April 30, 2007

Let's be honest ...

... there's no way John Edwards' "dream job" is to be a mill supervisor! I mean, how many guffaws did that draw when uttered? And let's be more honest -- what actually is preventing Edwards from pursuing that line of employment even now (or before)? Seems to me he could have had it at any time. Chee-yeah -- the dude who paid $400 for a goddamn haircut wants to be a mill supervisor. Yeah, John -- you're "one of us." Ugh.

At least Dennis Kucinich and Bill Richardson knew what the freak the question was about. They answered "astronaut" and "Yankees center-fielder" respectively.

On the GOP side, Sam Brownback gets the panderer award for his answer of "farmer." Puh-lease. The question was DREAM JOB, you dunce! What's preventing you from nailing that down right this instant?? John McCain's answer is also achievable right this instant: "foreign service."

Rudy Giuliani understood the question -- he wants to be the "[Yankees'] TV announcer." Mike Huckabee would like to be a "bass player for a rock band." And Tom Tancredo nails the obvious: "He wants to be president!" Hoo-rah.

For the record, my dream job is to be a science fiction or [Marvel] comicbook writer. As one of my favorite scifi writers, Larry Niven, once admitted in a book's prologue, getting paid to do that "is like stealing." I suppose getting paid to do anything you absolutely love feels that way.

Posted by Hube at 06:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

There's always a hidden cost to "cost-saving" measures

Cost-saving light bulbs? Not quite:

How much money does it take to screw in a compact fluorescent light bulb? About US$4.28 for the bulb and labour — unless you break the bulb. Then you, like Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine, could be looking at a cost of about US$2,004.28, which doesn't include the costs of frayed nerves and risks to health.

Sound crazy? Perhaps no more than the stampede to ban the incandescent light bulb in favour of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

According to an April 12 article in The Ellsworth American, Bridges had the misfortune of breaking a CFL during installation in her daughter's bedroom: It dropped and shattered on the carpeted floor.

Aware that CFLs contain potentially hazardous substances, Bridges called her local Home Depot for advice. The store told her that the CFL contained mercury and that she should call the Poison Control hotline, which in turn directed her to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The DEP sent a specialist to Bridges' house to test for mercury contamination. The specialist found mercury levels in the bedroom in excess of six times the state's "safe" level for mercury contamination of 300 billionths of a gram per cubic meter. The DEP specialist recommended that Bridges call an environmental cleanup firm, which reportedly gave her a "low-ball" estimate of US$2,000 to clean up the room. The room then was sealed off with plastic and Bridges began "gathering finances" to pay for the US$2,000 cleaning. Reportedly, her insurance company wouldn't cover the cleanup costs because mercury is a pollutant.

Um, I'll stick to standard light bulbs, if you please.

(h/t: The Corner.)

UPDATE: See the comments. Story is true, but danger appears overstated.

Posted by Hube at 04:54 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

April 29, 2007

Comics industry "squeamish" about upcoming Frank Miller offering?

Considering the ridiculous PC atmosphere in this [modern] era's War on Terror (which several Democratic presidential candidates don't think we're actually in, and fighting), it doesn't come as a surprise that comics genius Frank Miller's upcoming Batman vs. al Qaeda (titled "Holy Terror, Batman!") is being stalled because company execs ... are squeamish about "sending a franchise character on a blood-quest after terrorists."

Say whaaaat??

As previously noted here at Colossus, at least Miller gets it. And it's absolutely amazing how such a book would make execs squeamish, while they saw no problem with a radical group of heroes taking over the United States because of its politics, or likewise, a group of "superheroes" from countries like North Korea, China and countries in the Mid-East occupying the US for similar reasons.

Miller regrets the lack of cojones:

"Our hero's key quote is, 'Those clowns don't know what terror is,' " Miller said. "Then he sets out to get the guys."

With the hero as terrorism avenger, Miller is pointing to the days of comics in the 1940s, when Superman, Captain America and the Human Torch were drawn taking punches at Hitler or Hirohito.

"These terrorists are worse than any villain I can come up with, and I think it's ridiculous that people in entertainment are not showing what we are up against here…. This is pure propaganda, a throwback, there's no bones about it."

Miller also said he relishes a backlash. "I'm ready," he said, "for my fatwa."

Unfortunately, he's probably going to get one, too. But he does have balls, something that the execs lack. Pathetic that a death order may come down for writing a comicbook.

Posted by Hube at 09:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 28, 2007

Delaware Bloggers back ... with a vengeance

Blogging historians may remember the old "Blogolution" site. One of the first Delaware-centric blogs, it started in 2003, its authors were featured (or at least passingly mentioned) in such esteemed publications as The Washington Post and ... Delaware Today. Never a particularly leveraging seller in the marketplace of ideas, whenever you needed to be informed about the important issues of the day, Blogolution was there with a cheap joke. It closed shop back in 2005.

I recently corresponded with Blogolution's founders, Ken and Steve, and they're talking about relaunching the site. They said they're burnt out on traditional blogging, so they're thinking about focusing on their own political comic strips. Steve's drawing, Ken's scripting.

Here's a sample, used with permission, of course. The duo are aware that the actual layout still needs some image tweaking, but they request that you leave your thoughts/comments in the comments section here. Thanks!






Posted by Felix at 07:28 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Maybe folks just need to see it

Or, to put it another way, an addendum to my recent "Democrats Lied, People Died."

Posted by Felix at 04:08 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

An amendment we don't need

... at least based on this duo's logic. Martha Burk (of "Let women play at Augusta at any cost!" infamy) and Eleanor Smeal (President of the Feminist Majority -- majority of what??) want the [old] Equal Rights Amendment to be ratified because

Twenty-three countries -- including Sri Lanka and Moldova -- have smaller gender gaps in education, politics and health than the United States, according to the World Economic Forum. We are 68th in the world in women's participation in national legislatures. On average, a woman working full time and year-round still makes only 77 cents to a man's dollar. Women hold 98 percent of the low-paying "women's" jobs and fewer than 15 percent of the board seats at major corporations.

I see. And an amendment to the Constitution will magically close those "gaps." (By the way, where is this "gender gap in education"? All the stats I've read show a gender gap against males -- women make up more HS graduates and college graduates than men. Burk and Smear, er uh, Smeal must mean the "gaps" in certain areas like math and science.) Gaps that are the result of women's choices. I've already shredded the ridiculous and misleading "77 cents to the dollar" claim -- which is due to women's choices, and the supposed gaps in education and politics are ALSO due to women's choices. I mean, come on -- how exactly will an Equal Rights Amendment mandate equal respresentation in the Congress? It's "easy" -- just override other parts of the Constitution and established law allowing for people to VOTE for who they WANT! Piece of cake!

What makes this attempt even more of a sham is that part of the proposed amendment's exact wording -- Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex -- ultimately will mean squat as, for example, the 14th Amendment's plain wording has allowed for preferential treatment of women of other minorities (a misnomer, actually, since "women" are not a minority) in law and US Supreme Court decisions.

Burk should go back to picketing outside of the Masters golf tournament with her paltry 7 or 8 other protestors, and Smeal should try to figure out the oxymoron that is "Feminist Majority."

John Rosenberg has more.

UPDATE: AJ Lynch sends another article which shreds the "pay gap" complaint.

Posted by Hube at 09:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Watcher's Council results

And now...  the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Earth Day by Done With Mirrors, and The Big White Lie by City Journal.  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:

VotesCouncil link
2  2/3Earth Day
Done With Mirrors
2  1/3Presidential Power and Criminal Terrorists
Bookworm Room
2Helots
Eternity Road
1On Winners and Losers -- Harry Reid and Defeatism
Joshuapundit
1One Day Has Passed
The Glittering Eye
1Into Every Life, Some Reid Must Fall
Big Lizards
2/3Reid and the Dems: Cowardly, Immoral Jellyfish
Right Wing Nut House
2/3Cohen Must've Got Lost
Soccer Dad
1/3Quota Baseball
The Colossus of Rhodey
1/3Kevin Granata: Virginia Tech Hero
Cheat Seeking Missiles

VotesNon-council link
2  1/3The Big White Lie
City Journal
1  2/3Where Kurdistan Meets the Red Zone
Middle East Journal
1  1/3Getting the Message
The Mudville Gazette
1  1/3A Failure of Doctrine, Not of People
Winds of Change
1A Time for War
Treppenwitz
1We Get the Government We Deserve
The QandO Blog
2/3NY Times Public Editor Examines Paper's Duke Coverage
TalkLeft
2/3"To Jaw-Jaw Is Always Better Than To War-War."
Wizbang!
2/3Chomskyite Billionare Pleads Oppression
Diary of an Anti-Chomskyite
1/3Why the Liberal Media Whores Out for Terror
Breath of the Beast

Posted by Hube at 08:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 26, 2007

"Jaw-Jaw"

Jay Tea on why Democrats' advocating "talk" no matter what is so much BS:

You want examples? No problem. Find how many commenters who say that we should be talking with Hamas and Iran who also support Democrats blowing off briefings with the US commanders in Iraq and refusing to debate each other on Fox News.

Meanwhile, the talk about "carbon offsets" is just that -- talk. Turns out the whole concept is pretty much BS:

An investigation by the Financial Times suggests that many carbon offsets are illusory, and that there is little assurance that purchasing carbon offsets does much of anything to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Specifically, the report found:

* Widespread instances of people and organisations buying worthless credits that do not yield any reductions in carbon emissions.

* Industrial companies profiting from doing very little – or from gaining carbon credits on the basis of efficiency gains from which they have already benefited substantially.

* Brokers providing services of questionable or no value.

* A shortage of verification, making it difficult for buyers to assess the true value of carbon credits.

* Companies and individuals being charged over the odds for the private purchase of European Union carbon permits that have plummeted in value because they do not result in emissions cuts.

Posted by Felix at 06:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

Brent Grant of Kennett Square uses the VA Tech massacre as an excuse for "strict" gun control nationwide:

The events in Virginia emphasize the need for strict gun control laws nationally. If one wants to know what a future of rampant gun possession looks like, go to Iraq.

I shutter to think what the U.S. quality of life would be if everyone carried a weapon. It would be short and cruel, just as it is in Iraq and many other areas of our globe. Security would be impossible to maintain, as it already is in certain urban areas.

He'd "shutter"? What, is he a camera or something? Oh, SHUDDER!

First, not many Americans believe that everyone should carry a weapon. Second, anyone can pick and choose an "example" of what "rampant gun possession" looks like. For instance, I could say "What about Switzerland?" Exactly -- the number of gun deaths there is miniscule. There are also areas within the United States that allow folks to carry to guns and have very low gun crime rates.

There are those who purport that when women in Florida started carrying weapons, robberies declined. Did the same thing happen in North Philadelphia when many people there started carrying guns?

For every argument the National Rifle Association makes, one can find an equally valid counterargument. The whole issue comes down to values. Values are built by families and communities. Neighborhoods of families with high values will be safe.

But you've just made the NRA's and many others' argument for them here, Brent: You've proven that it isn't the guns, it's the people. Maybe we should allow federalism to work here? Let each state and locality decide what's best for them?

If people want to carry arms, they should be inducted into a well-regulated militia as the Second Amendment states.

Do we really think most of the people who use guns would also serve in a militia? Maybe every gun owner should be required to register with one.

Ah yes, yet another individual ignorant of the 2nd Amendment's history. I do not want to get into that history here; nevertheless, a standing army was frowned upon by the Founders, yet we now have one. But the clauses "being necessary to the security of a free state" and "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" also pertain to the citizenry's protection against government tyranny, not just protection against foreign invaders. It may seem an archaic concept today -- the citizens using guns against their own tyrannical government ... after all, the government has all the BIG weapons -- but would a [future] US administration [potentially] hesitate against infringing on the populace's rights if all guns were absolutely banned ... except for the military? I doubt it. Knowing that an average joe can get, and own, a gun will always make those in charge hesitate about extending their power.

Be sure to check out this opportune image.

Posted by Hube at 05:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 25, 2007

Democrats lied, people died

Democrat Senator Dick Durbin on the Senate floor today:

“I was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and I would read the headlines in the paper in the morning and I'd watch the television newscast and I'd shake my head. …[T]he information we had in the Intelligence Committee was not the same information being given to the American people. I couldn't believe it.”
“You see, in the Intelligence Committee, we're sworn to secrecy. We can't walk outside the door and say, ‘The statement made yesterday by the White House is in direct contradiction to classified information that's being given to this Congress.’”
“And so in my frustration, I sat here on the floor of the Senate and listened to this heated debate about invading Iraq thinking the American people are being misled. They are not being told the truth.”

This directly contradicts what other Democrat members of the Intel Committee said at the time: They agreed with Pres. Bush.

When pressed to state specifically "what wasn't the truth" and a "direct contradiction," a Durbin spokesman could only offer this:

Most agencies believe that Saddam's personal interest in and Iraq's aggressive attempts to obtain high-strength aluminum tubes for centrifuge rotors—as well as Iraq's attempts to acquire magnets, high-speed balancing machines, and machine tools—provide compelling evidence that Saddam is reconstituting a uranium enrichment effort for Baghdad's nuclear weapons program. ([The Department of Energy] agrees that reconstitution of the nuclear program is underway but assesses that the tubes probably are not part of the program.)

National Review's Stephen Spruiell notes:

Durbin's spokesman argues that the administration, while "factually correct" when it told the press that most agencies believed the tubes were part of a reconstituted nuclear program, was not being totally honest because it omitted the "greater expertise" of the Department of Energy.

Dick's just being his namesake, it seems to me. At any rate, the spokesman said Durbin can't say more because "it's classified."

Just another reason why Democrats aren't absolutely clobbering Republicans across the land. They're almost as full of BS as the GOP with regards to the war.

Posted by Felix at 08:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Voter Fraud? Not a big deal!

At least when it comes to investigating fraud that benefits Democrats, so says the Philly Daily News:

[a] recent report in the New York Times illustrates how the charge of pervasive voter fraud in the United States is itself a fraud. Not only are the number of actual cases small - just 86 convictions as of last year - it's becoming obvious that the charges provided cover for attempts to keep people from voting - that is, if they were poor or minority and likely to vote Democratic.

Obvious my ass. But I get it. Some of the nation's top politicians, including 2004 presidential loser John Kerry, have implied that GOP voter fraud cost Democrats the presidency in the last two presidential elections. But proof? Proof, schmoof!

That's why, under past policy, federal prosecutors were supposed to go after only schemes involving plans to illegally affect the outcome an election.

Oh, terrific! In other words, fraud is OK -- until it "affects the outcome of an election"! What is obviously overlooked is that how does anyone really know when fraud WILL affect an election? Isn't that why much of the fraud occurs in the first place? Did we know that in Florida 2000 going in? OK, so after the fact things were looked at there. Fine. But the Daily News only sees problems in Florida regarding supposed felons being wrongly purged off voter rolls. The opposite was also true. Using Daily News "logic," this "shouldn't really matter since it really all ultimately 'balanced out.' "

Should we skip other fraud merely because it didn't play a role in the election's outcome? Don't'cha think people will continue to engage in such fraud if what they do isn't investigated and prosecuted? Cripes, what -- do we prosecute robbery only if it "really affects a company's bottom line"? You can imagine the city's cops informing you: "Ah, it's no big deal. Your insurance will cover most of the loss. The crook didn't get away with that much." Gee, thanks. But this is the attitude the Daily News takes.

As mentioned, the editorial predictably bemoans the "impression" that all the GOP wants to do is "intimidate" poor and minority voters by going after the fraud. It offers up, also predictably, a couple anecdotes of people who probably really did make an honest mistake, and were prosecuted for a crime. But this, coming from Philadelphia, where voter fraud is legendary, is just plain hilarious. Voter intimidation? Try being a GOP voter in certain areas in Philly and getting by 250 lb. union goons. Better yet, try voting with these goons in attendance ... in someone's private home. (Yes, private residences have housed polling places in Philly.) Nah, that's not intimidation. Or the number of voters in Philly that cast votes from the grave each election. Or have addresses of dilapidated condemned buildings. Nah, that's not fraud. Well, not in the eyes of the Daily News, at least. 'Cause it "didn't affect the outcome of an election." As far as we know, at least. And this isn't even delving into matters like ACORN attempts at voter fraud recently, elsewhere in the country.

Can you imagine a conservative-leaning editorial blasting Democratic lawyers for going after companies like Diebold -- and making the excuse that "The Diebold software only fails a small amount of time, is virtually hack-proof, and only sometimes suffers mechanical breakdowns? And, that there hasn't been any instance of a presumed failure/hacking 'resulting in affecting an election outcome' "? Liberals would rightly blast it.

We've been consistent here at Colossus that ALL forms of voter fraud -- and potential voter fraud -- should be investigated and dealt with. We advocate voting machines that have paper trails (paper ballots being the best), as well as proper placement of polling places with zero harrassment and intimidation.

Posted by Hube at 03:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dopey Philly Inquirer Letter of the Week

George Magakis Jr. of Norristown is consistently inconsistent in his criticism of the recent US Supreme Court decision regarding partial birth abortion (emphasis mine):

The Supreme Court ruling upholding a ban on "partial birth abortions" - a political term, not a medical one - without taking into account risks to the mother's health is not necessarily a victory for the "pro-life" movement.

Doctors now are more likely to practice defensive medicine in cases where the need for such a procedure might arise in late-term pregnancies and may be more likely to counsel women in such cases to terminate pregnancies in earlier stages.

These actions would be reinforced because of the perceived liability to doctors should a mother die - because the doctor cannot perform such a procedure if the need arises during delivery - and also because of the risk of being second-guessed by zealous prosecutors. (Recall that Attorney General John Ashcroft tried to subpoena delivery room records.)

Thus, in their attempts to preserve the life of the fetus, "pro-life" ideologues may end up with the unintended consequence of a greater number of abortions.

Magakis is probably being nebulous on purpose. True, the recent decision does not make an exception for the health of a mother (but, again, it is incorrect to assume the SCOTUS -- as well as lower courts and Congress itself -- did not hear myriad testimony as to why the procedure is not necessary to preserve a woman's "health"), but it does make an exception for the mother's life. Thus, there's an inconsistency in his first and third paragraphs. His last sentence is just laden with the same political terminology he himself laments at his letter's beginning. Partial birth abortion has nothing to do with a "fetus." It has to do with a viable baby.

Liberals who are currently chastising conservatives to "face reality" on the war and other topics (rightly so, in many cases) ought to take a long look in the mirror on this issue.

Posted by Hube at 03:26 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 24, 2007

Strange visitors

Borrowing a regular feature from my blog-pal Greg over at Areopagitica, a recent visitor to Colossus from Google (Germany) arrived under the search terms "Deanna Troi breast milk."

Deanna Troi was the counselor on "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

Hmm.

Posted by Hube at 05:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Most cool

Scientists believe they have discovered the first Earth-like planet outside our own solar system. The only thing is, if there's life, it's doubtful it's intelligent. Why? The planet is "only" a bit over 20 light years from Earth. If there was intelligence comparable to (or greater than) our own, we'd have picked up radio signals from the planet long ago.

Oh well. Now, how do we get there? At our present level of technology, we'd need a multi-generational ship to get there in what -- approximately 380,000 years! By that time, we'll probably invent FTL (faster-than-light) technology, get to the planet in no time, and royally piss off the crew that left for the planet from way back in the 21st century!

Posted by Hube at 05:18 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 23, 2007

Quota baseball

John Rosenberg links to one of the more preposterous op-eds I've read in a LONG time. Chris Jenkins, a sports writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, hilariously argues for more skin color "diversity" in baseball teams, specifically his hometown San Diego Padres.

No major pro team is closer to the southern border of the United States. Wall notwithstanding, San Diego remains the lone big-league city that actually touches Mexico.

How odd, then, that no major league club has fewer Hispanic players than the San Diego Padres.

Yeah, it is odd. Is it equally "odd" that a city far from Mexico and/or the Caribbean has a plethora of Latino players? Jenkins also thinks it "odd" that the only team in all professional sports that has its city and team name in Spanish should have so few Latinos on it! So, he writes a serious op-ed on what it a most trivial matter? (And it is trivial: "San Diego Padres" was a Final Jeopardy answer many years ago. I recall it because I answered it correctly while all three contestants missed it. And I only attribute my right answer to my knowledge of Spanish.)

The latest racial report card issued by sports sociologist Richard Lapchick, director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, stated that the number of black players in the majors dropped from 19 percent in 1995 to 8.4 percent in 2006.

"I think the problem is only going to get worse before it gets better," Lapchick said. "Look at the pipeline of players from college and high school. It's down to 6 percent African-American. Look at the rosters of the historically black colleges and you'll find that they're predominantly white."

Where else but at a university will you find a "director of [the] Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports"? Sheesh.

Statistically, that major league figure is still above average to all those who believe in "proportionate representation," and the "pipeline" figure is right on the average. That's because blacks make up approximately 12% of the US population, and half that would be black males -- 6%. So, why is there a "problem?" Blacks still are dramatically OVER-represented in sports like basketball and football. Of course, there is no lamenting the dearth of Caucasians in these sports. Nor should there be. Because if any arena best demonstrates the value of merit, it is pro sports. It is beyond ludicrous to assume that sports teams do not want the absolute best players they can get with the money available to them. And who gives a s*** what the hell color they are? I'm gonna live and die with my St. Louis Rams whether the team's all black, all white, or something in between!

And then there's one of the two black players currently on the Padres, Mike Cameron, indulging in a stereotype (which is OK, y'know, because he's a person of color):

The predominant color in the Padres clubhouse is decidedly white. By contrast, Cameron once played on a Cincinnati Reds club with nine blacks among several players of color.

“It's most definitely different,” Cameron said. “You get all these backgrounds in one place, different thought processes. It sounds different. Most of the time, Latins and blacks have a flamboyance. We're louder.”

Nice.

“The game looks different than when I played,” said Dave Winfield, a Padres executive who also was the first to wear the San Diego cap for enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. “It was up to 28 percent (African-American) back then. Now it's down to 8 percent. Is it irreversible? We're well into something hard to turn around.

“I know this. Jackie Robinson would be dismayed.”

The important difference is that Robinson was prevented from manifesting his awesome talent because of asinine racial discrimination. It would be silly to claim that discrimination is responsible for the falling percentages of blacks in baseball today. Not to say that Winfield is claiming this, but his comments go to the heart of this whole ridiculous op-ed: Why is it a "problem" at all that blacks aren't deciding to play baseball anymore??

It's bad enough that "diversity" and "multiculti" dogma has extended its grip to the extent that it has. If it successfully reaches pro sports, you can kiss fandom goodbye. People are already fed up enough with the many pampered, over-paid, and non-hustling pro athletes. Try to enforce some sort of ethnic quota on teams and say goodbye to a huge chunk of ticket sales.

UPDATE: Heh -- someone from the San Diego Union-Tribune just visited Colossus! Hope it was you, Chris Jenkins! Now go learn how to reason!

UPDATE 2: Soccer Dad reported on a related matter over a year ago. I had a hard time believing it wasn't a joke.

Posted by Hube at 06:25 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

April 22, 2007

Is "someone" tryin' to tell me something?

It all seemed like a terrific idea ...

A teaching buddy of mine, a former high school soccer player, said his adult-league soccer team needed a goalie. I had played the position regularly back in junior high and some [mainly winter league] in high school, and I've always played the position at our annual staff-student soccer game. I've written about this previously, but today really got me thinking: Should I REALLY be doing this?? Look at my left eye!! (And the degree of swelling doesn't really come across in the pic.) First it was my ribs in week one, then a hyper-extended left wrist (which still hurts, but is markedly better) in week two, now after a mere FIVE minutes into my third game, I get cracked in the eye.

By "cracked" I mean I collided with a striker from the other team when a loose ball was played back to me. I clearly was going to beat him to the ball to kick it out of bounds, but he charged right ahead -- and into me. His forehead smacked right into my upper left cheek, right under the eye. Since I wear glasses (attached via krokie when I play sports), the frame sliced into the skin right above the eye and I began bleeding profusely. Exit one Hube from the game, ice bag on eye for the remaining 85 mins. (Ice soon to be on again in a few minutes, BTW!)

My two teaching buds on the team, as well as the other guys, think I'm just jinxed -- how can so many things constantly happen to the friggin' goalie?? Excellent question. Look, when I play, I play competitive. I'm not gonna "take the easy way out" just 'cause I'm friggin' old now. But the question is, am I too old to keep doing this s***? Healing takes more than twice the time it did when I was 20 years younger, and that ain't nothin' to shake a stick at. So, I'd be interested in my readers' opinions: If you were me, would you hang it up ... or stick it out? Let me know in the comments!

UPDATE (April 23 at 6:40pm): The eye's a lot worse. At least it looks a lot worse. But as for the actual physical danger to the eye, it's OK. The doctor gave me the thumbs up as far as any threat to the eye itself. Looks like no bone chip or fracture. Just a bunch of black & blue and whole lot of swelling.

And, I've reached a decision: I'm through with soccer. I enjoy it, sure, but it's not my fave sport anyway and I didn't expect that many of the players in this league would be as gung-ho as they are, and have a "winning-at-all-costs" attitude. We're not college dudes or fresh post-college grads who haven't a care in the world. We're older guys who have jobs and families. I don't need to have that jeopardized by some wannabe tough guy who feels he has something "to prove" or "make up for" from his past.

Posted by Hube at 01:02 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 21, 2007

What to do when you lose the debate?

Blame it all on their religion:

(h/t: The Corner.)

Posted by Hube at 03:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Another Dopey Lawsuit

How 'bout this: You report on the racist, separatist and incendiary language and philosophy of a nutty charter school ... and you get sued for "defamation." Not only that, because you reported the truth, some nutjob felt they had to issue a [phony] bomb threat, and it's YOUR fault that nutjob (or jobs) did what they did.

The Los Angeles Unified School District didn't see any problems with this school other than its low test scores. No problems? No problem with these statements by the school's principal?:

We don't want to drink from a White water fountain, we have our own wells and our natural reservoirs and our way of collecting rain in our aqueducts. We don't need a White water fountain. So the whole issue of segregation and the whole issue of the Civil Rights Movement is all within the box of White culture and White supremacy. We should not still be fighting for what they have. We are not interested in what they have because we have so much more and because the world is so much larger. And ultimately the White way, the American way, the neo liberal, capitalist way of life will eventually lead to our own destruction.

Hey, it IS California, after all, right?

This lawsuit should be chucked out of court faster than Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi criticize George Bush.

Posted by Hube at 02:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 20, 2007

Hube and Tommywonk on WILM radio

First it was Jason from Delaware Liberal and Dave Burris from First State Politics. Now it's round two: Hube from Colossus and Tom Noyes from Tommywonk.

Where and when? On Dace Blaskovitz's "Money & Politics in Delaware" every third Saturday on WILM 1450 AM radio at 10:30 am. (The show actually begins at 10:00, but Tom and I don't come on 'til the half hour mark, natch.)

Our first appearance is this Saturday, tomorrow. Tune in! 'Cause you know you have nothin' else better to do, right?

UPDATE (21 April at 11:04am): I was uncharacteristically a bit nervous this morning. Maybe too much coffee? At any rate, I hope I didn't sound like too much of a shlub ... I sure wish I could sound as good as Tom, that's for sure! He has a confident demeanor and terrific radio voice. Thanks once again to Dace Blaskovitz, the host, for having Tom and I on the air.

Posted by Hube at 06:24 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Watcher's Council results

And now...  the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Fighting Back Was Not an Option, Part 2 by Big Lizards, and The Laughter in the Dark by The Belmont Club.  All members, please be sure to link to both winning entries (and to the full results of the vote) in a post.  Only one member was unable to vote this week, but was unaffected 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:

VotesCouncil link
3  1/3Fighting Back Was Not an Option, Part 2
Big Lizards
1  2/3Media At Its Worst On Display At Virginia Tech
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1Happy Netted Nose
Done With Mirrors
1The Beast Among Us
Eternity Road
1They Should Get Out More
The Glittering Eye
2/3Hokie Horror
Rhymes With Right
2/3Confession: I Hate Democracy
Right Wing Nut House
2/3When Sorry Is Really... ‘Sorry’.
Joshuapundit
2/3Desegregation Consternation
The Colossus of Rhodey
1/3Hero and Villain
Soccer Dad

VotesNon-council link
2  1/3The Laughter in the Dark
The Belmont Club
1  1/3BREAKING: Present At the Bombing
Pajamas Media
1  1/3Tax Day Self-Congratulations
The QandO Blog
1  1/3Bill Clinton Grabs Some Contributions for Hillary
Pillage Idiot
1A Few Thoughts on Female Leadership
Western Survival
2/3And Yet There Are Heroes
The Remedy
2/3The Proper Way to Die
Freedom's Cost
2/3Anthrax: Some New Findings
American Thinker
2/3Professional Revertard Yvonne Ridley Misquotes, Misrepresents Self.
Tao of Defiance
2/3VA Tech & the Vampire Media
CDR Salamander
1/3Brown-Out: "Diversity," Inclusion, Segregation, Discrimination
Discriminations

Posted by Hube at 05:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Not Even Close

The Philly Inquirer snidely excoriates the Supreme Court for its ruling that the government can legally forbid the procedure known as "partial birth abortion." (They can't even pass up an opportunity to state "Anti-abortion activists came up with the misleading coinage 'partial-birth abortion' " -- how dare they use a term that adequately describes the procedure!) The editorial says the high court is "activist":

Most of the time, the cry of "activist judges!" simply means "I don't like that decision."

But sometimes courts stray far enough from precedent to earn the adjective. This is one of those times.

As opposed to, say, 1973 when the court made law and usurped states' rights in Roe v. Wade? The two aren't even close when discussing "activism" of the judiciary. Since Roe usurped states' [rightful] rights in that realm of decision-making, a federal ban on PBAs was passed by Congress in 2003. The recent ruling upheld this law which was previously tested in 2000, and which was declared unconstitutional then.

The Inquirer's main beef is that the decision doesn't make any allowance for the mother's health. (It does for a mother's life.) Does the Inquirer really believe that the court -- not to mention Congress when they passed the law -- did not hear testimony from both sides of the issue? And, that they (both bodies) were unable to logically come to the conclusion that PBAs are indeed not necessary to preserve what is deemed the "health" of a mother? That being said, the "deciding" vote in the case, Anthony Kennedy, essentially invited a challenge to the ruling whereby the health of the mother might be a legitimate reason for a PBA.

Opponents of this ruling have argued that PBA, in some cases, is the "best" or "safest" option available and hence it should be legal. But if this is really the case with PBA, why not make it even safer -- why not advocate for a full extraction of a baby (yes, baby) before puncturing its skull and sucking its brains out? That surely would be in the "best interests" of the mother's "health," would it not? Ah, but you see, the fact that part of the baby is still inside the birth canal -- however small, like one toe -- is what makes (made, now) the procedure legal! A full extraction of a baby and then sucking its brains out would then be ... "homicide"? "Murder"?

Do you see now what a ridiculous legal distinction those [mainly] on the Left make? That a baby isn't a "baby" until it is fully outside the birth canal? Is this how Americans wish to define "life" or a "person"? In the case of PBA, Americans -- consistently in the polls -- do not, and want this procedure halted.

Posted by Hube at 03:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 19, 2007

Why Do It Now?

For me, the answer is obvious: If former State Rep. John Atkins has designs on running in the special election for the very seat he vacated weeks ago, the embarrassing details of his ethics probe can only serve to further hinder any chance he has of actually winning.

Maria Evans, ever on this case, has more, including a possible snag in any "revelations."

Posted by Hube at 06:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

David Arnold of Wilmington has a problem with school tax-increase referendums (specifically what must be the upcoming Brandywine District referendum):

I wish to come out strongly against any rise in school taxes. The district spends more than $15,000 per student, among the highest in the country. Under-utilized buildings and increasing numbers of employees in the face of decreasing enrollment are just poor management. In excess of 50 administrators making more than $100,000 a year plus benefits is ridiculous.

First, from where does Arnold draw that [more than] $15,000 figure? I have seen some figures from Allen Kemp, former head of "Citizens for Fair School Taxes" and now proprietor of the School Watch website that have Brandywine in the $14,000 + range. So, right away, the claim of "more than $15,000 per student," based on a referendum opponent's own figures, is incorrect. Next, Arnold claims that his own erroneous figure is "among the highest in the country." Kemp's website makes the claim that New Castle County's total cost/student is the highest in the entire country. But -- an examination of Kemp's site's bar graphs shows NO comparison to any other state's counties' per pupil cost! That, and Arnold's trying to mix Brandywine's per pupil cost to that of the entire county is quite disingenuous since, for example, the New Castle County Vo-Tech District (according to Kemp's figures) would be included in the entire county's figures -- and their per pupil cost is substantially higher than Brandywine's. So, from what evidence does Kemp (and then, Arnold) make that "highest in the country" claim? Next, Arnold makes no distinction in his diatribe against "administrators" between central office administrators and school administrators. This is a key omission, and I know of very few people who would argue that on-site administrators do not earn their money.

Now, granted, the above section of Arnold's letter is actually not all that "dopey." I don't really expect reference sources in what are frequently-edited readers' letters. He points out his figures and I've countered. What really classifies as "dopey" is the letter's second part:

Being single and having no children, I have grown weary of paying increasing amounts for the education of other people's children. Those with kids in schools should be paying not only any increase but all the costs. I have no say in how these children are raised or educated, nor should I, but my money is taken for this purpose. Oppression of a minority, through taxation, has become our tax system.

I have heard this argument before and it never ceases to make me chuckle. I've also heard that "only homeowners" should be allowed to vote in tax-increase referendums. As if renters won't pay higher rent if property taxes go up! The landlord will just absorb all the costs, right? Sheesh. And how does Arnold not have any say in how children are educated? The school board meets every month and allows for public input.

