July 31, 2007

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week 2

Anita Lohinecz of Newark thinks that the recent [congressional] immigration reform bill failed because of "hate."

I watched CNN's Lou Dobbs square off with La Raza's Janet Murgia. Murgia attempted to make the point that immigration reform failed because there is a "wave of hate" against Latinos. She was right.

Want more secure borders? You "hate" Latinos. Want stricter control over illegal immigration? You "hate" Latinos. Don't want another blanket amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants? You "hate" Latinos.

Weird, then, that I pretty much want (or don't want) all of the above ... and I'm married to a Latina. Anita would claim that I hate my wife.

Posted by Hube at 12:12 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 30, 2007

Which of the following is a crime?

A) Putting a crucifix in urine
B) Burning the American flag
C) Putting a Koran in a toilet

If you guessed "C" you are correct!

Read the whole ridiculous story here. It has been labeled a "hate crime."

I predict, eventually, that this sort of nonsense will backfire in a big way. Either others will demand and protest for "hate crimes" protection for their beliefs, or people will engage in such hate crimes on purpose to make their [legitimate] free speech point.

(h/t: Malkin.)

UPDATE: The Texas v. Johnson SCOTUS case from 1989 declared the following:

"First Amendment does not recognize exceptions for bigotry, racism, and religious intolerance or matters some deem trivial, vulgar, or profane."

Meanwhile, predictably, CAIR is commending the police's handling of this case:

"We commend the NYPD for its appropriate handling of this case," said CAIR-NY Civil Rights Coordinator Aliya Latif. "We must all be concerned when any actions cross the line from protected free speech to acts designed to intimidate. Just as there is a difference between someone burning a cross in their own backyard and burning that same cross in the yard of an African- American family, there is a difference between desecrating a religious text in a private setting and doing so in a setting that will create a hostile learning environment."

But whereas a cross burning's ONLY symbolism is hatred -- and intimidation -- of blacks, the flushing of a Koran can have various meanings. Like "Piss Christ." Like the burning of the American flag.

Fighting "unpleasant" speech and expressions with criminal penalty is a dangerous game. I find this DE blogger's speech quite offensive, but I will, as the cliche goes, defend furiously his right to say it!

Posted by Hube at 09:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Iron Man trailer

Nyah nyah -- I finally beat Duffy to the punch! Check out the Iron Man movie trailer, revealed recently at the San Diego Comic Convention.

I think this flick is gonna kick ass, but then again I am just a bit biased!

Posted by Hube at 08:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

Eric Wilhelm of Wilmington spouts the usual canards about there "not being a liberal media," and wants proof that "Senators Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer advocated the return of the fairness doctrine."

Ever hear of Google, Eric? Check it:

  • From The Hill: Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on Tuesday that the government should revive the Fairness Doctrine, a policy crafted in 1929 that required broadcasters to balance political content with different points of view. “It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine,” he said. “I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they’re in a better position to make a decision.”
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee, said this week that she would review the constitutional and legal issues involved in re-establishing the doctrine. Not to mention there was this exchange on Fox News Sunday:

    [Host 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.

  • Joseph Klein details why Hillary would revive the FD, not to mention the little tidbit Senator James Inhofe claimed he heard in an elevator conversation three years ago with Barbara Boxer. Speaking of which ...
  • Barbara Boxer recently voted against (July 19, to be exact) a measure "To prevent the Federal Communications Commission from repromulgating the fairness doctrine."

The simple fact of the matter is that we are only hearing cries of "revival" from Democrats.

The concern is that large numbers of radio stations are owned by a few media conglomerates. These companies are interested in promoting a conservative or corporate agenda. This has severely limited competition. No attempt is made to promote or include liberal talk in many major markets.

Again, Wilhelm claims the media are "not liberal" because the owners of the media outlets are large corporations. As if this automatically means that a conservative agenda is their goal. If liberal talk radio could actually make a buck, you can be assured that these "dastardly" corporations would be snapping up the popular hosts as quickly as Ted Kennedy swam away from Mary Jo Kopechne! As for major network news, as media critic Bernie Goldberg has stated, since these outlets do not make a lot of revenue (as opposed to their network entertainment programming), these "dastardly" corporations do not have nearly as much interest in the direction the Courics et. al. take. And newspapers? With the advent of the "new media" (Internet, etc., which offer more conservative points of view), readership has plummeted, to put it mildly. Like major network news, they are no longer [news] monopolistic behemoths, and their readership (viewership) now has myriad other options.

How long did it take for Limbaugh and Hannity to have a large following? It took several years. At one time Fox was a fledgling company. Air America was born only two and a half years ago.

The problem with this comparison is quite simple: Limbaugh, Hannity and FNC all GREW and grew substantially in two and half years. Air America was, simply put, a total disaster.

Wilhelm obviously holds the view like that of far-left Eric Alterman, who thinks that since the American media isn't as politically left as Hugo Chávez, that it is therefore "conservative."

Posted by Hube at 12:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why is this woman being investigated??

FBI joins investigation of mom accused in death of fetus is a headline in today's News Journal. And get this: The fetus is her own:

Investigators resumed their search this morning at the home of a mother charged with killing her unborn child, Ocean City police said.

Christy Freeman, 37, lived in the apartment with her boyfriend and her four other children.

Freeman was hospitalized Thursday and police were called after medical personnel determined she had been pregnant, but the child was missing. Police said they obtained a search warrant for Freeman’s home after interviewing her, and a small infant was found wrapped in a blanket in the apartment.

Freeman was later charged with first degree murder, second degree murder and manslaughter after investigators conferred with Worcester County State’s Attorney Joel Todd.

My emphasis. Now, how can this be? Are we not constantly told by pro-choicers that it "isn't a baby" it's a "fetus" (or the more disingenuous after a couple months of term "mass of cells")? Even the Journal couldn't decide using "fetus" in the headline then reverting to "child" and "infant" in the narrative. But two counts of murder?? Manslaughter?? Are these not reserved for actual human beings, not fetuses or "masses of cells"? And the important factor is that the child/fetus/mass of cells was her own.

Someone explain the difference to me between what she allegedly did, and going to an abortion clinic. The distinction is as ridiculous as that made by pro-choicers regarding partial-birth abortion.

UPDATE: An update to this story notes a couple important items. First, there were several dead fetuses in the woman's home, only one of which was recent. Second, Freeman was charged under a (local?) law "allowing charges for the death of a fetus that can live outside the womb." A wonder that this law hasn't yet been challenged by NOW, etc.

Posted by Hube at 11:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 29, 2007

What's the missing ingredient?

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution regarding the poor education statistics for black students nationwide:

When analyzing the issue at the school level, such statistics are tied to school policies and practices that work against the academic achievement of black children, some of which include the uneven placement of black children into lower academic tracks, the disproportionate reprimanding of black children for similar infractions in which white children often go unpunished and the over-representation of black children in special education classes.

OK, what's the most telling -- and obvious -- omission here? See if you can figure it out.

What's more, writer Jerome E. Morris (an associate professor of education at the University of Georgia ... be careful right there!), who's leading a "study" (see Hube's earlier post) of black student achievement, thinks African-Americans should collectively get together and sue for "educational neglect":

Clearly, it is the continued educational neglect of black children —- more than 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education —- which should be brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, not the constitutionality of desegregation plans. It appears it will take a Civil Rights type of movement in education to change the present academic trajectory of black children. It will take parents and educators, concerned clergy and community activists, and members of commerce and civic organizations taking to the street —- and the Internet —- en masse, to demand the undelivered promises of Brown.

The word in bold is the answer to the post's question. At least Morris actually mentions it here. But consider his point: "Educational neglect of black children" should be litigated, and yet again we read another misunderstanding of the historic Brown case. Let's consider that all of Morris's desires in the first quote above were rectified, either by litigation or some sort of legislation, but the KEY ingredient remained absent -- parental involvement. Does Morris really think that African-American academic achievement will suddenly and magically benefit? The term "pipe dream" comes to mind.

Let's take Morris' complaints one at a time. 1) African-American children consistently have performed the lowest, or among the lowest, of ethnic groups in various forms of academic assessment. But this somehow doesn't justify placing them in lower academic tracks (in schools/districts that even have academic tracks; many have dismantled them precisely because it is politically incorrect to do so based largely on complaints similar to Morris'.) 2) Discipline statistics in schools nationwide show the high [disproportionate] numbers of black students who've been disciplined. Of course, academics like Morris perpetually contend that this is due to some sinister white privilege power structure that seeks to perpetuate black subservience. It couldn't possibly be that African-American children actually do commit more discipline infractions than their [white] student counterparts. If national crime statistics are any indication, school discipline stats are entirely consistent. Unless, of course, that the national crime stats are due to some sinister white privilege power structure that seeks to perpetuate black subservience, also. 3) Special education figures are tied to point #1. If black students are performing at low levels, how does it make sense to place them in, say, honors classes if they aren't even close to being prepared for such? Or even in an at-grade level class if they're academic performance is two to three years behind? Points #1 and #3 are similar to the argument of those against affirmative action who point out that one of the great under-reported tragedies of college racial preferences is the high number of [black] drop-outs; they are insufficiently prepared for the academic rigors of college, and college administrators only care about the "bean counting" -- how many minorities they have enrolled -- rather than the number that actually stick it out and graduate.

If Morris' wish of such litigation were successful, I cannot think of a more detrimental development. Minority children and parents would look upon such a legal "victory" as an abdication of the personal responsibility needed to get a good education. The many parents that are sadly UNinvolved in their children's academic well-being would say, "See? The law says you must educate my child." Children could sit in class, do nothing, misbehave, all the while knowing that they're not legally responsible for their academics. If they fail, they can go back to court for further legal "remediation." The closest analogy I can think of is if some court ruled in favor of a plaintiff who sued a doctor because he himself refused to take the medication that the doctor prescribed.

It's a recipe for legal -- and cultural -- disaster.

(Thanks to Hube for the link and research assist!)

Posted by Felix at 09:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 28, 2007

NEA also confused about SCOTUS decision regarding race & schooling

The latest DSEA newsletter arrived the other day and it features an article blasting the recent US Supreme Court decision which overturned "voluntary" (a misnomer, for sure, but thus quotes the article) school desegregation in Seattle and Lousiville schools. A "friend-of-the-court" brief in support of the districts was signed by groups such as the AFL-CIO, the NAACP, the People for the American Way, the AFT and, of course, the NEA. Some surprise there, huh? At any rate, the article is chock full of lies and half-truths as one would expect from an educrat and diversophile like Reg Weaver, president of the NEA. For example, he invokes Brown v. Board of Ed.:

More than 50 years ago our nation's highest court ruled that the United States Constitution requires schools to be integrated, but now the Court has ruled that our Constitution prohibits voluntary efforts efforts to integrate schools.

My emphasis. I'd say it's "amazing" that the president of such a noted organization as the NEA could so misunderstand what Brown actually did; however, educrats and diversophiles aren't exactly known for their sense of logic and propriety. Once again, Brown did NOT require that [public] schools "be integrated." What it did was tear asunder the legal racially discriminatory barriers that prevented [black] children from attending the same schools as white children. (See Colossus posts on this here, here and here.) In other words, if a black child lived next door to a school that was exclusively white, then henceforth that child was legally permitted to attend that adjacent school.

Some courts -- like the one that decided the northern Delaware desegregation case in the late 1970s -- misread Brown in ways that were to Weaver's liking (even despite real voluntary deseg. plans), but these types of plans weren't exactly the norm. Indeed, if Brown was intended to do just what Weaver states, then now there would (should) be NO "racially identifiable" schools anywhere in the country else they'd be in violation of the Constitution.

Next, we read another fallacy:

NEA urged the court to uphold the value of diversity, which according to a substantial body of research, actually improves the quality of education for all students.

Oh, really? This notion of the "value of diversity" first gained prominence in the Gratz and Grutter University of Michigan affirmative action cases from several years ago. The university's rationale was so laughingly feeble that it is infuriatingly difficult to grasp how the SCOTUS fell for such nonsense in one of the cases (Grutter). UM basically argued that a "critical mass" of diversity is necessary in a learning environment for an "optimal" education. Their "research" was thoroughly shredded by the skeptical justices (especially Antonin Scalia), and, of course, it flies in the face of the logic of other liberally-supported institutions such as HBCs -- Historically Black Colleges.

What does this "research" regarding the benefits of diversity actually say? Is it actual scientific research, or just "fluff" that way too much of education "research" classifies as these days? Real research has demonstrated that "diversity" is nothing more than a "feel good," nebulously beneficial concept with little-to-NO academic benefits for students. (Note, too, Weaver's carefully worded "actually improves the quality of education for all students" above. How is "quality" defined? Is it the supposed quality of instruction? Social interactive benefits? It is telling that Weaver did not state "improves academic performance of all students.") Indeed, the National Assn. of Scholars (NAS) shows the indeterminate nature of the University of Michigan's "research":

[the] University resorts to a methodological confusion, arguing first that racial diversity is positively related to four intermediate "campus experience variables" (i.e., enrollment in ethnic studies courses, attendance at a racial/intercultural workshop, discussion of racial issues, and interracial socialization) and, next, that these are in turn, (though rather weakly and inconsistently), related to the claimed educational benefits."

Liberal groups, as I've noted often before, just cannot get out of the way of their own circular logic when it comes to "diversity" and multiculturalism. Here we read, further in the DSEA newsletter, that the NEA brief in support of the defendants said in part,

Interactions among students of different races -- with different vantage points, skills(?), and values -- are of great consequence not only to the students' development as citizens in a multiracial, democratic society, but also to their intellectual development. The impact of encountering and dealing with racial diversity as part of their education is positively linked to growth in cognitive and academic skills of both racial minorities and white students. These educational benefits are realized not only while children are in school, but in their subsequent lives as well.

Yet these very same advocates stand behind the anachronism that are HBCs, separate dorms for minority students, separate freshman orientations, and even separate graduation ceremonies! Which, of course, begs the question that if diversity is SO all-important as the NEA (and others) profess, then why the constant invocation of separateness?

My God, it really is just too easy to cleave such "research" and "arguments" in half. But what can one expect from those who once championed color-blindness but now color-consciousness ... once championed individual rights but now group rights ... and once championed dismantling barriers to desegregation but now favor race mandates based on some pseudo-scientific notion of "diversity"?

Posted by Hube at 12:15 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 27, 2007

Obama: Will meet with brutal dictators, afraid to appear on Fox News

What does that say about the state of the Left here in the US? Barack Obama recently stated that he'd be willing to meet with some of the most heinous dictators of the world, yet he's a member of the party that refuses to even debate on a particular news channel due to a perception of political bias.

"A great nation and its president should never fear negotiating with anyone and Senator Obama rightly said he would be willing to do so - just as Richard Nixon did with China and Ronald Reagan with the Soviet Union," [Obama foreign policy adviser Anthony] Lake said.

But "a great nation and its president" should fear debating in a forum where slightly tougher questions may be asked of them!

Fox News: More dangerous than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Is it any wonder why the GOP still has a shot at the presidency in 2008 despite ridiculously low poll numbers?

Posted by Felix at 01:11 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Watcher's Council results

And now...  the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Little Noted But Long Remembered by Right Wing Nut House, and ON THE FRONTLINE / Cpl. JOHN MATTHEW BISHOP: In the Shadows of Fallen Comrades by The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Thanks to everyone for all the great entries this week. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
3Little Noted But Long Remembered
Right Wing Nut House
1  2/3Russia Vs. The US: No Contest
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1  2/3Boy, Was Thomas Right
The Colossus of Rhodey
1  1/3Max Boot to Kissinger -- “Iraq Isn't Vietnam, Henry”
‘Okie’ on the Lam
1Snark vs. Smart 2
Done With Mirrors
1Palestinian Terrorists' Release -- Rattlesnake Logic
Joshuapundit
2/3The Limits of Student Speech and School Authority
Rhymes With Right
1/3Prisoners to Prisoner Releases
Soccer Dad
1/3Dubai Ports Weird
Big Lizards

VotesNon-council link
2ON THE FRONTLINE / Cpl. JOHN MATTHEW BISHOP: In the Shadows of Fallen Comrades
The Atlanta Journal Constitution
1  2/3Name That Party: Investigators
Don Surber
1  1/3General David Petraeus on the Conditions on the Ground in Iraq
Hugh Hewitt (2)
1Meanwhile, in the Real World.
Donklephant
1Watching the Debate Would Not Have Helped My Mental Health
Classical Values
1The Night Mitch McConnell Became the Leader of the Republican Party.
Hugh Hewitt
2/3The 9/11 Generation
The Weekly Standard (2)
2/3Defence Against the Dark Arts
The Possum Bistro
2/3(Updated) Foer: "Shock Troops" Just Practical Jokers
The Weekly Standard
2/3The Brahmins of Labor
Captain's Quarters
1/3Does Biden Really Have the Better Shine?
Kavips

Posted by Hube at 10:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 26, 2007

Yet another Leftie who can't handle criticism without going bonkers

Al Hunt.

Posted by Hube at 10:58 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Trek star ignores Prime Directive

What would Starfeet Command say?

Star Trek actor Walter Koenig yesterday urged fans of the iconic sci-fi series to turn their wrath on Burma's military junta, an earthly "outpost of tyranny".

Koenig, who battled alien Klingons and Romulans as an original member of the Starship Enterprise crew, said he hoped to mobilise Trekkies to join a campaign against the ruling generals blamed for human rights abuses in Burma, renamed Myanmar by the junta. (Link.)

Three things: One, Koenig played "Chekov" in case you were unaware. Two, Chekov was not an original member of the Enterprise crew. He joined the cast in the second season. Third, the point of this post -- don't Koenig's proposed actions violate that holiest of holy Federation laws, the Prime Directive?

The Prime Directive dictates that there can be no interference with the internal affairs of other civilizations. In many respects, then, the prime directive can be considered the galactic analogue of Westphalian sovereignty. It has special implications, however, for civilizations still at a 'primitive' stage of development, since no primitive culture can be given or exposed to any information regarding advanced technology or the existence of extraplanetary civilizations, lest this exposure alter the natural development of the civilization. In addition to exposure, purposeful efforts to improve or change in any way the natural course of such a society, even if that change is well-intentioned and kept completely secret, are prohibited.

My emphasis. Sure sounds like it, eh? Sort of like George Bush in Iraq ... ?

(h/t: Taranto.)

Posted by Hube at 10:35 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week 2

Michael Dalene, a former winner, is back, this time by ruining an otherwise sensible letter with the following line:

My view on the current regime exercising military control over this nation is they're traitors, and I'll be damned before I give my vote.

Military control? Um, like how, exactly, Mike? And how is the "current regime" traitors? What precisely have they done to warrant that crime?

I think it's safe to say that Mr. Dalene is the latest example of those afflicted with BDS.

Posted by Hube at 10:18 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 25, 2007

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

David C. Martin of the Delaware Assn. of Humanism has the mistaken belief that the First Amendment has been abused over and above what the Founders had intended:

Our society is based on the rule of law derived from the Constitution, a document encompassing humanistic thought. Our Founding Fathers were inspired by the philosophers of the Enlightenment, which embraced humanism as the way to a more perfect world in which individuals are free to determine their destiny without fear of state imposition.

Religion is mentioned once in the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to worship freely and forbids Congress from establishing a particular religion. Over time the intent of the First Amendment was ignored by overzealous politicians who catered to constituents to maintain power. The Constitution protects the minority from the tyranny of the majority, With this abuse, it's not surprising people are under the impression that we are a Christian nation.

Despite this, humanistic emphasis on the freedom of the individual is woven into our society. The secular nature of our Constitution has stood the test of time.

My emphasis. While David's first paragraph is undoubtedly true, his second runs into trouble. In actuality, the Founders would be appalled at how religion has been shunned from the public sphere over the last two centuries. If the Founders were "so" intent on eliminating religion from the public arena, why did state (as in Delaware, Maryland, etc.) chrches continue to exist for years after the ratification of the Constitution? They did not cease to exist because of legislative or judicial mandate; they simply withered away due to lack of interest and participation. The 14th Amendment, which has historically been interpreted as applying the Bill of Rights to the individual states, would have made this a moot point anyway, certainly. But back to my point: It is plain silly to posit that politicians have attempted to subvert the Founders' original intent regarding religion. Religion has, simply, become less and less of a factor in American government -- and life -- since the Revolution, and in reality politicians and the judiciary have overcome what the Founders originally intended.

The Constitution and the Republic have survived not despite assaults by religion; they have survived despite radical attempts to transform what the Founders had originally desired for religion and its role in [public] life.

Posted by Hube at 02:19 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 23, 2007

Civil Liberties Hypocrisy

Victor Davis Hanson nails it with this article.

A common liberal complaint against the Bush administration is its supposed trampling of civil liberties. The Patriot Act, wiretaps, and Guantanamo supposedly have undermined our freedoms--or so we are warned ad nauseam by liberal watchdogs.

But at least the Patriot Act passed both houses of Congress with wide public support. In contrast, there are a variety of other assaults on personal freedoms, due process, and the sanctity of the law that leftwing moralists not only ignore, but often seem to endorse -- as if the liberal ends should justify illiberal means.

First, take illegal immigration. Not only have we neglected to enforce federal immigration statutes, but also local communities, due to pressures from Hispanic lobbyists and tacit approval from employers, have passed local codes barring arrests of suspected illegal aliens.

Tens of thousands of regional and local government officials, along with law enforcements, have taken the law into their own hands by simply deciding not to enforce it.

Second, every bit as dangerous as wiretaps are prosecutors who manipulate the law, either for personal, ideological or political reasons. In the so-called Duke rape case, now disbarred District Attorney Michael Nifong withheld evidence in his holy crusade to convict three innocent Duke Lacrosse players--in hopes of appeasing the lynch mob of local black activists and self-righteous university professors. But even before evidence was adduced--all exculpatory to the defendants--liberal forces had tried and convicted the falsely accused in the media in furtherance of their own leftwing race, class, and gender agendas.

Bravo. Hanson continues citing Valerie Plame, eminent domain abuses (which, by the way, were given a judicial green light by the pre-Roberts era liberal bloc of the Supreme Court), and the Fairness Doctrine. Speaking of that last item, only one Democrat senator (Evan Bayh) voted for Norm Coleman's amendment which would have prevented the Fairness Doctrine from being revived. The measure failed, as a result.

Why is it that only Democrats want to revive this insane "doctrine" again?

UPDATE: Still yet another example!

Posted by Felix at 12:58 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

You just gotta shake your head and laugh. Hard.

At Berkeley, the purveyors of the course "Computer Science 188: An Introduction to Artificial Intelligence" have decided to be politically correct with an A.I. checkers game. How so? They've renamed the "king" -- wait for it! -- the "AAP" or "Additionally Abled Piece."

If a piece reaches the opposite side, it becomes an AAP (Additionally Abled Piece -- actually, it's called a "king", but we decided to eschew sexist and monarchist nomenclature) and can move both backwards and forwards along the diagonals.

You just gotta laugh, folks.

(h/t: Phi Beta Cons.)

Posted by Hube at 10:50 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 22, 2007

Al Gore to protest History Channel

Because they dared to show the "Little Ice Age: Big Chill" documentary in the midst of all the Gore-inspired global warming hysteria. Even more heretical, they ask "Could another catastrophic cold snap strike in the 21st century?"

Whaaaat?? Don't you know there is irreversible global WARMING going on right this instant, History Channel?? (For the mentally challenged -- no, he's not REALLY protesting, OK?)


THE AL GORE BAND:
BELIEVE OR DIE

In Stores Now!

Featuring these soon-to-be hits based
on classics from those great 1980s:

  • "Every Heated Breath You Take" (The Police)
  • "[Skeptics Are] Livin' On A Prayer" (Bon Jovi)
  • "Fast Car Emissions" (Tracy Chapman)
  • "Where the Streets Have No Name ['Cause Everyone's Dead]" (U2)
  • "I Can't Drive 55 In A Prius" (Sammy Hagar)
  • "Welcome to the Dessicated Jungle" (Guns 'N Roses)
  • "[That Factory Has An] Eternal Flame" (The Bangles)
  • and, of course, "It's the End of the World" (R.E.M.)

Posted by Hube at 10:27 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Democrats continue their ball-lessness

Ooooh, gee! Check out how the Democrats -- who hold power in both houses of Congress, mind you -- are striking out at George Bush's handling of Iraq now: They want to censure him!!

Liberal Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold said Sunday he wants Congress to censure President Bush for his management of the Iraq war and his "assault" against the Constitution.

But Feingold's own party leader in the Senate showed little interest in the idea. An attempt in 2006 by Feingold to censure Bush over the warrantless spying program attracted only three co-sponsors.

Oops. Looks like I was right about "striking out," eh? Amazing then, that Feingold's proposal actually gets headlines at MSNBC. No, not really.

Meanwhile, the Democrats continue their ball-less ways, whining, yammering and crying that Bush "is the worst president ever," he's "destroying the Constitution," etc., when at any time they can pull the plug on the funding for the Iraq War.

Pathetic.

Posted by Felix at 09:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The "high quality" journalism of MSNBC.com

A puffy portrait of how American Muslims "make America stronger" and how they're "vulnerable as never before" highlights the guilt trip that MSNBC wants all non-Muslims to feel about guys like Fareed Siddiq:

Fareed Siddiq is a successful businessman and a father of two. He lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio—a 19th-century mill town built on a river and known for its scenic waterfalls and dams—in a five-bedroom house he recently paid for, in cash, with his savings.

He was moved to ask his president a question: "What," he asked, hauling his 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame to the microphone, "are we doing with public diplomacy to change the hearts and minds of a billion and a half Muslims around the world?" What should he tell his friends and relatives in Pakistan about why he continues to live in the United States?

"Great question," answered the president. "I'm confident your answer is, 'I love living in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, the country where you can come and ask the president a question and a country where—' Are you a Muslim?"

"Yes," answered Siddiq.

"Where you can worship your religion freely. It's a great country where you can do that."

It was a good answer, says Siddiq, but not enough for him—not when he, a financial adviser at a major investment bank, is afraid to use the bathroom on flights because he doesn't want to frighten his fellow passengers as he walks down the aisle. He thinks anti-Muslim sentiment in the country is getting worse, not better. "I'm not so much worried about myself," he adds. "It's the young people I'm concerned with. Those are the people we need to try—not only as Muslims but as Americans—to make them feel part of America. If you alienate the Muslim young people from America, that is dangerous."

Oh, I get it. To Siddiq, Americans shouldn't be even the slightest bit wary of middle eastern-looking young-middle aged men on airline flights. You know, I mean, what possibly should cause folks to feel such, eh? And if Americans continue such "unwarranted vigilance," then young American Muslims will become "alienated" and thus "dangerous."

Always America's fault, eh? It must be that "unwarranted vigilant" attitude that accounts for 26% of US Muslims under age 30 that believe it "OK" to use suicide bombing terrorism. It's our own fault why this 26% feels this way, right? When groups like CAIR go out of their way to make excuses for Muslim terror actions and is even named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism case, I mean, come ON Americans! Do NOT -- in ANY way -- make your Muslim neighbors feel the slightest bit "uncomfortable," hear? I'm sure CAIR has its reasons! (At the time of this post, 72% of those voting in the online poll feel that Muslim-Americans are NOT "unfairly singled out by law enforcement." FYI.)

In addition to this weepy piece, we're also treated to a "hard-hitting" article wondering why the vice-president is "always so gloomy." Wow.

Posted by Felix at 11:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2007

Why is it that only Democrats want to revive the Fairness Doctrine?

The latest moron to attempt to rationalize bringing back the Fairness Doctrine is New York Representative Maurice Hinchey. His argument hinges on the fact that "the broadcast spectrum is owned by the general public, it's not owned by any individual or any corporation," and that

when people turn on their television, not cable, but the broadcast system openly, they should have an opportunity to get all forms of ideas and various opinions. All forms of opinions, so that people can make decisions for themselves, not have those decisions rammed on them by anyone else.

Well hey, at least cable seems safe from these "airwave guardians"! (Although, obviously, Hinchey obviously isn't all that familiar with how vable TV works, the dope.)

The obvious implication of Hinchey's argument is that [talk] radio -- which uses the "broadcast system" -- also uses the "public airwaves" and hence would be subject to regulation. THAT'S what guys like Hinchley are really after, and don't you forget it. But here's the really scary part: Hinchey thinks that even the most preposterous conspiracy theories are worthy of "equal time." In response to a question about whether Holocaust deniers should have an opportunity to "rebut" a report on the event, he said:

Any particular point of view that you have, if somebody has an alternative point of view, then there is a responsibility to give that point of view an opportunity to be heard.

Wow. Just ... wow.

But back to this post's title -- can some Democrats explain to us why only they believe revival of the F.D. is so important? (Honestly, that is.)

Posted by Felix at 10:49 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 20, 2007

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

William Donovan of New Castle is proud to be a liberal these days. And while he rattles off some points that make sense -- President Bush being a spendthrift, going into Iraq -- he has to sink to the inevitable nonsense that too many "proud liberals" do, usually thanks to BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome). In this case, it's the US is quickly becoming a "police state":

We are very close to becoming a dictatorship. States are following the federal government in taking personal freedoms away from its citizens. Delaware like many states is on the way to becoming a police state.

When a man like Derek Hale lies dead and the killer goes free, the word liberal doesn't sound so bad now. I thank God for giving me the good sense to use my mind, to have the ability to think for myself.

As a liberal I could never goose step behind Bush and his troop of profiteers.

Oh ho! Bill even got in that little hyperbolic "goose step" comment! If "proud liberals" like Bill had any historical knowledge, they'd realize that the great liberal presidential icons of the past dwarf our current president in so-called [wartime] "dictatorial" actions. Try FDR and Woodrow Wilson, for starters.

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Guest post: "Sicko" commentary

(The following was featured in the Greensboro (NC) News and Record from regular Colossus reader Fred Gregory.)

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

Not everyone fawns over Moore's film

The following is a Counterpoint

By Fred Gregory

I started thinking about the Michael Moore film,"Sicko," after reading David Hoggard's June 20 column. Hoggard said, "The main point Moore made to me through his movie is that we take the least care of those who need it most."

Hoggard got taken in by Moore's use of elisions, anecdotes and flawed claims. He concluded by urging his readers to see the movie, get angry and change things. Hoggard is, no doubt, suggesting that the United States exchange a great deal of its excellent health care for more access to more people. This paean for universal health care is a bargain I am not willing to make.

I assumed the News & Record's editors would provide some balance in the days to come. Was I ever wrong! Go Triad June 28 featured a flattering review of the film. In the same edition on D1 was a puff piece interview of Moore. It was unquestioning and obviously the work of an incurious journalist. The following day, the Clarence Page column fawned over the film.

I was still looking for something even remotely in disagreement with the conventional wisdom at the News & Record, and the July 1 Ideas section caught my eye with two columns juxtaposed above a photo of Moore and large bold fonts, "Critically Ill," which raised hopes for a dissenting view on the movie. I should have known better. All the same vacuous stuff warmed over.

Moore has used exaggerations, omissions, trickery, cinematic sleight of hand and falsehoods to score his points in his other works. Despite what we haven't seen in the News & Record about "Sicko," there has been a torrent of criticism of both Moore's techniques and his advocacy for a single-payer system from a broad cross-section of diverse media outlets.

For examples: The Washington Post ("Filmmaker, heal thyself"); USA Today; The New Yorker ("Do No Harm"); Reason magazine ("'Shticko': A clumsy piece of agitprop which will win few converts"). Even MTV's Kurt Loder mercilessly attacked the film, asking, "Is Moore's prescription worse than the disease?" One of these columnists labeled the one-sided documentary, "Moore's Anemic Checkup."

The film has been widely panned, and there were many contrary viewpoints available, but for some reason the News & Record has chosen not to touch them.

Well, folks, in the words of P.J. O'Rourke : "If you think health care is expensive now, wait 'til you see what it costs when it's free."

(Article link.)

Posted by Hube at 03:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Watcher's Council results

And now...  the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Harry Potter and Ostrich Syndrome by Bookworm Room, and Myths and Realities of the George Bush Presidency by TCS Daily. Thanks to everyone for all the great entries this week. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
2  2/3Harry Potter and Ostrich Syndrome
Bookworm Room
1  1/3Are Conservatives Really Hoping for Another 9/11?
Right Wing Nut House
1  1/3A President's Legacy Quick Fix Playground -- The Middle East
Soccer Dad
1  1/3Pangloss
Done With Mirrors
1Pope Reaffirms Teachings of Vatican II (UPDATED)
Rhymes With Right
1Bush Muzzled Sturgeon General -- Thank God!
Big Lizards
2/3What's Wrong With This Story?
Cheat Seeking Missiles
2/3Mutants, Civil Rights and Fundamentalism
The Colossus of Rhodey
1/3Another One That Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The Education Wonks

VotesNon-council link
3  1/3Myths and Realities of the George Bush Presidency
TCS Daily
2  1/3Politics of Terror Reign Supreme
All Things Beautiful
1  2/3Preventing the West from Understanding Jihad
American Thinker
1  1/3Keith Ellison and the "Reichstag"
FrontPage Magazine
1A Petition asking Whittington to Apologize
Louisianaconservative.com
2/3Staunch Republicans for Ted Kennedy
Power Line
1/34 Degrees of Separation: Pelosi-Pork-Andre Agassi-Hookers-Bill Clinton
Gateway Pundit
1/3More News from Ramadi
Contentions

Posted by Hube at 12:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 19, 2007

Hero of American liberals with BDS

French Housing Minister Christine Boutin thinks that President Bush could be "at the origin" of the 9/11 attacks.

"I think it's possible … I'm not saying that I adhere to this position. Let's just say that my mind is not completely made up."

Their hero.

Posted by Felix at 06:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More light blogging ...

... by me, that is. Besides my father-in-law coming to town next week, I also got an actual writing gig(!!) for something which I cannot yet divulge. But I can tell you it's right up my alley and a lot of fun. More info when I'm able to tell it.

Posted by Hube at 05:38 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Next GOP debate moderator: Rush Limbaugh

Why not? Keith Olbermann is "moderating" the August 7th Democrat "debate." We've been fortunate enough to get a hold of a first draft of some of Olbermann's questions:

  • What do like least about Mr. Bush? (Keith never says "President" anymore.)
  • Would you like to see Mr. Bush out of office now?
  • How would you rate Mr. Bush on a scale of one to two?
  • Tell us how you would repair the near-irreparable damage Mr. Bush has done to our country.
  • Who is a better president: George Bush or Richard Nixon?
  • How would you restore the Constitution to the United States of America after these past eight years?
  • Would you recommend capital punishment for Dick Cheney?
  • Tell us why -- and how much -- you love America.

The AFL-CIO is hyping Olbermann's new gig at the debate. Surprise.

Posted by Felix at 11:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 18, 2007

Isn't this what educators recommend?

Major Leaguer Gary Sheffield has been in the news lately because he has been complaining that his former coach -- Yankees skipper Joe Torre -- "treat[ed] black and white players differently."

But wait -- isn't this precisely what educators (or "educationists," if you prefer) advocate? If we go back in time almost two years, teachers who have attempted to treat black and white the same have been reprimanded and harrassed as "not understanding [black] culture" and for not treating the races differently! (See also here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here! Phew!)

Sheffield claims black and white players in the Yankees clubhouse were treated differently, specifically how players Tony Womack and Lofton were handled by Torre. In the interview with HBO, Sheffield says the black players on the Yankees’ roster would be “called out” in the clubhouse by Torre, while the white players would be called into Torre’s office to discuss matters.

Torre's actions should make [certain] educationists proud, then! He "adapted" his coaching methods to the "individual cultural styles" of his players! So what's Sheffield's big beef?

Posted by Felix at 10:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 17, 2007

Boy, was Thomas right

Clarence Thomas, that is, when he said in the recent Supreme Court decision regarding racial assignment in schools "Beware of elites bearing racial theories."

Case in point: The United Kingdom's education ministers, in their "infinite wisdom," are threatening that if all-white (or nearly all-white) schools don't encourage racial and religious "mixing," they'll be labeled as "failing."

Schools with mainly white pupils could be labelled "failing" if they don't encourage children to mix with other races and religions.

Ministers will unveil guidance to heads on how to comply with a new legal duty to promote community relations.

Schools in rural or suburban areas will be urged to twin with multi-ethnic schools, for example by staging joint plays or sporting events.

Faith schools should link up with different denominations while schools with no religious affiliation should arrange trips to churches, mosques and synagogues.

Schools should also bring together local parents from different backgrounds by holding coffee mornings, curriculum evenings and parent and child courses.

Ofsted inspectors will be handed powers to check schools are meeting the new duty, which comes into force in September.

Those judged to be falling short face the prospect of their governing bodies taken over by council hit squads or even closure.

The new law is aimed at preventing schools breeding prejudiced attitudes which could lead to extremism.

It appears that there is not a separation between the public and private sphere in the UK like there is here in the US. Notice that this threat extends to "faith schools." In addition, despite the headline and initial paragraph, it seems to me that [virtually] all-minority schools would also be subject to the new laws. These "We Know Better Than You" top-down ruling ministers believe the new requirements will "promote community cohesion." Believe it or not, it went as far as former Education Secretary Alan Johnson proposing that "faith schools to reserve a quarter of places for non-believers," but that was nixed after the Catholic Church voiced opposition.

Teachers, who always bear the brunt of inane educationist edicts, are aware of the nonsense:

Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "This new duty seems like another stick to beat schools with."

John Dunford, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "In many troubled communities, schools are almost the only institutions creating community cohesion, which is why it's so unnecessary to have an extra law."

... Head teachers are concerned at the additional burden the duty will place on schools.

They said schools cannot be expected to solve society's problems and the extra regulation will further detract from the core task of educating children.

'Ya think? But it doesn't matter -- your school could be the best academically performing school in the entire UK, but if you don't have that "proper racial/religious mix," you're going to be labeled as "failing"! How 'bout that?

The Commission for Racial Equality has warned the UK is in danger of becoming a "mini America", with schools separated along religious and ethnic lines.

So? Funny how the United States has thrived as a country since its inception as a nation of immigrants which was frequently separated along religious and ethnic lines. Only people appointed to such a "commission" can make such a statement with negative implications without realizing how ludicrous it is. In the article's comment section, commenter "Georgie" correctly notes that the US already tried "skin color [education] schemes" and they failed. (He must be referring to things like busing.) He's correct; however, as previously mentioned, this doesn't matter in the UK where there isn't the separation between the public and private arenas. In the US, families can avoid silly government edicts (like busing) by electing to send their children to private or parochial schools. No such luck in Britain.

And let's go back to this line: The new law is aimed at preventing schools breeding prejudiced attitudes which could lead to extremism. Is this really a concern with primarily Caucasian schools in the UK? Or can't the ed. ministers voice the government's real worry with regards to "breeding prejudiced attitudes" and "extremism" in schools without violating some sacrosanct politically correct government code, hmmmm?

UPDATE: Back to the Future: Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards will "unveil" later this week a plan to integrate American schools because they "have become segregated by race and income." Though it isn't (at least at first glance) akin to old 1970s-style busing schemes, Edwards seems to base his plan on old theories whose results have proven dead wrong at worst, inconclusive at best. For instance,

The proposals Edwards plans to unveil would encourage income diversity in schools, in the hope that poor students would have more experienced teachers and motivated classmates.

My emphasis. Hope is great; reality and actual results can be sobering things, however.

Posted by Hube at 09:37 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 16, 2007

Well, of course, natch!

You Are a Smart American
You know a lot about US history, and you're opinions are probably well informed.
Congratulations on bucking stereotypes. Now go show some foreigners how smart Americans can be.
Are You a Dumb American?

(h/t: Duffy.)

Posted by Hube at 05:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Mutants, civil rights and fundamentalism

As a big comics buff back in the 70s and 80s, I recently picked up a couple "Essential" editions (Marvel's way of cheaply reprinting classic issues en masse in one collection) of 1980s X-Men issues. Included in the #4 collection was a graphic novel from 1982 titled "God Loves, Man Kills." Graphic novels were printed to allow creators to be ... well, a little more graphic than normal comics. The opening sequence of this issue witnesses two young mutant children being murdered in cold blood merely ... because they are mutants.

As I delved into the story, it became evident that this issue was the clear inspiration for the second "X-Men" movie, "X-2: X-Men United." The main bad guy is a powerful charismatic preacher named William Stryker who leads a visceral anti-mutant crusade across America. In "X-2," Stryker is a powerful government agent who leads a clandestine force against mutantkind. Check out the other similarities:

  • In the novel, Stryker is shown to have fathered a mutant child, which he summarily kills. In "X-2," Stryker has a mutant son, but his mental powers have been "put to use" by the government.
  • Professor Xavier is captured by Stryker's agents in the novel and subjected to hallucinogenic torture. Ditto the movie, but the illusions originate from Stryker's son's mental powers, and Xavier isn't so much tortured as he's picked for vital information.
  • Magneto, the X-Men's deadliest enemy, joins forces with the mutant team against Stryker. This also occured in the film (hence the "United" in the title) but included other "evil" mutants besides just Magneto.

Reverend Stryker, in the novel's climax, is eventually shot and killed by a regular cop -- because the rev had his own pistol pointed at Kitty Pryde (the girl who can walk through walls and who saw her most screen time in the third film, "X-3: The Last Stand") and was about to fire. What follows is the typical Chris Claremont (longtime X-Men writer) philosophizing about what "course" mutants should take to protect themselves, with Professor X advocating peaceful co-existence and Magneto pushing for dominance and control.

A few days after reading the story I was intrigued by the inclusion at the end of this Essential collection of Chris Claremont's remembrances while writing "God Loves ..." To me, it shows that Claremont is your typical liberal -- liberals which now (still?) clearly dominate Marvel today. He writes:

So here we are in the early 1980s, Ronald Reagan is president and a wave of creative Conservatism is sweeping the nation, pitched as a backlash from the Heartland to the unpatriotic and hedonistic attitudes and mores of the 60s and 70s. According to them, the country was returning to bedrock, traditional values and beliefs, both political and moral. Leading that charge ... were a coterie of TV evangelists, trumpeting their born-again, fundamentalist vision of the Bible across the national airwaves.

For me, this story grew out of a time where voices of casual intolerance were very much abroad in the land, where espousing views that stood apart from what was considered the "mainstream" could have serious and lasting consequences.

Pardon me, but WHAAAAAAT?? I know, I know, I shouldn't be surprised, really. Claremont is all too typical of many liberals who feel the Reagan era was Hades incarnate on Earth. But still, consider that line: "... where espousing views that stood apart from what was considered the 'mainstream' could have serious and lasting consequences." For example, cretins like Jerry Falwell frequently denounced gays and the "gay" lifestyle. According to Claremont, if one "espoused views" contrary to Falwell's -- like gays should have all the same basic civil rights as every other American -- there could be "serious and lasting consequences"! Like what, for instance? That you could be in danger of receiving William Stryker-like treatment at the end of a gun barrel? Please. I don't think Claremont actually believes that, but I'd really like to know what he means. I personally recall the 1980s cultural debate being quite vigorous, and the only "serious and lasting consequences" anyone "suffered" was mere verbal criticism. Claremont was obviously just engaging in unnecessary hyperbole because, unfortunately for him and other 60s lefties, the "pendulum had swung the other way" in the 80s. As if one needs more proof, Claremont makes the eye-rolling statement that, during the 80s,

Other faiths, other branches of the same faith, sounded as if they were being dismissed, which carried disturbing echoes of the growing fundamentalist movement that was sweeping the Islamic world.

If there was ever one comparison that should cause one to guffaw, it's the above. And to be fair to Claremont, he clarifies that it "seemed" that way to him and that "to his ears" it sounded that way. But many others are fervent in this belief -- that there's no difference between fundamentalist Christians here in the US and fundamentalist Muslims in the mid-east. Personally, I abhor fundamentalism of any stripe, but to posit this "no difference" claim is just daffy. If you really need for me to spell it out for you (like these lunkheads do), you might consider asking your doctor for a prescription to reality pills.

The X-Men -- and mutants in general -- have long been Marvel's metaphor for the dispossessed, disenfranchised, and oppressed. Until recently (with the massive "Civil War" epic), one item had been frequently and conveniently brushed aside in the mutant debate: That these "oppressed" citizens often had abilities to cause incredible -- and widespread -- destruction. Clearly, guys like William Stryker go to extremes in addressing the situation. But it always seemed to me that there was lacking that "moderate" voice -- that sensical viewpoint that bridged concern for civil liberties with that of the general security of the American public. Consider the first "X-Men" film: In one of the flick's first sequences, we see [X-Man] Jean Grey arguing with Senator Robert Kelly about possible registration of mutants. Kelly makes an analogy to possessing and registering firearms, whereupon Grey retorts that we don't require registration for people to live. She's right, of course, but would we so require such if super-powered mutants actually existed? It is easy for you to sit behind your computer, act all morally superior and say "No way, man! That is a clear violation of civil rights and inherently immoral." But, of course, if a dude like Magneto (and his allies) were out there randomly causing widespread havoc because of his own hatred of homo sapiens, you'd probably have second thoughts!

It is fun -- and interesting -- to have such a debate, and I am currently working on an article dealing with just this subject (as an afterword to the aforementioned "Civil War") for a comics online fan magazine. In doing research for the article, I discovered that the words of The Comics Reporter’s Tom Spurgeon speak to this topic quite well (my emphasis):

When I was a kid I liked it when Captain America saw a high government official commit suicide. I thought that was way deep, man. But I never go there when thinking about Watergate. While ["Civil War" author] Mark Millar's Captain America and I may both worry about civil rights and the dispensation of power in the United States, the moment this leads Cap to take out a battalion of Secret Agents to buttress his point he's kind of lost to me as a potential partner-in-ideology.

Now, maybe Mark Millar will be the first writer to use the specific metaphor he has at his disposal to say something insightful and constructive about those issues, but I suspect that as in the past the real world comparisons exist primarily to flatter the entertainment value of the superhero comic, not so much to say anything that isn't, well, kind of dumbassed. The same way that the X-Men or similar series can only go so far when speaking to identity and outsider issues before people begin to realize shooting raybeams from your eyes really is different enough from sexual or racial identity to kind of limit any insight to be gained, I can't imagine a point of view emerging from Civil War that isn't constrained or made foolish by these characters' very specific fantasy identities.

Indeed. If you can't see a difference between, say, having misgivings about your neighbor merely because he is black, and your neighbor because he sometimes inadvertantly projects beams of concussive force from his nostrils which, at their weakest, hit like a Mack truck moving at 60 mph, then you have problems!

Lastly, I wonder what liberal Chris Claremont thinks about [the previously mentioned] gun control. If he believes that there should be severe restrictions on firearms (or that they should be banned outright), yet feels that super-powered mutants (or humans) should have the right to roam freely with no restrictions whatsoever, then he is a hypocrite of the highest order.

Related: Comics and Politics; Just As I Write; Comics and Politics Again; Mark Millar Still Hates America; Spider-Man Vs. The Bush Administration; Erik Larsen: Yet Another Comics Guy Who's Out There.

Posted by Hube at 11:25 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 15, 2007

Funny, that excuse didn't work for George Allen, did it?

Democrat presidential candidate Bill Richardson -- who is Hispanic -- claims he "meant to be playful" when he referred to, of all people, a staffer of Don Imus' as a "maricón" back on the latter's former radio show about a year ago.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation says the word means "faggot" in Spanish.

In a statement this week, Richardson said that in the Spanish he grew up speaking, "the term means simply 'gay,' not positive or negative." (Link.)

Bullsh**, Bill. Although I'm among the first to believe groups like GLAAD are too quick to judge, they're absolutely correct in what "maricón" means. There's nothing "playful" about it; it's a negative term, plain a simple. The "neutral" term in Spanish for "gay" is ... "gay," actually.

Of course, this won't negatively affect Richardson because he is a [liberal] Democrat. His excuse for using the term is as lame as former VA Senator George Allen's use of "macaca." But remember how the MSM covered Allen's faux pas right up until his campaign defeat? You can be sure Richardson won't be questioned about this by any big name talking heads.

(Actually, I suppose the MSM sort of has an "out" here as Richardson has no chance whatsoever of the Dem. nomination. If it was Obama or Edwards ... yeah right, who am I kidding? It'd be covered in about a day by the MSM, then conveniently forgotten.)

Posted by Hube at 09:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

WNJ letter writer says it perfectly

Somehow I missed this op-ed (from this past week) by former Christina School District Superintendent Nicholas Fischer. Fischer is definitely an old school educational progressive (which sort of sounds like a contradiction in terms) who has the same ridiculously wrong perceptions of what Brown v. Board of Ed. was all about. This excerpt says it all:

What happened in northern Delaware is one example of the changes wrought by Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1954. Brown was finally enforced in Delaware in 1978.

Now the U.S. Supreme Court appears to be on the path to reversing Brown in its most recent decisions regarding schools in Seattle and Louisville, Ky.

My emphasis, because as an obviously well-educated man, Fischer could not be more grossly mistaken. As I've written here at Colossus ad nauseum, New Castle County, Delaware's busing scheme was deemed one of the "most draconian" in the entire country. But that's beside the point; Brown did NOT mandate some sort of "proportionate racial mix" of students in public schools as Fischer claims. It disintegrated de jure segregation that prevented [minority] students from attending schools closest to them (in effect, legally separate schools for different races). Only social engineering progressive educationists like Fischer believe that the historic 1954 decision enforced some muddled notion of mandated "diversity" for public schools in the name of the public "good."

Fortunately, Phillip Mink in today's News Journal shreds Fischer:

Former Christina School District superintendent Nicholas Fischer berates us with the toxic ideology that has done so much to destroy public education in northern Delaware. Let's do ourselves the favor of ignoring him.

His first salvo is to smear neighborhood schools proponents as segregationists. It's time to put that insult to rest. I lived through school desegregation in rural Mississippi during the 1970s, and there is no doubt Jim Crow is a blight on this nation's history. Those who institutionalized racial discrimination deserve more punishment than they received. Those courageous enough to confront that system deserve more credit.

Fischer apparently fancies himself in the latter group because of his insistence on busing, but that's laughable. If sending students to schools that reflect racially identifiable housing patterns were unconstitutional, then virtually every urban school district in the nation -- New York City, Philadelphia, Washington -- would be under fire. They're not, because the civil rights revolution eliminated state-sanctioned school segregation.

Fischer argues that students benefit academically from diversity. If he's right, 30 years of busing Delaware students should have narrowed the achievement gap. It hasn't. There are striking discrepancies in students' test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The Delaware State Testing Program has similar results.

Bravo, Phillip. Target acquired and bullseyed.

For a more accurate and detailed report on New Castle County busing, once again I direct you to Raymond Wolters' 1993 report here (.pdf file), and this post of mine from back in April.

Posted by Hube at 10:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 14, 2007

Lincoln right? Or wrong?

Peter Robinson over The Corner highlights a couple of e-mails highlighting the pros and cons of Abraham Lincoln's actions prior to, and including, the Civil War (or, for any southern readers, the War Between the States). Here's the pro-Lincoln letter:

I read with some interest your correspondent who argued that "While I think slavery was an abomination, preventing the South from severing their connection to the Union set us on a course that I believe is leading to our ruin...weakening it to the point of eventual failure."

With all due respect to your correspondent, this is clearly balderdash. What would have irreperably weakened the United States of America would have been the severing of the nation into two seperate [sic] nations.

Given the historical record of the South (full disclosure - a region I was born in and have lived much of my life in) regarding Jim Crow, segregation, etc., it's fairly clear that slavery would not have easily been destroyed as an institution through "more ethical, moral, and logical ways of abolishing it." In fact, the most telling point of your correspondent's message is the absence of those alternatives.

Also, it's well known that although Lincoln was an abolitionist at heart, he had not taken any action to eliminate slavery at the time of South Carolina's succession, and had professed the priority of preserving the Union, even if that meant that slavery went on for a time. It was the South that pressed the existing civil, economic and social dichotomy into military conflict by firing on Ft. Sumter, not Lincoln.

I conclude by asking just how a divided nation would somehow be stronger or even one nation today? I can't fathom a reasonable answer to that question and I'd bet your correspondent doesn't have one either.

And the anti-Lincoln letter:

I must add that I think our country would be immeasurably greater if there were two of them. With northern and southern federations, Washington would not be able to jam so much nonsense down the throats of its citizenry: You raise taxes too high in the northern federation, and the people leave to go to the southern federation, or vice versa. I'd expect similar results for social engineering nonsense. Over time, this experiment might lead to a decision on which approach is superior: Federalist or Statist.

We would probably not have the quasi-socialist nanny state we see today if Lincoln had let the south go. There could be, in my estimation, no finer set of checks and balances than to have a pair of federations in alliance, and you know they would have ended up as allies.

This is an old (and good) debate, one that we've had here at Colossus a few times (probably done best here). Being a fan of the "alternate history" genre of science fiction, I continue to find this debate fascinating. (And, of course, minds more enlightened than mine on the time period/subject can offer better perspectives.) The main queries of the argument are:

  • Should the South have been allowed to secede?
  • Was it possible to abolish slavery via other means than armed conflict?
  • What are the lasting consequences of Lincoln's actions?

I've made it clear that I believe yes, the Founders believed in the inherent right of secession if people felt that the social compact with government had become hostile and dangerous to them. Fellow DCBAers Paul Smith Jr. and Ryan S. concur with me. Lincoln, on the other hand, believed that the Constitution forever bound the individual states in union. But good blog-buddy Rhymes With Right notes, however that Lincoln's adherence to this philosophy pertains to the old -- and refuted -- Articles of Confederation, not the Constitution.

The issue of whether slavery could have been eradicated here in the US without a war is obviously a more complicated matter. It involves a "what if?" scenario that is impossible to prove. However, what is established is that armed conflict to halt the institution was exceedingly rare. Indeed, "compensated emancipation" was the preferred method of doing away with slavery elsewhere in the world. Still, that does not mean that it could have been utilized here in the States. The whole Southern economy rested on slave labor and [federal] offers of "compensation" would not have easily been accepted. How would the amount have been determined? How would slave labor have been replaced even after compensation? Where would the now-ex-slaves go? Would the "slave amendments" (well, two of them, at least) -- 14 and 15 -- even have come into existence if compensated emancipation were reality?

Slavery was indeed a dying institution, and it could be argued that had the South been allowed to secede (and keep slavery), they would become international pariahs (as I noted in comments here). Dana Garrett, in the same comments (back when we constantly -- and fiercely -- squabbled), points out that an open black market could have perpetuated slavery for quite a while despite what transpired "legally."

I have read arguments that the Union victory in the Civil War (and subsequent Southern occupation) served to only deepen racial animosity worse than compensated emancipation ever would have. It's a fairly compelling argument; however, as I noted above, how much longer would it have taken (in a compensated emancipation scheme) for black Americans to garner citizenship and voting rights which were granted in the 14th and 15th Amendments? After all, could the amendments have passed Congress with attendance by [white] Southern state legislators? It seems doubtful. (Check out this little bit of mid-20th century, waning Jim Crow era piece of southern [Georgia] hate; it seems to make my point.)

Further, I believe it inevitable that the North and South would have come into conflict regardless if Lincoln had allowed secession. There would have been numerous problems over possession of [federal] territories (and the holding of slaves therein), and if the North had led the way in "isolating" the South via international economic pressure, would this have led to the South starting a war? The questions go on and on. (I discovered a good "what if?" conversation here.)

A good debate on the Southern right of secession can be found here.

An excellent examination (but from a somewhat pro-South viewpoint, admittedly) of all of the above discussion can be found here, detailing the Hampton Roads Peace Conference of 1865.

Posted by Hube at 01:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Watcher's Council results

And now...  the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are High Noonan by Big Lizards, and Interview With Todd Bensman by View From a Height.  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
3High Noonan
Big Lizards
1  2/3The NYT -- "Run Away! Run Away!"
Joshuapundit
1  1/3Army Recruitment and the Influencers
The Education Wonks
1  1/3Bad Medicine *BUMPED*
Bookworm Room
1Independence Day
Done With Mirrors
2/3Hillary's Grand, Failed Cover-Up
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1/3Success in a Vacuum
Right Wing Nut House
1/3North vs. South
The Colossus of Rhodey
1/3Another Human Rights Attrocity In Malaysia
Rhymes With Right
1/3High Class Terror
Soccer Dad

VotesNon-council link
3Interview With Todd Bensman
View From a Height
2  1/3Anti-American July 4th
Zombietime
1  2/3Human Pre-History
Sake White
1Appreciating Snark
The Paragraph Farmer
2/3All Haircut, No Cattle
Mark's Soap Box
2/3NYT Surrenders
Don Surber
2/3On Planet Appeasement
Melanie Phillips
1/3China Is Killing Americans
Alpha Patriot
1/3Unhinged Anti-War Zealot Shoots Airman, Kills Self
Michelle Malkin
1/3Alternatives
The Possum Bistro

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

July 12, 2007

Whoa, do we need to hear about their personal lives, too??

"Carper, Biden score Iraq report, Bush." -- News Journal headline circa 5pm.

Posted by Hube at 05:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Priceless

Diane Sawyer:

"You know, I wanted to sit on a jury once and I was taken off the jury. And the judge said to me, 'Can, you know, can you tell the truth and be fair?' And I said, 'That's what journalists do.' And everybody in the courtroom laughed. It was the most hurtful moment I think I've ever had."

Well, lies can hurt after all!

Posted by Hube at 04:37 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

4th of July in 'Frisco : A pictorial

A must see.

Posted by Hube at 02:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Surprise! Professors are politically biased

Ninety-seven percent of Americans -- 97%!! -- believe that the political bias of college professors is a serious or very serious problem today. (58% say "serious," 39% say "very serious.") Of course, those labeled "very conservative" -- 91% -- believe it a "very serious" problem while only 3% of liberals do. Does this mean then that ... college professors are overwhelmingly ... liberal?

Naawwwww ...

But hey -- there's one discipline on campus where liberals feel marginalized: Economics.

Posted by Hube at 11:31 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter(s) of the Week

Two winners who virtually say the same [dopey] thing. First, there's Gerrit van Burk of Rehoboth who writes

After watching thousands of innocent lives lost among the U.S. and allied military and Iraqi civilians, as well as billions of dollars squandered to enrich Bush and Cheney friends and allies, it is time for Congress to impeach the president and vice president.

So, obviously to Gerrit, there's solid evidence that Bush and Cheney have "enriched" themselves as a result of this war. If this was so obviously the case, it is beyond belief that the Democrats would not have already begun impeachment proceedings; indeed, that they would not have begun them the day the took over Congress!

Then there's John Dente of Wilmington:

Those who support George Bush in his decision to commute Scooter Libby's sentence insist there was no underlying crime. In fact there was more than one crime.

Bush lied and manipulated intelligence to bring the United States to attack a country that was no threat to us. This is a war crime.

When the manipulated intelligence was revealed by Joseph Wilson to be fraudulent, the White House set out to discredit Wilson and exposed his wife, Valerie Plame, who was a covert CIA agent. That was another crime.

In order to cover up the conspiracy, Scooter Libby perjured himself. This is obstruction of justice, another crime.

Wrong, John. There's no evidence that Bush "lied" about intelligence before going to war in Iraq, despite what Keith Olbermann says. Indeed, just about every intel agency believed Saddam Hussein had WMDs right up 'till the time the US invaded. Of course, if you'd bother to check it out, President Bush also layed out numerous other reasons why the US was invading the country; were those "lies," too? As for "manipulation," that's a loaded term if there ever was one. This can be construed to mean virtually whatever anyone wants it to mean. As for the "no threat" part, that too is a loaded phrase. "Direct threat"? Probably not. "Threat"? Yes, as Saddam would remain a source of international terrorism as long as he remained.

Wilson's information was far from sacrosanct and the White House had (and has) every right to challenge his assertions. To this day, British intelligence -- on which President Bush based his now [in]famous words in the State of the Union Address about "uranium from Africa" -- stands by its assessment, contrary to Joe Wilson's report. The law in question which pertains to supposedly "outing" Valerie Plame requires having knowledge that she was indeed covert. If Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald believed that she was "outed" WITH such knowledge, why didn't he then continue the investigation -- going after the man who leaked her name in the first place, Richard Armitage? Could it be that he believed that Armitage had no knowledge of Plame's status ... or even if Plame's "covert" status met the requirements of said status as required by law? Besides, I could never understand just what the White House stood to gain by merely "outing" Plame as retribution for Wilson's report. What purpose does it serve? It doesn't serve to refute Wilson, and any harm to Plame would easily come to be worse for the WH. What the WH was trying to do (according to many GOPers, and it does make sense) was to discredit Wilson's credibility by attempting to show that Plame used her influence to get her hubby -- Wilson -- the Niger travel gig.

There was no conspiracy, John. If there was, again, Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald would have been all over it.

Posted by Hube at 11:08 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 11, 2007

Dopey Constitutional Amendment proposal of the month

Amendments to the US Constitution get proposed quite often (more often than you might think -- take a look); today might have glimpsed a "proposed proposed" amendment worthy as one of the dopiest in recent memory ... just to make a [very] cheap political point:

Democratic freshman Rep. Steve Cohen ... wondered whether the Libby pardon should be the stimulus for a constitutional amendment limiting the president's pardon power. Cohen suggested that once the president proposes to pardon someone, the pardon go to the Supreme Court, where if six of the nine justices objected, then the pardon would not be issued. (Link.)

That's all we need -- even more power in the hands of unelected judges!

Speaking of proposed amendments, I particularly took notice of this one, a proposal by obvious dislikers of corporations (my emphasis):

An Amendment to Preclude Corporations from Claiming Bill of Rights Protections

SECTION 1. The U.S. Constitution protects only the rights of living human beings.

SECTION 2. Corporations and other institutions granted the privilege to exist shall be subordinate to any and all laws enacted by citizens and their elected governments.

SECTION 3. Corporations and other for-profit institutions are prohibited from attempting to influence the outcome of elections, legislation or government policy through the use of aggregate resources or by rewarding or repaying employees or directors to exert such influence.

SECTION 4. Congress shall have power to implement this article by appropriate legislation.

Hmm. Anyone else out there think that section 1 would cause those at NOW and Planned Parenthood to have a paroxysm of self-righteous indignation?

Posted by Hube at 07:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Finally -- a definition of "critical mass"

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision outlawing Seattle and Louisville "diversity" plans for public schools, Ward Connerly highlights the illogic of the diversophiles ... and finally brings to light just what that "critical mass" is that University of Michigan administrators argued for in their 2003 affirmative cases:

"Critical mass" means that it is important for a sufficient number of "minorities" to be enrolled on campus so that they not feel "isolated." When the number of blacks dropped at UC Berkeley following the passage of 209, the opponents of 209 argued that the drop in black enrollment created a "hostile environment" for those enrolled. "Critical mass" theory also means that the remainder of the student body needs to see enough black faces so that they can benefit from "diversity."

As Connerly points out, this didn't seem to be necessary for James Meredith, the first African-American admitted to the Univ. of Mississippi. Nor, would I add, does it seem to be necessary for any non-black student currently attending an Historically Black College.

Connerly highlights Justice Clarence Thomas' line in the recent SCOTUS case which stated "If our history has taught us anything, it has taught us to beware of elites bearing racial theories." Indeed. "Critical Mass" is one that we should "beware" of since there is little to no impirical scientific evidence to support it -- much like the theory that "diversity equals [academic] excellence."

Posted by Hube at 09:32 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 10, 2007

Summer flu

I got it; it sucks. Light blogging -- if at all.

Posted by Hube at 10:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 09, 2007

Paul Smith Jr. shreds Harry Themal

When I read the News Journal's Opinion section today, I was sorely tempted to write a response to Harry Themal's contradictory rant against the Roberts Supreme Court. Then I saw what Paul Smith Jr. posted, and he made moot any motivation I had about writing my own post!

Posted by Hube at 12:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This is awesome

"Cindy Sheehan Threatens to Run Against Pelosi." (Link.)

Posted by Hube at 09:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 08, 2007

Comment glitch

Looks like MuNu comments are temporarily down as of around 9pm or so. If you wish to leave a comment, e-mail us and we'll post it as soon as comments are back up.

UPDATE: Comments are functioning again as of 8:30am July 9.

Posted by Hube at 09:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Live Earth: Huge carbon footprint

The hilarious thing is that these concerts are generating more C02 emissions than the entire country of Afghanistan. I mean, come on -- what does it say when the message these concerts are trying to get out is totally ignored by these concert organizers/performers? What a laugh, especially when you consider the "scrolling marquee" behind many of the performers on stage that contained "helpful hints" for folks to save energy. One of these ironically stated "Turn off unnecessary lights." Yeah, in the meantime there's a gazillion light bulbs flashing on and off at each of these concert stages! Besides, the only performance worth viewing, in my opinion, was Genesis ... and they weren't even that great.

No wonder quite a few prominent artists said "No thanks" to Al Gore and co., including the most legendary of issue-oriented concert promoters, Bob Geldof of Live Aid fame.

Posted by Hube at 11:14 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Sixth and Seventh golf games of the year

Last Sunday we played at Tanglewood Golf Club in Lancaster County, PA. We passed gaggles of Amish on our way there; I even think I spotted Harrison Ford working on a barn at one point. The course was hilly, with fairly short par-4s sporting severe doglegs. I HATE that "gimmicky" kind of stuff. I hate when you can't see the friggin' green after you've driven the ball perfectly down the fairway. When you have no idea to where you're hitting the ball, it's a recipe for disaster. And in many cases, that's precisely what happened. Final score: 97.

Yesterday, a group of sixteen of us hit the ridiculously overpriced Scotland Run off of rt. 322 in New Jersey. A former teaching buddy of mine asked me to play with a bunch of his old pals at this annual outing they do every year. We all throw in $20, and then everyone's scores are determined to be either in the "better half" (the top eight scores) and the "lesser half" (the bottom eight scores). Two scores are drawn from a hat containing each set of scores; the best combined score wins the money (split between the two people). It's an interestingly fun way to reward good and not-so good players, and includes a bit of luck, as well.

At any rate, I started off disastrously, carding an eight on the par-5 first hole. This was followed by a seven on the par-4 second. Ouch. I got my act together and nailed a few pars and bogeys ... until the eighth hole where I got in major trouble. Score: a NINE on that par-4 hole. I was so incensed that I broke my sand wedge in half. Not a good idea. (It'll cost about $20 to have it re-shafted.) Final front-nine score: 51. The back-nine was quite a bit better, with only one "blow-up" hole (a six on a par-3). I even had a birdie, chipping it in the cup from right off the green on a par-4. (And I did it without my trusty sand wedge, too! Luckily, I had my gap wedge in the bag!) Final back-nine score: 45. My total of 96 made me the 8th place finisher, and in the drawing I was "paired" with a guy who shot a 99. Our total equaled 197; the winners totaled 186 (which included the guy with the best round of the day, an incredible 79, and a dude who shot a 107).

When I said that Scotland Run is "ridiculously overpriced," I sure mean it. I shelled out a whopping $105 for the round, and the course was in no better shape than any of the other courses I've played this year at a fraction of the cost. The sand traps were like concrete, and there was even a dilapidated, out-of-order ball washer at one of the holes. Which, I usually could care less about, but not at a course where I paid over a hundred bucks! You even had to pay extra to hit balls at the driving range which was ALSO ridiculous; nice courses that charge less per round will have a gratis range. Maybe if I had shot a better score I'd be less miffed at all this; as it is, I'm not going to shell out that kind of cash for another golf round unless I am FAMILIAR with the course.


Posted by Hube at 10:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2007

Watcher's Council results

And now...  the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Guess Where Your President Was Wednesday Morning... Insh'allah by Joshuapundit, and Bless the Beasts and Children by Michael YonRight Wing Nut House was the only member unable to vote this week, and the only member affected by the 2/3 vote penalty.  Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
2  1/3Guess Where Your President Was Wednesday Morning... Insh'allah
Joshuapundit
1  1/3With Snark
Done With Mirrors
1  1/3This I Believe
The Education Wonks
1  1/3Condescension As Bigotry
Bookworm Room
1  1/3Quote of the Day: Islamophobia Edition
Cheat Seeking Missiles
2/3Cage Match: Assimilation vs. Multiculturalism
Right Wing Nut House
2/3Spin City, Here We Come
Big Lizards
2/3Democrat Debate Thy Name Is "Irony"
The Colossus of Rhodey
1/3Live Earth's Al Gore -- A Pompous Piece O'...
‘Okie’ on the Lam
1/3The Terror Under the Carpet
Soccer Dad

VotesNon-council link
4  1/3Bless the Beasts and Children
Michael Yon
2Understanding Current Operations in Iraq
Small Wars Journal
1  1/3But Who Are They?
Classical Values
1  1/3The Liberal Obsession With Whiteness at the Expense of Instilling Academic Excellence In Black Communities
Booker Rising
2/3Not Forgetting the Basilisk
Canker
2/3Doctors, Sadists, and the Beasts of Radical Islam
Dr. Sanity
1/3Guess Who Likes Earmarks?
Captain's Quarters
1/3The Parallel Universe of the New York Times' "Style" Section
Searching for Bright Light

Posted by Hube at 01:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

MSNBC: Clueless

No, I don't mean about politics (though they frequently are clueless in that realm); I'm talking about comicbook characters. Check out author Ree Hines' top five comic characters ever:

1. Superman. I have no hassles with this. Supes is the logical choice as he's the original comicbook hero. DC has done a terrific job revitalizing him over the last couple decades.

2. Wonder Woman. HUH? Dude, she's at best between a first-tier and second-tier character. She helps solidify the "weakness" that DC has had in that too many of their characters are just too all-powerful and not "real" enough. A measure of a character's popularity is how many comic titles his/her publisher puts out. WW just doesn't cut it when compared to Supes or the number three on the list ...

3. Batman. Should be #2 possibly, or at least remain here just behind the upcoming number four character. DC's grittiest -- and most real -- character, he's easy to relate to as almost anyone can imagine being him. (Of course, having his kind of money would certainly help!)

#4. Spider-Man. Should occupy the #2 spot or at least tie Bats for it. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko completely redefined the everyman hero with Webhead, the standard for Marvel Comics in general: Make them believable to the average joe.

I had originally written a bunch about how the "Spider-Man" films totally kicked all other comicbook films' butt; however, I realized too late that the IMDB top grossing film database is not adjusted for inflation. This would be an unfair indicator of a film's popularity. A bit of Googling took me to this site which has the inflation-adjusted figures for top USA film grosses. "Spider-Man" still wins the top comicbook film spot (#33 overall) while "Batman" comes in at #2 (#47 overall). "Spidey 2" is #3 (#51), "Superman" at #4 (#60) and "Men In Black" is #5 (#75). Interestingly, "Spidey 3" is at #6 (#87 overall) and it's still in its first-run theatrical release.

#5. Colossus. You gotta be friggin' kidding me. Hines is on crack. If any X-Man makes the top five, the obvious choice is Wolverine -- who is winning (tied with Batman) the online fan vote linked to by the article.

Hines may have an "out" in that I notice today (I first noticed his article yesterday) the headline on the MSNBC main page says "coolest" comicbook characters of all time. Even so, Hines is still way off-base. So, let's do both -- the top five comicbook characters of all-time, and then the much more subjective "coolest" top five.

All-Time:
1. Superman
2. Spider-Man
3. Batman
4. Wolverine
5. Captain America

"Coolest" Top 5:
1. Spider-Man
2. Wolverine
3. Iron Man
4. Batman
5. The Punisher

Posted by Hube at 10:38 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Catch Paul Smith Jr. on WILM radio tomorrow

I'm playing in a golf outing tomorrow, so Paul Smith Jr. will be filling in for me on Dace Blaskovitz's "Money and Politics in Delaware" show with Tom Noyes. I know, it's not the third Saturday of the month, but Tom and I were bumped in June for another guest.

You can catch these two excellent bloggers on air at 10:30am on 1450 on the AM radio dial. (Streaming audio available on the web, too, natch!)

Posted by Hube at 09:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 05, 2007

Comment Rescue: Down With Absolutes

Mike Matthews asked if Keith Olbermann's "Special Comment" from two days ago -- where the moonbat hero asked for Bush/Cheney's resignation -- would be "something to see." Check out commenter "Rich"'s offering from today:

Not only was this Keith Olberman clip “something to watch”, Mike, it was truly something to see.

Of course, given the people who are in the White House right now, I’m worried after this that we will be reading about Olberman’s “mysterious death” in the headlines soon.

*shudder*

Yeah, well, y'know, after all BushCo. orchestrated the 9/11 attacks (or, at least, knew about them and did nothing), right Rich? So, surely they could "disappear" Olbermann if they chose. Maybe Bush could call Bill Clinton and ask him how he did it with Vince Foster, right?

SHEESH!


Posted by Hube at 08:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Dopey Philly Daily News Letter of the Week

Stuart Burgh Jr. of Philly falls for the "diversity is the end-all to be-all" mantra (or whatever the heck that phrase is!) for American schools:

THE SUPREME Court made an ignorant decision by throwing out two school plans. This will increase segregation and reduce diversity in the U.S. education system.

Whenever there is a lack of diversity, people in the majority usually display arrogance that makes them feel intellectually superior.

Those who are truly intelligent are open-minded to new ideas and people. Those who live in a segregated environment where everyone looks the same can't measure up to that because of their limited and one-dimensional experiences.

Basically, Stu says

1) To hell with anti-discrimination law(s);
2) segregation and less diversity are inherently "bad," even if NOT enforced by law (so law must be allowed to enforce desegregation and diversity);
3) he must believe that minorities at Historically Black Colleges "display arrogance that makes them feel intellectually superior";
4) intelligence is a result of "more diversity."

What a head-shaker. But, it's not surprising that folks like Stu fall for this nonsense. It's certainly repeated often enough ("Diversity is GOOD!") that common sense and clear thinking go flying right out the window. I'd love to see Stu show us scientific evidence for points #2 and #4, all the while explaining how #3 doesn't apply to HBCs. (That's always a pain-in-the-ass query that really sticks in the craw of diversophiles and usually guaranteed to garner a rather evasive response.)

Posted by Hube at 12:45 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Colossus "flashback": News is still current!

The San Diego Union Tribune reports

A San Diego public school has become part of a national debate over religion in schools ever since a substitute teacher publicly condemned an Arabic language program that gives Muslim students time for prayer during school hours.

Carver Elementary in Oak Park added Arabic to its curriculum in September when it suddenly absorbed more than 100 students from a defunct charter school that had served mostly Somali Muslims.

After subbing at Carver, the teacher claimed that religious indoctrination was taking place and said that a school aide had led Muslim students in prayer.

An investigation by the San Diego Unified School District failed to substantiate the allegations. But critics continue to assail Carver for providing a 15-minute break in the classroom each afternoon to accommodate Muslim students who wish to pray. (Those who don't pray can read or write during that non-instructional time.)

Emphasis mine. Now, is it me or would such a practice be absolutely anathema for a school district if it involved Christians? Fifteen minutes of classroom time during the school day? If a public school attempted this with religious Christians, the ACLU would be in court so fast that Carl Lewis would be impressed. But in the San Diego case, they're merely "monitoring developments."

The San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations supports the Carver program.

“Our country is transforming demographically, religiously,” said Edgar Hopida, the chapter's public relations director. “Our country has to now accommodate things that are not traditionally accounted for before.”

Is that right? Not if these "things" are constitutionally impermissible, Mr. Hopida. Accommodation is a two-way street, with the onus usually on those who make the move TO a particular country, not the other way around!

Right here in Delaware approximately three years ago, the Christina School District "accommodated" Muslim students by giving them a separate room in which to pray -- during the school day and supervised by a school employee -- during Ramadan. Amazingly, the News Journal then opined (rightly, in my opinion) against Christina's actions, but there was -- surprise! -- no word on any legal action against Christina by the Delaware ACLU. An e-mail from me to the civil rights group about the situation -- another surprise! -- went unanswered.

Posted by Hube at 10:34 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 04, 2007

Happy 4th

Posted by Hube at 11:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vintage Slick Willie

Bill Clinton on the Scooter Libby sentence commutation:

“I think there are guidelines for what happens when somebody is convicted. You’ve got to understand, this is consistent with their (Bush & co's.) philosophy; they believe that they should be able to do what they want to do, and that the law is a minor obstacle.”

No wonder Lewinsky dug 'im. He has one big set of balls.

Posted by Felix at 06:01 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week 2

Dawne Keen of New Castle wants Bush and Cheney impeached NOW, DAMMIT!

President Bush and Vice President Cheney have made a mockery of the jobs entrusted to them. It looks as if they are serving themselves and their friends, and not the people.

We can’t count on the legislative branch because it is so busy fulfilling the wants and needs of lobbyists. The legislative branch is not coming together and making the hard decisions that need to be made. The judicial branch has done great harm. We can’t even count on judges to make people accountable for their actions. I am disgusted with all of it.

It’s time that Bush and Cheney were impeached. The Scooter Libby fiasco was the final straw. Americans listened to the evidence, convicted him and he was sentenced. That should count for something.

Emphasis mine. Wow, this is almost as "well thought-out" as Randall Miller's letter from yesterday! I just checked the Constitution: Nowhere in its text is "making a mockery" of the presidency (or vice-presidency) an impeachable offense. But, I'm confused -- if Bush/Cheney aren't doing their jobs appropriately, and Congress and the judicial branch aren't doing theirs either (according to Ms. Keen), why is it that only the president and veep need to be ousted from office, hmm?

The epitomy of "dopey."

Posted by Hube at 12:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

North vs. South

No, I'm not referring to the American Civil War, but the divide between the "have" countries and the "have not" countries. Or, if you prefer, the industrialized world and the developing world. Or, the First World and the Third World. (The Second World was the old-style communist countries which, with few exceptions, no longer exist.) Two recent books from my summer reading pile dealt with this divide in similar, yet different, ways. One, the previously mentioned Triumph, details an incredibly devastating nuclear war (a very implausible one, too, in my opinion, but this doesn't detract from the good story) that totally devastates the northern hemisphere. Written in the early 60s, the racial terms used in the novel are sorely dated (for example, the wince-inducing "Negro"), but the story touches on whether the [mostly] surviving southern hemisphere countries -- populated mostly by "brown-skinned peoples" -- would highly resent any surviving Caucasians from the northern hemipshere. There's not much examination of this theory other than a few theories, and my second home of Costa Rica plays a significant role in the book -- they keep tabs via radio on the fourteen survivors holed up in a Connecticut bomb shelter for over two years. The fourteen are seen as "heroes" to others in the world for surviving as long as they did, and eventually rescued and taken to a southern hemisphere haven.

But would they be treated as such?

The second book, Long Voyage Back, presents a much more realistic view, in my opinion. Written in the mid-1980s, its view of nuclear war is incredibly detailed -- both in terms of its obvious destructive effects, but also the cultural/political atmosphere. Survivors from the post-nuke war American mainland gradually make their way south in a sailing vessel, and all along the way realize that they are feared and hated by virtually everyone, especially the "brown-skinned" peoples of the Caribbean and South America. Why? Well, why not? Two overwhelmingly white societies just destroyed the planet ... wouldn't you be just a little resentful, especially since these societies were the most affluent -- some would say exploitive -- in the pre-nuke war era? Revolutions occur throughout the Caribbean where the lower [darker-skinned] castes revolt against the upper [lighter-skinned] castes, while many wealthy whites use what riches they have left to escape to more friendly "havens" -- Australia, New Zealand and ironically (it was the 80s, mind you) apartheid South Africa.

LVB's protagonists finally -- after many months on the seas -- find refuge in the Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America among a few Chilean survivors of a brief Chile-Argentina war, and a dozen or so European war refugees.

One of the differences in political/cultural perceptions between the two novels might be that in Triumph, it is quite clear that a rather mad Russian premier starts the nuclear war against the United States. LVB is very nebulous about its nuke war origins until close to the book's end -- the main character Neil realizes that the Russian H-bombs destroyed almost exclusively American (and allied) cities, not missile or air bases. This is a clear indication of a counter-strike, not a first strike tactic. In other words, the US started the war, which makes Neil realize all the more why he and his fellow travelers were so feared and despised whenever they attempted to make landfall.

In a theme-related novel (excluding the nuke war concept), noted sci-fi author Joe Haldeman describes a near-future Earth where the divide between North and South is even more stratified than it is now. Forever Peace's developed world has a device called a "nanoforge" which can, literally, create almost anything one wants given the proper materials. Want is almost non-existent now in the North, many of its societies now immense welfare-style states. The countries of the South are copiously envious of this technological divide, and they want nanoforges too. Of course, the countries/corporations that control the 'forges only "rent" use of their 'forges to countries at incredible cost and with restrictions. Many Southern countries by now have atomic power, and resort to nuclear terrorism against the North to [hopefully] achieve their demands. The technologically advanced North in this future doesn't even need to send soldiers to battle anymore, however; all fighting is done remotely via telepresence systems and battle robots!

Author Haldeman is a Vietnam veteran who takes a sympathetic view of the South's perceptions, and understandably so. In his greatest novel, The Forever War, (no relation to Forever Peace, by the way) Haldeman blasts the modern-day military-industrial complex through its future counterpart -- a counterpart, which, in order to consolidate its hold on planetary power and keep its economy humming, fabricates stories of alien attacks on Earth interstellar vessels and hence a centuries-long war commences with a benevolent alien race under clandestinely false pretenses.

One interesting side-note: Haldeman, like Triumph author Philip Wylie, MUST have been enamored with that Central American jewel, Costa Rica. In Forever Peace, a decent portion of the book takes place there (military battles, oddly enough, in a country that at present has no army!) while, again, Wylie's fourteen survivors gather most of their post-war information from San José, Costa Rica's capital city.

Posted by Hube at 11:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 03, 2007

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

Randall Miller of Ocean View is this week's winner with this really thought-provoking and well backed-up screed:

The editorial “Supreme Court has two interpretations regarding free speech” should have ended, “It wasn’t a good day for the United States.”

Yep. That's it. No reason how or why. Just take his word for it!

Posted by Hube at 06:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Transformers"

I never followed the popular cartoon in the 80s, so I didn't know much of the background story going into the flick. But in terms of special F/X, just one word: WOW. They're head and shoulders above anything I've seen in years, including the "Star Wars" prequels. That, and the film had a very good combination of outright humor and kickin' all-out action. I burst out loud laughing at one scene in particular: One of the "Decepticons" -- the evil Transformers -- disguised itself as a cop car. When it was attempting to track down the star (Shia LaBeouf) we see painted in cursive on its back quarter-panel the phrase "To Punish and Enslave" (in place of, obviously, "To Protect and Serve"), but everything else on the car was exactly the same as it would be on a normal police cruiser!

Instant classic.

Posted by Hube at 06:34 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Oh no! Scooter Libby sentence commuted!

Hey folks! Been a while.

The Left has gone all ga-ga over this recent turn of events. The usual suspects have chimed in with numerous posts (and TV show bits) blasting the president's move. Of course, these same buffoons were cheering at that press conference nine years ago where Bill Clinton was dubbed the "greatest president of our generation" even though HE lied under oath. Oh, but you see, he lied to "protect his family" while Libby what -- lied to protect his friends? Gee, what a difference.

How come Richard Armitage, the man who actually leaked Valerie Plame's name, hasn't been prosecuted? Maybe it's because the law in question requires that the person who actually did the "leaking" KNOW that the leaked identity was covert. Since Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald did not go after Armitage, it seems logical that his reason for not doing was because he knew Armitage committed no crime. So, that leaves Libby, who got caught in a fib either because he thought (wrongly) that he was "protecting" somebody, or he was downright "sloppy." Hey -- "sloppy"! That sounds familiar! Riiiight -- that's the excuse Clinton administration National Security Advisor Sandy Berger used for his hiding National Archive documents in his socks(!) when exiting the Archives building! This is clearly a crime, yet what did Berger face? A $10,000 fine and a suspension of his national security clearance. For stealing national security documents. And Scooter Libby still has to pay over 20 times that amount despite President Bush's prison sentence commutation. For ... lying about a non-existent crime.

If Berger's restitution is fair, Libby's is more than fair.

Posted by Felix at 09:53 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

July 02, 2007

Radical Muslim terrorism: It's not a big deal

So say the simpletons over at Delaware Ostrich. Here's what they want you to "realize": Muslim extremism isn't any worse than other religious extremism, including Christian extremism. Y'know, things like abortion doctor killers, the Crusades ...

What a laugh. As if abortion doc killers are a problem of epidemic proportion. As if such loons are not ostracized to the Nth degree by American society. And you know that if someone has to bring up the friggin' Crusades that their proverbial noggin' is inhumed in the soil. I mean, it's not as if the Crusades occurred a millenium ago, right? Sheesh!

Back in the PRESENT DAY we have radical Muslims wishing death to people who draw cartoons. Who write books. Who want women's rights. Who want women to get an education. We have radical Muslims who stone people to death (mainly women) for things that wouldn't even get the victims a traffic ticket in the West. But worst of all, we have a radical brand of Islam that is too often accepted as "OK" by a substantial proportion of all Muslims. Even here in the US, 26% of Muslims under age 30 believe suicide bombing is "justified." In the mid-east, suicide bombing is seen as "the right thing to do" by much larger numbers of people if the goal is "worthy" (which can be just about anything that would make the average Westerner cringe), notably the destruction of Israel. These beliefs are held TODAY. There is no reasonable comparison to these extreme beliefs (and the total proportionate number that hold them), and the beliefs held by modern Christians or Jews.

And then consider the recent thwarted radical Muslim terror attacks in England. Sites like Delaware Ostrich pooh-pooh all the media coverage as "fear mongering," yet if the terrorists were successful, you can bet your bottom dollar that the criticism from these same sites would be never-ending. Hell, Delaware Ostrich once took days to fully explain that no, George W. Bush didn't know about the 9/11 attacks in advance; but, of course, he nonetheless "didn't do enough to prevent it." And there you have it: Prevent a terror attack? You're a "fear monger." Fail to prevent a terror attack? You're a useless fop. Take steps to prevent future attacks? You're "shredding the Constitution" and trampling our civil rights. It's the ultimate personification of the no-win scenario with these dunderheads.

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

July 01, 2007

Literary giant: 100 years

Robert Heinlein centennial. The article focuses a lot on Starship Troopers, one of the greatest novels ever.

Posted by Hube at 10:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack