WARNING! Beware of using the terms “natural family," "marriage" or "family values” ... at least in the states of the [in]famous Ninth Circuit (my emphasis):
A special session of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is being held today at the Stanford University Law School where lawyers are arguing whether the words “natural family, marriage and family values” constitute “hate speech” that could intimidate city of Oakland workers.
The words were used by two city employees who wanted to launch a group of people who shared their interests and posted a notice on a city bulletin board after a series of notices from homosexual activists were delivered to them via the city’s e-mail system, bulletin boards and memo distribution system.
But Robert Bobb, then city manager, and Joyce Hicks, then deputy director of the Community and Economic Development Agency, ordered their notice removed, because it contained “statements of a homophobic nature” and promoted “sexual-orientation-based harassment.” (Link.)
Two words: Oh brother.
UPDATE: Down in Florida, a nutty state legislator wants to ban the term "illegal alien" from official state documents.
"I personally find the word 'alien' offensive when applied to individuals, especially to children," said Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami. "An alien to me is someone from out of space."
"'Illegal,' I can live with, but I like 'undocumented' better," she said.
So naturally we need a freakin' legislative bill to ban the term!
Screen capture from News Journal's main webpage, circa 7:20pm:
Thanks as always, News Journal, for the laughs! (Story link is here.)
Delaware State University was ... "fortunate" to have former NAACP chief Benjamin Chavis speak recently. Why the quotes? Mainly 'cause Chavis offered Jesse Jackson-esque rhymes like the following:
"Our young people don't need to be chased; they need to be embraced."
This was in reference to a scene in Wilmington that he witnessed where police were giving chase to a group of black men. You see? No worries as to exactly what the cops were giving chase for; just "embrace" these men! It'll do good for all! Kumbayah!
Chavis, who co-founded the Hip Hop Summit Action Network with music mogul Russell Simmons in 2001, talked to the crowd about making money, obtaining power and gaining respect. Calling himself a "50-something hip-hop head," he said the network is designed to use the musical genre to fight poverty and injustices across the country.
He sees similarities between youth of the civil rights movement and the hip-hop generation.
"Both came up in protest," he said. "Both want to connect with the rest of the world and not go with the status quo. Hip-hop is impatient with poverty, impatient with police brutality, impatient with the lack of economic opportunity."
Indeed. Hip hop is all about "making money," "gaining respect" and "obtaining power." Just ask Jae Dolla$, profiled in February 18th's News Journal. In order to "make money," Dolla$ gave up his legitimate job (cell phone salesman) to ... sell drugs! Guess Dolla$ got "more respect" selling the rock than by selling phones, and with "more respect" and more money naturally flows "more power." That, and a chance to be a hip hop artist! (At least, according to Mr. Jae Dolla$, that is!) After all, people like Dolla$,
They think making it big in the hip-hop world is their only ticket out of the 'hood. They are willing to risk going to jail or getting shot -- the occupational hazards of selling dope on a corner -- to realize their dreams.
Isn't that a shame? "Only ticket out ..."? The News Journal ridiculously left this impression unchallenged, for the most part. There was the continued emphasis on "get rich quick or die tryin'," to paraphrase 50 Cent, as if this is either a "good thing" or the only thing. Which obviously, to anyone with a brain, it is not.
Granted, Chavis did not condone people like Dolla$; however, I believe he is mistaken that hip hop is synonymous with the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s. Then, dejure discrimination and all of its associated effects struck a resonant chord with most Americans because ... Martin Luther King Jr. and co. were not only legally correct, they were morally correct.
Hip hop, on the other hand, with its glorification of images of exploitation of women, crimes, drugs and easy money, turns many Americans completely off. Is it really society's fault that guys like Jae Dolla$ aren't willing to work their way up [corporate/work] ladder for better money making opportunities? Is it society's fault that the African-American out-of-wedlock birth rate is over 66%, thereby leaving countless kids growing up without fathers? Is it society's fault that too many of these children (and their parents) do not take advantage of the free education opportunities at their disposal?
Unlike the 50s-60s Civil Rights movement, many (most?) Americans view these problems as something that must be largely solved by Black Americans themselves. Hip hop that inspires such efforts is laudable, and Chavis is probably correct in that "most hip-hop artists are hardworking and law-abiding people." Unfortunately, it is this image that is barely getting through.
In conclusion, hip hop is just one other thing in American society that has pretty much embraced the concept of "it's all about me". But it's surely not limited to inner-city African-Americans. College students (the so-called "Generation Y") are #1 in narcissism, according to a recent study.
(Thanks to Hube for the research/writing assist.)
Representative Wayne A. Smith (R-Brandywine Hundred North) today announced that he is retiring from the House of Representatives as of Monday, March 12th, 2007. He also serves as the chamber’s House Majority Leader.
Smith, aged 44, is leaving elected office to take a position as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Delaware Healthcare Association (DHA). The Delaware Healthcare Association is a statewide trade and membership services organization that exists to represent and serve hospitals, health systems, and related health care organizations in their role of providing a continuum of appropriate, cost-effective, quality care to improve the health of the people of Delaware.
“Leaving the General Assembly is a difficult decision,” Smith said. “However, I am very excited about the professional opportunity of working with Delaware’s healthcare leaders on health issues. The Board and staff of the DHA are very talented and dedicated people. I have tremendously enjoyed public policy making as an elected official. One of the attractive features of this opportunity is that I will be able to continue to work on healthcare issues affecting our state’s residents.”
“I have to extend thanks to the citizens of the Seventh District for sending me as their delegate to Dover through nine elections,” Smith said. “It is a very special feeling to know people trust you enough to give you their vote. I have great constituents. Also, my many campaign volunteers and members of my Steering Committee I can’t thank enough. Their countless hours spent waging politics on my behalf is deeply appreciated. And I have to thank the members of my caucus for electing me as their Majority Leader. It is a tremendously fun job and I’ll always treasure my role as a legislative leader. I have enormous respect for all of the members of the General Assembly. The noise of a democracy at work is messy, discordant and at times frustrating. My fellow legislators are good people and good public servants who should take pride in their roles. I haven’t seen a legislative body yet that does it better than the Delaware General Assembly.”
“It’s been a great ride and I very much appreciate the efforts of the Governors I’ve worked with, staff in both the legislative and executive branch and my colleagues. They are all very special people.”
The Rev. John McDonald of Dover writes in to the News Journal comparing President Bush to the "Great Emancipator," Abraham Lincoln. While history obviously cannot yet adequately judge the current commander-in-chief, consider the points Rev. McDonald makes:
President Lincoln and President Bush show several remarkable similarities. Both showed courage and resolve in the face of an unpopular war. Both faced a Democratic party that drafted a declaration of the war as a failure. Both determined to conduct the war on military knowledge and not political jargon.
Both saw victory in the fiery trial of history. Both saw that the Democrats chose a legacy of defeat.
Both presidents faced a struggling war, wavering polls, and weak politicians. History tells how true patriots of the Union rose up and soundly defeated myopic politicians who sought to break the will of the people.
Both presidents faced pressure to cave, yet both would not let the freedom issue go. Both fear how Republicans will be destroyed. The slave owners then and al-Qaida now could cheer.
Actually, Rev., look at it this way: History now regards Abe Lincoln as one of, if not THE greatest presidents the United States has ever had. Why? Because he "saved" the Union. But at what cost? Bush-Haters would have been going absolutely beyond insane at the actions 'ol Abe took to defeat the secessionist South. He unilaterally suspended habeas corpus, a power clearly reserved only for Congress in the Constitution. Abe had asked rhetorically: If "all the laws, but one, [are] to go unexecuted, and the government itself to go to pieces, lest that one be violated?" In other words, Abe thought "most citizens would favor the suspension of habeas corpus over the destruction of the government, given the choice." But ... the "destruction of the government"? The United States certainly would have continued to exist, albeit without the sessionist states which desired to form their own, new, government.
Lincoln had little compunction about jailing political opponents and even members of the media who disagreed with him. He had Federal soldiers intimidating and taking into custody Democrat dissenters. Can you imagine if President Bush had attempted even a minute fraction of what Lincoln actually did if radical Muslim terrorists had, say, set off a dirty nuke in some American cit[ies]? Good Lord, the rage among the Bush-Haters would be at such a fever pitch that there would probably be several deaths due to brain anyeurisms. And unlike during most of the past, in this case these Haters would have a legitimate gripe.
I would say that we have fewer icons than we think. Interning the Japanese was a monstrous act as far as I am concerned. When Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, Supreme Court Justice Tawney overturned it claiming that Lincoln was worse than any despotic king in England had been. Lincoln's response? He simply disregarded the Court's ruling and even came close to having Justice Tawney himself arrested.
Be sure to read all of Garrett's comment on that post. It's notable because it's one of the few topics on which he and I actually agree.
Duffy has the scoop on yet another bit of PC ridiculousness -- y'know, the kind that says "It can't be bigotry since we're a [persecuted] minority."
I haven't blogged about "Battlestar Galactica" recently mainly because, in a nutshell, it's been too damn ridiculous. Last night's episode didn't really change things much, I'm sorry to say.
Here we are -- yet again -- in an absolute life or death situation, and the few surviving humans are ... going on strike ... because they haven't had a day off? Because working conditions are brutal?? The show's writers once again have attempted to demonstrate that they're "with it" -- they're "connected" with modern-day issues and concerns (in this case, growing social inequality, poor working conditions, child labor) yet they always seem to fail to grasp that the situation in which they themselves have placed ... themselves doesn't quite make for a believable (nay, feasible) yarn.
First, what does it say about the fleet's command that they haven't instituted a reasonable -- meaning flexible working schedule, adequate maintenance, etc. -- for vital services like fuel processing?? So it actually (hypothetically) gets to the point where survivors get SO disgruntled that they want to ... strike? Aside from the practical questions as to how Adama and Roslin would never let that happen (probably THE most vital resource for the fleet -- FUEL -- is given half-assed consideration??), would people running for their very lives, whose existence could be snuffed out at any moment, be so concerned about long work days -- enough that they'd refuse to process the very means which allows them to survive?
Second, how the frak are the people that were so royally screwed over by Baltar on New Caprica now following his snuck-out-of-prison memoirs, which is essentially is an interstellar version of "The Communist Manifesto"? The "former farmer" who ruled like a spoiled dictator on New Caprica surrounded in luxury (thanks to his Cylon benefactors) is now ... a galactic Che Guevara?? Sheesh.
Third, what the frak sort of Colonial government did the 12 Colonies really have?? We are led (made, actually) to believe that a civilization that has colonized a dozen planets and developed faster-than-light propulsion, hadn't already successfully dealt with classism? Social and economic inequality? This is extremely difficult to grasp. Planet Earth cannot even organize a one world government due largely to these vices, yet a human civilization that governed eleven more worlds somehow also could not. I don't buy it. This stretches credibility to the extreme.
In addition, Baltar's claims from his jail cell about how his world was somehow "backward" because it was the "food basket" planet rings hollow. Do Americans consider people who live in Iowa, Kansas or Nebraska as "backward"? Hardly. And in times of crisis, Americans of all social stripes come together against the common threat. If Americans can do this during, say, World War II, it begs the question as to why an interstellar civilization cannot when they're facing not just war, but extinction.
Adama's and Roslin's "tough" attitudes ultimately ring hollow as they gave in to every demand the "disgruntled" population had made. Adama tells Tyrol that he'll have his wife shot if he doesn't call an end to the strike. Tyrol complies, and Adama promptly gives him (and the strikers) everything they wanted. Hey Bill -- sooner or later people will be hip to your game. That they haven't already shows how lame the writing has become on the so-called "Best Show on TV." One can certainly posit that the writers are demonstrating the flexibility of the fleet's leadership in ever-changing circumstances. Phooey. Adama is supposed to be a grizzled veteran commander, and that he didn't adequately plan for vital services like fuel (by keeping its workers fairly happy) is not only unrealistic, but insulting to the [supposedly] smart viewership the show enjoys.
During my five-day (including the weekend) lay-up, I took the opportunity to rewatch "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" and this afternoon "Star Trek: First Contact" was on the SciFi Channel. I thought I had previously posted about the Trek movies; I had, but it wasn't a "best of" where I put the flicks in order from best to worst. Nevertheless, I'm doing it now, with much of the movie synopses culled from that previous post.
#1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The best Trek movie of all, it brings back the Ricardo Montalban character "Khan," a genetically enhanced superman that led the "Eugenics Wars" of the late 1990s. Originally seen in an episode of the original Trek series, Khan is discovered by, of all people, Chekov, on the planet on which he was marooned. (Trek factoid: Chekov wasn't yet even a character on "Trek" in the original Khan episode "Space Seed"! DOH!) From there on it's rip-roarin' Trek action. And who can forget Kirk's "KHAAAAAAANNNN!!!" That, or Khan's "He tasks me! He tasks me, and I shall have him!" I can't, but then I have no life!
#2. Star Trek: First Contact. Narrowly beats out "Trek VI" in my book. 'Ya gotta get Trek's coolest bad guys into a movie, eh? Enter: The Borg. The nasty cyborg collective attacks Earth, but unlike in the "Next Generation" series where the Federation had little defense against them, this time Starfleet pummels the Borg vessel mercilessly! But just before it's destroyed, the Borg ejects a "time sphere"! It's purpose: To go back in time and assimilate Earth some 300 years earlier! But Picard and the spankin' new Enterprise-E are in hot pursuit! Woo-hoo! Purists may not like how humanity's first warp flight was assisted by folks from the future, but it's done so well you really shouldn't care! One down side: Zephram Cochran as a rock 'n rollin' boozer. C'mahn.
#3. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Excellent flick centering on the Federation's desire to make peace with the dastardly Klingons. Or is it the other way around? Christopher Plummer is clutch as the Klingon General Chang who quotes Shakespeare ... in English and Klingon! Good parallel to modern-day middle east (Israel and Palestinians) where peace seems so impossible, and extremely brave and noble people must make extraordinary efforts to secure that peace.
#4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Definitely a keeper as the Enterprise crew travels back in time to 1986 to nab a couple of humpback whales in order to ... yep -- save the friggin' Earth. Classic moments abound: Spock learning profanity (and nerve pinching a punk rocker on a bus); Scotty trying to talk to a Macintosh computer (while divulging the secret of transparent aluminum); and, Kirk trying to convince a female marine biologist that he's from the future. My personal fave is Chekov looking for where the "nuclear wessels" are: "Yes, Alameda, that's what I said!"
#5. Star Trek Generations. The first Trek film to incorporate the Next Generation cast, it also neatly weaves Capt. Kirk into the picture -- and provides a Trek historic moment: Kirk's death. Malcolm McDowell plays a scientist obsessed with finding the "Nexus," a time anomaly where normal time does not pass and where its occupants are granted anything they desire. Gee, y'think this "Nexus" will play a role in how Kirk and Picard meet one another? Worth a look if not just to see what the Enterprise-B looks like. Oh yeah, and the Enterprise-D gets obliterated. And how could I forget? Data gets emotions. Finally.
#6. Star Trek: Nemesis. Years ago, the Romulans planned an elaborate deception whereby a clone of Picard and copy of Data were to infiltrate the Enterprise and Starfleet. Those plans were eventually sidetracked, but the clone -- Shinzon -- grew up on the Romulan sister world Remus, and became a leader. Now, he and the Remans plan to not only take over Romulus, but the entire galaxy! MU-HAHHAHAHAHHAHA!!. Seriously. And he has the means to do it with the ultimate fighting ship ever witnessed in Trek history, armed with the deadliest weapon. Would have done better at the box office, but was released when Trek fever was at a very low ebb.
#7. Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Much anticipated and not as lame as you may remember. If you can make it past the interminable "ooh-ing" and "aah-ing" of re-encountering the starship Enterprise in spacedock (awaiting Kirk and co.'s arrival), the story is neatly done. The ending actually could make for a cool sequel. Also, much speculation has it that the planet V-Ger encountered was the Borg homeworld! Sure seems plausible given what we see in the film and the amount of time it would've taken V-Ger to scoot back home to Earth!
#8. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Like the Motion Picture, not as lame as you may remember, particularly because "Reverend Jim" Christopher Lloyd plays the Klingon bad guy. And hey, 'ya can't kill off Spock! So, they bring him back. Noteworthy for the destruction of the original Enterprise. Oh, wait -- the series "Enterprise" changed all that. Never mind. Make that the second starship Enterprise.
#9. Star Trek: Insurrection. Just what it says: Picard leads an insurrection against anti-Starfleet orders. A Starfleet admiral and a race called the Son'a want what the Ba'ku planet has -- a special type of radiation that reverses the aging process. But since the radiation can't be "harvested," the Ba'ku will have to be forced off their own world! How un-Federation is that, yo?
#10. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The worst Trek movie of all time, hands down and the only Trek film I cannot sit and watch all the way through ('cause I get bored silly). Not only does it stretch science, but its own science fiction (like, the Enterprise traveling to the center of the galaxy under regular warp drive? No wonder Gene Roddenberry wanted to consider "Trek V" as "apocryphal.") At any rate, Kirk and crew journey to meet "God." It ain't really him. Oops. In addition, we meet Spock's half-brother. Another item Roddenberry would have liked to forget.
OK, so we have the Virginia General Assembly issuing a formal apology for slavery (actually, it says "profound regret"). Missouri is also considering one. The article goes on to quote two Black leaders in Delaware who say that DE's own General Assembly should adopt a similar resolution. (Of course, the two leaders just always happen to advocate liberal/left positions! Surprise!)
"Why don't we, being the First State, take a giant step and freely apologize for all the wrong and inhumanity shown to African-Americans?" said the Rev. Maurice Moyer, former president of the Wilmington chapter of the NAACP. "This should be placed before the governor on down to all the political bodies in the state."
Harmon Carey, director of the Afro-American Historical Society of Delaware, said he thinks the apology ought to be made at the federal level, as well as by the states that condoned slavery, including Delaware.
Carey also said research should be done on whether reparations should be paid to blacks.
"An apology, symbolically, is commendable," he said. "But it falls short in practical terms to addressing some of the wounds still felt today from the institutions of slavery."
At least Carey wants something other than meaningless words, I'll give him that. I mean, does anyone really think that each state that condoned slavery apologizing for it will "help heal wounds," or whatever other euphemism you prefer? The ravages of the awful institution are taught to no end in our schools, and every February (at least) in PSAs Americans are reminded of the horrible bondage we used to condone. A formal apology from states would garner a lot of press, but its effect would be zero. Exactly what would it do, on a practical basis?
I think reparations are a bad idea for several reasons. One, it will further divide us racially than we already are. Two, the process by which descendants of slaves are determined will be wracked by politicking and endless funds for the "studies." Three, "leaders" like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton (and others of a similar mindset) don't really want reparations because if they are paid, many [white] Americans will consider it "debt paid [in full]." What would they do as a result? They'd be without a job. For them, it's like how the need for affirmative action will never cease -- there'll always be "much more to do." Four, many Americans (rightly or wrongly) already consider things like affirmative action and welfare benefits a form of reparations.
Around the local blogosphere I've called Democrats "p***ies" for not putting their money (actually, restricting it) where their mouths are regarding Iraq -- meaning using their Constitutional power of the purse strings and cutting off funding for a war that they all decry. I don't call them that epithet out of a partisan, Jason-esque hatred; I'm pointing out a political reality. Voters put the Dems back in power because they're pissed at what's going on in Iraq. Period.
Now, Reason's Terry Michael tells it like it is (my emphasis):
It's hard to get out of a deal with the devil. That's the congressional Democrats' dilemma as they continue to treat the Iraq war as a speed bump on their pathway to the perks of restored power.
Take Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware. Asked on one of the Sunday venues for pompous pontificators how he would respond to any attempt by President Bush to escalate the war in Iraq (to "surge," if you prefer it in Newspeak), the Democratic "leader" on foreign policy responded, "There's not much I can do about it."
This is a man who sees a future president during his morning look in the mirror. Sadly, the glass reflects an empty suit who embodies the congressional Democrats' decision to reduce action on Iraq to a political calculus appropriate for the highway appropriations bill, not a moral imperative to challenge a policy that has sent thousands of twenty-somethings to their deaths in the desert.
You certainly can do something about it, Senator. It's called leadership. You rise on the Senate floor.
While I don't think an immediate withdrawal is the appropriate course of action, Democrats don't really want any sort of concrete action. That's why we have non-binding resolutions that supposedly make their party "look firm," but all the Dems really want to do is have the current policy continue so that hopefully they can again ride the tide of discontent -- this time to the presidency in 2008.
But a year and a half is a loooong time, especially in politics.
What happened to "Plaza Sésamo"?
Univision Communications Inc., the nation's largest Spanish-language broadcaster, may face a record $24 million fine from the Federal Communications Commission for falling short of regulators' expectations for educational children's programming, a newspaper reported Saturday.
Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin said the agency had decided to impose the fine to punish Univision for maintaining that soap operas were educational programs, The New York Times reported. Federal rules require television broadcasters to air at least three hours a week of educational shows for children. (Link.)
Soap operas -- educational programs?? Yeah, I'm sure a show like "Acapulco Cuerpo y Alma" -- starring the most beautiful woman on the planet -- could somehow be ... "educational."
This is why I always vacation on the Pacific coast (not really, but read on):
A tour bus of US senior citizens defended themselves against a group of alleged muggers, sending two of them fleeing and killing a third in the Atlantic coast city of Limon, Costa Rica police said on Thursday.
One of the tourists - a retired member of the US military - put assailant Warner Segura in a head lock and broke his clavicle after the 20-year-old and two other men armed with a knife and gun held up their tour bus Wednesday, said Luis Hernandez, the police chief of Limon, 130 kilometers (80 miles) east of San Jose.
The two other men fled when the 12 senior citizens started defending themselves. The tourists then drove Segura to the Red Cross where the man was declared dead. The Red Cross also treated one of the tourists for an anxiety attack, Hernandez said. (Link.)
Costa Rican Atlantic coast tourist spots pretty much suck, but for those on casual tours I suppose it's worth at least checking out the Atlantic coast. Actually, one spot named Tortuguero, a small tourist trap near the Nicaragua border, is a very cool place (although it takes a three-hour [river] boat ride to get there).
As for this report, the only reason it's news is because the tourists were Americans. I'd be more worried about getting mugged/robbed here in the US than traveling in Costa Rica.
I've often wondered about this; today the Maryland Conservatarian brings the issue to the fore again (my emphasis):
“Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Rep. Albert R. Wynn marked Presidents' Day yesterday at the state's oldest historically black university [Bowie State] with a call to expand diversity in higher education.” (Link.)
I especially like Congressman Wynn’s recommendation towards this:
“Wynn (D-Md.) said it is important to "preserve and expand" the roles of the nation's historically black campuses in higher education.”
It really is amazing how diversiphiles cannot see the contradictions they pose. If "diversity" is such remarkable asset (to higher ed., employment, whatever), then why is there not a call to reverse the expansion of HBCs (Historically Black Colleges)? After all, keeping these institutions "majority minority" would be a detriment to the much-celebrated diversity cause!
(h/t: Soccer Dad.)
Brendan Byrne of Doylestown thinks Congress (well, the Democratic majority therein) should be convicted of treason:
Friday, Feb. 16, 2007, I believe will go down in our country's history as a day of political treason and national shame. In a non-binding resolution, 246 members of our House of Representatives voted in favor of denying our troops in Iraq any reinforcements that may be needed.
Are there many in this great country of ours who can look into their consciences and say with a straight face that those voting in favor of this resolution really have the best interests of their country at heart?
The Constitution of the United States (Article III, Section 3) defines treason against the United States to consist "only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort." Can there be any doubt that the insurgents and terrorists in Iraq are aided and comforted by the constant undermining of our president and our troops by the Democratic-controlled Congress?
I don't think much really needs to be added to this inanity. Just keep in mind that not a single person from the Confederacy was tried for treason after the Civil War; indeed, "in the history of the United States there have been fewer than 40 federal prosecutions for treason and even fewer convictions." And Byrne wants to try Democrats in Congress for treason for ... a difference of opinion -- one which pretty much jibes with the desires of the majority of the American public, at that?
The astute among you may have noticed that I have been posting in the morning hours during the week this week. This only occurs if I have a day off or am sick. Well, this week I caught the flu (late Tuesday afternoon) and then yesterday (as the flu symptoms were waning) I had to have surgery to remove a basal cell carcinoma (the supposed "mildest" form of skin cancer) from my left thigh. Despite the doc telling me I had "two and a half times the normal amount" of local anaesthetic, some of the excision hurt like hell. Now, I have about ten stitches, a ton of bandage and tape ... and a small limp.
In a word, I'm miserable. To that end, a good supply of sci-fi reading sure helps.
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are A Rock, a Hard Place, and the Deep Blue Sea by Right Wing Nut House, and Islamist Historiography by Cross-Currents. All members, please be sure to link to both winning entries (and to the full results of the vote) in a post. The Education Wonks and Bookworm Room were the only members unable to vote this week, and the only members affected by the 2/3 vote penalty. Thanks to everyone for all the great entries this week... I'm eager to see next week's entries! Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|1 2/3||A Rock, a Hard Place, and the Deep Blue Sea|
Right Wing Nut House
|1 1/3||I'm Tired of ‘Supporting the Troops’|
|1 1/3||The Impossibility of Victory|
The Glittering Eye
|1||Best (And Worst) TV Show "Replacements"|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|1||Global Warming -- What Can We Do? (Part I)|
The Sundries Shack
|2/3||No, They Are Not America|
Rhymes With Right
|1/3||Getting the Grown-Ups To Grow-Up|
The Education Wonks
|1/3||The Temple Dodge|
Done With Mirrors
|1 2/3||No Blogger Is an Island|
|1||Five Years Went By Fast|
|1||Why Global Warming Is a Crock|
|2/3||Townhall Columnist: Our Troops In Iraq Desperately Need More Protection -- From Porn|
Ace of Spades HQ
|1/3||When Congress Turns Its Back On the Troops|
|1/3||My Favourite Militia|
The Possum Bistro
|1/3||Is the Teacher Teaching?|
Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher
|1/3||Abortion on Demand: Reverberations and Vicissitudes|
Check out the great news for my good buddy -- film-maker Heath McKnight:
Award-winning writer/artist, Rich Koslowski (The 3 Geeks, The King, Three Fingers), and independent filmmaker, Heath McKnight (9:04 AM , Skye Falling) are proud to announce that they've teamed up to produce a film version of Koslowski's popular comic book series The 3 Geeks.
"I was first contacted by Heath through a series of emails…he kept ordering copies of the comics," explained Koslowski. "It was a bit… curious . I thought he was either one very serious geek, or something else was cooking."
The 3 Geeks tells the story of three teenagers, Keith, Jim and Allen, and their adventures (or "misadventures") as obsessed comic book geeks. Koslowski has been nominated for several Eisner Awards––the comic book industry's most prestigious award––for his work on the fan-favorite comic.
Heath and I used to write for and help produce an Iron Man fan magazine (or "fanzine") back in the mid-late 90s. Heath's beat was always films, and he's now realizing his dream! I always knew he would, and I salute 'ya, brother!
Drake University has taken a novel approach to teaching foreign languages: Do it without foreign language instructors, and instead use a system "based on study abroad and individualized online instruction."
The Modern Language Association is putting the finishing touches on a report that will call for radical shifts in how undergraduate and graduate programs in foreign languages are taught, with a shift away from a language/literature model to one that places much more emphasis on culture, history, economics, politics and more. Philosophically, there are parts of the Drake program that appear consistent with the MLA push — both approaches argue that traditional teaching methods need to change, and that students need a broad understanding of the cultures whose languages they are studying, not just vocabulary and literature.
But there are key differences as well. Most notably, the MLA views faculty members as not only part of, but crucial to, instruction. Drake, as a university that did away with language departments, takes a different view, with most of the learning taking place in small student groups of four — coached not by a professor, but by a native speaker of the language, typically an international student.
Emphasis mine. This, in my view, is an interesting idea. I'm a big proponent of study abroad -- it really is the only way by which to gain fluency in a language (if that's your goal), and utilizing native-speaking international students may indeed serve as a catalyst for making that move to studying in a foreign country. However, a FL professor quoted later in the article makes a very good point:
Even if there is functional literacy, many say that the definition of college-level language instruction is being devalued and that the student experience is being cheapened. “There’s more than just the ability to learn to speak a language, which you could do in Berlitz,” said Ginny Lewis, who lost her job teaching German when Drake eliminated all the language faculty positions.
Lewis, who is now on the faculty at Northern State University, in South Dakota, said that “the students in my classroom have access to me around the clock — not only am I an educator with knowledge that goes beyond that of a 22-year-old native speaker, who doesn’t understand the how or why of language, but I offer students encouragement. I offer students a lot of background knowledge of why they are learning what they are learning.”
Lewis has an excellent point here, in part. For instance, would a 22-year old native Spanish-speaking student be able to tell us gringos when to use "por" and "para" -- the two most common terms for the English word "for"? Could this student adequately explain how to use the subjunctive mood in Spanish -- indeed, even explain just what the hell it is?
The article details what may explain why Drake made such a move: Language profs concentrate too much on language mechanics and literature. Students want to delve into more of the nitty-gritty of everyday language:
Robert Sanders, assistant professor of Spanish and coordinator of first-year courses at Portland State, said he was excited about adding the small group sessions on to more traditional language instruction. He said he viewed this approach as consistent with the “culture and languages across the curriculum” in which foreign language is not viewed through literature alone, but as part of a broader educational experience.
“The literature degrees have their place,” he said, but programs all over the country suffer because of “this institutional creep in which everyone is trying to copy the Ivy League and reproduce specialists in literature,” rather than focusing on globalization or culture or any number of other topics. “We need to break out of the fetish of literature,” he said.
Personally, I agree with that. I detested the literature courses I had to take in college. I would have much preferred something like the Drake approach instead of analyzing a novel (in Spanish). Discussing politics, economics, etc. would be quite intriguing and certainly would prepare students better for their travels abroad more than being versed in Cien Años de Soledad.
But even if innovative, the Drake approach -- using international students instead of professors -- sounds to me too much like the "cooperative learning" method used in [primary/secondary] schools where the teacher becomes a "facilitator" innstead of a teacher and merely "guides" students in their "learning." So, at Drake, instead of gutting the whole department, why not just utilize the expertise of your language professors in the revamped program? This seems like the sensible middle ground, especially when it comes to the instances where expertise is required (as I note above). And, as another professor (Rosemary G. Feal, the MLA’s executive director and a former Spanish professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo) mentions in the article,
“The first step in studying a language is acquiring basic fluency,” she said, and the Drake approach is well suited.
But as students advance, it’s time to ask questions like: Are there courses offered in the literature of Latin America? Feal noted that she could find plenty of English courses at Drake teaching foreign authors in translation, but wondered where the other courses were. And she stressed that this extends beyond literature.
“The question is: What comes next? After the foundational experiences, colleges and universities need to offer the opportunity to delve into academic content — in history, economics, popular culture, film,” Feal said, questioning how much of this could be taught without professors. She added that “professors with advanced degrees in languages are uniquely qualified” to offer such instruction.
Be sure to read the comments below the article where both sides of the debate (and the middle!) are represented [for the most part] intelligently and cogently.
This week's winner is Smyrna's George Bespalko who thinks Delaware teachers are to blame for the increased violence and disruptions in schools today:
The News Journal editorial must be applauded again for its stand on leaving state retirement at 30 years, except for police officers and prison guards.
Now some are trying to make the case that teachers should be included because there are many incidents of violence, threats and disruptions. This did not happen over night, but over time with some teachers losing control of classrooms and maybe entire schools. Now we have some teachers with tenure, 180-day school years, a health and retirement package paid by the taxpayer and who now want to retire earlier.
Ah, yes. George is obviously of the "blame the teachers for everything" crowd. Indeed, just think about how ludicrous the claim is that teachers "lost control of classrooms/entire schools" as if they would willingly do so. The fact is that teachers' discipline and classroom management hasn't really changed much at all over the years. What has happened is that removing chronically disruptive students from class and/or disciplining them has become more and more of a legal tinderbox. That, and the changing attitudes of [too] many parents who will side with their children over the teacher at virtually any cost. You might imagine the effect these would have on teacher attitudes.
If anything, George, teachers (and administrators) have responded to these factors in obvious ways (see if you can figure 'em out, Sherlock) ... which may make it appear that they have "lost control."
(And keep in mind I'm not even addressing the 25 year retirement for teachers that George doesn't like. Maybe I will sometime in the future.)
How 'bout that University of Delaware hosting "balanced" Black History-themed events? Thanks in part to posts past from Colossus' Felix, we see what an utter joke the term "balance" means to the modern university:
First up is the screening of Spike Lee’s HBO documentary “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.”
On March 5, Black Panthers cofounder Bobby Seale and Young Lords cofounder Felipe Luciano will take part in “Beyond Barriers: Coalition Building in African-American and Latino Communities. ”
NAACP Chariman Julian Bond will lecture on “Contemporary Civil Rights: How Do We Gauge Progress 7 p.m. March 14.
These folks aren't just on the left side of the fence, they're out of bounds.
UPDATE: Well, how 'bout that??
According to a new Gallup Poll, atheists are the only group who a majority of Americans would not consider voting for president. 45% of those polled said they would vote for an atheist, but 53% said they would not.
On the other hand, every other sub-group had a majority in their favor:
I agree with James Joyner who wrote "I’ve long known that an acknowledged atheist could never win the presidency. But who would have guessed that atheists would poll behind homosexuals?"
Why the negativity towards atheists? Well, like it or not, America is a religious country. People probably want a president who would consider that whatever actions he takes, he'll ultimately have to answer to a higher power. Without getting into a long-winded discussion of religion, I believe that most Americans (since most Americans believe in a God) at least in part guide their behavior based on how it will be judged "later" -- meaning at those ever-lovin' pearly gates. I know I personally do this, even though I do not believe in organized religion. (I am personally fairly religious. I just don't feel I need to attend a formal service to "make it real.") I try to treat my fellow man politely, to help those in need, not screw over people (even people I don't like) ... in essence to follow those 'ol Ten Commandments as best I can. Why? Because I want the Big Man Upstairs to look at me when I keel over and say, "Hube, you did OK. Come on up."
This is certainly not to say that atheists do not/cannot behave appropriately or morally; not at all. I am only acquainted with one atheist that I know of, and he seems like an OK guy. He certainly seems to care for his fellow man, etc., and isn't that what matters, after all?
Could I vote for an atheist for president? Probably, sure. Like any other candidate, I'd weigh all the positions and viewpoints and make a judgment. But in my lifetime, the question is moot -- I most likely will not even be placed in such a position. Any atheist candidate will never survive the primaries.
Rice met for two hours with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, resolute in his position that he must govern hand-in-hand with Hamas militants who refuse to moderate anti-Israeli policies. The United States consider Hamas a terrorist group.
Later Sunday, the U.S. diplomat held a similarly long meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert over a similarly hard-line position.
Emphasis mine. As Nordlinger rightly states,
Do you have that? Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist. The repeatedly declared, and acted on, goal of Hamas is to destroy Israel. Israel, meanwhile, refuses to negotiate with those committed to its destruction.
And these are “similarly hard-line positions.”
Indeed. However, on the other side of the coin, what happens when an avowed enemy makes an overture to quell hostilities -- and it's not even considered? As Delaware Watch's Dana Garrett has written about, it seems the United States did not even give a moment's notice to an olive branch extended from ... Iran:
Iran offered in 2003 to accept peace with Israel and cut off material assistance to Palestinian armed groups and to pressure them to halt terrorist attacks within Israel's 1967 borders, according to the secret Iranian proposal to the United States.
Flynt Leverett, who worked on the National Security Council when it was headed by Rice, said a proposal vetted by Tehran's most senior leaders was sent to the United States in May 2003 and was akin to the 1972 U.S. opening to China.
The proposal came in the form of a multi-page document that was given in late April and early May to a US intermediary by a member of the Swiss Embassy to the United States
If this story is legitimate -- and I've not yet found anything to refute it -- it begs the question: Why? Why would the United States not even consider the offer, especially when the recognition of Israel and cutting off cash to Hamas and Hizbollah were offered? Granted, Iran did want Israel to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders which, for many Israelis, is worrisome. Many would like a "buffer" or "safety" zone in certain areas that would extend into the West Bank area, especially. Which leads to another possible hassle: Iran said it would "oppose any attacks by Palestinians within Israel’s pre 1967 borders." So, if Israel wanted a few small "buffer" zones, the Iranian agreement would allow [Hamas/Hizbollah] terrorist attacks within these buffers.
That being said, these points of contention could have at least been discussed. But they were not. And I think that was a big mistake.
Via Greg at Areopagitica I saw this interesting list of the "20 Happiest Countries." The US didn't make the list (it's 23rd), but my second home of Costa Rica did. That's not a surprise to me; it's hard to find an unpleasant Costa Rican (or "Tico" as they call themselves) anywhere.
In the latest Academic Questions (the National Association of Scholars' quarterly journal), Mel Livatino has an unintentionally (perhaps intentionally) hilarious article titled "In Quest of Fame at the 4Cs." The "4Cs" is the annual College Composition and Communications Conference. (You can find the descriptions of many of the courses Livatino discusses here, in .pdf format.) In it, he describes numerous lectures and seminars whose topics, unfortunately, are all too common in this day and age. Check out this sampling of lecture/seminar titles:
And, perhaps the best title of all:
For more "excitement," be sure to check out the 2007 "4Cs Preview." Included are these soon-to-be classics:
Most of our favorite shows have had these instances -- a star usually gets a big head (rightly or wrongly) and decides to bolt a successful TV show, leaving the show's creators scrambling to find just the right "replacement(s)." Here are some of the best -- and worst -- replacements for hit (and not-so-hit) small screen offerings:
WELCOME BACK KOTTER. The show that propelled John Travolta to stardom, he was replaced by a dude named Steven Shortridge who played the ridiculously named Beau De Labarre. Naturally, sans Vinnie Barbarino, the show didn't last much longer. The Sweathogs culling some cajun-appellationed dude into their cadre was almost as bad as "Grease 2's" accepting Maxwell Caulfield into the T-Bird's realm. GRADE: D-.
THE DUKES OF HAZZARD. For one season during the 1979-1985 run of the "Dukes," a contract dispute between Tom Wopat and John Schneider (Luke and Bo Duke) led to them vamoosing the show. In came Coy and Vance Duke played by Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer. The acting surely was never a staple of "Dukes;" now it was non-existent. GRADE: D.
M*A*S*H*. After the first three awesome seasons of what for me is the best TV show of all time, McLean Stevenson (Col. Henry Blake) got a big head, and left the show for greener pastures. The problem for Stevenson, however, is that those pastures were full of manure. (Anyone actually remember "Hello, Larry"?) Wayne Rogers (Trapper John McIntyre) also bolted, but both his and Stevenson's replacements were pretty much up to the [big] task of carrying on the show's success. Uber-liberal Mike "Free Mumia" Farrell took Rogers' place, while Harry Morgan (who had actually played nutball General Steele in an early season 3 episode) assumed command of the hospital in Stevenson's place. The writers did a terrific job up until Larry Linville (Frank Burns) decided to cut out. Then the show began to descend into mediocrity. I couldn't stand William Ogden Stiers' Charles Winchester. GRADE: B.
CHEERS. In my opinion, one of the best instances of replacements working -- and making the show better. I didn't much like Nick Colasanto's "Coach;" Woody Harrelson's "Woody Boyd" was supposed to be pretty much the same, but he was hipper and funnier. The tit-for-tat between Ted Danson's Sam Malone and Shelley Long's Diana Chambers was hilarious, but when Kirstie Alley came along to replace Long, the show didn't miss a beat. GRADE: A.
THE THREE STOOGES. Guys love 'em, girls hate 'em. The Stooges lost the best Stooge of all, Curly, to a stroke in the mid-40s, so his older brother Shemp took his spot. Shemp's a lot better than people give him credit for; indeed, I'd say he's only a tad less funny than Curly and that's only 'cause he was thin and had hair! After Shemp, however, it's all downhill. Joe Besser was pathetic as the whiny Joe, and similarly with Joe DeRita as Curly Joe. GRADE (Curly to Shemp): B+; (Shemp to the Joes): D.
STAR TREK: VOYAGER. Perhaps not actually a replacement, but Jeri Ryan's joining the cast of the displaced Voyager crew in the Delta Quadrant sure upped the ... sex quotient. (I suppose it could be argued that Ryan replaced Martha Hackett's "Seska.") Ryan played the Borg "Seven of Nine" and the potential for storylines with this addition was pretty much fully explored. As was the skin-tight outfits that Ryan was always clad in! GRADE: A.
THREE'S COMPANY. John Ritter's physical comedy made this show a hit in the late 70s; not only that, but the fact that he lived with Suzanne Somers sure helped viewership! Somers was the first to get the swelled head, and she was replaced by former Rams (!!) cheerleader Jenilee Harrison. In a word, she was awful. Great to look at, sure, but her "acting" ability was about on par with William Hung's vocal skills. At about the same time, Norman Fell and Audra Lindley (Mr. and Mrs. Roper) got their own (short-lived) TV show, so Don Knotts came aboard. He didn't do that badly, but the usual [non] sexual banter between the Ropers was certainly missed. After the vacuous Ms. Harrison, Priscilla Barnes came on, but by then the show was on its downward spiral. To this day I still can't believe that Jack Tripper never scored with any of his roommates. GRADE: C.
BEVERLY HILLS 90210. I know what you're thinkin' -- "Hube, WTF??" Yep, this was my guilty of guiltiest pleasures of the 1990s, I'm here to tell 'ya. I take in pride in that I always amazed my wife by laying out the entire plot of each episode in the show's first two minutes! (She's easily impressed.) At any rate, the show's first big exit was firecracker Shannen Dougherty (Brenda); Tiffany Amber Theissen (Valerie) "replaced" her. Other exits (in no particular order) were Gabrielle Carteris (Andrea), Luke Perry (Dylan) and James Eckhouse/Carol Potter (Mr. and Mrs. Walsh). Perry's career must've been not doing too well because he eventually came back as a "special guest." Notables who "replaced" some of the above were Academy Award winner Hilary Swank as Carly Reynolds (can you believe it? She must cringe every time she thinks about this), Vanessa Marcil as Gina (yowsah!), Vincent Young as Noah (his favorite line: "Hey, I'm tryin' here, OK?"), and Lindsay Price as Janet. GRADE: B.
L.A. LAW. This was one of my favorite staples of the late 80s-early 90s. Star Harry Hamlin successfully shrugged off his "gay aura" following "Making Love" as high-powered lawyer Michael Kuzak. But Hamlin was one of the first stars to bolt the show, to be "sort of replaced" by John Spencer's Tommy Mullaney. Other newcomers were Blair Underwood (Jonathan Rollins), Amanda Donohoe (CJ Lamb) and Diana Muldaur as the hated Rosalind Shays. Jimmy Smits (Victor Sifuentes) was the next noted departure. By the time heavy hitters Hamlin and Smits boogied, the show was on its way out. But most of the newcomers did a decent job, especially the superb Spencer. GRADE: B.
THE X-FILES. The monotone-voiced David Duchovny vacated the hit show to former T-1000 liquid metal robot Robert Patrick in 2000. Since Patrick is a much better actor than Duchovny, it didn't matter much to me that the latter skeedaddled; however, by 2000 I had given up on attempting to figure out just what in the hell this show was about. Duchovny popped up here and there for some nebulous (and pointless) cameos after he quit, but who cared? GRADE: B.
Feel free to add your own best/worst in the comments. I know I've left out plenty of shows, but I dealt with those that I either watched or those with which I have a nostalgic interest. Have fun!
He suggests suspension of tiny, harmless particles (sized at one-third of a micron) at about 80,000 feet up in the stratosphere. These particles could be composed of diatomaceous earth. "That's silicon dioxide, which is chemically inert, cheap as earth, and readily crushable to the size we want," Benford says. This could initially be tested, he says, over the Arctic, where warming is already considerable and where few human beings live. Arctic atmospheric circulation patterns would mostly confine the deployed particles around the North Pole. An initial experiment could occur north of 70 degrees latitude, over the Arctic Sea and outside national boundaries. "The fact that such an experiment is reversible is just as important as the fact that it's regional," says Benford.
Is Benford's proposal realistic? According to Ken Caldeira, a leading climate scientist at Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, "It appears as if any small particle would do the trick in the necessary quantities. I've done a number of computer simulations of what the climate response would be of reflecting sunlight, and all of them indicate that it would work quite well." He adds, "I wouldn't look to these geoengineering schemes as part of normal policy response, but if bad things start to happen quickly, then people will demand something be done quickly."
Fellow MuNu-er Stephen Macklin over at Hold The Mayo says that Benford's proposal will never happen, even if it is a great idea (my emphasis):
Even if Benford's idea worked and it managed to stop climate change (whether you believe it to be a natural or man-made phenomena) and was otherwise benign to the environment and was as relatively cheap and easy as he suggests, it will never happen.
The Global Warming religion is not about the temperature of the planet, ocean levels, melting ice caps and stranded polar bears. Global warming is about control. It is about one group of people acquiring the power to tell the rest of us how to live our lives. An idea that prevents the climate from warming without that transfer of political power is dead on arrival.
Whatever you think of Benford's plan, I highly recommend his 1980 novel Timescape. Earth faces ecological armageddon, but a group of scientists discover how to send a message back in time to hopefully prevent the coming catastrophe. Excellent hard science fiction, and Delaware's own DuPont gets a mention.
Expect MSM pundits like George Stephanopoulis to keep acting like this. Here's the former Clinton operative on GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney:
"Polls certainly show that it is. He faces a lot of skepticism from evangelical Christians. When I spoke with him, I asked him how Muslims might perceive the Mormon belief that Jesus will return to the United States and reign personally here for a thousand years."
Does anyone recall anyone asking Joe Lieberman a similar question, especially how Muslims would react to a Jewish president (or vice president, which he almost actually was)?
In addition, Georgie "checked" with a Mormon spokesman about one of Mitt's religious claims and discovered what the candidate said "wasn't exactly true." Stand by to see if Steph "checks" with Koran experts or, as Mark Finkelstein aptly notes, how pro-gay and/or pro-choice Christians'/Jews' faith jibes with their beliefs.
Very interesting read for you sci-fi buffs.
OK, I'm against the war and everything, but even I recognize a complete pullout at this time would be an utter disaster. Aside from the fact that the Democrats have absolutely no balls to put their money where their mouths are, there is always that contingent who will perpetually make the case against military invasion and subsequent action. Take Massachusetts Dem. Ed Markey:
"It is time to pull our troops out . . . . The longer we stay in . . . the more chance we have of being sucked into another Vietnam in that region. ...Our troops must come home now. Therefore, if given the opportunity I intend to offer an amendment to the fiscal year . . . Defense appropriations bill that would require that our troops be pulled out . . . 15 days after the President signs the appropriations bill. That is more than enough time for an orderly withdrawal....We have run out of excuses for remaining . . . . It is time to come home."
Wait a second -- is Markey actually acquiring a pair of cojones?? Uh, no. The above quote comes from 1983 -- about the invasion of Grenada!
Ernest and Elaine Cohen of Upper Darby think the United States is akin to Stalinist Russia for "muzzling" scientists who believe in global warming:
We'd like to thank The Inquirer for the op-ed column on censoring government scientists ("Muzzling of federal scientists must stop," Feb. 8). About a dozen years ago, before President Bush, the Environmental Protection Agency gave a seminar in Philadelphia on how global warming would affect the climate in the region. What they said has come about: somewhat more precipitation, in the form of intense storms, not drizzle. Then, all talk was squelched.
Not since Galileo, or the Lysenko affair in Stalin's Russia, has the world seen such censorship of science on the basis of ideology. It is time that the American public knew the truth, so that we can be free again.
Their over-the-top hyperbole notwithstanding, Mr. and Mrs. Cohen ought to realize that it is the global warming skeptics that are being muzzled (or at least are attempted to be muzzled). Right here in Delaware, state climatologist David Legates has taken heat for his views on the warming topic. People have called for the decertifying of global warming skeptics and even labeled skeptics as akin to Holocaust deniers. Wanna go a step further? How about Nuremburg-style "war crimes" trials for global warming skeptics?
That sounds a lot more like Stalinist Russia than what Mr. and Mrs. Cohen offer. Global warming advocates have no shortage of proponents nor avenues of advertisement. They just concluded a huge international conference which garnered innumerable quantities of favorable press.
So, in a nutshell, give us a friggin' break.
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are San Francisco Has Bigger Scandals Than a Debauched Mayor by Bookworm Room, and Flagrant Evil by Gates of Vienna. All members, please be sure to link to both winning entries (and to the full results of the vote) in a post. Right Wing Nut House was the only member unable to vote this week, and the only member affected by the 2/3 vote penalty. Thanks to everyone for all the great entries this week... I'm eager to see next week's entries! Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|2 1/3||San Francisco Has Bigger Scandals Than a Debauched Mayor|
|2||What a Tangled Web|
Done With Mirrors
|1 2/3||Squeeze Play: How the Palestinian Summit in Mecca Overturned Bush's Middle East Policy|
|1 1/3||On the Abuse of Religion in Politics|
|1||At Least He Speaks the Truth|
The Sundries Shack
|2/3||The Blogosphere and American Politics|
|1/3||A Loaf of Bread, a Toga and No Go|
|1/3||Televise Supreme Court|
Rhymes With Right
|1/3||Was This Teacher "Framed" By a Computer Run Amok?|
The Education Wonks
|1/3||More Thoughts on "Articulate"|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|2 1/3||Flagrant Evil|
Gates of Vienna
|1 2/3||Iran's Obsession with the Jews|
The Weekly Standard
The Possum Bistro
|1 1/3||First Things First|
|1||Does Barnard Need Junk Academics?|
|2/3||Okay, So Maybe a Few More Words On This Whole Marcotte Dustup. Because Oprah Tells Me I Need Closure, and Because, Well, It Dovetails Nicely With Some of My Site Themes (UPDATED)|
|2/3||Changing the Wire Services, One Story at a Time|
|2/3||Those Who Wage War Should Call It War|
|2/3||Don't Trust -- Verify II|
|1/3||The Left's Identification With Murderous Aggressors|
|1/3||Restoring Humility To Our National Psyche in the Face of Nihilism (Repeat)|
All Things Beautiful
Our beloved Wilmington News Journal today gives us a "history of CO2" via one Robert Busche. Seems like Busche is little different from the Al Gore set; I mean, check this sub-header: Wonder how much harm it can do? Consider extinction.
Busche goes on to note that various extinctions throughout the globe's history have all coincided with staggering levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. The last extinction, "54 million years ago in the Paleocene epoch, had carbon dioxide at 950 parts per million," he writes. Continuing,
Scientists predict that at the present rate of increase of 2 to 3 parts per million annually, carbon dioxide levels will reach 900 ppm by 2200 -- about what it was for the last extinction.
Scary stuff, eh? Of course, it is extremely unlikely -- as in a next-to-zero percent chance -- that the major contributor to current man-made CO2 emissions -- fossil fuels -- will still be used en masse like they are today. Indeed, the world's supply of such fuels isn't supposed to last through this century, let alone the 22nd, so this tends to shoot a sizable hole through Busche's scare tactics right there. Second, Busche's argument is that high CO2 levels alone are responsible for the mass extinctions of the past. He doesn't address any other factors whatsoever in his column. Third, who exactly is Robert Busche? Here's all the News Journal offers us: He is writing today's "Delaware Voice" column and he lives in Wilmington. No mention of his climatological expertise, if it even exists.
How 'bout that? Busche gets major ink in Delaware's premier paper and apparently he's just a regular joe with an opinion ... like me. And all I have is this blog to get my opinions out there!
Meanwhile, former editor of The New Scientist Nigel Calder says "the orthodoxy must be challenged" when it comes to global warming:
When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works. We were treated to another dose of it recently when the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the Summary for Policymakers that puts the political spin on an unfinished scientific dossier on climate change due for publication in a few months’ time. They declared that most of the rise in temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases.
The small print explains “very likely” as meaning that the experts who made the judgment felt 90% sure about it. Older readers may recall a press conference at Harwell in 1958 when Sir John Cockcroft, Britain’s top nuclear physicist, said he was 90% certain that his lads had achieved controlled nuclear fusion. It turned out that he was wrong. More positively, a 10% uncertainty in any theory is a wide open breach for any latterday Galileo or Einstein to storm through with a better idea. That is how science really works.
Twenty years ago, climate research became politicised in favour of one particular hypothesis, which redefined the subject as the study of the effect of greenhouse gases. As a result, the rebellious spirits essential for innovative and trustworthy science are greeted with impediments to their research careers. And while the media usually find mavericks at least entertaining, in this case they often imagine that anyone who doubts the hypothesis of man-made global warming must be in the pay of the oil companies. As a result, some key discoveries in climate research go almost unreported.
My emphasis. To coin a cliché, read the whole thing.
An interesting post by SCSU Scholars' Janet discussing the social situation in Europe:
There's a reason Europe is declining - too much time to criticize others and too little work. Granted they lost a lot after two world wars but it also appears they lost their appetite for productive life. Their response was to put controls on their lives while denying the creative side of human nature.
Europe became a nation of takers. As a result, they work less, care less as individuals about their parents and children. That's why at least 35,000 people died in the 2003 heat wave in Europe, including almost 15,000 primarily elderly people who died by themselves in France. That's also why native-born Europeans have largely stopped having children. Providing constant "nanny state" procedures, though done under the guise of "caring" actually removes incentives for people to look beyond themselves. They abdicate responsibility to a non-living entity (government). But, life is not risk-free, it requires work. Once a society decides to "sit down", it is on its way to extinction.
My emphasis. This is pretty close to the crux of our discussions at the Indianapolis conference I attended this past weekend. One of the recurring questions was "Are people ultimately better off with the state having assumed so many of the functions that individuals and/or local groups/organziations used to tend to?" For instance, in the 1930s (The New Deal) social security was implemented, supplanting the support task that had been met by private means.
One very interesting discussion centered around something that was called "Tontine Insurance." (This link goes to an abstract of the actual article by authors Roger Ransom and Richard Sutch that we read prior to our discussion.) Based on Ransom and Sutch's analysis, the [New York State] government -- in the form of the Armstrong Investigation -- "stifled" a very innovative (and popular) method by which people saved for the future and to take care of their beneficiaries. The Armstrong committee's main thrust was the corruption and extravangance of the insurance companies' executives whom they believed were bilking policy holders of untold amounts of money. Instead of instituting sensible regulations, Tontine insurance was prohibited by the committee in 1906.
Ransom and Sutch concluded in their article,
Tontine insurance, we conclude, does not deserve the reputationit acquired as a consequence of the Armstrong Committee's investigation. During the late nineteenth century, this innovation helped many Americans save for their old age by providing an efficient, high-yield, low-risk investment available on an installment plan. In a time before either pension funds or social insurance existed, such an asset fulfilled an important economic function. Indeed, it may be that the prohibition of tontine insurance in 1906 hastened the introduction of both private pension plans and publicy funded social insurance programs.
This takes me back to SCSU's Janet quote from above, emphasized text: has government intrusion into the welfare arena "removed incentives for people to look beyond themselves"? Have people "abdicated responsibility to a non-living entity (government)"? I would also add "Does government really care about you, or does it care more about the extension of its power?" Politicians will gladly "take care of you" since it is likely it'll help them retain power. Politicians that have actually attempted to minimize or scale back the government's continuously expanding role in "people care" have literally been run down by angry crowds.
I've always loved this line from the unintentionally funny Ah-nuld action film "Commando." Near the beginning when Ah-nuld's C.O. pops in via helicopter to warn the Austrian that some baddies are after him, he says,
"You've made enemies all over the worid. It could have been the Syrians, the South Americans, the Russians, or a terrorist group. They'll find you."
Yeah -- it could be those dastardly South Americans! What, is the whole friggin' continent after him?? I mean, no narrowing it down, huh? Not the Colombians, or perhaps Peru's Shining Path ... no, maybe it's some black ops gauchos from the Argentinian pampas ...!
I know it's pretty easy to pick on "Commando." After all, just check out all these goofs and gaffes the flick had.
John Rosenberg notes how Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that the ever-nebulous concept of "diversity" is a good -- and authentic -- thing:
"The benefits of a diverse student population are not theoretical but real," said Ginsburg, who cited a 2003 Supreme Court decision to uphold the affirmative action policy at the University of Michigan's law school.
Unfortunately for Justic Ginsburg, that's pretty far from an accurate (and scientific) statement. As the National Association of Scholars has detailed, the so-called "benefits" of diversity are anything but real:
Unable to show a connection between the racial diversity of a student body and alleged educational benefits, the University [of Michigan] resorts to a methodological confusion, arguing first that racial diversity is positively related to four intermediate "campus experience variables" (i.e., enrollment in ethnic studies courses, attendance at a racial/intercultural workshop, discussion of racial issues, and interracial socialization) and, next, that these are in turn, (though rather weakly and inconsistently), related to the claimed educational benefits.
"The University falsely concludes from this that a positive relationship has been established between racial diversity and supposedly beneficial educational outcomes," said [the NAS's] Mr. [Thomas] Wood, "but because the Cooperative Institutional Research Program database on which the University relies took account of the four intermediate variables and still found no relationship between racial diversity and educational outcomes, the inference is patently false, as the University and its spokesmen should know."
"Diversity," and the supposed "benefits" associated with it, appear to be becoming as sacrosanct as the belief that humans are responsible for most of our current global warming.
Sometimes all it takes is one line from a letter to say it all. Thanks to Wilmington's Ernestine Dunn, we have such an example:
How would President Bush feel if a foreign country invaded the United States and tried to force democracy down our throats or run our country?
Meanwhile, it what has to be either the worst written letter in a long time, or the worst editing job, we have Evan Schilling from Newark:
The reason kids are getting obese is because residents of neighborhoods are telling kids to go play football, baseball and other sports other places than an open field.
So they don't have to listen to the clutter. After being turned away from many places to play. Kids are resorting to television and videogames for entertainment instead of playing sports outside. As a result, more and more kids are becoming obese.
Constitutionally protected free speech means the right to burn the United States flag. So, imagine what a public university's officials would say if a group of radical students did just that in a campus square. "What CAN we do?" they'd ask. "It's protected speech." And they'd be 100% correct.
Not so at San Francisco State University. Oh, well, if it was an American flag you can be there'd be no hassle whatsoever. However, the flags stomped on were those of Hamas and Hezbollah, and those doing the stomping were the College Republicans. (There are Republicans in 'Frisco??)
After students filed a complaint claiming they were offended because the flags bore the word "Allah," SFSU initiated an investigation into accusations of incitement, creation of a hostile environment, and incivility.
But of course! That is the very mantra of the Campus Left -- "hostile environment," "incivility," and that nonsense. But the only things "hostile" and "uncivil" were the ideas of the protestors -- hostile and uncivil to the [Campus] Left. And to the Left there is virtually no greater sin than to go against their prevailing orthodoxy. After all, Hamas and Hezbollah aren't really terrorist organizations, they're "freedom fighters" against the oppressive, imperialist American capitalist state, and that of the Zionist entity (y'know, Israel), and it is blasphemous to be "hostile" to people who are already "awash" in hostility.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has come to the aid of the College Repubs, writing to SFSU:
In a free society, neither SFSU nor any other agency of the government has the power to investigate a group simply for disrespecting a religious symbol. By continuing this investigation, SFSU is not just charting new territory in campus repression, but its actions come into direct conflict with the United States Constitution. The charges against the College Republicans must be immediately dismissed.
You may recall back here where I noted how preposterous a comparison of global warming skepticism to Holocaust denial would be; now, a popular syndicated columnist (occasionally carried by the News Journal) has jumped onboard: Ellen Goodman. She writes
I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.
How does one "deny the future" -- considering it hasn't even happened yet??
Elsewhere, environmentalists are lamenting the transport of flowers -- as in Valentine's Day flowers -- due to the CO2 emissions from the jets needed to fly the cargo:
"Air freighting flowers half way round the world contributes to global warming. You can argue the planes would be flying anyway but the amount of greenhouse gases pumped out depends on the weight of the cargo," said Andrew Sims, the policy director of the New Economics Foundation.
Of course, the private transport of those needed cogs in the economic pie, Hollywood movie stars, rarely, if ever, gets a mention in mainstream news outlets, save for some criticism of right-leaning outlets which point out that fact!
Further still, the president of the Czech Republic called out Al Gore on his climate alarmism:
Global warming is a false myth and every serious person and scientist says so. It is not fair to refer to the U.N. panel. IPCC is not a scientific institution: it's a political body, a sort of non-government organization of green flavor. It's neither a forum of neutral scientists nor a balanced group of scientists. These people are politicized scientists who arrive there with a one-sided opinion and a one-sided assignment.
I came to the University of Delaware Geography Department to pursue a Ph.D. in climatology, after completing my master's degree in environmental science at Johns Hopkins. Throughout my years at both institutions climatologists and climate researchers have always been skeptical about alarmist data regarding global climate change. Why quote the worst-case scenarios when much more accurate models are more probable?
Climate can change by a few degrees and not indicate catastrophic change -- and it has many times in the past. Carbon dioxide has been in larger atmospheric concentrations than the present with cooler estimated temperatures.
The public must remember that human-induced climate change is still scientifically unproved. The data is inconclusive and must be scrutinized. I'm proud to attend a university with faculty brave enough to challenge the alarmist data and get to the truth.
Ah, but you see, this will never satisfy the Ellen Goodmans, or even the daughters of supposedly misquoted astrophysicists who seem to believe that global warming skeptics are all tied to Big Oil, but scientists who believe said warming will bring about the Book of Revelation are merely noble creatures concerned about their fellow man.
(h/t to NewsBusters for 2nd and 3rd instances above.)
I caught a segment of "The O'Reilly Factor" the other night dealing with first, Joe Biden's use of, among other terms, "articulate" when describing Barack Obama; second, President Bush using the exact same term to describe the exact same guy (Obama). Both of O'Reilly's guests (both of whom were black) agreed that the term "articulate" is condescending when used to describe blacks. When I jibed Biden in this post, I made fun of him for his "cultural unawareness." After the O'Reilly segment however, I began thinking about this more, especially when host Bill offered to his guests that white Americans -- many -- see no problem with "articulate." They see it as a compliment.
Why would many white Americans see "articulate" as a compliment? For starters, does anyone recall the controversial "Ebonics" debate when the Oakland School Board wanted to utilize Ebonics instruction in the classroom? Even Jesse Jackson, never at a loss for a cause African-American (perceived or otherwise), thought the idea was silly. However, many scholars feel that Ebonics (or "African-American Vernacular English") is a legitimate dialect of Standard [American] English, or even its own separate language. So, if even some of these opinions are to be taken as legitimate, then Ebonics (AAVE) is clearly different from Standard American English. (Standard American English being what the vast majority of Americans, hence majority of white Americans included, speak.)
If AAVE is clearly different from SAE and is indeed a legitimate dialect or even separate language, then the question arises: Why do African-Americans consider it condescending when whites use the term "articulate" when a black American utilizes Standard American English ... and utilizes it well?
Unbelievably, I feel Jesse Jackson has it pretty much correct. (Don't think I'd ever say that.) AAVE is not the same as, say, Jamaican English. In Jamaica, that is the form of speaking among [the vast majority black] population. Here in the US, African-Americans comprise approximately 11-12% of the population. As Jackson states,
"While we are ... fighting to teach our children so they become more qualified for jobs, in Oakland some madness has erupted over making slang talk a second language. You don't have to go to school to learn to talk garbage."
And isn't that the bottom line, after all? Don't we want to teach [African-American] children the means by which to be most successful and productive when they're out in the working world? How would giving ... "legitimacy" to Ebonics as a separate language assist these children in the job market?
Linguist Charles J. Fillmore has a different take on this:
The way some African American children speak when they show up in Oakland's schools is so different from standard English that teachers often can't understand what they are saying. Such children perform poorly in school and typically fail to acquire the ways of speaking that they'll need in order to succeed in the world outside their neighborhoods. Schools have traditionally treated the speech of these children as simply sloppy and wrong, not as evidencing skills and knowledge the children can build on. The proposed new instructional plan would assist children in learning standard English by encouraging them to compare the way they speak with what they need to learn in school, and this cannot be accomplished in a calm and reasoned way unless their teachers treat what they already have, linguistically, as a worthy possession rather than as evidence of carelessness and ignorance.
This certainly makes sense from an educational perspective. It would be harsh to belittle a student who comes to school speaking Ebonics or something akin to it, instead of carefully and tactfully educating him/her on Standard English usage. Historically, when Africans were first brought to [North] America, they weren't permitted an education, and this obviously contributed to the formation of AAVE as the enslaved essentially "did what they could" with their new adopted language. But slavery has been extinct for a century and a half, and black Americans have been the recipients of formal, standardized education for some time now. It is certainly reasonable to expect African-Americans to maintain some (much?) of the AAVE that has been cultivated over the centuries. But, again, being a distinct minority in the United States has even greater disadvantages if there is a refusal to accommodate -- and adopt -- the main tongue of the country.
Fillmore notes that the state Superintendent of Public Instruction of California, Delaine Eastin, "worr[ied] that the decision to 'recognize' AAVE could lead students to believe 'that they could prosper with it as their primary language outside the home.' " This would be my fear as well, as it certainly seems to jibe with what Jesse Jackson was worried about. After all, in California, the decades-old controversy over bilingual education recently led to state ballot initiatives for English-only classes as many believed current bilingual programs in schools only served to perpetuate students' native language usage instead of mastering English -- the supposed intent of bilingual instruction. Many educationists believe that English-only classroom instruction is "destructive" to immigrant students' culture and self-esteem. The more radical of these educationists tie in English-only proposals to "white supremacy" and "white privilege"; however, I've not seen a call by the advocates of English-only instruction in [public] schools for immigrants to speak English outside of school, like in their own homes and such. That would be ludicrous.
I would worry that the teaching of Ebonics could lead to something like the curriculum of Afrocentrism that has been introduced into numerous schools across the country over the last couple of decades. Why is this worrisome? Just the fact that such a curriculum does little to prepare students for what they will face here in the United States -- our political system, laws, and especially economics. (Refreshingly, several years ago a black educator-turned consultant ran a workshop at our school and he denounced Afrocentrism in the strongest possible terms. I say "refreshingly" because public schools are usually prone to promoting theories that are on the polar opposite side of the philosophical spectrum than what this gentleman had delivered to us.)
In conclusion, back to the initial query: Is the use of "articulate" really a negative stereotype against African-Americans? I still believe that it is, given myriad other cultural factors other than just the legitimacy given to concepts like Ebonics. But certainly educationist-type ... "movements" like those praising Ebonics (and/or aspects of Afrocentrism) inadvertantly give a degree of seemliness to the interrogative and/or statement of "articulate" since they are "at odds" with the national standard (Standard American English). My "solution," for lack of a better term, is for everyone to just lighten up! We're becoming a nation of the aggrieved and of hurt feelings, and in this age where video camera-phones and such are everywhere, the unreasonable expectation that people's speech be "correct" in every and all instances is not only silly, but will lead to one bland -- and politically correct -- citizenry.
Wow, what an experience. Talk about having one's intellect stretched and challenged! And it was a lot of fun. The title of the colloquium was "Liberty, Markets and Voluntarism in the Progressive Era City." It may sound, well, "dry," but the discussions were superb, and you didn't have to be an "expert" in the field to participate adequately or to offer intriguing insights. That being said, the collective brainpower assembled (excluding myself, for the nonce) was impressive to say the least. University of Alabama's David Beito of the Liberty and Power blog (and who invited me to the conference) was highly enjoyable to listen to, and moderator Peter Mentzel of Utah State I could hear lecture all day. His knowledge is prodigious. I want to extend a hearty "thank you" to David Beito for his generous invitation and I'd surely love to participate in any future Liberty Fund event!
While in Indy, I met up with Greg of Aeropagitica! Greg generously bought me lunch at a great brew house (reminded me quite a bit of the Washington St. Ale House, for all you Delawareans) and we shared a couple hours of great conversation covering a gamut of topics. Below is a snap of Greg and I, after lunch, in my hotel's lobby. (Apologies for the poor quality; I don't think the concierge knew precisely how to operate my phone-camera!)
And almost as important as the conference (!) was a discovery late last evening on the TV while I was packing for home: Remastered original series "Star Trek" episodes!! The episode "The Doomsday Machine" last night was absolutely sensational with the updated special effects, sounds, and colors. But it was done tastefully -- the F/X were clearly not 2007 quality, but were improved just enough to really make the suspense -- and overall story -- greatly enhanced!
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Who Is George Soros? by American Future, and Media Mischaracterizes Senate Resolution Vote by The QandO Blog. All members, please be sure to link to both winning entries (and to the full results of the vote) in a post. Done With Mirrors was the only member unable to vote this week, and the only member affected by the 2/3 vote penalty. Thanks to everyone for all the great entries this week... I'm eager to see next week's entries! Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|2||Who Is George Soros?|
|1 2/3||Once More, William Arkin, With Feeling!|
The Sundries Shack
|1 1/3||An Open Letter To Governor Rick Perry|
Rhymes With Right
|1 1/3||What's Dunkirk Got To Do With It?|
|1||What Do We Do About Iran?|
Right Wing Nut House
|2/3||What Is It Good For?|
Done With Mirrors
|2/3||Muslim Anger Over Temple Mount Excavations -- AKA Hypocrisy In Action|
|1/3||To Find an Answer|
The Glittering Eye
|1/3||Climate Skeptic Criticized|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|2 1/3||Media Mischaracterizes Senate Resolution Vote|
The QandO Blog
|1 2/3||Once in a While a Veterans Thoughts Are Echoed|
Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
|1 2/3||The Ugly American|
VDH's Private Papers
|1||Jewish Liberalism and Its Discontents|
Diary of an Anti-Chomskyite
|2/3||The Message in the Body Count|
Sic Semper Tyrannis 2007
|2/3||Could You At Least Chew Before Regurgitating the Talking Points?|
|2/3||The Shining Path|
The Mudville Gazette
|2/3||The Study of Political Islam|
|1/3||Climate Change Beliefs Decided|
|1/3||Why Israelis Are Afraid -- Very Afraid|
Jewish World Review
|1/3||Insh'allah: A Nighttime Raid with the Iraqi Army|
|1/3||Neither Vendetta Nor Victory|
The Possum Bistro
Captain's Quarters (2)
Made it to Indianapolis only 20 mins. late. At the baggage carousel, the thing shut down and me and a fellow traveler were left without our bags. We were told to go to this office to give the relevant info so that we could get them on a later flight. Suddenly, this woman comes in and asks "Is there a [my last name] here?" Bingo -- my bag was merely stuck underneath the cover, and she had dislodged it. Lucky me. Not so lucky for my fellow traveler.
I'm staying at the Conrad Indianapolis which my pal Greg said is the only five-star hotel in town. He ain't kiddin'. My room is incredible. I'm livin' large. Flat-screen HD TVs in the main room and bathroom!! (WTF!) Space enough for three, but it's just me. Whoa.
More reports later (especially regarding the reason I'm here!) but I'm hungry and it took me friggin' 15 minutes just to find this Internet station. Big-ass hotel. Know what I'm sayin'?
OK, I said there'd be light blogging this week and there will -- just after today! I'm ahead of schedule on packing for my trip (I leave tomorrow morning) so I'm working off a bit of nervous energy by writing.
Anyhoo, check out how CNN attempted to scare those who have a beef with illegal immigration into essentially keeping mum: The KKK has seen an increase in membership "which some believe is the result of the heated debate on immigration, which at times uses hateful language."
Well, there you have it, folks. You don't want to be "associated" with that "fringest" of nutty wack-job organizations now, do you? Since an increase in their numbers may have something to do with the illegal immigration debate (oops, sorry -- "undocumented worker" debate), let's forego further discussion! I mean, you don't want the Klan to grow, do you? DO YOU??
Justin McCarthy wraps it up in a nutshell (my emphasis):
As previously reported on Newsbusters, the mainstream media overlooks fringe groups at anti-war rallies, pro-illegal immigrant rallies, or even extreme anti-American hatred at anti-Bush rallies overseas. However, when it comes to opposition against illegal immigration, the mainstream media tries to connect it to fringe hate groups where ever they can find it.
UPDATE: Talk about timing. Check out this interesting [unsolicited] e-mail I received recently:
Jail Politicians Not Border Patrol Agents!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 6, 2006
CONTACT: Americans for Legal Immigration PAC
Tel: (919) 787-6009 Toll Free: (866) 329-3999
Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) has called on activists from all fifty states, to call on Congress to pardon border agents Compean and Ramos and to launch Congressional investigations to determine why the Bush administration is acting more on behalf of human and drug smuggling cartels than the American public.
Border Patrol agent Ramos was severely assaulted in prison by illegal alien gang members on Saturday night, after America's Most Wanted aired a story about him. Agents Ramos and Compean were sent to prison for poor record keeping, after shooting a known illegal alien drug smuggler in the buttocks.
"We need these Border Patrol agents out of prison immediately," said William Gheen of ALIPAC. "Now is the time for America to start investigating which politicians and CEOs need to go to prison for subverting our existing immigration laws, depriving the public of government by the people, and facilitating the costly invasion of America."
According to statistics published by the office of Congressman Steve King (R-IA), between 12-25 Americans are killed per day by the criminal acts of illegal aliens in America. That estimate suggests that more than 4,000 Americans are killed each year due to the Executive Branch's failure to enforce the existing laws passed by Congress. In addition to those murders, thousands of Americans also suffer assaults, rapes, and thefts at the hands of illegal aliens, which have little or no fear of neither apprehension nor immigration enforcement.
"We do not need immigration reform," said William Gheen. "We need comprehensive immigration enforcement. There is massive loss of life, liberty, and property due to this invasion. The casualties at home are higher than in Iraq!"
ALIPAC Activists recently celebrated a raid on the Smithfield Foods Inc. plant in Tarheel, NC after months of activist pressure campaigns calling for the raid.
ALIPAC Activists attention will now focus on calling for Congressional investigations into the Bush administration for failure to enforce the existing laws of the United States of America, which were duly passed by the Representatives of the American citizenry. The failure to enforce existing laws has thus deprived American citizens of Representation and a functioning Republic for which the flag stands.
Many of the recent actions by the Executive Branch involving immigration issues benefit large corporations and drug and human importing, organized crime syndicates, while causing massive harm to American citizens.
It is time for official investigations from Congress! It is time to jail politicians, not Border Patrol agents!
Paid for by
AMERICANS FOR LEGAL IMMIGRATION PAC
Post Office Box 30966, Raleigh, NC 27622-0966
Tel: (919) 787-6009 Toll Free: (866) 329-3999
FEC ID: C00405878
I wonder if CNN will seek out Mr. Gheen and ask him if he knows that he's "encouraging" the KKK with this sort of rhetoric!
John Derbyshire writes in The Corner about his son's upcoming choice of foreign language in his middle school years. He says
We just got a flyer from the school board asking him to choose a foreign language class. The choices are: French, Italian, Spanish.
My advice to him (which of course he will ignore) is just to be hard-headed about it & pick the language most likely to give him an "edge" in future employment.
That rules out Spanish, since the USA is choc-a-bloc with Spanish-speakers, so the market value of this skill must be low.
My emphasis. Question: Do you believe this to be an accurate assertion? Sure, Spanish is by far the most popular lingo in the US after English, but wouldn't being fluent (or close to it) thus be an advantage when entering the job market -- especially for one coming out of a good college (like Derbyshire's kid probably will)? Not only in the US but what about the growing opportunities with NAFTA and now CAFTA?
Derb recommends his son take Italian because he (the dad) likes opera. Wha-a-a ...?
If you want your son to "get an edge" in future employment, Derb, get the middle school to offer Arabic!
Steve Dentel of Newark is this week's winner with this amazing bit of delusion:
The Jan. 28 News Journal had a front-page article minimizing the Washington peace march, an article focused on ridiculing Sen. Joseph Biden, and a column against Democrat state Rep. John Kowalko.
Instead, The News Journal could have reported a peace march that gathered a huge and diverse crowd against the war in Iraq; an article on the Senate resolution against Bush's Iraq policy that Biden shepherded through the Foreign Relations Committee; and a column praising Kowalko for not being deceived by Rep. Gregory Lavelle's bill which didn't even get unanimous Republican support.
The News Journal should tell the news like it is, and not filter it through conservative bias.
Anyone who puts the words "News Journal" and "conservative bias" together in the same sentence had better have their papers checked. Regarding Rep. Kowalko's pathetic vote, just check the excellent coverage of this debacle over at First State Politics and Delaware Watch. As for Biden's gaffe, it's actually a credit to the News Journal for covering an instance which would have drawn calls for a Republican to resign (re: comments directed at Barack Obama).
As for the peace march in Washington, it was appreciably smaller than previous [peace] demonstrations; what would be an actual example of bias (not conservative) is comparing the paper's coverage of that peace march and the pro-life march from a week before which drew substantially more people!
UPDATE: How dare he. Paul Smith Jr. swipes my intellectual property! He beat me to this earlier today.
I'll forgive you, Paul. This time. ;-)
I know Hube won't mind me handling the chores this time, especially with his schedule this week, but anyways, I am a bit more familiar with the local Philly papers. The winner for the Daily News this week is Gregory Williams of Downingtown. He writes:
ALL TOO OFTEN when a person of color has achieved something that is worth mentioning, it seems as though white America gets a little offended and intolerable when race is mentioned, as if to say, "Why make a big deal about it?"
But does white America understand the struggle, heartache and pain of black America? Do they have any idea of how it feels to be black in America today? Are all things equal?
Hey George! Can you point to me where some white folk were saying that having two black coaches in this past weekend's Super Bowl was anything but a good thing? And that it was a big deal? I'm betting not. And you know why? Because white America does have a pretty good idea of how far black Americans have come in our country's history.
I cringe when watching the news if there happens to be a robbery or murder and find out it's a black person who has committed the crime.
Look at New Orleans and the horrific things that happened there to the black populace. I would have never thought I would see black people treated so terribly in my lifetime.
And consider the person directly responsible for that city's safety, and who failed miserably: Mayor Ray Nagin. Oh, did I mention he is a black man?
So excuse us as we celebrate the Super Bowl coaches. Not taking away from the teams, the players or the sport, but taking the time to honor two men who may give a black child hope of a better future. This was black history in the making.
Not need to excuse you, George. We're celebrating right along with you, sir.
Shortly before the Paris climate change report emerged, the Union of Concerned Scientists published a study listing Legates among several scientists it described as "familiar spokespeople from ExxonMobil-funded organizations" that have regularly taken stands or sponsored reports questioning the science behind climate change warnings.
"I certainly think that Legates is a good example of someone who has chosen, for whatever reason, to have much of his work sponsored indirectly by ExxonMobil," said Seth Shulman, primary author of the Union of Concerned Scientists report.
Yesterday, WDEL's Al Mascitti also chimed in condescendingly against Legates, ripping him as if his associations automatically make his views incorrect, or at the very least suspect. Has anyone considered that Legates (and others) merely take(s) advantage of outlets that are willing to give a forum for his views ... because others won't? Is this an irrational action? Hardly.
Also not discussed by the News Journal's Jeff Montgomery (or Mascitti) are the millions in grant money that people who warn of impending [climate] doom receive to continue their studies of said apocalypse:
Just how much money do the climate alarmists have at their disposal? There was a $3 billion donation to the global warming cause from Virgin Air's Richard Branson alone. The well-heeled environmental lobbying groups have massive operating budgets compared to groups that express global warming skepticism. The Sierra Club Foundation 2004 budget was $91 million and the Natural Resources Defense Council had a $57 million budget for the same year. Compare that to the often media derided Competitive Enterprise Institute's small $3.6 million annual budget.
Meterologist James Spann adds:
I have been in operational meteorology since 1978, and I know dozens and dozens of broadcast meteorologists all over the country. Our big job: look at a large volume of raw data and come up with a public weather forecast for the next seven days. I do not know of a single TV meteorologist who buys into the man-made global warming hype. I know there must be a few out there, but I can't find them. Here are the basic facts you need to know:
* Billions of dollars of grant money is flowing into the pockets of those on the man-made global warming bandwagon. No man-made global warming, the money dries up. This is big money, make no mistake about it. Always follow the money trail and it tells a story. Even the lady at "The Weather Channel" probably gets paid good money for a prime time show on climate change. No man-made global warming, no show, and no salary. Nothing wrong with making money at all, but when money becomes the motivation for a scientific conclusion, then we have a problem. For many, global warming is a big cash grab.
* The climate of this planet has been changing since God put the planet here. It will always change, and the warming in the last 10 years is not much difference than the warming we saw in the 1930s and other decades. And, lets not forget we are at the end of the ice age in which ice covered most of North America and Northern Europe.
If you don't like to listen to me, find another meteorologist with no tie to grant money for research on the subject. I would not listen to anyone that is a politician, a journalist, or someone in science who is generating revenue from this issue.
Legates is listed as an adjunct scholar for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Yet, people must "question" the CEI and those who work/publish for them, while groups that are outspoken in their claims of impending-doom climate change should have their statements taken as gospel. What a laugh. Hell, Legates would make more dough by joining the global warming alarmist bandwagon!
But hey, maybe Montgomery and Mascitti can join in the fun and call for global warming skeptics to be treated as war criminals!
Elsewhere, Glenn Reynolds reports on the big international "Man-is-Responsible-for-Global Warming" conference. He writes:
I won't take it seriously until they ban private jets and stretch limos. No, seriously. A Gulfstream III releases 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide an hour. How can we demand "sacrifice" from ordinary Americans when our leaders -- including those who call for the sacrifice -- are flying in jets like this? If commercial first-class isn't good enough, they should stay home.
Depending on what Felix's and/or Jake's schedule is, there will be light blogging this week as I'm getting ready for a trip to Indianapolis to attend a Liberty Fund conference. I have a fairly large reading load to get through before Thursday, so that's how most of my free time will be spent, natch.
As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.
If you're a science fiction/adventure fan (like me, natch!), be sure to check out my pal William Powell Jr.'s new novel Valkyrie. I dug it so much I wrote a review about it!
I first met William in 2004 at a Washington DC blogger's get-together organized by La Shawn Barber. Once I learned that he was a scifi fan as well as a prolific writer, I knew we'd hit it off!
Why write unnecessarily when someone else has already written the words? Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds has offered his views on global warming, and they pretty much jibe with mine.
Not only that, take a gander at which scifi novel he mentions near post's end! Great minds think alike, eh?
UPDATE: George Will offers his usual insight. The key questions:
How much reduction of such social goods are we willing to accept by slowing economic activity in order to (try to) regulate the planet's climate?
We do not know how much we must change our economic activity to produce a particular reduction of warming. And we do not know whether warming is necessarily dangerous. Over the millennia, the planet has warmed and cooled for reasons that are unclear but clearly were unrelated to SUVs. Was life better when ice a mile thick covered Chicago? Was it worse when Greenland was so warm that Vikings farmed there? Are we sure the climate at this particular moment is exactly right, and that it must be preserved, no matter the cost?
Jeff Montgomery's completely uncritical article about the recent UN global warming report notwithstanding, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forgot to include yet another indicator of global warming.
This site has the potential to be hilarious; then again, who wants to give that much "free advertising" to someone who forms a coherent argument less than 5% of the time?
That, and "fish in a barrel" comes to mind ...
Nice -- San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has apologized for having an affair with his campaign manager's wife.
Newsom said "I'm deeply sorry," called what he did "a lapse of judgment," and "I hurt someone I care deeply about."
But this is San Francisco, after all. Anything goes! Neither the manager, Alex Tourk, nor Newsom have anything to either be upset or sorry about! I mean, who are they to make judgments about someone's behavior, huh?? And, who are we??
Lewes' Ernest Marsh is this week's winner courtesy of the following nonsense:
Bush supporters admonish people for not treating the president with respect. The reason Americans don't respect Bush is because he constantly lies and deceives them.
He lied about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and about Iraq being responsible for 9/11. He has lied for the last four years about winning the war. Unfortunately, all Bush achieved in his speech about Iraq was to tell Americans he is going to expand the war to include activities against Iran and Syria, in addition to sending more Americans to die in Iraq and spending billions more dollars.
Let us hope that Congress has the fortitude to end the Iraq war and concentrate on getting Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaida terrorists responsible for 9/11. And let us hope they can prevent the "decider" from starting a war with Iran and Iraq, even if it means having to impeach him.
Here we go again. It's like Ernie is lifting a page directly from the execrable "logic" of Delaware Liberal. Again, it's "Bush lied" about WMDs, yada yada yada, yet again need I point everyone to these inconvenient passages? And when/where did George Bush ever claim Iraq was responsible for the 9/11 attacks? This is just delusional fantasy. And more than a perfect reason why Ernie gets the award this week.
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are 9/11: Just a Real Bad Day by Right Wing Nut House, and New Trend on the Rise: The Patriotic Terrorist by The Huffington Post. All members, please be sure to link to both winning entries (and to the full results of the vote) in a post. Thanks to everyone for all the great entries this week... I'm eager to see next week's entries! Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|3 1/3||9/11: Just a Real Bad Day|
Right Wing Nut House
|1 2/3||They've Finally Admitted It|
|1 1/3||Israel's Position on the Iranian Threat|
|1 1/3||Patton Medicine|
Done With Mirrors
|1||The Fog of War|
The Glittering Eye
|1||2007 SotU Democratic Rebuttal Tidbits|
The Sundries Shack
|2/3||Bush on the Ropes... and the State of the Union|
|2/3||Too Cynical for David Broder|
|1/3||But Dan Says "There's Not Two Sides To This Story!"|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|1/3||The Imperative of the Age Part 2: Plans|
|1/3||Union Membership Down|
Rhymes With Right
|3||New Trend on the Rise: The Patriotic Terrorist|
The Huffington Post
|2 2/3||Self Delusion and Emboldening the Enemy|
|2 1/3||The Karbala Attack and the IRGC|
The Fourth Rail
|1 2/3||Enlightenment Fundamentalism or Racism of the Anti-Racists?|
|2/3||Crime and Punishment: Redux|
The Possum Bistro
|2/3||OK, Then. What Is It?|
|1/3||Of (Propaganda) Arms and (Sticking It To) The Man (UPDATE)|
|1/3||Rudy the Reaganite|
Ace of Spades HQ
|1/3||Our Worst Ex-President|
Folks, if we don't do something NOW, global warming could irreversibly threaten the very survival of humanity on the planet. After all, we've now been told that a mere decade could very mean the difference between calm and calamity.
Boy, alarmists must really like nice, round numbers. Check out this excerpt from Newsweek, dated April 28, 1975:
There are ominous signs that the earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production -- with serious political implications for just about every nation on earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only ten years from now.... The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it.
That Newsweek article was titled "The Cooling World," and had further gloomy predictions:
In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant over-all loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually.
Yeesh. Thankfully, here in the First State, a gent named David R. Legates -- who just happens to be the state climatologist -- has spoken out against all the "sky is falling" claptrap from the global warming alarmists. Legates is on the side against the state, opposed to "state regulators [who] argued that carbon dioxide from new cars should be regulated because of evidence the gas was contributing to rising global temperatures, climate shifts and changes in the environment."
Legates joined a group of scientists late last year in urging the court to reject the state claims, in a brief filed by the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute.
"It is simply impossible to conclude that the net effect of greenhouse gases endangers human health and welfare," the brief said.
Maybe, just maybe, the alarmists are beginning to get a bit sensible.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as noted by Iain Murray, "has quietly changed its definition of its projected temperature rises to include all pre-industrial warming, not just warming from 1990 onwards":
Our best information has it that the IPCC calculates that 0.8 degrees centigrade has already occured.
Subtracting that 0.8 from the projected temperature rises in the Fourth Assessment Report gives us a projected temperature rise this century of just 1.2 to 3.7 degrees centigrade. It also lowers the "best guess" for temperature rise to 2.2 degrees centigrade. This compares to the Third Assessment Report range of 1.4 to 5.8 degrees for 1990 to 2100. Yes, the IPCC has actually lowered even the lower band of its projections, despite all the hype that it has raised it upwards.
Interestingly, prominent "skeptic" Pat Michaels has been saying for years that the way the models behave coupled with real world data suggests a best guess of 1.7 degrees temperature rise this century. Pat's projection is now clearly towards the middle of the consensus. In other words, the IPCC has moved towards the skeptical position, so much so that the IPCC's lower bound for temperature rise is now half a degree less than prominent skeptics have been saying, while the skeptics' best guess is half a degree less than the consensus best guess. This is chump change compared with previous disparities.
I, like many others, don't have a problem with cutting back on greenhouse gasses. The problem we have is the constant "disaster is looming" catcalls from ... well, you know, and many of the proposed solutions which could not only adversely affect our economy, but redirect resources away from actual pressing needs around the world, like, say, preventable diseases such as malaria. Yes, malaria, which still kills millions every year thanks to another ridiculous pseudo-scientific apocalyptic prediction.
The fact is that there ARE two sides to this debate, just as there was back 30 years ago when the "next Ice Age" was possibly a decade away. Don't let anyone tell you differently, as there is ample evidence to rebut Ragnarok-ish global warming claims. And, furthermore, remember that the real debate is over man's influence on the warming. Few actually argue that the earth is not warming; what they argue is man's involvement and how significant that involvement really is.