But more importantly, am I "oppressed" because I have to pay Social Security taxes my entire working life -- to support people like Mr. Arnold?? That Mr. Arnold will collect more in Social Security than the children currently in school will? The young must support the old, but the old must not support the children, is that it? And, do I get a chance to vote every so often on whether I want to raise my Social Security taxes? Hell, no! Yet, that is precisely what the public can do in Delaware when it comes to raising property taxes -- taxes which are the main source of school funding.

Posted by Hube at 06:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 16, 2007

An "old wives tale"

Kathleen Jacobs in today's News Journal states in an op-ed the following:

According to the U. S. Census Bureau's statistics for 2006, women earned 77 cents for each dollar comparable to what a male worker earned across all occupational paths.

I have heard this statistic thrown about quite often (usually it's 75 cents to the dollar, or "3/4 of what men make"). I also was once booed and heckled in a grad class full of all females (yep, I was the only male -- damn ed. classes!) when I stated that the figure is misleading since it doesn't compare equal pay for equal work, as Jacobs mentions earlier in her article today. What the figure does do is "compare the median income of a full-time working (outside-the-home) woman to that of a full-time working man."

Unfortunately, this ignores more than it reveals. Important factors including occupation, number of years and hours worked, and education aren’t taken into account. Moreover, on average, women tend to make lifestyle choices that lead to lower earnings than men. (Link.)

Indeed. And as Shawn Ritenour writes in the Mises Institute monthly The Free Market,

Indeed, when the data are broken down, this is what one finds. Don't compare the "average" man and the "average" woman; compare men and women of similar ages, education, major fields of study, occupation, and marital status. The so-called "earnings gap" shrinks dramatically. Even the government admits that, statistically, only one-third of the 24-cent pay gap is "unexplained" by the above mentioned factors.

In other words, only an 8-cent difference is unexplained. Of course, this 8-cent "unexplained" pay difference is written off by the administration as sexual discrimination. It never occurs to them (they do not want it to) that the remaining perceived 8-cent pay gap for similar-appearing men and women is due to things that are immeasurable.

What they should know, however, is that there are good reasons why the "average" woman earns less than the "average" man, almost all of which are connected to the fact that a woman's primary concern tends to be her family. The big difference between men and women is how they react to marriage and child-birth. Marriage tends to increase men's participation in the labor force and decrease women's. The hours men work tend to increase with the birth of a child. Hours that women work tend to decrease when a child is born. Mothers tend to work less overtime and take fewer jobs requiring them to work long hours in return for high pay than fathers do.

Marriage and child rearing contribute to a number of choices that women make that place them on a lower earning trajectory over time. Women have higher turnover rates and fewer continuous years on a single job than men do. More women work part-time jobs than men do, so they can devote time to the family. They also have a higher absence rate than men. Further, women tend to take those occupations where an absence of five to six years to raise a pre-schooler will not make them obsolete.

Emphasis mine. Why couldn't Ms. Jacobs make any mention of these tidbits in her op-ed instead of just repeating an old and totally misleading statistic? Who knows. Look, I am certain there is sex discrimination out there. But to speak as if there has been virtually no progress in this realm is plain silly. This belief leads to advocation for things like the Fair Pay Act which features nebulous language mandating equal pay NOT for identical but "similar" jobs, and not equal educational background but "comparable." I guess it's what we should expect from that belief. I haven't read the actual bill, only Jacob's description of it in her op-ed, but that's an eye-roller all by itself. I can just imagine the overly verbose [typical government] bill and how that would be interpreted by zealous government attorneys anxious to "prove" discrimination.

Posted by Hube at 09:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I love the NFL, but I sure won't be watching this pre-game show

Look who's the new co-host of NBC's "Football Night in America."

Just point me to the game, my peeps.

Posted by Hube at 05:38 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 15, 2007

But before he died, Jackson and Sharpton demanded an apology for his name

His name, after all was Don Ho.

Posted by Hube at 04:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Desegregation consternation

UPDATE: Perfect timing. The News Journal has a lengthy article today about how busing hasn't worked, and about calls for a renewed Wilmington-based school district.

*******************

The issue of desegregation has once again reared its head in New Castle County, Delaware, this time in regards to the Christina School District's decision to close three schools in the city of Wilmington proper. Many of the same issues about desegregation have once again come to the fore: Should children go to schools close to their homes, how will the ratios of race/ethnicity be affected in schools, is the decision in violation of law?

To analyze the situation in Christina, it helps to take a look back at how desegregation came about in Delaware in the first place, and the effects of the [quite radical] busing plan that affected New Castle County in the late 1970s. To do this, I got the permission of University of Delaware Thomas Muncy Keith Professor of History Raymond Wolters (now currently on sabbatical) to publish a report he issued at the request of several state legislators regarding a possible [busing] consent decree back in 1993. This consent decree was seriously considered by the state legislature (and then-Governor Carper) as a means to avoid further litigation as the late-70s federal busing mandate was being reconsidered. Wolters offers a brief history of Delaware (and New Castle County) desegregation before analyzing the consent decree. As most Delawareans know, the consent decree was never agreed to, and Judge Sue Robinson in 1996 overturned the federal busing mandate that began in 1978.

The landmark Brown v. Board of Ed. in 1954 affected Delaware as it did schools across the country. As Prof. Wolters notes, Delaware's smaller districts desegregated immmediately, and the Wilmington District "proceeded in stages" with grammar schools in 1954, junior highs in 1955, and finally high schools in 1956. Of course, the racial composition of neighborhoods was pretty much homogenous at this time (mostly all-white or mostly all-black). As Judge Caleb M. Wright stated in 1962, "Discrimination is forbidden, but integration is not compelled." He continued,

Brown held only that a State may not deny any person on account of race the right to attend a public school. Chief Justice Warren, speaking for the court, said, "To separate them (Negroes) from others ... soley because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in a community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone." The clear implication of this statement is that if races are separated because of geographic or transportation considerations or other similar criteria, it is of no concern of the Federal Constitution.

"What happened to turn things around?" Wolters asks. The political -- and judicial -- climate shifted, mainly. Judges began to go beyond the stipulations of Brown of maintain that "desegregation" meant actual [mandatory] "integration." Judges, who relied in part on the testimony of sociologists (including, mainly, James Coleman), believed that mandatory busing plans "offered the best solution to the problems of urban education."

In interviews, depositions, and courtroom testimony throughout the country, Coleman and other liberal sociologists and educators touted the benefits that black children would receive if they were dispersed and educated in predominantly white classrooms. It was partly on the basis of Coleman's testimony that Judge J. Skelly Wright in Washington DC, in 1967, concluded that "Negro students' educational achievement improves when they transfer into white or integrated educational institutions."

Nevertheless, this belief was not actually a determining factor in deciding the New Castle County busing case. (That sociologist Coleman had actually changed his position on the effects of "white institutions" on black achievement, notwithstanding.) Instead, Judges Gibbons, Wright and Schwartz based their busing plan on the need to provide a remedy to past "official racial discrimination." They held that "the public schools of New Castle County had never been properly desegregated after Brown."

1971 saw the reopening of the Evans v. Buchanan case, Delaware's "consolidated" desegregation lawsuit. The basis for the reopening was the 1968 Educational Advancement Act which served to consolidate many school districts across the entire state. This Act reduced the number of statewide school districts from 49 to 26, and was specifically designed for districts whose population was between 1,900-12,000 students. Most of this district consolidation occurred in the southern part of the state. The News Journal noted that the Wilmington School District (primarily black) was "specifically excluded" from the Act. Then-Editor John Taylor repeated this claim in a disingenuous editorial. The contention is true. But the News Journal wasn't giving its readers the entire story. (It probably didn't fit their agenda.) The Philly Inquirer outright lied at the time writing that the EAA "excluded only one district from the mergers: Wilmington, home to most of Delaware's black students." Professor Wolters, however, sets the record straight:

Because the Wilmington public schools already enrolled more than 12,000 pupils, they were prevented from joining with other districts during the year of grace (meaning, they had to wait one year -- Ed.) -- as were two large suburban districts, Newark and Alfred I. DuPont. The pro-busing plaintiffs complained that the Educational Advancement Act "was designed to perpetuate and has in fact perpetuated [a] racially discriminatory dual school system."

My emphasis. Wolters goes on to note that the pro-busing camp's claims were "far from incontrovertible" (again, my emphasis):

The sponsors of the EAA had maintained that it was intended to facilitate the consolidation of small, rural districts that had too few students to afford expensive scientific equipment.

Hearings on the EAA were held throughout Delaware, and "at no time was integration or racial composition discussed or any figures having to do with race called to our attention ... It was taken for granted that integration of the schools had been completed."

The EAA did not change the boundaries of the Wilmington public schools ... not did it prevent Wilmington from coalescing with other schools districts. It simply exempted Wilmington (and [the] two other school districts) from the temporary interval when this could be done without a referendum. The 12,000 student limit (which also applied for only one year) was included in the education act because Wilmington had traditionally been the largest school district in a small state, and because in the 1960s there was much talk about the importance of community involvement in the public schools. (Link.)

Wolters goes on to note that "no one of prominence" wanted a merger of the large school districts -- not the Wilmington School District Board of Education, "nor any black organization in Delaware." The four African-Americans in the state legislature voted for the EAA. Most of the Act's opposition came from downstate because many there "feared a loss of local control."

In 1974, the US District Court ordered the state to submit desegregation plans. Then-News Journal Editor John Taylor again misinformed his readers when he wrote

The remedy phase of the court suit was assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Murray Schwartz, who sincerely believed the Delaware General Assembly would approve a desegregation plan. But the Legislature refused to even consider one.

My emphasis. But Taylor obviously didn't get together with others at his paper, for a month and a half prior, the News Journal printed a "desegregation timeline" which clearly notes "U.S. District Court rejects state desegregation plans and says plan must include Wilmington and its surrounding districts." (This was in 1976.) Then, in 1977, the timeline says "State devises plan for busing black students out of Wilmington." If memory serves (from past reading, and I was a middle school student in northern DE schools at the time), this was a voluntary busing plan that the state legislature devised. Nevertheless, Judge Schwartz rejected the 1977 plan. Did Taylor outright lie or was he merely woefully ignorant?

Schwartz ordered a "9-3" plan to begin in 1978. Suburban students would attend city schools for three of their twelve years, while city students would attend suburban schools for nine of their twelve years. The first year witnessed substantial upheaval -- "white flight," bureaucratic confusion, and a two month-long teachers' strike. The strike was not due to the deseg. order itself; it was due to the fact that, although all New Castle County schools were now consolidated into one large single district, the state wanted to continue paying teachers at their old, now-defunct district salaries! Old Wilmington District teachers collectively had the highest salaries at that time; now-county district teachers wanted to utilize that pay scale for the new New Castle County School District.

And so it went for almost 20 years. The only substantive change since the original 1978 order was that the single county-wide district was permitted to truncate into four smaller districts (in 1981) which exist to this day: Brandywine, Colonial, Red Clay and Christina. In the early 1990s, the judicial atmosphere had changed and the US Supreme Court had made it "easier" for districts to get out from under court-ordered desegregation. Delaware took advantage of this in 1993 when the Delaware State Board of Education petitioned the District Court to declare that New Castle County schools had achieved "unitary" status -- that is, they were successfully desegregated. A group called the Coalition to Save Our Children had taken up the mantle, so to speak, on behalf of city children and opposed the State Board's request. The Coalition threatened further litigation if the Board went ahead.

The Coalition (and others) pointed out the "disproportionately large number of black students who have been subjected to disciplinary actions, and to the continued lagging of black scores on standard tests, as evidence that, despite busing, the public schools of northern New Castle County have not eradicated some important vestiges of discrimination." (Link.) Judge Schwartz ordered the State Board of Education and the Coalition to attempt ot reach a settlement. They crafted a Consent Decree in November of that year.

The state legislature was wise to reject the Consent Decree. I happen to have a copy of the Decree from back then, as well as then-Governor Tom Carper's (favorable) statement regarding it. (He called it "fair and equitable.") Prof. Wolters notes, the Decree was

... an amalgam of legalese, educatorese, and social science. There is talk about "minority enrollment ratios," "school paramaters," [sic] and "culturally-sensitive performance based assessment systems."

Wolters dissects the Consent Decree (also here) to a degree that the News Journal would be (was) loathe to do. Included in the Decree were:

  • The requirement of teachers to "fill out numerous forms" and "attend several conferences" before any suspension of a disruptive student could take place.
  • Suspensions in the primary grades are to be used "only as a last resort and only after and in consultation with the District Supervisor."
  • Teachers are urged to "develop greater sensitivity" to the "supposedly different cultural styles of troublesome students." Sounds an awful lot like what's going on in Seattle public schools right now.
  • Special -- "culturally sensitive" -- exams for minority students.
  • An "integrated assessment system" that provides "culturally sensitive assessments," "alternative assessments," and "performance-based assessments" that "allow students to demonstrate proficiency in different ways."
  • All teachers should develop "nonconfrontational" methods for resolving conflicts with students.
  • As an incentive for teachers to "revise their tests and approaches to teaching and discipline," a provision for a "Parent/Student Advocate" (at $175,000 per year) whose office is to be in Wilmington city limits.
  • $220,000 for "intervention specialists" whose purpose is to "support youths who come into conflict with authorities at their schools."
  • Establishment of a benchmark of "reducing by 10% the number of minority students who drop out of school."
  • Recommendation of $58,000 be spent each year for a Future Educators of America club in each middle and high school with "at least one minority teacher" as an advisor.

Further, on page 14 of Prof. Wolters' report,

  • A call for "twenty renewable State scholarships of $1,000 per student to oustanding high students." However, at least half "must be black or Hispanic students who agree to teach after graduation in DE public schools for a minimum of four years."
  • The State Board promises that "at each school where there is more than one administrator, at least one must be either an African-American or an Hispanic and another must be either Caucasian or Asian. (I never could understand why Asian. It's probably because in the eyes of the multi-cultis they're not "true" minorities. Asians represent only approx. 1-2% of the student pop. in New Castle County DE. -- Ed.)
  • Calls for the State Board to "establish a lower passing score on the teachers' certification examination for prospective black and Hispanic teachers than for others."

My emphasis. The Consent Decree was to be in effect for only four years; however, the Coalition to Save Our Children "demanded that the governance of the school districts be changed so that the policies [noted above] would be perpetuated." A compromise was reached over Thanksgiving weekend of 1993 that would have changed how school boards are elected, thereby virtually guaranteeing minority representation on school boards.

Wolters' recommendations to the legislature are on pages 15, 16 and 17 of his report. Nevertheless, the Consent Decree was not agreed to by the state legislature. They were quite confident that they would prevail in court, and indeed, the Coalition had threatened further litigation anyway after the four-year limit on the Decree if New Castle County's districts went too far astray from what they deemed as "racially balanced."

Their confidence paid off for in 1996 Judge Sue Robinson declared the New Castle County school districts had achieved "unitary" status. Judge Robinson did not buy the Coalition's contentions that, although there was racial balance in the schools, discrimination was nonetheless pervasive due to imbalances within the schools. She wrote in part (my emphasis):

First, although the district court's findings of classroom racial balance exclude special education classes, there is no clear error. In our 1978 desegregation order we expressly excepted "students presently attending and who in the future may attend . . . special education school facilities and such other similar special school facilities as presently exist or may be hereafter established . . . ." JA 128 (Evans v. Buchanan, Civil Action Nos. 1816-1822, Order at 11 (D. Del. Jan. 9, 1978)). The rationale for this exception is obvious and compelling: students -- black or white -- should not be mainstreamed (i.e., denied special education meant to address special learning needs and problems) merely to effect a racial balance.

Appellant is also unpersuasive in asserting that students are placed in special education programs (such as "intensive learning centers") simply because they are black. Although in each of the four districts the percentage of black students in special education programs exceeds the percentage of blacks in the overall student population, the record demonstrates that the school districts classify students based on neutral, non-discriminatory state and federal criteria. Additionally, the districts make periodic re-evaluations of special education students to determine when they can return to regular classes. Id. Placement is not mandatory, because at several junctures, parents are empowered to reject the school's recommendation to place their child in special education classes.

Perhaps most telling, at least from my perspective, is Judge Robinson's noting of the following (again, my emphasis):

Although the Constitution requires that all of its citizens have equal access to the pursuit of education, and that they be given equal breaks while attending school, it does not insist that they all finish even. The proper test under the Constitution is equality of opportunity, not of results. On this point we would do well to recall Edmund Burke's pithy formulation: "[A]ll men have equal rights, but not to equal things." And indeed, Appellant articulated its commitment to this principle at oral argument: "[w]e have never suggested that the measure here is ultimate equal outcomes."

It is well worth reading all of Judge Robinson's opinion since she carefully and meticulously dissects, and then dismantles, the Coalition's contentions. It was my belief then, as it is now, that too much of the Coalition's arguments were based in emotion rather than fact, law and logic. As anyone who happened to watch former State Rep. Al Plant's Sunday night discussion show on local cable channel 28 back then, Coalition member (and present-day New Castle County Councilman) Jea Street would regularly appear and consistently utter the most caustic and derogatory comments at those with whom he disagreed. Yet, actual facts always seemed to elude his protestations.

In 1997, a federal appeals court upheld Judge Robinson's decision, and that was pretty much that regarding the desegregation order that had once held New Castle County in its grip. That is, until 2000 when the state legislature passed the Neighborhood Schools Law which mandated that school districts send children to schools closest to their homes. Former House Majority Leader Wayne A. Smith was the bill's primary sponsor. As could be predicted, the News Journal was critical of the bill claiming it would lead to "resegregation" in the county's schools.

Attorney George Evans at the time said, "Probably, what's going to result ... is we're going to, no doubt, end up resegregating schools ... and you're going to have litigation." He was right, but not exactly in the way he expected. More on that in a moment. Now-former Coalition to Save Our Children member Jea Street called the Neighborhood Schools Law an example of "new millenium racism." In the 2006 State House campaign, a hastily-organized group dubbed "Delaware Clean Sweep" (which numbered approximately three people!) listed as one of Smith's "negatives" his sponsorship of the bill because it "would guarantee heavily segregated public schools."

In the News Journal article Wayne Smith retorted, correctly in my view, that racial identifiability is neither good nor bad, and the law he wrote is not unconstitutional. "What matters is quality education, parental satisfaction and the ease with which parents get to participate in a school," he said. Indeed, Brown, as originally decided, was not argued as an effort to forcibly integrate children in schools via specific mathematical ratio. It was intended to -- and did -- break down the walls of legal segregation that prevented black children from attending schools with white children, especially ones closest to their homes. This is why Smith's bill is clearly consistent with the concepts laid down in Brown. In addition, with school choice law in the state of Delaware, and the incredible growth of charter schools, "forced resegregation" was (and is) not much of a legitimate argument. More on that later, too.

Even with the implementation of the Neighborhood Schools Law, the "Big Four" districts in New Castle County as a whole changed their existing feeder patterns only marginally. Colonial District complied with the law most stringently, changing feeder patterns to reflect attendance zones. Red Clay District mostly reconfigured elementary grade feeders, whereas Christina modified feeders to a moderate degree, and the Brandywine District claimed "hardship" status and didn't change feeder patterns at all.

Now, still in the news today, is the largest (population-wise) school district in the state, Christina, and its decision to close three schools within the boundaries of the city of Wilmington. Ironically, after many apparent spokespeople (like Jea Street) and outlets like the News Journal scoured the Wayne Smith-sponsored Neighborhood Schools Law, the very city of Wilmington itself, in conjunction with two parents of children attending one of the affected schools, is suing to keep their school (and the others) open because to allow their closure ... would violate the Neighborhood Schools Law!

The city and Southbridge parents Annette Harden and Rose Thomas contend that the district's plan to close the school during the next school year is "in willful violation" of the Delaware Neighborhood Schools Act, which the suit says aims to provide fair and equitable education to all northern New Castle County children. The state law requires that certain districts, including Christina, assign children to the school closest to their homes, the court filing says.

How about that? I wonder what the spokespeople like Street, Evans and others, to whom the News Journal devoted so much space to criticize the bill when it was first being debated, would think of this? Wilmington city government itself -- saying that the law "aims to provide fair and equitable education to all northern New Castle County children"! The irony has come full circle, it seems.

And back to charter schools -- the News Journal, still as race-conscious as ever, recently lamented how Delaware charter schools are "resegregating" the state's schools (again). But Newark Charter School head Gregory Meece hits the implication of the term "segregation" where it hurts (my emphasis):

Delaware Charter Schools Network leaders challenge the assertion that their schools are causing "resegregation." They called the term misleading and inflammatory because of its association with segregation and desegregation, saying those are forced conditions.

"We're talking about voluntary choice here," said Board President Gregory Meece, who is principal of Newark Charter School.

"It is significant that there are six charter schools out of 17 that serve mainly African-American populations," he said. "This report never really asks any parent why they choose those schools."

"Forced conditions" is the heart of the matter. There is no compulsion for "resegregation" with regards to charters. People -- black and white -- are free to choose the school they wish, which, by the way, is the case with virtually any Delaware public school due to the state's school choice law. This, once again, is quite different from the mandate of Brown. Brown overturned compulsory segregation in schools. Recall Judge Caleb M. Wright's statement: "Discrimination is forbidden, but integration is not compelled." But over the decades, "desegregation" has transformed into "diversity" which has come to be synonymous with "good (or at least "better") education." This is an erroneous assumption.

So, where do we now stand? Those representing [black] students' interests have had their contentions [legally] defeated by Judge Robinson which effectively dismantled forced busing in New Castle County. A decade later, these same interests are back in court -- utilizing a law they once damned to make their case for what would be primarily African-American schools. Many of the former Coalition's arguments before Judge Robinson appear to have actually made some headway in the state of Florida. There, the "achievement gap" between majority and minority students is the subject of a class-action lawsuit:

... in a class-action lawsuit that has Pinellas County's top educators on the defensive, the plaintiffs say the policy of equal access has failed the school district's 20,000 black students.

Black kids, they contend, will need uniquely tailored programs if the district ever hopes to erase an education gap that has them lagging behind every other ethnic group in school performance.

The case of William Crowley vs. the Pinellas County School Board - seven years old and finally headed for trial - may be the only one of its kind in the nation.

It is my opinion that if this suit is decided favorably for the plaintiffs, it will be a disaster for minority (black) children. First, it relies on pseudo-science that blacks, collectively, "learn differently." Second, its belief is that the achievement gap is essentially based on past de jure discrimination. But in that regard, I'd be most curious as to what the "gap" was when segregation was legally sanctioned. It's almost a double-edged sword for the plaintiffs, regardless of what these statistics mights show. If the gap was greater in the days of official segregation, then the subsequent shrinking of the gap shows that the broken segregation barriers have worked -- and are working. Still, the argument for special programs tailored specifically for black children might still be persuasive (aside from their specific racial components, that is, which unfortunately seem to be part of the plaintiffs' contention). On the other hand, if the gap was less in the days of the legal segregation, then the legal argument becomes much more problematic: How do you explain how [black] children are doing worse academically with no racial barriers to impede their academic progress? The obvious thing that comes to mind is that maybe the problem is not the schools, nor the law.

******************************

Professor Wolters' full 1993 report can be viewed here. (.PDF file.)


Posted by Hube at 09:20 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 13, 2007

"Truth"

Today's Philadelphia Daily News ends a rather interesting editorial about the Duke "rape" case with the following paragraph:

Which means the truth of that night - hard-partying college boys who escaped trouble, or a troubled woman who lied and brought a world of hurt to others - will always remain out of reach, even though the case is now closed. *

The truth "will always remain out of reach"?? Is that asterisk there for a reason? As in, perhaps, "We're just joking -- we really know the entire case was a farce"? If not, these editors' deductive powers must be close to absolute zero.

Posted by Felix at 10:36 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Watcher's Council results

And now...  the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Don't Know Your Enemy by Cheat Seeking Missiles, and Orwell, the Left, and 9/11 by American Future.  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:

VotesCouncil link
2  1/3Don't Know Your Enemy
Cheat Seeking Missiles
2The Black Flag Flying: The Arabs and Iran Ally Against the West
Joshuapundit
1  2/3Strangers
Eternity Road
1  1/3Al-Qaeda in Iraq Committing Institutional Suicide
Big Lizards
1  1/3Heart-rending Stories
Bookworm Room
2/3Securing the Food Supply III
The Glittering Eye
1/3Some Thoughts On Mockingbird
Rhymes With Right
1/3Why Does Jewish Come Before Democrat?
Soccer Dad
1/3Who'd a Thunk It?
Done With Mirrors

VotesNon-council link
3Orwell, the Left, and 9/11
American Future
2Iraq: A Place of Ambivalence
The Huffington Post
1  1/3Britain On Its Knees
Melanie Phillips
1We Were Slaves
ShrinkWrapped
2/3Baby’s Life Hangs on Texas Law
Texas Fred's
2/3Elizabeth Edwards Embraces Her Inner Rosie
The Anchoress
2/3Just in Case the Easter Bunny Goes Psycho...
Kobayashi Maru
2/3What Kind of Marriage Makes Women Happiest?
Oz Conservative
1/3"Model Race Preference Statute"
Power, Politics, & Money
1/3An Example of the Sex-Stupid "Politics" of the Left
Ace of Spades HQ
1/3How Much Contact Did There Have To Be Between al Qaeda and Saddam for the U.S. To Be Legitimately Concerned?
Power Line

Posted by Hube at 08:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 12, 2007

R.I.P. Kurt Vonnegut

The famous writer has passed on. In tribute I link to one of my favorite stories of his.

Posted by Hube at 10:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Because you asked for it (even if you didn't): Imus round-up

To perhaps add "more fuel to the fire" from here, here's a brief round-up of views about the Don Imus "case" (the latter two from African-Americans):

First, Stu Bykofsky in the Philly Daily News writes:

I'M HAPPY Don Imus got suspended for two weeks for crude, racist and sexist slurs about Rutgers' hard-charging women's basketball team.

While any minor loss of income won't hurt the multimillionaire shock jock who put the "ho" in "showmanship," it was a pleasure to watch this bully strapped in the dunking stool.

It had to be humiliating to grovel on the radio show of the Rev. Al Sharpton, who claimed that when Imus dissed the Rutgers team as "nappy-headed hos," he insulted Sharpton's own daughter, who had attended Temple. (Dominique studied broadcasting from fall 2004 to spring '05.)

The most degrading moment came when Imus whined, "I am a good person" - so very icky when said about oneself - followed by Sharpton's butt-headed refusal to accept Imus' abject apology.

A bully himself, Sharpton didn't apologize to prosecutor Steven Pagones, whom he accused of raping Tawana Brawley - even after a court found Sharpton guilty of defamation. He didn't have to apologize, Sharpton said, because he believed it was true and he was Brawley's advocate.

That may have cut ice during the drama, but it didn't hold water once she was exposed as a liar.

And he won't accept Imus' apology? And he's a pastor in a faith built on forgiveness? This is farce.

The News Journal's Rhonda Graham offers the following:

But Imus' really honest critics have to drill down deeper than the beleaguered talk-show host and include the source of these hurtful remarks in their anger. How else would Imus had even known about "nappy-head hos" if rap music's popularity was not so dependent on such denigrating descriptions?

During the 1990s, record companies sent hundreds of representatives to street corners, house parties and projects in search of the next bigger, more violent and anger-laced rapper they could market. When white rural, suburban and European kids got smitten by rap, they added whole new record labels and monopolized the music video industry with "straight-haired" hos, whose calling card remains their most jiggly body parts as they ride front seat with Al Capone wannabes.

About the same time, Al Sharpton, one of Imus' harshest critics these days, announced plans to buy stock in record companies that profited off this branch of rap music so he could have his say as a stockholder.

By the way, in 2000, Sharpton told Jet magazine: "It is the misuse of hip-hop culture to attack our women and promote violence. We must encourage the proper use of hip-hop culture. We are all influenced by the hip-hop generation."

Graham's op-ed is pretty much on target, except for those last two paragraphs above. Does she really believe Sharpton has as much interest in "going after" rappers as much as he does a tired, old white radio guy whose apology he refuses to accept? (But as Bykovsky notes, who really cares? Sharpton himself refuses to apologize for past obvious wrongs.) The same Al Sharpton who on "The O'Reilly Factor" last night refused to acknowledge that Jesse Jackson's "Hymietown" slur was as bad as Imus' recent remarks. Oh.

Perhaps the best written article comes from Earl Ofari Hutchinson in the Philly Inquirer who writes

The daunting puzzle, then, remains why so many blacks storm the barricades in fury against a Richards or an Imus, but are stone silent, or utter only the feeblest of protests, when blacks bash and trash. Or even worse, tacitly condone their verbal abuse. There are two reasons for that.

Blacks have been the ancient target of racial stereotypes, negative typecasting, and mockery. This has made them hypersensitive to any real or perceived racial slight from whites. That's totally understandable, and civil-rights leaders are right to criticize celebrities, politicians and public figures for their racial gaffes, slips or broadsides.

The second reason is that blacks fear that if they publicly criticize other blacks for their racial attitudes, such disagreements will be gleefully twisted, mangled and distorted into a fresh round of black-bashing by whites. But that's a lame reason for not speaking out, and loudly, against blacks who, either out of ignorance or for profit, or both, routinely commercialize racial and gender trash talk.

Such failure fuels the suspicion that blacks, and especially black leaders, are more than willing to play the race card, and call white people bigots, when it serves their interests, but will circle the wagons and defend any black who comes under fire for bigotry - or anything else, for that matter.

The same standard of racial accountability must apply whether the racial and gender offender is an Imus or a 50 Cent. When it doesn't, that's a double standard, and that always translates into hypocrisy. Imus got his trash-talk pass yanked. Now let's yank it from blacks who do the same or worse.

My emphasis in that last paragraph. I just wish the media frenzy around the Imus debacle would interview more people (especially African-Americans) like Graham, and especially Hutchinson. Ironically, MSNBC's primetime line-up has been the best at doing that in my view, thus far. "Scarborough Country"'s guest pundits last evening were all quite thoughtful and well-reasoned, for the most part.

Posted by Hube at 08:50 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 11, 2007

Duke lacrosse players cleared of all charges

It's probably due to "latent racism," as one frequent Colossus commenter might put it.

Posted by Felix at 05:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 10, 2007

Disgraced [former] Del. State Rep. John Atkins to County Party Chairman: Decide on being a blogger or chairman

Maria Evans reports that at last night's Sussex County (DE) Republican Party monthly meeting, disgraced (and resigned) 41st District Rep. John Atkins called on County Party Chairman Dave Burris to "either be a blogger or the party chairman." Dave maintains the superb First State Politics blog. Atkins also stated that "there were inaccuracies in Burris’ letter" which had called for Atkins' resignation. No elbaoration was given as to exactly what the inaccuracies were. Burris also wanted to know if those assembled still had confidence in his leadership, and was prepared to resign if there was a vote of no confidence.

I'm curious: How is it incompatible that Dave blog and be party chairman? It seems to me that by blogging it's an excellent way to get the [state] party message out there.

And, the vote in favor of Dave retaining his party chairmanship was unanimous. Sussex County seems to get it.

Posted by Hube at 09:59 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

Nathan Field of Wilmington thinks that if the United States "extricated its interests" from Israel, American foreign policy would be oh so much better:

Nancy Pelosi's recent visit to Syria and Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer's meeting with the leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood should be commended as positive steps in the right direction for the future of U.S. foreign policy.

However, Pelosi's statement that there is no difference between the Democrats and the Bush administration toward Israel demonstrate that neither party has a viable vision for the future of the Middle East. As long as both parties are unable to extricate American interests from Israeli interests, the U.S. government will continue to pursue a disastrous foreign policy in the Middle East.

My emphasis. Ah yes, Hoyer's meeting (a meeting that Hoyer disputes, by the way) with that "reasonable" and "diplomatic" Muslim Brotherhood. This group just wants, you know, a[n] [eventual] world Islamic state and "liberation" of Muslim lands (let's see ... that includes Israel, maybe?). No wonder they despised Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.

Does "extricating" our interests in Israel, Nate, mean abdicating our interest in an actual democratic government? Does it mean abdicating our fight against radical Islamic terrorism? The fact is that Syria and the Muslim Brotherhood don't like Israel very much and wouldn't mind if it, y'know, "wasn't around" (to put tactfully). If the MB was opposed to a peace deal between Egypt and Israel whereby the former got the entire captured Sinai Peninsula back, do you really think that if Israel withdrew to its pre-1967 (Six Day War) borders that the MB (and Syria and other countries/groups) would be placated?

Sorry, but a foreign policy that defends the lone democracy in the region from radical terrorists, and doesn't appease those that sponsor and aid terrorism, is the right one to pursue.

Posted by Hube at 09:30 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 09, 2007

Local political announcement

For a fun-filled evening of good food and auctions, you won’t want to miss the Annual Banquet of the Sussex County Republican Women’s Club. Set for Friday evening, May 4, 2007, at the Baywood Club House in Long Neck, the gala party will begin with hors d’oeuvres at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Republican Women’s Clubs have been helping Republican candidates since 1938.

According to Elaine Lupinetti, event co-chair, "We have a great menu, wonderful auction items, and I know that everyone will have an enjoyable evening." She expects this years’ event to be one of the organization’s best ever, and said that the cost is only $45.00/person and that complimentary valet parking will be available.

Co-Chair Gale White said "This is our premier gala event of the year and everyone is welcome to attend, so reserve your seats early. We’ll be entertained by the Sounds of the GOP, and our auctioneer, Dave Wilson, does a wonderful job and everyone enjoys his style, wit, and talent."

She also noted that the program booklet will list sponsors and patrons, and will include ads from local businesses. To purchase advertisement space, contact Bunny Parish at 945-4646.

To be included in the program booklet as a sponsor or patron or for ticket information, contact Co-Chairs Elaine Lupinetti at 945-1816 (elupinetti@hotmail.com) or Gale White at 644-0777 (galegwhite@erols.com).

Posted by Hube at 10:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pot calling the kettle black

... and moron Al Sharpton probably thinks that is a racist epithet!

Have we fallen so far that such as he (and Jesse Jackson) can now sit in judgment of a guy like Don Imus? (If you missed it, and how could you have, Imus had referred to the Rutgers girls basketball players as "nappy-headed hos.") What Imus said was highly offensive, yes. He may get fired for it. But for Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to demand such -- those who've uttered equally, if not more, racially insensitive comments -- is even more offensive to me.

Yes, Al Sharpton: Once called a Harlem store owner a "white interloper." Remember Tawana Brawley? And what about this "lovely" offering when NYC was near race riots after an Hasidic Jew accidentally hit a killed and young black child with his car, and a different Hasidic Jew was murdered in response:

The world will tell us that [Gavin Cato] was killed by accident. . . . What type of city do we have that would allow politics to rise above the blood of innocent babies? . . . Talk about how Oppenheimer in South Africa sends diamonds straight to Tel Aviv and deals with the diamond merchants right here in Crown Heights. . . . All we want to say is what Jesus said: If you offend one of these little ones, you got to pay for it. No compromise. Pay for your deeds. . . . It's no accident that we know we should not be run over. We are the royal family on the planet. We are the original man. We gazed into the stars and wrote astrology. We had a conversation and that became philosophy. . . . We will win because we are right. God is on our side.

And so it goes. Not to mention Jesse "Hymietown" Jackson. An apology was good enough for him, wasn't it? And he at first denied ever even saying the epithet, then blamed -- you guessed it! -- the Jews!

Yeah. This duo's careers sure "suffered." They ran for president multiple times! The best advice in a case such as this is: Totally and utterly ignore what these two idiots have to say.

Posted by Felix at 04:20 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

April 08, 2007

Hube admits to a boo-boo

I love the law and the Constitution, but at times some things just go over my noggin ... unfortunately after I've opened my [big] mouth. Case in point.

Many thanks to the esteemed Xrlq for putting me on the right path to proper understanding!

Posted by Hube at 09:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Uh-oh

I recently discovered that Marvel Comics' homepage allows for Wikipedia-style edits to the bios of its heroes, villains and all sorts of other stuff.

I just may be spending quite a bit of time over there ... !!

Posted by Hube at 01:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Analysis: Why We Fight Over Foreign Policy

Henry R. Nau has an excellent essay about differing perspectives. Well worth the read.

Posted by Hube at 08:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 07, 2007

What was that about "alarmism"?

A correction from USA Today:

Monday's editorial debate on the environment should have been clearer about the length of time plastic grocery bags take to decompose. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it "can take" 1,000 years, unless the bags are properly recycled. The editorial implied it always takes that long. Sometimes decomposition occurs in less than 10 years.

After all, y'know, ten ... a thousand ... what's the difference?

Posted by Hube at 07:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Most hilarious "Trek" SNL skit ever

1986's "Restaurant Enterprise." Dana Carvey's "Khan" is an absolute knee-slapper. (Ignore the first few seconds -- it's from a previous skit on the recording):

Posted by Hube at 03:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"We broke the law, and we demand no punishment!"

MSNBC reports how illegal -- note: ILLEGAL -- immigrants who "had long considered [the president] an ally" (how do you like that, Mr. President?) are angry and demonstrating in the streets because Mr. Bush's latest immigration idea would grant the illegals work visas, but "require them to return home and pay hefty fines to become legal U.S. residents."

“People are really upset,” said Juan Jose Gutierrez, president of Los Angeles-based Latino Movement USA, one of several organizers of Saturday’s rally. “For years, the president spoke in no uncertain terms about supporting immigration reform ... then this kind of plan comes out and people are so frustrated.”

Unless I'm missing something, this plan is immigration reform. But it's reform that illegal immigrants don't like.

Ain't America great? Where else will you find people here illegally out in the streets protesting because a plan to allow them to become permanent residents or citizens isn't to their liking?

Posted by Felix at 02:09 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Scientific consensus OK -- when in our favor

Ronald Bailey points out how left-leaning "environmental" organizations will tout "scientific consensus" when it comes to global warming, but when it comes to other things that the "scientific consensus" is dead-set against their beliefs ...?? Then, the usual retort is "Well, we still have to stop it!"

Clearly when it comes to climate change, environmentalists righteously wrap themselves in the cloak of scientific "consensus." They excoriate scientists and others who doubt that man-made climate change will necessarily be disastrous, accusing some of being essentially paid liars for the fossil fuel industry. But for many environmentalist groups not all scientific consensuses are equal. Consider the case of genetically enhanced crops.

"GMOs [genetically modified organisms] should not be released into the environment as there is not adequate scientific understanding of their impact on the environment and human health," warns Greenpeace. "Genetic engineering is imprecise and unpredictable. But most testing is carried out by the very biotech companies that have the most to gain from results that say GM food is safe," says Friends of the Earth. The Union of Concerned Scientists acknowledges that "there have been no serious environmental impacts-certainly no catastrophes-associated with the use of engineered crops in the United States." In addition, the UCS admits, "No major human health problems have emerged in connection with genetically modified food crops, which have been consumed by significant numbers of U.S. consumers." In fact, no--not just "no major"--human health problems have emerged. Nevertheless, the UCS concludes "the scientific evidence available to date, while encouraging, does not support the conclusion that genetically modified crops are intrinsically safe for health or the environment." What does "intrinsically safe" mean? On what evidence can the UCS conclude that even conventional crops are "intrinsically safe"?

The scientific consensus about current varieties of genetically improved crops stands in stark contrast to these dire environmentalist assertions.

My emphasis. So, you see, the science regarding GMOs is "uncertain" to these groups despite the consensus, but the science regarding the effect man has on global warming is ... "certain" ... because of the consensus.

I actually tend to share many of these advocacy groups' concerns about GMOs, just not their level of "alarm." We should be constantly monitoring how genetically-modified foods (and other things) may affect things which with they interact. This is mainly because the science of genetic engineering is a relatively new endeavor. On the other hand, climate change has been around since the planet was formed. To believe that our present level of science can adequately account for the myriad factors which affect such temperature change is as arrogant as saying we can do so about GMOs. Just 30 years ago, this same climate "scientific consensus" said we were heading for a new Ice Age, after all.

To be sure, both sides play "the game." But it is the left that meanders into "alarmist" territory more often. They're alarmist about GMOs, despite the "scientific consensus," and alarmist about global warming with the "scientific consensus." Many, either on the right or in the middle, think that, with regards to global warming, even IF man is playing a key role in said warming, the factors utilized in the rise of the temperature are very short-lived in terms of the planet's life. For example, the use of fossil fuels will only decrease as this century progresses. Gradual change is inevitable. This is why much skepticism exists when people like Al Gore preach about changing everyone's lifestyle now.

Posted by Hube at 10:39 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

A few interesting "Star Trek" tidbits

John Hawkins over at Right Wing News has a couple "Trek"-related posts up as sort of a "look back in time." First, he states that with the so-called "economics" of Trek, who the freak would want to ever actually leave the planet let alone the holodeck?? He's right, you know. If you could create your very own perfect reality, what would YOU do? Don't try to finagle your way out of it -- you know what you'd do!

Second, he lists the Top Ten "Trek" characters of all time. Here, he meets with some disagreement by yours truly. I'll go along with his top 4, although I would probably put Picard at #2 and Spock at #3. Jonathan Archer at #5?? ("Who's that," you ask? I wouldn't blame you. A casual fan might not know of him. He's the supposed first-ever captain of the Enterprise from the short-lived series titled, appropriately enough, "Enterprise.") I doubt I'd have him in the top ten. I'd most likely have Worf in the #5 spot. I agree with Hawkins that Worf had some classic one-liners during "ST:TNG," but not the ones he notes. Some faves of mine are when Worf "warns" Data to win a game a Stratagema or he will become ... "irritated"; also, when the Enterprise is working with a genderless race, Worf utters at the poker table, "The J'naii ... they bother me." When Troi asks "Why, Worf?" he merely retorts, "They just do! They're all the same!"

Hawkins' next votes go to 7 of 9 ("Voyager"), TPol ("Enterprise") and Odo ("DS-9"). Absolutely not. After Worf I'd vote for Ben Sisko, captain of Deep Space Nine. I don't know, maybe it's actor Avery Brooks spectacular performance in the heart-wrenching episode "From Beyond the Stars," but if it is, that's clearly enough for me to have him at #6!

#7 would have to go to "Bones" McCoy. How can the constant irritant of Spock not be on the list, not to mention for his classic lines "He's dead, Jim" and the grating "I'm a doctor, not a [fill in the blank]"?

#8 goes to Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, the original series' engineer. Nothing short of a miracle worker, he always managed to give Capt. Kirk warp speed when needed. And his classic return in "Next Generation" where he advises Enterprise-D engineer Geordi La Forge on how to inflate repair times to the capt. is hilarious.

#9 and #10 for me go to "Voyager's" Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH) and the original series' Sulu. Robert Picardo did a marvelous job evolving as Voyager's doctor, essentially becoming a new lifeform. And Sulu? C'mon -- he goes from helmsman to Excelsior-class starship captain? You gotta love it.

Hawkins goes on to name his name top three "Trek" best enemies of all time. Here are mine:

#1: The Borg (Hawkins has them at #1, too).
#2: The Jem'Hadar. These bad-ass servants of the Dominion can kick anybody's ass.
#3: Species 8472. The denizens of "fluidic space" beat the crap out of the Borg, for cripe's sake. Luckily, Janeway and co. forged a truce. Hopefully it'll hold up!

Next, Hawkins offered what he thinks are "Trek's" top three most annoying characters. Here are mine:

#1: Neelix. Voyager's cook -- cook!! -- is nothing but totally grating. He never served a good purpose and just got in the way. Ugh.
#2: Deanna Troi. Enterprise-D's counselor was hot enough (at least in the last couple seasons), but a royal PITA (pain-in-the-ass).
#3: Jonathan Archer. The original Enterprise's capt. was so ... naive at times you wanted to hit 'im. I know the Vulcans of that time period were arrogant SOBs, but they were helping humanity for a reason: they knew what the hell they were doing. Archer's typical "Hail them and let's offer assistance" despite T'Pol's protestations was aggravating.

And lastly, I myself will offer up "Trek's" hottest babes of all time:

#1: 7 of 9. How Jeri Ryan got into that body stocking I'll never know. I don't think a woman has a more perfect figure.
#2: T'Pol. Sure, her, um, chest is fake, but actress Jolene Blalock is just plain gorgeous anyway.
#3: Jadzia Dax. DS-9's resident Trill, Terry Farrell was a former Elite modeling agency model. No wonder!

Posted by Hube at 09:22 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 06, 2007

A Colossus reader's view on Libby, Berger

The following was written by Fred Gregory in the Greensboro (NC) News & Record. Fred is a regular Colossus reader.

I am writing to express my outrage over the perverse prosecution of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to the vice president, by an out-of-control, overzealous special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, whose investigation, in the words of a Washington Post editorial, "arose from a scandal remarkable for its lack of substance."

This was monstrous overkill over a series of lies cooked up by dissembling blowhard Joe Wilson and his wife to undermine an administration in the middle of a war.

Within a few days of his appointment Fitzgerald knew that the so-called outing of CIA analyst Valerie Plame was done by State Department hack Richard Armitage and that the act itself was not a violation of the Foreign Intelligence Identities Act because Plame was not covert. The sensible thing to do at that point, as other special prosecutors had done in the past, was to pack up and go home.

But no, not "Fitzfong," who for two years scoured the White House and terrified (and jailed) reporters, searching for a process crime, any crime, even lacking an underlying illegality. Finally, to the delight of the Bush haters, poor Libby was nailed for spitting on the sidewalk.

Now take a look at what happened to Bill Clinton's former national security adviser, Sandy Berger, who stole and destroyed original, irreplaceable classified documents from the National Archives. No doubt, if these documents had come before the 9/11 Commission they would have shown blunders in dealing with threats posed by al-Qaida and would have been embarrassing to the previous administration.

After first denying his crime, Berger gets a misdemeanor sweetheart deal, no jail time, a puny fine and, just in time for the next Democratic president (God forbid), the right to obtain a security clearance. By the way, Berger's plea bargain included an agreement to take a polygraph test, which he has yet to undergo. Shame! President Bush, pardon Lewis Libby now.

Posted by Hube at 05:22 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Watcher's Council results

(Felix's "Question Any Excuses ..." did well in the voting this week. I HIGHLY recommend reading Francis W. Porretto's Eternity Road blog. He's the frequent Council winner for a reason! I wish I had his writing talent ... !)

And now...  the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are The Scourging by Eternity Road, and Universal Moral Equivalence 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.  I actually had to cast a tie-breaking vote in the council category this week...  I enjoyed Bookworm's post about bias in the Israeli media, but Francis W. Porretto's look at the nihilistic philosophy that drives today's “liberalism” ultimately won me over.  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:

VotesCouncil link
3The Scourging
Eternity Road
2Leftist Media Bias, Israeli Style
Bookworm Room
1  2/3First Israel, Now Britain -- The Chickens Come Home To Roost
Joshuapundit
1  2/3"Question any Excuses..."
The Colossus of Rhodey
1How to Win/Lose In Iraq
Big Lizards
1Not the End of the World
Done With Mirrors
2/3Anti-Terror Success
Soccer Dad
2/3Securing the Food Supply
The Glittering Eye

VotesNon-council link
2  1/3Universal Moral Equivalence
Gates of Vienna
1  2/3It's a Long Way from Port Stanley to the Shatt-al-Arab waterway
Britain and America
1  2/3War for Profit
Blackfive
1  1/3Mainstream Islam Promotes Violence Through Sex
Israel Matzav
1  1/3Americaphobia: Final Thoughts
Dean's World
2/3Iran, the EU and the PM
Oliver Kamm
2/3Britain Leads European Charge to Global Warming Induced Fascism
Kerplunk
2/3Condi's Favorite Sharon Speech
Jewish Current Issues
1/3Showdown at the U.K. Corral
Dr. Sanity
1/3Is This the Way Our People Deserve To Be Treated Blair?
Dodgeblogium

Posted by Hube at 07:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 05, 2007

Minority superheroes

Normally moonbatty comics commentator Steven Grant asks

... why does almost every superhero from a country other than the USA have to have some motif identifying them as representative of that country? Is the perception out there that American readers can't keep straight that a hero's home nation is, say, England if he doesn't wear a British flag or have a name like Captain Britain or Union Jack? Does every hero from Japan have to wear samurai armor or a rising sun emblem? Would South Americans even dress up as conquistadors? Does everyone really think Americans are that stupid, or are we trying to draw the attention of readers of those nationalities portrayed (usually with only the most fleeting knowledge of the mores, behavior and culture of those nationalities), or is it just a running exercise in benign bigotry? (Link.)

Of course Grant would have to stick that last sentence in there; however, given the politically correct state of modern comics I believe it to be a ludicrous assumption. I would have liked to read some specific examples of what Grant was referring to. But sure, there are plenty of superheroes who explicitly or implicitly "represent" their country. As Grant noted, there are Union Jack and Capt. Britian (England), the Red Guardian (the old Soviet Union), Vindicator/Guardian (Canada), and Sunfire (Japan). But these are all creations many years after the emergence of the famous Captain America whose first appearance was in 1941. Thus, if the United States can have a superhero symbol, why not other nations?

Perhaps in the Silver and Bronze Ages of comics there was more "stereotyping" of superheroes from other nations, not to mention ethnicities within the United States. In the 1960s and 70s, for example, it seemed African-American heroes (and villains) had to have the word "black" somewhere in their superhero moniker: The Black Panther (which actually makes sense, but still...), Black Goliath (which actually was changed to mere "Goliath" years later), Black Lightning ... Even the black heroes without "black" in their name had to be made "relevant" to issues surrounding the African-American community. Luke Cage (Power Man) often fought pimp-like villains in the 'hood, as did the Falcon. He spoke with that "jive" twang. Even African (not African-American) hero Black Panther got drawn into the issue of American race relations in late-60s/early 70s issues of The Avengers.

But consider the timeframe: In the 60s and 70s, black Americans still had quite limited access to the American mainstream, including pop culture in many respects. Marvel Comics was actually quite ahead of the curve in its progressivity, offering thoughtful stories about American culture woven into their fantasy/science fiction superhero yarns. The aforementioned Black Panther, for instance, didn't seem totally aware of the difficulties black Americans faced. (The Panther is a [wealthy] African prince from the fictitious nation of Wakanda.) Black Goliath (real name: Bill Foster) was a brilliant scientist, originally an assistant of the original Goliath (not to mention Giant Man, Ant Man and Yellowjacket) Hank Pym. He used Pym's growth formula to become a hero himself. His and the Panther's characters portrayed African-American males as genius-level men of science who used their abilities for the good of all; this, in contrast to the plethora of "blackspoitation" films of the time.

More contemporary comics, in my view, do not necessarily agree with Grant's thesis. The recent The Ultimates featured a representative hero of each of the major Western nations (with titles such as "Capt. France" and "Capt. Italy," etc.) but there didn't appear to be anything blatantly French or Italian about these heroes. But even if they did, a big difference between the US and many other nations is the heterogeneity of the former. It's actually hard to "pin down" exactly what the "US culture" is. Homogenous societies do not have as much difficulty in this regard. Thus, if many Japanese heroes are frequently depicted as wearing samurai armor, it's because samurai are national symbols for the all the Japanese people. And unlike Grant, I do believe that, unfortunately, too many Americans are ignorant of geography. And since the majority of the market for comicbooks is the United States, a little -- if elementary -- lesson in [cultural] geography cannot hurt for its main audience now, can it? Only a cultivated moonbat like Grant can attribute "bigotry" to such.

Grant says "almost every superhero from a country other than the USA have to have some motif identifying them as representative of that country..." No! There are countless examples that do not fit this assumption. Northstar and Aurora from Canada. Ditto Wolverine, Box, Shaman, Puck and Sasquatch. The Crimson Dynamo and Titanium Man from Russia. Ditto the Black Widow. Latinos Living Lightning and Firebird. And these are just but a few examples from Marvel Comics.

Posted by Hube at 07:05 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

Betty Smith of Wilmington, among way too many others, repeats the old canard that "Bush lied about WMDs" to get into Iraq, thus that's why Congress went along with him:

This administration fed us false information about weapons of mass destruction, so the Congress would support the invasion, and we are still given false information about this war.

Hey Bet -- as I've said many times, disagree with the war (I do), but WMDs not being in Iraq doesn't mean Bush lied about them. It means the intelligence was erroneous. Take a look.

All those folks must have been "lying" by your standards, right?

A close runner-up is Wilmington's Bill Knox who, as a disbeliever of [organized] religion, thinks it inappropriate for politicians to call on the nation to pray:

The call by lawmakers for all Americans to spend time praying for the nation is alarming. These lawmakers are elected to serve "We the People," not religion. As far a I know, there is no religious requirement to be an American. I am an American who is deeply opposed to all organized religion, especially in politics.

The politicians who propose this type of ruse use it to distract us from their failures and incompetence.

It is surprising that "We the People" have not marched on the White House yet with pitchforks and burning torches to remove the contemptible criminals led by Dick Cheney from office.

Ah, now we get it! Knox is your typical Bush-Cheney hater! Nevertheless, get your historical knowledge straight, Bill. The nation was indeed founded by deeply religious men who actually would be appalled at how religion has been excised from the public realm. And politicians asking for people to pray for the nation doesn't mean they're demonstrating that they were elected to "serve religion." That's just patently absurd. Yet you'd have The People violently fomenting revolution rather than utilizing -- GASP! -- prayer.

Nice.

Posted by Hube at 06:46 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 04, 2007

Addendum to "Question any excuses"

A [liberal] Seattle Times columnist realizes how absurd the city school district's program on ferreting out "racism" is:

As part of its well-meaning quest to rid itself of racism, the Seattle School District has found a program it considers racially biased.

Summer break. The 10-week hiatus from school is institutionally racist, said the district's Equity and Race Relations director. That means it's something that "results in less access to services and opportunities of a society based on race."

As I noted here, that Equity and Race Relations director is Ms. Caprice Hollins. In an interview where she pointed out the "problem" with summer break, she stated that "she found no specific district program that was institutionally racist." Maybe she realized that her job may be in jeopardy if she didn't actually "find" anything racist in the district? This is why there was more emphasis put on "racist" summer break? After all, what is an Equity and Race Relations director to do if there's ... equity? And good ... race relations?

Writer Danny Westneat wonders aloud what I wrote: If summer break is a "problem," then essentially all that is needed is some enrichment programs:

Wouldn't struggling white students benefit from more time in school, too? Can't students who need to catch up go to summer school now?

If we want to extend the school year, then let's talk about that. What's skin color got to do with it? More importantly, how will declaring that summer break is racist actually lead to any better education for kids?

To answer that last question, I think, Danny, it's what I noted above: Ms. Hollins has to justify her position!

You know things are getting ridiculous when liberals have had enough of the "everything-is-racist-somehow" educationist dogma. Westneat puts it succinctly near article's end:

There's no question race matters. We don't live in a colorblind society. But this school district is so focused on race it's fueling an atmosphere of division. It's blinding the district to what matters even more than race — its job to educate any kid who walks in the door.

Being so obsessed leads to things like ... discovering racism in schools' summer break. When things get that silly, the "atmosphere of division" must really be a nightmare, unfortunately.

Posted by Felix at 05:36 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 03, 2007

Why's it called "voluntary," then?

Fritz Schranck lists a few of the usual taxpayer "dodges" when tax time rolls around every year. Included on the list is this one: Compliance with the internal revenue laws is voluntary or optional. I used to regularly listen to Philadelphia libertarian Irv Homer on the old WWDB radio station and he was (is) a staunch enemy of the IRS. He regularly asked why the IRS calls people paying their taxes "voluntary compliance." And, indeed, the IRS does refer to tax payment as "voluntary compliance!"

Well, it's not precisely what you'd like to think:

"A system of compliance that relies on individual citizens to report their income freely and voluntarily, calculate their tax liability correctly, and file a tax return on time."

Why the heck is the word "voluntarily" (not to mention "freely") even in there, then? 'Cause you know damn well what will happen if one "freely" and "voluntarily" opts NOT to pay his/her taxes!

Posted by Hube at 05:52 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 02, 2007

P.C. madness strikes the U.K.

Ever hear of the historical atrocity called The Holocaust? If you're in certain British schools, you may not any longer -- especially if you have Muslim classmates:

Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Governmentbacked study has revealed.

It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.

There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades - where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem - because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques.

But I wonder if any of these Muslim students called another kid "gay" -- would they be treated like this 11 year old boy? (Sounds familiar, doesn't it?)

(h/t to The Corner.)

Posted by Felix at 03:47 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 01, 2007

News Journal April Fool's joke

Via this headline -- "Voters of 41st District deserve a chance to bring back Mr. Atkins" -- and subsequent editorial.

Posted by Hube at 09:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack