade.
"Few though they may be, there are filmmakers asking questions like that. David Hoffman, who has been directing documentaries for 40 years, dislikes a lot of what he sees from his colleagues. "In these documentaries, America is always the bad guy, the power structure is the cause of people's problems, racism is rampant -- they're just too easy to make," Hoffman said. "I despise the assumption of 'the truth' presented by liberal documentary films, which Hollywood just seems to love and always rewards with top prizes."
"Not all filmmakers recognize a left-leaning tradition. "The vast majority of documentaries have no political leanings," said Barbara Kopple, the director best known for two Oscar-winning films, "Harlan County U.S.A." and "American Dream." "The ones that do are simply exploring social issues, and different types of storytelling emerge from different crises. So, no, most documentaries do not come from the left."
"[E]xploring social issues…" through a liberal prism you mean.
"In the last year alone, there's been the Oscar-winning "Fog of War," in which former defense secretary Robert McNamara, one of the chief architects of America's military strategy in Vietnam, questions the disproportionate price of war; the Oscar-nominated "The Weather Underground," a sober but ultimately sympathetic look at the '60s radical leftist group; Sundance winner "Super Size Me," the anti-McDonald's film about fast-food eating; and "Fahrenheit 9/11," the first documentary to win the Cannes Film Festival's top prize." [Emphasis mine. ]
So immediately after claiming "…most documentaries do not come from the left," Kopple lists four pseudo-documentaries that do exactly that!
The fact is obvious. The left thinks they represent normality while the rest of us deserve to be in a Soviet-era loony bin.
Education and Unions
Quite a maze of wheels within wheels. From Eduwonk comes this tidbit:
"What happens when National Education Association state affiliates get into labor disputes with their unionized employees? Well, as it turns out, solidarity and pro-labor positions are the first thing to go. As this new report (PDF) shows, in multiple instances over the last decade the NEA has used the same hardball tactics against its own employees that are rightly denounced when employed elsewhere.
"...unfair labor practice charges and restraining orders. Circumvents the other side’s negotiators. Threatens to replace employees who go on strike. Cuts off employee health insurance coverage. Crosses picket lines."
The whole story is long and involved and in PDF format. (I checked and couldn't find it in any other link.) Suffice it to say, the local union employees whose job is supposed to be getting more money for teachers , is really more interested in fighting their buds at the state NEA level to get more money for themselves . What a shock, eh?
"If you happened to be at your computer after lunch on Monday, you were more than likely given a worrying glimpse over the lip of a murky abyss. Along with two million other people, you would have had the opportunity to spend a long afternoon pondering the notion of a world without Google."
Not a big deal really. The media apparently doesn't know how to use a search engine anyway.
"Google-writing. Let's face it, without Google a whole genre of journalism (this article being a textbook example) would disappear, and many writers would be required to go outside on a regular basis. I pray to Google that day never comes."
And if it does, you can always go to a relatively new search site called IceRocket. In some ways it out-Googles Google because it offers this little feature called "Quick View." If you're not quite sure the link is the one you want, you can get a preview in a separate window. A very convenient timesaver.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Blogging the Democrat Convention
Now can we get back to reality, please?
"I did not say "un-American." - Teresa Heinz-Kerry
"I did not create those pumpkin spice cookies." - Teresa Heinz-Kerry
"I did not fall on the ski slopes!" - John Kerry
"I did not throw that baseball in the dirt." - John Kerry
"I did not pose for pictures in that baby-blue bio suit." - John Kerry
"I did not have sex with--"
Oops. Wrong Democrat.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Tom Swiftie-izing the Democrats
A way to make those endless, boring speeches more palatable.
I was reading James Lileks yesterday, and he mentioned he "…inhaled Tom Swift books" when he was a boy.
"When I was a young boy I inhaled Tom Swift books. They concerned the adventures of sexless boy genius Tom and his dependable chum Bud, as well as ancillary females who might be dated, theoretically, for the abstract purpose of advancing the species; there was also a Slim-Pickins Texas sidekick who handled the grub, and a brace of shadowy adversaries who managed to strike Tom and Bud on the head with a blunt object in every book. Horatio Alger for the New Frontier generation. I loved them."
I didn't read Tom Swift, but I did read many of the other series created by Edward Stratemeyer such as the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys.
But what I remember best about Tom Swift is the punning game invented from Stratemeyer's rather florid writing style. As explained at The Canonical Collection of Tom Swifties
[A] Tom Swiftie [is] a play on words that follows an unvarying pattern and relies for its humor on a punning relationship between the way an adverb describes a speaker and at the same time refers significantly to the import of the speaker's statement, as in "I know who turned off the lights," Tom hinted darkly. "
Then it occurred to me it doesn't have to be applied only to Tom Swift. Any overwrought speech could be Swiftieized--such as, oh, all the Democrats?
"As I said in 1992, I say again tonight, we are all in this together," Bill Clinton said expansively.
"On the other hand, the Republicans in Washington believe that America should be run by the right people — their people — in a world in which America acts unilaterally when we can and cooperates when we have to," said Bill Clinton with a sinister frown. [If that last seems a bit esoteric, you have to know "sinister" means "left." ]
"To Americans everywhere, whose aspirations have been kindled anew by this campaign we, who convene here tonight in liberty's cradle, say: Welcome home!" Kennedy announced with fiery fervor.
"Under that old, unequal system, the quality of your connections mattered more than the content of your character," Kennedy said uncharastically.
"The goals of the American people are every bit as high as they were more than 200 years ago," Kennedy said loftily.
"In America, the true patriots are those who dare speak truth to power," Teresa Heinz-Kerry said strongly.
"Together we will lift everyone up," Teresa Heinz-Kerry said, her tone rising dramatically.
"Never again will we be ashamed to call ourselves Democrats. Never. Never. Never," Howard Dean said, his face reddening.
You get the idea. And doesn't have to be only Democrat politicians--Michael Moore would be a fat target… I was never very good with puns, but I know plenty of you out there in the blogsphere are. Go have fun.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Rush is Really, Really, Really Wrong!
On Sunday evening I surfed over to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review article entitled "A New Berger Scenario" via The World Net Daily site. I wrote about it early Monday morning, as did a few other bloggers. (Apologies to those I can't recall.)
Then, last night after dinner, I glanced through Rush Limbaugh's website and was surprised to discover this:
"Speaking of Sandy Berger. I've been thinking about something here today and I want to run an idea by you. It's this. Throughout this whole Sandy Berger mess, the context there, the focus of this story has been, what did he take out of there? He went in there, we know spent 30 hours in there, and took 40 to 50 pages of notes. And took the notes out of there, and there are some documents missing and some people say there are some original documents. But, he took the stuff home, and my question is, what if the focus is not what he took out , but what he put back ?"
Say what? He's been thinking about "something?" I scrolled to the bottom of the page to find the links he references. Somehow the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article had been overlooked. And Rush blithely continued to espouse what he claimed was his idea.
"So what if, where this millennium bomber thing is concerned, what if -- it's just an idea, I admit it's speculation -- but what if what really happened was Berger was changing the record? What if he was taking things out and writing new notes in the margins and putting those back, or trying to? I don't know if it's possible. There was some surveillance in that room, so it's possible to know this if the investigation will go there. There's some people who fear that the Bush administration, the justice department, will go easy on this to avoid any appearance of partisanship during this presidential campaign. But the House is going to have their own investigation in this. And it would be interesting if they go that direction. What did he put back, not what did he take out, or in addition to what he took out."
Hold on there, big boy. It's not your idea. It's not your speculation. And you are most certainly NOT on the cutting edge of this issue. Give credit where credit it due, Limbaugh.
Now far be it from me--a lowly, virtually unknown blogger--to criticize the Great and Powerful Oz--er--Rush, but considering the plagiarism scandals that rocked so many major media outlets, he better start being a bit more careful with his "pronouncements" unless he wants to be caught in the same trap.
People might start confusing him with Michael Moore.
AGAIN??! This time Rush (or one of his staff) has lifted a side by side comparison of John Kerry/Woody Allen straight from A Small Victory. No credit, of course, for Michele who credits Steve at Hog on Ice for her own inspiration.
I will now succumb to a blogging cliché: Stop. Plagerizing. Now.
Monday, July 26, 2004
The Ancient Olympics--Honorable, High-minded, Heroic…
Nah. More like your average Democrat Convention.
"Athens - The setting for the earliest Olympic Games about 3 000 years ago was both a sanctuary of soaring marble temples and a foul, drunken shantytown plagued by water shortages, campfire smoke and sewage.
"The athletes, glistening from olive oil, competed naked. Gymnasiums were restricted to keep the sex trade from overrunning events on the field."
Now here's a way to discourage lying and restore civility:
"Judges flogged the athletes for transgressions ranging from false starts on the track to eye gouging in the ring…
"A few events have persisted over the millennia, like the discus, javelin, running, wrestling and boxing - although the ancient versions often had different rules. Other events vanished with the empire, like the full-armoured sprint and the pankration - which resembled a bar fight that allowed finger-breaking and genital punching."
Oh yeah. Gore, Dean, Carville, Mcauliffe, Teresa H-K, et al would feel right at home.
Another Malaox Moment
For the Democrats.
I Love the Smell of Conspiracy in the Morning
From the same newspaper Teresa Heinz-Kerry told to shove off comes this intriguing tidbit.
"But a bigger question is being posed by some of the well-sourced wags with whom we regularly converse. In fact, one says the thrust of the federal investigation now looking into Mr. Berger's actions should center not necessarily on what was taken from the archived files but what was placed in them .
"Berger has acknowledged removing his handwritten notes taken during a review of classified documents. That's a violation of National Archives policy. And he says he mistakenly took the copies of the aforementioned memo, different drafts written by Bush-bashing anti-terrorism coordinator Richard A. Clarke. Some of those copies remain missing.
"But a new scenario has Berger, who only took notes on an initial visit last fall, placing material -- again, related to the millennium terrorists threats -- into the files on his second and third visits.
"And adding an entirely new layer of intrigue to the story is word that telephone calls made by Berger during those latter two visits may have been monitored by an "unauthorized agency."
I must admit it's something I never thought of--that Berger was not only removing damaging information but replacing it with move favorably-annotated memos.
What's even more disturbing is, I have no trouble believing an operative from the ex-Clinton administration would pull such a switch.
Conservation? Bah, Humbug
Think conserving energy will save you money? Not. At least not in the Chicago area. Because people aren't using enough natural gas, the gas company is, of course, raising prices!
"Peoples Energy Corp., its profits lagging as more Chicagoans conserve, thinks customers should pay more for using less natural gas."
"The Chicago natural gas utility, which serves about 1 million customers in the city and northern suburbs, blames this year's mild winter and customers' conservation for a decline in gas consumption. Because Peoples sells the gas itself with no markup and makes its profit on delivery charges based on volume, falling consumption squeezes the company's bottom line.
"Peoples' gas deliveries fell 8% in the first three quarters of its fiscal year, ending Sept. 30. That sent revenues down 7% to $404 million and profits down 23% to $76.2 million in its utility units. Peoples responded with a cost-cutting campaign, offering severance packages to 1,200 employees, more than half its total workforce of 2,300.
So--conservation causes higher prices and unemployment!
I've always said conservation is not the way to reduce our dependence on oil and natural gas. We scrimp and save and conserve and feel good about ourselves, even while our teeth chatter or sweat flows because we've turned down our heat and turned off our A/C. Where's the reward? Businesses will always find a way to get their money back. As noble as it is for People's to give away the gas itself, upper management should have realized before now that it was stupid nobility. Remember businesses are supposed to make a profit.
For much the same reason I have never been a big fan of recycling. Then again, maybe it was the sanctimonious I care-more-about-the-environment-than-you -do attitude of the average recycler that set my teeth on edge. Or because there was something unnerving about watching little kids scurry around picking up garbage, parroting the holier-than-thou message of manipulative adults, and running scared that the world would be ruined before they grew up. Most likely it's because I know it's actually more expensive to recycle than to create well-managed landfills that could eventually be turned into golf courses and parks for everyone's enjoyment.
Now, I don't believe it tossing trash hither and yon. Only the most mindless, useless, drunken assholes do that--and I get tired of picking it up from the grassy verge in front of my house. Those people will never, ever recycle anyway. I do have a problem with the ninny-nannies who have browbeaten people into keeping separate piles of cans, newspapers, glass bottles (green and brown), etc. and dutifully schlepping them off to various inconveniently located "recycling centers." (Free of charge, no less, so why do my trash bills keep rising when I'm doing half their work?) All that work is for nothing, by the way, since municipalities just dump it all into the local landfill.
I have serious issues with those same religiously environmental snots who insist we must only buy products made from recycled materials because it will save the world. If they were really interested in saving the world, recycled products would be cheaper than other merchandise. They aren't. In fact, they're considerably more expensive because it costs so much more to recycle . (The recycling process actually causes more pollution than ordinary manufacturing as well.)
Wise up, you little greenie aliens! Recyling and conservation are not going to get you to heaven--or whatever planet you hope to return to. Stop trying to terrorize us into accepting more government regulations, restrictions, and surcharges being slapped on our pocketbooks.
Saturday, July 24, 2004
A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words
The Kerry candidacy…
…American Optimism turned upside down.
Friday, July 23, 2004
Terrorists Among Us
After reading this article (NEA vs. America's Future) I rummaged about in the attic of my brain, unearthing memories of my high school U.S. Government class. (Yes, I am such a geriatic I actually had such a radical course of study in high school.) There I found the 1947 Taft-Hartley Labor Act which outlawed both closed shops and union shops. It was crafted and passed to force unions to stop coercing workers to join a union to be able to work at a particular business.
"The term “closed shop” is used to signify an establishment employing only members of a labor union. The union shop, a closely allied term, indicates a company where employees do not have to belong to a labor union when hired but are required to join within a specified period of time in order to keep their jobs. An open shop, strictly speaking, is one that does not restrict its employees to union members.
"In 1947 the Taft-Hartley Labor Act declared the closed shop illegal and union shops were also prohibited unless authorized in a secret poll by a majority of the workers; it was amended (1951) to allow union shops without a vote of the majority of the workers."
In response, the Right-to-Work movement began on the state level which basically said "Don't pull that shit in this state, buddy."
When you study the map of states with right-to-work laws, you see a remarkable pattern. The Northeast, Upper Midwest, and West Coast are a solid bloc of no-right-to-work states. The South, most of the Midwest, and a good part of the west (excepting Montana, Colorado and New Mexico) are right-to-work states.
Now go review the 2000 red state/blue state election results and you will find something amazing. The two maps could be overlaid and (with only a few exceptions) be identical. Mute testimony of the destructive power of labor unions.
If your state is one of the right-to-work states, try polling the teachers working in your child's school and ask them if they are required to join the NEA to be able to teach. If you are uneasy about direct confrontation, there are numerous other ways to get the information you want. An anonymous survey is one, and your local Republican Party apparatus might even be willing to sponsor you. Don't mention the "right-to-work" issue in the survey, but do include a box asking if they are a member of the NEA.
When the surveys are coalated, depending upon the results, of course, attend a local school board meeting and begin asked questions about right-to-work laws in your state. (The Right-to-Work website has links to all the states.) Remind them publicly that, if teachers who do not agree with how their dues are being spent are required--in any way, shape, or form--to join the union, those teachers must be allowed to withdraw their membership and money.
Does all of this take your time and effort? Yes. And if you care, you'll expend some of that capital. Like all terrorist networks, the only way to strangle this snake is to cut off its money pipeline.
Nazism in Action
Are you scared now ?
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
The Wrong Question
One accusation I always face when attempting to debate a liberal is "You're asking the wrong question!" Usually this arises immediately after I ask a question not listed in the script, that they can't answer, or has no rational response.
Thinking back over the years, I realized I've always asked the "Wrong Question." Sometimes even the "Really Wrong Question." Whether that means I was born with an ultra-sensitive perverse gene or an ultra-refined logic gene, I don't know. Either I was a precocious child or an irritating brat--depending upon whether you were talking to doting grandparents or my mother and father.
Whatever the choice, it began when I was quite small and created an unholy ruckus in a Catholic friend's family by posing Wrong Question #1. Naively I inquired why they asked a priest to forgive them instead of God Himself. Being a well-brought-up-Sunday-School-going child, I stuck to my guns and insisted they had it all wrong . For some reason I never went back to that house very often.
The next instance I recall wasn't in a debate of any sort. It occurred when my father was writing check and complaining about property taxes. I asked why he paid them and he said it was so there was money to pay for the public school I went to. Notwithstanding the fact I would have been perfectly happy to forego that privilege if the funding dried up suddenly, I next asked if people without children had to pay those taxes to run the school. He nodded. Wrong question #2: "Why? That isn't fair ." I think my father is still laughing over that one.
Wrong Question #3 popped up in school during a lesson on Big Bang versus creationism. As I remember, the teacher had gotten to the point where everything was converging in preparation for the big event when my hand shot up. "Who created the atoms/matter/gasses that exploded?" Most comosologists today admit they don't know the answer to that one although my poor teacher gave it a valiant effort. Being a persistent brat (and much egged on by fellow students who just wanted to get the hell out of class), I provided the expected "But who created the…?" to every explanation until the teacher gave up in frustration.
There were many more "Wrong Questions" in the ensuing years, until I graduated to the "Really Wrong Question" level. One of the most egregious was over the Roe v. Wade ruling. By the early 70's I was already politically active--by default mostly since my mother used to host afternoon teas for various candidates and I was accustomed to arriving home from school to find the house filled with Republican political types. (True to my "Wrong Question" form, I came home one day in the mid-60's to find Milton Shapp had upset the status quo by arriving unexpectedly. I was introduced and promptly asked "Why are you here? You're a Democrat." Exit me stage right.)
As the debate about Roe v. Wade raged, I developed the "Really Wrong Question" habit. After listening to endless speeches and rants about "a woman's right" to choose, I began asking RWQ #1: "What about a man's right?" Thirty years later the question still stands.
RWQ #2 popped up when I began teaching school in CA. Some teachers thought the small jewelry cross I always wore was a violation of the mythical "separation clause." Patient explanations to these "teachers" that such a clause does not exist always failed, so I fell back on the Really Wrong Question ploy. Namely, "Why can you teach Buddhism and Islam and paganism and (insert any other religion here except Christianity) but I can't wear a Christian cross?" Since I generally hinted I was being "victimized" by their inquiry, they subsided--with very bad grace, of course. I firmly believe if everyone had stood up to the PC crowd in the 1980's by using their own legal ploys against them , we wouldn't be in the mess we're in today having to play catch up.
RWQ #3 (for the sake of this post, anyway, since there have been any number of minor RWQ's over the years) involves the current same-sex marriage debate. While I still believe the legal component of this issue centers more on money than "love and caring," there are a multitude of RWQs you can ask--all of which will give opponents the screaming meemies. The basic is, of course, "Why is same-sex marriage okay but polygamy isn't?" (You can substitute any sexual practice in place of polygamy for the sake of argument. I personally use polygamy because it can also be applied to the "free exercise of religion" argument as well.)
For all the above RWQs, I generally get the same stock answer: "You're asking The Wrong Question--and if you don't understand that, then there's no reason to discuss it!"
Well, if that's the problem, why does no one ever tell me what The Right Question is supposed to be? And why do I never get any answer, right or wrong?
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Home of the Whopper ®.
"The officials said the missing documents were highly classified, and included critical assessments about the Clinton administration's handling of the millennium terror threats as well as identification of America's terror vulnerabilities at airports to sea ports."
According to various reports I've read, the documents Berger stuffed into his britches were not specifically requested by the commission, because they didn't know they existed. (And now, of course, they no long do exist.)
The thrust of the 9/11 Commission and subsequent media feeding frenzy (played out against the cheering background of Madam La Farge and the Fargettes in the hearing room) was that President Bush should have known about and could have stopped the Twin Towers attacks. Bush was fully informed, up to speed, and 100% in the loop thanks to briefings by outgoing Clinton national security personnel. The Clinton team had made Osama & Co. top priority, knew all there was to know about al Qada, and stopped the Millennium Terrorist with Bondesque panache.
Except…what if those conveniently unknown and now defunct reports stated the exact opposite ? (I'm not buying the "unknown" line, either, not with Richard Ben-Veneste sitting on that commission. Can you say "heads up notice to sticky-fingers Sandy?")
(Cue Twilight Zone theme music here.) Imagine if you will, it was the name "Col. Oliver North" instead of "Sandy Berger" and the word "shredder" instead of "pants."
Update 1: Tom at MuD and PhuD has a great round up of links. "Sock" it to him, Tom.
Update 2: Guess I guessed right. "…what if those conveniently unknown and now defunct reports stated the exact opposite ?"
In testimony before the 9-11 Commission in April, Attorney General John Ashcroft pointed to a National Security Council document now at the center of the FBI's investigation of former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, urging the panel to ask why its warnings and "blueprint" to thwart al-Qaida's plans to target the U.S. were ignored by the Clinton administration and not shared with the incoming Bush security staff.
Drafts of the sensitive NSC "Millennium After Action Review" on the Clinton administration's handling of al-Qaida terror threats during the December 1999 millennium celebration are reported to be among the documents still missing from classified materials Berger removed from a secure reading room.
Monday, July 19, 2004
How Did He Know?
Hindrocket over at Power Line posts information about NPR's favorite Minnesotan Garrison Keillor. Apparently Mr. Keillor has just published a new book and I must say I'm quite excited to find myself included in the descriptive list of Republicans.
"Minnesota's Republican Party site notes that local celebrity Garrison Keillor has published a new book, called Homegrown Democrat: a Few Plain Thoughts from the Heart of America. The book is Keillor's contribution to the Democratic Party's current hate-fest. Here is how he describes Republicans:
"...hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, see-through fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, hobby cops, misanthropic frat boys, lizardskin cigar monkeys, jerktown romeos, ninja dittoheads, the shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, cheese merchants, cat stranglers, taxi dancers, grab-ass executives, gun fetishists, genteel pornographers, pill pushers, chronic nappers, nihilists in golf pants, backed-up Baptists, Crips and Bloods of the boardroom..."
I'll leave it to you to decide just which description applies.
Sunday, July 18, 2004
Coast to Coast Indoctrination
Even though I've been preoccupied with other matters over the past few days, I've kept up with my reading and collected a number of links I intend to comment on (eventually).
In keeping with my last long post wondering whether or not conservative/libertarian bloggers are preaching to the choir and waging an uphill battle against ultra-left indoctrination of society, I came across these three articles.
First, from the (NY) Journal News.
"In the world of standardized tests, Christmas never comes. No one celebrates Halloween or birthdays. Kids rarely encounter a french fry. And no one dies. Ever.
"The tests taken by millions of schoolchildren are scrubbed clean of topics that might reflect ethnic, cultural or regional biases. Yonkers students shouldn't be expected to have a vast knowledge of corn production, and Florida 10-year-olds shouldn't be expected to compose essays about blizzards. Subjects viewed as inappropriate or potentially upsetting to children, such as death, violence, drugs or sex, are out of the question.
"I would never have a story about kids who thought they were ugly or being bullied at school," said Kathleen Oberley, who has been writing questions for the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills for about 30 years.
"But other test taboos might surprise you: When pets appear on exams, they can't bear names like Madison or Pete. That's to make sure your fourth-grader doesn't confront a pet gerbil with his name on an exam. There are other reasons to avoid pets. Mentions of dogs, for example, might trouble Muslim students because the animals are considered unclean in Islamic culture.
"Birthdays are forbidden because they are not observed by some religions. Also forbidden: Halloween costumes, pumpkins, Harry Potter, anything that smacks of the occult. Even dinosaurs — the objects of ardent student devotion — are off-limits on most tests for fear they promote the idea of evolution."
There might be one positive to that silly list of "prohibited" topics. It seriously reduces the test-designers' ability to create those absurd math "word problems." You know the ones: "Train A leaves San Francisco at 1:30 p.m. PST traveling east at 60 mph. Train B leaves New York at Noon EST traveling west at 75 MPH. How long will it take them to meet in Laramie, WY?" Talk about death and destruction! I always got the image of a head-on collision with bodies flying everywhere.
But if such a question does slip in, it will probably have more to do with pc politics than math.
"Discuss the effect sexist, racist, homophobic laws had on the decision-making process of Native Americans, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons to travel by rail instead of air."
If so, the University of Michigan students will be up to speed (and their parents more out-of-pocket).
"In-state undergraduate students at the University of Michigan will pay $226 more in tuition next year - a 2.8 percent increase - while some of their classes will be bigger than before and some specialized courses will be cut back.
"U-M President Mary Sue Coleman said the university worked hard to preserve its core academic mission as it built the toughest budget in years, but it can't continue to keep tuition hikes low without more funding from the state.
U-M will also spend more on student services, reversing some of the cuts made in the past year and forestalling others that were talked about, all of which sparked student protests last spring.
"Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper said the budget sets aside money for an annual Native American celebration, and coordinators for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and multi-ethnic student affairs program, among other things. Money was also set aside for immediate and long-term repairs and programs at the Trotter Multicultural Center, which students had said the university was neglecting."
And if you find such a slant a bit over the pc line, you better keep your big mouth shut--or else. From a story found at The Townhall Blog. [Emphasis mine.]
"Showing profound contempt for free speech, Occidental College in Los Angeles has fired the student host of a popular student radio program and found him guilty of sexual harassment due to satirical jokes made on the air. Occidental also used this controversy as a pretext for the unprecedented decision to dissolve its entire student government and assume control of nearly half a million dollars in funds from student fees. Occidental then began a campaign of false accusations and distortions to justify, after the fact, its illiberal actions.
"[Jason] Antebi had hosted a popular radio show on Occidental's student radio station for three years. The show, "Rant and Rave," was a forum for political parody and provocative humor. The program frequently mocked Occidental's administration, its student government, and various political and social causes. Antebi was also a vice president in Occidental's student government, where he was highly critical of various administrative decisions.
"In response to Antebi's biting on-air satire, three students filed sexual harassment complaints against him in March 2004. Two of his accusers were student government rivals who had unsuccessfully tried to have him recalled from office on different grounds earlier in the year. In their complaints, the offended students claimed that Antebi's show promoted "disrespect and slander" against "women, diversity, and Occidental College" and thus constituted a form of punishable "hostile environment" harassment.
"On March 30, amidst the controversy over Antebi's show, Occidental College President Ted Mitchell announced his decision to dissolve the student government. While Mitchell did not refer to Jason Antebi by name, virtually all of the reasons he gave for closing down the student government were directly related to the Antebi controversy. Then, on April 12, Occidental found Antebi guilty of "sexual and gender hostile environment harassment," ignoring both the college's promises to defend free speech and California's "Leonard Law," which guarantees free speech to students at private colleges and universities in California.
"When FIRE first became involved, Occidental seemed poised to expel Jason Antebi," said Lukianoff. "Thanks to our relentless pressure, Jason was able to graduate. However, Occidental has not reversed or remedied his punishment, the ruling against him, his firing from the student radio station, the ruthless tactics used to defend the college's actions, or the dissolution of the entire student government.
"Sandra Cooper, Occidental's general counsel, responded to FIRE's concerns with an April 2 letter that not only failed to remedy the wrongs done to Antebi or the student body, but also distorted facts and implied, without any evidence, that Antebi had committed a variety of serious offenses including vandalizing cars and making harassing phone calls. On May 6…FIRE wrote, "If…these false statements were intentional, then this series of factual misrepresentations, baseless accusations, and legal distortions were likely an attempt to deter groups like FIRE and the ACLU from aiding Antebi in this case."
So there you have it. From coast to coast young Americans are being indoctrinated and browbeaten by the very people who have promised to encourage their inquiring minds--and they're scooping up taxpayer dollars while they do it.
The VRWC will be blogging about the same issues for years to come.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
I've got some legal things to take of and have been called for Grand Jury duty. Sounds important, huh? Not. It's boring. But at least you get paid.
Anyway, that means blogging will be very, very light for a while.
Surfing around the various newsites and blogs, it becomes painfully apparent we are caught in an endless loop. The same stories with the same slant with the same rebuttals with the same debates with the same looney defenses. It's a real-life Groundhog Day without the redeeming finale.
Yesterday Mr. Minority raised a number of questions about why Americans believe the way they do. I don't have all the answers (since I have the same questions) but I do have an inkling of how these skewed ideas take root.
We have a generation today that has been taught almost exclusively by liberal drones from the NEA. Yes, I once taught in the CA public schools, but as an independent contractor teaching theater arts, not as a union member. That small difference allowed me to stand apart and see what was happening. Example. A lesson plan about energy resources lauded the pure benefits of solar and wind power. Fossil fuels (coal and gas) were grudingly tolerated out of necessity, but the pollution and dependency factors were constantly emphasized. The one clean energy source--nuclear power--was the devil in disguise. After studying this unit, the children insisted "millions" had died because of nuclear power plant accidents, but when pressed, could not name one instance (excepting Chernobyl).
Needless to say the young, liberal NEA drone was not a happy camper when I pointed out the misinformation in her lesson plan.
In another instance, a fifth grade class was outraged at how inhumane the United States was. Why? Because we dropped the atom bomb on Japan. Those same students, however, had no clue about Pearl Harbor or anything else relating to the Pacific theater in WWII.
Once the children have been properly programmed, the mainstream media continues the miseducation. Like this:
Knight Ridder Gets it Wrong The news service giant puts words in the president's mouth and then looks the other way on connections between Iraq and al Qaeda .
Knight Ridder is the second largest newspaper chain in the United States. Its stories run in major metropolitan daily newspapers such as the Miami Herald , the Charlotte Observer and the Philadelphia Inquirer . According to a company press release from May 5, 2004, Knight Ridder "publishes 31 daily newspapers in 28 U.S. markets, with a readership of 8.7 million daily and 12.6 million Sunday."
That's a lot of average citizens out there.
We bloggers like to think we're having an effect on public opinion and perception, but I wonder if we aren't spending most of our time preaching to the choir. Are people really reading our attempts to enlighten or is it just an exercise in ego-driven futility?
In other words--why bother? Especially when you see the breakdown of who's reading what. Pew Research checked it out and here's part of what they found.
"Pew Internet and American Life Project"
Summary of Findings
-- Different people use the Internet in different ways. Within the online population, specific demographic groups have comparatively high incidence levels for certain online activities. For example:
-- High proportions of female Internet users have done activities such as seeking health or religious information on the Internet, while a large percentage of male users have sought news, financial information, sports news, and political news.
-- Among minority Internet users, a large portion of African-Americans has done research for school and sought religious and spiritual information.
-- English-speaking Hispanic users report high levels of instant messaging and downloading music compared to African-Americans and whites.
-- Those from high-income households and who have college degrees are more likely than those with more modest incomes and education to do a host of things online, including looking for government information, doing online banking, and participating in online auctions.
-- The young like instant messaging and downloading music. Older Internet users are more likely than younger users to get health information and seek material at government Web sites.
-- Experience and the quality of online connections matter. Those with more experience online and those who have high-speed connections at home generally do more online more often than those with lower levels of experience and those with dial-up connections. The growth of the cohort of veteran users, those with at least three years of online experience, has been striking. Nearly three-quarters of Internet users have at least three years of experience.
-- Email continues to be the "killer app [application]" of the Internet. More people use email than do any other activity online. Many report their email use increases their communication with key family and friends and enhances their connection to them.
-- Big news stories drive lasting changes in the news-seeking audience online.
Only males are listed as seeking news and political information on line.
Naturally I'm encouraged by that last statement about big news stories effecting "lasting changes in the news-seeking audience," and I certainly hope it means people are looking for both sides of a debate. Of course it could just as easily mean all those new surfers were only reading the web sites of the mainstream media--or those that linked to gruesome pictures of war and death.
After reading over those statistics my question stands: why bother?
Monday, July 12, 2004
"Money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money…"
My dad was an international auditor for a major corporation. His entire career was going behind the Balance Sheets and P&L Statements to find the real money trail for other businesses that were proposing joint ventures with his company.
You don't grow up in that environment without learning two very basic facts. First, follow the money and second, the love of money is indeed the root of all evil.
Since Congress is in the process of debating the issue of federally recognized same-sex marriage, I think it's time we all followed my dad's advice.
There are many arguments pro and con of course, but frankly I'm not buying the "we love and are committed to one another" debate. Since public opinion no longer condemns two people of whatever orientation living together, that isn't the bottom line. It's a convenient smoke screen, especially for our touchy-feelingy, "awwwwwww" society. So what is the bottom line?
Money. Yours, mine and ours. Specifically Social Security Survivor Benefits.
"If you're working and paying into Social Security, some of the Social Security taxes you pay goes toward survivors insurance. In fact, the value of the survivors insurance you have under Social Security is probably more than the value of your current life insurance. And you thought Social Security was just for retirement!"
Well, some of us might have, but true connoisseurs understand what's available from the government buffet, whether you stay married or not .
Benefits for Surviving Divorced Spouses
"If you have been divorced, your former wife or husband who is age 60 or older (50-60 if disabled) can get benefits if your marriage lasted at least 10 years. Your former spouse, however, does not have to meet the age or length-of-marriage rule if he or she is caring for his/her child who is under age 16 or who is disabled and also entitled based on your work. The child must be your former spouse’s natural or legally adopted child. Survivors benefits paid to a divorced spouse will not affect the benefit rates for other survivors getting benefits."
And, of course, potential immigrants are kept well advised of this benefit.
"The value of Social Security survivors benefits for an average wage earner who dies and leaves a spouse and two children is equivalent to a $322,000 life Insurance policy. Of course, Social Security benefits are paid monthly and not in a one time payment.
"The average monthly payment for a family consisting of a widow(er) with two children is about $1,400 per month. Social Security payments increase based on the annual cost-of-living index -- something few private Insurance plans offer."
Add tens of thousands to the SS rolls and do the math.
Update: John commented SS was going bankrupt which reminded me of a report I had heard of not long ago.
The Boilermakers, website of The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers, claims SS is not going bankrupt for quite some time. I'm naturally suspicious of the motives of any union, nevertheless, they claim there will be no cause for concern until 2037.
According to this year's Social Security Trustees Report, the Social Security fund spent less than 75 percent of what they collected in 1999, leaving a surplus of nearly $134 billion for the year. They now have more than $896 billion in their surplus account.
If you plan to collect Social Security benefits after 2037, the problem is serious. Fortunately, it is not nearly as big as those pushing privatization make it sound. The projected shortfall for the next 75 years is only 1.89 percent of projected payroll. At worst, the shortfall could be alleviated by a two percent tax. We do not recommend this solution (there are much better ways to make up the deficit). We only offer it to show that saving Social Security will not bankrupt future generations as many articles have claimed.
Of course, since they are are union, their suggested remedies involve "taxing the rich."
Another rarely discussed cause for the shortfall is the growing inequality in wages. The wages of high-wage earners are growing faster than low-wage earners. Because Social Security taxes only the first $72,600 of earnings, the percentage of total earnings subject to Social Security taxes has been falling since 1984. If wages had grown proportionately over all earning levels, more money would have into the Social Security reserves and the shortfall would be further away. (Though benefits are based on earnings, the benefits paid to very low income workers are not matched by their contributions.)
I'm surprised this solution hasn't been put forth as part of the minimum wage debate.
Friday, July 09, 2004
Incivility á la 1968
This is where people like Michael Moore and Whoopi Goldberg are leading us. (And no I'm not going to link any reports of that egregious display last night.)
"[Bainbridge Island]'s deep reputation for civility got a gut check this week during the annual Grand Old Fourth of July celebration."
Gut check? Try "was totally gutted" instead.
"That's when Jason Gilson, a 23-year-old military veteran who served in Iraq, marched in the local event. He wore his medals with pride and carried a sign that said "Veterans for Bush." Walking the parade route with his mom, younger siblings and politically conservative friends, Jason heard words from the crowd that felt like a thousand daggers to the heart.
"To understand why the reaction of strangers hurt so much, you must read what the young man had written in a letter from Iraq before he was disabled in an ambush:
"I really miss being in the states. Some of the American public have no idea how much freedom costs and who the people are that pay that awful price. I think sometimes people just see us as nameless and faceless and not really as humans. ... A good portion of us are actually scared that when we come home, for those of us who make it back, that there will be protesters waiting for us and that is scary."
"On the Fourth, Jason faced his worst fear. It was such a public humiliation -- home front insult after battlefield injury.
"It really shouldn't have happened for two principal reasons. Reason No. 1? History.
"The past informs us that the men and women who fight our wars are not just following orders. They are risking life and limb. When they return from the battlefield they should be embraced regardless of the public popularity about the conflict, regardless of the politics.
"Reason No. 2? The rules.
"The Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce, which put on the community celebration, permits freedom of expression at the event but asks that parade announcers not act in a manner that is partisan or prejudicial.
Oh my. How big of the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce to permit freedom of expression . I can only assume it's not codified in their Constitution--whichever Constitution that is.
"Jason's mother, Tamar, says a female parade announcer locked eyes on her son who was walking behind a pro-Republican group called Women in Red, White and Blue. The group supports President Bush and the troops in the fight against terrorism.
"According to Tamar, the female announcer sarcastically asked Jason: "And what exactly are you a veteran of?" The perceived mocking, the mother adds, set off some people in the crowd, loosing a flood of negative comments, "like a wave... a mob-style degrading."
"Kevin Dwyer, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, spoke with the announcer after the allegations reached him this week. He says the woman denies using sarcasm; she just wanted to know which war Jason was a veteran of so that she could "honor him" in public.
"Dwyer added: "I believe (Jason's) mom when she said her son was called 'a murderer.' But I'm sure it wasn't so much directed at the kid as it was the president. A soldier with a sign represents that."
Represents what? Murderers. The President? So then explain why it's okay to call the President a murderer? And will someone please explain why that isn't considered sedition in a time of war?
"The female announcer told Dwyer that some in the Bush-Cheney contingent in the parade seemed "militant."
A military soldier in uniform does tend to look "militant," I suppose--at least to the looney left of Bainbridge Island who apparently don't get out much.
"From the outside looking in, the fuel for this conflict seems obvious. The left-leaning island hosted a group of people who support Bush's controversial war. (On the same parade route, people bearing pro-Kerry signs were cheered and applauded for, among other things, tooling around in an environmentally responsible car.)"
And something else seems obvious as well--Mr. Robert L. Jamison Jr.'s bias. Notice he feels compelled to write "Bush's controversial war," instead of "the war in Iraq."
"Against such a roiling backdrop, an unfortunate tone of voice or the wording on a sign can spark, well, something -- something unconscionable it appears."
What "roiling backdrop," Jamison? An injured vet marching in a July 4th parade holding a "Veterans for Bush" sign; a group of pro-Republican "Women in Red, White and Blue;" some pro-Kerry supporters driving in an "environmentally responsible car?" That's a "roiling backdrop?" Shouldn't there at least have been a few Bush stormtroopers herding spectators about while black helicopters whirred overhead?
"But less obvious factors are undoubtedly at work here, too.
"The female announcer at the parade had a father who fought for America in a previous U.S. conflict. He never made it back home.
"Jason's mother -- unbeknownst to many observers along the parade route -- is a tireless activist behind the pro-troops movement in the Puget Sound region.
"Such a combo on a day of red, white and blue can only lead to fireworks -- snap, crackle and popping off during what locals call the "best small-town parade in America."
So let me get this straight. The "combo" of a radical feminist who lost her father in an oh-so-carefully unnamed "conflict" and a mother working to support the troops--oh excuse me "activist behind the pro-troops movement" (you slipped up and forgot to add the word "subversive" before that phrase, Jamison)--that is a combo that "can only lead to fireworks?"
What a crock!
I'd say I'm sorry the woman lost her Daddy, but after the way she behaved, I find it difficult to muster up much sympathy. Losing a loved one in war is no excuse to sneer at a soldier who survived. Don't let that bitch near another microphone.
"…get me within 100 votes and I can steal any election."
Hillary Clinton recently delivered a rather prim reprimand to Vice President Cheney for simply speaking the truth to Patrick Leahy. Not surprisingly it was hypocrisy as usual for the lady.
American Evita, a new biography of Hillary Clinton by Christopher Anderson and published by William Morrow, reveals a sharp tongue and ready foul mouth, according to a report in the New York Post.
"Now, in American Evita, Andersen says, "she talks in a way that I think would make Howard Stern blush," according to the New York Post .
"A few examples from Anderson's book of, well, unpresidential language from both Bill and Hillary Clinton, according to the report:
"On inauguration morning, Hillary was running late, and the president-elect was heard to mutter, "That f- - -ing bitch."
"When Hillary slid into the car next to her husband, she addressed the new president by saying, "You stupid motherf- - -er!"
When Bill finally fessed up about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, which Hillary says in her book Living History made her feel like she been punched in the stomach, her actual reaction, says Andersen, was to yell, "You stupid, stupid, stupid bastard!" – and then slapped him in the face.
Guess I better eliminate the title "lady" for this broad.
"In his book, Anderson claims Bill and Hillary Clinton do not want John Kerry to win the presidency, as it would hurt Hillary's chances in 2008. According to the Post report, "Andersen says Hillary will do anything to become president. 'Anyone who gets in the way gets attacked and humiliated,' Andersen told the New York paper."
Think that's an idle threat? Then let me remind you of this article originally published November 13, 2000. Money quote: "You get me within 100 votes and I can steal any election ."
"What's happening in Florida is exactly the game plan laid out to me by an attorney who represented the Democrats in a recount in California where they stole a seat from us," former California Assemblyman Pat Nolan told WorldNetDaily .
"[Bob] Haueter was, at that time, chief of staff for Nolan, and it was he who first contacted attorney Tim Downs, who readily admitted the Democratic strategy and even described the tactics to Nolan. [Emphasis mine .]
"When I first called him and explained to him who I was and why I was calling, he chuckled and said, 'I wondered when you guys would get around to calling me,'" Haueter said, adding that Downs told him -- "'I've taken several seats from you across the United States.'"
"Downs told me, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, 'You get me within 100 votes and I can steal any election,'" Haueter [said].
"Nolan subsequently hired Downs and "brought him out to train my staff in the techniques they [Democrats] were using" so they could protect themselves against future election-fraud victimization, Nolan said.
"Nolan and Haueter said Downs described three basic tactics:
"The first rule is, you keep counting until you're ahead. And if that doesn't put you ahead, you recount, re-recount -- you keep counting until you're ahead. If you're behind, then you've got nothing to lose."
"Second, Nolan said, "the more times those ballots are handled, the more chance there is that chads will break loose" and hence disqualify the ballot.
"Third, he said, "the minute you're ahead, you stop and declare yourself the victor."
"After that, you don't want the ballots handled any more," Nolan said, "because some of the chads for your candidate might break loose. While you're behind it doesn't matter, but if you're ahead and more break off or become disqualified for your candidate, that's a bad thing."
"A favorite tactic, said Nolan, is to ask election officials for ballots, "allegedly so they can look at it more closely." When operatives do, often they will bend or crinkle ballots covertly in an effort to break another chad loose and thus have the ballot thrown out.
"This whole process sounds like exactly what is going on in Florida," Nolan said. "And the more times those ballots are handled, the more chances are you'll break some of them [chads] loose."
They're already lining up their troops for November 2004.
Everyone is apparently "discovering" incivility these days as if it were a new virus uncovered by the CDC. In reality that pustule has been festering on the backside of politics for years and only recently popped, spreading its slimy yellow pus far and wide.
The rumblings began in the 60's with Walter Cronkite's relentless drumbeat of the horrors American troops were inflicting on the innocent Vietnamese while the Viet Cong's rampages went unreported. In the 70's "Deep Throat" was encouraged to hack up globs of phlegm onto the President without ever being revealed or forced to account for him/herself.
During the 80's incivility toward conservatives was institutionalized in the Democrat party, but since it was only Reagan supporters, Christians, and other right-wingers being maligned, no one really cared. Everyone knew Reagan wanted to push that red nuclear button, wanted to wreck the environment, and wanted AIDS sufferers to die. Frustration with not being able to shake Reagan's popularity increased with every passing year.
In the 90's, the incivility was famously generated by the left to attack anyone on the right who criticized Bill "it-was-only -sex" Clinton. Coupled with shrill, repetitious lies, it became both an art form and a winning campaign tactic. Who can forget "Ragin' Cajun" Carville? Feminists, famous for defending women's rights, were eager to label Paula Jones "trailer park trash" while they jockeyed to grab the big cigar from the President. When he attempted to hold back the tide of Democrat spending, Newt Gingrich became "The Gingrich that Stole Christmas." The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy was created by Hillary Clinton.
For many of those now complaining of how "personalized" the insults have become--those only-slightly-left-of-center people who made an abrupt right turn after 9/11--the invectives leveled against every Republican and/or conservative from Newt Gingrich on down were just fine--and probably justified.
Today, with the popularity and influence of blogging, the insults are directed against them and they don't like it very much.
Welcome to the trenches, people. Pardon me if I don't cry for you. I've been there for nearly twenty years, being accused publicly of everything from being mentally disturbed to pathologically paranoid to "vomiting bile" onto the public.
So while your sleep is troubled with nightmares of a return to the 60's, remember you were the enablers for all the ensuing years. Now you deal with it.
Thursday, July 08, 2004
Must Be Something In the Water
Tennessee just gets more…well…Gorean .
First there was this. Now this.
"A Tennessee state trooper told Metro police she accidentally shot her brother in the leg during an argument that started over a tub of butter.
"Angelinette L. Crawford, 31, a state trooper since April, told police the argument began about 10 a.m. yesterday when she realized that her brother, Jaison Bilbrew, 19, had lent the butter to a neighbor.
"The argument continued, then Bilbrew grabbed Crawford's arm and they wrestled on the floor."
That might explain why they wanted the butter--relatives being as--um--close as they are in Tennessee…
"Bilbrew got up, and as Crawford was getting up, the gun discharged accidentally, according to Crawford, police said."
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
NEA Advises Children to Cut School
At least they did.
Michelle Malkin commented last week about the NEA annual convention in Washington, D.C.
"The NEA--teachers' union/edu-mafia/Democrat adjunct--is meeting this week in Washington, D.C. for its annual convention. You will be amused to know that its first new item of business concerns "A Day of Action nationwide within the plans for the 2004 election cycle." The business item explains that such a day could include but not be limited to:
"A day that children will not attend school.
"Rallies to be held for all stakeholders and education employees in all 50 state capitols.
"A coming together in Washington, D.C. of delegations from all 435 congressional districts."
Well, I was certainly amused when I followed Michelle's link to the NEA meeting agenda. It seems that "New Business Item 1" has been withdrawn . Guess there were a few others out there who thought teachers telling kids to cut school wasn't a really great idea.
You Can't Have One Without the Other
He's right, ya' know.
"In a 115-page brief filed with the Utah Supreme Court, an attorney for former [Utah police officer Rodney] Holm argues the practice of polygamy is a constitutional right that never produced the social ills claimed by its opponents. And, the brief says, monogamy is the minority way of life worldwide.
"Current demographics, domestic relations law, and religious diversity all accommodate plural marriage," attorney Rodney Parker wrote.
[…] "He points out there is a broad range of lifestyles in the United States and only two-thirds of children under 18 live in the traditional two-parent household. ["…only two-thirds…?" That is a majority, not that anyone's checking.--ed ] With the growing divorce and remarriage rate, polygamy -- in a serial, rather than concurrent, form -- is commonplace, Parker says. In addition, more and more unmarried couples are living together, he says, according to a report in the Salt Lake City Tribune .
"Popular departure from traditional marriage has made our domestic laws on cohabitation and fornication anachronistic," Parker writes. "These laws are not enforced against those practicing new lifestyles, but are asserted as weapons in this case against those living a traditional, family-grounded, religious-based lifestyle. This is ironic."
"The appeal cites a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that struck down the sodomy convictions of two Houston men. A majority of the justices said a Texas anti-sodomy law violated the privacy rights of consenting adults ." [Emphasis mine.]
Well, Kerry chooses Edwards. I wonder if anyone will seriously comment on the fact Edwards has far, far less legislative experience than Dan Quayle had when he ran for Veep? At least now the Democrats will finally have their "John-John" ticket.
On a sad note--I just saw the great Franco Harris speaking at Kerry's rally. You others can have your Yanks and Cubbies and Mets and BoSoxs. When I was young, living in Pittsburgh, I had the Steelers of the 1970s (and the Pirates weren't too bad in those years either!)
How the mighty have fallen. (sigh)
Monday, July 05, 2004
Just In Case…
John Kerry is supposed to announce his Veep tomorrow morning at Market Square in Pittsburgh, so I'll repost this from June 21--just in case he goes in this direction.
I'll go out on a limb and say Kerry will choose Max Cleland of Georgia. He's a southerner with military and Senatorial experience, but, more importantly, it will be virtually impossible for Republicans to debate his record. Every time an opponent opens his/her mouth, Cleland can whine he's being "attacked" again. And who wants to be accused of "attacking" a disabled person? That's a no-win situation--believe me, I know…
Michele at A Small Victory linked to Laughing Wolf's question What Are You For?
I didn't intend to spend a lot of time on this question, but since Michele's answer probably echoes the sentiments of many, many Americans I found myself getting carried away in my response.
There is never freedom without responsibility. Human nature is such that we will instinctively lie to protect ourselves. (An author was on FOX News this morning promoting his new book "proving" exactly that, however, I couldn't find a link to it at their website.) There will never be responsibility without laws. And by their very nature, laws will infringe on someone else's life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Extreme example: a woman's right to choose will always (except in dire circumstances) infringe upon a man's right to procreate.
I will always support an individual's right to say/do whatever [s]he desires as long as my right to change their mind/behavior with debate and/or (in obvious cases) legal sanctions is not denied. Michael Moore has the right to make whatever movie he wishes. Theater owners have the right to refuse to show that movie without being accused of censorship ! Music lovers have the right to free downloads of whatever songs they find on the Internet. Music publishers have the right to sue them for stealing intellectual property, whether or not you think CDs are overpriced.
Freedom with no internal sense of personal responsibility (sometimes called a conscious) is a double-edged sword. Perhaps our debate should be over whether or not human beings are innately good or bad.
I'm for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I'm for all men being equal. I'm for choosing; where I want to go, what I want to be, who I want to talk to or walk with. I'm for reading what I want, when I want. I'm for seeing the movies and television shows and playing the games that I choose for myself.
Stellar ideas. But remember the "freedom to choose" is always offset by the "freedom of availability." What if you want to see movies and television or play games that glorify theft, oppression, child abuse, rape, murder in general or murder of a specific group?
I'm for education that doesn't indoctrinate. I'm for free thinking and questioning everything. I'm for demanding answers and accountability. I'm for open source knowledge and sharing ideas. I'm for taking responsibility for actions and words.
Education by its nature will always indoctrinate. If you teach the greatness of the founding father's ideas, you insult those who believe they are nothing more than a cadre of oppressive slave traders/holders. Teach the Indian Wars and you slap Native Americans in the face. Teach the horrors of Nazism and you insult those who (for whatever twisted reason) believe there were good things to learn from it. Remove religion and you are teaching (by example) atheism/agnosticism.
I totally agree everyone must take responsibility for actions and words. Still… Should the guy who makes movies showing graphic child porn be more or less responsible than the one who makes S&M flicks with adults? And if you have the freedom to watch/buy what you want, if that filmmaker is arrested and imprisoned, isn't that infringing on your right to see "…the movies and television shows and playing the games that [you] choose…"?
Can this decision be considered being held responsible for one's words?
"A Swedish court has sentenced a pastor belonging to the Pentecostal movement in Sweden, Ake Green, to a month in prison, under a law against incitement, after he was found guilty of having offended homosexuals in a sermon."
Or is this decision the proper way to go?
"The [Mississippi] Supreme Court, in a 5-2 decision this week, said it would not punish Wilkerson for the remarks. Justice Jess Dickinson, writing for the court, said the statements made by Wilkerson constituted religious and political/public issue speech specially protected by the First Amendment.
“Here, Judge Wilkerson expressed his views on a political/public interest issue — the rights of gays and lesbians,” Dickinson wrote. “We therefore may not impose sanctions unless we conclude, under the specific facts of this case, that the restraint the Commission seeks to enforce is ’narrowly tailored’ to achieve a ’compelling state interest.”
If you accept public office of any sort (from dog catcher to President) do you lose your right to state your honest opinion or not?
I'm for letting our children be who they are. I'm for giving kids the freedom to make up their own minds, to guide them towards a path but let them find their own way and accepting them when they stray from that path. I'm for setting boundaries and setting down rules. I'm for honesty and sincerity, openness and truthfulness. I'm for a society built on respect for everyone within it. I'm for treating others the way you want to be treated.
What is suitable "guidance" and how much will you accept? Setting boundaries and rules is not allowing children to be who they are since (left to their own devices) children will blow off going to school, cleaning their rooms, taking baths, eating vegetables, surf the 'net for porn, and engage in experimental sex with or without protection, depending upon their "choice."
If you are truly honest, sincere, open, and truthful I guarantee you will end up dis-respecting someone. Just try be 100% honest for a week--or even a day. (You can probably manage it if you avoid any interaction with another human being, but that's about the only way.)
I'm for safety and precaution. I'm for security and a life without fear. I'm for protection and deterrence. I'm for facing down enemies and standing with allies. I'm for freedom for everyone, not just my neighbors. I'm for peace. I'm for justice. I'm for countries and people that are for those things as well.
This negates just about everything you said previously.
I'm for things that have nothing to do with gaining freedom, but are by products of it. I'm for picnics and parades and barbecues. I'm for spending money at huge malls or small stores. I'm for the pursuit of love and the building of friendships. I'm for the information superhighway and unlimited access to all it encompasses. I'm for free speech, free press and free ice cream days at Baskin Robbins. I'm for paid holidays, well-stocked libraries and concerts on the lawn at the local park. I'm for fireworks displays, cheesy movies and rock and roll.
I 100% support your right to free ice cream from Baskin Robbins! Where do I sign up?
I'm for the freedom that allows me to have or do all of these things. I'm for America and all it has afforded me. And believe it or not, I'm for your right to hate America. I'm for your prerogative to not be for anything. I'm for people who are against the things I'm for because that only underscores the freedom that is at the top of my list.
I'm for my freedom. I'm for everyone, everywhere eventually having the same.
Right! I'm for anyone's right to hate America until they act upon that hate in ways that endanger my freedom. I'm for everyone's right to do whatever their little hearts desire--until those desires endanger anyone physically, mentally, emotionally, or financially.
And that's the whole problem, isn't it? Freedom is just such a messy business.
Sunday, July 04, 2004
The Fireworks Always Come After the Declaration
Today, 228 years ago, America declared its freedom. It took a few weeks before copies of the actual Declaration to be sent throughout the thirteen colonies, but today is the "official" day of signing. And by signing that one single piece of parchment, fifty-six men put their families and fortunes, their lives and liberty, their honor on the line.
But that signing was in no way assured. The debate began on May 15th 1776 and did not always find favor with the legislators of every colony. In fact, there was some danger of secession by one or all of the "middle colonies." Certainly no help was expected from other European states.
"That we had little reason to expect an alliance with those to whom alone as yet we had cast our eyes: That France & Spain had reason to be jealous of that rising power which would one day certainly strip them of all their American possessions:" [Both France and Spain ultimately would send support to the fledgling United States --ed.]
The debate on the revised Declaration went on from July 2nd through July 4th, when all delegates were finally satisfied--after over a year of no little argument and acrimony. Only in the evening of July 4th was the Declaration approved, and not until August 2, 1775 were signatures finally affixed to the historic document.
What so many people forget during this time of celebration, however, is what came after the signing. We did not declare ourselves independent and immediately proceed to write a Constitution, elect a legislature, and ask George Washington to be the first President.
There followed seven years of bloody warfare. Eight if you consider Paul Revere and William Dawes made their famous rides on April 18, 1775, the "shot heard 'round the world" was fired on April 19, 1775, the Battle of Bunker Hill took place on June 17, 1775, and the Continental Army formed in July 1775.
Defeat followed defeat, from Long Island to Harlem Heights to White Plains. Trenton and Princeton were momentary bright spots before Fort Ticonderoga, Brandywine Creek, and the occupation of Philadelphia.
The Battle of Saratoga was a great and unexpected victory but Valley Forge was only two months away. Later, the Battle of Monmouth, Clinton's retreat from Philadelphia in the face of the French declaration of war against Britain, and the American re-occupation of Philadelphia give the Continental Army a morale boost until the British begin a southern campaign, taking Savannah and Augusta, and burning Portsmouth and Norfolk. During this time the British armed and incited the Native Americans to massacre American settlers across the colonies, and the following spring Charleston fell.
American successes at Cowpens, SC and Guilford Courthouse, NC ultimately forced Cornwallis to Yorktown, VA, where, on October 19, 1781, as the British band played "…the tune, "The world turned upside down," the British army marches out in formation and surrenders at Yorktown."
Even that wasn't the end. Between all these known successes and failures are many events no longer taught or even remembered. Massachusetts approved a new constitution in June 1780 stating "all men are born free and equal," which included black slaves. The following January, American troops mutinied. Six months later slaves rebelled in Williamsburg, VA. The fighting between the armies didn't stop until the end of August 1782. The "official" final battle was a November 1782 raid in Ohio where Americans took their revenge against British Loyalists and their Shawnee Indian allies.
On December 15, 1782 a peace treaty was negotiated and set to be signed in Paris.
And wouldn't you know it--the French got into a snit over not being consulted.
The Treaty of Paris was finally signed on September 3, 1783--eight years after the first shot of the Revolution was fired .
So as you are all parading and grilling and lying in the dark watching fireworks, remember the battles still to come in our current war. A war we fight not only for our continued independence but the independence of the world from oppression and terror.
Saturday, July 03, 2004
Maybe. Probably. I was just on my way outside to enjoy the weather when I heard this unconfirmed report on FOX News.
"Iraq Group: Abducted U.S. Marine [Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun ] Beheaded"
It's time the U.S. military levels Fallujah and every other Baathist stronghold--including Syria. As I said before, these Islamic scumbags only understand strength and raw, unadulterated cruelty. That "Allah the Merciful" line they use is just so much crap. Every single "benevolent" sentence in the Qu'ran is applicable only to Muslims . And even then a Muslim is perfectly justified in murdering a fellow-Muslim if he happens to be supporting an enemy of Islam. They don't actually have to be taking up arms, as Cpt. Hassoun did. A misspoken word in favor of non-Muslims is enough.
So lets re-introduce these pricks to Dracula. They'll get the message the same way their murderous ancestors did.
Friday, July 02, 2004
Blue Helmets for the Red States?
"Several members of the House of Representatives have requested the United Nations to send observers to monitor the November 2 US presidential election to avoid a contentious vote like in 2000, when the outcome was decided by Florida.
"Recalling the long, drawn out process in the southern state, nine lawmakers, including four blacks and one Hispanic, sent a letter Thursday to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan asking that the international body "ensure free and fair elections in America," according to a statement issued by Florida representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, who spearheaded the effort." [Emphasis mine.]
Ummm--Eddie Bernice Johnson is a Democrat from Texas! (A fact carefully omitted from the news report.) Does no one in the news media know about Google?
I was going to end my comments there until I read this:
"The lawmakers said in the letter that in a report released in June 2001, the US Commission on Civil Rights "found that the electoral process in Florida resulted in the denial of the right to vote for countless persons."
"The bipartisan commission, they stressed, determined "that the 'disenfranchisement of Florida's voters fell most harshly on the shoulders of black voters' and in poor counties." Both groups vote predominantly Democratic in US elections."
Now that's not merely an error. That's an out-and-out lie of Mooresque proportions. Doubt me? (Fool.) Then read The Flordia Myth by Peter Kirsanow.
"The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights investigated these allegations over a six-month period beginning in January 2001. Its 200-page majority report, Voting Irregularities in Florida During the 2000 Presidential Election , excoriates Florida's election officials for various acts of misfeasance.
That's the commission those ersatz "lawmakers" stressed had determined the 'disenfranchisement of Florida's voters fell most harshly on the shoulders of black voters' . You knew those Democrat asses were lying, didn't you?
In his article, Mr. Kirsanow continues:
"Of course, almost no one actually read the report. [obviously ] The handful that did (especially the incisive dissent authored by Commissioners Abigail Thernstrom and Russell Redenbaugh) discovered the astonishing mendacity underlying the myth.
For those of you who are the product of our public education system--or fans of Tupac Shakur--mendacity means dishonesty--i.e. LIES! From the report:
"There's absolutely no evidence that a single person was intimidated, harassed, or prevented from voting by Florida law-enforcement officials.
"There's no evidence of systematic disenfranchisement of black voters.
"State officials were not at fault for widespread voter "disenfranchisement."
"The myth holds that Governor Bush, in league with Secretary of State Katherine Harris, either by design or incompetence, failed to fulfill their electoral responsibilities, resulting in the discriminatory disenfranchisement of thousands of black voters. This was purportedly a key to the overarching Republican plot to steal the election from Al Gore.
"Again, reality intrudes. The incontrovertible evidence shows that by statute the responsibility for the conduct of elections is in the hands of county supervisors , not the governor or secretary of state. County supervisors are independent officers answerable to county commissioners, not the governor or secretary of state. And in 24 of the 25 counties that had the highest ballot-spoilage rates, the county supervisor was a Democrat. (In the remaining county the supervisor was not a Republican, but an independent.)"
As far as the U.S. Supreme Court "selecting" Bush as President--that's an even bigger crock. And I'm getting real sick and tired of saying this: SCOTUS merely overturned the Florida Supreme Court's ruling that changed election law in mid-election. Establishing laws regarding elections is the province of the Florida elected legislature not the effin' Florida Supreme Court!
Now get it right already, people!
Deal With the Cos
A bunch of no-brain assholes have been beating up on Michelle Malkin for her criticism of schools who teach the mindless wanderings of Tupac Shakur as legitimate poetry.
Well instead of beating up on Michelle, why don't you bunch of useless cowards try taking on Dr. Cosby.
"Cosby made headlines in May when he upbraided some poor blacks for their grammar and accused them of squandering opportunities the civil rights movement gave them. He shot back Thursday, saying his detractors were trying in vain to hide the black community's "dirty laundry."
"Let me tell you something, your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day, it's cursing and calling each other n------ as they're walking up and down the street," Cosby said during an appearance at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund's annual conference.
"They think they're hip," the entertainer said. "They can't read; they can't write. They're laughing and giggling, and they're going nowhere."
"Cosby lamented that the racial slurs once used by those who lynched blacks are now a favorite expression of black children. And he blamed parents.
"When you put on a record and that record is yelling `n----- this and n----- that' and you've got your little 6-year-old, 7-year-old sitting in the back seat of the car, those children hear that," he said.
"He also condemned black men who missed out on opportunities and are now angry about their lives.
"You've got to stop beating up your women because you can't find a job, because you didn't want to get an education and now you're (earning) minimum wage," Cosby said. "You should have thought more of yourself when you were in high school, when you had an opportunity."
Oh right. Bill Cosby actually knows how to read and write and speak properly. You wouldn't have a clue what he's talking about.