Very interesting article in February's Discover Magazine: "Megadeath in Mexico" hypothesizes that the Aztecs were not obliterated by European-brought diseases like smallpox and measles, but by a native virulent scourge.
The notion that European colonialists brought sickness when they came to the New World was well established by the 16th century. Native populations in the Americas lacked immunities to common European diseases like smallpox, measles, and mumps. Within 20 years of Columbus's arrival, smallpox had wiped out at least half the people of the West Indies and had begun to spread to the South American mainland.
There seemed little reason to debate the nature of the plague: Even the Spanish admitted that European smallpox was the disease that devastated the conquered Aztec empire. Case closed.
Then, four centuries later, Mexican epidemiologist Rodolfo Acuña-Soto improbably decided to reopen the investigation. Some key pieces of information—details that had been sitting, ignored, in the archives—just didn't add up. His studies of ancient documents revealed that the Aztecs were familiar with smallpox, perhaps even before Cortés arrived. They called it zahuatl. Spanish colonists wrote at the time that outbreaks of zahuatl occurred in 1520 and 1531 and, typical of smallpox, lasted about a year. As many as 8 million people died from those outbreaks. But the epidemic that appeared in 1545, followed by another in 1576, seemed to be another disease altogether. The Aztecs called those outbreaks by a separate name, cocolitzli. "For them, cocolitzli was something completely different and far more virulent," Acuña-Soto says. "Cocolitzli brought incomparable devastation that passed readily from one region to the next and killed quickly."
After 12 years of research, Acuña-Soto has come to agree with the Aztecs: The cocolitzli plagues of the mid-16th century probably had nothing to do with smallpox. In fact, they probably had little to do with the Spanish invasion. But they probably did have an origin that is worth knowing about in 2006.
The remainder of the article is only available to Discover subscribers; however, I was alerted to this article by one of my students, and he lent me the hard copy. Acuña-Soto discovered the work of Francisco Hernandez, who was the personal physician of King Philip II of Spain. Philip sent Hernandez to New Spain to learn about native medicines, and Hernandez wrote extensively about what he discovered. Acuña-Soto sent Hernandez's original Latin manuscript for translation, and this translation of the description of cocolitzli did not match that of any Old World disease:
The fevers were contagious, burning, and continuous, all of them pestilential, in most part lethal. The tongue was dry and black. Enormous thirst. Urine colors of sea-green, vegetal green and black. Pulse was frequent, fast, small, and weak -- sometimes even null. The eyes and the whole body were yellow. This stage was followed by delirium and seizures. The, hard and painful nodules appeared behind one or both ears along with heartache, chest pain, abdominal pain, tremor and dysentery ... blood flowed from the ears and in many caes blood truly gushed from the nose ... This epidemic attacked mainly young people and seldom elder ones.
"This was certainly not smallpox," Acuña-Soto says. If the descriptions are accurate, he continues, "then it appeared to be a hemmorrhagic fever."
Hemmorrhagic fevers are known by several modern names -- the most infamous being ebola.
Acuña-Soto did a massive amount of research into whether hemmorrhagic fever was responsible for the post-conquest Aztec plagues. Several key factors stuck out: First, it is evident that the Spaniards did not bring this virus with them. Acuña-Soto notes that such diseases as this "do not readily pass from one person to another," so it had to be native. Second, Acuña-Soto examined tree ring records which proved one of his theories -- that the plagues occured after abundant rainfalls, rainfalls that were preceded by [severe] drought. Hemmorrhagic fever, carried by rodents, was contained by the drought; however, once rainfall came,
"rodents bred quickly and spread the virus -- through their urine and feces -- as they came into contact with humans in fields and homes. Once infected, humans transmitted the virus to one another through contact with blood, sweat and saliva."
Why didn't this viral plague affect the Spanish as it did the Aztecs? "Hemmorhagic viruses affact human populations that are already stressed," says Acuña-Soto. "The natives were poor and probably near starvation and living in unsanitary conditions where rats would congregate. They also worked in the fields where they'd be exposed to rat droppings. The Spanish made up the upper classes."
"I strongly disagreed with both the creation and the publication of cartoons that were considered blasphemous to devout Muslims around the world because they depicted the Prophet."
Even the creation? But then Bill hasn't been up to date on current events:
"But I would not be surprised if the person who drew those cartoons and the newspaper publisher who decided to print them did not even know that it was considered blasphemous to have any kind of personal depiction of the Prophet to Muslims."
To which Andrew Stuttaford says:
Oh good grief. If Clinton has read any newspapers on this subject (and if he hasn't, could he please shut up about the whole topic) he would know that Jyllands-Posten published the cartoons specifically to test the extent to which the beliefs of one religious faith were being imposed upon others.
Did Bill mention anything about the wrongness of the rioters -- the killings, fires, etc.?
Brett Gofgosky of Georgetown says "Renters with children should pay school tax too." He writes:
The antiquated system of school taxes needs a major overhaul. This system was instituted when most families with school children owned property and renters were basically out-of-town visitors. In today's world, a large share of families with children are renters and do not pay school tax. Property owners pay for the education of children not their own. Renters with children should pay a per-child school tax, collected with rent. This system would force women and teenagers to think about birth control, instead of being a burden on society.
Um, Brett? When you say "property owners pay for the education of children not their own," you do know there's a thing called "rent," right? (You say "renters," after all, and "collected with rent," so that must be true.) And the rent includes things the property owner must pay off like ... property taxes? Or do you actually think the property owner won't raise his tenants' rent if his property taxes go up? (Or that his property tax rate is not included in his tenants' rent in the first place?)
That'd be one nice landlord, eh?
Equally as dopey is Lisa Platt of Wilmington who thinks universities should have a "contract ... that addresses affiliations with subversive groups, especially those in conflict with its 'zero tolerance' policy on hate crimes."
I've often noted that universities engage in neo-McCarthyism; Ms. Platt proves my point perfectly! ¡Muchas gracias!
One of the more interesting books I've read in the last decade was The Real Lincoln by Thomas DiLorenzo. More recently, Mark Alexander wrote a column that encapsulates DiLorenzo's book in a neat package. Excerpt:
In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln employed lofty rhetoric to conceal the truth of our nation's most costly war -- a war that resulted in the deaths of some 600,000 Americans and the severe disabling of over 400,000 more. He claimed to be fighting so that "this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." In fact, Lincoln was ensuring just the opposite by waging an appallingly bloody war while ignoring calls for negotiated peace. It was the "rebels" who were intent on self-government, and it was Lincoln who rejected their right to that end, despite our Founders' clear admonition to the contrary in the Declaration.
Geez, I've fiddled around with the style for Colossus' blockquotes at least 50 times by now. Maybe you've seen some of them. Anyway, I'm REALLY just about settled on the current gray-colored box with white text. I think. Maybe.
But, I'd REALLY appreciate any suggestions you may have, aside from "don't use anything" -- 'cause I'm determined to make blockquotes stand out, hear? ;-)
Thanks in advance!
As I'm flipping channels last night between 9pm and 10pm looking for something worth watching before "Battlestar Galactica," I click on VH1 Classic (that's channel 143 for you northern Delaware Comcast Digital Cable subscribers) and lo and behold it's Duran Duran in concert -- the reunited original line-up now some 20-25 years older.
And they indeed look it.
I immediately called my wife downstairs. She's a huge "Duranny" (or is it "Duranie"?) as she, like myself, is a child of the 80s. Well, not really a "child," but a teen entering adulthood. You know what I mean.
At any rate, Duran has a special meaning for my wife and I, much moreso for wife. On our fourth anniversary (that was 1993, if you're really interested) I bought a couple "scalped" tickets for a Duran show at Philly's Mann Music Center. I knew wife would scream with utter joy upon learning our destination. Boy, was I right. Our seats were a mere 15 rows from the stage. And equally awesome was our discovery that another 80s icon was opening for the Durans -- Terence Trent D'Arby! Both shows were very good, but the kicker was the Durans' encore: lead singer Simon Le Bon jumped off the stage and ran directly up the aisle in which wife and I were seated next to! Wife heaved herself onto Le Bon and gave him a bear hug around his shirtless, sweaty torso. Cripes, I thought she was gonna have the "big O"! That incident made the rest of her year, to be sure.
I had previously been to a Duran concert, if you can believe it. Yeah, I had to take my two teenage sisters to the old Philly Spectrum in 1984 or they (along with mom and dad) would never forgive me. There were actually more guys at that concert than I ever would have guessed.
Truth be told, I actually did dig some Duran stuff from the early days, mainly because a lot of it was bass-laden dance music. I learned the bass guitar in the mid-80s and Duran music was pretty easy to pick up just by listening to it. I easily learned the bass lines to Duran hits "Save a Prayer," "Planet Earth," and "Is There Something I Should Know?" But, I think their best overall musical effort was the self-titled 1993 disc which included the hit "Ordinary World."
By the way, my fellow foreign language teaching buddy Bronwen is a mega-fan of Duran Duran. She burned me a copy of the first "reunited" Duran CD last year for my 40th birthday.
Which brings me back to the real point of this post: Age. Watching the Durans last night brought forth that realization that I am indeed getting ... old. I turn 41 in a week. My daughter will be entering middle school next year. It takes me at least two days to be pain-free after playing just a couple hours of basketball (despite keeping myself in reasonable shape). My hair is at least half gray. Small love handles have sprouted, despite a gazillion sit-ups each morning.
Time. Flowing like a river. (Hey -- didn't another 80s band, the Alan Parsons Project, sing that line?)
Back during the Matt Donegan flap, I wrote somewhere what was dubbed "a good point" by some about the limitations of free speech: What about consumers exercising their right to boycott -- or simply refuse to buy -- an entertainer's wares if he/she says something outrageous or offensive? Now, Eugene Volokh chimes in:
Tolerance demands that people neither beat you up for your views nor throw you in jail for them. But it doesn't demand that people continue to like you—and if they don't like you, then you won't be as effective a promoter.
Danny Glover's signature on the anti-Iraq-war letter was valuable because he was a movie star, not because he was learned on international law. [The Dixie Chicks'] Natalie Maines had a large audience for her expression of contempt for President Bush because she was invited to sing, not because she was invited to deliver a political lecture.
Consumers know that by supporting Natalie Maines, they are indirectly helping support Maines' political message, just as consumers know that by supporting a business, they are indirectly helping support the projects that the business or its owner funds. It seems quite legitimate for consumers to withdraw their support of entertainers and to use their economic power to pressure others to withdraw their support.
This was always a very common sensical notion to me, and Volokh expresses my view better than I ever could. If one's economic livelihood depends on perception -- how the public at large views you -- then you'd best take care to protect that perception. This doesn't mean you lose your right to free expression, of course. That right is ever omnipresent. However, upon exercising that right, you had better be prepared to face any possible consequences -- not criminal, of course, but counter speech (criticism) and, possibly, economic, like in Maines' case -- an album sales dip (which actually did not occur, or at least was fairly miniscule, if I recall correctly).
After all, the right to spend your money as you wish is also free expression. (Hell, if burning the American flag is, then spending your own money had better be, eh?) What is the alternative -- somehow force consumers to continue their spending habits as entertainers desire? Yeah, right! How in the hell would THAT work?
Elsewhere, Volokh reports on more European anti-free speech instances. First, in France, a politician has been fined for "anti-homosexuality speech":
Stating that “homosexual behaviour endangers the survival of humanity” and that “heterosexuality is morally superior to homosexuality” can cost you dearly in France. Exactly these opinions, expressed by the French politician Christian Vanneste last year, led to him being sentenced on Tuesday to payment of a heavy fine.
A court in Lille ... ruled that Mr Vanneste has to pay a fine of 3,000 euro plus 3,000 euro in damages to each of the three gay organisations that had taken him to court.
Tuesday’s verdict is the first conviction on the basis of the French anti-homophobia bill of 30 December 2004.
Elsewhere, the "Norwegian government [is] suggesting the possibility of suppressing speech that Muslims find blasphemous." Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, a leading member of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s Workers’ Party, included the following (oxymoronic) paragraph in an e-mail to the Norwegian embassies:
Freedom of expression is one of the pillars of Norwegian society. This includes tolerance for opinions that not everyone shares. At the same time our laws and our international obligations enforce restrictions for incitement to hatred or hateful expressions.
Back here at home, a liberal faces disciplinary action at a Massachusetts community college for yelling "Remember Chappaquiddick" as Ted Kennedy began to speak at a campus function:
"[Democrat Rep. Stephen] Lynch said Kennedy had overcome such adversity to get to the place he was, and that's a bunch of bull," Paul Trost, 20, said. Just as Kennedy began speaking, Trost was walking out of the room when he shouted, "Remember Chappaquiddick!"
The student says a campus police officer went outside and stopped him. He also saw some state troopers go outside, the type who accompany Kennedy around the state to provide security. Trost says the cop took down his information and told him he would be hearing from school officials about disciplinary action.
Trost said that later, even one of his professors confronted him about the incident after class:
"One of my teachers called me ignorant and told me this was an embarrassment to the school," Trost told WND. "She said to me, 'Can't you forgive him after all these years?' And I said, 'No, he killed somebody.'
"If it had been me or any other person, we'd be in jail," Trost says he told his instructor.
Elsewhere, in a perhaps less "serious" vein (in terms of legality, that is), the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Matt Foreman, is "sick" of all the "Brokeback Mountain" jokes being propagated on late-night talk shows and elsewhere:
"It may be funny, but there is a real element of homophobia. It's making jabs about sex between gay men."
Um, Matt? That's what "ethnic" humor and the like is all about -- being funny while at the same time taking "jabs" at whatever target group. The other day I watched the "Best of Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live" DVD. Included is that classic bit where Murphy gets made up like a white guy, and then "discovers" what it's like to be white. It's gut-busting stuff. But, according to Foreman, I guess I'm full of "self-hatred" for laughing at that skit. Yeesh.
And to top off this post, how about a little "insensitive" (by European standards, at least) humor (courtesy EclectEcon where there's many more like the one below):
From Egypt to Afghanistan, when terrorists and gangsters need a place to meet, to relax, maybe to invest, they head to Dubai, a bustling city-state on the Persian Gulf. The Middle East's unquestioned financial capital, Dubai is the showcase of the United Arab Emirates, an oil-rich federation of sheikdoms. Forty years ago, Dubai was a backwater; today, it hosts dozens of banks and one of the world's busiest ports; its free-trade zones are crammed with thousands of companies. Construction is everywhere--skyscrapers, malls, hotels, and, soon, the world's tallest building.
But Dubai also serves as the region's criminal crossroads, a hub for smuggling, money laundering, and underground banking. There are Russian and Indian mobsters, Iranian arms traffickers, and Arab jihadists. Funds for the 9/11 hijackers and African embassy bombers were transferred through the city. It was the heart of Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan's black market in nuclear technology and other proliferation cases. Half of all applications to buy U.S. military equipment from Dubai are from bogus front companies, officials say. "Iran," adds one U.S. official, "is building a bomb through Dubai." Last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents thwarted the shipment of 3,000 U.S. military night-vision goggles by an Iranian pair based in Dubai. Moving goods undetected is not hard. Dhows--rickety wooden boats that have plowed the Arabian Sea for centuries--move along the city center, uninspected, down the aptly named Smuggler's Creek.
U.A.E. rulers have taken terrorism seriously since 9/11, but Washington has a half-dozen extradition requests that they refuse to honor. The list includes people accused of rape, murder, and arms trafficking, and the last fugitive of the BCCI banking scandal. The country has put money laundering controls on the books but has made few cases. Interior Minister Sheik Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan told U.S. News the U.A.E. has made great strides in cracking down, but he insists that the real problems lie elsewhere. "We are a neutral country, like Switzerland," he says. "Give us the evidence, and we will do something about it. Don't blame others." Not everyone agrees. "All roads lead to Dubai," says former treasury agent John Cassara, author of Hide and Seek, a forthcoming book on terrorism finance. Cassara tried explaining U.S. concerns about Dubai to a local businessman but got only a puzzled look: "Mr. John, money laundering? But that's what we do. " (Emphasis mine.)
But come on, you know what all those "heavy thinkers" say -- those that are wary of this port deal are "racists."
UNRELATED UPDATE: I tinkered with the blockquote design (thanks, Rhodey) as if you couldn't tell. Hope you all dig it. If you absolutely detest it (the blockquote design, not our blog content, that is) let us know.
Roberto Calderoli, "who resigned from his post as government minister last week" is under investigation by Italian authorities. How come? Mr. Calderoli wore a T-shirt with a cartoon of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. If found guilty, he can be fined €1,000 to €5,000. (Is that lyra or euros?) The Daily Star's headline implies that riots in Libya were the direct result of Calderoli wearing the shirt. Italy's president "blamed the riots in Libya, Italy's former colony, on the 'thoughtless action by our minister,' the Italian news agency ANSA reported."
Riots. Killing. Mayhem. Over a friggin' T-SHIRT.
What the hell is it with Italy, now? First there was Oriana Fallaci who will stand trial this June for "defaming Islam;" now Calderoli. And it's not just Italy -- in Germany, a dude faces charges for printing the Koran on toilet paper! Hell, throughout Europe it is a crime to merely assert the Holocaust did not happen, but not, for example, to state that the Catholic Church is responsible for it. Go figure.
Back here in the US, looks like a Turkish outfit successfully (but only temporarily) hacked Michelle Malkin's site. Cause, y'know, she had the unmitigated gall to report on all the nonsense that is Islamic rioting over cartoons (and now t-shirts).
Wonder how long it'll be before Europe and even America begins seriously considering the placard that Kenyan woman held that said "Freedom of expression is Western terrorism"? Interestingly, "critical race theorists" have been in favor of such "defamatory" speech restrictions for some time. You really only find these "theorists" sloughing around a college campus; I'm sure that's why university speech codes continue to attempt to get implemented.
I'm sure these little anointed ones are silently cheering the Europeans. Rah rah!
Once again, it is SOOOO easy to make the racial bean counters look like utter fools. This time, John Rosenberg notes how The Contra Costa Times (CA) laments the "underrepresentation of black lawyers in California":
"We would like to have a pool of lawyers that reflects our mission and our community," said [Contra Costa County head public defender David] Coleman, who is African-American. The minority shortage "generates lawyers who don't look like their clients and who don't look like the community."
Rosenberg rightly mocks: "While they’re at it, perhaps the ABA could also require fat/thin/tall/short/ugly/pretty/disabled/etc. and other appearance-related 'diversity' requirements."
But I liked especially the comment made by "Laura." She says
Suppose that a black family wanted to move into a white neighborhood and the realtor told them that they didn't look like the people in the other houses? Suppose the realtor steered them toward neighborhoods where the people looked like them? Well, the realtor would have a lawsuit on his hands, and rightly so.
Exactly. So is excised another piece of the nonsense that one has to "be one" to be offered legal advice, to be educated, to be operated on ... etc.
Also along these same lines courtesy of a different post at Discriminations, a quote from Lee-Ann Gomes, director of social work in Norwich (CT) Human Services:
"Minorities, I think, for whatever reasons, still have a problem getting jobs and holding on to those jobs," Gomes said. "Absolutely it's disproportionate for minorities. I think it's atrocious sometimes."
Gomes said people talk about hiring more minorities, but are so used to hiring people like themselves, they rarely increase their minority work force.
But they're just utilizing racialist bean counter "logic," are they not? After all, they "need" people "like themselves," that's why they hire so. Haven't we constantly been told this is OK?
OK only for the "right" skin tone.
President Bush on Tuesday defended a deal that would let a United Arab Emirates-based company run some key U.S. seaports, telling reporters that he would veto any bill to hold up the agreement.
Bush, who has yet to veto a bill during his administration, warned that the United States is sending "mixed signals" by attacking a Middle Eastern company after the ports were run by a British firm for several years.
Lawmakers who have called for the deal to be blocked need to "step up and explain why a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard," he said.
I'm not sure about lawmakers but I suspect the reason many voters would cite is the fact that unlike Britain, Islamic culture these days seems bent on killing us.
Still, GWB may be right on this one. I certainly don't think he'd risk his hawk rep if there was any question about the UAE company's security credentials. Moreover, the UAE company might actually bring added value to the table; it's possible that an Arab company would have special knowledge about securing ports against Islamic terrorists. At the very least, the company would understand where its bread was buttered and work just as hard to keep things running like their British predecessor.
But the move is still politically tone deaf and is getting magnified by the MSM. It's basically allowing the Democrats to run to the right of the Republicans on their one strong issue going into '06. The Democrats were primed with their strategic redeployment plan to rally the conservative base for the GOP; the White House in turn is giving them another reason to stay home.
Related: The fact that Jimmah is supporting the deal can't be a good sign.
Meanwhile, can't wait for a certain local foreign policy expert to find an open microphone and share his thoughts on the subject.
Greg over at Rhymes With Right gets a, er, "response" to one of his "cartoon flap" posts:
A new comment has been posted on your blog Rhymes With Right, on entry #158774 (Toronto Cartoon Flap). http://rhymeswithright.mu.nu/archives/158774.php
IP Address: 22.214.171.124
Name: aamir malik
Email Address: email@example.com
what the hell have you people made this?
how could you be so much rude ?
what do you think of yourself?
if you vl be here we will jst kill you>?
Isn't that "nice"? "Rudeness" deserves death.
Always a chance it's a fake; the IP addy belongs to an Australian server for what it's worth.
This past Sunday's "60 Minutes" transcript is available to those who may have missed Bob Simon's ridiculous report on the whole Mohammed cartoon controversy. Simon, though denouncing the killings, fires and general mayhem of the Muslims who rioted in response to the cartoon's publication, still gives it to the Danish paper that published the 'toons:
"... in Denmark we do have a tradition of satire and humor, some of the cartoonists made satirical cartoons. But that’s what we do with Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, that’s what we do with other religions," [Flemming] Rose said.
Well, not exactly. The editors of the paper, the Jyllands-Posten, recently rejected a satirical depiction of the resurrection, saying it would cause a public outcry. But the paper did print the Muhammad cartoons: all 12 of them. And until last week, Rose defended his decision on just about every broadcast that would have him.
Hmm... did Simon inquire as to depictions of Jesus or other religious figures who were caracitured beyond "recently"? And, in addition, figure out that there is not currently a huge movement afoot that engages in terrorism based on belief in radical Christianity?
The Muslims felt totally rebuffed at home in Denmark. So the imam sent a delegation to the Middle East with a dossier of pictures, not only of the published cartoons, but of others that were even more offensive. One showed the prophet with the head of a pig.
Abu-Laban told 60 Minutes he had received these in anonymous threatening letters. But the dossier left the impression that those pictures had been printed in the newspaper.
"Threatening letters," eh? If accurate, that is a dead wrong activity to be sure; however, Mr. Imam -- do a little self/religious/philosophical examination there. Now you know how myriad non-Muslims feel as a consequence of this whole shebang. What's that? How do I know this imam favors -- or at least excuses -- the violence that ensued? Check it:
Asked if he thought the casualties are worthwhile, the imam said: "I feel sorry. But we make cars and they make accidents. We build skyscrapers, but they collapse in an earthquake. This is life. We have maybe unexpected tragedies. And we have to live with them."
The 'ol "I feel sorry BUT ..."
The Muslim quarter of Copenhagen is ten minutes away from all this and on a different planet. Many Muslims say they’ve been made to feel like aliens. They may benefit from Denmark’s welfare system, but there isn’t a real mosque in the entire country; they have to make do with converted factories. There may be a shwarma joint downtown, but there’s no Muslim cemetery anywhere.
And that feeling "like aliens" may be in part due to ... not accepting the governmental and political value system of your adopted country, maybe?? Like a little thing called free speech, in particular?
The report goes on to note that Denmark has elected an "ultra right-wing" party into a majority that has been tough on immigration (even though Muslims make up only some 2% of the population), and that "since the cartoon controversy, support for this anti-Muslim party has grown to almost 20 percent."
Being tough on immigration obviously = "bad thing" in the minds of the enlightened "60 Minutes" folks. Oh, and "ultra right-wing." Of course! (See what you did, radical Muslims?) And doesn't the program see the logic, however sad it may be, that support for a party that favors strict immigration laws would increase after witnessing the [Muslim] violence that an exercise of free speech led to?
So what to do? If you ask those Danes responsible for the country’s traditional image of civility and manners, a Dane like former foreign minister and newspaper editor Uffe Elleman, he’ll tell you that a little self-censorship is not always a bad thing.
"When you use the freedom of speech to make jokes of other people's religions and you do it with the single purpose of demonstrating that you have the right to do so, then you are undermining the freedom of speech as I see it," Elleman says.
"Is that what you think the newspaper was doing? Do you think they were deliberately provoking just to show that they had a right to do it?" Simon asked.
"Yes. And I reacted very strongly because Muslims in Denmark -- well, that's a minority, and you don't treat a minority that way. You don’t stamp on other people’s religious feelings. That’s bad taste," Elleman said.
Freedom of speech versus religious sensitivities. Conflicting forces which are doing battle everywhere. The Danes, in their picture perfect world, may have thought they were immune. Now they know better.
Elleman sounds just like an American leftist -- how dare one "treat a minority that way." All the while the majority's values are open game. And how does Elleman know the cartoons were published just to be provocative? Again, isn't there an actual threat from radical Islam that has called out the entire Western world? Don't radical Muslims use their religion as the [major] basis for their violent actions? It seems to many that the 'toons were quite legitimate political speech.
Offensive cartoons should not be published just to be offensive. But even if they are, they have a right to be. And the reaction should be something like this -- a letter expressing your misgivings, or perhaps a small peaceful protest, or maybe even an organized boycott. Indeed, as James Taranto noted in the link above, "U.S. military leaders write firm but polite letters to the editor, and Christian fundamentalists ask their elected representatives to stop spending tax money on offensive stuff." They don't go on rampages, kill and threaten people, and torch buildings. If they do, they're dealt with -- harshly.
UPDATE: Christopher Hitchens chimes in:
And there remains the question of Denmark: a small democracy, which resisted Hitler bravely and protected its Jews as well as itself. Denmark is a fellow member of NATO and a country that sends its soldiers to help in the defense and reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan. And what is its reward from Washington? Not a word of solidarity, but instead some creepy words of apology to those who have attacked its freedom, its trade, its citizens, and its embassies. For shame. Surely here is a case that can be taken up by those who worry that America is too casual and arrogant with its allies. I feel terrible that I have taken so long to get around to this, but I wonder if anyone might feel like joining me in gathering outside the Danish Embassy in Washington, in a quiet and composed manner, to affirm some elementary friendship. Those who like the idea might contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and those who live in other cities with Danish consulates might wish to initiate a stand for decency on their own account.
That is the question many Philadelphians are beginning to ask themselves. I, for one, say YES! The current environment of murder and the “stop snitchin” mentality in many of the city’s most troubled areas are out of control. Cities like Baltimore and Chicago have found great success via the use of cameras. Baltimore officials say the areas with cameras have seen a twenty-five percent decrease in crime.
Philadelphia had 380 homicides last year. There have already been forty thus far this year. With the mayor’s head consistently up his ass (Safer Streets ain’t gonna cut it), it is time for the city council to take the reins. Council is already planning to make the proposal public and allow the citizens to determine where the cameras would be.
However, the camera proposal is not all sunshine and lollipops. There has been some early opposition at the mere talk of the cameras. The most vocal opposition is coming from murderous, drug-pushing thugs and their closest ally in the city, the ACLU (there’s a shocker).
Will the cameras put an end to violent crimes in the city? No. Will they act as a deterrent and perhaps cause people to think before they act? Will they help quell the violent culture in some of our most troubled areas? Is it worth taking a chance? The answer to all of these questions, in my mind, is wholeheartedly yes.
The upside here, far outweighs the downside. These cameras could save lives. And with the current state of affairs within the city, "could" means a whole hell of a lot to many people.
Neil Cavuto on Fox News asks why are Democratic members of Congress now suddenly opposed to the Dubai port deal, when they were all in favor of the anti-[racial] profiling law that has airport screeners ridiculously checking old ladies' shoes for explosives?
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, who is opposed to the Dubai deal but is in favor of the anti-profiling provision, sounded like a complete buffoon attempting to rationalize her position. My favorite line: "We can exercise rational judgment." Yeah -- like checking 85 year old womens' shoes for box cutters.
At least Bush could be granted the slack that hey -- at least he's trying to keep decent relations with [Muslim] countries who support us to a large degree. Even though I disagree with the Dubai deal.
It may be time to begin considering the possibility that Bush was wrong, the Muslim mindset cannot be changed, and that the only possible approach to the Islamic world is quarrantine with occasional airstrikes.
I'm in a Pat Buchanan neoisolationist kind of mood. I'm just about done with any fantasies about "reforming" this sick culture of death.
I understand the frustration and often feel it myself. I for one am still hopeful for the democracy project. But still, all those densely-packed protesters holding placards denying the holocaust, promising Europe their own 9/11, promoting sensitivity to their religion even as they cry for death to the West, it's angering. Remembering how a Palestinian expression of anger can come by way of an Arab girl with knickers full of semtec blowing herself up on a rush hour bus, the lesser angels of our nature might be tempted to respond in kind, and rain a few artillery shells into those crowds.
But of course we would never do anything like that. The difference is that we're the adults in all this, and if that sounds condescending to a religion with getting close to a billion adherents, at least it has the benefit of also being true. What passes for modern parenting in the West requires that adults be sensitive to children, understand their tantrums, not become overly confrontational, not ruin the little darlings’ dreams even if they smack of delusions of grandeur. Clearly we view ourselves as the adults in this conversation otherwise we wouldn’t be so indulging of Muslim behavior, especially as it has played out in Western countries.
Can you imagine if masses of Christian evangelicals rioted and murdered over a depiction of Jesus? There's not a doubt in my mind that the West, its governments and its media wouldn’t give into their demands. Far from it, I’d bet that they would act to protect whatever the focus of the riots was simply to spite the rioters. I don’t associate this to any Christian-hatred that many in the blogosphere see in the MSM. Rather, I think the reactions would be different because this hypothetical Christian group would be of the West. They would be like us. They're adults, the thinking would go, they should know better. Since they’re not acting like it, they must be stopped.
By contrast, we don’t respect Islam enough to confront it. That’s why Europe is changing its speech codes to be more sensitive to the prophet and why it has pleaded for calm instead of enforcing it. Here in America, the MSM has called these riots “rows” as if it’s a tiff between a bickering couple and the administration denounced the images at issue. They’re just children, you see. They can’t be reasoned with. Better just to give in, give the screaming, bomb-throwing child some candy and hope that quiets him down. Except of course it never does.
I think we can and should expect more of Islam. It’s time to start treating Muslims not as superstitious primitives that don’t know any better but rather as adults. We should tell the Muslim world that adults don’t burn property because they’re offended; don’t kill people because of some real or imagined slight; don’t kill their own daughters because they’ve somehow “shamed” the family; don't simply shrug and remain silent when members of their comminuty act like this. While we’re being frank, we should also mention that adults don’t strap bomb belts around their own children and send them into malls. Nor do adults laud and identify with past and present mass murderers like Hitler and bin Laden. And if adults want their own beliefs and traditions respected, they’d do well to respect the beliefs and traditions of others.
But most importantly, we need to inform them that adults, unlike children, face consequences for their misconduct.
Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell just vetoed a bill that would have mandated voters show ID when voting in the state:
Rendell said that the bill, which passed the legislature last week on largely party-line votes, would have the effect of disenfranchising those without easy access to identification, including nursing-home residents, displaced families, the very poor and those without a driver's license.
In addition, he said that the identification requirement, which now applies only to people voting at a polling place for the first time, would slow the voting process on election days, likely causing some would-be voters who are pressed for time to leave without casting ballots.
The governor said the bill also might be unconstitutional.
Not so fast, Eddie. Maybe you and the state Republicans could get together and get a measure similar to that of Georgia's second effort at voter reform. That state's initial law was suspended by a judge, who said the law amounted to a poll tax. People would have had to spend $20 to get the necessary state-issued ID. Now, however, the judge's concerns have been apparently rectified, and Gov. Sonny Perdue has signed the revised bill into law.
Still, civil rights groups are unhappy.
"Removing the $20 fee voters have to pay to the state for a photo ID does nothing to address the costs and difficulty of getting the documents required to qualify for a 'free' ID," said Neil Bradley, associate director of the Atlanta-based ACLU Voting Rights Project. "And the core constitutional defect remains: if a voter does not possess a government-issued photo ID she is conclusively presumed not to be the voter she claims to be."
I wonder if under-21 college kids could use that argument when they're carded at the local watering hole. Imagine -- "Hey, Mr. Bouncer! What do you MEAN? Just because I do not possess a state-issued ID you're conclusively presuming me to be underage?? That's unconstitutional!"
And what precisely are the "costs and difficulty" of getting the free ID? The "cost" of a stamp for a request letter to the appropriate office? The "difficulty" of filling out the necessary form for the ID? Are you kidding me?
Why are groups like the ACLU so against measures to prevent voter fraud?
Well, not exactly. But it sounds like a distinction without a difference. "Democrats may unite on plan to pull troops":
After months of trying unsuccessfully to develop a common message on the war in Iraq, Democratic Party leaders are beginning to coalesce around a broad plan to begin a quick withdrawal of US troops and install them elsewhere in the region, where they could respond to emergencies in Iraq and help fight terrorism in other countries.
The concept, dubbed ''strategic redeployment," is outlined in a slim, nine-page report coauthored by a former Reagan administration assistant Defense secretary, Lawrence J. Korb, in the fall. It sets a goal of a phased troop withdrawal that would take nearly all US troops out of Iraq by the end of 2007, although many Democrats disagree on whether troop draw-downs should be tied to a timeline.
[. . . Although Democrats remain divided on some points,] in its broad outlines, many leading Democrats say the Korb plan represents an answer to Republicans' oft-repeated charge that Democrats aren't offering a way forward on Iraq -- and to do so in a way that is neither defeatist nor blindly loyal to the president.
''We're not going to cut and run -- that's just Republican propaganda," Dean said in a speech Feb. 10 in Boston. ''But we are going to redeploy our troops so they don't have targets on their backs, and they're not breaking down doors and putting themselves in the line of fire all the time. . . . It's a sensible plan. It's a thoughtful plan. I think Democrats can coalesce around it."
Because if the guy that has done such a great job not raising money for the Democrats thinks it's a good idea, it must be so.
I'll leave it to others in the right-wing blogosphere to paint the Dems as the party in favor of defeat. What I question is why are they doing this now? Except for the Supreme Court confirmations, the GOP has managed to accomplish little other than spending money and alienating the base. With little reason for conservatives to be enthusiastic this year, Democrat pick-ups in 2006 seem assured as long as they give their people a reason to show up (which they already have because GOP blood is in the water) and don't give Republicans a reason to show.
This Iraq plan, it seems to me, is a Democrat gift to the GOP. Because if it's one thing that Republicans will show up for no matter how badly their side screws up, it's security. A plan that will seem to many to be a redressed version of Cut-&-Run might be enough to get out the Republican vote without Republicans having to bother addressing some of their less than conservative governing habits.
A few months back, Karl Rove said that security should again be the GOP election theme. At the time, I thought that might be hard to pull-off since we're getting to be five years since 9/11 and even if America went with the stay-the-course candidate in '04, domestic issues like immigration and spending are due to come to the foreground at some point. If the Democrats actually go with this plan, however, it might prove Rove prescient once again.
One line says it all about THE number one problem plaguing public schools across the land: 8th grade Tower Hill student Demetrius Murray notes, "And they don't just accept knuckleheads to the school."
Ask any public school teacher what their main concern is in their class/school, and I guarantee you over 90% will answer "discipline."
In addition, as this corresponding article notes, private school teachers are not necessarily superior to their public counterparts. Indeed, in my experience, public school teachers are better. But, because private schools can determine the content of their student body, this makes the school atmosphere and climate more appealing to parents. Certainly, public schools have to accept every student (that's why they're called "public" after all), but until disciplinary measures are streamlined in the public schools -- making it easier to get rid of chronically disruptive students -- then the perception among parents regarding these schools will not improve much, despite the excellent teachers.
Last evening saw the emergence of the Delaware Conservative Bloggers Alliance, as Mark Levin Fan, Jeff the Baptist, Paul Smith Jr., Ryan of Jokers to the Right, Stephen of Blogolution and myself all met for a dinner and political discussion. One of the fruits of our efforts is a new website, Delaware 2006, which is devoted to "conservative views on Delaware's 2006 elections."
The Alliance will be active at this new site, as well as alerting and sharing with each other important information that comes by way of our members. If you'd like to join the Alliance, there are only two requirements: you (or at least one of the members of your group blog) live in Delaware, and you consider yourself ... a conservative! Send an e-mail to email@example.com with your blog's name, and we'll add your blog to our rolls!
Colossus is proud to welcome aboard a new face to the blog, JakeM! Jake's a Delawarean and will also be posting over at the new Delaware Conservative Bloggers Alliance site, Delaware 2006.
I see he's been busy already -- posts up before I even had a chance to introduce him!
This column appeared in the WNJ last week, but it's still worth noting because it proves that Ron Williams should stick to his local political gossip beat and leave national politics to someone that knows what the hell they're talking about.
The past dozen years produced more political vitriol than the previous 30 years, primarily from Republicans.
I attribute it foremost to conservative talk radio. It was the talk radio format of Rush Limbaugh, along with Readers' Digest's printed version, that promoted then-House Minority Leader Newt Gingrich's Contract With America. The contract -- part political gimmick, part political awakening -- led to rallying 10 million determined Republicans, who did away with Democratic control of Congress.
I think this part shows how little Ron understands cause and effect. Never mind that Clinton spent his first two years in office raising taxes, trying to socialize healthcare or that by 1994 the Democrat congressional majority had proven itself more corruptable than Heath Ledger in a Jim McGreevey film festival. No, talk radio was what really caused the Republican Revolution.
The only tools -- obedient stooges -- that Republicans had to battle Clinton's steady popularity were their radio talk show clones. It didn't take long before the Limbaughs, Sean Hannitys, Ann Coulters and Mike Gallaghers were off and babbling the Republican Party's daily talking points. It marked the beginning of a publicly embraced political hatred of Democrats and liberals never before experienced openly in the electronic age.
You know, as opposed to the publicly embraced political hatred that conservatives had been experiencing in the Old Media since at least the 60's.
That hatred by the silent conservative majority of Americans was always there, of course. But the message had no way out of its soccer mom confines. The liberal side of news organizations labeled them Neanderthal kooks, and mostly ignored them. And there was the overhanging fear of being branded a racist for holding traditional conservative views. Many of them just kept quiet. Many didn't vote out of sheer frustration.
Is it just me, or does it sound like Ron really misses those days?
The party-bashing strategy worked so well that Democratic liberals, now self-described as progressives, got into the act with Air America radio. It proved that both sides can play the game. Al Franken and Randi Rhodes overwhelmed their airwaves with blistering attacks on George Bush's IQ and Dick Cheney's spooky persona.
Anyway, what I really love about this column besides how it doesn't match-up with reality is how it reveals more about Williams and people like him than it does about his intended targets. Even though Ron can only bring himself to talk about the hate of today's Angry Left in scare quotes, he goes on at length about the GOP playing Ahab to Clinton's White Whale. The thing is, impeachment was seven years ago. Yet Ron just can't let it go. I mean, our side has moved on (pun intended) since impeachment. For his own emotional health, it looks like Ron should too.
A college buddy of mine was in town yesterday and over dinner and some beers, we started talking about the cartoon intifada. His feeling mirrored that of the MSM and GWB -- that is, that Islam is a religion of peace and the rioters are bastardizing the true meaning of the Koran. My feeling was that the rioters were probably more familiar with the Koran than most Westerners with the Old or New Testaments, and that the real problem was they were blindly following it verbatim.
We decided to settle it by heading over to the Concord Pike Borders so my friend could buy himself an actual Koran. I waited for him over in magazines, and when we met back up he told me how at first he and a store clerk couldn't find the Koran. After a minute, the clerk remembered that, "That's right, the Koran's not supposed to be on the floor." And sure enough, the Korans had been moved from where section directory listed them near general Islamic Studies on a bottom shelf to a top shelf that -- perhaps appropriately -- cut the Judiaism section in two.
A couple things. First off, since when is the bottom shelf the floor? Secondly, it's not as if Borders has a general policy towards giving premium placement for all holy books; when I checked out the section myself, King James and NIV Bibles sat happily on bottom shelves (Jewish Bibles were on the middle shelf, right where they were supposed to be according to the section directory). I'm curious about why the preferred placement for Korans? Is this a local policy, or is it nationwide? I've got an email into Borders HQ, will pass it along if I actually hear anything back.
At 9:30am on Monday the 20th February 2006, Dr. Sean Gabb (gotta love that name!), Director of the Libertarian Alliance, will appear on Sky News to defend freedom of speech in general, and in particular the right of controversial historian David Irving to say anything he likes about the holocaust. Mr Irving is awaiting trial in Austria for the supposed crime of denying or minimising the holocaust. Commenting ahead of the broadcast, Dr Gabb says:
"Either freedom of speech means the right to say anything at all about politics, religion, science or history, among much else - or it means nothing at all. There are those who say they believe in freedom of speech, but then insist that the promotion of 'hatred' does not come within the meaning of free speech. The Libertarian Alliance utterly rejects this supposed distinction. What some call the promotion of hatred others call telling the truth. In any event, we believe in the right to promote hatred by any means that do not fall within the Common Law definition of assault."
"Whenever the State involves itself in arguments about the truth, disputes between opinions become disputes between opinions and power. And the State has neither special ability nor the right to decide what opinions may be true or false. "Whatever we may think about what he claims, whatever we may think about the motivation for his claims, the claims Mr Irving makes regarding the holocaust are a matter to be settled by historical debate - not by the criminal law....
"We also note with distaste that those journalists throughout Europe who are congratulating each other on how brave and liberal they have been over the anti-Moslem cartoons have not said a word for the freedom of Mr Irving to express himself. "The Libertarian Alliance believes in freedom of speech for all - WITH NO EXCEPTIONS."
I agree, yet disagree. The highlighted segments above note some of the statements I have issues with. I certainly concur with the whole "hatred" bit -- that speech should not be surpressed whatsoever if someone is merely offended by the speech. That is the very essence behind the principle of free speech.
However, when Gabb says that "What some call the promotion of hatred others call telling the truth," and then "the State has neither special ability nor the right to decide what opinions may be true or false," he's forgetting an important detail, at least a detail vital to here in the US. State institutions -- like state (public) universities, for instance -- certainly DO have a right -- and an obligation -- to decide if someone like David Irving should be hired as a teacher or professor. It is not a matter of his "opinion," it is a matter of competence. Irving's blatherings about the Holocaust not happening are, for all intents and purposes, historical malpractice.
But with that being said, Irving should indeed have the right to give speeches about his opinions, distribute literature, and even be invited to speak at a university. It is here that his views can be (rightly) shredded as the utter garbage they are. If you're offended (as I would be), don't listen to him. Don't take his literature. Protest him where he speaks (but don't shout him down). Rebut him. Write letters to the local papers. Blog about it or alert a blogger about it. Etc.
Lastly, the Libertarian Alliance's belief in "NO EXCEPTIONS" to free speech sounds noble, but as anyone familiar with our own First Amendment's history knows, there are legitimate limits to free speech -- the aptly clichéd "Cannot yell 'fire' in a crowded theatre," and direct (immediate) incitement to violence against others. But, of course, the Alliance is certainly entitled to their belief about there not being any exceptions.
... by the inimitable Benjamin Kerstein.
SEMI-RELATED UPDATE: Speaking of the Left, this Nation article is well worth the read, as it's written by a French leftist containing much needed advice for the American Left. I was personally struck by this line:
For a European intellectual used to the battlefield of ideas, it is simply incomprehensible that more voices weren't raised long ago ...
I recall years ago at an education "conference," where the topic was "multiculturalism," a discussion I had with another Spanish teacher (in Spanish so as not to "offend" anybody ... you know how touchy multicultis are). I brought up how there is always little to no discussion about some of the [wackier] multiculti ideas, and this teacher, a European, was almost beside himself with ... relief -- he thanked me for realizing this ... that this sort of nonsense would never occur in Europe, even among those of like ideology.
Overall, I disagree with author Bernard-Henri Lévy's political/cultural assessment of the US. But the quote above is dead on, and certainly details one admirable facet we should emulate from our European friends.
... if a noted media person did this over 35 years ago ...
... just like the Washington Post's Dana Milbank did a few days ago.
(Pic courtesy Jessica's Well.)
John Rosenberg nails another beaut. This time it's a "new study" by "a professor of education and black studies at the University of Missouri."
Kevin Cokley, associate professor of educational, school and counseling psychology in the MU College of Education and associate professor of black studies, found that colorblind attitudes are more accurate than racist attitudes in predicting someone's position on affirmative action. Previous research has focused on predicting affirmative action attitudes based on prejudice and modern racist ideals, such as the notion that discrimination is a thing of the past and that minorities are using unfair tactics, such as affirmative action, to gain access to institutions and professions where they are not wanted.
“It is important to point out that conceptually, color-blind attitudes are seen as a consequence of racism,” said Cokley, who co-authored the study with Germine Awad, a Fellow in the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership at St. Mary’s College. “Therefore, colorblind attitudes are related to, but distinct, from prejudice. A colorblind approach fails to recognize that discriminatory attitudes still persist, even in individuals who deny having prejudiced attitudes.”
Hold on, here's the money quote:
Black Americans ... display more favorable attitudes toward affirmative action and less colorblind and modern racist attitudes than whites.
Gotta love "studies," especially from a professor of educational, school and counseling psychology, and a Fellow in the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership. Ugh.
Rosenberg rightly asks: "I would be curious to know the basis for Prof. Cokeley’s conclusion that '[a] colorblind approach fails to recognize that discriminatory attitudes still persist, even in individuals who deny having prejudiced attitudes,' since no one I know or read who believes in colorblindness denies that racism still exists." Indeed.
Speaking of education "studies," Joanne Jacobs notes how, well, "studies" conducted by academics in the field of education are turning into sorry jokes. Peggy Hsieh and Joel R. Levin conducted their own analysis on just how rigorous -- and valid -- many of these education studies are, and the results ain't good:
"The percentage of total articles in these four journals [Cognition & Instruction, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Experimental Education, American Educational Research Journal] based on randomized experiments decreased over the 21-year period in both the educational psychology journals (from 40 percent in 1983 to 34 percent in 1995 to 26 percent in 2004) and the American Educational Research Journal (from 33 percent to 17 percent to 4 percent)."
Cokley's "study" most likely fits that bill perfectly. And yet another example of why people give increasingly little weight to "educationists" who come in with "new research." Heck, just ask any teacher with at least ten years experience. They've probably seen/heard the same "theories" or "studies" packaged and repackaged time and again, just with new, nifty sounding names.
Yep, that's what those Danish cartoons are causing up north in Canada:
The head of Calgary's Muslim community is considering a civil lawsuit against two local publishers for reprinting controversial Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad -- images that have sparked deadly riots overseas.
Syed Soharwardy, president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, said the cartoons have caused Muslims in Calgary, and worldwide, unnecessary stress and heartache.
"We are, on Monday, going to see lawyers. We will try to find out if there is a possibility to have a civil lawsuit. That's what we're going to explore," Soharwardy said Sunday.
"We see these cartoons as racist. We see these cartoons as hurtful, and we see these cartoons as against our religion. There has been damages towards the Muslim community for their losing their peace of mind, and creating stress on people's heart."
Ah, so in other words, [re]publishing the cartoons is a "hate crime." Canada's laws are different, obviously, from those here in the States -- Canadians do not possess the degree of free expression that Americans do. And, hate crimes are taken more seriously. Believe it or not, Soharwardy may have a case. Section 319 of Canada's hate crimes law says:
There are some "safeguards," such that they are. For instance, what may "save" the various Canadian press is "If the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, and if, on reasonable grounds, the person believed them to be true."
The Western Standard and Jewish Free Press are the two Canadian outlets that have [re]published the 'toons. It is more than arguable that they did so for the news factor -- the controversy surrounding their initial publication -- than for any "shock" value.
Across the pond, almost the reverse is happening: "One of Britain's top Muslims," Sir Iqbal Sacranie, is in trouble for stating that homosexuality is "not acceptable" and "immoral" and that "same-sex relationships damage the very foundations of society." He said so on the BBC's 'PM' program, and hence "has been investigated by the police for the thought-crime, or, as the police put it these days, hate-crime, of homophobia."
If Sir Iqbal -- and adherents of the Muslim faith in general -- believe homosexuality to be repugnant, then that is their view, and it is not the business of the government, or the police... to divest them of it. But the Old Bill [=police] are scurrying around to Sir Iqbal's house with a view to prosecuting him for merely articulating one of the fundamental tenets of a religion whose strictures will soon be protected by law. [ i.e. the proposed UK law to criminalize the defamation of Islam] This is, quite literally, madness. The two laws -- one proposed and one already on the statute books -- are in direct, unequivocal opposition. One day we will surely see the prosecution of a gay person for suggesting that Islam is ludicrous and, by dint of its opposition to homosexuality, illegal. And where will we be then?
Thank goodness for the 1st Amendment here.
You scored as SG-1 (Stargate). You are versatile and diverse in your thinking. You have an open mind to that which seems highly unlikely and accept it with a bit of humor. Now if only aliens would stop trying to take over your body.
My top 5 crews:
SG-1 (Stargate) 75%
Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix) 69%
Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica) 63%
Babylon 5 (Babylon 5) 56%
Enterprise D (Star Trek) 50%
Thank goodness my fave show of all time snuck in there!
Did I hear that right? A reporter actually asked WH mouthpiece Scott McClellan if Dick Cheney plans to resign over ... accidentally shooting his friend with buckshot in a hunting accident??
Talk about friggin' desperate! That, and how DARE the Veep wait to tell the White House press corps! Doesn't he know they deserve an immediate response??
(BTW, John Gibson on Fox News showed a clip from "Wedding Crashers" where Owen Wilson accidentally shoots Vince Vaughn ... hilarious lead in to the Cheney story!)
Miller proudly announced the title of his next Batman book, which he will write, draw and ink. Holy Terror, Batman! is no joke. And Miller doesn't hold back on the true purpose of the book, calling it "a piece of prop[a]ganda," where 'Batman kicks al Qaeda's ass."
The reason for this work, Miller said, was "an explosion from my gut reaction of what's happening now." He can't stand entertainers who lack the moxy of their '40s counterparts who stood up to Hitler. Holy Terror is "a reminder to people who seem to have forgotten who we're up against."
It's been a long time since heroes were used in comics as pure propaganda. As Miller reminded, "Superman punched out Hitler. So did Captain America. That's one of the things they're there for."
"These are our folk heroes," Miller said. "It just seems silly to chase around the Riddler when you've got Al Qaeda out there."
A reader at Michelle Malkin's (from where I got Miller's quotes) notes how much of Miller's work in the 80s was decidedly left-wing -- his heroes always battled a quasi-fascist power structure. Indeed, The Dark Knight Returns fits that mold perfectly, as does a lesser known [personal favorite] Miller work, Give Me Liberty (and its not-as-good sequel, Martha Washington Goes To War). In the latter two, the stories focus on a dirt-poor inner-city young black woman, Martha Washington, who fights astronomical odds to first overcome a crooked military leader, and later, the very US government itself. I recommend the first series highly (I got all four original issues in mint condition for one dollar on eBay!); the sequel was needless, much like The Dark Knight Strikes Again. "DK2," as its known, seems like it was written while Miller was on acid.
Also quite noteworthy is Miller's "Born Again" run on Daredevil. Miller (who actually played one of the villain Bullseye's anonymous victims in the major motion picture "Daredevil") shines as never before on this Marvel run from the mid-80s, where the Kingpin discovers DD's secret ID, and subsequently ruins his life. The awesome David Mazzucchelli does art chores; Mazz also teamed with Miller on the stupendous "Batman: Year One" series.
Now, maybe Frank can have a chat with some of these guys ...!!
(h/t: Soccer Dad.)
It happened! The call came in around 5:25am -- no school!
Other than the child-like feeling of impending summer vacation, there's no greater "feeling like a 6th grader" emotion than a snow day!
UPDATE: I took the daughter and her friend up to the awesome Brandywine Creek State Park to sled and generally have some big-time snow fun. Little did I know I would have fun as well! Many students of mine, past and present, were in attendance at the park, so I was persuaded to join in in much of the sledding mayhem! We were there for some three hours and now I'm bushed.
Via Greg at Rhymes With Right comes an excellent article about an American professor's (in the United Arab Emirates) Muslim students' views about the recent events surrounding the Danish Mohammed cartoons, and subsequent boycott of Danish goods.
There are many good individual blog posts by these students. One struck me in particular. "Furgan" writes:
The boycott has not been imposed by any government but it's been done voluntarily by the people. Don't they have the freedom to choose what they want to boycott? ...
Basically due to a few in Danes [sic] the entire Danish economy is going to suffer the consequences. They have lost their Muslim customers. The Danish companies will have to strive very hard to come back. Muslims have boycotted any company that it associated with Denmark. If a company owns any strategic assets with any link to Denmark it is facing a bad time.
Absolutely! This is democracy in action! When people talk about "free speech," or "free expression," there is possibly no greater "expression" than speaking via your pocketbook or wallet. Public-inspired boycotts of companies or governments (local as well as national) are perfectly legitimate forms of voicing one's views. Such were used extensively in the US civil rights movement. When entertainers have said something [very] controversial, some have advocated boycotting the entertainers' music or movies. Free of speech does not mean one is free from criticism. And again, one of the best ways to "criticize" is with your greenbacks!
Well according to me the whole issue has been blown out of proportion. Yes I agree that a particular religion should not be branded with wrongful adjectives that spark emotional outbursts amongst its followers. clearly they were wrong in publishing the photos but first amendment rights and freedom of press and free speech should not be compromised to keep people not even living the country the article was published happy. so overall the danish newspaper was wrong in doing what they did but equal blame should go on the fanatical muslims which is by the way a very small population in the world for over-reacting with violence as their key.
What ever happened to peaceful demonstrations?
Exactly. I don't know of anyone that has said actually printing the cartoons was "a good idea" for its own sake; however, the paper definitely had the right to publish them. Just like Andres Serrano had the right. Just like NBC had the right. Like Ted Rall has the right.
... regarding this: Cheney Accidentally Shoots Fellow Hunter.
Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and injured a man during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, his spokeswoman said Sunday.
Harry Whittington, 78, was "alert and doing fine" after Cheney sprayed Whittington with shotgun pellets on Saturday at the Armstrong Ranch in south Texas, said property owner Katharine Armstrong.
Armstrong said Cheney turned to shoot a bird and accidentally hit Whittington. She said Whittington was taken to Corpus Christi Memorial Hospital by ambulance.
Cheney's spokeswoman, Lea Anne McBride, said the vice president was with Whittington, a lawyer from Austin, Texas, and his wife at the hospital on Sunday afternoon.
A letter writer over at Michelle Malkin's says, "I'd rather hunt with Dick Cheney than ride with Ted Kennedy ."
Well, just finished about an hour or two worth of shoveling. Looks like we were hit with about 10 inches or so of the white stuff.
Now the fun part -- the part that makes me feel like a kid again -- whether or not we'll have a snow day tomorrow!
Perhaps Republicans overreacted to former president Jimmy Carter's words at Coretta Scott King's funeral, specifically his words on warrantless wire-taps. After all, Mrs. King's husband was spied on by those Democrat "icons" John F. and Robert Kennedy. But more interesting are Carter's own actions regarding spying:
But in 1977, Mr. Carter and his attorney general, Griffin B. Bell, authorized warrantless electronic surveillance used in the conviction of two men for spying on behalf of Vietnam.
The men, Truong Dinh Hung and Ronald Louis Humphrey, challenged their espionage convictions to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which unanimously ruled that the warrantless searches did not violate the men's rights.
In its opinion, the court said the executive branch has the "inherent authority" to wiretap enemies such as terror plotters and is excused from obtaining warrants when surveillance is "conducted 'primarily' for foreign intelligence reasons."
Now, is it me or do those words sound suspiciously familiar ....?
Oh, and as Rhymes With Right points out regarding FISA:
Administration officials say the president has constitutional authority to conduct surveillance without warrants in the name of national security. The only way Congress could legitimately curtail that authority, they argue, is through an amendment to the Constitution.
The administration's view has been shared by previous Democrat administrations, including Mr. Carter's.
Let's look at what the Carter Administration had to say about FISA.
When Mr. Bell testified in favor of FISA, he told Congress that while the measure doesn't explicitly acknowledge the "inherent power of the president to conduct electronic surveillance," it "does not take away the power of the president under the Constitution."
You may not be aware, but there is an image (a sculpture, specifically) of the Prophet Mohammed at the United States Supreme Court:
The sculpture of the prophet at the country's top court is part of a marble frieze depicting 18 influential lawgivers, including Moses, Confucius and Charlemagne.
The sculpture of Mohammed shows him holding a Koran in his left hand and a sword in his right. The frieze has adorned the courtroom since the building opened in 1935.
And -- surprise!! -- even this has drawn the misgivings of [some of] the Muslim community:
Amid an international outcry over cartoons of Mohammed, some American Muslim leaders have expressed concern about depictions of the prophet at US public buildings, including the Supreme Court.
At the same time they draw a sharp contrast between the cartoons, which they consider blasphemous and designed to offend, and statues or sculptures meant to honor Mohammed as a historical figure and lawgiver.
"We have expressed the Muslim community's concerns about a variety of images of the Prophet Mohammed, whether it be in textbooks, editorial cartoons or even in the Supreme Court," Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said.
Indeed, CAIR has tried in the past to get the sculpture removed "as Islamic tradition forbids any depictions of the prophet." Really? Even the far-left Nation Magazine notes this isn't the case (or, at least hasn't been the case):
Most comments about the Danish cartoons of Muhammad assert that Muslims believe it is completely taboo to depict him, period. But is the ban on depicting the prophet really so severe? At Zombietime you can view dozens of images of the prophet, including some from the Muslim world: medieval Persian miniatures; a portrait of Muhammad as a youth by the contemporary Iranian woman painter Oranous (okay by Shi'ites because he wasn't the prophet yet); posters being sold in Iraq right now.
As "The Great One," Mark Levin, notes,
"What's next? Sandblasting the sculpture of Mohammed off the Supreme Court building? Removing books, or pages of books, from public libraries because they provide images of Mohammed? Maybe."
It's the "disparate impact" theme again: Parents and Students Sue Over School Exit Exam says the LA Times headline.
"For the very first time we are telling kids they do not get a diploma unless they pass an exit exam," said San Francisco attorney Arturo J. Gonzalez at a press conference. "We think that is unfair, we think it's unwise and we think it is illegal."
"Unwise"? Maybe. "Unfair"? No way. "Illegal"? Nothing is not illegal in the US if some judge says so.
This year's 12th-graders are the first class to face the graduation requirement, which includes a section of eighth-grade-level math and another of ninth- and 10th-grade-level English. Students can take the test multiple times and are required to answer little more than half of the questions correctly. The exam was offered over two days this week and will be given twice more this school year.
Yeah -- it's "unfair" to expect seniors to be able to do 8th grade math and freshmen English!! It's "unfair" that a student can take the test multiple times and only get slightly over 50% of the answers correct!! And, it's "unfair" that you can take the test over two days!!
Gonzalez said he "hopes to convince a judge that poor, minority students who are English learners are especially harmed by the test because they have not been properly prepared or given alternatives to the exam."
Elsewhere, John Rosenberg notes how "the Dept. of Justice has accused the Virginia Beach, VA, police department of discrimination because more blacks and Hispanics fail the basic math component of a qualifying exam."
Here's some sample questions of that math component:
1. $36,750 ÷ 52 =
2. $13,472 ÷ 13 =
3. $13 x 31 =
4. $314 x 5 =
6. 10% of $87,000 =
Man, don't kids learn this stuff by the 4th or 5th grade??
In other news, an academic conference was called off because a professor who is a known Holocaust-denier had material distributed prior to the meeting:
The conference, which was originally sponsored by the Ford, Rockefeller and Nathan Cummings Foundations, came under attack due to the fact that more than 8 of the 21 academics invited to participate in the conference publicly support boycotts of Israeli universities. Another decisive revelation that led to the postponement of the conference was that material distributed prior to the conference included an anti-Semitic paper by a Holocaust denier.
The AAUP (American Association of University Professors) called this an "egregious error," and [that it] "undermined the credibility of the conference."
Y'all have heard the phrase "damned if you do, damned if you don't." Here's a nigh perfect example of it: Yesterday's NY Times headline says "TOUGH U.S. STEPS IN HUNGER STRIKE IN CAMP IN CUBA." The first subheading is "FORCE-FEEDING DETAINEES," and the second subheading is "Steps to Avert a Death -- Lawyers for Prisoners Protest Treatment." (My emphasis.)
Yep, that's right -- Gitmo detainee lawyers are calling it "a disgrace" that camp guards are "restraining" prisoners on hunger strikes so that they'll receive nourishment. AN OUTRAGE!!
Of course, if the Gitmo guards ceded to the wishes of the detainees, well, just imagine the outcry from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and all the big MSM outlets like the NY Times: "US SITS BY WHILE DETAINEES DIE; DOES NOTHING TO PREVENT MASS SUICIDES."
Media Matters for America, "the 'progressive' media watchdog group run by the former self-professed 'right wing hit man' David Brock, and funded by some of the same people who poured millions into Democratic 527s in the 2004 campaign," is pissed that some Republicans and conservatives were complaining about the partisan politics injected into Coretta Scott King's funeral by James Lowery and Jimmy Carter, in particular.
As "evidence" of Republican "hypocrisy" on the matter, they provide a transcript of President Bush's eulogy at Ronald Reagan's funeral:
He came to office with great hopes for America. And more than hopes. Like the president he had revered and once saw in person, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan matched an optimistic temperament with bold, persistent action.
President Reagan was optimistic about the great promise of economic reform, and he acted to restore the rewards and spirit of enterprise. He was optimistic that a strong America could advance the peace, and he acted to build the strength that mission required.
He was optimistic that liberty would thrive wherever it was planted, and he acted to defend liberty wherever it was threatened.
And Ronald Reagan believed in the power of truth in the conduct of world affairs. When he saw evil camped across the horizon, he called that evil by its name.
There were no doubters in the prisons and gulags, where dissidents spread the news, tapping to each other in code what the American president had dared to say. There were no doubters in the shipyards and churches and secret labor meetings where brave men and women began to hear the creaking and rumbling of a collapsing empire. And there were no doubters among those who swung hammers at the hated wall that the first and hardest blow had been struck by President Ronald Reagan.
The sections in bold were highlighted by Media Matters as "particularly political portions of the president's eulogy, comparable to the political passages in Carter's and Lowery's speeches"!!! Then, it chides the conservative media for letting the president get away with it!
Lastly, of course, it encourages its readers to "'TAKE ACTION!' by emailing protests to, among others, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, the Los Angeles Times, National Review, the Wall Street Journal, and several individual commentators."
What a hoot.
Not all Latinos, though, are in step with the military's recruitment goals. In some cities with large Hispanic populations, the focus on recruitment has polarized Latinos, prompting some to organize against recruiters and to help immigrants learn their rights.
Critics say recruiters, who are under pressure to meet quotas, often use their charm and an arsenal of tactics, including repeated calls to a recruit, lunch at a favorite restaurant and trips to the gym. The Army also parades rigged-out, juiced-up Hummers wherever youths gather as promotional tools.
"We see a lot of confusion among immigrant parents, and recruiters are preying on that confusion," said Jorge Mariscal, a Vietnam veteran who is director of the Chicano/Latino Arts and Humanities Program at the University of California, San Diego, and is active in the counterrecruitment movement.
Um, that sounds absolutely NO different from when I and others at my high school were recruited "aggressively" by the Marines after they visited our school but one time. Constant calls. Lunch. Whatever it took. I had thought about enlisting; eventually I decided "no." I had to tell that to the recruiter about three times before he stopped calling, but the point is I was under NO obligation. The Times always likes to imply that there is somehow "unbearable pressure" put on these "poor" folks ... they cannot help but be swayed (funny how this tact is often taken when it regards minorities, as if they cannot decide for themselves what is best for them. Hey! Sounds like liberalism! No wonder!).
Imagine if there was a "counterrecruitment movement" on campus for academically unqualified minorities (basically, an anti-affirmative action protest). What do you think the reaction would be? It doesn't take an Einstein, or even a Scourge, for that matter. Indeed, such protests have already been "criminalized."
And here's a good one:
Fernando Suarez del Solar, whose son was a marine and died in Iraq in 2003, founded Aztec Warrior Project for Peace to help counsel Latinos on the military.
"Aztec Warrior".... for peace?? Talk about your ever-lovin' oxymoron! That would be like "Stalinists for Representative Democracy"! I just had to point that hilarious nugget out.
The UFW -- United Farm Workers -- is actively working to silence its critics via lawsuit. Marc Cooper of the LA Weekly, wrote an article critical of the union, as has the LA Times. The Cesar Chavez-founded organization, instead of answering the critics, is seeking to silence them:
The chilling tactics now being employed by the UFW are those it has learned from its abusive employers. Simultaneously threatening a number of news agencies and reporters with expensive lawsuits smells suspiciously similar to the corporate strategy of pressing so-called SLAPP suits against public critics. These suits are never intended to seek any real redress — only to inflict punishment. In this case, their collateral effect would be to shut down media scrutiny of the UFW.
Hube adds: Of course, I wonder if some will post about this -- even more than once. Or maybe not, since it's "worse" when an owner of a business takes action against someone who engaged in speech that was at least detrimental to the company's reputation. But that's only really "worse" because of the obvious Marxian implications ... the whole "power" and "worker/master" thing, y'know.
More on the idiocy that is the riots "caused" by the Danish cartoons of Mohammed:
In an interview with Britain's Daily Telegraph, EU Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini said the charter would encourage the media to show "prudence" when covering religion.
"The press will give the Muslim world the message: We are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression," he told the newspaper. "We can and we are ready to self-regulate that right."
Nice, huh? Thankfully, noted at the end of the article, the code would not have "legal status."
Several town employees told [Town Manager Mark] Stankiewicz they did not agree with his decision and worried the flag could provoke violence against Town Hall in light of the attacks against Danish and other European embassies throughout the Middle East. Stankiewicz described their concerns as an ''overreaction."
The Stoughton No Place for Hate Committee (neat name, eh?), a local antidiscrimination group, plans to discuss the episode at its meeting tonight because of fears that residents might be hurt or insulted. ''There's always that chance that there will be people who are offended, and we want to guard against that," said Karon Skinner-Catrone, chairperson of the 10-person group, some of whom are town officials.
"Being offended" -- the greatest malady of the 21st century. Just ask a radical Muslim. Or a multiculti leftist here at home.
... if we don't prevail against radical Islam:
A senior military commander of the Taliban says the Taliban will give 100 kilograms of gold as a reward to anyone who killed the person responsible for "blasphemous" cartoons in Denmark, Afghan Islamic Press has reported.
"Any one who will kill the person responsible for blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Mohammed in Denmark would be rewarded 100 kilogram of gold by the Taliban," Mullah Dadullah, chief military commander of the Taliban, said.
Dadullah also said the Taliban would give 5kg of gold as a reward to anyone who killed any military personnel from Denmark, Norway and Germany in Afghanistan. (Link.)
Still no word about rewards offered by radical Christians, Jews or Buddhists for cartoons "defaming" their sacred icons.
Courtesy of the Media Blog.
However, one honest "excuse":
"Out of fear of retaliation from the international brotherhood of radical and bloodthirsty Islamists who seek to impose their will on those who do not believe as they do. This is, frankly, our primary reason for not publishing any of the images in question. Simply stated, we are being terrorized, and as deeply as we believe in the principles of free speech and a free press, we could not in good conscience place the men and women who work at the Phoenix and its related companies in physical jeopardy. As we feel forced, literally, to bend to maniacal pressure, this may be the darkest moment in our 40-year publishing history."
"They want to test our feelings. They want to know whether Muslims are extremists or not. Death to them and to their newspapers." -- "protester" Mawli Abdul Qahar Abu Israra in Afghanistan, quoted by the BBC, Feb. 6.
Meanwhile, idiot president of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's past statement that the "Holocaust is a myth" will soon be translated into a new contest: Iran's best-selling newspaper announced it would retaliate (for the Danish Mohammed cartoons) by running images satirising the Holocaust.
Let me get this straight -- the "goal" of this contest is supposedly to "test" Western belief in free speech; that is, will European and American newspapers print these cartoons like they did the Mohammed caricatures? Heck, I'm sure many will -- maybe even more than printed the Mohammed 'toons. But what exactly is the political point here? The Danish cartoons' message was that radical Muslims are using Mohammed as their excuse for terrorism and all sorts of gratuitous violence; on the other hand, Iran's "contest" cartoons' message will be what -- that a concretely solid historical fact is, in fact, a myth?
Nah, not really. That would actually attribute a smattering of brains to these morons. All it really is is yet another excuse to engage in one of radical Islam's favorite activities: anti-Semitism. Wait -- let's be more general: wanton pure hatred.
Mara Liasson a few minutes ago on FNC's "Special Report" (paraphrase): "It may have been a mistake to run those [Danish] cartoons, and that it can be argued the reaction was equally egregious."
Equally egregious?? EQUALLY???
What determines the "resolve" of American newspapers when it comes to "offensive" cartoons? Most likely the probability of there being physical harm involved.
James Taranto notes how the Boston Globe typifies this:
Freedom of expression is not the only value at issue in the conflict provoked by a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons satirizing Islam's founding prophet, Mohammed. . . .
The original decision of the Danish paper, Jyllands-Posten, to solicit and publish a dozen cartoons of the Muslim prophet was less a blow against censorship than what The Economist called a schoolboy prank. . . .
Publishing the cartoons reflects an obtuse refusal to accept the profound meaning for a billion Muslims of Islam's prohibition against any pictorial representation of the prophet. Depicting Mohammed wearing a turban in the form of a bomb with a sputtering fuse is no less hurtful to most Muslims than Nazi caricatures of Jews or Ku Klux Klan caricatures of blacks are to those victims of intolerance.
Of course -- and it should come as NO surprise -- the Globe had quite a different take when it came to Christians:
[Blogger and lawyer Eugene] Volokh digs up a [Globe] editorial from 1999 praising a judge who ordered New York City not to withhold funding for a museum that displayed "a painting of a black Virgin Mary spotted with elephant dung," as well as two editorials from 1990 denouncing then-Sen. Jesse Helms and others who had criticized the National Endowment for the Arts over artworks including Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ."
These earlier editorials, Volokh writes, make "eminently plausible arguments." What they do not do is acknowledge that Christians have any reason to find the depictions of Jesus and Mary "hurtful."
My guess is that the Globe is "big and brave" on the latter example -- because they know damn well American Christians aren't going to take to the streets in riots, burning copies of the Globe and threatening to torch the Globe's offices and to kill its staff.
And then there's the Washington Post's Fred Hiatt, editor of the paper's editorial page, who said regarding the Danish cartoons "If I were faced with something that I know is gonna be offensive to many of our readers, I would think twice about whether the benefit of publication outweighed the offense it might give."
But just a day before, Hiatt defended his paper's running of Tom Toles' offensive cartoon portraying an Army quadruple amputee next to a "Dr. Rumsfeld," saying
he doesn't "censor Tom" and that "a cartoonist works best if he or she doesn't feel there's someone breathing over their shoulder. He's an independent actor, like our columnists." Hiatt said he makes comments on drafts of cartoons but that Toles is free to ignore them.
Asked about Sunday's cartoon, Hiatt said, "While I certainly can understand the strong feelings, I took it to be a cartoon about the state of the Army and not one intended to demean wounded soldiers."
Maybe Hiatt could have been "brave" and said something like "While I certainly can understand the Muslims' strong feelings, I took the Danish cartoon to be about the state of [radical] Islam and not one intended to demean the typical Muslim."
As Taranto says,
What accounts for the difference? A combination of fear and ideology. Muslim fundamentalists, or at least some of them, express offense by torching embassies and threatening terrorist attacks. By contrast, U.S. military leaders write firm but polite letters to the editor, and Christian fundamentalists ask their elected representatives to stop spending tax money on offensive stuff.
And here's the best line: "Never believe a liberal when he professes to find Christian fundamentalists 'scary.' There is no need to appease an opponent who respects rules of civilized behavior."
Congrats to the Pittsburgh Steelers (or "Stillers" as the natives say) for beating the Seattle Seahawks last night. Dan over at DanNation is probably the biggest Stillers fan I know; he even redecorated his site for the big game, and he got his dream come true. There's rarely a better feeling!
My favorite part of Super Sunday is the replaying of all the highlights of Super Bowls past -- especially the classic older games with John Fascenda doing the commentary, and the dramatic movie score-style music blaring away in the background. But, there's one game highlight I refuse to watch, and there's one I never miss.
Looks as if some of our posts about the Danish cartoon depictions of Mohammed have drawn some readers (via Google) from various Islamic countries ... including Iran.
Ironically, I write this post as I watch "Flight 93" on A&E.
At American universities? Hardly.
Being that free speech has been such a hot topic in the local blogosphere this week, I thought I'd keep on the same theme -- with a focus on the institutions that should be, arguably, the freeest. Here's a few samples for this Super Bowl Sunday:
University spokeswoman Denise Mattson told the student newspaper that the location of the protest was inappropriate, even though the university allowed a PETA table protesting the use of fur to be set up in exactly the same place a week later.
Better be careful how you "look" at that college dormmate!
McConnell was prevented from enrolling in the spring 2005 semester after Le Moyne officials became aware that he had written a class paper endorsing the use of corporal punishment in the classroom. The letter dismissing him from the program expressed “grave concerns regarding the mismatch between [McConnell’s] personal beliefs regarding teaching and learning” and the college’s philosophy.
See also the this CNN transcript.
She also "has absurdly labeled scholarship questioning some of the foundations for affirmative action as an 'extremely harsh' attack on students of color."
... this is pretty good!
That's what an "unidentified restaurant owner" said when he had to wash his own dishes after rumors of an immigration raid circulated in Philadelphia. The Philly Inquirer's Gaiutra Bahadur sets up the emotions we ought to feel:
Rumors of a raid by immigration agents in Philadelphia created panic in the city's Mexican community this week, leading many restaurant workers to stay at home, according to immigrants and groups that serve them.
"People have been very frightened," said Rocio Vazquez, consul for protection at the Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia. "They didn't go to work. They didn't take their kids to school. Some people have even said they moved."
Let's see, aren't these quite natural emotions for people who have broken the law and shouldn't even be here in the first place? Are we supposed to be gushing with sympathy for them -- and their employers?
In Delaware, "controversial" town councilman John Jaremchuk announced his candidancy for the Delaware State House. Why is Jaremchuk "controversial"? He had sponsored a [since-defeated] ordinance in the town of Elsmere which would have cracked down on illegal immigration -- it would have imposed a $100 fine on anyone not able to prove US residency within 72 hours, and a $1,000 fine on employers and landlords who hire/house illegals.
Though I personally have a problem with the potential aspect of police just going up to people without just cause and asking to see proof of residency, the idea behind Jaremchuk's proposal is only certain to gain more support as illegal immigration becomes a hotter and hotter issue -- and as the federal government continues to refuse to do anything about it. And Delaware's junior (Democrat) senator, Tom Carper, will most likely face off against Jan Ting, who plans to make illegal immigration one of his main topics of campaign discussion.
Of course, Jaremchuk has been called all sorts of names -- you know, like "racist." If anything, that will only serve to backfire in the long run. And, with Ting running for national office on similar ideas, I can't wait for the inevitable silly "racist" label to be directed at him -- Ting, an Asian-American.
BNP leader Nick Griffin will face a retrial on two race hate charges after being cleared by a jury at Leeds Crown Court of two other charges.
Party activist Mark Collett, who was acquitted of four similar charges, will also stand trial again on a further four race hate charges.
Mr Griffin, 46, and Mr Collett, 24, had denied using words intended to stir up hatred in West Yorkshire in 2004.
What did the two say that resulted in these "race hate" charges? Griffin called Islam a "wicked vicious faith." Collett gave a speech where "he described asylum seekers as 'a little bit like cockroaches.'" He also said in another speech "let's show these ethnics the door in 2004."
Unkind? Nasty? Even racist? Sure. But consider the difference between these two and Matt Donegan: The UK duo were acquitted of these "race hate" charges -- brought by the government -- but the government plans to retry them on further (similar) charges! Matt Donegan's blog entries, it could be argued, were nastier -- but there has been absolutely NO government prosecutorial action taken against him. He suffered the "wrath" of his private employer.
Via Michelle Malkin:
The Capitol police officer who arrested activist Cindy Sheehan went home from work early on Wednesday after receiving death threats. He's a plainclothes officer when Congress is in session and in uniform when they are out of session...
But I thought George Bush was the terrorist! And aren't these loonies just exercising their free speech??
"It's an uncivilized act. It's heinous." -- Hanifah Maidin, youth spokesman for the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, on that Danish newspaper's decision to publish caricatures of Mohammed.
Elsewhere: Check out these "lovely" anti-Jewish/anti-Israel cartoons from "Radio Islam."
Michelle Malkin notes a "bin Laden-as-Christ" painting. (Hey -- where are all those Christians fundies threatening death, murder, mayhem and decapitation?) In addition, she has a photo spread of various Muslim fundie nutjobs screaming, yelling and carrying on about the friggin' Mohammed cartoons.
The Philly Inquirer: "It has a lot to do with the difference in belief about freedom," said Mahmoud Mustafa Ayoub, a professor of Islamic studies at Temple University and a native of Lebanon. "The essential difference is how freedom is understood. I believe that my freedom ends where the dignity and respect for all the prophets begins."
How about that definition of "freedom"? Sounds great -- circa 1200 A.D.
... because its owner, Mike M., was arrested this morning for the profanity-laced tirades he frequently writes on his blog.
I'm kidding. It's a server issue, and Mike answered my e-mail query saying "The site will be back up ASAP."
UPDATE: It's back up as of early evening, Feb. 3.
The ACLU believes employees should be entitled to the same rights on the job as they enjoy off the job? Then why didn't they agree to take on Matt Donegan's case? When has an [unjust state] law (in this case, "at will" employment) stopped the civil liberties group from bringing suits in the past?
Nevertheless, it should be noted that "15 states have enacted laws that restrain employers from prohibiting legal activities as a condition of employment. For example, Colorado law makes it "a discriminatory or unfair employment practice for an employer to terminate the employment of any employee due to that employee's engaging in any lawful activity off the premises of the employer during nonworking hours...."
Unfortunately for Matt Donegan, he doesn't live in Colorado. Nor California, another "at will" state where a year or so ago, a Google employee was fired for stuff he wrote in his blog. If Donegan had read the "helpful hints" noted at this site, he may have approached his myspace writings a bit differently. For instance, hint #6 says "Understand common-sense culture. For instance, it's not generally accepted to talk about personal details like salary (and I can think of a whole raft of such issues like religion, sexual orientation, political persuasion, personal lifestyles, etc) in public spaces."
Also very insightful is this site which examines a question I posed over at Delaware Watch: what about people like movie and/or music stars who voice controversial public political opinions? And then, what of their employers' (movie studios/recording companies) rights, especially if what the actors/singers say is particularly offensive?
Meanwhile, the Wilmington News Journal Editorial Board jumps in on the Donegan matter -- on the side of the Dover Post.
UPDATE: Dana Garrett has been all over this issue with his usual controversial yet thought-provoking posts.
Well, it seems Cindy Sheehan wanted to make "a scene" at the State of the Union Address after all. In her latest Daily Kos entry, she admits as much, although some have zeroed in on the fact that she was "merely hot" and just wanted some relief (she thus exposed the "protest" T-shirt she had on). While the Kos entry does mention she "was warm from climbing 3 flights of stairs" and hence unzipped her jacket, she goes on to note
I wore the shirt to make a statement. The press knew I was going to be there and I thought every once in awhile they would show me and I would have the shirt on.
The debate over free expression is a good one here. Some have argued that Sheehan's 1st Amendment rights were violated (she herself says she is filing a lawsuit ... hey, if she didn't it wouldn't be America after all, eh?) whereas others have stated that it wasn't the time and place to protest. If, for example, Sheehan was allowed to wear such a shirt for that event, why wouldn't she be "within her rights" to take the microphone from President Bush to rebut him after each point he made? Where is the line drawn? And is a dress code a violation of free speech rights in this case?
Just imagine if Evangelical Christians or Orthodox Jews or even Radical Buddhists threatened to do what Muslim Fundies are -- threatening to kidnap and kill "foreigners" for the outrage that is cartoon caricatures of the prophet Mohammed. (You know things are bad, too, when the fundies are pissed at the French!)
Muslim fundies all across the Muslim world are miffed -- from Pakistan to Iran to the chaos that is the West Bank and Gaza. "If the European governments don't apologize by Thursday evening, any visitor of these countries will be targeted," said a Fatah Party gunman in Gaza.
Y'know, it's like the Palestinians, in particular, don't have anything else to worry about right now. They say they're pissed off, so they vote in Hamas to power, which essentially kills the peace process with Israel, and now they're threatening anyone who dares publish a caricature of Mohammed. Just imagine if Israelis used as their "excuse" (to eradicate Palestinians) that "they've stated they wish to annihilate God's chosen people from the Earth. That is blasphemy. Thus, we will kill anyone associated with this statement." You think the rest of the world would stand for that? Or that if American Evangelicals expressed the very same sentiment? Do you think the American Left would complain about the Evangelicals' actions and statements? (Um, absolutely.) So, where are they regarding the Muslim fundies' barbaric behavior ... over a friggin' cartoon?? Can someone show me some documented complaints from the Left? After all, Bill Clinton didn't condemn the fundies' antics -- he denounced the caricatures as "appalling."
Yeesh. Just imagine if a state-subsidized artist had made a "Piss Mohammed" and had it on display in a partly publicly-subsidized gallery? Pakistan would probably ignite what few nuclear weapons they have at their disposal in visceral anger!
Robert Menard, director of the media rights group Reporters Without Borders, said "We need to figure out how to reconcile freedom of expression and respect of faith." I wonder if he told Rolling Stone that regarding its recent cover featuring rapper Kanye West as Jesus Christ, eh?
UPDATE: British Muslim fundies say "Kill those who insult the Prophet Muhammad."
UPDATE 2: Rhymes With Right reports on one dopey Danish journalist who thinks a good way to "relieve tensions" between Denmark and the Muslim world is to have non-Muslims ... build a mosque for Muslims!
Also at RWR, I wonder what would happen if "Will and Grace" substituted some reference to Mohammed here. ...?
UPDATE 3: Another reason for Muslim fundies to murder -- if Billy Zane and Gary Busey played a Muslim soldier and doctor respectively in a movie.
Andrew Stuttaford notes how former president Bill Clinton ain't a fan of newspaper cartoons critical of the "religion of peace":
Under the headline "We have the right to caricature God," a French newspaper today reprinted the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have ignited extraordinary anti-Danish protests, death threats and boycotts across the Muslim world. France Soir published the drawings, first printed by Jyllands-Posten, a right-of-centre Danish broadsheet last September, across pages four and five of this morning's edition with an editorial that defended the freedom of the press. "The publication of 12 cartoons in the Danish press has shocked the Muslim world for whom the representation of Allah and his prophet is banned," the newspaper said. "But because no religious dogma can impose its view on a democratic and secular society, France Soir publishes the incriminated cartoons." For its front page, the newspaper even commissioned its own image, showing a peeved Muhammad sitting on a cloud with Buddha, a Jewish God and a Christian God, who says: "Don't complain Muhammad, we've all been caricatured here." In an accompanying commentary, the editor of France Soir, which is in financial difficulties and has a readership of around 60,000, said he would never apologise for the decision to publish. Serge Faubert wrote: "Enough lessons from these reactionary bigots! There is nothing in these incriminated cartoons that intends to be racist or denigrate any community as such. Some are funny, others less so. That's it. That is why we have decided to publish them," he added. "No, we will never apologise for being free to speak, to think and to believe."
Stuttaford notes that the previous day in Qatar, Clinton had referred to the cartoons as "appalling." Guess he's really cheesed now. And what do you know -- the French got one right! ;-)