Anyone watching the Copa America (America's Cup) taking place in Venezuela? The US is participating, but they seemed a bit winded in their first game against Argentina Thursday. Maybe it's because they're still tired from winning the Copa de Oro (Gold Cup). Anyways, this was most cool at the US-Argentina game: Venezuelans chanting "Libertad!" ("Freedom!") and "RCTV!", the name of the popular TV station that President/Dictator Hugo Chávez shut down some weeks ago.
But hey, they have a really old Kurt Cobain-ish picture of Senator Norm Coleman up to make fun of ...
UPDATE: Maybe I spoke too soon about "getting no mention." But the "it's just a catch phrase" mantra is dead-on as exemplified by terrorism "expert" L.C. Johnson:
So I turn on the telly this morning and find breathless CNN anchors hyperventilating over the nuclear suicide car weapon of mass destruction discovered smoldering outside of a London nightclub.
You know what you call a vehicle with 50 gallons of gas? A Cadillac Escalade. The media meltdown over this incident is simply shameful.
Nice. And this guy was on Keith Olbermann's show last night. Of course!
Yesterday, as I was driving to my sister's house, I saw a kid whose t-shirt read "YOU'RE FUTURE BOSS."
I tried to glimpse the front of the shirt to see if it was an obvious joke, but I could not. Is it? Does anyone know? Or is it just another sad example of the state of the English language these days?
(Of course, people like these guys are going "Huh? What's wrong with it?")
The Democrat presidential candidates "debated" again last night, this time at the historically black Howard University. You know what that means: Time to declare that "there's still much to do" in the country with regards to race, that "racism" still exists and is still to blame for many ills in society, and that the GOP really doesn't care about black people (with apologies to Kanye West). And you know MSNBC.com's coverage is guaranteed to offer to softball coverage, too! Let's get started ...
“We have made enormous progress, but the progress we have made is not good enough,” said Sen. Barack Obama, the son of a man from Kenya and a woman from Kansas.
A historically diverse field of Democratic presidential candidates — a woman, a black, a Hispanic and five whites — denounced an hours-old Supreme Court desegregation ruling Thursday night and said the nation’s slow march to racial unity is far from over.
Irony: "Civil rights activist Al Sharpton and Princeton University scholar Cornel West were among those in the audience."
They stood united against the Supreme Court and its historic ruling rolling back a half-century of school desegregation laws. [Hillary] Clinton said the decision "turned the clock back" on history.
Irony: School desegregation laws, stemming from the monumental Brown decision from 1954, outlawed using race in determining where students could go to school. The recent SCOTUS decision outlawed ... using race in determining where students could go to school. That sure sounds like some "roll!"
Oh, and notice the excellent editorializing in MSNBC's "news" article: "... and its historic ruling rolling back a half-century of school desegregation laws." But it's not surprising. Brown outlawed the use of race in school assignments, but since, this dismantling of desegregation barriers has become synonymous with "diversity." Since "diversity" is a "good" thing," it is therefore OK to use race to achieve it. (Unfortunately, the reality is that "diversity" is actually merely a nebulous "feel-good" concept that has little to no educational benefits.)
Further irony: What Clarence Thomas asked in the SCOTUS case: That if "diversity" is necessary to achieve educational benefits, why does one of the defendants in the SCOTUS case, the Seattle School District, operate a K-8 "African-American Academy" which was established to improve black student test scores?
Even more irony: All this criticism of the SCOTUS decision from a debate ... at a [virtually] all-black university.
Clinton drew a huge cheer when she suggested there was a hint of racism in the way AIDS is addressed in this country. "Let me just put this in perspective: If HIV-AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34 there would be an outraged, outcry in this country."
Actually, Hill, there would not as most people know that irresponsible personal behavior (unprotected sex, intravenous drug use) is by far the main method by which to contract the deadly disease. It doesn't matter what color the person is.
Segregation was not the only issue. In turn, the candidates discussed their hopes to stem poverty, close the economic gap between the rich and poor, fight AIDS and overhaul a judicial system that doesn't always seem colorblind.
Irony: Justice system must be colorblind, education must not.
Lastly, the laugher of the night:
"This issue of poverty is the cause of my life," said John Edwards, the 2004 vice presidential nominee.
UPDATE: One of the better analyses of the whole case (cases, actually) is found at the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog. It's set up in a Q&A format.
UPDATE 2: Mona Charen has a great background of the case(s) and commentary.
UPDATE 3: WDEL's Allan Loudell wonders if this decision will affect DE schools. The professor he interviews, Bob Hayman, doesn't much like the SCOTUS opinion.
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are A Stunningly Dishonest Piece of Advocacy Writing About the Supreme Court by Bookworm Room, and The Rupture by Seraphic Secret. Three members were unable to vote this week, but only Cheat Seeking Missiles and Big Lizards were affected by the 2/3 vote penalty. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|2 1/3||A Stunningly Dishonest Piece of Advocacy Writing About the Supreme Court|
|2||The Most Ridiculous Story of the Year? (2)|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
|1||General Petraeus: Fighting On Two Fronts, Winning... and Playing for Time|
|2/3||Dividing and Conquering, or Dancing With the Devil?|
|2/3||‘Life With An Old Dog’ -- Hard Lessons Learned Hard|
‘Okie’ on the Lam
|1/3||A Sort of Haunted Look|
The Glittering Eye
|1/3||Tinkering With Immigration Bomb Will Only Set It Off|
Right Wing Nut House
|1/3||SciFi Channel: Humans As Invaders|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|1 2/3||The Rupture|
|1 1/3||Muslim Speaks at My Church, Calls Me “Naive.” Also “Tough.”|
Anwyn's Notes in the Margin
|1||Secularist Europe Silences Pro-Lifers and Creationists|
The Brussels Journal
|1||Are Idiots of This Magnitude Born or Made?|
|2/3||Women, Lost and Found|
La Shawn Barber's Corner
|2/3||Iraq Report: al Qaeda Strikes at the Seams|
The Fourth Rail
|2/3||U.S. Strategy at a Crossroads|
|2/3||A Modest Proposal On Reforming Social Security Preceding the Boomer Flood|
|2/3||It's a Great Day for Freedom of Speech|
Tapscott's Copy Desk
|2/3||The Human Rights Outrage In Iran... and a Challenge to Rosie O'Donnell and Her Ilk|
UPDATE: Post moved up to top. Why? Good news: The House agrees 309-115 to a Mike Pence amendment to ban the FCC from implementing the Doctrine.
John Kerry is the latest Democrat bigwig to jump on the bandwagon:
Calling it one of the "most profound changes in the balance of the media," he said conservatives have been able to "squeeze down and squeeze out opinion of opposing views. I think it has been a very important transition in the imbalance of our public dialog," he said.
You know, if these dimwits persist in this nonsense, I guarantee it'll come back to bite them in the ass. Want to see all those Hollywood "advocacy movies" on the tube? Gotta balance 'em with a conservative flick. That means Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" doesn't get aired on TV unless there's a movie to counter it. Ditto (pun intended) any of Michael Moore's films. Or MANY Hollywood films for that matter. Hell, even "Erin Brockovich" would have to be balanced. And you can bet conservatives will be out in force demanding network newscasts be perfectly balanced in every way -- points of view, political labels used, even the number of words used in news reports.
Be careful what you wish for, liberals.
UPDATE: Greg at Rhymes With Right has a local (Houston, TX) story about how the market is supposed to work when it comes to talk radio.
Un. Frickin'. Real.
Mike Matthews got the scoop. Awesome work, my friend.
On "Hardball" right now, Chris Matthews has guests Christopher Hitchens and ... Al Sharpton? You've gotta be kidding. Of course, Al will hope that yelling and talking over Hitchens will win him some debate "points" (it's happening now as I type); in actuality, he's getting clobbered -- just as Matthews should have predicted. You can't get a better definition of "Out of Your League" than Sharpton's situation right now.
I disagree quite vehemently with Hitchens on various topics, but he's by far one of the best debaters I've ever seen/heard. Almost two years ago I discussed Hitchens' dissection of George Galloway.
Eugene Volokh wonders if Clarence Thomas' concurrence in the "Bong Hits" case could be applied to universities and their constant hunger for restrictive speech codes. I find that I agree with commenter "John":
I must say I thought his opinion was very interesting and, frankly, persuasive, but it depended in large part, I thought, on the historic concept of in loco parentis, where the school is given the child on the understanding that the school, like the parent transferring custody, has the power to control conduct (including speech) to the same extent as the parent. It is a sort of waiver of whatever the child's rights might otherwise have been. I'm not sure the parent "transfers" a college student with the same understandings.
I've added the new blog to the "More Delaware Bloggers" links section.
This past Sunday I played Delcastle for the first time in a couple years. The weather was absolutely perfect; I just wish my putting was the same. I could not sink anything from around a four-five foot range. Ugh. Final score: 87.
Yesterday, I hit Chisel Creek for the second time in two weeks. I started off exactly as before, parring six of the first nine including a birdie. Front nine score: a mere three-over par 38! The back nine didn't go nearly as well, but it also wasn't nearly as bad as last time. Back nine score: 45. Total score: 83, which ties the best score I have ever carded since way back in 1993. I've shot 83 several times since then, but never better. (The last time was last July at the near-Mike Mahaffie Rookery golf course.) My best round ever was a 79 (at Delcastle, ironically enough) in '93, which was pre-birth-of-my-daughter and when I played an average of three times per week!
Once again, I forgot to snap a photo of the "exciting" on-course action, so instead I'll treat you to a snap of what every true-blue NFL team fan should own: Helmet ball markers and divot repair tool!
Mike Matthews got a great discussion rolling regarding the now-famous "Bong Hits for Jesus" free speech case. (.PDF file.) Yours truly has numerous comments there, so if you're interested in this case and want to see a great discussion (really!), check it out.
Greg at Rhymes With Right has a terrific post about the case in which he joins the four dissenting justices. He writes:
As a result, this case leaves me very worried. Tinker held that students do not surrender their civil liberties at the schoolhouse gate. Could it be that we are reaching the point that students do, in fact, require that students surrender those liberties? Rather than recognizing (as in West Virginia v. Barnette in 1943) that no public official, high or petty, shall define what the orthodox and acceptable opinions shall be held and expressed, we are going to permit school boards and their employees to determine what speech on matters of public importance shall be considered acceptable?
It's a compelling argument, to be sure. However, as I argue over at Matthews' place, I differ with fellow teacher Greg in that if students are allowed to say and/or wear virtually anything they wish in the guise of "free expression," you're opening the doors to organizational chaos. Instead of teaching, I'll be quelling fights (or potential fights) due to that "I HATE BLACKS" t-shirt that kid has on and the subsequent anger that many African-American students now feel (rightly!) as a result. The SCOTUS has ruled since Tinker that school officials can limit certain student speech if it disrupts (or could disrupt) the educational mission of the school.
I am curious as to whether state law could be used to enhance student speech freedoms much like in this case. It seems to me that this could indeed be the case if Alaska (where the "Bong Hits" banner was unfurled) so desired. I was ... "schooled" in how this is a legitimate method to "rein in" such a SCOTUS decision not only by Greg, but by lawyer-blogger Sailorman and the ever-omniscient Xrlq.
Speaking of the latter, I e-mailed him a question regarding "anchor babies" -- babies that are born in the US whose parents are illegal aliens. This was discussed on one of the talking head shows recently (O'Reilly, I believe) and it was asked if a constitutional amendment would be necessary to change the provision that anyone born in the US is automatically a US citizen. One of the guests emphatically said "yes." But, as Xrlq has educated me on minute details regarding the relevant 14th Amendment in the past, I wanted his take on all this. He says:
I think it would take an amendment. Some argue that illegal aliens and their children are not "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States, and therefore outside the ambit of the citizenship clause, but it strikes me as a stretch. The Enforcement Clause wouldn't change that result, as a statute contravening the basic rule of the Fourteenth Amendment can scarcely be construed as appropriate legislation to enforce it.
What are the chances such an amendment would pass? Very small, in my opinion. Congress is already clueless about public sentiment regarding illegal immigration, and although the public may desire such an amendment, I could hardly see two-thirds of both houses of Congress passing such. Interestingly, Britain and France used to have provisions whereby anyone born in those countries was automatically a citizen. But they have since changed those laws.
Perpetual commenter/nouveau troll Perry (at left) needs his own blog. Now.
Why? Because Perry believes that people's blogs are his personal bulletin boards. He believes that just because [most] blogs allow comments that he is free to post whatever he wishes. He believes that people who do not accept his viewpoint and opinions are "ignorant" and "extremist." When an obvious argumentative impasse is reached on a particular topic, Perry just keeps going ... like the Energizer Bunny. He really needs to brush up on the definition of "troll."
But we at Colossus really want to help Perry. We want him to get an outlet for his oh-so self-righteous spewings. You can help the ... man ... by signing the petition. What petition? Oh, er, there isn't a formal petition to sign, so we've set up a "ghetto petition": Just write "YES!" in our very own comment section on this post!
Despite a several year-old anecdote from James Inhofe, yet another reason to believe that Democrats want to revive the silly Fairness Doctrine came through yesterday in the form of California Senator Diane Feinstein (from yesterday):
[Fox News's Chris] WALLACE: So would you revive the Fairness Doctrine?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I'm looking at it, as a matter of fact, Chris, because I think there ought to be an opportunity to present the other side. And unfortunately, talk radio is overwhelmingly one way.
WALLACE: But the argument would be it's the marketplace, and if liberals want to put on their own talk radio, they can put it on. At this point, they don't seem to be able to find much of a market.
FEINSTEIN: Well, apparently, there have been problems. It is growing. But I do believe in fairness. I remember when there was a Fairness Doctrine, and I think there was much more serious correct reporting to people.
My emphasis. "Serious correct reporting." Mm-hmm. Elsewhere, the liberal Center for American Progress believes the "imbalance" in talk radio programming (meaning, the medium is overwhelmingly conservative) is due to "multiple structural problems in the U.S. regulatory system." The recent CAP report on talk radio recommends the following (my emphasis):
First, the report proposes new national and local limits on the number of radio stations one company can own. Second, it recommends a de facto quota system to ensure that more women and minorities own radio stations. And finally, it says the government should “require commercial owners who fail to abide by enforceable public interest obligations to pay a fee to support public broadcasting.”
I do not recall any calls from conservatives when they had power in Congress (like in 1994-on) for "regulatory solutions" to the "problem" of mainstream media [liberal] bias. Liberal viewpoints then, as now, dominate the major TV networks and newspapers, not to mention popular culture-oriented Hollywood and the music industry. Yet, as conservative talk radio has thrived since the early 90s, and as Fox News continues to grow incredibly, many liberals are apoplectic. They boycott and/or refuse to talk to Fox News. Talk radio must be "regulated." Why is this? Why are liberals so afraid of their own ideas?
Michael Dalene of Wilmington is this week's winner because he feels Iran has every right to develop nuclear weapons:
Why should the United States deny Iran or any nation or employ terroristic means against those wishing to ensure their independence through weapons of mass destruction? Only impotent nations with schemes of global domination would fear and deny any nation the means to defense.
I wholeheartedly support Iran's desires to procure weapons that provide some deterrent to invaders. And for those petty-minded enough to think Iran or others would launch aggression against the United States, remember we have a missile defense system defending against such attacks.
First, the US did not deny India or Pakistan the development of nuclear weapons, did it?
Second, the US missile defense system is hardly foolproof, mainly since it's so new. But the worry isn't that Iran would be silly enough to launch an ICBM at the US (mainly since it wouldn't even have that capability for some time), but that it would use its nukes against Israel. And despite many protestations on the Left that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been "misquoted" about his statements regarding the Jewish state, the official Tehran broadcast network IRIB recently provided their very own English translation of Ahmadinejad's remarks. Here it is: "Ahmadinejad: Israel Must Be Wiped Off the Map."
This is actually a very good reason to deny Iran nuclear weapons. A regime as crazy as the one that currently rules that country -- one that supports suicidal terror groups throughout the mid-east -- would have a LOT less compunction about using nukes than the countries that have maintained their own stockpiles for decades.
"We’ve got to do something about this. These are nothing but far leftwing extremists. We’ve got to have a balance. There’s got to be a legislative fix to this."
Think the Left in this country would have a paroxysm of anger? Think the MSM would rise up in indignation? Damn right they would! And they'd be right.
The thing is, replace "leftwing" in the above quote with "rightwing," and change the target from NBC etc. to talk radio. The quote is actually from a discussion between Hillary Clinton and CA's Barbara Boxer according to Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe (R), who overheard the two on an elevator.
I just finished reading one of the ten books I ordered for summer, titled Triumph. The is an On The Beach-style story where fourteen survivors of a terrible nuclear war are holed up underground in an elaborate shelter in Connecticut. Definitely a bit dated, and with the typical Cold War "Soviets are evil incarnate" subplot, the entire northern hemisphere is rendered uninhabitable by a sudden Soviet nuke strike, including numerous cobalt bombs. Cobalt bombs gained a lot of notoriety in the 50s and 60s as the theoretical "doomsday weapon." This is not because of their enormous explosive power (which was implied in the ending of the film "Beneath the Planet of the Apes") but because of the prodigious amount of radiation such weapons would release, and this radiation would last a very long time. As planetary wind patterns continuously circle the globe, this high-intensity radiation would reach everywhere -- if enough bombs were exploded. In Triumph, enough were set off to depopulate just the northern part of the planet. In addition, in the novel, the USSR set off myriad nukes with a yield of over 100 megatons, which would have very devastating effects on the planet with which author Philip Wylie was obviously unaware. The largest nuke ever exploded (in real life) was of a yield of approximately 59 megatons (by the USSR).
Just how much cobalt -- or how many bombs of that type -- would be necessary to kill off all life on Earth? Physicist Leo Szilard estimates that it would take "400 one-ton deuterium-cobalt bombs [to] release enough radioactivity to extinguish all life on earth." This threat is brought to life in another summer reading book of mine, Red Alert. The inspiration for the movie "Dr. Strangelove," it details a rogue US Air Force officer who unilaterally orders a SAC B-52 bomber wing to drop its nuke bombs on the USSR (you have to read the book to see how this is actually possible). Since the chances of actually stopping, or recalling, the wing are almost nil, the president's top generals agree that the US should follow through with the attack, and end the Soviet threat once and for all.
There's just a "small" problem: The president informs his top general of something that only he and the Secretary of State know -- the USSR has a "last-ditch" plan to thwart any [nuke] attack on them by the United States. That plan is a quantity of cobalt bombs stashed in the Ural Mountains that, if exploded, would extinguish all life on the planet. The revelation of this plan actually led to the deteriorating health of the president's predecessor, gruesome as it was.
I'm not quite finished Red Alert yet, but I've already been tipped off as to how it ends. Still, it's awesomely suspenseful reading.
Use of cobalt devices was also utilized in the far-fetched (well, maybe not back then) Not This August. A Soviet and China-conquered USA has one last-ditch weapon to use against their occupiers: A "weapon satellite" that contains a few cobalt bombs. If the USSR and China do not withdraw from US territory, the satellite will drop these devices on the two countries where they (hypothetically) would only devastate that pair of communist nations.
An early issue of Marvel Comics' Silver Surfer in 1970 where he battles the "Doomsday Man" features a cobalt device. The Surfer must take extra care in defeating the menace else the Earth be put in peril. However, this was unlikely as it seems to use a "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" approach -- it was just one bomb and hence not sufficient to actually jeopardize the planet.
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Gaza Becomes Hamastan, Part 2 -- Clarity and an Opportunity by Joshuapundit, and Be Not Afraid by Michael Yon. Thanks to everyone for all the great entries this week... I'm eager to see next week's entries! Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|3||Gaza Becomes Hamastan, Part 2 -- Clarity and an Opportunity|
|2 1/3||Muslim And Christian? In One Body?|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
|2||Happy Father's Day To the "Dragon Slayer"|
‘Okie’ on the Lam
|1 2/3||The New York Times Spins Away|
|1 1/3||A Tragic Case|
Done With Mirrors
|2/3||Overstating a Problem|
Rhymes With Right
|1/3||Yon On Baqouba|
|1/3||The Resilience of Olmert and Kadima|
|1/3||A Conversation With My Dead Father|
Right Wing Nut House
|3 1/3||Be Not Afraid|
|2||Beware: Misleading Income Statistics Are Coming Your Way|
|1 2/3||The American Left's Silly Victim Complex|
|1 1/3||Twenty Years Ago in Berlin, Seeing the Rally Against Reagan|
|1 1/3||Stacking the Deck Against Justice Thomas|
|1||A French Lesson for America's Grand Old Party|
American Enterprise Institute
|2/3||What Is Your Purpose Here, Senator Reid?|
|2/3||War Against Iran|
Somewhere On A1A...
Fox News's E.D. Hill had former Carter Center board member Steve Berman on this morning discussing the situation in Gaza, including former President Carter's controversial remarks where he called the US's lack of recognition of Hamas as "criminal."
Trying to get an overly obvious dig in against the former prez, Hill asked Berman, "What did HE (Carter) do when HE had the chance to do something in the mid-east?" To which Berman appropriately had to answer, "Well, there WAS the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt ... "
Yeah, Ms. Hill. It's pretty pathetic you had no idea about that rather significant historical fact as it remains one of, if not the ONLY, lasting peace accords in the mid-east. And, it is Jimmy Carter's greatest contribution as US President.
Oh, wait a sec:
MSNBC.com identified 144 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 17 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties. (Link.)
Just remember though -- such donations do NOT affect their reporting. Only those at Fox News and the Washington Times who donate to the GOP let their bias come through in their reporting.
The SciFi Channel is preparing a CGI film titled "Terra" which has as its basis a familiar theme: Planet-conquering aliens. Although, this time, the aliens are humans.
The worst comes true: The object is an alien ship, planning to launch an attack and claim the pastoral world and its abundant resources for a race of extraterrestrials who have destroyed their home world with war, greed and pollution.
It's a familiar tale, but there's a twist: The invaders are human, and the townsfolk are the salamander-like, peaceful victims who must rise up against the monsters.
The obvious point in this, most likely, is the US as "imperial aggressor." But as I've argued before (mainly in regards to "Battlestar Galactica"), it is highly unlikely that the human species, once it has attained the level of technological sophistication necessary for interstellar flight, would "revert" to a level of civilizational barbarity whereby it'd plunder planets that contain intelligent life. Think about it -- it doesn't make sense. Besides, it'd be a LOT cheaper to get necessary raw materials from space -- asteroids, comets, moons -- rather than [inhabited] planets. This reverse premise made the popular early-80s show "V" a laugher, not to mention the more recent "Independence Day."
The ONLY real way I can be led to accept a premise such as that in "Terra" is a situation where humans come across advanced technology before we're actually ready for it. For example, if there was indeed a Roswell incident in 1947 where the US captured an alien spacecraft, we could successfully reverse-engineer the ship's technology and eventually build our own interstellar craft. If this happened, say, today, the results for our immediate stellar neighbors could be devastating. Modern humans haven't even gotten over their own petty differences; how can they be expected to handle aliens?? (Carl Sagan's "Contact" had an excellent subplot on this topic.)
Monday's on the SciFi Channel feature four hours of the Star Trek franchise's "Enterprise." This past Monday presented the excellent two-parter "In a Mirror, Darkly." It shows the genesis of the "Mirror" Universe, first glimpsed in the classic original Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror": We see an actual clip from the ending of the eighth Trek movie, "First Contact," where the inventor of warp drive (Zephram Cochran) is greeting the first aliens on Earth (who happen to be Vulcans -- Mr. Spock's race for those not in the know). In the actual movie, this meeting sets the stage for Earth's ascendance into the community of planets; however, in the Mirror Universe, Cochran guns down his Vulcan counterpart, and orders those humans assembled to enter and ransack the Vulcan ship! Thus sets the stage for the origins of the Terran Empire, where Earth becomes a despotic, conquering planet, subjugating and enslaving its stellar neighbors. How did this happen? Because humans acquired high technology before they were ready for it.
As a Marvel comics fan, this concept was perhaps best elaborated upon in the Watcher's (at left) origin story. Eons ago, the Watcher's race decided to travel the universe offering gifts of high technology to lesser species -- in effect, acting as "gods." That is, until a race called the Prosilicans created nuclear weapons with the Watcher-offered gift of nuclear power and destroyed not only themselves, but their stellar neighbors as well. This resulted in the Watchers becoming just that -- Watchers, whereby any and all interference in alien races' development was prohibited. (Earth's Watcher didn't exactly adhere to this edict, especially when the planet-devouring Galactus showed up to consume our planet.)
Humans (or other races) gaining technology before "we're (they're) ready" is an old theme in scifi. Larry Niven's popular Kzin race is another example. These ferocious felinoids almost conquer Earth thanks to stolen high technology. Back to Marvel, the popular Kree race (from where Captain Marvel comes) stole their technology from the Skrulls.
What are some others?
Via the excellent cartoon-rich Dry Bones Blog, with permission.
Meanwhile, Soccer Dad sends me a few interesting stories, both of which splendidly exemplify the utter hypocrisy (not to mention bias) when it comes to press coverage of Israel. The first details the difficulties of Israelis trying to attend to Palestinian wounded in Gaza ... due to Hamas checkpoints! You know, checkpoints that the media love to harp on, but when they're Israeli checkpoints designed to keep out terrorists.
Elsewhere, imagine the media firestorm if Israelis shot and killed a couple peace protestors. Not so, though, in Gaza when Hamas does it.
The headline of this Philly Inquirer article reads "The first gunshot victim in Americas?" But when you read the actual story, what it reveals is that there has been unearthed the earliest archeological evidence of a gunshot victim: An Inca solider who was apparently slain by a Spanish soldier. That's a significant difference. For, as the story itself admits near its end, the Spanish campaign against the Inca was the second major [Spanish] campaign against a Native American civilization. About a dozen years prior, Hernán Cortés led his forces against the Aztecs of Mexico. It is highly unlikely that no Aztec was killed by a Spanish arquebus, thus, again, rendering this article's headline woefully misleading.
By the way, you just gotta love the archeologists' team leader's name: Guillermo Cock. I had to laugh when I saw his name, and not for the obvious reason. The reason is that I once sent in to Maxim magazine (for their former "Found Porn" section) a Highlights magazine-style cover I inadvertantly came across at school. Emblazoned very large (no pun intended!) on the cover was Cock's full name, and I could just imagine the reaction the magazine would get from a class full of students.
Maxim never used my submission, in case you're wondering. And, as I noted, the "Found Porn" section no longer exists in the mag, which is a shame (one of the reasons I let my subscription lapse!). BUT -- you can check out all the great archives of the former section online here! Oh, and it's not real porn -- it's all unintentional porn, which you'll see upon scoping the very first picture! Have fun.
Pitiful yarn in nearby Philly where an absentee "father" has suddenly decided to get back involved in his son's life -- even though the son died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. How's that work, you ask? Well, the son's estate is due to collect some $2.9 million, and "dad" wants half.
Good thing I haven't eaten breakfast yet, else it'd be all over my keyboard about now.
I yearn for the day when the law recognizes that there's a LOT more to the word "parent" than mere biology. This case hasn't been decided yet, but I'm betting that "dad" will get something, probably a lot more than he deserves -- meaning that would be anything over $1. However, courts have ruled twice against absentee "fathers" in other 9/11 compensation cases. My pessimism comes from reading about too many similar cases, as well as custody battles where only biology is considered, and not actual parenting.
The mother, Elsie Goss-Caldwell, did an incredible job actually being a parent to her three children, all of whom went on to very successful careers. Her son Kenneth, the 9/11 victim, graduated from Hofstra University and became a technology representative for the Philadelphia-based Alliance Consulting company. She deserves all of her son's estate from 9/11 Victims Recovery Fund.
Interesting story in today's News Journal news update: Israel lets "humanitarian cases" exit volatile Gaza.
Let's see ... for time immemorial the calls have been for Israel to pull back to its pre-1967 borders; it does so with regards to the Gaza Strip, then the terror group Hamas takes control, chaos ensues, and now refugees are fleeing to Israel for help! How can you script such irony any better than this? A further example:
In related news, Israel’s Supreme Court was hearing a petition today by a human rights group, demanding that Israeli authorities offer immediate medical treatment to 26 critically ill Palestinians hospitalized in Gaza.
My emphasis. "Demanding"!! Talk about your ever-lovin' chutzpah! Besides, where would all these refugees even go if groups like Hamas got their ultimate wish -- that Israel was obliterated? After all:
And in the West Bank, two Palestinian militants were killed early today after an hourslong shootout with Israeli troops on an arrest raid near Jenin.
'Nuff said. Except for the moment when the ridiculous moral relativist Perry arrives to offer his usual excuses ...
Oh, wait -- this little nugget concerning the 2000 election from Democrat strategist Bob Shrum seems to contradict that:
When all eyes were on Florida and it wasn't looking good for Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, his campaign was warned by a senior network correspondent that conceding on Election Night would be a bad idea. That intervention stopped Gore from conceding the election ...
"A senior network correspondent ... called ... and warned, 'The Florida numbers are wrong. Don't let him (Gore) concede.'"
When CNN reporter Howard Kurtz asked Shrum if this revelation would "fuel everybody who thinks there's a liberal media," Shrum said that it would have happened, too, if George Bush was in Al Gore's situation.
Mm-hm. And the Cleveland Browns will be this football season's Super Bowl champions.
Jason Weinberg believes that handing over the West Bank to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would further isolate his party's rival Hamas in Gaza (my emphasis):
"Palestinians on path to even deeper divide," Thursday, states that "rival governments in the West Bank and Gaza would . . . push prospects of a Palestinian state even further away." Rather, this division can catalyze lasting peace.
Fatah, for now, supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while Hamas sees Israel's destruction through terror as its goal. Fatah and Israel could begin a peaceful resolution by creating Palestine, starting in the West Bank.
An isolated Gaza led by Hamas, on the other hand, would demonstrate that terrorism to achieve a state doesn't work and won't be tolerated or rewarded with concessions.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could become a more credible negotiator by securing a West Bank Palestinian state. If that happens, a Gaza-West Bank split can be the beginning of real peace.
Really? What about the Fatah Charter, specifically Article 12 which states
Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.
And then there are these "inconvenient" following items from Abbas' own mouth:
The above are not old utterances. They were offered in the last couple years. And then there's Abbas' own "contributions":
A "two-state solution" with Abbas will be little better than the "two-state solution" under Yasser Arafat I'm afraid ...
Once again, in the tradition of fellow DE blogger and golf aficionado Mike Mahaffie, I am reporting on one of my golf games -- only the third of the year for me. Last week, in my second outing at Middletown's Back Creek course, I played with a couple very good golfers who wanted to play the blue tees. I joined them in playing from there, which was a BIG mistake. The blue tees at Back Creek can be some 40-50 yards behind the white tees from which I usually play. Ugh. I shot a very miserable 102, my first over-100 round in quite a while.
Yesterday I was able to play a spur-of-the-moment round at Chisel Creek, and I played from the white tees, natch! I started off like a madman, parring seven of the first ten holes and carding a 40 for the front nine. (That's me in the pic at the 10th hole.) Then, as can happen all too frequently, the "wheels came off." After getting on the next two greens in regulation with not very long putts to go, I three-putted both times. Very angry now, my game came apart. I ended up carding a 50 on the back nine! Absolutely pathetic. The only thing that salvaged my day (well, my mood at any rate!) was sinking a 25-foot putt from the fringe on the 18th ... for a seven!
And congrats to Angel Cabrera for winning the US Open yesterday! He's the first Argentinian to win a major golf tourney in 40 years. He only spoke Spanish at the post-round press conference which was cool for two reasons: One, I could actually understand him (Argentinians have an unusually thick accent) and two, that said accent is actually very cool-sounding!
To all you dads out there: Enjoy your day! What are you doing on your day, today?
Me? I'm -- wait for it! -- playing golf. The only thing is, tee time is 3pm which means I'll miss the best part of the last round of the US Open.
I'd better have a good round, yo.
Kind of fitting, actually. The creep never deserved it in the first place.
"You've got to turn off the Spanish television set," he said Wednesday night at the annual convention of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in San Jose, Calif. "You're just forced to speak English, and that just makes you learn the language faster."
The point being, of course, that being forced to speak another language makes one more proficient at it. And dont'cha think Ah-nuld has just a bit of experience in this regard?? And I certainly concur; one of the best things I did when I first went abroad was avoid English-language TV at my host family's home. Watching everything in Spanish helped my [Spanish] listening skills markedly.
But hey, what does Ah-nuld know, right?
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger demonstrated his ignorance on immigration issues once again by perpetuating the myth that immigrants have to reject their old culture and language in order to learn English and assimilate," said Brent Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens.
Hmm, I missed the part where Ah-nuld stated that "immigrants have to reject their old culture and language in order to learn English." *Sigh.* But, alas, in this age of hypersensitivity, such lame retorts are all too commonplace. Even a highly successful English-speaking immigrant who still can't get rid of his thick accent after over a quarter century can be a villain if he dares utter anything contrary to PC orthodoxy.
UPDATE: Ryan at Jokers to the Right made Ah-nuld his "Hero of the Week."
With school now out, me and a teaching buddy hit a matinee yesterday to see the sequel to the averagely mediocre "Fantastic Four" flick from a couple years ago. The trailers looked promising: One of the coolest characters Marvel's ever conceived of -- the Silver Surfer -- makes his big screen debut as the herald of the planet-consuming Galactus.
Warning! Spoilers ahead! Continue at your own risk! (Which, actually, ain't that much considering the movie ... !)
The one big positive of this sequel is that the F/X are killer. The Silver Surfer is perfectly done, and add Laurence Fishburne's voice to him and it's nigh unbeatable. The film starts where we see a planet being destroyed by the [unseen] Galactus. The Surfer flits away from the destruction -- his next stop: Earth. The Surfer's appearance results in freak weather changes/accidents across the globe, and eventually the US government comes to scientific genius Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic, the guy who can stretch) for assistance in tracking down the Surfer.
The Surfer, true to form from the comics, is virtually omnipotent; the FF can do little to stop him. The arrogant, egotistical Human Torch gets schooled by the Surfer who grabs him by the throat and zooms off to the edge of space -- the Torch's flame winks out and Johnny Storm (the Torch's real ID) plummets to Earth. Even Sue Storm's (the Invisible Woman, played by the oh-so gorgeous Jessica Alba) force field cannot thwart the Surfer.
Eventually the FF learns what the Surfer's true purpose is: He precedes the destruction of any planet on which he appears. Massive craters have appeared all over the planet, but after Reed and team fail to capture the Surfer (after deducing where his next appearance would be), the "so-smart" US government then enlists the aid of ... Dr. Doom! Played by "Nip/Tuck"'s Julian McMahon, Doom was fused into his armor and presumed deceased at the end of the first movie. Now, back in his home country of "Latveria," it is never clearly explained how he extricates himself from this predicament. Doom has figured out something is up with the Surfer (he, too, is a genius after all) and sets out to confront him. Probably the biggest unintentional chuckle of the film comes when Doom flies to an arctic locale to surprise the Surfer. On the side of Doom's helicopter is a huge decal that reads "VON DOOM." WTF?? He's the monarch of a his own friggin' country!! At least have a coat of arms on the side of the chopper or something! But a generic "VON DOOM" in a green triangle? LOL!!
At least it's somewhat explained how Doom overcomes his horrific, notorious scarring -- a blast by the Surfer inadvertantly heals him. But even Doom cannot thwart the Surfer, and as mentioned, the US government bigwigs insist that Richards team up with Doom to devise a method of capturing the herald. They do, of course, but the devious Doom has his own plans: Steal the Surfer's power! This, among other items, ties neatly into Fantastic Four lore. In issue #60 (first series, see below) of the FF, Doom lured the Surfer to his Latverian castle and stripped him of his cosmic power. He then threatened to take over the planet, and toyed with the FF in the process.
After Richards and Doom successfully build a device that captures the Silver Surfer, Doom snatches the power of the Surfer's board, and just like in the comics he begins wreaking all kinds of mayhem. But the part that is, well, "ridiculous" about this is that McMahon's Doom is a wisecrack-uttering smart-ass as opposed to the regal monarch/would-be conquerer of the comics. His Doom is sadly reminiscient of the Doom featured in the never-released 1994 "Fantastic Four" film that was made on a shoe-string budget. (I was "fortunate" enough to have viewed a bootleg copy of this disaster a couple years ago.) That Doom acted more like Spider-Man, making snappy patter all the while never being a real threat to the FF (and never did come off as an all-powerful menace). My buddy and I couldn't help but laugh our asses off at the Doom of the bootleg flick, including his always-silly comments.
At any rate, Doom steals the Surfer's power, but the FF has managed to free the herald from his captivity. The quartet has convinced him to spare the life of the Earth, if indeed it is within his power. But first, he needs to get his power back from the dastardly Doc Doom! In a move that was another hat-tip to a classic FF villain, the Human Torch absorbs all the powers of his teammates (made possible by an inadvertant side-effect of fighting the Surfer) and defeats Doom. The hat-tip is to the super-powerful Super Skrull, who was genetically engineered with all the powers of he FF (see below).
All that remains now is whether the Silver Surfer, now fully re-empowered, can thwart the coming of Galactus. In probably the biggest disappointment of the film (aside from not seeing more of a semi-clad Jessica Alba, that is!), we never get to see Galactus in full. The closest we get is a silhouette of his head passing over a nearby moon. Ugh. Not good enough. I'll provide, at least, a pic of what he looks like:
The Surfer is obviously successful; he apparently sacrifices his own life to stop the threat. (Although we see him floating lifelessly in space as the credits roll!) This never happened in the comics -- the Surfer was given his power by Galactus so how in the world could he actually stop him? It wouldn't make sense. So creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had the enigmatic, all-powerful Watcher intervene on behalf of planet Earth giving the FF a device (called the "Ultimate Nullifier") that could destroy even Galactus:
The movie also featured the subplot of Reed Richards and Sue Storm getting married (or, at least trying to amid all the chaos), not to mention the appearance of the way-cool "Fantasticar." The banter between the Human Torch and the Thing was funny, especially since the Torch's Chris Evans has the role of the wise-ass early twenty-something down cold! So let's sum up:
OVERALL RATING: Two and a half stars (out of four).
This is a question I pose to fellow DE bloggers Tommywonk, Nancy "I Blame Wayne Smith For Everything" Willing, and Kilroy. All have opined favorably regarding the recent court decision against the Christina School District's plan to close several schools in the city of Wilmington (the former two moreso than Kilroy), and yesterday Kilroy came out in favor of a reincarnated Wilmington School District.
I've pointed out the inconsistencies of city interest positions, mainly that the forced busing decree that began in New Catsle County in 1978 had as one of its main premises that city children's academic progress would improve when mixed with suburban children. City children had to attend suburban schools for nine of their twelve years (Judge Leo Strine, in his recent ruling, criticized Christina for having city children having to attend suburban schools for only seven) and the old Wilmington School District effectively ceased to exist. Yet, when the state legislature approved the Neighborhood Schools Act in 1999, these same interests (and the News Journal) called it "racist" and "segregationist," yet Christina's plans for their schools, while seemingly quite consistent with the bases of the original desegregation order, were roundly criticized by city interests, taken to court, and ended up losing.
So it all boils down to this: The city's current position using the Neighborhood Schools Act -- allowing [city] children to attend schools closest to their homes -- goes against the very premise of the '78 busing order. Which begs the question which I have yet to hear from those who favored forced busing: Was the 1978 forced busing order a monumental mistake, not only in terms of educational achievement, but in fostering a sense of community in city and suburban neighborhoods as well?
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Judging People By Their Friends and Their Enemies by Bookworm Room, and Death or Glory Part II of IV by Michael Yon. Soccer Dad was the only member unable to vote this week, and the only member affected by the 2/3 vote penalty. Thanks to everyone for all the great entries this week... I'm eager to see next week's entries! Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|2 1/3||Judging People By Their Friends and Their Enemies|
|1 2/3||“And the Wall Came a Tum-ba-lin' Down...”|
Right Wing Nut House
|1 1/3||Steering Away from the Shoals|
The Glittering Eye
|1||Something Wicked This Way Comes -- A Democrat Congress Tryin' To Fix the Alternative Minimum Tax|
‘Okie’ on the Lam
|1||A Modest Proposal for Middle East Peace|
Done With Mirrors
|2/3||I Hate the Phelps Klan -- But This Arrest Is Wrong|
Rhymes With Right
|2/3||Immigration as a GOP Talking Point in 2008|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
|1/3||The All-Muslim, All-Girl High School Prom|
The Education Wonks
|3 1/3||Death or Glory Part II of IV|
|1 2/3||Why the Pew Study of American Muslims Is Dangerously Incomplete|
Family Security Matters
|1 1/3||Moving Violations|
|1 1/3||Iraq: Consequences of Defeat|
The Moderate Voice
|1||Female Genital Mutilation: An Islamic Practice.|
Tao of Defiance
|2/3||U.S. Finds Karbala PJCC Mockup Inside Iran|
The Fourth Rail
|2/3||Liberals and Sopranos -- A Buildup To Nothingness|
The Tygrrrr Express
|1/3||Frist Pushing Dem Agenda|
What's the deal? Two Cuban soccer players apparently defected to the U.S., taking advantage of the Gold Cup tournament being played here in the States (which, if you dig soccer, you can see on Univision almost every night, currently. No knowledge of Spanish necessary!).
Forward Lester More went missing at the team's last stop in East Rutherford, N.J., and midfielder Osvaldo Alonso did not return from a group shopping trip in Houston. Their whereabouts were unknown late Wednesday night.
"We know what you know," said a Cuba team trainer, who declined to give his name. "We don't know anything more. These two players left. They did not come back."
I just don't get it. I mean, why defect from Cuba? Don't these guys know what they're leaving? Just ask filmmaker Michael Moore:
Michael Moore: "They (Cuba) have an excellent health care system, probably the best in the Third World. There is not religious persecution. There's artistic freedom. I went–"
[ABC's] Terry Moran: "There's artistic freedom in Cuba?"
Moore: "Oh, yeah. I hung out with artists who are critical of Castro and, and, and very freely speak their minds."
Maybe Moore can next make a movie about the "immorality" of leaving one's country. After all, that's what the Cuban soccer coach says. ("It's morally wrong to leave your country," he said.) Even more so given all that "freedom" the omnipotent Castro has given the people, right coach? (And Mike?)
First we saw this laughable example; now it's extended to the college realm:
Thanks to loyal Colossus reader Fred Gregory for sending this along. (The photo originally appeared in the Greensboro, NC News & Record.)
Entertainment Weekly has a list of fan "missed moments" they deeply regret well, having missed! Here's five of mine (probably, but not necessarily, my top five):
#1: Being too chicken-shit to watch the ending of Super Bowl 34 live. Why? Because -- seriously -- I thought everyone over at my place would have to call 911 for me. I was the walking epitomy of a nervous breakdown. I mean, come on -- the St. Louis Rams had only a 16-0 nothing lead after dominating -- and I mean dominating -- the Tennessee Titans for the first half and then first portion of quarter three ... but then let the Titans come back to tie the game with about two minutes left! Thank the Maker that Kurt Warner then hit the awesome Isaac Bruce on the first play of the Rams' next possession on a 73-yard bomb (at right) to go ahead 23-16! But there were still almost a full two minutes left in the game! The Titans furiously drove down the field, with Titans QB Steve McNair making a miraculous escape from Rams DTs Kevin Carter (that season's NFL sack leader) and Jay Williams. It all came down to ONE play: Six seconds remained in the game with Tennessee at the Rams' ten yard line. McNair threw to Kevin Dyson on a quick slant route, but linebacker Mike Jones made Super Bowl history by making a championship-saving tackle (above left) on Dyson at the one-FOOT line. Time expired, and the Rams won their first-ever Super Bowl.
Oh, by the way, I did tape the whole game so I was able to watch the cardiac arrest-inducing ending later on in relative anxiety-free ease.
#2: Missing a chance to meet Kurt Warner at a local event. In the summer of 2000, then-Rams QB Kurt Warner was slated to make an appearance at the old Kahunaville at the Wilmington (DE) Riverfront. There were no tickets sold in advance, but the friggin' date slipped my mind when the time came. ARRRRGH! (Hey, Hube -- it's called "Write it down on the calendar, you moron!") I had heard months later that Warner actually had to cancel his appearance but I never got definite confirmation on that.
#3. Not going to the Philadelphia Phillies championship parade in 1980. It's their only championship in some 100 years (see below), and I was too much of a wimp to go and attend their parade after their victory. I was in 10th grade (15 yrs. old) and many of my fellow teens, friends and mere acquaintances alike, were headed to the City of Brotherly Love to take part in the festivities. My parents, however, warned against me skipping school to attend. Let's see ... take part in what may be the only Phils celebration in my lifetime and face the wrath of my parents (especially my dad) or go to school like a good, obedient son? Well, you know what I chose (you don't know my dad!) else I wouldn't be writing this damn thing!
#4. Not going to a "venue" rock concert event at either the Vet or JFK stadium. I've seen many concerts at the old Spectrum (Genesis and Yes, just to name two) but I never once attended a "big" event at Veterans Stadium or JFK Stadium (now both demolished). That I recall, I never had any definitive opportunities to go to one (not that I couldn't have bought my own tickets, but y'know) with the exception in 1982 of The Who event (seen below). My good buddy Schmitt, his brother and several other pals attended, but for some reason, I elected not to. Lame.
#5. The 1986 Challenger disaster. This sounds weirdly macabre and certainly is not "entertainment" in and of itself, but the fact is that in the early-mid 1980s I never missed a Space Shuttle launch live unless it took place at like 3:00 in the morning or something. The Shuttle launches for me (and my dad) surely were (are) entertainment. (The one exception to getting up early was that very first Shuttle launch in 1981 -- my father and I got up around 5:00am to watch all the pre-launch jabber and stuff followed by the historic flight.) But on that fateful day in January, 1986, I was home sick from UD Winter Session (probably with some nasty sinus infection if memory serves), and got up very late in the morning hence missing the launch live. I wandered downstairs, tissue box in hand, to watch some TV in my miserable state. As I clicked away with the remote, there suddenly was Dan Rather's voice describing "an incredible disaster" as footage of the launch was playing. Then I heard those infamous words "Go with throttle up" and then ... wow. I was frozen in disbelief. For real. I couldn't move for about a minute or so. Then I called up to my mother in the kitchen who let out a small scream of "Oh my God," then turned on the small black & white set in the kitchen, and then ... began to sob softly.
It is not missing the actual disaster that is significant to me; it is the sense of history -- that incredible tragic moment -- that was lost.
WDEL's Gerry Fulcher is being sued by former Wilmington City Councilman Norman Oliver for slander and defamation:
Oliver, in his lawsuit, alleges that Gerry Fulcher and Delmarva Broadcasting Company, which owns WDEL/1150, where Fulcher works, made statements slandering him, as well as published certain defamatory statements about him April 23.
In his suit, Oliver alleges Fulcher’s defamatory statements about him included assertions that Oliver:
• Received $30,000 from the Delaware River and Bay Authority to fix up his home
• Misappropriated $75,000 from the Suburban Street Fund
• Received $250,000 from the Brandywine School District, in violation of public bidding laws.
That last one, in particular, was directly refuted by Brandywine District Superintendent Jim Scanlon at his May 29th press conference at Concord High School. Scanlon noted that
"four years ago, the district put out a bid for the running of our alternative school (the Brandywine Community School). It did receive a bid from Norman Oliver, but it was not the lowest bid and was not awarded the contract."
I'm not exactly the biggest fan of Oliver, but the bottom line is that Gerry Fulcher has quite a large history of making whopper statements (see here for the latest), and I for one am glad someone is calling him on it. It's gonna be tough for Oliver to win his case, I believe, but hopefully it will make Fulcher just a tad bit more responsible with his blowhard statements.
On the surface, Islamic health doesn’t look good: the 2001 census showed that 24 per cent of Muslim women and 21 per cent of Muslim men suffered long-term illness and disability. But these are factors of social conditions rather than religion. In fact, Islam offers Londoners potential health benefits: the Muslim act of prayer is designed to keep worshippers fit, their joints supple and, at five times a day, their stomachs trim. The regular washing of the feet and hands required before prayers promotes public hygiene and would reduce the transmission of superbugs in London’s hospitals.... Application of halal (Arabic for 'permissable' [sic]) dietary laws across London would free us at a stroke from our addiction to junk food [ed: who says Muslims can't eat junk food?], and the general adoption of a south Asian diet rich in fruit juice, rice and vegetables with occasional mutton or chicken would have a drastic effect on obesity, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorders and associated public health problems.
[Unintentionally?] humorously, the article's lede says this:
It’s the capital’s fastest growing religion, based on noble traditions and compassionate principles, yet Islam can still be tainted by mistrust and misunderstanding. Here Time Out argues that an Islamic London would be a better place.
If you're wondering about sharia law, women treated as basically animals, outlawing of other religions, etc., well, you're just engaging in a "hysterical, right-wing nightmare" according to the writer Michael Hodges.
*Sigh*. Keep reading to see if whether Hodges is expressing a "hysterical left-wing fantasy" or not.
Miller has always been one of my favorite comedians, mainly due to his obscure similes, and this doesn't disappoint.
That's the grade the St. Louis Rams got for their off-season personnel maneuvering.
In a word: Cool.
One of the good things about being a teacher is that you never lose that "summer is coming" feeling you had when you were a student. And when that time comes, I order books. Lots of 'em. So far I've ordered ten, including a classic I first read as a college freshman -- The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. Written in the 1950s, it's one of those rare novels that actually holds up despite societal changes. The underlying theme is "How does society deal with a human race that can teleport at will?" I believe this to be the inspiration for many of Larry Niven's treatises on teleportation (such as those found in All the Myriad Ways).
But most of my other reading comes from an interesting website I found just by Googling. I've always been fascinated by "nuclear war fiction" which, I suppose, is due in part to growing up under the spectre of nuclear armageddon in the 1960s-1980s. (Anyone else old enough to recall "duck and cover"? I have fleeting memories of those drills from the early 70s.) As a young boy I was intrugued by my parents' accounts of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and how they thought that was the "end to all that is." In junior high I read the fascinating Alas, Babylon (recommended by a science teacher) which eerily mesmerized me. Then there were the movies -- "Fail Safe" and "On the Beach" -- which led me to those novels ... and more.
Anyone else dig this genre? What are some of your faves?
Last Sunday May 28th of 2007, Venezuelan TV station RCTV (Radio Caracas Television) went off the air for good. President Hugo Chavez decided not to renew their airwaves’ concession because the channel was supposedly disrespectful with the government policies.
That TV station was not only the oldest one in the country, it was also responsible for most of the pop culture that all Venezuelans share in common. TV shows that we grew up with, icons that made us feel special, girls to fall in love with, international stars that came to visit, telenovelas that made history, comedians that made us laugh for years, cartoons that often became the favorite subject of drunk conversations, TV shows, news shows, etc. RCTV is part of the history of our country and they just disappeared from Venezuelans’ TV screens last Sunday.
As part of Los Amigos Invisibles and as journalist, RCTV became for me a place full of friends: people who liked our band and people who I shared classrooms with. They opened the doors of their shows to let us play music during our entire career; they knew when we were in town and invited us to go on and tell everybody how everything was going for us and with our tours; they were happy to support us. We probably appeared at least once in every one of the shows they had—probably lots of Venezuelan bands did too, they were really supportive with musicians. I just feel sad for not being able to return the favor, but truth is that I just couldn’t believe that they were going off the air for good, I just couldn’t believe that Chavez made that happen, it took too much time to believe it.
There's much more.
Pardo, affectionately known as "Cheo" to those who follow the band, is one of the coolest -- and smartest -- performers I know of. He and his bandmates are all quite politically and culturally cognizant of their country's situation and more. But even given that (as I've written many times previously), they share an affection for their fans that is nigh-unbeatable by any similar act. When a couple friends and I saw Los Amigos on my birthday a few months ago, Cheo -- whom I had talked with several times previously at other concerts -- called me over before the show (he DJs for about an hour before the band comes on), wished me a "happy birthday" (one of my friends told him), and offered to buy my friends and I some drinks. But the best part was in the middle of the band's performance, the lead singer (Julio Briceño) looked out in the crowd, asked where I was by name, and wished me a "happy birthday" from the entire band! Everyone in the audience was looking at me with faces like "Who's that guy?" and then wishing me same.
It was the best birthday gift I had had in many years.
H/t to Newsbusters for this: The NY Times strikes again, this time if you're against the [now-thwarted] immigration reform bill because you believe it to be akin to amnesty, well, you're like 'dem Jim Crow-lovin' southerners from days of 'ol:
The anti-immigrant hard-core — no amnesty today, no amnesty tomorrow, no amnesty forever — must not be allowed to hold the nation hostage. Like nativists of generations past, they think the country is being Latinized, and they fear it.
And there you have it. The tried and true tactic of labeling your opponent "racist" because you oppose what leigitimately can be dubbed yet another immigrant amnesty plan. Remember George Wallace's line "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever," right? That's precisely what the NYT wants your mind to recall.
I wonder if the Times made a similar comparison when the Mayor of Detroit uttered the phrase “We will affirm to the world that affirmative action will be here today, it will be here tomorrow and there will be affirmative action in the state forever” when speaking out against the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI)?
Not that I could find.
Did YOU know that the term "marriage" is hate speech? How about "family values"? "Natural family"? According to the most overturned circuit court in the land -- the 9th Circuit -- they all are:
In United States District Court, Case No. CV-03-03542-VRW, the California federal courts concluded that the terms "marriage," "natural family," and "family values" could be censored in a municipal workplace as hate-speech and in the interest of "administrative efficiency." Specifically, the City of Oakland banned the use of these terms on postings made to an open bulletin board provided to employees during the same-sex marriage debate in California during 2002 through 2003.
But the case is now going to the US Supreme Court. And it seems like a slam-dunk for a reversal:
The suit arose in late 2002 when the petitioners chose to create the Good News Employee Association in response to alleged Bible-bashing by ranking city officials and open access given to various other groups over the City's e-mail and bulletin board systems. When the petitioners tried to express their views through a flyer posted on an open bulletin board, they were allegedly censored. The other groups are allowed, to this day, to publish whatever they'd like on the bulletin board and on e-mail systems.
According to materials provided to the United States Supreme Court, one quote from an e-mail among city employees and officials said, "I personally think the good book (Bible) needs some updating" along with other alleged attacks on Christian values. Nothing was done about this e-mail from a sitting city council member.
Other city-approved e-mails, during the same time period, announced the establishment of an "altar" for Day of the Dead, a celebration of 150 years of Jewish history in Oakland, "National Coming Out Day," "the first anti-Iraq war teach-in sponsored by a city government anywhere in the U.S.," and a "First Annual Holiday Mixer" for the Gay-Straight Employee Alliance.
I just never can grasp how lefties are SO "in favor" of free speech ... until the time arises when the speech is something they disagree with. It happens all the time on college campuses and when leftists are elected to office (see what's happening in a certain country called "Venezuela" right now).
I know I am biased (who isn't? Well, MSM types will never admit it), but I believe conservatives are much more tolerant of free speech than those on the left. Feel free to disagree and discuss.
You just gotta shake your head at the irony of Sharon Heath's letter today (my emphasis):
My 20-year-old son parked along a side street in our neighborhood, having driven his brother to the bus stop. Unfortunately, they had parked on the wrong side of the road.
Two New Castle County Police officers noticed this and stopped to inquire. As my son explained, the bus arrived and his younger brother boarded it. Next, the officers requested my son's license, proof of insurance and registration, which he provided and which checked out. Seeing that his explanation was truthful, the officers did not give him a ticket, nor did they let the matter drop.
The officers began interrogating him about whether he had anything in his car they "should know about." My son answered truthfully, "no." An officer asked if he were to bring a K-9 to the car, would the dog find anything. My son answered "no." This dialogue continued until out of exasperation my son said, "Why don't you just look for yourselves?"
The officers had him step out of the car, thoroughly searched it, then patted him down including between his legs. They found nothing.
The neighborhood is Collins Park, which has a bad reputation. I am tired of that sort of harassment. There are good families here and the police are supposed to protect us, not harass us beyond what is required to determine whether someone poses a threat or danger.
I would be willing to bet that in a better neighborhood, officers would have ignored the car or questioned the driver and moved on.
My house has been broken into four times and my car was demolished by a hit-and-run driver right in my own driveway. The police have never solved those crimes.
Until that day I never had anything but the utmost respect for the New Castle County Police and their efforts to do a very hard job. That day my feelings changed.
OK, let's see -- we have an admitted lousy neighborhood where Sharon's son admittedly violated a traffic ordinance (parking on the wrong side of the road). Sharon herself states why this neighborhood is lousy (house broken into FOUR times, car demolished), yet she is irate about police going about their business of trying to make the neighborhood better, i.e. checking traffic violators for any sort of contraband, weapons, etc. Why? Because it was her son. (Keep in mind that the police did not arbitrarily stop her son -- in other words, for no reason. He had committed a traffic violation.)
I bet if it were someone else, Ms. Heath would have a different perspective on the matter.
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are 3 Spies and Six Days by Soccer Dad, and Four Modest Proposals for Getting Out of Iraq by Dan Simmons. 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:
|3||3 Spies and Six Days|
|2||The Six Day War In Real Time|
|1 2/3||Smelt Stink|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
|1 1/3||It's Not Dead. It's Resting.|
Right Wing Nut House
Done With Mirrors
|1/3||Almost One of Us|
The Glittering Eye
|1/3||Loyalty and Love: D-Day, 63 Years Later...|
|1/3||Well, Y'see, He Has Rights!|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|1/3||Salvation à la Mode|
|1/3||LA Times Jumps the Shark on Global Warming|
‘Okie’ on the Lam
|3||Four Modest Proposals for Getting Out of Iraq|
|2 1/3||Six Day War -- Israeli Perspective|
History News Network
|1||The End of the Bushes?|
|1||RCTV Protests Spread To Atlanta, San Francisco, Mexico City|
|2/3||The Horror of Russia's "Nashi" Youth Cult, Revealed in English for the First Time Right Here on Publius Pundit|
Publius Pundit (2)
|2/3||“Footprints In The Sand” -- The Al Gore Version|
The Nose On Your face
|2/3||You Are Not Alone (Part 1)|
Eject! Eject! Eject!
|2/3||The Ill Effects of Amnesty|
Cavalier's Guardian WatchBlog
|2/3||Fred Thompson, My Kind of Centrist.|
|1/3||The United States of Alan Alda|
Is This Thing On?
Soccer Dad has a terrific post dissecting a NY Times (surprise!) "what if" about the 1967 conflict.
Jeanette Gibson of Hockessin didn't like the "bite and switch" tactics of an article that lampooned Al Gore (my emphasis):
It's sad to see that the pathetic level of debate has extended to young students. David Fairchild's May 28 article about Al Gore uses the "bite and switch" tactic: If you can't discredit the idea, attack its proponents. This approach appeals to those who don't want to accept an obvious truth, especially an inconvenient one.
Gore's personal habits have nothing to do with the fact of global warming. Profligate use of fossil fuels and disregard of the resulting pollution are already disrupting the Earth's climate. Diversionary criticisms only serve to postpone honest discussion of what we can do to remedy the situation.
Instead of sarcasm, let's get down to the business at hand. We should be discussing the breakup of the Antarctic ice shelf, the retreat of glaciers worldwide, volatility of weather patterns ...
*Sigh* Needless to say, she lists a few more things all good Americans should be aware of.
But, first, what the hell is a "bite and switch"? The proper term is "bait and switch," you dolt. Second, why aren't Al Gore's personal habits relevant to what he preaches? If his sole reason for existence at this point in time is to preach about how other people should live because of the supposed danger of global warming, then his personal behavior is MOST relevant. (For more, see here.)
What would Ms. Gibson say if Gore flew all over the world clamoring about unions and workers' rights, but refused to hire union labor for his own business ventures? What if Gore flew all over the world promoting the "greatness" of diversity," yet had not a single minority on his staff or employ? Or, what about one of the Left's current faves -- people who preach in favor of the Iraq War, but refuse to participate in it personally (the so-called "chicken hawk" argument)? Etc. etc.
Screen capture from the NY Times front page circa 7pm EDT:
Oh, did I underline the funny part? Silly me ...
This story details a "radical Muslim paramilitary compound" in upstate New York. The main road is even dubbed "Muslim Lane." But take a look: The place where this "compound" is located is called "Islamberg." Not "Islamburg," but "Islamberg."
What, are the dudes who run the place named Ahmed Abdul Cohen and Yassir Hussein Rosenthal?
Just a little mid-east ethnic humor is all ...
(I realized "berg" is a reference to "mountain" -- like "iceberg" -- but you get it. Right?)
Rose M. Riley of New Castle is this week's winner courtesy of this "well thought-out" screed:
President Bush should be impeached. He has ruined our country. Young men and women are dying in a senseless was. Doesn't he know history of war? It is a tragedy to those who have lost their fathers, sons and grandchildren.
They wanted to impeach former President Bill Clinton for much less, and he was a good president. Yes, I am a liberal Democrat.
Y'see, it says in the Constitution that the president can be impeached for "ruining the country." It says it right here ... wait, doesn't it? Right?
Yes, men and women are dying in the current war. However, that is not an impeachable offense either, nor because the war is deemed "senseless" by some people. You can sure feel free to disagree about Bush's take on the war, but this doesn't make it "senseless" nor does it make it impeachable.
The one sensible sentence in Rose's letter is that impeaching Bill Clinton was a ridiculous undertaking.
Uh-oh. The Brandywine School District referendum passed and that means two of its biggest opponents -- "Rick & Ger" -- aren't happy. So what do they do now? Go into full conspiracy mode. A caller calls in asking what happened to the absentee ballots. She says "I bet they (meaning the district) threw them out. Or they're hiding in a drawer somewhere."
Response from Rick & Ger? Rick makes a "funny" about him burning them on his grill. Then Fulcher jumps in in all seriousness and says "I am absolutely convinced that some people voted four, five, six times, jumping from school to school casting votes."
More to follow if I can stomach it.
Just-"retired" Cindy Sheehan on the 9/11 WTC collapse:
"It does look to me like a controlled demolition - I'm not an expert - but it does look to me like a controlled demolition - I'm looking at common sense."
"I do see some very high profile people saying it was an inside job."
Yeah, like Rosie O'Donnell. Maybe Cindy can take her place, eh?
Ernestine Dunn of Wilmington thinks US immigration policy makes racial distinctions, particularly when it comes to Haiti and Cuba:
The senators in Washington who promised reform should live up to their promises. The 2008 election is approaching. Senators John McCain and Edward Kennedy should resign, to be replaced with new people dedicated to real change.
Regarding immigration, Haitians are sent back or held in camps until they are deported, depriving them of a better life for themselves and their families. Why can't they be given citizenship through applications legally? I see blatant racism in the treatment of Haitians and Cubans. Skin color does make a difference.
The actual distinction, Ms. Dunn, is a political one, not a racial one. It was established long ago that Cubans would be given "special" consideration due to Cuba's communist dictatorship. The policy is a product of the Cold War and it surely can be debated that it is an outdated relic of a bygone era. But considering that almost 100% of Haitians are black, it is disingenuous to state that the difference in US asylum policy between Cuba (and every other country in our hemisphere, not just Haiti) is a racist one. Indeed, a rather substantial percentage of Cubans themselves are of African heritage (11% are black and 51% are mulatto).
Loyal Colossus reader Fred Gregory sends a link to the following unbelievable story: An illegal Mexican immigrant uses a fake ID to become ... a cop!
Demonstrating a need for more efficient background checks of law enforcement officers, an illegal immigrant who used the fake identity of an American citizen has served on a major city’s police force for five years.
Even scarier is that it took an anonymous tip for officials in the Milwaukee Police Department to discover that an illegal alien easily passed its supposedly rigorous background screening years ago. The Mexican man, Oscar Ayala-Cornejo, assumed the identity of a deceased cousin named Jose Morales about a decade ago.
Incredibly, Milwaukee Police Chief Nannette Hegerty maintains that her department conducted a thorough background check on the illegal immigrant and there was no way to know that he was using someone else’s identity. “No matter what kind of background we did, we wouldn’t have been able to find it, which is unfortunate,” the chief said.
Ayala took on the ID of a dead cousin. He now faces jail time and possible deportation. But -- he's now on paid leave! How 'bout that?
Nnamdi O. Chukwuocha writes in a News Journal op-ed the following gross error:
For example, any time an honor student gets involved in a fight for the first time, he or she is immediately recommended for expulsion. Something is wrong indeed.
Absolutely not. Being in education for some time, I've noticed people frequently confuse "expulsion" and "suspension". Expulsion is a recommendation that a student be, well, expelled from a district's schools. This happens for VERY serious offenses, or constant and repeated lesser ones. It involves a LOT of discussion among district administrators and are actually fairly rare.
Suspension, on the other hand -- and what I think the author actually means in the article -- means a temporary [penalty] hiatus from being able to attend school, usually anywhere from a day to a week. An honor student who got involved in a fight (for the first time) in NO WAY would be expelled or even recommended for expulsion. The only way I can see that happening is if the student had, and used, a weapon in the course of the fight.
There is, and has been, concern that "automatic suspensions" are handed out to those involved in school fights, despite who started it. A kid may get suspended merely for defending him/herself. That is a logical point of contention. I just wish the author would make clear the actual distinction between the terms "expulsion" and "suspension."
... there's no reason at this point to think European honey bees are going to be wiped out, now or ever. The die-offs so far appear to affect some beekeepers more than others, sometimes in the same area. That's one reason scientists are so puzzled, but it strongly suggests the losses may have something to do with how individual beekeepers are managing their bees. The "significant percentage" of failing hives is still a drop in the bucket when viewed against the global population of honey bees, and there are lots of beekeepers (even in the U.S., which appears hardest hit) who have not had, and may never have, significant losses of colonies. Plenty of honey bees remain to replace the ones that have died. It's not yet time to scream that the sky is falling.
Read all of it.
(h/t: The Ringleader.)
... and it's that it's absolutely silly for Democrats to boycott debating on Fox News Channel.
Bill Conlin, in today's Philadelphia Daily News, writes:
When I'm King of the World . . .
The Phillies will break their 60-year streak of never having a minority third-base coach . . . Since my Phillies association began in 1966, there have been nine third-base coaches: Don Hoak, George Myatt, Billy DeMars, Dave Bristol, Lee Elia, Larry Bowa, John Vukovich, Bill Dancy and Steve Smith. During the same 41 years, the first-base coaches have included minorities Ruben Amaro Sr., Tony Taylor, Mel Roberts, Charlie Scott and Davey Lopes. It would seem that Lopes' status as one of history's greatest base thieves would make him a no-brainer to coach third. But that's where the question gets sticky.
Oh brother. This seems along the lines of this claptrap. I mean, why would a sports team not put a coach at third base merely because of his race? And why does Conlin even bother to bring this up if he actually doesn't believe it to be a real issue?? Take a look:
DeMars, Bristol, Elia, Bowa and Vukovich were great third-base coaches on merit, not as OWBC - Old White Boy Club - members. But what about now? Dancy was a disaster, and Smith's gaffes belie the strong resume he brought with him from the Rangers. But Lopes, by preference, has never coached anywhere but first base. As one of the game's best baserunning coaches, Davey prefers to be at the launching pad rather than the down-range target. Ruben Amaro Jr. started here as a bat boy. "I can honestly say that race has never been a factor in any coaching decision," he told me. Ruben, I believe you.
That's some great journalism there, Bill. "When you're King of the World," you'll change something that, well, isn't really an issue and doesn't really need a change. If this "King" stuff happens to come up for a vote, you can be sure you ain't getting elected, Bill. The last thing we need is another empty-headed leader.
The Christina School District "is in violation of Delaware's Neighborhood Schools Act," says Chancery Court judge Leo E. Strine Jr. This means that the district cannot close several Wilmington city schools as it had wished to do.
As noted here previously, the main architect of the Neighborhood Schools Act, former House Majority Leader Wayne A. Smith, was blasted by critics (mainly from the city and the Wilmington News Journal) when he first proposed the Act. "New millenium racism," it was, according to New Castle County councilman Jea Street. And, as I've said before, the irony here is, for lack of a better term, delicious: People like Street -- a big proponent of busing -- just can't make up their minds. The original county busing plan mandated that city children be bused to the suburbs for nine of their twelve school years, while suburban children were bused to the city for only three years. Yet,
in his 73-page ruling, Strine blasted the district's strategic plan, saying it allowed suburban kids to avoid being bused to Wilmington, while most city kids would be forced to travel approximately 15 miles down I-95 for the last seven of their 13-year public school careers.
"As I understand it, the plaintiffs view Christina's approach to neighborhood schools in terms that bring to mind Chef Emeril Lagasse's term, 'one-sided-tasting food,' " Strine wrote. "Suburban kids get to eat from the tasty, seasoned side of the roast; city kids from the side without flavor."
But what it all boils down to is that all the blustering from Street, the News Journal and others about Wayne Smith and his supposed "true intentions" about the Neighborhood Schools Act was just a bunch of pure CRAP. The implications of "racism" and desire for "newly segregated schools" were the usual Street/News Journal cultural swill. And the proof is right here, folks: Wilmington SUED using Smith's law, the very law they had despised and thought "racist" and "segregationist." And not only that, they sued against the very bases of the original county busing order.
One wonders when Street and the other REAL new millenium racists will finally make up their minds as to what is "racist" and "segregationist." The answer is, of course, "never," because keeping such charges alive is, after all, what keeps them in "business."
UPDATE: University of Delaware Professor Raymond Wolters, who wrote the report about New Castle County's busing saga here, responds to the recent verdict against Christina in an e-mail to me:
My first reaction is to be pleased with Strine's decision. I have made a point of NOT following the recent developments closely. I have grown weary after 30 years of observing the courts and the school bureaucrats mismanage public education. Maybe I like Strine's decision simply because it is a rebuff to the Christina School Board, which has been disregarding the Neighborhood Schools Act for years.
It seems to me that the members of the Christina School Board are stuck with the mindset of the liberal integrationists of the 1970s. The members of the Board are deeply committed to racially balanced, integrated education. They don't think black students can learn in neighborhood schools. And they fear another round of white flight if they require suburban students to spend any extra time attending schools in Wilmington. Since they (1) are committed to racially balanced integration, and (2) fear the flight of whites who are sent to Wilmington, (3) they came up with the idea of busing more blacks to the suburbs. But to do this they have to (1) disregard the Neighborhood Schools Act, (2) close schools in Wilmington, and (3) build educational centers in the suburbs that are large enough to accommodate all the students on a few campuses.
Although the members of the CSB have been thinking this way for years, they (or other like minded people)continue to be elected to the Board. I don't understand why these issues have not been major topics of discussion in school board elections. As I see it, the best thing to do now would be to recruit candidates who would promise to discuss these points in the next school board election.
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are A Cure for “Anti-Zionism” by Joshuapundit, and Sticking To What I Know Best by Dr. Sanity. Thanks to everyone for all the great entries this week... I'm eager to see next week's entries! Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|2 2/3||A Cure for “Anti-Zionism”|
|2 1/3||No Friend Left Behind (Update)|
Done With Mirrors
|1 2/3||Mitt the Mormon|
|1||Reflecting On 230 Years Of Blood and Sacrifice|
Right Wing Nut House
|1||Talking With the Bad Guys|
|2/3||"But Isn't the Real Issue ...?"|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|2/3||Living on $1 a Meal|
The Glittering Eye
|2/3||Let Their Victims Come|
|1/3||Bush Defies Warming Autocrats At G8|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
|4 1/3||Sticking To What I Know Best|
|1 1/3||From the Mouths of Babes: Climate Analysis That Actually Works|
|1 1/3||Brave Men and Demons|
|1||Why Can't a Zionist Be More Like Iran?|
|2/3||On Memorial Day|
|2/3||In Response to the WaPo: What Really Matters|
The Moderate Voice
|2/3||US Muslims and Suicide Bombings|
The Huffington Post
|1/3||Death to Pedophiles|
La Shawn Barber's Corner
|1/3||Changeable News Network|
Rite Wing TechnoPagan
|1/3||Teachers Pay Raise: $430. Governors Pay Raise: $32,000.|
Bay Area Houston